A few weeks ago Lottie, Charlotte and I headed to Oxfordshire for a day of retail therapy and delicious food after being invited to designer shopping outlet Bicester Village to celebrate the opening of 30 new stores.
The village now stretches the length of the Champs-Élysées and features new brands such as See by Chloe, Cowshed, Charlotte Tilbury and The Cambridge Satchel Company. The sweet wooden clad buildings now house over 160 shops and the whole area looks really stunning with hundreds of galvanised planters filled with seasonal flowers and tasteful Christmas trimmings.
With Farmhouse restaurant (part of Soho House), newbie Secret Garden Cafe (inspired by the 1930s novel) plus super cool airstream food trucks nestled in the walkways there are plenty of places to relax and have a bite to eat. We spent a full day there stopping for lots of refreshments along the way gathering plenty of gift list inspiration for you.
Inspiration For Your Friend
The Coccinelle store was a favourite for us and on their shelves you’ll also find practical luxury rucksacks and all manner of saddle bags and handbags. The beautiful dusky pink leather pouch was only £35 and would be perfect if your friend is going out out or as a make-up bag.
Speaking of make-up at the Charlotte Tilbury and Estee Lauder outlets there were plenty of beautiful cosmetics including ranges from Bobbi Brown, Jo Malone and Bumble & Bumble.
I was a big fan of the Cowshed store which had a few homeware pieces from the Soho House range including throws, glasses and kitchenalia. They also had lots of gift sets and individual products; their hand soap and hand lotion are a luxurious touch to any sink.
Over at The White Company boutique I came home with a Fir and Berry candle to evoke a Christmas aroma and we also thought their four pack of diffusers for less than £20 would be a lovely gift for almost anyone on your list. I actually went back to The White Company a few weeks later to treat myself to a laundry basket that was 40% off the normal price. I was fondling the towels for a long time too. You know how nothing haunts you like the things you don’t buy? I really should have picked up a few fringed ones for my new bathroom as they were only £12 each.
The Smythson shop was another hot spot, particularly for their signature leather bound notebooks which were less than half the price you’d find on the high street. They also have beautiful packaging which means one less present to wrap.
Gifts For You
I’m sure folks have been asking you what YOU’D like for Christmas. I know I got lots of ideas for myself! In more recent years I’ve been far more inclined to ask for investment pieces. If you’ve been a very good girl there are lots of savings to be had in stores such as Maje and Sandro. A girl can never have too many handbags (that’s Lottie’s mantra anyway!) so hopefully you can persuade Santa to leave a little Mulberry or Chloe bag for Christmas morning.
We were impressed with the range in the Le Creuset shop as had assumed it was a limited range but there were stacks of kitchenware on offer in a plethora of colours. Years ago James’ dad bought us a few of the french classics; the volcanic casserole dish and several rectangular dishes and we’ve used them practically every day since. Charlotte has her eye on the Coastal Blue colourway for her kitchen.
Inspiration For Him
For the man in your life there are plenty of stores to peruse. On our travels we found both casual and work shirts and ties from Ted Baker, lovely snuggly knits from Reiss and thick socks and scarves from Jack Wills.
In Mulberry we found their trademark cufflinks for £80 which make a timeless gift as well as luxurious wallets from Paul Smith. The two tone leather makes a change from the usual tan or black versions.
In years gone by I’ve bought Paul Smith socks as Secret Santa gifts for male colleagues and they always go down well, and have previously bought leather belts from Hugo Boss for my dad and Father-in-law.
The Molton Brown store had heaps of toiletries for men in there including lots of minis which make great cracker gifts if you’re doing a Lisa and making your own. Charlotte also picked up an Elderflower candle which smelt divine.
The whole place felt very swish. (My niece has started saying that word now so it’s definitely making a comeback). I was really impressed with the quality of the product in the stores and the level of customer service. There are now even luxury hand washes and perfumes in the toilets. Very posh!
Is anyone else planning a trip to Bicester? What have you got on your list and what would you like to treat yourself to?
This is a sponsored post however Charlotte and I have both been back to Bicester since we visited last month so it’s clear we can’t get enough of the place!