Sweet as a Button: a Sweet Shop Not Like Any Other

As I opened the door to ‘Sweet as a Button’ for a photo shoot with my friend Anna a couple of days ago, all my senses were tickled. The sweet shop was giving off the familiar aroma of sweet treats and my taste buds were crying for a strawberry-flavoured gummy. Although my mouth was watering, I managed to control my urge to reach for one of the jars and take a handful of sweets.


Sweet as a Button - a Sweet Shop Not Like Any Other- jars
I guess that is partly because I can be a reasonable adult (at times!), but the truth is my four little ones were there. They came in shyly behind me. Sheer happiness and wonderment were obvious on their faces. Those little faces, half overjoyed, half wondering whether they would be allowed a treat were quite a sight! If I could encapsulate those moments and preserve them for sad, rainy days, I really would.

Muffled screams of delight came out of their mouths when we told them they could have a bucket each and help themselves to whatever they wanted. They could not believe it! The fact they were allowed to look around, open the flaps to the ‘Pick & Mix’ section and choose the sweets they wanted most really appealed to them.

Sweet as a Button - a Sweet Shop Not Like Any Other - pick & mix

They also had a few of the old fashioned treats displayed in glass jars, and we helped them with those to avoid a catastrophe.

Sweet as a Button - a Sweet Shop Not Like Any Other - old fashioned sweets

Even Jumpy, despite her allergies, could be completely in charge of her own bucket, thanks to a clever labelling system. As an allergy mum, this was by far my favourite feature in the shop.

Sweet as a Button - a Sweet Shop Not Like Any Other - clever labelling

The simple system to identify allergens is painted on the wall by the till. The same symbols are stuck on every jar and ‘pick & mix’ flap around the shop. Not all common allergens are included and cross-contamination is still possible (people must have used the same scoop in different containers), but the system worked beautifully for us.

Sweet as a Button - a Sweet Shop Not Like Any Other - allergens identified easily

Jumpy is already aware of the symbols for wheat, eggs and nuts, so it was pretty simple for her to know which sweets she was or was not allowed. I was so incredibly impressed by this! Using symbols rather than a complicated chart is a wonderful way to let my little girl take charge!

Sweet as a Button - a Sweet Shop Not Like Any Other - Jumpy helping herself despite allergies

I cringe whenever I mention Jumpy’s allergies and waiters immediately pass on a huge folder with long complicated charts or an iPad with an overwhelming amount of information organised in a way that does not work very well. I did not have to check the allergens for each sweet or read labels like I would normally do. Yippee!

Sweet as a Button - a Sweet Shop Not Like Any Other - playful place

Despite the complete freedom we gave them, the children were rather reasonable when choosing their treats. They only went for a small selection of sweets each. As soon as the contents of their buckets were weighed, they tasted the sweets and happily let me get on with the photo shoot.

Sweet as a Button - a Sweet Shop Not Like Any Other - paying for his sweets

As I was snapping away, they pretended to be in charge of the shop (look away, Miranda!).

Sweet as a Button - a Sweet Shop Not Like Any Other - my little shop assistant

I still cannot believe Miranda gave us free rein in her shop. What were you thinking, lady?

Sweet as a Button - a Sweet Shop Not Like Any Other - you are so lovely

As the children were helping themselves, I took in the delightful design of the shop. It really is the stuff of dreams, for children and adults alike.

Sweet as a Button - a Sweet Shop Not Like Any Other - mason jar chandelier

Opening the door was like stepping into a childhood dream, with lights changing colours intermittently, every sweet imaginable within reach of little hands, a playful atmosphere and a genuinely welcoming space.

Sweet as a Button - a Sweet Shop Not Like Any Other- Wriggly

If you are ever looking for an unusual day out with children in Hertfordshire (North London-ish), I would recommend brunch at the Café in the Park in Rickmansworth, followed by a walk and play at the Aquadrome before a short drive to Kings Langley to feast your eyes on this pleasantly old-fashioned sweet shop.

Sweet as a Button - a Sweet Shop Not Like Any Other - a dream come true

I had looked at the website for ‘Sweet as a Button’ as soon as mention of the photo shoot was made, so I knew what to expect. When you are blown away by the description of a place online, the actual visit can be a tad disappointing, but let me tell you something: Miranda’s sweet shop exceeded my expectations.

