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One-of-a-kind gifts


Gabi, Carrie and Holly at Gabi's baby shower

Well I don’t know if you find this, but don’t small businesses just do everything better?! With personal touches that can either move you to tears or have you howling with laughter, special occasions like this need extra thoughtfulness, and that’s exactly where independents excel. 

It’s their creativity that takes it from being a ‘lovely’ event with presents, to memories and gifts that your mum-to-be will genuinely cherish and smile at for years to come. 

Here’s some inspiration, much of which is taken from the 2020 baby shower that my sister and I threw for our dear co-founder Gabi, pre-her twins. It truly was just the best day thanks to some help from our community. As you can see, we rather enjoyed ourselves…

Doesn’t this make a brilliant alternative to the traditional baby shower sash? Hand stitched by the talented Emma Giacalone, it also doubles up as a more feminine (and beautiful) version of Transport for London’s ‘Baby-On-Board’ badges.

Mummy to be badge

‘Mummy to be’ badge, by Emma Giacalone

There aren’t many benefits to having a tummy the size of a spacehopper, but it does make a rather handy tea shelf! This lovely card by Katy Pillinger will remind any mum-to-be to put her feet up and rest, which we women aren’t always very good at doing…

Mum to be 'put your feet up' card

Mum to be’ card, by Katy Pillinger Designs

Alongside our non-alcoholic fizz we had the most delicious drink at Gabi’s baby shower. Mother Root is beautifully branded, female-founded and utterly delicious (‘Ginger Switchel’ is a must-try).

Mother Nature ginger drink

Ginger Switchel, by Mother Root

Trust me when I say that this linen-bound memory book will become the most treasured keepsake in years to come. Nobody can fathom the sheer joy of rediscovering your own words about Baby’s first steps, first tooth, first time they looked at you and grinned, and your whole world felt warm and cosier than a bowl of apple crumble. It’s gender-neutral too so if you’re not sure what they’re having, this makes a truly thoughtful gift.

baby first book

‘Baby. First book of you’ book, by Write To Me

This ‘Iconic Women’ swaddle created by Book of Deer comes in the most beautiful little drawstring pouch, is HUGE and so, so soft. And tucked in the middle, like a little pearl, is a miniature book featuring all the women on the print. We bought it for Gabi from the rather iconic Mutha.Hood and she still loves it today.

Iconic women swaddle

Iconic women swaddle, by Book of Deer

Speaking of Mutha.Hood, founder Gemma’s classic Strong Girls Club tees also come in babygrows, too, and what could be a better, more powerful message for mini feminists? If you listen to the podcast episode I recorded with her, you’ll hear the remarkable idea behind her brand and why setting up a business to empower women and girls was as crucial then as it is now.

'Strong girls club' babygrows

Strong Girls Club babygrows, by Mutha.Hood

These bespoke ‘Cotside Notes’ notebooks by Marby and Elm will help any new mum keep track of the important stuff — left boob, right boob or even just what day it is. For someone whose mind never stops whirring, these make a great way to get things out of the head and down on paper during those middle-of-the-night feeds. New business ideas, here they come…

Cotside notes

Bespoke notebook, by Marby and Elm

As with any occasion, for baby showers, I always think it’s important to forego the expected gifts in favour of something that will be helpful or thoughtful not just now but in the future. Ensuring children grow up knowing that their true value is not based on their looks, could be the very best present of all.

'Far more than beautiful' nursery hanging

‘Far more than beautiful’ wall flag, by Boss Babs

This exclusive one-off print was created by Dave Buonaguidi. Carrie and I went to him with the idea of ‘double trouble’ and as ever, he made it SO much better with his unique spin: the beautiful 1940s image and glitter-screen-printed ‘Dubble Trubble’ on top. The spelling just makes it. Now that’s a baby shower gift!

Double trouble

Bespoke art, by Real Hackney Dave AKA Dave Buonaguidi

I don’t know quite how, but Anna Lewis has managed to capture the most brilliantly observed, acute joys and despairs of being a mum with her distinctive illustrations. Actually if you listen to her on my podcast, you’ll understand why her approach to creativity is so rare these days. This is the kind of gift that those about to embark on the journey of motherhood are likely to really appreciate — it is a superb book.

Sketchy muma book

‘Sketchy Muma: What it means to be a mother’ book, by Anna Lewis at Chestnut Books

Of course, it’s important not to forget Dad. A recent survey by Aptamil revealed that two thirds of new fathers said they feel left out in the early days of parenting. Here’s a fun way to make sure they feel seen and heard… even if they also feel knackered.

Dad and baby sleeping set

Dad and child, ‘Exhausted’ and ‘Exhausting’ set, by Alphabet Bags

And finally, what every parent needs: sleep coffee. Not just any coffee but a clever subscription to ensure it’s one less thing to have to think about when they’re up to their armpits in poop. Pact scour the globe in search of the world’s best speciality beans, work directly with farmers, pay an average of 65% above the Fairtrade base price and freshly roast it in Surrey. It tastes nice too. 

Pact coffee

Coffee subscription, by Pact Coffee

For more innovative ideas from the very best small businesses, take a look at my special edit to celebrate strong women.

Want better emails? Each week I send a carefully curated selection of what to do, buy, gift or try — all from the best small businesses. Are you in?

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