25 March 2012

Boux Avenue launch - Birmingham, Bullring

I first discovered Boux Avenue last year (some of you may remember), and from then, I have been in absolute 'aw' with this brand and its products. So when I checked my emails one day and found an invitation to the Boux Avenue launch in Birmingham's Bullring, it was an invite I couldn't possibly turn down. For those of you who are a little unsure of what is Boux Avenue, then read the following:

Launched in 2011, Boux Avenue has made beautiful lingerie accessible to every woman. From everyday bras to seductive chemises, playful teddies to frilly knickers, nightwear to swimwear, it is the perfect destination to give your lingerie drawer a new lease of life. Boux Avenue focuses on sizing options that range from 30A to 40H, and from 8 to 20. In-store women receive exceptional customer service and are offered a free concierge service with complimentary expert bra fittings that make shopping a pleasurable and personal experience. Service is paramount and both the online and retail store environments focus on this to give Boux Avenue a unique appeal. The Boux Avenue stores are beautifully designed with a contemporary stylish feel in chic monochrome. Lingerie cleverly displayed in drawers according to size, and three different light settings in the fitting rooms that emulate day, dusk and night are key features that make the Boux Avenue in store experience truly unique
(Press Release, 2012)


When I arrived I was greeted by two lovely ladies (can't remember their names) who welcomed me to Boux Avenue and showed me the way into the store. Instantly I was hit with a faint but beautifully scented store which smelt amazing and gave the impression of freshness, cleanliness and new beginnings. As I made my way further into the store, I was met by lots of sales consultants and etc of the store who were all so lovely; helpful, friendly and all had a pleasant smile which made you feel welcome.



The beautiful interior of the store simply is exquisite; French boudoir styling giving the store its ever so glamorous, luxurious feel. With its demure white and black styling, again giving the store a clean feel, with soft edges, it truly felt like every woman's dream lingerie store but with a difference.


The first thing I noticed was how the bras in particular were displayed; only a select few on hangers, the rest were in pull out draws. This is something I have never experienced, witnessed in any lingerie shop which I think is a fab idea as 1) it ensures rails are not overstocked and 2) you're not fighting, sifting through various sizes to find your bra size. And the best bit? No matter what bra size you are, the cost never changes, which I just love.

 

Boux Avenue not only sell lingerie and sleepwear items, but also products, such as candles, hand cream, lip balm to name but a few. These I noticed were not all in one area, but were dotted around the store which I thought was really cute, making the shopping experience that little bit special. 

 
 
Having had a good gander around on the shop floor, I was approached by one of the sales consultant (can't remember her name), who asked ''Have you seen the changing rooms?'' I replied back with a curious no, and was asked if I would like to see the changing facilities, and omg . . . the rooms simply are amazing. Each room has its own name, for example 'Chiffon' was the name of the room I went into, and as with the interior on the shop floor, it is echoed across the changing rooms. Black and white colouring, with chrome finishing, fabulous mirrors which simply are beautiful. And the floor omg . . the carpet is fabulous, I literally took my shoes off and my lil tootsies just sunk into the carpet, felt incredible and very homely.

Each changing room also has the facility of a 'Concierge' service - should you go into the changing room and require a different style, size of item, instead of shouting, peeping your head out the changing room door, you simply press the button and someone will bring along your requested item. How amazing is that? Not only does the changing rooms offer such a fabulous service, there is also a lighting system where you are able to see what your under garments will look like in different settings; Day, Dusk Night. There is also a changing room fully adapted and modified for size for those with a physical disability.


The morning was very busy which meant I didn't get chance to try and natter with Mr Paphitis, however I did come back at midday for the unveiling and ribbon cutting. Of course lots of people were waiting but I finally got to have a picture taken (not on blog, sorry!), and my invitation signed. (Thank you Mr Paphitis).


I had a brilliant morning at the launch and I want to thank the PR team for inviting me to such a lovely event.

If you are interested in knowing more about Boux Avenue, or ordering online (if you don't have a store nearby) then click here. 

Hope you've enjoyed reading this blog post.



















*I was invited to this event, however my train ticket was paid for with my own 'moola'.

19 March 2012

Be careful what you accept . . .




I have been meaning to do this blog post for agesss, but it has literally taken ages to get to the bottom of what I am going to inform you all with today. Some of you may or may not be aware of the situation, but I wanted to blog about it to make everyone aware and be very cautious of what samples they agree to receive.

