Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Jubilee treats......oops i mean cheats

I have a little confession to make a bit like the chapter in the book I don't know how she doe's it i too have committed the awful sin of motherhood that is cheating at the nursery cake request.

Oh yes you heard it hear first faking it as mum is my new slogan i hold my hands up and bow my head in the shame. We have all been there the over looked request from school or nursery that is found at the last moment written on a crumpled bit of paper filed neatly at the bottom of the school bag.

I find my request just after dinner last night for some homemade cakes for the cake sale today to raise funds for the nursery garden. I vaguely remember looking at the note last week and buying some jubilee cup cake cases ready for a lovely afternoon of baking (honest)!!

However at 7pm at the end of a lovely sunny day the thought of cooking in a kitchen mid renovations where a hard hat is required just to make a cup of tea did not exactly fill me with joy.

I thought about it for oh all of five seconds and decided there was nothing else for it than...... to grab my purse and nip to Tesco. Once there i battled with my self  as i linger in the baking isle looking at a bag of flour willing myself to do the right thing. Another glance at my watch and my alter ego takes over and i grab some white ready roll icing and then find myself in the ready made cake isle. I quickly grab some ready made cupcakes and rush to the till before i have time to change my mind.

Once home i add a few drops of blue colouring to a small piece of the ready roll icing and leave the rest white.

 Little E is having so much fun in the garden and i know I'm going to struggle getting him in so i fib and say do you want to come in i have some play doh. He runs in and using play doh cutters makes circles out of the white icing and hearts out of the blue. These are simply put on top of each other on top the cakes and finished off with a cherry to give us the red white and blue for the jubilee.

I think to my self oh well we have come this far may as well completely cheat and make them look home made so the final sin of motherhood is committed by removing the cake cases and replacing them with the jubilee ones i purchased with my good intentions. To finish off we pop them onto a union jack plate that we had in the cupboard from our palace picnic at the weekend.

So there you have it jubilee fakes a good make for a mum in a hurry. I do hope i can redeem myself later in the week as i still have a king costume to russel up for a disco and a royal teddy bears picnic to prepare.

I hope I'm not alone in my sinning let me know if you have ever been caught out or have any ideas for making a costume fit for a king.

Faking it as mum xx

Monday, 28 May 2012

Upcycling blinds to fit a new scheme........ Making it home


This week i carried on with little E's space bedroom and added some finishing touches to pull it all together. The renovation budget has had to shrink a bit as we have had to dip into the house fund to purchase a car so i am now having to be more stylishly thrifty than ever.

I hope you will be inspired by this very cost effective roman blind makeover that can be done with no sewing at all if you prefer.

When we moved we packed all the curtains and blinds from our house and although some of the windows are slightly different sizes i had a few tricks up my sleeve to make them fit and update them to match in with the new room schemes.

At our previous house Little E had a lovely boat bedroom and a very sweet nautical blackout blind covering his window. The new bedroom window is exactly the same size so it seemed a real shame not to re use the blind and just update it to fit in with the space theme.

Original blind
The colours in the blind fit in really well with the current scheme i just needed to somehow lose the 3 little boats. A few weeks ago i picked up a spare star duvet set for a bargain £2.50 from EBay. Duvet covers and sheets are a great way to get large pieces of fabric to use for other projects.

The pillowcase from the set was the perfect width to cover up the boats and the colours match in really well with the rest of the blind.

Firstly i opened up the pillowcase to make a long strip of fabric and then ironed in a seam allowance all the way round to neaten the raw edges. I then sewed round the hems with a row of straight stitch so that the finished result had the effect of being sewn on.

Next i cut strips of heat n bond (available from sewing shops) and placed them around the edges where i had hemmed and ironed in place. I then removed the paper liner to reveal the second sticky strip.

Then i simply put the new panel onto the blind to cover the boats pinned in place to hold it steady while i ironed it. The finished result looks like a panel that has always been there and i still have the option at a later date to revert back to the original blind.

The possibilities with this type of  blind update are endless you could simply add some pattern to the bottom of a plain white blind or add a few flowers or something to a child's blind.

I was really pleased with the finished result and for a total spend of around £4 we have a up cycled blind that fits in perfectly with the new room and still have a duvet cover as a spare that matches everything.

I hope i have inspired you to get renovating and doing little things around the home. its always lovely to hear your thoughts and comments so don't be shy stop and say hi.

Now it over to you what have you been doing around your house to make it home. Please feel free to link up your posts new and old that celebrate how you are making it home.


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Friday, 25 May 2012

To be or not to be a two car family !

 We are trying at the moment  to keep our household costs down so recently when my husband changed jobs and handed back the company car we thought we would see if we could manage to be a one car family.

 It sounded so easy and definitely the sensible thing to do but in reality its been a nightmare. Public transport is just not regular or reliable enough to get us where we need to be on time.

I'm finding myself behind on everything as my day seems to revolve completely round picking up and dropping off various members of the family and i seem to be constantly looking at the clock and running late for something. We tried using our bikes more but this too was a bit of a disaster as hubby had a flat tyre twice in one week and little E is too big for a bike seat and too small to cycle safely beside me.

I think though for me the hardest thing has been the actual sharing ........... I know this is a terrible revaluation coming from a mother as its something we are always trying to teach our children. However  its been my car alone for 10 years i have just been able to jump in and go without having to rearrange everything back to my preferences before setting off. Its stressful enough sometimes as every parent knows getting an unwilling child into a car seat without then having to then mess around with your own seat when already running late!

After many a family discussion we have decided that we really do need a second car after all one that fits my mums wheelchair and a couple of child seats. To keep costs down we are checking car insurance, road tax and running costs first before making our choice on a car. I'm a fan of Tesco they seem to be competitively priced and with the added bonus of collecting club card points.  I love collecting the points and using them against family days out in the summer holidays. Last year we exchanged our points for a lovely day out in Lego land that would of cost around £50 if we had of brought tickets.

  I think when our circumstances are different we will give being a one car family another try but for now i think a two car family we will have to be.

Its always  lovely to hear your thoughts and comments maybe you have had the same experience as us or maybe greater success car sharing.

Thought of the day...................... Be nice and share!!

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Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Making it home .......... Home staging


Welcome to the Making it home blog hop a little space to share ideas and link up everything about making a house home. This can be anything home related from inspiration right through to major renovations and everything in between. If this is your first visit and you want to find out more about making it home here is the link to the first post and our renovations so far!

This weeks post from me has a bit of a twist as its about making the most of your space and getting the best price when selling your home. 

The picture above shows a home we purchased several years ago that had been on the market for over a year without any offers. Lots of people had viewed it but had not been able to see past the layout or furnishings. Buyers often perceive work needed to cost more than it actually does and often can not even see past the current layout. Luckily for us i could visualise the space improved and we purchased the house for a really good price as it had been considerably price dropped to sell. This is the trouble when selling a house some estate agents won't advise you on the improvements you can make to help sell your house instead they will keep advising you to drop the price. This of course is good if your buying but not if your selling.

The above picture shows the changes  made to the lounge to increase appeal ..........
The lounge instantly feels bigger and brighter with the sofas re arranged and the floor cleared of unnessasary items. A spacious dining area is created by pulling the table into the middle of the space and the window dressings simplified giving a less cluttered look.  The walls were already painted in a neutral shade so all that was needed paint wise to brighten the room was painting the dark woodwork.  The carpet is the original carpet that looks much lighter without the dark rug. The lovely fireplace is made into a focal point of the room being framed with a picture and bookcases either side.

The changes made here cost considerably less than the price drop on the property and when we later went to sell we sold on second viewing for near asking price. It really is worth investing in your property before putting it up for sale to get the best price from your property.

I would really love to help people struggling to sell so if you need some help please feel free to contact me.

That's it from me this week from making it home with a twist now its over to you lovely people to link up your posts about all things making it home.

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Friday, 18 May 2012

Kids craft subscriptions direct to your door

Sometimes as a parent its really difficult to keep coming up with different ideas to entertain the children and keep them amused. When i heard about Tiny Tigs childrens craft subscriptions i thought what a fantastic idea and was really excited when i was asked to try them out and review them.

We love making things but sometimes find that a trip to the shop is needed before we even start as something is unavailable at home. The craft shop then seems to only sell things in big packs for example we needed a pair of googly eyes the other day for something little E had seen on Mr Maker i had to buy a pack of 25 to avoid a tantrum. Now we are left with 23 eyes therefore at some point in the future we will be making a one eyed monster as 23 is never going to make pairs !!!

Luckily our craft pack arrived today from Tiny Tigs and as promised it contained three complete projects with clear instructions and everything you needed to make them with the exception of glue.
The monthly packs are seasonal and our May pack was no exception and was very on trend being jubilee inspired.

The projects came very well packed and i thought it was a really nice touch that they are addressed to the child, little E recognised his name straight away and excitedly ripped it open before i even got to the door.

Every month there are three projects in the pack and the may pack contained jubilee bunting, a crown project and a vase of flowers to make.

The first of the three we had ago at was the Jubilee bunting the instructions were clear and easy to follow and the templates were a good quality print. Little E had ago at cutting out with the childrens scissors in the pack and really enjoyed the sticking and rolling but the threading was a bit too fidly for him so i helped out. Crafting is a really good way to spend some quality time with children and teach them new skills, older  children would need less  supervision  and the finished results would be neater.

We were both really pleased with our efforts and the end result looked good enough to hang up on the bookcase in our lounge.

My intention was to make just one of the packs and then put the other two away for another day so i had something on standby when inspiration was lacking and i had a bored child to amuse fast!

Little E however had other ideas he enjoyed the first pack so much he wanted to do another and as i was not keen to play the 30th game of snakes and ladders of the day i readily agreed.

We next had a go at one of the crowns (2 included) this was again a really easy to follow project with pre cut templates and lots of bits to decorate with. Little E covered the crown with glue and stuck on absolutely everything including the bits for the second crown and the spare bits. This project needed less mum involvement in fact he even told me to get off when i tried to put on a jewel myself.

I am sure having this crown is going to be a blessing in the very near future when i get a last minuite note from the nursery asking for jubilee fancy dress.Yes ........ i have been caught out before and had to burn the midnight oil for world book day when i did not notice it on the calender till late the night before and sent little E as a pirate from um um um treasure island!

The final project was a vase and flowers which allowed little E to be a bit more free style with how the vase was decorated i think this is good as it allowed him to be creative. He loves glitter and covered the whole thing in glue and then tipped over nearly a whole pot of glitter and sequins. A bunch of flowers fit to give the queen should she pass our way!

 We enjoyed a really lovely afternoon crafting and i think the packs are a really good idea if your stuck for ideas of what to do with the children. There were a few bits and bobs left over too that would spark ideas for other projects and encourage some more creativity.

There is a special offer on at the moment a six month gift pack with free painting apron and free delivery all for £39 this gift pack contains 18 craft packs in total sent out over 6 months so plenty of ideas. I recently brought little E a painting apron and this alone cost me nearly £10. It would be a great present for a grandparent or someone to give a child as its lovely for children to get something through the post every month rather than just on their birthday.

Thought of the day ............................  Children thrive on a creative mind !

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Cybher experience ....

This time last week i was getting slightly nervous ahead of attending Cybher as it was the first blog event i have ever attended . It probably sounds silly being nervous however i just  didn't really know what to expect and felt a bit like the new girl on the first day at school.

I travelled down on the Friday night ahead of the event and thanks to being the lucky winner of the tots100 most like to meet competition i enjoyed a child free night in hotel Z in Soho. The hotel was fantastic and i enjoyed my first undisturbed nights sleep in 3 years . I think once you have children your body loses the ability to sleep in, i was still wide awake long before the alarm. I did however manage a rare treat a hot..yes hot  cup of tea in bed with a great view of singing in the rain.

I really had nothing to be nervous about i was really welcomed and looked after i was invited out for drinks on the Friday night by the very lovely Helen ( Actually mummy). Unfortunately i arrived too late and a bit stressed following missing my train and then having a taxi trauma to take her up on the kind offer. I did however manage to meet up with the following lovely ladies Tea and Biscotti, mother wife me and daily mum on the morning of the conference so i did not have to go it alone and was well looked after.

Once we arrived at the venue we were all given a welcome pack a gorgeous satchel containing goodies to see us through the day. The satchel is beautiful and i hope one day i can afford an Ipad to put in it as it would fit in this soooooooo nicely.

