An American beauty haul

One of my favourite things when visiting the the States is raiding Sephora and the endless pharmacies. I'm a sucker for Boots over here so when I'm surrounded by brands I've never heard of, I tend to go a bit crazy. I was pretty restrained when I went to NYC but I still came back with a few goodies to tide me over. Here is what I bought back in my suitcase...


Bioré 14 Deep Cleansing Pore Strips
I had never noticed this brand before then I came home and spotted it in Boots. Typical! But I picked these up as I've been reading a lot about pore strips and thought they were worth trying out. Blackheads can be my nemesis so I'm hoping these live up to what I'm expecting them to do. Fingers crossed!

CVS 100 factor sun cream
Part of my bought this for my pasty boyfriend as a joke because he is notorious for burning to a crisp - even under an umbrella and in the shade. But I'm also keen to try it out as the older I'm getting, the more obsessed I am with sun cream. I really try to stay away from the sun now and can't remember the last time I sunbathed. It's never about getting premature winkles! I have a wedding in Mallorca and the last thing I want is sunburnt shoulders so I'll be making sure I'm vigilant with the cream.

Glossier Balm Dotcom
Even since Glossier came over to British shores I've been dying to try it out. But being frivolous with skincare purchases isn't really on the cards when you're suppose to be saving for a boiler. We stumbled across the Glossier showroom in Chinatown during a wander and I couldn't help myself. The exchange rate means it was cheaper than at home and that was the push I needed. I'd heard great things about the balm and so far I'm impressed! Definitely going to be a repeat purchase.


Glossier Priming Moisturiser 
I bought the cleanser, balm and this moisturiser in a set. To be honest I wasn't really on the look out for a new moisturiser as I swear by my No 7 one that I've now been using for about a decade. Say what?! But it only worked out about £5 more if I bought the set rather than just the two products I really wanted. So for a fiver I thought I would give it a whirl.

Covergirl Last Blast Volume mascara
Lily suggested I picked up this one during my trip and I'm never one to turn down a recommendation. Covergirl is a brand that's unavailable over here and I usually always stock up. But this time I only picked up the mascara because it's the one make up product that I constantly use up without fail. An every day staple that I'm always wearing - even if I haven't got any other make up on.  I'm yet to use but have always been impressed by their mascaras so am sure this won't be any different.

Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser
Once again a product I have seen the blogging world go crazy over. I'm always one to jump on a bandwagon. I haven't used it yet as am currently using my other cleanser but I can't wait. I'm hoping it works it's magic on me like it has done for everyone else!

Kat Von D Tattoo Eyeliner
This is my all-time favourite make up product. It glides on so effortlessly and really doesn't budge until it's time to remove it. I love the size of the pen and it's perfect to attempting to do a cat-eye flick. They sell it in Debenhams now but it's a few quid cheaper overseas so I stocked up.


Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal deep cleansing scrub
The different Yes To.. ranges are great. I really do love them and try to bring home a couple of products every time to go to America. I'm obsessed with charcoal masks and try to use one at least twice a week. I find they really help to unclog my pores and deal with the daily pollution I face commuting into the capital. I was drawn to the fact this had a brush attached which.

Kat Von D Liquid Lipstick
If I only had to have one red lipstick for the rest of my life this is what I would buy. I can't put into words just how much I love the shade and formula. I adore lipstick and have far too many than I would like to admit. But one thing that really gets on my goat about lipstick is the constant need to reapply it after eating and drinking. This seems to last forever and hardly ever needs to be topped up during the day. Just keep in mind it can be a bit stubborn to get off.

Yes to Cotton Micellar Cleansing Water
I left my usual cleansing water at home so had to panic buy this when I arrived. It been especially made for sensitive and allergy prone skin which means it's very gentle on your skin. I love the pump top and it seems to remove all types of make up - even stubborn lipsticks. It's not enough to tempt me away from my Garnier Micellar water but it makes a good runner up.
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The skincare products I always repurchase


Thanks to my job I get to raid beauty sales pretty often which is heaven for this product junkie. I'm often trialling lots of products because I can't stop myself for picking them up for a couple of quid. So I know when I actually buy something full price after it has run out that I'm on to a skincare winner. These are the products I have bought time and time again with my hard earned cash.

