Category Archives:Random Waffle

What the hell is that?
Mar. 04.

Waffle Wednesday: I’m Back! (Well, Almost)

Robyn RHello there! I’ve been kind of absent the past while, but the good news is that I’m just about back to doing whatever it is that I do here (if anyone knows what I’m meant to be doing here, let me know in a comment, please and thank you). It will take me a couple of days to figure out what is sitting in the review box (which looks like a bomb has hit it) and decide what to write about, but I’m finally able to get my mind back to what I enjoy doing most.

I apologise for my absence, but, as some of you may know (I’ve written about it a lot) I have been dealing with some complicated health issues for the past year and a bit, and it all got too much for me. Having your entire existence dictated by when you do (or don’t) have appointments with hospitals, doctors or nurses is not easy. I’ve said it before, but if you’ve been through it, you know what I mean, and if you haven’t, I hope you never have to. Concentrating on the blog, and well, concentrating on anything really, became almost impossible, so I took a break.

Fortunately though, on February 19th, I found myself in hospital, for a long awaited and looked forward to major surgery (I know that sounds weird, like I’m some kind of surgical masochist) to finally solve the kidney problem I was having – I’ll avoid the gory details, as it is bad enough that I know the mess that was made in there. It was a messy surgery (I left the ward at 8.30 and didn’t get back until that evening), and quite probably involved the doctors looking like this:

What the hell is that?

What the hell is that?

It was all a success, and after a week of recovery, heavy painkillers (morphine on tap for 3 days) and some fairly forgettable food (though not entirely bad this time, my nagging worked) I was deemed fit enough to go home (they really just needed the bed – as was demonstrated by the loud conversation about bed demands just outside my door before asking if I wanted to go home).

So, after almost another week at home, I’m at the point where the pain has more or less gone (unless I move stupidly) I am in a good mood and can pay attention to doing things like blogging again (woohoo!).

Bear with me a couple more days, and I’m sure I will find something to rant and rave about really soon! Expect topics to include the search for a good manicure, pedicure, brow shape and hairstyle (all things that have been neglected for a while) but don’t expect me to be talking about swimsuit season this year (not being able to be active for too long, and the huge scar that now wraps around my waist can be blamed for that).

Thank you for sticking with me through all this!

Robyn

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r white
Jan. 25.

I seem to be in a bit of a slump

Please excuse the lack of posting the last while. I unfortunately can’t seem to find the motivation to write anything for the blog at the moment, which is annoying, both for myself and my readers. I am still trying out products, and hopefully will be back with something new and interesting to show you soon. Life, though, is being awkward. Please bear with me!

Robyn

 

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r white
Dec. 31.

Review of The Year 2014

Robyn RIt’s December 31st, there are less about 4 hours left in the year as I write this, and it means that I really should do my review of the year. I should go through each months, highlight my favourite posts, which posts got the most hits and so on, but well, I love all my posts, so I would be here until December 31st next year choosing. Instead, I’m going to do things a little differently…

I made one resolution at the end of last year, to blog more often, at least once a week, and I’m glad to say I’ve exceeded that, blogging 6 days a week as much as possible. I’m glad I did, because it brought me closer to my dear readers (without you the blog is just me waffling into cyber oblivion) and I’ve had some great opportunities to try new products and learn more about the beauty industry as a result. The main reason I’m glad I’ve blogged so much this year though, is that it has been a brilliant outlet and distraction. A distraction that was very much needed.

As many of you know from reading the Robyn Rants & Raves, I haven’t been well this year. Since my visit to the hospital near the end of 2013, I’ve been unwell. It hasn’t been pleasant. It’s interfered with my life for over a year now, and looks to stretch at least a little into 2015. It’s been a year of many hospital visits, countless procedures, and more waiting than is right for any person to have to put up with. I’ll just not mention the food. If there has been any year that could have beaten me, it is this year.

But it hasn’t. It has done one thing, that the endless optimist in me has to concede is the highlight of the year. It has had me prove to myself just how resilient and positive I can be. It has been difficult to remain so positive at times, I’ll admit. There have been times when I’ve just wished it could all be over, when there have been long waits, or things have not been going as they should, but I’d defy anyone to want to be unwell. But it is the end of the year and I am still here. I am still going and still looking forward to getting to the end of being unwell. It is said that it is only in dark times that you find out how strong you can be, and now that makes much more sense to me.

