meganatkinsonslife

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Palma Photo Diary

Last week I took a five night trip to Palmanova, a holiday resort near Palma, Majorca, with my grandparents and obviously the trip had to be made into a blog post! I’ve already got a Majorca photo diary on my blog, but this time I decided to switch up my editing style and I love it (even if I do say so myself)!

The first full day of the trip was spent in Palma city, where we took a look around the Cathedral (€7 per person) followed by a bit of retail therapy at the nearby shops, then the dreamiest of Monday morning coffees at ‘The Lennox Pub’ opposite the Cathedral which offered the perfect people watching spot shaded by greenery and flower filled walls of traditional Spanish buildings.

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We decided to spend our second day in Soller and took the hour long mountain train ride from Palma which gave us amazing views across the town and dropped us of right next to the centre. We grabbed a bite to eat in the sun before walking to the seafront, which turned out to be over an hour away, but we we’re non the wiser until we we’re sweating on the side of a motorway with the sea no where to be seen! If you ever decide to take the same route, take my advice and get a taxi!

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Wednesday was spent wandering around Andratx market (a fifteen minute taxi ride from Palmanova) and browsing the jewellery, food and knick-knack stalls before making time for a coffee and crepe stop then heading back to the hotel for an afternoon of sunbathing!

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We spent our last full day wandering around the nearby beach town of Santa Ponsa, before heading back to Palmanova and checking out one of the most Instagrammable cafes I’ve EVER seen- ‘Max Garden Restaurant’- which had all the marble, pink and gold a blogger could ever wish for, along with accommodating hosts who were clearly used to people getting flatlay’s of the food and new profile pictures against the wall paper as they never batted an eyelid when I made a full tour to get snaps for the ‘gram!

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Thats it for my Palma photo diary, if you have any recommendations for where to visit next time be sure to leave them in the comments, I always need new Instagram spots! Megan x

Are Bloggers Becoming Too Spoilt?

The criticism of blogging by the traditional media has led to our community having to defend the industry and prove that a career in blogging is just as viable as any other, but in doing so, we’ve created a self entitled, spoilt culture through over compensation. As someone who’s ran a blog for nearly a year, I fully appreciate that it involves more than just taking photos and writing for an hour a week and I 100% support all the women (and men) building business’ for themselves, but recently I’ve noticed a few comments that blow the difficulty of blogging way out of proportion, making it seem like blogging is is a lot harder than the regular 9-5 office, manual labour and retail jobs, which, if we’re honest, its really not. Comments like ‘Gosh I’m so tired all of this flying has tired me out’ after taking three business class all expenses paid trips in a month, and ‘I have such a busy schedule this week’ when it includes anyone else’s normal amount of working hours plus a few brunch meetings. I know this sounds like it comes from a place of jealousy, which I’ll admit, it partly does, but it mainly comes from a place of anger at the people who have the enormous privilege of working from home, doing something they love whilst getting paid a HUGE amount for it who still have the nerve to act as if bloggers work harder than everyone else. I recognise that problems are relative and of course bloggers still have the right to complain about the things they perceive to be hard in their life, but from an outsider’s perspective I have to admit- bloggers are becoming too spoilt. IMG_5695.jpeg

The person who really triggered this thought for me was my Dad. For years he’s been saying people like Zoella need to ‘get a grip’ and ‘live in the real world’ and I relentlessly defended them and their careers, until last week when I saw him come home at 10pm every night after sixteen hours of back breaking work that still only affords him a modest lifestyle. Just last week Lydia Millen (who I have NOTHING against) rewarded herself with a Chanel handbag for making it through an all expenses paid business class trip to Australia- and of course she’s entitled to spend her money however she wants- but have we really got to the point where we believe completing a couple of months in a luxurious, privileged career is laborious enough to be rewarded with a bag worth thousands of pounds? If I’m being honest, I truly don’t believe blogging is any harder than an office job (and its DEFINITELY not harder than the thousands of manual labour jobs people, including my Dad, have to work) bloggers have just had to make it seem as such to counteract the people who say its easy.

