The Difference Between Sex and Gender

A definitive guide to inform anybody willing to move forward.

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Gender self-identification is often cited as a matter of civil rights. It is more problematic than many advocates realise

What is the difference between sex and gender?

It’s a very valid question and a good one, too, because the answer is so long. There is a difference, and it’s strange how the two became intertwined, because they’re so different. You’ve definitely heard people describing sex vs gender before. Sex = your physical sex organs, e.g. a vagina, or a penis, or both if you were born with both (yes, that’s possible, and no, it’s not weird). Gender = the way you identify socially, e.g. wearing pink, wearing dresses, and painting your nails. These traits might, by traditionalists, seem girly, and effeminate.

Many people find it difficult to fully understand the difference, they say gender and sex come hand in hand and that you cannot change what you are, but I say that they are mislead. Humans, from the dawn of time relied on natural biology to separate the sexes into genders- due to basic things like the woman carrying the baby and feeding it through lactation. Nobody can argue that that is the women’s role, since the male (sex) physically can’t do it. But, humans took it too far.

As we evolved throughout thousands of years, we relied less and less on the need to hunt for our food and women became to be able to do more than looking after a child. We let this remain this way until just a few hundred years ago- the woman being the carer and the man being the bread winner. This translates into gender self-expression too. Women, since the dawn of time, were encouraged to cover their breasts as to not arouse their male counterparts- or gay female counterparts for that matter.

This developed into the over-sexualisation of women’s bodies, which consequently led to women wearing long frocks and stockings, to wearing high heels (to keep their backs straight and legs looking dainty and effeminate). All the while, men stopped wearing high heels because they were deemed effeminate by the masses, they began to walk around with their tops off (since their breasts weren’t sexualised), and they were subsequently able to perform more manual-labour-esque tasks (emasculate jobs) like bricklaying and carpentry. Without divulging into the whole spiel, I hope I’ve made it clear how the conformation to gender roles throughout history has developed to create the gender con-formative society that we live in currently.

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Confusion Between the Differentiation of Gender & Sex

The difference between sex and gender are often confused because the general public tend to raise their children that way. From the beginning, most people buy their children masculine toys if they’re male, and feminine toys if they’re a female. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can lead to the manifestation of negative gender stereotypes or confusion later on in life. A person can live life being the male sex, but identifying with the female gender. This means they might prefer to wear effeminate clothing (skirts, tights, heels), paint their nails, wear makeup, and associate with a different demographic. Remember, it’s vital to use the word ‘might’ simply because everybody is different, and nobody identifies in the same place on the spectrum! A great documentary to watch if you’re interested in widening your knowledge on gender is a show on Channel 4 called, “The Effects Of A Gender Neutral Education,” the documentary is below.

Is the way we treat boys and girls the real reason we haven’t achieved equality between men and women? Dr Javid Abdelmoneim aims to find out by taking over a primary school class.

Some people say, ‘we need gender in our society because…’

No, we don’t, actually. We don’t need gender identification in our society. Men and women are both perfectly capable of completing the same jobs to the exact same degree of perfection, and men can now go on paternity leave meaning they can finally care for the baby. Heck, with same-sex parenting legal and in full swing, we are so far ahead that it’s comical for people to claim gender is even nearly necessary to maintaining a healthy, functioning society.

Since this site is personal to me, I think it’s time for me to discuss my personal gender identification and pronouns.

I’m lucky enough to have never experienced any form of gender dysphoria in my life. I can say comfortably that I, for the most time, identify quite effeminate on the spectrum. I enjoy spending up to an hour and a half applying makeup, then doing my hair. Sometimes however, I enjoy throwing my hair up, wearing my braces and tweed trousers and applying a mere layer of moisturiser in the morning. Dressing emasculate, for me, is empowering because I have never been oppressed to do it. Yes, sometimes people tell me I look better when I wear makeup- but I’ve learned to calmly explain to them how happy I am also without makeup.

My sexual orientation, as many know, has never been a ‘secret’ and I have never felt ashamed to be out about it. Many might know me as bisexual, however I have always sexually identified as pansexual.

