Sunday, 10 September 2017

Positive Goals 2017 - how far have I got?

This year I decided not to have resolutions because frankly I'm rubbish at them, they last about five minutes and I never get anywhere.  I decided to have goals this year, goals sounded so much more achievable, I really thought about it and wrote them down and then I wrote a blog post on them.

This is the original blog post - click here to read

Actually, there were 8 positive goals and I remember I did that because I thought it would be inspiring (for me, not anyone else).  I was happy with them.  Then, the other night when I couldn't sleep I got to thinking about them, and the fact that we are in September already which is really freaking me out and I wondered where the year had gone.  And, indeed, if I'd managed to achieve even one of the things I set out to do.

It's fair to say that for me personally, this year has been trying for me, caught up in family stuff which will always come first and everything else taking a back seat.  It's about priorities and this year literally from Christmas I've been spinning plates, dropping some of them but mainly keeping most things in the air.  I guess that's why there weren't many blog posts written until a few weeks ago, I didn't have time or energy or the brain power to write and it was very frustrating because I really wanted to but couldn't.

So, that's a bit of the background.

Let's go over the goal progress.

Goal 1 - Grow my Avon business
I think it's fair to say that it hasn't grown but it is ticking over and I've had quite a lot of success selling excess stock in my shop on eBay, something that I hadn't even thought about when I wrote about these goals.
Goal Met?  Not really.

Goal 2 - Get rid of all the shoes I don't wear 
I have had two shoe clear outs this year and am due another one as I've still got two or three plastic boxes of shoes that very rarely get worn.  Also, some of them have very high heels and they'll have to go because they make my knees ache.  I'm reluctant to get rid of my beloved heels but I do need to be able to walk and it's really horrible having stiff and achey knee joints.
Goal Met - Yes!

Goal 3 - Sort out my utility/laundry room
This was a biggie and had to take a back seat because room renovations were not on the top of our list with other stuff going on.  However, I have recently had a look for cupboards and I've got an architect coming round to tell me what will fit and I've had a conversation with the guy who's going to do the fitting so ... I'm hopeful it'll be done before Christmas and if not, early 2018.
Goal Met - Nearly.

Goal 4 - Lose half a stone and increase my pilates classes
How I laughed, lose half a stone ... put half a stone on more like.  Oopsie, fail.  However, I have increased my pilates classes - go me!  I've also been pretty consistent at the gym, though over the summer I hardly went at all but now school has started again I've got more time in the day and can go then.  I've also had a bit of an epiphany about body image this year which I'll write more about in a different post. 
Goat Met - Half met, half not.

Goal 5 - Read all the links I've saved on Facebook
Ok, so I haven't read them all but I have gone through them and deleted the ones that are no longer relevant.  Having said that I have now added new links to read 'sometime' so .... I think I might be back to square one.
Goal Met - Not really

Goal 6 - Increase traffic to my blog
In a nutshell, no it hasn't increased but then it hasn't decreased either.  What's changed though is that I am ok about it not increasing whereas before I was a bit "I must get hundreds of views on each post".
Goal Met - Nope!

Goal 7 - Start to research my ebook
Well, when I wrote this I only had a vague idea of what I wanted to write about and while I haven't changed my mind about the subject, I have got different ideas as to the format of the book.  So I guess you could say I have started to research it, and I've definitely researched the publishing side of things (that's a whole ebook in itself frankly).
Goal Met - Yes

Goal 8 - Start a newsletter (get to grips with Mailchimp)
Dearie me, this made me laugh who was I kidding about a newsletter when I have barely been able to write and publish blog posts all year.  Plus you really need a regular readership to warrant a 'newsletter' so I think we'll just shelve this one.  Maybe I'd been at the New Year sherry when I wrote this one?
Goal Met - No, and I'm ditching it!

I guess considering I haven't been very goal focussed so far this year I've done pretty well and I'm pleased that I've revisited them because normally I just write them and that's it.  It's good to revisit to have a think about what I've done and how far I have (or haven't) got, and whether these goals are realistic or need tweaking or, as in the last one, need ditching altogether!  

Also, we are still in September (though if one more person tells me how many more weeks it is to Christmas I will literally run screaming into the night) so there is definitely time to tie a few more goals up and if not, we can always carry them over to next year, can't we?

Love, Maria
xx

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Saturday, 9 September 2017

Avon Mark Gel Shine Nails - Nutty Berry

Quick Saturday post about nails, I'm a bit obsessed with writing about nail polish at the moment.

Today I changed my nail polish, I've been wearing Rita Ora Rimmel in a sort of pinky colour all week but it's finally chipping so I decided to change it.  As we are into Autumn I've been delving into my berry and brown shades and I found this one, its Avon Mark Gel Shine and it's called Nutty Berry.

So, on my nails are two coats (and a Sally Hansen strengthening undercoat which can also be used as a top coat - bonus) and then the clear Avon Gel Shine on top.  My top coat needs changing though as it's nearly used up and is a bit gloopy so I need to order a new one next time.

I'm not usually a brown nail polish kind of person, I'll be honest, I'm into pinks and nudes and pale colours, sometimes red.  While I love the colour of this one I'm not sure it looks that good on my hands, I think they are too pale and the brown isn't warm enough, does that make sense?

In terms of the colour, Nutty Berry is recommended but I'm not sure it suits me particularly.  If you want to read a review on the Dazzle Pink colour from the same brand, click here.

