4 Ways To Become a Positive Person


Whether it’s about your appearance, your partner or your lifestyle, negative thoughts are never a good thing to have. A minor negative thought can grow and become something you obsess about every day. This can drain you of all your energy, make you lose all focus and make you feel inferior to others. So instead of giving into your frequent thoughts and to keep some of your sanity, it’s time to become a more positive person. Take a look at these four ways you can encourage more positivity into your life and become a better version of yourself.

Smile more

Instead of walking around with a frown, make an effort to smile more. Stand up in front of a mirror and smile at yourself. You may feel a little bit silly at first, but it will have a positive impact by improving your appearance and relieving stress. Doing this often will feel more natural over time, and you’ll feel lighter as a result. This is especially important if you have children. You don’t want them to pick up on your negative vibe, and they may even start to copy your expressions.

Do something good for someone else

Doing things for others will always improve your mood and make you feel like a good person. So think of how you could improve someone else’s day rather that just concentrating on your own. You could visit an elderly neighbour and help them do their weekly shop. Or you could do some voluntary charity work for people who are less fortunate than yourself. These small acts of kindness will make you feel incredible and highlight just how fortunate you are.

List the things you are grateful for

Many of us don’t realise how lucky we are and how much we have to be thankful for. So write a list of all the things you are grateful for to gain some much-needed perspective. This list will help you appreciate what you already have and stop you dwelling on irrelevant things. Keep this list somewhere you can see it every day and add to it often.

Get help with your negativity

If you find it difficult to see the positive qualities in your life, there may be an underlying issue you need to resolve. Seeking help with your negativity from your family, friends and counsellors is a fantastic way to become more positive. These people will put things into perspective and help you get out of that negative downward spiral. You can also discover what your rising sign is, which can offer some guidance and insight into why you feel this way all the time. Listen to your support network and take on board the feedback they are giving you. Don’t seek help from anybody who will feed your negativity further.

Positivity is not something that will happen overnight and you will need to work at it. But the more you practice these techniques, the easier it will be. The negative thoughts that were once holding you back will disappear, and you can enjoy your life to the fullest.

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5 Unforgettable Ways to Spend Your Gap Year



The gap year is becoming more and more commonplace among young people. In years gone by, a lot of students would hunt for a job as soon as they graduated. Now, though, this generation are valuing life experience over jumping head first into a career they may not be prepared for. There are two primary reasons that one may choose to take a gap year. Either, first, to boost your career prospects. Or secondly, to get out there and create memories to last you a lifetime. After all, this could be your last real opportunity to do so before responsibility takes a hold of your life. 

Here are five of the most valuable ways to spend those carefree twelve months.

Get Experience

Quite often, the one thing that stops fresh-faced students from landing the job of their dreams straight out of school is a lack of experience. This inexperience can make you feel virtually worthless to the job market. A lot of students settle for lesser work just in order to pay the bills. But, instead, why not focus your year on trying to get a foot in the door of your chosen profession? Check out internships in your field. You may be paid less, but it can lend a massive helping of credibility to the pursuit of your career.

Learn a Language

Learning a foreign language is one of the most effective ways to boost your employment prospects. If you speak more than one language fluently, you open yourself up to a whole host of new career paths. This will add credence to your cv and it's a massive plus in the eyes of potential employers.

Pay Off Debts

When you're fresh out of college or university, chances are you've been saddled with your fair share of debt. It goes without saying, this will follow you around for the crucial period of the next few years. Why not get a head start on becoming debt free and dedicate the next year to paying off as much as you can? Sure, it may not be glamorous, but it's a sensible option.

Travel

If you're not quite ready to settle down into the routine you plan to follow for the rest of your life, traveling is a perfectly viable option. Many students use their gap year to see the world and experience new cultures. The Leap has a few ideas of ideal destinations to visit in order to learn and grow. Even better if you can combine this with your working life. Getting a job overseas while creating lasting memories is the preferred option for many students.

Volunteer

If you're looking for a particularly rewarding way to spend your time, look no further. Sure, it won't pay the bills, but you can't put a price on the invaluable experiences you'll enjoy. The feeling you get from helping other people can put a lot of things into perspective as you prepare to settle into your new life. And on top of that? It can be a massive boost to your cv.

