I was invited back up to Ballymena on Saturday past as it was the day that the Ballymena Means fashion event took place. The sun was shining and the kids were busy with activities that my husband was able to bring them to so I was a free agent with shopping on my mind!
You may have seen my last post where I went up in advance of the event to see what was on offer so on this second visit, I was keen to visit a couple of shops I'd not had a chance to get to first time round.
McKillen's Fashions was first on the list. I discovered a few brands I've never seen before including Coaster Copenhagen
Their footwear was gorgeous too. I'm always looking for lovely grey footwear and these sandals look look like the perfect neutral choice.
and a brand I've never heard of before Lion of Porches had some lovely classic pieces with a twist, including this embellished breton.
Next, I headed down to Camerons, Ballymena's department store which has been in the town since 1963. The shop has definitely moved with the times though and has seriously upped its game since I was last in it about 10 years ago.
The handbags in Camerons blew me away - especially these David Jones chain strap cross bodies that came in a couple of colours for £31.99.
This grey Fiorelli one has been stuck in my head too. It's a big bag but would be perfect for work. I think it was a bout £70 - definitely on the wish list. Much like shoes, it can be hard to find a nice grey bag.
On the first floor, a new womenswear buyer has led to a much wider range of fashion brands and a greater number of them aimed at a younger woman so leave your previous perceptions of the store at the door. There's Great Plains
Great Plains is looking good for SS17 too. My stand out piece is this navy broderie jacket.
Camerons also has a Carl Scarpa shoe concession. This is an Irish brand that I remember from when I lived in Dublin. I was impressed with the quality of the shoes. These neutral brogues really stood out for me:
Next, I crossed the road to Just, a smaller gift and clothing shop, also owned by Camerons.
As I'd just bought a handbag in Camerons, I thought I'd buy another one here! But I couldn't walk past it - it's the loveliest neutral pewter and was only £17.99
Time for a coffee break and this visit I opted for upstairs at Montgomery's as I'd been told by a couple of people about what a hidden gem it is. Family owned and located above the family furniture shop, it's the perfect venue for anyone with children as it's got loads of room for prams and a play area too.
Everything is home made and the customer service was second to none - the staff carry your tray to the table for you! Old fashioned good service but they make a wicked coffee and these buns
My time was flying by now and I had a poorly little one at home so for my last hour, I went back to Greenvale Street because I was sorry I didn't buy this top in Primrose the first time I was down:
Next, I popped into 31 Greenvale Street, I told you Greenvale Street is the place to go for a fashion fix!
Marmalade to admire their Daiquiri machine...and these jumpers. They have sequins as elbow patches!!!
Here's where I took a quick selfie of my shopping outfit
and I might have bought this shirt. It's STUNNING!
I was gutted I didn't have time to pop into Chocoa before I left but it's definitely on my return list. It's owned by an artisan chocolatier and is yet another coffee shop worthy of a visit, especially if you love chocolate.
So once again, I bid farewell to Ballymena but I so enjoyed my two half-days spent shopping there. My one bit of advice? Get there early, leave yourself more than a half day and wear comfortable shoes!
Thank you to the Ballymena Means team for covering my expenses on my two trips up to the town. I wasn't obliged to write these blog posts - it was my pleasure to do so in support of local businesses. I think we all need reminded regularly of the fantastic family run businesses in our towns so I hope this post has reminded you of yours too, wherever you are.