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?

how to buy foundation
Foundation is one of those makeup items that, although essential in most peoples routine, still really scares others. Foundation really isn’t as scary as it first seems and finding the perfect foundation for you is something that is quite easily achieved.

1. Highend or Drugstore
Although I think spending a little more on your foundation is nice I don’t think it is necessary and the drugstore has some amazing ones for a fraction of the price of the highend ones. That said you do get a little more guidance on higher end makeup counters but don’t worry if you can’t afford it, opt for a drugstore one.

2. Work out what you want from your foundation
Do you want a full matte foundation that will last all day or are you after something more light in coverage with has a dewy finish? Keep in mind your skin type and what you want this foundation for, if it’s for evening then a heavier one might work better and for the daytime people typically go for a lighter foundation (but it’s completly up to you!)

3. Look online
There are so many reviews online that it would be silly to ignore them, I rarely buy a makeup item without first reading reviews. Find out about the finish, coverage, colour range and longevity particularly from someone with a similar skin type to you, if reviews are generally awful all over the internet then I would probably stay clear.

4. Colour Match
Colour is very important when it comes to foundation but potentially the hardest thing to get right, particularly if you’re quite dark or very fair.Unless you’re repurchasing ordering online is very very difficult and should only be done at a last resort. For higher end brands I would always recommend going in and getting the counter staff to help you and allow them to apply it to your face so you can really see what it will look like. I always try two or three shades on my jaw area and pick my favourite one to be applied all over.

Drugstore can often be a little trickier but doable. Try a few shades on the back of your hand and compare them to your face in a mirror, then pick a few shades to also apply to your jaw line to find the perfect shade. If you’re a little worried about this take a friend to help you decide on the best colour for you.

Avoid going a shade lighter or darker particularly in a heavier foundation and keep in mind the undertone of your skin, if the colour is too warm have a look if they have a cool or neutral range or move onto a different foundation all together, colour is so important and an off undertone can make your head look disconnected to your body.

5. Try before you buy
I very rarely buy a highend foundation without first wearing it for the day. I go into a counter in the morning and have it applied, I then have a nice look at the colour/finish in natural lighting and go about my normal day. By the end of the day I can tell if I’ve had a breakout and reaction to the foundation, if I like the foundation and how it wears. I think when you’re investing £25/£50+ in a foundation it’s important to make sure it’s right and if i like it I will always return later in the week to purchase it. You can explain this to your counter staff, people do it all the time and since you’re planning on buying it if it’s good enough it isn’t cheeky or anything like that.

A lot of counters will also offer you a few days/weeks sample of a foundation and I would really recommend taking full advantage of that. Trying a drugstore foundation is much harder, I’ve heard of people taking their own little pots to take a few pumps of foundation to try before they buy but I’m not too sure if this is widely acceptable but do let me know in the comments.

So onto some of my favourites (I have normal-dry skin)
L’Oreal True Match Foundation, Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation (be careful if you’re sensitive to scented products), Revlon ColorStay and L’Oreal Infallible

Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, MUFE Ultra HD and Too Faced Born This Way

My most recent purchases are photograph up above but I’ll report back on those soon!

Would love to hear any of your tips in the comments as always…

Todays post really isn’t aimed to be overly fancy, simply informative. It’s almost Christmas and we all like to save a little bit of money so I have but together a list of the best Black Friday/Cyber Weekend offers. As it’s still Black Friday and cyber weekend starts tomorrow so keep checking back as I update deals. Also if you have any other great offers for me to add then please let me know!

All Saints – 20% Off Code ‘Cyber’ 

Amazon – Up to 50% Off
20% off Luxury Beauty with code ’20Luxury’
Particularly good deals on Real Technique Brushes!

ASOS – 20% Off Code ‘CYBER’ 
Great stable place to shop as this is 20% Off everything! ASOS stocks lots of different brands, even beauty so a great place to look if the shop you want to buy off isn’t on offer.

ASOS (US ONLY)- 30% Off with code ‘Blessed’ 

Boohoo- Up to 50% Off

Daniel Wellington Watches- 25% Off (applied automatically at checkout) – 15% Off everything code ‘BlackFriday15’

Forever 21 – 50% Off Selected Lines

Kurt Geiger – 20% Off Everything – 15% Off with Code ‘LF15’
I suspect they’ll have better offers over the next few days 20% Off with code ‘Cyber20’

Miss Selfridge – Up to 50% Off

New Look – 
Up to 50% Off

Nike- 20% off with code ‘GETOUTHERE’

Office – 20% Off Code ‘Snow’ 

OSKIA – 20% off all full size items

Public Desire- 20% Off with Code ‘CYBERBAE’
Currently my favourite shop for shoes, you can get the red ones photographed here

River Island- 20% Off Code ‘BFRIDAY15’ 

Selfridges- Up to 20% off ‘SELFCCE’ 

The Outnet – Up to 80% Off
Some really great designer deals- great for Christmas presents

Topman – Up to 40% Off 

Topshop – Up to 50% Off

Urban Outfitters – Up to 50% Off 

Whistles – 20% off

Zara- 20% Off selected items

Top picks
Designer Items – The Outnet – Great bargains to be had!
St Tropez Ultimate Tan Trio- Was £40 not £20
Sanctuary Relax, Breathe Set Was £45 now £22.50
Real Technique Brush Set was £30 now £19.95
Paco Rabanne Lady Million Was £52.63 now £24.99

As always I’ll be on Twitter and Facebook so let me know if you find any great offers and I’ll be sharing my finds there too.

