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I've only used teeth whitening products, once before last year and I had good results so when I was approached by Crystal Smile I wanted to see if I'd have positive results. I was sent two different products to see which one I preferred which was nice of the company to let me choose an overall preference. First is the Crystal Smile Professional Teeth Whitening Deluxe Home Kit and also the 28 Crystal Smile Professional High Grade Teeth Whitening Strips (Peroxide Free).

This kit includes :
2 x 10cc Crystal Smile Peroxide Free Whitening Gel
Pro-White Stain Remover with applicator tip
2 x Thermoforming Mouth Trays
Gum Tray Storage Box
Cool Blue LED Accelerator Light - comes with two batteries
Crystal Smile Instruction Manual

This is enough for 20 days of application, it's also suggested that you use it for consecutive days to get the desired level of whiteness. Then use every 3-4 weeks to keep on top of the whitening.

Experience
My teeth aren't yellow yellow but they are stained and can always be in need of a little whiteness, who doesn't want pearly whites? Being that Crystal Smile is pretty affordable how did it hold up?

I wasn't a fan of those thermoforming mouth trays, I find those come with most teeth whitening kits and I'm not much of a fan regardless of who the company is, I ended up using other trays I had that were moulded to my individual teeth. I would put the stain remover on my teeth beforehand, it also doubles as a desensitizer to help those who have sensitive teeth.

Apply the whitening gel into the trays and place them onto my teeth - easy enough. You don't want to get the gel on your gums as it may give a reaction. Although I've never had this issue as I don't keep it on my gums to see if that'll occur. I put the LED light to rest on the trays and keep it on for 10 minutes and leave the trays in for another 40 minutes.

Once finished I'll rinse my mouth out, the teeth look a little whiter, I've not experienced any blotches with the results but I noticed in the morning the teeth have reverted back to the prior colour. I feel as there's no peroxide it won't lighten the teeth to a huge degree on the first try but it does give it a lift. I can't say that you'll not experience damage to your teeth or gums because I haven't. Everyone has to use these products at their own discretion. Although the warning is Do NOT use if you suffer from gum disease, gum irritation, inflamed or irritated gums, bleeding gums, oral infection or tooth decay. Even though there's no peroxide and I had no visible side effects I couldn't bring myself to use it daily, I thought it was too much, maybe every other day is suitable. It's another addition to a routine but it could be something done before bed, I think this will be suitable for me before having to go to an engagement or something as it seems pretty temporary.

I've not tried the strips just yet when & if I do, I will update.

Crystal Smile Teeth Whitening Kit

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After getting my nail polish collection down and sticking to essentials I've noticed colours that I have in rotation quite often so it made more sense to stick to certain shades. With Essie nail polish, I've had a few of their nail polishes before but I've warmed to the brand more in the past couple of months and I've ended up with a handful of favourites.
I normally stick to white for my toes and I was previously a devotee for OPI Alpine Snow but I noticed I could never finish a bottle before it's goes sticky/stringy and unusable for me. I made the switch to Essie Blanc where I get more use from a bottle. It might be the formula, I'm not sure.
On my fingers because I've decided to keep my nails at a medium length - if the length will keep. I do like a sheer wash of colour sometimes and a pink like Limo-Scene or Sugar Daddy is good for that. These are also colours that can be used together to get another colour out of. For those days when I just want that baby pink, Fiji is perfect.
Shades like Sand Tropez, Spin The Bottle & Lady Like I like to wear a lot when I'm wearing beige or black - when am I not in black? The shades I'm using are good enough for me to transition from season to season for my personal taste which is a win.
Blanc pure snowy white / Limo-Scene sheer pastel pink / Sugar Daddy sweet and shimmery pink / Fiji opaque, creamy pastel pink / Not Just A Pretty Face naturally pinkish nude / Spin The Bottle semi-sheer nude / Sand Tropez soft sandy beige / Lady Like soft mauve.

Purchase: Essie Blanc, Limo-Scene, Sugar Daddy, Fiji, Not Just A Pretty Face, Spin The Bottle, Sand Tropez, Lady Like.

Unfortunately Essie isn't cruelty free.

My Essential Essie Collection.