Love, Maria
xx

Avon Mark Gel Shine Nutty Berry

Beautiful shade of Autumn brown - Nutty Berry









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Thursday, 7 September 2017

Avon Anew Cleansing Water | Review


As I was removing my make up last night I thought that I really must do a post on the Avon Anew Cleansing Water as I've had it for ages and almost finished the bottle and I still haven't mentioned in either on Instagram or on the blog yet.  I did have good intentions, I took the photo ages ago when I'd only used it a couple of times!  Anyway, If you're an Avon fan or customer then this might be worth a read. 

I'll be honest, I'm a bit late to the party with cleansing water (or micellar water) as I've only really been using it for about the last year.  Prior to that I was on and off with various toners but since I've used cleansing water as part of my skincare routine I've noticed a massive difference in my skin, it's softer and in the evenings I really feel like all my make up has been removed.  I'm always amazed at how much extra make up comes off on the cotton pad with the water after I think I've cleaned it with a cleanser or face wash, particularly around the eye area, it's really good to get all that mascara and eye make up off.

So, onto the Avon Anew Cleansing Water.  It is relatively new to Avon, alongside their Comforting Cream Cleanser which I've also tried and really like.  It's a 3 in 1 which means that it cleanses, tones and removes make up.  And it states that it's anti-ageing.  I've said before I hate that term, there's nothing wrong with ageing, I just want nice soft skin, stuff the ageing thing!  Anyway, given the backlash in the media recently (e.g Helen Mirren interview with magazine regarding anti ageing) maybe the next bottle will have different wording, who knows?  

But I'm digressing.  What I should be saying is that this really is a very nice product, it's got a lovely gentle smell to it, it does indeed cleanse, tone and remove make up and there's no alcohol in it so it doesn't make your face sting, it's very gentle (it says for all skin types on the bottle).  It costs £6.50 and can be purchased through your Avon rep or through the website. 

Scroll right down to the bottom for photos of me removing and the results!

Love, Maria
xx



Avon Anew 3 in 1 Cleansing Water




Don't I look lovely!  Ha!

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Thursday, 31 August 2017

Studio 35 Beauty Nail Polish Remover Wipes | Review

Studio 35 isn't a brand I'd ever heard of until I went to Walgreens as we don't have Walgreens OR Studio 35 here in the UK.  Shame for us because these Nail Polish Remover Pads are literally the best nail polish removers I've ever, ever used.

I always wear nail polish as I'm not keen on my natural nails.  I bit them until I was aged about 20 so you could say I've always had a bit of an iffy relationship with them.  They aren't long because they tend to break but they are a nice length and most of the time a nice shape, sort of.  I change my polish regularly because I don't like it when it chips, for a start you can see the weakened nail underneath which is what I'm trying to cover up!

Anyway back to the wipes.  Like I said, I got these in Walgreens, I like that they are in little individual sealed sachets so they are brilliant for travel, unlike those little pots of nail wipes you can get which tend to dry out quickly and the material is so thin that you can only do one or two nails with them at most.

On the box it says that you only need one wipe for all 10 nails.  I have to say that I was sceptical having only known the aforementioned pots of wipes, so I didn't really believe what they'd written.  How wrong was I?!  The pads have been soaked in remover and the material is thick so they don't rip or tear and I only needed to wipe the nail a couple of times to get all the polish off.  Very pleased!

If I'd known how good they were I'd have really stocked up, as it is I use them sparingly usually when I'm going on holiday because they are so good for travel.  However, I've got a trip to New York (minus kids) coming up which I'm very excited about, and these babies are definitely on my shopping list.

Love, Maria
xx


They're the best!  Studio 35 Nail Polish Remover Pads



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Saturday, 26 August 2017

Week 4 of the summer holidays and Back to School stationery

This week has been a funny week.  It's week 4 of the summer holidays which means only another fortnight until everyone is back at school.  We were mostly away at the beginning of the holidays so this is the first full week we've done at home.

So far this week we've had a doctors appointment (couldn't park), a dentist appointment (was late, they closed the road I needed to use), hair cuts, food shopping (twice), a trip to the local Ford garage to get a battery for the car key as it won't work without it (8 quid!!), and a photo shoot with my friend Natalie to get some professional shots of the boys to put in a frame for my husband's birthday.  The dog pulled a ligament chasing a rabbit and has been limping and feeling sorry for himself all week and I've been worried sick because, you know, he's my baby and all that.

The weather is awful.  Dull and overcast and it feels like October half term.  Nobody is amused.  We are all missing Spain and Wales as that was the last time we saw the sun.

Also ...

Son 1 has just remembered his holiday homework.
Son 2 has worn the same pair of shorts since Sunday and 'can't find' a clean pair of socks anywhere.
Son 3 is just being very loud all of a sudden, I need a remote to turn him down this week.

I got on the scales (mistake) and am now back on Slimming World.  I'm actually not that bothered what I weigh but my clothes are tight and not comfy so a couple of pounds needs to go. It's my own fault, you know what they say, if you eat crap you feel like crap and it is true, I always feel better when I eat good food and I find that SW helps me to do that as I have a tendency to feed the boys properly and then not bother with myself that much, and that's not right.

This week I've also realised that I might have a little addiction to stationery.  I now view stationery the same way I used to view high heeled shoes in the days before I had to go on school runs and heels were basically relegated to the 'going out' section of my wardrobe.

