Wednesday, 29 August 2012

L'Occitane Foot and Hand Cream

I thought I would share with you lovely ladies my latest beauty find from L'Occitane. A friend of mine got me these (knowing my love for beauty products) and I haven't stopped using them!
The foot cream is perfect for my neglected tootsies and smells divine! It contains Shea Butter, Lavender essential oil and Arnica to relieve tired feet. It's not overly thick and greasy so a little product goes a long way. It dries quite quickly and my feet feel instantly nourished and soft after using it just once.
As you can see in the picture above the foot cream is quite fine in consistency and you don't need a lot so the bottle is lasting quite a while.
The hand cream is so creamy and although it is thicker than the foot cream it doesn't feel heavy on the skin. It contains Shea butter, honey and almond extracts, all three are great for me as they are natural and don't irritate my skin like a lot of other hand creams do. I also love that it's not oily and I can feel it soaking in and nourishing my skin within a few minutes of applying it.
I love the packaging (being a packaging freak this is very important to me!) and they're a great size to pop in your handbag or make up bag. I even use the hand cream as a lip balm when I've run out of my usual one!
Both of the tubes are £8 for 30ml, which isn't the cheapest around but they really are worth it in my books. They also come in larger sizes of 150ml for £18.50.
What are you favourite L'Occitane products and which would you recommend?

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

My Daily Essentials - Skin, Hair and Beauty!

This post is all about my daily essentials, now I couldn't do all my products as there are a lot! So I chose the ones I really couldn't live without and use on a daily basis. It was tough to choose just a few but here they are....
 I recently did a blog post on the Real Techniques stippling brush and I use it every day to apply both the BB cream and the foundation over the top. It gives a great coverage and blends make up in well.
I previously used expensive shower gels like Molton Brown or Clarins but I found because they were expensive I didn't want to use them! Ridiculous way of thinking but I'm sure some of you can relate to that! So I decided to change to a less expensive brand and now I'm addicted to Doves Go Fresh range in the Cucumber and Green Tea scent. It's such a clean smelling scent and nourishing for my skin too.
I've included my D & G Light Blue perfume to this post even though I've done a perfume review before which you can read here. But as I use it practically every day I decided it had to be part of the post!
L'oreal Super Liner in Black Vinyl is fantastic and lasts all day.
On the left is the MAC Mineralize skinfinish highlighter in "Soft and Gentle" which is great for day or evening and can be built up for a more intense look. On the left is my favourite MAC blusher in "Margin".
I have started using the L'oreal Double Extension Mascara in Carbon Black again recently as it always gives great results and makes my lashes look long and volumised as opposed to some mascaras that either do one or the other!
I have very long hair and use a lot of heat when styling so before drying my hair I use Herbal Essences Beautiful Ends split ends protector cream on the ends of my hair which I think has really helped to reduce the amount of split ends I have.
I love my scented body lotions and slather loads on after a shower, but as I suffer from dry and sensitive skin I tend to fall back on my beloved Aqueous cream which can be used in the shower and as a moisturiser. It may not be in the prettiest packaging but it really makes a difference to my skin.
On the right is my eye shadow trio from 17 in "Barely there". This is perfect for the day as they are neutral colours and they all compliment each other.
I previously used an eyebrow pencil to shade in my brows but when I went to The Body Shop to replace my pencil the sales girl talked me into buying the Brow and Liner Kit which as you can see from the photo has two shades in the compact as well as a small double ended brush to fill in and line the brows. I couldn't be without it now and it gives a much more natural look to eyebrows. My kit is in Shade 03 which is for darker toned hair.
Mitchum Advanced Control 48 hour Anti-perspirant and Deodorant. I have used this for years now and have to say its the best deodorant I've ever used. It's not fancy and doesn't promise to minimise hair or not stain your clothes but it does a great job preventing me getting sticky and it lasts for 48 hours too.
I might do a review on this product so won't go into too much detail but the Liz Earle Intensive Treatment Mask is something I use at least once a week when my skin is feeling dry and needing a bit of TLC!
What are your daily essentials and products you can't live without??

Monday, 27 August 2012

Coloured Dry Shampoo's - Superdrug own Vs Batiste!

