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


Phil Gallagher from CBeebies Mister Maker and diddi dance get Brighton rockin’!

Phil Gallagher from CBeebies Mister Maker and diddi dance get Brighton rockin’!

Diddi dance joined by Mister Maker star Phil Gallagher at the south coasts premiere baby event

On Sunday 13th November 2011, diddi dance owner Anne-Marie Martin, Croydon Franchise owner, Melissa Lodge and Brighton Franchise owner Laura Gardner went to the seaside to perform live on stage with Phil Gallagher, CBeebies creative king, AKA Mister Maker!

A massive crowd of 4500 people from 23 different counties came to the event which diddi dance was very proud to be headline sponsors of.

With everything on offer from pushchairs to nappy cakes, the Brighton baby expo had a huge number of attractions but it was diddi dance that stole the show with the performance of the weekend.

Nearly 100 children joined in as the diddi dance team, Mister Makers Phil Gallagher AND Number Jack 4 wiggled, jiggled and jumped their way through a brilliant diddi dance session. Diddi dance were also on show in a prime location in the main hall. New Mums and Dads flocked to the diddi dance stand to hear the word about diddi dance classes, nurseries and parties in their part of the UK.

Franchise Director, Arabella Gunn was also on hand to talk to a number of visitors who were keen to find out more about setting up their own diddi dance business.

A rip roaring success of a weekend for everyone ended with hundreds of new diddi dancers going home happy, thousands of new mums and dads seeing and experiencing diddi dance for themselves and one CBeebies star having being made an honorary diddi dancer!




Coming out the other side…..

BabyExpo on November 13 was our best yet – highest footfall, greatest number of exhibitors and a really inspiring programme of activities and entertainment – from conception to colic and tons for the kids.

Every year I say I am going to try and streamline the programme & make it more managable & every year I get carried away – this year we had a record 5 ‘extra’ areas ranging from the new Parent’s Pit Stop Zone with Mayo Wynne Baxter to the JUNO Natural Parenting Zone.

We were delighted to welcome the wonderful Phil Gallagher from Cbeebies and Jo Tantum, the UK’s no 1 babysleep expert as well as Headline Sponsors NCT, diddi dance, Early Years Childcare, Sing and Sign and Yummy Mummy Maternity. Thank goodness BabyExpo is now part of the lovely ‘What’s On 4’ family meaning I had fantastic support from business partner Sam, sales manager Mel, Zena, Susanne, a great team of volunteers, various husbands, best friends and older children but still none of us stopped all day!

The event feedback has been amazing but I have to pay tribute to our exhibitors. Not only do they have faith in us and invest in the event in these difficult economic times, but many go out of their way to assist us in the promotion both professionally – emailing their clients and contacts and personally – taking fliers into their children’s nurseries, placing event information on various intranets, putting poster in their local libraries etc.

BABYEXPO is a partnership and we work hand in hand with our clients to achieve its success. We always learn from every event – ironically some of our harshest criticism this year has been that too many people attended – having been at some other events where just a few hundred visitors came we know there are worse problems to have HOWEVER we will work on the layout and stand design to assist this and are already in discussions to this end.

As usual the post-show blues have set in but am already excited about the next show and a new show we will hopefully be announcing in a few weeks! I really hope you will join us! To read some of our feedback click here and to see more from on the day from the BrightonMums click here

Producing successful exhibitions is not rocket science. They are the result of A LOT of very hard work, luck, experience and a fair bit of charm.  The satisfaction however of combining keen buyers with wonderful sellers under one roof for one day and watching 9+ months work come together is enormous.




Hello Baby Gifts Ltd – towering nappy cake!

Here at ‘Hello Baby Gifts’ it’s all go, go, go in readiness for Sundays’ Baby Expo. Not only are we busy rolling, folding and making up baby gifts for our stall, we’ve also got a competition in the main reception!

Way back in July we had an idea that we’d like to make a 7/8 tiered nappy cake (the average size is 2/3 tiers) and run it as a guess how many nappies are in it competition with all proceeds going to Chestnut Tree House. Everyone loved the idea and we were asked to run the competition in the main reception area.

