Beauty Bargain Hunting at TK Maxx

tk maxx beauty haul

Regardless of the slagging-off that TK Maxx seems to get on BBC documentaries, there are genuine bargains to be had if you know what to look for. You never really know what you’re going to get so it’s a bit of a lucky dip but that just adds to the excitement! Over the last couple of months I’ve popped into a few branches of TK Maxx and have collected up some beauty treats, most of them at utterly crazy prices which I will now reveal!

First up, there’s the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream twin pack (£12.99, RRP £29.99). These two little tubes are perfect for travelling plus I can give one away if I’m struggling to get through the first. I was really surprised to see Korres in TK Maxx and snapped up the Korres Wild Rose Brightening & Line Smoothing Serum (£9.99, RRP £30) when I discovered it lurking on the shelf. I must say I was feeling smug when I saw it in Elys in Wimbledon later that day for the full £30. On the same shopping trip, I picked up Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser (£12.99, RRP £34) as I’m currently obsessing over chemical exfoliants. I definitely wouldn’t have forked out £34 for a cleanser but I’ll probably use this as a mask to let the acids go to town on my face. A few weeks ago I saw the Too Faced Beauty Balm (£5, RRP £27.50) and I almost had a heart attack. I’ve given it a quick try and so far I quite like it – I’ll be doing a review at some point! I also picked up Too Faced Snow Bunny Caribbean in a Compact (£5.99, RRP £25) which is an amazing highlighter/bronzer, a bit like the Bobbi Brown shimmer brick – I use this every day and I love it! I keep getting told that I should be using some sort of facial oil so the This Works Active Oil for the Face (£12.99, RRP £35) rolled into my life at just the right time. The smell is pretty noxious but I’m excited to incorporate it into my skincare regime. Finally, I almost wet myself when I saw the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer (£16.99, RRP £25). I didn’t even know TK Maxx even ever stocked Smashbox, and the discount wasn’t as barmy as some of the others but it was still enough for me to buy this tube of silicone goodness!

So there we have it, I heavily suggest you smash down to your local TK Maxx and snap up the bargains! Don’t be disheartened if your trip is fruitless, the Maxx is notoriously hit-or-miss but they do have deliveries several times a week – godspeed and good luck!

Spring Nail Picks

spring nail picksI’ve tentatively put away my big ol’ coat and battered winter boots for another year to make way for spring. To ring in the changes, I’ve had a rummage through my nail polish collection and re-discovered some long-forgotten colours that are perfect for this time of year. Let’s hope the sun is actually here to stay, although the cat is currently curled up extremely tightly with a paw covering her eyes – something usually reserved for winter nights!spring nail picks
China Glaze Nail Lacquer Lemon Fizz is an opaque, pastel yellow with a nice glossy finish which can be a bit elusive with China Glaze nail polishes. I love using this on its on or as a background to floral nail art. OPI Nail Lacquer Japanese Rose Garden is one of my favourite nail polishes to wear any time of the year. Opaque, pastel pink with a very slight purple-based sheen in the sunlight, it’s pink at its best. I wasn’t expecting to like Rimmel Pro Aqua Cool but once I put it on I loved it. It’s an understated blue with a grey-purple undertone, and perfectly sophisticated. You’re probably sick of the sight of Barry M Nail Paint Greenberry but there must be a reason it’s so popular! If you’re after something summery and eye-catching that isn’t overly girly, this is the one. As far as makeup brands go, KIKO is so under rated – the nail polishes are amazing and for the price, are some of the best you can get. KIKO Nail Lacquer 220 Satin Beige is stunning – a beautiful nude with a little bit of gold shimmer. The perfect choice for a classy manicure and even prettier in the sunlight!

March 2014 Favourites

march 2014 favouritesSally Hansen Nailgrowth Miracle (£9.99, Boots)

I was dreading moving flat a couple of weeks ago, not because of all the packing and general strenuous activity but because I was fearing my nails would break. They were already peeling so I smashed down to Boots to get my hands on some strengthener. Not sure if the bold growth claims are true but it has definitely stopped any inevitable breakage. Fast drying and glossy too, it looks great on its own or under nail varnish.

Dr Lipp Original Nipple Balm For Lips (£11.50, Space NK)

I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve proffered this to my manager and him politely declining while looking quite frankly, disgusted. Thick and luxurious, this sorted out my chapped lips in no time. I just try not to think too much about what lanolin actually is because it makes me feel a bit ill.

