September 19, 2017

Things I’m loving this month…

I may have missed August, as it disappeared in a blur, but this month I’ve been busy hunting down some new ‘must try’ foodie favourites.

Papa John’s Deep Crust Pizza

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Available until 26th November, the new Deep Crust Pizza from Papa Johns features a buttery, seared crust with a fuller flavour and a light and fluffy dough which is deeper than normal. All cooked up in a specially created pan, the pizza also features a new vine-ripened tomato sauce and of course, an extra cup of cheese, spread across the entire pizza to create a caramelised, crispy cheese crust. Available with all the normal Papa Johns toppings. You may recently have spotted the Papa John team going ‘deep’ underground and handing out samples of the new pizzas to London Underground users to celebrate the launch.

Gourmosa

Gourmosa

Gourmosa are the creators of delicious and healthy Indian food including Chaat pots and vegetable Halwa desserts, which utilise a range of wholesome superfoods and traditional spice blends. They utilise traditional techniques, handed down through generations, but with a modern twist which will whet everyone’s appetite.

Available in Sainsbury’s, Ocado, Tesco and Asda now.

Goldenberries

Goldenberry

Looking for a healthy, yet satisfying snack? Reach for a bag of the new South American superfruit – Goldenberries. A naturally tangy yet sweet berry, these are perfect as a snack or to add to smoothies, porridge, biscuits and much more.  Only 100g will give you 71% of the RDA of vitamin A and 60% of your RDA of potassium, as well as hits of vitamin c, iron and zinc, as well as vitamin B1. Also available covered in cocoa. Available in Ocado and Waitrose.

Nature’s Finest Mango Cheeks

Natures-Finest-Mango-Cheeks

These delicious slices of chunky mango are now available in 700g fridge packs. Great for baking, adding to cereal, taking into the office as a snack or just enjoying at home. Convenient and tasty, these mango cheeks are juicy and ripe, yet convenient. Available in all good supermarkets now.

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September 18, 2017

Snack Attack

As the nights draw in and days get shorter, there’s the irresistible lure of snacking in front of the TV. But don’t fear, I’ve hunted down some of the tastiest snacks to keep you going and share with family and friends.

DOISY & DAM

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Partnering superfoods such as baobab, lucuma and goji berries with the highest quality organic chocolate, Doisy & Dam is the perfect indulgence – a tastier, healthier range of chocolate. Available in 8 different flavours: Date & Himalayan Pink Salt; Lemon, Poppyseed & Baobab; Maple, Toasted Rice & Himalayan Pink Salt; Coconut & Lucuma; Maca, Vanilla & Cacao Nibs. Available now in Sainsbury’s. 

HIPPEAS

Hippeas

YUSHOI

Yushoi

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September 14, 2017

Jambalaya

There are plenty of recipes which you can knock up in a Morsø cast-iron pan. A beautiful casserole, a whole roasted chicken or a creamy soup, but something which always warms my soul is tasty Jambalaya. A favourite with young and old alike, this Louisianan dish packs plenty of flavour with a punch of heat. There are a million different recipes for this tasty dish, but here’s what works for me. Feel free to tweak as appropriate – just make sure to add plenty of meat, as that’s what makes this dish so tasty!

Take a look at the huge variety of Morsø pans here.

Jambalaya

 

Ingredients

  • ½ giant Chorizo sausage chopped
  • 2 Onions chopped
  • 2 chopped Garlic cloves
  • 3 Chicken breasts
  • 1 green pepper chopped
  • ¼ tsp Chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp Cumin
  • ¼ tsp Allspice
  • ¼ tsp Oregano
  • ¼ tsp Thyme
  • ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt & pepper to season
  • ¼ tsp Paprika
  • 200g Long grain rice
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml water

Method

  • Add Chorizo, chicken, chopped onion and garlic to the pan. Cook until chicken is browned and onion is softened
  • Add the green pepper and cook until softened and then add all the seasonings and spices as listed above
  • Add the long grain rice and stir through to take on the flavours of the pan
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and water, pop on the lid and leave to simmer until the rice is completely cooked through
  • Serve immediately. Simply present the beautiful Morsø¸ pan in the centre of the table and let everyone dig in! Add a dollop of Greek yoghurt to cool down the Jambalaya if it’s a little too hot for your family!

