Saturday, December 24, 2011

Debenhams Follow-Up

Yesterday, I wrote THIS POST about my bad experience with Debenhams online service.

This morning, I received a call from a PR representative in the UK - a lovely man called David, who was as equally disgusted as I was with the service I had received. He went through my complaints again with me, and as a gesture of goodwill on his and the company's behalf, said that  he would make sure that I got a full refund.

I didn't complain to get something for free - I did it because I feel that it's important to raise your voice when you're not happy with something. For far too long now, we've been accepting less than standard behaviour from various sources, and saying nothing. I've heard Ireland being described as a nation full of people who have the attitude 'sure we can't to anything to change it, so why complain?' a lot in recent times, and I think this is equally disgraceful and sad. If you're happy with something, shout it from the rooftops. If you're unhappy with something, climb that ladder and shout it just as loudly.

Thanks to David who took time to contact me directly very quickly after I posted - and hopefully the next time that courier is paid to deliver something, no matter how small, he treats it with the same respect as a large order.

S xx

Why I Will Never Use Debenhams Online Again.

Hey guys! Have been experiencing serious internet issues over the past few days, so please excuse the lack of posts - I will do my best to finish the Nail Challenge before 2012 hits, so bear with me!

For the minute, I want to talk about my experience with Debenhams online. As you all know by now, I don't like to mince my words or sugar coat things that annoy me - I am also the first one in line to give credit where it's due, as was the case with Yankee.ie and Cara Pharmacy. This, however, was a horrendous experience from start to finish and I can officially say that I will never, ever use Debenhams online service ever again.

A few weeks ago - Sunday 11th December 2011 to be precise, I came across something that my other half had bought me for Christmas. It was an Estee Lauder lipstick, in the colour Pink Ambition. After looking at swatches online, I knew that my sister would adore the colour, and being the type of girl that would never splurge on herself, I ordered one from the Debenhams website for her. I paid instantly, and received an order confirmation by email stating that Debenhams would keep in touch with me during every step of the order.

This, unfortunately, was not the case. After the initial payment, and despite Debenhams claiming on their site that they deliver within 3-5 days:

***Click Pictures for Larger Size***



I heard NOTHING until 3 days later (Wednesday 14/12), when I got an e-mail to say that my order had been despatched:



On the previous day, I had still heard nothing - this was December 13th (Tuesday) and wanted to know if Debenhams used An Post or a Courier so that I could make sure I had arrangements to accept delivery. I took to twitter and asked this:

 I got this reply:
The link in that tweet was of no help whatsoever, it took me to THIS PAGE, which still didn't answer my question. However, I did manage to pick the word 'courier' up, so I presumed that all orders were sent by courier. If my order was listed as 'despatched' on the 14th of December, why was it that I heard NOTHING by e-mail or otherwise until Monday December 19th, when at approximately 1pm, a Nightline courier rang me. Ordered on the 11th, despatched the 14th, and took a further 5 days to get to me?! I'm only in Longford, not Outer Mongolia.

The conversation went like this: "Hello Miss X, this is X from Nightline Couriers. I have a small packet here for you from Debenhams, are you around?" "Yes, I'm actually in X village at the moment, so I can meet you at the corner and save you a trip out to my house." "Well, the thing is, it'll be another hour before I get out there, I'm in X town at the minute, you don't know anyone here I could leave it with?" "Eh.... I don't think so, no?!" "What about the Newsagent, I could leave it there? It's just that I'm up to my eyes and I don't think I'll get out to you this evening." "Right. Well sure leave it in the Newsagent so, I'll pick it up later on if you can't get out here." "Grand, thanks a million."

Bear in mind that the town he was talking about is THREE MILES away from my village. What exactly is he getting paid for again?
The whole thing just left a bad taste in my mouth - I find the Debenhams online representatives to be completely detached - I asked a simple question via twitter and would have been delighted with a straight answer, even if that answer happened to be "I'm not sure, let me check!".


Poor, Debenhams. Very very poor. Will not be using your online site again.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Swatches - Essence, GOSH, Twilight.

I picked up a few new polishes recently, and while I haven't had the chance to try them properly because of this nail challenge, I've swatched them for you on some nail wheels. I've mentioned these wheels before, I got 10 for less than €2 HERE

First up: Essence Circus Circus Colour³ Nail Polish in "Applause, Applause". 


