Thursday, 27 April 2017

5 Ways I Look After Myself Better In My Twenties

Let’s face it, in our younger years we are so carefree and rebellious we don’t always give ourselves the TLC we need. When you’re young you can get away with being a bit neglectful. The amount of junk food I ate at university was shocking, and I actually lost weight! I consistently slept in my make up and my skin was for the most part blemish free. Exercise involved my friend and I sitting on adjacent rowing machines while having a gossip and occasionally moving back and forth. Now all I need to do is think about a bar of dairy milk and I put on 3lbs, my skin breaks out and I need to do 30 minutes of cardio. What a wonderful thing time is. 

As I entered my mid twenties I started to panic about getting old. I could not stop think about getting wrinkles and my body giving up. I’d been having knee pain for years by that point but it had began to intensify, so all of a sudden I was imagining myself as elderly woman struggling to stand up. In short I began to freak the hell out. Slowly I began making small lifestyle changes.


“Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty” – Coco Chanel


My first small step to improving my skincare regime was to remove my make up before bed. I’m not sure of the exact science behind this but I’ve heard many rumours that leaving your makeup on over night lets to you breaking out and potentially getting wrinkles. And if simply removing my makeup can help to prevent this then sure, why not. I have actually become a lot more interested in skincare products as the years have passed, much to the relief of my mother! I now use face wash, face masks, make up remover, moisturiser, basically I’m obsessed. If you have any recommendations please put them in the comments section. 

"Every time I hear the dirty word ‘Exercise’ I wash my mouth out with chocolate!"  - Unknown


I am not a fitness guru but I am doing more regular exercise than I have ever done in my life. I started doing a few some home workouts by a woman called Melissa Bender. Go check her website out BenderFitness.com, the woman is amazing! A couple of week after I moved to Manchester I signed me and the boyfriend up to a 10km, out first race ever. Fast forward a year and we were running our first marathon. That’s something I did not expect to do so early in my life but I loved pushing myself. 

“I tried every diet in the book. I tried some that weren’t in the book. I tried eating the book. It tasted better than most of the diets.” - Dolly Parton


When I started to exercise more, I started to watch what I ate more. Especially when training for a race. It’s important to make sure you are eating the right amount of nutrients. I have switched my sugary cereals for a banana and plain yoghurt, my white bread sandwiches and crisps for vegetables and grapes, and my MASSIVE portions for a lot more reasonable sized portions. I don’t clean eat 100% of the time but the percentage has certainly increased in recent years. 

“Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy.” - Frank Sinatra 


At university I usually wouldn’t say no to a night out. For a while in the first year me and a friend would go out five nights a week! We did have a pretty amazing time but drinking so much is not good for oh so many reasons. Not only does it seriously damage my bank balance, but it also plays havoc with my anxiety. The next day I am just a bag of nerves, worrying that I have made everybody mad at me. It’s truly horrendous. So lately I have been trying to not drink as much while I am on a night out and to skip some nights out altogether. I wake up feeling refreshed and my bank balance breathes a sigh of relief.

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” - Rhett Buttler, Gone With The Wind

Since I can remember I have always worried what other people think of me, which has led to me not speaking up when I wanted to and missing out on experiences. This has caused me a lot of anxiety. I have been working on not to giving a shit what other people think because honestly, they’re probably not thinking the awful things I think they are anyway. And if they are then I shouldn’t waste my time worrying over people like that. It has been extremely liberating.



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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

ASOS Spring Haul + Try On



I’m not sure if you have noticed, I have mentioned it on my Twitter, Instagram, this blog itself and to anyone I have met in person, but I am absolutely loving the warmer weather. The sun has just put me in an amazing mood and I am spending my time running around outside or day dreaming about going on holiday. I love how it has put everybody else in a better mood too. As well as making everything look a lot prettier…blossoms everywhere! 

Once it became apparent that Spring had finally sprung, I decided to pack up my Autumn/Winter wardrobe and unpack my Spring/Summer wardrobe. After all of my big jumpers had been packed away it made my wardrobe look all sad and empty. so to ASOS I headed to give it a bit of a season refresh and a pop of colour. All of the links are at the bottom.



