Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Shopping Addiction

Today I took #1, #2 and #3 to KidZania. There are several of these amusement parks around the world, and the latest one opened a few weeks ago at London's Westfield shopping centre.

The place is extraordinary. It's a whole miniature city. The kids are given some fake cash as they go in, then they find 'work' as, for example, a fireman, a doctor or a hairdresser which earns them more cash. They have banks and cashpoints, a university, a recycling centre, restaurants and shops (which accept the fake money).

#1 said "I had really high expectations of this place, and it's exceeded all of them." And she's not easily impressed.

One of the best things about KidZania is that, if your kids are aged seven or over, you can just check them in and leave them to it for four hours. They're electronically tagged so that they can find each other, and you can find them.

Sadly, #3 is only six and a half. So (shut your eyes now if you are a perfect mother) we taught her how to lie on the journey there.

There was a tense moment when the checker-inner asked her "how old are you, #3?" We all held our breaths. "Seven!" she squeaked. Her interrogator's eyes narrowed (#3 is very small, even for six and a half) "When is your birthday? And what year were you born?" she asked, sneakily. #3 looked a little pale and sweaty, but managed to trot out the fake birthdate (making her just seven) like a seasoned pro. That girl will make a great politician or lawyer one day.

So, I now had hours to kill in one of the biggest and best shopping centres in Britain.

(I do hope that Mr SM doesn't decide to read this post. He's Scottish. He honestly believes that no-one needs more than two pairs of shoes: one for work, and one for home. Darling, if you are reading then stop now. It'll only make you queasy and miserable. It's not worth it).

Despite the fact that Westfield is only fifteen minutes drive away I have only ever been there for the restaurants and movies. I've never hit the shops. The truth is that for more than a decade I haven't really been interested in shopping. It's no fun if you're feeling fat and generally hating yourself. I only shopped online, and mainly for stuff that wouldn't stand out.  Ideally in black.

But now I'm feeling rather different. For a start I'm nearly a stone (fourteen pounds) lighter. I'm a medium! (I always hated buying anything in LARGE).

I went a little crazy.

I bought a top from Reiss (justification: it's white. It'll go with anything).
I bought new trainers (sneakers), running top and capri pants from the Nike store (justification: the more you spend on a new hobby, the more likely you are to keep it up).
I bought new underwear and nightwear from Calvin Klein (justification: sorry, it's not that kind of blog. There are some things I don't share. I'm not a Kardashian).

By then end of this splurge I felt HIGH. I was light headed. My pulse was racing. I was intoxicated.

I bought a coffee and Googled 'shopping addiction'. (I wonder how many people have Googled that one from Westfield).

It turns out that shopping releases endorphins and dopamine, just like drugs and alcohol. It is quite common for alcoholics to quit drinking and take up excessive shopping. There's even a Shopaholics Anonymous with a twelve step programme!

I left Westfield feeling horribly guilty and sort of hungover.

But, hell, I have a really cool pair of trainers (sneakers).

Love SM x

Related post: Cross Addictions


  1. I'm not a big shopper either. Like you said it's very depressing buying clothes when you are a 'large'. But on the odd occasion I do, I too get, if not an intoxicated feeling, I definitely get a thrill. An excited feeling for my new purchases. So I can see how it could become addictive. Just as well as we don't have lots of money!! Btw, that play centre sounds fantastic!!

  2. I used to love shopping for clothes.
    I still love new clothes, but I hate shopping now.
    Not sure why.
    My newest 'addiction" is playing computer games like Candy Crush Soda.
    My therapist says the games makers do the same things as Casinos to make us buy more lives and things.
    (PS- I DO need new undies!)

  3. Omg, that's so true-- the shopping high followed by the hangover. I get that about 3 hours in, I just want to sit down and have everyone stop talking and drink sugar water like a hummingbird so I have the strength to drive home.
    KidZania sounds awesome!! Maybe they'll set up a TeenZania around here where my 16 year old can buy data minutes and Dutch bros coffees and meet fake rockstars.

  4. SM - You. Have. To. Stop. Googling. xx

    1. Don't take away my last guilty habit!!!

    2. But you keep googling and finding new ones! LOL xx

  5. Oh lol lol lol! That place for kids sounds amazing! Weather so awful for summer holidays here in Scotland I wish I could send them there for the weekend! Not sure they'd take my 3 year old though! I never get the chance to go shopping but have a big family party soon so might have to get a nice new frock for the occasion. Am fitting back into lots of my 'smaller' clothes now but there's nothing like getting something new. I usually grab stuff from supermarket while doing weekly food shop which doesn't really give much of a buzz xxx

  6. I'm not surprised by the existence of shopping addiction. I do that one, too, sometimes. But what you bought actually sounds very reasonable.
    And you did the right thing by getting #3 in there with her siblings - you know that, of course.

  7. This made me laugh. #3 is a sharp little cookie :)

  8. I get the high from shopping sometimes too. Husband and I actually recognize it and often say - lets go shop therapy.
    It can become its own problem. About 5 years ago, as I tired to get my drinking under control, I filled my time shopping for my daughter. (I was a larger size then and refused to buy clothes).
    That summer she had 80 summer dresses in size 5. Eighty.
    So, I think it's a good way to get a little boost, as long as you recognize it can be a problem.

    As an aside, our nanny changed Cleo every day after her nap, so she wore at least 2 outfits a day. And all my dpfriends with younger girls were happy to take our hand me downs. Yikes. Lesson learned.

  9. I'm paleo, and I really think shopping satisfies an old hunter/gatherer-instinct. It makes sense that those most driven to search for the extra egg or go the extra mile for some clams or berries would end up with more healthy offspring - thus furthering those genes (for dopamine rewards). When I feel the urge I go to oxfam-like shops, though. It's very satisfying to get good books, designer kitchenware or brand name clothes for a song.

  10. Kidzania is indeed and amazing place. Sadly they don't have one here in Australia but I took my three youngest (then 12,9 and 5) to Kidzania in Bangkok. Obviously we didn't leave them there alone being a foreign country etc but they had an absolute blast. It was great watching so many children from all over the world having a great time and proves that language need not be a barrier to anything.