Along with the ‘New year, new me’, and the taking down of the decorations, January means sales. This week I was set a challenge by Queensgate shopping centre to use the January sales to my family’s advantage. I arrived on Thursday morning to collect my gift card and my challenge was set out…
For some, January can be a difficult month. With Christmas over, the grey weather and not being as “flush” as normal. Don’t let your family fall into the same rut and spend your voucher on some great games and activities which your family can enjoy together. Think board games, arts and crafts or even some baking supplies! All purchases must be either in the sale or have money off for January to make sure we keep the theme of the event. Remember, you must spend as much of the voucher as possible and don’t forget the fabulous retailers down Westgate Arcade!
Excellent, I thought. This is right up my street! I started with a sit-down and a think. What did I want to get? How could I maximise this to get the most from it? What would my kids absolutely love? Well, baking was out… When I bake with my kids the dialogue goes something like…
No, not like that, no now you’ve got egg shell in it. You’ll spill it. Do you need mummy to mix it? Let mummy mix it. Now you’re spilling it, nooo nobody wants your grubby fingers in there. Cover your mouth when you cough…
Give me all the glue and glitter in the world but baking? Nope! “Ok, so let’s start with some games,” I thought and I wandered over to Argos.
Dexter was upset that he never got Jenga for Christmas. He never asked for it or even mentioned it until after Christmas so we had no idea he wanted it, but it was a good place to start. I had a flick through the catalogue and noticed a worm stacking game, similar to Jenga that was on a ‘2 for £15’ offer. Perfect! It should have been £11.99 so I had a look at what else was on the deal… there was so much choice but I settled on a box of playdough. It came with 18 colours and 16 accessories and should have been £10.99. Together, both items should have cost £22.98 but the offer meant a saving of £7.98 – And my kids are alllllways wanting me to make them some playdough so I was in for some brownie points with them already!
Next on my hitlist was Tiger. I love the stuff in there and could spend a fortune but they didn’t seem to have anything on sale. Well, why would they? It’s all so brilliant and cheap already! Haha.
Failing there, I went to John Lewis. I was stood gormlessly looking at all the toys and when a lovely sales assistant, Amy, asked if I needed any help. I explained I needed something to entertain my kids and preventing the January blues but it had to be in the sale or have some sort of money off. She firstly suggested Bop it! There was one left, it was £11.99 down from £16.99 and having played it before, I thought this might be a good option but she could tell I wasn’t completely sold. It just didn’t seem like enough of a bargain if I was going to really maximise this challenge. So she suggested as it was the last one, carry it around the shop with me, head to the baby and nursery department and see if there was anything there, or failing that, try the clearance on Christmas gifts! She couldn’t have been more helpful if she’d tried. I didn’t find anything in the nursery section so that was a bust but the Christmas gifts was a winner of a suggestion.
The first thing I spotted was a set of battle drones. £25 down from £49.99. If this challenge was to buy something for Liam, I would have taken them straight away. I thought about it a lot. The recommended age was 8+… My eldest is 4. I envisioned him causing all sorts of damage with them so I put them back. Begrudgingly.
In the same section though, there were a bunch of board games. Lovely retro looking ones. I settled on a Snakes and ladders/Ludo reversible board game and an awesome set of dominoes. I could see the kids loving the dominoes straight away and if you don’t ever play snakes and ladders, did you even have a childhood? I could be wrong as I forgot to write down the original price but I think the dominoes were supposed to be £14.50(ish) and the Snakes and ladders/Ludo was £10. I picked them up for £7.50 and £7 respectively. A saving of £10
I decided that I’d bought enough games and wanted to search for something more creative. I looked in Smiggle and although they had a 20% sale on most things, I wasn’t sold on anything. I had a look at the impulse buys in Primark as I know they often have notebooks and things but again, not a lot was to be found in the sales. I’m sure they probably had a great sale on clothing but that wasn’t what I was after.
I stopped for a hot chocolate at Hotel Chocolat, while I thought about where else I could try…
Boots had a great sale on their toys. Most of them were half price and there were one or two things I’d considered getting for Bridget but I had £20 left and wanted to get the most I could for it. I headed back to John Lewis to have a look in their stationery dept. Lots of pretty things in the sale or reduced but nothing really for 3 kids under 5. I was about to scrap the creativity avenue and think of some more game type toys and then I strolled past Paperchase… Ahhh ha! Bingo.
Right at the front of the store, they had a couple of shelves full of discounted wares. After about 10 minutes of rummaging around, I gathered up lots of little bits.
I got a gorgeous notebook for £7 that should have been £10. Dexter is loving practising his letters lately as he started school in September so we could write in that together. I got lots of sticker sheets that should have been between £1 and £2.25 but were reduced to between 25p and £1.10. Pom poms for £1 that should have been £2. Feathers, Washi tape and stamper pens and my favourite thing from Paperchase was a set of 5 super chunky pens for £3 that should have been £6. These are perfect for Paisley, She can hold them really well and if they survive another 6 months or so, Didge will be able to use them too. The total cost should have been £44.60 but I managed to bag all of this for just £17.45 – a saving of £27.15
I picked Dexter up from school later that day and honestly, he was so excited! Everything has been played with lots already. As predicted, Paisley loves those chunky pens.
The total cost of everything I bought, should have been £82.08 but with offers and discounts applied came to £46.95. A total saving of £35.13 – Paisley had been good as gold the entire time, despite being stuck in her pram so I used the remaining balance to share a happy meal with her for the walk home. I suspect the games and dominoes are going to last us years and even when the stickers have all been stuck and the playdough has all dried up we still would have made some lovely memories just doing the everyday stuff that we enjoy.
Being a family blogger, this challenge was perfectly suited to me but there are other Official Queensgate Bloggers that were set other January Sales Challenges.
Jaymee was set a ‘wardrobe staples’ challenge. Tasha’s was a ‘new you’ challenge and she was tasked with finding something she wouldn’t normally buy. Rachel from Helpless Whilst Drying was set a beauty challenge and Emily from Musings and More was given the theme of a cosy night in. You can read any of their challenges here by clicking their image.
The Queensgate Gift Card works in a similar way to a debit card and can be used as payment or part payment for goods or services in the majority of retailers within the shopping centre. Gift Cards are available for any value from £5 – £1000. You can now buy the Queensgate Gift Card online here, simply and securely. You can also check your Queensgate Gift Card balance; all you need is your card number.