Mandy Charlton - Photographer,Writer,Blogger

Photographer of Families, Small People and Delightful Places, Travel and Lifestyle Writer and Blogger, Lives in Newcastle, Loves the North, Often Accompanied By A Beagle Named Holly Bobbins

Monday, December 05, 2016

The one that's all about friendship at Christmas

mandy'c best ever recipe for a cosmopolitan cocktail, mandy charlton photography blog,

This week, this glorious week, a week that I finally learned again that the best thing about breathing is to remember just how alive you are.  So much good has happened in the last 7 days and actually I could go back a little further, the tides have been turning and I feel that I am at last back on track. Recovering from the end of a marriage takes so much time and energy and it affects every individual facet of your life and your personality, If I look at where I was 2 years ago today, I am a completely different woman.  I can look in the mirror now and I don't hate the person that I see staring back at me, although I'm the first to admit to having put on my winter weight of late, too much cake and not enough walking , I try not to worry about it too much though as it's only my waistline and it's not worth making a change there until January now, I certainly don't believe in denying myself treats at Christmas!

In the whole of my working life I have strived to give the best, to be the best and to give my entire heart in everything I do but the truth is that I operate at my best when I am surrounded by people I love, people who encourage me, people who inspire me, it's that love and encouragement that drives to me to always look ahead, to be better and stronger and more brilliant and it's no secret that I only ever make one New Years resolution and that is to continue to be brilliant!

On Friday night,  some wonderful friends and I made merry at my house, our first Christmas party was all inclusive with Abigail, Looby and Iain all having a friend or two of there's present, we laughed, we ate, we drank too many cosmopolitans and champagne cocktails, there may have even been a tequila shot or two, a strange thing to do a tequila shot with your son but he is 20 after all!!

When I woke up feeling a little delicate on Saturday morning after sending home the merry makers at 3am I was relieved to have a day off but a couple of hours later I was back out with Abigail watching Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a whole day with just Abigail and I, it's always bliss to have a mama/daughter day, even if Abigail did comment at one point "I really want you to embrace Christmas on your own instead of always inviting people over, I want you to reduce the number of people you have so that next year I can spend Christmas with my dad"  Well that hit me right in the heart and she's got a valid point, I have no doubt that she will spend Christmas day with dad one year but I'll never stop inviting friends for they are the people who make my life the fun adventure that it is, why would anyone choose to be alone at Christmas unless they really wanted to, it's something I feel passionate about, I am not a hermit (well not all the time anyway), and yet I don't seek to have hundreds of people around me, for me, a handful of people who love me and who I love is quite enough, time spent with friends who are not only my friends but also each others, my favourite thing about my friends is that they all get along famously and I guess I've spent my life picking friends who I knew would all get along if they should meet, perhaps because I pick such interesting friends but friends who all at the heart of it are warm and loving and positive, I love my friends so much!

I'm honoured today to have made it through to the second round of the UK Blog Awards 2017, I was nominated by a couple of people initially and now the public vote has opened so I'd love it if you could vote for me, It's not that I expect to win but you never know until you try and I'd love to get some acknowledgement for my blog as it's probably the thing I work the hardest at, my blog will be 11 years old in February so it's not a flash in the pan and I've written enough words to have completed a saga of many books so a nice decorative object celebrating that would be lovely!!

Finally, can I just offer up a recipe for the best Cosmopolitan you've ever tasted?

20ml - Citrus Vodka
10ml - Triple Sec
5ml   - Lime Juice
40ml - Cranberry Juice

Give that all a shake with some ice in a cocktail shaker, rub the peel from a sweet clementine around the rim of a cocktail glass, pour in your liquid goodness and then pop in the piece of clementine peel, believe me when I say these are seriously moreish and impressively alcoholic!

So this week coming, I have more making merry to do with friends and a Skype date with Mr France to look forward to, it's going to be a very good week, I can feel it in my festive baubles!


Friday, December 02, 2016

My Festive Home at Christmas

Anyone who knows me well, and actually, pretty much anyone who even knows me just a little will probably be aware that I am the official Queen of Christmas, it's my favourite time of year! Christmas is all about magic and love and goodwill and as I tell my children if you have Christmas in your heart there will always be magic.  I tell this to other people's children too often to receive a bemused look in return, some of them nod and definitely get it, though.  

