You might love Christmas shopping or you might loath it but whatever you feel it's got to be done! I really enjoy a good shop but I know that it can be hard to have a pleasant Christmas shopping experience with the kids in tow!
So I was excited to be invited to try out the shopping experience at the Galleria in Hatfield, Hertfordshire. Armed with my list, two excited children and a slightly grumpy husband we set off on our expedition. The first thing that we really liked was that there was loads of car parking available and it was also really useful that with the new car parking system you can pay quickly and easily online which is perfect if you are like me and never seem to have the right change with you! And with the car safely in place we headed off to begin our day.
Now the great thing about the Galleria is that it's not just a shopping centre there are also multiple things for the children to do and to keep them amused including a soft play centre, an arcade and a mini car race track! My two are pretty energetic so we began by splitting up with my husband taking the children off for some fun at the Sega Arcade whilst I got on with the serious business. I love the fact that there's such a great range of shops here with something for everyone. The M&S outlet was brilliant for a bargain and I was thrilled to get some luxury crackers for Christmas lunch at half price, some lovely gift wrap and a game for us all to enjoy on Christmas day.
Next stop was Waterstones where I really could have spent all day as it's huge and I'm a massive book fan. But, I had to keep on schedule so I tried to keep my visit short and got the latest Tom Gates and Wimpy Kids books for the Children's stockings. I also had a quick look at the latest fashions in Gap and then down the escalators for the ground floor. There is a huge TK Max where I love doing a bit of bargain hunting and I got some very pretty soaps which are perfect little presents for the extended family. Then it was on to The Works which had some brilliant offers on children's games which I just couldn't resist. Finally I thought it was time I had a bit of a treat too and so I went to my dream shop - Le Creuset. As a keen cook I just adore their brightly coloured cookware and I was thrilled to find a stunning blue baking dish at a great reduced price.
So shopping done it was time for a rest for mum and dad - but the kids still wanted to play. Luckily there was the fabulous Get Wild play frame which kept the children busy whilst me and my husband enjoyed a well earned festive Gingerbread coffee from Costa Coffee. There were plenty of seats for the grown ups and the intricate frame and slides kept the children amused for the full hour slot.
The Galleria is not only about shopping it's an entertainment complex too with an Odeon cinema and a wide range of restaurants. We thought we'd treat ourselves to tea and we had a great range to choose from - Prezzo, Nandos, Chiquitos - it was hard to decide but in the end we plumped for Prezzo where we had a delicious pizza and ice cream.
The it was time to make our way home. Adults happy that most of our Christmas shopping had been done and some great bargains had and children happy to have had a fun afternoon playing - and ready for a good nights sleep!
If you'd like to find out more about the Galleria why not visit their website to get further information on their events, shops and restaurants.