Celebrating Summer and Anticipating Autumn

Today I want to spend a few moments celebrating Summer and anticipating Autumn.

It feels like we are approaching the cusp of the seasons at the moment. The last few weeks of the summer break are here and soon September will be rolling around. The shops are already losing their summer stock and gradually filling up with Autumn hues and knitwear! Before we know it it will be Autumn.

Celebrating Summer Anticipating Autumn

Celebrating Summer

Some of the things we’ve enjoyed this Summer:
  • Creating a summer scrapbook – Every couple of days I print out photos of our adventures and we stick them and memorabilia we’ve collected in to our scrapbook. It’s good handwriting practice for my son – he writes the date each day and sometimes a sentence or two.
  • Some great days out and nights away. We did Legoland for my son’s 8th birthday. We stayed overnight in a hotel and explored Milton Keynes while my husband was there for work. And we spent a fun morning at a local Museum for their Summer of Science event.
  • Quality time spent together. Often, during the school year, life can be a rush of school run’s, activities, work and chores. It’s nice to slow down over summer and spend more time together.
  • Crafting and creating – I feel like I’ve taken more time this season for creativity. I’m glad I decided to join in with the Boho Berry Self Care Challenge and I’m enjoying creating pages based on the prompts. We’ve also had fun with Shrinky Dinks. Check out my Instagram Story Highlight to see the kit we purchased and what we’ve made so far! (Poundland have the kits are £1 each!)
  • Being outside and feeling more connected to nature – running several times a week has helped me get outside and I’ve found some new spots to visit to witness the changing seasons. Our doors and windows have been open from early morning until late at night and it’s been great to see my son playing outside with local friends.
  • Reading together – we’ve been reading Harry Potter – right from the start. I’ll be sharing more about this in my Reading Rituals post coming soon. We’re up to book 2 and this is an activity that will likely straddle most of the seasons!

Anticipating Autumn

What I’m looking forward to next season:
  • Porridge for breakfast – I fell out of this habit and I am looking forward to get back into it when the weather cools. It always feels like a nurturing meal to start the day.
  • Getting back into cooking – it’s been so hot that I haven’t wanted to cook much. I’m really looking forward to cooking ragu and dahl and roast dinner!
  • Wearing boots and jeans. I need new boots – my current ones developed a hole just as the weather turned warmer (good timing) and I’ve lived in my sandals every since!
  • Walking and running amongst the Autumn colours. I started running in May and it’s been mostly hot since then. I always like walking my favourite paths in Autumn to enjoy the change in seasons and colours.
  • Getting back into a routine. I’ve enjoyed Summer immensely this year – it’s been great having a mix of busy out-and-about days and chilled out days at home…but I’m keen to review our routines and how they work for us in September.
  • GBBO! For the first 6 series’ I missed out on watching The Great British Bake-Off live as I was living overseas. Since coming back to the UK in 2016 I’ve found that Bake-off acts as a bridge between Summer and Autumn.

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I am enjoying trying to squeeze enjoyment out of the last weeks of Summer whilst also anticipating Autumn.

Which is your favourite season? What are your highlights of Summer? (Or Winter if you’re reading in the Southern Hemisphere!) And what are you most looking forward to about the next season?

Our Summer Bucket List

Today I want to share the Summer Bucket List we created last year to help us celebrate the summer season. I’m planning to do something similar this year on the lead-up to the summer holidays. It’s a great way to plan some activities and start getting excited about the summer break.

Summer Bucket List Start

How it came together

  • We came up with a list of things we wanted to do over Summer as a family.
  • I searched online and printed out a bucket outline and lots of shell outline drawings.
  • We got busy colouring it all in.
  • We added each activity to a coloured-in shell.
  • Then we laminated the bucket and shells and carefully cut them out.
  • We stuck the bucket to a large sheet of paper and added a title.
  • Then, using blu-tack, we added the shells beside our bucket.
  • As we completed each activity we collected the shell in our bucket.

It was such a fun way to keep track of what we got up to over summer. I also left some shells blank so we could add extra activities as we did them – this is a great way to record summer memories as well as a list of things we wanted to do.

We didn’t complete all of the activities but we had fun trying.

Summer Bucket List Complete

Ideas for Summer Bucket List Activities

I’ve copied our activities from last year below – grouped by type. I will use this to make a start on this year’s list and add some new ideas too.

