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!

 

Little People, Big Dreams: Coco Chanel – Book Review!

If you follow us on Instagram you’ll know that Isla is obsessed with reading… We read 10+ books a day and she regularly becomes obsessed with certain books and makes me read them again and again… all… day…

I thought I’d start a monthly book review of our favourite new (or old!) titles for you to check out with your little one!

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Today’s new book came from the National Theatre Bookshop on the Southbank in London. It is ‘Coco Chanel’ from the ‘Little People, BIG DREAMS.’ series written by Isabel Sanchez Vegara with beautiful illustrations by Ana Albero.

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Isla & her friends are ready to dive in…

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In this new series, you can discover the lives of outstanding people from designers and artists to scientists. All of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream. The first book follows Coco Chanel, from her early life in an orphanage – where she was a genius with needle and thread – to her time as a cabaret singer, hat maker and, eventually, international fashion designer. This inspiring and informative little biography comes with extra facts about Coco’s life at the back.

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The story encourages young girls (and boys!) to dare to be different, to be extraordinary and aim for the skies when it comes to their dreams. They introduce some incredible role models that I hope will inspire Isla for years to come.

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I don’t agree with limiting your child to the age limits that they put on toys & books – so I’d say you could enjoy this book with your little ones from birth to 10 years. The text is a great size for new readers to challenge themselves but not too much to feel daunting!

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Daddy helped Isla & her friends read the story a few times before letting her just explore the book, practise turning the pages (carefully!) and enjoy the illustrations!

These beautiful books would make a perfect gift and we will be adding the rest of the series to Isla’s first birthday wish list I’m sure! 🙂

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It definitely has Isla’s approval – a kiss for Coco!

You can find these books for £9.99 at The National Theatre BookshopWaterstones or at many independent book shops across the country!

Leave me a comment & let me know what you’ve been reading this week & what we should be reading next! We love anything independent, quirky or with great role models! 🙂

Or join in with our reading club over on Instagram using #BabyBookClub

 

 

The Body Confidence Programme Review & Results

The day I gave birth to Isla was the best day of my life & she continues to bring so much joy every day but as a new Mum I think it’s very easy to lose your sense of self. My life has changed in every way possible; new house, new life, new town, new baby… all wonderful things but all together, a lot to deal with. When you add to that a new body that you can’t recognise as your own anymore, it’s easy to forget that you can be anything other than a sick & dribble covered mess that probably hasn’t showered for a few days…

I have slowly learnt to embrace the stretch marks that cover my stomach and my ‘mum-tum’ but the complete lack of confidence is not me and I’m just not willing to stay like that for a second longer. It was time to make a change or two… or three!

I was very kindly invited to join The Body Confidence Programme by the brilliant Ru-Tee who has meticulously put it all together with the promise of reducing by 16 inches over 8 weeks, which is two jean sizes!!

When you start the programme you get a food list, menus, daily emails and weekly conference call with Ru-Tee and all the other brilliant people on the programme to discuss your triumphs & challenges of the week. In the first call I was asked about my energy levels and my confidence that I said were both around a 2/10. Not good enough. Certainly not to walk down the aisle & feel great about myself. I was asked to take some ‘Before’ photos which actually made me feel sick at just the thought of doing it let alone sharing them at the end of 8 weeks… but I took a deep breath and just did it!! I will share my results and those photos (AHH!) at the end of this post!

The food list has no sugar, dairy, gluten, chemicals or anything you can’t pronounce so you have to cook everything from scratch and use all organic produce. I’m not the world’s greatest cook and since having the baby I’ve barely had time to feed myself a good meal even once a week, so the biggest challenge for me was always going to be time-management. After the first week of juggling, it got much easier & fit easily into our daily routine! Part of me doing this programme was allowing myself to put ‘me’ first for once & not allow any ‘mum-guilt’ to seep in!!

The first week was incredibly hard, I’m not going to lie. I am a self-confessed sugar addict so going cold-turkey was always going to be difficult. The cravings were like a little devil sat on my shoulder saying ‘Go on, just a little won’t hurt!’… I pushed through, stayed strong and emerged through the fog to find more energy, and much more balanced emotions!

