Kylie Purtell - A Study in Contradictions

Friday, 21 November 2014

Linky Lovin' Friday {21st November 2014} // Reading

I am standing on what is about to be my biggest week of the year and I am paralysed with all that I have to get done! Isn't it funny that when we have the most to get done we spend the most time procrastinating and putting it off!

Punky turns 3 on Sunday and so tomorrow we are having a little family sausage sizzle to celebrate. There's probably around 30 people coming, and to most people that isn't small, but when you consider that all bar 10 of them are family, well, you get the idea. With Dave and I both being one of 5 kids, we can't do anything small when it comes to family!

Our good friends are coming with their kids and I know Punky is super excited to get to play with both A and C at the same time. My sister has bought her a super cool paddling pool with a slide and water spouts so I know the 6 kids old enough to use it are gonna love it! I think some of the adults might even enjoy it too. It's meant to be 33 degrees but I have a sneaking suspicion it will end up hotter. Not unusual when you consider that it's been almost 40 degrees for Punky's last 2 birthdays.

Sunday is packing for Perth day and I've already started making a list of everything I need to take. I just can not pack without a list, I always forget something! Plus then the list comes in handy at the other end when it comes time to re-pack everything! I did an epic 4 hour shop yesterday and got myself a few bits and pieces for Perth, a couple of nice tops I can dress up or down, a plain black skirt and a really nice light-weight jacket from CityChic (which I am probably not gonna get a huge amount of wear out of, given that I am about to size out of CC and even the extra-small was pushing it to not be too big, but I just couldn't resist!).
Just some of my shopping haul yesterday. That Myer bag contains a curling wand that I got for only 80c after I found a bunch of old gift vouchers still in date and they made up almost all of the price! Score!

I'm not sure how much blogging I'll get done next week. I'm only going to take the iPad rather than lug the laptop across the country. I'm going to try and get something written on the plane for Tuesday, but the rest of the week is a mystery! There will most likely be no Linky Lovin' Friday as I don't think I'm gonna have much time for surfing the web!

Which brings me to this week's Linky Lovin' goodness. I read so many fantastic opinion pieces this week, from some of my favourite bloggers. The world has provided so much fodder for the opinion piece and odd rant (I even got my Ranty Pants on yesterday) this week. I've loved it (when I haven't been feeling pissed off!).

This piece from JJ was absolutely spot-on, and a wonderful reminder of why I steer clear of TV news and source my information elsewhere. The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming! by John Anthony James.

Unless you've been living under a rock you'll have heard the uproar about Red Douche's new song and it's misogynistic lyrics. The old "but it's satire" argument has predictably been rolled out but I don't buy it for one minute, mostly because you have to have some kind of intelligence to create real satire. This is a great post about the douche, and it also has the best pun headline I've seen all week!  I pity the Foo by Handbag Mafia

Good Parent. Bad Parent by School of Mum. Angela at School of Mum is one of those women whose life mirrors mine in many ways, particularly out journeys of Motherhood (our eldest kids are only a week apart). I met her last year at the Digital Parents Conference and she is just the loveliest lady you are likely to meet. I read this post of her's last night and it really struck a chord with me, as I've been feeling the same way lately with everything I need to get done, but we both had these same moments on Wednesday and I could totally relate.

This week is PND Awareness Week and this post from serial LLF nominee Robyn was beautifully written and a great reminder that PND effects everyone in the family, not just Mum. Don't forget Dad! Written for PND Awareness Week by Mrs. D plus 3
Totally stole this from Hugzilla's blog, link below

And now my favourite post of the week, from one of my favourite bloggers (also a serial LLF recipient) and a woman I was lucky enough to meet in the flesh last last Friday, Hugzilla! The Hugzilla Award: The 2014 SanctiMummy of the Year is by far the most perfectly given award of the year, nobody deserves this award more than the douche canoe it's been awarded to and if you only read one of these links then make it this one. You won't be sorry.

So that's Linky Lovin' Friday for another week done and dusted. A little late today as I ran out of time last night to get it finished, between cleaning and shopping, but better late than never right?!