Jambalaya2Find out more about Morsø¸ and their fantastic Cast-iron pans at www.morso.co.uk

Sponsored post by Morsø¸

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September 12, 2017

Frying Pan Apple Cake

I was recently sent some beautiful pans by Morsø to review and am loving using the beautiful wooden handled frying pan and saucepan. These heavy pans really work well to make sure the heat is evenly distributed across everything being cooked up. Well, due to the fact I’ve been enjoying these pans so much I was reluctant to get out any baking pans when knocking up a cake for the husband recently and the answer was of course, obvious. I’d have to make a cake on the stovetop using the frying pan instead!

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This beautiful cake is great with a big helping of custard as a Sunday lunch dessert which can be served in the centre of the table.

One warning – watch out that the apple doesn’t caramelise too quickly and keep the heat low to ensure an even bake and no burning!

Ingredients

  • 2 apples (use cooking apples if you want a mushier texture, or regular apples for a bit more of a bite)
  • 64g of dark brown sugar (for use with the apples)
  • 128g Plain Flour
  • 128g Sugar
  • 115g Melted butter
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon Cinnamon

Method:

  • Chop apples into segments, place in a bowl and add sugar. Toss to coat and add all to a hot pan with a small bit of butter to get things started.
  • Keep an eye on the apple, making sure it isn’t burning or getting too mushy!
  • In another bowl whisk the eggs and the vanilla extract and gradually add the sugar and cinnamon, mixing well.  Add the melted butter and continue to stir.
  • Next add the flour and baking powder into the mixture, folding gently.
  • When ready, pour the cake mixture evenly over the apples, lower the temperature, cover the pan with some foil and leave for around 15 minutes)
  • Serve immediately and douse in custard. Enjoy!

Morso3Find out more about Morsø and their fantastic Cast-iron pans at www.morso.co.uk

Sponsored post by Morsø¸

 

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September 10, 2017

Once in a lifetime purchase

There aren’t many things these days which are made to last. In our throwaway society, it’s unusual to find items which are both affordable and designed to last a lifetime. There are a million reasons to buy quality over quantity, from saving the environment through to saving money and if you are looking for an item which will never need replacing and which will make cooking a breeze, then why not take a look at Morsø cast iron pans.

These beautiful pans are made by Morsø¸ who have been crafting cast-iron stoves since 1853 on the island of Mors in Denmark. In recent years they’ve used their knowledge of cast-iron to create a range of contemporary, high quality cookware. Remaining true to its Danish heritage, Morsø¸ has created a sophisticated range of pans which both look stylish on the table but also perform fantastically.

Cooking with cast-iron is always a joy, whether on the hob or in the oven, over time they absorb the flavours and seasonings from all your cooking, become non-stick by default and make each new dish tastier than the last.

I was sent four pans to try out at home for myself and have had a great time cooking up my usual meals as well as dabbling with some new recipes. Watch out on the blog for some new recipes using these beautiful pans soon.

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The Multicocotte with Skillet Lid 

£219

I’ve never seen a pan like this before -it is truly unique in its versatility. This pan is 3 in 1 and can be used as a large pot for casseroles, big dishes etc, a bread pan and amazingly enough, the lid can also be used as a roasting pan.

Throw out your extra pans and stick this in your cupboard, as it covers everything. This large pan can fit pretty much anything you imagine, from whole roast joints to casseroles to feed a small army.

If you only buy one cast-iron pan, then it has to be this one. Stick it on your wish list for Christmas now!