We started our festooning and decorating festively last weekend, this year has been brilliant but it's also been tough at times and I for one was more than happy to let the sparkle in a little earlier this year, there's also the fact that I am for the very first time holding a Christmas party tonight, it's a dream come true when you consider that there was a seven-year period when I felt I couldn't even let people into my home.

My home is far from perfect but it comes into its own for approximately one month a year with the low glowing lights and cosy surroundings, I love making cosy and feeling enveloped by warmth, if I can add my friends and my children into the mix then it's the makings of a perfect time spent in the company of one another.  We don't have a lot of people coming, that's something I'll be saving for next year, this year is just about cocktails, good friends and a little festive merrymaking, we might even break out the new Karaoke Machine

So, I went around the house with my camera last night and this morning to capture some perfectly picturesque portraits of my home in the hope of spreading some festive joy to you all.

In the bedroom, all of the festive touches came courtesy of TK Maxx in the Metrocentre, I love their Homestyle store and always come away with bags of stuff so it was even better that they sent me a gift card to pick up some home styling things which I've used to accent my very cosy bedroom and if you don't live near a story, you needn't worry as they have tons of festive treats online!  I adore their candle selection and there's nothing like an amazing selection of cinnamon scented ones when Christmas is upon us.  You may have even spotted Holly modelling a pet scarf from TK Maxx, perfect for the pampered pet or Christmas canine in your life!

In our kitchen I've added a whole lot of snowflakes, I'll be honest and say that every year I watch one of Jamie Oliver's Christmas special and he has a myriad of snowflakes hanging in the room he cooks in and I've always wanted to do this same, so this year I raided my local Wilkinsons and bought more than a few, I added some I found in the drawer and to make sure they didn't fall down, I finally stuck them up with pins, sticky fixers may work for everyone else but in my house they just fall down and then I have meltdowns over snowflakes and Christmas lights (just ask Looby) so I try to keep the decorating as stress free as possible.

So that's a little tour around my home and I hope you love it, also the rug in the last photo has now been replaced with a festive shaggy piled Christmas red coloured rug because this is Christmas in Newcastle not Christmas in Madagascar!

I hope that everyone who comes into my home this Christmas will feel cosy and warm, I hope they will quaff on mulled wine and cocktails, I hope they will sing their hearts out and most of all I hope they'll feel the love from my family to theirs because that's what Christmas is really about, it's not about the presents, it's about the quality time spent with the people you love and I'll never stop appreciating that.

So I hope you're all ready to have yourself a merry little Christmas and if not, why not go and deck the halls...

Disclaimer, I received a gift card to spend at TK Maxx in exchange for including the things I bought in my article and what a lovely festive selection of things they are too!


Thursday, December 01, 2016

The Best Is Yet To Come

It's late, the lights are low and twinkling and I'm tucked up in bed thinking what a great day it's been today, It's been quite a long work day but a good work day, I've photographed a 5 day old adorable baby, I've blogged my heart out this morning and you dear readers gave me some great feedback, it's so amazing how you're all so happy for me, in truth that post was actually 2 draft posts and I sort of combined them as I'd been collecting my thoughts over the last few weeks about how I felt and then yesterday just kind of happened!

Telling Mr France how I was feeling meant I also had to break the news to Bob T-Builder that as lovely as our lunch was, I couldn't have dinner with him, ladies there's a very lovely property developer looking to find someone just north of Newcastle...

The real truth about Mr France is that he makes me laugh and smile, and even his presence in my life genuinely brings out the best in me.  Oh and if you're wondering just how he came to be Mr France, well it's all thanks to lovely Laura and the fact that he lives nearer to France than he does to Newcastle, handily enough, I adore the Cote d'Azure (not a euphemism).

I had more good news today from my colleagues over at Huffington Post UK, I'd wondered where my blog post I submitted last week had gone to, I of course, as ever, assumed the worst but tried not to be too downhearted thinking "Oh well, it was just my first attempt" only to receive an email asking me if I minded them holding it back so they could put it on the front page on Friday, I can't even believe just how lucky that is, my very first article on the front page of the Huffington Post, I'm going to have to add that to my Linkedin, my CV (whatever that is) and pretty much just stop random people on the street to tell them, I'm sure they won't mind!

I find myself surrounded by the most amazing people currently, I have the best friends who encourage me as much as I encourage them and in my whole life, I have never felt quite so confident in my abilities as I do now. I honestly do believe that next year is going to be something truly special, I've just spent so long healing at my own pace, I didn't rush into anything and for me dating someone far away is perfect, it means I can't rush into anything and it means I have the ability to be able to cherish any time we do actually get together whilst still getting on with my super busy life and career the rest of the time.  Oh, and you know what?  I just mentioned my career, yes I think I'm back on it, I haven't thought of myself as a leading successful business woman for a while, possibly not since I was married but a conversation tonight made me realise, you know what?  I'm not in this for the heck of it, my blog might be where I share my innermost thoughts and feelings but I want it to lead somewhere because I want to be able to write and photograph every single day for the rest of my life. I have big things I want to achieve and I believe that I'm only just at the start of my life or maybe it's the start of my second life, well I don't mind as long as long as I win this time and with the people in my life right now, there's just no doubt about it!


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

I've got something I need to say

Sometimes in life, and more specifically in matters of the heart things become complicated, especially if you are me, as I commented to Harriet today, if there's an easy path and a tricky and almost death-defying path then you can guarantee I'll choose the way which is ultimately the most perilous.  I am at a stage in my life and my existence where my only great issue in the loneliness I feel deep inside me, I have brilliant children, I have amazing, wonderful friends, I have a business I adore and for the most part I get to create through words and images every single day, on paper though and in my heart and soul there's just that one piece of my jigsaw I can't seem to complete.
Mandy Charlton and Holly Bobbins at home, Mandy Charlton Photography Blog, on dating, relationships and matters of the heart.

Did you ever have a moment when you stumbled across someone on the internet and your heart just stopped? (I obviously don't mean literally, or I'd be dead, I'm just being dramatic) In all of the places that I've looked, the last place I thought I would find someone who made my heart skip a beat was right here on the internet on another person's blog. 

He first commented on my blog when I posted my dating profile and since then we've become friends, well I think it's the start of something special and I guess there lies the problem, you see, I haven't as yet made a move, I have hinted and I have posted little bits and pieces but I haven't actually said, "You know what? I'm a bit smitten, You rock my world" I don't want to freak him out or frighten him away but I feel our paths were meant to cross at the exact time they did.  I'd just made a public statement on my blog about being ready to date again and then recently I found that he'd made pretty much the exact same declaration on his blog at around the same time, not only did they share the exact same sentiments, both articles could have been written by the same person.

Now it could all be synchronicity, it could just be mere coincidence, I almost feel like this kind, intelligent, funny and erudite man could be someone really special but I'm British and we can't say that, plus if I did just say that after a few weeks of speaking to each other (and lets not forget that's all that's happened, he lives over 300 miles away and we've never so much spoken on the phone to this point, and oh, I hate the phone, I hate speaking on the phone, calling people, answering the phone...) I'm scared it would terrify him.

When I was married it was to a selfish manly buffoon who never so much as shed a tear at even the saddest of romantic movies so I made it my quest to find a soulmate that would be a new age man, one who was sensitive and gentle and one with whom I could sit and watch a sad movie and we could cry together. I don't care about money or material gain, I'm not worried about how far apart we live, age differences, social statuses and even being at different life stages really doesn't bother me because when you find a mind and soul you want to be with, nothing else matters, when those two hearts find each other the universe or God, whatever you want to believe, pulls their souls together with an unstoppable force, you can call it serendipity or synchronicity but I believe it's just about finding your destiny.

Edit, I wrote this post a few days ago and have since made a decision and was brave enough to tell the man in question and we are going on a date with cake and coffee although it is via Skype at this point, I'm aiming to make it to London soon.  I should have just published this when I wrote it but I guess I wanted to be able to tell him rather than have him read it, I know he always believes you should just write and then publish what you feel because it's your space but at the same time but it would have quite clearly ruined the declaration😉

I'll end with one of the most epic quotes in one of my favourite movies of all time because this to me is how it's meant to be in the end...