Philosophy Purity 3 in 1 cleanser
I swear by this and have been buying it for years. It's gentle on my skin, removes every inch of make up and a little goes a long way, meaning the bottle seems to last forever. Good news for my bank balance. Thanks to working in the city, my skin needs all the help it can to stop it from drying out. That commuter life! I use it every morning and it really does keep my skin feeling soft. That's all I want from a cleanser!

Garnier Skinactive Micellar Cleansing Water
I switched over to this a couple of years ago when I was having a bit of a poor month and couldn't afford my usual Bioderma Micellar water. I've never looked back. It great for my sensitive skin and I can use it whilst I have contact lenses in too. I only need to gentle sweep it across my face to remove make up - even stubborn mascara. My skin always feels so fresh and clean.


Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask
This is my holy grail. I suffer from blackheads which I blame on commuting into London. But this beauty really helps to keep them at bay. I try to use it about twice a week and find a medium thick layer really works its magic. Let it dry completely for it to have maximum impact, I know how easy it is to get bored and wash it off when not quite all of it has hardened. I notice the effect almost immediately the next day.

No7 Early Defence Day Cream
I always think No 7 is an unsung hero. The range is always so gentle on my skin and I feel like it really works. I've been using this moisturiser for a good couple of years and despite trying other ones, I keep coming back to it.  When I don't use it for a few days I really notice tightness in my face. Which proves to me it does what it says on the tin!

Pixi Glow Tonic
Admittedly this is a very new addition to my skincare collection. I finally took the plunge after giving in to all the hype. I'm wishing I did it sooner! I'll definitely be buying this time and time again. Glycolic acid is said to be great for combating blackheads, which is something I mentioned above I suffer with, and with scarring.

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A Chanel lipstick collection


I'm a sucker for a Chanel lipstick. There's something about the gold and black sleek, luxe packaging that makes me go all googly-eyed. I prefer the creamy formula of the Rouge Allure range and am slowly building up my collection. The staying power is fantastic and the pigmentation is so intense. I usually save all my boots points before splashing out once I gain enough. An unexpected treat is the best kind of treat! Take a look at my mini collection.


104 Passion
This bright red is extremely versatile with a blue undertone. It looks great in the depths of winter when you're lacking vitamin C and in the summer when you're boasting a tan. It's very much a classic fire engine red, making it perfect for the upcoming festive season. Two coats and it will last pretty much the whole night. Put some lipcote on top too and it will still be standing strong after a three course meal!


97 Incandescente
Nine times out of ten, if I'm wearing a red lip then it will be this one. This orangey red just makes me feel so polished and put together - the perfect pick-me-up! It packs such a punch and the lipstick glides on effortfully. The silky formula helps to stop the lipstick from being to drying. Once again, it has great staying power and you only really need to reapply once or twice from day to evening.


102 Palpitante
This is my newest purchase from a couple of weeks ago that I have yet to wear. Can you tell I have a special affection for red lipsticks? This raspberry colour leans towards a pink hue but still has a slightly red tinge.


99 Pirate
This one is the deepest red of the four, this is such an intense colour. It can be prone to bleeding so a careful hand is needed. But it glides on so easily and its staying power is great. I love this with a really simple outfit to create a statement.

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Beauty: spring nails


We've all been there. Chapped, worn out hands with stubby fingernails fingernails that have been battled by the elements all winter. By the time Spring arrives I'm feeling a little ashamed at the state they're in. The long dark evenings means they're often the least of my priorities and one of the last things I make sure I do when I'm rushing around the house in the evening. Covered by gloves, I neglect them because they're not often on show. But now I'm paying the price. They are in urgent need of TLC. So what tips do I suggest?

