Archive for April 2017

Me & Mine - April 2017

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Joining up with the Me and Mine Family Portrait Project with these photos of our family for April.




The first two pictures were taken on Easter Monday when we were having fun doing some egg games at a local park. These games have become a family tradition and I can't wait for next year when Baby R will be able to join in more with them! The third photo was taken onboard the boat at the Anderton Boat Lift.

April Highs:
  • - A real high was hearing that Little Miss A had got our first choice of school. Can't believe that she starts in September so need to make the most of the next few months before she's a schoolgirl!
  • - My brother and his wife came up again this month to stay for a couple of nights and look after the kids whilst we were at the Cancer Centre for my chemo. It's been so appreciated that they've travelled so far to help us out. 
  • - Little Miss A started a new gym class this month. She loved her gym classes back in Aylesbury so we were keen for her to carry on. So far so good and she's enjoying these new lessons.
  • - We spent a great weekend with Mr MoaB's family celebrating his sister's 50th Birthday, including lunch out at a fab restaurant. It was just a shame that his Mum couldn't join us as she had only just come out of hospital.
  • - Although I really can't stand Peppa Pig, I endured a full hour when I took the kids to the Peppa Pig: My First Cinema Experience. It wasn't Little Miss A's first time at the cinema but it was Baby R's! He wasn't that bothered by the whole thing but Little Miss A really enjoyed it and joined in all the actions and songs. 
  • - A local town held some events to celebrate St Georges Day so Little Miss A had a few rides at the funfair and then we watched the Parade.
  • - I did some fun Easter activities with the kids (well namely, Little Miss A). I think she did 6 Easter hunts in the end, plus we had to do some egg and bonnet decorating for them to take in to nursery. You can read more about Baby R's first Easter and all our Easter Activities.
  • - We hosted our annual Easter egg games at a local park. I love that these games, which include egg & spoon races and egg rolling, have become a family tradition.
  • - Since we moved I've been collating a to do list of places to visit and we managed to tick on of these off this month - the Anderton Boat Lift.
  • - Over the Easter weekend we had a visit from some friends from where we used to live. It's hard leaving friends behind when you move away so it was really nice to see them. 
  • - Some of my best friends made the long trip up from the South Coast to visit. It was amazing to see them and meant so much. We had such a lovely weekend catching up and even had a girls night out in Chester. I miss them so much and can't wait for the next get together.

April Lows:
  • - Little Miss A has been poorly twice this month. The first time was a sickness bug so she was off nursery for a day. She handled it all so well with so little fuss despite the mess! Then she's been struck with chicken pox at the end of the month but thankfully has only had a few spots and has been absolutely fine in herself!
  • - Baby R hasn't been 100% himself either. I seem to constantly have the washing machine going because of either sick or the biggest poonamis!
  • - I've been through 2 more rounds of chemo this month but got to ring the bell this month to mark the end of the chemo. I had a fab banner with me that I'd made with Little Miss A. I will still have ongoing treatment but no more chemo. These last ones have wiped me out a lot more and I have needed a lot of sleep for a few days afterwards so I am relieved to have got through this tough part. 
  • - My arm where I had a PICC line inserted was becoming really sensitive and allergic to the various dressings. A visit to the doctor was needed for some antibiotics but in the end I opted to have the PICC line removed to let my arm heal. I don't miss having to wear the plastic arm sleeve in the shower and I'll now be able to swim with the kids which is good. I may have an alternative (a Port) fitted at a later date but for now my treatment will be administered with a cannula.
The Me + Mine Project - Dear Beautiful

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My Sunday Photo 30-04-2017

This is my favourite picture of this week for #MySundayPhoto.


It's not often I post just a picture of me, but it was a significant week for me as I finished my chemo treatment on Tuesday. Treatment is ongoing so it's still a long road ahead, but it feels important to record this milestone. I got to ring the bell at the Cancer Centre and had a fab banner that I'd made with Little Miss A. It was quite emotional.

OneDad3Girls

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Hosting a Charlie and Lola Party

Monday, 24 April 2017

Some ideas for hosting a Charlie and Lola themed Birthday Party.

