Summer Dreaming...

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On this dreary February Thursday I find myself day dreaming about a hazy August afternoon spent in a beautiful Ludlow meadow...

Floaty Agapé Atelier bridesmaids, flawless hair & makeup by Nicola Jewsbury, breathtaking blooms by Thoughtful Flowers and the talented James Jebson came together for some beautiful images in the height of summer, take a look and let the sunshine in...

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How utterly *gorgeous* is this bouquet??

If you love this idea of a soft, romantic look for your maids then peruse our Agapé Atelier collecion at your leisure: diaphanous silk chiffon in muted, misty pastels with delicate lace embellishments. Totally swoonworthy, and totally unique; we can even design bespoke 'maids dresses just for your bridal party.

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We first met the incredibly talented Juliet Glaves of Thoughtful Flowers at Tatton Wedding show last year and were blown away by her beautiful stand. Although I had intended to do DIY flower arrangements for our upcoming nuptials, once I had seen her work I knew that we just had to have Juliet's creative input. 

This charming meadow is adjacent to Juliet's home and flower nursery where all of her wonderful plants are home grown. A stroll through the grounds was entirely enchanting, with the bright deep hues of late summer blooms dancing in the breeze and a sweet, heady perfume filling the air. There were too many amazing spots to photograph all in one afternoon, so we hope to revisit this pretty part of the world again for more blue skies, swaying hogweed and floaty summer loveliness.

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We hope this perfect piece of summer captured perfectly by Mr James Jebson has brightened up your dreary afternoon! xx

 

Stephanie Allin comes to Agapé!

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Eek! It's that time of year again, Stephanie Allin will be gracing our boutique with her absolutely sublime 'Always and Forever' collection this very Saturday...and what could be more romantic than ordering your wedding dress on Valentines Day?! We can't wait to have these *beautiful* gowns in our boutique and see all our lovely brides trying them on...

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This year, Stephanie Allin has celebrated 20 years of business, and her designs just seem to be more and more beautiful as each year goes by. The latest collection has been shot on the Gower Peninsula near Stephanie's original boutique and workrooms in Mumbles, Swansea. Cascades of voluminous silk and elegant lace detail characterise this romantic collection... which one's your favourite?

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So if you would like to meet this incredibly talented (and lovely) lady, enjoy a glass of fizz whilst perusing the beautiful gowns, and order your Stephanie Allin wedding dress with a complimentary made to measure service and £100 off, email alex@agapebridalboutique.com to book now...only a couple of spaces remain so make haste!

xx

Tatton Wedding Show

Happy Thursday, and a big shiny HELLO and a warm welcome to all the lovely brides we met at Tatton Wedding Show over the weekend, it was fab to meet you all! We have already welcomed some of you into the boutique this week for appointments to try on dresses you fell in love with at the show, and we look forward to seeing the rest of you very soon!

*Please excuse my questionable camera skills... I only had an iphone and a few minutes!

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We had a fantastic time once again at Tatton. We set up our beautiful stand to give visitors a feel for our boutique, using our lovely wallpaper and vintage dresser, adorned with sparkly accessories. Of course, the shining stars of the show were our selection of stunning bridal gowns and bridesmaids dresses for 2015, which were very well received indeed!

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Our gowns went down a storm on the catwalk. Karen did a fantastic job of dressing the models backstage, and the dress that attracted the most attention was the stunning Hepburn by Caroline Castigliano...a firm favourite amongst Team Agapé and everyone else, it seems...

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Hepburn by Caroline Castigliano: Simple, Elegant and utterly Chic, just like her namesake.

We really enjoyed meeting some fantastic suppliers at the show, and here is a round up of our favourite, most creative stands and concepts:

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Owen House Wedding Barn stole the show with their fantastic stand which included a full size tractor, hay bales and lovely vintage milk churns. If you haven't seen this beautiful venue, come and visit us this Sunday at their Spring Open Day, where we will be exhibiting along with a host of carfeully selected wedding suppliers...can't wait!

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Left: Tempting treats by Candy Counters...Almost too good to eat! Almost...

Right: The cutest vintage inspired stand by Pretty Little Trio who offer deliciously dainty vintage china for hire- a must see for anyone having a tea party inspired reception.

