Our 2017 UK Tourist Bucket List

uk travel bucke list

After last years holiday with my Mum & Sister, we had every intention of booking up to go on holiday to Corfu as a couple this year… and then along came bump and with the main tourist season for the island only starting in May (Bump’s due month!) and it being super duper hot through the summer, we’ve decided to push that back to the summer of 2018 when we will go there as a family when she is a little older.

Instead, this year we are going to plan a few different short breaks & day trips here in the UK. We’re looking to go on a weekend baby moon in March / April, and once baby is here and I am on maternity leave we’ve a list of places and attractions that we’d like to visit across the country.

T H E  L A K E  D I S T R I C T  & S C A F E L L  P I K E | We are planning our first little get away as a family of four (including the dog) for around August / September time and the Lake District is at the top of our list. We’ve been searching through Trip Advisor at their list of the top things to do while there, and I really love the idea of the Beatrix Potter Lakeland Tour & the wildlife park and Sean would like to take on Scafell Pike again.

A L T O N  T O W E R S | I have to admit, this one is more for me than it is for Sean – he’s not a great lover of theme parks, but I’m more than happy for him to wander around Cbeebies land with baby while I get my adrenaline fix on the rides throughout the park! You can get some really good discounts on tickets too.

O P E N  T O P  B U S  T O U R  & L O N D O N  T H E A T R E |  Okay, so we might need to leave baby at home with Nanny for this one, but Sean and I would really like to catch a London Show and maybe be tourists for a day in the Big Smoke. Mum & I went to see Wicked for my birthday which was amazing and the latest addition to the West End , Alladin, looks like an incredible show.

W A R N E R  B R O T H E R ‘S  S T U D I O  T O U R | As some of you might already know, I am a MAJOR Harry Potter Fan and have already been to the studio tour twice – once for the Hogwarts in the Snow feature in 2014 &  their Hallowe’en Dark Arts event after the addition of the Hogwarts Express in 2015. Both visits were amazing, and whether you’re an avid fan like me, or just looking for a cool attraction to go to in the UK, there really is so much to see and do and learn. This year, we’re looking forward to seeing the addition of ‘The Forbidden Forest’.

C O O M B E  M I L L  F A R M  &  T H E  E D E N  P R O J E C T | Cornwall has always been on my travel wishlist and this year might just be the year we get to go! Naturally, we would choose to stay at Coombe Mill after all of the brilliant reviews we’ve heard and of course, we couldn’t plan a Cornwall visit without paying a trip to The Eden Project too.

H O W L E T T S &  P O R T  L Y M P N E  A S P I N A L L  W I L D  A N I M A L  P A R K S | A little (a lot!) closer to home, a trip to each of these this year is a must. We are both big animal lovers and we’re excited to get up close and personal with some of the greats again after our visit to Howlett’s in Spring 2016. We’re even considering a stay in one of Port Lympne’s Pine Wood Pods to and booking an experience each while we’re there.

What’s on your list to see & do across the UK this year?

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Planning a weekend at The Baby Show


This time next week I will be home with my feet up  after two hectic days at The Baby Show. I have been looking forward to my first Baby Show with a bump for so very long having previously attended to network as a business owner or as a volunteer for Kicks Count. It is known widely as the shopping event of the year for parents and parents to be and I’ve been saving up pennies in our baby fund since before bump even existed to take advantage of the fabulous range of products on offer and the exclusive show deals.

H O W, W H O  &  W H E N? | This year, I am heading to the Excel on two days of the show. On Friday, I will be travelling up to London by train with my friend and Bump Buddy Jennie – a complete baby show pro! I am so looking forward to spending the day with her. Our babies are due within weeks of each other so it will be lovely to have a full day of catching up properly ahead of their arrival. She also has such a vast knowledge of baby products and brands, I’m hoping to learn a lot from her.

On the Saturday, after a bridesmaid dress fitting (oooo let’s hope that dress fits this bump of mine!), Sean and I are going to drive back for day two. Our plan is not to leave until we’ve decided on & maybe even ordered a pram! We’ve had little to no luck in choosing one so far and so we plan on trying ALL of them properly.

W H A T ‘ S  O N ? | I’m all for planning ahead and have already looked in to the events taking place while I’m there. There are two events that I would like to attend on the Friday, First Aid with the British Red Cross and the Lullaby Trust’s Safe Sleep Talk and I’d like to try and catch Clemmie Hooper – An Interview With on the Saturday. Sadly we’re likely going to miss Giovanna Fletcher’s talk.

