Ready for Christmas!

My favourite time of year has finally arrived and I am feeling very festive. It’s going to be a hectic month with work, but I am already looking forward to curling up on the sofa with a good book and watch the lights on the Christmas tree sparkle. Although, if I’m honest, I’m looking forward to Christmas dinner the most and there’s a special reason for that. This year is the first one where I’ll be spending it with just my boyfriend and we’ll be cooking our own dinner.

For the last four years, we’ve been switching between my mum’s house, his parents and my dad in Ireland, but since we have our own place this year, we get to try our hand at cooking the turkey. In fact, I’m way ahead of myself and I’ve already got my shopping booked to be delivered in the 24th, so everything is fresh on the big day.

I also thought I’d show you all my Christmas tree, which you might have seen if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram. It’s the first one that I’ve bought and decorated myself, and I’m so happy with how it turned out. My theme for this year was ‘Frosty Ice Princess’ which matches the main character of my book perfectly, considering she can wield the ice.

 

I get such a warm feeling inside when I see it, although I know my family thinks I’m boring for sticking to a theme compared to their tree, which is full of colour! For my first tree, I’m calling this a success. We’ve also just bought the first chocolate boxes of the year and we *might* have already had a couple.

Hopefully, you’re all looking forward to the festive season and getting ready to read some more books to try and reach your Goodreads goal (unless you’ve reached them already that is). I’ve come to the conclusion I won’t as I’ve only read 40 out of 50, but I’m still happy with that. Here’s to trying to squeeze a few more in before 2019 begins!!

 

Day Out In Dublin & An Irish Wedding

The last couple of days have been super busy, but a great way to round off the year. On Thursday my sister, my boyfriend and myself arrived in Ireland to visit my dad and family. Since then it has been nonstop, although I wouldn’t have it any other way. While we didn’t do much on the Thursday (we saw The Last Jedi), Friday and Saturday were jam packed.

While I’ve been to Dublin many times, I had never seen the Christmas lights so of course we headed out to see them (and spend some money, too). All in all, we spent six hours walking around the shops (yes, I was moaning near the end because my feet hurt) and grabbing a bite to eat at The Hard Rock Cafe. Apart from my boyfriend, we had eaten there before and it was a great treat, so here’s a few photos of what we got.

That platter and burger was as good as it looks and the cocktail was surprisingly strong. After that we spent the next few hours looking around the shops, navigating the streets and spending the Christmas money that my family gifted me. Of course, I bought myself some new makeup bits and I finally got to try macaroons!

Yesterday, the time came to celebrate my cousin Eoghan and Olivia’s wedding day. It was a wonderful day that started with the church service at half 12 and carried on at the reception in one of the nicest hotels I’ve been in. The set up for the evening meal was gorgeous (I’ll put some photos in) and the food was delicious. I especially loved the glittering dance floor and the Mr & Mrs light up sign. There was also a photo booth that everyone flocked to, to take silly photos.

There were four courses altogether (I forgot to take a picture of the soup), but it was all so good! The servers were amazing, always bringing out the food quickly and you were given a choice of chicken or beef for the main, and either black forest gateau or baked Alaska for dessert.

It was a great evening full of laughter, drinking, dancing and singing. Also, it was the first wedding my boyfriend and I had been to together so that was also pretty special (we were also asked when it would be our turn, still a while to go).

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When was the last time you went to a wedding? I hope you’re all having a great New Years’ Eve and are looking forward to 2018!

Merry Christmas + Bookish Gifts

Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays if you don’t celebrate Christmas)! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful day and enjoyed spending time with your loved ones. For me, it’s been a blast and I couldn’t have wished for anything more. I have to say that my Christmas Eve lasted until at least two in the morning (very late and I was very drunk), but we had so much playing games, laughing until I had a coughing fit (still ill from my cold/flu) and eating some amazing food with my boyfriend, mum and sister.

As we were up late the following the night, we didn’t wake up until around ten and our morning consisted of eating croissants (a family tradition) and opening up our presents. I got a selection box, some money and of course…bookish gifts that you can see below.

I’m going to take a moment and talk about the Kindle Paperwhite that my amazing boyfriend got for me (along with a hot pink leather case and the charger adaptor). Rewind to about five or six years ago and I would be proudly telling people that I would never buy a Kindle and that I was a traditional book girl. Well, I certainly changed my tune as I had been on about one for a while and he got me it! Safe to say I am very happy and have two new books for the Kindle, which are:

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

As well as this I received three books from my dad that were from a list of about six (of course, he chose the three that I really, really wanted). What surprised me is that The Last Magician is actually the US version (I can tell from the flimsier pages) so it is much bigger, but I like that.

