Today the Hosie gals went bargain hunting. Mum, Holly and I pootled off to Oxfordshire with high hopes and wallets at the ready. And readers, we had a successful day (keep your eyes peeled for a post about our exciting finds later eeeeep!) Bicester Village is a big outlet shopping area in Oxfordshire with tons of designer shops (Burberry, Calvin Klein, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, D&G, Dior, Mulberry to name but a few) as well as high street brands like Joules, Cath Kidston, Jack Wills, Clarks and Ted Baker. Bicester is generally a lovely shopping environment. The shops are really well laid out, interspersed with plenty of eateries – Pret (the main attraction from mum), Carluccios, Starbucks, ice cream stands and more. Before we left, the sister and I shared a chocolate and banana crepe, freshly, um, creped(?) in front of our eyes. Mmmm it was delicious. Bicester is clean, there are lots of lovely hanging baskets and outdoor benches, and a good deal of loos.
I find loos are always a good indicator of how nice a place is. The loos at Bicester are BIIIIG, there’s hand lotion as well as soap (this pleases me), and two hand-drying options: paper towels and air dryers. Luxury eh? That said, we had to queue every time. Boo. Loo queues is probably the only thing that makes me wish I was a man. As Bicester is so pleasant, a trip there is a really nice day out even if you don’t buy anything. And to be honest, you may very well not. Unless you have a lot of money, you might be a little disappointed – I often am. Maybe not. I’m just saying don’t go with super high expectations. Today it was veeery busy, but we were there from around which is probably prime time. Unless you live nearby and can get there early, I’d recommend perhaps going a bit later in the day, as everything stays open until 9pm for the summer at least.
The really expensive designers are still really expensive despite their discounts, and the high-street brands tend not to have particularly great discounts. Of course, there are some fab finds, but I think it all comes down to luck on the day. Personally, I don’t tend to go to Bicester for the big designers or to look for clothes – unsurprisingly, I’m all about the handbags. As I’m obviously not a kajillionaire, I prefer to spend my hard-earned money on designer accessories which will (hopefully) last. Handbags just do it for me. I can’t explain why. So today I spent most of my time in Kate Spade (OK, the majority of my time was there), Mulberry (obviously I’m a huge fan but the Bicester discounts always disappoint me a bit), Anya Hindmarch and Michael Kors.
Pretty little bags (and well reduced) in Anya Hindmarch
Until today, I hadn’t been to Bicester for over a year – as you all probably know, I bought myself my first Mulberry from their Shepton Mallet Outlet Store last August (best purchase of my life), so I figured it was about time for another dip into my savings. That said, I originally wanted to go to Bicester today to look for an iPad case, not a handbag. Oops. God, I’ve really been treating myself of late, haven’t I? But generally I never buy anything, am super thrifty and have all my work savings from the year so YO-flippin-LO. Over the years, I’ve found a few really good bargains in Bicester, including a beautiful Vivienne Westwood wallet (which I love and have used every day since) and my Leavers’ Ball dress from Coast. It’s worth checking the Bicester Village website before you go though, as the shops tend to change rather frequently. Today I was excited to discover both an Emma Bridgewater and a Kate Spade which weren’t there the last time I went.