For me dry shampoo has been a life saver, particularly when I've overslept leaving me no time to wash my hair, only to look in the mirror to see oily roots! I've used Batiste for years, even before they introduced the coloured range. Back then I would have no greasy hair after using but my roots would look dusty and....*whispers* a bit grey. So the coloured range was a welcome new innovation for me, and cheaper than the super expensive brands sold in Space NK.
After running out of my usual Batiste dry shampoo I decided I would give the Superdrug Chocolate Brownie Dry Shampoo a try. This is 150ml can for £1.99 so its half the price of Batiste which is £3.99 for 200ml.
So initially the main difference is the price, cheaper but also a smaller amount of product. When I first used the Superdrug one I had washed my hair the previous day, so it wasn't exactly greasy but needed a lift volume wise. The Batiste one is great for adding a bit of volume and I use it even when my roots aren't greasy. I found with the Superdrug one it didn't give any lift or volume which I was surprised with but as it's not intended for volume I didn't think I should expect too much. A few days later I used it again to tackle my roots as they were teetering on the edge of needing a wash. There I was again with my Superdrug Chocolate Brownie and......nothing! It actually left my hair feeling a bit coated with something, but not in a good way :(
Very disappointing as I thought basically a dry shampoo would give results like any others?! Sadly not the case with this one. The only plus point was that it was true to its word and it does deliver a very dark colour to the roots and doesn't leave any dusty look to the hair. The smell is also very generic and isn't all that pleasant or refreshing to the hair.
I knew this was a bit of a test and it wouldn't necessarily work out that the cheaper one was better but it was surprising to see how differently they worked to one another. The Batiste one I use is for dark and deep browns, this doesn't deliver the same deep colour as the Superdrug one but it does give instant freshness and completely banishes oily roots as well as giving a bit of oomph to flat hair. It also smells quite nice which the Superdrugs own doesn't.
In future I'm going to stick with what I know works best - the Batiste range. Sorry Superdrug, this isn't a winner in my books!
What's your favourite dry shampoo?

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Brevity 3 - Step Beauty Regime - Free Trial Review

Last week I received a tweet from @Brevity_Beauty informing me of their new products and the free trial of the three step beauty regime they were offering. Never one to turn down a freebie I logged onto their website with lightning speed and requested my free sample. 3 days later there they were waiting for me to come home from work.
Inside the packet was a little bottle of cleansing lotion, cleansing bar with lather net (I know - what the hell?? But we'll get to that bit in a minute) and a small tub of the moisturising gel

Brevity's products contain ingredients including "marine collagen, licorice, geranium and Hyaluronic acid, all renowned for helping reduce fine lines and wrinkles, diminishing pigmentation spots and firming the skin".
With this little trio you use the clear cleansing lotion to remove all of your make up, followed by the cleansing bar to remove any impurities and then finishing off with the moisturising gel.
The clear cleansing lotion was great at removing my make up and I liked the texture of it. Now I realise this isn't supposed to be eaten but I did accidentally lick my lips whilst I was cleansing my face with this...big mistake, absolutely vile tasting which made me gag! Ooops. Won't be doing that again in a hurry!

You then put the cleansing bar into the net bag, get it wet and work up a lather which you then apply all over your face and give a good scrub with the palms of your hands. When I first saw the net bag I was thinking what am I supposed to do with this??? I thought it was quite gimmicky but it does really help to work up a lovely foamy lather from the cleansing bar. As advised in the directions - never ever put the net bag directly on to your face unless you want your skin scratched! This stage was my favourite part of the steps as this foamy bit left my skin so clean it actually squeaked - I kid you not! It left my skin feeling fresh and toned which is basically what I want from a cleanser.

The last part is applying the gel moisturiser as you would a normal moisturiser. This was nice and left my skin moisturised and hydrated.

Having used it for 4 days now I can see my face is a bit clearer but I think I need to use it for a bit longer to see what the long term results would be. I like that it leaves my skin really fresh and clean, although it has left my lips really dry and its hard to avoid get the product on them when you are washing your face. I usually use Liz Earle and I'm not sure I'm ready to change as I am quite happy with my existing cleanser and moisturiser but if I do decide to change I'd definitely think about buying this regime. The cleansing lotion and bar aren't too pricey at £22 and £15 but the moisturiser at £44 puts me off a bit.