November 2011 I was contacted by a US company by the name of 'Oxygenetix'. I hold my hands up, I didn't have a donkey clue who the heck they were, but with any company I do not know, or never heard of, I turn to trusty google and start doing some research (still got the nerdy student cap on!). Having done my research and found numerous blogspots, articles 'raving' about this company, I decided to respond back to the email with my interest to sampling the product. I made it perfectly clear that I was a UK blogger, and reassured that this was not a problem. I was also informed I would be receiving extra samples to giveaway to followers of my blog which I thought was a lovely gesture. My details and my required foundation shade were forwarded to the necessary department, and I heard nothing more.

Weeks and weeks passed until we were now into the new year (January 2012). I have ordered a few things from the US, and I know it does take a little while longer than usual UK post, but I was becoming slightly concerned. I know the christmas post can also delay things a little, which I did take into consideration, but was still a little concerned. One day I received a little note for my little postman regarding a package which was being held at my local depot, which I thought ''ah ha this must be it'' and off I went to collect the package. I handed over my slip and waited for the chap to find my package. Whilst I was waiting, I couldn't help notice another package sat on the shelf with my house number and part of my road scribbled in capital letters! When the chap came back, I asked to look at it - unbeknown to me, the package that I had been waiting ages for had been sat at the depot since the end of November - nobody had bothered to inform me! And then to add insult to injury there was a lovely £12.24 duty charge slapped onto the package!!

Of course, now in complete limbo I didn't know what to do with this package from Oxygenetix; do I pay the duty or do I ''return to sender''? Because I was informed there were extra goodies included for a giveaway, and I enjoy giving things away to say thank you to you all, I paid the duty charge. Intrigued to see what prizes were included for you all, I ripped opened the box, and was faced with mountains and mountains of tissue paper, and then a little 30ml pump foundation fell out, that was it! My face . . .



. . .To say I was cheated, mugged off, upset - was an understatement! I just couldn't believe my own eyeballs! In a complete and utter hot temper, I drove home and immediately jumped onto the laptop, to write whoever it was that contacted me an email saying how disgusted I was with the whole thing. I also made it perfectly clear in my email that I wanted full reimbursement of the duty charge as I was not made aware of this. I thought I was being cheeky, but I thought no, I want my money back. My email went off at the speed of lightening and I sat waiting patiently for a response.
 
A few days later I received an email from someone expressing their most sincere apologies, claiming that the person who contacted me had since been 'fired' and that samples are never sent out to bloggers, and this should never have happened. I was also informed that reimbursement of my duty cost would be in my paypal account at the end of that week. I felt somewhat happy that my email had been acknowledged, and that I would be receiving reimbursement, agreed by those 'at the top' and etc. Great (or so I thought) . . .

End of the week came . . . nothing! I sent a reminder email to the person who I had been liaising with, and informed again yes it had all been approved by management, and that I would be receiving my reimbursement in 2-3 working days. I took to watching my own paypal account like a hawk! I decided to leave it for a week, see if anything materialised, and guess what? Nothing showed up in my account. By this time I was feeling slightly 'peeved' and annoyed as I just wanted my money back. Failing to get 'through' to the person I had been liasing with, I decided to complain again, but this time sending the email to the 'generic' email for customer queries. This time I had correspondence from someone who actually was listening. I again received the same apologetic speech in the email, and was offered samples to giveaway .. . I kindly declined, and made it perfectly clear I just wanted my money back. Less than 24hours = ping .. £12.24 had been credited to my paypal account!

What a polava!

If this experience hasn't taught me a lesson, then god knows. But from now on I will not be accepting any samples from the US again, due to unexpected duty charges! I made it perfectly clear to the company that I was a UK blogger, and nowhere in the email mentions about possible duty charges. Ok perhaps I should have had my 'wits' about me a little bit more, but I didn't expect it as I have received samples from a different US company before and did not face duty charges. 

So bloggers be wary - if a US company is offering you products to sample, enquire about potential duty charges.
 
Hope this blog post has been helpful, an insight for you all.




18 March 2012

NOTW - China Glaze 'Reggae to Riches'

I haven't done a NOTW post for quite sometime, but today I shall be blogging about a polish that originally caught my attention from its name alone; 'Reggae to Riches'. 

Reggae To Riches is a shimmering purple that flashes with pink and blue.

Coming from a culture where reggae music is fundamentally a huge thing, this nail polish instantly caught my attention, sharply followed by the gorgeous colour. I am a hardcore fan of purple so anything ever so different from my other purple polishes, I will purchase. 
 


