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    Lifestyle, Tips & Tricks

    How To Create Goals & Stick To Them

    Some people will start the new year with a list of goals (me) yet some hate it. Some will do monthly goals. Some hate it. If you know me just the slightest, you’ll know I like goals. I figured I’d give the reasons why I like them in all aspects of life.

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    Sometimes I think the problem with goals is that they’re given too much weight. Like, they become a fixation and for those who don’t meet those goals, or set them too high get hit with failure and that ultimately just makes things worse. Don’t get me wrong, I have done that before. Plenty of times. But right now, I feel like I’m in a good place with what I want in life and what I’m doing to get to that point. You’ve got to have a good balance.

    How To Create Goals That Don’t Set You Up For Failure

    Looking at the words themselves, a goal really is just a general outcome that you want. Anyone can just say “Oh I want to do such a thing” and there we have it, a goal. The next part is the one that ensures you can reach that goal, and it’s thinking about the steps you need to take to reach it. Quite often it takes more than one thing or change to hit that goal. These become your objectives, or steps as I prefer to call them, and I think people forget about this bit.

    So for example, my main life goal at the moment is to be travelling by the end of 2018. To get to that goal, the main step I’ve started working on at the moment is putting money aside in my savings. Once I get closer to the time, I’ll also have to start looking at getting a visa, possibly getting jabs, checking airlines, hostels, places and the like. These are all separate steps that will help me hit that main goal and without them I wouldn’t get there.

    For fitness, ultimately my goal is to get stronger and run a PB half marathon time. I need to consider all the things that will help me do this, and this includes adding more strength training, adding more running mileage and of course, cleaning up my diet. Again, all separate steps that will get me to that ultimate goal.

    Basically, when setting a goal you need to be thinking about the wider picture. How can you hit that goal? What is it that you actually need to work on? As you can see, just saying ‘I want to travel’ doesn’t really help you at all if you don’t know what you need to do.

    Why Having Goals Helps Me To Achieve

    There’s a couple of reasons really why I like to set goals, but mostly it’s because I am someone who needs a plan. Organisation. I like writing down what I want to do and how I can do it. And then also because I like a challenge. Can’t help it.

    You’ll find a lot of people just plodding on in life. Doing what they have to, to get by, and not completely happy but also not doing anything about it. I don’t want that for myself. How many people do you know who just hate their job? I know quite a few… and whilst I myself don’t hate my jobs, I know it’s not what I want to be doing in the long-term. I have dreams of where I want to be, and I want to take those steps to hit them. Those regrets, what would have been, if I’d just tried to… Nope, not me.

    Like I know that I will completely regret not trying to get out and travel. Even just for a month. I don’t want to be settled down mid-thirties with kids thinking, why didn’t I just take that chance I had? Don’t get me wrong, I want to start a family. I’d love to have kids. But I’m not ready for that yet. And this isn’t a negative push at those who do settle down young – that’s perfectly fine if it’s what you want to do.

    Which brings me to my next point. We all have different goals and dreams in life. You might look at me and think, she wants to run another half marathon, maybe even a marathon? No thanks! And that’s perfectly okay. You do you, and figure out what makes you happy. After all, isn’t that what we’re all aiming for?

    Pros-of-Goal-Setting-Goals

    What You Should Do Next To Start Achieving Goals

    So think about what you want to achieve in the next year. Is it fitness related? Job related? Blog related? Maybe even family/friend related? Whatever it is, start jotting it down.

    My favourite thing to do is to create a mind map. I find that it’s easier to do separate ones for each area of life because then you can get really detailed if needed. For example mine would include, a general life one, a fitness one, a blog one and a travel one. This doesn’t have to be neat (hey you can always re-do it neatly if you want this as a visual once you’ve decided on things!) and is basically just a brainstorm of what you want to achieve. It can be for the next year, the next 5 or even longer.

    Once all those thoughts are written down, you can start to sort through what you want to do and figure out which bits are the main goals, and which bits are the steps that you need to take. For me, actually writing down these things allows me to properly understand them and to see which goals are easier and which will take more time. That’s one of the hardest things, time. You just can’t expect results over night, but by working consistently you will get there.

