07 December 2012

Bicester Village Bargains

In an effort to use up some of my remaining holiday allowance, I took the day off work and headed back to The Shire last night. This morning, Papa and I drove up to the Pays Noir to visit my grandparents. On the way, we made a brief stop at Bicester Village. It wasn't quite as bad as on Boxing Day, but given that we arrived at about 10.15 on a Friday morning, I was surprised that the main car park was already full.

Never a quiet day at Bicester Village

I didn't have a lot of time to shop, but it had been a while since my last visit, and so it's always nice to see which new shops have arrived. Orla Kiely, for example, is new, and although they had some nice bags and accessories, the discount wasn't quite tempting enough to tempt me into a purchase (especially when you can still get Orla Kiely stash at Uniqlo at the moment). Another new-to-me shop was Tory Burch and they had quite a good selection of shoes (especially ballet pumps), wallets, and other small accessories.

I nipped into Mulberry, just in case they happened to have the perfect handbag in an off-season colour that I adored for a bargainous price (they didn't) and then lusted further over the leather goods in Smythson. Their leather phone holders usually retail about £95-120, but I picked up a pretty pink BlackBerry case and saw it was reduced to £25; sadly, all the iPhone-size holders were still £75, which speaks volumes for the state of the BlackBerry brand. However, they were being slightly cheeky with the prices, because the original price on most of the cases I looked at was closer to £120, but only £75-95 online, so do try to ensure your bargain is as bargainous as you think.

Kate Spade is coming soon...but not soon enough for me

My heart skipped a beat when I saw the words Kate Spade and I hurried over to the store, but frustratingly, they don't open until Monday. Boo! Worse still, a guy was fixing the door and I could see the shop assistants playing with some of the bags and accessories that had already been set out inside. They wouldn't let me come in and empty the contents of my wallet, however. It will be interesting to see what kind of discounts you get on Kate Spade products at Bicester compared with the UK and US retail prices.

I did buy a couple of things: a bright pink 8-cup cafetiere from Bodum (£11, reduced from £28) for when I have extensive coffee-drinking company at home, and some Origins GinZeng eye cream (£15 including a portable hot drink cup; the eye cream is usually just over £20). I was also tempted by some gorgeous rain boots in Paul Smith, in his signature stripe pattern, but I didn't have time to try them on or to find out whether £80 was a good deal.

Overall, the stock was pretty good: there was definitely a lot more variety than on Boxing Day in 2010, so if you are planning a Bicester trip, it may be better to do so before Christmas (we've been informed that they start to make bigger reductions a few days before Christmas). That said, it's often luck of the draw; I've found some great bargains, including a navy Theory blazer for £60, but have also come away empty-handed on more than half of my visits.

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