It's not really pens and pencils as I'll use any old biro and I'm left handed so I don't use inky pens as they smudge, no it's notebooks A5 and A4, the prettier the better.  I particularly like ones that have the word 'organise' printed on them as it makes me feel like I might actually get organised if I have them in the house.  Of course, this past week I've been in my element because everywhere is screaming 'Back To School' and there's lots of lovely colourful pencil cases, notepads, and diaries and journals and  organisers just waiting to be snapped up.  Tesco has been particularly perused to death, they've got stationery both downstairs and upstairs in our local one and stationery type goodies have fallen into my trolley at least twice.

So in my opinion, this is my experience of stationery recently.

Tesco - excellent Pukka Pad sets on sale in a variety of colours (pink, purple, green) and I got a lined notebook with a removable cover which can be reused, an academic diary and a green A5 project book with dividers.  There were also some really nice pencil cases there (which I resisted because I really do not have a need for a pencil case though I did think it would make a nice case for my kohl pencil collection).

Paperchase - journals and diaries, both academic and for 2018.  They do a really nice selection of diaries, week-to-view and daily.  Last year, I got a blogging journal in there which sadly has been either discontinued or is not on sale anymore, I'm hoping they bring those back at some point as they were ace.

Amazon - great blogging planners or journals though most of them are in diary form and A4 so new year might be a better time to get those.  Massive packets of pens of every shape, size and colour and really good deals on those see through plastic cover slips.  I bought loads as Son 1 goes through quite a few at the beginning of term.

Sainsburys - very pretty and quite funky notebooks both A4 and A5, lots of 'on the wall' organiser type things as well which are good for confused Mum's like myself when you've got seventy billion things going in one day and then you forget to feed the cat, that kind of thing.  Their pads of lined paper are really good value as well (I bought a couple for homework purposes - the kids, not mine).

The Works - I love The Works.  Sadly, it's possible for me to spend a fortune in there even though all their stuff is so reasonably priced.  They've got super A4 notebooks/journals with nice hardback covers for between £2 and £4, they also sell those small exercise books like you have at school which can be useful if you don't want a massive book in your bag.  You can get them in packs of 10 for not very much money.  You can also order online from The Works, I've never done it but every time I pay for something there the young man behind the counter advises me of all the further discounts I could get if I went online (must do that sometime).

So there we are.  And I am now not allowed to buy any stationery for the next three weeks.

Love, Maria
xxx

Notebook and diary from Tescos.  Slimming World magazine self explanatory!




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Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Max Factor 2000 Calorie Mascaras | Review

It's safe to say that Max Factor 2000 Calorie in Black has been my staple mascara for about 20 years. It just works on me.  I like the brush, I like the consistency and I like the way I can wash it off without having to use endless amounts of eye make up remover.  I also like that it's a good price, 2000 Calorie is under £10.00.

So, before my recent holiday to Spain I bought two new 2000's, one was a waterproof mascara, as I envisaged swimming gracefully like a mermaid every day and the other was a curl mascara, I thought I'd try Black/Brown just for a change of colour.

Off I toddled to Spain with my three mascaras safely in my luggage where I proceeded to use them all and here's my little review.

1.  Max Factor 2000 Calorie Curl Addict
Great for curling lashes, I loved the black/brown colour too, it made a change from black.  I felt like my eyelashes really stood out even though they aren't particularly long and it didn't make my lashes feel thick or heavy, I'm not a fan of thick mascaras that weigh my lashes down.  I'd definitely buy this again and it was roughly the same price as the one I usually use.

2.  Max Factor 2000 Calorie
The one, the only, the original ... I have to say that because I've been wearing it for so long and therefore really the only review I can give it is a big old 10/10.  I just can't fault it.  I've tried others but I always go back to this one.  I like that the fibres on the brush are soft and natural, I don't like those sharp plastic pointy ones, they don't suit my lashes, I feel like they are scratching my eyelids (just me though I guess).  Obviously, I will buy this again, and again, and again.  It's got to be one of Max Factor's best selling products surely?  I might Google that and see what I can find out.


3.  Max Factor 2000 Calorie Waterproof Volume
I haven't bought a waterproof mascara for years because I find them a bit of a waste of money as I just don't use them enough before they dry out.  However, like I said before I'd decided that I was going to use it a lot because I was intending to spend a lot of time in the pool on holiday.  I wish I could say I was impressed with it but I'm not.  To be fair, it is waterproof, it didn't run and I was able to swim without it pouring down my face but I wasn't keen on the plasticky bristles on the brush and it did not give them any volume at all let alone 2000 calorie's worth.

If I'm honest though, I've never been impressed with any waterproof mascara, they've pretty much all been disappointing which is why I don't use them.  I will keep this because you never know when it will come in handy but I suspect it will dry out before I need to use it again.

Very happy with the others though!

Love, Maria
xxx


Max Factor 2000 Calorie - my collection of mascaras

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Monday, 7 August 2017

Mark Gel Shine Nails - Dazzle Pink

Im sitting here watching Son's 2 and 3 in the swimming pool as No 3 has only really just learned to swim so I've got my lifeguard head on.  I thought I'd share my latest nail colour.

It's from Avon.  It's from the new Mark range and it's a Gel Shine one.  I love these Avon Gel Shine's I rarely wear anything else these days.  This one is called Dazzle Pink and it's fast becoming a second favourite to Lavender Sky which I've already written about this year.

