Thursday, 7 December 2017

An Evening Of Christmas Shopping At Princesshay

Christmas shopping.

Two words that will instill fear into the hearts of most people! Myself being one of them.

If there's one thing I simply cannot stand it's trudging around store after store, standing in endless queues and searching almost empty shelves looking for that elusive toy that your child has asked Santa for that seems to be harder to find than a bottle of moon dust.

Which is why I have chosen to do 90% of my shopping for the boys online this year armed with their lists and an Amazon Prime membership! But although it has been super effective (I was done before December even arrived!) and quite stress-free, I do find that I miss the atmosphere of going out Christmas shopping.

There's something about the excited hustle bustle of crowds, seeing others browsing for that perfect gift for their loved one, the Christmas music merrily ringing throughout the stores and echoing out of doorways into the crisp evening air that just makes me feel truly festive. As though Christmas really is just around the corner and that rather than this being something to panic about, it's something to get excited about!

So every year, I save a few family gifts to buy on the high street, and a take an evening out with Jon to hit the stores and soak up some of that Christmas cheer.

This year we headed to Princesshay in Exeter - a modern, stylish shopping area filled with a fantastic selection of retailers from Cath Kidston and Swarovski, to Debenhams and New Look - and a great selection of top restaurants too.

We visited on a Thursday evening for their seasonal late night shopping, and I was so glad we did as not only were their Christmas lights spectacular to see of an evening but they had laid on some amazing entertainment too in the form of an acrobatic display - it really was pretty amazing to pop out from the stores and stand for a while with a warm coffee in hand taking in this amazing show of skill.

While we were there, we took the opportunity to try out the Princesshay Gift Card - I had been given £50 to spend on the card and challenged to spend it in 3 separate places.

My first stop wasn't a difficult decision at all - I headed to my favourite store in the area, MAC!

The great thing about a visit to MAC is that it can be so much more of an experience than simply calling in and picking up some new makeup. Did you know that MAC actually offer free make up lessons to their customers?

You can call in and see if they have availability, or you can call in advance and book a slot - there are a number of different lessons available, in the past I took a contouring lesson with them which was really useful! The artists go over everything with you step by step and recommend products that they think are most suited to you, but you're under no obligation to buy.

On this particular evening, I wanted to find a product to help me out with eyebrow styling - a concept that I have to admit is pretty lost on me! I often feel like eyebrows are a trend that has totally left me behind...I just don't have a clue what I'm supposed to do with them anymore.

The make up artist who helped me, Kaley, was really friendly and helpful - she talked me through the available products and once we'd decided on one I liked she took her time showing me how to use it, and then gave me the chance to try it on my own so that she could guide me where needed.

£16 down for a new brow pencil and armed with all the eyebrow knowledge I needed free of charge, I headed next door to another favourite store of mine...Tiger!

If you haven't visited a Tiger store before, then you really should add it to your to do list because they are incredible! They are sort of like Ikea but rather than being filled with useful products, they are full of things that you never knew you needed or wanted! Their products are quirky, original and oh so kitsch...a browse there is such a fun way to spend some time!

So next on my list of things to buy were some Christmas cards - for this I headed in to good old Debenhams, a store I love to browse at any time of year but particularly at Christmas!

They didn't let me down and I found these Elf cards which were just perfect! *(The Santa jar was a Tiger purchase for just £2!)

After Debenhams we were feeling rather peckish, and with around £18 left on my Princesshay gift card I decided to pop into one of their many restaurants.

We were pretty spoiled for choice with so many to choose from - Carluccios, Cafe Rouge, Coal and more- but in the end we decided on Byron Burgers.

For £16.95, I was able to order myself quite the feast - their new Cheesemas burger, with a side order of Holy Macaroni (Macaroni cheese with jalapeno peppers....deeelish!) and a glass of Prosecco. The perfect end to a wonderfully festive evening of shopping!

If you are looking for the perfect gift this year and are stuck for ideas, I highly recommend the Princesshay gift card. It can be used in over 70 shops and restaurants, and even for treats like a manicure at The Cove.

You can buy a Princesshay Gift Card from the Princesshay Customer Service point or online, to find out more please visit

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