The first thing I looked for was a denim skirt. I have been wearing my current one to death so though it would be handy to have an alternative. I really wanted one with an elasticated waist because, well, it’s comfortable. I also wanted more of a looser fit on the bottom, rather than the fitted a-line version I currently had. It’s a little bit longer, which I purposefully went for. I wanted a skirt I could wear to the office without tights on when it’s gets even warmer. 

I also wanted some new crops tops to tuck into my skirts. Throughout winter I stocked up on the more fitted, turtle neck types, which aren’t ideal for Spring. I go from 0 to 100 degrees celsius in 30 seconds. This one is a loose fit (I really am all about the comfort) with a nice colour details around the neck. I got in in white, as you can see, but I also picked up a grey one too. They were so cheap I could not resist.



I have been loving accessories lately, including handbags! So I used Spring as an excuse to purchase a new one. This one just screams sunny days in the park. There is so much to love about it. The embroidery is very on trend. The colours are bright and vibrant. The tassels add a nice touch. The canvas type material with sort of drawstring handle reminds me of a beach bag, and it’s definitely big enough to pack a towel and a book and head to the shore. It’s just the perfect Spring/Summer bag really.

I have not bought myself a pair of sunglasses in years. I was keeping my eye out for a reflective lens pair when I came across these on ASOS. I love the sort of bluey/purpely tint to them. They were such a good price too.



Finally I picked up another cactus top. Yes, another! Is there even such a thing as too many cacti tops? It even has a mildly punny slogan on the sleeve - ‘on point’. To be honest I did not realise this when I purchased it but I actually kinda like it. It’s a bright hot pink which is not a shade I usually wear, but I really wanted to add some bright colours into the mix. I love colours and I do have quite a mix already, just not much pink. It’s a sort of box shape that looks a bit too boyish when it’s not tucked into anything for my taste. I have been wearing it tucked into high waisted jeans and skirts or underneath my denim dress. 

The jeans I am wearing in these pics are actually from ASOS too but I bought them about 2 years ago now. However they are becoming a firm favourite in my Spring wardrobe. Who doesn’t love distressed denim? 








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Thursday, 20 April 2017

My L'Oreal True Match


Although I love having ginger hair it does come with some setbacks. One of them is having paler skin than the majority of the population. I don’t mind having paler skin but it does make it difficult to find foundation that matches my skin tone. I have had to choose between going a few shades darker and looking like an orange, or going a few shades lighter and looking like a vampire. There was no in-between. Enter the L’Oreal True Match range, also known as my saving grace. After discovering this little beaut last year I have faithfully stuck with it. I have also picked out a few other items from the L’Oreal range since then. I have told many people in my real world about how this is an amazing range so I have decided I will now tell the blogosphere.


L’Oreal Paris True Match Touch Magique Concealer - Rose Beige


I had been trialling a few different concealers but I hadn’t quite found the one. As always with my pale skin it’s difficult to find a shade that matches. This concealer has unusual packaging. There is a twist bottom that pushes the concealer up through a built in brush applicator. Although it has this built in brush I just use it to dot the concealer on to my face, then I use a foundation brush to blend it in. I was pleasantly surprised with this concealer, not having had much luck before. It gets rid of my dark circles and brightens up my eyes. As well as that it also provides good coverage on my blemishes. This has become a firm step in my daily routine.


L’Oreal Paris True Match Liquid Foundation


I like this foundation. Like, really like this foundation. Ok, I am in love with this foundation. What drew me to this range was the variety of shades. I think there are around 24 shades in total with a good few choices between pale and medium, which is where my skin tone fits in. It’s a light to medium coverage foundation that is advertised as being super bendable and able to match to the colour of your skin. The shade is perfect for me. It looks really natural, which is the look I tend to go for. This, along with the fact that it does not cost a bomb, makes it perfect for everyday use.


