Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Confessions of a Shopaholic- my favourite physical and webular shopping destinations

You know the slogan 'shopping is my cardio'? Well that could be my mantra. Nothing makes me happier than perusing the rails and shelves and displays in a shop, or by filling up my online shopping cart with beautiful things. I even enjoy grocery shopping. Something about the new and shininess of everything gives me such joy. I love watching haul vids and reading haul posts because I feel like I am vicariously shopping through them.
Now I don't love all types of shopping. I do not purchase any clothes online- I have never yet to this day ever bought a garment online. I don't like clothes shopping, I find it highly stressful, I never find anything that fits, I have to try on everything all the time and sometimes queues for dressing rooms can be manic. Clothes shopping is not an enjoyable experience for me because it requires alot of work. Shopping for pretty things however is one of the things that brings me more pleasure than I can even express. Instore or online, it's all good. Along with loving shopping, I also love getting a bargain, so any discount codes or special promotions, I am all over it!

I don't know what way to approach this SBBC post without keeping you here for a whole day, so I'll very briefly run through my favourite shops and my favourite websites. This is by no means an exclusive list and I am sure that I am probably forgetting loads of different places that I go to but it's just a little insight.

Shops:

How I love popping into Boots and racing around the aisles looking at all the beauty booty that they have to offer. I could literally spend hours browsing in that store. Home to exclusive brands like No.7 and Natural Collection, this store definitely offers unique products, and this coupled with the extremely generous Loyalty Card system where you get 4 points per euro on an average day, never mind when there are any instore promotions or offers going on, and you can cash in these points for products, including luxury brands like Chanel, Benefit, Estee Lauder, Clinique, Clarins etc. My local Boots is the one in Dundrum Shopping Centre, and that is a very fine Boots indeed, but my all time favourite has to be the plaza in Liffey Valley- if you have never been to it, you need to get there, it's only fabulous!


Superdrug- I also love Superdrug for spotting new products. I prefer Superdrug in Northern Ireland or the UK, but even the Irish ones provide us with brands that we could not get elsewhere, including MUA and 2True. Superdrug do regular 3 for 2 promotions on cosmetics, and house the best hot cloth cleanser I have ever tried.

 

Again, I have yet to come across a beauty lover who is not enchanted by the decadent displays on offer in Brown Thomas or it's sister ship BT2. I can't even begin to justify the amount of time and money that I have spent in this place, but suffice to say, it's my go-to beauty shop. Every so often they do great promotions like spend €75 in beauty and get a €15 voucher, all comes together very nicely!


I know these are two separate entities but I associate one with the other because when I pop into one in Dundrum, I pop into the other (they're so goddamn close to each other!). The Beauty Hall in House of Fraser is a truly magical place, and altogether alot easier to navigate than BT which is usually jammers. The area is nice and bright and the sales staff aren't pushy. I love how everything is displayed, how there are samples of pretty much everything. They have a great Origins display at the end of the store and a new Clarisonic counter which I have yet to stalk! Harvey Nicks is just around the corner and this is another little haven of loveliness where you can pick up anything from Benefit or Stila to fancy schmancy skincare products in SpaceNK. If you're in Dundrum, I definitely recommend that you check it out!


As if the smell of those fresh handmade cosmetics half way up Grafton Street wasn't enough to tempt me, the colourful displays and samples a-plenty might! I do find shopping in Lush mildly irritating when about 5 members of staff are eyeing you up at any given time just hoping that you will give them the sale, but all in all,I think shopping in Lush is a pleasurable experience. I love going around all the different displays, having a sniff and whiff and a read as I go along, and I learn something new everytime I go in there. Also, I always ask for a sample whenever I am paying at the tills and I've gotten some real beauts over the years- it was actually a sample of Karma soap at the till that started my Karma obsession all those years ago. 


