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Tuesday 20 November 2012

Shopping My Stash ...

My makeup collection is insane.  It always has been, admittedly, but one of the side-effects of being a beauty blogger is that you're constantly being seduced by the call of the new, and old-favourites can sometimes get sidelined.  Sometimes, however, I like to take a little wander around products that have been favourites in the past (called "shopping your stash", by beauty bloggers) and rediscover what I loved about them.

The above picture shows some of the things I've rediscovered lately, and that I'm loving using.  From left to right we have Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place ShadowCreme (catchy!) in Pink Pearl, Guerlain Kohl in Mirage, Noir and Oriental Metal, and Malin+Goetz lip moisturiser.  Let's take a closer look:

I love the Double Wear Shadow formulas, they're smooth and easy to use, and last all day.  Pink Pearl isn't a shade I wear alone (it's pink), but it makes a great base for other shadows, and is great for adding a touch of "glow" to a neutral eye makeup look. It blends out really well, and wears all day, a perfect shadow base, as it's a lot easier to blend over than say ... Urban Decay Primer Potion.

I like this so much, I'm going to investigate a couple more shades of this, in Smokey Plum (as I can't resist anything purple), and Precious Jade, which contrary to its name is a slightly greenish-taupe colour.   I love me a bit of taupe, allegedly.

Moving onto the Guerlain Kohl's, here's how they swatch:

Mirage is a matte brown, which doesn't contain that much red, and is therefore fairly easy to wear. Noir is a lightly sparkling black, which I adore. And I don't really have the words to tell you how much I love Oriental Metal, except to say that it is taupe.  And I love taupe above all things.  Okay, most things.  Okay, some things. But when it comes to makeup, it's probably definitely safe to say that my taupe obsession borders on the unhealthy...  I've been wearing these shades a lot recently, and wish Guerlain would bring out more shades, I think a purple would be wonderful ...

Then, there is the Malin+ Goetz lip moisturiser, which I wrote about fairly recently, it is, quite simply, the best base I've found for lipstick, ever.  I must own (practically) at least one of every single lipbalm ever made, and the lack of grease and instant hydration that this product offers is unbeatable.

What's lurking in the depths of your makeup bag?

The Fine Print: Purchases, mainly.  To get to the other side, silly! What, you expected more from me?
This post: Shopping My Stash originated at: Get Lippie on Novemeber 20th All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper

Monday 19 November 2012

Frontcover Desk to Date Palette

Sadly no longer available in  Boots, Frontcover are now available exclusively online, and they're also now internationally available from Sephora, which is all kinds of aces.  Famous for their kits which provide a variety of looks - and the instructions of how to get them, Frontcover is an excellent independent British brand that deserves a bit more recognition.  They've just released their collection of kits for Christmas, and I've been trialling the Desk to Date kit, which is an eyeshadow-only kit.

Desk to Date contains eighteen eyeshadows, ten of which are highly iridescent baked formulas, just packed with pearl and colour.  The remaining eight are neutrals, in a semi-matte formula.  There are also two high-quality (and I don't say that lightly) double ended applicators, which is handy.

The baked shades (Date) are vibrant, and well-pigmented, and rather creamy on application.  Unusually for a baked formula, the shades apply well even without a primer, and are less patchy than I expected.  They are exceptionally shimmery though, so if you're a fan of the gleam, these will be perfect for you:

Applied over a primer, the shades are more vibrant.  My favourite of these is the silver, and I admit to being just a touch disappointed with the lilac above it, but overall, I've been more impressed with these than I thought I would be.

The shades in the base are far more neutral, with just the barest hint of shimmer - there are two shades suitable for lining (a dark brown and a deep charcoal), but the rest will allow you to create either a lovely nude look, or an office suitable look in shades of taupe:

Again, the shadows are fairly creamy, and blend well on the skin even without a primer - the shades in the paler colours do tend to err on the warmer side though, I have to say, but they're all very lovely.