The rest of the day was filled with helping my mum prepare the Christmas dinner and boy, did it stress me out a bit. Luckily, nothing burned and everything was ready on time. And let me just tell you now, it was absolutely incredible (although the food defeated us in the end and we couldn’t finish it all). Here is a picture of the spread and me in my green crown.

Overall, it has been an incredible day and getting to spend it with the ones I love is more than I could ask for. Tomorrow, for Boxing Day, we are heading over to my boyfriend’s parents house for a second Christmas Dinner and once we are home, it will be Games Night round two!

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I hope you all got what you wished for and had an enjoyable day. Merry Christmas everybody!

Wrapping Up The Week: Christmas Edition

It’s Christmas Eve, I’ve got a glass of wine beside me and I am feeling good! I can’t believe it arrived so quickly, although the last few days have been a bit of a drag as I’ve been ill with a cold/flu and a cough that is beginning to get on my nerves. Apart from that, I am excited to spend some time with the people I love, open a few presents and give them, too, as well as eating delicious food and drinking copious amounts of alcohol (just not too much wine, didn’t end so well for me last time).

On every Christmas Eve we do a buffet style dinner with a variety of food including sausage rolls, cheese bites, Indian snacks, fancy prawns and so much more. We have a few table top games where we ask fun and trivial questions (which normally cause a few laughs, which may not be good with my cough) and afterwards it’s games night. I love this time of year, I always have, and it doesn’t change now that I’m grown up (it’s better as I can drink).

Also, just in time for Christmas, I went and got my hair dyed and cut as I’m going to Ireland next week for a wedding. This is the end result, which I am more than happy with (although it is only semi-permanent so it will fade over time). As you can see, it’s a crimson red (much darker in person) and I am definitely feeling like Ariel right now.

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But, as this is a wrap up, I should probably get to the bookish things that happened over the last week.

Books I read and reviewed…

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I finally managed to finish Angelfall by Susan Ee after about a month of picking it up and then putting it down to read other books. Overall, it was a fun and entertaining read that kept me wanting more. Now that I’ve finished it, I definitely want to buy the the rest of the trilogy, which I will probably do in the New Year. I gave Angelfall 4 stars and you can read my thoughts in my review here.

I am currently reading…

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Finally, I am able to dive back in to this series as more of them arrived. I started this a couple days ago and I’m already half way through because it’s amazing. Crown of Midnight has me hooked and I just want to keep on reading, even when I need to do other things (such as sleep). There’s a lot of questions running through my mind and I can’t wait to read some more. You can probably expect a review early next week as I have a feeling I’ll be finishing it soon.

Posts from the week…

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Hope Santa Brings

As it was a busy week at work and I was off ill for half of Thursday and all of Friday I didn’t write any other posts. I’m hoping to get back into a habit of blogging over the rest of the holidays so that the New Year can be a hundred times better.

My WIP…

I decided to add in another section to my weekly wrap ups in which I talk about the current novel that I am working on and the progress I am making. As I was ill I didn’t get a lot of writing done due to the pounding headache, but I hope that over the Christmas break I can reach at least 60,000 words. At the moment I’m on 49,000, which I am happy with and I worked out that I’m about halfway through the story I want to tell. I’m loving where it’s going and I just hope that there comes a day when I can share it with the world. Maybe 2018 will hold that day for me.

Other Fun Stuff…

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On Friday, Bright premiered on Netflix and obviously my boyfriend and I watched it straight away. If you don’t know already, Bright is a film that incorporates the elements of Fantasy (orcs, faeries, elves, dragons etc.) into our world and Will Smith plays a cop who is partnered with an orc. On a routine patrol they come across some pretty shade stuff that changes their world and they have to protect an elf with a relic that is more powerful that anyone realises. This film was amazing (I don’t care what critics say) and the two hours flew by. It was funny, entertaining and full of action, which is what I love. I would recommend it to everyone because it’s that good!

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I hope your week has been incredible and that you’re just as excited about Christmas as I am. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Hope Santa Brings

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This weeks topic is all do with Christmas and the books that we hope Santa brings us.