Pansexual is the attraction to individuals regardless of how they gender-express, and regardless of their sexual biology. To me, this has always been the case and I have always been aware of it. Many of my friends and acquaintances find it strange and I often have to explain to them how it works and what it means, but no one has ever (to my face) told me they didn’t agree with it.

I identify as she/her, and my gender identification aligns with my biological sex. But, some are not as fortunate and suffer with gender/sex dysphoria.

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Gender/sex dysphoria is the feeling of belonging to another gender/sex

Gender dysphoria is a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there’s a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity. It’s sometimes known as gender incongruence. Biological sex is assigned at birth, depending on the appearance of the genitals. Gender identity is the gender that a person “identifies” with or feels themselves to be.

While biological sex and gender identity are the same for most people, this isn’t the case for everyone. For example, some people may have the anatomy of a man, but identify themselves as a woman, while others may not feel they’re definitively either male or female. This mismatch between sex and gender identity can lead to distressing and uncomfortable feelings that are called gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is a recognised medical condition, for which treatment is sometimes appropriate. It’s not a mental illness.

The first signs of gender dysphoria can appear at a very young age. For example, a child may refuse to wear typical boys’ or girls’ clothes, or dislike taking part in typical boys’ or girls’ games and activities.

In most cases, this type of behaviour is just part of growing up and will pass in time, but for those with gender dysphoria it continues through childhood and into adulthood. Adults with gender dysphoria can feel trapped inside a body that doesn’t match their gender identity.

They may feel so unhappy about conforming to societal expectations that they live according to their anatomical sex, rather than the gender they feel themselves to be. They may also have a strong desire to change or get rid of physical signs of their biological sex, such as facial hair or breasts.

The Gender Recognition Act 2004 gives certain legal rights to trans men and women.

Under the Gender Recognition Act of 2004, trans men and women can:

apply for and obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate to acknowledge their gender identity
get a new birth certificate, driving licence and passport
marry in their new gender
To apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate, you must be over 18.

The application process requires you to prove that:

  1. You have or have had gender dysphoria
  2. You have lived as your preferred gender for the last two years
  3. You intend to live permanently in your preferred gender

If you read all the way to the bottom of this article, congrats! I truly hope my efforts to put this article together helped you in some way, either aiding your discovery of your gender identity, or understanding gender so you can help others. Please feel free to contact me through email kaitlyn@pibernik.co.uk regarding anything from freelancing to your own personal problems. I have experience being an agony aunt, too!

https://www.mermaidsuk.org.uk/ is a great helpline for gender dysphoria, and their helpline number is 0808 801 0400.

If your call to them isn’t answered, you can chat to them about anything at info@mermaidsuk.org.uk.

Why Racism is Stupid

I’ve been thinking about the issue of racism and discrimination in our country for as long as I can remember, and I think it’s best I just wrote an article about it.
Muslim woman applying lipstick

Growing up in the 21st century definitely has its perks, many of which being able to grow and develop in a progressive, open-minded community of like-minded millennials. Being born in 2001, I’m not actually classified as a millennial, but for the purpose of this article, it makes more sense to just refer to myself as a millennial. I think that through writing this article my goal is to explore why people (predominantly of older generations) feel compelled to discriminate against people of colour, people in the lgbt+ community, and liberals.

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Man spinning EU and Great British flags

It starts with Brexit. I know you’re fed up of hearing this, and I know that because I am sick and tired of hearing about it too. Brexit has absolutely mangled the United Kingdom and we’ve become a laughing stock for the entire world. As much as I’d like to move on from it, it has to be discussed because lots of racism stems from Brexit and the EU. Many people don’t understand the fact that the EU is not Europe, and that we will not leave Europe if we leave the EU (which means European union).

When traditionalists, baby boomers, and generation X think of and discuss Brexit, the most common reaction is “We need to take our country back” or “These foreigners are taking over our country” because they watch Tommy Robinson scream at a Muslim and think what he’s doing and saying is okay- because they don’t ‘belong here’ or ‘deserve to be here’. I’ll happily contradict that, for a number of reasons. The criteria to enter Britain is in fact just as strict as getting into a country like Australia, for example. If one does not have a work or family visa, it will be very hard for them to migrate to the UK… So stop complaining about ‘foreigners swarming our country’, because (I’ll put it simply) they’re not.