1. "I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realise you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." "When Harry Met Sally"


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Beauty For The Terrified With Benefit and Ellefluence

Photo taken by the amazing Katie Meehan

No sooner had I recovered from our night at The Rub then it was time to get ready again for an evening of beauty and hijinx at Debenhams with the Benefit girls, Laura from Ellefluence had yet again rocked another event by providing not only a free beauty wax for yours truly (more on that later) but also prosecco, pizza from Manny's and of course star photographer Laura Pearman was once again present to capture all the goings on, for the first time in ages I felt safe to leave my camera at home!!  Don't get me wrong, I love being a photographer but when you are the photographer you miss the immersive experience of events and as I'd volunteered to be one of the waxing models I figured I wouldn't have time to take too many photos anyway!

I've always been a Benefit fan and I'll also be the first to admit that when it comes to beauty I know virtually nothing, I have gel nails refreshed once a month and I've been getting regularly waxed brows for about the last 10 years since I discovered the wonder of a good eyebrow wax.  Ladies if like me you are late to the beauty party and you are, also like me, on the wrong side of 40, go treat yourself for a wax at Benefit, you will feel and look 10 years younger, a good eyebrow wax is like a mini facelift, honest ladies, I'm not kidding about such a serious subject, do yourself a bigger favour though and go to Benefit because those ladies are waxing experts.

Now I must admit that when I volunteered for the evening I hadn't realised it was the full waxing treatment, that's brows, top lip and chin, ouch and baby cheesus, it hurt, I can't even pretend it didn't, what we ladies have to go through just to look halfway to decent, well lets just say I'll be getting it again but I might be ready for the pain of having above your lip waxed next time, there was a hilarious video but thankfully I think it's been deleted by time, oh and if it hasn't, well let's just say I won't be sharing it and I certainly won't be including that on my dating profile!!

Another thing I hadn't tried before was a brow tint and it makes such a difference, I can truly say that I love my eyebrows now, I may have even shouted afterwards "My eyebrows are on fleek" don't worry, I shan't be saying such things out loud too often and I did rush home to watch some superheroes on TV to deflect my girly outburst.

What I did do whilst there was some shopping for Christmas, obviously since certain teens are regular readers (I'm talking to you, Amazing Abigail) I can't tell you what I bought but let's just say certain teenagers in the Charlton family might be happy bunnies when Santa pays a visit.

The thing I love the most about any Ellefluence event is the chance to meet other bloggers and at beauty events you can always guarantee that I am the oldest blogger there, you know what, though, I don't mind a bit, I'm quite happy to be the blogger mamma because all the young glamorous beauty bloggers like Katie, Alice, and Chloe, well they're all fabulous and they don't ever look at me like "what in the heck is that old lady doing here?" haha!

I may be 42.10 but I'm really just at the very start of my foray into the world of beauty and with people like Laura in my life organising the most splendid events with companies like Benefit and Urban Decay, well this girl can't go wrong now, can she?  It's never too late to start making the best of what you have got so you might as well get out there and do it now lovely ladies.

Ellefluence Does Cocktails At The Rub Newcastle

The Rub, a fabulous BBQ smokehouse is quite a new addition to Newcastle but it's already becoming a firm favourite of mine thanks to being a passionate carnivore, what I didn't know was how amazing they are at making cocktails so when lovely Laura from Ellefluence put on a cocktails event I couldn't refuse the chance to try out the menu as well as spending some quality time with some of my most favourite bloggers.

I'm a big fan of cocktails even though I will confess, I am a lightweight and really don't drink a lot of alcohol, well apart from the 1 or 2 hangovers I have each year but one or two hangovers isn't bad when you're a grown up!!
Mandy Charlton, Melissa Marshall and Alice Fairweather, used with kind permission from Laura Pearman Photography

The Rub serves a mind-boggling selection of cocktails, the menu is huge and contains all of the favourites, however they may not taste quite the same as you remember them because these guys are doing it properly using only the best of ingredients and taking 110% care to get the tastes just right, one of our hosts for the evening Joe is a world champion cocktail maker, this makes me think he'd come in very handy at parties.

