When I was five, my mum took me shopping to Debenhams. We covered the ground floor, gathering up clothes for me try on and then commandeered a large changing room just the right size for the two of us and all our hangers of dresses, skirts, tops and trousers. As I tried on outfit after outfit, with my mum rushing back and forth to get different sizes and colours, I had a moment of blinding clarity - in short, the sheer joy it was to go clothes shopping. As they say, it was like a lightbulb going off in my head, blinding my other senses to this one overriding feeling of euphoria. A true shopaholic's high.
It is a fond memory we both share. My mum says she can still recall the subtle change in my expression as it dawned on me that what we were doing wasn't something to get over and done with before heading for the book shop or cafe for a sticky bun, it was the whole point of the day and it was fun.
My love of shopping has not dwindled over the years since then, although becoming a mum myself has seriously curbed the amount of time I have to dawdle round the shops. In fact, most of the clothes I get are for the little man and I get just as much satisfaction buying these as anything for myself.
However, this weekend, another mum friend and I are putting on our heels and lippie, kissing goodbye to our little ones and are hitting the shops. We are both very excited. She has already written a long wishlist and we are putting together a military-style plan of action to make the most of the time we have. It will probably go something like: coffee, shops, lunch with long conversations not interrupted by toddlers or babies, shops, coffee (or something stronger for those not expecting) then home, hopefully armed with bagfuls of goodies. Bliss.