Hobbycraft Nottingham Grand Reopening

Latest Update: Adding piccies…

Hobbycraft Nottingham Opening - The Town Crier - Oh Yay!

Yesterday, we attended the opening of the new Hobbycraft store in Nottingham. There’s been a Hobbycraft for quite a while there, and this is the second time they’ve moved.

Originally, they were on the Riverside retail park, which was reasonably convenient for us, and we visited a few times. After that, though, they moved to the Broadmarsh Centre, in the city centre, which was much more difficult for us – rather than just parking for free right outside, we had to park in the nearby car park, pay to park, and go over a covered walkway over the road to the shopping centre, then around to the shop. So, we didn’t go as often.

It was still worth it, sometimes, though, as they stocked a selection of art and craft materials that few other places in the area could match.

Anyway, now they’ve moved to another retail park – Lady Bay, and it’s one of our favourites, because it also contains Staples, where we spend far too much money, and buy quite a lot of the things we write about here.

Opening Day?

They’ve actually been open there since last Monday, but they only had the opening ceremony on the Saturday morning. They’d done a bit of advertising, and were offering a mystery free gift for the first fifty people through the doors at 09:00, and a prize draw at 10:00. We had no idea how desperate people might be for a free mystery gift, but we settled on the idea of going along for 08:00, and if there were already more than fifty people, or if there were hardly any people, we’d go for breakfast at the nearby Burger King.

We were late, and got there for about 08:15, but there was pretty much nobody there. Except for the town crier, in his full red and yellow outfit, with a bell and a bugle, and a voice that really carried. We waited around in the car for a little while, then went and joined the queue when there were five or six people there. By 09:00, there was a long queue, completely past the next two shop fronts, and the quoted “first fifty people” had slightly extended to the “first fifty or so, maybe seventy” people, as they’d obviously decided to over-cater a bit. A couple of members of staff came out and handed out sweets, and a slightly odd sort of clown came out and started making balloon animals for the children. Starting with one very bemused looking kid who just stared open-mouthed at the snake she’d made for him. I don’t think he particularly wanted a balloon snake to walk around clutching, and I think he was even less pleased when the next kid along got a biplane on a stick.

He had a point. Snake: lame. Biplane on a stick: cool. Snakes on a Plane: Samuel L Jackson.

Clown Making Balloon Toys

Town Crier

The town crier was somewhere between annoying and excellent. Having someone around who kept yelling and blowing on a bugle definitely isn’t what you want early on a Saturday morning, but he was a very good master of ceremonies, and kept everything running along smoothly. He also managed to keep a good little burst of comedy going with little asides in a quiet voice in between yellings.

The Free Prize

So, what was the free prize? We didn’t know – we were given a ticket that we could use to claim the free prize at the cash desk or help desk later, on our way out.

The Store

Well, the store is really excellent now. It’s much bigger, a lot bigger than we were expecting. Although it’s actually a smaller space than the Staples store a couple of doors down, they’ve done a lot more with it. They have put in another floor, so it’s on two levels, but with the first part of the store open to both levels – the top level is like a huge balcony. There’s a lot more stock, and a few new areas – they now stock modeling stuff, with things from Hornby and Scalextric. There’s lots of Derwent stuff, much of it really horribly tempting, but far too expensive for us. Sam picked up a pack of their relatively new Inktense pencils, so we can improve our rather small review (we wrote it originally with the one pencil that Derwent sent us to try out).

Anyway, the store was better than we were expecting, and we had fairly high hopes for it (hey, we were there at quarter past eight on a Saturday morning ;). Well worth visiting if you’re anywhere near and you’re into any sort of art or crafts.

The Prize Draw

Long story short: we didn’t win. Bummer. The MD of Hobbycraft was there, and used much of his speech time to thank the staff for all their hard work in moving the store, and saying what a great job they’d done. The Lord Mayor was there, and talked about how glad he was that Hobbycraft was in Nottingham, and how much he likes the jobs and money they bring.

The Free Prize – Really This Time

We checked out, and collected our free prize, in a tied-closed bag, so we had to pull it open in the car park to find out that we’d got…

  • A copy of CrossStitcher Magazine, with a free cross stitch kit on the cover.
  • A paper punch in the shape of a dove. Not a lot of use to us as such, but it’s something we probably would never have bought that we can try out and write about – free review materials! Yay!

…so not a tremendously useful bit of stuff, not not cheap and tatty enough to be disappointing either, and it gives us a couple of creative bits to try and write about.

Staples

We can’t visit Lady Bay Retail Park without going to Staples. And I can’t go to Staples without spending a long time dithering about Filofaxes. It’s the law.

On this occasion, Sam didn’t fancy it, and waited in the car for me. I was gone for around half an hour, and most of that time was spent poking various Filofaxen. I finally decided not to buy any, and I’d already reasoned that the gel pens I’d wanted to get were only available in much bigger packs than I wanted, so I was about to leave empty-handed. Then it struck me that if, after half an hour, I returned to the car having bought nothing, and had to admit that I’d actually just spent thirty minutes yet again staring at Filofaxes, Sam may not be too delighted with me. So I bought the pens and returned to the car.

“Sorry I took so long.”

“Dithering over Filofaxes again?”

<hangs head in shame>

“Thought so.”

On we went for some food at Burger King, but by the end of the meal, I’d changed my mind and decided I did want a Filofax. Another Filofax, that is. We already have…

  • A Pocket Hampstead, which we think is somewhere in the house still. It’s very nice.
  • A Personal Cosmos, which is looking quite badly worn out, but still works well enough. Old model.
  • A Personal Ranger which looks a bit purse-like, but is quite a handy thing, with lots of pockets.
  • An A5 Finsbury in brown, which Sam bought and used for a while (the inside pocket will take a pocket Moleskine, but it’s a bit of a stretch). Nice full-grained leather.
  • An A5 Identity which I bought reduced in Staples, thinking it would at least let me find out if I got on with the A5 size. It did. I didn’t. And the ‘leather-look’ PVC finish really isn’t nice.

After all that, I still was tempted for another. The one I’ve wanted for a long time is the Lyndhurst, which is a nice soft leather, with a zipper around. I’d been thinking that maybe with the zipper, the A5 wouldn’t feel so big, but it really does – it feels huge. Models with a zip are bigger than others, and they really feel it. So, now, to add to all of the above, we have…

  • A Pocket Lyndhurst, which Staples had marked up at an oddly cheap price – the pocket was cheaper than the mini, which doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Anyway, it makes a really nice wallet, and a handy little notebook with replaceable pages, and the paper (whilst not cheap) works out cheaper than buying Moleskines. My cards and cash all fit inside, along with my Lamy Safari pen and some index cards. And it should last a long time.

Besides, it’ll be good for the economy.

Then it was off home, after spending an alarming long time on a single retail park.

And now we have a cross stitch kit. And Sam doesn’t want to do cross stitch, but I think one of us should have a go at it. Hmm. Looks like I’m going to by trying my hand at some cross stitch…