    So Go Out And Hit Those Goals

    Yep. I hope this has helped you to at least have a better view on goals, and how to set yourself up for success instead of failure. So many people make new years resolutions and never stick to them… Now’s your chance to revisit those things you want to do for yourself and really smash them.

    What Tips Do You Have For Me?

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    Lifestyle

    My Top 3 Radio Stations

    RadioStations

    I’m not actually that much of a music person. I mean I like it, obviously, and I have some favourites, obviously, but music isn’t generally my first choice of things to do. Like, on a commute I’m more likely to read a book or listen to an audio/podcast over music. When I run, I’ll listen to an audiobook/podcast or just run without if it’s just a short run. At the gym, I just don’t bother with music because whatever is playing in there is usually pretty loud. At home I won’t be sat listening to music whilst blogging, I’ll be catching up on youtube or a tv series.

    So yeah, I really don’t listen to it much. The main times are when I’m in my car (actually a lot of the time) or when I’m at work in the office. Here’s what I choose.

    Radio X

    This one is my car go-to. I’ve either got Radio X on or my Best of Mcfly CD. Pick your lesser evil haha. On a Wednesday/Thursday I drive to Manchester for work and it usually takes me around an hour each way. The Chris Moyles breakfast show is what keeps me company on the way in, and I love it. Plenty of random chatter and silly games give me something to laugh about as I’m heading into work. I really like the Before/After game, even though I’m absolutely terrible and whilst I usually know the songs, I never know any dates for when they were released. I think Chris Moyles is a marmite kind of guy, people either seem to love him or hate him. I love him.

    I also prefer the music on Radio X to all the chart hits on Radio 1, Key 103, Capital and the like. They play more older stuff and not as screechy and poppy. Not a fan of that!

    Absolute 00s

    Just simply because there’s absolute bangers to be heard on here. Absolute also have a 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s station if those take your fancy, but I quite like the 00s one because it’s more my ‘era’ from when I listened to music in my teens. I can’t be the only one who just prefers the older music much more than what’s in the charts at the moment, right?

    In one morning I heard: Fall Out Boy – This Ain’t A Scene It’s An Arms Race, Jason Mraz – I’m Yours, Gorillaz – Feel Good Inc., Bloodhound Gang – The Bad Touch, My Chemical Romance – Welcome to the Black Parade, Outkast – Hey Ya!, Avril Lavigne – Sk8er Boi, Usher – Yeah, Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling, Maroon 5 – This Love. See what I mean?!

    BBC Radio 5 Live

    This is the usual station on in my office at work, and at first I was like what is this bore… But it can actually be quite interesting depending on what their topics are each day. I’ve found myself switching it on even when I’m in on my own! They mostly talk about what’s happening in the news so it really can vary and it’s a mixture of serious and the more informal chats. Have to say I’ve learned a lot listening to this kind of thing!

    What do you listen to?

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    Lifestyle, United Kingdom

    Hiking Up To Rivington Pike

    “To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, to gain all while you give, to roam the roads of lands remote, to travel is to live.”
    Hans Christian Andersen

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    It’s eerily quiet, the only sound being the occasional bird chatter, leaves rustling in the breeze and twigs crunching under your feet. It’s moments like this when you can get fully lost in your own thoughts and take some much needed ‘me’ time.

    When I was at university I used to explore so many different places. I’d always be heading out with my camera to see what I could find. I miss that. I mean, I now have a car and I’ve gone to far less new places than I did when I had to rely on my legs, bike or train! Last month I decided to make the effort to go out for more walks. And that I did!

    Rivington Pike (or Winter Hill) is pretty close to me and only a half an hour drive away. In fact I can see the signal mast from my house – especially so when it’s night time and the bright red lights are turned on! This is a pretty popular walk for people of all ages and interests: families, dog walkers; cyclists, runners, hikers, ramblers and more. It’s super pretty and has plenty of things to discover and find on the way up, depending on which route you take!

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    Japanese Gardens & Old Buildings

    The best thing about this area is all the random little bridges, buildings and walls. The gardens were designed by Thomas Mawson between 1905-1922. It included the wooded area with a network of footpaths and terraces with a man-made ravine, various bridges and the Japanese garden and lake. (Which you can see a little of above!)

    A lot of the old buildings now are very much decayed and broken, replaced by woodland and overgrown greenery but you can see the history there nevertheless. The lake is beautiful, and has a couple of mini waterfalls too. You can see a bit of it in the photo above. The perfect place for a relaxing rest before/after the climb to the top!

    These are my absolute favourite kinds of things to explore. I love finding random paths and bridges and buildings hidden in the trees. It just feels like you’re finding another world because it’s completely different to usual city life.

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    Reaching The Pike

    Once you’ve passed all that wilderness, you’re met with the amazing views. On a good weather day (admittedly few and far in between) you can see for miles as soon as you’ve gotten out into the open space. You can even see the Isle of Man on a really good day at around 93 miles away if you know what you’re looking for. Yeah, I didn’t. Not great with that kind of thing.

    Easier things to spot include the Macron Stadium – Reebok for those of us still not used to the ‘new’ name – and the Blackpool Tower in the far distance. Spotting the Blackpool Tower all the way from here feels quite impressive actually.

    What I haven’t mentioned so far is that when you do spot the pike you also spot a horrible looking set of stairs, and boy are they tiring on the legs after all the hill walking you’ve already done! When I was there last with my boyfriend, we were just sat at the top enjoying the view whilst two runners had a little competition in the form of hill repeats. Crazy, crazy people. Not gonna lie though, I was pretty chuffed for the girl who kept beating the guy she was with!

    Doing things like this just really reminds me how comfortable I feel being outside, and how much I need to be active in my daily life.

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    Any interesting walks near you?

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    Life in...

    Happy Things In May ’17

    If I’m honest, May has been completely wiped. I can’t remember what happened in the first half of the month because these past couple of weeks have been clouded in anxiety, upset and truly horrifying news. So yes, this Happy Things is a little different to usual.

    MCRBees

    On the one hand, it doesn’t feel right to be even trying to think about happy things that have happened in the past month. Not when the last week was plagued by such atrocity thanks to the bombing in Manchester. Yep, another bombing. And this time one that targeted children and parents.

    It goes without saying though, Manchester is a community. A tough community. Despite all the sadness and the aftermath of this crime, the city pulled together and showed great strength. People ran into the arena to save others, many residents of Manchester offered out help – rooms, beds, lifts home, food and more – and the police force and NHS staff worked their damned butts off making sure everyone was attended to and not alone.

    So amidst all this chaos, here are some of the things that have happened in this past week that have been a little beacon in the otherwise dark world. I have probably missed some of the good things that people have done, so feel free to share more in the comments if you have any!

    + Taxi drivers offering free lifts home
    + The woman who took in lost children so they weren’t alone
    + Woman singing don’t look back in anger in the crowd
    + Tattooists doing the worker bee tattoos and giving the money to charity
    + Money raised for all families from various places
    + These stories from the staff that worked through the night
    + The One Love Manchester concert that will be taking place this coming weekend

    I can’t actually remember much about the beginning of the month, though nothing much really happened of note. The only things since this is that I’ve watched Pirates of the Caribbean (and actually really enjoyed it!) and I did the Great Manchester Run 10k. There will be a blog post up about that on Saturday. I wasn’t sure how it would feel going into the city for such a big event so soon, but the atmosphere was incredible and I definitely need to write about how the day was. Proud to be from Manchester.

    MCRBee

    It’s been a weird month, and not one that we’ll forget in a good while.

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    5 Reasons To..., Travel

    5 Reasons To Go On A Walking Holiday

    This post has been written in collaboration with Inntravel #SEEINGSWITZERLAND, but all words and thoughts are my own.

