I started this morning with a few pounds in my purse, slightly aching feet and two matching arms.
14 hours later, and my purse is looking a little thinner, my feet feel like they’ve been through a mangle* and one of my arms is sporting a rather strange looking bald patch.
But on the plus side, I did manage to find lots of great bargains at the Baby Show – which I went along at Excel, London together with Bubby D and her Auntie Tooie.
Our first stop was to pick to pick up Bubby D’s transport for the day – we were offered the chance to test out the Maxi Cosi Elea throughout the show. It’s a versatile pushchair with the option to be forward or parent facing, and can also be used as a travel system with car seat adaptors or a carrycot. It’s a little bit wider than a stroller and feels a lot more sturdy, yet it can be folded down to a very compact size when it’s not in use. The seat is generously sized, and has a five point harness and swivelable toybar. With it’s adjustable footrest, three position recline and hood which can be zipped out to provide more coverage, Bubby D felt immediately at home and promptly fell asleep in it.
Which provided us with a great opportunity to get in some boring-to-babies-but-fun-for-mums (and Auntie’s) browsing, starting at the iVillage which was bedecked with bunting and offered the opportunity to do some colouring in (oh, that was meant for the children…?)
And then, my bald patch appeared. Our first find was Melody Claire, whose hair loss pads seem to work exceedingly well. My arm is testament to that! Scarpering before they could relieve me of any more bits of my body, we next came across Fill n Squeeze, a great new product which allows you to create your own purees and easily put them into reusable food pouches. For ‘fruit pouch’ lovers like the Wee Man and Bubby D, this is a great find and I didn’t need much persuading to buy one. I reckon it’ll be saving me a fortune in no time and I love the fact that I’ll be able make use of my Annabel Karmel ‘Top 100 Baby Purees’ book again.
(Talking of Annabel Karmel, not only did she give a great talk about nutrition and baby feeding later in the day on the Made for Mums Baby Show Stage, but I also got to meet her, hurrah! As a long-term fan of her great cookery books it was lovely to talk to her face to face about our favourite recipes. Bubby D showed how much of a fan she is too, by completely devouring two bowls of the sample meals that were on offer (Salmon and Cod Fish Pie, and Cottage Pie). Actually, they smelt so good that Auntie Tooie and I were pretty tempted to devour several ourselves…)
Funky Giraffe, a favourite of ours since we first found them at the Baby Show last year, were next on our list of stalls to visit, and Bubby D was treated to a set of five new bibs, along with two pairs of socks and some brightly coloured moccasins.
And I got to pick up a new Melobaby All-In-One Nappy Wallet and Change Mat – I had one before and it was stolen in IKEA, and since then I’ve felt lost without it. It’s so convenient to grab for a quick dash to the shops or a short bus trip, and manages to fit in four nappies, wipes, a change of clothes and a clever adjustable change mat that uses magnets to allow both small babies and large toddlers to fit on it comfortably, without being really bulky and cumbersome.
I’ve also got my eye on the new Pourty flexi-fit – a seat that adjusts to fit snugly on to any adult toilet seat, providing a safe and secure seat for your little one. Bubby D is showing signs of toilet awareness, and I reckon we’ll be travelling the toilet training road with her later this year…
We had just time to fit in a quick visit to Wowmom (whose app I already use and love on my iPhone), the Birkbeck University Babylab (who are looking for willing little volunteers to help them understand how babies learn, recognise faces, and develop language), Mumazine (an interesting new online magazine packed with fun stories and advice) and the Childcare Clinic (where I was able to find out about emergencychildcare.co.uk, a great service which helps you find a local nursery, childminder or nanny if you need one when unexpected childcare situations arise – very timely for me as my mum, who usually looks after the Wee Man after preschool broke her leg and I was left running around in a panic!) and then Bubby D stuck her hand out of her snoozeshade and waved to indicate that she was in fact awake and ready to try out some baby friendly browsing instead.
By this point the crowds were starting to get quite crazy (saturday at the Baby Show is definitely the busiest day!) and we really got to test the steering on the Maxi-Cosi Elea. Turns out it’s really easy to manouvre quickly and effectively through the crowds, both in forward and parent facing mode. The shopping basket was also proving just how much it could fit in, as our bargains were rapidly filling it up! Bubby D enjoyed sitting and waving at all the passers by, held in securely by her harness and occasionally ‘bopping’ someone on the head with the balloon she’d acquired, which I attached to the handy toy bar.
