Woven Wings Greenfinch Geo – Review

Recently I was very lucky indeed and won an invoice for a Woven Wings Greenfinch Geo. Now, if I’m honest, I enter a lot of these draws with not much hope of winning. And I was in two minds as to whether to enter for this one. But, as luck would have it, I ended up scoring. So, I thought I’d give it a go, at least for the purpose of review writing if nothing else. On arrival (which was very quick, and very well informed with emails telling me what was happening and where it was) it was packaged well, in a box, in tissue paper, and came with a WW bag and instruction leaflet. I really like the bag, it’s very pretty, good quality and something I would actually use. I also found the instructional info very good, with clear directions, info, and pictures. image image The wrap itself was neatly folded and well presented, but what struck me most was the colour. I was expecting ‘green,’ not the myriad of colours I was presented with! Greenfinch has a mixture of pale, spring green, teal, gold, and white colours. It gives the wrap an overall vintage feel – with surprising warmth. Due the design and colouration, there isn’t really a ‘wrong’ side to this wrap, although one side has slightly more colour than the other. image image In hand Greenfinch is narrow as are all WW, but it was also thinner than I expected. It very much reminds me of cool linen trousers, and I think it will be wonderful for hot summer days. I am also a fan of the weave. It is quite a tight weave that should hopefully not be prone to pulls, while remaining light, airy, and supportive. image This wrap is a blend of 21% linen, and 79% Egyptian cotton. I did expect it to require some breaking in, and here my expectations were met. Greenfinch was quite stiff and crispy, and fresh out of the box I had some difficulty in bending it to my will. However, after a wash, steam iron and some braiding it is already starting to feel much better, and I anticipate that in due time it will become fluffy and mouldable. image When I took it out I did three different carries; a Robins Hip Carry, an FWCC, and a Knotless Ruck (tied tibetan). I found that it wrapped well, it was grippy and carried my one year old with ease. image The narrowness did not pose a problem for me, in fact I feel that that, combined with the thinness will make this a great wrap to stash in a handbag as it folds up to be fairly small. Knots and passes stayed in place well, with little slippage or movement. image Although this wrap doesn’t have very tapered tapers, so to speak, I found that I didn’t end up with a big knot. Due, again, to the overall thinness. In a five I was able to comfortably do all of the above carries without being right on the tippy tails. image I feel that although this wrap will go perfectly with jeans and jean shorts, it would also be an elegant accompaniment to linen trousers or a pretty summer dress. It’s very versatile in terms of looks. Overall, this wrap has been a bit of a pleasant surprise. It looks and feels like a perfect summer wrap; light and airy but strong and capable, able to be dressed up or dressed down. I like this very much, and it has already flown its way into my permastash. image

Beach Body Bollocks

Summer is coming – and so is beach body bollocks. I am, of course, referring to the utter hysteria on the front covers of pretty much all ‘women’s’ magazines – ‘how to get the perfect beach body’ or ‘look good in a bikini’ or ‘ten tips to look hot this summer.’ It’s bollocks. And here’s why.

First, articles like this serve no purpose other than to reinforce ridiculously high standards of beauty or a ‘desired’ look. And they are ridiculously high. The models or celebrities used for such articles look like that because it is their job to look like that. It would be nigh on impossible to have a personal trainer, dietitian, make up artist, stylist, hair stylist – and still look like Vicky Pollard.

The average woman in the UK is a size 16. She is 5 foot 3 inches tall and weighs 11 stone. How many magazine covers can you find that feature ‘beach body’ women of that size or weight? Go on, have a look. I’ll wait.

Oh, what’s that? None? Thought so.

(And no, I am not bashing naturally slim women, or on women who put in the time, effort and money to look a certain way. By all means, you be you.)

What I am bashing is magazines that perpetuate this myth that you MUST look like a bronzed goddess straight from an underwear shoot in order to swan about on a beach in a daring, on trend two piece.

Second, I can more or less promise that the magazines that feature such articles will almost certainly have a whole section devoted to the utter scandal that is celebrities without make up or in unflattering clothes. Oh, the horror. An A-lister without a full face of make up. Pearls will be clutched.

Or not. But my point is, it’s just more negative reinforcement. If you don’t look a certain way, you don’t pass; you deserve to be lambasted; you aren’t good enough.

I say this is bollocks.

I’m a mum. I am the average size 16. I have stretch marks, I have cellulite, I have wobbly bits. I have the ‘mum tum.’ I don’t tan very well; I just get very red in places which only serves to accentuate the milky whiteness that is the rest of me. I’m probably not going to have a full face of make up when I hit the beach this summer. And I doubt like hell that I’ll be completely body hair free either.

