Saturday, 31 January 2015

A Mascara The Hooks, Rolls, Lifts and Curls!

Benefit's Roller Lash Mascara, benefit roller lash, benefit cosmetics roller lash

Benefit's Roller Lash Mascara

There is a lot of hype over Benefit's Roller Lash Macara*! Ahead of it's launch, I received a very exciting surprise parcel arrived a few days ago from the BeneBabes at Benefit Cosmetics. I got a bright pink vanity case which contained some eye products, a pink heart shaped mirror and a personalised sleeping mask. There was also a copy of ELLE Magazine with a luxe sample of Benefit's soon-to-launch mascara, Roller Lash

Benefit have been putting teasers out on social media for many weeks now. It was announced at the end of last year that they would be launching a new product and beauty bloggers who got an exclusive preview called it a 'game changer'. That's exciting, right?! Everyone loves a game changer! 
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Friday, 30 January 2015

Birchbox : Women's Health Edition

birchbox, birchbox january, birchbox womens health, birchbox january 2015
Birchbox January 2015
Women's Health Edition

This month's Birchbox is in partnership with Women's Health. The theme is based around health, fitness and wellbeing, Birchbox has handpicked products that helps you start the year with your best foot forward. I really like this idea, I think Birchbox subscribers would appreciate the theme of this box especially at this time of year. 

birchbox, birchbox january, birchbox womens health, birchbox january 2015

As usual, the box contains 5 beauty samples and some extra lifestyle bonus items from time to time. If you're lucky, there'll be one or two full size item but they tend to be miniature or travel sized. January's box contained 7 samples in total! One full size, 4 travel size, a sachet of matcha green tea powder and a pilates band. I have included the green tea powder and the pilates band as I have decided to focus on the main products.

beauty blog, beauty samples, birchbox

Activbod Feel Great Shower Concentrate:
This is nice travel size shower gel to pop in to your gym bag! It is a refreshing blend of green tea extra, sea minerals and soothing almond oil. It cleanses, and deodorises, with an immediate cooling effect on your skin. A great shower gel to use after a work out or a run.

Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum:
I have received a few Caudalie samples in past beauty sample boxes but I have to admit, I'm not sure I see the hype in Caudalie products yet. It's a brand that is very popular amongst beauty bloggers but it doesn't really do anything for me. I've tried one of their serums before but I'm not sure if it was the Vinoperfect (with an awesome name like that, I would have remembered!). Anyway, I will give this a go when I've finished my current serum. 

Philip Kingsley Flaky/Itchy Scalp Shampoo:
I like to keep a stash of miniature shampoos so that I can take them with me on short trips away, so I'll add this to my collection! Philip Kingsley products are no stranger to beauty box subscribers, but it is always a brand I welcome with open arms. I have only ever tried the Elastizer pre-shampoo conditioner so I'll be looking forward to trying the shampoo in this month's Birchbox. 

the cool fix, shaveworks the cool fix

Shaveworks The Cool Fix:
The Cool Fix is a gel lotion that's formulated to treat razor bumps, ingrown hairs, and redness from waxing or shaving. The gel absorbs in to skin straight away and makes your skin feeling really soft without leaving grease or residue. You can also use it on your skin whenever you feel like it though, so with the cooling effect that it has, it makes a great lotion for post-workout. 

stila lip glaze

Stila Lip Glaze:
Even though I'm not much of a lipgloss fan, I was still really excited to see a Stila product in this month's Birchbox! It is a full size version which retails at £15, and I got it a shimmery peachy nude "one shade suits suits all" type of shade. 

If you fancy receive 5 samples from luxury beauty brands, sign up to Birchbox for a monthly subscription. It cost £10 per month (plus postage cost) and you can cancel at anytime. 

