Far Away Friendship

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re all well. I’m so glad that I’m able to post again this month as I am really missing posting regularly for you all!

Today’s post is both a lifestyle and disability one which I thought might be quite nice.

You all should know Elin from the blog My Blurred World as we do our ‘seeing through sight loss series’ together, and it’s no surprise on our blogs that we’re best friends. This post is also part of the series.

You may remember that we met up back in August last year and wrote a post all about it which you can read here, well after 7 months we were finally reunited again last weekend! We live 150 miles away from each other, it’s not easy to meet up as often as we’d like. Adding to this, I’m a few months away from graduating from university, so the workload is piling up too.

Despite all of this, we manage to maintain a very very strong friendship and I think that’s something to be proud of. Today we wanted to tell you about our recent meet-up and how we manage to maintain a long distance friendship which I’m sure some of you can relate to.

So, let’s get into today’s post!

Ever since me and Elin met up in Manchester back in August last year, we’ve been wanting to meet up ever since. After one thing after another, we set too to plan exactly how we could meet up and spend a weekend together. After a lot of planning and research, we finally came up with a plan that we were going to spend a weekend in Manchester as it is a central location. We needed to find somewhere to stay and somewhere that would cater for two visually impaired guests. We contacted several hotel companies and Premier Inn told us that their staff were trained in disability awareness so we decided that was probably the best option for us. We researched a whole load of Premier Inn’s and found one that seemed nice in Salford Quays, neither of us had been before so it was something new for us both. We booked it, told them that we had a visual impairment and asked for any assistance we might need. They were extremely happy to accommodate, they gave us an accessible room on the ground floor which was close to reception, assisted us to and from breakfast and were there if we needed any help. This was a huge help as we didn’t have to worry about which room was ours as ours was the first room from reception. The staff guided us to and from breakfast and made sure that we got to our room safely, the service and assistance we received was excellent!

On the Friday evening, me and Elin met at the hotel and were both very kindly dropped off by our parents ( thank you so much to them). After we checked in at the hotel we all went for a meal before our parents went back home. Me and Elin spent the Friday night unpacking, catching up and listening to music which was nice and chilled.

On the Saturday, we went for breakfast mid-morning and spent some time in our room afterwards. Later in the day, we decided to go for a walk by the waterfront. We didn’t know the area at all, but our mums had kindly shown us the route out of the hotel when they were with us so we grabbed our canes and decided to have a wander. We successfully managed it, we didn’t bump into anything or fall in the river! Navigating an unfamiliar area when you can’t see is very tricky so we were quite proud of ourselves!

Once we got back to the hotel we ordered a takeaway from Dominos, the pizzas were gorgeous might I add! We did probably get a bit too excited tracking our delivery but oh well, who doesn’t?

The rest of the Saturday evening consisted of watching some TV, listening to music, and having a proper girly chat and a lot of laughs. It was so nice to chill out with my best friend, forget about uni work and all the stress that goes with it and completely be myself.

Sunday soon arrived, we went for breakfast mid-morning again and packed to go home. We were both quite sad as we only had a matter of hours left but we wanted to make the most of it so decided to go for a walk by the waterfront again and have some lunch. When our families arrived to pick us up we walked to a nearby shopping centre, had a coffee, and walked by the waterfront with them and got some photos taken. We both love to keep photos as we think they’re something lovely to keep and look back on.

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(photo of me and Elin)

It was hard to say goodbye to my best friend but we’re reunited in 6 weeks as we’re seeing Shawn Mendes together so that made the goodbyes easier.

I honestly had such an amazing weekend with Elin, I’m so lucky to call her my best friend. I am also extremely grateful to my Mum and Dad for taking me and picking me up, family is so precious.

We also wanted to tell you about how we maintain a long distance friendship. It can be extremely difficult as I live in Yorkshire and Elin lives in Wales and it’s quite a long journey, therefore we hadn’t seen each other for several months. Maintaining a long distance friendship is not easy but it’s possible so we wanted to tell you how we do it.

Text regularly

You don’t have to text all day every day but it’s important to keep the conversation going, ask them how they are and keep them updated on your life, telling them yourself rather than them finding out on social media adds more of a personal touch. Me and Elin are always texting each other to keep each other updated on things, we think that this really does help.

