Monday, 13 October 2014

Grand Designs Live Show

I was excited to visit the Grand Designs Live show at the NEC Birmingham. My house is a new build although I didn't build it myself. Now I'm left with the task of decorating it to my taste and I believed the exhibition would inspire me.

Grand Designs is generally about building your own house though, so it focuses on a lot of the things you may need like windows, doors, skylights, solar panels, hot tubs....yes hot tubs are a necessity if building your own home. Who wouldn't want one of these?

We did actually spend a lot of our time in the garden area. We have to do something with ours which is rather boring at the moment. Maybe a little something for the kids?

In the background you can just make out some garden pods, I did take photos but they were very popular and I'm not so keen to plaster photos of strangers too often on my blog. They were amazing though, an enclosed cocoon with comfy seats and they turn around too for when you are fed up of the view.

Also in the garden section where a huge selection of water features. Now we could certainly put one of these in our garden.

If I'm honest, I was a little un-inspired by the Interiors section. Although there was some lovely settees there didn't seem to be too much other furniture. I'd have liked to have seen some bedroom furniture, bookshelves, cupboards and storage ideas. There seemed to be a lack of soft furnishings too with only a few places highlighting cushions and curtains. There was a big technology part which we rushed through, when you are more interested in wallpaper, paint and furniture the technology bit is just extra footwork. I'd love a robotic vacuum cleaner though.

I did love the stand from Hillarys Blinds. I am looking for blinds and curtains and they had a lovely display of what they can offer. It was nice to be able to walk around and have a feel of the fabrics.

Hillarys are now working with Home Interest magazine on an exciting range of fabrics inspired by architecture from around the world.

Another interesting concept was this 'put together yourself'' wallpaper from 1wall. It comes in 64 pieces for you to arrange however you please. It would definitely be a talking piece in your home.

As a self-confessed foodie I left the best to last as I headed over to the Food and Housewares Section of the show. There were all sorts of yummy things to taste including wine which I had to avoid because of driving. I did try a little home-brew cider though! We are big lovers of cheese and loved this stand from the Snowdonia Cheese company. I found it difficult to choose from the lovely flavours available and my purse was a little lighter before leaving. I really should not have visited their website because on searching for local stockists I was directed to a farm shop just 2 miles from home! I feel a cheese addiction coming on.

My advice to anyone attending one of these shows would be;

  • wear comfortable shoes, there is a lot of walking around involved. If you go by car it's generally a fair walk to the exhibition halls or you can take a free bus. 
  • Take a look at the online guide to who will be there and be choosy about who you visit, unless you want to be there for the whole day. There are some great displays and talks happening around the hall but they will all add extra time to your visit.
  • Check out if there are things to book beforehand that you might like to do, for example a room consultation. They are often fully booked before the event.
  • The restaurant is a little pricey but the food is plentiful. So take your own food if you don't want to pay £8.95 for a plate of fish and chips.
  • Take lots of money there are always bargains to be had, most stand owners offer greatly reduced prices on their products.

I have to finish with this cow picture, just because I can and I liked him!

Disclaimer: I was given my tickets to this show, my thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

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