Our first week on Tour: Manchester

Well this week certainly has been challenging… It’s been a lot of fun but I wasn’t anywhere near prepared for what being on tour with a baby would really be like. Trying to stick to some sort of nap schedule while still fitting in activities around Barney’s work schedule has been tricky but we managed quite a few mornings or days out!

We rented a great flat in the centre of town, which meant walking everywhere was no problem but I struggled to find many ‘baby-friendly’ activities for Isla. Certainly very few places where I could just let her run around. We visited Waterstones’ a few times as they had an amazing children’s section, fully equipped with a Wendy house that Isla was just thrilled with!

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She waited very patiently for some friends but the big kids didn’t want to play with her!! Haha!

Our new SmarTrike (full review coming soon!) was a saviour as Isla loved it so much she was perfectly happy to be pushed around Town & not get out… She didn’t want to get out when we got back to the flat either… Haha!

One of the best things we did was get the Combi Ticket for SeaLife & The Lego Discovery Centre, that we visited on two different days – it was £17.50 each (Isla went free!) if you book online in advance. They are both at the Intu Trafford CentreIntu Trafford Centre which is the biggest (and weirdest!) shopping centre I’ve ever been to. It’s almost modelled on the Venetian in Vegas but bigger & tackier… That said, it was easy to navigate, they have every shop, restaurant, and attraction you could want. The parking was easy & free and they even had a play beach, rides and carousel outside the SeaLife/Lego. We took Isla on the carousel which was so lovely!

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I can’t get enough of this gorgeous outfit!! All from Zara Baby, Top can be bought here & trousers here.

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The Lego Discovery Centre was brilliant even if Isla was a little too young to fully enjoy it. They recommend from 3years up but they do have a Duplo farm for the little ones too!

We loved the ride that she could go on, Barney definitely had to most fun out of all of us! There was plenty to see & do – you can even join in on a workshop with a master builder! The cafe is pricey, but what you’d expect & the baby duplo area was pretty dirty! Other than that a great afternoon with lots to discover and a special shout out to the incredible staff who couldn’t do enough to make sure our day was perfect!

Isla tried her first BBQ at Red’s True BBQ – as you can see… It’s a hit! Big thumbs up from us too – great food at an amazing price, absolutely brilliant service & so child friendly! Isla even got a balloon to take away! Plenty of high chairs & open floor space to bring a pram. (There are a few small steps on the way in!) The baby change is uni-sex but a little dingy! Overall a great place to grab lunch with the family! 

We visited SeaLife & it got off to a promising start with impressive projections & a great set up to introduce you to the Aquarium. Everything is very new & shiny, but a little underwhelming. We’ve been to London & Birmingham SeaLife so were expecting more for our money. It’s very small – but has a softplay in the middle that might make your visit last a little longer than ours did. It didn’t take us more than 30 minutes to walk through the whole thing as there are no sharks, penguins or otters in this one. Isla enjoyed herself & showed off her fishy ‘noise’ the whole way round as she pointed & laughed at them all – that made it more than worth the ticket price!

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We couldn’t resist the cheesy photo block as Isla actually ‘waved to the fishies’ when she was asked too! Haha! IMG_4538

Isla fell asleep just as we were leaving so we headed over to the adventure golf for a little almost adult fun!

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I also took Isla swimming to the Aquatics Centre which was great! They have a huge baby pool with different slides & water sprays! It was warm, pretty clean & had amazingly helpful staff. Make sure you call before you go to be sure that the baby pool is open as we tried a few times & it was broken. They run sessions so be sure to get there early to make the most of your hour in the pool and prepare for a busy changing room after as everyone gets kicked out at the same time!

Isla’s favourite part of Manchester was this rainbow art installation called ‘ Through No 3’ by Liz West! She ran through it at least 100 times & even stopped to take a selfie inside!

Not a bad start to the tour, home next week and then off to Birmingham – so please send any recommendations over to us or leave them in a comment below!

All of Isla’s outfits are from Zara Baby.

Isla’s First Trip to the Beach

I couldn’t resist sharing a few of these with you! We took the opportunity to head down to Omaha Beach while visiting some friends in France. It was Isla’s first time on the beach and it was such a beautiful thing to witness.

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Both Nanny & I forgot the towels so we were just going to let Isla have a little paddle and go. Isla had other ideas. She instantly fell in love & wanted to go for a swim!

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We played in the shallow waves for as long as I could convince her to stay, but she kept trying to make a break for deeper waters!

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Isla would have stayed all day if we had let her, but without a sunshade or towels we had to cut the visit short!

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Eventually we gave in and stripped off her jeans to go for a deeper paddle before giving in completely and putting her in her totsbots swim nappy & swimsuit!