How's everyone else's week been? Anyone else starting to hit the wall and feel the overwhelm with all of the end-of-year shenanigans to get sorted?
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Thursday, 20 November 2014

Enough. // Ranty McRanterson

I have had it up to here with all of the Liberal bullshit and fucking around when it comes to climate change and doing something, anything, in regards to investment in renewable energy. I don't understand how frigging hard it is to get the fact that fossil fuels are finite. They will not last forever. Just because it may not happen in Abbott's lifetime, does not mean he can just bury his head in the sand and leave it up to future generations to figure out.

Why is it so hard to understand that we need to do something to slow down the destruction we humans are causing on this planet. To slow down our own demise. When it comes to climate change and environmental responsibility it's not about saving the planet.

It's about saving people.

The planet, this giant rock hurtling around the sun, will look after itself. It's done so for how many years already, who are we to be so arrogant as to think that it won't continue to figure itself out for the next however many years.

The problem, is that the only way the world can sort its shit out is to change.

The planet doesn't care whether your rich or poor, a garbage man or the Prime Minister. The planet doesn't give a shit if you drive a gas-guzzling behemoth or the latest electric car. The planet doesn't care if you vote Labor or Liberal or Greens of any of the other parties.

The planet only cares about looking after itself and keeping itself going. The planet doesn't discriminate. It doesn't care whether we humans live or die. It will do what it has to, with the conditions it's given, to ensure it's continuance around the sun.

The way we are going, the planet is going to wipe us out in order to save itself, and as a reaction to the way we've been treating it for so many years. However just because the planet will always be here, in one state or another, does not mean we have to speed up the timetable for the extinction of human life on earth. Because that is what we are doing.

I suspect (and this problem won't be a popular suspicion but I'll say it anyway) that part of the problem with Tony Abbott and others of his ilk is not so much that they don't believe in climate change, but that they just don't care. Why? Because of their religious beliefs. They don't care about "saving the planet", climate change or greenhouse gas emissions, because they believe it simply does not matter. This world will end in the way it's written in the Bible, and there is nothing any of us can do to change that.

This will never be spoken about or admitted to though. It's taboo to speak about these kinds of things in our society these days. People in politics only care about the next election and keeping their jobs and their cushy pensions, and so they don't take a stand for anything, they hide their real personal beliefs, and they do the bare minimum that they need to do in order to be re-elected. And so their guiding personal belief system remains diluted and hidden from the public, despite the fact that contrary to what they say, it plays a huge role in their lives and the decisions they make every day.

I could be totally wrong, but that's my theory and I'm sticking to it.
I found this cartoon from The Los Angeles Times on this website here.
You should read this article as it's an interesting look at the role of humour in addressing contentious subjects such as climate change.

The thing is though, if this is the underlying belief of people such as Abbott, whether it be conscious or unconscious, the 'Christian' thing to do would be to make sure that they could minimise the impact of climate change for other humans, and help reduce and minimise the human suffering caused as a result of climate change. To my mind it goes beyond just giving people cash to make up for what they lose as the seas rise and reclaim their homes, or giving them money for more hospital resources to deal with the effects of climate change and pollution.

Even if you don't think there should be anything done to cut-back on emissions from fossil fuels, surely people must realise that our reliance on them needs to be cut back. Investment, and large investment, not token, needs to be made in researching, developing and refining clean, renewable, energy sources. Renewable energy sources that can power our society at the levels it needs to continue functioning in the way that we've become accustomed to.

I may not be around when the time comes and we run out of fossil fuel, but I sure as hell don't want to condemn my descendants to having to deal with the consequences of the decisions that our 'leaders' make on behalf of us today.

There is no point in saving a few dollars on people's power bills if they are getting sick from the polluted air around them. There is no point in saving a few dollars on your power bill if you lose your house as a result of extreme weather bought about by climate change.

Dealing with the issues arising as a result of climate change, and doing what we can to slow it, as well as looking at other ways to power our societies is not a matter of saving the planet.

It's a matter of saving the people.

And I for one have had enough of this bullshit fucking around by our government.

How do you feel about climate change? Do you think we need to be doing more in the area of clean, renewable energy? Have you seen any difference in your power bills since the government cut back the carbon tax?
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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

2 kids under 2. A Survival Guide // Parenting

Almost a year ago I wrote a guest post for the wonderful Bec at Mumma Tells, for her to publish once her second little bundle of joy arrived and she was having time off from blogging. At the time, I still had two kids under two, and given that Bec was about to find herself in the same situation, I shared with her some of the things I'd learnt as a Mother of two kids under two.

