Re-discovering Barry M Cosmetics | Everyday Make-up Basics

Mention the brand Barry M Cosmetics to me and I immediately think of nail polish and glittery dazzle dust pots. In my teens and early twenties this was one of my go to brands. I have to confess though as I have got older, and my tastes have changed, I felt like I had outgrown the brand.

A couple of weeks ago though, I was contacted by Barry M and offered the opportunity to try a selection of their products. Barry M are wanting more Mum’s to rediscover how the Brand is not just about glitter but fits quite nicely into everyday beauty routines.

Having had a couple of weeks to play with the products I am pleased to say that I have discovered some great make-up basics that I am reaching for on a daily basis.

All Night Long Foundation Stick £6.99

This is the first time I have used a foundation that is in stick form. I am enjoying the fact that it is mess free and very quick and easy to use. Perfect for busy mornings then! I just swipe the stick across my face and using my real Techniques buffing brush I blend it out.

I was sent the shade cashew, which is a bit on the dark side for me. I can get away with it though as long as I’m careful about how much I use.

As claimed this definitely is a medium coverage foundation. It evens out my skin tone and helps to improves the overall appearance of my skin without looking unnatural. I do have to use a small amount of concealer to neutralise the redness around my nose or to cover any major outbreaks, but then that is often the same with most foundations I have tried.

The picture below show before and after application. I haven’t used any concealer.

The foundation lasts well at work, any colour fade is even and I don’t experience any shiny or cakey patches. Do bear in mind that I use a water based primer as well as a setting spray.

Overall I am more than happy with this foundation and will continue to reach for it on a daily basis.

Flawless Light Reflecting Concealer £4.49

Again Barry M have got it right with the packaging for this product. This concealer has a handy built in brush making it quick and easy to apply.

The concealer contains cucumber and aloe extract so it feels refreshing under the eyes. It’s not too thick and heavy meaning that it doesn’t settle into any lines around the eye area.

Flawless Mist & Fix Setting Spray matte finish £4.99

I always use a setting spray with my makeup as I find it not only helps my foundation last longer but also improves the appearance of my makeup overall. At this budget price point Barry M’s offering is a option for everyday use. It definitely keeps me looking matte and shine free without that tacky feeling you can get in some setting sprays.

Lash Vegas 2 Black Mascara £4.99

If you like feathery separated lashes then this mascara is perfect for you. It has a long thin spiral shaped brush that grips and separates the lashes.

I do find I have to try not to blink until it dries as it is quite a wet formula. Once it’s dry though it stays put. I am a hay-fever suffer so this is no mean feat where I’m concerned.

I love the packaging for this mascara it looks and feels very sleek. It feels quite weighty in the hand giving the impression of a more luxurious product.

That’s Swell Plumping Lipgloss £4.99

This might look like just a clear lipgloss but I have absolutely fallen in love with it. The gloss has a minty bubblegum taste to it that feels soft and plumping on the lips. It is very comfortable to wear, unlike other plumping glosses I have tried.

I reach for it so regularly that it now lives in my work bag as it’s great for a quick fuss free freshen up.

Overall I have enjoyed using all of these products. Barry M is a great place to look for those necessary everyday basics. If you want a bit of glitter in your life too then they’ve got you covered.

To see the full range from Barry M check out their website here.

*post features PR samples

Reading In Heels | A book based subscription box

I am bit of a sucker for a good old subscription box. That’s why when I found out about Reading In Heels I immediately signed myself up. If you love reading and are open to reading something that you haven’t picked yourself, then this box is for you.

Each month you receive a book plus some extra luxury treats. This month the treats seemed to be themed around products designed to help you relax and get a good nights sleep. I’ve had a lot on my plate at work at the moment so this is something I really appreciated.

Included was a relaxing tealight sample from hopping hare candles. This has a gorgeous lavender scent with top notes of ylangylang. Full size candles range from £10-£38 and you can also pick up the tealight samples for just £1 from their website.

