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Leather and Glitter

It's a tough life, without a little sparkle!

How to appear more put together

 

Hi guys! Hope you’ve all been having a fabulous time in this beautiful sunshine! It’s been pretty full-on in my life recently, what with a house move, a wedding and a funeral. Despite this, I’ve still managed to receive compliments on my appearance, which makes me more than a little happy, since clearly I look more put together than I thought. It got me thinking – what do I do to look more put together? (Even on days when I have no time to think about how I look). So I decided to write them down, and then I figured I’d share my tips with my readers, as it’s always great to share this stuff.

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Now, before we begin, I must stress that if you are comfortable in your skin, and don’t give a damn what people think, then that’s fine. Neither do I. I just like to look presentable because then I feel like less of a hot mess (and more of an organised mess). I don’t “glam” myself up for compliments, but when I receive them it always makes my day a little bit brighter.

Wear a bold lip colour

It’s a simple way to make it look like you tried harder than you did. And with so many colours to choose from at some great prices, it’s definitely easier to do than ever. Just find a colour you love and pop it on to brighten up your look.

Add something fancy to your messy hair

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Messy bun? Scraped back ponytail? Just add a gem or a flower. It instantly takes any hairstyle from drab to fab, in the blink of an eye. Dry shampoo also works wonders, but you probably already knew that!

 

Perfume!

I never leave the house without a big helping of perfume. It’s the best thing to make you feel fabulous, and when you feel fabulous, you look it too.

Wear Big, Dark Sunglasses

They make you look like an A-Lister. They can also hide the fact you’re not wearing much makeup and cover dark circles. Win!

Throw on a Statement Coat

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A statement coat can hide a multitude of sins. If the coat does the talking, the rest of your outfit doesn’t need to, and you’ll look like you’ve made some effort when all you’ve done is thrown on an extra layer.

Add Heels

You’ll look taller, more poised, and ready for business. Heels lift your head and your spirits. They don’t have to be skyscrapers either, just a simple wedge or kitten heel will add inches to your legs and miles to your overall look.

Choose an awesome accessory

Whether it’s a simple pendant, a big bold necklace, a chunky bangle, some drop earrings or a sparkly pashmina – choose something that you love, and chuck it on. My personal favourites are big bold scarves and chunky, statement necklaces. They make me feel like I put way more effort in than I actually did.

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Rock it!

Confidence can take you from stressed out to dressed up in an instant. Hold your head high and strut your stuff. At the end of the day, nobody will remember what you wore if you didn’t wear it with confidence.

So, those are my tips for looking a little more put together. Anybody got any others? Please share!

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10 Things – The Makeup Edition

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Now, I was going to make this a simple 5 things post; but since passing my makeup diploma, I’ve been buying rather a lot of makeup; and in preparation for my wedding I wanted to make sure my face looked it’s absolute best. It sort of spiralled out of control from there, but in the process I found some amazing things! Here are the ten best that I have been using lately.

  1. Max factor facefinity all day primer – £10.99 – Boots

    This stuff keeps your makeup on all day! It’s sticky (in a good way), mattifying, and goes on smoothly. If you leave it for a few seconds to go tacky before applying your foundation, it will hold it in place for hours. It is very runny when it first comes out, so you don’t need a lot. It feels refreshing on your face and once applied it blurs out most imperfections. My only fault is that it doesn’t cover rosacea, so I have to mix it with No 7. Airbrush Away Green CC primer to hide my redness.

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  2. Makeup revolution conceal and define concealer £4.00 – Superdrug

    This! Quite possibly the best concealer I’ve ever used! SO full coverage and so smooth. It blends out flawlessly and stays on for hours. It’s a bargain at £4 a tube. I’ve bought up a stockpile of these babies because they are so awesome. And their shade range is ever increasing.