W H A T  I S  O N  M Y  S H O P P I N G  L I S T ? | I have already started a bit of a shopping list and a list of brands I’d like to meet. Of course first on my hit list will be Shnuggle. I’ve written before about my love for their genuinely clever baby products and am hoping to be able to catch a glimpse of their newest products, in particular their squishy changing mat, maternity sleepwear & the Dreami sleeper.

We’re also on the look out for…

A Travel System

Changing Mat

Changing Bag

Baby Carrier

Maternity Underwear

Play Mat / Gym

I’m also planning on stopping by to visit Kicks Count & have a go on their charity tombola.

W H A T  W I L L  I  W E A R? |  I’ve purchased two outfits ahead of the show, one for each day. One of the keys to getting the most out of a day at The Baby Show is wearing comfortable and lightweight clothing but I also am not prepared to compromise on style either.  I’ve picked out some maternity basics, perfect for mixing and matching, from my two favourite High Street retailers, H&M and New Look. baby show new look

Maternity Blue Ripped Over Bump Jeans | Maternity 3/4 Length Top | Pink Matte Anorak | Shell Pink Mini Luggage Bag |

baby show outfit hm

Woven Scarf  | MAMA Jersey Top | MAMA DungareesParka |Trainers |

I’m hoping to film my weekend and turn it into my first ever vlog! The whole thought of this is a bit nerve racking but fingers crossed I stick to the plan.

 Are you heading to The Baby Show this year? I’d love to connect with you so tweet me @amilizblog or pop me an email to amielizabethblog@outlook.com.

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Safe Sleep Solutions with Shnuggle

safe sleep solutions with Shnuggle

One of the baby companies I’ve always loved, even since before I was pregnant is Shnuggle. Back when Beebies was just a baby I had the pleasure of meeting the brains behind the brand, couple Sinead & Adam at The Baby Show where they launched their range innovative baby products designed to make every day early parenting tasks as easy and as safe as possible. I’ve honestly never heard or read a bad thing about Shnuggle products or their service, which I can confirm is second to none. The Shnuggle bath & Dreami Clever Baby Sleeper are high on my wishlist for baby along with pretty much everything else from their range!

Anyway, just before Christmas, I got in touch with the Shnuggle team to let them know about my pregnancy and our plans to create safe sleep stations throughout our house for our little one and they agreed to send me some of their range to test out and feature here.

One of my main concerns when it comes to baby’s day time sleep at home is our dog, Alfie. He’s a very lively, slightly clumsy Jack Russell x Springer Spaniel who has a tendancy to knock into things and so we were looking for a safe haven for our little one where we can put her down without the worry of him knocking over an unstable stand in a moment of excitement which didn’t take up a huge amount of room in our small living space.  The combination of the Shnuggle Basket and Curve stand offers exactly this.safe sleep solutions with Shnuggle 4

The stand arrives flat packed and is easy to put together (I did it all by myself!) with a phillips screw driver. Once up, the four legged design is super sturdy which is just what we’re after. It stands at bed height so baby can sleep at bed level next to you should you use the stand for night time sleep and is perfect for having next to a sofa so you can keep a watchful eye on your baby during her day time naps.

For extra versatility, the Curve stand can be flipped over and used as a low level rocking stand to gently rock baby to sleep or use as an alternative place to lay and play. safe sleep solutions with Shnuggle 6

The stand also has the added benefit of being 100% portable which will be super handy for when we head out for days at our parents’ or want to relocate nap time to the garden in the summer. All you have to do is simply remove the basket and fold the frame in half. It’s light weight too which is a bonus.

safe sleep solutions with Shnuggle 5

As well as being wonderfully practical, the stand is made from sustainable MDF and painted in white matte paint to perfectly compliment any room in your house.

Unlike other moses baskets I’ve seen, the Shnuggle Basket is made of a super strong, durable and flexible plastic which is easily cleaned and wiped down in a matter of minutes. With the absence of the conventional wicker design, the Shnuggle basket makes no noise when baby moves around in her sleep meaning no unnecessary disturbances to her sleep.  It’s also a lot larger than your traditional moses basket allowing for extra wriggle room and more airflow around your little one promoting a perfect sleep safe environment.

safe sleep solutions with Shnuggle 2

Included with the basket is a made to size mattress and waffle liners and hood. The stay up hood can be kept in place using the clips either side, perfect for during the day for extra shade in a sunny room or if you’re using the basket in the garden.