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#NeomHappy100

Last year several bloggers (100 I believe?) were asked if they wanted to participate in the Neom Happiness Programme, being one of them I felt immense gratitude because I love the Neom Organics brand but more importantly it's a time to be reminded daily to take care of mind, body and soul and while using Neom products to help aide this and a monthly calendar with tips and tricks daily. These days can be swapped to accommodate plans / lifestyle so the daily Zenuary has started. I dubbed this month Zenuary as that's what I'm practicing and looking to reach. The end of January I was really bummed out, anxiety on high, I spent 3 days in bed as I had a very low period of depression, I felt very alone but I decided to start to gradually limit contact with people, I tend to work and feel better with less conversations of negativity surrounding me.

Zenuary Diary
Week One 1st - 7th February.
01 · 02 · 16
Sarting off everyday with the Great Day Body & Hand Wash, there's a generous lather, beautiful smell - having pleasant smells in the bathroom to start the day is the best way. I tried the NEOM Great Day scrub today & woah, you've now become a favourite of mine. The uplifting smell, the effective sugar scrub is dope, the oils that are within the scrub leave the skin feel extremely soft and hydrated and this was before my leg shave day. I didn't feel that I had to cream afterwards, I still did of course, I used jojoba oil on my skin as it's light enough. I didn't go for a walk, I wasn't feeling to battle that cold and wet today if honest. I did my boost on the mat. The Neom Mood Lifting Mist is so nice, it's powerful but gentle, I can spray this before I go in the shower in the morning and come back and still have the scent settling in my room.

02 · 02 · 16
Pretty much a calm day, I had a good stretch out with a morning yoga routine, I'm probably going to need to do that daily and find a mantra. Soaking in the bath with the candles, is one of my favourite things to do, I do a DIY bath soak that includes epsom salts and bath milk mixed with essential oils and use my Headspace app to tune out for 10 minutes.

03 · 02 · 16
While soaking in the bath, one thing I've really noticed is that the start to my days are the most important, how I start the day is how my day will lead on but one good thing is. It's like they say if you wake up and think today's going to be a bad day, it most likely is going to be one. Gotta have that positive mental attitude - right? I got back to juicing today - wahey!!

04 · 02 · 16
I can't work out why I feel so tense in my neck, shoulders and arms. I did yoga this week, in the morning & I would have a stretch out at night, I felt pretty tense in my lower back and shoulders the first couple of days and when I'd awake in the morning - tense. I swapped day 5 and 4's to-do as tomorrow it's my mum's birthday & she's asked me to go shopping with her so what better way to do the Get in Touch. So today as I sit with my protein hair mask on under the hooded dryer, I'm compiling my Power Playlist. I'm no doubt going to always be amending this playlist. My mood normally reflects what I'm listening too and sometimes everything is one big mash-up party for the ears. My taste is very eclectic and it's always been that way a school friend's mum use to say to my friend how I was very eclectic in my taste and eccentric in my behaviour - don't think that's changed much and it's definitely not a bad thing although others may say different but who are others?

05 · 02 · 16
I took my mum out for her birthday, well I accompanied her shopping and we had such a good laugh and talk today. Was so nice, me and her aren't big shoppers, we're more the type of know what we want and go for it, I don't like to aimlessly wander. One thing that didn't occur much was me having to take my phone out, it found it's way to the bottom of my bag and stayed there unless I needed to look at the time. I think that's one habit we have, having to capture each moment or talk to others on our phones while out and looking at it, it's pretty rude. The conversation is still going to be there later. No photos were taken from my day today because I just enjoyed being in that present moment with who I was with and creating a moment.

06 · 02 · 16
Today should of been a brunch day with some mood boosting foods, avocado and eggs but I ended up with some guacamole and breadsticks as a snack and for the rest of the day, I decided to watch some documentaries on meditation, The Hare Krishna's and started a mind provoking conversation with a friend of mine about growth, consciousness & meditation. At the end of the day I'm just thinking a lot more about the present life.

