Selfridges, Exchange Square

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAManchester is better than London. This we know to be true. The people are nicer and the accents are inviting and the air blissfully clear. “But wait a minute” you’re thinking – “what about the Selfridges?”

“Surely that monolith on Oxford Street is superior? Just by its sheer size it must trump its Northern sister? I mean, cripes – it has flags!”

Here’s the truth though: Manchester’s Selfridges is better. Wholly unbiased am I (leave my Mancunian blood out of this) when I say that Exchange Square is more fun than Oxford St.

First and foremost, it isn’t so big that you risk being cursed to walk the shiny halls for evermore, unable to afford anything. And another thing: any contact with fellow humans does not leave you with a weird abandoned feeling or awkward aversion of eyes. Basically – as is the case for literally every scenario – Manchester trumps London when it comes to friendliness.

So it was that my Saturday afternoon in the makeup chair at Charlotte Tilbury felt more like I was having my makeup done by a mate than an MUA. Grace, head artist at Exchange Square Charlotte Tilbury, treated me to the Rock Chick look (there are ten in total) and a natter. Plus, I didn’t get lost on my wait out.


Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 17.04.41






BrandAlley Review


So here’s the thing…fashion is a right bastard. And if you’re slave to its fanciful ways like me, you’ll know exactly why I say that.

When journalists talk about fashion as aspirational, what they really mean is that it’s the devil.

It’s constantly changing, making you want stuff you definitely don’t need and generally enamouring you to its dangerous, expensive, frivolous ways.

All these things mean that most stuff is priced totally out of my league. And I know this, yet refuse to accept it. I just want to be able to own a slice of the fashion pie, damn it, and I’ll do whatever it takes to achieve this end.

Designer flash sales site BrandAlley is my co-conspirator in this mission. Their 4-5 day sales showcase recent and current season collections from a tonne of designers otherwise part and parcel of the unreachable fashion industry.

Full disclosure: if you don’t like waiting, then maybe this site isn’t for you. By the nature of their business, packages can take up to a month to arrive: ultimately though, it is this flaw that allows for discounts as high as 90% off. I’m a total patience amateur, but having to wait for the fruits of my purchases is a great way to exercise my self-control. Plus, in a society where I can send a tweet immediately, have a burger to me within the hour and £300 worth of clothes within a day, sometimes it’s nice to play the waiting game. Distance makes the heart grow fonder and all that.

I’ve only purchased a few times from BrandAlley, though I like to check up on what they’ve got coming in pretty often (even if it is only to daydream about a Gucci bag I still can’t afford when it’s 40% off).

After admittedly frustrating waits, the Heidi Klum lingerie, Ray-Bans and Sam Edelman boots that I finally received have come to shape my wardrobe for the few months they’ve been in it.

Other brands that feature on the site that I’d love to own if only my graduate wage/regretful London transport outgoings would allow me include: La Perla, Gucci, Givenchy, J Brand, Karen Millen, Stella McCartney…the list – as they say – goes on. But alas, fashion is a right bastard, and therefore I can’t afford to be too greedy.

Maybe you can, though?

If you want to have a look-see at the sales going on this week and potentially get a leg up to affording fashion stuff you definitely don’t need, then go here.