As part of our preparation into parenthood, Liz thought it would be a good idea to go to a baby expo in London at the weekend. It was at the Excel centre, and I commented that I felt like we were all grown up now because the last time we went was for the MCM expo...
We booked the tickets online in advance because it was a little cheaper, so once we got there, we could get in straight away (not that there was much of a queue). Tickets (as they were printed out) wanted a little bit more personal information than they probably need, so will have to keep an eye on things in the next few weeks.
Upon arriving, we were given a small map of the stall layout with a couple of stalls highlighted where we could get stamps to enter a prize draw. While there was probably a map in the guide we also got at the entrance, we ended up just using this one because it was just one sheet of paper so easier to carry. Not that we used it much anyway, we had planned to just walk around all the stalls systematically, so the map just helped us to check our route wasn't missing anything out.
We wandered around half of the stalls, only looking initially (we were planning on buying things later on, after we finished looking), and then went to go to one of the talks we had planned to go to about sleeping. We sat towards the back (I didn't want to get in the way) and took a lot of notes in a small notepad I had in my pocket. After the talk (and getting some food) we continued walking around the stalls from where we stopped previously.
Once we had almost finished our browsing session, we went to another talk from the Red Cross about infant first aid, which was shorter than the other talk so we continued our browsing afterwards.
On the last stall, we were given a demo on how to put on a carry outfit to carry around a baby - it didn't involve a harness (it was basically a fancy knot with some strong material). We had been looking for something like this and got a discount for buying two - meaning we can wear one each and transfer the baby to each other without having to take something off and have the other put it on. The other way of doing this would involve getting two harnesses that have the ability to remove the baby bit and put on another harness, which would be a bit expensive so we're glad that we found this option. The other things we went back to buy included getting two courses for infant first aid (as we were buying two and they recognised us from the talk they did earlier they threw in a first aid kit and book which I had been looking at as well). We also got a buggy lock, and a "snuggle-towel" which is supposed to make it easier to dry a baby after bathing them. We got a set of reusable wipes (cheaper in the long run and good for the environment etc.) and, as that was the last thing we planned to buy, started wandering to the exit. On the stall next to the wipes where we were leaving, I had another look at a stall of toys, and wanted to get a little elephant rattle. They had a variety of animal rattles, and I had a look at the others to see if there was one I preferred (although each time I said "its alright, but I like the elephant better").
Finally we were heading back home, after a long day wandering around stalls. On the tube to Kings Cross a nice man asked someone to give up their seat for Liz (people sitting hadn't noticed or didn't care apparently; being London I wouldn't be surprised at either). A couple of stops later we were wandering around St Pancras waiting for our train to arrive, and popped into some of the shops there - one of which we found a cute plush giraffe (that also had a rattle inside it), and a plush elephant that had crinkly material inside the ears, so we got those too. Had a look around the mini-Hamleys there as well (Liz managed to walk onto the floor-drum-kit to make some noise).
We got the train back OK, it was a little bit packed, and Liz was offered a seat (we opted for the slightly later train as the first stop was Luton, instead of all stops to Luton). When we got home, we took some time to look through all the stuff we got and sort it out (we had accumulated a variety of free stuff and leaflets and things). We have now added a lot to the growing pile of baby stuff we have (slowly filling up our spare room at the moment).