Welcome to Soak Sunday week three…

Welcome to the third week of my #soaksunday.aqua-bath-girl-alone

 

Since we were talking about contemporary YA books yesterday, I decided to feature this  book by Chelsea Sedoti. The book is called ‘The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett’. The synopsis reads:

 

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Hawthorn wasn’t trying to insert himself into a missing person’s investigation. Or maybe she was. But that’s only because Lizzie Lovett’s disappearance is the one fascinating mystery their sleepy town has ever had. Bad things don’t happen to popular girls like Lizzie Lovett, and Hawthorn is convinced she’ll turn up at any moment-, which means the time for speculation is now.

 

So Hawthorn comes up with her own theory for Lizzie’s disappearance. A theory way too absurd to take seriously…at first. The more Hawthorn talks, the more she believes. And what better way to collect evidence than to immerse herself in Lizzie’s life? Like getting a job at the diner where Lizzie worked and hanging out with Lizzie’s boyfriend. After all, it’s not as if he killed her- or did he?

 

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This seems like a cute read, and perfect for curing my book hangover from ‘The Black Prism’ which I finally finished yesterday (oh wow you need to read Brent Weeks’ work)

 

 

 

 

So for this week’s feature, I used all Lush products. I started with a few lines of ‘Bubbly’ then crushed up yuzi and cocoa bubble bar, added some Refresher shower jelly and topped it off with a Cyanide Pill from Lush kitchen in the U.K. They ship worldwide and take pay pal.

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It was delicious, and yes I remembered to heat up the water first this week, lol!

The cyanide pill fizzes SO LOUD. It all smelt so citrusy and fresh.

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My skin feels so soft now.

 

The ambience was provided by my Belle Leaky Candle (sorry can’t add link as they seem to have disappeared)

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Bookmark is by the amazing Ribonitachocolat Etsy Store.

 

I’m all set up to start the week now. I feel fresh and cozy. I’m going to make a pot of chamomile tea and pop upstairs to watch my lovely husband while he lays the floor in my new ‘Library’ room. I’m so excited. All the walls are painted, the floor will be finished tonight and then I just need him to pop some new baseboards on and we will be ready to move in all my bookcases. I truly can’t wait!

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Books, Cups & Candles

 

What are your favorite bath products?

Have a lovely day,

Lots of love

f3

Sally xx

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Contemporary Fiction, Love it or loathe it?

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I have to admit I’m not sure which side of the fence I sit on with this genre. I tend to lean where the wind blows depending much upon my mood on the day. The truth is that at heart I’m a thriller, horror, and fantasy novel kinda gal, so a contemporary has to be really good to seduce me.

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However, I am an absolute sucker for the cover designs on contemporaries, and I’m ashamed to admit that often the pretty cover is the only reason I’ll one up. #sosuperficial All the gorgeous pastel colors, the pretty fonts, the beautiful bare book itself, all are so delicious to a book lover.

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The first young adult contemporary that I read was ‘Eleanor & Park’ by Rainbow Rowell. I really enjoyed it. Set back in the style-absent eighties, two very different and awkward teens share the same school bus each day. The thing that they both have in common is that neither feel that they ‘fit in’ with their peers. Yet both Eleanor and Park deal with their exclusion from the popular groups, with a quiet dignity and grace, choosing to embrace their differences (and in Eleanor’s case, exaggerate them). An unlikely friendship begins, and we follow it to wherever it may lead, observing how their contrasting home lives have affected and molded their characters. We watch with baited breath as they move through some truly difficult times and deal with them with such maturity, despite the heartbreak and daily pressure of school.

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I was seriously impressed with this book, and so, my interest in contemporaries grew and I began to buy more.

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I also love a good series and after hearing so much about the novels in the ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ companion set, I decided that I had to read them. Goodness I was not disappointed. I mean for a start a private school in Paris was the setting for the first book. What’s not to like? Stephanie Perkins authors these three books. After ‘Anna’, we have “Lola and the boy Next Door’ which is set in San Francisco, but hey that’s a pretty cool setting too. And finally ‘Lola and the Happy Ever After’ which is my personal favorite (and moves back in Paris). Again I felt that there was some superb character development by Perkins, and lots of angst too. I almost started biting my nails.

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I have read many young adult contemporaries in between and I’m sure you may find one of your own favorites in the picture below. Some focus on life altering events such as terminal illnesses, divorce and moving house; others follow the milestones of people we can all relate to in some way or another.

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Last week I read ‘Fangirl’ which is another Rainbow Rowell favorite. I’d initially tried reading it directly after ‘Eleanor & Park’ but found I couldn’t concentrate so I put decided to put it down for a time. Picking it back up almost a year later, I dived right into it and thoroughly enjoyed the read, and when finished, I immediately ordered ‘Carry On’! So sometimes it is worth waiting a while if a particular book doesn’t grab you first time around.

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I’m always going to be that horror, thriller, fantasy book lover, but after absorbing some of the more heavy scary/crime/ world building details in these (often epic) reads, I now like to treat the book hangover with something lighter and contemporaries seem to be the perfect antidote.

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How do you feel about contemporary novels? Which is your favorite? Which would you recommend?

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Even gorgeous without their dust jackets!

Have a super Saturday. I’ll be back tomorrow with my third #soaksunday

 

Take care,

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Love Sally xx

 

 

Soak Sunday, week 2

Welcome to the second week of my #soaksunday . It’s so exciting!

I really enjoyed the feedback that I received on Instagram. Everyone was so positive about me starting this new tag.Thank you all so much. It’s such a relief to know that an idea I had to expand and enrich my feed has been so warmly welcomed.

aqua-bath-girl-alone   So my read for this week is ‘Wayfarer’ by Alexandra Bracken. This is the follow up to ‘Passenger” which I read last year and thoroughly enjoyed. Its a time hopping fantasy and I’m so happy that the wait for the next installment didn’t take too long.

So here is the synopsis, directly from Amazon since I haven’t finished it yet:

 

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Etta Spencer didn’t know she was a traveler until the day she emerged both miles and years from her home. Now, robbed of the powerful object that was her only hope of saving her mother, Etta finds herself stranded once more, cut off from Nicholas-the eighteenth century privateer she loves-and her natural time.

When Etta inadvertently stumbles into the heart of the Thorns, the renegade travelers who stole the astrolabe from her, she vows to finish what she started and destroy the astrolabe once and for all. Instead, she’s blindsided by a bombshell revelation from their leader, Henry Hemlock: he is her father. Suddenly questioning everything she’s been fighting for, Etta must choose a path, one that could transform her future.

Still devastated by Etta’s disappearance, Nicholas has enlisted the unlikely help of Sophia Ironwood and a cheeky mercenary-for-hire to track both her and the missing astrolabe down. But as the tremors of change to the timeline grow stronger and the stakes for recovering the astrolabe mount, they discover an ancient power far more frightening than the rival travelers currently locked in a battle for control. . . a power that threatens to eradicate the timeline altogether.

From colonial Nassau to New York City, San Francisco to Roman Carthage, imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, New York Times #1 best-selling author Alexandra Bracken charts a gorgeously detailed, thrilling course through time in this stunning conclusion to the Passenger series.

It sounds amazing right? I couldn’t put ‘Passenger’ down. All the twists and turns, the danger, the potential love interest…hmmm

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So to the bath itself.

I choose shades of lilac to match the gorgeous book cover as best as I could.

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I used a cocktail of products mainly by Lush cosmetics. I started with ‘the comforter‘ bubble bar, which I finely chopped on a cutting board. I added to that a few cubes of ‘93,000miles‘ Shower jelly, and topped it off with a large squeeze of Bath & Bodyworks‘Be Enchanted’ shower gel. Now it was my intention to add the final touch with a Lush ‘Twilight‘ bath bomb, but I realized that my bath had already bombed with no help, when I checked the water temperature…IT WAS COLD!!!! oh no….

 

aqua-bath-flower1Oh Yes….

You see my lovely husband has suddenly got into the fine habit of using a timer for our hot water system. Today it went off very early. Imagine my distress when I was anticipating stepping into this delicious bubble bath with a fine cocktail of gorgeous products designed to soften my skin and relax me; and then discovering that it wasn’t going to happen. Luckily I hadn’t sacrificed the bath bomb before I noticed.

 

img_1021I mean, there I was, my blueberry tea ready, my Anthology candle flickering with ambience, and it was not to be.

img_1019I love this darling ‘The Right Path’ mug by  Evie Seo   from Society 6. Do you think it makes my tea taste better?

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I just love flowers!

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this cocktail looks good enough to eat right?! I was in good company with my Sonny Angels flower collection dudes.They didn’t complain one bit.

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Well, all was not lost, because I still have plenty more bath gel and bubble bar left for later. I’ll add the bath bomb video tomorrow when I’m sure the water will be hot.

img_1008But even though it didn’t all run exactly to plan, I had great fun playing around with the theme and setting it all up. Please let me know what you think.

Have a great day,

lots of love,

Sally f3

Snow place like Home…

I’ve been reading lots of books lately that are winter themed and they’re making me rather nostalgic.

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There’s something magical about winter for me. Part of it is seeing all the many lovely pictures that people post on social media of the snow falling, and the white out that those in cooler climates seem to experience. Part of it is remembering how good it feels to come out of the cold and into a warm house to grab a mug of hot chocolate to help warm up your freezing nose and stinging ears. However I have to live vicariously through others these days, as Florida doesn’t have the experience of real winter let alone snow.

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As a child growing up in the North-East of England, snow was a given almost every year. I still remember walking to school as a tiny child aged around five, and tramping through the snow in my thick tights and wellington boots (read mud boots if you’re American) gripping tightly to my mother’s hand. I felt then that I was going to sink into the snow and disappear forever, so I held on for dear life. I loved to hear the crunch; I loved the sound of the crackling under my feet as the snow compacted. I loved the almost sacred silence that the snow brought as it muffled the voice of the world around it.

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A few years later we had a giant snowfall one day. I don’t remember anything like it in recent years. After school my friends and I spent the afternoon gathering up armfuls  of glistening white powder, pushing it together and watching it change into a huge ball. As we traced our steps up the long garden, glimpsing behind us, we could see a long empty path, almost as though we had rolled up a carpet. We made a giant snowman. My mom got out the video camera and we waved and smiled, imagining ourselves in the future, playing it back as grown-ups. Sadly we never got to see it. The video was lost during one of several house moves. But my memory of that epic day will stay with me forever.

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Sadly we never got another snow like that again. And now I’m living in Florida, I know I’ll need to hang on even tighter to that memory.

 

So, this year I decided that I was going to embrace my inner child and figure out a way to experience that magic again. Armed with my ‘Law of Attraction’ books and journals, one of my positive entries for this year is to book a vacation somewhere that has deep snow. I have no idea how I’m going to pay for it, but I’ll figure those details out as the year goes on.

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I figure If I save hard, we can take a trip to Lapland! There are trips where you can stay in Ice Hotels and watch the Northern Lights, and experience a real authentic winter. That’s my plan ‘A’. If finances are tighter, then my plan ‘B’ is to take a trip to Colorado and hopefully learn to Ski. Either way, it will help me come to terms with the fact that we’ll never have snow here. Ever. Also I’ll be putting my Law of Attraction experiment in action.

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Part of me wonders whether I’m viewing winter through rose tinted glasses. My family back in Britain are quick to remind me how unpleasant it is to have to drag yourself out of bed on freezing morning and defrost your car before facing a freezing walk from the car park to work. Or how it feels to know that you have to go out in a blizzard when you would much rather stay home by the cozy fire and stay warm.

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Maybe they’re right. Things always seem to look better the further they are in the rear view mirror.

 

I’ll have to let you know. In December, when I’m in Lapland!

 

Love Sally x

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Welcome to my very first soak Sunday!

I am a girl who loves to take a long hot bubble bath as often as possible. The tub is my ‘Me time’, my escape, my sanctuary from the world. So when I take a bubble bath, I pull out all the stops.

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I mean I prepare.

 

I’m talking about finding the perfect candle, the perfect cup and flowers and cupcakes and my latest book. I choose the most relaxing music that suits my mood, and I wallow in prettiness for hours.

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Now a couple of days ago I was looking for inspiration for my Instagram pictures. Sometimes that well of inspiration runs dry- the muse is MIA.

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So as I was thinking this, my thoughts led from ‘well-is-dry’ to ‘Soak Sunday’ and so my new weekly hash tag was born.

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Now bathing beauty addicts are not new. I follow so many beautiful feeds that have helped to inspire my bathing ritual for a long time now. (Kindly check out my Instagram and see who I follow for details) I often toyed with the idea that it may be fun to start a new feed to share my bathing addiction, but the truth is, I love my book account so much that I don’t want to be distracted from the love that I pour into it. I figured there must be a way to incorporate my other loves into my book feed. And the more I thought about it, the more fun ideas that I had. Playing on the popular tag of #socksunday I came up with #soaksunday I could still share my love of books, cups and candles, but also my love of Lush, and Bath & body Works, The Body Shop etc.….

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I really hope that some of you guys take up the tag and play along. Please let me know what you think about it. Any ideas are most welcome.

 

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Right now I’m reading ‘Heartless” by Marissa Meyer.

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This is a really fun read. I’m about half way through it and thoroughly enjoying it. I would describe it as a fairytale mashup of Alice in Wonderland, and it’s almost as funky as the original. Many of your favorite characters are there in cameo roles, others taking on larger parts like ‘Hatta’ Our protagonist is Catherine or Cath. Cath is the daughter of the Marquess and Marchioness of the city of Hearts. Her parents are determined that she will marry the King and be the next Queen of Hearts. But Catherine has other ideas. She wants to make her childhood dream of owing her own bakery come true. Catherine is the best baker in Hearts. Everybody loves her lemon tarts, her macaroons and her pumpkin pie…Ahhh yes, The pie… and this is where the story gets complicated.

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We have lots of twists and turns, some love interests, some villains, some quirky characters who will make you laugh out loud. It is a riot! I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

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This beautiful cover design was limited to Owlcrate subscribers.I feel very lucky to have snagged one.I hope you enjoy my new tag. The full video is on my instagram story for the next 24 hrs so kindly pop over and check it out before it’s gone. I hope you can see the connection I have tried to make from my #soaksunday story to the book. Each week I will try to improve on it!

 

 

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I hope you have a super Sunday, and manage to get lots of relaxation time in. I will see you soon.

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Lots of love Sally xxx

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A Brand New Year is all ours…

Happy New-Year!!

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I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that Santa brought you all your favorite things.
It all seemed to go by in a bit of a blur for us. One minute we were counting down the days to Christmas, and the next, it was all over again for another year.it was gone in the blink of an eye, or so it seemed.

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I guess it’s because we didn’t have anything planned, and so, the holiday period was pretty much disorganized chaos. I’m not saying we didn’t have fun, but I just wish now that we’d planned better, and immersed ourselves in every moment!

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And so, with this in mind and as the New Year approached I did a lot of thinking…

I didn’t want to start 2017 without any plans for the year. I decided to take matters in hand and strategically plan what I wanted to achieve this coming year, and figure out a way to make as many of my dreams and plans come to fruition. It took me two days of reading, researching and planning. Eventually I had everything in order.

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It didn’t seem like hard work as New Year is an exciting for me.

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You see, I’m one of those people who love the feeling of a blank slate, a fresh start and 365 days of possibilities!

So I made a conscious effort to be proactive with this coming year and so I began by putting an order in at Amazon, and also treating myself to another new planner from Kikki-K.

planner-girl-clipart-10For my planner I chose a large desk sized one. I love a bit of glitz so I picked a gold mirrored design. Its absolutely GORGEOUS!

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In the front cover there is a small ‘To Do’ notepad, which I can easily remove and take with me without having to lug the whole binder with me. Beautiful mirror gold tabs separate the different sections, and I have my 2017 day diary where I can journal at the end of the evening, then there is a ‘Meetings’ section, followed by a larger ‘To do’ section, then full page diary inserts that are ready to be named and organized. Finally there is a large notepad at the back. You can buy the different inserts and tailor the planner to your own style. Right now it’s the journal part that I’m most interested in as I want to record my progress through the year. Here is a small video to showcase it in all its glory!

 

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The next book I purchased was ‘The Secret Gratitude Book’ by Rhonda Byrne. I purchased ‘The Secret’ a few years ago and I try to follow the aspects of living positively in my life. If you want to learn more about ‘The Secret’ you can also view the program on Netflix.

