Emily Perry-Musgrave

Emily

Northerner with a passion for lingerie, art, guinea pigs and sarcasm.

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What is going on at Boohoo HQ?

When I started writing this post it was because I was frustrated at Boohoo’s returns practices. I never really bought anything from them, only quick fixes when my funds were running extremely low – after all, they have been profoundly criticised by the plus size community and beyond. Now, a few weeks later, I am flabbergasted by the mountain of nightmarish experiences I’ve uncovered. The odd thing is all of this is easily accessible to see when you simply look on social media, but no one has picked up on it yet and questioned it. While Boohoo is breaking records and turning a huge profit, I found a heap of evidence that something is going seriously wrong when it comes to their customer service.

boohoo

Generally, I don’t keep track of my returns. I post them, keep the proof of postage and then wait for the money to appear in my account in less than a week. There’s never really a hiccup in this tactic. The returns labels I use always get the parcel to where it needs to be. So why have I had issues with Boohoo recently? I got in touch after I realised it had been months after posting one return and hearing nothing, and then sent another at the beginning of June and not hearing so much as a peep.

It appears though, that it’s not just me…

And these are just a handful of tweets to the company over a span of two days. Here’s some more..

And this is just their Twitter page! Head over to Facebook and you’ll see a score of annoyed customers asking exactly the same thing: “Where is my refund?”

Let’s not beat around the bush. Boohoo is a company that has has some HUGE names associated with it, like Zendaya, Paris Hilton, and Stefflon Don. They have reported a massive rise in their profits and they’re introducing new collections constantly. It’s safe to say that whatever they’re doing in terms of fashion, they’re doing it right – with low cost clothing that has some amazing names attached. So, how are they doing returns this wrong? Boohoo seems to be the only online retailer with this extreme volume of queries about returns.

Well then, Boohoo – in an age where your customers expect things speedily, why are there so many problems with your current return system? With an online company like ASOS, in comparison, it takes a matter of days to receive confirmation of a return and the funds back into the account you paid with in usually less than a working week (they aim to process within one week).

Returning items with Boohoo in the first place is a bit of a task. Logging into your account, finding the order, requesting a return, filling out the paper form included in your purchase and then sending it off. If you, for example, get it delivered to work and want to send it back straight away you’ve also got to find the time on your lunch break to register the return instead of just throwing it in the post. Whereas again, with ASOS, fill in the form, post it off and jobs a good’n!

These are Boohoo’s instructions for returns and refunds:

UK Returns Returns are FREE and easy! Follow the simple steps below.

STEP1

Log onto our portal – 14 days to receive your refund

STEP2

Select one of our trusted carriers (Hermes, Royal Mail or Collect+) for a FREE 48 hour trackable returns service and print your label

STEP3

Post it off! Make sure you keep your proof of postage!

STEP4

Your return arrives back at boohoo!

STEP5

Your refund is on its way! Please allow 14 days from the date you send your items back for your refund to be received.’

“Free and easy”. Show that quote to all those customers in those tweets and I’m sure they’d disagree.

A typical refund will take up to 21 days, that’s 14 days you returning and us processing it, with up to 7 days for it to make its way through the banking system.If you are using Royal Mail, Hermes or Collect+ the tracking will show it delivered to our nearest distribution centre. It can be up to 7 days from this point for item to be received into the boohoo warehouse, where it will be processed and refunded. You will receive an email when this has happened, from this it’s up to 7 days to show in your bank statement, this is dependent on your banks processing time.The refund will go back to the payment method you used when placing your order, once we’ve done our bit you’ll get an email confirming it’s on its way. If you’ve waited more than 14 days from the day you returned your item and have received no email from us then please get in touch by going to the ‘Contact Us’ tab on this page.’

