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The Autumn Tag

I've seen a few of these featured on some of my favourite blogs that I've been reading over the past couple of weeks. I realised after looking through my range of autumn/winter wear that I don't seem to have as much as I first thought. Therefore expect a shopping haul over the next week or so! This girl needs some new knitwear and saggy sweaters.

So the purpose of this Autumn tag is to answer a few simple questions and I've added in some pictures so this blog posts looks super Autumnal.


What signifies the start of Autumn for you?

The start of Autumn for me is when you suddenly experience that temperature drop. It's normally in between those last few days of sunny weather, almost like it's teasing you with a warning. 'Oh hey there civilisation, guess who's back to shiver your bones?!' I also HATE the fact that it gets darker the closer we get to winter. Leaving your house in the morning in the dark and coming back from work...in the dark, is not a nice feeling.

What is your favourite fall scent?

Now I'm quite typical with my scents throughout both Autumn and Winter. I love burning candles and I must stock up on some soon as I'm all out. I love nothing more than spicy scents so anything cinnamon themed is perfect. I will also be trying out more scents as I do love more fresh smells too, especially those fresh linen candles!

What is your favourite Autumn colour?

Burnt orange. That's my favourite colour during Autumn. I have a knitted jumper in this colour that I just love to wear and I think it matches well with my skin tone, so you know what that means?! Must buy more burnt orange clothes.

What is your favourite fall drink?

I feel as though my tastes are very singular so I do love a cinnamon spiced latte that Starbucks always put on during the colder months. It's the perfect winter warmer to keep those hands warm whilst I'm walking around London. 

What TV show, new or old, are you looking forward to this Fall?

Seeing as the nights draw in faster, I am determined to have a Netflix binge on everything that I've been wanting to catch up on. These include Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Narcos, Daredevil and Stranger Things. So yeah, I have a lot of television to be watching.

What is your favourite Fall fashion trend?

I do love my NYX Suede Cream Lipsticks at the moment as the shades I've got are perfect for the fall. Fashion wise, I just have a big love for beanies, especially with a pom pom on top. The bigger, the better!

What is your favourite frugal Autumn activity?

I've always been quite a frugal person when it comes to money. I'm very conscious of what I spend and I think that sometimes limits me. However, I do now need to save money for the future so staying in and saving money is definitely my go to activity.

What is your favourite makeup look come autumnal weather? 

I do want to get a bit more creative with eyeliner. It's been a struggle to perfect the perfect flick but I think I may have well cracked it. I also mentioned above that using my NYX Liquid Lipsticks are my favourite beauty products to use at the moment.

THE AUTUMN 2016 TAG QUESTIONS - FEEL FREE TO COPY + PASTE

Thanks Fee for sharing your Autumn Tag and inspiring me to do my own. Have you done an Autumn tag yet? Let me know in the comments below, what your answers to these questions are!

1. What signifies the start of Autumn for you?
2. What is your favourite Fall scent?
3. What is your favourite Autumn colour?
4. What is your favourite Fall drink?
5. What TV show, new or old, are you looking forward to this Fall?
6. What is your favourite Fall fashion trend?
7. What is your favourite frugal Autumn activity?
8. What is your favourite makeup look come autumnal weather? 







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Pretty Girls - Karin Slaughter

Another day, another book! 

I'm getting steadily through my 50 book target on GoodReads and I am loving it! My most recent read was one of Karin Slaughter's most recent novels called Pretty Girls.
Now I'm a big fan of Karin as I've read some of her novels previously. As you may or may not know, my favourite genre is Crime and Thriller, so the grittier the better. This one definitely didn't disappoint. 

The novel starts off with Claire and Paul, a seemingly loved up couple that encounter a sticky situation. They are threatened by a terrifying guy in an alley, demanding they handle over their valuables. However, the altercation turns sour and ends up with the husband Paul being stabbed to death. What unravels next is sure to keep the reader guessing until the very end. For those who are planning on reading this novel, look away now as I'm about to reveal some spoilers.