At Home
  • Games Night
  • Play the Wii
  • Make jelly with sweets inside
  • Dress Up Day
  • Treasure Hunt with map & treasure
  • Art Day
  • PJ Day
  • Baking Day
  • Paint Pebbles
  • Play Date
Local
  • Visit a local park
  • Go Swimming
  • Local Play Trail
  • Sleepover at Nanny’s
  • Library Reading Challenge
Further Afield
  • Visit Gran
  • Longleat
  • Go on a boat
  • Visit Bath
  • Go to a different country
  • Go on Holiday
Birthday Related

(My son’s birthday falls in the summer holidays so we plan a few activities around that)

  • Birthday Celebrations
  • Family Birthday Picnic
  • Birthday Party – with friends

As you can see – a lot of these activities work for all seasons! I’ve written a few posts about different seasons now. You can find them all under the Seasons category. You can also check out my Tips and Ideas for School Holidays for some extra activity ideas.

Do you plan activities for the Summer season and holidays? Do you have your own Summer Bucket List? I’d love to hear if you have any other ideas for celebrating the season.

 

How I Am Embracing Spring

I’m enjoying the feeling of awakening and extra burst of energy that Spring seems to be giving me this year. Winter felt long and my energy levels felt very low at times. As nature around me wakes up and starts to grow I can feel my own energy levels increasing.

How I am Embracing Spring

How am I embracing Spring?

I let my mind wander whilst out for a walk a couple of days ago. I thought about Spring and what celebrating the season means to me and came up with some ways that I am embracing Spring time this year.

1 Let the Fresh Air In

With the warmer days I’ve turned down the dial on the central heating and I’ve been throwing open the windows and doors. A burst of fresh air can feel invigorating and I love being able to hear the birds (and the chickens that live a couple of gardens away!).

2 Hanging out the Washing

There’s a strange kind of joy that comes with being able to hang my washing out in the garden to dry. I get so fed up with it taking up room inside and taking too long to dry over Winter. It’s lovely to catch a colourful glimpse of the washing flapping on the line in the wind and a great excuse to get outside to hang it out and bring it back in (hopefully dry!).

3 Spring Cleaning

I’ve always found decluttering and Spring Cleaning great for energy clearing. It boosts my energy to move things around and give them a good dust. I start small and work from there. I’ve shared the benefits of decluttering in a recent post.

4 Get Outside

I recommend this for every season. To fully embrace the season it’s good to get outside in it! It’s all about appropriate clothing. (I enjoy being cozy and warm in Winter and yet I still bundled myself up in many layers to get out and enjoy the snow when it came!) Spring is a beautiful time to be out walking and exploring – not too warm and not too cold. And so much to see…

5 Seek Out the New Growth and Pops of Colour

One of the things I love most about getting outside in Spring time is looking for buds on trees and all the bright colours of the Spring flowers. It makes me feel cheerful to watch nature wake up after Winter.

This also makes me think about gratitude. If you don’t already have a gratitude practice then surely Spring is a great time to start!

6 Tidy the Garden / Cultivate some Green Space

Sometimes tending to the garden can feel like a chore but in Spring I usually have more enthusiasm for it. I love getting the grass cut and looking tidy. And soaking up the sunbeams while I spend time making the garden a lovely space for spending time in as the weather improves.

If you don’t have access to a garden why not get some herbs or indoor plants to tend to? It can help bring the outside in and make you feel more connected with nature.

Other Seasonal Activities

If you’re looking for some fun seasonal activities or tips for making the most out of each season why not check out these other seasonal posts I’ve written…

I’m already looking forward to sharing some Summer activities!

Seasonal Reads

I have a couple of books on my shelf that I’d recommend if you’re keen for some more ideas for embracing each season:

  • The Wonderful Weekend Book by Elspeth Thompson – this is all about how to reclaim your weekends and enjoy your free time. As well as year round activities there are also ideas for each season.
  • Usborne’s Activities for All Year Round – includes some excellent information for children about the seasons as well as lovely seasonal ideas.
  • I also have a copy of The Book of Summer by Josie Curran – I haven’t read it yet but couldn’t resist picking it up when I saw it.

I’d love a larger collection of seasonal books if you have any to recommend?