Something else that has frequently cropped up is a lack of returns label and invoice arriving with the purchases:

Also, a lack of being able to get access to the returns portal to even register a return:

 

So, with the small selection of tweets (and tweets only) I could probably estimate that the number of customers with these issues since the beginning of the year could potentially be in the hundreds. I started to scroll back through all the tweets but I got to mid May and gave up as the volume of tweets regarding refunds was so huge. In the space of an hour while writing this article, two more tweets about missing refunds popped up. Within the space of 4 hours, there was an additional 7 tweets. I’ve gotten in touch about my own missing returns. One was sent the first week of April, the other the beginning of June. Two completely separate parcels sent at completely different times both via Royal Mail. I haven’t been sent email confirmations that they had received the returns for either which means to me that the parcels haven’t been processed or haven’t arrived at the warehouse in the first place. I got in touch with Boohoo after which they asked for proof of postage. I ended up giving them a bit of a grilling about their refunds processes. The refund for one of the returns arrived in my Paypal account that same evening without them seeing my proof. After chatting with a handful of disgruntled customers that had issues with the same refund problems I established that none of them received emails saying the parcel had arrived back at the warehouse and refunds took longer than expected (or hadn’t yet arrived at the time of writing this article).

Rather than the parcels arriving safely at the warehouse and being processed quickly and smoothly, there seems to be a wild goose chase the customer is lead on, needing to get in contact with Boohoo and then provide proof of postage to create an investigation before a refund is ever issued. Some may forget and not realise the money didn’t go back into their account, or some may simply not feel the hassle is worth it. After all, Boohoo do specialise in low cost clothing (of which there has been an investigation on the factories they use in the UK to produce) – the refund may not be chased after by all.

Not only are there issues of their refund processes, but also of purchases looking like they were sent out in the same condition someone had originally returned them in…

I’m fairly certain, Boohoo, that it’s part of consumer rights that faulty items, when no fault of the customer, do need to be accepted.

Now, Boohoo are making good money. We know that already. So, why are they making things so hard for their customers? Just scrolling through Twitter, there’s already a mass of people who have pledged to avoid the site after bad experiences, including paying for next day delivery and not receiving their purchase at all.

In the space of 6 hours, there were 20 tweets with the phrase “Boohoo next day delivery”. Only 1 of those tweets were a general enquiry. The rest were complaints.

So Boohoo, what is going on at your HQ?

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9 Things I Learnt As a Bra Fitter

Isn’t it funny how so many of us wear a bra every single day, but we actually know so little about them? My time as a bra fitter was eye opening, and now I feel like it is my duty to pass on these 9 top tips that I learned during my time as a bra fitter.

A rail of bras hanging on coathangers, with the words '9 things I learned as a bra fitter' over the image.

