Family Friendly Shopping With Whitgift And Centrale Shopping Centres

I have had a love for shopping since before I can even remember. I loved trawling the shops with my Mum as a small child and spent every Saturday looking at the new clothes that were hitting the shelves as a teen.

As my family grew though my love for shopping dwindled.

The stress hits me as soon as we get in the car with the anticipation of how the children are going to behave.

They usual don’t disappoint and by the time we hit the first shop I have already had a toliet request, a need for imidiate food and the dreaded ‘how much longer’ question.

Last week we were asked along by Centrale and Whitgift shopping centres to see what they had to offer in the way of family shopping.

First port of call was Build A Bear which is always a winner with my children.

Children get the opportunity to select a bear of their choice from a huge selection, stuff them full of fluff using the super cool machine and dress them up in an outfit of choice.

This whole process is done with the help of the friendly staff that make it even more special by adding games and activities to do along the way.

Next stop was Zara which was always going to be a little trickier as it wasn’t going to be nearly as much fun as building your own bear.

Zara is my favourite high street shop as it covers something for the whole family, is bang on trend and is very reasonably priced. 

To take the boredom out of clothes shopping I let him have his own little catwalk show and have a hand in choosing an outfit for me too.

Kids need to feel included and I know how hard this can be but by giving them a little responsibility can go a long way.

The last treat was a trip to Weenies kids club in Whitgift Shopping Centre.

Right in the middle of the shopping complex was a whole area dedicated to littlies.

To join in with the activities you must be a member that is easy to subscribe to online and completly free. The sessions can then be booked within minutes by using the Centrale PLUS app.

Once they are signed up the have access to all the session that are put on during the holidays and on selected weekends throughout the year, plus discounts on a number of retail outlets for parents and children.

Frankie was able to get up close and personal with a huge array of animals from chicks to frogs, snakes to rabbits.

There were crafts to join in with, story competitions to complete and face painting fun.

I really was astounded by this event. The friendly staff keep the children engaged throughout the whole session and they got so much out of it and for absolutely no cost.

I came away from the day with a fresh new outlook on taking the kids shopping.

Whitgift and Centrale offer a complete package for families and with a little bit of forethought and planning it really doesn’t have to be the nightmare I always imagine it to be.

*collaborated post.

Boohoo Kids Spring/Summer 17

Around Christmas time last year I was introduced to the newly launched children’s wear range from Boohoo.

We reviewed some lovely pieces for number three who was really taken with the on trend, affordable clothes they had to offer.

Last week I was asked to the press preview of their spring/summer 17 collection that in my opinion has improved even more than last season.

My attention was immediately drawn towards the girls section that had a real festival vibe to it.

There were lots of floaty, floral prints, off the shoulder tops and dress and plenty of sparkle that always goes down well with the girls.

Embroidered pieces and lace detailing are key this season and Boohoo has incoperated this within their range alongside simple classics such as Breton stripes that are always a wardrobe staple.

My daughter has a real love for shoes…I can’t think where she gets it from!

Boohoo have a great range of strappy sandals that will be perfect for the much longed for warmer weather and sparkly pumps that will be real eye catchers.

Next up was the boys and they certainly haven’t been left out here.

Summer brights for the pool and stand out t-shirts and shirts for those long summer days are a plenty.

If your boys like something a little more neutral then there is a great range of cosy t-shirts and shorts in muted green and beige tones that are bang on trend whilst remaining wearable which is all that more important when thinking about boys.


The shoes range from more formal styles to everyday trainers that fit perfectly with the clothing that Boohoo have pieced together.

  

Number three was super excited to see all the new pieces and already has a long list for her summer wardrobe and j will certainly be trying out some clothes for the boys this time.

I would love to know what you all think!

Centrale And Whitgift Welcome The Chinese New Year

My local shopping centre holds a special place in my heart, not only for being somewhere I spend every weekend as a teen trying on clothes I couldn’t afford and whiling away hours with friends planning outfits for all our crazy nights out; but also because it was the the place I attended my first ever blogging event

Since then I have worked with Centrale and The Whitgift Centre in Croydon on several occasions from celebrating their Heritage Festival to picking out my capsule wardrobe at their fantastic ‘Your 5’ event.

Sadly I’m not going to be able to make their upcoming event on the 5th Febuary where they will be celebrating Chinese New Year that for those of you that don’t know is the year of the rooster.

It is set to be a fun filled event with lots of music, martial arts displays and plenty of dancing including the famous ‘dragon dance’.

If that’s  not enough there will be plenty to keep the children busy with face painting, calligraphy workshops and a zodiac sign stand.

