8 Ways To Improve Yourself

You can always do something better than you have before, the key is simply to change your approach. The most successful and happiest people are constantly and consistently finding and implementing ways to improve themselves. If you are truly happy with where you are, 100%, then don’t read. But I’d guess you’re lying. There is always something you can do better.

Do Something New Every Day

In this day and age, there is basically no excuse for you not to be consistently improving yourself. We have so much content out there for us to consume at any point in time. No longer are we constrained to lectures, classes and physical books, but we have YouTube videos, TV shows, eBooks and Podcasts ready for us to watch/read/listen to at any point of the day. Try and aim to experience one new thing per day in order to learn, be it read an article or chapter, listen to a podcast or simply watch a new episode of a TV show. Do something that day you never have before and your brain will relish the new information.

Ask for Feedback

One of the biggest ways people fall short in improving themselves is to not ask for feedback. There is nothing wrong with making mistakes, we’re so often told, as long as we learn from them. So why aren’t we learning all the time? There is nothing stopping you from asking those around you how you could be kinder/smarter/more consistent in the same way you meet KPIs at work. Take a moment to seek feedback from your nearest and dearest and try to meet those new goals.

Edit, Edit, Edit

When it comes to receiving feedback, the next step is to improve based on that feedback. Constantly editing yourself is the only way to do this; do you think a book is written without an edit? You need to apply the same methodology to yourself in order to move forward, and be dedicated to making small but consistent edits in yourself to improve and become who you really want to be.

Listen More Than You Speak

It becomes so easy for us to be lost in our minds, our thoughts, our headphones, our next point to be made, looking the best in any situation. For once, mindfully and actively seek to listen. This doesn’t just mean in conversations, but listen to the world. The sounds around you. People’s conversations with each other. You will be surprised how much inspiration you find and the things you can learn from others and simply opening your ears.

Surround Yourself With People You Aspire To Be Like

A pro tip for becoming more aligned with your dream life is to be surrounded by people who you want to be like. When you are enveloped in their successes, you are inspired to try harder for yourself. This then goes back to the feedback point – if you want to be like these people, seek their feedback and see what they would do differently. Implement those changes that need to be made and find yourself improved.

Read Every Day

Bill Gates reads 50 books a year. I heard that once, and it stuck with me. Just pick up a fucking book. Read it. Reading improves your vocabulary, your knowledge, your ability to visualise, your creativity, your ability to form an argument – the list is endless. Read a paragraph if a chapter is too much for your tired mind at the end of the day. Read a buzzfeed article at lunch. Just. Fucking. Read.

Go To Free Classes

There are a plethora of free classes available at any given time – from yoga, to self-defence, writing, pottery, floristry, you name it. I know I said before that you don’t have to go to a physical class as you can learn most stuff online, and that is absolutely true as well. Physical classes, however, might help you meet some of those people you aspire to be like, and seek their feedback – and so the circle continues around. It’s a balancing act of physical and digital learning, which is all learning nonetheless and impreative to improvement. Google what’s on in your area and just go to something. Meet some new people and enrich yourself. Hey, if it turns out to be a complete waste of time/utter disaster/what the hell was I thinking I can’t do this type of thing, at least you have a good story to tell.

 

Go and read my latest post – Nightime Photoshoot!

 

Zoe x

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8 Ways To Improve Yourself

Gratitude

Gratitude is a word that gets thrown around a lot. People claim that without it, life passes you by. If you aren’t truly grateful for the things you already have, you will constantly be seeking more. Be it possessions, friends, love, looks, marks, money – you will always want more. I personally never really bought into this idea. How can something as simple as anΒ idea really change anything? But, much to my fascination, it can. It did. It continues to.

This one is for all you cynics out there that don’t believe in gratitude, mindfulness or happiness, which, it may shock you to learn, go hand in hand. It is quite rare to have one without the other.

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I took this photo on a warm afternoon with my friend, sitting on my couch. The afternoon sun was filtering in through my balcony window, and the steam from my freshly made cup of tea curled upward in the shaft of light. Without gratitude, I would not have loved that moment as much as I did – simply sitting with the love of my life, drinking my favourite drink on an afternoon with no worries. Moments like these are what make our lives worth living.

