Hands up if you spent a liiiittle bit of money slaying the sales this month? Well high five if you earned yourself a bargain hunter badge, but we managed to resist splurging in the shops after Christmas this year.
It's not quite as restrained as it sounds though, because actually, we spent what was basically our entire life savings waaay back in November, when we jetted over to New York with Simon Shopping Destinations for every shopaholic's DREAM.
You might think the sales here can get mental, but it was time for us to hop on a plane from London Heathrow and head to the Big Apple, to find out what it's actually like to hit the shops during the, dun dun dun... Black Friday sales.
Pray for us. Wanna find out how we got on?
We all see the footage on the news every year – cameras in Target and all the American malls capturing the moment that a mother sacrifices her small child at the till, in order to grab a flat screen telly that's got $10 off.
Grown men crying as they fight over toasters, grannies knocking each other out in the struggle to grab a bargain set of towels - people have actually DIED in the Black Friday sales in America. For reals.
So it's fair to say we were a liiiiittle bit apprehensive about what exactly we were getting ourselves into. Luckily, our final hours on this Earth before being squashed like a raisin were spent in luxury, as our first few days in the city were at the Loews Regency Hotel on Park Avenue.
We believe the word is SWANKY. You can have a snoop around our room in the vid below, the bathroom mirror had a bloody television in it, does life get any better than that?
Once we'd jumped up and down on the bed a
few times and eaten the contents of the mini fridge (joke… as if we could
afford the mini fridge), it was time to head into the Big Apple. Our first stop
was The Mills at Jersey Gardens, a super swish NYC area shopping destination near Newark airport.
We headed to do our thang at Jersey Gardens the day before Thanksgiving, so although actual Black Friday hadn't quite kicked off yet, all the sales were in full swing and there were some mega bargains to be had.
And judging by the amount of bags we came home with that day, we're pretty sure we found EVERY SINGLE ONE.
There was over 200 shops to hit in total (there's still plans to add more stores in 2017, AGH), but in the end our dollars found a home in the dreamy Victoria's Secret, Forever 21 and Levis stores that day, and we scooped so many mega bargz that we went home feeling well chuffed.
Oh, and did we mention it's all tax free because it's just over the NY border in New Jersey? Bonus bargains are our fave kinda bargains.
LOOK AT ALL THE LOVELY NEW THINGS WE GOT. Oh, we also went to Sephora and spent so much money that we nearly cried but ah well. We're gonna blame all the American beauty gurus for that one.
After grabbing some delish Mexican food in Chilis, and wondering whether we still had time to go to Bath and Body Works to buy a million Christmas candles, we hit the road and headed back to the hotel, weighed down by shopping bags and achey legs.
We had no idea the phrase 'shop 'til you drop' was actually a real thing that could happen, but it turns out the struggle was very much real. So then we dropped. And slept. A lot. AND THEN IT WAS THANKSGIVING.
Kinda like Christmas here, pretty much everywhere shuts on Thanksgiving even in the city, so we took the morning off from spending loadsa money, and instead we decided to get stuck in with one of the ultimate New York holiday traditions - the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.
LOOK, a giant floating Spongebob. That's what Thanksgiving is aaaall about.
Watching huge inflatable Angry Birds floating around the streets of New York City can get tiring though, and Thanksgiving dinner was definitely calling. Turkey, potatoes, gravy, candied yams whatever the eff they are, all needed to find their way into our bellies immediately please.
We'd be having the epic meal and a night's stay at the Thayer Hotel, which has got to be one of the most gorge places we've ever had the pleasure of staying at. It's slap bang in the middle of the US Military Academy at West Point, and so beautiful that we nearly cried a bit.
LOOK. Can we live here please?
Only a short drive away from the Thayer was Woodbury Common, a premium outlet village and absolute dream destination for anyone who's after a serious bargain on incredible brands, both high and low end.
Woodbury was where we'd be spending our Black Friday shopping experience, so after hopping in the mini bus and a quick whizz through the adorable surrounding area, we parked up and sharpened our elbows.
It's kind of a thing in the US now that Black Friday isn't just the Friday - it actually starts on Thanksgiving, so as well as the main sales we also spent an hour or two having a browse on Thursday evening, which turned out to be a fabby idea. Much quieter, much calmer, additional discounts and less squishing. YAS.
Anyway, back to Woodbury Common.
If we could just shop here all the time, that would be fab. It reminded us of a model doll village, but a doll village which just so happened to have amazing designer brands like YSL, Michael Kors, Tom Ford, and Kate Spade, as well as all your faves like Yankee Candle, Superdry, All Saints and Disney - plus a GREAT food court.
And d'you know what? Woodbury was SUCH a perfect place to shop that even Black Friday seemed under control. Sure, there were some pretty massive queues forming outside some stores by lunchtime, but nothing too unbearable, and we still managed to buy everything we'd been after.
The discounts were INSANE. The biggie for us was Kate Spade, which saw us grabbing bags and purses left, right and centre thanks to 60% off everything in store, plus an extra 20% off all bags on the Thursday evening. Errr, take our money?
Wanna find out everything we picked up while we were there? Check out our li'l fashion haul below for loads more info and a vlog of the day at Woodbury.
So there you go. No children being chucked in the air to grab a blender from the top shelf, no one ripping any hair out to get to the front and not even a single punch thrown in our direction to grab some designer socks on the cheap. Is it weird to say we're a bit disappointed?
KIDDING. We had the absolute best time, and feel like we should probably have some kind of badge to say we survived Black Friday.
If you're planning on treating yourself to any designer gear in the future, we'd absolutely say that Simon Shopping Destinations are the place to go - you'll probably be surprised by just how much you can save on huge names, and you don't even need to learn any wrestling moves before you go.
NEW YORK WE LOVE YOUUUUUUU. We'll be back soon, promise. But until then, this is us:
What d'ya make of that then? Reckon you'd do Black Friday in New York after our experience? Let us know with a tweet to @Sugarscape.
For more information on the fantastic everyday savings and seasonal sales at Woodbury Common Premium Outlets and The Mills at Jersey Gardens, please visit www.simon.com. North America Travel Service offers a three night package to New York, including scheduled flights with British Airways from Heathrow, two nights at the Loews Regency New York in a superior king room, and one night at Thayer Hotel West Point, in a queen deluxe room from £710 per person, inclusive of airport taxes and fuel surcharges. WWW.NORTHAMERICATRAVELSERVICE.CO.UK / 0845 122 8899
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