£250 Car Update

So, remember how a few days ago I bought a car for £250? Yeah well I promptly fell in love with the little rascal and of course it’s got a lot of problems. Here’s what’s happened this week so far:

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Update Monday:

Biggest thing it needed was a new fuel tank. My usual garage was fully booked, so I took it to a Big Chain. BIG MISTAKE. They’ve had my car since Thursday, I even phoned ahead and told them exactly what was wrong with my car before I took it to them, because I only wanted to drive it once to get the fuel leak fixed. Well they basically wasted three days umm-ing and ah-ing and they kept telling me they’d call back within half an hour, and every time I phoned an hour after they said they’d call (every time, literally about 6 phone calls over 4 days, I paid for every one because they couldn’t be bothered to call me), a different person stated the bloody obvious – that my car needed a fuel tank. I was like, hello? I told you that on WEDNESDAY EVENING when I phoned ahead to make sure you could fix my car, because it didn’t say anywhere on their website that they could do this job and I wanted to check I wasn’t wasting my time before I brought it in. I could have taken my car to a different place and had it repaired by now. I’m still waiting for them to even give me a quote on a fuel tank, and all this time, they’ve had my car (and they’re baffled on the steering)!

Their excuse on Thursday was that it was the end of the day (they’d had it 4 hours by then), their excuse on Friday was they were short staffed. On Saturday, they couldn’t get a price from the dealer (didn’t they know that on Friday? Because on Friday they promised they’d have a quote on Saturday). They were closed on Sunday. Now it’s Monday. At 7:30am I managed to get hold of Fiat and get a quote on a Seicento petrol tank. It’s a shocking £550 for replacement fuel tank and lines from Fiat. That will have a £250-ish service charge added by the garage. I’m still waiting for Big Chain Garage to do what they said they’d do by Thursday and get back to me about this.

I’m pretty sure they’re not really this disorganized.

You know why I think they’re messing me around? It’s an old car. They don’t like fixing old cars. Old cars get bumped to bottom of the list of priorities, because they think they can’t make as much money out of you as they think they can make out of a newer car owner. Garages literally decide how much you can afford to pay based on your car. Sometimes, as an old car owner, they’ll quote you a crazy high price to make you go away. I’m pretty sure that’s what they’re going to do next with my Seicento.

I’ve been on the other side of this when I had a top of the range VW Golf. Every service at Evans Halshaw (had to have them to keep the warranty valid) came back with £500 of fake repairs. Every time. Of course, joke’s on them because it caused me to get rid of the car, and now that I don’t have a warranty with them, I’d never buy another car from them or their affiliates, and I’d never take out a warranty with a national car chain ever again.

I’ve been up all night stressing about this damn problem – I have to go to Oxford University on Thursday for a conference and I don’t even know if my car will be back from the garage by then. Of course, if I’d known my car wouldn’t be functioning (and there was no reason for this situation, it’s a couple of hours to change a fuel tank, I’d do it myself if I didn’t have three huge projects due next week that I need to finish early due to that conference), I would have bought train tickets. But now tickets cost £100 instead of £40 because it’s less than 7 days before I need to travel. If Big Chain Garage hadn’t messed me around, I could have taken the car to somewhere else, got it fixed, or I could have drained the fuel tank, kept the car on the drive while I waited to take it to somewhere else and bought train tickets. Instead, my petrol’s pouring onto their forecourt (CLEARLY not safe) and I’m STILL without a car.

They’re ticking quite a few boxes on this dodgy garage checklist already.

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Monday afternoon:

Long story short they told me they couldn’t get a petrol tank (lies; I phoned the parts place and they had one, it was just ludicrously expensive. I think Big Chain just really didn’t want to work on my elderly car), then refused to let me have my car back (it was “unsafe” for me to drive it, but they were happy for “some guy they knew, who could fix my car” to collect it without telling me who or where), so I ended up conning them out of my own car by turning up and telling them I was taking it somewhere for someone. It was disturbingly easy to steal my own car; security is distinctly lacking. Poor car.

The lack-of-power-steering problem that Big Chain Garage couldn’t find in 4 days? They told me they thought the power steering unit had been removed. I was certain it never had one, Seicentos have electric steering assistance rather than true power steering (but what do I know? I only read the owner’s manual and checked online for Seicento power steering issues, after all). When I got the car back, I looked under the bonnet and saw, right beside the battery, a fuse or relay with a picture of a steering wheel on it. Well clearly that can’t be anything to do with my steering issue.

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Update Tuesday:

I got a petrol tank delivered by next day delivery from eBay and took it and my car to a garage this afternoon. I think my car may be at a Mafia chop shop. This place doesn’t even advertise that they do car repairs, they’re allegedly a car wash, but they will fit parts that you’ve supplied, so I hope they don’t wreck my car. I’ll find out in the morning as they’re keeping it overnight.

I did also ask them to look at the oil pressure switch for me, but I’m not sure if they will or not. The engine block is literally covered in oil, and more disturbingly, the engine says “Renault Clio” on it. My car is a Fiat Seicento. The usual little plaque in the car (telling me the VIN and engine number) isn’t where I expected, so I’m a bit unsure as to whether this car is legit or not. Good job it’s getting fixed at a garage that literally asked no questions.

Normally these are things I would check when buying a car, but this was a £250 car, a full £120 less than my previous cheapest ever car (that one got 10 miles down the motorway then the engine exploded. I don’t have high hopes of this car getting me to Oxford on Thursday), so I really don’t have any expectations.

Car still also needs new tyre on one side as the tyre wall is cracked. Acquiring cheap tyres is a bit hit or miss; sometimes car places will do them for free, sometimes they’ll charge you £80 per tyre. I don’t know how to tell between the repair places who will do the latter and those who will do the former. I’ll sort the tyre out when the car isn’t leaking petrol and oil.

This saga will continue, I’m sure.

I bought a car for £250.

Can you buy a £250 car
This car cost £250.

I bought a car for £250 from Auto Trader.
I wanted to know whether it was even possible to buy a car for that sort of price that would start and work (also, it fits the engine size requirements for the Mongol rally… or at least, it did before they revised them again. Fuck it, maybe I’ll drive the car to Mongolia without putting my name on an official list. ANARCHYYY!!!). It was being sold by a complete stranger. Getting a car for that price from a friend isn’t the same. Before I left home, I took out £30 insurance to cover 24 hours, ample time to get the car home, from where I could assess how bad this car was. Then I took a friend with me and we went on the bus (I don’t currently have a car) to inspect this car. There was literally one bus a day that went to where the car was for sale, so we took that one. If the car hadn’t been able to get us home again, we would have been in a pickle.

My friend helped me check that all the lights were working, then I took it for a test drive.
Reversing was almost impossible, because the steering was in serious disrepair, and it was worse at low speeds. The front door doesn’t close unless you reach around the door and push down the external handle while you close the door. It was too dark to really see any of the mechanical stuff so after verifying that it did, in fact, start and drive, I gave the former owners my £250 and took it off the premises.
The petrol light was on when I got the car, so my friend and I took it straight to the nearest petrol station and put £15 in the tank. I never fill the tank on a new car; I prefer to hedge my bets in case it breaks down halfway down the road (as happened a few years ago with a £399 car, which to date is the lowest amount of money I’d ever spent on a car, and it didn’t make it 10 miles away from the place I bought it before the oil pressure switch exploded).

Getting the car manouevred to the petrol pump was entertaining; some jackass had driven in through the exit and thought I in my crappy Seicento should get out of their way. Joke was on them because I was unwilling to reverse due to the steering issue. They literally waited, glaring at me, until I had fueled my car and I ended up driving around them to get my car out. Even with a steering issue, that Seicento had a very small turning circle; I was impressed. There were like five more cars behind me at that point and they were all facing the same direction as me, so jackass got boxed in by them pretty quickly. I circled the road around the petrol station to get to the air, as one of my tyres was virtually flat, but there was no way I could get to the air because of the angle and position of the air machine, so I gave up and went the 15 miles home without seeing to the tyre.

I dropped my friend off where she wanted to go, then I took my car home and parked it on the drive. I was so excited – I got my driveway re-designed in October and this is the first time I’ve gotten to park on it, as I haven’t had a car since June (the choice in October was fix the drive or buy a car). Then I slept and had a series of anxiety attacks as I’d run out of mental energy for anything. The next afternoon, in broad daylight, I decided to tackle the most urgent job: getting rid of the stickers that were obscuring the rear window. After ten minutes with a jug of boiling water, a scraping knife and a generous helping of Fairy liquid, I finished the stickers. The whole time I was doing that job, I could smell a very strong scent of petrol, so, after taking care of the flat tyre with my trusty footpump, I got down under the car.

I wish I’d taken a photo of the fuel tank (and the stickers on the back window), but I was too preoccupied trying to get the thing to a garage after I saw what was down there. The petrol tank was leaking like a sponge, and some genius previous owner had encased the tank in some sort of latex rubber. Everywhere that the latex had torn, the rust was fatal. This was a job for the professionals. I tried to stem the bleeding with some Leak Fix – that two-part putty that you mix together then cover over holes in the petrol tank after cleaning them up – to give me some temporary relief before I could get it to a garage, but there were too many holes.

I’ve tried to fix a petrol leak on a previous car, I got as far as removing the petrol tank from a donor car and discovering that the donor car’s tank was nearly as bad as the one on my car, before I had to admit defeat. I know the fuel system, how it works, etc, and I have never seen such a ridiculous kludge of a fix as the latex around the petrol tank of this £250 car. I don’t know who thought that was a good idea or why but I want to shake them, hard. And the previous owners must have known about that leak because I lost 1/8 of a tank of petrol overnight. The worst leak was right at the place where it goes into the fuel line (that carries petrol to the engine), so there’s no way you could miss that.
It’s been at a garage for over 24 hours now and I don’t have a quote on the petrol tank or steering repair yet.

I thought this could be an interesting project to keep everyone updated on: The car that cost less than my iPhone. And my iPhone was second hand. I’ll let you all know when I find out what’s happening with the car. Hey, if we can get it fixed up, maybe I’ll take it to Mongolia! Or something.

Leave-In Conditioner Review: Tigi vs O-Pro

I bought these two hair products, Tigi Sleek Mystique and O-Pro Leave In Conditioner Detangler, from Amazon several months ago and it’s taken me a while to get around to reviewing them. I suppose it’s because I wanted to make sure I’d used them enough, and it’s hard to tell during winter whether the conditioner is doing a great job or not.

Tigi Catwalk Leave-In Conditioner (left) and O-Pro Leave-In Conditioner Detangler (right). review
Tigi Catwalk Sleek Mystique Hair Prep Spray (left) and O-Pro Leave-In Conditioner Detangler (right).

Firstly the Tigi Sleek Mystique hair primer. I had really high hopes for this one, but in the end it was a spray bottle of hair goo. It was never going to change my life and I shouldn’t have expected it to. It did make my hair slightly smoother but the effect only lasted for a few hours. My hair is normally very dry, and this means that I usually don’t skimp on conditioner. I thought using this as well as my normal conditioner would leave my hair silky, shiny, and like one of those girls from a shampoo advert.

It didn’t come close. It made my roots hella greasy, even when I only sprayed the ends of my hair. I do wonder whether it was being pulled up the hair shaft by osmosis, but the truth is I really don’t know. Then there was the fact that none of the damn product seemed to stay within 4 inches of the ends of my hair, where my tresses needed the most help. Even when I sprayed some of the Tigi Sleek Mystique into my hand and ran it through the tips of my hair, I still didn’t have any success. I think this was supposed to actually be a hair primer but I don’t really know what that is, and it had very similar ingredients to the O-Pro leave-in conditioner, so if it looks like a horse and smells like a horse… beauty companies will still stick a label on it claiming it’s a unicorn.

Then it made my neck itch after a fortnight, so I gave up on it. It’s been discontinued by Tigi since I bought it so I can only conclude it was a fad product that never lived up to customers’ expectations. That’s gotta be harsh, I mean, what expectations does anyone even have of a hair prep spray?? What, exactly, was it supposed to do? As a sidenote, if you want to prep your hair properly for hair chalk, use dry shampoo like I did in this video.

The O-Pro leave-in conditioner and detangler fared better. It stayed where I put it and it made my hair feel less dry at the ends. I liked the fact that it made my hair softer and more manageable, and this feeling lasted for two days before my roots started osmosising the product (technical term), at which point I washed my hair and the whole thing started again. Two days seems a respectable amount of time for a spray-on product to behave itself. Allegedly, it contains “organic protein” and the cynical side of my brain wants to know if they mean protein from organs (e.g. sausage… EWWW) or from some mysterious rainforest plant. Who knows? It’s not really something I’m super-curious about, but if you are, it has this feature.

Overall, I’d say the O-Pro Leave-In Conditioner Detangler left my hair in better condition and it seemed to be working for a little while longer than the Tigi. There was the added bonus that it didn’t make my neck itchy either, which was nice. I loved the scent as well, and the spray nozzle was easy to use, unlike some I’ve tried where they start to leak liquid down the bottle while I’m using them.

Out of these two, I would definitely recommend the O-Pro Leave-In Conditioner Detangler, as it was noticeably better.

Review: ROC Retinol correxion sensitive night cream

I’ve been trying a few different face creams recently and two have stood out as phenomenal. I don’t use the term “Holy Grail” usually, because I think it’s a bit of an exaggeration about most things, but when it comes to skincare, ROC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Night Cream and Olay Three-Point Regenerist day cream are now my Holy Grail products.

ROC retinol correxion sensitive night cream for sensitive skin.
Packaging of ROC retinol correxion sensitive night cream for sensitive skin.

I bought ROC retinol correxion sensitive night cream from Amazon back in December and I’ve been using it ever since. It’s been a great addition to my usual skincare routine!

How the box says to use it: The instructions on the back say to use ROC retinol correxion at night, going two nights with cream then taking a break for two nights before using it for two more nights, and so on, until your skin gets used to it, then to use it nightly.

How I use it: I’ve been using it two nights on, two nights off for the last 6-8 weeks and I don’t feel ready to use it every night yet. Why? Because it’s effective! It’s working perfectly for me so why go overboard?

ROC retinol correxion sensitive night cream tube review how to use
ROC retinol correxion sensitive night cream tube.

The immediate effect: When I first used this on my skin, it seemed to enlarge my pores and make my whole face look dry for about two days, then it completely settled down again and now my skin looks better than ever.

The long term effect: After about three uses, my skin got used to it and I found it seemed to be re-drawing my skin (I honestly don’t know what the word is, it was like an IRL photoshop airbrush) smoothing over all my fine lines and making my skin look more vital. It’s been completely amazing! It contains retinol which is drying to the skin so make sure to use a good day cream and maybe even face oil as well!

Negatives: Retinol increases your skin’s sensitivity to UV light, so make sure to use a sunscreen during the day when you use ROC retinol correxion night cream at night. I try to always use SPF-30 or above anyway, so it’s another reason to wear sunscreen. Also this stuff does nothing against blue circles, but that’s fine because the Olay Regenerist 3 Point day cream does.

The scientific bit: It contains Retinol which is a form of vitamin A that stimulates collagen production in the skin.

The packaging: It comes in a box with a clear window so you can see the tube of cream. Inside, there’s a plastic tray to hold the cream in place. I’d like to know if the packaging is recyclable or not.

ROC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Night Cream is available on Amazon.

Manuka Doctor Api Nourish Night Cream

So I completely put off writing this review for 3 months. Sometimes when I get a product that I was really looking forward to, I can’t wait to review it. This time, however, I was so disappointed and I felt like I wanted to make sure this cream had the fairest hearing it possibly could before I reviewed it.

On that note, I’m going to keep this fairly short and sweet.
1. It didn’t moisturize. For a night cream that’s pretty fatal.
2. It didn’t improve my skin. It was supposed to tighten and tone skin but I found it did nothing. Bee venom usually tingles on the skin; this did nothing.
3. It didn’t have a great texture. It was just too thick, it was more like a near-solidified jelly and it sat on my face like a layer of tile grout or spackle.

Given those three points I decided to stop using it in favor of some of the other creams I’ve been trying on my face lately, such as the Olay Regenerist 3 Point Cream, the Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream, the Manuka Doctor Replenishing Facial Oil, and I’ve even had better results with the bog-standard Aloe Vera Gel from the pharmacy (I can’t remember if I’ve said but this stuff is like plant botox). If I had to rank the Manuka Doctor Api-Nourish Night Cream (with purified bee venom) against all those other creams, it would be at the bottom of the list. I’m not even going to Amazon link it because (and I don’t think I’ve ever said this about a product in the 2 years I’ve had a beauty blog) it was a complete waste of money and didn’t do what they said it would do. Maybe I got a dud, but when cream is £29.99 for a jar, they shouldn’t be making duds.

 

Olay Regenerist 3 Point Cream

Don’t you just love discoveries? The perfect face cream was right in front of me this entire time, and I didn’t know it! I am so in love with the Olay Regenerist 3 Point Cream (the day cream) that reviewing it has been really hard! I don’t know how to talk about this cream without just raving about everything I love about it.

Olay 3 Point Regenerist Cream day cream review
Olay 3 Point Regenerist Day Cream.

Consistency: Thick but not too thick, and still easily spreadable. I lightly run my finger over the surface of the cream and gently rub a small amount onto my face. Scooping it out and plastering it on would be a bad idea!

Scent: It is perfumed, but it’s a pleasant scent that doesn’t overwhelm you or irritate skin, and once the cream is absorbed, the scent disappears. When I have a cold, the scent doesn’t irritate my sinuses.

Effects: Firstly, it obviously moisturizes skin. My skin is usually normal-to-dry, and I find that a layer of this cream makes my skin look less dry. Secondly, it plumps out expression lines aka fine lines. I don’t know what it does on deeper lines or full blown wrinkles because I don’t have any to test it on. I like that it also seems to help with the redness I get between my brows, and I would say that it does seem to give me a more even-toned complexion when I wear it. Another effect of this cream, which I’ve mentioned before, is that it helps get rid of blue under-eye circles (I don’t think they intended this use for this cream, but it’s a life-changer), and I discovered recently that it also works well on brown under-eye circles (I’ve got some other fixes for those, so I’ll write an article about that soon). I’ve been using it under my eyes for about 18 months but I hadn’t really used it on the rest of my face much until I ran out of Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden cream and now I’ve been using the Olay regenerist 3 Point cream regularly on my face and neck, I have so much love for this cream! There was an instant anti-ageing effect, and it took about a week for my skin to start showing noticeable results. When I stopped using it for a week, my skin looked tired again.

Feel: It doesn’t sting my skin, but I use it sparingly because it’s quite potent stuff. It makes my face feel fresh.

Compared to other Olay products: I’ve had some bad experiences with some of Olay’s other creams, with their Beauty Fluid being about as ineffective as not wearing face cream, and I was a little hesitant the first time I bought this, but from the first use I really liked it and will keep buying it. I buy mine from Amazon, and it always arrives in a plastic-wrapped sealed box, with an outer lid and an inner lid for the jar of cream.

Olay 3 Point Regenerist Cream day cream review
Olay 3 Point Regenerist Cream consistency.

Compared to other face creams: It was a bit like the Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden Active Reverse Day Cream, except the Olay 3 Point Regenerist doesn’t have any SPF. This is the biggest problem with the Olay 3 Point Regenerist, and for this reason I use it with the ROC spray on sunscreen, which I will review separately, but it’s not the ideal solution. UV damage can cause all sorts of beauty problems and I like to keep my skin protected even in the Miserable North of England where I’ve been stranded for a few years.

It was thicker than the Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine cream and I thought the Olay 3 Point Regenerist was better than the Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream in a couple of ways. Firstly, it makes my skin feel more moisturized. Second, it makes my skin look better overall.

It wasn’t as thick as the Manuka Doctor Api Nourish Night Cream, and I liked the thinner Olay 3 Point Regenerist better because it glides on easily and doesn’t need to be teamed with an oil or similar to keep my skin hydrated.

Science: The Olay 3 Point Regenerist cream is a peptide cream that contains pentapeptide (matrixyl). This increases collagen production in the skin and thickens skin, helping to plump out lines and eliminate veins and blue circles. When used with an exfoliant (such as glycolic acid, which dissolves dead skin cells and increases cell turnover in the skin) the effects are even better.

The bottom line is, this is my favorite face cream, and definitely replaces the Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden cream I was previously using. The only thing I don’t like about it is the lack of any SPF. You can get it here on Amazon.com

Have you tried Olay Regenerist 3 Point? What did you think of it?

Too Faced Naturals Pallette

I wasn’t supposed to buy the Too Faced Naturals Pallette. I didn’t plan on buying this and yet I couldn’t leave without it because the moment I saw it, I fell in love with the amazing colors in this pallette.

Too Faced Natural Eyes Pallette
Too Faced Natural Eyes Pallette

Price: £32.50.
I got it from: Too Faced counter, Debenhams, Oxford Street, London.
What you get: Nine eyeshadow colors, including 3 matte shades and 6 highly pigmented shimmering sparkling shades. They are presented in a metal tin with an extensive leaflet detailing how you could use these colors.

Too Faced Natural Eyes Pallette
Too Faced Natural Eyes Pallette

The reason I bought this eyeshadow pallette was because I adore neutral shades, and I especially love shimmering neutrals (my go-to eye makeup before I got this Too Faced pallette was a blend of the Laura Mercier Baked Eyeshadow in Ballerina and the Bourjois Eye Shimmer Pot in 07 Ambre, both over the top of the Laura Mercier mono eyeshadow in ginger). It’s nice to have more sparkling shades to get a more dramatic eye look for those times when I want my make-up to show up on camera.

Too Faced Natural Eyes Pallette
Those colors… sooo good!

What do they look like?
I swatched them on my arm and photographed them, and the only editing I’ve done to that was to write the color names under the swatches, because as everyone knows I hate using photoshop and have to look up tutorials on YouTube every single time I need to do any image manipulation! As you can see in the second set of swatches, a couple of the colors aren’t very visible in the camera although IRL they were a little bit more obvious. I fiddled with my camera settings a lot but those colors just wouldn’t show very well. That’s worth bearing in mind for any events where you might want to look photogenic!

Too Faced Natural Eyes Pallette swatches
Too Faced Natural Eyes Pallette Swatches
Too Faced Natural Eyes Pallette Swatches
Too Faced Natural Eyes Pallette Swatches. Heaven is the whitish one; Silk Teddy hasn’t really shown up (I took like a million pictures so oh well).

How do they wear?
I’ve only used these eyeshadows twice so far, but both times I really liked the way they came out, the blendability was a complete joy and the color went on creamy-soft, color payoff was maximum! I used the Urban Decay eyeshadow primer under the colors and I feel this gave a lovely blank canvas to make these colors come out beautifully. Next time I use this pallette I will get photos.

What do you think? Do you have any of the Too Faced Pallettes? Which is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!