When I asked Little Miss A what theme she'd like her Birthday Party, I thought she'd say Paw Patrol or Peppa Pig. Instead she chose Charlie & Lola.

The shops are full of party items for other themes, but of course not for Charlie and Lola so it meant I had to get creative!

Decorations
My favourite things on the decoration front were definitely the large drawings of Charlie & Lola. I just drew these freehand. I'm definitely not an artist and hated Art classes at school, but I think they turned out pretty well.


I purchased a pastel coloured banner that was quite plain. I found a font on the computer that was similar to the typeface used in the books and printed off the letters of Little Miss A's name. I could have used any old font for the letters, but the perfectionist in me wanted to try to make it match the books! I used some themed stickers that I bought online to embellish the banner as well. I think we'll put the banner up in Little Miss A's bedroom now.

The butterfly features heavily in the TV series credits etc. It's a very simplistic shape butterfly so I cut out lots of butterflies from patterned paper and used these to stick on the chairs around the table.

I'd also managed to get hold of the soft dolls for Little Miss A on ebay. The bonus was that they talk! A fab addition to the table.

Food & drink
The party had to include pink milk - Lola's favourite drink. I put this in clear plastic cups and printed off some banners to put around the cups. The final touch were some fun stripy straws. To be more true to the books they probably should have had curly straws in them.

We also had all the usual party food with a few fun things like glitter jelly. I printed off some little Charlie & Lola pictures and put these on cocktail sticks.

I did manage to purchase a pack of Charlie & Lola themed paper plates (affiliate link) online. There weren't enough to go around so some of the adults just had plain plates but Little Miss A was excited to see Lola on her plate!





Party games
We didn't actually have time to play any games at her party but I had a few ideas which I thought fitted with the theme. Many of these would have used the fun stripy straws that I bought as drinking from straws features quite heavily in the series when they drink pink milk etc.

- Stick the butterfly on Lola - a variation on Pin the Tail on the Donkey but using the large Lola picture I had drawn.
- Straw tug of war - put a straw on the table horizontally between 2 people who each have a straw. They have to blow the straw in the middle of the table towards each other. The person who gets it across to the other side of the table wins.
- Straw & Smarties game - 2 teams. Bowl of smarties for each team and each person has a straw and an empty bowl in front of them. Each team must transfer as many smarties as possible bowl by bowl down the line.
- Pass the elastic band - 2 teams and each person has a straw in their mouth. Pass the rubber band down the line only using the straws.
- Hula hoops - we recently watched the episode called 'I Am Making A Craze' where all the kids were hula hooping so I did buy Little Miss A a hula hoop as I thought it would be fun to include some hula hoop challenges.

Party bags
As we just had a family party, I just put together some party bags for Little Miss A and her 2 cousins from bits I had already however if there had been more children then a few ideas I had to include were:
Curly straws (affiliate link)
A sheet of Charlie & Lola stickers (affiliate link)
Dr Moo Strawberry Milk Magic Sipper Straws

Music
We asked a friend to buy a Charlie & Lola CD (affiliate link) for Little Miss A. Unfortunately it arrived in the post the day after the party, but I would have liked to have played the theme tune as Little Miss A came in to the room!

The CD is really fun with songs and snippets from the TV show. It's the only CD that's been played in the car since we received it!

Free Downloads
I spent a lot of time trawling the internet for pictures to use etc. Here's some of the resources I used:
Charlie and Lola Activity Sheets from Orchard Books
Charlie & Lola Colouring Pages from Kidspot
Charlie and Lola on CBeebies including episodes, games and an activity book

It might not have been the easiest of party themes but I'm really pleased with how it all turned out. Little Miss A liked the decorations and everyone had a really lovely time. We have the drawings up on our dining room wall now!

So this is some ideas on how to have a Charlie and Lola party. Would love to know if you host a Charlie & Lola party and what you get up to.



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My Sunday Photo 23-04-2017

Sunday, 23 April 2017

This is my favourite picture of this week for #MySundayPhoto.


