Baking For the Lazy (Or Busy)

Baking. I’m sure all of us have dabbled into the world of baking at least once right ? Whether it’s something you do whenever you have some free time, or you just use the ready made mixes once in a while (ahem, moi), it’s always fun & satisfying to enjoy something you’ve made. I have always wanted to invest more time into baking so I can get REALLY good at it, but sometimes time is just not on your side (boo). With working full time, and spending every weekend doing the things I can’t during the week, I barely have spare time to put aside for hobbies like baking – meaning I usually delve into the shop made stuff (which we all know is never as yummy right?).

Now, there is something about the colder months that just makes you want more sweet, homemade things right? I think it’s the idea of having everything with a huge hot chocolate that gets me every time. Guys, is there anything better than a homemade cake with a marshmallow topped hot chocolate after you’ve been outside in the cold all day? Definitely not. This is why I was so chuffed when Dr Oetker contacted me about some new products they had launched (and yes, I was shaking with excitement when I received the email!).

So – Dr Oetker itself is always the brand I know everyone can trust when it comes to baking. My sister (an avid baker) is always picking up their products when she has something special to make, so I knew I was in for a treat. I received their ‘Bake in the Box’ loaf cake mixes, which sounded like they’d be perfect for me.

 
So, on Saturday morning I got set on baking them. I received 3 flavours, Double Chocolate, Banana & Choc Chip & Lemon & Poppy Seed, and decided to bake 2 of them, and save one for later. I went for the chocolate (obviously) and lemon. So, all the instructions called for was to preheat the oven, remove the lid from the box, pour in some milk, whisk it up, and bake. That’s all. No mess, no mixing bowls, no awkward measuring, no greasing – it literally took me 5 minutes. I then popped it in the oven and went about doing some laundry, and then came back around 25 minutes later to TWO FRESHLY BAKED LOAF CAKES. I then let them cool, removed them from their baking boxes and served. Safe so say they didn’t last long.

 
My thoughts on the Double Chocolate

 
The recipe used a little bit more milk than the other & required some more baking time (only around 5 minutes), but I think that was due to it having chocolate chips/a more fudgy texture. This one was DEFINITELY my favourite. I have always been a fan of chocolate cake, and this was no exception. It is not too sickly, and I loved the fact that it had chocolate chips in too.

My thoughts on the Lemon & Poppy Seed

 
There is nothing better than a little bit of lemon cake every now and again. I am a massive fan of lemon drizzle, and knew I’d love this lemon loaf cake too. It was SO yummy, and had a lovely, subtle citrus flavour with the right amount of poppy seeds. Nom.

I am definitely a massive fan of this bake in the box range and how quick and easy it is. Especially on those evenings when you want something homemade but don’t have the energy to fully bake something. I think they would also work a treat if you have some last minute guests coming round and want something sweet to have with a cuppa. I also loved that I could make both a chocolate & a lemon cake in literally no time at all (as my mum is not a fan of chocolate). In fact, I still have the banana and chocolate chip one left – which after writing this post up am going to bake as I am now CRAVING cake. How people cope when posting a lot of baking blog posts I do not know! Make sure to have a quick peek on Dr Oetker’s website here to see what they have on offer too

 
Quick life update before I go – I am working on a post after this one as to where I’ve been and why my blogging schedule has recently gone down the toilet. I am sure you’ll all understand! I am also looking into updating my blog (which I looked into a while ago but just never got round to), so will of course keep you up to speed on all of that too! I don’t think my lack of inspiration is also helped by the fact that I’ve not done anything exciting with my blog since starting (!!). Watch this space ey?

Love, Saira xx

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How To Motivate Yourself To Blog

Do you ever get those days where you want to sit down and write down all the blog posts you have in mind – but it just does not happen. No matter how much you want to, the words just don’t come. Your motivation is non existent, and everything else just seems so distracting. You spend hours scrolling through the internet, watching cat videos & conspiracy theories (ahem, not me), but you know you should be typing up that review of your new makeup brushes…

Now – in the (almost) 2 years I’ve been blogging (wow has it been that long?!), I have found that certain things really help me get in the right blogging mind, not just the inspiration side but also writing. Of course – whenever I find certain things that help me blogwise -it’s always a good idea to share them. I know that most bloggers go through the same thing (we rant about it on Twitter all the time right guys) – so ya gal here as got some things that can help you feel inspired & motivated when you are in a bit of a slump.

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Have a blog set up

For some people, they can find the inspiration to write anywhere – whether that is on the bus/train, on their lunch break or on the sofa whilst watching TV. For me – I need a proper set up. I’m talking cosy pillows & blankets, a cuppa & plenty of candles & fairy lights. Even in the summer, I love having candles & a warm drink. I find just being in this sort of chilled environment helps me stay motivated and want to write. It also inspires me to come up with ideas too. If I’m ever feeling a little lost for ideas, I just get in my cosy environment & think about the things that have effected me recently & what I’ve been loving – and some ideas always spring into my head !

Pinterest is your SAVIOUR

Pinterest has so many ideas & inspiration – if I’m ever stuck for ideas I always have a trawl through Pinterest. Whether it is inspo for some post ideas or blog/Instagram shots – Pinterest always has something to help. Plus – making season themed boards is SO much fun – have you SEEN the Autumn ones?!

Sometimes your thoughts/feelings are the best posts

For a while, I’d only feel motivated to blog if I had new beauty products/an interesting, hot topic to post about – simply because I felt like that was what brought in the most views. This eventually made me stress out when I didn’t have anything ‘exciting’ to post about. Then one day – I just literally sat down & wrote a whole blog post about everything that was on my mind. It was almost like a diary entry – and I posted it – and not only did it get a good response, but I felt like a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders too. I actually LOVE reading personal, diary-like blog posts too – I think they help you really connect with the blogger too. So, don’t feel disheartened if you don’t have any new products to talk about – your thoughts are enough loves.

Read other blogs & gain inspiration 

Now – I’m not saying go and copy another bloggers post idea – they probably worked their ass off to not only come up with the idea, but to put the whole thing together. But – getting inspiration from other blog posts is definitely a way to motivate yourself and get some ideas. I always feel so out of the loop when I don’t read other blogs, so I always make sure I set aside some time every few days to have a scroll through my fave blogs. Funnily enough – I always find I miss writing blog posts when I read others – so that always helps me get motivated!

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Lastly – blog for YOURSELF & because you LOVE it

Sometimes – no matter what you do – the words/motivation just don’t come to you. If this happens to me, I find taking a few days out really helps. This usually leads me to find inspiration and realise how much I miss blogging. Also – blog because you LOVE to, not because you’re trying to get the next PR package or some extra followers. Blogging is so much fun & it should be something that you do to relax & unwind – but if it is becoming something that stresses you, it’s time to take a few days out. Trust me – you will come back feeling more motivated than ever!

There we have it – a few little pointers that I always find help motivate and inspire me to write when I am having one of those rubbish, slump moments with my blog. If you have other tips you use – make sure to let me know !

Guys – I can’t even tell you how excited I am for the next few months – it is almost AUTUMN – I am already planning my “reasons to be excited for Autumn” post – as well as some other content. I have a few Summer themed posts coming up – then it is ALL about Autumn (how many times did I say Autumn then!?).

Take care m’loves – and I will see you all in my next post!

Love, Saira x

Where the HELL have I been?!

Hi. It’s me *waves awkwardly*. Bloody hell has it been a while since I’ve been here. I thought it’d only make sense to post a little something explaining where I’ve been before getting back into it! Right now I’m cosied up in my bedroom with all my fairy lights on. Literally perfect blogging set up too right ?

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So – where on earth have I been? In all honesty, I’ve not gone anywhere. I’ve been right here. But oh my goodness have I been busy. These past few weeks have literally flashed right before my eyes. Firstly – Ramadan finished which meant a few days of Eid celebrations. Then, we had a few very warm weekends where I spent the time with my family enjoying the rare sunshine we get. I’d have been daft not too right? Then, my birthday started to come around – and of course for that I planned a huge garden party, which was a massive success (wooo!). Full blog post on this to follow guys! Again – the planning and prep of that kept me quite busy too. I have also joined the gym so spend a few of my evenings after work there! Speaking of work – that has literally been manic too which in turn has left me feeling exhausted when I get home. All I literally have the energy for is getting some dinner & watching Love Island – which to be fair is another thing that has distracted me away from blogging. Ha. It’s almost over too which I am thinking is going to be bitter sweet for me (boo!).

I basically just had a lot going on these past few weeks and lost my routine. But I’m getting back on track. I spent the whole of yesterday organising my room and putting away all my shopping from the past few weeks & my birthday gifts from last week! I have the biggest pile of ironing to tackle and a million blog photos to take – as well as so many post ideas to write ! My Instagram has also not been touched in a while – so I need to take a whole load of pictures for that! I’m getting there – slowly but surely!

I’m sure it happens to everyone once in a while ey? Life just gets on top of you and unfortunately that means my blog has had to take a back seat for the past few weeks. But I am back and determined to get myself back into the whole blogging lifestyle again. I’ve had a lot of scrolls through Twitter recently and seeing all the posts you guys are coming up with is just motivating  me to get some bangin’ content created (soz for the Love Island lingo).

Anyways – I hope that explains a little bit of where I’ve been. I’m gonna leave it there and get back into writing some new content for y’all. Keep your eyes peeled for some exciting stuff!

Lots of love,

Saira

Xxx

Travel Tips & What To Do – Amsterdam

Hey hey

Well .. thanks for coming back. If you’re reading this it’s probably because a) You are considering going to the beaut place that is Amsterdam, b) You have just come back and are having serious Dam withdrawal symptoms (ahem.. moi) or c) You love my blog and want to read every post I put up (LOL, I’m kidding.. but if so I love you lots & you da best). Recently, Amsterdam has become THE place to visit for a short city break, and it is definitely not hard to see why. There is SO much to do (seriously), it can be hard to cram everything in if you are only visiting for a few days. Now… I did plenty of research before I went and picked out the places I really wanted to see. Of course … I had a list as long as my arm of the things I wanted to do.. but because I was only there for 3 days, had to cut down. BUT… I thought it would be a fab (and very helpful) idea if I shared some of these things too. Also – to give a few general tips that could help some of you who are going there. So .. grab yourself a cuppa and let’s talk all about Amsterdam !

 
Things to do

Museums

There are SO many museums to visit in Amsterdam, if you wanted you could spend your entire trip wandering through all the museums. There is one for everyone .. if you fancy a giggle, try the Sex Museum (I never went in there myself but every single person who has been in recommends it highly!). It only costs around 5 euros to get in and is a good way to pass some time! It’s right next to the train station too so very easy to reach. Whilst I was there, I went to the Body Works Museum.. which is definitely not for the faint hearted. It has actual bodies that people have donated to that museum for their exhibitions and is FASCINATING to see .. especially if you love creepy things (me hahaha). It cost us 16 euros each to get in but it’s a pretty decent size and has so much to see! Next .. if you really want to get a feel of Amsterdam, you have to visit the Amsterdam Museum .. it has all the history of the city and so many things to see. If you want to learn all about the two things that Amsterdam is notoriously known for (ahem.. weed & prostituion), there are specific museums for that too, both of which cost a couple of euros to get in. There are also museums for the art/culture lovers, such as the Van Gogh Museum & the Rijksmuseum (find proper spelling), which are both a tram ride away from the city centre. All in all.. there is a museum for every single person in Amsterdam, so you’re sure to find something you’re interested in.

Anne Frank House

I thought I would talk about this separately as unlike the regular museums, you will most likely have to queue for a few hours if you want to visit on the day without booking, and even then you can only go in after 3pm. SO – best thing to do if you want to go? Book in advance. Literally like 2 months in advance – as tickets go live online for 2 months ahead and they DO fill up. It costs exactly the same to book online (9 euros), and you have to select a time slot of when you are visiting. When I visit Amsterdam again, I will definitely book the trip & the Anne Frank House at the same time. I suggest you do the same, as even though I booked my trip a month before, there were still some slots available (which I stupidly didn’t book at the time, gahhh).

