Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Bentalls Shopping Centre - Review

Regular readers of my blog will know that I love to shop.  We all know I love nothing more than giving advise on fashion and that my obsession with lotions and potions is borderline obsessive.  However, my obsession has taken a bit of a knock these last few years and my style has been somewhat cramped by the addition of 3 little angels with dirty faces.

Trying to navigate the London underground, let alone the beauty halls of my favourite emporiums has broken even MY ox like constitution as I'll have one eye on the latest eye palette whilst trying to entertain the kids.  I've had to leg it from a changing room in my bra and "Brigitte Jones" kecks as the little Pixie has got bored and decided to leg it from the changing rooms. It's been abysmal and so I have turned to online shopping (convenient but oh so dull) or sneaking off at the weekends for an hour or so - never much fun as I want to be with the whole family at weekends.

Last week I was invited to the The Bentalls Shopping Centre in Kingston to see what they can offer families.  Living less the 10 miles away, we decided to take the bus (whoo hoo, kids loved that) but I was still dubious as to what we were going to encounter.  I hadn't been to Kingston in years so would it meet my expectations??

The Bentalls Shopping Centre has over 80 shops across 4 floors (coffee shop on all floors, oh yes) and has all the high street favourites from Fat Face to Muji, New Look to Zara so instantly offers more than my regular high street.  It also has Bentalls which had ALL of my favourite concessions from Chanel to All Saints and Joseph.    The actual centre itself was clean, uncrowded, airy and bright.  It was the perfect atmosphere in which to shop, but I still had the ever so little problem of 3 kids with me who hate to shop.

Now, here comes the great bit.....The Bentalls centre has a creche called The World of Children.  When I say creche, what I actually mean is a fully supervised, OFSTED and CRB checked, suitable for 1-8 years old with a very lovely Mary Poppins type in charge.  It was so well stocked with age appropriate toys including a Wii (boys in heaven).  I left the boys and Pixie and shopped!!!

Firstly, we had a tour of the Virgin Active Gym which was tucked away on the top floor with a pool as well as several studios and all the cardio machines. It was clean and well equipped and once the centre shuts you can still access the gym.  Next on our agenda was Waterstones, which to be honest, is a shop I could LIVE in (along with Paperchase) and I automatically feel calm and centred on entering.  The great thing about Waterstones in Kingston is that they have a gorgeous kids corner where stories are read on a regular basis.  It was lovely.

We then ventured into Fun Learning which is billed as the next store on from ELC and even though I hadn't heard of it before, I was like a kid in a candy store.  It had such a wide variety of toys that have an educational, learning element that capture the imagination of parents and children alike.  If you haven't heard of this, I strongly recommend investigating.  I got Beansey a Klutz "learn to draw star wars" book which he has not put down - seriously, check out the detail on this this!

We then headed of to Polarn-O-Pyret which is one of Sweden's biggest brands that produces incredibly well made and well designed garments.  I got a gorgeous dress for our holiday for Pixie for £12 and it's stunning.  If you like Boden or Joules then you need to check this out as the quality is on a par to these brands and I predict that POP will be BIG here in a few years time and I will be blogging about this at a later date as I have totally fallen in love with the brand!

Time was running out (can only stay in the creche for a maximum of 4 hours) and so I headed over to Bentalls where I had my feet eaten by fish (didn't make an iota of difference but felt nice!) and my eyebrows plucked/threaded to perfection in glow.  I had a browse around the make up counters and *may* have bought one or two new lipsticks before I had to pick the children up from the creche.

They had all had an amazing time, I was worried that Beansy at nearly 8 would have been fed up/bored but he had an absolute blast and they all left with a creative craft that they had all made. 

The Bentalls Centre really rocked in my opinion, not only was there a great selection of shops but the facilities on offer were second to none.   During the Summer they have a daily programme of FREE activities for children - we were lucky (!) enough to get up close and personal to a tarantula.  Or rather, BoBo the superhero obsessed 5 year old was the only one who was brave enough!!

The Bentalls centre is easily accessible by train from London and the A3 and has lots of parking on site.  For those of you who venture to Bluewater or Westfields I can safely say that the Bentalls Centre is more than a match. 

Peace and Love

S.A.M (with 2 new lippies ;-)


Disclaimer: I was a guest of the Bentalls Centre and given free coffee and granola plus a swag bag to end all swag bags.  This has not affected my opinion or views whatsoever and we have in fact been back to the centre yesterday to do our holiday shopping. 


  1. LOVE your blog about it - definately fishy focussed!!

    See you soon xx

  2. Remember, it's only a nice sensation, nothing more than that!!!

  3. Fab post, really made me relive the experience in detail. My review was a little more, shall we say, fish-focused? A really fun day out, we'll be heading back there for sure! x

  4. Love your review! You are brave to try the fish pedicure - maybe one day I'll give it a go... :) x

  5. Fab review, and you had energy for shopping too?!


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