Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

Slow Down, Shop Right

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012


Post-Christmas everyone goes a little nuts for the sales. I’m not sure who these people are who start lining up at 2am for the Next sale, but I don’t think I could ever be one of them. I am by no means knocking the urge to get a bargain, but I do think that people often forget how to shop smart at these times. All too often, any thoughts of quality, fit and things that actually suit you go out the window in favour of bagging the most amount of stuff for the least amount of wonga. In these times of instant gratification, I vote we slow down a bit, put some pride and time back into our shopping experience and do it right.


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Sales and Stampedes

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Stuff is expensive and times are hard which is why it makes sense that people love a sale (or take to a life of crime, whatever). But there’s loving a sale, then there’s camping out for days beforehand or punching people in the face if they get their hands on the thing you wanted. Everything in moderation, eh? I saw this video footage the other day of the Black Friday sales in the States last week and it hurt my soul. I just don’t think I’ll ever want anything badly to get wrapped up in a stampede.


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Behind the Scenes of Westfield Stratford City

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

I was lucky enough this week to have a very exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the new, not-yet-open-to-the- public Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, East London. To say I was excited would be an understatement. Anyone who lives in East London knows what this centre, along with the 2012 Olympic stadium, will do for the area, so to be here watching it all happening makes me feel pretty darn lucky. Take a glimpse below for some stats and exclusive pics.


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Sale Hate

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

My God, I hate sales. I hate shopping in general really, but that hideous experience is compounded tenfold when there are sales on. The world and its mother can’t resist getting their grubby little mitts on anything that has a few pennies slashed off it. I tend to avoid these clusterfucks at all costs, but sometimes, you have no choice but to engage. A few days after Christmas I informed my parents to get some bail money ready: I was going to the sales.

All I needed was a camera, a 2011 diary and a birthday present for Mama Bangs, who had the nerve to be born on December 29th (look, all you people who were born around Christmas, enough already. Doctor your birth certificate and move that shit to June – it really makes things much easier for the rest of us). I had a plan of action, that I planned out with military precision and would not be swayed from.

I’d seen pictures in the paper of hoards of people who queued overnight to get into the Selfridges sale. You can file that under ‘Things You’ll Never Catch Me Doing.’ There was video online a few weeks ago of the Black Friday sales in the States where people literally trampled over one another to get into a Walmart, then had fist fights over a microwave. What a bunch of simpletons.

I stepped off the bus into a foggy city centre that looked like the apocalypse. People, like rats, everywhere, with bags hanging from every available appendage, darting around from shop to shop, barging, pushing, yelling. I weaved through the hoards, found my way to PC World  and located the camera I wanted. Why is it that in electronics shops, when you’re just browsing, there’s a sales assistant all the way up your ass expounding the benefits of any given product, but when you actually want to buy something, you have to go on a witch hunt to find one? When I finally hunted one down, my purchase took over ten minutes just due to the heightened madness that a sale brings.

On to WH Smith for a diary and birthday card. Parents with pushchairs the size of Land Rovers take charge of the streets and give death stares to anyone who dare get in their way. WH Smith is hell on earth, full of grannies stocking up on half price Christmas cards for next year. It took me an age for me to find anything, then the queue to pay was several lifetimes long. My goods are rung up and I open my purse only to discover that PC World guy forgot to give me my card back. I shake an angry fist as the sky and curse electronics stores the world over before charging back to the shop to retrieve my card.

Barely two shops in and I was completely zapped of energy. I stopped for a moment to just take in what was going on. As I watched people shove each other out of the way, laden with bags, shops with clothes crammed on every inch of available rail, spilling over onto the floor as people trampled over them, I suddenly felt quite sick. What a disgusting display of our greed this all is. At a time of year where we’re given time off to spend with our families to enjoy the season, we’re all out there making mindless purchases of things we most likely don’t need or even want but feel smug about nonetheless because we saved £2.

And with that, I got back on the bus and got the hell outta dodge.

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Westfield Car Boot(ique)

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

As part of Fashion Week, which just ended yesterday (*single tear dribbles down cheek*), Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush, London have staged a car boot sale. It’s not your average car boot with old tat, obviously. Some of the best shops in the centre are displaying their new season goodies.

Most of them are running some really cool competitions too. You can win anything from make up to holidays.

