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I came across Gucci Gorgeous Gardenia when I was in a Debenhams one morning. I initially intended to go in there to purchase a Marc Jacobs fragrance but couldn't resist testing out a few others. As soon as I tested the Gucci one, I was in love. The description of this fragrance is something to do with fresh flowers, particularly a "gardenia", which it apparently smells nothing like. I wouldn't know, I'm not a fan of flowers.
My description of this fragrance is that it starts off quite sweet. Strong-sweet. Smells a bit like fresh berries and summer fruits. I feel that the dry-down is quite nice as the scent doesn't change much. You can still smell the original sweetness but has a more sophisticated deeper scent to it.
I would say that this scent is quite strong. A little goes a long way, and even if you can't smell it on yourself, other people can. The only downside is that while it is a strong scent, it doesn't last that long. Maybe 3-4 hours, as expected since it is an eau de toilette and not an eau de parfum.
I would definitely recommend this fragrance. I'm extremely picky with scents and it takes me ages to find a good one. I absolutely love this one and, although pricey, was worth every penny. It's fresh enough to not feel like you're wearing an old woman's perfume, but just sweet enough so that you don't feel like you're wearing a teenagers fragrance.
A very classy sophisticated fragrance. I would never have considered buying Gucci before as I find that expensive designer perfumes are always too strong and overpowering. This one is perfect.
30ml - £39
50ml - £49
100ml - £72
Get the giftset if you can as it comes with a 50ml bottle, 5ml bottle, and a 50ml body lotion. It's the same price as just getting the 50ml on its own! (£49).
4 stars. Had to knock one star off because it's an eau de toilette and isn't long lasting.
I've loved Debenhams for years, ever since a store opened in my town.
Debenhams is one of the largest department stores (selling everything from clothing to fragrance to home essentials), and one of the more affordable in comparison to places like John Lewis.
There are clothing brands such as Oasis, Warehouse, John Rocha, and Red Herring (my personal favourite).
I think that what makes them so great is that their quality is amazing and is normally worth the money that you have to part with. And prices do vary a bit according to which brand you are purchasing from. Red Herring definitely do the best clothes!
The one thing that I've found annoying about Debenhams is the way the fragrance department seems to have itself separated from the rest of the store. I once walked in to ask someone about whether a certain perfume was in stock. I was told by the first member of staff that she didn't work in the fragrance department (which was fair enough) so then I spoke to a woman in the fragrance department who then told me that she doesn't work for that particular brand. I find it quite bizarre really.
Overall, the staff are very helpful and friendly and most will be happy to answer any of your questions.
The presentation of the store is very good.
Your best bet is to try and grab a bargain during the first day of the sales. Their stock sells out really quick during the sales but, unlike other stores, their sale items are always amazing and is worth getting up early in the morning for!
I first started shopping at Thorntons last year. They do a great 5 for £3 offer on mini chocolates, perfect for adding to stockings or adding a little extra to gifts. This year, I have been left very disappointed with them.
I was looking at the store online, searching for a present for my boyfriend's family. I came across some alphabet truffles. These are essentially 2 rows of truffles with your choice of message iced on them. I decided to purchase them in store. So I went into store, picked up a box of truffles and requested that everyones' names gets iced onto the truffles.
The service was quite prompt and was done within a few seconds. They closed the lid and gave it back to me, telling me to keep it really still. I hadn't had a chance to look at t myself until I got home to find that a couple of the letters had been completely smudged. Assuming this was my fault, I politely went back to store and asked if they could re-ice them. They did. I took them home again and indeed, they were smudged again but had dried enough for me to salvage them and put them in the fridge to harden. I noticed a vital error in the chocolates. The "smudged" truffles were the ones where the truffle themselves had been filled too high, resulting in the icing letters being too high and therefore touching the lid whenever the lid was closed. I understand that all truffles can't be the same but the fact that they were alphabet truffles should have meant the company made sure the filling was low enough to make room for extra icing. And I'm appalled the the 2 members of staff who iced my truffles didn't say a thing. They must have noticed it as soon as they popped the lid over it. There was no way they could miss it. They should have offered to swap some of my truffles around as there were a few un-iced truffles that were filled lower and therefore had room for icing.
