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June Blogger

As my husband’s birthday rolls around again, our thoughts of course turn to how best to celebrate.

He’s not one for big parties or making a big song and dance out of things – but it’s not something we can just ignore! Of course, as a result the perennial problem of what to get him emerges!

If I ask him what he would like his answer sways between the sublimely ridiculous – “a campervan” - to the downright frustrating – “nothing”. Whilst I could totally opt for the ‘nothing’ option this always feels slightly mean. So, this year, we opted for a family visit to The Centre, Livingston to see if we could solve the problem.

An approach I often opt for is to look at what my other half already has but that has seen better days! This method means that I’m guaranteed to get something that he likes and that won’t go to waste -  even if it isn’t that original. In the past when I’ve taken more of a gamble, I’ve really had mixed results. There are books that are unread and jumpers that have migrated to the back of the wardrobe! I really hate the thought of anything going to waste and whilst I may want him to like new things, in truth he likes what he has and I should be ok with that!

I do think it’s nice to include the kids in gift buying though, so last weekend we all headed to Next to choose a new shirt and to find some decent swim shorts for summer. The kids had great fun choosing between sharks and crocodiles and whilst my other half probably would’ve opted for plain navy – he’s happy that the kids were happy!

Our next stop was a visit to HMV for a browse – we’re always on the look out for new CDs for the car but it’s really interesting to see Vinyl making a comeback. The range available – from Bowie to Paloma Faith – shows that there must be quite wide range of people who are collecting it now. It was a chance to chat to the kids about different types of music, although despite the husbands attempt to convince the kids of the ‘genius of the 80s’ I’m pretty certain they’ll be sticking with music they like to hear on the radio!

Next on the agenda for some guaranteed success – was a visit to Waterstones. My other half is quite a slow reader, but Waterstones had some great offers on for Father’s Day, so it was a chance for us all to pick something up. I like how they’ve really branched out to include a range of activities and toys as well. Not all children find reading easy so I think this is a really good way to get kids amongst books. Whilst my preference would always be for them to choose a ‘proper’ book – I’m happy to compromise! The kids were delighted with some Lego and I was delighted find a new sci-fi book for the birthday boy!

The next obvious stop was Krispy Kreme – for a refuel and a Lego building session! The kids obviously love doughnuts, but I think it’s also a great place to sit with a coffee as well. I really enjoyed a bit of people watching whilst the kids set about playing -  and it was nice to just take some time to relax as a family.

Next up on the birthday shopping agenda was Menkind - which really does stock every gadget imaginable. Whilst we were there, they were driving a remote-control car literally up the side of a wall.  With a variety of drones, all kinds of speakers and old school games consoles – it’s kind of like electronics heaven.

It’s also one of those shops where you will just find something to suit everyone. My daughter had been going on about getting a table football after discovering a table at a car garage with her Dad – and happily we found a mini version! It was good to find something that really appeals to both of them and obviously means they’ll be able to spend some time together!

What really struck me was that The Centre really does have a wide range of shop to suit everyone. If I had been shopping for my brother, then Superdry would’ve been my first stop. I would’ve been straight to Cotswolds Outdoors to find something for my brother-in-law. Whilst Topman would’ve been an obvious stop for my godson. Not to forget that there is a whole myriad of places that we could’ve eaten at to please everyone! 

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