Thursday, 20 July 2017

A very merry unbirthday, to me!

Haul

For my birthday (not on my actual birthday, the week before, my actual birthday is July 24, so next Monday) we went to V2 in France, in a place called Villeneuve-d'Ascq to be precise (who even comes up with these names?). 

I'm generally not into these huge malls, but I'm into a lot of things inside this particular one. Like Burger King, sushi, bakery PAUL, Sephora (d'uh), M.A.C (double d'uh), Nocibé and a myriad of other shops. If they had a Monoprix instead of an Auchan then that mall would have been pretty darn perfect (I vastly prefer Monop to Auchan). 

Now, because I'm a smart consumer (which you wouldn't say if you follow my blog) I made a pretty strict list of things I wanted to get, and I promised myself I would NOT stray from them. 
And I didn't :). 

I also made sure to take a cash budget along. And as I'm clever that way, I have my bank card set so I can't use it abroad, I couldn't spend more anyway. (My bank card doesn't have to work abroad, Bert's does and he's under strict orders NOT to front me anything with it). Financial self-preservation is an awesome thing! 

So this is most of the stuff I bought.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

That time I went to Comic Con Gent...

Comic Con Gent 

Two Sunday's ago, on the 9th, Bert and I went to Ghent for Comic Con. 
The convention used to be called Starcom the first year, and last year it just had two names. 
This year, however, it was Comic Con Gent. It's by the same people that organise Comic Con Brussels, Elftopia and Comic Con Antwerp, and let me tell you, they did a really good job on this one. 
I haven't been to Comic Con Brussels or Antwerp (although Antwerp is legit as it's organised the first time in September) or Elfopia (going to next month's edition though!), but I have been to every edition of this convention, and let me tell you, if the organisation keeps this up I'll be going to every edition for as long as they organise it. 
I wrote a full review on The Gathehouse here, and there'll be pages in the next edition of BCM, so this will just be my personal recollection of the day.

Adventure Time! (Pun intended, click to find out why). 

Friday, 14 July 2017

Public service announcement: sephora,fr codes

So, the French Sephora is having this kind of lottery game. If you go to the website you can participate yourself, because there's some good prices to win (so it's worth a try in my opinion). 
All you need to do is leave your first name and email.
Now, Bert and I have participated, and we've accumulated some codes to share with you all, in case you do want to shop on their online store, but don't want to bother doing the lottery thing.
So:

20BTG80, expires July 31: when ordering for over €80, you get €20 off. 
BTG20PARF, expires August 8: 20% off perfume 
BTGAPP17, expires August 8: 20% discount when using the app
BTG20LIV, expires August 8: free shipping on orders of €20+
This last one is ONLY valid if you live in France. I don't know whether it also applies if you have a Belgian address and want to have it shipped to one in France, you'll have to figure that one out on your own.

Now, it is possible that certain limitations apply to these coupons, so don't be mad at me if something doesn't work, I'm just sharing what I do know :).

Btw, am I the only one annoyed by the fact that Sephora France changed their policy and is now only allowing people with a French address to do enjoy click & collect?
I'm really pissed off about that, I think it's a dick move as it forces people to pay unnecessary shipping when they have coupon codes that are ONLY for online orders XD.


Thursday, 13 July 2017

This is what happens when you stand up for yourself against B-post in Belgium

I am going to start by saying that I am extremely displeased by B-post’s dealing with customers right now. (And that’s putting it mildly).

As many that follow my twitter account know, I have had some issues with the post delivery lately. 

Most of one week recently, we received no mail, because our mail kept being delivered on the wrong addresses. 
I tweeted B-post, they said they would look into it. 
That night I was told about some things the mailman had told my mother in law, that led both me and Rosa (Bert’s nan, housemate) to believe the issue was probably not going to get solved any time soon, so I ended up calling B-post. 
I wasn’t initially met with a friendly response (which I could at least somewhat understand because I rang really close to closing time, and I get that after a day of complaints, the lady wanted to go home, and she did apologise for being snappish, so no foul there), but the lady was professional and put in a report.

The next day, I was rang up by another lady of B-post’s customer service, who was very friendly and professional and assured me that they would do everything they could to get the post delivered properly again. And they did. So I considered the matter closed. 

Yesterday, however, it was absolutely pouring. When the rain went down a little I went outside, only to find all of my mail folded in a bundle (even cards that could have been put in separately no issue) sticking out, soaking wet. 

Understandably I did not appreciate that, so I complained at B-post via twitter again. They again apologized and said they would look into it. I will admit I have threatened with going to the police, because legally they are obliged to properly deliver the mail. And I was just simply THAT fed up. 

What was the result? 

Today, out of the blue, two people of B-post (the mailman AND I guess his representative or some such) show up at my door. 

