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

Poorly is not Pretty

It had to happen.  The boys seem to have had a cold for most of January, I've managed to dodge it up until now but the other night I woke up with a really sore throat and uh oh, here we go.  It's just a cold, not flu but I feel horrible anyway.

So, I've been knocking back Night Nurse and wow its strong!  But it does work, you have to be careful not to use it with other products containing paracetamol though, that's very important.  Usually, I'm awake at the slightest sound of one of the boys moving in the night but I slept right through a "bad dream" emergency the other night and had to be shaken awake!

I'm all for soldiering on but being poorly isn't pretty is it?  Red nose, very pale face, bloodshot eyes, dry skin, sore lips, the list goes on and on (oh and the dreaded cold sores - yuck).  I've devised my own little makeup regime for poorly days, for me less is definitely more.  If I wear too much make up trying to disguise all the flaws I just seem to look worse.

So these are the products that have saved me this week:

Laura Mercier Mineral Powder

Max Factor Mascara

Laura Mercier angled cheek brush and powder brush

Witch Hazel Concealer

Dainty Doll Blusher

Max Factor Lipstick (No 804 - sadly now discontinued!)

Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette

I didn't use any foundation as it just made me look worse, so I just used a bit of concealer and a swoosh of powder on my face, then put the blusher on.  For my eyes I used the paler colours of the Naked Basics palette and a little bit of mascara on the upper and lower lashes.  The red lipstick looks really bright but its actually one of those ones that goes on very light which is what I used it for as it made me look just about human, but if you need a deeper colour use a lip brush and layer it on!  I like this one as it stays on even when you're using a tissue every five minutes to blow your nose.

The Naked Basics palette is a recent purchase and I am really impressed with it.  The colours are so lovely and its really long lasting make up.  I've been using a Bobbi Brown neutral palette which is very similar but these colours seem to suit me better.

Anyway, lets hope that's the last of the germs at least for a while!  Half term next week, think I might just stay in my PJ's all week ...

Have a great weekend everyone!


Compeed Coldsore Patches

Now, this isn't the nicest subject to write a review on but one which I thought I would share as you might find it helpful.  In particular, its for those people who suffer with cold sores, all of us that do know that the Winter months are a real trigger point for us and its pretty horrible, not only do they look bad, they feel awful and I don't know about anyone else, but I feel decidedly under the weather when I've got them.  So all in all, not great, right?

I'm always on the look out for a new product to try to limit the damage, I can't stop them from happening but I can try to make the healing process slightly quicker.  I saw these Compeed Coldsore Patches in Boots so I thought I'd give them a try.

Basically, its a small round sticky patch infused with medication on one side which seeps into the skin once attached to the sore.  The point of the patch is to aid faster healing and to protect the sore from outside elements.  Once they stick, they stick, its difficult to peel it off and start again without it being quite painful so its wise to make sure its in the right place, use a close up mirror and be careful not to get your fingers on them too much as it wipes off the bit that's going to help the healing!  Once the patch is on you can put make up over it (I use a tiny bit of concealer and mineral powder) but I've found that less is more, the more you try to disguise it the more visible it seems to be so I now go careful on the make up.

The patches are designed to to last 8-12 hours, they need to be removed very carefully to avoid pulling at the skin underneath, I do it at the end of the day when I wash my face.  I found them to be really good, it definitely reduced redness and they healed much quicker than with cream.  They are a bit fiddly to put on but once they're on that's it you can pretty much forget about them.  There are very good instructions inside the packet, usually I'm bad with instructions and chuck them away but I will say these are worth reading.

I think there are about 15 patches in the packet, I found that I didn't use the entire pack because after about two or three days they were getting better and I just used my normal cream.  I know that stores like Boots and Superdrug do their own version of these patches and they are cheaper, but not by much, however I can't say whether they work as well as I've not tried them.

I hope the rest of the Winter is cold sore free for us all!


Favourite Beauty Product - January

I'm a bit late with this post as I know we are already in February but it has taken me a while to decide what the winner of my "Favourite Beauty Product for January" actually is.  In January I used a couple of new bodywashes, namely my former Bargain of the Week which was the Radox Shower Smoothie and one from the Mandara Spa range (Christmas present) which I found very luxurious and left my skin feeling really nice.  I've also had a new MAC lipstick (Vegas Volt), Clinique eyeshadow palette and the bits and bobs from my little Superdrug haul but the product I've chosen to be January's winner is .... Pantene Pro V Shampoo!

We all know that Pantene has been on the market for years and years now so its not like its anything new but I've only recently started using it and it has made a difference to my hair, its softer, less tangly and less prone to frizzing.  I also don't seem to need much conditioner, I use a leave in one because I haven't got time to rinse conditioner out in the mornings as I'm normally in a rush and it takes too long!

Pantene Pro V Repair  & Protect Shampoo

Look, I can get the comb through it!

In the Winter my hair is pretty much a disaster because of the weather so I tend to just slam it in a ponytail and hope for the best, which is fine because there are worse things in the world than a bad hair day but I have to say that despite the wind, rain, drizzle and damp on many a school run I have actually had quite a few good hair days and I'm pretty sure its down to the shampoo.  The one in the photo is for dry and damaged hair but I've also used one for normal to thick hair and I couldn't really tell the difference, both products have "micro-smoothers" in them and it seems to give the same result.  So big thumbs up for Pantene, I'm also trying a Pantene smoothing cream at the moment which I'll review soon, so far so good with that one.

Which product was your favourite for January?


Superdrug haul ... Barry M, Max Factor and Maybelline

See, now this little lot is why I shouldn't go shopping when I'm grumpy!  I was in town after the morning school run on Wednesday and the bank didn't open until 0930 so I nipped into Superdrug, initially to get some tissues (and get out of the rain), twenty minutes later I appeared to have bought all this but no tissues!

I must say though, I am quite happy with it all, most of these items were on sale so I don't feel too bad.  Below is a little prĂ©cis of what I got.

Two Barry M brushes, one for eyeliner and one for eyeshadow.  I have to say these were an impulse buy, I haven't tried them yet but I hope they're good.  I was drawn to the colours!   My current brushes are a mish mash of various ones that I've accumulated over the years, I love them but they don't match, which isn't a problem for me but I do need to get some new ones.  I'm doing a post on make up brushes soon so if my ramblings on brushes interests you, watch this space!

Two Max Factor Flip Stick lipsticks (try saying that quickly!), I'm a massive Max Factor lipstick fan, they always stay put for a start and there's such a great range of colours.  With the flipsticks you put one colour on then another over the top - voila!  Essentially you've got three lippies in one stick, one at each end then the colour combined.  They are lovely colours, very vibrant and great consistency.  They also appear to have the Max Factor staying power that I like, bonus.  There are four or five Flipsticks in the range so I'm going to try a few.

Then there's the Maybelline nail varnish, one lovely coral colour (I'm drawn to that colour at the moment for some reason) and one neutral colour.  They are both gel varnishes so I am hoping that they have some staying power.  I got these because I need an injection of new nail varnish colours in my stock, I tend to go for the same sort of colour over and over again, playing it safe and I need to branch out a bit I think.

Lastly, bit boring this one, but nail varnish remover pads.  These are Superdrugs own brand, I love these, they aren't very expensive and they don't dry out quickly so you only need one pad for two hands, possibly two if you're wearing a dark colour.

So that's it, short and sweet, hope you all have great weekends!


Rimmel Pro Nails - Heart on Fire

I don't often wear red nail varnish because it almost always chips and I've got a real bug bear about chipped fingernails, they really bother me, first sign of chipping and out comes the nail varnish remover!  So I was very pleasantly surprised when I found this one from Rimmel, part of their Professional Finish range.  It is a great colour (not too red, not too bright) and with just two coats (which dried fairly quickly I am pleased to say) and no clear top coat it lasted about five days. The bottle says it can last up to 10 days but I'm heavy with my hands so five is fine for me.  I love red nails, they are glamorous and classy even though they're not always practical!

327 Heart on Fire

I also noticed that there seemed to be some really good colours in the Rimmel Pro range, one was a lovely coral colour which I'm going to be trying soon for a wedding.


Radley Bags Spring/Summer 2014

Ah Radley, I do so love you ... for years now I've had a bit of a thing about Radley handbags.  I own three or four but its not something that I go out and buy regularly because they are just a wee bit expensive!  I've been browsing the shops (and online) and made a short list of my favourite Radley bags which I thought I'd share with you.  And you never know, someone might want to buy me one for Valentines day (note to self - show this post to husband).

This bag is called "Grosvenor", its a Medium Shoulder Bag and costs £229.  It also comes in Black, Brown and Tan.  I particularly like the detail on the strap on this one but it wouldn't be for everyday use for me as those buckles would be a bit fiddly every time I needed to get a tissue for one of the kids or get my purse out in the supermarket.  I think its a nice work bag and when I go back to work this is the sort I'm going to get!

Next up is this Large Tote Baby Bag, it's beautifully named "Doodle Dog".  I'm past the baby bag stage thankfully (mine was a Yummy Mummy one from John Lewis) but I really liked this, so many baby bags are pale pastel colours with flowers or teddy bears on them and as you tend to have to carry your own stuff around in the same bag as the nappies, wet wipes, dummies etc, sometimes flowers and teddies isn't exactly what you want for your iphone and grown up stuff!  This is a good compromise, its got the cute little dogs on it, its green which means that its a colour for boys, girls and grown ups and at first glance people won't know its a baby bag, they'll just see it as a large tote bag, which it is.  My sister is having twins in the summer, I might get this for her.  The cost of this bag is £109 which actually is quite reasonable as baby bags really cost a lot, John Lewis prices start at about £80.00 so £109 for a Radley is good.

This one's a Medium Tote Bag called "Malton" and its £189.  I liked the colour (its Tan, but also comes in Black) and has a very simple zip fastening in the middle, its quite big so you can carry lots around with you and its big enough to fit an A5 diary in comfortably so it would be good for work.  In my opinion its not as pretty as the Grosvenor bag as it looks more functional and less decorative, but probably better for work and meetings.

Last up (this is my favourite) is this Large Cross Body Bag, and its £109.  I'm a big fan of the cross body bag, it means you have two hands free and it doesn't slip off your shoulder, I really hate that when I'm out shopping.  This is a lovely summery colour, they also do Cream and Green. I'm not sure its very roomy but that's not a bad thing, it might discourage me from carrying around a load of stuff I don't need!  I find that if I overload cross body bags they hurt my neck, it can't cope with the strain!

Hope you enjoyed reading this, I love handbags so no doubt there'll be another post on them soon.


The Liebster Award

Morning beauty bloggers, I'm so chuffed to have been nominated for a Liebster Award by the lovely Meli R who writes a blog called  Polish and Lemonade you really need to check out her blog, its absolutely gorgeous.  I hope I've done the link right, please let me know if it doesn't work.

I think this award is a really lovely idea, aimed at new blogs who have less than 200 followers, its a great way to get new blogs out there and noticed.  Personally, I'm over the moon when anyone reads my blog anyway, so to be nominated for this made my week!

These are the answers to the questions that Meli asked me:

1.  If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I would love to visit Australia, I've never been there and my best school friend who I've known since I was six now lives there and I would love to see her.

2.  Favourite Movie
My favourite ever movie is Apollo 13, because I love Tom Hanks (and we share a birthday) and I am fascinated with anything to do with space (I don't understand it, just fascinated by it).

3.  Who would you like to meet in person (alive or dead) and why?
I would like to meet Stephen Fry, he's funny, flawed and you could have a great conversation with him.

4.  Which is your favourite season?
My favourite season is Spring, its so lovely to come out of the cold winter, see the sun and all the flowers.

5.  What are your three celebrity crushes?
Well, there's Tom (Hanks) of course, Alan Alda (from the 70's tv programme M*A*S*H)  he is probably about 70 now but he was uber cute in that programme. And finally, Hugh Boneville who plays Lord Grantham in Downton Abbey.  Don't ask me why, I can't tell you because I don't know, I just like  him.  I am noticing a theme here though, they are all older men aren't they?  Hilarious, since my husband is 9 years younger than me!

6.  Give two random facts about yourself
OK so random fact number 1 is that I went to University as a mature student when I was 28 and passed my degree with a 2:1 three years later.  And fact number 2 is that I married the bloke who lived next door to me in halls! 

7.  Favourite Accessory
My favourite accessory is a pair of diamond earrings my mum and dad bought for me to wear on my wedding day.  They are really pretty and unobtrusive and the only expensive diamonds I own apart from my engagement ring.  I wear them all the time.

8.  Current Obsession
Currently I am obsessed with bloglovin' I'm on the site all the time!

9.  Favourite colour to paint nails
My favourite colour to paint my nails is "Kyoto Pearl", which is an OPI nail varnish and I love it because it doesn't chip easily and even when it does it doesn't show!

10.  Favourite singer
My favourite singer at the moment is Ellie Goulding.  She's got such a pretty voice and all her songs are so catchy.

11.  Name two Youtubers/Bloggers you like
Ooh, this is a tough one, its taken me ages to answer this question but here goes:  
Lily Pebbles and Fashionable Heart.  These were two of the first blogs I ever read and were such an inspiration.

And these are the questions I'm asking the lovely bloggers I'm nominating:

  1. What's the name and brand of your favourite lipstick?
  2. What book would you take with you to read on a desert island?
  3. Whose celebrity style do you admire?
  4. What's your favourite song?
  5. What are your top three perfumes?
  6. Which radio station do you listen to most?
  7. What's the one beauty item you can't live without?
  8. How often do you go out without make up?
  9. What's the best piece of beauty advice you've ever been given?
  10. Favourite brand of mascara?
  11. Do you read any beauty magazines, if so, which ones?

So, now here are the blogs that I am nominating:

  1. Kathleen Pavey
  2. Heart Ocean Secrets
  3. Lovehellogorgeous
  4. Pink Rainbow Drop
  5. xbeautypie
  6. Birch Beauty
  7. Lace, Lipstick & Me
  8. Little Thoughts From Little People
  9. Frankie Alex (Fresh Britain)
  10. Steph Ellis
  11. Girlsgotaface


You have to link back to the person who nominated you
You have to answer 11 questions
You have to nominate 11 blogs with less than 200 followers to answer your questions
You are not allowed to nominate the person who nominated you
Finally, you must let the people know that they have been nominated

OPI in Kyoto Pearl

So there we are, thanks again to Melle R from Polish and Lemonade for nominating me, I really enjoyed doing this post.


New Year Resolutions - one month on

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

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

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

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

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


Both me and the dog need a haircut!

Phil Smith Curly Locks Curl Control Cream

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

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

It really is curl controlling!

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

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

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

Tidied up and found three old favourites!

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

Dior eyeshadow palette

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

Prescriptives Blusher

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

Guerlain Powder Pearls

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

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


NTA's 2014 - my six favourite celeb outfits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Beauty Bargain of the Week - Radox Shower Smoothie

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

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

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


Radox Shower Smoothie Spirit Booster

Clinique Eye Shadow Quad | Review

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

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

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

What's your favourite brand for eyeshadow?

Love, Maria

Blue Monday with Green Tea

Green Tea with Mint is less really quite nice!

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

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

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

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

Happy Blue Monday everyone!


No7 Lift & Luminate Foundation - Review

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy New Year (belated ...)

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

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

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

Get Fit!

Get Fit

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

Get Organised

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

Get Patient

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

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

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


Maybelline 10h Super Stay Tint Gloss - The Result!

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

My Christmas Skirt

Yesterday, when I was Christmas shopping I saw this skirt in Marks & Spencer and it somehow fell into my basket, got paid for and is now in my wardrobe - oops!  I'm not usually one for outfits for Christmas really because with the boys clothes have to be easy to wear (i.e. quite comfortable and washable) but we are going to someone elses house for Christmas Day this year so there will be NO COOKING for me (a blessing for us all, believe me) so I've decided to make more of an effort.  Anyway, long story short I saw this lovely skirt, its all sparkly and christmassy, I'm going to wear it with black tights, boots and a black jumper.  It is a bit shorter than I usually wear though, I measured it and its 16 inches but I figured with really black tights it will be OK and my legs are still good for my age (lol).

This is a close up of the back zip, I really liked the edging which is the same detail as that of the fake pockets at the front.

Ironically when I tried it on, I did it up as a side zip (don't know why) and it didn't quite sit right.  I've since realised its a back zip!  It looks much better when its sitting straight!  I got the size 14 which is what I need for my bottom half but my waist is much smaller than my hips/bottom so things are always a bit big round the waist.  However this is a plus because it just means I can eat more dinner and not feel like I need to undo a button or two ... we've all been there, right?
Like I mentioned this is a Marks & Spencers skirt, I know it won't be everybodys cup of tea but I liked it.  Its from their Limited Collection which I think is marketed at their "younger" customers (not the teenage section but more funky).

You'll be interested to know that because I got side tracked by this skirt I now have to fight my way back through the M&S crowds tomorrow to buy my brother-in-law's present which is why I went there in the first place!

In other news I'm still battling with the Maybelline 10h lip tint, I have to say its losing (i.e. not staying on for 10 hours) but I am enjoying wearing it, I love the colour and the consistency and the fact that its not sticky, I am  really not a fan of sticky lipgloss.

Maybelline 10 hour Lip Tint

Feeling very smug, have just managed to get myself onto Bloglovin' (goodness knows how in this house of chaos, can't think straight, 3 kids shouting and running around), and get a widget on here as well!

In other news, I've been testing this Maybelline 10 Hour Lip Tint today.  It hasn't lasted 10 hours but I'm going to try it again tomorrow, give it another chance.  On the plus side its not sticky (which means that when the wind blows your hair doesn't get stuck in it - always a bonus!)  Have added it to my list of things to review properly once Christmas is over.

Here's a photo (lovely colour) and a photo of me wearing it too.


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Face, Hair and Hands - three recommended products

Three products tested over the last three weeks for face, hair and hands, enjoy!

Healthy Hands

I don't know about anyone else but once the central heating goes on my hands completely dry out.  It doesn't matter that I wear gloves outside and washing up gloves inside when cleaning or washing up but somehow my hands always end up looking 20 years old than I am.  Not pretty.  Last year they were sore, the skin was cracked and they felt and looked awful.  So this year I've decided to start as I mean to go on, I am now on a Soft Hand Scheme which started two weeks ago and will end in about April, when it warms up outside (hopefully).  The only soap in the house is moisturising and I went out and bought several handcreams, and I've put a handcream in each room in the house and in all my handbags and in my car and hubbys car too.  There is NO excuse not to use handcream any more!

Of course, I guess we all know that handcreams are much of a muchness, personally I can't bear the greasy ones that take ages to sink in but they are the ones that seem to really help the dry skin aren't they?  I never know what to buy even if I read all the reviews in magazines and I've been on the look out for a cream that sinks in quickly, isn't greasy, smells great and instantly softens the skin and guess what?  I found one.

Hand & Nail Cream by Sainsburys
The winner is "Hand & Nail Cream by Sainsburys".  Yes, a supermarket brand people, its great.  This cream has got Vitamin E in it, the smell is a bit like cocoa butter or vanilla (I can't decide which), but anyway its a warm smell and it lingers too, like a perfume.  The cost is just £1.00 for a 75ml tube, when compared with a Vaseline 50ml tube of handcream (although they are always lovely) which costs at least £3.00 so there is quite a saving here too, always a bonus!

Aldi Lacura Face Wash Gel

Fresh Face

The next product I'm going to rave about is another supermarket brand - Aldi.  Who knew that their Gentle Face Wash Gel was so fab? Seriously. I am usually a Nivea facewash girl, I have been for years but when mine was running out I was doing a supermarket shop and I saw this and thought "why not"?  Its called Lacura, which is the Aldi skin care range (they also do moisturisers, eye cream, shower gel etc, none of which I have tried yet), its got Pro-Vitamin B5 in it, its 100% soap free, its not perfumed, not coloured, and its paraben free ... its actually a bit like the Simple range but I think its better and you don't need very much to wash your face either so it lasts a long time.  It also gets rid of make up brilliantly (I'm talking every day make up, not sure how it would fare with waterproof mascara, I'll try it).  Again, the price is right, 150ml (pictured on right) costs just £1.29, considerably less than the £3.59 I usually pay for Nivea Daily Essentials Face Wash Gel.  Incidentally, I should say that my Mum has been championing Lacura for ages, I'm just off to ring her to tell her she was right!

Fight against the Frizz!

Aussie Miracle Frizz Remedy
My last product test was prompted by a week of school runs in the rain.  We don't live far from the school so we walk whenever possible.  Unfortunately, when its raining even though its not far, it is a total hair disaster.  My hair is long and wavy/curly.  Does anyone remember that episode of Friends where they go to Barbados and the humidity gets to Monica's hair and it goes massive?  Well that's like me, except my hair is red, not brunette.  Anyway, whilst frizzy hair can only be described as a 'first world' problem it is quite annoying so I set out to find something to tame the dreaded frizz regardless of weather conditions.  I was in Boots and saw a new spray from the Aussie range.  Its called Aussie Miracle Recharge Frizz Remedy, its a leave in conditioner (perfect for me who hasn't got a lot of time in the shower in the mornings) and its got Australian jojoba seed oil in it.  So I thought I'd try it. To be honest I didn't really know how it was going to work out, I'm normally quite sceptical about products that claim to "tame frizz" because I've tried quite a few and none of them have ever really made much of a difference but I was pleasantly surprised because this
new Aussie product does do what it says on the label!  It can be used on wet or dry hair (though I've only tried wet so far) it gets the tangles out immediately and smells lovely, my 4 year old asked me what my new perfume was, bless him.  I didn't put any other product on my hair, just dried it on a mid heat setting, ran my barrel heated hairbrush round the ends and that was it, as well as helping frizz it also acts as heat protection so you can use curling tongs/straightners without feeling guilty about doing bad things to your hair!  I did two damp/wet school runs at either end of the day and only minimal frizz!  So this product can definitely be recommended.  The cost is £4.49 for 250ml (pictured right).

Monday Morning Make Up

Berry Lips (Grazia)
This week its half term so I've been doing quite a lot of magazine catching up whilst the boys are off school. They've been whizzing about here there and everywhere and I've been catching up with Grazia, New Woman, Good Housekeeping and more.  I've just realised we are now almost at the end of October, which means ... its nearly winter!  And, there are "however many" weeks/days until Christmas so my children tell me (but I'm ignoring it until I have to deal with it).  So, as I looked at my dressing table on Monday morning, in its usual higgledy piggledy state I thought I'd better make an effort with my make up, Monday morning was what I call a "pyjama day" where you want to stay in your PJ's all day and not go out, it was raining and very dark, so dark in fact, that I had to put my little make up light on and made a mental note not to overdo the blusher for fear of ending up a bit too pink when I went outside!  This has happened to me before and I end up furiously scrubbing it off my face guided by the rear view mirror in the car!

Dainty Doll Blush by Nicola Roberts
I chose an autumnal eye colour, Astor Gold and brown/black mascara and a black/brown liner.  I put my faithful Dainty Doll by Nicola Roberts blush on (which is like a little bit of springtime on your face) and then had to ponder, which lipstick?  Lipstick was definitely required, face too pale and tired to leave the house without it, but which one?  The magazines I've been reading have been raving about winter berry colours, which I've been excited about for weeks because I love those deep colours but my favourite Olay one was discontinued years ago and I've failed every time I've tried to replace it.  After much rummaging in various make up bags I found a Rimmel London long lasting lipstick, called Drop of Sherry so I popped that one on.  With this lipstick, as well as being a lovely rich colour it is also long lasting and moisturising and tastes a bit like almonds.  I'm not really sure why it was squirreled away in an old make up bag but I am glad I found it, it'll be at the easily available on my messy dressing table for the rest of the winter.
Drop of Sherry by Rimmel

I've realised you can't go wrong with Rimmel London, the range, the colours, the cost, its pretty fantastic actually.  Plus, they always have fabulous adverts and very well known models wearing the brand, if its good enough for Kate Moss then its good enough for me!  I "liked" their facebook page the other day and even their posts that come through on my newsfeed are entertaining.  

Anyway, I've been wearing Drop of Sherry every day since Monday but I am going to try some of the other berry colours that Grazia magazine and others are recommending.  So watch this space for another berry review.

Gold, by Astor

Lovely red nails (Revlon advert)

Introduction to Beauty Aware

First blog ... what to say?  Well, I have recently started a business selling new cosmetics online and have a website and I also sell on the auction site eBid (which is a bit like eBay but cheaper for sellers and less red tape!)  

I also have three little boys, a husband and a dog so I work from home and somehow cram it in amongst the school runs and all the other things I have to do, but I love it.  I have always loved beauty products and make up and even moreso now that I am in a house full of males (even the dog is a boy), the guys are great but they really aren't interested in talking about blusher or the latest lippie from Rimmel, its more Lego, Power Rangers or Peppa Pig for the kids and rugby for my husband.  They can't see why I get excited about blusher (bought a Dainty Doll blusher the other day, like a little piece of springtime on your cheeks) luckily I have two sisters who are equally as happy as me to talk about cosmetics for hours on end, they are also my testers for my online store items, so they are getting quite a few freebies at the moment, happy girls!

My beautiful boy, Boo

I've been thinking a lot about how make up makes me feel recently, because I've been poorly with an ear infection and felt awful and spent days being pale and washed out because I couldn't be bothered to put my face on.  Tonight it was parents evening so I put my five minute face on (concealer, moisturising foundation, mascara, blusher, lipstick) and even though I still felt pretty rough, I did feel as if I could take on the world, or, in this case, the Year 1 and Year 4 teachers.  When I got home I realised that my pale cheeks were showing through the blusher and my mascara could have done with another coat but it didn't matter, at the point where I needed to feel confident it worked, met teachers, got my point across, stood my ground, the end.  Now, I'm about to take it all off, get in my pj's and read Grazia, quite apart from the article on Angelina Jolie and her wedding there's a lot about winter make up, apparently berry brights are in, which I'm thrilled about, I love those colours.

So for now its goodnight from me, and goodnight from Boo who is asleep on the sofa, better move him to his basket!  

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