Bathroom hacks you can’t live without

towelsBathrooms can be a nightmare – from a lack or storage leading to stray toiletries and towels to endless cleaning difficulties. To ease the pain, here are some handy hacks sure to transform your bathroom into your favourite room of the house.

Get yourself organised
Unless you are extremely lucky, most bathrooms are limited in size. This can make storage solutions a big issue, leading to some very frustrating clutter. Here are some quirky but helpful ways to make the most of the space you have.

  • Wine rack towel holder – do you have a wine rack that you never seen to fill? By screwing it to your wall and rolling your towels instead of folding, you can create a stylish towel rack.
  • Hang your towels here – there are a whole host of towel rack alternatives out there (if you don’t have a wine rack knocking about). Give your bathroom some personality by painting old cabinet doors or coat hooks to match your colour scheme. Attach hooks on to a shabby chic headboard for a Parisian feel, even attach hooks on to a surf board for a fun beach vibe – the possibilities are endless.
  • Let them eat cake – do you own an attractive cake stand but haven’t got round to baking those cupcakes yet? Place it in the bathroom as a great storage solution for your small bottles of lotions and soaps.
  • Never lose those pins – are you always trying to recreate the perfect up do but keep losing your hair grips? Stick your pints to a self-adhesive magnetic strip which can nestle comfortably underneath your bathroom mirror. Potential hours of searching solved in an instant!

Amplify your sound
Do you like to relax in the bath with your favourite tunes, or are you into a bit of shower karaoke in the morning? Amplify the sound in your bathroom by placing your music device or phone in your sink – just make sure you turn the taps off first!

Save on ironing time
If ironing is at the bottom of your favourite chores list then this hack will save you time and stress.   By closing your doors and windows and having a hot shower, the steam in the room will help de-wrinkle your clothes.

Keep it cleacleaning tapn
Struggling to keep your bathroom clean and finding that commercial products just don’t cut it? Try out some of these more traditional methods that even Kim and Aggie would approve of:

  • A mix of vinegar and baking soda will do wonders for your toilet without resorting to using bleach. Just had a party and have leftover cola? The acidity in the drink works wonders in dealing with lime scale.
  • Sprinkle some salt on a grapefruit and use it to scrub your bathroom free of soap scum. Not only will it end up smelling delicious, you are once again avoiding using any dangerous chemicals.
  • Struggling to clean your shower head? All you need to do is pop some vinegar and water into a plastic bag and submerge the shower head in it for 30 minutes, securing with an elastic band. Rinse afterwards with hot water for sparkling results.

Do you have any more helpful hacks for the bathroom?   Let us know in the comments below!

Image Credits: FlickrPixabay

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Five ways to bring the colour of 2015 into your bathroom
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Five ways to bring the colour of 2015 into your bathroom

Every year the Pantone Colour Institute names a shade that they think ties into everything ongoing and upcoming. Drawing from emerging artists and the next big design trends, fashionable travel destinations and the global mood, they pick a single colour that represents it all. The colour of 2015 is Marsala, they’ve decided: a rich, complex red that recalls the fortified wine it was named after. “Marsala enriches our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability,” says Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director at Pantone, and its full-bodied charisma has been quickly adopted by interior designers the world over. It’s a colour that naturally lends itself to master bedrooms and living rooms, thanks to its intensity, but don’t overlook your bathroom as a space to experiment with Marsala. It brings warmth into even the coolest, glassiest en suite, as these pictures show, and creates a bathroom you may never want to leave.

The statement bathtub

1 - Statement bathtubIf you find yourself falling in love with Marsala’s rich, indulgent earthiness, a bold bathtub makes a stylish investment. Here, it pulls together fixtures that might otherwise look mismatched: a minimalist, urban window wouldn’t always work next to a salvaged wooden cabinet and an elaborate chandelier. Note the co-ordinated towel, which ties the colour palette together without any danger of the Marsala becoming overwhelming. Navy or white would have been a much more predictable choice here, but it’s that shot of red that makes this whole room stand out.

Image: http://dailyfix.co.za/

All over colour

Marsala is not the kind of shade that you need to play it safe with. Drenching your bathroom in such an intense, highly pigmented colour is a fearless move that could rejuvenate the entire space – and you would need very little else to complete it. Here, again, a very pure shade of white brings out the richness of Marsala, but it’s the metallic accents that are most compelling. The texture of the frame breaks up the flat matte finish of the wall behind it, while the postcards inject a bit of humour into the display.

It goes against the grain of everything you’ve been told about light hues making a small space feel bigger, and dark shades making them seem smaller, but actually a rich tone can mask an undersized room by making it feel more luxurious. There are just two questions worth considering first: is there enough lighting, and can you realistically keep it clutter-free? Darker colours tend to absorb light, which you’ll need to counteract, and a medley of everyday soaps and toiletries will jar with such a strong design.

Feature wall

A single wall – or a portion of all four walls – makes an impact with a little less commitment, and can test a new colour before you invest in it completely. In this bathroom Marsala’s been used to add depth to wooden panelling, and emphasise the pattern underfoot. Again, brilliant white comes into play; its modernity brings out the Old World feel of burgundy’s more intense cousin. But what’s really interesting here is the way Marsala stretches across different elements of the room, from the tiled floor to the glossy wood, bringing out their complexities and drawing them together at the same time.

 

Accessories

2 - All over colourIf you already have a monochrome bathroom then Marsala, like most colours, is easy to add as a complimentary shade. Compliment a one of our favourite shower room installs, such as a stunning monochrome Aqualisa electric shower. The colours rich charisma makes fresh towels or curtains feel much more indulgent than a more typical choice like black or blue. But fresh (or faux) flowers require even less commitment and look effortlessly striking against the backdrop of a neutral bathroom. Here, flowers in a rich, berry-toned shade of Marsala add interest to slate grey tiles, brought out by a candle and vase in the same colour scheme. Simple but effective, and the easiest way of bringing Marsala into your home instantly.

Image: http://www.styleathome.com/

Complimentary colours

5 - Complimentary coloursWe’ve already seen how well Marsala works in a monochrome bathroom, but if you’re redesigning from scratch you may want to mix it into a palette of soft greys and muted blush tones for a calmer, more feminine feel. Add pearly or luminescent textures, like these shower tiles, to reflect light – a vital consideration when working with a rich colour like Marsala, which tends to absorb light – and keep furnishings luxurious but simple. Pantone have even put together a selection of colour pairings that work especially well with Marsala, and are worth browsing for inspiration. Shades that you may never have considered, like teal or lemon grass, prove that the possibilities are endless.

Image: http://www.aqualisa.co.uk/

Guest article provided for First Home News by Katie

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Clever home additions to give your rooms the wow factor
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Clever home additions to give your rooms the wow factor

Searching for some inspiration on ways you can liven up your home? If you’re wanting to make a striking difference to your house, without undertaking large-scale renovations, here are some of our favourite home additions and inventive ways to add a ‘wow’ to your home.

 

Make use of the space under your stairs

Under stair storage

Image: quora.com
Stray away from the conventional and make the most of the underside of your staircase. It looks cool whilst also allowing you to utilise space for storage.

 

Use the space around your skirting boards

skirting board

 

Image: familyhandyman.com

Another area of the home we simply overlook, however this is a space that is perfect if you’re looking for extra storage.

 

Make shower cleaning easier

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Image: blogs.cotemaison.fr
Especially if you plan on redecorating your shower area – making a wet room, or walk-in shower is ideal and prevents you having to keep glass sparkling clean.

 

Creative in the kitchen?

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Image: myhomelookbook.com
If you fancy yourself as a bit of a whiz in the kitchen, make your chef time efficient. Install island storage perfect for the items you need when you’re cooking, as it will cut down on preparation when gathering your ingredients. Keeping important foods close at hand will prevent you having to dash around.

 

Get inventive with your kids room

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Image: houzz.com
Small homes and limited rooms can make it tough to provide your children in a bedroom they can get excited about. However, a small room doesn’t have to mean dull and cramped. Get inventive with space, and take on one of these impressive bunk bed room designs.

 

Make your fireplace a feature

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Image: myhomelookbook.com

It doesn’t have to be as striking as the image shows, but a homely, timeless fireplace can be a real focal point to your room.

 

Fire pit

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Image: ACM Design Architects
While it’s a bit early in the year to be planning your summer, make sure that your patio is ready for those long summer nights in the warmth.

 

Main image CC licence via commons.wikimedia.org

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Affordable ways to freshen up your bathroom decor
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Affordable ways to freshen up your bathroom decor

When the average person decorates a home, the bathroom rarely gets much attention. Perhaps it’s relegated to room-of-necessity status, and therefore doesn’t warrant much on the design front. Even so, a few intentional flourishes – and not necessarily expensive ones – can work wonders for this room. Here are a few tips on how you can freshen up the bathroom without breaking the bank in the process:

1. Splash a bit of colour on the walls. Bathrooms are notoriously drab when it comes to colour and decoration. It seems most homeowners are content to whitewash the room and settle for the odd decoration in the windowsill or above the sink. Add a bold splash of colour to the mix, and you suddenly have a much livelier space that is considerably warmer and more inviting.

2. Add some artwork to the mix. There is certainly nothing wrong with hanging some artwork in the bathroom. When it comes to creativity, the bathroom often gets overlooked, but that only means that you can really transform the space by embracing your creative flair. This is a chance for you to express your personality. Don’t feel the need to limit yourself to pictures of flowers or country farm landscapes. For more, check out this list of tips on hanging art in the bathroom.

3. Incorporate tiles into the decor. Adding tiles to the countertop or even as a backsplash behind the sink is not going to set you back much – especially if you install them yourself. Well-placed tiles add colour to the space, which needs to tie into the overall colour motif already at work in the bathroom. If you do take a DIY approach to tiling a countertop, make sure that you run a bead of caulk between each tile to keep water from seeping in, fostering mildew and doing damage.

4. Re-glaze old, worn-out fixtures. If you have any vintage or worn-out metal fixtures in the bathroom, have a closer look to see if they could use a new finish. Purchasing new fixtures is downright expensive, but having them professionally re-glazed is going to cost significantly less. It’s a subtle but effective way to inject some new sparkle into a worn-out bathroom.

5. Repurpose vintage furniture. This is a wildly popular way to liven up the decor in any room of the house. In the bathroom, you have to be a bit more creative, as a lot of furniture wouldn’t really fit in this room. One clever approach is to take an old vanity, cut a hole in the top and fit your sink into it. Suddenly, you have a hand basin, a mirror and – depending on the vanity – some extra storage space down below.

6. Make a sink skirt. In many cases, the dirtiest place in the bathroom is underneath the sink. Rust and grime have a habit of building up here. Naturally, you want to keep your bathroom as clean as possible, but there are situations in which – no matter how much cleaning you do under the sink – it still looks a bit frightening. If this situation sounds familiar, tasteful sink skirt may be just the solution. You can fashion one out of a bed sheet without any sewing necessary. Here is a tutorial that shows you how.

7. Refresh your countertops with new accessories. Sometimes, breathing a fresh breath of life into the bathroom is as simple as reorganising the countertops. You may not even have to go shopping. Search the cupboards for attractive mugs, jars and bowls that you can use to arrange some of your toiletries. A ceramic saucer or small plate could even be used as a soap rest. Take this opportunity to remove unsightly items from the countertops as well. For example, a can of shaving cream is probably better off stored in the cabinets rather than displayed out for everyone to see.

8. Add a bouquet of fresh flowers. Fresh flowers can liven up any room – and the bathroom is certainly no exception. If the season is right, try slipping a few wildflowers from the garden into a small vase placed either on the countertop or on a stand by the bathtub. If you are looking for a longer-term option, purchase an orchid from a local garden supply shop and hang it on the wall. Orchids can survive for a long time with minimal care, so there’s no need to change it out.

9. Look for ways to tie everything together. Perhaps the most important decorating tip for any room of the house is to be intentional with your tie-ins. Purchase a bathmat that matches your shower curtains. Likewise, choose an accent colour to showcase ever so often – in the tiles of the backsplash, tied into a painting in the wall and featured again in a vase on the windowsill. Being intentional with colour tie-ins can subtly transform a previously drab room into something truly memorable.

Many thanks to Thomas Smith, a freelance writer for Total Bathroom Enterprises,  for contributing this exclusive article to First Home News

Image credit: athomenetwork, license Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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Five tips to easier cleaning
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Five tips to easier cleaning

It’s no secret – keeping a tidy home can be a nightmare. Even when you live alone there seems no end to the dust and grime. Believe it or not, though, cleaning doesn’t have to be a pull-your-hair-out chore. If you follow these five simple organisational tips, cleaning your home will be a much easier prospect:

1) Use Storage Containers

Start a collection of boxes, baskets and bins to keep your items organized. Every item should have its own place and be easily accessible. By sorting items into these containers, you not only keep them organised, but you can also add aesthetic appeal to your home. There are lots of baskets and bins available in fashionable styles, for example. I use them so much that I’m tempted to get a 3D printer just to create plastic boxes and containers.

2) Keep Shoes by the Door

Set up a shoe station in your foyer. Shoes can easily scatter and become obstacles all around your house. Not to mention, they mercilessly track dirt. Stowing them by the entryway will assist with both organization and overall cleanliness.

3) Insert Drawer Dividers

Have you ever seen those little dividers people use in drawers? Invest in some. Perhaps you already have a divider tray in your silverware drawer? If so, you know how functional they are. Sticking some in other drawers – like the ones in your bathroom with your makeup, nail clippers, brush, perfumes, etc. can be equally beneficial. Plus, when it comes time to wipe down your counters or dresser surfaces, those purchased or DIY drawer dividers (whichever you choose) will make your job easier.

4) Hang Shelves

Hang some mounted shelves. Put some by the door, some in the bathroom and shove a ton in your closet. Put them everywhere! Shelves are great for both décor and organisation, so install them generously. One by the door will be perfect for storing mail and keys. A shelf in the bathroom will help you avoid that nasty slime that grows under products that sit in the shower – and to eliminate clutter on your countertops. Finally, ones in your closet will keep your clothes more organized. When your garments are stored in their proper places, there will be less mess to navigate around on the floor.

5) Keep Your Favorites Accessible

It may be tempting, while on your organising spree, to hide all your stuff in bins or in systemized drawers. However, leave the stuff you use daily (blender, toothbrush, toaster, etc.) out and available. Worktops that are too bare will show dirt, grime or crumbs that may be lingering. Also, when you have to rummage through drawers or cabinets to retrieve things, you cause new mess. You definitely don’t want to create more cleaning for yourself, do you?

When you designate a special place for everything in your home, you make your life much easier. Cleaning an organised space is certainly easier than cleaning a messy one. The overall appearance of your home will be better, too, when everything is tucked away or placed where it belongs. So implement these organizational gems today to enjoy less cleaning in a neater space!

Are you a new home owner wanting to keep your new place as spotless as possible? We want to hear your top tips! Leave your cleaning advice in the comments section below.

Photo credit: Free to use, sourced through Pixabay.

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10 easy ways to update your bathroom in a weekend
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10 easy ways to update your bathroom in a weekend

A dingy and outdated bathroom can make your morning routine even harder to face. But not to fear – there are simple ways to refresh your bathroom over a weekend.

Here are 10 of the best easy bathroom updates:

Utilise Wall Space

If your bathroom work surfaces look unkempt and untidy with all kinds of hair and beauty products sprawled across them, make the most of any available wall space by turning it into a storage option. Simple spice racks nailed to the wall can be used to organise all bottles and containers.

Create a Colourful Magnet Board

A colourful magnet board, can revolutionise how you store your make up and beauty products. Made mostly out of old household items, the magnet board minimises the space used and makes it simpler to find whatever product you need before leaving the house.

Promote Light and Space

This tip is particularly helpful for homes with small bathrooms which feel cramped. Promote the sense of natural light in the room to help build a sense of wellbeing. Whilst installing a larger window may be more than a weekend’s work, a large feature mirror can help improve the distribution of light reflected throughout the room.

Install Towel Racks on the Door

Rather than having a basket with towels in or a cumbersome towel rack, install a towel rack on the back of the bathroom door to free up space. The average door can fit three singe racks on. Hang different coloured, vibrant towels on each of the racks so family members know which are their towels, and add extra colour to the room.

Clean with Fruit

Cleaning the bathroom does not need to be a long, drawn-out process utilising a lot of expensive cleaning products. Many cleaning jobs in the bathroom can be completed using fruit, which adds both a sparkle and lovely smell to the room. Half a grapefruit can be used to clean the bath, sink, toilets and surfaces. Simply dampen the surface of the bath et al and scrub down with half a grapefruit, sprinkled with a ¼ cup of salt. In a similar manner, lemons can be used to clean shower doors.

Update the Smaller Features

Rather than uprooting all your bathroom furnishings and plumbing, you can give the current fittings a makeover. John Louis Bathrooms stock a range of taps which can be fitted onto sinks or bathtubs to update and improve their appearance with minimal effort. Replacing a tap can take as a little as an hour to complete.

Cleaning Tiles

Floor and wall tiles in bathrooms are often the features which show the evidence of ageing first. Damp, mould and stains can start to manifest in the bathroom, creating a grossly unattractive appearance. It can be tempting to remove and replace these tiles, but simply giving them a thorough clean can be just as effective. Cleanipedia offers a comprehensive guide on how to make your bathroom look like new with clean tiles.

Add a Magnetic Strip for Hard to Find Items

If you find you’re always losing nail files, nail clippers, bobby pins and tweezers, this simple addition can keep them all neatly stored and easy to find. Simply add a magnetic strip to a wall or cabinet in the bathroom and all of these items can be simply attached, keeping them organised and at hand at all times.

Magazine Rack Hair Straightener Storage

Rather than leaving hair straighteners and dryers lying around looking untidy, a magazine rack attached to the inside door of a cabinet can store these items neatly and effortlessly. Using a strong glue (depending on the material of your cabinets) stick the largest side of the rack to the inside of the door for quick and simple access.

Personal Toothbrush Holder

Rather than throwing your toothbrush carelessly on the side after use. These innovative toothbrush holder designs from Domesblissity are quirky and attractive additions to the bathroom. Many of the designs won’t take very long to complete and you can even get the kids involved, adding that extra personality.

Have you recently carried out a bathroom renovation? If so, drop us a comment and let us know your top tips for getting that perfect bathroom.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Levine Design via Compfight cc

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Choosing the best bathroom lighting
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Choosing the best bathroom lighting

Bathrooms can be one of the most difficult rooms in the home to decorate. Unlike the living and dining room, you aren’t going to be using the room for ‘down time’, which means that you need to keep the room functional whilst also adding some form of personal style and charm to the room. With issues such as shower and bath steam, splashing water and slippery surfaces to bear in mind, getting the right mix in your room can be tricky. The same goes for lighting the room. With everyday tasks such as shaving, applying makeup and styling hair being carried out in front of the mirror in the room, getting your lighting choices right can be tough. Here are our favourite options when it comes to nailing your bathroom lighting.

Things to bear in mind

Before you jump into selecting your preferred style of lighting, you need to consider how light your bathroom generally is. Does the room have access to a lot of natural light through the daytime? Also, consider the reason you’re debating a change in lighting style, if you’re not happy with the brightness of your room, you’ll need to opt for a brighter light and bulb. If you’re unsure how bright your lighting needs to be, consider a dimmer switch option.