Mark Gel Shine Dazzle Pink and top coat

Avon Mark Gel Shine Dazzle Pink Nail Enamel

Mark Gel Shine Dazzle Pink

Dazzle Pink plus Top Coat


Dazzle Pink is a bit of a misleading name actually because as far as I can see it's not very pink, it's more of a light peach colour and it's got a very slight shimmer to it hence the 'Dazzle' part of the name.  Still a lovely colour though.  One of my favourite pink ones is ASAP Pink from Avon which is a 30 second drying one, that's great.

Two coats is a definite, plus the Mark Gel Shine top coat which is on my list of favourite top coats.  It's worth investing in the top coat because it does help stop chipping and it is very shiny and I love shiny nails so I've always got some in.  Actually, I stock loads because I always have customers wanting it, I recently recommended it on my Avon FB page and it went a bit nuts.  These polishes are usually about £7 but quite often half price, so as I've said before, worth stocking up and I often have excess nail polish stock in my eBay shop going for less than that, eBay is a great place to check these things out.

As you can see from the photos above my nails aren't long, I do try but they break, but that's fine, I don't mind having them short, this is a nice colour for short nails I think.

I'm looking forward to seeing the Autumn/Winter Gel Shine shades which should be in the next lot of  First Look brochures.  It's hard to think about that whilst the sun is shining here but it'll be here before we know it.  Actually sooner, we go home to the rain tomorrow!

Love, Maria
xxx
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Saturday, 5 August 2017

Clinique Cheek Pop Review and other Blusher Wonderings

Over the past few months I've accumulated several new blushers.  This is partly because I went on holiday to Florida earlier this year and spent a small fortune in Walgreens, Walmart and Target not to mention the Florida Outlet Mall which, frankly, was my idea of heaven.  I'm sure it won't be a surprise to learn that it wasn't only blushers that I bought (wait till I do the post on Urban Decay Naked 3).

So anyway, today I'm going to showcase this little beauty by Clinique which was purchased at my favourite beauty shop in the Florida Outlet Mall .

Clinique Cheek Pop 'Melon Pop'

Melon Pop from Clinique


It's an aptly named Cheek Pop, I guess so that you can 'pop' a bit of colour on and go.  The colour is 'Melon Pop' somewhere between the colour of water melon and that other orange melon that I can't remember the name of right now.

This is different from most of my blushes which are big enough in the pan to swirl a massive Real Techniques blusher brush in so I was wondering if I'd be able to use it, and also the pattern on the product is so pretty part of me didn't want to use it as I didn't want to wear it away.  However, these things are bought to be used so I tried it at first with a smallish blusher brush (medium Real Techniques, one that they would use for contouring maybe) and it worked, I managed to get good coverage and because the colour is not highly pigmented it's easy to layer and work in and gives a lovely healthy glow.

Most of my blushers are pink based because I'm pale so anything with a hint of peach has a tendency to look unnatural, however I think it helps that it's summer and the Freckles are out so I've got more colour, I'm not sure how it'll look when I am alabaster in the Winter, I'll have to see.  I've been putting a bit of highlighter over the top where the cheekbones are to make it look a bit different, I've got a lovely summery Milani one that I'm loving at the moment (in pic bottom right but the Physicians Formula one is good too).

Milani blush, bottom right


It got me thinking what is the Cheek Pop range and what else is there in the range?  That's when I decided to go on the Clinique website.  Big mistake.  Since doing that I have created an account, purchased two items (with free samples of course) and have signed up for newsletters and text alerts on new products.  Oh dear.

But back to the Pop range.  There are no less than 14 shades of the beautiful Cheek Pop one of which is a lovely pink which is now on a wishlist and an Oil and Lip Cheek Glow which is one of those products that does a two in one, I've never got on with those so I'd be interested to see how that one works in practice.

So there we are, my blusher babbling is now complete.  Did I mention that one of the things I got from the Clinique website just now was a Special Edition Cheek Pop ... can't wait!

Love, Maria
xxx


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Thursday, 3 August 2017

First day holiday ramblings and first look at the Duty Free purchases





I brought my laptop on holiday determined to sit in an idyllic scene and blog.  So I am.  Warm breeze, beautiful surroundings, it's the ideal place to be creative.

I struggle with creativity sometimes because my mind is all over the place for about 98% of the time and I find it hard to focus.  I read a really good thing on Instagram yesterday (can't remember who is was from to credit but rest assured I'm not suggesting I made up these words).  It says

Mum's brains are like a computer
There's always 15 tabs open

When I read that I thought Amen to that sister!  In addition to this, there's always one or two tabs that never close and to top it off they ping open by themselves in the night and wake me up and I can't get back to sleep.

But enough, this is not meant to be a moany post, god knows I did enough of that at the airport (both before and after) yesterday.  No, this post is to try to relax and think how lucky I am to be able to have a holiday like this.  The villa we are staying in for the next few days belongs to our extended family, in a beautiful part of Southern Spain, 25 minutes from Gibraltar airport so providing you get an early enough flight you can get on a plane early doors at Manchester and be in the sun by lunchtime.  Gibraltar airport is easy peasy, it's not big so there's never a huge queue which I love as I hate queueing and British airports (and American) seem to be the worst.  And I know it's because of security but that doesn't make it any less wearing, particularly with kids.

So I'm on the plane yesterday sitting with Sons 2 and 3 and they've got their heads in their DS machines (still don't get how these work or how they don't end up with a migraine) and I'd bought myself some lovely stationery the day before as I'm determined to start planning this blog properly (as part of my 'get some me time' regime that I'm trying to put in place) and I started to jot down all the things I wanted to blog about, all the products, all the little Life things and then ... I spied the little magazine in the pocket of the seat in front.  My heart leapt.  It was the Duty Free brochure.

Yay!

Down went the fancy pen, I grabbed that book out of the pocket almost giving the person in front of me whiplash in the process, and O M G there were pages and pages of lovely beauty things that I could drool over, and can I just point out there was more in the Monarch brochure than in the Thomas Cook one I read earlier this year, just sayin'.



Stila One Step Correct



Several things caught my eye, not least the YSL Mon Paris perfume which was down to £59 from £71 but I resisted and dithered for quite a few minutes but eventually decided on Alpha H Liquid Gold with Glycolic Acid serum and a One Step Correct Primer from Stila.  The packaging on the Stila got me because it's so pretty and now I'm wondering if  the whole product is too pretty to use (see pic), look at the pretty swirly pattern!









Alpha H Liquid Gold





This is the Alpha H Liquid Gold (I assume some sort of oil) with Glycolic Acid which is applied to face, neck and decolletage and helps to firm the skin.  This is what it says it does anyway so I hope it's true as I've noticed recently that I need a bit of help in the decolletage area.  It's annoying that bits of me have suddenly started to look older but I guess that's going to happen.

I'm pleased to say I got an extra 10% off the final price so I got both of these beauties for just under £35 which personally, I think is a bit of a bargain and I am really looking forward to trying both products.



Love, Maria
xxx



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Thursday, 27 July 2017

Thinking about blogging. Who do I blog for?

I've been thinking a lot about blogging in the past week.

I don't mean thinking of topics but rather, why I blog, who do I blog for?  Is it me, is it for other people to read, what's the most important part of the blogging process for me?  Having taken a couple of months off from blogging (not intentionally) it's occurred to me since that I really missed it but what was it that I missed?

Lots of bloggers blog for other people I think, let's face it there are a LOT of bloggers out there and a lot, lot, lot of beauty bloggers for sure.  The more I thought about it the more I realised that I actually blog for myself, to create something and the satisfaction of hitting 'Publish'.  I rarely get comments on my blog posts (not counting that bloody spam that pops up all the time which is so irritating), in fact I am not really sure that my stuff actually gets read very much (I've got one of those Stat Counter things [free] that suggests that I have a high bounce rate).  I thought about whether this bothered me.  It does a bit I'll admit, after all we all want our amazing content to be read, right?  But then, I don't lose sleep over it and frankly, if the main reason I blog is for me and an outlet for my beauty madness in my house full of boys then surely everything else that goes with it is just a bonus.

I love reading other people's blogs and I'm always in complete admiration when I come across one that is particularly well set out and polished, it takes a lot of work to get it like that, heart and soul type work.  I sometimes wish mine was like that but that doesn't actually reflect who I am, it would be like me driving a massive Range Rover 4x4 instead of my seven seater Ford S Max.  The Range Rover 4x4 is lovely but not really 'me', quite frankly just insuring the thing would cost too much.

I've also thought quite a lot about the direction my blog is going in.  It started off in 2013 as beauty related (hence Beauty in the title - the Aware bit relates to my maiden name which was Ware - geddit, yeah I know it's the best my mummy brain could come up with - lol).  But you know, actually much as I love reviewing, and I do have many more beauty products that I can whittle on about I think sometimes I'd like to throw a bit of lifestyle stuff in there too, maybe some health posts, a smidgin of forty plus Mum stuff, a teeny bit of exercise, not to mention my on-off relationship with Slimming World.  And add mental health into the mix.  I really feel strongly about mental health.  I've had anti-depressants and beta blockers in my time, and counselling too. I'm pretty sure most people have had some, or all of these at some point in their lives as well.

I'm digressing here though, I think somewhere in the blogging 'rules' (by that I mean all the blogging expert posts on Pinterest) you're not allowed to have a blog that is neither this nor that because it confuses readers but surely if your reader likes your blog they'll read the posts they want and just ignore the others, that's what I do.  I'm a dip in, dip out reader and I'm sure I'm not the only one.  So, given that I blog for me (mainly) and it's mine and I own it then if I want to make a change then I can say stuff the rules, right?

So, sorry blog rules, I blog for me.  So I'm changing my blog a bit.  Hopefully it'll be a success and by success I mean that I'm happy with what I write and publish.  Everything else is a bonus and here's to getting people to stop bouncing off my page!

Love, Maria
xx


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Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Lipstick Love ... Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lip Color

So here we are with another lipstick love post.  It's been a really long time since I wrote about anything let alone my beloved lipstick collection.  This post is about the Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lip Color.  I guess matte lips have been on trend for some time now but as a self confessed 'shiny lip' kind of girl I must admit that I was a bit sceptical of the matte craze, mainly because I've found the consistency of those lipsticks very drying and ultimately not very flattering.  I've also had trouble keeping matte lipsticks on (cue short rant from me about hating lipsticks that don't stay put).  

When I was thinking about writing this post I realised that Revlon isn't a brand I generally choose for lipstick though over the years I've bought a couple.  I think I've always been more of a Max Factor, L'Oreal person, either that or they just didn't grab my eye either in the shops or in magazines or wherever.  However, when I was in the USA last year I was perusing the make up aisles in the drugstore and I saw this Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lip Colour.  It's presented in sleek packaging, it’s not a lip 'stick' per se, more like what you would get with a traditional lip gloss, with a wand applicator.  The consistency of the creme is sort of silky and dries almost immediately on your lips, it’s not sticky and it’s not drying either.  It gives a nice professional finish too.

