Diary Date Alert – BabyExpo, the UK’s No.1 Baby Show and Family Fun Day is coming to Berkshire this Autumn!

What’s On 4, the organisers of the highly successful regional babyshow and family fun day ‘BabyExpo’, are delighted to announce the launch of a brand new show in Berkshire with Headline Sponsors Swimkidz and Bright Horizons and national media supporter babyworld.co.uk.

The event will take place in Reading on Saturday November 29 2014 and visitors will be able to look forward to the ‘BabyExpo blend’ of UK-wide exhibitors showcasing a wealth of products and services from pre-conception to primary; big brands; sampling opportunities; prizes; famous parenting experts; packed entertainment programme; ‘meet the midwives’; ‘Innovation Alley’; The Natural Parenting Zone; The Flexible Working Zone and so much more.

A wealth of exhibitors from as far as Essex and Worcestershire are now signed up showcasing a huge variety of baby products and services from fairy doors and handmade bedding to birth practitioners and swimming lessons.

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Stars from children’s television along with Humphrey from Humphrey’s Corner and queues of parents at Surrey BabyExpo in 2013.

There are special early-bird packages now available for exhibitors attending this fantastic new show and visitors will be able to get their hands on FREE early bird tickets in the months of June and July just by visiting www.babyexpobabyshow.co.uk/visiting/tickets! There will also be JoJo Maman Bebe goody bags for the 1st 500 visitors!

The main stage will welcome a host of fun activities and award-winning classes for little ones as well as advice, support and information for all parents-to-be, mums and dads and carers. Guest speakers will include Xaviera Plas Plooij from worldwide best-seller ‘The Wonder Weeks’ and there will be a wealth of show deals, offers and promotions on the day with one very lucky visitor winning a fabulous Babyzen YOYO 0+ buggy!

BabyExpo was born in 2007 in Brighton and organisers have hosted multiple shows in Sussex, Surrey and Milton Keynes. Organiser Clare Wingfield explains what prompted the expansion to Berkshire

‘We felt Berkshire with its high birth rates, family-friendly reputation and highly-populated urban areas was crying out for an established, high-quality BabyShow and family event. The local support has been amazing and we just can’t wait! The late November timing also offers a fabulous shopping opportunity with some delightful and inspiring Christmas gifts for little ones and mummies alike!

We are also very excited to find such a great venue. The Rivermead Leisure Complex hosts some of the UK’s major shows as well as National sporting events and concerts. Well known to local parents and the wider community its central and spacious with ground floor exhibition areas – so great for buggy access – with easy parking and modern facilities it easily meets the needs of our 100+ exhibitors and thousands of visitors.’

What’s On 4 Communications Director and BabyExpo founder Suzanne Borrell adds

‘We are delighted that Berkshire will play host to the 1st BabyExpo event to be produced and managed by one of our new franchisees Clare! This is a real ‘flagship’ show therefore and it’s already great to see that the BabyExpo South-East team will deliver an event to be proud of’

BabyExpo Berkshire and a MASSIVE welcome to Clare!

“Super-Mum”preneur Clare Wingfield is “One to Watch” as the UK’s first ‘What’s On 4 Juniors’ regional franchisee takes on the coveted South East!

Mumpreneur Clare Wingfield is the newest member to join the multi-award winning ‘What’s On 4’ international team as she takes on the What’s On 4 ‘Junior’ activity websites & BabyExpo Baby Show events in the coveted South East Region – www.whatson4littleone.co.uk, www.whatson4schoolkids.co.uk, www.whatson4kidsparties.co.uk and www.babyexpobabyshows.co.uk

Having spent two years in New York after a glittering career in the City, Clare returned to leafy Surrey with husband Andrew and daughters Leah and Natalie. Super-Mum Clare designed and built her new home recently and is now ready for her next challenge, soaring ahead with What’s On 4.

Clare says “With my youngest now at nursery it’s time for me to take on a new challenge! Having a young family is a perfect excuse to get out, explore new places and meet new people, especially when you have just arrived in an area – but you have to know where to go and what’s on offer and that’s why I’m really excited to be running the What’s On 4 websites and BabyExpo Baby Show Events in my area”

Clare’s 1st show will be BabyExpo Berkshire on 29 of Nov!

If you would like to follow Clare’s footsteps and run our What’s On 4 Junior businesses in YOUR region then please email marilyn@whatson4.co.uk for more information.

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sooo what’s next?

We are updating our plans for the next Expo and our events programme for 2014! You can visit our website to sign up for the newsletter but in the meantime how about making someone’s year and nominate them for a National What’s On 4 Junior Award! Just see www.whaton4littleones.co.uk/awards.asp

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What Makes A Winning Day Out for a Young Family? We set out to find out!