Chat over the phone

Sometimes texting isn’t always good enough, having a phone call gives you chance to have a proper catch up. Sometimes you just need to pick up the phone and speak to your best friend which can instantly lift your mood. It’s not the same as being with them face-to-face but it is so important to have verbal conversations as well.

Do something together

You’re probably wondering what I mean by this, but me and Elin have our blog series which we include a range of posts on sight loss, to tag posts, to memories like this so they are nice to look back on. It’s nice to go back and read them sometimes! We also have a collaborative Spotify playlist which consists of our favourite songs, this is something that we like to update and share our music taste with each other. We’re lucky in that we like the same artists/bands. Let me just tell you, it’s a very good playlist!

Plan meet-ups

It’s important to have something to look forward to. Me and Elin have been focusing on this meet up for a while now, we’re also seeing Shawn Mendes and Adele together this year and I can honestly say that’s getting me through these last few months of university! Being able to countdown to something together is so exciting! It also makes the distance more bearable when you’re having one of those rubbish days.

Keep them motivated and always be there for them

Distance is nothing when friendship means everything, so make sure that you’re always there for them. If they’re going through a hard time or need a bit of motivation, then help them along the way.

If it wasn’t for blogging then me and Elin wouldn’t know each other, and I am so grateful. We may live miles away from each other but it makes the friendship stronger.

You can read Elin’s post here.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post, thank you so much for reading!

Do you have a long distance friendship? Let us know how you maintain it in the comments.

I’ll hopefully be back soon with a new post for you all.

Holly x

Embracing The Cane

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re all well.

I’m sorry for the lack of posts at the moment but third year of university is the reason for that!

Just a quick note, today’s post is very long so grab a drink and a snack, sit down and enjoy!

I know that not all of you will be able to relate to this post but I know many of you like to hear my experiences of living with sight loss and this post is one of those where I discuss my experiences and also give some advice.

I hope you enjoy today’s post!

Embracing the cane is something that many blind and visually impaired people struggle with, others not so much. I was one of those that struggled with it for a few years; but now I’m completely comfortable using one. Looking back, I’m glad I did have that doubt, apprehension and anxiety when using one because it’s contributed to my thoughts and feelings when using a cane today. I can also empathise with others that don’t feel so comfortable using a cane.

I’m at a point in my life where I’m comfortable using a cane and I can openly discuss this topic. Today I want to tell you my cane story and how I learned to embrace it, seeing it as something positive rather than something negative. Sometimes we need to give ourselves a reminder that the glass is half full, not half empty.

 

My story

I first had cane training (mobility training as it’s formally called) when I was at school. The training is done by a professional, called a rehabilitation worker. The rehabilitation worker taught me some cane techniques and in the following sessions we proceeded to do routes around my school, to my classrooms and such places. Let’s just say, I absolutely hated the training. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy learning to use the cane, because that’s not true, I love learning but there was something about it that filled me with dread and a hatred towards this white cane. I don’t know fully what it was but I think there were a couple of contributing factors: the fact that I was using it for the first time around my school, the place where I knew a lot of people and they’d see me with this thing and probably wonder what the hell I was doing? The second being the negative thoughts that I was having, what would people think of me using a cane, was I standing out even more so than before, what if I bumped into them? Having mobility training isn’t something your average teenager does, unless they have a visual impairment. When you’re in your teens, you want to fit in, make friends, socialise with others…you get my drift. How the hell was I going to do that when I was lumbered with this thing? I also didn’t find the lessons fun, I’m quite a motivated person so I’d have preferred to get out and about rather than being in the same environment. Obviously, I needed to learn the routes round my school, but I would have liked a variety of routes, have a change of scenery, rather than just the same building constantly. I got to grips with using the cane and things improved slowly.

Later on, I was then taught how to cross roads safely and independently. One of the major downfalls of this though was that I only learned the route between my home and my school so I didn’t really enjoy it. There wasn’t any option for me to learn other routes and do things that I wanted to do. I was proud of myself for achieving this goal and getting that far but I still wasn’t fully happy within myself using a cane. I didn’t use the cane around school and when I went out I didn’t use it as much as I should have, when you don’t like something it’s hard to motivate yourself to do it.

When I entered sixth form, I gradually became more confident and comfortable using a cane. I started to realise that it was my way of being independent; rather than relying on others. Granted, I wasn’t 100 % comfortable with the whole concept, but I was getting there.

When I entered my second and final year of sixth form I started applying for university, just like everyone else. When I was doing this, I knew that I wasn’t fully confident using a cane and knew that I needed to get myself into gear and needed to do something about it. I spoke to my parents about it, we spoke long and hard and did our research into different options and this is when I enquired about going to a specialist school for a short period of time. One of them got back to me and it was agreed that I would spend a week there in summer. During this week I had intense training on independent living skills and mobility training. Let me tell you, I learned more mobility skills during that week than I had ever done previously. I’m not saying that this is the right option for everyone because it was something that I enquired about myself rather than a professional advising me to do something like that, but it was definitely a great experience for me. It really gave me the confidence boost that I needed. After attending mainstream school all the way through education, spending a week at a specialist school was rather interesting for me. I feel like that really set me up for starting university that upcoming September.

A few weeks before I started university I had mobility training around campus so that I knew where everything was, in order for me to be able to navigate to my lecture rooms and for me to have a good idea of the campus. I think this was really the turning point for me in terms of my mobility; I was far more confident using a cane and I genuinely felt comfortable using one; I wasn’t as bothered what people thought as it was my mobility aid and my way of getting around. The rehabilitation worker was genuinely lovely and made it enjoyable which took away any anxiety that I had previously. I think it also helped being surrounded by people that weren’t that bothered about my disability, they cared but it didn’t faze them as it did others in school. There’s people from all walks of life at university and others that have the same or similar disabilities so you’re not usually the only one in your institution.

Looking back, I think university was definitely the turning point for me. I found independence and I think that’s one of the most important skills for blind and visually impaired people to have. Since becoming comfortable using a cane I’ve been on a plane on my own and continue to tackle the challenges of public transport. But without motivating myself to be independent I would not have got this far.

 

How I embraced the cane

So as you’ve probably gathered from my experiences above that embracing the cane didn’t come easy to me, my experiences are just one of many and every blind or visually impaired person has their own experiences. Some, like myself learn to have a love/hate relationship with a cane, but for others they may never have this.

I want to tell you how I learned to embrace the cane in the hope that it might help some of you out there.

Do not give up

You may want to give up at first, especially if you’re finding it challenging but not giving up is key. If you give up then you won’t achieve anything so why quit? No one said that it would be easy.

Believe in yourself

This is so important. Believing in yourself is one key to happiness and independence.

Stop caring what others think and focus on yourself

This applies to many aspects of life but things become so much easier when you stop caring what others may think of you and focus on yourself. So what if you’re walking down the street with a cane or guide dog? Your disability is a part of you. Feeling comfortable within yourself is so important.

Think of the positives

Embracing the cane will provide you with independence, lifelong skills and so much more so rather than thinking about the negative aspects, look at the positives. Remember what I said before, the glass is half full, not half empty.

Look towards the future

Just think what you can achieve if you can conquer something like this.

 

That concludes today’s post, I hope you enjoyed reading and possibly learnt something from it.

As always, thank you for reading.

Holly x

Why I Write About My Disability Online

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re all well.

As you can tell from the title, today’s post is reasons for why I choose to talk about my disability online. I have picked my top 10 reasons for doing so, they are in no particular order., This post is something that I don’t really see much of on the internet or in the blogging world so I thought it was something different to write about.

I hope you enjoy today’s post, so without further ado let’s get into it!

 

  1. Blogging about my visual impairment gives me the opportunity to raise awareness of disability and blindness/visual impairment

Disability awareness is so important and reading first-hand experiences, accounts, tips, and tricks can really go a long way in my opinion. Being completely honest and open about my visual impairment on my blog gives me more scope to help raise awareness of disability and discuss some of the many experiences that us disabled people face.

2. It gives me the chance to tackle the stigmas and perceptions surrounding visual impairment and disability

There are many perceptions of visual impairment and disability in contemporary society, everyone has their own opinions on these so blogging gives me the opportunity to tackle these. Many of them are far from the truth so I can discuss and debate them right here on my blog.

