Monday, 30 April 2012

Rangemaster Competition

I know plenty of my followers love a good competition!  So I thought I better draw your attention without delay to a fantastic one being run by Rangemaster to win a Professional Deluxe 90 range cooker worth £2K!!  Imagine owning something that fancy in your house, you will have to invite the neighbours round and lean against it basking in its glory…

I am sure if you had one of these kitted out in your kitchen your cooking creative juices would start flowing.  You would be inspired to make culinary delights nightly, just for the sheer joy of owning something that cost more than our car!!!

Two runners up even win pans…  so even being a runner up in this case is worthwhile, especially if you saw the current condition of the ones I own!  Some nice shiny new ones, you could actually see your reflection in instead of my burnt black bottom pans would be heavenly!!!


The Competition…

In order to be in with a shot of winning this fantastic cooker follow these simple instructions:

Go to www.facebook.com/RangemasterUK and click on the ‘Win A Rangemaster’ application.

‘Like’ the page, then enter your contact details, then share the competition with your friends… and you’re done!

Competition closes on Monday 30th April 2012 so be quick!

So easy!  Then if you win you can cook up all manner of delights.  I shall be expecting a tasty cake in the post as compensation for letting you know about the competition!!!

Frankly this is a competition so good it needs to be shared everywhere!  So tell your friends, people at the bus stop, random strangers, anyone who might listen, because they will be sad if they miss this…

Parents Top 20 Ways To Beat The Squeeze

Another press release but one with more tips to save money and it would be criminal not to share something which might save you all a few £££!  I know we are trying to tighten our belts.  I have to admit to being suckered in by the Joneses tip as I want a Smart phone as all my friends have them!  Must try harder to avoid the peer pressure and love up my outdated brick ha ha!  Also as motivation to read to the end of the press release there is a great competition mentioned at the end to win some fancy new tech!!!

"MyFamilyClub.co.uk, the UK’s first website dedicated to money saving for families, has polled 6,000 of the nation’s parents and asked them to share their family’s greatest money saving tips. From buying in bulk to keeping chickens, MyFamilyClub.co.uk unveils the top-20 most popular ways our nation’s families are making savings in these times of austerity.


Top-20 money saving tips

1. Shop around.
 Use money saving websites, comparison sites and forums to find the best price before you buy. There are real deals to be had if you look around, from buying holidays to insurance.

2. Budget, budget, budget. Assess your income and expenditure and create a budget. That way you’ll be less likely to spend more than you can afford and more likely to stay within your means.

3. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Buy and sell secondhand on auction sites like eBay and in charity shops, and take advantage of hand me downs that are often as good as new. Remember to save the packaging from new items to give you better secondhand resale value.

4. Before you buy.… Always ask yourself, “Can I live without it? Do I really need it?” Don’t waste money on things you don't need and can easily do without.

5. Food glorious food. Plan the family’s weekly meals so you don't end up throwing away food that’s past its use by date. And always cook more than you need so you can freeze a few portions for another day. Plus try reusing leftovers the next night in a new dish - if you’re inventive, the kids will never know.

6. Trolley dash. Do your grocery shop online so you’re less tempted to buy more than you need. If you have to shop in store, draw up a list before you get there and don’t deviate. Also, if possible, leave the children at home so you don’t end up with more in your trolley than you bargained for! 

7. Buy in bulk. Stock up on offers, deals and bargains of items you use regularly. If you have a baby or toddler, take advantage of the special baby events at supermarkets where they heavily discount bulk buys on items like nappies and wipes.


8. Never pay full price. Before you buy, always look for a relevant voucher or discount code online, and use cashback sites too. And don’t forget to cut out coupons from magazines and newspapers they can be quite generous.

9. Name drop. Consider buying value brands for some items, from school uniform to nappies and wipes, you could save a fortune and you’ll never notice the difference.

10. Savvy Saver. Open a savings account and pay into it as regularly as you can. If you don’t have any spare cash try saving your weekly family allowance or child benefit. A little saved week by week will mount up in no time.

11. Credit Crunch. Try not to use credit cards. If you do have to, then make sure you pay them off as quickly as possible to avoid costly interest.

12. Know your worth. Keep a close eye on your finances so you’re in control of your funds. This way you’ll be less likely to incur bank charges. Use internet and telephone banking for quick and convenient ways to check your account status.