The only drawback I can find so far to the basket is its weight. It’s surprisingly heavy, and while the handles either side are strong, I don’t think I would be comfortable carrying the basket with baby inside, even if just transporting from the stand to another surface. This however does not detract from how much I love both of these products.

For night time sleep in the first few months, we are hoping to use a Dreami Clever Baby Sleeper next to our bed on the Shnuggle rocking stand that we already have. I can’t wait for our little girl to try out the Shnuggle range herself and will report back with our findings when she’s here!

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The Bump Diaries | Our ‘Before the Baby Arrives’ To – Do List

preparing for your baby's arrival

We have just under 14 weeks until baby is due, and while when you say it like that it still seems forever away, I am told often how quickly this time will fly. I think up until now, we have done a pretty good job of preparing for her arrival. I’ve done the cliche first time Mum thing of buying & reading through ALL the baby books. She has somewhere to sleep, a wardrobe filled with clothes and since we hit around 16/20 weeks I have slowly been stocking up on the basic essentials – bottles, nappies, steriliser, toiletries…. the list goes on/

Despite this, there is still so much we need to buy and want to do before her arrival and so here’s our ‘Before the Baby Arrives’ To – Do List.

D E C I D E  O N  A  N A M E | Or at least choose a couple that we like and stick to them! It’s fair to say deciding and agreeing on a name for this little monkey is proving a lot more difficult than we first imagined. Most of the names on our list have gone out of the window since I wrote it and a few more have been added. She may well end up being ‘Baby No Name’ if we don’t buck our ideas up!

D E C O R A T E  &  O R G A N I S E  T H E   N U R S E R Y  | I’ve had big plans for her nursery since the day I found out I was pregnant. We had moved into our little house five days beforehand and I was already picturing exactly how I wanted it to be for our baby. It’ll be pink & white with fluffy clouds and rainbows and hot air balloons. I’m a little bit in love with the stars, clouds and moon decorations in the Sass & Belle Skandi Kids range, so I fear my bank balance might be a little less… balanced… by the time I’ve finished buying them all!

C H O O S E  &  B U Y  A   P U S H C H A I R | Much like our troubles with deciding on a name for this wriggly one, we have been back & forth on which travel system we are going to buy so many times they’ve all rolled into one a little. I’ve had my heart set on the Britax B-Ready from the get go after reading so much about it online – I like how versatile it is and how it can adapt to make room for more children as time goes on. However we are yet to actually find a stockist local to us where we would be able to properly try it out and with travel systems & pushchairs being such big ticket items, we aren’t prepared to order online without physically seeing it first. We have also looked at the Silvercross Wayfarer, the Cossatto Wow & Ooba and the iCandy Orange. We’re heading to the Baby Show in March in the hope that we will be able to try them all out one after the other and finally make a decision!

P A C K  O U R  H O S P I T A L  B A G S | I’m not planning on doing this until around 30 weeks, but saying that, we only have just under three weeks until that point! I’ve been reading up on ‘What’s in my Hospital Bag’ posts and watching YouTube Videos so that I make sure I don’t miss anything as well as taking advantage of the baby events going on in Boots, Asda & Mothercare to stock up on essentials for less. I will do another post on what we’ll be packing once they’re ready, but I’ve made a pinterest board of some of the things I’d like to take with us.

G O  TO  A N T E N A T A L  C L A S S E S | It’s the thing they all do in the movies right? Sit in a circle, bouncing on big inflatable balls learning how to ‘breathe through the pain’ while well meaning and terrified partners sit or stand behind them awkwardly spurring them on. Well, I’m sure it’s more than that but if you’ve seen Bridget Jones Baby recently you’ll understand why that’s what runs through most peoples minds when you say antenatal class. In all seriousness though, any tips or advice I can get on how to push this little one out without making a right pigs ear of it would be grand and so at my next midwife appointment I will be asking her advice on the best ones to sign up to.

P R E – W A S H  T H E  B A B Y  C L O T H E S | I mentioned her bursting-at-the-seams wardrobe above (a girl can NEVER have too many clothes right?) and it’s made up of a selection of brand new and second hand loveliness that I cannot wait to dress her in. But before she arrives, it must all be washed and organised properly and so I feel the start of my maternity leave will likely involve living life according to washing machine cycles! Hopefully the weather brightens up a little by then and I can air dry most of it out on the line.