I thought I would revisit that post today, seeing as in just under 5 days my precious Punky will turn 3, and Bec's smallest girl will turn 1 (they share a birthday!).

When I gave birth to Zee in July of 2013, my first daughter Punky had just turned 20 months, and to say my husband and I were dropped in to a steep learning curve is an understatement! Life with two kids under 2 was certainly a roller coaster of incredible highs and frustrating lows.
Meeting her little sister for the first time

The highs of course being the wonder of childbirth and the love and euphoria that finally holding your new baby brings. The joy of watching Punky become a big sister, seeing the sweet kisses and hugs she lavished on Zee. The rush of love, wonder and hormones that comes from creating life with your partner.

The lows however? Well some were expected, some not so expected.

While it's expected, it's also easy to forget how relentless caring for a newborn can be. They don't require much, but what they do, they require often! The pain of early breastfeeding and the struggle and frustration that comes from trying to teach a tiny little baby how to latch on and feed. The broken sleep and bouts of crying when they suddenly wake up to the world and seem like they will never fall asleep or stop crying again. All of this was expected, though still a shock to the toddler-conditioned system!

What was unexpected though was the reaction of the toddler. She loved her little sister and enjoyed giving her hugs and kisses (still does!). She shared her toys with her and patted her on the head and said "hello" every time she saw her. She displayed no jealousy or anger towards the baby which surprised me. She did display it towards me though. She got angry with me if I was feeding and she needed or wanted something. She would point at Zee and then the bouncer, indicating that I should put down the baby and tend to her. She got stroppy with me and wouldn't talk to me if I spent too much time with the baby. And when I didn't have the baby she clung to me, afraid that I would go back to the baby instead of being with her.

It was certainly an interesting time, but I think we came through it ok, and neither Punky or Zee seems to be any worse off for the experience of having their Mother stretched to her limit. I learnt a few important things while having two kids under 2, and I'm hoping that you may find something here thats helpful if you ever find yourself in the same situation.

And really, this advice isn't limited to having two kids under two, it's applicable to anyone having a second baby and wondering how the hell they are gonna survive!

One of our very first photos all together (why yes, I do look a little crazy!)

Tips for Surviving with 2 kids under 2 (or simply having a second baby!)

1. Invest in some decent deodorant, a self-swinging rocker and a baby carrier.

Once Dave went back to work there were days when I had either one child or the other needing my attention round the clock so having a shower was just out of the question. So unless your body odour is reminiscent of a unicorn fart (which I imagine would smell like sunshine and rainbows) long-lasting deodorant is a must! Ditto the rocker/bouncer or baby carrier. Not only do they free up your hands to get stuff done or deal with the toddler, but a good rocker or baby carrier can even get baby off to sleep.

2. Invest in some new toys/activities/DVDs that only come out in an emergency.

I built a little stash of books, toys and games in the lead-up to Zee's birth that I pulled out on those days when Punky was getting a bit of cabin-fever and the baby just wanted to feed, feed, feed. Things that required little guidance or help from me, that were versatile and most importantly, kept her entertained or engaged for more than a couple of minutes. Think play-doh and cardboard shapes with holes punched around the edges to practice threading wool or string through. I also bought two DVDs, each with about 20 episodes of Peppa Pig. You may worry about how much time the toddler spends in front of the TV but some days you just have to go with it. It won't harm her in the long run, and in the short term it will save your sanity on the really hard days.

3. Make an effort to get out of the house. One-on-one with the toddler and by yourself.

I found that even something as simple as going for a trip to the post office, or to the local shops to get a milkshake worked wonders for the relationship between Punky and myself. It made her feel special and it filled up her Mummy-love tank enough to get us through the tough days. And of course doing anything by yourself, even if it's just going out for milk, is like visiting heaven! If you have to drink a litre of milk just to have an excuse to get more, go for it. You need the calcium anyway!

