Adventures of a Free-From Clothbum Mum!

Cloth nappies, dairy-free living, reviews and parental ramblings!

Eco Living starts from an early age!


eBay. It can be THE most frustrating place in the world. You see something you like… you bid… you hope… and then at the last minute some REALLY ANNOYING PERSON pops in and outbids you, just as you were getting your hopes up.

Well, that’s mainly been the experience that I’ve had but the other week I hit the jackpot.

I know, I know – I’m going to use this post to crow about the bargain I got, but actually I want to share it with you as it was truly amazing and I’m sure that there are bargains just like this one to be had near you.

I bid on this doll’s house for our son, with a starting price of 99p for a local-ish pick-up.

I watched the item with bated breath. NOONE else was bidding on it.
I waited until the last day, fingers at the ready to up my maximum bid – determined that I’d win this thing, ready to pounce if someone outbid me.

No one did.

Not a single person.

I watched as the app processed the whole thing and I’d only gone and won it for less than a quid. I was astounded. I quickly messaged the lady and arranged a time to pick it up and actually paid her quite a bit more than I’d won it for as I felt so guilty for getting SUCH a bargain!

This house is beautiful – it’s not girly in the slightest, and that’s why I wanted it.
Its a Wonderworld Eco House which – to my utter delight – was one of the Independent’s top 10 eco toys and has won quite a few awards. Kind of suitable for us, really!

Small world play is so important for toddlers and young children. It gives them a chance to copy what they see in the world around them. To act out everyday life and to make sense of it. To mimic Mummy and Daddy. To go through their own day’s events in a more concrete manner by acting things out with the dolls.

Our little man loves it!
His little wooden family do absolutely everything that we do.
He’s just at the start of potty training so the little boy doll is often on and off the toilet, with lots of clapping and cheering.
He spends lots of time taking the family up and down the stairs carefully, copying how we’ve asked him to be when doing the same in real life.

But, the cutest thing about small world play that I found when I’ve worked with young children is that you can get a real insight into the child and the way in which their family operates. This is coming through really clearly in my son’s play.

When it comes to bedtime, he puts all of the family into one big bed! A co-sleeping bed!

‘Tuck Tuck eberybon’ is what he says to them!

Just far too cute!


Busy Busy Busy!


I hate technology. I’ve decided that it can be so amazing, but also – the utter bane of my life. I’m sure there’s quite a few of you out there that would agree with me.

To cut an incredibly (nearly ten day old) story short, my sleek, funky, apparently wonderful wireless keyboard kind of just stopped working and became a very expensive and pointless ornament. To say that I wasn’t impressed would be an understatement!

Now, I blog using my wireless keyboard and my iPad. For those of you who don’t have a tablet-type of computer, using the touchscreen keypad is an utter pain in the backside. I’m a touch-typist and I find the thing utterly infuriating, so I’ve not really been able to blog and typing emails has been a long, slow and laborious process.

I’d just about given up on the thing and was in the process of buying another when, for no good reason, it suddenly decided to work again. VERY VERY ODD! So, I’m grabbing the chance while I can to write blog posts, to reply to people and to generally catch up!

So, Daisy, I hear you say…what have you been up to whilst technology has been letting you down horribly?

Well…firstly, cheers for asking! Nice to know that some people are interested in my meagre little existence!

Secondly – loads! Loads and loads and loads!

Last weekend was our NCT nearly new sale. I have set up a nappy library in my local area, with some fantastic support from my NCT, my council and various lovely clothy people that I’ve met online. I had a stall again at our sale and had SO SO many people interested in borrowing packs and finding out more about cloth that I’m going to be very busy over the next few months in my spare time. I’m so pleased. It’s great to know that more people are seriously getting into using cloth nappies (I think the current economic climate does have quite a lot to do with it).

So, that was a fabulous weekend – very productive and very encouraging.

Then, I’ve had a brilliant but very busy week at work. It was our last week of term and, as most of you parents and all of you who are teachers will know, it’s always so full on. I even had an observation thrown into the mix (went well – rather chuffed about that!) so it’s been non-stop.

So, we’re relaxing today with a bit of art, a bit of play and a party for one of my little man’s favourite friends. Sounds like a great end to a busy week.