Downlights

Arguably the most ideal solution for the bathroom is the downlight option. Built into the ceiling panels, the flush fitting of each individual light will provide a full room lighting that illuminates all areas from the ceiling down to the floor. Easy to utilise in the bathroom and shower areas, this option will give an even lighting for the whole room; perfect for the morning ritual of shaving for men and applying makeup for women. Pay close attention to lighting the shower area. A nice feature is to position downlights close to the back wall near your shower to create a dramatic shaft of light.

Spotlights

Spotlights might not be a good option for if you have a wet room, but if your shower is enclosed and stand alone, then spotlights can work. Be cautious with the positioning of your lights, as if you’re not wanting to use downlights, any other solution will cast a shadow in the room, depending on which way you position your lighting.

Be inventive

Bathrooms are rooms of convenience, however that doesn’t mean that your decoration and lighting should be boring and tasteless. There are plenty of ways to spruce up your room in modern and contemporary ways, and being creative with bathroom lighting shouldn’t only be left to hotel rooms. Glass panelling with lighting solutions built in mean that you don’t simply have one light source in your room. Switch things up and utilise this to provide an upward light source, as opposed to the downward shining lights every room needs. They might be a bit more costly, but taps and other standard features of your bathroom can utilise lighting and LEDs to add an ambiance and depth to your room. Be inventive, and don’t simply play it safe.

Photo Credit: -mrsraggle- via Compfight cc

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How to utilise a small bathroom
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How to utilise a small bathroom

Many new homes carry the burden of having a small bathroom, and unlike a living room or bedroom, this isn’t as easy to rectify, as there are certain amenities that can’t be ignored. We’re here to provide you with some top tips so you can give the impression of space without having to knock down any walls.

Go monochrome

In most rooms, people will opt to have a contrast of colours as to give it more dimension and character, but in a small space it’s best to avoid it. Using various colours and shades such as light walls and dark tiles will cause the room to break up and make it appear smaller. Having everything a uniform colour will make the room seem cleaner and also eradicate any angled ceilings and unusual spaces therefore making the space expand visually. Needless to say, a lighter colour scheme is advised as it will reflect and make the most of any natural light.

Mirrors

Everyone is aware of the space expanding effects of mirrors as it causes light to bounce around the room, but it’s important that you strategically place them as to make the most of their reflective abilities. Placing a mirror opposite from a window for instance, will reflect the outdoors and also give the impression that you have two windows in the same room. Having a mirror across from an old closet will have almost no effect, so think about where you place them.

Maximise floor space

Scales, laundry baskets and bins can all take up valuable floor space, but when you only have a small bathroom you can’t afford to make this compromise. If you can, store trivial furnishings elsewhere or store them beneath low hangings or alcoves. A crowded bathroom implies less space, so don’t keep any items on display which you don’t use on a daily basis. You should also avoid having on floor cabinets if possible and instead hang them above a sink or in a corner as to not take up any more room.

Lighting

It’s not always possible to get natural light into a bathroom, so making sure you use the right lighting is important. Installing a dimmer switch can help modify the room for different purposes and so make it seem bigger. This means you can have bright, practical lighting for when you’re getting ready for work in the morning and more sensual lighting for when you want a relaxing shower or bath in the evening. Positioning lights near mirrors is also a wise move as it will help the light get projected as far and wide as possible, but if your budget permits, skylights and sun tunnels are the most effective way of bringing in natural lighting although this may not be viable for some.

Ditch the patterned shower curtain

The key to creating more space is keeping everything open and one way of doing this is by replacing your old shower curtain with clear glass. A patterned curtain or frosted glass shield can give the illusion of having another wall, so it’s important to open this up by installing something transparent. Glass may financially be out of some people’s reach so you can recreate a similar effect with a clear shower curtain, but just make sure the shower or bath is clean and uncluttered.

Images used under creative commons courtesy of  jinkazamah.

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