Last years resolutions. How did I do?

So at the start of this year I made a list of my New Years Resolutions. I have to admit I haven't been looking back at this list very often and there are aspects of the list that I could of tried harder at but let's have a see, how did I do?

Family time.
Now Nick, Noah and I are a family I want to make sure we spend a lot of quality time together especially now while Noah is young. As he get's a little older and more aware I want to take him to the zoo and the sealife centre. I'm so excited to be able to do things as a proper little family.

- I think we've done good with this! Noah has been to the zoo and the Sealife Centre so that's great. We do have a lot of family time and every weekend we try to get out and do something, even if it's just for a nice country walk. Now that he is getting older and enjoying things more it's a lot more exciting taking him out to new places. I want to take him to the zoo again soon because he would be so much more aware now that he's older and he loves animals. 

Mummy and Daddy time
If you are a parent you will know that as soon as your little bundle of joy arrives there is a lot less time spent with your significant other. Although I see Nick every single day sometimes I miss him because we don't have that quality time together anymore as our focus is on our son. At least once a week I want to snuggle up on the sofa and watch a film together and at least once a month I want to have a date night with Nick where we go out and enjoy one another's company.  

- Ooops. This is certainly something that we haven't stuck to. We've not really had a "date night" but we have managed to go to the cinema twice in a year. Nothing to scream from the rafters about though. We love going out as family and we always feel strange when Noah isn't with us but we do need to make a few changes. In 2015 I hope we make more time for just Mummy and Daddy.

Diet - Join Slimming world
I was heavier than I would of liked to of been before I was even pregnant so of course going through pregnancy too I have a lot of weight to lose. The last time I was weighed was at my 12 week scan and I didn't even ask what I weighed as I didn't want to frighten myself. We don't actually have any scales in our house but I know I need to bite the bullet and see how much I weigh. I feel like I could lose about 2 stone. So I have a long long way to go. 

- Epic fail. I'm so embarrased. I joined Slimming World for a couple of months and did really well by losing a stone. I then noticed myself losing interest and motivation and I've put that stone back on and more. I so wish I could stick to it, maybe in 2015?

Excersise - Be more active.
I just want to be more active on a whole. I don't mean go full throttle working out every day cause lets face it I have a baby and don't get much sleep so at the moment that won't be feasible. Perhaps in a few months down the line I may join a gym but at the moment I just want to get out the house and go for long walks with Noah in the pram. This will be more appealing when the weather picks up a bit. 

- Another fail. Just like with Slimming World I was becoming more active and then just lost motivation yet again. I think as we had many distractions this year with the renovations that I just kinda got side tracked and lazy

Holiday - First family holiday.
Nick and I love going abroad and our home away from home is Alcudia in Majorca. We didn't go away in 2013 as I was pregnant. It was the first time in years we didn't go on holiday, we really missed it. This year we want to take Noah on his first holiday, which is so exciting. Probably back to Majorca knowing us! 

- This makes me sad because we couldn't afford to take Noah on his first holiday abroad this year because of other financial commitments (see below!) I really hope that we can take him on his first holiday in 2015 but it's not looking likely.

Mortgage - Buy our own home.
In 2013 we were accepted for a mortgage but we just need to now decide where we want to live and find the home that is right for us. We are getting there with our deposit but by the end of 2014 I hope we are in our very own home or atleast on our way to that goal. We are currently looking through various estate agents to find the perfect family home because now we have a baby it's time to start building a foundation for us as a family. 

- Well I feel a little better about all the resolutions that I didn't stick to or couldn't do this year now that I read this. We were able to buy our first home this year and that is one amazing and huge step. 

Savings - Pennies make pounds.
Nick and I are dreadful when it comes to spending. We waste so much money and really need to learn how to budget better. Our savings would look a lot more attractive right now if we weren't throwing money down the drain left, right and center. We spend way too much money on meals out and takeaways. I aim to put a little bit more money away into our savings each month.  

- It's safe to say we now have no savings because all of our money was put towards our mortgage deposit and home renovation. Every single penny we have has been invested in the house. That being said we haven't budgeted well at all this year and considering how I chose not to go back to work this is something I need to look at going forward.

Wedding - Make plans.
We have been engaged for a few years now and haven't talked in depth about our wedding as of yet. We've always been preoccupied with moving house, new jobs, redundancy, pregnancy and now a baby. This year I want to atleast start discussing our wedding plans and begin saving up. 2015 wedding? Who knows!

- Wedding? What wedding. No talk of a wedding this year but I think we would of had to of won the lottery to be able to afford a house and a wedding too. 

How did you do with your New Years Resolutions? 

Our Christmas 2014

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I can't believe it's all over with for another year, time just flies by when you are having fun!

This year was Noah's 2nd Christmas and it was a lot more fun than last year as he was only 6 weeks old at the time. Both years have been super special, we've made many memories and have hundreds of photo's to look back on. Having a child really puts the magic back into Christmas time and it's only going to get more exciting as he get's older. 

On Christmas Eve we just had a lovely relaxing day at home and then went to Noah's Great Grandparent's house for a Christmas Eve get together and meal. It was lovely and the food was delicious as ever, boy can our Nanny cook! Noah must of known that it was Christmas in the morning because he was absolutely hyper when we came home and we couldn't settle him until after 9pm. 

Our Christmas Day was our regular busy affair, it isn't a relaxing time for us at all, it's all go, go, go. We woke up a little later than planned as Noah decided to sleep in till 9am. We had breakfast in bed and then went downstairs to dive into all our presents. Noah was very excited when he spotted all the gifts under the tree and made a beeline for his giant polar bear teddy that his Great Grandparents had bought him. He wasn't interested in opening his birthday presents in November so I didn't think he would just 6 weeks later but he loved sitting on our knee's tearing apart the paper. He pretty much hugged every present that he received, it was very cute.

After we had opened all our presents and had gotten ready it was time to drive over to my Mum's house who lives about 20 minutes away. Once we arrived we wished everyone a Merry Christmas and then it was time to exchange gifts. We all received some really lovely presents. I had bought my Mum an entwined heart necklace from Noah and a huge framed photo of him amongst other stocking fillers. I like to spoil my Mum at Christmas cause she is such a hardworker and is devoted to Noah, she deserves it. Noah had a great time with my family, unwrapping and playing with all his gifts. We could only stay a few hours because this year it was the in laws turn for Christmas dinner.

So it was time to drive back home and visit the in laws for our 3rd present exchange of the day and for Christmas dinner. Noah had hardly napped all day but he was a star, he didn't complain at all. The day seemed to fly by and not long after it was time to go home to call it a night. 

On Boxing Day we went to my Nanna's for her annual Boxing Day Party and present swap. This is something she has done ever since I was born and a tradition that we do every year. Noah cried when we first arrived and it's because he doesn't see my Dad's side of the family often but he soon warmed up and was showing off in no time. We were spoilt yet again and enjoyed a lovely buffet courtesy of my Nan. It was a bit more relaxing than the past few days but we were still worn out. 

3 days later and I am still recovering from our Christmas and not because I had one two many drinks but because we are always so busy! We had a great Christmas though, albeit a busy one! How did you celebrate Christmas?

Merry Christmas!

I can't believe the time of year is here again, it's Christmas! Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all have a truly wonderful day with your family and friends. Cheers! 

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Last year was an amazing Christmas for us as it was our first as a family. I think it was possibly my most favourite Christmas to date, it was so special having our son there with us. 

Noah was only 6 weeks old at the time but this year he's 13 months old and he's incredible. He is such a character and has us in fits of giggles on a daily basis. Even though he's not going to understand what is going on over this festive period it's going to be so much fun for all three of us. 

Over the last few days he's just started to take a few wobbly steps so who know's he could figure out this walking malarkey on Christmas day, how special would that be?!

Anywho I am feeling a little nostalgic so I am going to share some of our Christmas photo's from last year. I can't believe he was ever so small. 

We cannot wait for Christmas and to make more memories with you Noah Nicholas, you are our world. Have a wonderful Christmas everyone! 

Fifteen Festive Favourites

I was tagged by the lovely Hayley from Sparkles and Stretchmarks to take on the "Fifteen Festive Favourites" tag so here I am. Here are my fifteen! 

01. Favourite Festive Food
Well well well lets get down to serious business! I have to say I am partial to a pig in blanket or two (but they have to be almost cremated!) I love having a huge turkey sandwich on boxing day with crusty bread and lashings of butter too. 

02. Favourite Reindeer
There's more than one? Only joking! I'm going to go with Dasher, just to be different! 

03. Favourite Day of Christmas
I think Christmas Eve! I love the anticipation and excitement the night before the big day.

04. Favourite Christmas Song
Having worked in retail for most of my adult life my love of Christmas songs has dwindled a little considering shops but Christmas songs on a loop as soon as get into December! It was enough to drive anyone mad. That being said I do like a bit of Jingle Bell Rock! 

05. Favourite Present
I'm probably the easiest person in the world to buy Christmas presents for as I love everything and I'm cheap! I love love love receiving a nice pair of socks, new PJ's and some bubble bath! 

06. Favourite Festive Film
I'm not that big on Christmas films but if I had to choose it's got to be either Santa Clause or The Nightmare before Christmas! 

07. Favourite Festive Cracker Toy
Nail clippers? Someone needs to reinvent all these cracker toys and bring them into the 21st century. 

08. Favourite Cracker Joke
Why does Santa have 3 lawns?
So he can mo mo mo! 

09. Favourite Christmas Decoration
I don't really have one as of yet. I like the tradition of letting your child pick a different Christmas decoration or bauble every year. This is something I want to start doing with Noah. He was 6 weeks old last year on his first Christmas so he didn't choose one but we did buy him a "baby's first Christmas" bauble ornament. Even though he will only be 13 months this time around we are going to let him pick one out. I think it will be so lovely.  

10. Favourite Christmas Candle Scent
I blooming love candles and they are even more amazing at Christmas. It's hard to choose just one Christmas scent but anything Cinnamon or sickly sweet is winner with me. 

11. Favourite Christmas TV Advert
The Coca Cola ad. It's got to be! Every single year I get goosebumps watching it and I am overcome with nostalgia. I love it. 

12. Favourite Festive Tradition
We don't really have festive traditions set in stone but now that we are a little family we will certainly be starting some. As I mentioned I above I am really fond of the Christmas bauble tradition and that is something we will be starting this year. I also like the Christmas Eve boxes too.

13. Favourite Place to Spend Christmas
At home surrounded by family. I couldn't imagine being anywhere else. How strange would it be being abroad for Christmas? I don't know how people can do it. 

14. Favourite Christmas Fact
Christmas tree's are usually grown for around 15 years before they are sold. I find that a little sad really! 

15. Favourite Snowman Accessory

His scarf, super cute!

So there you have it, my Fifteen Festive Favourites! I feel more festive already and it's my turn to tag some lovely fellow bloggers.

I tag:

Nicola from Nicola Life through my eyes
Kerry from Oh so Amelia
Kelly from More than just a Mummy
Jess from Our Baby Blog
Emma from The Mini Me's and Me
Mandy from Life with ASD and Me

Thinking about the environment

I'm always trying to change the choices I make on an everyday basis to better the environment. It pleases me greatly when I see big brands and companies trying to do their part too so I thought I would share this article with you today.

Budweiser partners with farmers in the UK

Farmers across the UK will play a key role in a new program with Budweiser brewer, AB InBev, to reduce their environmental footprint whilst producing barley for the iconic global beer brand.

23 farms across the UK will grow barley for Budweiser from January 2015. They will also be part of AB InBev’s SmartBarley℠ initiative, a farm level benchmarking tool that enables growers to compare their barley production — through advanced productivity and environmental key performance indicators — to the production of other barley growers within their region as well as globally.

They will work in partnership with Crisp Malting Group, Glencore Grain and Agrii on a new program to produce malting barley which will seek to meet the specific needs for Budweiser while optimising productivity and reducing their environmental footprint.

SmartBarley℠ was launched in 2014 to incorporate more than 1,900 barley growers across Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Mexico, Russia, the United States and Uruguay. This will be the first SmartBarley℠ project in the UK.

John Rogers, the Manager of Global Procurement Raw Material at AB InBev said, “We are thrilled to have farmers from across the UK joining our SmartBarley℠ initiative and we look forward to working together with them to achieve our shared goals of improved productivity, profitability and natural resource efficiency. SmartBarley℠ leverages benchmarking and the exchange of best practices to deliver value to grower farms and our supply chain, and we are proud to be part of the UK’s long-standing excellence in farming.”