All the fun of the fair! This was taken today at a little fun fair in the local town. She loved the bubble machine that went off every time she went round! It wasn't very busy so she had each ride to herself!

OneDad3Girls

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Our Easter 2017

Friday, 21 April 2017

A round-up of what we got up to over Easter.

Monday 10th April
Today was a craft day as we had been set some Easter challenges by nursery. We needed to make an Easter bonnet for Baby R and decorate an egg for Little Miss A. Both involved a lot of orange paint and the result of our orange footprints was Little Miss A becoming covered in paint and needing a bath! As we were starting to get in the mood for Easter, we also made some chocolate Easter nest cakes too! Has to be done!

Tuesday 11th April
Our first Easter Hunt of the week, we visited Gordale Garden Centre in Wirral to do their Spring Trail. We found that they had a really fab play area so spent all afternoon at the centre and will definitely be returning.



Wednesday 12th April
The kids took their bonnet and decorated egg into nursery. They didn't win the competitions but I'm pretty chuffed with our efforts.


Thursday 13th April
Easter Hunt number 2 today as at the end of our usual Thursday playgroup there was an Easter Egg Hunt.

Good Friday - 14th April
Mr MoaB was off work so we had a day out at Anderton Boat Lift. We decided to do the Lift and the River Cruise which we really enjoyed. Little Miss A did Easter Hunt number 3 and had fun running around the museum and grounds finding the bunnies.



Easter Saturday 15th April
A day off from Easter things today. Our plans were scuppered as we couldn't go out in the car when we realised Mr MoaB had the car seat in his car!

Easter Sunday - 16th April
Not one, not two but three Easter Hunts today! We started with a egg hunt at home before heading out to do the Bunny Hunt at Blakemere Village. In the afternoon some friends from where we used to live visited and I set up another quick egg hunt for the kids.









Easter Monday - 17th April
Today was all about carrying on our Easter family tradition of playing egg games. Before we went out we decorated our hard boiled eggs. Mine was a self portrait and Little Miss A kept reminding me not to draw any hair on it as I haven't got any!!

After lunch, we went to Runcorn Hill Park and found a good spot to have our egg competitions. First up was some egg & spoon races, then egg rolling, finishing with egg smashing before eating the eggs. I love this family tradition that we've started. Next year Baby R will be able to get much more involved which will be great.





It was a really nice week of Easter activities with a grand total of 6 Easter Hunts and our annual egg games. We have enough chocolate to last us a month - what a shame!

Hope you had fun whatever you go up to!?!



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Easter Bunny Trail at Blakemere Village

Hunting for bunnies and eggs on the Easter Bunny Trail at Blakemere Village.

On Easter Sunday morning after our egg hunt at home, I took the kids off to Blakemere Village. We've visited before but this time we were going solely for the purpose of doing the Easter Bunny Trail that was running.

We arrived about 10.30am and headed for the main information office which was closed. Not a good start. Another family were also waiting and they called up as they like us had seen that the Trail was meant to be running from 10am every day. We were told that we could collect a Trail sheet from one of the shops so off we trundled.

The Trail sheet cost £2 which is reasonable for these types of Easter hunts. We were searching for various things including bunnies and coloured eggs. We found the first couple quite easily and then got a bit stuck. From speaking to other families, it became apparent that we were meant to be going in to each shop to search for the items. This wasn't clear but it meant that we then found a few more in quick succession.


We continued round the Trail but after a few shops where we couldn't find the bunnies or eggs, I started to get a bit frustrated as it was quite hard on my own to keep going in and out the narrow shop doorways with the pushchair and Little Miss A. On the Trail sheet you just had to tick to say you'd seen the items, so I have to admit that as Little Miss A didn't know how many we were meant to be finding, I cheated a bit and ticked them anyway. She was quite happy and didn't mind one bit! Particularly when she was presented with a Rolo chocolate egg at the end for completing the trail!

The actual bunnies that we did find were really lovely. I feel a bit bad that we didn't do it all, but Little Miss A really didn't mind.

