STOP PRESS – new show announcement

BabyExpo Bounces into Surrey!

What’s On 4 – the organisers of the highly successful regional babyshow brand BabyExpo are delighted to announce the launch of a brand new show in baby-centric Surrey!

The show will take place on November 24 2013 and there are some very special show deals available for a limited amount of time for exhibitors attending the flagship Brighton event and new Surrey Show. Read on for more!

Why Surrey? Surrey has seen a 20% rise in birth rates over the past decade. With a resident population of 1.1 million it is the most densely populated county in the South East region with the largest sub-regional economy and had the highest Gross Disposable Household Income per head in 2010 of all the SE counties.

The organisers have had a Surrey event on the radar for several years but were waiting for a venue large enough to accommodate the show and to meet the needs of such an exciting event.

Event Director Suzanne Borrell says

‘We are delighted that we have now secured a fabulous venue in Surrey Sports Park. This University of Surrey owned multi million pound facility is ideally located close to Guildford town centre, the Royal Surrey County Hospital and the University and is on major bus routes with lots of parking – it offers a wonderful space to showcase our fantastic exhibitors and to welcome thousands of parents from the Region’.

The Park offers 2 inter-linked, highly spacious exhibiting areas on the ground level with easy buggy access and modern facilities and is already well-known to local parents and the wider community.

The show will follow the proven model of the previous highly successful BabyExpo events – welcoming over 100 exhibiting companies, VIP parenting experts, high profile sponsors, a packed entertainment programme and thousands of visitors as the BabyExpo brand continues to expand nationwide.

Need to know information

Show Date – November 24 2013

Venue –  Surrey Sports Park, Guildford, Surrey

Media Partners – ABC Magazine and kids4media.com

Organisers – What’s On 4 Ltd

Cost – £75 per metre to include carpet, shell scheme walls, fascia name, wi-fi and publicity – SPECIAL OFFER FOR BRIGHTON EXHIBITORS – for a limited time, exhibitors who sign up to both shows can get a massive 50% off the m2 rate for Surrey. This will mean exhibitors can get a stand at each event from as little as £112.50 PER SHOW!  Please note this offer is only open until April 17 2013 – to view the floorplan click here.

For more information call Mel on Direct Line: 0121 288 0102, mobile 07730 094670 or email mel@whatson4.co.uk

See more here –  www.babyexpobabyshow.co.uk and here – www.surreysportspark.co.uk

What can I do with my placenta?

Jessica is a reflexologist and a birth doula who works with pregnant couples and new parents, to empower them before, during and after the birth of their baby. Her holistic approach in pregnancy and experience of the birthing process brings her work together and drives her to spread the Positive Word about this very special time in a couple’s life.

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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.

BIG Babyexpo welcome to Water Babies – our final headline sponsor for June!

Happy New Year!

We are delighted that along with the fabulous Gymboree, Sing & Sign and Busy Bees our final headline sponsor for Expo Brighton 2013 is Water Babies!

 

Water Babies runs fun, innovative baby swimming classes across Sussex.  Our fully qualified instructors are world class and could have trained as private pilots – three times over – in the time it takes them to qualify with us.  With a multi-award winning programme which teaches vital water confidence and safety skills from birth, our overall aim is to teach you to teach your baby to swim. So we’ll always explain why we’re doing everything, as well as carefully demonstrate exactly what to do.

Through carefully structured training, babies can be taught life saving skills such as turning onto their backs or, following a sudden submersion, swimming to the nearest solid object. They grow familiar with what it feels like to fall into water, so that should they ever accidentally fall in they are far less likely to panic and drown. And our results speak for themselves.  In the last three years alone, at least ten of our tiny clients have saved their own lives as a result of the skills they learnt at Water Babies – and five of them were just two years old at the time.

Water Babies classes run 7 days a week across Sussex and the surrounding area.  For further details please call 01273 552454, email bubbles@waterbabies.co.uk or visit www.waterbabies.co.uk .

BabyExpo Final Three

The voting for the BabyExpo Baby 2012 has now closed. We have had 100′s of you vote over on our Facebook page and you have picked your favourite 3.

 

The lovely Jo Tantum (the UK’s #1 baby sleep expert as seen on TV and BabyExpo VIP) will be judging the winner from the top 3. Jo has been a longstanding supporter of the BabyExpo and is we have had so much fun working with her this year.

The winner of BabyExpo Baby 2012 getting a fabulous family photography package from the experts at two-d studios. The experts from two-d studios have done a wonderful job of taking great shots of your little ones – see more on them at here or at their facebook page here.

We will be back in the New Year with our winners!

Merry Christmas and congratulations to our final three. Good luck!!

 

For our Competition please read terms and conditions 

BabyExpo Updates!

