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Christmas Gift Guide | For The Adults

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Disclosure - We were gifted the items for inclusion in our gift guide. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own. This post contains affiliate links - purchasing an item through an affiliate link adds no extra cost to you but might earn me a few pennies. 

Christmas Presents Under A Tree
I find buying for adults really hard. I tend to look online for inspiration and this year I have found some really nice gift ideas so I thought I would share them with you.
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Exploring Different Cultures With Your Child | AD

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Disclosure - This is a paid collaboration with Oaks International School.

Its a small world ride at Disneyland Paris
Educating your children about different cultures is an ideal way to help them learn to respect and celebrate diversity. It will also give them a deeper understanding of the traditions and customs their classmates may follow. This kind of knowledge about various cultures will benefit your child throughout their lifetime. Here are some great tips from Oaks International School on how you can explore other cultures with your child.
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Escape Room - The Game | Review

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Disclosure - We received Escape Room - The Game for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own. This post contains affiliate links - purchasing an item through an affiliate link adds no extra cost to you but might earn me a few pennies. 

Escape Room The Room
Last year John and I did our very first Escape Room together. We had never done anything like it before and although it was tough we managed to solve all the clues and we broke out just in time. Over the last week we have been playing Escape Room - The Game at home and it's actually been lots of fun and just like the real thing.
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Helping Your Child Resist Peer Pressure | AD

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Disclosure - This is a paid collaboration with Surbiton High

boy sat alone
Peer pressure is an inevitable part of life, especially during the school years. As a parent, there are things you can do to help your child make sensible choices and resist peer pressure. A prep school in Surrey have put together the following advice to help you.
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Should I Encourage My Child To Go To University? | AD

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Disclosure - This is a paid collaboration with St Catherines

University building
For many children, the end of school can be a confusing time. This is because they have to decide on their next steps and what they want for their future. For parents who are trying to help their children decide whether or not to go to university, here is some useful advice from St Catherine’s School.
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Christmas Gift Guide 2019 | For The Kids

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Disclosure - This post contains gifted items for the inclusion in my gift guide. This post also contains affiliate links - purchasing an item through an affiliate link adds no extra cost to you but might earn me a few pennies. 

Christmas gift ideas for the kids
If you are looking for some gift inspiration for the kids then check out our 'For The Kids' Christmas Gift Guide. 
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Top Tips for Marketing Your Business at Christmas | AD

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Disclosure - This is a paid collaboration with Shout PM

merry christmas sign
When it comes to marketing your business at Christmas time, there are countless things you could do. Of course, the earlier you start the better, but it’s never too late to get into the Christmas spirit. If you have a store, restaurant or other retail location, don’t be afraid to go all out and decorate the place from head to toe. This will attract more attention and boost your profits. You could also hand out little chocolate Santas to passers-by to make a good impression. In fact, promotional Christmas gifts are a great method for attracting new customers and retaining existing ones.
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Giveaway | Win A Cosy Night In

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A bottle of baileys and chocolates
To celebrate that December will soon be here we are giving you the chance to win a cosy night in. Christmas time for us means Baileys, chocolates and a good Christmas movie. For your chance to win a bottle of baileys, a tub of chocolates and a £10 Netflix voucher enter our giveaway below.
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Make Your Own Christmas Wreath | AD

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Disclosure - This post is a paid collaboration with Rainbow Chalk.

Handprint wreath
When it comes to Christmas decorations around the house and on our tree our theme each year is always 'anything goes'. I love seeing photos of trees and houses that are decorated in certain colours but since big J was little we have always added homemade decorations each year to our tree and I wouldn't have it any other way. We have already started creating some decorations and this year little J asked if he could make a Christmas Wreath. We browsed the internet for lots of ideas but in the end he just went with what he felt right and he created the most perfect wreath ever, and I love it.
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If Injuries In The Movies Where Real | AD

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Disclosure - This is a paid collaboration with Compare Compensation Claims

A photo of home alone movie
It's that time of year when we start writing down all the movies we want to watch before Christmas comes. Every year we try to add at least one new addition however we do have our favourites and Christmas just wouldn't be the same without them. Our favourite family Christmas movie has got to be Home Alone closely followed my Home Alone 2. I don't know why watching Kevin inflict lots of pain on Harry and Marv is Christmassy but it just is and we all belly laugh every time we watch it. 