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Left: We were totally swooning over this tablescape by Living Colour.

Right: Our lovely friends at Stella Photography- check them out for a quirky natural take on documenting your Big Day

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Above: We loved this idea of a storytelling Canvas as a  beautiful memento of your day, and the gorgeous vintage key seating plan by Love Story Stationery.

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And finally, a lovely stand by Shropshire Petals- you can't beat real petals for your all-important confetti moment!

So, there you have it- our cream of the crop from the fabulous wedding show- hope it's provided you with some good inspiration!

Alex xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dates for your diary...

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Phew! January seems to have whizzed by so far in a blurr of bridal appointments, new year organisation and planning and plotting for exciting times in 2015!

It's been so lovely meeting all of our new 2015 brides and hearing about all your exciting wedding plans... Welcome to Agapé! There are going to be some absolutely amazing weddings this year, and we can't wait to see them! If you are an Agapé Bride of yesteryear, please do get in touch and let us know how you're doing, we love to keep in touch x

With February fast approaching, we thought we'd fill you in on what's to come...our diary is jam packed with exciting events not to be missed! Kicking off with the fabulous Tatton Wedding Show on 31st January & 1st Feb, followed by a wedding open day at the beautiful venue Owen House Wedding Barn on Sunday 8th, we're so happy to be exhibiting at this lovely venue! On St Valentines Day itself we are super excited to be welcoming the amazing Stephanie Allin back to Agapé for her 2015 trunk show-eek! Saturday 21st February will see the boutique filled with the unadulterated gorgeousness that is the latest Temperley collection for our Temperley Trunk Show. To round off an amazing month of events, on Sunday 22nd February we are collaborating with the fantastic Love Bridal Boutique and The White Closet to bring you an EPIC Sample Sale at The Bowdon Rooms- the Best of the North West, all under one roof, at fantastic discount prices!!!

Keep your eyes peeled for more info about all of these events coming up, we can't wait to see you! xxx

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Calling 2015 Brides...

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Happy New Year Brideys!

I wonder how many of you woke up on New Year's Day and thought "WEEEEEEEE! I'M GETTING MARRIED THIS YEAR!!!", swiftly followed by "ARGH! SO MUCH TO DO!"

Suddenly, it all becomes very real when you realise you will be saying 'I do' in a matter of months, and these months are going to whizz right by, I tell you now!

Some brides are super organised and have spreadsheets with a million different pages, listing every last detail from placenames to order of service and everything in between. I live in awe of these people. If you are one of these brides I applaud you and your colour-coded file full of to-do lists, booking confirmations and balance sheets!

You might have guessed I wasn't one of these brides. I work better under pressure and although I like to be organised at work, I was definitely a last minute lady whilst planning  our nuptials. Take the day before the wedding for example. I had visualised fluffy robes and girly pampering in the day, followed by a relaxed and nostalgic family meal, a glass or two of champagne and then early to bed for some beauty sleep. In reality, we were dressing our venue, arranging flowers and hand-writing place names late into the eve of our wedding. Although this was not the relaxing way I planned to spend the day before, in hindsight I wouldn't have had it any other way. This eleventh hour habit is something I share with all my family, so it was only fitting that we should celebrate my last day as an unmarried daughter and sister working as part of a team in this crazy chaos: the storm before the calm.

After divulging the above information, I cannot expect you to take advice from myself on wedmin related organisation, so I am now happy to pass you on to my beautiful friend, fashion and lifestyle blogger and Agapé Bride-to-be Sarah, whose organisation skills I have admired since playgroup when all her ducks were-quite literally- in a row...

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Image by Jessica Marchetti

"Well, what an intro. It's true- I am a bit of a nut when it comes to organisation- so much so that I earned myself the nickname of 'Monica' at school after the beloved friends character with a penchant for alphabetising her entire life. I'm not *that* bad but I have been know to embark on holidays with a plastic folder of everyone's tickets, itineraries and plans. It's just something I do. I organise-it doesn't mean I'm a fun free zone-it means I'm mostly a stress free one and believe me, when you're organising your wedding this is what you need; to be as kind to yourself as possible. It is a magical time but it is also a very highly-pressured one and who wants rogue grey hairs from strain on their wedding day? Certainly not I!

I got engaged in November and I'm getting married in July. Yes-that will be a 9 month engagement. I'm not entirely sure how the date kept creeping further and further forward but it has and I am nothing if not an embracer of challenges. Over the coming crucial weeks I am going to have my i's dotted and my t's crossed so here are a few suggestions on how to keep on top of it all:

1. GET A WEDDING PLANNING JOURNAL.

If, like me, you're not one of those lucky brides who can afford to employ someone to plan The Big Day for you then a wedding planning journal is a must. There are a vast amount available online, some go down to the finest details like "How many doves to be released..." (I kid you not). And others, like the one I opted for, cover all the bases you need, keep a running tally of expenses and inject some fun into the situation so you don't lose sight of the end goal- marrying the person you love. Mine is cheerful and to the point and available here

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2. PRIORITISE PROPERLY.

I know it's much more interesting to think about table decorations, guest favours and hen do activities but these can be dealt with later. What needs to be nailed down first is the church/venue you want to get married in, the reception venue, the finalised guest list and any accommodation required. Trust me- once those details are defined you will enjoy the other details so much more.

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 3. GET THE GUESTS SORTED.

I mentioned the guest list in point 2 but it's obviously a huge factor. My mum said something really interesting to me when I told her about our day/evening lists and it made a huge difference. She said: "Make sure you have those important to you there so you have a full dancefloor and a good party on your hands." And she's right. I *know* you may feel that you should invite second-cousin Shirley's boyfriend's son; but at the cost of an active member of your life who you want there to toast you? No. I can't go for that.

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4. COMMUNICATE.

I am a control freak. I accept this. I like to do things on my own and I struggle with delegation but this is one task where I've had to admit partial defeat. I need my fiancé, not only to calm me when I can't find the perfect shade of ribbon for the invitations, but actually to organise with me. I think too many brides-to-be take this enormous assignment on alone and it's simply impossible. You need your partner, your mum, your sister, your best friend etc. to help you with it. Admit it. It's so much nicer to discuss flower arrangements with someone than to be standing on your own in the florist cursing yourself for refusing to let those who you love help you. And it heightens the excitement to be able to natter away about things that to most people would sound dull but to you and those who are important to you are thrilling.

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 5. DRINK BUBBLES.

Maybe not just bubbles but certainly remember to relax a bit along the way. My lovely other half has, in recent weeks, been known to recognise when I am on the cusp of a meltdown. He simply hands me a glass of bubbles (prosecco is always, always chilled in our house) and tells me to go and take a long bath with my book. It's amazing what a break can do to clear your mind and re-focus you on what's important.

And remember- YOU'RE GETTING MARRIED THIS YEAR!!! YIPPPEEEEEE!!!!!! "

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Thanks Monica...sorry...Sarah... for your pearls of bridal wisdom! If you like Sarah's way with words, be sure to check out her fashion & lifestyle blog: http://2dyefor.blogspot.dk/  (although you will experience some house/wardrobe envy.)

We asked how you like to get organised on our facebook page: as well as also having a lovely wedding planning journal of her own, Agapé bride Kate reccommended using One Note which can be shared with her fiancé- very clever! Helen mentioned the trusty spreadsheet which is a wedding planning must for budget savvy brides, and Laura likes to lay everything out on the floor and write lots of lists! How about you? How organised do you feel, and do you have any top tips? Do share! x

 

 

 

 

Winter Wonderland Whimsy

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We are feeling nice and festive at Agapé this December and have filled our window full of white Christmas pretty.

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What do you think of our December display? Worthy of the Bridal Buyer's 'Best Festive Display' title? We hope so!

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Our dreamy ethereal look was achieved with the help of some white sprayed branches, adorned with white twinkly lights  and  decorations. How cute is this little feathery owl? (Sainsburys £1.99 in case you were wondering)

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We even crafted this twiggy headpiece to crown our snowy haired bride...how dreamy she looks in the twinkling bodice and frothy tulle skirt of the Watters Jacinda gown?

 

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How much would you love to find these Diane Hassall starry eyed shoes under the tree?

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Or this equally beautiful Miranda Templeton headpiece?