To see the full details and range click here
I think Brevity are still offering the trial packs and any purchases at the moment come with a 5% discount so it's a good time to buy!

What are your favourite beauty regime products?
Have you tried Brevity and what do you think?


Saturday, 25 August 2012

Lee Stafford - Treatment For Hair That Never Grows Past A Certain Length Review

I've had this product quite a while now and didn't want to review it until I had used enough to see results.
Whilst I have very long hair and most would say I don't need it to grow any longer, following having bonded hair extensions for around 5 years I wanted to give my hair a boost and encourage it to grow just that little bit longer.
The treatment contains vital hair and scalp complex which helps to reduce any hair loss whilst improving health of the follicles. By improving the follicles you basically increase the ability of the hair to anchor to the scalp. The treatment is supposed to moisturise the scalp, improving the hair and scalp to prevent ageing of the cells, improving strength and giving body and texture. The growth treatment also helps to volumise and add texture to the hair.

Now volume is definitely something my locks could do with some of! I don't generally use treatments on my hair as too much product can build up on my hair making it look either greasy or completely lank - not the look I'm going for these days! (or ever, I'd like to add)

The tub is £7.99 for 200ml which initially I thought wasn't bad, however the directions are to use an egg sized amount each time you wash your hair. Hmmmm .... egg sized amount x 4 hair washes a week = a product that doesn't last very long! Having said that I didn't use it every single day and still saw results so I guess it's up to you how often you want to use it or how quick you want to see results.

The treatment itself is a light beige colour which smells fresh and clean, in fact my partner always comments how nice my hair smells after I use this. The fact that this product comes in a tub instead of a pump or bottle is a design fault as I always find these style products get quite messy as you end up juggling the lid and the runny product in your hands whilst trying to not get water in the tub! 

The idea is to leave this treatment on for about 5 minutes after shampooing, I leave mine on and wrap my hair in a warm towel for a deep nourishing mask. If anyone is going to get allergic to a product it's likely to be me so I was pleasantly surprised this didn't irritate my scalp or skin! It washes out easily and leaves my hair feeling soft (but not flyaway as fine hair can sometimes be) and healthy. I do agree it adds an element of volume to my hair but nothing spectacular that would have my recommending it for its volumising properties.

Ok, so the bit you really want to know is: Did it work for god sake woman!? And the simple answer is.....yes it really did! I am so sceptical about this sort of thing, promising things that can't be delivered, but I can honestly say I could see a visible increase in length - more than you would expect in 6 - 8 weeks. My hair is super long already but now I'd say it's at good inch longer after using this treatment. I didn't take any measurements so I can't be exact but it was enough to make me know it was this product that helped. I can't say I've noticed it being especially shiny which I was hoping for given that this should be helping the hair follicles. But it's not a miracle product so I can't expect it to sort out every hair problem I have.
Even though my hair has reached the length I wanted it to be I still think I'll continue to use this treatment once a month at least just to maintain how it leaves my hair feeling. I would 100% recommend this if you want to give your hair a boost for length or even if you're looking for a intense nourishment. Two thumbs up Mr Stafford! :)
What are your favourite Lee Stafford Products?
What has your experience of his products been?

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Bargains from MUA at Superdrug

Having never tried MUA (Make Up Academy) products before I was pleasantly surprised to see Superdrug had a selection of MUA products on sale, actually better than on sale...£1 per product! Perfect timing to try the range in my books.

As mentioned in a previous post I have had recently had the unfortunate experience of having conjunctivitis so I had to replace some of my eye make up products. Therefore it made sense to take advantage of the offer and get a couple of eye make up bits.

I chose to replace my white eyeliner which I use to line the water line inside my eye to make my eyes look wider and fresh. What I love about all of the MUA pencils is that on the lid there's a small sharpener so you'll never be caught out by a blunt pencil and having no sharpener. I've not seen this before on other products and felt it was definitely a selling point.

I then went for a very pink blusher, something I've been looking at for a while but haven't been able to get the exact shade I want. This is a very girlie pink and can be layered to build up the colour. The shade of this was just "Blusher Shade 1".

I then chose a couple of eye shadows,one in Shade 17 - Matt which I use as a base colour and one in Shade 16 - Matt which is a very pale pink which is another great colour to use as a base colour or even to blend other colours with. 

The swatches above are the from left to right -
Blusher, Shade 16 and then Shade 17 (you can barely see it as it's quite pale and skin tonal)

As a MUA virgin I'm pleasantly surprised with the colours available in the range and the quality of the products themselves. The packaging doesn't leap out at you but for a change I wasn't as bothered about that as I usually am as the products were great and being such a bargain who could complain??

What are your favourite MUA products?
Did you manage to pick up any bargains in their sale?


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Bloglovin Link

You can now follow me through Bloglovin!

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Floradix Tablets ~ the key to increased vitality??

I realise that this isn't really a beauty post but I wanted to share something with you all that has recently made a huge difference to how I've been feeling in regards to my energy levels.

For a while I've been feeling so sluggish and tired to the point where I literally couldn't get out of bed in the mornings. It was becoming a running joke with my partner asking "Did you get up and out to work on time??" not exactly. Ok so I've never been a morning person and I've never leaped out of bed first thing in the morning full of energy but I've literally never felt as tired as I had been. It got to the point that I wanted to put myself back to bed within a few hours of waking up. I went to the doctors and got some blood tests done...nothing. I tried going to bed improvement. I upped my water difference. I consider myself to have a fairly balanced diet and I work out around 2 - 3 times a week so I wasn't lacking anything specific in my lifestyle, diet etc.

I was starting to despair a bit as it was affecting my ability to function in the day and I looked wrecked and tired a lot of the time. The doctor couldn't pin point anything so I thought I'd take matters in to my own hands and moseyed along to Holland & Barrett where the lovely sales assistant spoke to me about the best supplement for my needs. I had planned on choosing some Vitamin B as I heard that was great to aid energy levels.

However she suggested Floradix Tablets which costs £9.99 for 84 tablets.
These are a natural food supplement which provides organic Iron, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, Folic Acid and strengthening herbal extracts.

Amongst the benefits of vitamin B are to support and increase the rate of metabolism (great for those of us wanting a helping hand with our waists) plus they help to maintain healthy skin, hair and muscle tone.

As these little gems also contain Iron which helps to transport oxygen through the body. Lack of oxygen and nutrients in the blood can weaken the whole body - thus leading to excessive tiredness. Iron is also needed for the immune system to function normally.

The folic acid in these tablets is great for pregnant women - it helps prevent birth defects and normal maternal tissue growth. Not something I need to worry about just yet, but good to know huh?? But it can also help prevent high blood pressure, again good to know!

The vitamin C is great for our immune systems and protecting us from free radicals. Whilst researching vitamins for this post I also found out that one of the many benefits of Vit C was that it prevents Scurvy! As I'm not a pirate or a sailor I needn't worry about getting scurvy (historically sailors suffered with Scurvy - whatever that is!) but interesting fact nonetheless.

I know there's a lot of negative views on taking supplements and I don't generally rely on them but after taking the recommended dose of two tablets a day for the past two weeks I have noticed a definite change in my energy levels both first thing in the morning and throughout the day. Now I'm not saying I spring out of bed in the mornings - my bed is far too comfortable for me to leave it in a hurry. But I have noticed leaving my beloved bed is not as difficult as it was and I feel far more energised and awake now.

I'd recommend these to anyone suffering with a lack of energy, but I'm not saying you shouldn't see your doctor before choosing to medicate the problem with vitamins. Always see your doctor first before taking anything like this.

These worked for me and I'll continue to take them as they've made a huge difference and I do believe there is a benefit from taking a supplement like this if you're struggling.

Hope you found this post useful! If you have any questions then please ask.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Little Shopping Haul from Primark and Boots

Ok so its a week until pay day but I had the shopping bug this weekend and despite only planning to window shop I did come away with a couple of "essential" items! :)

I feel like I was pretty restrained and it could have been worse had it not been too hot to shop properly.

So my first stop was Primark - I love it in there (and not solely for the air con!) as you can get varied items for so much less than other shops. Last year I got a pair of the super skinny / super soft jeans - well they're a cross between jeans and jeggings. They do up with a button and zip, and have the jean style pockets but the material is really soft and comfortable. I love these because they maintain their shape and aren't as tight or uncomfortable as some jeans can be. Now I realise we're still in summer but usually towards the end of August I do start to think about Winter fashions - yes I know this might be a bit depressing but I love winter clothes!