    5 Reasons To Go On A Walking Holiday | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    In 2014 I travelled to Finland for an expedition. It was part of a university module, and our plan was to go out and photograph bears. We travelled from Kajaani to a wildlife centre near Viiksimo, then to another near Suomussalmi and then braved the train up to Rovaneimi. That was an adventure! (We also went snow shoeing – as seen below! Photo on the below right thanks to Louise Groom!) Now besides that, I haven’t really been on a specifically active walking/hiking holiday – just day/weekend trips – despite me loving the idea of this style of holiday.

    I guess part of that is laziness (isn’t it easier to just book one of those typical beach/city holidays?) but part of it is also because I’ve just never really had anyone who wanted to do the same thing. That said, I’m someone who loves nothing more than to pull on my running shoes and go explore a new town on my own and I do it every time I go on holiday, no matter what kind of trip it is!

    5 Reasons To Go On A Walking Holiday | Finland | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    #1 The Weather Is Unpredictable, But Can Be Incredible

    A normal day in Britain could see you experiencing sunshine, rain, overcast, hail and snow all in the matter of an hour. I’m sure other countries are similar, but you know, that’s the chance you take when on an outdoor trip. Don’t let that put you off.

    You can choose where you want to go, and ultimately the kind of weather you want. If you want to see snow and hike in a colder place, Austria, Switzerland, Norway or Finland may be top choices. Sun-worshipper? Then maybe Spain, India, Morocco or Cyprus would be your thing. Some countries even have a good mixture of both, so really you just need to decide what you want and check what it’s like out there at that time of year. When I visited Finland, we experienced both snow and sun, as you can tell in the two photos above, the weather differs even just a 5 hour drive away!

    #2 Muscles You Didn’t Know Existed Will Ache, But You’ll Be Fitter

    And you should sleep well afterwards! If you’re not used to being out all day in all weather, walking about, then yes you probably will be sore afterwards. You can always go at your own pace though, so don’t feel like you have to be some super fit athlete to be doing it. Most walks will have a difficulty rating, and quite often there will be a few different routes that you can take.

    The more you do it, the fitter you’ll get and soon you’ll be running up those hills! Or okay, maybe not. You’ve also got the option to cycle around these kinds of places too, which brings a whole different kind of trip.

    #3 Getting Lost Is An Adventure, You Find New Places

    Hands up, who can read a map? I dabbled a little in map reading at university. And by that I mean I tried, tried a little more and didn’t do very well. I mean technically you don’t really need a map. There are plenty of walking holidays with toured walks, or ones where you just have to follow a path and signposts. Getting off the beaten track can be fun, but only if you can get yourself back on track!

    Many a time have I gone out to explore, taken a different turning or path and discovered something new. I still do that in my local areas! Doing this, you’ll see a lot more of the natural country than a regular tourist would, and you’ll come away feeling like you’ve discovered a country’s secrets.

    #4 There May Be No Mobile Signal So Switch Off, Enjoy The Quiet

    We’re all getting a little too reliant on social media nowadays aren’t we? I mean, is it even news unless you’ve seen it on BBC Breaking’s twitter account? Nope. I am fully aware that I rely on social media far too much. Forever checking Twitter and Facebook, forever wanting to post that photo on Instagram.

    I went to Wales last year and the signal was absolutely awful. We were lucky if we managed to scrape one bar in our cottage, and wifi, well, that was expensive. So you know what we did? Enjoyed the outdoors, explored the surrounding area and yes, we played board games. It was refreshing. You can post that photo on Instagram when you get back to real life.

    #5 Go Solo And Join A Walking Tour, Make New Friends

    This is one thing I haven’t done yet, but something I aim to do. Solo travel doesn’t have to be scary or lonely. There are plenty of tours and groups out there that will guide you around a country along with other travellers.

    If, like me, you have no one to enjoy this kind of holiday with, you don’t have to swear off them. I’m planning a solo trip myself for the end of 2018. I mean, if anyone wants to join me they can – but I’ll still be going regardless! (Well hopefully, as long as the saving works out…)

    Mammut Xeron Element Bag Giveaway | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    #SEEINGSWITZERLAND with Inntravel

    Now Inntravel call themselves specials in ‘slow holidays’. Holidays that give you time to fully savour every moment of your trip: travelling through beautiful landscapes; tasting local cuisine; relaxing in family-run hotels and talking to the locals. They basically aim to get you away from that typical city break or beach holiday and experience something new.

