By Kirsty Smallman
Toastie bags, mobile phone holder, hose pipe nozzle, photoframes, gourmet cheese grater, children’s books, stir-fry sauces, handmade chocolates and a gazebo – no not a list from the Generation Game but the contents of the carrier bags I arrived home with from Grand Designs Live at Birmingham’s NEC yesterday.
And that didn’t include the endless list of “samples” and “tasters” I had from the demo stands – cheese, caramel latte, thai soup and not forgetting the delicious courgette, cabbage and strawberry ice-cream – yes really!
Okay I know it’s called Grand Designs and you could quite rightly presume it is aimed at people who are preparing to build their own homes but when my husband and I visited three years ago with my brother who is a designer we realised we were wrong. With the different zones – interiors, kitchens, bathrooms, gardens, build and technology – there really is something to interest everyone.
As we were lucky enough to be child free this weekend (a strategic decision so we could actually watch a full demonstration and also make important retail decisions without the help of a two year old and a four year old!) we arrived at 11am and finally made it back to the car at 5.30pm!
The highlight for me was speaking to the exhibitors who were proudly showing off their latest products – so many amazing stories about their inventions and company success.
For those who were there in preparation to start their dream build or were in the middle of such a project and were looking for that expert advice or bespoke project, they were certainly in the right place.
Several Shropshire companies, including architects, were also exhibiting at the national show and were able to report they had had several new enquiries as a result of the three-day show.
To build or not to build we will certainly be returning to Grand Designs Live next year.
Perhaps next year my shopping list will include a garden studio, luxury spa, an illuminated natural swimming pool or a designer chair with the four figure price tag on – or perhaps I’ll just keep dreaming and visiting! See you next year Kevin!
J&PR are a Shropshire PR agency covering Shrewsbury, Telford, north Shropshire, south Shropshire and parts of Mid and North Wales. As well as working with businesses, organisations and events across the region on PR campaigns J&PR run regular DIY PR Training Courses and DIY Digital PR Training Courses at venues in the county.