BabyExpo Brighton 2013

Last Sunday was the BabyExpo event in Brighton – and what a day! It all kicked off at 9.30am when the sun shone on Brighton Racecourse. The first 500 people received a goody bag filled with exciting samples. I received an extra special goody bag – but more on that in a future post!

I made my round the various exhibitors – chatting, taking photos and soaking up the happy atmosphere. There were so many gorgeous pregnant ladies waddling around (I don’t know why I didn’t anticipate this!) and by lunchtime I was suffering from serious Bump Envy. I restrained myself though – no random Bump rubbing, I promise!

Sadly, at around 11.30am, the sea mists descended upon the Racecourse, and it all got a bit chilly, but the buzz of the event never lulled.

Here are a few photos from the day:

Crowds at BabyExpo Brighton.

Crowds at BabyExpo Brighton.

Soft play area - can I have a go?

Soft play area – can I have a go?

Lucy Piper kicks the BabyExpo off whilst the crowds enter.

Lucy Piper kicks BabyExpo off while the crowds enter.

Lots of Ella's Kitchen freebies!

Lots of Ella’s Kitchen freebies!

Diddidance having a boogie!

Diddi Dance having a boogie!

LoveYush were at the entrance... slightly chilly by the end of the day. It's a good job they sell scarves!

LoveYush were situated by the entrance… and were slightly chilly by the end of the day. It’s a good job they sell scarves!

Usborne books. So doesn't love them??

Usborne books. Who doesn’t love them??

My Wondercube. I had never heard of this product but it's amazing!

My Wondercube. I had never heard of this product before, but it’s amazing!

I attended the start of the Baby Sensory class.

I attended the start of the Baby Sensory class.

And learnt some news things at the ParentSkool antenatal taster.

And learnt some new things at the ParentSkool antenatal taster.

This has to be my favourite stall of the day. Gabz makes amazing cupcake hats and these very cute woollen pants!

This had to be my favourite stall of the day. Gabz makes amazing cupcake hats and these very cute woollen pants!

Sarah Jane from Cbeebies having fun with an award winning lizard!

Sarah Jane from Cbeebies having fun with an award winning lizard!

At 3pm I headed upstairs to attend the What’s On 4 Junior International Awards. Tears pricked in my eyes when Guy Lewis, from Gymboree Brighton, won a number of awards; the tribute to him was beautiful and ever-so emotional. Overall the awards were incredibly exciting, and an amazing celebration of fabulous people and businesses throughout the UK. Congratulations to all of the winners (and finalists)!

Who was your favourite exhibitor at the BabyExpo event? Did you learn anything? What would you like to see at next years event in Brighton?

Hannah

RIP Guy Lewis – father to 3, husband to Hanna and Gymboree Brighton Owner and Manager……

Yesterday I had the privilege to join many others to say goodbye to Guy after his tragic and unexpected death earlier this year.

It was a beautiful, emotional service with some very moving tributes and music choices including ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ at the end, which at least made us smile – so very Guy. We were reminded in the service of many things about Guy not least his kindness, his unbounding energy and commitment to everything he did, his love and passion for his family and his continued drive to ‘seize the day’.

Guy and Gymboree at BabyExpo

This morning, like many I expect, I have woken feeling sad and a little numb having witnessed at 1st hand the pain of the parents who have lost their son and the wife and mother whose 3 tiny, beautiful children will grow up without their lovely dad. I can only imagine how they are coping.

I first met Guy about 7 years ago – I was new to the area, a very new mum and a bit of a disaster really. Motherhood had not panned out quite as I had planned – I seemed to spend my days as a sleep deprived zombie, often covered in sick, I was incredibly lonely and felt a failure on all counts. Then I signed up to Gymboree and suddenly I could start to see some light. Guy would greet you with a massive smile or a hug, little ones were enchanted by him and when we first met I couldn’t believe he didn’t yet have children of his own such was his rapport with the whole class. As with many kids’ activities, I met other mums and made friends, we had a purpose to our day (even if it did take 2 hours to get out of the house) and George loved the classes – he came home stimulated yet sleepy (yay) and he loved meeting the other babies and toddlers. Guy’s warmth radiated and the classes were an oasis and we grew alongside Gymboree.

Gymboree at BabyExpo

Yesterday there was a mention of the thousands of parents who had come into contact with Guy over the 8+ years he ran Gymboree and I hope he knew how important he was. I now know many mums felt the same as me in those early stages of baby and toddlerhood and such classes DO become a lifeline.

BabyExpo is hosting the What’s On 4 Junior awards with Konfidence this year – these awards reward and celebrate the very best activity providers and as always I am so moved by some of the testimonials from nominating parents paying tribute to those class leaders who made such a difference to their and their child’s lives and development.

So, if your lives were enhanced by a fabulous activity, community volunteer, party entertainer or class do make sure you nominate them in the What’s On 4 Junior Awards – just click here – there’s a category for everyone from ‘Best pre/post natal’ to ‘Best after school club’ and you could win 2 tickets to join us at BabyExpo for the champagne awards on June 30.

There’s just a month until nominations close so seize the day and do it now ;-)

Guy on the main stage at BabyExpo with Lucy Piper, Jo Tantum and Phil Gallagher from Cbeebies Mister Maker

I am delighted that Guy’s legacy will live on in Brighton with Gymboree continuing to run under the care of widow Hanna and class leader Bobby and you can see them at BabyExpo on June 30 alongside further Headline Sponsors Sing & Sign, Water Babies and Busy Bees. Guy will be there too in his own way I am sure.