As I have run out of my normal Batiste dry shampoo I thought I might try the Superdrug own brand dry shampoo for brunette hair. It was only £1.99 and if it's just as good as Batiste I'll happily stick with this. I will be doing a separate blog on this product to compare this with other more expensive competitors so watch this space....

I've heard a lot of good things about the argan oil that people are raving about and most recently the L'Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil. Its quite pricey at £9.99 but the bottle is fairly big and a little bit goes a long way. I'll do a proper blog on this in the next week but so far after two uses I can only see very slight benefits - we shall see though!

Whilst I was browsing the shelves in Sainsbury's looking for some blog inspiration I came across a new brand called "Dirty Works". It reminds me a bit of Soap and Glory with the bright and quirky packaging. The whole range is mainly focused on beauty accessories like brushes, eye lash curlers and nail files. They also do a range of bath products including a body scrub, shower gel and body creams. As I have quite sensitive skin I'm reluctant to try those but I snapped up this cute little double ended smokey eye brush for £3.99. I am a complete sucker for packaging but thankfully the brush is good.

My last little item was again from Primark and is something I've seen in loads of shops at the moment. The Peter pan collars are everywhere at the moment and really add something to an otherwise plain outfit. This peter pan style collar necklace was £4 and looks really stunning over a plain top or as we go into Autumn could be worn over a plain jumper.

So as you can see it was just the "bare essentials" and it gave me the chance to have a look round the shops at the upcoming trends for the A/W 2012/13. 

What are your recent fashion / beauty finds?

Which of the upcoming trends for this Autumn/Winter will you be following?


Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Not so Glossy Box ~ August 2012

This is only my second Glossy Box and I couldn't wait to get it once I received the email saying it had been dispatched...

Sadly I was very disappointed :(  I'll talk you through why my Glossy Box was a huge let down.....

Firstly when I opened the box I noticed there was powder all over the inside of the box, the packaging and the other products in the box. I soon realised the Vera Valenti Eye Shadow Palette had been damaged in transit and one of the colours was crumbling and had spread all over the box - unhappy about this as I then had to wipe down all of the products and it kind of took the shine off the experience of getting the box, if that makes sense??

As you can see the top left colour is damaged and the powder got all over the brush applicator and I hadn't even used it! The colours were OK but the palette was nothing special and to me it looked really cheap and tacky, something I wouldn't even notice or pick up in the shops.

Next up is a product called Lipcote which is basically a lipstick sealer. I used to use this when I was like 14 years old so I wasn't all that impressed to receive it in a Glossy Box. It's a fairly dated product in my opinion and as I use lip glosses it's not something I would really use. The smell of it is vile and it leaves a sticky feeling to my lips, very odd! I would not recommend this product at all and to be honest don't think it will stick around in my make up collection for very long!

I got a small (small being the operative word!) of a Velentino Assoluto Eau de Parfum, now I wasn't expecting a full sized bottle but the measly 0,05fl oz was a bit mean! I didn't really like the perfume, it had a very generic "perfumey" smell and I couldn't really smell the tones of peach, vanilla or patchouli! It's nice to try new things and that's what Glossy Box is all about but I won't be purchasing this perfume in the near future.

If this product fell into my hands a few months ago I would’ve been so happy as I desperately needed something to help my dull and stained nails. The sample of Alessandro Pro White is supposed to brighten nails with an anti yellowing formula, leaving nails white and gleaming. I’m quite naughty and sometimes don’t use a base coat before painting my nails so I’m sometimes left with manky looking nails - yuk! So this is quite a good little product and it did the job. Unfortunately I tend to do gel nails nowadays so don’t get the staining, so it’s not something I’m going to get much use out of but can definitely say it works!

Lastly was a lipstick by Glossy Box in “Glossy Pink”, it’s an fairly non descript colour, nothing amazing or shocking about it. Its kind of a dark dusky pink which isn’t a colour I’d usually choose but its nice for a change.

