The mum-to-be must-do: personal shopping at Mamas & PapasFebruary 14, 2017
I know, I know. 38 weeks pregnant is NOT the ideal time for a mall trawl, but as you might have gathered from previous posts, I’m in a small (major) bit of denial about the imminent arrival of my second child, which means I’m totally unprepared.
And she is due next week.
Because we’re having another girl, I have some things already, but not as much as I thought… And bits have gone missing, there are new ‘must-haves’ since I had our first daughter, and I really don’t want this one to be The Hand-Me-Down Kid.
However, the thought of traipsing around one of the world’s largest shopping malls with a giant bump (and a toddler, because of course it’s half-term when I’m at peak waddling time) is not too appealing.
Then I heard that personal shopping had launched at Mamas & Papas. I used to work at Harvey Nichols in the UK, and this kind of service was very much reserved for VIPs eg not me, but times have changed. Available for all shoppers, and on offer at the Mirdif City Centre, Dubai Mall and Al Wahda branches, it’s totally free. Hurrah.
I arrived at the Dubai Mall store with Phoebe in tow, and we were taken to the lounge, a stylish corner of the shop to relax on sofas and have a chat with expert Alo, who offered us biscuits, juice and water (yes please, kind sir). We were able to leave our bags there, which might sound like a small thing, but when you’re 9 months pregnant, every ounce of energy counts!
There are four appointment options; The Full Works to give first-time parents insights into all essentials, from furniture to clothing, On The Move to help with strollers and travel systems, The Safe Seat to demystify car seat shopping (there’s a fab car in the shop that Phoebe was obsessed with, which is useful for demonstrations) and Style Your Nursery to make your little one’s room perfect.
Because I needed all sorts of things, Alo suggested The Full Works and we took a tour of the shop, leaving a trail of biscuit crumbs that the staff were very sweet about. I loved that Alo was on hand for advice (the man knows his stuff), with clipboard in hand, but there was zero pressure to buy. Chairs are strategically dotted around, perfect for pregnant women, and it’s all arranged in a logical way. Top of my list was a baby rocker, and he explained the functions of each, before I made my choice.
We already have a stroller and car seat, but wish this service had been around when we bought them, as it’s all a bit daunting. With the demo car, staff can show how various seats are fitted and removed, as well as compatibility with pushchairs – this is a whole new world for new parents, and a really useful confidence boost that you know how it all works.
I also picked out some essentials for the baby, including vests and sleepsuits, and Phoebe spied a swimsuit that she liked – and we needed, crucially. I hadn’t realised that the super-cool Tiba + Marl changing bag collaboration was in-store, so I lusted over those until I remembered that I didn’t need one, but they’re so gorgeous that I was sorely tempted! Do check them out. I really hope the backpack style arrives in the UAE soon.
We also got little things that I keep on forgetting like bottle brushes and an adorable ‘baby on board’ sign, plus some gifts for friends who are due to give birth soon too. I hope they’re not reading this, but the at-home imprint gift is fab, allowing you to create a print of your baby’s hand or foot, then frame it alongside two photos.
You can take as long as you like with your personal shopper, but we bought everything we needed in less than an hour, and the staff couldn’t have done more to help, from entertaining Phoebe while I ask yet more questions about the Tommee Tippee formula prep machine (sorry Alo!) to arranging delivery of the bouncer to the Mercato store near our house.
While as a second time mum I know a little more than last time, the expert insights were really helpful, and would be invaluable to any expectant parents who are feeling a bit overwhelmed and under-informed.
For me, the value in the personal shopping service is the attention to detail; they’ll call you ahead of time to find out what you’re looking for in order to have products ready, the fully-stocked private lounge makes you feel really special, and there was no pushiness from the staff (a rare thing here in the UAE, I find). Also, don’t underestimate the power of biscuits and well-placed chairs for pregnant women.
With no minimum spend or deposit, and the stores offering personal shopping as a totally free service, I’d highly recommend parents booking an appointment – it was a really relaxing experience, and one that has left me feeling more prepared for the baby’s arrival. If nothing else, I can’t wait to see her in the little cloud sleepsuit.
My top picks…
For more information and bookings, call Mamas & Papas on:
The Dubai Mall, Dubai Tel: 04 3399481
Mirdif, Dubai Tel: 04 2839523
Al Wahda, Abu Dhabi Tel: 02 4437273
Alternatively call the Mamas & Papas Customer care line: 800 88822