New Year, New Me, With A Little Help From TK Maxx

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A lot of people aren't too fond of January, and I can understand why. All the festive sparkle of Christmas is over, yet we still have to deal with the long, cold dreary days and even longer dark, dreary nights. But I must confess, I kind of like this time of year. It's a time for new beginnings, for looking back at the achievements of the past twelve months and setting goals for the twelve to come. And I'm pretty much addicted to setting goals! I get a real buzz from that "New Year, New Me" feeling, and this year is definitely no exception - especially as I've had a little help from TK Maxx.

For me, the New Year is all about re-evaluating where I'm headed with my blog, and having started my YouTube channel at the end of 2017, I could not be feeling more motivated. I really want to grow on both platforms this year, and that means buckling down, getting focused, and creating as much inspiring and exciting content as I possibly can. With that in mind, I popped into my local TK Maxx the other day and picked up one or two little treats that should help to make my work space a much more appealing place to be. After all, a beautiful, well-organised desk is bound to foster more productivity than a messy one, no?!

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I have an obsession with notebooks, and get through them at the speed of light. Whether I'm making lists, planning blog posts or working out my strategy for world domination, my favourite tools for the task are always a cute notebook and pen. I managed to pick up a gorgeous notebook*, complete with inspiring quote on the front cover, for just £4.99, which is a fabulous price - you'd be looking at three times that in a fancy stationery shop - as well as a pack of super pretty gold pens* for £7.99.

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This pack of desk essentials* really caught my eye. Containing a couple of smaller notebooks - you can never have too many! - plus some pretty stickers to brighten up their pages, handy little clips and more, it's packed full of useful bits and pieces and was a real bargain at £6.99. Likewise, this desk tidy* (£4.99) is sure to come in handy to keep my desk free from clutter and is really decorative too.

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The finishing touches were a couple of scented candles* to help create an inviting atmosphere to work in, and a faux succulent planter* to make my desk look pretty. I opted for a pink grapefruit scented candle to help me feel energised, as well as a lilac and wild jasmine one, which I chose because I love floral fragrances. They set me back a very reasonable £6.99 and £7.99 respectively, while the faux succulents were £6.99.

In total, I spent just under £50, and think I did very well for the money! I was spoilt for choice too, and if you fancy picking up some similar items, I'm sure you'll find something you like if you have a browse at TK Maxx's stationery, candles and faux flowers.

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Of course, not everyone's New Year goals are the same, but no matter what direction yours take, I'm still willing to bet that TK Maxx will have something you need to help them along. Lots of people love to set fitness related goals, and if that's you, you'll find a huge range of active wear to choose from. If you've decided that 2018 is the year you get into meditation and mindfulness, you'll find yoga mats, adult colouring books and of course scented candles. And if you just fancy pepping up your wardrobe, makeup drawer or living room... well, I don't think you need me to tell you that TK Maxx has a vast array of fashion, beauty and homeware, now do you? 

When January comes around, a lot of us are still feeling the pinch a little after all the Christmas spending, and the fact that TK Maxx offer great quality and big brand products at up to 60% off the RRP is another great reason to shop there. There's also no need to rush to catch the end of the January sales, as they simply don't do them. Instead, they offer amazing prices all year round - in store and online.

Have you set any goals for the New Year?

Kate x

*Gifted item. This post was sponsored by TK Maxx. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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Brand Focus - Rosie For Autograph

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Brand Focus - Rosie For Autograph - 1

Happy New Year! I'm a little late getting back to the blog this year, but I do have a new video up on my YouTube channel if you fancy checking it out. Producing regular content for both platforms is something I'm going to have to get used to, particularly as I already feel like I ought to be posting more on my blog as it is. Not quite sure how I'm going to work that one out, but we'll have to see how it goes!

For my first post of 2018, I thought I would do a mini brand focus on a brand that's very close to my heart - Rosie For Autograph. Anyone who's been reading my blog for a while will know that Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is a bit of a girl crush of mine, and that I'm a huge fan of her products. From the silky pyjamas to the luxurious lingerie to the beautifully packaged makeup range - I love it all. I have briefly reviewed one or two things on here before, but I thought it was about time I wrote a whole post dedicated to the brand! This is in no way sponsored - just me writing about a brand I love.

