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Becca

Blue Monday – how to combat it with exercise

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Apparently today is the most depressing day of the year – brilliant! This teamed with the fact that here in Manchester it didn’t even get light today except for a small 5 minute stretch where the rain ceased and the sun actually came to show it’s face means that it’s that little bit more sad but do you know what helps – exercise!!

I had a lovely bunch of 5 mums come to my Urmston class this morning and we worked out as normal, even in the pouring rain.  It wasn’t the best, I’m not going to lie – I’ve definitely prefer running my classes when it’s warm and dry but the resounding agreement from all the ladies was that once you’re out, it doesn’t matter.

So that lead me to thinking – how do I get people to get past the barrier of actually leaving the house to exercise rather than putting the kettle on and making themselves another brew??  So my thought process on this is the following:

  • Get your workout gear out the night before. Surely if the first thing you see in the morning is your clothes in a pile next to your bed, then you’ll get up and put them on.  One of the benefits of my morning classes is that you don’t need to shower or put make up on before coming!!
  • Make it a date with a friend! You’re so much less likely to bomb out on a class if you’ve arranged to go to it with someone – personally it’s the hatred of potentially letting someone else down which would spur me on to get my ass in gear and get there
  • Pay in advance for a class. If you’ve paid already, you might as well go otherwise you’ll lose money and that’s something I hate to do!  You can bulk buy for 5 weeks at all my classes for just £20 and having that financial implication should really help you get out the door
  • Remember how good you feel at the end. Endorphins are amazing things and they make you feel so bloody good.  I was talking to someone on Instagram today and she commented about how she’d love to be able to bottle and sell endorphins – wouldn’t that be a dream.  Instead they come from a damn good workout

So hopefully the above tips might come in useful this dreary January day.  I hope to see you at one of my classes soon.  Remember I’m offering free trials at all my classes for January so take full advantage and try something new – you wont regret a workout, you’ll only regret not doing one.

#januaryblues #bluemonday #newyearsresolution #journeytofit

Sports Bras…their importance and a few recommendations of good ones

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I get so many questions from mums at my classes about the best sports bras to wear whilst exercising and in particular from my Mum and Baby classes, to wear when breastfeeding.  I didn’t breastfeed for that long with either of my kids and am only a B cup so I didn’t have any first hand experience or knowledge/wisdom to impart so after a recommendation from Alex at my Altrincham class, I went on the Boobydoo website and got in touch with them, a specialist sports bra retailer, to get their advice which I could then impart onto you all!!

It is SOOOOOO important to wear a decent sports bra – not only to stop your boobs getting saggy but to protect the breast tissue from any high impact activities such as running.  As the boobydoo website states “During a run, your body uses over 200 muscles, your knees hit the ground with about eight times your body weight and your breasts move on average 14cm. A sports bra can reduce breast movement by 80%, saving you from damaging the tender ligaments that prevent breast sagging”

Boobydoo have an unbelievably huge range of sports bras (and have definitely NOT paid me to do this blog…this is just a personal recommendation to a fab company!)  On the website – www.boobydoo.co.uk you are not only able to shop by specific activity/sport, there is a “right size” section to help you buy the right type, size, etc and they even having a dedicated maternity section – you can get any type of sports bra you want no matter your size, shape or need!

The lovely Emily emailed me a few weeks back after me asking their advice on maternity bras and this is what she recommends:

  • The Cake Maternity Zest Sports Bra is a great bra for mum’s that are wanting to get back into more medium-high impact sports. It has a full structure and provides great support, comfort and a flattering style. It also provides security of a pragmatic nursing sports bra whilst offering sufficient support. It has a flexible wire, wider padded straps to reduce pressure, racer back conversion clip and most importantly a drop down cup for easy feeding. It ranges from a 32-40 band size and B-H cup. https://www.boobydoo.co.uk/cake-maternity-zest-sports-bra-orange-navy
  • Another brand within the Maternity Range is boob, this is a great brand that offer comfortable bras for busy mum’s. One of the bras which I would suggest is the Fast Food Soft Sports Bra, this offers low-medium support so great for everyday wear, yoga, pilates and fitness classes. We don’t suggest this bra for people doing high impact activities such as running as it wouldn’t offer sufficient support. But it offers comfort, good movement as it’s not restricting and also the material is quick drying and ultra-soft.
  • Finally the third brand we have in our Maternity range is Belabumbum, this is another great brand that have really thought about what features are essential for a mum who is breastfeeding. One of their bras which I would recommend is the Sporty Mesh Nursing Sports Bra. This bra is breathable and great for low-medium impact activities. It is wireless and lined with a contrast cotton for comfort. It also has an easy-one handed nursing clips to allow the cup to drop down easily for nursing. https://www.boobydoo.co.uk/belabumbum-sporty-mesh-nursing-bra-grey-aqua

