Inspiring weekend of trends and style

The first ever Homemaker Exhibition was hailed as a huge success by celebrities, businesses and visitors alike.

The first ever Homemaker Exhibition was hailed as a huge success by celebrities, businesses and visitors alike.

Hundreds crowded into Newcastle's Metro Radio Arena for the two-day event, which brought together The Journal's prestigious property pull-out with the North-East's top-class home, garden and lifestyle companies.

The exciting family exhibition, organised by the team of property experts at The Journal's homemaker supplement, featured stalls from 78 businesses from across the region including estate agents, builders, and interior designers, as well as a host of familiar faces.

Celebrity designer Linda Barker from TV's Changing Rooms, the City Gardener Matt James, chef Paul Rankin and interior designer George Bond, were among those giving out hints, tips and advice over the weekend.

There was even the opportunity to have a photo taken with the stars and chat to them about anything and everything to do with the home while watching exciting demonstrations.

Linda, who put on a table dressing display yesterday, said: "The exhibition was a huge success and I had an absolutely fantastic time.

"Stylish cities like Newcastle need an event like this and I think the homemaker exhibition will become a fixture in the North-East for years to come.

"I really enjoyed chatting to everyone and finding out about their tastes and styles. I was also impressed by the diversity of the stalls. It was great to see young designers like Kathryn Wightman here.

"The exhibition was a real success and I was delighted to be a part of it."

Homemaker editor Karen Overbury was present at the supplement's own stand throughout the event alongside the rest of the team - Karen Wilson, Francesca Craggs and Mieka Schmidt - who passed on their expertise about property in the North-East to hundreds of visitors.

Karen said: "This was our first exhibition and we had a fantastic response from both the public, individuals and businesses.

"It was very busy on both days and visitors seemed to have a great time picking up information and ideas from some of the region's most dynamic and inspirational companies while being treated to some really exciting demonstrations.

"It was also a great chance to talk to some of our readers and get their views on what we do. It was lovely to meet so many friendly and interesting people and we are already looking forward to coming back next year and putting on an even bigger and better exhibition."

The many visitors also enjoyed the inaugural exhibition, which took place from 10am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Robert Douglas, 56, a coach builder, of Consett, County Durham, said: "The exhibition only cost £6 and it was well worth it.

"I spoke to some of the stallholders and they all said they had a good weekend. There was a massive range of stalls and it gave people a taste of what's out there, especially local businesses.

"I also liked the fact that there wasn't much pressure from the stallholders to make you buy things. I would definitely come back if they hold it again next year."

Peter Meeham, 59, a financial adviser, of Stocksfield, Northumberland, said: "We had a great day. There were so many stalls to browse around.

"We were surprised how many people were here given the weather and I think the exhibition has generally been a success."

Father-of-two Nick Goonan, 39, of Cresswell, Northumberland, who runs a company called Scenic Photos Elevated, was at the event with his wife Lesley and two children Nyaee, 11, and 19-month-old Xan.

Nick said: "It was a really well organised event with lots to see and do.

These kind of exhibitions are good for the North-East."

Among the scores of exhibitors at the event were John Lewis, Dickinson Dees, and event sponsors Ikea, along with North-East companies such as The Bathroom and Kitchen Studio, in Kingston Park, Theresa Spinks, of Burnopfield, and Kathryn Wightman, of West Denton.

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David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer