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I felt stressed as I wiped sweat from my brow and plotted my next move with military precision from within the Operations Room.

I’d spent the previous evening out on manoeuvres. I had foolishly assumed it would be a straightforward in and out exercise, I couldn’t have been more wrong!

Admittedly I’m being a little overly dramatic, I’m not actually in a wartime bunker moving markers with a croupier-style stick.

I am sitting at my kitchen table armed with my computer and mobile phone whilst listing places I still haven’t tried, as I endeavour to get the must-have toy of the moment - Pie Face!

My son has this game on his Christmas list. I also know other parents on the hunt for it. My stomach flips with anxiety at the thought of not being able to fulfil my child’s Christmas wishes.

I have managed to get everything else he wants, but this game has so far eluded me. Even Argos doesn’t have it in stock for collection or delivery at the time I’m writing this.

I have located it for sale online but I’m horrified to find the £19.99 game currently listed at prices between £32 and £65 on Amazon! I don’t want to take the chance on ordering and not receiving it in time for Christmas. Nor do I particularly want to pay so dearly for it!

I continued with my investigations ringing another local retailer. I almost fainted when told a van was due in later. I was warned they weren’t allowed to reserve the game for customers.

‘‘I’ll call down late afternoon,’’ I replied.

‘‘Good luck,’’ she uttered cheerily. I felt like I was on a mission. I’d gone all Private Benjamin. I dug out my khaki parka. I was ready for action!

Later, when hubby pulled into the drive from work I shot out of the house, jumped in the car and yelled; ‘‘Drive, go, go, go!’’

‘‘Where to?,’’ he asked in his usual laid-back manner, well used to my daily dramatics.

‘‘I’ve located Pie Face, a shipment was due in late afternoon,’’ I replied. I gave him our destination directions.

‘‘Check your six, we’re good to go. I’m cleared hot, this mightn’t be pretty but we’ll have to embrace the suck!’’, I rambled on sitting forward in the car in an effort to make it go faster.

‘‘You’ve been looking up military phrases haven’t you?’’ he asked with a sigh.

‘‘Yes I have!’’ I admitted as I hummed the Mission Impossible theme, excitement rising within me. We were close to victory; I could feel it in my bones.

Arriving at the toy shop I rushed in, leaving hubby behind and scanned the shelves. Adrenalin was coursing through my veins. I stopped an assistant. ‘‘Excuse me, do you have Pie Face?’’ I implored.

‘‘Yes!’’ she announced, ‘‘it came in today, it’s at the customer service desk!’’

‘‘Where exactly is that?’’ I implored.

‘‘I’ll take you,’’ she said, ‘‘hope there’s some left!’’. And with that we ran together towards the opposite side of the store. It felt a bit like the beginning of Baywatch as we jogged in slow motion, our hair flying behind us.

‘‘Pie face!’’ I shouted at the girl behind the counter.

‘‘Sorry!’’ she replied, ‘‘the last one sold five minutes ago. The demand’s been so high we are only allowed to sell one per customer.’’

‘‘I only wanted one!’’ I squeaked in a pathetic little voice.

Schlepping off despondently to the car I debriefed hubby.

‘‘Don’t worry, we’ll get it!’’ he announced with vigour. This was fighting talk, I liked it! I felt rejuvenated, we were a team and victory would be ours!

Each year there’s an elusive must-have toy that drives parents to distraction in trying to acquire it. Remember the Cabbage Patch Dolls riots of 1983?

Research shows that almost 90 per cent of kids’ toy boxes across the country contain toys influenced by their favourite TV shows and films.

This year children’s lists are dominated by playthings from the big and small screen including Frozen, Thunderbirds, Minions and Lego.

We parents will stop at nothing to find toys for our little darlings, even though we know these coveted articles will be abandoned within weeks if not hours of their acquisition.

With 13 shopping days left to go I’m off to resume Operation Pie Face. May I wish all fellow toy-seeking parents the best of luck with your search and remember ‘Who Dares Wins!’