The concept of somebody ‘not belonging’ in our country is ridiculous. Do you not remember when ‘Great’ Britain went over to India, colonized it, and took $45 trillion? Of course, you don’t because you don’t care. The Brits reigned over India and many other Asian countries for 173 years all the while stealing money from them and raping, pillaging and making slaves of their people. I find it kind of rich how, since the Age of Discovery, British citizens have made it their ‘right’ to own the UK while India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Burma, and Afghanistan are still recovering from the poverty that Great Britain left it in, all the way back in the 1770s through a successful revolution, which established the modern United States.

An 1876 political cartoon of Benjamin Disraeli (1804–1881) making Queen VictoriaEmpress of India. The caption was “New crowns for old ones!”

On top of this, we have slavery. ‘Great’ Britain bought slaves from the continent of Africa, and used them for manual labour in abusive circumstances, including, you guessed it- rape and pillaging. Ship owners transported enslaved West Africans, as well as British natives, to the New World to be sold into slave labor. The Dutch imported slaves from Asia into their colony in South Africa. In 1807 Britain, which held extensive, although mainly coastal, colonial territories on the African continent (including southern Africa), made the international slave trade illegal, as did the United States in 1808. Slaves were only made illegal just over 200 years ago. If that isn’t a depressing thought, I don’t know what is…

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Universities in the UK which benefited in previous centuries from the slave trade should contribute to a £100m fund to support ethnic minority students, says a university leader.

To digress, as of 2018, 3.8 million EU citizens live in the UK. Around 3.7 million people living in the UK in 2018 were citizens of another EU country. That’s about 6% of the UK population, although these figures exclude people who live in communal establishments. Let’s say it one more time so the old people can hear. 6 percent! Six!

An estimated 219,000 citizens from other EU countries immigrated to the UK in the year to June 2018, and about 145,000 emigrated abroad. So EU ‘net migration’ was around 74,000—the lowest level recorded since the year to September 2012.

In the year before the referendum, net EU migration was estimated at 189,000, so there’s been a large fall following the vote. We don’t know how much of that is a direct result of the decision to leave.

Crime. How many ‘foreigners’ are committing crime in the UK? If you’re referring to the knife crime in London, you’re instantly wrong. Foreigners? Do you mean ethnic people who have four or five generations of family that have all lived in England? The people who have legal citizenship in England and the same rights as you? You must mean that.

All of the crime in London through the past years have been gang-on-gang violence, and this actually falls under ‘gang violence’ opposed to ‘knife crime’ because these gangs are not behaving like Islamic State. I would be blind to ignore the stabbings which have taken place killing innocent people in the street, alongside the machete attacks, but gang violence in London is at an all-time high. Gang-related organised crime in the United Kingdom is concentrated around the cities of London, Manchester, and Liverpool and regionally across the West Midlands region, south coast and northern England, according to the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

Due to austerity, there are fewer youth clubs and there is less provision for youngsters, creating a vacuum. Youngsters, some children as young as 10 turn to gangs for friendship and protection. Later youngsters get forced into illegal activities, notably selling and trafficking illegal drugs. Britain has a number of traditional organised crime firms or local British crime families. Some of the most well known include the Kray twins, The Richardson Gang and Terry Adams Clerkenwell crime syndicate in London. Outside the capital, there are the Noonans in Manchester, Thomas McGraw from Glasgow and Curtis Warren from Liverpool who are amongst some of the most infamous. Guess what, they’re all British! Jack the ripper- also British!

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Tommy Robison

Tommy Robinson. What a piece of work. Closed minded, mislead, and straight up racist as fuck, Tommy Robison was recently arrested for ‘breaching the peace’ outside court during an online grooming trial. There are better ways to go about prosecuting a potential child groomer, of course. I wouldn’t ever disagree with that, and I would never berate Robinson for his efforts to reduce child groomers in the United Kingdom. What I cannot agree with is his constant racist rants and protests against Islam and Muslims in the United Kingdom. The image of Islam that Robinson sees in his head is skewed, and it is harmful to the public of the UK- especially Muslims.