I actually saw a post just recently on Compare Compensation Claims that talked about movie scenes from some of our favourite movies that involved accidents or injuries. It looked in to how much compensation the character would receive if those accidents were real. 

It actually lists Home Alone as one of the movies and details the injuries that occurred when Harry and Marv break in to Kevin McCallister's home.

The injuries included mild scarring, blowout fracture, severe burns, deep cuts, facial fractures and head injuries. Now when you read the injuries involved those burglars really did have a tough time from Kevin! So based on the injuries that are inflicted throughout the film to the characters they would be expected to receive £114,370 each. 

There are lots of other movie scenarios but the highest paying was from a scene in Mean Girls. i'm sure we have all watched Mean Girls and you will probably guess the scene I am talking about. It's when Regina George gets hit by a bus. Now this injury causes Regina to have a spinal injury that is life changing. If this would happen in real life you could expect to receive £141,150. To be honest this doesn't seem a lot to me but like most I'm still shocked she actually survived such a horrific accident!

There are lots of other movie scenarios which I have attached below for you to browse over. 


Do you know any of the movies or recognise the scenes? Do you think the expected payout for the injuries involved is enough?

Michelle
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Choosing An Eco-Friendly Christmas | AD

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Disclosure | This post is a paid collaboration with Liverpool One. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own.

Brown paper and scissors
I was watching a series of instagram stories from a celebrity I follow recently and she was making her own Christmas crackers. I was intrigued so I watched as she made them and filled them with prizes that she knew the recipient would like. It got me thinking about the amount of crackers we have pulled over the years and how all the plastic toys inside have just ended up in the bin. It's such a waste and not very environmentally friendly at all. I am actually thinking of making my own this year too. I have also been looking at more ways that we can enjoy an eco-friendly Christmas.

We did start thinking more about waste and our environment a few years ago and we started to make some steps to becoming eco friendly. We made a decision to stop giving and receiving cards, not just at Christmas but birthdays too. Not only do they cost a small fortune but it's such a waste and they do end up in the recycling bin anyway.

This year I will definitely be making our own Christmas crackers and I am thinking about ditching the wrapping paper for brown paper and string. I actually think it looks so much prettier than the multi-coloured paper.

shopping centre
We love heading to Liverpool One at Christmas time to buy all our Christmas shopping. There are so many ways that you can enjoy an eco-friendly Christmas and you could start by making little tweaks when it comes to buying gifts.

John loves coffee and we have a lovely Nespresso coffee machine at home so for Christmas I am thinking about buying him a nice supply of Nespresso pods and a new reusable take out cup. This way he can make his own coffees in the morning and use his cup. Then once he has finished with his Nespresso pods we will take them back to the shop for them to be recycled. I know there will be some morning when he will feel like a Costa Coffee and that's fine, all he needs to do is take his reusable cup with him and they will fill it with his favourite drink. Not only is he helping to save the planet but the pennies too as Costa will take 25p off the cost of his drink.

John will probably head to Lush for some goodies for me this Christmas and if you didn't know already the black pots that Lush products come in are not recyclable everywhere so to encourage you to help the planet Lush asks that you bring back your pots so they can be reused. As a thank you for every five pots returned they give you a free face mask. The Body Shop also offer you the chance to return bottles to them for recycling and whilst there is no reward it is nice to know that you are helping the planet.

These a just a few ideas that we have in mind for this Christmas and whilst they are only small if everyone made just a little effort we could all be enjoying an Eco-Friendly Christmas.

Michelle
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Herodrive Marvel Vehicle Review

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Disclosure - We were sent the Herodrive Marvel vehicles for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own. This post contains affiliate links - purchasing an item through an affiliate link adds no extra cost to you but might earn me a few pennies. 

Back in April John and I sat down one Saturday evening and decided to watch a Marvel movie. We had never seen any of the Marvel movies before so we researched it online and decided to start at the beginning and watch all the Marvel movies in chronological order. Watching the 22 films in 30 days was the start of our family becoming Marvel obsessed. We managed to finish all the movies before Endgame finished at the cinema and booked a spur of the moment trip to Disneyland Paris for the Season Of The Superheroes Event. We have been hooked since so when we received The Marvel Superheroes Herodrive cars I knew that I would probably love them us as much as little J.

Herodrive Marvel Vehicles



Herodrive Marvel Vehicle
The idea behind the Mod Squad Car is very simple. each set contains one Mod Squad Car. You can choose from Hulk, Iron Man and Spider-Man. The car is made up of three different pieces which can connect together.

