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rachpirt

rachpirt
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Member since: 26.04.2007

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      23.02.2008 11:34
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      I am sure I could have found something better for my money!

      I got this toy for Tom for Christmas. He likes to make a noise so I thought it was perfect!

      The toy is made by Marks and Spencer and I purchased it online for £15.

      The toy comes in a protective cardboard box and I was pleased that it did not have too many plastic twisty things and was recyclable.

      The toy looks pleasant and in terms of sturdiness it is of good quality. It is made of wood and is painted in bright colours. The main frame is in natural wood colour with a catepillar design along the edges. Each note is approx 5 cms wide and varies in length. The notes are painted in a different colour for each one.
      There are two beaters also made of wod and these are painted red on the beater end.

      The toy looks good quality and is very well decorated. Tom enjoys bashing it and making a racket! The notes however leave a bit to be desired. Ok it is a child's toy so I did not expect symphonic quality. I did however expect each note to sound different. The however do not. There are 3 which sound the same and two that are of a slightly different tone. I was dissapointed especially at the price that I paid for it.

      My son does enjoy bashing the notes and occasionally chewing the beaters if he is having a teething moment so really a mixed review!

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      • Weider Flex 8960 Multi Gym / Fitness / 44 Readings / 44 Ratings
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        31.01.2008 16:14
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        Well worth the effort to put it together, This is NOT a clothes horse or dust gatherer in my house!!

        I happen to love my gym; I really like it a lot. I purchased it back in November from EBay for £139, and I think it is worth every penny! You have probably seen the review of my treadmill, well I can tell you now that the multi gym is the thing that I look forward to.

        --Getting the Gym--

        I opted to get this online as I didn't fancy trying to carry anything like this from a store to my car with little Tom in toe. I knew it would be heavy and I was right! The gym came in three very heavy boxes which lived in my hall way for a few days until all the bits had been assembled. Luckily the delivery guy felt sorry for me so he helped me get it into the house!
        Seriously though, you really have to be careful when moving the various parts to the right place in the house, I had to take breaks just because of the amount of lifting involved. I suppose you get a work out before you put the gym together.

        --Assembly--

        The assembly of the gym is possibly the worst, most dreaded part of the whole experience. I will not list every item that was in the box as I will be here forever. However, what you get are all the nuts, bolts and washers known to man, the components for the gym, weights etc. the instructions which were actually very well written and thought out. Lastly a poster with examples of different exercises and what muscle groups they work is included.

        At this point I would say that you will need two adjustable spanners, lots of space to spread everything out; preferably somewhere that you will not be interrupted by pets or children and where you can leave everything unattended whilst you take a break. My spare room was ideal! You will also need someone to hold a few parts at certain points to ensure the item is put together safely

        So, I got to work on the gym. Once I got started it wasn't too bad, it took a total of 6 hours. However I had to do this over a few days as I had to wait until my baby had gone to sleep for the evening. If you had a day where you were not interrupted this would be a bit quicker because you wouldn't have to stop and start.
        As there were many bolts and nuts of similar size, they did provide a guide for these which I referred to a lot. There was also quite a bit of lubrication required on various parts which was a little messy.
        I wouldn't recommend this item to someone with little experience in DIY to put together, it was tricky and fiddly.

        --How the Gym Looks --
        I think at this gym compared with others that I looked at in shops is fairly compact. The dimensions are as follows; height 191cm, width 102cm which is comparatively narrow and length 198cm when the seat is down. When the seat is upright for storage it is 100cm. It does not look as good as other models I have seen but seeing as it is in my spare room I don't really mind! It does have a look of the 80s about it but this does not bother me.

        -- Using the Gym --
        I think this gym is very user friendly and does all the exercises that you would want it to. The extended seat folds up which is good for space saving. It has a lateral bar which can be detached from the top weight pulleys. These also double as individual hand pulley weights. The pulleys at the bottom can either be used from the base of the unit for rowing exercises or they can be attached to the foot bar for calf and thigh exercises. The bench has four settings depending on the exercise you want to do. The seat can move back and forth therefore or can be put into four fixed positions. The back rest for the seat can either be used against the main column of the machine. The backrest can also be used flat or can be detached.

        The weight stack is very easy to use and had a pin so that you can select the amount of weight you pull. The weights move nicely and quietly on the weight stack, I have never woken my son up yet and he sleeps in the room next door!

        It does take a bit of getting used to when attaching the pulleys to the part of the machine that you want to use. However you soon learn to work on one part of the machine for two different exercises before moving on.

        I find this machine easy to use and I really enjoy using it. It is useful to be able to refer to the poster so that you can target specific muscle groups. You also get cardio vascular and strength exercises from this machine too.

        I think that this gym is very good value for money!

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          27.01.2008 08:20
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          Everything you need for a very pleasant stay.

          Cream of Cornwall
          **** The dooyoo team know about the typo in the title....I am awaiting a response from them, it wasn't me I promise!!!****

          I had a lovely holiday last year, right here in good old blighty. I had just had my Son and wanted to get away for a week, I did not fancy rushing to get the baby a passport and I figured that most of places I had already been to in Europe would be really to hot for a little Blonde haired tot. We decided to look for a cottage in Cornwall, somewhere I had not been for years. Not since I was a child in fact.

          Background/Setting
          Blossom Cottage is a gorgeous Holiday cottage situated on a working farm. The family that live on the farm own the cottage and are most welcoming. The grounds of the cottage consist of a drive way, beautifully planted gardens, a gorgeous 'sun trap' terrace with table, chairs and sun loungers. Beyond this are the chickens and other bird dwellings....Tom loved these as it was his first experience of the countryside...(bless). There was the pond and gardens, absolutely amazing planting again... (Titchmarsh eat your heart out), a play garden with a multitude of play equipment for all ages...(Unfortunately Tom was too tiny for this, which was a shame coz me and hubby would have loved an excuse to play!) There were other fields that you can go for walks in and the woods with a lake which was just perfect!


          We searched on the internet and found Blossom Cottage in Bodmin, Cornwall. I had a good look at the reviews and then emailed the proprietors for dates and prices. I got a quick and friendly response, so we booked for the last week in August. Communication was fantastic and each enquiry dealt with in a friendly personal way. I was really impressed at the child friendliness of the owner, and she really went the whole hog to make sure we had everything we needed. Travel cots were not a problem and it was fine for me to let her know nearer the time if it was needed, as Tom had not yet been born when I booked. Fantastic!

          Arrival
          Directions were posted out to us and were very clear and helpful. On arrival to the cottage we got a personal welcome, a lovely welcome letter and a scrummy welcome cake and tea. Oh bliss! Also available were guides to attractions, a well stocked library including local and historical books and personal restaurant reviews. The cottage was spotlessly clean. Everything was so fresh, clean and lovingly looked after, every last detail was considerately thought out.

          Facilities and Accommodation.

          I cannot say this enough, but the cottage was completely immaculate, I could not stop praising the cleanliness, such a delight to a tired new Mum. I was so happy to be able to put Tom straight onto the floor without a worry and let him have a wriggle and a stretch! The layout of the cottage is open plan. There is a lovely conservatory with views all around the cottage. The living areas had a huge window with views of the beautifully planted gardens. Two comfy sofas with a TV, and DVD player. The kitchen was spacious with every single appliance you could wish for, well decorated with lovely units. I wanted to take the kitchen home with me, it was lovelier than the one at home! The bathroom was lovely and big (again beautiful and I wanted to take this home too). It had a separate shower cubicle and spacious bath and a lovely big mirror above the sink. The smaller room was ready for Tom with the cot set up. I could see that normally it would have two single beds, however one had been taken out so that there was plenty of space for changing Tom and I could still sleep in there if Tom was having a bad night. There was also a huge Wardrobe and a lovely range of children's toys and books.

          The main bedroom again was a lovely side with a dressing table and mirror, cute bedside tables and a really comfortable huge bed. It was great to have a king sized bed as we all like to get in together in the mornings. The bed linen was very tasteful; along with the décor in general which really would appeal to everyone. It was contemporary natural wood throughout and clean crisp linens and curtains.

          Along with the facilities that you expect there was also a great range of board and indoor games for all ages, great if the weather was not good. A well stocked library with a lovely range of literature. All the cleaning products and accessories that you would expect to have at home, really it was beautifully thought out. There were also a great range of outdoor accessories including patio furniture, barbeque accessories, and outdoor sports equipment!!! There was also washing machine facilities and a rotary drier which was a god send having a mucky little cherub! All you really needed was your basic food, clothes and toiletries.

          Bodmin Town

          Bodmin is a great place to be because you can access many lovely places quickly.
          A pretty little town with a good range of shops, the town was 5 minutes by car or a pleasant walk away. It was great because you were able to feel like you were right in the heart of the countryside without feeling cut off from life's necessities. There are a great range of pubs also, which had a very relaxed welcoming atmosphere, and reasonably priced. If you needed groceries there was a Sainsbury's and a Morrison's nearby too. Down the road from the cottage is a steam railway with trains that run a route

          Attractions and Eating out

          We went out everyday, and the great thing was that we did not feel that we had to drive too far to visit a place which was perfect for us. The Eden project was a winner with me, very reasonably priced and lots of attractions for all ages. Eden project was only a half hour drive from the cottage which was a real bonus.

          Lanhydrock House was even closer, just a few minutes. This spectacular house was very interesting because you could see the servant quarters as well as the finery upstairs. The grounds and garden were also a lovely attraction too in the lovely weather we had.

          We did not eat out in the evening much, but there were many recommendations from other visitors in the eating guide at the cottage. Bodmin itself has a good range of places to eat including tea rooms and pub fare.

          In summary
          I was well impressed with this holiday in the UK. The proprietors of Blossom Cottage had made sure that you had everything that you needed for a very pleasant stay.
          I forgot to mention that recycling at the farm is important, this was great as we recycle everything at home. However all we had to do was put all our recyclables in a bag.... they even sorted out the recycling for us!!!!!!!!

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            24.01.2008 12:05
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            A great occasional product, with a value for money range of styling tools.

            It's curling time!

            The Christmas party season was fast approaching, I didn't want to cut my hair as I was trying tot grow it. I needed a revamp on my hair, quick! So I went into Superdrug looking for a curling tong that would make my curls look cool.....
            I chose the Tresseme Salon Multi Stylist as it seemed to have all the tools I needed for the job and only cost me £19.99 (If you have seen it cheaper in the January sales...please don't tell me I might cry!)...
            Here is why I chose it...

            -----My Hair type:------
            I have naturally very tight curls, which are prone to frizz. I love my curls do not get me wrong. However, I fancied having looser 'Hollywood' style curls...just for a change. On my hair type I needed a little bit of straightening and then a hair tong that was going to make my curls look glamorous. Overall I have awkward hair!

            ----What you get in the kit -----
            Use of could not be easier. The set consists of the main heat source which is a plug in heat rod onto which the other attachments go; A large curling tong 7/8 size, that the spiral attachment can be put onto; a small curling tong 5/8 size, which doubles up as a hot brush; straighteners with Ultra Gliss ceramic slim plates. This doubles up as hair crimpers. There are also 4 section clips to keep hair in sections when you are styling it. There is also a leaflet of instructions and some styling tips. This is all enclosed in a handy case which makes it neat and tidy for storage. Overall you get lots of styling for your money!
            Very lightweight and a nice long electric flex!

            ---Use of the product---

            You do have to let the item heat up before use; this does only take 2-3 minutes which is fine in my book! So it is best to select the tool that you are going to use and let that heat up along with the main heat rod. Each curling tool has a metal 'rest' which flips round so you can rest the item without burning furniture or carpet whilst you are waiting for it to heat up. The straighteners are encased in plastic which doesn't tend to get hot.
            I found this very easy to use on my hair. Like I have said I have fairly awkward hair (which looks nice with some TLC). To get my Hollywood curls I decided to give my hair a quick once over with the straighteners. I wasn't looking for hair as straight as a die I just needed to get some of the puffiness out of it. I was satisfied with the results.

            I then went onto use the large tongs. I sectioned my hair and wound inch chunks of my hair around it. I gave it a count to 20 and then slid the tong out so that I ended up looking like I had Shirley Temple ringlets. When I had done that all over I gently ran my fingers through and hey presto I had a glamorous look for the evening!

            As with other tongs I have used in the past; particularly as a child I had to get my mum to cut me free from a curling tong once!!! My hair rarely got caught in the tongs.
            Overall I found this easy to use!




            ----Care for your Hair----
            Having frizzy hair I wouldn't use this product every day (I don't have the time but hey). I found that it didn't dry my hair out too much, but my hair did feel just that tiny bit less soft the next day. I used a serum on my hair before I styled and a hairspray to keep moisture out after styling. Both Products were by Tresemme and were for dry damaged hair.

            ----Summary----

            A great product, with a value for money range of styling tools. I wouldn't use it every day on my hair type. If you have straighter hair, or you like to make curls in your hair and you want to style your hair on a daily basis I would recommend a more expensive tool. For occasional styling, this is the item for you!

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              20.01.2008 09:42
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              Refreshing as an iced tea, not quite the desired affect on my condition!

              -----**Before I start my review, I must state that Heath and Heather warn on the packet that this product should be avoided by those in early pregnancy. If in doubt seek medical advice. **---




              ------How I first came across this product: --------

              Raspberry leaf tea was recommended to me whilst I was in the latest stage of pregnancy (from 37 weeks onwards) as it is supposed to have properties that encourage contractions. I thought I would give it a whirl. My midwife said there was no concrete evidence to suggest that it would work, but seeing as I was eating pineapple by the kilo I thought I would try this too. Sadly it had no affect on bringing on labour for me at all but I would like to share my experiences of this product as a drink in its own right. The fact that it didn't bring labour on for me does not cloud my judgement of the product; as my midwife said, there was no evidence that it actually did help to bring on labour.



              ------What Heath and Heather Say about this product:------

              A fragrant blend of raspberry leaf, natural flavour and real apple pieces combine to make this delicate tea.



              ------My initial cup of Raspberry Leaf Tea:------

              I first tried this product in the traditional way that one would drink herbal tea, by following the directions.



              ------Directions on the packet:------

              Place the filter bag in a cup or a warmed pot (one per person). Add boiling water. Leave for 3-5 minutes to bring out the full flavour. Best drunk without milk.
              (I also added to this some honey).

              The flavour is quite subtle, as stated on the packet. You can really pick out the apple flavour. However, it does not have a strong raspberry flavour as one would imagine; I guess this is because the product is make from the leaf of the plant rather than the fruit. Prior to adding the honey I found that the flavour was a little bitter, and by adding honey it took the edge off this. However everyone's taste buds differ and others may find that honey is not needed. The aroma is quite pleasant too; again it matches the subtlety of the flavour.

              As a drink I found that this was quite enjoyable and very soothing. As with most herbal teas this product does not contain caffeine, so it was an enjoyable warm drink and a healthier alternative to traditional caffeinated tea or coffee.


              ------I started to experiment:------

              Ok I was waiting for the baby to come, house bound because I was huge and well the baby had been 'engaged' in the right place for some time now. Therefore I was a little bored...
              The weather was rather warm when I was at this stage of my pregnancy; so in an attempt to try the theory as mentioned at the beginning of my review, I started to experiment with ways of making this into a summer drink. After one or two goes I found that the following blend was rather a pleasant experience.
              I used three teabags and put them into a large jug, I then poured on boiled but slightly cooled water. When the tea was cold I added some ice cubes, a handful of fresh mint and a generous handful of sliced strawberries. I found that the mint and strawberries brought out the fruity flavour of the drink and I really enjoyed sipping this in the warm sunshine. I found that not only was the taste enjoyable but it was a refreshing drink as well! I am glad I experimented with this product. I think I preferred this method of making the tea to the traditional way. However, my judgement is partly swayed by the mini heatwave that we had in England during April!


              ------Product Details:------

              I bought a 40g box which contained 20 tea bags. I bought the product from Holland and Barrett where it cost me £1.05. The product contains the following ingredients: raspberry leaves (48%), Hibiscus, Blackberry Leaves, Natural raspberry Flavour 96%), Tartaric Acid, Rosehips, raspberries (1%), Apple Pomace (1%).

              I thought that it was good value for money as the Best Before Date is December 2008 and I originally bought this product in April 2007.


              ------Other opinions about the product:------

              Many of my friends who I have met through being pregnant also tried this product. Opinion was divided about the taste of this product, many of my friends found the tea flavourless; however some of these were used to traditional tea and were not big fans of herbal tea anyway.


              ------In Summary:------

              Heath and Heather Raspberry Leaf Tea in my opinion is refreshing. It is a lovely alternative to other warm drinks. As an iced tea it works rather nicely too. For a pregnant lady was also a good alternative whilst my friends were sipping Pimms in the sunshine! I didn't feel so left out. If you are in your last few days of pregnancy and just want to get on with going into labour well, I cannot say it works, but for £1.05 a box and a nice taste it is worth a try.

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              • Samsung S750 / Digital Camera / 39 Readings / 37 Ratings
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                10.01.2008 22:22
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                great value for money camera

                Samsung S750 The most value for money, user friendly camera I have owned.

                I was distraught when my last camera broke, especially as I had just had a child and this was the time for taking snaps. I was looking for something reasonably compact, that would take quality stills and video as well.... The Samsung S750 was the answer! I purchased this in July for £110 in Argos. They had a special promotion on so I couldn't resist!

                Dummy Proof...

                This camera is really easy to use, particularly when it comes to the shake reduction and the 5x optical zoom. It is really easy to take basic photographs and video, so you can start experimenting with your new camera as soon as you are charged and ready to go. The dial on the top is very clear and easy to understand.
                The view finder is a brilliant size it is 2.5 inches quare which makes it very easy to view your subject, and is good to review the images and video too. This is good because alot of the effects for your photograph can be done on the camera.

                The processing quality is fantastic, lovely photos ever time. It comes with a free program called Digimax Master to help to download the photos. The software was quick and easy to download. In terms of its use, well its unlike any software I have used before, you have to read through the manual and used a little trial and error to get used to it. I guess this is like using any new software for the first time. I like the fact that all of the pictures in your computer (downloaded from internet, scanned, or downloaded from another camera) can be accesed via digimax master. I use it for all my image printing needs now.


                Reliability:
                This is one camera that seems to use power effectively. I have had other digital cameras before but this one seems to rarely rely on a constant stream of freshly charged batteries like some cameras do. You seem to get lots of playback time too and even in video mode the power does not drain as one would expect.


                Picture quality:

                I think that for photographing any subject this camera is excellent. I use it for taking stills and video of family, for close up art work and for photographing my art student's work. It does all of these superbly. There is alot of accuracy beteen the viewfinder and the lens. I am not the greatest photographer in the world, but the croping and adjustment that you can do after the photo is taken is a blessing.

                This camera is lightweigt and easily fits in my handbag!!! which is always a bonus!

                The special features include:

                'E' button:
                One click access to special effects. The 'E' button gives you access to colour adjustment effects and fun effects like speech bubbles, stickers and frames

                Pixels: 7.2 megapixel 11 Shooting Modes: 11 scene modes to enable you to take the best pictures in different shooting environments including Night, Portrait, Children, Landscape, Macro, Sunset, Dawn, Backlight, Fireworks, Beachand Snow

                Text Zoom: 3x optical zoom, 5x digital zoom Advanced Shake Reduction: ASR prevents the degradation of image clarity and colour. Take well exposed, sharper pictures in low light condition without using a flash at all, which guarantees brighter and more natural pictures

                Display: 2.5 inch LCD monitor for picture viewing Convenient

                mode dial: The dial on top of the camera allows instant access to the appropriate mode for each lighting condition ISO 400 Ergonomic design- Ergonomic grip allows steady hold for better shots

                Dimensions: H6 x W10 x D2.5cm

                Video recording: Movie mode allows video recording with sound

                Weight: 136g

                Power Source: 2x AA alkaline, rechargeable batteries

                Other features: Auto-flash, Red eye reduction, Voice memo

                overall this is a really good value camera

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                  05.08.2007 23:59
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                  The melodic early alternative

                  With the Beatles - The Beatles

                  What this album does for me...

                  I am a life long, second generation Beatles fan. I know that there are some people out there who cannot stand the Beatles; for me I grew up listening to them.

                  I listen to this album retrospectively, I can't judge it as though I have heard it before their 1964 'Beatlemania'. I certainly do not want to offend 1st generation Beatles fans, those of you who were alive with my interpretation of this album. So please take my view as it is meant!
                  'With the Beatles' is a great example of some of the Beatles lesser know early music. Most of us can sing most of the words to 'She Loves You'. I guess I also envy those who had their first time in a night club when 'I want to hold your hand' was playing. This album has all of the charm of the early Beatles music but sounds just that bit more 'fresh' because it has not been heard that many times.

                  The album came out in 1963, it was their second album after 'Please Please Me'. The Beatles at this time where on the verge of complete mania in Britain. There is a fresh youthfulness about the album, as with Please Please Me. None of them have been ground down, played to screaming girls in the states in a packed stadium or arrested for taking drugs... there is something of an innocense within the music

                  I like the experimentation with harmonies which seems to run throughout this album. It has a gentle feel with rock and roll undertones, as if they were trying to do something a little different with this album.

                  The album includes the following songs:
                  1. It Won't Be Long
                  2. All I've Got To Do
                  3. All My Loving
                  4. Don't Bother Me
                  5. Little Child
                  6. Till There Was You
                  7. Please Mr Postman
                  8. Roll Over Beethoven
                  9. Hold Me Tight
                  10. You've Really Got A Hold On Me
                  11. I Wanna Be Your Man
                  12. Devil In Her Heart
                  13. Not A Second Time
                  14. Money.

                  The songs that stand out to me from this album are:
                  Til there was you...listen to it, I think the cocoanut shell tapping is funny, perhaps a little cheesy, I just imagine the youthful Paul McCartney serenading a dewy eyed girl in a black and white film...Don't ask

                  it won't be long...yeah yeah yeah...it reminds me a little of All my Loving which is also on this album. I guess its Pauls twangy bass rifts.
                  Money is quite a cool example of the Beatles making traditional rock and roll. This song could quite fit into the fifties. Little Child with the harmonica sounds again has a fifties feel.

                  This album is an alternative example of early Beatles music that has not been played to death!

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                  • More +
                    30.07.2007 17:12
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                    Value for money baby gym

                    The Tiny Love Gymini Super Deluxe - Lights and Music
                    What the product claims:
                    Truly multi-sensory play experience, integrating fascinating visual stimulation in the form of flashing lights and colorful images, along with varied sensory stimulation that includes different fabrics, textures and shapes. In addition, the rich auditory feedback includes four musical selections to stimulate baby's hearing.

                    Product details:
                    The item is £44.99 and available at many outlets including Mothercare and Ebay.
                    The product is a soft fabric mat approx 1m square with soft child friendly cross over the top. There are many activities and features including:
                    Electronic Lights & Music Touch Pad
                    Large Sun Mirror
                    Jitter Elephant Pull-Toy
                    Spinning, Rattling Parrot
                    Swinging Monkey
                    Soft Giraffe Rattle
                    Colourful Bead Rattle & Teether in One
                    Peek-a-boo activity on the mat
                    Squeaker and crinkly area on the mat
                    The mat and bars are attractive and brightly coloured.

                    How has my Son developed whilst using this product?
                    Tom is 12 weeks old and never seems to tire from playing with this. We bought the item just after he was born and the item keeps him occupied through each stage of his development so far.
                    0-1 month
                    Tom enjoyed looking at the animals that hung down, he would look around if we pressed one of the musical pads or squeeker. After the first two weeks he was making efforts to reach for some of the larger toys. At this stage he could bat them and make them move.

                    1-2months
                    Tom started to laugh if the toys were moved. The crinkly crunchy bits and squeeker seemed to make the biggest impression. He could just handle some of the animal toys and make them move alot

                    2-3 months
                    Tom's favourite toy is the monkey, he can reach and pull it. If the monkeys feet or hands are close enough he puts them in his mouth. He giggles with delight if the music starts and finds the pull down elephant hillarious. Any day now he will be pulling the elephant down on his own. The mirror is starting to interest him alot, it is positioned on the side to encourage babies to roll over..this he now does expertly.

                    I think if Tom could speak he would also give this five stars. I am looking forward to him starting to think about the different textures of the toys, and crawling about on it

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                      05.05.2007 18:52
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                      awwwwwww

                      this is a short review as i can only use one hand! baby is in other.
                      I had a lad, thomas on 3/5/07 at 19.56pm
                      he weighed 7lb 12 oz and i was in labour for 11hrs after being induced.
                      i had an epidural and there was a panic just before i delivered so they tried ventuse which popped off his head an flew across the room, in the end they used forcepts. i had an episiotomy and i tore so i had a bit of a tapestry down below....i am still walking like john wayne!
                      i love Tom to bits he's fab, had first night out of hospital and it went ok!.
                      going to have a go at baby massage later as he will only relax when cuddled.
                      anyhow, proper review to follow! thanks for all the messages of support

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                        01.05.2007 14:49
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                        what else should we say sorry for?

                        Saying sorry for the slave trade…
                        This is a tough one and I know I will not come to a conclusion about this. Therefore this is more of an argument and my personal reviews for and against.

                        My background is mixed; I recently found out that my Jamaican Grandfather was born to a Spanish mother and Afro Caribbean father. So the changes are that there were both slave owners and slaves in my family. It’s funny when you find information like this in your family especially when you have made assumptions about your ancestors for such a long time. I am also led to believe that my Grandfather’s surname Garrison is a slave name. Unfortunately that is all the information I have about this part of my ancestry. Not that this makes a difference to my opinion but it may help to explain why I cannot draw an easy conclusion

                        The exact question is Apologise for the slave trade Yes or No? In the sub context it suggests the question ‘Should Britain Apologise slave trade, Yes or No?’

                        I imagine that most people would agree that slavery was barbaric and cruel. To treat another as a slave and take away their freedom and rights is completely wrong. Laws were changed and as a result the slave trade has ceased to be.
                        On a personal level, I believe that the slave trade created communities that would not have otherwise existed. Certainly members of my family would not have existed otherwise. However this is not a reason to excuse the inhumanity that occurred.

                        I believe that there should be an apology; not because I apportion blame to my own family members or this generation. Britain should apologise because an apology should have been made a long time ago. Saying sorry on behalf of other people can help to heal wounds, and at the very least help to bring about closure for those who suffered generations ago.

                        What we have to distinguish here is between blaming ourselves personally for something that happened before we were born and accepting that for some of us our ancestors were involved in a terrible trade.
                        The whole issue of apologising for the slave trade should not mean that as a nation we have to beat ourselves up and blame each other. I think this is where the issue has become blurred.

                        I think that this issue has helped to make politicians a little more accountable for their actions, this is a great thing. If leaders can be honest and take account for what has happened this would be great.

                        Now to throw the cat amongst the pigeons… This issue also raises the question what else should there be an apology for? Without delving too deep I have come up with a few ideas:

                        • The conservative party for a former leader closing coal pits and wrecking whole communities?
                        • US govt saying sorry for the Vietnam War and admitting that its own people were right to protest.
                        • Tony Blair and George Bush for invading Iraq and the multiple car bombs that happen each day…

                        I hope my thoughts make some sense and you have found them interesting. I would just like to say that I hope no-one feels offended by my comments and that my thoughts can be taken in the spirit they are meat in.

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                        • Gresham (London) / Hotel National / 30 Readings / 28 Ratings
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                          30.04.2007 22:31
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                          toilet seat? you must be joking!

                          Gresham Hotel
                          Oh my goodness me!
                          I really hate to slate anything or anybody but this really was the worst place I have stayed in for a long time. I am going to start with the positives and work my way down.
                          This is a review about the hotel itself, rather than a tourist’s guide as I originally a Londoner (now relocated) who likes to use hotels when visiting family and friends. I don’t really do a lot of the tourist thing when I go to London.
                          Just a little about my own travel experience.
                          I am used to basic accommodation; I have stayed in the Regent Palace notoriously basic, alas no longer with us! I also am used to basic self catering holidays; I expect cleanliness, politeness, security and the basic of basics…toilet paper, a toilet seat, a light…

                          Location:
                          Bloomsbury Street, just off New Oxford Street.
                          Close to Tottenham Court Road Tube Station
                          Buses to all the tourist hotspots and various locations in London.
                          Near Soho, Leicester Square and all the shows.
                          Check In:
                          This is where I had my serious doubts and I should have run away (except I was pregnant and just wanted a bed for the night, my legs were not going to allow me to look for somewhere else). You pay for your room and get given a key. You then are informed that you have to return the key every time you leave the building. Ok I thought so do you show them ID? No…you ask whoever is there for your room number and that is it. No swiping anything, no identity just gets the key and go in. I was shown to my room and given very little instruction about breakfast. I could not find a card in the room to tell me and I was seriously wondering if eating here would be a good idea.

                          The Room:
                          We had a basic double room £100 for two nights including breakfast. Shared bathrooms just next to the room.
                          The light above the bed was not only broken but was hanging off the wall! We feared that any movement would send it crashing onto one of our heads! The sheets were not completely clean. The bed was not a standard double, really me and hubby were squashed and we aint that big. In fact I am glad that we are both short too, anyone over 5ft 5 would have been hanging off the end of the bed!
                          The window would not stay open so we had to prop it open with the ashtray and Gideon’s bible. This would prove a source of discomfort during the night as the heating was on full blast. This stay was in February yes, but this February if anyone can remember was very mild. So why waste the money on having the heating so high?

                          The Shared ‘Facilities’:
                          Yes, how pleasant….ahem
                          The toilet had no paper in on a frequent basis; I ended up buying tissues to take with me. The toilets were also minus a seat, just to add to my discomfort of being challenged in the belly department. Hotel guests were using the toilets to smoke in, I am not against smoking, my husband still smokes but he lets me and baby have fresh air by smoking out of the window. My gripe was that you could use the rooms to smoke in so why use the shared facilities? Why were there no signs in there?
                          The showers were revolting; they were never clean and made me feel sick to use them. Having to wash someone else’s pubic hair down a plughole just before breakfast is not fun. The showers were designed so badly that the water ran straight across the shower room and all over your nice dry clothes….

                          Breakfast:
                          Yeah is that what it was?
                          Day 1
                          One bowl of rice crispies out and a very brown banana. No bowls, no milk, no toast, no condiments or preserves. No mugs for tea or coffee. We waited 20 minutes for this to be replenished. When I did find someone they told me to sit and wait, and all I wanted was a receptacle to drink from and a piece of toast. They took my order the choice of which was cooked breakfast or not. I risked it. I got a slice of ham…I know this is continental but it was advertised as English breakfast and we were in England. Undercooked egg and a tinned tomato.
                          Day 2
                          There were some cereal, but no milk, cups or any fruit at all. I opted to have just toast instead of the cooked stuff and thankfully got what I wanted. I had to fight for condiments which were put on a little plate in front of me and then hastily taken away and given to someone else before I got to my second slice.
                          I repeat, I am very used to basic accommodation but this pushed the boundary for me.
                          Do not stay at this hotel it is shocking!

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                          • More +
                            29.04.2007 17:27
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                            making a mental list of good stuff to get me thru the forth trimester!

                            Pregnancy ups mostly and a few downs…. Nearly there!
                            So, I am 41 weeks and 1 day pregnant. This is my first and so all of this is new to me. I have been feeling a bit down and a lot crabby this week as I am over due, so I am writing this review. My aim is to share my experience and hope that it helps other people in whatever way, and also to make me think about the list of pros…as I do not want to get negative about this experience and look on the cons as experiences rather than cons. mainly, because it has not really been bad at all.
                            So I got married July 27th last year, went on my honeymoon and did not have a period as expected when we came back. Even though we had been trying for a baby we were convinced it was going to take ages to conceive.
                            Back in 2002 I had discovered I was pregnant, I was still studying but loved my boyfriend (now hubby) very much even though we had only been together for little over a year. I tried hard to be sensible, but prior to discovering I was pregnant I smoked 20 a day and drank really like a fish (as some students do)….Anyways I lost that pregnancy at 16 weeks…it was traumatic to say the least and I do not want to go into the details as this is supposed to be a positive review!

                            So there’ me last August thinking that there was no way I could be pregnant despite trying as I was convinced my body wasn’t going to co-operate and the traumas of 2002 were going to keep happening. I was off work this particular day and had popped into see hubby at work in his pub. We were having a bit of a bicker about something and nothing…he says to me…you are pregnant, I can tell you are being such a moody so and so…I’m not I pleaded I am just waiting for this period that wont happen. Hubby gives me £10 and orders me to get a test or he is going to go mad…so I did. Not very classy but in the pub loo I did the test. I didn’t have to wait for the result at all it was immediate. The cross came in the box as I was taking the test, I was very very pregnant.
                            So I went home, I immediately ran my nearly full box of Marlborough Lights under the tap and threw them away…Then I panicked, then I realised it was for the best.

                            I went to the docs as I was having tight pains in my abdomen, I was sent that week for an early scan.
                            I have never felt so sick in my life, was the sonographer going to turn the screen away? Will there be something there? I had butterflies like you wouldn’t believe. Sure enough there was a little thing that looked like a bean 2cms in size with a heartbeat. We were in floods of tears, it was such a relief. I continued to eat healthily and quit smoking and drinking. I started to feel really good and I felt optimistic.

                            12 Weeks:
                            This was the next scary bit. I had managed to make it to 12 weeks and I was about to have another scan. Again I was terrified as I had gone beyond this point before so I really wanted good news. I felt the same butterflies as before. This time you could see a little thing that looked like a shrimp with a lovely heartbeat all the right size and raring to go.

                            16 weeks
                            I felt the first kick, I know most think that is early but I knew what I felt. It was as if fish were swimming in my tum and making ripples inside me. I was delighted; my husband was a bit sceptical because he couldn’t feel anything but I just had to reassure him. My skin was starting to look good and I felt super healthy, I put this down to me not abusing myself with booze and fags.