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water (4.99, Superdrug)

A superb happy medium between the elusive and expensive Bioderma and rather average L’Oreal. It takes off the bulk of my makeup, prepping it for the second stage of cleansing. It won’t take off every scrap of eye makeup but it’ll give it a jolly good go. Jumbo bottle at a not-so-jumbo price, this is a winner in my eyes. The packaging doesn’t leak all over the shop either (I’m looking at you, L’Oreal) meaning the bottle will last ages.

Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm Standout (7.99, Boots)

Yes, I know these are old news but I have just got round to using these. I bought a bunch of these in a bit of a pay-day frenzy and didn’t use them for weeks. I’ve been using Standout the most for night time looks. Creamy and easy to apply, this highly pigmented blue-toned red is a true joy to wear, and I always get compliments when I have it on. As long as you avoid eating slippery Japanese food, you won’t get too much awkward fading but I’d keep an eye out just in case.

Soap & Glory Bright Here Bright Now (£12, Boots)

Again, I bought this months ago and didn’t start using it properly until recently. If your skin is on the drier side, this, mixed with foundation will give you a beautiful, nay, ethereal glow. I cannot get enough. I’m quite heavy handed with it as my dry skin can take it, I use a little in the day and a lot for night to give my skin a Victoria’s Secret angel effect. I just wish I had the body to match!

Accessorize Baked Blush (£5, Superdrug)

I reviewed this a while back (here) but it kind of got relegated to the back of the drawer. Anyway, it was rediscovered and I’m liking it even more this time round. It’s pink with a gold sheen to it, making it perfect for summer. It’s so subtle and easy to wear, I’ve barely used any other blusher this month.

Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara (£18 for the full size, Boots)

I received a sample of Smashbox Full Exposure mascara when I bought a couple of products and, being the hoarder that I am, kept this for ages without using it. Oh my, what a mascara. In terms of volume and length, this is one of the best I’ve ever used. The wand is HUGE and really grips the lashes. I LOVE this and will be buying the full size version.

Review & EOTD: L’Oreal Colour Riche Quad Eau de Rose

loreal eau de roseAhoy there! Today is going to be a quick review as I’m moving flat in a few days and have done no packing whatsoever and the panic is starting to worm its way into my general wellbeing.

From what I remember, L’Oreal Color Riche eyeshadow quad in Eau de Rose is my first foray into L’Oreal eyeshadows. I find that hard to believe, but alas it’s true. This little guy caught my eye as I was looking for a purpley-nudey palette and thought this would do the job. Plus, it’s got one of those handy paint-by-numbers diagrams on the back (which I foolishly forgot to include a photo of) so it’s perfect for those of you who are a bit cack-handed when it comes to smokey eyes.loreal eau de roseThe texture of these shadows is quite soft although I found that as per normal with drugstore brands, the lighter the colour, the more chalky the formula. The lightest colour in this palette isn’t as chalky as certain high-street offenders but it certainly wasn’t as buttery-smooth as the darkest colour. And apart from the dark, rich purple, I found the glitter particles in all the eyeshadows slightly too chunky which resulted in a more glittery, rather than shimmery finish. Nonetheless, the palette was easy enough to work with and although I don’t love it, I have been using the darkest colour a hell of a lot. It works really well on the outer corners as well as along the lower lashline and makes a nice alternative to black, if you’re feeling a bit experimental.loreal eau de roseI will say that on the eyelids, these shadows weren’t as pigmented as I was expecting (but still more so than most drugstore brands) BUT I have seen other reviews where the colour is simply intense. Bear in mind that in my photos, I used no primers or bases so maybe that was my own fault? I apologise for my laziness.

All in all, nothing life-changing but it’s handy to have in your handbag as a day-to-night palette. You won’t get a full day’s wear out of these but they should last an evening out. Be warned of the glitter fall out from the lighter shades too, things might get a little messy.

