July Favourites

I don’t know about you but July has really dragged for me, it seems like ages ago I was compiling my June favourites.  That’s fine with me though, the further away winter is the better.

So, without further ado, here are my monthly loves for July.  Don’t forget to leave me your own recommendations in the comments below!

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Sedona Lace Makeup Brushes
Top-Bottom: EB15 Pointed Crease; 904 Pencil Brush; 217 Synthetic Small Round Dome; 305 Eye Shading Brush; EB09 Universal Blender.

Firstly, some makeup brushes.  Sedona Lace is an American brand, but their prices are very reasonable even when converted, and they often offer discounts and/or free worldwide shipping.  These brushes were around £7 each, and are fantastic quality for the price.  I particularly like the pointed crease brush, it’s nice and soft, and blends without scratching the heck out of my eyelids. The brushes above are:  EB15 Pointed Crease; 904 Pencil Brush; 217 Synthetic Small Round Dome; 305 Eye Shading Brush; EB09 Universal Blender.

 

 

Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster

Next up, the Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster.  I reviewed this in more detail here so I won’t waffle on for too long now, but let’s just say I’m still loving it for a way to gradually tan my mush.  Another Clarins skincare product I’ve been enjoying for the past few weeks is the Extra-Comfort Toning Lotion.  I love using this each evening to remove the last traces of cleanser; the soothing aloe vera ensures it doesn’t sting like some toners can.  Although not the cheapest, it is a large bottle, and I can see it lasting a good few months.

 

Clarins Extra-Comfort Toning Lotion

 

Bourjois Color Boost

The Bourjois ColorBoost Lip Crayon in On The Beach (with SPF 15) was actually a free gift included with some other Bourjois purchases.  It isn’t a colour that I would normally choose, but I recently gave it another go because I was going to my daughter’s sports day and I couldn’t find a lip balm that contained an SPF.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that with a tan I could – just about – pull off this bright peachy colour.  I have actually purchased another shade, in a more appropriate nude colour, because I love how easily it goes on.  I didn’t find that it lasted 10 hours, but these crayons are super moisturising and just the right side of glossy, without being even remotely sticky.

 

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess

 

Finally, the gorgeous Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Eau Fraiche Skinscent. This is a limited edition perfume that is re-released every spring/summer with a different bottle.  It smells like coconuts and beaches, and I just love spritzing it from head to toe – and back again.  I have tried, and owned, many many perfumes since I was a teenager, and this wins joint first place with my other long term love; a D&G perfume that my husband surprised me with a couple of years ago.  It is really a summer scent, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to give it up come autumn.

 

Thanks for reading, and see you next month!

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A Luxurious Deep Clean – Clarisonic Mia 2

There are some purchases in life that are impulse buys: see it, want it, buy it. Then there are others that, for whatever reason, require a little bit of research first.  For me, the Clarisonic Mia 2 falls into the latter category.  I spent approximately 98 years researching it before I went ahead and dropped a ridiculously large amount of money on my very own sonic cleansing brush. I did manage to use a discount code, so didn’t pay full price.  But still.

 

Clarisonic Mia 2

The Clarisonic brushes are designed  to deep clean the skin so well that fine lines and pores are less visible, and  all products will be absorbed even better.  There are a variety of brush heads, for all types of skin, from oily to sensitive, and even a ‘Cashmere Cleanse’ brush head for mature skin.

I have the sensitive head on mine, and it feels very soft and the bristles are flexible.  My main concern, other than the eye-watering price, was that it would be too severe for my (sometimes sensitive) skin.  I have never had any sort of negative reaction, although I wouldn’t recommend using the liquid cleanser that Clarisonic provides – it’s just nasty.

