Box Upon A Time

Box upon a time is a monthly subscription service for parents who are looking for something a little bit different when it comes to children’s clothes.  The clothes are handpicked to suit your childs age and style, prices start at £29 a month and the clothes in the boxes are up to 60% off the rrp.

After a friend sent me a link to the company I decided to give them a try, I’d not read anything about the company before and hadn’t seen any reviews but it looked professional enough so I thought I’d sign up for a month to see what I thought and if I like it I would continue my subscription.  I filled Arthurs details into the site creating a unique profile for him with my chosen likes and dislikes and ordered my first box.

A couple of weeks after signing up I had a personalised email from the company asking me if I wanted to order anything, it stated that my account was all set up and if I had any questions before ordering they would be happy to assist, this confused me a little so I immediately logged into my account to double check my order had gone through and I checked with my bank to see if the payment had come out.  I emailed the company back to let them know that I had actually already placed an order and was now just waiting for my box.  I received an instant reply apologising and to say my order was currently being processed and the designer was picking items for me.

After a couple of weeks I became concerned that I’d not heard anything from the company so I sent an email to ask what was happening, I know that some companies offer to be contacted via social media for an instant reply so I also left a message on the facebook page.  I received a reply to say my box would be sent out that week.

I originally ordered my box on the 24th May 2014 and received my items on 3rd July 2014.  I sent two emails and 3 facebook messages and included the company in a tweet, out of 6 times I contacted the company with regards to my box I received 2 responses.

I’ve not had much luck recently with customer service, maybe my expectations are too high?  I personally don’t think there is anything wrong with expecting a response when you have paid for a service.

I actually really like the items picked out for me in the box, they are different to what I would purchase myself but Arthur will definitely be wearing them, it’s a shame because it’s a great idea and if the customer service improves I will sign up again but for the moment I would rather spend my money with items that have a proven record of putting customers needs first and replying to messages.

One gripe that I have is that my box has a value of £65 apparently however I’ve managed to find one item that box upon a time claim has a retail price of £26 for £19 and the other I managed to find for 26EUR when it’s claimed the retail price is £39.

If you go to the Box upon a time facebook page there are quite a few unhappy customers with complaints ranging from length of time to be delivered, quality of items and sizing issues.  I do genuinely wish the company success but as I’ve said before they really need to work on the customer service or lack of issue.

Have you purchased a box yourself? Were you happy with the service received?

UK Mail, I Post Parcels and Paypal

Back in May I sold one of my baby carriers to a lady on a facebook group, I’ve used I Post Parcels before which is a part of UK Mail and although their website can be temperamental they are one of few companies who provide labels so you don’t have to print them yourself.

I waited in all day on the day of collection and no one arrived to pick up the parcel, I managed to find a telephone number for UK Mail and spent an hour trying to get through but it either cut me off or kept me on hold so I never actually got to speak to anyone.  I sent a message via I Post Parcels website to check they were going to the right address, I’ve had problems with deliveries in the last as the second line of my address is also a street name and the family that live there have the same house number as me so if couriers ignore the name of the building I live in they often end up at a different address.

The next morning  I’d had no reply so I tried phoning again and couldn’t get through so I took to twitter, most companies have a twitter presence and it’s usually a good way to sort problems so i sent the following message (house number has been covered):

 

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I assumed because the twitter team had relayed my message to the courier that everything would be fine but yet again my parcel wasn’t picked up.  I took the decision to go with a different company as the person buying my item had already waited 3 days since payment had been made.

 

I had now sent 3 messages via ipost parcels website and via UK Mail email and had not had one reply which I found to be disgraceful.  I contacted the twitter team again:

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A week after the courier was supposed to collect from me a courier turned up at my door, 7 full days after waiting for collection.  I advised that I had gone with a different company and assumed a refund would be made.  I’m still waiting for a response from UK Mail and I Post Parcels and haven’t had one.  It has now been over a month since I purchased a service from UK Mail / I Post Parcels and as I paid via paypal I decided to open a dispute.

I assumed that because the twitter account had gone quiet and because I’d had no email response that the company were no longer trading, I’ve never known a company to go silent before but strangely enough they responded to my dispute by advising me they tried to collect 7 times. How strange I thought, 7 times. I work from home and you need to be buzzed in to the building so I knew straight away this was an exaggeration of the truth, the fact of the matter is that the courier may have attempted collection 7 times but it was certainly not at my address.