Instantly you can see this nail polish is not just bog standard purple, it has a bluey finish which gives the nail polish a complete different effect. What starts off as a gorgeous purpley colour, ends up with two fabulous colours that just look absolutely beautiful in the daylight. I found this nail polish to also have great staying power; no chip for a good 3-4days with my hands doing a lot of manual jobs around the home.



I purchased this nail polish from 'SendTheTrend' on eBay at the mere cost of £3.76 plus £1.23 p&p from the US. For a genuine China Glaze nail polish, I have to say it is incredibly good value for money. Although I ordered over the festive period, where postal services are always delayed, it still didn't take too long to arrive considering it was coming from the US.
All in all - I am very impressed with this nail polish and shall be ordering more in the future.

So what do you think; is this a nail polish you love or are you not so keen?

Would love to hear your thoughts.


















*Although this product was purchased with my own money, my review is as always 110% honest, genuine and true. I am not affiliated to Lush or am I being paid.

13 March 2012

Lush 'Gingerbread House'

During the festive sales I picked up quite a few Lush goodies which caught my eye. And of course one of those was the Gingerbread House bubble bar. When I received my order, I took one sniff and vowed to leave it to the very last of my stash, and boy was I glad I did. 

Ginger and spice and all things nice. That’s what our little bubble bar house is made of.  
With its little snowy roof and cinnamon stick chimney, this bubble bar looks as good as its edible cousins.  But, when you come to use this one, instead of a stale gingerbread biscuit, you get mountains of spicy, fruity foam and a jolly good wash. With ginger powder and ginger essential oil, this is a warming little number.  But we’ve also given it lemon oil and a fruity scent based around the blackcurrant notes of buchu oil.   It’s a wonderful treat that you’ll want to lose yourself in. If you’re feeling the winter blues a soak in this will help you find your way out of the woods.
(Lush, 2011)

When I first saw this I was instantly drawn to its cute shape, and it reminded me of being 'homely' and christmasy. So on that alone I was drawn to it, purchased and I couldn't wait to use it. As with all my Lush goodies, I don't bother cutting, chopping, saving and etc (can't be bothered lol), I just use them in one go; lots of bubbles which is what I did with this bubble bar. All the Lush products I purchased have been easy to use, including this one. I did notice however the scent of this bubble bar very quickly; spicy, your typical christmas smells, oozing out and around my bathroom . . even my brother said ''What is that? . . smells so good''.


Whilst having a good ol soak, I did enjoy using this bubble bar. I did find it relaxed me somewhat, but to be honest I was most in aww with the scent - just smelt absolutely divine. My skin thereafter was baby bottom smooth and I of course smelt great! (Not trying to blow my own trumpet here lol).

The RRP for this bubble bar was £2.46 but I got it for £1.47 which isn't a bad sale price. However this product is seasonal but I have all faith it'll be back for Christmas 2012 (I hope so anyway!)

If you're interested in knowing more about 'Gingerbread House' or Lush, then please click here.













*Although this product was purchased with my own money, my review is as always 110% honest, genuine and true. I am not affiliated to Lush or am I being paid.

11 March 2012

A week or 2 in pictures . . .

I was meant to do this post last week, but if you follow me on twitter you will have seen from my tweets that I went out to celebrate my birthday and over-indulged in a lil bit too much wine. As a result, I spent the whole of Sunday feeling very sorry for myself with a thumping headache (lesson well and truly learnt! -,-). So although a lil late, here is my week (or 2) in pictures . . .enjoy!









1) Caught this one evening, and I couldn't help but think it truly was stunning; the arrangement of colours with the sun setting. 

2) Went to London to see my family, and of course we went past Heathrow - I have to admit I hate flying, but when I'm watching (feet firmly on the ground) I do enjoy watching planes coming into land.

3) Coming into London, brother took the wrong turning, but we went past the Coca Cola HQ 

4) Monday evenings I go Tap Dancing. I absolutely love it, and find it to be a great way to keep fit and keep the brain ticking.

5) 28th February I turned the grand ol age of just past the mid 20 mark! I am sort of knocking 30, yet I still feel 18 (and I still get ID'd for lotto!) . . .lol I had a very chilled day and went for lunch with a friend. I went out the Saturday night to celebrate, but I ended up sleeping on a minibus - got kicked out of the club because I was too drunk! -,- (damn you Rosé wine)

6) Prince Harry and Usain Bolt in Jamaica this week doing that infamous pose Bolt is known for on the track.

