Saturday, 30 July 2016

Express treatments at Midland Spa - St Tropez Spray Tan Review

I was recently invited to pop along to the Spa at the Midland Hotel in Manchester for an express treatment during my lunch. It’s a handy 7 minute walk (thanks, Google maps) from my work and I had a couple of events happening at the weekend so I decided to go along for a St Tropez spray tan to perk up my pasty pins.

The spa itself is really pretty, extremely zen and very very relaxing. Unfortunately as I was on my lunch break I didn’t get as much of a chance to explore as I’d have liked but the area I hung around it after I’d had my tan was gorgeous with hanging pods to sit in and a very chilled atmosphere with hot drinks and cucumber infused water which tasted amazing. I can only imagine how fab a spa day would be here!

On to the tan…
I have to say this was probably the most thorough and careful tan I’ve ever had in about 14 years of having spray tans done.  Top marks to Lara, the beauty therapist who did my tan, who did something that no tanner has ever done for me before – she applied moisturiser to my elbows, knees and backs of my feet (notorious  dry, clingy tan areas for me) before applying the tan so that it didn’t look darker on those areas. Bravo! I also had sticky feet, paper knickers and a hairnet on to protect the soles of my feet, er…other areas and my hair.
Lara was really careful about the tan, applying it in a methodical way before checking over to make sure there were no streaks or anything which again is just an extra touch that makes a totally difference. She left me to dry off and get dressed before I headed off to the relaxation room I mentioned earlier.
I went for medium as I had to go back to work afterwards as well as run a few errands in the evening that I didn’t want to be too dark/orange while it developed. I slept in my tan while it developed and I was really pleased with the colour – it wasn’t too dark, orange or unnatural looking, it just looked like I’d had a nice week in the sun somewhere which is exactly what I wanted. There were no streaks, patchiness or tan cling anywhere either…yay!
It’s been over a week since I had my tan now and have to say it’s faded really evenly! No patching off or white hands with tanned arms. Result!
I’d definitely have a tan at Midland Spa again – for a St Tropez spray it’s only £25 which is quite a bit cheaper than where I’ve been previously, and the care that was taken with my tan massively outshone other places I’ve been.
For more info about express treatments or spa days (from £69) visit  

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Candy Coat - gel polish subscription box review

I was recently sent a really exciting subscription box from Candy Coat - a nail box that includes gel polish! I've definitely said before that I wear gel polish 99% of the time these days, I just prefer that it lasts longer and it definitely helps to protect my nails and stop them snapping which is great news.

Anyway, back to the box - the packaging is ridiculously cute and you can tell that loads of thought has been put into the look. The theme of this box is 'Sweet Little Somethings' and this definitely becomes clear later on...

The box I had is the Gel Polish Subscription Box which comes with 3 gel colours and up to 10 additional nail accessories - check out all these goodies:

There's a really good mix of practical things like nail brushes, orange sticks, nails on sticks to practice on, a nail file and things like nail art crystals, a nail emoji badge (my fave!) and sweets. It's so well thought out and was actually totally exciting to open up and have a look around!

So, onto the gel polish. I found it really easy to use, exactly like other brands I've used and it was great that it came with top and base coat as it means you have everything you need (and I'm running out so it was a great little bonus!). Remember you'll need a lamp to use these polishes.

The pink colour was my favourite one, this is just a personal preference though, I'll probably wear the blue colour but maybe not the green just because it's my least favourite colour ever but again, personal preference.

 The colour is lovely and I'm actually going to put it on my toes now too as they need done and it's a very pretty colour, definitely one that would good with a tan which sadly I definitely don't have at the minute.

This is definitely my favourite ever subscription box and is actually one I'll probably sign up for in future as I want to build up my gel polish collection. I've found with more general beauty boxes I'm a bit too fussy or I find a lot of products aren't suitable for me as I know what I like and what works for me, but I feel like I'll always be excited with the Candy Coat one!

You can find out more info about Candy Coat Gel Subscription Boxes at - you can also follow on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Saving money with Groupon Coupons

I've been booking a lot of beauty treatments through Groupon lately, I've just had an absolutely amazing restyle, full head of highlights, treatment and toner for £34 and I've got a hot stone massage that I need to book that I can't wait for.

