“ Show for women featuring fashion and beauty. „
Having heard about this before but not being a very girly girl, I'd given it a wide berth. This year, though, my sister talked me into going with her so we headed off to the Glasgow SECC in April for a Girl's Day Out.
Tickets can be bought on arrival or in advance but booking tickets in advance entitles you to a free Goody Bag so is probably worth it. Tickets aren't cheap with a ticket coming in at £15 or £12 for a concession. Considering you are essentially paying to enter a trade show where people will try and get your money off you, then I think it is fairly pricey being asked that much just to get in the door.
We travelled in on the train and many other girls seemed to have the same idea as us as they all got off the train and crossed the bridge to the SECC. Inside, it was mildly chaotic. There was a desk where you could buy tickets; another desk where you could pick up pre-booked tickets and then entrance desks where people who already had tickets could go in. I could imagine that a lot of people with pre-booked tickets who hadn't got them posted out to their homes would have stood in the main queue only to be turned away and sent to the pre-booked tickets booth as the pre-booked tickets booth was tiny. It would also have been frustrating as after picking their tickets up here, they needed to join the main queue to get in, essentially having to queue twice. Luckilly, we'd got our tickets posted to us so just joined the queue. The queue was very long but moved fairly quickly. At the desk, you got given some leaflets and were told to collect your goody bag inside the hall.
Inside the hall it was set up like The Ideal Home Show or something similar with lots of vendors having their own stalls and a couple of main stages for performances. It would have been handy to have been giving a leaflet detailing what was on at each of the stages during the day so you could plan what you wanted to see but there didn't seem to be a leaflet anywhere (unless I missed it in all the chaos) although the main stage had a sign up with what was on beside it.
It was extremely busy, especially since each of the 'stalls' were small and if a few people stopped to try samples or look at goods, then this created a bit of a bottleneck for other people trying to get by. We did go on the Saturday, however, and I'm sure it was probably quieter on the Friday when a lot of people would have been at work.
The stalls were, as you might guess, aimed at 'girly' stuff, so there were a lot of make-up vendors, perfume sellers, clothes stalls and nail bars. There were a handful of more generic stalls such as sweet vendors, cake stalls, chocolate stalls and charity stalls. The prices, as you can imagine, were high for most things even though a lot of the vendors advertised that they were selling things at a discount (but believe that if you will)!
Our first stop was to collect our goody bag. It was a bit of a task to get to the back of the room where we'd to pick it up due to all the people milling about and then, of course, we'd to join yet another queue! Again, though, it moved quickly and we got our goody bags. They contained 3 No. 7 nail varnishes and an eye pencil. The nail varnishes were in quite unusual colours (one of the ones I received was a horrible muddy brown/grey colour) so I can imagine they were probably less popular colours that Boots was getting rid of on us.
We'd also been given free drinks vouchers for a glass of wine at a wine bar inside and a cocktail at another bar. I am tee-total but there were non-alcoholic options available, although I just let my sister have my drinks as well. They were both served in tiny cups so it was really just a shot of wine and a shot of a cocktail!!
We then decided to get lunch before starting to shop and found a jacket potato stand with seating. Surprisingly, the prices were very reasonable (I think around £3 on average for a potato with a filling). I'd expected the food in a place like this to be over the odds since people had nowhere else to go for food so that was a bonus that my wallet didn't have to suffer too much for lunch, at least!
Walking around the labyrinth of stalls was hard work with the amount of people that were there and the staff at the stalls were all trying to approach you to try their products and as you couldn't move away very quickly, you tended to get sucked into a hard sell! I'm pretty good at saying no in these situations but my sister is awful at it and ended up spending over £100 on things she didn't need! It was hard to look at anything you might be interested in because of the number of people and also because the sales people were too keen to try to talk to you, which I found off-putting.
We spent some time at the main stage to recouperate where we saw a fashion show of the new season looks and were told of the high street shops that we could get them from. As I'm not a girly girl, I wasn't hugely excited by this but it was OK. Virgin Active were also there doing demos of Zumba and Body Jam etc. and then we watched a poor Man Candy Waiter getting his armpits waxed for charity. There was also a game to be played at this point for a member of the audience to win a £50 voucher to spend at the show. My sister's friend was lucky enough to win the voucher but redeeming it was a bit of a drama! None of the stalls seemed to know anything about the voucher and, understandably, wanted to go find the show's organiser to confirm it was legit before they let us spend it but trying to find the organiser in a busy venue like that was no easy task. Eventually we managed to spend it at the Benefit counter but had to wait quite a while on a manager there to go verify that it was real.