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Take monetising your blog for example- I’m actually of the unpopular opinion that starting a blog for money is fine- but I’ve also been watching YouTube and reading blogs long enough to remember the days where it was simply a hobby for people and any recognition from a brand was a bonus; nowadays its common practice to demand payment when a brand regrams you, and God forbid you’re asked to prove your worth through a trial post before a brand commits to working with you. For those of us who have to work traditional jobs, an unpaid trial is standard- last year I was made to work six hours unpaid washing dishes so the manager could see if I was ‘right for the job’ when they knew damn well anyone could wash dishes for minimum wage, but I didn’t kick up a fuss, I worked hard and did what I had to do. In the world of blogging, however, it seems you must be paid a premium wage for everything you do, and you must be paid it immediately too- no waiting until the end of the month to get paid like everybody else.

I’d like to make it clear that I FULLY support bloggers, but my frustration comes from the fact that some of them really do seem to have lost touch with what ‘hard work’ actually is, and the things people who work regular jobs have to put up with for a fraction of their wage. My plea to bloggers who are feeling sorry for themselves because they have jetlag and have been paid two weeks after they sent an invoice is to realise what a privileged position they’re in and to think about the millions of people who have to work so much harder than they do for so much less; the people who aren’t fortunate enough to be able to reward themselves with a Chanel bag or a holiday to the Maldives when they need a pick me up.

Megan x

A Month Of Musicals

Since my last couple of posts have been very word-heavy and self improvement orientated, I thought this week I’d lighten things up and tell you all about some musicals I’ve seen recently. Over the past month I’ve spent a lot of time at the theatre and have been lucky enough to see four musicals- ‘Jersey Boys’, ‘Hamilton’, ‘Shrek’ and ‘Legally Blonde’- so I thought I’d share my opinions on my experiences for those of you thinking about going to see them.

Jersey Boys

Although I love any excuse to go to the theatre, I have to say I wasn’t too excited about ‘Jersey Boys’ and only got tickets to celebrate Mother’s Day with my Mam who had been dying to see the show for a long time, but I was shocked at how much I liked it! We went to the Sunderland Empire (I’ve been told it’s a lot different if you see it on the West End) and although the upper circle where I was sitting was pretty empty and lacked the theatre atmosphere I love, it was still a really good performance, especially by Michael Watson who played Frankie Valli. I was worried that I wouldn’t know any of the songs and that I’d be surrounded by old people singing along, but I actually knew quite a few of the popular ones like ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’ ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ and ‘Sherry’ and even bought myself a Frankie Valli And The Four Seasons CD to play in my car after seeing it to learn the rest!

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Hamilton

I bought tickets for ‘Hamilton’ more than a year in advance and after seeing it I can definitely see why there’s so much demand- it was nothing short of AMAZING! Jamael Westman who played the titular role was incredible, along with the rest of the cast who from the very first ‘Dun dun dun dun dun dun’ to the final curtain performed all fourty six musical numbers incredibly! As you can imagine the theatre was jam packed with a lively audience which made for an amazing atmosphere from start to finish. I’d 100% recommend going if you get the chance- it lives up to the hype and then some.

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Shrek The Musical

I have to say I was expecting a lot more from ‘Shrek The Musical’- it felt more like a pantomime than a musical and again was pretty empty apart from a LOT of children in the stalls (who, after watching the show, I realised were the target audience). The costumes were great and I enjoyed most of the songs, but after watching ‘Hamilton’, a show with such well choreographed and performed numbers, it just didn’t compare. I did like that there was a nod to the original soundtrack at the end though.

