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Get to Know the Blogger 2017

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So I’ve almost had this blog two years now – which is mad! I still remember my boyfriend helping me come up with the ‘blogger bee’ name! Which obviously I give him massive thanks and all my gratitude because the name really has stuck with me and means so much to me. You can see a lot of change in my personality and such throughout my posts I believe, that honestly I could not identify if you just straight up asked me if I have changed since 2015.

I thought I’d make a little updated post with 10 facts about me – so you can get to know me, the blogger!

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1 – I’m currently studying a BA(Hons) in English Language and Creative Writing – I always loved writing growing up, but drifted away from it massively after high school even though it was my best subject – I’m so glad and do not regret going to do it in University and have pretty much finished my first year and just waiting on my final grades! It was such a good year.

2 – In my second year, I’m going to be doing an assorted pick of modules but have chosen to do a module called UWLP, which is a University Wide Language Programme, and essentially means I am going to be studying a second language for a module throughout the second year! I picked French and I’m honestly so excited but nervous for pushing myself to try to learn a second language!

3 – Since around 14 I’ve also been massively entranced by art & design, mainly focusing and switching between photography, illustration and 3D computer art. When I was picking my GCSE’s in school, I told one of the art teachers I was planning to pick GCSE Art and she actually told me not to and that I wouldn’t be able to handle it. But as of now I passed GCSE Art, I got a DMM in BTEC Level 3 Art and Design during college and did a year in a 3D Game Art apprenticeship!

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4 – You could say I started my working life when I was 16 and started doing volunteer jobs during college which included a volunteer receptionist in a holistic therapy centre in my hometown, cub scouts assistant and a couple of weeks volunteering in an animal shelter near where I live! I’ve had 8 paying jobs over the past few years of my life which have taught me a lot! I’ve worked in shops and a cinema, I’ve even been lucky enough to be part of the lovely Manchester vegan diner V Rev’s team for a while!

5 – I have four tattoos! My tattoos mean a lot to me because they are all things that represent me well, have special meaning to me, make me smile and make me feel more confident with my body! My favourite tattoo is the one on my arm that was done by the amazing Lauren Sutton, the tattoo is a lovely rendition of a sun and moon with the words ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’ written inside. I chose it because I believe the sun represents my dad and the moon represents my mum.
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6 – I’ve always wanted to try and help people/organisations in my own way growing up. I’m no saint or massively charitable as I’m still growing up myself and I completely understand that not everyone has the money to regularly give to charity but I always want to try and do something. I adopted a penguin from WWF last year with a monthly donation, for a year I had a monthly donation going to the Cats Protection and right now I have a small monthly donation going to the UK Bumblebee Conservation Trust! I recommend looking into all of them as even if you don’t want to do monthly donations they have lovely shops with great merch where the money paid goes towards the organisation!

7 – I’m part of my University’s wonderful theatre society! I was part of two after school drama clubs in primary school but was very shy onwards up until even now, I’m still naturally a very reserved person – but during the first few weeks of University I was so drawn in by Almost Famous Theatre Company that I couldn’t not join! They put on amazing shows throughout the University year and this year they’ve done 5 brilliant shows! I was lucky enough to be in 3 of them which were the Miscast Variety Show, the summer Variety Show and Company. I massively recommend checking out one of their shows next year!

8 – I have no idea what I want to do ‘when I’m older’ or when I leave University and whenever I’m asked I pull a face and shrug. It doesn’t necessarily scare me anymore as I know a lot of people are in the same boat even people who are older than me. I’m constantly reminding myself that I’m at the building block ages and I’m not meant to have anything set in stone or sorted out yet. However, a lovely job that would be a dream job of mine or something I’d like to achieve one day, is write my own children’s books and illustrate them. Reading is such an important part of childhood that all kids should be able to experience and access. It’s great for teaching so many things including actual academic stuff or morals and things to reflect on in the real world and I’d love to be able to contribute to that with my own art and writing. I actually wrote about my feelings on it once!

9 – I’m a sucker for learning new stuff but have always had really bad concentration and really bad at sticking to stuff which is a shame and if I could go back in time and give younger me a push to stick to things I would. Growing up I’ve had guitar lessons, keyboard lessons, ice skating lessons, trampolining lessons and even tried out at netball clubs and used to go to drama clubs and dance classes for ballet and tap. I’m really proud of myself for returning to a drama club in University but my last club I was regularly doing was a dance class that I left in 2014! I’d love to maybe try to teach myself something new or join a new class/club one day soon.

10 – Video games have always been a massive part of my life and something that makes me happy. A fond memory of mine is honestly staying over at my eldest sister’s house and playing on the Gamecube or coming home from school and playing games on the family computer. I grew up on the Sims, Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life, SSX Tricky, Mario games, Pikmin and I even remember playin some really lesser known PC games like Spy Fox, Beach Life and The Movies! My current favourite games that I recommend everyone try include Persona 5, Persona 4, Bioshock, Animal Crossing New Leaf, Borderlands 2 and any Pokemon game!

So I hope you enjoyed getting to know me!

Thanks for reading,

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Little Update Regarding Sanitary Donations

Hey guys,

So if you’ve been following my posts, you know a while back I looked into the fact that an increasing number of people in the UK are finding it harder to access sanitary products and that some school children have had to miss days of education or makeshift products just so they can go about their day as they can’t afford or access sanitary products. I also did my own little survey to see what kind of periods people I know go through – how long their cycle is, if they’ve ever had to makeshift or use something that isn’t a sanitary product to clean up/absorb menstruation. Then, from there, I made my own Just Giving page (that is now closed) to raise some money so I could get together lots of products and donate them out to a couple of organisations that I believe are great organisations and causes who are out there trying to get sanitary products, help and comfort to people who cannot access them – especially in this social climate where youth homelessness is on the rise!

So I was going to save this for the big post I was going to make, but I was so grateful that by the end of my Just Giving page closing – we raised £35! I know my target was £100, but anything is so much better than nothing and I can’t thank the people who came forward and donated enough! You are such lovely people.

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So last week, when the money had reached my Paypal, I sat down and split up where the money was going and in the end the four organisations I am giving to is

Monthly Gift MCR

The Booths Centre in Manchester

Every Month MCR

Bloody Good Period

I have linked to their pages, where you can look for yourself in detail about how you can donate and what they do.

So, without spoiling much for the big blog post where I talk about it, I have already gone and sorted out the donations for 3 of these organisations and it was so uplifting sorting it out. Unfortunately, you may have heard about the incident in Manchester the past week. It was absolutely horrible what happened and absolutely heartbreaking to think of the parents who have lost their beautiful children in what happened. It’s been a few days since and I am only now just feeling comfortable about going back into Manchester City Centre and feeling safe – the community of Manchester is definitely what makes you feel safe. Hearing the news about queues at blood banks, queues at tattoo studios for the Manchester tattoo appeal, the amount of donations and money raised, the outcomes for vigils – it’s all so amazing and really shows how close Manchester is and it makes me proud that I was born and raised here.

The last organisation I need to sort out donations for is in Manchester City Centre you see, so I have not yet got the chance or felt up for going into the Arndale and getting all the bits together and taking it to the donation box. Monthly Gift have a lovely pink bin situated in the shop Oklahoma in Northern Quarter and that’s where all the donations will be taken, so because of the fact it’s not something I can do online, that’s the reason for my delay. I know it’s a terrible reason and hopefully this coming week I will be able to go into town.

Once again, I can’t thank everyone enough who donated or shared my Just Giving page – every little helps makes a small difference!

