Yesterday, Destructo Girl and I took a bus into Abingdon centre to shop-hop through independent shops looking for a small cardboard cut-out Wally thanks to Mostly Book’s Where’s Wally Hunt. I’d picked up the form when DG was in school and had already found one Wally in order to know what we were looking for.
There are ten clues on the sheet, but only eight needed to enter the prize draw and get an invite to a Where’s Wally party on 28th July. DG and MG have been invited to a birthday party on that day so we won’t be able to go to the party but having been to other Mostly Book’s kids events I wish we could.
Eight of the places needed were in a nice circuit of the very centre so we stuck to those, and I now forget the clues to the last two places. If you’re in Abingdon and want to play, stop reading because I name all the shops below! Having said that, finding the shops is the easy part, looking for Wally in them involved me looking clueless and DG saying “There!” and dragging me to the right place half the time (fortunately most of the people gave clues to help!)
We got off the bus at the High Street (green asterisk on the map below) so the first place we hit was Outdoor Traders. This is never going to be a shop that interests me, being filled with very expensive bicycles, ski equipment, shoes and such for outdoor pursuits. I’m sure it’s fantastic if you’re into such things but it’s so not me I’m afraid! DG found the Wally in this shop and dragged me to it, I don’t think I would ever have seen it and this was the only place we weren’t offered any help.
Next we went into Scuffs, our shop of choice for the girls shoes anyhow. Fortunately they gave me a clue because I was lost again! But he was hidden in a fun place that followed the clue on the sheet. I had DG’s feet checked while we were there but she didn’t need any new shoes yet. I’ve been getting MG and DGs shoes there since they started walking anyhow and would thoroughly recommend them to anyone visiting – my sister-in-law was having difficulties getting my very tall & large footed niece any nice shoes but found some there when she was visiting from Scotland.
Next to Scuffs is Throwing Buns, a lovely cafe which is now expanding to under the newly refurbished town hall opposite. They have lovely cakes, drinks and sandwiches and we go in sometimes for a little treat. Not this time though, to DG’s dismay! It’s always very busy so Wally may move to the new venue in the next month as it will be difficult to squeeze in when it’s packed – we were lucky it was a school day before lunchtime.
Having those three very close together, the fourth shop looks a distance on the map below but in fact it’s no more than a minute or so walk. Skinny Hippo is a shop that sells lovely crafty things but also does craft parties and fun things. Amazingly I’ve never been in before, generally avoiding it because the girls were a little on the young side and imagining that I’d probably spend a fortune in there. So this is where the Wally hunt really came into its own because I was so wrong not to go in – not in the sense that I didn’t want to buy everything because I did, but because it’s a gorgeous Aladdin’s cave of a shop and I’ll be taking the girls to do something crafty there soon I’m sure. We escaped with merely a pot of beads bought, which was very restrained on my part!
After this, we had a lunch break in the Lounge Cafe, my favourite go-to place for lunch in Abingdon being reasonably priced and extremely child friendly. One jacket potato and toasted tea cake (between us) later, we went to find Wally in the library.
The library ended up being a fairly long stop. Partially because it took me ages to find Wally even with clues (the Wally here being about 8ft tall so of course I missed it…) and partially because it’s the library so we had to look at the books. DG honed in on some of her favourite books from home and I chose a small selection of book I wanted to buy really but I must use the library more!
The next stop on the way of our extended circuit back to Mostly Books was Beyond Bubbles, another shop I’d never been in, and another one I really should have! DG chose a lovely bag of mini bath bombs, but she thought they were sweeties, I think the girls are going to love to use them in their baths. There were lots of lovely soaps and nice smelling things and some lovely packages with “Thank-You Teacher” labels which I think I will be buying for MG & DG’s teachers for end of term as they were so lovely (and not overpriced!)
Just up the road from Beyond Bubbles is Sweet Chocolate, somewhere I’ve only been in once or twice thinking that weighed sweets will end up costing a fortune and being pleasantly surprised again! DG liked choosing from all the big jars and it was lovely seeing all the retro sweets in old fashioned containers. A wonderful place to visit – shame I’m dieting
Across the road is The Nursery Shop, another of my favourites and the eighth place that we needed. I actually got the stamp the day before when I was checking it out for our Wally hunt but DG still wanted to go in. They have lovely ride-ons that children are allowed to freely use, along with a wooden cooker and baby pram. DG thinks it’s a play place, so keeps herself busy while I browse. Not only are they full of wonderful toys but gorgeous clothes too – DG is currently sporting a flowery raincoat from there. When MG was a baby they sold prams, cots and car seats but economics has meant they now focus on toys and clothes rather than nursery equipment but handily for us that means it’s developed as the girls have grown and we got our car seats, sling and other equipment from there as well as clothes and toys.
The final stop was Mostly Books to hand in our form and claim our prize poster (for first 100 people to get five stamps). Mostly Books is another favourite haunt of ours, and Nicki and Mark are always incredibly lovely as well as being knowledgeable when you’re not sure what you need. It really is the perfect independent bookstore with plenty to tempt you away from online shopping (and I am a huge online shopper bargain hunter!)
We spent about three hours doing our circuit and thoroughly enjoyed looking like an idiot trying to find Wally, chatting to all the lovely people in the different places and avoiding the rain! There are many more independent shops in Abingdon, and they’re competitively priced and run by very helpful people. If you’re near Abingdon, please support as many as you can because it would be a huge shame to lose any of these wonderful resources.