Hope you’ve all got a nice weekend planned. Have a great one and I’ll be back on blogging form next week with a working keypad.

Did you know, by the way, that gorillas are bright red? No? Neither did I but The Toddler is convinced…

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Happy Mothering Sunday!


Wishing all you Mummies and mummies-to-be out there a very happy Mothering
Sunday. I hope you’re all having a wonderful day with your little (or not so little) ones.
My thoughts today also turn to those ladies (and their families) who don’t have their little ones with them any more. My thoughts and love go out to you.

I don’t really need a special day to remind me I’m a Mummy. Not complaining though…

I got some gorgeous flowers.

I got some delicious chocolates.


Most importantly of all…

I’ve got him.

My Monkey.

And that’s all I really want. All I need.

He’s amazing!

Love you, my gorgeous little man xxx

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I got sidetracked


You know when you really don’t realise how much time has passed.

When you blink and a week has flown by without you actually registering that it’s done so.

Yep. That’s been happening to me. A LOT!

In a way, it’s great. Life is full on. Life is busy and we’re having a lot of fun.

I got pampered by Monkey at nursery the other day. He made me a gorgeous Mother’s Day card (I say ‘made’ when I really mean that the lovely nursery nurses glued a poem onto one of his modernist paintings – we’ve titled it ‘Copper splodge with silver splat mark one’)
He also ‘painted’ my nails (plus his hand, my hand, the floor and my face) and made me a fantastic cup of imaginary tea – the best one yet!

It was lovely! He was so excited that I was there with him and wanted to show me everything in the room. Literally. I had piles of stuff thrown on me whilst he toddled around shouting, ‘Yeah Yeah Mummum… ‘. Cute!

But, I digress.

I’ve got sidetracked from the blog and I apologise! I’ve got loads to write about, stuff to review and I have lots of exciting things coming up, including Real Nappy Week! Ooooh!!!

But. Look!

Getting sidetracked has been productive!

Monkey’s getting a new snuggle blanket! A boyish one as all the ones I made when he was a bump are neutral colours and now far too small.

Getting sidetracked can be good!



Where do they go? My weekend musing


Just a thought on this Friday night…

I’ve been tidying up the toys as we’ve had one of those, ‘I’m going to play with EVERYTHING and throw them EVERYWHERE’ days. You know the sort – those ones where your toddler gets stupidly excited, runs around like a total loony and chucks his toys wherever he feels like it.

Now, I tried to think like a toddler whilst I was trying to piece back together his jigsaws, sets of cars and play food. If I was an excitable little being, where might I put things?

That didn’t work.

Not one bit!

It’s not actually worked to the extent that I JUST CAN’T FIND MOST OF IT.

I haven’t got a clue where he’s put them at all. I’ve pulled out the sofa, I’ve looked behind everything and I’ve even checked in parts of the kitchen that I KNOW he didn’t actually go in.


the question remains…


Answers on a postcard, please! Save my sanity!

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The rolling of the eyes: Allergies, smallergies…


A little while ago I saw this ‘someecard’ on Facebook and it made me stop and gasp slightly. My initial reaction was,

‘That’s a bit dramatic’,

closely followed by

‘that’s actually a bit close to the bone for some people’.

But, it made me stop and think – which is what it was designed for (by whoever’s card it is – I have no clue who made it). Now, I’m allergic to shellfish to the extent that I carry an epipen and have to inform people that I really shouldn’t be given anything that might have those nasty little critters in it. I really don’t fancy the whole puffing up like a balloon thing, or the being carted off to hospital not breathing properly/ at all scenario and I definitely (cos I’m a wuss) don’t like the whole idea of a pen full of adrenaline being pumped into me as I don’t react well to synthetic adrenaline at the best of times.

I’m used to dealing with this and for years I’ve got used to reading food/ item labels to ensure that they’re ok for me to eat. Plus, I also have lactose intolerance (which I kind of ignore at times as I love cheese…) so I have to be pretty careful with things that contain cream or milk.

That was all fine. It was easy dealing with it all when it was just me.

But then my little Monkey Clothbum came along and over time we’ve discovered that he’s lactose/cmpi (cow’s milk protein) intolerant and allergic to salmon. He also seems to be very intolerant to tomatoes (which is being checked very soon at our next allergy clinic appointment) and we’re unsure of his reaction to a lot of other fish and have been told to avoid nuts.


It obviously makes cooking/ finding foods that he can eat a little (let’s be honest, quite a LOT) more tricky and I have to pretty much always be on the ball when we’re out and about. My friends and family are all rather brilliant with him and always check before they give him anything. It’s tough when one of their toddlers is wanting to feed him their goodies as he can’t have them. His little face is always a picture of abject misery and I do really feel for him.

However, what I have found increasingly annoying is the attitude that I’ve come across many times from others whilst I’ve been out. What is it about strangers wanting to offer my toddler food? I really don’t get it, but they do. He obviously looks very cute (I know I’m biased, but he’s a little stunner) and they must feel that he deserves a little treat.


Because, invariably, those treats seem to consist of either things he can’t have, or I’m not totally sure what they contain, I’ve found myself very politely and nicely having to sometimes physically move food away from him. I always say a very nice, ‘no thank you’ along with a quick explanation of why he can’t have it.

The majority of people are lovely about it – but then there’s the eye-rollers. They seem to often have another personality trait which manifests itself in a rather loud, rather pointed tutting sound.

Then these people act offended.


I think it’s maybe a generation thing. I’m not too sure. But, I really wish people would stop trying to give him food. He’s quite a sturdy, well-built little boy so he’s definitely not wasting away. My gold top boob milk, along with his love for his food is ensuring that he’s perfectly fine and really doesn’t need any extra treats.

Has any of you have to deal with this? Anyone got any good (and nice, polite) ways of explaining things to people? I know I’m destined to have a fair few years of running around after him, pulling food out of his hands at parties and so on, but it’d be fab to not have that whilst sat in a supermarket cafe!!!


Kiddicare Lakeside: Review


You know when you see things that you just wish had been around when you were expecting a baby? Something that would have made it all just that bit (or quite a lot!) simpler?

That’s how I felt when I went to visit Kiddicare’s amazing new store at Lakeside, down in Thurrock (Essex) recently. It’s a brilliant, absolutely ENORMOUS store that has the whole ‘shopping for your new baby’ thing nailed!

There are certain websites that I’ve found really helpful when I’ve been researching (and buying) things for my little man over the past couple of years and Kiddicare has been one of them. Their website, along with their fantastic videos that show how to use most of their products, have been godsends, so I was quite excited when I was invited (along with a lovely bunch of other bloggers) to visit their new store.

I was initially a little worried as I often get lost around the Lakeside area and I was quite concerned that I wouldn’t find the store or that I’d turn off at the wrong point, but I needn’t have worried. It’s gigantic (50,000 square feet!) and you just can’t miss it, which is brilliant. There’s loads of parking and when I pulled up I sat in the car, staring at the bright, modern building and I have to admit – I was ridiculously excited. This place would have been my idea of heaven when I was pregnant and, whilst hubby isn’t exactly ever particularly thrilled with going shopping, I know that it would have ticked lots of boxes for him as you can get pretty much anything and everything that you need under one roof. Bonus!

After being greeted at the ‘Hello World’ desk by some lovely ladies who were full of very helpful information, I headed on over to grab a coffee at the cafe, along with a bite to eat. The cafe serves yummy Starbucks beverages and I made use of the ‘Nursing nest’, which is a calm screened off area with very comfy nursing chairs in it as little Monkey had decided that he wanted a feed. With him happy, I was able to use the free Wifi to tweet that I’d arrived and enjoyed a few minutes of peach and quiet.


We then inspected and used the toilets and changing facilities, which are absolutely brilliant. There’s a communal changing area that’s really clean and brightly-coloured, which Monkey loved. The toilets have been so sensibly-designed, with each cubicle having a toddler toilet in there, along with enough space for a pram. How sensible is that! It just made life that little bit easier and there was no queueing to use the disabled toilet, as is the case when we go to most places on our own.