1. Go outside
It’s the first day of March which means day’s have got longer and hopefully will soon start getting warmer as spring appears at the end of the month. Enjoy the outside wether going for a stroll around town, a walk in the park or even a run.

2.Burn some candles
Relaxing with some candles can be so relaxing, read my tips here to burning a perfect candle

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3. Go for something a little more casual and pull out your favourite pair of converse!

4. Visit an art gallery
Last week I went to The Saatchi in Chelsea and I loved it! Luckily lots of galleries are free in England. If your London bases I would say The Saatchi is my favourite but The Tate Modern is obviously always a good choice especially as it is situated along the Southbank!

5. Read…
Saving 5am Face // Peexo

Any ideas as to what we should do next weekend? I’d love to hear them in the comments! Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

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Paris is my favourite city (apart from London of course!) and I would happily move there if only I could speak French! I thought I would share a quick guide on my favourite sights to see and what order to do it in, just pack your walking shoes!

1. Notre Dame
Probably not my favourite sight to see although from the outside it is beautiful. It’s a great place to start if you are planning to walk the same route as I did.

2. Saint Chapelle
Not spoken about much but absolutely breathtaking inside, I’ve never seen such beautiful stain glass  windows and would highly recommend taking a look. Free for under 26’s which leave in the European Union which is a nice plus.

3. Pont Des Arts
The Love Lock Bridge is quite popular with couples but it’s quite impressive just to look, it’s crazy just how many locks it really has! It’s also situated right next to the Louvre so a nice little stop of.

4. Louvre
The Louvre isn’t my favourite museum/art gallery ever but it’s still worth a look (especially if you’re under 26 and a resident in Europe as it’s a free entry). Most people recommend an entire day but if you don’t have that to spare pop in to have a look at the grounds, glass pyramid, architecture and pick a few pieces you particularly want to see. Most famously it houses the Mona Lisa which is what I went to see.

5. Rue de Rivoli
One of the most famous roads in Paris which fits in perfectly with my route, filled with commercial stores.

6. Place de la Concorde
I don’t have a huge amount to say about this as I just don’t know too much. It’s a large public square which houses a statue of Cleopatras Needle.

7. Champs-Elysees
Has some great shops from a huge Sephora, a great H&M (cheaper than in the UK), Louis Vuitton and some nice pharmacies. Also said to be one of Paris’s most beautiful streets.

8. Laduree
I couldn’t go to Paris without eating some Macaroons and Laduree really do offer the best! A little on the pricey side but absolutely delicious and there a good range of flavours.

9. Arch De Triomphe
I have no idea how people drive around this round about, it is absolutely crazy and seems to have little/no rhyme or reason to it. You can also go to the top which I’m sure has a nice view of Paris.

Although you can walk from 1-9 I’d recommend now getting the train to see the Eiffel Tower, you’ll be tired by now, trust me!

10. Eiffel Tower
Arguably Paris’s most known landmark, far more impressive at night with all it’s sparkly lights but the whole area is nice for a general stroll. If you are planning to go to the top be prepared to join the long queue.

11. Trocadero
The best place to view the Eiffel Tower and also often has various street performers if you go during the day. If it’s a nice day it’s a great place to just sit, relax and take in the surrounding- I didn’t want to leave!

12. Sacre Couer
I’m not sure if you should do this before or after everything else as it’s quite out of the way. The building itself is beautiful and it is surrounded by stalls, gift shops (quite reasonably priced) and not too far from the Moulin Rouge. This is my favourite view of Paris and it’s free! It is situated in one of the ‘roughest’ areas of Paris but I think that really adds to it’s charm and I wouldn’t say you can really tell from the Sacre Couer too much. Also a great place to take a break and view the whole of Paris.

If you have time I really enjoyed visiting the Palace of Versailles but this would need a whole other day as it’s quite far out of Paris. A boat trip along the Seine is also amazing, go just before sunset as you’ll get to see everything in day light on your way but it will all be pretty and lit up at night on your way back.

Download the Paris Metro app; it’s your bible for getting around.

I’ve put together a Google Map route here if you want to see where everything is.

I also uploaded a follow me around Vlog which is below!

I stayed with family this time around but I blogged about the last hotel I stayed in.

It would be great if you could all leave me tips on what to see next time in the comments. I also haven’t mentioned any places to eat so I would love some restaurants and hotel recommendations below in the comments…

Would you be interested in a London version of this post, with more slightly less touristy things to do?

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