So if you are looking for something to do between 1-5 this Sunday then this would be a great place to visit and educate you’re little ones on this fabulous time of year.

  

My Impulse Buying Sorted With ‘Your 5’

My Impulse Buying Sorted With ‘Your 5’

Last week I wrote a post about the ‘Your 5’ event that was being put on by the two main shopping centres in central Croydon – Centrale and the Whitgift Centre.

I was going along to this event with an open mind and not really knowing what to expect.

I was plesently surprised when I was greeted by a beeming smile and a group of super friendly and eagar ladies, all ready and waiting to help me get my clothes and make up sorted for this season.

I’m a bit of a magpie when it comes to clothes shopping and I’m always drawn in by that sparky item that I immediately fall in love with and then get home to find it goes with nothing in my wardrobe.

My personal stylist who was very personable and stylish herself explained to me the theory behind the event and how they have used the train of though of the French woman who all swear by the rule of only needing five key pieces in your wardrobe, that can then be mixed and matched with different items to create a perfect capsule wardrobe.

iPad in hand all my details were logged and I was walked around the five key groups of the boot, the knit, the coat, the wide legged trouser and the skirt.


Each section had clothes and boots pulled from a selection of stores across the two shopping centres and covered every base with the very young, the school run Mum and the older lady.

Cosy knits, slouchy trousers and structured office wear all featured and I could honestly say I would challange anyone to not find something that would suit their style and taste.

I always like something a little different from the norm and was really happy that there were a lot of edgy pieces in there and not just classic styles which is what I was expecting.

I spent a good twenty minutes looking at gorgeous embroidered details that were on the new favourite ‘Mum’ style jean, checking out the classic cosy parka that is a staple for any school run and a huge array of skirts with my favourite being a stunning gold pleated number from M and S, who along with Next will now be somewhere I shop a lot more since spotting some great pieces.


The magpie in me really came out when we got to the huge array of glitzy ankle boots, but I was steered in the right direction and opted for some beautiful grey ones that were equally as pretty but just a lot more wearable!


An item from each section was selected and logged into the iPad allowing me to have a print out of my favourite key items to take away and have an easy way to find the items in store.


Along with this printout there is also an easy to download app called Centrale PLUS that offers you lots of fabulous discounts at many of their stores.

With my mind buzzing from everything I had just taken in it was time to sit back and relax whist having a much needed update to my makeup.


In was safe in the expert hands of celebrity makeup artist Sally Rowe who gave me a real wake up to how quick and simple it is to create a bright and fresh look with a small amount of products and very little time.

My makeup had not changed since my teens and is really something they needed an overhaul, and Sally has given me the encouragement to do just that.

She even managed to create the perfect eyeliner flock that I’m now going to be practicing myself!


*I was a gifted Centrale/Whitgift voucher for taking part in this event and they are all my own, honest opinion.

Your Autumn Wardrobe Sorted With Your 5 Event

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For the past few years I have really struggled with my style and have moments of confidence that are then quickly overshadowed with a lot of self doubt regarding my appearance.

I will go out and pick random pieces that I love and then struggle to style with anything else in my wardrobe.

My makeup has not really moved on since my teens and this is another area that really need evaluating as my skin is getting older and more distressed due to the stress of all my little people!

I would love nothing more than someone else injecting their opinion into my style and creating a capsule wardrobe that will allow me to have some great key pieces to see me though the Autumn and winter season.

Thankfully Centrale and Whitgift have come together to offer their ‘Your 5’ event from the 7th-9th October, which enables you to book a slot for free with a stylist to select five key pieces for  you or a makeup artist to select the perfect makeup for your skin type and tone.

The first fifty people to book and download the Plus App will be gifted a goodie bag at their consultation and be in with the chance to win a £250 gift voucher.

If you fancy getting some advice from the experts and being in with the chance of grabbing some fantastic goodies then click ‘here‘ to book your space.

Im going to be popping along on Friday so keep an eye out for how I get on.

Making Your Meals Go Further

It gets to this time of year for me when the expense of Christmas fear kicks in and I start to think about some changes to put into place to save a few pennies.

Our biggest outgoing and area of waste by far is food, yet it is the area I find easiest to make saving when I make a bit of an effort.

Here are a few tips to stretch that weekly shop and save on any unnecessary waste.

Package Free And Wrapped Veg 

Instead of grabbing the easy to use pre-prepared veg opt for the loose vegetables and wrap them in paper towel before placing in the fridge to prevent the condensation form softening them.

