Sunday, 2 August 2015

Clarins autumn 2015 makeup collection

 Clarins-Autumn-Winter-2015-Makeup-Collection-photos-review

I usually feel a bit odd talking about Autumn beauty collections at this time of year, but the weather ‘kindly’ fast forwarded this week, helping me get into the vibe. Clarins Autumn 2015 Makeup collection features a mix of daytime neutrals and more sultry evening looks. I’ve been trying out three of the new neutrals, which are perfect for everyday makeup that leaves you looking polished with very little effort. 

Clarins-01-Pretty-Day-Palette-5-Couleurs-Eyeshadow-Palette

PRETTY DAY PALETTE  |  This Pretty Day eye shadow palette includes a mix of matte and shimmer shades. The tones offer exactly what most people want from a day time palette: a matte cream base, a slightly peach shimmer to enhance the brow bone. (I don’t like OTT shimmer in this area - it can look a bit 80s-tastic - especially for daytime. The subtlety of this is on the money.) The middle beige shimmer has the least payoff (not a criticism; it’s a daytime shadow) and can be used as an inner corner highlight or pressed over one of the other shades to add shimmer. I’m not really a fan of either look for daytime, but no doubt many will be. A matte chocolate brown works well in the crease, as liner, or for definition in the outer corner. My personal favourite is the last cool toned brown with a satin finish, beautiful all over the lid and blended up into the crease, I like wearing this one alone. It also works well as a smokey liner as it has the best payoff of every shade in the palette. Speaking of which, I’m pretty happy with how all of them apply and think the payoff of each is in keeping with its role - I tested the same look on one naked eye and one with my trusty NARS primer - and found very little difference in both blendability and payoff. 

Clarines palette size

PACKAGING  |  The Pretty Day Palette is teeny and the outer casing is shiny gold cardboard secured with a gold elastic. I’ve photographed it with the lipstick on top to illustrate. This will please those who enjoy a makeup bag sized, travel friendly palette, though may bother others who expect more luxe packaging from Clarins. I’m a fan of the dinky size and its packaging doesn’t bother me, though I must admit the usual style feels more glam to handle. What do you think?

Overall, I’d sum up this palette as a great staple that’s enhancing rather than ground breaking. A good buy if you don’t already own a neutral palette - though do keep an eye out for the Pretty Night Palette with beautiful rich bronze and olive shades if you fancy something a little more decadent.

Clarins-Autumn-Winter-2015-Makeup-Collection 

LIPSTICK  |  After talking about the eye shadow palette in more detail than intended (nothing new there), I have to admit that it’s not actually the star of the collection for me (though I suspect Pretty Night Palette may be). What WOWed me most was the lipstick and brow pencil. Tawny Rose is a new addition to the Rouge Éclat lipstick line (along with Red Paprika, a bright russet). I love the nourishing formula of these with Vitamin E and 100% plant waxes including mimosa and jojoba, giving a creamy, slightly sheer glossy finish. They really do plump and smooth my lips and Tawny Rose is a lovely pinky-brown nude that reminds me of Autumn leaves... I love this kind of shade against pale skin.

EYEBROW PENCILS  |  I’m already a fan of Clarins eye pencils and lip liners, so it’s no surprise that their new brow pencils don’t disappoint. Neither too hard nor waxy, they have just the right amount of colour payoff for accentuating your shape and filling in the odd gap, the spoolie is soft and distributes the product beautifully and Soft Blonde works well on me. In the swatch it looks a touch warmer than what I’d normally go for, but somehow it works. Also available in Light Brown and Dark Brown.

OMBRE MATTE  |  Last but not least, Heather is a beautiful new addition to the Ombre Matte pots of shadow - these are highly pigmented, smooth on like silk and can be blended out with one finger. This charcoal grape tone looks amazing with blue eyes and I can imagine it working just as well with green or brown eyes. I need to use these over a primer, but those with less crease-prone eyes could probably skip this step as the payoff and lasting power are great.

SWATCHES

Clarins-Autumn-Winter-2015-Swatches

Apologies for not showing a pic of these on my face - I know it’s helpful to see that but I’ve been feeling a bit camera shy lately (aka minging) - anyone else ever have days (weeks) like that? If you follow me on Instagram (@strawbryblonde) I promise to share one over there soon.

The Pretty Day Palette and Heather Ombre Matte  shadows are available now at clarins.co.uk and the rest of Clarins Autumn 2015 makeup collection will be on counters and online this month.