It's also very very rare that I buy/book anything online without googling for a discount coupon too - I just booked my first AirBnB stay and at the last minute googled and found a discount code for my destination which I was very pleased about!

So, excitingly for those of us that love a bargain Groupon are now doing Groupon Coupons - discount coupons at a massive variety of different retailers, yay! Here are just a small selection of some of my favourite retailers that you can get Groupon discounts on:

That's right - YSL Beauty, people, this is not a drill! There are actually a few pieces I want to buy like new trainers, Timberlands, a leather jacket - all things that don't come cheap so I'm definitely off to Groupon coupons to have a look to see I can save some cash on them.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Dermalogica HydraBlur Primer Review

Dermalogica is a brand I've used in the past but kind of forgot about while I was trying new things - I've recently started using some Dermalogica products (more about that later) and I'm finding it difficult to remember why I stopped using them.

When I was recently sent Dermalogica's new HydraBlur primer I was really excited, I reviewed their skinperfect primer a couple of years ago and absolutely loved it. I've since repurchased and still use it today. Anyway, back to HydraBlur.

The first thing that surprises me is that it's clear - it comes out of the tube white like moisturiser and is totally clear on your skin, no pigment, no light reflecting particles or anything like that which really surprised me. In all honesty I didn't think my skin looked any different after this primer bit I carried on putting my make up on and didn't think much more about it.

However, whenever I wear this on my skin I get people commenting on how good my skin is and asking what products I use so...there's definitely something in it!

It's really lightweight and moisturising and doesn't feel caked on or anything which sometimes layers of primer, concealer, foundation and powder can.  I think it's really good for someone that has dry/combination skin like I do.

Overall I liked this primer but to be honest I think I prefer their skinperfect primer as it gives a bit more coverage/pigment which is what I like better.

Here's a little more about the other Dermalogica products I've been using:

  • Daily Microfiliant - one of my favourite products ever, it's a really fine exfoliator you mix yourself and it's gentle enough to use every day. It leaves my skin feeling soft, smooth and calm rather than like it's been scrubbed really severely.
  • MultiActive Toner - a nice, gentle toner, nothing harsh.
  • Skin Hydrating Masque - one of the best moisturising masks I've ever used, it's really hydrating but light so I think it would be ideal if you struggle with heavier products clogging your pores.
  • MultiVitamin Power Firm - really good under eye gel.

I'll definitely be repurchasing the Daily Microfiliant and the hydrating masque - plus I've got my eye on their pre-cleanse which I haven't used for ages and their blackhead clearing pore control scrub.

For stockist details, please call 0800 591818 or visit

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Valentine's Bouquet from Blossoming Gifts and exclusive 33% discount code!

Wow, I feel like last month was the busiest January I've ever had - a wedding, a hen party, travelling to Switzerland for work, a baby shower, friends and family staying with us, my husband had (very minor) surgery along with everything else. Normally nothing happens in January so I don't really know what's going on here!

Anyway, things are a bit more back to normal now it's February and you know what that means...Valentine's Day! Generally we don't do too much for Valentine's but we'll get each other a card and maybe a little token gift such as flowers, so here's a bit of inspiration:

I was sent this Scented Lily & Rose bouquet to review from Blossoming Gifts. It's a really pretty pink bouquet consisting of pink oriental lilies, sweet avalanche roses, greenbell and cinerea eucalyptus.  I love lilies and avalanche roses so this was definitely a bouquet made with me in mind - the only thing I'm not wild on with lilies is the smell but these don't actually seem to smell too strong which is great news!

As Valentine's day is on a Sunday you'll be pleased to know you can get these flowers delivered on a Sunday - mine arrived last Sunday and they still look absolutely great. They were a little closed when they arrived but opened within a couple of days. They also arrived well packaged and when they were meant to which is always what you want, especially if you're ordering them as gifts for other people.

Another great piece of news is that Blossoming Gifts are offering 33% off bouquets for my readers using the following code at checkout:


I absolutely love fresh flowers so I might actually order some more once these have faded a bit...

Are you doing anything exciting for Valentine's Day? Or are you more of a pancake day sort of gal?

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

How to use gel polish and nail polish together – gelly sandwich!