  3. Maybelline fit me loose setting powder – £7.49 + 5.23 P&P – Ebay

    Nikkia Joy recommended this stuff, and it’s a total game changer! If you haven’t watched any of her tutorials or reviews, they’re totally worth a nosey. Her Australian accent is adorable and she’s so relatable. Anyway, back to the setting powder. It’s not yet available in the UK, but you can get it from eBay using the link above. It’s so finely milled and sets makeup beautifully without looking cakey. For someone with oily skin it’s worth the wait for the delivery.

  4. Makeup revolution pearl lights loose highlighter in True Gold – £5.00 – Superdrug

    Now, I never expected this. I’d been struggling with my highlight game for a while. No matter what I did, I seemed to look too matte, or WAY too shiny. I’m an oily creature, but I still want to glow (just not drip). This was the answer. I mix it with my loose setting powder to pack in the shine without making me an oil slick.

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  5. Urban decay all nighter setting spray – £10.00 – FeelUnique

    The best setting spray on the market. I’d been putting off buying it thanks to it’s hefty price tag, but when I found out it comes in a travel size, I just had to try it out. Best. Decision. Ever. I used it on my wedding day, and it kept everything in place. It didn’t feel tight like some other setting sprays do; and the spray nozzle delivers a super fine mist. It does smell a little funky but that soon disappears when it dries.

  6. BarryM mist and fix dewy finish setting spray – £4.99 – Superdrug

    I use this over the top of the Urban Decay spray, as an extra bit of shimmer. It definitely doesn’t hold like the All Nighter, but it does make your skin glow on another level. It does need a LOT of shaking and can sometimes leave a few little spots of pink glitter on your face, but a gentle dab with a sponge soon sorts that out.

  7. Maybelline lasting drama gel eyeliner – £8.99 – Superdrug

    YES! Finally an eyeliner that does both inner waterline and tightlining. It can be used for wings too if you have an ultra-thin brush. It paints on smoothly, dries slowly (which means if you make a mistake you can use a cotton bud to correct it) and smudges beautifully if you want that “Billy-Joe Armstrong in 2005” look.

  8. Makeup revolution flawless 4 palette – £8.00 – Makeup Revolution

    Now a few years ago, I HATED warm coloured eyeshadow, opting for silvers, blues and purples. Then, I tried out gold for the first time, and have been experimenting cautiously ever since. Now, I tend to opt for the warmer colours out of choice, and love the vibrant looks that can be created with them. I bought this palette to continue my experiments, and found that it’s so smooth and highly pigmented. There are a good share of more subtle colours which are great for everyday wear. The metallics are so sparkly, and can work fantastically for evening looks. Then there’s the bold, bright pinks and oranges. They blend so well and make an amazing cut crease. This palette – for anyone who likes war hues – is definitely worth buying. Especially at the price. Makeup Revolution never ceases to amaze me with their value.

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  9. BarryM holographic eyeshadow topper – £4.99 – Superdrug

    Yes. Yes. YES! These little creamy wonders turn you into a unicorn! They are translucent, duochrome creams, that come with a doefoot applicator. So far the colours are all more on the cool side. I have 3 out of the 4 available shades and use them all the time. They also look great on their own. The effect is stunning, and looks remeniscent of mermaids, unicorns and fairies – and all the other magical things that are trendy right now.

     

  10. Finishing touch flawless by JML – £19.99 – Superdrug

    OK, I know it’s not technically a makeup item, but it’s been a crucial part of my kit ever since I got it. I am so DONE with waxing, plucking and using hair removal creams that all leave my face sore, dry and red. This thing is a razor, yes; but it doesn’t make you stubbly. The hair that grows back is fine and fluffy, and it takes half the time to quickly rub away those pesky facial hairs. I still pluck my eyebrows, but for upper lip and even cheek hair (which I never realised how much I had until I removed it) this little gadget is worth every penny. It makes makeup application so much smoother and I cannot recommend this one enough.

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So, have you guys tried any of these? Will you? What are your thoughts? What are your favourite makeup products?

