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Jenna Dobbs on living near Bluewater for her whole life

By Jenna Dobbs

At 20 years and 10 days old, Jenna has never known a world without Bluewater.

The KM Group's editorial apprentice, who covers Gravesend and Dartford, has shared her memories of parties and shopping with her family and friends in honour of this anniversary.

I was born just ten days before the opening of Bluewater, so it would be difficult to imagine a life without it.

I got my first school shoes at the shopping centre and I can remember having my feet measured in Clarks every year, with the smell of polish and old socks.

Before school even started, there were trips to 'John and Lewis' with my nan, where she'd keep me quiet with tea and cake.

Editorial apprentice Jenna Dobbs doesn't know life without Bluewater
Editorial apprentice Jenna Dobbs doesn't know life without Bluewater

For birthdays we had 'Smartie Parties', (a party at the food court themed around chocolate Smarties) or at Build-a-Bear, where you could stuff your own teddy, just as long as it was under £10.

I have taken trips to McDonald's in both the old and new food court, and messed around on the pedalos outside on sunny days.

It was at Bluewater where I got my first glasses - something which seemed exciting at the time - but after years at the opticians - now is a massive inconvenience.

Luckily, I'm still just 20 minutes down the road.

Jenna's nan used to take her to go and see 'John and Lewis' for a bit of cake
Jenna's nan used to take her to go and see 'John and Lewis' for a bit of cake

It was also where I got my ears pierced, holding my mum's hand in Claire's Accessories in absolute terror.

It would be difficult to name a film I haven't seen at Bluewater cinema - Finding Nemo being one of my all-time favourites.

However, I haven't forgotten the shame of being turned away from 15 rated films, aged 15, because I didn't have any ID.

When we got older, the centre became somewhere to go on Friday afternoons - though we never had any money to spend.

Jenna used to muck about on the pedalos on the lake at Bluewater
Jenna used to muck about on the pedalos on the lake at Bluewater

We'd trek down to the lake - where I have been chased by geese on numerous occasions - or hang out by McDonald's until we were asked to leave.

I'll never forget the day I boldly wore my new Kickers to our weekly meet-up, desperate to show them off, and had to be virtually carried home after they ripped my feet to shreds.

There's so much I could say about Bluewater, which is now a place to eat, see friends and grab a new outfit.

It has been part of so many of my first and favourite memories, and I'm sure it will continue to be part of them for at least another 20 years to come.

You may not have seen Jenna at the store but you might have seen one of these 68 celebrities that have been there over the year.

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