I try to plan my trips to Brandon carefully. Driving 25 minutes to the nearest town will make you do that - it's a lot of gas, and a lot of work to get a little baby bundled up to get there on days like today (it's currently -27C). I go two days a week, at least, because Dora is signed up at Prairie Dog Daycare, where she can run and play with a huge pack of dogs without getting a frostbitten nose and cracked paws. But some days, like today, I just need to get out of the house. (Dora can guard the house.)
I will hit up the Corral Centre (Brandon's version of Langley's Power Centre) for some essentials - there they have many stores where I can pass a few hours just by walking across the parking lot (meaning I only have to unload the baby from the car once!):
Wal-Mart (for our dry goods and the cheapest milk and butter in town, I've heard);
Safeway for our perishables (because I'm sometimes too lazy to drive the 10 mins to the other side of Brandon and get the baby out of the car again just to go into the mess that is Superstore);
Dollarama for some wicked deals on pretty things like stationery and seasonal silk flowers (seriously the best dollar store I've seen in a long time!);
Winners for a good bargain;
Reitmans to check out their latest shipment of tall pants (I just scored navy stretch cords there last week for $9.99! Tall girls, take note!);
and, of course, Starbucks for a cuppa joe and a sense of home. Always made better when your big cousin sends you a gift card for your birthday. Thanks, Sarah!
There are a couple of other places I'd like to check out that come highly recommended. Just up the street from the Corral Centre is Lady of the Lake, a shop/pub/cafe that features Latin dance lessons, live music, AMAZING local and homemade-style food, and 7,000 sq. ft. of "shabby chic home decor, charming gifts, body adornments and vintage furnishings. . . . creatively displayed in colour-coordinated themed room settings"! I've only had lunch there once and didn't have the chance to check out the shop so I may stop by there today, too, depending on Heidi's mood.
On 18th Street, in the middle of Brandon, there is The Little Shoppe, a small home decor shop similar in treasures, I think, but so small that I know the stroller wouldn't be welcome, and Heidi's too heavy to carry in the car seat. Perhaps I'll go with Wayne one weekend. Or take the opportunity to purchase a little umbrella stroller while I'm at Wal-Mart today. Now that she's sitting, it has revolutionized her ability to play on her own, or spend time in said stroller. Yay!
On the same street, there's also a store called It's About Tea, which looks fantastic. I imagine they have many varieties of loose leaf tea, as well as fancy tea pots, cups and cozies (my favourite!).
I also discovered two baby boutiques: Lil' Bit Baby (on 18th) and All Things Beautiful (on 9th). I have to be careful in these stores and have only purchased gifts there - if I come home with designer-type stuff for Heidi, Wayne gets a little annoyed, especially when I say, "But it was on sale!" Forty-dollar items on for half-price still cost $20. So I try to really keep myself in check in stores like that.
Anyway, for those of you who think I'm stuck in the middle of nowhere, well, I am (I mean, the BASE is in the middle of nowhere). But 25 mins. away is a lovely city that holds enough lilttle gems to keep this big-city girl entertained...for now.