I’m not really a natural shopper. Most of my Christmas shopping is confined to a hurried Amazon shop a few days before the big day, but I’ve really been trying to get organised this year. We’re a bit spoiled for choice with shopping here in Bristol, but let’s not forget that a short trip down the M4 you arrive at McArthur Glen Swindon Designer Outlet, with over 90 shops to choose from, all at amazing discounts! I do love a bargain, me.
I was kindly invited along by McArthur Glen to take part in their Gift Hunter Challenge – to find gifts for my three nearest and dearest for under £250, as well as a treat for me! Of course, being the hopeless gift finder that I am, I jumped at the opportunity to explore the new mall and tick a few presents off my shopping list.
We started with a little tour of the place, which has considerably grown in size since my last visit a few years ago. The recent addition of the ‘longshop’ mall has added a whole host of new stores to choose from, including Phase Eight, Ghost and a beautiful Paperchase which I spent far too much time in! After our tour we made a beeline straight for the Lindt shop, to fill our boots with tasty treats.
The whole mall looked really festive, with the halls well and truly decked with wreaths, holly and impressive lifesized nutcracker statues. What I love about the Swindon Outlet is that they’ve maintained some of the history of the place – sitting alongside the modernity is hints of it’s former life as part of the GWR, with trains and Victorian bits galore. I was in history geek heaven.
After a busy morning shopping it was time for a sit-down and a well earned Wagamama’s at their beautiful new food quarter, which has just opened. Cue happy noodle face! If noodles aren’t your thing then there’s a Pizza Express and a delightfully kitsch-looking Ed’s Easy Diner, if that takes your fancy.
Of course, let’s not forget why I was there in the first place – for hardcore gift-buying. I had an idea of who I wanted to buy for before I went in there, but that may have changed a little, seeing as I took Tom along to help, and thought he deserved a bit of a treat.
We picked Tom up a new jacket from Tog 24, a new pair of jeans from Ben Sherman (who, as well as being at a discounted price, also had an extra 25% off! Woo hoo!), and some sturdy looking boots from Timbaland. We hardly ever get Tom new clothes, so it was a nice chance to pick up a few bits which will be really useful during the winter. Plus he looks very dashing in his new get-up.
Next up was my little sister, who at the grand old age of 12, isn’t the hardest person to buy for! We have a very similar taste in things (naturally), so I picked out things I would be happy to recieve myself. Alongside a little hot chocolate kit I made with a Le Creuset mug, Lindt chocolates and fancy hot chocolate from Whittards, I got a mini gift set from the Body Shop, plus some of their banana conditioner which I’ve heard amazing things about. As well as this I picked up a few bits from Paperchase, including these awesome cat highlighters and tortoise push pins. I’m definitely resisting the temptation to keep these for myself…
When we first thought about who to buy for with this challenge, the first people we decided to tick off the list were Tom’s parents. They have just re-done their dining room, so we decided to treat them with a new set of salt and pepper grinders from Le Creuset, as well as two mugs in their iconic volcanic orange finish. As well as this we found this absolute bargain Sabatier knife set in kitchen shop Amefa, down from £200 to a very tidy £30!
Of course I needed to find a gift for myself, which turned out to be a lot harder than I thought it would be! I settled on a few treats which I’ve always wanted – a decent fitting pair of jeans from Levi’s, a massive Yankee Candle (plus some mini ones), and I also treated myself to a new pot of my favourite eye cream from their amazing Cosmetics Company store.
All in all, a day well spent I think!
Thanks so much for McArthur Glen for inviting me along to see the new mall and pick out these treats to take home. I think I did pretty well at my Gift Hunter Challenge, but I won’t know until the 25th! What do you reckon?