My Wedding Dress

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I’m an avid crafter, and I’ve been wanting to share a DIY Blog post for a loooong time. I’ve made so many things over the years, but the thing I am most proud of has to be my wedding dress. I got married in May, and while I was making the dress, I was keeping a diary so I could share with everyone. In total it took about two and a half years to make and is the biggest project I’ve ever undertaken. I couldn’t turn the diary into a blog post without losing a lot of the data, so may I present to you, my dress diary – in a Word Document.

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Would you make your own wedding dress after reading this?

Would you spend the time rather than the money?

Have you made your own wedding dress? Show me some pics!

Grandad

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On Tuesday 5th June, my family lost a wonderful man. Now I don’t want my blog to be all about death, but I feel like it’s a good outlet for my grief. I have decided, however, that I am not going to be depressing in this post (if I can help it). I am going to share with you my favourite things about my Grandad, and the best memories I have.

My Grandad was precocious, brutally honest, and hard-headed; but he was also wise, and warm and hilarious. My last memory of him was when he left my wedding and I ran after him to say goodbye. His last words to me were:

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been chased down by a young woman, especially one as beautiful as this.”

It’s a lovely last thing to remember; but from what he told me, he was the one usually doing the chasing. I remember when my sister and I stayed up late at night to hear Grandad’s stories and he told us once that he fell, while jumping over a fence to try to chase after and “impress” my Nan. I think he was trying to teach us some sort of lesson there, but all I remember was how funny it was; along with the fact that it must have worked, given that they married each other and were married for over 50 years.

Another story he told us was about his attempt at makeshift fireworks, involving a bucket and some explosives. He and a friend wanted to celebrate the war being over, but what they actually did was scare the locals into thinking the war had started again, the explosion was that loud! They left a hefty crater in the ground; and there was nothing left of that bucket either!

The earliest memories I have of him were when he used to play with my family band “the Cavaliers”, playing ceilidhs for local events like weddings. I used to fall asleep in my cot at the back of the stage while he played the melodian, my mum played the penny whistle, my dad played the bodhran and my godfather played the banjo. My Nan used to be the MC, showing people the various steps; and when I got a little older, I used to help her with that and dance the night away with my sister. He was a very musically talented man, and always encouraged my singing (even if he didn’t like some of the popular “rubbish” I listened to – he very much preferred traditional music such as folk or classical).

As I got older, he built me a swing in his garden; and later, a swing in our garden when we moved in next door. He was always good at building and restoring things; like vintage British motorcycles; and later on, a model traction engine. I do have to thank him for that. If he had not built the “Old Maid”, we would never have gone to steam rallys, and I would never have met my husband. Some of my favourite memories are when my sister and I used to be towed around on the little trailer by my Grandad’s engine. We’d spend all day going around the rally fields, and sometimes – if the weather was nice – up and down our road. When I turned sixteen and it came to the decisions I’d make for prom; I knew instantly what I wanted to take me, because I knew nobody else would be able to do something quite as unique. I turned up on that trailer, with my Grandad, my dad and my Godfather. It’s something I will never forget.

He taught me so many things throughout my life that I will always keep with me. A lesson or two here and there (like when smiling and nodding is sometimes better than arguing the toss), a few recipes (curried scrambled eggs!), how to make things, and how to play dominoes and cards. We used to spend so many evenings playing board games and cards, and I loved going to Nan and Grandad’s for games nights. His little sayings that I will probably end up using now.

So, wherever you are Grandad, I’ll see you next time. It won’t be before.

I’ll Be Back!

Hello blogosphere! It’s been a while.

I’m quite chuffed to see that I have a few more followers now, so hello to you! Thank you for your interest, it really makes me smile to see my rambling is reaching (and hopefully entertaining?) more people.

It’s time for an update, as it’s been so long since my last post. We moved house, finally! Since putting our house on the market last june it’s been a bit of a rocky road but we’re in, and settling down nicely. I have a great space for being creative and once it’s fully operational I’m pretty sure there’ll be some more blog posts featuring my craft room. I’m also now a wife! Yep, me and my fiance tied the knot and he’s now my husband! Boy it feels weird to type that. Here’s a sneak preview the professional photographer sent me:

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I haven’t had all the photos back yet but I’ll be sure to share them when I do. Also, FYI I made that dress. Another big post to follow on that soon!

