The Charcoal Challenge

28 July 2013

The weather we have been having at the moment is pretty incredible. The news reporters are saying it's our longest heatwave in 7 years, and boy is it hot. Only downside is the humidity - woaaaah it is doing absolutely nothing for me hair. Apparently we've had humidity higher than Nigeria, and it's producing puffy frizzball hair that could rival Hermione Granger or Monica Gellar. One of the upsides to this gorgeous weather is the amount of bbq's we've been having. You couldn't produce better bbq weather if you wanted to! So when Money Supermarket put me to the test to do a 'Charcoal Challenge', I was very much up for this. With £50 to spend, I knew I could have a fun time and get my family and friends involved. However, in my family we don't do things simple. No no no. We have to expand upon something, rev it up a gear and go all out.

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My parents own an allotment literally a stones throw from their house. They're growing pretty much everything this year and having salad, fruit and veggies on your doorstep is lovely. We decided to do our bbq by the side of our allotment, to produce less food mileage, eat our food as the sun went down and generally do something a little different. Oh, and we decided to go for a Jamaican theme. Yes. Jamaican. Max was ready to get into the spirit of things.

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With the Jamaican theme fully in place, we had Red Stripe lager, Levi Roots Reggae Reggae sauce and Chilli Mango sauces. With some of the £50, I bought some sharing plates, dip bowls and bread plates from Matalan (which are now on special offer!) as I wanted something I could reuse for such occasions. We also had a variety of hot dips and spicy guacamole with some Cool Doritos. Nomanom!

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We even donned leis, which should be strictly Hawaiian, but this made us feel like we were truly abroad and relaxing somewhere beautiful - even if the backdrop was a couple of sheds! With the iPod speakers playing a playlist of Jamaican and Reggae music, we really couldn't tell. My Mum had also made a rum punch that really did punch you when you drank it. I think it was a mix of Malibu, Bacardi, Sailor Jerry, and freshly squeezed juices. I drank too many of these.

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Whilst the food was cooking, we chatted, played games, and said hi to other allotment owners coming to water their patch. It's the sort of place where it's really friendly, everyone knows each other, people were sampling Mum's dangerous punch and generally having a laugh. The men were acting like children, as ever!

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When it was almost time to eat, my Mum picked and washed our fresh salad, some spring onions and rocket to have with our meal. There's something very rewarding about picking something from the floor that you've grown, washing it, and eating it. It's all very 'Dig For Victory'.

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The chicken had been marinated in Reggae Reggae Sauce for 12 hours and was absolutely smackalicious to eat. It was only on the plate for pretty much these photos and then it was safely in our tums. We had to make a second batch because it was just so good! We just tore it up, plonked it on the sharing dish with the salad and ate it with our fingers. Delicious. We also barbequed fresh tuna steaks covered in chili, crab mango and avacado salad, and a Caribbean rice dish.


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The sweetcorn is growing really well at the moment, and it's tall and beautiful. As you know, I'm never one to miss a Disney moment, so decided to sing Pocahontas songs whilst hiding in the sweetcorn itself. Classic Tamsin.


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After a dessert of homemade Chocolate Cola Cake, we danced around the table singing to Bob Marley and UB40, and generally had a lovely Summers evening. Who wouldn't want a bbq in this weather? It's just another excuse to get together and have some fun. (Sack the photographer in the below shot for cutting off most of my body. At least you can see little Max's ticklesome belly!)


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Many thanks to Money Supermarket who gave us the excuse to have a bbq (not that we needed one!) As we fed around 8 people, we did go slightly over the £50 budget, but we were able to purchase some gorgeous food, dips and crockery for the occasion, as well as some fancy dress (who can blame us?!) We loved the challenge and I can't see this being our last bbq at the allotment.

-Tamsin xxx

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Kipling Puppy Bag

25 July 2013

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I remember when I was younger and lots of kids used to go to school with cute Kipling backpacks. I never had one as I had my Disney princess backpack (obviously) but I always wanted the little monkey hanging off the side of my bag secretly. Fact for the day, is that Kipling bags are named after Rudyard Kipling who wrote The Jungle Book, hence the monkeys which are like little mascots for the bags. So I guess technically, this is a Disney themed bag? (Any way to turn something into a Disney extravaganza eh?!) ;) Bagable are an online company based in Kent that sell a great variety of branded bags, and offering me the chance to review a bag, I couldn't say no - that little monkey was going to be mine!

