It's 2006. I'm going out for the day with my best friend.
I'm wearing smart clothes, matching accessories and make up.
I take with me my handbag containing a mirror, lip gloss, phone, keys, purse and nail file.
I'm going to buy eyeshadow, lip gloss, nail varnish (I wonder who has free gifts on offer today?), a handbag, boots or shoes (or both), a top and a pretty cardigan.
For lunch we have posh pasta and a glass of wine in a bistro.
We spend our time chatting.
We end our day in a wine bar admiring our purchases.
Fast forward to 2010. I'm dragging the children to the retail park.
I'm wearing clothes with yoghurt on them, no accessories (matching or otherwise) and no make up.
I take with me my handbag/changing bag containing a mirror, lip gloss, phone, keys, purse and nail file AND nappies, nappy sacks, wipes, water, rice cakes, cereal bars, hand wash, changes of clothes for each of the boys, The Gruffalo (the book, not the creature), Milton wipes and bibs.
I'm going to buy new shoes for the boys (I will not weep as I hand over my credit card, well, not much) and Calpol, Vaseline, and baby porridge from Boots (ooh, the porridge is BOGOF - result!). I will walk straight past the Clarins Free Gift display without even looking to see what's on offer. I will look at my Boots points and mentally convert them into nappies.
For lunch we have sandwiches and cake in a cafe. I balance my coffee on top of the pushchair and pray there are two highchairs free. I clean the table before and after we sit down. I also clean the boys' trousers and pick up most of their discarded sandwiches from the floor. I wish I'd eaten the sandwiches and given them the crusts if they were going to throw them on the floor. They want my coffee, I won't let them have any, there's a scene.
We spend our time saying 'excuse me please', ramming shop displays by accident, tutting at the lack of pushchair access, complaining loudly to no one in particular that you wouldn't get a wheelchair through that gap, checking no one has tried to shop lift each time we leave a shop, faffing about with the rain-cover and moaning about the lack of available parent and child spaces in the car park.
We end our day sitting in school traffic, one of us has a smelly nappy, one of us is still saying 'coffee' in between sobs and one of us is taking ibuprofen washed down with crumby water from a child's beaker. We get home, unload the car, realise we've been overcharged for porridge and decide we can live with it if it means never going back to the retail park ever again!