 

Food

I could honestly babble on about the food for SO LONG because honestly whatever type of food you want, there is something for you. They have restaurants, takeaways, street food, breakfast places, a whole China Town, and SO many dessert places too. It really depends on what you want, but I am going to tell you about my favourite places we visited.

Pancakes!

Amsterdam is so well known for its pancakes, and if you love them you have visit Pancakes. Prepare to queue, but you shouldn’t be waiting that long! It is definitely worth the wait – I had probably the best pancakes EVER from here. They have every option too, crepe, Dutch, American.. and all the toppings you could want. Also – try their homemade lemonade, it’s DELICIOUS. The staff were amazing, the food was fab and I highly reccomend planning a visit there. It is pretty reasonably priced too, which is always a plus. You get a little clog keyring when you pay which made me happy – it’s the little things ey.

 
Omelegg

If you are a lover of omelettes (let’s be real, who isn’t), then a trip to Omelegg is definitely on the cards. Again, probably the best omelettes I had and there is literally every single type of omelette you could ever want. It’s reasonably priced too, and again the staff are just amazing.

 

Amsterdam Fries

You HAVE to try fries from Amsterdam, and trust me you will see these little street food shops everywhere in central, and there WILL be queues, but it’s fast food so you won’t be waiting long. Basically you get some fries in paper with literally any sauce imaginable, and they will be the nicest fries you will have EVER. I’m thinking about them now wishing I could have them *cries*.

 
For dinner, we had no issues finding halal/vegatarian friendly food too which was a massive plus. It really depends of what type of thing you want for dinner, as I mentioned you can find ANY type of food there, so it’s always good to have a wander during the day to see where you want to dine in the evening!

Sights to see

Vondelpark

I had to include this as it really is one of the most beautiful parks ever. Think of it has a Hyde Park or Central Park of Amsterdam. It’s absolutely HUGE, was FULL of cherry blossom when I went (blogger goals), and if you want, you can rent a bike and just spend a whole afternoon cycling around. Also – it is pretty close to LOTS of restaurants/pancake places so you can make a day trip out of it!

Begijnhof

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This is basically a courtyard in the middle of Amsterdam where you can visit if you want some peace for an hour or so. It is about 15 minutes on tram from central and is definitely worth seeing. You honestly feel like you have stepped into a whole new city when you go inside. It is also pretty close to the Amsterdam museum so you could fit in both of these in one afternoon.

Red Light District


Honestly? It’s not as notorious as you might think – it’s a pretty interesting sight to see. We went there during the day and night, and it’s amazing to see the difference! During the day, it’s just like any other of the canals, but by night it literally comes alive. If you really want, you can book a tour where you can have entry to one of the museums I mentioned earlier, or you can just take a stroll at your own pace. Also – do NOT take pictures of the ladies – there was a specific place at the top of the discrict near a bridge where people seemed to gather to take some pictures …. but you should avoid taking them anywhere else.

Keukenhof

If you visit Amsterdam during the months of late March – May, you should definitely plan a visit to Keukenhof. This is where the famous tulip gardens are and its around 45 minutes outside of Amsterdam. You can easily get a train out or there are tours that you can book. If I had an extra day, I would have definitely gone because it really is a breath taking, beautiful site to see!

Canal cruises

If you want a pretty chilled tour of Amsterdam, canal cruises are the way to go. We didn’t get a chance to go on one as the weather wasn’t the nicest, and we just had so many other things planned! You can get tours where you have dinner, romantic tours during the sunset, or just standard tours … whatever you are after you’ll find something. They do get quite busy though, but as there are so many to choose from you shouldn’t be waiting too long.

 
Right – I think that will be all for the ‘things to do’ bit – I could honestly go on for ages but I think I’ll save that for another time right?

So – now some general tips for Amsterdam .. things that I found helpful and that could help you too!

Get a Travel Ticket

 
These are so handy and something that you can pick up from the airport. It basically allows you to get on any train, tram, bus & ferry in central Amsterdam (including ferries to North Amsterdam which we used it for) and it cost us 26 euros for 3 days. You can also get one for 1 or 2 days (obviously cheaper depending on the days you need). It is so much easier and cheaper having one ticket for your whole trip rather than purchasing a new one each day.

Beware of cyclists

As Amsterdam use the opposite side of the road to the UK, looking to one side of the road can usually mean you miss a cyclist on the opposite side (or is that just me LOL). Basically look left, right then left again. Amsterdam locals are so so lovely, but they can get pretty annoyed if you rush into a bike lane (anybody would to be honest), so just watch where you walk. Also – only rent out a bike in the city if you are a confident cyclist. I personally would not because I wouldn’t be quick enough to cycle on roads – save the bike hire for Vondelpark.

 
Make sure to try takeaway stroopwafels/crepes/churros

Trust me… you will not forgive yourself if you leave Amsterdam without trying one of the above. They just taste SO GOOD.. and I had so many whilst I was out there. Calories don’t count on holidays guys.

Visit the SIX FLOOR PRIMARK

Yes you read right – 6 floor Primark. It’s amazing and I wish wish we had a Primark that big. Every single thing you’ve seen in a Primark is there… and if I had some extra space in my luggage I would have stocked up on some goodies!

Be prepared for the smell of weed everywhere

Although smoking weed is preferred in coffee shops, it’s not illegal to smoke it in public places, so you will continuously smell it whilst wandering round Amsterdam. Just be prepared. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Try the cheese

There are SO many cheese shops in central and more or less all of them offer testers of their cheese. It is SO worth trying because it was probably some of the best cheese I’d tried. If you have some space in your suitcase, bring some back. You won’t regret it.

You don’t have to stay in Central

I know so many people say you should find a hotel in Central as you are closer to all the attractions .. but this doesn’t have to be the case. We stayed at the Mercure Sloterdijk Station Hotel, and it was SO handy as the train station was a 2 minute walk away. Trains from there to Central were every 5 minutes. I would highly recommend the hotel too as it was really quiet, affordable and had great connections to the city.

 
Phew … I think that’s everything on my list!? I loved Amsterdam so so much and definitely HIGHLY RECOMMEND going as I know you will love it too! It’s a pretty affordable place to visit and you will find so much to do!

