On Saturday, my three boys and I hotfooted it down to London for a very special housewarming party.
Our friends at the Great Little Trading Company have just created the very first GLTC showroom and we were very privileged to get a sneak preview before the doors open to the public.
It’s in Wandsworth, south London, so was a bit of a trek from the wilds of Northamptonshire but SO worth the journey.
The outside was humble. No banners, balloons, bells or whistles. Just a couple of signs to let you know it was there. But open the door and it felt like we’d literally set foot inside one of their catalogues.
It made me think of the song from Willy Wonka:
Come with me and you’ll be
In a world of pure imagination
It was such a strange sensation. To be seeing product that you’ve only ever experienced in a 2D format — either in print or online — in the flesh, felt quite surreal.
To be able to reach out and touch things, pick them up and hold them — get a real feel for the scale, quality and finish of things — was fantastic.
And the space that everything was in was incredible.
A huge showroom sectioned into ‘rooms’ showcasing lots — if not all — of their fabulous homewares.
But this was no ordinary showroom. It didn’t feel like a shop. It felt like a home.
And testimony to this was the fact that within minutes of walking through the doors The Twinkles — who are sometimes a little bit shy when they first walk into a new place — made a beeline for a table set up with little trains and buses and began to play.
Totally at ease, totally relaxed totally at home.
The boys got dressed up for the occasion in their party finest.
Sweet little shirts and trousers from JoJo Maman Bébé topped off with knitted tank tops from Cath Kidston.
We had such an amazing day.
To see all of the lovely product, up close and personal — rather than on a computer screen or paper — was such a treat but best of all was meeting the gorgeous, welcoming Great Little Trading Company family for the first time.
We’ve been conversing on email and social media for a few months now, so to give them all a big hug and chat to them in real life was brilliant.
As was catching up with the other members of the testing team.
We were treated to gin cocktails — and I’ve mentioned before how much I love gin ;) — Champagne, cakes plus the best goodie-bags the boys have ever been lucky enough to receive.
It really was a really special day and we were so, so thrilled to be part of it.
But catching up and gin cocktails aside, I think the very best thing about the day was seeing how animated and engaged all the children were.
Living up to the specially made badges they’d been given, the littlest members of the testing team played, laughed and did an admirable job of roadtesting the new GLTC showroom.
I’ve made a little film to show you a snippet of our day. If you find yourself in south-west London, do go and pop in to check it out. It’s well worth the visit and I promise you, you won’t want to leave.
It feels just like home.
I am proud to be a GLTC testing team member this year but all thoughts, words and images, as ever, are entirely my own.