Thursday, 29 January 2015

Winter hair wonders

My hair goes pretty damn crazy most of the time as it's really fine, but come winter I tend to resemble a scarecrow which isn't a good look. Luckily I have a few reliable products which keep my mop under relative control.

You may have guessed that I'm not a natural redhead (weeps), so while I try my best to fake it by dyeing it, this isn't great for my hair. I only use permanent dye on my roots and semi-permanent on the lengths so the damage is pretty low, but it still dries my hair out a bit and does weaken it. Once a week I use the V05 Give Me Moisture Hot Oil Treatment (£4.29). I've used this for as long as I can remember and couldn't be without it. You soak the tube in the bath for a minute to warm it up before massaging it into your hair and washing out. This is a pre-wash treatment so it doesn't make your hair greasy, just super soft and hydrated.

Another massively repurchased product is the Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Intense Hair Mask (£4.79). The tub lasts for ages and smells awesome so it's always a treat to use. I've used so many masks in the past, both cheap and expensive but I always come back to this. This is also a once a week treat for my hair and when used with the V05 Hot Oil my hair feels so soft and happy. Happy hair = happy Laura. Every time I wash my hair I apply Moroccan Oil (£13.45) to it once it's been towel dried. I've been using this for a long time now and it's dramatically changed the condition to my hair. It adds shine and has helped reduce split ends too. A little miracle worker!

My hair does like to get frizzy in the winter so I've been using the Living Proof Style Extender Spray (£18) before styling. Applied to towel dried hair, this gorgeous smelling primer seems to make my hair look so much better and it stops it from going a bit crazy in the harsh elements. It keeps my hair sleek and straight and if I don't use it my hair just isn't the same. I spoke about this earlier in the week but I love the Phyto 7 Hydrating Day Cream (£15.50). A tiny blob smoothed into the ends seals in moisture and stops the dreaded static. I'm always wearing scarves or tucking my hair in my jumpers which makes my hair look like I've lost a fight with a balloon so this primer is essential.

If all else fails or I really can't be bothered, I put my hair into a rough bun with an Invisibobble (£4). This is a pretty weird little hair band, but it doesn't drag on my hair and keeps everything in place. As my hair is fine it has a tendency to come out of normal hair bands but this seems to keep it in check.

These are just a few things that I find help my hair in winter, but I hope you have discovered something new and if you have any tips to share I'm all ears...


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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Mary Kay Skinvigorate Cleansing Brush

Mary Kay Skinvigorate Cleansing Brush
As much as I love makeup, call me weird but I look forward to getting home and taking it off each evening. There's no nicer feeling than a clean face in my opinion! I always use a soft flannel or a Konjac sponge to wash my face and remove every trace of makeup, but lately I've been using the Mary Kay Skinvigorate Cleansing Brush* in my second cleanse. It's designed to help cleanse the skin, removing all traces of dirt and makeup which you can't always remove with a flannel.
This isn't a new concept in any way as cleansing brushes have been around a while thanks to the Clarisonic, but where the Mary Kay Skinvigorate Cleansing Brush does differ is that's affordable. At £35 this is one not to overlook. It comes with two brush heads which are really soft, so perfect for all skin types. The replacements are also only £8 for two. Bargainacious. Yes that really is a word, well one I always use anyway.
I was really pleased to see that it's battery operated so as soon as I took it out of the box it was ready to go. This was one of my bug bears with the Clarisonic which I also own. The Clarisonic needs to be charged for hours so if it runs out of juice mid cleanse it's game over.
The Mary Kay Skinvigorate Cleansing Brush has two speeds so you can start on the slower setting and work your way up. As the brush head is really soft I skipped straight to the second speed. Risk taker I know. The brush head is about a third smaller than that of the Clarisonic, but I really like that it's a bit smaller as it provides more precision around the contours of my nose and I don't end up with cleanser in my hair. The brush doesn't have a timer which I'd say is its only downfall as it feels so nice on the skin you could be tempted to overdo things. I try and time it myself and spend about 15 seconds on my forehead, chin and each side of my face.
I've been using the cleansing brush a few times a week now for the last fortnight or so and my skin feels nice and soft and most importantly clean after use. I don't find it too harsh on my sensitive skin and I haven't had any breakouts. My skin is super smooth and I've found that my skincare is absorbing better now and makeup is sitting a lot nicer. If you're in the market for a cleansing brush but are put off by the price of the Clarisonic, I'd highly recommend giving this one a look see.
Have you used a cleansing brush before and would you be tempted by this one?
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Sunday, 25 January 2015

The moisture massive

moisture giving products
If it's not the coldness outside then it's central heating that seems to suck the moisture out of me lately. I can't wait until it starts warming up, but in the meantime here's a few things that I've been relying on to keep me hydrated from head to toe.

Perfect for a Sunday pamper (its definitely in the line up for tonight), is the Elemis Frangipani Monoi Body Oil (£32). It's a solid oil that you pop in a warm sink or bath to melt before smoothing it all over your limbs. I've gone through countless bottles of this oil as the scent is super addictive. It's a really luxurious oil that sinks into the skin leaving it really smooth and hydrated. Combined with fresh bedsheets this is a receipe for an amazing night's sleep. I'm also quite partial to smoothing the Elemis Frangipani Monoi Body Oil through dry hair and tying it up in a bun for a few hours before washing my hair as it makes it smell amazing and helps condition the ends of my hair.

On the subject of hair, I don't mention this much but it features heavily in my winter routine. The Phyto 7 Hydrating Dry Cream (£15.50) is a conditioner/moisturiser for your hair which is quite an unusual concept but it really helps with dryness. I add a tiny bit to dry hair in the morning and it smooths the ends out while adding shine. It's really light and doesn't make my fine hair greasy and is one of a few things that stops static turning my hair crazy. We've all been there!

Newly added to my routine is the Sarah Chapman Skinesis Morning Facial (£46). This is really similar to Overnight Facial which I also love, but it's a lot lighter in texture and sinks straight into the skin. It gives my skin a healthy glow and helps fill in fine lines. I apply this under my moisturiser of a morning and find that my makeup goes on much smoother. This is perfect for brightening up dull winter skin and I'm so glad I finally picked it up.

I've always got the Rodial Stemcell Super-food Glam Balm Multi* (£35) in my bag as it's so useful. It's a gorgeous multi-purpose balm and I love using it on my lips, cuticles and hair. It's so handy to have on you and while it is a bit pricey it does contain hyaluronic filling spheres and alp rose stem cells so it packs a punch. It also has anti-ageing properties so it's a proper little trooper! The Rodial Stemcell Super-Food Glam Balm Multi has a light, liquid texture and sinks in well. I've used it on my legs and feet before when travelling so it's super versatile!

Do you have any go-to moisture giving products that you'd recommend?


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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

3 to try from Essie

My poor nails have been neglected a bit lately, not too sure why (probably laziness if I'm being honest), so they've not had a manicure for a while and are looking a bit flaky and sorry for themselves.
I always find that when they're painted they grow loads and are much stronger too, so I had a good dig around in my little box of nail tricks and pulled out three of my favourite colours. Two are very AW appropriate, my absolute fave being Essie Sole Mate (£7.99). Loved by many, this is a gorgeous rich plum hue that I never get sick off. In fact, I've been known to take it off only to reapply it straight away. I know. Crazy. I think this looks really nice on toes too.
Going a little more dramatic, there's also Essie Midnight Cami (£7.99). This gorgeous midnight blue has a teeny bit of shimmer to it and it's especially nice on pale skin so I'm quite a fan. I really like this for the evening as it's a pretty intense colour. I think dark colours look especially good on shortish squoval nails, not sure why that is but it just looks really classy.
At the complete opposite end of the spectrum is the dazzling Essie Summit of Style (£7.99). This is from Essie's Luxe Collection and it's super special. I haven't actually used it yet but I think it would look gorgeous layered up as an extra sparkly all over number. I'm not the biggest fan of glitter but there's just something about this gold polish that really appealed to me. It has a mixture of large and small pieces of glitter and I can't wait to use it.
The only issue now is to decide what one to use! I think it has to be Sole Mate on my fingers and let's go crazy and put a heavy coat of Summit of Style on the toesies to cheer them up! I love the formula of Essie polishes, they apply like a dream and I can get a good week or so out of them before any chips appear.
Do you have any favourite Essie polishes that I should be checking out?
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Sunday, 18 January 2015

The Burberry edit

Burberry makeup
Ah Burberry, a recent discovery but one that's turned into a full scale addiction! Burberry Pale Barley eyeshadow was the one that started it off and then I decided to treat myself at Christmas. It seemed like the perfect luxurious present to myself. Here's what I picked up.
As a lover of light and dewy foundations, Burberry Fresh Glow Foundation (£35) has been on my list for a while. I have the shade Porcelain No.11 and it's such a good match for me which is a relief as I picked it online without testing beforehand. Daring. It's everything I thought it would be so definitely money well spent and I've hardly reached for anything else since it arrived. It makes my skin look so radiant and dewy and it's perfect for dry skin types like mine. One and a half pumps cover the whole of my face and it has great staying power. I've been popping it on top of Illamasqua Hydra Veil and the two work very well together.
The limited edition Burberry Complete Eye Palette in Gold No.2 (£40) is what spurred off this whole splurge if I'm honest. I love that all of the product from the LE Winter Glow collection come in gold packaging rather than the usual gunmetal. It makes it just that little bit extra special I think. I was torn between this palette and Mocha, but this one stood out more and is a bit different to the usual neutrals I go for. All of the colours are nicely pigmented and blend really well. There's a little bit of a shimmer to them but it's subtle and grown up.
Lastly I picked up the Burberry Lip Mist in No. 214 Oxblood (£23). This is also from the Winter Glow collection but it's also part of the permanent line. I love the idea of dark lips but sometimes a lipstick is just too high maintenance if you know what I mean? I'm the kinda person that ends up with it smeared half across my face by mid morning so I went for the Lip Mist formula instead. This is sheerer than a lipstick and you can pat it on quite care free. It's super flattering on pale complexions and goes so lovely with the Fresh Glow Foundation and lashes of mascara.

This is the last of my splurges for a while as I'm trying to be good, so it was good to end it all with a cracker of a purchase like these little beauts! Have you tried anything from Burberry's beauty line?


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Tuesday, 13 January 2015

How to: Simple everyday contouring

How to do contouring makeup

How to do contouring makeup

Sculpting and contouring is literally everywhere at the moment. There's no escaping it so like it or loathe it, it's either time to sign up or turn the other not so chiselled cheek...

Me and my moon face are fully on board with this one so I wanted to show you my current everyday look. It's pretty low-key and neutral yet super flattering. I've been reaching for loads of Rodial products lately as they've recently launched a sculpting and contouring makeup range and the products are really good. Before Christmas I went to the opening of the Rodial Sculpting Bar in Harvey Nichols (read more here), and received a little makeover that I've been practising ever since. Contouring, while I'm still getting to grips with it, is firmly in my routine now and here's how I do it.

To create a low-key, everyday look I start with a simple wash of eyeshadow, such as Frisk from Urban Decay Naked2 Basics (£22), followed by Rodial Eye Sculpt (£34) pushed into the crease to add depth and contour the eye. I always apply a darker colour in the crease now, there's something about it that just finishes the look. The Eye Sculpt has a soft, moussey texture that blends nicely and pairs as a natural eyebrow filler too. This is one of my favourite products from the range so far and word is they are looking at expanding the colour range so you heard it here first! To tie it all together (along with lashings of mascara o'course), I scribble the Rodial Smokey Eye Pen in Brown* (£17) into my lower lashes and blend it in with the Rodial Eye Smudge Brush* (£24), which is super soft and gentle. The Smokey Eye Pen is super creamy and buttery and you get a little bit of play time with it before it sets. I generally finish my eyes by putting a smidge of the Rodial Instaglam Magic Pen Eye Glow (£22) in the inner corner as it brightens everything up and makes you look far more awake than you really are.

