26 January 2020

WEEKLY GRATITUDE


^^ I had to stop on the way home from training this week to capture this beauty of a sunrise at Marazion ^^

Happy Sunday! Wow, what a week I have had this week! It’s been my most productive week in months and it has felt great to be feeling those motivated vibes in my body and mind again. I made the decision, after a whole lot of consideration, to speak to my doctor about going back on a low dose of my medication for my mental health issues and, whilst I know it’s definitely not in my system yet, I think that the knowledge that it will soon make a difference is already helping me function. I’m looking forward to feeling more of the positives that will come from taking the tablets. As much as I wanted to be permanently off fluoxetine, I had to list how I was feeling in terms of pros and cons and understand exactly how much impact the way I was feeling was having on my everyday life. Quite honestly, I am so grateful for the NHS and the fact that I have the flexibility to choose going back on medications without too much worry; I feel like I have really had my eyes opened recently to exactly how lucky we are in this part of the world and I thank my lucky stars that my mental health can be helped relatively easily if I so choose.

I kind of covered the first big thing I’m grateful for but let’s get onto the rest shall we?

:: I have been really loving any content I can get my hands on by Catherine, from Katnipp Illustration. I’ve been following her business/studio vlog YouTube channel from all the way back before she had her two studio spaces, and she is just the post wonderful human ever. I find her personality so uplifting and, from a business perspective, she is just the most inspiring girl to watch. I have loved watching her grow her business, employ her sister and brother in law and watch all the amazing opportunities that have come her way. I am constantly cheering her on from the side lines because her business ethics are something I admire so much. Recently Catherine started a second YouTube channel, 'Beyond Katnipp', where she puts up regular vlogs and Disney vlogs too. It shows how much I adore her because I watch her Disney vlogs; as much as I love the Disney movies, I can’t think of anything worse than visiting Disney, it's just too busy and a bit sensory overload for me, but because it’s Catherine I watch it and enjoy every second! She’s awesome!

:: Whilst I am on the subject of awesome humans, one of my besties, and someone who I am eternally grateful for, Peta from the blog Nourishing Soulfully, is doing something super wonderful in February. From 17th until 21st she is running a FREE event called The Loving Kindess Workshop; she will be jumping on a live stream with everyone who signs up and chatting about different things each evening for an hour (you can always watch on a catch up if you can't make it). I have signed up and that is not only to support my pal, but also because she is awesome at what she does. She has helped me so much with a lot of things I struggle with (bonus to having a friend who is also an amazing coach too huh!) and I know that this workshop will be fab. Peta is one of those people who gives everything to what she does, whether it is a free event or not, she always dives right on in and has her heart on her sleeve all the time. To find out more just check out this link which will take you to The Loving Kindness Workshops page on Nourishing Soulfully. Have a read and sign up if you feel called to; please share it with friends or family members who you think will benefit because I promise you will come away feeling so much better for it. I loved the coaching sessions I did with Peta and I know you will love this little course too. Support my buddy and give yourself a little love to by signing up; I will be there each night it runs, with a cup of tea in my hand, and it would be great to see you there too.

^^ A quick overview of all the days of Peta's workshops, click HERE for more info ^^

:: This week I ordered a bunch of new packaging for my products on Leaf Lane Studio; I am trying to order planet friendly things each time I run out. Now I have biodegradable and compostable cello bags for cards and pads, recyclable boxes and my most recent addition is a packing tape that is recyclable too. There are still one or two things that need updating as they run out, but I also am mindful of not wasting the items I already have, but by the end of this year I want the whole business to be fully eco friendly in every way possible. It is so important to me and I am striving for that as a priority.

:: I also received a delivery of new cards for my Floral Brights collection this week! I designed these simple, yet pretty 'Thank You' cards using the original painting for the collection as a background for the text. I really love how they turned out. These will be going up in my shop this week coming!

:: As you may have seen from Wednesdays blog post, I have now released my brand new printable weekly planner sheets! I am so happy with them and have also received some great feedback on the free version I put out for you guys too (you can still get it here - sign up and you will receive and email back wit the link to the planner sheet!). There are three packs, all in cute colour-ways, now available on my website (click HERE to see them!). I have honestly found that my week has been more productive from using them; I enjoy the process of ticking things off a list and seeing what I have left to do directly in front of me. To see how I use mine make sure you are subscribed to my YouTube Channel, as the next Studio Vlog to come out (number 18) will show you how I have integrated them into my planning schedule. I would love it if you had a look at the sheets and let me know what colour-way you like the most!

