Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Bad Beautybay Experience.


Firstly, apologies for not being around as often. As most of you know, I'm currently 7 months pregnant with twins, so my energy levels are all over the shop. I have a lot of photos and drafts, I just need to get them into some posts! Please bear with me, I really appreciate that so many of you are still reading despite the infrequent posting of late.

Now - on to the tale of Beautybay and the Deborah Lippmann polish.

I turned 30 on June 21st this year. My sister, insisting that I'm impossible to buy for, gave me some money to spend online instead. It was right in the middle of the Beautybay sale - which included Deborah Lippmann polishes for less than half price. I've never owned a Lippmann - even though I'm a huge nail polish junkie, I can't justify spending €17-€20+ for one nail polish. The most expensive one I own is a Chanel that I won in a giveaway ages ago. Can you imagine my excitement when I saw a whole range of DL polishes reduced to half price? The one I chose was Ruby Red Slippers and it was on sale for just over €10 with free delivery. I thought I'd treat myself, given that it was a special birthday and a one-off treat.

I've written about my experience with Beautybay here before on this post - on that occasion, while my delivery was delayed, I praised their customer service for keeping me up to date and making me feel valued as a customer.

Not this time.

I placed my order on June 21st, 2013. By July 9th, it still hadn't arrived. I sent a friend a tweet asking if her order had arrived yet as I knew she'd ordered from the sale too, and she said hers had arrived the previous Friday. Beautybay hopped on the tweet and after checking my order number, explained that it had been posted on June 24th, but it would be delayed due to them not being allowed to send nail polish via airmail any longer. I said this was fine, I understood, I'd ordered before and I was expecting a delay. I still had no order by July 12th - 21 days after ordering - the first time I'd ordered, it had arrived at this point. I tweeted them telling them I wasn't impressed and that they might want to put a note on the site for international customers ordering nail polish and they replied that they already do - hidden in the "further information" category on the delivery page. On that page, they state that hazardous materials may take up to 10 days longer to reach their destination. Added to the 5-7 working days that's stated as the norm for them, this makes 17 days max. Not 21.

By July 19th (Day 28), I still didn't have an order and beautybay were no longer responding to my tweets. They did, however, respond to a group conversation in which I recommended someone NOT order from the sale. I received an e-mail almost immediately from Customer Services who obviously presumed it was lost, because they sent me a lost item declaration form and would not issue any sort of refund or replacement until I had printed it, signed it, scanned it, and e-mailed it. Or faxed it. Or, I could print it out and post it back to them at my own time and expense, therefore extending the whole sorry mess by another few weeks.

That was of absolutely no use to me - I didn't have printer ink at the time, I don't have a scanner, I don't have a fax machine, and I don't have the time or energy to go traipsing around to find somewhere to print, scan or fax.

I decided I'd just suffer the loss in the end and got so annoyed with the whole lot that I left it.

Until.........Praise Jeebus! It arrived! THIRTY TWO DAYS after I ordered it.

To put that into perspective - it was coming from the UK. Which is about five hours away from my front door. In the meantime, I'd actually designed a bag on a Chinese website, had it made, and had it in my hands almost two weeks before. I'd ordered nail polish from the UK, from China, from Hong Kong, from the USA, and it had all arrived. How is it that ASOS can post nail polish from the UK with absolutely no problems, and it arrives within a week?

I replied to the Customer Services e-mail to tell them that the item had, at last, made an appearance, and that I was incredibly dissatisfied with their service and would not be ordering from them again. Their response came a few days later - in the form of a generic "we are glad your item has arrived, we hope you are happy with it, can you fill out this delivery survey for a chance to win £50 so we can improve our services?"


I'll tell you what I told them - I think the fact that something took 32 days to get from the UK to Ireland should tell you all you need to know about your delivery service, cheers. I will never, ever, EVER order from that website again.

I haven't even taken the polish out of the box - it was supposed to be a special memento and all it does is remind me of the crap service I received.

I'll stick to Asos and my trustworthy eBay sellers in future.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Recent Beauty Buys (June/July)


I haven't been in the humour to paint my nails lately at all, but that hasn't stopped me buying polish. I decided to do a post on some of the beauty bits I picked up over the last month or so.

