I usually try and get out of these things. Offer me the chance to go anywhere that has the prospect of being busy, noisy and corporate and I’ve got a string of excuses backed up by stubbornness. However, this time my other half said that she’d pack for our holiday leaving the next day if I took the kids out and left her to it. So off I went with our two girls (almost 8 and 5 years) to ExCel for the UK’s largest LEGO exhibition, ‘Brick Live’.
It was so massive that it never felt really busy, so my normal fears of stress, queues and busy loos were somewhat unfounded. And then, there was the LEGO! There was more LEGO than I have ever seen, with massive single coloured brick pits like those ball pools you get in soft play centres, but with more pain. LEGO hurts when you tread on it with your shoes off, even when there are a million pieces in a sea of green. But the kids didn’t care about that, and nor did I as I quickly started to build what I thought was an architectural marvel, only being dragged away after being reminded by my eldest that it was their day out, not mine.
After a foray into a fantasy land with a wolf, a wizard, a unicorn and a dragon (which freaked out my youngest), it was off to the LEGO Friends Zone for a dance class led by four women with fixed smiles and an unbounded willingness to have their photos taken with excited children. We steered clear of the fan zone of complex models for the LEGO aficionado, which held less interest for small fingers wanting to be busy making stuff like cars to race down ramps and write their names in coloured bricks on a huge graffiti board.
Right across ‘Brick Live’ there were a lot of kids (and adults) building some serious structures with huge dedication. But, over four hours in, and I was starting to feel like a brick and wanted to leave. For some reason, it didn’t enter my head that there’d be a shop. In hindsight, it was perhaps careless to have not prepared myself mentally for this. Another hour, and overheard warnings from other parents of the ‘if you don’t choose what you want now I’m leaving you here’ type, and we were out, only to find it had been chucking it down all day which made me feel much better about not having seen daylight for much of it.
The kids had a great time, and it was perfect for a rainy start to our summer holiday (we went to Wales – it rained). So next time I’ll be less wary, but I might accidently leave my wallet at home to avoid the £40 spend in the toy shop at the end.
The next UK Brick Live event will be held in Birmingham’s NEC from the 26th – 29th October. Find out all of the details on their website brick live.co.uk