DD3 has compulsory work experience next week as part of her Year 11 education and has been fortunate to get permission to go back to her beloved Primary School for the week. All well and good, but the dress code is smart casual, excluding jeans, hoodies, sweatshirts and trainers, which are staple items in every teenager's wardrobe.... so we psyched ourselves up to go to the Big City for a shopping expedition.
DD4 reacted with absolute "vampire confronted by a stake, crucifix and holy water" type horror at the thought of clothes shopping and opted to stay home with Dad, so DD3 and I went by train - always an adventure in our eyes- and were in the City by 10 am.
We had such an interesting journey in; the train was very crowded but we were lucky to spot a lady sitting with her teenage daughter at a table seat, and when we asked if we could sit at the two vacant seats, they were very willing. They had travelled up from the farthest reaches of West Wales to go the the City as the daughter was taking part in the auditions for Britain's Got Talent TV show. They were a lovely family, also Dr Who fans, so the journey passed very quickly and we assured the young lady we would be watching out for her when the show is broadcast and wished her good luck. They were not sure of the quickest route to the venue and I was able to give the directions which would get them there safely and easily; there are some parts of the City I personally would not want to be crossing unless there was a martial arts ninja accompanying me :-)
Our Inner Women were clamouring to be nourished so we stopped off at a lovely small chain coffee shop whose products are all Fair Trade *and* delicious, which is not always the case. We were tempted by the peanut flavoured Hot Chocolate and it really was fabulous; DD3 opted for carrot cake topped with frosting and pumpkin seeds and I simply had to have a miniature Tarte Au Citron.... the advantage of this was that we could swap desserts half-way through!
After we had schlepped through several large shops, we were getting a little discouraged at finding very little that she either liked or was suitable, but then we went to the new branch of one large chain and went on a spending spree; two pairs of smart black trousers, two neutral tops, three coloured tops, one dress and coloured tights later, and she was kitted out in smart, comfortable and stylish clothes which will be practical for many purposes and events. We laughed at the antics of a small boy who was obviously fed up with clothes shopping and decided to while away his time by crawling into the space between the clothes hanging on the racks and the floor underneath; we watched him cross a large part of the store in this manner and wondered if he had a future career as James Bond or Bear Grylls.
Success at this shop of course now left us free to roam the shops, ooh-ing and aah-ing at things we never see in our sleepy little home town. Especially bookshops, of course. We went into two bookshops, partly to escape from the truly torrential monsoon rain which came from nowhere and with no warning, and partly because we were in desperate need of sitting down after carting heavy bags of shopping around. This may not have been our best move ever as we ended up buying
It was fun, but I hope I don't have to do it all again too soon!