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How To Making Quitting Smoking Easier To Cope With


You might remember that a few months back, I shared my story about quitting smoking with you. Well since then, I’ve have so many people ask me how I coped, as they’ve tried and failed to quit, time and time again. This got me thinking about how you can make quitting easier for yourself, it’s never going to be easy to quit, but you can make it more manageable. To making quitting smoking easier to cope with, here’s what you need to do: 

Know your motivation 

You need to have a reason to want to quit, else, I’m sorry to say it, but you won’t succeed. For me, when I quit a few years ago, my motivation was my family, and it worked. I’ve been cigarette free for over six years, and it feels great. 

Whether you’re quitting for your family, for your health, or for the financial benefits, you need to know your motivation. Having something to focus on is important, as when you’re struggling, it’s your motivation that will get you through. 

Don’t go cold turkey 

The mistake that many smokers make when they’re trying to quit is opting to go cold turkey. Quitting will be ten times harder if you cut nicotine out altogether, and you’ll be more likely to fail. Your best option is to use some form of nicotine replacement product, be it nicotine gum or an e-cigarette, it doesn’t matter. It’s a case of thinking about what will work best for you, if you only crave nicotine, patches or gum could work well. 

However, if you miss having something in your hand or mouth, an e-cigarette could be the best option. The great thing about e-cigarettes is that all you’re inhaling is flavoured steam and a little nicotine, so it’s a lot less damaging to your body. For a range of perfect starter e-cigarettes and best e liquid flavours, have a look online. 

Tell friends and family 

A big mistake that many of us make when we’re trying to quit is not telling friends and family. By keeping the fact we’re trying to cut out cigarettes a secret, we leave ourselves vulnerable. If a friend who also smokes doesn’t know you’ve quit, they may offer you a cigarette causing you to relapse. 

That’s why it’s best to be honest with your friends and family when you quit so that they can help you. When you’re trying to stay on track but are craving a cigarette, the last thing you want is someone to offer you one as you just might cave in. That’s why it’s so important that you tell all your nearest and dearest that you’re trying to quit so that they don’t tempt you. 

Keep yourself busy 

If you want to ensure that you stay on track, you need to keep yourself busy. You’ll find that if you’re bored, you're twice as likely to want to smoke, and may end up caving in. That’s why it’s important to keep yourself as busy as possible. 

Clean the house from top to bottom. Bake a cake with the kids. Take your children to the park to play football. Meet the girls for coffee and a chat. Watch a movie with your husband. Keep your mind busy and you’ll be less likely to give in and smoke. 

Quitting smoking is never going to be easy, but with these tips you can make it more doable.

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Family Movie Night In || The Descendants

Movie nights have long been apart of my life, growing up I loved having a sleepover with my friends with loads of munchies and juice and dvd's and magazines. Most of the time we'd end up laughing and gorging on junk and barely watch the movies but you know it really didn't matter because it was a memory that I'd never forget. It released any stress that I had at the time and brought up closed together. 


Now that I'm an adult I still believe wholeheartedly in movie nights. In my last job I worked for a care home who also embraced the movie night culture because it brought the residents together, gave them an hour or two of freedom from being a resident, service user or patient. Seeing the smiles on their face brought me so much joy although they didn't enjoy it if you had to interrupt them to get something *oops*, especially during lads night. The men were the worst if they were interrupted. I presumed this was something that only the care home I worked in did but I recently found out that Gracewell, who are a care home provider also encourage movie nights for the exact same reason. I'm hoping that all care homes, long stay hospitals and family homes do the same.

Our last movie night was the first in our new home. Settling down after Christmas and New Year I let the boys pick a movie that they had on their wishlist. They chose Disney's The Descendants. Secretly I was chuffed because I wanted to see it too. I do love a good kids Disney movie (is that quite sad, it is isn't it?).