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Thursday, 29 January 2015

Estee Lauder Collaborates with Lisa Perry

estee lauder beauty, estee lauder make up

Who doesn't love a free gift bag filled with some of the best beauty products in the world!? Exclusive to House Of Fraser, Estee Lauder and Lisa Perry has joined forces to bring you this promotional free gift containing SEVEN products plus very trendy make-up bag. From 29th January until 14th February, this set* is completely free when you purchase two products from Estee Lauder counters at House Of Fraser, one has to be either skincare or foundation.
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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Let's Do A Make-Over!

fashion blog uk, beauty blog uk, temporary secretary blog

As you can see, the blog has had a make-over! For the longest time, I have wanted to give Temporary:Secretary more of sleeker, grown up look. I had put it off for several reasons; I was scared of change and I was scared readers wouldn't like it. My plan was to make the drastic changes before the New Year so that I can the blog can get a new, professional look and a fresh start, but I kept holding back. I had also become attached to the girly, pastel colour scheme because I had comments from people telling me how much they love it and from getting that feedback like that made me more reluctant to strip it down. But I knew it was time to move on from that and grow up! Now I wish I did it ages ago. It's amazing what change can do!

Thanks to pipdig for installing the template and ensuring everything works! I have spent the day tweaking the blog layout, and I think I'm finally done. I've got a new header, new menu bar and a couple of new things on the side bar. I just wanted to write a little something to acknowledge the changes before resuming my blogging schedule tomorrow.

I hope you like my new blog design as much as I do! If you're thinking of giving your blog a make-over, I highly recommend pipdig!

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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Some Of My Favourite Things Lately

After reading a rather huffy email first thing this morning, I decided that I could continue to be annoyed by the words I had read and let it ruin my day, or forget about it and enjoy a positive day! The latter sounds good to me because a stupid email is totally not worth getting angry over! 

So here is an uplifting blogpost from me today, and a bunch of random things that cheer me up!


I've been looking for a decorative pineapple ornament for the home since the Easter so when I popped in to TK Maxx a couple of weeks ago and saw this sitting on the shelf, I picked it up straight away! It was the only one left, and although it's a little tarnished on the top, at £5.99 it was a bargain I couldn't resist! 


These hedgehog slippers are super adorable and I love them so much! They're lined with fleece and has a pom pom for a nose... what's not to like! My cousin bought me them for Christmas, they're from Topshop but I'm not sure if there available anymore. They're just the cutest!


Can never have too many lip balms, especially during the cold season. Blistex have launched Happy Lips, a new lip balm that comes in two fruity flavours. Mouthwatering Mango and Simple Sensational Strawberry. I haven't opened the Mango one yet because the packaging is personalised and has my name on it. Things with my name on them makes me happy so I kind of want to keep it in tact for now! If you'd like to try these new lip balms, they are available from Boots for £2.49 each.


I know that the trend is "sooooo last season" and during the middle of winer, the sight of anything tropical is far from suitable, but I don't care because I have an eternal love for all things pineapple! It's a fun trend and reminds me of Summer, or being on holiday. This porcelain miniature pineapple necklace from Ohh Deer, and isn't the cutest necklace you've ever seen!


Talking of necklaces, I've been wearing this coin pendant from Azuni a lot lately. A coin pendant is something I've been looking for but it has never been the right one. This one has a really nice quote on it, it says:

"Happiness is the journey, not the destination"

It's something I needed to hear this month, and is a nice reminder for when I'm wearing the necklace.


I received this through the post from Arran Aromatics and it was a total surprise. Really made my day! It's a limited edition candle for Valentine's Day and is packaged in a heart shaped gift box! It's smells like a bouquet of fresh flowers - it's perfect!


CATS RULE! Yeah, they do! 

I love this sweater though. I'm always a bit wary of that they're made of the thick fabric, they always make me look bulky but this one from Brat & Suzie's Spring collection is a flattering, lovely long sleeved top. 

Although now that I've formed a strong bond with my family's miniature Poodle (Bonnie), I feel kind of mean for wearing a sweater that says dogs drool, haha! And speak of the devil....


Here's the little Miss Bonnie, distracting me from doing work!


I couldn't post a pic of Bonnie and not one of Oscar, so here's my babe! (God, he's got a big face!!!)