I’ve thought for a while about combining my normal polish with a gel topcoat and base coat but I’ve never actually got round to testing it as I feel like it’s a lot of time and effort for something that might not work out – and at the minute spare time isn’t something I’ve got a lot of!

I wear gel polish 99% of the time these days as I find it means I’m not doing my nails every couple of days and it definitely stops my nails from snapping.

Anyway, my lovely mother gave me this fab OPI polish (Make Light of the Situation) that I really wanted to try so I decided that this was the time to try out layering polish and gels. With hindsight I probably could have just layered it over the top of my gel polish like a topcoat but I wanted to try it out properly so I went for it.

I did my gel polish as normal (using NYK1 Secrets in Nude – full kit review here), using the base coat and colour coat. I then added a layer of the OPI normal polish, stuck my hands under the UV lamp just to speed up drying time, then added the top coat and cured as normal. When I wiped off the sticky top layer, everything stayed in place.

Some of the tutorials I read in the run up were about using normal polish only and just the gel top and base coat, apparently you have to wait as long as possible for every individual layer of normal polish to try before you add top coat and cure otherwise when you wipe the sticky layer off the top coat the wet polish underneath just comes away.

I’m really pleased with the end result, I think the glitter works really well with the nude gel and makes a nice, subtle nude mani with a nice sparkly twist. It’s lasted way better than normal polish usually does too so I’ll definitely be trying this again! I’ve got a lot of fab nail polish colours that I’m just not using at the minute because gel has taken over my life.

Saying all this I still want to get some more gel colours from NYK1 Secrets – a white, a light grey and a black with glitter I think, but maybe I’ll just keep experimenting with my polish colours for the time being. I'm still trying to be a bit better at using things up before buying new things so...

This is probably going to be my last post before Christmas so hope you have an amazing one!

Monday, 21 December 2015

Feeling festive? Take UKTV's Christmas quiz!

I’ve got a bit of festive fun for you on the blog today - a fab Christmas quiz from UKTV!  

Do you know your Delboy from your documentaries? Your reality from your River Cottage? Then this is probably the quiz for you this Christmas!

There are three different levels to challenge you and have to admit I found hard really, really hard despite the fact that Christmas is usually the time of year when I watch the most TV so I went for easy on most of them which means I scored less points (oops). To find out more about the quiz or to give it a go click here.

I could actually see this being a great challenge for the family on Christmas day (disclaimer: I am not responsible for any family arguments/rivalries that emerge as a result of this quiz).

You can take the quiz here – let me know your score!

Monday, 7 December 2015

Kérastase Resistance Ciment Thermique Resurfacing Reinforcing Milk

I'm completely fed up of my hair at the minute. It's still recovering from the hair disaster I had about 18 months ago where my hair snapped off around the top from overprocessing so I still have some layers in there (put in to disguise the snappage) which I just want to grow out, it feels a bit mumsy and old fashioned - I want a nice, blunt, one length bob. I had loads cut off the length overall a couple of months ago which felt great, it was a bit wispy and sad at the ends.

The colour is annoying me too! After having to go from white/grey to having loads of root then brown ombre with blonde at the ends, I went back to a more natural blonde for my wedding but I'm still not really happy with the colour. At the minute I'm trying to force myself to just let my roots grow and finally get my hair back to my natural colour without needing to dye or highlight. I'll probably grow the roots out completely to my real colour and then be like "hmm, time to dye it."

As well as going for the chop and stopping using heated styling tools (I probably heat style once every 6 weeks if that - since it's been cut it needs way less styling to look good), I'm also working to find the right products for hair to keep it nourished and healthy. I'm using Ojon shampoo and conditioner, I've been taking hair supplements and I'm also using Kerastase Resistance Ciment Thermique Resurfacing Reinforcing milk when I blowdry after my hairdresser recommended it.

It's really good and helps protect my hair. If I blow dry it holds the shape much better. It smells great too (quite citrusy), feels really light in your hair and you only need a tiny amount so it's definitely going to last for ages. It's reactivated by heat so if you do use heat on it again it holds it in place, it also supposedly makes blow drying quicker but I haven't noticed that to be honest. I would definitely recommend this though, I've been using it for a few months now and I do feel it's made a difference to my hair.

