Friday, 8 May 2015

South East Baby & Toddler Show - Part 2

So to be perfectly honest this is a post I've ummm'd and aaah'd about writing and have been putting off because I wasn't that impressed with the South East Baby & Toddler Show but when I started blogging I wanted to record a completely true and honest account of pregnancy and all my thoughts so I thought what the hell...

You may remember back in March I blogged my excitement when I found out about the show. We decided to give THE baby show at the excel centre in London a miss. I thought the sheer size of it would be a bit overwhelming and we didn't know whether Squishy was blue or pink back then so we thought we'd be restricted on what we could buy.

So a couple of Sunday's ago we set off with our friends Lucy, Simon and their gorgeous three month old baby girl Betsy to Sandown Park in Esher, Surrey. The venue was really good for an event of this style. Sandown Park is a large horseracing course but the baby show was held in the event centre. It is easy to find, well sign posted from the motorway and has great parking facilities.

We arrived just after 11am and even though the show had only opened at 10 it was already packed! The initial queue to get in wasn't very big and we were quickly ushered into a longer queue for our freebies. I was given a mum-to-be Emma's diary goodie bag, some packets of baby porridge, a MAM feeding bottle and some different Nutrimum pregnancy cereal bars (which you can read my review on here). I know Lucy received slightly different items already being a mummy but they were just variations of the same products really. I wasn't overly impressed with any of this, especially the mum-to-be pack which every pregnant lady can pick up for free anyway so I already had sitting at home but then again a freebie is a freebie isn't it so I guess I shouldn't complain?

The crowds gathered around the first couple of stalls was ridiculous! I mean we literally struggled to walk through, never mind poor Luce with the pram. I was panicking that the whole show was going to be like this but thankfully it wasn't and the crowds did thin out slightly as we moved around the stalls.

The popular brands, Mamas and Papas, iCandy, Bugaboo, Tommee Tippee, Maxi Cosi & Oyster were absolutely mobbed which was annoying. Even though we weren't shopping for anything in particular it would have been nice to be able to get a closer look at what was on offer. In particular I wanted to ask some questions about our Oyster 2 travel system and ask for some demonstrations but unfortunately we didn't get the chance.

Even though the venue was a pretty good size I wasn't blown away by the stalls on offer. There were only a handful of big big names and a lot of the stalls were offering exactly the same products as one another so it was a case of once you'd seen one you'd seen them all unfortunately. 

We didn't stop for anything to eat or drink because to be honest we weren't actually at the show for that long. From what I could see refreshments were quite overpriced but that's to be expected I guess. Bizarrely we discovered that all toilets and most importantly baby changing facilities were upstairs with difficult to navigate access. For an event where there were hundreds of new mummies all obviously complete with large tracks systems this wasn't the best thought out idea.

I reckon it took us around half an hour to comfortably get round all the stalls and we were probably there for around 90mins or so taking our time, dawdling round and going back and forth to a couple of stalls that took our fancy. I don't know if I just had unrealistic expectations and expected a larger event like the show in London but I was planning a full day at the show, or at least a good few hours.

As I said we weren't shopping for anything in particular but we did pick up a couple of cute bits & hunted down some bargains.

First up was a lovely little stall called Bubba Bibs which was actually causing all the commotion and crowding right at the entrance to the show. The stall was too busy when we first got there but we managed to go back at a quieter time.
As you can probably guess they specialise in bibs, dribble bibs in particular and had some great offers on. We picked up 6 bibs for £10 which I think is amazing value, you'd struggle to even find bibs that cheap somewhere like Asda or Primark!

The photo 100% doesn't do these bibs justice. They are SO soft, really thick and are an amazing fleecy material on the back which I imagine would make them extra absorbent for all the dribble and milk that will be inevitably heading their way. They had a huge selection of cute colours, styles, patterns and slogans and I could easily have bought more. 

We also found this adorable little baby Converse set. It contains a short sleeve vest, hat and little booties and was £15. I've come across a lot of the Converse sets with just a hat and socks but never one like this that include a babygro as well.

The only thing I'm not sure about with this set is the sizing. All items are 0-6 months which is unusual right? I mean surely there's a big difference in th size of a newborn and a 6 month old baby? Still we shall see and once Squishy is here I'll be able to report back and let you know at what age this fitted her best.

The last few items we picked up were from the MAM stall. Even though MAM are a huge household brand we actually hadn't bought anything for Squishy from the company until this point. They had a great 3 for £10 offer on lots of different items.
We picked up some dummies suitable for 0+ months, dummy clips and a teether for a little later on but they had lots of other items to chose from, in particular lots of weaning items and bottles.

Up until this point we hadn't bought any dummies for Squishy and G is very anti! Don't get me wrong I'm obviously not going to be shoving them down her throat or anything and it would be great to not have to use them but I'm definitely not ruling it out and I expect at 3am when nothing will settle our little princess G may well change his mind as well so at least now we've got the option.

This hasn't put off the idea of baby shows in general and I think next year we probably will go to the big baby show in London with Squish in tow but I wouldn't bother with the South East version again.

Have you been to any baby shows? I'd love to hear your opinion, especially on this event or The Baby Show at the Excel centre?

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