After umming and ahhing, I decided to go for the Kipling Puppy Bag. This bag is more of a toiletry/wash bag duo, and I planned to have it in my bag for work with my makeup and toiletry necessities. I went for bright turquoise because it's one of my favourite colours, but there were 8 colours you could choose from, which is always nice as you could buy a dark one for a man and it be completely unisex. Thumbs up from me. This bag looks small, but wow is it spacious. I've managed to fit an array of deodorants, hairbrushes, mascaras, lipsticks etc in here and they fit perfectly comfortable. With a small zipped compartment at the front, a divider on the inside (to split your cosmetics from your toiletries), there is lots of room. And of course, my little monkey friend hanging off the side - it's a real treat to have him there! This has become the staple item in my handbag at the moment, and I can see it's going to keep me real company when at work, travelling, visiting family, going on holiday etc. You can currently pick it up for £27.20. Bagable's service was great too. 2nd Class Delivery is totally free, and it arrived quickly and in great order. Great news is that they post internationally too - time to get shopping all my overseas readers!

So what are your thoughts on Kipling? Do you find the little monkey guy as cute as I do? Personally, I love the brand even more now I know he's based on The Jungle Book! Always time for a Disney moment in my life ;)

-Tamsin xxx

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Little Boots Haul

23 July 2013

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I'm trying to be good at the moment with the spending. Really, I am! But sometimes, if I'm let alone to wander, things can end up messy - messy in the way that I have a whole swatched arm. I feel guilty, but I'm not guilty at all - do you know what I mean? Sometimes, we just have to buy the lipstick. Anyway, just a small little haul really but I picked up some new items that have only just been added to the shelves..maybe I can sway you to part with your money?

Bourjois Shine Edition Lipstick in 20: With the name 123 Soleil, I was sold before I even swatched this one! The Shine Edition lipsticks are packed with moisture and shine to give you a glossier and sheerer feel to the lips, and almost like a flipside to Bourjois' last release, Rouge Edition which are more matte. 123 Soleil is a vibrant coral that shines like crazy. Perfect for this Summer weather and perfect in my lipstick collection. I must add that the pastel and silver packaging is super cute too - I need more of this collection in my life, stat!

Bourjois Colour Boost Lip Crayon in Peach On The Beach: Another name that captured me straight away - reminds me of Peach Daquiri's on holiday somewhere..yes please! I've been desperate to try these Colour Boost Lip Crayons since they hit the scene. Honestly, I didn't find the shades of Clinique Chubby Stick that endearing, but Bourjois have released some good'uns. The Colour Boost Lip Crayons give a glossy finish without the stickiness, and Peach On The Beach is a perfect pinky coral. These will definitely give Chubby Stick a run for their money - they have such a fun, happy vibe!

Bourjois Volume Glamour Ultra Curl Mascara: Ok so it was 3 for 2 on Bourjois - it had to be done! I picked up another of my new favourite highstreet mascara (after the termination of Collection Skyscraper..sob). As I said in my last Boots Haul upload, I used this when I was a lot younger, and it always gave me the results I wanted - serious curl, and mega lift. 

VO5 Refresh Me Quick Dry Shampoo: This is maybe my 8th bottle of this stuff? I can't sing it's praises enough. A quick spritz gives your roots the refreshment they need, with no white dust in sight. Be gone Batiste. You've had your day.

Dove Colour Repair Shampoo: I'm a big believer in switching up your shampoo routine, as your hairs PH is prone to getting used to formulas which can lead to excess oils and nasties. I've always liked Dove shampoos and this one was going cheap - simple as that! I always buy colour shampoos too, as it's good to keep my hair in tip top condition due to it being dyed.

I've got a huge number of Boots points to spend..about £40 worth actually. What do you think I should spend it on? Suggestions please!

-Tamsin xxx

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GIVEAWAY! Couture de Minnie OPI Mini Polish Set

19 July 2013

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I'm feeling super happy at the moment. New job, new apartment, awesome weather, great opportunities, lovely family, fab friends, fantastic boyfriend. I'm feeling great. So I've decided to give something back to you guys - my wonderful readers. I was out buying (even more) nail polish today, and decided to treat someone to one of my fav OPI sets.

Couture de Minnie is the newest Disney collection on the OPI shelves. The last Minnie Mouse collection from OPI was a hit (with me alone buying all of the polishes AND the mini collection..oops!), and lets face it - it wouldn't be me if I wasn't doing something Disney related now would it? (Steph can vouch for this!) This collection is super fun and super me.

In the collection you get 4 minis: 'A Definite Moust Have', 'Magazine Cover Mouse' (my personal favourite), 'Chic From Ears To Tail' and 'Innie Minnie Mighty Bow'. S


How to enter:

-Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below
-Some entries are compulsory and some are extra
-Keep it honest!
-UK giveaway only unfortunately
-The prize has been bought with my own money


It's just a quick little weekend giveaway so it will run from today (Friday 19th July) to Monday 22nd July.

