Friday, 22 November 2013

The Ideal Home Show at Christmas | Earl's Court

Stuck for tacky Christmas gift ideas? Look no further than the Ideal Home Show at Christmas at Earl's Court in London, which I visited last week with my family. Let's just say that I was not the instigator of this trip, and that I only agreed to go along for the free food samples, and to practice taking photographs, so I am not going to be the most fair and just reviewer.

The Ideal Home Christmas Show at Earls Court
Fake snow. Is there anything tackier?
Peter Andre at the Ideal Home Christmas Show
OMG it's Peter Andre!! I got told off for taking a picture because I hadn't paid to meet him...

I should probably preface this by saying that if you are a very Christmassy person (i.e. you watch Love Actually religiously every year, you have already decorated your house and have All I Want for Christmas is You on repeat from the beginning of November), then you would love it. It is very…Christmassy. Me, however, I'm not such a big fan. I mean, Christmas is alright- I like spending time with my family, I like having a break, I like the cold weather, but I do not like glittery reindeer, kitschy Santas and grown men dressed up as elves. It's just not my thing. So, quite why I decided to go along, I'm not sure, but hey, you live and learn.

Vintage hat at the Ideal Home Christmas Show
Trolly Dolly or idiot. You decide...

Santa decorations at the Ideal Home Christmas Show
Ho ho ho oh no I can't take it anymore...

I have to say that I don't have anything against events held in convention centres, I enjoyed the last event that I went to at Earl's Court. This was a Playstation 2 convention when I was 13 (don't judge, ok) so I know they can put on some decent events. I just cannot bear false jollities when one second you're bombarded with fake snow and the next you're crushed into someone's armpit as they scrabble for some piece of mass-produced, plastic tat. That's not to say that everything they are offering is rubbish, just that I've seen some better made quality products in Poundland. When the big attractions are a Peter Andre calendar and diamante lip stickers, you know it's not exactly classy.
Fairy lights at the Ideal Home Christmas Show
Shine bright like a…ball of string
But enough of my snobbery, it was fine if all you wanted to do was find some cheap-ish Christmas presents, and have a wander round some different stalls. A word of warning, though, if you are thinking of going-  it was very, very crowded. This made it difficult to move at times and I did feel more than a little claustrophobic. This was particularly bad around the kid's gift stalls, but that's to be expected, really.
Dried Fruit at the Ideal Home Christmas Show
These smelt pretty good, actually. Shock, horror!
Interior of the Ideal Home Christmas Show
Ice skating, anyone?

There were a wide variety of stalls, so gifts from natural make-up, to cook books, to designer poop-a-scoops, and many more. The food section, while short on the actual samples, did have a variety of options for lunch and a lot more varieties of wine! You could get your teeth whitened for a bargain price of £50 and you could also go ice skating if you fancied it. I did actually find something to buy (shock horror) and I'll write a post about it because I love it. It's a lampshade and as soon as I have it assembled and have the pictures ready I'll put a review up.

Bird Decoration at the Ideal Home Christmas Show
This little bird wasn't very Christmassy, but he was a happy chappy
I'd say, if you were planning on going to the Ideal Home Show at Christmas, you should definitely bring some food with you, because the cafes inside Earls Court are a) crowded and b) a rip-off. I saw lots of people with shopping trolleys, so if you're planning on a big haul, then one is a must, or just go the whole hog and bring a suitcase! You'd probably do well to turn up early, as it was the busiest around lunchtime and a lot of the more unique products were sold out. 
Snowman at the Ideal Home Christmas Show
Even the snowman looks sad

If you don't have any tolerance for Christmas songs, buggies blocking the walkways or people desperately trying to sell you "realistic" hair extensions, then this probably isn't for you. However, if you are less cynical than I am and just want to get some gift ideas for Christmas, then this is probably more your thing. I suppose it's a bit like Marmite, and in this case, just like Marmite, I hate it.
 
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