I tend not to think of myself as having been a babywearer for that long. But, as the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun (or is it when you’re perpetually sleep deprived?), and I’ve been wrapping for a little over 4.5 years now. In that time I’ve tried a lot of wraps and have even been lucky enough to attend a few babywearing conferences and events.
So, as someone who’s been around the metaphorical babywearing block a few times, what was Magic Summer like?
Capturing the essence of a wrap online is difficult and elusive, even if you just focus on the aesthetic of a wrap. Accurately conveying how it feels when handled, and what its wrapping qualities are, is even more of a challenge. Magic Summer (with tables and tables of wraps!) was a frankly blissful experience for my inner wrap geek.
I was in my element as I explored the different brands and the carriers they had brought. I was (wonderously!) child free, but there was no shortage of demo dolls, so I could still try as many wraps as I wanted. And I wanted to try a lot! There were so many different wraps, including some truly unusual ones. There were wraps which didn’t feel at all how I expected when I touched them, wraps whose WQs were a total surprise, wraps which looked so different in person to the photos I’d seen online. Thick wraps, thin wraps, cosy wraps, luxurious wraps, handwoven wraps, colourful wraps, elegant wraps. Wraps I now own, and wraps I would love to own, and wraps I’ll never own but am pleased to have tried.
In short: a lot of wraps. If you like wraps even a little, it would have been hard not to enjoy it.
Often at a babywearing show there’s a lot of emphasis on the sales side of things. Even if you go in with a relaxed attitude, it can be hard not to get caught up in the busy browsing and shopping. And whilst this has its own delights, I loved how there was no selling from the stalls at Magic Summer (all selling was done in advance via preorders). This made the event very relaxed, with a real focus on slowing down to explore and appreciate the wraps on show. I felt there was so much more opportunity to indulge in the kind of fun wrap geekery I truly love.
If you’re like me, that subtitle could be immediately off-putting. Socialising? With strangers? I mean, thanks for the offer, but nooooo, that’s not my thing…
I’ll confess that I was a little anxious about the social aspect of Magic Summer. As it turns out, I needn’t have worried. The socialising was all on my own terms. I could (and did) have as many quiet moments by myself as I needed to balance out all the talking. No-one stared, or minded, or – frankly – even noticed. The laid-back atmosphere meant there was a natural ebb and flow to the interactions and conversations, making it easy to engage as much or as little as I wanted. I met some old friends, some people I’d only chatted with online, and (shocker) some entirely new people.
Best of all, I loved meeting the brand owners and representatives. This was next-level wrap geekery chat: I loved hearing more about how the wraps were designed, what motivated fibre or weave choices, and a myriad other tiny but fascinating details. Everyone I talked to was friendly and enthusiastic and entirely accommodating of my sometimes odd questions!
Whilst the wraps and the people were the main elements of Magic Summer for me, of course there were other elements of the experience.
First up: the venue. A little tucked away, this was straightforward enough to find for an easily-confused traveller like me, thanks to the detailed instructions on the Magic Summer website. It was hot, as was just about everywhere in London that day, but it had shady spots and plenty of free water! The feel of the venue was laid back and relaxed, not at all intimidating. I liked that there was plenty of seating, and enjoyed the layout – it felt like there were lots of different sections to discover, even though it wasn’t a big place. Then there was the food. I got a ticket on entry which I could then exchange at two different food stalls for my lunch. I chose a burger and fries – and seriously, it was a great burger. The venue’s bar was also available and I got to enjoy a rare treat of a cocktail! There was also plenty of free water available – something much appreciated on a hot day.
There were a number of games and competitions running (with fun prizes!) which I enjoyed. These were not only fun, but also helpful for breaking the ice, so to speak – they gave me direction and something to do when I was feeling shy and awkward. Although I was unusually child free, it was great to see what a friendly place Magic Summer was for kids. Everyone was happy and accommodating of the tiny humans’ needs, and there was some awesome-looking entertainment provided for them. Ah yes, and there was face-painting. Which was totally only for the children. I definitely did not get my face painted.
Magic Summer was absolutely brilliant and I really hope it happens again. It was relaxed, and fun, and different in the best of ways. A babywearing party/festival in the city? I don’t know why no-one thought of it before…