Lovely Exhibitors

Goes without saying we couldn’t do it without them (!) We welcomed some especially lovely new clients this show however. Here’s a message from one of them……

BabyExpoMK – Show Time for Tall Maternity Store

Well it is all over and what a weekend! The baby expo was a huge success and the team at Tall Maternity Store would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who popped by our stand to say hello. We would also like to thank Mel Wink and Suzanne Borrell from Whats On 4 for organising the event to perfection!

The highlight of our weekend was seeing so many mums rocking Mummy Long Legz products!

There were so many fantastic businesses at the expo and we made some lovely new friends, I’m sure our paths will cross again. Jo Tantum and Sue Atkins were on hand offering excellent advice and guidance and we even met Annabel Karmel much to Harrison (and daddy’s) delight!

Harrison had a great weekend, making some lovely friends at Wow Toys and even got to look like Spiderman for the day. This is where the babyexpo really delivers, it is such a family friendly event and our boy didn’t stop smiling!

We arrived home on Sunday night with aching feet and sore backs but we learnt so much and Gillian is making a conscious effort to tweet more and get the Facebook likes up. (eek!)

We wouldn’t be where we are today without you, our lovely customers and we truly appreciate all the help you give us in spreading the word and letting mum to be’s know we are here. From the bottom of our hearts:

Thank you!

To see this blog,  further images and more info on this lovely mummy and her business go to http://www.mojomaternity.co.uk/share-your-wear

 

 

 

Mummy Adventure: Choosing A Sling

6 week old snuggles in a stretchy

Choosing a sling is not easy as there are so many options out there, each with their own appeal.  For a newborn though I don’t think anything beats a stretchy wrap.  You tie the wrap on you before setting off and slip the baby in.  They are so secure and supportive, and your baby is cuddled up against your skin, using your body heat to keep them lovely and warm.  Stretchy wraps are very protective, and with a younger baby you can tuck their feet in to keep them warm and support a sleeping baby’s head too.  My goal with baby no.2 is to learn to breastfeed in one as I know many people that do, and this may make running around after an energetic toddler a bit easier!

With baby number 2 on the way we have been trying to decide whether to fork out for a double buggy or not.  The other option is to keep our beautiful travel system and use a sling for the other baby.  Before I had Dylan I had no idea that baby wearing was so easy but now I have fallen in love with it and the idea of wearing my newborn close to me is very appealing, especially with a winter due date.
Our stretchy wrap got a lot of use and I will definitely be using one with squish whatever decision we make.  I did find by 6 months though that Dylan was getting a bit heavy, and was not as well supported as I would like him to be.  This is where we bought two different carriers.  I loved wrapping him and with a woven wrap there are so many possibilities! It took me a bit of practice and some trial and error, but I found my favourite front and back carries.  There are so many beautiful choices and groups for advice and trading but ultimately I think choosing a design that goes with your wardrobe and style is what is important.

11 month cuddles at the zoo

Our second, but equally used carrier is an ERGO baby.  Much easier to use for someone new to babywearing and still with an option to wear baby on your front or back.  The thing I love about ERGO compared to some other buckled carriers is that is distributes baby’s weight well and supports them, making a seat that extends from knee to knee. Dylan is not a small baby, but at nearly 30lbs I can wear him with ease for 4/5 hours in the ERGO as his weight is not only on my shoulders but on my hips too.  The ERGO comes with a built in sleep hood meaning no rolling heads when baby falls asleep (and trust me these things come with sleepy dust in them!).

When choosing which style is best for you, I would recommend finding a sling library if you have one local.  Finding a good carrier that will last you from a newborn to a toddler is not necessarily cheap but it is a great investment.  We are lucky enough to have both options but if you are after one that both mum and dad could wear I would recommend a structured carrier – nothing fiddly and plenty of unisex designs.  If you like the earth mama feel and experimenting with colours, patterns and ways of carrying then there are some beautiful woven wraps to add to your wish list!
Most importantly, make sure it is comfortable and supportive of your baby.  Think about how you would want to be carried. Baby’s legs should hug you with their knees higher than their bum and support should extend to their knees – just like a seat would, or carrying them in your arms would.  Their back should have a natural curve, so they are best facing your body, whether on your front or on your back. Baby’s head should be easy to kiss if they are on your front.  If you are comfortable and they are comfortable then chances are you will get some lovely cuddles as you both enjoy your day and it is nice and easy to interact when they up close to you.   Dylan loves being able to see everything and I love bonding with him and having my hands free!

BabyExpo Pre-Show Preview!

