Returning to sunshine and trust in intuition

Posting on consecutive days? That’s become rare on this blog by now. It’s been a while but I spontaneously decided to join Meg’s marvelous Monday parade again. Because while things overall are still not all sunshine and rainbows, there were many good ones in between. This is a very spontaneous post [meaning: hopeully not too many typos], written late at night after our guests had left. Trying to keep those memories afresh rather than letting the Sunday sadness – can any of you relate or is it just me? – sink in. Let’s get listing as our host herself would say. Here’s some of what I did/what happened in my life recently.our host

Week in review

Voted. Twice in five weeks because we’re fancy like that. Once – as mentioned here – for the Bundestag and yesterday, my county held elections for the so-called Landtag.
Baked the first batch of Christmas cookies of the season. Or, if you’re judging me for starting this early, autumn cookies. Because when is ever not a time for cookies?? I was even daring enough to try a new recipe and it got rave reviews by the family. And yes, I took pictures but knowing my laptop’s non-speed have yet to upload so will be sharing them soon. For now, a  lttle throwback to my Zimtsterne from the past year. Definitely on the baking list again.

vegane Zimtsterne - flourless vegan Christmas cookies

My favourite little munchkin [for those of you new here: my nephew P.], my sister and brother visited us for the weekend and we had a truly amazing time wth the golden October sun paid us a much welcome visit. Living further away, my brother doesn’t get to stay around frequently and seeing my sister and P. obviously is wonderful time and time again, too.

As I’ve mentioned, I haven’t been feeling too cheerful lately and seeing them warmed my heart, really filling those happiness batteries. Remember the surplus of happiness-inducing moments in yesterday’s post?  The whole weekend – minus a few blurbs – was just that.

Made an effort to eat intuitively this weekend. Now some of you might be surprised, wondering if I wasn’t already doing that all the time. The sad answer is: no and I had  yet to truly get back to it even before this. With the decrease in self-confidence mentioned recently, I fell back into old unhealthy eating patterns. If you have or are struggling with an ED, you’ll know how hard they are to escape from. How easily they can lure you back in when life gets unstable and scary. I’m not proud to write this but have started taking steps to get better. Trusting my intuition was uncomfortable but worth it for more enjoyable meal and family times. Saturday was easier than Sunday when – clearly showing me its appreciation for tuning into my intuition [as if] – my stomach had me wake up insanely ravenous. Feeding that metabolism, feeding it. I’m somebody who likes plans and having things under control but that’s no way to eat live.

It’s an example used time and time again but true: P. modeled intuitive eating to a T again this weekend. In between cake after breakfast, cookies, cheese, buttered bread and a surprisingly huge amount of gnocchi at dinner, it was amazing to see him eat. Yet while us adults were surprised by how much he packed away, we also didn’t question any of his choices [why would we?]. It was obvious he knew what he needed. No outside reassurance needed, no comparison, no questions asked. Toddlers truly have a beautiful confidence of their intuition that many of us have sadly lost.

Treated myself to some Crazy Rumors lip balms, the Parlor Collection if you were curious. These had been on my radar for years upon years but I’d never been able to convince myself to make that purchase. The old saying should really be ‘lip balms are a girl’s best friend’ because I’d rather take those – and have a decent collection – than sparkly nothingness.

Rushing to finish this post because, oh hey, Monday and as such work is coming closer. The above is by no means a full recap of the past week, much less life lately in its whole but it’s a little glimpse into the important or happier parts. Because those are what we should focus on when the going gets tough.

Happy Monday!

Happiness-inducing today: Family time. A lame one, I know, but simply the truth.

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

Tell me some achievements from your past week!

What was something you treated yourself to recently? Any other chapstick fans out there?

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Self-doubt, serving sizes and Snickers

With Tuesday being a national holiday – German Unity Day if you’re curious – and my whole office given a bridge day on Monday, I’ve been entirely confused about what day it is this whole week so far.  Tuesday was my Sunday and today feels like Tuesday when – hooray! – it’s Thursday already. Weekend, I can smell you already.