Again, I count these as one and the same, and any time I go to Paris, I make a beeline straight for the Champs-Elysées to these beauty superstores. Marionnaud is a French skincare haven- it had the most impressive selection of Bioderma products that I have ever seen, not to mention La Roche Posay, Nuxe, Caudalie, Vichy etc- and they are significantly cheaper than they are here or online. Marionnaud also do perfumes and some cosmetics, shampoo, etc. As for Sephora - there are not enough words to describe how much I love this place - you are greeted by a 100 litre bottle of Chanel No.5 when you get in the door, the store is absolutely gargantuan and everything looks so pretty. I could happily spend hours, and I have been parked here on occasion whilst friends have scooted off to do sightseeing around Paris or grab something to eat. 

 

Slightly less glamorous than Sephora and Marionnaud but great haunts for beauty lovers all the same are McCabes and Sam McCauley pharmacies. They are both very similar in terms of their offerings- often carrying products significantly cheaper than in Boots (i.e. Tangle Teezer in Boots= €15.99/ same Tangle Teezer in McCabes = €10.16). Trips are always interesting, and in recent months I have discovered lots of new brands in these pharmacies, including Balmi and Byphasse. Don't underestimate the smaller pharmacies in your 'hood is all I can say about these guys!)

Websites:
I own alot of Kerastase and I picked up at least 50% of it from HQ Hair over the years. Not only is international delivery free on everything on their website, but they also run great promotions and gift with purchase options. I have bought Nars, Urban Decay, Redken, Kerastase etc from this site for great prices and I couldn't recommend it more. Also, they throw in freebies with orders so that is another major plus, I'm all about the nice touches!


As soon as Parcel Motel came into my life, I began looking to UK sites in search of better bang for buck. One site that I have found to be significantly more lucrative is the UK The Body Shop website. They very often have promotions of 40-50% off the whole online store, which means you can pick up all your favourites for a fraction of the price you would pay walking into a store here in Ireland, or even purchasing off the Irish website. I don't put in a Body Shop haul very often because I do like calling into the store and I think the staff are great, but it's definitely worth bearing in mind if you are a Body Shop enthusiast.


Cloud 10 Beauty is one of my favourite online haunts also. I actually put up a Cloud 10 wishlist last week and made my order on the same day, and it arrived the following day- can you believe that for customer service. The customer service is top notch, they always answer questions really quickly, and the dispatch time is double quick. They have a ton of amazing brands on their books, including Sleek, Murad, REN, Real Techniques, Sigma etc. They also let you select your own samples which is beyond cool, last week I picked up some Ren samples and a Glitter sleep in roller and I was chuffed with them. Everything about the site and the experience is so easy, and I couldn't recommend or support them enough.

Another online Irish beauty provider is Beauty Emporium, and I am a fan. Not only do they offer free shipping if you spend more than €20, but they also dispatch items super quickly. They have quite a selection of products, from Sleek, NYX, Essie, China Glaze, OPI etc, and all at very reasonable prices. They have also just started stocking Good Things skincare in recent weeks so I am looking forward to trying a bitta that!


This is almost a no-brainer. I don't know who doesn't love ebay! You can probably buy anything on ebay, and if you do your homework, you can also get a real bargain. It's really handy for finding things that you would not be able to get anywhere else. I have never had any problems at all with using ebay.
The nerd in me loves Amazon for books, CDs, DVDs and stuff for my iphone or computer. They do an amazing range of gear and offer free super save delivery with minimum purchase amount which is very handy indeed.


I blogged a few months back about the bargainous Essie and Dainty Doll products that I picked up in my first order for Fragrance Direct, and I made another Essie haul since posting that. With Parcel Motel, the shipping is really inexpensive and the products some really well wrapped.


These US sites are where I get my Wet n'Wild and NYX cosmetics and you can also pick up some other brands that are exclusive to the US. Shipping is not too extortionate when you convert it to euro, esp if you are getting a few items.

This post was just a small insight into my shopping habits! Would love to know your experience of any of these stores or if there is somewhere on your list that you think should be on my list too!





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1 comment

  1. I love Boots - I can't go in without staying at least an hour!

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