Last month marked the two-year anniversary of my first ever visit to Bicester Outlet village where I bought one of my favourite bags, my Coach Leather Handbag – a black well-loved, every-day but not too casual bag. I recently went back and fell back in love with Bicester village, so I thought I would share my experience as well as a few tips.

If you’re from England, you have most likely heard of Bicester Outlet Village as it seems to be the most popular outlet in the country. It’s based just outside Bicester (not too far from Oxford & Milton Keynes) and really easy to get to from London: you can drive an hour and a half or so, or jump on the train at Marylebone Station for a 45 min journey to Bicester village station, which leaves you a few minutes stroll from the shops.

If you’re worried that the stock is all going to be sample products or products that didn’t quite make it into non-outlet stores, then don’t worry: everything that goes to Bicester must have been for sale in a regular non-outlet store from at least 30 days and now be discounted by at least 33%.

I also wondered if maybe some days are better to go than others but apparently, they get deliveries daily so it’s down to luck really.

I think now is probably a nice time to set expectations…

I like Bicester and I think it’s worth a visit every now and then but if you think you’re going to find that £4000 bag of your dreams for just £200 then you’re probably wrong. Also, if you’re after the belt du jour (Gucci looking at you), that is sold out everywhere, then it’s unlikely you’re going to find one too (that said, I still looked). However, if you’re after a nice purse/bag but with no specific brand in mind; a great shirt for your boyfriend or even updating your jewellery collection then it’s definitely worth the trip.


My last trip to Bicester Village was with my fave blogger, Jess – from Cocoa Chelsea, and we made a day of it. Although the average time spent at Bicester is 4 hours, we were there for more like six hours as it’s a great place for a day out. We arrived by train from London and went straight to Farm House: a Soho House Restaurant with delicious food and which I would highly recommend. It was the perfect way to fuel us for a busy day of shopping.

Then started the shopping. I ended up picking up a Furla bag for £120 (above) which I love and have been using lots! I can’t remember the original price but I think around £400 so I got quite a bargain and Furla had some really fab bags! Other great bargains were to be had in Ralph Lauren: I picked up a few bits which my boyfriend and brother had asked for, for an absolute steal! I managed to get two polos for less than the price of one! I also bought a Coach Bangle (above) and was very tempted by the reasonably priced jewellery in lots of the stores.

I didn’t pick up a Long Champ as I didn’t really need one but I was very tempted – they were only £40 for a medium one and they had lots of colours, including black. They did sell out quite quickly: I popped back a few hours later and the black one had sold out but the other colours were still available.

I was also impressed with YSL and Prada’s stock, again they’re not cheap but they are far more affordable.

My top tips
1. Make a list of what you want before you go.
I was worried that I would either feel overwhelmed and buy nothing or get excited and buy everything, so I thought making a list would help and I really think it did. I wasn’t too specific but I wanted to look for a nice scarf, a Gucci Belt, a bag and some Jewellery.

2. Ask what they have in the stock room.
We tried this lots, admittedly a lot of the times we knew they wouldn’t have them but still ask and they were all very accommodating. In YSL we were after a black bag and although they had none on the shop floor, they were able to get us one from the stock room. It wasn’t quite right for me but it’s still definitely worth asking! In Gucci, we asked for the very popular GG belt’s and they had one in the back but again the colour wasn’t quite right.

3. Allow for a whole day of shopping. You probably won’t need it but you don’t want to have to rush off.
I’ll be honest: we did slightly run out of time but that’s just a good excuse to go back next time! There are lots of food and coffee places too – if you need a little down time mid-shopping – but it’s best to take your time and not rush too much, especially if you’re buying a pricier item.

4. Make sure you check the map and don’t miss of any stores. (some are a little more hidden)
The layout can be slightly confusing, with a few shops on the outer perimeter which are easy to miss if you come via train, so have a look on the map and don’t miss your favourite shops.

5. Check the weather.
Although it’s beautiful all year round, it isn’t an indoor shopping centre, so it’s better to go on a day with no rain. (although maybe with rain it’ll be less busy)

6. Enjoy it!
Don’t get too worried if you didn’t find exactly what you wanted: shopping is supposed to be fun. If you didn’t quite find what you want the first time then you’ll have a good excuse to go back the second time.

If you have any tips for shopping at an outlet or think there is another outlet I need to check out then please leave me a comment below! Also, check out the full list of stores here.

What bargains have you picked up in an outlet store?

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Before my holiday in Portugal, I spent the night in Windsor in a beautiful hotel which I just have to tell you about.

I’m always on the lookout for cool places to stay just outside of London to get away even for just a day and relax. I’ll share all my favourite places soon but if you haven’t been to Windsor I would highly recommend it.