3. Writing about my disability on my blog gives me the opportunity to educate others on sight loss

Many people have the perception that having a disability is all negative or that all blind people are all the same, well let me tell you that this is far from the truth. Some people have never come across a blind person before or others may have a blind or visually impaired family member, so me choosing to blog about my visual impairment gives me the chance to educate such people. Talking about my disability on the internet to educate others and to possibly change their perceptions on disability is so worth it.

4. Talking about my disability on the internet has given me the opportunity to create friendships

I have met some of my closest friends, including my best friend through blogging and this is all because of my little corner of the internet. It allows me to communicate and talk to those that are visually impaired or have another disability. If I didn’t write about my disability then we possibly wouldn’t be able to relate to each other as much.

5. Discussing my disability online allows me to be part of a community

In my case, I am part of the sight loss community and I really do love it. You can get advice, ask questions, learn about others experiences and so much more by being part of such a wonderful community. I’d also say that I’m part of the blogging community too which is something that I love.

6. I can be creative.

Often talking about disability can be regarded as being plain and simple, it may be ‘boring’ to some people. Blogging about my visual impairment gives me the chance to be creative through Q&A’s, collaborations with other bloggers, write and feature guest posts, and so much more.

7. Writing about my disability online means that I can share my own personal experiences on living with sight loss

For me, this is so important. I don’t sugar-coat anything on my blog, I’ll tell you exactly how I’m feeling. If I’ve done something then I’ll tell you, or if I’m having a down day I won’t pretend I’m happy just to make everything look positive. It’s important to be real and honest, people want the truth and that’s one reason why I choose to talk about my disability openly on the internet.

8. I can let my feelings out and be completely honest

This links in with the previous point, but if I’m annoyed about a certain aspect of my sight loss or want to share an specific experience then blogging gives me a platform to do so. It can sometimes be quite nerve-racking pressing publish on a post where you’ve wrote exactly how you’re feeling or have expressed your opinions on a particular topic but once you do it, it’s such a good feeling. The responses from my readers make up for it! I’d definitely say that blogging is a hobby and I love coming up with blog posts and writing them for you all.

9. Writing about my disability online allows me to empower, inspire and help others.

There’s nothing like a huge sense of relief when you can relate to someone, their story, their blog post or just what they’re saying. Being completely open about my disability allows me to create content that other people will hopefully relate to and possibly even feel inspired by. That for me is one of the main reasons for why I continue to write blog posts.

10. It gives me positivity!

My blog is no way viral and I’m by far not the most popular blogger on the internet but I have way more readers than I ever expected and it’s an amazing feeling! Receiving positive comments and messages really does mean the world. It makes blogging about my disability completely worthwhile and gives me the inspiration and motivation to carry on.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading some of the many reasons as for why I choose to talk about my disability on the internet.

If you are a disabled blogger then what made you decide to blog about your disability? If not, what was the reason for starting your blog? Let me know in the comments!

Holly x

My Top 10 Blind Girl Problems

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re all well.

Today’s post is something that I’ve wanted to do for a while but never actually got round to it. As you can tell from the title, it’s my top 10 blind girl problems. It’s a bit of a light-hearted post, I’ve put together a few of the mishaps that I experience due to my visual impairment. This post is part of Elin and I’s seeing through sight loss series where we discuss a range of topics on visual impairment, we thought this was a great post to include in the series!

So, without further ado, let’s get into today’s post.

  1. Having a conversation with someone thinking that they’re still in the room and ending up talking to myself.
  2. Walking into a cupboard or door.
  3. Walking into the dishwasher because I left it open and ending up with a huge bruise on my leg.
  4. Falling or tripping over the kerb because I misjudged the step.
  5. Knocking the dog’s food or water over and it spilling literally everywhere!
  6. Dropping something on the floor and scrambling around on my knees to find it for a good few minutes…it’s like a mini treasure hunt.
  7. Losing something and taking forever to try and find it so giving up and asking a family member to come and help only for them to find it straight away.
  8. Tripping over someone’s feet when they’re sat down.
  9. Standing on something soft and panicking it was my pet, turns out it’s their toy.
  10. Walking slap bang into someone because I didn’t know that they were stood there.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Make sure you check out Elin’s top 10 blind girl problems!

