With over 270 stores and counting, navigating Phoenix MarketCity is a Herculean task of sorts. Zara, La Senza, Steve Madden, GAP, Marks & Spencer… where do you even start with four intimidating floors of shopping waiting to happen? And not just high street brands, there’s also cosmetics, home decor, toys and lots of food. Armed with INR 10,000, my editor packed me off to negotiate and decode the massive and slightly intimidating mall. Check out my haul and see for yourself.

IRIS Aroma Boutique

Photo source: Iris Aroma Boutique

Photo source: Iris Aroma Boutique

I decided to start the day with a hit of fresh, earthy scents. Located on the Lower Ground floor of the mall, this little boutique sells a full range of essential oils, burners, scented candles, diffuser reeds and scented drawer sachets. Their essential oils are a steal at just INR 90! I fell in love with and picked up their Amber Rose Reed Diffuser set for just INR 550.

Damages: That’s INR 550 gone, leaving me with INR 9,450. 

CeX

Photo: You Tube

Photo: You Tube

This awesome gaming store stocks an enviable selection of used console games, both recent and old. Want to play Skyrim but just not willing to shell out the big bucks? Here’s your chance to be a gamer on a budget. I got myself Assassin’s Creed Rogue for INR 1,200 to get into the mood for the upcoming Michael Fassbender film hitting cinemas this December!

Damages: INR 9,450 minus INR 1,200 leaves us with INR 8,250.

Centro

Photo: Akshaya Maller

Photo: Akshaya Maller

An oasis for any shoe lover, Centro stocks some top notch brands {Madden Girl, Clarks}, as well as more budget-friendly brands {Melonz} at great rates! If you’re looking for a less pricier version of Steve Madden, check out the store’s Madden Girl line. The ever attentive store assistants will also help you find your dream shoes. The best part? They offer a six-month ‘warranty’ on your shoes — just drop by the store for a free fix if you’re having any issues. I fell in love with a pair of classic memory foam leather sandals by Madden Girl for INR 2,999, but decided to go for an equally cute pair of gold-weave sandals by Melonz for just INR 899.

Damages: INR 8,250 minus INR 899 leaves us with INR 7,351.

#LBBTip: If you didn’t know already, Madden Girl belongs to Steve Madden and is the brand’s slightly more pocket-friendly version.

Zara

Photo source: Zara

Photo source: Zara

A staple for fashionistas worldwide, Zara cannot be missed. EVER! Always on top of the season’s latest trends, this Spanish retail store has it all — cold shoulder tops, distressed leather bags with embellished clasps, bomber jackets, and even leather jumpsuits! After wandering around the sizeable store for way longer than I should have, I finally settled on a basic black and white crop top for INR 490. That’s quite a steal, wouldn’t you agree?

Damages: INR 7,351 minus INR 490 leaves us with INR 6,861.

Hamley’s Toy Store

You don’t need to be a kid or have one to visit Hamley’s. This British brand operates exclusively out of Phoenix, and is any toy lover’s dream. I zoomed through aisles on a skateboard, played a round of round of tether ball with a store assistant, and drove a remote controlled sports car around a mini-racing track — time well spent, clearly. After all that, I definitely couldn’t leave without picking something up, and settled on a Funskool Nerf Gun for just INR 575.

Damages: INR 6,861 minus INR 575 leaves us with INR 6,286.

 Ekam

Photo: Akshaya Maller

Photo: Akshaya Maller

Walking past this store without entering was almost impossible, it smelt way too good! The sales lady attentively took me through their 100 per cent vegetarian products. I was most fascinated by their solid scent cubes, which offer around 28 hours of use, and come in aromas such as woody mahogany and sweet vanilla. However, I fell in love with their Garden Fresh Soy Candle, which set me back INR 895.

Damages: INR 6,286 minus INR 895 leaves us with INR 5,391.

Colorbar

Photo source: Color Bar

Photo source: Color Bar

After checking out a few cosmetics stores in the mall, I found Colorbar had the best prices and range of products. After trying out a few things, like their highly pigmented liquid liner with amazing staying power {it lasted the whole day on the back of my hand despite multiple washes}, and their lip glosses that perfectly suit the Indian complexion, I zeroed in on a cheerful shade of blue nail polish that just so happened to be on sale for INR 105! I just had to get it {and leave, before I bought out the whole place}.