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The difference a filter makes… Haha! It actually looked like the final picture but I couldn’t resist a moodier edit on the shots from my camera!

I can’t wait till next time & I’ve promised Isla that we will come prepared for a whole day of splashing & sandcastles!

 

Isla’s Baby Pool Party with TotsBots

My utopian vision of Isla’s first summer included days lounging in the garden, while she paddled in our (epic dinosaur!) paddling pool after a walk out in the sunshine… Oh and then I remembered that we live in England… So I have been VERY patiently waiting for an opportune moment to get out the paddling pool & let Isla and her baby friends loose!

That day was today!! Finally! I invited a few of Isla’s friends over for a picnic & a splash in the pool!

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Isla is wearing her TotsBots re-useable swim nappy! It comes in two super cute designs and is seriously comfy with stretchy fabric that will even catch a number 2! It’s got a soft microfibre interior & is 100% breathable!

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Scarlett seems pretty impressed with it! 🙂

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But back to serious business… splashing!!

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Fred held his own with all the ladies & showed them how it’s done on the slide! Hopefully Isla will be big enough (and brave enough!) to enjoy it properly next summer!

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Swim time over, it was time for more monkeying around and exploring!

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Baby Poppy (or Pop Pop as she is known) and Isla are the cutest BFFs & make a great double act, chasing each other around non-stop!

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Of course, the second we got them dry & into fresh clothes they both decided it was time to get back in the pool… I let Isla get in and get soaked again, after all – how many days are we actually going to get to enjoy the garden this summer?!

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After lots more fun, dancing and playing it was time to deflate the giant dinosaurs and get ready for dinner! Scarlett was pretty disappointed that the party had to end. Hopefully it won’t be too long until the next time little one!

Hampton Court Palace – The Magic Garden

When I heard about the new Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace I knew it would be a brilliant summer day out to add to our ‘staycation’ plans! And boy was I right…

The Magic Garden is an exciting new interactive play garden for families. Populated by mysterious mythical beasts, with battlements to storm, towers to besiege, and even a secret grotto to discover, the Magic Garden is a new and unique way for your family to explore the palace’s past. Set within King Henry VIII’s former Tiltyard, where the elaborate spectacle of the Tudor tournament played out, the new garden takes inspiration from the fairy-tale-like quality of the Tudor Palace.

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We met up with Isla’s brilliant cousins to go on this adventure! Ted is just a few days younger than Isla so it’s always lovely to see them playing together & Jack is almost 3 so can show the little ones how it’s done!

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Theres so much to explore from incredible tree-houses to hidden slides & mythical beasts!

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There is a beach area with play sand and a river running through which is fully equipped with plenty of water pumps and buckets to keep little ones entertained for hours!

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We decided to take a little break from the fun for lunch & then headed over to explore the famous maze! The cafe was reasonably priced & had a great selection on offer – I was even able to stick to The Body Confidence Programme thanks to a brilliant salad bar!

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We couldn’t remember the trick to find the middle so opted for letting Jack, guide us through! Probably the only time I’d recommend letting a 2 year old guide you, but it worked out pretty well!

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I swear Isla was having fun…  especially when we finally found the middle!!

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Look at those two!! Best friends, and the cheekiest pair I know!! We headed back to The Magic Garden and found a shady spot to relax while Jack tried out all the slides!

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I got roped into going down the big ‘scary’ slide with Jack… we had to go a few times, just to check it was still as fun as the first!

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This was Isla’s first time playing with sand, luckily she had Ted to show her how it’s done! I just love watching these two together…

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We all had the most amazing day & I would thoroughly recommend a visit to the garden before it closes on the 29th of October. Tickets are really reasonable at £7.70 for an adult & £5.50 for children 5+ – that includes entry to the Maze & the Magic Garden – more information can be found here. We can’t wait to go again & will be taking a picnic with us next time so we can stay in the garden all day!

 

Father’s Day at Waddesdon Feast Festival

This weekend was Father’s Day & not just any Father’s Day but Barney’s first Father’s Day!! I was determined to make it extra special, starting with a coffee & presents in bed, which Isla very kindly helped him open! She chose the unicorn wrapping paper that concealed a Chewbaca talking mask… I couldn’t resist! And a personalised book all about Daddy & Isla’s adventures! It’s so beautiful that I’ll do a separate review soon!

We had a very chilled out morning & then headed off to Waddesdon Manor with my parents for the Feast Festival! We arrived to GIANT queues and very nearly turned around but after some detective work & lots of confusion from the staff working there we established that we didn’t have to join the mammoth queue as we already had tickets! Not a great start but we boarded the short bus ride up to the festival with great relief that food was near!

We stepped off the bus to a flurry of activity, families eating on the long table, watching performances on the grass, creating flower crowns in a tent and all having a brilliant day!