1. Invest in a decent hand cream
I can't stress this enough. As someone who suffers from very dry skin, I get through so much hand cream during the colder months. I honestly believe that it's worth investing - you really get what you pay for. After being persuaded by Hannah in Liberty I invested in the Khiels Ultimate Strength Hand Salve. What a good investment it was. It's pretty pricey at £18.50 but it does wonders.  You only need a little so I think it's going to last a long time.

2. Shiny shiny nails
I love the gel effect nails but I don't like the price of £30 of having them done at the beauty salon. So I picked up this Sally Hansen Gel Shine on a Boots binge one morning before work. It's lethal having a decent boots next to my office... It helps to give me the same super shiny effort at home and helps to keep my polish in place. It takes a good few days before it starts to chip which is a revelation when they usually chip within the hour.


3. Buffer away
This buffer tool can be picked up from Boots for a couple of quid. They're a great tool to help keep your nails in tip top shape. Especially if you're prone to biting them every now and again. Not that I would ever do such a disgusting habit...

4, Pretty pastels
I love a good pastel once the weather starts to warm out and my favourite brand is OPI. They always have such a great selection of colours. I managed to pick these two up for a couple of quid from a beauty sale at work.  I just think pastel shades look so spring like and can really brighten up your outfit. Crawfishin' for a compliment is the pretty peachy orange shade and Got myself into a Jam-balaya is the dusty barbie pink shade.

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5 moisturisers for the winter


1.  Weleda Skin Food*
This handy tube is fantastic to keep in your bag to top up throughout the day - gotta keep that dry skin at bay! It is an absolute god send on my hands, really does make a difference. I love the gorgeous chamomile and rosemary scent that keeps your hands smelling fresh. The great thing is it's suitable for vegetarians too if you're that way inclined!

2. Palmers Cocoa Formula Night Renewal Cream
I treated myself to this last year in Chicago - those US drugstores are a dream right? I never even knew they had a facial range so made sure I brought this home in my suitcase. It has that same gorgeous smell of all Palmer's products and the luxurious thickness. It sinks in fairly quickly and doesn't leave your face with a greasy film. It's fantastic for the colder months because it's so thick and banishes any pesky dry patches that have crept up. A great budget buy that does exactly what it says on the tin.

3. Purepotions Skin Salvation Intensive Moisturising Ointment*
Thanks to this ridiculously cold snap in January, my skin has been out of control. My face feels so dry, my hands are chapped and my legs shouldn't been seen until July. But thankfully this ointment has been a lifesaver. It instantly soothes and soaks in the skin, giving you instant relief. The brand was founded by a mum who wanted to give her eczema-prone daughter some relief after nothing worked. After experimenting in her kitchen, she came up with this formula. Boy am I glad. It works a treat!

4. No7 Early Defence Day Cream
This has been a constant repurchase for months. SPF? Tick. Anti-ageing? Tick. Non-greasy? Tick. All the right boxes! No 7 really can't do any wrong in my eyes. Their products are always reasonably priced, do what they say on the tin and never flare up my skin. I think I'm going be a loyal customer for many more years to come!

5. Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask
I harp on and on about this product like a broken record. I sometimes use it as an everyday moisturiser when my skin is misbehaving like a trooper. It sinks in the skin like a pro and give your that supple, soft look that you would make a million bucks to have. All for under 25 smackers! A little goes a very long way so the bottle lasts for ages.

What are your favourite moisturisers?

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Beauty review: a Kerestraight treatment

Hair can take a battering. Thanks to the intense heat of hairdryers and straighteners paired with the extreme weather conditions and the busy days and nights, your hair can be one of the last things you think of. But like everything else, it needs some TLC once in a while. So enter Kerestraight.


My hair was in desperate need of some loving so I was very kindly treated to an intense boost treatment at Salon International, Excel centre. The treatment helps to rebuild what the hair lacks and locks in moisture for up to 30 days. Sounds like a miracle? That's because it certainly is! My hair had never looked so shiny and glossy - I felt like I was in a hair advert. It can be done in a Kerestraight salon and only takes around 30 minutes to complete. A special solution is added to your washed, wet hair. Once it's washed off, your hair is blowdried, straighteners are run through and it's all done. It's really as simple as that!


