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Top 5 for new mums in Islington

Giraffe is one of our all-time favourites for families. Their focus is on fresh healthy food from around the world, with hearty burgers, crisp salads with seasonal organic veg, flavoursome asian-inspired starters, invigorating fruit smoothies, and a delicious brunch menu. With the standard fare listed on the kids menu it sounds fairly uninspiring, but as always the quality of the food, the presentation, and the little twist on old favourites will make their meals stand out.  Aside from the cracking food, Giraffe has a warmth and informality that makes for a relaxing family meal, even with the most boisterous of kids. The world music playing in the background is great for masking all those bizarre noises your children will insist on making with their straws, while remaining pleasant an unobtrusive. The little ones will busy themselves colouring at the table and collecting as many brightly coloured plastic giraffes as they can get their hands on. All in all a brilliant place to refuel.
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Igloo Kids
There was a boy in my class when I was younger who had the most perfectly circular haircut. His mum sat him on a chair one day, stuck a salad bowl on his head and with the help of a bit of masking tape and some pinking scissors, snipped away. The result was both the most fascinating and most awful haircut I had ever seen. Looking at your child’s little locks, I’m sure you occasionally think “yeah, I could do that!”… but please promise me you will pull yourself together, think of poor Bryce (honestly, what sort of name is that?) and his bowl cut, and head over to Igloo instead. Igloo has experienced children’s hairdressers who have a knack for cutting wispy toddler hair, and who know that adult hairstyles look positively creepy on children. More importantly, they understand that little ones fidget and wiggle no matter how many raisins you bribe them with. Igloo has invested in a few distractions to keep your child relatively still, including a well-positioned TV, and they can cut hair safely, and with lightning speed so your kids don’t have time to get bored. While you’re there, be sure to browse through their incredible collection of gorgeous hand-picked children’s clothing, toys, and baby essentials.
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Duke of Cambridge Pub

You’ll no doubt be familiar with this laid back gastropub from the good old days of spontaneous evenings out with friends. The Duke of Cambridge have won an impressive number of awards, and wherever possible all their produce is certified organic, fair trade and grown locally. All of their food, including the freshly baked bread and home made ice cream, is made on site. The chefs use fresh seasonal ingredients to create a variety of delicious meals, including plenty of vegetarian options, and stuff even the fussiest of children will like. Children and babies are very welcome, and this pub is a firm favourite amongst North London families.
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Little Angel Theatre

An absolute gem. The 100-seat Little Angel Theatre was designed especially for young audiences, and opened in 1961 with magical little marionette shows. They’ve since produced an incredible range of puppet shows, featuring intricately carved puppets, imaginative stories, and some remarkably talented puppeteers. If you have older kids: Roald Dahl’s classic tale, Fantastic Mr Fox, is back at Little Angel Theatre until November 7th 2010, and is a must-see for children aged 4 and up. Throughout winter 2010 they’ll be showing a delightful and imaginative re-telling of Alice in Wonderland for ages 5 and up. Children will also love the Saturday morning Puppet club, and Crafty Kids, and you can check their website for other family activities and Fun Days.
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Wonder Mothers Postnatal Fitness

Having a baby really does take its toll on your body. Sure, they’re precious little things, but wouldn’t it be great if you could have a break now and then, lose that post-pregnancy muffin-top, and get just a teeny tiny bit of your mojo back? Wonder Buggy workouts are just perfect for new mums. The classes involve low-impact exercises especially designed for your post-baby body, and just being outdoors will really boost your energy levels and make you feel like yourself again. The classes will also do wonders for your pelvic floor – besides a nice little side-effect on your love life, you’ll be able to watch that Michael McIntyre DVD without actually weeing yourself. The best bit is that you don’t need to organise a babysitter or work around the baby’s naps – you just pop him in the buggy and bring him along to enjoy the class with you. In our experience the babies either nap, coo at the trees, or laugh at the funny faces you’ll be making trying to remember how to lunge. They enjoy the class, which in turn means you can relax and enjoy yourself. Bring along a little picnic or some money for the café – lunch with other mums afterwards is a great way to make new mummy friends. Join a workout on Tuesdays or Fridays at 10:30 am, or Wednesdays at 1 pm.
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Written by Janis P.

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Top 3 London Shops for Children

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