It turns out that Paul isn't actually dead, he's very much alive. The story focuses on three sisters, where the eldest Julia went missing. The family never recovered and a body was never found. Therefore at the beginning of the story, it's apparent that the family are estranged and we later find out that the dad committed suicide. Or was it foul play? Claire (Paul's wife) and Linda are the remaining sisters and who are the complete opposite to each other. Linda, a recovering drug addict with a teenage daughter finds out about Paul's death and is clearly relieved to know he's gone. Claire, having met Paul in college was head over heels in love and never questioned or doubted any of Paul's controlling behaviour. 

However, after Claire's house is ransacked during Paul's funeral, the FBI turn up to investigate and a dark secret of Paul's is discovered.

I don't want to give too much away because this has been one of my favourite novels of this year so far, so you'll want to read it!
A few books that I've got on my 'to read list' are The Unseen World by Liz Moore, The Martian by Andy Weir and City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg. So be sure to look out for these on my blog soon!






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Aboel Sonic Cleansing Brush


If this doesn't spur me onto having a more solid skincare routine then I don't know what will! Introducing the Sonic Cleansing Brush. It's basically a dupe version of the Boots' Magnitone BareFaced Vibra-Sonic Daily Cleansing Brush.
I've started to develop a bit more of a detailed skincare routine. Up until recently, I've just been using the Garnier Pure Active Micellar Cleansing Water. I actually love this stuff as it's so much better than using face wipes and it lasts a lot longer. I think I'm currently on my third bottle after falling in love with it when I tried a smaller version. I've found that the Tea Tree Facial Scrub from Sainsburys has worked wonders for spots that tend to crop up suddenly due to stress. I don't tend to get spots that often but when they crop up, they are always in the most awkward of places. I find that applying this once or twice a week when my skin's not feeling too fresh, gets rid of these spots.

So I've began using the micellar water to simply get off as much makeup as possible (damn mascara). I then applied the tea tree scrub and used the sonic brush to massage the scrub into my skin. The brush is powered by batteries and has the perfect stand to keep the brush upright after use. The brush comes with interchangeable heads. One that can be used for serums and buffing the skin. The bristled brushes are great for scrubs and exfoliators and the brush even has a head that apparently reduces wrinkles!  I'm keen to use this one for the laughter lines on the top of my head and the slight crease line I have in between my brows.
I've been using the bristle brush to apply my Vanishing Cream moisturiser from Lush and I've been using the sponge to evenly apply the Jojoba Oil from Eden's Semilla.

The brush is lightweight and easy to use. For someone with sensitive skin, the brush isn't too harsh or abrasive on the skin. It's also waterproof so you can use it in the shower to speed up the beauty process! The brush is available to purchase from Amazon for £19.95 and can be found here. Let me know if you use facial brushes down below in the comments, What's your skincare routine?






Disclaimer -  I was gifted this product for my own honest opinion.

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I CUT MY HAIR FOR CHARITY!

So bearing in mind that I've never cut my hair short, I knew that this charity chop was going to be a nerve racking experience! If you don't already know why I've cut my hair, please check my last blog post here.
Before
Hair is a pretty big thing for me. I've had long hair since I can remember so to have set up a GoFundMe page that would be telling the world I was chopping my locks off was a scary thought. I've always told myself that if I ever did get it chopped, then I'd give it away rather than seeing it go to waste in the bin. The Little Princess Trust is a charity that collects hair donations to create wigs for young girls who've lost their hair to cancer. It's a pretty special charity and it fills me with so much respect and pride to those who will benefit from the hair and those that spend their time making the wigs. Make sure you check out their website here, for more information on what they do and how you can donate your hair too.

What sparked the match to actually set up the donation page and a date for the chop was because of a family member who has breast cancer. Cancer is still one of those terrible diseases that's killing too many people, especially those that have still got their whole life ahead of them. No mother or father should have to bury a child, no child should have to grow up without a parent. The more money that we can throw towards these causes the sooner treatments will be found and we can end cancer for good. Katy has a GoFundMe page which you can find here. Initially she'd set a goal of £50,000 to raise the money for her to go to Germany. This is where potentially, the treatment she receives, could save her life. Unfortunately that's recently gone up to £150,000 to cater for the further treatments that she'll need. Therefore it's now even more important to keep up the donations to the page.
The chop!
I'd rallied in the crew to join me on my hair chop. My best friend Hannah had come along to record it on her camera and Sean my housemate was also around to help stream it on Facebook. I think it's so exciting that technology can allow my other friends and family members to watch the chop live without having to be in the same room as me! Michael Gray is someone I met through a photoshoot and being the talented young man he is, he's also a hairdresser. I wanted someone I could trust with such a big chop, so Michael was the one to help achieve the styled finish I wanted. The instructions on the Little Princess Trust website are detailed yet easy to follow and we managed to chop off an impressive 12 inches of hair!