Have a lovely weekend,

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Social Media vs Girls

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A lot of the subjects I rant about normally start from something I come across online. Comments under articles, comments on social media, photos on social media etc., you get the picture. Stuff on Social Media spreads very fast, so anything massively controversial me and a lot of people will see, however sometimes there’ll be small photos or posts created by people I’m friends with on facebook/twitter or shared by them and it’s kind of a slap in the face of their internalized dislike of something. For example, it’s like having a high school friend on Facebook suddenly share a very borderline racist Britain First post and you feel extremely disappointed in their views.

Today an intriguing post joking about ‘typical things girls do nowerdays’ got shared onto my Facebook feed and although it’s not straight out attacking a certain female or person, I thought it was absolutely ridiculous and unneeded. I know a lot of people of all genders and all ages still find criticizing females for things that apparently, ‘all people identifying as female’ do. E.g your typical ‘nagging wife’ stereotypes or whatever. But personally it’s outdated to me and it’s very rare to get a genuine laugh out of me. I remember seeing a hang up decor piece in a shop I used to work at, that said something along the lines of ‘Man Cave. Women not authorised unless bringing beer or sandwiches.’ and all I could do was wonder why someone would want to spend £20 on something that both stereotypes men and women. But that’s another story and I could go on for ages about the kind of rubbish sexism you’d find day to day but that isn’t the point of this post.

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Firstly, I’ll clarify, yes this could be seen as an overreaction to something that is purely meant in humour. But if this is the best humour people can spout, I hope they don’t plan on a comedian career cause they’re, frankly, boring as hell. The post on Facebook was a text post saying; ‘I swear all girls do nowadays is contour, eat chicken nuggets, squat, wear hair extensions, be indirect on social media, snapchat dog filter, turn bi for a bit, party, fall for fuck boys, drink wine, charge their phones, think having attitude problems is sexy, ignore messages, take selfies and cry.’ Aw honey, what girl ignored your message once because she has better priorities than you trying to get in her pants?

So what if girls do all these things? My question to young males who agree with this, even females who think there is something ‘stupid’ or ‘useless’ about all those things; what is the harm? Does it personally offend you? Do you have flashbacks and feel sick to your stomach when you see a girl wear hair extensions? Posts like these are sexist even if they aren’t straight out abusing/insulting the female population. Plus talk about reaching for drama? ‘Charge their phones’? Oh I’m sorry are we meant to let our phones die? I forgot because we aren’t male we don’t have the magical power to have phones with infinite battery? It doesn’t even make any sense. Also ‘turn bi for a bit’ is not only pathetically biphobic and homophobic but it’s implying that if a female identifies as bi it’s a ‘phase’, which is a gross stereotype that bisexual people are still trying to fight off today so they can be taken seriously by the people they care about. What makes me even sadder; girls in the comments were trying to defend themselves. ‘Well I don’t contour or wear hair extensions so lol’, ‘I never go out and party or date fuck boys, I’m not like other girls.’ Ladies – there’s nothing wrong with doing and enjoying any of these things!! They do not make you a worse person if you do them or a better person if you don’t! Stop letting whiny teenage boys with an internet meme account dictate what you should enjoy. Girls should be able to just live their lives in peace without some xbox basher who begs girls for nudes throwing shade at them through social media.

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Girl, you wanna contour? Go ahead; you rock that look.
Going out with your friends? Take tons of selfies beforehand because you look gorgeous.
Had a bad day and it feels like everything is going wrong? Let it all out. Cry and talk to someone. Don’t bottle it up and definitely don’t let someone make you feel like your feelings are invalid. You work so hard at everything you do and there is nothing weak about crying.
If taking humour in how stressy or bossy you think you can be helps you deal with it and shut people up. You do it. You’re a beautiful, bratty diva and if that random guy you’re kind of friends with think it’s ‘you trying to pretend your attitude is sexy’ and puts you down about it. Leave his clingy ass messages on ‘Read’. You do you.

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Same goes for men. None of these things are ‘girls only’? Guys can wear contour, guys can go party, guys can take as many selfies as they want. Let’s stop this pathetic attempt at bringing girls down. Give them a break, they’re strong as hell and you still wanna make them feel bad about something as small as using a snapchat filter or liking fast food. Get a grip.

