CHRISTMAS GIFT HAUL – PART 1

 Soap and Glory In The Bag (as part of 3 for 2 deal in Boots)

 I think one of the most awkward moments in life is being present as someone opens a gift you’ve bought for them. I’d much rather they let me leave the room or open it when I’ve gone. I don’t like to see their reaction in case I can detect a fake, ‘Oh I love it’, expression. It’s not always possible to make yourself absent, but at least if you’re confident about the things you’ve purchased, the fear factor will be reduced a little. I headed to Centrale Croydon to make a dent on my ever increasing Christmas gift list, and hoped I’d be able to uncover some great deals and relieve some stress in doing so.

I checked the Centrale PLUS App (downloaded from itunes or Google Play) on the train, and instantly regretted not checking it before I left the house.  It informed me that H&M are currently giving people a £5 voucher is return for a large carrier bag of unwanted clothes. So if you’re like me, and have stacks of clothes you don’t wear, why not bring a bag-full with you. An extra £5 towards your xmas spending would be most welcome, I’m sure!

FITNESS FANATICS


For those looking to gift active loved ones that take outdoor pursuits seriously, particularly those that enjoy hiking, walking and skiing, Trespass is the destination for you. They have everything to ensure the receiver would be prepared for all weather conditions and terrain. Not that the designs aren’t attractive, but this is definitely the shop if you know they particularly appreciate functionality and practicality. If you don’t quite find the right sport related gift in there, then Sports Direct has your back – they have everything and more covered. They have fashion-lead trainers, as well as ones specified for running, and a large selection of football boots. If the person you’re thinking of doesn’t actually partake in sport themselves, but ardently supports others that do, they have a huge array of sport merchandise too. There was a Manchester United dressing gown on sale I was tempted to treat myself to, before reminding myself that I was there to find a treat for a Liverpool fan. Boo. There are all sorts of paraphernalia relating to more niche sporting activities too. A gentle warning thought… youll need to put aside a large chunk of shopping time, this space is jam packed with potential pressies. 

LFC Gloves from Sports Direct £5

If you’e a bit scared that you’ll get the wrong item if you go too technical with your sporting gift, you could of course just get them some fashion lead items such as substantial but stylish boots which were abundant in House of Fraser (Dune and Bertie) and (Cat and Hammond and Co)


GLAMOUR GANG

I’ve been a non drinker for the last fews (give or take a few holiday Mojitos), but even I wanted to buy all of the luxe or party orientated alcohol themed sets in Debenhams. There are sets for those wanting a sophisticated night in or indulgent Christmas morning, or to share amongst friends with the intention of getting a bit rowdy. If your friend is proficient at creating some pleasing concoctions, a display worthy cocktail shaker may be the way to go. I fell for a stunning copper one in House of Fraser, which I was tempted to get purely for it’s pleasing aesthetic. Someone’s wrist looking a bit bare of bling? Debenhams have the likes of GUESS and DKNY within their fairly sizeable watch section. Perhaps your workaholic friend needs a new plush notepad or diary to ensure they’re organised throughout 2016, then Jasper Conran’s leather collection at Debenhams or Paperchase in House of Fraser are the best bets.

The Party/Drinks display in Debenhams

The Beauty gift sets all look so stunning, the thought of disrupting the packaging is almost heartbreaking. In House of Fraser every luxury brand, as well as some A-list celebrities, have a set ready and waiting to be wrapped up for Christmas. I’m terrible at making a decision, so found the amount of choice overwhelming, but most people have a preferred scent or brand so have that in mind before making a purchase.

Of course The Body Shop has a vast selection of gorgeous and ethical beauty options, but I ended up buying my Glam Gang gifts in Boots. I’m easily woo’d by a 3 for 2 offer, but even more so when trying to tick off my Xmas gift list. They were lots of bath, skincare (male and female) and make up sets included in the promotion, so I managed to get three targeted at different demographics. The one that fit’s into this section was the No.7 …….which will be going to my glam mum, who look’s much younger than her 67 years thanks in part to her dedication to the Boot’s No.7 brand. 