Perhaps I should write about them in more detail in one of my Reading Rituals posts?

 

I’d love to hear how you go about embracing Spring? What does the season mean to you?

Celebrating Spring with Spring Bingo

I love it when a new Season approaches and I can come up with ideas for celebrating the season. And I am very ready to farewell Winter (and ALL the snow!) and welcome Spring with open arms! I’ve come up with a list of seasonal activities for our family and turned it into a Spring Bingo board.

Celebrating Spring Bingo

Our Spring Activities Ideas

  1. Bike riding
  2. Celebrate Earth Day (22nd April)
  3. Garden Tidy Up
  4. Make Chocolate Cornflake Easter Nests
  5. Plant Seeds
  6. Rainbow Spotting
  7. Visit the new Kids Library Section
  8. Find some Spring themed books at the library
  9. Visit a local play park
  10. Easter Egg Hunt
  11. Have a picnic
  12. Feed the ducks
  13. Fly the Drone
  14. Paint Pebbles
  15. Family Walk
  16. Chalk drawings outside
  17. Bake Butterfly Cakes
  18. Go on a play trail (Gruffalo, Stick Man or Discovery)
  19. Dye Flowers (carnations)
  20. Go to Devon
  21. See Grandad
  22. Visit Gran
  23. Change the Clocks (25th March)
  24. Spring Treasure Hunt (Look for Bunnies, Lambs, Daffodils, Spring Blossom etc)

Some of our activities are based around things we already have planned (visiting Devon and family for instance). Others can be done at any time and I’ve tried to include a mix of indoor and outdoor activities. Most of them cost nothing.

Turning our List into Spring Bingo

Spring Bingo Base

I created the Spring Bingo board in a Google document once we come up with our list of 24 activities. I’ve printed it out as well as 25 Spring Flowers images and I will laminate it all. We will cover each square with a Spring Flowers “counter” as it’s completed so it’s easy to see what activities we still need to do.

Ideally we want to do all of these things but we will start by trying to cross off rows and columns.

Spring Bingo Example

Free Download!

I will be including the download for my Spring Bingo board in the next Find the Good newsletter (due to be sent out early April). You will be able to use it as it is or adapt for your own activities. To sign up for the newsletter click here and fill in the form.

Other Seasonal Activities

If you are looking for ideas for celebrating a different season check out these posts:

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If you have any Spring traditions I’d love to hear them! Have you ever dyed eggs? I’ve never done it but it popped up a lot when I was browsing Pinterest for ideas!

Wishing you a wonderful Spring! (or Autumn if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere!)

Tips and Ideas for School Holiday Fun

Today I want to share some ideas for Finding the Good Everyday as a family – specifically school holiday fun. I’m sharing cheap and easy ideas for activities at home as well as out and about.

Last week was Half Term for my 7 year old son. We tend to go away to visit family for part of the school holidays. Last year and this year we purposefully kept February half term clear of travel. Being Winter with the weather being a bit unpredictable we wanted a more chilled-out week at home.

We’ve kept it quite casual. I wrote down all the days on a post-it and pencilled in a theme/activity for each day so we had a rough plan. Here are some of the activities we got up to to Find the Good Everyday as well as some tips…

School Holiday Fun

Ideas for School Holiday Fun

Out & About

  • Visit the Library – our local branch is about 15 minutes walk from our house. Great for some fresh air and exercise along the way
  • Writing and posting letters – even the trip to the Post Office to buy stamps can be an adventure!
  • Chalk drawing outside – we have a paved front garden and I make sure I keep a steady supply of sidewalk chalk on hand for dry, sunny days. The colourful creations cheer up the boring slabs and it washes away next time it rains
  • Plan a day trip or two – take advantage of special offers to keep the cost down. We used an offer to get cheaper train tickets for London and visited the Tower of London with our Historical Royal Palaces pass. In the past I’ve used Tesco Clubcard vouchers to get entry tickets to Longleat too

At Home

  • Reading Stories – dig out some books and curl up on the couch (or inside a den – see below) to read for a while. This is great if the weather is bad and you’re trying to avoid spending too long near screens
  • Sorting out toys – this may seem a bit meh but if you get the kids involved they often discover long forgotten toys to play with
  • Magic Painting – in our clear-out we discovered a magic painting book – my son happily painted over the pictures with a brush and water to bring the colours out
  • Disco Bath – I got this idea from a YouTube video – buy water-activated flashing cubes and use them in the bath instead of a drink. Turn the bathroom lights off and use any torches and fairy lights you have on the bathroom counter. (TIP – we got 12 flashing cubes in the box but 4 were more than enough to light up our bath. I’ve stashed the rest away for when the batteries run out)
  • Plan a special morning or afternoon tea – we had a Valentine’s Day afternoon tea – a picnic in our lounge featuring pink and red foods
  • Build a den – gather up all the blankets, cushions and tents to create a fort….hang fairy lights for some extra whimsy. We bought a construction fort sets a few years ago and it’s been great for building dens of all shapes and sizes!
  • Baking – ranging from shop bought kits or cornflake cakes to more elaborate recipes based on your skill and patience levels!
  • Make Pancakes – Shrove Tuesday fell during half term this year so it was a good excuse to have pancakes! Pancakes are our celebration food! We have them for Christmas, birthdays and usually during most school breaks too

Tips for School Holiday Fun

  • Make sure you have some time to yourself – I continued doing daily yoga and allowed my boy some screen time while I did so.
  • Have a chat to see what the expectations are. I told him we needed to practice spelling and reading everyday. He told me he prefers eating lunch at home than going out.
  • What did you love doing as a kid? What would you like to do again? I love painting and always relish the excuse to get the paints out and sit painting together.
  • Plan in some quiet at-home days. You can make these seem more exciting if you make them “pyjama days”! My son loves the idea of staying in his pyjamas all day long! If we get cabin fever we get dressed and out the house for a little while. It’s a great way to slow down and get some quieter time.
  • If you’re looking for other ideas for family fun check out my post about Seasonal Activities – we created an Autumn bucket list and displayed all the activities we wanted to do over the season. I’m hoping to come up with something similar as Spring approaches too!

Survive and Thrive in Winter

Today I’d like to offer some suggestions to help you survive and thrive in Winter. Blue Monday (supposedly the most depressing day of the year) is approaching so why not turn it around and embrace the good things about this season. I’ve talked previously about trying to enjoy and celebrate the seasons as they pass. In October I shared Seven Ways to Embrace Autumn and our Autumn Activi-tree.

Survive and Thrive in Winter

How can I survive Winter?

Hibernate

Follow the ways of nature and use Winter time to bunker down and rest up. Plan lots of early nights and go easy on the social engagements. Let your body rest and restore over these colder months.

Duvet Day

Plan a duvet day – book a day off work or plan it for a weekend/day off. Gather your favourite books, magazines, movies and TV shows and spend a whole day not doing much. Wear your cosiest pyjamas and enjoy being snuggled up in the warm. I find this works especially well when I am feeling poorly or run down.

Look at what you’re putting in your body

Make sure you’re getting lots of nutrients from plenty of varied fruit and vegetables. I also find myself eating more garlic and ginger at this time of year to keep germs at bay.

Keep hydrated

If you’re struggling with drinking cold water why not switch to Hot Water and Lemon or herbal teas.

Stretch

If you’re not feeling as active as usual why not try some stretching instead? Pilates or yoga can make you feel surprisingly warm! I’m a massive fan of Yoga With Adriene’s free youtube yoga and she’s even got a 30 minute practice for all levels for the WINTER BLUES.

How can I thrive in Winter?

You might have your Winter survival sorted but why not take it a step further and find ways to thrive this season? Think about how you can get the best from these colder months and darker nights. Here’s some ideas to get you started…

Setting goals for the year ahead

Use this time to think about how you want 2018 to look. Grab some paper and pens and make a plan…

  • What have you already got scheduled?
  • What else do you want to do this year?
  • In a year’s time if you were looking back what would you want to have achieved?

And don’t stop there – break your goals down into smaller steps and start making progress this week!

Plan some adventures

Have you got any breaks or holidays planned yet? If not – where do you want to go? If you are super organised and already have something booked – start looking into activities and places to visit while you’re there.

And if a summer holiday isn’t in your budget this year come up with ideas for days out and local activities. I love the idea of being a tourist in my own city and plan to come up with a list of local attractions to visit.

