Today we spent an hour and a half painting pottery at Bojangles creative café in Amersham. I’ve known of this café since we’ve moved to the area but we’ve never gone and actually painted anything but the boys saw Oliver using his bowl he painted years ago and really wanted to do one for themselves. I need sitting down activities as I’m struggling with being pregnant with no 4 child so this really suited us all.
Bojangles has a reputation locally for being quite expensive so I took £50 out in cash in anticipation of this as I didn’t want to be stung and because I’ve been to pottery painting places before I know there is a whole range of things to paint and they can also be quite pricey so I did talk to the boys before we went to ask them to do a bowl they can use at breakfast – like Ollie’s. This was because I didn’t want them to be disappointed if I were to have to keep saying no to other pottery items because of the cost.
The boys were very up to going and we talked about trying not to just end up with smudged brown ‘things’ as this does tend to happen with younger children as they start off with good intentions and just when you think they’ve done a masterpiece and you’d like them to stop they find the largest brush and then smear all the paint together. At least, this is what’s happened when we’ve taken Ollie before!
They were busy and it is advisable to book especially in school holidays but they did have a spot for us so after we chose the bowls we sat down to paint.
Tobes was in his element as he loves anything to do with art. He set about choosing his colours and painting with great enthusiasm.
Henny started on the back of the bowl and painted some great wavy lines. (I noticed that none of my children appear to be able to hold and use a paintbrush which is something I need to work on at home. They scrub with the bristles rather than paint strokes)
Ollie started on the back too and wanted to paint bands of colour.
Well, (I take a sharp intake of breath much like a plumber…) each bowl was £12.50 to buy and then you are charged a £5 ‘Studio fee’ per person painting. This, as was explained, is to cover the paints and firing the pottery. Now, you can look at it 2 ways -1) It actually costs £17.50 to paint a bowl at the Creative Café or 2) It costs £15 for paint and to hire the kiln for 3 children. Either way I find this incredibly expensive as this makes the total cost to paint 3 bowls for 3 boys £52.50 which is, in my opinion, extortionate. When we first painted a bowl in Q Ceramics in Swindon this was not the cost at all, I remember it costing around £10 and the paint was included.
The boys had small glasses of Waitrose own brand apple juice which weren’t full and cost 80p per glass which, again, I thought expensive and I had a cup of tea.
I do understand that prices have risen over the years and that rents and business rates are very expensive but having gone with an open mind despite knowing what people think I can’t help agreeing with them and I’m not sure we’ll be back again any time soon as it does come to something when £50 doesn’t even cover 3 small bowls to paint in a painting café..
We’ll get the fired pottery back in a week and I’m sure the boys will love them (as will I) but whilst they use them there will always be a bit of a sting for me as £17.50 per bowl is more expensive than even Emma Bridgewater and that is with paying a professional to paint the bowl!
Value for money
Hmmm. This is a hard one as the boys loved the activity and were very engrossed so their ‘value’ was very high especially when they get their bowls and use them the first time but for me -the money provider – I felt that is was too expensive so no, there really isn’t value for money. I can’t help feeling a little ‘fleeced’ as there are no prices on their website and when you’re actually in the café you can’t really turn around and walk out with 3 excited little boys.
Would we go back..?
I’d love to say yes as they would really enjoy the experience but I think it’s just too pricey really. I’d recommend it to others but would make them aware of how much it is likely to be so they can make their own minds up as I do realise everyone’s budgets are different.