13. Life lessons. Teach your children the value of money by making them work for pocket money, doing household chores for example. And learn to say no sometimes, it’s a valuable life lesson for them. 

14. 999. Set aside funds for an emergency situation, whether it’s for a leaking pipe or busted boiler, it’s always helpful to have something in reserve so you don’t have to rely on costly credit arrangements.

15. Forget the Joneses! Don’t feel under pressure to have what other people do. And teach your children not to worry about peer pressure either, so they don’t feel the need to have all the latest gadgets and brands.

16. Buyer Beware! Don’t buy too many expensive toys for your children, especially ones that won't last. Instead, let them use their imagination, it’s free.

17. Get more from your loyalty. Use supermarket vouchers and loyalty points against family days out instead of against your shopping. You get up to four times the value.

18. Ruffle a few feathers. Keep chickens they can lay up to 320 eggs a year – which is around one box of eggs a week.


19. Supply and demand. Contact your broadband/TV/energy/insurance suppliers and tell them you’re thinking of leaving, they’re likely to offer you a better deal. And check your energy and utility bills and request any overpayments.

20. Use local services. Make the most of public services like libraries, parks and leisure centres. With library services under threat there’s never been a better time to go there. With some children reading more than 100 books a year, this could save you a small fortune.
 

If you have a great money saving tip you would like to share with other parents, it could net you the latest Apple iPad3 and iPod Nano. To enter, just visit MyFamilyClub top money saving tips before 31 May and share your top tip. (T&Cs apply please visit the website for details.)"

Helpful Tips To Save Water

I do not always post press releases but this one caught my eye as I am shocked that when we flush the toilet once it uses the same amount of water which a person in the third world used all day for washing, cleaning, cooking and drinking.  It really puts everything in perspective and it is good to hear that Megaflo is supporting a charity to help with the problems with clean water in Africa.

"As the hosepipe ban is introduced across parts of the UK, people need to make sure they’re keeping an eye on their water consumption. The shortage will affect millions of homeowners, not to mention having a potentially adverse effect on the UK’s wildlife. Cutting down water usage not only makes good environmental sense, it can save on household bills too, which is why Megaflo, the water experts, have put together some practical, everyday tips to help homeowners save precious water.


Savings on tap

There’s no need to keep the tap running while brushing your teeth or shaving as you can waste up to 9 litres a minute by just letting the water pour down the sink, so turn it off in-between cleaning (water-guide.org)[i]. This way, we are only using as much water as we really need.

A glass a day helps keep the ban away

Why not just use one glass for your drinking water each day or refill a water bottle as this will cut down on the number of glasses to wash, reducing both your washing up time and water consumption.

Make sure your wash is a full one

When using your dishwasher or washing machine make sure the load is full as this can save gallons of water and also helps you shift your piles of washing more quickly!

A shower of savings

Spend less time in the shower and even turn off the tap in-between rinses while washing your hair.  If you aim to spend no more than two minutes in the shower it will go a long way to helping cut down on your water usage.

Rationalise your tea-making operations!

Fill the kettle with only as much water as you need as this will save both water and energy.  Using a cup to measure out the amount of water you put into your kettle will help reduce the strain on your bank account as well as on the UK’s water resources!

Fix your leaks

Those leaky taps can waste gallons of water, it is estimated that just one drop a second from a dripping tap wastes nearly 5,000 litres of water a year (fhc2020.co.uk)[ii]. So get the plumber in and fix those faucets! Having a new washer fitted will be a lot cheaper than the cost of the water a leak can waste.

If you can, use it twice!

Never let water down the drain if you can use it again.  Did you know that you can re-use your washing-up water to water your plants and garden?  Washing up liquid is harmless to our growing friends and recycling the used dishwater ensures you are doing your bit for the environment.  You can even water plants with your used vegetable cooking water! 

Keep it cool

Keeping a bottle of water in the fridge avoids you having to run the tap for a while and waste water while you wait for it to run cold.  You can then refill the water bottle as you need it and even use the water left over in your kettle to be super-efficient.

Wash your dishes

When washing dishes by hand, don't let the water run while rinsing. Try filling one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water and wash up everything in one go.

Keep your greens green!

However, you can wash your fruits and vegetables in a single bowl of water instead of running water from the tap through a colander.

Forget the hose- use a bucket and sponge

Using a sponge and a bucket of water to clean your car, instead of a hose, is the smart way to keep our prized four-wheeled friends shining, without breaking the water bank.

Stop your flushing

Did you know that each time we flush the toilet it uses the same amount of water which a person in the third world used all day for washing, cleaning, cooking and drinking?(whrnet.org)[iii] Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily; put your tissues and other waste in the bin rather than the toilet.

Megaflo is showing its support to helping save water by co-funding a Pump Aid project to develop water wells and flushing toilets for 21 schools in Malawi.  Pump Aid is a charity dedicated to providing clean water and good sanitation to underprivileged areas in Africa.


For more information please visit www.megaflo.com"

Sudocrem Sunscreen Mousse Review

Given the lack of sun, we just sampled some indoors to give it a whirl.  It is getting close to the time we need to think about kids sun protection but the weather is just not playing ball at the moment!


It was easy to apply; it rubs in well with an even coverage.  My usual brand of factor 50 for my boys tends to turn them completely white and it usually does not shift even with a thorough rubbing in!  So this was a welcome change, as I know when it is sunny I can now send them outdoors without pale pasty complexions resembling Casper’s best buddies!!!

But one thing that lets it down for me is the smell, I love sunscreen to remind me of holidays and this is fragrance free.  No exciting fragrance, just an indifferent sort of smell, although this does make it more suitable for children and babies sensitive skin.   If there were perfumes in the mousse it might irritate them.  So it certainly would not put me off buying it myself, especially as my boys had no adverse reaction to it.

“Lovely, love this on me!” Youngest proclaimed


I think this is a good sunscreen to buy, as Sudocrem is a reliable trustworthy brand, which we used lots when my boys were younger for preventing nappy rash.  Plus a HUGE bonus is that this mousse is more water resistant, my boys love paddling non stop when they are on the beach so I know they are going to be okay and not need constant reapplications.  Especially as getting them to come back for more when they are happy playing is not so easy!

To find out more head over to their website and you can also purchase it online from Boots currently on offer for £10.00 (usually has an RRP of £15 so bit of a deal there!).

Sunday, 29 April 2012

The King’s Panto Review and Competition

We were sent this book and DVD combination to review.   The boys thought it was a funny and entertaining tale.   


They were shouting out as they recognised different characters from the fairy tales they love.   A few they had not seen before so it was great to get some discussion going about who they were and fill in the gaps in their fairy tale knowledge!  We love our yearly panto trips and so plenty to keep us interested and eagerly turning each page.


Available to buy from £8.99 through Waterstones and all other good book shops, I think its exceptional value as you get a fantastic story book with plenty of reading involved and a DVD of the story which is great as it has movement in it. Many children’s DVD’s which normally accompany a book is just a picture each time with the story being read, so it’s nice like this to see the King’s funny faces in action!

The DVD is great for little ones as they might find it harder to concentrate until the end of the book (well just basing it on my feral three year old!).   But that is why it’s a fabulous combination.  When they are older they can then move onto the book and enjoy the whole story and later practice reading too.   The book should last until they are much older!  The illustrations are very colourful and larger than life, much like the characters they are depicting.

The author Martin Coleman is a lovely chap.  A dad of four children so he really knows what kind of book would be popular with children.  This story is great as it covers action, humour and a little moral tale about a King learning to be kind and compassionate to save himself from becoming a giants snack!  So some good messages to teach children wrapped up in there.


Martin even signed our review book and dedicated it to my boys, which was a delightful touch.   Even without this nice extra I would have been writing a glowing review, as I enjoyed reading this story, it amused me and the boys and I can see us returning to It many more times.

You can find out more from the official website and you can also purchase the book from the online shop there.

You can enter to win a signed copy!  To do this fill in the rafflecopter below by the 10th of May
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HelloCanvas.co.uk Review

We were sent a 20 x 28 inch canvas to review.  I had not heard of HelloCanvas.co.uk before, but am glad I have found them as I am certainly getting hooked on the beauty of a canvas!  Especially for hiding all those mucky paw prints that came with the territory of having boys (well young children generally!).  They really do add some much needed glamour to our distressed living room!!!

The canvas frame is well fitted and very neat and more than anything I am surprised it is only £49 including delivery for such a large sized canvas.  You cannot fault them on price; they are one of the largest canvas suppliers in the UK, so can keep their prices lower.  It arrived well packaged and in perfect condition, ready to go straight on the wall.  Hubbie hammered in a quick nail and hey presto looking good!  Hubbie is also very impressed with the depth of the frame.


I have been having a look at their website and I like the effects available to create your perfect canvas.  I especially like the black & white with a colour highlight for an extra £15, I love the contrast of the picture then.  I will definitely be adding HelloCanvas.co.uk to my favourites for when I need to make my next canvas order.

If your do not have a digital copy of your photograph you can even send it to HelloCanvas.co.uk who will scan it for you!  You really cannot fault the lengths they go for happy customers and at the moment you can even get a free watch (whilst stocks last) when you order a 16x16inch/40x40cm canvas or larger.  
 
You can find out more from their website and order your own dream canvas, the process seemed quick and easy just make sure your picture is a minimum size of 250 KB.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Heart Plait

Another in the infamous series of hair styling posts!

More chances for your girls to keep looking fabulous.

Firstly section the hair into three parts


Start by doing an inside out braid going from the middle of the head towards the face


Bring the braid around the back towards the neck


Continuing


Do this on both sides and then tie together in an elastic band


This creates a heart shape


Taking the side pieces from the hair that's left start doing a normal plait all the way down


Once the plait is completed secure it with a bobble take it up and tuck it into the heart and secure with a clip, cover with hairspray

Friday, 27 April 2012

Carddies Review

We were sent a Carddies Sport set to review.
I had not heard of these before but they are great fun, a nice little box with pencils, characters to colour and then little stands to put them on to place them in the sports arena scene!  So meeting lots of children’s developmental needs (creativity, imagination, role play) in one small box at a relatively small price of £8.99.  Yet the contents of the little box is quite deceiving as you get plenty for your money as you can see from the picture:


Eldest enjoyed the colouring in.  You can colour both sides of the Carddies characters, which is good to keep children occupied for longer.  Eldest was slightly disappointed that a dog is on the front of box, but no dog character in the box.  “Where is the dog?” But the side of the box does show what characters are included and when I explained that he seemed quite happy again, especially as there is a little dog hidden in the crowd scene!

I think these sets would be very welcome at weddings.  Back when I got married I would have gladly bought these sets to keep the invited children occupied.  Instead I bought some magic markers but these would have been much more entertaining.  When they finished colouring, they then could play with the characters, which would have kept them occupied even longer than colouring alone!  Perfect for those speeches which might tend to drag on a little and the children start getting restless and the parents start to look slightly panic stricken!

Nice selection of sports characters represented, I am glad to see an athlete in a wheelchair too.  Good for children to see you can achieve in sport whatever your situation.

It comes as no surprise that Carddies received the Award for Best New Product for Children at Top Drawer 2012 and has also been short-listed for this year's forthcoming Junior Design Awards.  It really is a clever product and I am glad to see a toy that is British through and through.  They are designed, hand drawn, manufactured and assembled in the UK.


I think everyone should keep a few Carddies in their handbag to crack out in emergency childcare situations; they start screaming on the train, dive in your bag and get them back on track!  Am sure your fellow passengers will be pleased!  We have had people move away from us before when youngest went into his complete meltdown stage!!!

To find out more head over to Carddies website http://www.carddies.com/ and purchase them from Amazon.

Little Charley Bear DVD Review

Charley on Safari DVD proved very popular with my two and one of their friends.  So it has a wide appeal, from 2 years to almost 5.  I found it quite pleasant to watch and the wildlife-exploring theme is well liked by most children.  My boys are mad about animals and nature anyway.
I know how helpful it can be to have DVD’s of your child’s favourite shows on standby, it can be difficult explaining no its not on TV at the moment when they start tantruming they want a particular show!  You can be like Mary Poppins and make it magically appear at the right moment.  Then enjoy the instant calm.
Youngest and one of his best buddies snuggled in watching Charley Bear at his best!


I asked youngest would did you think about this DVD? “It was lovely!”  What else did you think? “I liked the rabbit.  It was AWESOME I just said it mummy!”  So there you go can’t say fairer than that!

It is released on the 7th of May, so not long to wait to get your hands on one.  You can pre-order from Amazon for £8.00.  I think that’s a great price for almost an hour of Little Charley Bear (six episodes) AND a sweet little Charley Bear toy to play with.  Fans of the show will love adding this to their collections.

For more information on Little Charley Bear visit www.littlecharleybear.com or become friends with Charley on Facebook at www.facebook.com/littlecharleybear

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Kool Kangaroos Boomerein Review

I was sent these revolutionary hands free reins for my friend to try out with her daughter.  My friend turned out to be quite shy and retiring about her photo appearing on the blog (I promise you she does not look like Shrek!), so I went to her house today just to get a photo of them in action with me!

I used reins when both of mine were younger; I think they are invaluable for encouraging safety in little ones.  Young children really have no concept of danger; my eldest used to say cars would just bounce off him.  Luckily he has clued up somewhat since then!  Good reins really are peace of mind for us parents.

Also as a parent we always have something to hold, we might have a sports bag, school newsletters, homework, what they did not manage to eat of their packed lunch… possibly your eldest has invited a friend or two for tea and you still have your to coax your youngest one along.  Unfortunately we are not octopus and have to make do with the hands we have!  So instead you can now buy the Boomerein, which is attached around the waist of your child and yourself.  Which frees you up somewhat!  If you have been blessed with multiples, you can even get attachments so you can keep your twins or triplets safe.  I think this is when it really comes into its own as a product!


I must admit as a concept I was not sure of what to make of it at first, but it has definitely grown on me as I have experienced it.  Seeing safety products evolving and adapting to the needs of parents is quite encouraging.

I thought they looked quite complicated to use when they arrived, but my friend just got to grips with it all in a manner of seconds.  It did also come with instructions anyway, but it really did seem fairly easy to operate even for a ditsy bubblehead like me!  It is also fully adjustable which is encouraging, as the product will continue to be useful as your child grows.


With an RRP of £15.95 from their website I think it is worth purchasing to see how you get on.  It is a relatively small price to pay for a product that might make life with a fiercefully independent toddler easier!  Being less stressed you might spend a little less on whatever your vice is to calm your frayed nerves at the end of the day… wine, chocolate or in my case my cake habit!  So you would soon have paid back your investment in these.

Saving money whilst raising your children

Having just lost my seasonal job (damn those cut backs!) I thought it would be nice to share these top tips from Savvy Mummys – the savvy spending experts, after all I definitely need to start being more careful with the pennies, so perhaps this will help some of my followers too!

“As much as we love our little bundles of joy, bringing them up can be very costly! £200,000 is the amount predicted by one study for bringing up baby1 and in these times many parents are desperately trying to make their money stretch. Savvy Mummys, the online money saving site, believes that parents should be able to enjoy the momentous journey of parenthood with as little worry as possible. Here are their top tips for saving money when you have children, ensuring you don’t break the bank providing for your little ones.

Be sale savvy

Always be on the lookout for discounts, deals and offers that can help you save! There are bargains to be had on pretty much everything nowadays from clothing to food, days out to toys so become savvy and sign up to as many discount providers as possible and remember, Savvy Mummys is a daily deal site especially designed to save mummies money. Deals are sourced by mums for mums and emailed directly to your inbox so you’re sure to always be in the know.

Clothes swap

We all find ourselves bored of our clothes, on a constant raid through our own wardrobes only to find nothing we like. Why not get to together with local mums and arrange a clothes swap where you can trade your unloved clothes. What’s more, you can do the same for your children so you and mums alike can get your fashion fix and keep your children’s wardrobes up-to-date without a heavy price tag.

Free days out

There are bundles of fun-filled activities that you can do with your children at no cost what so ever! Ever considered taking your kids for an educational day out to your local museum? Or to you’re nearest Country Park to feed the ducks? Search online and in your local newspaper for places near to you and with many museums and play areas offering free admission, you are left with a great alternative to an otherwise expensive day out! Simple activities such as these provide a cheap way of keeping your children entertained during school holidays and weekends – just pack up a lunch and you’re on your way!

Book swap

Why spend a fortune on new books when you can explore the wide range available in your local library for free? It’s a savvy way of finding some brilliant books to read to your children without breaking the bank. What’s more, your children will love visiting the library and picking out their favourite books – another free day out!

Try before you buy

If your kids won’t stop asking for the latest game, CD, book or DVD and you simply can’t afford to buy it or aren’t convinced its worth parting with your hard-earned cash for, check it out at your local library, games stores or ask around to borrow DVD’s. This will give you the chance to try before you buy and many games stores also offer cash back for trading in old games so you could take in those that are never played with and swap them again and again!

Savvy Mummys is a community-based daily deal site that offers mums super-sized savings on all things mummy related. With Mum Time deals for when you have your mummy hat on and Me Time deals for when you are looking for some self indulgence; Savvy Mummys offers everything from baby clothes to childcare, toys to holidays, fitness to family activities, dining, beauty and more! To become a Savvy Mummy member, sign-up at www.savvymummys.co.uk”


1 LV insurance company http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/feb/23/cost-raising-child 

Victory Tea Review

I was sent a lovely gift box with 16 Victory Tea bags to savour.  Tea is one of my favourite things; I could give up alcohol without a second thought but dropping my tea and cake habit would most likely never happen!  So I am very pleased to try out a new tea and see what it is about.


Hubbie and I have both sampled it and it does make a lovely cuppa.  The tea bags smell lovely; it does seem more like a premium product, not like the washed out tea smell of my normal brand of tea.  I just had another one now in an attempt to calm myself as I am feeling slightly lost with youngest in full time playschool today!  Nothing like a good cup of tea and something sweet to take the edge off it!

I have done some token cleaning but nothing like an indulgent put your feet up in peace for a moment (although believe it or not I am actually really missing the noise!) with a warm cup of tea in hand!  Especially with the cold May we are having here, a warm beverage is just what I need.

Victory Tea is quite clever because you can buy it in bulk!  You can head over to the website and even see for yourself how much you would save, with their clever cuppa calculator, if you’re a heavy tea drinker then this could definitely be a more economical way to buy your tea.

For £1.50 you can order your trial pack now and get a taste for it yourself or go crazy and get 1,600 for £30! 

Now put the kettle on and start planning a Jubilee Street party with lots of Victory Tea!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Kipper Plait

Here is another look for you to try out on your daughters!  Having two boys my good friend  does these styles trying to keep me girly I think!  I might be a tomboy at heart.

For this style tie hair up in a pony tail


For this plait you only use two strands, from under the plait take your first strand, fold it across the the other side then do the same to the other side folding it across the first strand



Just keep crossing them over


Half way down the hair you should run out of hair to fold over, but you should have two thick pieces of hair in each hand so use these pieces again from underneath fold across. its important to use thin pieces each time



Like this


Pull out the hair to make it appear thicker



So easy my friend said that her 7 year old took over as her three year old was trying to feed the dog teabags!!!



Then tie at the bottom and enjoy your new look!


Le Toy Van Competition

Shiver my timbers do I have an amazing prize for you!

Le Toy Van has kindly offered me a Barbarossa Pirate Ship for your little one to set sail on an adventure of a lifetime.  Le Toy Van has so many well thought out toys to pick from which will really spark your childs imagination I really struggled to pick one for a prize, they all look so fabulous.

The Barbarossa Pirate Ship is available to buy from around £45.00 so you are really in for a treat if you win this amazing prize.  It does not include the figures but any your children already own around 10cm tall will be most welcome on board!

Am sure your little sea dogs (aged 3+) will enjoy hours of play with this well crafted wooden ship.  With a crow’s nest, cannons to fire and a deck trap door the only problem might be getting them to stop playing for bedtime!  They will be so busy looking for treasures, using their own loved toys as shipmates or perhaps you might add to it and choose to buy some Budkins to man the ship! 

Budkins are very well detailed and really fun figures to play with, the choice is quite outstanding, you can read more about them at our review here.  But just to say I was impressed with the quality.  Now over four months on Raphael the pirate and Billy the cowboy are still going strong.

If you like this competition you should follow the Le Toy Van facebook page as they run lots on there too.  With plenty more amazing prizes in the offering!

To enter the competition please fill out the rafflecopter form, entries will close on the 11th of May.
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