Although the Clarisonic brushes are not technically exfoliators, the Mia 2 leaves my skin clean, soft and glowing.  It isn’t a chore to use either – and this comes from someone who wishes that their skin was self-cleaning – I would actually describe it as pleasant to use.  It’s quite relaxing, like a mini facial massage.  To use, simply wet the brush and face, then put the cleanser on the brush (any sort of foaming/ creamy cleanser will do), or directly on to the face.  Turn it on (duh), and then using circular motions, gently rub the brush over the forehead for 20 seconds;  then chin and nose for another 20 seconds; then each cheek for 10 seconds at a time.  The Mia 2 has a timer, so will buzz when each time period is up, so no counting is involved. It is -apparently- gentle enough to use twice a day, and is -definitely- waterproof, so can be used in the shower.

I mainly use mine on the evenings when I have worn a full face of makeup (removing eye makeup first), because I feel confident that it will deeply clean.  The proof is in the pudding (err, I mean cotton wool pad); when I follow up with toner, the cotton wool comes away clean, without a trace of foundation on it.

 

How do you get a deep clean?  Do you think expensive gadgets are necessary, or just a waste of money?

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My Top Three: Eyeshadow Palettes

I have been thinking about writing an eyeshadow palette collection post for a while now, but I haven’t quite been able to pull my finger out and actually get started.  The issue is, I just have far too many palettes to mention.  I wouldn’t describe it as an addiction exactly, but it’s just that I need all the palettes.

So, with great difficulty,  I thought instead I would choose my current top three instead.

 

eyeshadow palettes

Makeup Academy Eyeshadow Palette – Spring Break – £4

Apart from the fact that this little palette is a real so-and-so to open, I love it; it is a lovely mix of mostly muted colours.  Of the 12, there is only one matte brown, and the rest are shimmery shades.  There is a deep plummy purple, complemented by neutrals and pinks, and the mint green is a gorgeous pop of colour.  For the price, this is a great addition to any makeup collection, and it is slim enough to fit in a bag for touch-ups throughout the day (if you are so inclined).

Makeup Academy Spring Break Eyeshadow Palette
Makeup Academy Spring Break Eyeshadow Palette

 

Makeup Revolution Affirmation Palette
Makeup Revolution Affirmation Palette

Makeup Revolution Affirmation Eyeshadow Palette – £8

This super affordable 32 shade palette is in my top three for the range of colours, 12 of which are mattes, and 20 of which are shimmers.  There is a good mix of golds, browns and purples with charcoal and rose pink thrown in for good measure.  This is one palette that can be used to create a whole look, without fiddling around elsewhere for a transition or crease shade.

 

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette
Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Eyeshadow Palette -£39

This palette will always hold a special place in my heart, because it was my first Too Faced purchase, and it started my love for the brand.  Admittedly, this is a creepy loitering in the bushes kind of love, but it’s love all the same.  The colours in this particular palette are a mix of golden shimmers, and neutrals complemented by pinks and plum shades.  The colour payoff is superb, and to top it all off, it smells like chocolate.  It can be used for a complete eye look, including two brow bone highlighting shades (one matte, one shimmer).  It is less affordable than my other two choices, but I think it is worth it.

There they are, my three favourite, and most used eyeshadow palettes.  Except, I just have to give an honourable mention to the Urban Decay Electric Pressed Pigment Palette £38. I can’t really include this in my top picks, because the colours are not what I would describe as easy to wear.  I have used it; I love wearing the pink and purple shades together, and I have used the silver all over the lid on top of a less vibrant purple.  It is just so gorgeous though, the colours are mind-blowingly pigmented, with a soft blendable texture.

 

Urban Decay Electric Palette (2)     Urban Decay Electric Palette

 

 

Do you have a favourite palette?  What do you love about it? Let me know below; I am always on the look out for new eyeshadow palettes!

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A Tool to Make Washing Brushes Less of a Chore? Yes Please!