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Legally Blonde The Musical

I absolutely loved ‘Legally Blonde The Musical’- it was full of catchy songs, amazing dance routines, a LOT of humour and two very cute dogs to boot. I hadn’t actually seen the original movie beforehand but the fans amongst you will be pleased to know I did watch it afterwards and the stage version was pretty true to the screen version, give or take a few scenes. My favourite part of the night was without a doubt how relaxed the cast were with the audience- there were giggles from Lucie Jones, who played ‘Elle Woods’, after a poorly timed laugh from a child and a nod by Rita Simmonds, playing ‘Paulette’, to the badly behaved British Bulldog playing ‘Rufus’ who decided he didn’t want to be on stage anymore. The friendly atmosphere meant everyone was lively and engaged, especially a woman near me who expressed her surprise to *that* office scene VERY loudly, much to the amusement of everyone else. I really, really enjoyed the show and although it still wasn’t enough to rival ‘Hamilton’ and become my favourite of all four musicals, I’d definitely recommend going to see it.

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So that was my ‘Month Of Musicals’ run down, hopefully there’ll be more of these relaxed, chatty posts in the future. If you have any musical recommendations for me please leave them in the comments, I’m always looking for new shows to see! Megan x

Self Improvement- My Journey So Far

The journey of self improvement can be an frustrating one. The internet is saturated with videos and blog posts promising you the ‘secret’ to a happy, put together life, which usually require you to use techniques such as the Law Of Attraction, the 80/20 rule and in depth spreadsheets for every single area of your life- not before performing an over complex morning routine involving meditation and a Pinterest worthy breakfast of course. This leaves you creating an unattainable minute by minute routine jam packed with every single trick you’ve heard will lead you to become a well rounded, organized, spiritually enlightened, constantly productive person, then not actually following any of it through because you’re so overwhelmed- you’ve been sucked in to the counterproductive cycle. I’ve been there.

When I first started giving more energy to my own self improvement journey, my controlling nature got the better of me and I started getting worked up over exactly how my week would look, exactly which exercise routine I’d be doing, exactly what I’d be eating  and exactly which sub-sub-subject I’d study for school and how long for. The truth is, self improvement doesn’t come from micromanaging your time and it doesn’t happen overnight- it comes from consistency, patience and life experience. To give you a real idea of just how long it takes to build up the characteristics, habits and skills you’re lusting after when consuming self improvement content, I’ve created a timeline showing my personal journey and at which point I made genuine improvements to my life.

2015

My self improvement journey started in 2015, when terrible teenage acne drove me to drinking two liters of water a day. I started bringing a water bottle to school and created a habit of starting each lesson with a 500ml bottle and seeing how much I could drink by the end of it. In two or three months, this habit was solidified and I saw improvements such as better skin, less drowsiness and more energy. This may seem like a small change over quite a long period of time, but it triggered the journey to gradually becoming a better functioning person.

Around this time I also started buying into the idea of fate, which allowed me to adopt a more relaxed, ‘it is what it is’ attitude to life. Again, a small change, but a change none the less.

 

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So, at the end of 2015, I was hydrated with a relaxed mindset- a good start to my self improvement journey.

      2016

In 2016 the small changes kept coming, I focused on my environment and decorated my room completely white with minimal furniture and decoration, meaning it was low maintenance and one less thing to worry about.

I also created a routine to help me feel in control physically, involving taking a shower, tying my hair back and moisturizing, meaning whenever I got overwhelmed I could take back physical control of my situation.

Procrastination was cut out of my life in 2016 too, when I forced myself to stop spending time with a towel on my head after a shower, stop spending time scrolling through twitter mindlessly and realized that procrastination wastes precious time, and if you’re putting something off, its better just to take a relaxing break and come back to it.

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So, at the end of 2016, I was hydrated with a relaxed mindset, I had a home environment I loved, a routine to help me when I felt overwhelmed and plenty of extra time gained by cutting out procrastination- I was making progress. 

 

 

 

2017

2017 was when things really started changing for me and I made more progress than ever. I started journaling and writing positive affirmations; I wasn’t to strict with myself and made sure it was a cathartic experience rather than the daily journaling I subjected myself to every year as a child until mid January.

