For a long time, well since 2013 actually, I've been blogging Beauty Aware from Google's blogger. It's served me well and I've loved it (and it's free) but for many reasons, all too boring to relate here, I'm moving my future Beauty Aware blog posts to a new platform, this one, www.mariabyrom.com
This is a little chat about a palette I've had for ages but put it in a drawer and forgot about. I think because it was part of a larger haul that I got from Sephora and when I got home I put it away and have only just rediscovered it.
I have to say I had to Google 'Wander Beauty' because we don't have them here in the UK and I wasn't sure who they were, but you can get hold of them on the Cult Beauty website I was pleased to discover, and they have a whole range of gorgeous products, they are also vegan, paraben free, cruelty free, gluten free and dermatologist tested.
At this time of year I shy away from colours like this because I am at my palest at the beginning of the year and these colours suit me better when I'm freckly or have a bit more of a healthy glow. In fact, most of my palettes are on the neutral side but tend to be cooler colours, this is a much warmer palette and with the exception of one colour (Shoreline), have a bit of shimmer to them.
As you can see from the photo they have lovely summer names such as Starfish, Unplug, Sun Kissed, Shoreline, Heat Wave and Desert Island. I had a bit of a practice the other day and when blended together these colours give a lovely bronzed, healthy look and you can add the slightly darker colours (Sun Kissed and Desert Island) for a smokier evening eye. I realise I'm speaking as if we're all going on holiday and who knows if that's going to happen this year what with travel bans and corridors and the pandemic but let's pretend we are!
This retails at £24 and while lovely, if you're a fan of fancy packaging I'm not sure you'd think it was worth it because the packaging has more of a cardboard/plastic feel to it (it's probably recyclable which is highly commendable and it does come boxed) and you can get a small Too Faced palette with 8 colours for £22 in packaging that feels a bit more substantial and which closes properly (this palette uses a magnetic strip to gently click shut). That said, this is light and you could definitely put it in a bag and carry round without any issue for touchups (it doesn't come with an applicator though).
I'm not sure I'd replace this if I finished it but I would definitely try some of their other products because as a brand I really like them and there's no doubt this make up is lovely, and extremely well put together. It would be nice to try a lip product I think and maybe a mascara.
Anyway, back to Vegas Volt ... to be honest, at first I wasn't sure if it was for me as it's quite bright 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 find lipsticks last longer when applied with a brush but I'd be lying if I said I did this very often, usually it's whoosh whoosh then out of the door (or applied in the car in the car park with the sun visor mirror!).
I tend to wear it in the summer as I am quite pale and need some freckles to give me a bit of a glow so the colour doesn't look so stark. 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 it's bright, I think for me it's probably more flattering as a paler colour.
Finally it's the end of January. It has felt like the longest month ever hasn't it?
I've decided to list some of the positive parts of January because it seems all around us are negatives and fear and worry and it would be very easy to list all of those but we all know that list would go on for pages and pages ... and so I do feel that it's probably better for my mental health to focus on some of the things that have actually been good about (dreary, cold, wet) January.
1. Foxes in the Garden
Now, depending on how you feel about foxes you could see this as a positive or a negative I guess, however we (the kids and I) have been thrilled when Fantastic Mr Fox has strutted his way across our garden several times this month, bold as brass and very beautiful. Our dog obviously wasn't amused and glared at him through the glass but Mr Fox decided to ignore him. He really was very beautiful, I've attached a little video to show you.
2. The Vaccine
Controversial perhaps, but whether you're pro or anti the Covid-19 vaccine I think it's pretty much the general consensus that the 4 million plus people who have been vaccinated so far in the UK are in a much better position than they were 8 weeks ago. So I feel this is a positive and it does give me hope that at some point (who knows when) things will start to get better.
3. January Blog Posts
I've been quite prolific with the whole blog posting thing this month, I think because I have a lot more time to actually do it whilst overseeing the dreaded homeschooling. I'm pleased because I wrote four posts, when you consider I wrote nine in the whole of 2020 I'm doing pretty well ;-). So, here are this months posts
4. Lots of Exercise and Fresh Air
One thing about lockdown is that it forces me to concentrate on my level of activity and I have been making myself go for a walk with the dog at least once a day - even in the bad weather. This is for two reasons, one - my eating has gone to pot and I'm snacking more than I should on unhealthy things and two - exercise, in any form, has always improved my mental health and like everyone, I do feel very down at the moment. So for me I'm probably doing this more for my mental health than physical I think but of course, any physical benefit is a bonus, isn't it? I've been doing my weekly Zoom pilates class, I would normally be in the studio of course, and I've also been doing two back to back sessions from Own Your Goals Davina three times a week. I signed up to OYG about a year ago and it was brilliant for me during the first long lockdown, I discovered Yoga which I loved and have been doing ever since.
5. We Have Managed To Do Normal Things Regardless
What I mean is, regardless of lockdown. For example, my youngest son sat his 11plus exam a week ago albeit socially distanced and online rather than the written papers they usually do. He has a Zoom interview tomorrow. And my eldest son turned 16 so we have had a birthday which we managed to do with presents and balloons and cake and Zooms to relatives. We would normally have gone out for a meal as a family but we couldn't of course, so the meal came to us in the form of a fancy takeaway which was expensive but very, very yummy!
It's important (but not easy) to try to think of positives during this time but I do try. I don't always manage it, for example today I'm in a bad mood, I've had a meltdown at the kids for something minor and I'm really tired because I keep waking up at 3am unable to get back to sleep. So today positives aren't really working, but tomorrow they might. Take it one day at a time as my Dad always says!
Anyway, I thought I'd share with you my top five blogging tips.
Don't Worry About Statistics
This is one of the best pieces of advice I read, and luckily for me I read it early on. When I started my blog I was under no illusions that it would be read by loads of people, I just wanted to write. It is very easy to get dragged into checking statistics and I can see how you could get a little crazy about it, fretting if you don't think you're being read, or a post that you thought was particularly good doesn't get many views. I think it is also probably quite easy to feel disheartened if you aren't getting huge views like the "big bloggers" but remember they all started somewhere so don't be intimidated by anyone else. I think that the best blogs are the ones that have their own style and are consistently written and sound like a real person. If you are happy with what you are writing then that's great, relax, be yourself and write about what you like.
I like widgets. If I like a blog then I like to be able to see if they've got a Facebook page, or a Pinterest board (Pinterest is my favourite thing at the moment) or if they're on YouTube. Plus, I think they fill the page out a bit and they are also a good way of advertising your blog to tell people you're out there. Ironically, neither my Facebook nor my Instagram widgets seem to work at the moment, not since I changed my blog theme!
Read And Comment
There are a lot of blogs out there and I mean a LOT. If someone writes something that I like and think is good I always try to comment even if it's just a short one and I love it when people comment on mine! I do have a comment policy now though, which is something I recently introduced because I was getting a lot of spam which I found quite annoying. It's an idea I got after seeing it on one or two other blogs and I changed the wording to suit. I have no idea whether people will take any notice of it but I can try!
This is quite a good tip and one I always try to adhere to. Firstly, its good to give what you've written a bit of a spell check and a grammar check too, not that I'm any great shakes and I know I flit between past and present tenses but I try to punctuate and spell properly. Secondly, it's a good idea to re-read what you've written just to check that what's on the page is what you wanted to write. Sometimes I write, re-read and think "how the hell did I get onto that, it doesn't make sense and its boring. Start again." I have a tendency to waffle so I'm making an effort to be more concise these days.
Don't feel pressured to "be like" anyone else. If you want to write a blog that does mainly reviews then that's fine, if you want to write a series that's great too. It's your blog, write about what you like and what you know and be happy with it. I'm a firm believer that there is room in the blogging world (in my case the beauty blogging world) for everyone. Something else I thought recently, was that as the world changes so might your blog, so just because you started in a certain niche it doesn't mean you have to stay there, you can expand it, or change it to suit how you feel and what you want to write about.
I hope this has helped and has been encouraging, it was definitely meant as helpful and not preachy ;-) I'm always in the market for new tips, if you've got any bring them on!
As cleansing beauty balms go, this is one of the best I've tried. I've only had a Beauty Pie subscription for a few months but I've been super pleased with everything I've bought so far. This product retails at £50 but for Beauty Pie members (who subscribe monthly) it costs just £13.93.
If you want some information on Beauty Pie click the link and go to their website, it's all there and easy to read.
I like cleansing my face with a balm because it feels really clean afterwards and it gets all the make up off with one product rather than having to use a facewash, then a micellar water then a toner or whatever goes next. So for me, it's quick and that's what I like because at the end of the day I just want to go to bed so I don't want too much fuss!
- Cold Pressed Rosehip Oil
- Vitamin E
- Apricot Butter
My tips on how to use - and a video!
I use cleansing cloth or a soft flannel (one per day) and rinse it in warm water and gently remove the balm and the make up from my face. Sometimes, depending on whether I've got a lot of make up on it takes a bit longer to get it all off. I also get my eye make up off with it, even mascara. The key is not to 'scrub' as this pulls your skin but to dab firmly to get rid of the balm and make up residue. If your mascara is very stubborn it might be an idea to get a cotton pad and some eye make up removed and just do a couple of wipe with that before you put the balm all over your face, it'll loosen the mascara and make it easier to wipe off.
Here's a video I made of me taking off make up with the balm, it was the first time I'd tried it so I wasn't sure how it was going to go.
I need to talk about the new Lisa Armstrong for Avon range.
I've not ordered from Avon for ages, years in fact but recently a lovely school friend from back home has become a rep and you know you can order online on their shop page and then have it delivered direct to you? Well I did that. It arrived really quickly as well.
I could have bought more, obviously, but it was before Christmas so I thought I'd better start small with the first order. So other than some Skin So Soft I ordered a couple of products from the Lisa Armstrong range. Now Lisa (incase you don't know her) is famous in the UK for two things, first for being a top notch and highly rated make up artist who has worked on all sorts of TV and fashion shows (and the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing I believe, amongst other shows) but also because she used to be married to Ant McPartlin from Ant n' Dec and had the most awful time in the media when she was going through her divorce, bless her.
Light Up Concealer
So the first thing I went for is the Light Up Concealer because I did need a new concealer. It's in pen form like Touch Eclat so easy to apply and I'd had something similar from Avon before so I thought it would be good. The nice thing about this pen is that it does a lot of stuff, it conceals, it brightens, it's brilliant under eyes (because it's not heavy or thick) and you can also use it as an eye shadow primer. So what's not to love? It comes in several shades, I chose Shade 1 because I'm super pale and it's a good match. So far I haven't used it as an eye shadow primer but it's worked beautifully for everything else. Also it only costs £12 which is great for a really good concealer I think.
I only have one tiny complaint and that is that the brush is quite small and thin, I'd have preferred slightly thicker brush but it's minor and it won't stop me repurchasing. Link to Light Up Concealer
All About The Base Priming Moisturiser
I bought this thinking it was a primer but really I do believe it's more of a moisturiser. I guess the thought behind it was that it was a moisturiser that you could use as a primer too (voila - a 2 in 1) but I prefer mine separate really.
So, while I am sure it does a brilliant job as a primer, I can't really vouch for that. What I can vouch for however, is that it does work beautifully as a night cream. I don't like night creams generally because they always seem to be quite heavy and don't sink in particularly well but this is really lovely.
It's made up of Vitamin C and Shea Butter and has a lovely scent. I couldn't work out what it smelled like so I asked my kids and they came up with "summer candles" "lemon sherbet sweets" and "that mosquito spray we use" so I'm guessing it's tone is lemon 😆 - to be fair when they pointed it out they were right, it does have a lemon smell to it but not sickly, just very refreshing and quite cooling on the skin too, I thought.
This retails at £15 for 25g, a little bit goes a long way too so it should last a while. Link to moisturiser.
My last post was written in the summer, sitting outside in the sunshine on our trip to Spain. We were so lucky to be able to get away last year when so many others had their holidays cut short or cancelled. We are fortunate enough to have a family home in a very remote part of Spain so we holed up there for two week and only went out (masked) to the Supermarket and the beach. Actually I think we did go to Marbella to the socially distanced shopping centre too otherwise I wouldn't have been able to go to Sephora (which would have been a shame ;-))
When I got back school started again (yay) and I had an entire notebook full of blog post notes and a camera roll full of prettily posed pictures (of products, not me) and I was full of enthusiasm for the autumn and how much I was going to write. And then I didn't. And then all of a sudden it was Christmas and we could only see one other family on Christmas Day. And I realised that all my beauty thoughts had just flown out of the window in about September and I'd been limping for months, mentally, through the autumn and the ever increasing daily bad news about the coronavirus. And then I realised, like most of the nation, (or actually, the world) I was really quite depressed.
Here in the UK we are now in our third lockdown, and while I completely understand the whys and wherefores behind it I must admit that there is no way I thought it would be like this when I was merrily creating blog posts in the beautiful Spanish sunshine!
The other day I was walking the dog, it was freezing but it was sunny. So I took some pictures of a little field near to where I live that's filled with sheep and lambs in the spring and is really pretty. And it sort of gave me hope, hope that spring is on the way and that with the mass rollout of the vaccines maybe we really are in our last little bit of this virus nightmare.
I think will be ok. So have dug out my blog notebooks and started writing (in-between logging children onto Zoom classes and being asked 7,000 questions a day about things I don't understand) and started writing again.
New posts are on their way. But for now it appears we are late for a Geography Zoom so I need to go and log in. Fair play to the school - they are definitely on it!
(In the meantime please check out this photo I took of the pretty field soon to be filled with daffodils and lambs).