Punky loved to help give Zee a bath

4. Try to keep the toddler's routine as normal as possible and get them to help.

One thing I knew, even before Zee was born, was that keeping Punky's routine as normal as possible would help make the transition to life as a big sister a little easier. And it did. While there were times when trying to work the baby around the toddler routine was really hard, it was so worth the effort to persevere. I really think that was one of the keys to ensuring Punky didn't become completely overwhelmed by this massive change in her life. (And I thank God there were no programming changes happening at ABC for Kids other than a random Peppa Pig time-swap, lemme tell ya!).

Getting older kids to help with small tasks and jobs can also go a bit way to helping them feel involved. Punky loved to help us give Zee a bath, and I would often get her to pull the wipes out of the packet or hand me a clean nappy during change times. It made her feel important and she always had a big grin on her face when I thanked her for her wonderful help and being a good big sister.

5. Banish guilty feelings and focus on the things you HAVE done!

It's inevitable that having a second baby will bring even more mother guilt with it. Guilt at wanting to spend time just basking in your newborn, guilt at not spending enough time with your toddler, guilt about the state of the house, guilt at not having much time for your partner, pretty much guilt about anything that will pop in to your sleep-deprived brain! It's ok to feel the guilt, maybe even have a cry about it, feel a bit sorry for yourself.

But then its time to give yourself a mental head slap, and then a pat on the back, and know that you are doing the absolute best you can and that you're a great Mum! I felt like I was ruining both my toddler and baby in those first few weeks and would worry about all the things I wasn't doing and get upset and beat myself up about it. But then my Mum said something to me which really helped a lot... she told me at the end of each day to stop and think about the things I HAD done. Even if all I had done was make sure both kids had full bellies, that was something to be proud of. And by reminding myself of that I felt a lot less stress and a lot more joy.

In the end, having a Mummy that loves them is the best thing you can do for your kids. There are gonna be hard days sure, days where you may or may not go and sit on the toilet and have a massive sob because it's all too much and overwhelming (true story). Days when you realise that maybe you don't like being a Mum as much as you thought you would. I'm not gonna tell you that it gets easier, because to be honest, it's more that it just gets different, but with all of the tough days come the days that you just can't believe how lucky you are to be blessed with two such amazing beings. Your heart will just about burst with the joy of it!

And if all else fails make sure your bedroom cupboard is stocked with family-size chocolate bars and a few good bottles of low-alcohol wine!

What's your best advice for coping with the life changes that having a baby brings, whether it's number 1, 2 or beyond? What do you wish you'd known when it came time to bring home a sibling?

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Friday, 14 November 2014

Linky Lovin' Friday {14th November 2014} // Blogging

After missing Linky Lovin' Friday last week I've got a bit of a packed line-up of reading goodness for you this week. I won't introduce each one like usual as I am super short on time getting everything organised to go the Kids Business Bloggers Brunch this morning at Centennial Park. Despite the forecast heat I'm looking forward to catching up with a bunch of beautiful blogging birds and spending a few hours child-free.

This will be my second outing this week child-free as Dave and I went to my cousins wedding on the weekend and stayed at my sister's while my fabulous MIL looked after the girls for us.

My cousins new husband is a Tongan and it was really cool to see the Tongan customs and marriage traditions played (or danced!) out at the wedding. Dave sadly took home the crown of most inebriated guest, but considering half the guests don't drink alcohol (they're also Mormons) that's not as bad a distinction as it sounds!

The other awesome part of the week happened on Tuesday when I found out I'd won an all-expenses paid trip to Perth to help celebrate iiNet's 21st birthday. I'm beyond excited about the trip, but I'm also a little nervous as I'll be heading over by myself and won't know anyone. If there's one thing I know how to do though, it's talk, so I'm sure after the first day I'll find my feet ok.

The hardest part about the trip is going to be leaving Dave and the girls for a week. The longest I've left Punky is 2 nights, and I've only been away from Zee overnight twice since she was born, and that was only in the last 5 weeks!

So I think it's gonna be an interesting  experience for all of us. I also suspect this will be the end for Zee's usual morning feed and I have mixed emotions about that, big time! She's been down to just that one morning feed for a while now, and at 15 and a half months I had no plans of cutting her off until she was ready. But unfortunately I don't think there is going to be much choice in the matter as I don't know if there will be anything left for he by the time I get back.