To, what I can only conclude, is to reprimand me for having had the outrageous guts to complain. 

What they of course can’t know (well they could, but I HIGHLY doubt that B-post looked into me enough to find out) is that I suffer severe social anxiety, and they’ve just put me under a lot more stress than I can handle. I have also been suffering really bad arrythmea all week, and this sort of crap does NOT help. 
Basically, I feel extremely ill at ease, even unsafe, in my own home now, because I can’t even be in peace where I should be feeling safe and at home. Just great… Of course, they can’t know about my (mental) health, so that aside, what the bloody fuck… 

To just show up at someone’s house, unannounced, to basically reprimand them for the fact that I complained? 
Do they really think I wouldn’t have addressed it with the mailman if it had been possible? 
He shows up, stuffs the mail and leaves again, he’s on a motor cycle, by the time I’m outside he’s halfway through the street! 
Am I really expected to just take a chair and sit next to the mailbox to speak to him? 
What does B-post have contact points for then? 
What if I worked full time? 
Should I take the day off and park myself by the mailbox and just hope that there’s even mail that day? 
Trust me, if I could I would have spoken to the mailman! Obviously! 
But I couldn’t, and B-post has contact points, so why not use them? 

Is this what it’s come to? 
That people have got to bow down to the will of corporations even if they are in the wrong? And that if they dare complain a few times, because there are issues, that the company will send representatives to their homes to reprimand them? 
And they can say they weren’t reprimanding me all they want, that’s still how I experienced this situation. 

I feel like B-post is literally bullying me. 
That is LITERALLY how it feels to me. Whether or not they are is besides the point, that’s how they made me FEEL. 

I fully expect them to continue this, by bringing tons of my post to the post office and making it hard for me to get stuff now. Never mind that it is hard for me to go and get it. Never mind that tons of it is in Bert’s name and so I won’t even be allowed to pick it up. 

And all just because I said “hey B-post, I am unhappy with your service, the only thing I want is my mail to be delivered properly”. 
How is it that I am the bad guy for standing up for myself, that’s what I’d like to know. 

Feel free to explain it to me in a comment, because I sure as hell don’t get it.

Friday, 7 July 2017

yay analog! Trying JCH street pan 400 for the first time

Trying JCH StreetPan for the first time

Thanks to my friend Dan K, I got my hands on a roll of Japan Camera Hunter StreetPan 400 and 'lo and behold, it is glorious! 
GLORIOUS! 

Here are the photos from that roll of film. 
Admitedly, I shot these back in March, but because many were used in BCM #31, I didn't want to release them online previously. 
So yeah, that's why this post is so late :) 
Well, I put some up a while back, just not the PLASTICZOOMS ones. Because people tend to not download BCM when they can just see the photos online anyway XD. 

Camera: Samsung Slim Zoom 115A Panorama 
Film: JCH StreetPan 400 

Onto the photos! 

On the safety, or lack thereof, of cosmetics

Blog post about safety issues with cosmetics 

I was originally going to do a post about analog photography today, and I still will later on. 
I wanted to talk about this first because it’s just so important. 

I have swatched Urban Decay products in the past. 
Every single time I got a bad reaction. The kind of reaction I get from methylparaben and MIT
My skin first starts to feel like it’s on fire, and then it will literally start to blister, resulting in chemical burns. 
Thankfully I have always been able to wipe the stuff off and treat it right away, but had I left it on longer, I would have had burns and now: burn scars. 

Urban Decay employees in Belgium claimed, high and low, that their stuff was paraben free. 
A while ago, one did admit that they used to use MIT as a paraben replacement. So there you have the reason that I got allergic reactions from it. 
Of course, MIT wasn’t listed. 

Isn’t that illegal though? 
No, sadly it isn’t. 
In the EU, companies are only legally bound to list ingredients if they use x-amount in a product. Stay under that amount, even by a micro gram, and you don’t have to list it. 
So a company can claim to be paraben free, and in fact contain a bazillion parabens, so to speak. 

Companies are also not legally obliged to release MSDS sheets, not even to their employees, which furthers difficulties. 
So far, I’ve only encountered ONE company that IMMEDIATELY volunteered, full transparency, their MSDS sheets when I enquired about ingredients and that was Snazaroo. 
M.A.C has always been very forthcoming when I enquired about ingredients, pulling out the book with MSDS info or copying from the sheet, also, but they didn’t release a copy of the full sheet to me. 
Still, they gave the info, so A+. 

Now, the plot thickens. 
A while ago, an EU commission voted that due to the fact that MIT is dangerous, it is now forbidden in leave on cosmetics. 
Meaning: all make-up. 
Meaning that Urban Decay shouldn’t be having any products with MIT in them in circulation at this point. 

 During the French Sephora sales (which started June 28 2017), I noticed that they had a travel size of the primer potion. 
So I figured I’d give it a go, because I see so many YouTubers rave about it (word to the wise: trust your gut, not YouTube). 
I figured that since MIT was outlawed and they didn’t use parabens, it’d be fine. 

THANKFULLY I had the common sense to swatch it on my arm first. 
And it didn’t take long before it felt like someone pressed a red hot poker to my arm. 
A copious amount of remover wipes, ice cubes and burn cream later, I managed to JUST avoid chemical burns, but it was a VERY close call. 
So either they recalled their products and repackaged them, pretending they are obeying the law. 
Or Sephora France is breaking the law by still having products containing MIT in roulation still. 
(As a side note, Sephora also sells products without ANY ingredients listed at all, which is definitely against the law, so I wouldn't even be surprised).

In any case, there’s something very dubious going on with Urban Decay products and I don’t like it, not one bit. 
 It’s not just Urban Decay, this is an ongoing issue with a lot of cosmetics brands. 

The ones like M.A.C, Too Faced and Snazaroo, listing all ingredients on their packaging are a vast minority. 
The ones that go the extra mile and give MSDS sheets or copy the ingredients from that are even fewer and further between. 
The only way to protect consumers at this point, is for the EU (and preferably the entire world) to not only point blank and outright FORBID dangerous components such as MIT and methylparaben, but to also to issue a law that forces companies to list all ingredients they use. 
And to have MSDS sheets in all their points of sale, so their sales reps can at all times look them up and give (potential) customers the transparency they deserve. 

It’s not just a matter of being correct, it’s not just a matter of trust, it’s a matter of safety. 

And just some food for thought. 
Ingredients of my primer potion, bought via sephora.fr 
Ingredients of primer potion from the US site. 
For a paraben free company they list a suspicious amount of parabens don’t you think? 

This all said, I am not attacking anyone personally. 
If you enjoy using Urban Decay, or any other company that is being iffy with their ingredient listing, by all means, continue to enjoy them. 

My post isn’t to attack anyone who uses these brands, it’s to point out that some brands are more than a little dubious and that cosmetics safety is a very real issue that needs to be talked about, and that we need better laws to protect us from corporate malicious intent. 
I’m just using Urban Decay as an example as I have hands on experience with them.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Review: M.A.C, eye shadow x 9 in Tropic Cool

M.A.C - Tropic Cool 

After my review of Semi-Sweet x 9, it's now time for a review of my other eye shadows x 9 palette from M.A.C: Tropic Cool
Like Semi-Sweet x 9, the shadows in this palette are definitely on par with the single shadows by M.A.C. 
For my general thoughts about the M.A.C x 9 palettes, click this link and check out my Semi-Sweet review. Because I don't want to bore you guys with repeating myself :). 

Click to read more! 

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Vive les soldes!

Vive les soldes!

In France, the sales started June 28. The French Sephora is pretty famous for having REALLY good online deals, especially on their own label: Made in Sephora. 
So _naturally_ I was online the morning of June 28 to score some deals. 
Legally, the French sales weren't allowed to start before 8am. But in reality, when I went online somewhere between 7.15 and 7.30am that morning, they were already on, even though they weren't actually blatantly advertised on the site. 
That sadly meant a few things were out of stock, but I still managed to get a really good haul. 
I also got very little things I wouldn't have gotten at full price (less than €9 worth) and they are all things that will be put to very good use. So no actual impulse buying happened. 

Click to find out exactly what's in that box.

Monday, 3 July 2017

BCM #33 is out now for FREE download!

BCM #33 is out now for FREE download!

Get your copy here!  

Summer's here, and so is the summer edition of BCM! 

We’ve got a wide variety of subjects in this edition, ranging from beauty with a tutorial by Claire dans la Lune and an interview with Birdie, aka BirdBrain FX

Even though they cancelled their tour, we still published the email interview we had with Matenrou Opera about their EU tour that was supposed to happen in July. We caught up with DJ SiSeN and Mikaru of G.L.A.M.S when they were in the country. 

Photographer Helcanen is back again with more beautiful photos of Japan, focusing on Atami and Narita, showing you sides of these areas you wouldn’t encounter in a travel guide. 

 Furthermore there is art, reviews of events, exhibits, concerts and music and you can win a few autographed instax photos. 

 Have an awesome summer everyone!

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Favourites of the month: July – flashback to last year

Flashback faves - July 2016 vs July 2017 

For those that don't know what this is about, this is a thing that Emily Fox does on her YouTube channel, where she looks back at past favourites to see if she still owns and loves them. I always really enjoy watching those videos, and so I decided to so a similar thing on my blog. I'm looking back to my faves of last year to see whether or not I still own them and how I feel about them now.

Click to see what I still own and like/love this year!