07 · 02 · 16
Trying to still finish 'Beautiful Bad Girl' but certainly a lot further in the book than if I did just leave it on the shelf. Whilst continuing my conversation from the day before and realising having to really just be me and distance myself from those who seem to dampen that with their jealousy & insecurity & this is where I am failing because I'm not being true to myself which is limiting my happiness. At the end of the 7 days I'm left in a place of feeling lighter but conflicted.

Purchase: Neom Happiness Programme Kit


Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step.



Samples.

The Zenuary Diaries #NeomHappy100

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Growing up, greasing the scalp was just as important as anything else in the haircare routine. A few weeks ago a stranger stopped me to talk about my hair, I had simply washed my hair the night before, wasn't feeling the results and it went into a loose top bun. She asked if it was my natural hair colour and after an explanation that from my roots until 3/4 of the way down it was. She complimented my hair and asked what I do to my hair, I began to tell her that I try to keep it simple but I use a lot of oils and I told her about Sheabutter Cottage where I get the majority of my ingredients for my hair D.I.Ys. I told her how at least 3x a week I will grease my scalp and also seal my ends with one mixture I've used since about last October I've been using an oil blend for the scalp using the following oils, black castor oil, black seed oil and rosemary essential oil.

Black Seed Oil is an anti-inflammatory it'll help soothe any irritations, flaking and sensitivity. Also it kills viruses and fungal infections while encourages hair growth and helps against hair loss. I also read that "It can also fix hair that has been badly damaged either by styling or coloring. Damaged hair can grow back healthy and shiny from the roots down." Black Castor Oil is another that'll help promote hair growth and help to thicken the hair. Rosemary is also another stimulant for hair growth but at the same time it'll turn down that burnt smell that can be present in the castor oil.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup castor seed oil.
1/4 cup black seed oil.
1/2 tsp rosemary oil.
Peppermint oil is optional sometimes I may add it to the blend also but will do about 10 drops.

Method:
Mix all into an applicator bottle, give it a little shake & it's ready to use.

As previously stated I've used it since October and I've trimmed my hair where needed but I've had remarks that my hair looks to of been growing but I'm more concerned also on the conditioning of my hair and getting more thickness. I have fine hair but a lot of it. My ends at the moment need the most care and attention.

Purchase:
Sunny Isle Jamaican Black Castor Oil or Castor Oil
Black Seed Oil
Rosemary Essential Oil
Applicator Bottle

Natural Hair Growth Oil Blend

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First time I read about the castor oil pack was in 2014, I'd been meaning to try it but never got round to it. Last month I decided to give it a try while I was doing my Champneys Detox. Using castor oil to detox the body isn't a new age practice. Taken internally it's a great laxative, my nan told me how she used it growing up in Jamaica - alongside another laxative treatment they were given in school!! There's a couple of ways to do this castor oil detox but let me explain to you why, it's a good thing to try.

"Castor oil packs are an economical and efficient help the body detox. When used properly, castor oil packs stimulate liver detoxification. “The castor oil pack is specific for non-cancerous uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts. Other conditions which seem to respond well include headaches, liver disorders, constipation, intestinal disorders, gallbladder inflammation or stones, conditions with poor elimination, night time urinary frequency, and inflamed joints. It is not to be used during pregnancy, heavy menstrual flow, or the presence of internal bleeding.” Biodynamic Wellness.

The main aim for this castor oil detox is our liver and why? Our liver is what keeps everything junk-free & clean. It'll help to digest fats, detoxes our blood, stores energy, regulates hormones and also this pack will help to release any suppressed anger. We will benefit by having well balanced hormones and blood sugar levels, better digested and improved immune system and cleaner bowels. Ideally this is done before bed and 2 hours after your dinner. Something that you've got to make time for!

I felt a lot better after the pack, I had a stimulating bath and a good night's sleep. The next day my body got rid of everything and anything bad. There's a reason also why I choose to do method #2 because who has black castor oil to pour out over towels like that? If I was to do method #1 I'd use the cold pressed castor oil that I have, it seems to be the one most people use. Method #2 I heated the black castor oil and applied it to my stomach instead but read on and you'll see what method you'll prefer to try.

Method One
Castor Oil (Jamaican Black Castor Oil or Cold Pressed)
A sheet of plastic (a black bag is ideal)
36" x 18" piece of cotton flannel
Old towel
Heating Pad or Hot Water Bottle
Pillows/Book/TV.

