Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

Before Mark and I were Married and lived in the Seychelles he took me to Warwick Castle. He had worked there when he was younger. We had a really great time there.

Flash forward a few years to when we had Arthur it was exactly the kind of place we were excited to show him when we visited the UK. We resisted the temptation on our previous trip as he was a little young to appreciate it.

This time around though, we knew he would absolutely love it. We had already taken him to Kenilworth Castle and he’d had a great time there.  I thought I’d share our experience with visiting Warwick Castle with our young kids!

Warwick Castle With Young Kids

Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

This year Warwick Castle had added a big medieval style glamping ground. While this was pretty exciting and is definitely something we will consider next time around, it did mean that the car park was now a long walk from the main entrance to the castle, not ideal with two young kids!!

We had managed to get vouchers for the park from some Cadbury’s chocolate. We (okay, mostly me) even ate a big bag of buttons on the way so we could have another one…..I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right, I am truly a hero.

It was a good thing we did have those vouchers because I was pretty shocked when I saw the entrance fees!

The castle is owned by Madame Tussaud’s (also owners of big theme parks like Thorpe Park and Alton Towers) and they have made some big changes since we had last been there. It definitely had a theme park feel to the place now.  Whether that is a good or bad thing, overall I’m still not totally decided either way!!

Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

When it rains

We were pretty unfortunate with the weather as it started absolutely tipping it down not long after we arrived. Like everyone else we then headed inside the Great Hall and the rooms to take shelter from the rain. It was nice to walk around here, but didn’t appeal all that much to the boys. We had thought that Arthur would really like seeing all the suits of armour, but unfortunately he was really rather scared of them!!!  Freddie seemed to be enjoying it all though!

Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

I was a little concerned at this point that the day was going to be a wash out because there really isn’t all that much to do inside there, that would be suitable for the little ones!

Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

Luckily for us, the rain did eventually ease up and we headed back outside. We took some lunch at one of the stalls as opposed to trying to get inside anywhere as it was packed!

Towers and Ramparts

After having a wonder around the grounds we decided we wanted to go up to the top so we left Freddie with Gran and started our trek.  In true bad blogger style I can’t remember the name of the walk that takes you around all the towers…..but the main thing to note about it, is that there are A LOT of steps.  Seriously, there are hundreds!  Its also really quite narrow and not a lot of railings on the internal steps.  Anything that was outside though felt secure with extra railings etc!

Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

Now obviously thats because its a real Castle and health and safety was not top priority back in those days!  But, obviously its something to consider when deciding whether or not to try and take small kids up there!  Arthur, at 3, was not able to walk the whole way and definitely was getting restless on the busy steps.  The problem is that once you’ve started there aren’t really any ways out except the actual exit so that could be a bit disastrous if your kid decides to throw a bit of a wobbly!!  Luckily, no wobblies from Arthur this time but he definitely did need some help from Daddy at some points!

Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

Aside from all that though, it was really nice to do that and there are some amazing views to be had!

Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

Playgrounds

After that we decided to let Arthur and Freddie stretch their legs a bit and took him to a kids park, Pageant Playground.  It was great in there with lots of different slides and walkways for Arthur to go nuts on!

Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

We then wandered round to the other new feature at Warwick Castle which is the Horrible Histories Maze.  This was something that we all really enjoyed, as we ‘got lost in time’

Arthur was playing it cool a little (read: totally posing for our new camera!) but he really enjoyed running around in there, finding all the different areas.

Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

 

Let me tell you, this was definitely something all ages were enjoying!  There was no way we were going to leave without having collected all the stamps first!!!

Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

 

Arthur clearly is no Mastermind but you didn’t have to be to enjoy the Maze!  It didn’t matter that he didn’t understand the history, he loved the whole experience of exploring the maze!

Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

 

I don’t mind admitting that I was totally down with taking the chance to turn it into a little photoshoot!!!

Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

 

Shows and activities

There are loads of daily shows and activities at Warwick Castle, along with special events at different times of the year.  All the adults were excited about the Knights Tournament and really wanted to see the Trebuchet be fired.

With Arthur already showing that he wasn’t keen on Knights shows at Kenilworth Castle I didn’t have high hopes for Arthur being on board with this one.  Particularly since I knew it would be louder and flashier at Warwick Castle.  We tried our luck anyway but it didn’t take long for Arthur to get a little overwhelmed by it all.  Perhaps the long walk up the towers had not been such a good idea because he was totally exhausted.  I put him in the pushchair, left Freddie with everyone else and took him for a walk.  It wasn’t long before he was totally out (which is quite impressive for a boy that no longer naps!)

Freddie on the other hand, was apparently totally mesmerised and loved the whole thing!!

The knights.  Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

 

Should you visit Warwick Castle with Young Kids?

In an annoyingly non committal answer; it depends.

For our kids, Id say Kenilworth Castle  was a little more suitable for them.  But, that was mostly down to Arthur being overwhelmed by the noise, business and in your face-ness that came with Warwick Castle.  There were other kids Arthur’s age that were soaking in the atmosphere!

I think that picking your day weather wise is very important, as there really isn’t all that much to keep the little ones entertained in the wet.

From what I gather, there are vouchers available a lot of the time for Warwick Castle and I would definitely take advantage of that.  You can also save 30% by booking online which is great and saves potential wait time when you arrive!

Next time we are in the UK, Arthur will be 5 and Freddie 3 (oh my!) and I think that they will get a lot more out of the day then they did this time around.

All in all though we did have lots of fun at Warwick Castle and there are plenty of great memories for us and the boys from our trip there!

Visiting Warwick Castle with Young Kids

Have you been to Warwick Castle with young kids?  Would you recommend it?

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Healthy Holidays: How to keep your family from getting ill

Healthy Holidays: how to keep your family from getting ill

Going on family holidays is always a great way to spend time together. However, there’s always the potential for your happy holiday to go awry. If someone in the family falling ill at home is difficult, it’s miserable when it happens on holiday. A stomach bug or even just a cold can throw off your plans. When an adult doesn’t feel good, they might be able to soldier on. But when one of your little ones is poorly, you can’t take them out sightseeing. The best way to keep everyone feeling in rude health is to take preventative measures. Stay healthy as a family when you next go away with these tips.

Healthy holidays

Image source

 

Choose Your Destination Carefully

Staying healthy on your holiday starts long before you leave. When you’re deciding where to go, you should think about any health risks you might encounter. The first thing you should consider is whether there are any current risks you need to take into account. For example, you might be wary of going to countries with the Zika virus at the moment. You should weigh up the things that any of you might catch, from stomach bugs to more serious illnesses. If you want to play it safe, you might limit your potential destinations to only the safest of countries.

 

Preventative Medication and Vaccinations

If you’re going to a country that might pose some health risks, you should make sure you’re ready. It’s easy to prevent a large number of illnesses and disease with vaccinations. However, you usually need to get them at least a few weeks before you travel. There could be a few things you need vaccinations for, including hepatitis, yellow fever, and rabies. It’s also a good idea to have boosters for your usual vaccinations, such as polio and MMR. Sometimes you may need pills to take, such as for malaria. Fortunately, you can easily order malaria tablets online. It makes it much easier to get ready for your holiday.

 

Be Careful with Food and Water

A lot of people are wary of eating different food or even drinking water when they travel. They’re right to be careful, although much of the time you don’t need to worry. The most important thing to do is check just how careful you need to be. In some places, you shouldn’t be drinking the tap water, but in other locations it’s fine. You might need to be more careful about washing fruit before you eat it. It’s usually a good idea to be careful about eating street food. If your stomachs aren’t used to the local food, there’s a risk of tummy trouble.
Healthy holidays
Image source

 

Be Careful of the Heat

If you don’t usually live in a particularly warm country, you’re probably not used to the heat. It’s important to be aware of the risks and how to protect everyone. Children, and especially those under two, are particularly at risk. Heat-related illnesses like heat stroke can be dangerous, so it’s essential to watch out for warning signs. You need to make sure everyone spends plenty of time in the shade and drinks enough water. When you’re out in the sun, get everyone covered up with clothes and with sunscreen.