Damages: INR 5,391 minus INR 105 leaves us with INR 5,286.

Call It Spring

Photo source: Call it Spring

Photo source: Call it Spring

When this Canadian shoe brand opened its doors in Bangalore, their footwear became all the rage. After browsing through their to-die-for selection, I came across their spin-racks with socks, watches, and even jewellery! So I picked up a necklace set with five interchangeable pendants for just INR 359 on sale. Lucky!

Damages: INR 5,286 minus INR 359 leaves us with INR 4,927.

Kiehl’s

Photo source: Kiehl's

Photo source: Kiehl’s

Being the only branch in the city, this iconic skincare brand can’t be skipped. The saleslady was great, and took the time to listen to all my skin concerns. Torn between a luxe face serum and a sunscreen, I opted for the former. The Midnight Recovery Concentrate set me back INR 2,100. I also picked up some awesome {free!} samples to try for later!

Damages: INR 4,927 minus INR 2,100 leaves us with INR 2,827.

#LBBTip: Check out their starter kits {INR 3,000 upwards}, customisable to address any skincare concerns you might have! Bonus: shop for INR 5,000 and get a Steve Madden voucher worth INR 1,000.

Marks & Spencer

Photo: Akshaya Maller

Photo: Akshaya Maller

This tried-and-true British department store, best known for clothes and lingerie, always lures me in with their discount rack. But this time, I veered towards the selection of perfumes, like their True Red body mist, and was ecstatic to find purse-friendly versions {in both size and price} by the billing counter starting from just INR 499!

Damages: INR 2,827 minus INR 499 leaves us with INR 2,328.

Mother Earth

Photo: Abheet Anand

Photo: Abheet Anand

Filled with ethnic clothes galore, this branch of Mother Earth also offers a small but lovely collection of home decor, handmade jewellery and other knick knacks. Their materials are all ethically sourced natural fibres, guaranteed to be high quality and durable, yet affordable. After browsing through their sizeable ladies collection, with a good portion of it on sale, I came across their men’s section. Of course, I had to get the first thing I saw — a gorgeous indigo Dabu print shirt for just INR 1,199!

Damages: INR 2,328 minus INR 1,199 leaves us with INR 1,129 to go.

Howard’s Storage World

Photo: Akshaya Maller

Photo: Akshaya Maller

If you’re as obsessive as the LBB crew is about everything being in its rightful place, be it your bedroom, bathroom or office desk, you’ll fall head-over-heels for Howard’s Storage World. I didn’t know where to start, dashing between their handy kitchenware {check out their awesome little finger-held peelers for INR 899} and their bathroom organisers for all your makeup and bottles {prices start at INR 500}. I finally decided to go for this tiny clip bottle, perfect for carrying a lunch-time beverage without worrying about spills.

Damages: INR 1,129 minus INR 399 leaves us with INR 730

OM Books

Photo: Abheet Anand

Photo: Abheet Anand

With print media on the decline, OM Books is taking a stand. With an impressive collection of English literature {as well as a notable selection of Hindi and Kannada books}, you’ll surely find what you’re looking for. The helpful sales people seemed to be well-versed with their stock, and were easily able to inform me whether or not they had a particular author. Check out their selection of classic in-house published books for a great deal, like this copy of 1984 by George Orwell for just INR 175. They also had a great selection of notebooks and backpacks, which you should definitely take a look at!

Damages: INR 730 minus INR 175 leaves us with INR 555 left to go.

Home Centre

Photo: Evan-Amos

Photo: Evan-Amos

Probably your mom’s go-to for home decor, I decided to give this budget-friendly brand a walk through, and was pleasantly surprised to find some cool knickknacks and kitchenware. They had several adorable little teapots for INR 800, as well as some quirky little birdcage tea light holders for just INR 345. Alas, being at the end of the budget, I settled on a potted Bamboo plant, complete with an imprinted blue ceramic pot for just INR 400! Perfect for a housewarming gift, or just something to decorate your office desk with.

Damages: INR 555 minus INR 400 leaves us with a grand total of INR 155.

Determined to get a bang for my buck, I spent the remaining INR 150 on three cookies from Cookie Man (double chocolate chip and a gingerbread man, yum}, leaving me with INR 5!

I’d call that a win. Wouldn’t you?

Feature Photo: Phoenix MarketCity Bangalore