The colour pictured is Devotion (great name) and if you’ve read any of my other Lipstick Love posts you’ll see that this is a very familiar colour for me, sort of a Rose/Brown which I love because is very wearable.  There are several other colours in the range, some much brighter (orange, red) and some pale (nude, pale pink).  

I got mine in the USA about $10 over here in the UK they are still £8.99 in Boots and Superdrug but they are much cheaper on some of the beauty websites.   

I had to think quite hard as to whether I'd purchase it again when it runs out, I think I probably would but I wouldn't be devastated if I couldn't get hold of it as I do have similar colours already that need using up.  I might try a different colour though!




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Friday, 21 July 2017

A letter to my neglected beauty blog

Dear Blog

It's exactly three months since I wrote my last blog post.  That's a long time when you consider that one of my resolutions in January was to write at least two a week!  What happened you may ask.  Well, life did, kids did and then writers block did.  Not a very good combination.  The irony is that I've got SO MUCH to write about.  When I think about products I've bought and tried and want to review as well as the other subjects that have been periodically popping into my head at inopportune moments (like at the checkout till at Sainsbury's, in my pilates class, when I'm listening to Child 3 read), it's not like there's nothing to actually get out there.  Even if nobody reads it I still want to write it, to be creative, to get my thoughts down.

Like I said life has been a bit crazy.  No more crazy than other people's lives I imagine, this isn't a 'poor me' situation but it was a case of prioritising and dear blog, you had to take a back seat.   A really back seat at the very back of the bus kind of thing.  But I never forgot about you and I am determined to be back.  It's the end of the school term next week and it's the middle of summer.  There's a lot of catching up to be done and posts to write, I'm even going to take my laptop on holiday and write there as well, poolside.  Maybe I'll even tweak what I write about, add some thing different, (not fashion, I'm terrible at fashion) but maybe a few posts about beauty post age 40, seeing as I am now quite a long way past 40, in a halfway to 90 kind of way.

That's it.  I just wanted to get this out there as a sort of explanation and a bit of a plan.  Here's to getting back on track, hey might even manage two posts a week, who knows?

No photo for this post, just the words.

Love, Maria
xxx
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Thursday, 20 April 2017

Three of my favourite clear top coats for nails

For years I've been dodging the top coat on nails because I'm lazy but actually it's time to admit that they really do make a difference to the longevity, and the appearance of a nail polish, let's face it we all want our polish to last for days and shine so much that we can see our reflection in them.  In addition, a good top coat will contain all sorts of ingredients to strengthen nails and protect them from splitting, you only have to check out the Sally Hansen aisle to see that there are a lot to choose from and they all do different things.

Today I've chosen three of my favourites to share with you, these are predominantly for shine but I find that they all leave my nails feeling stronger as well.





O.P.I RapiDry

First up is RapiDry, cool name huh?  I bought this from Duty Free at Gibraltar Airport last year, as I had euros burning a hole in my pocket and wanted to spend them on something so I checked out the nail polish aisle and found this.  What's great about this is that not only does it give a lovely shiny top coat to your nails, it's also very quick to dry (hence the name) so you don't have to sit with your fingers outstretched for ages not touching them or doing that flicky thing we do to 'air dry' them which is great for it you're in a hurry.  Anything from O.P.I. is going to be good though, right?  I would definitely buy this again.

Avon Gel Shine 

The Avon Gel Shine top coat is part of their Gel Shine range (although this is called Mark now having been recently re-branded).  The purpose of the gel shine top coat is to give the gel polishes that extra bit of shine and I can say that it really does!  The gel polishes by themselves are very good, giving a great shine without the top coat but it's worth popping a bit of top coat over it to give them that extra pazzazz and also it helps with the longevity, they last several days with no chips at all, it's also very hard wearing and doesn't chip easily but there's no problem taking it off with ordinary nail polish remover.  It's very reasonably priced as well and is very often on offer in the brochure and online so if you like it stock up when you see it on sale (I say that as a fully fledged Avon Rep).  It obviously works beautifully on the Avon Gel Shine polishes but I've used it on others and it does a great job.  So all in all a super product for a great price.  To check out the Avon Gel Shine on Avon please click here

Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy Diamond Top Coat

I got this as part of my Glossybox subscription last year.  I think I wrote about it at the time because on first look I was impressed with it and then when I used it I wasn't disappointed.  The Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy has got an unusual brush whereby the bristles are quite thin and they are arranged so that the liquid covers the edges of your nail then you brush inwards, thus covering the entire nail and not being blobbed in the middle which usually takes ages to dry and ends in only half the nail being covered an a shiny top coat whilst the rest of it sits their dull as dishwater.  Whilst this polish is designed to go on top of the ColorStay Gel polishes it does work well on other brands too.  


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Lipstick Love ... Maybelline Babylips 'Peach Kiss'

Today I'm going to talk about about Maybelline Babylips, these little balms are not quite a lipstick, not quite a chapstick but a bit of both.  They've been out for a while now, the first one I got as part of my Glossybox subscription and I was so impressed I bought another.  I think Glossybox can be credited with quite a few of my recent beauty purchases, that's how I became obsessed with Kiko Milano products (another story ...).

Anyway, one of the reasons I am so impressed is that it does do what its supposed to do, that is, to make your lips feel soft like baby lips.  It is not not squidgy, sticky or over-glossy and it does feel like you're wearing a lipstick.  The Babylips balms give good colour and the packaging is cute and colourful.  It's great to shove in your pocket or handbag and I've even got one in the car for emergencies.

While we were in America over Easter I wore 'Peach Kiss' as it was a lovely colour and had SPF 20 included so both boxes ticked there.  It was very easy to reapply after drinking and eating as it was constantly in my pocket.  The other colour I've got is 'Cherry Me'  (see me wearing it in the photo below) which gives a lovely pinkish glow.  There's something to suit everyone as well because Maybelline have produced a variety of colours check out the Boots website, which shows all the colours and the price.

Maria
xx

Maybelline Babylips - Peach Kiss

Me wearing Cherry Me

Cherry Me






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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Primer Reviews - Kiko Milano and Avon Anew Vitale


Kiko Milano Radiant Boost Face Base

As I have something of an obsession with Kiko Milano at the moment it would be unfair not to mention this lovely primer Kiko Milano Radiant Boost Face Base which I clearly must like a lot as I’m on my second one of these (though the packaging has changed since the first one I got in 2015).  I bought this at the same time as I got the Kiko eye primer which I reviewed a little while back and I'm just as impressed with this one as I am with the eye primer.  This base is a slightly peach tone to it, so it is actually possible to use it as a base by itself without foundation as it leaves my skin quite a healthy colour.  Given the state of my skin however, however I rarely use it alone unless I'm on holiday as I do need a foundation and concealer to make me look human most of the time.  It's a thin but creamy consistency and sinks in straight away, it feels a bit more like a moisturiser than a primer.  The other excellent thing about it is that it's extremely reasonably priced, all Kiko products are amazing value (and beautifully packaged as well).   The website often has a sale on so it's worth checking that out to stock up on your favourites.

So that's Kiko covered, read on to find out more about Avon Anew Vitale.


Radiant Boost Face Base 

Avon Anew Vitale Visible Perfection


Avon ANEW Vitale Visible Perfection

I wasn't sure if this was an actual primer at first, Avon don't exactly market it as one, it's more of a skin-smoother-line-eraser type product, in fact it has the words "blurring treatment" on the front .  I absolutely love this product.   It smells glorious for a start and no matter how much attention my face is going to need it always gives an amazing base, smoothing over lines and pores, leaving a clear canvas on which to start painting.  It's in pretty pink packaging and, like all primers less is more otherwise you just end up with greasy skin.  It sinks in straight away so if you're in a hurry and you want to whack your foundation over the top then you are able to do that without worrying that it's going to slide off as soon as you walk out of the door.   It costs £12.00 which feels a bit steep at first but actually I think its worth it so I would definitely buy it again.  

For further details of the ANEW Vitale Visible Perfection please hop over to my online store http://www.avon.uk.com/store/beauty-aware where you find out more about the product and read other people's reviews too.

Hope you enjoyed this post, happy primer-ing!

Maria xx



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Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Primer Reviews - Covergirl Tru Blend and Hard Candy Sheer Envy

Primer is one of those make up items that I can't do without now.   A couple of years ago I started wearing Pixi by Petra and really I haven't looked back.  What I've realised since then though, is that there are different primers for different looks.  Some are illuminating, some are matifiying, it all depends on what look you're after, and what make up you're going to put over the top.  I've managed to collect quite a few over the past couple of years and I do use them all regularly.  Primer is one of those products that doesn't have a particularly long life before it goes off, most of them are 12 months so it's not a something you can have in your make up collection and then not use for ages.


Covergirl Tru Blend

Covergirl Tru Blend is part of the extensive Covergirl range. I discovered Tru Blend last year when visiting the USA.  Covergirl products are not available in the UK (although they used to be) which I find really annoying because I have many, many Covergirl favourites but let's not get me started on that.  Back to the primer.  It's completely odourless, by that I mean that it hasn't got any particular fragrant smell to it like some products have.  The packaging is great, compact and with a tight fitting top so if you put it in your bag it won't squidge everywhere.  It's easy to get exactly the right amount of primer as well because of the handy squeezy tube type nozzle, it's impossible to get too much out at one which means less is wasted, essential for those of us who have to travel half way round the world to get it when it runs out (not that I need an excuse to go to the States once a year).  I find this sinks in straight away and leaves my skin smooth with a very slight matte finish.  Unlike some other primers I don't feel like it's clogging my skin up either which is good because to get a natural finish we want to look like our skin can breathe, which it can't when your pores are bunged up with gloop.  Foundation and concealer are easily applied over the top and the finish lasts all day.  I would definitely buy this again.



Covergirl Tru Blend Primer for Dry Skin



Hard Candy Sheer Envy Perfecting Primer


This is another one I snapped up in Walgreens.  I wasn't entirely sure who Hard Candy were to be honest as I didn't have any of their products in my make up collection but it is an attractive packaging, girlie pink with hearts which is sweet.  This primer is clear and a slightly thicker consistency to that of the Covergirl Tru.  The purpose of the Hard Candy primer is to minimize lines and pores for a smooth finish.  I use this one sparingly because like I said it is quite thick and if you use too much it can leave your skin feeling heavy and a little bit greasy.  It does give a great base though and foundation is easy to apply over the top, particularly if applying foundation using a brush it just covers perfectly.  It does minimise lines as well (I have a few!).  I've just realised that I must really like it because there's not much left so it's going on my shopping list for my next visit to Walgreens!  I also think the packaging is pretty though really that's not relevant to how the product fares on my face but you know, if you're a packaging person these things are all part of it!


