Today I took #1, #2 and #3 to KidZania. There are several of these amusement parks around the world, and the latest one opened a few weeks ago at London's Westfield shopping centre.
The place is extraordinary. It's a whole miniature city. The kids are given some fake cash as they go in, then they find 'work' as, for example, a fireman, a doctor or a hairdresser which earns them more cash. They have banks and cashpoints, a university, a recycling centre, restaurants and shops (which accept the fake money).
#1 said "I had really high expectations of this place, and it's exceeded all of them." And she's not easily impressed.
One of the best things about KidZania is that, if your kids are aged seven or over, you can just check them in and leave them to it for four hours. They're electronically tagged so that they can find each other, and you can find them.
Sadly, #3 is only six and a half. So (shut your eyes now if you are a perfect mother) we taught her how to lie on the journey there.
There was a tense moment when the checker-inner asked her "how old are you, #3?" We all held our breaths. "Seven!" she squeaked. Her interrogator's eyes narrowed (#3 is very small, even for six and a half) "When is your birthday? And what year were you born?" she asked, sneakily. #3 looked a little pale and sweaty, but managed to trot out the fake birthdate (making her just seven) like a seasoned pro. That girl will make a great politician or lawyer one day.
So, I now had hours to kill in one of the biggest and best shopping centres in Britain.
(I do hope that Mr SM doesn't decide to read this post. He's Scottish. He honestly believes that no-one needs more than two pairs of shoes: one for work, and one for home. Darling, if you are reading then stop now. It'll only make you queasy and miserable. It's not worth it).
Despite the fact that Westfield is only fifteen minutes drive away I have only ever been there for the restaurants and movies. I've never hit the shops. The truth is that for more than a decade I haven't really been interested in shopping. It's no fun if you're feeling fat and generally hating yourself. I only shopped online, and mainly for stuff that wouldn't stand out. Ideally in black.
But now I'm feeling rather different. For a start I'm nearly a stone (fourteen pounds) lighter. I'm a medium! (I always hated buying anything in LARGE).
I went a little crazy.
I bought a top from Reiss (justification: it's white. It'll go with anything).
I bought new trainers (sneakers), running top and capri pants from the Nike store (justification: the more you spend on a new hobby, the more likely you are to keep it up).
I bought new underwear and nightwear from Calvin Klein (justification: sorry, it's not that kind of blog. There are some things I don't share. I'm not a Kardashian).
By then end of this splurge I felt HIGH. I was light headed. My pulse was racing. I was intoxicated.
I bought a coffee and Googled 'shopping addiction'. (I wonder how many people have Googled that one from Westfield).
It turns out that shopping releases endorphins and dopamine, just like drugs and alcohol. It is quite common for alcoholics to quit drinking and take up excessive shopping. There's even a Shopaholics Anonymous with a twelve step programme!
I left Westfield feeling horribly guilty and sort of hungover.
But, hell, I have a really cool pair of trainers (sneakers).
Love SM x
Related post: Cross Addictions