Yesterday Tristan and I had a fun mother-son day out. Kallista was out to a birthday party in the afternoon so Tristan and I hopped on the train and headed into Belfast. We’d been invited to Smiggle‘s newest store opening in Castle Lane!
I first came across Smiggle a couple of years ago and became aware that they were already in the UK, but not yet over here in Northern Ireland. Belfast’s store is the third to open in Northern Ireland, and we really wanted to see for ourselves what little surprises it held.
I may have a *slight* obsession with stationary, if I’m being honest. I have an internal gravitational pull towards it, wherever I am. I suppose I’m a visual person as I like my notes and lists to be colour-coordinated so that I know at a glance what is what. And it’s pretty. Even my university class notes were taken in pens of peacock blue and pink!
Then when I moved to Japan, stationary was on a whole new level with entire stores of kawaii stationary, sections of department stores, and even the 100Yen shops had areas dedicated to fun and cute writing paper, pens, and all sorts. I was in heaven. So when I moved over here I was sadly disappointed to see the lack of fun writing products to keep me smiling.
Smiggle’s name came from ‘Where a smile meets a giggle,’ and I was curious if this was true. So Tristan and I wandered over to Smiggle together to have a look. It was hard to miss on opening day with a colourful balloon arch outside. How fun and inviting!
Tristan was amazed, and just couldn’t help repeating out loud:
This is sooo coool!
We walked in and were greeted by the friendly and helpful staff. And bombarded by the rainbow of colour! The shop is noticeably bright, and Tristan noted that all shops should be so well-lit. The shop is compact, but there is a lot in it! And everything is arranged by colour; that’s a unique concept, but works well and will save time if you have a particular colour you love. Why waste time looking at products that have no visual appeal to you jumbled in amongst every other colour? No, there’s no sense in that.
There’s no denying that this is quite a ‘girly’ shop with all of the glitter and sparkles; but if you are a glitter-phobe, then you can concentrate on the left side of the store where the green, black, and navy blue wall is and you’ll be in more matte territory. If you do love sparkles, pink, purple, and turquoise blue, then the right-hand side of the store will keep you occupied.
The back wall is where you’ll find all description of writing instruments! Scented pencils, pompom pens, lanyards, lip balm, pens with multiple coloured inks, erasers, and more! The beakers used to present these ‘loose’ items is fun as well. Turn around and you’ll see water bottles that roll up when they’re empty, jewellery boxes, hair clips, bracelets, and lanterns that have holographic lights inside (Tristan and I both loved those).
By the till there’s a stand filled with cases of scented gel pens, colour-changing scented pencil crayons (I NEED a packet of these to take me back to the hyper-colour days of the ’90s), as well as metallic pencils, and the usual suspects are there, as well, if you are on the more conservative side in this department.
Smiggle is a tactile person’s delight as well. You can find notebooks that are fuzzy, have sequins that can be flipped back and forth to make patterns, spongy decorations, and even a locking journal that has artificial turf (felt) on the outside, and pitch lines…and also comes with a little soccer ball so you can use it as a desk-top game when not writing within it.
Penpal books, locking piggy bank lockers, secret compartment books (Tristan wants one of these), lunch boxes, backpacks, notepads, headphones, clocks, slinkies, and ever so much more that I can fit here! Tristan was fascinated with a selection of the pop-out pencil cases. There are some that have several buttons on them. Press a button and a pencil sharpener pops out, press another and a ruler shoots out, try another and a lid pops up to hold pencils…I’m sure he had to try every one. I usually wouldn’t let my children continue on, but Tristan was downright giddy with giggles with these pencil cases!
Yes, Smiggle’s name lives up to its meaning!
We tried hard to take everything in, circling the shop a couple of times at our leisure; in fact the sun had gone down during our time inside!
And our adventure into Belfast was done for the day, and we had to catch a return train back with only 10 minutes to spare before the kids’ Ju-Jitsu class began. It was only on the train that we finally had a chance to peek into the goody bag that Smiggle kindly gave to us….
Thank you Smiggle! And you know we’ll be back again the next time we’re in Belfast; Kallista is already planning a mother-daughter day with a trip to Smiggle! Until we return, we’ll be enjoying our Fairy Floss-smelling class notes and colourful to-do lists. Ahh, a day filled with Tristan’s giggles, and now my smiles with organised notes.
Where A Smile Meets A Giggle, visit your nearest Smiggle!