An experience to remember in London with Debenhams

Debenhams | Nicole Navigates

On Thursday 22nd November, I was invited to an event with Debenhams to go and watch Florence + the Machine in concert at the O2 Arena in London.

WHAT. YUP!

Let that just sink in, because I don’t think it’s quite sunk in either that it actually happened.

To get ready for the upcoming festive party season, Debenhams challenged me to go shopping to purchase a party outfit from their party clothing range for their event, which I was extremely honoured (and shocked) to be invited to.

As a huge fan of Florence + the Machine and having the opportunity to collaborate with a brand which I regularly shop at, I wanted to make sure I was dressed to impress.

They have so many types of party outfits in stock, from their dresses, skirts and going out tops, to their designer playsuits and jumpsuits, which I personally decided to opt for a jumpsuit as I know they are super comfy, but you still look like you’ve made an effort to dress up!

So this blog post is just a summary of how I travelled to London from Northamptonshire, how I managed to get ready prior and how an outfit, a VIP event and being surrounded by such positive people can change your whole perception and mood.

Debenhams | Nicole Navigates
Debenhams | Nicole Navigates
Debenhams | Nicole Navigates

Earlier that day, I was starting out just like I normally would on a typical Thursday morning: waking up and getting ready to go to work.

I spent the morning and the last bit of the afternoon getting on with work, doing social media, going in and out of meetings, to which I then left work at 3.30pm to begin my journey to London.

My usual routine for getting ready for an event would be slow, relaxed and would involve giving myself plenty of time to ensure each detail was perfect (or as good as it can get!)

Instead, as soon as I left work, I found myself getting ready in the back of the car whilst my mum drove me to the train station. Let me tell ya, getting yourself into a jumpsuit in the back of a mini was certainly a challenge (and difficult considering I decided to wear no bra, so hey, sorry for those who probably saw my boobs in the back of the car!)

When I arrived at the station, I had no makeup on, but I luckily found an empty corner of the train where I could subtly put my make up on and make myself go from 0 to 10 (or a solid 8).

I was unlucky that I hit London rush hour around 5-5.30pm which made me feel like a hot sweaty mess travelling through the tube station from Euston to get to North Greenwich station. I even paid £3 to use the Euston station toilets just so I could stick on some fake eyelashes. Classy.

By the time I got there, my feet were already achy from all the walking (I would highly recommend NOT wearing heels when walking around London!)

However, all was forgotten once I got inside the O2, met the Debenhams social media team and found myself walking towards the VIP area. I was able to freshen up once again, re-did my makeup and I found myself more relaxed and ready for a night to remember.

Debenhams | Nicole Navigates

I was slightly nervous as I started to mingle and meet the other London bloggers that were attending the event. As someone who is very used to her close Northamptonshire blogging circle, to be mingling amongst bloggers whom I had never met before, it was safe to say I was petrified as to whether I would get on with them.

But I had absolutely nothing to worry about. All the bloggers were lovely, friendly and we each made each other feel welcome – as this experience was as new to them as it was to me!

I have to give praise to Debenhams though – for such a big brand, it was so nice to discover that the bloggers who were invited had a fair following. For a brand as big as Debenhams, I would have expected bloggers with huge numbers in the 10k or 20k following be there.

Instead, there were bloggers from 500 up to around 6k following invited. I truly believe this is a step forward in brand-influencer marketing, as it means some of the smaller bloggers get a chance to work with big brands and it gives those bloggers a chance to shine and show what we’re made of.

It makes you wonder whether brands really care about the numbers, or if it’s more about the engagement, content and the bloggers work ethic that counts more.

Debenhams | Nicole Navigates
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Debenhams | Nicole Navigates
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The event was very well organised by the Debenhams social media team, with plenty of food and drink to keep us going throughout the night.

I especially loved the fact there were several popcorn bowls around the room for us to nibble on whilst we watched the show. As popcorn is the perfect show snack!

Oh and let’s talk about the food: Beef and chicken sliders, sweet potato fries, nachos with salsa and guac and NEW YORK CHEESECAKE AND BROWNIES… bravo Debenhams and the O2 Arena for providing all my favourite foods!

The first support act was a band called Wet, whom I had never heard of before, but their music was actually really catchy and I found myself singing along to the songs once I knew the choruses!

But the main show was all around Florence + the Machine. Now, I need to let you all know, I have always respected Florence as an artist and I think her singing is incredible. But you always wonder whether a singer can deliver when live.

She delivered more than just a show, she delivered an epic show! The whole performance was just spectacular with the lighting effects, the band, the music and her whole on stage presence. She was running around the stage like a floating fairy and she made sure she aimed her performance to every side of the stage.

Our view was perfect, as we had our own dedicated seats in the VIP area, with plenty of room to stand up and dance along to her hits like ‘Hunger’, ‘Patricia’ and my favourite song right now; ‘Dog Days are Over’.

Sadly, I had to miss the last part of the performance, due to needing to catch my train to get back to Northamptonshire, so I was gutted that I missed her performance of ‘Shake it Out’. But thanks to Ghenet, she recorded the performance and sent it to me via WhatsApp (thanks babes!)

Whilst I was watching the performance, I actually found myself getting emotional: not only because I love Florence and couldn’t believe I was finally watching her perform, but I had a moment where I just thought to myself; I can’t believe I am here, thanks to my little space on the internet.

I was feeling extremely grateful for this opportunity.

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I was dressed head to toe in Debenhams own brands, which included:

Jumpsuit: Red Herring
Shoes: Faith
Earrings: Mood by Jon Richard

I also purchased a backpack to go with the outfit from Debenhams, but I couldn’t find the link! But the bag was super useful to carry everything for a long journey and I have already found lots of usage from it since the event.

The social media team at Debenhams were so impressed that I managed to shop an outfit from all their own brands, that I ended up featuring on their Instagram story to their 211k followers – WOW!

A party outfit can really make you go from feeling sluggish and tired, to radiant and confident.

A party outfit can really make you feel like a million pounds, even if you’re just pretending to be!

And a party outfit can make you feel unconfident about your appearance and body image, to going “I look bloody fabulous and I’m going to show off my curves!”

I really feel like I have found a staple party outfit that’s going to bid me well this party season, as well as years to come. As in my experience, Debenhams clothes have always lasted longer. I’ve still got a vintage Warehouse jacket I purchased from them 5 years ago that’s still in perfect condition.

But honestly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you Debenhams for inviting me to your VIP to watch Florence + the machine and giving me the chance to meet a bunch of the nicest bloggers who I am happy to be following.

And thank you for getting me party ready as we head into the Christmas party season. I am excited to wear my jumpsuit again for another occasion.

I felt like Cinderella: one minute, I’m partying the night away in a beautiful outfit, then at the stroke of midnight; it was all over.

I don’t think I will enjoy concerts any other way now after experiencing watching one VIP style.

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Will you be getting party ready with Debenhams this season?


*This blog post is part of a Debenhams partywear campaign. All opinions are my own.*

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