And here's the big reveal!
After styling
I am SO happy with my new hair do! The actual cut was so surreal and I couldn't quite believe it was happening. However I now have my bagged up hair ready to send off to charity and I've raised over £500 which has smashed through it's target. I'm planning on keeping the page going for the next couple of weeks to see if I can get any extra cash but I'm super happy that this contribution will help Katy get that little bit closer to her new target.

If you want to give to my page click here. I've also organised a Thunderclap campaign which anyone can sign up their Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr to and it will send out a mass message on November 5th 2016 at 12pm. It costs nothing and takes a minute to do. Click here to join the campaign.






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Great British Beer Festival CAMRA

Say whaaaaaaaaaat?! My boyfriend Sam wrote up the trip to the CAMRA Beer Festival back in August. I loved this event and will definitely be heading back next year. But enough of me talking. Here's my one and only Sammy pants giving the lowdown on CAMRA London 2016!

CAMRA are the Campaign for Real Ale, and are hands down the reason why we still have that beautiful pint of real ale still in our pubs (their fight to keep real ale in pubs is a huge story in itself!). Natalie was lucky enough to get a Press Pass for CAMRA's Great British Beer Festival at Olympia, I couldn't let her go alone now could I?
Our adventures began when I left work in Leicester Square at 6pm and stumbled across one Matthew Duckett running past the Hippodrome Casino - the perfect companion on our quest to taste and review as many Ale's as possible for this blog. He had other plans but did he take much convincing? of course not! Mr Duckett and I decided to become members of CAMRA, something which we had been planning on doing since starting University in 2010, they offered an amazing deal of annual membership (for Under 25's) for £16, a large discount on the ticket for the Beer Festival, two free pints in the Beer Festival plus £20 of Ale and Cider vouchers for Wetherspoons - did we take much convincing to finally get membership? OF COURSE NOT! 

We walk into Olympia and it is a drinker's heaven, 19 bars and over 400 real ales and ciders! We quickly established that we were not going to be able to even scratch the surface of a single style or ale, so we decided to try and visit as many different bars and try our favourite styles of ale as possible before we became too sozzled. We walked a quick lap of the main hall in an attempt to take the sheer scale of it all in. The easiest way to describe our quest from here on is to list the bars we visited and the drinks we tasted and give our very simple notes that we took on the night...I apologise in advance for the poor descriptions of the ale and cider, we are most definitely not professionally trained tasters. As we wanted to take in as much as possible in a very short space of time, half pints were the vessels of choice for the evening and 'sharing is caring' was definitely the motto for the evening as we all slurped at each other's beverages all night.


Fullers

First stop - our local brewery, Fullers! This is the most descriptive ale review of this entire blog and solely because we were sober at the point of taking our, at first thoughts, serious tasting notes...

Matt dived straight in with an Olivers Island, one of Fullers summer ales and an easy 3.8% alc. volume to kick off the proceedings. Light notes of citrus, floral aroma and a golden malt. Slightly bitter, but all round a refreshing pint. I went for the Summer Ale, a lovingly simple 3.9% ale which was light, bright in colour and with a mildly refreshing taste.


Dunkertons

Natalie is not a native ale drinker, although I'm proud to say she does put a pint or two away once she is warmed up. She started out with their Perry, an award winning organic cider brewed in Hertfordshire. Perry was on the sweet end of a medium perry, a crisp finish and easily drinkable. Now, I must revert to the first of our quotes from the evening, which went something a little like this.

Natalie: It's pale in colour
Matt: Of course it is, it's a perry!

I don't know why we felt the need to include that quote in our notes - we must have thought it was worth noting at the time...

