Sunday, 7 July 2013

European Babywearing Conference - what a weekend!!!

I don't really know where to start, as I have had such an amazing, fun, tiring, interesting and busy weekend at the first ever European Babywearing Conference.  I was very lucky that it was being held in Bristol, as I'm only 45 minutes down the road, and Bristol is rather special to me and my husband as it is where we first met whilst we were both at University there, and have never actually been back since we had Joey, so it was lovely to take Joey back to 'where it all started'!
The first day began bright and early, and when I arrived at 8am it was already very busy and really warming up outside. As I was volunteering on Saturday, I was given a volunteers tshirt and set to work, whilst my husband and Joey went to find the toys in the family room.  I distributed refreshments, filled goodie bags and generally kept busy until the event opened.  I managed to find a few minutes when the exhibition hall opened at 9:30am to have a quick look around. 
I knew I was wanting to buy a babywearing demo doll or two, so headed straight to the 'Touch Needs' stand, who had a great range of weighted demo dolls in various sizes and skin tones. I was very lucky and got a bargain newborn size doll, and also bought a 3-6 month size doll.  They are beautifully made dolls, and the weight distribution in them is perfect for practising and demonstrating any type of babywearing carrier/wrap.
After a quick peek at a few of the other stands, including Didymos, Kokadi, Connecta, Bebe Sachi, Action Baby Carrier and many others, I then spent the morning on the School of Babywearing stand, selling raffle tickets and giving out refreshments.  It was wonderful to watch the world of babywearers go by, with so many different people and children, all united by their interest in and love of  babywearing.
Just before lunch I rushed over to take part in the sling fashion show, which was great fun, if not a bit hectic!  Joey and I got the chance to model a Didymos Holi ring sling (which was amazing, and even more beautiful in person!) and a Kokadi Zebra wrap, which I also really fell for! In fact, despite my reservations with Kokadi cotton being suitable for a child of Joey's size, I treated myself to a Kokadi Zebra wrap on Sunday morning, as a lovely souvenir of the weekend (which was also a bargain at £40 for a size 5!). In fact, many of the companies had wonderful prices especially for the event, and I know many people went home with some wonderful bargain wraps and carriers!
I spent the afternoon on the front desk and then moved to the lending library, where I also helped give out pre-ordered conference wraps. I collected my pre-ordered Oscha Orion Lumina,, which will get its own review on the blog in the coming days.
I went home on Saturday having had a super day, and excited for the chance to relax a bit more on Sunday and enjoy everything that the conference had to offer.

We arrived again promptly on Sunday morning, and after signing up for a couple of workshops we then spent some time looking around the exhibition hall. After treating myself to the Kokadi Zebra we spent some time looking at all the amazing carriers on offer, and then I went to my first workshop. This was a talk given by Bebe Sachi, who I knew a little bit about before I arrived, but went away feeling completely overwhelmed by how special their wraps really are when you learn about everything that goes into handweaving them! I'm going to save this for a separate blog post though, as I was also lucky enough to get a one-of-a-kind handwoven Khadi ringsing from Bebe Sachi, and want to review it separately in the next few days. Trust me, it really is a special sling!
I also attended a wrapping workshop which was great, and I picked up some great tips which I'm eager to try out, and also listened to a talk about Kangaroocare, which is basically a technique being used with premature babies, where they are worn by their mother in a wrap, skin-to-skin, as much as possible after birth, and the positive effect for the baby and families is fantastic.  It was a really interesting talk! The raffle was drawn at lunch time, with a huge number of amazing prizes, and we were really lucky to come away with an ergo and a wrap scrap owl!
We returned home laden with goodies, and my mind buzzing with everything we had seen and learnt, and all the wonderful people I had finally met and chatted to!  I can't wait for next year!
My husband also spent some of the weekend wearing Joey whilst I was in the workshops.

My conference goodies!

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