On Saturday 25th October, S and I, as well as our best friend (who also happens to be pregnant!) went to The Baby Show in London’s Kensington Olympia.
It was our second proper Baby Show ever (if you don’t count the 2 smaller ones we went to in the past – they really don’t compare), and our friend’s first one. It was also, however, our first ever BIG one as a pregnant couple… and it felt amazing. Sure, our first one was fun as we were walking around in the “planning” stage of TTC; buying lots of bits and bobs to prepare, but any show after that when you’re still in the planning stage makes you very bitter. After the first one, we swore not to go to another one until we were pregnant, however that was just as tough as all these incredible products that we wanted to see came and went over the various shows that we had to miss. Nevertheless, we’ve made it to the “pregnant” stage and we now get to go back.
It was an early start as we wanted to get there for opening so that we had a good choice of parking, could avoid London Saturday traffic (although I’m sure our sat nav took me round the houses), and to be in a good spot in the queue. Although S and I had been to a previous show at London’s ExCel Arena, we didn’t know what this one would be like size wise as our only experience of the Olympia was the Fertility Show (I’m sure there’s a hidden message in there somewhere).
As usual, we were armed with a printed map of the arena, a list of all the exhibitors and a pen. We were ready. BF had suggested that we went straight to the back of the arena as NUK were giving away freebies (yes we were one of those groups) to the first few people – we had to get one – not that we knew what was inside but it was free and we wanted it. We quickly realised that this was the best decision made all day. By waddling to the back, we avoided the crowds who were mingling at the front and thus getting lots of space at the back. By the time we arrived at the front all the crowds had pretty much got to the back leaving the front almost empty for us. It was perfect.
The show itself was busy, although I definitely felt that the space they had this year was ALOT bigger – I felt like I had a lot more room not only to actually stop and look at stalls – something that often stops happening around lunchtime when you get this massive surge of people arrive, which means after a while you just want to get by, forgetting to actually stop and look – but I also had room to move, which is something I am precious about at the moment because I’m very paranoid of getting bumped and nudged.
In addition to physical space, I found there were a lot more areas to just sit down and not just ones that classed as “feeding areas” (I always felt guilty taking tables reserved for feeding mums in the 2013 show, but there wasn’t always alternative seating by lunchtime). I also found there was a lot more places to eat and not just little sandwich bars where you were limited on choice and still then had to find somewhere to eat your purchase – you actually had food “courts” that came with tons of tables available to sit down with your lunch. There were of course the sandwich bars, coffee booths, and smoothie stalls but I was most impressed with the almost cafeteria like areas as they came with lots of choice food-wise and seating (did I mention the seating?).
I would say that this was, by far, the best show I’ve been to. There was lots of variety when it came to exhibitors – they definately surpassed themselves when it came to show deals! I’m also always pleased with the amount of variety available to you when it comes to stalls. There isn’t just the one buggy exhibitor, for example, there will be 6. Not only that, it’s not just catered for babies – there were several ranging from babies to toddlers all in one stall, as well as pregnancy based stalls, stalls just for mums, as well as the “other” stalls such as Book People, The Red Cross, and Tidy Books. The organisers certainly do think about everyone and everything.
I sadly didn’t get round to attending any of the talks, something I should really get round to doing one day, but I know that they were always full with several groups huddled at the edges.
If you’re currently trying, I would recommend visiting at least once as you do get tons of deals when it comes to preparation – I can guarantee items for feeding will be the best deals you will find around. For those that are pregnant, I can’t think of a reason not to visit – you’d be a fool not to.