W R I T E  A  B I R T H  P L A N | Ha! The illusive birth plan. So far my only thought on this topic is ‘get the baby out’, but despite my best efforts my midwife just did not seem impressed by this notion and so off I’ve been sent to think about my options and how I’d like this little one’s arrival to play out. I do know I’d like to be in hospital rather than at our local maternity unit when I have her – they’re around a 25 minute drive apart and I’d just rather that there were doctors close by in case they were needed without the added complication of being rushed in an ambulance from one to the other if anything were to go pear shaped. I also quite like the idea of a water birth – if ever I am stressed or in pain, my first instinct is to run a bath and so this prospect is quite appealing, but it all depends on whether there is a pool available at the time and whether our little drama baby is playing by the rules when it comes to her departure from my womb so I don’t want to get my heart set on it.

G O  A W A Y  F O R  T H E  W E E K E N D | Before this little one comes along, Sean and I would really like to get away for a few days as a couple. We’re not sure where yet, and we don’t have an awful lot of money to spare for a getaway but it’d be nice for us to soak up some quality time together before our lives change forever! If you’ve any suggestions for Baby Moon destinations in the UK that don’t break the bank, please pop them in the comments below!

D E C O R A T E  O U R  B E D R O O M | Now that we’ve had confirmation that our landlord is happy for us to stay and extended our contract to long term we’d like to put more of a stamp on our home to make it feel more like ours and our bedroom is the first room on the list after the nursery. As it stands, our bedroom is my least favourite room in the house thanks to the previous tenants poor attempts at painting over dark brown walls with a single coat of watered down magnolia paint. I feel I’d be doing you an injustice if I didn’t mention the half brown matte, half white gloss doors & door frames too! Can you picture it yet? Yep, it’s beautiful. Hmm. So anyway, I have been gathering some ideas on pinterest for how we’ll be decorating on an almost non existent budget in order for us to feel a little better about spending time in there and make it a nice environment for baby to be in for her first six months of sleep.

M A K E  A  S P A C E  J U S T  F O R  A L F I E  | One of my main concerns right now is how Alfie (our dog) will react to the baby’s arrival and how well he will cope with another person not only taking up his Mama’s time but also his space in his home. While I hope that they will become the best of friends, her nursery will be a ‘Alfie Free Zone’ and we are going to have a baby gate on the living room door so that she can play safely without any interruption from our four legged friend if I am busy in another room. I’m more than aware though, that as much as baby needs her own space, Alfie will likely feel the need to escape her cries and clutches at times too and so the conservatory will become his place to go and chill out away from the madness! We’re making him a little den filled with his bed, toys & treats that he can come and go to as he wishes with easy access to the garden if he needs it and I’m trapped under a sleeping/feeding baby.

P L A N  A  C O O L  B I R T H  A N N O U N C E M E N T | I loved putting together our pregnancy announcements. We told our families and close friends all differently and then the rest of the world with our online announcement here and it’d be lovely to formerly announce her arrival into the world similarly. I’d really like to physically send friends & family something in the post and maybe combine it with a ‘thank you’ message for any gifts we receive at my baby shower and in the lead up to her birth. Hmm… I shall get my thinking cap on.

S P E N D  T I M E  W I T H  G I R L F R IE N D S | Let’s face it, a LOT of my time is going to be taken up by baby when she arrives and even though I plan to get out and about each day to meet friends and stay as sociable as I can, I’d like to plan a few things with my friends before she comes that might not be so easy to do when she’s here.

Did / do you have a list of things you want or need to do before the arrival of your little one?

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The Bump Diaries | 26 Weeks Pregnant – We can’t all be Beyonce

26 weeks pregnant

When I set about recording this pregnancy, I promised myself (and you!) that I would be 100% totally honest about how I was finding things. Sure I’d always pictured pregnancy for me as this wonderfully enlightening journey where despite the early symptoms of morning sickness and a little tiredness and the aches and niggles of the last few weeks, I’d breeze through with a beautiful glow and enjoy every single last part of growing a baby. While having this little one growing in my tummy is amazing and inspiring and probably the best and most exciting feeling in the world, pregnancy has been far from the carefree experience I had always hoped for. Today I turn 26 weeks pregnant and I often find myself wondering how on earth I am going to get through and make it in one piece to full term.

