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

Hawaiian Tropic Suncream tried and tested

I remember when sun cream used to be thick and sticky.  In the 1980's when Factor 20 was about the highest you could have I remember being slathered in the stuff by my Mum in order to fend off the pesky sun rays that shot through the melting ozone layer and attacked my pale-as-anything skin.  When you have red hair it's a dead cert that you're not going to even get little bit tanned, just burned and therefore wearing a high factor cream is a no brainer.

As I got older and we all knew more and more about the connection between the sun and burning and skin cancer I was so glad my Mum had insisted on the slathering of the dreaded thick Soltan from Boots.  I have to say I did like the smell of it, I still do, it reminds me of happy childhood holidays which is so, so precious.

However, these days, I've moved on from Soltan and it's sticky thickness.  In fact, I'm a bit of a sun cream connoisseur, I know what works best for me.  One of my absolute favourite brands is Hawaiian Tropic.  They have an amazing range (I go to the big Boots stores to peruse the shelves) and there's something for everyone.


Hawaiian Tropic, SPF 15, 20 and 30


I've got three I go for on a regular basis.

Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Air Soft SPF 30
In a pump action bottle, cream with a lovely moisturising feel but also thick enough to feel like when it sinks in your skin will be protected.  Not sticky!

Hawaiian Tropic Satin Protection SPF 20
This one is a speedy spray, which is always a good thing, it covers quite a big area as well.  I have to admit that sometimes I worry that the sprays aren't as good because the liquid is finer but it never seems to make any difference, it's always worked, no burning from this one so far.

Hawaiian Tropic Golden Tint SPF 15
I love the golden tint in this one.  I wear this on my legs mainly, in the Spring months when the weather isn't hot and there the UV rays aren't very high.  It just helps take them from alabaster to normal redhead person pale and it's moisturising in the process.  It does stain clothes though so it has to be totally sunk in before you dress.  Also it's not a gradual tanner it's a wash off.


Hawaiian Tropic selection of sun protection creams

I'm in Spain now with my family and it is VERY hot.  VERY.  It's been hot in the UK but we've had warnings here about extreme temperatures.  I'm not sure even all three of these combined would cut the mustard against the burning rays so I intend to stay in the shade and well out of the sun.  We have to quarantine for 14 days when we get back as it's the rules but the sun is such a nice change from the non-summer we seem to be having at home

Note:  All the products listed above can be purchased in Boots (www.boots.com) however I am not sure if they still do the Golden Tint, this can definitely be found on Amazon and in drugstores (Walgreens, CVS etc) in the States.


Clinique Cheek Pop - Melon Pop

Meet my new Clinique Melon Pop blusher.

The Clinique 'Pop' series has been around for a few years now, with this aptly named Cheek Pop you can 'pop' a bit of colour on and go.  The colour is 'Melon Pop' somewhere between the colour of water melon and that other orange melon that I can't remember the name of right now.

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

Definitely a summer blush for me to wear while my skin has a bit more colour during the sunny months, the next colour up is Ginger Pop which is lovely but darker so quite stark if you have pale skin, however probably nice on holiday once a few freckles have emerged!  Melon pop is more subtle I think.

I bought this one from my favourite online cosmetic store Look Fantastic, it was £18.00.  If you click this link HERE you can see the details and the other cheek pop colours available, there's some nice pink ones too.


Clinique Cheek Pop 'Melon Pop'

Melon Pop from Clinique



The Summer Beauty Bag from M&S

On a recent trip to M&S I was pleased to see the return of the Summer Beauty Bag.  I've had one the last couple of years (though I think they were boxes rather than bags) and I've been really pleased with them.  In order to get one you had to spend at least £25 on clothing, home or beauty products in store and the bag itself cost £15.  They were so popular this year that they sold out very quickly!

This time round the bag is clear which is good because it will make an excellent travel toiletries bag, I love it when you can actually see what you've got, I hate rummaging round in dark bags for stuff!

The bag boasts several full size products and doesn't disappoint.  Moreover it's got everything you need for summer, infact, there are some really nice products in there.



One of my favourites are the WOW hair products, there's a mini shampoo and conditioner to try.  WOW is quite expensive so nice to have a miniature to try before you buy.  There's also a full size Pixi product, an eye pencil.  Anything from Pixi is always very welcome!  And I was really happy to see the REN face lotion tonic given that I have started using my REN moisturiser again this week (pure coincidence).  There are two sunscreen products, one from NUXE which is a factor 50 for your face and the other is an M&S product, their sun products are called Sun Smart and this is an after sun face mask, soothing and hydrating with hyaluronic acid.  All dermatologically tested too so we are good to go.

There's a nice lip gloss too.  Not usually a fan of lip gloss, I find most of them too sticky but this one is really light and pretty and perfect for holidays, it's got a bit of a shimmer to it.  

Full list of the products listed below
  • Percy & Reed Volumising No Oil Oil (for hair)
  • REN Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic 50ml
  • M&S Beauty Sun Smart After Sun Face Mask
  • Nuxe Sun Melting Cream SPF 50
  • M&S Seasalt and Freesia eau de toilette 50ml
  • Pixi by Petra Endless Silky Eye Pen (black noir)
  • Autograph Colour Shine Lip Lacquer (Sorbet)
  • PURE Super Hydrate Day Cream SPF15
  • Color WOW Color Security Shampoo
  • Color WOW Color Security Conditioner
  • L'Occitane Verveien Shower Gel 70ml
  • £5 off voucher when you spend £20 or more on M&S beauty






Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Lipstick - Poesie

There are some days when only Estee Lauder will do.

Today is one of them, I am SO tired today!

This is Pure Colour Envy No 215 Poesie.  It's adorable.  It's also quite a lot like the other lipsticks I own in terms of shade, that rose/pink colour, I seem to gravitate towards that colour.

I absolutely love Estee Lauder lipsticks, they feel and look so luxurious both in the casing, which is substantial and gives a satisfying 'click' when you close the case and in the consistency.  Also they glide on, don't drag your lips and they don't bleed into mouth lines either (so far, anyway!).

I actually can't find Poesie on the Estee Lauder website so maybe it's discontinued, however, it looks exactly like this one which is a Special Edition called Rebellious Rose and appears to be a bestseller at £27.

I only own three Estee Lauder lipsticks.  I might have to rectify that ...!

(If you want to watch a quick YouTube video I made about this lippy please click this link HERE)






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.


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