Having grown up in a town that lies between Bristol and Bath, I can assure you that neither city was quite the shopping destination that they can now both claim to be. For myself and my friends it was either Topshop, Pilot and Claire’s in Bath or, errr, Topshop, Pilot and Claire’s in Bristol. Cheers, then. It was for that reason that we used to very often board the train to Swindon to visit their Designer Outlet where we would spend many a happy afternoon picking out our new
knickers Kickers for school (showing my age terribly here) or buying the biggest, warmest GAP hoodie we could find.
It was a nice nostalgia filled surprise then, when an email landed in our inbox inviting us to come check out what’s new at the McArthurGlen owned centre. I probably hadn’t been back to the outlet since maybe 2004 and was instantly very curious to revisit this shopping haunt of my past. As it turns out, we’ve both been doing a lot of growing up!
The first thing I did on arrival was to appologise to Victoria for having never told her about the place. As she got massively overexcited at seeing a Cadbury factory shop and I lost my composure at the sight of a Ted Baker outlet, we both realised that despite having a lot of great shops on our doorstep, there’s always time for a good discount. We spent an embarrassing amount of time looking around all of the many (over 90!) stores on offer, only pausing for breath for a cheeky Wagamamas (soy happy). We left with so many bags we could barely carry them all!
We weren’t being completely self-indulgent though as we had in-fact been set the challenge of buying Christmas presents for three of our nearest and dearest for under £250…..as well something for ourselves for under £100. OK, that’s pretty darn indulgent but let’s go with it. So, without further ado, here are my results! Mum, if you’re reading this, STOP READING THIS.
I began with my other half who, as you might have already guessed, is a big kid. I knew the moment Victoria took me into the Hornby shop (more on that from her in part 2) that I wasn’t going to leave without some sort of train set for the railroad-tycoon-sorta-chap I married. It’s also, really, a present for my nephew (an actual child) as I know the two of them will be playing with it for years to come. I plumped for a Christmas themed set as a) it will look so cute around the bottom of our Christmas tree and b) I will only have to deal with tripping over train tracks once a year. SMART. On the hunt for another gift, I spotted the Cold Brew Bottle in Whittard and knew it would make the perfect addition to all of his tea and coffee related paraphernalia. I rounded things off with some chocolate from Lindt……..I am hopeful that I might get a few sneaky squares!
Next up for a bit of Christmas spoiling was my lovely Mum (WHO SHOULD NO LONGER BE READING THIS BY THE WAY). I knew before I arrived that I would be heading to Radley for her main gift as she is obsessed with that little dog and it’s not the sort of thing I would usually be able to afford for her! I spent quite a lot of time umming and ahhing over the range of bags and was so pleasantly surprised at the very heavy discounting on offer! I ended up paying under £50, which is a pretty good deal for a Radley! I had already picked her up some Lindt and decided a Christmasy Yankee Candle would finish things off nicely. Luckily for Mum (WHO HAD BETTER NOT BE READING THIS) I then spotted her beloved Origins GinZing eyecream in The Cosmetics Company Store for at least a fiver cheaper than it would be on the high street and threw that in for her too. What a nice daughter I am.
Finally it was the turn of my teenage cousin who also ended up with some goodies from The Cosmetics Company Store! The trio of Bobbi Brown goodies above set me back a cool £30 which is pretty insane value and I’ll admit I am very tempted to keep that lipstick for myself! I picked up the bow bag from M&S because I considered it to be well trendy and added a salted caramel Yankee Candle because everyone knows that it’s the absolute best.
It was then on to buying stuff for me! Hooray! I knew that I wanted to buy some sort of sparkly Christmas outfit and having narrowed down my options to about 34 different dresses I finally took the plunge in French Connection and bought the beauty you see above, along with a lovely gold bag to go with it. I had a little bit of money left over which went on another salted caramel candle for yours truly! It’s the best, remember? I buy myself the greatest presents!
What do you think of my choices? Will it be a very merry Christmas?
I will definitely be seeing you again soon Swindon Designer Outlet. Thanks for a great day! To see what Christmas goodies Victoria purchased, check out Part 2.