Overall, I have to say I'm really impressed with the quality of this palette, the eyeshadows are well pigmented, the brush applicators are surprisingly good, and there's a nice, big mirror in the lid.  What you don't get in this palette, which you do in some of the other kits, is step by step instructions on how to create a variety of looks, personally, I don't see that as a disadvantage, but I'm aware that some people might.  Another thing I like about this kit is that it's made of plastic, rather then the more usual cardboard, which makes it a bit more durable than some of the other Frontcover kits I've come across in the past.

All in all, for just £16, I think that the Desk to Date palette is a winner.  What say you?  

The Fine Print: PR Sample. Why did the chicken cross the road? I'll tell you tomorrow
This post: FrontCover Desk to Date Palette originated at: Get Lippie on November 19th 2012 
All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper

Friday 16 November 2012

Technical Difficulties …

We're having some scheduling difficulties at Get Lippie this week, so, in time-honoured "Test Card" fashion, here's a completely irrelevant photo of a tin gingerbread man next to a giant lip balm to tide you over until normal service can be resumed.

You'll just have to imagine your own soothing music …

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Sjal Saphir Concentrate Review

A tiny blue bottle of calm, this is.  I haven't tried too many Sjal products up to now, (though I have mentioned this one before, actually), but I'm aware that 30mls of product for £125 is a big investment for almost anyone, so I thought it needed a more in-depth review. 

Sjal describe this product as: "a powerful, modern face treatment oil with an artisanal blend of rare essential oils and supra-3ä, a proprietary anti-aging bioactive complex designed to visibly diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, increase elasticity, plump and revitalize skin. This ‘liquid silk’ weightless oil is infused with Himalayan blue sapphires and aquamarine known to facilitate clarity, calming and balance."

It's a dry oil texture, which is very light, and sinks in very quickly, it never feels greasy, and your skin doesn't feel overloaded in use.  I use it in my nighttime routine, as a serum under a balm, but if your skin isn't as dehydrated as mine is at the moment, you could probably skip a moisturiser as well.

As regular readers might remember, my skin is sensitive, and reddened, even at the best of times, and, after my recent bout of multiple hospitalisations and medical procedures, it's been rather dehydrated, and feeling rather rough as a result too. I've found this oil to have a cooling and calming, and most of all, hydrating effect on my skin.  It has a light citrus fragrance, but this disperses quite quickly, and doesn't linger on the skin.

I find that using this as a night treatment has really calmed down my redness, and it's given my skin a new lease of life, with a better, clearer, more refreshed and even tone, which is fabulous.  If you're under 35 or so, then you really do not need this, but if you're over 35, and feeling a bit run-down, this has worked marvels for my skin.

A simplified list of the ingredients is:

Camellia Oil,
Capric triglyceride (a fatty acid derived from coconut)
Grape seed oil
Meadowfoam seed oil
Macademia oil
Bitter orange oil
Jasmine oil
Sweet orange oil
Lavender oil
Clary Sage oil
Evening Primrose oil
Cotton seed oil
Linseed oil
Camomile oil
Rosemary extract
Sunflower oil
Bidens Pilosa extract (a plant commonly known as "cobblers pegs")
Alaria Esculenta (a kind of seaweed)
Palm oil
Tocopherol (a form of vitamin e)

I'm a little unhappy to see palm oil on the list (but at least it is way down the list), but this is a nice light formula, without mineral oil, without pthalates and parabens, that feels nourishing and light on the skin.

You can buy Sjal Saphir Concentrate from BeautyWorksWest for £125.
The Fine Print: PR Sample, which I'm planning to eke out for as long as possible ... 
This post: Sjal Saphir Concentrate Review originated at: Get Lippie All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper

Monday 12 November 2012

Evans & #Bootgate continued ...

I promise, no more boot-based posts or tweets after this. I'm fed up of me. However I got the following email just now:

Hi Louise,

I am sorry to hear that you wish to decline the offer of £25.00 and are not happy with our goodwill gesture. Unfortunately we feel that this offer is appropriate to the nature of your complaint and are unable to increase this offer any further.

We are still looking into any information from the couriers and will update you once we have received a response from them in regards to the parcel being returned to us.