The Car Boot in Westfield is running til this Sunday (26th) and on Saturday, there will be some exclusive fashion shows happening there. I can’t recommend it enough. Get yourself down there!

For more info, head on over to the Westfield website.

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Summer Shoe Hell

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010


Ahh May, welcome! Traditionally, this is the time of year where I kick my wardrobe change over into overdrive and begin my quest for light, fun spring/summer wear. This past weekend, I decided to shop (read: surf the interweb) for shoes. As is well documented on this site, I have a deep, intense love of footwear, so the act of shopping for it is usually joyous. This time though, it was a joyless, soul-destroying experience. What in the world are shoemakers doing?

Take for example those shoes above. Clogs. Every single shop has a variation of these hideous things. I don’t care how much to try to convince me clogs are a good idea, I cannot and will not partake in this sham of a mockery of a mockery of a sham. Unless you’re Dutch, get your shit together and wear proper shoes.

image1lThen there’s these. What the hell are these? I came out bashing the shoe/boot hybrid as soon as they came on the scene. They make no kind of sense. Can I wear them when it’s hot? Well sure I can, if I want to show off my big toe and have sweaty ankles. Can I wear them when it’s cold? Most definitely, if I want to have my frostbitten toes surgically removed at the end of the day. Which genius came up with these things?

I want no part of it. Where do you wear these? And with what?! It’s entirely too confusing.

image1l-2Look at these things. Well, let’s see; I’m not in the cast of Hair and have no plans to go to a 70s themed fancy dress party anytime soon, so why would I buy these?

Hideous, awful, outrageously bad. Even the most unfashionable people I know wouldn’t wear these (except for the fact that I obviously don’t know anyone unfashionable, but whatever).

image1l-1By the time I scrolled down and saw these, I’d figured out that whoever designed them has an intense drug problem. Imagine all the processes these had to go through to get made and make it onto the mass market. Some idiot took the time to design these, choose that delightful combination of colours to go together, add laces, a rubber toe and heel – this was all put on paper and presumably run past a manager or two. Then they went into production and representatives showed these to shoe stores and those shoe stores looked at this and said….’Yes, our customers who ride on the special bus will love these.’

image1xl-1OK, let’s talk through exactly what is going on here: that’s cork on the sole, followed by an inexplicable layer of beige, leading into an orange wedge, topped off by grey nubuck, laces, buckles and what looks to be a denim or suede accent trim. That, my friend, is a lot. That shoe looks like it weighs at least 300lbs. How am I meant to put one foot in front of the other if I can’t even lift them?

Whenever you see models take a tumble on the catwalk, they’re always wearing something like this. Let this be a warning ladies.

So when this is the calibre of shoe I see on offer at any given shoe store, is it any wonder I’m seriously worried about having to roam the streets barefoot this summer? What am I looking for? Simplicity. Every summer I like to have at least one pair of flat sandals, perhaps a pair of wedges and one pair of open-toed shoes, maybe with a slingback. I’m not asking too much!

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Dear Shopping,

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

I came to a realisation recently that has shaken me to my very core: I hate you. Yep, BB King said it best, ‘The Thrill Has Gone.’ It just doesn’t feel the same anymore. I don’t yearn for you, I don’t long for days off so I can indulge in you. I cheated on you with the internet a few times, but even that was a bit ‘meh’. And you know what it’s all about? It’s because you’ve cheapened yourself.

No, literally, you have. You’re all ‘Primark’ and ‘New Look’ and whatever. I can’t handle it. Seeing people run through those stores and get 57 items for £2.50 just crushes my soul. I cannot possibly shop in places that encourage you to use a basket. Do you know what it’s like to see people pile clothes into a basket with no regard for the style, colour or if they’d even suit them? No you don’t damnit! You just want me to spend money!

But you know what? I refuse to do it. Everyone’s gotten so caught up in this hysteria of cheapness. It’s the ‘in’ thing now to brag about how much you got for how little. I can’t remember the last time I paid someone a compliment about an outfit without them retorting ‘It was £8 from Primark!’ Shopping, you are now just about price when you used to be about quality. People look at the price before they even look at the style. If it’s cheap enough, the style goes out the window altogether. Who cares if it suits you when it only costs £3?

The things I used to love about you, Shopping, were taking time, feeling fabrics, admiring prints, finding something unique. But now I despise high street shops because there’s a stampede of girls who want their latest fix of disposable fashion. You can keep your polyester mix and goddamn pleather! Keep it!