Casserole Dish 

£139

I love this casserole dish, the perfect size for pretty much anything you fancy, from a whole-roasted chicken through to pasta, rice dishes, casseroles (of course) or even a soup, this pan does the job.

The cast-iron works really well to keep the heat in, which is great if like me, you get your timings wrong with the other dishes and need to keep it warm while everything else cooks!

This casserole dish also looks fab as you present your dish to your family or friends in the centre of the table.

Frying Pan and Saucepan

Both £119

These beautiful pans will be a kitchen staple for the rest of your life, guaranteed. These heavy pans work well on the hob to distribute the heat evenly and look beautiful with their oiled wooden handles, so can be presented on the table as well as used on the hob.

Remember, the more you use all of these pans, the better the flavour!

Keep an eye on the blog for some cast-iron recipe inspiration.

Find out more about Morsø at www.morso.co.uk

Sponsored post by Morsø

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July 11, 2017

Keeping Things Cool

If you’ve been following the blog over the last month or so, you’ll have seen that I’ve been taking part in the Haier Fresher Diaries Challenge. The idea was to take stock of how much food I’ve been wasting, come up with a plan to tackle it (thanks to the people at Haier and Love Food Hate Waste) and then of course implement it.

I was shocked by how much food I was wasting on a weekly basis, simply by not storing them correctly most of the time! The lovely people at Haier are helping with my mission to cut down on waste and one major way to do this is to get a fridge freezer which can really deal with your food and help it to stay fresher for longer.

I was sent the Haier Cube Series HTF-610DM7 to review and over the last week I’ve had great fun playing with it, and all its exclusive Fresher Techs which are designed with freshness in mind!

Fridge

I stole this picture from Haier as I can’t seem to get an image without my reflection in it. That’s how shiny it is!

The cube has a huge capacity of 610 litres, which gives you plenty of room for all your food – no matter how big your family.

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Just look at the size of this fridge – enormous. Note also the incredible day like lighting – so easy to see everything. Yes, I need to go for a shop to fill it all up now!

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I’ve again stolen one of Haier’s images as it really shows the huge capacity that this fridge freezer has!

There’s a fridge compartment, a freezer compartment and a compartment called the ‘Switch Zone’ which can be used as either a fridge (+5 degrees) or keep it as a freezer (-20 degrees), dependent on your needs. It’s so flexible! I think this will become especially useful at Christmas when I’m buying lots of party food and need a place to store it all.  You can easily control the temperature on the outside of the fridge door. The separate compartments also mean you can open them individually, reducing the amount of electricity loss by up to 60%, making sure you save money and save your food from perishing unnecessarily!

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The freezer compartments – You can see the ice maker at the top on the left. The right section is the ‘MyZone’ which means it can be changed from freezer to fridge or vice versa easily enough.

There are two compartments in the fridge – the humidity zone and the dry zone, which work with different ingredients to keep them at their freshest. Fruit and vegetables thrive in the humidity zone as it keeps them at their optimum humidity and moisture levels (90%) by using a unique plant fibre membrane – you can go away for days knowing when you return it will still be ripe and ready to eat. Cheeses and meats should be stored in the dry zone which reduces humidity to below 45% – meaning things will definitely last longer by between 4 and 7 days which makes a massive difference!

The whole fridge is also equipped with Haier’s anti-bacterial technology. This is done through a UV light which eliminates bacteria throughout the fridge. What I noticed immediately when starting up the fridge was the fantastic lighting. The fridge has a daylight touch to it, so that it feels really bright and you can easily see what’s hidden in the depths. No more yoghurts discovered weeks after their sell by date in the corner.

And perhaps, most importantly when you have an open kitchen/diner like we do the fridge is low noise – so low noise in fact, that we can’t hear anything. It also has an A++ rating, which means it’s incredibly energy efficient

Want to find out a bit more? Watch the video below.