The massive cake has now been assembled, with nappies donated by ‘Huggies’, and looks stunning. Our next challenge will be getting it to Brighton in a Ford Fiesta!

Our stall will be a haven of gorgeousness with Nappy Cakes, Nappy Rings, Gift Boxes and Bassinet Baskets all adorned with plenty of bows, buttons and flowers! We will also have lots of Onesie Buns (bodysuits rolled up to look like cupcakes) and our new Giant Cupcakes. We’ve also got some really cute Xmas outfits and Xmas Nappy Rings

Come and say hello, we’re on stall 132 or have a go at guessing how many nappies are in the cake…. You never know, you may be lucky and win the lot!!

Look forward to seeing you there

Nikki O’Connor

Hello Baby Gifts Ltd.

Mummy Looks Fab and Bras 4 Mums Support for BabyExpo! Free fitting + 50% off designer change bags!

Treats For Visitors To Brighton Baby Expo
07 Nov 11
Here at Mummy Looks Fab we are very excited about our forthcoming involvement in Brighton Baby Expo 2011 on November 13

In collaboration with T-J Hughes of Bras4mums we will be offering all our visitors a free bra-fitting service from a trained member of the bra-lady team. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding don’t miss out on the opportunity to check your bra is doing its job and your breasts are fully supported.

In addition to this we will also be offering our customers some amazing show deals – exclusive and for this event only:

Luxury Koochu change bags at 50% off. Designed with practicality in mind these gorgeous change bags effortlessly convert to luxury hand bags long after your baby changing days are over.

We will be launching a new designer – Seren Maternity – at the show and to celebrate our collaboration we are offering all our customers a buy one get one half price on their excellent value nursing vests. Longer line, super soft, just the right stretch, easy breastfeeding access and hard wearing, these vests will see you through breast feeding and beyond and are worth their weight in gold in any maternity wardrobe.

Finally, our end of season sale will be starting at the show with 50, 60 and even 70% off the last few designs in a range. These are reductions that will not be repeated on the website, so it’s an excellent opportunity to supplement your maternity wardrobe at a fraction of the normal cost.
Come and see us on Stand 203 for all of this and more

For more details contact sam on sales@mummylooksfab.co.uk or t-j on t-j@bralady.co.uk



Officreche to the rescue!

Officrèche offers 2 hours free flexible childcare to help in hectic run up to BabyExpo

Elizabeth, the director of Officrèche (Stand 126, Innovation Alley), knows only too well how tricky it is to juggle marketing a business and little ones – she has a 1 month old son and a 2 year old daughter.

So take advantage of her empathy and 2 hours of free flexible childcare at their premises right by Brighton station. All you need to do to qualify is to ring 01273 434244 and arrange to pop in to meet their staff in the fantastic environment. You can stay onsite and use the office space while your child plays downstairs – or  the 2 hours can also be used to run errands in the outside world but you must do another settle of your child before going offsite.

The normal pay as you go rates are £10/hr for fleixble childcare and office space, £7/hr for flexible childcare – better rates if you buy a subscription! All bookable online, £20 website membership fee waived for November.

Suzanne Borrell - BabyExpo Director adds – Ruby and I are having our 2 hours on Wed! We’ll let you know how we go – I am going to work onsite – just hope Ruby doesn’t wreck the place. If so I may leave her there! Just kidding!


Sussex ‘Parentpreneurs’ launch Topsy Toesy online boutique at Brighton Baby Expo


Sussex ‘Parentpreneurs’ launch Topsy Toesy online boutique at Brighton Baby Expo

Newly established online boutique TopsyToesy.co.uk, specialising in headwear and footwear for children, launches into the new season with a collection of current stylish designs, several of which have already been picked up by, and featured in, publications such as Vogue, Tatler and The Daily Telegraph

Topsy Toesy is the brain-child of Sussex-based mother Lisa Kingsnorth who, after giving birth to her daughter two-years ago, felt the UK market to be lacking an outlet that specifically provides a unique and desirable range of headwear and footwear for babies and young children for every occasion, as she explains: “Whilst there appears to be an abundance of beautiful clothing available for babies and young children in every imaginable style, I had struggled to find a range of hats and shoes for my daughter to compliment her outfits, whilst providing the necessary protection, quality and comfort I desired.  My aim, through Topsy Toesy, is to seal the gap in the market by providing a one-stop-shop for stylish headwear and footwear for children from birth upward”.