Sometimes, I get really random parcels. Not that I'm complaining, I LOVE a good surprise. This month, E45 (yes, the cream!) sent me their new Repair And Protect Overnight Hand Lotion plus a pretty dreamcatcher and a dream dictionary! I've always been intrigued as to whether dreamcatchers work and now I can find out! Also, if anyone wants to know what their dreams mean, I'm your gal!


Another happy find from TK Maxx! For the longest time ever, I forgot that TK Maxx even existed but it is becoming my favourite place to shop this past 4 weeks! I love going in there and having a proper rummage for goodies. I bought this Kelloggs Cornflakes tin as Niki broke our sugar jar before Christmas. They had lots of other designs, including a Kelloggs Frosties one, but I love how simple the Corn Flakes one looked. I think it was £5.


I look forward to baths every night because that's my 'me time' and it's how I relax. I come out of the bathroom a different person!! I'm running low on Lush goodies but I've got a couple of Candy Mountains and a jar of Sweetie Pie Shower Jelly left. Time to pop in to Lush soon and stock up on some bubble bars!


Project PAINT-EVERYTHING-WHITE has begun. After months of pondering, I've decided to make a start on painting everything in my flat white! All of the furniture are dark wood so I'm excited to give it a whole new look. I am enjoying this little project, I look forward to painting after work! I've got 3 tables, 4 bedside tables and two sets of wardrobe to paint. 

Two down, seven to go!


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Monday, 26 January 2015

6 Korean Beauty Products To Try

asian beauty products, korean beauty products

My last Asian beauty product blogpost went down so well, I'm back with another thanks to Bonjour Hong Kong. This time, it's a whole box of Korean beauty products. Here's an overview of what treats I'll be reviewing in this blogpost:

asian beauty products, korean beauty products

Unless you've been to Hong Kong, you probably won't be familiar with Bonjour but it's the equivalent to Boots or Superdrug stores here in the UK. 

whitening bb cream, etude house bb cream review

Precious Mineral BB Cream Blooming Fit by Etude House


Although Etude House isn't a brand that's available in the UK, some of the products are known within the beauty blogging world. I've learnt a little bit about them through bloggers and whenever I go to Hong Kong on my holiday, I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for Etude House! 

I love a good BB cream so I was happy to see this in the box. I like the packaging, I think it's cute. The BB cream, costing approximately £10 with the current exchange rate, comes in a tube with a pump dispenser, which I quite like!

When you first put this on, it looks very dewy on skin so it's probably best suited for those with dry skin. I thought it felt a bit too shiny for me to begin with, I would liken it to Garnier's Original BB Cream but unlike Garnier's product, the sheen from Etude House Precious Mineral BB Cream does fade throughout the day. 

Regardless, I need to use a finishing powder on this though. It is a nice, thick BB Cream which provides medium coverage to hide blemishes and dark spots, brightens, balances out your skin tone and gives your skin a radiant glow thanks to the mother of pearl lustre effect. It also contains SPF 30 which is a huge bonus.


etude face conditioning cream review

Face Conditioning Cream by Etude House


At first, I thought this was a moisturiser for your face but it didn't take me long to figure out that it is a cosmetic product and not skincare. Etude House Face Conditioning Cream is a primer that does indeed prep your face for make up. Primers are not something I use on a daily basis, but I definitely like to have it handy for it long days and nights out. It keeps your make-up in place and make it last a lot longer throughout the day, you'll find you won't need to touch up that often too.

It comes out of the tube looking a lot like white paint, but it isn't as heavy as it initially looks! It feel quite sticky to begin with which is not uncommon with primers as that's what helps your make up "stick", so to speak. Just like the BB Cream, it has a slightly dewy finish which fades within a couple of hours (or as soon as you use a matte base product).

It says on the website that you can apply this after toner, so it can be used in replacement of moisturiser. It is a moisturising, hydrating formula but I would still use a face lotion before applying the Face Conditioning Cream. It contains SPF 25 and cost around £8 ($12 USD)

Both of the Etude House products featured in this blogpost have whitening in them which is great if you've embraced the porcelain, fair skin look but not suitable for anyone who likes their tan!


too cool for school egg mousse pack review

Egg Mousse Pack by Too Cool For School


I was confused by this product, and I'm sort of still confused! It retails on BonjourHK for about £6, so it's a budget face mask. 

