The Baby Show, ExCeL February 2012

This will be my sixth or seventh baby show now, so feeling quite the pro at this going to fair lark, we (being Rachel, myself and our kids) jumped into my car and we did the drive across London – possibly a foolish one taking in the sights of Streatham and Tooting (lovely traffic…), arriving there with an hour and a bit left to shop.  One thing I’ve learnt from previous baby shows is you don’t need to take nappies (not an issue for us any more), and you don’t need to vary your snacks too much as there’s always tons of freebies you can pick up. Oh how wrong could we be on the latter? No Ella’s Kitchen, Organix or Annabel Karmel stands this time around – though fortunately some goody bags which did the trick.

We had the stands we wanted to see, so raced into the venue – H and I to see Pixie & Punk and Fudgy Bear as we’d got our tickets from them and Rachel to check out the Mia Tui stand.

H chooses which design she wants from Pixie & Punk

Fortunately Pixie & Punk were easy to find – so a chat with Tagore Ramoutar to thank him for the ticket and to buy a t-shirt and bag, as H loves her ‘Where In The World Is Rufus T Bear’ book – so we need a Rufus T Bear to go with it (and I love how he’s buttoned into the pocket of the shirt) – so picked out the lovely pink and cherry t-shirt – the colours are so lovely which is what made us notice Pixie & Punk in the first place. Go and check them out – if you love stripes you wont be disappointed! Even better, it’s not a pinky pink – it’s a nice un-girly one, so we approve.

Mia Tui Amelie Baby Show
Mia Tui Goodness

We knew Rachel would be at Mia Tui for a while, so headed off to find them – and despite never thinking I’d need one of the bags, I too was persuaded and hooked – the bags are HUGE! Now H is toilet trained we don’t have the need for a changing bag any more – just one bag with both our things in is needed (like spare pants, trousers, socks) – and as we’re using the buggy less and less it’s not even like I can have two bags with one hanging off the handlebars – the Amelie bag fitted that need perfectly! Even better, you got a free Amelie if you bought a Grace. It had to be done, and I handed over my money, and tried not to gush too much (after about five minutes deliberating whether or not to buy) – I’m really not a handbag kind of person, and I think that’s what appealed – I’ve seen the bags online and hadn’t realised just how big they are, plus they can be worn across your body, so you’re not putting strain on your back – we’ll be gushing more about Mia Tui very soon….

My Carry Potty
H chooses Her Carry Potty

After that my main reason for going had to be done – while H is pretty good as far as going to the toilet goes, we’re doing a couple of long drives this year and after the very excellent Paula over at Mummy vs Work recommended the My Carry Potty, we (well, I) decided it was the solution for us. Holly chose the one she wanted, we paid and got a George and Hollie book thrown in. As we’ve already got one, stay tuned as I’ll offer this as another potty training themed giveaway (and I’ve decided, even though I set January and February as a potty trained theme, actually, it’s not just about one or two months – it’s a few – so let’s keep it going!) in the not-too distant future. H then insisted on carrying her My Carry Potty, so Fudgy Bear got put into my lovely huge great big Amelie bag – until she decided she didn’t want to carry that any more – but – a big hurrah! The Amelie bag fitted a My Carry Potty in there too – you’d never have known. It’s ginormous!!!

Fudgy Bear
H admires photos of herself on the Fudgy Bear stand

We found Fudgy Bear‘s stand, alas no Fudgy, but a deal for the books so picked up two more which is always good – Fudgy Bear is well and truly in H’s life right now – and she was even more impressed to see photos of her on the stand from the Foyles reading (and quite excited too!). More on Fudgy coming very soon… I worked out what I love the most about Fudgy is the good fonts used in the books and reading materials – so many people use Comic Sans – I’ve been put off schools that use it on their website I’m so anti-that-font. So we love Fudgy even more than we already did for that.

Toddler Mum-MumNow, this lack of free food led us completely by accident (and don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect free food as such, I just knew people gave it away so it was a risk worth taking, knowing I could buy if needs be) to a new product from Baby Mum Mum – biscuits made from premium Japonica rice. There’s a Stage 1 and Stage 2 kind, and there’s many benefits which I’ll go into more when we do a more in-depth review, as they were great, and a good snack for H – the Stage 2 kind are strawberry flavoured too which went down very well!

So, with some snacks, a huge bag with some of our things in it and a need for caffeine, I started to look for the cafe (and Rachel!), and stumbled across a site 5 Point Plus. This is a really excellent idea – and one I know a lot of parents come across. We’re lucky, H is more than happy to stay put in her car seat and is often more into fastening herself in than trying to escape, but a lot of kids do try to get out – and this is designed to keep the child safe. According to the site, up to 70% of children will try to escape their harness – so it’s a much more common problem than you’d think. It’s a simple velcro-fastening band which goes around the back of the car seat, fastening to the side belts, keeping your toddler safe until you’re able to fasten them back in. Really truly, check this out. They’re for sale in Boots for £25, and if you’ve got a mini Houdini on your hands then it’s one of the best solutions I’ve seen.

5 Point Plus

5 Point Plus - how it works

We stumbled across The Gro Company‘s stand, and I gushed for ages about The Gro Clock and how well it has worked for us, then something else, and something else until I felt embarrassed. Sometimes I really can’t help myself… (there’ll be a Gro Clock review soon too) – there are plans to develop a new Gro Clock which should appear in a year or so with a new story (I suggested they make toys with the characters from the story, although I guess you could do it easily yourself), so while it wont be for us (as we’re doing just fine with one), it’ll be interesting to see.

Prima Baby were doing excellent goody bags for two issues of Baby & Pregnancy for £2 and tons of goodies, so we’ll be trying out the Halos & Horns Baby Moisturising lotion (as I do also like their fonts) when we get a chance.

Our coffee break was done, and we headed over to Buggyaccessories stand, where we said hello to lovely Emily from Bundlebean (we’re going to review here soon, we’ve had a good six months use from it now easily) until the Bay City Rollers ‘Bye Bye Baby’ came over the tannoy.

The penny eventually dropped, it’s time to go… H was bopping around or just throwing herself onto the ground refusing to walk (oh don’t you just love toddlers?) and we made our way out – just in time to grab a leaflet from me&i who do gorgeous Swedish designed clothes for kids – but we had no time to browse, and our parking ticket was about to run out. Sighhh. So I have a leaflet and I wish I’d seen more – gorgeous clothes.

So, thoughts about The Baby Show? I think this may be one of the last ones we do – I feel like we have everything we need now, and unless another small person is going to enter our world, I suspect we have all that we’re ever going to need. I was (again) disappointed at the lack of traders with potty training solutions (though My Carry Potty and Pourty are the two leading brands as far as this goes, so that’s okay), as I’d hoped to pick up a Piddle Pad which helps keep your car seat dry in case of an accident when travelling. The facilities were great, parking was good (though expensive – two hours for a fiver, any more than that for £9!),  but overall I can’t really complain. We bought the things we set out to get – and I’m a convert to Mia Tui and even surprised the lady on the Prima stand as I took everything out of the bag to try to find my camera lens cap – as Seasider in the City said, it truly is a Mary Poppins bag!

We got to Croydon on the drive home and H needed a wee. The My Carry Potty was christened in the car park just next to Reeves Corner, and oh, was I glad we had it – it was dark and I didn’t fancy holding a squatting toddler… plus of course it all remained contained and airtight until we got home!

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