Just as I finally begin to relax into pregnancy and get a hint of that ‘glowy’ feeling everyone talks about, we seem to hit a set back. My last two pregnancy updates at 22 weeks & 24 weeks pregnant were so positive, finally the infection had ‘done one’ and the thrush I’d contracted thanks to the antibiotics I’d been prescribed was finally showing some signs of buggering off. I saw my midwife last Tuesday and I followed a lady who hadn’t felt her baby move for a couple of days and whose heartbeat our midwife had struggled to find. I sat in the waiting room as the time ticked on, an hour past my appointment time, feeling so so grateful that my little one was happily wriggling around in my tummy. As the worried yet still hopeful Mama-to-be left the surgery on her way to the hospital she came to me and apologised for making me wait. Of course I did not mind, I just hoped and prayed for her baby and for her. My own appointment was straight forward, an obvious relief to my midwife. We chatted about the difficulty of choosing the perfect name while she did the usual checks and laughed as baby kicked her hand off of my tummy when she measured my bump. It was the first midwife appointment that hadn’t been all about the medical fact finding side of things which was such a change from the normal facts and figures.

The last ten days though have seen the return of severe SPD & back pain. Between the Wednesday after my visit to the midwife and Monday just gone, I’d gotten a grand total of seven hours sleep. My back and top of my bottom ached continuously and getting comfortable in any position, laying, standing or sitting, had become impossible and I was slowly losing the ability to compute anything at all. I was running on empty and simply getting by on auto pilot. By Monday morning walking up the hill from the train station to my work, already running late, I found every single step excruciating and literally waddled my way in fighting back the tears. I painted on brave face and got on with my day, ticking off my to do list one by one.

I had an early night in the hope that I’d feel better the next morning surrounded by hot water bottles & my support pillow to ease the pain. About an hour of broken sleep and several hours spent tossing and turning later, it was 2am and I was at the end of my tether. Sitting upright, distracting myself with my twitter feed I found myself thinking “why do people never tell you sleepless nights start BEFORE the baby arrives?”. And then, without warning it came. Violent sickness, every twenty minutes for eight hours, once that eased, came diarrhea, and then back to sickness. Thank God for my Mum & sister being on hand and living just around the corner. Once Sean had gone to work, they arrived  and cleaned my house from top to bottom, moving me from my bed to the bath, bath to the sofa and holding my hair back when the need arose.  Food and drink were out of the question.

By Thursday, I was exhausted, in pain and weak and it was time to visit my GP to see if there was anything he could do to ease the SPD & back ache. I’d take the bug over and over if I could just get comfortable enough to sleep in between! He confirmed he thought that the bug was NoroVirus and told me try & stay as hydrated as I could and rest for a couple of days. As for my back, severe SPD and possible Sciatica. He has referred me to a physiotherapist and is trying to rush the application through so I get some use of it before baby arrives. In the mean time Sean has booked me in for private physiotherapy too.

I spent Friday & yesterday resting and building back my strength and appetite before I return to work this morning for my first Sunday shift in FOREVER. I absolutely HATE being off sick from work, hate it and this week I missed three whole days. It’s made me wonder if I’ve made a mistake by shortening the amount of leave I plan to take before my due date in case I end up being off again despite the fact I’m still taking 2 weeks annual leave and 2 weeks maternity. From general consensus on twitter, that seems like I’m going quite early, but the lovely ladies in the Flutters to Footsteps community have been super supportive. We’ll have to see how we go.

I have pretty much whinged and whined the whole way through this update, but as the title of this post suggests, we can’t all be Beyonce and look gorgeous and glam balanced on the roof of a car, bump-a-glowing and getting ready to take on a music tour the whole way through our pregnancy. Some of us are just about making it through each day in one piece, bags under our eyes and counting down the hours until it’s one less day ’til due date.

Anyway, moan over. Facts and figures time…

Bump, not surprisingly looks and feels a little smaller this week after everything but baby evacuated the area! Baby is now 35.5cm long which is about the length of a spring onion or red cabbage. Her movements are getting so much stronger and I’m certain I’ve spotted an elbow or a knee poke out of my tummy a couple of times. Her eyes are starting to open, and she is becoming receptive to certain noises from out here in the real world. I’m going to start playing music a little more around the house so she can hear and see if she responds through movement and have put some books aside to read out loud when it’s just us at home. 26 weeks

Little girl in there, I love so very much and I am sorry Mummy is struggling so much while you grow. I promise that no amount of illness or sleep deprivation or anything else could make me love you any less and I will continue to willingly be your home until you’re ready to meet us this side. I’m counting down the days.