As the weeks went on I consistently lost the inches and started to feel better about myself bit by bit! You get one cheat day a week, that I basically binged on everything I wasn’t allowed so that I would stick to it 100% the rest of the week! Speaking of percentages – there are lots of lifestyle aspects to the programme and along with your measurements every week you assess how well you’ve stuck to these too! For example – ‘Went to bed by 10.30 every night – 80%…’ ‘Chewed your food 35 times – 20%…’ Err… must eat slower… must eat slo… Oh wait it’s gone. Still got to work on that one…

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The most important thing for me was the support that you get, as I found I doubted myself by Wednesday every week… Am I doing enough? Am I sure that’s on the food list? What if I’ve put on inches this week…? It’s so easy to do but those conference calls were a saving grace. To hear that 10(ish) other people were going through exactly the same thing, makes it so much easier to stay focused. You feel like you are part of an incredible team and that spirit is encouraged and fostered by Ru-Tee’s enthusiasm and genuine love for what she does!

Week 5 was one of the hardest for me but once the end was in sight and I started to fit into my old clothes again, the confidence I had once taken for granted was starting to emerge. I found myself running after Isla with ease & not needing to nap during the day at all. These changes happened slowly over the 8 weeks but by the end my energy was up to a 9/10, my skin was looking so much better and I hadn’t been sick once!! I’ve spent most of my life ill – constant colds, flus and being stuck in bed for weeks at a time. To not be ill for a whole 8 weeks in a row is a huge deal for me, and regardless of the weight loss that in itself is invaluable!!

The promise of the programme is to reduce by 16 inches which is 2 jean sizes…

I reduced by… Drum roll please…

40 INCHES!!!!

Yes… seriously! I have taken the crown for best ever results on the programme… I would like to thank Isla for her words of encouragement, Barney for his constant support & not offering me Baileys… No, I’m just kidding.

I promised you those before & after pictures… So here they are… *Gulp*

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I’ve never committed to anything like this before but the programme encourages lifestyle changes that you can implement after your 8 weeks is up! I’ve continued to follow 75% of the programme since I finished (I’ve gone back to drinking caffeine and alcohol!) and while my weight loss has slowed, I’ve continued on my journey in a way that is sustainable for me in the long term! I loved the food on the diet & there’s nothing faddy about it. All good food that never leaves you hungry as so many other diets I’ve tried in the past have!

I’m incredibly proud of the hard earned success but I honestly couldn’t have done it without Ru-Tee’s support. Dieting can be incredibly lonely & the temptations have always been too much for me – but that support just lifts you up and carries you through to the end of the 8 weeks! If you are feeling like you’ve lost yourself since having a baby and feel like finding your energy & confidence again I can’t recommend this enough! Commit to it and to yourself because you deserve to feel wonderful again!

If you want to join the next programme it costs £450 & starts on Saturday 13th August – you need to sign up by Monday the 8th at 2pm to secure your place and you can even use my special discount code to get £50 off: Poppy50off

To use the code just select the £450 payment option – add it to your basket and enter the code into the coupon code box.

More information can be found on the website here – if you have any questions, leave me a comment, drop me a message or get in touch with Ru-Tee!

I can’t wait to hear all about your journey & see your results so please send me your before & after photos so I can share in your success too!

 

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!

Win “The Lost Smile” with Wrigley’s Smile Back Project!

I have an exciting giveaway for you today! Wrigley’s Extra have very kindly sent me 15 copies of their new children’s book “The Lost Smile” as part of “The Extra Smile Back Project”! The project aims to protect children’s smiles by donating money from every pack of sugar free gum sold during the promotional period to charity partner Action for Children. The monies will be used to create and run oral health workshops, endorsed by the Oral Health Foundation. Wrigley’s aims to protect the smiles of over 10,000 children and 5,000 parents across the UK.

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Research conducted by Wrigley’s has revealed what parents already know – that it’s still the simple pleasures in life that make our children smile. Forget technology – pulling silly faces (44%), reading stories (28%) and playing hide and seek (27%) remain the best and simplest ways of putting a smile on a child’s face.

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The book is about a little boy on a hunt to find his families ‘lost smiles’! It’s such a sweet story; Isla has read it over & over already!