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About The Brand


A collaboration between British high street institution Marks & Spencer and the model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Rosie For Autograph has been going since 2012. It started as a lingerie line and over the years has expanded to include sleepwear, lounge wear, active wear and a makeup range. It's available in Marks & Spencer stores and online, although international shipping is somewhat limited, from what I can see.

Aesthetic


Like Rosie herself, everything about the brand is incredibly feminine, but in a sophisticated rather than girly way. The lingerie sets are made from silk and French lace, cashmere features heavily in the lounge wear pieces and the makeup is housed in very Instagram-worthy rose gold packaging. In my opinion, it's some of the best that Marks & Spencer has to offer, and I wouldn't dream of visiting the store without checking out the latest offerings. I'm a little bit obsessed, I must admit!

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Price Point 


This might not be the cheapest brand in the world, but it's not prohibitively expensive either. A typical lingerie set will set you back about £40, with a pair of pyjamas costing around the same price or a little less. The pure cashmere range is more expensive (£199 for a pure cashmere full length dressing gown, for example), but I love the fact that they also offer cashmere mix pieces at a more affordable price point, making it an accessible luxury for everyone.

The makeup is a little bit cheaper than what you would pay in Mac, with a lipstick costing around £14 and a foundation around £20. Rosie's signature perfume comes in at £28 for 75 ml. I find the quality to be excellent across the whole brand and overall, I think that the prices are very reasonable considering what you are getting for your money.

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Lingerie, Nightwear And Lounge Wear


My first introduction to Rosie For Autograph was through the lingerie sets, which I fell in love with due to their winning combination of being attractive yet practical to wear under clothing. While that doesn't sound particularly ground-breaking, I often find that underwear tends to fall into one of two categories. Either it will sit nicely under your outfit and give you a decent silhouette, in which case it tends to be boring and frumpy looking, or it's for display purposes only (if you catch my drift, nudge nudge, wink wink.) With Rosie for Autograph lingerie, you get gorgeous, smooth silky fabrics in rich colours or delicate prints, with cleverly placed lace trims, so it actually functions as underwear, but you never feel as though you are compromising on style. I've had quite a few sets over the years and have always found them to be very wearable under almost anything.

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It's a similar story with the nightwear. A few years ago, I used to struggle to find anything that wasn't covered in cartoon characters (I'm not 14), made of flanneling (I'm not 92) or... well, for display purposes only. Nowadays, I think that more brands have cottoned on to the fact that there's a call for a more sophisticated option, but Rosie For Autograph was one of the first - at least as far as I'm aware - to offer it. It's still one of my favourite places to buy nightwear to this day. My latest  is this beautiful silky pyjama set, although I must admit I would also love to add some of the cashmere lounge wear to my collection.

Beauty


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It's taken me a while to get around to trying any of the beauty products - goodness knows why. The most recent addition to my collection is the perfume, which I am completely obsessed with - I am sitting at my desk spritzing more and more of it over myself as I write this! It's made with the oil of handpicked French roses, which makes me feel like a princess just thinking about it, and rose is at the heart of the fragrance itself. It's floral, romantic and very feminine, has a freshness to it on first application and eventually wears away to a warm sandalwood, vanilla and musk base. It really is beautiful and I love the heavy glass, vintage style bottle almost as much as the perfume itself.

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I have also been seriously impressed with both the eyeshadow sticks and the lipstick which I purchased last year. The shades of the eyeshadows (I have Almond Eyes - the pale gold colour - and Movie Star Crush) are just stunning, and the formulas contain just the right amount of sparkle. The lipstick (Lady Rose) is the perfect pinky nude for me and I'm a huge fan of the creamy, pigmented finish and smooth application. Plus, the magnetic closure on the tube is a really nice touch. I'm wearing it in the photos below, together with the Almond Eyes eyeshadow stick.

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Shop My Favourites



There's something about the Rosie For Autograph brand that really appeals to me, and no doubt you will be seeing more of it from me in the future! Is anyone else a fan?

Kate x 

Some links may be affiliate links. This poses no extra cost to you, the customer. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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How To Make The Most Of Your Christmas Gift Cards In The January Sales

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The big day is almost upon us! By now, most likely, your thoughts are turning away from what you're going to buy for everyone to all the festivities of Christmas itself. Spending time with family, chilling out over some good food and wine, and of course enjoying the reactions of your nearest and dearest as they open your carefully chosen gifts. You may even be starting to feel the teeniest bit excited about opening your own gifts. (I totally am, I can't lie.)