Now to 2015. What can be my resolution for next year? To be healthier? Sure that’s a given after this year. Something blogging related? Well, the main thing is to get back to regular blogging service, but after that I want to keep improving the blog and making it the best I can. That’s not a resolution though. If there is one resolution I can make, it should be to not lose the positivity I have found. Positivity is a tremendous thing, and it would be a shame to lose it.

And so, if you have read this, or indeed any post on Robyn Rants & Raves this year, you have been a part of my 2014, and I love you for being a part of it. And I wish you the very best for your 2015. Be positive, it will be a great year for you! Now stop reading this and go celebrate!

Robyn

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Tree
Dec. 06.

Something Else Saturday: The Christmas Tag

ses-tree-thI’ve been tagged by two people to do the Christmas Tag, namely Amy from Red Lips;Red Hair, and Sam from All The Buzz. As I love these ladies so so much I really couldn’t say no. It’s very simple. There are 10 questions about Christmas, and I answer them. Easy peasy!

1. What is your favourite Christmas movie/s?

Usually, with so many people crowded into the house at Christmas, it is very difficult to watch anything, as someone else grabs the remote every 5 minutes. That said, I do like Die Hard (It’s set at Christmas, so it’s a Christmas movie) and I also enjoyed The Santa Clause & Home Alone when I was younger.

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas eve or on Christmas morning?

Open presents on Christmas Eve?!?! HAHA they’re usually only being wrapped on Christmas Eve! That’s how organised I am! They never stay wrapped for long though, being opened again on Christmas Morning.

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?

As children, we would usually be awake at about 4.30 on Christmas Morning, inevitably waking up the grinchy uncle who had only gone to bed within the previous hour. Somehow we would occupy ourselves with Christmas Stockings for 60-90 minutes, while trying not to wake grinchy uncle (again) before waiting on the stairs for my dad to clean up reindeer droppings and eventually declare the sitting room open.

4. Favourite Christmas food

The Christmas Pudding, which is generally made in batches of 6 in the house. One is consumed when it is just made. One a couple of days later. Two more are sacrificed over the 25th and 26th, with another one around new year’s. One may survive long enough to be hidden and be left to mature in a bottle of whisky for a year, before being eaten. Yum!

5. Favourite Christmas gift

Being an almost Christmas baby (December 18th) I was very lucky to be given, as a combined 21st birthday/Christmas present from my parents, a ticket to the middle of the United States, so I could spend Valentine’s Day with my then girlfriend, who was 4,068 miles away.

6. Favourite Christmas scent

The combined smells of Christmas Pudding and my mum’s sage and onion sausagemeat stuffing cooking. It makes everyone gather in the kitchen, which is really too small to allow people to gather, so we are all promptly thrown out again.

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?

Our Christmas Eve Tradition is very simple. Stay out of the kitchen, lest ye get smacked around the head with a wooden spoon. Aside from that, usually go and collect grinchy uncle from the airport (except for 2010, where I drew the short straw and had to drive through the snow to collect him from the ferryport. He’s a professional driver, while I had not long been in possession of my first car).

8. What tops your tree?

A bird box, but don’t tell Coillte. Seriously though, a star tops the tree. The same one that has done for about 2 decades now.

9. As a kid, what was the one extravagant gift you asked for but never got?

With so many kids in the house, extravagant was never an option. We never asked, and were never disappointed!

10. What’s the best part about Christmas for you?

A combination of the food, as I do really REALLY love excellent food (just ask my waistline), and the family getting along with each other for a while. Having everyone together, and happy is a great thing!

And there you have it, my Christmas Tag. Once again, thank you to Amy and Sam, and as I can’t think of anyone specific to tag that hasn’t already done it, I’m going to leave it open. If you like what you’ve seen, go for it!

Robyn

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poseidon2
Oct. 08.