The previously mentioned Man Candy Waiters were walking around with nothing but small aprons hiding their dignity and their pert bottoms on full display. This was probably the highlight of the show for me!
Would I go back? Possibly, although I think the entry fee is far too steep only to be fleeced inside even more! It was an entertaining day for even a non-girly girl like me but after a few hours there I was desperate to get out the crowds and get home for a relax! I imagine a more girly girl would love it there but make sure you have a full bank account before you go!!!
As my daughter gets older I find it harder to find activities she will enjoy at weekends. She has very few friends due to her autism but she loves to shop, loves learning about fashion and beauty and is a huge fan of make up.
When my sister told me about the Girls' Day Out event in Glasgow I was intrigued and checked it out. The event is, in effect, a huge trade show for the beauty, lifestyle and fashion industries and takes place at Glasgow's SECC periodically. The latest show took place on 4th to 6th November and I decided to take my daughter on the Saturday.
The cost of a ticket varies depending upon which day you chose to attend. As I picked the Saturday it was the most expensive, with an adult ticket costing £15 and a Junior one coming in at £7, with a small booking fee on top. It was definitely worth booking our tickets in advance because it entitled us to a free goodie bag from Boots and vouchers for drinks at a couple of the bars inside the main hall.
The link to buy tickets is on the event website.
You can buy tickets on the day at the door too. Concessions are available but the website didn't make clear exactly who was entitled to a concession unfortunately. Junior tickets are available for under 16s.
The main sponsors of Girls' Day Out are Boots and the Scottish glossy magazine No1. Although both these companies are highly visible in the hall, there are many other companies promoting and selling their products and many of them are local to Scotland.
The hall is predominantly pink and generally the only men we saw were a pair of representatives from a company called Butlers in the Buff - who wore nothing more than a bow tie and an apron to keep their modesty at the front - and a few stall representatives. This is a day aimed purely at women and extracting cash from them.
Stalls range from those offering a free makeover to those selling fitness centre memberships with items such as cosmetic dentistry, botox, designer cupcakes and a myriad of other products in between.
We started the day by getting our goodie bags, with the stand to do this located at the back of the hall. The goodie bag was was sponsored by Boots and most of the goodies were No7 products so we were pretty pleased with them.
We then went to sit down with a programme for the event at one of the many catering areas, choosing a stand selling hot food and drinks. We got a bacon and cheese turnover and a soft drink each - the total bill was £8.50 for this snack. All the catering tables were, we found, filled with more literature advertising several products, none more so than No1 magazine, which had free copies on every table.
I decided to take advantage of a subscription offer they had for the magazine, enabling you to claim another goodie bag this time containing Max Factor products inside a Celia Birtwell designed bag if you signed up for 2 years. The total cost for this was £20, with the magazine claiming this represented a saving of 68% on the cost of buying the magazine individually. My daughter enjoys the fashion and beauty in the magazine so I felt this was a pretty good buy - and even better I wasn't dragged into an agreement using a direct debit or a card - I simply paid the £20 for the two years.
The magazine was also sponsoring one of two stages in the hall, with the No1 Theatre playing host to short shows giving fashion and make up tips, along with some Strictly style ballroom dancing. We watched the first show of the day, which was introduced by a Michael Bublé lookalike who did bear a passing resemblance physically to the Canadian crooner, if not vocally.
The show was a Boots No7 show which was staged by a professional make-up artist and model with the show being hosted by Clyde 1 DJ Knoxy to ensure there were no awkward silences. I have to say it was quite interesting, and certainly my daughter enjoyed watching the make-up artist in action and learned some tips from her too - including the little nugget of information that lilac will bring out the blue in your eyes - if your eyes are blue of course.
The second theatre in the hall played host to shows of a more culinary nature including lessons in how to make cocktails and a couple of shows demonstrating dinner party recipes. This stage also hosted a psychic later on in the day and I have to say I was surprised at how many tarot readers and clairvoyants had stands at the show. The flier I got claimed the clairvoyant at the show, Margaret Solis, is Scotland's premier psychic but I really wouldn't know as I don't take an interest in that kind of thing.
