The Baby Show, Birmingham NEC - review
Everything aspiring parents could want - but maybe not necessarily need - is on offer at The Baby Show.
Hosted in the vast Hall 4 at Birmingham's NEC events superhub, brands big and small compete for custom and the title of best freebies provider as new parents, industry professionals and mothers-to-be bustle around looking for those chic and unique items to make their child's life bliss.
Being the Saturday of this three-day extravaganza we obviously had the biggest crowds to deal with. Space in a couple of the more popular aisles was a bit limited - my partner wasn't sure she would have wanted to tackle some of the stands had she been pregnant still.
But the layout of the event bears this in mind. Food stalls and seating areas adorn the sides. A feeding area for young and old is set away from the hullabaloo. A changing area too, screened off, is calmer and quieter to try and help keep the little'uns more relaxed during what is a traditionally grizzly time for them.
It also affords parents a chance to take five and discuss - some more angrily than others we noticed - what they have seen and compare prices online to check if they are getting a good deal or not over a cuppa and snack.
Back in the action some firms go all-out to attract browsers. Our little one was a big lover of the Nuby stall, where they had a giant wall of sequins brandishing their name which he - and many others - were exploring with their fingertips as we walked past.
Of the other big brands in attendance, Lidl were doing a roaring trade. Their pretty, laid out like a living room booth was offering a tote bag of their Lupilu baby range products for an incredible price of £1. This included wipes, nappy bags, a few nappies and some baby safe cotton buds - plenty you will need first-off.
Stokke were also in attendance showing off their brand new buggy for the British market, called BEAT and aimed at fathers. Slick, small and easy to fold it looked perfect for city living as jumping on and off public transport and getting in and out of cars would be easy with its ergonomic design.
And smaller, mid-sized firms had some great wares on offer too. Hand-made toys and comforters or a unique nappy bag were perhaps more in many parents' price ranges. We spent some time talking to the team at Tumble Tots discussing their classes on offer to keep youngsters active and happy. They have them on offer in Penn and Codsall so that was very handy for us.
There were talks with industry experts and fellow parents too handing out advice to would-be mummies and daddies, while the stage also hosted demonstrations of the latest must-have items to make parenthood a breeze.
However long you wish to stay is up to you. Whether a quick freebie dash or a long, thought-out inventory check is more your style, The Baby Show ticks the boxes and lets you explore to your heart's content.