I do think they sell a great variety of chocolates and gifts but i think it's far too overpriced and the service isn't as great as you would expect from such a popular chocolate chain.
China Town is located around the Leicester Square area. It is a short walk from Leicester Square underground. Just look out for the massive Vue cinema and walk in that direction, past M&M's World, then take the first left where you can see the gigantic Chinese lanterns. If you walk down that path, there are various Chinese restaurants, however, once you reach the main part (on the left), there are loads of Chinese lanterns and it truly feels exciting.
China Town mainly consists of restaurants. Lots of them. Almost too much as it took me ages to decide where to eat. One of my personal recommendations in Golden Pagoda. Food is delicious and they sell all the typical Chinese dishes that are eaten by Chinese people rather than just takeaway style Chinese. Customer service was alright but could be improved.
My advice would be not to eat at a buffet there. I know someone who went to one and apparently the food wasn't great. They tend to be so busy because they make their money from one-time tourists. Judging form the window displays, the choice of food in all the buffets isn't that great anyway.
There are a couple of bakeries and small grocery stores in China town. I definitely think it is worth buying some goods from the bakery. Also, bubble tea is a must-try if you haven't had it before.
You probably can't spend a whole day in China town but it is definitely worth your afternoon.
I wasn't all that excited when I was first told that there was a massive M&M's store in London's Leicester Square. I thought 'surely it can't be that exciting, right?'. Wrong.
I recently visited the place and it was amazing. I believe it's the UK's biggest sweet shop, but it's also so much more than that. There are several floors and they sell a vast range of M&M merchandise. Even if you don't love eating M&M's, the pillows, keyrings etc are so cute.
Part of the store is split into coloured sections, with a massive statue of that particular M&M character in each section. Needless to say, there is often a mass of people waiting to have their photo taken next to it. In fact, the store seems like a bit of an attraction. Although a lot of people do make purchases, there are probably more people who go in just to take photos. And why wouldn't you? The place looks great.
For choc lovers, the best place is probably the M&M dispensers where there are massive tubes filled with M&M's of all colours.
Every purchase also comes in a beautiful looking yellow M&M's bag. I'd buy something just for the bag.....
So if you're ever in London, this is definitely worth a visit (unless you really hate the smell of chocolate....)
I was originally a little apprehensive about visiting the London Dungeon. I am not a fan of scary movies so I figured this might not be the best thing for me to do.
However, I decided to go with a friend. As we were yet to purchase tickets, we had to join the long queue. It took about 10 minutes to get into the place, this was on a Sunday afternoon.
Once we had entered the place, we had a professional photo taken, which you can purchase at the end of the tour.
The tour itself wasn't that scary. Most of it was designed to make you jump, more than anything else. You get a "scary" talk in each section by a different actor. All the actors are amazing at what they do and really help to get the atmosphere going.
There are also a couple of rides too, however, there is no option to opt out of them. The last ride is a drop, which you can choose not to take part in if it's a bit too much for you.
It was definitely a fun experience but not one that I would do again. It's one of those places where, once you've seen it once, you've seen it all.
My only criticism is that one of the sections was far too much. It was a section on Jack the Ripper. I felt that the story and images were far too graphic. Inappropriately graphic. There was no need for them to do that at all. It really affected me and I could tell that a lot of the girls in the room seemed a little upset by it too. I dread to think how children would react to it.
I recently bought a brand new laptop from PC World recently. I was experiencing some problems with it freezing so I took it into the store in the hope for a refund. The guy who was serving me was extremely rude. He looked bored and disinterested. He smirked a bit as I spoke. I felt as though he thought I was a bit of an idiot and didn't know what I was talking about. The second guy who came along to "help" was no different.
Eventually, they asked me to leave my laptop in store for a few hours, which I did. Upon return, they told me it was fine and that it had worked properly. They couldn't possibly have known that since they dd not keep an eye on it for all that time. I told them that there is definitely something wrong with it freezing. They proceeded to tell me that it might be my internet connection and that there was nothing they could do about it.
I have never experienced such poor customer service in my life.
I will definitely be making future laptop & technology purchases at somewhere like Tesco instead.