There are so many useful features in this fridge freezer which will help me with my food waste challenge and make it so much easier. Take a look back over my old posts to see some useful tips for preventing food waste.

This was a sponsored post by Haier UK. For more information, please visit: www.haier.com/uk or visit their facebook page @HaierUK.

 

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June 26, 2017

Preventing food waste and saving money

As you’ll know from my previous posts, I was lucky enough to be chosen to participate in the Haier fresher food challenge. I reported back on our food waste after a week and was disappointed at the amount of food I had to throw away, simply because I’d forgotten about them or not looked after them properly. (Have a look back through my posts to see the previous videos)

The lovely people at Haier, no.1 worldwide in household appliances, took a look at my videos and came back with some handy hints and tips as to how to prevent this kind of waste in the future. They linked with the people at Love Food, Hate Waste and have created a video which looks at how I can make my food last longer and avoid any wastage. See below for their advice.

What fantastic advice! I was really disappointed by the amount of waste I had in the fridge when I reviewed it (you’ll see I had to throw away chicken, yoghurts and all sorts!). I saved it all up to be thrown away in one go, and usually don’t do that…and it shows the quantities of waste that is thrown away.

Thanks to Haier I now have some great ideas for making my food last longer, and taste fresher for longer too. I’ll definitely be using the tip to add some kitchen towel to a bag of salad to give the leaves a better shelf life.

HAIER 1

I’ll also be adding my citrus fruit, apples and pears into the crisper compartment of my fridge, as Helen (the lovely lady in the video) explains that they will last much longer this way. This seems so obvious, but it has been a habit of mine to stick this kind of fruit into the fruit bowl, so this is a little easy change which can make a huge difference!

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Something as simple as separating chicken breasts and freezing half will also be a regular occurrence from now on as will freezing yoghurts before they go off, and then enjoying them as an ice cream alternative. Genius!

haier 3

All of these tips are so easy to implement, that I’d be stupid not to! Trust me, there won’t be as much food waste in this household going forwards.

The added benefit to all of this, as well as the obvious benefit to the environment is that I would save around £547 a year by sticking to the above tips and tricks.

For more information, please visit: www.haier.com/uk or visit their facebook page @HaierUK.

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June 24, 2017

Tasting Georgia

Before I was contacted to review the Tasting Georgia book, I knew little to nothing about Georgia as a country or anything about the history or culture of the country. It was a truly fascinating read and it’s certainly sparked an interest in visiting Georgia. It even lead to some googling for flights and hotels…I see a long weekend in the near future!

Tasting Georgia

The author, Carla, takes us on a fascinating journey through Georgia in this book. With information on the history and culture of the country dotted throughout, there are also details of where to stay and what to eat in every region of the country. You can feel the passion coming through in her writing and her love for Georgian food and wine is clear. Packed with recipes to recreate at home, there’s plenty of opportunity to indulge in Carla’s favourite dishes any night of the week.

tasting-georgia-carla-capalbo-qvevri

There’s a big focus on wine in the book and in each region Carla explores traditionally made wines which are created in large terracotta pots (Qveri).

Tasting-Georgia-Carla-Capalbo-Food

It was interesting to discover that the social fabric of Georgia would seem in part to be held together by the Supra or Georgian Feast looked over by a formal or informal toastmaster. All the food is on the table at the same time and there are no desserts apart from fresh fruit, nuts and possibly the Churchkhela. These look like sausages and can be found hanging in groups on strings. They are in fact made of nuts coated in thickened grape must or fruit juice without the addition of sugar.

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Carla takes us into Markets, Wineries, Monasteries and even to a small farm with twenty cows near the Turkish border specialising in aged cheese. The book is packed with interesting stories, exciting places to visit and lovely dishes as well as beautiful photography, which will have you planning your trip.

This book allows you to escape into its pages to discover a country that beckons to the explorer, chef, wine connoisseur and tourist in all of us.

Find out more about this book at: www.tastinggeorgia.com or purchase for only £30.

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June 6, 2017

What I’m loving this month

It’s been a while since my last round up, as the months seem to have flown by in a busy blur.

This month I’ve been lucky enough to try some great homeware and foodie items. Here’s a round up of my favourites…

Sparkling Ice

Sparkling-Ice_Four-Bottles-

A new range of healthy fizzy drinks, Sparkling Ice combine natural sparkling water with flavours, producing a refreshing and tasty drink with only 12 calories per bottle. Available in four different flavours – Black Raspberry, Orange Mango, Peach Nectarine and Kiwi Strawberry, these should be your go to for on the go refreshment. Each bottle also contains vitamins and anti-oxidants.

Available in all good supermarkets for around £1.25.

 

E-Cloth Starter Pack

SPB4

It’s that time of year again. Time to spring clean! There’s nothing handier for your home overhaul than the E-Cloth Starter pack. This pack is a selection of E-Cloths most popular items including:

  •  The Bathroom cloth which is great for tackling limescale
  • The Glass and Polishing cloth which easily remove grease and finger prints
  • The General Purpose cloth which is super absorbent and easily tackles spillages
  • The Kitchen cloth, which has scouring pockets to scrub at stubborn grease
  • and of course, the Window cloth which leaves your windows smear-free and sparkling

The reason I love E-Cloths? You don’t need any cleaning sprays at all. With just water or elbow grease, your home can be sparkling again in no time. Available here for £17.99

Wahaca Soft Taco Kits

Wahaca2 Wahaca3

I often pop into Wahaca with friends or family when in London, as the food is so delicious, affordable and authentically Mexican. It’s one of my favourite casual dining restaurant chains and I also have a couple of Thomasina’s Mexican cookbooks at home which I’m trying out. However, for the unitiated to Mexican cuisine, these new soft taco kits from Wahaca are a great, easy introduction.

I was sent two different soft taco kits to try out at home: The Tomato & Smoky Chipotle Kit and The Fiery Habanero & achiote kit. The kits contain everything you need to create the meal with tortillas, marinade and a salsa. Simply add your chosen meat or vegetables. Nice and easy to create a delicious meal.

These kits are literally 100 times better than the usual Old El Paso kits. Packed full of flavour and featuring specific chillies, these will add some flavour to your Friday night. A word of warning though, only the brave should attempt the Fiery habanero & achiote kit….it nearly blew my socks off!

Available in Tesco now for £3.69

Wham Flexi Bags

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These Wham Flexi Bags are some of the best things which have come into my house this month. These flexible bags available in square and bag size are pretty much capable of carrying anything. Use them in the garden, for groceries, to store the kids toys or like me, put one at the bottom of your stairs for things which need to be put away upstairs or use it to transport drinks or use as an ice bucket at your next BBQ. These pretty bags are incredibly durable and will be lasting you for almost a lifetime I imagine! Prices vary from £2.50 for the smallest through to £7.00 for the bigger sizes. Find out more here.

Lyons Coffee Bags

UCC Lyons Coffee Bags packaging

Now this is an interesting concept….Lyons have created a range of coffee bags featuring fresh ground coffee. Simply place in your cup and brew for 3-4 minutes for a cup of freshly ground coffee…any time, any place. So convenient for on the go and great for sticking in your bag for holidays, caravanning or even just for the office. Currently available in 4 different varieties (one of them a decaf), there’s something to suit everyone.

Just make sure you brew them for 4 minutes, as we found these could be a little weak otherwise. Available in all good supermarkets with an RRP of £2.60.

**I was sent all of the above to review, but opinions are 100% my own and I was not required to write a positive review.**

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May 25, 2017

The Haier Challenge – An Update

Haier Logo

It’s been a week since I started the Haier Fresh challenge and I just wanted to give you a little update on where things since my food shop last week. See below for my video diary which will tell you a little more about my habits this week.

It’s been absolutely shocking to discover how much I’m just throwing away because it’s gone off – from strawberries and salad, through to chicken and yoghurt. Appalling!

This challenge has made me much more conscious of my food waste. I’d definitely recommend doing something similar yourself at home, to keep tabs on what’s been thrown away.

My fridge is gradually emptying, as you can see…. with not much left from the original shop…. just a few stragglers.

I’m looking forward to seeing what Haier suggests to prevent such waste in my fridge!

Find out more about Haier here or follow them on Facebook @haieruk

Sponsored Post by Haier

 

 

 

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May 21, 2017

Feeling Fresh With Haier

Food waste is a huge issue in the UK, not only with supermarkets and shops but also in our own homes. I don’t know about you, but there’s always that cucumber you didn’t get to before it disintegrated or those yoghurts which have long passed their sell by date before you even think of them.

Environmental reasons are of course, a major factor as to why preventing food wastage in the home is so important, but let’s also not forget it can help us save a fortune!

For this reason, I was excited to take part in the Haier Fresher Food Challenge, which will see me updating on my normal shopping and fridge use, followed by some advice from the Haier team on how to keep my food fresher for longer…helping me to combat food wastage.

At the moment my fridge is definitely not being used to its full potential – I throw things in where they fit and then forget about them, unless I can see them! Although I create meal plans before I pop off to the shops, life changes during the week and we often come in late or move meals around just to confuse me.

I’d say the things we tend to throw away the most are salad bags, cucumbers (they really seem to deteriorate quickly), yoghurts and berries (which I always find go mouldy quickly). Food that is used in the meal plan doesn’t tend to go off, as we know when we’ll be using it and I’ll hunt through the fridge to find it. But anything which is either a healthy snack or salad based, soon goes off.

Here’s a little intro to my kitchen and of course, my weekly shop:

Here’s a little snap shot of my weekly shop

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And here’s when it’s been all unpacked in a most higgeldy piggeldy manor in the fridge

 

These shots say it all really…there isn’t a system going on in the fridge at all!

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Sorry for the fussy shots – the light from the fridge has messed it up a bit!

If you’ve not heard of Haier, the people behind this campaign to get us keeping food fresher for longer before, then let me tell you a little bit about them…

Haier Logo

Haier are the global leader in major household appliances. You might not have heard of them before as they are fairly new to the UK market…so watch out, as you’ll see plenty about them over the coming months.

Their range of fridges and fridge freezers use Fresher Tech solutions, which are designed to help consumers to reduce their food waste and inevitably save money. Through better storage and use of our fridges, Haier wants to help us find easy ways to make our food stay fresher for longer and ultimately help prevent food waste.

Find out more about Haier here or follow them on Facebook @haieruk

Sponsored Post by Haier

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April 25, 2017

Bathing Time

Sometimes all it takes is a long, warm bath to take you away from the stresses of reality. Simple pleasures can often be the best, as we all know.

If you are looking to make your bath time even more indulgent, then why not pick up one of these bathing must-buys.

Malki Dead Sea range

Dead Sea

This beautiful range of natural, paraben free products are based on ingredients from the Dead Sea.

I tried the wonderful mud mask soap. Simply use in place of your soap when sitting in the bath, leave on for a while and clean off for beautifully soft skin. I also tried the Sulpher soap and mineral soap which made my skin super soft. Both are great additions to your bathroom routine.

The full range of Maliki Dead Sea products are available from Boots.

Olverum bath oil

Olverum

First created over eight decades ago, this beautiful relaxing bath oil is a timeless classic for one reason. It works. Invented in 1931 and still in the same format today, this beautiful bath oil combines a unique formula of essential oils which help ease stress and relax tension to bring you back to life.

As the oil is so concentrated, you only need to use half a capful per bath, meaning your bottle will last a long time!

Available online here for £26 for 125ml (enough for 25 baths!)

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