I recently attended the Bump and Baby Expo in York, held at the York Racecourse. It’s the only baby expo of it’s kind in Yorkshire. I won’t lie, when I got the invite via email, I was excited, but I had my reservations because I am definitely not a baby blogger. My girls are 5 and 7 years old now and we’re in a different phase of parenting. But when I saw which brands and speakers who were going I knew there would be things there that would be useful to parents of older kids too.
The sweetener for me was when Kate from Avocado Events told me that Vicki from Honest Mum would be there to do a meet and greet, a book signing and a talk about her hugely successful book all about how she made a success of her brand and turned her mum blog into a business.
I Was Sold!
I knew that I had to attend this event. Being a mum who started off blogging (with no clue what it really was all about), and who is now trying to get my freelance business off the ground, I knew I needed to hear a win. A success story.
I Got So Much More Than I Bargained For
A few months ago I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and attended a new local networking event specifically for creatives and bloggers. I went along to the #YorksInstaMeet, not knowing a soul and not knowing what to expect, and expecting to stick out a mile being all foreign and that. But it was amazing. I met so many people that I struggle to remember them all. It was a brilliant day.
When I walked into the Knavesmire Suite at the York Racecourse where the Bump and Baby Expo event was being held I was so nervous. My social anxiety was sky high. I realise now that there were so many lovely people there that I HAVE met before, but when I walked in I was so completely overwhelmed that I didn’t connect faces to social media profiles.
There’s definitely a big difference between following someone on social media, and meeting them in real life at an event. They are often taller, or shorter than you think, and their hair is usually more done up than everyday school run etc. I am shockingly bad at putting two and two together at these things.
So, apologies to anyone who thought I was a snob. It’s really that I was terrified of not being able to connect the dots and had massive imposter syndrome/inferiority complex that made the whole first two hours a blur! I never expect people to recognise me anyway. lol
Thank goodness I knew one person in advance – the lovely Lauren from Extraordinary Ordinary Mum (Who also just wrote and published her own book! ) We got a really bad picture together and she basically babysat me for a little while whilst I calmed down.
Don’t you just love these balloons? They were done by Imagination Creation!
Who Were The Exhibitors?
One of the other lovely ladies I recognised from the #YorksInstaMeet was the lovely Charlotte from Made By Moonflower. Charlotte was there as an exhibitor on the day and her stall was brilliant. Charlotte makes the coolest and unique tights, baby gowers, and other awesome kit for kids! I love it. And on the day she was even wearing her own grown up version of her very beautiful moon tights. *I want!*
Of course I’m a rubbish blogger who didn’t take many photos on the day, so here is a pic from her Instagram Feed. Please do follow her!
There was no mistaking that this was a baby expo. There were bumps everywhere. I almost felt a pang of yearning in my uterus … almost. There were a number of exhibitors on the day that appealed to me as a mom of kids who are no longer babies.
There were obviously loads more exhibitors there, but here are the ones that caught my eye as a mum to older kids.
Harrowells were there with their stand aimed at providing information about their family services and other legal services. Having a will and having your life sorted from a legal point of view should the worst ever happen is so important.
The whole reading fairy crew was there including Baby Sensory and Toddler Sensory. They even gave a talk which I completely missed because I was too busy looking through their display stand. Like I said, rubbish blogger!
Hattie & Bella
The Hattie & Bella display was amazing! I have already made an enquiry on a few of their keepsake products. Another awesome #YorksInstaMeet mama rocking the Creative Mum In Business theme!
This brilliant First Aid training company were there providing information about their award winning classes. They teach first aid to new parents, childcare providers and schools. Who doesn’t need a first aid course! They even offer classes where they teach first aid to children from the age of 4! I’m definitely going to follow up on this one.
I was so excited to see this stand as I didn’t even know this was a thing. It’s basically an online help line that provides health service support at the click of a button. No more waiting for someone to answer the phone, only to have it cut off. They have trained professionals available to help with your online medical questions and concerns, 24/7.
Yorkshire Nanny Company
And last, but certainly not least, the one I’m adding to my speed dial, the Yorkshire Nanny Company. They offer the perfect childcare solutions from babysitters to childcare at events. All their nannies have had the highest quality of training and security checks. Being away from our family means that we don’t have the support to just drop the kids off when we need to do some adulting. Like I said, speed dial!
Inspirational Talks By Mums in Business at the York Bump and Baby Expo!
Mum’s Back Talk
The first talk of the day was by the lovely Sally who told us all about her successful business: Mum’s Back. Sally told us how she started her business after struggling with PND. One of the things that really resonated with me was the idea that when we are the mums of fresh tiny humans, most of the gifts and help we receive is for the baby, but there isn’t very much for mum, or for dad.
After getting the help she needed to recover from PND Sally launched Mums Back. It’s an online service where you can buy hampers and gifts to send to new mums just for them.
I remember receiving a gift at my baby shower which was for me. I was so grateful and it made me really emotional. No surprise that it came from a friend of mine who had recently had a baby too, because she got it. She knew that feeling. That feeling of how extra special it can be to just receive a gift for you. A gift that says: we see you too, and yes you created this perfect bundle of joy, but you’re still a person too.
We can be mums, and we can be our own person too. And that person deserves to be spoilt and made a fuss over sometimes, especially when she’s just had a baby, by whichever means that happens.
Honest Mum Q & A
Vicki is mum blogger who has turned her blog into a brand. She was so amazing, answering all sorts of questions about everything from her family life, to her journey writing her book, Mum Boss, as well as her wins and losses in her blogging journey. Through it all she was very honest.
Her talk was very much a motivational boost for me. Sometimes I feel very alone in what I do. I have an amazing group of friends, most of whom I met through blogging, but most of whom live in other countries. Being at the baby expo in York, and chatting with other mum bloggers, and then hearing Sally and Vicki speak about stuff that matters to us, things I can relate to in the blogging world, was so good for my morale. Thank you ladies.
The key messages that I took away from both Vicki’s talk, and the entire baby expo in York were this:
Just because we have had babies, doesn’t mean that we are no longer ambitious. We can achieve whatever we set our minds too.
It is also important to lean on each other, support each other, and learn from each other.
If we can survive motherhood, especially the early years, we can do anything.
Vicki was such a warm, down-to-earth and genuinely honest lady. I think we can all get a bit caught up in the world of social media and everything looking perfect all the time that you can be a bit wary of meeting ‘celebrity influencers’ sometimes. But Vicki is really lovely. We had a good chat about her book, connected with a chat about our South African husbands and her upcoming trip there in May, and then I got this lovely picture with her.
Thanks Vicki, for being as honest as you say you are. Vicki’s book Mum Boss is available on Amazon.
A huge shout out to the awesome brands who contributed to the Bump & Baby Expo goodie bags we received. You can see my review of what we got in the bags in the little YouTube video I did.
Action Medical Research For Children
Another thing I want to quickly mention is that the chosen charity for this years baby expo in York was Action Medical Research. They are a UK children’s charity that raises funds for medical research. £1 for the purchase of every ticket as well as 100% of the proceeds from the raffle was donated to them.
I was genuinely blown away by all the amazing creative and inspirational mums who have created businesses for themselves. I really do believe that when we are forced to step away from our pre-kids jobs, and get the chance to focus on our new roles as a mum, we are then given the time and space to decide what it is we really want to do, to rediscover our creative side, and to make things happen for ourselves. The Bump & Baby expo York really did showcase so many of these inspirational women.
Disclaimer: I was invited to attend the Bump and Baby expo in return for a promoting the event on Social Media, and a blog post review following the event.