:: A side effect of being a bit poorly recently, along with my lower mood, has been lethargy. Subsequently I haven’t really been enjoying my gym sessions as much, especially because it’s dark when I go and it’s been very chilly. This week I have been finding inspiration online, watching a lot of YouTube videos and finally made the decision to step away from the more split routine, body-building style training for a while and try out some new moves. So this week I have been learning new things, pushing myself in different ways and putting my body through more functional training. It felt really great and it actually lifted my spirits and energy too. Because it’s quite hard work I will be throwing in a couple of heavier sessions in the week and then the more lighter, intense sessions too. I feel like I need to be a bit better overall, and try new things to challenge myself, rather than relying on pure body building. I will still be dead-lifting, squatting, benching and all the other big compound lifts that I love, but I am also throwing in box jumps, skipping, single arm snatches, burpees, cleans, sled pushes and other things to raise my heart rate and fitness! It feels good to have a change, it really does.

 ^^ The hat was needed this week with the frosty mornings as the gym has no heating ^^

:: On the subject of fitness, this weekend I started watching ‘Cheer’ on Netflix and, whilst I really didn’t think it was my thing, it is bloody awesome to see the physicality of these routines. It’s pretty nuts to watch their training and to see everything that goes into it. Have you seen it? The days of pom-poms are over my friends!

:: After an intense training session on Thursday I had to pop into The Range for something totally random, and couldn’t resist getting a little cup of pick n mix on the way out. It’s been a while since I’ve had foam related seafood (shrimps!) and a jelly shark! They were yummy and certainly picked up my energy levels.

:: With the colder weather hitting, there have been some stunning sunrises and sun sets happening. On the way home from training, one morning this week, I had to pull into a beach car park to snap a picture of the view (below) because it was too gorgeous to pass up. Marazion looked dreamy in this light and the silhouette of  St Michaels Mount (see the opening photo to this post) was incredible. I can't resist a sunrise or sunset can you?

That is all for this weeks gratitude post but stay tuned for a new post on Wednesday (I am fully immersed into the routine again now!) and keep your eyes peeled for the new Studio Vlog coming any day now (I am just finishing the edit today). Whilst you are waiting, why not check out Studio Vlog 17, and give the channel a little subscribe whilst you are over there... help me reach my 1000 subscriber goal!



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22 January 2020

COPING WITH THE STRUGGLES OF RUNNING A BUSINESS



These last few months have been the hardest months ever for Leaf Lane Studio, more because of my own, personal struggles getting in the way of the business than the actual business itself, but a struggle is a struggle nonetheless! I thought I would write a post with a few of my thoughts and reflections, and how I am overcoming (or trying to overcome) some of the more tricky patches within this little creative adventure of mine.

The problem: OVERWHELM
We all get overwhelm at some point in our lives and it can show up in various strengths too; but for the last few months I have been hit hard with it. Having a mental health issue sitting in the background all the time means that something seemingly insignificant can push my mind into those suffocating emotions that come with overwhelm much faster; that said though, I know I am just a personality type that worries a lot, so either way I tend to find myself easily snowed under! Hands up if you are with me!

For me, overwhelm shows up when I look at all the things I should be doing as one big list of 'stuff I must get done to be a success' (not a great start!). Let's face it, in todays world of fast paced social media and people yelling from the roof tops about the best, most proactive way to conduct yourself in business, it is easy to feel like you are constantly playing catch up. I mean, there are the emails, the DM's on social, then the social platforms themselves... Instagram, Facebook pages, Pinterest, Twitter, Blogs, YouTube channels... I must be missing something (Tick Tock for example, whatever that is!). Making sure content is prepared and consistent across those platforms is a full time job in itself, let alone the website work, preparing orders, wrapping and posting orders, finding time to create new products or design new things. Wait, what about marketing and networking with other people to build the business? Getting all the paperwork tidy and filed away so you know whats what! The list goes on. Is it any wonder it is overwhelming working alone?