If you are blind or visually impaired yourself, then let me know your common blind person problems in the comments. Can you relate to any of these?

If you enjoy reading posts like these then let me know and I can write more of them for you.

Thank you for reading.

Holly x

The Blogger Recognition Award

Hello everyone,

I’m sorry for the lack of posts at the moment, I’ve got rather a lot on but I’m trying to post as often as I can.

I’ve been nominated for the blogger recognition award by my best friend My Blurred World. Thank you to Elin for the nomination, it means a lot to me. Make sure you check out Elin’s blog!

blogger-recognition-award-logo

(photo shows the blogger recognition award logo)

The rules:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog ☑︎
2. Write a post to show your award ☑︎                                                           3. Give a brief story of how your blog started ☑︎
4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers ☑︎                                          5. Select 15 other bloggers for this award ☑︎
6. Comment on each blog to let them know you nominated them and link to the post you created ☑︎

My Blog’s story

I started my blog back in January 2015. I wanted to start a blog as I wanted to raise awareness of visual impairment and disability, to educate others and to share my story. I thought having my own little space on the internet would be a great way to do this but I didn’t really think that anyone would read my ramblings. I I also started blogging as a hobby as I do enjoy writing so thought it was something fun to do. I do hope my posts can help those in similar situations to me and for people to know that having a visual impairment or any other disability isn’t all bad, it can be very positive. I try to educate, inspire, support and provide an insight as to what it’s like being a blind girl in a predominantly sighted world.

My advice

The first piece of advice that I would give to any of you out there that are wanting to start blogging is to write about something you’re passionate about. When reading posts, you can really tell if people have a real interest about the topic they’re writing about or whether it’s all made up. If you’re passionate about a specific topic or subject then it really shines through, it gives you post ideas and you can grow your audience easier. Blogging about something you’re passionate about also makes it easier to think of post ideas!

My second piece of advice that I would give to aspiring bloggers is to communicate and engage with other bloggers. This allows you to build readers/followers, create friendships and possibly find people to collaborate with. It’s important to share the love and recognise other people’s hard work!

My nominees: Thinking Out Loud – Sassy Style The Heart Of Me Fashioneyesta The Invisible Vision Project Lauren Rellis Glasses Girl Kimberley Jessica Jade Marie Meg Says Luke Sam Sowden Well Eye Never Journeyofthemindblog Beauty Blog Wales Sarah and Ellie talks Sarah in Wonderland Make sure you check out their blogs because they’re all amazing bloggers!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. I’m in the middle of planning some posts so if you have any suggestions then do let me know!

As always, thank you for your continued support.

Holly x

Two Years of Life of a Blind Girl

Hello lovelies!

On this exact day two years ago, I published my first blog post and what an incredible two years it’s been. So much has happened, both as part of my blogging journey and in my personal life. I thought I’d do a post reflecting on my favourite memories of blogging over the last two years and some of my favourite posts that I have published so far.

When I started blogging, I honestly didn’t think that anyone would read my posts and people would actually visit my little corner of the internet. When I published my first post two years ago, I didn’t really know what I was doing but since then I’ve grown as a person both online and offline, found my writing style and developed new skills that I never thought blogging would give me.

 

I’d firstly like to thank all of you for your support, you truly are incredible and the fact that you choose to read my posts means the world to me. Thank you for taking the time to comment on my posts or send me an email or a message on social media, knowing that you enjoy my blog and that some of you find it educational and inspirational is amazing. I can’t thank you enough for all of your support.

 

My favourite memories of blogging so far

I didn’t really achieve that much as a blogger in 2015, I was getting to grips with it all but one of my favourite memories of when I first started blogging was being nominated for the Blind Girl Beauty Tag, I felt like I was slowly gaining readers and other bloggers were wanting to read my content too.

In 2015, I blogged about my experience with special assistance when flying. For me, that was something that I’d never done before and I wanted to share my experiences with others. You can read that post here.

Fast forward to 2016 and this is where I started to publish posts a lot more and really found my passion for blogging.

I was featured in RNIB Connect Magazine which blew my mind a little bit.

I was also asked to write guest posts for Action for Blind People, RLSB and Through Scarlet’s Eyes to name a few. To be asked to write posts for such brilliant organisations was a huge honour.

