Saturday, 24 December 2011

Wilmslow

There is something chav-bling-tastic about Wilmslow.  It's the way it is unashamedly rich, loaded, wadded - any adjectives that describe wealthy.  Whilst architecturally the Town is nothing special - any signs of its Cheshire gentry past have been well and truly excised, apart from the odd remnant on the edge of town like the Romany Caravan next to the library (quite bizarre).  It's truly a town of now and what counts is money.

We've been to Wilmslow countless times over the years and I do have a soft spot for the place, partly as I like to bring down the tone of the car park with my 11 year old Lil'Princess - Nissan Almera (an old ladies car).  Its not often you can park next to a Porsche, Lamborghini or a Bentley, but you certainly can in Wilmslow.

Firstly a parking recommendation is the Sainsbury's car park - it is quite funny watching flash sports cars negotiate the tight spots in the car park.  Also its £1 to park for two hours and if you shop in Sainsbury's you get the parking fee refunded.
Copyright Anne-Marie Marshall
The town is a confection of upmarket shops with a touch of the high street.  Hoopers is an old school department stores which does proper designers brands.  You can't move in Hoopers for the number of well manicured ladies of indeterminate age in their Barbour jackets.  I quite like their stationery department as it does unusual stuff.  Also Neil managed to not notice a 7 foot rabbit dishing out chocolate one Easter time.   Hoopers is great for a wander and the place to go to when the sales are on.

There are lots of designer boutique shops and high end chains especially for the older person - Jagger, Country Casuals, Viyella, Emma Somerset, Aquasuctum, Jane Shilton, Laura Ashley and Monsoon.   They even have a couple of Hollister type places that are lit like they are nightclubs (I still don't get that - I know if I ever went into shops like that I'd be setting off the alarms trying to see what colour the clothes were like in natural light.)  The town centre has a pedestrianised shopping street which is nice.  They have normal shops along there like Clarks, Waterstones, WhSmiths and Rymans.  In Rymans there was a little Irish old lady mithering one of the shop assistants about a shredder.  I think she was a little lonely and wanted a little conversation.  I don't think this is the best town to grow old in though.
Copyright Anne-Marie Marshall
There is a great choice in supermarkets with Sainsbury's, Tesco Metro and Waitrose (naturally). Even the take aways are posh - the Big Splash is essentially a fish and chip shop, but in a bling stylee.  It does specials such as Thai style fish in batter and battered haggis sausage.  I do want to try it someday.  The Chinese take away looks very upmarket too with it's chrome decor and flash bar stools for people waiting.  The Gourmet Burger restaurant is the Wilmslow equivalent of McDonalds and it must do countless kids parties at the weekend as it is always packed with families.

There are plenty of coffee places in Wilmslow too.  We normally go to the Starbucks, which is generally packed with the wealthy and the wannabees.  You could easily be in the queue with a Russian Billionaire and you would not realise.  Over the years we have noticed the service there has been particularly slack as the posh 6th form Saturday Staff could not organise a cocktail party in a high class resort in Barbados.  Thankfully this Saturday, there were some more together staff on duty and I had a lovely soya peppermint hot chocolate (yum - After Eight's in a mug format) and Neil had a Chocolate Cream frappuccino with Toffee Nut, whipped cream and chocolate sauce (nice by all accounts).

The charity shops deserve a special mention here.  If there is one place to go in Wilmslow (other than Alderley Edge Barnardos) you have to check out the charity shops.  Special mention goes to Cancer Research near the T-Junction in the centre of town.  You can get a 2 piece Roberto Callvini frock for £99!  Prada boots anyone?  Even the staff here are clued up on what is fake and what is real designer.  Ages ago I heard them mention to a customer the bag they were buying was a fake, but it was a good fake.  Today it seemed the shop was full of a coach trip party trying to bag themselves a designer bargain.  If you are a size 8/10 this is the perfect shop for you.  There is another Cancer Research near the Bang and Olsen shop on the other side of town.  This tends to get the over flow stock from the main shop, but I have seen vintage YSL 80s sunglasses in there for £65 before now.
Copyright Anne-Marie Marshall
The other charity shops are - Oxfam (records can be over priced, but it is the best charity shop for books), Scope (the least exciting charity shop in town), British Heart Foundation (packed to the rafters with stuff) and my personal favourite Barnardos.  Barnardos is now a vintage boutique with lots of interesting stuff.  I really like the fact they have made an effort to make the donations they get look pretty and attractive.  There used to be another branch of Barnardos with just books and records but that has now closed down (twice).

I do love Wilmslow.  I have thought would I live in this town, if money was no object?  The truthful answer is no.  It is too materialistic for my tastes.  There is no cultural nor an alternative underbelly in this town like Hebden Bridge or Holmfirth or Ikley for that matter.  I just like to pop in this town for a couple of hours every so often to lower the tone in the car park, check out the charity shops and confuse the staff in Starbucks with my drinks order.
Copyright Anne-Marie Marshall

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