I've never been to a blogger event which was quite so much fun as this one, we were split into teams and then had to recreate some classic (and not so classic) cocktails after first being given a demonstration by Joe, I decided to put myself up for the Cosmopolitan round being that it's my favourite cocktail and clearly I know my favourite drink well because our team won that round, it's no surprise then that this week when I hold my very first Christmas cocktails and karaoke party at home its Cosmopolitans I'll be providing for my lovely guests.

I love the Ellefluence events because as well as gorgeous Laura there's also lovely Laura Pearman Photography, an awesome photographer who I happily recommend if I can't take my own photos, Laura is number 1 on my list in the photography world, she's quirky, fun and fabulous, she's also amazing at capturing events, something I definitely don't specialise in, it does also give me the option of leaving my camera at home and that isn't a bad thing at all, I did, however, bring my camera to The Rub because I love photographing cocktails, yes I know, I'm a weirdo!!

After several rounds and a truth or dare style round which saw me doing an extra salty tequila shot (really, tequila is my favourite so it wasn't too hard although I also followed that by having lots of water, it was a Monday after all) we finally came to the last round where we had to create our own cocktail from a random selection of ingredients and so I did, I created a caramel choo choo, Joe even said it was good and he'd be happy to serve this on the menu, I'm currently adding cocktail making queen to my CV. 😉

As well as cocktail concocting fun the lovely people at The Rub, Newcastle also provided a tasty carnivorous cornucopia which helped to soak up the alcoholic we had imbibed during the evening, I'm growing incredibly fond of the meaty delights served by The Rub!

All in all, it was such a great evening, full of fun and I met some fabulous bloggers I hadn't encountered before, I love my blogger family so it was a delight to spend more time with favourites Pixie and Katie, Alice and Melissa even if Pixies team pipped our team to the post, remind me never to be on an opposing team to Pixie, that fabulous diva is not to be messed with in any kind of competition, I've never seen anyone suck on an Oxo cube (not a euphemism) for as long as that lady!

mandy charlton giggling at the rub, newcastle event, used with kind permission of Laura pearman photography

If you want to check out the delicious cocktail menu at The Rub which you'll find in The Gate, Newcastle you'll be super duper chuffed to know that they have 2 for 1 on classic cocktails every day from 11-7 and 10pm until close, now that's got to be a good excuse for another night out with my favourite girls!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

When You Wish Upon A Star

Today, I was delighted to receive confirmation that I'd been accepted as a writer by Huffington Post UK, if you don't know of Huff Post, well, you must have been living in a cave, in the mountains somewhere near the Himalayas, Huffington Post is massive and now I get to write for them, I might have jumped up and down, I may have even squealed a little! 😉  The main question on people's lips is what I'm going to write about, well, to be honest, I don't have a brief and I can write as often or as little as I'd like, I'm going to aim for once a month and will no doubt concentrate on my current speciality subjects, the parenting of teens and dating, I had wondered about writing anonymously so that I could say some things I can't say on here but I have no doubt that someone somewhere would find it and also what's the point of writing anonymously when the main point is to grow your readership and further your career.

wishing on stars makes dreams come true, mandy charlton photography

For some time now I've set my career goals on writing, it's not that I don't want to continue to be a professional photographer, I mean that's not exactly a title that can be withdrawn but with a houseful of teenagers and animals I need to work extra hard and there are only so many portrait sessions you can shoot every weekend without becoming physically and mentally exhausted and I know because this happened to me in the year when I was shooting 10 sessions on a Saturday, 10 on a Sunday and having all of the images edited and the galleries live by a Monday.  The joy of writing is that you can do it from anywhere and as I've said in the past, when the kids don't need me to be here any longer, my goal is to be a digital nomad, I'd love to have met someone by then that I can share that adventure with, maybe in a cute little VW campervan?

Anyway, I digress, my current situation is that winter is once again coming and this year my plan is to write, write with all of my heart, my passion and my life, I want to tell the world my story but as my story changes and evolves from week to week I find that I sometimes can't keep up!  I have several unfinished posts and just lately I've also started to write some posts I've written just for me so they're just going to lay in my drafts until such a day when I can share them, maybe I won't ever be able to but they're part of a journey I'm on and should everything work out in the long term it would be amazing to be able to publish them in retrospect.  Sorry if I'm being vague, bear with me as it's all I have right now.

