Written by a fortysomething redhead, a blog about Beauty and Life and a lot of musings about lipstick ...

A Year of Blogging ...

So, 2014 was my first full year of blogging, I started in October 2013, got sidetracked by kids and Christmas and didn't really pick it up again until January.

Initially, I started blogging to keep my creative juices flowing, in early 2012 my husband and I adopted three little boys and I went from working full time in a busy office to being a full time mum.  I love being a mum and I love being at home with them but there is a part of me that needs to think about stuff other than washing, school runs, Lego and Peppa Pig!  I'm also completely outnumbered, everyone in the house is male including the dog and there's little old me with no-one to discuss girly stuff with, hence once I'd stumbled upon the beauty blogging community I was keen to be a part of it.







What I've loved ...

What I've loved about blogging apart from all the new products I've discovered is that the beauty blogging community surely must be amongst the friendliest, everybody is so nice and supportive which is lovely.  I've also loved really thinking about what products I'm buying and why I'm buying them, was it on a whim, because I saw an advert, because it was recommended in a magazine or by other beauty bloggers or because I got sidetracked in Sainsburys and picked up the wrong thing!  The fact that every time I put my face cream on I am thinking about it, what I like/don't like, if I'd recommend it or not and if I agree with what others are saying about it.  I've been wearing make up for a number of years now and this last year is actually probably the first year I've ever really thought about why I'm applying it the way I do and if I could do it differently.  


What I've discovered ...

I've discovered a few things, firstly that its the first time since I left University that I've been able to be properly creative, its been quite scary as nobody really knows how their blog will be received and you are sort of putting yourself on the line but its been great.  I also found a writing style I didn't know I had so that was quite cool!  Probably the most important thing I discovered is that just being yourself is so important, not only for your writing but for the whole blog, what you include (by that I mean certain links, or maybe advertisements), it is a photo of yourself to the world so you've got to be happy with the layout and presentation.  I do feel like my blog reflects me and I'm happy with that, so that's good.


What I might change ...

There's always room for improvement though!  I've been thinking about what I might change next year, I'm still trying to post more often, (some months are easier than others) and I need to find a better photo editor than the one I've got presently as next year I'm going to try much harder with my photos. 

So here's to 2015, another year of beauty blogging looms, how exciting!  I hope you all have a Merry and Peaceful Christmas and thanks for reading all my posts this year.

Maria
xx



What's in my make up bag and chat about Physicians Formula

I've been meaning to do this post for ages, its a What's In My Make Up Bag post.  I'm really nosey and I love having a looksee at what products people are wearing on a daily basis, we all have our favourites and ones we go to and can't do without don't we?

So here's mine.  I've done it as a video because it was easier to talk about them than write (I found I was rambling unnecessarily when I tried to write it).

Would be really interested to hear if any of you have heard of/used any Physician's Formula products, I picked up some lovely kohl liners in the USA when I was there in August and I seriously haven't looked back!







Hope you enjoy.

Maria
xx



My September Bodywash Collection (there's only three)

I haven't done a bodywash collection post for a while so I thought I'd let you in on what I've been using in the past month, usually I have quite a collection but this time there's only three.  I'm trying to cut down on the number of bottles in the shower actually they are tending to take over a bit but a girl's got to have a choice -right?




Right Guard
Shower & Lotion Pomegranate
This is a new shower gel that I picked up in the supermarket.  It's by Right Guard, who are generally associated with anti-perspirant/deodorant (in my case, my husbands deodorant!) so I was interested to try this one, not least because it purports to have a moisturising lotion included (not unlike many others) and as you'll know from my previous posts, I'm all for shower moisturisers as its hugely time saving in the morning when you're in a rush.  I have to say I wasn't disappointed, this shower cream does actually feel like an in shower moisturiser, perhaps less thick but you can definitely feel the moisturising properties nevertheless.  It also smells lovely, I prefer flower smells usually but Pomegranate wasn't offensive at all.  



Original Source
Vanilla and Raspberry
Earlier on this year I reviewed the mint Original Source, I liked it but its like Marmite, you either love it or you hate it as its quite strong.  The Vanilla and Raspberry bodywash smells like ice cream to me!  As with all Original Source bodywashes its lovely and moisturising and fairly well priced, they can sometimes be on special offer which is when I tend to pick them up.  The only thing I don't like about Original Source bodywashes is the bottle, I find them a really awkward shape and sometimes not that easy to open with wet fingers!  All in all this was a nice bodywash but I don't think I would necessarily go out of my way to buy it again as I do prefer the mint or lemon ones - they really do wake you up in the mornings.



Radox
Brazillian Fusion
Now this is really yummy.  I loved this and would definitely buy it again.  Its got a really refreshing, exotic smell, like flowers but not too sickly.  I do love my Radox though so perhaps I am a bit biased.  I love that they are always coming out with special editions and would buy this again.

I think though, out of the three my favourite is the Right Guard though, it is so much more moisturising than the other two, clearly the added moisturisers really do work!


Maria
xx


I've re-discovered ... Oriflame Neo Chic Lipstick

Hey there beautiful people, I thought I'd share with you a lipstick I've re-discovered from a while ago, its from Oriflame a Swedish online cosmetic company who have been around for more than 30 years (and are similar to Avon).  The colour of this lipstick is one of two Limited Editions from the Neo Chic range, its called Bright Pink, you can also get it in Fuschia.



To start with I really love the packaging, I love the fact that it comes in a little box and the pattern on the tube is so cute, it really looks like it should be much more expensive than it actually is, it cost £5.95.



My first thought when I saw this lipstick was "uh oh, its not going to suit me, look how bright it is" (which was a bit different from the colour online by the way, which is why I wasn't expecting it).  But I was pleasantly surprised, yes, it is bright but its not matte, its sheer and therefore the colour is muted somewhat and gives a lovely sheen on your lips, it also smells really nice, like that old fashioned lipstick smell.  Its also a very moisturising lipstick, it does fade fairly quickly but doesn't disappear entirely so you're not left with completely bare lips and with a quick swoosh you can reapply and it will look as good as new.