Now onto the real magic! I've always really struggled with placement for contour and was quite guilty of bringing it too far into the centre of my face. Now I know better I've found it looks a million times more flattering and not like I have a dirty face.... The Rodial Instaglam Compact Deluxe Contouring Powder (£52) is a bit of a mouthful, but it's well worth picking up, especially if you're pale or a bit heavy handed. As a contour newbie this is perfect for me as it's not too warm in colour or too ashy and it blends so beautifully. You can keep adding until you get the cheekbones you should have been born with. In fact, I really doubt you could mess this one up. I use the Rodial Sculpting Brush (£40) with this and it basically does it for you as it's slanted and snuggles right into the hollows of the cheeks. Also, I adore the packaging that the Rodial compacts come in, they are just so beautiful with the big silver R and the leather texture. To add a bit of colour I apply NARS Douceur to the cheeks as it helps enhance and sculpt without being too much. Now this has been discontinued (RIP) so you could use the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hr Blush in Exposed (£23.50) instead. I like these dusky colours as they don't jump out too much. Lastly I swipe a bit of the gorgeous Rodial Instaglam Compact Deluxe Illuminating Powder* (£52) onto the top of my cheekbones, bridge of my nose and under my brows to highlight. I absolutely love this, it's a very finely milled champagne powder that's super flattering.

This is just how I contour, but I hope you find it useful and hopefully you'll discover some new products along the way.


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Sunday, 11 January 2015

Rose lovin' with Jurlique

Jurlique rose hand cream and rose love balm

Rose is one of my favourite scents of all time, and done right its nothing short of divine. Jurlique is one brand that does rose so well. In winter I seem to go through hand cream and lip balm like there's no tomorrow so I was really happy to receive a lovely duo rose to try out.

The Jurlique Rose Hand Cream* (£33.00) is a rose offering that feels like velvet on my hands and is super luxurious. The 125ml tube will last me ages and looks pretty dreamy sat next to my bed. I find it sinks into the skin straight away and has helped sort out my dry and flaky nails.

Pairing quite nicely with this is the Jurlique Rose Love Balm* (£10.00). The tin itself is so gorgeous, I totally love it. The balm is quite solid and is also infused with a lovely rose scent which isn't too much on the lips at all. I like applying this before I put my makeup on and it makes such a lovely base for lipstick or quite often I'll just leave it at that.

Since trying these out my love for rose has taken hold once more and I'm now really wanting to try more from Jurlique's rose range. Isn't that always the way when you're trying to use everything up before buying more? There will certainly be a few things going on my list for a later date though!

Are you a rose or Jurlique fan?


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Thursday, 8 January 2015

The overdue review: Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation

Illamasqua Skin Base Review

After reading loads of reviews praising this cult foundation it was only a matter of time before I caved and bought my very own tube of Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation (£32). I posted a haul post a few weeks ago and I said that although I liked it, it wasn't love and a lot of people were surprised. The problem with really hyped products is that your expectations are set so high and there's only so great a product can be isn't there?

As I've been using it for a while now I thought it was time for a proper review. While Nars Sheer Glow is my holy grail and the one I go to for really long lasting and flawless skin, in the last year or so I've been going for lighter coverage foundations . Even though my skin breaks out a lot I also don't want to cake it in makeup as that's not going to help heal things up. One of the reasons I picked this one up was that I wanted a natural looking base, and Illamasqua Skin Base is billed as exactly that.

First off, it comes in a lot of colours! There's not many counters around so I considered ordering this online. Illamasqua have a shade comparison chart which looked really helpful as you can find the right shade for you based on what you wear in MAC and Nars etc. I wear NC15 in MAC and Mont Blanc in Nars Sheer Glow, so according to the chart I needed shade 2 in Skin Base. I held off and went in the store instead and thank god I did as SB 2 was way too pale for me, which as a paley is rare. I ended up walking away with 3.5 and it's a perfect match. Lucky I did go in store as I am normally the lightest pink based or neutral shade and wouldn't have thought for a second that a darker shade would be for me.