Pictish

Swiftly, we moved onto our second stop on the bar crawl and tried Pictish, a 4.5% ale. As a citra ale, we were expecting great things from Pictish as citra is one of our favourite types of ale. As hinted in the name, a pint of citra will be bitter, refreshing and will be packed full of blooming citrus flavours. Pictish was very light and hoppy (a single hop brew as Matthew smugly pointed out), and was refreshingly full of citrus notes - can't tell you what the fruit was, we decided not to note that one down. If you can must together a Rugby/West Birmingham accent please do, a think of Matthew declaring 'It's bloody lovely' - it was indeed a great pint!


Belgium and Netherlands

This bar was dedicated to the beautiful beers of Belgium and Holland - and what a delightful offering they had. At this point Natalie had decided that one half of Perry was enough, and boldly joined the light side, Matt and I, on the ales for the rest of our adventure.

Natalie and I ventured to Dochter vd Korenaar, one of the breweries represent Belgium. The ale of choice was Crime Passionnel, a whopping 7.5% IPA (Indian Pale Ale). It looked heavy but had an overpoweringly carbonated/larger like taste. Matt visited 3 Horne, a Dutch brewery that delivered Bananatana, a 7% fruity pint (or half in our case). Unfortunately for our European friends, their offerings were too overpowering for our simple British taste-buds. As Matt put it, this ale tasted like banana pick 'n' mix sweets with soda water - our verdict was to never go near a drink that has a banana in it's name as boy did this one taste, and feel, like you were swallowing a banana.



The Harp

Low and behold, the next bar was our local CAMRA award-winning pub. For those who don't know, The Harp is in the historical centre of London in Charing Cross, just around the corner from Trafalgar Square. As we all love The Harp, we confidently chose to support our local pub by upgrading our measures from halves to pints as we were beyond tipsy and wanted to celebrate this fact. I went for Sam Brooks' Junction. A malty, medium ale of 4.5% alcoholic volume - this was much kinder on my taste buds compared to the European strength ales of the previous bar. Matt had Red Squirrel's Hopfest, a 3.8% (pussy) pale ale which was 'Alive on the tongue'. Really hoppy and a bitter pint.
Natalie went for the most adventurous choice of our ale adventure, London Brewings' pHuschia - 4.9% and a glorious pink-like shade. A bitterly refreshing trip down memory lane, it tasted like raindrops sweets that we had as kids. After trying this inspiring pint, Matt dropped rhymes like 50 Cent:

'This is a beer that cleanses the palate.'

'A before dinner beer'

'The sorbet of the ale world'

Five halves in, I really think he felt like he was Lin Manuel-Miranda writing Hamilton!


End of notes...

I then had to break the seal after five halves, it was time for the loo. I found Natalie and Matt by the stage where an energetic band were playing 90's and 00's tunes to a rather sozzled audience. We all knew we only had one bar left to visit - the Bombardier double decker bus! I went for the classic 'Glorious English' Bombardier (4.7%) whilst Natalie and Matt went for Burning Gold which is also 4.7% so we called it an overall draw on the competitive drinking side of things. The bar staff were so friendly, especially my main man Jim from Halesowen (just up the road-ish from my home town). I cannot comment on how many pints we had, at a guess I'd say four pints were consumed by each of us. We made friends with the fellow CAMRA supporters at the bar and that was where we did not move from until time was called at the bar and we were sent stumbling home.
Speaking for all of us, we had an absolutely FANTASTIC time at the festival drinking and making merriment. We're booking the day off in advance for next year inviting all our friends and family. There is fun to be had by everyone from larger lovers to ale aficionados. The atmosphere was incredible, never have I been to a place full of more loving drunkards - highlights were twenty strong group in a large circle doing the Icelandic football chant, and the odd glass smashing followed by an epic deafening cheer from the entire festival. 

So, to end, a massive thank you to all at CAMRA for presenting such a fine festival and for their continuous love and support for the fine creation called ale.


Cheers darlings!

Sam

Thanks lover boy for such a hilariously written review on the CAMRA event in London. We had an epic time and came away with specially embossed pint glasses and BOMBARDIER T-SHIRTS! What a keepsake. Let us know in the comments below, your favourite cider, larger or ale.






