Shop the Sales 2013

What with work, socialising and shopping, I’ve barely had time to blog recently – but don’t worry, because that is set to change! Back to regular posting, and back to my weekly bag ‘n’ shoes posts, too!

Meanwhile, here’s a taster of the sales goodies I’ve been hauling in over the past month – some of them are much coveted items whilst others are ‘I-can’t-resist-a-bargain’ impulse purchases…

Shop the Sales 2013

I have a weakness for glitter, gold and French Sole, so when these Henriettas went in the sale for half price (£60) I couldn’t resist. The navy ones were also on sale for the same price, and I told myself that I was being restrained by not buying both… Then at the weekend, my husband and I happened to go into a French Sole store where they had the navy (bottom left) in my size, so I claimed another pair as a Valentine’s Day present! Just have to wait until February to wear them, but I’ve been taking them out of the box to admire them every so often…

The Mulberry gold dress in the centre was down from £495 to £75 in Bicester Village, and I couldn’t believe the price tag at first. It’s a beautiful shimmery soft gold, very pretty indeed.

Another Bicester bargain, this Alice Temperley scarf was just £22 and has a lovely neutral shade to it.

The dress on the far left is a green wool dress from Cos, which I first saw at the lovely Lilac Pages blog. I love the shape and so I stalked it until it went on sale on Christmas eve. It actually didn’t arrive until early January though!

Another ‘patience is a virtue’ purchase is the Great Plains Palace Wrap coat. I have a picture of this pinned to my noticeboard by my desk and was eagerly awaiting the sale. When it was reduced from £140 to £110, I gave up a little bit, but then it was reduced to half price and I snapped it up immediately!

These Mulberry signature heels are divine, and although I was really after the flats, I consoled myself with the high heels and bought the McQ by Alexander McQueen suede biker flats on the right as well…

The central green Anya Hindmarch clutch is the bargain of the century for me. Originally on sale for £595, I found it at Bicester for £50. It plays ‘Deck The Halls’ and is adorable, but sadly, you can’t even fit a lipstick inside it! I’m happy with spending £50 on it though, it’s very quirky.

Finally, the bottom right purchase was my final and most extravagant. A half price exotic tweed large Lily in flame from the Mulberry outlet store. I saw this bag months ago on a style blog and fell in love. It’s also been carried by Jennifer Lawrence – and who doesn’t love a bit of J-Law in their wardrobe? Anyway, it’s probably my favourite Mulberry bag to date, and I’m thrilled I managed to scoop one up.

So, have you been shopping in the sales? Pick up any bargains? Let me know!

Shopping Alert! French / London Sole Factory Shop Visit

Is there anything more delicious than a factory store dedicated to your favourite brand (and, of course, I must mention, a brand worn by the Duchess of Cambridge herself!)? I don’t think so! You might remember I visited the French Sole warehouse sale last October, and came away with five pairs of gorgeous shoes. So, when I heard that there was to be a permanent factory shop, I made plans to visit as soon as I possibly could. I was skeptical that it would be as cheap as the warehouse sale – because, why would it be, when it’s a permanent installation? – but it turned out to be even better than I hoped!

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The French Sole warehouse shop might look unassuming from the outside, but inside it’s a bargain boutique that looks amazing, and is full of drop dead gorgeous shoes at rock bottom prices. You can purchase a pair of metallic silver or gold fold up flats for £10, and the bargain bins are full of sample shoes priced at £20 (but these are mostly 37s, I believe). The shoes on display are just £25 each, and boots cost £40! At the warehouse sale, flats were £20 and quilted flats were £40, so I think, on balance, the shop is cheaper by far. With these crazy prices, no wonder I came away with a couple of amazing pairs! Okay, maybe more than a couple… Maybe six…

Factory French Sole 2

I’ll be revealing my gorgeous purchases one by one over the following weeks – I’m calling them my ‘holiday collection’, because I came away with sequins, velvet, lush green, vibrant red, bows and jewels! Here’s a small sneak peek:

The End

The French Sole factory store is open every Friday from 10am to 4.30pm at Lambs Farm Business Park, Basingstoke Road, Swallowfield, RG7 1PQ. They get fresh deliveries every week, and carry end of lines, discounted styles, press samples, factory samples, and catwalk shoes. They also carry London Sole shoes, which is the company’s name in the US, so don’t be put off if you pick up a London Sole pair – they’re the same shoes, same company, just a different name! The shop takes cash or card. And, there’s a very nice farm shop just up the road where you can have lunch if the fancy takes you – or if you want to make a day of it, pop into Reading city centre, which isn’t far at all!

Some small words of caution: you really need to visit this store in person to try these shoes on properly, unless you have a twin sister with the same sized feet as you – who somehow has such sisterly love for you that she’ll sacrifice up her bargains to pass along (I don’t think so… Am I right, girls? Ha!). I came away with shoes in sizes 39, 39.5, 40 and 40.5. French Sole shoe sizes vary from model to model, and with factory samples, you can never be 100% confident with your usual size until you put them on! I truly don’t think you’d save money trying to get someone to pick some up for you, as £25 is only a bargain if the shoes actually fit… Also, there are no exchanges, returns or refunds, as this is a factory store (this is very common policy for these kind of discount shops).

All of this information was correct at time of writing, but I can’t guarantee that the prices or opening hours will remain the same – if you have any doubts, contact info@frenchsole.com for help!

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My Bargain Buy: Hobbs Boots for £15!

Do you remember back in November when I told you I visited the Isle of Wight to see my family, and happened to stumble across a very interesting shop? Cameo of Cowes is a second-hand retailer with a difference – it sells lost property from places like sorting houses, cruise ships, railways stations and the like. I’m sure we’ve all experienced the misery of losing something at some point or another – allow karma to gift you back something special, because this little gem is packed full of plush gear at low prices, and it’s all just waiting for you to drop by and treat yourself! I managed to bag a Reiss cardi for £8, a pair of strappy L.K. Bennett black heels for £9, and these amazing, immaculate Hobbs ankle boots for £15!

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As soon as I saw both pairs of shoes on the shelves (believe me, they jumped out right away) I felt that mix of elation and fear that all bargain hunters experience. First – the happiness of seeing something that looks perfect for you. Second – will they be in the right size? Will they be the right price? By a miracle, both shoes were my size (a clumpy 7… Sigh), and I’m sure you’ll agree, for that price, it would have been rude to have left them in the shop!

Hobbs boots top Hobbs boots detail

Hobbs boots inside

Has anyone had any amazingly bargainous purchased they’d like to share? I love hearing stories about great finds!

People Tree: Marie Fleece Wrap Cardigans

Ever love an item of clothing so much you’ll pay full price for it, twice? I’m not saying “no regrets”, but I definitely didn’t think twice purchasing both colour versions of this amazing fleece wrap cardi from People Tree. Not at the same time, I add – I’m not nuts (or wildly rich). But sometimes, when you get yourself a winner and you just know you’ll be wearing it for years, investing in another colour just makes sense!

People Tree
First of all, it’s fleece, so it’s warm, and not too formal looking. Secondly, I love the kimono style and the cinched waist because of the belt. Thirdly, the grey version especially is a win-win for me – no cat hair shows up! Ah, the glam life…
Anyway, good news is, this is currently on sale for half price at People Tree, for £32.50. I heartily recommend this very versatile jacket – every time I’ve worn it, I’ve been complimented on it! Now that’s how you can tell a good item of clothing…