Updated: Jun 10, 2019
I was saving this article until Babes In Arms’ first birthday, on 17th July. But I couldn’t wait. I look forward to this group each and every Tuesday. I have loved it from the very start. My week official starts on a Tuesday these days.
Last Summer Zoe and I were just starting our DLFC adventure. We had launched at Spark’s opening weekend and then a few weeks later at The Big Egg Comedy Festival, running some dinosaur life drawing workshops. (Zoe’s downward Dino has to be seen to be believed!) We had our concept and our brand in place and we were busily beavering away at our business plan (we still are!) We even had a Stumpy shaped biscuit cutter in the making. We knew that we had to do something on a regular basis to keep our brand profile out there. It was then that Zoe said ‘There’s a huge gap in the market for a bloody good breakfast baby group, where you get to eat a damn good second breakfast, drink loads of caffeine AND do a craft whilst hanging out with other really nice mums and dads who are as equally as knackered as you. We should start one!’ I loved the concept immediately, adding that we needed to have a zero policy on rubbish plastic battery powered toys, which were sticky and didn’t work well. One of my pet hates in baby and play group life. So off we went, using our separate skills. Zoe came up with the name Babes in Arms Breakfast Club (love love love!) and designed our fantastic BIA’s logo, then worked her marketing magic to tell the whole of York about us. I spent hours trawling Facebook, charity shops, nick nack shops and car boot sales to build our gorgeous treasure baskets, teeming with quirky wooden toys and heuristic play items. (Zoe still looks at me like a madwoman when I get excited over a silicone garlic press or plug strainer.)
And that was that. We launched at 9am on Tuesday 17th July. We waited with baited breath when you all began to arrive. An amazing 15 of you turned up. We made sensory jars together (which didn’t really work, but we’ll move in from that) and many of you made long lasting friendships that very first day.
Below are some of my most favourite reviews we’ve had to date.
“This group means a lot to a lot of people. You don’t know how important it is.”
“BIA is essential. Please don’t undermine what you have achieved!”
“I’ve tried ALL the groups and quit them and only come to this one now. There’s some crap out there. This isn’t crap. It’s brilliant!”
“The treasure baskets have really inspired me!”
“If I’d had a group like this with my first I wouldn’t have had such terrible PND. It’s so friendly and welcoming.”
“BIA’s made my maternity leave. I made some wonderful life long friends there”
“This group is just so friendly. No one is clicky or a dickhead. I love it.”
“My friend told me about this group. I’ve come from Otley. I’ll be back!”
“Oh my god. This is DELICIOUS.” And/or “I can’t eat anymore.” Someone… every week.
Since those early days we’ve morphed into BIA Elevenses due to a time change need and moved from our original home of Spark to The York Cocoa house for the winter months, where we gorged ourselves through the cold winter months on chocolate treats. Together we have created wonderful crafts, laughed, watched babies grow into one year olds, eaten loads and made firm friendships.
We pride ourselves in being value for money, friendly, fun, quirky, inclusive of everyone; dietary needs included, and clean! (I insist that each toy is cleaned after each session.)
We hope we’ve played a small part in keeping loneliness and poor mental health at bay, something close to both our hearts and one of the many inspirations behind what we are doing.
Once we have a permanent space BIA’s will continue. It’s too important not to. I mean how would I cope without regular new baby squeezes?
To those of you who have made BIA’s a success THANK YOU. None of this is possible without you. And to those of you who haven’t tried it out yet, do. It really is just very lovely.
Babes In Arms Elevenses Club. £6 a ticket for al of the above. 10-12 every Tuesday at Spark.
And whilst you’re here - have you ever wondered where all the baby dinosaur fossils have gone? Well this TED TALK gives you the answer. It’s as interesting as hilarious.