Waffle Wednesday: There’s Something In The Water

ww-fish-thOkay, I may as well say it now. This is not a post about Irish Water or water charges. I’m not going to get involved in that discussion. Instead I am going to talk about something else in the water. Something moving, something swimming. Something fishy.

Years ago, as I child I remember keeping a pet goldfish. He was won at the fair, and was put into a pudding bowl of water, expecting only to last a week with him. He lasted several years. Then someone gave the family a gift of a large, 4 foot long fish tank, lights, stand, the works. Just add fish. So we did, and at maximum capacity we had 24 fish of different colours, shapes and sizes. Again we had the fish for years quite happily, until somehow the tank got chipped, leaked and the fish died. And that was that, until recently.

Lir

Lir, the Lionhead Ranchu

I had been thinking about keeping fish again for a while. For one, I find it incredibly soothing to watch fish. I could spend hours staring at them, watching them do their thing, and be content doing it (both me and the fish). It is also a great way of learning about the management of them. Childhood me was wrong about just putting a fish in a bowl of tap water it seems. There are so many procedures to work through to get everything set up before you even think about fish. But I found myself a tank, the right equipment, water additives and decorations, set them up, and a few days later got some fish.

poseidon2

Poseidon, The Fantail Goldfish

In adding fish to the tank I went for three species, a Lionhead Ranchu, which is like a golf ball with no fin on his back and a flowing tail, and two fantail goldfish, which are like normal goldfish, except a little fatter and they have a double tail. These were called Lir, Poseidon and Amphitrite, after Gods and Goddesses of the sea.

amphitrite2

Amphitrite, The Fantail Goldfish

Then there was 6 White Cloud Mountain Minnows, which look like little silver streaks, with vibrant red tails. There was no way I was going to be able to tell them apart, so I just collectively called them the Minions, as a play on words of minnow, and as they were going to be under control of the Goldfish Gods.

minions

The (White Cloud Mountain) Minions

Or so I thought. Things didn’t work out that way. I am not sure whether it was through poor quality fish, or poor set up and care on my part, but Lir, the Ranchu, died within 36 hours. Poseidon and Amphitrite followed between one and two days later. It was gutting to think that as a clueless kid, I kept goldfish quite happily in a bowl of tap water, but when I try to do things properly, things turned into a disaster. I was fortunate enough that where I got the goldfish from offered me a credit note for them (and a lecture on how I must be doing things wrong) but it was still not a pleasant experience.

Unfortunately too, I lost one of the Minions around the same time, but I believe that was accidental where the poor thing swam into the base of a decorative plant and got stuck. By the time I found him again the next day it was too late. Since then though things have settled down, the remaining 5 minions have settled in, and yesterday, just under two weeks after the disaster I was able to add in a few more fishy friends, in the form of 6 Zebra Danios, which “look like the stripy toothpaste” as blogger and fish lover Amy from Red Lips; Red Hair put it. They’ve come to be known as The Herd (zebras come in herds, and that’s enough logic for me).

It is good to see some life in the tank again, as while it is a fairly modest desktop tank, the fish are only small too. The Herd add a lot of playfulness to the tank, as they can always be seen chasing each other, or the Minions around. Feeding time too is a joy to watch, as once the food hits the water the whole lot explode into action, leading to a minute of total craziness before they start settling down again. Below is a video of feeding time if you don’t believe me!

Do you, or have you kept fish? Are you more of a furry four legged, eight legged or snake fan? Please do let me know!

Robyn

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top10-all
Oct. 05.

Something Else Saturday: Top Ten Tag

top10-thYes I know it’s Sunday, but I was lazy and sore yesterday so you’ll just have to live with my slightly delayed Something Else Saturday post, as requested by Nicholle Bartlett, who two weeks ago tagged me to do the Top Ten Tag. If I have this right, there are 10 makeup categories, and I pick my top product from each. Seems simple enough, so lets get into the products!

Foundation – Max Factor Skin Luminizer

top10-foundation

Since arriving on my desk this has become a firm favourite of mine. It is a great light shade, isn’t too sheer or too heavy, and lasts really well!

Concealer – Benefit Fake Up

top10-concealer

This is great for use where there are spots or dark circles on my face (read: everywhere). It is hydrating, creamy, and works really well in connection with my foundation to even things up.

Powder – Benefit Hello Flawless

top10-powder

This could nearly be considered as another foundation, but I love layering it on top of foundations or BB creams as a setting powder. It has a little colour in it, mattifies and keeps my face in place FOREVER!

Blush – NYC Cheek Glow

top10-blush

Perfect for a sheer, buildable pop of colour, these really do add a glow to your cheeks.

Bronzer – Physicians formula Season to Season

top10-bronzer

It’s 4 shades of bronzer in one, all of which are lovely on their own or mixed. What more do you want?

Highlighter – MeMeMe Beat The Blues

top10-highlighter

Bigger, cheaper and possibly better than High Beam. Enough said!

Mascara – Lancome Hypnose Doll Eyes

top10-mascara

I got this during the Debenhams €10 offer and it is genuinely lovely. Maybe I don’t use it often enough though, as I am always looking for new products to slather on my face!

Eyeshadow – Sleek iDivine Palette Range

top10-shadow

I have the limited edition Celestial palette here, but generally, just get your hands on as many of these babies as you can and be happy!

Brows – Maybelline Brow Drama

top10-brows

With this my *sigh* brows become WOWS in seconds. The medium brown shade I use is perfect for daytime wear, when I don’t want my brows to be over the top. Just brush it in and be done!

Lips – Wet n Wild Megalast Range

top10-lips

Specifically here I have Cherry Bomb and Sugar Plum Fairy, which I got before I knew they were dupes for MAC. Either way they are intensely pigmented and last so well. Cheap as chips too. Result :-)

And that’s my top 10. I think there is a good mix of budget and higher end products there, which shows that sometimes budget can be better.

Of course, this is a tag, so I tag:

What do you think of my choices? Agree or disagree or just think I am an idiot? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Robyn

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greenangel
Sep. 07.

Something Else Sunday: Blogger Meet Up

ses-bloggermeetBloggers are known for being social creatures. We love getting together to have a coffee or a cocktail, a chat and to swap tales and favourites. Really, going to blogger meet ups is one great perk of the whole blogging thing. So, I was really happy to be able to attend a blogger meet up in Dublin yesterday, kindly and brilliantly organised by the amazing Anita of Anita’s Beauty Spot.

We found ourselves downstairs in Costa Coffee on College Green (yes there is a downstairs area) in what appears to be a cross between a cellar and a church. The lighting wasn’t great, but as it is a private room, it was a great place for us all to gather to see what was new, including the chance to have a look at a number of new products.

adoreabubbles beauty units

Adoreabubbles Beauty Units

sarah

Sarah from Adoreabubbles

Among the new products and businesses on display were these Adoreabubbles Beauty Units, handmade by fellow blogger Sarah from Adoreabubbles. Being a fellow blogger and having far too much to keep organised, she has turned her idea into a small business, and was on hand to both chat and let us know about her business. I am really impressed by the idea of the nail polish stand, which holds up to 150 polishes. I have to seriously consider getting one, as at 140 polishes I have just maxed out my IKEA picture shelves.

paese

New Nail Polishes from Paese

martha paese

Martha from Paese

Speaking of polishes, we were treated to a visit from Martha, the founder of Paese Cosmetics, who was on hand to launch her new ranges of nail polish, a range of pastel shades (the blue she has on her nails is gorgeous, and a more neutral toned silk range. One of the silk range may just be making an appearance for Manicure Monday tomorrow!

It is great to see people who are so passionate about their products come to talk to us, including Jane from Mondss Underarm Wear. Inspired by a need and the fact that there was no product available that fit what she needed, she created a unique product and a business opportunity for herself, and was again on hand to let us know about it. It is a little difficult to explain the product without showing it to you (so it is on my list of things to review properly) but it is amazing to see the commitment that went in to taking the product from an idea to market.

greenangel

Green Angel Skincare

One product range that I found delightful was the range from Green Angel Skincare, an Irish company that has won multiple awards for their natural products. It’s a pity I can’t transmit smells over the internet because these smell absolutely divine. I didn’t know it was possible to put so many deliciously scented products. I got to try out their award winning body scrub (on my hands anyway) and between the wake you up scent of zingy lemon, the way it really does work, and the moisturising oils, I couldn’t help but be impressed by it.