There are four variations of the Colour³ polishes - this one, a black/gold one (My Sparkling Acrobat), a gold one (Don't Feed the Tiger) and a pink one (Cotton Candy). Here's a shot of all four from the WEBSITE:


They cost a mahoosive €3.29 each, I just picked up the one polish, but no doubt I'll be back for the rest. Swatchies:


Here's a blurred shot inside, with flash, to show how sparkly this is under the light:

  
Next up, GOSH nail glitter in 03, Grey Moonstone.

GOSH nail glitters have been around for a while, but I only came across them last Friday. I had a voucher for our local Doc Morris, so I picked up an Elizabeth Arden compact (reduced from €23 to €11.99) and this nail glitter (€6.99) - using a voucher, I got the two for €14. 

I know that GOSH themselves and other nail bloggers suggest dipping your nail into the glitter pot, but why anyone would want to do that is beyond me - I always remember the way we put glitter onto our Christmas cards at school, and that's the way I use this nail stuff - paint your nail, put a piece of paper or cardboard down, shake the glitter all over it, brush the excess off, and use the card as a funnel to put the glitter back into a pot. Minimal waste, and very tidy despite how it sounds. Want to see the result? Here you go - this was over clear nail polish.


Left - outside, natural light. Right - inside, flash, blurred to show sparkle. I love this, I'll definitely be using it over Christmas. It's surprisingly longlasting too, it doesn't leave bits of glitter all over the place like I assumed it would. Nice work, GOSH!

Lastly, I have swatches of the Twilight trio I got from my Cara Pharmacy order. These cost €3.99 and to be honest I only bought them because I liked the look of the purple - it didn't disappoint. Here's a shot of the three bottles:


The swirls on the bottles intrigued me - I should know better at this stage, they're obviously painted on the inside of the bottles. There's no sign of said swirls when the polish is applied. Have a look:


The polishes don't have names. I really do like the purple one, I don't have anything like it. I wouldn't wear the peach, EVER - it reminds me of an old Cutex one that my Nana frequently repurchased. Yuck. The pink is... meh. All in all, I'm glad I got them if only to have the purple, and I can't believe I fell for the swirly bottle trick. 

What do you think, has anything tempted you to track it down? 

S xx

31 Day Nail Polish Challenge - Day 27 - Artwork!

At last! I mentioned in the last post that I was going to try Vincent Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' for this challenge, but had decided against it because my skillz aren't quite there yet.

On reflection, I realised that I'm being a bit hard on myself - this didn't call for an exact replica of an artwork, it called for arty inspiration. So, I stuck with my original plan and went for Starry Night.


I just picked a couple of blues and purples, a white and a gold - and this is what I came up with.


Here's an indoor/outdoor comparison:


I like it, it's one of my favourite colour combinations so far. I didn't have any particular method for this one - just used a blue polish as a base coat (Catrice LE Miracle Heaven) and splattered some random polishes all over it. What do you think?
S xx

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Decorations

Hey - I had a lazy day today, just felt awful. Had no energy to do anything, and just was not in the humour for nail-painting, please excuse my lack of a challenge post for the last few days. Hopefully I'll be up to it tomorrow - but in the meantime, I decided to take a few photos for you to show you some of the decorations I put up for Christmas. I know I put a picture up before, but here's a closer look. I'm always envious of other people's gorgeous photo effects using instagram, so I installed pixlr-o-matic on chrome and here's what I came up with. Enjoy!






We also have a few room decorations, some of which I LOVE, and some of which... well, I'll let you see for yourselves.



S xx

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Saturday Night Song #16

Tonight's SNS is "I Ran (So Far Away)" by A Flock of Seagulls. Here's the video:



I wish that I could say that I chose this because it evoked 80's memories for me, or that it was a big favourite of mine as a child - but it wasn't. I'd never even heard of this song until one day in 2002, when I was watching TV, and this came on.



Well, that's the American version, but you get the idea. I turned into a 14-year-old boy the minute I saw that ad - I had to have that game. Immediately. I was 19, and I spent every penny I had saved up for a car (9 years on, I still never bought a car or learned to drive) on a Playstation 2, specifically just to be able to get this. When I got it, I spent a solid month holed up in my room - coming out only to go to my computer course and/or to use the bathroom. Addicted wasn't the word - in the end, my memory card fecked up and I just got sick of doing the same things over and over again - but it's still my favourite game of all time, and it has, in my humble opinion, one of the best soundtracks (if not THE best) of any game I've played.