Herodrive Marvel Vehicle
The first part is the back of the car, the second part is the middle and the three part is the front. When you are ready to play you fit all three pieces together and your car is ready. There is more fun to be had though as you can mix and match the pieces of your car with those from another set.

There are so many possibilities to choose from you could have Spider-Man at the back, the middle could be Hulk and the front could be Iron Man.

Herodrive Marvel Vehicle
Herodrive Marvel Vehicle
Each Mod Squad Car also comes with an extra piece. If you collect all 3 pieces from the different sets you will complete Captain America. He too can be mixed and matched with the other cars in the range.

It's such a simple idea however we've had lots of fun making all different combinations of Superheroes.

Herodrive Marvel Vehicles
Herodrive Marvel Vehicle
Also in the Superhero Herodrive range are Speed Squad Minis. These are smaller cars in the colours of your favourite superheroes.

They are a push-a-long car with a chunky body and big wheels. They are great for little hands and they really do speed across the floor.

Little J has really enjoyed playing with both sets of cars and is asking Father Christmas for The Hulk Mod Squad Car so he can complete the set.

Herodrive Marvel Vehicle
The Speed Squad Minis are a great addition to the Superhero Herodrive range and are perfect for stockings this Christmas.

Herodrive Marvel Vehicle
You can find out more about the Herodrive Marvel Vehicle range over at Funrise Toys and they are available to buy at Asda, Debenhams and Amazon

Michelle
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Manchester Giants Basketball Party

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Disclosure - We were invited to the a Manchester Giants Basketball Party for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own.

boy looking at a Basketball player
Little J's birthday isn't till March but already he has been talking about his birthday party. Birthday parties are such a big deal when you are a kid and over the years we have hosted and been to so many different parties. We've been to soft play parties, swimming parties, Nerf parties, football parties, there are lots of different party venues to choose from.  We were invited last week to a basketball party and for us this was the first time we have ever been to a basketball party and game so we were very excited.

The Basketball party was at the home of the Manchester Giants in Urmston, Manchester.  I had already read about the party and what was included but I didn't tell little J as I wanted it to be a surprise.

When we arrived we were shown to a cafe / seating area to wait until our allocated time which was 3pm. There was another party waiting too and after reading the information leaflet there is a maximum of two parties per time slot.

Basketball poster
We then followed the staff member to the basketball court area. Little J was really excited at this point and had no idea that for the next hour he would have a one hour basketball coaching session with the Giants coaches.

We were able to sit and watch the children on one half of the court as the coach did mini coaching sessions with them and little games. The other party I mentioned earlier was on the other half of the court.

boy on a basketball court
boy on a basketball court
The coach told all the children to get a ball and they practiced dribbling, tackling and shooting from different angles. It was lots of fun and all the children seemed to be having a great time. They finished with a game that involved two teams racing to their ball and trying to score a basket before the other team. They were joined by two Manchester Giants players which was amazing.

Once the coaching session was finished it was time for some food. The children headed to the cafe / seating area and were rewarded for their hard work on the court with Pizza, Chips and Juice. There was so much pizza and chips available so the kids could just help themselves once they had finished what they had been given. Afterwards they enjoyed birthday cake.

The children were given about 45 minutes to eat which was just the right amount of time as I could see some of them becoming a little restless.

boy overlooking a basketball court
A basketball game
Once they were finished their party meal we headed back to the court to watch the Manchester Giants take on the Newcastle Eagles. We have never seen a basketball match before but I have to say we all really enjoyed it. It's quick paced with music playing and a DJ/Compare talking on the microphone encouraging the crowd to get involved, it really was a fun and exciting experience.

All party children get to go on to the court which was an amazing experience. They all looked so happy.

a basketball player signing an autograph
After the game the Manchester Giants all stay behind and are quite happy signing autographs and having photographs taken which is a lovely way to end the party.

Included in the party is...

One hours coaching session on the court with Giants coaches.

Party Children run out with the players for a team huddle.

Match tickets on the day of the party.

Birthday child or group receives a Molten Basketball signed by the Giants.

A Giants T-Shirt for each child.

Pizza meal following the coaching session.

Parties take place on match days before games. The price for a party is £350 for 10 children and 2 adults, additional children are £35 per head. You can purchase extra adult tickets for the match at £10 each.

