As I mentioned the other day (here) the hubs, the baby and I went to the Manchester Ideal Homes Show at Manchester Event City a few weekends ago.
|I’m the one in the leopard print, Princess is the one in the pram… watching people cook intently.|
I was so excited when I got the tickets through from Dulux! I’ve been to a few craft and wedding fairs (and the worlds smallest valentines fair), but I’ve never been to anything as big and exciting as this before!
You know how when people get free tickets for stuff and they shove down your throat how brilliant / gorgeous / fabulous / awesome everything was because they don’t want to upset anyone?… well… Ideal Homes Show – look away NOW!… unless you would like constructive feedback for November’s event?
I must begin with a juxtaposition however, and say that I thoroughly enjoyed the Dulux exhibit (link above). I think it’s a brilliant idea and have already given a very frank, but positive, review.
|Baby also enjoyed our time with Dulux.|
However hospitable Dulux were, the actual event itself wasn’t for me and I would be unlikely to go again.
Here’s 6 reasons why I would have been (even more) cross if I would have paid for the tickets:
1. It was FAR too over subscribed.
I realise that when you go to these events you should expect it to be busy. You should expect there to be a little traffic on the way to the event and you should even expect to have to drive around and around the car park to find a parking space….
The traffic ground to a halt coming off the motorway at the Trafford Centre exit and proceeded down Phoenix Way at around a 5 mph pace. We had a very fed up, hungry little girl in the back and I was getting clutch leg. Not a good start.
The car park at Manchester Event City was full. Full! And the parking stewards were really helpful* about it. (*read impassive). We ended up parking on Lego Land and walking over. With a pram. Wearing ballet pumps (just me, not hubs). In the rain. *Inset squelching sounds here*.
|A very pretty English Garden setting for an Afternoon Tea… with a massive wait time.|
2. It really was FAR too over subscribed!
We knew it was a bad sign when we couldn’t make it into the entrance of Event City without a queue to get past all of the smokers standing under the façade. However, there was NO waiting in line to actually enter the event! Woo hoo… this was because everyone (in the world) but the smokers were already inside.
It. Was. Packed.
And I don’t mean just a little bit busy. I mean ram jam packed full to the brim. We couldn’t get into any of the exhibits to look at anything, never mind actually have a chat to anyone about any of their products… Navigating through the crowds with a pram was near impossible. We feared so much for her safety in the pram that we carried the baby and used the pram as a battering ram.
3. Goodie Bag Disappointment
If you read my blog, then you could possibly know how much I LOVE goodie bags. Actually, love, even when in capital letters doesn’t describe it. Goodie bags are like Christmas and my Birthday all rolled into one.
Bonne Maman (the makers of those yummy scrummy little French treats) were making goodie bags for just £2! You could see hundreds (possibly thousands millions) of people walking around with their little tote full to the brim with treats that would normally cost an arm and a leg.
It took us a very long time to find the Bonne Maman stall in the ‘Food’ section of the event (behind the hot-tub exhibit – silly us, why didn’t we look there first?). After around an hour we stumbled upon it, somewhere between some posh sausages and Tea Pigs (of which I made a purchase).
I queued up for an eternity, dreaming of dunking a Madeleine into my Tea Pigs breakfast tea. When I got to the front of the line, they had run out!
RUN. BLOODY. OUT! Sob.
|No goodie bag of cakes for me on this day!|
4. Not baby friendly.
This is where they hold the Baby and Toddler show? Are you sure? There were TWO baby change tables at the entire event… that we could find anyway! There were lots of mums needing to use them and I felt I couldn’t let a mum with a smaller baby than mine wait.
|As per usual, stood watching and someone comes and stands in front of you… sigh…|
As well as there being a few restaurants set up, there were a handful of cafes dotted about. There was not a single high chair in sight and no where near enough room to get a pram around. Luckily we managed to get a table at the very front of a cafe so that we could stick the pram next to the table to feed the little miss. Which brings me to point number…
5. It was expensive.
We stopped to feed little miss because her ‘Lovely Lentils’ and carrot sticks were calling her, so we decided to grab a bite whilst we were being cheeky enough to use the table and chairs of a very busy cafe area. Nearly £10 later we came away with a bottle of water, a ham and cheese baguette and a one packet of crisps to share. Holy cow! But we didn’t feel we had much choice because we needed somewhere to sit and feed the baby. We were disappointed to see that there were no picnic areas… there were so many gorgeous outdoor décor themes and no one had thought to develop this?
|Maybe it was pricey because Laurence Llewelyn Bowen had over spent on lighting?|
Want a map to find your way around the thousands of exhibitors? Sure. It’s in the programme. The programmes cost £5. Maybe it costs that little bit more because they call it a ‘show guide’? Either way, I’d rather get lost in the throng of frenzied Home Show goers than part with a fiver!
6. It was absolutely peeing it down! OK – I’ve scrubbed this one. Not the Ideal Home Show’s fault.
6. It took us nearly two hours to drive the 20 mile journey home! And this one…
6. The mobile reception was so TERRIBLE!
And this isn’t just from the perspective of a social media addict (although it did kill me that I couldn’t tweet of instagram for a whole afternoon)! Those gadgets they use to put your debit card through to pay for things? They use mobile network.
So after you’ve handed your debit card over to pay for something, you can expect to wait for anywhere between a few seconds and TEN MINUTES for the doohickey to find reception so you can ‘pop your pin in’. For me, it was the security aspect of someone else holding my bank details in their hand for all that time with all of those people around. I didn’t at all feel safe and it limited my purchases because of this (not a bad thing for my bank account I suppose).
|Very convincing plastic English country gardens.|
And thus concludes my negative ninja reasons why I wouldn’t go to the Ideal Home Show again. And in all honesty, its a real shame, because after making tonnes of effort to get there and actually wanting to go and network, I came away very disappointed and neither me nor the hubster really enjoyed ourselves.
The main thing that spoilt it for us was that it was dangerously crowded, but in honesty it just wasn’t as good as I had anticipated. I can’t quite put my finger on why… I’m not sure what I was expecting really…
A handful of things that were ‘bob’ on:-
Some of the stalls and their products were amazing and I wish I could have been able to get into stalls to look at things a litter closer or stop and have a chat with the person that had made / were selling them.
|Handmade wooden personalised cuckoo clocks!|
Although the baby change facilities were sparse, the actual toilets were lovely and plentiful. There was barely a wait time. They were clean and well stocked with loo roll, hand towels and hand soap. My kinda loos!
|Pink and blue floral giraffes… don’t mind if we do.|
Baby thoroughly enjoyed herself. Regardless of the fact that we were worried it was too busy for us to have even considered walking round with an infant, she loved the colours, the hustle and bustle and really delighted in having a tug at the fake flowers when we were queueing up for our goodie bags.
The free Ideal Homes Show goodie bag is available if you wait in a very long queue. It is worth the wait as it contains lots of tester samples and money off coupons.
So there you have it. All options are my own.
Did you go to the Ideal Homes Show Manchester? What did you think?
Thanks so much for reading: 6 Things To Consider Before You Go To The Ideal Home Show
Photography by AD Haydock Photography