So I have a ton of ideas for new blog posts – quite a few of them wedding themed – and I planned to start posting at the weekend, but life, as usual, got in the way. Right now, I need to put my family first, as there’s a lot of unfortunate stuff going on that I’m not ready to write about. So basically, this post is a “holding” post, to keep you all interested and let you know I’m still here! (Sort of).

There will definitely be more posts soon, but until then, thanks for reading.

In the words of the Terminator: “I’ll Be Back!”

P.S. Does anyone else LOVE those films?… Just me?…

Grateful

Over Christmas I read a story. You might have read it too. It’s called “Cat Person” by Kristen Roupenian and it went slighty viral.

It was quite a tough read. I was continuously worrying where the story would go. And when it ended I was left with a myriad of mixed feelings – shock, relief, sadness, anger, but mainly, gratitude. Not for that story. Not for what the story contained. But for the fact that I will never have to go through anything like that. Or at least, I don’t plan on it; as I’m getting married this year.

It made me realise just how grateful I am for the relationship I have with my Fiancé. And it got me thinking about everything else I am grateful for. The fact that I have a job, a roof over my head, healthy food to eat, and a support network of friends and family whom I know I could rely on if I needed to.

So although I don’t always say it; although I probably don’t show it enough; and although I sometimes take these things in my life for granted; I know that I am grateful.

It’s amazing what we take for granted in our busy lives, and how easy it is to do it. But I’m going to make sure that when I’m feeling down, or I long for something I don’t have, I remember Cat Person. And I feel just a little bit grateful that I’m not Margot.

Thank you.

“Natural” Makeup

Hi guys! It’s been a hell of a long time since I published a post so I figured I’d better get typing! It’s been crazy over here in Leather and Glitter world, with my wedding fast approaching and now a house move on the horizon as well, it’s been non stop. I’ve finally got a spare few minutes to get some words on a screen, so I thought I’d share with you a few tips and tricks for a natural, glowing look that requires minimal effort. Sound good? Great, let’s do this!

Another reason for the radio silence might also have something to do with the fact that I’ve been studying hard, and have now passed a diploma in makeup artistry. Woop! I have no idea what – if anything – I’ll do with it, aside from be able to say “I’m now a qualified Makeup Artist” and to frame my certificate on the mantlepiece… But I did learn a few techniques I wanted to share with you all about the “Natural” Look.

I was always on the fence about this look for so long because I love wearing makeup – and lots of it (check out my instagram if you don’t believe me). But I have had to come to terms with the fact that a day at the office does not call for a full face of megawatt glamour and glitter. *Sobs dramatically*

Enter the natural look. Using only six (yes, you read that right, SIX) products, your face can look just a little bit less tired and a little bit more “I woke up like this, honest!”

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The first step is a do-everything base. A lot of people like BB creams, and I’m one of them (Rimmel 9-in-one is my all time fave!)- however if you have skin that’s on the drier side then a tinted moisturiser with plenty of hyaluronic acid will do nicely. It’s simply a case of rubbing it in with your fingers like you would a moisturiser. This will NOT fully cover blemishes, dark circles, rosacea and freckles. It simply blends everything in, so your skin looks dewy and natural, and the imperfections fade to a less obvious state in the background. If you feel you need extra coverage, add a concealer, but most days, I skip this step.

I have also had a go at making my own tinted moisturiser. There’ll be more on how that went later.

The next step is your brows. I use two brow products – one to fill them in, and one to define them. The pencil I use is a shade lighter than my natural brows, so they don’t look too severe. Natural is the key here, not power brows. My favourite pencil is the Rimmel Professional Eyebrow Pencil in Hazel. The fact that it has a brush on the lid is a Godsend. It, like the BB Cream, this has been a staple in my everyday makeup bag since the beginning. I dot it in the sparse areas and blend it out with the brush. Then I apply a darker gel with a spoolie. My current favourite is W7’s Majestic brow mascara, in brown, as it’s a beautiful cool tone and the applicator is so precise.

