Christmas Present Ideas – Smiggle

So we were invited, along with a number of other bloggers early Sunday morning to the #smigglexmasparty launch in the Smiggle store in the Trinity Shopping Centre in Leeds City Centre. Having never been to Smiggle before, I deliberately didn’t do any research (other than making sure it was a legitimate shop!) so that first impressions counted.

And wow, what a first impression it leaves. If I was to explain it in simple terms, it is like a well known stationers mixed in with a well know beauty shop. However, a work colleague probably described it better when saying that it looked like a rainbow from the outside! The colours when you enter are so vibrant and striking – and that is exactly the type of persona the products inside have and exactly the type of products children want to have and be seen to have.

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Reaction upon entering the store!!

We were left to our own for about an hour to basically play with all the products in store, see what we liked, what we didn’t like and generally be nosy (and pick up Christmas present ideas!!) At the moment, Heidi is being taught how to use a pencil properly, although she is not too interested in it and so a shop like this is a perfect opportunity to get her interested and enthusiastic about writing – because they make it “cool”!!

A simple stocking filler that we found was the Scented Pencil Pack (4 pencils for £4.50) where the pencils smell and also, if you rub them, they change colour. So simple, but it would be something that Heidi would use and be excited about using, and would help her development.

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Not just normal pencils!

A favourite of most of the children was the Pop Out Scented Party Pencil Case (£15) as it looked like the Swiss Army knife of pencil cases! It had drawers and buttons for everything from scissors to rubbers and sellotape – it even had space for pens and pencils!! Not quite sure how the teachers would react to the pencil case if your child was playing with it in class, but not a bad problem to have.

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Mesmerised!!

However, we liked the smelly soft pencil cases, which come in all sorts of shapes, but we loved the ones which looked  like drinks containers. Perhaps it fitted in well with the humour of a 3 year old, but out of everything of the store, that is the one thing she wanted, so we bought it for £11. She was hysterical upon the idea of drinking out of a pencil case!!

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Trying to keep a straight face!!

While it all sounds a bit “girly”, there are products for boys as well, including Yo-Yo’s with an LED light (£7) as well as a “pumping” toy, which extremely popular with a number of children, but was probably not popular with the parents, so that might be one to give to a niece or nephew!!  There was also a slinky with animals painted on the side, which we couldn’t really see in store because there were no stairs (£8.50) but looked really cool.

Although the products are aimed towards children and teenagers, a good little present would be the “Puzzle Python”  (£10) which is made up of 60 small magnetic tiles and you can arrange them however you like, to make whatever you like. Due to the small nature of the pieces, younger children would probably not have the dexterity to play with it, but it would look good on an office desk!

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Completed Puzzle Pythons

As this was a preview event, the staff were obviously really keen to help, but they did seem genuinely enthusiastic about their products and were really good with the children. Now, I am one of these people who do all their shopping online for Christmas, but I think that if you’re going to buy from Smiggle, you really need to go in the store to see the actual product. By all means, do the research online, but because the products are so unique, you really need to see them, and smell them. In fact, you might look a bit weird, but smell the products, because virtually everything in store has a scent, usually after rubbing it!!

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Making friends at the #smigglexmasparty

Also, if you have seen a product online, or you are looking for something specific, ask the staff to point it out to you. As it is a small store and so colourful, it can be difficult to pick a specific item out, so make sure you ask for help, especially if you have no idea what you’re looking for (like me!!)

For complete and open transparency, for attending the event, we were given a small number of stocking fillers, oh and a mini muffin, which seemed to go down very well!!

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Good muffin!!


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Brass n Bloom – 24/9/2016

It isn’t often you get a star of children’s TV coming to little old Dewsbury, but somehow, someway, Mr Bloom found the time to leave his prized allotment and take part in this Brass Band concert.

If you have been following the blog, you’ll know that I am a big fan of the Scarborough Spa Orchestra (link here) and so we are a used to child friendly concerts and this certainly lived up to expectations.

We got there early, ok, a little too early, only to find the doors had not opened but also to find that the crowds were forming already! As we got in, we headed to the front to allow Heidi additional dancing room and then we explored. The good thing about the concert was that there were things to do before the show, with music workshops which were just long enough to entertain, but not tire out the little ones, as well as musical instruments to play on.

However, the star of the show also did a relaxed meet and greet with the little ones and perhaps as you would expect, Mr Bloom was so relaxed, approachable and good with the kids!

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And so onto the music – I am in no position to say whether the correct notes in the correct order, but it certainly sounded good from the front row! If they do another one, I may not sit quite as near to the front however!! They played child friendly tunes, including Frozen and so there was plenty for the little ones to enjoy.

Mr Bloom did a 15 minute set at the start of both halves – including his ukulele (who knew!) with some audience participation. As a result of Heidi being slightly overconfident, she put her hand up to answer a question and then nerves took over which meant I had to answer! However, a couple of weeks on, she is still made up that she answered a question from Mr Bloom-ish!

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Another good part of the almost 2 hour show was the excellent costumes that the band were in – everything from Batman and Robin to a Teddy Bear! This was especially good during the half time interval seeing them wandering around and interacting with the children (and a shout out to Obi Wan Kenobi and his lightsaber!!) The audience level dropped off a little bit towards the end, but that is completely understandable given the age of the target audience – however, those who were at the front enjoyed a good dance towards the end – whilst parents watched on, fearing that their child would crawl under the stage!!!

It was so good to see so many people turn up to enjoy an afternoon of good “traditional” music, which was made really accessible to an age group who don’t usually get included in these types of events. The fact that the local music group “#Musica” were on the stage as well might have inspired some of the school aged children to give music a go.

Hopefully this type of event will be a semi-regular thing in the region, and given the audience, it has every chance!!


 

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#YorkshireFamily with Yorkshire Tots