Llama Meltdown

I know I promised cakes last time, they are coming. I have been expanding my waistline in the name of research. But I just wanted to check in first, as I’m having a difficult week. Well more of a rollercoaster week. As most of you will know from Facebook and Instagram I passed my January exams… *insert many celebratory dances here* after an agonising wait. So I am now currently 50% a vet! It all feels a bit surreal. Anyways that was my MAJOR high of the week.

Unfortunately it has been accompanied by many lows. My anxiety has been quite high in anticipation of results, so I have been far more emotional than normal. If you know me at all, I cry at anything so it’s been a bit draining. On Sunday I went with Llama Supporter to a family gathering and a lovely lunch. The venue in question literally bent over backwards and I had three courses, all free from gluten, wheat, dairy, onion and garlic. It was amazing. So I can highly recommend The Wheatsheaf on the Green in Esher! As there were quite a few of us present there were many conversations going at once. I had the misfortune of returning to one at exactly the wrong moment and was greeted with the R word.

As I was already highly strung with anxiety, I burst into tears almost instantaneously. Just to make myself feel even more anxious and awkward. I panicked and ran outside. By this point most of my eye liner and mascara was on my cheeks and chin. Strangers kept stopping outside but felt too awkward to approach me so just stood near me for a while then went inside or where ever they were going. I eventually made it back indoors and to the ladies where Mumma Bueno was, thank goodness, to comfort me. By this point the floodgates opened and I had to wash my face. Crying in front of strangers is not as bad as you’d think, I have cried in front of many, crying in front of your boyfriend’s family is a whole new level of awkwardness.

We eventually made it back downstairs to the starters thankfully so I could make small talk about those instead. And the rest of the meal and gathering passed without a hitch. Except for me spending the remaining time inside my own head wondering if people were questioning my weird behaviours or talking about me. I almost made it back home too but unfortunately my IBS went into absolute over drive and I had to make Llama Supporter take an emergency detour. I may as well have ordered straight from the menu after all as I was in the same position as I would have been. This promptly lead to a panic attack and then another one when we got back to London which was followed by two more before bed.

Thankfully Llama Supporter knows how to deal with me quite well by now and swiftly got the emergency duvet out (I like 2 duvets when I feel anxious/down/upset/etc), supplied me with tea and put Absolutely Fabulous on. And I resided with the fact that the rest of the night was out of my control as far as my emotions were concerned. I had another two panic attacks on Monday which resulted in me staying home from uni as I just couldn’t face dealing with people and/or having another meltdown in public.

Thank goodness Tuesday was the day of good results as I think that may have plunged me right over the edge. I still cried but with relief this time. But I honestly haven’t felt like celebrating or even fully registered them at all at the moment. I can’t seem to shake my anxiety off. This is the lowest I have been for a very long time and I am really struggling, even with friends. I have cried every day this week and had all manner of nightmares. I am hoping I can start to pick myself up a little more this week, as I really want to feel good about what I have achieved with my exams. Especially after the term I have had and my huge list of extenuating circumstances that accompanied them.

So if I seem a bit off this week, or you felt like I haven’t been the same friend as usual, I’m sorry. Sometimes it’s so tiring being inside my own head. This may seem like a huge reaction to one conversation, but it is like something explodes in my head and everything becomes white noise. After 5 and a half years I really hoped I’d be further along than this but right now, I’m not even in a place to deal with hearing the word. Hopefully I’ll be back to my moody, dramatic self soon to annoy you all again, and there will definitely be cake next time.

Much love

K x

New Year, New Llama

Well sort of. I gave up New Years resolutions a long time ago, opting instead for a set of goals for the coming year. This is something I started when I was about 15 and have tried to carry it on every year. Some things on the list are small and easily achievable and others need a lot more work/time.

Reflecting on the last year I was unsure as what to set them as this year. Vet School and EMS (placements) take a lot of my time up. Contary to popular belief we have to use our Christmas/Easter/Summer ‘breaks’ for placements. And I wanted to set goals that were achievable in some shape or form alongside uni.

In December I found out that Yoga with Adriene, who I found thanks to the Tooth Fairy, was starting a new 30 Day Yoga journey beginning on January 2nd. So that was the first item to make it onto the list. Today is Day 19 and so far I haven’t missed a video. Some days have felt like a chore but even on the days I have had to force myself to get on the mat, I have felt so much better afterwards. I am hoping to make it to Day 30 without missing one, so watch this space.