We got plenty of munchies - Cooper chose Salt and Vinegar Pringles and Dairy Milk. Rome choose popcorn and buttons and Cole choose popcorn and sweeties. We all drank water cause the boys are a bit more health conscious than I was when I was their age. I munched on Joe & Seph's Toffee Apple and Cinnamon popcorn and sweeties, the popcorn was incredible! like seriously so incredible I wasn't sharing one bit.  PJ's were on, the boys were comfy, mummy and daddy were comfy and the lights were off, the movie was about to begin...






So what is the movie about? 

The Descendants is a new take on the classic Disney stories of Snow White, Cruella de Vil, Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty etc. Basically, this movie tells the tale of the Disney baddies who were all exiled to an island in the middle of nowhere called the Isle of the Lost (like Alcatraz) by the good fairy. The Evil Witch, Cruella de Vil, Jafar and Maleficent all now have children who stay on this island in the middle of nowhere and like their parents they're rebellious, they're naughty and they just don't care. All they want to do is cause havoc and make their parents proud of their naughtyness.

Long story short they children of the baddies are given the chance to come and live in Auradon (where the good guys stay) because the new prince (whose parents are the beast and belle) believes that the children of the baddies should be given the chance to live a good life, especially because it's their parents who are bad and not them. Initially, they don't want to leave the island to go to Auradon but Mal (daughter of Maleficent) is told to go and to steal the good fairy's wand.

Once they arrive they're surrounded by goodness, normal living, and adults who show them love and respect. It makes the children second guess themselves. Are they really born bad or are they born to be whoever they want to be? I'll not add any spoilers but this movie's filled with great little Disney actors, my sons all recognised the stars from their favourite TV shows. It's also filled with crazy fashions, strong personalities, and plenty of catchy tunes.


I won't say what happens as it will spoil it but the movie is really incredible. It's bright, full of zany fashion, has a really good moral or two and has the typical Disney singing. It's not too girly, boyish or romantic like many of the Disney movies either which is a big plus. All three of my sons loved it and, Cole tends to not love many movies as he's always viewing the realities of it. Unless it would happen in real life he's not impressed but with this movie he was hooked.


Apparently our next movie nights going to feature Teen Beach Movie 2. Honestly, I'm kinda excited about it. 

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How To Shift Those Bad Habits


We’ve already covered some of the bad habits we need to be getting rid of to become our healthier selves. But it can difficult to give up those habits cold turkey.  So, here is a collection of tips on how to help you displace, replace and get over those cravings. They’re not immediate fixes, so some willpower’s required on your end. However, they will make that journey to a better you all the easier. So, let’s get down to it and see how to beat those cravings.

Sugar

This is the biggie for a lot of us. Sugar’s one of those cravings that can hit you hard and not leave you for hours on end. Woe betide the woman with a sweet tooth who goes to the store without eating first. The key to beating that sugar addiction is simply finding better delicious treats! There are loads of sugar free recipes to learn that are still sweet and sumptuous. Getting into making and baking them yourself can also keep you busy. This keeps you distracted from the more immediate impulse of running to the shop to buy something you shouldn’t.

Alcohol

Whether you consider yourself to have a serious drinking problem or you’re looking to cut down on a more casual drink now and then. Getting rid of this habit is all kinds of good for your health. As well as keeping your liver in good condition, it’s also a way of cutting out a major source of weight gain. The more severe your cravings for alcohol are, the better it would be to get advice from someone medically qualified. However, one method of reducing alcohol craving that works wonders is exercise. Exercise keeps you busy and distracted. It also does wonders for your mood chemistry, giving a natural high that will make you less likely to turn to a little drink.

Smoking

There are all kinds of ways to deal with this one. Patches, chewing gum, nicotine tablets. A recommended first step to cutting this completely from your life is e-cigarettes. Still quite new, we recommend using the larger vendors and services for better products. All the same, e-cigarettes replicate the sensory relief of smoking a real cigarette, as well as hitting that nicotine craving. Thankfully, it lacks all the tar, tobacco and other nastiness from its analogue cousin. Plus, you can smoke it inside most places that cigarettes are banned so no more standing out in the bitter cold and rain for you fix.

