I love spending time shopping at The Bridges in Sunderland, especially on Thursday evenings when they're open until 8pm all year round with free parking after 5:30pm. 
Home to some of my favourite shops; Debenhams, Topshop, H&M, Lush, The Body Shop and so much more, I can always guarantee a good spree and when I was invited along to see what the shops had in store for the upcoming festive period, I couldn't refuse.

I joined up with Alice, Kayleigh and Cat to make our way around some of the shops, with our first stop being Lush

Not only did we get to look around the store, but we got to make our very own Butter Bear bath bomb to take home with us. We donned some swanky blue gloves to mix up the powders before pressing the mixture into our bear moulds... I'll show you how mine turned out in an upcoming post!
The Butter Bear is a Christmas version of the much loved Butterball, made with ingredients including Fair Trade cocoa butter, Ylang Ylang oil, cocoa powder and synthetic musk. It smells slightly sweet yet really calming and is suitable for the most sensitive of skin; it's even recommended for children... Even though I'll feel slightly guilty using the bear I made myself, I can't wait to pop it into my next bath!

We also saw some live demonstrations of the new Christmas bath bombs; The Luxury Lush Pud and Satsuma - both of which smelled and looked incredible (perfect for that bath time Insta snap).
And I fell in love with the scent of the new reusable bubble bar 'The Magic Of Christmas' which is made of cinnamon, orange oil and almonds - it literally smells good enough to eat!
Lush are always one of my go-to places when it comes to buying Christmas presents every year and the selection of products this year really doesn't disappoint.
The walls and tables are piled high with Christmas products right now, so much so that you find yourself wanting to buy something for everyone on your list - I mean, who doesn't want Lush treats at Christmas?!

For some people (myself included) I like to buy a few random products from the Christmas range and pop them into a gift bag or box of my own. My top choices this year are of course the festive shower gels; Snow Fairy & Rose Jam are back! I also can't resist the cutest little bubble bars including The Christmas Penguin and Santasaurus which are great presents for children when teamed up with the Christmas themed packs of Fun.

If you're more interested in the ready made (and ready wrapped!) gift sets, there is an endless selection with prices ranging from £7.95 to £170 for a box containing 37 products. 
I was particularly drawn to the cute Rudolph and Penguin wrapped sets of two bath bombs, I think anyone would love to find these under their tree!
The next stop was to Debenhams where I visited the Clarins counter for a skincare consultation with the lovely Claire.
I love it when brands really take the time to listen to your needs, find out what you want to improve and cater for you as an individual rather than just going in for the hard sell, and I couldn't have been happier with the service at Clarins.

After discussing my current skincare routine, the products I use, the problems I have and what personally works for me in terms of time and what I enjoy with skincare, Claire was able to talk me through a selection of products that she felt would work best for me.
As my skin is dry and sensitive with the odd breakout, it was suggested that I try their Cleansing Milk, Toning Lotion, Gentle Refiner Exfoliating Cream and Eye Contour Gel... All of which I was given samples of, so I will report back on how I get on.

It was also interesting to find out that you are able to book in for Clarins facials at almost all counters around the country. At The Bridges, they have a separate room where you can relax and enjoy your facial away from the shop floor, for only £15, which is redeemable off any products afterwards... A perfect excuse for a little bit of 'me time', especially if you're going to buy a product anyway!
Lastly, we made our way to the new Kiko store, which has only been open a few weeks. This is the second Kiko to arrive in the North East, and I have to say that it's been well worth the wait.
The store is packed along both sides and down the middle with thousands of products and shade options... Wether you're into your neutral tones or the brightest of brights, there's definitely something for you here.

I found myself eyeing up the Christmas collection and the 3D Hydra Lip Glosses which come in the most beautiful shades - I definitely need to get my hands on a few of these!
I then got chatting to the lovely manager who showed me the new Skin Tone Foundation, which comes in a beautiful highlighting liquid formula with 36 shade options! 
With so many options available, it was easy to find a shade to match my colouring perfectly and I was so impressed with how smooth and glowy it looked on my skin.

They say time flies when you're having fun, and before we knew it the shops were closing and it was time to go home.
I can't wait to head back to The Bridges with my Christmas shopping list in hand to make a start on my present buying (anyone else started yet?) I'll make sure to treat myself to a few bits too!

Some posts may contain PR/gifted samples, please read my disclaimer for more info.