There's not hassle of having to wait a few days to wash your hair. After this treatment you can wash your hair in as little as 30 minutes and it still looks just as good as new after it's dried. It's a fantastic treatment if you have a special occasion like a wedding or simply because you've decided your locks need to be treated. It's something I'd definitely recommend if you're looking to treat your mane to help keep it in tip top condition. Visit the website to find your nearest salon.



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Alternative advent calendars


Over the last few years the trend for alternative advent calendars are really seemed to pick up. Chocolate ones are becoming old hat. Arran Aromatics* have brought the perfect one for beauty fanatics. What a fabulous treat it was!



Filled with 25 gorgeous smelling miniature body lotions, candles, soaps, bubble soaks and shower gels, it's the perfect daily treat. The calendar retails at £40 but it has a value of £60, making it great value for money. I can't wait to light the candles - the grapefruit one smells amazing! Available both online and John Lewis, you best be quick treating yourself to one as only 1000 are available.


Another advent calendar is a tea one from Victoria Mae Designs*. Oh my gosh, the smell when I opened this package was intense. I wanted to gulp them all down at once!




Priced at £19.50, 25 gorgeous teabags come packaging in a cute little brown box. All the tea is sourced from a local British tea company and comes in handmade paper pouches. A lovely little treat to start each morning with in December.


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Beauty: How to maintain a fringe


As someone who has had the same haircut for the past 22 years - why fix what isn't broken?! - I reckon I have a pretty good idea of how to keep a fringe in check. It can be high maintenance but really you just have to know the tricks of the trade. I wouldn't be without mine. After all, the world doesn't need to see my forehead. Ever.

1. Dry Shampoo
Dry shampoo will be your best friend. My fringe always gets greasy ten times quicker then the rest of my hair so this bad boy will help keep it looking fresh. That way if you're a lazy kid like me, you won't have to wash your hair every single day. Nobody has time for that. It also helps to keep it from looking as flat as a pancake.

2. Regular trims
My fringe grows like wildfire and need to be trimmed practically every two weeks. If it's left any longer than that it starts to resemble a shaggy haired dog. I splashed out on a pair of hairdressing scissors from Boots for when I'm in desperate need and can't make it to my hairdressers. I don't recommend trimming it yourself all the time but in emergencies these will be your best friend.


3. A barrel brush
In order to keep your fringe looking smooth, a barrel brush will be a lifesaver. Dry it in sections. Never dry your fringe flat as it'll look limp and lifeless. Always blow-dry it under so it has some oomph. You want it to look fierce right?

4. Hairdryer
A hairdryer is the bane of my life. I cannot wash my hair without one. If I let it dry naturally, it will go frizzy and limp. Even if the rest of my hair is left to dry naturally, my fringe must always be given a blow-dry. It's a bit of a diva like that.


5. Hairspray
The final step in keeping your fringe in shape is hairspray. Give it a quick spritz to help keep it in one piece. That way you don't get the dreaded curtains scenario. Only David Beckham could pull that off in 1993.

So there you have it. My foolproof tricks to help keep your fringe looking pretty good. Does anyone else have anything to add to the list?
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Beauty: New Seventeen Make Up Palettes


Can I just say how incredible is that self portrait?! It's by far one of the best things I've been gifted. The entire thing was made using the new Seventeen make up palettes by Maxine Ayre - pretty snazzy huh?


Onto the make up palettes themselves then! The eyeshadow palette - Easy On The Eye* - has my name written all over it. With eight matte and shimmer powder shadows and four cream, it's great value for money at £7.99. You won't need to use anything else! The neutral shades are great for blending a subtle smokey eye with the shimmers being perfect to rock at night.


I'm all about a red lip so was pretty excited to see the the deep, foxy red in the All Out Pout * set. With classy nudes and bold, vibrant brights, it's perfect to keep in your handbag. It's all about switching up your lipstick to a different shade every hour right? For £7.99, it's an absolute bargain.


I need all the help I can get making sure these dark circles look half-decent. Luckily the Let's Face It* palette has everything I could need for £5.99. Complete with a pink toned concealer, a yellow toned concealer, a peach cream bleach and a setting power, your make up will look spit spot in no time.