The idea in my Gratitude book is that at the end of every day I write down six things that I am grateful for. There are positive affirmations scattered throughout the book, which aim to keep you focused. I just write mine down as bullet points.

For example, yesterday I wrote:

Today I am thankful for….

  • Hubby made us both a lovely chicken dinner.
  • I read 112 books between February 2016 (when I started my Bookstagram account) and December 31st!
  • I found lots of inspirational posts on health and fitness while on Instagram and I’m following some great new feeds.
  • We found a super T.V series on Netflix called ‘The Visitors’
  • We have decided to use one of the spare bedrooms and convert it into a library room for me.
  • I sat picking paint colors and hubby was picking flooring for the room, so its getting a huge facelift.

As you can see, there is nothing too fantastic going on in my entry, but it is the little things in life that can bring great pleasure. I know its going to take a few weeks to make this room into my library (not a real sized library as the room is only 12×14 feet) but each new step of change will be so exciting to me for sure! Also having my husband cook dinner for me was a wonderful treat too. Just writing down these small moments of happiness is a super way of being present and encouraging you to take more notice of the world around you and appreciating the small things. Already, it’s making a huge difference to my perspective!

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Next on my purchase list is ‘My Law of Attraction project Planner’ by Pamela Thompson and Donna Hawkins.

This book encourages you to set goals and break them down into manageable pieces. It also focus’ on the gratitude list and asks you to enter the six things that you are grateful for each day, along with prompts for relaxation, meditation and listing your intentions for things that you don’t yet have but are aiming for. It has a project plan section, where you list your project and then add the steps necessary to put it into action. I also love that there are coloring pages to help you to relax while you ponder.

If you want to live a positive life I cannot recommend Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book: “Simple Adundance’ any higher. Your Mom probably has this book. Mine did. Read It! It is just beautiful, and positive and uplifting. It is written in the style of an essay for every day of the week with a month end list of suggestions for making life more lovely. Sarah lists them as ‘Joyful simplicities for January, Feb, March…’ etc. You cannot help but see things more positively after reading this book. Whenever I feel the need for some inspiration in my life, I still turn to this classic book.

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My final book purchase was ‘The Law of Attraction Planner’ a thirty day guide to putting everything into practice. This book takes everything that the other books tell you and breaks it down even further. There are lots of micro details, and mapping for you to complete, and it’s for those who are totally committed for sure.

Now I’m not saying that you should go into the New Year armed with a fistful of self help and positivity books, but I do strongly suggest that you have some goals to focus on for the year. Just drifting aimlessly through the year will not help you grow to your full potential.

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You could be aiming for a better job, or progression within the career that you already have; maybe you want to move house, or save for a new car. All these things require more than just dreaming; and sometimes writing it all down on paper and checking back to how far you have come each couple of months can make a huge difference in your life.

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I’m so excited to begin this year holding myself accountable for where I am starting this year and where I will finish. My personal goals are to be healthier, fitter and to finally take some road trips. We were hoping to move house this year, but our dream home was not to be ours, It was snatched up by somebody else. But rather than search for something similar, we agreed that we still love our home but would benefit by making some changes to it, so that we can enjoy it even more. So we focused on the positive aspects of the plan changes and figured that in the meantime, the money we would have spent ‘trading up’ can be directed towards organizing those road trips that we have been talking about for so long!

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Now I understand and accept that not everybody will be interested in or will subscribe to the law of attraction theory -please know that I am not in denial. I know that everybody can’t have everything that they want, all of the time. Sometimes we have to take the hit and reassess which direction we are going in. I still hold onto the hope that the new buyers of my dream house may not want to live there forever and it may come back to me. However, I’m not foolishly waiting on it happening anytime soon. I’m holding it in my heart and moving forward with the other goals and dreams that are on my list.

 

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I will share my list of plans with you in another post, and hopefully you can follow my journey through 2017, and see if this Law of Attraction works for me!

I’d love to hear how you all start your New Year. Do you plan ahead? Do you take each day with the gifts that it brings and roll with the punches?

However you welcome in this fresh New Year, I wish you health, and happiness and hope this is your best year yet!

Lots of love, Sally xx

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