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Before the year is out I also want to learn how to do the crow pose. At the moment I am more likely to face plant the carpet, but I am working on it. I think it’s going to take me all year.

Something else I have been conscious of, is needing to make more of an effort with my self care and mental health. This is linked to yoga, but also to my diet, skin care and general well being. Llama Supporter has been telling me off for this for probably the best part of 18 months! So I thought it was time to take some action. Despite exam stress, my IBS hasn’t been too bad (touch wood) since Christmas. I am trying my best to stick to the FODMAP diet, which is time consuming on it’s own but so far, I think it’s paying off.  I hope you’re sitting down the Queen of Darkness and the Future Mrs Ryan Gosling. I also gave up Nutella for a month. I know it’s not a month since the New Year, I started on the 10th December. This may seem easy for some, but as the QoD and FMRG will tell you, if I’m missing, I’m usually found in kitchen eating straight from the jar. So just to prove I could survive without it, I decided we needed a break from one another! I have tried several healthier alternatives, including this one by Sweet Freedom. It is completely natural and even diabetic safe.

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As for skin care, gone are the baby wipes as make up removers. Late last year I started using Garnier Micellar Cleansing water for sensitive skin (pink lid). It worked a lot better than Johnson’s baby wipes, but I still wasn’t sold on the idea. Until they released an Oil-infused version for delicate skin. I don’t think my skin was this soft at birth. Mummy Sue has even swapped on to it, she’s now using the oil-infused one for dry, sensitive skin (white lid).

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As far as the rest of the list goes, I intend to explore further afield in the UK and abroad, naturally I have a list. So brace yourself. I also want to improve my photography skills… maybe starting by reading the manual for my camera.

What are your plans and goals for 2018? Has anyone tried Bullet Journalling?

Right now I’m off to raid the cupboards to find something to go with Saturday night tv.

K x

Next time: Cakes, a tour of London.

 

Tale as Old as Llama

If it wasn’t obvious, I am currently drowning in Vet School revision. Every year the Vet School sends out an email just before Christmas signing off with ‘enjoy your Christmas break’. The last Christmas I had without exams awaiting me in January was Christmas 2012. I know this is self inflicted but the next person to hint at the fact I have been doing nothing for the last three weeks is going to get it in the neck.

Right now we’ve got that out of the way, I did allow myself a revision break… I know how daring. Don’t worry I revised until we walked out the door and then as soon as we got back. I forced Llama Supporter to watch Mumma Mia after to celebrate (can you believe he’d never seen it?! Thanks to me he’s also been subjected to Dirty Dancing, Footloose (the original and in my opinion only version), American Graffiti and many more. And he’s yet to run away!).

Anyway I am getting so far from the topic. Back in July I was in ninja mode and managed to book an afternoon tea at The Kensington Hotel. Which is lovely enough, but this was even better and completely worth waiting six months to go to. If you happen to be a female between the ages of 18-35, you have probably seen the Cosmo articles all over Facebook advertising a Tale as Old as Time afternoon tea. Originally organised to celebrate the release of the new Beauty and Beast film. It sold out so fast they decided to extend it for another year, which also promptly sold out too.

It was everything I hoped for, and the staff not only encouraged you to photograph every Instagram angle imaginable but also helped out too. It was an absolute dream. I am totally over the embarrassment of making a tit of myself for a photo, I no longer have any shame (I’ve even started playing with videos, just when you thought I couldn’t get any more annoying!). Apologies to the doorman at The Kensington who couldn’t work out if I was ready to come indoors yet or not.

When we did eventually get indoors, we were seated at the cutest table with a biscuit awaiting us in the shape of Belle’s dress. Llama Supporter removed any evidence of his ever existing at lightening speed, I’m saving mine for after exams.

I have attached a copy of the menu so you can check it out for yourself. I swiftly found out that the tea supply was endless and new pots smoothly arrived without even asking. I had seven cups of Earl Grey, yes seven. I’d like to say that is a new record for me, but alas, during revision time in the cottage I could easily double that. I’m genuinely 90% tea. Llama Supporter went for Cloud Tea, which went a very pretty grey colour when milk was added, he didn’t make seven cups.

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Right now, I’m just going to bombard you with photos, the majority of them are unedited… shudder, but you know, I’m on a schedule at the moment!! Spot Julio the embroidered guinea pig. Anyway,  keep scrolling. That wasn’t the end of the day…

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Are you still there? Can you see anything but cakes?

You would think that cakes in the shape of Disney characters would be enough for one day but no! The stars aligned and what would you know, the Queen of Darkness decided to visit the Natural History Museum on the same day with The Aviator. You might think this is hardly chance, let me explain. I thought I’d be 40 before the Queen of Darkness graced London with her presence and she arrived on the tube. It was a New Years miracle. If you didn’t realise The Kensington Hotel is two roads away from the museum, so off we trotted (in heeled boots,.. me obviously. Llama Supporter is yet to crack out any Cuban heels, yet) to spend an hour with them.

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Right, there’s about 950 flashcards with my name on them… *silently weeps*

Much love

K x

(Next time New Years resolutions… kind of… if I survive exams)

2017 Llama

I’m procrastinating and in a bit of a food coma, so I felt it was time for a reflection on 2017. As we waved goodbye to 2016 I was in a very different place in every way. After months of counselling for various different reasons, I decided to take a gamble and open up about what was affecting me the most and then cried for about 3 days afterwards. I don’t care how dramatic I sound, it changed my life. It was a huge sense of relief not to have to make up excuses for my strange behaviour or for outbreaks of tears in supermarkets. Something I never expected was how many people opened up to me about their own experiences and trusted me with their stories. I won’t ramble on about it for too long and you can read exactly what I said in the post entitled Honest Llama in the menu on the right. My only regret is not doing it sooner, as it worked better than any form of counselling ever has.

Thanks to my list to try to keep me positive and happy through a repeat year, I have had adventures and experiences I couldn’t even dream of. So here are a few of my highlights…

Llama Supporter and I have explored most of London from the Kenwood to Kew Gardens, stopping off at every bakery in sight.

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I attended my first ever blogging event in Camden

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I had an amazing falconry experience with Miss Hermés

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Photographed nearly all of London with The Tattooed Crafter

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Visited The Ethicurean in Summer with The Queen of Darkness and in Autumn with The Future Mrs Ryan Gosling

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I dragged Llama Supporter to Dirt Quake and met Guy Martin (again)

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I turned 30… I’m not quite sure if this is a highlight but the gifts and trip to Sketch helped

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Started dabbling with embroidery

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Tried to perfect reverse parking a tractor and trailer whilst helping out with the harvest with my favourite farmers, who also very kindly let me tag along to Burghley Horse Trials and Olympia with them.

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Llama Supporter and I left the country twice, firstly to a very cold but beautiful Dublin as his Birthday surprise and secondly to the hot and gorgeous Rome.

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I also survived and passed second, second year. Third year is currently looking questionable. I’m in extreme panic mode now and am doubting my abilities more than ever. I am off back to my notes immediately after I finish this.

Obviously it wouldn’t be life without some downs as well as ups and unfortunately not everything has been rosy. Thankfully my student finances finally got sorted after being pushed to the ends of my patience and I even managed to change my car. Unfortunately as well as my IBS I managed to get Post Concussive Syndrome and proved that putting the shopping away can be more than hazardous. I am still sporting a bump on the head but thankfully the drugs are helping to keep my symptoms at bay! Hopefully I can also wave goodbye to that too in the New Year!

I’m sorry I’ve been quiet on here recently, as well as exam stress, I have been having tests. Some of you may be aware that my Mum suffers from muscle disease and has done since I was a child with some time spent in a wheelchair. Unfortunately I have now also started showing symptoms, I am off for further tests this afternoon to get referred. Obviously this is not ideal and I haven’t dealt very well with it. But due to recent events, I have decided that life is too short and I am going to carry on doing exactly what I want until it tries to stop me, then I’ll try a bit harder.

So back to being positive! Thank you to everyone who made my 2017 fabulous, in so many ways. I hope 2018 brings you everything you desire and I can’t wait to share more memories with you.

Heaps of Love

K x

Dedicated to Jaime Miguel Bueno and Pamela Evelyn O’Kearney who we sadly had to say goodbye to in 2017.

