31 August 2013

Cocktail Making | Amaretto Sours



If I ever go out for cocktails I will always go for an Amaretto Sour. When I was at uni in Manchester there was a bar near where I lived called Font and it sells cocktails for £2!! So cheap, which is excellent when you're on a student budget. Font is where I first formed my love for this cocktail. But when I realised how simple it was to make I thought I'd give it a go at home!

What you need:

Amaretto (Disaronno is the same as Amaretto)
Lemons (or lemon juice)
Sugar
Ice

Making cocktails is dependent on your taste buds, I do like sweet cocktails but I can only have one or two before they make me feel a bit sick. So I make my Amaretto Sours more on the sour side, so I add less sugar. For my drinks I use the juice of a whole lemon (or one shot of lemon juice), half a spoon of sugar, 1&1/2 shots of Amaretto and a whole lotta ice!

I think this cocktail is way better than your standard Cosmopolitan or Sex on the Beach. Give it a try! Saturday night cocktails anyone?



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28 August 2013

August Favourites


I've decided to finally start doing monthly favourites, instead of my usual 'current favourites'. I'm trying to get into more a routine with my blog posting so that I can be more organised. I've been posting almost daily throughout August but in September I start my full time job and I will be working shifts so my spare time will be limited. This might mean my blog posts are a little sporadic, but I still intend to blog 2-3 times during weekdays and then on both Saturday and Sunday - so still aiming to post 4-5 times a week which I think is reasonable. I admire people who post everyday because I know how much time and effort goes into photographing products, editing photos and writing the actual post - but I don't feel like I can make that commitment when my job has to come first.

Anyway, back to my August favourites! I actually have quite a few products to talk about which is rare as in my current favourites posts I usually only have around 4. It's mainly make-up with one hair product and one body lotion - no skin care which is mainly because I've been having a rubbish skin week and I'm not quite sure what is giving me spots. It could well be my diet/lifestyle to be honest, but I need to figure out if it's any of my skincare products as I have been trying a few new things.

There are three eye products in this months favourites. First up is the L'Oreal Telescopic mascara, this is my daily mascara. It gives amazing length without making your lashes go clumpy, it doesn't give much volume so I don't use it for nights out but I love it for everyday use. Next is the Maybelline gel eyeliner, I've reviewed this here. It's an amazing eyeliner that is really black and doesn't go grey when it dries. It also sticks around for ages, it took me a while to get used to applying it but now I find it just as easy as a liquid eyeliner. Final eye product is the Rimmel Scandaleyes Shadow Stick, I have the colour Bulletproof Beige. I've used this as an all over colour on my lid, and it's great for that but it's a bit too light for my tastes. But I use it daily as an inner corner highlighter and it works really well.

The two lipsticks that have stood out to me this month are Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Boy which is my first every Chanel lipstick, and MAC Shy Girl. Both quite neutral, understated colours which I seem to be going for more recently. Chanel Boy is a gorgeous pink that is perfect for every day, it's a really moisturising formula which I find best for daytime. MAC Shy Girl is a creme-sheen formula which means it's quite moisturising but it doesn't look glossy on the lips. I really love this on nights out when pared with a smokey eye look.

My last make-up item is Bourjois Cream Blusher in Rose Tender. It's a gorgeous pink blusher, which I don't own many of, most of my blushers are more peachy toned so it's a great alternative. It's a cream-powder formula which I actually prefer, I find cream blushers can move around as they don't set but this formula means it sets well but looks more natural than a powder blusher. I find cream blushers a little harder to work with but with this one I dot it on with my finger and then blend it out with the Real Techniques Stippling brush.

Final two products are the Johnsons Holiday Skin body lotion and Batiste dry shampoo. I've been using the Johnsons Holiday Skin most days to try to maintain my tan, I did a whole post on my tips to maintaining your tan here. People are still telling me I look really tanned so it's obviously working! I've been using Batiste a lot more lately, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with thos product as sometimes I think it can make your hair look a bit dull. But, I am trying to grow my hair as it seems to get stuck at one length and then not grow any further - someone told me that it is bad to wash your hair too often because it strips it of all the oils so your hair won't grow as fast. At the moment I wash my hair almost daily, so I'm trying to go longer between washes but because my hair is so used to it it can look a little lank so I've been using Batiste to perk it up between washes.

