In this third episode of the ‘Local Life’ blog series I headed to Fishbourne to explore the sights, sounds and colours at Nicola’s specially themed ‘Rainy Day’ Baby Sensory class.. and yes, it was raining outside too!

Tell us about your business…what do you do?
Baby Sensory is an award winning baby development programme, designed and developed by Dr Lin Day, one of the UK’s leading early years experts. Since starting my franchise six years ago, I’ve been delivering a range of sessions offering a complete and fun filled sensory experience, using different textures, sights, sounds, smells and tastes to stimulate your baby’s learning and development during their first year.

During the hour long sessions, we explore a mixture of structured activities including baby signing, dance, games, singing, social play, magical light shows, creative texture experiences and imaginative play ideas, many of which can be replicated at home. Sessions also include exploratory free-play time, providing babies with a natural rest part-way through the class. A chance for parents and babies to play and try out equipment and developmental materials at their own pace. By booking a block of classes, parents and carers also benefit from seeing the same families in class each week. This is a great way to make and build friendships and gain support during the rollercoaster ride that is parenting!

Baby Sensory wet weather themed activity
Image of rain themed activity at Baby Sensory Chichester
Image of baby at Baby Sensory class

What makes your business unique?
Classes are designed for babies from newborn to 13 months. However, there is a naturally a huge difference in the needs and abilities of babies over this time. So I run split-age groups with tailored activities and content for each class. Younger baby classes focus on gentle 1-1 activities. With lots of face-to-face interactions, tummy time activities and exercises that develop upper body muscles. Whilst our older baby classes are designed to encourage a range of gross and fine motor movements using mobility aids such as balls and tunnels and activities promoting the baby’s pincer grip. Very importantly babies also get lots of opportunity to interact with the other babies in the group.

It’s wonderful for parents and carers to able to see their little ones growing and developing in both ability and confidence; seeing their baby’s interests and unique personality shine through as they progress through the classes!

What item/service do you just love and think everyone needs?
Oh wow, there are so many activities to choose from, I don’t think I could possibly just choose one! In fact, one of the things that I love most about the Baby Sensory programme is the huge variety it offers. The programme comprises of over 50 different class plans. As a result each week includes new activities, ideas, sensory props and equipment to stimulate and delight the babies! I love that parents can attend our classes for a whole year and no two sessions are ever the same!

Image of Baby Sensory class being introduced to thunder maker
Image of mother and baby enjoying free play at Baby Sensory class
Image of bubbles and umbrellas at Baby Sensory class
Prega-Mummas Yoga class stretching
Image of Baby Sensory bubble play

In what way have you gone above/beyond in the past for a customer?
As a parent one of the things we all hope for is for our child to be well. Sadly this isn’t always the case. Since beginning my franchise there are several families in my classes who have faced incredible heart-ache and adversity when their little one has become ill. My most recent fundraising event raised over £1,800 for local children’s charity ‘The Sussex Snowdrop Trust’. A unique charity offering ‘Nursing Care at Home’ for local children who have a life-threatening illness or may be terminally ill. What makes it extra special for me is that I have got to know families attending our classes who have personally benefited from the amazing care and support from this and other charities that we have held fund raising events for over the years.

What’s going on right now?
Last month (October), I was super excited to reach the final of this year’s What’s On 4 Kids Awards for the 5th consecutive year!  These national awards received over 80,000 votes for the 30 categories and I was over the moon to be named in the Top 5 for ‘Most Loved Activity Leader in the South East!  It was an incredible, inspirational evening in London and a wonderful opportunity to get all dressed up! I truly love my job and to know that so many parents love what I do just as much is simply fantastic!

This year has also seen me introduce our ‘Hello Baby’ Massage and Baby Observation courses in my franchise area. These unique courses, written by Dr Lin Day, the incredible founder of Baby Sensory are especially for babies from 0-3 months and can be attended in additional to my Baby Sensory classes. They are magical courses, helping parents to learn about their baby’s unique abilities, sensitivities and needs. They include baby massage techniques from top to toe, baby yoga, baby reflexology techniques and sensory experiences. Parents discover some of the amazing things their young baby can do, and identify things their baby may find difficult or stressful, so they can work our ways they can help. I love that the courses provide lots of opportunities for parents to share experiences and support each other, which I think is so important for parent’s emotional and mental wellbeing.

“A baby’s early experiences form the foundation of all future learning. I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to help so many babies develop and thrive, whilst creating memories that families can treasure for years to come!”

Nicola Ball

What are you passionate about outside of your business?

I adore spending time together with my husband and two children, 15 and 12. I’m a bit of a history buff, so visiting a country house or a castle with a big slice of cake in the tearoom afterwards is bliss. My children however, often prefer something a bit more adventurous. This year it resulted in all of us zip-wiring down Europe’s largest zip line – I definitely earned a piece of cake that day!!

Describe your perfect day?
I’m incredibly lucky to be able to say that I love my job, so any day is great. I’d probably say Friday, because I have a day of classes to enjoy and then a lovely family evening together, chilling out and planning our weekend adventures.

What’s your favourite thing to do/place to go locally when you’re hanging out with your own family?
My son has been massively into trains since he was a little boy, so we always enjoy a trip to the Watercress Line. There’s something so magical about steam trains and it’s a lovely way to explore the beautiful countryside that’s right on our doorstep!

What other local business do you love and why?
It has to be Toddler Sense Chichester, our sister franchise and the next step from Baby Sensory. Just like Baby Sensory, each week has a unique theme, introducing children to a world of adventure with an emphasis on music, movement and mobility. I love that my ‘Baby Sensory Graduates’ are continuing their learning journey and it’s always such a treat to see photos of them looking all grown up on Georgia’s class Facebook page!

“What an amazing time my little one has had with Nikki and Nicola at Baby Sensory, so many fun activities such as magic shows, splashy play and teddy bears picnics. To top it all off blossoming friendships and memories to keep forever watching my little one grow and enjoy life! We have come away with lots of ideas and enjoying quality time together which is often difficult for us busy parents. You have started a fantastic learning journey and it is one we will endeavour to keep going. The enthusiasm, imagination and props (!) is something I certainly will never forget!”

Mummy Thea

and little man!

 How can people book?
Our classes run in Fishbourne in Chichester, Emsworth, Havant and Petersfield.  If you are hoping to book onto one of our classes you can find details including our full timetable and availability on our website.

You can also find out more about our classes by visiting our class Facebook page.

Discover and be discovered
Interested in more family activities in Hampshire and West Sussex? Catch up all the ‘Local Life’ episodes here.  

Do you own or can recommend a family friendly local business to be featured in this series? Contact me or leave a comment below and I’ll be in touch. I’ll send a few questions over and visit to take some photographs which can be used by the business for promotional purposes too!


Moira is a Southsea photographer who works throughout Hampshire and the UK. She specialises in children and families and is a member of the British Association of Professional Child Photographers. 

For more details visit her website or facebook page.