My friend and I met up and travelled to the show and on coming out of the tube station there was a flurry of fake snow,
lots of twinkling snowy Christmas trees
and even Santa in his sleigh with reindeers, ready to greet us. It was quite magical. I felt like a child again for a few minutes anyway.
We proceeded into the show and spent the next 4-5 hours wandering around the many, many stalls and exhibitors demonstrating their various wares. It was quite an exhausting day I must say, but was made better by lots of food and drink tastings and a lovely roast pork, stuffing and cranberry sauce sandwich for lunch, followed by a cup of tea and a low fat muffin before embarking on a second round of exploring the show. Here's a picture taken at the halfway point. We still had all this ground floor, complete with ice rink, to explore at this point.
We stopped off and watched an upholstery demonstration which was interesting, and there were lots of cookery demonstrations too by Phil Vickery and Gino DiCampo, although we didn't stop and watch any as it got a bit crowded around the stage.
I bought a couple of Christmas presents, one was for me from OH, some headphones that I've wanted for a while. The other was a small present from me to OH, a lovely truckle of Welsh cheese which I bought with 2 others at £10 for the three.
They were very tasty, especially the ginger spice one made of medium mature cheddar and stemmed ginger. I can't wait to put this on the cheese board at Christmas.
On this occasion there were goody bags distributed for free, which was a distinct improvement on my last visit earlier in the year. Inside were lots of marketing brochures, a sample of cat food, some Yorkshire tea bags and a bar of Bailey's truffle chocolate.
All good by me. The stray neighbourhood cat will get the cat food, I will use the teabags and the chocolate bar can be used as a gift for someone at Christmas. Waste not want not.
I also picked up some very reasonably priced items from a culinary herb stall. I've never seen such an array of herbs, spices, chutneys, sauces, dried mushrooms, mulled wine mignonettes, etc. I bought a bag of culinary lavender flowers for £2.75 (Little Bird likes to make lavender biscuits) and a quite large bag of cinnamon sticks for £2.10 for Christmas decorations, which I thought was very inexpensive as I have paid far more for them in the past.
The company concerned do a mail order catalogue. I couldn't see a web address anywhere in the catalogue, but for anyone who uses herbs and spices a lot in cooking, they might be worth checking out.
All in all we had a really good day. We much preferred the Christmas show to the previous Ideal Home Show we attended earlier in the year, although there were less rooms to look around. This show there were a couple of rooms designed by Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen which were interesting.
If you like Christmas and you like shows of this nature, I would recommend a visit, but wear flat shoes as there's a lot of walking involved, eat early to avoid the crowds and pace yourself as there is lots to see, is my only advice. Oh and take lots of money as there's lots of lovely stuff to tempt you to part with it.