Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Not So Ideal Home Show

Last week I popped along to Earls Court to the Ideal Home Show.  I went with my Mummy who had got free tickets to the show.  It was my first time going, and the last time my Mum had been was about 40/45 years ago with her Mummy!

My Mum had excitedly told me all about how the Ideal Home Show was an exciting place to view all the new and innovative bits and bobs for your home.  There were 7 or 8 show homes that exhibited such items that you could wonder around and look at all the mod cons.  In the 50's/60's when her Mum took her, novel new items such as plastic apple corers, were thought of as exciting and new.  Something I'm sure we all take for granted now!  So I was really looking forward to seeing new and innovative items that will change my life ;), like a plastic apple corer!

On first entering the show, it was exactly that, very exciting.  We wondered past the gardeny section where I spotted the PERFECT garden accessory:

A Bamboo Gazebo! Except that's what the company called it.  I like to call it my Tiki Bar!  Although with the £4250 price tag I am going to have to sell A LOT of loungewear to be able to afford it.  And then I have to fill my bar with booze and glasses and accessories and Hawaiian style outfits.  So it's on my want list, but for the distant future, when I have earned enough money to justify the price tag ;).

Next we headed to the foodie bit.  It was great going around all the stalls sampling their various wares.  We even bought some yummy olive oil and vinegar that was produced in Australia.  And this is where the story took a turn for the worse.  We stumbled on JML territory.  You know the kind, where a sales man does a demmo and claims ridiculous things like "this product is a one of a kind, special show price, will change your life for the better forever".  The cost?  You only have to remortgage your house for it!  One man pounced on my poor Mum.  He was inappropriately touchy feely and invaded both of our personal space trying to sell his miracle face creams.  No word of a lie a tiny bottle of Serum, Moisturiser and Face Mask were £425 EACH FRIGGIN BOTTLE!!!!!  Are you crazy?!?!?!?!  Do we seriously look like we can afford that?!?!  NO!  We tried to leave several times but he kept drawing us back in getting more and more desperate to close the sale.  The final "special price" was £160 for the serum plus the moisturiser..............still ARE YOU CRAZY?!?!?!  What made it even worse was his constant talking in Hebrew to his work colleague, trying to make it look like his boss was reluctantly giving us a great one of a kind deal.  I know your game Mr and no I don't want your shitty face creams.  When my Mum asked if he was from Israel he looked seriously worried that she may have understood what he said.  Haha she didn't but it was funny to see his face.

Anyway this kind of aggressive sales tactics really put a sour spin on the whole day.  To me, the hard sale is not what the Ideal Home Show is about.  To me, and how my Mum remembered it, it is about showcasing all that is innovative and exciting.  So it was a little sad that today's show is all about aggressively selling plastic crap to people.  Fed up with people pouncing on us trying to sell us shit we don't need or want, we headed to the restaurant to revive ourselves.

Bubbleeeeeeeeees!  Ok so we drowned our sorrows and laughed at the cost of the face creams.  Seriously has anyone ever bought three bottles of face cream for £1275?  If they had I assure you it will have been from somewhere like Harrods not the Ideal Home Show!  And they should be locked up because that's an obscene amount of money.  Anyway ranting again lol so here's a picture of the cream tea we enjoyed:

Scrummy and much needed.  And the staff were lovely who served us, so they more than made up for the pooey sales people.  After our little rest we headed downstairs again to try and find the show homes.  On our way we stumbled upon some gardens that were designed by college students in association with Charlie boy (Prince Charles).  I assume he was endorsing it as there was a clip of him playing on various screens urging people to have a look around the show gardens.  This was my favourite:

It is a French style garden with a little seating area with a bottle of plonk on the table - clearly the booze appealed to me.  There were tokens in a box for people to vote for the garden that was their favourite.  However I could neither find a token, nor someone to ask where the tokens were so I could vote.  But if I could have I would have voted for this one.

Onwards to the show homes and no photos I'm afraid.  There were only 3 show homes, an Eco friendly type one, one designed by people again linked to Charlie boy, and the third was a "quiet house".  The quiet house was good in principal.  Every item had been researched to find the quietest in their category - such as hair dryers, washing machines, kettles, showers, computers ect.  But wondering around the house it wasn't clearly explained really and was a little bit of a let down.  And there was a group of people being really loud in the quiet house so it kind of made it a bit pointless.

The Eco house and the Prince's house were better, but still not very inspiring.  They could have been fitted out by any high street shop and be anywhere in middle England.  Not innovative or exciting in any way.  My favourite was the Prince's house as it instilled a bit of heritage and a country cottage type feel to normal suburban houses.  And I know that Charles is keen to highlight traditional British craftsmanship such as carpenters and stone masons.  But honestly the most exciting thing was outside the show homes.

A jive band had set up, The Jive Aces.  We stood and listened to them for a while to revive our weariness.  They managed to inject some fun and liveliness to the crowds!

My favourite part of the show, was actually something that was not meant to really be.  In a separate space, a company had rebuilt two flats side by side.  One was the fabulous homage to 'Kitsch' that is the Only Fools and Horses set, opposite a modern version of the flat with stylish modern furniture.  Only the modern version was horrendous, in my opinion.  First here is the Kitsch-o-rama-tastic, Only Fools and Horses flat.

The height of taste obviously ;).  Then this is what a company (I didn't even bother to look who it was) suggests as a modern, highly tastefully alternative.............

I do actually like the wallpapered corner with reading chair
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.  Excuse me whilst I rouse myself from my grey, boredom induced coma.  With the exception of the library wallpaper with comfy chair corner, this is the most bland, beige and darn right boring flat set up I have ever seen.  Bring on the Kitsch I say!!!  If this is what people are suggesting as an innovative and exciting house/flat layout, we have gone very very wrong somewhere in this modern day.  I imagine an accountant would live in that flat!

All in all I was very disappointed with my visit.  I was expecting to see fun and exciting new home gadgets and innovative furniture and fixtures and fittings.  What I got was a DFS showroom with bland cheap looking (although horrendously £££££) high street furniture I could get anywhere and pushy salesmen trying to sell me a load of crap I don't want, have told them I don't want, and will never want.

I shall leave you with a happy tale though.  On our assault course dodging the shiesters through the plastic crap isles, we came across a fantastic small company that had just won an award from Crufts.  They are called Doggy Bag and are well worth looking up if you have pet hounds.  As you know, I have many hounds.  Their product is a micro fibre bag that you zip all around your doggie to then give them a good rub down.  The bag gets rid of all the sogginess on your pooch and collects all the dirt and grime which can then be turned inside out to get rid of.  You are left with a dramatically drier doggie!  We were so bamboozled by sales tactics that we didn't buy at the show for fear of being duped into buying a useless product.  But have since gone into their website to order some as it wasn't a trick!  This product actually works!  So dog owners check them out!  Your life really will be changed!

Lots of Love
Betty xxx

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