So jump on the website and have a look round and see if there’s anything which takes your fancy.  They’ve also said if anybody from This Mum Can needs any help or advice then tell them to get in touch – they have a live chat, a contact number and obviously an email address too!

The other thing that I have now had 2 of my clients buy is a “booband” https://thebooband.com/ It is in essence a band which goes over the top of your normal sports bra and it stops any excessive movement and the two people who wear these rave about them – their boobs literally don’t move when doing circuits!

I’d love to hear of any other great hints/tips people have or any recommendations of great companies or other places to get sports bras and then I can add these great sites to my website to make sure people are getting the best advice and help out there and protecting their boobs as much as possible.

My review of the BBC #Mumtakeover in Blackpool

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Yesterday I went to Blackpool to BBC 5 Live’s Mum Takeover event.  400 mums got together to have the UK’s biggest conversation about Mums and their mental health.  It was brilliant and so great to be part of the discussion.

It was hosted by Anna Foster from BBC 5 Live and then celebrity Mums Stacey Solomon, Rochelle Hulmes (I have a total girl crush on her!!) and Giovanna Fletcher did a fab job running round the Blackpool Circus room talking to various different mums about their journeys.  There was also a panel of experts including Neev Spencer (broadcaster and DJ), Annie O’Leary (Chief Editor of NetMums), Clare Law (Blackpool Better Start) and Alain Gregoire (Perinatal Psychiatrist and Founder of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance) who were brilliant at relating the individual stories to a wider picture.

I also got my minute of fame live on the Radio which was fab.  It was meant to be a 20 minute discussion but as happens with Live things, they tend to change last minute so it just ended up being a 5 minute chat.  I was with 2 other Mums who were going to the event – Caroline, a stay at home mum/part time administrator who has 3 kids and Danielle, an employment lawyer specialising in maternity and pregnancy discrimination and we were there to talk about the challenges Mums (and Dads) face around work.  I was there to give a bit of a balanced view that it’s not all bad out there and that some companies can make it work for Mums and let them compress hours or work part time.

My main argument, which I know that most of you will agree with is that if you treat a Mum with trust and give her a bit of flexibility in her role, then you will get an amazing worker.  We can multitask like nothing on earth and with a supportive nudge in the right direction, we’ll fly.  Some of us may work part time but we can do more in those 2, 3 or 4 days than you’ll ever understand!!  The knowledge and experience some companies miss out on with not being flexible towards the working week must be utterly staggering…but that’s something I can go on about for an eternity!!

So the main three themes of the day were Lonliness, Work/Life Balance and Post Natal Depression and the three themes whilst almost look exclusive, were so interlinked it was brilliantly done.  The lonliness linking to post natal depression is quite an obvious one but when coupled with the pressure of trying to balance everything in life.  Whether it’s working as a company owner, an employee or as a stay at home mum (yes, definitely still work) it was amazing to hear that we all struggle to balance everything.

One of the main discussions which resonated with me most was the #mumguilt and the idea of trying to “have it all” or “do it all”.  It was so nice to feel that I wasn’t alone in my thinking but the best bit that I will take away from yesterday was the brilliant discussion about what actually defines “having it all” – what is the “all”?.  The all isn’t defined in any way shape or form and what some people have, others might now even want and vice versa.  So maybe we all need to remember something and Annie at NetMums said it brilliantly – we all need to stop beating ourselves up about giving 100% because maybe 70% is the perfect goal – and maybe that is more than good enough!!  We’ll see hey!