We spent an hour or so browsing the numerous stalls at the show. We had vouchers for a cocktail and a glass of champagne from a couple of the bars dotted throughout the hall which came courtesy of the ticket booked in advance. As my daughter was too young for both - which begs the question why did the ticket booth staff give her a voucher when she had a junior ticket - we didn't bother.
As with any show of this type, some stands pricked our interest more than others. The busiest stand was that operated by Nailzone, a nail bar company. Much as I like Nailzone, we decided not to visit. They operate in my hometown and I find them very responsible - when I phoned to ask about getting acrylics for a special occasion for my daughter they didn't just take the booking and run - they asked questions about her age and then declined the booking saying it would be better to wait until she is 16 to ensure her nails didn't get damaged by the process.
We did enjoy the stand selling the MoYou nail art products and both of us had a demonstration of the products which enable you to easily apply patterns to your nails using a combination of nail polish, glass transfers and a rubber stamp. I decided not to buy on this occasion but I must admit the product does fascinate me.
Although there were lots of stands and companies trying to entice you to part with your cash, I didn't feel as if any of them were indulging in the hard sell too much, with the exception of a stand selling their own brand of fragrances which I rapidly came to the conclusion was offloading overpriced tat to people too silly to realise they weren't getting a bargain.
Boots was the most obvious presence at the show, having four large stands selling a range of products from Olay and Braun to Soap & Glory. The Soap & Glory stand was very large and it enabled my daughter and myself to have a good look at the new make-up range the company has launched.
The stand at the back focused more on make-up and skincare and you could get a makeover at the Benefit and No7 stands. My daughter loves Benefit cosmetics so she queued up for that and got some great advice regarding the best type of base for her skin. I ended up buying her three products which came to just over £60 but there was an offer on which gave me £10 worth of Advantage cards back on the purchase so that softened the blow - along with a free gift from the company.
It goes without saying that the makeover stands were very busy so I decided to forego the chance of one at the No7 stand. I had also come to the conclusion that my wallet probably couldn't stand me finding a product I liked and wanted to buy!
We continued to browse the hall and I found a stall selling discontinued Bourjois cosmetics very cheaply - you could get 10 items for £10, so my daughter had fun choosing products there, and we admired some of the stalls selling more expensive items, including a stall that had pure cashmere capes for £180. I was very tempted I must admit but I have a pathological hatred towards paying full price for anything so I decided against it.
Charities were present too, with stands from the Scottish SPCA, Drumchapel Womens' Aid and the Glasgow Hospice, so it wasn't all just fluffy stuff on offer.
I really enjoyed our visit to Girls' Day Out and am pleased to report my daughter did too. I had been worried about how she would cope because it was, as expected, very busy; but she didn't let that bother her.
For a mother-daughter bonding session this is a wonderful place and you can learn about many companies trading in Scotland and at a national level at the show too, with companies such as the Rainbow Room, Turnberry Resort and ABC Beauty Shop representing Scotland and bigger names such as Fake Bake, House of Fraser, Mango and Hobbs showing face for the country as a whole.
It is however a show that is designed to make you spend money and I got the distinct impression that some of the people who came and were having massage sessions, a haircut at the Rainbow Room stand and botox done on the day were dropping a huge amount of money. I went in with good intentions but still managed to spend £100 and if I am honest could easily have spent double if my intentions didn't stay fairly good.
It's also far better value if you buy your ticket in advance as the goodie bag offsets the cost of the ticket a little - along with the champagne and cocktails if you choose to pick them up. We saw several people who had turned up on the day and were more than a little annoyed not to be entitled to a goodie bag.
It is worth bearing in mind the fact that if you do spend money at the Boots stands you don't get Advantage points added to your card straight away. Instead you are asked to take your receipt to a stand where they will give you vouchers for your points and ask you to redeem these instore later.
The next round of shows at the SECC in Glasgow are due to take place between 20th and 22nd April 2012 and I can categorically say I'll be going again although this time I will probably ask my daughter to save a little more money towards spending on the day. It is generally very pink, very fluffy and very expensive but if you have an interest in fashion, beauty and the leisure industry in general then it's a fun way to spend a day - if you are female of course.