I also found genuine, life enriching passions– something which I’d been lacking for years. Throughout school, I was never really passionate about anything, I just did the subjects on the curriculum according to the mark scheme- everything was regulated and I wasn’t doing anything for me. That all changed in July when I left education and started this blog as a personal project. Blogging allowed me to design a website, write about what I love, practice my photography and build up my own personal ‘brand’ that completely represents me. I also started traveling a lot more and took my camera everywhere with me and even if the photos didn’t go anywhere there was a huge amount of satisfaction in indulging in a creative passion purely for my own enjoyment. The cinema also played a huge part in enriching my life. Film is one of my favorite art forms out there and since getting a cinema card I’ve loved watching a huge variety of work, keeping up with certain actors and actresses and forming thought out opinions on the different aspects of a film instead of just thinking it was ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Having all these things enriching my life and keeping me creatively stimulated has been a huge part of my self improvement journey.

I also went through my first ever job search last year, which taught me not only how to write a proper CV and present myself professionally in interviews, but also strengthened my character and made me a more confident, self motivated, self believing, positive and most of all determined person. I walked tirelessly around every shop I could think of to hand out CV’s personally and spent hours upon hours filling out applications online- but I never gave up because I knew how much I needed a job. I’m glad that I had to have that experience, because its taught me that if I want something I can’t just take the easy way out.

Along with the determination needed to get a job, I also learned the value in making the bold, brave decision to quit one. In my most recent position, I felt like I wasn’t being treated properly and every second I spent there was miserable, so whilst on my birthday trip to London, in the time it took me to get from Sloane Square to Victoria Station on the tube, I decided enough was enough- I quit the very next day. Handing in my notice was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had, I felt free and in control of my own life again.

I also took control of my organisation problem last year. Back in school I was messy, disorganised and often didn’t know where I was supposed to be and when, but in 2017 I really took control of that and started using a colour coded Google Calendar, meaning I always had a monthly overview of what I was doing and life became a lot easier to manage.

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So, at the end of 2017 I was hydrated with a relaxed mindset, I had home environment I loved, a routine to help me when I felt overwhelmed, and plenty of extra time gained by cutting out procrastination, I was using journaling to manage my mental health, I’d gained CV writing and job skills, I was determined, confident, self motivated, self believing, I had creative hobbies that enriched my life and I had a proper organization method- I’d made more self improvement than ever.

2018

We’re only three months into 2018 but already I’ve made so much more progress on my self improvement journey. One of the biggest changes I’ve made is waking up early(ish) every morning. My sleeping pattern slipped when I started my gap year and had nothing to wake up for, so I decided to get back on top of it and got into the habit of waking up at 7.40am every morning, which still isn’t as early as I’d like but I’m being consistent and working on it.

I’ve also started meal prepping which has saved me SO much time and effort on a daily basis, and has also meant I’ve been keeping up a healthier, more balanced diet than last year.

After finding a muchelleb video on meditation, I’ve started taking some time to myself on a morning to put on some relaxing music, do some deep breathing and practice some basic yoga stretches. This has made a huge impact on not only my mental wellbeing, but also my physical wellbeing as it means I have to get off the sofa, stretch my muscles and get my body going for the day.

In the last month or so, I’ve started making the effort to get out in the fresh air and daylight for a walk around my neighbourhood, which may not seem like a big deal to some but its made a big difference to my life and allowed me to manage stress SO much better.

Since my biggest goal of 2018 is financial, I’ve made the effort to become more responsible with my money and have started using Microsoft One Note (which is SO useful for keeping all of your ideas, lists, blog posts, spreadsheets and everything in between all together) to keep track of how much I’m spending and saving, meaning I’m so much more on top of my finances and focused on my goal.

Along with taking care of my physical health and keeping my finances in check, I’ve also started 2018 by decluttering my wardrobe and adding a few key pieces to *hopefully* make my minimalist style Pinterest board become a reality.

The final change so far this year that I want to mention is spending less time on social media, which has cleared my mind and given me more time to get sh*t done.