BabyExpo Pre-Show Preview!

12:30 – 13:00pm Sunday 23 September

thecentre:mk – Via Door 12 – between WH Smiths and BHS

To celebrate the forthcoming BabyExpo BabyShow – the UK’s Biggest and Brightest FREE BabyShow experience – Humphrey the Elephant from Humphrey’s Corner will be visiting thecentre:mk on Sunday 23 September at 12:30pm. He’ll be joined by some of the biggest names exhibiting at the two-day show to include John Lewis who will be showcasing some of the latest, most innovative buggies and travel systems and award-winning Gymboree with their fun puppets and mascots!  There’ll be Fandabidozi face-painting, the opportunity to pick up a free BabyExpo Show Guide (offering an exclusive preview of the event),  prize competitions to win FREE VIP tickets and the chance to get a real feel of what this new event will be offering parents and parents to be in the Region.

For more on the show go to www.babyexpobabyshow.co.uk

To confirm attendance on Sunday or for further information email Communications Director Suzanne Borrell - suzanne@whatson4.co.uk or call 07714 486 494

Exclusive Pre-launch Prize Draw!

With just over one week go to Baby Expo our exhibitors are feeling extremely generous. We’ve got a range of super-fab prizes on offer with this exclusive, on-line competition. Each prize winner will not only get one of the fabulous goodies listed below but also received a pair of VIP Shopper Experience tickets. This ticket will allow you to skip the queue and get to browse the show, meet with exhibitors plus enjoy the chance to meet some of our parenting experts as seen on TV. Don’t forget our special guest is Humphrey and you’ll get your photo taken courtesy of two-d Studio, our official photographers. You will also get goodie bag as supported by JoJo Maman Bebe, show guide, VIP pass and other treats!

You must be able to attend Baby Expo MK collect your prize on Saturday 29th September, 2012 in order to enter.

The prizes include:

- Water Babies Swimming lessons worth £135

- Water Babies Swim Kit worth £20

- Water Babies Happy Nappy worth £9.99

- A £50 voucher to spend at Mums and Me

- A Cosatto Noodle High Chair (Dippi Egg) Worth £100 RRP

- A big, cute, cuddly toy bear from Costco

To enter follow the instructions here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms:

Prize draw closes at midnight Thursday 27th September, winners will be chosen Friday 28th September, 2012 in time for the show. All prizes must be collected on the day at the exhibitor’s stand. No cash equivalent. Winners will be chosen at random using Rafflecopter. Full terms here.

Running A Business The Easy (or Easier) Way…

Amanda’s Action Club is a UK brand providing fun, physical development classes and dynamic birthday parties for young children (aged 0-11). A successful business of many years in the London area, Amanda’s Action Club is now launching a franchise opportunity nationwide www.amandasactionclub.co.uk

There’s a part of us all that thinks we’d rather be feet up on a beach in the Bahamas with a whole heap of lottery money in the bank, never to work again. But given that most us of us have to work the great dream remains to work for ourselves, to be our own boss, top dog, answerable to nobody.

Of course, the reality is you are always answerable to somebody. But still working for yourself means flexibility and some control over where you’re heading. It also means no ceiling on your earnings and the ability to take up the role you most feel suited to and to employ others to do the rest.

But the truth is that natural-born risk takers are few and far between. Relatively few people stumble across a big idea worth pursuing and fewer still are cut out for that high-risk world. Statistics show that 50 % of business fail in the first year and 95% of businesses fail within five years. So the question for many remains, how can I get the advantages of being my own boss without the vulnerability? And the answer, increasingly is by owning a franchise.

The greatest benefit of owning a franchise is having a product or service to sell that’s a proven success. Somebody else has failed and lost money trying various things until they figured out what the market wants. As a franchisee you don’t have to face that same, hard journey, you just pick it up mid-trail with a proven brand that people aleady know and respect.

The other great advantage is you get initial and ongoing training and support. It’s in the Franchisor’s interest that you succeed so you won’t have to feel that you’re out there on your own. Your Franchise Support Team will have your back and do as much as possible to see that you succeed.

Owning and running a franchise has been called a ‘School for Entrepreneurs’. That’s because your franchise team will educate you how to run a business successfully with all that involves. You’ll have to tow the company line with regard to how you present yourself so your wings will be clipped in that respect. But that freedom is traded for the security of having a proven brand to present and that’s definitely a fair trade.

But in the end the best thing about being your own boss is that success or failure comes down to you – there’ll be no office politics to blame for how you get on. A franchise gives you a fair chance to make a go of an enterprise. In business, as in life you can’t ask for much more than that.

