I managed to get a couple of free tickets to the show via Martin Lewis's Money Saving Expert website and as I live in London and it would only cost me the price of a tube ticket I decided to give it a go and roped a friend in for a day out.
When I've been to these type of shows in the past, you are usually greeted with a goody bag containing at least a magazine or newspaper, a few vouchers and a few drink or food samples. It was disappointing to note that you had to pay £5 for the show guide to receive this. I don't know what the contents were, because I didn't buy one. It seems that the recession has taken its toll on even these kind of events.
When we got inside there was a full floor of stalls selling and demonstrating all manner of household, beauty, clothing, garden and food products. We watched a few demonstrations. One of a food slicing mandolin was particularly impressive, and would convince anyone that their life wasn't complete without one. I must admit I was sorely tempted, but the £20 price tag was just a bit out of my league for a gadget that would probably get put in a cupboard and forgotten, even though it seemed to do amazing things.
On we went into the show and then ventured downstairs to where the show homes were. We queued for a while to get into The Prince's House which had been done in conjunction between The Prince's Foundation and House Beautiful magazine. It was very beautifully done, but unfortunately someone should have told them that the minute you stepped in, the aroma of fox urine hung in the air. Living in London this is a familiar smell due to the proliferation of urban foxes, especially if you leave your wellies outside and then bring them in to a warm house. As the afternoon wore on the smell seemed to get stronger and as we later watched a fashion show on the stage next door we could even smell fox from there. It must have been on a plant in the planting outside the house. Perhaps I should have enlightened them, but surely it would have been obvious, unless they had become completely inured to it.
We stopped for a coffee and drank it as we watched Joe Swift deliver a talk on small gardens which was entertaining and enjoyable and then had some lunch before wandering around some more show houses and gardens and stands at the show.
There were a few things I liked, such as these hanging insect hotels displayed in one of the gardens, made from old garden sieves. I thought them a super idea and a great use for these vintage garden tools.
I also particularly liked this herb garden which inspired me to try to rearrange the herbs in my garden at home. I'll post later on my progress.
I liked this chevron wallpaper in one of the show house bathrooms, although it is very bold and does make you feel a little dizzy.
I also liked this kitchen in another show house.
I did make a couple of purchases aside from a drink and lunch. I treat myself to a couple of large lavender plants to replace the woody ones I removed from the garden recently and a lovely white hydrangea. They were very reasonably priced and it was nice to give some business to someone at the show.