We have a Borders at our local retail park, which is currently in administration. Although grossly overpriced (which was probably their downfall), it's always been one of my favourite shops there, as it's huge, with massive high ceilings and a Starbucks on the mezzanine level, so smells all coffeey and has lovely specialised art books and sewing books and they don't mind if you sit and read books all day and don't buy anything.
Over the summer, when all was slightly falling apart in my head, post-baby, I spent a lot of time there. I posted a "help, I need friends" message on netmums and started regularly meeting 2 lovely girls with babies similarly aged to J-cub. We met in Starbucks as it was local to all of us, and nice to do something normal for a change. We would sit for hours and talk about breastfeeding, and nappies, and sleep, and colic, and screaming, and sympathise with each other about how everything still hurt so damn much.
When the babies got a bit bigger and started being more active, we gave up with Starbucks in favour of going to one another's houses where the babies could wreak havoc and no-one would mind. I still kept going back to Borders, enjoying being the only person in there on a weekday morning, looking at all the lovely books while J-cub slept in the sling or the buggy. They even put on mum and baby groups in the summer holidays, which were a bit chaotic but fun.
Today, we walked around the sale, which is now up to 60% off with 7 days to go. I have never seen so many people in there, it's like a crazy book jumble sale with piles of books in no particular categories everywhere, and all the bookshelves, fixtures and fittings gradually being ripped out and sold off at ridiculously low prices (£10 for a 5 foot square solid wood table with book rails down the middle - not really the sort of thing that you need but I was still sorely tempted).
The Christmas music playing as we walked around was Silent Night, and I actually found myself close to tears (motherhood will do that to you). I know they're a multi-national company, and blah blah, but I don't care. I loved that store, and it gave me a calm oasis when I felt like everything was falling apart in the summer.
So we walked around, and shuffled through piles of books, and found some nice things for J-cub and each other for Christmas, and we left. Pretty much the same thing we've been doing every few days for the last week. Christmas shopping done, now I just need to wrap and post those that need posting, and make the edible presents.
Day 16 - Mission complete.