I love finding new stores and if they're quirky and offer a broad range of bits and bobs, I'm there quicker than you can say 'pass me the shopping basket!'.
That's why when I heard that Flying Tiger was coming to Selfridges, Bullring, Birmingham, I couldn't resist a lunch time trip.
I'd first seen Flying Tiger - previously known just as Tiger - from the store that popped up in the old Woolworths space in Grand Central. A friend had been in and come back with an array of goodies and so I had to check it out for myself. And then when I went to Benidorm for a hen do at the end of May, I saw that they had some stores too and even then I couldn't resist buying a few bits and bobs.
In a similar vein to IKEA and HEMA, Flying Tiger sells an eclectic range of products for the home, for children and for any number of reasons you can think of. It's a brand from Copenhagen and it's fresh, fun and affordable to, with so many items just being a couple of pounds.
The new Selfridges Birmingham concession is nestled conveniently (for me) next to Cath Kidston (which has given up some floor space and means women's clothing can only be found in Grand Central now, FYI). It's amazing at how much they pack into the space that they have; their products are displayed on big white crates that are positioned in zigzags, to draw you around and give them plenty of room to display items stacked up in various collections.
There's almost so much to see, you need to do a couple of circuits to make sure you haven't missed anything.
There's homewares, from the practical to the fun, a great range of stationery, craft materials and children's games and colouring books, plus candles, yoga mats, power cables, partyware, wrapping paper... and much more besides.
So, what did I buy, I hear you ask?
For Ethan: I picked up three items for Ethan; a stacking cups game, which I thought would be good for practising number recognition as well as being a fun activity, a magnetic jigsaw puzzle (genius idea) and a string tennis racket set and ball.
For me: I chose a few bits for my desk, including a wheely bin (for desk rubbish, or you could use it as a pen pot - love quirky things like this), a lightbulb pencil sharpener, some sticky notes, a pack of colour-in postcards (great for adult colouring fans), a mini stationery essentials set and a magnetic note that looks like a page from a notebook, complete with pen, which I'm using as a shopping list on our fridge.
For the house: I picked up a handy salad shaker container and perhaps my favourite item, these cloud shaped shelves (I think they were £6).
They come in an off-white/soft grey and black and are a set of two, with sticky tape on the back (although we just hung ours from a single nail in the wall - either way, you don't want to put too much on them). They create such a nice display and fit perfectly in our hallway. I love them so much, I may buy more and at the moment, I'm displaying the table place settings from my two friends' weddings.
All of this came to around £30. Yep, just £30. And I could have picked up so much more besides.
Speaking to the manager and the lovely sales team, I learned that rather than just seasonal updates, they update their offering on a monthly basis to tie-in with different themes, so back to school is a current focus and then there will be Halloween and Christmas lines introduced down the line. Good reasons to make regular trips back!
How would I sum up Flying Tiger? Colourful, quirky, useful and great value. Be sure to pop in next time you're in Birmingham - you never know what you might come away with.
* I was invited along to review the new store but my purchase choices and opinions are my own