I definitely do not recommend this retailer. They have a wide range of the latest and best laptops but you're best off trying them out there and then purchasing elsewhere.
Every year around Christmas, Birmingham is host to one of the largest German markets in the country. For those of you who aren't aware of Christmas markets, please don't be put off. It's not just a chance to buy gifts and taste foods, it's also an excellent day out for the family to feel a little more festive.
The German market takes place from New Street, all the way down to Victoria Square, with the stalls based inside little huts. There are all sorts of gifts from candles to scarves, to tree decorations. As for food, you should definitely give the city centre restaurants a miss for the day. Instead, go for one of the huge Bratwurst sausage hotdogs. It'll be extremely filling and very tasty.
Although it's one of the largest German markets, in comparison to certain Christmas markets, it's not that large. For those of you that have been to the Christmas market in London, this is only a fraction of the size. But the atmosphere makes up for it. Christmas lights are up, festive songs are playing, what's not to love?
Be warned that this is all outdoor though so it's best to go when the weather is nice (or as nice as it can be in Winter). I went once when it was raining really heavily. The mood didn't dampen much but it was hard to look around when there was a waterfall pouring straight onto my head. So pick a day wisely, and you won't regret it.
Ming Moon is an all you can eat buffet style restaurant situated in Birmingham, just on the edge of the city centre (opposite Oceana nightclub).
I have been to quite a few buffet places but this is one that I am quite fond of because I think the whole experience is pretty good. The entrance is grand and you feel as though you're walking in to a luxury 5* restaurant. The staff are all polite and friendly, although a lot of them can't speak Chinese (unlike other Chinese buffet places I have been to).
Costs vary depending on what time you go, and whether you go on a weekday or weekend. But prices start from £6.99 per person (lunchtime weekday) and go up to £12.99 per person (dinner weekend). So I'd recommend going during lunchtime Monday-Friday. It will also be less busy. They do have a booking system but I've never had to book before. However, I do recommend you booking if you're going on a Saturday.
The food choice is amazing and all the food is piping hot. The food aisles are split into starters, mains, sushi, and desserts. I always find that I have to go up twice to sample all the mains though. The trick is to take a little of everything otherwise you will get very full indeed. As it is a buffet, a lot of the food is similar to what you can purchase at a Chinese takeaway, but it is much warmer and there are also a few exceptions such as mussels. I enjoy all of the starters and mains and it's worth the money when it's lunchtime on a weekday.
Unfortunately, I don't have as much praise for the sushi and desserts. I find the sauce that is available for the sushi is a little too savoury. And the sushi itself leaves a lot to be desired. If you're a big sushi fan, then best if you stay away from what Ming Moon have to offer for it. As for the desserts, it's 50/50 for me. I'll give them points for presentation. All of the desserts look beautiful. The problem is, the majority of the jelly-like desserts aren't that tasty. In fact, they're pretty tasteless. The marshmallows on offer taste as though they're been out for a few days and have dried up. On the upside, they also have a huge selection of cakes which are absolutely delicious and you're sure to be able to find something to suit your tastebuds. They also have an ice cream machine, which I can't fault. Fresh ice cream is always a bonus. They do charge for it though if you choose to take it with you when you leave the restaurant.
And one last thing, when ordering your drinks (particularly if you're going to eat a lot), be sure to ask for a small glass. I've made the mistake of asking for a glass of coke several times, and being given it in a pint glass. Far too much to drink, particularly when you've got such a filling food experience.
I do really like Ming Moon though. It's not somewhere that I would go for a special occasion, but it's the perfect place to go with your friends and family just to chill out and enjoy some oriental dishes.
I'm sure that there are many retailers around stocking chinese produce, but Wing Yip is by far the best out of all of them. Large in size, and stocking a whole wealth of cooked and uncooked oriental ingredients and dishes.
Based in Birmingham, the shopping experience is pretty multicultural, although (as expected), there does tend to be a lot of Chinese people either buying for their families or buying in bulk for their own stores/takeaways. The only downside is it's exact location. Transport wise, it's pretty isolated. For those who live just outside of Birmingham, getting there would not be easy. Taking a car is the best option. Parking is pretty good, although at later times the car park does fill up quickly.
