About Me

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Tokyo, Japan
In 2011 I graduated with 1st class honours in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. I lived in China for nearly two and a half years, where I was working as an English teacher. I just moved to Tokyo where I will be spending my time teaching and writing. This blog is about my experiences of TEFL teaching and living abroad.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

September already...

Hello readers, I hope you are all well.
Things are busy busy here in Celia's World. Paris was...amazing. I visited the famous literary landmark of the Shakespeare and Company bookshop, bought a copy of the Paris Magazine which I'm slowly chewing my way through. Other than that, did a lot of the touristy things, the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, etc. A good break; not much of a rest but I do like to be busy.

My latest writing goals...I'm currently working on several submissions for an anthology of writing by the women of Guernsey. I thought I'd have this one nailed pretty quickly, but after some light work shopping I decided to convert one poem into a sonnet, of all things, so editing of these submissions has been pretty intense. But I'm hopeful that I'll get it together by the end of next week.
I'm about to start putting together some works for the Christmas editions of magazines like flashquake and Island Ink; it seems like a long way off, but the bookshop I work in is already selling Christmas cards so... that's just the way of the world I guess.
I haven't written any travel pieces about Paris yet but I'm going home next week so am going to have some chill time to get all those bits of writing done.
Working for Suite 101 is going well, just recipes and book reviews at the moment but I'm enjoying it and finding the workload manageable.

The Uganda diaries...I'm going to be sending out copies to my proofreaders soon, particularly those I have included in the story. So that is ongoing.

That's me for now :)

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Uganda Diaries, latest draft completed

So I've been working hard at the Uganda Diaries and managed to complete a full edit today. Boosted it from 26,000 to nearly 28,000 in one edit, so very pleased. Was mostly just checking for typos, checking it flowed and that sort of thing. Next edit will be focused far more on bulking it out and adding in little extras. Either way it's very exciting.
I'll probably start the new edit next week once I get back from Paris. Hopefully I'll do a little travel writing out there, aimed at the Telegraph weekly travel competition. I've also been working towards another submission with The Peoples Friend magazine, which I adore. It's so quaint. So I wrote a short story for that which is still in first draft stages but looking promising.
So that's me :)

Saturday, 14 August 2010

So this is Summer?

Hello, I hope your day is much sunnier than mine is! What am I saying? I actually quite like the rain, but perhaps, not so much during these 'warmer' months!
So what have I been up to recently? Well I've finished typing up the Uganda journals, 26,000 words for a first draft is not bad at all I think. In the process of involving an editor at the moment, a lady from a small independent publishing house based in Bristol. Then once it's at a presentable stage, I'd like to start submitting it to proper, big publishing houses. The ones I have in mind are two giants from the christian publishing world, Authentic Media and Christian Focus Publishing. Authentic's website is sadly down at the moment, but the CFP one is really good, with a detailed section on how to submit to them for publication. They do a really nice range of Christian missionary biographies where I think mine would fit in nicely. So heres hoping I can get things moving quickly and see where it all goes.
Speaking of authetic media, they are holding a poetry competition judged by Adrian Plass, so I'd like to have a go at that. Other competitions I'm working on - Leaf Books have a really good travel one, a 300 word postcard type thing. I've got two written so far and I'd like to submit four, and the style of them are quite fun rather than your normal informative travel. I did recentyl submit to the Telegraph for their weekly travel competition, which looks really good. I've been eyeing it up for a while and so I'm glad I finally submitted!
What else? I've just had two poems published in Island Ink, a local writing magazine back home in Guernsey. The calibre of the work is getting better every time, and I can't wait to submit for the Christmas issue, and also the 2011 calander. So much to do!
Off to Paris in about two weeks, so I'd love to get some writing done then, lots of travel stuff. So...that's me. Just editing 'Georges War' at the moment and the poetry I wrote in Keswick, hopefully to submit to Other Poetry magazine.
Come on sunshine, just a little! It's the weekend for goodness sake!