L’Oreal Paris Match True Match Highlight


Lately I just want to shove my face into a pile of fairy dust and fly around glowing. Until I track down tinker bell I guess I will have to settle with highlighter. One I have been trialling lately is the True Match Highlight. Impressed as I was with the first two products in this post I decided to give it a go. I chose the Icy Glow shade as it is specially made for lighter skin tones, but there is also another shade called Golden Glow. This is a liquid highlighter that I mix up between applying under my foundation and over my foundation depending on how much shine I want to come through. It’s not the most bendable but it does a good job. There’s a little face charts on the back of the product which tells you where is best for applying (I always love little touches like this). It has a nice glow and makes my skin look younger, fresher and more natural.

I have used a few of the other True Match Products, I am particularly fond of the True Match Powder, and I do want to trial out a few more. What do you think about the True Match Range? 

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Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Düsseldorf Diaries


I recently visited Germany for the first time ever. I cannot believe I have lived so close and studied German for a year and it has taken me to the grand old age of 26 to visit the country. My older brother turned the big 3 0 at the start of the year and to celebrate he planned a trip to Dusseldorf. The logic behind this choice was that we could pop on over to a football match in…I’d like to say Dortmund but I actually can’t remember. However lady fate swept on in and decided to shut half of the stadium making it impossible to actually buy a ticket. Nevertheless we sure kept ourselves entertained. 

There were around 15 of us in total who went on this trip. First to arrive was my sister and I, who landed late on a Thursday night. We managed to buy a train tickets and hop on a train with minutes to spare so smoothly. Then when we got to Dusseldorf centre and ended up rolling our suitcases around for almost an hour to find our hotel, when it should have been a quick 15 minute walk. Such tourists. We stayed in a quirky place called Max Brown hotel in the Japanese quarter. The whole place was fabulously decorate, the rooms were cute and the beds were extra comfy. The stay also included breakfast, which was very tasty. Plus it was just a short walking distance from most things.


We went in February which was a very cold time of year to go, as expected. So if you’re going around that time then pack your winter outerwear essentials. We still went on a long walk around the city to find the sights but with a grey sky it was a little more chilly than magical. Not too chilly to appreciate the cobbled streets, long harbour and rare bursts of colour. We went to see a few of the ‘top things to do in Dusseldorf’ landmarks. This included the Rheinturm, which is the city’s tallest building. We only visited from the ground and didn’t actually go up due to time constraints. But you can get 360 views in the observation deck by day and dine by night, so probably worth a visit on a clear day or for a romantic meal. We also went to see some of the cool modern architecture including the Neue Zollhof as well as walking along the Rhine embankment. 

During the day the place was really rather empty, but at night thousands upon thousands of people crawl out from wherever they were hiding during the day to go to one of the many drinking establishments. The Dusseldorfer Altsadt is known as the longest bar in Europe, which is a title that I think it deserves. There is just so much choice and every single place is lively. I did think it was a touch brits abroad, with a large portion of the establishments being ‘irish bars’. Although brits abroad is definitely a theme I try to avoid when going on holiday, it was actually a lot of fun. Perfect for a big group like the one I went with. 

I also discovered Germany is big on festivals. While we were there we met someone called Chris who told us they were the guardian of the prince. He tipsily told us this while sat on a bar stool with a pint in hand, so we found this difficult to believe to say the least. The next day we saw a big parade going though the town. Turns out rich people pay to be treated like a prince or princess for a few months. And there in said parade was Chris, guarding the prince. It was a beautiful moment. We also managed to visit Cologne, which was around a half hour train away. There were so many people of a certain age dressed up. They were dressed as clowns, scarecrows and, well, in some really bizarre outfits. We asked a waiter what it was about and all he said was it is a festival for only the old people and it lasts for three months and there would be parties everywhere.

So would I visit Dusseldorf again? I don’t think I’ll be rushing to buy a plane ticket, but I also won’t be going out of my way to avoid going. I did have fun there, like a lot of fun. But I don’t think there was a massive amount to see. If I did go back I would like to visit during summer as I think this will allow for a few more things to do.


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Sunday, 16 April 2017

8 Reasons I Am Loving Spring

I am just totally head over heels in love with Spring at the moment, I know I banged on all throughout Autumn about how that was my favourite season and I couldn’t wait to cosy up under a blanket in front of the fire. And it was very true, I absolutely loved Autumn and all of the cosy things it brought with it. But I have pushed this all to the back of my mind in favour of Spring. I did not realise how much I missed the sun until it came back into my life. So I have decided to make a list style post on why I am loving this season, because I am and I bloody love a list.


