All things beauty, inside and out. Written by Mrs Byrom

Phil Smith Life's a Beach | Hair Review



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


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


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

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

Maria
xx






Gradual Self Tanners | The Review!

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

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

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

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


Fake Bake Sport
Garnier Summer Body
Palmers Cocoa Butter Natural Bronze




So now onto the review.

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

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

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

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

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

Maria
xx


My Five Minute Face or Make Up In A Rush!


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





So, these are the products that I use:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maria
xx





Beauty Aware Weekly Round Up #4



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

Glossybox

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


iPhone

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





iPhone 5C


What I've been wearing

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


Maybelline Color Show 342 Coral Craze


Websites/Offers

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

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

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

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

Have a good week.

Maria
xx



Beauty Aware Weekly Round Up #3

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

Garnier Summer Body Moisturising Lotion


What I've been Wearing

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

Local Summer Fair - Monsoon Dress (2013)

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


What I've been Reading

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


This weeks' reading!


What I've been watching

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

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

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


This weeks' websites / offers

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

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

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


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

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



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

Maria
xx











Shopping Haul | Video Review


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

Maria
xx







Revlon Colorstay Lipstick - Finale

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

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



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

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

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


April Empties | Video Review




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

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





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




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

Anyway, enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Maria
xx



Bayliss and Harding Soap | Review

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

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

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

Love, Maria
xxx

Bayliss and Harding Strawberries and Cream Hand Wash


Beauty Aware Weekly Round Up #1


Hi there beauty bloggers, welcome to the Beauty Aware Weekly Round Up (I'm sorry, I couldn't think of a more exciting post title) which consists of all sorts of stuff that I want to tell you, but doesn't warrant a post all by itself, I've done little headings so it breaks it down a bit.  I don't think the headings will be the same each week, I'll see how it goes, its a work in progress but I thought it would be good for me to do something other than reviews.  I've also recently tried to plan some sort of a blogging schedule because I've realised that I'm a bit erratic and I want to get into a routine.  Well, that's the plan anyway!    









I'm happy because ...

Advantage Card
My replacement Boots Advantage Card arrived!  I lost mine in January so I've missed many points (which is just so annoying), I'm really glad to have it back.  

Hair
I had "the bits of my hair that aren't red" tinted on Thursday at my local Toni & Guy Salon.  To be fair, I've got very few grey hairs and nobody else notices them but me but they make me feel old.  So they had to go!  I feel better now.  Its the first time I've had this done, I think I might be able to cover it up myself a bit cheaper though, I'm investigating an organic and mineral hair colour by Daniel Field which I might use in the future.

Gym
I managed to lift 7.5kg weights at the gym for the second week in a row.  My arms were absolutely pathetic (and a bit wobbly) when I started with this trainer, so I'm really quite proud that I can do this now.  It's a pity I practically pass out every time I go on the rowing machine but hey ho, I'll get there!


I'm reading ...

The Anti Ageing Beauty Bible
I was very excited when I got this book (pressie from husband at my request) as I'd read lots of great reviews on it and I really wanted to have a look.  So far it's fantastic, loads of amazing tips that I will most definitely be taking notice of.  

Women's Health Magazine
This is my replacement for Zest Magazine which sadly ceased publication back in January, I've been reading it since it first came out years and years ago so it was a bit sad when they stopped producing it.  However, I have to say I am loving Women's Health magazine, the format is really good.  I was a bit worried it would be like the Men's Health version which seems to be all about getting enormous muscles and how to use the right chat up lines with women in nightclubs, but it's not, its a sensible, fun health and fitness magazine for women, loads of good exercise tips and some great beauty articles too.  

I'm wearing ...

Max Factor Rosewood Lipstick
Its always in my make up bag and I've been using it for years but recently have tried different coloured lipsticks, mainly Coral ones for some reason.  This one never fails for me though, it goes with everything and is really long lasting.

Theirry Mugler "Angel" Perfume
I had this for my birthday last year, I love this smell, it reminds me of the summer.  


Website offers this week ...

This is just a bit of a heads up on few offers from emails that I've been sent this week, I'm subscribed to all sorts of beauty and fashion websites so a lot of my emails are from them, I love making use of some of the discount codes, I do love a bargain! 


lookfantastic.com - Various deals including 3 for 2 on L'Oreal Professional
Mix and Match Shampoos, Conditioners and Hair Treatments.

marksandspencer.com - Up to 50% off selected items in the online sale.

Beautybay.com - 20% off Mychelle Dermateuticals Serious Hyluronic Firming Serum.

HQHair.com - Midweek treats, save 15% when you spend £50, enter code HQHAIR50


So that's the end of my first round up, see you next week!  Have a good weekend.


Maria
xx




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