I'm definitely going to be buying more from Oriflame, either through a consultant or by signing up up as a consultant myself.  Has anyone else tried Oriflame, what do you think of their products?

Maria
xx

Chatting about ... Victoria Beckham, Beauty Boxes, Naked Basics 2 and my new Chanel lipstick

Happy Friday beautiful people, hope this week has been OK for you.

Today I'm chatting about all the beauty things that have popped up this week, the first being my backlog of beauty boxes.  I've got Glossybox from July and August, Latest in Beauty from August and a Glamour special.  The one pictured below is one I'm testing at the moment its the Latest in Beauty August edition, the contents of which were chosen by Josephine Fairley and Sarah Stacey, the lovely Beauty Bible ladies.  I've also done a video on the contents of this box and by the time you read this it should be uploaded to YouTube.  I'm doing another video once I've tested all the products, there's some really nice stuff in this box so its quite exciting.


The Beauty Bible Loves ... Latest in Beauty August box

Now you've probably already heard this but this week I became aware that Urban Decay had another Naked Basics palette out, aptly named Naked Basics 2.  It was released in the USA on 19 August and retails at $29.00.  I'm still totally in love with their earlier Basics so I'm thrilled there is another one to try, its definitely going on my Christmas list if I haven't caved and bought it myself by then!  This one consists of six shades, five of which are brand new and true to UD form they are all taupe based matte neturals which will suit everybody.


You can find out more about this palette by checking out the Urban Decay website 


Urban Decay Naked Basics 2



Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in "Boheme"

This is my new Chanel Coco Shine lipstick, (my only Chanel lipstick I might add!) which was a present from my mother in law and I love it!  At first I wasn't sure if the colour would suit me as its pink and with my colouring I have to be careful with pink as it can wash me out but this is lovely.  The colour is "Boheme" its sheer and very moisturising, its not long lasting but its not supposed to be so that's fine I just keep reapplying.  It reminds me of the look you get with a lip gloss but without the stickiness, major plus for me as I hate sticky glosses.






Finally, I've been keeping an eye on New York Fashion Week just because its all over the TV and the magazines.  I'm not into designer stuff (I'm not a celebrity or mega rich and it doesn't sit well on the school run) but I did like a lot of what Victoria Beckham was showing for her AW 14/15 collection, in particular the dress pictured above.  Now, taking away the fact that its over £1,000 I really like this dress, its very classic, I liked the length as well, flattering just below the knee.  It goes from size 6 to 14 though, (come on Vic, extend your sizings a bit) and the rest of the collection can be seen on her website www.victoriabeckham.com.

Hope you have a lovely weekend.

Maria
xx




My Holiday Hits & Misses - Beauty Review

Hey there beauty bloggers, its September already!  Where did the summer go?  I won't bore you with why I haven't been around for a while but its mainly due to the school holidays and kids and not having five minutes to myself.  However, they are back at school now (cue wicked laugh) so here I am, getting organised, new term, new plan, lets hope it lasts, eh.

So one of the nice things we did this summer was to go on holiday, we've not been away for a while so it was just lovely to get away (particularly as it was Florida which is one of my favourite places) and, of course, I spied the possibility of a post whilst I was away, that's why this post is entitled Holiday Hits and Misses - its basically a run down of some of the products I used whilst I was away, which ones I recommend and which ones I don't!


The products I've reviewed are:


  • Sanctuary Spa Fresh Faced Purifying Wash
  • Pixi Flawless Beauty Primer (this already has a review from me but I wanted to gush about it again!)
  • Venus disposable razor
  • Sanctuary Illuminating Moisture Lotion SPF15
  • M&S Nail Polish Remover Pads
  • Charles Worthington Moisture Seal Leave In Conditioner
  • Charles Worthington Straight & Smooth Straightening Creme


Please check out my video on YouTube to see the full review, please do subscribe and share if you like it and don't forget to check out Beauty Aware on Facebook https://wwwfacebook.com/BeautyAware.

I'll be back very soon with more blog posts.  I hope you've all had a good summer.

Maria
xx


My Five Favourite Products For Curly Hair

Today I'm sharing five of my favourite products for curly hair, some I've recently discovered others I've used for a long time and keep going back to.

For anyone with curls that need to be kept in line, these five are definitely worth a try.




Charles Worthington Hair Healer Leave-in Conditioner
I've been using this for years, it's really one of the nicest leave in conditioners I've ever used.  It's sort of a balm rather than a cream and you don't need much.  I just use it on the middle part of my hair and comb through to the ends.  Its got a glorious smell and leaves your hair very soft but not heavy.  I've noticed in the shops recently that this isn't the most up to date packaging, its different now but I did a bulk buy a while back which is why I'm still working my way through this one!  I buy mine in Sainsburys and Boots and of course, its on the shelf with all the other Charles Worthington products.  




Leo Bancroft Glamorously Curly Control & Shine Cream
When I first bought this I didn't actually know who Leo Bancroft was, I had to look him up!  I haven't seen this in any other shop than Tescos but I am sure its available in other places and online.  Fantastic for frizz, it doesn't have a particularly strong hold (i.e. curl hold) but definitely tames waves and curls and lasts all day with the bonus of a nice smell too.




Pantene Repair & Protect Shampoo
I reviewed this a while back which you can read here it was actually my January favourite, but 6 months on it is still my most favourite shampoo and one of the few that does seem to control my hair.  The one pictured is for dry and damaged hair, quite often I'll get another one in the Pantene range which I think is for frizz control but either one of them is great.  I do find the conditioners quite heavy so I don't use those, I just stick to the shampoo and a leave in conditioner.





