Ideal Home Show Manchester

On a hot, sunny Sunday I set off for Manchester to visit the Ideal Home Show. I'd very kindly been asked to report on the event for 

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 and as a first time visitor I was pretty excited. Located at EventCity near the Trafford Centre, the show was run over three consecutive days and included guest celebrity speakers - money expert Martin Lewis, chef Brian Turner, gardener Diarmuid Gavin and architect George Clarke. 

The venue was enormous but was divided up into many well signed zones - Interiors, Home Improvements, Gardens, Food, Woman, Shopping, Technology and the Show Homes.  I had spent a bit of time researching online some of the key areas I wanted to visit and I also found it useful to check Instagram (#idealhomeshow) to see what other visitors had been checking out over the first two days of the show. Top of my list was looking round the Show Homes and in particular the HiveHaus. 

Previously featured on George Clarke's television show, 'Amazing Spaces', the HiveHaus is a modular living space and is inspired by the hexagonal honeycomb structures built by honeybees and influenced by modernist design. It's a compact and versatile garden room constructed from identically proportioned hexagonal cells.

I liked the contemporary feel with it's glass walls and wood burning stove. And it had been beautiful decorated inside with geometric ceramics and textiles, mid century furniture and retro lighting. 

I enjoyed viewing the room sets and the John Lewis one was inspired by their 150 year anniversary. It showcased their design heritage with fabrics from Lucienne Day and Orla Kiely, quirky accessories and retro  furniture. I do love that armchair in the bottom image -it's a great mustard colour and shape.

I also liked the theme from Homesense, an alfresco dining room. With hedge printed wallpaper, bright mismatched wall plates and clashing flower prints it was a happy bright space and did make you think about picnics and sunny days.

In the shopping area of the hall there were many stands that sold everything under the sun. I have to say it didn't really inspire me as I'm not very interested in perfumes and water features. However I did find a couple of gems.

Based in West Yorkshire I loved the quirky upcycled products of the Little Mill House. The jam jar lighting with their bright coloured flexes were fun and twisted playfully around a vintage ladder. And I was rather taken with the vintage wall plates with their nature motifs and the recycled wine bottles repurposed into candles with flavours such as Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. What stood out for me though was the bowler hat light and the vintage jelly mould lighting both wired with bright orange flex.

And my second find was Liz Loves Liz, a designer who makes art from vintage London Bus signage. I have always liked these but what I was more interested in were the ones devoted to Manchester, 'The Hacienda' and the list of Oasis and The Stone Roses songs were fantastic and a great way to celebrate such an interesting city.

By the time I arrived at Gregg Wallace's pop-up restaurant for lunch I have to admit to being pretty shattered. It was so hot in the building and the sheer number of people and the size of the venue made it hard on my feet. I was glad I'd put my walking shoes on. The restaurant was really busy with a queue of people looking forward to lunch or afternoon tea. I was very lucky that I was given lunch as part of my experience and I enjoyed it immensely. The pasta main course was delicious but the pudding, oh my. Lemon Posset with variations of strawberry and a lavender shortbread. It was heavenly. I'm still dreaming of it now.

I did enjoy my visit, but I think the Ideal Home Show is a bit too mainstream for me. I prefer more mid century and vintage pieces and it was rather lacking in those. I did however, meet some very nice people who work in interior design and it was a pleasure chatting to them.

My ticket, travel and lunch were very kindly provided by 

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. All words, opinions and photographs are my own.