The solution: SET YOURSELF UP RIGHT EACH DAY
I think what I have learned recently is that my brain goes through seasons; some weeks I am looking at all the things it takes to run a business with heaps of excitement and so much hope that I am overflowing at the brim, and other weeks I am over-tired, and the thought of even writing one Instagram caption can throw me into despair. The big thing to remember is that everyday is different and, whilst it is super easy to think 'this is it, I am going to feel like this for the rest of my week life!', tomorrow is a new day and it is vital to set yourself up right for the day, rather than wake up negative and expecting the same mood to hit. If it does come along again, then there isn't much you can do about it, but I am learning to just accept my mood and to push through my list of tasks despite the overwhelm, rather than sitting staring into oblivion. Nothing gets done if you just turn your back on things that you should be working on which makes the overwhelm even worse the next day for sure.

I recommend a decent morning routine, where you take time for you, even if you feel overwhelmed and like you need to just jump on in immediately. You will work better for it and you will feel so much more 'together'. My mornings involve an early start to get to the gym; as hard as it is in the winter months to get up at 5.30am, I feel a million times better for training, showering and knowing it is done. I then make myself breakfast and a cup of tea and read an inspiring book for ten minutes. After I have eaten, I put on my headphones and listen to a guided meditation all about manifesting the life you want and then I journal and pull out an oracle card for my day.

That little routine feels so good. It is proper me time and it means I value myself enough to prioritise my body and mind. There are one or two days I can't do it, and mostly they are days where I really need to not get up early and I just need to sleep, but even that is showing myself extra care. Sleep is so healing and I try not to ignore my body when it tells me I need to switch off my alarm.



The problem: NOT STICKING TO A PLAN
I did a post about my planning routine quite recently, and for the most part I stick to that, changing a couple of things here and there to suit projects or workloads. When I started to feel at my worst over the last few months, when my inspiration, creativity and motivation levels dropped, I stopped using my planner and didn't really write lists of what needed doing, apart from client work. Obviously when I look at what I have just written, it is easy to tell myself off and think 'well, that wouldn't have made you feel very good!' because it is never going to help a confused, tired mind to not have a plan or list of tasks to work through is it?! But we all do funny things when we are stressed or not well!

The solution: HAVE A STRUCTURED & REWARDING PLANNING ROUTINE
I work so much better with lists I can tick off; I have a mind that needs to see progression and I work so much harder when I can see that I am reaching goals. The planner I mention in this blog post is so good for me, it suits my style of work so well. Along side that I also use a to-do list to almost sub-catagorise my master list, plus I have a planner sheet on my notice board too. The sheet acts as an overview and is more of a scrappy place for me to mind-dump, move tasks about and see what can be left to next week. I designed a sheet especially for my own working schedule, and you can see the ones I created here if you are interested. I am quite precious about keeping my physical planner neat, so printable sheets work well for me. I have used them for years but am chuffed to have my own now. I have started just giving myself between two and four top priorities on my to-do list each day; these are the must-dos and anything under those things can wait or be moved to tomorrow. This works so well for me.

Before I started doing that, I just had one huge 'master list' which was so overwhelming (there's that 'O' word again!) that I just didn't get a thing done from it. I am also breaking down my goals in a different way. I have written long, medium and short term goals in my planner, and I am pulling one or two out per month or two months, depending on the goal, and not even giving the others any thought whatsoever. That is the best way for me to work, and I think that is the key: finding the best way for YOU to work. Taking tips and tricks from people is fine, but the routine must feel like it is fundamentally you or else you won't stick to it.



The problem: FEELING LIKE YOU WANT TO QUIT
This has been a huge thing for me on the bad days. I have suffered so much this winter with SAD, low moods, lack of energy and motivation and feel battered and bruised from little knocks from things that have happened within the business too. From having no money to spend on new products to having some serious supplier issues, I have felt like I have been dragged through a hedge backwards this last six months.

But in the back of my mind, through all the bad times, when I have been sobbing to Joe about feeling useless and thinking I should just quit, I have the words of so many business coaches echoing about my head '.. the first few years are such hard work, it can be so difficult and you will want to give up time and time again, but do not give up'. At my core I know this business with thrive, but I chose a route of no bank loans, no big investments, just slow progression, and I try to remind myself of that when I am having a bad day, but it doesn't make it any easier sometimes.