Some thoughts I’ve been having lately that didn’t seem to legitimate their own blog posts for today’s Thinking out loud. I had no plans on posting today but then dared to let my thoughts run free so this is indeed very random. Might also be because I’m running on too little sleep …

Serving sizes. Just a little reminder that they’re not to be taken as set rules. So many people seem to feel bad for eating more than the recommended serving size of certain foods [and; judging from Instagram posts; try to play it cool by stressing how they ate more than the serving size because #badass – well, no, just a normal human being following his intuition]. Truth is, neither food companies nor bloggers, cookbook authors or restaurants know what a serving looks like for you. Case in point: the cooking date turned four-hour chat/cook/eat session I had at a friend’s house on Monday. We tried this recipe for Cauliflower Rice Burrito Bowls because said friend had never tried burrito bowls and the dish sounded intriguing. But: serving four people? Or: four people with our – if you’re asking me pretty normal – appetites? Definitely not and we already used more ‘rice’ and guacamole as well as yoghurt on the side. Between the two of us and my friend’s husband having a small bowl, there was barely anything left [and only because I wanted to be polite leaving her some leftovers plus my stomach signaling no]. Post-lunch snacking needed to happen after I returned home. It was really delicious either way, though my stomach really really hated me for both the bell peppers and the onions in the dish. Major ouch.

Cha cha Hamburg fried noodles

Maybe it’s just my subjective impression or are once popular blogs disappearing/slowly dying by the dozen these days? Browsing some German blogs I used to visit more frequently just a couple of years ago, I found a lot of these bloggers no longer being active and some of the blogs even deleted. The same seems to be true for some formerly very popular international bloggers. Seeing the posts of people who used to receive dozens of comments per post now get a mere handful makes me sad. Genuinely sad. Sad because theirs are/were among the blogs I’ve been following for the longest time. Sad because they deserve more readers valuing their posts. The quality of their content, creativity of their recipes hasn’t decreased so: what is it? Where have the readers gone? I’m figuring Instagram plays a role in people gravitating more to it but … to this extent? really? If you are any wiser than me here, share your thoughts. And while we’re on the topic …

Over the past few months, I know it must have looked like my blog was dying or I intentioa. Posts became more and more rare, infrequent and the whole blog less personal. To say this saddened me a little would be an understatement. It wasn’t intentional, either.  If you’ve been reading for a while, you might know I’ve been working in a field different from my originally chosen one and looking for one in the latter. For a long-ish time now. Anybody who has been in this situation before will know how hard and disappointing the searching game can be. It definitely is for me. What else it brought, though, and increasingly so, has been doubt. Doubt in my abilities as writer. Doubt if I’ll ever find a fulfilling job again. This eventually lead to me doubting my blogging skills, too. If you saw my drafts folder, you’d shake your head at the amount of posts lined up yet not making it to the blog. I’m writing these lines late on Wednesday night. and hope I won’t regret pouring my heart out here tomorrow. And I’m not looking for sympathies. Just trying to explain and at that maybe even understand myself a little more. Sometimes it takes writing things out to truly figure out your life.

Admitting to a problem is said to be the first step to overcoming it. So this is my first step. While I don’t have another post lined up for this week – even the one you’re reading is a very spontaneous one – I’ll make a bigger effort to get back into the game.

Ending this post on a happier note because amongst all the self-doubt in my head, a colleague’s request brightened my day a little. She’s getting married and asked me to make a few batches of my healthy Snickers Truffles to serve after the ceremony in the registry office [the actual marriage isn’t until next year]. The fact alone she still remembered these – it’s been quite a while and she was on maternity leave for a year, only returning in September – made me smile and I’m feeling honoured to contribute to her wedding in even such a small way.  Okay, that feels too much like self-promotion so over to you:

Tell me what’s been on your mind lately – the good, the bad, the in-between!

Happiness-inducing today: The somewhat odd remark/compliment (?) an older client gave me upon leaving the office. It’s those little things …

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

No questions today but just any thoughts you have on the topics above.

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Week in Review: Life lately

Hello there, friendly people!