  1. Everyone has one boob bigger than the other!                                                                                                    Just like feet, we all have one bigger than the other. Some may have more difference in the size of their breasts than others. For example, I fitted many with boobs that had at least one cup size between them. It’s a case of finding the right bra to accommodate (in my experience it was usually a padded full cup). Others may have minimal difference at all. I personally have maybe half a cup difference between mine, but usually I can accommodate this by just adjusting my straps!
  2. Women spend everyday feeling ill at ease because they don’t realise that wearing a bra CAN be comfortable!                                                                                                   
    I honestly lost count of the times women came in wearing completely the wrong size because they self fitted or because they were taught that bras should never be comfortable in the first place. A well fitting bra can be a life changer! I always recommend seeing a bra fitter as they will have seen hundreds of pairs of boobs and can be objective about your boobs needs. Even just to have someone double check the size after self fitting can be a good way to go. Why be uncomfortable when your boobs can be floating on air?
  3. The most common cup size is a FF                                                                                                                             Again, I’ve lost count how many people would come in and say “Oh, you don’t do my size” when it would be the most common size we fitted (and we also would go up to a K cup). For some reason, the cup size DD has a rep for being a big size and this seems to be something we’ve been taught by society/media. I fitted a lot of women who were wearing a DD/E cup when they were actually a GG or bigger.
  4. The band does the majority of the work                                                                                                                 The band does a LOT of supporting! People usually assume it’s the straps. That’s why it’s so important to be wearing the right band size. It should be snug but not tight and you should be able to fit your fingers under it with some resistance. If you can fit your hand under it or are wearing it on the tightest set of hooks it’s time to get refitted!
  5. New bras should be worn on the loosest set of hooks. This way, you can adjust as the bra ages and grows slacker.                                                                                                                                                          Just a little tip that not everyone knows!
  6. Wires poke through fabric for one of two reasons: The felt around the wires shrinking due to being put on a hot wash or the wrong cup size.                                                                                                This seems to be a really common issue in bras! If you even stick your bra on the radiator to dry, this can result in the felt shrinking too. Air drying and cool/hand washes are usually a good way to go to prevent this. Otherwise, get refitted just to double check you’re still wearing the correct size!
  7. Boobs can change sizes fairly often due to a million and one reasons, just like any other part of your body.                                                                                                                                                                        Hormones, stress, lifestyle changesGetting fitted every six months can make sure you’re not wearing the wrong size without realising. I don’t always notice the size change visually, but I certainly do if I begin to get back ache or the if the wire starts digging into my breast tissue!
  8. Bras can be pricey, but they are worth the investment.                                                                                  My favourite brand, Elomi, are generally £40+. They are the most comfortable bras I have ever bought but the price tag sometimes makes me hesitate! Looking after your bras by hand washing (or taking them in the shower with you to give them a quick scrub!) can make them last a lot longer and get a lot more for your money.
  9. Breast tissue goes really far back, which is why the scoop and swoop method is the best way to put on a bra and check if it fits!                                                                                                                                  Everyone has their own method of putting a bra on, but when a wire pokes in under the armpit it’s actually your breast tissue its pressing into. This is why pulling breast tissue forward is so important. It can show whether you’re wearing the correct size (you may get overlap when you pull forward and then know you need to get a bigger cup size) and is another way to be comfortable. 
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Where Did All The Thongs Go?

I’m a thong fan. I said it. A lot of people believe they are designed for size 12s and under and are an instrument of torture for anyone else. I’m a size 20 and love thongs. The secret to wearing a comfortable thong? Size up. That’s all there is too it. No digging in, no chafing and no wedgies (front or back!)

In the Summer, I go from one extreme to the other. It’s either high waisted pants I can trust to keep me secure when I’m sweating buckets, or thongs which let me feel unrestricted and comfortable.

Recently I was writing a post on plus size knickers. For some reason, I couldn’t find any size inclusive thongs. It’s bizarre. They have vanished. There are still brands such as Elomi but their sizing can be a bit ambiguous and their lingerie is pretty dear. £21 for a single pair is too much sometimes when you’re bulk buying new pants.

thongs

After a look into what was on offer, here are my findings:

  • Marks and Spencers biggest size is a 28, and they have 54 thongs. A handful of those are multi packs.
  • Yours Clothing have a grand total of 3 thongs (2 in black, 1 in white. What choice!) Two are the same pair but in different colours.
  • Simply Be has one multi pack up to a size 32. That’s it.
  • Bare Necessities have 3 thongs, none of them are their own range. They’re also not really what I’d call ‘practical’.
  • Evans has zero.. If you go onto the subcategory for thongs on their website there is just the ominous message “WE’RE SORRY THESE PRODUCTS ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE.” Aka “No thongs for you, chubs”
  • New Look has zero. Compared to their main range, which has 28.
  • Curvissa has 24, but most of them don’t go past a 20 or 26.
  • ASOS has 18 up to a size 28. Their main collection has 245?!
  • Ann Summers has a plus size range, yet it only goes up to a 24 with a grand total of 3 thong styles.

This just seems to be another area of fashion that plus size women are being boxed out of. Because they are not doing their market research and ignoring our voices, we are given less choice (a tail as old as time). In the same vein as push up bras, just because we have a different body type to the main market, it does not mean we do not want the product.

WE DEMAND THONGS, DAMMIT!

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Harnaam Kaur: A Love Letter and Thank You Note

If you look up the definition of “Empress” in the dictionary… you will find Harnaam Kaur. Similarly, if you google’d the oldy-worldy phrase “Doyenne” (the most respected or prominent woman in a particular field) you would also find her there.