I still can’t believe that Christmas is less than a week away. It came around so quickly and I’m looking forward to finishing work and spending time with my family. As the topic is about books, I’m going to be mentioning the ones that I either want to buy myself with money from my family or guessing which ones my dad has bought me (he got them shipped over to me).

1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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This book was one that I put on the list to my dad (as well as the second) and I am crossing my fingers that he chose them to give to me. I was tempted to buy this myself a couple of weeks ago when it was on offer, but then I remembered I put it on my list and I didn’t want to risk having two of the same.

2. The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

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Again, another book that was on the list I gave to my dad (he always makes me put down around 6, so I never know what I’m getting). I’ve heard so many great things about this book and as I am loving the fantasy genre at the moment, it would be perfect to read. I know that I would end up buying it myself if I didn’t.

3. The remaining books in the Throne of Glass series

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At this moment in time I have the first (you can find my review here), the second and the third and fourth will be delivered to me hopefully tomorrow (as an early gift to myself). So that leaves me needing Empire of Storms and The Assassin’s Blade to complete the main series, as well as Tower Of Dawn. I cannot wait to dive into this series again and I know that if I have them all, I’ll just read them one after the other (and neglect the others on my shelf).

4. Carve The Mark by Veronica Roth

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This book has been on my to-buy list for too long and I think it is about time that I get around to buying it. I’ve heard a lot about this book and I’m intrigued, even with the mixed reviews.

5. Caraval by Stephenie Garber

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It seems that with this book, you either love it or you hate it. But for me, that was the same with The Night Circus and I ended up loving that book. I want to give this a try because it sounds really interesting, so I’m going to go into it with an open mind if I get it.

6. The Language Of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

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I can’t even describe how badly I want this book. If I get money from my family it will be one of the first I’ll buy. There have been so many amazing reviews floating around on the web and it is definitely my kind of book. If it has beautiful artwork, I’ll take it!

7. This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab

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If I’m being honest with myself, I just want all of her books. Each one sounds amazing and incredible! I just had A Gathering Of Shadows get delivered to me so I can carry on that series, but I love her writing so much I just know the others will be incredible, too.

8. Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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Once again, another book I have been seeing just about everywhere and there has been nothing but praise. I love a good Wonderland tale and a re-telling of the characters is right up my alley. If Santa could bring me this one then I would be very grateful (or I might just ask my boyfriend).

9. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman

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Recently, this book has been popping up everywhere and when I read up on it I realised it was one that I could love. I love when a book is written differently and offers a new perspective for story telling. While Santa may not necessarily bring me this one, I know I will end up buying it soon.

10. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

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There seems to be a few Leigh Bardugo books on here, but they are all ones I want to get my hands on. I love superheros and books so putting them together is perfect. There has been a lot of reviews floating around and I swear every single one of them says it’s incredible. If only Santa could bring me this, too.

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I hope you enjoyed reading about all the books I want Santa to bring me (or for me to buy myself). What are you hoping to receive this Christmas?

Wrapping Up The Week (11th Dec – 17th Dec)

It’s nearly one week until Christmas! How excited is everyone about that fact? I have finished all my Christmas shopping and everything is being delivered in the coming week (the postmen are going to hate me). I don’t know about you, but I always feel more relaxed once I have everything organised and all that’s left to do is to wrap the presents and stock up on the drink.

The past week has been much better than my previous ones. My boyfriend is on the mend and we will be able to travel to Ireland after Christmas, something we didn’t think would happen. He’s healing extremely quickly and it’s safe to say that we are over the moon. As well as this, I also started my new job and I couldn’t be happier. It’s makes all the difference when you love what you do and as I get to write for a living in a marketing role, it’s a dream. My new team is great and so friendly, they even got me a few gifts in their secret Santa (something I didn’t think would happen at all). You can see them in the image below (and yes, I did open the wine the other night).

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I especially love the mug, which I will be using everyday for my morning coffee. Not only did I have a great week at work, I finally finished reading a book (cheers in the background) and I will explain about it in the section below.

Books I read and reviewed…

Everless

This, by far, is my favourite read of the year. I was accepted on NetGalley to read Everless by Sara Holland (something I prayed would happen) and as soon as I picked this book up, I didn’t want to put it down. I was hooked from the beginning and it has become one of my favourite YA Fantasy books. It was easy to give this 5 stars and you can read all my thoughts here. 

I am currently reading…

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I put Angelfall on hold while I read Everless, but I am planning on finishing this hopefully (fingers crossed) before we’re halfway through the week. I am over halfway now and I’m really liking it. Angelfall is such an easy read, it’s lighthearted and fun, just what I need at the moment.