How present are you, truly? Are you skimming over this post because you’re bored? Or are you absorbing every word? What are you doing, feeling, thinking, right now? How does each individual part of your body feel? Are your thoughts controlling you?

Pause. Breathe deeply. Again. Be present. What can you see? What can you hear? What can you smell, taste touch? Presence in the moment is the first step to being grateful. Trust me, it takes time. You have to train yourself. But without being present, you can’t truly find your gratitude for the things that surround you. How could you, if you aren’t really paying attention to them?

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This is one of my favourite photos. My lovely candle burning on a bedside table I put together. Something so simple may not bring you joy if you are not adept at being grateful, but when I see this candle lit I am grateful for the beautiful smell, the way the flames flicker in the gentle breeze, how I am able to light whatever candle I want because I am able to live alone. The moment you stop treating the world like it’s out for you and treating yourself like its victim, you can find such perfect, hidden moments.Β 

You can feel gratitude in your body. When you think about something you are truly grateful for, be it time, family, your pets or friends, try and pinpoint that exact warm feeling in yourself, and try to replicate it as much as you can.

I like to write my gratitudes down when it becomes too hard. Taking a moment to actually put ink on paper and not pixels on a screen is one thing, and using that ink to pen what it is you’re grateful for and why is on a whole other level. You don’t need a fancy notebook for this; scrap paper will do. This journal is from Kikki K.Β 

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When was the last time you watched the sun set? Can you remember how the sky flares up gold and blood orange and intertwines with the oncoming night sky? Take ten minutes out of your evening and watch the sun disappear. Accept that another day has passed, and another will begin again.Β 

Try and create gratitude as a habit. Build it into your daily routine. There are always things to be grateful for, and you can always start small. You are grateful for the sunshine or the rain, your bed, your friend, your favourite TV show. Begin at things you are easily grateful for, and progress into things that are more difficult to feel gratitude towards.

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When you realise what an insignificant spec you are in the scheme of the country, the world, the infinite universe, the easier it becomes to see your worth and wonderfulness.Β 

 

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What is it that lights you up? What sets that spark alight in you? Every time you do that thing, feel the gratitude that you are able to. Do the thing more. Repeat.Β 

To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kindness that will stand behind the action. Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude. — Albert Schweitzer

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It can help to have a gratitude centre. Here, I have a map of my favourite place in the world, Hong Kong, some fairy lights, a picture of the stars, a plant and some of my favourite books. Whenever I look at it, I can truly feel the gratitudeΒ rising up in me, which stimulates me to feel it more throughout my day.Β 

Remember – gratitude is a skill. You must hone it and practice it as much as you can. Maybe this seems too much like hard work, but trust me when I say, the beauty of it can change you.

 

Zoe x

This post was a bit different from my usual content, and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Let me know if you would like more in this style. Love you all.

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Gratitude

June Favourites 2017

June was my birthday month, so there have been lots of new things I’ve been loving! However, to save double ups (as a VERY belated what I got for my birthday post is coming soon!) I thought I’d focus more on favourites from June that have nothing to do with my birthday. If you want to read about what I did, click here πŸ™‚

Now, without further ado, let’s get into my June faves!

Watching the sun rise & set

I only recently started noticing the sun rising in the morning or setting at night, and have made an effort to take a pause in my day to watch it happen. I find it definitely puts in perspective all my worries and anxieties of the day that was or the day that’s coming, which helps me to be mindful, grateful and happy. When summer comes around, I’ll be sad to miss watching it come up.

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Bath & Bodyworks Candle in Fresh Cut Lilacs

I bought this candle while on holiday for my 21st, as QLD is one of the only places in Australia with a Bath & Bodyworks for some reason. I was tossing up between this one and the honeysuckle candle, but in the end I hadΒ to choose this. It smells like a fresh summer garden, and makes me so happy.

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NYX Dark Circle Concealer

On to makeup, I picked up this under eye correcter early in the month and have been using it every day to help correct my dark circles that just come with working full time, while also prepping the base for my concealer to stick to. For such a cheap and cheerful product, I’ve really enjoyed it!

