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?

The weather in London has suddenly gotten a lot colder, it was -1 this morning, far colder than I’d like and far colder than my skin would like. The change of season and the cold always send my skin into a mini panic but I have been replying on three products to get me through.
skincare-update-2
skincare-update-olay
For days when I want something that will remove my makeup and not irritate my skin further, I have been relying on Olay 2-in-1 Hydration Balancing and Purifying Cleansing Refreshing Facewash. It’s not the fanciest, most luxurious cleanser but it’s a great one to have on hand for days when you need a no-fuss cleanser that won’t dry out the skin. I love the smell of this cleanser, it’s weirdly comforting and it’s the perfect affordable cleanser for any of you double cleansers.

Totally different end of the price spectrum but I have been using the Le Metier de Beaute Ultimate Hydrator. Quick disclaimer, it is expensive. I was sent this and there is no way I could afford this product but it is good and I have been using it every single day for the last three weeks. It’s a great booster over moisturiser to ensure skin is well hydrated, I’ve been using it morning and night and am starting to see a real improvement.
skincare-update-trilogy
But my saving grace has truly been the Trilogy Certified Organic Rose Hip Oil, it’s one of my all time favourite oils and it always saves the day (or my skin). I’ve been reaching for it both morning and night, I’m more generous with it in the evening and use it sparingly during the day but my skin seems to love it and nothing hydrates my skin more. If you’re struggling with dry/dehydrate skin than I can’t recommend this oil more, it really helps keep my skin balanced and affordable.

What are your favourite autumn/winter skincare additions?

nars chanel house of fraser

It’s probably my everyday basics that I get most excited about purchasing, there’s something really satisfying about starting a new bottle of foundation, even if it is no different to the one I just finished.

I mentioned in my Berlin Vlog that I left my Chanel Vita Lumiere Aqua Foundation on the plane and I’ve been mourning it ever since. However in my most recent House Of Fraser order I had to order one and I’m so happy to have it back.  I also repurchased my Nars Creamy Concealer which I have been running low on.

I’ve spoken about both products before so this isn’t so much of a review but more of an update to let you know I still love both products.

I never thought that Chanel Vita Lumiere Aqua Foundation would be for me as everyone says it’s a light coverage foundation so I was surprised by just how much coverage it actually offers. I do need a little bit of concealer with it but I find it’s a light-medium coverage that is perfect for spring/summer. It has a really lovely natural finish but I do have to moisturise quite a bit before hand as I do have drier skin.

On to Nars Creamy Concealer in Custard which has been a favourite since I first tried it two years ago. I really love this concealer for days where I’m in a bit of a rush as it offers quite a lot of coverage with little work and it doesn’t cake easily either. It also works great on days where I want a fuller coverage base although I sometime do team it with a colour corrector or a brightening concealer to add extra radiance to the skin. It’s a great staple concealer that I am never without!

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)
Drugstore
L’Oreal True Match Foundation, Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation (be careful if you’re sensitive to scented products), Revlon ColorStay and L’Oreal Infallible

Highend
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…

nars space NK

Tomorrow (Feb 2nd) sees the launch of the very exciting collaboration between favourite beauty brands NARS and Space NK on the Modern Minimalist Beauty Box (there is a box but it didn’t fit in my suitcase and I really wanted to photograph the products)!

Created by NARS Make-up Ambassador Andrew Gallimore the box contains all the essentials to create the perfect, minimalist SS16 make-up look.

The most exciting product has to be the new Velvet Matte Skin Tint(worth £30) which is also exclusive to Space NK, best part of all is that you can chose the shade before purchasing the box. Also in the box are five mini products, perfect if you haven’t tried much Nars, if you’re looking for a few products for your hand bag or if you travel a lot.

Inside the box you’ll also find the mini Audacious Mascara in Black, a mini blush in cult classic Orgasm, a mini Gloss, a Black Eyeliner and a Satin Lip Pencil. For £60 this is a really great beauty box, with amazing mini’s and products which are must-haves for any beauty addicts.

I haven’t had a chance to try the foundation for myself but I’ll report back once I do, I’ve read great things about it!