Last Tuesday we went shopping at Merry Hill. This was a big deal for us. Since moving to Herefordshire four and a half years ago, the Maylord Shopping Centre was the largest I had shopped in, until Tuesday. Merry Hill is the fifth largest shopping centre in the UK, and the Maylord could fit into it about ten times. The main draw was that it has a Build a Bear Workshop, and that’s what the kids (all three of them) wanted to spend their Christmas money on.
We had decided to set off early, wanting to get there at opening time. Sadly, our alarm clock didn’t get set, and we awoke at ten past nine, realising instantly that we should have been up two hours ago. Ah well, we must have needed the sleep. We ended up getting to Merry Hill at about midday, which is not the perfect time to arrive at a shopping centre the day after Boxing day.
Luckily, the god of car parks was on our side. The first space we saw was snatched by someone coming the wrong way round the one way system, but within five minutes we had a spot of our own. That’s more than could be said for most of the cars circling round on the hunt for spaces.
Our first stop had to be Build a Bear. Miss 10 and Mr 4 built their bears, while Miss 8 picked clothes for the bear she already had. It is quite a nice idea. I wish I had come up with it. In fact even now, I might go into bear clothing design and manufacture. There’s more profit in it than in real people’s clothing, that’s for sure. Then we paid for it all. This is where it became slightly inconvenient. We have three children. I went through the tills once. This means I only got one receipt code for online virtual bear goodies. Only one calendar with discount vouchers and more codes to type in for online ‘coins’.
This has led to much argument and negotiation. The next time I go to Build a Bear I will go through the till multiple times, purchasing one item each time. No arguments over who gets to use the codes then! On the whole, though, the kids loved it. It does seem to make the toys that much more special, having helped to make them.
Most of the rest of the day was spent looking at clothes, which was nowhere near as exciting for the children. I managed to get a couple of bargains in Next, including a smart dress, as I have come to the realisation that 2012 is the year I intend to get a job, and my wardrobe just won’t cut it in a professional environment. I might as well buy when things are cheap.
The shopping centre got hotter and hotter during the day, and by late afternoon was unbearable. I was hot. I am never hot. I am the most cold blooded person I know, and I hadn’t even brought a coat, and I was boiling. We popped into Boots, where every second person in the queue was bypassing the less than half price sale items and buying chilled drinks instead.
The kids had enough enthusiasm left to get themselves a pair of half price puffles before we headed back home, foray complete.
It was a really successful day. I was delighted how good the children were – there was no-one lost, no-one shouted at, and no-one fractious or bad tempered. I’ll be tempted to try going there again in a year or two!