We're getting to that awkward, between Bank Holidays time of the month and it already feels like a long way off until the next pay day.
So, for some bargain fun, I heartily recommend heading down to Covent Garden this Saturday for the Seven Dials and St Martin's Courtyard Spring Shopping event where 120 shops, bars and restaurants will be giving (free) ticket holders a 20% discount between 12 noon and 5pm.
These kinds of events crop up every so often but are usually evenings and after a long day at work the last thing I really feel like doing is standing at the end of a long line to get a few quid off a mascara - I did this once on my way to a birthday party and was holding a giant helium balloon which was 'an experience' (single people, if you find it hard meeting people, may I suggest loitering with a balloon. Most of the strangers who stopped to talk to me were nutters but you never know I guess...).
Seven Dials is holding their Spring Shopping Event on a far more sensible Saturday late afternoon. Not only that but it's one of my absolute favourite areas to shop. Not gonna lie, its proximity to the fabulous cocktails at Freud's, where I held my 20th birthday party back when it was a britpop hotspot, and the Gwynneth Paltrow-approved Covent Garden Hotel's Brasserie Max, both of which are taking part in the event, also has a great deal to do with it.
The range of stores in this super cute area is crazy - everything from the poshest naughty knickers at Coco de Mer, to fun accessories at my beloved Tatty Devine, and a whole world of arty potential that I could spend literally days exploring at the London Graphics Centre.
Of course there are a ton of fashion stores at a variety of price points too - Urban Outfitters, Adolfo Dominguez, etc - and some super hot shoe shops - Poste Mistress is a firm fav.
Haven't snapped up some adidas Superstars for the summer? Get them while the discount's good over at Size? or Offspring. Need to Spring clean your makeup look? Head on over to Benefit, Shu Uemura, or any of the other amazing beauty shops taking part in the event to stock up - this is literally one of my favourite things to do - that 20% off suddenly means adding that extra lippy or maybe trying that contouring kit is totally justified because you've done so well saving on the essentials...
I've just run out my supply of Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Serum, that blue dropper bottle of skin saving, mosturising, overnight wonder, so was excited to hear they're taking part too. Joining them is Magma, the awesome arty book store, which has recently opened its new flagship store in Shorts Gardens, which - as with Cath Kidston and Scribbler - provides a top window to pre-buy gifts for birthdays, weddings or, for the more forward-thinking amongst you, Christmas.
For the men there are some brilliant must-visits, including Fred Perry's super fancy Laurel Wreath Collection shop actually on Seven Dials by the roundabout (be warned, their sizes tend to come up a little snug when I've bought guys gifts from there so consider going one bigger), and the Carhartt Work in Progress store, as well as The Watch Shop and Happy Socks for the more accessory-focused.
Lastly - top tip - if, like me, you've been reading in the press recently about all the gross reasons why you need to replace your pillows and make sure your bed has a mattress protector, you might want to make a quick pit stop at Covent Garden's White Company store for discounted bed essentials. I bought our current crop of pillows from there and they're like proper hotel pillows. What more could you want?
You can find the full list of participants, which includes bars, restaurants, and even a dental spa, here.
Don't forget to visit the website to register for your free ticket first, which also entitles you to various freebies and gets you access to a host of other special events in the area. You can thank me later. Happy Drinking/Eating/Shopping!
The Seven Dials and St Martin's Courtyard 20% discount Spring Shopping Event in association with Elle and Esquire takes place on Saturday 9th May from 12 noon until 5pm. For more information and to register for your free ticket in order to claim discounts at the selected outlets taking part, visit sevendials.co.uk or stmartinscourtyard.co.ukSuggest a correction