A Manchester Giants Party is a perfect choice for a basketball fan however we didn't know anything about basketball before we visited and absolutely loved it so I would say it's a great party choice for all.

Michelle
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Rubik's Puzzles - The Perfect Stocking Filler

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Disclosure - We were gifted a Rubik's Puzzle Bundle for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own. This post also contains affiliate links.

selection of  rubiks cubes
Growing up I loved my Rubik's Cube. It was one of those toys that I could pick up and play at anytime. I say I loved it but it used to annoy me so much because I never completed more than one side. I remember my friends and I bringing our Rubik's cubes to a friends house and we sat for hours trying to complete at least two sides. One of our friends did it and we all couldn't believe it until we realised she had peeled the coloured squares off her cube and arranged them so it looked like she had done it, she hadn't.
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New Thorntons Liverpool One Store Unveiled | AD

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Disclaimer - This is a paid collaboration. We were invited to Thorntons for the purpose of this post and we were gifted with chocolates to take home.

thorntons chocolates
We visit Liverpool One at least once every few weeks and almost every time we go, we will pop in to Thorntons for an ice cream or a chocolate treat. So, when we were invited to the opening of the newly refurbished store at Liverpool One, we were very excited to have a sneak peek before it opened to the public. It was such a lovely experience and definitely felt like a chocolate lovers dream as we had a tour of the new-look store and everything it offers.

thorntons crunchy praline chocolates
small box of thorntons chocolates
As we walked through the doors, we were greeted by a brilliant display of chocolates in the Thorntons Craftery. The Craftery is the perfect place to create your own personalised box of chocolates. You can decide how many chocolates you’d like and select your favourite flavours to have in your own box. The bespoke chocolate boxes come in three sizes and can contain either four, nine or twelve chocolates.  The chocolate maker at the Craftery will help you to select each individual chocolate and place them in a box which is then hand tied with gift ribbon. The larger boxes make the perfect presents and it's so nice to create a box that is personal to you, or to the person you are buying for, with all their favourite chocolates inside. 

Next we arrived at the ice cream counter which has a wide selection of flavours where you can create your own milkshakes or enjoy a hot chocolate to take away. 

Thorntons range
Thorntons range
Thorntons range
Thorntons range
If you are looking to purchase some Christmas treats this year then you will want to check out the Cheeky Elf range. The Cheeky Elf is a cute design which is perfect for not just little ones but all the family. You can now also purchase a personalised Cheeky Elf advent calendar, which is a great way to make the countdown to Christmas truly special!

Thorntons range
New for this year is the Thorntons Chocolate Block Library. You can select up to five of your favourite flavoured bars from a range of 12 flavours, which are then placed in a box and gift wrapped with ribbon. It's such a lovely idea and the presentation in the library style box makes it an ideal gift for your loved ones. 

Everyone has a favourite Thorntons chocolate and mine are the Viennese and Alpini. However, there are times when I like to try different flavours and the Classics range is perfect for these occasions. 

All of the Thorntons Classics flavours are found in this one box and you can choose from a Classic selection, Classic Milk or Classic Dark box, giving you a perfect way to explore the wider range and maybe even discover a new favourite!

Thorntons range
Thorntons range
Thorntons range
Once you have browsed the store and purchased your chocolate treats you can take them to be gift wrapped and this was my favourite part of the Thorntons experience. Watching the staff member wrap our chocolate box with such passion and skill was so inspiring. So much care was put into wrapping up our gifts and they looked beautiful afterwards. I can't wait to pass the love on and gift our box to a friend. 

Thorntons cafe
Thorntons cafe
If browsing the store and you need a break, then you can pop into the Thorntons Café towards the back of the store. Here you can enjoy a hot or cold drink, a choice of sandwiches or a delicious cake.

A new addition to the Thorntons Cafe is the Afternoon Tea for two. You will be served a tiered platter of sandwiches, cakes and of course Thorntons Chocolates with your choice of hot drink. I am sure the Afternoon Tea will be a popular choice at the Thorntons café, there’s no need to book in advance so if you are out in town and get the urge to enjoy an Afternoon Tea you can just pop in store.

Thorntons range
Thorntons range
outside Thorntons
The newly refurbished Thorntons store is bright, inviting and an amazing experience for chocolate lovers. We’ll definitely be returning soon!