After the brows, I add a quick smudge of a chocolate coloured eyeshadow in my eye creases. I have so many of them, it’s hard to recall which is my favourite, but I do favour the stick variety on those days when I’m in a rush, as there’s no applicator needed. Just sweep, smudge and go. Hello Maybelline!

The last eye product is mascara. I’m slightly addicted to W7’s Absolute Lashes, as it gives them a little volume and definition, without looking like I’ve applied ten tonnes of mascaras. I’ve heard it’s a dupe for Benefit’s “They’re Real” but I’ve not tried this so can’t really comment.

Lastly, I apply a tint to my lips and cheeks. My favourites are the genie from BarryM, and a new contender, Maybelline’s Baby Balm and Blush. They both give a delicate tint to lips and cheeks without it looking like you’ve applied a product. The Genie is a stronger colour and lasts much longer on the lips, but the balm is more moisturising and great for a dewy look.

So there you have it. A nice, fixed up look that takes all of five minutes to apply and makes you look naturally flawless as opposed to a hot mess! (We’ve al been there – or is it just me?)

Do you have any tips for looking “Naturally” flawless in a short time?

Drop me a comment!

 

PMDD

So, lets talk abut hormones. They can sometimes be quite useful, but when they get out of control, they can be vicious.

As a woman, I’ve always found it difficult to talk about my menstrual cycle, because at school we learned early on that they it was a taboo subject, that had to be talked about in secret, and never mentioned in front of boys. Thankfully, I was always able to talk about it with my mum, which was great, but as I moved into adulthood, it became increasingly uncomfortable to talk about with anyone. Since starting to blog, I’ve realised that women are using the internet to vent, and to talk about issues which are specific to them. So that is exactly what I’m going to do here, starting with my story.

About four years ago, I was struggling with my moods. I started to wonder what was wrong with me. I’d be fine one minute and the next I’d be angry, and then I’d be sad. But over time, the symptoms got worse. Anger became a burning rage – so much so that I’d be close to pulling a knife. I’d scream at my fiancé for the smallest of things and we’d keep having the same fights. When I got sad, I wasn’t just a little bit teary, I was in a state of deep depression. It could last an hour, it could last a week, but it was getting so bad that I struggled with my normal, everyday tasks.

When I went to the doctors the first time, they recommended St. Johns Wort. Needless to say, it didn’t work. At this stage I had an inkling it was my periods causing the meltdowns, but I couldn’t be sure. I then decided to take the doctors next suggestion – the pill. This seemed to work for a few months, but then I was back to feeling like I did before. Except this time, I was sure it was related to my cycle. The pill made my periods predictable, and therefore I knew exactly when I would start to feel terrible. Exactly one week before my period, the symptoms would start. And as soon as my period began, the symptoms ended and I was back to being me again.

On my most recent trip to the doctors at the end of last year, they ran some blood tests to check my hormone levels. There was nothing on my test results to suggest I had any underlying issues, but I was told about PMDD. Pre-Menstrual dysphoric disorder. It was a breakthrough. In short, it’s PMS, but amplified. It made so much sense! I finally knew that it wasn’t all in my head like I so often felt it was.

So I started 2018 with a much more positive outlook, as I’m now taking Fluoxetine for 10 days before my period. The first couple of days on my first cycle were rough going but this second month, I feel a thousand times better.

Now I’m not looking for sympathy. Not by any means. I just wanted to share with you my story, so you could see that if you suffer with your periods, you can get help. I’m not saying that medication is the answer for everyone, but PMS and PMDD are becoming so much more recognised now as genuine medical conditions than they used to. And if you’re not happy with the outcome, ask for a second opinion. I changed my GP to a female and it just so happens that she takes medication for her PMS too. I feel like it’s time we stopped blaming our hormones and started tackling them.

Here’s to feeling better.

eSalon

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I mentioned eSalon a while ago in my first “5 Things” Blog post; but felt as though they didn’t get the credit they deserved. I’m now on my third dye from them (time flies!); and I couldn’t be happier with everything so far. So I’m going to go a little more in depth with my eSalon experience and give you some insights if you are thinking of colouring your hair.