The far-right activist showed men entering Leeds Crown Court in a live stream on Facebook, where he claimed to be “reporting” on the case. Grow up, Tommy!

“Can you get me a solicitor?” he asked his supporters while being searched and bundled into a police van. “This is ridiculous, I haven’t said a word…I’ve done nothing.”

Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Lennon, had claimed that verdicts were due on Friday but court officials confirmed that the trial of nine defendants is ongoing.

“This isn’t contempt of court?” he asked during the broadcast. “You are allowed to do this, aren’t you?”

Contempt of court is a criminal offense that can see people jailed for speeches or publications that create a “substantial risk that the course of justice in the proceedings in question will be seriously impeded or prejudiced”.

Robinson is already under a suspended sentence for committing contempt of court over a gang rape case heard in Canterbury last year. Judge Heather Norton handed him a three months imprisonment in May last year but suspended it for 18 months on the condition he did not commit further offenses.

Everyone knows this, but people don’t seem to care. One Muslim terrorist doesn’t stand to represent the whole body of Islam, and the majority of Islam is peaceful and properly practices the faith. Why ban the Burkha or ban Muslims or stop building mosques, when we can protect innocent Muslim men, women, and children? Berate the terrorists, Muslim or not, and follow the course of the law just like with everything else. Imagine how normally functioning members of our society feel being discriminated against purely for their faith, their clothes or their accessories.

A week in Bavaria, Germany

Day 1:

A hectic day to say the least. We arrived at Arnstorf at about 9:30am and unpacked straight away. After showering and spraying ourselves we headed to the ‘Freibad’, the outdoor public pool which is 2 euros per person to enter. We spent some hours there and then went to our first stop: Rudi and Steffi’s house. My dad met them through his friend Steve, who also came with his family.

Day 2:

Bayern Park (Bavarian theme park). This was one of the best days, unexpectedly. The park was filled with rides that were way faster than advertised. There was unfortunately way too much walking involved which meant I had a nap- too much walking aggravates my hip problems.

Day 3:

On the third day we went to the Freibad again, this time one in Pfarrkirchen rather than central Arnstorf. As expected for a pale person, I have to apply sun cream religiously. The Freibads were the best- a huge swimming pool, kid’s area, diving boards, slides, and kiosks that sold overpriced food. Despite the fact that the food was overpriced, on our first day we couldn’t do anything about it. The schwimmbad was a 15 minute walk and we forgot food, so we were forced to buy the food there. However, at Pfarrkirchen Freibad, I stocked up.
Two different types of crisps (family grab bags), 1.5 litres of iced tea, 4 bottles of water, mango and grapes.
Bringing a bunch of food allowed us to spend far more time there as we didn’t need to go home to get more food.

Side note: I found that through experience there’s a perfect kit you can bring to the swimming pool when you’re on holiday. Of course this doesn’t apply to villa accommodation because you can shower in your room. But, if you’re like me and walked to the pool then I think you’ll find the kit list very helpful. I’ll be writing about this after my Austria post.

Thank you for reading 🙂 I’ve been finding it really hard to post and have a life too, so if my content seems sparse that’s why 🙂

Germany in Conclusion

Hey. My holiday’s over, and I finally have enough time to write about it. Alongside Germany, I also went to Austria. I’ll be talking about this in a separate post.

I’m writing this on the plane home, and hopefully one and a half hours is enough time to compile my entire holiday into a website post.

It all started on the 2nd August, 10 days ago. Our flight was at 5 in the morning and we got a taxi there, and at this moment everybody was relaxed and the family was extremely keen for the holiday. Upon arriving at Heathrow terminal 5, I guided my mum and Rueben through check-in as I had flown to Dubai just a week prior. We made our way through the check-in desk and scanned our mobile boarding passes to walk through to security. Much to my sadness the scanner-man threw away my favourite expensive face wash, which I happened to mention in my previous post ‘Staying organised on holiday’. I hate to be dramatic, but I cried… £7 to me is a lot!

