How to Smell Like a Snow Queen - Beautiful Perfumes to Wear This Winter

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Winter Perfume 1

Taking the seasons into account when it comes to perfume is something of a new thing for me. I've always had a fondness for floral fragrances, and in the past I've tended to wear my favourite scents all year round. Lately, though, I've been branching out and trying different things, and I've noticed myself reaching for the perfumes in my collection that have more warmth and depth to them now that the weather is colder. I thought I would share those with you, as well as mention a couple of others I don't happen to own right now but think are perfect for this time of year.

Winter Perfume 2 - Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium

Black Opium - Yves Saint Laurent

Before I owned this fragrance, I lusted after it for the longest time, gazing at it longingly every time I popped into Boots and dropping countless hints to my husband/mum/sister/whoever happened to be with me at the time about upcoming birthdays, etc. I wound up being given both the original and the eau de toilette last Christmas, and then for good measure received the Nuit Blanche version at a press day a few months later. All three are gorgeous, but if I had to single one out as the most "wintry", I'd go for the original. A heady mix of black coffee, white florals and vanilla, it's a strong, sexy and highly addictive fragrance.

Winter Perfume 3 - Michael Buble By Invitation

By Invitation - Michael Buble

Christmas without Michael Buble is like the tree without fairy lights. Well, maybe not, but this gorgeous fragrance definitely lends itself beautifully to the winter months. With sparkling red fruit top notes and a warm base of amber and vanilla praline, this is definitely going to be my go-to scent for Christmas parties this year. I wrote a detailed review of it here in case you'd like to know more.

Winter Perfume 4 - Jo Malone Mimosa and Cardamom

Mimosa and Cardamom  - Jo Malone

Ah, Jo Malone - the queen of fragrance. I love everything she does. Mimosa and Cardamom surprised me - I thought it was going to be strong and spicy, but instead it's quite delicate. This is definitely an all year rounder - light and fresh enough to wear through the summer, but with a beautiful creamy depth that seems to work perfectly in the colder months as well. While we're on the subject of Jo Malone, there's another two perfumes from the brand that I don't currently own but think are perfect for winter. One is Amber and Lavender -  musky, opulent and exotic - and the other is Pomegranate Noir, which is possibly the most sophisticated sweet fragrance I have ever come across, laced with the faintest hint of spice.

Winter Perfume 5 - Miller Harris Vetiver Insolent

Vetiver Insolent  - Miller Harris

The strongest and most distinctive perfume I own, winter is a great time for this to come into its own. Again, I reviewed it here if you're interested in checking it out in more detail, but essentially this is an earthy, spicy combination of bergamot, amber, vetiver and tonka bean. If you like your perfumes to be a talking point and/or totally unique, this is one for you.


Winter Perfume 6

Do you change up your perfumes according to the seasons? And which ones are you loving right now?

Kate x
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Christmas Gift Guide - The Beauty Lover's Edit

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Well, hello! It's been a while. How is everyone? I've been so busy with work over the last couple of weeks that I haven't had time for my blog - definitely not the way I like things! But I'm back today, and seeing that it's now just over a month till Christmas (gulp!) I thought I'd throw a little gift guide your way.

I'm not sure how many of these I'm going to get around to doing this year, so I'm going to get a beauty list under my belt straight away. Can't go wrong with beauty, right?! This post has not been sponsored in any way - I've just had a nose around the festive offerings of some of my favourite makeup and beauty brands and collected a few ideas to show you. Let's start with the makeup, shall we?!
Christmas Gift Guide - The Beauty Lover's Edit 1

1. Urban Decay Full Spectrum Eyeshadow Palette - I spotted this at the launch party of the new Urban Decay flagship store in Carnaby Street the other week, and I couldn't take my eyes off it. It's so beautiful, like a rainbow! While it might not be as useful as the Naked Palettes, if you're a lover of brights this would make a wonderful gift. Urban Decay shadows are well known for their outstanding quality, and this palette contains 21 shades - more than any other UD palette, apparently. I'm particularly drawn to the mauve and burgundy shades.

2. Make Up Forever Artistic Smoky Eye Set - I'm a big fan of Make Up Forever's Excessive Lash mascara. It's fabulous for both length and volume, and fans out the lashes beautifully. This set gives you a mini tube of it, together with two mini Aqua XL eye pencils for £14. As one full size eye pencil retails for £15, I'd say this makes a great value gift.

3. Charlotte Tilbury Mini Lipstick Charms - For £29, you can get this adorable set of Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution travel size lipsticks in the shades Red Carpet Red, Very Victoria and Amazing Grace. As if that wasn't enough, each lipstick has a little bow on the lid so you can tie it to the Christmas tree. Sounds like my kind of ornament!

4. theBalm Balm Appetit Palette -  I love my Nude 'Tude palette from theBalm and have been really impressed with its quality. The shades in this Balm Appetit palette look so pretty, and they're versatile too. There's a selection of mattes, shimmers and foils and they can be used wet or dry.

5. Mac Nutcracker Sweet Peach Face Palette - My next three picks are all from the Mac Nutcracker Sweet collection. It's fair to say I'm a little bit obsessed. How gorgeous is this face palette? It contains an Extra Dimension blush in At Dusk - a warm rose shade - and a stunning Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Tutu - a pearlescent pink-peach. 

6. Mac Nutcracker Sweet Red Lipstick Kit - Mac lipsticks are always a winner, and the special edition packaging of these is just so cute. This kit comes with four minis, and in my opinion there's not a dud shade among them. The four on offer are Lady Danger, Diva, Rebel and Mac Red.

7. Mac Nutcracker Sweet Warm Eye Compact - I know, another eyeshadow palette. But this one really is a thing of beauty. Featuring nine eyeshadows in warm caramel shades, it literally looks good enough to eat and, I think, would be universally flattering. To be honest, the smoky palette from the same range is also stunning, but there was something about the warmth of this one that drew me in a little bit more.

Christmas Gift Guide - The Beauty Lover's Edit 2

1. Lush Christmas Bathtime Favourites - My favourite products from Lush are definitely the bath bombs, bubble bars and melts, so a box packed full of them makes the ideal Christmas present in my opinion! This one boasts some real gems, including Butterbear, Golden Wonder, Mistletoe, Northern Lights and lots more.

2. The Body Shop Spa Of The World Luxurious Body Collection - The Body Shop's Spa of the World range feels deliciously indulgent to use, and this gorgeous box would make the perfect gift for anyone who loves a good pamper night. It contains Japanese Camellia Cream (one of my favourites - light and velvety on the skin with a beautiful, subtle fragrance), French Lavender Massage Oil, Egyptian Milk and Honey Bath Milk and African Ximenia Scrub. I would have a hard job handing this over if I bought it as a gift for someone!

3. Caudalie Mix And Mask Trio - Face masks are an essential part of any pamper night, and this Caudalie set has everything you need for a nice little multi-masking session. There's a natural clay detoxing mask, a glycolic peel to brighten and a moisturising mask too.

4. Zoeva Rose Golden Luxury Brush Set - Wouldn't this be lovely to open on Christmas morning? I don't own any Zoeva brushes, but always admire them whenever I see them online. Every brush in this set looks really useful, and they're so pretty too! I love the addition of the handy and oh so attractive rose gold bag.

5. The Best Of L'Occitane Gift Set - Consistently one of my favourite brands, this gift box from L'Occitane contains a selection of their best selling products, including the Shea Butter Hand Cream, Almond Milk Concentrate and Cherry Blossom Shower Gel. A lovely present for any L'Occitane fan or the perfect introduction for a beauty lover who might not be familiar with the brand.

So there we have it - my first Christmas Gift Guide of 2016! Anything here you might ask Santa for?

Kate x
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Caudalie Resveratrol Lift Face Lifting Soft Cream

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Caudalie Resveratrol Lift Face Lifting Soft Cream Review 1

Caudalie is one of those brands I seem to constantly hear good things about, but have never got around to trying for myself, so I was excited to get the chance to test one of their new launches, the Resveratrol Lift Face Lifting Soft Cream*, a few weeks back. It's a moisturiser which forms part of the Resveratrol Lift firming, anti-wrinkle range.