Michelle
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What To Expect At The New Look Inflata Nation, Manchester

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Disclosure - We were invited to Inflata Nation for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

inside Inflata Nation
Last year we visited Inflata Nation in Manchester and little J loved it, he loved it so much that he has continued to ask when we could go back. Last week we finally managed to return and it was perfect as it has had a refurbishment and is bigger than before with dual level inflatables.

For those that have never been before Inflata Nation is an indoor inflatable arena so is perfect for lots of bouncing fun.

Little J couldn't wait to get bouncing as soon as we walked through the door. Upon arrival you need to complete a waiver form (if you haven't already done it when you booked online). You are given a coloured wristband to show staff that you have bought and paid for a one hour time slot. If you book two hours you will be given a second different coloured wristband. Once checked in you can remove your shoes and place them in a locker and then head for a safety brief.

As soon as that is complete you head to the inflatable arena ready for your session. There are so many features to choose from little J didn't know where to start.

The new arena has lots of super slides to choose from

Two lane slides with a jaw dropping 7m near vertical drop. This was little J's favourite thing. He went on it 25 times. He just wanted to go round and round and round again. He is such a daredevil and the look of excitement as he slid down with his arms crossed on his chest, made me giggle.

Next to the vertical drop slides are dual bumpy slides. Little J didn't quite fancy these but John had a turn and almost flipped upside down.

The incredible tipping slide looked fun so I encouraged John and little J to go on it. It will definitely test your balance and skills as the slide inflates and starts tipping you down.

Inflata Nation, Manchester
Inflata Bubbles always makes me giggle as little J bounces from one to another.

Inflata Free fall is a new free fall activity for all thrill seekers. Take a jump off the 6m platform. You’ll be wearing a harness and clipped to a free fall device to help you land safely.

The new ball pit was another favourite of little J's.

There is also and Improved interactive obstacle course for trying out those challenging ninja style moves. Both John and little J tried this out and had lots of fun doing so.

Inflata Duel, the popular and hilarious gladiator podium is back however we were told it was reserved for a party only which was a shame. Little J was desperate to have a turn.

As well as the arena there is a downstairs cafe, party and viewing area plus an upstairs seating/viewing area too.

For more information you can visit Inflata Nation.

We really enjoyed our session and I would definitely recommend choosing a two hour bounce. It will give you time to take a break in between and have a drink as it does get hot in there.

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Michelle
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Portable North Pole Magic Pass | Review

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Disclosure - We were gifted a magic pass for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are our own. 

Portable North Pole App
Halloween and Bonfire Night have been and gone so I can now start to get excited for Christmas. It's just 8 weeks till the big day and I cannot wait to start all our Christmas shopping and enjoy family days out. We have lots of Christmas traditions and one of them is the boys receiving a video call from Santa through the Portable North Pole App. We have done this since they were little and each year it just gets better and better. This year we are trying out the Portable North Pole Magic Pass.

If you may not have heard of Portable North Pole before, if you haven't its an app thats very easy to download and simple to use.

Portable North Pole App
Once downloaded all you need to do is enter as a parent. You input all your child's details in for example their name, age, school year, country they live in and within moments a personalised video message will be sent to your child. It's truly magical and I can still remember the look on little J's face when he receives a special message each year.

There are lots of different videos to choose from for both kids and adults.

Portable North Pole App
To access the parents corner you will need to pop in your phones passcode. This prevents little ones finding things they shouldn't! They do have access to the children's sections which has lots of different activities.

Portable North Pole App
Santas Advent Calendar is locked at the moment until the 1st of December and we can't wait to click on the doors to see what's behind.

Bedtime stories is a lovely feature which has Santa telling a variety of stories. Choose from 10 stories including The Elf in the Storm, The Sock Drawer or Christmas in England. All stories are less than 4 minutes long.

Talking Elf is a new game that when you say something in your phone the elves will repeat. Lots of fun hearing what you would sound like if you were an elf.

Tree Shaker is a fun game were you have to shake the tree to bring down as many decorations as possible in 30 seconds. Can you beat your high score?

Memory Game is another game which has you flipping and matching the pictures on the cards.

There is also a Santas Voicemail section which is coming soon.

The magic pass is the perfect way to create personalised messages for your little ones. We have been using it for years and its lovely to hear that PNP has delivered over 220 Million messages since it was created in 2008.

The magic pass is currently priced at £12.99 however there will be free videos available closer the the big day so make sure you visit Portable North Pole for more information and updates

Michelle
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