When I was 17, I went to work at Levi’s in the McArthurGlen York Designer Outlet. Every Saturday and Sunday, I drove my bashed-up Mini Metro (in white, just to add to its cool factor) to the shopping centre just off the A19/A64 (holler at me, North Yorkshire folk) and spent 8 hours altering jeans, dancing to Ocean Colour Scene and getting told off for talking on the shop floor. When the centre closed and we’d cashed up, we’d go out to The Gallery in York and I’d link arms with my boss to get in without being IDed. MEMORIES.
I am going somewhere with this – I worked at York Designer Outlet for most of my late teens and into my early twenties. I met my long-time bestie there, and I had an absolute ball with other people who worked all over the centre – the bus home to Selby was always packed with friends (many of whom I gave lifts when I finally got that Mini Metro). I have a real soft spot for the shopping centre, so when they contacted me asking if I’d like to try my hand at their Christmas Gifting Challenge, I was genuinely intrigued to see how the place had changed… and if I’d recognise anyone.
The Christmas Gifting Challenge was simple – I was given £250 to shop for a range of presents suitable for different loved ones. On my list was my Dad, my Dad-in-Law, my Mum-in-Law, my brother and my sister. The last time I visited York Designer Outlet was a long time ago, so I was a bit wary that I wouldn’t find everything I was looking for – particularly for my super-stylish siblings, as outlet centres have a reputation for being full of last season stuff no one wants. But, I relish a shopping challenge and pride myself on my excellent ability to buy thoughtful gifts for all ages, so Rob and I set off on a sunny Wednesday to hit the shops.
Clearly we had a whale of a time!
The centre has changed massively since I worked there – there’s a Michael Kors, for starters. And there’s a Hobbs, an LK Bennet, a Le Creuset shop and a Yankee Candle shop. It’s basically a bloggers’ paradise!
Rob and I spent an enjoyable few hours wandering around and slowly crossing people off our list, until there was no one else to buy for but ourselves. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever done Christmas shopping in bulk – I tend to buy in bits and pieces over a few weeks, and inevitably I spend way too much. The outlet prices meant we could buy one or two key presents for each person – something we know they’ll love and use for a long time. Much better than novelty slippers, amirite?
My worries about everything being ‘last season tat’ were unfounded, too – there was absolutely loads of lovely stuff, and I could’ve spent all day shopping for myself… especially in Michael Kors. Those bags, man…
After our busy day of shopping, Rob and I headed home and nestled our bags under the tree ready for wrapping. It feels so great to have Christmas taken care of – huge thanks to York Designer Outlet for making things so easy this year!
I won’t reveal what we got for the people on our list, as they all read this blog… but I’m pretty sure we smashed the Christmas Gifting Challenge. I’ll report back on December 26th!
I was provided with gift cards to purchase items from York Designer Outlet during my trip.