Stress

Stress is a habit we don’t have much control over and not one we get anything out of. All the same, it can take a lot out of you and lead you into all sorts of other unhealthy coping behaviours. Depending on how severe our problems with stress are, a trip to the doctor can be necessary. One way to deal with it is to start meditation. It helps to:

  • calms your body
  • helps your breathing
  • slows your heart rate
  • relieves muscle tension

All this neutralises the physical side-effects of stress. It also lets you put your day and your difficulties in perspective. This gives you space to detach yourself and cope better with whatever troubles come your way.

These are not magical cures for our habits, but alongside one another they can give you a real shot at making a healthier you instead of just wishing for it.
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How To Take Better Care Of Your Hair


If you’ve been experiencing one or two bad hair days recently, you’re not alone. Most of us suffer wayward tresses at some point. It might be to do with the fabric of your clothing, your hair products, or even your hormones. But the worst perpetrator has to be the weather. Heat, damp, and cold wreak havoc for hairstyles. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make sure your hair stays beautiful no matter what.

Eat For Your Hair

Diet can affect our hair in many ways. The scalp will respond to the nutrition and water we consume. In turn, that can have an effect on the hair. The hair itself is mostly dead, but the roots are very much alive. To keep your hair looking good from root to tip, eat more spinach to prevent breakages. Fruits give us extra vitamin C, and oily fish has Omega 3 to help hair stay shiny. Meat eaters can rest assured that the protein from chicken goes a long way to help reduce hair loss caused by protein deficiency too. Vegetarians need to be sure they maintain good levels of protein in their diets.

Do What The Celebrities Do

Following celebrity trends for hairstyles and hair care can help you stay on trend too. You can also find out what doesn’t work for them at this website. Read up on any interviews with celebrities that discuss their hair care and styling. This will help you stay in the loop and be sure that you too can enjoy the very best and very latest products. After all, who wouldn’t want Ariana Grande’s thick locks, or Taylor Swift’s sleek waves?

Don’t Overdo It

When it comes to styling, it’s important not to overdo. You can easily damage hair with heat and excess chemical products. Colors and setting formulas should be used in moderation. Regular trimming is good for the hair, but cutting a lot of hair length off at once may then require extra styling to tame what’s left. Your hair needs to rest and be cleansed gently each day. Your scalp can also suffer from excessive shampoo and spray near the root.

Good Circulation

As your hair is attached to your scalp at the root, it’s important to keep the circulation here healthy. This ensures the root receives a good blood supply. Regular exercise helps a lot so try to work out for the sake of your hair. Ironically, the sweat may ruin your do, but choosing a product free workout style will reduce the impact. Let your scalp breathe too. If you regularly choose up-dos, try to wear it down every couple of days, so the hair falls naturally. This helps the air reach your scalp.

Perfect Products

We all have our preference for certain hair care products. And sometimes it’s nice to try something new. Be sure to pick products that cater for your hair condition and age. It’s nice to get the freshest thing, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for your hair type.

I love trying new hair products and getting a new cut. But I also love letting my hair be free of products and styling for a couple of days. Besides, I think the wild look might suit me! Tame your hair with a gentle approach.

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How To Make The Perfect Barista Style Coffee

I don’t know about you, but I can’t deal with a bad cup of coffee in the morning. I need a gourmet filtered coffee to get me going! I love the rich texture, and the roasted smell of fresh beans. Delicious! Not all of us live right next to a coffee shop, so you’ve got to learn how to recreate it in your home.

I like to think I’ve mastered the art, and I’ll share my technique with you today. Don’t worry, I’ve been keeping my eye on the expert baristas, and I think I’ve got it locked down! Who knows, maybe soon I’ll even master the love-heart foam pattern too. I’m not going to lie, it’s become a bit of a hobby! For now, let’s just make the perfect cup of joe. 

Good equipment


First of all, you need the right equipment. Ideally, you want to grind the beans from scratch (more on that later), and put them into a real coffee maker. Espresso machines are easy to get your hands on, and they make a real difference. The right equipment helps heat the water correctly, and pour it through the ground beans perfectly. Don’t skimp on your equipment, it’s the heart of a good coffee!


Filtered water


This one is entirely up to you, but I like to use filtered water rather than the regular tap water. When you visit a good coffee shop, they’re all using filtered and purified water. It helps accentuate the taste of the coffee and hides any blemishes in your local water. Water tends to adopt a different taste in different parts of the country. So, if you can run it through a filter first, it will taste even better. 


