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My Xmas Memories by Olivia

Olivia Laura is a personal fashion and style blog, created by Olivia in 2013. Having previously studied Textile Design and Foundation Art, Olivia set up the blog to share her creative interests and inspirations.

One place that always stands out to me for Christmas shopping is Manchester. Whether it's the Christmas markets, the amazing decorations, the stores, the food, I am always drawn to Manchester at Christmas time. It's always been a bit of a family tradition to go over to Manchester around the festive season so when Manchester Arndale contacted me regarding their new super cute Christmas campaign, I jumped at the chance.

This campaign is all about a Christmas memory. XmasMemories to be precise, which was to be based around a photograph. The photo I decided to use was the below, me on my first Christmas day as a one year old, dressed in what (and still is) as family tradition started by my Nana and Taid; Christmas Eve pyjamas. With added tinsel. Clutching at what looks like some gift wrap which I was probably way more interested in than any gift at that age. So with this imagine in mind, rather than getting pay back for dressing me like a 90's Christmas tree, it was instead time to thank my mum. For the memory and for passing on the tradition of Christmas Eve pyjamas once my grandparents were no longer here to carry it on themselves.

So to start out our day, we headed in to Manchester Arndale for a bit of breakfast at Gino's Deli, as every good shopping day starts with a good breakfast and a decent coffee of course. Our first stop after breakfast was Next. They have always had some of the best Christmas decoration selections and I decided that now was the best time to pick up some decorations (the first of my yearly decoration haul, in fact). I picked up some new baubles, fell in love with a beautiful pink velvet chair and have been dreaming of it every since - nothing haunts us like the things we didn't buy I guess. But I just had to remind myself that I have no more room for any more chairs....

We then headed over to boots, where we were booked in for a little pamper session with Benefit. The girls at Benefit were so lovely, and we were each assigned an artist who asked us what kind of thing we were hoping for and was there anything in particular we wanted help with or knowledge on. My mum went for a full face make up session and I had a brow profiling session, something that I had never done before and it was great to try out some new brow products. My mum loved her new look, she was hoping for a dewey finish and was so happy with it she purchased a load of the items used. We both left with some new products and new make up bag essentials, and by this time it was time for lunch.



We popped back over to Gino's Prosecco and Pizza bar (I know, two amazing combinations) for some lunch and a bit of a rest - it's hard work shopping after all. The views from Gino's were beautiful and the decor in there was just as fab. The staff at Gino's were the most friendly and helpful I have come across in a long while - one even offered to get back in touch with my mum who had been after some tiles she had seen in one of their Bathroom's in a other restaurant of theirs. The poor man didn't know what he had let himself in to. I took this time to charge my phone in Next's free phone charging booths (winner) and grab a cocktail or two whilst we enjoyed our antipasti sharing starter and pasta main course.


After our pit stop, it was back to it. We lusted over bath bombs in Lush, picking up some of the amazing Bubble Bars (which make the best Christmas gifts). We popped in to River Island, had a wander around the Monki store which was amazing, we went to Office who had a great deal on Boots at the moment. My mum loved the fact that there was a Nespresso store there and was able to stock up on their favourites. I picked up my favourite Bleach London shampoo from Boots and also have a look around the Victoria's Secret store that's opened there. Before home time, we popped in to Topshop as we both wanted to look at the boot selection. I picked up a beautiful silk blouse from their Boutique collection, which you don't always see in store so it was nice to find somewhere that stocks it in store. We both tried on some perfect Winter boots (my mum trying on the same patent croc leather one's I did) but left without, giving me another excuse to pop back to Manchester Arndale to make my mind up at a later date.... Being able to get everything we needed all under one roof was super handy and also, bye bye massive coats and umbrellas as everything is indoors.


It was so lovely doing something a little different and feeling like we could really treat ourselves was such a nice little reward. It also felt great to be able to treat my mum for a change rather than it being the other way round and it was the perfect pre Christmas family day out.