The beginning of February is when the Spring Fair comes to Birmingham’s NEC. This is the UK’s biggest home and giftware trade show with 30,000 exhibitors and 300,000 products covering 10 halls. You need a lot of shoe leather and stamina to see it all!
There were plenty of flowers – but not of the fresh variety (unless you count the occasional vase of flowers spotted on a stand). This show is all about designer home ware, gifts, greeting cards, stationery, cookware and jewelry. It’s a bit like visiting the world’s largest department store, minus the clothes and food hall!
Never too early for Christmas
I always make the Festive, Floral and Fireworks Hall my first port of call. It’s the first chance to have a sneaky preview of what’s coming in next Christmas. I know it’s more than a little early to be thinking about the festive season, but manufacturers are already taking orders from retailers who are looking ahead to December 2011!
Decorations wise, Christmas this year looks extravagant and lush. Lots of cerise pinks, golds, purples and rich shades of jade and turquoise. All this opulence makes me feel that however gloomy the economic and weather conditions outside may be at the end of the year, at least it will be all glittery and sparkly inside.
I love Halloween and one of the highlights for me at the Spring Fair are the spooky displays and sheer imagination of the companies who contrive to make our Halloween celebrations even more gory and scary as each year goes on.
My favourite this year was an almost life sized inflatable coffin whose lid slowly opened to reveal a grinning blow up Dracula inside. Look out for that in somebody’s front garden in October.
Out and about at the Fair
And on the subject of merchandising – the big royal event has not been overlooked as you can imagine, anyone for a ‘Wills loves Kate’ t-shirt?
I spotted one famous face – interior guru Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen – who was busy promoting his new range of designer cutlery on the Arthur Price stand, which was just down the aisle from Jamie Oliver’s cookware exhibition – no sight of the celebrity chef in person though.
So what did I love at the Spring Fair? Scented products such as Japanese incense sticks; aromatic body warmers and ethically made scented candles hand poured into recycled glass votives were high on my list.
And there were beautiful flowers in the shape of framed pictures, silver jewelry and bridal accessories. I may have had aching feet by the end of my day at the Fair, but I came away very excited about the goodies coming our way in 2011.
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