You know, I have always loved social media because of its immediacy and I being an immediate sort of girl who lives in the moment and always wears her heart on her sleeve find it's such a brilliant way to get instant feedback, it's also easier to delete a post if I suddenly realise I've essentially just said something completely stupid or ridiculous, what, me, say something ridiculous? I hear you ask, why yes, I know it's hard to believe...

So, here's the current plan, I know what I want in my future and every night I stand outside and I wish on a star - 
Starlight, Star bright, 
I wish I may, I wish I might,
have this wish I wish tonight

yes, I, Mandy Charlton, aged 42 years really do that but you should never underestimate the power of a wish to the stars or the universe, they've been around for millions of years after all!  I do tend to wish for the same thing every night for a little consistency and no, I'm not going to tell you what it is because that would be a wish breaker.  What I will say is that I've been asking the stars for many years and always been terribly grateful to get the things I've asked for, I do of course always say thank you!

So what's around the corner I just can't say but I know the stars are listening and it's just a matter of time and patience, now out you go, if it's a clear and twinkly night tonight, just stand outside and make your wish and you just never know what might happen, you just have to promise though that if your wishes truly do come true you'll come right back here and tell me all about it.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Always Remember Why You Blog

Mandy Charlton, Photographer, writer, Blogger and Holly Bobbins the Beagle

Ok, so I fell off my own daily blogging habit again, it happens sometimes, sometimes I just need to take a couple of days away to clear my head and sometimes I'll suddenly become aware that there are people out there in the real world reading my blog, so ok, I know this is going to sound crazy but I've only ever written for me, I write with passion and sometimes with anger, I write when I am deliriously happy or when I am overwhelmingly sad and I always write in the moment.

There's a pressure I think when you count the number of readers you have or the number of people following you on social media, I have those times when I don't blog and then I look at my stats and I feel sad because of the lack of readers but sometimes I genuinely can't write.  I wish, with all my heart that I was the kind of super power blogger who could put out three or four blog posts every day but sometimes I can barely manage one or two a week, it's not that I wouldn't like to blog every single day but I just physically can't.

I read more blogs than ever before, I feel like I'm actually becoming part of the blogging community, if you want to check out some great blogs your first stops should be Lisa, Natalie, Hannah, Martyn and Rachel, oh and Lucy, I adore Lucy's blog and I've actually met her in real life!  I've been pushing my blog out there into the blogosphere now since about September 2014 and I love being part of the North East Bloggers but it's also nice to become part of the wider UK blogging community, I find all of the peoples blogs I recommended to be thought provoking, amusing, engaging, well written and witty and they're my first stops on the internet in the mornings whilst I am nursing that first perfect mug of dark liquid energy.  Sometimes I comment on blogs, not always though for fear I'll come across like a mad stalker and really I'm way too independent and headstrong to have any stalking tendencies whatsoever so take heart internet friends!

I guess I wish that everyone came with a blog, it's so much easier to get to know people, there are bloggers who's blogs I may have only read for a short space of time but I feel like I've known them my whole life and of course just like Netflix you can binge read old posts, I tried to do that with mine yesterday in the hope of finding some inspiration and what I found was actually quite scary.  I actually found myself not knowing the girl who wrote so much 10 years ago, I have changed so very much, I'm way more confident and self-assured, I'm much better at embracing my unique eccentricity which makes me the woman I am right now, I also look better in photos!

I wonder to myself how my blog will look in another decade, I'll always blog now, I know that and anyone who I meet will have to be quite ok with that because it's part of me but I think the one thing they'll have to accept is that sometimes I'll blog what's going on in my head and they'll have to learn to not over analyse or question what I am writing because it kind of cramps my writing style.  I write about my teenagers and they know about it, they read my blog (well Abigail does at least) and they certainly never question it so it's not outside the realms of possibility that I'll meet a man with the ability to do the same.

So here's the message at the end (Jerry Springer style) if you blog, blog with all of your heart, blog what really goes on in your mind, don't gloss over it or pretend that things are all around awesome when they're not because you should only ever write what's in your heart and your readers will appreciate your honesty, you may also help someone out there who's reading but feels they don't have a voice of their own.  So write with passion, write with anger and always remember why on that very first day you sat down to write your very first blog post.
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