Hard Candy Sheer Envy Perfecting Primer

These are just two of my favourites at the moment, there are a couple more but I'll review them on a different post.  Would love to hear what your primer favourites are, I'm always up for trying a new product!

Maria xx


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Thursday, 9 March 2017

The Glossybox Files - Part 1

I've really been dithering over whether to keep my Glossybox subscription recently.  I just couldn't decide whether it was worth buying anymore.  Not because I don't like it but because life has got in the way for the past few months and I've barely opened any of the boxes and it seems such a waste.  Thing is, I've had some really good finds from Glossybox, for example I didn't know about Kiko Milano until I had an eye pencil in the box and now I've got loads of Kiko products and I absolutely love them.  Same with eyelash primer, (Manna Kadar) I'd never have tried that if it hadn't been in one of the boxes.  

After much dithering I've decided to keep it for another few months and really make an effort to put some time aside to look at the goodies and try them out.  I've also decided to start a mix and match series so rather than post a run down of what's in the box before I've tried it I'll do a review of some of my favourite products from a variety of the boxes, this should make it more fun and I'll be talking about things I've actually tried rather than giving run down of what's in the box and looking at a lipstick or blusher that I know isn't going to suit me, because what can you say about that?  This is a lovely blusher but it's way too coral and I'll look like a clown.  See what I mean? 

Anyway, that's the plan with Glossybox and I'm glad I've decided what to do because it was really bothering me.  Keep an eye out for the Glossybox Files!



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Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Kiko Milano Eye Base Primer


Today I'm going to talk about one of the best eye primers I've tried. 

Introducing ... ta da ... Kiko Milano Eye Base Primer!

I discovered this a couple of years ago, around the time I discovered the Kiko Milano brand on a trip to London.  I bought a few things on that trip, an eye shadow, two kohl pencils and a face base primer (which I loved so much I'm on my second one now). 

Kiko are one of my favourite brands and this product is one I will always replace because it is just SO good.  I've had mixed results with eye bases, some are the wrong colour, some I find greasy and one I really loved (Clarins) changed slightly and was never as good as the first one (boo hoo Clarins!) so I stopped buying that.  Eye base does help my eye shadow to stay put for longer and it helps with blending, I don't feel like the brush is dragging across my eyelids.  It also stops all that pesky creasing, particularly on cream based shadows which, by their sheer nature, have a tendency to sit in eyelid creases. 

There are two bases to choose from, Pearly and Neutral Eye Base.  I use the neutral one as I find it gives a smoother finish and suits the natural colour of my eyelids but pearly is pretty too.  These bases cost £7.90 which is a most excellent price for such a product, proof that you don't have to have an expensive product for it to have pride of place in your make up bag! 

Kiko Milano have shops all over, definitely in Manchester and London as I've been to both but on the website there is a list of stores you can check out.  If there's not one near you, the online store is really good, I've ordered several items online and have been really pleased with everything I've bought.

Below is the link to the base on the Kiko website
Eye Base Primer

Maria xx

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Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Positive Goals for 2017


Happy New Year everybody!  

I had such high hopes for December, I was going to do one post per day, my content was going to be fabulous, gift ideas, make up looks, last minute present ideas, another Lipstick Love post as well as a post about my pre-Christmas trip to London.  Unfortunately the madness of December took over and I managed to publish precisely zero blog posts.  Yes, that’s right.  None.  To be fair some of them are still sitting in my Drafts folder in a very basic format waiting to be properly written, alas this was as far as I got.

As it’s now 2017 obviously I started thinking about resolutions just like everyone else but then I thought I prefer the word Goals to Resolutions.  For a start I always manage to break my resolutions but it occurred to me that I might just stick to a goal, it’s something to work towards isn’t it?  I also think it’s a nicer word!  So I bought myself a brand new pink Pukka Pad Project book (any excuse to buy new stationery) and started writing.  Here are some of my 2017 goals.


Goal 1Grow my Avon business
Goal 2Get rid of all the shoes I don’t wear (particularly the ones that rub my feet!)
Goal 3Sort out my utility/laundry room
Goal 4Lose half a stone and increase my pilates classes
Goal 5Read all the links I’ve saved on Facebook (saved to read later but never did)
Goal 6Increase traffic to my blog
Goal 7Start to research my e-book
Goal 8Start a Newsletter (need to get to grips with MailChimp)

They are a mixture of personal and business and blog goals.  I nearly put “stop shouting at the kids” but given that they drive me nuts daily I suspect this will not last so I’m not writing it down!  The e-book is something I have been thinking about for over a year and this year I’ve decided to start to research how to go about it.  If I manage to do that then I’ll extend the goal to start the actual writing but let’s not bite off more than we can chew, after all it’s only the third day of January.  I want to lose half a stone so that my clothes feel comfortable and I want to increase my pilates classes to three as it really helps my hamstrings and my tense shoulders.  I also really want to read all those links I’ve saved.  How often to you scroll through FB and come across a great article or post and click “save to read later” and then never get round to reading them?  To be fair, Facebook does periodically ping up a reminder telling me what I’ve saved so I really should take notice of it.

All in all, I’m pretty sure these goals are at least fairly attainable and that I won’t get to the end of January and give up thinking “what were you on when you decided this?”.  One goal that’s not on there is to be more organised but thinking about it I will have to be organised to do all of this alongside all the other daily demands so it pretty much goes without saying.
I'd love to know what your goals are, I'll let you know how I'm getting on half way through the year.

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