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NYX Total Control Drop Foundation

This foundation is super light and watery, but it covers like a dream. My favourite thing about it is that it actually comes in a colour fair enough for my skin without going pink. What a miracle! I definitely recommend this foundation, as it doesn’t go oily on me and lasts all day.

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Smashbox Spotlight Highlighter Palette

I know everyone is talking about this, but it is absolutely beautiful. When my Becca Moonstone smashed for the 3rd time, I knew I had to find a replacement as there are some breaks that rubbing alcohol just can’t fix (RIP). This has 3 stunning shades in beautiful packaging. I love using the darker two as eyeshadows, so it’s really travel friendly as with this and a bronzer, you wouldn’t need to worry about bringing an eyeshadow palette with you!

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Essence Camouflage Concealer

I bought this on a whim because it was so cheap. I love concealers, but I really didn’t expect it to work properly. But here I am, raving about it in my favourites. I really like it – the coverage isn’t the longest lasting or the fullest coverage, but I really enjoy how light it is and how thick the applicator is. There’s lots of product and it’s a great shade. Definitely recommend.

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Miniso Tea Tree Pore Strips

These are so cheap – and 100% better than the Biore pore strips! They are really great at extracting and comfortable to wear. I also feel like they are better for your skin, but that could just be the placebo of using something green on my skin…

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L’Oreal Pure Clay Mask

Speaking of green face stuff, this mask has been really nice in June. It definitely extracts and refines pores, but also reduces redness and calms dry skin and spots. It dries nice and tight so you definitely feel it working, which is always a bonus with a face mask.

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Apple Cider Vinegar

I read about ACV as a skincare treatment a while ago, but since I’ve put it to the test, I can (almost) swear by it. I dilute it about 3:1 and pop it in a spray bottle to spritz over my face morning and night. Yeah, it doesn’t smell to great, but I let it dry completely then go on to the rest of my skincare routine, and that tends to mask the scent a bit. It’s definitely made my skin brighter and clearer.

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Quay & LeSpecs Sunglasses

I recently got these Quay sunnies I’ve had my eye on for a long time (horray for TopShop sales in Australia) and these LeSpecs sunnies as a graduation gift from my best friend. I love both pairs! I’m a bit of a sunglasses hoarder, and one day might do a sunglasses collection post, but for now I’ve been rotating between these two and love how they transform any outfit.

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Lavendaire

My YouTube love of the month has been lifestyle design channel Lavendaire. She is so calming, inspiring and beautiful, and has definitely helped me find some more peace in my life. My favourite video of hers is all about gratitude, and I really recommend taking 5 minutes out of your day to watch it.

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Okja

I know, I know, everyone and their mum has been talking about this Netflix film, but it truly is amazing. I won’t give away any of the plot, but it’s incredibly shot, cleverly written and all round a beautiful film. 10/10, deserves all the ratings it’s getting.

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Brave New World – Adolus Huxley

I read this for the first time in June, which is insane considering how much I love a good dystopian fiction novel. I loved it – I loved it even more than 1984 which is one of my favourite books of all time. If you like sci-fi utopia, read this now.

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Zoe x

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June Favourites 2017

June Bullet Journal

Welcome to June!

June is my birthday month so I’m very excited about it beginning. I love the beginning of the month – you really feel as if you’re turning a new page. And with my bullet journal, I get to do that literally!

I set my June spread out a bit late, so maybe this can serve a inspiration for next month, or if you’re just starting a bujo. Hope you enjoy!

Constellations, space and stars are some of my favourite things, so I went with that theme for this month for my birthday. As you can see, my colours are primarily purple and yellow (if only Crayola did a supertip marker in gold!) and I’ve continued the theme throughout the spreads. For what I use in my bujo, read here πŸ™‚

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For my first pages, I set a title page and a monthly goals page. This is also where I keep my grid of the month to keep track of days and my writing tracker. I really like the simplicity of this page and how it has everything that I need for June on it.

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For my next spread, I have my monthly layout, blog post tracker and expensive tracker. Although my May spread was only a half month, I used up the entire expense tracker page, so my goal for June is to keep it to one page for the whole month! My monthly spread is pretty simple, with just writing down the big things that day, and then I have some blog posts I’d love to get up in June if I can.