Good luck - I hope you have a lovely weekend!

-Tamsin xxx


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Vichy Idealia BB Cream

18 July 2013

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In the Summer, it is natural that we usually want to melt our faces off when it's hot like it is at the moment. You've been there - makeup all done, looking lovely, you step out into the heat and BAM..it's like a volcano is swarming near your face and you can feel the foundation heating and mascara sliding - remember now? ;) If I'm honest, I have been going completely bare faced recently. My skin is clear and with all this heat, it just doesn't seem necessary to slap on tons of makeup (bar a lashing of mascara and a bit of brow taming). On the days I've been working and I'm inside, I still don't want to feel bogged down with makeup, so I've been reaching for the Vichy Idealia BB Cream*.

I am a BB cream lover but often have previously found it hard to find a BB cream that gives a coverage that lasts. Other than the Clarins BB Cream (which I'm saving for another day) this is the only other BB cream I've found to stand the test of time. With easy application from the pointed nozzle, I apply it with a Real Techniques blending brush. The coverage is light but builds well, and doesn't make you feel caked under and like your skin is trapped. I must just touch on the pointed nozzle again - serious points to Vichy from me..it's hygienic, easy to use and keeps everything tidy. Love. It. Onto the formula - Vichy aims for 6 different results with this product - illuminate, hydrate, smooth wrinkles, refine skin texture, reduce dark spots and protect with SPF25. Well I can tell you now, it definitely hydrates, it really does illuminate, it protects your skin from the sun and really does refine the skins texture. 4 outta 6 aint bad, but the only reason it's not a full house is because I fortunately don't have dark spots or wrinkles yet (score!). I think the nicest thing about this product is the illumination. It has a real glow about it and when it's on the skin, it's almost like it has an added highlighter in it. In this weather, it's all I need and all I want, and it gives a healthy glow whilst giving enough coverage to get you through the day. It blends beautiful, gives you a flawless, smooth finish, hides immediate blemishes and gives you a perfect glow. What's not to like? There's only two shades at the moment: Light and Medium, which is a huge downsides to BB creams I find, BUT this product does seem to adapt to your skin tone nicely.

So Vichy have pulled it out of the bag again. I must admit, I am seeing more and more of their products in my collection and it's only a good thing. The Idealia BB Cream definitely one that could be on a lot of people's 'to-buy' list I think! It's not being called the 'BB Cream Converter' for nothing...

-Tamsin xxx

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Essie 'DJ Play That Song'

16 July 2013

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There's a purplelicious vibe on Little Glitter today and it's all down to a new offering from Essie. My Essie collection is always growing. From the wide brush, to the flawless application - I truly love this brand and it deserves all the hype it gets. My latest love is from the new S/S collection in 'DJ Play That Song'. The Essie Neons collection isn't as neon as I'd usually like my polishes (think Models Own neon and that's my buzz) but with a good variety of shades, there will be one of the 6 choices from the collection to suit anybody.

'DJ Play That Song' is a purple grape type shade. It has a jelly-ish, semi-opaque appearance when you first apply, and the pigmentation will take about 3 coats to get the best out of the colour. Without a top coat, the end result will a matte finish - something which I don't mind at all, as I'm all for embracing the matte look on my nails at the moment. However, I do think that Summer polishes mean bright, poppin' colour and something the sun will catch and glare off - so if you're after shiny nails, don't forget your top coat. With all of these polishes, Essie recommend using one coat of a white polish underneath to help accentuate the colour, but if I'm honest, I think the colour is pretty damn good without it. It reminds me of Fanta Grape (why can't this be more available in the UK?) and is different from any shade I have in my polish collection.

I think purple is one of those 'any season' polishes. This would 100% vamp up a winter outfit, but looks great clutching a Pina Colada around the pool. I can vouch for this ;)

-Tamsin xxx

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Bliss High Intensity Hand Cream

12 July 2013

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I always keep a hand cream of some sort accessible during the day, whether it be in my bag, or on my desk at work. It's essential. Our hands battle the elements every day. They go through tough some tough times. Tapping away at the keyboard, undoing jars and bottles, acid and grease from cooking etc, so it's good to give them some TLC when they need it. In the past, I've been a loyal L'Occitane Shea Butter fan, and of course I'm never without the classic Clarins Hand and Nail Cream. A new one to my collection is the Bliss High Intensity Hand Cream.