What makes a winner?!IMG_0031  Suzanne and family from What’s On 4 found out during their visit to ‘Fishers Farm Park’ – winners of the What’s On 4 Junior award ‘Best Family Day Out’ in 2013!

The Farm Park is well signposted and easily found, surrounded by acres of Sussexcountryside and very accessible from surrounding counties Surrey and Hampshire.  We received a very warm welcome at the ticket desk and lots of information on all there was to IMG_0045do plus the special timetabled extra activities. It was then I realised we should have arrived earlier!

Fisher’s Farm Park is just full to bursting with attractions, activities, features and fun. We visited with Ruby (aged 4) and George (aged 8) and they were non-stop all day – horse riding, climbing walls, small animal petting, zip wires (with a handy toddler version!), water-play, paddle boats, trampolines, tractor rides, squirrel scrambles, galleons, mini fairground rides, play areas, massive jumping pillows, mini golf – the list goes on and on. The excitement of the sheepIMG_0038 racing will stay with me for some time! Inside was a fab, spacious soft play area with comfy chairs alongside and a great little café for grown-ups needing a sit down!

We visited on an August Sunday but because there’s so much to do and the park is on such big site we hardly had to queue for any activities – unlike other attractions we had visited previously where you can spend the best part of the day in line! There was great picnic areas and cafes and a really nice shop with lots of ‘pocket IMG_0042money’ prices. One element which really made the visit was the attitude of the many staff who were so friendly, helpful and smiley all day – even when it was raining! I don’t know how they did it!

My over-riding impression of Fishers Farm Park is that it’s an attraction run by a very committed, focussed team. Secondly that it offers excellent value for money – we didn’t manage to do everything and so my son went back less than a week later to celebrate his birthday!  We are really not surprised that they won the award therefore – it’s an excellent place for all the family – just make sure you go for the whole day – you won’t regret it!

You can see more at their website here – www.fishersfarmpark.co.uk and they are building even more attractions soon and we’ll be back at ½ term for the Halloween special!

 

We have a winner!

The face of baby expoIt was no easy task to judge this year’s ‘Face of BabyExpo’ competition in association with the lovely folk at Phase Photographic! Fortunately BabyExpo VIP parenting expert and nanny to the stars, Rachel Waddilove was on hand to assist. Here are some of the images of the beautiful babies who visited the show this year – can you guess who won? Find out at the Phase Photographic blog - just click here - and for amazing images of your growing family contact Faye on 01273 567927. Missed out on being part of BabyExpoBrighton for 2013? Don’t worry we’ll be doing it all again next year AND at Surrey in November

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Vote for the Face of BabyExpo Brighton 2013

Help us choose the Face of BabyExpo Brighton 2013!

Your baby is doubtless the most beautiful thing you have ever seen – every action, facial expression or milestone reached is priceless but sometimes it’s very difficult to capture these very special moments on camera.

The mummies, daddies and babies who flocked to official photographer, Phase Photographic’s Stand @ Baby Expo in June didn’t have such worries with their expert team at the onsite studio snapping away all day with stunning results! Parents also had the opportunity to enter the The Face of BabyExpo Brighton Competition and now we need YOU to help us choose the final 3 to go to our judging panel! The winning image will be used as part of BabyExpo marketing and promotion for forthcoming events + there’s a fabulous prize to be won courtesy of Phase Photographic worth over £650! The 10 finalists have now been revealed below! Many congratulations and a BIG THANK YOU to all those who took part!

What next – you can vote for your favourite from these 10 but don’t delay as this stage of the judging process will close on July 31st!

Vote on the Phase Photographic facebook page!

The top 3 images will then be forwarded to our BabyExpo VIP Rachel Waddilove – nanny to Hollywood Stars and Royalty! Rachel is also mother and a grandmother with over forty years experience as a maternity nurse, child-care expert, parental adviser and best-selling author. Her latest book ‘SLEEP SOLUTIONS – QUIET NIGHTS FOR YOU AND YOUR CHILD FROM BIRTH TO FIVE YEARS’ published by Lion Hudson is out now and we are delighted that Rachel has kindly offered to help decide our winner! (for more on Rachel go to www.rachelsbabies.com)

So make sure you get your chance to say which you think is the best image and should be declared as the ‘Face of BabyExpo’ – don’t forget to share the link so others can take part too and check back after August 1st when we will reveal the winner!

Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom – Live Show in Brighton

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Ruby and Alice had so much fun at Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom live at The Theatre Royal today!