Next we have sleepy head beauty balm from Made by Coopers Apothecary . This 10g mini tin retails for £5 and you can get a larger 60g tin for £15. It has a Lavender and Frankincense scent. The top notes are much warmer than the candle.

Included also are two t2tea sleep tight Teabags, £7.50 for 25 and 2 pieces of Chins Kitchen Rose and Cardamom Nankhatai, £6.50 box. These are little fragrant Indian shortbreads. They were nice but not something I would rush out to buy myself.

This months book is Bad Romance by Emily Hill. The book is a selection of short stories that are darkly funny. I often have found myself literally sniggering as I read this book. Each story takes a fairly ordinary situation and then adds an unexpected twist. Often the heroines behave in way that society norms could consider to be fairly outrageous, they do so with a charming defiance.

I’ve found this perfect for keeping in my bag when I have a spare 5-10 minutes and feel the urge to indulge in a spot of reading. Life is often far to busy and fast paced and I sometimes just am looking for a spot of instant gratification. I don’t have to worry about getting to ‘the good bits’ and then having to stop reading.

A subscription costs £12.40 including P&P. This also includes access to the Reading In Heels digital book club, a place where you can leave reviews and discuss the book with other members.

As you can see it is well packaged so you items arrive safely.

Overall I have thoroughly enjoyed my first experience of Reading in Heels. I am looking forward to seeing what next month brings.

Hopefield Animal Sanctuary

On Thursday evening I had the opportunity to visit Hopefield Animal Sanctuary for an Influencer event that they were hosting .I took my Son along with me as I knew he would enjoy meeting the animals.

We were given a guided tour of the sanctuary and an informative talk telling us all about the necessary work that they do at Hopefield. After our tour we were then treated to a delicious vegan afternoon tea served up in their on site tearoom.

The sanctuary is located in Brentwood, not far from where I live in Essex. I had driven past it on many occasions as the paddocks back onto the A12, a road that I use regularly, but I had never actually visited. My view from the A12 gave the impression that Hopefield is a small horse sanctuary, which of course it is, however it is actually so much more.

The Sanctuary was founded In 1983 by Paula and Ernie Clark, after seeing the plight of the increasing number of abandoned ponies and cobs being left abandoned on Rainham Marshes. Today the Sanctuary is home to over 450 rescued animals, not just horses. They range from unwanted pet rabbits and cats, horses and cattle to the more exotic including tortoises, snakes, raccoons, alpaca and reindeer,

One of Hopefield’s first residents was Hope a 35 year old horse. Hope was rescued at just 6 months old from the meat market where she had been separated from her mother and was found hiding in a corner scared and alone.

Hope is a lovely horse and thanks to the care she has received is now quite used to human contact.

Hope suffers from a foot condition so cannot walk in mud. This is why her paddock is floored with concrete. It allows her to enjoy being outdoors even in wet conditions. This is just one example of how Hopefield will adapt its facilities to match an individual animals needs.

Hopefield operates with a no kill policy meaning that they will never put a healthy animal down. Some of the animals have been rescued from terrible conditions, injured, malnourished and with complex physiological issues. The team will do their best to provide the specialist care and treatment required.

Some of animals have found their way to Hopefield as they have been considered to no longer have any value for their previous owners. These male dairy cows for example would usually be destroyed at birth considered worthless.

Other residents have found themselves at Hopefield due to being purchased as unsuitable pets. These Racoon dogs might  look very cute but do not make good pets. They found their way into the UK pet market from China. They are a wild animal though and cannot be domesticated. Luckily they were able to find a home at the sanctuary. Often unwanted animals are just dumped by their previous owners.

Hopefield do such fantastic work rescuing animals that would otherwise live a life that is full of suffering. They can only do this through fundraising and with the help of volunteers.

If you want to help you can do so by making a donation via their website. There is also an animal adoption scheme. We plan on adopting Slow Coach, the tortoise on the left in the picture below. He has scarring on his shell as he was kept in too small an enclosure. The heat lamps where so low they burnt his shell. This shell damage is permanent and will not grow back. It doesn’t slow him down though he was actually quite fast for a tortoise!

My Son instantly fell in love with Slow coach. He loves tortoises and wants one as a pet. We have had to tell him no though as it would be irresponsible of us to even entertain the idea. It is just not possible for us to provide the required home for one. My Son is excited to adopt Slow Coach though and will be able to visit him at Hopefield.

If you wanted to visit the Sanctuary and meet the animals for yourself it is open to the public. Opening times are  Fridays through to Monday, between 11 and 4pm.

Entry fees are very reasonable at just £16 for a family ticket. (2 adults, 2 children).

A visit makes for a lovely afternoon out, not only to you get to see a wide variety of different animals but it is very educational and helps to support their ongoing work. The tea room is also a great place to grab refreshments whilst you are there. We really enjoyed our afternoon tea!

If you could adopt an animal what kind of animal would you adopt? Let me know in the comments.

5 Simple ways to instantly add extra style points to that basic Jeans & T-Shirt Outfit.

Jeans and a T-shirt for many of us Mums has long been a bit of an unofficial uniform. Lets face it these wardrobe staples are not only comfortable and practical but they are easy. Not much thought and effort has to go into getting ready for the day. To be fair when it’s 8’oclock on a Wednesday and your little treasures either won’t get dressed or have managed to misplace a shoe, their lunchbox or both, you’re doing well to be dressed at all.

There are a couple of style tricks I like to use though that instantly give the impression I’m a stylish Mummy and have my shit together. This doesn’t take much extra time either. I’m talking just 1 extra minute added to your getting dressed time. Are you ready?

  • Tuck your T-shirt into your waistband, you will immediately look smarter.

  • Ensure your jeans are well fitting. Check out this post here for tips on how to buy the perfect fitting pair of jeans.
  • Roll the ankles of your Jeans. This little extra detail instantly adds style points.

  • Switch out trainers for a smarter looking flat. They are just as comfortable but look smarter.
  • Add a belt or scarf. Why not both?  Accessories are a great way to bring your individual personality to a basic outfit. Who agrees it can be very easy to lose yourself a bit when you become a mum? Well this is one way you can grab a bit of that back.

Check out the difference in the before and after shots below:

Creme Stripe T-Shirt £19.95 (currently 3 for 2) Joules.com

Floral scarf £9.95 Joules (in-store only)

Are you a fellow Jeans and T-shirt wearer? Do you have any tricks that you use to style up you day to day basics?

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Dupe Alert! The UK’s answer to Colourpop Supershock Shadows.

I love Colourpop Supershock Shadows. The crème-powder formula is super pigmented and has just the right level of micro glitter. Whenever I wear it I get compliments and am regularly asked what eyeshadow it is I am wearing.  At just $5 they are a bit of a steal. Here is my predicament though. I live in the UK so suddenly they are not so cheap and accessible. If I want free shipping, I have to spend $50, and don’t get me started on those bloomin import taxes. That will be why I own just two then!

What If I told you that I’ve found a dupe for Colorpops Supershock shadows that is very accessible to us UK based fans? Well Love Me Beauty have only gone and done it with their latest Phase Zero product launch, Metal Foil Eyeshadows. 

I can’t compare shades but the formula is bang on. They have managed to capture the unique bouncy texture that Supershock shadows are known for. They perform in almost exactly the same way, dare I say but  actually find them a smidge easier to blend (the colourpop shadow is the first swatch in the picture below).

I am wearing the middle shade Goth Girl in the picture below.

Individually the shadows  are priced at just £4.75 to LMB members. If you buy a bundle they are even cheaper. Shipping is £3.95 regardless of the size of your order.

If you are already a Love Me Beauty member and haven’t tried these out yet do it, you won’t be disappointed. If you aren’t now is a good time to check the website out. They are currently offering 90 days free membership trial. Also if you use my referral code KATY6849 you can get £5 off your first order*.

I am in love with yet another Phase Zero product and will definitely be grabbing these in a couple of other shades.

Phase Zero Metal Veils – It’s Love! 

It’s not often I instantly fall in love with a product. These liquid eyeshadows from Phase Zero however have really impressed me. 


I have the shades Fancy which is  yellow gold, and Regal which is a warm red toned burgundy. 

The formula is highly pigmented and feels nice and creamy. 

It has a small doe foot applicator making it easy to work with. I find I can be quite precise with the areas that I am wanting to apply product. I then like to use a blending brush to soften the edges. 

Once the formula dries it doesn’t budge. This is great for lasting power but just remember you do need to work quickly if you do want to blend it out. 

I find this is a great product to use when I’m in a hurry. I love how the look below came out. It is something I would wear for an evening out and only took me little over a minute. 

This look was created using regal over the lid and a gold pressed eyeshadow dabbed into the centre. 

Priced at just £4 to Love Me Beauty members these are a great little addition to my makeup collection. 

If you wanted try these out for yourself I have a £5 off first order referral code KATY6849 (I would receive a £5 LMB voucher as well).

5 Things In May

It’s been a little while since I have had time to write. Lots has been happening in my life, I thought then It would be a good idea to share some of the highlights with you in one post. So here goes….

I Ran My First 10k

On the 9th of May I achieved a huge personal goal. Along with my sister Michelle, AKA marathon runner, and Husband Chris who completes triathlons, I ran my first 10k. 

We took part in a runthrough chase the sun event at The Olympic Park in Stratford. 

I am so proud of myself especially as I had to push through the last km. My calf’s were starting to feel like I had weights attached to them, yup it hurt! 


My Fourteen Year Old Son is Taller than Me!

The difference In these two photographs is crazy. Since the second picture was taken he has grown even taller. 

This dawned on me the other day. Harrison has always been cheeky, however on this occasion he was being a bit too cheeky. I was telling him off and he was looking down at me! What!!! 

No wonder he has been eating me out of house and home. 



I Finally Finished ‘Me After You’ 

This was such a great book. It is the sequel to Jo Jo Moyes bestseller ‘Me before You’. Set a couple of months on, after Will takes his own life, the book tackles grief and whether you are able to move on. It has a somewhat humerous approach whilst managing not to make light of the subject matter. 

At times I did want to give the main character Louise a good old shake, other times I just wanted to hug her. 


I have been channeling my inner Marie Kondo

My head is in that place where I’m feeling it’s time to get my home and life organised. 

I have been having a good old clear out and a reorganise of my storage. I just want everything organised so that I can eventually be more productive with my time. The sight of all these neatly folded tops makes me so happy. 

Infinity War Was AMAZING!!

Okay so technically this was released in April, but it was May before we went to see it. 

It was such a good film. It’s not often the outcome of a film leaves you speechless. I left the cinema thinking ‘I don’t know how I feel about that!’ 

To be honest I’m still reeling at what happened and cannot wait into the second part next year. 

This is hands down my favourite Marvel film so far! 

So that’s at little update of what’s been happening In my life recently. 

Feel Unique’s sample service| My latest picks

I love getting my hands on a variety of different beauty products to try out. This can prove costly though especially, if you have a weakness for high end products. This is why I love Feel Unique’s sample service. I get to try out some of those high end products without committing to a full size product.

This can avoid a lot of costly buyers remorse. Let’s face it not all products are going to suit everyone.

The service offers you the chance to pick 5 samples to try out at home. There is a small handling fee of £3.95 however you do receive this back in the form of a voucher to use against future purchases. If you remember to use this you are basically getting the samples for free. Some of those samples are worth a fair few pennies as well. So you can find yourself getting a really good deal. 

These are the samples I picked up in April. 

Burt’s Bees lemon butter cuticle cream rrp £6.49 15g 

At 8.5g this is a good sized sample and worth about £3.46. It comes in a sturdy tin as well, perfect for keeping in my bag. 