I love clothes, that’s no secret. Anything I’ve bought recently, I’ve bought from Dress Exchanges (shops that sell on your barely worn clothes that are no more than a few years old). I go to ones in good areas where rich women discard of an outfit they may have only worn once. I recently found my dream Missoni dress in there for a price that would probably give a Primark Princess’s a heart attack, but was actually a fraction of what it would have cost new. That, to me, is a thrill. I will have that dress for years. I see no joy in buying something to wear once.

I know my style and what suits me and when I come across those things, I don’t fret too much about the price. Hell, you’re reading the words of a girl who once spent her rent money on a jacket. I get giddy when I come across something that’s timeless, classic and just my style, but shopping, you won’t get me to be one of those sheep, blindly buying with no sense of what actually looks good. I’m sorry, but we’re over.

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Diary of an Italian Vacation

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Day 1

– Land in Trieste. Fall in love twice before leaving the airport.

– Arrive at apartment. Eat. A lot.

Day 2

– Up early. Go to wander around shops. Make a few purchases.

– While crossing a street, see a devastatingly handsome man, impeccably dressed, smoking a pipe. I follow him for a few blocks, drooling like a puppy dog. *sigh* He was half man, half amazing.

– Realise everything in Italy closes from 1-3pm so people can enjoy lunch and a nap. I heart Italy.

– Have lunch at a lovely little restaurant. I count no less than 10 cloves of garlic in my pasta. Any plans to find my Italian husband are well and truly scuppered for the rest of the day as a result of said pasta.

– After getting a ridiculous diagnoses for something from my GP in England recently, Godfather’s wife arranges for me to see a specialist in Trieste. Specialist is awesome, diagnoses me correctly in 10 minutes, gives me treatment and requests extra testing. Find out her sister lives near me in England. Small world. Consultation ends with her kissing me on both cheeks. All doctors appointments should go like this.

– Godfather holds dinner party at apartment and invites all his awesome neighbours. Have an amazing night and get all neighbours to agree to work on finding me an Italian husband.

Day 3

– More shopping. Discover Italian H&M, which is like God came down from heaven and hand stitched the clothes himself.

– Find the perfect pair of trousers in another shop. They are tres expensive, so rather than buy them, I walk around the shop in them for 10 minutes, pretending I own them.

– Epic lunch back at the apartment, followed by power nap.

– Get dolled up and go to exhibition of artist I met at last night’s dinner party. Difficult to distinguish between the works of art and the men at this event. Fall in love at least three times.

– Go to nice restaurant and have the pizza to end all pizzas. Decide I will never eat pizza again, unless I’m in Italy. (That last sentence was a complete lie, but it’s an ideal I’d like to live up to)

Day 4

– May come as a surprise, but I did more shopping (are you seeing a theme here?)

– Go back to shop where I found the perfect trousers to lust after them some more. Find out they are actually part of a 50% off sale. Get so excited I practically drool on myself. To celebrate this shopping victory, I buy an adorable Little Black Dress I find in the same shop. Sadly, dress wasn’t 50% off, so therefore cancelled out any potential victory of the trousers, but still feel like a winner.

– After a righteous dinner, head down to the piazza to ring in the New Year. Listen to some guy sing Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Show in English with an Italian accent – surprisingly amusing. At midnight, despite the rain, there are so many fireworks, it sounds like a war zone.

Day 5

– After leisurely morning, head to the airport.

– Spent five days in Italy and didn’t see anyone in Ugg boots or leggings. My idea of heaven. Soon as I get to the airport, the two chicks in front of me and one behind are all wearing Uggs. They’re all British. Feel a great sense of rage and shame. Thought 2010 would bring change. I was wrong.

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Shop at Your Peril

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

This past Saturday, I decided to engage in two things one should never engage in on a Satuday: Primark and Ikea.

My game plan was to get to Primark when it opened. Who the hell else wants to get up at some ungodly hour just to get some discount clothing? Well, a lot of people apparently. A whole heap of people had been sipping on the same crazy juice as me and I had to seriously control the boiling rage that simmers under my cool exterior at any given time.

