Shopping centres, some hate them but I love them. I’m a bit of a seasoned shopper/shop-a-holic, much to Jay and my bank accounts dismay. Let’s just say we are lucky we have two boys and not girls, as their wardrobes would be next level crazy! Jay literally let out a sigh of relief when our ultrasound showed two boys. I grew up hanging out in shopping centres and since my grandma lives in San Diego and my dad is a pilot, I was extremely lucky to spend a lot of school holidays state side, so I know a good shopping centre when I see one.
I was invited to the preview launch of H&M last Thursday, since it started at 6:30 and Jay was on Nugget duty I figured I would beat the traffic and head out a few hours early to take a look around. I was curious as I haven’t shopped at Sylvia Park in years, only going out there in the last few years for movies…and I have to say I was impressed. I never think to go there as I have a local shopping centre down the road from me, but it was only 15 minutes on the motorway and it’s a really nice shopping centre. Big, open, outdoor/indoor flow, fresh air and clean! They have upgraded a lot of facilities recently and it makes such a difference. I hate finding parks and circling forever to try to spot a free one, so Sylvia Park has popped little digital signs up at the entrance to each park letting you know the exact number of parks left, handy! Valet parking? So fancy, so easy and a service they offer now too! It wasn’t even expensive, $5 for the first 2 hours and a $1 an hour thereafter. You can even pre book online if you worry about it being busy and full. I know you can park for free but the ease of dropping it at the entrance to the shopping centre and having it delivered back to you is so ideal, not to mention much safer for myself rather than traipsing through a busy car park with two toddlers who don’t like to listen to their mother and run in different directions!
With the opening of retail giants H&M over the weekend and Zara later this week, there is going to be a lot more people at Sylvia Park, but I think visitors will be pleasantly surprised with the quality of stores available. I shopped at Lush, the super cool Kiehls boutique, Stirling Women, Mi Piachi and Country Road on my visit and dined at Wagamama prior to heading to the opening. Nothing like a fix of delicious gyoza to fuel the shopping trip!
The set up for H&M was huge, massive red carpet but once you were in everyone was very much there to shop before enjoying the party. I had two bags full of clothes to try on and spent a good 30 minutes in the changing rooms before heading to the kid section and the men’s for Jay. If you saw my haul on Snapchat you will already know I bought a lot of clothing, but surprisingly most of it was for Jay as he needed a bit for a wardrobe update. The girls kids selection was much larger than the boys, which I find is usually the case in any store. But I got some great black drop crutch shorts and some cute tees for the boys. The shorts are 1.5-2 year olds size but fit the boys really well, so I would say the sizes are very generous. Tip: H&M use euro sizing so on the tag it will say 2 but it's usually the size down, you only see that if you look on the tag inside the garment. I picked up so many 10’s to find they were actually an 8.
The store is massive and the collection is the same as what is stocked oversees, so no bottom of the barrel collections for us! That was the question I was asked most on snap chat, people thought it would be the leftovers from oversees collections and much more expensive, but the pricing is just the same. Just like the international stores they will refund any item (except for hygiene reasons - underwear etc) for 30 days with receipt and in original condition. So many stores in NZ don’t offer this, so if you aren’t sure about something take it home and try it on with your own items you would pair it with. If it doesn’t quite look as good as it did in the store then you can return it with no worries. I love stores that allow this, as sometimes you just aren’t quite sure it will suit those boots, or that jacket.
With the new stores arrival all these changes and upgrades to the centre have happened and the other stores have followed suit. Recently renovated Country Road and Glassons are looking particularly fresh. Adairs, a much-loved Australian home wares store is set to open in the next few months too, which will make a great addition to Sylvia Park and will keep those obssessed with interiors very happy!
All in all I was really impressed with the range on offer at Sylvia Park and I think all the other stores will notice the influx of customers in the centre. I spied a really cute little playground that was fenced (I love fenced playgrounds!) So I think I will take the boys back later this week. They always want to head to the parks in the afternoon after nap time, but that’s usually when I run my errands or do any shopping needed. So this could be a two birds one stone afternoon destination for me!