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Christmas @ Bullring | Birmingham Life

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I'm juuuust in the process of getting all of my holiday photos together (of the few I have - sob!) but we need to talk about Christmas. Since I was on holiday at the end of November and then seriously not very well for a week or so, I have literally done hardly any Christmas shopping, and Christmas is next week! I'm trialling a new strategy of buying presents quite late as I hope it will make me more speedy with my selections and now I've had some time to ponder away. Just in time was the Bullring Winter event and this was the first time I ventured out of my house in a few days so I was feeling so ready for a slice of retail!

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We are indeed lucky to have a major shopping centre right on the doorstep and with the newly upgraded River Island and Topshop, it means I can't shop anywhere else. If I haven't looked around huge stores, I feel like I am missing out on loads of things and just don't feel right making an uninformed purchase! Bullring is open until 10pm every weekday until Christmas Eve so my plan is to do what I can on Thursday when I have a day off work (yes it's the day after the Christmas partaaay!) and then pop in next week after work to get any final gifts. 10pm people! Shopping at that time is bliss as the stores are replenishing the stock for the next day so everything is plentiful and tidy.

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I sort of wanted to visit the hi-tech Santa's grotto to ask the jolly man himself if he can place a handsome gentleman under my tree (or mistletoe... or anywhere really!), but we were instead treated to a fabulous showcase of classic and new stores, including a Kiko! I Whatsapped a few friends as soon as I heard there is an entire Kiko store now near the Bull statue - I can't wait to take a look! The adorable SA told me there is a highlighter that beauty bloggers are going nuts over and it may come into stock soon. Just try and stop me!

Selfridges have a host of Elfridges on hand in the sweetest high school-style uniforms, ready to solve all of your present problems and gift woes. It's a FREE personalised shopping service to help you tick off your shopping list, and you can even sit back with a coffee or glass of champagne while they go off to grab all of your gifts! Their personalised ideas are so creative and I can think of a person I know suited to each of the name-adorned treats. I also really want to hit up Pavan's henna bar too!

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After nibbles from the likes of the new Bill's restaurant (I must visit), Chaophraya and Chi Kitchen @ Debenhams, we took a peek at the new Topshop Personal Shopping service in their revamped space. The transformation of the store is huge and now it really feels like a conceptual store. The personal shopping area is the living room of my dreams and of course the service is free for girls and guys. I love having makeovers but I've never had a proper style consultation so watch this space!

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We also explored the Oasis 'My Personal Stylist' space which surprised me as you don't often hear about Oasis making waves at Bullring. Well I was completely out of the loop because the store has some incredibly unique features and is the forefront of Oasis' most current store concepts, with the changing room area as an entire home of beautifully upholstered arm chairs, retro books and quirky detailing that my mom would adore (she's not a regular mom, she's a cool mom). Different cities have customised decor and the Birmingham themes were so sweet! Just being in the space felt like I wanted to bathe myself in Oasis' chunky knits and wool coats, and I'll be adding the store to my 'must visit' list each time I'm in town.

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Now I'm just left with the question of will I be seeing you at 8am on Boxing day for the sales?! I have my eye on some suede thigh high boots. Fingers crossed and elbows at the ready!


Winter Sun with S365

Hi guys! I have returned from my holiday and the majority of it took a very unexpected turn which I will reveal to you in due course in an excessively detailed, epic post series. You know how it goes! For the first few blissful days I did an Instagram takeover with Swimwear365 and they transformed my suitcase with some gorgeous pieces to pack. Here's the low down on the items I chose and a taste of the dreamy Abu Dhabi days...

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Winter sun is just a plane ride away and glistening waves, clear skies and white sands await. As you know, this November I ditched my evenings usually spent blogging behind my laptop, clutching a steaming cup of tea and wrapped in layers of blankets, for a weekend of sun, sea and sports cars in Abu Dhabi. With a huge range of beautiful S365 swimwear and beach accessories at my fingertips, why reserve your sunny getaways for just the summer months? Hitting the beach in the winter time is a fabulous chance to indulge in the warm weather when you're craving it the most and it's even more satisfying to soak up some much needed sunshine, plus post a few stand out Instagram snaps.

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With the F1 races in the evenings, Abu Dhabi is actually stunning destination full of surprises. Armed with gorgeous bikinis and maxi dresses, a short speed boat ride from Al Reem Island took us to a secluded party island with a beautiful palm tree lined beach on one side and a huge pool complete with DJ and water bar on the other. As it was race weekend, the beats were pumping and the pool was packed with dancing crowds, and with a cocktail in hand I felt amazing in my s.Oliver bikini. The pretty gold beading added a touch of glam and the gorgeous aztec print gave an eye-catching twist. Colourful beachwear really sets off a background of white sand, and the next morning we chilled at our apartment pool, myself in the golden Kangaroos triangle bikini with these exotic sunset hues or red, orange and yellow. 

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Before the final F1 race on the Sunday, we relaxed at the beach club one last time, grabbing a bite to eat in my beautiful blue paisley maxi dress. The colours pop dramatically on the bold white background and it's the perfect cover up to take you from the beach to restaurant. With rich history, huge skyscrapers and fast cars, you may think Abu Dhabi stops at the luxurious offerings, but with private beaches, party islands and rooftop pools, there is much more to this Eastern paradise. Let's raise a cocktail to winter sun with S365!

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I was sponsored to take over the @swimwear365 account, where I chose the pieces myself and <3 <3 <3 them all - thank you S365!