L’Oreal Color Riche Quad in Eau de Rose is available at Boots for £7.99

Review: Soap & Glory Make Yourself Youthful CC Superfluid

soap and glory cc cream review before afterHave you ever walked into Boots, saw something in shiny packaging and had the overwhelming feeling that if you don’t buy it you’re going to keel over and die? That’s what happened to me last week when I saw the new Soap & Glory CC Superfluid. I was mesmerised by words like “LIGHTSCRAMBLING SUPERBLUR MICROMESH” and I had no idea what they meant but I knew I had to have it. I was also heavily influenced by the rave reviews the Make Yourself Youthful range has garnered recently so into the basket it went.soap and glory cc cream reviewsoap and glory cc cream reviewIf you’re wondering what the CC Superfluid actually is, you’ve come to the right place my fair friends.  It’s a tinted CC cream that blurs imperfections, illuminates and evens skin tone, and has the added benefits of SPF 15, vitamin C, antioxidants and glycerin – crikey. It comes in a handy pump with an even handier window so you can see when you’re due a replacement if your heart so desires.

The first time I used this I was taken by surprise and almost ended up with product all over the place but my ninja reflexes caught it in time. This stuff is seriously a runny bunny, perhaps similar in consistency to L’Oreal Eau de Teint if you’re au fait with that slippery customer. However, this questionable consistency simply makes it easier to slap on and I didn’t find any need to faff around with a brush, my fingers did a damn fine job.soap and glory cc cream reviewNow, I don’t want to get ahead of myself as it’s early days but I freakin’ love this wonder-fluid, or superfluid, whatever its damn name is. You’ll see from the before and after photos that it’s nothing like a foundation as it virtually undetectable BUT take a look at the reduced dark circles and the natural glow on the cheeks. You’ll also see it’s enough to cover the various lumpies on my forehead too. Trust me, the photos don’t do this stuff justice.soap and glory cc cream reviewSoap & Glory CC Superfluid isn’t one for those who like a heavy coverage but if you want something light and easy for daytime which evens things out and brighten up your ruddy complexion this is the one. As for wear time, I’m the worst person to ask as I don’t tend to touch up during the day (except for lip products). Probably a combination of ignorance and laziness but I don’t notice my bags rearing their ugly heads throughout the day when I have this on.

Before you get too excited, heed this warning – it only comes in two shades, A Good Light and Nude Peach. HOWEVER. Every cloud… When it comes to drugstore products, you can bet your granny the darkest shade will still be too light for me and I’m by no means the darkest on the block BUT the shade Nude Peach works for me perfectly. This leads me to believe that unless you’re very fair or a bit darker than I am (MAC NC42 for reference) one of these shades will adapt to your skin tone.

Soap & Glory CC Superfluid is available at Boots for £14

Review: Champneys Spa Skin Super Rich Cleansing Balm

champneys spa skin super rich cleansing balm.jpgHaving mentioned the Champneys Spa Skin Super Rich Cleansing Balm in my February favourites, I thought I’d make myself useful and write up a full review. Before buying this wondrous pot of joy, I was a cleansing balm virgin, and after being subjected to constant hype for Emma Hardie and Eve Lom, I began to feel like a lesser human being for not owning a cleansing balm. Although I’m usually a massive money-waster, I didn’t particularly want to spend £40+ on something as useful as a cleanser. After some basic Googling of things like ‘budget cleansing balm’, ‘eve lom dupe’ and ‘I really want a cleansing balm but I’ve spent the dregs of my wages on air-dried beef’, I came across Caroline Hirons’ review of the Champneys version and stormed to Boots to get my filthy mitts on it.champneys spa skin super rich cleansing balm.It comes in a generously large 100ml pot, which for £13 is unheard of in this day in age. It also comes with a muslin cloth, which I haven’t used. In fact, I have never used a muslin cloth which I know makes me dead to some people. Upon opening the pot of cleansing goodness, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was greeted with a delightful yellow solid balm with a slightly grainy texture. Looking at it, it reminded me of Philosophy Microdelivery Peel which I ADORE, but maybe a little less grainy. As for the scent, if you’re into heavy florals, you’ll be all over this like a rat. It’s not over-powering as such, but it’s definitely one for aromatherapy fans and much more of a relaxing evening scent than an invigorating morning one.champneys spa skin super rich cleansing balm
The balm almost immediately starts to melt into a very luxurious oil upon contact with warm flesh. But before you get too excited, I’d highly recommend taking off eye makeup first because those little grains cannot be good for your poor eyeballs. Once that’s done, I like to use my fingers to ‘swirl and scoop’ a bit out (not sure if that’s the official term) onto my dry face and use circular movements to gently exfoliate and cleanse. After a minute or two, I take a hot, damp flannel and hold it against my face for 30 seconds. I go pretty hot with this as I like to feel the full force of the heat – my skin is as resilient as a rhino’s bum so until something catastrophic happens I’ll probably continue with my brazen heat-loving ways. When I’m done, I rinse the flannel with warm water and carefully wipe off the cleanser which reveals perfectly clean and moisturised skin. I finish with a quick splash of warm water as sometimes I find the finish a bit too.moisturising

