Photographing little ones at Adventure Babies
I first met Jo at a Bump & Baby show in Chorlton last year. We immediately clicked and were talking about our businesses and also about our own families. I have been extremely lucky for Jo to invite me to her South Manchester classes where I get to photograph all the gorgeous babies having a lovely time with their Mum's, Dad's and sometimes Grandparents.
For me as a Mum with two little ones myself baby groups have always been a fantastic way to get out the house, meet other mums and most importantly switch off from everything and have some bonding time with my babies. I love capturing those special moments and being able to give parents that rare memory of just them and their baby. I wanted to share a blog that helps introduce Jo, her view of the wonderful baby group 'Adventure Babies' and her own family business balance. As a mum myself who runs a business too, I know all too well there are ups and downs. Something that's important to me is supporting other women in business and that's another reason why I enjoy photographing Jo's groups so much, it's great being able to document her classes and give her some great promotional images to help share just how wonderful they are.
Adventure babies - Jo makes each story journey so special and unique, she is captivating and thoroughly enthusiastic throughout the sessions. I adore her crazy headwear while she gets into character to take everyone on their storybook adventure. My personal favorite has got to be the orange Octopus from 'Rainbow Fish'. The classes are wonderful for mums to make friends and connect with others with similar aged little ones. The messy play activities are always tied to the adventure and Jo puts so much thought and creativity into designing each week's adventures. Her knowledge of baby's development is exceptional and she loves sharing personal stories of her own two children Reuben and Imogen. As mums its important to know we're not alone, whether your first time or a third-time mum its great to meet others and talk about baby development, growth as parents or even just have a rant. Adventure babies is a good opportunity to do this and also to know you're doing a great job!
Introducing Jo at Adventure Babies...
Tell me a little about you?
I answer to Jo, Joanne, Laffers (maiden name was Lafferty), Mallaber or Mum (said repeatedly and rapidly!). I'm 37 years young due to a love of exercise and healthy living. I love swimming, running and more recently weightlifting. I'm doing a 10km run in 3 weeks and an Obstacle Course challenge in April. I love a challenge. I'm married to Richard and we have two children. Reuben is 4 and started school last September and Imogen turned 3 in December. I'm just going into my third year of running Adventure Babies South Manchester. Life is a happy juggle bordering on the edge of crazy chaos. I’m constantly knackered but rubbish at resting and doing nothing.
How did your business begin?
Imogen was coming up to a year old and Emma the founder of Adventure Babies had decided to move down to the South West. She was looking for someone to take over the South Manchester area. Initially I wasn't sure we could make it work for childcare reasons but after 2 friends separately highlighted that the job had my name written all over it, I decided I would be a fool not to go for it and made sure I made it work.
A little bit about your business?
Adventure Babies comprises of sensory story time and messy play classes for 0-18 month little ones and their grown-ups. I currently run classes in Altrincham, Didsbury and Chorlton which serves parents in Sale, Timperley, Old Trafford, Urmston, Hale, Bowden, Urmston, Stretford, Northenden and Whalley Range. The sessions are a mix of songs, storytelling, fine and gross motor skill development activities, messy play and sensory parachute action. All the activities are in the theme of the adventure. We go on several adventures which include the forest with The Gruffalo, in the garden with The Very Hungry Caterpillar and to the farm with Pig in the Pond.
What do you love most about your job?
I love getting to know the littles one and seeing them develop as the weeks and terms go by. I love inspiring confidence in parents to read regularly to their children and bringing stories to life. I also enjoy the fact that my classes give parents the opportunity to get to know other parents with similar aged children. I remember from having my own children how lonely parenthood can be at times, particularly if you were going through a tough phase with your little one.
As a mum how do you find the balance between running a business and having a family?
Balance? That’s the holy grail isn’t it? I don’t think you can find balance with children, particularly young children. I don’t know what Reuben and Imogen are going to throw at me next! You definitely don’t find the balance within any one given day. Across a week? Possibly. I find time for me. I work hard at finding time for me and usually that is exercise. I need it as much for my physical wellbeing as my mental wellbeing. Exercise gives me that feeling of firing on all cylinders and that helps with running the business and navigating family life. Balance is also about recognising when you’re doing too much of one thing and not enough of another. My husband helps with the admin of the business and it’s very easy for nights to go by after the kids have gone to bed that its work, work, work again. You need down time and it’s vital to sit down with your partner and chat about your day before your brain starts to switch off. Not through boredom but tiredness I might add!!! Finally, lowering my expectations about what can be achieved in any one given day. This isn’t my advice I might add. It’s my husbands and something I really struggle to do.
Any aspirations for your business in the future?
I would love to take Adventure Babies into children’s hospitals and hospices. Also, in light of recent studies showing the benefits for older people’s physical and mental health I would relish the opportunity to provide Adventure Babies in an elderly care home setting. I’m sure they would love the songs and the storytelling as much as the little ones! I look forward to having more time to explore these possibilities in September when Imogen starts full time at the school nursery.
If your a Manchester Mum looking for an award-winning baby class to attend I am sure Jo would love to hear from you! She runs classes throughout south Manchester in Didsbury, Chorlton & Altrincham. To see some of the fun and hear all our latest news and updates:
To arrange a free trial session and/or ask any questions: