24 April 2018

Review: Landmark Forest Adventure Park

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During the Easter school holidays the family and I took a trip up North to stay at the lovely Ancarraig Lodges in Drumnadrochit beside Loch Ness. I always do a quick internet search before we visit a new place to see what sort of things we can do with the kids and the Landmark Forest Adventure Park popped up. From their website it looked like a fabulous place to visit with lots of different attractions from playparks, rides and tree top walks to a butterfly house and world of illusions. There was even the chance to spot red squirrels! Luckily for us the lovely people from Landmark got in touch and offered us a family pass to try out their park. The kids were very excited and couldn’t wait to visit.


The Landmark Forest Adventure Park is based in Carrbridge which the sat nav advised was about an hours drive from our lodge. In reality with the quiet roads up North it only took us around 40 minutes to get there. It was really busy when we arrived (probably due to the amazing weather and school holidays) but if you booked tickets online/had a pass/are a season ticket holder then you got to use the fast track lane and walk right through. Since it was our first visit to the park the lovely gentleman on reception gave us a map and explained all about the different attractions within for us to visit. Because it was the Easter holidays he also informed us about the golden Easter egg hunt taking place. The kids were buzzing to find some and eat the chocolate inside. As Logan is autistic he received a fast track assistance pass to wear so he could skip the queues for the rides. This did come in really handy and is well worth asking for if he need it.


After heading out of reception we crossed the little bridge and went straight into Ant City. It’s a lovely big outdoor wooden play park/ climbing frame with lots of slides, nets to climb, things to jump on and discover. We spent a good bit of time here letting the kids burn off some energy before we went on to explore the rest of the park. Next up Logan chose to have a go on the trails. He was big enough for the Tarzan Trail so off he went with his Dad to try it out. They even had a trail for toddlers called the Wee Monkey Trail and Harlow was excited to give it a bash. It was so cute and she did really well.


By this time Harlow was desperate for a snack so whilst she was eating we had a walk around a little fenced off area which included a vortex tunnel, growing shrinking room, topsy turvy room as well as some lovely carved wooden structures. The vortex tunnel was brilliant and we’ve experienced the same thing at Camera Obscura in Edinburgh. It literally makes you lose your balance, such a brilliant illusion for the mind.  The Runaway Timber Train was next and it’s basically a roller coaster. Logan loves a roller coaster and he was excited to realise that you got to have two shots in a row. He even got to sit in the front carriage so was very pleased.


The adventure park has a butterfly house within the grounds so we decided to have a nosy inside. When we went in there were lots of butterflies flying around every where and it was nice to see lots of educational signs posted around to read. There were even a few cheeky little birds doting about in there and one landed near the fish pond right beside the kids. We kept our hands to ourselves though as we read the signs that they like to nip. One man wasn’t so lucky and a cheeky bird decided to sit on his arm and peck his hand. The kids thought it was hilarious and there was no harm done.


Next to the butterfly house is Wonderwood where the massive Fire Tower is located. We never counted the amount of steps we had to climb but getting to the top of Fire Tower took a wee while for small legs. The views at the top were so worth it though. You could see across the whole park and even further spotting the Cairngorms Mountain Range in the distant. It was breath taking and there’s a telescope at the top if you want a better look. By this point it was now lunch time and the kids were starving so we headed back down towards reception were Foresters Restaurant is located. They had a lovely selection of cakes as well as soup, sandwiches and hot options such as beef nachos and fries. Everyone scoffed down their lunch so we could visit another part of the park.


Right next to the restaurant is the Landmark Shop so we had a quick look in there before heading to the Bamboozeleum. Inside the bamboozeleum is a world of illusions which will keep the kids busy for ages. It was hoots of fun and even us adults really enjoyed ourselves. After a good few giggles we headed out into the open again to explore the Red Squirrel Nature Trail. It’s brilliant because it’s a wooden walk way built up high into the trees. It’s all very safely fenced in with lots of fact boards along the way and the kids really enjoyed it. On our way back down we managed to spot of red squirrel way up high in the trees. Further down towards the exit we passed the wildlife feeding area where there were 2 more red squirrels jumping around. Logan loved seeing them especially after having learned about them from the nature trail.


It was getting later in the day now and there were still a few things we hadn’t seen so our next stop was The Lost Labyrinth. It’s a fantastical maze to get lost in and this is where we managed to find some golden eggs! The kids were overjoyed and the chocolate within the eggs gave them a second wind to keep going. There really is so much to do and see here. After the maze was a trip to the forest safari so Logan could have a shot on the little electric cars then it was a hop skip and a jump to the Haggis Farm Shooting Gallery to try out our aim. I was rubbish but Logan and the hubby were quit good. Well done boys.


Before it was time to go we spent the last of our day letting the kids play at the Ant City and there was a smaller Kids Zone opposite which is great for toddlers. When it was time to go we grabbed some snacks and drinks from the Xplore Store and headed to the car park ready for our journey back to our lodge. What a fantastic day we all had.


So if you’re ever up North, say near Aviemore, then definitely pop into the Landmark Forest Adventure Park for a full packed day of family fun. The kids really enjoyed themselves as well as us adults and there was never a dull or boring moment. You could easily go round most of the attractions more than once and there’s plenty of seating throughout the park if you need to rest your tired legs. When we’re next up North we’ll definitely be back. Thank you Landmark Forest Adventure Park for such an amazing day!


We received a family day pass in return for an honest review.

31 March 2018

Review: Almond Valley Heritage Centre

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Last weekend the sun finally came out and it felt nice and warm (for a change) so the family and I headed along to the Almond Valley Heritage Centre in Livingston for a little day out. I’m embarrassed to say I never even knew the heritage centre was there but I’m so thankful that the lovely team from Almond Valley got in touch and invited us along to check it out.


Here’s a little bit of background on the site for those history buffs out there: “The story of Almond Valley begins in the late 1960's with a campaign to save the historic buildings of Livingston Mill from demolition. A volunteer group won the support of the new town development corporation, and over the course of a decade worked to restore the derelict watermill and farm-steading. Members of the local community then established a city farm on the site, and a little later, one of the outbuildings became home for the Livingston Oil Museum.


In 1990 the Almond Valley Heritage Trust was created to take forward these diverse interests. Ever since, we've continually extended the attractions and facilities of the site, explored new activities, and developed new services. As a social enterprise, we've built a sustainable business that involves and serves both our visitors and the wider community. We've ambitious plans for continued progress.”


Our drive from Fife hardly took any time at all and before we knew it we were parked up and ready to explore. Entry to Almond Valley is via the gift shop where you can purchase your tickets from reception. You can visit from 10am to 5pm every day and there’s membership passes available too in case that’s something of interest for your family. If you’re visiting a lot I would recommend it as it’ll save you some pennies.


Upon our arrival the lovely receptionist  handed us a few leaflets and explained the park and what activities were on since it was our first time. We were intrigued to explore the Shale Oil Museum and take part in the Easter activities currently available between 24th March and 16th April. The SpringTime Trail is one of them where you’ve to spot springy plastic ducks around the park. They have a letter attached to them and once you find all 8 you’ve to make a word to receive a prize. There’s also the egg hunt where you’ve to comb the park for hidden egg cards. If you find one you can take it to reception and get a treat. Harlow also very much enjoyed the Easter crafts table and spent quite a bit of time there decorating her paper egg. If you visit between 30th March and 2nd April there’ll be a plastic duck race as well. So lots of things to do.


As well as all the activities that Almond Valley have on throughout the year they also have tons of different play areas for the kids and lots of lovely animals to visit. During Easter you can even have an animal encounter in the Wings and Whiskers shed. Cute chicks and fluffy bunnies here we come. There really is so much to do and see at the park with some of the kids favourites being the nutty bouncer pillow, trampolines, bones and stones tent for digging up remains, morag's soft play, the adventure zone and woodland go-carts. The park is huge so we never managed to do everything in one go sadly but we're hoping to get back soon and take part in the activities we missed such as the zip-wires, trailer and tractor rides and the railway.


The trailer and tractors rides run most weekends and during holiday periods whilst the narrow gauge railway runs on summer weekends. There's an extra charge for these activities but it's only £1 so very reasonable. After a good bit of running around the park we decided to take the kids into morag's soft play as morag's tearoom is joint on and us adults could have a cuppa. The kids got 30 minutes in the soft play for 50p whilst the hubby and I relaxed for a little minute. We came back to morag's tearoom later in the day for a spot of lunch and it was lovely. Plenty of variety to choose from but the good thing about Almond Valley is that you can bring your own food and have a picnic in the picnic barn. I think I'll do that next time for a change.


All in all the kids and us adults had a lovely time exploring the park. With so much to do and see I can't see my two ever getting bored of it especially with so many different play zone. We literally spent almost the whole day here and only left at 4pm as Harlow was getting tired. I'd highly recommend for a great fun family day out.


We were sent tickets to the park in return for an honest review.

29 March 2018

Disney On Ice: Worlds of Enchantment

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Last week the family and I were invited along to another fantastic performance of Disney On Ice. This time the theme was Worlds of Enchantment and as always it didn’t disappoint. The show took place at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow so to make sure we made the Meet & Greet with the characters beforehand we left the house pretty early after the school pick up at 3pm. I’m glad we did as there’s always a little bit of traffic into Glasgow on a week day.


Upon arrival we made it just in time to meet Mickey Mouse all dressed up in his racing gear. This made me think that we’d be seeing an appearance from the Disney Cars cast in the show and sure enough we did. Logan loved posing it up with Mickey however Harlow changed her mind and quickly decided she was terrified. Some kids just aren’t into it but others think it’s great. After a few photos we decided to head to our seats so we were all settled for the show to start. I of course sent the hubby to get some snacks and drinks to keep everyone happy. Normally I buy the kids a flashy light up toy but we brought our own (as we have loads) and decided to get slushies instead. The kids love a slushie and the cups can be reused after you’re finished. They’re actually really nice.


We had amazing seats to view the show which faced directly down the ice. They were high up so we could see everything going on down below. Logan and Harlow were super excited and Harlow was jumping around like a crazy person. Once the show started she settled down a bit but all the kids are singing, jumping around and generally just being kids. No one bothers as everyone’s in the same boat. Thank goodness as Harlow’s a riot! Anyway, the show started out with a Toy Story 3 theme. It was the main story in this show and it was fab to see it played out on the ice as believe it or not I’ve never seen the movie. I’ve promised the kids I’ll definitely get the movie for them to watch.


During the Toy Story 3 performance Barbie and Ken’s scenes were my absolute fav. So funny and brilliant to watch. Logan really liked the toy soldiers and of course the toy pig caught Harlow’s eye of appreciation. It really was very enjoyable. Harlow kept asking when Frozen would be on though as she totally loves it but she had to wait till the end for that delight. Next up was a visit under the sea with Ariel and her fishy friends. It was a brief visit but very colourful with lovely songs to sing along to. Next up was Cars and we were all impressed with how they managed to have actual cars on the ice. Logan was fascinated and said they were like robots. We’ve never seen Cars on the ice before so this was a new performance for the kids to enjoy. Last but not least was Frozen (which Harlow hadn’t waited patiently for) and the whole place erupted with screams from tons of adoring fans. Harlow was beside herself with excitement and threw herself into total Frozen dance mode when the familiar songs started up.


The kids loved this show just as much as the last and we’d definitely go along again. There’s always something different to see as well as the old classics that the kids love. Highly recommend as a great family show for all ages. Oh and definitely let the kids dress up if they want to as almost every child there (and a few adults) come fully dressed as Disney characters. It’s brilliant and so much fun.


The show is currently touring the UK with Worlds of Enchantment tickets still available for most shows. They’re next trip to Scotland will be Aberdeen on 2nd May so if you've got a spare couple of hours then definitely purchase some tickets online and get yourself to Aberdeen for some fun family times.

We were given tickets to the show in return for an honest review.

2 March 2018

Review: Baby & Me Wash Bag from Cuddledry

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As a family we travel a lot which often means packing a lot of stuff for everyone and carting it with us. We do love a good old getaway including staycations here in the UK and of course travelling abroad to sunnier climates. Speaking of which I could really do with some sun at the moment as getting sick of this snow! Anyway with travelling, especially with children, there always seems to be a bulk load of toiletries and essentials you need to take with you. When the family and I travel I normally take a few medical supplies as well such as calpol, plasters and antiseptic cream as you just never know what will happen on your journey.


Now, I have the normal sort of toiletry bags and make up bags for all my stuff but by the time I've included the kids products I can end up with like 3-4 different bags of varying sizes! It's a bit of a pain and I worry I'll end up forgetting or losing something so this is where the Baby & Me from Cuddledry steps in. It's a gorgeous high quality wash bag for parents with babies on the go.

Unlike all other wash bags it has two completely separate sections, one for you and one for your baby, clearly colour coded, with plenty of space in each for all the different toiletries or medicines you need.  Each compartment also features a wet and dry section, and the parent compartment even includes refillable BPA free 100ml bottles – perfect for travel.  No need to pack twice or rummage to find things any longer. And do you want to know what I think? I honestly love it!


The Baby & Me is an excellent size for keeping all your travel bits and bobs in and has two handles on top for easy carrying. The two separate sections means you can keep your products on one side and babies on the other. I love the wet and dry sections too which are separated by a zip to keep wet items away from everything else. I used these parts for things like shampoo, shower gel, perfume, toothpaste etc. Honestly so so handy. The parent side also comes with x2 BPA free re-fillable toiletry bottles which are excellent for plane travel. I have massive bottles of shampoo and conditioner at home but hate using hotel shampoos at times so these are perfect for putting my hair products into.

The wash bag material itself is high quality with easy wipe clean lining and outer. So it doesn't matter if it's bouncing around inside your suitcase or you drop it on the ground the outside is easily wiped cleaned. Same with the lining, no mascara or cream marks here. Quick wipe and all better again. The Baby & Me wash bag retails for £24.99 and comes in one colour. It's a lovely white, grey and very light green/teal. I took this bag on my travels down South to Paultons Park recently and it was ace. I fitted everything in I needed plus all the kids stuff without an issue. On the way back I packed in even more with some hotel toiletries for the kids and it still had plenty of room so I'm super impressed.


Overall a gorgeous wash bag which I'd highly recommend to friends and family. At £24.99 it's a great deal for such a good size and I love that it's the only toiletry bag you'll need to fit all your goodies in for travelling with baby. The quality is lovely and I can see this bag lasting for a long time. It'll certainly be with us on a few travels this year and hopefully in future.

I was sent the Baby & Me wash bag in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

28 February 2018

February Half Term Trip to Paultons Park

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It was our February half term a couple of weeks ago and the schools in Fife were off for 3 days. Instead of mopping around the house and watching the kids fight I decided to book up a staycation trip and visit Paultons Park down South in Romsey, Hampshire. Paultons had a half term deal on their website where you could book and stay with a partner hotel (some included breakfast) and receive two days tickets to enter the park. So that’s what I did. There were several hotels to choose from and prices varied but I went for the Moorhill House Hotel situated in the New Forest 13 miles from the actual park itself.


Like previous trips down South we decided to drive. According to google the drive down should have taken around 7hrs ish but in reality the traffic plays a big part with busier roads so it actually took us 11hrs!! And that was leaving at 8.30am in the morning. It’s worth it though as Paultons is a lovely park which has Peppa Pig World inside it too. When we arrived at the hotel we couldn’t wait to check in and get some sleep. Our room was spacious with a big bathroom, small table and chairs, huge bed and bunk beds for the kids. It’s all we needed as we had no intentions of spending any length of time in our room. It’s worth mentioning that this hotel is dog friendly so you can bring your pooch which is lovely and there’s also ample free parking. Just drive slowly through the New Forest to reach it as there’s horses running free!