I’m truly sorry I don’t have any other cleansing balms to compare this to but I did read somewhere that this Champneys cleansing balm is a dupe for the Eve Lom one. I have no idea whether this is true or if it’s mindless slander but what I can say is this is stuff is fabulous, especially if you have dry skin (it could potentially be too rich and dreamy for oily skin). I don’t usually feel the need to moisturise after which is amazing – it really does leave my skin moist, bright and nourished. The only thing I’m not a fan of is the scent but it’s my no means unpleasant – I’m just not big on florals. Definitely a repurchase!

Champneys Spa Skin Super Rich Cleansing Balm is available from Boots for £13.

February 2014 Favourites

Happy March pals, we’re on the home straight to summer! It’s been relentlessly wet, cold and windy in the UK for what seems like a decade, meaning I have been forced to hibernate under the duvet for the majority of 2014. Sadly, I just haven’t been bothered with wearing that much makeup. However, my lazy attitude has paved the way for skincare, meaning my skin has been looking fabulous, if I do say so myself. So, on with the February favourites.february beauty favourites

Una Brennan Super Facialist Vitamin C+ Skin Defence Daily Moisturiser (£16.99, Boots)

This has been pretty much the only day cream I’ve used since I bought it a couple of months ago. Just like the rest of the Una Brennan Vitamin C+ range, the best thing about it is the divine smell. If you’re a fan of the Origins GinZing moisturiser, or indeed, the Body Shop Satsuma range, you will love this. It’s so refreshing, it quickly absorbs and brightens my complexion – perfect for the morning.

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation Barcelona (£31, Space.NK)

I bought this last summer, used it a couple of times, realised I was colour-matched incorrectly and relegated it to the drawer of stuff I don’t use. I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to be Syracuse but over winter I felt sufficiently pale enough to give Barcelona a second chance. Still not exactly right but I’ve fallen in love with it. On the days when I have bothered with foundation this month, this has been the one I’ve slapped on. I’m wearing it in this FOTD – need I say more?

Olay Total Effects Night Firming Moisturiser (£14.99, Boots)

I love the juicy, plumpy feeling this gives. Has that retro scent from days of yonder which reminds me of mums. Great pump, easy absorption and all round do-gooder. It glides on beautifully and my mug is still satisfyingly moist in the morning.

Champneys Spa Skin Super Rich Cleansing Balm (£13, Boots)

I know this might make me look like a scumbag in the eyes of other beauty bloggers but this is the first cleansing balm I’ve ever used. I read Caroline Hirons’ review on this and I was sold. It melts into a glorious oil upon contact with the face and gets rid of all traces of makeup. It is slightly exfoliating so I’d avoid scrubbing this into the eyes – unless you have masochistic tendencies, then be my guest. Read my full review here.

MUA Intense Glitter Eyeliner, Malt Chocolate (£1, Superdrug)

I’m usually a bit sceptical of budget eyeliners as they tend to leave agonising shards of debris in my eye. Now, the MUA eyeliners are not exactly creamy but they’re certainly not the worst I’ve tried. This stayed put all day and can be blended slightly. And at oneEnglish pound you’d be mad to overlook these. I’ve been weaning myself off heavy black kohl and have been using this delightful slightly metallic brown during the day instead. The little glitter bits aren’t too over the top, making this acceptable for the office.

Easy Winged Eyeliner Tutorial

It’s taken me an actual decade to perfect my winged liner technique but it turns out I could have saved myself years of frustration if only I’d found Charlotte Tilbury’s bloody tutorial sooner. I’ve broken down the process into easy-to-follow steps that are so easy even your cat could do it. I used Rimmel Glam’Eyes liquid liner here but you can use any thin-nibbed liner of your choosing. Scroll down for the instructions if you need to but I’m pretty sure you’ll be just fine.
winged liner tutorial
1. You can wear a winged liner look either with full eye makeup or on its own – the world is your oyster. I like to wear it by itself mainly because I’m usually in too much of a hurry to do anything else.