So head over to any social media channel and search the #mumtakeover and get involved in the conversation – this is just the start of it and I would love to see and hear your stories of personal battles, life “wins” that you want to shout about and general hints and tips which you’ve learnt along the way!

My Mummy MOT…

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On Friday last week I went and had a Mummy MOT and now I’m going to tell you all about it and basically tell you go and have one done!  It was AMAZING…and I’m 2 years post baby, just wish I’d had one done years ago.

A few months back, I was contacted by a lovely lady called Felicity about joining my Beginner Running Club but dates/times didn’t work but we got chatting and she told me all about what she does.  She is a women’s health physiotherapist who works both for the NHS and privately out of the Pilates Rooms in Urmston and offers post natal physiotherapy assessments of the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles – a Mummy MOT!

So we got chatting on facebook and decided to meet up to see how our two businesses could work together.  Over a coffee (in the lovely Café Rose in Sale Moor!!) we talked about how our two businesses could work in unison – recommending each other to our clients but we decided that before I could recommend a Mummy MOT to people, I’d actually have to have one!!  EEEK!!

A few weeks later (bloody crazy diaries!!) we finally managed to get a date in for me to come across to Urmston to have the check up.  I managed to get a friend to have Harry (thanks Alex!!) as it’s the kind of thing you need to concentrate on and having a toddler there would have been a disaster.  Obviously having a little baby there in the pram would be fine, but not a crazy active 2 year old!!

So what did it involve…first off it was just a talk through any issues, pain, problems, etc that I’ve had over the last few years since having both Chloe and Harry.  I talked through my pelvis issues and about the fact I still had a “mum tum” as I didn’t think my stomach muscles were back together – nothing luckily too major from my side.

Then the main examination started – Felicity was so lovely and was amazing at putting you at ease. There were 3 elements to the consultation.  The first one was just to stand there in your knickers (top still on, it’s not that bad!!) and Felicity assessed my “alignment” I say alignment loosely as she doesn’t like to use the term but she looked at how things were when standing – was my pelvis level, did my rib cage look normal, were my legs standing straight, were my feet in the normal position, etc.  In my case, my left rib cage is slightly higher than my right and my bellybutton is slightly off centre.  All of my “issues!!!” seem to be with my left side so there was no real surprise there

After that, it was the pelvic floor examination (yes, finger up there…but after childbirth, who cares right??!) It wasn’t the most pleasant thing I’ve ever spent my Friday morning doing but it didn’t hurt and it wasn’t horrid and because I wanted to know if it was working properly, it was a means to an end.  Again Felicity was fabulous.  So she checks how your pelvic floor is working – both your automatic pelvic response as well as your squeeze capability.   Mine was pretty good (phew!!) but I have been actively doing my pelvic floor exercises for a good 6-9 months now and from all the running I do, I have built it back up quite well – but there is still an element of stress incontinence so there is still work to do!

Felicity has given me a number of exercises to do and sent me off with a few great resources for me to go and do some more research into things to help improve it.  It was great to learn how to actually do your pelvic floor raises properly – whilst breathing…because randomly (and unconsciously) I seem to hold my breath to do them which is very odd!!  Shockingly 1 in 3 of us have issues with stress incontinence and as much as it’s become the norm – it really shouldn’t be.  You can fix it, and you don’t have to live with it (*rant over)

After the pelvic floor exam, you put your knickers back on and then it was onto the abdominal exam.  Lying on the bed first off, Felicity did the discitis recti test to see how separated your stomach muscles are.  Everyone’s muscles separate during pregnancy – it happens naturally as the baby grows but there are a lot of factors which can prevent them returning back to normal and sometimes they need a bit of assistance in the form of exercise to get them as close together as possible.  Not everyone’s will return exactly as they were before pregnancy, but with the right help, you can get them pretty darn close.  So my muscles aren’t back together (boo ☹) which I knew, but it was nice to get confirmation of that.  There’s a 2 finger gap above the belly button, 3 fingers at the belly button and only a 1 finger gap below it.

