Marian Keyes: The days when it felt like I lived in a remote backwater are gone

Sudden Wild Enthusiasms: Cloud 10 Beauty

Marian Keyes is on Cloud 9 over Cloud 10. Photograph: iStock

Marian Keyes is on Cloud 9 over Cloud 10. Photograph: iStock

 

When I was a nipper, living in Cork in the early 1970s, Ireland felt like a small, black-and-white outpost on the very edges of the known world. I was dogged by a sense of exclusion from a place of seething glamour, over the Irish sea, in that there England, where they had primary colours and patent knee-boots and were Johnny-on-the-spot to get parcels sent to them from wherever they wanted.

I’ll explain.

Every Wednesday, Daddy Keyes used to pick me up a copy of The Beano from our local newsagents. Towards the back of the comic, there were ads targeting stamp collectors. To lure them in, there was an initial offer of free stamps.   

I had zero interest in stamp collecting but these were more innocent times, with far fewer stimuli. Back then, our idea of a fabulous Sunday afternoon was to get into the Morris Minor, drive out to Cork airport and stare at an empty runway for about 40 minutes. (No planes took off or landed on a Sunday.) When our agitated central nervous systems could take no further excitement, we would climb back into the Morris Minor, return to a sepia-toned semi, desultorily eat a lamb chop and while out the heavy, empty hours until bedtime.

So yes, free stamps! Thrilling free stamps! But when I went about claiming them, I discovered that these philately people wouldn’t post their goods to ‘Eire’. Mammy Keyes surmised the Irish sea was the problem. But when I checked the small print, I found they were quite happy to post to Northern Ireland. So the Irish sea wasn’t the impediment, it was just pure spite!

Even though the world has changed enormously since then, that sense of exclusion has never entirely left me. I spend a lot of time brooding over the delivery options offered by online sites, all those promises of ‘Free postage,’ and ‘Next-day delivery’. ‘Same-day delivery,’ in some cases, if you live in London! (Lovely, lovely Net-a-Porter. *Blows kiss*)

But very few of these promises apply to Ireland.

Except! Yes, except! Cloud 10 Beauty is an Irish company, based in actual Ireland and postage is free (if you spend over €30). And they offer next-day delivery (free if you spend €75).

They have nearly 100 fabby brands, including many Irish ones (Pestle & Mortar, SoSu and Waxperts.) They’ve make-up, skin-care, hair-care, body-care, grooming tools, candles and fragrances.

Cost-wise, they offer a great high-low mix, from (personal favourite) Murad to extremely affordable Anatomicals. Their range is increasing all the time – they’ve just started carrying Aveda, Darphin and Glamglow. They’re also the first non-dedicated store to sell Inglot.

They’ve a sophisticated filtering system to find say, vegan products, or those that are paraben free. In addition, a well-trained customer service team offers live chat. But best of all, as I’ve already said, they don’t treat me like I live in a remote, unimportant, backwater.  

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