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

Nine months on - catch up post

Recently, I've been waking up at 4am and just thinking about 'stuff' when really I should be trying to get back to sleep.  I really should because I don't function well if I wake that early and I'm grumpy all the next day but anyway ...

One of the things that popped into my head recently was the fact that I've not posted anything on the blog for ages.  I checked just now and it was November last year which basically means about 9 months or so, right?  That is a long time.  I think the last three months have just gone like a flash but really slowly at the same time if that makes sense.  Sometimes I still think the Coronavirus pandemic is like one of those nightmares where you wake up sweating and thinking 'that was awful' but then there's this relief when you realise you're ok and none of it is real.  The problem is that this is real - too real, and much more so for some than others.  I've been very lucky, locked down tight and everybody I love safe and well.  My heart breaks for others that can't say the same.

In a way, it feels a bit churlish to be writing about something as trivial as external beauty products when there are far bigger things on people's minds right now, but on the other hand writing this is a bit of escapism for me and it might be for others reading it so I'm going to go ahead and start publishing again.  It's possible that I need this to morph into more of a general-life-but-mainly-beauty blog/diary now, I'll see how it goes.

One thing is for sure, it'll be an escape from homeschooling three children.  I'm not a fan of homeschooling to be honest.  I find it massively stressful and the kids would probably prefer me not to do it and I have thought about just ditching it and saying 'guess what, we're starting the summer holidays a month early' but I just can't find it in myself to do that, rules are rules and the rules say we need to hang in there to the end so we are!  I might have to lie down in a dark room for 2 months when we're done though.  Hardest job I've ever had to do so hats off to ALL teachers, past, present and future.

Beauty-wise, I've kept on with the daily make up despite some days (most) not leaving the house, when we were on full lockdown the most excitement I got was a twice weekly trip to Sainsbury's and a dog walk to the park (which was stressful trying to avoid contact with other dog walkers when your dog is straining at the lead and desperate to chat to his canine friends!).  There were some days when I wondered why I was doing it then I realised that I use it as my 'battle face' i.e. ready to face the day, make up is part of my routine and therefore it's on for me not for anyone else.  And besides, I like putting make up on, I find it soothing.  I'm not saying it was a full face with a smoky eye but just to make myself feel a bit more presentable and able to decipher the GCSE poems that they are making my poor Year 10 son read (poems and me 👎 - sorry son).

I haven't bought many products as I've been trying to get through and use the things I purchased last year, I went away a lot so was able to do a few Sephora trips, duty free, things like that and subsequently stocked up.  My intention was to write about them which obviously I didn't do!  So perhaps I'll try to get through some of them over the next few posts.

It's felt good to write again, I will definitely be back.


April 2020 - this was the day GCSE algebra blew my mind ...



Label M Protein Spray for hair

I love writing about hair products, I'm always on the look out for a holy grail product if there is such a thing.

I've been a fan of Label M's Curl Cream for a long time now but I have recently discovered their Protein Spray.  The one pictured below is just a little 50ml tester spray which I thought I'd try it before I bought a full sized one.  Tester products as it's a great way to find out if you like the product before you invest, it's particularly good for products that are a bit on the expensive side.

Does It Work?

Unsurprisingly, Label M Protein Spray didn't disappoint me, it smells gorgeous,  "a moisturising blend of jasmine, sweet pea, vanilla, wheat and soy" and is used on towel dried hair as a leave in conditioner.  My hair felt really shiny and strong (that must have been the protein), I was particularly pleased because my hair doesn't have much of a shine to it no matter what I put on it! I've also used it as a pick me up on dry hair. 

The Label M Range

The Label M range is really quite extensive and was designed by Toni & Guy for use in their salons.  I have also used the Curl Spray but prefer the cream as it gives a more defined curl and I think it has a nicer scent.  Label M can be purchased from Toni & Guy salons but it is quite expensive, so I tend to find it online where you can get it a bit cheaper.  The 250ml bottle is better value but if you're travelling the 50ml is very handy as its easy to transport.  My regular leave in conditioner is John Frieda's Frizz Ease, so I will continue to use that and probably use this a couple of times a week or when my hair needs a treat. 

Label M Protein Spray

EcoTools make up brushes

These EcoTool brushes are a recent addition to my make up brush collection (which has grown considerably since I realised I hadn't bought any new ones for years).  

The ones pictured are a mixture of the Fresh & Flawless Complexion Brush Set - £11.99 for a set of 5 brushes and the EcoTools Duo Eye Enhancing Set blending and shading brushes - £6.99 for two brushes, double ended.  

Brushes (clean ones!) really do make a difference to the application of make up and the overall finished look.  Before I bought these I'd been using a mixture of Laura Mercier, MAC and Bobbi Brown brushes as well as a Ruby & Millie brush which just goes to show how long I've had them as Ruby & Millie are not in business as a brand any more (more's the pity, though I believe Ruby Hammer has got some).  I now have an entire collection of brushes from different brands and 

ecotools make up brushes

These brushes are made of natural materials and are very soft and glide effortlessly across your eyes and face, the handles are made of bamboo so are very light.  The range of brushes is fairly extensive and extremely good value.

I took the Fresh & Flawless Complexion Brush Set on holiday (hence the photo of them on the sunbed) as they were in a very handy case that I just put in my bag.  When I got home I washed them gently in Baby Shampoo and flat dried them over a towel on the radiator overnight and they were good as new in the morning.  Really pleased with this purchase.  

Easy and pretty eye shadow from Make Up Revolution

After reading good reviews for this Make Up Revolution palette on blogs and on the Superdrug website, I have to say that I am adding my thumbs up as well.  I was really struck with the size of it compared to the superb price.  I asked myself, is it really possible to get this many eyeshadows for under ten pounds AND for there to be so many rave reviews about them?

Turns out it is.

Redemption Pallete - Romantic Smoked

This Make Up Revolution palette has been on my eyelids for the past week and a half.  I haven't finished testing all the shades and playing about with it but what I have used I've been really pleased with (except for the purple colour on the right hand side which did not suit me at all, my colouring not a fault of the palette).  I'm rarely as super-pleased with a palette as I have been with this one.

What you get

There are 12 shades, half are frosted and half are matte so there's a lovely mix of shades and colours and they are easily mix and match-able, lots of day and night looks here and great colours for smoky eyes too.  I also used the black as a liner on the upper lid against my lashes and underneath, its not too porous so it doesn't give a harsh line it's more blended but you can build it up if you want.  These shadows are pretty long lasting too, particularly with a good eye primer which I always try to use now, it just smooths things out a bit and increases the longevity of the colour.

Basically, a good general palette that I think would pretty much suit most people and definitely worth the money.


Make Up Revolution - Romantic Smoked


My favourite is the lilac colour, fourth one from the right




* This post was originally posted 9/3/15
* This post was edited and refreshed 28/10/19

Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm

Winter skin sucks.  Well, mine does.  It's dry, patchy, tired, pale, dehydrated, I could go on ... but I won't.  Thing is, that I think most people struggle with their skin in the Winter so it's not like I'm alone in this but I just find it a bit depressing at an already quite depressing time of the year.  

Anyway, I'm working my way through some skincare saviours that I've been using for a while.  They aren't completely getting rid of the dry skin problem but they are alleviating it a bit.  One of these products is Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm.

Take your make up off!

I love taking my make up off at the end of the day.  I would never go to bed with make up on no matter how tired I am, I can't sleep if I don't feel like my skin can breathe.  While I'm usually a face wash kind of girl (with a swipe of micellar water to get the last little bits of make up off) I do use a balm a couple of times a week because I find that it really softens the skin and gets rid of the all the grime.

Moringa Cleansing Balm - what to do

I've no idea why it's called this but it smells really nice.  You don't need much, there should be a little spatula thingy in the box.  So, this is what you do.

💙 Rub the balm into your face (massage it rather than scrub!). It should dissolve the make up, I also use it round the eye area, I'm not sure if I should but it's great for getting mascara off and I haven't had any ill effects (though best not do this if you've got sensitive eyes or whatever, obviously).

💙 Then, leave it a couple of minutes to sink in.  It'll feel a bit greasy but that's when it does its best work!  While it's sinking in get a face cloth and dampen it in warm water.  Then place the cloth on your face and gently wipe the balm off, the make up should come with it.  I have to rinse the cloth, squeeze it out and repeat a couple of times before its completely clean and then I take a separate cloth and wipe my eyes.

💙 Take another face cloth and dab the face dry.  No rubbing as it drags the skin.

Ta-da.  Skin is left feeling clean and soft.  Here's a YouTube video from Emma Hardie so you can see what she does.  Emma Hardie video

Price and where to buy

Now, there's no doubt that this is a glorious product, high end and very useable, does what it says on the tin etc.  However, the price is high, I would say really, for most people because it's £47.00 for 100ml which is quite a small pot and about £67.00 for 200ml.  So it's not something you can bung in your basket without a thought, you know?  But then, I think there are these really nice treat products that you can save up for, or request for birthday presents or ask for a gift voucher so you can put it towards it.  So I think overall, whilst pricey I it is worth it but it's on the list of things I ask for and save for rather than an everyday staple.

You can get it online, in Marks and Spencer beauty department and now on Amazon too.





What's in the September Glossybox?




I can't believe I've only just got round to unearthing the September Glossybox from under a huge pile of post.   I kind of feel like September whizzed past and I don't really know where it went, does anyone else fee like that?

It's got to be said that I do actually love the boxes as much the products inside the boxes, I re-use them as storage for my make up and other stuff.  September's came in a beautiful red box, that's because the contents of the box were chosen by Annabel Meggeson who is the Beauty Director of Red Magazine.

The contents of the box are:

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara
Philosophy Amazing Grace Firming Body Emulsion
Revlon Gel Envy Diamond Top Coat
Vitamasques Hydro Face Mask
Rodial Smokey Eye Pen



I love trial sized mascara's as I always feel it's a risky business buying a brand new mascara because what if you use it once and hate it?  The trial ones are great, they're small enough to try, if you like it you can buy a full size one knowing that you're going to wear it.



Firming Body Emulsion - I laughed when I saw what this was called because emulsion to me is stuff you buy from B&Q and put on your walls not your body.  But anything that's got the word "firming" in it is definitely worth a try so I shall be enjoying testing this particular emulsion out.  Plus, it's much less boring than the one from B&Q.



This is perfect for me as I'm really into my top coats at the moment.  I've been using an Avon one and one I got from the Professional Beauty Show by Sparitual.  Anything that prolongs the longevity of a nail polish is fine by me as I can't stand my nails being chipped. 



I've no idea what this is except it's a face mask, an actual mask for your face.  I'll report back.



You can never have too many eye pencils in my opinion, I've got loads.  Black is always welcome as it's versatile and I've tested this on my hand and the tip is really soft so will be good for a smoky eye but also for lining the upper lash line which I like to do sometimes as it finishes off an eye look perfectly and as I don't wear false lashes (I've never got on with them) it helps my mascara define the eye area.  I did a bit of research on Rodial as I hadn't heard much about them, their site looks really good!  www.rodial.co.uk. And this pen is a full size pen and is worth £17.00!  I'd better not lose it.


Related post

Summer Tan - what I used to fake it this Summer!

So here is a post to show you which products I used to feel less pale on holiday.  We had an amazing week in Southern Spain but it was super hot so the Factor 50 came out and I hid under a big hat in the shade.  I managed to fake a tanned glow by using a combination of the three products below and I was really pleased with the results.  Sadly, for me, these products have been wiped at the nozzle and put away in a dark place until the sun (and my legs) come out again next Spring.  Bye legs, bye tanning products, hello leggings and tights!

Hawaiian Tropic Touch of Color with Factor 15
I first used the Hawaiian Tropic a year ago and I reviewed it then.  I still love it.  I'm on my second bottle now, Hawaiian Tropic Touch of Colour.  I'm completely addicted to the smell, it smells like holidays, I love it.  The one in the photo is one I purchased in Florida earlier this year, my original one was from Boots in the UK.

Garnier Ambre Solaire No Streaks Bronzer
If I'm honest I bought this quite a long time ago, used it once then it went back in the cupboard.  I found it when I was sorting out and decided to use it.  It was only after I'd sprayed it on my legs that I had the sudden thought that there might be a best before date on it and it might have gone off but by that time it was too late, whatever would be, would be.  Luckily for me it hadn't gone off and there were no orange after effects.  As I'm really quite pale I only needed two applications for it to change the colour on my legs, and even though I took it away with me I didn't use it as I topped up with the other products.  I'll probably buy another one next year.  It was easy to apply and it even though I'm usually terrible at applying fake tan this was easy and I didn't miss any bits.

Dove Derma Spa Summer Revived Body Lotion with Tanning
Check this out!  Dove have come a long way in the last ten years, some of you will remember the original Dove tanning lotion that smelled like biscuits even after it was long dried (it wasn't only Dove, the Johnson & Johnson one was bad too).  Well, this is nothing like that one.  It feels more like a luxury body lotion than anything else and sinks in straight away.  To be honest, I'd use it as a body lotion anyway, regardless of the tanning element, it really did make my skin feel lovely and soft.  I found that the moisturising element was really long lasting and it didn't smell at all bad. 


Self tanning products




Phil Smith Cocolicious Shampoo & Conditioner


I've been a fan of Phil Smith products for a long time, which you'll know if you've read any of my posts on his other hair products.  Until now though, I'd never gone for a shampoo and conditioner.  