To find out about the Amanda’s Action Club franchise come and see at Baby Expo, or  phone 01895 623999 – email franchise@amandasactionclub.co.uk.

Birth to Toddler: what really lasts

Having a baby changes everything, not least of which is your house.  Their ‘stuff’ takes over every room, from the cots and moses baskets to the baby bath and of course the toys are everywhere.  But what really stands the test of time?  Many of Dylan’s things are packed away after lasting only a few short weeks and others are still in use now, 13 months down the line.
One thing that you may not expect to be a keeper is the baby bath.  Sure, he wasn’t in there for long as a bath as we found it more comfortable to lie him on the bottom of the main bath  after a while, but come summer it is invaluable as an outside water play area.  Dylan loved sitting outside splashing and it meant not needing to invest in a paddling pool yet.  Sitting him in there for summer baths also saved our bathroom carpet as he loves nothing more than splashing away.
I love reading and wanted to encourage Dylan with his speech and so we have read to him right from the very beginning.  I bought story books aimed at slightly older children as they kept me more entertained and he didn’t have a clue what I was on about anyway.  He is loving his board books now but I hope it won’t be long until we can sit down together and read the story books again, pointing at the pictures and practising the words.  Definitely an investment worth making.
My Ergo carrier is definitely a birth to toddler product.  A lovely ‘heart to heart’ insert makes it suitable for a newborn and there is nothing nicer than feeling your little baby cuddled up against you.  As the baby grows the insert comes out and toddler years mean wearing on your back.  Dylan loves being worn and the carrier is perfect for places like the zoo as we are on the same level and he can see and chat to me about everything.  Toddlers can be worn until they are at least 3 in this design and the carrier is such great quality that you known it will last.  There are some other great carriers like the Boba 3G
Before we had a baby I knew I wanted one of those lovely rocker chairs.  The ones with padded seats and a footstall – I mean how would I possibly breastfeed without one?  I am very glad we did invest in a nursing chair as I love it.  I used to fall asleep feeding Dylan in bed when we were still up several times a night and getting into the chair helped keep me awake and also comfortable.  It has had so much use rocking the baby to sleep and we still use it now for story time.  The chairs are spacious, comfortable and with a rocking footstall you can’t go wrong! I think it is definitely a product that will last us a few more good years as it is nice to have somewhere to snuggle up and cuddle in the nursery.
So there are a few of our lasting products, and they are all things that will be perfect for the new baby when he or she comes along next year.  Great investments and they don’t take up too much space!

Relax, move and breathe for a healthier pregnancy and easier labour!

Lazy Daisy offers Pregnancy and Baby classes inspired by movement, massage and relaxation.

For mums-to-be, Daisy Birthing’s unique active birth education is designed to make confident birth 2nd nature, whilst Daisy Baby classes help you understand how to use massage and calming techniques to soothe your new baby.

You probably know that breathing, movement and relaxation all have benefits in both pregnancy and labour, but some of these may surprise you …

Relaxation

During pregnancy, being relaxed helps to keep blood pressure low, encourages the release of endorphins and enables you to physically relax your ligaments, muscles and skeleton.

Relaxation also helps to keep adrenalin levels low. This is essential during labour because adrenalin sends your body into fight or flight, which causes the diversion of blood to the organs essential for survival and therefore away from your uterus. This limits its supply of oxygen, inhibiting the uterine muscle from working effectively and making birthing much more difficult.

Adrenalin also inhibits the production of both oxytocin (your contraction hormone), which can cause labour to stall and of endorphins (your natural pain relieving hormones – 200 times the strength of morphine!).

Movement

Movement helps to strengthen key muscles in your body. This helps prepare your body to carry the growing weight of your baby as well as being physically prepared for labour.

During pregnancy movement can be used effectively to influence your baby’s position bringing them into the optimal birth position. In labour, by utilising upright positions and movements which enable your body to engage with gravity, you can encourage dilation of your cervix and help keep your contractions regular so you birth as efficiently as possible.

Breathing

Breathing oxygenates your blood, which then carries that oxygen to the structures in your body that require it to function effectively. During pregnancy that oxygen is, importantly, carried to the placenta and your baby. During labour, it is important to continue that flow of oxygen to baby, but it’s also essential to oxygenate the key birthing muscle – your uterus. When muscles are well oxygenated they work easily, tire less quickly and feel comfortable!