    Trips they offer include walking holidays, cycling, snow breaks, family breaks and privately guided. Currently they are promoting their self-guided ‘From the Eiger to the Matterhorn’ trip, giving you the chance to see some of the best walking tours in all of the Alps (and the Alps are pretty special – I was lucky enough to be driven through the Swiss Alps on my way home from a college trip!)

    I received a Mammut XERON ELEMENT 30L rucksack, Sigg drinking bottle, Viktorinox hiker Swiss army knife, two pairs of walking socks and some luxury Lindt Swiss chocolates. (Oh those chocolates were definitely luxury!)

    The Mammut bag you can see in the photos above, and it is quite a big backpack – great for long days out. I found it quite comfortable to wear and didn’t have any parts rubbing on the three hour hike that I took it on. With a laptop pocket, main pocket, front organiser pocket and another small front pocket (perfect for a map I would say!) you’ll easily be able to split items apart for easy access. 30L is actually quite roomy, so it’d be great for a walking holiday.

    And hey, thanks to Inntravel, you can win your very own Mammut XERON ELEMENT rucksack. Just enter below to be in with a chance to win. All entries are optional, but obviously the more you do the better chances you have!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Giveaway T&C’s
    – The prize includes a Mammut XERON ELEMENT rucksack.
    – The giveaway will run from 19/05/17 until 31/05/17.
    – It will be open to UK residents only, aged 18+.
    – The winner will be chosen at random, and will be contacted by myself to request their postal address.
    – The winner will have 28 days from being notified to accept the prize. After that another winner will be chosen.
    – The prize will be provided by the company, and sent directly to the winner.
    – No data collected from Rafflecopter will be shared with the company or any other.

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    Currently Tasting

    Currently Tasting #4

    You know when you just love food and can’t stop trying new things? Yes that’s me, though I haven’t actually posted one of these since Currently Tasting #4 in January. I just got a new set of drawers – you should see my snack drawer!

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    Natural Fruity Treats

    These blackcurrant bars, they taste exactly like Ribena. Not kidding. They’ve got that tangy, strong taste that Ribena blackcurrent has and I LOVED them. Couldn’t get enough. Where did I get them? Aldi. I’ve been super impressed with Aldi the last few times I’ve been actually because they have quite a few random healthy treats in stock now. It’s always nice to find something new to try.

    I’m also loving Bear Claws too. Yes they’re for kids but does that matter really? I don’t think so. If anything it makes me feel better because hey, they should be healthy right? It’s just a quick little snack for mid-afternoon when my eyes start closing at my desk. Had to do a little searching as I knew Lauren had posted about these kind of snacks… She was the person who had me first have a look last year!

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    Alternative Pastas

    Ever tried lentil or edamame pasta? Or anything other kind of pasta that isn’t normal pasta? It’s a little strange to be honest, but that’s not a bad thing. The lentil pasta is my favourite. The taste wasn’t really weird or out there, but it wasn’t quite like regular pasta obviously. It definitely felt healthier! The good thing about these kinds of pastas is that they generally have a lot more protein in them compared to normal pasta – useful as a vegetarian when sometimes you just want pasta with a bit of Philadelphia and a few vegetables in there!

    Gousto Box Meals

    I’ve heard about Gousto many times before, but if I’m honest the prices always put me off. Why spend money on food that would cost much less to go buy yourself? Chloe tweeted about getting a free box to try out and that was it, I was in the Gousto club. There was a voucher code and then I did have to pay £5.99 to get the order to go through, but thanks to the blogger incentive running, it was refunded into my paypal account within the hour. I’m not going to lie, I was a little scared about that but I figured for 5.99 it’d still be worth it!