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We immediately went in search of Lunch, quickly spotting the pulled pork & Rueben Sandwiches! While I left the more patient of our party in the queues, I took Isla off to explore! Naturally we found our way to the best stall… Prosecco & cake… What more could a girl want on cheat day?!

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We found a quiet spot to settle down for Lunch. Isla made her way round everyone to get a taste of everything…!

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Clearly a Daddy’s girl, as she was most interested in stealing Grumps’ Apple Watch!

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Cheers!! We have so much to celebrate on Father’s Day, not just the best Daddy in the world to Isla, but the best partner I could ever ask for!

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This cheeky monkey took the opportunity to escape as quickly as she could before I trapped her again in the baby wearer!

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After Lunch we walked around the festival checking out all the stalls, Barney must have tried every Cheese at the festival! And we even spotted some rather unusual visitors… If you follow me on Facebook you will have seen a video of Isla coming face to face with this big bad wolf!

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We walked around the back of the house to take in the beautiful Gardens before heading over to the Aviary and to watch the Jazz band! Nanny & Isla led the dancing with enthusiasm!

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I don’t know how Barney managed to escape my camera lens for most of the day, must be years of practise! Luckily I captured these two up to their usual mischief on the way back to the bus! Isla is so lucky to have such an incredible Daddy & I just love seeing them together having so much fun!

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We had a brilliant day, despite the slight hiccup at the start! I would highly recommend visiting any of Waddesdon’s events (we visited the Chilli Festival last year & loved that too!) just make sure you pre-book your tickets and turn up early to get a good seat at the table if you want one – or bring a picnic blanket like we did! There is so much to do for children of all ages & the Jazz band was a particular highlight for us! For more information on their upcoming events check here.

9 Months

Well here we are… 9 months of fun and the trouble is just beginning. Isla can now pull herself up and walk around the room at lightening speed – you might think you’ve put everything out of reach… and then I find her stacking her books on the floor so she can stand on them to reach…! She can stand without holding on for 10+ seconds at a time before falling over so I think we aren’t far off walking!

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She’s so much fun and an absolute joy every day! She now gives out high fives to everyone she can & waves whenever anyone or thing comes & goes! She’s had her first pair of jeans, trainers and now sandals which only help with her crawling faster – which can never be a good thing!

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“High Five!!”

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And of course she is obsessed with my phone, laptop, camera… anything shiny with buttons! I’m already failing at my pre-baby declaration of never giving in & letting her have it!

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And off she goes again…

And… She’s off!

Isla has been thinking about crawling for a few weeks now… mostly going backwards into the corner of the room until she gets stuck! But this morning she finally figured out that her hands actually need to move too!

I was bursting with pride watching her put it all together! But now we are in trouble & need to do some serious speedy baby proofing! 🙂

Have your little ones taken the leap into being mobile? What do you recommend for keeping them safe around the home? Tweet me @Poppy_Carter or join in the conversation on Facebook!

Moving into Isla’s room with GroBag

Ever since Isla was born I have always been very careful to follow the Lullaby Trust’s safe sleep guidance & now that she’s ready to move into her own room it’s more important than ever!

Incase you haven’t read up on the safest way to put your baby to bed, these are the current guidelines…

THINGS YOU CAN DO:

 

  • Always place your baby on their back to sleep
  • Keep your baby smoke free during pregnancy and after birth
  • Place your baby to sleep in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first 6 months
  • Breastfeed your baby
  • Use a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in good condition
THINGS TO AVOID:

 

  • Never sleep on a sofa or in an armchair with your baby
  • Don’t sleep in the same bed as your baby if you smoke, drink or take drugs or are extremely tired, if your baby was born prematurely or was of low birth-weight
  • Avoid letting your baby get too hot
  • Don’t cover your baby’s face or head while sleeping or use loose bedding

 

To avoid accidents remove all pillows, soft bedding, cot bumpers and soft toys from the cot.

We swaddled Isla for the first few months as she constantly woke herself up with the startle reflex but now she’s done with swaddles we knew the best choice would be to put her in a GroBag to sleep! They work closely with the lullaby trust and are incredibly safe. Every GroBag comes with a thermometer and a guide to what your baby should be wearing when she sleeps which is useful for all us nervous first time Mum’s! 😉

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Moving Isla into her own room filled me with so much dread, and I really didn’t think it would! It’s hardly like she was moving far, only across the hallway, still I couldn’t help but be incredibly nervous! I even kept her cot in our room for the first few days just incase I chickened out and had to move her back. I even had the baby monitor on next to me so I could keep checking up on her! Luckily, there was nothing to worry about & we all loved it! No more waking every time she rolled over or coughed! I felt like I finally got a proper nights sleep for the first time in months and Isla slept beautifully in her GroBag.

