It is a gorgeous day and it’s my favourite kind of weather. The sun is bright, the sky is blue, but the air is still crisp and slightly chilly.
Perfect weather for a day trip, and I knew exactly where I was going to go to cheer myself up and take my mind off internet dating.
York is a beautiful city, especially on a glorious day like today. I love how you can wander along the city walls and past the castle, ending up amidst the bustle of tourists and shoppers who navigate the maze-like cobbled streets that are filled with curio craft shops and boutiques which gleam with jewel coloured dresses.
But there is one very important reason for my visit. York has one of those truly magnificent shops that if I actually lived in the city my poor pay cheque would be spent before I actually received it. Tucked away from the hoards of shoppers on the main shopping streets and in the shadow of the impressive York Minster is one of my favourite places in the world: a Mulberry Factory Outlet. Mulberry handbag heaven, and my one major weakness. A trip there always puts a smile on my face, and sometimes I can even manage to come away empty handed. However if I do go, I know I have to be prepared in case I fall in love and have to flex my credit card.
A few years ago I didn’t even know about Mulberry or the love affair that I would be embroiled in only a few years later. Now I am a total handbag slut.
Today, York was resplendent in its cloak of glorious spring sunshine. The bright sun bounced off the city walls and made the aged old yellow Yorkshire stone of the castle glow as if it were summer.
I watched the familiar sights go by as I sat on the bus until it was time for my stop. I came on my own as unlike a lot of people I enjoy the experience of shopping alone. I like how I can wander around the shops and drink in the history and the atmosphere at my own pace.
I got off the bus and headed towards Stonegate and in the direction of the Minster. This is where the more interesting and unique shops can be found. I love looking in shops that sell nik-naks and crafts and also in the small boutiques that sell curious clothes. There also seems to be loads of shops peddling deliciously calorific handmade fudge, designed to tempt the tourists and shoppers alike. I tried my best to avoid these though, as otherwise I’ll woof a slab of double chocolate fudge faster than you can say “Get your arse to the gym”.
A few doors down and past Fudgetastic is a new Cath Kidston store, full of chintzy fabrics, bags and vintage home wares and I can’t help but have a look inside. Last year I was desperate to revamp my kitchen in a retro 1950’s style with pastel coloured crockery and utensil pots. However Matt, my now ex, said it would be a waste of money as when we lived together the kitchen would be one of his rooms and he had decided upon a sleek modern look. Wanker.
I love all the vintage floral patterns and colours, and I moved around the store touching the patterned oil cloth bags and cute egg cosies thinking how I could quite easily spend a fortune in here. I tried on a pair of blue floral pumps, but to the dismay of the friendly shop assistant with strangely drawn on eyebrows they didn’t fit me as I’m an awkward half size. Oh well, no matter as now I could head off to the shop I’d actually come to visit.
As I reached Low Petergate I could see the towering Minster bathed in sunlight through the alley in front of me. It is such a beautiful building and as I wandered down the street in its shadow I completely missed my turning for the Mulberry store as I was distracted by the sound of music coming from somewhere close by. As I walked a little further I saw a piano in the street being played by a middle aged lady in a hounds tooth checked cap. Ah yes, you get a better class of street entertainment in York! I backtracked and saw my destination up one of the quieter side streets, so took a deep breath and walked in.
The shop is exactly how I remembered it from last time. Dark wood shelves hold bag after beautiful bag in a rainbow of colours and styles. I won’t bore you with the details, but I feel, touch and swoon my way around the store a couple of times. However, nothing really grabbed me.
I feel pretty disappointed, so I go back to the shelves for another look and to see if there is anything that I have missed. It's then that I catch sight of the bargain bin by the door. There’s not usually too much in there but today it was different. In the bin towards the back is a bag that I have never seen before. It is such a pretty, vintage-style and here it is all lonely in the bargain bin. I rushed over to the mirror to try it on. It was perfect and I knew instantly that it was coming home with me.
As I paid for my brilliant find, I mused at how I had discovered it where I had least expected to: tucked away from sight and hidden away at the back of the bargain bin.
Maybe this was a sign that sometimes you find things where you’re not expecting to, and one person’s cast off bargain is someone else’s perfect find?
Maybe this could be applied to my attempts at internet dating?
I smiled to myself, as this rare find made me feel much more positive about everything. As I walked back through the maze like streets in the sunshine I must have been deep in thought, as I didn’t even realise that I’ve walked past all the fudge shops until I found myself back at the bus stop.
Maybe internet dating won't be too bad after all...
Newly single and rapidly approaching my thirtieth birthday, I’ve realised that I need a new game plan in order to find the drop dead gorgeous, rugby-playing boyfriend that I’ve been lusting after for years. Or at the very least: a man just like him...