Kiddicare is a great store that I could spend, quite frankly, hours in. Everything that you see in the store (apart from some of the larger furniture sets) is available for you to take home that day, should you wish to and there’s a brilliant electronic pricing tag system that is constantly monitored and updated, so that you get really good deals. The stock levels are also shown, which I think is such a sensible idea. There are touch-screen ‘Browse & Order’ points situated around the store, so you can get things delivered straight to your house if you so wish.

What I particularly liked about the store, was the ‘try-before-you-buy’ pushchair track, called ‘Walk in the Park’ This is a really large area with what looks like a fun racetrack down the middle, along which are pretty much every type of buggy that you can imagine. Further back you can find a huge selection of prams and pushchairs, including many twin (and even triplet) ones. Having made a few errors when buying buggies ( I hasten to add, not my pram – I LOVE my pram!) this area would have been fantastic for me. When Monkey was smaller I adored my slings but he’s just too heavy for me nowadays so we could have made great use of this facility to testdrive a good variety to find the ones that suit you best. Having a very tall husband, along with a very tall baby, this would have been an immensely useful thing for us to do.

Another sensible little touch, for me, was the area at the back of the store where they have all the bedroom furniture and furniture sets out on display. They’re set out in areas that are the size of the average box room, which I think gives people a really good realistic idea of what would work for them. Most people don’t have the vast open spaces that some stores use to display nursery items, so this little touch made a lot of sense to me. I would obviously like to see more cosleeping/sidecar cot options on display to give a more rounded view on how/where your baby can sleep, but what I found very useful here was the wide range of travel cots. It’s incredible just how much they differ in size.

The store has a Community Events room situated at the back of store. We took part in a fantastic ‘Jo Jingles’ music lesson, which my little Monkey utterly adored. This room can be hired our for parties and will have a range of classes taking place in it. It’s annoying for me that we’re not nearer, but could be a little dangerous on my pocket as the temptation to have a little shop afterwards would be rather great!

Another service that I think would be so handy for some parents-to-be is the Kiddicare VIB service. It’s like a personal shopping service and for those parents who either want to be pampered, or for those who are very short on time, it’s a great idea as a personal shopper can help you choose products that would suit you best, whilst you can sit back in comfort in the VIB lounge. You can also create your own gift list here, if you want to. Whilst this isn’t something that I would have done, I can see it being really useful for many parents-to-be and a facility that makes a lot of sense.

From a personal point of view, I was particularly pleased that there was a good selection of Tots Bots and MioSolo nappies in the store that were available to purchase. Obviously I would love to see an even bigger range, but as I get SO annoyed when I go to other baby shopping places and find pretty much nothing there in the way of cloth nappies, Kiddicare really made me rather happy!

I really enjoyed my day out at Kiddicare Lakeside. There’s just so much choice there and it really does make shopping for your little one very simple. I’d love to see a few other products making their way in there, such a good selection of ERF (extended Rearfacing) car seats (I was dying to see a wider range but the majority of the seats were FF only), a wider range of cloth nappies and more slings that hold a baby in the frog position (they stock the Close Caboo and Manduca ones at the moment), but overall I was very impressed by the range and choice of products that I found there!

They’re currently in the middle of quite a massive January sale! I think I might have to try to not spend tooooo much!


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Merry Christmas, Everyone!


Well, it’s astounding how quickly this year has flown by – I’m actually in slight shock at the fact that it’s now under a week until Christmas!

A year…

A year which started with us having a little baby that was just rolling

A year that began with me being still on maternity leave, soaking in every single waking minute that I could possible could with my little one before I went back to work part-time.

A year that has seen our little Monkey wibble himself over onto his front, squawking as he got his hand stuck underneath him.

A year in which our little man learnt how to push himself into a sitting position. This was after many attempts which ended up with him faceplanting onto the floor and protesting loudly at how his body wasn’t doing what he wanted it to.

A year of giggles, turning into cheeky giggles as he’s learnt how to play ‘tricks’ on us. Hiding behind things whilst looking at us are the funniest at the moment as he’s convinced that we can’t see him!

A year during which he began to crawl – backwards at first, wedging himself quite spectacularly under the sofa! Then progressing to quite quick commando crawling before finally figuring out that his head didn’t need to drag along the floor.

A year of watching him change and grow and turn into his own very distinct personality – a very cheeky but gentle little chap who loves nothing more than cuddles and kisses.

