Yes, sod it. I said the ‘C’ word. Christmas.
I know I’m a little early – it’s not really allowed to be mentioned in our house til 1 December, bar present buying, but on this occasion, I’d been invited to the Ideal Home Show at Christmas at Event City at the weekend.
I must admit, I’m in need of a little Christmas cheer already. This year has been a busy one, where I’ve barely had time to draw breath. And particularly as we haven’t holidayed this year, I’m really looking forward to my enforced Christmas break, even though there’s a lot of work time between now and then.
So I arrived ready for the works. Christmas carols, Santa, tinsel and fairy lights. I wanted mulled wine, the smell of cinnamon and fake snow everywhere.
To begin with, I wasn’t disappointed.
I walked in to the sound of Christmas carols being performed by a live choir, and a whole forest of trees.
Swiftly followed by crackers, decorations, wrapping paper and cards. The Christmas spirit in me awoke a little from it’s slumber, and without raising it’s head from it’s slumber opened one eye to take things in.
A little further in and things thinned a bit, but to be expected – it was the Ideal Home Show after all – and who doesn’t need a new power shower, want to get the new radiators in ahead of the colder weather, or want to avoid the trudge out to the shed at the bottom of the garden for the ‘spare’ chairs ahead of Christmas dinner. Beautiful dining sets from Arighi Bianchi called with their festive decor, again making me yearn for a dining room.
And I absolutely fell in love with the furniture form Tanchoi. Just look at it.
I want to curl up on this sofa with a pile of cushions, a mug of tea and a good book. And knowing my household, both the cats, who also like big comfy sofa spaces. (I’ve made the mistake since of looking on their website. I want all of it.)
Then, as I wandered deeper into the event, the Christmas theme thinned dramatically. Bar the Hanley’s stand which was every kids dream stand, it was an odd mix.
I could have my face fake tanned in ten minutes. Or my eyebrows done, or my teeth whitened there an then. It’s a home show, so despite it being distinctly the wrong kind of weather outside, the hot tubs and patio furniture weren’t a surprise and there was some stunning art work, but as I wandered deeper and deeper, it looked more like the back of a supplement magazine than a home show. Full of clothes, ‘hover boards’ (they don’t hover, they’re just hands free Segways) and accessories.
The food and drink section, though marginally more intriguing was certainly more of a bun fight, with small, difficult to navigate crowds, fingers grasping for free samples and a queue for the bar.
Disappointed, my Christmas spirit pulled the covers over it’s head and went back to sleep. So I sought solace in the Cake & Bake Show, also in Event City, and accessible through my IHS ticket. A bonus for ticket holders for either event.
I’d like to say I found solace. I found a little cake, certainly, but having been a happy visitor to Cake & Bake for the last few years, what I found wasn’t a patch on previous years. At Manchester Central, I’d enjoyed the show so much, I’d visited on both days. This time around, I found nothing to keep my attention for more than an hour or so. Neff were there with their stunning Slide and Hide ovens, Duerr’s had preserves galore, and Wright’s Flour were there with their mixes and recipes.
But whereas in previous years you could find baked goods galore, I found merely a couple of stands with anything available. Slattery’s and Sugar and Crumbs had stands half the size they used to be, and I could only find two other stands selling cake decorating items. I was so disappointed I dd
It was…. deflating. And many friends who visited thought so too.
All thoughts of cakey solace left me. I wandered back over to the Trafford Centre disappointed.