I have decided to live my life happily, and this picture captures perfectly how i feel about the woman that i am today. We all go through tough times, and forever we get told that life is like a roller coaster with many ups and downs. We may feel like the heavy burdens of the world have settled themselves down on our shoulders. Always remember that yes, hard times will arrive, but they will also let themselves go. Everything on this earth has a time limit; our friendships, our relationships, happiness and sadness, how we feel about ourselves, even the food we eat, and most of all our emotions. There is a beginning and and end for everything. You may hear that darkness has to be present for the real stars to shine. Be that spark in the darkness around you, be that beacon of light that guides you to greatness. I promise you that you will be just fine x Love your life, love your body, love your soul, spirit, aura and personality because they are the only ones that you have. 💙💚💛💜 📷- perou for my Alternative Beaty issue in @marieclaireuk magazine 💄- fabio gomez 👕👚- Grace smitham #harnaamkaur #beardedlady #beardedwoman #effyourbeautystandards #androgyny #marieclaire #alternativebeauty #bodyconfidence #bodyconfidenceactivist #antibullyingactivist #thedame #thebeardeddame #beardqueen #androgynyqueen #feminist #diversemodels

A post shared by Harnaam Kaur (@harnaamkaur) on

You will find her under the words “Leader” and “Activist”. You will know already she is definitely under the phrase “Protector”…You don’t even need to check. She is under the definition of “Rebel” and “Record Breaker“.

Harnaam Kaur was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome at the age of 12 and as a result developed Hirsutism which is defined as “excessive body hair in men and women on parts of the body where hair is normally absent or minimal…” But Harnaam would argue that there is nothing “excessive” about her beard and that it is exactly as it is meant to be.

“I decided to keep my beard and step forward against society’s expectations of what a woman should look like. Today I am not suicidal and I do not self harm. Today I am happy living as a young beautiful bearded woman. I have realised that this body is mine, I own it, I do not have any other body to live in so I may as well love it unconditionally.”

Harnaam speaking to Rock N Roll Bride in 2015

What is wonderful about Harnaam, is that she has taught us all that there is nothing out of the ordinary about her glorious beard. What could possibly be so controversial about her displaying her body hair and loving it? What could be wrong with loving herself just the way she is and going against every perception of a female’s body hair?

Harnaam Kaur has donned her beard since she was 16 years old. She is now a full time activist, model and advocate, walking cat walks and doing interviews with the national press. She also has her own beard oil. There is no one more knowledgeable of what it means to be in love with yourself and how to use this to create your own brand of beauty. When referring to being at peace and having confidence with your body, I always, always talk about Harnaam. Nothing and no one can possibly suggest she isn’t an icon.

Harnaam is everything I aspire to be. I wish to be my own muse. I wish to tattoo myself on my body and indulge in that level of self love. While I may not be there quite yet, I certainly wouldn’t be where I am now without Harnaam and her Goddess-like power to encourage myself to be in love with me.

(Photos are from Kaur’s Instagram, the first is a self portrait, the second is her sitting on a bedroom carpet, the walls are surrounded in photos.)

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Elomi Sachi: The It Bra

Now, let me get this off my chest (see what I did there?!). I used to work for the company that was the main distributor for Elomi in UK as a bra fitter (burnt some bridges there!) It was there that I was first introduced to Elomi. My first Elomi bra was Kiki. It was so comfy that I fell asleep in it as I forgot I even had it on. I even bought it again when I changed sizes. Then, came Opal. Opal is a glorious half cup bra that also, yes, was insanely comfy and gave an amazing shape.

So, when I walked past my old place of work and saw the harnessed beauty that is the Elomi Sachi, I spent months ruminating on when/where to buy it. One day, armed with a discount code, I bought the bra that I knew was going to be the new love of my life. The Elomi Sachi bra comes with both a high-waisted brief and a standard brief in sizes 14-24 (however, with a high-waisted brief generally you can size down). Starting in a size 32 to a 46, and cup size DD to JJ, Elomi really is amazing at catering to as many people as possible in terms of sizing.