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Thanks for reading my little rant, I hope you enjoy whatever you do today and don’t let anyone try and stop your smile.

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Japan Crate & Doki Doki Crates!

A lot more people are signing up to ‘loot’ box subscriptions nowadays and you can find loads of different subscriptions for different, audience tailored products. A popular one, I have tried a couple of boxes in the past is definitely Loot Crate. A monthly subscription to a box that is based around a ‘geek & gamer’ theme. For example Loot Crate’s December theme was ‘Galaxy’ probably to fit in with the release of The Force Awakens you would receive items to do with ‘galaxy’ themed series including Halo or Star Wars. Another great thing about these ‘loot’ subscriptions is you have no idea what you’re getting until you get it! At Loot Crate you are told the upcoming theme but you have no idea what items you’re gonna get! That’s why you’ll find so many Youtube videos of people unboxing them to share what items you get!

But this blog post obviously isn’t to sell Loot Crate (although I do recommend it to fans of ‘nerdy’ stuff), I have just recently come across an adorable subscription called Japan Crate. Ever since I was little and started getting into Japanese animated films like Studio Ghibli and games like Pokemon, I have grown an attachment to Japanese subculture and went through that embarrassing teenage phase of wanting to dress like an anime character and wanting to go to school in Japan and basically thinking Japan is the ‘land of anime’. I was a very naive teenage girl. Growing up, obviously I’ve researched and learnt a lot more stuff about Japan and although I can now definitely see the flaws of some anime culture and how western fans exploit it, I still love it deep at heart. I would love to travel there before I die and take in the place, try the food, see the architecture and visit the museums. But let’s be honest, as well as the ‘mature’ way of viewing my plans to travel there one day, I’m still a sucker for some of the unique and ‘wacky’ merchandise and candy you can get there and Japan Crate provides people with just that!

The smallest deal on Japan Crate is getting a mini box that provides you with 5 different Japanese treats to try. That crate is around $12/£8.20 a month! I have tried small Japanese and Korean treats in the past before including a well known favourite Pocky and it’s so fun to try the unique treats because they’re so different to the UK’s ‘origin’ snacks. Don’t get me wrong, I thank my country for bringing Jelly Babies to my childhood but you’d never find a matcha green tea Kit Kat chilling in Morrisons. As well as Japan Crate there is also the Doki Doki crate! Labelled as a monthly supply of ‘kawaii merchandise’. Both subscriptions are absolutely adorable and I recommend them to anyone who is a fan of trying unique snacks or collecting cute small merchandise like keychains and such! The only thing with Doki Doki is the smallest subscription plan is a one month plan for $30/£20.60. But there’s a good chance if you’re a big fan of anime, cute merchandise, studio ghibli and more you will love this box!

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What do you think of this subscription? Are you a fan of these mystery monthly boxes?

Thanks for reading!

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My Current Job Inspiration

Fun fact when I was growing up I had some bizarre ‘dream jobs’; I wanted to be an ice cream van driver at one point and would spend hours scribbling designs of ‘ice creams’ and ‘lollies’ I would sell. Then at some points I wanted to work with animals, either being a zookeeper or a vet. Other jobs I have been interested in growing up include being a writer, artist, graphic novel artist, video game artist, actress, visual merchandiser – and that’s in no particular order! My mind changes very easily and I’m constantly bewildered by how much choice one person can have. I can understand the whole butterfly effect theory where you can basically have tons and tons of lines of ‘opportunities’ or ‘future scenarios’ but only certain ones happen if you do certain things, basically that everything happens for a reason. It makes me scared and excited at the same time. I want to experience as much as possible but make sure I don’t waste my choices on bad decisions or experiences and waste time.

