In Dorset, I took a trip to the Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum to learn more about Dorset’s criminal history and the justice system. It was super interesting but a little too busy for my liking.
I stayed in the gorgeous Hideaway at Kingsland Farm in Bridport, Dorset. I enjoyed sleeping in the very cosy shepherd’s hut surrounded by the most stunning countryside and even had a homemade cream tea yum yum!
Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway was another blog stop on my trip and one I thoroughly enjoyed. The gardens were super beautiful and the train ride was pretty fun!
I also stayed in Lynton where I went on the Lynton and Lynmouth Funicular Railway which was so enjoyable and gave me some great views over Lynmouth Bay. I took a walk to the Valley of Rocks where I saw lots of sheep and goats!
I stayed in Poole, Dorset, visiting the wonderful beaches of Sandbanks and also stayed in Taunton, Somerset where I visited the Museum of Somerset – a great free museum.
Back home in Exeter Nathan and I visited our local National Trust property Killerton to explore the Killerton Votes for Women exhibition.
October always brings my birthday meaning meals out with friends and Nathan too.
We visited the Minature Pony Centre in Dartmoor where we got up close to loads of miniature ponies that were so super cute!
We spent some time exploring the wild rugged Dartmoor and encountered lots of animals roaming free including a lot of cows and sheep – just so sweet!
For Halloween, I went to Knightshayes where the National Trust put on a spooky and fun event centred around classic scary tales! It was good fun and as a member cost me nothing!
Nathan and I headed to Sussex where my sister lives to attend my nephew Cillian’s christening. Whilst there we enjoyed a trip to another National Trust property called Monks House and played a round of adventure golf on Brighton seafront.
November was a pretty quiet month although I did get a fancy new waterproof jacket from Fashion World and enjoyed some Autumn walks.
We headed home to my parents in Kent for my sister Chloe’s 21st birthday and my sister Emily’s 18th birthday. They had a joint party which was lots of fun!
December brings Christmas mania across the world and for me and Scrapbook Adventures this was the same! Many of my adventures had a festive twist which always helps to make me feel all warm and Christmassy (often needed when working hard and studying!)
I went to York for a training curse related to my university research but made sure to tick off some blog visits whilst there. I went to Castle Howard and enjoyed their 12 days of Christmas even. The house and decorations were simply amazing.
I really enjoyed a tour of Yorks Chocolate Factory and loved the interactive parts of the tour including lolly making and a chocolate truffle demonstration.
My friend Katy and I enjoyed a wonderful festive afternoon tea at the lovely Kitley House Hotel in Plymouth, Devon. It was so tasty and a lovely Christmas treat.
Christmas was spent at home in Kent with my family where I spent many days enjoying spending time with my niece and nephew. I was lucky enough to get some really awesome gifts too!
For New Year Nathan and I stayed in a lovely little cottage in Bridport, Dorset and explored the local beaches including beautiful West Bay. It was a lovely way to end 2018 and welcome in the new year.
Here’s to a 2019 full of love, laughter and adventures!
Any adventures that take your fancy? Let me know in the comments below!
Welcome to the second part of the Scrapbook Adventures 2018 yearly round up! In this post, I will talk about adventures from the months of May to August and feature some of my favourite blog trips. If you missed part one of the years round up then check it out now to catch up!
May was yet another busy month for me and the blog with lots more attraction reviews and our first glamping trip of the year.
I enjoyed a trip to Carnglaze Caverns in St Neot, Cornwall, where I was shown around the caves and enjoyed a pretty fairyland walk.
I visited the lovely National Trust gardens at Trelissick House with my friend Emily where the spring flowers were just divine.
I took another garden walk, this time around the impressive Dartington Hall in Totnes with my friend Lucy. We enjoyed a scrummy hot chocolate and cake in the cafe too!
Nathan and I got some exercise by walking around Siblyback Lake in Cornwall which had some stunning views. We topped off our walk with a cheeky ice cream!
Continuing with the walking theme I walked a few miles of the pretty Grand Western Canal in Tiverton and had a naughty couple of treats to eat too! The weather was just lush!
The best bit of May was certainly our trip to Just Us Retreats in Crediton, Devon. Here we stayed for three romantic nights in the wonderful bell tent named Gabriel. We had an awesome time cooking on an open fire, relaxing in the hammocks and falling asleep by candlelight. This place is just the bomb!