 7) Managed to get the Enrapture Totem Styler - £39.97, RRP £74.99 - absolute bargain. But I had to travel to Bristol to collect it as my local area had completely sold out!

. . . That's it for this week


2 March 2012

MUA Lip Balms in Collaboration with Love Hearts

If you haven't already noticed as of late there has been an abundance of posts regarding the MUA and Love Hearts collaboration. I was invited to the launch event a few weeks ago, but unfortunately I was unable to attend due to prior commitments. However the lovely ladies over at MUA were very generous and kindly sent me some products to sample. I have decided to try and blog at least once a week with a product I was sent, and today I will kick that off with the Lip Balms in collaboration with Love Hearts.

Love Hearts and MUA have collaborated to bring you the sweetest Lip Balm collection this Spring! Taste of a gorgeous sweet Vanilla, moisturising for those sore lips, and with a hint of colour when you've forgotten your staple lipstick. They range from nudes to reds to beautiful soft and bright pinks. 
(Press Release, 2012) 

When I first saw these I instantly fell in love with the chic and funky packaging; straight away I was transported back to the mid 1990s when the love hearts sweets were buzzing around at school -  boys running around with their love heart sweet ''It says 'Kiss me' - ha I think not! Anyway I digress, the lip balms themselves have a slight vanilla scent, which isn't overpowering. What I wasn't too bowled over by at first was the fact that lip balms had a slight tint as I am very picky with tinted lip balms, but to my surprise the pigmentation is very minimal which is a bonus for me personally, although it might not be so for many others. These lip balms would make for a great handbag essential too; nice and small. However I have one grumble. . . you have to use your finger to apply!


Now I have absolutely nothing against those who use their fingers to apply products, however the idea of using this product, dipping your finger which has potential germs, in and out of a product and onto your lips, really doesn't take my fancy! As an alternative using a lip brush will probably be the route I shall take, but it is a bit of a 'faff' especially if you're in a rush.

The RRP for these lip balms are £2.00 and are available from Superdrug and muastore.co.uk

What do you think; will you be purchasing or are you not keen?












*My review is 110% honest, genuine and true. Although PR samples were sent for consideration, and I did some research before use, neither have influenced my views in any way shape or form.

1 March 2012

Eau Thermale Avéne Gentle Toner

Just after the festive season, I received some Avéne skincare products which I had never used before, but was willing to give a try. My skincare complaints were taken into consideration and I received a selection of products aimed at problematic skin. 
As with all skin care products I am sampling, I like to give each product 6 weeks as that is when I begin to notice a difference, change in my skin, if any. Today I will be blogging to you all about the Avéne Gentle Toner.

Protective and alcohol - free, the Gentle Toner has been specially developed for dry and very dry sensitive skin. Completes the cleansing step. Enriched in natural silicates, it protects the skin against external aggression without altering the skin's protective hydrolipic film. Paraben free
(Eau Thermale Avéne, 2012)

First impressions of this product; great, nice clear packing which enables you to visibly see the product. You're also able to monitor how much product you have left which is great in ensuring you never run out. The writing, product design, directions for use are all clearly set out, detailing some parts in French (seeing as it is a french brand), which I thought was a lovely touch. The opening of the bottle is that of a flip top with a tiny hole, which if I am honest does make it slightly difficult to get sufficient product onto a cotton pad. 


The product itself is of a liquid consistency which is quite milky. It has a slight scent to it which is lightly fragranced but not too heavy where it's sickly. It also does not leave any sticky residue or feel oily on the skin which is a good thing. However after using this product for 6 weeks, my thoughts on this product somewhat leave me quite disappointed. 

6 weeks has now passed and if I am honest, I haven't noticed any positive change in my skin. What I have noticed is my skin has got worse, and the zits are giving me a very hard time. The product is aimed at those with dry and very sensitive skin, which I suffer with the latter, and to be honest, I found this product to be very very drying, often leaving my skin tight and sore. In order for me to overcome this I had to use a good amount of my moisturiser to try and 'soften', bring back the moisture to my skin .



At first glance of this product, it appears very promising with its neat, clean packaging, but unfortunately for me personally it didn't quite live up to what I expected, and therefore will not see me purchasing in the near future. 

The RRP for this product is £11.50 and is available from Boots













*Although this product is a pr sample, my review, thoughts are that of my own, and are 110% honest, genuine and true.