As a kid I had ridiculously thick, shiny hair but after dyeing, bleaching, straightening/curling for about 20 years it's just a bit rubbish and I want to get it back to it's natural state.

Friday, 4 December 2015 - make beauty appointments with ease!

I don't know if it's Christmas or work or just life in general but I don't seem to have time to spare at the minute. As ever, the internet is proving to be my saviour - I'm researching and buying everything Christmas related online, I'm booking doctors appointments through an app on my phone, I'm organising parties with families and friends through email/WhatsApp and finally booking some much needed beauty appointments using

Basically, you just add in your location - have to warn you it probably works best if you're in or near a big city, though I did find some nearer me in my little part of suburbia - and the type of treatment you're looking for. I work in the middle of Manchester so making lunchtime or after work appointments at salons is really easy.

It's really straightforward to use and I found the process saves a lot of time trawling different salon websites (a lot of them don't even have websites) or making calls to find out if they do a certain treatment, how much it is and what their availability is.  There's pretty much every treatment you could ever imagine on there too which is really really helpful!

They're also giving away a pair of Huda Beauty lashes (you'll definitely have seen them on Instagram) with every booking made in December so if you're thinking about booking in for some pampering there's no better time!

To find out more about the services available visit

Having a bit of a makeover!

Just bear with me if it looks a bit strange for a while...being beautiful is never easy!

Sunday, 22 November 2015

A Rustic Christmas

It's coming! The adverts have started, the weather's got colder and there seems to be an influx of Christmas jumpers appearing in the shops!  With this in mind, it's got me thinking about changing up our Christmas decorations.  When we first moved in together 5 years ago we went for a 'more is more' approach on our silver and purple colour theme.

Obviously my tastes have totally changed in those 5 years and I kind of want a more rustic, Nordic type of Christmas theme this year so it got me thinking about starting again with some new decorations. Here's some of my inspiration:

I definitely want a new christmas tree as well and I think the one above looks really natural.

What theme are you going for with your decorations this year? Do you like the rustic Christmas look?

Friday, 20 November 2015

Madam Glam Nail Polish Review and EXCLUSIVE Black Friday Discount

I was recently sent these gorgeous polishes by Madam Glam to review. The colours I was sent were:

All of these polishes were really easy to work with and dried pretty quickly. Obviously with the confetti ones there needed to be a bit of placement for the confetti but that's always the case. The bottles and brushes were great to use.I was massively impressed with these polishes and will definitely look into buying more in future - they were actually really well packaged too, great for a gift (hint hint).

I'm also pleased to let you know that Madam Glam have given me a code which will entitle the first 10 buyers who use it with 40% off and then 30% off for the buyers after that. It can be used up until the 27th November 2015.  To take advantage of the discount just click here and use the coupon code BFbeautyandtheblogger at checkout.

Let me know if you buy anything and don't forget to send some pics!

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Winter Wedding Make Up Look

If it wasn't for my husbands work schedule, I would definitely have got married in winter - I love the thought of a really crisp winters day, a nice fur bolero and some nice glam crystal touches in the day. I know my wedding day has been and gone but I did my make up earlier and thought it would look lovely as a winter bridal look, you don't want to look washed out or too made up for the day.

I decided to create a winter wedding look here:

I went for a natural contour, netural metallic eyes with a touch of liner and some white to highlight the inner corners of my eye. I have lash extensions on at the moment but I think false lashes are a must for wedding make up as they look great in photos (remember, those photos will be around for a LONG time) - I'd probably use quite a fluffy style like Ardell Demi Wispies. Rather than using gold highlighters, I used ones with a pinky tone as I feel like that works a bit better in harsh winter light and looks a little bit softer. I've also finished off with a pink lip as I think it works better than a nude one in winter.

Here's a little out-take of me mid-contouring (I used normal Rimmel Concealer and Illamasqua Gel Sculpt) too ha ha:

Here's what I used:



I think this type of winter wedding look is really easy to recreate and would look gorgeous with a statement hairpiece/tiara, something crystal and ice-like maybe. I love these beautiful hairpieces from Rosie Willett Designs:

Rosie Willett Designs - Zara 1 - £388

Rosie Willett Designs - Amaris - £195

I spotted a bridal make up tutorial on her website too from Carley Musleh from Beauty Sauce which is fab.