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Just checking out her stylish new sleeping bag! 🙂

The GroCompany very kindly sent Isla this beautiful Kissing Rabbits GroBag to try out and we love it! An exclusive design collaboration, this Grobag features a funky Anorak print inspired by the great outdoors. Seeing as Isla is bunny obsessed I thought it would be the perfect choice for her!

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Isla’s nursery has come together really well & is exactly what I’d hoped it would be! I wanted it to be stylish but still fun for her to play in.

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This limited edition print is from the first Harry Potter film – and was art work in Harry’s nursery in Godrick Hollow! A little bit of my childhood that I’m hoping Isla will love just as much…

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The Cloud Mobile is from The Little White Company

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As you can see Isla is thrilled with her big girl room & her new GroBag! Almost two months have passed & she’s now finally sleeping through the night! (I can’t believe I just said that out loud… She’ll wake up 10 times tonight now I’m sure…!) 😉

We absolutely love the GroCompany and all their brilliant products! We also use their GroEgg Thermometer which is great for feeling confident that your little one is sleeping in the perfect temperature nursery.

Did you have the same worries when you moved your little one into their room? What were your main struggles? Join in the conversation on my Facebook or Tweet me @Poppy_Carter!

International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day!

Raising a daughter in a world that will always value her second rate makes it my job to show her that she can be more, every single day. To teach her that she will be valued and valuable for more than how she looks but by her actions & contributions to this world! I want her to know that she can be bigger than the choices our broken society gives her. Join me in celebrating today & every day by telling the women around you just how incredible they are.Women's DayAdventures With Isla Baby Blog

Mrs. Henderson Presents – Opening Night

The opening night of Mrs. Henderson presents was on Tuesday & seeing as it was Barney’s first time as Musical Director of a West End show (SO FREAKIN’ COOL!) we thought we’d celebrate properly!

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We decided to book a hotel & asked my lovely mum look after Isla so Barney could enjoy his big night without having to leave the party early to catch a train. Booking a hotel in London is always an interesting experience – you can pay hundreds for a tiny box or find a hidden gem (still hundreds!) and get a whole penthouse!

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I’ve walked past LIB-RARY so many times & thought, ‘That looks so cool,  I wonder whats in there!?’… seeing as it’s a private members club, I’d never managed to satisfy my curiosity. But we just couldn’t resist booking it when it sits perfectly between the theatre & the after party! And as you can see… we were not disappointed! Room4Room

Complete with it’s own balcony over looking St. Martins Lane – it had the ‘wow’ factor at every turn!

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#blessed

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With all my pregnancy hip problems I’ve had to ease myself very gently back into exercise and also be a lot more realistic with my goals – so when I had to find an outfit for an industry party I knew the thing I needed the most would be shapewear!! The wonderful people at BellyBandit kindly sent me their Mother Tucker Corset to try & I fell in love instantly!!

This wardrobe essential is comfortable enough to wear all day (no, seriously!) and thin enough to hide under your clothes. Created with 2 layers of SecureStretch™ material for double compression, this smart corset slims your waist and tummy while concealing bothersome back bulge. The soft boning ensures the corset will stay in place without rolling or digging, and the lightweight and breathable fabric provides maximum comfort. The 6-hook design allows for greater adjustability and compression.

Once I’d found a dress all I needed were some killer heels & I was ready to go!
These beauties are by Sophia Webster – they have been sitting in the box waiting to be worn since I bought them two days before I found out I was pregnant!

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The view from the balcony was beautiful & perfect for truly appreciating the glory of the Coliseum!

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I haven’t been out in such a long time, I actually forgot what I needed & didn’t bring anything to do my hair – so a pony tail would have to do!! Into my dressMother Tucker® Corset, & Marc Jacobs jacket (similar here) & ready to go!

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It was amazing to spend some time just being a double act again – even if I did cry on FaceTime to Isla… twice!!

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The show was as incredible as I’d remembered from it’s time playing the Theatre Royal in Bath & finished the night with a much deserved four tier standing ovation. I was bursting with pride for my wonderful best friend/partner in crime/fiance!

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Barney’s jacket is Ted Baker & my hand bag is a Boy Bag from Chanel.

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After a few glasses of champagne with some wonderful friends, we were well & truly partied out & stumbled the mere few steps from the National Gallery back to our penthouse to finish the night eating a cupcake with boobs on at 2am…

See the show & you’ll get it…

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Of course, I barely slept – thinking about Isla – seeing as it was my first time away from her that was to be expected! Even though I knew she would be having the best time being spoilt by her nanny with kisses and silly games!

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We had a quick breakfast on our balcony before I headed back to be reunited with our sweet girl!

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It was great to just be me for a few hours and not ‘mummy’ – but my goodness I missed her every second I was away!