Kind Regards,

Evans Customer Services

To which I have responded:

Actually, the reason I keep declining your goodwill gestures is not because of the amount, but because of their content. I've made it perfectly clear on several occasions that I no longer wish to be a customer of yours because of the way I've been treated in the preceding four days.
Any "goodwill gesture" from any company where the offended party is then tied into further transactions with the organisation that has caused offence are something everyone should routinely reject.
It's not a goodwill gesture for you to ask me for more money (the offer of a 10% discount on a "next purchase"). It is not a goodwill gesture for a company to offer something that is, essentially, worthless (a £10 gift card) without me spending money of my own. A goodwill gesture is something that doesn't rely on me having to become a customer again, as it is the very act of being one of your customers that has caused the problem on this occasion. I'm not complaining about a faulty product, or a bit of upset caused by a thoughtless comment from a staff member, this little problem has cost me in the region of £350 when you add in lost work, the cost of other items I have had to buy to make up for your lack of delivery on this occasion, not to mention the hours (and I mean that literally) I've had to put into these emails, and my blogpost to get your company to take my situation seriously.
So, as a compromise, I suggest this: If you want to make a "goodwill gesture", then actually *make* a gesture. One that will engender actual, real, genuine and sincere goodwill. Send some flowers, make a donation to charity (I'll choose it if you like), apologise publicly, or something - anything! - but, whatever you or your boss decides to do, just do something that isn't merely a "Here's a voucher, now go buy something else from us and get out of our hair"-shaped "gesture", please.
I'll edit this post later if they respond.  Many thanks to everyone for the tweets, DMs, Facebook messages and emails I've had regarding this morning's blog post, I've really appreciated the support today! I don't normally worry about pressing publish, but today I did. I'm glad I didn't have to...

Edited to add:

They changed their offer from a £25 "gift" card to a £25 cheque.  I have accepted this, and will donate it to charity.

The boots are still, at the time of writing, "with the courier for delivery".

I will never shop at Evans Online again.

This post: Evans & #Bootgate Continued  originated at: Get Lippie All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper

Dear Evans Clothing & Hermes ...

 (Warning, not really a beauty-related post, it contains intense self-deprecation, a bit of a rant, and some stupid acronyms.  If you want something a bit fluffy, might be best to look elsewhere today.  Also, it's very long.  Might be best to read something else.  No, seriously, nothing to see here. Not really.)

Dear Evans and Hermes,

Your two companies are a match made in hell, and you need a divorce.  I'll explain why later, but for now, let me tell you a tale of woe ...

Let's get one thing out of the way, I am fat.  There's no two ways around it, I'm a fat person.  I'm not particularly bothered by it (and I'm less fat than I used to be these days, anyway), I'm fairly pleasant looking from the neck up, I've got a cracking rack - we shall not discuss my mid-section, lest it get bogged down in complaints about my recent kidney problems - my thighs don't bother me in the slightest, but from the knees down it's nothing but grief.  I've written about my feet, and the constant pain I'm in, before, and about how shoe shopping is possibly my least favourite thing to do in the entire world.  

However, there is only one thing on the planet that ever reduces me to hot, salty, snot-bubbling tears of inchoate rage and sheer impotent frustration in seconds flat, faster than shoe-shopping, and that is boot-shopping.

For, underneath the blubber that a lifetime of worship at the temple of the goddess of lard has created on my frame, I have tiny bones.  My feet are a size four and a half, five at the most, and I have the handspan of the average pre-teen.  I'm not very tall, either.  Boots, even Duo of Bath (who I once travelled across the country to visit when they had only one store, only to find that the only pair that I could fit into made me look like a midget pirate.  Not a good look for an accountant, frankly) find the concept of small feet/big calves hard to deal with.  As do I, frankly.  I often see women larger than myself  (I'm a size 18 at the moment, down from a 22 recently, and soon to be a 16, thank you, Slimming World) wearing boots quite happily, and I am reduced to frothing with searing jealousy that THEY can wear boots, and I, thanks to the Enormo-Calves of Doom (E-CoD for short), cannot.