But that is not going to stop me. I will have my beachwear on, and I will be proud. This body has produced an amazing little girl. A little girl that is going to grow up being influenced, like the rest of us, by what she sees in the media. But she will also be influenced by me. And what message does it give off if I sit on that beach with shorts and a t shirt on, sweating like crazy? If I feel I have to cover up, I have to breathe in, I have to hide myself and be ashamed? It reinforces that negative message once again. The thing is, I really really don’t want my strong willed daughter to grow up feeling like she should be ashamed of her body. I don’t want her constantly dieting, or comparing herself negatively to people who are paid to look amazing. I want her to be healthy. And by healthy, yes, I mean making wise food choices (everything in moderation!) but I also mean mentally and emotionally healthy. I do not want my daughter to suffer with the same poor self esteem issues that I have. I want her to be proud of who she is, and how she looks, no matter how she looks. I want her to realize that actually, she has value as a whole person, that she is more than just a physical body.

And I have come to realize that in order to teach her all this, I must first embody it. This has been difficult for me, and I suspect that it will take a while before it becomes easier. Today, I went bikini shopping. I found something I thought I liked. I tried it on, and took a couple of pictures, but I was unsure. When I showed my husband the pictures later on, he said he thought it looked lovely. However, the more I looked at the photos the more I didn’t like it. I felt self conscious and fat. To the point where I actually deleted the pictures.

When I went away and thought about it, I realised that this kind of thinking is exactly what I need to stop doing if I am to be a positive role model for my daughter.

I am going to go beachwear shopping again. I am going to go somewhere nice, that has really lovely stuff.

And I am going to buy a fabulous, funky, bikini or costume.

And when I wear it, I am not going to think, ‘Oh God, look how fat I look.’ I am going to think ‘Oh wow, look how fabulous this bikini is! What a gorgeous colour.’ I am going to have to make an effort to think that, but it will be worth it.

So, join me this summer. Say no to beach body bollocks. Wear something fabulous because you love it, not just because it covers you up or has a tummy control panel. Get your jiggly bits out and relax. Be unashamed. And if anyone tries to give you shit or shame you, tell ’em to bollocks.

Joy and Joe – Fountains of Love Review

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Say hi to Joy and Joe’s latest creation – Fountains of Love. This wrap, I was assured, would be a game changer. I was told that it would require (wait for it) no breaking in. 

Really, I hear you ask. Why?

Well, to start this wrap has been made from 50% Italian combed cotton and 50% mercerized cotton.  Mercerizing is a treatment that strengthens fibres and gives them a lustrous appearance, while combed cotton is an extremely soft version of cotton due to a special treatment it undergoes before spinning. So, so far so good. These wraps undergo lots of finishing treatments – like pressing and extra steam treatments, in order to soften them up further. And just to go the extra mile, Joy and Joe have worked with a textiles expert with this wrap, who has tweaked the weave to ensure that it will be as smooshy as possible.

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So, you understand why it was I waited with baited breath for my turn to try it. And when it came, well…

It. Was. Amazing. 

I’m not kidding. Fountains of Love is soft, smooshy, buttery, floppy, and silky. I was skeptical, and I was wrong to be. It is seriously nice. Like, I would actually snuggle with this wrap. It’s far softer than a good 90% of my (mostly pre-loved!) stash. Just lovely. It wraps as you’d expect – that is to say, excellently. It tightens easily and with minimal effort. It has actually made me realise how much more work I need to do with my own wraps, to get them to wrap this easily. The only slight issue I have with this wrap is that I feel it could possibly be prone to pulls. The weave is fairly loose, and I understand that this helps with the amazing softness, but I personally prefer a more ‘snug’ weave. It’s worth bearing in mind though that I am very heavy handed!

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And the pattern also meets high standards. Fountains of Love is to me, very reminiscent of Baroque of Damask patterns, classy and elegant. It’s interesting to note at this point the colourways. FoL is available in black and white (the one I had) bright pink and white, or bright yellow and white.

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Now, bright pink or bright yellow are not exactly colours that come to mind when I think classy, elegant, sophisticated. However, with this pattern, it works. The high contrast, gorgeous colours, and beautiful design work in juxtaposition to create a wrap that will not look out of place either on the beach or at the races. The black and white particularly is very suited to ‘events.’ Either way, it looks and feels fantastic.

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As you’d expect, all these extra treatments and finishes are going to be reflected in the price. Having had the chance to use this wrap, I personally think that it is absolutely worth paying the extra. Then you can start loving your Fountains straight away!

Rosie is turning one.

On Monday, Rosie Grace, my sweet little terror, will be turning one whole year old. This makes me want to cry. She has six little perfect white teeth. This makes me want to cry too. She can pull to standing and makes very clear choices over what she likes and dislikes. Guess what? Again, it makes me want to cry.

I’m just not ready. Where did my baby girl go? My squishy little chimp who would fall asleep if I laid her on my chest. My tiny, premature baby who was ventilated and in an incubator. What happened to her? I want more time with that Rosie please – I feel like it went too fast.

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I feel too like we lost a lot of it to reflux, and also partly to her prematurity and hospital stay. That precious newborn stage, we never got to really experience that because she was in an incubator and wired up to machines. She had such a lot of healthcare professional involvement in the first few months it felt like we never got a minute to be ‘just us.’

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And the time that we did get I didn’t appreciate. Because of her reflux, and subsequent weight loss, a huge part of her first ten months or so was extremely stressful. She would cry and scream and be unsettled and I didn’t know what to do. My husband worked an awful lot, so that just left Rosie and I to tough it out together most times. And times were tough indeed. A traumatic, premature birth left me struggling to cope. I felt inadequate, at fault. What had I done wrong? I didn’t drink or smoke during my pregnancy, my husband and I had planned to start a family, and we had everything in place. So why had this happened to us? Why couldn’t I cope? Was I the only person in the world who wanted to run on the opposite direction when my baby cried?

I struggled to form a bond with my daughter. She was taken from me and intubated almost immediately following her birth. It was twelve whole hours before I could see her again, and longer still until I could hold her tiny fragile body.Everything I wanted for my labour had been taken away from me – I wanted a med free, natural birth with immediate skin to skin and delayed cord clamping in the hospital ten minutes away. What I got was sixty hours of stress and panic, an epidural, a forceps delivery, an umbilical cord that broke during labour and a fraction of a second of skin to skin – thirty miles from home. It was not what I envisaged.

And neither was bringing her home. I was truly out of my depth. Her reflux and screaming was so bad that I became desperate and would sometimes sit on the bed and cry with her, as I just didn’t know what else to do. No one would listen to me to start with, and even once reflux was diagnosed it took months for any of the treatments we tried to begin to work. My life was a vomit fueled nightmare, into which I had willingly put myself and out of which there was no escape. They were dark, dark days. Days when everyone else was basking in the glow of their healthy, pink, chubby baby, all smiles and cute daddy pics. And there I was, with my skinny, yellow, sicky, screaming baby, my husband at work, and struggling to keep my head above water.

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She started to lose weight at one point

So yes, the newborn stage and early months were not good. I feel cheated, in a way, that we didn’t get to enjoy it properly. I’d love to have the chance to revisit it and know what I know now; that the reflux would end, that we’d bond, and that I was doing ok, actually. But I can’t. And it makes me terribly sad that my sweet little Rosie is growing up far too quickly. Now that things are how they should be with her, I want to slow time right down and cherish every moment. Every sleepy ‘love,’ every hot breath on my neck, every cheeky little smile when she pulls herself up. Because that will all too soon be gone too.

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I’m very proud of my beautiful daughter, and I’m more and more in love with her as each day passes. She’s my best mate, my little star, she challenges me to be my best and do my best. I wish I had understood that before, but I can’t turn back the clock. But I am now going to enjoy her every single day. Sod the housework, sod the pots, the washing, the tidying up, sod it all. It will all still be there tomorrow, but before I can even blink she’ll be at school, college, university.

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This is precious, precious time. And now that I have found my groove and my way, there’s no looking back. I’ll always be sad that the early months weren’t what I had wanted, but I’ll always be grateful that she’s here now and she brightens up every day. My dear, sweet little Rosie. I do love you so much.

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Baie Unicorns and Rainbows – Review

The latest wrap on my test list is the as yet unreleased Baie Unicorns and Rainbows. When I was asked if I’d like to try it, I of course jumped at the chance.

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Thing is though, I didn’t think I’d be keen on this one. It was different, certainly, but it wasn’t something that, if I saw it for sale, I’d HAVE to have it. Or so I thought.

It sat in my wrap shelves for a couple of days until I had chance to take it out. I wasn’t expecting anything particularly special; just an ordinary standard wrap.

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Well, that changed the instant I wrapped with it. Unicorns is incredibly nice to wrap with. Like, seriously. It feels almost stretchy and bandage-like, a smooshy rainbow hug. It clung to every curve and hollow on Rosie and I, without slipping or feeling diggy anywhere. Once it was on, it just did not move. No sag, no slip, no sliding. I had Rosie on my back in a knotless ruck and she stayed high and supported for the duration.

