[dropcap]I [/dropcap]have adopted more than a few ‘crazy old lady’ habits; I like sitting in a chair out in the garden, talking to my cats, and tutting at my neighbour’s messy front yard. Yep, I am one of those people. I am as into my homeware and interiors as some people are into the latest fashions. I love winding down at night on Pinterest, pinning objects, wall hangings, furniture, wallpaper, tiles, rugs, paint swatches *deeeep breath* you name it, I have pinned it. We’re gutting our bathroom this weekend and installing a new one and I can’t wait! For a homebody like me, The Ideal Home Show is a good place to browse, maybe shop, and tinker around in all things home related. Knuckles cracked and fingers flexed, I headed to Kensington Olympia to see what was going on.
Kensington Olympia is HUGE. You could spend the entire day there and still feel like you only scratched the surface. I like to head upstairs first and glance down from the balcony on the 1st floor to get a sense of where everything is. From up here, I spied the show homes and garden sections which- to me- are the highlight of the Ideal Home Show, simply because I like the novelty factor in being inside a model home and seeing how furniture and accessories have been pieced together.
This year leaned towards zero carbon homes- this one here is the Future Proof Home. To look at it you wouldn’t think it was especially green- in fact, it was super modern and I loved the wood paneling on the outside- but it has triple glazing, solar panels, and wool insulation, which means it’ll keeps your house warm thus reducing your heating bill.
We’re slowly making our way towards a home refurb, so it was nice to get some inspirations on what we could do. Our windows aren’t even double glazed for one thing! Since we’ve installed our Nest thermostat, the system is learning our heating habits to save costs on our energy bill, so it’s definitely something we’re interested in. As we’re a ground floor flat, solar panels isn’t something we could consider but the building materials gave us some food for thought- I did feel limited in how to apply greener materials to a typical London flat!
Walking around the different sections- Food & Drink, House-ware, Beauty, Technology- I realised I was amateur hour here. People walked past me loaded with shopping bags and freebies of the latest gadgets and trinkets, some came with trolley bags even. No one else seemed to be having an amble browse like me. Next time, game plan! After scoping out the layout of the exhibition, we went in search of food. We queued for a some BBQ baps and took some seats at the Ideal Food & Drink presentation- watching rum cocktail demonstrations with BBQ gravy dribbling down my hand. There are cafes within the hall too, but I found them a bap too late!
I caught a few presentations, but these were the best…
The Springtime Sweethearts were just that…sweethearts! I am in love with all old timey music and love the nostalgia of the 1940’s.
Good old LB. I actually have a couple of casserole dishes from Linda Barker- they’ve weathered well, apart from one tiny chip on the corner because Robin is not the most delicate of washing uppers.
This was the rum presentation we had lunch over. At the end they gave out free Thirst Pockets and I never thought I’d see such a scrum for kitchen towels, ever in my life.
And then, the bit I like the most, garden inspirations…
You could pick up a green chip at the entrance to this section to vote for your favourite garden set ups. This was mine. I am in love with the idea of a living wall, and sectioning off the garden to make little nooks and crannies. I liked the dark stained walls contrasting with the greenery to really make it pop, and all the textures from the different foliage. I used the word foliage. I’m so sorry.
I want this pod. It looks like a giant pip. And it also rotates so you can catch the sun’s rays from all angles. Little steps first though…we’re completely redoing our bathroom this weekend so there’s that hurdle to get over with first!
A few tips to make your visit run smoother
1) The queue for the model show homes is much more bearable towards the end of the day. We queued for ages to see one home before deciding to come back later to catch the others. Best decision ever.
2) Presentations are repeated throughout the day, so if you only catch the last part of something, check the timetables for when it returns. I did this for the Springtime Sweethearts.
3) There is food around! There are cafes inside the Hall, but in my hangry panic I couldn’t find any and headed straight to the few stalls that were selling hot food. It was tasty but I would have preferred sitting down somewhere nice and taking my time. The best one I saw was on at the far end of the Homeware section.
4) There’s a cash machine outside Kensington Olympia station, it’s worth stopping off here as there isn’t much of a queue (usually)
As you walk around, you’ll start to think, why yes I do need that space saver coat hanger thingamajig and you’ll lurk in the Smeg showroom daydreaming that this is your kitchen, but for me that’s the fun in going to an expo like this. You can take it as seriously or as easy as you want!
As for us, we’re now calculating costs for bifolding doors and triple glazing…watch this space!
^^Thank you to British Gas for our tickets to the Ideal Home Show!^^