Easy On The Eye and All Out Pout palettes are in the shop now. The Let's Face It palette is available from 30th September. You can treat yourself online at Boots and in the larger stores. They'll be fantastic to take if you're planning a cheeky weekend break. Just pack a mascara and an eyeliner and you'll be sorted!

Pop on the Seventeen Blogger Network to see what other bloggers have been saying about the brand.

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A few favourites #5


1. The Hairy Dieters cookbook
I'm trying my hardest to eat healthily or at least 80% of the time. We all need a burger binge once in a lifetime right? So I've been digging around in my extensive cookbook collection and come across an old favourites. I adore The Hairy Bikers - I think I might have nearly all of their books. This one is a little gem. Every recipe I've tried has been amazing and they all feel indulgent despite shaving off a few calories from the original. It's amazing how a few changes can completely reduce the calorie content without having to compromise on taste.

2. Schwarzkopf Got2b Rise 'n' Shine Volume and Shine Hairspray*
I'm always a little heavy handed with hairspray - gotta help it stick right? - so look out for one that has a strong hold but doesn't make my hair feel rock solid. I've found just the right one thanks to Got2b. This beauty helps to stop any stray hairs coming out of place, gives it a much needed shine and boasts it's volume. The lazy girl in me loves a multi-tasker. It's easy to brush out and my hair doesn't feel heavy or sticky.


3. Urbanears Plattan headphones
My headphones suddenly packed up halfway through my commute to the city so I need of some decent quality ones sharpish. I'd spotted these in various colours on the tube so hunted around until I realised what they were. Urbanears is a Scandinavian brands and are famous for their rainbow colours. They're comfortable to wear, easy to adjust and have brilliant sound quality.


4. Next postcard clutch bag 
My darling mother treated me to this clutch in the Next sale just before I went to Barcelona. I have such a soft spot for a novelty clutch and this one ticks all the boxes. Such a conversation starter!

5. Models Own Chrome effect nail polishes*
Since I've been trying really hard to stop biting my nails, I've been smothering them in nail polish a few times a week. I've found if they look pretty, I tend to leave them alone. I picked up these polishes a few months ago from my old job and they look great on. So shiny! The gold and silver are already earmarked for the festive season.


6. Gallo Family Vineyards Spritz Raspberry and Lime & Pineapple and Passionfruit*
I do love a good glass of wine as anyone who knows me will confirm but sometimes it's nice to have something a little lighter and more refreshing. That's where these tasty concoctions came in. TV presenter Laura Whitemore is the face of the brand so you know you're going to be in good hands when you crack open a bottle. All the cool kids are drinking them!
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Ginger & Co beauty range


Bathing Beauty Moisturising Bubble Bath & Wash - £3.99*
There's nothing quite like a relaxing, hot bubble bath after a stressful day to help restore calm.  Luckily only a few squeezes of this bubble bath immediately produces an impressive array of bubbles. Perfect to sink in to and read a book! The citrus of the lemon balm immediately comes out and wafts around the room as the bubbles start to form. Thanks to it's moisturising qualities my skin came out feeling supple and smooth. Nothing worth than resembling a lizard with scaly skin if you forget to apply moisturiser!

Soft on You Daily Body Lotion - £3.99*
Rose is my favourite smell when it comes to beauty products so as soon as I started to use this I was smitten. It's a very light weight moisturiser making it perfect for morning use. It doesn't take very long to sink in and a little goes a long way. I find it worked great on the stubborn areas of my knees and elbows. Dry skin be gone!


Double Up Creamy Bodywash with Added Moisturisers - £3.49*
The ginger hit me as soon as I started to lather up the body wash. Perfect to help wake you up in the morning! It really does what it says on the tin and keeps my skin in tip top shape. It's great if you're in a rush and haven't got time to spend moisturising when you're out of the shower. Two in one products always get a thumbs up from me!