 

Know Where to Go for Medical Help

It’s always a good idea to know where to go for medical help. In an emergency or even just when someone’s feeling under the weather, you don’t want to be frantically googling. At the very least, you need to know the emergency number in case you need an ambulance. It’s also useful to know where the nearest pharmacy is and where you can find an English-speaking doctor. A few useful phrases in the local language couldn’t go amiss, either. Just knowing a few body parts and how to say that something hurts is useful.

 

Get Out and About

Staying healthy during your holiday isn’t just about avoiding illness. It’s also a good idea to make sure you keep up healthy habits. Even though your holiday is a great time to indulge, you still need some vegetables now and then. Although you could relax by the pool for your whole holiday, getting out to do some things is a good idea too. Try to do some active things during your time away, whether it’s going for a walk or getting in the pool. It will help you make the most of your holiday time.

Keep your family happy and healthy while you’re on holiday by being prepared. You’ll all have a great time, hopefully without any illness.
Do you have any other tips that you would include to make sure you have healthy holidays?
Healthy Holidays

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Momaboard family trip planning service

I am writing today to tell you all about Momaboard and to share some exciting news too (well I think its exciting anyway!).

Momaboard family trip planning service

What is Momaboard?

Momaboard is a family trip planning service.   What makes them special is that they have utilised the power of local Mamas and crowned them ‘Mombassadors’!!  You choose where you want to go and the Mombassador for that city will plan an itinerary for you!  Using all her local knowledge of all the best places to go with the kids and where to avoid

 

Why do YOU need Momaboard?

Okay, we all know that it’s not cheap to go on holiday, so you want to know that when you are dishing out the money that you are going to get the best!!  That’s where Momaboard comes in.  You choose where you want to go, and the Mombassador for that area will plan your trip for you!

 

What’s included in a trip itinerary?

EACH MOMABOARD ITINERARY CONTAINS:

Things You Know You Need

  •  Accommodations
  • Restaurants
  • Transportation
  • Age-Appropriate Activities
  • Doctors & Hospitals

Things We Know You Need

  •  Money Saving Tips & Discounts
  • Insider Tips & Cultural Nuances
  • New & Seasonal Events
  • Babysitting Recommendations
  • Mobile & PDF
Here is a link to a sample itinerary if you want to check it out

Lists

Don’t want a full trip itinerary?  Well how about a custom list for your trip instead?  You can get a custom list for:
  • Restaurants: The best eateries suited to your family’s tastes, budget and ages of your kids
  • Activities: The most family – friendly activities based on your interests, locations and ages of your kids

What does it cost?

Okay so, this sounds great doesn’t it!?  Think how much time and stress you have saved by having someone else plan your family trip for you!  But, I know what you’re thinking; how much is this going to cost me?

Well, I think you will be pleasantly surprised that a custom travel itinerary starts at the great price of $50/£35 and comes with a 100% money back guarantee if you are not totally satisfied with your itinerary!!!

The travel lists start at ¢15/£10

You can take 10% off any of these prices to any destination when you enter discount code ‘Chantelle’

 

 

So moving on to the exciting news.  I am really happy to say that I am now the Mombassador for the Seychelles.  So if you are planning a family vacation here anytime soon you can use me to create an amazing itinerary for you to ensure you get the absolute most out of your time here!!   If you use the discount code ‘Chantelle’ I’ll take 10% off the cost of your itinerary for you too!!  Click the link below to get started!

 

Momaboard Mombassador

 

So why don’t you let Momaboard help you plan your next family vacation today?   There are Mombassadors in over 55 destinations!

Not sure where to go?  Check out the best travel destinations for families in September 2016 

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UK Trip Summer 2016

We have been back for a couple of weeks now and our UK trip already feels like a long time ago.

 

Jet lag has now worn off (We are seriously missing the jet lag induced 8am lie ins from the kids!)  and we are getting used to it being just the 4 of us in our house!

 

Mark is back at work and next week Arthur will be back at school (he will be doing full days now but perhaps thats for another post!).  Its been a while since I’ve had both boys by myself and I had definitely forgotten how much hard work that is!