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Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Little Ondine Peel Off Polish


Little Ondine nail polish is a new discovery for me. Made with natural ingredients, it has zero smell, dries fast and peels off - no base/ top coat or remover required. It looks fine with one coat, but I find that two give it more longevity. The formula - made of water, resin and colourants - is kind of stretchy, so doesn't chip, but starts to curl at the edges after a couple of days and lifts off satisfyingly in a single nail-shaped piece. Maybe not the best if you're after a long lasting mani, but I switch mine up a lot, so even regular polishes with top coat rarely last more than a few days. 



This really is the ultimate low maintenance nail polish and great for anyone trying to avoid chemicals - or even kids. (I mean it's great for kids, not for people trying to avoid kids!) 

It comes in 80+ colours, just as vibrant and super glossy as regular polishes - this shade is Lava and I think I'll try one of the glitters next. Glitter + easy removal = win:win for me! Actually it's just occurred to me that this glitter top coat over any regular polish would make sparkly nails a heckofalot easier. 


I got this one from Latest in Beauty, but you can buy Little Ondine polishes individually at lovelula.com or directly from uk.littleondine.com where you can view the shades swatched on nails - love this! 
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Sunday, 26 July 2015

Balance me collagen boost: restore & replenish cream cleanser & face cream

 Balance-Me-Collagen-Boost-Review

When it comes to cleansing, I’ll reach for balms and oils almost every time, but recently I’ve been craving a creamy cleanser for morning use. I was going to say that this may be a Summer thing, but since I’m sat here in a jumper with the heat on, maybe not. (What IS going on with the weather?!) In all honesty it’s probably down to laziness; there’s something so quick and easy about a cream cleanser and Balance Me’s new Collagen Boost Restore & Replenish Cream Cleanser has filled this gap nicely. Not one of those that dilutes on contact, this is rich enough to massage well into dry skin before rinsing off with a flannel, which it does with ease. It really is a pleasure to use, feels nourishing and comforting on my skin and leaves it feeling clean and calm.


Balance-Me-Collagen-Boost-Restore Replenish-Cream-Cleanser-Face-Cream

Balance Me is a  botanical skincare line that I really enjoy and think Collagen Boost offers a great new natural beauty solution. Two peptides, hyaluronic acid and blackberry leaf extract work together to increase collagen synthesis, which to you and me means they help plump and smooth skin.  Restore and Replenish Face Cream feels quite light and airy on application and sinks in quickly to leave my skin feeling perfectly hydrated and primed for makeup. Aimed at all 25+ skin types, it made my dry, sensitive face very happy and the texture meant that I didn’t feel I was weighing my skin down by adding SPF on top.


Balance Me Restore & Replenish
Face Cream (£40) and Cream Cleanser (£18) both come with a free travel size tube of the Face Cream (rrp £10) at feelunique.com right now. NB Although the Face Cream is a significant initial outlay, it’s almost twice the size of most moisturisers with 50ml in there. #girlymaths


PS If you’re new to Balance Me and fancy trialling a range of products (exc these newbies), I shared a great offer over on my
Facebook page this week.

PPS I'm in the process of tweaking my blog design at the moment, so please bear with!

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Thursday, 23 July 2015

Sew Lomax SOS Emergency Kit

Sew-Lomax-SOS-Emergency-Kit-gold-bag-red-heart

Ever been caught on the hop without a nail file, hair tie, charger or needle & thread? I’ve mentioned the Sew Lomax SOS Kits as a great gift idea in the past and have been meaning to come back and give you a closer look inside. The creation of London designer, Emma Lomax (embroidering since she was 5 years old), they come packed with essentials designed to equip you for life’s little emergencies and make sure you’re never unprepared again.

Sew-Lomax-SOS-Emergency-Kit

This is the Sew Lomax Emergency Kit and as well as being useful, it really is the cutest thing ever. Since I got this one, new kits have been created for a string of life situations and include travel, beauty, gym and wedding kits.

What's-inside-Sew-Lomax-SOS-Emergency-Kit

I think most people would find at least one of them useful and they really are the perfect gift idea for the woman who has everything.

Sew-Lomax-SOS-Emergency-Kit-contents  Sew-Lomax-SOS-Emergency-Kit-review 

pucker_set_pink_large whos_lipstick_large

If you’re not fussed on a kit, the empty makeup, wash bags and personalised bags are so gorgeous I’d happily take one of each!