My current dream job at the moment, I don’t think I could really pick one thing. I want to do something that involves the English/Creative Writing degree I will study in the future, something that’ll involve writing itself – maybe blogging and journalism. But as I have mentioned in a previous blog post, I do also miss the illustration/art side of things. I realised recently whilst having a stroll around Waterstones with my sister, a job that I’d probably love that includes both creative writing and illustration and that is – children’s books! Maybe one day I could write books and illustrate them and build up a portfolio based on it. I found a lot of inspiration in Waterstones and thought I’d share the inspirations I found that make me want to pursue this idea.

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Pass it On by Sophy Henn’s book cover made me grin as soon as I saw it. There’s something minimalist but eye-catching about it which makes me really interested by it. I love how the balloons and font pop out against the grey background, it makes me wonder if that’s what the story will be about? Acts of kindness and happiness that bring colour into a grey day. The way Sophy’s drawn the characters is really cute too!! I love the left hand character’s bright little red hat. Sophy has also written and illustrated a book called ‘Pom Pom gets the grumps’ which looks absolutely precious! Her illustration is so colourful and she makes the colours contrast well so it is soothing on the eyes.

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Also something about her typography choice in both of these pieces is really interesting. I like the cursive, round writing she uses for her signature and in the lower writing on the heading.

So after being very inspired by illustrator/writers like Sophy Henn I think I’m going to try and do more illustration pieces based on maybe book covers or ideas I have. I recently got some new watercolours for my birthday so I think they will definitely come in handy!

How is everyone else’s life lately? What jobs did you dream of doing whilst growing up?

Feel free to comment!

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Credit for illustration in image is Sophy Henn’s pieces in her book Where Bear?

 

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#WheresRey

This Saturday I would have seen the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens 3 times. I am absolutely in love with the film – from it’s stunning cinematography to it’s amazing cast. When watching it I fell in love and grew greatly attached to the new 3 heroes. Especially Daisy Ridley’s character Rey. Rey is a scavenger who lives alone on the wasteland planet of Jakku, trying to get by and survive until whoever left her returns. She is an amazingly strong character which is perceived in her first few minutes on camera. A beautiful woman who’s appearance is very practical and in no way sexualised or overdone, which as a female audience member I really adored. Ridley’s natural face and scraped back hair left me in awe of her and has recently given me a lot more inspiration to try and get used to my own natural beauty.

(Warning: Spoilers as we go along) As the film progresses Rey is soon accompanied by reluctant hero Finn and small, cutesy droid BB-8. They embark on the risky adventure to get BB-8 back to the resistance headquarters before the First Order can get their hands on the information BB-8 stores. Rey’s importance and talents become very much clear when she steps into the Millennium Falcon. Her pilot skills come naturally and you can see the spark in Han Solo’s eyes when he spots the similarities between him and her. One of my favourite parts is when Han offers her a job with him and Chewbacca and she respectfully turns it down because she wants to return to Jakku. Han turns around and goes “It’s a shame, Chewie kind of likes you.” That part warmed my heart. When the team visit one thousand year old Maz Kanata – Rey comes across a very familiar weapon and when touched relives a lot of thunderous flashbacks. Maz confronts Rey and tells her that it once belonged to Luke Skywalker’s father, then Luke himself and now it calls to Rey. It takes a bit of the film for Rey to come to terms with her new powers and I for one, absolutely adored seeing her use jedi powers. Admittedly when I first saw teasers of The Force Awakens, I believed Finn would be the new jedi, but it makes me incredibly proud that the female lead became the jedi. Daisy Ridley plays Rey’s fear and anxiety of using the force so incredibly well and they definitely chose the perfect actress for Rey.

So on that point, as an avid lover of The Force Awakens and an audience member/consumer who looks up to Daisy Ridley’s character as almost an idol character I have to ask companies such as Disney and Hasbro – where is Rey?