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In fact, it kept her so high that even though she was tired out, she stayed awake for longer because she could see absolutely everything over my shoulder. When I moved her onto my front, she got nestled in and went almost immediately to sleep. Again, out of habit I wrapped her a little higher than needed to compensate for the almost inevitable sag, something that seems to happen even more when babies drop to sleep in the wrap. And again, that was a mistake as it just did not sag at all. She ended up fast asleep while I had to put my head to one side to see where I was going.

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It’s also fairly thick at approx 267gsm, so don’t feel you need to layer up too much!

So, I loved it for it’s wrapping abilities, at least. But the pattern? I wasn’t sure. It reminded me of something but I couldn’t think what. Until, that is, my husband started talking about how it looked like childhood. And he’s right, it does! Lots of my woven wraps have rather ‘adult’ colours and patterns; they are generally not something that a child would choose. This, on the other hand, with its whimsical unicorns and hearts and fruit pastille colours is most definitely something a child would love.

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And it really is reminiscent of childhood. It reminds me of the nineties, of childhood bedrooms and My Little Pony and Care Bears and Trolls (remember them?). It’s nostalgic, pleasant, innocence. It’s eating rice krispies on the living room floor and watching Saturday morning cartoons. It’s long summer day and playing out clothes, when trees were climbed and bikes rode.

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It’s just childhood, in the nicest possible way. And I found that despite my initial feelings, I love it. It makes me feel so connected to Rosie. I want this to be the wrap that she looks at in twenty years that gives her fond childhood memories too.

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This may not be a typical Baie wrap, in terms of the design, but it has well and truly charmed me.

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One and done

Next month, my dear sweet Rosie will be turning one. So some folks have clearly decided that now is the time to demand to know when I’ll be having more kids.

Now, here’s the thing. I’m not all touchy and bitter. I don’t mind when family and close friends ask. It’s casual acquaintances and strangers that get me. Even then, it’s not rude per se to politely enquire, ‘Do you think you’ll have anymore?’

Providing, of course, you leave it at that.
It becomes rude and annoying when you say to me, ‘So when are you having some more?’

To which I reply, ‘Uh, never.’

It becomes even more rude and annoying when you then say, ‘You can’t say that! You’ve got to have more!’

And it becomes infuriating when you say, ‘I think you’ll have more. You can’t just have one.’

Whoa whoa whoa, sunshine. Take a step back. I don’t recall a time when you were put in charge of my reproductive organs. I’m not even entirely sure I’ve got full control of them, and most definitely not at certain times of the month.

So… why is this rude? Well, you’re assuming a hell of a lot of things, for a start. You’re assuming I want more kids. You’re assuming my husband wants more kids. You’re assuming we can afford financially to have more kids.

You’re also imposing your beliefs and choices on me, for another. So you had three or four or more. Or you only had one but you wanted more. Or you think that big families are the happiest families. Or you think that my daughter needs siblings. Marvellous. Really. Good for you. Your choices are your choices, I respect that. But you are not respecting mine. Look at it another way. The flipside to this would be me saying to you, ‘Jeez, really, another kid? I don’t think you should have it. In fact, you can’t have it. You’ve got to get rid.’

And furthermore, you’re putting me in an extremely uncomfortable position. I don’t necessarily want to explain to you (often a complete stranger) that I don’t want more kids. You have no idea. It could be that we can’t afford it. It could be that I suffered with bad postnatal depression and I’m scared it will happen again. It could be that I had an intensely traumatic labour, or that my child was in hospital as a newborn, or ill, or I hated the newborn stage, or even that my lady bits are wrecked beyond repair. Would you like me to say that to you? When you ask why no more, in the middle of Asda, would you like me to say, ‘Because my fanny fell out?’ (It didn’t. But I might start saying that to make people feel uncomfortable)

Maybe, just maybe, I don’t want anymore kids, for reasons that are none of your business. And maybe you should keep your opinions and your comments to yourself. It’s my uterus, and if I don’t want any more kids I won’t have anymore kids.

The moral of the story is, if you’re not in my ‘frequently dialled’, don’t ask personal questions. You might not like the answer.

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She doesn't want to hear it either.

Baie aeolus shadow – review

The latest wrap I have been playing with is the new and as yet unreleased Baie Aeolus Shadow. This wrap combines the popular pre existing dragonflies design, and the most recent colourway – a rich plum purple to black gradient.