This is such an effective product. My cuticles had been looking quite rough and dry. After a couple of uses they are looking so much better. I love the refreshing lemon scent as well! I shall be purchasing a full size once I’ve finished my sample. Though as you only need a tiny amount this is going to last me quite a while. 

Elizabeth Arden Standing ovation Mascara rrp £22 8.5ml 

This is another decent sized sample. The 2.5 ml tube is worth £6.47. It gives you a good chance to try out a high end mascara before committing to purchasing the full size. 

The brush is supersized promising to amplify, build and curl lashes to create a bold volume look. 

Based on first impressions I really like the formula. It is very black, and most importantly stays put. I do find the oversized brush a bit cumbersome though. 

Clarins Gentle Eye Make-Up Remover rrp £20 125ml

This 10ml bottle is such a cute sample and actually would be perfect to hold onto for a weekend away. I couldn’t wait that long though and wanted to test it out straight away. It is worth £1.60. 

Clarins say the eye makeup remover has been ophthalmologist tested to be suitable for sensitive eyes and those that wear contact lenses.

 My eyes can be sensitive so I do have to be careful with some eye makeup removers. This though actually felt quite soothing and refreshing. It did a good job at removing my eyeshadow and eyeliner. I’d did have to hold it over my mascara though to allow it to soak in a bit. Considering I was wearing Benefits BADGal Bang, I feel it held it’s own. 

I’m not sure if I would rush out and buy the full size as it is expensive. It is perhaps worth considering if you have specific needs such as being a contact lens wearer or you have very sensitive eyes. 

Also from Clarins, I choose the Hydra-Essentiel moisturising reviving eye mask. Mouthful! 

This 5ml sample is worth £4.83. The full size is 30ml with an rrp of £29. 

This is an interesting product created to help combat dehydrated eyes and visible signs of fatigue. It can either be used as an express 10 minute treatment or overnight. 

So far I have only tried it as an express treatment. The product has a creamy gel texture. 

Below are my before and after pictures. 

Ignore my broken nose it makes my whole face look very wonky. That will be why I rarely show a straight on picture of myself. Needs must though for this post! 

There is a definite reduction in puffiness and an overall improvement in the appearance of my eye area. (These pictures were taken in different rooms so the lighting is slightly different.) 

I have to say I’m quite impressed with this product. 

Lastly I opted for another sample pot of Nude by Nature radiant loose powder foundation. Rrp £25 for a 10g pot. This 2g sample pot is worth £5. 

Having tried this in the past I quite like it with B.B. cream. It stays matte throughout the day with even wear. I’m still trying to find my correct shade though, hence another sample pot. This actually though seems to be the one! 

Combined these samples are worth £21.36. So a bit of a steal really considering you only pay a £3.95 processing fee for your five samples, and your getting a voucher. 

Here is a little tip also if you are looking for the larger samples. Refine your search by sample types. Select the options pot and tube, these tend to be the larger sized samples. 


Have you used the Feel Unique Pick n mix sample service before? Do you think it is worth it!

Organic Shop Lavish Avocado & Avocado Haircare |Product Review

I recently was given the opportunity to try out a new purse friendly haircare range that is now available in Tesco stores. The range is developed using natural and organic ingredients and is also cruelty free. It includes a selection of shampoos, conditioners and hair masks all of which are priced at just £2.50.

5 different formulations are available, each developed to meet specific haircare needs. I opted to try out the Lavish avocado and honey repairing formula. It sounded exactly like what my hair was in need of.

The formula promises to soften and restore dry feeling hair. Protein rich Avocado Oil contributes to stronger and healthier hair growth whilst Honey helps to restore shine and control frizz. It claims to do all this whist still being free from silicones and parabens. As it also has no synthetic colours, dyes, fragrances or GM ingredients it is certified by the soil association and Cosmos Natural.

So is it any good?

I found the packaging to be fairly basic. This doesn’t surprise me considering the low price point. It does have the benefit of a pump on the shampoo and conditioner bottles which I found really practical.

