The Bedfordshire Baby & Toddler Show 2015

On Sunday 19th of April, I had the great experience of visiting the Bedfordshire Baby Show, at Bedford’s Athletic Stadium. It was the first baby show of its kind for Bedfordshire and everyone was very excited. The Bedfordshire Baby and Toddler Show delivered us with a superb day of shopping, information and entertainment aimed at every early stage of parent hood- from pregnancy, newborns, toddlers and right up to the age of 5 years. All I could see was happy parents and happy stall holders. The hall kept busy all day and the energy in the room was running high.

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I was kindly greeted by the door staff and handed a superb goodie bag containing some useful free samples and even a story book for my girls to enjoy. Tickets were just £2.50 in advance (£3.50 on the door, and U16’s Free). It was the cheapest event that I have attended in a long time. The doors opened at 10am and I must admit, I didn’t think that the event would take a full day to explore as it’s a small show of its kind, But I was pleasantly put in my place and we didn’t leave until the very end of the day- my feet hurt! There were over 70 stalls to explore, competitions to enter and lots of cake to eat!

bedfordshire baby show

I took baby Ivy with us in the Quinny. I normally baby wear but I was wearing heels and ready for some expert shopping, so the buggy was a much better idea! With superb stalls from the likes of Funky Bear children’s wear, Wise Hippo Birthing, Parentskool, Families Bedfordshire magazineKrisgar  entertainments, and Mrs Gleam’s cleaning products… to name a few! With so many stalls exhibiting, it is hard to list them all, but there really was a stall to cater to everyone’s shopping needs. For parents needing to kit out the nursery or even for parents needing to choose a present for an upcoming birthday, the range of stalls was impressive.

Two-D photography had a pop up studio at the end of the hall offering parents the chance to have some gorgeous photographs taken of their little models (and the chance to win in a competition for your child to be the face of the next baby show). I had some stunning shots of Ivy taken, and when Dan the photographer encouraged me to jump infront of the camera, I kindly rejected his offer. I hate having my photo taken with a passion, but after much begging I let him take a couple of shots. I have seen the images that he has taken and I am so very happy with what he has captured. I actually look OK, his lens didn’t smash, and people didn’t run away from what they saw… so I might just order a print from Two-D ;) .

Two-D Photography

The St. John’s Ambulance stand were a big favourite of mine  and were speaking in the Demonstration arena about infant first aid, something which I feel very passionate about. They had some great goodie bags to hand out too, including vital information on meningitus and first aid for Eplilepsy, something which many of us wouldn’t feel confident knowing if an emergency arose. The Bedfordshire National Childbirth Trust (NCT) had a great stall discussing all the fantastic work that they do for parents in Bedfordshire including breastfeeding support and at the show, they were talking about their superb sling library- They even had some amazing slings on the stall for parents to try and get a feel for what baby wearing is all about. The NCT hold some fantastic sales regularly, so do check them out and grab a bargain.

bedfordshire baby show

Bedfordshire Childrens Centre were on hand promoting the new Five To Thrive initiative (an attachment based approach to positive parenting) and discussing Book Start, giving all children access to free books!  Doula UK were represented by a collection of lovely ladies all working as doula’s and hypnobirthing instructors, they were educating ladies on their birthing choices and had a superb selection of items to loot at and discuss, including placenta encapsulation and umbilical cord art by Birth Your Way- something that is a huge personal interest to me.  Debbie from Brilliant Nappies, had a great range of disposable nappies and accessories to talk through, for those parents interested in trying cloth for the first time, or us ‘old hands’ wanting to try something new.

The demonstration area offered free taster sessions from many of the exhibitors, with no need to pre-book, just turn up and enjoy! Karma Birth with talking all things yoga, Pinnacle Birth & Parenting were talking about the benefits of hypnobirthing to help parents to be prepar for their birth, Sing & Sign had fun with sign language for babies and Krisgar Entertainments got the party started with music, bubbles and balloons… and magic!

krisgar entertainments

Whilst parents shopped, there was lots to keep kids entertained. Character met and greets with Fireman Sam and Minnie Mouse, happened through out the day, and a great soft-play inflatable pop-up play zone- right in eye shot of the refreshments area, selling drinks and some AMAZING cakes!