 

Hands up if you hate washing your makeup brushes… I realise you can’t see me, but my hand is waving madly in the air.  I really dislike doing it, and the thought of it actually makes me a little cross.  Ridiculous? Probably, yes.  Anyway, while browsing Amazon looking for something completely unrelated, this intriguing little gizmo popped up in my recommended items. This tool has made washing my make-up brushes easier, and slightly  less painful.

 

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The BrushEgg

It is a little rubber sleeve that fits over two fingers, and it can be used to aid the cleaning of brushes.  The process couldn’t be simpler; just pop some soap/brush cleaner/baby shampoo on the end of the brushes (or directly on the BrushEgg) and rub it over the little grooves on the flat side of the rubber egg-shaped tool.  It creates a lovely lather, and all the grime and makeup can be washed away never to be seen again.  There were no instructions included (I like instructions, they are my friend), but according to the item details on Amazon, the technique is to create lather with the little nubbins (that is the technical term, in case you are wondering) on the end, and then use the grooves to agitate the bristles and give them a good clean.

 

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Using it is a little awkward; it is a pretty tight on two fingers, but too spacious for just one.  I was doing a mass clean when I used it, so it did get a bit uncomfortable towards the end of the process.  It definitely made cleaning my brushes easier and quicker though, as opposed to rubbing each brush on the palm of my hand, as I usually would.   There doesn’t seem to be any damage to the bristles, although it is quite soon to say for sure if regular use will be too harsh. The best thing about this tiny tool though? The price: find it for between £1 and £5 online.  This one cost me £1.40 from Amazon. It really is a good egg (yeah, I went there).

 

Have you ever tried anything like this? Do you use any other useful tools for the dreaded task of brush washing?

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Affordable Foundation For Dry Skin

Although I don’t choose to wear foundation every day, there are times when I just want to look a little bit more flawless (ha, I wish), or maybe I need my base to last a little bit longer than usual.  There are two foundations that I use for this, depending on how dewy I want to look.

 

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On cooler days, when I won’t have a natural ‘glow’ anyway, I like to use the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundation (around £10). This foundation is a lovely hydrating light-medium coverage foundation.  It blends well, and is buildable to a point.  The application is a dream, because the consistency is more like a BB cream, or tinted moisturiser.  There is quite a strong perfume smell to it, however, which may irritate some sensitive skins.  The finish is lovely and dewy – or disgusting and dewy, depending on how you feel about a shiny face – so I usually give the Pixi Glow Mist a miss (I learned this the hard way).  It lasts a good few hours, more with a setting spray, and doesn’t settle in lines any more than any other foundation I have tried.  The bottle is plastic, and has a pump top that dispenses a good amount of product first time.

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If I am looking for a less glowy look, then the Maybelline Fit Me is my go-to foundation.  The bottle is glass (not ideal for travel) and has a pump, which always seems more hygienic than an open top (or worse, a jar).  Again, I would describe it as light coverage, so I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone that prefers higher coverage.  Although not as hydrating as the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation, I don’t find that the Maybelline Fit Me settles on my dry patches, and doesn’t leave me with cake face.

Maybelline Fit Me
Top – Bottom: Maybelline Fit Me Foundation in 115; Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundation in 52 Vanilla

The lasting power is fairly good, and for the price (around £8) it really is an excellent foundation.  There seems to be a good selection of colours; I have 115 which is a bit more pink than it looks in the bottle, and of course Maybelline offer the complimentary concealer (one of my favourites, incidentally) and powder.

 

What about you, lovely readers, do you like a high end foundation? Or do you like a more affordable brand?

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Skincare Shopping – With a Little Review Attached

Of all things beauty, I think I get the most pleasure from buying and trying new skincare products.  Wait, no, I love makeup more.  Actually skincare is my favourite.  Ok, the truth is, I just like buying and trying new things, whether it be cleansers, eyeshadows (I have a weakness for palettes), blushers or highlighters… I love it all.

I do think, however, that the more effort (and sometimes money, sadly) you put into skincare products the better.  Simply because, if you get that right then the better the base will be for all the glorious makeup products.

 

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Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Cleanser

I talked about my morning routine (here) recently, where I listed the three main products that I use in the morning.  I haven’t written a nightly routine post yet, because it is so changeable, and it would be more like a 5,000 word essay.  I have, however, been looking for a new makeup remover/cleanser that will properly take all my makeup off from the day.  So, I picked up two on a quick shopping trip this week; Sanctuary Spa Fresh-Faced Purifying Wash, and Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Cleanser.  I like that the Nip+Fab cleanser is an exfoliating cleanser (it contains 2% Glycolic Acid), but am a little worried that it will be too harsh for my skin (I haven’t tried it yet).  I can report that the Sanctuary Spa cleanser is really lovely though.  It smells very nice (I am big on smells) and seems very gentle.  My skin is dry, so can feel tight after cleansing, but this doesn’t leave my skin feeling stripped of moisture.  I actually – dare I say it – prefer it over the Philosophy cleanser that the world and her sister loves.

 

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L-R Sanctuary Spa Youth Boosting Facial night Concentrate; Fresh-Faced Purifying Wash; Illuminating Moisture Lotion

 

I also picked up a few other little minis from the Sanctuary Spa range; the Youth Boosting Facial Night Concentrate, and the Illuminating Moisture Lotion.  I definitely don’t need a new day cream, or a night cream for that matter, but I’m a sucker for the word illuminating, and the night cream is apparently going to make me look like a teenager again.  I’ll report back when I have had a chance to try them out.  The Illuminating Moisture Cream has SPF 15, useful for days when I don’t need or want a full on sun screen.

 

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L-R Lush Let the Good Times Roll; Eau Roma Water

 

I popped into Lush too – the smell draws me in every time – where I purchased Let the Good Times Roll.   I have used this before, so I know I love it.  It’s got popcorn in it! Popcorn! That’s not the only reason I have repurchased this squidgy cleanser (it feels a bit like gritty Play Doh), it also does lovely things for my skin, gently cleansing and exfoliating, while leaving me glowing and soft.  The Eau Roma Water  can be used on cotton wool as a toner, but I have been using it as a facial spritz after cleansing in the morning.  It is a refreshing, boost of hydration, that is gentle on even sensitive skin.  My only complaint with the Eau Roma Water is that the spray is less of a mist, and more of a squirt in the face.  I don’t know if I got a dud, but the spray is quite violent.  It does do an excellent job of waking me up in the morning though.

 

Have you you tried any of these skincare lovelies, what do you think of them?

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A Solution for Fine Haired Beauties

 

I really dread to think how much I have spent on shampoos, conditioners, deep conditioners and the like over the years.  I know that I am relatively lucky with my hair – it could be a lot worse I’m sure – but it still frustrates me that I have to blow dry it for it to look its best.   Although I have enough hair for myself and one or two others, the actual hairs are very fine, and I am prone to flyaways.  I also find I can’t go more than two days without washing, because it just gets too greasy, being so fine. I also suffer from frizz from the ears down (is that weird?), then the top of my hair will be completely flat and lifeless, when I try and skip the heat styling stage. When I was despairing with it recently, because of the fineness, and because I was losing hair following my latest pregnancy, I went a little crazy and bought about 12 sets of shampoos and conditioners. Ridiculous, I know, but I just needed to find a solution for the frustration that was my mane (dramatic, moi?). Suffice to say I have struggled to find products that help with both the fine and frizzy texture.

 

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L-R Weightless Moisture Leave-In Conditioning Mist; Weightless Moisture Dry Oil; Weightless Moisture Shampoo; Weightless Moisture Conditioner

Then, a few weeks ago I was watching one of my favourite YouTube channels, CoffeeBreakwithDani And Dani mentioned that she had been sent some shampoo and conditioner to try.  She then went on to basically describe my own hair, when talking about her hair type. The only difference between us is that – by her own admission – she doesn’t have a huge amount of hair. So, when she raved about the Macadamia Professional Weightless Moisture range (here is the actual video), I immediately searched online and purchased the Weightless Moisture Travel Kit. It contains shampoo and conditioner, in addition to a leave-in conditioner, and a dry oil.  At a cost of £27.45, this seemed a slightly more affordable way of trying all four, and the smaller sized bottles meant that I was more likely to use them up even if I didn’t love them (How I wish all brands would make small sizes to try!)

The Macadamia Professional products are divided up by hair texture, rather than greasy, dry etc. The Weightless Moisture range is for baby fine hair; then there is Nourishing Moisture, for medium to coarse hair; and finally, the Ultra Rich moisture for very coarse to coiled hair. They also offer a whole host of styling products, and sets for specific needs.  The Weightless Moisture range is specifically for ‘hair that is often thin, limp and lifeless, in need of body and lift’.  These products are also Paraben Free, Sulphate Free and Cruelty Free (a big plus for me).

 

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I have been using the shampoo and conditioner every time I wash, for around three weeks now, and I have been really pleased with the results. My hair definitely feels like it has more texture, and is much less flyaway and static. Whereas previously I haven’t been able to air dry my hair without regretting it after, I can now get away with a quick blast with the hair dryer, and that is it. I have more volume at the roots, because the conditioner doesn’t weigh the hair down, the flip side is that my hair is not as soft as with other shampoo and conditioner combinations. I have found that the way round this is to spray the ends (while damp) with the leave-in conditioner. This gives the ends a little bit of help, without making the roots greasy. This isn’t how it is designed to be used (it’s either one conditioner or the other) but it works for me. I can’t say I’m crazy about the smell, but I will put up with it for the sake of more manageable hair. I also haven’t had much success with the dry oil mist, which is supposed to leave hair shiny.  I didn’t really find that it made much difference, to be honest.

Unfortunately, the relatively high price of the shampoo (£18.90 for 300ml) and conditioner (£19.40 for 300ml) may mean that I can’t purchase them again (I already spend more on beauty products than is acceptable), so I am being very careful not to use more than I need to. Other than that though, I definitely would recommend both the shampoo and conditioner, and the leave in conditioner.

So, tell me, what shampoo and conditioner does it for you?  Have you tried any products from the Macadamia Professional range?

 

Please note: This post is NOT sponsored, Macadamia Professional have no idea who I am (neither does Dani BTW).

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Review: Soap & Glory

I shared with you recently my first impressions of a couple of new moisturisers.  I thought I would share a more detailed review, now that I have a feel for them.

 

L-R Speed Plump, For Daily Youth
L-R Speed Plump, For Daily Youth

 

Speed Plump:   Soap & Glory claim that this moisturiser will actually smooth out lines and wrinkles.  I wish that this were the case, but I guess that is a bit too much to ask for a £13 product.  However, this is a really nice moisturiser, that creates a soft, glowing base for makeup.   It smells great, is light (despite being formulated for dry skin) and it is very pleasing to apply. The name suggests it will leave skin plumped and hydrated, and that is exactly what it does, in my opinion. It somehow keeps my afternoon oily forehead under control, while also hydrating my dry bits all day long.  Speed Plump is one of the nicer day creams I have used in my time, and I may well repurchase it when I have finished this tube. I have been slightly afraid of parabens for a long time, so the fact that this cream is a paraben-free zone makes me very happy.  All in all a great find.

 

For Daily Youth:  I have been using this as a night cream, because the Lush serum bar that I had been using had a little accident.  Alright, if you must know, I left it on the windowsill and it melted.  Now, usually I like a nice rich night cream – which For Daily Youth is not – so I wasn’t sure if it would be too light.  However, I have found it to be just right for the summer, particularly after my post workout shower, when I don’t like to feel too hot and slimy (it takes me a good hour to cool down properly, even after showering.  Nice). It also smells like peaches and cream, which makes applying it a joy. For Daily Youth contains lots of hard working ingredients, and apparently ‘features our exclusive SUPERLUMINOUS™ BIOPEPTIDE COMPLEX ‘, along with ‘HIGHDRATION™ 365’ which quite frankly sound made up, but I would say that it softens and hydrates, so I am happy.

 

Have you ever tried and Soap & Glory skincare?  What is your favourite daily moisturiser, or night cream?

 

 

 

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I am in Love – Again

A little while ago I talked about my love for the Laura Geller Baked Gelato Swirl Blush.  I was also slightly (an understatement of epic proportions) disappointed that I couldn’t get hold of the Baked Gelato Swirl Illuminator in Gilded Honey.  I looked everywhere for it; only finding it on the QVC UK website where, next to the picture, were those words we all dread: Out Of Stock.  I added myself to the waiting list, never expecting it to come back in stock.  Well, imagine my excitement when I received an email last week to say it was on its way!

Anyway, long story short.  Here she is:

 

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This illuminator is just as wondrous as I knew it would be. Just like the blusher, it is creamy and oh so pigmented.  It is also, admittedly, very gold, but what’s the point if your highlighter doesn’t blind innocent bystanders as you sashay down the street (or through the school gates in my case)

Here is a swatch:

 

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And a close up:

 

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If I could spread the golden loveliness all over my face, I would.  Maybe I could start a new trend.  Forget Strobing, I will call it…. Golding.

 

What is your favourite highlighter, have you tried the Baked Gelato Swirl Illuminator?

 

 

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Oh, You Smoothie – #1

Over the years our kitchen has been home to many a gadget.  A blender; smoothie maker; ice cream maker; yogurt maker; popcorn popper; doughnut machine and a pop cake maker to name a few.  To begin with, while the excitement levels are high, I have enthusiastically made sauces, smoothies, yogurt, popcorn, doughnuts, and more doughnuts with said gadgets.  (I have never made ice cream though, weirdly; the amount of cream required makes my arteries hurt just thinking about it).  The latest gadget that caught my eye was the NutriBullet.  This baby isn’t a smoothie maker; it’s a Nutrition Extractor.  Sounds serious doesn’t it?  Well, all I know is that it has never been easier to get fruit and vegetables into my little ones.  There is something about blending healthy food all together into a thick drink that makes it all the more appealing to children.

 

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After playing around and extracting the nutrition from several kilos of fruit, I decided to refer to the recipe book that comes with the NutriBullet.  My favourite this week is an anti-ageing Blast (the NutriBullet name for a smoothie), it’s called Fountain of Youth for goodness’ sake! It is green, but that just makes it seem healthier, in my opinion.  It is packed with wonderful nutrition: Spinach for skin health; Walnuts and Avocado both contain lots of the antioxidant Vitamin E, which is great for the skin; Blueberries, which contain more antioxidants, and are good for the heart and circulatory system; Nectarines, again, contain Vitamin E, and also Vitamin C.  Not to mention the fact that this smoothie is yummy.  The avocados make it creamy, so it actually tastes rich and not bitter in any way.

 

Recipe taken from ‘NutriBullet Natural Healing Foods’:

50% (of NutriBullet cup) spinach

1/2 an avocado

1 medium nectarine

1/2 cup blueberries

10 walnut halves

water – to thin it out.  (I actually used this Alpro Coconut Drink instead of water)

 

Disclaimer: This post is NOT sponsored in any way.  Of course this could be made in a blender or similar, not necessarily a NutiBullet.  I also want to point out here that I am not a qualified nutritionist (!).  This, like my beauty obsession, is just a hobby/interest of mine, so please don’t start a new diet regime based on anything I say.  I just wanted to share something that has made me happy the last couple of weeks.

 

Thanks for reading!!

 

 

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