Summer was well and truly here by June with many of our adventures starting to make the most of the sunshine and the quietness of attraction and beaches before the hoards descended in the school summer holidays.
We kicked off June by heading to Somerset to the magnificent Forde Abbey. Here we wandered around the incredible gardens and enjoyed a homemade pizza making workshop too!
I took a solo trip to Torquay where I enjoyed an overnight stay at the Heritage Hotel followed by a trip to Cockington Court the next day. I loved all the different craft and art shops and walks around the gardens.
Nathan and I spent a weekend at the cool Andrewshayes Holiday Park, Dalwood where we enjoyed a two-night stay in a glamping pod. It’s a great site with a games room, swimming pool and fields full of friendly cows to watch!
We spent the day at Wildwood Escot where we saw lots of amazing animals and really enjoyed a great bird of prey show. Definitely, a great place to take kids for a treat.
We visited the gorgeous Landram Bay and Otterton Village where we nearly died walking in the relentless midday heat and by nearly getting chased by a herd of cows! I have never appreciated a pint of cold lemonade so much!
The end of June was fantastic for me as I spent a relaxing night at The Wood Life in Devon. I stayed in a beautifully crafted shepherds hut and had the most amazing bath in the accompanying bathing wagon. I cooked my dinner on the open fire overlooking the gorgeous Devon countryside – a highlight of 2018 for me for sure!
July started with a trip to the circus! We really enjoyed entering the big top at Paulos Circus and watching all the acts – fun for all the family indeed!
We enjoyed a lovely trip to Bideford in North Devon where we stayed at Owl Valley Glamping. We were lucky enough to stay for two nights in a wonderful bell tent and had the woodland site all to ourselves. It was a lovely few days and we enjoyed play games in the parliament building!
Whilst in North Devon we visited Westward Ho! beach for ice creams and a chill on the beach.
I took a trip to West Bay in Dorset to meet up with some friends from my university days. We spent the day exploring West Bay including seeing all the sites from BBC’s Broadchurch. I had some Dorset orange marmalade flavour ice cream too which was a bit random and not as nice as I hoped it would be!
Nathan and I enjoyed a weekend staying in a camping pod a the Forest Glade Holiday Park in Cullompton, Devon. Here we enjoyed BBQ cooking, a cosy camping pod and games of pool in the games room.
We spent a random Sunday at Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre near Okehampton and played for ages on the old fashioned arcade games. We enjoyed riding some of the old fashioned theme park rides too, enjoying the dodgems the most! We followed up our visit by taking a wander around Roadford Lake before stopping for a chill in the sunshine and an ice cream!
I enjoyed a fun-filled and action-packed family holiday at Brean Sands Holiday Resort Unity with my sister, niece, nephew and nan! We stayed in a really nice caravan and had a great time making loads of awesome memories!
We topped the month off with a stay at Freshwell Camping in Croyde, Devon. We stayed in a unique stargazing getaway which allowed us to watch the stars from our cosy cabin. We enjoyed a walk around Croyde and to Baggy Point, of course ensuring we ate lots of ice cream! We visited Sandleigh Tea Rooms too which were really pretty.
August saw us head to Somerset and enjoy Nathan’s birthday weekend at Petruth Paddocks a camping and glamping site in Cheddar. We stayed in a rather lovely yurt called ‘Mr Yurt’ for three nights and had a great time despite some wet weather.
During our time in Cheddar, we visited the infamous Wookey Hole Caves which was a great day out. There was so much to see and do and we loved the tour of the caves and crazy golf them most!
I also visited Bishops Palace in Wells, Somerset – a wonderful Palace and gardens full of colour, history and perfection. I had the best time taking two free guided tours and soaking up the sunshine. I would love to go back here and would recommend for garden lovers and history buffs!
I spent some time doing university work at Reed Hall a grand old building and cafe on the Exeter University campus. It’s such a lovely place to go for some reflection and is a nice quiet place to work (and write blog posts!).
I also went on a lovely spa weekend with my friend Katherine. We went to the Hilton Hotel and Spa at The Agea Bowl in Southampton. We enjoyed a super relaxing massage, made the most of the spa facilities and enjoyed dinner in Ian Botham’s restaurant.