Mummy Adventure: Our Baby Essentials

During my first pregnancy I read every book, visited every website and had every app on my phone going.  I wanted to be as clued up as possible about what my body was going through and how my baby was growing.  Every source recommended different essentials and I have to admit, I bought most of them.  I also used most of them, albeit some more than others. 

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We attended antenatal classes about 4 weeks before the baby was due and they were very worthwhile.  I will be honest and say that I didn’t learn a whole lot but the reassurance was fantastic and they helped me confirm the decisions I had made.  I also made friends at the antenatal classes that I see on almost a daily basis now and wouldn’t have got through those first few weeks without knowing we were all in the same boat.  Pregnancy or newborn essential, I would recommend going as they really helped me prepare for life with a baby.

My number one newborn essential though is muslin squares.  They may not look fancy but they have so many purposes you will wonder how you got through life without them.  As well as being a burp cloth I used muslins as a breastfeeding cover, as a crib and pram sheet when D was a bit sicky, as a blanket, a bib, a makeshift nappy and a sun cover for the pram.  Talk about useful!  I ended up with about 40 for Dylan (maybe slightly over the top) but it meant I had one handy in every room of the house!  I will definitely be investing in some nice fresh ones for squish!

Second would be the all important cot.  I think Moses baskets/cribs are great but not a necessity.  Dylan outgrew his crib by 10 weeks and was so much happier in his cot being able to throw his arms around without whacking the sides.  Some babies love the security of a crib but you can always use rolled up blankets either side of them to give some security.  We bought a lovely cot-bed which should last him for quite some time.

My third essential would be a sling.  A pram is taken for granted and is a huge decision.  I am still just as in love with my icandy Cherry as I was when we bought it and think it was a fabulous investment but sometimes baby does not want to be put down.  Sometimes you really need to do some washing up, or make a cup of tea and you need your hands free.  I had a moby style stretchy wrap and it was brilliant.  Later on I accrued a few styles of slings and carriers but for a newborn Moby would always be my number one choice.  They are so easy to use and I loved the closeness and cuddles.

As for clothes, my mum wisely told me not to buy too many.  When Dylan was born we were inundated with presents, most of them being very tiny baby clothes meaning I did not NEED to buy him anything for months.  Being his mummy though I of course WANTED to and loved being able to spend a little extra time and money choosing those gorgeous little clothes.  It is lovely to have things that you have picked but you don’t need to fill a wardrobe as people love shopping for a newborn! 

We had a rocker chair which we did’t start using until the little dude was about 6 weeks old but we and he loved it.  The vibrate function and some powerful rocking would send him to sleep in minutes and it was nice having somewhere safe to put him down where he could see what was going on around him.  We had a lovely fisher price zoo bouncer chair and it was used until Dylan was bout 5 months.  There are many variations on the bouncy/rocker chair

My final essential is not one you can buy in a shop.  Patience is something vital for coping with a baby.  There will be nights where you are lucky to get 10 minutes sleep.  There will be days when the baby throws up on you so many times you run out of clean clothes but things will get better and a few deep breaths are sometimes all you really need.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Introducing Baby Expo MK’s Mummy Blogger: The Mummy Adventure!

Our Mummy blogger Bex has just announced that she is expecting her second child and we couldn’t be more thrilled for her. She usually writes over at The Mummy Adventure but for the next few months she’ll be sharing everything from bump to baby with us.

At 23 babies were the last thing on my mind but it appears life had other ideas. When I found out I was pregnant I was over the moon, devastated, excited and terrified. It was not in my plans but I knew that I would love this child and a few months later my beautiful boy was born. Dylan turned my life upside down – or the right way up depending on how you look at it.

It seemed being a mother was what my body was meant to do as I was lucky enough to have a problem free labour and birth and the most beautiful little baby I had ever seen. My body adapted as did my dreams as we settled into our new life. I always knew I wanted a big family although quite when was never for certain. Having grown up with a brother and sister very close to me in age we decided to start trying for number two when the little man was 9 months old.

Six weeks later we found out that I was still as fertile as before and another 6 weeks on I am proud to say baby number 2 is due in February 2013. We are so excited although the idea of having two under two is also pretty scary right now!

For now my priority is enjoying my time with Dylan as I am sure life with one will seem such a luxury once the little squish is here! We have so much to do before February including picking the all important double buggy and it is already going so fast! Unless I decide my enormous shoe collection can be sold (no chance!) we need to move as our third room is currently a walk in wardrobe and yes my priorites are fine! We need a whole new set of little clothes as even if squish is a boy everything will be out of season. We also really need to find a way to squeeze more hours in each day and any help with that one would be more than welcome!