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These trackers are probably my favourite part of the whole bujo system. I loved filling them in every night and holding myself accountable for what I did that day! Last month, I had the water tracker with how good my skin was looking, and the habit tracker above the mood tracker, but I decided to change it up with the mood tracker under the water, to see more how I’m feeling when I drink more water. I graph the mood & water with dots that I join up in a line graph, and the habit tracker with little dots. Last month I tried to colour in the habit tracker with squares, but I don’t have a dotted journal so this didn’t work out super well. I think the dots will look way better. This month I also added in cuticle oil, no spending, reading and doing something that scares me every day.

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For the first week of June, we only have 4 days, and whilst I normally wouldn’t do a spread like this, my birthday is the 5th and I’m heading to QLD for a couple of days. So, I thought I would block a page out for my packing list/itinerary/notes for my birthday and I really like it! I kept this page very simple for my tasks for the half week.

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This is my next spread! I had to set it out now as I’ll be so busy over the week I’ll not have a chance to do it. I set out my May ones slightly differently, but I realised I needed more space for to-do lists and ideas, so kept it reasonably simple and didn’t block any space for decorations. I really like the simple design with the little suns! A weekly events space is also essential for me as I love seeing my week in action.

I hope you liked my June bujo! Let me know if you have any suggestions for me and what you liked best!

Zoe x

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June Bullet Journal

Declutter My Notebooks With Me!

I don’t know about you, but I for one am a H O A R D E R of notebooks. For some unknown reason, I’m obsessed with stationery and just end up with way too much stuff. On my journey to decluttering (I don’t want to say minimalism, I’m wayyy off that lol), I decided (finally) it was time to part with some of my notebooks. I was keeping them in this shelf next to my desk, which can be used way better, so – let’s declutter!

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I started by pulling all the notebooks out… you can see just how ridiculous my collection is! Remember, on top of this I also have my bullet journal, a book for random notes, a book for scrap paper and a diary…

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I then sorted these books into definitely keeping, definitely getting rid of and maybe piles. I find this is the easiest way to do any sort of decluttering, as you can just continuously sift through the maybe pile until it doesn’t exist anymore.

In my keep pile, I have my travel journal from Hong Kong and South East Asia last year, that I moved to my bookshelf with all my other travel journals. The stripey book is my recipe book, which needs to go to the kitchen. The bottom book with the peacocks in it is the book I jot all my ideas for birthdays and Christmas presents & cards into, the little blue book is my gratitude journal which should be by my bed, and the yellow one is my old ideas notebook for writing that I’ll keep, but it should probably be in my bookshelf or in storage, as I don’t use it anymore.

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The definitely getting rid of books were these; the green and black are used up, the blue geometric was my old journal, and the one on top was from my final year of school that I kept for tutoring kids, but everything in it is online. Time to go!

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These notebooks are so beautiful and I live for them, I just never know what to put inside! I’m definitely keeping them, but if anyone has any ideas on what to use them for let me know! I like keeping the darker brown one in my bag as a little ideas notebook, but I like using my bullet journal as a place for that kind of thing… Either way, they are staying.

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The other black book and the Newt Scamander journal I don’t know what to put into either. I’m definitely keeping them, and might have to bring them into work. I just need to figure out what I’m going to do with them! I think I’m going to make the NS one a dream journal and keep it by my bed, and the black one a sketchbook. We’ll see!

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Here it is after decluttering! And for those who’ll ask about my cars tin… it has important stuff in it and I love it haha.

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I hope this inspired someone to go through and get rid of all those notebooks they don’t need anymore!!

Zoe x

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Declutter My Notebooks With Me!

My Bullet Journal Supplies

Recently, I have gotten right into bullet journalling, and I’m absolutely obsessed with it! I’m definitely going to do a complete post on my bullet journal soon (probably for my June spread), but for now I thought I’d share my favourite journalling supplies. Amanda Rach Lee – one of my favourite BuJo youtubers – always says you don’t need anything to bullet journal other than a notebook and a pen, and she’s right. Don’t feel like you need any of this stuff – it’s just what I decided to use and I’ve been having lots of fun with it! Also, I’m obsessed with stationery haha.