Phil Smith Curly Locks Curl Control Cream
I've already done a review on this product this year which you can read here but suffice to say this is still one of my favourites and always has a place on my dressing table.  Its also great to take on holiday as it does have a frizz control element which I really need for heat, damp and humidity!





Label M Curl Cream
I totally love this product, I've been using Label M Curl Cream for a long time now, ever since I started having my hair cut at Toni & Guy as they stock Label M products and recommended it.  The cream is quite sticky (but mainly one your hands not on your hair), once its dry you get a brilliant well defined curl hold which lasts all day.  I buy this from the Look Fantastic website now, its about £11 which is quite pricey but it does last for a long time because you really don't need very much.  I've also recently discovered the Label M Protein Spray which I will review separately once I've finished testing it, but so far so good!

I'm always on the look out for new products to try, if you've got any favourites please pop a comment below


Maria
xx

Soap Corner | Mandara Spa Honeymilk Dream

We use a lot of hand soap in our house, it has to be said.  I'm always on the look out for nice hand soaps and my most recent find is this one from Mandara Spa, I have to give my sister credit for this find, I've spent a lot of time at her house lately with her new baby twins and washed my hands a lot!  I absolutely love this soap.  Its beautiful fragrance consists of acacia honey and almond and lingers on your hands long after you've dried them.    Its elegant packaging does not look out of place in an ensuite bathroom or downstairs cloakroom.  Alas, my own cloakroom is continually filled with small grubby handed boys who need to get mud/felt tip pen/chocolate/general boy germs off their hands, so this lovely soap is completely wasted on them which is why I've put it in my own bathroom just for me to use and they can continue to use the no-nonsense, anti-bacterial stuff!



Mandara Spa Honeymilk Dream can be purchased from Sainsbury's for £4.00.  There are two other fragrances to choose from but this is my favourite.

Maria
xx


Barry M nail varnish and a MAC lipstick

Hi beautiful people, this post is a replacement for my Beauty Aware Weekly Round Up, its become clear to me that I can't commit to a weekly post, as I've got too many other things going on that I have to prioritise, and things that get in the way of blogging (annoying though this is).   So I've been thinking about it and I've decided to change the title a bit, so its still a summary of the beauty bits and bobs of my week but isn't necessarily "weekly" and then I won't feel rubbish for not posting if I can't get round to it!

So, this week I've been loving my new Barry M nail varnish.  Now, this is a nail polish with a difference for me, because its not coral, red, or pastel shimmery pink.  Its a Barry M Gelly Hi Shine in a lovely lavender colour and its called "Prickly Pear" which I thought was a cute name.  Not my usual go to (not sure why) but then, it was an impulse buy in the queue at Superdrug (as you do), on sale so I got this one and a deep fuschia which I've yet to try.  I'm trying to remember the last time I had anything from Barry M, it was a while ago for sure.  I'm really impressed with this one, I love the colour and its pretty hard wearing, only a couple of chips and they were barely noticeable.  I put on two coats for longevity but one coat and a clear top coat would have been just as pretty as its such a lovely summery colour.

Barry M Gelly Hi Shine in Prickly Pear

Another purchase this week was a MAC lipstick, I've been dithering for ages about this because I wanted a new MAC lipstick but wasn't sure what colour to get. I've been avidly reading blog after blog review and Cockney Red seemed to pop up quite a lot, plus its quite a strong colour and that's what I was after.  Its very creamy and moisturising but not particularly long lasting, at least not for me, I tend to have to reapply a fair bit but I don't mind because it is such a lovely lipstick.  (The colour on my nails in the photo is Maybelline Color Show in Brick Shimmer).


MAC in Cockney Red

 My July GlossyBox was dispatched on Friday so should be here Monday or Tuesday, this will be my second month of receiving this particular parcel of goodies, I've no idea what will be in it, hopefully it will be as good as last month.

It was my birthday on Wednesday and among several lovely presents was a bottle of Chanel Chance from my husband.  I love Chanel perfume but never buy it for myself so I was really pleased to receive it.  Hubs took the day off work and we went holiday shopping and out for lunch which was really nice as we're hardly ever by ourselves but all the boys were at school so it was nice to escape for a few hours!  We're off to Florida in August with the boys and I needed a swimsuit so I went to M&S and got two really nice ones in the sale (well worth a look in my opinion, there's all sorts of nice stuff that has been reduced).

The purple one also comes in black and turquoise

These are the two that I bought, they aren't particularly glamorous but I was after something fairly functional as I'll be in the pool and sea with the boys so I know these aren't going to be everybodys cup of tea, BUT there are others in the M&S range that were less "Mummy" and some really lovely bikinis (in all sizes, including very small and very large which I was pleased to see!).  I've taken a photo of me in one of the swimsuits so you can see what it looks like on.  I'm quite tall (5ft 9) and a size 14 and as you can see, not a twiglet (lol), I deliberately chose ones with "tummy assistance" and a flattering ruched front and as you can see in the photo, these are standard leg, not high leg, I stayed away from high as I don't want my bum accidentally falling out in the kids pool!  The bra cups are slightly padded and shaped, I liked this as I need help in that department and the straps are adjustable.

I am SO getting a spray tan before my holiday!

Finally, for all you L'Occitane fans out there I had an email the other day showing lots of lovely new products and free delivery for orders that include any of their award winning products (this ends 13th July).  Also, L'Occitane are running a Summer Beach Party in their boutique stores between Tuesday 15th July and Thursday 17th July and you get a free gift of a cute pair of flip flops and a handcream if you spend over £35.  For more information see the website www.uk.loccitane.com.

Hope you have a lovely week.

Maria
xx









What's in the June Glossybox?




Hi beauty bloggers, my first post for a while as life's been a bit mad but I've been meaning to share the contents of my June Glossybox for a couple of weeks.

There are five products in the box, have a look below and see what you think.  For one reason or another I haven't tried them yet but they will be reviewed once I have.  I'm particularly excited about the make up brush, its such a gorgeous brush.






This is L'Oreal Volume Million Lashes Mascara in Black.  This looks really nice, there have been so many good reviews of this mascara, its full size and RRPs at £10.99.  I was really pleased that it was in the box, as you will know I'm normally a Max Factor mascara girl but I am excited to try this one.




I'm a girl with very few make up brushes so I was delighted that this Beautiful Eyes Flat Stiff Brush by Teeez Trend Cosmetics, this is a full size brush, isn't it pretty?  I can't wait to use it.





This is a Qi Gong anti-perspirant spray by Rituals (www.rituals.com), it smells yummy, more like a perfume than a deodorant.  Its infused with white lotus and yi yi ren and lasts 24 hours.  



This is a concealer quad by So Susan Cosmetics (www.sosusan.com), as you can see its a cute quad palette with soft blendable colours, its for minor blemishes and imperfections.  I stick with my Witch Hazel concealer normally so this will be great to try.




Finally, this is a base, top and nail strengthener from nailgirls (www.nailgirls.co.uk), I'm awful at remembering base and top coats and my nails are quite weak so another perfect product for me to try.  In fact, I'm off to do my nails now, so I'll let you know how it goes!


I'm thrilled with the June Glossybox and can't wait for the July box which should arrive next week according to the email they sent me yesterday.  I'll review all of these products once I've tried them to let you know what I think.

Happy Wednesday everybody!

Maria
xx

Phil Smith Life's a Beach | Hair Review



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I've decided that I've just got to tell you about this little beauty of a hair product which is great for getting those beachy summer waves.  I started using Phil Smith's Life's a Beach Sea Salt Spray a while  ago after picking it up in the supermarket.  Its essentially a sea salt spray designed to give tousled, carefree summer waves and can be used on both damp and dry hair.


I mainly use it on damp hair after I've washed and conditioned it and then dry it sometimes with a diffuser (as they recommend) but mostly not, as I find diffusing time consuming so I just give it a bit of a blast with the hairdryer.  As you'd expect the more spray you use, the better the hold (more of a curl), I spray then scrunch a bit before using the hairdryer.  Its not gloopy but you do need to wash your hands afterwards.  The result is a head full of natural waves that you can get your fingers through, its not sticky and doesn't look unnatural and it helps with frizz too.


Originally, this product came in slightly different packaging and had a really nice smell, I think it was sort of like coconut which I loved.  Then the manufacturers changed it and the coconut smell disappeared which I was sad about as the fragrance really lingered and I could smell it on my hair all day long, the new smell isn't horrible but its not coconut!  Luckily for me, the bones of the product, and by that I mean how it styles your hair, didn't change so I was happy about that as I hate it when they change something for the better but I end up wishing they'd left it alone!  I have got through loads of this product few months, not least because for me it doesn't last very long, I suspect I might spray on a bit too much but I've also got quite a lot of hair so its not really a surprise.  However, the price is very reasonable, around £4.00 and very often is on special offer or two for one so I stock up when I can.

So Phil Smith's Life's a Beach is now one of my favourite products for curly hair, if you want beachy waves, its well worth checking out.

Maria
xx






Gradual Self Tanners | The Review!

Hi beauties, I've finally got round to writing about the self tanners I've been testing for the past few weeks, its taken a while to get this one posted but here it is.

I'm very fair skinned and while that's not a major problem for me I do like a bit of a glow, particularly on my legs in the summer.  I've tried permanent tans such as Fake Bake and St Tropez and they just don't suit me, they are almost always too dark and make me look a bit odd, like someone with my colouring shouldn't be that orange!

This is why I really like the gradual moisturising lotion tanners.  They've changed a lot in the last few years, I remember the first one I tried, it was a Johnsons one, the smell was awful and I had to be careful to rub it in properly because otherwise after an hour or so I'd be left with tan streaks.  The problem with being so pale is that any hint of colour on top of my paleness shows, so I have to be careful with application.

Anyway, the last couple of years I've used Dove which has served me very well and I was happy with the smell and the colour and Dove is such a nice moisturiser anyway.  This year I thought I'd try something a bit different.  So I chose three (clearly I'm hoping for a long, hot summer!), they are


Fake Bake Sport
Garnier Summer Body
Palmers Cocoa Butter Natural Bronze




So now onto the review.

First up is Fake Bake Sport.  I bought this from Beautybay.com for £10 after reading really good reviews about this product.  Unfortunately it has to be said I don't agree with the reviews!  The smell is terrible, really strong.  Its got all this really good stuff in it, like Vitamin E and special moisturisers and its paraben free (which is good) but the tan was too orangey for me and, like I said, I couldn't stand the smell.  So I wouldn't buy this again.  I only used it once, so I've got a lot left! 

The next one I tried was the Palmers Cocoa Butter Natural Bronze.  This tanner is for all skin types, there's not a separate one for fair or dark.  It smells very much like Palmers Cocoa Butter (well, it would, wouldn't it) and though there is a hint of that "tan" smell its not unbearable, actually its quite nice.  I put it on my legs first and by lunchtime they were very definitely no longer the alabaster colour they'd been first thing in the morning.  Clearly, on pale people this stuff makes a difference quickly!  I only needed one application of this, I didn't put it on the next day as my legs were already quite a nice colour for me but if I'd had darker skin I'd have put on another lot and got a really nice tanned glow!   I made the mistake of not exfoliating properly so my knees were a bit orange but not drastic, but that's my fault, not Palmers.  I'm trying to remember how much it was, it wasn't much, about £4 I think, I got it in Superdrug but you can also get it in the supermarkets.  Its going to take me a while to get through this bottle but I'd definitely get it again.

Finally, I picked up Garnier Summer Body, I got this for £5 in Superdrug.  I'd seen an advert for it and I knew they did two types, a light one for fairer skin and a medium one for slightly darker skin.  I really like this product.  For a start the smell is nice, yes you can smell the tanning smell a bit (but you're never going to be able to get away from that until come clever person figures out a way to get rid of it) but a more overwhelming scent is that of the apricot and peach fruit extracts that its got in it.  This moisturiser is fast absorbing so you can put it on quickly and its not sticky and does leave a really lovely glow, not overly dark so you are able to build up over a few days.  I also found that it took a while to fade, I had a couple of days where I didn't use it and my legs still looked good.  

So, in conclusion, my favourite out of the three is definitely the Garnier Summer Body, purely because I would use this daily as a moisturiser, as well as the benefit of a nice glow, you are left with a glorious nourished skin feeling whereas the Palmers, although really nice, is quite dark on me and I'd use this if I needed a "fix" i.e. lots of colour quickly!  I think the Palmers would be absolutely perfect if I had slightly darker skin though and again, a great moisturiser, as I love anything with cocoa butter in it.  

So there you go.  I'd be really interested to hear if you've tried any gradual tanners and which ones you recommend.

Maria
xx


My Five Minute Face or Make Up In A Rush!


Hey beautiful bloggers, I've been meaning to write up this one for a while now, as someone who doesn't have much time in the mornings (but then, who does?), I've pretty much perfected a 'five minute face' which I thought I'd share with you.  Its a natural look that I use quite a lot of the time and glam up with a bright lipstick when I feel like it!





So, these are the products that I use:

Step 1
After moisturising I start with my Witch Hazel Concealer, a trusty product I've been using for years.  Its not an under eye concealer, more of a blemish "controller".  Depending on the state of my face sometimes I need a little dot of concealer which takes literally a couple of seconds, other times I need 'A' Level Art to be able to cover everything up!

Step 2
Next up is my Pixi Primer, I recently did a blog post on this which you can read here if you want.  I love this primer and will use it all the time now.  Just need a couple of dots and it completely transforms my skin and really does give a beautiful base.

Step 3
After that its foundation time, I'm still using my No7 Lift and Luminate in "Cool Vanilla", the added bonus that this has an SPF in it so its perfect for this time of year, its not too heavy either which is another reason I like it.  I don't use a lot of foundation as I find that it accentuates my fine lines (and the not so fine ones!) so I use a little on my chin, nose, forehead and a touch on my cheeks and I use my fingers not a brush, I know this is personal preference, I've just never been able to get on with foundation brushes, its like I'm painting the spare room with emulsion paint, it always ends up looking too heavy on me.

Step 4
Next its eyes, I'm still having an affair with my Naked Basics palette so I use a pale one (either Foxy or W.O.S) over the entire lid then finish off blending the Naked 2 pale brown colour.  I'm definitely making an inroad into this colour, its quite worrying, I just know that I'll run out of this one first!

Step 5
Up comes my faithful friend Max Factor 2000 Calorie Mascara in black, either the normal one or the one with the curled brush (this is really great, if you haven't tried it, you should, check it out in my What's in My Make Up Bag video on YouTube).  My eyelashes are really pale so I just pop a couple of coats on both the upper and lower lashes and then finish off with an eyeliner, I always line after I've mascara-ed but that's obviously personal choice too.  At the moment I'm using my Ruby & Millie eyeliner, it looks black in the photo but its actually very dark blue.  Its a very soft kohl which is why I love it so much, I hate those liners that drag against your eyelids.

Step 6
Cheeks are next, I'm using three blushers at the moment.  First I dab a bit of my Revlon Cream Blush on (its called Charmed Enchantment), that gives a pinky flushed look.  Then I put a swoosh of Revlon Highlighter on, the one I'm using is called Rose Glow and finally finish off with a teensy bit of Smashbox cream highlighter on the top of my cheek bones, the one I'm using is a recent purchase from Amazon, called Aglow, it was a bit of a bargain, £7 which is quite good for a Smashbox product I thought.

Step 7
Lastly its lipstick which I do literally as I'm out of the door but its always after my breakfast and teeth clean which is why I'm not wearing any in the photo.  The one I'm in love with at the moment is a new purchase from Max Factor called Bewitching Coral, its actually really more pink than coral but I love it anyway.

So there we are.  As you can see from the stopwatch on my phone I did this in just under 5 minutes but to be fair I timed myself at least 6 or 7 times and sometimes I was a bit over 5 minutes and one time I was about 7 minutes but that was a heavy concealer day!

I'd love to hear any time saving tips you might have when applying make up, do let me know if you've got any!

Maria
xx





Beauty Aware Weekly Round Up #4



Hey there beauty bloggers, long time no see, speak or read!  I've been away from blogging for far longer than I intended for various reasons, namely ill kids and half term but hey, that's boring news and here I am back with the Beauty Aware Weekly Round Up for a fourth time (which admittedly is two weeks after number three but there we are!).

Glossybox

So the first thing I want to share with you is that I this week I signed up to Glossybox.  I've been umming and arring for ages about whether to sign up for one of these beauty boxes and I did quite a lot of research beforehand.  I really liked the look of Glossybox, what swung it in the end was that I could unsubscribe at any time, so if I think they aren't worth the money and want to stop them, I can.  I had an email on Friday to say that it had been dispatched so it will be here next week, I'm so excited, I can't wait to see what's in it, I'll let you know what I think.


iPhone

This week was also the week that I finally gave up my Blackberry and got an iPhone.  My current contract ended and I was due an upgrade and I'd had nothing but problems with this last Blackberry which was a pity as I've had them for years without anything going wrong.  Anyway, long story short, I went down the iPhone route and I'm so glad I did, I love my new iPhone 5C (its blue).  One of the first things I did was get a cover for it though as it was immediately apparent that it would not last the week in my handbag without one!  I wanted something a bit different and I'd seen a Cath Kidston one which I really liked but it didn't fit and neither did the Radley one despite claiming to be suitable.  In the end I got a plain blue one from Tescos for £9.99 and its perfectly nice but I do need some sort of screen cover, which I'll probably get next week.  If anyone can recommend nice covers please do let me know!





iPhone 5C


What I've been wearing

This week I've been living in my Sainsburys dresses.  I recently discovered the Sainsburys TU range and I've bought three or four nice summer dresses from there.  They wash really well and the sizings seem to be true, by that I mean a size 14 which is what I am, is actually a 14 and not a large 12 or a small 16.  I'm doing a post on the Sainsburys TU range quite soon seeing as I'm wearing them a lot at the moment!  I've also been wearing a new nail varnish, from my favourite Maybelline Color Show range, this time the colour is No 342 Coral Craze.  I'm loving this colour as it seems to go with everything and quite a lot of my lipsticks are this sort of colour so its an easy colour to wear.


Maybelline Color Show 342 Coral Craze


Websites/Offers

Elf Cosmetics
Free shipping when you spend £10 or more and a huge range of SPF items, there's also loads of great bargains in the clearance section, about 50% off in some cases.

allbeauty.com
This is the place to go if you're after anything from Elizabeth Arden because there's a sale on, up to 80% off, so if you're running out of your 8 hour cream its definitely worth a look.

Monsoon
Ooh, I was really interested in this one, Monsoon have a sale on, there's some really nice tops and dresses online at the moment.  I also popped into my local Monsoon in town yesterday to have a look, there's a small selection in store as well but most of it seems to be online.  I got a great summer dress last year that I've literally worn again and again and I love to death.  I'm really hoping I can find another amazing bargain that I love this year.

I'm off now to catch up on my blog reading as I am way, way behind, the husband has taken the kids out for a couple of hours so it's just me and the dog, I'm off to get the kettle on.

Have a good week.

Maria
xx



Favourite Beauty Products | May

Hey there beauty bloggers, its that time again, time for the beauty favourites from the previous month.  This month I've made a video because I'm really behind on my blogging due to half term and poorly kids and it's nearly the middle of June so May feels like ages ago now.

As you can see from the photo, its a bit of an eclectic mix (yet again!) but these were the products I found myself reaching for again and again thus being given the prestigious award of "May Favourites"!


Hope you enjoy the video.

Maria
xx



Beauty Aware Weekly Round Up #3

Happy Friday beauty bloggers!  I've been really happy this week and I'm sure its had something to do with the weather, I really like this warm, settled late Spring weather, everybody seems so much happier and relaxed and I love not having to bother with a coat!  Of course, its now raining as I type this - typical.

Garnier Summer Body Moisturising Lotion


What I've been Wearing

I've been a bit obsessed with gradual self tanning lotions this week.  Now that the sun is out my legs have made an appearance to the world  and boy, did they need some help colour-wise!  I'm testing three tanners as I'm going to review them in a blog post in the next week or so.  So far I've pretty much discounted one of them but the other two I like, just not sure which I like best yet, one of the ones I'm testing is pictured above, Garnier Summer Body.  I got this for £5 in Superdrug, so far so good (its definitely fast absorbing) but I will review in a separate post.

Local Summer Fair - Monsoon Dress (2013)

We went to the local village fair on Saturday, it was a lovely day and I wore a dress!  Yes, an actual dress.  My legs finally saw the light of day, they are still getting over the shock - lol.  The one in the photo is my absolute favourite summer dress, I got it in the Monsoon sale last summer and I've worn it loads and loads of times, I love it because it washes so easily, dries and doesn't need ironing (I loathe ironing).  I entered our dog in the dog show and he didn't win a single rosette!  I was officially offended for both of us!  I thought he would at least win "Most Alluring Eyes".  The dog didn't mind at all, he was too hot and bothered to care, bless him.


What I've been Reading

No poorly children this week so I've had a little bit more "me" time.   Other than the magazines, which are pretty much all about the Beyonce and JayZ thing with her sister Solange (I've still not really worked out what happened in that lift) I've also started to read through my 1001 Beauty Miracles book.  I've had this book for ages, its one of those ones you can dip in and out of because its full of tips in short paragraphs so easy to read (and remember!).  There's some great beauty tips in there, and a few easy face masks (mashed banana etc) which actually I think I'll try.  I also had to re-read the end of the Harry Potter "Goblet of Fire" book because my 9 year old is reading it at the moment and he keeps asking me questions about it and I can't blinking remember the story!


This weeks' reading!


What I've been watching

Well, I am hooked on the Tina/Peter and Maria/Tyrone story line in Coronation Street (apologies to anyone who doesn't watch Corrie), I've watched Coronation Street on and off for years but I'm on a roll with it again much to my husbands amusement.  As I said to him, I've got a vested interest, we live only a few miles from where its filmed plus I keep bumping into the actors/actresses in the local Sainsburys (when they're out of character).  Just so you know, TV doesn't put 10lb on you any more, they look exactly the same as they do on TV!

I was really pleased when the new series of The Big Bang Theory came on E4, I love this programme its just so, so funny.  My favourite character is Sheldon but I love Raj as well.  

I think I must be the only person in the world not to have seen the first series of 24 (I must have been living on another planet) but I'm watching this new one because hubs is watching it.  To be honest I'm not sure what's going on but I'm enjoying it anyway, its very fast moving and its got some great actors in it.      


This weeks' websites / offers

Sweaty Betty
www.sweatybetty.com
There's 20% off online and in store at the moment, I shall be taking advantage of this as I love their fitness clothes, particularly their vests for yoga and pilates.

The Fragrance Shop
www.thefragranceshop.co.uk
Some good bargains this week, there's a save £7 on big brands (Diesel, Armani, Marc Jacobs, Hugo Boss, Gucci) and you get a free gift with some of these products too.

allbeauty.com
www.allbeauty.com
There are special offers on perfume, fake tan, beauty tools and some skincare products until midnight on 26th May, there are some serious offers here, up to 50%, worth a look to see if your favourite is on sale.  There's also a sale on Decleor products up to 75% off RRP.


ESPA
www.espaskincare.com
There's free UK delivery on orders over £40 and 2 samples with every order (you get to choose!)

Sanctuary
www.sanctuary.com
Some nice offers on handcare duos and free delivery when you spend over £25.



Hope you all have a good bank holiday weekend (here in the UK), see you next week.

Maria
xx











Shopping Haul | Video Review


Happy Thursday everybody!  The other day I took advantage of the fact that I was by myself in the house (well, apart from the dog who refused to get off the sofa which is why he's there with me in the video!) and made a little film about my latest shopping haul(s), its all products I was going to review for the blog but it would just have been a lot of really short posts so I thought I'd put it all together.  Its a bit of an eclectic mix but that just reflects me - a bit all over the place!

Maria
xx







Revlon Colorstay Lipstick - Finale

Happy Wednesday Beauty Bloggers, hope this week is going well for you.  I've got a lipstick review for you today.  I've probably mentioned before that I've got a bit of a thing about long lasting lipsticks, I don't really mind re-applying my lippie during the day but I'd rather not have to bother so whenever I find one that claims to last a while I always try it.

My latest purchase is this one, Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Suede, No 095, in Finale.



I think it's quite a strong colour, it looks very pillarbox red, but when its on (and eventually when it fades a bit) it tones down to a reddish/dark pink.  Sorry, I'm not explaining myself very clearly here but I think you might be able to see what I mean from the photo!

I was pleased that it lasted too, through cups of tea and lunch and actually pretty much all day.  I found that when it faded it did fade from the middle of my lips first, thus leaving what could have ended up as a rim which I hate but I think I probably need to be a bit more careful in my initial application of it, its a strong colour and probably could have done with maybe a lip primer, blotting and re-applying when I put it on first thing.  I wore it to a wedding the other week and was really pleased with it, it only needed a small touch up after the wedding breakfast and actually I could have got away without it.  The other thing I like is that being such a strong colour its also very season friendly, it goes with the spring and summer wardrobes really well and I think it would pretty much suit most skin tones.

Here's the link to the Revlon website showing the lipstick and other colours you can get in the same range Revlon ColorStay Lipsticks.  Interestingly, you can see from the Revlon website that Finale (which is the colour I'm wearing) looks very pink in the picture when in actual fact its quite red.  Just goes to show that what you see on screen isn't always what you get!

I've got a couple of other lipstick reviews in the pipeline and I'll be back in the next couple of days with this weeks' round up.

Maria
xx

Radox Coconut kiss, Original Source Mint & Tea Tree and Champneys Skin Comforting

Welcome to the May Bodywash Collection, there's only three this month but they are all a bit different from each other, it makes for an interesting array in my shower!  Out of the three pictured below, my favourite this month is the Radox Coconut Kiss, as its the one I seem to have used most of.


May Bodywash Collection


Radox Coconut Kiss Shower Cream
I must confess the thing that drew me towards this bodywash was the price because it was only £1.00 (I do love a bargain) but when I started using it I knew I'd go back and buy it again regardless of what price it was.  For anyone that loves the smell of coconut, this one is for you.  Its extremely creamy and moisturising and has a proper coconut smell, in fact it smells a bit like a Bounty bar you're sort of wondering where the chocolate is when you smell this.  My skin felt moisturised all day after using this, which was particularly good as I'd been caught by the sun when I was out on Saturday (shoulders, missed a bit with the SPF) and my skin was a bit sore, and I found this very soothing.  There are others in this range, though I think they are all fruit smells which I'm not so keen on but I still might try them. 

Original Source Mint and Tea Tree Shower Gel
Wow, this stuff wakes you up for sure!  If you've got a blocked up nose it'll clear it, no doubt about that.  I love mint, the taste, the smell, my favourite ice cream is mint choc chip so I knew this was probably going to be a thumbs up from me.  As well as being minty (the bottle tells you how many mint leaves its got in it) this shower gel has the added bonus of Tea Tree oil which as far as I'm concerned is the cure for all skin evils.  You can really feel the tea tree tingling as it mixes with the mint.  Now, this isn't the most relaxing shower you'll ever have because you'll be acutely aware of the smell but its certainly invigorating and while I didn't find it a particularly moisturising gel it didn't irritate my skin either which was good.  The only thing I don't like about this is the packaging.  I don't like the flip top lid, for some reason I found it fiddly to open and with this bottle if you squeeze too much you get too much gel and if you don't squeeze enough you don't get any at all.  But they are just my little gripes, I know this brand has been going for years so they must be doing something right!  

Champney's Skin Comforting Shower Cream
What can I say about this?  It's Champney's so I'm only going to say good things.  I went to a Champney's Spa a couple of years ago with my Mum and sisters and it was great.  Their products are gorgeous, so luxurious and this doesn't let you down, this one has coconut oil (coconuts again!) and milk proteins in it, both of which contribute to the very soft skin you end up with.  I think this was a present but I've seen Champney's products in Boots and you can buy them online here at the Champney's website.  As it happens I see they are on sale at £4 online at the moment so grab yourself a bargain before they run out!

Maria
xx

April Empties | Video Review




Hey there, hope you're enjoying the beautiful weather this weekend, I can't believe its been so gorgeous outside.

Now, I know its the middle of May so I apologise for being late posting this April Empties, this month I made a short video about them, they are pretty much all shower products, including:





Nivea In Shower Body Moisturiser
Sainsbury's Apple Shampoo
Pantene for Sleek Hair
Palmolive Argan Oil Bodywash
Pantene BB Cream for Hair (I'm now on my second bottle of this!)




I seem to rattle on about mascara for the last minute or so, not sure why, sorry about that!

Anyway, enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Maria
xx



Beauty Aware Weekly Round Up #2

Welcome to the weekly round up beautiful people, hope this week has been good for you.  Here's what's been happening this week.


Mental Health Awareness Week
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme this year is anxiety.  I'm not sure how well publicised this has actually been and I think its important which is why I'm mentioning it.  I'm not going to blether on for ages in a "woe is me" type of way but just wanted to say that I've had anxiety and panic attacks over quite a long period of time now, I had my first panic attack at 22 and I'm much older than that now and I still get them on occasion when I'm really stressed or anxious so I do have some experience of this.  I've also had beta blockers twice to help with anxiety, they worked and they did make me feel better.  All I would say is that it is really important to get help when you feel overwhelmed, anxious or like you can't cope.  It took me a long time to realise that there's no shame about reaching out to someone and saying "help".  It doesn't mean you're weak if you ask for help, it just means that you are being proactive and are doing something positive about it.  Its also worth saying that we need to look out for each other, sometimes it takes a close friend or relative to gently point out that you're not yourself and be there to give you some support.  That's what Mental Health Awareness Week is all about, being aware of not just our own mental health but that of those around us too.  So here is the link to the Mental Health Awareness site there's loads of helpful literature on there, I think its well worth a look.


What I'm reading ...


What I'm Reading
I haven't managed much reading this week as my youngest son was poorly until about Thursday so I haven't had much free time but I'm still working my way through the Anti Ageing Beauty Bible, it really is an interesting, informative book in a non-preachy way.  When I've finished it I will review it and in the meantime no doubt I'll be sprinkling my posts with little bits of information I've gleaned from there!  I've also been flicking through Cosmo Body and Look Magazine (think it was last weeks).


What I'm Wearing
This week I've been wearing an eyeliner I've had literally for years.  Its by Givenchy, and its blue!  I bought this eyeliner in New York in Sephora when I was there on my honeymoon, it was probably one some kind of sale as that's the only time I would be able to afford anything by Givenchy but anyway, I'm digressing.  I've been wearing it this week as I've sort of lightened my eye make up now that we're on the way to Summer (lets discount the huge amounts of rain we had earlier in the week ...) and I'm so glad I've rediscovered it.  Its more of a navy blue, I don't use much just a touch and I really like it.  It took me on a trip down memory lane, my very first eyeliner that I ever bought was blue and it was from Avon, it was what everyone was wearing to school, we thought we were so cool though none of us had a clue how to apply it, some of us looked spectacularly awful - lol.  So I have a fondness (and a history!) of blue eyeliners.  

Givenchy Magic Khol Eyeliner Pencil in Navy


Shopping at The Lowry Outlet / what I bought
Last Saturday we dodged the rain and drove to the Lowry Outlet Mall in Salford.  I'd been before but not for years so this was quite exciting.  The kids grumbled about it but then perked up when we mentioned Burger King.  I was pleased to see that the Moulton Brown and Bodyshop stores were still there.  As I've said before I LOVE Moulton Brown and I could have spent all day in there, there were so many good bargains.  In the end I purchased a bag of 20 travel bodywashes and bodycreams including my favourite "Gingerlily" which I absolutely love, I think there were 16 bodywashes and 4 bodycreams.  I also spent some time in the Bodyshop, conveniently located next door to Moulton Brownt.  I confess I spent ages in there as its not a shop I go to really, I don't know why.  After much browsing I bought a bodywash on sale and a calming foot spray that smells like mint.  I really need to start taking notice of my feet, they really aren't pretty at the moment! 


Websites / Offers
This weeks website offers are below:

www.allbeauty.com - up to 75% off RRP for fragrances, 60% RRP for self tan products and free Ultrasun Face worth £10 when you spend £15 or more on Ultrasun.

www.lookfantastic.com - 20% off next order, free delivery worldwide and 30% off big brand shampoos, conditioners and treatment including Redken, Kerastase, Shu Uemura, TIGI and more.

www.angelpharmacy.co.uk - save up to £50 on Nivea Sun cream products and there's also a sale on allergy products such as Piriteze, Piriton, Benadryl or Prevalin which might be useful for hayfever sufferers, I'm stocking up on Benadryl for my husband!

www.feelunique.com - There's a 14 day offer comprising 50 products for only £5 each which includes nails.inc special effects nail varnishes, plus everything you ever needed to know about pastel purple nails.


Blog Posts
The posts I've written this week are:

Baylis & Harding Soap Review
Bourjois Liner Ultra Black Review



Hope you all have a lovely sunny weekend, see you next week.

Maria
xx



Bayliss and Harding Soap | Review

Now, I don't usually rave about soap, because, you know, soap is soap right?  But I felt I just had to share this one with you.  It's by Bayliss and Harding and its a Limited Edition.  We go through a lot of liquid soap in our house as there's a lot of us and I'm a bit obsessive about hand washing.  I usually buy what's cheapest (i.e. about £2) but I do go for moisturising hand soaps particularly as two of my boys are prone to eczema and harsher soap makes their hands very sore.

This one jumped out at me in the supermarket (the soap/shower gel aisle is my favourite) because its pink (that doesn't show very well in the photo - sorry) and it smells like Strawberries and Cream and who wouldn't love that?  Also, you get a LOT of soap for £2 which I think is a really good price.  This soap is very moisturising and the smell lingers too.

Bayliss and Harding do a range of soaps, body creams and shower and bath products, if you look carefully at the packaging its got a touch of the Moulton Brown look about it, the pump action top and the shape of the bottle.  Its a pity this is a Limited Edition because I really like it, I'm going to see if there are any others next time I go shopping.

Love, Maria
xxx

Bayliss and Harding Strawberries and Cream Hand Wash


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