FullSizeRender-3So, a quarter of the way through 2018, I’m hydrated                                                                   with a relaxed mindset, I have a home environment I love,                                                                       a routine to help me when I feel overwhelmed, plenty of extra time gained by cutting out procrastination, I used journaling to manage my mental health, I’ve gained job skills, I’m determined, confident, self motivated, self believing, I have creative hobbies that enrich my life, a proper organisation method, a good sleeping pattern, a relatively healthy diet, I do                                                                                                                             yoga and walking to help both my mental and physical health, I’ve got a money management system, a wardrobe thats getting more minimal everyday and enough self control to spend minimal time on social media.

I’m the put together person I’ve always strived to be, but I hope you can see from this timeline that it took baby steps to get there, not starting thirty new habits overnight. Yes, self improvement can come from giving your room a makeover, taking up yoga and organizing your life through spreadsheets, but you don’t have to do all of that at once. There’s no formula to follow and no shortcuts- self improvement is recognising what needs improving in your life, finding ways that work for you and using them to make steady progress that builds up over time. If you take anything from this blog post, let it be these three things-

  1. Recognise that you don’t have to do all the things all the time. If you don’t want to get up at 5am and do yoga you don’t have to- find out what works for you and practice it consistently over time.

    2. Be pateint. As you can see from my timeline self improvement doesnt happen over night but you WILL get there- take time to appreciate how far you’ve come and what you’ve achieved like I have in this blog post as motivation to carry on.

     3. Accept that you’re ALWAYS a work in progress. You’ll never be perfect, you’ll never be excelling in every single area of your life, but as long as you’re making small changes consistently you’ll see a lot of improvement.

What I’m Focusing On Now

Some more small changes I’d love to make this year are:

  • Wake up even earlier- I’m aiming for 5am!
  • Start more intense excersise- I’m going to slowly increase the length of my walks and yoga sessions then add some proper exercise routines in
  • Practice mindfulness and living in the moment
  • Make my blog into a business

If you’re on a journey of self improvement and have any tips for me and others reading this post be sure to leave them in the comments! Megan x

21 Before 21

Now I’m officially one year into adulthood and feeling older than ever, I’ve decided to make a ’21 Before 21′ list and challenge myself to pack as much into my young years as possible. Below is everything I want to experience before I get the key to the door, from life long bucket list trips to newer goals…

  1. The biggest and most important goal on this list is to buy my first investment property. I recently heard the saying ‘The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, the second best time is now.’ and it definitely rang true with me. Although I’m happy with my blogs progress so far, I sometimes wonder how much progress I could’ve made if I’d have started it a year earlier, and I definitely don’t want to be in that position when it comes to my long term career and financial stability. I want to make sure I’m investing in my future at a young age so I’m ahead of the game.
  2. The next goal on my list is to do at least one sponsored blog post. To have a brand recognise my effort and want to work in collaboration with me would be amazing and I think its definitely possible if I keep putting consistent work in.

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3. Every year I stalk Coachella on Instagram and stare at pictures of pretty girls in Bohemian dresses enjoying the festival in the beautiful California sun, and before I’m twenty one I want to be one of those girls. I’ve never been to a festival because, surprisingly, I’ve never fancied sitting in a cold field in Leeds drinking cans, but I’d happily go to one if it involved sitting in a valley in LA enjoying mocktails.

4. I’ll hold my hands up and admit I have a pretty horrific diet that consists of 90% bread and pasta, which is why next on this list is take a food tour of a city (preferably not an Italian one!). I really want to find a variety of foods I enjoy and I think a food tour would be perfect, since I always tend to play it safe when I’m ordering from a menu.

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5. My next 21 before 21 goal is to go on a mindfulness/yoga/wellbeing retreat for a week. I want to have a full seven days completely without the internet or technology and take time to rest my mind and body. I think being in an environment where healthy meals and classes are readily available would be really beneficial for my physical and mental health and would hopefully help me implement better ways of living into my everyday life.

6. Although I visit my local cinema a LOT, I’ve never experienced the novelty of an outdoor film screening. Enjoying a warm summer evening watching a film on a London rooftop would be incredible and its definitely something I’ll be doing before I turn twenty one!

