Saturday, November 07, 2015

A Fresh Perspective: Shopping in Livingston

I've been visiting family in Scotland this week and it's been interesting to see how much more willing I've been to visit some of my local haunts. When I lived in Mid Calder, if you asked me if I wanted to go to the local shopping mall, I'd have rolled my eyes and wondered why we were friends when you clearly know *nothing* about me.    I hate shopping.    And I hate doing it in Livingston.  

livingston designer outlet
Look!  Livingston's shopping mall has fancy moving things in it...

This isn't because I'm ashamed of where I'm from, it's just that I grew up here and occasionally like a change of scenery.  I previously lived and worked in the area and nothing made me more depressed that spending my working life AND my down time in the same square mile radius.       

Therefore, I've been pleasantly surprised to return after 6 months of living in rural North Wales and been totally excited to realise that I actually missed the easily accessible shops, cafes, restaurants and, dare I say it, the fact that there are a few more people.   Anyone that knows me knows that I'm not a massive fan of People.   I love being anywhere quiet and I hate crowded places in a way that makes my anxiety spike to dangerous, brown paper bag inducing breathing situations.   Maybe it's because the faces here are new and I haven't seen them for a while; I really don't know. 

Ed's Diner, Livingston
Livingston can offer you a taste of 50's America before you hit up H&M or M&S...or any other shops with initials.

Don't get me wrong:  after my second visit to Livingston's massive shopping mall in three days, I'm over it, but being away has made me realise a lot about Livingston that I completely took for granted in the 30 years I lived nearby.    In Harlech, we have a couple of fabulous coffee shops and we live in the middle of Snowdonia National Park, which is nothing to be sniffed at.    It's just the positioning in relation to, say, going to the cinema, or needing a new pair of shoes (because, obviously) that I didn't realise I had missed until I came home.

My closest quality shoe shop is more than an hour away and the closest cinema is in Llandudno or Wrexham, both of which are literally nowhere near our little seaside town.    It's not that we particularly visit a cinema much, but I guess it's always good to know that we  CAN at the drop of a hat.    In North Wales, we'd have to plan a few days in advance so that we could finish work, grab food and head (further) north for an hour just to arrive at the cinema.    Here?   It's a 10 minute drive and there are 8 screens to choose from.   

BB's Muffins
Coffee and Muffins....what a combination

My Mum needed baking soda today and I was able to pick it up, along with new shoes, shirts, trousers, a tank of petrol, a great cup of coffee, and some new slippers, all in the same place.   If I tried that in North Wales, that would take me the best part of a day and I wouldn't have access to quite the same range.    

I'm not complaining, you understand, I LOVE living in Wales.  In fact, moving there was one of my better decisions.   It's just that the transition between where I live now and where I lived before is pretty stark.    However, I must be saving a small fortune in Harlech due to the fact that I CAN'T buy shoes when I pop to the supermarket in nearby Porthmadog.    Let's be honest:  I need a 103rd pair of shoes like I need, well, those new trousers and shirts I just bought.

In the words of Belinda Carlisle....Ooh, heaven is a place on earth.

What I'm trying (unsuccessfully) to say is that, for the first time in many years, I have come to appreciate my home town.   It's just a shame that it's taken me a 250 mile move to another nation in order to realise it.   

The only thing I didn't like about rediscovering my home town shopping centre was this....  I mean, have some respect, Livingston...

crocs stroe livingston
No.  Just no.

Suzanne x

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