Monday, 5 September 2011

The Baby Show 2011 - Manchester Central

So on 4th September we jumped onto a train to get to Manchester for The Baby Show. I'll not bother to blog about the fact we ended up on the wrong train and thus were 4 hours later than we expected to be as that was not fun and being stuck in Coventry for an hour is something I'd like to forget!

My Silent Sunday was taken on the train going TOWARDS Manchester this time. He nodded off on my lap and it was just too special not to use as my Silent Sunday picture of him resting his little head on my leg and curled up in such a cute way in the seat next to me. When we arrived in Manchester at Piccadilly I knew to get the Metrolink, the tram line in the city. My grandma lived right behind a busy tram station and my dad was brought up in that very house and to this day I have fond memories of the doors being slammed shut. Of course they are now all automatic these days so you no longer hear the loud slamming of doors, but they are so cool now! I only had two stops between where I was and where I needed to be for Manchester Central Convention Complex. £1.20 return was all I needed to pay (Under 5's are free) and met a lovely couple on the tram and chatted to them. From my stop I only had to walk for less than 5 minutes and the complex is beautiful, I wished I had taken some pictures of it properly but the sun was behind it and thus made it too hard to get any.

This show was a lot smaller than NEC and ExCeL, however it felt relaxing, airy and the windows made it feel bright and light. Fisher Price had a competition to win everything on show (and more!) and you could let your little ones try them out as well. I was interested in their infant to toddler rocker (left infront of the big Fisher Price sign) and the lovely lads there kindly showed how it worked. I thanked them too as was Fisher Price who kindly gave me a ticket to enter the show, so big hugs and love to them!

We were both a bit grumpy due to unhappy stomachs to we got to the back of the venue to find food. A little disappointed in the fact wasn't much on offer. Perhaps it was due to it being the final day, but I enjoyed a lovely double chocolate muffin (must admit was one of the best I've ever had) whilst Petit Boy enjoyed a blueberry muffin and some juice.

Then came the time to spend. First place we handed our cash over to was Cuddledry and I got Petit Boy a very cute and soft toddler towel as well as a face cloth. I've finally got myself a Cuddledry towel! I then saw Prima's Pregnancy & Baby stand which offered 12 issues and a Tommee Tippee Gift for £20 (worth £60 in total) and thought about it. I gave in as I love reading magazines and for another £2 got even more awesome goodies and the August and September issues as well as being subscribed to 12 issues of the magazine. I picked the Tommee Tippee Weaning gift set and got it in green. The lady thought that was the best colour as it's so bright and funky, great for girls and boys. Thanks, Prima!

Cosatto always have a very pretty stand, but they do have a great design team so what do you expect! I am in love with their new twin stroller of the Owl and the Pussy Cat. Anyone got a child they don't mind me borrowing so I can have this buggy? I bet the offers will roll in now! Anyway Cosatto's team were very jolly with their green t-shirts, funky badges and brilliant nursery furniture. One of the ladies there remembered me bringing my Maclaren Dylan Candy Bar in to the Kiddisave shop here in Walsall. I must find out who she is!

I'm a sucker for prams and Bébécar have some beauties with their name on them. I just adore the big white wheels. Perhaps if it had a bigger shopping basket I'd have been stealing this little number from under there noses! Don't worry I didn't do that, but man doesn't it look lovely?

Britax team were also working at shop stalls to help sell and demonstrate their B-Smart and B-Agile. I hadn't tried the B-Agile yet so one of their lovely gentlemen kindly showed me how it worked and I must say, I was impressed! B-Agile is certainly one I'd like to review in the future. Watch out, Britax! I'm after you!

We met so many people. Tumble Tots, Planet Tots, Ella's Kitchen, Mothercare, Tots Bots... the list could go on. Ella's Kitchen have just brought out a new smoothie called The Orange One and we got hold of a sample! We also got given cookies (see above picture for approval of cookies) and The Red One (see below picture of empty cup of The Red One).

On our train home I grabbed some potato wedges from The Patry Shop and a bottle of cola. I'd suggest when going to an event like The Baby Show to bring a bottle of water as I find drinks cost way too much. It was cheaper to buy a drink at the train station which is usually expensive compared to supermarkets. Rice Cakes were brought along as they are ALWAYS in the changing bag and cookies were eaten.

So what were my thoughts on Manchester Central Baby Show? It's smaller than NEC Birmingham, however I love the feel of the venue and was nice for there to be a northern show. There was a crèche run by Fisher Price as always and a large changing room with free nappies and mats for you to change little ones. It's super close to the tram station and easy to get to from the main train station as well. Friendly locals were more than happy to help when I needed help (I got a bit confused about the trams at first!) and made the day enjoyable.

All in all I'd still recommend The Baby Show to those who have babies, grandparents or expecting couples to find great deals and get to know the people behind the brands. 


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