Elomi Sachi, black bra with sheer mesh detailing and harness crossover.

Elomi black bra with sheer mesh detailing and harness crossover.

I. Love. It. I love it. I love it, I love it, I love it. It has gotten so big in the blogger community! Before I bought it, I kept seeing it everywhere. I was jealous, but I was also so happy at how much love it was getting. Truth is, I’m not surprised – Elomi is a fantastic brand. While on the more expensive side, I can definitely say they are the comfiest, best quality bras I have ever invested in.

With the Elomi Sachi bra, I would suggest going up in the back and down in the cup as the back comes up slightly smaller. (Also with Opal, you need to maintain the back size but go up in the cup! Kiki is generally true to size.)

Here are some beautiful bloggers wearing the stunning Elomi Sachi Bra

Spent the afternoon playing dress up I love Sundays ✨

A post shared by Ronnie-Sheree Walsh (@ronniesheree) on

 

 

How amazing do all these babes look in the Elomi Sachi? Have you bought one yet?

 

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Self Love Brings Beauty: The Reason I Am in Love With Myself

While I was at work a few weeks ago, I spotted someone with a red hoodie emblazoned with the words “Self Love Brings Beauty”. Recognising those illustrated hands on it, I immediately started talking to the lady wearing it. We spoke in harmony about how amazing the movement is and how wonderful it was to be able to share a common ground with people we may have never spoken to otherwise. There is such a sense of belonging and community with Self Love Brings Beauty that it is recognisable from a simple tee.

Felicity Hayward established Self Love Brings Beauty in 2015. Since then, a community has been created that is all about loving yourself and others without adjusting yourself in any way. Self Love Brings Beauty is an all embracing, positive self-appreciation movement that begins with you. With self love comes the beauty that only you can truly appreciate. It is about nurturing and sustaining your mental health and as a result feeling peaceful.

In the campaign, Felicity perfectly represents her philosophy. There’s nothing more encouraging and more able to fill you with self confidence than seeing literally EVERYONE represented. She shows each person is valued, each person is worth the space they occupy and should be celebrated. I love feeling safely nestled in this community and that there are increasing opportunities to bump into others wearing these tees. The community is ever growing and is getting the attention it deserves!

Self Love Brings Beauty

Self Love Brings Beauty is a universal safe space where you can celebrate everything about yourself with not a single ounce of judgement from anyone else. Even better, there is no judgement from yourself. Learning to love yourself is one of the hardest things you can do, but once you have it is glorious and it is even better to see there is a community out there that welcomes you and helps you through the journey to self acceptance.

The value of a tee shirt with a slogan should never be underestimated.

 

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Instagram Accounts That Will Add Some Positivity to Your Day

It’s really hard nowadays to avoid gloom. It’s a matter of self preservation that you should save some room on your social media for only the positive. There have been so many studies about how social media affects your psyche for the worse. I rarely use anything but Instagram now as it’s so much easier to choose what you want to see. Sure, the algorithm is absolutely shocking (sort it out, Zuckerberg!) but I find my self scrolling through hundreds of images that I know come from a community I have curated, full of joy and positivity.

I’m not saying that you should only have accounts on your Instagram that are butterflies and sunshine. I follow several accounts that are political but they also have a feed that empowers and strengthens rather than deflates and disappoints. For me, it’s about that balance.

My top fashion:

I’ve written about Unlucky Lingerie before. Their lingerie is phenomenal. They cater to a diverse size range and have a philosophy that celebrates bodies by providing the most glorious lingerie. I have the Lana Robe and it brings tears to my eyes how beautiful it is!

I’m sure we’re all aware of how groundbreaking Rihanna’s make-up line is. Nothing but pure self-love from Fenty’s Instagram account. It is continuing to teach the masses how to be self accepting and the importance of self expression!

