I was given free tickets to the Festive Flower and Food Show in return for this post but all opinions are my own.
In my almost forgotten pre-kids life when spare time was ample and evenings weren’t spent collapsed in a heap of exhaustion I did a course in floristry. I signed up for it on a whim forgetting that I’m pretty much deathly allergic to any form of pollen. Despite keeping the anti-histamine racket afloat I really enjoyed the course and I discovered that whilst it can take a lifetime to become a master of floral design it doesn’t take very long to master the basics and produce something beautiful. So I was delighted when the Festive Flower and Food Show, organised by the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies (NAFAS) offered me tickets to attend their floral and food extravaganza (I like food too) at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens.
Being ever optimistic of an enjoyable and laid back family day out I took both the kids with me. I also took back-up in the form of my mum because I may be optimistic but I’m not an idiot.
So how did the day go? Well pretty darn good actually and I’d definitely recommend checking it out if flowers and food are your thang. But before you book tickets why not have a read of my guide of what to expect from this family day out with a difference?
1 Amazing floral design
If you think flower arranging is just a couple of roses plonked in a vase then you could not be more wrong. Part sculpture, part contemporary art, part roses in a vase the floral design on display was absolutely awe-inspiring. There were over 300 individual floral displays to peruse (and definitely not to touch – do you hear me Child?) grouped around themes like the seaside, seasons and candelabra centre pieces. My top piece of advice for making the most of the displays is get up high – looking down on the main displays form the balcony really helped us to appreciate their scale and ambition.
2 Lots of nice people
I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed but people who are absolutely passionate about something love nothing more than seeing children being introduced to that passion. And the Festive Flower and Food Show was definitely no exception – everyone we met could not be happier to talk to us and the Child and seemed to get real enjoyment out of seeing her career amongst the blooms. Plus nothing makes the Newbie happier than having a group of adoring women coo over him so he was in his element too.
As is always the way when you’re reliant on lifts we did spend a fair amount of time waiting to move between levels. I have to admit, the venue did present some navigation difficulties for us with the pram as there are a lot of stairs in the Winter Gardens and the show took place over many floors. But as I said above the people were nice so we had some lovely chats in the queus.
4 Crafting opportunities
One of NAFAS’ core remits is to introduce a new generation to the amazing world of floral art and with this in mind they organised two free children’s workshops both of which we attended. These workshops made the day for us.
We started the day making a floral Christmas cracker and ended it creating Frosty The Snowman. The women running the workshops were amazing. I do think they were more suited for children older than I– as she required a lot of parental assistance but I was more than happy to get involved. So happy at one point in fact that I lost the Child as she decided to sneak off for a run about the ballroom.
There were also adult workshops running which cost £10 per session but looking at what the participants created they were definitely worth the money.
5 Tasty food
Not just a flower show, the Festive Flower and Food Show also played host to a Taste Zone where there was lots of yummy things to try and buy. There was also a lot of gin. It was in here I was complimented on my choice of pork pie, which is definitely going on my CV as a key skill.
6 Things to buy
As well as tasty morsels there were more than 50 retail stalls selling all manner of things from shoes to wool, jewelry to aprons. If I wasn’t one of those crazy people who finish their Christmas shopping in October I would have scoped up a few lovely presents.
Whilst a lot of the items to buy are a bit pricey (as you’d expect for non-mass produced items) there were bargains to be had. I spotted Christmas decoration from 48p and picked up a lovely wooden Christmas eve box for less than £10. I would recommend taking cash though – most stall holders did have card machines but the wifi seemed to struggle so they were often out of use.
8 Infectious Christmas spirit
It may only be the second weekend in November but I challenge anyone to spend the day surrounded by glitter, festive flowers and tartan ribbon not to come away humming a melody of Christmas tunes.
Who knew me and mum had such strong and differing opinions on elaborate gift wrapping or the alignment of carnations?
We spent a thoroughly enjoyable 5 hours at the Festive Flower and Food Show and it was nice to have a day out that was different to the park, farm or soft play we usually do on the weekend. We were all pretty pooped by the end of it though. Luckily for the others they got a nap in the car on the way home but I’m sure I’ll catch up on my sleep in 5-10 years time….