So before college on Friday, I decided to take the train up to Birmingham and treat myself to a bit of a shopping trip. I’ve been in desperate need of some retail therapy and yes, for those wondering, it did help.
I live about an hour away from Birmingham so took the train up at 8:30am and spent around 2 hours in the city browsing and spending some dosh.
I could have gone to Worcester to shop and anyone with any sense would ask why I didn’t save a £10 train fare and go there instead but Birmingham’s Primark and Lush are bigger and they have more stores that we don’t have in Worcester. Plus, since Birmingham New Street Station has been totally redeveloped into Grand Central, I’ve not actually been around the new shopping mall. If you haven’t been and live locally, go check it out because it is awesome. Joined with the Bullring just 5 minutes walk away, you have a really good shopping scene and some really big brand names that you can’t usually get on the high street.
I looked around many shops while there were no crowds and some of the shops included the Smashbox store, the Make Up Forever store, Debenhams, Waterstones and Select Fashion but I only bought from Primark, Lush, Boots and the MAC Store.
Oh, and Tesco but my 70p Orange Juice sadly didn’t make it into this haul.
I’ve been in desperate need of some more autumnal clothing so hit Primark for some colour to add to my wardrobe. You only have to open my wardrobe to see that it is predominantly black, grey and white. I only bought 1 black item! And I am very proud of myself. I also spent under £40 in Primark which is a huge achievement for someone who’s Primark total usually comes to just shy of £100… I do have a problem with shopping at Primark and I do accept this.
Luckily it’s not been too bad of late.
Mustard Yellow Jumper – Primark £10
The first item I bought is a colour that I have never worn before. It’s a mustard-ish yellow jumper that I saw and instantly fell in love with. It has such an autumnal feel to it and I can see myself wearing it out or lounging around in it with many different outfits.
When I got it to the fitting rooms, I did notice that it’s a weird fabric and a bit like some cushions my family had about 10 years ago but my mum informed me that it’s called chenille.
The more you know.
It’s a cable knit jumper and I love knitwear. I don’t own much knitwear for some unknown reason but I feel that’s going to change in the coming months.
Getting this jumper home, I noticed the sleeves were weird. You roll the ends up to a small cuff rather than leave them or fold them over. This isn’t a fault or anything but I found it a strange feature I’ve never seen before.
Overall I love this jumper and I’m actually sat wearing it as I write this!
Khaki Slinky Mac – Primark £10 (Reduced from £25)
Black Lace Up Top – Primark £5
Blue/Green Tartan Skirt – Primark £8
Khaki Bag – Primark £5 (Reduced from £9)
I bought these items with the full intention of making them a standalone outfit and using them in conjunction with other items I own.
The mac is something I never saw myself wearing but I’ve always wanted a trench coat style jacket and with how light weight it is, I can see it being perfect for the days where it’s a little chilly but too warm for a full blown coat. Being fairly short, it is almost ankle length and by far the longest coat I’ve ever owned. It is very much like a slinky dressing gown but I like it.
I can’t see myself wearing it done up (it has a belt like tie) because I look like a dealer of dodgy goods or a detective but as a fashion statement more than a practicality, this ticks all the boxes.
The black lace up top is something I wanted last year when they first came into fashion. But at the time, it was almost £10 in Primark for one (£10 or up. I think I served one customer who paid £12 for one?) and that’s fairly expensive for what is the UK’s cheapest clothing store. Or at least used to be.
But this top was £5 and with the quality of the fabric I think that’s a fair price. It’s long sleeved and the lace up front isn’t too revealing and this is great for someone who is slightly self conscious and it also means I can wear it to work without too many disapproving looks.
It’s a snug fitting top and I had to buy a 10 which is unusual for me. I’m usually an 8 but the sizes of this top did seem fairly small. However, some of Primark’s sizes (at least in the store I went to) are now XS, S, M etc instead of standalone number sizes. So small now has to be small enough for a size 6 but big enough for a size 8. If I’d bought the M, it would have been far too big and baggy.