From Cloud 10 Beauty, Paese 316, 317 & 318 and Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover. The polishes were €3 each and the remover was around €2.

Etude House Skincare sample kit. I got this on eBay for just under €4.50 here.

Car Boot Sale bargains - GOSH Silver & Metallic Purple, Revlon Emerald City (Matte), and Essence In Style. I paid €2 for all 4.

Deborah Lippmann Ruby Red Slippers - this was around a tenner in the beautybay sale and I can honestly say I'll never order from that site ever, ever again. This took 32 days to arrive and beautybay didn't even apologise. All they said was that there was a delay with nail polish - how come all the other ones I ordered from overseas reached me within a few days?! The other two polishes were from the asos sale - Rimmel Baby Bellini (around €3) & OPI Stay The Night (€7.50).

Essie Leading Lady (€6 including postage on eBay here), China Glaze Let's Groove (€5 including postage on eBay here) Flormar no12 (reviewed here) and a back-up bottle of Poshé topcoat (€6 including postage on eBay here).

The Face Shop Volcanic Clay Nose Pack (just over €4 on eBay here), Baviphat Apple Lip Balm (€4.50 on eBay here), Modi Cartoon Hero #121 (€7.50 on eBay here), Innisfree #107 (€3.77 on eBay here).

Maybelline Baby Lips in Anti-Oxidant Berry (just under €4 on eBay here), Catrice Ultimate Colour Lipstick in #240, Hey Nude, €4.49 in local chemist. I saw this lipstick on Nina's guest post on lovely girlie bits and made a note to check it out - it's absolutely gorgeous and is now my go-to nude lipstick.

Pack of 500 Page Reinforcer Stickers - I can never find these in shops and they're great for nail art. I picked these up on eBay here for under a fiver (I know, I was robbed with postage). I also got some zip water decals for €1.50 here, and some nail art foil for 75c here.

I finally got my hands on the Essence I love Stage eyeshadow base after hearing so many good reviews about it. I think it was around €4 in Penneys. I also picked up the Vichy Hyaluspot treatment in the local chemist for €9.50, and it's amazing stuff. It made incredibly short work of a spot that had been threatening to come up for days. I forgot to include the tube of La Roche Posay Cicaplast that I bought - it's been a godsend on everything from hives and sunburn to itchy feet and dry elbows. It cost me €7.50.

Finally, I have what I think is the bargain of the century. I saw a listing on eBay for one bottle of "Orly red polish". It was €5, free postage, but no shade name was given. I decided to take a gamble on it, sure any full-sized Orly polish for a fiver is good value. The seller messaged me to say they no longer had the red, but they had Orly Embrace or O.P.I Die Another Day and I could have my choice of those or get a refund. I replied that either would do - and they sent me both!

See what happens when I proclaim I'm on a spending ban? Utter disaster.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

DIY Glitter Topcoats


When I tried out the Catrice polish I mentioned in this post last week, I wanted to jazz it up with a glitter topcoat. I didn't have anything in my stash like the one I had in mind, so I decided to make my own. It's not hard at all - all you need is some clear nail polish, a cocktail stick, and some glitter.

I've had these little vials of glitters for ages and I never really knew what to do with them - but I'll be using them a lot more after discovering how well they work in clear polish. I received some of these in a swap, but you can also get them on eBay here.

Using a palette or whatever kind of pot you have to hand, pour a little bit of clear polish in, then add the glitters and stir with a cocktail stick.

Use the brush from the clear polish or a clean paintbrush to apply the topcoat to your nails.

I love how this turned out, it looks like an indie polish. I loved it so much that I wanted to try it over a bright colour too, so used it over the mint polish that was already on my lesser-spotted right hand. Please forgive the cuticles!!

I love the effect over both polishes, and I'll definitely be experimenting more with loose glitters in the future.

Monday, July 22, 2013

What's in My Handbag - The Organized Edition!


This is the organized edition of what's in my bag. Not that I've ever done a disorganized version, but anyway.

First off, this is my bag.

