On Bank Holiday Monday I used a Groupon voucher advertised on Buyometric (see, we do practise what we preach!) for a cheap trip (or so I thought!) to the Grand Designs Live 2011 exhibition at ExCel in London, with a great discount – £15 instead of £38 for 2 tickets and a show guide. The show guide alone (which I’d consider vital to my enjoyment of the show) was normally £5, which is the sort of thing that would have put me in a bad mood for the whole day if I’d had to pay full price!
The show is ENORMOUS. I hadn’t been to ExCel before and its sheer size blew me away. It was great to look out over the Docklands waters too and I’d forgotten how much fun the Docklands Light Railway was.
Using the voucher was easy. I’d printed it out and there was a special entry queue for people with vouchers – which was actually shorter than all the other queues (I felt like a VIP not a cheapster!). I just handed over the voucher and got an entry ticket and a show guide. Easy as anything.
In the ‘Build’ section of the show we talked Solar Panels. They are quite pricey but I was convinced that they give a good return on your investment at the moment if you can shell out a few grand to get them installed. We managed to resist somehow though (it might have been the lack of a few grand in our pockets).
In the ‘Garden’ section we admired the space-age garden ‘pods’ for sitting in (think garden sheds but circular, shiny and about 300 times more expensive), but fortunately we thought they might look a bit out of place in our garden!
And in the ‘Interiors’ section we fell in love with some soft-as-you-like sheepskin rugs from the Isle of Skye. I’d even named my favourite Hamish so by the time we had to leave it was very painful to leave him behind!
So did we leave empty-handed? Well, yes and no. We put our names down (but no money yet) for one of these - it’s a water rower - a really beautiful rowing machine which uses real water so not only is it low-impact on the body, it also makes satisfying ‘swooshing’ sounds when you row, and it feels like real rowing – not like those ugly metal rowing machines.
My husband and I were both looking for a way to get fit and he used to row at university, so we were totally smitten. It’s not exactly cheap but compared to a gym membership it doesn’t work out badly, and with 20% off at the show we thought maybe we’d treat ourselves to our next Christmas present! And it’s being delivered on Friday.
So much for my “cheap” trip!