Heavenly Hands Moisturising Hand wash - £3.99*
Hands can take a battering in day to day life so a good hand wash is an essential. Endless washing can leave your hands capped and sore. A great blend of ginger root, beauplex and Juniper Berry means it smells heavenly. Perfect to keep your mitts in shape.


Soft On You Comforting Body Butter - £3.99*
If I had to choose, I would opt for a body butter over body lotion any day. The thick cream just feels more luxurious. A little certainly goes a long way with this body butter - it'll last you for ages. I do love products that are good value for money! My skin immediately felt so much more smoother and supple. It was very quick to sink in so I had no problem slipping in a pair of jeans after. Always a winner when you're in a rush!

Have you ever tried the Ginger & Co range? The whole range is now available at The Co-Operative.


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Listerine and Louise Redknapp


When an email popped in my inbox revealing a collaboration between mouthwash brand Listerine and ex-Eternal singer Louise Redknapp I was very intrigued! It turns out that Wild About Beauty - co-owned by Louise - were helping the launch of the new Listerine Advanced White mouthwash. It's been clinically proven to help make your teeth whiter within two weeks. Snazzy! Together they have come up with three lipsticks that help to make your gnashers look whiter and brighter. Soft Pink, Fuchsia Pink and Rich Berry - I was kindly sent the last shade to test out.



Do you have any tips to help make your teeth look whiter?
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A few favourites #5


More favourites! I've been accumulating lots of things recently. My bank account isn't really too impressed but money is for spending right?! 


Black double strap Birkenstocks via TK Maxx: Since last year I've vowed to treat myself to a pair of birks. A few years ago I'd have gagged and felt ashamed I'd even thought about such comfortable, sensible shoes. But alas the older I'm getting, the more I'm worried about being in pain. I still love my heels to death but need something to give my poor tootsies a rest. I am in love with my new shoes. They feel like I'm wearing slippers - what could be more perfect eh?!

Emma Bridgewater floral cake tin*: Last week I was invited along to a baking masterclass with Whitworths - more on that in a different post - and was given this pretty cake tin in the goody bag. I'd neglected baking for a while thanks to being such a busy bee but this day made me rediscover my love of baking again. I'm going to try and make more time in future - I just find it so relaxing. After all, who doesn't like the smell of fresh cakes in the house?!


Got2b All Star 10-in-1 Styling Treatment*: If you're going away for the weekend and struggling to make room, this little niffy product will be a lifesaver. It will save from lots of mishaps! I had it used on my barnet at an event recently and it gave it one heck of a shine. You simply apply 2-6 pumps of the product to damp hair and blow-dry your hair. It doesn't make your hair feel sticky and smells lovely. Some hair products make me pull a face! It's great to keep all those wispy, flyaway frizzy bits at bay too. I do love a product that multi-tasks!

X+Y DVD*: I am a massive film geek and love nothing more than popping along to the pictures with my unlimited cinema card and catching a movie. But equally I also love settling down under the covers with some cake and watch a film from the comfort of my room. I especially like a film that makes you think - during it and for a while afterwards. X+Y certainly does that. Inspired by a true story, autistic maths genius Nathan is pushed to reach his potential by his school teacher Mr Humphrys. His mother Julie struggles to understand his characteristics after the death of his father in a car crash. As a result of his teacher, he earns a place at the International Maths Olympiad in Taiwan. There he happened to fall in love with Zhang. The film made me smile as wide as a cheshire cat and well up as Nathan tried his best to understand love. It's such a heart warming film - I found myself egging him on as he dealt with his new unknown feelings. Asa Butterfield who played Nathan was superb and definitely one to look out for.


Australian Bodycare Tea Tree Oil Summer Sensation Skin Wash*: Summer? What's that? Thankfully we did have a few warm days and that's when this body wash came in handy. The elements dry my skin out and I desperately need to use a moisturising body wash to keep it under control. It helps to keep my skin soft and smells of the summer! It's going to be in my Barcelona wash bag. TWO WEEKS!
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About me
A Essex based lifestyle blogger who lives a champagne life on a lemonade purse!

Get in touch at
sophie.warner89@yahoo.co.uk.

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