If you have ANY questions, just let me know and I will be happy to help!

Hope you found this post helpful! Have a fab week guys – I love you lots!

Saira

Xx

Travel Diary – Amsterdam

Hi GUYS

How ya’ll doing? Hope you have had the best week EVER. Been up to much ? If you follow me on practically any social media – you will know that I recently went to the ever so popular, BEAUT city of Amsterdam. Oh yes. One of the most popular places to visit ATM – especially amongst my fellow blogging gals. In fact – booking a city break and travelling to Amsterdam was actually on my Spring bucket list (ahem – post here if you fancy a gander) – and I was SO chuffed to tick it off!

So – as I was saying, unless you’ve been avoiding me on Twitter (hope not) you will know that I went to Amsterdam over the May Day bank holiday – and as the typical blogger would do – am writing up my travel diary for you (WOOP). Now – I have decided to incorporate a travel series on my blog – so will be doing a few posts on my trip, so keep your eyes peeled for those.

For now though – a quick run through of what I got up to, with plenty of shots of one of the most picturesque places I’ve EVER visited.

Day 1

Armed with our bags, we scuttled off to Leeds Bradford Airport and boarded our flight to Amsterdam, which only took 50 minutes (I couldn’t even fit an episode of 13 Reasons Why on it). We arrived at Schipol Airport around 4pm & got the train to Sloterdijk Station. We stayed at the Mercure Hotel just opposite there, so getting the train to central was an absolute doddle (literally took around 8 minutes).

After settling in to our hotel, we freshened up and headed out to central Amsterdam to explore. It honestly is one of the most beautiful places. It sounds odd but I found it one of the most lively, yet calm places ever. There was so much going on, but I never once felt stressed walking around. We were absolutely starving so found a cute Turkish restaurant to have dinner (you will be spoilt for choice -there is SO much to eat!), and then explored the centre a little bit more. We also found ourselves walking down the Red Light District too (don’t judge – hear me out guys), and I found it so fascinating to walk around. It didn’t have that ‘seedy’ feel to it that I thought it would, and honestly it was more of a tourist attraction than anything else. Prepare for a lot of ‘live show’ adverts & naughty shops though. Lol. After that – we scoped out where we’d be having breakfast the next morning, then headed back to our hotel.

Also – when booking the hotel I only selected a ‘room’ option – as there were SO many breakfast places that I wanted to try rather than just having what the hotel would serve (quick tip there for you).

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Day 2

We had a little bit of a lie in then headed out on the train to central again for breakfast. I’d planned on having breakfast at the famous Pancakes – which there was actually a queue OUTSIDE for. But luckily we only waited around 15 minutes until we were seated. The pancakes were INSANE though and pretty reasonably priced too which was fab! After – we hopped on a ferry to North Amsterdam (which we could get with the travel ticket – more on that in my tips post!) and found a cute little cafe where we hung out for a while & for some lunch. Then, we got the ferry back to central & went to the Body Worlds museum – which was FANTASTIC. It is literally a museum with real human bodies that people have ‘donated’ and they have been preserved so you can see every single bit! It sounds creepy but it’s amazing and such an interesting place to see. We then got some fries (which Amsterdam is popular for and DAMN were they good) and then went back to the hotel for a quick rest, before heading back out to central for some dinner and another wander round! And yes as you can probably tell, we ate A LOT. I actually went past the Anne Frank museum – which unfortunately I couldn’t get into as it was SO busy, but it was just nice to see it in person. I love Anne Frank and her story and am definitely looking at going again so I can actually visit the museum next time.

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Day 3

Our last day (boo!). We visited a place called Omelegg for breakfast which is again a very popular place – and I can honestly say it was one of the nicest breakfasts I’ve ever had! As you can probably tell by the name, they serve up omelettes (literally any one that you can imagine), and it was SO GOOD. The interior was also so adorable, but again this was quite busy too. We did have to queue to get a seat but we were seated pretty quickly, and it was worth the wait! After – we headed to a place called Beginhof, which is a courtyard in the middle of central Amsterdam where nun’s actually live, but it is open to the public to visit. This was a highly recommended place as it is so peaceful & beautiful, despite being in the centre of the city. I would highly suggest checking it out if you want to get away from the hustle & bustle for a while. We then walked around the gardens of Amsterdam museum for a while, before getting on a tram to Vondelpark. Ahh guys … the park. I feel as though this is Amsterdam’s version of Central Park in NYC (despite me never visiting New York LOL), it is definitely a beautiful place and if we’d had enough time, we would have rented some bikes out to ride around (as it was a BEAUT day). Unfortunately, time was ticking so we headed back to central, where we got some souvenirs and churros (which were SO good), and then made our way to the airport.

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So – that was my short but very eventful trip to Amsterdam. I regretted not going for a canal boat ride, but we just did not have the time *cries*. Amsterdam is definitely a city where you are never short of things to do – and I am hoping to take another trip soon to visit other places such as the Anne Frank House & the outer regions (where the popular windmills & cheese farms are!) OH- we also managed to taste a lot of cheese whilst we were there in one of the many cheese shops (yum).

Right guys – I hope you enjoyed this travel diary of my trip! As I’ve said I will do another post with tips where I’ll go into detail about getting around Amsterdam, things you have to do and just some general helpful things! If you are thinking of visiting, I would 100% reccomend as there is SO much to see and do, whether you fancy a chilled out break or one spending your time in the coffee shops (hehe), or exploring all the history & museums!

Let me know if you liked this post – and also if you’ve been to Amsterdam! I’d love to know and see your posts if you have done any!

I’ll see you all in my next one – have an amazing weekend!

Lots of LOVE

Saira xxxxx

Fuss Free Mother’s Day – Gift Ideas & Things To Do

Happy Sunday loves…

So.. Mother’s Day is right around the corner – and I thought it would be the perfect time to write up my first ever gift guide ! But of course – I wanted to do something a little bit different (as you do!). For me, Mother’s Day is more about being a fuss free day that you spend with your mum making memories & just making sure she feels as loved as she deserves. So.. I’m going to share with you my fool-proof Mother’s Day gift ideas that just cannot go wrong, as well as some activities that will definitely create some wonderful memories with the most special woman in your life!