Designed as a light day cream, the product contains nourishing grape seed oil, plumping hyaluronic acid and firming resveratrol. Caudalie claims that it will firm the skin, smooth lines and wrinkles, and nourish and soothe to give a more youthful appearance.

Caudalie Resveratrol Lift Face Lifting Soft Cream Review 2

The packaging is very pretty, from the shiny, light pink box with its etched floral design to the glass jar with silver lid that contains the product itself. There's even a little spatula to use to avoid getting germs from your fingers into the jar.

There is a very light, pleasant herbal scent to the product - so light, in fact, that you don't really notice it at all unless you deliberately smell it. The texture is also light as air, just as promised, and it sinks effortlessly into the skin once applied, which is perfect for a day cream when you don't want to wait ages before moving on to makeup. Basically, this cream is a delight to use.

Caudalie Resveratrol Lift Face Lifting Soft Cream Review 3

As for the results, I'm going to make the same disclaimer I usually do here because I think it's important to stress that I'm already using a skincare routine that works well for me, and this cream has replaced just one of the products in that routine. I'm still using the skinChemists products I reviewed here in the evenings, and as I documented in that review, I had already experienced firming effects from them. That makes it hard for me judge how well the Caudalie cream performs on that score, although I can say that introducing it as my day cream hasn't resulted in my skin feeling less firm.

Caudalie Resveratrol Lift Face Lifting Soft Cream Review 4

However, in the four or so weeks I've been using this, I do feel as though I have noticed a slight softening of my fine lines. While this could be in part due to The Body Shop British Rose Plumping Mask, another recent addition to my routine (and a lovely moisturising mask if you're currently looking for one), I don't think I've been using it regularly enough for it to take all the credit. The Caudalie Soft Cream, however, I have used every morning, and I'm confident that a lot of it is down to this.

Caudalie Resveratrol Lift Face Lifting Soft Cream Review 5

I've really enjoyed using this day cream and am very happy with the results, so it's definitely one I can see myself repurchasing in the future.

Are you a fan of Caudalie? If so, which other products do you recommend?

Kate x

*Item gifted for review. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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21 Winter Coats That Won't Break The Bank

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21 Winter Coats That Won't Break The Bank - 1

Did everyone have a good Halloween? Any fun parties and cool costumes? I went out for Sunday lunch, so not exactly much to do with ghosts and ghouls, but it was very nice nonetheless! 

I guess the next thing on the cards is Christmas - I don't know what it's like where you live, but here in my local town the decorations are already up - and of course the weather continues to get colder and colder. So I thought it was about time I started looking at winter coats, and naturally I've decided to share some of my favourites with you.

There's a little bit of everything here. Smart and casual, practical and fabulously frivolous. Apart from one, though, they are all very affordable, and in fact the vast majority of them are well under £100. So have a little browse, and let me know which one's your favourite!

Wool/Wool Look

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For me, a classic wool (or wool look) coat is an absolute staple in my wardrobe. You can throw them on over anything and they always look smart. Coats with a very high wool content tend to be pricey, so realistically I'm not going to have a huge selection of those. Luckily the high street brands always come up trumps with gorgeous lookalikes, like these.

1. Missguided Grey Coat, £50 - A classic, belted style that would look good with everything. I love the light grey colour - makes a nice change from black.

2. Boohoo Double Breasted Coat, £40 - Camel coats never go out of style, and this double breasted one from Boohoo looks sharp, sleek, and definitely more expensive than it actually is.

3. New Look Faux Fur Collar Coat, £59.99 - This one looks so cosy, but chic at the same time. I love the faux fur collar!

 Military

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Military coats seem to be on trend year after year, and I for one don't think I'll ever get tired of them. There's something about the sleek lines and brass buttons that's just effortlessly stylish.

1. Missguided Black Military Coat, £55 - This coat is a trench with a military twist, which I think is fabulous. Perfect for milder days.

