For a mum’s eye view of The Centre we invited new mum Suhaine Baptie along with her baby, Fraser, for their first solo mum and baby day out.
Getting out and about with a baby in those first few months can be daunting – bags are packed with military precision and you take three spare pairs of clothes, just in case… thankfully The Centre offers everything you could need to make that first shopping trip an enjoyable one.
I knew there’d be a nappy change (or three!) during my visit so I checked the map for baby changing facilities. There are four baby changing areas spaced throughout The Centre, so you can be sure that you’re never far from a clean, spacious area where you can change your little one.
With the practical details taken care of now it was time to hit the shops! After months of wearing maternity clothes and stretchy leggings it was great to check out the summer trends to give my wardrobe a little refresh. At The Centre you’ll find a brilliant mix of shops including River Island, Superdry, Topshop and Primark all under one roof – today I headed for H&M as they always have a gorgeous selection to choose from.
There were a few floaty maxi dresses that caught my eye but I’ve got a weakness for tropical prints so when I spotted a classic cream and green palm print blouse for £17.99, it went straight into my basket. I also checked out H&M’s childrenswear as my friend’s little boy has his first birthday in a couple of weeks so I was on the hunt for a cute but practical present. I couldn’t resist their Cookie Monster pyjamas - a two pack for £9.99 and a sweet straw hat for £4.99 for their upcoming holiday.
I’m a complete bookworm and look forward to passing a love of books on to our little boy so a trip to Waterstones was always going to happen. Their children’s section is stocked with so many tempting pop-up books, waterproof bath books and character books such as Peter Rabbit and The Gruffalo. I bought the Quiet Time Music Book by Sam Taplin, £12.99 – a musical board book about animal musicians who play tunes to baby elephants and lion cubs while floating down a jungle river. It was an instant hit with Fraser who reluctantly let me take it off him long enough for me to pay for it!
While we were there, I thought we’d take advantage of Waterstones’ lovely cafe. We took the lift upstairs and I treated myself to a mid-morning croissant and creamy hot chocolate while Fraser snoozed – clearly the book had worked its magic!
Did you know?!
Waterstones at The Centre runs Storytime Sunday on the ground floor in their children’s section every Sunday at 11am – it’s free, lasts around an hour and includes crafts or colouring in, definitely one for the diary.
Our next stop of the day was Kidzeco - a not-for-profit enterprise which stocks pre-loved clothes, toys and equipment. Not only did I pick up a cute t-shirt for Fraser but they also pointed me in the direction of their newly opened sister venue at The Centre, Kids n Kin where little ones can enjoy soft play as well as free play and they have sandwiches, coffee and tray bakes to keep parents entertained too.
The West Lothian Sling Meet also meets at Kidz n Kin, where you can get help with your baby carrier or even borrow a sling from their sling library to see if it suits you and baby – a brilliant way to try them out at home before you invest in one.
We then headed to Deichmann for comfortable memory sole trainers for Mummy, Wilko for a few items to baby-proof the house before Fraser starts to crawl and Clintons for a Father’s Day card.
With lunchtime upon us, I couldn’t resist trying out Love Pasta, a new kiosk near Costa and H&M, which gives you the chance to build your own pasta dish. I opted for penne bolognese with minced beef, mushrooms, mixed peppers and onions, topped with grated cheese. It was a perfect option for lunch on the go, tasted delicious and I’ve already got my eye on their mac and cheese for my next visit.
For Fraser’s lunch we popped up to the baby feeding area in the Winter Gardens, near Aerial Adventures. This is a bright but quiet corner of The Centre with comfortable padded seating, a changing station and bottle warmers - the perfect place to take time out with little ones in between shopping sprees, with the added bonus of a sink if baby’s snack goes all over Mummy too!
After lunch we headed along to M&S to have a look at their childrenswear. My cousin gave me a pack of M&S sleepsuits for Fraser when he was first born that washed beautifully so while I was there I picked up a five pack of organic cotton vests for £13 with adorable nautical stripes and whale prints.
Finally I called in to Lush to treat myself to a limited edition bath bomb to enjoy a soak in the bath after Fraser went to bed. I chose the Peng bath bomb which looks like an old-fashioned beach ball and is a refreshing mix of sharp lemon and rich sandalwood – bliss!
While I was going back to the car park I spotted The Centre’s new push chair hire service which I’ll definitely be making use of on our next visit as it will give my back a day off from lifting my heavy buggy in and out of the car!
The Centre really was the perfect place to choose for my first solo Mum and baby outing. Having shops on hand where you could restock if you ran out of wipes, nappies or needed an extra jar of baby food was so reassuring and meant that I could relax and enjoy the day.
We’re already looking forward to having another day out at The Centre to #shopeatplay sometime soon!
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