I am not a parent myself, but I do feel their pain when friends and family bring piles of uber-cute stuff, like bear onesies and octopus-shaped bath toys (??! Right…). Call me judgemental, but we get our perceptions of what babies want from TV adverts, so why are we surprised that Mothercare and Mamas&Papas flog thousands of such uninspiring items every day?
Well, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are places that value originality above marketing, for example a lovely little chain of shops called Igloo. I discovered it last week, before visiting my friends and their two year old boy. As soon as I walked in, I felt that Igloo was a creation of a very curious and fearless team, who managed to combine new trendy items with old-school favourites I used to play with back in the days.
For example, there are adorable grey t-shirt for girls (it doesn’t always have to be pink) and clever science toys shipped from the States (check out their website, it’s crazily good).
I went totally nostalgic with this box – I used to have one to keep the most precious stickers and jewellery (well, the plastic rings and bracelets that came with the bubble gum).
My boyfriend almost bought this little piano that reminded him of his childhood and his passion for music (I guess it is true – our life passions are decided at a much younger age than we think).
Oh, it gets better…THE SHOE EMPORIUM! Dozens of neatly displayed shoes on illuminated shelves. I had a total “Carrie moment”…The one when she sees her new closet in the Sex and the City movie.
Anyway, after a very long discussion (I was up for a learning toy, while my boyfriend opted for some techy gadget), we ended up getting a trusted kids’ pleaser – a Lego set. The shop assistant kindly offered to gift wrap it for us, as we didn’t have time to do it ourselves (free of charge).
In addition to clothing and toys, they offer other services like parties, days out, personalised cakes and even haircuts.
Feel free to check it out online or go to one of the branches (we visited one near Angel in London).
And as always, opinions are entirely my own.