Bliss as a company is nearly 20 years old, and was founded in New York as a spa. They go for the fun, down to earth feel without being the standard spa. Along with this, they now focus on their products, tried and tested in their spas. It's a good way to have long lasting loyal supporters and I genuinely love the fact their business has stemmed from one spa. Nice one Bliss! But now onto the goods - the High Intensity Hand Cream. Let me start by telling you that this has one of the best scents in a hand cream I have ever tried. It is like a citrus burst from the moment it's on your skin. I'm a sucker for citrus and this pulls all the points. Full marks from me on that front. Laden with macadamia oil and grapeseed extract to maximise hydration with antioxidents, this does a good job of keeping your hands fully moisturised. I use two pea size amounts of the cream for both hands, and because it's so rich and creamy, it sinks right in, and I mean right in. Plus, there's no greasy residue - result.

So is the Bliss High Intensity Hand Cream total Bliss? It's definitely a favourite and up there with my L'Occitane and Clarins favs. Dry hands can be bliss-tory ;) (oh the shame!)

-Tamsin xxx

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Summer Body Plan with Maxitone

9 July 2013

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Weight. Body image. Feeling great on the inside and outside. All topics we're faced with daily and standing at only 5ft makes me much more conscious of all these factors. I'm an average size. My clothes vary between sizes 10-12, but being 5ft, I find that any tiny bit of weight shows that little bit more - my fellow 5ft'ers will know what I mean. I never want to be a stick - I'm destined to have some curve in me as I'm an hourglass shape, and somehow I was graced with a larger bust (something that I hate, but I can leave that discussion to another day). My last job was so full on, I didn't have time to go to the gym - something that killed me and it's part of the reason I decided to move on. You need the time to let off some steam and keep fit and healthy, and considering I used to go the gym nearly every day, this was hard for me. At the end of everything, it's my goal to lose some weight and generally tone up so I feel happy and confident in my body - something I think most people want! I recently did the Slim Fast 7 Day Challenge which involved the 3-2-1 plan, which wasn't easy but once you were in the rhythm of things, it ended up being enjoyable. I lost 2.5lbs and that was really the start of my body goals. Whilst I would do Slim Fast again, I really want to focus on toning up as well as losing some inches, which is where Maxitone comes in.

The Summer Body Plan from Maxitone is a 6 week programme to help you get into shape in a healthy and 'do-able' way. I'd heard of Maxitone through some of my other fav bloggers and feedback seemed to be good, as well as well known athletes saying how much they enjoyed their products. They have a variety of products and plans which use protein to help enable weight loss and toning. Loads of people, and it's generally women, are very much afraid of using protein - I used to be the same. I associated protein with beefing up and wanting hench muscles, but after reading into the plan, it isn't that way at all. Getting a daily dose of protein means that your muscles recover quicker after exercising, and more muscle burns more calories, so it's a good enzyme to be getting into your diet!

So what is on this 6 week plan? Other than a variety of shakes, healthy tablets and snack bars, there's:
  • 6 weekly meal plans (which you can print out to take to the supermarket which I think is extremely user friendly)
  • 3 tips per week to keep you motivated and on track
  • 2 different types of exercise programmes, so if you're a beginner to workouts, don't stress! There's one for you :)
  • 3 extra product offers to keep you going with the plan, including a free gift if you use the offers
Not only this, but the Maxitone Twitter account is always active so that's a great source of motivation to tweet about your progress and get the support you need back. I have a whole load of goodies to be using, and at first instance, my favourite product so far is the Maxitone Sculptress Diet Bars - they're packed full of green tea, protein and packed with extra vitamins and nutrients. 

My aim is to report back weekly with my progress, be it difficulties, fun times and fingers crossed, some weight loss. I'm excited by the programme as it seems very 'user friendly', something that I find not all weight loss/toning plans are. Hopefully this plan is the perfect way to follow on from the Slim Fast challenge, as I can now focus on exercising and toning to get the best results to suit my figure. Keep your fingers crossed for me, and remember to check out the Maxitone website if you're interested in joining in too! :)

-Tamsin xxx

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Vichy Liftactiv Serum 10 Eyes and Lashes

7 July 2013

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It's hot. Very hot. For me this means less makeup and more focus on getting the skincare right. It's nice to be able to ditch the foundation and go barefaced, catch some sun and let your natural features shine through. I love my freckles coming out this time of year - hello Summer! When getting the skincare right, you have to consider all aspects. Cleansing, toning, moisturising..but what about the eye serums? If I'm honest, I haven't started using eye serums until the last 6 months or so. Maybe it's because I've worked so many late nights, or maybe it's because heading towards your mid 20s is starting to become a bit scary. Whatever the reason, I'm paying more attention to them now. Recently, I've been reaching for a Vichy Liftactiv Serum 10 Eyes and Lashes Serum that I've been putting to the test.