                            20 weeks
                            The next scan and the sonographer does a close up of baby sucking its thumb, me and hubby in floods of tears again. There was a brilliantly white spine and the arms and legs were bobbing around all over. Everything was fine….the baby inside me was beginning to become a real person, a personality. On my hubby’s birthday we were laying in bed and baby started to do some really mad movements….it felt like Jackie Chan was rehearsing a fight scene. I grabbed my husbands hand and shoved it where baby was kicking. He felt it kick for the first time, and on his birthday. That was a really special moment

                            Well, it’s been a positive experience; I’m now overdue and waiting to be induced this Wednesday. I would definitely rather have an overdue baby than a premature one. So I really must not complain, I feel for all those mums who have to care for a premature baby, it must be a scary thing! I take my hat off to you all! I have got to think about the good things and remember them. I have had some weird and wonderful things happen to me. I didn’t have any stretch marks until this week, so I am pleased and I hope that these very late stretch marks won’t stay. For not getting bad stretch marks I have instead got god’s nastiest cellulite and lumpy fat on my legs. Although dry brushing and firming cream is helping out a little. My feet don’t look like feet anymore. They are just puffy along with my ankles. In fact the whole of my legs are a nightmare zone.
                            On the good side, I have got that butterfly mark on my face, but due to my freckly skin it looks like I have been on holiday! I have actually looked leaner on my arms, face and back. I put this down to me taking care of myself for once. Eating sensibly and not boozing. The calories in booze must be bad. I have only gained 2 ½ stone (20kg I think); although I am convinced my scales are being nice to me and lying! I have rediscovered my creative side since being off of work, I love recycling clothes…its fun! I don’t think I will start smoking again! I have saved up lots of money from not feeding my habit.

                            So…I feel as though I have lots to look forward to, finding out what sex it is…I’m so excited! Putting baby in the buggy and strolling in the park. I can’t wait until my feet and hips are more favourable for long walks. This is a good experience and I am not going to feel down about being overdue and the possibility of being induced…hey baby are you listening? You have 3 days to have a go at coming along yourself!

                            Part 2 if anyone can bear to read it will be when Baby has come along and I am up to my eyes in nappies!

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                            • More +
                              29.04.2007 14:47
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                              41 weeks and 1 day and staying focussed!

                              Pregnancy ups mostly and a few downs…. Nearly there!
                              So, I am 41 weeks and 1 day pregnant. This is my first and so all of this is new to me. I have been feeling a bit down and a lot crabby this week as I am over due, so I am writing this review. My aim is to share my experience and hope that it helps other people in whatever way, and also to make me think about the list of pros…as I do not want to get negative about this experience and look on the cons as experiences rather than cons. mainly, because it has not really been bad at all.
                              So I got married July 27th last year, went on my honeymoon and did not have a period as expected when we came back. Even though we had been trying for a baby we were convinced it was going to take ages to conceive.
                              Back in 2002 I had discovered I was pregnant, I was still studying but loved my boyfriend (now hubby) very much even though we had only been together for little over a year. I tried hard to be sensible, but prior to discovering I was pregnant I smoked 20 a day and drank really like a fish (as some students do)….Anyways I lost that pregnancy at 16 weeks…it was traumatic to say the least and I do not want to go into the details as this is supposed to be a positive review!

                              So there’ me last August thinking that there was no way I could be pregnant despite trying as I was convinced my body wasn’t going to co-operate and the traumas of 2002 were going to keep happening. I was off work this particular day and had popped into see hubby at work in his pub. We were having a bit of a bicker about something and nothing…he says to me…you are pregnant, I can tell you are being such a moody so and so…I’m not I pleaded I am just waiting for this period that wont happen. Hubby gives me £10 and orders me to get a test or he is going to go mad…so I did. Not very classy but in the pub loo I did the test. I didn’t have to wait for the result at all it was immediate. The cross came in the box as I was taking the test, I was very very pregnant.
                              So I went home, I immediately ran my nearly full box of Marlborough Lights under the tap and threw them away…Then I panicked, then I realised it was for the best.

                              I went to the docs as I was having tight pains in my abdomen, I was sent that week for an early scan.
                              I have never felt so sick in my life, was the sonographer going to turn the screen away? Will there be something there? I had butterflies like you wouldn’t believe. Sure enough there was a little thing that looked like a bean 2cms in size with a heartbeat. We were in floods of tears, it was such a relief. I continued to eat healthily and quit smoking and drinking. I started to feel really good and I felt optimistic.

                              12 Weeks:
                              This was the next scary bit. I had managed to make it to 12 weeks and I was about to have another scan. Again I was terrified as I had gone beyond this point before so I really wanted good news. I felt the same butterflies as before. This time you could see a little thing that looked like a shrimp with a lovely heartbeat all the right size and raring to go.

                              16 weeks
                              I felt the first kick, I know most think that is early but I knew what I felt. It was as if fish were swimming in my tum and making ripples inside me. I was delighted; my husband was a bit sceptical because he couldn’t feel anything but I just had to reassure him. My skin was starting to look good and I felt super healthy, I put this down to me not abusing myself with booze and fags.

                              20 weeks
                              The next scan and the sonographer does a close up of baby sucking its thumb, me and hubby in floods of tears again. There was a brilliantly white spine and the arms and legs were bobbing around all over. Everything was fine….the baby inside me was beginning to become a real person, a personality. On my hubby’s birthday we were laying in bed and baby started to do some really mad movements….it felt like Jackie Chan was rehearsing a fight scene. I grabbed my husbands hand and shoved it where baby was kicking. He felt it kick for the first time, and on his birthday. That was a really special moment

                              Looking back...40+ weeks
                              Well, it’s been a positive experience; I’m now overdue and waiting to be induced this Wednesday. I would definitely rather have an overdue baby than a premature one. So I really must not complain, I feel for all those mums who have to care for a premature baby, it must be a scary thing! I take my hat off to you all! I have got to think about the good things and remember them. I have had some weird and wonderful things happen to me. I didn’t have any stretch marks until this week, so I am pleased and I hope that these very late stretch marks won’t stay. For not getting bad stretch marks I have instead got god’s nastiest cellulite and lumpy fat on my legs. Although dry brushing and firming cream is helping out a little. My feet don’t look like feet anymore. They are just puffy along with my ankles. In fact the whole of my legs are a nightmare zone.
                              On the good side, I have got that butterfly mark on my face, but due to my freckly skin it looks like I have been on holiday! I have actually looked leaner on my arms, face and back. I put this down to me taking care of myself for once. Eating sensibly and not boozing. The calories in booze must be bad. I have only gained 2 ½ stone (20kg I think); although I am convinced my scales are being nice to me and lying! I have rediscovered my creative side since being off of work, I love recycling clothes…its fun! I don’t think I will start smoking again! I have saved up lots of money from not feeding my habit.

                              So…I feel as though I have lots to look forward to, finding out what sex it is…I’m so excited! Putting baby in the buggy and strolling in the park. I can’t wait until my feet and hips are more favourable for long walks. This is a good experience and I am not going to feel down about being overdue and the possibility of being induced…hey baby are you listening? You have 3 days to have a go at coming along yourself!

                              Part 2 if anyone can bear to read it will be when Baby has come along and I am up to my eyes in nappies!

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                              • Fairy Non-Bio / Household Product / 23 Readings / 19 Ratings
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                                29.04.2007 12:33
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                                Fairy non bio a great value for money wash and makes the wash smell lush!

                                Getting to the end of my first bottle of fairy non-bio.
                                Fairy non-bio is a liquid clothes detergent, turquoise in colour and smells really nice.
                                Since I have started using it I have really noticed the difference. My clothes feel lovely! They feel nice when they come out of the wash and great once they have dried. I line dry (or clothes horse dry) my clothes and one thing I have noticed is that you do not get that stiff powdery feeling on the clothes once they have been on the line for the day. They actually feel like they have been tumble dried with bounce (even though they haven't).

                                The clothes smell fantastic and it is quite pleasant when you are drying them indoors as the aroma seems to be carried around the house, very fresh! Again there is no stiffness in the clothes they feel fab even if you have to dry them near a radiator.

                                I have noticed that with my socks particularly you do not get that powdery staining that you get when you wash black fabrics in the wash.

                                In terms of stain removal it is great! It is recommended that for heavy soiling you use 125 ml (soft water) or 150ml (hard water) I have accidently chucked items in with spag bol or curry stains on (thats my husband for you!) with out pre treating and used only 50ml. Despite this the stains have come out. So unless you have quite a nasty stain on your garment in my opinion you do not need as much liquid as it states. I live in a soft water area and use 50-75ml depending on the amount of clothes i am washing and I have been happy every time.

                                It washes darks, brights, whites and mixed just as well. I tend to have a mixed wash and it has kept the colours really well (I do not have enough washing to warrent seperate washes...yet)

                                I have yet to test it on baby mess, this is the reason I bought it as I am due to give birth (like last week!). I have not put fairy non bio through the rigours of baby stains and washing reusable nappies yet, however I am very confident that it will remove the stains and keep baby's skin safe. I have used it on a few of the baby items such as blankets and linen just to give them an initial wash and they have come up really soft and lovely. Maybe baby will sleep....

                                The only thing that I have an annoyance with is that when I bought the liquid at ASDA it did not come with a dosing ball! I looked high and low and none of the bottles had one. I had to go on the website and give fairy my details so that they could send me one. It arrived a couple of days later so not too bad.

                                I paid £3.28 for 2.5l which they recommend 33 washes. I think its more if you live in soft water area. You can pre treat stains but I have not had to do that. It works well on 30 degree washes and hand washing. I have used it on a woven silk piece of table linen and it was really gentle. Tough and gentle washing liquid.
                                Well done fairy

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                                • British Gas / Utility Service / 16 Readings / 12 Ratings
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                                  29.04.2007 01:47
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                                  energy watch have it sussed

                                  How to sort your disputes with the big BG
                                  I had quite a horrible experience with british gas:
                                  The Problem:
                                  I moved into my new address and within two weeks received a bill for £91 despite me giving them an accurate starting meter read. I think that this is common place policy for british gas to do this, send you a crazy bill just to see if you have a heart attack or in my case go into early labour. Anyway I telephoned them
                                  and spoke to a lad who was quite willing to help me out..Fab I thought it had only taken me two days of wall to wall ringing to get through i can finally sort it out!

                                  How BG dug themselves into a rather large hole:
                                  So we discussed my meter readings for the gas...'Oh' says the voice on the end of the phone. 'We started you on an estimate and then took your reading the day you moved in as your next reading"..."It looks like there was a considerable difference!" Yes...Im thinking if that much gas was escaping into my house I WOULD BE DEAD!...anyway I stayed calm.

                                  I wanted to check the electric reading out just to save myself a 'surprise' when that bill came and it was wrong.
                                  I read my original reading out to him, the line goes quiet and he says that my reading is not right. I explain to him that I have the original reading with the date next to it, that I took on the day I moved in....Could your colleague have keyed it in wrong?
                                  Then he did one of those fake snorty laughs and explained that this could never be the case because they take readings everyday.

                                  I try to contain the explosion that is about to happen inside my head. Well I am really sorry but I have the original piece of paper here and this is what I am very sure I gave to your colleague.
                                  His reply did wind me up. He suggested that I was makign the number up...I questioned this, why would I really want to do that. Please send someone around not to look at my meter and check. His reply was I was lying so I could pay less on my bill! What in gods name was he saying to me? He actually accused me of trying to rip them off. All I was trying to do was to check a meter reading and pay the correct amount for my fuel.
                                  I was really upset, he asked me to read the meter again and I did. He went quiet as it had obviously rolled on from the reading I had given.

                                  But he was not going to get away with this attitude. I am so honest that it scares me sometimes and here is BG saying I am a criminal! I got on house.com and found the number for energywatch and complained through them. I got put through frist to energy watch and then once this happens they give you a reference for your complaint. you are then put back through to BG but you get to speak to the customer service team who deal with complaints about customer services. I told them what Ii had been accused of in the process of sorting out my bill. I gave them the lad's name. I was given a direct dial number incase the matter did not get processed quickly enough.

                                  BG seemed embarrased by what had happened. The outcome was quite favourable. Infact they have mucked my bill up for that period and I have ended up paying alot less than I expected. I just never want to move house again or even change my supplier...I am too scared to mcuk about with it. At least I did not have to pay £91 for two weeks and the police did not arrest me for electricity fraud!!!!
                                  Energy watch guys if you get stuck, ok!

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