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.

La Coqueta Sale – Extra 10% off!

It’s only Tuesday but I’m already looking forward to the weekend… If you need a little pick me up to get you through, I have just the thing! Luxury, classic children’s brand La Coqueta currently have an amazing sale… and whats more, an Extra 10% off with the code: SALE10. (You’re welcome!)

La Coqueta - Adventures With Isla Blog

I’ve picked just a few of my favourite looks out, but truthfully… I want it all!

La Coqueta - Adventures With Isla Blog

Quinta Baby Look…

La Coqueta - Adventures With Isla Blog

Aire Baby Look…

La Coqueta - Adventures With Isla Blog

Lucio Cotton Knitted Baby Set…

La Coqueta - Adventures With Isla Blog

Beltran Baby Look…

I absolutely love this brand and the website is just beautiful and so easy to shop with the ready made looks! Go and check it out and let me know what you just can’t resist!

If you are in the London area you can find the store here:

La Coqueta Kids
5 Heath Street
London NW3 6TP

Telephone +44 (0)207 794 6333
Monday – Friday 9am – 6pm
Saturday 10am – 6pm
Sunday 11am – 5pm

La Coqueta - Adventures With Isla Blog

A behind the scenes look at Ellen’s new girl powered Gap Kids Collection…

Oh how cute is this? Ellen Degeneres, the much loved TV personality, talk show host and comedian has just launched a seriously awesome new collection with GapKids aiming to empower girls and give them more choices than the usual ‘Pink is for girls, Blue is for boys’… because we all know how I feel about that… “GapKids x ED is more than just a clothing collection”, Gap explains. “It is a social movement meant to empower young girls to be their own heroes.” Well alright then, sounds good to me!

Ellen Degeneres Gap Kids Adventures With Isla Blog

Ellen has recently launched ED, her new lifestyle brand which is bringing classic home wear and casual clothing to the masses at reasonable prices. Speaking to Refinery29 about her line, Degeneres said, “I don’t like extreme, feminine things. And I, don’t like masculine things… So, I think it’s blending both of those things to be sort of non-gender-specific, just cool and classic.” And if we didn’t already completely love this collaboration, some of the revenue generated will be donated to charity. “I am thrilled that my lifestyle brand, ED, is partnering with Gap to encourage young girls to pursue their passion, whether it’s math, science, sports, the arts,” said DeGeneres in a press release. “Following my passion allowed me to be exactly who I am today– a talk show host with a vibrant side business as a party mime.”

The line is set to be released on August 17th in selected stores across the UK… In the meantime we’ll just have to keep watching back the adorable behind the scenes video…

Oh Mama… It’s hot!

Well I think we can officially say summer is here and my goodness what a start we are having here in London! Dressing for this sticky, humid weather is never going to be easy but with a bump in tow it’s essential to stay cool whilst braving the tube & tourist packed streets! I’ve found maternity shopping more than a little tricky, especially when so few stores actually keep it in stock! Even knowing what size to order is problematic when you are growing everyday. Things that I bought thinking they would last me the whole pregnancy are getting to be far too small already (12 weeks to go!). So far I’ve stuck to Topshop skinny maternity jeans and a rotation of the same few bump friendly T-Shirts, but it’s time to step it up a gear now that summer is here! So here we go… A few top picks for staying stylish and cool in the city…

Adventures With Isla Blog TopShop

TopShop Denim Dungarees

For an everyday look that’s as easy as it is cute, why not throw on these Denim Short Dungarees from TopShop (£38)… So simple, comfy and practical. What more could you want?

Adventures With Isla Blog ASOS Swing Dress

ASOS Swing Dress

I love this light, pretty look. It’s easy to dress up or down and will keep you cool no matter how much running around you still have left to do before your little one arrives! ASOS Swing Dress – £25.

Adventures With Isla Blog Arizona Two Strap Birkenstocks

Arizona Two Strap Birkenstocks

You really can’t go wrong with a good pair of Birkenstocks. I love the double strap on these to make sure you feel secure in every step as your balance starts to go. And they are adjustable if your feet do start to swell. Plus, it’s the perfect excuse to treat yourself to a pedicure! £54.95 at Office.

Adventures With Isla Blog Mamalicious Maxi Dress

Mamalicious Printed Maxi Dress

This lovely print is great for summer & would double up well for everyday or even for a Wedding. Unfortunately, I’m 5″2, so Maxi dresses are always at least a foot too long for me… So this one is for you to wear and me to live vicariously through you! Mamalicious Printed Maxi £38.

Adventures With Isla Blog Salon Skater Dress - Silk Organza

Salon Skater Dress – Silk Organza

Speaking of weddings… I find it so difficult to find anything pretty and formal that would fit my bump. But this gorgeous number would be absolutely perfect for any summer occasion and it’s only £65 from ASOS.

Adventures With Isla Blog ASOS Striped Swimsuit

ASOS Striped Swimsuit

The whole way through your pregnancy one of the things you’ll hear again & again is how important it is to stay active, so why not do it in style? I’ve found swimming outdoors in Richmond Park in the sunshine a perfect way to get some Vitamin D and take the weight of my bump off my hips and back for an hour or so! ASOS Maternity Stripe Swimsuit £28.

Adventures With Isla Blog Sophia Webster Adele Banana White Sneaker

Sophia Webster Adele Banana White Sneaker

I am obsessed with my Sophia Webster Banana Sneakers (£140). I’ve pretty much worn them every day since they came out – they are supremely comfy and as your bump gets bigger bending down to tie your laces gets trickier so these solve that problem! Oh and whats even better…? They also come in mini sizes (£70) for when your little one arrives! I can’t tell you how tempted I am…!

Adventures With Isla Blog Sophia Webster Kingston Banana White Mini

Sophia Webster Kingston Banana White Mini

So there we go… Just a few picks to get your summer maternity wardrobe started! It’s a tricky balance between wanting to look and feel good but not breaking the bank for something you (hopefully) won’t fit into for very long once baby has arrived! What are your top picks? Leave them in the comments below! Happy Shopping!

Adventures With Isla Blog Bump and Sophia Webster Banana Sneakers...

My Bump and Sophia Webster Banana Sneakers…