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5 growth strategies for your business this Easter

5 growth strategies for your business this Easter

Easter is often seen as a time of new beginnings. Coinciding with Spring, with trees bursting into blossom as well as lambs being born, there is a sense of new life and new opportunity. Could your business benefit from some new life this Easter?

5 steps to being a happier business owner on #InternationalDayOfHappiness

5 steps to being a happier business owner on #InternationalDayOfHappiness

Today, March 20th, is International Day of Happiness. First created in 2012, International Day of Happiness was designed by the United Nations to promote, preserve and celebrate the happiness that is in our world, despite some of the complex, interrelated challenges faced by humanity.

How to use icons in your business

How to use icons in your business

Here at Get Ahead VA our team includes experts in a wide variety of fields. From Accounting to Admin, Hootsuite to Holiday cover, Email Marketing to Excel, our VAs can add value to many aspects of your business. In our Expert Showcase series our team deliver some of this expertise to you, with a series of ‘How to’ guides to help you get the best bang for your buck in your business. In this guide one of our marketing and social media management specialists Jenny talks about how you can use icons to boost the visual impact of your marketing – both on and offline:

5 tips to stay save online on Safer Internet Day

5 tips to stay save online on Safer Internet Day

Today is Safer Internet Day, a global event which is celebrated in over a hundred countries, coordinated by the joint Insafe/INHOPE network. It is supported by the European Commission and national Safer Internet Centres across Europe. The day offers the opportunity to highlight positive uses of technology and to explore the role we all play in helping to create a better and safer online community.

Expert Showcase: 7 ways to work from home more effectively

Expert Showcase: 7 ways to work from home more effectively

Here at Get Ahead VA our team includes experts in a wide variety of fields. From Accounting to Admin, Hootsuite to Holiday cover, Email Marketing to Excel, our VAs can add value to many aspects of your business. In our Expert Showcase series our team deliver some of this expertise to you, with a series of ‘How to’ guides to help you get the best bang for your buck in your business. In this guide our founder and director Rebecca Newenham talks about how to work effectively from home, drawing on her experience since setting up Get Ahead VA over six years ago:

3 steps to Self Assessment success

3 steps to Self Assessment success

It is less than 3 weeks to go until the Self Assessment deadline so if you haven’t already got your tax return sorted, now is the time. Under current tax rules, if you run your own business and are registered self-employed you may need to submit a tax return online, along with other people who are required to file returns such as those whose annual income is over £100,000 per year, who have Capital Gains Tax to pay, who live abroad or who are trustees. The deadline for filing online is Tuesday 31st January and there are fines to pay for every single day that you file late – however good your excuse is!

Expert Showcase: What is keyword planning and how can you do it?

Expert Showcase: What is keyword planning and how can you do it?

Here at Get Ahead VA our team includes experts in a wide variety of fields. From Accounting to Admin, Hootsuite to Holiday cover, Email Marketing to Excel, our virtual assistants can add value to many aspects of your business. Each month we like to share some of this expertise with you through our series of ‘How to’ guides to help you get the best bang for your buck in your business. In this guide one of our Digital Marketing experts Carrie talks about what keyword planning is and how you can integrate into your online marketing.

How to set up a Webinar

How to set up a Webinar

This month one of our contacts asked us….’How do you set up a webinar?’. So here goes…Carrie, one of our Marketing Specialists explains how to set up a webinar. You’ve watched webinars yourself or seen them advertised across the web. Everyone is talking about them and you would like to give one a go. It just seems like far too much trouble and you don’t know where to start. There’s the huge cost and research to be done into creating one and hosting one!!! I promise you, it is affordable, easy and you will be able to do it, I’m here to help you!

3 things you SHOULDN'T do when your staff phone in sick

3 things you SHOULDN'T do when your staff phone in sick

For any business managing staff sickness can be a key issue. But particularly if you own a small business, absence can become critical. If you employ two waiting staff and one phones in sick, how will you manage being 50% down? If you only employ one skilled designer and do not come in, what happens to client work that is due?

How to keep learning for free!

How to keep learning for free!