The skirt is probably my favourite purchase of the day.
IT HAS POCKETS!
This was a selling point for me and I am so ashamed to admit that but I LIKE PUTTING MY HANDS IN MY POCKETS OK? There is logic to this, it means if my handbag falls off me, it gets caught rather than drop to the ground. It is also the most comfortable position with my elbow (I have a compressed nerve in my left arm and finding comfortable positions that don’t send shooting pains up my arm is a miracle) and slightly helps my posture which again, stops there being so much strain on my nerve.
But back to the skirt!
I love the plaid tartan fabric and the actual feel of the fabric is reminiscent of a kilt. It’s a slightly fuzzy fabric. The pattern of the fabric is really well executed because sometimes, plaid fabrics look garish and too bold but this is really pretty. The green and blue tones do slightly limit what colours you can wear with it but it’s a good buy for someone who only owns black or black and white skirts and wants a small pop of colour so she doesn’t like she’s going to a funeral.
Finally, the bag.
I’ve been in desperate need for a smaller handbag for months. My only small handbag is from Paperchase (back when Paperchase sold cute handbags for £10.50) but is blue with loads of doodled monsters all over it and it doesn’t go with some outfits, especially when I’m trying to look professional!
All of the other small-ish bags in Primark were not quite what I was looking for and just before I gave up, I saw this handbag reduced to £5. I feel it could go with anything really and the lace design is different but super pretty. I bought it and didn’t think to check that my purse (I have a really long one) would fit in there! Luckily it does so a crisis where I needed a new purse was averted!
The final Primark item I bought was these false nails with a marble effect on. I don’t wear false nails a lot so I usually buy these for £1. They’re pretty decent as far as fake nails go. The glue does last a couple of days and the pack comes with a few different nail sizes, including a tiny one for the pinky finger which is perfect for someone with small fingers like me.
Primark for me is becoming more and more expensive and I remember when tops were dirt cheap rather than £6 just because it has 3 words on it. I understand that a company has to compete with other stores and prices are rising etc but it’s come to something where I shop around for the best price rather than say
“Oh, Primark will have it cheap”
That’s a shame because I do love Primark’s style of clothes. Some of there stuff is more fun than other leading retailers such as H&M or New Look and I like that with my clothes. Primark is very much a dress for comfort store rather than a dress for fashion trends store.
But saying that, I’ve seen vast improvement to their quality in the past couple of years and even in the 10 month since I stopped working there. The makeup has got better and the range has got bigger and the quality of most of their clothes has really improved.
The next store I went into was Boots and I went in to stock up on my all time favourite brand of shampoo! It’s a well known fact that I LOVE Aussie Brand shampoo and there will be an entire post dedicated to it soon but at the moment, Boots has 3 for £10 on small bottles of Aussie products so I had to buy some.
As winter approaches, my hair dries out and goes quite limp and disgusting so I bought a shampoo and conditioner from the Auss-ome Volume range and a leave in conditioner from the Miracle Moist range to keep my ends from drying out and breaking.
I actually used both the shampoo and conditioner when I got home from college yesterday and I noticed instant results. This is very much the case with Aussie shampoos and part of the reason I changed from cheap shampoos to buying more expensive ones. They do work and they work fast.
After washing and blow drying my hair, it does go really poofy and it certainly doesn’t help when I sleep on it. Instead of having volume, it just looks awful but when I woke up this morning, my hair had retained it’s fullness and body and looked just as thick and lustrous as it did before. No fly aways- this volume is proper volume and not just bed head! My hair feels soft and healthy and smells amazing. I get so many compliments about how nice my hair smells since using Aussie products and also compliments on how healthy it looks!
I haven’t used this yet but I’m likely going to spray a bit in the ends of my hair after I next wash my hair to see how long I can keep my hair looking nice before it starts to appear straw like. Like other products, it smells beautiful and actually reminds me a little bit of Nurofen Liquid Ibuprofen mixed with mint? Call me weird but I love the smell of kids medicine and also mint. I may be wrong but it reminds me of the Winter Miracle range by Aussie so when that starts to be stocked again, I will have to check!