If you're looking to eat Chinese food or cook your own Chinese dish then it is highly likely that you will find everything that you are looking for under one roof. Prices are reasonable and quality is great. You can even get yourself a Chinese rice cooker (which is much better than the typical English ones that they sell in supermarkets, in my opinion).
For those of you who love Chinese food, this place is a must visit. You'll get to buy food that you may have never tried before such as Durian and pig stomach.
The store is pretty big, including a section in the back (which I believe is currently being refurbished/extended) which houses all the massive sacks of rice for you to cook at home.
I can not praise this store enough, and it is definitely worth a trip there if you love oriental cuisine. You won't regret it!
Having previously walked past several Republic stores, I was put off their clothing because of the way there store is presented. It seemed almost intimidating.
However, having a wardrobe clearout meant that I needed new clothes. A friend of mine had just purchased a whole load of new clothes online from Republic. So I decided to check it out myself.
The website is very well presented, easy search functions and great filters.
I particulary like that fact that customers can give their reviews. This is really helpful when you're unsure about purchases. Thanks to those reviews, I ended up buying several tops a size smaller than my true size, and they fit perfectly. The quality is much better than I expected. In fact, I would say it was pretty good.
The prices of the products are fairly reasonable for what you get. Good quality, fashionable style.
Standard delivery is £2.99, or £1.99 if you purchase at least 2 items.
They have free delivery to your local store for you to collect.
They offer 10% student discount on non-sale items.
Overall, a brilliant store!
There has been a Bank store in my town for years now but it's always looked a little to try hard for me to want to walk in.
After having a wardrobe clear out, I decided to check out the Bank website to see if there was anything nice I could get my hands on.
I was pretty impressed with the range of brands they stock, including Jack Jones and Superdry. Prices aren't as high as many bigger name stores, but they would still bite a chunk out of your wallet unless you get it in the sale.
One of the things that drew me to Bank website was the fact that you could collect the items from store for free. I am a big fan of this 'click and collect' method. It means you pay for the product but not the (sometimes ridiculously high) delivery charges.
I'd advise you to shop on bankfashion online if you like to look hip and current. Perfect for younger people who like to look cool and wear all the brand names.
As for the function of the website, I think that it could improve a little. There have been numerous times when I have seen an item (mainly on sale), it said it was in stock, but once I clicked on it, I would get a message saying that the purchase could not be completed because it was out of stock. This kind of thing really frustrates me. I am surprised that these kinds of website mistakes are allowed to go on for so long.
But if you're looking for the more affordable brand names and the latest fashion, Bank is the way to go.
I bought this phone recently on contract because my old phone was starting to break down.
Having never used a smartphone before, I was a little nervous about venturing out, and decided that the qwerty keyboard was more my style rather than the touch screen.
I have not been disappointed by this phone. It has a very easy to use qwerty keypad, designated BBM (Blackberry messenger) button, camera side key, volume control keys, and much more.
Despite having read poor reviews about the screen quality, I have found it to be really good and it does not look pixelated at all. However, as the camera is 3.2mp, those who are used to taking high quality snaps may be a little disheartened by this. As someone who used to have a phone with a 5mp camera, it took me a while to commit myself to this phone. But all the other features make it worth it.
All the keys on the kaypad are at a good distance away from each other to ensure that you don't press the wrong key. Those new to qwerty keypads will find that you text a little slow at first because of the way you have to press the capitalise key to get capitals, and then the 'alt' key to get symbols. But after about a week or so, I'm texting at the same rate as I did on a normal phone, if not quicker.
One of my favourite features of this phone is the flashing LED light at the top of the Blackberry. In most of my previous phones, if someone had sent a text, my screen would light up for a second and that would be it. Whereas with this phone, the LED light will keep flashing red for a certain number of minutes after a text has come in. This makes it so much easier to keep track of things. It also flashes when you get a phone call, facebook message, email etc. I would advise that you download one of the LED light apps in order to get more than just the default red light. I have different colours for different types of messages.
The sound quality during phonecalls is pretty good, much better than in previous phones. Nice and crisp.
Phone security is good, with the option of both a pin and a phone/keypad lock to stop people from snooping.