It's a good old Penneys reliable, cost about €11 over a year ago (although I've recently seen a beige version in store) and it's the ideal size for me. I also love that it has handles and a shoulder strap. I'm not showing you the tissues or receipts, nor am I showing you my passport or hospital pregnancy card, but here's the rest of what I carry in there:

Top Row - Wallet (Penneys again), Prescription Sunglasses, MP3 player, and leather bike gloves (sure why not).

Bottom Row - hair bands, hand cream, Prevalin allergy spray, Nivea lip butter, Lacoste & FM perfumes, MUA lipstick (shade: Bare), and 3 Apocalips. Sure deodorant, 5 pens (?!), a mini torch, Boots card, Weightwatchers calculator (not following it at the moment but it's always handy to have), little card with an Irish Blessing on it (no, I don't know why), and two notebooks - Animal from the Muppets and my recipe/blogging/shopping list/address book. And a pink pen.

I also had my Nintendo 3DS in its carry case in there too. (Harvest Moon FTW!)

While it's not a massive amount of stuff compared to some of the rubbish that could be in there, I still have a hard time finding stuff sometimes.

Enter this.

This little beauty is a handbag organizer, and it set me back approximately two of my finest Euros on eBay (link here). I ordered on June 21st and received it less than a week later. It's brilliant - I fit everything except the two big notebooks into it.

It fits in my bag with loads of room to spare and I know exactly where everything is now. If I want to change handbags, I just need to swap products around and move the whole thing into another bag. This organizer would also be really handy for tote bags or cotton shoppers that don't have pockets.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A €3 dupe for Chanel Taboo - is it possible?


Chanel Taboo went straight on to my wishlist the minute I saw the first swatch of it online. It's the first Chanel polish I've loved for a long time, but as much as I love it - I'm not spending nearly €22 on it.

Image: eBay

So began my search for a possible dupe. I had already ordered China Glaze Let's Groove to test, but in the meantime Cloud 10 Beauty had a seriously good discount at the weekend. On Sunday last, they were offering 20% off sitewide. I took the opportunity to pick up some Paese nail products - I've already raved about Paese nail polish in this post, and I wanted to try their nail polish remover after discovering that the one I normally use from Essence contains acetone. No wonder my nails were weak! I bought four products - three nail polishes (from the Tango line - 316, 317 & 318) and the gentle nail polish remover (which is brilliant). The polishes were an amazing €3 each (even less with the discount).

As with the other ones I've bought, I do wish it was a little easier to make out the colours online, but one of the dark colours caught my eye - this one, shade 317.

It's a very dark purple/burgundy polish that seems to shift depending on the light. Immediately I was reminded of Taboo - I don't own it, as I said, but you can catch some gorgeous swatches on Emma's post about it.

I took loads of pictures of it, so I'll put the clearest ones up for you:

It's not quite a dupe, and it's not quite as sparkly in the light as Taboo, but it is pretty close. I put a coat of Max Factor Fantasy Fire on two nails to see if that would bring the sparkle up a bit:

Without Fantasy Fire on the left, With Fantasy Fire on the right.

I actually prefer it without Fantasy Fire, I like the purple tones in it.

All in all - not a 100% dupe, but definitely as close as I'm going to get for €3!!

You can get Paese nail polish on Cloud 10 Beauty here, this is shade 317 in the Tango range.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Catrice Heavy Metallilac vs Even More Heavy Metallilac


If you have a look at any Catrice stand at the moment, you'll notice that some of the products have 50% off. They are the products that are soon to be discontinued, so snap them up if there's something you like or use regularly. One of the products soon to disappear is the nail polish with the worst name I've heard in a long time, Even More Heavy Metallilac. Originally a replacement for the discontinued & equally awfully named Heavy Metallilac, it's a couple of shades darker as you'll be able to see in a minute. I thought I'd compare the two in case anyone wants to buy it before it vanishes.

Left: Heavy Metallilac. Right: Even More Heavy Metallilac.
EMHM has a strong pink shimmer in the bottle, but less on the nails. It's still a really pretty polish, and worth getting even if you own the first version.

Two coats, direct sunlight.
Here's a comparison of both polishes - Heavy Metallilac is on the index and ring nails, Even More Heavy Metallilac is on the middle and little ones.