A small selection of the raffle prizes

A small selection of the raffle prizes

Of course, at these meet ups, there is an element of charity involved, and yesterday was no different, with a raffle in aid of Console. The range of prizes on offer was exceptional. The generosity shown by the sponsors for the raffle prizes, or with little bits and pieces for goody bags was a sight to behold, and I really can’t say thank you enough to all those who supplied something (the list is as long as my arm)!

Sometimes I feel that we don’t get together to chat enough, so it was really enjoyable to spend an afternoon with other bloggers, and of course those who took time to chat about their businesses and products with us, so once again I should say thank you to Peter from Ziaja, Jane from Mondss, Martha from Paese, the commanding presence of Anne-Marie Gannon who made sure we were listening when we had to (and was most complimentary about my radio voice and professionalism with a camera – myself, my voice and my ancient Canon were very happy with that), Sarah from Adoreabubbles, Niabh from Green Angel, every blogger who was there (those who I got a chance to talk to and those I didn’t), and finally Anita (who made the whole day possible). I’m already looking forward to the next one!

Robyn

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Waffle-150x142
Sep. 03.

Waffle Wednesday: Managing the Blogger-Brand Relationship

ww-wafflethEarlier this week, an incident occurred where an unnamed brand sent an email to an unnamed blogger saying to take a review down or face legal action. It later transpired that it was all a big misunderstanding, but it did lead to a discussion as to how far a brand can go to deal with potentially unflattering reviews, how bloggers would respond, and just how quickly a relationship between a brand and bloggers can go sour.

While everything was unfolding on facebook and twitter, a number of bloggers stated that they would be reluctant, or just plain unwilling to post reviews of that brand that they were working on, out of fear that they would be turned on too, and that is completely understandable. After all, the majority of bloggers write their blogs for the fun and enjoyment they get out of it, and don’t expect to be put on the spot that way. It does though, make me wonder about how to manage the relationship between blogger and brand.

Firstly, one main thing is important. Both sides have rights and responsibilities. The blogger has the right to write and share their opinions of a product, free from pressures from the brand to say things a particular way. The blogger though, has the responsibility to be fair, honest and truthful in their review. They can’t go and say that something is the best thing ever, when it really isn’t, just because they have been given free products to try out, as then nobody will trust what the blogger has to say. But likewise, they can’t go and present something that isn’t true, just out of spite. They can’t say that a brand, for example, tests products on puppies and fluffy bunnies when it just isn’t true.

The brand though, has the right to feedback, good or bad, on products that are sent for review. Even if the review never makes it up onto a blog, it can be helpful and polite to give some opinion on the product and that it is not going onto the blog as the product didn’t agree with you and you stopped using it/have too many reviews of similar products clumped together/insert your own reason here. It shows that the blogger and brand appreciate working together. At the same time the brand has the responsibility to accept what the blogger has to say about the product in question, provided it is truthful. After all, the brand is looking for opinions of normal people, written for normal people. It has a marketing department (usually) to come up with the shiny emotive wording for advertising, while a blogger gives the view of the everyday person using it. Both sides have their uses, but you don’t want everyone to be sprouting the same marketing lines about products.

When something does go amiss though, the way it is handled is unbelievably important. It can be so easy to send a snarky email to say take your review down NOW or else! But that is not the best way of doing things. Addressing concerns, where valid in a polite way, is more likely to get the intended result. Sending an email to say” Thank you for your review. We appreciate you taking the time to write about X. We would like to address a couple of things in your review, namely…” will almost always get a polite response, and the issue cleared up. In the vast majority of cases there is no malice intended by the blogger, and minor issues can be cleaned up, leaving everybody happy. Of course, you can’t tell someone to change their opinion, and you can’t guarantee that everyone’s opinion will be positive, but these things happen.

