With restrictions making it harder to browse instore like we used to, it’s worth taking a closer look at shop windows. They can inspire us, tell us something of the store’s ethos and definitely provide a sneak preview of what’s on offer inside.
Jackie and Andrew at Armstrong Ward are master dressers and each of the windows in their two-storey lifestyle store has lots to say. We spotted a couple of windows with a come-hither look, that certainly beckoned us in.
Find a rainbow of colours that shout we sell well-made traditional wooden children’s toys – all brilliant for indoor play when our weather’s been so rubbish and wet outside. How about afternoon tea, with a tiered wooden cakestand complete with cakes? Or recreating the story of the Ark?
The six-piece rainbow toy can be stacked, sorted and slotted together. It’s also a doll’s cradle, tunnel and fence – don’t let your imagination stifle creativity.
Wooden toys like this are inspired by the Waldorf Steiner education movement, which is all about learning through creating at a child’s own pace. The toys are tactile and beautiful too, and usually made from wood that’s sustainably sourced in Europe, with a hand-painted finish.
In Jackie and Andrew’s upstairs’ window you can also find pastel-painted wooden rocks and plinths that will appeal to toddlers who like to build – adults too. Open-ended play could result in all sorts of creations using this toy – from balancing pillars to your own stone circle.
Armstrong Ward in Wainwright’s Yard also sell sofas, chairs and cushions, there’s usually a selection on display in at least one of their shop windows. In this red inspired window, you can spot a Kilim cushion – great for lounging about on, a fun, bold ‘Know Your Onions Cushion’ in cream felt wool. It’s a beautiful example of hand-embroidered typography, in red and green, edged in green blanket stitch. The eagle-eyed will spot a rucksack too, it’s amongst lots of back to school goodies that are arriving in the shop.
And, for those of you who’ve baked their way through lock-down, there’s a set of Emma Bridgewater cake tins in red gingham and strawberry – nothing evokes summer more than these patterns. They’re too good to tidy away but they do nest inside each other if you’re short of space.
Emma Bridgewater is a British brand that Armstrong Ward have championed from the start – so expect to find a good selection in store, year-round.
Jackie and Andrew have put in place social distancing measures to try to keep shoppers safe and give us all the confidence to return. But they say if you’re not yet ready to venture or don’t fancy braving the rain, they’ll gladly shop for you and deliver to your doorstep or someone else’s if that helps.