Visiting Belfast: Shopping and sight-seeing over the border

If you don’t normally go up the North for shopping or sight-seeing, you’re missing out. Recently I went on a weekend break to Belfast with my boyfriend and we had a brilliant time.

I’ve posted about visiting Belfast before but I spent less than a day there. This time around I spent more time in the city centre and was there for a full weekend.

I have only been to Northern Ireland four times including the last trip which is quite embarrassing!

Where to go shopping:

Belfast has two shopping centres, Castlecourt and Victoria Square. Castlecourt is slightly old-fashioned but has some decent shops, including a nice Debenhams.

Victoria Square is a more modern building and has all the high-street shops such as Topshop, H & M and River Island.

The Topshop is massive and I could’ve spent all day there! But that would’ve been the end of my relationship.. 😛

On the street there’s a massive Stradivarius (one of only three in Ireland), Zara, Primark etc.

What to buy: 

I always buy cosmetics in the North as they are a good bit cheaper. I picked up a new bronzer in Superdrug and got my eyebrows threaded there for only £5!

I also bought Queen of Shaves shaving gel for £2.99 (This is very gentle on your skin but can’t find it in ROI anymore). It was about €8 down here.

Nivea night cream was only £1.99 which was also good value, it’s about €5 here.

Perhaps VAT is to blame but when you factor in exchange rates, we seem to pay a lot more for clothes in shops like Topshop and River Island in the ROI.

For instance, this purple frill jumper was £15 on sale from £30 in Topshop. It ws €42 full price in ROI stores.

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Primark is similar value to what you get at home, one pair of nude tights were £1, a nail varnish £1.50 etc.

The Primark was undergoing a bit of a makeover and was VERY busy when we were there.

Overall the stock in Primark was only OK but the store isn’t the biggest.

 I bought a pair of Onitsuka Tigers for my boyfriend in Office, they were £65 with student discount.

Name brand runners aren’t much cheaper than at home.

Surprisingly I didn’t buy myself any shoes! Nor did I find a dress for my graduation but there’s plenty of time yet.

Bargain shopping/Charity shops

I visited two charity shops and both were pretty disappointing. If anyone can recommend a good one, please let me know.

Vintage shops

There are a few quirky vintage shops around Belfast and my favourite one was Octopus’s Garden on Wellington Street.

It sells records as well as deadly vintage threads and is a good spot for nabbing a band t-shirt.

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Markets

On Sunday, we visited St. George’s Market which reminded me of a smaller version of Spitalfields market in London.

We treated ourselves to a hearty Ulster fry and perused all the goodies the market had to offer.

There were loads of food stalls including some very tasty cupcakes, homewares, bric-a-brac, vintage records and jewellery.

I’d highly recommend this market to everyone, it’s an absolute gem.

Cash or card?

I brought cash which I’d changed commission free in the post office. If you pay in card in the North, there is a small fee, about 14 cent per transaction.

Withdrawing sterling with an Irish card from an ATM will incur a fee of at least €3. Ulster Bank customers can withdraw free from NatWest, EasyCash and RBS however.

Bag charges

FYI, there’s now a plastic bag levy in the UK, retailers must a charge a minimum of £0.05 per bag. Something to bear in mind if you are buying lots.

Where to eat/stay/have fun

Besides shopping, we did enjoy the sights of Belfast, including the Titanic experience which was fantastic. Give yourself a minimum of two hours if you are going here.

It’s an interactive exhibition and I learned so much, not merely about the Titanic but also the history of Belfast.

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We stayed in Jury’s Inn in the heart of the city and our room was gorgeous.

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On Saturday night we had dinner in Deanes Love Fish restaurant and the food was DELICIOUS! Hands down, one of the nicest restaurants I’ve ever been in.

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We also went for a drink in The Crown Saloon, which is one of the most popular bars in Belfast.

The beautiful Victorian decor has been preserved from the intricately-carved wooden booths and ceiling designs, to stained glass windows and funky floor tiles.

Unfortunately it was too busy to sit down.

Another watering-hole we visited was White’s Tavern which is one of Belfast’s oldest pubs. This is a nice little pub to relax and rest the legs in between shopping and sight-seeing.

Finally, City Hall is a must if you like architecture.

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 FYI, this was not a sponsored post.

Hope you all enjoyed this post, feel free to leave me a comment below.

Thank you for visiting my blog and  don’t forget to check out my InstagramTwitter and Facebook page here.

Edel

Market Shopping and Sea Air

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I have some very exciting news, I’ve been shortlisted for Best Fashion Blog by the Blog Awards Ireland. I was already thrilled with my long list nominations and extremely happy that my blog has been long-listed three times since its inception. BUT when I found out I made the shortlist my reaction was…

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The shortlist will soon go to a public vote and I hope you will vote for me! I’m so passionate about this blog and I have put so much time into it.

But not to digress any further and back to my travels in the UK. The second part of my holiday was spent in Notting Hill,  East London and Southend-On-Sea which is about an hour outside London.

Sunday was spent visiting Notting Hill’s Portobello Market where I bought some presents for my friend’s little girl Stevie. I had no clue what to buy for a baby but I found an emoji bib and a cute Paddington Bear t-shirt.

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Then I struck gold when I found a stall selling cut-off shorts for £5 and picked up a pair. Unfortunately there was nowhere to try them on and they were smaller than I’d anticipated. They just about fit! Can’t trust waist sizes!

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I love the Portobello Market and have featured it on the blog previously. There were lots of weird and wonderful things there, see below…

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This t-shirt tho

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My next port of call was Spitalfields Market in East London. My friend Michele was keen to show me the market and knew I would love it. She was right!

Spitalfields Market consists of clothing, jewellery, food and drink stalls and is surrounded by shops which all retain the original facades of the old buildings.

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This looks nothing like a typical MAC store!

I didn’t have a lot of money however one item which caught my eye was this floral mini satchel. At £12 it was a no-brainer!

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Among the shops dotted around was a gorgeous retro shop,  Collectif Clothing which was filled with 40’s and 50’s style clothing and accessories.

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I wore a simple outfit to the market, all black except for my printed vintage shirt.

Spitalfields Collage

As well as clothing we also saw some great artwork on display by artist Adrian Boswell at the Old Truman Brewery Market. I love these collages.

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We then walked around Brick Lane and admired street art and soaked up the hipster vibes. 😛

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There are lots of vintage stores in this area but the best one has to be Absolute Vintage. This shop is HUGE! It is stuffed with clothes, shoes and handbags, catering for both guys and girls. I can’t imagine trying to tidy this shop, it is literally bursting at the seams! Some items such as the shoes are a little battered but most items are wearable. The handbags are especially worth a look! Next time I am in London, I will be coming here again.

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That evening I travelled to Southend-on Sea to visit my friend Elaine. We spent a lovely day in Southend shopping and walking the pier.

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I threw together a casual outfit for the day, black jeans, lilac Penneys jumper and of course my new bag. 😉

While in Southend I made some purchases including a fab new bikini for £7, sandals, a tribal print cosmetic bag for £1 and Elaine bought me a lovely gift, these pink and white shoes!

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Hope you all enjoyed this post. My next post will be on my visit to Mallorca featuring all my holiday clothing I bought in London! Thank you for reading as always.

Edel