Once coffee had been enjoyed by all we had a welcome and introductions session and then it was off into smaller groups for enjoyable informative sessions. Each session was around 45mins and there was a choice of four options each time so there was something for every ones style and ability.

My favourite session of the day was thrifty blogger as this is really a direction i want to continue taking making it as mum and it was fantastic to see ways i can expand on this and help readers make money go further.

During lunch i got more time to socialise and meet  more of the friendly faces behind the wonderful blogs i read. Everyone was far more organised than me however as they took business cards this is something that did not even cross my mind but one worth remembering if your thinking of attending a similar event. I did spot a post it note pad on the side and very very briefly the thought crossed my mind to write out a few out.

 Making it as mum............ thrifty blogger..... so thrifty she uses free post its for business cards...........

I was tempted but don't worry i didn't i just politely collected cards and then got back in touch once i arrived home.

I would definitely say to anyone thinking about going to a blog event go for it, it is really lovely to come out from behind the safety of the computer and talk to like minded people. Best of all though to put faces to the people you chat to on twitter and the wonderful blogs you read everyone truly is as lovely in person as they appear on screen.

So that brings me nicely on to who did i vote my most want to meet to win this wonderful prize ........... well it was a tricky choice how do you choose with so many wonderful people out there. After much deliberation my most like to meet was Kate on thin ice for the wonderful things she does to help other mums find their groove again.

It was a truly wonderful prize and a massive thank you to tots100 for a truly wonderful day.

 Once the day came to a close there was one person however more than any other in the world i was looking forward to seeing and that was my gorgeous boy. I enjoyed my trip away and the sleep was bliss but its always nice to get home to the family. My cuddle from little E had to wait till the next day though as try as he might he just could not stay awake for my late train and when i arrived at the station bless him he was already catching flies.

He was so excited the next day when he crept into my room at the usual 5.30 am and screamed in an excited voice oh mummy is that really you? I missed you mummy aggghhhhhhhhhh xxxxxxx

The best alarm call  ever.

Thought of the day...........................  You need to be in it to win it xxx


Monday, 14 May 2012

Making it home.... Boys space bedroom on a budget

We have lift off !!!

Welcome to the next instalment of making it home a little link to share ideas and all things interiors that help to make a house home. Every Monday i put up a post on the progress of our house renovations or share inspiration and ideas or must haves for the home.

I love to save money and time where i can as there is only so much of both when your a mum so you can be reassured whatever i share will be aimed at making life easier cheaper and more beautiful.

I hope you will join in by writing similar posts or linking up old posts that provide inspiration for making your house home. If this is your first visit and you want to find out more about making it home or see the progress so far on the bedroom or kitchen or bathroom just click on the links.

Anyway without further ado here is my latest update.............

Moving and renovating can be quite unsettling for small children so the first project we tackled when
 we moved in was little E's bedroom to get him settled and feeling safe in the new home. The bedroom he has now is half the size of the nautical bedroom he left behind so some creativity was definitely going to be called for to give him a space he loves excuse the pun !!

To help settle him and make the room seem comfortable and familiar i started by painting the walls a similar colour to his previous room using satin paint as it reflects light better and is wipe able a real must in a child's room. The next thing we needed to do was raise the money to buy him some new furniture as his bed was now too small and wardrobe and changer no longer needed.

We listed his old furniture on EBay and the money raised was the budget to spend on the new bedroom. Selling his old outgrown items we raised £275 so my challenge was to create a boys bedroom for £275 or less but technically its created for free as recycled money i guess!!

I wanted to get a bed that was good quality and going to last him for a good few years so i opted for an oak single as this would  last and adapt to fit most schemes.

I shopped around and found this bed as an ex display item in a  local bed shop who were changing round to make room for new stock. It is always worth looking at ex display items as they have not been used and you don't need to wait for them as in stock. This bed and mattress cost £159 a real bargain for what would of been  £359 if i had of ordered it.

This left me £116 to finish the room so i had to search and spend wisely my first bargain was found when doing my weekly food shop at Sainsbury's i picked up this very lovely star duvet cover and pillow case  for £7.50. It's a really good match for the wall colour and also picks up on the old blind we brought with us from the old house.

