Ideal Home Show at Christmas liveblog: Manchester day two

Image of Covered mag
It's the second day of the Ideal Home Show at Christmas in Manchester!
"Get involved with the hashtag #Llandofxmas..."
  • | by Kristian Dando

Abbie Laughton-Coles and Kristian Dando are back for another day of fun-packed festive frolics at the Ideal Home Show at Christmas. Stay tuned, and get involved with the hashtag #Llandofxmas...

Read how yesterday unfolded in our day one blog and check out some things to look out for at the show, including tech you never knew you needed.


It's action stations, with the doors about to open. The organisers are expecting bumper crowds today, and we'll be bringing you all the action as it unfolds.

We're expecting a few special guests today. So, stay tuned as all will be revealed...



We stand in the relative calm of the near-empty exhibition centre staring at the crowds that have gathered to be welcomed by the Rock choir, who are merrily singing a rendition of 'How deep is your love'.

The eager weekend show-goers are chomping at the bit to head into the hall and get their Christmas on. Exhibitioners frantically put the finishing touches to their stalls - a reindeer perched atop a solid oak chest of drawers here, a light-up Santa glows suddenly there.

A bodiless voice roars that the show is now open and the festivities are to start. As the rock choir wraps up their set, a trio of singers start up their operatic warbling of classic hymns behind us and a wave of people flood the Christmas tree extravaganza of an entrance hall.


It has begun…


Image of Andrew Dickens

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a bit of Dickens. So thank heavens for top chef Andrew Dickens, who's currently talking turkey on the kitchen demo stage.

We’ve been enticed here with the promise of a Christmas dinner in 30 minutes – surely it can’t be done?

Alas, the plump, juicy bird (kindly supplied by local organic produce purveyor Kenyon Hall Farm) has already been merrily roasting away for a good two-and-a-half hours. Resting on a bed of onions, and with an orange nestling snugly in its cavity, it’s produced a whole lot of juice, which Andrew is going to turn into a thick, delicious gravy.

“Be quite vigorous with it,” he implores, as he whisks in a touch of flour for thickness and adds a drop of white wine.

This isn’t just gravy. This is an experience.


Over at’s cosy Lapland lodge, people are frolicking in the magical snow globe, chatting with our friendly staff and playing our highly addictive Falling Bills game on the big telly.

If you haven’t played it yet, you should do. Collect cash, avoid the bills and make sure you collect the power-ups as you go.

Image of Falling Bills game

Here’s our highest score so far – can you top it?


We're back at the Christmas food and drink theatre to watch a masterclass in Christmas biscuits with the dynamic duo of Lisa Faulkner and Olly Smith.

Lisa is playing chef today, while Olly is pairing the exquisite treats with a fine bottle of Asti. Lisa promptly sets to work creaming butter and sugar together. "This is the most fun I've had in a long time," quips Olly as a morsel of sugary goodness flies off the end of a whisk onto a child on the front row.

Olly recommends the wines of Aldi to the audience as a great alternative to other higher-priced vinos. Suddenly, a person dressed as a kitchen roll next to us begins to dance a merry jig before being led off by someone dressed as a reindeer.

We divert our attention back to the buttery biscuits that are yet to be baked.



We're trying to post on things other than food, but a live demonstration on how to decorate scrummy cupcakes captivated our attention, so we pull up a pew to watch.

The masterclass has already started and we spy an artfully sculpted icing swirl, dusted with glitter and delicate snowflakes perched atop a cakey base. Need we say any more?

Hazel of the Hazelnut Bakery takes us through the stages of festively decorating the cakes to give them a professional edge. We suspect it's not as easy as she makes it look, especially if, like us, you're a little cack-handed.

In around 15 minutes, she's iced, moulded and dusted sprinklings on cupcakes that resemble a Christmas pudding, a snowman (named Fred by the audience) and Santa.

We've learnt that, to make a cupcake domed, all you have to do is stick a splodge of butter icing under the fondant topping. Also that cupcakes can keep for three-to-four days, and icing sugar mixed with water can make an awesome edible glue.

We're off to buy some lustre dust, or edible glitter to you and I, so we can bake up some masterpieces for the Covered mag Christmas hootenanny.


Remember we mentioned something about a very special guest earlier on?

Lisa Faulkner in snowglobe

Well, check this out – star of Spooks, Celebrity Masterchef winner and general kitchen whizz Lisa Faulkner dropped in at the deluxe Lapland lodge to do the honours for our prize draw.

She looks like she’s having a rare old time, eh readers?

Lisa Faulkner chats to Covered

Anyway, we managed to have a sit down and chat with the telly star, the fruits of which we’ll be publishing shortly. Stay tuned.