I still have the PS2 and the game, and I keep threatening to dig it out and play it - but I know I'd never do a tap around the house if I did. Maybe I'll give Tommy a spin around at Christmas, who knows?

In the meantime, hope you enjoyed the song (and the WEIRD video) - any other GTA Vice City fans out there?

Enjoy your Saturday,

S xx

P.S: Every time I hear this song, apart from GTA, I also think of this:


"The One With All The Thanksgivings" - One of my favourite episodes ever. S xx

31 Day Nail Polish Challenge: Day 26 - Pattern!

Hi! This post was supposed to go up yesterday, but my broadband was shockingly bad. I caught up on some wrapping instead, and left the laptop alone for fear that it would end up being thrown at the kitchen wall at a very high speed.

This challenge was hard - "Inspired by a Pattern" - right. Which means what, exactly? I thought that this was a little bit too similar to the fashion one on Day 25, but nevertheless, I tried to stay away from clothes and generic patterns. I was browsing on various sites looking for some stocking fillers for my sister when I came across a Cath Kidston range - instantly, her famous floral patterns jumped out at me. In particular, this one:

I knew there was no way in hell I'd be able to do the roses in that much detail (still in skewer mode), so I did one inspired by the colours in the fabric. Here's how it turned out:


And inside:


And full frontal ;-):


I used Barry M [Blueberry Ice Cream] as a base, and did the flowers with W7 [Baby Pink] and LA Colors [Electrified]. The dots were with Essence [White Hype] and the leaves were a mixture of Barry M [Blueberry Ice Cream] and Essence [Sundancer] because I didn't have the right shade of bright green - I mixed one blob of blue with one blob of yellow to get that green colour.

What do you think? I was really happy with how it turned out, especially when a girl stopped me in the Supermarket to ask me what brand of nail wraps I had on. Result! See you tomorrow for artwork. I really, really wanted to do Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' for that one, but I don't think I have enough experience - I hope you'll like what I have picked!

In the meantime, stay warm!


S xx

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Order with Cara Pharmacy

carapharmacy.com

Hey guys. I don't know if any of you are familiar with Cara Pharmacy - they are based in Donegal, and have stores in Leitrim, Cavan, Donegal and Sligo. They also have an online ordering service and will deliver to any county in Ireland.

I've ordered with Cara before - and always been 100% happy with everything I've ordered. Their prices are amazing, and they only charge €5.00 for (courier) delivery. They offer 10% off all orders over €50, free delivery nationwide with orders over €50, and 15% off all orders over €100. I placed my order late on Monday night (5/12) and it arrived today (Thursday 8/12). In the meantime, I had a query about my order, which was immediately attended to by Catherine - thank you!

Here's a quick shot or two of the things I ordered, along with pricing information. Firstly, everything was packed well, in a sturdy box, bubble wrap, and all items were individually wrapped in gorgeous blue tissue paper.


Also included were some lovely gift bags and the latest edition of their catalogue.


Here are the bits and pieces I picked up - some really great value stocking fillers/Kris Kindle (always thought it was Chris Cringle) gifts.


Top - Alex Curran [Alex] 100ml fragrance and 150ml body lotion (€11.00), Celine Dion [Chic] 30ml fragrance and 75ml body lotion (€9.00), Calum Best [Best] 100ml men's fragrance and 150ml shower gel (€11.00), Twilight Beauty Nail Polish Set [Dark Plum, Nude and Dark Pink] (€3.99) and a little W7 foundation brush for €2.99.

Amazing value - am keeping the nail polish (surprise, surprise) and will be giving the Calum Best set to himself, because it smells AMAZING. Everything else will be included with other bits and bobs for family members (none of them read this, don't worry).

Go check out the site, they also stock Smashbox, Calvin Klein makeup, loads of fragrances/aftershaves, Babyliss, Yankee - brilliant site.

I bought and paid for everything in the above pictures with my own money, just sharing the love!

S xx

31 Day Nail Polish Challenge: Day 25 - Fashion!

Eh, I'm not the most 'fashionable' of people. My wardrobe consists of various kinds of biker boots, high shoes that I wear once and then immediately despise, bootcut and flared jeans, leather jackets, woolly cardigans, long-sleeved tops, scarves, and a feckload of jewellery. That's about the height of it. Oh, and one dress. And 99% of it's all black. I'm not joking.