I like the packaging, it messes with your brain!! It's a skincare product that wouldn't look completely out of place in your kitchen... The instructions on the packaging are all in Korean but after looking in to this a bit further, here's what I have gathered:

It's a face mask that contains egg yolk extract which promises to make your skin feel as smooth as an egg. It's odourless so don't worry, it hasn't got an eggy scent to it! It's comes out of the bottle as a mousse and foams up like shaving cream. Massage on to skin for 1 minute and within moments, it becomes totally clear and transparent. 

I have absolutely no idea how long to leave this face mask on for, I have tried to find this out on Asian blogs and Too Cool For School stockists but no luck yet! I'm going to guess that 5 minutes is probably enough? 

yumei triple action lip

Yumei Flawless Triple Action Lip Reshaping


I don't know exactly what it is about the product that 'reshapes' your lips - again, I've tried to look for this information - but I think it might be because this lipstick/lipgloss duo makes your lips appear fuller. The triple action claim is that it plumps, repairs and makes the colour glow.

One end of the product is the lipstick with a balm in the core that conditions and moisturises. The other end is a very shiny gloss in the same shade. I don't really know if you're supposed to wear the gloss over the lipstick but I tried this and the colour ends up seeping in to the lines of your lips. I like both lip products on it's own but wouldn't wear it together at the same time. I'd recommend wearing each on their own.

Although it claims to do a lot of things, and you are essentially getting two products but the packaging feels a bit flimsy and the quality in both lip products don't feel like it's worth the retail value of £10, which is how much it cost on BonjourHK. The price aside, it is generally a nice lip product! 

dr bauer pobling review

Pobling Pore Sonic Cleanser by Dr. Bauer


This is different to the other sonic facial cleansers that I've tried in the past. First off, it is really affordable as it retails for about £25 (BonjourHK are selling them for $21.64 which is approximately £15). In the set, you get a brush head and a holder. The brush is really really soft and the gentle sonic vibrations cleanses the pores on your face. 

I think it's a pretty simple product to use, there isn't much to it. I literally just picked it up and used it with a cleanser. The thing with these facial cleansing brush is that after the initial two weeks of using it, I don't tend to persevere with them after a while because the brushes get dirty and I feel really bad but I don't replace them so I end up putting it to one whilst go back to my usual routine of cleansing with a muslin or cotton flannel. 

Having said that, the Pobling is a nice way of testing to see if you like facial cleansing brushes, it's inexpensive and easy to use.

eye brow pencil

Eyebrow Pencil


I think this is a top up cartridge which inserts in to the VOV full size eye brow pencils ($6) but as the cartridge ($3) works on it's own, it's like having a miniature eyebrow pencil. I have something similar from Sheseido which my mum got me from Hong Kong and I use it to outline my brows to give it precise definition. 

From the photo, the cartridge doesn't look like it's in the best condition but it honestly doesn't look that "chalky" in real life! I was sent it in the brown shade but it shows up really brown on my skin, so I can't really make use of this. It is a shame but I might try and see if I can use it as an eyeliner or something. It also comes in shades grey and black.

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All of these products are available from Bonjour HK. They ship worlwide with shipping cost for orders to the UK costing about £6.40.

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Sunday, 25 January 2015

I Cut My Own Hair

cutting your own hair, tips on how to cut own hair

I was reeaaaallly bored last night and got the urge to do something spontaneous. I decided to cut my own hair!!

For a while, I have been whinging about how fed up I am of my long, overgrown and weighty hair. I couldn't do much with it other than curl it. I'm not attached to my long hair and I don't mind getting a short hair style but my problem is finding the "right" hairdresser to do it. I have never stayed loyal to a hairdresser and I never visit the same salon twice. I've never liked a hair cut enough to return. In short, I'm an awkward customer and I find it hard to hand over the money for someone to cut it.