Good quality beans


Different beans have a different taste and texture to each other. You’ll find some with hints of chocolate and sweetness. Others will take on a darker and more bitter taste. It’s all about finding the perfect taste for you. Personally, I like it dark, rich, and strong! Most supermarkets have a variety of beans on offer, but you can also visit an artisanal coffee shop. They usually sell packets of their beans to customers so you can get your hands on the best!


The perfect cappuccino


When it comes to coffee, I always trust the Italians. And their philosophy on coffee is that the mornings are for cappuccinos. Drinking one after 12 pm, is sacrilege! So I’ve learnt to make the perfect cappuccinos for the morning. To get the richest, foamiest finish, you’ll need to use full-fat milk. Use a milk frother to warm up the milk from the bottom. When the container is burning hot, use the foamer on the surface of the milk to whip up the foam. 


A little something sweet


The last part is completely up to you, but I have an intense sweet tooth! I like to finish the coffee with a little amaretto biscuit. You could also sprinkle some chocolate or cinnamon on top to give it an extra kick!


Okay, well now I’ve made myself thirsty. I’m off to make a coffee. Until next time!


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8 Tips || Creating an Unique Outfit

Creating unique outfits is one of the most fun parts of getting dressed. You don’t want to look the same as everybody else so, adding your own personal touch is important. The 8 tips in this post will help you make any look your very own

Include Something Vintage

If you wear a lot of modern clothing, including something vintage could be just the tip you need to give your outfit that unique edge. You can’t go wrong including the odd vintage item here and there. People will beg you to tell them where you buy your clothes, and you can smugly tell them that it’s vintage! Nobody else will own what you own, and there’s no better feeling than having a totally unique clothing collection. 

Customise Your Own Clothes

If you missed my previous post you can find it here: things to do with your old clothes your own clothes can be lots of fun and save you a tonne of money. You can even make your own clothes from scratch if you’re willing to be patient. You could do handcrafted knitwear, dresses, or anything else your heart desires. It just takes a little practice and a few supplies! In some cases, all you need is an old pair of jeans and a pair of scissors!  


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Don’t Be Afraid to Clash

Don’t be afraid to clash colours and patterns. Bright blue worn with yellow might feel like an eyesore to some, but it’s actually a very good clashing colour combination. If you’re brave enough, you’ll be able to pull this off and so much more! 


Always Accessorise


Always accessorise your outfits to get the most out of them. You should aim to fill in the gaps, so to speak, each day. You might just need a necklace to finish off the outfit. In some cases, lots of bangles and stacking rings. It all depends on your style and the kind of outfit you’re wearing. 


Don’t Follow Trends


Don’t follow trends if you want to look unique. Trends are trends for a reason, so only follow them if you feel they suit you perfectly and you know you’ll get your wear out of them. 


Take Tips from Designers and Stylists


Designers and stylists have some amazing tips, so read up on them and see what you can learn. For example, Gok Wan can take regular accessories and find multiple other ways to wear them to create an awesome outfit. 


Pay Attention to Smaller Details


The smaller details will make a big difference in your outfit, so pay attention to them. Things like your socks and even something like your earrings can be the finishing touch to your look. 


Love the Clothes You Wear


Loving the clothes you wear is the key to looking amazing. Don’t wear something because somebody else wore it. Don’t copy your favourite blogger or Instagrammer. Wear clothes you love and you’ll go far! 


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Essential Products You Need In Your Night Time Skin Routine


Everyday life brings its own unique challenges that we have to deal with. Whether it’s a stressful day at work or a chaotic home life, many of us spend our days looking forward to bedtime and having a well-deserved rest. It can be tempting just to crawl into bed without even thinking about your skin. But not cleansing your skin or removing your makeup could cause damage and speed up the ageing process. A night time skin routine can improve your skin’s condition and reduce skin issues you may be experiencing. So to get you started here are some essential night time products you need to invest in.