It's sort of the last connection I have to her baby-ness and I will most definitely miss our morning snuggles and seeing her big eyes and smile looking up at me if this does in fact prove to be the end. I know it will be a lot harder for me than it is for her, but I know we can find ways to fit some quiet snuggles somewhere in our way. If there is one thing I'll say for Zee, she is a snuggly kid so I know all is not lost.

On that note, I'll leave you with your weekend reading list, an excellent selection (if I do say so myself!) of blog posts and articles that are sure to get you thinking and put a smile on your dial! If you're heading to the Blogger's Brunch this morning too I look forward to catching up with as many of you as I can.

Happy Friday!

How to be nice by Kirsten & Co

Child refuses to let Mother die (in peace) by The Thud

Love them Anyway by Picklebums

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Thursday, 13 November 2014

My Top 5 Proudest Moments // Life

This week's The Lounge theme is Proud Moments. I'm not going to list these in order, as they all make me proud for one reason or other and no one is better than the other. They range from the crazy to the cool, but all of them hold a special place in my heart and give me a reason to brag (even if the brag is done with tongue-in-cheek!).

Singing my first public solo at age 12

When I was in year 6 I was asked to sing my first solo for the school's ANZAC Day ceremony. I was only given a day's notice, so I held the words on a piece of paper in front of me, and I was beyond nervous as I had less than 24 hours to learn the song (And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda). My Mum and my choir teacher Miss Forbes helped me with my nerves and learning the song, and without their words of encouragement I probably would have run off screaming and spewing rather than go through with it.

I'm so glad I did it though, and the confidence I gained from that first solo performance has helped me in other areas of my life over the years, and I use it as a reminder to believe in myself and give anything a go.

Coming first in the Cross Country in Year 12

This is a total tongue-in-cheek proud moment as there was only 4 of us competing in the race! I was one of four school captains (my next proud moment) and we were told that it would be setting a good example if we were to participate. So the four of us walked the course and agreed that we would all cross the finish line together.

I reneged on that and when we were about 100m from the finish line I took off, sprinting my way to my one and only athletic victory! I also gained a degree of notoriety and a reputation of cunning amongst my friends and teachers! I still like to brag about this win to this day, just to see people's reactions when I explain to them the circumstances.
Too cool for school!
My Year 12 photo

Being voted School Captain of my High School

Deciding to run for School Captain was a bit of a spur of the moment thing. I hadn't really thought about it at all until the final day to put your name down came around. I was already House Captain by default (after every other House Captain in my house left the school! Lol!) and so I thought why the hell not. It might be nice to actually be voted in for something rather than getting it by default because you were the only one left!

I didn't tell anyone but my best friend that I had put my name down, and by the time the day of the speeches rocked around I was starting to wish I hadn't bothered. But I absolutely nailed my election speech, and I've been told by heaps of people that my speech was the reason why they voted for me, they didn't even know who I was before then! I remember going home the afternoon that I found out I'd been elected and telling Mum & Dad. Their reactions were priceless and it still gives me warm and fuzzies when I think about how proud and happy they were for me.

Taking Punky and Zee on a day out, all by myself

This may sound silly to some, but for a long time I avoided doing anything too 'big' by myself with the girls for fear that I would be overwhelmed and lose one of them or my sanity! One day however I was invited to attend the Pregnancy, Baby & Toddler Expo at Homebush for a blogging PR thing with Medela.

For some reason it never crossed my mind the fact that I was about to embark on this huge day out with both girls, all by myself. It took lots of organisation to get us all out of the house on time, and nerves of steel to navigate through the hordes at the expo. We ended up having a great (but exhausting!) day and it wasn't until I had strapped the girls back in the car and was heading home that I realised I had just successfully survived a massive day out with both girls, all by myself. That's the moment when I realised that I had in fact started to get the hang of this 'parenting two small children' gig.

Winning the opportunity to be an iiNet Insiider

If you follow my facebook page you would have seen a little update I posted on Tuesday night. I entered a competition about a month ago to be an iiNet Insiider and go to Perth for their 21st birthday celebrations. The prize include an all-expenses, week-long trip to Perth, where I'll get to visit the iiNet offices and see them in action, hang out with some of their cool tech partners, as well as attend their 21st birthday VIP party.