The whole trip was planned by AccorHotels and I was lucky enough to tour a few of their London ones before hand. The tour started in Euston at the Ibis Euston, when I’m on a budget but still want a nice hotel I always go for an Ibis as I find them to be a great price point and I think I might book another one for a trip I’m considering next month.
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However I really fell in love with The Pullman Hotel, I’ve driven past it so many times and had no idea just how beautiful it is inside! Really modern and luxurious as well as located in Kings Cross so in a great location too. We stopped here for some canapes and cocktails and they were really good, it’s a great location for weekend drinks or even work lunch/drinks and the decor is very chic.
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For our main dinner we headed to Novotel London Brentford where we had a Moijos in a bag (genius idea!) and a chicken main, again the food was delicious and decor was perfect, maybe not quite as beautiful as The Pullman but not close behind. Location wise it is a little further out near Chiswick but it’s just off the M4 so easy to get to and a great option if you’re looking for a hotel in the area.
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Our final stop and where we stayed the night was the Mercury Castle Hotel in Windsor. If you haven’t been to Windsor it’s a really great little town a short drive/train journey from London with things to see and do or also the perfect place to relax. Even if you’re not planning on exploring Windsor and are just looking to relax I’d still highly recommend the Castle hotel, the service was better than in most hotels, decor is perfect for a non-city hotel and I slept amazingly. I had a really lovely evening enjoying a cocktail before just chilling in the super comfy bed.

Breakfast was also amazing, I enjoyed my tea in bed before tucking into my full English breakfast. We even managed to catch the changing of the guards before we left, although it did start to rain heavily!

Can’t wait to visit the Mercury Castle Hotel again and if The Pullman wasn’t so close to my house I’d simply have to book to stay there, such beautiful hotels!

festival selfieSo before I start bombarding you with all my holiday posts I thought we’d quickly catch up on this year’s festivals. I’m not a huge festival go-er and have never camped so prefer London’s day long events, which probably aren’t even real festivals.Although I usually go to Wireless, this year I actually missed it and instead went to British Summer Time and LoveBox.

british summer timeMy first one this year was British Summer Time with SonicChic. SonicChic is a travel-friendly toothbrush brand which I have actually been using all holiday. They were pretty amazing and I even got to stay at the Edition hotel. Now, I’m not very knowledgeable about music but there were some amazing acts. Kendrick Lamar, who I love and have seen perform before, Jamie XX, which I previously hadn’t heard of but was amazing and Florence and the Machine who I now love even more. The vibe at British Summer Time isn’t too festival-y and a little more grown up in my opinion. I’d highly recommend checking out British Summer Time next year if you’re looking for something a little more chilled, with great food options, I had a really fun time! loveboxMy last festival was Lovebox in East London, as it was East London it was that little bit younger and cooler but really good fun! I went along with BIC who were amazing hosts, had our nails done at Wah! and I even found the Hip Hop Karaoke tent which was amazing!

soletraderThe people over at Soletrader.co.uk also sent me over some essential festival shoe options which I have been making the most of. Since it’s England Wellies are a key option for festivals and the Barbour ones they sent me are great, I was almost a little sad to see that the weather was too good to wear these but I will be doing so as soon as it starts to rain! I love wellies at festivals, contrasted with summer dresses- very British! In the festival essentials kit, there were also Havaianas, Black Adidas Superstars and sparkly sandals, sadly the sparkly ones were a little small as they would have looked perfect with my dress! In the kit there were also lots of other essentials; tissues, deodorant, dry shampoo and more, which of course I packed and used throughout the day.

For make-up I couldn’t resist a little glitter for the festival from Topshop, obviously!

Join me on Snapchat for lots of holiday snaps: alittleobsessed

 

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Although the bf and I go out for dinner all the time I don’t think we really do enough other date night (probably my fault) so this weekend we went bowling, just the two of us and it was such good fun!

I’ll admit that I never win him at anything that required physical activity other than at a golf driving range and he totally taught me everything I know. I’m not the best loser so luckily he also helped me through bowling and I think I got my first spare and strike in the last ten years!

We went to All Star Bowling Lanes which I’ve actually been to before and it’s by far the best bowling alley I’ve ever been to! It’s not too big and I would recommend booking but it’s got a real luxurious feel to it.

After our two games of bowling (and yes I lost both) we, of course, had to have dinner, because what is date night with no food? The menu is very American-inspired, with all the burgers, hot dogs and nachos you would expect. We shared a Popcorn Squid, which is probably the best squid I’ve ever had as I love crispy food and I went for the Meatball Hoagie off the specials menu, Mike got a burger and we shared some chips. Actually, we ended up sharing our whole meal, since sharing is caring and he really wanted to try the meatballs.

The meatballs were so good and I’d highly recommend them (I did remove the cheese on my half as I try not to eat dairy) but they are limited edition so you’ll have to get in there this month to try them for yourself. Oh, also get the Gin and Elderflower Julep Jar, such a good cocktail!

Would highly recommend All Stars for a date night or just hanging out with friends and there are four London locations and one in Manchester but check out their website for more info.

What should we do for our next date night? I was thinking some sort of exhibition, please leave recommendations in the comments

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I keep getting told that being a ‘real Londonder’ is a rare thing, but I am in fact a real one. I was born and bred in London but am ashamed to say there are keep spots I am yet to visit.

Therefore a couple of weeks back, blessed with some surprisingly good weather and equipped with a Samsung S7 Edge (which 3Mobile kindly lent me), I headed to Borough Market to tick off exploring an area which has been on my to-do list for a while.

I was surprised by the size and variety at Borough Market, theres grocery produce, delicious cooked food, cakes, flowers and more! We headed down there for lunch, shared some calamari and then had a pork sandwich, naughty but so tasty!

We also picked up some doughnuts from Bread Ahead bakery which everyone recommended and were really delicious! I can’t wait to go back, try some more food and take my mum who I think will love it. It’s a great way to spend a sunny day in London!

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I was then convinced to ride a bike in London- no idea how that happened

PS. All the photos are taken on the Samsung S7 Edge