Welcome back! It’s been a while but I have been focusing on my YouTube channel a lot more – being consistent with one thing always means something else suffers! Aka – this blog, and I am sorry for that. I am hoping to get back into writing because I do love it, and have also had quite a few requests for some blog posts!
Anyway, enough rambling. I’m here to talk to you all about the magic of in-store shopping. So much of our lives is or revolves around being online now; paying for bills, transferring money, social media, booking attractions, e-mails and yes, shopping. Why wouldn’t you do any of those things online? It’s so much easier – especially if you’re outnumbered by little humans! Everyone knows how stressful it can be taking kids shopping don’t they? Mum can I have this? Mum I think we need this! And my favourite, when you get to the till and the cashier scans something through you definitely didn’t know about but you’re too embarrassed/have no energy for the tantrum so you watch her scan it through with a grimace.
BUT! That being said, there is something special to in-store shopping that no amount of online/catalogue shopping can bring you. That is the experience a lot of stores these days have to offer. Jax and I were very kindly invited along to the Bentalls Centre in Kingston to go and try out some new seasonal teas in T2. If you follow me, you’ll know I went to T2 for National Tea Day and absolutely loved it; I had no idea what it was before but now I haven’t stopped ranting and raving about it. It’s just the most amazing shop; they have over 200 teas, absolutely gorgeous teawares and accessories – who doesn’t love a good mug?! The staff are incredible, they are so full of knowledge, know exactly how to help you and they never give the hard sell that some shops adopt. There is no obligation to buy anything but they encourage you to try out any teas of your choice, then its up to you whether or not you want to buy! Each tea has a smell box – a box next to each tea that you can open up, have a look at the actual tea and give a wiff to see if it tickles your taste buds and senses.
I was so excited to bring Jax along this time, he’s basically an old man in a 4 year olds body so I knew this would interest him. When we arrived we were greeted by Nick – the amazing guy from last time who is basically a walking tea encyclopaedia. He told us that as its coming into winter, he was going to give me a lesson in making chai tea, as well as making and tasting some other varieties – they have a shed load! Sticky honey chai (which smells absolutely amazing), popcorn chai, honeycomb chai, chocolate chai, and thats just naming a few! We made a couple of chai’s and Jax absolutely loved them. I’ve never tried chai before but always wanted to and they didn’t disappoint. One was delicate, sweet and mild, the other was quite spicy and had a kick but was equally as pleasing. After that, we made a traditional chai. Nick started off by toasting the tea in a pan on the hob to release some of the flavours – a bit like when you make a curry and put the spices etc in and toast them so all of the delicious flavours and aromas can come out! He then added some soy milk (obviously you can add any milk though) and heated for a few minutes. After straining, Nick wanted to add some froth to the chai; to do this you need 2 jugs, and from a height, pour into the other jug and repeat (see pics below).
It was amazing to watch and Jax was in awe haha! After that we gave that one a try, I really enjoyed it and it tasted totally different to the others we’d tried, but Jax was unsure on this one. After this we tried a few other teas and Jax wanted to get a Candy Apple one to take home. Nick very kindly gifted us a chai of our choice and we chose the first one we tried – the white chai with the mild delicate taste.
We had such a fun time there and we always always do, and my point is – you would never get this if you shopped online. You wouldn’t be able to try before you buy, and what you think you might like, you actually might not like when it arrives. The amount of times I’ve been into a T2 store thinking ‘oh I don’t like early grey teas, I don’t like ginger/lemongrass flavours’ and I’ve tried them in-store and actually loved them. Same with the opposite, what I think I did like, when I try it I am not too keen compared to some others. Yes shopping online is convenient – we all do it – but in a lot of ways I don’t think it compares to in-store shopping. You don’t get the warm welcome, the knowledge behind the people working there, the option to try before you buy.
I think a lot more stores these days are definitely thinking about ways in which they can cater for a range of customers, including parents and children! Especially at Bentalls, there is always something going on; arts and crafts, seasonal fun days, food tastings etc. I don’t think people realise whats on offer and I think its easy to forget the magic of in-store shopping. Even clothes shops etc, you’re able to try things on before buying. The amount of clothes I’ve ordered online and they’ve turned up, and they don’t suit me or just don’t look nice and they’re gathering dust in my wardrobe with the tags on because I’m too lazy to return them! Least when you go to a store you know exactly what you’re buying.
If you haven’t been to a T2 store before, I could not recommend going any more. Even if its to go and try some tea and have a chat with the staff – they welcome everyone and there’s no obligation to buy. And they’re brilliant with kids too! Each store is absolutely beautiful, there is a whole array of colours and patterns to look at, and a whole load of gadgets and accessories to get your hands on. Below are a few photos I took of our trip there :)
Thank you for reading! Don’t forget, in-store shopping is a lot more fun, interesting and family friendly than it ever has been before, so don’t be afraid and go have some fun!
Love, J xxx
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