Top tips for Top Shop by Jo

[advert:mpu]Last Wednesday I waltzed into the playground beaming from ear to ear and announced to all that could hear that I was on my jollies. Everybody seemed excited for me, and quizzed me on my destination of choice. I think by my quotient of excitability people thought I was off on holiday, involving aeroplanes, tickets and passports.

Unfortunately I was not heading out of the UK, or even London, but was to my mind doing something equally brilliant. I was off with my pal up to town on a tube train, without children for a trip to TOP SHOP.

I am not quite sure what I was most excited about. Firstly it was the escape out of North London and lure of the bright lights of the city (and not of Hamleys, or some worthy Museum we were being dragged to by the children). Then there was the tube train. Normally this would be the role of the children to go bezerk with uncontrollable excitement travelling on a tube train and going through tunnels. But today it was my turn, and it was more the lure of sitting down uninterrupted for 20 minutes reading that exotic literature “The Metro” and munching on crisps without having to hide them from the children, that did it for me. Being on the tube is always a revelatory experience. It always surprises me how suburban I feel on the tube, when exposed to the rest of the population. I realise that I’m years behind in what’s in and that boots over jeans was so last year.

My favourite bit on the tube is actually people watching. I used to be so skilled at it. At one point when I lived in Edgware I used to play this game when I would work out which stop each person on the carriage would get off at, based on what they were wearing and what they were reading. I was the undisputed champion of this game (although unchallenged) and could work out a Burnt Oak from a Hendon in a blink of an eye.

I thoroughly recommend this game if ever bored on a tube journey. But be warned: staring at people can have unwanted consequences – from dirty looks, to very friendly (!) looks, to people wiping their mouths thinking they’ve got something stuck on their lips. Oh and remember there will always be someone shouting an internal hooray when you alight at East Finchley rather than Highgate!

“The Trip” however was somewhat controversial at least in my house anyway. I was paying for childcare, to have what amounted to a day off, prancing around in materialistic splendour. Not a worthy cause and certainly not warranting paying for according to my husband. In fact Avi felt quite “nose out of joint” about this for some time. It did not sit right for him that I was shirking my responsibilities for a trip to spend his hard earned money.

I had my arguments ready but they did not wash - “I can’t take days off work, I deserve a one day break” I tried everything. Unfortunately he didn’t quite get that it added to my street cred to be going to Top Shop and that he would be married to a style goddess. Eventually he came round, and I went with his blessing - almost.

It was a brilliant experience and for those few hours I felt 10 years younger. Bereft of children, and amongst the young and trendy. In fact I half expected someone to tap me on the shoulder and say they are a model scout looking for yummy mummies, but this was a fantasy on so many levels.

I do feel rejuvenated after my experience and certainly more with it. I am sure that I will have those tube starers confused with my new garb, and zeitgeist literature. I think I’m far more Camden Town than East Finchley, but woe betide anyone who thinks I’m High Barnet.

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