We interviewed the beautiful Caroline Stanbury, Founder of Gift Library, a successful luxury gifting and personal shopping service. Caroline is currently starring in Ladies of London, a show following the lives of seven of London’s high society. Caroline lives outside of London with her financier husband Cem Habib, their three children and their dog Buster.
When and why did you start Gift Library?
I started Gift Library in 2008 after my friends kept asking for advice on buying presents. We all have so many things in our life that buying a present that will be appreciated has become more and more of a challenge. I realised there was a gap in the market for somewhere that was open 24-hours a day and that took the hard work out of choosing gifts as the work had already been done for you. Everything we have online is something that I would be happy to give or receive.
You’ve got one little girl and twins, how’s life changed since the twins arrived?
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a lot less sleep! It has made us reassess our lifestyle in London now that we have two rumbustious boys. They definitely need more space to run around in and burn off their energy so we made the decision this year to move out of London to Surrey so that the children could have more outdoor space.
What’s the one baby product you couldn’t live without?
Anya Hindmarch makes the best nappy bags. I give them to all my friends when they have babies. They have every compartment you thought you’d never need but can’t live without!
What’s the best present you’ve ever been given?
My children, of course! But closely followed by my engagement ring. Nothing can rival being given something that holds so much meaning.
When you go to stay with people, what do you take them?
I particularly love giving something that can be personalised, such as our cashmere travel sets. They come in a beautiful cashmere case that you can have initials monogrammed on the outside of. I might even have gifted myself one of these in the past!
With the summer upon us, tell us what would be your favourite family holiday?
A combination of my favourite things – my family, sun, sea and sand. I love the Maldives. If we are somewhere hot with fresh juices in the morning, fish for lunch and the children happily running around whilst my husband and I have time to be together, preferably with no mobile phone reception, there is nothing better in the world.
With three children you must get invited to a lot of birthday parties, what’s your fail safe birthday present?
My favourite presents to take to children’s parties are the brilliant Star Bags from Semolina in Pimlico. A basket, beautifully wrapped, stuffed to the brim with fun, bright toys for children. Including everything from Jellycat soft toys to candy necklaces, paints and bouncy balls. They contain everything children actually want to play with, demolish and a few things they want to keep. Perfect for keeping them entertained and as each one is tailor-made they’re always a surprise.
When you have a baby it’s often the mother and children who get adorned with presents and the husband is often forgotten, what present would you recommend for a new father?
As he’s probably going to be spending a lot more time in pyjamas than he’s used to, I couldn’t recommend anything more highly than our Derek Rose loungewear pyjamas. Acceptable for walking around the house in, the t-shirts are super soft, don’t snag, and stay just as soft after multiple washes (perfect for babies!). The lounging trouser bottoms have button-fastenings and a drawstring and are the highest quality cotton. He may also discover a previously unrealised desire for long hot baths to relax so a Colonia Acqua di Parma hat box gift set may turn out to be an essential part of his life!
How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?
Driven, ambitious, loyal, fun and probably a bit annoying sometimes!