Joy is exactly what I found recently at Bicester Village.
My old stomping ground for fab finds, I hadn’t had a chance to pop there since they had extended and refurb’ed so I was a tad excited when I was invited to do a shopping edit there. Their super chic visitors centre is a hub of info and a welcome stop if you need to sort out reclaiming the V.A.T. like loads of their lucky overseas visitors who come here by the bus load.
We were treated to Valet Parking – what a joy! Having someone adios the car whilst you bomb it to the bargains is a treat that I’d never had before and I’m now hooked, as the other benefit is you can have all your shopping sent straight to the car with no heavy bags to carry!
Such was my glee at all the beautiful pieces they had to offer to brighten up my cold February morning, I was like an over excited puppy and wanted to shop from the first store we entered!
Luckily I had Andrea, my bestie, with me to rein me in a bit or I’d have been bankrupt by home time!
Now the thing about Bicester is, you can’t go with £50 in your pocket and expect a day a la Pretty Woman on Rodeo Drive. They have bargains, but the stores there are high end designer and that comes at a price. Typically, markdowns are 50% which is an absolute delight, but bear in mind the starting prices pre-discount can be eye watering, so manage your expectations before you get all puppy dog excited and bound over there expecting a hefty haul for a hundred quid.
More savvy is to back off the mike from buying disposable fashion willy nilly, and save your spondoolies for a key investment piece and a little cheeky treat on the side.
I’ve gone there many a time just for a mooch, some inspo, and a bit of lunch with the girls and if you are disciplined enough to window shop, the day out is enough in itself. However, people come from far and wide (especially the Far East!) to visit this cult shopping destination and I totally get why.
You can spend the day here, shop til you drop and eat fabulous food without the crowds or distance to cover that London demands. It is easily accessible from all over the country and there is more parking than ever before so the options are yours.
As I’m lucky enough to live under an hour from Bicester, we went along on a quiet Tuesday morning and managed to see it at it’s best, having the run of the stores and the pick of the bunch.
I could go on all day about how brilliant this place is but you are here for great pics and shopping info so let’s crack on!
First off I was drawn like a magpie to this fab keyring in Prada. I love that Miu Miu & its mummy are housed in the same bumper treasure trove and although there were bags galore at knock down prices, I wasn’t quite ready to splurge that much.
I am partial to a bit of Kate Spade so I treated myself to this absolutely darling bargain of a bracelet. Marked down to £36 THEN a further 30% off – I could not believe my luck! It was so pretty and such a steal that I also bought myself a rose gold one. At the till I paid £27 – what a touch! The store was choc full of discounts and amazing prices.
As we passed Vivienne Westwood, I have such a thing for Viv’s accessories, I couldn’t resist a peek.
I didn’t plan to buy anything from there as I didn’t need a new purse, but really was shocked to see a stunning wallet at a real steal.
This stunning silver purse was £91 and for something of that quality we were genuinely surprised at the tag.
Now my final tip from the edit is this gorgeous fitted Ralph Lauren blazer. I bought one from Bicester a couple of seasons ago with gold detail – I love mine and get so many compliments, it made perfect sense to pick up an update in silver for this season.
That came in at £99 but RL and various other Bicester stores often have 10% if you are signed up to their emails, which makes it even more of a bargain.
My top tip though, when in Bicester, a must-do is a booking for afternoon tea at farmhouse restaurant and cafe – I cannot recommend it highly enough.
In the cosiest environment, with the yummiest food and service second to none, we feasted royally on some dishes to share first of all, as we had really shopped up an appetite.
Coup de champagne warmed us from the inside out and was then followed by a quintessentially British afternoon tea fit for the Duchess who started the whole tradition.
I love food photos so please excuse the overload – it was too delish to resist!
Over our fizz, I debated about a gorgeous jumper I’d seen in Gucci which was truly an investment piece but had stolen my heart. We weighed up the pros and cons, I’d only gone into the store as Andrea was desperately seeking some new pumps and I fancied playing dress up, but this piece just gave me that lurch in my stomach that only a beautiful garment can do.
Our new friend Michele who had the patience of a saint and was sweet enough to allow us to fulfil my dress-up Gucci fantasies, ended up bringing me something to go with a skirt I was twirling in and that was the showstopper itself.
Two glasses of Prosecco later and it was in the bag. Ooops!
Even more out of character for me, I had my new purchase on before we even left the village I loved it that much!
Our day came to an end all too quickly as mum duty was calling and we headed off, shopped out and happy. I could quite happily live in Bicester Village!
Until next time lovelies xxxx