I was a bit sceptical about the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil that I received, purely for the fact that I would be putting oil on my face! Very bizarre concept to me but I gave it a go and found I really liked the feel of this product. It left my skin feeling really fresh and clean, I’ve only used it twice so can’t say how its effected my skin yet but it’s a lovely product so far. The packaging is very plain and simple making it look quite clinical and not very user friendly. But don’t be put off by that as it contains vitamin E and olive oil to soften the skin.

So there you have it! Second Glossy Box and a little let down, fingers crossed Septembers box is better!

What did you get in your GB this month?
Have you tried any of these products and what did you think of them??


Sunday, 12 August 2012

Mini Boots Haul - L'oreal, Garnier and Soap & Glory

After suffering a bout of conjunctivitis this week I had to replace my mascara and eye liner so I wouldn't keep re-infecting my eyes. So I popped into Boots to grab just a couple of bits, but came out with a few more!!

I usually use Benefit They're Real Mascara but I didn't really want to fork out nearly £20 for a new one so instead went back to my trusted Double Extension from L'oreal which is £11.99. Before I got my Benefit mascara last year I was using this one all the time and to be honest I don't know why I strayed from it as it makes my lashes sooo long and volumised plus it never clumps and is quite good value for money. I never use the white end as I find the black end by itself gives good enough results but maybe I'll try it again and see if it gives even longer lashes like it promises!

As there was a free gift if you spent over £15 on L'oreal products I bought the Super Liner from their range as well. I got this in Black Vinyl which is a jet black but has a slight shine to it. I don't like it when eye liners go matte so this one is perfect for me. It lasts well and as the brush part is soft it's easy to create a sharp line and nice flick at the sides. As you can see in the picture below (my fantastic art skills!) it gives a very defined look and allows you to make a great shape.

I have been using the BB Cream by 17 under my foundation and although I'd say it was quite nice I also found it felt quite oily on my skin - something I don't need with my skin already being oily / combination! Again I was using the Garnier BB Cream but as the one from 17 was on offer I thought I'd give it a go. Now I've changed back to the Garnier one I think I'll stick with it. I got it in the Light colour which is perfect for my pale complexion. I sometimes use it by itself or under my foundation, either way I find it really smooth and immediately my skin looks healthier and blemishes not as obvious. It's a bit pricey at £9.99 but it lasts a fair while and it's a good quality product that I'm confident won't break my skin out!

For the last couple of Christamasses my mum has been buying my sisters and I these towel turbans to wrap your hair up in after washing instead of a regular towel. The reasons I am a complete turban convert is that they stay on your head a lot more than a normal towel does. There's a little button and a fastener that ensures it stays put, even if I tip my head upside down - not that I do that a whole lot! :)
My old one was getting a little too old and grubby so I opted for the white and pink one from Soap and Glory - very girlie and not badly priced at £7.50!

Being a beauty blogger I'm always curious about new products and willing to give anything a try so when I got the "freebie" product with the L'oreal bits I was excited to see what was inside.

In the little box there was:

Two samples of L'oreal Nude Magique BB Cream in Medium

One sample of L'oreal True Match Foundation in Golden Beige - not sure if it will be my shade though??

L'oreal Super Liner Luminizer for Brown Eyes - pretty good concept bringing out a range to enhance specific eye colours. Unfortunately mine are blue but I'll still use it as a regular liquid liner as it doesn't look that much different from any of the others I've used.

Two 5ml nail varnishes in a Grey/Blue colour called You are worth it (what else??!) and a bright pinky colour called Opulent Pink. The pack also comes with nail stickers so you can create different nail art with these two colours combined. I'm not opposed to nail art but find with the stickers they leave a sticky residue on the nail which you then can't get off without nail polish remover which then ruins the design you've made! Very frustrating so I'll probably steer away from the nail art and use them as normal polishes as they're both nice colours.

L'oreal Glam Shine Lip Gloss in Magnetic Nude Glow (407). This isn't a colour I would've picked but its not bad and it was free so I can't complain! It's kind of two tone with a glittery effect so I think it'll look good for a night out but may be a bit much for the day.

So not a bad little haul from Boots and very pleased with my little freebies!
I love it when companies do these packs as you get to trial products you wouldn't have usually bought.

What are your recent beauty finds?
Has anyone tried the Soap and Glory beauty range?


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