I was asked to take part in the RNIB’s #HowISeeCampaign. Being asked to do something like that really meant a lot to me, I felt like my hard work was paying off. You can read my #HowIsee entry here.

I took part in my first interview for The Aidis Trust which was a great experience.

Whilst we’re on the topic of guest blog posts and interviews, I recently created a portfolio which contains all of my guest posts, interviews and reviews, you can find that here. I will keep updating it with new content so make sure you keep checking back!

I met my best friend. Without blogging, we wouldn’t know each other. We created our seeing through sight loss series and it’s something fun to do to help raise awareness of visual impairment/disability, educate others, and share our experiences.

I also made other close friends through blogging, such as Sassy. I also took part in Sassy’s disability Q&A series which was really fun to do, you can read my interview here.

One of my favourite blogging memories has to be  reaching 10,000 views on my blog. This was a massive achievement for me. I know it’s not a huge number of views but as I’ve said previously, I didn’t think my blog would go far at all.

Those are just a few of my favourite blogging memories over the last two years!

 

My favourite blog posts so far

I haven’t been happy with every post that I’ve published but some of them I’ve really enjoyed writing and had a great response from you all.

I’ve published 58 posts on my blog so far, so here are just a few of my favourite ones, they are in no particular order:

Embracing Your Disability Meeting My Best Friend My Mainstream School Experience The Importance Of Having Blind and Visually Impaired Friends Am I Inspirational? If I could See, Would I want to? Letter to My Younger Self

 

As you can gather, it’s been a rather fabulous two years. I could have definitely wrote a lot more in this post! Blogging is definitely a huge passion of mine now.

My blog wouldn’t be what it is if it wasn’t for you all, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

I hope you will continue to follow my journey and enjoy reading my posts as much as I enjoy writing them.

Bring on the next two years!

Holly x

 

My goals for 2017

Hello everyone,

First of all happy New Year!

Now that we’ve entered a new year, I thought I’d do a post on my goals for 2017, then I can possibly look back on them at the end of the year and tell you whether I achieved them or not. I probably should have posted this yesterday but I didn’t have time so today will have to do! I’ve set myself some realistic goals, personally I think there’s no point setting yourself things that you know you won’t be able to achieve. I’m all about chasing your dreams but I think it’s important to know what’s realistic and what isn’t. So here are my goals for 2017!

Graduate from university with a first or a 2:1.

Yes I’m aiming high here, but it’s something that I want to achieve. With the right amount of effort, support and motivation I think I could achieve this. My best friend is always saying to me that I’m constantly working too hard and never stop so let’s hope the hard work pays off! We graduate in a beautiful location so I really would like to have the opportunity to experience that.

Continue my career

I want to continue working with blind and visually impaired people and this is something I would like to maintain in 2017 when I graduate. There’s a lot of articles and statistics around about disabled people not being in employment, also the gap between disabled and non-disabled people is very high and employers not always seeing disabled people to their full potential and honestly this does scare me. I’m not one to sit around and do nothing, so I’m hoping this pays off.

Keep blogging

This is one of my biggest passions and I don’t have any intention of giving up soon, but I don’t want it to slip. Balancing university work, work, other commitments, blogging and a social life can be hard and I can only imagine this would be harder as I enter the world of full time work but I love blogging so my goal is to continue doing so.

Raise more awareness of visual impairment/disability and educate others

I try and use blogging as a platform to do this but I think there needs to be a lot more awareness out there. There are many misconceptions around disability and I think people should be educated on such topics. I want to educate others on the real light of having a disability in the hope that it tackles the stigma and perceptions surrounding disability.

Be healthy

In the last couple of years I’ve suffered from overactive thyroid, anaemia and most recently chronic inflammation of the iris; whilst these aren’t major health problems and I know that things could be 10 times worse, I think staying healthy is important.

Be a good friend/family member

Quality over quantity, all the way! I like to think I’m a good friend/family member, please do correct me if I’m wrong. I think spending time with the ones closest to you is so important. I want to be there for my friends and family when they need me as they’re always there for me.

So those are my goals for 2017. That concludes today’s post, I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little insight into my goals for 2017! What are yours? Let me know in the comments.

Holly x