The stars then got me thinking along the lines of space and from there the room started to evolve and take shape. Next i looked at storage the room had a really large double size wardrobe too big for little E's small clothes and then a small cupboard next to it which did not really give enough room to store toys.

The most cost effective way to get the storage we really needed was to remove the hanging rail from the wardrobe and cut it into two making smaller rails to fit into the small cupboard making perfect double hanging for E's small clothes.

We then just brought some wood and batons from a builders merchant for £25 (cheaper than going to diy store) and made the large wardrobe into a shelved toy cupboard and painted the shelves white to match the room.

The inside of a cupboard or wardrobe is the perfect place to display childrens artwork and little bits and pieces sort of like an open up gallery.  A few handy hooks on the inside off the other door are great for bags and all the other bits that don't have a home to hang.

Excuse the mess, at least i can just shut the door on it at night.

Left with £83.50 i searched for an in expensive way to inject some fun into the room by way off a wall sticker. I found it quite hard to find something fun and tasteful as a lot of children's stickers can be a bit tacky on the front as well as the back ha ha!

Eventually Ebay came to the rescue and i picked up this lovely space theme for £20 and they were even kind enough to send contrasting colour stars free of charge. Wall stickers are really easy to apply and are a great inexpensive way to add fun to a room.

Easy to apply and little E loved to help create his space!

Ebay also came to the rescue with the lovely space throw at the end of the bed complete with cushion and pillow case £9.50 including postage. I will tell you a bit more about this in another post as they will be changing slightly into more!!

My final £54 this went mainly to Argos where i purchased the lovely cube storage units with star and stripe boxes one as a bed side table and one at the end of the bed for £30 the next £10 went to next the little cubes on the wall and the last bit to the charity shop lamp and light shade.

There you have it a little space from recycled money and bargain finds. I will also be linking up this post on Monday magpie and Thrifty Thursday.

I hope you have been inspired to get renovating its always lovely to hear from you please feel free to leave a comment.

Now its over to you to link up how you are making it home with your ideas inspiration renovations and pinterest anything goes ........... ready steady link xx

Thought of the day.................   In every home there is space if you look for it xx

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Blogging for Madeleine

Please look very closely at these images do you recognise me ??

                                                                                                                                                                                             I'm writing this post as part of The campaign #blogging4madeleine
   to help raise much needed awareness to find Madeleine and reunite a torn apart family.

We all look forward to our family holidays a time to cherish and spend  together with the family away from the daily routine. The mere thought of going away as a family and returning without your child and not knowing where they are is just to hard to even comprehend for any parent.

This sadly became a reality for the McCann family when three year old Madeleine went missing from their hotel room whilst on holiday in Praia da Luz in Portugal on Thursday 3rd May 2007.  

Madeleine has now been missing for 5 years and today 12th May 2012 is her 9th birthday a time usually for celebration but for the Mcann family sadly another day of wondering and searching.

I'm a mother of a 3 year old the age Madeleine was when she went missing and it breaks my heart to even think what the McCann family are going through and as a mother i want to do everything i can to help and i hope that you will join me and help to.

Madeleine could be anywhere in the world...... Its really important to get these images seen outside the UK. Just imagine if we all helped every one of us from all over the world she could be recognised and found. We need to get these images seen as much as possible and Blogs are a great way to do this as your readers may be from anywhere in the world and someone just may remember something vital or recognise the images. More information on blogging for Madeleine can be found at AMummysView or Tea and Biscotti.

Please take another look at these images have you seen her do you remember anything ??

                     If you have any information at all that may lead to helping find Madeleine? please urgently contact the police or call any of the numbers shown.
Operation Grange
0207 321 9251 (in the UK)
+44 207 321 9251 (non-UK)

o   OR Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org

·         The Find Madeleine official website www.findmadeleine.com

My heart and thoughts today are with the McCann family and i hope together we can really make a difference and find Madeleine. I hope the new incentive opens vital new leads and awareness.

Thought of the day.............. Together we can make a difference

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Cybher Meet and Greet

Just two days now till cybher and I'm a mix of nervous and excited as this is the first blog event i have been to and not really sure what to expect. It will be lovely to meet in person the faces behind some of the wonderful blogs i read and the people i tweet.