Nathan and I took a trip to Tintagel in Cornwall and enjoyed exploring the coast and the National Trust Old Tintagel Post Office.
My parents visited me in Exeter for the first time and we took a trip to Tiverton to explore the canal and have a tasty cream tea. I also took my parents to the Crediton Museum to check out some local history!
On another weekend Nathan and I went and played crazy golf at Dawlish Warren and stopped off for ice cream at the Orange Elephant on the way home.
I had a really great summer! So many fun glamping trips and lots of lovely days out to beautiful; gardens and beaches. I loved the holiday with my family too – defo a highlight!
Certainly another busy few months! What adventures do you like the sound of the most? Let me know in the comments!
Well, 2018 was a fantastic year for Scrapbook Adventures, seeing us venture out to many local places across the South West and beyond! It saw us spend the summer glamping at many of the best sites in Devon and Somerset and making memories that will be remembered for years to come.
The blog has gone from strength to strength and I am really proud of what I have achieved this year, especially given I am studying for my Clinical Psychology Doctorate and working for the NHS too! I continue to enjoy exploring new attractions, finding unique and cool places to stay and sharing them all with my followers and friends. Planning adventures, visiting places and writing blogs continues to be an enjoyable outlet for me and long may it continue into 2019!
Here is the first part of my Scrapbook Adventures 2018 round-up with a month of month guide from January to April detailing what I got up to and the places I visited! Just click on any of the links to be taken to the blog posts to read more!
So let’s kick off with January – often a very bleak and depressing month after the festivities and fun of the Christmas period. However, January started well for Nathan and I as we spent New Years in Kingsbridge, Devon, enjoying some peace and quiet and exploring the Devon beaches of Torcross and Strete. We treated ourselves to a wonderful afternoon tea at the Thurlestone Hotel too which was scrumptious to say to the least!
We also visited Exmouth for the first time, enjoying a crisp winter walk along the beach followed by some fun in the amusement arcades.
January also saw my friend Carly turn 30 and we spent the weekend in Bath hitting all the top tourist spots.
I visited Brighton for my friend Sarah’s hen weekend where we had tonnes of fun painting pottery, completing an escape room and enjoying many other hen related activities!
We finished the month by visiting the very cool Pirates Quest in Newquay, Cornwall. Here we immersed ourselves in the world of Pirates and myths from the sea – a great family fun day out.
March saw Nathan and I experience some paranormal activity at the spooky Bodmin Jail. Here we took a Historical and Paranormal guided tour which was so much fun, if a little scary at times!
I enjoyed a brilliant trip to the newly opened spa at Beyond Escapes in Totnes, Devon. Here I was treated to a full body massage, afternoon tea and made the most of the wonderful facilities. Their BE Indulged Spa Package is amazing and I really recommend it!
Nathan and I took a trip with Stuart Line Cruises where we enjoyed a cream tea cruise in Exmouth. It was a bit wet and windy but the tea and scones and fun commentary soon cheered us up!
Some friends and I tried all things cheese at Exeter Cheese Fest where we enjoyed watching Martin from Corrie do a cooking display! So random!
We enjoyed a lovely night away at Manley’s B&B in Tiverton where we enjoyed a very comfy room, amazing breakfast and lovely garden walks overlooking the Grand Western Canal. If you’re looking for accommodation in the Tiverton area then Manley’s is the place to go!
April brought about lots of blog adventures, many of which were in the Devon coastal town of Torquay. We visited the fantastic Bygones museum which was like stepping back in time and travelling through history. One of my favourite blog trips of the year for sure.
We also visited Torquay’s Dinosaur World where we enjoyed the dinosaur exhibits and quiz. I also found myself in fits of laughter while making Nathan pose with all the dinosaur models! Another really good place to visit with a family in Torquay.
We also enjoyed exploring the town and harbour of Torquay and enjoyed a tasty lunch by the sea at Anstey’s Cove – a place I would really like to go back to.
I went home for the Easter holidays and spent time with my lovely family. My little sister Emily and I enjoyed a round of golf at the newly opened Enchanted Vlliage Adventure Golf course in West Wickham, Kent.
April also saw us visit one of our local National Trust properties – Knightshayes. This time we were able to see the Lady Amory exhibition which was great.
