Mark and I mused that the last time we were at Olympia, it was for the Great British Beer Festival. Occasionally, he’d point to a spot and say, wistfully ‘this is where I bought my drinking hat’, or ‘this is where you ate all of those pork scratchings’. No beer for us this time- we were at the baby show. Yes, there is such a thing.
We saw it advertised ages ago, and as we’ve no plans on forking out loads of cash to do baby classes, via the NCT, which seems like the normal way for people with no clue to find out stuff, we decided to get a ticket for the show, plus a couple of mini-classes, which were only about £7 each. More on those later!
Our first mistake, was paying full price for the tickets- a word to the wise- if you’re planning on going to a baby show, look for a magazine, a competition or a code, because literally everyone I spoke to who had tickets had some kind of discount and I’m still feeling mildly put out that we forked out the whole amount.
Another word to the wise, my sister said when she went, about four years ago, she got free parking, and a free gift worth about 30 quid (some kind of bin contraption for depositing stinky nappies in). They don’t do that now, so off we trotted at silly o’clock on Saturday morning to catch the tube, arriving in what we thought would be good time to find our way to our first class, which was due to start at 10am. In actual fact, the doors only opened at 10am, which led to a lot of huffing and whinging from me and a slightly stressed out demeanour from both of us when we finally arrived at the class.
Organised by ‘Babynatal’, there was a load of workshops on various things throughout the day. I like the sound of Babynatal- they don’t push a particular way of doing things, and are more about giving you all the options so you can make informed decisions. Right up my alley. Plus my friend Laura runs classes for them (in fact, I saw her photo on the baby show website, advertising the classes. She didn’t even realise they’d used it!)
The first workshop was on the basics of babies- How to dress them, wash them, change nappies- that sort of thing. It was a little bit practical- I did feel a mite ridiculous practicing picking up a doll, but overall, once I got over myself, it was really useful- there was no scary ‘lets drag someone to the front so they can humiliate themselves at their inept nappy putting on skills’, just lots of handy hints, practicing the various bits with the other half (or on your own if the other half wasn’t with you) and time for questions. All in all a big win.
Much much later in the day, after we were feeling a bit pooped and bored, we went back for another workshop about giving birth. To be honest, I didn’t find this as useful as the first class- There was a bit too much focus on ‘now, who can tell me the answer to this?’, which felt a bit like being the thick kid at scho0l, when what I really could have done with, which was an at speed run-down of what you might expect at various stages of giving birth, and what your options might be. Still, Mark found it useful, so at least one of us did
Well, I was hoping for free stuff. There was a goody bag, but you had to pay £3 for it- on the plus side, it did contain £25 of stuff, most of which will probably come in useful at some point (nappies, a little toy, a nail brush (random), wipes, a couple of magazines, a bottle), but unfortunately, they were selling them at the door along with the scare story ‘we ran out yesterday’, which made me immediately rush to hand over my £3, and meant Mark had to lug it around all day because it weighed a ton. And they didn’t run out either. Hmph.
The show itself was pretty jam-packed, although to me, it mainly seemed jam-packed with pushchair sellers, so if you havn’t made a decision on that, it’d be a good bet as you’d get to try out loads of different types. We, after extensive research, had already decided what we wanted, so all we had to do was go back to the relevant stand, have a final demo to show how it goes up and down, and buy it. We went for an Uppababy Vista. The only decision to make was on the colour- I plumped for Ella Green, after persuading Mark into it, then chickened out of a bold colour and went back half an hour later and changed it for black.
Most stands had a ‘show price’ for things they were selling too- If I’d done a bit more research beforehand, we might have bought more stuff, but we didn’t, so the only thing we bought was the pram in the end (at £60 off of the usual price).
After pram purchasing was over, we meandered about and had a demonstration of a changing bag (yes, I know, a bloody demonstration. I laughed. Turns out the demo was needed, because changing bags are actually stupidly complicated!). We looked at stuff we probably wouldn’t have considered otherwise- like slings- they look quite handy actually- one for the ‘things to be researched further’ pile. We also ummed and aahed about the relative merits of disposable versus reusable wet wipes- Mark thought they sounded pretty good, I thought they sounded like having to carry around a bag of shitty flannels with you on a day out. The jury’s still out on that. Oh, and we saw an awesome lampshade that cost about 60 quid, so was immediately vetoed, but I went and found the fabric it was covered in, and found out that I could probably do a DIY job for about £15, so if the inclination strikes, that may be what I do!
It was definitely worth a look. In a funny way, what we should really do is to wait until after the baby is here, and then go to another show to buy stuff we actually know we want, rather than splashing out on a load of things that won’t actually be used. There is another show in Excel in February (much closer to home, and hopefully the newbie will be here by the time the show happens), so that might be something to do. I definitely won’t be paying full price for tickets though!