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It’s alright Andy, it’s only Bolognese…

If that doesn’t ring any bells and you’ve think I’ve finally lost the plot, you clearly haven’t seen Hot Fuzz enough times.

At the end of summer I compiled a list of potential places to visit once I was back in the West Country. As I am the List Queen, it is naturally long enough to take me about 12 months to get through! So when Llama Supporter came to visit for the first time this term we decided to check one of the destinations out. I chose Wells as it was reasonably close by, upon google mapping it, I discovered it was the location for the above mentioned film. Much excitement ensued because I am a massive nerd and we set off. Naturally it rained pretty much all day, but for once it didn’t dampen my spirits. Llama Supporter discovered a map online of the different locations they used for filming, yes we went full nerd mode, and we set off round the town exploring.

I have attached the map on the off chance anyone is mildly interested and still reading.

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My initial reason for wanting to visit was because it is a beautiful City, technically the smallest City in the country in fact. Wells has City status due to the fact they have a beautiful cathedral, which should be reason alone to visit. It is absolutely gorgeous, even in hideous November West Country weather. As well as the cathedral there are countless adorable houses, hidden down beautiful cobbled streets, a castle complete with a moat and swans and plenty of shops. Naturally I went absolutely crazy with the camera before we decided we couldn’t stand the rain anymore and set off for the warmth and shelter of Coffee #1.

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You’d think that would be enough excitement for the weekend, especially at my age, but no! Llama Supporter decided that we should go to Brean on Sunday as the weather was glorious and he wanted to go for a cliff walk. The weather was indeed glorious, on the ground, on the top of the cliff was another story, thank goodness for body fat! Thankfully the views were completely worth the gale force winds that could have easily taken Dorothy to Oz and we even had a sit down on the grass to watch the sun starting to set.

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If you’re looking for a spectacular walk then I highly recommend it, the pathway leading up suits most ages and abilities of the two and four legged varieties. If you do take your adorable dog, please keep them on a lead, many weren’t and there is a very informative sign at the start stating that unfortunately several are lost over the side of the cliff every month. So please keep your best friend safe and happy.

Right, I shall bore you no more. I’m off to eat cake and watch Guy Martin. But just very, very quickly before I do… I just wanted to say thank you to all the lovely people that came up on me at Soiree on Saturday to say that they liked my blog or my Instagram account. Honestly thank you so much, you really made my night even more lovely than it already was, you wonderful people.

Much love,

K x

Roman Llama

As it is absolutely pouring down outside I have finally found the time to upload my photos from Rome… 6 weeks after we went. As you know I am photo obsessed but I think this is the longest it’s ever taken me to share photos! I was also forced into it as my MacBook is now officially full and needs wiping. So here we go, I’m basically going to tell you where we stayed etc and then bombard you with photos.

We stayed at the Hotel Martis Palace for three nights courtesy of Mumma Bueno. The hotel is absolutely gorgeous and complete with a roof terrace and bar. It is a short walk, 20m,  from the Piazza Navona and pretty much right in the middle of everything you could want to do in Rome. The hotel also has access to a spa offering manicures, massages, swimming and much more if you feel like a more relaxing day or you need to rest your feet. As we there for four days, we decided on the plane what we wanted to see and then tried to fit one big sightseeing destination per day plus getting lost in tiny streets when we had spare time/looking for cake.

We visited The Vatican, The Colosseum, Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II also known as the Alter of the Fatherland, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, The Spanish Steps, Capitoline Hill, The Pantheon and Arch of Septimius Severus where we accidentally walked onto a film set. It is absolutely impossible to see everything in Rome on one trip, I don’t think 5 trips would even do it, so we are definitely planning on returning in the future. If you are planning a trip in the future, please visit Two Sizes and have the caramel tiramisu. I can’t even explain how good it is, and I am an expert. Llama Supporter would highly recommend the sandwich shop next door that also sells speciality beers and ales, he ate there every day.

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This is a mere 20% of the photos I took in Rome. I know, I have a problem. I’ve been on a photo break recently, due to many factors. I think that is about to change rapidly though, I’ve just moved 45GB of photos (or 12,000 photos if that gives you a better idea) on to a hard drive to save my Mac (lets see how long it takes me to fill it back up) and Llama Supporter is coming for the weekend! I will get round to uploading more of my favourite photos on Facebook and Instagram shortly but these are definitely enough to be getting on with.