Wow, quite a few adventures so far! Let me know what adventures you like the sound of in the comments below!
I recently followed the trend and posted on my Instagram page my top nine most liked pictures for the year. It was so nice to look back at some of the memories I made this year and see what my followers had enjoyed seeing on my feed. Some of the photos were my favourites for the year too so I think they were quite accurately picked!
I thought I would do a quick post featuring the top nine pictures and explaining a little more about them and where they were taken. I had suggested I might do this in the caption on the post and lots of people were interested so here goes!
Pictures 1-3 – Bishops Palace
So three pictures from my visit to Bishops Palace in Wells, Somerset made it into my Instagram top nine. I think you will be able to see why – the gardens were just so beautiful and I visited on a very sunny day in August which I think really helped make them look so glorious!
This picture is of the well pools and you can spot the stunning architecture of Wells Cathedral in the background – just gorgeous!
Again this is another picture of the well pools. I loved how the trees were reflected in the water and the sense of calm and peace I got from wandering around the well pools and sitting on that green bench.
The final picture from Bishops Palace that featured on the best nine was this one of the old walls of the palace. I thought they were so pretty with the sun streaming through the window frames and the beautifully maintained gardens.
Picture 4 – Tintagel Old Post Office
Picture 4 is from the lovely Old Post Office in Tintagel, Cornwall. This is a National Trust property, which as a member I have visited a few times. It’s lots of fun to see how the old post office would have worked and you can still send letters from the post box in the wall! We visited in the late summer and enjoyed a good few hours wandering around the town and enjoying the coastal views.
Picture 5 – Valley of the Rocks
This is one of my favourite pictures I took when I stayed in Lynton and visited the Valley of the Rocks in Lynmouth, North Devon. It was a stunning piece of coastline and even though it rained and I got rather wet on my Septemeber walk, the views and grazing sheep and goats made it worth it!
Picture 6 – The Hideaway
This shows the amazing homemade cream tea I enjoyed whilst soaking up the countryside views at The Hideaway, Kingsland Farm in Bridport, Dorset. I stayed in the sublime shepherd’s hut and had the most relaxing and restorative stay. Danette the host is so welcoming and lovely and I would really recommend a stay here – check out my full review here.
Picture 7 – Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum
In Septemeber, during my South West tour, I visited Dorchester and the Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum. It was a really interesting attraction, although I visited on a free Sunday open day and so it was really busy. There was so much to learn about the justice system and historical crime which I found really interesting. Apparently, my Instagram followers did too!
Pictures 8 & 9 – Weston Sandsculpture Festival
The final two pictures from my Instagram top nine are from my visit to the Weston Sandsculpture Festival in Weston Super Mare, Somerset. The 2018 festival’s theme was the circus and I was amazed by the incredible skills of the sand sculptures in creating such stunning sculptures. You can find out more about the festival and see more of the sculptures on my blog post review. I also did a top ten favourite sand sculpture post too which is worth checking out to see which ones I loved the most!
So there we have it, a bit more information on the pictures from my Instagram top nine! Please do give me a follow on Instagram if you don’t already to see more cool pictures and to interesting pictures and follow my adventures!
Like with the rest of the human race I have always enjoyed receiving gifts as much as the next person. However, as I have got older I have enjoyed spreading happiness and the gift of giving presents. I always really enjoy seeing my loved ones opening up their chosen presents and seeing their reactions. Presents with thought, presents with love and presents that are personal are the best to both give and receive I think. This year, as with years gone by I was lucky enough to receive a host of lovely and well thought out presents this Christmas.
I thought I would share a few of my favourites with you – they will give you quite an insight into things I like and enjoy as my family and friends clearly know me all too well! I haven’t been able to share all the gifts I received as I really did have many, but thought I would choose a few quirky and different ones for you to peek at.
I am 29 yet still get a stocking every year from my parents. This more often than not includes a pair of Christmas PJs and this year’s were these very warm and fluffy Disney ones from Primark. I think they are super cute and they are really comfy too!
I also received some socks and slippers from my sister Chloe – these were groovy chick themed and transported me back to the 90’s! I remember as a young girl having a groovy chick bedspread and other bits – it was the ‘in’ girl brand to have back then. I can’t believe Primark are now stocking groovy chick clothes years and years later! Thanks, Chloe for taking me back to my childhood whilst keeping my tootsies nice and warm!