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This version is a blend, 79% combed cotton and 21% linen. It’s also another snug weave wrap, which is the slightly thicker of the two weaves Baie use. The linen and the weave combine to make this wrap feel quite thick and solid, but not ridiculously so. It’s strong, but I’m not going to have to get out my whip to tame it. For the most part, it felt grippy and supportive. I did however find that the finishing knot in an fwcc needed to be tied double as it had a tendency to slip and work loose – although I didn’t have that issue with the passes.

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On the darker side of this wrap there is a slight white fluffiness – I find this to be barely noticeable, and Juliette assures me that this is normal. It’s down to the use of natural undyed cotlin, and will disappear with use and washes.

This wrap has two very distinct sides. One side has a gradient background with natural undyed dragonflies, and the other has a natural undyed background with gradient dragonflies.

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Due to the darker colours, the undyed tends to appear pale grey or purple in places. And the contrast is striking! I think I personally prefer the darker side to this wrap, but I do like the fact that it has two separate personalities. Due to it’s dual personality I feel that this wrap will go with a big variety of clothing, and be suitable for any number of occasions.

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The design, as you now know, is dragonflies. But here is something you didn’t know. Aeolus was designed by Juliette; one half of the Baie team. The pretty, stylised design of the dragonflies is based on the sound holes in an instrument called the English Concertina, which Juliette plays semi professionally. Aeolus is also a God of Wind in Greek mythology, which is rather apt for a dragonfly as they are considered the best fliers in the animal kingdom.

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All things considered, this is a strong, capable and versatile wrap that still manages to be pretty. It’s soft enough for little squishes, but strong enough for bigger toddlers. And you can wear it with pretty much anything!

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Baie Trowen Sweetheart – Review

For many years now I’ve been with my (long suffering) husband and been faithful. Now, however I have a new Sweetheart. A Baie Trowen Sweetheart, to be exact.

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Released rather fittingly on Valentine’s Day, Sweetheart is the latest in the very successful Trowen line. It features the same celtic inspired pattern as the other Trowens but with a plum purple to black gradient warp, and a striking fuchsia pink weft. On one side the background features the gradient with a solid colour pattern, and on the other it is the pattern itself that features the gradient, while the background is a solid colour. I am not sure which is supposed to be the ‘wrong’ side – I personally don’t consider there to be one. The truth of the matter is, Sweetheart looks stunning any way round.

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And it wraps like a dream! 100% combed cotton, this is one of Baie’s snug weaves, meaning that it is more tightly woven than a plush weave. The result is a fairly thick, dense fabric that looks and feels fantastic. Having never tried a new Baie before, I was not sure what to expect but right out of the bag this wrapped well. It feels fairly thick but it’s not beastly and it’s very supportive. It holds my ten month old in a fwcc (my least favourite front carry) without feeling diggy, or pulling my shoulders. There’s also practically no sagging or slipping; the material holds well without needing to be re adjusted every ten minutes.

I picked it up en route to Bolsover Castle and just could not resist using it immediately. The setting was perfection, and made me feel like a non murderous Lady Macbeth. In fact, I’m pretty sure if she was a babywearer this is what she’d use. It’s dark, it’s dramatic, it’s elegant and it’s just a little bit gothic.

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I feel like this wrap looks it’s best when dressed up; this is the wrap I’d go for if we were going to any kind of an event. Having said that, that doesn’t mean it’s unsuitable for everyday wear. It adds instant drama and elegance to any outfit. It’s just so classy you can’t help but feel fabulous in it.

In fact, even the tote bag it came with is glamorous. In classic black and gold, this is a sling tote bag I’d actually use as a bag. And the gold is shimmery.

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Speaking of what came with this, I should add that Baie also sent some fabulous literature. Well designed, well written with clear instructions that show you how to do two different carries.

Overall, I’m really pleased with this. It looks and feels luxurious and high quality. It’s beauty and strength pretty much instantly guaranteed it a place in my rapidly growing permastash. There is no compromise with this – you don’t have to substitute good looks for good wrapping abilities. It does everything. And I can honestly say I’m no longer just Baie curious – I’m converted.

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First world mum problems

So, I was talking to a group of my ‘Mum chums’ (what a fantastic phrase) and we were discussing the small inconveniences that happen as a part of motherhood. You know, baby is due to wake up at any second, but now you’re shattered and want to nap. (This is happening to me right now, and I am writing this to avoid dropping off. Tiredness everywhere.) Anyway, a little spark went off in my head and First World Mum Problems was born. Here are what me and my friends came up with.

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And there you have it. What are yours?