I'm not a great fan of the packaging as its a plastic bottle that you need to squeeze it out off and you can't judge how much product you're going to get. The formula is quite thick, although it does blend into the skin very easily. I find it to be a very soft, buildable foundation that is neither too matte or dewy. It's very natural and super flattering. It's supposed to be the ultimate 'skin realism' foundation and I can't really argue with that. While no foundation is ever going to be undetectable, its pretty close (quite similar to MUFE HD Foundation). I never need to powder afterwards which is always a bonus. It can cake if you go a bit overboard or have very dry skin, so I always use a primer underneath - I love pairing it with Illamasqua Moisture Veil. The two together create a really long lasting base which works so well for me.

I'm pretty impressed with Illamasqua Skin Base and wanted to give you my full thoughts now I've given it a good test so you can see if it might be right for you. It's great for every day, lasts for hours and feels really comfortable, but it has reminded me that I shouldn't give into hype all the time and that my one true love is still Nars Sheer Glow.

Have you tried Skin Base and if so what did you think?


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Sunday, 4 January 2015

The boot obsession continues

Chelsea boots from Dorothy Perkins and House of Fraser

Chelsea boots from Dorothy Perkins and House of Fraser

Chelsea boots from Dorothy Perkins and House of Fraser

Chelsea boots from Dorothy Perkins and House of Fraser
(Dorothy Perkins Chelsea Boots* c/o House of FraserTopshop Leigh Jeans | H&M Jumper | Topshop denim jacket | Oh My Clumsy Heart Verity Necklace | Whistles Verity Backpack)

It's fair to say I have a bit of a 'thing' about boots. They just go with everything and of course it's completely acceptable to have the same pair in different colours isn't it? That's my mantra and I'm sticking to it! I also seem to have a thing for products called Verity it would seem - complete accident I promise!

My new loves are in the form of these Dorothy Perkins Chelsea boots* that I was kindly sent by House of Fraser. I normally only go to House of Fraser when I'm after something a little special so I had no idea that they also sold a lot of more affordable things, especially footwear. These little beauts were only £25 and they're honestly the most comfy pair I own. They're super soft and a little lower round the ankle than most Chelsea boots, so they don't rub at all. I've worn these so much over the last couple of weeks and they are really versatile. I think they'd go really nicely with a floaty little dress and a leather jacket too.


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Saturday, 3 January 2015


 Image source (edited)
I'm not really a resolution type of person, most of the time people forget what they've pledged to change by the time they've sobered up on the 1st January! Apparently something silly like 8% of people actually stick to them anyway. Who needs disappointment like that?
What I am a big advocate of is improving yourself and being happy. 2014 was a bit of a weird year for me; work wise it was the busiest and most stressful year I've known so far, with no plans to slow down during the upcoming year (whoopee!). Personal life wise, it was the best! It was the year I became a Mrs and now have the most important person with me forever (gutted!).
Looking into 2015, my health and happiness are my priorities, so I'm going to make a few little and hopefully achievable tweaks:
One thing I have noticed is that when I get stressed and tired, everything goes to pot and I just close down and procrastinate, and that ain't good. Things still need to be done, and I need to enjoy life and get the most out of it. So for me, it's really important that I let go of stress and get more sleep. No more lying awake worrying about silly things that I can't change. I need to let go of the little things and start enjoying my own time a bit more and do the things I love, like investing more time into this little space.
I love to shop, and annoyingly I'm pretty good at it. As a result I never have rainy day funds and I have lots of stuff I don't need. My makeup collection and wardrobe are at bursting point yet I still don't wear/use it all. So I'm going to try and curb my spending as much as I can. I might want all the shiny new limited edition releases, but I seriously don't need them. I want to use up as much makeup and skincare bits as I possibly can and not keep adding to the pile. This is probably the toughest challenge of all for me but I'm going to give it a good go!
Connected to the above point somewhat, our little 2 bedroom apartment just isn't big enough for us and our feline family anymore. We've just run out of space and while we want to move into somewhere bigger, it's going to take a little while yet. I feel a bit overwhelmed and suffocated by the sheer amount of stuff we're hoarding at the moment. I want to clear out everything that's broken, unused and just damn unnecessary and have a more comfortable living space.
I've got loads of clothes, but so much of it I don't wear and doesn't suit me anymore. I plan to go through everything and build a minimal wardrobe based on my personal style which I can fully utilise (plus it will take up less space!).
I can't believe this space is almost a year old! I've had the pleasure to meet some wonderful likeminded people and work with some amazing PRs and brands, but I really need to up my game a bit more. This blog will always have a beauty bias to it, but I don't feel it's fully reflecting me yet. I'm really interested in style so I want it to reflect that, and to also share more of me with you. I haven't done very many lifestyle type posts but I want this to change. I've been feeling a bit bored and out of inspiration lately, and after taking some time off over Christmas I came to realise that I haven't properly defined yet, and I'm really excited to do so!
So this is my little plan for the year and I hope you stick with me and help give me a kick up the butt when I need it! Thanks for all the support over the last 12 months, I really do mean that :)
What does 2015 hold for you?
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Friday, 2 January 2015

