June 4th, 2015

10 years at Broadway Market

fruit tart with thank you message - www.cocoandme.com - Broadway Market London E8
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“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.” – Albert Einstein
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Dearest readers,
“Time” is a funny notion don’t y’think – sometimes it stretches & drags, sometimes it flies by so quick you’re left wondering where on earth it’s gone…
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I started my stall at Broadway Market exactly 10 years ago today on Saturday 4th June in 2005. At the time I was 29 years old, my son was only 1 & a half.
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Would I have believed you if you’d told me at the time that I’d still be doing my stall throughout my 30s?
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During those years, I gave birth to my daughter – she is now already 7. I worked at the market when I was pregnant with her. She is a child who felt the whirls of the kitchen hand-mixer while in side my stomach. And withstood the cold in the winter as I stood behind the stall.
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I remember that the first 6 months after her birth I took time off work.
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<< The market organisers kept my stall space for me while I took the break, which I am grateful for. The market where I am is very considerate like this, & supports a small scale business like mine. The reason why I love Broadway Market is because it has the spirit & the soul at it’s core, & is not crazily money driven like some others. – A small-scale seller like myself would certainly not have continued for 10 years otherwise. >>
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I still vividly remember, at the end of the first day back at the market, I held my baby daughter in my arms, & walked through the adjoining London Fields Park to join my son who was playing in the playground at the far end. It was a beautiful evening, the late summer sun was still high. I eskimo-kissed my daughter (=nose to nose rub) as we walked. She beamed back a happy smile. It was the longest I had ever been away from her since she was born, & as I eskimo-kissed, I felt the most fully charged kind of love. It mushies up my heart whenever I think back.
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Both children never really complained about me working. They’d question it, yes, but they understand when I explain to them that the more effort in making the cakes to sell, the more money we’d have to spend on ourselves with lovely food & lovely toys (^^). My cake selling business is a simple logic to understand don’t you think? The more you try, the more reward you receive.
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Ofcourse, I have always set a limit to how much I do ‘try’.
I have always fiercely protected this balance of family-life / work ratio. Because it’s a careful balance ~ as soon as one fares heavier, it won’t work. I’d be stressed to fit it all in & that would resonate to everyone around me. (And I’m not easy to be around when I’m stressed out! ^^) I appreciate that I can work from home (except Saturdays on the market). I have never missed school events like Sports Day & parent participation hours, & I would want to keep it that way.
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In 10 years many many things happen. Certain memories never leave my mind. I’d like to share with you the following two events, which, even though it happened many moons ago, has stayed with me:
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There was once a young man who worked in a nearby cafe. I never really knew him well enough, I think the longest conversation I ever had with him was 10 minutes at best. We’d just chit-chat about nothings, but both of us being Asian, we got on well. He was a troubled man though. On a sudden occasion, he ran under my stall table & cried. Alarmed & worried, I peered in under the table but he would not talk. My white table cloth drapes over the sides & it shielded him from the outside world well, so I let him be there. Except, he wailed loudly. It was mid-day, I had customer after customer buying cakes. People were confused but I just lightly shook my head & gave a concerning grin, which stopped them from asking any questions. Soon he stormed out to run to elsewhere. The following Saturday when I saw him again, he said he was okay. And ever since, he seemed just that, ‘okay’, but about a year later, he decided to end his life. I feel sorry that I didn’t act upon his cry of help, perhaps I could’ve helped him. – Now & again, I find myself suddenly thinking of him.
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In March 2011, there was the big earthquake & tsunami in Japan. It happened on a Friday. It was 2:46pm in Japan, but was 5:46am in UK. My parents woke me up & the whole family hit the telly to fathom what was going on. We were all so shook up. But Friday being my baking day, I set to work, though half-heartedly. I had the BBC live news on all the time on my laptop & tears would uncontrollably roll down. I was baking, which seems to me such a peaceful act to do & yet images of complete disaster was repeatedly running the screen. Sandwiched between the two distinctly different realities I wondered what I could do. I would donate, yes, so I looked online but the Red Cross had not yet set a page. Probably too busy dealing with the situation on hand, I thought. So I set up a donation page myself & put up a post on this blog. It raised $3699 (around £2400). Donations up to $100 from people I did not know were coming in. I also had a collection box on the stall for over a course of several months which raised £272. Some customers would put a £20 note in to it. The generosity of everyone who donated was so overwhelming. – The day after the earthquake, I was at the market. First thing in the morning, the only other Japanese woman (from the Italian cheese stall) & I hugged & cried together.
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Blog:
In October 2006, over a year after starting the stall, I stated writing this blog. Although I have been writing it sporadically, I have been lucky to have some people read it over the years, which I am most grateful for.
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Moreover, several readers have made their way especially to the depths of East London to see me at the market. Recently, there was a family from Belgium who kindly said that my Paris trip report was useful. And just last Saturday, there were 2 senior ladies from the WI. (WI is Britain’s largest women’s organisation). My recipe for scones which I had published on this blog was what brought them to see me at the market! :) How happy these visits make me feel…!!!
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Also, thanks to Mrs.C who have been reading my blog, I have been invited to Paris to do a chocolate workshop too! How special was that…!!!
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I turned 39 over a month ago. Age never really bothered me before, I always held the stance that it is just a number, it’s actually about how “you” carry your life. A person that has confidence will shine a lot brighter & is a lot more attractive & will murk anyone’s guess of your real age. But somehow, what with 40 being around the corner & it coinciding with the 10th year at the market, I do, on this occasion, feel a little stirred to analyze my standpoint.
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I am not sure of what’s going to happen in the future. Circumstances have changed slightly this year, which has tipped the balance slightly. Currently I am testing wether the new way of things are feasible or not.
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I can say, the 10 years that has passed was busy but truly fulfilling. The time I spent went by quickly, but was thick & dense with many things that happened.
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After all these years though, I am still where I started, at Broadway Market. Perhaps the only tell-tell sign that the time had passed is that my son is now tall as I am. And that the two sisters who used to come to buy cakes with their pocket money are now proper adults! Otherwise I remained the same. It just goes to show that I have been comfortably happy in what I do there.
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I have many people to thank for making my 10 years at Broadway Market a comfortable stay. Mr.D for driving, & my parents for looking after the children. Mrs.A for starting the business with me in the first place. Broadway Market for being an easy market to be in. The customers who take their chance with their money & buy my cakes, & the loyal regulars that keep coming back, who have been my supporting spine. There are other market stall holders that I have become friends with too, without whom it would be unthinkable to keep at this for so long – especially Mrs.S who I wish was my real mother. Then of course I must thank the blog readers, especially to the ones that have been leaving amazing comments that keep me going strong!
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You are all people who I rely on to give me great deal of support & comfort. *Thank you.*
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Tamami xoxo