Lately, I’ve in a sort of overthinking, not so comfortable phase in life, very much in my brain most of the time. If I was to try and describe the feeling it would be like swimming, not seeing exactly where I’m going. Which sounds scary for the fact I despise swimming alone ;). Anyway, it’s because of this that I’ve fallen out of the blogging loop lately. When the thoughts in mind are changing directions all the time, it’s hard to share anything without confusing all of you like crazy. Which I likely just did with this intro. Oh well.

That being said, I’m still working just as usual. It’s in my free time that my brain is going into overdrive. Thinking is good and necessary, thinking too much isn’t ideal.

Another issue that’s been keeping me from diving into blogging more again is my very moody old laptop. Here’s calling all of you for recommendations!  Which powerful but affordable laptops do you use and recommend? In the massive sea of offerings, I have a hard time deciding. Well, I really like my maritime metaphors today, it seems.

Not all of the points below are achievements; some are merely notes on life lately. Fortunately,  Meg is a very forgiving party host, letting all of us run wild with our interpretation of her fabulous original idea. Share some updates on your life lately in the comments with me. I don’t want this to be all about me

So here’s my by no means complete list of recent going-ons.

Week in review

In the past week(s) I …

Worked. Same same here. Which might be one of the reasons for my current not-so-happiness. Looking for job opportunities has been unsatisfying lately to say the least and I’m letting it get to me more than I’d like to.

Went shopping for the first time in … a long while. It was getting sort of necessary. You know you need to act when you live in tights – still no pants for me – and the majority of them have at least small holes. Note that we’re talking holes in places not visible from the outside but very much for me [mostly in the sole part]. So new tights made up the biggest part of my overall not immense haul. A new cardigan and a book thrown in for good measure. I’m not complaining about that.

Dean and David_vegan curry

Had lunch at Dean and David’s while in Hamburg and was pleasantly surprised  by the addition of edamame [not visible in the above picture] to my curry. Which unfortunately ended up hardly filling me up. On the upside, I took this as another lesson in intuitive eating: what’s enough for other people doesn’t have to be for you plus our needs change from day to day. It’s okay to need more after finishing a meal even if people around you don’t.

Called my insurance company asking them to pay for an extra that I wasn’t sure would be covered. Not my favourite thing to do so I’d been postponing it for a while but in the end it was surprisingly  .. good. The jury’s still out on whether they’ll end up paying but I’m glad I asked.

Faced a fear I’ve been dealing with for a while. It’s too ridiculous to specify but something I absolutely need and want to work on. This also inspired me to tackle more of those fears I have yet know are keeping me from fully enjoying life. Okay just in case this makes me sound nuts: I’m okay. Just always a bit too careful. I didn’t inherit that sprinkle of healthy carelessness that other people own. And we all know cake is better with sprinkles ;).

Visited my sister for a belated celebration of her birthday on Saturday. It was a laid-back family get-together of just her, her husband, P., my parents and me but so very nice. Looking forward to seeing them again in two weeks. On that note:

Successfully picked out a gift and bought it way ahead of time. This one’s definitely an accomplishment as I’m just about the least creative person in picking gifts and tend to postpone it to the last minute.

Started two of my new books. I’m not sure how I like them because they both have their lengthy passages but reading still makes me so happy. Plus, allowing myself to start two newly purchased books at the same time feels just that bit luxurious. Living on the wild side ;).

Blogged just once but there are some really good links waiting for you.

Drafted two blog posts. My mind constantly changing directions isn’t helpful to finishing any of them but I’ll definitely be back with another post later this week.

Once again, I’ve been getting wordy so I’ll end this here by wishing you a …

Happy Monday!

Don’t forget to tell me your happenings and accomplishments from the past week!

Happiness-inducing today: The sun peeking through in the late afternoon on a rather rainy day, allowing for a quick walk through the fields.

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
What were some highlights from your past week?
Any laptop – please no Macs as it’d take me forever to get used to them and they’re also not exactly my price range 😉 – recommendations? I’d really appreciate any help here.


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Changing [habits, wardrobe and routines]

Hello from the other side. Way overused phrase? totally. But hey, technically, I am in fact oon the other side of the world from most of your views. Anyway … I spontaneously decided to join Meg and her Week in Review again.