‣ Warm the castor oil up - the way I always do it, is to boil a kettle and put the water into a bowl and place the castor oil bottle in there to warm it up.
‣ Lay your plastic sheet wherever you're deciding to lay down for the next 45 - 60 minutes.
‣ Fold the cotton flannel into 3 and place it into a tray and pour the warm castor oil over the flannel until saturated.
‣ Lay down and place the saturated flannel over your abdomen and liver - located underneath the chest on the right hand side - your stomach is on your left.
‣ Place the old towel over that flannel.
‣ Put your heating pat / hot water bottle on top.
‣ Lay back, pillows helping to prop you up and keep comfortable. Stay there for ideally up to an hour.
‣ Wash off in a warm shower or bath.


Method Two
Castor Oil (Jamaican Black Castor Oil or Cold Pressed)
Cling film or Body Wrap
Heating Pad or Hot Water Bottle
Pillows/Book/TV.

‣ Warm up the castor oil.
‣ Apply all over liver and abdomen.
‣ Wrap stomach with cling film or body wrap.
‣ Apply heating source.
‣ Relax after about 60 minutes wash off.

This can be done up to 3 times a week or however regularly you like & remember with any detox keep hydrated! Water or herbal teas only.

Castor Oil Detox

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The Super 18!

It's not a secret that I love - love - love oils. That glide, the glow, the benefits. Some oils can be heavy but you should use oils according to your skin type but what about an oil blend that has 18 naturally sourced oils. Brilliance Facial Oil is that one...18 oils infused with 3 patented activities to give a more radiant, visibly smooth and firmer feeling skin.

Oils included:
Fractionated Coconut Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Olive Fruit Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Camellia Seed Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Rosehip Fruit Oil, Argan Kernel Oil, Passion Seed Oil, Rice Bran Oil, Safflower Seed Oil, Kahai Seed Oil, Macadamia Seed Oil, Neroli Flower Oil, Lavender Herb Oil, Bergamot Fruit Oil, Patchouli Oil & Carrot Seed Oil.

This plant oil blend is super rich in vitamins A, C and E. Giving the skin a lot of protection and benefits. The Omega 3, 6 and 9 is going to help the skin retain its moisture levels meaning that your skin will be soft, supple and hydrated. With the Vitamin A, you're getting Retinol in the skin which is that old age ingredient to help eliminate ageing. Neroli, lavender, bergamot and patchouli will leave the skin delicately scented.

With all those benefits and oils, it's hard to say anything but good. The most surprising factor is the blend isn't heavy in the slightest. I find I don't need a lot of the oil, it advises you to use 1 to 2 pumps but for me 2 is way too much. With the one pump I use my right hand and tap my fingers into the oil and gently pat it on my skin & the remainder I use on my neck and then work my way from the base of my neck upwards, massage and work the oil into the skin.

The scent is light and there's a very nice healthy glow afterwards. I've not broken out while using this but I've also taken a different approach to my skincare as of late. We all know pigmentation is the devil to my skin so any little spot, results in pigmentation and more aftercare but I'm learning less is more and of course diet comes into play but this oil also helps pigmentation with the various oils that help pigmentation. This oil being light, could be used twice a day, I've used it in the morning also. I could see it benefiting different skin types as I have combination skin, normal but oily and we all know oil can battle oil, this miracle blend is welcome.

Layer Your Skincare
Rule of thumb :- Apply light to heavy.
I prefer to let each layer especially at night to have time to sink into the skin. Otherwise I personally feel it's just one slick oil patch on my face. Giving it time to absorb by either watching something for 5 minutes, have a drink, watch snapchat videos (Snap ID: CookieCaine if you're on there).

Plus make sure your hands are always clean & sanitised, I keep a sanitiser on my dressing table. Germs be gone.

Morning I wash & tone my face and will use a light moisturiser with SPF (Fade Out Day Cream SPF 25) sometimes I add the Brilliance Facial Oil.

But at night it differs as I want this time to let my skin work & repair.