Sunshine


I was sat in the office one day and I noticed my mood was considerably lighter and I couldn’t put my finger on why. It was a typical stressful day but things weren’t bothering me as much. As I was staring out at the blue sky it suddenly dawned on me. That beautiful blue sky and gorgeous glowing sun were the main driving forces behind my cheery disposition. I am so happy sun has put his hat on (hip hip hip hurray)! 


Longer Nights


Tying into the above, I am also loving the longer nights. With Springs comes the daylight saving hours (if you live in the UK). For those of you who don’t know this is when we move our clocks forward an hour in order to have some extra day time in the evenings. It has made all of the difference coming home and it still being light out. When it’s dark I come home, I’m sleepy and all I want to do is sit on the sofa and watch Netflix. Now I am full of energy and ready to do some socialising, mainly shopping or beer garden!


Blossoms Everywhere


The parks are full of blossoms, the streets are full of blossoms, everybody's Instagram is full of blossoms. The world is a prettier and happier place when there are blossoms!


New Beginnings


Spring is all about fresh starts and new beginnings. We dust off the top of the cupboards, clean behind the fridge. Lent also falls in Spring which is usually a time when I try to kick a bad habit. 


Lighter Mornings


Okay so the sun is clearly the key to my happiness. I just wanted to pop this one in as this has had a big impact on my daily routine. I generally prefer working out in the mornings, it’s out of the way and it’s leaves your evening free to do whatever you want. During winter I struggle so much to get out of bed that I just end up skipping the workouts. I have actually managed to get into a good routine now it doesn’t look like it’s midnight outside.


The Fashion


Spring fashion is so the one! For one thing I have actually been able to leave the big coat at home (most of the time). But what I am loving the most is all of the bright colours popping up everywhere. Hot pinks, baby blues, rich oranges, everything pastel. Just colours everywhere! As well as denim everywhere. I’ve dug the denim jacket out of the back of my closet and the denim skirt has been worn so much I’ve decided to stock up on more.


BABY ANIMALS


I think the title says it all really. There are baby animals errywhere. Little lambs, cute calfs, perfect piglet and cute kittens. My dad has just got himself three cockapoodle puppies and they have stolen my heart already.



Bank Holidays



Bank holidays galore. Good Friday, Easter Monday and not one, but two May bank holidays. Oh May you beautiful month you! All of those extra days off without taking any annual leave. If that is not enough to love Spring then I don’t know what is.







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Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Kettlebell Kitchen, Manchester


In case you didn’t know I will start this post by stating that I have given up refined sugar for lent. That means no chocolate, no sauces, no ice cream…damn I miss ice cream. This has been extremely difficult as I am a sugar-a-holic, which is why I gave it up. It has also been difficult as no where in the god damn work seems to offer a decent menu that is free of refined sugar. You think you’d be safe with something like a burger but you can’t risk that the sauce isn’t hiding some sugar somewhere.

Enter Kettlebell Kitchen, a completely clean eating eatery located on Great Ancoats Street on the edge of the trendy and hipster Northern Quarter. I heard about this place some time back and have been meaning to visit when lent gave me the final push. As soon as I read on the menu it was completely refined sugar free, even the sauces, then I zoomed on over. The first thing you’ll probably notice when you enter Kettlebell Kitchen is the unique gym-like theme, with Kettlebells scattered all over. Kettlebell was started when the founder was tired of struggling to find a place to get clean takeaway food fast. Let’s face, the healthiest option I can think of is a salad bowl from subway and even then the sauces will ruin the whole refined sugar thing. 

I have to admit that I was a bit nervous before my first visit. I was worried the staff and customers would be intimidating gym goers that would immediately recognise me as a non gym person and would laugh me out the door. However this was completely unfounded. Yes the place was filled with a lot of people in lycra, and the staff were evidently people who hit the gym. But the atmosphere was quite laid back and relaxed and the staff were very friendly. Not intimidating or judgement at all. Phew! 