34 Comments »

  1. Dear Tamami
    Many congratulations! I have been reading your blog for several years and I think you are doing a great job. Thank you for sharing your stories from the market. I look forward to reading much more in the future! :-) Keep strong!
    Louise xx

    Comment by Louise - June 4, 2015 1:51 pm

  2. Hello Louise! :) :) :) ahhhhh!!!! Thank you so much for your kind words! And thank you for your readership~!!!!! T xx

    Comment by Tamami - June 4, 2015 3:20 pm

  3. Congratulations on 10 delicious years, Tamami! I’ve been reading your blog for a long time. I live in Los Angeles, but vow that I’ll visit your stall one day. Wishing you all the best in your endeavors.

    Comment by Yoshiko - June 5, 2015 3:17 am

  4. Thank you Yoshiko San! And wow, thank you for reading for so long! ;-) and from L.A.! :-) :-) :-) it’s so interesting to know who and from where the readers are! Looking forward to meeting you one day then!!!!!! x

    Comment by Tamami - June 5, 2015 7:49 am

  5. congrats Tamami! many more years to come!!!! i thank u so much for your luxury brownies recipe. xxx

    Comment by Vasiliki - June 5, 2015 11:06 am

  6. :) :) :) vasiliki! That’s great! I’m happy to hear that the brownies recipe worked for you! I just baked some myself for the market tomorrow! :) – many thanks for your kind message! xx

    Comment by Tamami - June 5, 2015 11:14 am

  7. Congratulations on your 10 year anniversary. I have enjoyed reading your blog over the years, although I’ve never commented. I like how you talk about both the professional and personal side of baking and selling at the market. It really gives us a look into how it’s done. And I appreciate your recipes and how they are so detailed. Thank you for taking the time to write this terrific blog. Good luck in your future endeavors. Stephanie (A fan from Atlanta USA)

    Comment by Stephanie Jaworski - June 6, 2015 12:33 pm

  8. OH WOW! Hello Stephanie!!!
    Thank you for leaving your comment here! I too have been looking in to your website from a lo~ng time ago! So it’s very special to hear from you!!! :) And it makes me especially happy to read your kind thoughts about my blog! :) Thank you very much Stephanie! It made my day! :)
    – With warm regards, Tamami x