Taking all of the above into consideration, I tried to think of designers or trends that caught my eye recently - and I could only think of one. Actually, it was my Penneys pyjama bottoms that made me remember this beauty - the now infamous McQ Tartan Puffball dress.

[Source] Net-a-Porter.com
Gorgeous, isn't it? This first caught my eye when Rihanna wore it on the X-Factor a few weeks back (mainly because it was the first time in about four years I'd seen her performing in more than her underwear), and since then, I've seen it everywhere. Check out http://www.m-c-q.com/ for more pictures and info.

Here are the polishes I used - just out of shot are my trusty skewers, which I'm still using to draw lines - please forgive my wobbliness, I am practising and I think my lines are getting better?


L-R: Barry M [Raspberry], GOSH [Gold], Essence [Red-y To Go] and Essence [Black is Back].

Here's the look:


And outside (in the dark, sorry!):


Here's a pic of it in daylight, this morning - apparently I was picking at my ring finger in my sleep (happens regularly, I'm a picker), so excuse that. This is purely to show the colours in daylight:


All in all, I'm happy with the design, and I will definitely try this one again when my nail art pens arrive (thanks, eBay!) - for me, this challenge is all about learning, and I consider this one step further in the search for the perfect straight line :)

S xx

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

31 Day Nail Polish Challenge: Day 24 - Book!

Phew, finally got here. I almost considered jacking this challenge in over the weekend - I just couldn't find the time or the creativity needed to come up with anything I thought was good enough. Then I thought - what the hell, it's a nail polish challenge, not a thesis. I'm determined to finish it!

Today is Day 24 (today is actually probably about Day 37, but hey, who's counting) - which called for nails "inspired by a book". This one was hard. I didn't know whether to go with a book cover, a storyline, or what - so I took the easy way out and picked a book with illustrations.

This is "The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories", by Tim Burton.


This is a collection of short stories, illustrated in typical Burton style, about a whole host of interesting and different characters. Dig a little deeper into this and you'll see it for what it really is - a very insightful and thought-provoking look into the lives of those who are different. To quote the back of the book, they are "misunderstood outcasts who struggle to find love and belonging in their cruel, cruel worlds." It's gorgeous, and if you'd like to pick a copy up for yourself or a Tim Burton fan, you can get it on amazon.co.ukawesomebooks.com and/or bookdepository.co.uk.

So, here are the looks I came up with:


Here's all the stuff I used - I still haven't bought any nail stripers or nail art polishes, so I'm still using regular polish for all my attempted nail art and every tool available from brushes to pencils, skewers, sponges and needles! I use the top of the Boots polish remover pads container to blob my polish on before I use the brush/skewer.


Polish, L-R: Essence [White Hype], Barry M [Blueberry Ice Cream], China Glaze [Calypso Blue], Essence [On Your Gracile Tiptoe], Rimmel [Exotica], Essence [Watch Out], Claires [Matt Grey], Missguided [Misschevious], Essence [Sunflower], Essence [Red-y To Go] and Betty Boop [Black]. I used the China Glaze as a base for all 5 designs. Here's a close-up of each, plus an explanation:

Thumb:




Yeah. I smudged this one, only just copped as I was uploading. Ah well, practice makes perfect! This nail is inspired by the story of Stick Boy and Match Girl in Love. They met, they fell in love, alas, twas doomed. She burned him alive. By accident, presumably.

Index Finger:


Excuse the stumpy little nail, it broke a few days ago. This was inspired by the story of Voodoo Girl, or in particular, her heart. Voodoo Girl has loads of male admirers, and she's quite pretty, but she still can't get close to anyone. Why? Because whenever she does, the pins stick further in.

Middle Finger:




This is Staring Girl. This is one of the more light-hearted stories in the book, about a girl who stares and then literally gives her eyes a rest by popping them out and sending them off on a break.

Ring Finger:



Meet The Girl With Many Eyes. A lovely, pretty girl - unfortunately, as lovely as her personality is, the multiple eyes tend to put potential love interests off. "You really get wet when she breaks down and cries."


Little Finger:




This is Roy, the Toxic Boy. Or just Roy to his friends. Roy is addicted to all kinds of toxic substances, particularly fumes. What happened to Roy? Well, Roy was quite happy as he was - but died when people tried to change him.