A year during which he learnt how to walk. First of all it was the cowboy approach to walking (hands up in the air as he waddled from side to side). Nowadays it’s the running approach to life – nothing is ever done slowly, apart from when he walks backwards as that’s apparently VERY funny!

A year that is ending with him becoming quite determined. Most food ends up on the floor because it’s hilarious, he likes to try to feed the cats or because he JUST DOESNT WANT IT. He’s so determined to do everything by himself so the pram, pushchair and highchair are becoming his sworn enemies, which makes getting him in them lots of fun!

A year of being so happy, so grateful and so thankful that we have him in our lives. He makes every day so much fun and it’s wonderful watching him grow into such a happy little boy.

I can’t wait to see what next year brings!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and wish you all the love and luck in the world for 2013.

(I’m taking a festive blogging break – so see you on the other side!)


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Jazzing up meals: Gourmet Garden Herbs.

Before I even start, I’m going to admit something. I’m not the best cook in the world. I mean, I try, but I’m not brilliant and I’ve had my fair share of disasters. You only have to ask Mr Clothbum about the peppered beef and he’ll start making really disturbing choking noises. Then, there’s a whole plethora of other things that I’ve disastrously mucked up over the years. The limey chicken that tasted so strongly of lime it made us sick… the lasagne that tasted of nothing but burnt pasta… the list goes on and on and on…

So, yeah. With that fantastic background I decided that it’d be a fabulous idea to take part in the Mumsnet / Gourmet Garden blog off/cook off competition! This is a competition where bloggers sign up to receive a goody bag full of Gourmet Garden’s brilliant tubes of herbs/spices that make cooking really easy and stay fresh in the fridge for 3 months. I’ve used their products before and loved them, so I knew that they would be simple to use and could really make a difference to my cooking.

I reasoned with myself that it’d give me the kick that I needed to stop making ‘safe’ recipes that I know I can do well. I signed the digital form and started thinking about what I might make. Then I promptly forgot about it, due to lots going on at work and Monkey being rather sick.


When a cute little bag full of their products arrived on my doorstep, I was really excited as it was almost a surprise due to my rubbish memory, but then I started to panic. I had all these amazing products and absolutely NO idea what I was going to cook! There’s nothing quite like being prepared.


Now, I could have sat down and thought things through carefully – plan my assault on the culinary experience of my family. Plan how I was going to use each tube in great detail and then go shopping for appropriate ingredients.

But I decided not to!

I decided that as the competition wanted us to make our everyday cooking even more delicious with the products that I was going to do just that.

Starting immediately!

So I went and had a nosy in our fridge. I’ve been rather boring and organised in our shopping recently, so most of our foods are in the freezer as I’ve been buying things that we can keep for ages or batch cooking and freezing. So, in the fridge and around the house I found:

A 450g packet of lean steak mince
A sweet potato (one of the white ones)
Some frozen veg
An onion

I decided to make some burgers and use the Gourmet Garden Fresh Blends Thai tube. This is a really gorgeous, fragrant mix of lemongrass, chilli, garlic, ginger and coriander. Our little Monkey absolutely loves garlic so I thought this would be an interesting experiment! Here’s what I did:


I heated up a saucepan and fried the mince in it, not adding any oil. Once the mince was browned, I drained off most of the fat.

Whilst the meat was browning, I put some of the frozen veg (I would have used fresh but didn’t have any in) in a bowl, added a tablespoon of water and microwaved it for 4 minutes, as per the instructions.


I then chopped up an onion fairly finely before peeling and grating the sweet potato.


I squeezed about a third of the tube of Thai herbs/spices into the saucepan and then added the onions and sweet potatoes to the pan. I fried these until the vegetables became soft and then added a splash of Oatly oat milk to the pan to help the sweet potato to soften further.


Once the mince/veg was cooked through, I put everything (including the cooked frozen veg) into my blender and gave it a couple of pulses to make the mince a little easier for a toddler to chew.

I added one egg to the mix to help it all bind together and pulsed again.


When I got the mix out into a bowl, I noticed it was a little too soft to hold together as a burger so I improvised and added a small spoonful of plain flour, which made a massive difference.