None of the products are very scented but you can smell a slight hint of honey.  I found the shampoo lathered well which is surprising considering it claims to have no SLS or SLES (that’s sulphates). A quick check of the ingredient list though and I can see why it lathers well for a ‘Natural’ Shampoo. It contains Sodium Coco-Sulfate which is usually  derived from coconut oil. This is where the lather comes from and probably why it states on the bottle that it is 98% of natural origin. Fortunately my scalp doesn’t feel irritated by this.

After using all three products together my hair feels soft and smooth without that weighted down feeling. That feeling has lasted between washes. It is worth noting that I usually wash my hair every 3rd day. My hair has continued to look shiny throughout that time period as well. I don’t feel it looks any greasier that it would normally do.

Overall I think this is a good option for someone that is looking for ‘as natural as possible’ ingredients on a budget. As it is stocked in Tesco it is easily obtainable, though you can also purchase the products directly from the organic shop website. Here you will also find the full range of bath and body products available including bath foams, salts, scrubs, body conditioner and much more. I know I’m interested in trying out more from the brand. They have a candy floss body scrub! 

There is also the opportunity to enter a competition to win a holiday for two in in the Carribean. 

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5 things to consider when looking for the perfect pair of Jeans

Hands up if you find it a bit of a chore buying new jeans. 

I went for years wondering why my jeans never looked quite right. I was guilty of buying my jeans a size to large and wondering why they would suddenly go all baggy. I’d be constantly having to pull them up and never felt quite put together. 

I can’t quite remember who set me right. I may have been watching a style segment on This Morning, it might have been Lorraine? The point is I had a light bulb moment and I haven’t got it wrong since. 

I work in fashion retail and so many times I see ladies making the same mistakes that I used to. That is why I’ve decided to share some tips so that you don’t make those same mistakes. 

This first point is crucial and really is a game changer.

A good fitting jean shouldn’t be easy to put on. 

They may even take a bit of wiggling to get into. That perfect fitting jean should feel snug yet comfortable. I’m not talking so tight you can’t eat or move in them but remember that denim stretches with wear. Your jeans will loosen and not feel so tight after a couple of wears. If your jeans don’t feel snug when you buy them they are too big.

    Think about fabric. How is the denim itself  constructed? You will get a better fit with jeans that have multi directional stretch. A weightier denim is also more flattering as it will minimise the appearance of any lumps, bumps and VPL’s. 

      NEXT figure jeans are a firm favourite with me as  the denim is very stretchy yet feels thick and holds its shape well. They are a great price at £35 as well. Ever the budget fashion fan I do tend to regularly trawl the clearance section of their website in the hope of finding them on sale. 

      Next figure skinny jeans £35

      Know your waist measurement. A lot of jean brands are sized this way rather than by dress size. This will save you a lot of time and confusion when looking for your size. 


        Consider footwear
         are you intending to wear heels or flats? Take your shoes along along with you to try on. How many times have you got home with what you thought was the right length only to find you were wrong? It’s annoying isn’t it. That boot leg that is actually too short does not want to work well with your heels!  

          Experiment with the cut

          Let’s face it not all of us are shaped the same. I have chubby knees that twist skinny jeans the wrong way. Yes it’s a thing! 

            If like me your not comfortable in skinny jeans but really want a sleek silhouette consider a straight leg jean. 

            If you tend to be a bit hip and thigh heavy try a girlfriend fit jean as it can be much more flattering. The fit is not as casual and loose as the boyfriend fit and still looks smart. It just gives extra room for those curvier hips and thighs.

            Boden Cavendish Girlfriend fit Jean from £26
             
            This Jean is perfect to me as it is also high waisted so great if you are worried about your tummy. A high rise waist will give you some extra control. Fellow Mummy’s will know exactly what I’m talking about. 
            That higher waistband will also guarantee avoiding any unplanned flashing of your underwear! 

            Lastly don’t be afraid to roll up your jeans. Ankle grazers are super flattering and instantly make a simple jeans  and t-shirt combo look that bit more stylish.