Last weekend, the family and I headed to The Centre in Livingston to progress our Christmas shopping a little. I take the attitude that less is more when it comes to shopping, and like to choose gifts gradually. So this was a great opportunity to take the kids along and get them involved too.

The Centre has a great array of shops so it’s a good place to go if you have a varied list of things to buy. Whilst I love supporting independent businesses when I can, Katie was due a visit to build-a-bear after reaching two weeks of going to bed without complaint, and I really wanted to grab a few things from Lush too:

‘Sleepy’ body lotion has gained a cult-like following from parents this year after it’s soporific effects on babies/young children were discovered. In short, apparently it knocks them out. I think a wee pot is just the thing for Christmas Eve!

I also thought that these Bubble bars were just the cutest thing. You break off a little piece in the bath for bubbles but they also smell amazing. I expected more of a ‘Christmas’ smell – like pine or cinnamon – but they’ve actually gone for a really fresh lemon scent which is just lovely. I thought they’d be nice to pop into the kid’s Christmas Eve boxes for a wee treat!

If you were following along on Instagram, you’ll have also noticed two very excited children visiting Santa too.

Housed in a giant Christmas tree, with loads of enthusiastic elf helpers – I was really impressed that each family had the chance to meet with him privately. He already knew the kid’s names and ages – but took the time to tell them stories about his reindeer and put in his own requests for Christmas Eve! Mince pies NOT cookies – unless we’ve run out of mince pies and then cookies are ok!

It was also lovely that he took the time to ask the kids where they would be this Christmas, and explain that he would still be able to deliver to houses without chimneys. He showed them his ‘magic key’ and explained he really would be able to find them at Grandma’s house too!

We opted to go to Wagamama for lunch as it’s always been a family favourite. So much so the staff used to call Katie the ‘wagababy.’ We’ve always found the service quick and the staff friendly which is just the best combination when you’re eating out with kids.

Katie is a big fan of the mini chicken katsu but Thomas loves the fish and noodles (and Mike’s rice!)

It was also great to pop into Waterstones with Katie to try and gauge what she’d like for Christmas. It was surprisingly quiet given the amount of visits to The Centre (45,000 each day) so it was nice to take our time perusing the selection they have for Christmas. I was also delighted to see a copy of Maggie’s Mittens (Coo and Alison’s book) on display!

We had a lovely day with the kids – the visit to Santa really was unbeatable. With everything under one roof, it really is no surprise that people travel in Perth and Dundee as well. I’m obviously, going to continue singing the praises of local Edinburgh businesses but to have places like The Centre too – we really are very lucky!

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