I then used the teeniest amount of oil in the pan to fry the burgers with. They would have fallen apart on a grill, so a pan was a good option. They firmed up really well and I cooked them slowly to ensure that the egg was cooked through.

Using a cookie cutter, I cut small burger shapes out of muffins and added the Toddler’s burgers to them. They looked pretty good and he started licking his lips!


I then cooked our burgers in the same way and added them to muffins, along with a nice dollop of mayo

I cut the Toddler’s up into quarters and squished them down a little with my hand to stop them falling apart. He often throws ‘new’ foods straight over the side of his highchair onto the floor, but there was no stopping him with these burgers (much to my relief!) He tucked in straight away and polished off the lot remarkably quickly, making VERY loud lip-smacking noises.

Mr Clothbum and I also tucked into our adult versions and really enjoyed them. They were very tasty, nice and spicy but in a subtle way. I think I could have added more of the Gourmet Garden Thai spice/herb blend to ours but as this was a family meal I had to keep it from being too much for little man to cope with. Next time round, I’ll split the mince mix and only blitz the Toddler’s portion as it was a little too smooth for us and could have done with a bit more ‘chew’ to it.


All in all, this was actually a really great success! Monkey LOVED it and ate loads, which is great considering that for the past week he’s had no appetite due to being ill and has refused anything new. Mr Clothbum loved it and didn’t have a bad word to say about the burgers and I really enjoyed them too.

I’ll be making these again. Thank you, Gourmet Garden , for such a delicious addition to our meal!

(P.S. We don’t often have burgers at lunch – but you’ve got to live a little!!!)

daisytheclothbummum was sent the Gourmet Garden goodie bag as part of the competition. I wasn’t paid and all words, thoughts and opinions are my own.


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Return of the Weekend Catch-Up!


Well, I’m sat here at my computer, kind of wondering where to begin. You see – I have so much to write about and so much to say that I’m almost at a standstill. What do I put first?

I suppose THE thing that most of you want to know about is my fantastic gNappy giveaway! It closed yesterday at 5pm and I have to say a very big thank you to all your lovely people who took part in it. Mr Monkey Clothbum will be having fun waving bits of paper around soon as he does the draw, so keep an eye on the blog and you’ll find out who the two lucky winners are.

Best of luck to you all!

Next, is an apology! When I first started this blog I was on maternity leave. I think that part of me missed my job (I’m a teacher) and I used the blog as a way to get information out there and as a fantastic way of communicating with people. It turned from a small little blog designed for a few friends who were interested in using cloth nappies into one that lots of people have subscribed to! I’d never really thought about it becoming bigger than a few people, so that really surprised me! I have to say that I’m always amazed and very touched when people email me with either comments or questions – and I try my best to help out where I can.

So, I went back to work in April and I wasn’t 100% prepared for just how shattered I’d be at night! Blogging went slightly on the back burner and for that, I apologise. However, I have spared you the joys of reading the ramblings of a mad woman – so for that I reckon you should all be eternally grateful!

Being back at work has been challenging but very rewarding. It’s been lovely being back in the classroom and Monkey thoroughly enjoys his nursery, which is great. He often claps with excitement when we walk up to the nursery door in the mornings and is always incredibly excited to see his key worker, bless him! Nursery has provided him with lots of social interaction and it’s so funny to watch him copying his peers. The latest thing that he’s attempting is blowing kisses – something that is, apparently rather difficult. The trick is to avoid hitting yourself in the face when you come back in for another kiss!!!

I have a few product reviews waiting in the pipeline to go onto the blog, which you’ll be seeing pop up in the next week or so. Due to this wonderful Summer weather that we’re not having, I’ve had a few fantastic sinus and chest infections, so that’s also made me slower with getting things on here for you. What IS it with this weather at the moment? I actually nearly put the heating on yesterday – which is mental considering that it’s mid July!

Anyway – so, yes – it’s now the Summer holidays and I promise that I’ll try to be a better blogger! We’ve got an immensely busy Summer ahead of us, with Monkey having his first birthday – so it’s going to be lots of fun! Hope you’re all making the most of your weekend, even if it is drizzling with rain like it is here.

I was contemplating going to the zoo today…hmmmm….

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