In the run up to our wedding I visited the Wedding Show with my Mum and sister. Although I felt some trepidation about it (what if I saw a dress I preferred to the one I’d already bought? There might be crazy people there! etc) I figured it was my only opportunity to experience such an event so why not? I was equally keen to check out the Baby Show. What’s not to love about a huge hall full of hormonal women and possibly tired and screaming babies? I persuaded Mr Cath to come with me on the grounds that there might be some cool gadgets there.
Thus at silly o’clock we found ourselves waiting in a queue outside the venue, clutching coffees and watching in growing fear as a succession of unusually attired people walked by. There’s a man dressed as the Heath Ledger Joker! Someone wearing a full on Yeti suit! There are two girls wearing red PVC… corsets? I’m terrified. What have we let ourselves in for? “They must be some kind of children’s entertainers?” Mr Cath suggests hopefully. It isn’t until lunchtime we realise that they are actually attending ComicCon which is happening in the same building. Doh!
My first impression of the Baby Show is that it was actually quite a relaxed atmosphere; no-one is rushing around to get to various stands as they were at the Wedding Show, and there is a surprising lack of small people having tantrums. We assume this is because it is early on in the day, but although more people do turn up, it is rarely as packed as I’d feared and we only encounter congestion around a couple of popular stands. Perhaps because the majority of showgoers are pregnant women, everyone is more considerate of each other? Such a contrast to the Wedding Show! My Mum was in a wheelchair at the time, and it was a real challenge to navigate the chair around the jostling crowds of stressed brides to be. We couldn’t believe the rudeness of some of the women. Although they were perhaps only tutting us because I’d “accidentally” run the wheelchair over their foot…
One of the things I’d been worried about was the toilet facilities. I was dreading the queues. The Wedding Show queues for the Ladies were epic – we were saved by the presence of my Mum’s wheelchair, which meant the three of us could jump the queue for the disabled toilets (since no-one waiting in them was actually disabled!) My experience of the Excel toilets can be summed up thus:
- No. of times I needed the bathroom: approximately 12 (but who’s counting)
- No. of queues I had to wait in: 0
Hallelujah! This may sound odd to a man or someone who has a normally functioning bladder, but for me this really made my day. We could wander around the Baby Show at our leisure, knowing that whenever I needed to go I could just… go! Without wishing to labour the point, it was truly brilliant.
So on to the most important part of the day: the products!
In an ideal world, we would have done extensive research before going to the show, and arrived equipped with a shortlist of essential items and brands we liked. In our world, this didn’t happen. We decided instead to spend the day with open minds, wander round to all the stands and just see what we found. I thought we might be tempted by a few small things such as baby clothes but we certainly weren’t expecting to actually buy any of the major items – just have a look at what was out there, and probably get very distracted by items we didn’t need, such as this adorable buggy for twins.
On the day, we ended up purchasing the following:
- Baby blanket
- Changing bag
- Over the top cot changer
- Cot and mattress
- Travel system (i.e. buggy, car seat, carry cot etc…)
The sling is from a company called BabaSling, sold by Peppermint. I can’t find the exact grey one we bought but it’s similar to this. I’ve always fancied the idea of one of those natural wraparound slings that just seem to be composed of a large piece of material, but also see the logic of a more sturdy Baby Bjorn-type carrier. This sling appeared to be a good compromise. It is natural fabric and holds the baby in a less rigid way, but you just clip it – no faffing about winding the material around yourself and worrying that you’ve done it wrong and the baby will slide out! Mr Cath still wants a rucksack-style carrier and I agree that for country walks and things it is more practical to use one of those, but in the meantime I’ve got the earth mother sling waiting in the baby cupboard.
Our changing bag is from a company called Momymoo and the bag we bought is here. We purchased it for the bargainous price of £20 (they’re normally £45). This bag was more of a controversial purchase. While I love the Cath Kidston-style print and pink theme of the bag, I was unsure about buying such a feminine style statement when there’s a possibility we’ll have a baby boy. I KNOW we’re not supposed to gender stereotype, but I just couldn’t picture laying out a male baby on the pink flowery changing mat. Mr Cath pointed out it would be my bag, but then realised he wouldn’t be willing to use it himself. Hmm…! We decided to get the bag anyway and if we do have a boy and it’s just too embarrassing using it in public, I’ll happily use it as a beach bag instead. Changing bags seem to be one of those things you often get free with other items, so chances are we’ll end up picking up another, more neutral bag at some point anyway.
There’s too much to say about the cot, buggy and car seat for one post, so more to follow…