UK Mail have even had the audacity to put the tracking number on the paypal dispute to show they attempted delivery. What a joke of a company.

 

Most people will probably be thinking it’s just £7 let it go, why should I? Why should companies be allowed to think its acceptable to rip people off and go silent. It’s rude.

I would love to know if any of my readers have had similar problems with a courier, specifically UK Mail or I Post Parcels.

 

 

Art Rookie

Art Rookie Colour Logo

 

I don’t usually post about brands/companies I know very little about but I do love supporting British companies and Art Rookie is exactly the sort of company I love to support. Created by Elizabeth Bush and Jodie Prince, young artist and designers themselves who are aware of the initial struggles of an art graduate. They have a vision to inspire, be inspired and share new and unknown British talent with the world.   

Art Rookie is a unique online sales platform for up and coming UK artists and designers. Supporting British Graduates on their road to commercial success! I’ve studied both Fashion and Jewellery design at university and I know how difficult it is to make a name for yourself and gain an online presence, there is so much competition and having a platform to showcase your work and have it created is such a brilliant idea.

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Art Rookie is really simple to use, the artist simply uploads and posts their artwork onto a variety of products provided and they do the rest! Each artist has its own shop front to promote as well as being a part of the whole site and gains a cut of each item they sell. you design and create, they produce, package and post!

Art Rookie are all about developing British artistic talent. They have strength in numbers mentality, just by association people can stumble upon lots of other original talent at the click of a button, spreading the creative love!

Every product is made here in the UK and only printed after it is ordered so it is 100% custom-made for each and every customer.  If you’re a budding designer or after some unique table wear, fashion or art go and check them out.

 

Collections or Obsessions

I am a collector of things, some will say I’m a hoarder and in some cases they are probably right but I like to call it collecting. I wrote a post last year about the various collections I have owned and still own and after publishing the post remembered a few more collections that I’d missed out.  For some people collecting is a hobby and for others collecting is an obsession, I like to think I fall somewhere in the middle of the two. 

I tend to flutter between my collections and when I get bored of one I will start another, a prime example is swapping my collection of wraps and baby carriers to a collection of cloth nappies. Since March 2013 to the date of this published post I have owned over 45 different wraps and baby carriers, some have been in my collection for months and others weeks, I’ve never owned more than 14 at any one time which carriers the name of a ‘churner’ in baby wearing circles. Arthur doesn’t let me carry him very often at the moment as he would rather walk so I’ve drastically chopped my stash of wraps and carriers down to a Mei Tai, Ergo buckle carrier and 3 woven wraps which to some is still a decent sized collection but to me doesn’t fall into the collecting category.

Now that we are using reusable nappies full time I have slowly been building up a collection and although not particularly my favourite for fit and longevity the Tots Bots range of nappies have taken over my study (I keep them in the bookcase) as their prints are so beautiful, including the ones currently in the washing machine I own 32 (I’m not prepared to admit how many nappies I own in total).

I used to think the babywearing community was a little obsessive over prints and paying over the retail price for hard to find and limited edition wraps but this obsession is nothing compared to the cloth nappy community. When I sat down and looked at how much people were willing to pay for a pre-loved item I realised that although some wraps will sell on for £300+ a wrap will get better with age and use but the same can’t be said for a nappy which gets covered in bodily fluids on a daily basis and each use is ultimately deteriorating the life of the nappy. A friend who we will call Mrs X recently paid over £100 for a limited edition nappy print, only 300 were made so as you can imagine it’s very sought after but not as sought after as it’s little brother the teenyfit where only 30 were made. I’ve tried myself to get hold of this print as it’s rather pretty and I know Arthur will suit it, the nappy was designed and released for the birth of Prince George and features a baby with a crown on his head. Arthur was given the nickname King Arthur by family members due to him ruling our family home so this royal nappy would be a family joke if I was able to get hold of one but I’m not prepared to pay anywhere near £100 for one.