Nighttime If I've got makeup on (rare), I'll use an oil to take it off (L'occitane Shea Butter Cleansing Oil or just Jojoba Oil) and proceed to wash & exfoliate. Toner or Treatment - currently using Eminence Bright Skin Licorice Root Exfoliating Peel. Serum - MooGoo Vitamin C Eye Serum. Moisturiser - Dr. LeWinn's Even Tone Lightning Cream (discontinued) or Fade Out Night Cream. Eye Cream - MooGoo Vitamin C Eye Serum. Oil - Brilliance Facial Oil (never to the under eye). Lip balm - Lucas Pawpaw.

Purchase:Brilliance Facial Oil

Do you use oil in your skincare routine - if so which one?


Sample.

Oilixia Brilliance Facial Oil

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Beat the January Blues

Sometimes in January, we can get the January Blues. For some it's just the fact of getting back into the rat race, for others it can be the fact that the New Year always signifies reflection and what needs changing or possibly going harder at. Reflecting back I need to put my mind, body & health at the forefront this year. I enjoy a good detox and for a week I'm going to do a detox in a box with Champneys but it's not only the outside of my body getting treated. My health will also be getting benefits from that superfood - Seaweed.
Detox in a Box
I'm in desperate need of a detox - my body needs the boost. Since over a week ago I've been unwell, had a nasty cold and it's made it's way onto my chest for a hearty & irritating cough. I'm hoping this is going to help me be refreshed, and reinvigorated by harnessing the richness of the sea with the new Champneys Detox Range.

The following products are super- beneficial to the body by featuring miracle ingredients derived from the British coast such as superfood seaweed and recuperative mineral sea salt, you'll feel enveloped in warm aromas and replenished from head to toe with an array of expertly designed detox products by Champneys, the original Health Spa.

Detox in a Box includes :
‣ Skin Firming Shower Scrub
‣ Champneys Detox Hip & Thigh Firming Mud
‣ Skin Firming Body Butter
‣ Body Massager

I'd start off the detox by using the Champneys Detox Hip & Thigh Firming Mud, smoothing it over my hip & thigh area, leaving it on for 10 - 20 minutes. During the time it starts to dry, there's a tingling warming sensation over the thighs that becomes very cool & relaxing. Jump into the shower and allow the warm water to rinse it off, this is where I'll take the massager and using circular motions from my knees upwards gently massage especially the back of my leg to target any trouble areas. Admittedly the skin feels smoother and a little firmer. The wonder component seaweed is on hand with the natural marine mineral of sea salt to cleanse, tone, stimulate and repair.
Afterwards I give my skin a scrub to get rid of any dead skin using the Champneys Detox Skin Firming Shower Scrub, it's non abrasive but effective. Making sure I tend to the rougher parts of the skin such as the elbows and knees. I found it so gentle it's safe for daily use, it's got a watery consistency with rice, apricot and sea salt helping to exfoliate & firm the skin. It also leaves a nice apricot smell on the skin.
My skin feels smoother especially once I use the Champneys Detox Skin Firming Body Butter afterwards to moisturise. The consistency is whipped smoothly and as I rub it into my skin it doesn't take long to absorb & there's no residue left over. I can certainly say this is another product that makes the skin feel firmer, not in a discomforting way but when I touch my skin afterwards it's smooth but has a firm feel to it. Using all these items to help detoxify and firm my skin has been a welcoming change.

Eat Clean, Eat Seaweed
Seaweed has been at the top of the superfood table and while most of us know of the skin benefits but what's the health benefits, well some of them include :

‣ Blood Purifying
‣ High in Calcium
‣ Alkalizing
‣ Contain Anti-oxidants
‣ Detoxifying
‣ Boost Weight loss

During my detox I added seaweed to my clean eating meals. Kombu seaweed. Kombu seaweed is a smooth tasting, umami rich brown seaweed. Umami – meaning “delicious”, is the fifth taste bud (alongside sweetness, sourness, bitterness, and saltiness) It's a deep-water kelp (the brown seaweed you normally see along the seashore) that's a smooth flavour enhancer, good for stews, soups, beans, tomatoes and mushrooms. I've read that Kombu seaweed may just be the most versatile. How did I use this ocean-veg in my meals.