Chances are, amid the eyeshadow palettes, perfumes and pyjama sets, you might find you've been given a gift card or two. I personally love gift cards. For one thing, you can always rely on them when you need to buy a last minute present. In fact, many retailers, like Jack Wills, offer gift vouchers online which can be emailed straight to you - it's pretty much instant and totally effortless on your part! I also love to receive them. It's like being given the gift of shopping, which, let's face it, is my favourite thing. And with the January sales just around the corner, Christmas is the perfect time to find yourself in possession of a gift card.

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The January sales seem to start earlier every year, with most of the big stores offering reductions and discounts from Boxing Day. It's no secret that I'm not the greatest sales shopper, but as I mentioned in my Black Friday post, this is something I am trying to change. When you love clothes as much as I do and there are so many good deals to be had, it would be silly not to, no? Especially if I end up with a gift card burning a hole in my pocket! So, with all this in mind, I've given the subject some thought, and I've come up with a few ideas of what to buy and what not to buy in the January sales. Hopefully this will help you to make the most of your gift cards - or your money! - if you're planning any sales shopping yourself.

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How To Make The Most Of The January Sales

1. Buy pricey staple items, like winter coats. We can't get through the cooler months without them, yet the cost of a good one can be pretty steep. The sales are the perfect time to save yourself some cash on this essential purchase. Or perhaps a pair of really good winter boots.

2. Buy basics, like jeans, roll necks, t-shirts, classic knits, etc. They're the building blocks of so many outfits and the kind of thing you always need more of. Why not stock up while prices are discounted? Again, somewhere like Jack Wills is ideal for this, as their high quality and classic styles mean you'll get lots of wear for your money.

3. Buy that pretty dress/blouse/pair of shoes you've been lusting after for months but couldn't quite justify at full price. If it's gone into the sale, it will be like Christmas all over again!

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4. Buy a fun, trend led piece you're curious to try out. If you're not sure it's going to work for you but you fancy giving it a go anyway, waiting for the sale means you'll waste less money if it ends up not working out.

5. Don't buy something that's the wrong size, colour, style etc, just because it's in the sale. It's tempting to snap up that discounted dress you've set your heart on, even if your size isn't available. But believe me, unless you can successfully alter it, it's not worth it. (Been there!)

6. Don't buy ANYTHING just because it's in the sale. Discounts are great, but they're not a good reason to buy something you don't love or need. It's more economical to buy something you really want at full price than something in the sale you're half-hearted about.

Well, that's it from me for now. I hope you have an amazing Christmas, and happy sales shopping!
Kate x

This post was in collaboration with Jack Wills. Some links may be affiliate links. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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Girly Christmas Gifts From New Look

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It doesn't seem to matter how old I get - I will always be a sucker for anything pink or sparkly. Recently, New Look were kind enough to let me have a gift card to spend on a couple of items from their very extensive Christmas Gift Guide section, and I was spoilt for choice with all the gorgeous, girly gems they have on offer. I've always been a fan of New Look's clothing - it's bang on trend and super affordable - but I didn't realise how much more there is to choose from. From sleepwear, shoes and handbags to makeup and homeware, it's got all your bases covered when it comes to  buying gifts for the girls this Christmas. (They also have a pretty fabulous selection for guys and teens too, but I was focused on women's gifts for the purposes of this post!)

The Christmas Jumper

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The first item I went for was this gorgeous cropped pink chenille jumper*. You can't have too many jumpers in the winter months, and I think any girl would love to receive one as a Christmas present. This one is incredibly soft and warm, goes beautifully with high waisted jeans or mini skirts, and is available in a selection of different colours. I can't believe I was dubious about the return of chenille fabric - this is the cosiest jumper I own and I want to wear it every day at the moment!

The Metallic Lip Kit

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I was really curious to try some New Look makeup, as I haven't tried any before. As the metallic lip trend is something I've long been wanting to experiment with, I couldn't resist this nude metallic lip kit*, which includes a lip liner pencil and liquid lipstick. The silver packaging is lovely, making this a pleasure to open, which is always nice when you're buying a gift!
 
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The two products work beautifully together. I used the liner all over my lips as a base and then applied the liquid lipstick over the top. I love the colour and the metallic finish, and I'm definitely going to be featuring the look for evenings out this festive season. I'm also very impressed with the staying power - I've tested this through a full Sunday dinner and couple of glasses of Prosecco and it fared very well, only needing the tiniest touch up of the liquid lipstick afterwards. I don't currently have any other metallic lip kits to compare this to, but I honestly think that any makeup lover who's into the trend will love this. I certainly do!

The Mermaid Makeup Brushes


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I definitely didn't need any more makeup brushes, but just look at these! This spiral handle brush set* is so pretty it just had to go into my basket as my third and final choice. Not only are the handles incredibly photogenic, but they're also a real pleasure to hold. The brushes themselves are very soft, and I particularly like the largest one for dusting on bronzer. These would make a great gift for anyone who wants some pretty looking brushes on their dressing table, not to mention any blogger friends who just can't get enough beautiful flatlay props!

There was so much else I could have chosen. Scented candles, pretty monogrammed mugs, super cute fluffy hot water bottles... New Look really do have a great selection of girly gifts and stocking fillers, and at great prices too. Take a look here if you fancy a browse!

Have you bought any Christmas gifts from New Look this year? 

Kate x

*Gifted item. This post was sponsored by New Look. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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How To Blitz Your Last Minute Christmas Shopping At TK Maxx - In 20 Minutes

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Despite all my best efforts to stay organised, every year I seem to end up with some last minute Christmas shopping to do. Whether it's a work emergency that scuppers my plans to hit the stores, or an unexpected visit from friends or family that leaves me with extra people to buy for, there's always something! I'm sure a lot of you can relate. When I'm in that situation, the last thing I want to do is rush from shop to shop, scrambling for decent gifts amid rapidly dwindling stock. Luckily, there's no need, because you can blitz your entire last minute Christmas shopping list in TK Maxx - in just 20 minutes. (No really, you can. I've just done it!)

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What's great about TK Maxx - apart from the up to 60% of RRP savings you can make on big name brands - is the fact that they continue receiving multiple new deliveries every week right the way up to Christmas Eve, so no matter how literally you take this last minute shopping thing, you're sure to find something you love. And with stock ranging from clothing, accessories and shoes to beauty, homeware and gadgets, you can pick up everything you're looking for from under one roof.

My Top Tips To Blitz Your Christmas Shopping List In 20 Minutes


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Want to wrap up those last minute purchases in your local TK Maxx in record time? Here's how to do it!

1. Make A List, But Keep It General - I recommend having some idea of what you're aiming to buy before you head into store, otherwise there's a very real danger of getting lost in there for hours as there is so much to look at! That said, I also find it's a good idea not to be too specific when it comes to composing that list. Stock comes and goes pretty quickly, and you're never quite sure what you're going to find from one visit to the next. One of the joys of TK Maxx is stumbling upon an unexpected gem, so embrace that, and keep your mind open to finding something fabulous that you weren't particularly looking for, but that your intended recipient will love.

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2. Think In Departments - Once you have that basic list, do yourself a favour, and organise it into departments - beauty, women's accessories, menswear, tech, etc. TK Maxx stores are split up into sections like this, enabling you to focus on one category at a time.

3. Work Your Way From Front To Back - Unless you only have one or two things to pick up, the best way to tackle the store is methodically from start to finish, to make sure you don't miss any of the departments. Grab yourself a trolley, and do one thorough lap of the store, ticking off each department as you go. 

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4. Find Your Size - If your gift shopping includes clothing or footwear, it helps to remember that TK Maxx lays everything out in sizes. Let's say you're looking for a new jumper for the man in your life. Head for menswear, then knitwear, and then find the section that contains his size. In a store with such a huge amount of choice, this really helps to narrow down your search.

This is how I tackled my own Christmas shopping when I popped into one of my local branches the other day, and it worked a treat! I spent about 20 minutes in store, and finished up with a very nice selection of gifts. Even better, I managed to finish off my last minute Christmas shopping and pick up six gifts for just £100. With value for money like that, you could be forgiven for popping back in for a little something for yourself, don't you think?

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OK, let's not get carried away...

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I'll confess, I thought the faux fur scarf was such a lovely gift that I ended up getting one for myself too. Well, at just £12.99, it would have been rude not to, don't you think? It's beautifully soft and lovely quality too - no one would guess it cost so little! I also picked up a pair of fabulous boots that will make the perfect present for a friend of mine. Any fashion lover would be thrilled to receive these.

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I didn't forget about the boys either. I found a nice cosy beanie, a selection of toiletries, a game, and finally, a gorgeous navy jumper, which was worth £88, but which I was able to snap up for a more than reasonable £24.99 thanks to TK Maxx's fantastic savings.

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Not bad for 20 minutes' work, don't you think?! And, even if my trip into store hadn't been so successful, I could have fallen back on the TK Maxx website. With both a click-and-collect and next-day delivery service available, you can get those last few gifts bought online too.

Are you a last minute Christmas shopper, or do you have it all wrapped up and under the tree before December even hits? I would love to know!

Kate x

This post was sponsored by TK Maxx. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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Current Favourites & Hello YouTube!

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Well, I don't think I've been this excited, or nervous, about publishing a blog post since my very first one back in 2014. Ever since then, it's been my intention to start a YouTube channel, but for various reasons, I've found that to be easier said than done, which is something I talked about earlier this year in my 5 Ways I Want To Improve As A Blogger post. One thing I didn't mention in that post, was that when I made my new year's resolutions back in January, one of my goals was to get at least one video live on YouTube before 2017 ended. I'm cutting it fine, but I've achieved it, and I couldn't be more thrilled!

As you might expect for a first video, it's not particularly polished. Some of the transitions are pretty awkward, there are no slick cutaways, I fidget quite a lot and I say 'um...' about fifty thousand times, but everyone has to start somewhere, right?!

You can find the video by clicking this link, or you check out my YouTube channel, but if you prefer, you can just watch right here.


If you're interested in any of the items I talked about in the video, you can take a closer look at them here.

Beatitude Pillow Spray*



Ren & Now To Sleep Pillow Spray*



Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Mascara*



River Island Pyjamas



Zara Jumper



Primark Boots



And that's it for today! If you're a Youtuber, I would love it if you left a link to your channel in the comments below, as I'm looking forward to connecting with people over there.

Kate x

*Gifted item. Some links may be affiliate links. This poses no extra cost to you, the customer. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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Christian Breton BB Cream Review - The Perfect Base For "No Makeup" Makeup

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Christian Breton BB Cream Review - The Perfect Base For "No Makeup" Makeup - 1

I was a huge fan of BB creams when I first discovered them a few years ago. The idea of a product that offers you a foundation-like base but is also packed with skincare benefits is definitely an appealing concept, and there was a time when Garnier's version was a staple in my skincare routine. After a while, though, I veered away from them, mostly because I tend to need more staying power from my makeup than a BB cream can give me. But, that said, there are always times when "no makeup" makeup is required. On those occasions, a BB cream makes an ideal base, so I was thrilled to receive Christian Breton BB Cream* a few weeks ago for review.

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Christian Breton is not a brand I'm familiar with, but suffice it to say that after my experience with the BB cream, I will be checking out some of their other offerings. Long story short, this product is fab!

The BB cream is available in just two shades, natural and light. I went for light, which is perhaps ever so slightly too pale for my skin tone but works well enough once blended in. The packaging is sleek and simple, with a nice fine nozzle for dispensing product, and a 30 ml tube will set you back £27. Not cheap, admittedly, but worth it for the quality if you are a wearer of BB creams.

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Part of Christian Breton's Age Priority range, the BB cream contains pomegranate extract, which is an effective anti-oxidant as well as helping to illuminate the skin. Other ingredients include hyaluronic acid, well known for its plumping and hydrating qualities, and allantoin, which helps to regenerate skin tissue. 

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Although the product looks thick and creamy on dispensing it from the tube, it melts into the skin on application and really feels as though you are wearing no base at all. Christian Breton recommend applying it with your fingertips, but I prefer to use my Real Techniques Stippling Brush, as I find this gives a more perfected finish. I like to apply it in three thin layers to build up a decent amount of coverage - that's what I have on in the photo below - but it's versatile, and you can keep it as sheer as you want. Either way, the results are very natural and give you a radiant base that evens out your skin tone without settling into fine lines. The perfect start for a "no makeup" makeup look!

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Wear time is never going to be as good with a BB cream as it is with a true foundation, and I'd say I probably get around four hours out of this before it disappears. However, for days when I'm working from home and want to give my skin a break, it's perfect.

Are you a fan of BB Creams, and have you tried anything from Christian Breton?

Kate x

*Gifted item. Some links may be affiliate links. This poses no extra cost to you, the customer. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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