I used to have a pair of boots.  All-elastic, they were, with a block heel, and I loved them.  I loved them, even though they had a tendency to roll down throughout the day, and I'd end up wearing elasticated ankle-warmers.  I need elastic in my boots (something Duo boots tend not to contain much of), to cope with the sudden change in size between my relatively slim ankles and the aforementioned E-CoD.  I've tried on boots in bigger sizes - say, size eight - and managed to fasten them with no problems whatsoever, but I can't cope with padding boots up to four sizes too big, I wouldn't be able to walk!

Writing this, I'm aware, suddenly, that my ideal pair of boots is essentially a thick-soled pair of flat shoes, with a squareish toe-box, and a leather shin-pad, finished off at the back with what is, essentially, a black compression bandage.  Hmn ... sexy ...

Actually, maybe not that bad:

Anyway, "how does this involve Evans and Hermes?" I hear you cry.  Don't worry, I'm getting there. Simply put, the thing is that I want to wear boots.  I'm tired of only being able to wear trousers and shoes.  It's dull, and I'm frumpy as a result.  I want to add skirts to my wardrobe, and not freeze to death (even thermal tights only do so much).  I was invited to be a guest speaker at a blogging conference this weekend, alongside some fashion bloggers - more about this later on in the week - and I wanted to wear something ... snazzy.  I discovered a dress I'd bought some time ago in the dim and distant recesses of my wardrobe, found myself a little sequinned jacket, and knew what would finish it off nicely ...

... Boots.

I am an IDIOT.  Having recently lost a bit of weight, I thought this year would be the year of boots.  Correspondingly, I ordered myself a pair from Evans, at 12:49 on Wednesday 7th as their next day delivery costs only £5.  Never have I been made more aware that you get what you pay for - or, as in my case, you don't, actually, get anything that you've paid for.  Naively, I thought ordering something to arrive via next day delivery would allow me to get the boots to finish my outfit in good  enough time to try them, and decide whether or not I wanted to keep them.

I am an IDIOT (and I'm bored of writing this now). So anyway, the upshot is that the boots never arrived.  In fact, at the time of writing, they still haven't arrived.  Apparently, (according to their website) Hermes tried to deliver at 1524 on Thursday 8th, at 1949 on Friday 9th, and 1800 on Saturday 10th (long after I'd asked Evans to cancel the delivery, by this point).

Yeah, right
Hermes are lying. Or their courier is, rather.

How do I know?  MrLippie was home at all those times, (I was only home for the Friday "visit") and no one knocked on our door, rang our bell, or even ... left a card to say they'd called. UPS left a card to say they'd tried to deliver to someone else in the building, and, all the rest of our post arrived, so clearly, other companies know how doorbells work.

I spoke to Evans on Twitter last Thursday who put their customer service team onto what happened (who thanked me for my comments on Facebook - at least *read* your complaints, please), as, according to the Hermes website, all my complaints, requests and queries have to go through the company I made the order through. And, I have to say that I've been patronised by one particular Evans employee ever since.  Two people have dealt with my complaint, one has been fine, and the other one  ... well. I'm not going to go into it much, but suffice it to say that every email from Evans customer services made me feel worse about having placed my order with them, rather than better.  Yes, I've been angry. Yes, I've broken out the caps lock. But when the initial response to your complaint isn't even addressing your complaint properly, well, it's simply not good enough, frankly.

Evans are sorry, apparently, that I "feel" like no delivery has been attempted.  Well, Evans,  I'm sorry that your courier company have lied not once, not twice, but (at the time of writing) three times, both to me, and to you.  They've cost you a customer.  And I suspect I'm not alone - my twitter followers are full of horror stories about Hermes and their "delivery" service.  I, for one, am refusing to shop online with anyone who uses them. Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice, shame on you.  Fool me three times ... we are done.

I wore yoga shoes to my event.  Thanks, Clarks ;)

Share your home-delivery nightmare stories here, I'd love to hear them.

This post: originated at: Get Lippie All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper
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