Boux Avenue – When Katie met Theo…

Boux Avenue – When Katie met Theo…

Friday 23rd saw the opening of the North Easts first Boux Avenue store, in Gatesheads Metro Centre. I toddled on over with Daniella and I met the fantastic Carla and the lovely Victoria while I was there.

We got a chance to meet Theo Paphitis and us girlies jumped at the chance to put him in the hot seat and interview him en masse! Theo talked with a genuine passion and enthusiasm and answered all the questions we put to him in a friendly personable manner. I felt you could tell he hadn’t rehearsed and he meant what he was saying. He explained a little about the bra making process within the design and fit areas. This really intrigued me and I’d love to see how each style is developed.

Sandwiched in the green mall, in a triangle between La Senza and Ann Summers (or a shop thong as Theo put it when questioned), the new luxe lingerie store looks resplendently high end compared to it’s counterparts and neighbours.

If the big black heavy gloss doors aren’t intriguing enough, the fresh crisp white interior and the perfectly dressed displays that lies beyond certainly do pull you in. The well dressed, attentitive Boux Girls also seem to draw you in. Each in their smart black shift dress, adorned with their own unique twist on accessorising. I saw day glo pink, leopard print and purple velvet! The only rule the staff have in regards to uniform is that they aren’t allowed to wear black shoes as that’s dull. I think this is great as each girly gets to impart their own personality on to their uniform without breaking the rules!

Inside the store, the first thing you notice is the gentle but noticeable scent that lingers around the store which makes a pleasant change from the smell of old sweat that seems to linger in some stores (come on, you know the smell I mean!). The smell seems to be the White Chiffon scent which you can buy in store in a multitude of different forms. The store takes on a cross between a chic parisian boutique and swish hotel feel to it, with minimal décor that distracts from the products, you have a few prettily decorated mannequin forms and products dotted around the store in vintage suitcases. Very nice touch!

The underwear is beautifully displayed, you cannot help but feel like it’s a high end experience when presented with the pretty bras up top and then the neat drawers full of extended choices. It was a little bit cool to open the drawers and be presented with neatly laid out bras in varying sizes and colours.

Even the attention to detail on the hangers impressed me

The range is very good with plenty to choose from, plain neutrals, bold colours and patterns all feature. The range runs up to a band size of 40, and after perusing the store, it did seem that there wasn’t THAT many 40s on offer and the ones that were there, looked pretty damn small. Boux Avenue are planning to roll out more lines in larger cup sizes in the near future but at present they are not held in all shops.

There is also a nice selection of loungewear and sleep wear, which coming in to Autumn is all nice and snuggly warm. Just what is needed on these cold nights! If you feel you need your nights ‘warming up’ a bit, they also had a beautiful selection of negligees and silky chemises. These seemed to peak at a size 18/20, which I have to say I find to be a little bit disappointing. Especially when you consider the amount of new plus size lines in shops such as New Look etc going up to a 26. Maybe going up to a larger band size / knicker size would have widened the market a little bit but I’m sure they have done their market research.

Not only can you buy your smalls and snugglys at Boux Avenue, they also hold a line of home & body products, which I have to say, were my favourite part of the whole shopping experience (due to small sizes! BOO!). I love the White Chiffon scent and found they offered the scent in a range of items from a hand lotion all the way up through candles to a reed diffuser. The White Chiffon sits side by side with the Pink Taffeta scent too. White Chiffon felt more fresh and clean while Pink Taffeta was a more heady floral scent.


Moving onwards to the back of the shop, you find the VIP desk and the changing rooms! When you move in to the changing rooms, the flooring switches from white tiles to the softest grey carpet my little toots had ever felt – and yes, I did take my shoes off to have a try of it! Each room has it’s own name and is huge in comparison to a lot of changing room stalls, segregated by a grubby and usually ill fitting curtain! Each changing room has a very very high end, luxe feel to it which again reiterates the luxury shopping experience feel that B.A have designed to make you feel that little bit more special while buying your essentials. In the changing rooms, there are 3 light settings so that you can check yourself out in varying lights to see if your bra choice is a hotty or notty in subdued romantic lighting.

Now I hadn’t ever thought of this, but Daniella pointed out that none of the changing rooms,except the disabled, had a seat in the room. Had she not pointed this out I’d not have spared a thought about it but where else would I dump my handbag now!! She also mentioned that if you are going to be sitting down for most of the day, you need to know your choices are going to be comfy right? Without a chair you can’t do that so it’s something that would be much welcomed. They could have added some beautiful stylish baroque-ish style high back chairs to again push the luxury high end experience and make you feel like you’re sitting on a throne while trying on your slinkies!

Heading back out of the changing rooms, you have a small 2 seat waiting area for those pesky oither halves that like to interfere with shopping time and the VIP desk I mentioed earlier.

Boux Avenue run a VIP club which works as a loyalty scheme, spending X amount to earn points which are then redeemable for money off next purchase. Combined with their current offer of buying the bra and getting matching knickers free, this adds up to being an easy to use scheme. Another great highlight to the shop AND the scheme is that if you are anything like me, you find a comfy bra then go and buy it in every single colour they have yet invariably they never have more of your size. With the Boux Avenue shopping concept, you can pay for the bra’s in store and they will be rush posted out to you at home straight away so you aren’t waiting weeks for your bras to come back in to stock. I think that’s a great idea and should the sizes have been wider, I probably would have taken them up on this.

The crucial point about the store, is the pricing structure. I felt that for the quality of the bras, the shopping experience and choice of styles the products were priced very well and I was surprised that they did not cost more. Prices on average hovered around £5-£8 for a pair of lacy briefs and bras ranging from £12.50 – £28 but most coming in at around £20. The sleep wear is also very reasonably priced and on par with other stores.

When making a purchase, your items come beautifully wrapped in lace print tissue, scattered with White Chiffon scented petals (great for keeping in your drawers at home to make everything smell nice), boxed in a glossy Boux Avenue box and then dropped in to a very swish salmon pink BA card bag. Again, the posh bag and wrapping adds to the buyers experience of high end luxe. Much preferred over being shoved a tatty rustling carrier bag and sent on your way.

Boxes and scented petals in the wrapping area

Overall, I enjoyed the shopping experience in Boux Avenue. Yes, I was a little disappointed that due to the sizing I wasn’t able to buy anything, but hey ho, that’s life innit! I got some beautiful smelly goodies and a toasty warm pair of socks, what more could a girl want for autumn?

No sock picture…. I was wearing them!!

As a follow up to this review, I have a filmed interview with the man himself, Theo Paphitis which I will upload at a later date so that you call enjoy my pierced tongue lisping geordieness!

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Theo for his time, the wonderful girls at Fluorescent PR and also say how much I enjoyed the morning with Daniella, Victoria and Carla – you ladies rock.

Just in case anyone is weirdly interested, THIS is a group shot and one of ME WITH THEO.. If you are reading this with a sensitive disposition.. don’t look… I take a GHASTLY photo. No word of a lie.

Katie xxx


Fashion disaster – The deaths of Evans?

Being one of those frustratingly termed “plus size” ladies, there’s been a barrage of plus size lines and stores on the high street that have come and gone over the years. If after a frantic Saturday trawling round a shopping centre looking for a pair of trousers, it was always a safe bet to go to Evans. The highstreet stalwart for such things.

Back in the day, Evans used to be pretty damn funky with their Seven/7/ Se7en (whatever) range which was definitely aimed at a younger market. No one wants to feel AND look frumpy on a Friday night now do they girls?
Steadily over the years, Evans has (and I know a LOT of you agree) have drastically declined in both their fashion styles, cuts and market pricing. For a while their prices were ridiculous in comparison to Etam / H&M BB / New Look Inspire but they seem to be evening out…. On somethings.

What I’m having a little rant about is sizing, their cuts and of course style. I recently went in to a store to buy a new pair of jeans. Not a hard task right? I’m you’re average “big girl” build, long legs, round tum, big boobs etc etc. I grabbed my size and headed in to the changing rooms. Now I am fully aware of vanity sizing but what I encountered was just diabolical. The jeans wouldn’t go passed my calves they were that tight! I nipped back out for the next size up, still nowhere near etc until I had gone up 4/5 sizes to a 32 and they STILL wouldn’t go all the way up. They weren’t skinnies or jeggings, just your average straight leg jeans. Can you imagine how that made me feel?! Going up a size by choice for a nicer fit is fine but this was just crazy!