Beauty Goodies

Every woman loves being pampered, especially your momma ladies. Of course, my favourite place when it comes to beauty goodies? Lush! And obviously they have the most amazing gift sets EVER all themed around Mother’s Day, including the ‘Mum’* set, which includes 6 products set around pampering herself from head to toe. You can never go wrong with Lush goodies – and guaranteed your mum will absolutely adore them too!


Caudalie Products

I have loved Caudalie products for so so long – they are such good quality and have a whole range of skincare items designed for every single skin type out there. They are a SUCH a good quality brand and I can definitely see every mum out there loving their products. It’s always nice to treat your mum to some new skincare bits (or stock up on some of her known faves!). I love that Caudalie ranges from really luxury items (such as their Premier Cru Du Cream) to a more affordable range (Vine Active Anti-Aging Range*). Highly recommend checking them out loves, as they have some stunning gift sets, as well as some Spa Gift Vouchers – which your momma definitely deserves!

 

Sweet Treats

Of course – you can never go wrong with some good old chocolates ey? But why not take it up a notch and order a handmade gift tin from the EVER so popular Biscuteers*? Ahh… I am so sure you have seen these stunning biscuits around, and they have the most amazing range of Mother’s Day themed gift tins. Whether your mum loves flowers, afternoon tea or sewing … there are themed biscuits for all these and more! I was lucky enough to be sent a flower themed biscuit tin and they are honestly the most beautiful biscuits I have ever seen. They are for my mum but I may have sneakily eaten one myself (shhh!), and I can confirm they taste bloody yummy. Definite, fool proof gift idea guys – I don’t know who wouldn’t be chuffed to receive these as a gift.

 

Perfume

Ahhhh perfumes are one of the easiest (but most loved gifts) you can get your mum. Whether you know her staple scent, or pick up something new for her, you can’t go wrong. A very popular scent is Lancôme’s La Vie Est Belle.. it is a sweet (but not sickly) scent that settles into a musky, powdery scent.. and this stuff lasts for AGES with it being an Eau Du Parfum (winning).

 

Personal gifts

Nothing will mean more to your mum than something personal. You don’t even have to spend a fortune to make your mum happy – collect up some of your favourite pictures together and put them in an album, and you can spend Mother’s Day just going through them and re-living all the memories you had together.

 

How to: Have The Perfect, Fuss Free Mother’s Day

So … a lot of people may have planned days out for Mother’s Day.. but you know me and how I’m a massive lover of chilled out days at home .. & Mother’s Day is no different. So.. I have some ideas of how you can have the perfect, chilled out, fuss free day with your mum.

Start off with a walk together

 There is nothing more perfect than having an early morning walk with your mum to just catch up & get some gentle exercise. With Spring upon us now.. it’s the perfect time to take a walk in the park and just enjoy seeing the flowers now blossoming, the lighter mornings & (slightly) warmer weather.

Have an unhealthy breakfast

 

Mother’s Day is all about treating your mum right! So whether she loves a sweet or savoury breakfast, make it a treat. I have a recipe for the best sweet pancakes ever if you fancy something sweet, or of course you can just make a fry up right? Cos everyone (including your mamma) loves a fry up every now & then!

Get the gifts out

After breakfast would be the best time to pass on your gifts to your mum – so whether you’ve treated her to one of the special gifts mentioned above, or just made her something yourself… she’ll definitely appreciate being spoilt!

DIY Afternoon Tea

So – rather than have to spend time/effort going out for afternoon tea.. why not just do it yourself? Make some sandwiches, pick up some mini desserts & stick the kettle on to have your own afternoon tea together.. in the comfort of your own home! Afternoon tea in your PJ’s? Yes please.

Pamper Time

If you’ve brought your mum some goodies to pamper herself.. it’s the perfect time to have her use them now. Run a bath for her & let her just chill out for a few hours. Do some face masks & mani/pedi’s together & I can guarantee she’ll feel hugely spoilt. It’s seems like such a small thing but it’s one of the best ways to unwind with her!

Get comfy together & stick on some movies

 

Whether you have a TV series you both love watching or a movie that you’ve not watched together for years… get yourself loads of blankets & sit in front of the TV together for a few hours. It’s the perfect way to end the day together.

Right guys – they were my tips for having the perfect, fuss free, chilled out Mother’s Day! I hope you got inspiration if you’ve been stuck for some ideas! Remember.. you don’t have to spend a fortune… Mother’s Day is a for making your mum feel special and creating memories with her. Of course .. every single day should be spent like that – but it’s always nice to make that extra effort! Make sure to let me know what your plans are .. I’d love to know !

Lots Of Love,

Saira xo

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Teeth Whitening 101

Hey there

I think I need a slap on the wrist for how long I have been away from my little blog. I know.. it’s been a while. You know the usual drill .. things just got busy in life. Oh.. and my obsession with the Twilight movies started again.. meaning I spent most of my evenings after work rewatching the movies.

Hehehe. No regrets.

Right.. lets talk about teeth shall we? This post has definitely been on the cards for a while … I just really wanted to test any products before talking about them.. as you do. Now… for me… oral hygiene is a biggie, and someone’s teeth is probably the first thing I notice about them (not sure if this is weird or not .. let me know if you do the same thing!). So of course, with this is mind, having good teeth & healthy gums is VERY important to me.

Now.. I am no dentist guys.. but I do think I have picked up a few tips & good habits, and thought it would be helpful to talk about MY routine, and also the steps I take to ensure my teeth are white & healthy. Lets get on shall we ey?

Invest in a good brush

If you are yet to buy an electric toothbrush, you are seriously missing out. Trust me… I wouldn’t say this if it wasn’t true, but buying a good quality  brush is such an investment, and a good starter point too. I definitely recommend the Oral B ones, and what I like is that they start at around £25, yet they still do an amazing job at cleaning your teeth. At the moment, I use an Oral B Vitality brush (which I got from work, but I think it is usually £25-£30), and it does an amazing job at cleaning my teeth really well. You can definitely tell the difference in how clean your teeth/mouth feels, as well as helping to remove stains. I love that it also has a timer so you can brush for the right amount of time. Win.