    Comment by tamami - June 6, 2015 10:34 pm

  9. Congratulations on your business Birthday, Tamami! I’ve started reading from Brasil, then Chanel Islands and for the last 4 years from London. Your cakes are delicious and beautiful, I’ve recommended them to everyone I know visiting the market. Thank you for many years of beautifully sharing this part of your life with us and I wish you all the best and success in you sweet endeavours in the future. :)

    Comment by Lolla - June 7, 2015 8:32 am

  10. T-
    Such a lovely introspective post. I would like to add my congratulations to the others on your 10-year anniversary. I just spent some time catching up on your blog (I somehow lost some of my RSS feeds with an upgrade to my computer and just found you again!) . Best wishes to you for whatever the future holds.

    From Dayton, Ohio, USA, (soon moving to Houston, Texas!). xx Heidy

    Comment by Heidy - June 7, 2015 1:37 pm

  11. Lolla :) :) :)
    Brazil~Channel Islands~London…! Wow, you’ve been living in many places, seeing many things I’m sure! I envy you! I wish I could also do lots of travelling & living in different places! (maybe one day…) ~ Thank you for being a fantastic blog reader for so long! :) :) :) xx

    Comment by Tamami - June 7, 2015 5:30 pm

  12. Hello Heidy!!!!!
    It’s so good to hear back from you again! You’ve been leaving comments for me on this blog for sometime, and I have to really thank you for being so supportive over the years! Good luck with the move from Dayton to Houston. I just had a look on the world map, and wow, that’s quite some distance! America is so big… xx

    Comment by tamami - June 7, 2015 5:43 pm

  13. Wow – congratulations! (I wish I’d known when I visited your stall a couple of weeks ago, I could’ve congratulated you in person!) I know what you mean about a big anniversary making you feel introspective, as I have one of my own this month – mine is ten years of living in London, which also represents a big and formative part of my life…

    Here’s to the next ten years, may they bring many good things for you. xx

    Comment by Rachel - June 9, 2015 10:59 pm

  14. Hello Tamami !
    Happy anniversary to you and congratulations on your impressive work and creativity!! Can’t imagine the amount of flour, eggs, sugar, chocolate… it represents! For us, it has been 10 years of happiness and inspiration… couldn’t plan a weekend in London without visiting your stall! And of course, we will always remember the chocolate workshop in Paris, a moment of pure magic! Very proud to have shared that with you… We wish you the best with the stall or any other project you may have, no doubt your talent, enthusiasm and permanent smile will bring you opportunities and rich encounters… Hope to see you again in Paris or London and… THANK YOU!

    Comment by Caroline - June 10, 2015 9:51 am

  15. Rachel xxx Thanks!
    – Oops, I forgot to tell you about the anniversary last time you were at the market! I was just too pleased to see you & hear about your project y’see! :) You’ve been in London ten years?! Wow, time does fly…! So how do you feel about it? Being a young person in a foreign country must’ve been quite different!
    Here’s to both of us to the next ten years, I’m fully certain it will be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious-ly wonderful-crazy. xx

    Comment by Tamami - June 10, 2015 11:04 am

  16. Caroline!
    Thank you very much for leaving a comment here! It means soooooooo much to me y’know! :)
    And yes, the amount of chocolates, etc that I’ve been through is quite something…! With all that, I could build a man-sized house with it I think! Y’know, like the crazy witch in Hansel & Gretel, and lure unsuspecting people in… …?!
    – – And as Humphrey Bogart would put it, “We’ll Always Have Paris”…
    With permanent smiles to you & your lovely family, T xx

    Comment by Tamami - June 10, 2015 11:12 am

  17. Congratulations on 10 years! Your Lemon Drizzle recipe is still my favorite 😄 Here’s to many more years of baking ( in another decade & a half shall you be blogging about your children’s wedding cakes 😉).

