Monday, 31 December 2012

What I Wore: Dubai Christmas Party

I spent my Christmas in Dubai this year with my parents. It might not have been a traditional Christmas but it was lovely to get away from rainy England for a couple of weeks and Christmas day spent on the beach is a tradition that I'd definitely like to continue!

Our hotel held a party on Christmas Eve and this is what I wore:
Dress: Patricia Field @ M&S, Bag: Primark, Sandals: River Island


I've had this dress for a few years now but it's not one that I get a change to wear often. I like how its demure from the front but has the detail on the back. The shoes are also an old favourite - the party was outside so heels on grass was out of the question. The bag is this season - £4 from Primark!

I never usually wear my hair up but holidays are a good chance to experiment. This style was super easy - I backcombed my hair all over, pinned up the fringe separately, tied the rest into a loose side pony which I tucked under and secured with lots of pins.

It was nice not to have to take an umbrella, coat and cardigan out with me!

This is my last post of 2012! It's been a great year for my blog and I've loved being part of the "blogging community" - I had no idea when I started this back in 2009 how much fun and how many amazing people I would meet. I hope you all have an amazing time tonight celebrating the end of 2012! Love xxx 

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Sunday, 30 December 2012

December Empties

The last empties post of 2012! I managed to get through quite a few products this month but going away to a country with Sephora and spending time in two airports means that I now have even more products.



1. Soap and Glory Rich and Foamous Body Wash - this lasted forever! I love the design of the bottle and that it has a pump. The smell is gorgeous, too. Really sweet and warming - perfect for winter showers when you actually still want to be in bed.

2. Herbalife Herbal Aloe Strengthening Shampoo* - this was a great everyday shampoo, it lathered up well and left my hair feeling nice and soft. I probably won't be re-purchasing is its a little pricey - my usual approach to shampoo purchasing is just to get whatever is on offer in Boots.

3. Garnier Simply Essentials Cleansing Wipes and Eye Make-up Remover - these were on a 2 for £4 offer in Boots. The wipes were great for my gym bag or for removing heavier make-up before washing my face in the evening. I'm not a huge fan of cleansing wipes (it still sickens me a little that I used to only use wipes on my face before going to bed) but its always useful to have a pack around and these did the job. The eye make-up remover was pretty good, it was nice and gentle on my eyes but struggled to remove waterproof make-up as its oil-free.

4. 17 Shine Control Pressed Powder - I've lost count of how many of these powders I've got through. This one met its end by being dropped on the floor of the gym changing room but luckily I had two back ups already purchased!

5. Balance Me Pure Skin Facewash - this came free with Glamour magazine earlier in the year. At first I was put off by the strong herbal smell - I definitely like my skincare products to be fragrance free - but felt reassured that 98.8% of the ingredients are supposedly natural. This was a gym bag staple and left my skin feeling nice and clean after workouts.

6. Caudalie Vinoperfect Daycream - I really liked this day cream sample and wish it had lasted longer! The cream is quite thick but sinks in immediately and doesn't feel at all greasy. I love how this made my skin feel soft but didn't leave it shiner (I'm super paranoid about shiny skin) and contains SPF. Definitely one to add to my wishlist.

What products have you used up this month?
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Monday, 24 December 2012

Red Lipsticks

Red lipstick is one of my beauty staples and until I had a sort out of my make-up I was convinced that I only owned two. Clearly not:

Red lipstick line-up

Dark blue-toned reds most suit my skintone and while these lipsticks do look pretty similar they obviously aren't. I used to only wear red lips occasionally but these days its rare for me to use one of my other lipsticks - my lips are either bare or red.

Clockwise from far left:

Sephora R04 - this lipstick is quite sheer and easy to wear in the day time. It's not drying but does need reapplying quite often. I bought this in Spain and I think it was around £8. Why don't we have Sephora in England?

Florence + Fred (Tesco) Mistress - this bargain lipstick is amazing. Its really well pigmented, long-lasting and very moisturising. The shade of this one is slightly darker than the others, I think. I've been reaching for this one the most recently.

Revlon Revlon Red - the newest addition to my red lipstick collection. This is a classic red shade in a creamy formula. A good one to try if you are new to red lipstick as I imagine that the shade would suit everyone.

Clinique Red-y to Wear - my first and most well-used red lipstick. This one lasts so well and has a perfect matte finish without being drying. Definitely my signature red lipstick and one that I'll buy again and again.

Benefit Flirt Alert - a brighter red with a sheer finish that can easily be built up. I don't find this as long-lasting as I'd like it to be for the price but its a nice shade and one that I keep in my work handbag for quick touch-ups.


Just for fun

My red lipstick tips:
♥ Apply lipbalm ten minutes before and wipe off the excess so that the lipstick doesn't slide off.
♥ Apply one coat, cleaning up mistakes with a cotton bud dipped in make-up remover.
♥ Blot the lipstick and very lightly dust with face powder.
♥ Apply a second coat.

What is your favourite red lipstick? Are there any others that I need to try?
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Thursday, 20 December 2012

Wave Envy

December and beachy waves may not seem like the most obvious combination but thoughts of summer days and carefree summer style are a good distraction from the cold, grey winter.

I am not very skilled in the hair styling department - I'm lucky that I have naturally straight hair that seems to do what I want it to but I know I should experiment more and with the Christmas party season nearly here I couldn't wait to try the Babyliss Wave Envy styler.

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At first I thought it looked a little scary but it was actually very easy to use. The styler heats up very fast and has three heat settings to suit different hair types and textures. To create the waves you just clamp a piece of hair between the styler for 5 - 8 seconds and then move it down along the piece of hair.

It took me around ten minutes to do all my hair - much faster than using curling tongs and no risk of burnt fingers. The waver left my hair feeling volumised and bouncy and the waves lasted until I washed my hair even though I didn't use hairspray.

I created a beachy look for my first attempt - as I was going for a natural look I figured that it didn't matter if the sections of hair I waver were different sizes as I got to grips with using the styler. The smaller the section of hair, the more defined the wave comes out but with larger sections it gives a looser wave. With a bit more patience and practice I think the styler could also be used to create 1920s style uniform waves.

Have you tried a wave styler? This 3 barrel waver from Argos would make a great Christmas gift!

[Styler provided for my review. All opinions and beachy waves my own]

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Sunday, 16 December 2012

New Year's Eve - Bond Girl Style

I know we haven't had Christmas yet but new year always seems to come around so fast afterwards that its definitely not too soon to be thinking about your new year's eve party outfit.

I usually have a chilled out NYE with friends but in a fantasy world, I'd definitely bring in the new year with a bit of Bond girl glamour. Watching old Bond films is definitely a favourite Christmas activity of mine and a great source of inspiration for party looks.

And, as this is a fantasy world, I'd also have a fantasy budget for my party outfit...

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Floor length dresses are the ultimate in party glamour. I love anything red and this stunning red gown would be perfect. On a side note, I love how the Net-a-Porter website refers to this type of dress as a gown. I don't think I've even owned something in real life that could come close to being described as a gown. And yes, a gown is not the same thing as a dress.

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For the accessories, I picked the Alexander McQueen clutch bag for a fun touch (Bond is the ultimate British icon, after all, and a Bond girl really should be showing her support for British designers). Bond girls always wear amazing jewels and in a fantasy world, these teardrop earrings would be mine, as would be the gold multi-strand bracelet. For shoes, it had to be Louboutins - I love how the red sole matches the dress and how these would subtly peek out from under the hem.

What would you wear for a fantasy NYE party?


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Thursday, 13 December 2012

Day-to-Night

December not only brings Christmas but also, for those of us who work in an office, the office Christmas party. Like Christmas, the office Christmas party comes only once a year so its the perfect chance to make a good impression with your colleagues (and not to be the one to over indulge in the free alcohol/kiss your boss/photocopy your bottom).

In terms of what to wear, lugging around a complete outfit change is not very practical and you may want to save your bodycon/sequin/strapless/low cut dress for a party with your friends.

I thought I'd share some photos for a piece that I helped put together for a feature in my work magazine - it was really fun to have proper photos taken, if only I could have a photographer for all my outfit posts!

Day:

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Dress: Topshop; Jacket: Kaliko @ House of Fraser; Shoes: Nine West; Bag: Osprey

Night:

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Faux Fur Cape: Vintage; Necklace: Boots; Bag: French Connection; Shoes: Dune

The faux fur cape is one of my favourite bargain finds. I love how it really changes the outfit and only takes a few seconds to throw on. Red lipstick and a quick updo help complete the transformation and a statement necklace is probably the easiest change even if you don't have time between work and party to do anything else.

How do you change your look from day to night? And what are your tips for surviving the office party?
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Tuesday, 11 December 2012

My Ruby Slippers

Meet the newest addition to my shoe collection:

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My red shoes

Courtesy of The Colour Studio, these satin heels were dyed to my colour choice - I love red so a dark red shade seemed like an obvious choice and this pointed toe stiletto is simple enough to be worn to work with a plain outfit once they have been debuted at a Christmas party.

But before these shoes were mine, I got a chance to play around with dye and new white satin shoes at Dirty Martini with some fellow bloggers last Tuesday:

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My creations

Our first challenge was to mix a due according to a "recipe" and to try to colour match it to an unusual colour name. I learned that fandango is a bright pink, not green. Dying the shoes was easy to pick up but difficult to get them looking perfect! I started off with a plain shoe and, once I was feeling a little more confident, tried a toe-tone green and purple design. My proudest creation of the evening was the "Team Renault" blue and yellow shoe. By this point I was feeling brave enough to mix the dyes freehand and had ditched the plastic gloves so did end up with slightly green tinged hands for the next day.

My professionally dyed pair are perfect and it was great to see the entire range of shoe styles and options that there are for dying them - the possibilities are endless and these would be a perfect solution for matching shoes to a wedding or prom dress or just if you've always wanted shoes in a particular colour but can't find them anywhere.

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The shoe tree and undyed shoes
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The lace looks so pretty after being dyed

What colour shoes would you have picked?
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Sunday, 9 December 2012

Insta-updates: Christmas is coming

Christmas jumpers are now acceptable attire and I might be listening to Michael Buble's Christmas album as I type this. Maybe its a good thing that Christmas only comes once a year...

Photobucket 1. Veggie pizza in Vapiano

2. Quick OOTD - American Apparel top and skirt, vintage belt

3. Mini baubles in Paperchase

4. Spicey chicken don in Wasabi - too cold for sushi!

5. Revlon exhibition and the goodie bag

6. Coat and mittens

7. Winter Wonderland

8. Can Santa bring me this Rilakumma plush, please?

9. Dinner at The Diner

10. Christmas trees in Paternoster Square

11. Jammy dodger cheesecake

Are you feeling Christmassy?
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Saturday, 8 December 2012

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas...

Scented candles are one of my favourite homely indulgences. After living in student accommodation for four years where I was too scared to light one for fear of setting off the very sensitive fire alarm and causing 600 people to be evacuated, the first thing I did when I moved into my flat was to finally start working my way through the collection of scented candles I'd accumulated over the years.

The newest addition to my collection is the beautiful Voluspa Winter Cherry candle from Amara:

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My flat is decorated in a red theme so this co-ordinates perfectly and also nicely matches my Merry Christmas decoration!

The three wicks give the candle a lovely glow when it is burning. The winter cherry fragrance is really lovely - my whole flat smelled Christmassy for long after I'd stopped burning the candle and unlike some scented candles the smell isn't fake or overpowering. I'll use the tin for storing accessories once I've burnt the candle although this should last me a while!

Are you a scented candle fan?

[Candle sent to me for review, all views and love of scented candles my own]

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Sunday, 2 December 2012

November Empties

Another month, another batch of empty products. I love doing these posts as it means I can finally put the empties in the bin!

Photobucket 1. Skin Doctors Ingrow Go - Not the most glamorous of products but one that I have used for years. I've always waxed my legs which can lead to ingrown hairs but using this really helps stop them forming and if I do get one it clears up in a few days. This bottle lasted me over a year which makes it great value. Be warned - the product does not smell too nice due to its ingrow-battling ingredients so I'd recommend using it at night.
Repurchase: Definitely - this is one of my bathroom staples.

2. Elegant Touch Get 'Em Off Nail Polish Remover - I bought this when I started using false nails and getting gel manicures. Acetone is the only thing that will remove these. I pour this into a shallow dish and soak my nails for 15 minutes to remove the gel. It's not that much fun and incredibly drying but it beats paying £10 for a salon to remove them and is easily done in front of an episode of SATC (#bloggercliche).
Repurchase: Yes - it wasn't expensive and did the job.

3. Johnson's Eye Make-Up Remover - This is a two-phase oil based remover, it was around £3 on an offer so pretty reasonably priced. It did a good job at taking off my mascara and liquid eyeliner and didn't irritate my eyes. The only downside is that it did leave a slightly greasy after feel so it's not great for touch-ups or if you're re-doing make up before a night out.
Repurchase: Maybe.

4. Umi Palm Milk and Acacia Honey Bath Soak - I picked this up from the Waitrose bargain bin, it came with a scented candle which was a nice touch. I love relaxing in baths, especially when its so grey and cold outside and this left my skin feeling  nice and soft. No complaints!
Repurchase: No - I have a lot of bath products left to use up!

5. Marc Jacobs Dot Perfume - I love Marc Jacobs perfumes and this one didn't disappointed. I'm not very good at describing scents but this was is quite fruity without being overly girly and sickly. I think this a great year-round, day-to-night fragrance. I don't have a signature scent and like to try different perfumes - I'm glad that I tried a sample of this first although I probably would have bought it on the basis of the red polka dot packaging alone!
Repurchase: I already have the big bottle to work my way through.

6. Caudalie Vinoperfect Enzymatic Peel Mask - I've only just got in to using face masks. This one is designed to exfoliate and promote radiance. I have normal-oily skin and this was perfect for the skin on my t-zone, it left my skin feeling so soft and clean as well as helping to clear up any spots. I don't think this would be suitable for drier skins as the ingredients could be quite harsh but it'd be great for oilier skins that need a deep cleanse.
Repurchase: Yes - this tiny tube lasted for ages so the full-size doesn't seem too extortionate.

What products have you finished this month?

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Thursday, 29 November 2012

Santa Baby

I am struggling to get into the Christmas spirit, maybe it is too early (although I first saw mince pies in M&S in September) or maybe I just haven't been very organised so far but a Christmas gift guide seems like a good place to start. I've kept everything affordable (although Santa, if you want to buy me a Mulberry bag then that's ok) - these would be great gifts for friends or to put on your own Christmas list.

Lovely things to give or receive:

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1. I love Hannah's Cambridge Satchel - this Joy version is a similar style but more purse-friendly if you don't have the cash to splash out on the real deal.

2. Christmas jumpers are a winter essential! I love this H&M one - it'll be great for brightening up the dismal months of January and February, too.

3. Statement jewellery is always a great gift. I love this ring from Oliver Bonas - it's unique but still subtle enough to wear everyday. Oliver Bonas stores do a free gift wrapping service which is great if you're lazy busy like me.

4. Beauty products are always a Christmas stocking favourite. This Nuxe lipbalam is a cult favourite and perfect for the cold winter months..

5. This bunny necklace is adorable and really good value - perfect for a Secret Santa gift?

6. The Benefit set has some of their most popular products so its a great way to try them out or to buy as a gift without worrying about getting the exact shades right.

7. Proper tea is an everyday indulgence. I love Teapigs and this Christmas tea selection looks lovely. One for your mum or grandma if you're not a tea drinker?

8. This personalised bracelet would make a lovely gift for a friend or sister - there are so many options to make it unique to you.

What's on your Christmas list?
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Sunday, 25 November 2012

Winter Insta-Update

Another week, another Instagram post. The weather has been awful lately - hope everyone is keeping safe and warm. 

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1. Sushi at Itsu. It may be cold outside but I'm still craving sushi.

2. Salmon at Strada - I'd usually have a salad (or a pizza if I'm feeling naughty) but this was really good.

3. Breaking out the Christmas cardigan with my V&A gold collar and Primark dress.

4. The weather was nice enough for an outdoor run - I'd really missed running outdoors and couldn't stopping to take a picture of the sunlight on the Thames. Love my city.

5. Motel Rocks blogger event at Floripa. Definitely better than my usual Monday nights, cocktails false eyelashes and a photobooth all made for a fun evening.

6. My Christmas presents from Motel. A baby bunny night light and heart-shaped cookie cutters - cute!

7. The postman left my Graze box on the radiator and it ended up looking like this. Boo.

8. Cafe Caramella in Costa. Much nicer than the Christmas coffees.

9. Paloma cocktail in Benito's Hat. This was strong.

10. Dim Sum in Dim T. I hadn't had dim sum in ages and this was so good.

Other things I've been enjoying this week:

Laura's post on getting orgnanised for Christmas. I really need to start my Christmas shopping and plan my party outfits.

The Halio app. I can genuinely say that this app has changed my life.

My friend has started a blog and posted this profile of a fashion/beauty blogger. It made me laugh and is obviously all for a bit of fun and not meant to be taken too seriously.

Compiling a list of restaurants I need to go to: Chico Bandito, Giant Robot, Bubbledogs, East Street...which one to start with?

What have you been enjoying this week? 

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Friday, 23 November 2012

On The Lash: Cover Girl Lash Blast Volume

Regular readers will know that I am a bit very obsessed with mascara. I rarely buy the same one twice and always have a backlog of mascaras to use as I can't resit purchasing the latest offerings. On my trip to NYC during the summer, my first purchase (after a much-needed and barganitious Starbucks iced soy latte) was a Cover Girl Lash Blast mascara. After reading lots of praise about Lash Blast on US blogs I knew I had to try one. I settled for the volume type as I like a dramatic look and the white packaging took my fancy, especially with the Olympic rings! (Although now I feel a bit sad and nostalgic for the summer whenever I see them).

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The brush is of the rubber spoke sort which I personally prefer to bristle brushes. I thought that the brush looked quite a reasonable size in the packaging but next to my eye its actually pretty huge! The short bristles thankfully avoid it making a big mess around my eyes but the giant brush is quite hard to target the corner lashes with.

I love the effect this gives, volumised lashes as promised and it really helps hold the curl (I use eyelash curlers beforehand). Lash Blast is easy to build up the coats with and doesn't get clumpy easily. My only complain is that the brush bluntly ends - some little bristles on the end (a la Benefit's They're Real) would have been a nice touch and useful for tackling those little corner lashes.

Have you tried Lash Blast?


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Sunday, 18 November 2012

Damsel In A Dress

I am a big fan of dresses. Most of my work and casual clothing is in dress form so when I was asked to feature a dress from Damsel in a Dress I couldn't wait to add to my dress collection. I chose the Philippa dress:

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The dress came beautifully packaged; wrapped in pink tissue paper inside a box. It was so nice to get something that had been packaged with care, I hate how some online purchases come stuffed into a bag and arrive all scrunched up!

I chose a dress that would be suitable for work - this one is demure enough for the office but not stiff and corporate. I love the detailing - the stitching around the neckline and v-back are really nice touches. Wearing this made me feel very smart and grown-up - it'd be perfect for an interview or important meeting.

The dress is fantastic quality, its fully lined and the fabric hangs really nicely. The tweed fabric is really soft and it'll be great for winter.

There are some lovely evening dresses at Damsel which would be perfect for up-coming Christmas parties.

Are you a dress fan?
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Saturday, 17 November 2012

Marina and the Diamonds

On Thursday night I headed to Baroque for a performance by Marina and the Diamonds. Baroque is a new venue in Mayfair - very swish and definitely not my usual Thursday night hang-out!

After sipping on Hoxton Gin cocktails and nearly not finding my way out of the bathrooms as they were so dark, Marina performed six of her tracks. It was amazing being in such a small venue - Marina is even more stunning (and tiny!) in real life and her voice was so powerful live.

Marina wore a stunning purple dress by Hasan Hejazi, created especially for the evening. I want one, I'd also quite like her hair and her figure. I might just console myself by drawing a heart on my face with eyeliner.

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My Instagram pictures - Marina performing in the "Baroque Frock"



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Bunny Girls

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Love this shorter blue dress (and the nude shoes)










































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Friday, 16 November 2012

Insta-update: Lazy Days

The last week or so has seen life take a bit of a slower pace and I am definitely not complaining. While I love being on the go and constantly seeing/doing/trying new things, sometimes its nice not to do anything. I have a new found appreciation for doing nothing. And for Man v. Food, trashy magazines and sleep. Busy hectic life to resume shortly!

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1. Waitrose had reduced this Halloween cake to £4. My parents love a bargain as much as I do!

2. Quick and colourful OOTD. M&S skirt, Oasis top, Whistles cardigan.

3. Starbucks Praline Mocha. My first (and probably only) red cup of the season. It was very sweet but did make me feel slightly Christmassy! I'm off on a beach holiday in a few weeks so treats are being phased out for a while sadly!

4. Lunch at Vapiano. Margarita with lots of chili flakes. Simple and yummy. I love their payment system - everyone is given their own Oyster-style card which saves stress over splitting the bill.

5. First magazine purchase since July. I used to spend around £10 per week on magazines. I don't really feel that I miss them but couldn't resist the free nail polish, some habits are hard to break after all!

6. Getting acquainted with my Hello Kitty blanket and Food Network UK.

7. A new Itsu opened near me.

8. Itsu salad/sandwich. This was nice but I'm not 100% sure what the point of it is. Surely if you want a wrap you buy a wrap and if you want a salad you buy a salad? I'll be getting the sushi next time.

9. Hair before and after. I hadn't had my haircut since July so felt like a bit of a change. I tried a new salon, Concrete in Covent Garden on the recommendation of a friend. I'll definitely be going back, the prices are really reasonable for central London and my stylist really listened to what I wanted.

10. Coffee with my mum in Costa. Soya salted caramel latte - tried in the interests of fairness as I'd already had a Starbucks Christmas offering!

11. Sneaky McDonalds. I hate most fast food but have a secret love of McDonalds. When I was a child McDonalds was the ultimate treat so maybe it takes me back to more carefree times when I didn't know what a carb or calorie was!

How do you spend lazy days?
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Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Mish-Mash

Since starting work just over a year ago I've bought very few casual items. I think I now need to start working on my casual wardrobe as I'm seriouslly running out of things to wear on lazy days.

I picked up this jumper for only £7.99 in H&M. I'm not usually a fan of knitwear but this is really soft and not too bulky. I assume its meant to be a cropped jumper but on me its the perfect length!

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Jumper: H&M; Dress: Miss Selfridge

The Miss Selfridge dress is meant to be a party dress but did the trick under the jumper when I couldn't find anything else to wear. My wardrobe won't actually close so I don't think I really need to buy anything else...I must have some casual skirts somewhere!

The lipstick in these photos is a new favourite, it's surprisingly a Florence + Fred lipstick that was in the Tesco event goodie bag - I tried it on a whim and was so impressed. It lasts for ages and doesn't dry out my lips. Nice to find a budget buy that performs just as well as a high end lipstick.

What are your winter casual staples?
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Sunday, 11 November 2012

Polka Dot Dress

Spots v Stripes? I am definitely on the side of spots. I do occasionaly switch sides and dabble in stripes but spots will always be closer to my fashion heart.

I already own a few polka dot dresses but this one will be a prominent feature in my party season wardrobe:

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Dress: c/o Blue Inc

I love the tierred hem of this dress. I know this shape has been around for a while now but its a new addition for my dress collection. I'll be wearing this with heels and red lipstick for Christmas parties and then in the summer with sandals.

Blue Inc have quite a few women's dresses that have taken my fancy - looks like their collection is also on the side of Team Spots!

Do you favour spots or stripes?

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Thursday, 8 November 2012

Piggy Bank

My friend bought me this decorate-it-yourself piggy bank for my birthday. I decorated it (#stereotypicalblogger) and it got me thinking...

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Where does all my money go?

I thought my now I'd be wearing designer clothes and swinging a Mulberry bag from my arm rather than having £5 in my bank account the day before payday. I have a job and I'm a "proper adult" but I still haven't developed an adult's approach to spending.

Yes, there's rent, bills and the dreaded income tax but there also the not-so-necessaries. Going into Boots for some cotton wool and coming out £30 down (without even buying the cotton wool), impulse buys, sale "bargains" that I'll never actually wear, "bad day" purchases...I could go on.

So I'm not on a bit of a money-saving drive. I really want the satisfaction of treating myself to something nice and knowing that I haven't wasted money on rubbish that I don't need. One good purchase is worth way more than ten trips to H&M or Primark. I've done some little money-saving sums to inspire me.

Spending: Two Diet Cokes at work every day = £1.20 per day = £282 per year
Saving: See by Chloe Bag = £275 

Magazines: Elle and Glamour every month (plus a few others sneaked in here and there) = £10 per month = £120 per year
Saving = Alexander McQueen McQ Tartan Pouch = £120 
The good news? I have almost totally stopped buying magazines (aside from Glamour this month, shhh). The bad news? I am pretty addicted to Diet Coke so don't think I'll be giving up on that anytime soon but just thinking about how much the "little things" add up has really made me re-consider my spending. That said, I still need to live and don't really want to be sat at home in head-to-toe designer clothes eating beans on toast because that would be no fun. I guess its about finding the right balance between day-to-day spending and treat purchases. 

How do you motivate yourself to save? 


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Sunday, 4 November 2012

Insta-updates

I haven't done one of these posts for a while. Blogging has had to take a bit of a backseat lately as I've been really busy with work. Weekends really ought to be three days' long, yes? I do have a lot to post about - a couple of new dresses (what else?!) to show you, hopefully I'll have time to actually photograph them soon.

Here's what I've been doing:

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1. Vintage sunglasses from Brick Lane. Yes, it's winter and its currently pouring with rain but I couldn't resist.

2. Quick work OOTD: Primark dress - £13 bargain. I went to the new Primark near Tottenham Court Road yesterday and its amazing. I'm going through a bit of a Primark/H&M phase at the moment. I've come to realise how fickle I am with clothes and that "investment pieces" probably wouldn't be much of an investment in my case.

3. Jordan's Country Crisp cereal won in Laura's giveaway. This was good. So good that the box didn't last very long.

4. Pumpkins in Sainsburys'.

5. Lunch at My Old Dutch in Holborn. I had the Italian savory crepe, my friend had the mini dutch pancakes - yum!

6. Afternoon coffee and cake at The Tea Box in Richmond. Loved this little cafe, the tea timers were so cute and my pumpkin and chocolate scone was served warm.

7. Calzone in Ask. I had been craving pizza for weeks before this so it really hit the spot.

8. Penguin jumper at the Clothing at Tesco A/W event and my goodie bag. I love the kitten hat (although my mum thinks its a mouse, hmm.)

9. Eyelashes from the Tesco event. It felt like a bit of a shame to just go home afterwards but I was advised that it wouldn't be a good idea to sleep in these to try to save them for the next day. Oh.

10. My parents bought me a giant pumpkin to carve. I don't think he turned out looking very scary.

11. Mexican chicken burger in Weatherpoons. A girl needs carbs sometimes.

12. Party face. First time I've done my make-up properly for a while.

13. Diet Coke t-shirt - I started saving the Coke Zone points earlier this year and quite quickly made it to the necessary 300 to get this free t-shirt!

14. Street Art near Tottenham Court Road.

15. Coffee in Le Pain Quotidien.

What did you do to celebrate Halloween?

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Wednesday, 31 October 2012

October Empties

Another month, another pile of empty products...

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1. Simple Eye Make-Up Remover - I get through so much of this. See here and here. I've bought a new eye make-up remover to try out so it might end up in my empties next month for some variety!

2. No 7 Beautiful Skin Hot Cloth Cleanser - No 7's version of cleanse and polish has become one of my skincare staples. It's only £5 with a No 7 voucher and does a good job at removing my make-up without drying out my skin. I usually use a separate eye make-up remover unless I'm not wearing a lot of make-up or am feeling super lazy. I've already re-purchased this with the most recent No 7 voucher.

3. Aussie Take The Heat Conditioner - being an Aussie Angel I have a lot of Aussie products in my bathroom. The conditioner is my latest Aussie empty. Love the smell and it left my hair feeling super soft.

4. Kenzo Flower Perfume - I've loved this perfume for years but this is my first bottle of it. It's a really fresh floral fragrance - perfect for the summer months. The only bad thing about this is how fast it ran out, I think the glass of the bottle is really thick and it seems to spray out loads with each pump. Perfumes usually last me for ages so I was a bit disappointed with how fast this one disappeared!

5. Thierry Mulger Alienation Perfume - I bought this with a Glamour subscribers offer last year. I love the bottle and while almost everyone seems to use these perfumes I did really like this one. The bottle is refill-able in Selfridges so I may hang on to it in case I ever get round to getting a re-fill!

6. Juicy Courture Viva La Juicy - I got this little sample in my Fashion Night Out goodie bag. I really liked this, it wasn't as sickly sweet as I was expecting it to be.

7. Body Shop Big and Curvy Mascara - full review here. I can't say I was a huge fan of this one. It dried out really fast and had an awful chemically smell. It did make my lashes look dark and thick but it became very clumpy after only a month or so, not impressed!

What products did you use up this month?
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Sunday, 28 October 2012

Lady Grey

I bought this dress on a trip to France, put it in my overflowing wardrobe and forgot about it for a month. I am definitely a dress person, 80% of my wardrobe is dresses. I love how this one is winter appropriate and also perfect for day or night time. I get so little wear out of evening clothes so it's good to have things that work for both.

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Dress: Pimkie, Boots: M&S, Nails: Shellac Current

I have worn these M&S boots pretty much non-stop since buying them. They are so comfortable and make me feel taller which is always nice as I'm not tall. I was worried that the suede would get damaged easily but they have survived a wild night out (wild for me at least) and several October downpours. £35 well spent!

What shoes are you reaching for this autumn? 



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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Little Brooklyn Thriftstore

No, I'm not trying to pass off last season Primark as "vintage". That's not to say that a lot of vintage stores aren't but that's for another day. This dress really is from a Brooklyn thriftstore, the inimitable Beacon's Closet which is not quite so little.

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Dress: Rebecca Taylor via Beacon's Closet, Tights: Accessorize, Nails: Shellac Current

I picked up this dress for $25, not knowing at the time that Rebecca Taylor dresses are around $300 full price. Bargain! I just loved the crochet and hot pink lining. It was worth trying it on on a 35 degree summer's day.

I did vow to stop wearing coloured tights when I turned 25 but I just can't help it.

Wore this to a Sunday breakfast catch-up with friends (hence the terrible lighting in these photos - it was early!) and for a wander around East London.

What's your best vintage bargain?

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Sunday, 21 October 2012

The Boden Life

Confession time. One of my favourite things to read is not a fashion magazine or the latest bestseller but...the Boden catelogue! Yes, secretly I'm a middle aged woman.

I have not made many Boden purchases in the past but thought that this dress would be perfect for my winter working wardrobe. I love the skate style and the longer sleeves mean I won't free in my air conditioned office. Delivery was free and the dress turned up perfectly packaged. I was worried that this would be too long for me but fortunately Boden to a petite range so the length is perfect. While this is slightly more than I would usually spend on a dress the quality is great and the fabric is nice and heavy so the dress hangs really well:

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Dress: Boden; Belt: Primark; Nails: Shellac Current

I'm tempted to buy it in the other three colours it comes in...wait, did someone say middle-aged?!

Are you a fan of Boden or catelogue shopping?
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Wednesday, 17 October 2012

I Am My Hair

Once upon a time, this girl was adventurous with her hair. I coloured, cut and re-styled it every few months if not weeks. My hair was black, red, platinum blonde, orange (unintentionally) and two-tone way before anyone had even heard of ombre. I experimented with fringes, choppy layers, bobs and an unfortunate Tony and Guy mullet that made me certain I'd never be trusting them with my hair again.

But then something changed. I wanted long hair like everyone else, I was sick of it being in awful condition from all the dying so I grew it out, went back to my natural colour and finally had the long hair that I wanted in time for starting university. Fast forward five years and I realised that aside from a few small changes, I've had the same hair for well, five years.

Hair history in brief:

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1. 2006 - full fringe, short layers and dark brunette home dye job.

2. Summer 2008 - long, natural colour, curls. Loved how my hair looked that night.

3. Autumn 2008 - a brief flirtation with a fringe. My hair grows really fast so this was short lived but I liked the slight change from my normal hair.

4. Summer 2010 - messy waves and sun-kissed highlights.

5. Winter 2012 - fake fringe via eBay!

6. Now - my "everyday" hair. Natural texture, twisted and clipped off my face.

(The colour is my natural colour in photos 2 - 6, its just the different light that makes it look darker or redder in some of the photos)

Now I'm starting to feel a bit bored with my long hair. I get major hair envy when I see girls with cool, short haircuts or full fringes. I'm wanting a change and thinking that it's now or never...it's only hair, it'll grow, right? I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to do an "Emma Watson" and cut the lot off but maybe a 60s style bob or a fringe will relieve my hair boredom. Maybe its the changing seasons, turning 25 or the feeling of wanting a "fresh start" of sorts which a haircut can totally bring about. I wonder if Bruce Barton had haircuts in mind when he said "when you are through changing, you are through". Probably not.

Do you have a signature style or are you adventurous with your hair? 




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Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Recent Happenings: Impulse Buys and East London

I feel like its been a while since I've done an Instagram post. Dark evenings and busy days at work mean less photo-taking opportunities but I made the most of the nice weather last weekend to get out and about:

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1. Salted Caramel Cheesecake at Cape Town Fish Market. One of my friends has just got a Tastecard so can't say no to dessert when its 50% off!

2. Anna Dello Russo for H&M purchases for Hannah and I.Love the boxes!

3. My charm bracelet.

4. Weekend outfit: AdR bracelet, American Apparel Top and vintage skirt.

5. Starbucks Soy Salted Caramel Mocha. This was so amazingly good. If you haven't already tried one then do (if you like coffee/chocolate/caramel, of course).

6. Tuna Nicoise salad in Tuttons (another Tastecard bargain) before seeing Singin' in the Rain.

7. Pret Soya Mocha while waiting for the train to Cambridge.

8. Getting my winter coat out. This one is from Dorothy Perkins last winter. Still love it!

9. My Shellac manicure three weeks on.

10. Starbucks breakfast: fruit bread and a soy cappuccino.

11. Love this squirrel graffiti in East London.

12. Yummy lunch of falafels at Brick Lane's Sunday Up Market.

Are you a coffee fan? From my update pots it probably looks like I drink gallons of it but I actually only have it at the weekends! How have you been spending your autumn days?

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Sunday, 14 October 2012

Singin' in the Rain

One of the best things about living in London is the theatre. Although as a Londoner I don't go nearly as often as I should do so when I was offered a pair of tickets to see Singin' in the Rain at the Palace Theatre I jumped at the chance to go.

The show was amazing. For a few hours my friend and I were transported out of London and to 1920s Hollywood for a tale of singing, dancing and - you've guessed it - rain! I did wonder how the famous "Singin' in the Rain" scene would translate to the stage and it did not disappoint, seeing the stage transform into a thunderstorm was pretty special - be warned if you are sitting in the front few rows for this show as you may get a little wet. Luckily our seats were in the Dress Circle so we avoided the inclement weather but still had a great view.

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Outside the Palace Theatre - coat: Dorothy Perkins (last season)

The costumes were amazing too, I love 1920s fashion and the attention to detail was brilliant. I'd definitely recommend the show for a fun, feelgood night out.

Are you a fan of the theatre? What was the last show you saw?

[My tickets were provided courtesy of Superbreak. All opinions my own, as always!]
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Thursday, 11 October 2012

bareMinerals: Flawless Definition Mascara

Yes, another mascara review! I'm gradually working my way through the products in my Beauty in the Spotlight goodie bag, even though that event was a few months ago now. I finally got round to trying the bareMinerals mascara:

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Also wearing: Bourjois Healthy Mix Concealer, Mac Rubenesque Paintpot and Louise Grey for Topshop Eyeliner

I really like the ethos behind bareMinerals and this mascara lives up to that by being paraben free and containing antioxidants and lash conditioning ingredients. The brush is the plastic comb type which personally I like - I find they give me more control and less chance of blobbing mascara on my face than traditional bristle brushes.

I really like how this mascara defines each and every lash. The brush allows you to catch those tiny corner lashes which I find makes my eyes look bigger and brighter. I also liked how my lashes were left feeling soft and fluttery - the mascara applies quite lightly but even after a good few coats my lashes didn't feel overloaded or clumped together. The finished look isn't quite as dramatic as I would usually go for but if you are after clean, defined lashes with no clumps then this mascara is ideal. I'll definitely be keeping this in my everyday make-up bag although it is hard to wean myself off full-on lashes!

bareMinerals Flawless Definition mascara is available here for £16. I guess that's mid-range for a mascara these days. I'm pretty sure in my head make-up prices are still what they were when I was 15 - if only!

Have you tried this mascara?


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Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Perfect Winter Dress

Skater-style dresses are becoming a bit of an addiction for me. They are so easy to wear and I love anything with a nipped in waist. I was so happy to find this Whistles dress reduced from £119 to £45 in the John Lewis sale a few months ago. I knew I would love the style and that the thicker fabric and three-quarter sleeves would be perfect for colder weather. That'll be now, then!

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Dress: Whistles; Necklace: Vintage; Nails: Shellac Current

I wore this to work with black tights and my Dune monochrome heels but I think it'd work just as well dressed down with boots and a big scarf at the weekend.

How are you winterizing your wardrobe?
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Monday, 8 October 2012

Winter Wishlist

As the days get shorter and colder there is only one thing on my mind: I need new clothes. But, actually, I don't. I already have plenty of winter items but as exciting as re-discovering forgotten purchases is, that alone is not enough to get me through the next few months.

So, instead of buying entire outfits, I'll be focusing on updating what I do have. A lot of my skirts and dresses are pieces I wear all year round so by layering up with leggings and jumpers I'll be able to update them for the new season without spending too much. 

Accessories are a great way to keep things interesting - I've always wanted a pair of earmuffs and these mittens are far cuter than regular gloves!

Winter does seem like a time when people wear even more black and grey than usual. This year I've really fallen in love with colour and when the skies are grey its never more needed. Here are my colourful and cosy picks for winter:

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Geometric Leggings - ASOS; Mittens - H&M;  Ziz-Zag Jumper - Joy; Black and Khaki Leggings - Topshop; Green Jumper - Joy; Pink Cashmere Jumper - H&M; Ear Muffs - ASOS

What's on your winter wishlist? 
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Friday, 5 October 2012

Recent Happenings: Marc Jacobs and Coffee

How are we in October already? I have now resigned myself to winter being on its way. On the plus side, its nearly Halloween and I love Halloween a lot so its not all bad. Here's what I've been doing lately:
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1. Wearing my FNO Marc Jacobs tshirt with a vintage skirt and pendant.

2. Modelling my new yellow bag that I won in Sarah's birthday giveaway.

3. Breakfast in Starbucks - buttermilk pancakes with berry compote and a soya cappuccino.

4. Marc Jacobs Dot - a duty free birthday present from my parents.

5. Spa giftset from the Chancery Court Spa - thank you Aussie for a lovely day!

6. Aussie 3 Minute Miracle in the post.

7. Goodies from the Spa day - love the slippers and the new Shine  range.

8. Standard Sundays now that its cold outside - Starbucks and a blog catch-up.

Do you have a Sunday routine? And what's your favourite Starbucks order?
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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Sepetember Empties

Another month, another collection of empty bottles. It feels so satisfying to finish things up and only re-purchase the products that I really love. Hopefully in a few months I'll have the equivalent of a capsule wardrobe of beauty products consisting of things that I know work rather than my bathroom resembling a small branch of Boots!
  PhotobucketPhotobucket Photobucket 1. Thierry Mulger Alienation shower gel - this came with a bottle of Alienation perfume that I purchased last year. It smelled nice but, as I expected, wasn't an amazing shower gel.
Repurchase: No - I like to change around my perfumes.

2. Caudalie Vinosource Serum - this came with a GlossyBox that I was sent a few months ago. I loved this product, it stops my skin feeling tight and dry without feeling heavy or greasy. I use this every morning and evening straight after washing my face so that it sinks right in to my skin.
 Repurchase: Already have - I bought the full size in France last month, pricey but well worth it.

3. Rimmel Hide the Blemish concealer - I've been using the product on and off since I was first recommended it by Sugar magazine over a decade ago. This one has lasted around 3 years - pretty impressive for such an affordable product. Definitely a budget make-up bag staple.
Repurchase: I've now "graduated" to Bourjois Healthy Mix concealer which I love but I'd still recommend this for a basic concealer.

4. Witch Skin-Clearing Pressed Powder - I didn't actually finish this product, it just decided to crumble and die on me one day despite keeping it at home so as to avoid this happening. This was a decent pressed powder - the shade was perfect for my skintone and it kept shine at bay.
Repurchase: No due to the compact not having a mirror so not one for taking out in the day for touch-ups, 17's Pressed Powder is still my favourite.

5. Ren Invisible Pores Detox Mask - I've recently got back into face masks after not really using them since the age of 15 when peel-off masks were all the rage. I loved this Ren mask, it made my skin feel soft and shine-free without drying it out and definitely helped keep my skin clear during the hotter weather (a now distant memory).
Repurchase: Maybe - I still have a few sample facemasks to work my way through first and do want to try Origin's clay mask at some point.

6. Soap & Glory - Thick & Fast Mascara - this one came with Elle magazine earlier in the year. Full review here. I wasn't overly impressed with this mascara, I'm not a fan of huge brushes and found that it got thick and clumpy really quickly.
Repurchase: No, there are too many new mascaras that I want to try.

7. 17 Photo Finish Mascara - full review here. I liked the idea of this containing blue pigments for an eye brightening effect but I'm not sure if it made any difference in real life! The brush was nice on this one but the effect was a little too subtle for my liking and it required a lot of coats to get the look I wanted.
Repurchase: No, but I do usually like 17 mascaras.

8. Champneys Watermint Body Scrub - this minty scrub was really refreshing and during the summer I loved the smell and tingly feel it left on my skin. The scrub is quite a gentle one, I usually prefer more gritty scrubs but it did the job and lasted quite a while.
Repurchase: For next summer or a holiday, yes.

9. Aussie Miracle Moist Shampoo - this big bottle has been a regular fixture in my shower for a long time! I love the scent of this and how it left my hair feeling super soft and but clean and not weighed down.
Repurchase: Once I've worked through the rest of my Aussie hair products!

10. Superdrug Tea Tree Shine Control Papers - I was curious to try these as an alternative to powder to keep shine at bay during the day. These worked well to remove oil from my skin and left behind a trace of powder which meant that I used less make-up during the day.
Repurchase: Yes.

11. Simple Eye Make-up Remover - I go through so much of this! See August and July empties for more details.
Repurchase: Definitely!

What products have you used up this month?
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Monday, 1 October 2012

Introducing...#AussieShineMonday

It's not in the shops yet but Aussie has given its Angels a sneak peek at its new range...SHINE.

As today is officially #AussieShineMonday, I'm here to give you a little heads up on the new range, complete with some shiny new photos:


The new range comprises a shampoo, conditioner and 3 Minute Miracle.

The products all contain Australian Ginseng extract and Pearl powder and, like all Aussie products, they smell amazing - this range has a "Cotton Candy" fragrance, yum!

Will you be trying the new range?

(Boring bit - these products were provided by Aussie but all views are my own, as always)



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