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So there you have it! Thanks so much to the fabulous Giulia from On Love and Photography for taking these beautiful images. Hope you like our white on white, what's your colour scheme this year? xxx

Poppies for Days ...

 

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We are very proud of our latest window display, in honour of this very special World War 1 Centenary year. We (well…mainly Chloe- all hail Poppy Princess Chloe!!) lovingly hand crafted each and every poppy adorning our beautiful flower gown inspired by the fantastic installation at the Tower of London.

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Thanks to Mike Browne for taking the lovely photographs above!

We are raising money for the Royal British Legion so please give generously to this fantastic cause: https://www.justgiving.com/Agape-Bridal-Boutique

We have pledged to match whatever we manage to raise so dig deep! If you are passing by, take a moment to look at our huge poppy gown, and also our display of antique photo frames containing images of wartime weddings from the past 100 years.

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 An excerpt taken from my fabulous book 'Vintage Weddings':

‘A regular wartime column entitled ‘Marrying in Haste, Accelerated Wedding Plans’ in American Vogue recorded that: ‘Weddings nowadays hang not on the bride’s whim, but the decision of the groom’s commanding officer. He names the day when he grants that unexpected furlough. ..The schedule may run something like this: engagement announced on Monday, invitations sent out by Telegraph on Wednesday, the last handful of rice and rose petals flung on Saturday.''

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'Picking up her skirt to avoid the rubble of bomb damage in a war-torn Britain, Ena Squire-Brown, an international dancer famed for her Dove Dance, leaves her home for St George's Church in Forest Hill to marry her Royal Air Force Sweetheart'

We've had SUCH a fantastic response to our latest display already, if you like it please text POPY95 £2 to 70070 to help us reach our money raising target for this fantastic cause.

Lest We Forget x

 

 

You're So Vain...Succo Juice Cleanse

Warning…This may make you feel amazing!

 

Hello lovelies, today I am going to tell you about a juice cleanse I tried with the fabulous Succo Juicery, Hale.

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If you haven’t heard of the juicing revolution sweeping the nation, where have you been?! I for one am a fan. Drinking nutrient dense juice that has been freshly extracted from vegetables and fruits is a great way to detox, and doing a juice cleanse for a few days is a healthy way to drop a few pounds quickly.

I have been into juicing for a while now and I love it. What I think is so great about these little bursts of nutrition is how many essential vitamins and minerals you can get in one hit. The only drawback I have found is the time it takes to shop for, and then make all the different juices and to clean my beloved juicer. As busy working ladies who are squeezing wedding planning into all our free time, there is not much space for time consuming diet & exercise regimes in our lives!

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So, I was delighted when Succo Juicery opened their doors nearby, and solved all of my juicing dilemmas. This gem of a place serves up delicious fresh juices, as well as salads and a yummy broccoli & quinoa soup. They also offer a one day, three day or five day juice cleanse, where they deliver a vibrant menu of cold pressed juices to your door on a daily basis. The convenience of this is fantastic. Having the juices cold pressed means even more of the nutrients are maintained than with a standard juicer, and I do declare you can taste the goodness! Amongst my favourite flavours were the carrot cleanse and beet juice, but for a lovely treat the last juice of the day is a smooth chocolatey blend of almond milk, chia seeds and cacao powder-yum.

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I did a five day cleanse with Succo, lost 5lbs and had a super flat stomach with no bloating- great result! However, other effects of the cleanse were even better- I felt light, vibrant and full of energy. When you have only been putting fresh nutritious juices into your body for five days, that body is now a temple and you want to keep it that way, so this is an excellent way to kick start a healthy new you.  Check out my diary of a juice cleanse below:

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Day one:

I am full of motivation as I sip juice number one-carrot cleanse-with enthusiasm. While Sara tucks in to her meal deal next to me at lunch time it dawns on me that I will not be eating any solid food for the next five days…*sob* I am enjoying the juices though and the cacao/almond milk at the end of the day vaguely resembles a chocolate milkshake and is a yummy treat.

Day two:

Feeling lovely and light this morning! Usually the withdrawal from sugar/caffeine etc is supposed to hit on day 2, but apart from food envy at lunch time I seem to have swerved this which is good.

