Sunday, 23 February 2014

Top Gift Ideas for a 1 Year Old

Hi guys!
I wanted to write this post as something to look back on myself when I need to think of gift ideas for friends when they have babies, so I hope this helps you out if you are looking for that perfect gift for a little one.
As my boys turned one in December they had a lot of presents, because Christmas was 20 days after their birthday I can include the gifts from then too as they were still 1, so I should have a lot of ideas for you all. 

Here is my run down of the best gifts to buy a 1 year old from the cheapest to the most expensive!

So the cheapest items I want to mention first are the smaller hand held toys. At this age toddlers love toys in all shapes and sizes, however the ones that they can easily hold they love to carry around with them when they're exploring.

1. If you are on a low budget I would suggest buying some bath toys, as they can be fairly cheap and at this age toddlers absolutely love bath time, my little ones practically leap into the bath because they are so excited! My first suggestion would be to get something small and hand held such as this little glow up jellyfish bath toy or a little duck! They don't always use these in the bath they just enjoy carrying them around with them wherever they go and they are a good size for them to keep in their cot too! This jellyfish bath toy was only £2.99 from Sainsbury's so a very affordable price:

[jellyfish toy image coming soon]

You can buy a little duck family set for £4.99 at Kiddicare, you can always put your soap on the mummy ducks back too while it floats in the bath!


I'd be surprised if your one year old doesn't already have a set of stacking cups, but if not these are another perfect gift! They can be used in the bath as each cup has holes in the bottom that let the water sift through, which toddlers love! You can also double it up as a cup to use to wash their hair, and not only that they can be played with out of the bath and little ones will love watching you stack them up so they can knock them down!
Stacking cups range from about £3-5. Kiddicare sell some for £3.99:

My final bath toy suggestion would be to buy any little toy that squirts water back out! Toddlers love water, and they love the noise these toys make when they suck in water and squirt it back out. They're also another perfect hand held toy that toddlers can play with both in and out of the bath (just make sure the water is squeezed out of them first!) You can pick these up for under £10, there are some Sea Squirts Bath Toys at Kiddicare for £5.99

2. Books and DVD's are something that toddlers are starting to love. When it comes to books, anything that is touch and feel is great for little hands! This book is £5.59 from Amazon:

Also as toddlers are learning to start saying words, any books that involve learning about colours, words, numbers, animals etc. will have your toddlers attention quickly! This Peppa Pig Words book which I bought off Ebay for 99p recently!


Another book to keep little ones attention is a puppet book called Calm Down Boris, and is currently £6.99 on Amazon (usually £8.99)


I think buying DVD's for a toddler will depend on whether the parents allow their toddler to watch TV. As much as I'd love to say my boys only watch TV very occasionally, they do end up watching it each day for a short while in order to keep them occupied whilst I get their food ready or have a sit down. Their favourite programmes in order are Peppa Pig, In The Night Garden, Waybuloo, Curious George and Something Special/Mr Tumble! So if you have no idea what DVD to buy a 1 year old, I'm pretty sure any of these will do just fine, plus they are all pretty cheap. As my boys were watching the same Peppa Pig DVD quite often, I ended up buying them a Peppa Pig DVD box set for £19, however the prices do fluctuate and on Amazon it is currently a whopping £30, however separately the Peppa Pig DVD's are usually just £2.00-£3.00!


3. Now this is another item that is under £10 and this had to be my boys FAVOURITE gift we got them (which was nice and also made us question why we spent any more money!) I would definitely recommend this product to anyone and almost 3 months since receiving this gift it's still a firm favourite. The Grow & Play Mr Bongo from Sainsbury's is only £6.66 and lights up as your toddler taps the top. It also has two buttons on the side that make different noises. The only issue with this toy is that it's noisy, and even though it has a volume adjustment, the noise level is still very loud- but toddlers love it!

3. One year olds may have already learnt or are learning how to feed themselves, so a dinner set may be the next gift idea you could consider. These vary in price, but as we are moving onto the next price bracket I wanted to show you some of the nicer sets I've seen at John Lewis.

Firstly the cheapest is the Sophie La Girafe Melamine Set, which if you've read my previous review on Sophie La Girafe the toy, you will know I'm not a huge fan of her appearance, and therefore am not sold on this set myself, however as Sophie can be quite popular with little ones, maybe they would like this! It costs £17.99 from John Lewis, and I would say this set is suited more towards girls, although it does seem to be a neutral product.


For another fond character, this lovely Peter Rabbit set is the perfect gift. The cup has two handles for little hands to get around and has beautiful artwork. The Peter Rabbit Dinner Set is £25.00 from John Lewis.

Sets do go further up in price, and you can also buy some gorgeous porcelain sets, however I would be wary of buying this if you are wanting immediate use as toddlers of this age enjoying throwing everything on the floor including porcelain bowls! I would stick to melamine or choose a nice porcelain set that can be kept for use later.

4. Jumping in price a bit, this is not something I have personally bought myself, however I know a lot of friends with one year olds who say this is amazing. It's the DUKTIG Mini Kitchen from IKEA, and currently costs £45 (but can be up to £60 with extra bits!) 
I think personally for me this is not the best option as we don't have the space for something like this at the moment. This would be perfect for advanced toddlers who are already walking or nearly walking, but personally for me I may consider purchasing this once my boys are 2, but at the moment I think they would be more likely to trap their fingers in it than play with it properly.

5. This next item is another firm favourite with mothers I know, and is the Vtech Zebra Scooter, priced at Kiddicare for £44.99. The scooter plays music, is easy to set up and is perfect for toddlers who can't quite walk yet as it is robust enough that they can pull themselves up onto it without it toppling over (something that baby walkers do not do - read my post on baby toys to avoid!
6. Finally if you have a bigger budget, trikes are the best thing out there for toddlers! I think every parent of a one year old I knew bought their little one a trike for their first birthday! Whilst our boys are at the age where they can't walk yet but constantly want to be on the move, a trike is the perfect gift to entertain little ones while out at the park!

Trikes vary in price, but the Smart Trike in Carnival Red is £89.99 at John Lewis and is actually suitable from 10 months up until 36 months! 
We actually have the more expensive version which is the Smart Trike Frog Trike priced at £149.99. This trike is amazing and seems a little more secure than the other trikes, as it also has a clip in seat. 

I think trikes are the perfect gift as they last a long time, they are perfect for taking little ones out in without them running off/falling over etc. Plus it also makes it even more exciting taking them to places like the park. If you have the budget to buy a trike I'm certain your little one will love it!

I hope these gift ideas have helped you out, if you have any suggestions please feel free to leave them in the comments section below, I'd love to hear what you've found as successful gifts!

Lots of love,
Samantha Dawn

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Top 5 Apps For Newborn Babies (iPhone / iPad)

Hey guys,

As I'm out of the newborn phase now, I thought I'd share with you my favourite apps for babies. Now most of these are based around sleeping as that's the main thing we all want to help our newborns do! Some of these apps really did help out so much and I don't actually know what I would have done without them during the early months. Thank God for technology eh?

So here are my top 5 apps for newborn:

the wonder weeks newborn baby apps
1. The Wonder Weeks App - £1.49 or $1.94 - This is the only app I'm listing that is a paid for app, and as it goes it's cheap and worth the money! Now this app is pretty amazing at helping you understand why your baby is being so difficult!! You put in your babies date of birth at the start, then it explains if your baby is making a developmental leap or going through a growth spurt. Now the great thing about this app as well as telling you why your baby is being so difficult, is that it tells you the new things your baby will accomplish after this leap is over. For example, being able to smile, saying some words, grabbing for things, crawling. So far for me it's been pretty accurate, and it's always exciting reading ahead and knowing what my baby will accomplish next. Now my boys are out of the newborn phase I don't look at this app so often, however in the early days it really did help me understand my babies a lot better, and I will definitely be using this again if we have more kids! There is also a book which explains everything in more detail, and it really does make you sympathise with your babies. I've read reviews for this app online and people are complaining that it wasn't very informative. I have to say I would recommend getting the book to accompany the app, as the book definitely has a lot more detail, the app tells you the basics. To us this world is so ordinary, but to our little ones everything is new and maybe one week everything is a blur and the next they can see things so clearly and it's scary for them. If you're having a difficult time with your baby and you're not quite sure why, I definitely suggest you get this app pronto!

the wonder weeks newborn baby app


Baby Sleep Aid - FREE - Now this app I used for hours when my boys were first born. The app plays a hairdryer noise, and a lot of sounds I tried with my boys wouldn't get them to sleep. I remember going on YouTube and searching for hairdryer noises (or any other womb like noises), and they wouldn't work for my boys, or they just didn't sound like what they were meant to. However, the Baby Sleep Aid app really does sound like a hairdryer, my boys would sleep soundly with this on. 

The only downside to the app is that if you have an incoming text, email, or a call, the app goes quiet or switches off. Also even though the app is free at first you can only play an hour of the noise and then it'll stop, you can pay for the app which will allow you to play the sound longer. But if you read my next favourite you'll see that you don't need to spend your money to get a good sound app.


Baby Sleep Sounds - FREE - So this app is absolutely amazing! As I write this my 8 month olds have it on (it was my last attempt to get them to sleep, and it worked!) The great thing about this app is the noise options you have, a hairdryer, washing machine, fan, water tap, hoover or womb sounds. Not only is this app great for the variety of sounds, but it's free! It also lets you play them continuously and when you get any incoming texts etc to your phone, they do not disturb the app! If you do get a call I think the app will stop, but you can always switch your phone into aeroplane mode to avoid that.

my baby music boxes app

My Baby Music Boxes - FREE - This app plays a lovely music box lullaby, and you can either set it to play continuously or add a timer for however long you choose so that the app can eventually end. This isn't one of those annoying lullaby songs, and I could quite happily have this on and listen to it myself as my babies fall asleep. 

my baby music boxes app

This was also perfect when my boys were crying and I'd put this app on and they'd stop to listen, (not always but sometimes!) For a free app it's a good one, and I still use it now and they're almost 9 months old!

baby center my baby app

Baby Center My Baby - FREE - Baby Center is a brilliant website filled with information for you as a parent to learn more about your baby. I'd be surprised if you haven't already stumbled across their website whilst searching for something to do with your little one. Well now you can take an app around with you and all you need to do is put in your babies date of birth and you'll be given an update of issues you may face around this time, and an insight into where your baby is at in development. There's even an online 'birth club' you can join for the month your baby was born in which is a little group forum where other mums go to talk about their babies and you can ask for advice. 
baby center my baby app

I would say the only issue with this app is that if like mine your babies were born premature, you may need to adjust their birth date in the app in order to get accurate information on their development. So my boys were born a month early on the 5th December, but in this app I put that they were born on the 5th January as they are a month behind others developmentally.

I hope this helps you in your quest for apps to help you through those early months of parenthood. These were my top 5 apps I used on a regular, if not daily basis. I will also be writing a post on my top pregnancy apps so if you're pregnant and wondering what is good to use stay tuned for that. 
If you have any suggestions of apps you loved when your babies were newborn, let me know in the comments below :)

Lots of love,
Samantha Dawn

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Monday, 19 August 2013

Greasy Hair Quick Fix Tip

Hey guys,

A few years ago I got into a bad habit of washing my hair on a daily basis. When I tried to stop doing that my hair would immediately go greasy as it wasn't used to going a couple of days without washing. Now being a mum, finding the time to wash my hair some days is a challenge, and here's a way to keep your hair looking fresh even when it's not. 

So I wanted to share with you my quick hair care tip I use when I don't get the chance to wash my hair, or if I want to leave it another day, and I don't have any dry shampoo to hand.


All you need is to get some talcum powder, I normally use Johnson's Baby Powder, which is really cheap, as I always seem to have that in my bathroom. Just apply a bit to the roots of your hair, and either rub it in with your fingers or brush it through, and your hair will look great in no time.

The powder absorbs the greasy oils in your hair, and is normally scented so leaves your hair smelling gorgeous.

If there is still a little white colour to your hair from the powder, just wet your comb with a bit of water, and brush it through your hair again. You don't need to apply the powder to your whole head of hair, just to the roots. I'm always forgetting where I've put my dry hair shampoo, or running out of the stuff, and this is a quick and simple fix that I do on a regular basis :)

Hope that helps! Leave me a comment with a beauty tip you have for me, I love getting tips!

Lots of love,
Samantha Dawn

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15 Things Nobody Tells You About Pregnancy

Hey guys,

I saw a YouTuber do this video online and thought it seemed like a fun idea for my next blog post. These are things I personally did not know about pregnancy, you may know every single one of these things or they may not apply to you, but to me they did. Sorry for the random order, it's been a late night with my twin boys so I have randomly compiled this list. There will also be a video to come on this topic so subscribe to my mum and baby channel (link at the bottom of this post), for that.

15 things nobody tells you about pregnancy

1. Breastfeeding isn't easy. Now I know you probably know that, but what I mean is, some women really REALLY struggle, so much so, that it just won't happen for them. I bought books on breastfeeding that I read when I was pregnant, little did I know that something I thought would come so naturally to me, didn't. My boys couldn't latch on, for all the midwives that visited me in the week I was in hospital, and the weeks thereafter. It just didn't happen, and I felt so guilty and like a failure at the time, but I tried my best and expressed until my milk ran out and that's all I could do.

2. Your body will NEVER be the same again. Now I know that sounds pretty horrific, but pregnancy does change your body shape. For some lucky women they almost get back to their previous body shape, but I know for a lot of women, myself included, things are going to be different now.

3. You will actually SEE your baby move when looking at your belly. Yes, that's right, you heard me correctly. I had no idea about this, and I was used to people saying 'my baby kicked me', but you never expect to SEE your baby moving. Obviously, when thinking about it if you're being attacked on the inside, it's going to show on the outside. Towards the end of my pregnancy I would just have heads, bums, elbows etc. poking out of my belly constantly, I think my twins were having a party!

4. You aren't eating for two. Sadly, you don't need to eat much more, and there are a lot of foods to avoid so make sure you check out what you can and can't eat. Sometimes pregnant women think that they are able to eat a lot more, but then when it comes around to it remember you've got to lose the excess weight you've put on after your pregnancy.

5. Pregnancy is scary. I was a high risk pregnancy which added even more fear to it, but as a worrier anyway pregnancy is a rather scary thing. Apparently 1 in 3 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage*, and that haunted me throughout my pregnancy. Not wanting to scare anyone with that, it's just something I was not aware of. To be honest I only thought there were complications if you had a history in your family of illnesses etc. How naive I was! *Please note, this number does vary, I've heard it also be 1 in 5 or 1 in 7 etc. regardless, it's still a scary statistic.

6. Being pregnant is like entering a new club you never knew existed. Mothers you've never spoken to before will chat to you about everything baby, and until you become a mother this may not be so interesting. I know for me I wasn't that bothered about chatting about my pregnancy with random strangers, but now I have children of my own I probably talk too much about everything baby.

7. Your waters may not break. You know in the movies you always see the woman's waters break and a mad dash for the hospital? Well, it's actually quite rare that your water will break, and even if it does, there's no mad rush to the hospital. If anything you'll be asked to wait it out at home until your contractions become more frequent.

8. Labour isn't a quick thing. I really didn't realise that it wasn't like on TV, but actually labour is a looooooooooooong process; mine was 18 hours and would have been longer if I didn't need a C-Section. If only it were like the movies...

9. Friendships may disintegrate before your eyes. Those friends who don't have babies or who are TTC may want nothing to do with you and your baby talk. There may be jealousy from those who want a baby of their own. Sometimes people think 'you've changed' because you don't have the same social life, or because you put your unborn child and your need to rest your pregnant self, ahead of meeting up with them. True friends will always be there for you.

10. The amount of advice you will get from everyone and anyone in regards to how to raise your unborn child. Please note: this will not stop when your baby is born, and if anything the advice gets worse. Just remember YOU are this babies mother, even if you've never been a mother before. When people tell you how to raise YOUR baby, smile and nod and take it with a pinch of salt, unless the information is helpful.

11. Relationships will be strained. Your hormones are high, you may be dealing with financial stress, it may have been an unexpected pregnancy, and maybe your partner panics about becoming a dad. Even if this was planned, once you're pregnant you may be shocked about the whole thing, and a little scared. Remember to try and ride things out and stress as little as possible in order to keep you and your baby relaxed.

12. Labour is scary. Yes, you heard me. Of course it's scary, that baby you've been growing for 9 months is ready to come out and your life will never be the same again. Also, labour is an unexpected thing and you just don't know how you'll end up giving birth. I didn't know that being induced I'd give birth the following day via C-Section! However, giving birth is NATURAL. How do you think women did it back in the days when there was no medication or assistance? It is scary, but there is so much that can be done to numb the pain that you'll be fine, especially if you get an epidural ;)

13. Your unborn child will kindly wee, poop, hiccup and release gasses into your belly. You'll even feel the hiccups and see your belly wobble. Your little one may also be more active when you want to go to bed, which is just a sign to show you how awake they'll be at night when they're out of your tummy!

14. Braxton Hicks are fake contractions you feel during your pregnancy, you may also feel real contractions towards the end of your pregnancy that you mistake for braxtons. Not only that but once your labour is over you'll still experience contractions for some days after. 

15. You will lose all self respect after so many people see your private area (lol), the amount of people who have seen my bits now is just ridiculous. I was so worried about people seeing my private area but now I don't care, that's what pregnancy does to you, makes you lose all dignity you once had!

Pregnancy is tough and can be scary for a first time mum. Just remember that it is normal, and that some women may act like their pregnancy was a breeze, but in reality they get constipated, vomit day and night and even if they don't get morning sickness, they've still got to push a baby out just like you do.

Good luck with your pregnancy, and let me know if you have anything to add to this list! :)

Why not check out my YouTube Mum and Baby Channel, for more mummy chat!

Lots of love,
Samantha Dawn
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Friday, 9 August 2013

How to Remove Cradle Cap - Dentinox Cradle Cap Shampoo Review

Hey guys,

Now I know this isn't a glamorous post for all of you to read, but sadly motherhood isn't always glamorous. This post is about how to remove cradle cap from your newborn baby, I will also be reviewing the Dentinox Cradle Cap Shampoo if any other parents are wondering about buying this to treat their babies.
dentinox cradle cap shampoo review newborns

One of my sons got cradle cap when he was 6 months old, (I'm not going to show any pictures of what cradle cap looks like as it's not the nicest thing, but feel free to Google it). He didn't suffer too badly with it, which I was grateful for, but I still wanted to treat it as soon as possible before it got worse.

What you need to know about cradle cap is, it's a yellowy scaly skin on top of a babies head (although it can be in other places too), it's not dangerous and it doesn't harm your baby in any way. The only problem with cradle cap is it's rather unsightly. It's still not really known what causes cradle cap but there are some easy and cheap ways to cure it. Also, cradle cap is not contagious, only one of my twin boys has ever had it. It usually disappears after a few weeks or months, so if you really struggle to get rid of it just know it will go eventually!

So firstly there is a home remedy you can try; if you go to your own cupboards and get out some olive oil, almond oil or even baby oil and apply that to your babies head. Leave the oil on your babies head for a while so it soaks in and then, usually at bath time, you brush through your babies hair with a fine tooth comb, which should start to loosen the scales, then wash through your babies hair to remove the shampoo and any scales. However, I didn't enjoy using oil as I found it to be a greasy, sticky way to treat my sons head.

What I used instead was Dentinox's Cradle Cap Treatment Shampoo, which retails at around £2 and is available at most supermarkets or at Boots for £2.09. Not only is this a shampoo for cradle cap, but it can be used after that has been treated as a general baby shampoo and keeps your babies head clean. I've used it on both my boys even though one of them has never suffered with this problem. It's also suitable from birth, so if your newborn is suffering with cradle cap you can treat it straight away.

All I can say about this product is that for the money it's definitely worth it, it costs the same as a bottle of olive oil and in my opinion it did the job better. With one application to my sons head half of his cradle cap had gone, then all I did was shampoo his head the following day to remove the rest of it and that has been it! I was quite apprehensive about using a product from Dentinox again as I had tried their colic drops which didn't work for my babies when they had colic (nothing did!), but this product was really amazing. The fact that I can also use it as a shampoo now is a bonus as it means the rest of the bottle doesn't get wasted. Plus it's a good way to keep any build up of skin or potential cradle cap re-occuring.

To smell it's almost odourless with a hint of soap, which to me is a lot nicer than smelling of olive oil! I know I've read some reviews where mothers say it took them longer to get results with this shampoo, but I wanted to tell you how fantastic this product was for me. Of course every baby is different and reacts differently to things, but I hope this works well for you too. My babies both now have scale-free hair again, even they're happy about that:

When using this shampoo or any other shampoo suitable for cradle cap, make sure you don't get it in your babies eyes. This shampoo is stronger than a usual baby shampoo, so getting it in your babies eyes will give them some discomfort. 

For more information on cradle cap and treatments, please check out the NHS website.

I hope this helped you out, if you didn't like this product, let me know what worked best for you.

Lots of love,
Samantha Dawn
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Thursday, 8 August 2013


Hey guys,

EDIT: This giveaway is now closed and at present my YouTube channel is deactivated as my camera is broken and I don't have time to make videos :( will get it all back up and running soon. x

I've already blogged about my TOPSHOP haul, but I am also doing a giveaway on my YouTube channel that I would love for you to enter.

The item you can win is this gorgeous multi chain statement necklace from TOPSHOP, it is currently sold out on as it is so popular:

Here are the rules for entering into my international giveaway:
  • Subscribe to my channel (NOW CLOSED)
  • Like my TOPSHOP Haul/Giveaway video
  • Leave a comment telling me what type of videos you would like mt to post on my channel
  • Follow me on Twitter or Facebook to hear the results of the competition (I will also message the winner)
Winner will be chosen at random and announced once I reach 300 subscribers. The giveaway is open internationally & you can enter as many times as you like.

    Terms and Conditions: The winners item will be sent once winner has responded to private message on YouTube with their address details.  
    Your item will be sent via recorded delivery to make sure it gets to you but I cannot be accountable for items getting lost or international winners receiving custom charges. 

    GOOD LUCK!!! Follow on Bloglovin

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    Monday, 5 August 2013

    TOPSHOP LIPS Infrared Lipstick Review

    TOPSHOP released their lipstick range back in 2010, and at first I wasn't too bothered about rushing out to try them. After a while I was on a hunt for a good orange lipstick and I decided that instead of buying the YSL Rouge Pur Couture in Le Orange that I was initially after, I would go for a cheaper alternative instead. That's when I purchased TOPSHOP's LIPS Infrared LipstickI had read such great things about this lipstick and I couldn't wait to give it a try, it sounded like the perfect alternative to the expensive high end brands.
    topshop infrared lips lipstick review

    The lipstick packaging isn't anything too extravagant, the lipstick sits in a black box, and the lipstick holder is white with a plain design, although for £8 I wasn't expecting anything too spectacular. 
    topshop infrared lips lipstick review

    On the lipstick is described as being a 'velvet finish lipstick to smooth, moisture and nourish lips. Apply for fabulous colour and moisturised, matte finish, wear alone or with gloss for a shiny finish.' First thing I want to do is address TOPSHOP's own description of their product. When applying Infrared, I do agree that it gives your lips some moisture and is smooth to apply, I'll even say it's a fabulous colour when opening the packaging. However, what I don't agree with from their description is that firstly this isn't a matte lipstick. If you see from my pictures of this lipstick, it leaves a shiny finish, there is no need for gloss. I think the shine the lipstick has when worn is probably one of the main reasons I dislike this lipstick.

    topshop infrared lips lipstick review

    I have to also be honest and say that when taking my Infrared lipstick out of it's packaging, the colour looked gorgeous and I was so excited to try this lipstick. After applying it to my lips I was immediately disappointed, I'm not sure why but I just did not like the colour on me at all. I have seen other beauty bloggers wear this lipstick and they have the same pale skin I do and it looked amazing on them. For me personally I found the colour to be too weak, and this lipstick will not last very long without further applications. It also needs more than one coat, whereas a similar (better) orange lipstick such as MAC's Morange is more pigmented and lasts longer.

    topshop infrared lips lipstick swatch

    This is the first and only TOPSHOP lipstick that I have tried so far, and for £8 I am rather disappointed with it. It isn't the most expensive lipstick, but I have purchased cheaper lipsticks that I prefer to this. 
    I'm still intrigued to try the other lipsticks by TOPSHOP, but I'm not holding out on any of them being any different to this one. I would not recommend buying this lipstick, for £8 you are much better off trying out different high street brands, and if all else fails go for a high end lipstick, as they may be more expensive but at least they are more worth the money.

    Let me know what you think of infrared, i'd like to know if you love it or hate it.

    Lots of love,
    Samantha Dawn

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