So next, we went to take advantage of the free baby changing and found out all about Nappies 2 Go, a recycling service which takes disposable nappies and turns them into useful things, diverting them from landfill. As a sustainability project manager in my non-mum working life, this appeals to me from that aspect as well as from the mummy side of things.
Nappy changed, Bubby D decided it was lunch time, and we ventured outside to the food court. An interesting experience, since the London Super Comic Convention is also taking place at Excel this weekend – and consequently we saw a variety of entertainingly dressed people wandering around interspersed with lots of pushchair wielding mums, dads and relatives.
With our tummies satisfied, we went to take advantage of the Truly Scrumptious Baby Show Stars competitions stand, where we got a great photo of Bubby D taken by Bumpkins and booked a family photoshoot complete with complimentary framed photograph for only £10. The queue provided Bubby D with the ideal opportunity to explore the outside of the Maxi-Cosi Elea, having already thoroughly tested the interior of it with a lot of wriggling around and giggling! Then we decided it was time for a drink, and stopped off at the Joie Test Track. Bubby D decided to take on the role of pushchair, and crawled and walked her way around the track, picking up some of the pearlescent balls from the middle of it and playing catch with the friendly Joie sales people. We loved looking at their range of strollers (I’m impressed with the innovative Mirus), whilst also sitting down and enjoying a cold drink.
After a quick watch of the Mothercare Blooming Marvellous Fashion Show, there was just time to try out the giant Fisher Price bouncer, and take a look at a last few stalls:
- Trunki, one of our all time favourites who have a great new range of Paddlepaks
- Bunkcot, who do what the name suggests and have bunkbeds that can be two cots, a bed and a cot, or two toddler beds – I’m very tempted as this would be a perfect solution for the Wee Man and Bubby D, who only have a very small bedroom
- Chicco, where Bubby D had great fun playing with their new range of 2013 toys, and I found out all about the Oasys 2-3 car seat
- Cheeky Chompers and their new invention the Neckerchew, a bandana style bib with built in teether at the end
- Brushbaby – time to stock up on the Wee Man’s favourite Tutti Frutti toddler toothpaste
- Clippasafe, where I got two extremely reasonably priced cable shorteners, and a shampoo shield to protect Bubby D’s poorly perforated ear drum
- Vital Baby, where we picked up a new cutlery set each for the Wee Man and Bubby D
- Usborne books, where I treated the Wee Man to a wipe clean learning to write book, and Bubby D to a lift the flaps animal board book
- BeSafe, creators of the Wee Man’s great group 0/1 rearfacing car seat; and
- the Genesis Research Trust, which funds research into improving the health of women and babies – they told us all about the Pramathon that they’ve got planned for Sunday 23rd June 2013
And then it was time to go.
Er…except I then remembered I wanted a Gro Egg Shell, so we stopped off at the Gro Company where Bubby D picked a very cute monkey one.
Oh, and then there was the Prima Baby and Practical Parenting and Pregnancy goody bag, complete with a copy of each magazine and some sudocrem, metanium, halos and horns moisturiser, nappy samples and a Hipp fruit pouch among other things.
And did I mention the My 1st Years goody bag, which also had some great samples inside?
Anyway, we finally made it to the exit and out into the snow.
There were so many other great stalls, competitions, services and freebies that I can’t possibly fit them all into one post – and this time I didn’t drive so was unable to make use of the Emma’s Diary collect by car service, Bubby D is no longer breastfeeding so I wasn’t able to sneak in a quicky comfy sit down on the lovely chairs in the Tommee Tippee feeding area, and she was also having so much fun in the Maxi-Cosi Elea (and had a great 2 hour sleep too) that we didn’t need to use the Fisher Price creche either.
Still, there’s always next time!
And for now, I’m going to have a good sit down, and soothe those tired feet.
*It’s probably also worth mentioning that there were no mangles at the Baby Show. It just kind of feels that way…but a day on my feet was definitely worth it 🙂