We all know that in small businesses every penny counts. Sufficient cash flow is vital to make your business run effectively. Adequate funds to pay your bills and invest in your business are critical. But when it comes to investing in your business there are so many demands. From money for marketing, PR and social media, to new technology, premises or stock, the ‘wish’ list can seem endless. In this ‘How to’ guide one of our virtual assistants Kimba talks about how something like training doesn’t have to demand cash from your business, due to the wide range of free online training courses available.

Keep your business safe this 'Business Safety' week

Keep your business safe this 'Business Safety' week

This week is UK Business Safety Week. Run by the Chief Fire Officers Association, this event is designed to highlight the help and support that is available to businesses from their local fire and rescue service. The aim is to reduce the number of enforcement notices delivered to businesses and encourage them to make fire safety an everyday part of working life.

When is the right time to move out of your home office?

When is the right time to move out of your home office?

Many entrepreneurs start their businesses from home. From a laptop on a kitchen table, after the day job has been done or kids are in bed, budding business owners are starting out on their business journeys. The home office can be a great way to run your business cost effectively. Yes you may need to invest in a proper desk, chair and basic office equipment, but you don’t have to worry about covering the cost of rent each month. You can even claim tax relief on the expenses of working from home.

5 top tips on managing the summer holidays!

5 top tips on managing the summer holidays!

For many working parents this Friday is a critical day as it marks the start of the school holidays. Some parents will be looking forward to taking time off work and spending it with their children, whilst others may be busy organising summer camps and childcare.

Brexit raises questions - could outsourcing be the answer?

Brexit raises questions - could outsourcing be the answer?

The past week has been one of the most uncertain in recent history. The referendum was meant to answer the question of whether the UK should remain in the EU or leave it. Whilst this question may have been answered by the British public with a narrow Leave result, there have been more and more questions raised since about what happens next.

Expert Showcase: Why you should be repurposing your content

Expert Showcase: Why you should be repurposing your content

Here at Get Ahead VA we have experts in a huge variety of fields. From Accounting to Admin, Hootsuite to Holiday cover, Email Marketing to Excel, our experts can add value to many aspects of your business. In our current Expert Showcase series our VAs are delivering some of this expertise to you, with a series of ‘How to’ guides to help you get the best ‘bang for your buck’ in your business. In this month’s guide Clare, one of our marketing experts, talks about what repurposing content is and why you should be doing it in your business.

Get on your bike during #bikeweekUK

Get on your bike during #bikeweekUK

This week is Bike Week and many people are already taking part in events all over the country to promote cycling. Delivered by Cycling UK, Bike Week is an annual opportunity to show how cycling can easily be part of everyday life by encouraging ‘everyday cycling for everyone’. Cycling can deliver social, health and environmental benefits and the week aims to get people to give cycling a go, be it for fun, as a means of getting to work or school, the local shops or just to visit friends.

Tips For Flexible Working On National Flexible Working Day

Tips For Flexible Working On National Flexible Working Day

May 6th is designated as National Flexible Working Day - a day to reward and recognise the companies and individuals who showcase ‘how flexible working works’ and its many advantages. Here at Get Ahead VA flexible working is something we feel very strongly about. Our entire business was founded on the principle of flexible working – for both our clients and our VAs, and we have even won awards for it. We won ‘Flexible Business of the Year’ at the 2014 mumandworking awards, and were shortlisted again in 2015

5 top tips for managing stress

5 top tips for managing stress

April is Stress Awareness month which has been held every April since 1992. The American-led initiative is designed to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic. Many of our clients are all too familiar with stress. Managing your own business can be hugely empowering but it can also lead to significant levels of stress.

4 ways to fund your small business

4 ways to fund your small business

Whether you are looking to start your own business, or expand into new markets, sources of finance are a subject never far from a business owner’s mind. Though start-up costs vary by industry, all businesses need some funding to get them started and that requirement for funding can continue as the business grows and new opportunities are unlocked.

Expert Showcase - How To Select The Right Content Management System

Expert Showcase - How To Select The Right Content Management System

Here at Get Ahead VA we have experts in a huge variety of fields. From Accounting to Admin, Hootsuite to Holiday cover, Email Marketing to Excel, our experts can add value to many aspects of your business. In our current Expert Showcase series our VAs are delivering some of this expertise to you, with a series of ‘How to’ guides to help you get the best ‘bang for your buck’ in your business. In this month’s guide Clare, one of our marketing experts, talks about how to select the best Content Management System (CMS) for your website, evaluating the benefits of two key alternatives – Wordpress and Umbraco.

Stay Safe Online

Stay Safe Online

Tuesday 9th February is Safer Internet Day – a global event designed to help promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people. But staying safe online isn’t just about children and young people – it is vitally important for businesses too.

3 reasons not to be blue this Blue Monday!

3 reasons not to be blue this Blue Monday!

Today Monday 18th January, the third Monday of January, is known as Blue Monday. A tradition started in the US, Blue Monday falls at a time when a combination of wintry weather, Christmas debts and broken New Year resolutions see many of us feeling at our lowest. But do not despair! We all know that negative thoughts are not good for ourselves or our businesses. They can leave us low in confidence and creativity.

Self Assessment - 3 weeks to go!

Self Assessment - 3 weeks to go!

2016 may only be a week old but the annual Self Assessment Tax deadline is already looming for some. If you run your own business and are registered self-employed you may need to submit a tax return online, along with other people who are required to file returns such as those whose annual income is over £100,000 per year, who have Capital Gains Tax to pay, who live abroad or who are trustees. The deadline for filing online is Sunday 31st January so now is the time to get it ticked off your ‘to do’ list if you haven’t already.

6 things to consider for 2016

6 things to consider for 2016

Before we know it 2016 will be well underway so here are our top tips to ensure 2016 is a success for you and your business:

Consistency is key

Consistency is key

Many business owners spend considerable amounts of time and effort on developing new branding, or rebranding their businesses. Resources are poured into the finer details of colour, typeface, size and symbols, ensuring that everything is perfect. But where many businesses fall down is the implementation of that branding.

Get Ahead In Global Entrepreneurship Week

Get Ahead In Global Entrepreneurship Week

This week is Global Entrepreneurship Week and we are delighted to be supporting the event by taking part in a Speed Networking event in Richmond designed to help young people and teachers find out more about self-employment and entrepreneurship.

Mind Your Back - It's Back Awareness Week!

Mind Your Back - It's Back Awareness Week!

This week is Backcare Awareness Week and the aim of the week-long event, organised by the charity for healthier backs BackCare, is to raise awareness of the problems back pain can cause, as well as awareness of prevention and treatments.

How could a Virtual Assistant run your email marketing campaign?

How could a Virtual Assistant run your email marketing campaign?

This month we’re talking about Email Marketing which appears to be something that many of our clients think they ought to be doing, but they don’t always know how. What should they be emailing about? To whom and how often? They know it’s an opportunity to communicate with their customers, but are not sure how to grasp it.

It is never too early to do your Tax Return!

It is never too early to do your Tax Return!

January 31st 2016 may seem a long way away at the moment and completing your self-assessment tax return might be the last thing on your mind. You are busy enough managing the needs of the present, running your business and looking after your clients, without thinking months ahead.

Top business books for World Book Day

Top business books for World Book Day

Thursday 5th March is World Book Day and whilst schools across the globe will be celebrating, we also thought it would be a good time to highlight some of our favourite business books. Business books is big industry and just one search into Google will bring up countless lists of what people think are the best business books of all time. There are even books written about the best business books of all time! There appears to be no hard and fast list of the best, though those that often come up include ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change’ by Stephen R. Covey, ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie and ‘Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't’ by James C. Collins. We particularly like the sound of ‘The 4–Hour Work Week’ by Tim Ferriss!

Smooth signing with Echo Sign

Smooth signing with Echo Sign

At Get Ahead VA we are always on the lookout for tools and techniques that makes our lives easier – for working from home, working remotely and running our business. One tool we came across recently that we were really impressed with is EchoSign from Adobe.

Super breakfasts for the self employed!

Super breakfasts for the self employed!

25-31st January 2015 is Breakfast Week and the theme this year is ‘Shake Up Your Wake Up’, encouraging all of us to enjoy a healthy breakfast every day. The health benefits of eating breakfast are well proven, with the NHS telling us that "Eating breakfast has long term health benefits. It can reduce obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes." Yet many of us choose to skip breakfast – citing lack of time as one of the biggest reasons. Particularly when we are self-employed, time is money and it’s easy to reach for the laptop the minute we get out of bed.

Self Assessment deadline is fast approaching

Self Assessment deadline is fast approaching

January 31st is looming! For self-employed individuals filing online tax returns the deadline for submission is just a couple of weeks away so if you haven’t already got yours completed then there really is no time to waste. You can complete your tax return yourself or engage the services of an accountant or bookkeeper to do it for you. Whichever way you do it, you’ll still need to have the vital information for tax year 6th April 2013 - 5th April 2014 ready:

5 ways to beat the blues this Blue Monday

5 ways to beat the blues this Blue Monday

‘Blue Monday’ is the name given to the Monday of the last full week of January each year and is said to be the most depressing day of the year. A combination of the arrival of Christmas bills, the broken New Year’s resolutions and cold, dark days is said to make Monday 19th 2015 a day to forget, not remember.

New Year, New You? Train to be a Virtual Assistant

New Year, New You? Train to be a Virtual Assistant

The start of January can leave us filled with New Year’s resolutions and some clear objectives for the upcoming 12 months. Is one of those goals a new career? If so attending one of our Virtual Assistant (VA) taster days could be just the right next move. Our VA taster days are designed for experienced PAs, Administrators or Secretaries who are looking for more flexible roles that can work around the demands of a family, those desperate to escape their commute, facing redundancy, or wanting to work in their retirement. Even those who have already started their own VA business but are looking for advice and direction could benefit from one of the taster days to help accelerate their business development.

Stress Awareness Day - 5th Nov 2014

Stress Awareness Day - 5th Nov 2014

Wednesday 5th November is the 16th National Stress Awareness Day and this year’s theme is very much relevant to entrepreneurs and small business owners. The focus will be on keeping the right balance between work, play and lifestyle in order to maximise your physical and emotional wellbeing.

Christmas Is Coming!

Christmas Is Coming!

It might seem as though the kids have only just gone back to school but with 11 weeks to go Christmas planning may be well underway for your business. For many businesses Christmas is a particularly busy time so you may need to think about increasing both your staffing and stock levels in order to be ready for the increase in demand and to maximise this key sales window.

Guest Blog: Timewasting, tempers, mishaps and pranks

Guest Blog: Timewasting, tempers, mishaps and pranks

After dealing with a few recent cases with our clients this month, we’ve decided to point our lens at the mishaps and misuse of equipment in the workplace and the minefield that so called ‘office pranks’ bring. Workplace equipment can be any tool that an employee uses to get the job done and sometimes people can get it very wrong. We’ve compiled a list of possible and real workplace equipment mishaps below, with some top tips about how to ensure your staff stay safe and that your, sometimes, very expensive equipment remains in one piece:

Startups: What equipment do you need for your business?

Startups: What equipment do you need for your business?

When starting a business it can be baffling to know where to start. You have your great idea, but how do you turn it into reality and what do you need to get you there? It can feel like money is pouring out of your bank account left, right and centre, but there are ways you can be selective with your savings, whilst still ensuring you have the right tools for the job.

The power of recommendation - effective testimonials for your business

The power of recommendation - effective testimonials for your business

Word of mouth recommendation is still one of the most effective marketing tools for your business, even in our 21st century, digital economy. With a myriad of businesses and suppliers to choose from, a positive testimonial can be the evidence needed to tip the balance in your favour and encourage someone to buy from you. But sometimes we can be too shy to ask! Here are our top tips to use testimonials effectively in your business:

How to transform your small business into a systematic operation

How to transform your small business into a systematic operation

As a small business owner or entrepreneur the tendency is always to do everything for yourself. Your business is your baby and you have built it up from the start. It is your ideas – your creativeness, passion – and your money! But for many businesses there lies a tipping point – a stage of growth at which they can no longer manage by themselves and they need to introduce a more systematic approach.

Love it or loathe it?  The one minute networking pitch

Love it or loathe it? The one minute networking pitch

Many entrepreneurs and small businesses make networking an important part of their customer acquisition strategy. It stems from that vital first step of most sales models – raising Awareness. For some, networking comes naturally but for others having to stand up in front of a big group of people and talk about yourself or what you do can be a terrifying prospect. There are lots of different types of networking meetings available so it is worth trying a few to find out those that suit you best – both in terms of the types of businesses there (and therefore potential clients) as well as the style of networking – the number of people there, how introductions work etc.

Smile - you're on camera!

Smile - you're on camera!

With clients ranging from will writers to window cleaners, financial consultants to fashion designers, many of our clients are individuals whose personality is key when it comes to their business. In these service based start-ups and small businesses trust is everything, and the right profile photograph can be a major first step towards building that trust. For potential clients browsing on your website or your social media accounts the right photograph with a winning smile that engenders trust can encourage them to take that next step and give you a call.

Volunteer Recognition Day

Volunteer Recognition Day

Volunteer Recognition Day is on 20th April this year and is designed to honour the efforts of all those volunteering in any capacity, anywhere around the world. Volunteers give up their time and make a massive difference to charities, organisations and even businesses. They help others in all manner of ways – from volunteer community bus drivers to volunteer doctors working in Africa, they all donate their skills and time, expecting nothing in return.

What is an XML Sitemap?

What is an XML Sitemap?

An XML sitemap lists the pages of your website along with other information to ensure that search engines are aware of all of the content on your site. They are particularly useful for websites that use Flash and other technology that search engines do not normally process. Sitemaps can be submitted to Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines to help them crawl your website more effectively, enabling you to appear in search results.

Are you looking after your top 20%?

Are you looking after your top 20%?

t’s an age old saying that still often rings true: 80% of your sales normally come from the top 20% of your customers. Does it apply to your business? Often we are so busy looking at the top line numbers in our businesses and posting increasing sales month on month, we feel we don’t have time to delve into the detail. We concentrate on gaining as many new clients as possible, thinking that this will lead to more sales.

Spring into Summer on Sunday!

Spring into Summer on Sunday!

This Sunday is not only Mother’s Day but also the day when the clocks spring forward by one hour, marking the start of British Summer Time. Don’t forget to change your clocks!

How To Delegate In Your Business

How To Delegate In Your Business

The ability to delegate is one of the most important characteristics of a successful business owner, but for many business owners it doesn’t come easy! If you have built your business from scratch it can be hard to let go. Will someone else do things the way you would do it? Will they complete tasks to your standard?

How to make PPC work for your business

How to make PPC work for your business

With more and more purchases being made online having an internet marketing strategy is key, and Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising may be an important part of this strategy. Of course, your website itself should be the hub of your internet marketing – providing an effective presence for your business online which is optimised to maximise your natural search listings. However PPC advertising can be a useful addition to drive awareness of your services and bring customers to your website.

Mind your back - are your website backlinks worth having?

Mind your back - are your website backlinks worth having?

Backlinks were once seen as an integral part of any SEO campaign. The more backlinks you had, the more influential your website was seen to be. Of course, the world of SEO has changed and the quantity of backlinks you now have for your website may not be as important as it once was. However the quality of those backlinks is still a factor worth considering.

A sale is not a sale until it is paid for!

A sale is not a sale until it is paid for!

As a small business owner it is easy to celebrate the successful completion of a project. You have worked hard to meet your clients’ needs and to ensure the job is well done. But a pat on the back at this stage forgets the most important final hurdle. A sale is only complete when the cash is in the bank and it has been paid for.

How to work from home effectively

How to work from home effectively

At Get Ahead VA we work with a huge range of clients, many of whom work from home. Be they Will Writers, Financial Consultants, Locksmiths or Life Coaches, they all enjoy the same flexibility as well as the challenges of working from a home office. Many of our Virtual Assistants are also home based so they too have learnt how to make the home a practical, efficient work space.

Consistency is key when it comes to brand power

Consistency is key when it comes to brand power

Your brand – your business name and identity are a key asset for your business. It is how people recognise and remember you and decide whether to start or continue using your products and services.

Could you be a great Guest Blogger?

Could you be a great Guest Blogger?

We all know that we should be writing blogs for our websites. Blogs not only help with our Google search rankings but they also allow us share more about our businesses with our clients and customers, to keep them up to date with what’s happening and to allow us to showcase our expertise. As part of an overall communications strategy blogs enable us to be dynamic, evolving and closer to our customers than ever before.

Are you ready to self assess your tax?

Are you ready to self assess your tax?

A new year may be only just beginning, but deadlines are already upon us. With just a few weeks to go until the deadline for submitting your Self Assessment tax return online on 31st January 2014 it may be time to get your affairs in order.

2014 - Your New Year's Business Resolutions

2014 - Your New Year's Business Resolutions

People often talk about setting New Year’s resolutions for themselves, but the end of the year can be a great time for setting New Year’s resolutions for your business too. A new year is a new beginning and businesses sometimes have some quieter time between Christmas and New Year in which to think about the year ahead and what can be achieved.

How to make a great business brochure

How to make a great business brochure

Brochures are a great way of telling prospective customers about your products and services. From A4 standard booklets to pocket size guides with metallic finishes there are many options to make sure your brochure really stands out and leaves a lasting impression.

The Future of Business Learning?

The Future of Business Learning?

90 MINUTE NUGGETS NOW AVAILABLE FROM GET AHEAD VA CLIENT NUGGETS OF LEARNING Surrey based Nuggets of Learning specialise in interactive learning and personal development workshops using unique and exciting techniques that challenge traditional methods. Their experience over many years has led them to learn from the past as well as challenge the status quo. In recognition of the demands of today’s business world they have designed a new programme to deliver high quality learning and development that suits 21st century business: 90 minute nuggets of learning.

How wonderful is your website today?

How wonderful is your website today?

Image is everything. Or so it increasingly appears in today’s world. Everyone wants to look perfect and to have the shoes, clothes and accessories that make others look on with envy. But … would you put on your make up and do your hair on Monday and expect it to look good on Friday without maintenance?

How to use Mailchimp for memorable email campaigns

How to use Mailchimp for memorable email campaigns

Mail Chimp is an excellent free* tool to help small businesses to start communicating with their customers. Easy to set up and straightforward to use, Mail Chimp can walk you through how to create and send emails to build your relationship with your clients.

Harness the power of Market Research

Harness the power of Market Research

Multinational companies spend millions of pounds on Market Research every year but did you know there are free* tools you can use for market research too?

Blogging is easier than you think

Blogging is easier than you think

Many business people feel that they ought to have a Blog on their website but they often are not sure how to write one. Having a blog is like all social media -– if done strategically and successfully it can be a vital tool to develop your business which can help attract prospects, develop relationships with existing clients and customers and improve your Google search rankings

Life of a Mumpreneur

Life of a Mumpreneur

We heard the exciting news at the end of last week that Rebecca is a Finalist for 'Best Supporting Business' in this year's national Mumpreneur awards.

Working from home

Working from home

You may already feel like working from home is the best thing that every happened to you: no commute; no irritating co-workers; and EVERY day is Casual Friday! Or, you may find it a mixed blessing: too many distractions; a bit isolating; hard to shift into ‘work mode’.

How to use Buffer for success

How to use Buffer for success

Have you heard of Buffer? This is a really useful, efficient solution for sharing on social media; sharing helps your business establish and enhance its online identity. When you find something on the web that you’d like to share, with one click of the ‘Buffer’ button you can arrange to distribute it – via Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, or Google Reader – either straightaway, or later. Add articles, pictures, videos and links to your Buffer, and it automatically shares them for you throughout the day, all from one source.

Out of the deck chair & into the office

Out of the deck chair & into the office

We think of summer as a time when business slows right down (or stops altogether in some parts of the world). After nine months of keeping our heads down and focusing on the bottom line, summer holidays and summer weather suddenly conspire to make us ease up on the throttle and take it all less seriously. Which is as it should be!

When recycling gets complicated

When recycling gets complicated

In June, Yahoo confirmed that they would start recycling accounts for those who haven’t logged in to their Yahoo account for more than a year – in effect, recycling dormant IDs. This means that IDs that were previously used to register and shop could be given to a new person. You will find your account disabled, and you will be unable to simply re-activate it. Microsoft/Hotmail has also been doing this, since 2009, but employing much shorter dormancy periods – sometimes only ten days.

Summer plans

Summer plans

We think of summer as a time when business slows right down (or stops altogether in some parts of the world). After nine months of keeping our heads down and focusing on the bottom line, summer holidays and summer weather suddenly conspire to make us ease up on the throttle and take it all less seriously. Which is as it should be!




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