When I added up how much my nappy collection was now worth in this current economic climate the resale value of what I own is worth over £350, some of the prints I own are still available to purchase so when they are out of stock I could probably easily add another £50 to this total. I have more than enough nappies now but if I want to keep collecting prints so I have them all I don’t really want to lose out when it comes to selling them on which means I either stop using them and keep them in the condition they are currently in or buy more to have a bigger rotation so that I can recoup some of the money spent on the more hard to find prints. Why does collecting go hand in hand with obsession? Is it our fault as human beings for having obsessive natures or is it purely because we like pretty things and want to own them that we get consumed by our collecting? Do we blame the manufacturers for the ludicrous resale value of items or do we blame the consumers who are spending crazy amounts of money to have a ‘collectors item’?

I asked a series of friends who are a mixture of beauty addicts, babywearers and cloth nappy users what their opinion on collections and obsessions with collections were:

Alyssa  ” I did the obsession the other way. Collected loads of nappies when pregnant, even had them all on a spreadsheet. But now it’s wraps that I would rather have. I do feel that when you get an interest in something you go overboard. I was way into nail art etc I have 30 odd OPI nail varnish plus several other makes”

Emily “At my peak I owned over 200 lipsticks, most were unworn, I currently have an obsession with handmade soap and bath bombs and at the last count had over 150″

Sarah ” My collection of 49 nappies cost an average of £4.81 each, so collecting doesn’t necessarily need to be expensive. Granted, I don’t have many prints (4), but I do have plenty in various colours of the rainbow, literally a colour for any outfit”

Kate  ” I once collected Nike air rift trainers. I have a trigger, nightmare before Christmas and hard rock cafe pin collections”

Elle ” I am not naturally a collector of things, I’ve never ever collected anything – so I don’t know what’s going on with this nappy business!”

Diane “There’s a fine line between collecting and obsession!”

 

Smile Brilliant Teeth Whitening

smile brilliant

I’ve never whitened my teeth before in fact I hate anyone seeing my teeth as they are so stained and misaligned. If I’m completely honest I don’t really understand how teeth whitening works, I know that celebrities always have perfectly white teeth but I assumed it was down to veneers rather than whitening.

What I do know is that teeth whitening will NOT alter the natural colour of your teeth. So why use it then? The tooth is composed of 2 main visible components which are Enamel and Dentin.

Enamel is a clear and hard protective coating that rest on top of the dentin which is a soft bone like tissue. Everyone’s enamel is clear and collects tough to remove stains over time however not everyone’s dentin is naturally bright white. Some are fortunate to have naturally bright white dentin while others have an off white or in rare cases a yellow colored dentin. Teeth whitening will only remove the stains from the enamel thus revealing the true colour of your dentin.

I have no idea what the original colour of my dentin is, I’ve tried to take good care of my teeth and only have one filling but I do love coffee, tea and other things that cause teeth staining so my teeth are a bit of a nasty colour.

smile brilliant

smile brilliant

I tried the The LED teeth whitening system* by Smile Brilliant which is perfect for those who want great tooth whitening results but are on a budget. The LED system is far more effective than something you would buy from a chemist due to its 22% carbamide peroxide tooth whitening gel and high strength LED light which accelerates the whitening process.

smile brilliant

The ingredients in the teeth whitening system are: Glycerin 77.1% | Carbamide Peroxide 22% | Carbomer 0.5% | Menthol 0.2% | EDTA 0.2% and the product has a shelf life of 2 years refrigerated or 1 year at room temperature (unrefrigerated).

smile brilliant

I’m only interested in actually whitening my front teeth as they are the only teeth that people can see when I open my mouth or smile so I expected to get around 5-8 applications from the gel.

The process is really simple, you pull off the teeth whitening pen cap, twist the bottom clockwise to move the gel to the top of the pen, paint the gel evenly on the front surface of your front upper and lower teeth and the crevices where your teeth come together and finally insert the mouth guards.

The LED light is placed up to your teeth and you wrap your lips around the plastic guard, treatment times vary based on individual sensitivity levels but it is recommended you leave the light in your mouth for the first 20-40 minutes and the gel and protective tray for 1-3 hours.  The first timescale is manageable for me but there is no way I could possibly leave the tray in my mouth for 1-3 hours so when I started the treatment I wasn’t expecting great results.

After 3 weeks of use there is a definite change of colour not brilliant white but a much whiter shade than I had. I’ve only managed 40 mins at a time as it’s not comfortable for me to keep the tray in my mouth any longer, although I don’t have the confidence to post pictures of my teeth on my blog I have been smiling more in public with my mouth open so I look like I’m actually smiling and not grimacing which is great.

*Press Sample*