On our first morning we woke up bright and early, filled our tummies with a scrummy hot breakfast and headed to Paultons Park for it opening at 10am. We were 15 minutes early however the staff at the entrance scan your tickets so you can go straight in and have a nosey at the shop before the actual park gates open at 10am. I took the family straight to the first aid office as this is where you can collect a Queue Assist pass if a member of your party needs it. As you’ll probably know my son, Logan, is autistic and struggles with queues a lot. The Queue Assist pass allows him to enter a ride via the exit so he doesn’t have to wait and become distressed. Paultons Parks queue assist pass basically allows you to jump the queue once for each ride they have. It’s slightly frustrating when all your son wants to do is go on the same ride again and again however I do understand what they’re trying to do. Most of the ride attendants were amazing at letting us on to rides quickly however others had the idea that only one person/family with a queue assist pass was allowed on to the ride before another family could get on. This may work for some people depending on their needs however for children (and adults) with autism this can be extremely difficulty to comprehend. I think this really needs to be looked at by Paultons and maybe some staff training should be put in place.


Anyway, the actual park itself is lovely. It’s big (and clean) with lots of rides for small children as well as the big ones. I was really pleased that for most rides the height restriction was 900mm which meant my daughter, Harlow, could get on lots of things. She’s 3 years old but is still short for her age which can sometimes limit her at theme parks but there was honestly tons of rides she could enjoy at Paultons. I think her favourite had to be George’s Dinosaur Adventure. Even I thought this ride was great. Our first day there we spent a lot of time on the smaller rides and for the first time ever Harlow decided to go on lots. The second day she decided she didn’t want to go on that many rides which was fine as we spent that day going on all the bigger rides with Logan so it worked out well.


The kids really enjoyed the soft play located in Peppa Pig World. Us adults enjoyed it as well as it meant we could grab a cup of tea and relax our tired feet for a moment. As well as all the rides Paultons Park also have some animals on site such as birds and reptiles. They’ve also just opened a new area called Little Africa which is really nice to walk around. We enjoyed the nocturnal house in the this area which is home to some lovely creatures. Logan found it fascinating to see the animals of the dark.


We also happened to meet up with some friends when we were down there which was lovely and it gave the kids company on the rides instead of just adults. After finishing up at the park we headed to a restaurant just 5 minutes away to grab some food and have a good old catch up. It was busy but lovely, the food was budget friendly and you got a lot of it.


All in all it was a fantastic trip and we're looking for our next theme park to visit. We haven't done Alton Towers yet which has Cbeebies Land so I think that'll be on the cards soon. It's also closer to us with hopefully just a 5 hour drive depending on the roads but we'll save a longer trip for later in the year.



27 February 2018

Review: Personalised Children's Clothing from Teether.co.uk

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I absolutely love buying the kids cute clothes and the funkier the better. I try to buy things that are a bit different or have a cool slogan or even better - personalised clothing. You really can't beat a lovely piece of personalised clothing for kids. It always makes it seem more special and of course the kids love having their very own clothes personalised just for them.


Recently Logan and Harlow were sent some lovely clothes from Teether.co.uk, an online baby boutique specialising in children's personalised clothing. Teether have recently set up and are adding new collections to their website every day so do keep checking back for lovely new designs. As for my two Harlow received a gorgeous pair of personalised pjs and Logan received a fabulous personalised hoodie.


Harlow received the personalised girls fantasy pjs and absolutely loves them. They have a gorgeous holographic design on the front that says "Unicorn + Mermaid + Princess = Harlow" with a unicorn horn, mermaid tail and princess crown also beside the writing. You can get them from a size 6-12 months all the way up to 5-6 years. I requested the 3-4 years for Harlow since she was 3 in January and they're fab. Harlow is just a little short for her age so the bottoms are slightly long however since they're nightwear it really doesn't matter. If anything it keeps her snug and cosy. The colours are a soft white and baby pink and the material itself is so gentle next to little ones skin. It really is very soft and I was pretty impressed with the quality. I've washed them at least 3-4 times already and they haven't stretched, faded or become bubbled. So definitely winner all round.


Logan was absolutely overjoyed to receive is personailsed hoodie from Teether.co.uk and loved that is was so unique to him. I picked a size 9-11 years black hoodie and asked that it be personalised with his name but also a lovely quote. So he got his name on the back with cool Wolverine claw marks and he also got a brilliant Wolverine quote on the front. For those of you who don't know the hubby and I picked the name Logan from the Wolverine film X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I was pregnant in 2009 with Logan when the film was released and we just thought Logan was such a lovely name so it stuck.


