Sunday 24th March 2019

Telling My Story. Chapter Nine. 1978-1979.11/2019.

Telling My Story. Chapter Nine. 1978-1979. 11/2019.

Telling My Story

For the past two years I have been writing my memoir which is a mix of my life as a daughter, wife, mother and educator. Written now with no personal details to protect others, I am moving onto the first two significant years of our life back ‘in the big smoke’ a.k.a Sydney. The years are 1978-1979. The chapters already written are found here.

1978.

Living in Sydney as a family.

We arrived back in Sydney and my parents’ house would be our place of abode for the next 3 or so months. Our furniture was transported back to a storage facility in Sydney and we had a holiday – at Mum and Dad’s. Almost by the beach and of course our daughter was the much-welcomed presence. My husband had a new appointment in a north-shore K-6 school as a Deputy Master and I was appointed to what was then a brand new school in the leafy glades near Pennant Hills. Our daughter was to go to school with me. It would be quite a drive across Sydney so we made the decision to get a second car. This was radical and maybe not a great financial move, but we were young! Oh, and the small matter of somewhere to live permanently meant our first mortgage and a house search.

Finding a house.

No longer able to be ‘near that water of the northern beaches’ due to affordability it also made sense for us to go ‘west’ …north-west in fact, as both of us could access our schools with greater ease AND the house and land package was, for us, affordable once the mortgage came through: $44,600.

We were stoked and then I had some health news. About my women’s issues. Just before going to our new schools I had a consultation with my Mum’s ob/gyn specialist who believed the source of my pain on the side was from my ovary. He also heard the full story from me about the NO pregnancy news from others who’d treated me in the previous years.

His plan was to operate on me and remove whatever was causing me issues, and then we might see about the possibilities of a second child.

So proud to call this our first home…that we were not renting.

Schools.

I was already at my school but with no class. In those days the Department of Education appointed teachers when they saw the numbers of students were likely to increase. I was not a happy teacher as I was experienced but I had to comply. Our daughter had settled in too. With the news of this surgery which could be done asap and my recovery period would be around 3 weeks, I decided to go for that then. Mum was there for our daughter’s practical care as was my husband but he was also working in a completely new and busy environment learning about managing large student populations and staff. He took our daughter, Miss Flexible it seems, with him to his school for the weeks involved in my surgery and recovery.

My surgery.

The findings once the abdominal surgery was done, were that I had multiple issues inside for both ovaries which were covered in cysts and ovulation was impossible. I also had some benign growths on fallopian tubes and both of these were causes for my infertility. Not fat. Thanks Dr who told me that. My now ob/gyn, Dr O, said “I have cut tiny sections in your ovaries and that should assist with egg release.”

Home to Mum’s then more news. And We Are In!

I recovered with the best of care and then came the time just before our house would be ready to move into and I returned to school. The news was this: a transfer had arrived at the school where I had no class and I was to report to this new-to-me school asap AND it was much closer to our new house. Thanks to the deities. We moved into the new house with help (and yes it was the wettest 17th March ever) and over time we made it home. I began very soon after at the school where I would be for the next 5 years and it became our daughter’s primary school until she was ready for high school.

New School. New Routines. And NEWS.

The schools in NSW had a different way of enrolling Kinder students then and my class, one of 8, was to receive each of the June and July birthday kids until the end of Term One. Every Monday over a few weeks a new set of scared, sad, happy, nervous young kids began with me in K. In a demountable. No fans or air-con people. Our daughter meanwhile who had a rocky start to the BIG school of 8 classes per grade, finally found her place and flourished. Phew. Meanwhile my husband, who was feeling effects of the neck pain and back pain along with managing his school roles, did it pretty tough. But he is tough.

Can I Be? Really?

