Ideal Home Show Christmas 2014

Ideal-Home-Show-Christmas-2014-at-night

 

I’ve been going to the Ideal Home Show Christmas since it started, and the normal Ideal Home Show for even longer. I’ve seen the exhibition become more Christmassy over the years, and it’s only got better. (more…)

 

There’s a huge range of things available to see and buy at the Ideal Home Show Christmas, from decorations to food, beauty and fashion products, DIY products, wallpaper, outdoor furniture, children’s toys and more. There’s also a number of workshops dotted around the exhibition hall to teach you how to cook the perfect turkey and even to crochet a tea cosy.

 

We got free tickets to the Earls Court-based event through Money Saving Expert, but if we hadn’t, tickets would have cost slightly less than £20 each which is steep considering there aren’t very many bargains to be had. See a selection of the available bits and pieces below.

 

Ideal-Home-Show-Christmas-2014-wallpaper

Colour in your own monster wallpaper; every one is unique.

 

Ideal-Home-Show-Christmas-2014-monocycle

Find a new way to travel with an electronic monocycle. These looked like great fun, if not a little bit wobbly.

 

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Take a break from your shopping and grab a space on a bean bag with the Ideal Christmas Movies installation.

 

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Or watch an ice sculptor creating the main character from Disney’s Frozen.

 

Ideal-Home-Show-Christmas-2014-Amy-Childs

Celebrity-spot upstairs and you will find Amy Childs promoting her fashion brand. I didn’t enhance her skin tone – I promise!

 

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Surround yourself with decorated Christmas trees and Christmas theme ideas. The exhibition hall is filled with Christmassy items to create a festive atmosphere.

 

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Once you get to grips with the Christmas theme you’re after, you can buy all your decorations and ornaments.

 

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You can even find presents for the whole family. Here’s a lovely selection of gift boxes with jams and chutneys.

 

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If the food samples tempt your taste buds a bit too much, you can buy food from a number of stalls selling hot and cold goodies from across the globe, or settle down for a posh afternoon tea beneath shining chandeliers. Very posh!

 

Ideal-Home-Show-Christmas-2014-downstairs

When you’re ready to delve back into your shopping, these’s 2 entire floors to browse, but be warned, it gets exceptionally busy.

 

Ideal-Home-Show-Christmas-2014-ice-rink

Although the ice rink is much quieter, despite being quite cheap. I think it doesn’t necessarily suit the demographic, which is typically older ladies…

 

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Who might prefer mince pie recipes and ideas.

 

Ideal-Home-Show-Christmas-2014-cakes

There’s also a cake decoration competition. These masterpieces blew me away!

 

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And that’s the Ideal Home Show Christmas in a nut shell. I like how even the outside is decorated with Christmas trees, a snowman and a sleigh with reindeer. There’s also helpers shaking jingle bells and singing along to Christmas carols. This exhibition will be sure to get you in the festive spirit, even if, like me, you don’t end up buying anything.

 

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London Boat Trip – November 2014

I’m a Londoner, born and bred, but it’s impossible not to go up to town and be taken aback by the amazing sights along the River Thames. I took a boat ride with an out-of-towner and caught some great views!

 

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The boat ride took us from Westminster Bridge up to the Tower of London and back again. We saw the London Eye, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, the Gherkin, the OXO Tower and more. Along the way the sun began to set, see the pics below!

 

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The last one is so iconically London! There’s Tower Bridge with a red London bus and Union Jacks flying above – great fun!

 

 

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Degustabox November 2014

Degustabox-November-2014

 

It’s always a nice surprise to come home to a giant box of edible goodies. Carry on reading to take a closer look at what the November 2014 Degustabox contains. (more…)

 

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Special K – Cracker Crisps (£1.29)

Brioche Pasquier – Sliced Brioche Loaf (£1.69)

Brioche Pasquier – Pain au Lait with Choc Chip (£1.69)

 

I couldn’t quite resist the Special K Cracker Crisps long enough to take this picture! They taste really nice and aren’t greasy at all. I liked them and would buy them again. However I probably wouldn’t buy either of the Brioche Pasquier bread items as they’re incredibly sweet. They’ve been in previous Degustaboxes and I didn’t much care for them then either.