I love this book, I realise it's not to everyone's tastes, but if you like your life lessons taught in a darkly humourous and very macabre way, then pick this up. It's worth it for the illustrations alone.

S xx

Quick Catch Up and a Christmas Post

Hey! I haven't had time to paint my nails over the last few days - it's just been mental. However, I will hopefully have a nail post for you later today. If you're a Tim Burton fan, check back later on to see if I manage to do his book justice!

In the meantime, the lovely Chantelle has allowed me to share one of my favourite Christmas memories as part of her guest blogger series - head on over to thelifeandtimesofchantelle.blogspot.com to read it, and while you're there, read all the other fantastic memories too.

I had a lot of fun reminiscing, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thanks again to Chantelle - I have come into contact with so many lovely people over the last year, and I'm delighted that both this blog and twitter have given me that opportunity.

Gratuitous Christmas Tree picture:



Catch you guys later!

S xx

Thursday, December 1, 2011

31 Day Nail Polish Challenge: Day 23

Hey! Happy December! Plans changed for today, so I'm a day ahead of myself with this challenge after I posted two yesterday. Today is movie day! This wrecked my head. Much like the song challenge, I had so many movies to choose from - I definitely knew I wanted to stick to something that had the same base colour on all 5 nails, just because I am lazy. In the end, I settled on one of my favourite movies from the 80's - Desperately Seeking Susan.

[Source] Wikipedia
If you haven't seen this movie, then please track it down and watch it, it's fantastic. The fashion in it is unbelievable, so if you've an interest in 80s fashion trends, it's worth a look for that alone. Along with Madonna, it stars Aidan Quinn (adorable) and Rosanna Arquette - it's brilliant. So - on to the nails. For a base colour, I used Sally Hansen [Midnight in NY] on all 5 nails - that polish has become my favourite during the course of this challenge. I can't sing the praises of Sally Hansen enough - their brushes are perfect and the consistency of the polish is spot on. I will definitely, definitely be purchasing more from the Complete Salon Manicure line, well done Sally! Here's the look:


Here's a breakdown:

Little Finger: Inspired by the lapel on Susan's jacket.




No, your eyes do not decive you - that's A WATER MARBLED NAIL!! I was trying to think of any way I could get a pattern remotely like the one on the jacket without marbling, but I just thought, feck it, I'm not going to let it get the better of me. After the disaster the other day, I'm delighted with how this turned out. I used Essence [Sundancer] and Chanel [Graphite] for the marbling.

Ring Finger: Inspired by Susan's boots.




I wanted these boots so badly when I first saw this movie. I still wouldn't say no - at first glance, I thought they were studded with standard run-of-the-mill studs, but then I realised that they're studded with crystals. Now, even though I'm a nail polish hound, my lack of accessories is shocking. I put the thinking cap on, and remembered a dress I got a few years ago. It had tiny sequins all over the front of it, but they kept falling off. I went on a hunt for said dress, picked a few off, and whacked them on my nail with the blunt end of a skewer while the polish was still wet. I love this nail! You can use rhinestones, diamonte stickers - whatever you have to hand (or buy a sequinned/studded t-shirt in a charity shop and get picking).

Middle Finger: Inspired by Susan's Suitcase.




This is another item that I lusted after as a kid - going so far as to rob a suitcase off Mammy and painting it black and white. It looked nothing like that one, unfortunately. Anyway - for this one, I didn't go into any great detail, just blobbed on three drops of Essence [White Hype] and drew on the faces with the Sally Hansen [Midnight in NY].

Index Finger: Inspired by Roberta's "Susan" outfit.




I just liked the idea of mixing some pink in with all those dark colours. There are lots of bright neons in this movie - even if it's just a neon green sock, or a bright orange t-shirt. This is the outfit Roberta wears to try to be more like Susan, and I love the two different shades of pink. So, I just whacked on (literally, just slopped it on the nail - as if you can't tell haha) a blob of Essence [Love of Pink] and W7 [Baby Pink].

Thumb: Inspired by the back of Susan's jacket.




I swear it doesn't look as bad in real life!! The jacket is probably the most iconic thing about this movie, it's the first search term that appears when you type the name of the movie into google. For this, I just drew a dodgy-looking pyramid in Chanel [Graphite], added a few drops of GOSH [Gold] and outlined in Essence [Red-Y To Go].

So, there you have it - had so much fun doing this, bring on tomorrow (Inspired by a book, I think).

What do you think?

S xx