BabyExpo – The South Coast’s Biggest and Brightest BabyShow and Family Day will return to Brighton on Sunday 30 June at Brighton Racecourse and Conference Centre with Headline Sponsors Sing & Sign, Gymboree and  Busy Bees Childcare and very special guest Humphrey from Humphrey’s Corner!  Baby-planners, parents-to-be and young families from throughout the Region and beyond can look forward to an informative and fun-filled day with expert pregnancy and parenting advice, a fabulous entertainment line-up, 100’s of fantastic show deals and promotions, £1000’s of baby show prizes, face painters, play-zones, petting zoos and much more. The event will also host the National What’s On 4 Junior Awards with Konfidence and What’s On 4 Me LIVE!  Not to be missed will be the mumandworking flexible working zone with The Mumpreneurs Networking Club, Innovation Alley, The Pregnant In Brighton Pavilion and The Natural Parenting Zone.
Media partners include ABC Magazine and kids4media.com and the event will support Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice and National Childbirth Trust. For more see www.babyexpobabyshow.co.uk

Images courtesy of the lovely guys at two-d studios – www.remembernow.co.uk

What we got up to in half term!

Here at WO4 HQ we enjoyed some great family days out this ½ term!

See below for our trip to Brighton Pier but first our long awaited trip to LEGOLAND Windsor……..

LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort has over 55 interactive rides and attractions and costs £33 for an adult ticket if you buy online.  For more see the website www.legoland.co.uk.

The excitement in the car was almost overwhelming as we approached to be welcomed by giant Lego people. It was a cold day so we had big coats and we were hopeful (as it was an inset day for us but not the surrounding counties) we would avoid too many queues.

The staff are great, very welcoming and friendly and we were through verLego Star Warsy quickly.  The views are lovely as you enter but there wasn’t time to admire Windsor castle as Lego Star Wars was upon us. We had great fun within with great characters, models and sound effects and George’s day was already made. We then walked down to the fabulous Viking’s River Splash experience which was really fun and as it was so cold, I was very relieved that we didn’t get wet!

Then we headed to the famous Dragon ride, via a great adventure playground – Pirate’s Training Camp!  At Dragon we queued for a while, it was a very popular ride and the cold did start to bite. I saw repeat visitors sensibly dressed in hats, gloves and scarves and with supplies to keep them going but the queue moved fairly fast and we were mostly inside. One problem on this ride was that I couldn’t travel with both children and it wLEGOLAND Dragonas suggested I left my 4 yr. old with staff and then went on with her afterwards. She would have freaked out watching George and I disappearing into the tunnel so if you are visiting with fewer adults than small children that’s worth checking 1st. We would have been gutted after such a long wait to have had to walk away but luckily we paired up with a couple and a lone child. The ride is fantastic – so so worth it – we could have spent all day on it.

Then we queued a long time for another little ride, the rain started to come down and here not having the Q-bot was irritating. I had wanted to experience the day without spending extra to ‘Queue Jump’ – especially as we weren’t there on a very busy day. The kids found the people ‘pushing in’ frustrating and annoying and didn’t really understand however. Then hunger really set in so we ended up queuing again in the rain for hot dogs and then eating them in the rain and the day did start to get a little challenging for my youngest.

Fuller tummies helped though and we set off again to MiniLand which was lovely. By early afternoon however we were starting to get cold and tired but there so much we hadn’t visited, so much to explore. Majority rule won and we headed back to the car.  I was probably most disappointed to be leaving but at least we had a great excuse to come back! There is of course a valid reason why LegoLand is not open in the winter but interestingly as the weather drove people away, those who were prepared, were loving the shorter queues and dwindling crowds.

In summary it’s a fantastic family day out. My tops tips would be

  • Take snacks and provisions – to alleviate boredom in queues and meaning you don’t have to waste valuable ride time foraging!
  • Dress suitably – if it’s a cold day wear as many clothes as you can and don’t forget gloves
  • Do get there as early as you can – there’s so much to do in one day
  • Do expect to queue, as with all similar attractions and even with the Q Bot I would imagine on a busy day there’ll be waiting times
  • Do plan your visit. Don’t waste time trying to decide where to head for 1st plan when you are there or having to back-track to see attractions you missed. LEGOLAND is very large – make the most of the day by planning in advance and talking to kids about what they want do to before they get too overexcited to make any sense!
  • And finally Enjoy! We can’t wait to go back!

Brighton Pier

The iconic Brighton Pier cannot be missed as you drive along the sea front with its attractions, lighBrighton Pierts, sounds and smells. I had been going since I was a child and looking forward to taking my children back. Parking on the sea front is now incredibly expensive so if you can park in town and walk down or use public transport. Buses run along the King’s road all the time.

The Pier offers a lovely experience at no cost if you are a stronger parent than I (!) You can walk right to the end, use the deck chairs for free and enjoy a picnic overlooking the beautiful sea, the city, Brighton Marina and new attraction, The Brighton Wheel! With the cry of the seagulls and the smell of chips, donuts and candy floss along with the ‘holiday’ atmosphere it was really enjoyable. Some of the rides were closed due to the time of year unfortunately but we still enjoyed the Helter Skelter and Carousel which both offer good value for money and were great fun although I think I was more scared than the kids on the Helter Skelter!

The arcades offer a noisy, bright and very stimulating and where we lost of 2ps and 10ps in the machines but it was all good fun.  A really lovely way to while away a gloomy October weekend.

For more on the Pier see here – www.brightonpier.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!

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!