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Although it seems she’s lost her smile too today… 😉

To enter the competition to WIN 1 of 15 copies of the book, just ‘Like’ my Facebook page & leave a comment telling me what makes your little one smile! Don’t forget to tag a friend that you think would like to win too!

Singing and ‘pop goes the weasel’ with Grandma is what makes Isla smile! 🙂

The competition ends on July 3rd.

The Little Green Sheep Company – Mattress Review

I think most parents will agree, one of the most important parts of your day is making sure baby gets enough sleep. But are they too hot? Are they comfortable? Are they safe? There are a million reasons to worry but bedtime doesn’t have to be one of them!

Let me introduce you to your baby’s next perfect nights sleep…

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The Little Green Sheep Company is the multi award winning brand that was responsible for launching the UK’s first organic cot mattress over nine years ago. Since then the brands passion to provide babies with the most natural environment possible, away from toxins and harmful chemicals, has seen them become one of the UK’s leading and much loved ethical baby brands.

With multiple awards, including five stars from Mother and Baby magazine and placed number 1 in Emma’s Diary’s ‘Top Ten Baby Mattresses’ for the Twist mattress and with sizes available for moses baskets, cots, cribs, prams, single beds, and even custom made options, every family can enjoy the high quality and safe comfort of a Little Green Sheep mattress. The team are so confident parents will love them, the cot, cot bed and single size mattresses comes complete with a five year guarantee.

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Isla is hanging out on their Twist Natural Latex Mattress & Mattress Protector before bed time… (She’s obsessed with her toothbrush so wouldn’t give it back!)

The mattress contains four simple ingredients. These include breathable cotton yarn, the fibres of organic coconut husks, which form a supportive core, natural latex from the Hevea Tree, which binds the coconut fibres and acts as a comfy, supportive layer. And finally, organic sheep’s wool – hypo-allergenic and temperature-regulating, which is a naturally fire-proofing material and removes the need for chemical fire retardant sprays.

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Isla has always been a pretty good sleeper but she’s excelling herself now, sleeping through the night and goes to sleep almost the second I lie her down! The mattress fit perfectly, and they will even make a custom size to fit any cot, moses basket or bed!

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I love that the mattress grows with your baby up until 5 years old, so it’s worth the investment! Just flip it over to the supple & comfy side once they hit their first birthday! It also naturally regulates baby’s temperature – so that’s one more thing you don’t have to worry about!

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As you can see, it’s perfect for sleeping… or brushing your (two) teeth while showing off how well you can stand up!

I highly recommend these beautiful mattress’ – anything that can make Isla sleep better & safer is worth every penny as far as I’m concerned!

You can find out more information & buy here… 

Starting my journey with The Body Confidence Programme

I’m not a particularly impulsive person, especially since having Isla! When I buy something I like to research & plan to make sure I get exactly what I want & that it’s going to be amazing quality… Well I may have thrown this out the window… and for something pretty important…

I bought my Wedding dress on a whim.

Literally less than 10 minutes discussion with my Mum & it was on the way from Net-a-Porter in it’s beautiful black box!

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But not only did I decide to buy it – way before we’d even put the deposit down on our venue or anything at all… I bought it two sizes too small…

Since having Isla I have not made much progress with shifting the baby weight. My priorities have changed & I feel much more concerned with having energy, feeling good & feeling strong again. I purposely have not put any scales in my home & have been rating how I feel far higher than how I look for the first time in my life.

Now the Wedding is coming, I want to feel amazing in my dress so I knew I would need to make some changes to feel like ‘me’ again. I searched for a programme where I could take control, find my energy & ultimately feel amazing at the end of it.

The Body Confidence Program is the only 8-week fat-loss revolution that doesn’t involve restricting calories or spending hours at the gym. It is NOT about weight-loss. Stop eating for 3 days and you’ll lose weight. But is that sustainable or healthy? No. The Body Confidence Program is about lifelong fat-loss, learning how to live a healthier more confident lifestyle.