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All across the event there were chances for parents to try out pushchairs (including the incredible limited edition Van Gogh Bugaboo, 1 of only 200 made! displayed by BabyBee, book themselves onto antenatal classes, photography studio sessions, first aid classes and even book their kid’s birthday party.

van gogh bugaboo

Over all, my experience of the Bedfordshire Baby & Toddler show, was nothing but exceptional. Like the huge London Baby Show which I attended earlier this year, the event was full of pleasant surprises that kept me on my feet from opening until close- well, except for the 15 minutes I took  out of the day to eat cake.

bedfordshire baby show

Cloth Is Not Just For Bums

cloth nappy week 2015 pretty nappies

There is a lot of excitement this Real Nappy Week 2015, and its not just baby’s bums that we are getting excited for, but cloth can be for us mums too!

Using cloth nappies (and other cloth products is gaining in popularity fast. People are realising that the cost of living is going up, but unfortunately wages aren’t.  Also, the planet is suffering from all the waste we throw away every day. Our wallets hurt and so does our Mother Earth. With Real Nappy Week well under way, it’s the perfect opportunity to inform people about other switches away from disposables that we can make.

We have been using cloth products all over the world every day, and it is more important than ever that we all try and use cloth more. We use cloth baby wipes (some of my wipes stash I have bought, but many I have made myself) but I also use cloth sanitary products (CSP) and cloth breast pads.  Having periods, going to the toilet and breastfeeding can be a costly thing to do these days. The tax man stings us by taxing these essential items, but they can’t tax me as much if I keep washing and using them! Whoop!

Cloth Baby Wipes/ Toilet Paper

girly cloth wipes

I started out with a Cheeky Wipes set purchased from the London Baby Show 3 years ago. I still use them daily, even if they are grey and looking tired. But they still do the job! According to Cheeky Wipes, just using cloth wipes will save you around £250! I think they have probably saved us way more, with 3 kids using them on a daily basis. I have started to sew my own wipes too, using old bedding sets and clothing that would have been thrown out in the bin otherwise.

I store my wipes dry, and just wet them with plain water before using. This is my personal preference, as many people store them in lovely smelling essential oils. They are softer on bottoms and contain no chemicals. Also, when cleaning up a big poopy nappy, how many disposable wipes do you use at a time? 4, 5 maybe even more? One big poop never normally needs any more than just 2 wipes. I just throw my wipes in with my nappies, so its no extra laundry for me. If you want to use the wipes as face cloths or toilet paper (we use them just for wee’s) and have no nappies to wash, just chuck them in with your towels. Simple!

Cloth Sanitary Protection (CSP)

There are lots of pretty choices at www.tjsclothnappies.co.uk

There are lots of pretty choices at www.tjsclothnappies.co.uk

Like nappies and wipes, there are also lots of options for using CSP. So many pads and tampons end up in our water ways, after being flushed down the toilet or disposed of carelessly. The benefits of using CSP out way the benefits of using disposables by far! An average woman uses nearly 17,000 pads and tampons in her lifetime. That is a lot of money spent and lots of space in the landfill. How many bleeding women do you know? Now put that number into perspective.

You know how many chemicals go into making a sanitary pad or tampon? Hundreds. Those chemicals can cause allergies, can make you bleed heavier and longer (Think about it, it is a multibillion industry after all) and using tampons can increase your chances of life risking infections such as Toxic Shock Syndrome. Disposable have shockingly also been linked to hormone imbalances and exacerbating symptoms of monthly heavy bleeds and even endometriosis. Women who have been lifelong sufferers have reported improvements from their symptoms when switching to cloth- it’s worth a try. I have also started to sew my own pads, but with many company’s on the internet specialising in reusable menstrual products there are so many pretty choices to make. Moon Times stock a huge range of pads, and if cloth isn’t right for you, consider using a cup, sea sponge or even a cloth tampon. Use MT10%OFF at the check out too!

If you do use reusable already, leave a comment below, and spread the fluffy love for those who may need a little convincing!