Look for signs of Spring

I love watching out for signs of the changing seasons. I plan to get out for lots of Winter walks (wrapped up warm of course) and will be looking out for signs of greenery and Spring getting nearer.
A great way to do this from the comfort of home is to buy some bulbs and watch them grow!

Have a clear out

New year, new start! How about having a declutter to make space for exciting new things? If it feels overwhelming start small – just one shelf or drawer. I always find that once I get started on a decluttering mission I’m keen to do more.

Wrap up warm

In the Artist’s Way one of the tasks is to buy yourself a luxurious item. It doesn’t have to break the bank. It just needs to feel luxurious to you. I purchased 2 pairs of bamboo cotton pink socks for about £5. They feel wonderful every time I wear them. Why not treat yourself to a new hat, scarf or gloves to help keep you cosy and warm this winter?

Take up a new hobby

If you’ve always wanted to learn hand lettering or cross stitch or crocheting why not start this Winter? You could find a local class or search on youtube where you can find video tutorials for most things! (With the added benefit of staying cosy and warm at home while you learn!)

Design a list of fun winter activities

Work your way through them before Easter. See my list below for ideas.
I’ve purposely created this list after Christmas. I find that there are lots of fun things to do on the lead-up to Christmas and then the months after can feel lacking in festivities. Enjoy some activities suitable for Winter that aren’t Santa related!

20 Winter Activities

1 Drink Hot chocolate
2 Have a Bubble Bath
3 Light Candles
4 Put up some Twinkly Lights
5 Games night (perhaps by candle and fairy light)
6 Build a blanket den/fort
7 Movies and popcorn
8 Watch a sunrise (without having to get up too early!)
9 Feed the birds
10 Pyjama day
11 Celebrate Valentine’s Day (make cards, have a heart themed breakfast)
12 Wear all the cosy things you can find and go for a bracing walk
13 Visit a local museum
14 If it snows play in it!
15 Bake something tasty
16 Make soup
17 Bake bread (helps keep the house warm and smelling delicious!)
18 Read a favourite book (snuggled under a blanket)
19 Write and post a letter to a friend
20 Have an indoor picnic (with all your baking!)

Many of the tips in my Autumn posts work just as well for Winter so be sure to check those out (here and here).

What activities do you like doing in Winter? How do you make sure you survive and thrive in Winter?

Seven Ways to Embrace Autumn (and Find the Good)

Seven Ways to Embrace Autumn

Are you starting to feel chilly? Are the grey days making you feel like summer is a long forgotten dream? Now the clocks have changed I’m finding myself having to wrap up in layers, programme the central heating and I even bought a new coat! It’s time to embrace Autumn and remind myself why it’s my favourite season…

Learning to celebrate and embrace each of the seasons has helped me to appreciate the present and enjoy being out in nature. Choosing to live more seasonally helps me Find the Good Everyday. Recently I shared our Autumn Activities List and we’ve been enjoying working our way through the activities.  Now the clocks have “fallen back” it feels like Autumn is here in full force. Today I want to (remind myself!) and share how I embrace what Autumn can offer.

Seven Ways to embrace Autumn (& Find the Good)

  • choose foods that are in season

As the days grow chillier and crisper I break out the slow cooker for warm, comforting meals. I love being able to prep it all in the morning and let dinner cook throughout the day. It smells good and knowing that dinner is slowly cooking in the corner of the kitchen brings about a lovely, cosy atmosphere. Root vegetables, comforting casseroles and crunchy apples all help me embrace Autumn.

  • donate to a food bank

I associate Autumn with Harvest Festival which is not only about celebrating the harvest but also donating food to the local food bank to share the food around. Luckily my son’s school arranges a donation as part of their Harvest Festival. They even provide a list of foods that are most needed which makes my donation very easy to organise. You should be able to google your local food bank and contact them to see what items they require most.

  • up the cosy factor

We love soft, fluffy blankets in this house. As Summer ends and we roll into Autumn I bring out our favourites for easy access to snuggle with as the nights draw darker and cooler. I also normally invest in some new, cosy pyjamas at this time of the year (including fluffy bed socks!)

  • add some twinkle

it’s a great time of year to break out those candles you are “saving for a special occasion”…make the occasion Autumn! I also have a few sets of fairy lights which I will be dusting off and replacing batteries in over the next few weeks.

  • get out in Nature

The best way to get the most out of each season is to get outside and enjoy it. I was born in October and feel like Autumn is “my” season. I get excited by the first sights of the changing colours and I always enjoy finding a nice, crunchy leaf to step on when I’m walking.

  • create a nature table/tray

This is another one that applies to every season but I always feel most enthusiastic about collecting nature’s treasures in Autumn. We love to search out shiny conkers and their spiky shells, acorns with their cups (that were surely invented for fairies to use), feathers, interesting shaped and coloured leaves…the list is endless.

  • baking

Baking is a comforting activity for me. It could even be my love language! I’m trying to make lots of healthy choices and allow myself little treats so I try to ease up on the full-sugar/full-fat baking. But it’s a wonderful way to get the house all cosy with the oven on and feeling warm. It’s a great activity to do with children (or as an adult) on a rainy, cold day. Lately I try to bake only when I have an occasion to take my baking too. But I usually manage to make enough that there’s some small portions left for us to share at home!

 

How do you feel about Autumn? Is it your favourite or least favourite season? What do you do to embrace Autumn? Have you got any other ideas for how I can embrace Autumn?

 

Seasonal Activities and Adventures

Autumn Tree up close

A great way to Find the Good Everyday is to celebrate and develop traditions for each of the seasons. Each season has it’s good and bad and I love to make the most of each one with seasonal activities and adventures.

My son (who’s 7) and I like to come up with lists of activities we can do each season. Over the summer we created our “summer bucket list” with activities listed on shells which were put in the bucket as we completed them.

Making an Autumn Activities list

With Autumn upon us we’ve been busy coming up with ideas for fun and how we can keep track of what we are up to. As well as listing what we enjoy doing and events we have coming up I also did some internet searching for extra ideas (there are some great lists on Pinterest). I kept the list in my Bullet Journal as we thought of ideas and then we talked about how we could display it all.

Displaying our list

Tree and Leaves coloured in I found a tree and some leaf outlines via Google and printed them out in black and white. My son and I spent some time colouring them in – this was a great opportunity to use all the Autumn colour combinations we love.

Next I added each individual activity or event to a leaf. Then laminated the leaves and tree and cut them out. All the elements have been arranged on a large poster on our lounge door. We walk past it several times a day and it serves as a great reminder for what we want to do this Autumn and events we have coming up. It doubles up as an Autumn decoration as well.

I’ve kept some spare, blank leaves so we can add any additional activities as we think of or do them.

We will be busy working our way through these Autumnal Activities through to the end of November. We might not get to all of them but some can carry over for Winter activities too. As we complete each task it will move to the grass area under the tree and eventually our tree will be bare and Winter will arrive.

Complete Autumn Poster
It’s our Autumn “Activi-tree”!

Our list

Here’s the list of activities we’ve come up with…
1 Search for conkers
2 Drink hot chocolate
3 Pumpkin carving/decoration
4 Pumpkin ball (school event)
5 Make apple pie or crumble
6 Watch fireworks
7 Enjoy Halloween
8 Toast marshmallows (make s’mores)
9 Family walk in the woods
10 See Grandad
11 Visit Gran
12 Change the clocks (fall back)
13 Collect pinecones
14 Harvest Festival
15 Donate to a food bank
16 Splash in puddles (wearing wellies!)
17 Autumn Colours treasure hunt
18 Sparklers
19 Wear scarfs/hats and gloves
20 Try apple bobbing
21 Go to Birmingham
22 Celebrate my birthday!

How you can make it your own

This is a kid friendly activity but I’ve also seen great examples online for adults – especially within bullet journals and travellers notebook spreads. I especially loved an “Autumn Bingo” game I saw with a reward for completing the whole board.  You can display your Seasonal Activities and Adventures list somewhere you’ll see it everyday. Or keep it in a journal or a notebook or even as a list of tasks on your phone.

If I were making an Autumn list for just me I’d add things like: bubble baths, wearing boots, buying a new chunky knit and a star gazing date night. It’s really fun coming up with ways to honour the season and enjoy it.

 

Defining what you love about each season and making time to do seasonal activities is a great way to make the most of everyday. Do you have any seasonal traditions? Are you planning any special seasonal activities and adventures this Autumn? Feel free to leave a comment below or contact me directly.