Anyway back to the hoodie! It's lovely and cosy and soft against Logan's skin. He can't wear anything itchy (sensory issues) so he likes soft comfortable clothing. This hoodie fits the bill well. The colours and design are lovely and bold. Very shiny and totally awesome (Logan's own words). He really can't wait to wear this out and about and has already requested it several times. These hoodies aren't currently on the Teether.co.uk website however a quick email to the team and I'm sure they'll have one printed up for you.

Overall these items of clothing are gorgeous and I'd definitely buy from Teether.co.uk in future as the quality is so good. Another great thing as well for you guys is that orders over £10 get free shipping and once you see the clothes available your basket will be full!

We were provided with these items in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

25 February 2018

Mother's Day Gift Ideas with B&M Stores

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Mother's Day is arriving pretty quick this year in the UK with only 2 weeks left to go! So when Sunday 11th March rolls around you'll want to be prepared with some lovely gifts to shower your mum with and show her how much she really means to you.

There's lots of different gift ideas out there but I've been looking at some lovely options that won't break the bank. Working together with B&M Stores I've managed to hand pick a few of their brilliant Mother's Day gifts on offer that mum will truly love. I've gone for things I think mum's would really appreciate and also things which I would love and use myself. Read on then to see what I picked up for my own Mum and mother-in-law.


Mother's Day Cards
I thought I'd start with the obvious. A lovely Mother's Day Card. I always feel a good card sets the right tone for any celebration and I tend to lean more towards the cute and funny cards. They're just really nice and it's fab to make people smile. B&M Stores have a wide range of cards to choose from and most of them are just 99p. You really can't go wrong with that. I purchased a cute "Love You Mum" card and a "Have a Pawfect Mother's Day" card which has a little dog on the front. So sweet.

Chocolates
I love receiving chocolates for Mother's Day (or any day for that matter) so that's why I choose this giant Galaxy chocolate bar. It literally is massive and at £2.49 it was such good value compared to a box of chocolates. I like getting the most for my money, as you can probably tell, and this is such a lovely gift to give.

Beautiful Scents
Having a fresh smelling home is a top priority of mine so there's always candles, plug ins or some kind of smelly dotted around each room. When I spotted these gorgeous reed diffusers I just had to get them. They're so pretty and sparkly and only cost £1.99! Such excellent value and a gorgeous gift. B&M also have a lovely mum specific diffuser and votive set for £4.99 which is really lovely too.

Phototastic
What Mum doesn't love a good old framed family photo to display for all to see? That's why I snapped up these amazing sparkly glitter frames for £1.99 each! They hold sized 6x4 photos but you can of course get the same kind of frame for bigger or smaller sizes which is handy. I'm going to find a lovely photo with the kids to put in these for the Mums. They'll love it.

Money Pots
We're all about the savings in this house, as the saying goes "if you look after the pennies the pounds will look after themselves". I think my Mum and mother-in-law would probably enjoy a little saving challenge too and what better way to do it than with a Money Pot. These money pots can only be accessed when they're full as you have to smash them open. Great fun! And if you fill them full of £2 coins I bet there'll be a good saving of a few hundred pounds at the end. These pots are only £3.99 each and B&M have some wine bottle shaped Mother's Day ones for the same price depending on what you prefer.

Slogan Mug
A good cuppa sets you right for the day so you've got to have a pretty mug to go along with it. I've starting collecting a little variety of slogan mugs myself as they're just so lovely and I know the Mums would appreciate a gorgeous mug too. From a mere starting price of £1.49 B&M have a wealth of fancy mugs to choose from. They of course have Mother's Day specific ones but I really like the two I chose - Good Vibes and Stand Tall & Be Fabulous.

After all of this I finally purchased some holographic large pink gift bags at £1.29 for two which fit everything in and altogether I spent just £13.59 per Mum. I think you'll agree that both Mums will love all of these gorgeous presents and it definitely hasn't broken the bank at all. If these gifts aren't for your Mum though don't worry. B&M have a brilliant selection of other lovely gifts to choose from. Why not check out their website to get an idea of what they have. Simply click on the Mother's Day link at the top of the page.

This is collaborative post. All opinions are my own.

 

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