Floss

Ah.. the dreaded job of flossing. I know it can seem like an absolute chore, but if you really want to clean your teeth properly AND have healthy gums.. you gotta floss girl. I tend to floss on a night, as I personally don’t think it is necessary to floss twice a day, and I have more time in the evening to floss well. Also.. if you are lazy, pick up some flossing brushes, as they are so much quicker. For me, flossing helps with removing stains between teeth (if this makes sense), as sometimes brushing can’t even reach those bits. My favourite floss to use recently has been the Nano floss, as I really find it helps clean between my teeth well and has a slight minty flavour which is always nice! If you have pretty bad staining between your teeth, try inter-dental brushes – these are really good at cleaning vigorously between your teeth.

Avoid long term DIY whitening treatments

Now guys, I know these are so so popular guys .. I used to use DIY whitening treatments, and they can seem to make your teeth whiter .. but the damage they cause your teeth is not good at all *sad face*. I’m talking about the lemon & baking soda trick .. I was pretty guilty of doing this quite regularly .. but stopped because I noticed my teeth becoming VERY sensitive and becoming more stained rather than white (confusing right?!). Basically what this trick does is wear away the enamel of your teeth, which is the strong, white layer your teeth have.. and in turn removes the “stains” but also damages enamel. Also – lemon juice can start to eat away at the calcium in your teeth too (eeek!). So.. your teeth may look shinier & glossier, but really your enamel is being damaged & your teeth are left more prone to decay. Now guys .. don’t get me wrong .. once in a while is not going to do a great deal of damage, but if you are doing this every few days.. it will harm your teeth. But don’t worry.. I’m here to help you find healthy ways of whitening your teeth 🙂

It’s all in the routine

Trust me guys .. have a routine and you will notice the difference. I am talking brushing twice a day (standard) flossing (maybe not so standard) & mouthwash. Do this morning & night and I can guarantee you will notice a difference in how clean your mouth feels and how healthy/white your teeth look!

Using the correct products

I have definitely used my fair share of whitening toothpastes guys… so I think I’m in a pretty good place to share some of my faves with you. All these have been put to the test and I can definitely  say they work amazingly in whitening your teeth, as well as cleaning them really well.

WhiteWash Nano Range

Ahhh this range. Where do I even start… not only is it probably the most instagrammable paste/wash/floss set ever … it works pretty damn well too. I tend to use this routine on a night, as I find it has a much more subtle minty flavour, which I prefer on an evening. I definitely have noticed a difference in how white my teeth are since using this, and I love that is is so gentle on my teeth too. It also helps build enamel which was a massive plus for me because I have really sensitive teeth (thanks to all the harsh whitening treatments), as well as being paraben & alcohol free. I also adore the mouthwash as it leaves your mouth feeling so clean, but doesn’t sting at all. Now .. the flavour of this range is pretty different compared to other pastes, it has more of a ‘soft mint’ taste, yet my teeth literally feel like they have been cleaned at the dentist. I highly recommend checking this brand out – I’ve even lent the paste to my sister to use because I know she’ll love it – meaning I’ll need to stock up on some more!

Beverly Hills Perfect White Range

I got testers for this range from work and can honestly say it’s the best toothpaste I’ve ever used ! I’ve tried both the Charcoal black paste/wash and the Gold paste and they are amazing ! They have whitened my teeth better than anything and have a really strong minty taste to them, so I tend to use these in the morning! It is a little strange using a black toothpaste at first but it works so well so I just look past that. Charcoal toothpaste is the latest hype and I can definitely see why! Using this and the wash together work an absolute treat to help keep my teeth white ! Woop wooop! You can pick up this range in Boots, Superdrug & Morrisons.

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Listerine Mouthwash

I know this stuff stings your mouth like an absolute b**** .. but it does an amazing job. You can pick up the whitening washes too which help maintain your white teeth as well as keeping your mouth clean! FYI… how adorable is this packaging ?!

 

Build up that enamel

So.. I mentioned enamel briefly before and this is basically the stuff that keeps your teeth white and strong! Using harsh pastes can damage this, and make your teeth look slightly ‘see through’ .. which is not good at all! I like to use Sensodyne Pronamel every few days to strengthen my enamel and keep my teeth from ever getting sensitive. This is pricey stuff but it work SO well.. and I’m sure you’ve seen the dentists raving about this little gem too!

Some general tips to keep teeth white!

Avoid dark coloured drinks as much as possible i.e. coffee, tea… as these can stain your teeth pretty bad

Use a straw when having fizzy drinks to avoid as much exposure to your teeth

Don’t rinse your mouth fully after brushing. Let the toothpaste stay on your teeth so it can carry on working its magic even after brushing

Use mouthwash about half an hour after you’re brushed your teeth. I know right ? I couldn’t believe this .. I’d been using it straight after brushing.. but it’s actually better for you to wait before rinsing.

Don’t smoke. Pretty self explanatory. Smoking makes you smell, is so bad for you and makes your teeth pretty yellow. Bleugh.

So guys .. that is my teeth whitening routine & some tips on how you can have whiter teeth! Let me know some of your favourite products too .. I’d love to try some new things!

Hope this post helped some of you – I have some exciting posts coming up too which I cannot wait to share with you ! Make sure to leave me links of your blogs below because I am due a SERIOUS catch up!

Lots of Love,

Saira

 

BEAUTY FIX: Get RID of Large Pores

Well guess who’s baaaaaaack! Back againnnn. Ok sure you’ve realised by now it’s me ha. Hey guys. It’s been way too long I know.. but I am so excited to be back at yaaaa with none other than a beauty post. ‘Cos everyone loves a good ramble about beauty ey? Well I know I do.

So .. today ladies & gents (if any gents even read my blog), I am going to be talking about pores. Wow.. how much of an obnoxious teacher did I sound like then (seriously, say it out loud in a demanding voice and you’ll get me). Seriously though… pores are a pain. Yep I know they have a use… but my goodness if you have oily skin (like moi), they are pretty annoying.