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My Favourite Recent Beauty Buy

Mentioned in my last beauty buys post here, I just had to rave more about this product that I brought from Soap & Glory. Pillow Plump is a lip plumping formula that smells of chocolate and makes your lips buzz with excitement. I mean they actually make your lips tingle! It's like pins and needles for your lips.

Now I love my lips and it's one of my features that I love. That's probably why I have so many lipsticks because its one feature that I can really go to town on. Now I'm not saying that Soap & Glory's Pillow Plump is going to instantly give you Kyle Jenner lips but it is going to plump up those creases in your lips. Well it does that for mine at least so hopefully it would do the same for you.
I find that photos for these types of products aren't really going to show any difference. When you apply the product you want to add a consistent layer along your lips and almost instantly you'll feel a tingly feeling. This only intensifies and I've found there's been mixed feelings from bloggers and YouTubers who either can deal with it or can't. It's not painful, it's just a weird feeling.

I've probably used the product over five times now and there's still a lot of product left in the tube. I would have thought this product would last a while and it's a great base before I add my lipstick or lip balm.

If you fancy trying some out new, then check it out here. What has been your favourite recent beauty buy? Let me know in the comments below!

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Skin & Hair Prep For Autumn

Peter Minkoff is one of my regular guest bloggers and you can always expect the best advice from his blogs. Check out his last one here. He's a beauty and fashion writer for Shlur magazine living in London and occasionally in Brisbane. After graduating from Australian Institute of Creative Design, he worked as a stylist for few fashion events in UK and AUS. Beside beauty and fashion, he loves reading, making DIY cosmetics and travelling around tropical destinations. He plans to create a business for beauty and style advising. This week we're looking at Skin & Hair Prep for Autumn.
Hot summer days are, luckily or unfortunately, far behind us, which means one thing – you’ll have to make some changes in your beauty routine and upgrade it for an upcoming season. If you’re not quite sure how to do this – stay with us. Here are six useful tips on how to get your skin and hair prepared for chilly autumnal weather.

Step up your hair routine


Getting rid of split ends should be your top priority this September, since these don’t have an ability to recover. A regular trim is an absolute must because it’ll enhance your hair and keep it healthy and beautiful. Apart from that, using vegetable oils in your hair routine is something you may want to do in order to keep the tresses nourished and fabulous. Coconut oil is a magical ingredient that’ll help your locks stay soft and radiant – just add a few drops of it to your regular shampoo. You can also rub it in the ends when they feel particularly dry. 


Smooth skin requires exfoliation


Numerous summer outdoor activities have probably made your skin look and feel very dull, which is exactly why a good scrub has to be your best friend during autumn. In case you didn’t know, dead skin cells tend to pile up on its surface making it look lifeless and flaky. Even the best moisturiser in the world won’t be enough to fix this if you don’t exfoliate. Apart from appropriate scrub, you’ll need a powerful tool that’ll help you get your skin in order. A mighty face exfoliator may be very handy, since it’ll tighten facial contours making your skin look rested and relaxed.

Repair your cracked lips

Your damaged lips simply have to be nourished back as soon as autumn comes, particularly if you have exposed them to the summer sun and chlorine to a great extent this year. Exfoliation is crucial here, too, simply because a gentle scrub will do wonders for your cracked lips. It will help you soften and smooth out the skin, leaving the lips kissable and supple. Choose a non-petroleum based lip balm afterwards, and you’ll be good to go!

Take your cleanser seriously


Cleansing is a step you mustn’t skip for numerous reasons, and the first one includes slowing down the process of aging. As we all know, exposure to the sun can cause your skin to age prematurely, which results in age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles. Cleansing before bedtime is essential for having clearer skin, since washing your face regularly can mitigate the external factors related to aging. Besides that, it stimulates the internal processes that fight aging! So, choosing an appropriate product is what you have to do next. 

Choose a different moisturiser


Lightweight gels and lotions won’t do the trick when the temperatures go low – you’ll need something stronger with different texture, look for moisturisers that will keep your skin well-nourished. A thick cream offers exactly what you need – it will fight dryness and chilly weather brought on by autumn. You may want to choose the one that enhances collagen production, too, which is great for repairing your skin and helping it look rejuvenated.

