Our trip to the toy store was magical

Zella had a fantastic day at Titchfield Haven and wonders what other local gems she's overlooked      Picture: Gary Taw

ZELLA COMPTON: Looking afresh at our beautiful spot in the world

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Apparently, internet shopping is more popular in the UK than in any other country.

According to research, you and I spend about £,1000 a year buying items on the World Wide Web.

I’m not quite sure how much I spend online in a year – maybe it’s best that I don’t find out. But I admit that when it comes to shopping, the internet is always my first choice.

Of course, the main reason for choosing to shop online is the convenience. I can shop whenever I want, 24 hours a day, seven days a week at a time that suits me and I’m not limited by any opening and closing times.

Another major advantage is the pure amount of online retailers, which means when I find the product I want, I can easily and quickly compare the prices.

Even better is to type the product into one of those handy comparison websites, which will find the cheapest price for me.

To compare shopping in the same way on the high street would take hours if not days and would probably leave me exhausted.

Another advantage is shopping in comfort; I can search for a bargain on my smartphone while lying in bed, or even on my tablet computer during the ads on television.

Obviously online shopping also has its disadvantages, like having to buy a product based purely on its photo and description and not being able to touch it or try it out before parting with your money.

Another disadvantage is when you need to return a product. Instead of simply taking it back to a store you have to spend time repacking it and then taking it to the post office to send it back.

For me the major disadvantage of online shopping is it doesn’t give you the satisfaction of going to a store.

I realised this recently when I visited a large toy store with my daughter Caitlin. It seemed to give her the same excitement as visiting Paultons Park last year.

Her face lit up with a huge smile when we entered this children’s paradise and she saw more brightly coloured toys than she had ever seen in her life.

All her favourite children’s television characters were there in toy form and at every turn in every aisle there was another toy featuring a magical Disney character.

Of course it was busy with parents and children but this only added to the feel-good atmosphere.

Having such a good time looking at the toys with Caitlin, I lost track of time, but I’m sure we were in there for more than an hour and of course there was a trip to the checkout before we made our exit.

I’ll still be shopping online but when it comes to toy shopping nothing beats going to the store.