The knee-jerk reaction though, can backfire spectacularly though. As alluded to earlier in the post, once the original email was sent, the bigger blogging community found out about it, and opinion towards the brand turned really icy, really quickly. Blogging is a social activity, and bloggers are great about sharing information with other bloggers. A brand can suddenly see an entire community turning on them, just from one little faux-pas. That can lead to the opinions of those you want to hear, and that readers want to see, being distinctly unflattering, if they are voiced at all.

Both sides deserve the right to be respected. There are no winners from making threats against people for voicing their honest opinion, or making a small factual error. In the end, both brands and bloggers need to work together for the system to work, and in realising that, we are almost guaranteed an outcome that is acceptable to everyone.

Robyn

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Pic Credit: L.Stott/Butlinsmemories.com
Aug. 13.

Waffle Wednesday: Childhood Memories

ww-wafflethSomething has been going around my head for a while, and I’m open to hearing opinions on it. I’m pretty certain we all have memories of activities that we did as a child. The question I am thinking about, is that, in doing the same things as an adult, how does the experience change? Does it still hold the same sense of excitement and wonder that it did as a child?

Lets take, for example, something that was a summer staple for me as a child, a day trip to Mosney. There was always the excitement of getting up early, making sure swimsuits and towels, and a packed lunch were ready. Taking the dart to Dun Laoghaire to change over to the big diesel train that went out to Mosney. Getting off the train on what was basically a platform in the middle of nowhere, but seeing the park laid out in front of you. Then you got  into the park and there was Funtropica, the swimming pools, the playgrounds and amusements. Oh what a joy it was, and by the end of the day you’d be ready to flop onto the train to go home, thoroughly happy with yourself.

Pic Credit: L.Stott/Butlinsmemories.com

Pic Credit: L.Stott/Butlinsmemories.com

As an adult, is there the same sense of joy, or does a lot of it become banal and routine? Many of us use the train every day to go about our lives. It is just there, it is nothing special. Unfortunately, it is kind of difficult to revisit Mosney these days, considering it closed down in 2000 (14 years ago – wow!) but it still leads me to think about this question – is there something you had done as a child, which you’ve done recently as an adult?

What was it about the activity that makes it so memorable for you from your childhood? And, in doing the same thing as an adult, how has the experience changed? Was it as you remembered it from childhood, or did doing it as an adult change the experience for you, and if so, does it make it better, or worse? Please do share your thoughts.

Robyn

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Liege Waffle
Jul. 30.

Waffle Wednesday: My Absence

ww-wafflethFor those of you who regularly read the blog, you will know that I usually plan on writing 6 days per week, and that I had been struggling a bit before taking most of this month off. I feel that it only fair ro offer some kind of explanation for this.

For me, blogging is meant to be all about fun, and sharing my love with the world. Unfortunately, the fun kind of fell away from blogging for a while. I was working away on the blog, but I was feeling like my work wasn’t being appreciated. Page views were diminishing, people weren’t commenting, and I started to wonder what the whole point of it all was.

I was questioning what to do. What is the point of continuing to do something that I’m not enjoying? Yet, at the same time, I have made so many friends and learned so much through writing Robyn Rants and Raves, that to abandon the blog outright would have been a decision I just couldn’t make. So, I walked away from the blog for a while, originally expecting it to just be a week, but having it turn into three weeks.

It was actually an odd feeling, not writing something, or preparing things for the blog, but it was needed. Sometimes you just have to stop, walk away, and collect yourself before going back to it. In writing the first couple of posts for this week I found myself enjoying it again. I’m back to having fun with the blog, which is the most important thing. This isn’t a job. This isn’t something that is life and death. This is FUN. I don’t earn anything from it. If anything it costs me money. But I do it because I enjoy it, most of the time.

If you do find yourself in a similar situation, don’t get overly panicked about it. Do take a step back, relax and leave it for a bit. It will always be waiting for you when you are ready. And likewise, if you see a blog post that you enjoyed reading, or it is something that you can share advice or an opinion on, then PLEASE, do share it. Even a one line comment saying that you agree with the person, or that you recommend something to go with it, it shows that you appreciate the effort that has gone into the blog. Blogging is a social activity, and feeling that you are talking to yourself really, at the end of the day, helps nobody.

Robyn

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