Thursday, 21 December 2017

A Festive Trip to Bicester Village




Bicester Village is probably the most talked about designer outlet I've heard of. I've been wanting to go for some time, but it never really seemed practical before, as I hadn't ever saved up any money to go. For me, paying for a train over there just to browse seems pointless. So I wanted to make sure that I went at a time when I knew I had some disposable income.

Ever since I started my new job back in June, I've been saving up all of the money I win at the end of the week. We have targets to reach at work and if we hit them, we get paid a certain amount of extra money at the end of the week, cash in hand. I've managed to win money pretty consistently since I came off training and was eligible to win and in that time I've saved up a good chunk of money in cash - on top of my pay cheque.

Every month when I receive my wages, I transfer a pretty hefty amount of it into savings and then I live off the rest. Living at home means that I have barely any expenses. Apart from my phone contract, Oyster card season ticket, gym membership and the odd food items here and there that aren't already in the house, I can manage to make the remainder stretch pretty far. As I'm trying to save up for a car (and almost have enough money ready to start seriously looking!) I have to be quite disciplined with my expenses. So instead of spending the money I win every week, I've been putting it aside. I wasn't too sure what I wanted to spend it on or if I even wanted to spend it at all, but I knew that I wanted to keep it separate from my savings. Maybe as an emergency fund so that I would never actually have to chip into my savings if something unexpected came up.

Anyway, my point is that I'd been saving this money for weeks on end and it was starting to accumulate into a really decent amount. Coming to the end of the year, having saved so much money already and achieved quite a few of my goals, I decided that I wanted to spend a portion of it at Bicester Village. Not all of it obviously - I don't think you should ever reach a point where your savings completely diminish. Not unless you're buying something huge like a house or investing it into something very long term. So I took a small portion of the cash I'd been saving up and decided that I would try to find myself a nice handbag.

I went into Bicester Village with the idea that I would buy myself a red tote bag. But I have bought so many tote bags over the years that when it actually came to looking at them, I couldn't see that any of them were any different from the ones on the high street. Apart from the branding, there was nothing really standout about the tote bags I saw, within the price range I wanted.

I did have my heart set on a Kate Spade bag. It's a brand that I've admired for quite some time. I think it's got a very young, quirky feel, with really unique designs and it's not something that I see people wearing everyday. There are some designer bags that are just way too popular - the Gucci Dionysus, the Chanel Boy, the Michael Kors Jet Set Tote. I would hate to have something that a lot of other people have. But I was with one of my most trusted friends who is very similar to myself and she was really keen on the brand Tory Burch. Because she is very practical and just like me, would never buy something that everybody had, I really trusted her recommendation. Kate Spade had already disappointed us with it's lack of choice, so I was very open to other options. In all honesty, I've never really looked into Tory Burch as a brand before. The name rang a slight bell but it wasn't something I recognised. However, for me it really isn't about the brand, it's about the bag itself. And when I saw the bag and furthermore put the bag on, I was immediately in love. It is literally my perfect bag.

I bought the Tory Burch Robinson bag. They had three colours on show - the black, the tan brown and the red. Given that I already had my heart set on the red, it was a given that I was drawn to it as soon as I saw it. Then once I put it on, I fell in love. The gorgeous chain strap just had me sold. I truly adore anything with a chain strap. It's such a simple detail, but I think it looks so classy. Paired with my favourite coat and my beloved brogues which I've already said I wear almost everywhere, I just knew this was the bag and I had to buy it. The original retail price was £269 but I picked it up for £180 - which I think is an absolute steal. I know that I will get so much wear out of this bag. It's simple, classic, big enough to take out in the day and small enough to take out in the evening too. I just could not be happier with it!

I also picked up the Jack Wills Bessemer wool coat in candy pink. Well it's described as rose pink but I think it's more candy. This one is an acquired taste as not many people would want a pink coat. But I love pretty much anything pink and any coats that are in a Victorian style really. The original retail price was £189 but I picked it up for £60, which is pretty much your average high street coat price so I was very happy with that purchase too. It's also something that I know I won't see a lot of people wearing and I like to stand out from the crowd. It will definitely have to be worn in a certain way with very muted colours, but that's not a problem at all. I can see it going with quite a few bits that are in my wardrobe already and paired with a plain mini skirt, some knee high boots or even just blue Jamie jeans and my candy pink Converse's (yes I have been loving pink this year) it will look really pretty. I would also just like to state that my bun looks like a lopsided birds nest in all of these pictures, but I was having a bad hair day and throwing it up like this was pretty much my only option.

I think that Bicester Village is such a cute little setting, very different to many of the outlets I've been to in the past. The staff in pretty much every shop were very friendly, helpful and inviting and all of the shops are in little hut/Hamptons looking houses which really gave it quite a unique feel. They also have such a wide range of brands there, so if you're looking for something but not sure what, then you'll have plenty of options to choose from. I'm writing this post as if nobody has ever been to Bicester Village before. But today was my first time even though I heard about it years ago, so maybe this post can help to inform some of you that have never been before either. The only disappointing thing I have to highlight was the lack of make-up. They have a cosmetics outlet store with brands like MAC, Joe Malone and Bobbi Brown, but there really isn't that much to choose from.

I think that if you really want to treat yourself to something special, then what better place to do it than at an outlet. I really couldn't justify buying something designer at the actual full price stores, especially knowing full well that I can find very good dupes on the high street. There are no doubt very similar bags to the bag I bought today on the high street, but the quality and the feel just isn't going to be the same. Having said that, I still love bags from Accessorize and River Island and I will still be buying 90% of my purchases from those stores. Today, I just wanted to do something special for myself!   
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