The reason I ended up not going for it this past Monday was actually a good one. We had family around for the second weekend in a row. Since Monday was when everyone left again, we sat on my parents’ patio and chatted until it was time to bid goodbyes. Truth be told, I also wasn’t feeling too amazing. The whole having an apartment full of other people and not running on my own schedule was too much for this introvert  [I don’t like talking about myself in third person but we’re going to roll with it for once]. As a result, I felt funky from Thursday [when the first guests arrived] until Monday. With the previous guests having left a mere four days earlier and being tired from work, it just was too much. I didn’t like how I felt; didn’t like how I dealt with it. In the terminology of Cora’s post I would dare to assume that I was – in a way – socially overstimulated. Having a weekend mostly  to  myself this week was all the more relaxing.

Let’s get going with another Week in Review with Meg and Miss Ave before the day’s over [writing this Sunday night so I mean this literally].

Week in Review

Some of what happened in the past seven days: I. ..

Worked four days as – like mentioned above – Monday was a national holiday.

Shared some more good good links and – the other week – a few more funny and good-to-know things about Germany, including your handy restaurant dining 411.

Rode my bike to work more often again. I can’t say I liked it a lot in the morning – not an early riser if you remember – but all the more so after work. It’s refreshing and calming for the mind. Much appreciated after staring at a screen for hours. It’s a nice change of routine.

Ordered two new books for myself. For the first time in months, I should add. That whole spending money on myself issue isn’t getting any easier but I had to cave for books because I need them. Speaking of purchases …

Stuck to my budget pretty well. I’ve been making a more concerted effort to really track my spendings because that’s never a bad idea and I also have a few larger investments planned for the near future [cough, laptop, cough].

Ate the first strawberries of the year, coming straight from my mum’s garden. Homegrown berries > any other, even organic ones. Too bad the first harvest is fully digested already. Now to patiently wait for more to ripen …

Drank less Pepsi. Confession: I used to drink Pepsi max cherry every day. It’s my one really bad, definitely not healthy guilty pleasure kind of thing. No alcohol for me, no smoking, no nothing but diet Pepsi. Sue me! Though in my ‘defense’ [not actually defending myself because I don’t judge others for consuming any of the above, either]: I don’t drink coffee so diet coke is my replacement, if you will. I haven’t been drinking it by the litre but when I felt a slump/tiredness kicking in. However, and that’s why I’m listing it here, I kind of curbed that habit. I can’t say why but I just tried to not have it one day recently. And because I’m ever so slightly competitive,  I decided to see how long I could go without it. Well, I’m proud to say I can now already go days without having any, then maybe a small sip on a hot day and not feel compelled to have more.

Got new clothes for free and priceless. The latter because they were sewn by my mum respectively sister. One was a dress modeled after one I had seen in our local second hand shop’s window but didn’t even get a chance to try on as it was sold the next day already. My mum’s version turned out just as if not even more amazing if I dare say so, though. Because I like hers so much, my sister gifted me several of her handmade undies. If you’re curious to see more of her clothes, she’s showing some of them off on Instagram, too [below are my mermaid undies].

Meal-prepped while listening to a podcast. Some of you have asked for my podcast recommendations and I’m a bit afraid I don’t have anything new to offer there [or at least in terms of English ones; I figure the German ones I listen to aren’t of any interest to the majority of you ;)]. Given English isn’t my mother tongue, I’ve stuck with just a few that I found I could follow along with even when simultaneously doing something else. Two I go back to time and time again are That’s so Maven  [did you see that Davida just got engaged?!] and The Balanced Blonde. There are always episodes I don’t find as interesting, obviously, but these two are mostly up my alley. Let me know any others I should check out in the comments.

Went on a late night-ish walk with two of our guests when they visited. I hadn’t seen these two in way too long and forgot how much I enjoy being around them. It’s these kind of situations – walks, being outside, having deeper conversations – that I thrive on. They light me up, stop the constant chatterbox in my mind and make me feel good.

The fact I can’t think of anything else worth adding here [or at least things I would want to share on the blog] is proof that I need to get back into my sudoku habit. They’re good for memory function ;). In reality, though, it’s just getting late again around here and I need to wrap up this post to not drag out my bedtime too much.

Happy Monday!

