Why should you go to a baby show?

You’ve just had the happy news that you will soon be hearing the pattering of tiny feet. You’re over the moon of course, but then you face the realisation that there is so much to prepare before you get to meet your little one. Everything from a cot and a pushchair, to a little wardrobe of baby clothes, to all the other things in between, it all needs to be relatively sorted before you baby comes along. Which is why a visit or two to some baby shows are such a good idea.

Baby Shows are Fun

You can have a great day out at a Baby Show. In general, they are enormous events so you can make a day of it – have a bite to eat, watch the demonstrations and browse the stalls, maybe ticking a few items off your ‘to buy’ list as you go.

Grab a bargain

There are many stores at baby shows that have a good range of products. Pushchairs, cots and bulk buys of baby toiletries can all be purchased at prices that are far cheaper than the normal recommended retail price. In addition, you may get to try/view products that are new to you, and there may also be samples/goody bags that also have free products in them.

Meet the Experts

Most Baby shows have experts who can answer your questions and queries. These can be related to feeding or sleeping, or can also be of a more technical nature – maybe you’ve not decided what sort of travel system you want, or have questions about choosing your baby monitor. Baby Shows are a great way to get your questions answered.

Find everything you need in one place

If you have a hatred of shopping, but don’t really enjoy getting things online either, then a Baby Show could be a great way to find everything you need in one place. You can place orders for the ‘big things’ like cots, highchairs and prams, which can then be delivered to your door, but you have also had the chance to look and test drive these things first – something you can’t do if you just shop online.

Did you go to a baby show when you were expecting?

 

Making Fashion Your Business

It is often considered to be fun, frothy and frivolous. The obsession of the young, those with disposable income, wanting the newest trends as quickly as possible. Yes, fashion often gets a bad press from those who consider clothes to be a functional necessity rather than an obsessive passion. Those who indulge, and indeed love fashion can be labeled shallow, but, in reality, there is so much more to fashion than simply getting a ‘look’.

The Fashion Industry is one of the crowning glories of the British Economy, with London Fashion Week now firmly entrenched amongst the most important in the fashion calendar. Last Autumn saw more than 105,000 visitors to the shows and off schedule events, and this, in turn generated an estimated 269million in revenue, making it second only behind New York in terms of profit. This is no mean feat in challenging times. Tie this in with the respect and veneration that some of our greatest fashion exports are held, the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Victoria Beckham, Giles Deacon and Marchesa are all British born talent, with Osman, Alice Temperley and Molly Goddard all generating excitement (and A list fans) as their products are displayed on red carpets all around the world. Clearly the fashion industry is more than fun and frivolous.

Fashion is also becoming much more universal in terms of entrepreneurship and business. As the High Street continues to struggle, with Jaeger becoming another casualty recently, more and more individuals and independents are starting small businesses and online stores that offer something different from the general High Street fare. Ebay and Etsy stores are becoming increasingly popular, selling a range of fashion products from independent designs to trendy imports that tap into the market. Plus size stores that avoid the usual cliches of tents and butterflies are also a new and attractive business idea, with the added help that companies like TNT, who consider fashion to be important, giving lots of sound advice on issues like packing your items for delivery, transporting items safely, and even hosting your own fashion show, all important ways of getting your own small business out there onto the fashion radar.

SJP Front row

Whether you look at fashion from a designer point of view, or from the point of view of an etsy store holder taking their first tentative steps into the industry, it is clear that far from being frivolous, fashion truly is big business. All this, and fabulously stylish too.

Dirty Dancing At The New Alex Theatre

Top five chick flicks of all time? If you ask anyone who was a teenager in 1987 they will surely have Dirty Dancing as their number one choice. The coming of age story of Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman, an idealistic young woman who finds her beliefs and hopes tested when she takes a Summer holiday at Kellermans family resort. However she also meets the enigmatic, sexy Johnny Castle when she has to cover for his pregnant dancing partner Penny. They fall in love, but Johnny is certainly from the wrong side of the tracks and is not going to be the choice of her doctor father. Dirty Dancing is one of those feelgood films where you know everything will be sorted by the final scene, but it is none the worse for it.

The stage musical version of this iconic film arrived at the New Alex Theatre in Birmingham last night, whisking the audience off to the Summer of 1963, just before Beatlemania took over the world and it changed forever. The stage show is just as melodic and hypnotic as the film, and with all those famous lines in place (I carried a watermelon, nobody puts Baby in a corner) it is as fun, frothy and quotable as ever.

Dirty Dancing is all about those leads, and Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey are hard shoes to fill, but in Katie Eccles and Robert Colvin, who was stepping in for Lewis Griffiths we have the perfect Baby and Johnny. Katie is great as the idealistic Baby, particularly in those early dancing scenes where her unease and awkwardness make her efforts both poignant and funny. Her later skills show Katie to be a great dancer, particularly during that final scene. Robert is brilliant as Johnny, his playing of the mean and moody dancer is both virile and brooding and his physicality is perfect for the role. It doesn’t hurt matters that he is gorgeous, and with the walk and the physical strength he compares very favourably to Patrick Swayze in the role. He also, in the final scenes, looks like he is really enjoying himself in the role, and this is just infectious.

Penny is played by the outstanding Carlie Miller, her dancing impeccable and her elegance, illustrated best by her amazing legs, with which she performs a range of kicks and moves without breaking a sweat. The hilarious Lizzie Ottley brings the silly, vacuous Lisa Houseman to life with a passion, especially when performing her show tune in the most tuneless of ways, providing one of the comedy highlights of the night. Comedic value is also added by Greg Fossard as the annoying Neil Kellerman, a nerd with a nice range of chat up lines, whilst Sophia Mackay and Michael Kent, as Elizabeth and Billy provide the musical highlights.

The staging is uniformly excellent, with the revolving scenery providing brilliant backdrops that really take you to the Catskills. And, of course, those musical classics from the likes of Otis Reading and Solomon Burke still have the power to soar. Dirty Dancing is entertaining from start to finish, if you love the classic film, you will love this faithful adaptation.

Dirty Dancing

New Alex Theatre

Wed 31 May – Sat 03 June

Click here for ticket information