Once upon a time I owned too many records (actually I still do) so often made the trek to Croydon – taking some of those records to the famous Beanos – a huge second-hand record store which was over several floors. Eventually Beanos closed and reopened as a cool shop called Stuff which had loads of local businesses inside, though that only lasted a short time. Fast forward to a year or so ago and word started to spread that Beanos was set to be a place for children and was set to be re-named Beanies – who then opened in June 2011.
Considering how close we live to Croydon, it’s taken a while for me to get to Beanies which is bad of me – but after getting upstairs and having a look around I have to say, it’s fantastic! There’s little things which could be improved (I’ve already suggested to Hina that they get some insulated coffee cups to use for upstairs – the coffee stays warm and it’s less likely to spill!) but not the kinds of things which would spoil the experience.
Beanies have all kinds of things going on too – on Wednesday afternoons there was a cinema, where you could take your babies – and they showed all the John Hughes films (this is another reason I can’t quite work out why I didn’t go) in a child-friendly environment. They do yoga, football lessons, Sing & Sign, they sell Barefoot Books and have loads of classes – basically, if there’s something Beanies aren’t doing I’d be surprised. They’ve even had a Swishing Party – for kids – Little Swishers. Oh yes, they do knitting and crochet mornings too, baby massage, yoga…
There’s a cafe downstairs which is really reasonable, and plenty of space for buggies. There’s also second-hand clothes and toys which are worth a look. Upstairs is the soft play area where there are toys, toys and even more toys as well as some dressing up costumes – suitable for up to 5 years. You pay £5 if your child is 1-4 (up to their 5th birthday), adults go free. If your child is over six months but under a year then it’s £2.50. There’s settees everywhere, Ikea highchairs around and plenty for your little ones to do; it’s a fabulous place.
We haven’t made it up to the top floor yet but I’m guessing that’s where the cinema is – which is by the way, free if you have some food there or £3 otherwise.
Quack Quack Moo are coming to Beanies – a brand we’re very aware of after meeting them at the Brighton Baby Show – and to celebrate on October 11th there’s a whole day of activities – including meeting Peppa Pig. Alas I’ll be at work, but all the info is here – plus they’re offering 50% off the Barefoot Books range which I’m quite tempted by – having been a Barefoot seller in the past… see, they’re not just limited to daytime – there’s an evening do there, going from 7pm until midnight. Heck, I could get the bus home afterwards!! This is like a night out! (I’m a bit excited)
If you’re in the Croydon area please support Beanies. They’re not too far from the main shopping area, they’re all really friendly and helpful – there’s membership available which pays for itself if you plan to go more than three times a month (and it gets cheaper over time too – a year costs £90 – so that’s 18 visits). The cafe is free and child-friendly (though be aware, it’s a cafe so there’s hot drinks around). They even have little toilets for kids – no locks on the door – for the first time ever H and I went into our own cubicles which I was more than a bit proud of (and she felt like a proper big girl!)
Beanies do deals via Groupon as well, so keep an eye out – there was a fantastic deal recently to have your party there (yes they do parties too!) – so keep an eye out.
To sum up Beanies, it’s a place created by mums for mums – they know the kind of things you want and need, and it’s all there over the three (or is it four?) floors of the building formerly known as Beanos. It’s kind of weird and good (and a bit sad too as I miss the old shop) sitting in the area I’d take my CD singles and 7″ singles to sell and it’s now a huge soft play area my daughter is benefiting from – and we’ll be back for more. Plus you get to meet other local mums – I wish Beanies had existed while I was on maternity leave as I’d definitely have spent lots of time there!