A Spot of Shopping

17 December 2010


Being a self confessed online shopping addict, I rarely venture inside a shopping centre unless it's for vital Tesco food rations (even then I have to restrain myself from stocking up on too much tortellini) or a necessary Poundland bargain.  Towards the end of term I needed to attempt some sort of focus, so the shops were largely avoided until I'd handed in all my work.  As a reward for this 'restraining order',  I made a cross-country visit to Birmingham, where I met up with Winnie and finally made a pilgrimage to the Forever 21 store.

Forever 21 Birmingham

Chandelier in Forever 21

forever 21 rings

The last time I stepped inside a Forever 21 store couldn't be more different, as it was a 35°C July afternoon in the newly opened Times Square location.  I thought stepping into the Birmingham store would give me NYC flashbacks but this wasn't quite the case, the clothes were the same sort yet the staff seemed a lot friendlier with the prices not quite so low.   The space is enormous, with clothing shoes and accessories spread over three sprawling floors and even a coffee shop for vital restoration.  Truthfully, I was probably in chatting mode rather than shopping mode, so I didn't really notice anything clothing-related that I liked, but I did manage to spend a good while hunting for some rings in the vast jewellery section.  I pretty much owe all my ring choices to Winnie; she'd picked me up a cross ring after I'd pleaded with her on Twitter a week before and on the day I bought a panther(?) ring she'd managed to locate after I became tired of searching through the somewhat disorganised bowls they were presented in.  The cross ring was only £1.50 (it's not on the website but this one is similar) and is a lot cheaper than the Asos style I had to send back due to sizing issues.  It's surprisingly comfortable to wear and hasn't turned my finger green.  Result!

Forever 21 cross and panther rings

Forever 21 Birmingham
Could not resist a slight fanatic pic

I'd imagine that Forever 21 occupies a space similar to New Look on the British High Street, with the odd Topshop and even designer inspired piece.  When I visited stores in New York, it seemed more like a colourful Primark and I didn't think twice about the cost on many a TGIF after-work spree.  Now the store is on British soil I will probably make more considered choices if I buy from there, just like I do whenever I'm shopping in 'real life'.  I think blogging and the experiences of my degree has made me overanalyse shopping ever so slightly and I'm always thinking about cut, quality and the intended inspiration of an item whilst wondering whether I already own something similar.  As a store it can be a bit hit and miss but what I do like is the odd quality item it can create, like this suede skirt I wish I'd seen on the day.  If you've visited the store, what are your thoughts and did you buy anything?  Are you ready for a Forever 21 European takeover?

urban outfitters letter k

Another thing I love about Birmingham, is that its Urban Outfitters branch offers a student discount, making its prices in the realm of reasonable.  I don't really buy much clothing from there, but I do love its home accessories and hosiery.  I bought one of their letters to pop above my blind and am working out a way to justify purchasing the other eight letters of my name (thanks Mum) to keep the K company.  I also bought yet more socks and perused some of the fashion books, mentally noting down how many were related to blogging.  We spotted Style Diaries, Facehunter and The Selby to name a few; do you own any of these glossy, coffee-table style books?  I can't deny that I prefer the immediacy of blogs but it is nice to have something to hold in your hand and have a look through, some of the pictures were stunning.  Wouldn't it be amazing (and slightly surreal) if all blogs were somehow in book form?

dim sum

This post is by no means in order and the day was actually started with some delicious dim sum.  I pretty much eat anything so Winnie ordered a great selection of dishes I couldn't pronounce, which were swiftly devoured (after a few chopstick fails by myself).  I need to bring Reena here and tempt her from her Ping Pong ways....

Christmas lights in Birmingham
We also had a quick look in the largest Christmas market outside Germany, which was heaving, but the perfect end to another great day in Brum!

Don't forget to enter the House of Holland tights giveaway here, there's less than one week to go!


  1. Sounds like you had a fabulous time x

  2. Looks fab, i've seen some really nice things on peoples blogs from Forver 21 but i can never get the site to work for me.
    I love your tights too xxx

  3. I'm an online shopping addict too, but im venturing into Birmingham this evening to meet some friends for shopping and a bite to eat :)
    Great photos :)

  4. Lovely photos, it looks great!

  5. I really want to visit Forever 21...a new years blogger meet up maybe?! Haha. Ohh UO used to kill me by offering student discount!

  6. Forever 21 is my guilty pleasure, especially for accessories.

  7. Argh, they need one in London - pronto! I am pleased for once something is not so London Centric, but London Centric is so convenient for me!

  8. Nice pictures... I'm not sure where F21 will fit on the British high street when we already have so many chains offering mid-range fast fashion.

  9. i love F21 and I love birmingham - thanks for sharing looks like you had a fab time x

  10. I love this travelling post ! I'd like to go shopping in this place, the rings you found are beautiful !

  11. I love reading your blog, I miss the UK so much :( I was living there for 6 months but im back in Holland now..
    You have a lovely blog!


  12. it looks like you've mastered winter dressing also! i love your layered outfit & those tights are just fabulous!

    i've visited the forever 21 website briefly but i probably wouldn't buy anything until i'd been able to see the quality & try out the sizes instore. my parents live not too far from birmingham so i might get to go at some point!

  13. oooooo I still havent been to Forever :( and its like my ultimate favourite shop!!!

    Those rings are lovelyyyyy

    Love your tights!!

    Char x

  14. argh i am so annoyed about yesterday! me and luce had been planning that for months, and it was my idea but i couldn't go! i felt awful :(

    i got one of those urban outfitters letters for my sister's uni room too :) you and winnie have the best food! x

  15. Haha lovely photos Kristabel! Glad you loved your trip to Brum. The rings are pretttty fab too haha!

    I never did ask how the dim sum compared to ping pong?! I'll order more next time haha!

  16. nice post!!!
    Elle :)

  17. i've never been to froever21 unfortunately, i reaally wanna go there. luckily they're opening their first store in holland soon!

  18. You can't beat Tesco tortelloni, it's my saviour too!
    Totally agree with you on the charm of blogs in book form. My collection of fashion books is increasing at a startling rate! I really recommend The Sartorialist. Lovely book.

    Great blog! xx

  19. Iv not been sure on forever21 Iv looked at their website and nothings caught my eye yet! The rings you have look great though especially for the price!!

  20. Okay, seriously... I love your blog.

    Your fanatic picture is fun! The dim sum looks delicious and I am on the way to be following you! :)

  21. Looks like you are havin the BESSST time in Germany!!! Lovin' all the pics and Forever 21 rocks!!! Happy Holidays babe!
    xoThe Beckerman Girls


  22. One of the girls at work got an AMAZING xmas party top and skirt there in NYC. Can't wait to visit their store - looks fab. xx

  23. I'm coming to England to visit my friend on my spring break in Feb. While I'm there: you, me, Winnie, Dum Sum.


  24. when i'v been in america my gf has bought stuff from forever21, some stuff seems ok but to be honest i can't say i have ever seen her wear any of it.

  25. forever 21...dim sum....sounds like my idea of the perfect day out!!

    i still havent visited the store...is it good? heard its like an overpriced topshop which is sad cos i always look forward to f21 in america :(