Me and the boyfriend, Will, actually have seen that second set in our local Disney Store and we were both surprised at the fact the Disney set includes an unnamed Stormtrooper and First Order pilot – yet the main character Rey isn’t in there?! We discussed it could be due to trying to keep an equal ratio of hero characters to villains but even then – surely even Captain Phasma would be a more relevant villain character than an unnamed stormtrooper? Let’s just admit to the sexism here. Disney really didn’t want to put a female character in this set.

This isn’t the first time Disney’s messed up with what characters they put in their sets. When Age of Ultron came out, I believe Disney or a company released a set that included Black Widow’s motorbike she rides in the chase scene, however instead of making a Black Widow figurine – they replaced her with Captain America, who actually does not even ride the motorbike in that scene. What gives toy companies?!

As a consumer, in the future I will be buying a hell of a lot of Rey merchandise. If companies are convinced female characters will not sell, I think the audience should prove them wrong. These toys are not gendered and if you are purchasing Star Wars merchandise for a young boy – don’t be put off by Rey being included. Buy your son the badass, inspiring female scavenger. Don’t let these companies believe that Rey, Gamora, Black Widow or any female character won’t sell. Please tweet to Disney and Hasbro and tell them that their choices of not including Rey is completely sexist and as a consumer you will not stand for it.

The hashtag being used on twitter is #WheresRey

Thanks for reading,

Helena x

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Sometimes being selfish makes me feel good

This post is probably more of a personal, ‘what I did today’ blog post than anything else. Lately in the run up to Christmas I think everyone’s getting a little more stressed and retail is probably not the most favourable place to work right now. Although I must say having little old ladies and men go ‘are they making you work Christmas Eve?!? bless you, you poor thing’ is kind of endearing – to which I halfheartedly laugh and go ‘Aw I know’, don’t think they’d bless me as much if I told them I said I’d work Christmas Eve if I could have New Years off so I can stay at home hungover..

But yeah today has been an up and down kind of day. I definitely started today off on a positive note – my UCAS application is almost sent off! I finished my personal statement and got it double checked at my old college (shout-out to Trafford College, my rights as a student to get help with University applications lasts up to 3 years after leaving!), paid for the choices and now I just await my tutor to attach a reference and off it goes! I’m feeling extremely excited about it.

Then at work I did get a slight bollocking about ‘wandering off’, when really I had gone to help on a department that had no staff. I thought I was taking the initiative and doing something that would be helpful to the rest of the store/staff but alas. I’ve never been good with being shouted at, especially in front of peers, so that did put a downer on my day.

So after work tonight when I went Christmas shopping with my mother – I decided to be selfish and treat myself. It’s very fulfilling ‘treating yourself’, even if it’s short lived. I do recommend having ‘treat yo self’ moments. Obviously not everytime can be self indulgent purchases BUT, you can try things like bubble baths, treating yourself to chocolate/cakes, watching your favourite movie, buying yourself some takeout – even I class having naps as treating myself after a long day cause it just relaxes me so much. Naps always give me a bit of an energy lift because I get so cranky when I’m tired.

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Bubble baths are great for de-stressing

But yeah I went and got myself… (drum roll) ANIMAL CROSSING HAPPY HOME DESIGNER!

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Please excuse the bright pink pj bottoms…

It’s been so long since I treated myself to a video game; considering they are one of my favourite things. I’ve heard good things about this spin off and Animal Crossing is one of the most relaxing games I’ve ever played. I can’t wait to play it.

I also got myself a big ass jumper. Or in a less sweary description – a men’s medium size cream jumper from Tesco’s. I love getting men’s jumpers because they just seem so much more thick and baggy than womens. I do love the designs and cuteness of women’s jumpers but sometimes I can’t take the ‘fitted’ design. I look good in them in the daytime and then after eating or drinking, the fitted bit tugs over my little food belly and I feel so uncomfortable. Sad face.

But yeah! Always take time in a week to self care and treat yourself! I hope everyone else is having a good week in the run up to Christmas.

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Thanks for reading!
Helena x x