Vicar Lane Shopping Centre | Lookbook and Giveaway*

Chesterfield: a market town in Derbyshire known for it's landmark Crooked Spire, it's rural pathway to the Peak District, old English architecture and football. For me, Chesterfield has always been the little town on my doorstep, a pit stop to other destinations. I never really took the time to appreciate it for the ever-growing, modern town that it is.

If you follow me on social media, you'll already know that I love to shop - homeware, cosmetics, clothing, you name it. I've always been more of a "real-life" shopper than an online shopper. I find that I like the novelty of trying on clothes in the changing rooms, piecing together outfits in my head, socialising with friends or merely taking some 'me time'. I'm also an awkward in-between size; I love having the material in my hand so that I can gauge what size/fit I'll need. Most of the time, I'll fit a size 14, sometimes I'll have to upsize to fit my bum into a pair of super tight jeans, other times I'll downsize so that tops don't hang off my chest!

Now, I'm always rather cautious with my money - I'll occasionally treat myself, but I'm definitely not one to spend thousands of pounds on a shopping spree. As a student and someone that is saving up for a mortgage, it really is difficult to try and find the balance between "be a sensible adult" and "treat yo' self". I'm sure a lot of you can relate!

So when Vicar Lane Shopping Centre challenged me to put together two summer outfits whilst on my very own shopping spree, I was ecstatic. I had to create one evening outfit (which I'll be wearing to a family wedding this weekend) and one everyday casual outfit. I knew what I had in mind.

For the formal outfit, I wanted something bold but not printed. I was thinking a bright yellow or a bright red jumpsuit. I was pleasantly surprised with my outcome; I stumbled across a beautiful red dress in H&M which called to me. As a curvy woman, I often find it difficult to find a dress that is appropriately revealing without my *assets* popping out. This dress can be tied at the straps and around the waist to adjust to any body shape. It is very flattering on the mid to lower area as it has some texture to it and has a dip-hem hem line - this instantly elongates your legs and adds extra flare to your outfit. It retailed at £29.99 and I got a size 14 which was true to size.

I don't usually shop in H&M, so I was very pleased with my find! The store was HUGE with a plethora of ranges, including kidswear, menswear, womenswear, homeware. The staff were very friendly and accommodating.

The earrings I picked up for this look are from River Island - one of my favourite places to shop for bags and jewellery. They were a bargain at £7.50. Tassel earrings are set to be a hot trend for SS18 and River Island is the one-stop shop for all thing on-trend and colourful. I also picked up a pair of blue pom-pom earrings (also £7.50) which would have adding a splash of colour-blocking to this outfit. On this occasion, I stuck with the red theme as I love how they look with the neckline of the dress.

The shoes were a brilliant find from New Look - they were the last pair  and they were in my size; I took this as a sign and snapped them up! They're a suedette material, and despite their stiletto heel, they are very comfortable to walk in. The strap detail is simple, elegant and adds a dash of class to this bold outfit. I opted for a beige colour so that they would stand out on my skin tone, but not detract from the dress. They retailed at £22.99 and I got a size 5 and it was true to size.

For the casual outfit, I wanted something easy to throw on, stylish and a little slouchy. However, I still wanted a few pops of pastel colours.

The striped, slouchy dress is actually an oversized t-shirt from H&M (I know, I'm a real H&M convert now!). I bought it in a size XL (UK 14-16). I love the fit of this, if you're feeling extra-slouchy, you could ditch the belt and just knot the bottom of the dress for a cool-casual look. This dress was a bargain at just £19.99; they also stocked this in different colour variations, and I'm most definitely going back to pick up some more!

The shoes of the casual outfit are from River Island. They're perfect for me as I'm always looking for extra height without the discomfort of wearing heels. These add the 'pastel pop' I initially had in mind. They were a steal at just £35; I bought a size 5 and they are a perfect fit.

The accessories in this outfit are from Claire's! If you've been following me for a long time, you'll know that when I started blogging at the mere age of 15, I also got my first part-time job, at Claire's. I worked there until I was almost 21; it felt very nostalgic being back in a Claire's store. A common misconception is that Claire's is a shop for the little ones - I mean, essentially it is, but they also stock some fab hair pieces, formal accessories and Eylure eyelashes (with are often 3 for 2 or BOGOF). I picked up some hair scrunchies and some tassel earrings, all pastel coloured to fit in with my bright, summery theme.

The bag I picked up was from New Look. Pastel pink, fluffy, miniature... I just had to get it! I figured that this would be great for any gigs/festivals in the summer as it's fun, has a secure zip and it won't be heavy to carry around. It came in at £19.99 and the straps are adjustable to your height.

The belt was a sale find from New Look at just £6 - it's very Gucci-esque but without the price tag. I love finding a designer dupe on the high street. Usually, I steer away from shopping in sales as they can look really disorganised or they're full of faulty items. However, on this occasion, I decided to sift through it and I'm glad I did!

The jacket was the finishing piece, the denim I had been looking for... it's from River Island and the embroidered detailing added a pop of bright colour among a pastel-orientated outfit. I picked up a size 14 and it fits oversized.

I also picked up another outfit form New Look which I will we wearing for a graduation dinner in a few weeks. It's a powder blue suit which makes me look and feel very confident and professional. I picked up the blazer in a size 14 and it is true to size. I picked up the trousers in a size 16 as the size 14 came up very small on my waist! Each piece was £19.99, so a total of £39.98 for an entire suit! As I'm transitioning from student to responsible, professional adult, I thought it was about time that I invested in a do-it-all suit. You can wear this to an interview/to work with a blouse and some flat shoes or you could dress it up with a bodysuit and some heels. Suits and two pieces are another hot trend for SS18, so if you spot a tailored co-ord, I would highly recommend snapping it up ASAP!

Whilst I was shopping for my outfits, I also browsed some other shops for cosmetics and shoes. TJ Hughes surprised me with their bargain cosmetics range - I picked up an Elizabeth Arden powder foundation for £1.99 and an Elizabeth Arden lip liner for 99p - yes - 99p!

I also popped into Superdrug, my go-to store for all thing bath, body, fragrance and cosmetics. I picked up some of their charcoal face masks (an weekly essential for my boyfriend and I!) and some more of my favourite MakeUp Revolution Concealer.

Some other shoe shops I visited were Deichmann and JD Sport, which were both well stocked, large stores.

I visited Vicar Lane via train, it took me a little over 5 minutes to get from the train station to the shopping centre. It was incredibly easy to find and well sign posted from the station. If you're travelling by car, there is a multistory car park available for customers. Vicar Lane also offers up a spectrum of places to socialise as well as Amazon Lockers, public restrooms, outdoor benches, cash machines and much more.

Overall, I'd call my shopping challenge successfully completed! If you want to win a voucher to spend on your own shopping spree at Vicar Lane, head over to this Instagram post to find out how.

*This post is in collaboration with Vicar Lane Shopping Centre and contains paid for advertorial space and gifted items. All wording remains honest, unscripted and confidently my own.*