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: Cath Kidston in Brighton

BrightonShoppingArts & CraftsFabric Shops

Girly, flowery, stylish… I don’t believe that there’s any self-proclaimed ‘girly girl’ out there who dislikes Cath Kidston. From the signature baby blue and pink flowered designs to stripes and polka dots, everything sold in this place is absolutely gorgeous.

I’ve long been in love with Cath Kidston’s nightwear, particularly this gorgeous dressing gown, which is so chintzy it’s brilliant. I could totally see myself lazing around the house drinking tea in this. For £65 though, I think I had better save my pennies first.

My other love affair of the Kidston range is with the luggage bags, my favourite being this one – so pretty, but undeniably practical. So I’d feel far less guilty if I were to spend £85 on it. It’s an investment after all, right…?

Guys, if you want to get your girly girlfriend a special present she’ll absolutely love, then this place is an absolute failsafe bet. Trust me.

Check out my review of Cath Kidston – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype: Cargo Homeshop in Brighton

BrightonShoppingHome Shopping

I was a big fan of Cargo Homestore when it was on East Street, but now it’s moved to the bigger and better premises on North Street, I’ve got to say that I love it even more. Spread over two large floors and stocking everything from soft furnishings to snazzy picnic hampers, this place has everything you could ever need for your home and garden.

Prices range from reasonable to expensive, but you can find some real bargains in the sales – last time I was in here I bought some plain white espresso cups with saucers for the bargainous price of £1.80 each. Result.

Upstairs, past the sofas and beds, they have a lot of similar and often identical stock to the smaller, independent shops like Bert’s Homestore – including the fantastic range of Colour Works brightly-coloured silicone kitchen wear, almost everything you’d need to open your own in-house bakery and funky Cath Kidston mugs.

I would quite happily spend a LOT of money in here, as I’m rather obsessed with both kitchen items and fuzzy cushions, both of which Cargo stocks in abundance. If you’re looking to kit out your home in style, then this is your one-stop shop.

Check out my review of Cargo Homeshop – 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: Grocer and Grain in Brighton

BrightonShoppingFood & DrinkDelicatessen

Formerly a rather tacky video rental place, this shop has recently been transformed beyond all recognition into this lovely delicatessen-come-grocer.

You could easily walk right past this little place en route to Brighton station if you don’t know where to look for it, as it’s tucked away in one of the side streets off Queen’s Road. It’s well worth hunting out though especially if, like me, you’re a big fan of independent local grocery stores.

Selling stuff like locally produced Sussex cheese, the most delicious looking freshly prepared sausages, gluten-free pastas, chutneys, jams and organic fruit and veg, this is a must-visit for all you Brightonians determined to buy local but looking for something a bit unique.

Check out my review of Grocer and Grain – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype: Clarkes Stationers in Brighton

BrightonShoppingOffice Supplies

As the name suggests, if you love stationary then this is a place you’ve absolutely got to check out. This is a far higher class of stationer’s than your average WHSmith. Selling beautifully bound notebooks – including real leather Filofaxes, the famous Moleskin notebooks, as well as the most gorgeous leather journals, this place has some brilliant stuff but it doesn’t come cheap. If you’re anything like me though and half the time can’t decide whether you actually want to write with pen and paper or have just been seduced by some seriously sexy stationary, then this place will be your heaven.

For the creatively inclined Brightonian, their piece de resistance is their collection of greeting card making paraphernalia – coloured cards, envelopes, gorgeous papers, flowers, glittery things, little model people, metallic swirly things, stick on letters… you name it, they probably stock it. True, you can go a little mad and end up spending a ridiculous amount of time and money on one single birthday card, but it’s great fun and results in a HUGE sense of achievement. Well, it does if you’re me anyway. Plus, your friends will love the thoughtful, personal touch of a handmade card.

Check out my review of Clarkes Stationers – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype: The Works in Brighton

BrightonShoppingBooks

What a great little place! For someone like me who has a penchant bordering on an obsession for both obscure and cheap books, this place is fantastic. I’ve found some great things in here: ‘The Cocktail Bible’, ‘The Green Composter’ (because I’m super green-fingered) and various recipe books for £1.99 each, hardback sketchbooks for £2.99, multicoloured gel pens for 99p, board games for under £5 and it’s an amazing place for completely random Christmas presents too.

They also have some distinctly odd things here though – my favourite being something along the lines of ‘The Top 100 Serial Killers’. Very morbid and rather disturbing, don’t you think? Especially as it had been dropped by someone next to a Disney Princess sticker-book…

Check out my review of The Works – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype