Tuesday, 21 August 2012

TK Maxx Treasures and a sneak peek at me

It's been a little while since I last posted a recent shopping haul and as any that follows my instagram (@brushupmakeup if you want to follow me) will know, a recent trip to TK Maxx was very successful indeed.

Okay, I was meant to be "window shopping" but what's a girl to do when she spots a pair of Zara beige contrast heels for £19.99.... yes, I know! And then hoards upon hoards of make-up - believe me when I say that this little shop was actually quite restrained given what was on offer down the make-up aisle.

Clockwise from Top - Nails Inc. polishes £14.99 Ardell Lashes £2.99 Calvin Klein Make-up £4.99 New CID Powder £7.99

Zara Platform Court with Contrast Heel £19.99
It feels important to point out that all the above beauties were from the TK Maxx store in Truro, Cornwall. I know how TK Maxx can differ from town to city, so if you're in the area, similar items might still be available. It's spurred me into needing to raid the Norwich stores sometime soon to see if I can pick up any other equally as good finds.

So what did I pick up? Well, whilst waiting for my sister to return something, I wandered over to the shoe aisles and immediately spotted the Zara courts - in my size and in perfect condition! I held onto them for dear life, as if another shopper may spot them and try to snatch them, and went in search of the make-up aisle.

There was so much stuff! Some pretty naff, but lots of great brands as well, like Benefit, Essie, Nails Inc., Calvin Klein, CID, Bourjois, Revlon... I could go on. I couldn't decide between the many multi-packs of Nails Inc. colours, so in the end, opted for some classic brights that I didn't already own similar colours to. I then spotted the Ardell lashes - a bargain at £2.99 - and the Calvin Klein make-up. Having just ran out of Touché Eclat, I thought I'd try out CK's version instead and with a lip gloss too at £4.99 that's a damn sight cheaper than YSL!! I didn't really need the New CID powder, but with the trademark 'light-up' feature of CID cosmetics I figured it would be a handy night out clutch bag essential. And thus, a few more things had made their way into my clutches.

Left - Tommy Hilfiger Denim Dress £29.99 Right - Influence Dress £16.99

On making my way to the till point, I spotted two dresses on the ends of the clothing aisles. I hate browsing the aisles of TK Maxx - it's such a jumble sale that I normally don't bother - but as these two lovelies were presented to me away from the clutter, they caught my eye and I had to try them on. And what-do-you-know... perfect fit of course!

The Hilfiger Denim dress is so cute, with a little cream bow that ties around the middle, three buttons down the front and pockets (I'm a sucker for pockets in a dress). I love the dotty almost bird-like print and it goes with so many things in my wardrobe. The print of the Influence dress was what really caught my eye - it makes me think of flamingos but the birds clearly aren't flamingos at all! The belt is pretty rubbish, but it is easily changed and I like the higher neckline on this with a slightly deeper cut at the shoulders. Influence is not a brand I've heard of before, but after a little research I've found that it is often stocked as a concession in New Look.

What do they look like on? Cue some pretty bad quality iPhone pictures..... but you get the idea! Oh, and I suppose this is your first glimpse of what I look like? Hopefully you'll get to see some better snaps of me in the future :)

Hilfiger dress worn with MissSelfridge Cream Sheer Jacket and ASOS wedge heels.

Influence dress

Disclaimer - All items featured in this post were purchased by myself, on a whim of course, but with my own monies. I have not been compensated in anyway for featuring these items or TK Maxx I just wanted to enthuse about my new purchases with you all...

Sunday, 5 August 2012

GlossyBox - July Edition

"Ooooooo...!" was pretty much my reaction when I opened last month's GlossyBox. After a slightly disappointing contents from June - did you feel like you were left wanting more? - this month has completely met my expectations.

GlossyBox went with a slight 'festival theme' this time, with products to get you through the nights of long hard partying. And is it just me or did your July box feel like it was tailored to your preferences? If not, mine must just be sheer luck but I have never opened a box and felt that it's products were picked specifically for me before...

HD Brows Eye & Brow Palette in Foxy - full size worth £19.95

Oh yes, thank you GlossyBox! I couldn't believe it when I saw that I had the HD Brows palette and instantly gone was my hesitation of a repeated brand two months in a row - fickle I know! I was gutted when I missed this in the September box so hopefully this isn't a repeated item for any of the old-time subscribers. It is a bit naughty of GlossyBox really, as this is now the 4th or 5th time they've featured the brand and 2nd time of giving out this exact product... but I wanted this palette so much, I couldn't care less! I got the Foxy shade for brunettes - perfect or what???! Can't wait to give it a go...

Jelly Pong Pong Cosmetics Lip Frosting in Irish Cream Pavlova - full size 15ml worth £15.00

Mmm scented lip frosting... this smells good enough to eat! I have not tried any jelly pong pong products before but I have in the past tried many of Nicola Robert's Dainty Doll range which was by Jelly Pong Pong originally (not sure if it still is though). So far, so good. This is a lip balm/gloss hybrid in my eyes, not sticky enough to be a gloss but too liquid to be a balm. It gives a subtle pink shimmer and isn't sticky at all. The scent is meant to be Irish Cream Pavlova but all I can think is bubblegum! It says this can be multi-purpose too and used for cheeks to add a little cheekbone shimmer, I'll be sticking to lips though.

Monu Spa Golden Glow Face and Body Bronzer - 30ml sample - full size 200ml £23.00

Uh oh, another repeat brand offender! Monu appeared back in the November and April boxes but at least this exact product has not been featured before. Initially I wasn't impressed that I had received another Monu product but when I realised it was fake tan, I changed my mind. As many of you know, I rely on fake tan to not look dead in the Summer months. Yes, I am freakishly pale! But as I am currently sporting a Fake Bake session from last week, I cannot try this out properly until that has worn off so I'm looking forward to giving it a go in the next couple of weeks.

Clynol Salon Exclusive Enrich Colour Shampoo - 50ml sample size - full size 300ml £9.95

Wow, GlossyBox do know me well! A shampoo and it's for coloured hair. Bonus! I hate getting haircare samples that aren't designed for colour treated hair as when I use anything not remotely suitable for my colour, it fades and it fades fast. Clynol is not a brand I've come across before so I'm keen to see how it fairs against my Redken. It contains liquid jewel extract (whatever that means) and UV filters to give "diamond-like shine" and prevent against fading. This sounds exactly like what I need but I am a little dubious to see if it'll live up to it's claim of "30 washes later, you've still got 90% colour intensity" hmmm, we'll see!

Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Skin Balancing Lotion SPF15 - 5ml sample size - full size 50ml £32.00

Now Elizabeth Arden is a brand I have most definitely heard of, but apart from their make-up, I have tried very little of what else they have on offer. Believe it or not, 8-hour cream has still yet to appear in my skincare collection! I am once again impressed at GlossyBox's ability (or accidental luck) to provide me with a skin product suitable for oily skin. Yay! I am so far really impressed with this lightweight lotion that is oil-free, contains SPF 15 and UVA/UVB protection. It feels really cooling on application and smells of cucumber. That's better protection than my current Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturisung Gel...

Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Skin Balancing Skincare for Combination Skin x3 sachets - bonus sample

And GlossyBox have treated us with a sample this month - nice! Trying to contend with SheSaidBeauty by any chance? Anywho, I liked this little extra as it gave me a quick tryout of the full range from Elizabeth Arden. The cleanser left my skin clean, soft and didn't leave a residue. The serum felt a little too heavy for my liking but maybe 'less is more' is the key here. And of course, the lotion as I mentioned above, is a winner for me.

Well GlossyBox, you have surpassed yourselves this month! I'm still amazed at how much the products were suitable for me - for brunettes, coloured hair, a fake-tan lover and oily skin! I can't pretend that they knew I was lusting for the HD Brows palette, but I did receive it in the right shade. The lip frosting fits in less so but it is a product that I really like and I'm a big fan of lip balms/glosses more than lipstick, so it's still a win for me.

In spite of the negativity GlossyBox has received from subscribers recently, I am still very pleased with their service and boxes that they have provided. Now I cannot wait for August's box to arrive...

 If you love the idea of the GlossyBox beauty box and want to sign up too, then use this referral link to subscribe now.
And if you also enter the code RAF20OFF before 15/08/12 you can get 20% off your first box.

Disclaimer - I have subscribed to GlossyBox out of my own choice and money (damn the fanciful idea of mystery beauty products delivered every month). It was my choice to review the products above and I have done so in a 100% honest manner. I am not compensated for my reviews but if you use my referral link to start a subscription then I can get points towards a free box next time... well who doesn't want free beauty stuff?!!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

SheSaidBeauty Box - July Edition

August's box arrived promptly on my doormat this morning - yikes, SheSaidBeauty are on the ball with delivery! And it spurred me into realising that I had still to post about July's box... ooops!

So for my second beauty box review today, I give you the July box from SheSaidBeauty:

Freeze 24-7 Ice Crystals Anti-Aging Prep & Polish Exfoliator - 1.2ml sample - full size 70g £35.00

One use sachets really bug me because you just can't get enough to decide if you'll buy the product. Saying that, this one sure packs a punch in one use! The consistency is a bit like toothpaste and you have to be quite gentle when you apply it to damp skin, because this has some serious exfoliating action! Normally, I scrub my face hard with exfoliators and they never seem enough, but this is AMAZING! Sensitive skins be careful though as it might feel quite strong. It left a menthol-type tingle and my face was really soft after use. Repurchase? I think so!

LaylaD Honey Moisturiser - 15ml sample size - full size 50ml £12.99

Now this is a gorgeous smelling cream that contains pure organic honey and coconut oil - it made me want to eat it! It sank into my skin well and a little goes quite a long way, but I avoided using this on my face during the day because I felt it left a slight residue on my skin after use. So I've reserved it for night time use only which actually suits its design to "soothe and restore dry or blemish prone skin". Dry skin and blemishes? Sounds contradictory doesn't it? Well only time will tell if it really works. For now, it just feels and smells goooood!

Miners Cosmetics Love Phat Liner in Bandit - full size pencil £3.99

Who doesn't love a good old eyeliner?! And what a blast from the past with Miners Cosmetics! I quite like this thick creamy pencil as it applied smoothly without dragging across the eye. It was also easy to smudge - to soften the line and create the "smokey eye" look. But I found that this didn't last particularly well on me and transferred a little to my eye socket from my upper lid throughout the day - but to be honest, most creamy liners do this on me anyway. Damn greasy skin!

Murad Time Release Blemish Cleanser - full size 30ml £5.50 (200ml £29.00)

Murad... Murad... where have we had this before? Ah yes, GlossyBox back in January. For some reason, I find it a bit annoying that SheSaid Beauty have begun repeating brands that GlossyBox have already covered but at least it's a different product I suppose. I've tried this out a couple of times, and it's OK but nothing much to rave about. It cleans the skin but I haven't noticed any other major benefits. I think I'll stick to my Clinique Liquid Facial Soap as I prefer a cleanser that will lather up - something to do with feeling more 'clean' I guess.

Stylfile S-file - full size nail file £4.49

Now this is a product that has grown on me. I have to be honest, when I first opened the box, I initially thought 'What the heck is this?' and I don't think Tom Pellereau's face on the packaging does much to sell it to me as a product that I need because he invented it??! But now I've tried it out my mind is starting to change. It is surprisingly easy to use - especially for your non-dominant hand. Other than that, there's not much to say, it's only a  nail file after all!
Eden Natural Nail Polish Remover - unsure of sample size - full size 50ml £12.00

I LOVE the idea of a natural nail polish remover and really hoped that this product would deliver. On smell it certainly ticked the boxes - no strong acetone scent, just a citrus lime aroma. But there wasn't enough in the sample to try out on a full manicure and with what was there, it wasn't as effective as acetone. I'd love to stop using normal chemical based nail polish removers, but for ease of use, they do the job so much better. Sorry Eden!

Debenhams Beauty Club Card - free in Debenhams Department Stores!!!!

Now this seriously fooked me off! I don't mind things like this being included in beauty boxes, as part of the leaflets/offers/advertising but DON'T pass it off as a 'bonus' sample! I can pick one of these up in my local department store, and in fact, I did a long while back and have reaped it's benefits ever since! This unfortunately put a dampener on the whole box for me this month. I still can't quite believe the cheek of it being included as a bonus sample.... OK... rant over.

So in all, a similar feeling to last month for me. Some of July's box was great and other parts less so. The stand out product for me (and actually the smallest sample!) was the Freeze 24-7 exfoliator - I cannot get over how soft it left my skin... and I'm sure you can guess my biggest frustration - the damn beauty club card! I do still think however, that I have got great value for money at £9 per month plus P&P and will of course be continuing my subscription.

If you like the idea of the SheSaidBeauty box then use this referral link to start your subscription now!

Disclaimer - I have subscribed to the SheSaidBeauty box out of my own choice and money (damn the fanciful idea of mystery beauty products delivered every month). It was my choice to review the products above and I have done so in a 100% honest manner. I am not compensated for my reviews but if you use my referral link to start a subscription then I can get a free box next time... well who doesn't want free beauty stuff?!!

GlossyBox - June Edition

Oops! It's August and I'm only now telling you about my June GlossyBox... better late than never and all that! I have found myself with another backlog of beauty boxes, so my mission for the next two days is to unload them onto you all :) then I can seriously crack on with some bargain Summer buys I'm desperate to show you too.

So onto the June box from GlossyBox. After some very (in my eyes) successful boxes and some amazing products, for the first time I've found myself asking "Is that it?" for June's 'Summer' box. There were some nice products, don't get me wrong, but for some reason this box just didn't feel complete to me.

BM Beauty Summer Warmth Bronzer - 1g sample - full size 4g £8.00

Hmmm... BM Beauty... I've seen that before? Ah, yes, the February Glossybox - I got a mineral eyeshadow. Well at least this is a different make-up item, so I can forgive the brand duplication. This is a lovely bronze (almost touching a rose gold tone) mineral bronzer that I actually think I will use and may even use up! It is a lovely, soft powder but does have a fair bit of shimmer so maybe evenings only for this one.

Caudalie Eaux Fraiche in Thé Des Vignes - 10ml sample size - full size 50ml £26.00

Now fragrance samples I like but find a little annoying when a 1ml bottle is passed off as a beauty box item - when I could have picked it up from a department store myself! This however, is much more like it! 10-whole-mls of Caudalie. Nice! I got the Thé Des Vignes Eau Fraiche which is light and floral yet quite sweet and fruity too, my kind of fragrance. But it doesn't last very long on me, so I will be packing this as my next holiday fragrance to save dragging a massive glass bottle in my suitcase!

Vichy Dermablend Ultra-Corrective Foundation Cream Stick - 6x 1g samples - full size 12g stick £19.00

Ah, the wonder that is Vichy Dermablend! This I have heard of before, but never considered using. When I worked for a Premium Cosmetic house, we often had customers that required make-up for scarring/tattoo cover up and although we did a product that worked well, nothing on the market had the staying power of Dermablend. So that was what I always recommended. Saying that, I have personally never tried it on myself as I don't have much that needs 'camouflaging'. But I may give it a go after too many late nights, on those tell-tale pesky dark circles.

HD Brows Precision Tweezers - Full size worth £19.95

Now these made me quite literally "Oooohh!" out loud! HD Brows is a brand I've been keen to try for a while and although I would have liked one of their brow kits, the tweezers are a very good second option. Tweezers are a must have in any make-up tool drawer - and considering the price tag, I am very pleased indeed! These certainly put my old, bent Boots ones to shame so gone are the old and in with the new. So far I have found these easy to grip and use, they grasp the hair well and get the job done!

Glossybox Serie Exclusiv Pro Beauty Brush - full size worth £15.00

A brush? By GlossyBox? This to me felt a little like a cop out from GlossyBox. And another make-up tool as well - one is fine, but two?! I honestly don't think I will use this much, maybe in a travel make-up bag, but highly unlikely. It's of OK quality, with natural goat hair bristles, but I wouldn't call it 'super soft'. And I'm sorry, but I prefer my current Clinique blusher brush, which also looks and feels more superior in application.

Overall a bit of an unfortunate disappointment from GlossyBox for June. Strangely I think I craved some skincare from this box! I get the idea of things to get you ready for Summer, but I can't quite get over the let down of the 'GlossyBox' blusher brush.

I do still think that my subscription has been well spent though as I am pleased with the other products I received and unlike some other subscribers, am keen to keep my subscription going. I actually can't quite cope with the possibility of next month being amazing and missing out because I was fickle enough to cancel my account! So for now, I remain a loyal GlossyBox enthusiast!

 If you love the idea of the GlossyBox beauty box and want to sign up too, then use this referral link to subscribe now.

Disclaimer - I have subscribed to GlossyBox out of my own choice and money (damn the fanciful idea of mystery beauty products delivered every month). It was my choice to review the products above and I have done so in a 100% honest manner. I am not compensated for my reviews but if you use my referral link to start a subscription then I can get points towards a free box next time... well who doesn't want free beauty stuff?!!
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