Happiness-inducing today [actually from a few days ago but it was a nice one]: The stranger wishing me a ‘particularly happy day’ [in  a non-creepy way] after I gave him directions. It’s little things like these that brighten my day and why I like thanking others and giving them compliments, too.

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
Tell me three or more achievements or happenings from your past week!
What are your favourite podcasts?

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Bring a coin to the store and: The 411 on German restaurants

If you caught my previous posts on the differences between Germany and the US, you might remember the seemingly basic daily activiity of running errands can be quite different already. Today, we’re returning to the supermarket once agan and then delve into the dangerous 😉 territory of eating out. Can’t be that hard, you’re saying? Just wait for it!

Bring back, bring back oh bring back my baby cart to me, to me

Disregard the unfortunate rhyming above. The hidden statement here: German groceries want you to bring your shopping carts back. Orderly. That’s right: no just randomly leaving yours somewhere in the parking lot or around the store. Their tactic? Money. Want a cart? Bring a coin. Outside stores, carts are strung together and you can fetch one by inserting a coin – usually 1 € – into a slot on the car, by this untying it. No worries: if you’re a good customer 😉 and bring your cart back to where you got it, you’ll get your money back. No losses for the store = no losses for you. We’re fair players here. And because we want our every penny back we also …

Return bottles to the store

Yes, that’s right. Stores don’t stop at the carts there. Thirsty? Grab a bottle of your favourite beverage from the shelves but be aware that the price noted isn’t the full one yet. When you pay, the store system automatically adds a so-called ‘Pfand’ – typically 0,25 € per bottle – to the price stated on the shelf. Don’t worry, though: you get your Pfand back when you return your empty bottles to the store. And if you’re anything like me you feel just that little bit feisty in getting a – actually only mental – discount on your next purchase that way.

Eating out

 

Sit down where you please

Waiting at the restaurant door to get seated? Nah. Just get inside and seat yourself wherever you please – unless there’s a reservation sign on a table, obviously. Unless you’re at a fancy restaurant or one that specifies reservations are necessary, it’s the norm to pick whichever table you want and waiters will attend to you soon. Waiting staff isn’t assigned certain tables. In fact, it’s not unusual to have one waiter pick up your order and another cash you at the end.

Tap? Not really

Now we’re not talking tap beer – locations that have it will gladly serve you up a foamy cold beer, no worries. But asking for tap water along with your meal? I’m afraid to tell you that’s not so much of a thing here; potentially even looked down upon as a cheap opt-out of ordering a beverage you’d have to pay for. Bottled water is the norm – whether it be ‘still’ or ‘sprudelnd’ (sparkling). The latter is what the majority of us go for – so refreshing! It’s what I keep at homes at all times, too, though I occasionally just have some straight from the tap, too.

Take your time

If you remember the rush at supermarket checkouts I told you about this right here is the amazing opposite. Unless the restaurant lets you know they already have a later booking for your table, you’re free to take all the time you want. If you’re long finished and can tell there’s a request for more room it’s obviously not the most impolite thing to get up and leave but ultimately it’s up to you.
… but taking your leftovers home? …
Nicely satisfied by your meal yet left with some remainders, you might figure you can just get them doggy-bagged for another day. Good luck on that one in German restaurants. As awesome as I personally consider this concept – avoiding food waste is always good – it’s not common in Germany. The only place I’ve had a chance to take leftovers home because they did in fact have boxes for it was Vapiano.

Let’s talk tipping [Or. Trinkgeld]

Unlike in the US, German waiting staff doesn’t depend on your tip making up most of their salary. This doesn’t mean they didn’t appreciate it as much [you still don’t make a fortune as a waiter]; it’s just not that you’re required to. Most restaurant goers still tip unless the service was terrible. Since staff doesn’t ‘expect’ you to give it, the common practice is to ask your waiter for the bill [note that it doesn’t automatically arrive at your table after you finished your meal; see point below on taking your time]. When he shows up at your table with it, hand them over – yes, another situation where many of us use cash rather than credit cards – the money and say how much you want to pay. I.e. if your bill says 33,20 € and you enjoyed the service, you might hand them 35 and say “stimmt so” [as in: that’s right = keep the remainder] which then indicates how much they get to keep to themselves.