With this in mind, Felicity gave me 4 different exercises to do initially and then how to enhance those to improve the gap and so now I am on a mission!  She has recommended just doing 10 mins of the exercises per day and so I will keep you posted on how that goes.  I’m on day 3 of doing them so I’ll give it a while and then go back and get her to re-check and I’ll report back!

After the session, Felicity wrote up all the notes and emailed the summary across to me along with giving me pictures of the exercises with helpful notes on how to do them again (as no-one ever remembers every exercise properly when they get home!!) and she has given me a fabulous leaflet all about abdominal separation which I am going to dissect and start sharing with you bit by bit.  If anyone would like the leaflet sending to them – please drop me a note and I’m happy to share it with you.

So all in all what do I recommend?  Go and have one done.  It has put my mind at ease on so many things.  There are pro’s and con’s of going as I suppose it could make you feel a bit down if you thought things were ok and they’re not but I’d personally rather know.  The session cost £75 which might seems like a big expense…but think about things long term – especially if you have pelvic floor issues or you’re worried about your stomach.  In theory every woman should have these checks after having a baby as part of the 6 week check but that doesn’t happen, we all know how bad the 6 week check is – it’s all about the baby and not anything to do with us as mums.  You need to look after yourself physically and mentally and I have learnt so much about myself and so much about how I can help you guys even more.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask – as you can read from above, I’m not shy with sharing!!! Ha ha

Felicity’s contact details are and she’s based in the Pilate Rooms, The Old Police Station on Station Road in Urmston:

07835157104

info@pelvicphysiomanchester.com

www.pelvicphysiomanchester.com

Baby Loss Awareness Week

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This week is Baby and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Week – a subject close to too many of our hearts.  Ridiculously, miscarriage and baby loss is still often seen as a “taboo” subject and it shouldn’t be.  I personally haven’t had to go through the utter tragedy of losing a baby but I so many of my friends have and I know from the sheer number of you that tick “miscarriage” in the box on the prescreening form which I ask you to fill out, I know that this will be a subject close to many of you as well.

Yesterday I had a look at the babyloss-awareness.org website to see what this week is all about from their perspective.  Their definition of the week is to “provide the chance for bereaved parents, families and friends to commemorate the loss of their babies lives alongside raising awareness about the issues surrounding pregnancy and baby loss in the UK” and there are so many ways we can support them.

Firstly, the one that EVERYONE can take part in – the Baby Loss Awareness week finishes on Friday 15th October at 7pm, the charity which is a conglomeration of over 40 charities is holding a “Global Wave of Light”.  All you need to do is simply light a candle at 7pm and leave it burning for at least 1 hour.  This candle is lit to remember all those babies that weren’t with us for long enough and gives you a time to think about your own situation or that of others you know have suffered or are currently going through their own hearbreak.  If you want to, post a picture of your candle on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the #WaveOfLight and their hope is to have a huge impact on raising people’s awareness and help to break the silence on what should not be a silent subject.

One other thing which I thought was such a fabulous idea on the website was the Sands Charity who were asking mums to email in to “Tell us about good care?”.  They want to raise the standards of care and the only way they can improve is to hear from those who have been through it.  About their experiences.  They want to know about the times when someone said or did something which helped you after you lost your baby – a few sensitive words or a small gesture, it could be anything which somehow made the most horrendous situation imaginable slightly more bearable.  They are asking for your personal stories about your experience from anyone who might have helped you – midwives, friends, families, colleagues, strangers.

Your story needs to be limited to 150 words and then emailed over to babyloss@sands.org.uk.  For more guidelines please go to www.babyloss-awareness.org/get-involved/#wave-light

Sharing stories about the good things can only improve the help that mums get when they go through losing a baby and that’s surely got to be a good thing?

I know that some of you feel that there wasn’t/isn’t much support out there so I really hope that remembering and commemorating their lives this week and on Friday at 7 will help in some way.

Finally, please remember – it’s ok to not be ok.  It’s good to talk and someone is ALWAYS listening.  You don’t have to go through things by yourself and it isn’t weak or wrong to need help – we all go through things differently but one thing is for sure – if you’re ever feeling down, please don’t filter your feelings or suffer in silence just ask for help and so many of us will come running.  I know I don’t know all of you that well but I’ve always got time for a chat/a coffee/a wine so please give me a shout if you need anything at all.

