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

My Top 5 ... Blogging Tips


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I don't know about anyone else but I love reading blogging tips.  I've been blogging for about a few years now and my blog has been steadily growing and is pretty successful, by that I mean that people read it which I didn't think would happen when I started!  So I'm happy.  Always looking to improve I think we can learn from others, I love tips because you can take them or leave them if they aren't for you, I know I've read some that I've incorporated and others that I've thought were good but not for my blog.  That's the beauty of it.

Anyway, I thought I'd share with you my top five blogging tips.




Don't Worry About Statistics

This is one of the best pieces of advice I read, and luckily for me I read it early on.  When I started my blog I was under no illusions that it would be read by loads of people, I just wanted to write.  It is very easy to get dragged into checking statistics and I can see how you could get a little crazy about it, fretting if you don't think you're being read, or a post that you thought was particularly good doesn't get many views.  I think it is also probably quite easy to feel disheartened if you aren't getting huge views like the "big bloggers" but remember they all started somewhere so don't be intimidated by anyone else.  I think that the best blogs are the ones that have their own style and are consistently written and sound like a real person.  If you are happy with what you are writing then that's great, relax, be yourself and write about what you like.

Widgets Are Good

I like widgets. If I like a blog then I like to be able to see if they've got a Facebook page, or a Pinterest board (Pinterest is my favourite thing at the moment) or if they're on YouTube.  Plus, I think they fill the page out a bit and they are also a good way of advertising your blog to tell people you're out there.  Ironically, neither my Facebook nor my Instagram widgets seem to work at the moment, not since I changed my blog theme!   

Read And Comment

There are a lot of blogs out there and I mean a LOT.  If someone writes something that I like and think is good I always try to comment even if it's just a short one and I love it when people comment on mine!  I do have a comment policy now though, which is something I recently introduced because I was getting a lot of spam which I found quite annoying.  It's an idea I got after seeing it on one or two other blogs and I changed the wording to suit.  I have no idea whether people will take any notice of it but I can try!  

I have set up email subscriptions to all the blogs I like to read so I get reminders to read new posts.  I used to think Bloglovin was good but I recently had to go through and cultivate what I had on there because when there are a lot of blogs and they all pile up it can get overwhelming.  

Re-read Before You Press Send

This is quite a good tip and one I always try to adhere to.  Firstly, its good to give what you've written a bit of a spell check and a grammar check too, not that I'm any great shakes and I know I flit between past and present tenses but I try to punctuate and spell properly.  Secondly, it's a good idea to re-read what you've written just to check that what's on the page is what you wanted to write.  Sometimes I write, re-read and think  "how the hell did I get onto that, it doesn't make sense and its boring.  Start again."  I have a tendency to waffle so I'm making an effort to be more concise these days.
 
Your Blog, Your Choice

Don't feel pressured to "be like" anyone else.  If you want to write a blog that does mainly reviews then that's fine, if you want to write a series that's great too.  It's your blog, write about what you like and what you know and be happy with it.  I'm a firm believer that there is room in the blogging world (in my case the beauty blogging world) for everyone.  Something else I thought recently, was that as the world changes so might your blog, so just because you started in a certain niche it doesn't mean you have to stay there, you can expand it, or change it to suit how you feel and what you want to write about.  

I  hope this has helped and has been encouraging, it was definitely meant as helpful and not preachy ;-)  I'm always in the market for new tips, if you've got any bring them on!
 

Beauty Pie Plantastic Apricot Butter Cleansing Balm (with video)

 As cleansing beauty balms go, this is one of the best I've tried.  I've only had a Beauty Pie subscription for a few months but I've been super pleased with everything I've bought so far.  This product retails at £50 but for Beauty Pie members (who subscribe monthly) it costs just £13.93.  

If you want some information on Beauty Pie click the link and go to their website, it's all there and easy to read.

I like cleansing my face with a balm because it feels really clean afterwards and it gets all the make up off with one product rather than having to use a facewash, then a micellar water then a toner or whatever goes next.  So for me, it's quick and that's what I like because at the end of the day I just want to go to bed so I don't want too much fuss!

Ingredients include

  • Cold Pressed Rosehip Oil
  • Vitamin E
  • Apricot Butter
All this will help to cleanse, nourish and purify your skin.

My tips on how to use - and a video!

I use cleansing cloth or a soft flannel (one per day) and rinse it in warm water and gently remove the balm and the make up from my face.  Sometimes, depending on whether I've got a lot of make up on it takes a bit longer to get it all off.  I also get my eye make up off with it, even mascara.  The key is not to 'scrub' as this pulls your skin but to dab firmly to get rid of the balm and make up residue.  If your mascara is very stubborn it might be an idea to get a cotton pad and some eye make up removed and just do a couple of wipe with that before you put the balm all over your face, it'll loosen the mascara and make it easier to wipe off.

Here's a video I made of me taking off make up with the balm, it was the first time I'd tried it so I wasn't sure how it was going to go.  




Lisa Armstrong Collection for Avon

I need to talk about the new Lisa Armstrong for Avon range.

I've not ordered from Avon for ages, years in fact but recently a lovely school friend from back home has become a rep and you know you can order online on their shop page and then have it delivered direct to you?  Well I did that.  It arrived really quickly as well.

I could have bought more, obviously, but it was before Christmas so I thought I'd better start small with the first order.  So other than some Skin So Soft I ordered a couple of products from the Lisa Armstrong range.  Now Lisa (incase you don't know her) is famous in the UK for two things, first for being a top notch and highly rated make up artist who has worked on all sorts of TV and fashion shows (and the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing I believe, amongst other shows) but also because she used to be married to Ant McPartlin from Ant n' Dec and had the most awful time in the media when she was going through her divorce, bless her.



Light Up Concealer

So the first thing I went for is the Light Up Concealer because I did need a new concealer.  It's in pen form like Touch Eclat so easy to apply and I'd had something similar from Avon before so I thought it would be good.  The nice thing about this pen is that it does a lot of stuff, it conceals, it brightens, it's brilliant under eyes (because it's not heavy or thick) and you can also use it as an eye shadow primer.  So what's not to love?  It comes in several shades, I chose Shade 1 because I'm super pale and it's a good match.  So far I haven't used it as an eye shadow primer but it's worked beautifully for everything else.  Also it only costs £12 which is great for a really good concealer I think.

I only have one tiny complaint and that is that the brush is quite small and thin, I'd have preferred slightly thicker brush but it's minor and it won't stop me repurchasing.  Link to Light Up Concealer


All About The Base Priming Moisturiser

I bought this thinking it was a primer but really I do believe it's more of a moisturiser.  I guess the thought behind it was that it was a moisturiser that you could use as a primer too (voila - a 2 in 1) but I prefer mine separate really.  

So, while I am sure it does a brilliant job as a primer, I can't really vouch for that.  What I can vouch for however, is that it does work beautifully as a night cream.  I don't like night creams generally because they always seem to be quite heavy and don't sink in particularly well but this is really lovely.

It's made up of Vitamin C and Shea Butter and has a lovely scent.  I couldn't work out what it smelled like so I asked my kids and they came up with "summer candles" "lemon sherbet sweets" and "that mosquito spray we use" so I'm guessing it's tone is lemon 😆 - to be fair when they pointed it out they were right, it does have a lemon smell to it but not sickly, just very refreshing and quite cooling on the skin too, I thought.

This retails at £15 for 25g,  a little bit goes a long way too so it should last a while.  Link to moisturiser.











First 2021 post and Lockdown 3.0

My last post was written in the summer, sitting outside in the sunshine on our trip to Spain.  We were so lucky to be able to get away last year when so many others had their holidays cut short or cancelled.  We are fortunate enough to have a family home in a very remote part of Spain so we holed up there for two week and only went out (masked) to the Supermarket and the beach.  Actually I think we did go to Marbella to the socially distanced shopping centre too otherwise I wouldn't have been able to go to Sephora (which would have been a shame ;-))

When I got back school started again (yay) and I had an entire notebook full of blog post notes and a camera roll full of prettily posed pictures (of products, not me) and I was full of enthusiasm for the autumn and how much I was going to write.  And then I didn't.  And then all of a sudden it was Christmas and we could only see one other family on Christmas Day.  And I realised that all my beauty thoughts had just flown out of the window in about September and I'd been limping for months, mentally, through the autumn and the ever increasing daily bad news about the coronavirus.  And then I realised, like most of the nation, (or actually, the world) I was really quite depressed.

Here in the UK we are now in our third lockdown, and while I completely understand the whys and wherefores behind it I must admit that there is no way I thought it would be like this when I was merrily creating blog posts in the beautiful Spanish sunshine!   

The other day I was walking the dog, it was freezing but it was sunny.  So I took some pictures of a little field near to where I live that's filled with sheep and lambs in the spring and is really pretty.  And it sort of gave me hope, hope that spring is on the way and that with the mass rollout of the vaccines maybe we really are in our last little bit of this virus nightmare.  

I think will be ok.  So have dug out my blog notebooks and started writing (in-between logging children onto Zoom classes and being asked 7,000 questions a day about things I don't understand) and started writing again.  

New posts are on their way.  But for now it appears we are late for a Geography Zoom so I need to go and log in.  Fair play to the school - they are definitely on it!

(In the meantime please check out this photo I took of the pretty field soon to be filled with daffodils and lambs). 





Sephora Haul beauty products from Sephora Marbella

I don't normally do haul posts because it's rare that I actually go out and buy a lot of make up/beauty products in one go.  However, I am here in Spain at the moment and there is a Sephora in Marbella so I decided to make the most of it, particularly at they do not have one in the UK!  It's a 50 minute drive from where we are to Marbella as we're out in the country so we made a day of it and took the kids out for lunch and they bought the latest X box game (hand on face emoji!!)



💙 I specifically went to get a couple of Milk products, also difficult to get in the UK and nobody is really shipping internationally at the moment so quite difficult to get your hands on.  I got two lipsticks and a lip cheek product.  I'd already got one of the lipsticks which is a balm really but it's so nice that I thought it was worth getting a second one and a different colour too.  I got Plushberry as the new colour and Bubble (which was the replacement).   The lip/cheek colour is actually a mini one, it's called Werk.  

💙 Next up is Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer Potion.  Love this stuff.  It's anti-aging which I guess means smooths out lines etc and I can vouch that it does.  I'm a big believer in eye shadows primer for all sorts of reasons, not least because it really helps your product stay put all day!  The Urban Decay ones aren't heavy and they don't upset my eyes which are quite sensitive.  They also last quite a long time because a little bit goes a long way.

💙 I also got a Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil which apart from my Sephora one is the best pencil I've ever used on my brows.  It's extremely easy to use which is why I love it, it isn't too heavy so it's easy to get an even colour on both brows so they more or less match.  My brows are very low maintenance but they do need a bit of a fill in so this is perfect.

💙 It wouldn't be a shopping trip if I didn't get an eye shadow palette (or just a single!).  This time Sephora's own Eye Love palettes caught me out just before I got to the till.  They are very natural shades, perfect for every day but with one or two little sparkly numbers included to pazazz it up should you need to.  I opted for the Light Warm one first because that's my colouring but also got the Light Cool to try too, I think they will all look nice and perfect for everyday use because they are so subtle.  

💙 Lastly two eye pencils.  Also Sephora own brand.  Love these pencils, they are the best.  They stay on and don't drag your skin which is so important, particularly on older eyes where the skin is thinner.  This time I got Sephora Colorful contour eye pencil in Lavender Fields and another light gold colour only I can't find that pencil now!  I think it might be in the L'Occitane bag or my handbag, I will have to dig it out.  Hence only Lavender Fields is pictured.  They are waterproof so don't run and they are fine on my aforementioned sensitive eyes.  While I've been away I've been using one I got last time called Flirting Game (pictured) which is a sort of brown/shimmer.

Finally, the lovely assistant gave me a really nice free gift of a Flower By Kenzo eau de perfume milky soap.  It smells DIVINE!  

I've taken some photos of what I bought so you can see it in close up. 💙 Oh, and there's a quick video of the goodies I made for my YouTube channel, click here to see it.












Tarte - Rainforest of the Sea palette review and tips

I've got a couple of Tarte palettes, this one, prettily named "Rainforest of the Sea" and another called "In Bloom" which I'll do a post on another time.  I've been using this one a lot recently because it's very light and good for summer. 

Rainforest of the Sea feels like a very luxurious product, mainly because the compact is quite heavy and feels substantial.  It's also got a really pretty lid in mermaid colours, blue, turquoise and purple.  There's also a mirror which in my opinion is is invaluable.


Here are my thoughts on this sweet little palette ...

  1. For a base I use the pale colour Sand and put either Mermaid or Wave over the top.  You can see the names of the colours on the photo below. 
  2. Seashell is a lovely pinky/gold colour and is really pretty by itself or on top of a darker colour.
  3. Abyss and Reef are excellent for adding a bit of colour to the outer corners and for a top and bottom line as a liner.
  4. MY TIP 💚 The colours are quite pale so to build up colour you need to load the brush a bit.  I found there was very little fall out too and it did stay on my lids.
  5. The thing that drew me to this palette is that there are a mixture of darker and lighter shades, some with a little shimmer, some more matte.  
  6. You get a shimmer, not a full on massive, disco-glittery sparkle!
  7. MY TIP 💚 It's also a good beginner palette, nothing too heavy, variety of subtle colours but darker shades that can be built upon to create smoky looks or darker eyes if required.  
  8. MY TIP 💚 Good for older eyelids like mine (post 45) use an eye shadow primer to promote longevity and even out lid colour before putting a pale matte shade on then layering with a slightly darker colour in the corners/crease. 

As a brand, Tarte aren't readily available in the UK unless you go to the QVC website and even they only sell certain products.  I had to send away for it but the Tarte website is great and they seem to have loads of items on sale most of the time so it's worth a look. 


Tarte Rainforest of The Sea




Tarte Rainforest of The Sea





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)






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