We found ourselves a fantastic GP team of a husband and wife who were our medicos from 1978 to 2012 or thereabouts. They were family-oriented and even our kids as adults went to them and then their kids. But I am getting ahead of myself. I was feeling different. It had only been two months since my surgery but I was pretty sure I could be pregnant. No peeing on sticks then but a blood test and wait for results. Oh. My. Goodness. The nurse who did my test was a parent in my class! So much for privacy because she actually knew my story (I must have shared) and she rang me to tell me, yes I was pregnant. She kept quiet but I was always grateful to hear what I had not ever expected to hear again. The news was not accepted as excitedly by my husband right then because I have to add, we were “up to our eyeballs” in loans for cars, house and so on. But I could see we would be OK. And over time, he did too of course!

What Happened Next?

I decided to return to my Dr O who I trusted for my care and birth and even though he was not 100% impressed in my ahem, rapidity, in becoming pregnant took me on and this meant a monthly Friday afternoon trip to the Northern beaches to see him, with my daughter in tow, and then have tea with my parents and trek back. I was well. Mind you, I was tired but teaching was a joy and there were two other teachers also pregnant on Kinder and even before it was recess, the lovely canteen ladies would send us cheese crusts! Yum.

So Much Better This Time Around.

I was almost 8 years older than the first time I was pregnant. I was more educated on childbirth and breastfeeding. I did not know the sex of our child and we chose names for both. I enjoyed preparing a nursery from scratch (remember, we had given all the baby items away except for a special baby basket). My weight remained stable and there was no pre-eclampsia. However, the toll of teaching Kinders in Summer in a hot demountable classroom saw my GP recommend finishing earlier than the mandated 6 weeks and I did that willingly.

With regular visits to my parents’ house where my Dad had finally added an in-ground pool, I was treated pretty darned well. My teacher mates gave me a great baby shower, and one of my friends was now at home with her baby and my other colleague was due after me. The due date was mid January and by then I was “over it”. A slight rise in BP meant I took up the locum Ob/Gyn offer to admit me the following Sunday for induction. My Dr was still sailing in the Sydney to Hobart I was told.

Birth day Time

After a leisurely float around the pool, we changed and went our way across Sydney to North Sydney saying good bye to our daughter then 7 knowing she would be a sister next time we saw her. I had then-practice of pre-induction enema and I was given a private room as I had hoped to ‘room-in’ with my baby after having such a different experience in 1971. The night was slow even though I had some pain. My husband went to Mum and Dad’s and I saw him the next morning when I was taken to labour and delivery. If only. Induction was s for slow and I had p for pain. I was adamant no pain relief or epidural. Until I could not bear it any longer – 8 hours of so of pain every 10 mins going nowhere broke me. It appeared, I had another posterior lie baby. I had the epidural and it worked. On one side. S for sheeeet.

I got tired. I was over it. And of course, that meant I was ready to give birth. But I had forgotten that. This time with as gentle coaching husband, a calm Dr, oh and a million or so nurses who rocked up to count my birthing as one of theirs for registration, I pushed out….the watermelon. I was OVER it. In fact, the baby boy was passed to my husband for care, the Dr started his stitching and they chatted. About whether this new boy would play cricket for Australia. Seriously. I was done. In fact the hospital was crazy busy with births and we got some time-out together in a side ward until I (we!) was taken to my private room.

It was a painful but glorious end to our quest to have a second child and he was just a much-wanted child. Not much more to add. His sister was proud, we thought he was great and on the date of our wedding anniversary we took him home – firstly to my parents and then back across Sydney home. Even in those days, car safety for babies was slack and he was in a basket, protected with a net and a safety belt around that.

The family baby basket. This is his sister in it. Later, over the years, our grandchildren slept in it when we cared for them.

Parenting Two.

It really was not a big issue. His sister was 7.5 years older than him and doted on him. We also made sure her routines continued and I would bring the baby with me. One thing I remember doing as a member of the local Australian Breastfeeding Association was take him to the local pre-school and show the kids how he was fed and cared for. However, I was still not as happy about being at home. My friend had her child now and occasionally we would meet up for baby weighing days. But we needed me to be back at school and I did too. There was only one choice in 1979 – full-time or stay on leave.

Of course, it was always going to be about the family day care options. I was given some places to see and I was disappointed on first impression. Then I remembered one of the parents from the K class had told me about Aunty Y who cared for her two and she highly recommended her. I visited with my son and the house was messy but it was kid-messy and a more grandmotherly person I was yet to meet. She agreed to care for him 5 days a week and her house was on my way to school. Win.