2014 Round Up: Skincare

2014 favourite skincare products

2014 favourite skincare products

Happy New Year everyone! I'm a bit late to the party as always, but I had to share my favourite skincare bits from 2014 with you. These are the products that I've really depended on throughout the year, except for a certain hand cream that made a huge impression over the last few weeks. Without further ado..

You're probably sick of hearing me go on about my dry, spotty skin, but it really is the bane of my life a lot of the time. I've managed to get it under better control this year by following a much more simplistic regime than I've had in the past. By depending on the Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil (£22) I've seen a massive improvement in my skin. It helps heal spots, fade the scars they leave behind and leaves my skin nourished and soft. It's really a wonder product and one that I recommend more than anything else. I've talked about this so much throughout 2014 and I expect I will for a long while yet.

Another absolute staple for me is the Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask (£22.50). Throughout the year I think I bought four tubes and I'm now about to use up the very last of this tube (sob). It helps cleanse my skin and packs a punch in the moisture department. It somehow draws out impurities without making you break out and my skin just loves it. A more recent discovery was the Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm (£19.00). I wrote a full review of this dreamy tube of loveliness quite recently which you can read here. I'm borderline obsessed with this stuff, it smells divine and leaves my hands so soft.

Face scrubs aren't exactly exciting are they, but they are definitely essential. Some can be far too harsh and scratchy though and this I can't bare. I've really loved using the La Roche Posay Physiological Ultra-Fine Scrub (£10). Its super gentle and yet effective at the same time. Plus it's often on a 3 for 2 offer in Boots so well worth stocking up on. I've tried quite a few products from the range now and they've all been really good. If you have sensitive skin this is a brand to check out. As well as using this scrub I really embraced exfoliating toners and my favourite affordable go-to is the Ren Clarimatte Clarifying Toner (£12.00). I use this a few times a week and really notice the difference. It brightens my skin and really helps clear away any pesky blemishes. I spoke in more detail about exfoliating toners in this post, but I'm a big advocate now as its such a great yet gentle way to slough away dead skin.

Talking of blemishes, my favourite spot killer has got to be the Malin + Goetz 10% Sulfur Paste (£16.50) and I used up a couple of bottles of this odd little formula in 2014. It looks rather gross in the bottle but its so effective. As this is a white paste its definitely just for while you are sleeping, but it reduces spots super quick without drying out your skin too much. Also, you only need a tiny amount. I've found that using this 2-3 night in a row helps so much, my blemishes are massively reduced and less angry come morning. It wasn't available for a while which really panicked me, but thankfully Space NK have it in again!

Lastly, 2014 was the year I ventured into the world of Jo Malone and I picked a cracker of a first scent which was Wood Sage & Sea Salt. I've gone through the cologne pretty quickly and have really loved the Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt Body Crème (£50). It's super thick and luxurious and sinks into the skin really quickly. I love coating myself in this after a long bath and getting into bed (with fresh sheets and pjs of course!). I'm fairly liberal with this stuff but it's still going strong.

So there we have it, that's 2014 all done! If you haven't already seen it I've also done a similar post on my 2014 makeup favourites which you can read here.

I'd love to know what you've been loving, so please let me know in the comments.


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