Our Story

Welcome to Nikki's Little Play Café, where dreams become a reality. As the Skinner Family, we are thrilled to share our journey with you, which began as a result of our incredible children.


I’m Nikki, the proud face behind Nikki’s Little Play Café. Together with my wonderful husband, Russell, I am the owner and operator of this charming establishment. Becoming a mother has always been my lifelong dream, and despite the scepticism of medical professionals, it miraculously came true. We have been blessed with two adorable boys: Marcus, our youngest, a little firecracker whose infectious smile could win over anyone, and Joseph, our eldest, who is not only funny, exceptionally intelligent, and loving but also lives with autism. It is Joseph who inspired the birth of this safe and inclusive venture.

Motherhood was a wondrous experience for me, but I quickly noticed that my baby, and later my toddler, displayed behaviours different from his peers. By the time Joseph reached his toddler years, my husband and I were certain that he was autistic. Joseph exhibited many of the classic signs, such as stims, a fascination with specific topics, a literal understanding of the world, and an extraordinary ability to name all the planets and their moons at just 2.5 years old.

As Joseph’s unique qualities became more apparent, I found myself being scrutinized by other parents in various settings—music classes, playgroups, and social gatherings. It was a disheartening experience. Eventually, I stopped attending these activities altogether because the discomfort was too much to bear. I yearned for a space where I could engage with my son creatively, free from judgment. I dreamed of creating my own classes—classes that welcomed everyone, rejected judgment, and fostered acceptance for all who attended, both children and adults alike. However, I respected and admired two local women who already ran similar groups and couldn’t justify competing with them. But then fate intervened. One retired, and the other chose to sell her business. Seeing an opportunity, I seized it and took over the successful and beloved Moo Music franchise owned by Libby Chambers, giving it my own personal touch.

In October 2020, amidst the ongoing pandemic, I assumed ownership of Moo Music SW Dorset, believing that the end was in sight for the global crisis.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, I successfully relaunched Moo Music in our local community, leading it to thrive and grow. We expanded our reach to Gillingham, Shaftesbury, and even further, becoming Moo Music Central Dorset and Borders. I dedicated myself to creating a safe haven for children and their caregivers. I made a vow that no one attending my classes would be seen as “just a customer.” It has been a privilege to witness the growth and development of these incredible children, while also supporting parents, grandparents, and caregivers in navigating the rewarding yet demanding journey of raising little ones. This approach has earned us numerous accolades, including the prestigious titles of “Dorset Mum’s Best Baby/Child Class Provider” and “Enterprise Awards: Most Enriching Early Years Music Class Provider 2023 – South West.” Inspired by our success, my husband and I decided to embark on our next endeavour – Nikki’s Little Play Café – a safe haven where parents of children under 7 can find comfort, understanding, empathy, and, above all, acceptance.

Join us at Nikki’s Little Play Café and be part of a welcoming community that cherishes your family. Step into a world of imagination, laughter, and endless possibilities, where connections are forged and cherished memories are made. We can’t wait to meet you and share in the joy of parenthood together.