We went to a couple of shops to window shop because we spent all our money on the plane tickets… What a joke. The flight was painless and quick, a mere 2 hours compared to my monstrous flight to Dubai- 7 hours.

Upon arrival at Munich airport I quickly had a passport check and walked through to the café in the centre. My dad was waiting for us with a hot chocolate in hand- quickly my mum and brother followed.

We made our way through the terminal to Budget car rental and waited a whole 2 hours for our rental car- during this time my mum and I went to McDonald’s to get some limited edition battered shrimp from their new collection, and then we bought my dad a salami roll from a little shop in the airport.

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Fast forward 2 hours, and we’re in the rental car, a sporty ford. From Munich to Arnstorf was about 2 hours more or less- we admired the landscape as we went through the countryside. Early in the day was definitely the best time to arrive, because we had the whole day to sort ourselves out. At this point it was about 10:30-11:00am and we were arriving at Lindner’s hotel which was where we collected our apartment keys from.

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From one side of Arnstorf to the other, we made our way to our flat. One apartment to my parents and one for my brother and I- they were spacious and minimalistic which was how we liked it. After unpacking everything in our new apartments we made our way out.

Thanks for reading, I’ve got another post coming soon detailing my week there.

Kate.

 

 

 

 

 

How to stay Organised on Holiday

I’ve been travelling a lot recently and I’ve found that keeping on top of my belongings keeps me calm and happy, and my holidays always go as planned when I’m organised and have my life together.

Lists

List everything. It is so important to know exactly what you need and what you have. Here are some lists that I made for my trip to Dubai. These are the sorts of lists that you need for packing, and if you are like me you’ll bring 2 free carry on bags rather than a big one that costs £100 extra.

So here’s how I do it. My large hand luggage, a small suitcase will do me for a week.

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Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi on Pexels.com

In this larger bag, we’ll have our long-term things, like clothes, shoes, sun cream, gifts etc. This can be put in the overhead locker for no additional price, and you can get it down at any time during the flight to swap belongings.
In this larger suitcase you’ll need the following:

  • Clothes for every day (spare underwear and socks) unless you have a washing machine where you’re staying.
  • Suncream/protective sun oil, after sun/aloe vera lotion, body exfoliator if you prefer to keep your skin in good condition, a body butter and body sprays (no aerosols).
  • A few pairs of (light), compact shoes.
    I recommend the following: flip flops/waterproof sandals/sliders, trainers, ballet shoes, etc. Different styles of light shoes.

Disclaimer: everything must be under 100ml and stored in a clear toiletry bag. If you don’t have one the airport will provide one.

The other luggage is a smaller hand bag sort of thing, and this will go under the seat in front of you.

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Photo by Vinta Supply Co. | NYC on Pexels.com

In this bag you will need to store your toiletries, otherwise you’ll have to fumble through your suitcase for them at security.
In this bag you’ll need:Toiletries

For me, my toiletries bag is what keeps me going. It’s so vital to have your go-to face wash with you because spots on holiday are a deal breaker. What I pack has never let me down wherever I’ve been. I pack the following:

  • Carmex SPF15 Moisturising Lip Balm
  • Cyclax Nutressa Acai Berry Face Moisturiser
  • Ted Baker London Body Spray
  • Go-to Spot Cream, over the counter (Acnecide 5% Benzoyl Peroxide)
  • Hand Sanitiser (Carex Moisture Plus)
  • Collection Eyebrow Kit in Blonde
  • Falsifeye Falsh Lash Effect Mascara
  • Super Facialist Salicylic Acid Anti Blemish Purifying Cleansing Wash
  • Toothbrush (With Cover)
  • Nivea underarm roll on (Double Effect)

I store all of this in a clear toiletry bag which makes life so much easier. Store this in your handbag, so you don’t have to mess around with your larger luggage!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Art To Organisation

The video version of this article is available here: https://youtu.be/3oUfwu2Si1Q

Organisation plays a huge part in my life. As somebody with ocd (contamination, checking and hoarding), my lifestyle is directly impacted by how clean and how organised my surroundings are. Going on holiday/traveling is often a trigger for me, because I make lists- otherwise, the anxiety sets in. I check my lists four or five times and every time I get anxious. My terrible short-term memory directly impacts this because I’m scared that I have forgotten something. This post isn’t about the ocd though, it’s about my general organisational habits and how I turn them into something constructive rather than a mental prison that I cannot escape from.

In my life, there is no clutter. It’s something I literally cannot help, it’s as if my body is dragging me across the room to the bag full of rubbish and I’m being forced to take it out. Drawers are a huge culprit. The home’s ‘messy drawer’ does not exist in my home. Every container has a purpose and it makes life easier for all of the family when they can ask me where something is and I know exactly where I put it. That’s the case for every part of my house, and I’m lucky it’s a small one otherwise god knows how long I’d be cleaning for per day.

And this isn’t always a compulsive, negative thing. Most days I sit back, exhausted, and look at what progress I’ve made. I always give myself a pat on the back because if I didn’t have this mindset like most people, I’d not have done so much. It really is a blessing in disguise, because you have to look at the silver lining and realise that your compulsion is yes terrible, but it also forces you to do many things that maybe you wouldn’t feel motivated to do otherwise.

But some days, I slump. I wake up late in the day with no motivation at all, and these are what I call my lows. To other people, completely understandably, these are just interpreted as me being lazy. But when somebody is struggling with a chemical imbalance in their brain it is often difficult to snap out of it. But I embrace them as I know nothing I can do will change it, and I just take the day off. I don’t wear makeup if I need to leave the house, don’t do my hair, and wear basic clothing. This is quite the opposite of how I normally am- makeup, hair done and fashionable clothing.

This all impacts me one way or another. It’s the impending thought that one day I’ll need something and I won’t know where it is, or if one day my alarm doesn’t go off I can just grab my readily packed hand bag and jet out the door. These thoughts impact my organisation and my organisation impacts my every living moment. It is both a burden and a blessing.

When I am fully organised, my life is extremely relaxed. But I have a slump/low day and it all goes out the window. I often do the washing to take the stress off of my mum’s shoulders, she works 6 hours a day and for her to have to do the washing at the end of it would make me feel extremely bad. Alongside this, guiding my brother to do his share of the chores every single day grinds down on me too. He is addicted to his xbox and nothing my family says or does can seem to snap him out of it.

It normally takes him 30 shouts to get him off Fortnite or Forza on a normal off-school day, and for a ten year old, I’d say that’s not very good. I make him do the dishwasher and occasionally collect the washing from the line. If I’m lucky, he’ll put away the clothes in his, mum’s and my own wardrobes too. But that’s on a good day.

I’ve been rambling an awful lot about a topic that wasn’t even intended to be focused on in this article, so I must force myself to digress. The real topic: How and why I find organising so therapeutic. I will attach some photos of containers in my home that I have organised. You might note that they’re not ‘ocd’ or ‘perfect’ and that’s because everybody’s rituals and compulsions are important. I organise by type, eg. trousers in one section and t-shirts in another. Not necessarily by colour or brand, as I find this the most pragmatic approach for myself and thankfully my family.

As you can see above, my ways of organising are like literally any others. I go for a logical and practical approach, keeping everything in the same place. I cannot stand having shoes strewn across the house because then you never know what you own and where it is.

Today and yesterday I took to emptying my parent’s wardrobe and putting everything they didn’t want in a pile. I then folded and packed away all of their keep clothes in order of category, and once that was done I focused on the throw clothes.

In my throw category, I separated it into two further piles. Sell and bin because nothing was worthy of the charity shop. I listed everything on a few local ‘buy and sell’ pages and if they don’t sell I’ll have to give them away. I think in total I took about 300 items of clothing out of my parent’s wardrobes combined. Not that’s satisfaction.

Upon listing lots of items of clothing online I had to move them from the kitchen (my temporary fashion lab) to the shed (a kindo of large log-cabin-esque thing) and I’m now waiting for the items to sell as they’re all hanging from a ladder.

Thank you for reading, look forward to a sequel.

Kate.

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