 No.7 Skincare Collection from Boots (as part of 2 for 3 offer)

LITTLE ONES

I was briefly tempted to my a Frozen duvet set from Next, before panicking that I didn’t know what size bed the gift receiver has. Instead I went for a safer option of a Frozen Lunch box. It was a close fight between all the Frozen, Peppa Pig and Inside Out products near the Next counter, but the appearance of Olaf’s endearing face on the front of the lunchbox sealed the deal. As well as more Frozen/Peppa Pig toys, Debenhams also showcased an impressive array of board games, and I think it’s a rather nice idea to get a new board game each christmas, as it encourages the family to interact instead of being glued to the Crimbo TV all day. Lot’s of them are inspired by TV shows, so there should be one for everyone!

Frozen luncbox from Next £9.50

It’s very risky to buy a teenage boy clothes, unless he’s written out a specific list, but Zara or  Levis, Farah Vintage and Fred Perry within House of Fraser, could be amongst the safer options in Centrale. If he’s a skate, football, rugby, or fishing fan, then head to Sports Direct where all their needs and desires are covered. 

LFC Pencil Case from Sports Direct £4

I remember as a teen I loved experimenting with my mums make up, and found it hugely exciting when I was given a set that was all my own. Nail painting was my first foray into the world of beauty so I thought this set (part of my 3 for 2 deal) was perfect for teen gals!

 Nail Library by Technic from Boots (as part of 2 for 3 offer)

You’ll also start trying to find your scent as a teenage, and you’re usually swayed by what your classmates are wearing. At The Fragrance Store, Marc Jacobs Decadence was the biggest seller, with Jimmy Cho Illicit and Hugo Boss The Scent following closely. 

If you tween is currently crushing on One Direction in a big way then House of Fraser has their scents sandwiched inbetween all the high end and luxury brands.

If you’d like to create an advert worthy magical moment. then why not surprise your little ones with a trip to Disneyland via Virgin Holiday’s in Debenhams. The excitement of the mere thought of the trip will likely keep them entertained for substantial amount of time….which is always helpful during school breaks.

TECHIE TYPES

Okay if you’re budget is a bit more impressive than mine you could treat your loved one to a brand new phone from Carphone Warehouse or EE. If less flush then Mobile Blitz had some useful accessories to allow them to use their existing phone a bit better.
Debenhams is great for those gimmicky gadget stocking fillers as well as the actually useful tech items. It also had some science lead toys which would tickle the intrigue of both children and adults. I ended up purchasing a phone charger from Paperchase (within HOF). Compact, useful, but  a bit prettier than the average tech/gdaget pressie and perfect for that friend/partner who excuses his lack of contact to loss of  battery. 

Portable Charger from Paperchase £16.50

HOME CREATURES

I had the goal of finding a sushi-based cookbook for my half Japanese boyfriend and
couldn’t believe the bargain I found in JOY. There was 50% off their books which meant I
got a Nobu cookbook for just £6.25. For those spending a bit more you must check the
PLUS app as you can get £5 off when you spend £50 at JOY. 

Nobu, The Cookbook from Joy £6.25

Candles are so in right now, with many of the popular Vloggers singing the praises of some extremely expensive brands. If, like me, you find it hard to part with tens/hundres on pounds for some scented wax, then Linea at House of Fraser had some absolutely lovely (and more affordable) candles in a huge array of scents and colours, including a very on trend one incased in a china pineapple. When I found Yankee Candle in Christmas Cookie flavour I knew that it was ‘the one’, such an instagrammed brand has got to be good…right? 

Yankee Candle from Debenhams £18.99 

Next had some lovely snuggly rug options for homebodies that like to snuggle on the sofa with a hot chocolate and a box set. They also had some particularly adorable sock and slippers in festive prints. Debenhams has some fluffy cushions for those that opt for neutral and soft decor, but for glam homebodies House of Fraser had the likes of Biba offering some luxe statement cushions. 

When I suggest a game during the festive period I am greeted with very icy look. However I know some families enjoy a good game, particularly after a few Sherry’s. Debenhams had a particularly varied array of games displayed, many inspired by our favourite UK TV shows, but I suspect the Game of Thrones one might be a most popular choice this year! 

So that’s me done for this trip.  A hugely productive day at Centrale, if I don’t say so myself. Being able to do all your Christmas shopping under one roof is pretty swell if you ask me. Do yourself a favour, follow suit and grab some bargains while you still can. GOOD LUCK!!

 And don’t miss out on any opportunities to treat yourself. The Centrale  PLUS app has got loads of little goodies to help you recharge during your Christmas shop like –
£5 off at JOY the store
20% off at Mum’s the Chef
Free gift at Clinique in House of Fraser

So make sure you download the Centrale PLUS app available on iTunes  or Google Play before your next visit.

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