The screen of the phone gets dusty pretty quickly though. I use a screen protector on mine and it took me ages to stick it on because dust was so attracted to it. The back of the phone has a pretty glossy finish. Looks very nice but will also scratch easily so I have a phone cover on mine.
Email and BBM is pretty straightforward to set up. If you have trouble, their website is useful for helping you out. They pretty much have an online manual to help you with your new purchase.
Battery life is really good, which was one of the more important deciding factors for me before making the purchase.
This is a fairly new Blackberry but it is also a 'budget Blackberry' to introduce newbies to the brand. So it's great as a first smartphone. The features and quality will not match up to some of the others in the range, but I think this is a brilliant phone.
I recently started venturing out further afield just because I enjoy seeing new places. Ashford was the destination that me and a friend had chosen. The main purpose of the trip was to go to Ashford Designer Outlet.
However, when we got there, I realised how lovely the high street was. It all felt quite calm, relaxed, and there was a boutique feel to the place. There were also lots of market stalls which I am a fan of. Having assumed that, aside from the Designer Outlet, there was no indoor retail centre, I was pleasantly surprised when we found one right in the middle of town called County Square Shopping Centre. It definitely wasn't as big as typical shopping centres but the stuff they sold pretty much made up for it. They house numerous high street stores such as Internacionale, New Look, Next etc. But the real beauty of the place was down to the various mini stalls inside that sold all sorts of yummy treats such as freshly popped popcorn, gorgeous cupcakes, Russian sweet treats, baklavas, and so much more. It took us so long to decide on what to buy because there was so much choice.
Another part of County Square that I must mention is a milkshake bar located on the top level, called Chill Time. They do a vast range of milkshakes from the standard banana, to the more adventerous such as Kinder Bueno (yes, they literally put Kinder Bueno in the blender) and banoffee cheesecake.
Opposite County Square is another little shopping place called Park Mall shopping centre. It's less of a shopping centre and more of an outdoor courtyard with a few shops scattered here and there, including quite a large Wilkinsons. I didn't spend too long at Park Mall as it all seemed a little dated, but I did treat myself to a fresh doughnut at the doughnut stall there. But even the size of the doughnut was a little disappointing for what I paid.
Eventually, we made it to Ashford Designer Outlet and I have to say that I was so impressed with it. It was probably that much nicer because it was a sunny day as well. The Designer Outlet is set out in a ring shape, so you can keep walking round and round. Although it's outdoor, the whole ring is sheltered, so you won't get wet when it's raining, and you won't get too burnt if the sun is blazing. There was just such a wonderful atmosphere there. The whole place was very modern, with music playing to help with the whole ambience. For those of you who aren't aware of what an outlet is, it's a shopping place where stores sell discounted/reduced items. There were so many stores there from Ralph Lauren to Claires Accessories to Skechers. There was also a Next Clearance store which caught my eye. Aside from selling discounted stock, they also had cheap stock that we created for the sole purpose of Next Clearance stores. I did end up buying a thing or two from there and I really can not fault the quality, despite the cheaper price. I am very satisfied.
When you start feeling a little hungry, there is a food court there selling foods such as burgers, baguettes etc (although I can't quite remember which companies these were).
Overall, Ashford is definitely a great place to go shopping. There are an abundance of stores, and also such variation when it comes to the atmosphere and feel of the place.
I discovered Barratts are few years ago when I was looking for a pair of trainers.
Barratts stocks many top brands such as Hush Puppies, Skechers, Posh Wellies etc. They have many branches all across the country. As far as I was aware, all their shoes are of high quality. However, recently, I bought a pair of wedge boots from Barratts and I was not impressed at all. It turns out that they have now teamed up with a slightly lower quality chain called Priceless.
Don't get me wrong, I am still a fan of Barratts but I have to be extra careful with what I purchase from there as there is now a lot of stock that seems to be coming in from Priceless.
As for pricing, I wouldn't say that that this was an 'affordable' store. Prices tend to be fairly high so the best time to shop there is during a sale. It's definitely worth going along to try out the shoes.
Shop assistants at the branches that I have been to have generally been really friendly and helpful, finding the right sizes, assisting you with fittings etc.
Barratts is a great place for shoes and boots for old, young, men, women. But unless you have cash to splash, wait until the sales start!