We had seen a few fairground rides on our walk around so I promised Little Miss A a go on one before we went home. These were £2 a ride so just one ride was quite enough. There was also a free sand pit which kept Little Miss A occupied for a while.


We were really fortunate with the weather as it was pouring with rain when we were driving there but stayed dry whilst we did the Trail, only starting to spit again as were leaving.

I'm left feeling a little bit disappointed with my experience of Blakemere Village again. You can read more about our first visit to Blakemere Village in Northwich. It has so much potential to be a fantastic place to keep going back to but both times we've had to wait around for things to open (the office was closed and we had to wait until the fairgrounds opened at 11.30am). The Trail was just made a little bit more difficult than it needed to be for parents with pushchairs etc. I'm sure those with older children had a very different experience but for us it wasn't the best. It's just me that left feeling like this though. Little Miss A enjoyed herself and was really well behaved the whole time and that's what matters!

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Weekend in Liverpool 2016

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Reminiscing about a fab weekend we spent in Liverpool last year. 

I had a wish before Baby R arrived in this world that I wanted to spend a night away somewhere with Mr MoaB. I'd only ever had one night away from Little Miss A and that's when I was in hospital so I wanted the chance to have a child-free night before the sleepless nights started again! Time was running out as he was due in May, so in April last year when I was 37 weeks pregnant, we had a weekend away in Liverpool.

We stayed at the Novotel Liverpool Centre as I'd luckily won a 2 night stay as a prize on a Facebook competition. We travelled up North on Friday and spent some time with Mr MoaB's Mum before dropping Little Miss A off with his sister. Little Miss A was really excited to be having a sleepover with her cousins so we felt sure that she wouldn't miss us too much. 

Then Mr MoaB and I drove to Liverpool to enjoy some quality time together. We had a quick swim in the hotel pool before getting ready to go out on the town! 

One of the things I really wanted to do was go on the Wheel of Liverpool. We were really fortunate that as we were walking past looking for somewhere to eat, a guy gave us some spare tickets that he had. We decided to eat first and go on the wheel after dinner.

We dined at EastZEast in the Docks which has to be the best curry that we both have had. It was brilliant. We took our time and really enjoyed the meal.

The restaurant is right next to the Wheel so we then used our free tickets and had the whole wheel to ourselves! It was nice to see Liverpool all lit up at night. 



After the Wheel we had a wander around Liverpool including finding the Cavern Club. Has to be done as a tourist in Liverpool!


We then headed back to the hotel to enjoy a guaranteed uninterrupted night of sleep. Bliss! 

After a lovely lie-in and breakfast in the hotel, we set off to Southport where we were meeting Mr MoaB's family and collecting Little Miss A from them. She'd had a brilliant time and had been really well behaved. We enjoyed a really nice time in Southport including riding the carousel and spending a long time in the playground. 

We then drove back to Liverpool for our second night, this time with Little Miss A. 

The next morning we were up early (no lie-in this time) so went down to the hotel pool. For a long time we had the pool to ourselves which Little Miss A loved. We had breakfast and then checked out. 



Before leaving Liverpool, we surprised Little Miss A with a visit to Mattel Play! We received free entry into Mattel Play! in return for a review. The play centre hadn't been opened that long. Little Miss A enjoyed all the themed play zones - Thomas The Tank Engine, Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam. What's not to like when you're 3 years old!?! You can read more about our experience on my review of Mattel Play!



We really did pack a lot in to our trip up North and our time in Liverpool. It was so nice to have a date night and night away. I can't believe it's taken me this long to write up about it, but it was a year ago last weekend so now felt a good time to do it. 

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Anderton Boat Lift in Northwich

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

A family day out at the Anderton Boat Lift with the added bonus of an Easter Treasure Hunt.

One of the things on our to do list when we moved up to Cheshire was to go on the Anderton Boat Lift and we chose to go on Good Friday. It also meant that we could fulfil one of the things that Little Miss A keeps asking to do - go on boat!



We arrived mid-morning and as we got to the entrance we saw a canal boat going in to the lift so stopped for a bit to watch it. Then we went to buy our tickets for the Lift and River Cruise. Our allocated time slot meant about a half hour wait but that was fine as there is the museum to look around plus you can take a wander in the grounds.