I had been stupidly dithering about attending the event as being a fairly new bee blogger i was not sure i was ready and then on a whim i decided to enter the tots100 competition. I nearly fell off my chair when the email came through telling me i had actually won. It seems fate is not such a ditherer as me and if i was not going to be brave enough to book that ticket luck was on my side and kindly decided i was to go.

So here i am a very lucky girl indeed getting the chance to attend this fantastic event and i can't wait. I will shortly be raiding my wardrobe and packing my bag for a child free night in a hotel ahead of the event. I hope the wardrobe has miraculously found me some different items to pack as when i looked this morning it was not hopeful !!

Anyway without further a do here is a bit about me a meet and greet ahead of the event...

Name ........ Catherine but better known as Cat simply because at some point someone referred to me and hubby as Cat 'n ' Matt and it kinda stuck !!

Blog ...... Making it as mum
Twitter ID @theroomset
Height  5ft nothing!
Hair Dark blond and straight i hope!! ........... damp day as frizz alert!

Five things you should know about me

1, I love a bargain
2, I'm a serial house mover
3. Very partial to a cup of tea and go on then the odd biscuit
4. terrified of birds flapping and feathers
5. I always finish my blog posts with a thought of the day.

That's me ..........very much looking forward to meeting you at Cybher

Thought of the day............  Stop thinking start packing !!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Making it home ........ Relaxing natural bedroom

Welcome to the Making it home linky a little space in blogsphere to share ideas, inspiration and home improvement posts. Thank you to all of you who joined in over the last few weeks some amazing ideas shared and beautiful posts showing the amazing improvements you have made to your homes and inspiration and items you have found..

If this is your first visit and you want to find out more about making it home please take a look at my first post to find out what its all about.

Here's this weeks update for me on the renovation progress in our house ....

Work has finally started this week on our kitchen but i thought i would spare you the horrors of the building work stage as its looking quite scary at the moment!! The house as you can imagine is in chaos as the temporary kitchen in currently in the lounge and the bathroom is the only place with running water until the kitchen sink goes back in.

We started work on our bedroom a few weeks ago and although its not quite finished it is giving us a relaxing space to retreat from the building work and a lovely space to rest our weary heads after our evenings of painting.

When we moved into the house as you can see the bedroom was a bit dated and in need of a bit of TLC but was a good sized room with lots of potential.

Before bedroom

  The first thing we did was replace the carpet and change it for a natural colour to flow with the other rooms in the house and provide a neutral base for the start of any colour scheme. We then replaced the old fashioned pine pole and put up some temporary white curtains that we brought with us from our old house. I will soon upcycle a pair of linen curtains with a splash of colour added to liven up the room but for now the white ones are doing a good job!

I really want to have a nature inspired theme to the house and had fallen for the Laura Ashley cottonwood wallpaper for the bedroom, however we were going to need five rolls and at around £40 a roll i  shopped around  and found a really good  birch tree equivalent at next for £15 a roll a big saving. We wallpapered two walls and painted the remaining walls in a complimentary mushroom colour.

The bedroom is a slightly irregular shape where a built in wardrobe is and i have always wanted a dressing table so our hall console table from our old house has made a perfect little dressing table to fit into the gap and for now until i find a lovely stool a leather dining chair is giving me a perfect seat. The small glass dressing table mirror and trinket pots are really pretty and bounce light around the room when we get a rare glimpse of sunshine through our windows.

The fitted wardrobe was not really designed for sharing but hubby has been very handy and has moved the existing rail up and made space to fit another rail below to give us double hanging and maximise the space. He has then fitted hooks inside the doors as a handy place for my scarfs and jewellery.  I have used pretty storage boxes dotted around for storing hairdryer and other little bits and pieces. The storage boxes have a little hint of duck egg blue and when i get to do the finishing touches in the bedroom i will add a few more hints of duck egg to lift the room maybe in a trim on the curtains throw and cushions. I really love the room though even in its unfinished state it provides a lovely space to retreat too and get away from the work going on in the rest of the house.

That's it from me for this week now its over to you to link up all things that make your house home, show of your handy work or simply share the lovely things you would love to do and products and inspiration you have found.

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Ready steady go .......... here's the linky xx