Having had a cold, I didn't have too much of an appetite, soup seemed to be the best option for most days as I could make a batch and then put it in a container and heat up more later. I also read that seaweed is great for colds & coughs, an even better opportunity to see how seaweed helped. A few options for my soups was Pumpkin soup with potatoes and veg and also Cabbage soup with vegetables. In the soup it adds more flavouring, I put it in to cook with it and I sprinkle some on top - never can have too much of a good thing. Also roasting tomatoes to eat with rice and a little fish with peppers went quite nice. I'd sprinkle the seaweed on the tomatoes before roasting, it gives it a little richness. Also I found it went nicely with salmon and sauces, seaweed is versatile for the body and I’d like to continue to have seaweed in my diet to see longer benefits from consuming it as well as adding it to my bath & shower routine. My cold ran its course and was gone about 3 days into my detox and the cough has nearly gone. I'm left with a smooth firm seaweed loving body.

Purchase: Champneys Detox in a Box

This post is sponsored.

Champneys Detox in a Box

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This is something I’ve discussed with friends previously and it got to the point where I’m wondering am I the only one? I can’t be the only one. As saturated as this blogging game is there’s more than one of us getting screwed.

Case in point.

I was contacted personally by a UK PR company in September (currently will remain nameless but subject to change) to work on a campaign with them, they explained the campaign to me and asked how much I would roughly charge for the post and an Instagram post. I told them how much and if they were satisfied with that we can go ahead. Not too long after I received the items in the post, signaling the green light. This could have been my mistake to of gone ahead but I sent them an email to let them know I had received the package and will forward the live links. No response. A week later I had done the two posts. Forwarded the links but heard nothing. It was roughly a month since I had first been contacted and no response. I knew the company hadn't folded and I knew the employer was still working as the next month I received a press release. I left it for a couple of months until this month when I contacted them again – no response. I decided to contact someone else within the company after receiving a mass email and explained that I needed to speak to someone and get my issue resolved.

Can you guess what happened? Ignored.

I’ve worked with one PR company on sponsored posts before and things were slightly delayed with payment due to a co-worker leaving but my enquires were looked into quickly and resolved. I value that and thoroughly enjoy working with them. Communication is key.

Contracts are handed out which is possibly the best way forward in these cases so both parties can get their terms and conditions worked out and agreed.

I may not be the smallest of blogs and I may not be the biggest of blogs but regardless I’ve put the work in and deserve respect like anyone else who is doing the work. Most of these companies don’t ‘trust’ us to give us a percentage up front but we must trust them in good faith? And they can’t even hold up their end of the deal. Blogging is a money making game now, you can still do it as a hobby and make coins, do it full time but if you're living off your blog and coming against these companies, food is being taken off your plate.

I pass up offers from companies who can’t meet my quotes or don't agree to my T&C's as much as I’d like to do these campaigns but end of the day I’m not going to lowball myself because why should I? I’ve had ridiculous quotes to ones that I never expected and pleased by but if you feel my blog is good enough to do the work, imagery, edit, share – pay me what I feel I am owed. Companies are quick to exploit bloggers, ask and promise so much and you get fucked over. Why should it be that way? We’re treated like Chinese sweatshop workers - as a friend said to me, do high quality work and get little to nothing for it.

It’s over saturated you don’t know who and what you’re working with, money soon is going to dwindle and not be a factor and if it is, you'll have to make sure you're in a good position with security to get your coins. We all don’t have agencies representing us to handle the business side and the run around, I have better things to get on with then having to chase companies around to resolve something that should have been done from weeks ago. Bloggers can literally be treated like monkeys all good for the work and thrown bananas as a reward. I'm not talking about having to be paid for everything we do, I'm not a greedy person, I'm just simply asking for what I'm owed. I was contacted, replied, sent the products, did the work and have since then been ignored.

To be honest, it doesn't bother me to not work with this company again, if this is how they treat bloggers, why would I want too? Simple respect and courtesy to reply back to rectify the situation but 4 months later and being ignored, while they've got their press. It's unfair and it's happening.

Update : I have since spoken to the PR and was informed that the company for the launch had backed out of the sponsorship and I was failed to be notified on that and they've apologised.

#BBHMM - Bloggers Being Exploited.

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