2.  Use the bottom line as your guide, and imagine a line running parallel against it. This is where you’ll draw your first line.

3. Draw a short, straight line a few millimetres in length. You can go as long or as short as you like but keep it as straight as possible!

4. Next, you’re going to imagine another straight line, connecting the end of the line you’ve just drawn to your upper lash line.

5. The temptation to draw a curved line will be strong here, but try to resist. Draw this line as straight as possible – you’re simply going from the line you’ve just drawn and stopping when you hit your top lash line, and you should be left with a triangle.

6. Time for the fun part – fill in your lovely triangle. You can’t go wrong here (I hope).

7. Complete the line by drawing a thin line from your inner corner outwards, until you meet your wing.

8. Taking a black eye pencil (preferably something soft), line your top water line and any gaps in between your lashes to get your winged liner as black as possible. Curl your lashes, stick some mascara on and you’re DONE!

Getting Rid of Blackheads

getting rid of blackheads 1 This evening’s topic is blackheads. Quite an unsavoury subject of conversation but one that needs to be addressed. After many years of suffering from the hideous black speckles on my nose, around the nostrils (vom) and on my chin, and fearing others would assume my hygiene levels were substandard, I’m glad to report I’m in a much better place now and they are all more or less gone from my life. Despite the claims of loads of products promising to get rid of blackheads, I can’t say my blackheady transformation was due to any specific product, but rather just learning to clean my damn face alongside using more specialised products.getting rid of blackheads 1
If you’re going to go through the more industrial route and don’t mind low to moderate pain levels, I’d highly recommend the Double Ended Blackhead Remover (£4, The Body Shop). You might have assumed this to be some sort of torture tool from the 1800s but it is in fact the most effective thing I’ve found to remove blackheads. Takes a little getting used to but gives instant results. In the same vein, we’ve got the infamous Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips (7.99, Boots). Painful and a bit gross but you can see a substantial amount of blackheads left behind on the strip before your very eyes – satisfying. I try to use a clay-based mask once a week to help keep the little rascals from rearing their ugly heads (literally), like the Quick Fix Exfoliating Scrub Mask for Blackheads and Blocked Pores (£4.99, Boots). Despite its claims, it won’t remove blackheads but it will certainly help unblock your pores and smooth things out a bit. While we’re on the subject of masks, I love the occasional peel-off mask, such as the worringly named Tropical Cocktail Peel Off Mask (99p, Superdrug). Again, using it once won’t sort out stubborn blackheads but regular removal of dead skin will definitely help keep them at bay. Prevention is much better than cure, I learnt that the hard way.

If you’ve battled blackheads successfully do please let me know your tips, the more hideous the better!

FOTD: Date Night

Gone are the days when I’d hit ‘da clubs’ on a Friday. These days you’re more likely to find me at home hassling Chicken or in a comatose state on the sofa. But a couple of weeks ago Mr TBL coaxed me out of my boring lull with the promise of carbs and steak at The Ivy. He didn’t have to tell me twice.

One of my favourite parts of a night out is putting my makeup on – there’s something about the transformation from ‘drab to fab’ as they say. Anyway, here’s the finished look which boringly, isn’t too different to my standard going out look. I did add the Rimmel Scandaleyes Shadow Stick to brighten up the eyes which I thought really elevated the overall look, oo-er.

fotdfotd

COMPLEXION
L’Oreal Skin Perfection Magic Touch Instant Blur
NARS Sheer Glow Foundation Barcelona
Rimmel Match Perfection Concealer Ivory
Sleek Face Form Medium
Accessorize Merged Baked Blusher Scandal (review)

EYES
Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette Faint
L’Oreal Superliner Ultra Precision Black
Maybelline Master Drama Khol Liner Black
Rimmel Scandaleyes Shadow Stick Bulletproof Beige (review)
Benefit Mascara They’re Real
Ardell Lashes 102

EYEBROWS
Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette Faint
2True Instant Colour Mascara Clear

LIPS
Max Factor Color Elixir Lip Liner Pink Princess
Revlon Super Lustrous Matte Lipstick Pink Pout