 

I want to take the time to write about lots of different parts of our trip as separate posts as there really is so much to share!  We certainly squeezed a lot into our 6 weeks!

So look out for posts about our time in

Leamington Spa with Mark’s family

UK Trip Summer 2016

 

our trip down to Plymouth  (and Freddie’s first birthday!)

UK Trip Summer 2016

and a week away at a beautiful cottage in Cornwall with my family.

UK Trip summer 2016

We really had such an amazing time, it was great to catch up with everyone and to see the boys experience so many things that they don’t get to back here in Seychelles.  We were so lucky to be able to spend 6 weeks there.  It meant we got about 3 weeks with each of our families, which was a really good amount of time for everyone to have with the boys (because lets be honest, its them that people really want to see!!)

I have a couple thousand (eeeeek) pictures to go through before these posts get done.  We got a new camera and so we were even more snap happy than usual!  So I have lots to be getting on with!

I do love going through all the pictures though so its not a chore!  Its like living the trip all over again!

 

 

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Hilton Labriz: Silhouette Island

To celebrate my 30th birthday, Mark treated us to a stay at the beautiful Hilton Labriz on Silhouette island over the easter holidays.

We stayed for two nights and we really fell in love with the place. So I had to tell you all about it!

 

Getting there:

We took a flight from Praslin to Mahe which was severely delayed (this is very unusual I must say, but they are implementing a new system there which temporarily slowed things down!). We were very worried that we were going to miss our boat so we ran out of the air port when we landed on Mahe and grabbed the nearest taxi driver who turned out to be great. We called the hotel on route and they were very accommodating and even delayed departure for a few minutes!!

To get to Silhouette Island the Hilton have a boat that runs a few times a day from a little jetty at Bel Ombre on Mahe. Its advertised as taking about 45 minutes but when we went the water was so still it took only 30 minutes! The Hilton can also arrange a private boat or helicopter ride to get you there #fancy

Boat to the Hilton Labriz Silhouette island

 

The boat was fully air conditioned which was nice, but if it wasn’t so flat I think I probably would have got sea sick with the lack of fresh air.

Air conditioned boat to the Hilton Labriz Silhouette island

I’d recommend sea sickness tablets just in case….. no one wants to arrive on holiday after being sick on a boat, not glamorous!!

 

Arriving:
We were greated by staff waving and a big welcome banner, a nice touch!! We were then taken to our golf buggy and given a tour around the hotel with a little history of the island too which was very nice. Having our own private buggy was fun and Arthur really enjoyed it!

 

Our Room:
We stayed in a King Garden villa it was so nice.

King Garden Villa Hilton Labriz Silhouette Island

Our bed was huge and SO comfy. They also added a bed for Arthur and a cot for Freddie. The sofa had even been made into a bed as there was a little confusion in our request so there was space for the 4 of us even if Freddie wasn’t in a cot! Arthur did like having two beds to choose from though!!

We had a little veranda which Mark and I sat out on in the evenings when the boys had gone to bed.

The bathroom was amazing and probably my favourite bit, there was a HUGE bath a lovely shower and another shower outside! The little garden at the back was totally private, so having a shower out there was great!!

Bathroom King Garden Villa Hilton Labriz Silhouette Island

Our villa was probably only about 10m away from the beach so I wouldn’t be put off thinking that its not close to the beach!! Some of them were a little further but I’d guess that none of them were further than 20m away from the beach!

 

Entertainment:
The hotel was so well set up for kids. This was our first holiday as a family of 4 and we were really pleased with the facilities there.

There was a kids club, a little old for our boys, recommended for 4+ years.

The swimming pool was amazing. It was so pretty.

Swimming Pool Hilton Labriz Silhouette Island

Split into two, one side was deeper and the other side was lovely and shallow, the boys had the best time splashing around.  I took SO many pictures here, it was just beautiful!

Swimming Pool Hilton Labriz

The first day Arthur literally stayed in the pool ALL day. He even had a nap on a sun bed in the afternoon as he’d tired himself out so much (Arthur stopped napping around 4 months ago now so he really must have been tired out!)

Swimming Pool Hilton Labriz

There were bikes everywhere that you could hop on and ride, you signed them out and you had the first hour free after that I think it was 100scr per hour.  The boys (and yes I’m including Mark in this!) loved this bike and had lots of fun with it

Bike rental Hilton Labriz

There was also lots of other little things dotted around to keep you entertained, boules, giant chess, crazy golf etc!

There is a 5* dive centre on Silhouette too.  As our stay was so short we didn’t get a chance to go diving this time, but next time (yes there will definitely be a next time) we will be sure to check it out.

Food:

We had two delicious breakfasts at the Hilton Labriz.  Its a buffet style with something for everyone.  There was an amazing selection.  Of course I took advantage of the bubbles available at breakfast too!!

We also had one of our dinners in the main restaurant, again it was buffet style.  That night it was Italian and there was so much choice.  There was a little play area there that Arthur loved.  I liked that there were tables there so families could enjoy a stress free dinner.  There was also a separate area for diners not wishing to be near the kids area!

For our second night we visited the amazing Japanese restaurant.  It was so delicious.  Unfortunately both of the boys were incredibly tired so it wasn’t a long visit!  After eating our dinner pretty quickly Mark and I ordered a bottle of wine to the Villa and got the boys to bed.

 

Spa: 

The Spa at the Hilton Labriz is beautiful.  It is set into the mountain and built around granite boulders.

Spa entrance at Hilton Labriz

The spa menu is fantastic!  I had a Deluxe Pedicure which even included a head massage so top to toe I came out feeling lovely and revived!

Spa at Hilton Labriz

The massages sound divine too, next time (yep there’s that next time again!) I’ll be sure to test it out so I can report back on how good it is (I know, I know, I’m a true hero!)

 

Beaches:

Seeing as we were there for such a short time we didn’t spend a whole lot of time on the beach, or really do any exploring outside of the resort.  That said the beaches we did see were beautiful.

Beach Hilton Labriz Silhouette Island

 

Evening beach Hilton Labriz silhouette island

 

Sunset Hilton Labriz silhouette Island

So there we have it.  A fantastic stay at the Hilton Labriz, we will certainly be back there as soon as we can!

staying at the Hilton Labriz with kids

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How to have fun holidaying as a family

Preparing for your next holiday is not an easy task, particularly if it’s a family holiday. As a parent, I can just very well leave the kids at home and jump on a plane. They need to come with me. It needs to be a family holiday. Now, of course, this will involve a little more planning than a regular holiday, but that’s not a bad thing.

With careful planning, you’ll find the family break much more enjoyable and memorable. Having fun is the entire point of taking a holiday together as a family. So, be sure to take heed of these ideas, so you don’t leave yourself with stress and chaos!

How to have fun holidaying as a family

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Choose Somewhere Family-Friendly

Having lived in the Seychelles for a few years now, I’ve become acclimatised. By that I mean I have gotten used to the place, the people and the culture. And the family have done the same. So, that’s why I think that when you go somewhere as a family you need to choose a place that is family-friendly. There’s no point in booking an 18-30’s holiday if it’s you, your hubby and two kids. Think about the destination you want to choose. We picked to go to Sri Lanka at the back end of last year, and it was an excellent trip. We had a really enjoyable and fun-filled experience, and I’d recommend you try somewhere similar.

Don’t Stress Out

You’ve got to remember that it’s important you don’t stress out on your holiday. Family holidays are a stress filled time as it is so you have to remember to keep calm. There’s nothing that will ruin a holiday more than getting overly stressed. Having the whole family in the same location for a prolonged period of time is enough to cause anyone stress. But it’s important to try to remain sane and calm if you want to have a great family holiday. If you can lead by example, the whole holiday is likely to be much less stressful.

Take Everything You Need

Remember that you’re going on holiday with the whole family not just yourself. And that means you need to make sure you take everything you need with you. There’s going to be stuff for the kids that you’re going to need to pack. So make sure you think about everything you’re going to need to pack. Make sure you take everything with you that you need. Read my piece on packing for Sri Lanka with a toddler to give you an idea of what you need to pack. You might not have the option to get any emergency things once you’re out there. So don’t forget to take it all with you before you leave.