It's got to be said that I do think that this shampoo and conditioner truly are 'Cocolicious' (love that name), it really ticked a lot of boxes for me.  

I loved the coconut smell, which along with anything that smells like Vanilla is my absolute favourite.  

I also liked the consistency of the product, neither the shampoo or the conditioner are too thick, by that I mean they are easily rinsed out.  I find that sometimes products that are for dry or stressed hair take ages to rinse and I'm never sure I've got it all out and I hate feeling like there's a lot of residue. 

The first time I used this was I staying at my Mum and Dad's and they live in a hard water area so I always find my hair reacts differently when I wash it at their house.  I was really pleased to find my hair so soft once I'd dried it, in fact so happy that I left it at their house to use next time I visit.

I bought this in Sainsbury's in the UK but there's a lot more information about Phil's shampoos and other products  on the website www.philsmithhair.com

If you'd like to read my other Phil Smith product posts, please see links below. 

Phil Smith Life's a Beach Hair
This is a sea salt spray product for 'beach hair'.

Phil Smith Curly Locks
This is a curl cream for soft curls.


Phil Smith Cocolicious Shampoo and Conditioner

Disney and a little bit of make up

So here I am typing this from very sunny, sometimes rainy Florida where we are on holiday as a family, taking advantage of half term and whizzing off for some sun.  I've been coming here for a long time now and I love it, Disney isn't everybody's cup of tea but we've had a great time and if I could have dressed up as Cinderella and taken part in the parade, I would have!

As well as theme parks I've also had time to do a bit of shopping.  I love the stores here because they sell stuff that's completely different to the UK so it's always interesting to compare products and prices and I love finding new discoveries and recommending them to my family and friends, the choice of health and beauty products in the US supermarkets is amazing and I'm going there tomorrow to see what I can find (that probably makes me a bit sad, oh well).

We did go to the mall outlet the other day where I ditched the hubs and kids (sent them to sports shops) and went off by myself to do a little cosmetic shopping.  It was quite nice not to have someone telling me they were hot, needed a wee or a drink or the whole "he hit me" scenario which you get with young children and I was able to peruse to my hearts content without being interrupted.  I found some excellent bargains in the Elizabeth Arden shop where there were several buy one get one free deals and in the Clarins shop also, where I could have done some real damage but managed to restrain myself.  As I rarely buy Clarins in the UK it was a bit of a treat and the prices were really good as most of it was last years' range or excess.  All authentic products though so definitely a bargain.

I also found a fantastic cosmetic shop which sold brands like Bobbi Brown, MAC, Clinique, Estee Lauder, Origins, Smashbox and others.  I was there for AGES!  I think they thought I would never leave.  I did buy a few bits from there but again I was on a bit of a budget so I couldn't go mad so I had to choose the products that I thought I needed or would be interesting to try rather than just sling stuff in my basket.

I'll be reviewing a lot of these when I get home, I've popped some pics of my little haul below so you can see what I got.

We are off to the EPCOT centre this afternoon no doubt to stand for ages in queues for signatures of characters, but that's what you do when you've got a five year old obsessed with Mickey Mouse!



Sally Hansen Miracle Gel - Shock Wave

When I assessed my nail polish collection the other day I realised that most of them are pink - light pink, dark pink, red-pink and cerise but definitely all pink.  I love pink nails for every day because they are colourful but not too in your face, and the chips are easier to disguise.  I loved Rita Ora's Rimmel "Sweet Retreat" so much that I wore it for months!

Recently though, I've been wearing Sally Hansen products, and I'm just a little bit in love with her Miracle Gel Polish.  There are 48 colours to choose from (although it won't surprise you to know that I've just used pink so far). 

Here's the link to the Boots website where you can buy them.

The overall finish is that of a gel manicure and to be honest I was suspicious because how can you really get that without all the stuff they use in the salons? 

The blurb on the Boots website says "The only true 2-step Gel Manicure with no UV light needed"and it does seem to be a bit too good to be true but it has to be said that you do get a lovely finish.   What's more it doesn't take a lot of scrubbing with remover to get it off, a couple of wipes per nail and you're done. 

I do one coat which lasts several days and then go over the top which makes it last another two or three so I'd say you could easily get a week out of this with it still looking fresh.  The colour in the photo below is "Shock Wave" and though there isn't a photo of it actually on my nails the colour in the bottle is a true reflection of what you'd get on your nails.

Well worth £9.99 I think and I'll definitely be buying more.   

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail P:olish

Shock Wave - by Sally Hansen
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