Thursday, 30 October 2014

Shopping, Shopping, Shopping

On the off-chance that you were curious as to my recent whereabouts, I have not actually disappeared off the face of earth (though, during seriously difficult times of struggle with my oh-so-irritating brother, I wish so), but have in fact been spending most of my time in either a car, high speed train or traipsing through a shopping centre that is more packed than a bag of crisps.

For me, shopping is the head of the Royal Family because I worship its highness and regard it as a special treat, which grants me the opportunity to indulge in bags of clothes - the height of luxury. Not only do I appreciate each shopping trip - whether with my family or friends - but I anticipate it with heartfelt excitement, my personality reverting in that of a young child counting down the days to Christmas. If I've been saving my pocket money for a while, I'm like a bottle of champagne about to pop: I need to release the energy which is bubbling beneath the airtight cap, swimming in a sea of fizzy giddiness.

However, the most important matter of all is discovering that special place which you can rely on to ease those itch-like cravings to open your purse, grab some notes and hear the tills sing as you get your hands on a new, perfect purchase. If not, how can you achieve the maximum pleasure from an activity which millions of women - and men - adore?

Ever since I moved to the village-in-the-middle-of-nowhere over half a year ago, my experiences with shopping centres have been very few and far between - because, unlike where I used to live, I have absolutely no idea where they are located. Or which are the best ones catering to my shopping (especially of the addictive kind) needs.

In fact, the very first shopping centre that I'd visited in more than a year was only checked out several weeks ago, shortly after the new school year began: I sacrificed one of my two weekend lie-ins in order to explore a supposedly new (translated: refurbished) shopping centre based in the nearest city, in the hope of being bedazzled by the just-opened H&M store, the first of its kind to be launched in my county. Compared to the one that I used to go to in my former country - which, according to Wikipedia, is one of the largest in Europe, let alone England - this one was quite disappointing and lacked a special sparkle that used to define shopping as my favourite activity.

Let me rephrase that: the ultimate activity. The sort of hobby for which you would rid all other plans in your diary, getting starry-eyed over the thought of having a six-inch sub at Subway with your healthy eating fanatic mum's permission. Everything else that you do - watching Simpsons marathons in your most embarrassing pyjamas on a Sunday afternoon, kicking a ball about in the park or even being let loose in the sweets' aisle at the supermarket - could be easily defined as boring if compared to the fun, care-free and downright rewarding activity like shopping.

Shopping is our Queen, whereas online purchases are its ladies-in-waiting. Once you get a taste for it, there is no turning back.

Therefore, finding the special place where most or all of your favourite shops are located is a job more important than, for example, completing MyMaths homework (which, even with dodgy scores, doesn't share a spot in the same superior league as shopping). Until yesterday afternoon, I was still drifting from place to place, never really settling on one idea to try out a certain centre or city. Yet luck had prepared several plans for me in the form of meeting up with some old friends of mine yesterday, where we decided to go to a massive shopping centre in a city roughly around forty miles away.

After spending so much time throwing myself into the task of searching, I believe that I've found it - my equivalent of a secret garden, loaded with fast-food chains, rails loaded with cut-price clothing and luxuriously large department stores - at long last.

Minutes after I entered the centre, my head was firmly stuck in a daze: like a baby gazing into the scene lying before it for the first time, I was looking at everything at all angles. Lights shining like a sparklers bore onto me; glass windows created so elegantly established an up-market feeling; and rows upon rows of shops invited me with their enthusiastic greetings, giving sneak peeks into what existed inside their private spaces.

Although walking into such a lively and buzzing place was initially such an alien feeling, it took hardly any space of time until I eased into the atmosphere, and felt as comfortable as one does in their home. As many girls may experience, shopping is such a natural action and, once you embrace the environment in which you are doing it, going from one shop to another can be as easy as walking into your living room: your reflexes don't think twice about it.

And once you establish your territory - needless to say, H&M was my go-to-place - nothing stands in your way of getting down to business. In other words, only fellow shoppers pose potential barriers as you leap from one side of a shop to the other, looking at the clothes surrounding you like a crowd. My heart beat like a speeding car when presented with tables and rails of clothes which, as soon as they were lying in front of me, screamed 'me, me, me!' , begging to be adopted and worn to death by a potential owner. Unsurprisingly, it didn't take long until I gave into weakness - ah, the perils of temptation! - and found myself carrying plenty of clothes and accessories in my hands, dangerously close to running out of hands to hold onto my prized jewels.

As much as I enjoy buying online - easy is perhaps the most over-used word to describe it, but it truly hits the nail on the head - there is a certain magic about walking into a shop and purchasing stuff there-and-then, before taking it home to you. Shops don't drive you around the bend if you are waiting on a delivery to arrive, a problem which affects all shoppers - myself being no exception - at one point or another. Besides, I get a greater kick out of it if I do it every now and then because I perceive it as a treat, not a run-of-the-mill trip like the one you usually take to the supermarket every week. Yesterday was definitely the highlight of the week and will remain a memory to cherish, especially as I shared it with some friends whom I hadn't seen in a while - including one who I last saw at the age of eight!

Now that I've discovered the Chosen One, shopping will take the form of an attractively wrapped present which, once opened, unveils plenty of goodies that maximize my pleasure - and re-establish shopping as the thing to do.

Otherwise, what kind of fashion-obsessed girl would I be? Don't even go there!

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