Saturday, 21 July 2012

Review: Anna House & Dolly Poddle Shopping Service

I remember when I was just getting into Lolita, I was drumming up places that I could buy Lolita clothes from cheap. There was the obvious Bodyline but I also came across Anna House. I also saw that a girl called Dolly Poddle lived around 15 minutes away from the IRL Anna House shop and that was my first taste of a shopping service. I thought I'd do a review for the items I bought and Dolly Poddle as a shopping service now. I did one back on my old blog but I know they can always be useful so I might as well add it now, as slow as it may be. Writing this review I didn't realise how long it got, so I'm putting a cut in now!

When ordering, Dolly Poddle was so nice and it was so easy to order through her. Her shipping is also significantly lower than Anna House's own, I saved around $30 than if I had ordered online - after I paid her in HKD and she sent my items out she even told me that there was a little money left over (HKD$18.90 if I remember) from shipping so she gave me the option of keeping it as credit for my next order or refunding it back to me! I chose to have it refunded as I wasn't sure when my next order was going to be - if only I had known she was a Taobao shopping service too! I expect people to not even say or want a little bit of profit out but no, Dolly Poddle is very kind and genuine. It took very quick for my items to arrive (about 2 weeks from Hong Kong) and they arrived (going from inside out) in separately sealed clear bags for each item, all of them in an Anna House carrier bag, a paper bag for all of them and then some twine wrapped around the whole package - perfectly packaged in my opinion; they're only soft clothes so super duper scary precautions aren't needed. I so so so wish I could have kept the plastic bag now but no, silly baby Lolita me simply threw it away! D:< I originally kept them in their separate clear bags to take pictures of but when I moved house I wanted to put them on hangers and put them in my wardrobe so they looked pretty. Sorry. My temptation got the better of me, I guess.

TL;DR: I still use Dolly Poddle as a shopping service now as she is friendly, honest and efficient. She lets you know when the items arrive or if they are out of stock, when she ships them and the shipping time and price is good too. She is sweet and personal so it makes you feel like you are giving business to a person, not a corporation. I recommend Dolly Poddle wholly to anyone, check out her Facebook and her LiveJournal to get in touch and make an order. I have just placed a Taobao order with her too so I will let you know the deal on that soon! 5/5

Now, onto each of the items. First off is a great staple, a black long sleeved blouse! I love the bib detail on this too. *__*

Stock photo & my photo, respectively

This is such a good quality blouse for the great price at around £26.50 (the current exchange rate, it may have been more or less two years ago). The lace is great quality cotton eyelet lace, venise detailing lace and galloon lace on the bib. I am happy to say that Anna House's sizing guide is spot on and that I happily fit into a size S. There is a little gaping around the bust because I have larger breasts than average for my frame but I can sneak a safety pin in between and I don't even have to do that if I wear this under a JSK. This blouse is a little short in the torso for me but I find that with most, if not all Asian blouses as Asian girls have shorter torsos and are smaller than us in general. Again, it's no problem if worn under a dress and I suppose I can always wear a camisole underneath as I don't want my tummy showing! Most indecent. The sleeves are also a little more poofy than shown in the stock photo but it all depends on what kind of arms you have. I have thin wrists so in comparison to the rest of my arms, the sleeves billow out a bit more. They wouldn't do if I undid the cuffs but it looks a little...what's the word? Scruffy? If I just left the cuffs undone. I also remember now that the second time I came to wear this one of the buttons came off but it was easy enough to sew back on. Don't some Lolita suggest sewing all buttons on more securely when you first get items? I can't remember. ^^;

I also have to say that I got this blouse when I was just entering the frilly world of Lolita and had no clue on how to wash Lolita when this needed its first washing, I just threw it into the washing machine! There was absolutely no damage to it though, no fading to the colour, snagged lace or buttons, etc. but I shudder when I think about it now! I still wash it in the washing machine nowadays (as there are no different colours to mess it up and the lace is mostly solid) but I put it in a pillowcase to prevent it catching on anything.