The solution: REACH OUT
I know this is so obvious, but reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness. I think it is so important to remind yourself that you aren't, by any means, the only person in your position; which is tricky to remember when you are crying on your bed in the dark because you have been let down by another supplier (you can tell that was a real scenario can't you!). Recently I bit the bullet on a desperately rubbish day and emailed/DM'd a couple of business owners I admire and asked them some advice. I think as long as they can see you aren't being lazy and just wanting free help, people will be friendly, and the ladies I spoke to were so lovely. They helped me realise that all the thoughts I was having about the way things should be, are literally just my thoughts playing tricks on me, and that there isn't a set way of doing anything in this world. When you first start out, it is easy to think constantly about how the rest of the industry is doing things and assume so many things that aren't fact. This is so counter-productive as you don't think you can explore out-the-box options. I think it can take a while to get into the 'I own this business and can do whatever I bloody want' mindset!



MY FINAL THOUGHTS...
The cliche of 'you have to go through darkness to find light' is true friends. In all the tough moments I have had (some are still happening) I have learned so much more than I would have if things were going swimmingly every day. I feel bruised, tired and sometimes beyond deflated, but I am getting faster at picking myself up and getting back to it.

Being in business is not an easy path, but it is a great one. I have so many things I want to do with Leaf Lane Studio, including getting products into shops (I have big dreams for The Eden Project and The National Trust too) and I know that all the bumps in the road will lead me to the top of a bright hill where I will be able to look out over everything and see the journey with clear vision. I am excited for the adventures to come and hope to be able to share every part of it with you all along the way.

My advice to you, if you are just starting out, is to connect with other business owners (*waving at you now!) and have Facetimes or, if you can, in person coffee dates to chat about business and inspire one another. That is a big goal for me this year, so if you want to arrange a little chat then send me a message over on IG! Don't allow yourself to become isolated and feel alone. Most of all, remember that YOU CAN DO THIS! Let's have each others backs through this, because it is tough, but oh so worth it!

Before you go...

Can I ask you a BIG favour?
If you are interested in seeing some behind-the-scenes bits and bobs, including time-lapse clips of me doodling, Cornwall scenery and general rambling, then you may like my Studio Vlogs on my YouTube channel! I am aiming to get my subscribers up to 1,000 by the end of this year as it will really help my business grow and also means I can start to monetise my videos again (a privilege that YouTube whipped away from us low subscriber channels a couple of years back, not that I had earned a penny yet, but it is nice to have a goal!). If you feel like subscribing I would really appreciate it, you will be the first to hear of any new content and can turn on notifications to know when each video goes live if you wish.

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19 January 2020

WEEKLY GRATITUDE


^^ This beautiful view is from the South West Coast Path along from Porthgwarra ^^

It's been a long time since I put a gratitude post together, but they are back and I am excited to share what goes on through the week with you guys. So much has been going on recently, life has been busy and a little up and down health wise, so I won't recap for you, but you can always checkout my 'Studio Vlog' playlist on my YouTube channel to catch up with everything; I would love it if you could subscribe to my channel too if you enjoy my videos!

Let's get on in to this weeks gratitude list shall we?

:: It has rained for so many days since October and it has been making me feel really low and in need of more light; lack of sunlight has never played such an important part of my life. I think I have always suffered with SAD in some respects, but this winter has been one of my hardest ever. Maybe it is to do with working from home, where it is inevitable that you can become more of a hermit, thankfully though, this weekend, the blue sky arrived, bringing with it a bright and sunny (and frosty!) couple of days, so we made the most of it. On Saturday afternoon we had a short walk over along the coast path near Godrevy. We were planning to go and see some seals, but the car park was full, so we went further along and took in the views instead. It was so muddy and wet (all that rain has caused havoc) but that is what walking boots are for my friends. Today (Sunday) we ventured to Portgwarra, which we went to several years ago and haven't been back since. We got up early, parked up by the cafe and head straight for the coast path. There is something different about the cliffs and rocks over by Lands End, they are huge and smoother than the cliffs over on the North coast. I'll pop in some pictures so you can see how beautiful it was. Apparently some of Poldark is shot at Porthgwarra too... just a fact for you Poldark fans out there!