The show is full of fun, music and familiarity – the characters are just as you would imagine with Ben, Holly, Gaston, Nanny Plum (my personal fav) and of course King Elf and all their friends.

The show is just long enough to really feel like value for money without children getting restless – in fact I wasn’t aware of one grumpy or distracted child – testament to the lively and engaging script, fabulous costumes and professional cast. There’s a fab range of nice merchandise too – at reasonable prices.

DSC_9818bOur favourite bits – we can’t decide between discovery of Gaston’s messy cave, the JELLY FLOOD or the tooth fairy scenario – in any case we would really recommend the show! It’s only on ONE MORE DAY in Brighton – 11 July so hurry – there’s still some tickets left! Just go to http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/ben-and-hollys-little-kingdom/theatre-royal-brighton/

Ferry Fun to Jersey! By Suzanne and Dave aged 40 something, George age 7 and Ruby age 4.

Need some inspiration with the Summer Hols upon us? Jersey is amazing and the ferry trip was so much fun – really felt like the start of the holiday rather than a journey to be endured! Highly recommended!

Everyone was very excited about our mini-trip gbphoto-2to Jersey although life had been so busy in the run up I suddenly realised the night before I hadn’t really had time to prepare or plan.  I needn’t have worried.  Packing was a breeze, not having to worry about a number of bags and weights and sizes we just chucked everything in the car!  The journey to Poole was pretty smooth although roadworks delayed us meaning we were later arriving than the ‘1 hour in advance’ advised. I started to get a bit panicky, remembering stressful airport check-ins, security delays, queues etc but again I needn’t have worried. We were met by a series of charming, professional Condor staff and before we knew it were comfortably on board, drinking coffee, as the ferry glided off.

We didn’t sit still for long however, such was the excitement of being on-board. We spent the next hour+ exploring the decks, enjoying the views, waving at other boats and taking in the sea air. The kids loved it! Then there was lunch, a wee bit of mooching in the shops and then the kids settled in the fab little cushioned area to watch a film and relax after all their fun.

jerphotoBefore we knew it we had arrived!  We embarked, swiftly and efficiently once again and in less than 10 minutes we had arrived at the hotel. No waiting for luggage, no delays, no long tiresome walks through airports without the buggy. We felt refreshed and energised after the journey which was a welcome change from the stress and weariness flying with small children can sometimes bring.

The hotel initially worried me as we piled in with 2 excited kids, various Toy Story characters and a football – it was so beautiful and tranquil – but we couldn’t have been given a warmer welcome. The Cristina is positioned in an enviable location with a 180 degree vista of the sea and breath-taking views. The staff were so kind – nothing was too much trouble and the food was amazing. My children are still talking about the breakfast!  There was a great terrace – a real sun trap with amazing views – perfect for early evening drinks and the bar even had a toy box and mini library! There was a modest but perfectly adequate outdoor pool and sun bed area. The pool was cold but the weather had been so poor we were not surprised and the kids had their wet suits and so they were happy!

jersP1020451jersP1020458The room was well appointed – quite ‘cosy’ for the 4 of us with a small bathroom but fine just for 2 nights. There was a small balcony area with chairs and again, stunning views. It was a short walk through the hotel gardens to the most amazing park (Coronation Park where we could have spent all day!) and the fabulous beaches abundant with shells and driftwood and so much space……..and the sun shone and shone!

We also enjoyed a fabulous day to the aMaizin Maze and Adventure Park as part of our visit. This offers an incredibly well designed and managed family day out with activities ranging from Petting Zoo to Go-Carts to water bomb wars!  Although we were there on Bank Holiday weekend, there was no over-crowding or long queues, the food was excellent and sensibly priced and the staff friendly, attentive and committed (very different to similar places we have visited elsewhere!)  I would suggest that as long as you have dry weather this is a ‘must visit’ for families to Jersey. We were there for nearly 7 hours and didn’t run out of things to do and the kids are still taking about it!

Jersey is a wonderful place for families. There’s so much to do but it’s small enough to feel very accessible and of course the wonderful thing about travelling by ferry is having your own car to explore with. The scenery is beautiful, quite rural and felt like a wonderful combination of France and Devon and the warmer climate makes such a difference.

The Ferry back was an evening crossing where the ‘film room’ came into its own more than on our way out but that was fine. We had a very enjoyable trip once again, a nice meal and even got back ahead of schedule!

Our trip to Jersey has been one our most favourite family breaks ever – yes we were blessed with the weather but with so much to do and such a lovely ‘feel’ to the Island we will definitely be back!