So now let’s discuss the menu. What really peaked my interest was the large amount of choice available. There’s a whole host of breakfast options along with burgers, wraps, pizza and chicken. There’s tea, coffee, hot chocolate and shakes. There’s even a choice of desserts! But their signature dish so to speak is the Kettlebox. So this is what I went for. There are 5 steps to the Kettlebox. Step 1 is simply to choose a size. I went for regular and found this to be more than enough. Step 2 is to choose a protein, with both meat and vegetarian options available. For step 3 you choose your base. The choices include sweet potato mash, quinoa and wholewheat pasta amongst others. Step 4 is to choose some seasonal salad, veg and nuts. I was amazed with how much selection there was and you can have a bit of everything if you wish. Finally to top it all off, step 5 is to choose a home made sauce.


The result of all this was a delicious, filling and healthy meal. If the sauces taste that good without refined sugar then I don’t know why the hell other brands feel the need to put it in. I think what Kettlebell successfully highlights is that you don’t need to have deep-fried, chemical induced food in order to have a tasty meal. And that it is possible to have fast and healthy food. So if you’re in Manchester and you want to eat out and eat clean then I suggest you head on over to Kettlebell Kitchen. I really enjoyed the meal and will be going back for another visit, I just have to try their Protein Pizza!


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Saturday, 8 April 2017

Happy Scoops - March 2017


The world is a dark, dreary and dismal place that can sap the life right out of you. It sometimes feels like all I ever read or hear about are utterly depressing stories. I recently went to see Russell Howard who talks a lot about this very thing. His Good News is a truly brilliant idea. I think it is a bit weird that all the news outlets seem to primarily focus on the negative stories out there, when in actual fact there are a lot of beautiful stories too. So in true Russell Howard style I have decided to start rounding up some of those everyday heart warming and/or funny stories and getting them out there to hopefully remind people there is good alongside the bad. So here are some of the moments I have witnessed recently. I have only just decided to write this article and I am eager to get it out. But in future months when I have more time I will ask people I know to hopefully get a broader and lovelier round up. 

A Trio Of Samaritans


A big shot out to not just the one, not just the two, but the three lovely samaritans that helped an elderly man to his feet when he fell on the tram tracks and struggled to get back up. This was a Wednesday evening at just after 6pm, so it was rush hour and the trams were flying around pretty regularly. it must have been quite scary for the gentleman, I know I would have been petrified. Luckily the three passersby lifted him to his feet and picked up his hat. Unfortunately all of the change happened to fall out of the mans trouser pockets but they collected all that for him too.

Dinner Time


I think this one happened in late January, maybe early February. It was a chilly evening and I was on my way to the shops to pick up something for for tea. There was a homeless man sat outside a bus stop which is next to a co-op. I was almost at the door when I saw a man walk out with a bag full of food which he then handed to the homeless man. I thought it was such a kind gesture and I’m sure the homeless man thoroughly appreciated it.

Small Victory


So I was on the tram on my way home after work. We’d all just got on and the tram was absolutely heaving. One of the people who got on the tram with me happened to be an elderly lady. Sat down on the aisle seat was a young man and he (rudely) had his bag on the window seat, preventing anyone from sitting next to him. So another passenger noticed this and ask the young man to remove his bag from the seat and basically move his butt so the lady could sit down. Go on son!

You Got A Friend In Me


I’m not sure if you know this or not but Manchester is in the middle of a homeless epidemic. I read a startling statistic the other day that homelessness has grown 900% faster than anywhere else in the UK (this was during a certain time frame, I’m sorry but I don’t have the full details to hand but i think it may have been the last 5 years or so). What I have been seeing quite a lot lately is people stopping, sitting down and having conversations with them for a while instead of just walking on by. Just a small little gesture that might mean a lot to someone.

Tram Heroes


Another tram story I am afraid. I get it to and from work everyday so they might be a regular feature. I was on my way to work a few weeks ago and we’d only just made it to the next stop when the driver announced he was going to have to stop the tram. It turned out there was a 26 year old woman who had some sort of medical emergency, I am unsure of the specific details but I know she was unconscious for a lot of the time. Luckily for her there was a nurse and a paramedic on board. They rushed over to the scene to help and worked their admirable magic until the ambulance arrived. After the young woman was taken away on a stretcher everybody got back on the tram. The driver made an announcement over the tannoy apologising for the delay but mainly thanking the nurse and paramedic who had helped. At this point the whole tram burst into a round of applause for the two tram heroes. Such a heart warming and perspective gaining experience.