Day 3:

After a fantastic night’s sleep I am feeling tip top…Can’t resist hopping on the scales this am to reveal I have already dropped 3lbs: result! Fantastic for a bit of a mid-week motivation, only two days to go…

Day 4:

I’ve got to say I am really looking forward to eating some proper food! Interestingly though, the meal I am mostly fantasising about is the huge rainbow salad I am planning to have for lunch on Saturday with crunchy carrots and red cabbage, creamy avocado and shredded spinach…no naughty Saturday crisps will be invited into this clean lean stomach this weekend!

Day 5:

Made it! Wow, this week has flown by- and it has been so lovely and convenient having all my meals prepared and delivered to my door by nice friendly faces from Succo. Results? skin is glowing, hair is shining, belly is flat and I can go away this weekend 5lbs lighter- what’s not to like? I highly recommend this as a great re-boot, and warn you that it may well make you feel amazing! Now I’m off to celebrate with a teeny tiny glass of prossecco…Everything in moderation. X

So there you have it! Lucky Agapé brides get 10% off a succo cleanse, I highly recommend giving it a try. Any questions, or if you would like to see any before/after photos (which I am not about to post on here!) feel free to email me: alex@agapebridalboutique.com xx

 

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How To Decorate A Festival Theme Hen Party

'Maids take note! The lovely ladies over at HenBox have given us their top tips for styling a Festival hen do- I need these coloured pom poms in my life! xx

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If there are two things us Brits do well in the summer time it is festivals and garden parties. So why not combine the two to throw a hen party with a difference! It is the perfect hen party for a boho bride to be. Follow our top decorating tips below to create a miniature Glastonbury in your back garden.

Step One – Pom Poms and Honeycombs

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Recreate the hippy vibe of your favourite festival in your garden by hanging paper pom poms and paper honeycombs from trees and plants. It is sure to get you into the summer festival mood and will add a touch of bohemian glamour to your garden.

Step Two – Lighting

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As day turns to night, keep your hen party rocking away with the use of clever lighting. Add strings of fairy lights between the trees to create a magical atmosphere. Tea lights in jam jars and paper lanterns will be sure to add that special touch to your hen night.

Step Three - Bunting

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What is more boho than strings of colourful bunting? Make sure that you hang bunting between your trees and over doorways and arches to add a splash of colour to your hen party. A perfect look for a boho hen do that wants to dance the night away in their wellies to their favourite song!

Step Four - Food

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One of the things I love most about festivals is the amazing food trucks! If your budget allows you can actually hire one to cater your event, which would be the perfect touch for a festival hen party. However if this is a bit on the pricey side then recreate the food truck vibe by wrapping your buffet and finger food in beautifully decorated greaseproof paper and by adding paper straws to your drinks.

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Another special touch is to add food flags and pom pom picks to top your culinary creations. Even the smallest details will add to you festival theme and help make your hen party a success!

If you would like to create a festival theme hen party then be sure to check out HenBox’s festival theme hen party.

You're so vain...

 

I bet you think this post is about you…

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Is it just me, or does planning your wedding make you really vain? Not surprising really, considering the daunting prospect of dozens of pairs of eyes fixed on you for an entire day….

 I’ve always had a rather lackadaisical attitude towards my looks- ' I'd like to lose half a stone..Ooh cake! ' -but there’s nothing like your own wedding for motivating you to give your diet and exercise regime a bridal overhaul. As someone who has never been hugely into make-up, I have recently developed a dangerous obsession with extravagant cosmetics (Bobbi Brown is my new BFF), and also a penchant for luxury spa treatments. All of which are not doing my  purse strings any favours...

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Rather than just keep all of my exercise experimentation, health food habits and hair & make up musings to myself, I have decided to share them with you lovely people in an aptly named series of posts: You’re so vain. First stop, my 5 day juice cleanse with Succo Juicery- yum!

 

The most important thing I have learned in my quest for bridal perfection?

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Well said Theo. I don’t think there is anything unnatural about wanting to be the best version of you for your wedding day, but be sure to stay true to yourself- it’s your too close together/far apart eyes/fluffy hair/nobbly knees and -believe it or not-  wobbly bits- he loves, not the perfectly toned bronzed goddess you have on your secret pin board…

Keep it real ladies xx

 

 

 

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