Two coats, direct sunlight.

I do prefer the original, and I can't say I'll be sorry to see the new version going, but it's still a nice purple polish to have in your stash. For a sale price of €1.39, you can't really complain - the quality is excellent as usual.

Why didn't they just call it Heavier Metallilac?!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

DIY: From Yankee Candle to Storage Jar


I'm a huge fan of Yankee Candles and regularly stock up on the tarts, but I rarely ever buy a jar. I have two - one that I got with some birthday money (Fireside Treats) and one that I received as a present ages ago (Sandalwood). Now - while I adore the majority of the scents, some just don't appeal to me at all. Unfortunately, the Sandalwood one was one of them. I think because I didn't choose it myself, I got completely sick of the smell pretty quick. I can't even remember who gave it to me, but it's been knocking round the house for at least 4-5 years. I came across loads of ideas for jars on one of my many Pinterest sprees, and thought that instead of having it lying around gathering dust, I'd do something to make it useful again.

Here's the offending candle:

As you can see, there was still an awful lot of wax left in it.

Now - how to get the wax out? We all know that the one thing that melts wax is heat, so I boiled the kettle and poured boiling water into the jar, figuring it would soften the wax. BE CAREFUL if you're doing this. Make sure the jar is on a non-flammable surface, don't touch the glass once the water is in, and pour it in very slowly to avoid cracking. Leave the jar for a while until the water cools to a warm temperature (mine took about 45 minutes). You'll be able to see the wax rising to the surface like a lava lamp.

When the water has cooled down enough so that you can pick the jar up without it being hot, get a spoon and a container and start to scoop the wax out. Don't go with your initial instinct if it's like mine and it tells you to pour that down the sink. MAJOR plumbing issues. The minute it hits the air it's going to harden, so don't use a fancy spoon either. Scoop it out into a container, bag it, and bin it. Pour the water outside.

After a lot of scraping and stabbing, I was left with a big lump of wax that loosened from the bottom. It was soft enough to push a knife through, so I stuck the knife into it, cut it in half, and pulled out the pieces.

A brillo pad got rid of any little bits of wax that were left, and I peeled the label off the front. After a good scrub, I was left with this:

You could use it to store ribbons, craft items, buttons, change, hair accessories - whatever. I use mine to store my cotton pads for nail art.

If you have some Washi tape or ribbon you can pretty it up some more, but I kinda like it plain.

Monday, July 15, 2013

A-England Tristam & Wet n Wild I Need a Refresh-Mint


If there's one thing a heatwave calls for, it's a holo. I decided to break out A-England's Tristam, which was a lovely surprise present a while back from Róisín, who is an absolute sweetheart and one of my favourite nail bloggers.

Tristam is part of The Mythicals collection. Sadly, A-England are no longer shipping internationally due to a huge amount of their packages being destroyed by Royal Mail during the huge nail polish debacle a while ago, but they are still available through international nail polish distributors like Llarowe, Ninja Polish, and Mei Mei's Signatures. You could also use Parcel Motel - I've asked them about nail polish and they confirmed that because most parcels are sent from mainland UK to NI via ferry or courier, nail polish should be okay to order using your Parcel Motel address. Good news!

Tristam is a dark denim blue with scattered holo microglitter, and it's the perfect polish to wear in direct sunlight. Even though the holo isn't apparent all the time, it's still quite sparkly but not overpowering. The third picture was taken with a flash to show you how holographic the glitter is. I used two coats of Tristam and one coat of Poshé topcoat.

I decided to get the striping tape out again and have a play around with different shapes and directions. I used Wet n Wild's I Need a Refresh-mint from their Megalast range. It's a gorgeous mint cream that I received last year in a swap with the lovely Jenna. It's a perfect polish to use for striping, because it's almost completely opaque in one coat. The brushes on this range are enormous, though, so you may need to do a little cleanup if you have small nails. Here's a comparison picture I posted before - a Megalast brush vs a Barry M brush.

On to the striping. I just placed the tape in random directions and did one at a time, removing the tape with tweezers to give a clean line.

I think my favourite is the little finger, but I'm going to keep trying to find new ways to use striping tape, I love the effect.