We filled the time by doing the free Easter Treasure Hunt which Little Miss A really enjoyed. She raced around finding the bunnies in the exhbition area and outside including in the maze. She liked the reward too of a Creme Egg!






Doing the hunt meant that we got our first sight of the Boat Lift from below. It's such an impressive structure.

There was just time to explore the museum a little bit and for some dressing up, before we headed up to the Cafe to find Mr MoaB & Riley and go out to board the boat. Little Miss A looked so cute in the costumes.






We boarded the glass sided boat at the top to go down the lift. There was a Guide on board who gave a really great commentary about the history of the lift, wildlife on the canal etc.



The boat cruise took about 90 minutes in total and we travelled along the picturesque River Weaver to Northwich and back. Baby R was more interested in walking about on the boat! We'd taken a packed lunch with us and we had ample time to enjoy this as we meandered down the canal.

On our return we disembarked the boat at the bottom. This was the only slight negative as I was expecting to go back up in the Lift.

When we disembarked Little Miss A made a bee-line for the small playground and then played in the maze with her Daddy. We then spent a bit more time in the museum before heading home.

You can actually explore the Visitor Centre including the exhibition area and grounds for free. You have the choice of just going on the Boat Lift, or like us doing the Lift and Cruise. Under 5s are free so we just had to pay for 2 adult tickets. More details, including prices can be found on the Canal & River Trust website.

I am glad we've been on this historic structure and it was such a nice family day out.

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Siblings - April 2017

Monday, 17 April 2017

Joining up with The Siblings Project with these photos of Little Miss A and Baby R. 


I absolutely love this picture of Little Miss A and Baby R. So much so that I've got it as my lock screen on my phone. It makes me smile so much when I see it. Little Miss A and I made some Very Hungry Caterpillar headbands ahead of a Giant Wiggle sponsored walk for Action for Children. We were doing the walk with one of the playgroups we go to. Unfortunately it was pouring with rain the morning of the walk, so I took this photo before we set off as the headbands weren't going to survive the rain. We still had fun on the walk, even in the rain!


At the end of the sponsored walk the weather dried up a bit and so we had the chance to pop to the playground. Baby R is so lucky to have his big sister there to look after him at all times.

It is so nice that they can start going on equipment in playgrounds together as the next few photos show...



It is so fun seeing them play together. Here they are in their tunnel together.



Their relationship is really blossoming. This time last year whilst I was pregnant with Baby R, I was worried about how Little Miss A would react to having a sibling. I needn't have worried. She's doing a great job as a big sister.



The Siblings Project - Dear Beautiful

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My Sunday Photo 16-04-2017

Sunday, 16 April 2017

These are my favourite pictures of this week for #MySundayPhoto with an Easter theme as it's Easter Sunday. I've chosen not one but two pictures this week as it seemed only fair to have a picture of each child.

I love that Little Miss A was so excited to find the eggs on her Easter Egg hunt this morning! They were only paper eggs and the prize at the end was a chocolate egg, but she was just so happy!


As it's Baby R's first Easter, I wanted to capture a picture of him. He hasn't had any chocolate, but I'm sure he'll make up for that in years to come!

OneDad3Girls

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Spring Trail at Gordale Garden Centre

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Garden Centres seem to be my go-to when I'm stuck for things to do with the kids and as we've moved we now have a whole load of new ones to explore!

Our plans for today changed and I was at a loss of how to entertain the kids this afternoon. So we headed off to Gordale Garden Centre in South Wirral as they have a Spring Trail running during the Easter holidays.

We picked up our Trail sheet for £2.50 at the Customer Service Desk and headed off. Little Miss A was actually really quite excited about the whole thing and once we'd found the first Bunny she was really quick to spot the next few.

Half way round was 'The Gordale Express' which was a good photo opportunity!




We then took a break from the Trail and headed for the Play Area. Split in to two sections, we spent a good hour here particularly as the sun had come out. Little Miss A made a few friends and was quite happy to run around with them. I love it when she comes over all excited that she's made a new friend. She never remembers to find out their names until I prompt her!