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7. I was late to the game, but I recently binge watched all four seasons of ‘Peaky Blinders’ and fell in love with Tommy Shelby, so next on my list is visit the Peaky Blinders sets around the UK. §

8. Ever since I saw ‘Kinky Boots’ on my eighteenth birthday I’ve been obsessed with musicals, so I really want to go to some more before I’m twenty one, preferably ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’, ‘The Book Of Mormon’ and ‘Wicked’, because theres just nothing that makes me feel fancier than a night at the theatre.

9. Next on my ’21 Before 21′ list is to visit more galleries and museums. I’d quite like this one to be a solo thing- I love the idea of spending a whole afternoon wandering around an art gallery enjoying my own company and being present in my own thoughts.

10. Number ten on this list is to go back to New York– its my absolute favourite place in the entire world and although I might not be living there by twenty one, I’d love to go back and scout out my future neighbourhood.

11. I’ve been reading Blogosphere for over a year now, and before I’m twenty one I’d love to be in it, even if its just on the Instagram photos page.

12. A longstanding dream of mine has been to skydive, so before I reach the ripe old age of twenty one I’m going to put all my fear to one side, throw myself out of a plane and enjoy the freedom and exhilaration I’ve heard the experience gives you.

13. When I left college I was lacking creativity and inspiration after having my art assessed and graded for two years, so I started a blog to give me something to put my creativity into without being judged. I love the satisfaction of starting something from scratch and seeing how big I can build it from the ground up, so in the next two years I really want to work on an another extended creatively challenging project, whether that be a book, a screenplay or a photography project- I just want to work on something just for my own personal satisfaction.

14. Just once in my life I want to eat at the top of the shard. I’m not sure I can justify £50 for one pea, celeriac puree and a ‘chicken jeux’ more often than that, but just for one night I’m going to put on my glad rags and get allll the Instagrams of the fancy food.

15. Recently I watched the masterpiece that is ‘Call Me By Your Name’ and it’s inspired me to retrace Elio and Oliver’s footsteps around Crema- mainly so I can use the Instagram location ‘Somewhere In Northern Italy’ and bag myself some cool points.

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16. The next thing I really want to do before my 21st is take my first solo trip abroad, even if its just for one night. So far I’ve only ever had holidays with my family and friends and I really want to prove to myself that I can survive alone in a brand new city.

17. Until now I’ve been living it up in premier economy (which, lets be honest, only really has an extra two inches of leg room and a mini Twix half way through the flight), but at least once before I turn twenty one I want to experience what its like to travel in actual style and book myself a first class ticket. Who knows, maybe I’ll splash out and sit first class on my first solo trip!

18. I don’t want to look back at my life and regret not doing things out of fear, so although the thought of it absolutely terrifies me, next on my list is go on a hot air ballon ride. I don’t know if putting my life in the hands of a basket and giant bag of air will be thrilling or throw-up worthy, but you can’t knock it till you try it.

19. I’m not one for the great outdoors, in fact the last time I went camping was the worst night of my life, but I would like to experience a night in the middle of nowhere in a log cabin. A weekend with no social media, fresh air, campfire food and star watching sounds like absolute bliss!

20. New Year is one of my favourite occasions, but only once in my life have I ever celebrated it. Apart from that I’ve been in my pjs in bed waiting to do the countdown so I can go to sleep, so next on my list is celebrate New Year in a city.

21. Naturally, I became an avid snowboarding enthusiast for the three weeks the Winter Olympics was on- this combined with the unexpected UK snowfall and a day on the sledge-snowboard hybrid thats found a home in my garage was enough to put ‘try snowboarding’ on this list. I have been skiing before, but by the time I’d got myself on the lift, to the top of the hill and back down again I was a sweaty, stressed mess, so I’m hoping snowboarding will give me the effortless ‘edgy, adventurist’ vibe I’m going for.

So those are all the things I want to experience before twenty one, if you’ve tried any of them or think theres anything I need to add be sure to let me know in the comments! Megan x