Wow, really long post from me - congrats if you read it all!! Can't believe August is pretty much over! September is going to be such an exciting month for me, full of changes. New job, new flat. A bit scary but I can't wait! Hope you've all had a great month!


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27 August 2013

Review | Benefit Watts Up




lol, trying to show you swatches but my fingers look weeeeiiirdddd

I bought Benefit Watt's Up highlighter a couple of weeks ago and it has since become a staple in my routine. It's a gorgeous champagne cream-powder highlighter. Firstly I love the name of this product and, as always with Benefit, I love the packaging. It actually has a built in sponge and the other end to the highlighter, which can be used to blend out the highlighter but I find that this tends to move my foundation too so I don't really use this. I usually apply with my fingers and then blend out with my Real Techniques Contour brush.

I apply this mainly on the tops of my cheekbones but also down my nose, on my cupids bow and as a brow highlight. It is also good as a subtle inner corner highlight, but I tend to use more obvious highlighters in this area. It blends out really nicely to give a warm toned, subtle highlighted effect. I find it is subtle enough for every day use but also it can be built up for a more night-time appropriate look.

At £24.50 this is not a cheap product, but I find that really good highlighters are a struggle to find in high-street brands. I am yet to find a more affordable highlighter that compares to my more high-end ones such as Benefit Watts Up and Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Powder. Therefore although it is expensive it seems worth it to me, but then again I love spending money on make-up! Highlighters are definitely not a necessity but I think they add a lot of dimension to my face and prevent it from looking too matte and flat.

Have you tried this product? Have you found any good high-street alternatives?


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26 August 2013

Blog Love #1

I've decided to start a new series sharing my blog loves. I read so many blogs, I think I follow about 200 on bloglovin'! So every week or couple of weeks I will share with you my top few blogs of the moment. I read a variety of beauty, fashion and lifestyle blogs so there will be a real mixture. This week I've chosen three of my current favourites to share with you.


BonjourLuce has been a favourite of mine for a while now. Luce is absolutely gorgeous and really lovely. She posts a real mixture of things including haircare, beauty and skincare. One of my favourite posts from Luce is her simple smokey eye look which you can have a read of here. I also love her Sunday Posts which are just a bit different from her usual content, she's done one all about Beauty PR which was really interesting and her own Blog Love post


First of all I love the name of Katy's blog Rotten Otter, it's just a bit different and you definitely remember it! I absolutely love nail polish so I love Katy's regular NOTD posts, her nails are always so well painted - I always seem to smudge mine so they are never really blogworthy! One of my favourite nail posts of hers in this NYX Pastel Coral one, such a gorgeous colour. Katy's also started doing Project Sample Use Up posts, which I think is an amazing idea. We get mini reviews of lots of products and find out which she will repurchase. This has made me want to start doing this as I have two boxes full of samples that I need to get through.


Last blog for this weeks post is sailboat written by the lovely Jennie. Her beauty photography is one of my absolute favourites like in this post of her monthly favourites and this one on her Lime Crime lipstick. Hopefully when I get to grips with my camera properly my photos can start to look this good! I also love how Jennie does some more personal posts, it keeps her blog really interesting and not your standard beauty blog. This post 'On being kind, being supportive and being yourself' is well worth a read.

I'm sure lots of you already read these blogs, but if you don't please go check them out as they are all brilliant! If you've done any of these types of posts please leave them in the comments, I love finding new blogs to read!


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25 August 2013

Sunday Post #10 | Catch Up



Forever taking selfies


 <3


NOTD Model's Own Hedonist 


My new tie-dye t-shirt from Copper Garden

I didn't post on Thursday, Friday or Saturday - oopsie! I've just been busy doing real life things. I've put a deposit down on a new flat which is super exciting, and I move in on 20th September. I'm going to be living on my own which I've never done before so I'm a bit nervous but I can't wait to have my own space. I'm really excited to start buying things for it as well, I need everything - toaster, kettle, pots and pans, mugs etc. It's going to be an expensive few weeks! Sorry these photos are instagram shots (@aztecmess if you want to follow!) but I just haven't really used my big camera this week. Hopefully back to daily posting next week.

Hope you've had an amazing weekend!



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21 August 2013

What's in my Make-up Bag | The Friend Edition


I stayed at one of my best friends, Naomi's, house last night and obviously I had to have a rummage through her make-up bag! So I'm going to do a what's in my make-up bag ~the friend edition ~, even though I haven't done my own what's in my make-up bag! But I'm sure that will feature soon.

Naomi has the kind of skin we all envy, no spots, no under eye bags, cute freckles, tans easily etc etc - you get the picture. So I was intrigued as to what make up she wore as she's more of a natural beauty whereas I love putting a full face on every day. I picked a few things out to show you, and to add to my wishlist!

No7 Beautiful Skin BB Cream for normal/dry skin is her base of choice, I still haven't tried BB creams but this one has an SPF of 15 and is a low-medium coverage. It's the kind of base that doesn't mask the skin, it helps to even everything out and hide any redness.

Naomi loves the Body Shop Eye Palette in Smokey Copper so much that she has TWO back-ups!! Unfortunately this was a limited edition palette, which is why when she went to replace it she bought the last two that the shop had! The colours are so gorgeous, really lovely warm toned shades which she wears on a daily basis for a subtle work-appropriate look. The Body Shop Shimmer Cube palette in Warm looks really similar, so maybe give that a try if you like the look of it! Whereas on nights out she favours more cool-toned grey smokey eye make-up, she predominantly used colours from a Sleek palette, which I think was the Bad Girl palette.

The No7 Perfectly Bronzed Dual Bronzer really reminds me of the Clarins bronzers but for half the price! I love bronzers with multiple colours, I think it makes the effect much more natural. This bronzer doesn't seem to come in any other colours, so it may be a bit light for darker skin tones. The lighter shade in the palette has a slight shimmer to it, whereas the darker is matte, so the darker shade could be used to contour.

Finally is the Le Volume de Chanel Mascara. Naomi actually got this as a sample from Chanel when they were offering to send a restricted number of samples out with no purchase necessary - how did I not hear about this offer?! She loves it but doesn't know whether to re-purchase or go for a Lancome one after hearing such good reviews about Lancome. Obviously my holy grail mascara is Lancome so I'd recommend that, but I haven't tried the Chanel one. Leave a comment saying which you think she should go for!

Hope you liked this sneak peak into my friend's make-up bag, I thought it would be interesting to feature other people's make-up preferences which are different from my own. I might try to do this more often if it's something that interests you. Mum, get ready - your make-up bag is next!



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20 August 2013

Beauty Steal | Natural Collection Blushes




Another beauty steal today, these are Natural Collection blushers which are £1.99 each! What a bargain. Usually when things are this low in price there is a compromise on packaging and on quality. I have to admit the packaging is not great, it is plastic and feels quite flimsy. However the quality was definitely not compromised, which surely is the most important thing?

I have the colours Pink Cloud and Peach Melba, I'm sure you can see which is which in the photos but if not, Pink Cloud is on the left and Peach Melba is on the right. Peach Melba is showing up much darker and more brown-toned in these photos, it is more of a peachy colour and is comparable to MAC Melba blush. Both colours are really pigmented and blend really easily. I wear these on a daily basis and you can barely tell I've used them so they will last for ages.

These blushers are such a good deal and I would really recommend trying them if you're new to blusher or you can't afford to spend lots on a more expensive brand.


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19 August 2013

Empties #1


Here's my first ever empties post! I planned to do one of these a few months ago but then I had to move out of my uni house and I couldn't justify bringing empty bottles home with me. But I've saved these 5 products to share my mini reviews with you. I know the foundations don't look empty but I promise you I can't get any more out!

Redken Colour Extend Radiant-10 Spray*
I did a full review of this a few weeks ago here. I still absolutely love it, I took it away on holiday with me and used it daily and it really helped keep my hair in good condition which is impressive considering all the chlorine, sea salt and heat it had to put up with!

Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation
This has been a summer favourite, it's a gorgeous light weight foundation. It is a light coverage so save it for good skin days. But I found it to be perfect when I wanted something to even out my skin tone but didn't want to wear full foundation.

YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat
Another light weight foundation but this is more buildable than Revlon's offering. I absolutely adore this foundation, I definitely need to pick up another one. It sits so nicely on my skin and looks really natural while still giving a good medium coverage.

La Roche Posay Effaclar Mat
I rave about this a lot and it has been a staple in my routine this summer. It really helps to keep oil at bay and provides a really good base for make-up. I seem to get through one of these every month!

No7 Protect and Perfect Night Cream
There is actually a tiny bit of this left, but I've had it for over a year now and that's how long moisturisers last when opened. I did really like this when I first tried it but when I was using it more recently I was finding it too rich for my skin and I was getting clogged pores. So I won't be buying this again.

Four positive reviews, and one not so positive. I love reading empties posts to see what people actually think when they come to the end of a product. Hope you enjoyed it! And any night cream recommendations would be great!



*PR sample
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18 August 2013

Sunday Post #9 | Food


Today has been such an amazing day, I've eaten sooo much food and took pictures of it all to show you! Pretty sure my family thought I was so weird whipping out my Canon and snapping away but I know we all love a good food photo. We went out for my Nana & Grandad's 52nd Wedding Anniversary to a pub in a village near where I live. It is one of those posh pub/restaurants where they make the food look all fancy. I took photos of mine and Tom's food, sorry if I make you hungry!


For starter I went for roasted vegetable risotto with goats cheese, I was actually surprised how big this was! I had to leave some else I would have filled up but the goats cheese was gorgeous.


Tom went for pigeon on a bed of lentils and chorizo, it looked super tasty but I'm a bit funny about food and pigeon just doesn't appeal to me!


My main was salmon and lemon sole with a potato cake and pesto. I loved how this was presented, even though I know this has nothing to do with the taste of the food it just makes me happy. It was really tasty and it was just the right portion size for me.


Tom went for roast beef which came with a huuuge yorkshire pud! There were vegetables on the table but I'm pretty sure he didn't have any - typical boy!


Finally was the delicious cheesecake with lemon ice cream and shortbread which I shared with my aunt, I definitely didn't need to eat this as I was really full. It was sooo good and now I'm looking at the photo of it I want more!!

Hope you liked this foodie post and I hope you've had a great weekend!


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17 August 2013

Shopping The Stash #1




I've seen a few of these posts on some of my favourite blogs and I thought it was a really good idea! Especially if you're trying to save money. As a beauty blogger I probably have more than the average amount of make-up, so there are often products which get forgotten about when I buy into the latest craze. Shopping your stash is about looking into your make-up collection and finding old favourites that you might have left unloved for a while. This past week I looked through my (very unorganised) make-up and found four products that I used to love but that have not had much use lately.

17 Beehive Lipstick 
I've had this lipstick for a long time, so long that they have now changed the packaging! I bought it as I heard it was a dupe for one of my favourite MAC lipsticks, Hue. It is fairly similar in colour but it is a lot more glossy. I have almost used this up so hopefully now I've rediscovered it I will finish it. The only thing I don't like about this is that it has a bit of a strange taste, I'm not sure what it is but I'm not keen!

Benefit Boi-ing Concealer
This was one of my first ever high-end purchases, I suffer from really bad dark circles and the occasional spots, so I wanted to invest in a high-end concealer to help cover. I don't hear too much about this concealer in beauty blogs but it was recommended by Kate from Gh0stparties. It is a really heavy duty concealer which you have to use sparingly but it really does cover anything! Since up-ing my skincare routine I haven't found I've needed as heavy a concealer for blemishes but my dark under eye circles still need a lot of help so I'm going to re-introduce this into my make-up bag.

Rimmel Instant Radiance Shimmer Touch in Shimmering Sand
I've acquired quite the stash of high-lighting products which meant that this one got put away but it's such a good drug-store option. I also think this will work really well now I have a tan as it's a bronzey toned high-lighter. I also really like how it's a cream product as I don't have many cream highlighters.

MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation
This used to be my holy-grail foundation but I had been favouring less coverage in my foundations lately. However since getting a tan all my foundations are too light for me, other than this one. Since using it again I've realised why I used to love it so much! Even though it's quite high-coverage, if you use it sparingly in gives a gorgeous dewy finish which gets me so many compliments. Its lasting power is also amazing and I hate touching up my make-up during the day so this is a big plus for me. I think this may soon be featured in a repurchases post because I'm starting to run low!

What do you think about these shopping the stash posts? I think I might try to do this more often, it might stop me buying so many new products!


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16 August 2013

New Things | Make-up & Skincare




I wanted to share with you a few new things I've been using recently. I'm trying not to spend much at the moment as I'm looking for a flat so need to save some money for a deposit, but sometimes I just can't help myself!

Benefit Watt's Up highlighter
I've heard a lot about this, the blog post that made me decide to buy it was by Sammi from Beauty Crush HERE. Although it's £24.50, which is very expensive (but most Benefit products are slightly over-priced), it is a gorgeous product which I'm sure I will do a full review on at some point. It's a cream-powder champagne highlighter, it's a really flattering colour and I've had so many compliments when wearing it.

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess
A limited edition product that I just couldn't resist! I'm about to finish my MAC Bronzer so I was looking for a replacement. I love how huge this is so it will last me for ages. I've only used it a couple of times so I don't have too much to say about it. But it gives a really natural colour without making me orange or muddy looking.

Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet
I got this in a set with some other products from Caudalie. Caudalie is a brand I really like, every product I've tried from them I have loved. I'm excited to try this as I don't have a day time moisturiser that I really like. Currently I'm using either La Roche Posay Effaclar Mat or Simple Light Moisturiser, but neither are perfect.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish
Finally I've got the extremely hyped Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish. I am so excited to try this and to see if it lives up to all the hype. My skin has been getting much better since I've been increasing my skin care routine, but it's still not perfect so I'm still wanting to try new skin care products.

I'm going to try to curb my spending, at least for the next month - but no promises!


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15 August 2013

Maintaining Your Tan



The sunny weather in England seems to be over, it has been replaced with wind and rain which makes me very sad. But what makes me even more sad is that I can no longer keep topping up my tan! I absolutely love being tanned, I just generally feel better with a bit of colour. So in this post I will be sharing my tips to maintain what ever tan you might have left!

1. Reduce exfoliation
Exfoliating before you go on holiday is really good but once you're home each time you exfoliate you take off the top layer of your skin which means the top layer of your tan!

2. Shower gels
Switch up your usual shower gel for a more moisturizing one. I would recommend the new in shower moisturiser from Nivea, or go for a more oil-based one like the L'Occitane Almond shower oil (note: this will not work if you are wearing fake tan - oils and fake tan don't mix).

3. Moisturise
We should all moisturise every time we get out the shower anyway but I definitely don't. But if you want your tan to last then you should make the effort! One of my main issues with moisturising is that it takes so long to sink in, but the Vaseline Essential Moisture sinks in really quickly but still provides a lot of hydration, this makes it perfect for mornings when you're in a rush. For in the evenings when you have a bit more time on your hands I'd recommend the Palmers Cocoa Butter as it is much richer and provides more hydration. I took this mini one on holiday with me and applied it every night which helped me not to peel.

4. Gradual tanners
My final tip is to start applying a gradual tan, I've been using the Johnsons Holiday Skin body lotion. I've used it mainly on my legs as this is where my tan starts to fade quickest because of shaving. It just gives a hint of colour which is really natural looking and helps to keep my tan going.

I hope you liked these tips to try to maintain your tan, if you have any more then please leave them in the comments! Let's hope the sun comes back though!


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14 August 2013

Beauty Steal | Bumble & Bumble in Elle



'Give your hair lift, control and structure with Bumble & Bumble Thickening Hairspray. Not only does it give your fine hair a boost, but it also works wonders on every hair type!
The spray works as a heat styling essential and blow dry basic, as it effectively protects against heat. The Thickening Hairspray gives right amount hold, giving direction, taming the frizz and flyaways, without feeling gummy.
It contains polymers, which act as setting agents while wheat protein conditions, moisturises and helps repair environmental damage.'

I love a good magazine freebie! In this month's Elle there is a 50ml bottle of the Bumble and bumble Thickening Hairspray. It is supposed to be used on wet hair before any heat is used. It protects against heat as well as being a style product - who doesn't love a two-in-one product? This works really well in my hair as it doesn't weigh it down and really helps to hold the curls and volume once my hair has dried. The full size of this is £21.50 so to get this for the price of the magazine is such a steal.

I would definitely recommend picking up Elle to give this a go!


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13 August 2013

Lipstick Collection | Revlon



The next installment of my lipstick collection are my Revlon lipsticks. I showed my high-end lipstick collection HERE, which included MAC, Chanel and YSL. I think drugstore brands do lipsticks so well and their formulas are often really comparable to higher end brands and for a fraction of the price. I have tried a few of the Revlon formulations, the Lip Butters, the Matte Lipsticks and the Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains.

I have two of the Revlon Lip Butters in the colours Juicy Papaya and Raspberry Pie, this gives me one bright option (Raspberry Pie) and a more everyday nude/peach option (Juicy Papaya). The colour pay off on Raspberry Pie is surprisingly good, I expected these to give a more sheer coverage. Juicy Papaya doesn't have as good a pay-off but I think that's just because it is a much lighter colour. The finish is quite glossy, but if you blot it then you can create a good stain which is what I tend to do with Rapsberry Pie. But I love that I can re apply Juicy Papaya without a mirror as you don't need to be as precise as you would with a lipstick.

The next formulation is the Super Lustrous Matte Lipstick, I have the colour Really Red. Although this formulation is matte, it is not drying. I think it is the perfect formula for a red lipstick as it stays on your lips for a lot longer and you don't have the fear of it smudging onto your teeth or chin. The colour Really Red is gorgeous, it is quite a dark-ish red which I think looks really classic.

The final Revlon formulation I've tried is the Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Crush. The first thing I really noticed about this is the smell! It is so minty, which I quite like but a lot of people seem to hate the smell on other reviews I have read. Even though these are meant to be a 'balm' stain, I actually find this to dry my lips out - not when I am wearing it necessarily, but the few days afterwards my lips seem really really dry which is odd. But I really love the colour so I just rely on my trusty Nuxe lip balm afterwards.

I really like Revlon as a brand and all of these have really impressed me. I have another few editions of my lipstick collection coming up as there is still a lot of lipsticks to show you! I definitely don't need to be buying anymore anytime soon!



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12 August 2013

FOTD | Bronzed Skin & Peach Lips



My current go to make-up; bronzed skin, quite simple eyes and peach lips. Hope you like it!

Face
MAC Studio Sculpt
MAC Mineralize Skin Finish in Medium
MAC Bronzing powder in Matte Bronze
Rimmel Wake Me Up concealer
Natural Collection blusher in Peach Melba
Benefit Watts Up Highlighter

Eyes
L'Oreal Telescopic Mascara
MAC Paintpot in Painterly
Soap & Glory Supercat Liquid Liner
Rimmel Scandaleyes Pencil in Bulletproof Beige

Lips
Topshop Whimsical (not available)

Stand-out products are Benefit's Watts Up highlighter, it's absolutely gorgeous and  I think I will be dedicating a whole post to it. A little pricey, but totally worth it in my opinion. On the other end of the price spectrum is the Natural Collection blusher, an absolute bargain at £1.99 and the texture and colour is perfect, I definitely want to pick up some more colours of these!

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