We took a short wander to see the various birds in the wildlife area and lake, before finishing off the rest of the Trail. The clues were very clever for the Trail and once I'd worked out the anagram for her, Little Miss A was rewarded with a Lindt chocolate bunny for completing the trail.

We decided to treat ourselves to some cake in the cafe before going back to the play area for another quick play before we headed home. I thought we'd only be out about an hour, but we were out all afternoon!

This garden centre is a great find for us with it's great play area. I found out about their Easter Trail on the Gordale Garden Centre Facebook page.



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My Sunday Photo 09-04-2017

Sunday, 9 April 2017

This is my favourite picture of this week for #MySundayPhoto.


We've just spent a really lovely weekend with Mr MoaB's family for his sister's birthday. We got together for a family meal out yesterday in a restaurant right by the canal so took a quick stroll after we'd eaten. The weather was glorious and I just kept smiling having my three favourite people with me.

OneDad3Girls

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My Sunday Photo 02-04-2017

Sunday, 2 April 2017

This is my favourite picture of this week for #MySundayPhoto. Has to be a picture from Little Miss A's 4th Birthday.


Our little girl turned 4 this week so I've chosen a photo from her birthday party that we had with family. The Paw Patrol cake was made by one of her Great Aunts. It was really lovely of her to make it for Little Miss A and tasted yummy too!

OneDad3Girls

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Me & Mine - March 2017

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Joining up with the Me and Mine Family Portrait Project with this photo of our family for March.


It's so hard to get a good picture of all of us together. Little Miss A is pulling a face which is pretty much the norm when we take these pictures and Baby R is more interested in what his sister is up to! Oh well, it shows the real us I suppose! Thanks to our friend for taking this.


March Highs:
  • - We took Little Miss A to a trampoline park for the first time this month. We tried the toddler trampolining session at Urban Air Cheshire and she had great fun! It was nice that I could join in with her and it wore me out! 
  • - A day out in Southport with some friends. Little Miss A loved the mini rides and particularly loved going on the carousel with her Daddy.
  • - We stayed up at Mr MoaB's Mum's after our day in Southport and then she'd arranged for lots of the Great Aunts & Uncles to visit. Most haven't had the chance to meet Baby R yet so it was nice for them all to have cuddles with him. 
  • - My brother and his wife came to stay for a couple of nights. It was really good to see them and catch-up. They were great babysitters giving Mr MoaB and I the chance to have a rare date night and looked after the kids whilst we were at the Cancer Centre for my chemo. 
  • - We took part in a soggy 'Giant Wiggle' sponsored walk for Action for Children. Unfortunately the weather put most people from the playgroup off, but a few of us had fun.
  • - Little Miss A enjoyed a Pyjama day at nursery and then both kids wore red to nursery for Comic Relief.
  • - I got really spoilt on Mother's Day and we had a low-key but lovely family day together.  
  • - We've explored a few new places and found some playgrounds - which we'll definitely be revisiting now that the weather is improving. 
  • - The month ended on a real high as it was Little Miss A's 4th Birthday. She spent the morning at nursery and loved taking a cake in to share with her friends. Then we traveled up to have a party for her with Mr MoaB's family. She'd chosen a Charlie & Lola theme so I'd made lots of decorations for her. It was a lovely party. Can't believe she's now 4 and will be going to school soon.

March Lows:
  • - Unfortunately the month started with me being in hospital again with sepsis. Exactly the same as last month - I had to stay in for 2 nights. 
  • - Another round of chemo - the end is in sight. 
  • - I had quite an emotional day when Mr MoaB and I went down to my parents house for the last time as it has been sold. Even though I never lived there, it holds so many memories. 
  • - Mr MoaB's Mum had a major operation so we've been thinking of her lots. She's doing ok so we're hoping she'll be out of hospital soon. One of the major advantages to our move up North is to be closer to Mr MoaB's family and so he's been able to visit every few days which just wouldn't have been possible before.
The Me + Mine Project - Dear Beautiful

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