2. Zara Military Jacket, £89.99 - I think this one might be my favourite of the three. As well as brass buttons, it has just enough decorative piping to add interest without looking like it might actually have been worn during the Crimean War. Gorgeous.

3. H&M Double Breasted Jacket, £69.99 - This looks almost identical to a jacket I bought from Zara last year. The only difference is, this one is more versatile. You can detach the fur collar and open out the lapels, which gives it a very different look. It's practically two coats in one.

Faux Fur

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Is there anything more glamorous than a faux fur coat? Absolutely heavenly to snuggle up in, plus they make you feel like an old Hollywood star. What's not to love?! I've chosen all three of these from Zara, as I feel like their faux fur looks the most luxe of all the high street stores.

1. Zara Sand Faux Fur Coat, £79.99 - I love, love, love the colour and texture of this one. You could wrap this around you on chilly evenings like a very luxurious blanket.

2. Zara Black Faux Fur Coat, £89.99 - This one is a little sleeker. Just imagine this over an evening dress, with red lipstick. Perfect.

3. Zara Multicoloured Faux Fur Coat £229 - The most extravagant coat I've picked out. And probably the least classic. But just look how beautiful it is!  If you're looking for a serious statement coat, this one fits the bill and then some.

Leopard Print

21 Winter Coats That Won't Break The Bank - 5

Leopard print coats are definitely having a moment this season. Yes, they can look a little tacky if you're not careful. I also think they can look amazing - it just depends on which one you pick and how you wear it!

1. H&M Leopard Print Coat, £79.99 - This one is my favourite - I think it's such a chic take on the leopard print coat. I love how H&M have styled it here too, leaving it open to show much more understated clothes underneath. It does come with a belt, though, if you wanted to wear it wrapped around you on cooler days.

2. Zara Leopard Print Coat, £69.99 - A slightly "louder" leopard print than the H&M one, but the simple lines keep things looking elegant.

3. Topshop Leopard Print Collar Coat, £65 - If you can't face full on leopard, the cute collar on this Topshop coat is a nice way to dip into the trend.

The Duster Coat

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Ah, the duster coat. A very popular piece I've yet to experiment with. I think the length of these has always put me off - being 5'3, they'd realistically only work on me if I was wearing heels. Also, they're pretty thin, and I get cold, so I've always thought they weren't that practical. However, I've fallen in love with these. They're all from Missguided and are basically the same coat, but the different colours lend each one a different character. They might not be the warmest coat out there, but I do think they look elegant, so maybe they'd work for car to bar situations?!

1. Missguided Khaki Duster Coat, £35 - Loving how they've styled this one with the mid blue jeans and the leopard print bag - such a lovely, rich combination of colours.

2. Missguided White Duster Coat, £35 - I saw Josie from Fashion Mumblr get this in a recent haul. She talked about wearing it for smart evening occasions with a gold belt, and I thought, "this girl's a genius." What a lovely idea!

3. Missguided Pink Duster Coat, £35 - Like the khaki one, I'd probably wear this with jeans, but the softer pink shade gives it a completely different, much more girly vibe.

Casual Jackets

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Sometimes you don't want a full on coat, so it's always nice to have a selection of jackets to suit different occasions. These are just a few I currently have my eye on!

1. Boohoo Parka, £55 - I'm not a fan of parkas as a rule - it's not a look I can really pull off on a day to day basis. However, they're usually warmer than wool coats, and perfect for more casual occasions when you're going to be outside for any length of time and it's freezing - country walks, bonfire night, etc. The faux fur trim on the hood of this one adds a touch of luxe, and I love the colour of it against the khaki.

2. River Island Aviator Coat, £90 - I absolutely love this jacket. I think it's fabulous! Imagine how gorgeous this would look over a black polo neck. It looks a million dollars - no one would guess this was River Island and not designer.

3. Zara Bomber Jacket, £79.99 - It's burgundy. It's velvet. It's embroidered. And it's a bomber jacket. Need I say more?! OK, strictly speaking, it's not real embroidery. Zara calls it patchwork. Personally, I think it's applique. But who cares? It's bloody gorgeous, and ticks so many of this season's trends in one go it makes me giddy just looking at it.

Something A Little Bit Different

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Because sometimes it's good to step outside our sartorial comfort zone!

1. Missguided Faux Wool Cape, £50 - I've never worn a cape, and I can't help thinking the whole fabric draped over arms situation might drive me crazy, but I just love how chic this looks. If you're a "cape person" I would love to know, are they comfortable to wear? Can you actually move your arms? Enlighten me!

2. Zara Embroidered Coat, £119 - Now this actually is embroidered and it's so pretty. Despite the embellishment it's still completely wearable, and I love the nod to one of this season's most feminine trends. If you wanted to wear a scarf with this you could keep it tucked inside so you're not covering up the decorative yoke. This would look great worn day to day with jeans, but I also love what they've done here with the over the knee boots.

3. River Island Grid Print Coat, £115 - I love the grid pattern on this coat and the grey and pink colour combination as well. This just offers a fresh spin on the traditional, belted wool coat.

So, do you see anything you like here? Will you be adding any new coats to your wardrobe this winter? If so, what do you think you'll go for?

Kate x
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Dainty Jewels From Designed By Nature + Exclusive Discount Code

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Dainty Jewels From Designed By Nature + Exclusive Discount Code 1

When I was approached for a collaboration by Designed By Nature, I was sure I'd seen this London based jewellery brand somewhere before. After a while, it clicked - the lovely Gabrielle had featured it on her blog earlier this year. Gabrielle is a woman of impeccable taste and her blog is just beautiful (if you haven't already checked it out, you should!) so I had a pretty good idea that I was going to like what Designed By Nature had to offer.

Browsing through the website, I certainly did. As the name suggests, Designed By Nature takes its inspiration from the ever changing cycles of the natural world and captures those cycles in beautiful, intricate, hand made jewellery designs. Dainty rings, earrings and pendants worked in silver and brass resemble exotic flowers at various stages of their life cycle and are at once totally unique and completely wearable. The newest collection is inspired by the work of Karl Blossfeldt, a German photographer who made his name by taking pioneering, close up images of plants and flora. You can view that collection here.

Dainty Jewels From Designed By Nature + Exclusive Discount Code 2

Dainty Jewels From Designed By Nature + Exclusive Discount Code 3

I'm eclectic in my taste when it comes to jewellery. When the occasion calls for it, I love nothing more than a single statement piece that can pull a whole outfit together, but day to day, I tend to favour dainty jewellery which can be layered up to look good with anything. Designed By Nature's pieces are perfect for that.

I was sent the Gingko Ring* in silver, a stunning, adjustable ring designed to resemble the fan-shaped leaves of the Gingko tree. The quality is excellent, and the fact that it's adjustable means I can switch up which finger I wear it on, a feature I love as it allows for wearing it in different ways, sometimes with other rings and sometimes alone.

Dainty Jewels From Designed By Nature + Exclusive Discount Code 4

Now for the best bit. Designed By Nature have very kindly offered an exclusive 25% discount code to my readers, valid for the next two weeks. All you have to do is enter kate25 when checking out. Jewellery always makes a lovely gift, so with Christmas hurtling towards us like a speeding truck (I swear this year started about five minutes ago?!) this could be the perfect time to place an order. Alternatively, sod everyone else and treat yo'self! Or maybe even do both. Why not head on over to their website now and have a cheeky browse? I won't tell. Oh yes, and they ship internationally too, so wherever you are, you can take advantage of this discount.

Dainty Jewels From Designed By Nature + Exclusive Discount Code 5

What's your favourite jewellery brand? Are you a fan of statement pieces, dainty jewels or both?

Kate x

*Item gifted for review. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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A Scented Love Letter From Michael Bublé

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Michael Buble By Invitation Perfume Review 1

I've always had the idea in my head that celebrity perfumes are... well, just a little bit tacky. When I heard that Michael Bublé had released a fragrance for women, I must admit, I rolled my eyes a little. But then I saw that the Thirty Plus Bloggers collective was getting behind it, and suddenly my interest was piqued. So much so, in fact, that when I was asked if I would like to review a sample, I said yes straight away. After all, we're talking about highly intelligent and discerning women here. There had to be more to this than just another star putting their name to a product.

Oh, there's so much more. I'll get into the details of it in a bit, but first of all you need to know this: By Invitation is a complex, finely crafted and beautiful perfume, far more sophisticated than I would have expected from a celebrity offering. As for the packaging, if it doesn't knock your socks off, I don't know what will.

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The fragrance was originally conceived as "a scented love letter" to Bublé's female fans, and the man himself has been hands on in every aspect of its creation, from the concept behind it to the finer details of the design. Talking about the original inspiration for the scent, Bublé said, "It's no secret that I'm a hopeless romantic. It's in every note I sing and every song I write. The idea was to create a special 'invitation' to fans into my new world of fragrance. I'm inviting women to enjoy a beautiful scent that represents my personal taste and imagination. By Invitation is what I'd call 'love in a bottle'."

Oh Michael, stop it!

Bublé collaborated with leading French perfumer Karine Dubreuil-Sereni to create his debut scent, and gave her free reign to work with the finest ingredients in order to make his vision a reality. The result is a gloriously dreamy, feminine fragrance - just what Bublé's ideal woman would wear. 

Michael Buble By Invitation Perfume Review 3

As well as the fragrance itself, Bublé was also heavily involved in the design of the packaging. Bloggers are well known for their love of good packaging, and when it comes to perfume, I think it's really important. Wearing scent is an experience, whether it makes you feel glamorous or girly, sexy or sassy, and if the bottle doesn't reflect what's inside, it can take away from that experience. The packaging of By Invitation, in my opinion, is a triumph. A luxe cream and gold box houses the most stunning gold bottle - it is without a doubt the best looking thing on my dressing table right now. Elegant and luxurious, the round glass bottle has a pleasing weight to it and is suspended within a band of textured gold, reminiscent of fine jewellery, while the pull off cap is designed to resemble old-fashioned perfume atomisers. The whole thing is part classic, part contemporary and entirely Instagrammable. 
 
Michael Buble By Invitation Perfume Review 4

Michael Buble By Invitation Perfume Review 5

And the fragrance itself? Described as a crisp, floral oriental, it's unashamedly feminine and I'm completely in love with it. It's a little sweeter than I'd normally go for, but I'm actually thoroughly enjoying wearing something a bit different. The first spritz is light, fresh and zingy - a little like a sparkling fruit cocktail - which comes from the top notes of red fruits, lemon and bergamot. Then, as it settles, the floral heart notes of rose, jasmine, lily of the valley and peony come into their own. I've always loved floral fragrances, particularly rose and jasmine, so I'm in delightfully familiar territory here. At the base, however, the warmth of amber and cedar wood combined with patchouli and a delicious hit of vanilla praline lends an irresistible twist as well as a sophisticated depth to the fragrance. It wears beautifully over time and lingers all day, without being remotely "in your face".

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By Invitation is available to buy from Michael Bublé Perfume or The Perfume Shop and, if you ask me, at a great price point. The 100 ml bottle is £55 and the 50 ml is £39. Apparently, Bublé's aim was create a whole new category with his debut fragrance that sat somewhere between higher end and more affordable brands, which is something I can definitely get behind. The perfume is also available in a 30 ml size and there are additional products to compliment it, including a shower gel, body lotion, purse spray and candle.

So whether you love the idea of smelling like Michael Bublé's dream girl, or you think that's cheesy AF, it doesn't really matter. I'm pretty confident that any fan of feminine, floral or sweet fragrances will love this. Personally, I started off a cynic, and have been thoroughly seduced. Bublé, you old charmer!

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Are you a Michael Bublé fan? Will you be trying out By Invitation for yourself? And what do you think about celebrity fragrances in general?

Kate x

This post was sponsored by Michael Bublé Perfume. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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