Last night, I decided to chop it all off and that I was going to do it myself! I don't make a habit of it because I'm not a professional but I've done it before, I used to cut my own hair when I was at college and university. I started off by giving myself a little trim and waited for my friends to notice the change, but they never did, it was that subtle. I did the same at uni, a few inches off here and there! I even cut in a bold, thick fringe at one point! No big deal!

Here's what my hair was like before:
long hair, long black hair

And this is what it looks like now!
cutting own hair

Now, I'm not advising that anyone does the same, but I snipped 5 inches off last night! I actually did the same last year and kept it quiet, but as no one noticed, I'll take that as a sign that I didn't do such a bad job! Yay! (unless you were all too polite to ask why I had butchered my hair....) I always keep it quiet because I thought it was a weird thing to do! But from the comments I got from Instagram and Twitter, it looks like a few of you also cut your own hair too.

The way that I have felt about my hair in the past month, I can't say that I was particularly precious about it when I got the urge to cut it last night. It is risky but my attitude was "I'm bored, I want to do something crazy, and if I ruin it, I'll just get it fixed at the hairdressers next week"!! As you can imagine, I had sooooo much hair to work with to begin with so it was a case of trimming tiny bits off at a time and levelling it out; cut and level, cut and level. I'm not sure how ballsy I would be if I had mid-short length hair, it's a lot easier to do this when your hair is long to begin with. Another reason I wasn't too bothered is because my hair also grows so fast, it will be long again in 6 months time. Using my outfit posts as a way of showing you just how fast it grows, this was when I cut my own hair in April last year... And this is how long it grew 6 months later!

So, how did I do it? I have no set method really, but I use the techniques that I have observed on the occasions when I actually visited the hair salon! And I cut the hair when it's dry so I can see it take shape whilst I'm cutting. I'm super happy with my hair today, no regrets - more happy than I would have been if I had got it cut professionally. Probably because I was in total control of how I wanted it to look in the end! (Control freak!)

You'll see proper pics of my new hair in my upcoming outfit posts! I'm happy to share a few tips if anyone finds it helpful? I'm not sure how common it is to cut your own hair! Let me know in the comments what you think!

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Saturday, 24 January 2015

NEW from Yankee Candle // Pure Essence Collection

Yankee candle, Yankee candle spring, yankee candle Pure Essence Collection

Embrace the essence of Spring with Yankee Candle!

I'm ready to put all of the typically 'Winter' fragrances away because frankly, I'm so sick of Winter now and I can not wait for Spring to arrive! And with the new scents from Yankee Candle, Spring can begin right now. Or at least it can begin within the confines of my own home!

Pure Essence is the new Spring collection from Yankee Candle and it consists of three new fragrances. Time to banish the January blues with this lot!
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Friday, 23 January 2015

REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial | Beauty Review

REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial, REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial review

REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial | Beauty Review

Face peels are now a regular part of my skincare routine and I use a good quality face peel twice a month. 

Now, when I was first introduced to the REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial, I was skeptical. It was a new product at the time, I hadn't read any reviews beforehand and I wondered how can you achieve a spa facial results in just 60 seconds?! 

I was given a small sachet of it to try last year and I loved it so much that I asked for a full size product for Christmas. 
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Thursday, 22 January 2015

Claudia Louch Loose Mineral Powder // Beauty Review

Setting powders and powders that help to reduce the shine from oily skin are one of my beauty essentials. 

I started off using a budget powder like the Rimmel Clear Complexion Clarifying Powder and then I moved on to something with a bit more oomph (Benefit Cosmetics Agent Zero Shine) - both of which have served me well, but something else has come along that has taken over. 

mineral powder, claudia louch mineral powder, setting powder

Reduce oils and get the flawless look with Claudia Louch Mineral Loose Powder*£47.50

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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Finished Products // Would I Repurchase Any Of These?

beauty blog uk

I don't know why I've put "Jan 2015" in the picture above because it's totally not an important or relevant part of this blogpost! In fact, these were purchased and used way before January but I suppose it just so happens that I finished them this month.

