Several Saturdays ago I headed from north London to west London for the Baby Show at the Olympia Exhibition Hall. Checking the Transport for London website (www.tfl.org) I looked to see the best way to get there. There were quite a few travel options, but once there I was surprised to see that the large numbers of young families with buggies were a little stuck. The problem? No lift/elevator to get them from the train/underground platform to the exhibit entrance. I watched the dads struggle getting their family up the stairs, and this was not a great start to the day for tired parents. Still worse, the single mums who looked at the stairs and almost out load you could hear the thinking, "Now how am I going to do this?"
I couldn't help but wonder how a major exhibition center such as Olympia couldn't sort this out with Transport for London- disabled access for all their attendees.Still, the line to purchase tickets wasn't too long as there were plenty of people at the desk to move us along (once you actually made it to the desk), and most of us had the London Standard newspaper's coupon; so no complaints about the entrance fee. If you booked early online even a grandparent could get a very special deal!
Inside the exhibit, the stands were packed with helpful advice, as well as items for new parents.There were not a lot of "freebies" but for two pounds UK currency you got a loaded party bag.
From feeding pillows to a complete nursery, maternity and parent "stuff!"; there was so much to see and buy. I was able to get an Italian travel cot at nearly half price...as I am looking forward to my grandson coming for Thanksgiving. I was one happy grandma. Then, oh joy! If you have read some of my earlier blog posts, you will know how much I love palm trees....and there it was! After a long day and worn out legs, I rounded the shopping corner and saw just what I needed... a baby play mat with a palm tree sticking up at the end. Baby Z would be introduced to the world of palm trees. After a "pause with the plastic," I continued on my way; starting to think about heading home.
And then I found a delightful young designer, with an inviting display of baby outfits. The young lady had one of those little squares that you attach to your phone that helps you take a credit card from a customer. It is supposed to be a boon to small businesses, and it would have been if the Olympia internet really worked. Finally I was able to make my purchases. Christmas pj's sorted for grandson.

My bags were getting heavy.

There was a bag check post, but I soon realised that the lines for lunch-even coffee-not to mention tea; were just too long and I needed to make myself go home if I was not to be tempted to scrap any semblance of a Grandma Spending Budget.

So, that saving I made on the travel cot? Spent it on a taxi home!

There was no way I could lug all my purchases and me down the stairs, but I consoled myself that there would be another Baby Show in February; and it would happily be located in the London Excel Centre. I am told, by a very reliable source, that the Excel has excellent transportation access. So come on west Londoners-see what an exhibition with good/fast/accessible transport and good internet connections is like in the East End!



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