Makeup Remover

Removing your makeup before you go to bed allows your skin to breathe and heal while you sleep. Not removing it can result in clogged pores that can make your skin oilier than usual. This oil can encourage spots and pimples to develop which can be hard to get rid of. Invest in a good quality makeup remover that is strong enough to get rid of foundation, mascara and lipstick. But make sure it is not too harsh or it may irritate and dry out your skin. Doing this will make it easier to cleanse and unclog your pores when you wash your face. Don’t vigorously scrub at your face to remove your makeup as this can damage the skin and cause wrinkles. Apply the remover to a soft cotton wool pad and use gentle circular motions on your face and neck.

Cleansing & Exfoliating Face Wash

Just using a makeup remover before you go to bed will not do. You could still have dirt and leftover makeup on your face. Cleansing and exfoliating your face will remove any debris from your pores and get rid of your dead skin. A face wash that has both cleansing and exfoliating properties is ideal but make sure it is suitable to your skin type. This will give your skin a deep clean leaving it feeling fresh and rejuvenated. Make sure you use warm water to wash your face to open up your pores so that the face wash can penetrate your skin. Thoroughly massage it into your face to remove all the residue in and on your skin. Pat your face gently with a towel to allow your skin to soak up the moisture from the water.

Moisturising Night Cream

Now your skin is feeling clean; it’s time to get it hydrated. A youth recovery night cream for all skin types will help you maintain your skin’s elasticity making you look more youthful. Moisturising your skin before you skin can also reduce wrinkles and soothe the skin’s surface. It can also help with cell regeneration that can give you a healthier and more even skin tone. Moisturising is essential as dehydrated skin can cause wrinkles and premature ageing. So this should be an important part of your routine.

It only takes five minutes to apply these products before bed but they can make a significant difference to your skin’s condition. It will begin to look and feel incredible and this routine allows it to repair and heal itself more effectively.



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My Advice On How To Make Your Garden More Interesting


We’re still in the middle of winter right now, but soon it will be spring. That means it’ll be time to get back out in the garden, tidying it up and making it look stunning. But I’ve always had difficulty getting excited about gardening. It’s just not something that has ever particularly taken my fancy. However, this year I’m determined to give it a proper go. So, what are the options? Well, I suppose you could just hire a landscaper. Let them take care of your garden and then you can enjoy the finished result. But, that seems like a bit of a cheat, and it will be far more gratifying if you improved your garden with your own two hands. With that in mind here are some of the ways you can make your garden more exciting and interesting. 

Attract The Wildlife

I would love to see wildlife in my garden. I’m not talking about ants and ladybirds. Rather, I’d like to see a hedgehog meandering across the yard in the early hours. Or some birds chirping in the Apple tree. I’d even like to see some bees flitting between flower beds. To get this, I’m told all you have to do is let your garden grow out a little. This is enough to get wildlife interested in venturing inside. But you can also plant some more shrubbery and flowers. You may also want to think about leaving some food around. This brings me to my next idea. 

Grow Fruit And Veg 

There are two ways to go about this. Either, you can plant fruit and vegetables specifically with the intention of attracting life to your garden. Or, you can start living off the land, and that in itself is quite a fun idea. I love the idea of being able to make a hot pot from the vegetables I’ve grown at the bottom of my yard. But you can also think about more exotic choices and flavours. Have a look at http://www.pomonafruits.co.uk/. There, you’ll be able to buy fruit plants for your garden so that you can grow strawberries and other delicious fruits. Just remember, if you’re growing this food for you, you will need to implement some sort of measure to keep pests away. 

Set Up A Water Feature

I know most people think that water features are just an added expense on the home. After all they do require a lot of maintenance. But they don’t have to. In fact you can dig your own pond in your backyard, filling it with water and fish. All you need to do then is set up a filter system and the pond maintains itself. However, I would also suggest you get netting to keep hungry birds away. 

A Home, Stone BBQ

Is it too early to be thinking about BBQs? I don’t think so and there’s no better way to get ready for summer in Spring then to build your own BBQ. They can be built to match the aesthetic of the garden so that they don’t look like a modern eyesore. Check out this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7MBYMBxlcE for some cool tips. 

When you’re finished I’m sure you’ll start to enjoy your garden and gardening a lot more. Have fun!


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