Posts from the week…

Unfortunately the only post I wrote this week was the review of Everless, but I will try to do a couple more this week. With the new job, I think I needed time to adjust because I was way more tired in the evenings than I realised I would be. I didn’t even have to energy to write (I’m very sad about this fact).

Other Fun Stuff…

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A few weeks ago Peaky Blinders returned to the BBC for its fourth season and I have been loving it. Season 3, for me, wasn’t as good, but this one just blew everything out of the water. The season finale will be shown on Wednesday, so I am looking forward to that. If anyone hasn’t watched this series then you have to check it out. It’s so addictive!

I haven’t really been doing much else. I’ve been spending some more time on Twitter and connecting with the community there, so if you haven’t given me a follow it would be great if you could (I follow back, too). My novel is coming along, just a little bit slower now that I’ve got my new job. As I will have more time over Christmas I am hoping to knuckle down and churn out at least 1,500 words a day (just 500 more than my normal target).

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I hope that you have all had a great week and that you are enjoying the lead up to Christmas!

November Book Haul & December TBR

I had intended on writing this post yesterday, but I had to go to the hospital with my boyfriend and I was stuck there for almost 5 hours straight (note to self: never get ill because it was awful waiting around). It was a very long day and by the time we got home I didn’t have the energy to write. But fear not, I am feeling much better today after nearly 10 hours sleep.

My book haul for November is slightly less than I would have liked. I did order some books, but unfortunately I missed the delivery and had to reschedule it and now they won’t arrive until Monday. I did think about including them anyway, but I suppose I can just add them onto December’s Haul (that will be a big one with Christmas on the way).

My Haul…

I received two e-books from Netgalley last month, both of which I am looking forward to reading this month, ready to post reviews before they are released in January.

The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart (comes out January 11th, 2018)

Sep, Arkle, Mack, Lamb and Hadley: five friends thrown together one hot, sultry summer. When they discover an ancient stone box hidden in the forest, they decide to each make a sacrifice: something special to them, committed to the box for ever. And they make a pact: they will never return to the box at night; they’ll never visit it alone; and they’ll never take back their offerings.

Four years later, the gang have drifted apart. Then a series of strange and terrifying events take place, and Sep and his friends understand that one of them has broken the pact.

As their sacrifices haunt them with increased violence and hunger, they realise that they are not the first children to have found the box in their town’s history. And ultimately, the box may want the greatest sacrifice of all: one of them.

This book definitely gives me IT vibes, so it will be interesting to find out more when I get around to reading it.

Keeper by Kim Chance (comes out January 30th, 2018)

When a 200-year-old witch attacks her, sixteen-year-old bookworm Lainey Styles is determined to find a logical explanation. Even with the impossible staring her in the face, Lainey refuses to believe it—until she finds a photograph linking the witch to her dead mother.

After consulting a psychic, Lainey discovers that she, like her mother, is a Keeper: a witch with the exclusive ability to unlock and wield the Grimoire, a dangerous but powerful spell book. But there’s a problem. The Grimoire has been stolen by a malevolent warlock who is desperate for a spell locked inside it—a spell that would allow him to siphon away the world’s magic.

With the help of her comic-book-loving best friend and an enigmatic but admittedly handsome street fighter, Lainey must leave her life of college prep and studying behind to prepare for the biggest test of all: stealing back the book. 

I’ve heard some really great things about this book and so far it has a 4.2 rating on Goodreads (anything above a 4 is normally something I end up loving).

On my TBR List this month…

Apart from these books and the two I am waiting to arrive (which I will include in this section) there are a couple more I want to get my hands on during the holidays.

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Crown Of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

A Court Of Thorns And Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Talon by Julie Kagawa

I am probably being a bit ambitious here, but if I manage to read all of these, plus the two e-books, I will give myself a big pat on the back.

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What books are you looking forward to reading this month?

Wrapping Up November & Getting Excited For Christmas!

We can officially get excited for Christmas now!

I have no idea where the last four weeks went, how is it the last month of 2017 already?! It seems that I filled my November with so many different activities that I didn’t notice it passing by at all. Not only was I searching for a new job (which I will be starting next month), my dad also came to visit and I decided to really knuckle down with my writing efforts.