This serum claims to give 'instant illuminating and lifting effects to accentuate and rejuvenate the look of eyes' as well as promising a 'fortified eyelash effect.' Sounds good yes? What about the ingredients involved then. Firstly, Rhamnose - this is a plant sugar which helps to rejuvenate skin. There's also two different type of peptides which help to bring down inflammation of the skin, not forgetting our good friend Hyaluronic Acid. So lots of good stuff to help our eye area and lashes. Fabulous. So how does it work? A small pump of the product slowly moisturised into the eye and lash area lightly just using your fingers should do it. The serum is a white, pearlescent colour meaning your eye area is instantly brightened, but not too much that it's a form of highlighter (don't panic!). I've found that my eyes have been cooled and soothed when using this, as well as brightening my under eyes - goodbye morning bags! When it comes to the lashes, don't be fooled in thinking this will help to miraculously grow your lashes - it's more of a conditioning treatment. Whilst I haven't had fuller lashes, they have felt particularly healthy and conditioned..much like a hair mask for the eyelashes so to speak. My mascara has lasted longer because of this and that makes me a very happy Tamsin.

Another thumbs up from me is the packaging - you can't see how much product you have which is a tiny downside, but the serum keeps its ingredients working to the maximum by having an opaque bottle leaving no room for light/heat damage which can often damage the ingredients. Not to mention the pump which means it's a non-messy event and all is well. I've found this product works best the more you use it - stick with it guys, don't give up if you don't see immediate results! Whilst it's no miracle serum, it's definitely a serum I want to stick with - I love me a bit of illumination and brightening and Vichy, you score high with this.

-Tamsin xxx

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Happy Things Thursday

4 July 2013

I'm feeling exceptionally happy and thankful today. Maybe it's the fact its slightly warmer, maybe it's the fact I've finished my job finally, maybe it's because I've had some time to rest and recuperate a little. Who knows. Whatever the reason, I'm feeling good! Here are some of the things that have made me smile.

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001. Max chilling on the decking in the sun, looking rather dapper surrounded by the flowers.

002. My Mum buying me a Royal Doulton 'Cinderella' ornament just because she knew I'd love it.

003. Looking at all of my many 'good luck' and 'sorry you're leaving cards' remembering the good times of my last job.

004. Teaching Rufus the Siamese Cat tricks - he now knows how to stand on his hind legs on command, as well as as some others!

005. Eating yummy Smoothie lollies in the sun - even better is that they are only 90cals..winning!

006. Having a phone call from Jonny saying he is back in the UK and has a long weekend off - hurrah!

007. Planning weekends away - we're off to Sheffield tomorrow to visit Jonny's family and watch tons of home movies with lots of good wine.

008. Having so much to blog about - I love it when you genuinely have so much to write about, and writing makes me happy.

009. Popping out to Lakeside to buy someone a present, and coming away with gifts for yourself (standard)..

010. Feeling lucky and blessed for all you have.

Have a lovely Thursday!

-Tamsin xxx

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Benefit 'See & Be Seen Sasha' Perfume

2 July 2013

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I'm a bit funny with perfume - I know what I like, and someone buying me perfume as a gift is a bit like playing cards - you can keep dealing the choices out, but chances are, I won't like what I'm dealt. When I think of Benefit, their fabulous image and great makeup comes to mind. I know they have perfume, but it wasn't what I splashed my cash on because I already had my fav scents. However, the cute bottles and individual theme is intriguing. Each perfume is named after a girl, almost giving it its own personality and feeling. 

'See & Be Seen Sasha' has a mixed floral, yet sophisticated scent. Now I'm no whizz at base notes and top notes, but I can really smell the orange scents and white peony. It's fresh with a dash of fun, mixed in with luxury and a dose of 'look at me' which is exactly what this fragrance stands for. It's a moderate to strong scent that will last - I spritz my perfume on at around 8am, and I was still able to breathe in the floral yumminess at 5pm-ish. Sasha's box is more of an art deco gallery theme - very luxe with the added playfulness of the Benefit Crescent Row perfume girls. Something that I love, albeit a small detail is the size of the bottle. The bottle isn't massively tall, but it all seems very compact meaning that it's very handbag friendly - something I often find is a downside with my fav Chanel perfumes. 

I'm going to explore more into the Benefit Crescent Row perfumes. I'm slightly whacking myself for having not tried them before to be honest - they were there all along and I completely missed them. For 30mls, you will only be set back £19.70 on Look Fantastic, which is a huge saving of nearly £9. It's almost a steal...a very sassy yet sophisticated steal..

-Tamsin xxx

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