Beard guide 101: Soften your scruff

If you’ve been rocking a beard throughout summer, good news is that this trend is still cool this autumn. However, make sure that it is well-groomed and taken care of appropriately – no one wants to see itchy and messy scruff. A beard oil may be very handy when it comes to men’s grooming this season – it’ll tame your beard hair and make it look shiny, while hydrating the skin beneath it. You definitely need this product this autumn!

As you can see, there are many products that will get your hair and skin back on track after hot summer days – the aforementioned ones should be staple parts of every beauty-conscious gal’s collection. Needless to say, guys should be no exception! Just make sure that you’re following these several tips, and you’ll be prepared to rock this autumn!

Oh Summer is now a distant memory and we're being shoved back into British weather. SOB! Thanks Peter for a great blog and let us know in the comments below what preparation you take for skin and haircare throughout the seasons! Peter is also an Editor In Chief on High Style Life. So go check that out too!






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Gold Collagen Lip & Eye Masks

Instagram is a gold mine for discovering the new and innovative. I love screenshotting brands that I feel I'd like to work with in the near or distant future on my blog. I specifically look for brands that I'd suit and that you my readers would be interested in learning about. I'm constantly on the look out so make sure you let me know in the comments below what you'd like me to feature on my blog.
Introducing Crystal Collagen Gold Masks! Part of my Ebay haul and yes there have been a lot of reviews from the haul this week. These include the lip peels (god no) and the beauty storage organiser.  They are mostly made popular by the brand Ms.Soho but I doubt these are this brand as there's no labelling on the back of them. However, they do share the same purpose. I brought two pieces of each that seem cheap but could become pretty pricey if you'd plan to use these a lot.
The lip masks on Ebay range from 99p for one to £11.39 for 15. The undereye masks are the same. They also do a full face and neck mask. Suffice to say I looked pretty stupid with these things under my eyes on my lips. The masks are cool and slime like in consistency but are still firm enough to not rip. I was very excited to use the under eye masks because I think my skin can sometimes lack a bit of life, especially under the eyes. You are meant to leave the masks on for 20 minutes and they semi stick to your skin.
The lip mask was the one where you actually felt a reaction to the mask. After around 10 minutes, my lips went slightly numb and tingly. It was neither uncomfortable or had me wanting to remove the mask. It's best to keep your lips closed otherwise you'll end up dribbling down your face. Like I definitely did not do...
I wouldn't say I've noticed a massive difference to my lips but I did notice a slight difference to the plumpness of my lips on the second use of the mask. If you look closely at the first and last photo, you can see the creases in my lips are more filled out. I also used the second lot of under eye masks and my skin appears a lot more refreshed and glowing than before I used the masks.
These products are definitely worth a try but I wouldn't use them every day as it would just get too costly. Instead I'd recommend to use these perhaps when you have a big event/party that you are attending and therefore want to push the boat out a little by pampering yourself for a few days prior.

Take a look at the products here and the branded ones from Ms.Soho here.






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Beauty Storage Organiser

Even though I don't have a vanity table yet to put this on, I had to buy it as part of my Ebay haul. I'm slowly turning my bedroom into the most Instagram/Pinterest worthy room of all time. It's just going to take a while...but hey that's where the fun is.
So I give you the Beauty Storage Organiser that was a steal at £8.84! (It's now gone up to £9.89) The storage organiser comes as two parts. The top half is more suited for lipsticks, lip glosses and nail varnish, whilst the bottom half is suited for foundations, highlighters and anything else you can fit in. The only downside to this storage organiser is that the depth of the drawers isn't great so a few things like my foundation wouldn't fit in.

The plastic is thick, solid and not at all cheaply made. I love the lipstick organiser and they show off my collection of Rimmel lipsticks very nicely. I've used what would normally hold the nail varnishes to instead include my foundation, blending sponge and other lip products, including the one remaining lip peel product that I will probably never use again. See why here
This is a must have for any beauty enthusiast and I'd like to thank Makeup Savvy for making me aware of this bargain on her blog here. I don't think it's the exact same as this one has extra drawers. If you'd like to purchase this product, then be sure to click here to buy it!

I'm super happy that I purchased this. Now I just need a vanity table to put it on...






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