I had continued to breast feed with success and at 18 weeks our son happily went to his family daycare home with some bottles of expressed breast milk and was cared for with love. I, on the other hand, found it trickier being a breast-feeding teacher and when I thought about it, my milk would ‘come in’. I found over time though the my milk regulated and with the energy expended by me with teaching Year 1 , playground duty and so on, I had enough to feed him once we were home, and then express for the next day. Over time he added milk in a bottle and some food as babies do but I was proud of “us” lasting around 8 months.

We were grateful to have a very independent and resourceful daughter, a pretty good baby and a hands-on husband who was also in full-time work and we made it happen. It was hard. I know we got some nights where sleep was patchy because of the baby but we all know we can power on…thanks to coffee! My parents offered on some occasions to cook a meal at our house and that was readily accepted. We were new residents of a growing suburb in north-west Sydney and though very busy, our life was going well.

Teaching and Ambition.

I returned to a Year One class in May 1979 and was immediately struck by the teamwork and professionalism in this particular section of the school. I admit, I saw teachers who were applying for promotion via what was then called The List system and it made me say to myself “I can do that.” So, from then onwards, I took on a few more responsibilities within the school. It was a very large school in a newly populated area. 8 classes per grade: 24 classes K-2! We only tended to meet with our grade as the time was hectic. We were in temporary lodgings as a new school to take some of the kids was being built further along the road. By 1981 that would occur and we would be all on the same site.

Family Life.

What would occur in our family life in 1980 is part of the next chapter. It was huge, and significant and continues to affect us in some ways today.

Next Chapter: 1980 onwards. 

This will incorporate more of my teaching career as it was the beginning of promotions and new roles for me. NOT something I had planned but it happened for quite a few reasons.

Denyse.

Joining here on Thursday with Leanne and crew at Lovin’ Life.

 

 

 

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Christmas.51/52.#LifeThisWeek. 2018.131.

Christmas.51/52.#LifeThisWeek. 2018.131.

My dad used to say I was The Queen of Christmas…and also that I was like a big kid at Christmas…so what he meant was:

I Love Christmas.

From when I was a child, into my teens, Christmas was about:

  • getting excited about Santa coming
  • wondering if I would get what I wanted
  • going to the movies to see “A White Christmas” with my younger brother while our parents entertained friends at home. I liked the movie, but I am not sure about my bro. Could ask him I guess.
  • before we moved to Balgowlah Heights, as residents of Wollongong, it was not too far to drive to one set of grandparents for Christmas lunch and to the other for Christmas tea.
  • once we were in Sydney, however, after a couple of those “all day in the car’ experiences, Mum and Dad began hosting at their place and the family members who could, travelled up for the day.

Then as a young married mum, Christmas was always exciting to have at my parents’ house and occasionally at our place or my brother’s.

  • it was a great Christmas eve at our place, going to mass and then Macca’s was a tradition, and some family singing around the tree till time to put the Santa sacks out and snacks for S.Claus and the reindeer.
  • eventually Mum handed over the Christmas lunch duties to me and that was fine as we no longer did the drive across Sydney. Always a hot baked dinner with some cold seafood and ham on offer. A feast. Mum made the pudding and I made the cake.
  • presents were exchanged after some morning tea. That would often be smoked salmon on toast, cheese straws and dips.
  • over the years, as our kids and their cousins got older, we stopped presents and limited them to our parents and within our family, Santa always brought the kids’ ones and we exchanged gifts.
  • oh, yes..my husband introduced the Mystery Gift to our little family and that was always fun to anticipate.

And then, we became grandparents. And to top it off, the first grandchild arrived 2 days before Christmas and she now shares my love of Christmas. She says she got it from me. Well, I will not deny it!

