How To Multi Task In The Supermarket
I've never been a huge fan of the supermarket. If you've got kids, it's a place of hell. When Ella was small the only way I could get her to stop yelling in Waitrose was to stuff her with Quavers and chocolate buttons whilst trying to ignore the NCT parenting oracles who were sanctimoniously handing their perfectly behaved, Boden clad kids bits of carrot. My worst moment was when I overloaded the basket which I'd hung off the buggy handles and the whole thing fell backwards with Ella in it. Seeing a 10 month old with her head in a basket of Sauvignon Blanc and ready meals was not pretty. By the time I had three children, I had given up and was on first name terms with Asda home deliveries.
Anyway, nowadays my kids are all at school and things have improved. And the supermarkets have started stocking all sorts of exciting things. Years ago, emergency black out candles and paper napkins were about the limit but in this new age of supermarket wars, they are all battling to be at the top of the pile and we as customers are reaping the rewards. They've counted on our amazing multi tasking skills to be able to shop for interiors and plan a Thai green curry all at the same time.
So in the interests of you all, I have taken one for the team and selflessly spent this morning visiting the Big Six to see if they could tempt me to chuck anything else in my shopping basket aside from Prosecco and Walkers Chicken Sensations.
I have to admit, I was a little disappointed with the range of items on sale in my local Waitrose. It's not a big one and they've just opened a huge John Lewis in York, so I suppose that if you wanted to specifically homeware shop you would go there. But this was all about how to multi task so after picking up some tapas (this is Waitrose after all) I looked for the Home aisle to see what was going on. Luckily it was next to the Wine aisle else I wouldn't have found it. The entire display was kitchen and serving ware, not a soft furnishing in sight, but what they did have was good. And the pricing was spot on too.
What I Bought: Chorizo, olives, Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc.
Sainsbury have got it totally en pointe with location - straight ahead as you walk through the main entrance, sandwiches to the left. Perfect for a lunchtime browse. I avoided all the Christmas decor (that's another blog post) and went directly to the home accessories. You could probably furnish your entire house from their huge selection - cushions, bedding, ornaments, candles, mirrors. Lots of autumnal colours. There were many things that I could have bought but I restricted myself to a reduced price throw for the sitting room. Because I haven't got enough throws, obvs.
We've got a Tesco Extra at Clifton Moor and it's huge. That being said, it took me a few minutes to work out where the home stuff was and when I did, it was a bit confusing. The visual merchandising isn't great and they've got boxes of duvets next to cushions next to childrens toys. I was the only one browsing which didn't bode well. However, I did manage to find a few things amongst the aisles that I liked but there was an awful lot that seemed surplus to requirements.
What I Bought: Sandwiches for lunch.
The Home section was to the back right as you walked through the main entrance. It was laid out in a logical way and it all looked good - there were a few things that I really liked and similar to Sainsburys, they have picked up on the autumnal look with plaids and natural materials in their accessories. They've got it all going on. What I like about Asda is that they don't overdo it. They have a section specifically for each product type and their selection is concise and well thought out. Some really great products and well worth a look.
What I Bought: Cactus duvet set reduced to £7. Joe is going to hate it.
For me, the fruit and vegetable section at Morrisons makes it a worthwhile visit any day. Without wanting to sound like a twat, it's the only supermarket where you can buy fresh herbs by the bunch and samphire. But I was very disappointed in the Homes range. On the plus side, it's in the centre of the shop so easy to find. On the negative, it's next to the Bakery so you can easily be tempted by doughnuts. I really struggled to see anything in the range that I actually liked. It was very uninspiring. Am holding off on judgment though as I know that they really come into their own at Christmas when it comes to festive decor.
What I Bought: Doughnuts.
Now as we all know, Aldi can be amazing and some days you strike gold. Unfortunately, today was not one of those days. There was nothing for me that stood out. I did find a lovely bottle of premixed Kir Royale and some Salted Caramel Vodka so it wasn't all bad. However, Aldi's allure is that you never know what you're going to find so I think it's always worth a look. Last week I picked up a marquee hashtag reduced to £2.99 so it really is luck of the draw.
What I Bought: Caviar 7 Day Miracle Serum (I'm not getting any younger), a jar of cheese stuffed peppers, a marzipan stollen (it's never too early).
Nearly all the supermarkets I visited had the metallics, plaid, mustard, natural materials trend going on, with the exception of Morrisons which seems stuck in the pastels. What I did realise though is that if they want us to be multi tasking during the weekly shop, they need to make what they are offering appealing and visually stimulating, otherwise we'll be straight off to the chicken fillets aisle with barely a backward glance. And if I don't actually pass the Home section on my way to the main event, then it's not on my radar and I'll give it a miss, so aisle location makes a difference too.
So after a selfless morning shopping, I can categorically conclude that Sainsburys is the bomb. Well placed, on trend, varied products and well merchandised. Asda is awarded a Highly Commended due to their excellent and concise selection. Oh, and the fact they've now got James Martin on board which makes them a little prettier. I'm voting Tom Hiddleston for Aldi.