    Comment by Jonquil - June 15, 2015 4:06 pm

  18. Hello Jonquil~!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU! :) :) :) That lemon drizzle cake, it was worth me putting on the pounds for then! LOL! I literally had to go up a notch on my belt when I was creating that recipe! (Baking & tasting it so many times!)
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    And my Gosh! My children’s wedding cakes?! I guess so! Unless they make it themselves – if I ever have my way, they’d be masters in the kitchen by then! (I’ve been teaching them!)
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    Finally, thank you Jonquil for always commenting!!!! It’s always lovely to hear from you! xx

    Comment by Tamami - June 15, 2015 10:26 pm

  19. Hey Tamami, congratulations!
    You’re the blog I check on most because I love the way you write; I can imagine how good of a friend you would be :)
    Whenever I’m making creme patisserie or tiramisu I turn to you. Thank you for sharing your recipes, your writing and your emotions with us. Don’t know if I’ll ever make it to UK but if I do I’ll make sure to visit your stall – and I’ll be like, hey that’s Tamami, she’s my friend :) – Minik from Turkey

    Comment by Minik - June 17, 2015 9:27 pm

  20. Minik!
    *blush!* wow…!!! Your comment is amazing!!! Thank you very much… *blush again!* It makes me proud & glad that I continued this blog! – From your friend Tamami from London! ;-)

    Comment by tamami - June 17, 2015 10:00 pm

  21. Dear Tamami,
    I have been reading your blog for so long, since 2007 or 2008 I think, but never leave a comment. I am kind of a secret reader, enjoying deeply each of your post and admiring your commitment throughout the years!
    I love reading your blog, looking at your stall photos and as I have less and less time to quietly dive into the big cooking blogs world, yours have always been on top of my bookmarks :)
    Four years ago, I opened a little tea room in Lille (North of France) which keep me pretty busy all week long. And I also had a baby girl and discovered the difficulty to balance family life and work. I had to go back to work again, baking cakes, cooking food and managing my little helping bees, only 2 & a half months after her birth and it was pretty hard to let my so so tiny girl for long workday hours. But we found our rhythm and confidently moved forward.
    All this to say that this post feel so special to me and I’m so glad you keep writing here from time to time!
    Thank you for all your words and photos and recipes (I started making my own vanilla extract thanks to your recipe. Now I always have a few bottles in my closet, waiting to become fragrant and deep coloured. I used it at work as well and have a thought for you whenever I come to use it in my recipes! Your Tarte Tatin and Creme Caramel were also often made on weekends at home – when I had more time on my hands which feel like a hundred years ago ;)
    Congratulations for everything Tamami. I ‘m sure you’re some kind of a role model for a lot of people besides me! The magic of the internet :)
    I hope I’ll be able to make it to Broadway Market one day and visit you if I’m not too shy to stop by and say hello ;)
    Anne-Laure

    Comment by Anne - June 19, 2015 1:17 pm

  22. Dear Anne!
    Waaaaaaaa!!!!! :) :) :) :) :)
    What a joy to read your comment!

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH for posting for the first time…!! And for reading that long!? :) :) :) Boy, I’m pleased to hear it!
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    I just looked at your tearoom online, & my! What an adorable place you’ve created! I’m totally jealous. I wish I had an outfit like that! Many congrats to you! Is it fun to do? Is it what you were thinking it’ll be like? – If I ever get to Lille, I will definitely try to visit! :) (And I will tell anyone that goes to Lille to look you up too!)
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    And many congratulations on giving birth to your daughter. It sounds like you have found the family/ work balance! Great!
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    Hope to hear from you more often then!(now that you’ve broken the ice!) ;-)
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    Wishing you all the best in everything you do,
    T xx

    Comment by Tamami - June 19, 2015 9:15 pm

  23. Hi Tamami,

    A bit late, but congratulations! I too am a bit of a lurker, and I have been reading since the very beginning! I’ve tried many of your recipes, though the one I have bookmarked but still haven’t attempted is the Gateau Basque – maybe this year? I just looked back at that post and it seems I have been postponing making that for almost a decade!

    I came to your stall once, when I was in graduate school in London and you were so nice! If I lived closer, I would be coming out more often. All the best to you!

    a x

    Comment by aarati - July 20, 2015 5:37 pm

  24. Dear Aarati!
    Oh my gosh, from the beginning???????? Woowwwww….!!!!! That’s awesome! Thank you! How super amazing is that!!!!! I can’t get over that bit of info! And is this your first time commenting? If so, THANK YOU very much for the special comment!
    Gateau Basque, I haven’t made in a long long while… It’s a beautiful cake. Despite the rustic look, it certainly has the wow factor. When you do make the cake one day, do certainly let me know how it went!

    T xx
    Ps, … And please pop over to the stall again one day! :) would love to chat! :)

    Comment by Tamami - July 21, 2015 9:13 pm

  25. Happy belated Anniversary!
    I’ve been a luker who occasionally take a peek on your blog, I really love reading your posts. I have tried some of your recipes and really love your detailed instructions. You probably don’t remember me but back in late 2009 or early 2010, I asked you some questions about why my lemon drizzle cake was dense(delicious, but clearly it’s not supposed to be dense) and you kindly answered my questions. Clearly I didn’t have the experience of handling genoise kind of cake, so I gave up after my second attempt to tackle the cake(I was a newbie, and still a newbie but with some experience). Fast forward to early 2015, I finally gave the cake another try and I was going to happily reported that I finally managed to bake a decent lemon drizzle cake but the page is not there anymore. So I want to thanked you in here and wishing you all the best in everything you do. :)

    Joy
    x0x0

    Comment by Joy - September 5, 2015 2:32 pm

  26. Hello Joy!!! :) :) :)

    Thank you very much!!!! It’s super lovely to hear from you again, it’s so amazing to know that you are still checking this little blog out!!! :)

    So am I correct in learning that the lemon drizzle went well for you? YESSSSSS!!!! That’s great news!!!! Yes, the genoise type, the type that mixes whole eggs over bain marie, is tricky right?

    I bake this cake every week for my market stall, & also for a cafe that I do wholesale to currently. It’s pretty popular, so I bake 6 in one go, which is the maximum amount I can fit in the oven in one go! :)

    Joy, (what a lovely name btw – have you seen the latest disney film about a character with your name?) thank you very much for leaving a comment here – I live off on these lovely comments…!!! :)
    Many happiness to you,
    T xoxo

    ps: the lemon drizzle recipe link:
    http://www.cocoandme.com/2009/04/11/lemon-drizzle-cake-with-lemon-icing-recipe-with-photos/

    Comment by Tamami - September 7, 2015 2:09 pm

  27. Hello Tamami
    Your blog is full of positivity and happiness. I wish you all the best and lots of happiness in the future.
    Swati
    PS- i was wondering if you got my mail

    Comment by Swati - October 2, 2015 10:03 am

  28. Hello Swati!!!! :)
    I’ve just sent you an email!!!!!! Hopefully you’ve received it? t xx

    Comment by Tamami - October 2, 2015 10:20 am

  29. Hey Tamami!! :)

    Congratulations on 10 years of an amazing stall!!!

    I was just thinking of you today so I came by and I’m so glad to see new posts from you, it’s always a joy to read your writing!

    The last time we spoke (emailed) I was telling you how I thought I saw a little girl who looked like you on Show Me Show Me, and I was just about to move to Australia – well, we’ve been here coming up to two years already! How time flies. I really miss the UK though, especially around this time, when it’s coming up to Christmas!

    So glad to read that you are well :)

    I’m not even sure if you still remember me but the main thing is, I remember you and I remember your beautiful stall of goodies, I just wish I’d gone more than once whilst I was still in London.

    Take care and I’ll check in from time to time!

    Jan xx

    Comment by Jan - November 25, 2015 5:31 am

  30. oh oh oh!!! Howdy Jan!! How glad am I to hear from you!! (ofcourse I remember you!!!!!)
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    How is life in Australia treating you? Good, I hope! :)
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    I bet the weather’s good right now there too.

    Here in London, it’s horrible with blustery wind & rain. Everybody walks hurriedly with hands in pockets. – Now that we entered December, some houses on our street have already draped outdoor xmas lights on their hedges. In the cold weather, it is atleast something to warm our hearts. – I suppose Christmas in Australia must be different though, huh? Enjoy!!! Have a nice cold drink on me! :)
    xx

    Comment by tamami - December 3, 2015 7:45 pm

  31. Hi,
    Im Amanda a chef in France, but an Englishwoman,would love to follow your blog but can’t seem to find the right button to press!Please help!
    Bw Amanda

    Comment by Amanda Hollingworth - December 5, 2015 8:41 am

  32. Hello Amanda!! Thank you for dropping by my blog! :) On the last line of the left column, there is a button for RSS feed! I also do twitter at: https://twitter.com/Coco_and_me . Thank you & I look forward to hearing from you again! :) x

    Comment by tamami - December 8, 2015 10:55 am

  33. Been a good 10 years. I first starting reading your blog when I got married,exactly 10 years ago,planning my honeymoon to London. Although didn’t manage to visit your stall then,but have been following your blog since.

    Comment by Slting - June 14, 2016 9:40 am

  34. Hello Slting!!!!! Yes, it’s been a good 10 years! :) 10 years is a long time, many congratulations on your 10th year wedding anniversary~!!! Thank you SO much for reading my blog for so long. If you ever decide to come to London one day, please do look me up! :)
    All the best to you & wishing you many more happiness for the next 10 years too! T xx

    Comment by Tamami - June 14, 2016 10:27 am

 

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