Thursday, October 24, 2013

Mummy Recon Mission

The other week, along with the usual junk mail, I got a standard-issue letter from a (relatively) local business: the A3 Baby Barn. If I wanted to come and check out their premises, I could present my letter for 15% off my first purchase at their store. I'll be honest, I wasn't desperately in need of anything, but I thought it would be worth having a go, so I invited my friend Kerri - whose daughter is E's best friend - to come along for the ride. The additional bribe of some time at nearby Garson's Farm may or may not have been mentioned.

With only one wrong turn (thanks, Google Maps), we made it there in decent time. They really weren't kidding when they said this place was a barn! We were both impressed with the space and selection of prams, pushchairs, and general baby accessories. The kids were mostly impressed with the chance to stretch their legs after most of an hour in the car.

Aden & Anais swaddles, StorkSak changing bags, and our kids being cute.
Something that really struck me? I loved seeing brands in the store that I'm used to only seeing online. My main example? The Aden & Anais muslin swaddles. With the possibility of 15% off, I thought it was worth considering the purchase of one for the arrival of the new baby in December. And the best part about seeing these things in person is realising just how big the A&A swaddles are! Seriously, I don't know what I expected, but these things were huge.

I did get one in the end. I was sorely tempted by the giant red stars, but it was slightly more expensive than the pattern I ended up with. And really...I may just get the red stars pattern later on if this swaddle ends up working really well for us. I'm super excited to test it out. For reals.

My new paper aeroplane-patterned Aden & Anais swaddle.
My only suggestion for improvement? Maybe nice paper bags for your purchases with the store's logo on. Not necessarily a matter of priority, but a nice touch. Otherwise, I really liked the variety of products and brands on offer and the chance to see and test things properly before committing to buy. The barn is in a gorgeous area and has a fantastic selection of good brands to test and see. Their strength seems to be pushchairs, but the array of toys, bath accessories, changing bags, swaddles, & carriers on offer certainly don't suffer for that emphasis.

Personally, it's now my goal to weasel my way into getting a StorkSak changing bag. I'm still lusting after the Nina StorkSak in aubergine that I saw while we were there...that baby caught my eye from across the store. Technically, I have two bags already, but one has mostly become E's overnight bag (yes, Mom, that's the WF bag you got me) and the other one just barely fits what I need for E, and definitely won't stretch to accommodate the bits and bobs required for a toddler and an infant.

On to the rest of the day! After our productive stop at A3 Baby Barn (I also picked up a Christmas present) it was time to take the 15-minute drive and hop over to Esher to see Garson's again. Kerri wanted to grab a pumpkin to cook with, the kids wanted some more time to run around, and I just wanted to be back in my happy place.

The kids had the best time running around in the pumpkin fields, and actually got really into sitting on the pumpkins to pose for pictures. They chased each other around, shouting each other's names, chattering about the pumpkins, and generally burning off energy. So much so that they complied easily when it was time to hop in the trolley and take a brief tour of the farm shop. No surprises here, we walked out with more Bear Nibbles for E and Snowy to weather the trip home during rush hour on the M25.

Sitting together in chairs...because, chairs.
Now, at the end of the day, we're sat in my bed: E watching Bob the Builder and me blogging. He was so good today that I wasn't even fussed about letting him have a dinner of porridge and bread with Nutella. Really, any day that involves taking 2 toddlers in the car for a total trip of about 2.5 hours that doesn't involve either a) tears, b) potty accidents, c) injuries, or d) all of the above, is an unmitigated success. Add in the chance to scope out a great new store and wander around in the gorgeous autumnal ambiance of pumpkin fields, and I'm absolutely sold.

PS - just to say, the ladies over at the Baby Barn have no idea I was going to blog about them: their coupon came totally unsolicited in the post. Anything I've said in this post is entirely my own opinion.

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