Today we went to Westfield, which is a very new shopping complex in Shepherd’s Bush, I say complex instead of mall as it spreads itself over quite a chunk of the city and from the looks of it is still growing. We’d never been before and were pleasantly surprised about how easy it was to get to, a quick train to Clapham Junction and then a quick hop on the new Overground line. It certainly pays to have one of these new supermalls actually in the city as opposed to Bluewater which we used to go to a lot when we lived on the other side of London which is only really accessible by car, as it’s on the outskirts.
And going round Westfield I couldn’t help but compare it to Bluewater and my own shopping centre at home in Kingston. Against Bluewater it stands up favourable, the accessibility by means other than car is a big plus, it’s also nice that it feels more part of the city, with a very large collection of restaurants between the shops themselves and ‘normality’. It is nicely designed, as is Bluewater, although Westfield benefits more from looking more current as it was obviously built far more recently. There are parts of Westfield that would not look out of place in Tom Cruise movie – one of his futuristic ones. The number of eating places at Westfield is fantastic, you could go there every weekend for a year and be able to pick somewhere different to eat I reckon but they were all ranging from the a bit on the expensive side to the very expensive side, there were less budget options than there were at Bluewater. Just like there were less budget options in all their shops compared to Bluewater, there were some very designery shops there, the sort of names that I’d previously only seen in a woman’s glossy, but then again this is a shopping centre with a chauffeur drop off point. Interestingly the really really expensive shops that we walked past (didn’t dare go in), seemed to have more security guards than customers, but I guess those sort of shops are like that. Comparing Westfield to the shops at home, ok I’ll admit it, my local shops happen to be a major shopping destination in their own right and we have our fair share of expensive designer label shops to, however they are better balanced with a range of shops with varying price points. Also Kingston has three fabric shops and off the top of my head two art shops and an increasing number of trendy vintage shops (although I went in one at the weekend and spotted that they were selling a pair of vintage chairs for something like £500 and I clearly recognised the fabric they had been reupholstered them in as Ikea). There were no craft shops at all in Westfield (keels over in shock) but I guess it’s not that sort of place. So in the end I was quite relieved to be able to pop into WHSmiths, to go into a ‘normal’ shop and the money we did spend there was in Marks and Spencer, which we have at home anyway! But having said all that, I suspect we will go back to Westfield at some point or at least I will, as it is just so easy to get to.
One of the things we did do was go to the cinema there and see Toy Story 3 in 3D, after the very long wait through the ads and trailers, with Boy Lacer asking each time the ad changed “has it started yet?” (‘it’ as in the film). But once the film did finally start the kids sat through it good as gold, totally loving it (Boy Lacer is quite good at sitting through movies, Girl Lacer semi-ironically isn’t). I loved it to, right from the brilliant Night & Day short at the beginning (worth the ticket price alone), which was a traditionally drawn cartoon of two characters but they were see through and through one you could see day and through the other you could see night (computer animated and 3D) and the view you could see depended on where they were standing. There was quite a powerful message about appreciating people for their differences in that one. As for the movie itself, I think it was the best Toy Story out of the trilogy, with a genuinely gripping storyline about the control of power within a daycare nursery and the climax scene was rather scary and rather moving, full credit to the animators for being able to draw such emotion in the faces of what is basically drawings of toys. In an earlier scene I actually gasped out loud and Boy Lacer reached out to me and I think said something like “It’s alright mummy, it’s only a story”. There were plenty of laughs to, although at least in the auditorium we were in, the people who were laughing their socks off were the grown ups. I do love it when I get to see a kids movie which entertains them but as a whole other level to entertain the adults.
Just prior to seeing the film we popped into the Disney store and looked at the vast array of Toy Story merchandise; both kids have birthdays coming up and Boy Lacer has already requested a certain wii game (not Toy Story), so as he looked at each toy we asked him, “What’s better, that or a wii game?” and to everything he said the wii game except the Toy Story pig and unrelated to Toy Story, a big helicopter filled with cars from the movie Cars, so he’ll be getting at least one of those things for his birthday, he has his whole life to play computer games (and he plays them obsessively enough as it is) but only so long to play with toys.