Wherever possible, Topsy Toesy works with UK-based artisans, designers and manufacturers to create a unique range of quality headwear and footwear items to suit all tastes.  This season, the range includes, 100% pure and natural hand-spun yarns crafted into beautiful woollen hats, classic flat-caps for boys, handcrafted knits in Aran and Fair-Isle designs, quintessential trilbies in check-print, cotton crochets, cashmere beanies and beautiful sheepskin trapper hats to compliment a stylish range of footwear, including the popular leather hi-top, desert boot, an array of vibrant Mary-Janes, a selection of exquisite handmade ‘occasion’ footwear and more

To mark the official launch, Topsy Toesy will be exhibiting a selection of goods at the Brighton Baby Expo, American Express Community Stadium, Falmer on Sunday 13 November, Stand 96

All visitors to the stand, signing up for the Topsy Toesy newsletter, will receive a 20% discount code for first time purchases

Improving your child’s chances of success in Maths by making it FUN!

Stephanie Cracknell – Improving your child’s chances of success in Maths by making it FUN!

Maths has been in the news a lot recently. Just on the BBC website, there are stories on schools and universities dumbing down maths, Carol Voderman reporting on how to improve maths teaching in schools and last month a report saying ‘sums tables not needed for maths success in primary schools’:

At Mathemagical parent and toddler classes we want to give children the best possible start in what is perceived as one of the most difficult subjects at school. The first thing that children learn is that maths is fun! We want our children to go to school knowing and believing that maths is just as fun and exciting as music and singing, dance, drama, gymnastics, arts and crafts. They are exposed to a superb range of mathematical toys, resources and games. One minute they’re wearing frog masks and singing ‘5 little speckled frogs’ jumping into the pond, the next they’re running from one side of the hall to other counting out loud as they run. They work in small teams on the floor to solve a puzzle together then jump up and run around together sorting different sized balls into hoops. There’s 20 minutes of free-play where children choose which mathematical toys they want to play with and finally finish with our ‘count-down’ by pretending to be rockets and running madly around the room (and that’s just one lesson)! Each half-term covers a different theme: Sorting and Ordering, 2-D Shapes, Measures, Addition, 3-D shapes and Subtraction and in every lesson not only do we practise out counting, but we teach children what those numbers actually mean.

We’re really excited to be at the Brighton Baby Expo for the first time. Come and visit us at stand 241.

Watch out short video and get more information at www.mathemagical.co.uk


Mayo Wynne Baxter Parent’s Pit Stop!

You can’t go wrong if you make the Mayo Wynne Baxter Parent’s pitstop your 1st point of call on the day at BabyExpo next month – whether you are keen to conceive or parents of young children needing some fun – there’s something for everyone.

The pit stop will offer the opportunity for a break, a little R&R and for the little ones to let off steam.

Mayo Wynne Baxter will be launching their ‘Family Footprints’ campaign to encourage families with young children to write a Will AND try to raise £10,000 for Chestnut Tree House! The team will be on-hand with expert advice and Kids can join in by making paint footprints, which will be collected and used in a monumental piece of artwork!
There will be free yummy Ella’s Kitchen organic food for little ones*, the Organic Coffee and Smoothie bar and don’t miss fun with free bubbles from Purple Heart!   Children’s entertainers and face painters will also be on hand to include Dotty Spotty Sox, Actable Academy and the BalloonArcy gang!

The Artfull Splodgers – the experts in fun – will bring their fabulous team to amuse children with messy play all day fun while parents and carers enjoy a break close-by. This year BabyExpo welcomes 2 play zones courtesy of Bandai – with Noddy, Tinga Tinga and all your favourites and back by popular demand, the WOW play zone and play mat with their fabulous range of battery-free, high quality, British-designed, developmental toys – guaranteed favourites with all pre-school children.

Joining in the fun at 1230 will be Headline Sponsor Early Years Childcare who will be hosting a fabulous Heuristic Play session – with their expert team they will be demonstrating how to have fun with everyday objects – encouraging children to explore and learn and how to keep themselves amused.