Let’s have a little lesson in pores shall we? Pores are basically little openings in your skin which allows the release of sebum… and of course, oiler skin can mean larger pores. Also.. picking at your skin/spots can damage your pores too making them more noticable. DON’T do it… I picked at a blackhead and it literally scarred my skin for over a week. I WISH I left the bloody thing alone.

So… that’s my little bit of background .. now it’s time to get to the best bit. MY tips on de-clogging your pores (ew that sounds gross), reducing your pore size, and in turn helping to keep your skin clear!

Thoroughly cleanse your skin

 

You gotta get your skin feeling clean AF girl. Things like makeup, heavy moisturizers and the general environment you’re in all clog up your pores. So firstly, make sure you cleanse your skin really well. I’ve been OBSESSED with removing my makeup with a cleansing balm & going over it with a miceller water. The Body Shop Chamomile balm has been a long term fave of time, and then recently I’ve been enjoying the Soap & Glory Drama Clean 5 in 1 Micellar water to remove any last bits of makeup. Then… I use another Soap & Glory product (FYI.. LOVE the S&G skincare range)… the Fab Pore Purifying Foaming Cleaner, it is AMAZING. There’s just something about foam on my face that I love (lol).. it makes it feel so clean & refreshed! In fact .. to make the most of my cleansing, I use my Magnitone Facial Brush too! And that my friends, is how you cleanse your skin. Boom.

Steam the s*** out of your face

Whether you do this by having a really hot shower, or having your fave over a bowl with hot water… you gotta steam your face guys. This opens up your pores and helps us move onto the next step. EXTRACTION. Ew .. I love/hate this part.

Removing all the dirt from your pores

 

I can’t even remember where I read/saw this.. but one of the best ways to remove dirt from your pores is using Wisdom Clean Between flossing brushes. Yup you read that right. Don’t bother with cotton pads between your hands.. use the brushes. I use them by ‘dragging’ them across my nose/cheeks .. or anywhere you have larger pores. You’ll notice after a while that you are clearing them. I was so surprised by how well they worked .. seriously try it guys!

Rinse & Exfoliate

Right.. after you have cleared your pores as much as possible .. it’s time to give your skin a quick rinse and exfoliate! This will help remove any dirt left over & also remove dead skin cells. I’ve been loving the Nip & Fab Glycolic Fix scrub.. it works so so well .. although does make my skin tingle a little bit (but not too much.. don’t worry!). I love the scent of this too… it’s really citrusy and makes your skin feel so soft after using!

Get That Mask On

 

What would this routine have been without a mask ey? I feel like a mask is ESSENTIAL after you’ve cleansed/exfoliated. I finally got my mitts on the L’Oréal Pure Clay Purity mask and guys let me tell you. They are worth the hype. Oh yes. This mask is frickin’ amazing! I got the purifying/mattifying one and it does a fantastic job at just that. I like to leave this on for around 20 minutes.. and find it really helps to close all my pores and ‘tighten’ my skin up.. if that makes sense?! It also makes my skin glow afterwards which is what you all want from a mask! Definitely try these guys .. they are pretty affordable too ! I want to pick up the other two in the range and see how they work together!

 

Moisturize WELL

After all of that… you gotta remember to moisturize your skin well! I love using an oil free moisturizer… just something simple as you don’t want to be clogging up all those pores again! My favourite has been the Neuotragena Visibly Clear Oil Free Moisturizer…. it sinks into my skin quickly and leaves it feeling soft and moisturized, but not greasy at all. It’s a fab one if you have combination/oily skin! And another good point about it guys, it’s dead cheap :).

 

Woo! Check you out with those clear pores & that beautiful skin! This whole process took me around 45 minutes so it’s definitely one to keep for those pamper evenings. I also only do this once a week because it’s a pretty intense, deep cleanse you give your skin. It definitely works amazingly though … so you have got to try it!

Ah.. it felt good to just babble on about beauty after so long .. remind me to do these more often guys. Do you have anything you do to reduce your pores? Any fave products? Make sure to let me know.. I’m always on the hunt for new skincare things to try (products strictly for oily/combination skin though, Ta).

Let me know your feedback once you’ve tried this… I’d love to know if it worked for you!

Lots of love,

Saira

Xxx

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Why Winter Is The Best Season EVER

Why I LOVE Winter Time … (and you know you do too!)

Hey there…

It’s come to that time of year guys … Halloween and Bonfire Night have passed (just about!), the clocks have gone forward, and we are all dealing with darkness approaching by about 4pm. The days are starting to feel nippy, and all we keep hearing in the news is ‘be prepared for the COLDEST WINTER IN DECADES’. Although let’s be fair – Yorkshire has already had its first snowfall of the season – so it may happen. I know so many of you are probably thinking why the HELL can we not go back to Summer time.. I’ve seen quite a few tweets of people already getting fed up of the colder weather, even though we probably have a good few months of it yet!

Now… I am definitely a colder weather girlie .. I LOVE the Autumn/Winter time for SO many different reasons! I thought it would be fun to list down why I love the colder months so much.. and maybe cheer up some of you who HATE winter time!

Lush baths become more bearable AND enjoyable

During summer… most of us prefer to have a quick shower as the thought of sitting in a hot bath for half an hour seems like an absolute chore… but when the days get colder (A LOT COLDER) and darker, there is nothing better than lighting some candles, getting a face mask on and settling down in a relaxing bath with your favourite book – absolute bliss!

 

Shaving your legs = Doesn’t happen for the next few months

Lets be honest here guys, not many of us bother with it in the winter time. Nobody sees them..and it provides some extra warmth right? So pack up your razors for the winter ladies and don’t worry about those razor cuts on your ankles for a while!

The feel of a hot drink in your hands

 You’ve been out in the cold for SO long and you finally settle down with a brew… and warming up your hands with a hot drink is literally the best feeling EVER

 

Speaking of hot drinks – The festive drinks menu is back!

Guys … have you SEEN the Costa cups and drinks menu?! I am definitely a Costa girl over Starbucks.. and I think they have definitely outdone themselves with their drinks this year. The only disappointment? The Lindt hot chocolate. And I KNOW most of you agree (thanks to Twitter). It is definitely my aim this year to try EVERY drink on that menu!