Crusts For Breadcrumbs

If your children are like mine and always want their crusts removed save them and make breadcrumbs to be stored in the freezer.  These can be then be used in different meals as and when you need them.

Squashed Tomatoes

Those squishy tomatoes hiding at the back of the salad drawer can easily be turned into a soup or pasta sauce to use straight away or freeze for another day.

Bulk Up Those Soups

With the colder weather upon us soups will be coming back into onto our menu and to make them a more filling meal simply add some rice or small pasta to bulk it up.

Big Bird Better Than Portions

The traditional Sunday roast chicken is the perfect meal to stretch over to the next day.  Use the breast meat for the Sunday roast and then save the rest for a curry, casserole or add to pasta on the Monday.

Pack In Those Pulses And Veggies

Meat is definitely the most expensive part of my food shop so wether it’s a curry, casserole or mince dish, make it go further by adding lentils or vegetables to make it go so much further.

The Freezer Is Your Friend

Don’t just throw out those leftovers you don’t think will get eaten. Box them up into individual portions and save for those days you are pushed for time or simply can’t be bothered to cook.

Dinner For Lunch

We spend way to much money on eating out and find that making extra the night before and saving for lunch the next day is the perfect way to stop the temptation of eating out.

Bread

The dieters nightmare and a bone of contention in our house is bread.

For me a good crusty loaf is the perfect, cheap way to fill up hungry kids. It can be eaten with a simple spreading of jam as a snack and can be served with most meals to bulk it out a bit.

My husband disagrees and says it fills the kids up to much and they don’t eat their dinner!

If your loaf stays around long enough and has gone a little dry simply sprinkle with water and bake for a few mins to bring it back to life.

Fancy Kids Snacks

I always have a bag full of snacks that are predominantly used as a distraction or bribery tool when when we’re out.

I have stopped buying those snacks they are geared towards little ones with attractive packaging and a hefty price tag by buying rice cakes and raisins and decanting them into those food bags with characters on that can be washed out and used again, saving an absolute fortune!

I hope your got a few tips here and I would love to have some more of you have any to share with me?

Discovering Croydon’s Heritage Festival

Croydon was my Mother’s birthplace and home to my secondary school so it is an area that has been part of my life for many years. 

I have noticed huge changes to the area over time, so when we were asked to come along and join in the celebrations of the Croydon Heritage Festival I was happy to take a trip to see what was going on.  

Croydon is undergoing a huge regeneration project at the moment and events such as this help people to understand how things are moving forward to create a better future for the ever growing community whist educating people on the important and colourful days of times past.

With community spirt as a whole dwindling with people’s lives become busier and more insular as a whole,  events like this really bring people together to create some much need community spirit.

This is the fourth festival of its kind and this years focus was on ‘Undiscovered Croydon’.  From the 18th-26th June people have the opportunity to take part in a whole host of activities from looking at exhibitions, listening to talks, trying their hand at workshops and much more.

Saturday was the grand opening and the town centre was alive with people grabbing delicious food from the many stalls, kids rushing around taking part in the family themed activities that were on offer and crowds of people enjoying the music and performances put on by some extremely talented people that had taken to the main stage.


Inside the Whitgift Centre the children had great fun creating their own masterpiece on the interactive art cube. Next to this were some fantastic Victorian themed spyglasses the children could decorate, but unfortunately we didn’t have time to stop as we needed to move onto our next activity.


Feeling crafty we made our way up to Whitgift Wennies where number three and four took part in the mosaic tile workshop.


I had not come across this on my past visits to Croydon and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to try it out as it is a fantastic concept that is open to any child as the session are all complexly free.

Activity sessions are put on throughout the month which are posted to their website and are free to take part in.  Once you are a registered member you simply book your time slot and arrive with your membership card and get set to have some messy fun.

After all of their activities I had the chance to grab a little retail therapy and try out the recently launched dual branded Centrale and Whitgift gift card.  This can be used in 130 stores across the two shopping centres.


For me this would make the perfect gift as there is such a vast choice.  I’m sure is the same for many of you, birthdays have come around and you open a gift card to a store you never use and it a waste of time and money for everyone.  With this card everyone is covered from clothes and jewellery to toys or grabbing a bite to eat.

I treated myself to a couple of sale bargains in Topshop and treated the kids to a hot chocolate a huge slice of cake in House Of Fraser.

The opening of the festival may have been and gone but there are still plenty of activities to take part in.  I for one will be booking a tour of the Alms Houses as I have walked past this secret, gated area for years and have always wanted to discover what treasures are hidden behind the gates!   
* I was given a shopping centre gift card for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinions.