Tag Archives: Review

Doris Does All the Wine: Bordeaux of Some Description

Following my introductory post, my lovely boyfriend obliged to my request and bought me some wine. One of the wines he bought was the one I’m about to review and the other was a bottle of white wine without a label, which I’m rather nervous about opening, if I’m being honest. I have a feeling it’s one of those chemical filled wines that will kill me upon my first sip, but I guess the life of a really bad wine reviewing service includes the possibility of death. Admittedly, he bought it on purpose, because it was £2 and a direct contrast to the Chateaux Vieux Manoir, which is apparently a Bordeaux type wine.

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I have no idea what a Bordeaux is other than the fact, I imagine, it is French and comes from the place, where I assume they grow grapes. I have only heard about it being mentioned in relatively posh settings, maybe in films? But I have never drunk it before, so I guess for my first review, this was probably a very good decision. Boyfriend is a smarty pants, who knew?

The Bordeaux cost roughly £9 and was bought from the Co-Operative down the street from us. It was bought not an offer, which I’m a little angry about, because £9 for one bottle of wine is ridiculous when you can buy two bottles for £10 from Asda (an extra bottle for a quid sounds amazing, doesn’t it?). Either way, please don’t construe this as me being ungrateful, because I am very appreciative of receiving wine all of the time. Apparently, Bordeaux can go one of two ways, sweet or dry and I think this one was very dry because it tasted like salt Ribena. I don’t think this is a bad thing, it actually reminded me a little bit of that salted caramel stuff that is very popular in confectionary items these days and at first you regard it with extreme trepidation, as though you’ve just eaten something fresh from the bowels of hell, but then afterwards you’ve found that you’ve eaten an entire box of chocolates and consumed roughly seventeen thousand calories. It was like that and I did wish that I had more once the bottle was gone. I also firmly believe that if I drank more than one bottle I’d have been pretty drunk and maybe flashed a breast or two.

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Now, food pairings with dry wines seem a bit weird. I mean, should you eat sweet things with a dry wine to counter-act the dryness and it would create a sense of euphoria that couldn’t be comprehended unless you were there, eating the foods in place of me. But, I didn’t do that. I had what has to be the most salty cuisine known to man. Because we’d had some really great news that day, we had a mini ‘beginning of the week’ celebration and decided that we would eat Chinese food that included ribs, chicken, Szechuan beef with noodles and rice and also some chips because they were free. We didn’t eat it all, before anyone suggests that I have an eating problem that fits in nicely with my drinking problem, you bunch of bastards. But it was nice, I mean, I guess it washed everything down in a flavoursome, salty kind of way and my cheeks sucked in, in a really satisfying, yet the opposite of thirst quenching kind of way. Maybe I should have eaten cupcakes.

We watched our favourite programme at the moment, which is the first season of The Blacklist and as far as inappropriately, enhanced by wine, sexually charged feelings towards people who aren’t attractive go, James Spader was receiving it in spades, which is absolutely hilariously and knee slappingly hilarious if you ask me. Also, James Spader is becoming sexy when I’m sober too, which may be a sign of alcohol poisoning, I’m just not sure.

Alas, in spite of being 13.5% the seasoned wine drinker in me was not feeling the buzz after the bottle was emptied, which I sometimes find with wine. I guess a lot of it has to do with, maybe my state of mind or the speed at which I was drinking or the fact that I drink enough wine to put an elephant to sleep and still remain standing, but that might have more to do with my Irish roots and Geordie upbringing than anything else.

I took to Twitter to find out what some of my social media pals were enjoying and Sex Blog of Sorts seemed to be indulging in Tuesday night wine, too, which makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Here is what she thought of hers:

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As always, if you’d like to contribute, feel free to comment or if you’d like a post of your very own like my dear pal Exhibit A who is going to be writing for Doris Does All The Wine very soon! Or whenever he fancies, it’s totally up to him!

Bottoms up, internet x

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The Passage by Justin Cronin

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It’s not often that I choose to read books more than once. To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee), The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald) and The Catcher in the Rye (JD Salinger) are three of my favourite books of all time. I am a sucker for classic literature, presumably given my academic pursuits and natural adoration of English Literature from being a very young age and each of these books are dog eared and beaten, in some cases there are pages slightly torn and weathered from constant, perpetual use. Modern literature doesn’t grab me in the same way and although I’ve read books more than once it hasn’t been because they’ve gripped me and made me feel the same way the aforementioned have, it’s because they’ve been simple and easy, frothy and lighthearted enough to allow me to while away the day sipping tea, wrapped in a blanket – they soothe the mind, rather than challenge it or excite it. However, The Passage by Justin Cronin contradicts my sensibilities somewhat, in the sense that it too is dog eared, weathered and remains the only modern book that I have ever read more than nine times. This current read through, actually, makes it my tenth. Suffice it to say The Passage is the greatest novel written within my entire lifetime and I don’t use those words lightly.

The novel was handed to me not too long after its original release in 2010 and the person who loaned me the novel said that it was the greatest thing they’d ever read and urged me to start reading immediately. When someone tells me things like this, I usually roll my eyes at the sheer melodrama and shove the book somewhere in my increasing ‘to be read’ pile and get around to it when I can be bothered, but, for some reason, I decided to read this one straight away. At the time, most of my reading was done on the commute to and from work/university, so it was slipped into my bag and I decided it would be read on my next hour long journey… After reading the first page, I was hooked: It was one of those novels that instantly held my attention and filled my sensibilities regarding literature with intense promise. This is going to be good, I remember thinking and it soon became the book that I would spend my evenings reading until my eyes became heavy with sleep and I awoke, book still in hand the next day. In short, it was my favourite book.

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The Passage is a post-apocalyptic-cum-vampire novel that, in my opinion, entirely reinvents the concepts behind a traditional vampire novel. The usual clichés writers use in abundance when writing their version of a vampire story are gone; there are no shimmering romantic heroes, or melodramatic teenagd hormones running rampant throughout the pages of Cronin’s epic. Instead, The Passage takes on an almost clinically scientific approach, giving the original concepts behind the vampire novel an intensely realistic re-imagination, making it far more thrilling and far scarier than the routes writers usually take when tackling the traditional vampire concepts; this is not your run of the mill Transylvanian vampire novel, this is something else entirely. Something better.

I think part of the reason behind why I love this novel so much is that it cannot truly be explained without giving away the entire plot and to give away the entire plot without reading the novel really doesn’t to dthe novel justice. Without reading the simplistic, yet entirely intricate language and imperative detail would be disastrous; this novel needs to be experienced first-hand, word for word. Cronin uses his blatant expertise to create a concept that is, essentially, so brilliantly basic that it stands out as one of the most important novels I’ve ever read; it’s like, everything you’ve wanted to read before, but better in every sense of the word. His characters are written so perfectly, that you feel you could reach into the pages of the novel, take them out and they’d be just as amazing as you’d imagined. It’s a novel of almost cinematic brilliance, which makes no sense until you’ve actually read the novel.

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Admittedly, if I didn’t know that this was going to be a trilogy, I may have felt disappointed; a lot of things were left unanswered and had I not read The Twelve and be highly anticipating the third and final novel, I would have felt cheated and the magic, so to speak, of the novel would have dissipated somewhat. It would not have been the first time that I’d read a novel with so much promise, only to be left bitterly disappointed and sad by the end. However, if you go into the novel knowing  that it’s the first of an epic trilogy, then your mind is put at ease and you can enjoy the not knowing with the promise that eventually all of your assumptions and hopes for the novel’s conclusion be answered, or at least reinvented in a far better manner than you could do yourself.

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In short, I found the novel awe-inspiring and absolutely astounding. I am reading it for the tenth time, but each time it feels like the first. Only better. I really to urge you to read it.

Buy the novel here.

Visit Justin’s Website here.

Buy the second instalment here.

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Yes Please by Amy Poehler

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Being a life-long fan of making people laugh, I grew up believing that female comedians weren’t a thing; I believed I had developed a man-gland that made it possible for me to not only make people laugh, but make men laugh. I thought myself to be quite individual and relatively unique in this department. My comedy heroes growing up were all men and I didn’t resonate with female comedians at all – the only ones I really knew embodied a repertoire that mostly discussed their sexual activities with their husbands and an underlying element of feminist humour that, unless you are particularly feminist, doesn’t win you any giggles on a grand scale and at the time, being a youngster, I didn’t really feel that this brand of comedy, or indeed feminism represented me or my comedic style (I use the term ‘comedic style’ incredibly loosely). When I first discovered Tina Fey and then her work-wife, Amy Poehler, everything changed. These were women who lived and breathed improv comedy and made it their life’s work. They became heroes of mine and I have followed their careers with an almost obsessive compulsion ever since. So, when I heard that Amy Poehler was releasing a book, I had it pre-ordered for months before it turned up on my doorstep. Having read Bossypants by Tina Fey years beforehand, I had incredibly high hopes.

First, let me make it clear that Yes Please did not disappoint me… at all; I devoured it like a hungry wolf and find myself regularly flicking back and forth through the book to find bits I liked and read them again – but I will admit that I did begin reading it expecting to find an almost page for page likeness to Bossypants and I believe that I was almost certainly wrong in that department. Let’s not be naïve here, whilst Poehler and Fey embody a relatively similar sense of comedy, they are entirely different in their delivery and ownership thereof. Whilst I feel that Fey doesn’t own her comedy and seems like she is constantly conscious of her audience, thus making almost every line in her book a punch line, Poehler is the opposite. Whilst Fey’s novel reads like a comedic series of essays with elements of life, work, love and motherhood interspersed, Poehler’s does not. That’s not to say that Yes Please isn’t a laugh a minute, because it really is, I just feel that it is executed in a more effortless manner than Fey’s. Poehler seems to own her sense of comedy as much as she owns her sense of self and reading through Yes Please really feels like reading through the memoirs of someone who is completely and unabashedly at ease with herself in every sense.

To me, Yes Please didn’t feel like reading through a biography at all and when I got past the fact I expected Poehler to use comedy to embellish her life story, it felt really like an inspirational memoir aimed at women who want to feel more comfortable in their own skin. Poehler’s narration feels like an old friend who is subtly encouraging you to be a better version of yourself by coaxing an element of happiness and comfortableness out of your sub-conscious and making it an active sense of your conscious self and is set out into three categories which all read like inspirational slogans for a well-being poster:DSC_0186

SAY whatever you want

DO whatever you like

BE whoever you are

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Each chapter is thus filled with anecdotes, essays and life lessons Poehler herself has learned throughout her life and career in comedy; it reads with relative ease and flows together so effortlessly that you find yourself becoming endlessly inspired by her candidness and gracefully uncomplicated comedic rhetoric that seems entirely unique to Poehler. Whilst reading about parts of her life that she has been hurt or affected by, she manages to make it seem less upsetting or tragic by piling on the inspiration, or using a quip or slice of comedy to lighten the blow – it seems entirely effortless and not at all a conscious attempt to make her seem less vulnerable; instead it just seems like this is the real Poehler – deflecting sad feelings with humour, thus owning it and making it okay. I do exactly the same thing and I have to admit, it helps.

Whilst I have been a fan of Poehler’s for over a decade now, I still found myself learning a lot about her – she is endlessly supportive to her co-workers and peers and has created an almost tour de force of comedy pals that in turn, not only support her but love her endlessly. The piece Seth Myers wrote about her and how they met is one of the sweetest things I’ve ever read, not only affirming that Myers is an absolute angel, but that Poehler is not only a joy to work with, but a joy to know too. I also enjoyed the part she wrote about Tina Fey, in response to Fey’s own excerpt in BossyPants about Poehler – their work-wifery is inspirational and in a sense such a feminist attitude to have towards one’s co-worker/hero/best friend – they are the epitome of women in the workplace, which is such a stark contrast to the media’s representation of women in work, life and play – we don’t actually all hate each other and are, actually, pretty much our best friends’ cheerleaders every chance we get. I enjoyed the graphics that accompanied the piece and her own admission that she would have Fey re-write it for her to make it better; the supportive nature of their friendship is potentially one of the most important pieces for any woman to take away from the novel.

Poehler also has an incredible manner of taking a mirror up to women in society and showing them their true colours; her piece about motherhood in particular was hilarious because it was, in fact, true. Every woman I know who has reproduced and decided to stay home and raise the child and not go back to work, is met with a sense of trepidation, superiority and smugness by women who either have chosen not to have children or who have gone back to work. I myself was in a situation like this a few years ago when I, shock horror, explained I didn’t want to have children until I’d established myself in a career that I felt comfortable and supported in so that I could take ample time off, but then go back. I was met with looks that wouldn’t be entirely out of place from someone who happened to have grown three heads over night. Poehler writes candidly about that in her novel and the life lesson that anyone can take from that is that we’re all different – there is no set rule for women or for mothers, you do whatever it is that you want to do for yourself and no one else.

In short, I found Poehler’s memoirs hilarious, intellectual, inspirational and brilliant; it read like an old friend greeting you over a cold glass of Pinot Grigio and you find yourself becoming sad as it reaches its conclusion. Poehler inspired me and I found myself wishing that I had the same courage and candour to strive towards my life goals with the same unabashed passion and can do attitude that Poehler seems to embody without even realising it herself. As far as my quest goes into reading novels written by hilariously inspirational, confident, independent, feminist women, I have to say that Poehler trumps even the (in my opinion) queen of awesome, Tina Fey. I loved Yes Please and would urge anyone looking for a literary comfort blanket to pick it up and embrace it like the inspirational piece that I’m not sure it was intended to be. I can guarantee you won’t regret it.

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The Paedophile Next Door

Last night, Channel Four aired The Paedophile Next Door, an hour long documentary that highlighted the concepts of paedophilia as a sexual preference. In the show, we saw victims, health professionals and one paedophile discussing their experiences and opinions on the matter. For me, it was incredibly harrowing and very difficult to watch, but I managed, with tears in my eyes and a hand over my mouth in horror, to get through the documentary. Some of my views were immediately aired on twitter – as is always the way – the bitter sting of the show still digging into my sides and I ended up having a debate with one of my very best friends, Sian, about it. Now, with the immediate visceral reaction having subsided, I feel that I can, perhaps, review the show in a more… hopefully, neutral manner. Although, I’m quite happy to admit that I am not sure if I’ll manage. We’ll see.

The show addressed paedophilia as a legitimate sexual preference as well as a mental health issue that could be classed as an affliction and we, as the audience, were pleaded with to listen to reasoning and admit that not all paedophiles should be vilified as that encourages them to attack, instead we should be nurturing and encourage those paedophiles to admit their sexual preference and mental health problems and receive the help they deserve – this is something  that is already done in Germany and the show’s main topic, Eddie, admitted that he would also like to seek help for his affliction. Personally, I think the show did a poor job of arguing their point, which I reitertated on Twitter. Whether or not people deserve help is neither here nor there, if paedophiles want help, then great, but surely history regarding sexual preferences dictates that you can’t change who you are?

What does that say about the LGBT community who have fought for years and years to attain social equality? We STILL don’t offer social equality to this community and in an enormous amount of countries – including our own – there are still a great amount of people excluded, murdered, beaten up and vilified for their sexual preferences… but this isn’t classed as a mental illness? Why? Because it isn’t – loving someone of the same sex does not make you mentally ill, identifying as a female when you were born a man does not make you mentally ill; we’ve fought for the equality of all of these people and that love has no gender, that in 2014 we should not be adhering to the heteronormative, biblical solution to love, marriage and procreation. It can’t be beaten out of you, it can’t be changed through therapy, you can’t be sent off to a straight camp and come back loving pussy when you’ve spent a life time sucking cock – we have covered this; it’s inherent, it’s in your blood: you are who you are, that can’t be changed. So why are paedophiles any different? Offering them therapy isn’t going to stop them from being paedophiles and wasting money on offering them comfort in the fact that it’s okay to be sexually attracted them to children is dangerous. If a homosexual can’t be turned straight, or a straight person can’t be turned gay, how do you turn a paedophile into a non-paedophile? You can’t.

Attempting to normalise paedophilia is tantamount to saying that it’s okay to be attracted to children and I honestly think that is beyond wrong. Firstly, children don’t have the mental grasp on life to be able to give consent and think that it’s okay for a grown man or woman to sexually abuse them. Being attracted to children as young as five, or children who can’t even draw or walk or crawl is not okay and I am rather disgusted that there is an attitude that we want to help these people; they are not okay and no amount of therapy will make it okay for someone to fancy kids as young as new borns, which was mentioned on the programme.

I get that there are paedophiles out there who have not sexually assaulted children and that’s fantastic, good on them, I don’t mind their existence, that’s not what I’m saying, but as with every sexual preference, there has to be an outlet somewhere, so what do they do? Think about having sex with children? Okay, that’s fine, but which children? The ones who live next door? The ones who he sees going to school every day? What about child pornography? That’s readily available, surely? Yes, of course, but we’ve already covered that children can’t give consent, that to be involved in sexually graphic photographs or content is not consensual; an adult has, at some point, exercised their ultimate control over a child and forced them to do that, so surely by watching the porn, paedophiles are only perpetuating the abuse of the poor child in that movie or photograph?

Of course, things like this are broad generalisations, but the fact that there is a counter argument out there suggests that it isn’t okay normalising a sexual preference by brandishing it as a mental illness. We can’t accept that, as a society, it’s okay to call paedophilia a mental illness, but we cant call homosexuality a mental illness (quite rightly, mind). Sexual preferences are not mental illnesses and it’s not something that any amount of therapy will correct. It may stop someone from offending, but it might not… Then who do we blame? We blame ourselves… and is that okay?

I would really love to hear people’s opinions on this, because as you can see, my arguments are emotional and for the most part visceral – I simply do not agree with normalising paedophilia or supporting them in any way, but as with my debate with Sian, I would love to hear other points of view, so please send comments or emails or anything and I am more than happy to discuss it with any of you.

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A Make Up Revolution Review by a Non-Beauty Blogger:

I Love make up. With a capital L. Ever since I was a little girl, I would gather make up together and pull together ‘looks’ that I’d emulated from celebrities or simply faff about with my own designs in order to create something that would make me look pretty. I’d do my hair to match and then flaunt into the living room, pouting away, so my parents could be in awe of the human they had created. Look at how amazing she looks! I always imagined them saying. And every time, they would disappoint me, like the true child haters they had to be. Granted, my mother would smile and tell me I looked beautiful, and then asked me why I’d chosen blue eye shadow (to go with my blue top… GOD, MOTHER LEARN TO FASHION! DID YOUR BEAUTY COURSE TEACH YOU NOTHING?!) and my dad would snort and put his face in front of his mouth and laugh so hard his shoulders would move involuntarily of the rest of his body and he’d simply ask: ‘what the hell have you done?’ I’d love to say my abilities as a make-up artist have developed, but they really haven’t. I’m not a beauty blogger, nor could I ever be a beauty blogger, but my enthusiasm and passion for make-up has remained.

I’ve followed Make Up Revolution on Twitter for a while now, but haven’t purchased. There hasn’t really been a reason as to why, I simply haven’t. However, the enormous amounts of bloggers I follow, fashion, beauty and not, constantly rave about this company and as much as I liked to assume they were paying people off to write nice things about them, they never sent me a sneaky message asking to do the same, so I guessed if I was going to write about them, they’d probably send me an email once I’d purchased and be like excuse me, if you write good stuff about us on your blog, we’ll make it worth your while! But again, they didn’t, so I awaited my delivery with baited breath and secretly hoped it was rubbish so I could blow the whistle on his whole operation and become the queen of Twitter and become famous in the process: Chubby Geordie with a Wine Addiction Brings Down E-Commerce Business in Terrible and Dramatic Fashion, the headlines would read (although that would be too long. Probably: Fat Alcoholic Ruins Lives of Many).

In keeping with tradition that none of my diabolical plans ever work out, my half-baked attempt at becoming Queen of Twitter by blowing the whistle on Make Up Revolution didn’t work… The Bloggers had spoken and Make Up Revolution really is, so sorry for the pun, but not really, revolutionary. I was so impressed with everything, from the way it arrived in a no frills package to the presentation of each of the pieces as well as being, so cheap! That was one of the hugely exciting points of getting ALL OF THIS STUFF for so bloody cheap. See, see Make Up Revolution? This is why I thought you were all tricksters and bribesters, bribing bloggers for cheap thrills. Here is what I bought:

You can't see this too clearly and also R2D2 and Evil R2D2 are coveting my belongings. Bugger off, you two!

You can’t see this too clearly and also R2D2 and Evil R2D2 are coveting my belongings. Bugger off, you two!

My order came to about £25 and I can safely say that everything I’ve received is brilliantly and has been worn with pride. My least favourite out of the lot has to be the lipstick in Dare to be Different because it wasn’t as deep red as I’d hoped and kind of goes on more a coral colour, but I still love it very much and it’s been my general day time look all week. If I’m being honest, I was surprised that I liked it at all, because I thought that for a pound, that it would be crap and given that I spend my life wearing Mac lipsticks, it’s safe to say I’m brand loyal, but it applied like a dream, it’s relatively creamy and it’s a coral lipstick without being a coral lipstick; it’s deceptive and great to apply/wear. As an aside, it also tastes great, which I think is important when it comes to lipsticks. I hate wearing something that makes you think ‘What fresh hell is this? Why have I eaten a corpse?!’ so, you know, way to go Make Up Rev!

My favourite item has to be the matte palette, which is exactly what I’ve been looking for in eye shadow for years. It was so cheap, but the quality is amazing; it applies like a dream and it looks so natural, like I’m not wearing make-up at all, which is what I like to do so people think I’m naturally pretty without making any effort, when really I make all of the efforts! Here is a picture of my face wearing the natural matte palette and Dare to be Different lipstick. Brain told me that I looked pretty, so I guess that’s another point on the Make Up Revolution score board: Boyfriend did not run away screaming, or ask me what was wrong with my face. He also said exactly the same thing when I did my eye make-up using the Girls On Film palette, pictured below, which has matte colours as well as shiny and shimmery colours, of which my favourite is a really pale shimmery pink.  (lipstick is Hang up by Mac. Sorry guys!) :

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You can tell zero amounts of difference from either pictures, but they were taken on separate days and I even used different make up. You see, you see how talented I am? You can’t even tell. Someone sign me up for fashion week PRONTO.

I also bought an acid bright palette, which is again, exactly what it says on the tin and is so, so awesome for the Halloween look I’m going for this year. Last year I used a lot of Urban Decay stuff, which was too shimmery for my needs, so I was looking for, again, a matte finish to get the Day of the Dead look right. It’s inexpertly applied, but if you haven’t been paying attention to my photographs, let alone my writing, I’m not a beauty bloggers, so if you were expecting a professional look, you’ve come to the wrong place and you should be ashamed of yourself. Also, I wasn’t wearing my glasses for like, two hours straight so I gave myself a migraine, which his why the spider web bit on my forehead looks like it was applied by a heavy handed blind and fingerless oaf, but it was my first attempt (or second if you forget last year’s) and I’m hoping next week’s attempt will be much nicer. I should also point out that the white is face paint from a general dress up store and the black is Fat Cat something eyeliner by Soap and Glory. Rest is all Make up Rev 🙂

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I sent these images to Brain’s sister, who is also doing a Day of the Dead look for Halloween, so I am happy to announce that I’ve passed the website onto her and I’m sure there will be another purchase very shortly.

In short, I’m pretty happy to have purchased from Make Up Revolution and they aren’t in any way tricksters bribing for good reviews from kind hearted bloggers. They are really great people, whose Twitter presence is enjoyed – they’re really nice and enthusiastic about their brand, which is probably why so many people shop with them so often. I certainly will be placing another order soon and will happily post another non-review so they can all sit around their office and laugh at me at attempting beauty blogging.

If you would like me to write an inexpert, terrible, but all in all pretty positive review about your product, let me know, I’m more than happy to use the hashtag #crapbutgoodbeautyblogging again in the future.

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