Year 1 is done and Year 2’s off to a flying start…

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Well Year 1 is well and truly done now – it’s October.  How in the world did that happen??

Thank you to everyone who came down to my first birthday party – I hope you had a fab night and hope there weren’t too many sore heads!!  I cant believe how many of you came – was so nice to see you out of your gym gear and glammed up 😊

So what’s coming up for the rest of 2017 and the start of 2018??

1 – as some of you will already know, I’ve started a new Sale class at Moor Nook Park which is going well so far – it takes a few months to gain momentum with a new class and I had 3 people down in just my 3rd week so hopefully after getting feedback from the mums in my other groups, the afternoon slot will be a huge success….fingers crossed.

2 – I’m hoping to get a few more events booked in like the Foam Rolling event.  It was such a fab evening.  15 ladies came down to be shown how use a foam roller properly by Claire from David Roberts Physio.  From knowing absolutely nothing about it until Wednesday (apart from some stuff I’d read and a few people asking me why on earth I don’t foam roll when I run so much!!) I’m a total convert – it’s amazing and I hope it will keep me injury free for a long time!

3 – I’m definitely doing the half marathon in 2 weeks – eeeeekkkk!!!  I totally didn’t think 2 weeks ago that I would be fit to do it after straining my ITB muscle (boooo – not fun) but with a bit of rest (yes, that was me “resting”) and some fabulous treatments from my chiropractor and a LOT of stretching, it’s better and strong enough for me to (hopefully) complete the half.  I don’t think I’m going to try and get the time I was originally going for but if I can get similar or slightly better to what I did last year which was 2 hours 8 mins then I will be one very happy lady!  I’ve bought some new leggings with Wonder Woman on which are utterly hilarious so give me a shout if you’re watching – I’ll need all the help I can get to get round the course!!

4 – I’ve bought some new kit so will be developing some new workouts using it!!  I’ve got some Kettlebells to introduce to workouts and I’ve also bought two little “steps” (yes, like the 90s ones but a bit smaller and more transportable!!) which are going to be a fab addition to my PT sessions to add that extra resistance.

5 – Develop the running clubs – so many people have done sooooo well with their running and it makes my heart burst with pride when people tell me how much time they’re smashing off their runs and when people text me to say they’ve run 10 mins straight for the first time in their lives or they’ve just got 3 minutes off their 5k time it’s just amazing!!  I did a survery monkey questionnaire a few months back and the results have been really really interesting so I want to develop this and improve it, enhance it and generally just take over the world!!  Watch this space on this one as it’s going to be a bit of project but I will of course keep you posted!

6 – I’ve become a member of the Sale Town Partnership group of local businesses which are involved with improving and enhancing Sale which is extremely exciting.  Not quite sure how I’m going to participate as yet, but hopefully will be something to do with Christmas as I LOVE Christmas sooooo much

That’s about all I’ve got to say on what’s next – you know me, I don’t like sitting still for too long!!  Please get in touch if you’ve got any ideas of things you want me to try/get involved in, etc

Things are better in Pairs

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Every fancied personal training but thought it was totally out of your price range?  That’s the myth that I’m trying to dispel – I want to make personal training available to anyone, whatever their budget so I’m introducing the idea of 2:1 or 3:1 training.

I’m sure you will all be fully aware of the benefits of working with a personal trainer, but just in case here’s a few of the reasons why PT’s are worth the money– they pull a programme together which is tailor made to your own personal fitness goals; they push you harder than you would yourself; they make sure that you are doing the exercises correctly; and as you know they’re coming to your house or because you’re meeting them somewhere, they make you stick at a new programme.  Now could you imagine having this within your budget??

My idea is to work with small groups of 2 or 3 people who train together with me once a week using a semi-tailored programme which will be targeted to hit your group goals and then you will individually receive a personalised programme for you to do on your own which is much more specific to each of the members target areas/goals, etc.  Hopefully giving you the best of both worlds so that you are getting active at least twice a week and really focusing hard so you can meet your fitness targets.

If you don’t currently have someone that you are able to workout with and want to get “paired” up with a likeminded exercise buddy, then get in touch!  I can put you down on a list and then contact you when a pair would work.  I would obviously only put people together of similar abilities otherwise that’d be plain wrong!

So I know you’re probably keen on hearing how much this would cost – well here’s the prices for 1 hour sessions (45 min ones are available if that suits you better)

2:1:

1 off – £25 each

5 sessions – £100 each

10 sessions – £180 each

3:1:

1 off – £20 each

5 sessions – £85 each

10 sessions – £150 each

Please get in touch to find out more.  I currently have availability on Monday and Tuesday afternoons

What a year…

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So next week is This Mum Can’s 1st Birthday – can you believe it?  I cant…someone stole the year!  Its been absolutely brilliant.  Ridiculously hard work but I’ve loved (almost) every second of it.

I hope you’ve had the opportunity to look at the “year in pictures” montage that I created – made me properly emotional pulling all that together.  I cant believe how much I’ve manged to achieve in just 12 months – feeling a little bit proud of myself at the minute which is always nice.

If you haven’t had a chance to look at it – here’s the highlights from 2016 – 2017:

  • I told you my story and created a followership on social media
  • Mum’s and their babies worked out with me over 1000 times
  • I trained 1 “Dad that can”!
  • I started a ladies only evening circuit class in Sale
  • I started a women’s running community in Sale and:
    • Trained 128 beginner runners to 5k
    • Trained 34 to 10k
    • Created a 5k improver session looking at endurance and pace
    • We did 4 Stretford Parkruns
  • I helped 8 people do the Great Manchester Run and got featured on the Great Run website
  • Created some great partnerships with Red Sky Yoga, Dynamic Chiropractic & David Roberts Physio
  • Supported Women in Sports Week 2017
  • Raised money for CDH UK and hosted the first of (hopefully) many Charity Fun Runs

So what’s next…

I’m going to be starting a new class in Sale on a Wednesday afternoon at 1.30 – 2.30pm – at Moor Nook Park which is just off Conway Road in Sale Moor.  It’s a lovely park which has had a lot going on in the last 18 months.  A new “Friends of the Park” group was formed and they have been so active in maintaining the park, improving the facilities and really raising the awareness of the park as it’s a little hidden away.  I’m very excited to start a new class there as I think it will not only be great for the park, but it will also give Sale Mum’s another opportunity to come as there seems to be a lot of baby classes on in the mornings, but not that much in the afternoons – I do listen to feedback, I promise!!

I’m also going to be running 2 competition over the next few months – one to win running club membership for the new September Beginners club which is going to be starting on the 11th September and then another competition to win some PT sessions with me – just keep an eye out on social media for these.

I’m also currently in Marketing mode for my next campaign which is going to promote working out in pairs.  Exercise is better (and easier I think) when you do it with someone else so I’m going to have a huge push on 2:1 personal training which not only will make it more fun, it will also make it much more affordable.  My aim when I started This Mum Can (and it still is now!) is to make training affordable for everyone, no matter the budget.  I’ve always had that in mind when looking at my pricing strategy as I know my target market are pretty much all on maternity leave!!  With this in mind, I’ve come up with the idea of working out in pairs or in small groups so you get a semi-tailored programme around your personal goals.  I’ll do 2 workouts for you – one for all of you to do together with me and then a personalised programme for you to do on your own.  The best of both worlds I believe…hope you’ll agree!

Right that’s all for now, I need to get cracking as it’s going to be a busy August for me. Doing all the above and also trying to get life sorted out at home – I cannot believe Chloe’s starting school next month!  I need to get some school uniform bought me thinks…

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This Mum Can Fitness – a year in pictures

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To celebrate a fabulous first year, I’ve pulled together a montage of pictures to celebrate all that has been achieved this year and to laugh at some fabulous memories!!

(and yes, in answer to your question, this did take me forever to pull together but in my opinion, the end result is definitely worth it!!)

Enjoy 🙂

x Becca