Friday, 6 August 2010

Now being published with Suite 101

just a short one - I've had my first article published with Suite 101. I'm focussing on book reviews though I have typed up a recipe today too, so we'll see where it goes. Take a look and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Suite 101

Guess who is now an author with the Suite 101 website? Me! Hurrah! I think how it works is that I submit articles, on pretty much anything, and when they are published I get paid royalties for page views etc. Either way, it's giving me something productive to do and getting my writing out there, so really pleased to have been accepted as one of their writers. I've got a few book reviews lined up to publish, and thought I'd try my hand at the recipes section too, cook the thing first so I can do pictures and then do a write up. Exciting times.
At the moment I'm reading The Sisters Who would be Queen by Leanda De Lisle. I'm really getting into my non-fiction books at the moment, but one of the things I most like about De Lisle's book is that it reads like fiction. It isn't all cut and dry facts but laid out in an engaging way. History books are fun.
My week up in Keswick was really good, I had a lot of fun on the Wesley Owen bookstall. Working there has really opened my eyes to how many christian books there are out there. I had a chat with Simon Guillebaud who writes the sort of books that I want to write, and I picked up lots of useful tips, so well worth the journey for that if nothing else.
Typed up six or seven chapters of the book I wrote in Uganda. It's a sort of missionaries diary, just explaining what we were doing out there and how I felt about all the things we were seeing. I'm really confident that there is a market for this kind of stuff, and because it's quite informal and casual, it'll be accessible for readers of all ages.
Still editing the transplant novel when I have the time, try and get a bit more of that done this week. I'm still hopeful I'll have it done by the end of September.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The travelling girl

What a busy month it's been! I've been in Africa for two weeks, doing missionary work down in Rukungiri. It was fantastic, did so much writing, so watch this space...I did write a novel out there, so will be typing that up when I get a moment.
Currently at the Keswick convention where I'm helping out on the Wesley Owen Bookstall - and I've been very good and only bought one book so far. Lots of christian authors milling around up here so hopefully get to speak to some of them!
Walked around Derwentwater lake and have been writing poetry since. What a lovely place the lake district is!
One last note - look what I just found!


Friday, 2 July 2010


Heya, just a quick one.
Here is a link to the documentary that inspired my novel.
Proof that I'm not just a nutter and that this is a real, interesting phenomena.
Won't be posting for a few weeks as I'm off, off and away (Uganda, Keswick, Paris, Guernsey...it's a summer of travel!)
See ya soon!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Editing the novel

Hello! Just a quick one here.
I've been editing the novel this week - done about 3/4 chapters so far. At the moment I'm in my bulking up phase - each time I edit a chapter, I come away with it at about 500/1000 words longer, which is great news. I think I'll have to do this phase twice - so, edit it all, bulking it up, then do the same again before I can think about properly editing it down. Phew! But it's going well :)
Been writing one or two book reviews, which are ok. I'm currently looking for somewhere to do a frequent feature, so trying to get a stock of them ready.
In July I'll be away lots - but I will indeed still be writing away. The next project is writing about my mission work in Uganda - I have a brand new notebook ready and waiting. So I'm excited to see where that takes me. So excited, only a week to go then I'm off - so trying to get lots done now so I'm not behind when I get back!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Happy Fathers Day

Hello all, I hope you are having a nice fathers day and that, wherever you are, the sun is shining :)

George's War is all typed up and I have started editing, though I think I'll move onto something else for a little while so I can come back to it with a fresh mind. On the whole I think it's pretty decent. The diary format is always a little bit difficult; I often wonder, would the protagonist really write this in their diary? But, as ever, artistic licence is coming in handy. Just trying to look for somewhere to submit it now. A 10,000 word piece is too long for most short stories publishers, and a little too short to be a novella. So at the moment, I have a novellette on the fairly specific topic of the occupation of Guernsey in WW2...hmmm. Any ideas?

I entered the Wasafiri New Writing Competition with a life writing piece that I wrote as part of my university course. I'm pretty confident that this is a good contender; I worked really hard on it and I think it has a unique flair to it. But we'll see :) I do like submitting to something at least once a month. Recently been branching out and trying new competitions (even ones you need to pay for. I know! Me, a student, giving away monies!) so we'll see what comes of that.

Been reading lots of poetry. Just finished the collection of Sylvia Plath's work as put together by Ted Hughes, which I loved. I have resolved that, whenever I want to write poetry, I should read poetry first as it really inspires me, especially Plath's work that is so lyrical and beautiful to read. Also reading Nick Laird's 'To a Fault' which I am less impressed with, but that is usually the case with contemporary poets.