I only spent £10 in Boots but with my Advantage Card offers, I got double points and 50 extra points for buying shampoo so I got about £2.50 worth of points from a £10 transaction. If you don’t already have a Boots Advantage Card, I really do recommend getting one and using it when you need to buy essentials like toiletries. Your points add up quickly, especially when you use the offers they send you and if you get the app, you get even more offers tailored to you.
After Boots I went to Lush with the intention of browsing and not actually buying anything because again, I have a Lush addiction and can (and have) spent over £100 in one trip.
Moral of the story?
Don’t let me back into Lush Oxford Street.
But if you’ve ever been to Lush, you’ll know that even when you say you’re just browsing, the store assistants always manage to get you to buy something and my god, it’s annoying but these must be some of the best trained sales associates on the planet to get me to spend £8.50 on shower gel WITHOUT feeling bad for my bank card.
The £8.50 shower gel is of course Snow Fairy! I first smelt this 2 years ago but couldn’t afford a whole bottle. I only had to take one sniff of it in Birmingham and it accidentally found it’s way onto my purchase list. 12 hours later I started to regret this purchase because come on, £8.50 for a shower gel is bloody stupid! But after actually washing in it, all those regrets went down the drain. It is like being hugged by a sweet shop and bathed in sherbet and oh my god it leaves a little glitter. My childhood dream of bathing in refreshers has come true.
I can understand why this is such a popular product when Christmas rolls around and I did wonder why but not anymore. If you don’t buy it and miss it at Christmas, a scent similar is The Comforter. That’s more of a fruity scent and a bit stronger but a good enough comparison to tide you over until Christmas rolls back around.
The other product I bought from Lush was the ‘What Would Love Do?’ Gorilla Perfume. If you can imagine the smell of every Lush store you walk into put into a bottle, that’s what this smells like. It is honestly like someone captured that scent and made it a perfume.
It was £15 for a small bottle of 30ml but it will definitely be a special occasion perfume and not an everyday staple. However, don’t worry about this perfume needing to be reapplied and therefore wearing down fast, because this stuff lasts hours. No joke, it was still smellable after my shower.
I do really love Lush. While it is expensive, it’s a nice treat and when I’m having a low period, I will find a bath bomb or bubble bar and soak in the bath and come out feeling a bit better about myself. There’s something nice about smelling so fragrant and feeling slightly glittery.
My last stop was the MAC Cosmetics store in Grand Central just before I got on the train.
I bought the full size Prep & Prime Fix+ as I have heard so many good things about it and it does seem to be a cult favourite within the beauty community. For £18, this stuff better work miracles and be as good as people make it out to be.
I don’t own anything else MAC. At all. Not even a brush or a tester. First ever MAC product. And probably the most money I have ever spent on one item of makeup. I’m hoping I hate this and that does sound weird but if I love it, I’m gonna want to repurchase it and £18 is expensive for me.
I am genuinely surprised my card wasn’t declined for spending money in such a high end store and yes, that’s a genuine fear I have. Especially when I go to Waitrose before college.
Before anyone decides to comment on the fact that MAC uses animal testing and all that jazz, don’t bother. First off, MAC does claim to use different forms of product testing to animal testing. And second, this will probably be my first and only MAC purchase due to the high price tag. Call me scrimpy but even as someone who works, I don’t have the money to splash out on big brand cosmetics. I can’t 100% say whether MAC does or doesn’t test on animals but where possible I do try to support brands that are 100% cruelty free and do very much stand with that movement.
So that was my shopping haul from my trip to Birmingham! Do you own any of these products? If so, which is your favourite and why?
[NOTES: Photo credits to my sister and myself. Photos taken with my Canon 1200D DSLR. Apologies for the weird poses, I was battling the winds of Storm Brian!]