Meera Modi: Highcross Takeover in Leicester
I've never been to the Highcross Takeover before but after finding myself on a week-long placement at the Leicester Mercury, I decided to go along and see what it had to offer.
It took place between 7 and 10pm, so I decided to leave the office at around 6.35pm and made my way to McDonald's for a quick bite to eat before the event started.
As I entered Highcross at about 7pm I was greeted by announcement declaring that the Highcross Takeover student lock-in had begun.
Suddenly the mall came alive with music, and at that moment I almost expected a stampede of students to come rushing past me and head into some of their favourite shops, like Topshop and H+M, which were both offering students a 20 per cent discount.
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Unlike the student lock-in last October, which took place during freshers' week, the mall was not shut off to the public and some retailers even opted out on offering student discount.
I was slightly disappointed about this as there is a pair of nude heels in New Look that I've had my eye on for quite some time and I was looking forward to getting them using the extra student discount.
Luckily there were some other shops that I like that offered great discount - Superdry, Miss Selfridge, The Bodyshop and Vero Moda all offered a 20 per cent discount of their items.
I walked into H+M on the hunt for some bargains. I spotted a reasonably priced pretty mint green dress and a sheer long black skirt which would be perfect for the summer.
But after checking my bank balance on my Blackberry and realising that my next loan doesn't come through until mid-April, I swiftly decide against this idea.
After leaving H+M I spoke with De Montfort University student Alison Hunt, 20 who said she would have liked more shops to have offered student discount, but she preferred this lock-in because it wasn't as busy compared to the one last year.
"It's pretty good, but it's annoying that some of my favourite shops like River Island and Zara aren't in it," she said.
"But this one is a lot better than last time because you don't have to queue outside in the cold, you just have to show them your student ID card."
Freya Edwards, 16, from Great Glen, who attended the event with her friends, said: "It's good but it would have been better if River Island took part in it as well as it's quite a good place for students to shop at."
After speaking with some shoppers I decided to make my down to the lower mall outside Debenhams, to see the DJ who was due to start at 8pm.
Right on cue, an energetic dance song began bursting out of the speakers and the sound filled the shopping centre.
Behind the DJ stand there was a free photo booth for students to enjoy, complete with multi-coloured wigs, sunglasses and hats. There was also an option between black and white or colour prints.
Ryan Preston, 18, from Anstey, said he enjoyed the student lock-in and the atmosphere created by the DJ.
"It's nice for all the young people to get together and it different because it has music and the photo booth," he said.
Savvy shopper Molly Gilbert, 17, from Knighton, said: "It's a really good chance to get stuff for cheap.
"I got an £8 top in H+M for £4. H+M were really good as they gave extra discount on sale stuff.
"We liked the free photo booth - that was our favourite - and we the liked the DJ it's chilled there's a good vibe. It's better than the one in October. It's more relaxed."
At about 9 o'clock I began feeling hungry and exhausted from all the 'window shopping'. Luckily my Dad arrived at the same time to take me home and phoned to tell me to "hurry up and come outside" because he couldn't find any parking!
I think overall there were some good bargains up for grabs and people definitely enjoyed themselves. It's just a shame I couldn't take advantage of them because of my lack of funds.
The next time I attend an event like this again I'll make sure to save for it WELL in advance.
By Meera Modi, from Leicester, a journalism student at Brunel University.