I've recently been reading about this bookshop in Paris called 'Shakespeare and Company'. They allow emerging writers to stay in the shop for free, provided they help out on the tills during the day. Isn't that a fantastic idea? I'd love to do that - I'm going to Paris this summer for a bit, so I will probably have a gander and check it out for future travelling, because it does indeed sound very awesome. What book worm wouldn't want to live in a bookshop?

That's it for toady :) More news soon!

Friday, 4 June 2010


Good day! Isn't it glorious to be able to look out the window and say..."Hooray! It's sunny!" So where am I? Indoors of course. My laptop doesn't do well outdoors! Never the mind, there will be plenty of time relax now that...
...I have finished typing the novel! *Victory Dance*. I'm looking forward to actually reading it now. Then onwards with editing of epic proportions. The word count is still quite low, so bulking up is going to be number one on my list for the redrafts. Oh and I need to think of a title...
Next thing to type up is 'George's War'. I really like this piece. It's very emotive. A few times, while writing it, I found I was getting a little tearful. Sadly not tears of joy due to the absolute awesomeness of my writing, but because I had just finished reading that book about the occupation, so it was all still a bit raw. Although the book isn't based on true events, many of the events I have fabricated are inspired by true happenings. Which is still a shock every time I remember it.
Just had a fab new idea for a non-fiction book...so watch this space!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

George's War

Hello everyone, isn't the year just flying by? Crazy times - I've been out of Uni for nearly three weeks now, and what do I have to show for it? Well, quite a lot actually...
I've recently been reading a book about the occupation of the channel islands during the second world war. As a Guernsey girl myself, I found this fascinating, so many things I didn't have a clue about. So of course, as always happens: when I read, I write.
So that's what 'George's War' is about. A short story (though, glancing over the pages in my notebook, I don't doubt it's a good few thousand) about George Carre and his struggles, not only because of the war, but also just growing up. A lot of the facts are based on the research I red in the book, and the case of the Anne-Frank-esque secret lodger, though fabricated, it entirely plausible for the time. I love to think that things like that really happened, but we just don't know about it. Like Anne Frank, I bet there are loads of other people who have similar stories to tell, but for one reason or another we've just never got wind of it. Are those stories even meant to be told? Who knows.
So yes... still typing up the novel, got a few chapters to go but doing well, then onwards with redrafting. I kind of want to take a break from it, but I'm so enthusiastic about getting it actually finished I know I can't afford to take a break - woe is me!
So, that's the situation.
Oh...and in October, I shall be meeting STEPHEN FRY.

Life. Is. Awesome. Over and out.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Faber New Poets

Last night I went to an event at Toppings, Bath, showcasing the work of four poets from the new Faber series . These are the voices of tomorrow...today! Nothing like a nice cheesy catch line to get an audience - and an audience they got! The four poets were Joe Dunthorne, Annie Katchinska, Sam Riviere and Tom Warner. Each has a surprisingly different style, with some excellent works and other that I found a little iffy. But all the same, an excellent night, lots of young talent out there which is really inspiring.

I am submitting again to Island Ink since my publication in this months issue, so hopefully they will look favourably on my work again. I've just finished Uni for the year (crazy, long summer) so will have lots more time for my writing and things. I plan to go to a lot more readings, as they always make me leave wanting to get writing! Toppings is only small, but it puts on an impressive amount of readings.

Book is almost all typed up now, just two chapters to go. By no means is that the end of the journey - I get the feeling that I've barely passed through the beginning. Lots of editing is coming my way...oh yays!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Can it be summer?

Things have been very busy recently, it being the assignment season and all. Getting a bit of other work done. I'm currently in the process of typing up my novel, which is taking longer than I thought! Once that's done I'll start editing it - the second draft being the one I want to bulk up, and the third draft will be the one I condense down. It's nice to be working to a plan!
Haiku Hundred is still going well, I've written almost thirty now and a few of them are pretty good. The trouble with Haikus is that you can't really edit or workshop them, as they have such a strict structure, it's easier to start again really than it is to edit one.
Other than that...not much news. Still waiting on a response from the Rialto, and a poem of mine will be appearing this week in the 4th edtition of 'Island Ink' which I'm quite excited about hopefully they will want to publish me again soon!

Monday, 12 April 2010


So....I've finished my novel!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Back in the island

Hello! Here I am, back in Guernsey and getting...hmm...an ok-ish amount done! I didn't start my Haiku 100 precisely when I said I would...but been going strong for 8 days now and really like one or two of the poems I've done so far. It's really good, getting in the habit of having to write every day like that. I wake up, see my little haiku book and think 'ah, must look out for something to write a haiku about' and somewhere along my travels, I find something springs to mind and I write about it. Today I visited the Little Chapel (beautiful!) and wrote about that.
Today I wrote another chapter of the heart transplant novel - really must think of a title for that soon! All the ones I've thought of so far are cheesy and predictable. So only two more chapters and...I'm done! Hurrah. Well, done with the FIRST draft, anyway :)
What else? Wrote a few short stories last week, just waiting for some crit on those and I'll be editing away. I've recently been reading...umm, a book of flash fiction called (can you believe it...) 'Flash'. I also just red a book about life in China a few hundred years ago, which was interesting but somewhat poorly written I'm afraid. Now I'm re-reading 'American Gods' by the fantastic Neil Gaiman, he's SO good. I'd forgotten how ace the book is, will soon have to get into 'Neverwhere' I think it is, which is another of his books I haven't red yet.
Keeping busy with my Easter assignments for uni, but the ones I've done so far have been nice and straightforward....saving the hardest ones for last, but I'll have to face them sometime!!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

And before we know it, Easter will be upon us.

Hello! Feeling a little more human today so actually got some work done, though I daresay this cold will be lingering on painfully for much time to come! So...work, hurrah! I have a few deadlines coming up which I've been cracking the whip on. My sudden prose author study (for which I have written about the lovely Raymond Carver) I've had written for a while, but of course there is never an upper limit on editing, is there? So editing away I shall be, hopefully even get some of that done today (hopefully I haven't cursed my productivity by saying so...)

Also due in on the same week is my creative folder for my Writing for Children course - which I adore :D It's been difficult selecting what to pick. It's 2500 words, which most people groan at, but to be honest I can't stand low word counts - it's so much easier to add than it is to take away. So for my folder I so far have three pieces - the text for a picture book aimed at really young children, the entire text of my awesome nonfiction book about penguins, and an extract from a piece aimed at the 'read alone's, so 8-12 years. Hopefully this will be demonstrating a good range of my talents. I have a few hundred words left so might knock up another piece at the eldest of the children's categories, the sort of teenagey section. I could always chuck in something from my novel but really I want to save that for my general folder, and one can't be too careful about plagiarising one's self, so I'd better not risk it!

Still haven't heard back from Mslexia about the flash fiction piece I submitted, but still keeping my fingers crossed. I should really post some more stuff out soon, I like to post something every month, keep myself in circulation, but I haven't got round to it yet for March. I guess I could try again with the rejected pieces but at different venues.

I keep meaning to rewrite my travel writing about Wales but haven't had the time. I hope to do a longer piece about Guernsey when I go home for Easter, so fingers crossed that one is more successful.

Tomorrow night is my literary favorite of the month - storytelling at the Raven. God bless Bath and it's amazing hippies. Tomorrow night is going to be a special one - it's getting filmed for the songs of praise or something, so I can't wait to see who'll be performing (aside, of course, from the fabulous Bard of Bath).

Inspired by an article I red in the Independent, as of tomorrow (hopefully. we all know how you have an 'awesome' idea that, the next day, seems far less appealing) I will be starting my haiku hundred. I will try to write a haiku every day for a hundred days, and hopefully by the end, I will have at least a few that are worth publishing! This will be difficult, mainly, because I don't really know what a haiku is. I don't really do technical knowledge for poetry - I wouldn't know a sestina or a villanelle if it bit me on the bottom. But hey ho... off to wikipidea for some explainations :) So... look out, haiku's about :)

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Isn't this year just soaring by?

Well, into March already and I can't say I'm glad...though of course I am really because the weather is FINALLY brightening up in drizzly old Bath. But where does all that time go? Not on writing my novel I can tell you!
So what has been going on recently? Right now it's the Bath Literary Festival, and I'm sorry to say that I haven't actually been to anything to do with it yet (apart from the poetry pub crawl, which was indeed a groovy night out). Nothing has caught me eye really, not compared with seeing Wendy Cope last year. But perhaps I shall force myself to go see something unusual, I might even have fun! My main news involving the Lit Fest is that they are publishing a daily poem, as a way of exhibiting the work of local people, and on Tuesday this week, I was their daily poem with my piece 'The BBC Stole My Crocodile Clip'. So I was very please with that indeed!
Other poetry news, I just received my latest rejection slip, this time from 'Magma' magazine, one of the most prolific poetry magazines in the country. So that is disappointing, but at the same time I wasn't really expecting to get in anyway, them being so good and all, so chin up and carry on. Every time someone says 'No' I am one 'No' closers to someone saying 'Yes'. :)
There are a few other magazines I have lined up to look into, so maybe I'll try them out next, see if I fare any better.
Bath Spa is indeed keeping me busy with assignments at the moment, they've all sort of crept up on me! But I'm not too worried about any of them, despite being surprised that they are finally here I have been, on the whole, keeping up with things and so it's all manageable. I'm very much looking forward to Easter, obviously so I can relax and spend some lovely time with my family, but also to get a lot of work done when I don't have to timetable it around lessons and jobs, etc.
But Easter is still a long way away when I think of all the assignments I need to hand in first, not to mention another bout of car journalism, woe is me!
Who'd want to be a writer? Tish.

Monday, 15 February 2010

A Dirty Weekend with Shakespeare, Blake and Elizabeth Browning

Just a quick one for you - been doing a little cut-up poetry for my experimental poetry homework. Cut-up poetry is when take a poem or several, of your own or by other people, and literally just cut them up and paste it back together to make something new. You can even splice in things that aren't poetry, like lyrics, newspaper cutting, anything. So I took three of the most famous love sonnets ever written, and on a bit of a gigglish school girl whim, I put it back together trying to find as many inappropriate innuendos as possible. Childish, I know, but terrible fun! Hope you enjoy :)


Sunday, 14 February 2010

Happy Valentines Day!

Hello all, hope you are having a lovely valentines day!
So what is my writerly news? I wrote half a chapter of the novel this week gone, and am planning on finishing it off this afternoon. Only a few more chapters to go and that's the first draft done and dusted, so really excited about that.
I sent off some poetry recently to some magazines, got a rejection slip from Smiths Knoll this week. I wasn't expecting them so accept me, the standards are very high there, but all the same...sad face. Fingers crossed I get a better response from Magma and Mslexia. If not there is another magazine I've got lined up to apply to with things that get turned down.
Been attending a fair few writerly events in Bath, lots of poetry readings and performances. It's the Bath literary festival coming up. Haven't got any tickets yet but hopefully I will managed to catch a few decent things. Last year I saw 'Shakespeare on Toast' which was great, and the guy that did it is back this year so, fingers crossed I can see him! I also saw Wendy Cope, one of my favorite poets, and she was brilliant. I was very chuffed, as I went on my own and I normally get very embarrassed in front of crowds, but I stood up and asked her a question and everything. Aren't I awesome :D
Nearly finished reading Dawkins, like...80 pages to go. It's been SUCH a struggle, but I hate giving up on books, they haunt me for years if I don't finish! SO... time for a valentines pamper session in a nice warm bath with a...umm...not so nice book, lol!
Toodles for now x

Saturday, 30 January 2010


Hi everyone!
So as January draws to a close I thought I'd update ya'll on how things are going in my writerly world. This week has been jam packed with editing and rewriting of prose poems, mainly. Really getting into them, it's true what they say about having to be a good reader before you are a good writer. Before I started reading 'No Boundaries' I had very little idea about prose poetry, but now the stuff just rolls out of the pen and onto the page, which is awesome! In our sudden prose module we are starting starting short stories, so look out for some of those soon!
Other writing news - i have started writing the first in a series of childrens books, inspired by the David Attenborough 'Planet Earth' series. The one I've been writing today is about Pip the Penguin, ahhh. So I'm glad I've finally got stuck into that, the idea has been rolling around for quite a while so I am very ready to start writing it now!
Novel..umm...yeh not so much. Maybe I'll do a bit more this weekend. What with assignments, etc, it's taking a bit of a back seat right now, but hopefully I'll get back into it soon.
Anything else I've done with my day? I submitted some stuff to Magma poetry magazine, so fingers crossed I get a prompt and positive response! What else? Cake baking...Mmm :) Also been setting up a website and facebook group for my fund raising attempts. I'm going on a mission trip to Uganda this July and so have started raising some money. If you're interested, check out the website: www.justgiving.com/Celia-Jenkins

Monday, 25 January 2010

Prose Poetry

Hello, hope everyone is well and having a grand start to the year. Nearly February already - isn't it going quickly?
Well, so far this year my writing has been dominated by prose poetry, which I am really getting into at the moment. I am reading 'No Boundaries' which is a collection of prose poems by 24 American writers. Almost every time I read it, I come away inspired to write my own... which I do :D I really like Russell Edson, he is one of the best prose poets of our time. A fair few of the poems in the book are quite abstract and don't make a whole lot of sense. Some tell more of a story. I like the ones in the middle, that tell a story by sort of hinting at it rather than detailing every little things, the poems that encapsulate a mood or feeling. Oddly, I've noticed that loads of them include Eucalyptus plants... strange!
So, some works in progress? Not sure if this is a prose poem or just a poem, until I've edited things to death I'm never really sure, but this one is fresh of the page:


Camomile tea was rare and exotic. It came in ornate tea cups, thin handles flecked with gold. Pure as raindrops. Honey dripping from a spoon. God nectar.
Then I grew up. Camomile tea was bought in boxes, square tea bags. Drunk often until the taste is no longer there. Just a sour sense of regret.


What else have I been writing? Still working towards some travel writing, I have two pieces in mind. The first is a short (500 wc) piece for a competition that is run weekly, and that one is going to be about Wales, where I spent a week at the start of this year. I have a first draft, but it needs much work as I've never written travel stuff before, so it's pretty sketchy at the moment. The other will be longer, more of a feature, for a magazine I quite like called 'The Peoples Friend'. I haven't started that one yet, I'm currently just deciding what to include in it. I'm writing it about my home so, it's difficult to pick out just a few things to mention!
The novel has been on hold for a few weeks, just because I've had essays and things to do. I'm hoping to get more done very very soon, I really want the first draft finished by Easter, then onwards with redrafting. Feeling a bit deflated about it really, in some one of my creative writing seminars I was reminded how authors tend to write a few rubbish books that never get published before they write the good ones, and although I've already written a novel that I consider to be my 'rubbish novel', it just got me thinking, what if this is my rubbish novel too? What if I have two rubbish novels before my good ones, and this is all just a waste of time? Then I think, what if I only ever write rubbish novels and never a good one, what then?
These are my thoughts.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Trying New Things

So it's still 2010, I figure that it being a new year I should probably try some new things. So what have I been writing recently? Turning my hand to travel writing at the moment, just short pieces, target markets I will be submitting to are a magazine that mainly publish short stories but tend to have one travel feature each issue, and also there is a continual competition I've found for travel writing, which picks a winner every week, so looking promising :)
Also been writing a bit more prose poetry, think I've got another one fixed for my next publication, hurrah! Only...say...20 more to go :D

Friday, 1 January 2010

And a Happy New Year

Hello hello, hope everyone has had a lovely Christmas and a fantastic New Year...onwards into 2010. What does the year hold for my fantabulous writing career? Well, this shall be the year I finish writing my novel. It may even finish it much much sooner if all goes to plan, I've written about 2/3 of the first draft, so depending on how long editing takes...who knows! Also this shall be the year that I find myself an agent to promote and guide me in writerly things, and this year I will be publishing my second collection of poetry, prose and other fun things, hurrah.

Didn't quite finish Dawkins in time to make it onto my 2009 list, but there are indeed many other things that did so, keep your eyes peeled for my soon to be appearing book review list from last year. Lots of children's books in the latter months - judge me not! I study 'writing for young people' so its'...err... research? :)

Have a grand start to the year and all the best