For more of my wedding related posts (including my actual wedding make up) click here.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Blossoming Gifts Autumn Sunset Bouquet Review and 33% discount code!

You must know by now how much I love cut flowers right? Here's the latest bouquet I've kindly been sent from Blossoming Gifts - it's their Autumn Sunset bouquet that consists of cerise germini, pink sweet avalanche roses (my faves!), orange lilies (another fave) and sugar flair hypericum berries.

I absolutely love how bright this bouquet is! When it first arrived the lilies were closed but over a week they've all opened up and the delicate pink roses are still looking good. It doesn't smell overpowering or anything, I know some people who don't like roses or lilies because they find them too scented....not me.

The bouquet was well packaged, the flower delivery arrived on time and even came with a little box of chocolates which was a lovely touch - especially as they were my favourite chocolates...pralines!

The lovely people at Blossoming Gifts have kindly given my readers a 33% off discount code to enter at checkout, so if you're looking for flowers by post or some nice Cheap Flowers, just enter: BGIFTS33

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Xen Tan Luminous Gold Gel False Tan Review

I was sent this to review a while ago and finally got round to using it before I went to November wedding on a bit of a grey day where I definitely felt like tan was a must!

When I first opened this up to use it I was really surprised - I know it's called luminous gold but it literally is a gold, glittery gel that out of context you'd never guess was a fake tan, especially as it doesn't have that biscuity smell at all.

I actually felt quite worried applying this, usually I prefer a guide colour so I can work out if I've missed any spots, and I found it a bit difficult to work out where I'd put it but you can kind of see it, glossy and glittery. There's no colour to it at all so I was just hoping it actually developed overnight - when I came downstairs from applying it my husband was like "I thought you were doing your tan?" as you couldn't tell at all. It dries pretty quickly too, so not hanging around in your pants for hours.

I was so happy when I got up and it had developed into a proper tan, not orange at all, more olive-y.  Unfortunately there were a couple of areas that I'd missed as suspected (all on my feet and ankles) but as it only takes 3 hours to develop I just filled in the blanks as I had about 5 hours until I needed to be ready and it sorted out.

I actually preferred the colour the day after, after I'd had another shower, as it was a bit more subtle for November. I liked this tan and found it really easy to use for the most part, it would be perfect if you were going somewhere and didn't want to have that streaky/dirty "just-in-the-middle-of-tanning" look. Saying that though I'd probably prefer to buy a tan with a guide colour next time as I usually do it just before bed anyway.

Find out more about Xen Tan Luminous Gold Gel self tanner here.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Want some customised Tweezerman tweezers engraved with a message of your choice? Head to the Trafford Centre tomorrow!

Who doesn't love a bit of customisation?

Beauty tools experts Tweezerman are going to be in store in Selfridges Manchester Trafford Centre tomorrow ready to engrave any purchased Tweezerman make up brush or tweezer with a message of your choice.

Head down to Selfridges tomorrow (4th November 2015) between 10am-10pm to get your message on any Tweezerman purchase. I've actually lost my trusty zebra print tweezers (they're about 10 years old from Boots and to be honest they were a bit worse for wear) - I'm going to pop down tomorrow as I feel like there's a set of pink Tweezerman tweezers literally with my name on them.

Microdermabrasion Facial at Pure Clinic Manchester Review

I recently visited Pure Clinic Manchester for a microdermabrasion facial at their salon just off Albert Square in Manchester City Centre. I'm having typical winter skin problems at the moment - dry, tired looking with some congestion. Sorry for TMI as well but I am absolute terrible for not leaving blemishes alone which doesn't help my skin at all.

The clinic is in a fairly anonymous office building in Manchester up a few flights of stairs, it didn't wow me from the outside but on the inside it was much better - light, airy, relaxing and fresh feeling. There isn't any signage on the ground floor so just keep going until you see the clinic!

I was introduced to my therapist Nadia (BeautyGuruNadia) who did an analysis of my skin and lifestyle. She was absolutely spot on with her observations and customised the microdermabrasion treatment to match what my skin needed, giving me plenty of tips. She was even really careful to work around my lash extensions which she mentioned before I even asked.

