''Twas the day before Christmas and all through the house, panic was stirring, "There are no presents about!"
If you’re anything like me, you’re that type of person who leaves their Christmas shopping till the very last minute. This is the only time I leave thing so late in the day; normally I’m extremely organised and early. For one, I was born early, I’m always early to meetings and I like to prepare my days in way advance. So why, oh why, does the person who is a self confessed shopaholic leaves such an important task to the last minute… I mean sometimes I leave my Christmas shopping until Christmas Eve so technically this is still early for me! Naturally, when the PR team who works alongside the Silverlink Shopping Park contacted me to collaborate with them for a spot of Christmas shopping I jumped at the chance to help kick start my festive spirit.
I used to be an avid customer of the Silverlink Shopping Park many years ago but then I moved further afield and towards Northumberland so my love affair with my beloved retail park fizzled out and I moved on to pastures new. However when I visited yesterday my passion for the Shopping Park ignited, it was like seeing a familiar face but there was something exciting and new about it. Someone had a makeover and we obviously had a lot to catch up on!
Silverlink Shopping Park is located in North Tyneside and has more than 200,000 sq. ft. of retail space dedicated to more than 21 big brand names including M&S, River Island, H&M and Outfit. Basically it’s a shopper’s paradise. In 2016, the £29m Silverlink Point development opened, with the likes of home improvement stores Next Home and Garden, Wren Kitchens, Hobbycraft and Sofology adding to the line-up. I think two major factors that really put me off Christmas shopping is how busy the stores get and how crazy people get finding a space in the car parks. Finding a space here wasn’t an issue at all, I’ve never seen so many parking bays, which are FREE for customers shopping at the retail park. The stores themselves where busy but because the stores are set up individually and are very spacious, you didn’t feel the hustle and bustle as much as you would in other retail malls in the area.
There is something magical about giving gifts that you know your friends, family and better half will love and the Silverlink Shopping Park certainly does have something for everyone. I found the stores very easy to navigate plus each store that we did visit had handy gift guide displays on offer, which took the stress out of the day.
I’m a very visual person, having worked as a visual merchandiser over the years I have an eye for detail and my creative flair goes into over drive this time of year. I take pride in setting up my dining room take on Christmas Day and found some fantastic pieces in Wilko and M&S for the table. Wilko, formally Wilkinsons, have undergone a big, brand overhaul recently and had some brilliant home wear pieces in their store… I wanted them all!
Another section I particularly liked in Wilko was their children's arts and crafts kits. They started from a mere £1 and will keep the little ones occupied for hours. My child loves crafts so these are the perfect stocking filler for him. A quick mention too, if you have an avid gin drinking in the family, Wilko stocks a set of 6 gin classes for an astonishing £6! I can imagine those won’t be around for much longer so get there before they go!
Moving on to M&S, the quintessential British high street store, an all time favourite in my book. Their gift section was bustling and I was surprised to find many of their gift sets were on sale at 50% off – every penny helps, especially at this time of year! I was particularly fond of their M&S Collection, Library of Scent, range that most certainly gives The White Company a run for their money, at a fraction of the price. I was pleased to see M&S now stocks the popular Pixi and Nuxe beauty brands. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to sprucing up your home interior from chic Christmas bedding, plush throws and cushions which felt very Nordic in their design but with M&S’ signature British twist.
As we all know, shopping can be somewhat tiresome so refueling your body and mind is essential to get back on track and regaining your focus. The Silverlink is not only bustling with retail store but also restaurants and café’s. Choose from firm favourite’s such as Costa, M&S Café, Frankie & Benny’s, Bella Italia and if you fancy spicing things up, Nandos – to name just a few. What’s even better, if the hubby and kids are slowing you down why not send them off to the Odeon Cinema to give you a couple of hours piece and quiet… you can thank me for that tip later!
If you’ve got a Christmas party or event to attend and still looking for that perfect party outfit, then fear not the Silverlink staff are there to help with their fashion knowledge and help style your way into the festive season. Take inspiration from their in store mannequins, don’t blame me when you end up with a new wardrobe instead of just the one new outfit. The store, Outfit in particular was my favourite. The catered for everyone and all age ranges. I may have spotted a Manolo Blahnik glitzy heel dupes in their Wallis section that I’ll be popping on to my Christmas list… because you can never have too many shoes… right?!
Whether you’re a careful planner or a last-minute shopper, you’ll find the perfect present for everyone this Christmas at the Silverlink Shopping Park. You’ll never fall short of the perfect present, with plenty of shops to choose from but away from the City Centre chaos. Whether it be a fashion accessory for your sister, tech for Dad or beauty product for Mum, the Silverlink caters for every want and every need. With all the big brands under one, metaphorical, roof there’s no better place to get all your favourite people the perfect Christmas gift.
For more information and direction on how to get to the Silver Retail Park, please head to: www.silverlinkshoppingpark.co.uk.
Please note: this is a collaboration with the Silverlink Shopping Park however all words are honest and my own.