Winter mornings are beautiful

How stunning are foggy, frosty mornings? There is nothing better than snuggling up in your fave coat and cosy scarf and heading out for a walk (and picking up a hot drink on your way out to keep you toasty whilst strolling!).

Snow

You might love it, or you might absolutely DESPISE it.. but you’ve got to admit it is bloody beautiful right). FYI – I LOVE IT 🙂

SO MANY FESTIVITIES

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, NYE… not to mention all those extra bank holidays. WIN.

 

Buying New PJ’s

I don’t know about you guys but I always stock up on snuggly PJ’s … especially those Christmas ones ! I am after the most adorable tartan PJ’s in Primark … they just scream Christmas to me!

Watching ALL your fave programmes

When there is an absolute STORM going on outside and the temperature has hit below zero degrees, there is nothing better than settling down in a cozy blanket and binge watching all your favourite programmes (AND Christmas movies!)…. something that just doesn’t feel the same in the summer! I am currently working through the full series of Friends!

Extra Calories Are Allowed

It’s Christmas time, so technically you are allowed all the chocolate imaginable. AND those cosy, over-sized sweaters mean you can afford to let yourself go a little bit. You can worry about shifting those extra pounds when the new year comes around (hehe).

I could probably go on forever but they are definitely my top reasons why I love Winter. Are you a winter girl? I’d love to know the reasons why you love Winter! I am off now to have a chilled Sunday … hope you all have a good one!

Lots of Love,

Saira

xxx

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Autumn Essentials: Beauty, Fashion & Makeup

Hiya loves

Hope you have all had an amazing weekend! I have spent it catching up on ironing (exciting I know), going to see the Blackpool Illuminations (a tradition me and my family have), and taking some Autumn inspired outfit pictures (which you guys will see soon!). What have you all been up to?

Now.. I am sure you all know I was ready for Autumn WAY before it was acceptable (I am talking end of August guys)… but I think now is an appropriate time to do an Autumn essentials post right? I got you covered for beauty, fashion and makeup… so if you want to know what my essentials are for this season… have a peek 🙂

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Make Up

To me.. Autumn makeup is all about dark lips, matte skin and TONS of highlight. Basically… makeup that resembles a vampire’s is what I am talking about. And of course you know me and my drugstore OBSESSION when it comes to make up – so of course I have a whole load of my fave bits that I always have on hand for my Autumn makeup.

  • Seventeen Stay Matte Foundation

I have raved and RAVED about this foundation for so so long… it really is one to try if you need a long lasting, matte foundation that has amazing coverage. You really need the smallest amount of this, as it goes SUCH a long way. And, at a little over a fiver… it is SO affordable and is a right hidden gem too. It’s worth a try girls, so pick it up on your next trip to Boots

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  • MUA Undress Your Skin Highlighter – Pink Shimmer

Can you believe that this time last year I did not use highlight (GASP)… it is now one thing that I never miss out when doing my makeup … it makes such a HUGE difference to how healthy your skin looks. And of course.. when it comes to Autumn time, the days are getting darker, your skin is not getting as much sun anymore and can tend to look a little dull. Your best friend? Yep.. highlighter. This little baby from MUA is one of my faves.. as is is SO affordable yet has the most amazing pigmentation. This one is more pink toned, but there is also one that is more on the gold side if that is what you prefer.. but I think I much prefer more cool toned highlights for the colder months (something about them just reminds me of frost on your skin.. and I LOVE that).

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  • Sleek Matte Me – Vino Tinto

I have done a whole post on these guys, so I will link that here… but I LOVE these so much. Dark lips and Autumn just go hand in hand (ahem… like candles and Autumn.. FULL POST on that here too guys). I adore Vino Tinto as it is the right mix of berry and dark purple… it requires a little bit of practice to get a smooth application, but with a little bit of time and a good lip liner, it gives the most gorgeous, vampy finish.

Clothes

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  • Faux Fur

I always pull out the faux fur when the days start to get colder. Autumn is all about feeling cozy… and I like to feel snug when I am out as well as when I am inside. Having a faux fur scarf, coat or gilet means you can do EXACTLY that.. you literally feel like you have a blanket around you and I am all about that. I am one of these people that would go out in my PJ’s every single day if I could (I am not lazy.. I just like being comfy, hehe).

  • Tartan

Regardless of whether you like to follow trends or not.. I can guarantee that tartan prints (just like fur) will always be popular for Autumn. Whether that is a tartan scarf, dress or shirt… you will DEFINITELY feel Autumnal when you rock it. I picked this beautiful, ruffled top from Zara (which I have currently become obsessed with)… I have been rocking it with a grey or black top underneath and love the layered look it gives. ANOTHER thing I can start doing is LAYERING… I will probably do a whole separate post on this because I could babble on about that for ages HA.

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  • Pinafores

Ahhhhh PINAFORES.. I am so so so glad these came back into style this year because guys they are honestly one of the EASIEST things to style, both for work and casual wear. These two beauties are the ever so popular, £10 pinafores from Primark that EVERYBODY has become obsessed with. They are a gorgeous velvet/suede.. which again is HUGE for this season, and look fab with jumpers, button up shirts or t-shirts underneath. Seriously, if you do not have a pinafore yet.. GET YOURSELF ONE.

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Beauty

  • Lush Snow Fairy  – Shower Gel and Body Conditioner

Now this might be a little controversial because we all know Snow Fairy screams Christmas time.. but I am a LITTLE bit in love with it so I have already whipped it out and become obsessed with it ALL over again. I am sure you are familiar with the beautiful pink, candy floss scented range from Lush.. but if not and you love your sweet scents, you have to pick it up! This year.. Lush have released a Snow Fairy body conditioner which I have fallen in love with. I find it really helps prolong that lovely candyfloss scent and makes your skin feel so so soft!

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Another essential item is of course Lush bath bombs.. but I think they deserve a post all of their own right? I will definitely do a fave bath bombs post soon.. because there are SO many  that I love… in fact I could easily talk about each and every one ha!

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Thank you so much for reading this guys… do you have any essential items you love for Autumn time? Let me know… and I may find some new things to try too! I will see you all in my next one 🙂

Lots of Love,

Saira

xx

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