This article was first published on The Vegetarian Experience on the 26th March 2012
Recently, I was invited to visit John Lewis in Watford to find out about their new Spring collections. I have blogged about my previous visits to John Lewis at Christmas here and so I was eager to see how the store had changed since my last visit. As it was mother's day weekend, I took eldest along with me so that we could spend some mother-daughter time together.
We started off by taking a look at the John Lewis Easter Collections which had recently come into store. There was such a big selection of unique Easter gifts which were really colourful and interesting. I would love to receive something from this range at Easter rather than just a bog standard egg.
Look at these cute Mr Potato Chicken and eggs which retail at £12 - very innovative! and they are suitable for vegetarians - better still!
And these tubes of Mini Eggs are really lovely too
There are Chirping Chicks (£5), and Carrot Felt Bags (£5) - Great for collecting eggs on Easter egg hunts. I love this Easter Tea Cosy (£10). I would use this all year round, and these cute Easter Egg Cosy's (£3.50) too! They also have a wonderful Hotel Chocolat Range - perfect for the grown-ups.
I am also completely in love with the new Cath Kidston Easter Chicken range. I love the bowls, cake tins and aprons in this picture - they are so pretty and yet functional at the same time!!
You can view the full Easter range on the John Lewis website.
John Lewis have also started gearing up for summer with their new garden range. As the weather is said to be quite good over the next few weeks, I would definitely recommend going and having a look at the garden collections they have available. There is a rather impressive summer house in the Watford store which I have placed firmly on my wish list!
This table is great for entertaining friends and I love the lamp on the table too.
This funky outdoor tableware range is lovely too. I will definitely be stocking up for the summer!
As well as an outdoor range, John Lewis have also this new PlayNation range, to bring a bit of colour to our kitchen's. I love the chopping boards in the picture below.
If you are into collecting pretty tableware as I am, you must look at this wonderful range from Pip Studio. I spotted this range when I was in store a few weeks ago. I absolutely love the colours and designs of the collection. The cups, saucers and jugs are especially lovely. If I had no kids and money to burn, I would definitely be serving up afternoon tea on the patio in this range!
I also found this lovely Queens Diamond Jubilee range with contemporary and traditional designs. I love the Alison Gardiner Teapot and the Cath Kidston mugs! I will be buying something from the Diamond Jubilee range as a commemorative piece for the Jubilee!
After a browse around the home and giftware sections, we then moved onto the John Lewis beauty counters. John Lewis were having a special mother's day beauty weekend and were offering free makeovers and hand massages. There were also lots of special deals on their beauty products.
Eldest and I were treated to a hand and arm massage with Decleor Paris essential oils. Eldest loved her hand and arm massage and she felt so grown up! Many of the staff on the beauty counters are trained beauty therapists and can also offer treatments as well as giving advice on products. There is a treatment room at John Lewis and you can book in for facials, a massage, make-up lessons and a host of other treatments. A treatment costs £30, and this is then redeemable on products when you buy two products. Phone the store and ask to speak to the beauty department for full details.
Each individual store often has special celebration weekends where there is lots going in in the store. The next weekend at Watford is the Spring Celebration Weekend from the 6th to the 9th of April where there will be an Easter egg hunt for the kids and special free gifts and demonstrations. Kate, who kindly showed me round explained that the store holds lots of interactive demonstrations and events aimed at making the retail experience more interactive and interesting for customers. She described it as "Interactive Retail Theatre" - an expression I really like! There are lots of fantastic events and activities on offer, so do keep an eye on your local store for details. You can also subscribe to the mailing list to receive details. As well as events, John Lewis also regularly have product specialists visiting their stores. Whilst I was there there was a nursery event going on and so there were specialists on hand from car seat companies ready to advise customers. There were also Bosch and Dyson representatives on hand in store too on the day I visited, so do look out for these expert people in store if you are looking for advice on certain products as they are always happy to help and will give much better information than sales people in other stores, dealing with lots of different brands and without much product knowledge.
Our visit was rounded off with a trip to the Cafe for a special Mother's Day Afternoon Tea consisting of tea, cakes and sandwiches. Look at these delicious cakes in my photo. All of them were made from scratch by the in-store Patisserie chef. As I have said before, as a foodie, I would choose freshly made products over pre-packed food any day and my visits to the John Lewis cafe have become more frequent because of this. The cakes were delicious and tasted really fresh and light. Eldest especially loved the glitter on the fruit tart.
So next time you pass a John Lewis, do pop in and have a look at what is going on. You might be surprised at how much does actually happen within the walls of John Lewis. I really have been each time I have visited. They were also handing out bucks fizz in store when I visited to celebrate the John Lewis charge card - so worth a visit just for the bucks fizz at least I reckon!
We had a lovely time looking around John Lewis. Thanks to Kate for inviting us and showing us around!
Disclosure: I was invited to visit John Lewis and had a tour of the shop. I received a goody bag in return. All views are my own.