I find this to be a regular occurance with Evans in the last year or so. I know I’m not an odd shape so why should this one shop, that is famed for providing clothes to us plus sized hotties be so off the mark? Sadly, the buzz around the interwebs is that I’m not the only one who is being left on the sidelines by Evans.
Let’s not get me started on their offerings on trends. I know no one might want to buy a size 32 mini skirt and sheer leggings and white lace boob tube, but surely if these are the trends, it would be nice to be atleast offered them right, rather than the usual checky blouses and long mumsy tunics with comfortable slacks?Who says fat CAN’T be fabulous? Their Beth Ditto range was an improvement but then again, their prices for her pieces were crazy and probably priced a lot of the younger fashionistas out of buying them which was a shame!

With the uprising in online retailers such as Yours Clothing and the very on trend Simply Be, I don’t understand why Evans are still lagging behind the times. Simply Be are moving in to opening High Street stores and I tell you what, once they roll out in to the mainstream, I really do think it will be the final nail in the Evans coffin.

While out shopping after the Evans jeans debacle, I managed to pick up a bargainous pair of jeans for £11 (in my size), a beautiful smart going out top, a winter coat, a sweater and a belt for the princely sum of £55 in Tesco. Tesco’s plus size range is fab, I must say. Trendy yet classical with on trend prints and colours all at a VERY reasonable price. My thick winter coat was £35, the equivalent would be around £60 in Evans.. So if these clothes can be made so cheaply at such a good quality, why aren’t shops picking up on this and realising just because we’re fat, we don’t want to pay 3x more for something when we don’t need to. I know our clothes take more fabric than your average size 8 but if Tesco + Asda can do it, why can’t Evans? Even Sainsburys offer a select of more on trend plus size clothes at a more reasonable price!

After a long ‘open relationship’ with Evans, I think I am fully ready to put this one to bed, move on and not be a patron of the store any more until they buck their ideas up and stop playing it so safe and mumsy… us young girls need clubby clothes too!

My future choices will be Tesco, Simply Be, Sainsburys, Inspire, Simply Yours….. I’m coming to get you *rawr*


OOTD 05.09.11

OOTD 05.09.11
I liked yesterdays outfit so much, I thought i’d show it to you now… a day late
I wore : 
Navy blue wide leg pinstripe trousers
Coral capped sleeve silky shirt
Navy blue super fine knit boyfriend cardigan
Coral heelsTan leather bagBlack glasses ( as always)
Tiffany diamond wedding ring (as always!) 
OOTD 5.9.11  
Do you ever match your shoes to your shirt, or am I just a bit OCD / unstylish?

30 Days of Beauty & Fashion

Don’t forget tomorrow sees the start of the wonderful 30 days event in which there is an offer, freebie, event or giveaway every day throughout the month of September.

It will definitely be one to book mark now ladies and check back regularly. My tip is to hit the site early in the morning to make sure you catch the days offer before it sells out / runs out etc.

Good luck lovelies!

And don’t forget, Sheer Cover will be giving away make up at locations around the country every Tuesday throughout September! You can read about my post on this HERE


Haul : Planned OOTN

Haul : Planned OOTN
Planned OOTD

I went shopping last night after work to find either a new holiday dress for lounging round the pool etc or for a dinner event I am going to on Saturday night.

I got my eye on this exact dress and fell in love with it, it was also reduced from £39.50 to £10 so it was a sign!

I think I am going to wear it to the event on Saturday night with my tan accessories (that are all tone matched, despite the pictures up above ^ ) . I think the addition of the clutch bag over a shoulder bag, and some glam jewellery, make up and hair I can turn this maxi in to a smart look. Also, with a big beach bag, black flip flops and some sunnies, it’s a perfect beach / pool dress

I don’t want to go OTT smart for the event but I know I can style the dress up. I might swap the flats for some tan heels to match the waist cinch belt and clutch

Either way, I LOVE the dress… and I love it more for £10!

Dress was £10
Tan Clutch was £6
Tan waist cinch belt was £4
Tan Sandals were £5

Gotta love those end of summer sales!

Do you ever like to mix it up and accessorise a ‘casual’ dress in to a smart dress or vice versa?