    I chose the Veggie Lentil Pie and Mushroom Dahl and damn, they were tasty! The ingredients all arrived in a big box, with a cooler bag for the items that needed storing in a fridge. They had a date of 4 or 5 days I think and they lasted well – I cooked the pie on the second day and the dahl on the fourth. The recipes were easy to follow and it was definitely simple having all ingredients at hand with the right measurements. If you’re not a brave chef, these would be great to start you off cooking tasty meals. The lentil pie was definitely our favourite, and I’ll be using that recipe card again for sure!

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    GoustoMushroomDahl

    What have you been tasting recently?

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    Lifestyle

    4 Ways to Keep Yourself Feeling Fab

    Keeping healthy. It’s something that is constantly running through the media, and you either love the topic or hate it. Thing is, it’s important to look after yourself, not just physically but mentally, and I think the latter is more often forgotten about.

    4 Ways to Keep Yourself Feeling Fab

    Drinking Plenty of Water & Getting The Right Nutrition

    Isn’t this always the hardest part? Like to be honest, I’d say I do pretty well with drinking water for 75% of the week, but I’ve been relying on fizzy drinks far too much lately. I’m trying my hardest to cut down on it now. This kind of care helps your body of course, but it’s actually also really helpful for the mind too.

    I can tell when I’ve been eating badly because my body feels bloated and I’m just way more lethargic. Just bad choices (like frozen pizza and chips) instead of getting vegetables and less processed food in. That’s not to say you have to cut all sugar out, eat ‘clean’ and become a fitness guru overnight (can’t get rid of the chocolate!). Just get more water in your body as a start, and you’ll feel the benefits, honestly! My goal is to try make more meals from scratch.

    Get Moving, Get Outside, Enjoy The Fresh Air

    Now I’m not saying going for a walk, sitting outside or doing exercise outdoors will cure anything. For me personally though, being outside just helps. Last week I was feeling tired and achy, but my head was absolutely mashed from work and I knew that getting out for a run would put me in a better frame of mind. And it did.

    I also went on a little hike with my boyfriend not so long ago and we just enjoyed walking through woodland, hearing birds call and looking out to a beautiful view. It sure beat being stuck inside! Maybe this doesn’t work for everyone but if you’re just feeling like you’re overwhelmed or need some space, go for a walk. See if it clears your head. Music/podcasts can help to distract you too.

    4 Ways to Keep Yourself Feeling Fab | Corsodyl

    Look After Your Teeth & Gums*

    This is so important, and I’m sure you all brush your teeth morning and night (one would like to hope!) but is it something you focus on or just do quickly to get it out of the way? I was sent this pack from Corsodyl to try out the new Ultra Clean toothpaste. Corsodyl is known as the brand to help stop bleeding gums, right? This toothpaste promises to help your sore gums and get rid of all that plaque affecting them. My gums do bleed when brushing – not every time, but enough times a week to want to try this toothpaste to see if it helps!

    The therapeutic taste described, well I’m not so sure about that. It’s weird and not minty. Not particularly horrible, but it definitely tastes more medical. Like that mouthwash the dentist always gives you. Sticking with it, I’d say I’m seeing less bleeding but I mean I couldn’t say for sure. I already had the Corsodyl mouthwash so you know, I’m not completely new to the brand. It’s a toothpaste I would definitely think about repurchasing.

    In the pack we also received a cute notebook, luggage tag and a USB with lips on from Lulu Guiness and these were a nice touch. Stuff like this is a good reminder to look after your mouth and teeth, because we all know how horrible it is to get an ulcer or sore in there, and unhealthy gums are the first of many problems!

    Take Time Out For Yourself

    I actually wrote a post last year on 4 Ways to Pick Yourself Up – for times when you just need to feel human again. Sometimes work and life can get overwhelming and you just don’t give yourself enough time to properly rest. I’m guilty of that, and I’ve definitely felt it this past month! In the past week I’ve really taken advantage of my days off, whilst in the last month I was doing something every time I was off, leaving my body no time to recuperate!

    It’s easy to forget about yourself, but let this be a reminder to give yourself a little me time every now and then. We all need it, and we all deserve it.

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    *The Corsodyl box was sent for review purposes but as always I would not write about something I didn’t agree with.

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