There’s one piece of furniture I always wanted but never had as a new mum last time around: a nursing chair. Telling myself it was a waste of money as it wouldn’t be used long enough to warrant the expense, I never splashed out on one. Instead, I’d sit perched on the edge of the bed, or on the futon in Frog’s bedroom, feeding her in the middle of the night, trying not to get back ache.
This time around I was determined to have a chair in our new baby’s nursery. Even though the baby won’t be sleeping in there at first, I wanted a quiet place where I could do feeds without having to find a corner of a bed to perch on.
The thing is, I’m not a huge fan of new furniture. I like pieces that tell a story and, if it’s personal, then all the better. All of the nursing chairs I’d looked at online seemed ludicrously expensive or just not to my taste – too bulky, too mumsy, too ugly, or just not quite right. I know, I’m possibly a little too fussy.
And then I remembered my grandmother’s chair. My beautiful Nana died earlier this year. She was funny, kind and the best baker I’ve ever known. Time spent at Nana’s house in Derby was always fun. When my Dada was alive they would bicker with each other and he would make us all laugh. He’d tell Nana off for the occasional swear (“Ooh you naughty bugger!”) and she’d scold him back for having the telly on too loud.
Their living room was crammed with lots of furniture – mainly seating so their huge family always had a place to sit down when we’d go to visit. When the house was cleared out after Nana died we all chose pieces of furniture that we wanted to keep. I have a beautiful original 1960s sideboard which looks like it was made for our living room. I also have a lovely wooden chest of drawers and a rocking chair.
The rocking chair used to be my uncle’s when he lived at home. Over time it became a permanent fixture in my grandmother’s living room though. I can remember, as a child, being pretty pleased if I was first in the room and would quickly scramble to get on the chair before it got taken by an adult. A rock on that chair and one of Nana’s Lancashire lemon finger cakes and I was a happy girl.
I knew, then, that this chair would be a focal point in my new baby’s room. Not only would it answer the nursing chair dilemma, but it would be a way of continuing a memory and remembering the woman who we all loved so much.
I was actually 12 weeks pregnant at Nana’s funeral. I imagine if she’d been looking down she would have known and smiled at the fact that two more great grandchildren would soon be joining her huge brood (although I didn’t know it at the time my cousin was a few weeks behind me). I love the idea that I’ll be sitting in that chair feeding a baby four generations on. The baby will never get to experience a cuddle from Nana like Frog did, but being cuddled by his or her mum in the chair that was once owned by his or her great grandmother is the next best thing.
Nana always loved babies. When I told her I was pregnant with Frog she sent me a card that said, “Babies are such a wonderful thing. I’m so happy for your news.” Here’s Nana meeting Frog as a baby…
I don’t know what she would have made of the upcycle job I’ve done on the rocking chair. I hope she’d have liked it – I know that she would have pretended to like it even if she secretly didn’t!
The chair’s been painted with Annie Sloan – Paloma, Pure White and a minty turquoise made from Provence and Pure White. The baby’s nursery is decorated with a mint, yellow and grey colour palette, so the chair fits right in. It’s my favourite thing about the whole room, both for the memories and the way it looks. I love that no one else will have this same chair.
It now sits alongside a little side table made from an old kitchen stool. All that remains to be done in this corner is to hang a couple of prints and then it’s finished.
I know Nana will never see this room but, thanks to the rocking chair, she’s still very much in my thoughts when I’m in there.