And that’s it for another episode of the small but important differences between Germany and the US.

Happiness-inducing today:  A short uplifting conversation after a rough day at work.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21

Pinterest: MissPolkadot21

Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Which one of these surprised you the most?

What  differences between your homecountry and places you’ve traveled to have you noticed before?

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Good good links #184

Way overused statement but so true: the struggle is real. Which struggle, you ask? Well, mine when compiling these lists of good good links. At first, I have too few to share a post and once I dig into my notes and browse a few more blogs: way. too. Many. How about all of you out there try to schedule your most amazing posts a little further apart ;)?  As this doesn’t happen I’ve once again had to make hard decisions save some of the truly great posts I’ve come across for a next episode of the good links. Not that I was complaining or anything. I hope you find something that inspires you, makes you think or just gets your stomach rumbling.

Happy reading!

Good good [food for thought]

I Drank Unicorn Frappuccinos For a Week and Here’s What Happened via Hummusapien

Preach! Food shaming isn’t cool + has to stop and nothing is off limits or going to kill you in a balanced diet.

What if you only tried to be 10 % happier? via Cait Flanders

No matter what we’re struggling with [mentally no different from physically]: it takes time to heal and we should try to appreciate even just a seemingly small progress. Instead of seeking immediate but not lasting 100 % “cures”/bandaids.

 

Good good [advice and inspiration]

We Need To Be Kinder To Our Flaky Friends via Medium

Anybody with a mental illness will [likely] be able to relate to this, everybody else should read it to understand why we behave the way we behave at times.

It’s not the body I asked for, it’s the body I have via In It 4 the Long Run

We might not love everything about ourselves but appreciating the gift of being blessed with an able body* is so important. Georgie’s story is one I’m sure many of us can relate to.

*not a fan of separating body and mind in general but rolling with it for the ease of writing here

For the Intuitive Eating Haters via Yeah … Imma Eat That

Or maybe not even haters but those skeptical of IE and not daring to take the first step of the journey. Kylie clears up the most common misconceptions/worries people have regarding IE.

Can You Love Your Body and Want to Change It? Via The Balanced Berry

Answer: yes but examine your reasons for wanting to do it.

How to support your friends struggling with mental illnesses via love me, feed me

Friends as a steady support system can be so very vital in recover y and Leah listed some great ways to help.

Yes, Yogis Can Get Cancer Too. Via Mind Body Green

An important one in an online world where many [self-proclaimed] experts are trying to tell us that exercising and eating right could cure or prevent these kind of major illnesses.

 

Blogging

How to Tell People About Your Blog (and deal with their reactions) via Forever Amber

If you’ve been feeling awkward when doing this (hi!): a) you’re not alone and b) here are some good ways to say it.

How to Build a Mommy Blog While Your Little One Sleeps via Bloguettes

For any mum wanting to start/maintain a blog while juggling crazy busy mum life. Or those of us wondering how in the world she does it.

 

Food and cooking

How to Interpret Expiration Dates Based on the 5 Food Groups via Spoon University

A really helpful and important one to reduce food waste – and hey, it’ll save you a few bucks, too.

3  Principles of Vegan Baking for Beginners via The Kitchn

Not just for vegans but handy to know for anybody when running out of eggs or dairy products.

 

Good good [food]

Peanut Butter Swirled Chocolate Fudge Popsicles.[vegan] via Half-Baked Harvest

There are no words for how good these look. I mean:  peanut butter. Chocolate. Fudge. Popsicles! Fruit-sweetened, too.

Twix Chocolate Caramel Spread  [vegan] via Full of Plants

There are no words to describe how amazing this looks [and there also don’t have to be any as you’ve already clicked over, right ;)?!]

Vegan Tiramisu via It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken

One of the few desserts that a) make me actually like coffee and b) are well worth the effort of preparing them.

Vegan French Onion Dip from Scratch via One Ingredient Chef

There can never be enough healthy dips and I’m intrigued by the secret ingredient here [have had it before but never in dips].

 

Happiness-inducing today: An encouraging conversation with + hug by my mum. I’m a bundle of nerves right now but that helped a little.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

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