^^ Check out the teeny tiny human walk on the cliff... eek! ^^

:: This week I have been listening to Heart Radio 90's all the time. It's so funny that I am loving all that music, because I remember not being that into it the first time around! It just sounds really happy and it brightens up my mood a lot too!

:: I have been working hard on a 'drawing a day' project for January, which was going super well until this last week. I haven't been feeling at my best, so have struggled to keep up this week. I may try and catch up with myself because I would love to make it to the end of January, and doing the drawings have been really relaxing too. It has been lovely producing work for myself, and feeling a bit more free with it.

:: We are not the only ones who have enjoyed the sunshine. Gizmo was out on the patio this morning, rolling about and soaking up the rays. We have been so looking forward to seeing her out on a sunny day, because the poor thing was indoors for so long and, since she has been let out again, it has done nothing but rain.



:: Recently, to try and help my mental health a little, I have been starting my day with a ten minute meditation all about manifesting your dreams. It has been really uplifting and I have been making sure that I journal immediately afterward too. Some mornings it is not easy to do, but as it is only ten minutes I am finding room for it and always feel better for it.

:: I was going to mention the little horses in the field next door, because I had been popping out the house to go and stroke them and have a little chat (!), but they have now been moved on, and I am so sad about it. We had named them Mr Crinkle and Sedgewick, and they were so cute. They followed each other about all day, cleaned each other and slept all snuggled in. I miss them, but I am so grateful we got to have them next door for a while too.





:: On Saturday night the stars were insanely bright, and I took my little Canon G7X outside (it was cold!) and attempted a shot. I am so happy with how many stars came out in the picture. I'm also chuffed that the Pleiades constellation came up too (you can see it on the top right area, it is really bright and sort of shaped like a tiny kite or key!). If it hadn't have been minus temperatures outside, I would've sat outside for hours; nature is the best and it is free!

:: This week I have been working hard to create a free weekly planning printable for you guys; I was updating a wedding checklist for new subscribers over on Leaf Lane Studio, but also wanted to give something to people who came over to the site just for stationery, so I came up with a planning sheet that I have been using for myself. I love it as it has room for priorities, gratitude and space to make notes for the following week. I will be selling planning printables very soon, over on Leaf Lane Studio and my Etsy shop, but in the meantime make sure you pick up the free one HERE. If you are already a subscriber to my Leaf Lane 'Love Notes' newsletter, then check your inbox (and junk box) as I sent it to you guys already! If you use it I would love it if you tagged me on Instagram @leaflanestudio and told your friends about it too! If you are feeling super generous head to the Facebook Page and leave a review/recommendation!



^^ This little pack of four will be going into my shop this week coming, so stay tuned! ^^

That is all for this week guys, I hope you have a lovely week and I will see you on Wednesday for a new blog post. A new Studio Vlog will be out in the next 24 hours too, so be sure to head to YouTube and subscribe to my channel, just search for 'From Lucy with Love Blog' and hit subscribe!
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14 January 2020

A DIFFERENT VISION


^^ The gorgeous Poldhu, where the greatest hot chocolates ever live! ^^

(Belated) Happy New Year! This post was meant to be going up a whole lot earlier but I haven't been too well, so forgive me! As late as it is to say this, I hope you had a beautiful Christmas, indulged in all the good stuff and napped for the Olympics! I certainly did the indulging part! When New Years Eve came around though, I felt totally different to all the years that have come before; I didn't feel low or sad for January, but rather shockingly (for me!) I felt relief and excited. I felt almost like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I learned so damn much about myself in 2019 and felt like stepping into 2020 was like a fresh page in a new notebook that I desperately wanted to get scribbling on, rather than staring at it, not knowing what to write.

I am stealing the rest of this post, well the prompts anyway, from an episode of Lori Harder's Earn Your Happy podcast, called 'Start, stop, face and embrace in 2020'. The prompts I am stealing are in the title, 'Start, stop, face and embrace', and I want you to think about these with me as you read through mine, because I think it is a quick fire route into your heart for the new year ahead.

I reflected super deep all on lots of things all of last year, really going to the guts of my mind, mostly when I really didn't want to, and found I was getting super pissed off with what I was finding. Why? Well, because I was truly seeing myself, and super clearly for the first time in ages. I feel like 2019 was the year the universe thought 'right, let's make this a year of removing all the false beliefs this woman has left in her head... let's strip this back and make her see what needs doing'.