So those are my happy scoops. I think it’s good for the soul to try and focus more on these happy moments. As I said next month I will be collecting stories from people I know (so they might be less tram based). If you’ve got any yourself please let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear them!



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Thursday, 6 April 2017

Spring Skincare Routine


It’s that time of year again. The clocks have gone forward, which means the nights are getting longer. It’s so light out it’s getting increasingly difficult to justify coming straight home and binge watching Netflix. Everyone is clearing out the junk they hoarded through the winter, dusting off the top of the cupboards and suddenly flowers are appearing in every room. Spring has become synonymous with having a clear out of your home and perhaps life in general. It is the perfect excuse to start getting rid of some of those bad habits. 

One of them for me is my skincare routine. Or rather lack of it. Lately I have been abandoning most forms of skin care in favour of a cheap wet wipe. Quick, simple but probably not effective in transforming my troubled skin from an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan. So with a determined spring in my step I made a beeline over to Superdrug to invest in some skincare products. After much deliberation, and a little help from the friendly staff, I settled on these three. I’ll talk about all three individually but I just want to take a moment to say that as a trio they are getting along just swimmingly!

Garnier Skin Active Micellar Oil-Infused Cleansing Water


Wow that was a mouthful. Okay so this is step one in my current skincare routine. I saw the Naturals Micellar Cleansing Water popping up on social media a few months ago. I absolutely love oil based skin care ever since getting some of the L’oreal extraordinary oils range last summer, so I went for this one instead. I think they get your make up off so much easier than other makeup removers, meaning you don’t have to scrub too much or too hard. This is rather important as I am one of those millennials having a quarter life crisis and I have become a bit paranoid about getting wrinkles. 

This one smells really good, this is not the most important factor but it’s a nice touch. Give it a shake before use then put a little bit on a cotton wool pad and simply wipe over your face, eye and lips. Apparently you just need 2ml per use so you can get 400 washes per bottle, but I sorta feel like this is a bit of an unrealistic goal. It works as the micelles (cleansing agents) capture the impurities and the oils dissolve the makeup. I’ve found it does take off my makeup really quickly and easily and what I really like is that you don’t need to rinse afterwards. So when I’m in a bit of a lazy mood before going to bed (aka most nights) it just takes a few quick wipes to remove my makeup.

St. Ives Apricot Gentle Scrub


I had never actually heard of this brand before, one of the women who worked at the store recommended it to me when I said I was looking for a new face wash. I think there were three different types. I chose the one for sensitive skin as my face can be a bit temperamental and doesn’t always react well to new things. It’s an exfoliator, so it’s got that sort of stony texture which I prefer in a face wash as it feels like your skin is getting a really deep clean. Again, I know it’s not important but this one smells very delicious and apricoty. Apply it to your wet face, give it a good scrub and then rinse it straight off. My skin feels really clean and smooth afterwards. It hasn’t irritated my skin like some face washes can do so this one is ticking lots of boxes for me.

L’oreal Extraordinary Oil Nourishing Oil Cream


After using a face wash my skin tends to feel a little dry so I always follow up with a moisturiser. I have already dedicated half a blog post to this little beaut. I absolutely love everything about it - the packaging, the smell, the texture. After I finished it last time I decided to stray for a bit and test some new face creams. I’ve just finished up a Lush face cream and I was planning on finding a new brand I’ve not tried before. Buuuut I walked past this and I just couldn’t resist buying it. It is so so good, it makes my skin feel really smooth and soft. The smoothness actually lasts a good few hours too, where with some face creams this feeling can disappear really quickly. I really cannot recommend it enough.

So that is  currently my spring skincare routine. A couple of brand new products to me as well as an old romance. My skin is already feeling and looking a lot healthier. I swear I am going to try my hardest to stick to these products instead of reaching for the face wipes. It’s usually laziness that stops me, but this makeup remover is so quick so it’s looking promising! What are your go to skincare products right now? Have you used any of these?


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