I loved my Autumn/Winter 2016 blogger event with intu (if you haven’t read it yet, you can check it out here) so when they invited me back for a Christmas shopping event I couldn’t wait. The Christmas Village is lovely and the whole area has a real festive feel.
A serious shopping session requires caffeine, and there is nowhere better for a kick-ass flat white than Pret. I travel a fair amount with work and Pret is my favourite place to grab a healthy lunch to eat on the train (the Chicken, Pesto & Buffalo Mozzarella Salad is awesome). So, nicely refreshed after visiting the Pret within Midsummer Place, I head straight to Coast to check out some Christmas party looks.
Coast have some fantastic sale items at the moment, which is perfect if you want something for the Christmas parties that is high-end without breaking the bank. The first dress I try on is the Callista Printed Dress, reduced from £225 to just £99. It is completely stunning, made of weighty jacquard which helps give you a nice smooth shape, and features both a bardot neckline and dipped hem.
Callista Dress, now £99, Coast (Midsummer Boulevard)
I am a massive fan of a Christmas jumper, but if novelty versions aren’t your thing try the Celyn Knit Top, £69. Super soft with a slim fit, it features subtle Christmas shapes in silver and copper diamantes. It looks cute paired with the Prinsloo Jacquard Skirt, £95 – perfect for when you want to look well put-together without trying too hard.
Celyn Knit Top £69, Prinsloo Jacquard Skirt £95, both Coast (Midsummer Boulevard)
If you’ve seen the recent Coast ads, you’ll have seen the ever-stylish Olivia Palermo looking stunning in the Exeter Jacquard Skirt, now reduced from £179 to £119. This skirt again features a dipped hem, but also pockets – great for striking a pose. The Milton Keynes Coast store always has excellent customer service and the helpful (and stunningly pretty) Olivia helped me style the skirt with the Robyn Structured Top, £89. I would never have chosen this top myself as it looked cropped (I’m not a fan of exposing my midriff in public) but as the skirt sits high on the waist it was a perfect match.
Robyn Structured Top £89, Exeter Jacquard Skirt now £119, both Coast (Midsummer Boulevard)
Those of you who read my last blog will know I love fur (faux, of course) and Coast hasn’t disappointed this season with the beautiful Hollywood-style Chelsea Faux Fur Coat. Not too long in the body, it sits perfectly over the high-waisted skirts and dresses I tried on and you will use it every party season.
Chelsea Faux Fur Coat £129, Coast (Midsummer Boulevard)
Next, I head over to Karen Millen which is beautifully arranged, making it easy to spot loads of gorgeous pieces.
Karen Millen (Midsummer Boulevard)
Straight away I spot this gorgeous Italian wool, camel-coloured coat. I have been hunting for one like this and it’s definitely the best one I’ve found. It has a detachable fur collar meaning you could use it for autumn, winter and spring. I’m not usually a fan of detachable collars, as they can be quite obvious and look ‘gappy’, but this one is so cleverly crafted I didn’t even realise at first that it was detachable. At £350 it’s an investment piece, but it will last year after year and continue to look fantastic.
Camel Coat CZ032 £350, Karen Millen (Midsummer Boulevard)
Next up was this achingly hip biker jacket in a go-with-everything deep tan colour. The Italian leather is some of the softest I’ve felt and I loved the chunky silver zips. It’s another luxury piece at £399 but no-one wants to wear cheap leather do they?!
Slim Biker Jacket JZ055 £399, Karen Millen (Midsummer Boulevard)
Feeling brave, I decided to try the Two-Tone Satin Jumpsuit, £250. I normally avoid jumpsuits as I worry they’ll make me look heavy on the bottom half, but this one is super-slimming on your waist, hips and bum – great if you’ve got curves. The detailing on the satin top half really adds some interest too. This is a great alternative to a dress for a Christmas party too.
Two-Tone Satin Jumpsuit PZ077 £250, Karen Millen (Midsummer Boulevard)
However, if an LBD is a winter essential for you, this Black Fringe Mini Dress, £199 is stunning and really unique. I absolutely love the detailing at the top.
Black Fringe Mini Dress DZ107 £199, Karen Millen (Midsummer Boulevard)
Next, it’s time to hunt for some gifts for my friends and family, so off to Debenhams I go to see what the beauty counters have to offer. First up, I know my Mum is need of some more Viktor & Rolf BonBon Eau De Parfum – mostly because she very clearly informed me of it with a hopeful look in her eye (£50 for 30ml, £70.50 for 50ml or £99 for 90ml). Hint taken, Mum, this lovely caramel-y scent will be under the tree for you come the 25th.
Viktor & Rolf BonBon Eau De Parfum £50 for 30ml, £70.50 for 50ml or £99 for 90ml, Debenhams (Midsummer Place)
These Benefit gift sets are perfect for my 13 year old niece who is just starting to explore the wonderful world of make-up. She’ll love ‘It’s a Gal’s World’ (the peach-coloured box on the middle shelf in the picture below), which contains the legendary ‘Porefessional’ primer, as well as an eyeliner, mascara and four eyeshadows in easy to wear shades. There’s even an eyeshadow applicator included and it’s under £25.
‘It’s a Gal’s World’ £24.50, Benefit, Debenhams (Midsummer Place)
OK, so I know I said I was shopping for friends and family, but I am my own best friend so I think I thoroughly deserve this beautiful bareMinerals ‘Glow Together’ palette, perfect for getting the ultimate Christmas shimmery highlight.
‘Glow Together’ £29, bareMinerals, Debenhams (Midsummer Place)
After that short distraction, it’s back to my list and this ‘Give Me a Swirl’ brush set is amazing value. Previously, I’ve bought each of the brushes individually at a total cost of £78. With this set, you get the Supreme Finisher Brush, Blooming Blush Brush and Expert Shadow & Liner Brush for only £39. If you’re in any doubt as to how good these brushes are check out my previous review on them here. They’re super soft, don’t shed and wash really well. I reckon my sister will love them.
‘Give Me a Swirl’ £39, bareMinerals, Debenhams (Midsummer Place)
Finally, it’s time for the obligatory goodie bag shot, and intu haven’t disappointed with more fantastic treats. The Karen Millen tote is just gorgeous and the Clinique cosmetic bag with skincare and make-up left me feeling totally spoilt. Add to that an intu gift card (yay, more shopping!), some fragrance samples and a lovely Pret Christmas Tiffin and I am one happy (and shopped out) blogger.
So get yourself up to intu, get your presents bought, and then relax and enjoy the run up to Christmas Day safe in the knowledge there’ll be lots of happy faces when the presents are opened.
Beauty Geek x
Join my Facebook page here and follow me on Instagram at secret.diary.of.a.beauty.geek