Have Fun With Packing

The fun can start before you even get on the plane. Take the worst part of any vacation, the packing, and try to have some fun with it. You can do this by getting yourself, and the family, some Personalised luggage effective if you start packing well in advance, and do little bits now and then. That way it becomes much more manageable

Family vacations should be the stuff dreams are made of. You should be able to have great fun jetting off to an exotic location to enjoy your time together. But, if you aren’t careful family holidays can end up becoming a nightmare. By checking out the suggestions I’ve made on here, you can ensure family holidays are much more fun.

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Seychelles: Just visiting! Guest post Sophie from Ida and Ernest

As I am currently on Mahe getting ready for the arrival of our little boy bump I am handing over to Sophie to share a little about her two, very different trips to the Seychelles!

Sophie is a mum of two and an expat based in Singapore, she can be found writing at Idaandernest.com. Check out Ida & Ernest for destination guides from local parents, free travel themed printables and lots of tips, tricks and inspiration for travelling as a family.

Over to you Sophie!!

I’ve always felt the tourist tagline for The Seychelles Islands should be ‘There’s something about the Seychelles!’.

I used to work for a Gulf based airline so we were frequently flying in and out of Male, the capital. Even though the flight departed at an ungodly 3am it was a brilliant flight to work. En route you had an airplane full of happy holiday-makers on a trip of a lifetime. Honeymoons, birthdays, anniversaries – all celebrated on these beautiful, tropical islands. There was more champagne consumed per passenger per hour in the air than any of the other destinations I worked. And the return flights were full of tanned and relaxed passengers who had all had an amazing trip and really didn’t want to go home!

As crew, we got to fly in, do a quick turn around, reload and then jet off again. We saw paradise from above and it was always bittersweet.
Paradise from above.  Seychelles

And so one year, I bit the bullet and booked a flight to Mahe for my mum and I… and then spent an awful lot of time googling ‘Seychelles on a budget’! Wow, even with an airline discount those big resort hotels sure know how to charge. So we ended up going ‘boutique’. It’s not kid friendly, it doesn’t have a pool, there are no gyms, buffets or organized activities …. But if you want to SEE some of the Seychelles and want a friendly, beautiful and relatively reasonable place to stay, then I couldn’t recommend the Lazare Picault Hotel enough.

It’s situated on the ‘so gorgeous someone must have photo-shopped it’ Baie Lazare and the views are breathtaking! There is a bus stop right by the hotel and we made the most of exploring the island by the slight roller-coaster ride of the Seychellian public transport system. The island was everything I had hoped from the stories I had heard from the many passengers I had served. Mum went snorkeling for the first time and says I have now spoilt it for her forever as she will never see anything better than the marine life at the Sainte Anne Marine National Park. We scared ourselves silly over the fruit bats in the National Botanic Gardens and spent far too much on coco de mer themed souvenirs in Victoria.
Just visiting! guest post by Sophie from ida and Ernest
It didn’t take much convincing to persuade my husband we should do a trip with our daughter a while later. And so with a lot more luggage, using a hire car instead of buses and staying in a big resort with all of the aforementioned amenities we had the most wonderful week that was totally different to my ‘girls trip’. Equally fun but with a few more pauses for naps! I have written more about our family trip to the Seychelles if you want to check it out!

I couldn’t recommend the Seychelles highly enough as a holiday for all ages. I can only wonder what it’s like to live in paradise permanently? Chantelle?!

In case you were curious the current official tourist slogan for the Seychelles is, ‘The Seychelles Islands, another world!’. And what an amazing one.

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A huge thanks to Sophie for guest posting on my blog! I love that you’ve had two such different experiences here, and that you had such a great time here with your family! Although the Seychelles is definitely famous for being a honeymoon destination I truly think it makes a fantastic destination for traveling with kids!! I’ve written a few tips about traveling to the Seychelles with babies and toddlers if you want to check that out!

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