I was lucky enough to win some tickets to The Baby Show at London Olympia for last weekend. I loved visiting the previous two times we have been so was very excited to attend again! How would visiting the Baby Show for baby number two be different to the first time we went?
Our first visit to The Baby Show was when I was about 5 months pregnant with Alfie. I loved looking around the stalls and seeing what fab new baby products were out there. I also really enjoyed the talks that were put on, and found the breastfeeding talk especially helpful. Our second visit was when Alfie was 4 months old. We took this opportunity to stock up on any bits we didn’t already have, and also treat ourselves to some little “extras”.
So, how would The Baby Show be different for baby number two? Well, firstly, we had a two year old in tow, which didn’t exactly make it easy to leisurely browse the stalls and chat to all the lovely people about their brands! Alfie was in and out of the buggy, tired, hungry, bored, not bored, wanting to touch everything, running in the crowds. It was slightly more stressful than the last time we took him! However, I have to say everyone was great with him! The people we did manage to meet and talk to all made a point of talking to him and asking him questions. I loved that – it shows they are real baby people, which I think is important when selling and promoting baby products!
Alfie had a great time trying out the big electric cars (straight on the Christmas list – for Daddy, if not for Alfie!), playing with the fab tractor area put on by Peg-Perego, and a bit of story time with Belle & Boo. I thought these little extras were a great idea, and kept the many children attending occupied and happy! There was also a creche, although we didn’t use this. I thought the Lidl changing area was brilliant – easy to access, loads of space and free nappies being given out. This made life changing the toddler so much easier, as there was enough space for the buggy, wriggling child and change bag, plus you didn’t have to wait ages for the one changing room to become free, or find someone with a key to open the disabled toilet! They have had these at previous shows and I have to say it really is one of my favourite features of the show (ever the practical mum I am!)
We had a rather long journey to the show, and arrived around lunchtime. Alfie was grumpy and hungry, I was grumpy and hungry, my husband was fed up of us both being grumpy and hungry!! So we headed to the nearest food outlet for some lunch. I have to say I was quite disappointed with the choices. The first place we came to looked lovely, but I really wasn’t prepared to pay £8 for a sandwich! So we went to the Joie Cafe – again, I have to admit I wasn’t that impressed with the food choices. £4.50 for a choice of three different sandwiches, or £9 for a bit of pasta! I know that places like this are always expensive, but I just feel this really isn’t family friendly considering it’s a show aimed at parents! I should have taken a packed lunch like we did last time. We did get a nice hot chocolate and coffee from a different place, and my husband got those so I couldn’t complain about the price until afterwards!!
Now we were fed and watered, it was on to the reason we came – to check out some baby products! There was a stall opposite the coffee stand selling ErgoBaby carriers, and I’d always wanted to try them out. The lady who helped us was very good and showed us the new ErgoBaby Omni 360. I must say I was very impressed and it looked and felt great! I’m used to using a carrier with less structure, so it did feel a bit weird and not as secure as it didn’t seem very tight, but I think that is just because of what I am used to. The lady explained how you can make the carrier bigger so it grows with the child, rather than needing inserts, which I think was a great idea. I will say I’m not a fan of facing babies outwards, as I don’t think it’s comfortable for either, but for those who do want that option, it’s great that is a feature that is safe and secure. Craig also tried it on and agreed he quite liked it! The padded waistbelt is a feature that we both liked, and I think would look for in a new carrier for baby number two. Then we were told the price and I think Craig wanted to run away! But I can see why it is the price it is – the brand is trusted, the carrier would last from newborn to toddler so you technically wouldn’t need anything else and it’s a great quality item. We didn’t purchase one, but I think I will probably hire one from a sling library to see how we get on with it.
I had a couple of things on my list that I wanted to buy, so off we went to find these products! It was a bit annoying that there didn’t seem to be any maps of the stands to show where each stall was. I’m sure they had these in the past, so either they didn’t do them this year, or we just didn’t see them! I was desperate for some Cheeky Wipes but disappointed to see they weren’t attending this year. I did however get myself some Funky Giraffe bibs! We bought some for Alfie and the quality is fantastic so I had to get some more. And even better, this year they had some bigger ones that would be perfect for weaning! They are so soft, I wish they did adult sizes!!
We carried on having a walk around and came across some really lovely stalls. I was pleased to see a lot of smaller companies there this year, which I think is great as it gives them a brilliant opportunity to showcase what they are doing on a more personal level. One lady I came across who you could see was really passionate about her product was from Bshirt. This is a brilliant breastfeeding shirt that is comfy and discreet and I really believe would help a new mum who was starting out with breastfeeding gain some confidence. I know how hard it is to feed without worrying about everyone looking at you, and I was always pretty confident with feeding. Just from our short chat, you could tell this lady was so passionate about doing what she could to increase the low breastfeeding rates in our country. Unfortunately, she was preaching to the converted with me, and I didn’t purchase a shirt only because I have plenty of breastfeeding clothes already so this would have been a luxury for me. However, I would highly recommend first time mums having a look because I think confidence has a huge amount to do with successful breastfeeding. I did however purchase some lovely reusable breast pads, which was on my list to buy!
As we were walking round, we came across the Cuddledry stand. I had wanted one of these with Alfie, but couldn’t justify the cost. I think that is the thing with a second baby – you can have more “luxury” items because you have most things already! Craig hadn’t seen these towels before, and he’s always been the one at bath time ending up soaked because he can’t hold a towel and a baby, I thought this would be perfect for him. After a brilliant pitch from the saleslady, we were sold and purchased one cuddledry towel. Alfie also tried on one of their toddler towels – he looked so adorable they took a photo to share on their facebook page! We decided not to purchase one as we had got a towel, but to be honest I really wish we had now!
We then took a wander round up to the back of the arena and found the stage where the experts were talking. We just happened to arrive as The Saccone Jolys and Mother Pukka were on the stage. I thought they were hilarious and really enjoyed their talk. Alfie was less enthralled, but he enjoyed doing some drawing on the floor, and was quiet, so I could actually enjoy the talk! Later in the afternoon we went back and saw Milli Hill talking about her positive birth movement. I wish I had stayed longer to get a signed copy of her book, but I will definitely be downloading it on my Kindle to read on my commute.
All in all we had a lovely day out. The bits we did buy were great, but there was definitely something different about the show this year. I don’t know if it was because we were shopping for baby number two, so there was lots of stuff we didn’t really need, or if as second time parents we are a bit more wise to what are essentials and what are nice to haves. There were obviously a lot of stands with big items like prams and car seats, which is not something we were looking for, but I did enjoy seeing all the smaller stands with less essential items, but that were a bit different. I also think it was harder having Alfie there. He was getting bored and it was hard to keep him entertained. I was slightly disappointed by the lack of freebies and discounts this year. I always think that is a big bonus of attending an event like this. The discounts in previous years have always been brilliant, but this year most were only a few pounds off – not really worth the extra hassle by the time we’ve factored in train tickets, food and cost of tickets to the show. I was also disappointed to see one of my must have items wasn’t discounted at all!
However, as much as I wasn’t a massive fan this year, I would still continue to recommend the Baby Show to first time parents, or those who have a big gap between their children. I think the expert talks are brilliant, and it’s nice to see some innovative products, like the Bshirt, that you can’t find on the high street. Would I go again? No, probably not, unless it was with a friend who was a first time parent. But overall, it was a nice day out and we did manage to get a couple of lovely bits for Baby Jones number 2!