TL;DR: This blouse is absolutely superb in quality and price. I wouldn't trade it in for the world. I have actually just received a Meta blouse in a trade and still prefer this one! It's very flattering when worn and any problems that I have came across it (gaping, a bit too short, etc.) has been easily remedied. I would definitely buy this blouse again! 5/5

Next up, a black gingham print skirt:

It looks like Anna House don't actually sell this skirt any more as I can't find it on their website but thankfully I still had the stock photo saved on my LiveJournal account, back when I used to write blog posts on that - yay! This skirt is super, super pretty and I am glad to say it has been a keeper along with the black blouse - this skirt is actually paired with the blouse in the stock photo, see? You can rock a traditional Gothic Lolita look with this or even a cutesy Goth Country feel thanks to the gingham pattern and pretty lace and ruffles. Again, the sizing is exactly what Anna House states and fits like a dream. It is just the right length too, an inch or so above my knees. I don't like skirts straight on or below my knees as they make me look frumpy and even shorter than I am. This has a lovely black cotton ruffle at the hem along with embroidered lace, black grosgrain ribbon and bows along the first tier and black cotton lace at the hem of the other tiers.

TL;DR: There is absolutely nothing to fault with this skirt, the sizing is great as well as the quality of manufacturing and materials, the length is just right and the design is darling! I love this skirt a lot and I don't think I will come to sell it. 5/5!

Okay, another skirt next but this time it is the sax blue cake and sweets print skirt:

Now, I bought these items, as I said, when I first getting into Lolita. I wanted to try all the different styles out and experiment, which is why I got this skirt and the next one. It's very cute and I love the print but I tried it on and it just did not suit me. That was my realisation that I was a Goth before I was a Lolita, therefore I will be a darker Lolita too! Don't get me wrong, I love to wear sweet prints in the black colourway but there has to be at least 60% black in it to make me feel comfortable! Anyway, onto the review. This is a darling skirt as well, as is most of Anna House's designs (some are a bit old skool lace monster to me) with a trim of galloon lace on the first tier, a cotton eyelet lace ruffle inbetween the next tier and cute white lace along the hem. As well as the cute print of cakes on a sax blue background, it also has two detachable bows made of this fabric too on the top tier. I sold this to a friend in Australia shortly after I bought this and she looked so sweet in it! So if you are a sugary Sweet Lolita, this is definitely a perfect skirt for you!

TL;DR: Sizing? Great. Length? Great. Material quality? Awesome! Manufacturing? Superb! There is nothing wrong with this skirt if it is your cup of tea but unfortunately I found it wasn't mine. Too many sugars in it. 5/5 for anyone who is into Sweet or even Country Lolita!

Okay, last item! Another unavailable skirt of Anna House's, a pink rose design one:

I can't find any stock photos at all of this skirt and it had already been stopped being manufactured (wow, grammatically incorrect, much?) when I wrote my review on LiveJournal so sorry, guys! This fits great again but is a little longer than the last two skirts. The last two have 2-3 tiers to them but it seems this has 3-4. It was a little less flattering on me because I'm short but it would be great for taller Lolita or the OTT Sweet minded. This skirt has a cute but simple pattern of white polka dots and pink roses, along with a similar tier design to the sax blue skirt;the first tier has white venise detail lace all along it with two detachable bows made from the print fabric and the second and third layers are made from plain pink cotton and white cotton lace hemming.

TL;DR: This skirt is great too but a little longer than the other skirts Anna House makes. The sizing and quality are amazing again, and this is very sweet and cute for Sweet Lolita but I sold it along with the sax blue one shortly after I got it. 4/5, a point knocked off for the length for me but if you are taller or prefer a longer hem, this would be perfect!

So there you have it folks, a two year old review of Dolly Poddle's shopping service and Anna House products. I highly recommend Anna House as a place for gorgeous, affordable Lolita clothing and Dolly Poddle as a shopping service to get those cute items! I hope you enjoyed this review, let me know what you think in the comments below!

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