I mentioned my 'funk' so many times on social media and in my studio vlogs (latest one linked below by the way!) and I was driving myself crazy. I would find myself sitting on the bed, lost in thoughts and dreams of the life I wanted to live, but at the time I was unable to see that the sitting there was procrastination at its finest, and I was actually self-sabotaging my own future.

I am making it sound so dramatic, but I don't feel that way about it, not now anyway. So, before I say anymore, let's jump into the prompts and dig a little deeper; if you decide to do this, just grab some paper and jot down your thoughts and feelings under each title. Let me know in the comments what came through for you once you're done.

^^ Gizmo has one New Years resolution - more sleep! ^^

^^ My January drawing-a-day project is in full swing ^^

S T A R T
This year is the year I stick to my lists and my planner more and actually follow through with my goals. Previous goals have always been planned, written out and then filed away under 'some day', but this year I am trying something a little different. I will be pulling out one or two short term to medium to goals per calendar month (two months if it is something bigger) and then writing out sub 'to-do's' in order for me to work towards them. For January it is to release the new Leaf Lane Studio wedding stationery collection I have been sitting on for six months and to continue work on my website redesign. I think that the website release will be happening in February now, as I have lost some time with being unwell.

Other things I would like to start doing this year are things like trying to attending at least one networking event; I am quite shy about these and get impostor syndrome in a big way just thinking about going to an event, but this is never going to get better unless I face this head on!

2020 is also a year of deciding what I want to do with this blog and how to make it work for me in a better way. I have been blogging for many years now and I feel like I definitely want to carry on, but I am ready to shift gears to something a little different; this may look like a shift to a different platform and a new approach to what I write about, but that will come in time, I am certainly not going to force anything.

This is also the year that I START: getting outside much, much more / visiting more places in Cornwall / making more time to drive and visit friends and family / have more faith in my own ability to succeed / wear more of my clothes (rather than living in the same stuff because I work from home) / looking after my body better in every way.
^^ Watching dogs on the beach is a favourite past time ^^
S T O P
The one thing I want to try to stop this year is saying 'yes' to things that may not fit who I am or what my business is about (if it is a business related thing of course). I have learned a lot during the short time I have been in business and I am now able to see with a more clear vision what is right for me and what isn't. I have learned that taking on the wrong things cause me huge anxiety and feel constantly difficult to work on, so that is the biggest 'stop' for me this year. Turning down projects, especially when you need cash in your pocket, is not easy, but by taking on the wrong thing you block the way for the right thing, so I am trying to remember that!

F A C E
I kind of touched on this earlier, but my thing to face up to this year is that I can be super easily distracted by things I shouldn't be focusing my time on. I want to be sticking a lot more rigidly to my daily 'to-do' list and really focus in on my 'why' for the business.

Another thing, which is a 'continue' for me, is my relationship with food. I have got so much better with it, but I am still reprogramming my brain to stop using it as a comfort for happiness/sadness/everything! It is hard, it really is, but it is a life-long project for me I think.

^^ Another shot from the walk at Poldhu; such a beautiful beach ^^

E M B R A C E
The answer to the 'embrace' section is 'my mood'. I recently wrote a blog post about coming off of my anti-depressant medication and I am still trying to work out what I am doing with that. For the time being I want to fully embrace everything I am feeling in terms of adjusting to the medication free Lucy. It isn't a comfortable feeling at all; I am definitely going through some struggles and it all has an impact on my business and my general motivation, but I am working with it and am trying my best each and every day.

At the moment I am craving sunlight, which there has basically been none of recently, which I know plays a huge part in why I feel lower, so I am going to let spring time appear and then make a decision. Embracing who I am, off the medication, is one of the most challenging things, but it is also very necessary to try it, so I am trying it. Fear creeps in daily, but I am meditating in the mornings and journaling when I can, which I find very uplifting, so I will just keep pushing forward and see what happens!

There you have it, those are the most important things in my mind for this year. Let me know how you get on if you try the prompts!

I am working on a new Studio Vlog right now, but in the mean time, have a little look at this latest one and please do click through to YouTube to 'like' and 'subscribe' if you feel like you want to see more, because it honestly really helps my channel grow. Click right here to subscribe!

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