The Kingfisher Blogger challenge

I was recently asked if I would be interested in taking part in the Kingfisher Shopping centre £50 blogger challenge. The brief is very simple, can you get an outfit for a particular event or theme for just £50. The opportunity to spend the afternoon guilt free shopping was too good to turn down, and I said yes straight away.

Kingfisher shopping centre, in the heart of Redditch, is not a shopping centre I had ever visited before Monday. And, whilst it is no Bullring, I would definitely recommend it for an afternoon’s shop without the huge crowds of Birmingham. Kingfisher has a great variety of High Street names, from New Look to Primark, all under one roof, and it also has a Debenhams and BHS for those who love their department stores. Fashion is well catered for, particularly at the budget end of the spectrum, with Select, Internationale and Primark all having decent sized stores there, and there are also bookshops, toy shops, all-purpose stores like Wilkinsons, and beauty dispensaries like Boots and Superdrug. Basically, it has everything you need when shopping, and with enough cafes and coffee shops for when you need to take the weight off for a few minutes. I really liked it and will definitely be making another trip very soon.

My outfit – Off to the Airport

My themed outfit was something fit for airport travel – cool, comfortable, and stylish. It needed to be warm enough to withstand aircraft air- conditioning, but with layers so I wouldn’t be too hot when I arrived.

This is what I went for;

The skirt and yellow vest were from Select. The black skirt is beautifully floaty, but black hides all manner of evils when travelling with a small child who will eat chocolate at some point (I think you know what I mean…). The vest is a gorgeous sunshine yellow shade to add summertime to the skirt. I also got a leopard print, spaghetti strapped vest which could be layered for a second look. For the maxi skirt and two vest tops, a grand total of £17 was paid out, a total bargain. I was also impressed with the service and friendliness of the Select staff, something I was to find in all Kingfisher stores.

Black Corset Maxi Skirt £12.00 click to visit Select

My next stop was Primark, I don’t really think you can do a budget shopping challenge without paying a visit to the store affectionately known as ‘Primarni’. I’m not the world’s hugest fan of Primark, but think it is great for accessories. I purchased a very pretty pair of black, toe post sandals, that were reduced to £6, and a gorgeous vintage style bracelet, a steal at £2. I also couldn’t a pair of dark shades that look like Raybans – I couldn’t leave them behind for a £!

A trip to New Look finished the outfit. I fell in love with this shrunken denim jacket in faded washed denim. At £17.99 it was my most expensive purchase, but I loved it on and felt it looked smart, but also casual. I finished the look with a pretty enamel style necklace in black and white (£5.99, also from New Look.)

Light Blue Washed Effect Denim Jacket£17.99 click to visit New Look

I was really pleased with my £50 outfit, and had a great time shopping at the Kingfisher shopping Centre.

With huge thanks to Sundip Gill and the Ed James Group, and staff and stores at Kingfisher.

 

This Christmas – visit a Charity Shop.

An Oxfam charity shop in Covent Garden, London...

Image via Wikipedia

It seems to be getting harder to find a Christmas gift to suit a fashionista. Despite the ‘credit crunch‘ we still seem to live in a society where we buy what we want, whether that means saving for the ‘real thing’, or buying the Primark copy. For many of us, asking someone what they want for Christmas is met with a shrug of the shoulders, or worse still, that fatal statement ‘just get me anything’.

Christmas is also called the ‘party season’. Lots of excuses for wearing your best frocks and glitter and drinking, eating and dancing to excess. The main questions this raises are ‘WHAT SHALL I WEAR?’ We worry that we will be under-dressed, overdressed, or, worse case scenario, wearing the same dress as someone else!  All this leads me to believe that this is the year we should visit a Charity shop.

Forget any notions that charity shops are dirty, dusty or full of clothes belonging to dead people, charity shops are, on the contrary, filled with designer goods just waiting to be discovered, and vintage bargains crying out for new owners to love them. Just this month I have found a Marni tunic for £5.99, a pair of Charles Jourdan lace up shoes for £7, an original beaded 1980’s top that’s a dead ringer for designs from Kate Moss Topshop, that I bought for £3.50 and will wear on my girls night pressie swap, a 1950’s Kelly style bag, and best of all, an original 1970’s brown fake fur coat with rose buttons that I haven’t taken off since the weather became so cold. Clearly charity shops have a lot to offer for any diva looking to extend their designer or vintage wardrobe.

Just like all the main high street stores, charity shops all full of glittery, glitzy party wear and accessories, but, unlike the High Street, you have more chance of finding something unusual and original. You may find High end high street clothing for just a few pounds, or an absolute vintage gem.

 

bags, shoes and scarves neatly coordinated by Acorns, Wednesbury

Fab 60's style dress I saw on the window of a Scope shop.

But Charity shops are not just about fabulous clothing. One of my favourite finds of recent times has been a signed copy of the Gordon Selfridge biography ‘Shopping, Seduction and Mr Selfridge’ by Lindy Woodhead. You can also find cute teacups, vintage paste brooches which you could put into a little voile bags to give as quirky gifts for your friends or sisters. Most charity shops these days also have a range of new goods, from Fair trade chocolate and jewellery at Oxfam, to knitted scarves at BHF. All stores sell eco bags, which you could use to put your presents in as a nice alternative to Santa Sacks.

 

cute tea cups found in a charity shop

So, when you do your last-minute Christmas shopping this year, give charity shops a go – after all – it is Christmas, so why not share the love!