To escape from the house, I took the girls to spend their combined Christmas and pocket money this afternoon.
Some might call it “shopping”. I do not.
I was getting a bit grouchy stuck in the house anyway. The Lovely Melanie might be good at setting aside her hobbies aside to play with the girls, but I’m not. I get impatient and feel pressured to do stuff I’d often prefer not to.
Taking the kids out = yes, absolutely fine, love it, no problem, me at my best.
Staying in with the kids = recipe for a grumpy Stu.
So, we went shopping.
“They want to go to the Disney Store,” said the Lovely Melanie, “Take them to Bluewater.”
“I swore an oath never to visit that hideous place ever again,” I muttered darkly.
“Yeah, but your girls want to go.”
Which is how we ended up heading into the centre of London this afternoon. Me, Millie, Amber and Auntie Kristine (who was headed home to Hatfield).
I felt better as soon as we left the house, frankly. The girls were in good humour and ready to spend their £30 – Amber wanting some new shoes “with heels,” Millie not sure: she was banned from accumulating any more cuddly toys and couldn’t think of anything else. Just as with the old mind-game “Don’t think of an elephant” (which makes you immediately think of an elephant) Millie could think only of cuddly toys.
First stop – the Waterstones in Leicester Square where Millie finds the new David Walliams hardback on sale for half price (she’s been reading The Boy In The Dress and Gangsta Granny), while Amber, with only slightly less enthusiasm, plumped for Little Miss Princess.
Everyone is happy, me included, because books have been bought without any threat of force being required. 🙂
We walk on to Covent Garden, where I have promised we will visit The Disney Store.
We spend about ten minutes looking around, not finding anything amazing…until Amber discovers a pair of boots.
From the film Frozen (which they saw Christmas Eve).
These boots are the last of their kind in the shop. They have a handwritten price and barcode number sellotaped to them.
They’re a size 10. Amber is a 9.
The whole store falls silent as Amber tries them on…first one, then the other, and…
Hallelujah! Heavenly choirs of angels play celestial anthems to these boots, carrying Amber aloft on their shoulders up to shoe heaven, there to sit at the right-hand side of Walt Disney himself!
Auntie Kris and I both look at the boots.
“Are they comfortable, Amb?”
“No, really, do they hurt or pinch? Are they the right size?”
Auntie Kris and I both look at the boots again. They’re so…outrageously Dolly Parton C&W style that it’s hard not to like them. As someone with a fairly unique fashion sense myself I can completely understand where Amber’s coming from.
I throw my hands up, “Sure! Let’s take ’em!”
As soon as we’re out of the shop Amber swaps shoes for boots. Young children stop and stare in amazement as she pulls them on. Hell, Amber stares in amazement at her own magically-transformed feet!
Fortunately, we’re in Covent Garden! There are no end of little toy shops and novelty stalls!
It takes a while though. Millie hasn’t a clue what she wants, all she knows is that her remaining money must be spent, and spent here, and spent soon. And in the end she decides upon a plasma ball, a rubber toy and a furry caterpillar, leaving nothing but two shiny pennies in her purse. A narrow escape!
Everyone is pleased, especially Amber, who keeps looking at her feet in amazement.
What a day… 🙂