While I didn’t take part of NaNoWriMo, I was writing throughout the whole month and the last week or so is when I really started churning out my novel at a rapid pace. I started the month with rewriting my first 15,000 words, as it was in first person POV and I wanted it to be third person (btw, so glad I made the change) and at this moment I am nearing 33,000 words. I am very happy with that and worked out that I am about a third of the way through writing (I have an ending in mind, it’s just filling in the gaps). So November has been a very successful month.

I also went ahead and deleted my old twitter account to set up a new one, which you can find here. It would be great if I could connect with more people, especially on different platforms. Also, I reached over 100 followers on my blog in less than two months which is great. While the numbers don’t matter too much, it is great to see that people enjoy what I am putting out there into the world.

Unfortunately, I haven’t done a lot of reading this month (but I am currently reading two books that should have reviews up next week if I’m lucky). So, here are the books I reviewed this November.

Books I Read…

Throne Of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

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It was so easy to give this book 5 stars after I read it. I cannot believe it took me so long to pick up this series and now I am waiting on the second one to be delivered to me. You can check out my review here.

A Darker Shade Of Magic by V. E. Schwab

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Again, another series I had heard so much about and finally picked up. Once again, I gave a book five stars because this was a perfect read and made me fall even more in love with the fantasy genre. If you want to read my thoughts, you can see my review here.

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Like I said, I didn’t read a lot this month and if I hadn’t hit a reading slump I’m sure I could have managed more (or at least finished Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard). Sometimes life gets in the way and I’m learning to accept that it’s okay. I’m just glad that I haven’t had a writer’s block on my novel in a while (I hope I haven’t jinxed myself).

Now that the holidays are coming up (and I’m away at the end of December in Ireland) I should have some more time to get reading when work finishes for the year.

How has your month been? Let me know in the comments below!

Wrapping Up The Week (20th Nov – 26th Nov)

Why do the weekends always go by so quickly? I cannot wait for the Christmas holidays to come around so we can lounge about doing very little and eating as much as we want (food coma anyone?).

Once again I had a very busy week. I heard back from a couple of jobs who offered me the positions, but I am still holding out on one that I’m hoping will contact me within the next few days. Fingers crossed, because that is the job I want (and it pays really well, too, which always helps).

As well as that I have been getting stuck into my writing and I couldn’t be happier. All of a sudden I have these great ideas pouring into my head, I have come up with the ending of my first book (dramatic twist lined up that no one will see coming…check) and I am so excited. Last night I didn’t get to sleep until half 1 because I was typing away and managed to write 3,300 words, way more than the 1,000 I set myself to write each day. My brain is a little tired today so I’m not expecting to write nearly as much as that.

Books I read and reviewed…

If you are looking for a book review…I don’t have any to offer this week and I can only apologise for that. I am still making my way through Glass Sword and for some reason I am struggling. The book isn’t bad by any means, but I’m just not in the right frame of mind to read it at the moment. I might take a pause with it and start something a little lighter.

I am currently reading…

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Like I said in the above section, I am still reading this, but I am going to take a break from it. Maybe letting my own writing takeover isn’t the best thing, but you gotta go with the flow sometimes. I’m sure I will get back into it eventually as I do want to finish these books for when the final instalment is released next year.

Posts from the week…

Having A Huge Book Clear Out

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’m Thankful For

What Are You Reading Wednesday And Getting My Writing Mojo Back

First Lines Fridays

Writing And Pinterest: An Epic Love Story

I feel that even though I’ve not read a lot this week, I have still stayed quite productive with my blog. Five blog posts isn’t too bad and I enjoyed writing all of them.

Other Fun Stuff…

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Now that it is less than a week until we can begin to open our advent calendars (mine is a Thornton’s Continental one) and I figured it was time to get my little fibre-optic Christmas tree out. I even bought brand new red and gold baubles, and I still have to head out and buy some tinsel for my bookshelf and mirror. Who else is getting excited? I even changed the background of my laptop to become more festive and I love it!

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I am a self-declared foodie and will try anything as long as it is tasty! Indian is one of my favourite cuisines (nothing beats Italian though) and my boyfriend decided to treat us to my favourite Indian takeaway from MaCh. It is a little out of town, but it is definitely worth the trek! We will often eat at the restaurant itself, but as we were a little tired from our late night we settled for eating in. My favourite dish is Sag Aloo, a mixture of spinach and potatoes which is just divine!

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I hope you enjoyed reading about what I’ve been getting up to and that you are getting into the festive spirit as well!