Over 1500 people entered and 5 winners were chosen based on their social media entries and presence. To say I was excited when I got the call to say I'd been shortlisted, and then won, is a major understatement. I didn't think I'd have a real chance of winning, and the fact that I have makes spending so much time blogging and on social media feel just that little bit more justified!

Other proud moments of note: Buying a house, organising my entire wedding, giving birth to my girls, getting my licence and every job I've ever been lucky enough to get.

If there is one thing I have learnt from these proud moments, it's to believe in myself and to not let self-doubt stop me from doing great things.

Now it's your turn, what are you proudest moments, both big and small, I want to hear about them!
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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The Day I Knew I Had to Break Up with my Hairdresser // Life

If you follow me on social media, Instagram in particular, then you may have noticed I've undergone a little change. Actually it's a big change if I'm totally honest, and not one I expected at all, when I walked out the door last Thursday afternoon.

You see, it was my cousin's wedding on the weekend, and I of course wanted to look my best for her big day. Dave's Mum was looking after the girls for us overnight and we were staying with my sister and going to enjoy a glorious kid-free day and evening.

As many women often do, I booked myself in to the hairdresser for a couple of days. The plan was to get a trim of the haircut I got 6 weeks earlier, that in itself was a big change as I cut my hair from mid-lenth to above shoulder-length. Get a few foils to disguise the massive regrowth from the last lot I got months and months before, and have it curled, so that by the time the wedding rocked around a couple of days later I'd be sporting some nice waves rather than a giant fuzz-ball!

Somehow though, I walked out of there a blonde!
This is my sexy shocked face

Don't get me wrong, I actually don't mind it. In fact it's something that I've thought about doing on and off for years, along with going jet black too. I can't say it's done my hair any favours though, as I can feel how damaged my hair now is from the whole process.

While I don't mind this opportunity to test the theory of blonde's having more fun, there is still one big problem that I'm struggling to overlook, and it's the reason why I think I have to find a new hairdresser...

It's not what I asked for.

What I asked for was a trim, and a half head of foils. Nothing dramatic I said, just a few highlights to hide the regrowth of the old ones.

What I got was bombshell blonde!
It was a bit windy at the ceremony. Good thing I took the obligatory selfie before we got there!

I have struggled for most of my adult life to find a decent hairdresser. There was a short period when I thought I'd hit the jackpot, and that was while I was pregnant with Punky. Only problem was, she was pregnant too. And so a month after I had Punky she went on her own maternity leave and she hasn't returned since.

So I've been testing out the other girls at the salon and sadly I just don't seem to have found that same magic that I had with Tammy. I know, I know, first-world problems and all that, but finding a good hairdresser is a very rare thing for me. I want to know that when I sit down in that chair, and hand over a fistful of cash a couple hours later, I'm going to be walking out of there with what I asked for.

And I don't think I am going to get that where I've been going the last few years. So now I am on a quest to find a new hairdresser. Normally I would leave it a few months or even longer between visits, but I have a feeling that being a blonde and the subsequent re-growth I'll be sporting, I'm gonna need a follow-up visit sooner rather than later.
Picture of the Bride & Groom's First Dance?
Nailed it!

And so the quest begins. If you know of any good hairdressers in the Hawkesbury/Hills area, please let me know!

Have you ever walked out of the hairdressers with something completely different to what you asked for? Do you have a good hairdresser or do you have bad hairdresser luck like me?
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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Western Sydney Family Photography: Kelly & the Kids // Photography

I spent the weekend with my Mum & sister on Saturday, and one of my best friends and her kids on Sunday. We took the kids to the Nepean River and I had my camera with me so I could take some pics of Kelly and her gorgeous kids as a bit of a belated birthday present for her.

We had so much fun watching the kids play together, and it was definitely a learning experience in more ways than one. I learnt about the challenges of shooting in midday light, with lots of contrast between shade and sun. I also learnt that trying to conduct a shoot with both of your own small children in tow is not the best of ideas!

I have told Kelly I want to take some more pictures another day when I don't have to take the girls with me, as I'm not happy with all of the shots and would like to try again. I did however manage to get quite a few good ones, and I thought I would share a couple of them today...

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