I’ve also written about my love for Christian Siriano before. Siriano is an ally of the feel-good-wear-what-you-want movement! Happiness is red carpet gown worn by someone who you can actually relate to.

My top artists:

Full of roly-poly goodness, Dublin based artist Tara O Brien uses the most delicious colours to create stunning illustrations. Otherworldly and delicate, whenever Tara posts it’s a pure delight.

 

A pioneer in poetry and illustration, The Mel Gaze is the brain child of Mel Clarke. Sex positive, frank and witty, Mel uses black and white illustrations mingled with words that we can all relate to. Deeply lovely and descriptive, Mel’s zine is a treat. Mel’s account is private so I can’t show you any of her work but trust me: she is more than worth a follow!

“Illustrating the bits and shapes we’re told to hide” – This tagline sums up everything that Pink Bits sets out to do in breath-of-fresh-air fashion. Based in Australia, Pink Bits encourages us to embrace every inch of our bodies as something to be celebrated.

My top cute:

The cat whose facial expression sums up how we all feel inside.

A pig who always looks like he’s smiling.

Can’t have a caffeine crash if you never stop drinking coffee. #BeChewsy @chewsy.shop

A post shared by Hamlet (@hamlet_the_piggy) on

Moustached cat who literally looks like he should be wearing a top hat and monocle.

Still sleepy? Let me sing you the song of my people.

A post shared by Brimley (@brimleycat) on

My top guilty pleasures:

Actor Tommy Lenk recreates fashion editorials and runways looks from trash.

 

Just classic and nostalgic Simpsons stills.

Which accounts do you love to look at on Instagram? Do you love a cuteness overload, or do you thrive on positivity? Is politics your thing when it comes to social media, or is it your place to escape? 

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Top Picks Spring Nightwear list

When looking for nightwear, I basically look for something comfy. I am one of those people who as soon as they get home changes into lounge wear or PJs straight away. I have this routine:

Step 1: Remove jewellery

Step 2: Remove clothing

Step 3: Take off make up and tie my hair up

Step 4: Put on pjs

Step 5: Refuse to leave cocoon of duvets (unless for food)

Recently I have had the BIGGEST struggle with finding a pair of pjs that didn’t need me to set up a credit card to buy. I just wanted some that matched! It really wasn’t the biggest ask, yet finding anything above a size 16 at a reasonable price was incredibly difficult. The irony is I rarely even bother wearing them in bed and I wear them mostly as loungewear anyway.

Spring Nightwear

Breakfast In Bed Sleep Tee

I have this on my saved list currently. I am really coming round to the idea of nightdresses because the style is now a lot more comfortable and you’re not going to have a boob get tangled in a strap. Oversized tee is the way forward!  £18 and up to a size 30!

Grey & Pink Butterfly Print Pyjama Top & Cropped Bottoms

Up to a size 36 and £19 for this cute set! I am a fan of jersey when it comes to pjs. For some reason they’re just easier to be a slob in (you can invest in a pair of silk pjs of course and be a glamorous slob instead).

Breton Stripe Tee & Short Pyjama Set

I’ve had ASOS pjs before and they’re surprisingly long lasting for the price. They’re comfortable, wash really well and they always have cute designs.

Pretty Secrets printed playsuit

Up to a size 34, this is a cute teddy/playsuit. I always size up when it comes to playsuits (whether they’re pjs or clothing) to avoid that struggle of it permanently riding up and waddling like a duck.

Grey Crown Swan Print Short Nightdress

Only £10 and still up to a size 28 left! Bargain that can be teamed with pj bottoms/joggers if you’re feeling a chill.

Pretty Secrets motif nightie

Up to a size 34 and only £10! Pretty much in love with this motif as well.

Pretty Secrets three-quarter sleeve pyjamas

PJ version of the cute nightie above, also only £10.

It might start to get too warm for pjs but it wont get too warm for pjs as lounge wear! I’m only comfortable in something cotton inside the house when it’s sweltering. Of course, we’re in February and it’s currently closer to winter in the arctic than it is to spring in the UK. There is nothing wrong with being prepared, however!

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