"Erm, excuse me love, can I get to the machine?"
It's 5:30 pm and I'm sitting on a 'do it yourself' photo developing machine stool in Boots, Covent Garden, applying blister plasters to my ravaged feet. Onlookers snigger at the sight of my swollen battle scars; socks, boots, shopping bags afray. At that moment in time I gave the saying 'shop till you drop' whole new realms of meaning and yet I was merely adjusting my armour, preparing to march on, choosing to rejoin the thousands of other last-minute shopping soldiers (or morons, you decide!) to continue on in our quest for the perfect gifts. Why do we do it?
From Marble Arch to Covent Garden, Tottenham Court Road to Carnaby Street, me and my comrade in arms (my Mother), set out around midday to brave the battlefield of London and did not cease until 9 o'clock later that evening. Our battle however, was not in vain. After procrastinating in Marble Arch drooling over some beautiful items in Topshop (See previous post), we fought through the crowds of hungry elves in Selfridges to reach the maze of confectionary, the perfect supplement to those presents, i.e. those singing reindeer socks for your Dad, that need just that little something extra. Here we met our first enemy. A woman attempting to sell gourmet jelly beans in the most underwhelming manner imaginable.
"Get your Jelly Bellys, everyone loves a Jelly Belly, it's not Christmas without them!"
Firstly, I am allergic to jelly beans so a tip for you my dear, KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE! Secondly, I thought Selfridges was a high end, posh totty kind of place and yet, here this lady was, sounding as though better suited on a stall at Romford market. Third and finally, I think Jesus would disagree with you when you say the gourmet jelly bean is a traditional Christmas dish. #justsaying
Next we moved through Bond Street halting at Fenwicks, Calvin Klein and back to Oxford Street, sauntering into the passageway of 'blink and you'll miss it' St Christopher's Place, opting to re-fuel in the form of a very large and very tasty American Romana pizza at Pizza Express. Here we met our second enemy and he wasn't an unfamiliar one either. We'd met before. He'd waited on me and my cousin only weeks previous and taken a fancy to winking and deeming me his senorita. Today was no different.
After trekking to Covent Garden, bandaging my wounds and returning to Oxford Circus, bumping into Mike Barnes from Hollyoaks/that guy off Corrie along the way, we collapsed in the EAT armchairs at the bottom of Topshop. Here we met our third and probably worst enemy of all. Ourselves. As a sucker for a stud, sequin and sparkly number and that's just my Mum, even 7 hours of shopping couldn't stop us from running ragged amongst the festive inspired rails.
By 9 it was mission complete! Only as I slumped into my seat on the tube did I realise it was back to duty the following day having to wrap it all! Sigh.
Same time next year?
Charlotte's Top Tips for surviving the last minute Christmas rush
1. To burst (yuck!) those blister blues, make sure you pack some plasters!
2. Re-fuel at every 2 hour interval. The amount of time re-fuelling can largely determine one's willingness to proceed so be careful not to rest for too long!
3. Don't do it. And if you do do it, don't waste valuable shopping time trying to persuade a lady that you really don't need any jelly beans!