The Journal

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I couldn’t be bothered ordering/finding a proper dotted journal, so I use this spiral art notebook from Kmart ($4). Honestly, this works perfectly for me because I like the pages looking cleaner, and because it’s spiral it’s really easy to fix mistakes (i.e. rip out pages). I like the plain cover too – I’m definitely not one for crazy outside patterns! With a good ruler, I find i don’t even need the dots on the page as I can make my own if I need them!

The Pens

For my pens, I use a combination of normal pens, calligraphy pens and markers. My go-tos are below!

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Sharpie pens, ZIG Millennium pens in 03 and 08 (black x2, blue x 1). Also use Artline 200s in 0.4.

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Manuscript Italic calligraphy pens in 2,5 and 4,5, fountain pen with multiple nibs, parker quink.

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ZIG double ended calligraphy pens in black and blue.

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ZIG writer thick & thin ended markers, black, blue and grey.

The Pretty Stuff

For colour, I chose to go with the crayola supertips markers and I LOVE them! In this pack, you get a great range of colours, the marker tips can go thick or thin, they were only $10 so super affordable,Β andΒ they make me feel like a kid again. All bonuses – I really love these!

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I’ve also been really liking these faber castel brush tip pens (PITT artist pens) meant for manga colouring in!

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The Extras

I use miscellaneous stuff too – this gun ruler is from Typo, the double sided tape is from a stationery place and the double sided stickers are from a scrapbooking shop. For any little bits and pieces that I like sticking into the journal, I find my inspiration on pinterest, tumblr and youtube, print stuff out and stick it in or go crazy with little scrapbooking stuff. Sticking in ticket stubs and stuff like that is also a really cool idea!

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Places to find BuJo Inspiration:
Amanda Rach Lee
Rachel Aust
Amanda Rach Lee Doodles Instagram

 

Zoe x

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My Bullet Journal Supplies

My Skincare Routine

I have recently changed up my makeup routine a fair bit, and thought I’d share it with you guys! I’ve been having a few issues in regards to not drinking enough water, changing my diet, hormones, etc, so I have tried to listen to my skin more and have built this routine up from there. For example, I loved the Simple cleansing oil, but although it worked really well, smelt great and made my skin feel smooth, I ended up with clogged pores all over my chin and had to stop using it. So, I’ve taken it back to basics, gone with products that I love and am definitely seeing a difference!

My first step is removing my makeup with the Garnier micellar cleansing water, which I obviously don’t have to do in the mornings though I sometimes do just to freshen up a bit. I squirt a bit of this onto a makeup round and soak my face in it till it’s feeling clean.

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My next step it to cleanse, which I do in the morning at the sink and at night in the shower. I use my Vanity Planet ultimate spa system brush for this, with the Simple Face Wash. I tend to opt for the silicone brush head, but occasionally use the exfoliating one or the general one when my skin is feeling sensitive. I like the silicone one as it doesn’t harbor any bacteria. I will also use the St Ives Green Tea Scrub in place of the Simple wash a couple of times a week to give my skin a proper exfoliate every now and then.

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As soon as I get out of the shower, I tone with Witchazel, which I have decanted into spray bottle to make it easier for me to use. I try to do this immediately, as the sooner you tone after cleansing the better. I’ll then use my acne treatment (clindatech), and then when that has sunk in, I’ll go in with the Simple Light Moisturiser. I used to love using the NUXE oil and I still like it, but I feel it’s a bit heavy on my skin these days, so I’ll only use it occasionally.

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If needed, I’ll do some extra things. If my skin feels particularly disgusting, I’ll use a homemade sugar scrub (see the recipe here), and follow up with a face mask or pore strip. Read about my favourite face masks here! I’ve also really been liking this Kmart branded one with charcoal, jojoba and clay in it recently. Tip: always use a makeup brush to apply a facemask – minimizes wastage, is more hygienic and goes on smoother!

If I go with a pore strip, it will usually be a Biore one.

A love of mine recently has been the Mario Badesco drying lotion, which I apply overnight to dry out spots and it really does work! Buy off beautybay though – shopping for Mario Badesco in Sephora or Mecca in Australia is very expensive.

I’m really bad at remembering, but if I do, I like to put eye cream on at night. Literally any one I have at the time will do!

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Is your skincare routine any different to mine?

Zoe x

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My Skincare Routine