This is the first time I've done an 'empties' blogpost because I've actually remembered to keep the packaging of finished products instead of chucking it out, but also because I finished these pretty much all at the same time!

lavender bath products

Arran Aromatics Feel Good Formula Bath Oil*
I received a bunch of pamper goodies from Arran Arromatics at the beginning of October and amongst them was this bath oil. Made with a blend of sandalwood and lavender, adding a few drops of this oil gives you a sense of relaxation. I love bath oils, and I've always enjoyed using them. I feel that, maybe, this sandalwood and lavender one isn't as potent as the ones I've previously tried (from Jo Malone and REN) so I've been adding more than I should. You can see from the photograph that the bottle was not completely empty at the time this picture was taken. The amount that was left was enough for two baths and since taking these shots, I've used it all up. I've been using bath oils for over a year now and it's a luxury product to enjoy but bath oils are not an essential, so I won't be treating myself to a new bottle....not until I've got some extra pennies to spare!

I've had this for ages and have become rather attached to it so I'm sad it is empty! I love this and would repurchase. It doesn't foam up a lot so I've been using it with LUSH bubble bars to create more bubbles, but the lavender in this smells strong. Alongside Arran Aromatics bath oil, I use the Kiehl's bath foam on days when I'm not feeling well or feeling stressed! The lavender works a treat!

skincare products, natural skincare products

I can not praise this product enough and when I finished it over Christmas, I was like WHAT DO I DO NOW! Nothing was pumping out but I knew there had to be something left in the bottom of the bottle, so for the past fortnight, I've been using the dregs, it's pretty empty now. It's a pricy product but well worth it, and I will be repurchasing when I've got spare money because this face oil has made my skin look and feel better. It made it feel soft and smooth as well as giving my skin a radiant glow. It's a top skin care product and has been one of my favourites for the past 6 months. Full review here.

Claudia Louch Protective Jojoba Day Moisturiser*
This is a day cream but I've been using it on the evenings too. I've used a few Claudia Louch face moisturisers before but this one which contains Jojoba is the one that has suited my skin the most. It's rich and creamy, yet light and gentle. It's a really gorgeous formula which left my skin feeling hydrated and balanced. Usually, I flit from one moisturiser to another but I used this one until it had finished. That's always a good sign!

anti-blemish products, spot treatments

I got a sample of this in Glossybox ages ago and loved it. Skinetica is an anti-blemish cleanser/toner type of product and since trying it from Glossybox, I've bought a few of these miniature sample bottles for £1 off their website. It really works in clearing my skin up and makes sure that blemishes and pimples don't appear. It's an AMAZING, effective skincare product for those who have acne as it's effective and fast acting. If you have a big day coming up and you want to make sure you don't get any nasty spots, I recommend using Skinetica alongside your usual skincare routine. I used Skinetica obsessively in the lead up to my sister's wedding in which I was bridesmaid, and I've always had a small bottle stored somewhere. After having a very quick look at their site a few days ago to check how much a full size bottle is, I noticed that they have rebranded and redesigned the bottle. I would repurchase this, I just wish it was more accessible and available in highstreet store because the only reason I've put off buying this off their website is the postage cost.

Another spot related product which I happen to finish recently. Luckily, I had this on my Christmas list so I did receive a brand spanking new one. It isn't completely empty but I didn't want to use the dregs of this because there are tiny little bits floating inside it. So gross, I know. Burt's Bees Blemish Stick is a 100% natural and herbal spot treatment (I did a review of it here). Whenever I get a spot, I dab some of the Burt's Bees Blemish Stick on it. It goes everywhere with me!

Crazy Rumors Bubblegum Lip Balm
I did a review of the lip balm here. These are my favourite and I will definitely be repurchasing it. I looove the bubblegum flavour but I think I'll try a different scent next time. As you can tell from my review in October, I am a huge fan of Crazy Rumors lip balms and I highly recommend it. It's not often that I actually finish a lip product before it has reached the end of use-by date but I went through the bubblegum one very quickly. It's an absolute essential beauty product for me during Winter and I've been using it non-stop! The Gingerbread one is on sale at the moment from Holland&Barrett for £2.62 instead of the usual £3.50. Time to stock up!

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