  • family times at Christmas became more challenging as the family membership changed again with partners of our kids too, so we adapted
  • some years, we would go to the grandkids’ houses the morning OF Christmas to see the fun after Santa had been
  • other years, we celebrated with them before or after the day itself
  • gifts became centred only on the grandkids as we reduced family spending and then there was less financial pressure
  • I admit I got to have my Christmas buying fun and each grandchild was also very involved in the tree decorating at our house when we lived in Sydney
  • Christmas is about creating memories and I feel we did that in spades.
  • when we moved away from the families and they too were changing, we stopped gifts, instead depositing some money in their parents’ accounts for the kids to spend after Christmas
  • we make our place a little festive but do not exchange gifts, we just like to share the spirit of the season

Christmas pics taken for the blog by photographing the photos…I know, bit slack! I have two Christmas scrapbooks too.

I hope you enjoy Christmas in 2018 if you celebrate it.

We will be having lunch by ourselves with our daughter, three adult grandkids & one partner and ONE very excited 6 year old. They are driving up here and we will have a ‘grazing kind of lunch’. Some time after the festive season, we will catch up with our son and his family I am sure. I saw my Dad recently for Christmas. It is a day he will spend with my brother and family who live nearby.

Cheers from Denyse.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today!

Joining Alicia here for Open Slather and Kell here for Mummy Mondays.

Next Week’s Optional Prompt: 52/52. Free Choice. We Made It. 24/12/18.


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Observations in October #1. 2018.101.

Observations in October #1. 2018.101.

Observations on Going Back and Memories.

I realised one day recently when I had finished at the prosthodontist that I was ready to go back to re-visit the houses where we had lived in Sydney from 1978 until 2015.

This may not seem much for many readers but for me, I was not able to face doing this for some time.

I was still attached in some ways to the good (and not so good) memories held within those areas where we lived and the three houses which we called “home”.

First One: 1978-1993.

The one we cobbled together as much money as two teachers could, to purchase our first house in Sydney. It was home to three until our son was born the following year. We added rooms, converted the garage to an office and made an oasis out the back with a lovely in-ground pool.

Our daughter had her family 21st birthday there, and left home (the first time) there. I did two degrees via distance in that house from 1985 – 1992, on a typewriter until we got our first computer!

Our son started school from this house and his Dad was medically retired at a too-young age.

We had great friends and neighbours and the reason we sold, we were advised, is that to do more to it we would be over-capitalising.

Second One: 1994-1998.

Oh the way in which banks lent money was too easy. I am not saying they were wrong but it was ‘easy’ for us to borrow given my job and by now my husband has built a sole business in education coaching and cabinet-making. On paper, all good.

Our son was in his teens and we all thought some more space for us all was a winner. We engaged a builder my husband did work for, and with a block of land selected built this architect-designed home.

It was, and still is, a one-off. It was not built out at the back as it overlooked the Village Green and the street was a cul-de-sac of sorts.

Our daughter was married from this home. Our first grandchild was brought here by her parents. Our son left school and worked with his Dad some of the time. I stayed home for some part-time leave and cared for our granddaughter here whilst her mum returned to teaching.

But all was not well and sole business can be a hard way to earn a living and when ill-health struck my husband and we needed the business to cease, then we also needed to take a deep breath and work out what was next…for the following year.

We sold the house to pay out the various loans and it had always been a house more than a home. It looks amazing here but we also remember it held not great time for us and there were 23 steps from the ground level to our bedroom at the top.

Third One: 1998-2015.

In some ways I was not ready to start again but it meant a house for us, and something more affordable and on one level. With a deposit that was not substantial, we managed to afford a house and land package in an area I agree was not where I saw myself living then but it was where we could afford.

This for me, was made better, with distractions of a huge kind like getting my first (and only!) role as a principal and helping with our growing family – grandchildren 2 and 3 joined number 1.

We did put in a pool eventually and we celebrated our son’s 21st here. Our life had changed for the better in many ways but I admit I took some time to adapt.

My husband returned to some teaching roles and unfortunately it was here in 2002 that my career went pear-shaped (which I wrote about here). Families change and grow and ours did too. We made family Christmas memories here and celebrated birthdays too.  The grandchildren, our son’s kids this time, continued to be cared for by us before they started school. All of the grandchildren (then 7) had special pillows, blankies and more for them all “at Grandma’s and Papa’s house”. It was awesome.

I returned to teaching part-time from this place, however, I admit, in 2013-2014 my health took a downturn with a restlessness, and an anxiety-growing over the need to keep working as this house had a mortgage. I was turning 65 and had tired of the relentlessness of working in an environment that I felt  was changing.

We made the joint decision to sell in 2014, but had been leading up to it as my husband was slowly renovating the house inside and out over the years.

The family wanted us to have no more worries about a mortgage as we did too. Our grandkids were sad when we left and have told us since how much that house meant to them. Beautiful kids they are!

We moved on.

As I drove around these three areas I felt quite claustrophobic with the growth of the housing, the trees and the addition  of the NorWest Rail link and even more cars on the road.

Here on the N.S.W. Central Coast, and we are renting. We do not know where or when we will buy but we both know, we need to be within around 2 hours travel back to Sydney, but never to live there again.

Have you moved or moved on and found it challenging, or the best thing you ever did…or something in between?

Tell us more.

Denyse.

Joining my friends here for Leanne’s linky called Lovin Life.

 

 

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Appreciation In August. #2. 2018.72.

Appreciation In August. #2. 2018.72.

This week is devoted to my appreciation of and for public school education*, particularly in my home state in Australia: New South Wales.  It is fitting to post this in Education Week.

A week which helps shine the good and the great things happening in N.S.W. Public Schools today. My family has children at school and they have been visiting the classrooms for Open Day and it has been a delight to see the traditions continue. I recall visiting my now older grandkids’ classrooms , as Grandma even though I was a principal! Of course schools where I worked as a teacher, then Deputy Principal, Relieving Principal and Principal hosted annual events at school and out of school to showcase the children and their education.

My passion for N.S.W. public education is borne of my years of experience as a student aged 4.75 years to 18 years.

My career choice was K-6 teaching and for two years I trained, at Balmain Teachers’ College (1968-1969) to graduate to work in N.S.W. public schools from 1970 until….the last time I actually taught in a school was in 2012.

Mostly public schools are local schools too! Keeping the community connected is so important.

 

Education Week theme

The theme for 2018 Education Week is: Today’s schools – creating tomorrow’s world.

It celebrates how NSW public schools are equipping young people with the skills and capabilities they need to thrive in a rapidly changing, globalised world.

Key messages

Growth mindset

By developing a growth mindset, our students will become lifelong-learners equipped with the resilience to embrace challenges, the aptitude to reach higher levels of achievement and the adaptability to master new skills.

Applied learning

By grounding education in real world learning opportunities, our students are acquiring the capabilities needed to tackle and solve complex issues in the 21st century.

Evolution of the classroom

By creating future-focused learning spaces that integrate advanced technology and promote connection and collaboration, the classroom is expanding beyond the traditional four walls.

Strong relationships

By building strong relationships in our school communities, we are ensuring that every student is known, valued and cared for.

System-wide commitment to innovation and excellence

By placing our students at the centre of all our decision-making, we are continually striving for improvement and innovation so that young people in our care learn in a world-class education system.

Public Schools I Attended:

  • Gwynneville Public School (Wollongong)
  • Balgowlah Heights Public School (Sydney)
  • Manly Girls High School (Sydney)

Off to Gwynneville PS. Our Tunic was Brown (I think!)

Public Schools Where I Taught/Lead.

  • Barraba Central School (North West NSW)
  • Fairfax Public School (North West NSW)
  • Hillston Central School (Western NSW)
  • Weilmoringle Public School (Far Western NSW)
  • Cherrybrook Public School (Sydney)
  • Jasper Road Public School (Sydney)
  • Seven Hills West Public School (Sydney: Rel/ Assistant Principal)
  • Walters Road Public School (Sydney: Executive Teacher)
  • Seven Hills West Public School (Sydney: Assistant Principal)
  • Shalvey Public School (Sydney: Deputy Principal. Rel/Principal)
  • Rooty Hill Public School (Sydney: Rel/Principal)
  • Richmond Public School (Sydney: Principal) – retired. #1st time!
  • Kellyville Ridge Public School (Sydney: R.F.F. Teacher/P/T & English as a Second Language Teacher)
  • Hebersham Public School (Sydney: E.S.L. Teacher/P.T)
  • Kellyville Ridge Public School (Sydney: P/T English as a Second Language Teacher) – retired. #2nd time
  • Hassall Grove Public School (Sydney: Casual Teacher)

Born in August and turning 5 that year, our daughter was able to start ‘school’ as we had a pre-school class too.