Right I’m off to eat a gluten-free rocky road and listen to Dean Martin… yes the Christmas music is on and I don’t give a damn.

K x

Poppy Llama

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On Saturday I am entering the Poppy Run in London! I decided to write a post about what the Royal British Legion means to me and why I am making myself red faced and sweaty for them!

We all recognise the vibrant red poppies that start to appear on people’s jackets at this time of year. Worn for many reasons, sometimes in memory of a loved one who didn’t make it home, a life changed in battle or simply as a mark of respect for those who gave and still give their lives for their Country. For me it’s worn for my Great-Grandfathers and my Grandfathers. All of which made it back home again, some injured, but nevertheless back to loved ones. So I thought this was a good opportunity to tell you what wonderful men they were and still are.

Both my Great Grandfathers fought in WWI, both becoming injured and lived the rest of their lives with shrapnel constantly migrating round their bodies. My Great-Grandfather Brooks, died as a result of complications due to this, when my Granddad was 14 years old. Leaving a wife and four children. My Great-Grandfather Ketley, was much luckier, I even remember him being around when I was tiny. Towards the end of his life every hospital visit drew more questions as the shrapnel would always be in a different place from last time. My Granddad O’Kearney was in The Red Cross in WWII and had to help patch people back up, including a man who had lost half his head and they had to put his brain back in and secure it with a metal plate. Miraculously he survived despite everything, a man in at the same time with a graze died from infection. At the end of the war, he was left stranded for weeks in France long after VE day. Waiting to get back to his loved ones. Despite the war being over, everyone left stranded was still being killed, the enemy went on the rampage killing everyone in their path as they felt they had nothing to lose now the British had apparently won. They were informed that it was each for yourself, meaning he had no help to get out of France and was left to die whilst the country at home was celebrating. The only way he made it home was being saved by the French resistance and they managed to get him on a train to escape.

My Granddad Brooks, the man who has taught me many valuable lessons in life and was my best friend when I was growing up, spent the ages of 18-21 in Egypt fighting in the Suez Canal Crisis. He spent his 21st Birthday on guard in the desert. Of all the war or conflict stories in the family his are the most vivid in my mind and I ask him to tell me about them regularly. From when he fell asleep on duty in the night to when he caught on fire and the cans of water and petrol looked the same so his friend had to take a gamble and throw one on him hoping to put him out. Thankfully he picked the right one and he lived to tell the tale. I have two contenders for the top spot though, one happened in Egypt and the other back home in the UK where he continued to drive for the Colonel. The one in Egypt, Granddad was sitting in his Bren Gun carrier eating a tin of peaches. The Colonel comes matching over and orders him to drive, so Granddad safely hides his peaches in the tank and sets off across the desert with the Colonel standing out the top of the tank. Unfortunately, Granddad didn’t see the sand dune finish and proceeded to drive off of it, with the Colonel still sticking out the top. When they finally came to a halt Granddad looked round to a Colonel with a broken limb and a tin of peaches on top of his head with the syrup running down his face. The second story happened in Hampshire, as I said when he returned from Egypt he continued to drive for the Colonel and would pick him up from various soirees and events. The cook would always make sure there was a meal waiting for him when he got back and one for Granddad too. One night the drunk Colonel told my Granddad to put his foot down because he wanted to get home. Granddad didn’t need telling twice and shot off, he said he remembers seeing a large vehicle in the distance and they were gaining on it quite rapidly. As they overtook the vehicle my Granddad glanced sideways and realised the vehicle was in fact a Fire Engine on their way to a fire, with the crew half way through dressing staring at them whiz past like a couple of idiots. You can let me know which story you prefer!

Supporting the Royal British Legion is my way of trying to give a little bit back to a charity that helps people like my Grandfathers and many other peoples Grandfathers, Grandmothers, Dads, Mums, Sons and Daughters. So please, please if you can sponsor me, I take old pound coins…

I’ve set up a Just Giving page which you can find below, if you prefer not to give your details online, then I can collect it from you if you wish. If nothing else please buy a poppy and wear it with pride! This isn’t about supporting a war, it’s about supporting families and loved ones past and present, some of which didn’t have a choice if they wanted to give their lives for their country or not.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kellylouisedore 

Much love

K x