A Spot of Fun
My nearest and dearest know that I have a horrible love for squeezing spots! It’s gross I know but I just can’t help myself and my sister Chloe treated me to this yucky but hilarious Pimple Popper kit from Zuru. Basically for all you avid spot squeezers out there you put some rank looking pus-type liquid into it and then sit and squeeze out the spot pores to your heart’s content – delightful eh!
My friend Katy gifted me the game Dobble – I hadn’t heard about this game before but now I absolutely love it and cannot recommend it enough for fast-paced, fun and competitive game. Nathan and I played it numerous times over the new year and we are now addicted to it! Thanks Katy!
In my stocking was also this cute little Christmas themed duck – it can join me in the bath one day, the lucky quacker!
My boyfriend Nathan gave me these Mensa gifts – a 2019 Calendar Challenger which includes a puzzle a day for the rest of the year, and The Absolutely Authentic Mensa Test. I am not sure what he is trying to prove – something about his intelligence or mine! I did have to remind him that I have two degrees and am currently working for my doctorate so I do have some intelligence in the bag.. somewhere! They have provided us with some brain-teasing tests so far which we have enjoyed competing against each other for and working as a team when we both get stuck!
I was treated to these gorgeous Ted Baker sets from my youngest sister Emily. The makeup set has loads of lovely makeup bits including lipsticks, mascara, nail polish and a cute eyeshadow shadow pallet. Emily also gave me the Ella perfume set which has a cute little bottle of gorgeous smelling scent and a pretty jewelled mirror. Such lovely gifts which I certainly will enjoy using.
Gifts to Encourage Calming and Self-Care
In the last couple of years, I have become more keen to enjoy the simple things in life and to try and use things to help me relax. My job and doctorate can be very stressful at times and relaxation time can be limited. My family did a great job this year of buying me gifts they know I will use to take some time for myself and chill. I am obsessed with candles and using them when I am chilling in the evenings and having a bath and so both my step-mum Caroline and sister Chloe got it spot on when buying me these candle selection boxes form Yankee Candle. I can’t wait to try them all and smell all their different and scrummy scents!
I have recently discovered the Happy Place podcast by Fearne Cotton and have been listening to it in the car during long drives. I think Fearne Cotton has done wonders in talking about her mental health and promoting mindfulness and well-being. Nathan brought me Fearne’s book ‘Happy’ which attempts to help people “find joy in every day and let go of perfect”. I feel I need more of this in my life and am excited to get stuck into this book and complete all the exercises within it.
Now I am a fan of mindfull colouring and colouring books used for relaxation, however, I have never come across mindful stickering before! My older sister Sarah gave me this awesome sounding book in which people can use stickers to fill in colourful patterns to relax! Each page has a motivational and inspirational message in it too which I think I will benefit greatly from this year – what a thoughtful and different present idea! Thank you, Sarah!
These pictures really aren’t great and are doing no justice to the wonderful presents but this picture shows some more thoughtful gifts from Chloe. To provide me with a sweet treat are these prosecco flavoured boiled sweets – very tasty I can guarantee! The notebook obviously isn’t for eating but is very cute and stylish and I do love a notebook so a perfect gift for me!
I was also lucky enough to receive one of the Naked Marshmallow Company dipping boxes which went down very well during our new year break. It was gifted to me by Caroline’s sister and family and is such a lovely treat gift. It matches the marshmallow advent calendar I had from the same company and I can assure you that the marshmallows dipped into the chocolate and salted caramel sauces are delicious with a capital D!
Finally, I am really grateful to have received some lovely jewellery from Pandora. I got some gorgeous charms for my bracelet from Nathan and a much-needed safety chain from his parents to keep my bracelet and ever-growing collection of charm safely on my wrist.
Last but not least I got this stunning Pandora necklace from my parents. It’s so pretty and sparkly and I love it! I am a very lucky girl indeed!
Thanks to everyone for their wonderful gifts this year, I love each and every one of them including all the other fab pressies I got but didn’t mention in this post (as it would have gone on for ages!). I guess the best gift I got was also quality time with my boyfriend and family and this is the best gift I could ever ask for! Cheers!
What was your favourite Christmas gift to receive? Let me know in the comments below!
With over 5000 tonnes of sand and 30 amazingly detailed sand sculptures to enjoy at the Weston Sand Sculpture Festival, picking just 10 of my favourites has been quite a challenge!
The theme for the 2018 sand sculpture festival at Weston Super Mare, Somerset was ‘the circus’. This theme allowed for some incredible sand sculptures that detailed the history of the circus, it’s controversies and also the sheer brilliance of its entertainment factor.
To find out more about the festival and my visit a few weeks ago check out the post I wrote – there are loads more photos of the festival and sculptures to see too!
When picking my top ten sculptures I decided to pick 5 from the main festival and 5 entries from the competition zone.
Here we go..
Main Festival Sculptures:
This is the first sculpture you spot once you have entered the festival and what a sculpture it is! I love how fun and exciting it is and how it’s also on one of the photo opportunity sculptures visitors can get involved with and have their photo taken on. You can jump into the car with the monkeys and see what monkey business you can get up to!
I was really intrigued by this sculpture and thought the elephant looked so realistic and lifelike. The information board accompanying the sculpture told visitors that elephants first appeared within the circus in the UK back in 1810. The information also detailed how ex-prime minister David Cameron promised to ban wild animals in the use of circus acts within England and Wales. Sadly, as the artist went on to explain, how this promise was not kept and that in some place animals are still being used within circuses and as entertainment today. This made me feel really sad and disappointed. I immediately felt sorry for the elephant, which obviously wasn’t real, however it symbolised other elephants and animals that should be out roaming in the wild and not used for human entertainment.
This sculpture made me smile, I’m not sure why but it really did. It reminded me not of going to the circus, but instead of watching the worlds strongest man on TV with my big sister – maybe that’s why it made me smile!
Again this was another sculpture that encouraged visitors to think about the history of the circus. Bears used to be a regular feature in circus entertainment as they are very intelligent and could be taught skills and tricks. Luckily no bears are used within circuses today which is definitely a good thing in my eyes!
This rather cheeky sculpture is situated outside the front of the festival and is obviously a fortune teller – I guess she spent her summer predicting visitors would have a fun time at the festival! I didn’t actually notice her as I went in – surprising given her rather ample bosoms but did on the way out and thought it was a great sculpture.
Competition Zone Sculptures:
Another bear sculpture – this one looking very fed up at being part of the circus which made me feel really sad. This one made me think about how lots of people visiting the circus in the past would have loved seeing a bear perform tricks, and whilst I understand that, it is just so cruel. I thought about what the living conditions may have been like for the animals backstage and how they would have been kept caged up and punished for not performing. Definitely makes you pleased bears aren’t used in circuses today, doesn’t it!
This sculpture seemed to be really popular on the day I visited with lots of younger children admiring it and saying how cute the teddy bear looked. The artist created this sculpture around the idea asking whether there is a great puppet master controlling us and thinking about the powerful position the media hold. Another thought-provoking sculpture and more than meets the eye!
Who knows what we saw
I thought this sculpture really summed up fun at the circus for me. I am not one who is scared of clowns and have luckily always found them to be funny growing up and as an adult. This one depicts the trick of pretending to saw someone in half – always a good one to watch just in case it goes wrong! I liked how the clown’s noses were red in colour too!
On the theme of clowns, I chose this horror clown sculpture as one of my favourites – purely for how horribly scary it is! As I just said above, I’ve never been one to be afraid of clowns but after seeing this double-sided clown I’m now not so sure about their harmless nature! I’m not sure I’ll be watching the new ‘IT’ film anytime soon…!
Animal crackers: elect a clown, expect a circus
I hadn’t realised until I wrote this that I had chosen another clown themed sculpture to put in my favourites – I guess these must symbolise the circus for me! I liked this cheeky chappy though and the detail on his outfit – so clever. I really enjoyed the humour in the title of the sculpture too. Apparently, the artist created this sculpture based on the film ‘Animal Crackers’ which is about a family that aims to save a run-down circus – I personally haven’t seen it before myself but am intrigued to check it out now!
So there we have it, my favourites from this year’s Weston Sand Sculpture Festival! Don’t forget to check out my full blog post reviewing the festival and both mine and the festival’s Instagram pages for more details and pictures!
*** I was given free entry to the festival, however, all thoughts, pictures and opinions are entirely my own ***