As a University Practicum Supervisor/Advisor and Tutor of Master of Teaching subjects, I was in many different public schools from 2012-2015 in both Western Sydney and North Western Sydney. – retired #3rd (and final time!)

Our children attended public primary schools and high schools. Their children have as well. In fact, a lot like history repeating itself, our daughter had her parents as her first teachers when she started school and one of her children had her mother as a class teacher. There was probably an effect of being ‘harder’ on our own children so favouritism did not occur.

Thank you to those many teachers who taught me in my school years. Thank you to the students I learned from as a well as taught in my years as a teacher. Thank you, to all the staff, students and parent communities where I was a school leader for your support, passion and assistance in the quest for the best educational outcomes possible.

I hope Education Week 2018 achieves its goals for all: students, staff and community.

Let this finish what I started!

Denyse.

*this is not to say I do not honour parental choice for their children’s education because I do. However, I continue to believe, as is in the current research that a private school education does not result in a superior education nor result in better results at the end of H.S.  I also believe in a parent’s right to choose a school for a particular cultural or faith reason.

 Today I link with Leanne for her Lovin’ Life linky here.

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Birth Order. #LifeThisWeek 30/52. 2017.95.

Birth Order. #LifeThisWeek 30/52. 2017.95.

I have always been fascinated about ‘birth order’ and how it applies to different people in my life. I have used some of the notions of the ‘birth order’ theories in my role in education and as a parent and grandparent. I think I chose this prompt for this week as OUR first born had her 46th Birthday yesterday!

Our first born having a swing and smiling at her grandmother, my mum.

  • I am a first born.
  • I am conservative and less likely to take risks.
  • I like the way things are most of the time and unless there is a good reason for change, then leave it alone.
  • I like to do well.
  • I like to please people and especially true of my parents and of those who are close to me whose approval means a lot.
  • I chose an occupation which suited my personality well – teaching. I did eventually rise through the ranks to become a principal.
  • I wondered why I wasn’t ‘enough’ when my parents decided to have another child…this is my theory anyway!
  • I tend to take the lead and be bossy.
  • I am not good at doing things where there is a risk involved.
  • I want to know ALL the details of everything that might affect me, as well as those I love and care about.

First Born is ONE! That’s me.

 

Our first born with a first born Mum and fifth born Dad.

That’s about it for now! Oh, I married a fifth born (he is one of 13 children) so it does not take too much imagination that we are opposites in many ways but I also believe the qualities of each of us is complementary.

I do not wish to generalise however, in his excellent book: Why First Borns Want to Rule The World and Last Borns Want to Change it. Michael Grose sums parts of my own behaviours very well.

An excerpt from a review of the book:

“There are many factors affecting a child s personality and the adult they become, yet the least understood but most emphatic influence on personality is birth order. Why is it that children in a family can share the same gene pool, a similar socio-economic environment and experience similar parenting styles yet have fundamentally different personalities, interests and even different careers as adults? Birth order! The implications for parents, teachers and adults involved with children are many. This book also provides answers to all your questions about the personality and behaviour of your colleagues, life partner, friends and siblings. And perhaps explains some of your own ambitions and quirks. Addressing multiple births, special-needs children, genetic engineering, blended families, gender balance, single children and birth-order balance in the workplace, parenting expert and father of three Michael Grose challenges parents to raise each child differently according to his or her birth order.”

Here is the link which sets out more about the theory of Birth Order and has some interesting insights.

So what do you know of birth order?

Have you considered it as part of getting to know more about yourself and others?

What is your place in your family – birth order wise?

Denyse.

I link up here with Alicia on Mondays and here with Kell too!

I hope you join the link-up today too.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today! Next Week: Ideal Meal.


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