As if that wasn’t enough, by the Parents Pit Stop is the Western Sussex Hospital NHS Trust stand with their team of experts and all day mini seminars on a range of issues to include Pre-conception, Infant Feeding, Screening & Scanning and Labour & Pain Relief.

Expertise of a different type will be provided by Debbie Stevens and her therapists from Wellbeing Events – you can enjoy a range of treatments on the day from reflexology and mini-massages to manicures so if you are a busy mum or mum-to-be make the most of the opportunity to treat yourself while you can! Look out for Brighton’s very own ‘Yummy Mummy to be’ Lynsey Bartlett from Heart Sussex Breakfast who will be dropping by for a pamper and ensure you check your goodie bags as some lucky visitors will have a FREE PAMPER VOUCHER to be used on the day!

Phil from Cbeebies Mister Maker, Jo Tantum and our Numberjacks VIP will all be making a special visit to the Mayo Wynne Baxter Parent’s Pit Stop on the day so why don’t you join them!

Mayo Wynne Baxter works with a broad spectrum of clients, with specialist lawyers in all aspects of business law and personal legal services. www.mayowynnebaxter.co.uk

For full information on BabyExpo see www.brightonbabyexpo.co.uk/baby-show

New Line of Baby Christening Invitations Announced by Handmade By me

New Line of Baby Christening Invitations Announced by Handmade By me

Handmade By me, invitation leader in the United Kingdom, is proud to announce its new range of elegant handmade christening invitations.

Sussex, England, 11 October 2011 — Handmade By me, selected by Vogue as the top supplier of quality invitations, is launching a new range of christening invitations. Known for providing attractive and unique invitations for every occasion, these newest invitations feature simple yet beautiful designs, guaranteed to draw attention to this very special celebration.

A baby’s christening is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion that will be attended by family and loved ones. Every detail needs to be perfect, right down to the invitations. Choosing invitations that will stand out and become a special part of the day can make the event even more memorable.

The new christening invitations offered from Handmade By me will contribute to a baby’s special day. The three new styles available are Dewey, Rosalie and Frederick.


Dewey is created with a velvety cover, a ribbon and a one-of-a-kind silver cross charm featuring a delicate heart cut-out in the centre. The mounting and ribbon are available in a wide range of colours, allowing parents to customize the invitations. A pocket is available at the back of the invitation for RSVP cards and the set is presented in a tissue-lined box.
For a precious little girl, the Rosalie princess invitations are a perfect choice. The 6-inch square invitation is accented with an adorable princess-themed ribbon, perfect for the special princess in every family.

The Frederick pram invitations feature a textured embroidered pram, mounted 3-D style, on a velvety card. The card is available in an ivory or a white colour and parents can choose between a pink or aqua ribbon and pram decoration. The envelopes are also customised to match the colour selection.

Each of these invitations can be personalised, including the printing of guest names and addresses. The artistry and beauty of these cards will make them perfect additions to a baby book or even for framing as a keepsake. In addition to these lovely selections, Handmade By me has a wide variety of other sophisticated and touching designs for Christening and Baptisms. If customisation is desired, artists can collaborate to help parents design a unique invitation that is personally meaningful.
Along with providing the invitations, Handmade by me also has lines of eco-friendly RSVP cards, thank-you cards, table plans, menus and place cards. They will also work together with brides to come up with unique, personalised messages for the invitations and thank you cards. With just a bit of forethought and planning, it’s easy for any bride to be a part of the environmentally friendly trend sweeping the globe, while still maintaining individuality, elegance and class.

To learn more about personalised invitations, Wedding, Christening and Bespoke invitations, please contact Handmade by me through their website, www.handmadebyme.co.uk. Handmade by me has also launched a new website.


Handmade By me has been one of the U.K.’s top providers of high-quality invitations for ten years. Based in Sussex, England, the company has been recommended by Vogue as the Number One supplier of wedding invitations in the U.K. In addition to wedding invitations, the company is also known for their elegant and stylish Christening invitations, Photo Christening invitations, Baptism invitations and Thank You cards.