We have to admit that we do miss the show being held at the old Earls Court, (now demolished) as the snowy scene that confronted you when you walked out of the tube station was so Christmassy.
However, that said, the inside of the venue always looks pretty Christmassy and there seems to be plenty of room for the hundreds of exhibitors.
It's always a bit overwhelming when you first walk in and you're not quite sure where to go first. We stopped and watched some singers perform on the Bandstand whilst getting our bearings and then headed into the show. We began our visit by watching a talk on Christmas trees. I didn't realise that there were companies who would come to your home and decorate it for Christmas for you (at a price). Ideal for those people who hate putting up the tree and decorations, but I don't think I'll be calling them in just yet.
We had a bit of a wander around some of the stands until another presentation we wanted to watch an hour later. This presentation was on gift wrapping and I really enjoyed it.
(Some wrapped parcels)
The lady presenting was Alison Westwood from Eclipse Gift Wrapping and she showed you some great and very creative techniques in gift wrapping, especially with regard to bottles and awkward shaped items. She made it look so easy. She has a website at www.eclipsegiftwrapping.co.uk and has started a YouTube channel of the same name. She also runs courses in the skill in Wales. Here's an insert of one of her videos to give you a taste of what she did in her presentation. I'm looking forward to watching future videos.
Following this presentation, we decided to go for Lunch at Pizza Express. We kept it simple with a small pizza with salad and a glass of Cava before heading back in to the show and continuing around the food and fashion stands.
One interesting exhibitor was the BB Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus Tour. It uses a Routemaster Bus to take customers on a 1 and a half hour tour of the major tourist landmarks in London, whilst providing them with a lovely afternoon tea. I really liked the idea of this as a treat if you have someone visiting who hasn't been to London before, or just for a special birthday treat. The bus was there and you could get on and see the tables laid out with food, as they would be on a tour, to give you a feel for the experience and the food. (Note the sippy cups and cup holders!)
The bus departs from both Victoria Coach Station and from 8 Northumberland Avenue in Central London. Adult tours cost from £45 and Children aged 6-11 from £35. I think for a special occasion, it could be a super surprise experience for someone.
A couple of other interesting stands to me were included one selling artificial grass, who very generously gave me these samples to take home.
We're seriously considering getting artificial grass in our small London garden, as every winter the dog chews up the grass into a mud bath and OH is getting seriously sick of having to re-turf or patch it up every spring. It was interesting to see the different types available and I was reassured by how realistic they look. Not to everyone's taste I realise, but much more practical for us and at least we'd be able to declutter the lawn mower!
I made just a couple of purchases whilst at the show, the main one being this new filter water bottle for the gym. At £10, I thought it was reasonable value, as you can pay £6 for a bottle that doesn't filter your water at the same time. I liked the size and styling of this bottle and it was available in a multitude of colours. The filter lasts for 300 refills which should just about last me a year and then a replacement filter can be bought from their website or Amazon.
Whilst at the show, I also found some inspiration for a natural beauty item that I can potentially make for myself, which will be revealed in a later post, when I've tried and tested it.
Finally, here are a few photos of the set rooms that were designed by different interior designers. Many of them weren't particularly to my taste, but it was interesting to take a look.
My favourite was this room, as I particularly liked the pine cone wallpaper which I'm afraid didn't come out too clearly in the photograph.
Although we didn't spend too much money, we did enjoy our day out and I always come away with information and inspiration about things I am interested in.
Please note that I am not sponsored by nor affiliated to any of the businesses mentioned here. They are just the things that I found most interesting from my visit to the show.