I slinked around that store so well, dodging people that you’d have thought it was a highly choreographed interpretive contemporary dance. I pranced to the hosiery section where I picked out three pairs of tights in 23 seconds flat. I twisted and turned to the dresses section where I got into a Mexican stand off with some chick who thought she’d get the last dress in my particular size. She could see in my eyes that I was ready to do a dance off for it and she backed down. Then I leaped to the blouses and tops section where I picked out two items in less than 17 seconds. After trying things on Superman-in-a-phone-booth style, I made it to the check out counter, where a small miracle was performed by the Baby Jesus and there were no lines. £28 later (3 pairs of tights, two tops and a skirt), I was outta there.

And all this on a day where my city was playing host to two protests; one by the EDL (English Defense League) who are similar to or somehow affiliated with the BNP (British National Party) – both groups are collectively known as WANKERS. So they were having one of their casual fascist demonstrations and the UAF (Unite Against Facism) group showed up to protest said gathering. Needless to say, tensions were high and the only way I could think to show my particular distaste was to buy a pair of stilettos that I could throw at an unsuspecting fascist should some shit go down. I do my part people, I do my part.

As if all that wasn’t enough, myself and the ‘rents decided to go to Ikea…on Saturday afternoon. I told my parents to take my bail money with them because I surely would not make it out of there without cutting a bitch. I nicknamed some of the mothers in there ‘Sister Mary Francis’ because you have to have the patience of some sort of saint to drag  two toddler aged children around that Swedish madhouse on a Saturday. Hats off to them.

Has anyone managed to find a shortcut through Ikea yet? If so, you could make a killing selling that map on the black market.

I think we were in there about two hours, but I managed to age ten years. To my surprise, I made it out without assaulting anyone. Now there’s just the small matter of assembling all this crap. *sigh*

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The Shopping Experience

Monday, March 23rd, 2009


I was out shopping on Saturday for a dress to wear to my New York birthday extravaganza. (In case you were wondering, I got a grey, silk, short-with-pockets adorable number, inspired by the Sharks and Jets, on account of the fact I’ll be seeing West Side Story while in NYC – anyhoo, I digress…). I came to realise, that while I clearly love to spend the moolah, I am not a fan of the whole shopping experience. 


Why? Because I am a professional when it comes to this shit and there are just too many amateurs. 


I don’t have time ladies, I really don’t. I know what I want and I know how to get it (that is true of both shopping and me as a woman). I do not have time for your dawdling, slow walking, rambling and trying on five thousand variations of the same thing. Get it together! Let me save you some time – leggings look like leggings in whatever colour/size you try and you look ridiculous in all of them. 


I am also not a fan of sales associates. I have the soundtrack of my life on (AKA, my iPod) wherever I go and I like to keep it on while in shops because I can’t stand the typically hideous musical choices of most retail establishments. Why must every pesky sales chick attempt to strike up a conversation with me? Do you not see the bright white headphones dangling down my front? True, it may be hard to see them due to my unusually pale hue, but still. Just because I pause to look at a garment for more than three seconds, does not mean I want your input on it. If I need assistance, I’ll hunt you down and get it. 


Then comes the fitting room. I hate fitting rooms where there’s no mirrors in the actual cubicles, just when you come out into the public area. It’s not because I’m body conscious. I just hate the fact that it’s designed that way so the sales associate can get her two cents worth in on whatever you’re trying on. I’ve come out of a fitting room before to check myself out in the mirror, only to have some 17 year old sales chick shower me with ‘oh, that looks like, so great, that is like sooo cute on you.’ I know I look good thanks. This ain’t Oprah – I’m not looking for positive affirmations. I don’t need you to stroke me ego, or anything else for that matter (I think we all remember this Victoria’s Secret incident). I’m not sure if they work off commission, but they tend to say whatever you’re trying on is the most amazing thing ever. I have called them out on this before. ‘Were you just hitting the pipe? This clearly looks terrible on me.’ I’ve had enough sales jobs at clothing stores to know that I would never let someone walk out with something that made them look shitty. I’m just trying to do my bit towards making the world a more fashionably beautiful place – you can thank me later. 


But the worst part of shopping at the particular store I was at, is that when you buy something, they ask for your name and put it into the computer, for reasons I’m still not 100% sure about. Well, as you can imagine, my name, Muireann Carey-Campbell, is a little much for most of them to handle. The Irish + double barrel equation sends them over the edge. I counted yesterday, it took 6 minutes for this chick to get it right. I’m pretty sure English was her first language, so I’m not sure why she doesn’t know the alphabet. But if I decide to shop there again, my name will be Jane Smith.

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