So I’ve always been a DIY hairdresser. My future Sister-in-Law is a professional hairdresser, and she used to hate me for it in my teen years when I was a little more… experimental. But since I’ve been playing around with my hair for over a decade, I’ve learned a few things. Unfortunately, some mistakes took longer to recover from than others and after a second run of becoming a “suicide blonde”, which resulted in half of my hair falling out and the other half going dry and brittle, as well as very coppery – despite the huge amount of ashy dyes I put on my hair – I decided enough was enough.

I made a brave move, and decided on a new years resolution to stop dyeing my hair. I then took steps to take much better care of it, including low-sulphate and sulphate free shampoos, silicone free conditioners; and henna treatments from Lush to keep the colour vibrant.

After two years, my hair started to feel fuller and thicker again. Not to mention glossy and lightweight, thanks to the lack of silicone build-up from those disgusting, greasy conditioners. The only problem was the colour! The bad bleach job was coming through on my ends, and my roots were quite dark in comparison. I had a ginger ombré thing going on which is not what I was aiming for. At. All. I looked at salon prices online for a quote to restore it to a nice natural colour, and the cost was somewhere in the regions of £80 – £90, because of the length of my hair (waist length). Sh*t! I thought. I’m not made of money! So I hit my old faithful in times of meed – google – with the hopes it would provide the answer. I searched for “Custom made hair colour online”, keen to get something a little more tailor-made to me, and not go back to those pesky packet-dyes. The first result was eSalon. I read some reviews and found out that although they are based in the USA, they ship to the UK and it’s free if you spend over £20 on products.

The process of signing up was fairly straightforward. I answered a handful of detailed questions about my hair colour, hair treatment history, hair type, and even my eye colour, and then wrote a fairly lengthy message about what I hoped to achieve from colouring my hair. I attached a photo of my terrible ombré hair and chose my desired colour. It cost around £30 for my first box, because I also purchased a sulphate free, strengthening shampoo, and a toolkit for dyeing which included a tinting bowl and brush, some clips and a timer. It took just under two weeks to arrive, and I signed up for the subscription service to dye my hair every eight weeks as I knew it wouldn’t damage it so much if I did it less often. You are also able to opt for a one-off colour, but it costs more for each product if you do.

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So, when the package arrived I was excited and nervous. I hadn’t put any colour on my hair for two years, and I had a bad experience back then. But I was sure it would be OK as these people who made this dye made it for me, and they were professionals, right? Right. I followed the easy-to-read instructions (that come with a handy sticker so you can put them up on a wall for hands free reading – a huge bonus BTW) which were customised to my specially made formula, and watched a bunch of handy how-to videos as I went along. The toolkit really came in handy at this point and I was glad I ordered it. The result was a beautifully natural brown shade that was exactly the same colour from root to tip. Finally!

After several washes, I noticed the colour was going slightly too warm, and as my roots started to come through, I realised just how light the shade was, so I asked if they could make the next batch of dye more ashy and darker. They complied and my current colour is so close to my natural colour that I struggle to see when the roots grow out.

The customer service is fantastic – I even asked for some advice about scalp care as I suffer from dandruff from time to time – they suggested coconut oil, which works really well to soothe without damaging the colour.

All in all, I would 100% recommend eSalon as it’s so much more affordable, and with a little practise, colouring your hair at home is a doddle. It’s so much better than using a drugstore dye as it’s made especially for you. I love how sleek and well thought out everything is, from the packaging, to the website, to the instructions. I also love how easy and affordable it all is, and I absolutely LOVE my colour.

I’m looking at trying a lighter shade and using lightlab – eSalon’s version of DIY Balayage – after my wedding in the spring, and hoping eSalon can do it without making me ginger again. Fingers crossed. I’ll let you all know how it goes.

Have you ever used eSalon? What did you think? Will you try it now? Let me know in the comments below.

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