A couple of weeks ago we were minding our own business in the baby section in Marks & Spencer, when Thrifty Baby unleashed the Poopocalypse. Don’t worry: I’m not going to go into details. Suffice it to say, I had a couple of changes of clothing for him in the nappy bag, and I was pleased to be in close proximity to the M&S baby changing room. But then he went through the spare clothes, too. It was one of those horrible, strange days when the weather kept switching from stifling heat and humidity, to Arctic wind and rain, and I think his baby systems had short-circuited.
There was nothing for it: I wouldn’t usually shop in Marks & Spencer for baby basics, because nice as the baby bits are, the prices are higher than in the supermarkets. Needs must, so I bit the bullet. But do you know what has surprised me? A pack of five Marks & Spencer vests costs £11, compared to £4 for the five half-price Sainsburys TU vests featured above. Having road-tested both brands, however, I think the Sainsburys TU vests are just as good quality as their more expensive counterparts!
Remember that jubbly Sainsburys gift card I mentioned a while ago? I’ve ended up splurging a lot of it on TU baby basics: short-sleeved vests, long-sleeved vests, soft cotton trousers, sleepsuits, socks and the like. I can find some of these items at second-hand baby sales, for around 50p a pop, but it is difficult to find them at charity shops and car boots. Most of the second-hand baby clothes tend to be frilly girls’ items, which I find strange. Where are all the boys’ clothes? But I suppose the basics are washed ragged by the time people have finished with them.
I like the quality of the TU clothes. Now that I spend a bit of time on places like Mumsnet, I know that there is a certain amount of snobbery about dressing your baby in (horror!) supermarket clothes, but I really don’t know why. Like the Marks & Spencer baby clothes, the TU clothes are made from soft, thick cotton that keeps its shape and colour despite the intensive laundering. The prints and designs are fun, and draw comments when we are out and about. There is also lots of stripy stuff – and I like stripes.
The Sainsburys baby clothes are different in quality to the ones I buy from ASDA. The ASDA clothes are good value too – £2.75 for a three-pack of vests – but in my experience the cotton is thinner and tends to stretch a little in the wash, over time. That’s fine, and frankly the cooler ASDA clothes have been perfect for those hot, sticky nights, but as Thrifty Baby has been growing and I have been packing various bits and pieces away, I have noticed that the Sainsbo clothes have lasted particularly well.
Anyway, the reason I am writing this post now is that at the weekend, during a torrential thunderstorm, we took shelter in Sainsburys – and found a very good half-price sale going on in the clothing section. I have had mixed experiences with baby clothes on sale, as the discounted items tend to be fancy little outfits that are about to become too warm or too cool for the season – unless you are prepared to buy much bigger clothes, ready for this time next year.
So I was delighted to discover a range of the baby basics on sale, and snapped up a few, as you can see above. The seven long-sleeved vests for £3.25 work out at less than 50 pence each – so less than what I would pay second-hand. The second pack of long-sleeved vests, £4 for five, are the next size up. So are the stripy cotton joggers, £2.50 for two pairs. Thrifty Baby already has these trousers in his current size, and they are comfortable and wash well, so it made sense to snap up some more for £1.25 a pair.
I’d link to these items online, but can only find a website for TU’s risible Gok Wan collection. (Well, I think it’s risible anyway: it looks great in the pictures, but naff and nasty on the rail. Sales beg to differ, so perhaps it’s just me.)
So instead, here’s Thrifty Baby striking his Blue Steel pose in various TU “pieces”:
I asked the Sainsburys sales assistant how long the half-price sale was on for, and she said that the baby clothes in the sale would stay at half-price until they were sold. I doubt the basics will hang around for long though, so if you are looking to stock up, I suggest you get down there sooner rather than later…