Sweet as a Button - a Sweet Shop Not Like Any Other - playing shopkeepers

It made me happy and nostalgic at the same time, with sweets from my childhood, traditional boiled sweets and also treats I always love to share with my little ones, like strawberry strips of peaches.

Sweet as a Button - a Sweet Shop Not Like Any Other - wow

How often do you go somewhere and genuinely feel like you would not change a thing if you owned the place? It happened to me about a year ago when I found my dream craft room, and when first laid eyes on Miranda’s quaint sweet shop. If anyone wants to buy me a sweet shop (just saying!), I want one jut like that!

Sweet as a Button - a Sweet Shop Not Like Any Other - bags

Oh, by the way, I was not compensated in any way, shape or form to write this post, I just loved the shop and am grateful Miranda did not kick us out after seeing all the kids running around her shop! My friend Anna paid for all the sweets by the way. Thanks, honey!

‘Le Coin de Mel’ is a finalist in the MAD blog awards in the ‘Food’ category. I would love your vote!

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Comments

  1. Ce
    22/04/2016 / 7:16 am

    I love this post Mel and really really really want to go there!!!!!!! Plus what are Isabella’s bestie shoes???? Absolutely love them!!!!
    + well done for your nomination now we just have to ask the WORLD to vote for you as you deserve it So So So Much!!! Xxx

  2. 22/04/2016 / 12:30 pm

    What a sweet post darling 😉 gorgeous pics as always, you’ve done them proud xxx

    • 22/04/2016 / 3:18 pm

      Thanks my lovely! It really was such a beautiful place. It took me forever to write this post. I really wanted to do the place justice. You rarely come across stunning, traditional yet ‘2016’ places like this if that makes sense. x

  3. Hayley Fountain
    23/04/2016 / 6:39 pm

    Woweeee. I feel like i’m already there. What a beautiful shop.i’m very impressed that the sweets were labelled. I haven’t had pick n mix for ages as alot contain gluten and milk. Thankyou for sharing x

    • 23/04/2016 / 10:55 pm

      It really is the prettiest sweet shop I have ever been to. I’ll definitely visit again and again!

  4. 24/04/2016 / 1:03 pm

    Thank you so much for this amazing blog! Was lovely to have you all there! Excited to have you all back again! And assure your little one can have amazing sweets without any worry 🙂 x

    Miranda

    • 25/04/2016 / 10:19 pm

      Thanks again Miranda. We’ll definitely be back soon 🙂

  5. Diane Wass
    24/04/2016 / 5:31 pm

    This is my little girl’s absolute favourite place. Whatever disaster, I always know a visit to Sweet as a Button will bring a smile back to her face. A 4 year old’s heaven!

    • 27/04/2016 / 8:07 pm

      …. in my case, a 36 year old’s heaven, he he!

  6. Lou
    24/04/2016 / 7:22 pm

    That’s my dream…although I would go without the children!

    • 24/04/2016 / 9:42 pm

      We could go together! There’s a really nice coffee shop right next door, too!

  7. Louise
    24/04/2016 / 9:28 pm

    What an amazing sweet shop and I love that everything was so well labelled and that Jumpy was able to choose the sweets herself. I’m definitely making a note to stop off here if we go to Langleybury Farm over the summer! 🙂

    • 24/04/2016 / 10:05 pm

      Let me know when you go to Langleybury Farm. i’ll come along with the kids!

  8. Eileen Teo (@etspeaksfrom)
    25/04/2016 / 10:06 am

    Your photos are amazing! What a lovely shop! I think I will probably camp there! It is like heaven!

    • 25/04/2016 / 10:08 pm

      Thanks Eileen. I am already planning my next visit.

  9. Eva
    26/04/2016 / 9:00 am

    C’est le magasins de mes rêves ! Je crois que j’aime les bombons autant que mes enfants et l’idée qu’ils soient plus naturels me donne encore plus envie! En plus, j’ai trouve que la décoration du magasin est très mignon ! You are a lucky girl Mel 😉 x

    • 28/04/2016 / 9:27 pm

      Franchement, si tu m’avais dit il y a un an que je quitterais ma profession d’enseignante pour prendre des photos dans des magasins de bonbons comme celui-ci, je ne t’aurais pas crue. J’adore mon travail!

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