 

Degustabox-November-2014-sweet-treats

 

Dr Oetker – Fine Dark Cocoa Powder (£1.89)

Jelly Belly – Jelly Beans (£2.50)

Solo – Marshmallow Creme (£1.99)

Dr Oetker – Premium 90% Extra Dark Chocolate (£2.49)

 

Sweet treats are always welcome! However I’m getting a little bit fed up with all of the Dr Oetker baking products I’m receiving from Degustabox. There’s already been cooking chocolate, cupcake cases, cake toppers, vanilla essence, etc. I feel the Dr Oetker route has been exhausted a bit. The jelly beans and marshmallow creme were a bit of a surprise, but both are far too sweet for me. I wouldn’t buy any of these products.

 

Degustabox-November-2014-sauces

 

Kent’s Kitchen – Meal Kit (£2.50)

Blue Dragon – Sweet Chilli Sauce (2 x £1.39)

Benecol – Greek Style Yoghurt (free voucher)

 

I love spicy foods so the meal kit and sweet chilli sauce definitely appealed to me. Despite this, I wouldn’t buy the spicy korma meal kit because you still have to add coconut milk, meat, veg and rice, so it’s not really a meal kit but just a few herb pots. As such, I think it’s unreasonable paying £2.50 just for this kit considering a whole meal would then cost £6-8!

 

Degustabox-November-2014-breakfast

 

Bear – Alphabites (sample present)

Bear – Paws (£0.55)

Getbuzzing – Original Nutty Flapjack (£1.30)

Enhance Drinks (£2.49)

 

A couple of months ago we received a full size box of the Alphabites which were alright, but I don’t eat cereal so I didn’t bother finishing them. It’s disappointing that this is another brand I’ve already received from Degustabox, especially as the Bear Paws fruit bits weren’t even that nice. The flapjack was decent, but I wouldn’t pay £1.30 for it, and I don’t tend to flavour my water so may not use the Enhance drinks lemon and lime flavouring.

 

 

On first impressions, this box looks great. It was bursting full of goodies and it’s such good value for £10 + P&P, and there’s a real variety of products. However I want to discover some new brands in future boxes, and possibly even some food from different countries.

 

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Poppies at the Tower of London, November 2014

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With poppies adorned all around on lapels and jumpers, I thought it was high time to visit the ultimate ode to the soldiers who lost their lives during WW1. (more…)

 

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The Tower of London has filled its grounds with ceramic poppies in remembrance to the 888, 246 lives lost during the first World War. Each poppy has been planted in a ‘Sea of Red’, resembling blood oozing from the Tower.

 

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There were queues all around the Tower of London, despite the rain and the fact it’s a Monday morning. There’s a quiet buzz and a reflective atmosphere as people take in the art installation before them.

Each poppy is unique and represents a lost live, and they have been sold off to the public to raise money for charity.

 

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The grounds of the Tower of London are literally filled with red poppies, each made and put into place by a team of volunteers. The art installation will be there until the 11th November 2014.

 

 

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Les Sept Doigts – Sequence 8

Image courtesy of Les Sept Doigts

 

Earlier in the month, I revisited my favourite theatre in London; the Peacock Theatre. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen a Les Sept Doigts production, but see what I thought of Sequence 8. (more…)

 

Les Sept Doigts are a Canadian physical theatre group. They perform amazing acrobatics, gymnastics and tricks, with elements of suspense and humour. The collection of performers had me sitting on the edge of my seat at times, and gasping at the spectacular skills at other times. From propelling each other from a see-saw, to climbing up poles and swinging from trapezes, this circus-esque act is fun for the whole family. Well, most of the time anyway. Some bits went on a bit too long and I could see a few wandering eyes and whispered conversations rippling throughout the audience.

 

Now, this was a shock to me. As someone who has seen a couple of Les Sept Doigt’s previous performances, I had a specific idea in my mind about what the show would be like and what to expect. There’s absolutely no denying the quality of the skills and the tidiness of the performance, but the storyline was certainly weaker than previous shows. It wasn’t captivating enough for me, despite the additional story narration.

 

Additionally, I found that some of the content had been recycled from previous shows. Now I understand that certain elements may have been a success before, and others may not have seen previous shows, but I do think that if you reuse content then you need to mix it up a bit. There’s only so many times you can watch someone jump through a hoop before becoming complacent that they’ll be able to get through it without drama. This honestly does distract from the sense of suspense.

 

The thing I found most unusual is how the performance ended on the most boring and downbeat part of the show. A woman swung around the stage on a metal ring, for far. Too. Long. I had no qualms about popping out to go to the toilet during this time.

 

So overall, I would say this show was a disappointment. I can’t complain about the skills of the performers because they truly are spectacular, but so much of the show is about the story, the delivery and a good sequence, and this isn’t something Sequence 8 demonstrates particularly well, in my opinion.

 

 

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