Qype: Westfield Shopping Centre in London

LondonShoppingShopping Centres

I make no secret of the fact that I absolutely love shopping, although I prefer to go at times that are a little quieter so that I’m not waiting in endless queues or being elbowed out of the way whilst browsing the sale racks. This is why I absolutely HATE shopping on Oxford Street as soon as we begin to even vaguely approach Christmas time. So, for a change, my boyfriend and I decided to head to Shepherd’s Bush and explore the enormous shopping mall that is Westfield.

I must admit, I was rather dubious about this place – I expected it to be crammed, busy and generic – but it wasn’t. There are several different parts to the mall – first, there’s ‘The Village’ where you’ll find the places that I can only dream of being able to afford to shop in: Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co, Burberry etc. I had a little nose around in these places, but everything costs about a squillion pounds and the ludicrously well turned-out shop assistants and their burly security guard chums don’t make you feel very welcome. After a very short while I felt it was time to seek out the more familiar environs of H&M, New Look, Topshop and Accessorize.

My enormous salad - yum!

In this place you’ll find every generic high street store you can think of, and as they’re all flagship stores they’re all huge and incredibly well-laid out. It’s an absolutely pleasure to shop here. The sheer enormity of the place is quite dizzying though – you could easily lose an entire day wandering around (which we pretty much did).

My favourite part of Westfield though, was the food court. There’s a Pho (Vietnamese street food), a Mexican canteen, a mini Indian restaurant, Italian food, salad bars, a fish and chip place… it smells absolutely divine. I went to a little place called Ooze Risotteria where I had the most enormous salad for the bargain price of £7.95. Utterly delicious.

Check out my review of Westfield Shopping Centre – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype: Peacocks in Hove

HoveShopping

So new that the store isn’t even listed on their website yet, the newest branch of Peacocks in Sussex opened on the site of the old Woolworths on Blatchington Road, Hove at the beginning of this month.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I love Peacocks – having gone from a cheap, tacky store that few people would consider shopping in a few years ago, this place has grown into a great value, high-street fashion store with both a revamped logo and shop layout.

I was lucky enough to procure some 40% off vouchers for the opening weekend of this store (most other people only got 10% off – ha!) and consequently came away with £60 worth of clothes for well under £40. Bargain. Their clothes are better quality than Primark and H&M, but not as good as New Look if you’re looking for comparisons.

The real strength of Peacocks lies in three areas I would say: summer clothes, chunky winter knitwear and highly affordable shoes. This store has far more stock and variety than its smaller counterparts on North Street and London Road, so I would definitely recommend checking it out if you’re needing to upgrade your summer wardrobe on a budget.

Check out my review of Peacocks – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype: Kukuxumusu in Madrid

MadridShoppingCash & Carry

Kukuxumusu, which translates as “kiss of the flea”, was one of my favourite discoveries in all of Madrid. A fabulous concept for a shop, this place is full of brightly coloured clothing and accessories – all of which bear one of Kukuxumusu’s unique and hilarious designs.

Mainly revolving around animals, these designs are always fantastically funny, usually very cheeky and sometimes downright rude: mosquitoes sniffing sugar like cocaine, a chicken funeral where the hearse is an oven, wolves in disguise infiltrating flocks of sheep, hedgehogs having sex… any bizarre animal-related scenario you can think of, they’ve probably put it on a t-shirt.

At around €18 the t-shirts, they aren’t bad value for money either. If you just like the designs because they make you laugh but don’t really want to wear them, then you can buy most of them on postcards. Or even a pair of knickers, if you’d rather.

Check out Kukuxumusu’s brilliant, off-the-wall designs here.

Check out my review of Kukuxumusu – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype: Penelope’s Portmanteau in Brighton

Brighton

This fabulous little vintage fashion shop opened just over a year ago on Ship Street. You’d be forgiven for walking past it several times before realising it’s there as it’s a little bit tucked away despite an incredibly central location.

On their website, they advertise themselves as a place “where you can escape from the throwaway world of fast fashion that is here today and gone tomorrow and choose instead the timeless elegance of a quality-made, vintage item.” Indeed, this gem of a fashion boutique is a world away from the ‘fast fashion’, throwaway world of Primark, New Look and H&M that we’ve all grown so accustomed to.

Despite its small size, Penelope’s Portmanteau is absolutely crammed with stunning broaches, costume jewellery, handbags and designer vintage gowns all laid out beautifully. With a wide range of prices, you can treat yourself to a bargain of around a fiver or splurge hundreds of pounds on one-of-a-kind designer pieces: last year, they sold off a stunning collection of Vintage Elizabeth Emanuel Couture Gowns.

Fantastic for browsing and amazing for accessorising, a visit to this place comes very highly recommended for anyone who’s even remotely interested in the world of fashion.

Check out my review of Penelope’s Portmanteau – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype