Friday, 31 January 2014

New Year Resolutions - one month on

Well, its nearly February so I thought I'd do a bit of a review of my resolutions, see if I've stuck to them and even more importantly if I can continue to stick to them!

The first one was Get Fit.  I think I've managed OK with this one so far, I've been going to the gym and have changed my eating habits too.  I didn't manage more than one week of the detox but I'm not too worried about that.  I do feel better and my fitness is returning, the first week in the gym I nearly collapsed with the exertion when I came off the rowing machine, now I am puffing a bit but recover more quickly which is a definite improvement.

My second resolution was Get Organised.  If I'm honest I started off really well with this, I managed great for about the first three weeks and then in the last week its all fallen apart and I've reverted to bad habits (procrastination). However,  Rome wasn't built in a day as they say, and this has been a tough week for various reasons so I'm not beating myself up about it.  I'll persevere.

My last resolution was Get Patient.  Again, I made a good start, I tried really hard even when the kids were driving me nuts.  Not been very patient this week though, except for with the dog because his brown eyes get me every time, he doesn't answer back, and he's always good for a cuddle when its all going wrong!

So, all in all, not too bad.  Could do better, lets try again in February!

Maria
xx




Both me and the dog need a haircut!

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Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Phil Smith Curly Locks

Over the years I must have tried almost every product on the market on my curly hair, I'm a sucker for a headline, especially ones that say "tames frizz" and "smoothes unruly curls".   I've got my favourites but I tend to chop and change, thus resulting in quite a lot of partly used hair products in the bathroom cabinet much to my husbands amusement, I say amusement, its probably annoyance but I choose to view it as amusement ...

Anyway, the one I've been using for a while now is Phil Smith's Curl Cream.  Phil Smith has a variety of products, but I've only used this one and a smoothing serum (which you don't need much of!).  This product has recently been updated (new/improved?) and I have to say I preferred the smell of the old one (it smelled like coconut sun cream and made me think of holidays) but the end result is the same.  The cream itself quite sticky and you don't need much of it, if you overload it really weighs your hair down, not at first but you do notice it once you've blow dried it.  I think I'm supposed to use a diffuser but I don't although I do get better results with a diffuser but its very time consuming as my hair dries so slowly and I don't have that sort of time in the mornings unless I get up at 5am which I'm not going to do just for my hair!

It really is curl controlling!

The end result though, is great.  It does actually define the curls but doesn't look "sticky" and also it does help with frizz too, OK so not in a thunderstorm but general getting wet to and from the car or whilst walking the dog.  Its quite a good price as well around the £5.00 mark, I get mine in the supermarket (Sainsburys) but I've also seen it in Boots.  Sainsburys usually have some kind of a deal on, either half price or three for two so I tend to stock up.

If there are any curly hair products that you've tried and would recommend I'd love to hear about them.

Read my post on Phil Smith Cocolicious Shampoo for a review on that, it's gorgeous!

Maria
xx


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Monday, 27 January 2014

Tidied up and found three old favourites!

Much as I love new make up I do find myself going back to old favourites, does anyone else do this?  I was tidying my dressing table the other day (wonders will never cease) and needed to rearrange my make up bags a bit, put stuff in my make up drawers etc, and as I was doing this I rediscovered these three items and I thought I'd share them with you.


Dior eyeshadow palette

The first one is this Dior eyeshadow palette which I got from Duty Free one year on my way back from Mexico in 2011.  You can see which colours I've used the most, the pale ones but the dark blue is lovely and so is the deep brown.  All of these have a lovely shimmer to them but you don't need much, it's more of an evening/special occasion palette than a daytime one I think.  It did have a brush with it but as usual I've mislaid it, I prefer my Laura Mercier eyeshadow brush anyway.  This is probably about the only Dior I own now, I think.  I'm quite glad I rediscovered it!



Prescriptives Blusher


Next up is my beloved Prescriptives blusher.  I really love this one because its the one I wore on my wedding day, I got married in 2007 so its a few years old now, the compact is all scratched because I carried it with me in a handbag for ages and it went to the bottom of the bag, I can't even tell you what the colour is because the writing has rubbed off the back of the compact!  I don't wear it often but I will always keep it.  The Prescriptives brand was discontinued a couple of years ago, they were part of the Estee Lauder group, I guess they weren't financially viable or something but such a pity because their cosmetics were beautiful.  I was particularly gutted as they did the perfect mineral foundation for me and I thought I'd never have to go anywhere else, how wrong was I!  The lady on the Prescriptives counter at John Lewis recommended that I go to Estee Lauder as the products are basically the same but I couldn't find what I liked at the time.  Prescriptives are still available in the USA but I've never been able to find exactly what I want when I'm there.

Guerlain Powder Pearls

This is my little pot of Guerlain pearls.  Another Duty Free purchase (you really don't want to let me loose in there with a credit card, I'm there until the flight is called), its part of a set of three small pots, one was pink pearls, one white pearls and another multi-coloured with pale blue and yellow, it sounds weird but looks nice.  These pearls give a really nice shimmer to your face but probably more of a spring/summer product than a winter one for me as I find anything shimmery shows up my many facial imperfections and there are many more in the winter than in the summer!

I'd really love to know what your old favourites are!

Maria
xx

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Sunday, 26 January 2014

NTA's - my six favourite celeb outfits

I do love award season, we've already had the Golden Globes and next month is the Oscars in LA, it really brightens up the dull old Winter with a bit of glamour.  Here in the UK last Wednesday was the National Television Awards, this is where all the TV soaps and dramas of the past year are awarded.   I raced home from Pilates not to see who got the awards particularly, but so I could have a look at all the celebrities swishing up the red carpet wearing their best party clothes as I love a good nosey at what people are wearing, I've no idea of the designers mind you.  So, in no particular order, I'm sharing with you all my six favourite outfits of the night (and two I wasn't so keen on).



First up, Holly Willoughby.  This is a great dress, its so shapely and suits her so well.  I imagine there's some kind of gravity defying corset going on under there and I bet her back was aching by the end of the night but she looked fab.










Next is Holly's best friend, Fearne Cotton.  Fearne always gets a big tick from all the magazines for her style, she can pretty much wear whatever she likes and she looks great, she's got an eclectic style and seems to carry off clothes that the rest of us can't! Anyway, onto her NTA dress.  I thought this was a great look on her, its so sophisticated and pretty and she really stands out on that red carpet in the dark.













This is Rochelle Humes from The Saturdays.  I love the unusual colour of this dress and the long lacy sleeves, it was lashing down with wind and rain on Wednesday evening so I bet she was glad her arms were covered up!  I like her bag as well.

















This is olympic medallist Rebecca Adlington and model Amy Willerton, and both just recently released from the Australian jungle (I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here).  Both of these dresses suit these ladies perfectly, Rebecca's shows off her great arms and Amy's gone for something princessy, you can't see it in the photo but the back of the dress is cut away, its very pretty.














Lastly, bravo to Tess Daly for wearing something different, ie trousers.  I really liked this on her plus she was also clearly dressing for the British weather!  Tess has been going up and down red carpets for years now and she's done the posh dress thing, plus she wears them all on a Saturday night whilst doing Strictly Come Dancing.  Apart from the fact that she looks great, its so different from everybody else that her outfit really stood out.















And now a couple that I wasn't so keen on, I'm a nice person so I'm not going to be really horrible about them but I've seen both of these ladies wearing much nicer outfits than the ones they chose last week.



Kelly Brook usually looks lovely but I really don't think this is the best choice for her, it swamps her and she's forgotten her bra although I doubt you could wear one with this dress.  Also, it was COLD that night, so what with the plunging neckline and the great big split up the side she must have been a bit chilly!



Caprice.  Ditto freezing cold like Kelly above.  Not sure on the whole "you can see my knickers" thing either, there's see through lace and there's see through lace, right?  


















I can't wait to see what the rest of the award outfits are like for the other ceremonies, roll on the Oscars!

Maria
xx


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Friday, 24 January 2014

January Magazine Review


Anyone that knows me will know that I am a bit of a magazine junkie, I don't sit down and read them cover to cover one after the other but I like to have a pile on the coffee table to dig into when I (eventually) sit down at the end of the day.  Seeing as I have so many I thought I'd share with you some of the beauty things the magazines have been talking about through January.

Dry Skin?  Try these!
The first big thing is Winter Skin.  Most people will suffer with dry skin in the Winter due to central heating and harsh cold weather.  Some of the recommended remedies pictured below are moisturisers, facewashes, cleansers and masks from Origins, Vaseline, Guinot and Cetaphil.  I've used Cetaphil facewash before, its a really good wash off cleanser, similar consistency to the E45 but lighter and it really doesn't dry your skin out, I think it costs about £9.00.  Someone also recommended it for my 6 year old who has very dry skin bordering on eczema on his little face, so I tried it and when I asked him how it felt he said his face didn't feel tight anymore - bless.

Or, you could try the Vichy (pictured below) which seems to be recommended by Kylie!  Its funny, Kylie always looks so good, its hard to imagine her ever having skin woes!

Kylie uses Vichy



I was also interested to see that Paul & Joe have a couple of new products out that had been reviewed, I've only recently been made aware of Paul & Joe and haven't used any of their cosmetics yet though I do have a lipstick on order from Beauty Bay that I'm going to try.  What struck me about these products pictured below is not only the product, one of which is brightening pearls, (I've had Guerlain ones before and they were great) but the packaging, its so pretty and summery, just what we need on a dull January day.  Actually I'm so in love the thought of the powder pearls I really might have to get some!  Let me know if you have any Paul & Joe in your make up bags and what you think of it, I'd be so interested.



Lovely powder from Paul & Joe

Now onto lipstick, this magazine ran a four page spread on what lipstick you should wear for your skin tone, which ones were day lippies and evening lippies.  I really enjoyed it.  I tend to play it a bit safe with lipstick, I stay with the colours I know suit me rather than experiment so I was interested to see that they recommended a bright orange and a purple as two of the three recommended for fair skin like mine.  Not sure if I'll be brave enough to try either of those colours myself, maybe one day though?



Bright colours for fair skin ... never say never!
Finally, I saw this little snippet in Zest magazine, its more health than beauty but I though it worth mentioning.  Its a series of little books called "Make It Happen Manuals" which are basically small self-help books you can dip into when you need a confidence boost, feeling stressed, unhappy or can't sleep.  They are £7.99 and apparently not "preachy" or full of complicated explanations, just affirmations that are easy to read.  I think I might need to try the "Make You Calm" one!!


Make It Happen Manuals £7.99

Magazines I read this month were:  Marie-Claire, Zest, NOW, Glamour and LOOK.

Roll on February editions!

Maria
xx
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Thursday, 23 January 2014

Beauty Bargain of the Week - Radox Shower Smoothie


I've got to show you this, its my Beauty Bargain of the Week.  I'm always on the look out for a beauty bargain when I'm out and about so when I get them I've decided to write a short blog and share my findings with you.

This week it's Shower Smoothies, Spirit Booster Shower Creme by Radox.  I was in the queue in the chemist waiting for my son's prescription and I spied this, it was £1.00.   As I've always loved anything Radox I got one, usually I prefer flowery scents as opposed to berries but this looked so yummy and at £1.00 it was definitely worth a try.

There is a little sign on the packaging that says "Don't eat me" which is not as odd as it sounds because it does smell and  feel a bit like a berry smoothie and it does feel a bit weird sort of washing yourself in something resembling a yoghurt particularly as its got little bits in it like a blueberry yoghurt would!  Once I got past that I thought how gorgeous it was, its very creamy (obviously) and the little berries are a sort of soft exfoliator which you don't notice at the time but afterwards realise how nice your skin feels.  I'm not sure if this was a limited edition that they've now discontinued or something new that didn't quite take off but nevertheless its a really nice addition to my bodywash selection, if I see another flavour I'm going to try that one as well!

Maria
xx


Radox Shower Smoothie Spirit Booster

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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Clinique Eye Shadow Quad | Review


Happy Wednesday everybody!  Have a look at my latest eyeshadow quad.  It's from Clinique.




If you asked me what my favourite brand is when it comes to eyeshadow I would have to say Clinique.   I've just never had a bad Clinique eyeshadow, the colours are always true and it is so long lasting you know you can wear for 18 hours and it'll still be pretty good by the time you need to take it off to go to bed.   I was browsing the eBid site the other day and came across this little quad, its just four colours, no mirror and no small brush as it was part of a Clinique beauty set, but I really, really love it.  Firstly, I like the packaging, its pretty and summery and typically Clinique, secondly all four colours are perfect either alone or in combinations with each other, another thing I liked is that the all colours have a little shimmer to them which I think is pretty.





So, the colours on my eyelids are:   Strawberry Fudge (top right in quad) and the colour on the outer lid is Beach Plum (top left in quad).  The colours at the bottom of the palette are from the Like Mink duo, I've had this duo before but lost it on holiday one year so I was pleased to get another one!

What's your favourite brand for eyeshadow?

Love, Maria
xx

















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Monday, 20 January 2014

Blue Monday with Green Tea

Green Tea with Mint is less really quite nice!


Today is Monday 20th January and reportedly the most depressing day of the year so far, apparently we have all run out of money, all the big bills are plopping on the doormat, we're unfit and unhealthy due to the excesses of Christmas, the weather is cold and its dark.  This description of a day is enough to depress anybody, and I can say that because I've had depression myself, albeit mild and not as bad as some people have it!  So with all the news reports forcing me to be depressed I sat down with a Green Tea and decided to ignore the bills, the dark and my cellulite and write down five things that make today quite alright actually.  

  1. Today is my eldest son's 9th birthday
  2. The sun is shining
  3. My littlest son declared he wanted to be the tooth fairy when he grew up (a boy one, apparently)
  4. My Naked Urban Decay Basics palette arrived from Beauty Bay
  5. Its only 9 more weeks until the clocks change for the summer

I know we're not always in the right place to even try to be positive but sometimes when you remind yourself of the little things it helps, I think.

Quick word about Green Tea, I'm drinking it as part of my January detox (which I am struggling with, I can't see myself lasting another week) and although I have always hated the bitter taste of Green Tea I do quite like this one with Mint, its growing on me plus its got loads of antioxidants in it which hopefully will be good for my skin and according to my trainer will assist with weight loss (we'll see about that!).

Happy Blue Monday everyone!

Maria 
xx 





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Sunday, 19 January 2014

MAC Lipstick - Vegas Volt

It's a really long time since I bought a MAC lipstick but I was browsing through one of the stores on eBid a while back and saw this little bargain, it was brand new, boxed and was very reasonably priced too.  I haven't got many MAC lipsticks but this colour really appealed to me.

MAC "Vegas Volt"

The colour is Vegas Volt, when I first tried it on I wasn't sure if it was for me as it's quite bright and tend to wear lipsticks with brown or reddish tones so a bit different to the ones I'm used to but after a while I really liked it.  What I liked most is that it's a very creamy, moisturising lipstick and though it isn't particularly long lasting it does at least fade from the lips elegantly rather than leaving a dark outline which I hate.  The longevity of this could probably be enhanced by applying, blotting then reapplying or perhaps with a lip brush, I often find lipsticks last longer when applied with a brush.

I think its probably more of a Summer lipstick, for me at least, as I am quite pale and need some freckles to give me a bit of a glow so I'll save it for a couple of months.  The photo below doesn't really do the product justice but it does give an idea of the colour, I had layered it quite thick which is why its bright, I think for me its probably more flattering as a paler colour, I'm thinking less might be more!


I'm really pleased with this lipstick though and am definitely going to add more MAC to my collection over time, if anyone has any favourite MAC colours they can recommend please let me know, I'd be really interested to hear your thoughts.

Maria
xx
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Monday, 13 January 2014

Cancer Horoscope for 2014

I don't usually take much notice of horoscopes but I was flicking through my NOW magazine and saw the 2014 horoscopes.  I'm a Cancerian born in July and according to NOW this is what's going to happen to me (and actress Diane Kruger, also a Cancerian), this year.

2014 Horoscope for Cancer according to NOW


  1. We'll get fit after having health concerns in August.
  2. We need to be careful with money (not part of my personality normally, unfortunately).
  3. We need to know where we stand in our work life and finances.
  4. We're going to show more than a hint of our petticoats to someone who likes traditional values as much as us and likes to play dress up (lol, not showing this to hubby!)
  5. Jupiter, our lucky planet is with us until early July and only visits once every 12 years (intriguing!)


I think I will do review at the end of the year to see how true this is!

Maria
x
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Saturday, 4 January 2014

No7 Lift & Luminate Foundation - Review

Just before Christmas I admitted defeat, my summer foundation just wasn't cutting it anymore, summer was well and truly over and I needed a proper base on my (pale, freckle-less) face.  As No7 foundations always seem to suit me and I was in a hurry I thought it was a safe bet so I nipped into Boots to have a look.  I knew I needed medium coverage as my summer foundation was light but I wasn't sure whether to get one for mature skin.  How old do you have to be to have skin described as mature?  I wasn't sure but I'm only in my forties and my skin is good so I decided to give that at miss for now.  Just as I was pondering this question a nice No7 lady rescued me and asked if she could help.  Yes please!  I told her my plight and she recommended a Lift and Luminate with Medium Coverage which ...

"lifts and firms, evens skin tone and disguises pores with SPF 15 included"

The colour I got was "Cool Vanilla" which is the same colour as the light foundation I usually use so that was perfect.  It cost £16.50 but I had some Boots points to use so it felt like it was free!  I've included a link to the Boots website incase you want to see the full details of the product, it also gives a run down of all the colours you can get No7 Lift & Luminate.

Results!

So the next day I tried it (see photo below). This is me make up free except for the foundation and a tiny bit of concealer.  Excuse the towel on my head, I always put my face on before I dry my hair.  I was really pleased with the coverage and it really hid a lot of flaws as I hadn't had a good nights sleep and I was really tired.  The consistency is lovely, not too thick and the coverage is good, it doesn't have a matte finish but it doesn't make you look shiny either.

Make up free except for the foundation
Finished (almost) face

In this photo I'd put my face on and got rid of the towel, this is pretty much the finished product minus lipstick.  The sun had come out by the time I took this photo which is why its brighter than the other one. 

Boots No7 Lift and Luminate Foundation
So, the reasons I rate this foundation are as follows:

1.  Lovely consistency, blended easily with fingers
2.  Good base for blusher
3.  "Healthy" takes away the pasty look!
4.  Doesn't slide off during the day
5.  Good for fine lines, doesn't make it look like 
     you've filled in the cracks!
6.  Don't need much so should last a while
7.  Its hypoallergenic so doesn't irritate my eczema

I'm really pleased with this foundation, and I was also impressed with the service from the No7 lady in Boots Central Milton Keynes, she was really nice and helpful.  

I wonder how it will fare when I'm at the gym, if it doesn't slide off my face then it truly is a miracle foundation!
Love, Maria
xx
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Friday, 3 January 2014

Happy New Year (belated ...)

Happy New Year!  I'm sorry I'm days late with this, clearly my "let's be more organised this year" resolution has already fallen by the wayside!  Hopefully I will be more successful with my other resolutions (listed a bit later in the post).

I've given quite a lot of thought to my resolutions this year because what usually happens is that I have a list and then by the end of January (or earlier) I've broken every single one of them.  That's a bit depressing in itself, who needs to fail that early in the year?  So, last year I didn't make any which was fine but I felt a bit of a party pooper when people asked what my hopes were for the coming year and I said "nothing".  Anyway, this year I've given it a lot of thought and decided only to write down what I think will be achievable.  This does not include dieting as I'll get to next Friday and reach for the chocolate biscuits and then eat the entire packet, then feel guilty (and sick!) and I'm not going to resolve to stop worrying about everything because I've been a worrier for the last 35 years of my life so I doubt it's going to change now!  

I love the way that New Year enables us to start again, get rid of anything negative from the last twelve months and move on in a positive way.  On that note, please see below the 2014 resolutions from Mrs Byrom, ta da!

  
Get Fit!



Get Fit

By "Get Fit", I don't mean lose weight, I mean get fit inside.  I want to tone up, increase my stamina, eat five a day, drink more water and reduce my weekly crisp intake by 50%!  I was given a few personal trainer sessions for Christmas from my mother-in-law, (don't worry, I did ask for him, he wasn't a hint from her to say you're too fat, get your backside down the gym) and I am really quite excited about it, partly because I'll feel like a celeb for a few weeks with my personal trainer but also because it'll be something just for me, no kids, no husband, no dog "byee, I'm off to the gym, see you in an hour". I will, of course, let you know how I get on, good or bad!

Get Organised

Currently I live in muddled chaos, which means that my desk is messy, my handbag is a disaster, I am always losing both pairs of glasses and those flipping letters from school just seem to always get lost, I'm always the last mother to send in the money for the school trip and I don't seem to be able to pair up socks very well, we're all walking round in odd socks in this house (black but with different coloured toes).   I was a PA for years and when I had my appraisal I was always applauded for my "organisational skills".  So I figured, if I could do it at work, in an office and organise twenty or more people, plus myself then I can do it at home for five people and a soppy Cockerpoo.  Lists, lists and more lists, that's the answer.  And stick to them!

Get Patient

Lastly, this is a short one but important.  I live in a busy house and I'm tired a lot of the time and that makes me irritable.  But I don't want my kids to grow up remembering me as a ratty old bag so I am going to try to be more patient with them, even when they are driving me nuts first thing in the morning because they can't find their reading books and I've had to tell them twelve times to get their coats on because we're late.  Deep breath and count to ten before snapping like Cruella De Ville.

(I'm also resolving to blog more often and sort out my website which is OK but needs work).

Happy 2014 to everybody, I really hope it brings you everything you wish for.

Maria 
xx
  
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Thursday, 2 January 2014

Maybelline 10h Super Stay Tint Gloss - The Result!

I've been meaning to post this for a few days but somehow haven't found the time, so I've nipped in and pressed "send" whilst doing the tea!  I haven't done my Happy New Year/Resolutions posts yet but am intending to do those tomorrow, the kids are still off school, we may have a pyjama day tomorrow.  After all the chocolate I ate at Christmas my PJ's are pretty much the only comfy clothes I own now anyway!  But I'm digressing.  So, a couple of weeks ago I bought a lip tint by Maybelline, Super Stay 10h Tint Gloss.  I mentioned in a previous post that I'd tried it and it hadn't lasted the 10 hours.  I've since tried it quite a few times and I have to say it really doesn't stay on for 10 hours, at least not for me.  It lasts for a snack and a couple of cups of tea and then starts to disappear.  However, I do love this lipgloss anyway.  I love the colour (the one pictured is called Forever Coral), I love the consistency which is light and dries quickly and I love the way that although it doesn't stay on all day it isn't sticky but does still look glossy.  Nice one, Maybelline!




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