In my head I expected microdermabrasion to be quite intense and not that relaxing but actually I was totally wrong! I thought I would effectively have my face sanded but that wasn't right at all.  It was basically a really relaxing and refreshing facial using Dermaquest products, the main difference being that they use very light suction (again, not unpleasant) to remove dead skin cells from the exfoliation - again, this is a chemical exfoliation rather than a scrub which I prefer as it feels a bit less harsh.

My skin felt amazing afterwards, it looked really smooth and hydrated, I actually felt like my skin was glowing. I didn't have any redness or discomfort after the treatment at all and actually left my make up off for the rest of the weekend which isn't the norm at all.

Here's a before and after (the after is the next day at my in-laws house and in all fairness is probably in more flattering lighting but there was still a huge improvement in my skin) - please excuse the absolute state of me on the first one, that's my make up free skin in all its glory usually.
I really enjoyed my visit to Pure Clinic and would happily return in future, I found Nadia really professional and definitely saw the benefits of microdermabrasion to my skin (I'll be having it again). They do a lot of different treatments so I might check some of those out. For more information please visit the Pure Clinic website.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Cryotherapy Treatment at Nicky Clarke Manchester

I recently had a beauty treatment which I was really excited about - celeb fave cryotherapy! Most people I've told about it are like "er, what's cryotherapy?" so I'll try and explain it here.

It basically exposes selected body parts (or your face) to extreme cold temperatures using liquid nitrogen to tighten, firm and lift. It also burns between 500-800 calories per 40 minute session which is a nice bonus. The treatment gives instant results and it's recommended that you have a course for better results. Cryotherapy UK focus on individual areas for treatment rather than the full body and it can have really good effects on sports injuries too.

As my stomach is my total problem area I chose to have cryotherapy on it in the hope of inch reduction and just a general firming. Even when I've been skinny in the past (er, I'm not now at all) I've still always had a little tummy which is annoying.

I was a bit nervous but Kelly, the cryotherapist(?) who carried out my treatment was lovely. She was really friendly, knew the treatment inside out and made me feel really comfortable - no mean feat when I'm hanging around in my pants waiting to freeze. I expected it to be uncomfortable but far from it, it was actually pretty relaxing.  You lay down on the bed and one side at a time, cold air is drifted over your stomach from a tube attached to this fairly industrial-looking, impressive piece of kit.

You feel the air getting colder but at no point did it feel too cold or I felt like I couldn't handle it. The time passed really quickly as I chatted to Kelly about this and that. She did my right side first and you can actually see the difference between the side that has been done and the side that hasn't.

Afterwards I felt like I was holding my stomach in all the time (I wasn't) which actually felt a bit odd but it definitely felt firmer. I found it quite funny that my tummy stayed cold to the touch for a few hours afterwards but I suppose that's to be expected when the temperature on it's been -160 degrees! Kelly measured me before and after and I lost two inches overall from my stomach.  I actually can't believe I'm posting photos of my stomach online but the results are pretty impressive so here we go, these pics were taken 40 minutes apart:
I actually really want to try this on my face as I think the results would be amazing and would really lift your face. I'd definitely have this on my stomach again, probably before an event (maybe Christmas parties?) or something so that the results were visible.  I wish I'd had this before my wedding and I've actually recommended it to my husband as he's had some ongoing issues with his shoulder for the last couple of years. I just had one treatment but a course is more beneficial.

The Manchester clinic is located above Nicky Clarke in Spinningfields, just off Deansgate and is really easy to find. For more information visit Cryotherapy UK.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Elegant Touch House of Holland Nails - Bloodthirsty

This was another House of Holland Nails impulse buy - as I've said before I love the look of long, pointy (or tapered) nails but I can never be bothered to keep up maintenance on them. I'll get them done once and then remove them...really don't know why.

So, when I want fancy hands, it's much easier (and cheaper) for me to pop some nails on myself. Behold, Bloodthirsty:

I don't really have much else to say other than love the packaging, love the nails, easy to apply, they last well and come with glue. My fave part is that the underside of the black nails have red glitter on them, kind of like the Loub nails that were everywhere a couple of years ago with a twist.

I had loads of comments on them, including the fact that they're very Halloween-y which I suppose they are (just around the corner remember....)

You can buy House of Holland nails from Boots.


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