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Why your next holiday should be on a cruise!


One of the travel experiences high up on my wanderlust list is to go on a cruise. Neither me or Sean have ever been but we’ve both heard so many good things about them that it just cannot be missed off of our list of things to do before we’re thirty. Cruises offer an experience like no other and one of the things that most attracts me to them is the variety on offer during your break.

L O C A T I O N | Whether you’re cruising to the Maldives or around southern Europe, one thing you can be sure of is that you’ll probably wake up in a different picturesque destination each day offering you the opportunity to see and explore an array of coastlines, attractions and more that you might not have the chance to see on a package holiday.

C U L T U R E | Visiting more than just one part of a country or continent means you get to experience some of the amazingly diverse cultures across the world, each a chance to learn something new about a place or the people who live there.

F O O D | From burger bars to five star restaurants, most cruise ships are home to a whole host of different restaurants and menu offerings with delicacies from all over the world.

E N T E R T A I N M E N T | No body could ever get bored on a cruise! Whether you’re travelling alone, as a couple, with a group of friends or with your children there is normally something on offer to keep everybody entertained. It’s not all cabarets and booze ups you know! Activities like snorkelling, bowling, swimming and sunbathing are just some of the things you can expect to do.

Have you ever been on a cruise? I would love to hear all about your trip!



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Last Minute Valentines Gift Guide For Her

valentines gift guide

With Valentines day just a matter of days away, I’ve put together this last minute gift guide for those of you who are still looking for a little bit of inspiration when it comes to finding the perfect present for the lady in your life.

Red Shoe Photo Shoot or Gift Voucher | I really think that every woman should experience what it’s like to ‘Be A Red Shoe Girl’ and have a day and photo session dedicated solely to them. The confidence boost & sense of empowerment my own Red Shoe experience gave me is impossible to put into words & I don’t know anyone who’s been photographed by Sarah who hasn’t felt the same. If you’re not local to Chester where the Red Shoe studio is located, check out Sarah’s road show dates as she is touring the UK this Spring to bring her one of a kind photo shoots to more women.

“Every woman deserves to have a beautiful portrait of herself.” – Sarah Sadler, Red Shoe PhotographerRed Shoe Makeovers, Know your normal calendar, Calendar photo shoot_0007

Beautiful Flowers | Cliche? Maybe. But nobody can honestly say they don’t feel special when someone buys them flowers! Sean buys me a different bouquet from Bunches.com each year and I love the way they brighten up our home in an otherwise gloomy month. They have a whole range of Valentines flowers available but I’ve got my eye on these Fragrant Freesias – how beautiful are those colours?! They offer next day delivery so if you’ve left it a little late, you’ll have no problem ensuring they arrive in time.

valentines day gifts

Book a Spa Day | Wowcher & Groupon have some great deals for spa days and breaks at this time of year, and what better gift than a chance for her to spend a day being relaxing and pampered with you or a girl friend? I really enjoyed my own spa experience at our local Bannatyne’s spa last year.

A Date Night with a Difference | Left it a bit late to book a table at her favorite restaurant or missed the movie you know she wants to see? Why not cook up a meal for two at home, light a few candles, pop open the prosecco and wine and dine her? The BBC Good Food website has some fab recipes for two if you need some ‘dinspiration’. wine-1951413_1920

Plan a weekend away | Why not book a few days stay in a city she’s always wanted to visit? You can book most places online now, and then you can print off the ticket and pop it in her card! Then spend the evening planning the things you’ll do while you’re there.

