Wednesday 5 December 2018

BabyH2t: Baby's first Christmas at the St Enoch Centre

 I feel like Christmas has snuck up on me, last thing I knew I had a newborn and the whole year stretching out in front me yet suddenly it is Christmas and I am fully unprepared. Gifts for anyone else aside I had a panic last month when I realised Arthur is actually big enough to at least take in his surroundings and actually enjoy all the colour and fun that Christmas brings with it, so I was over the moon when the St Enoch Centre got in touch to invite us down to make it a wonderful first Christmas for him.

 The atmosphere around and inside St Enoch is amazing thanks to the decorations, the Christmas market and all the goings on in the centre like Santas Grotto. We had wondered about taking him to see a Santa or not but I am so glad we did, the set up in the centre is fantastic and he might not quite know what is going on but he loved all the shiny lights and little characters dotted around outside. I am such a fan of the fact you can book online before you go which takes out a lot of the drama and it is so lovely that they are acknowledging children with autism and vulnerabilities who might prefer a quieter experience. You can book for those slots on early Sunday morning between 10 am and 11 am and the collection outside the grotto is for an autistic charity too- lovely to see that inclusivity. We were really impressed with how organised and well staffed the grotto was, you are shown inside to a really lovely Santa who keeps character so well and has a proper chat with the wee ones as well as giving them a really fun gift. The Elf on hand to help was good at trying to get a decent picture of us all while Santa chatted and the little memento's you can opt to buy when booking are really lovely quality and I am actually really glad we had that option. The little photo frame looks amazing sitting up on our mantle piece among the decorations now! You can book your Grotto visit HERE.

In terms of places to get ready for the big day, St Enoch definitely had us covered, from the toy mecca that is Hamleys to the Disney store, Mothercare and Billies Market as well as stopping in at H and M kids and Debenhams, we had so much fun taking a look around and picking out a few bits for him. I had never properly been into Hamleys before so it was my first time in there too, I cannot believe how much there is to choose from, or how exciting the atmosphere is!! There was a really fun array of toys suitable for Arthur's age and we let him have a good pad about to see what he liked. I Pretty much had to drag Ally away from the bigger kids toys too. They are even putting on a snow machine at certain times through out the day and the little ones were going wild for it, although as you can see so was Ally!! We picked up a new Oball toy for him ( Arthur not Ally) as he totally loves these and they are fab for encouraging coordination, we also picked up a push top rattle and a ball maze which he is going to love! I was also really impressed with the gorgeous and really well priced wooden toy selection they had to offer, I think wooden toys are just the best although right now anything noisy is right up Arthur's Street! It is worth noting for older kids that Hamleys have meet Father Christmas sessions running up until Christmas Eve with a session lasting an hour including games and activities and a special gift bag too. You can find out more HERE

I have such a special place in my heart for the Disney Store, I walked through the St Enoch centre early every morning for 5 years as it was on my walk to work. I absolutely loved being there in time for store opening where there was always a little queue of excited kids waiting to get in and wanting to be first in line to be the one to 'open' the store that day. The staff always made a big fuss and they would look so delighted! When I was little this place was like going to Disneyland itself in my mind so we couldn't resist taking Arthur in for his first look. They have the most gorgeous Christmas bits in so we had to  pick up Arthur his first bauble of a little Lumiere! They also had the most adorable play space set up the back playing Muppets Christmas Carol which is a favourite of mine so Ally pretty much had to tear me away!!

With all that fun going on, never mind Arthur being tired, we were pooped from the morning too so we made sure we picked up a quick breakfast at Di Maggios in the food court ( the pancakes were delish) and we grabbed a coffee on the go from Starbucks to fuel a few more shops too. I love the spaciousness of the food court and that there are decent highchairs for little babies like Arthur to use. It makes what can usually be a stressful experience pretty hassle free which is what you need when trying to get your shopping done!

We couldn't resist a look upstairs in Mothercare where the Early Learning Centre is as it takes us both back to our childhood where you would spend hours in an ELC touching pretty much EVERY toy. We found some gorgeous unusual toys in there to and got a couple of little sensory items that we know Arthur is going to adore. Prying them out of his hands to get them wrapped up is going to be an issue! We also couldn't resist this little santa suit in Mothercare as we have lots of little parties at classes in the next couple of weeks and he is going to look ridiculously cute in it. ( For 5 mins before he drools all over it of course). We also picked up his jumper for next year too as I love the Little Bird range and their jumpers were reduced, gave us a minute of feeling smugly organised :)

Lastly we hit The Works which I am a big fan of as the prices are so good and the range they stock is amazing. They do a really good 2 for £10 deal ( or 3 for £5  on books) which would be amazing for stocking fillers or gifts for wee ones so we picked up a few for Arthur to give to the wee ones that live next door who are always wanting to play with him. His first wee gifts for some friends!

A fantastically stocked food court, really reasonable parking, some award wining baby changing and excellent opening hours, St Enoch Centre takes the stress out of the shopping while still keeping the magic of Christmas going. We are actually going to pick up a couple of gift cards for friends as our day made us realise just how much there is for families and so many different ways to spend them.  We had the absolute best time having a look around and letting Arthur take in all the fun, thanks St Enoch Centre for making his first Christmas pretty magical already!

You can keep up to date with opening hours and ongoing events on the centre's Facebook and Twitter

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