Some of the benefits of doing the program are:

  • Dropping 2 jean sizes, guaranteed!
  • Increased energy levels
  • Improved moods
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased fitness levels
  • Reduced bloating
  • Reduced body fat
  • Balanced blood sugar levels
  • Increased productivity
  • Long-lasting healthier lifestyle
  • Body confidence
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Renewed pride in appearance

So far I am a week into the programme and I’ve already reduced by 6.5inches from all over. I am absolutely thrilled with this as it hasn’t been an easy week. My sugar cravings have given me some awful moods but I think the worst of that is over & it’s all up from here. I’m already learning to make better food choices which is something that will stay with me long term after the plan has finished.

You can follow my progress over on my Instagram where I will be posting food pictures & updates as I go through the 8 week program!

For now I am feeling positive & ready for the challenges to come in the next 7 weeks. I will be posting a full review of the program at the end so keep an eye out!

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Full Disclosure: I have been invited to do the programme for free in exchange for my honest opinion!

Bambini & Me – Review

We were very kindly sent this gorgeous Bamboo Romper for Isla to try out from Bambini & Me today! There’s nothing better than a baby in super soft, snuggly outfits for hanging out around the house & getting that crawling/wriggling/rolling practise in! Isla has been putting it to the test all morning & it seems to be holding up perfectly! 🙂

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The eco-friendly range, full of quirky prints, includes pieces for babies from 0 to 18 months.   As well as helping with temperature control, bamboo clothing is perfect for absorbing moisture away from the skin and ensuring breathability. A perfect buy for the summer! 

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Isla is wearing size 6-12 months which is a little short in the leg but for the summer months that’s no problem at all! I would order up in the sizes where possible as I don’t think she’ll be in this one for too much longer! (She’s just going into size 9-12 months in most shops.)

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We wore the romper out to the park after our little photoshoot and got so many compliments on the pattern & colour! Who says blue has to be for boys?! 😉

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Isla is so active now that she spends all day crawling circles around me, this beautifully soft romper is absolutely perfect to keep her little knees happy & stretchy enough for her to get up to all sorts of mischief with no problem! I’d highly recommend stocking up on all things Bamboo especially the swaddles & wraps! 🙂 The more you wash them, the softer they get & are so durable!

The blue bunny Romper is available here in 3 sizes for £21.00.

Full disclosure: We were sent the romper for free in exchange for our honest opinion! 🙂

Reading with Isla & Baby Lit

If you follow us on Instagram you’ll have noticed one of Isla’s favourite activities is reading, but our little madam is rather particular about her reading material… Enter BabyLit. They make an adorable range books that can introduce classic literature to your baby in a fun & stylish way!

“At BabyLit, we believe in the power of reading. Why? Because books take us places. Good places. And when we read with a child, we go places together. It’s more than just reading. It’s learning. It’s experiencing. It’s growing.”

Sounds good to me!

When I told Isla we were going to be reading during our photoshoot today she got just a little excited…

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That is her face whenever I get one of the BabyLit books out… Absolutely hilarious.

Things get serious pretty quickly though…

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This week I bought Isla two new books from BabyLit, Romeo & Juliet – to join in with all the celebrations for Shakespeare 400 & Moby-Dick!

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Before you start worrying that Isla might be slightly traumatised by the ending of Romeo & Juliet all the books don’t really tell the story as such… They introduce key characters and themes with beautiful pictures and usually all while counting to 10! (1 town, 2 lovers… etc etc!)

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I think it’s so important to encourage reading from an early age & you really can’t start too soon! If you want to buy your little one some of BabyLit’s amazing books you can shop direct or find them at a local supplier. We’ve got our eye on Midsummer Night’s DreamThe Wizard of Oz next!

They also make play sets, puzzles, dolls, notebooks and totes so you can really bring their favourite characters off the page!

Follow us on Instagram for more & you can find BabyLit here too!

Oh and just one more thing… I couldn’t resist sharing a few behind the scenes shots from our little photoshoot…

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Isla’s personal wardrobe mistress/assistant/dribble wiper for the day was my brilliant Mum, which she thought was just hilarious!

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So much love for Nanny!!

This is the first time I’ve convinced my mum to step in front of the camera, and I’m going to treasure these photographs forever. I juggle being Mummy, blogging and running my own photography business as well as the rest of life & I couldn’t do it without the amazing support my Mum gives me! And as you can see Isla is also a huge fan! 🙂

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!