Jennifer Anton, the Marketing Manager for Budweiser said, “Budweiser has a significant role to play in working with our supply chain to protect the environment and we are very proud to be working together with farmers in the UK to achieve our shared goals while brewing the famous Budweiser recipe.”

James Florey of the Rectory Farm in Northmoor said, “This is great opportunity which fits in well with our farming practice as we look to combat flooding problems. We are very pleased to have the opportunity to work with Budweiser and look forward to seeing the results.”

- This is a guest post.

Noah - 13 Months Old

Noah you are now 13 months old, 13 months! My little baby is hardly a baby anymore. I know I should be calling you a toddler now but I am still a little in denial. I have made progress though because I have just changed the title of your updates. No more baby diaries, just updates now. 

You are the best, you have such a character. Cheeky, funny, intelligent, lovable, caring, inquisitive and sometimes grumpy, highly strung and and defiant too. You have the perfect mix of both our traits, both good and bad. This month you are the most affectionate you have ever been and it literally melts my heart. You do have a tendency to hug and kiss your teddies and the cats more than Mummy and Daddy though, we will have to work on that!  

You are still wearing 9-12 month clothing and still in size 4 nappies. You are wearing some 12-18 month jackets but I think they are smaller fitting because everything else in 12-18 months is huge. You are slim with a flat stomach with only the slightest bit of podge on your thighs. Mummy and Daddy were both like that too, no matter what we ate we stayed slender (I wish that was the case now!)  

Last month you hard time with teething, rashes and viral infections but this month have been fine. You still only have two teeth so you haven't been teething badly but I can see you top two beneath the gums now. The lump is still there on the gland on your neck and we are going to take you back to the GP if it doesn't go soon. You had your 12 month injections this week and you cried only for a minute but it was horrible seeing you have 3 in one sitting. You had a little bit of a temperature afterwards but other than that you have been fine. 

Not much has changed when it comes to feeding. You are still having three bottles of full fat cows milk a day; morning, afternoon and night. Usually 8oz, 6oz, 8oz. As well as drinking water we now offer you diluted fresh orange juice because it really helps with your constipation and you really enjoy it. You have three meals a day and sometimes a little snack. You have had the occasional day where you have seemed a little off when it comes to your food but overall you are still a good eater. Your favourite meal is Spaghetti Bolognese and you adore fruit and veg. 

Last month was an awful month when it came to sleep and naps which was down to teething and the big leap that you were going through. You got into the habit of crying your eyes out as soon as we left the room and after trying so many different ways of helping you through this we have found a way! When we now leave the room we leave the door slightly open and just walk away. As the door is open a little you feel comfortable and when I peep round the corner a few minutes later you are usually asleep or are settling down so I slowly close the door. I feel like you developed a little separation anxiety when it came to bedtime and something as simple as keeping the door open when we initially leave the room has helped so much. Just by doing this the past two weeks you have been sleeping great. You are still having x2 1 hour naps a day and generally settle down for a nap without a fuss. Bedtime you usually sleep through for 12 hours, till about 8am in the morning. 


- Cruising. You were mastering it last month but this month you easily walk along furniture.

- Balance. You can stand up unaided a lot easier and steadier now. You even sit down from a standing position but I haven't seen you stand up from being sat down without help just yet.

- Steps. You took your first two steps this month but fell over into my arms. You haven't done it since so I am thinking it was a fluke but it means you are getting the confidence.

- Spoon feeding. You have almost mastered feeding yourself with a spoon and really enjoy to do so.

- Imitating. You try to copy everything that we do now. From the words we say. to the actions we do.

- Speech. You try to say more words now and I am sure that you can now say dirty a long with Mama, Mam, Dada, Dad, Nanna, Nan, Hiya.

- Understanding. You are so quick to learn new things. We only need to show you how to do something once and you seem to pick it up. For example I pulled a straw out of my drink which you took from me and tried to put it back in.

- Where's your head? You now pat your head when we ask where it is. 

Things you like

- Dancing. You are the dance master! You are always dancing! If you hear any sort of music you will point at me and I will have to stand you up so you can dance or jump about. If music comes on and we ask you do dance you don't think twice and start shaking your booty.

- Cartoons. You love your cartoons. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Zou, Sophia the First, Spongebob, Curious George, Sheriff Callie. You mainly like the songs because you just love to dance. 

- Soft toys. You love snuggling upto teddies and soft toys. It's super cute.

- The laptop. You make a beeline for it the minute you set eyes on it. You are obsessed with gadgets and electronics. 

- Ted. You love love love the cats are so gentle with them which never ceases to amaze me. 

- The remotes. Tv remotes, central heating remote, fire remotes. Anything with buttons and your tiny little fingers have to be all over it. 

 - Advent calender. You aren't that big on chocolate really but you get so excited when you spot your advent calender.

- Brushing your teeth. As soon as you got your first tooth we began brushing your teeth and you don't mind it at all. You do prefer to do it yourself and as you still only have your bottom two it's not so hard to do. If we ask you to brush your teeth you do and do the brushing motions and everything. 

- Tommy. I bought you a ragdoll from IKEA a few weeks back and you are besotted with him. He's almost the same size as you and he's become such a pal for you, you are always snuggling him. 

Things you don't like

Daddy putting you to bed. Not because you want me but because you don't want Daddy to leave you. When Daddy is home from work you think it's playtime no matter what time it is.

Santa. We took you to see Santa for the first time last week. It was a little eerie for us going into this little shabby shed to find an 18 year old lad sat there with a beard on. It's no wonder you screamed the place down.

Being told no. I think this can be said for most toddlers and children. 

Christmas Gift Guide: Stocking fillers for Toddlers

I hope you are all getting on well with your Christmas shopping but if you are anything like me then you will still have a few bits left to buy. I'm getting there, slowly but surely but I wish I was more prepared.

Two of my favourite type of presents to buy are baby products and stocking fillers so I thought I would combine the two and share some of the products that are in Noah's stocking this year.

Noah has plenty of Christmas presents put away for the big day so his stocking fillers are looking a little sparse but I think it covers the basics. A bib, snacks, socks and smellies!

1. Reindeer Dribble Bib from Zippy Bibs. We have a few dribble bibs from Zippy Bibs and they are great, they stock such a wide range of different designs and colours. Every toddler and baby needs a Christmas themed outfit with a matching bib and I've fallen in love with this cute Reindeer design.

2. Organix Goodies Selection Box. We love Organix and have been using their range since we began weaning Noah all those months ago. We were really impressed when we saw their healthy take on a Selection Box. It's crammed full of yummy snacks and I think Noah will really enjoy the little gingerbread men.

3. Sophie le Giraffe Cosmetics Starter Kit. Sophie is possibly the worlds most famous giraffe and the brand has now reached out into baby cosmetics. This starter kit contains everything you need for the perfect bath and skincare routine; baby face cream, baby body lotion, baby hair and body wash and baby oil. It's a gorgeous set and smells beautiful.

4. Chatty Feet Socks - Captain Awesome. It wouldn't be Christmas without receiving a funky pair of socks and the Chatty Feet Socks range is fantastic. Not only do they sell socks for children but adults too. You could buy a pair for every member of the family.

What's in your Child's stocking this year?

- Contains PR samples.

Review: Baker Days Letterbox Cake & Competition

When I was offered the opportunity to review a Letterbox cake from Baker Days I couldn't wait! Let's face it who doesn't love cake? 

Letterbox are such a fantastic idea, small enough to fit through your letterbox but large enough to celebrate the biggest of celebrations. The cakes are so simple yet fun to personalise and the options are endless. From just £14.99 they are the perfect personalised treat for any celebratory occasion.
After you chosen your design or created one yourself it time to select what favour cake you would like. There are 5 different flavoured sponges available; sponge cake, carrot cake, fruit cake, double chocolate chip cake and gluten and wheat free cake.

For the purpose of this review I decided to go for a chocolate cake and chose this simple but attractive Christmas tree design. I only needed to wait a few days for it to arrive and the cake came in a lovely keepsake tin.

On opening the tin my first thought was that it did look substantially different from how it does on the website. This can be said for most products online these days but the colours were a lot darker and the cake did have a slightly yellow hue to it where as it's white online. I do prefer how the cake looks on the website but that wasn't really a problem for me but I could see it being one if I had a specific look in mind. 

I chose the double choc chip sponge and it was very delicious and easily serves 3-4 generous portions. I think chocolate cake is hard to get right as sometimes it's dry and tasteless but thankfully that wasn't the case from Baker days, it was very tasty and moist. 

Overall I was happy with my cake. I love the concept of the letter box cakes, how easy it is to design your own cake, how simple the website is to use and finally how the cake tasted. My only niggle is that my design did look a lot different to how it did online. 

Check out my twitter timeline @chicgeekdiary for your chance to win your very own letterbox cake! 

- I was sent this cake for the purpose of this review. However all opinions are my own. 

Ways to help your baby sleep

As a first time Mum I am by no means an expert when it comes to babies. In fact half of the time I don't know what I am talking about and I just go with what my intuition tells me to do. I think that's all a Mother can do and should do.

Noah has been a good sleeper from a young age but when he goes through a leap it all changes. Just when you think you have cracked the whole sleeping and napping malarkey a big development leap rears it's head and sets you back to square one. It can be frustrating but with a little bit of patience and persistence you can get back to where you were.

Today I thought I would share with you my top tips on how to make nap and bedtimes times easier and hopefully drama free.

Unwind. About half an hour before I take Noah up for a nap or to bed we will snuggle up on the sofa together, I will stroke his hair, give him kisses and cuddles. I think this is one of the key stages for us.

Be quiet. As well as unwinding before sleep I talk to Noah in a soft and quiet voice. I will turn the TV down if it's on. I like to have everything calm right before I take him up to his room.

Lullaby. I don't sing to Noah because it doesn't ease him into a relaxed sleep but instead has the opposite effect and makes him laugh and dance, which is just charming really! We have the Vtech Scout Puppy and we play it's lullaby for 15 minutes at naptime and bedtime. Noah finds it really soothing and it's also good to have a little background noise to cover up your footsteps and that creaky door when you are trying to make your escape.

Comforter. Babies either love them or don't bother with them and Noah loves his. He has two teddy bear comforters which we call his "Kiki's". He's had them since he was a few weeks old and as soon as he has one in his hands, his eyes begin to roll. He takes so much comfort from them and I think some babies just need that extra comfort to get to sleep.

Blackout Blind. Noah usually doesn't mind about it being too light or too dark but when he is going through a leap he seems to be more sensitive to it. I don't know if many other Mum's experience that too? Noah's nursery can become really light in the mornings so I have been looking at blackout blinds and the Itzala webshop have some great choices available.

Night light. Again Noah doesn't usually mind his room being light or dark but he does go through patches of not liking it to be too dark. He has a couple of nightlights so we have started to use them at bedtime and it's nice not leaving him in pitch black.

Do you have any tips you would like to share with me? 

Review: Personalised xylophone from My 1st Years

My 1st Years is one of my favourite baby brands and my go to place when I want that special personalised gift for my little one. I am a glutton for personalised gifts and it's no wonder that Noah has amassed half a dozen items from bunting to bean bags with his name on already. 

We reviewed the silver ark moneybox from My 1st Years a couple of months back and are still in awe of it as it's just so beautiful. When I was asked if I would like to choose another item from the website to review, how could I possibly say no? 

It took me good few hours to decide on what to select because there is such a wide range of products available; from PJ's, to silverware, to ornaments for your Christmas tree. In the end I finally settled on a personalised wooden xylophone which I knew both Noah and I would love. 

The xylophone arrived a couple of days later and I was impressed the moment I opened the box. My 1st Years are known for the quality of their products and this instrument is no exception to this rule. It's plain to see how well made this product is. From the engravement to the paint job, it's perfect and for just £15.00, it's a bargain too. 

Anyway less of what I think, let's move onto what Noah thought. He loves musical instruments so I knew the xylophone would be a big hit with him but I didn't realise how much so. He usually looses interest with toys in a matter of minutes but he will sit there for lengths at a time running the sticks up and down the xylophone keys waiting for applause, it's very cute. 

As you can see by the photo's Noah is enthralled with his new xylophone. It's captured his interest and imagination unlike no other toy and he just loves to sit there performing for us. He's a little musician in the making.

If you are still looking for last minute Christmas gifts then have a browse on My 1st Years website for inspiration and if you are spoilt for choice like I was then I couldn't recommend the xylophone any higher.  

- We were sent the product for the purpose of this review. However all opinions are my own.