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The Bump Diaries | Naming a Baby

As a little girl, I loved to play ‘babies’. You’d often find me and my best friend from across the road strutting around our cul-de-sac pushing Baby Born in her buggy with an abundance of fake nappies & plastic food stuffed into a Spice Girls handbag pretending to be ‘Mum friends’ meeting for a play date. As fate would have it, that same childhood friend announced her own first pregnancy around the time that I announced mine and while she’ll likely be having her little boy early, we have the same estimated due date. I find it so strange that history will repeat itself in months to come, except this time we will have real life babies and a little less plastic food stuffed in our not-so-Spice-Girl changing bags. Back then we always gave our dollies names.  Granted, Geri & Emma were favourites but we’d have never ending lists of names in our little imaginations and often their names would change several times in the same game. We were never short of inspiration. So why on earth, now that there’s an actual real life baby growing in my tummy, am I struggling to decide what to call her!? Naming a baby

Well… partly because it’s not only my decision to make. Naming a baby seems like an easy task before you actually have to find one that both you and your partner like equally. And partly because suddenly it all feels like such a HUGE responsibility! This person will have the name you call her forever, from baby to elder and it has to be right.

One thing we do know is that we want her to have a classic name, one that doesn’t need to be spelled out each time she declares it (That’s what comes from having parents called Ami & Sean!) and one that will grow with her. While we probably won’t make our final decision until we’ve met her, here are the contenders we have so far…

P E N E L O P E  G R A C E | This was the name we chose right at the beginning of my pregnancy, before we knew we were having a girl. I adore the shortened version, Penny, and Grace our previous second runner, seems to go with it so well. While the meaning of the name – Duck –  isn’t exactly awe inspiring, to me, she has been Penny from the beginning, but after our 20 week scan Sean declared he wasn’t so sure any more… I have 15 weeks to talk him around…

J E S S I C A  A N N  | Currently at the top of Sean’s list and as lovely as it is, Jessica is the name of the friend I mentioned above AND until she married she shared the same surname as Sean and therefore baby…. for me that’s just a bit too familiar!

E M I L Y /  E M M A  G R A C E | Sean likes Emily, I like Emma, so here I think we’d have to come to a compromise. Either way, ,her middle name would probably be Grace and both are quite hard to shorten, with the exception of Em(!). The only downfall is I know two girls with either name and don’t like either of them!

C A T H E R I N E  E L I Z A B E T H | Classic and pretty, Catherine Elizabeth also has a bit of a regal tone to it! I really love the name Catherine and how adaptable it is – in its original state Catherine is quite a strong and grown up name but she could be known as Katy and grow into Kate if we decided to shorten it. I also really love the nick name ‘Kitty’, like Kitty McAlister in ‘Brothers & Sisters’. She’s a bit of a power house which is exactly how I imagine this little one will be.

H E L E N A  G R A C E | An alternative to Eleanor, Helena has been thrown into the hat more often than I can count. It means “Shining Light” and is the name of one of my best girl friends. For some, this would be a real turn off, but actually I quite like it. Needless to say, my friend, commonly known as Hele, is currently building a campaign in favour of this option!

P O L L Y  A N N | I think this is probably running in close second in my list of names, but for Sean it’s right there at the bottom. Each time I bring it up he sings this annoying Polly Pocket song which only listeners of Radio One about 10 years ago would even recognise. I didn’t realise before starting this post that Polly means ‘Wished for child’ which I think is just perfect, but unfortunately I think I’ve lost the battle on this one.

I R I S  E L I Z A B E T H  | Meaning rainbow, this more traditional name made it onto the list inspired by Kate Winslet’s character in one of my favourite films – the Holiday. It’s such a cute little name and will go so well with any of our middlde name options. Unfortunately Sean doesn’t agree and so I fear I’m going to have to admit defeat and accept that Iris probably isn’t going to make the cut.

F L O R E N C E  G R A C E  | Though it’s getting increasingly popular, I’ve been a big fan of the name Florence for so long and it’s just one of those names that is cute for a baby and classy for an adult so it absolutely has to be a contender! I’ve a feeling this one might make it’s way up the list as time goes on.

L I Z Z I E | I’m not really a fan of the name Elizabeth for a first name, or in fact many of it’s shortenings, but as it’s a family name I can’t really rub it off the list just yet. Out of all of them, Lizzie is actually kind of cool and not very popular.

C O N N I E | Short for Constance, Connie is another name that I LOVE & Sean HATES. Apparently anyone who has seen Ali G would understand why… I’m rolling my eyes!

Q U I N N | Traditionally a boys name, both of us actually quite like the name Quinn for our little girl. We were hard core One Tree Hill fans in our teenage years, and while ‘Brooke’ or ‘Peyton’ don’t really do it for us, Quinn is pretty high up there on the list.

While there are eleven names here, we are not in 100% agreement on any of them. If you’ve any suggestions or have any tips on how you chose what to call your little one please pop them below!

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