The kits are available in different sizes, with prices ranging from £14-£30 at emmalomax.com

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Monday, 20 July 2015

Color WOW Red Root Cover Up: Review

Color-Wow-Red-Root-Cover-Up

Roots are a new thing for me. While I’ve coloured my hair for around 8 years now, it was only a few occasional highlights until this happened 18 months ago.  My hair is now a deeper red than its natural strawberry blonde tones, so I have root regrowth - nothing compared to what a lot of people have to deal with, but still another (expensive) thing for me to maintain. Up until now I’ve been gutted to find that there are very few root touch-up products for redheads. I’ve tried dark blonde, warm brown and even mixed up my own concoctions, but frustratingly, none were quite right. Until now. I couldn’t have been happier to hear about the launch of Color WOW’s Root Cover Up for Red hair. In a nutshell, it’s a mineral powder applied on dry hair for instant root cover, which takes a minute to apply and washes out. My hair kindly participated in the testing process by producing some whopper roots for me to experiment with (note to self: book hair appointment).

Color-Wow-Red-Swatch-Root-Cover-Up

I guess part of the reluctance of brands to create such a product for redheads is the fact that there are so many shades of red… as you can see  this is quite a deep shade - and while it’s a fraction deep for me, it disguises my roots better than any other I’ve tried. I find it works best when I separate my parting, smooth down my hair down and dab the powder onto my hair, pressing it in firmly with the small end of the brush. I  also find that it looks most natural applied in streaks rather than colouring it in solid.

I do have a sprinkling of greys, mostly at my temples, where I like to apply this when I tie my hair up and it works really well on covering them. Must admit, highlights were much more forgiving and low maintenance, especially on greys… I do like being a deeper red but am torn about the maintenance element - not sure where to go with that.

Color-Wow-Root-Cover-Up-Red-Hair

To finish, I soften out the edges and blend the product into my own colour, using my fingers and the long, soft bristles at the other end of the brush.  If I could change anything about this product, I’d increase the amount of powder and decrease the price - at £28.50 it’s not something I could afford to use every day. The website says it lasts for 60 applications, which isn’t bad - I’ve only had mine for a few weeks, so we’ll see. It’s reassuring to have it on days when I want to make an extra effort and the (water resistant) results last until shampooed out. I reckon its effect will vary dependent on your hair colour and imagine that Color WOW would be most effective on light coloured roots. Have any of you tried it?

Color WOW Root Cover Up is available in 7 shades at uk.spacenk.com

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Saturday, 18 July 2015

Angel Candy Eau Sucree Perfume Review 2015

Angel-Candy-Perfume-2015

If I mention Angel perfume I’m guessing you’ll either swoon or shudder; it’s not one that evokes complacency - more can’t stand it or can’t live without it, rather than take it or leave it. So is it weird that I belong in the former yet want to love it? Two of the women I love most wear it and it suits them so much. Its complexity is highly regarded and I want a piece of it. I’ve tried; I really have… I’ve actually worn it from time to time over the years in attempt to learn to love it, but it isn’t for me.

Angel’s sweet as candy little sister however - is a whole different ball game. I’m not a sweet perfume lover - and Angel Eau Sucree is sweet - yet has a softness that draws me in, wraps me in a candy floss cloud and assures me that it’s ok to be pink and fluffy for a day. I think the difference is that this is gourmand sweet, rather than straight up floral or fruity, though it does have a berry tartness that stops the sweetness from becoming sickly.

Despite the sugar rush, this is a grown up perfume.

Angel-Candy-2015-review

“juicy accords of red berries sorbet on the top, sweet caramel and meringue cream in the heart, and patchouli and vanilla in the base.”

On first spritz it’s bright and juicy, yet quickly mellows to a gourmand on my skin, with less patchouli than the original Angel; apparently it’s there, but I barely notice it, which may be why I like this. It’s smooth and creamy with caramel and vanilla that linger for hours - and definite without being in your face. Angel Eau Sucree is a limited edition eau de toilette, a re-release of last year’s version in a deeper blue star shaped bottle with textured frosting on the edges, like a dusting of icing sugar!

This is not an every day scent for me - more of a rationed sweet treat - and when I’m in the mood, it completely charms me.

RRP £45, Angel Sucree is on offer for £38 at Escentual.com  It’s already sold out at Selfridges though you can still pick it up at House of Fraser or John Lewis.

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Wednesday, 15 July 2015

My Dermacenter Discount: French Beauty Brands

Dermacenter-products

I know that lots of you love French skincare and beauty products as much as me, so am happy to share an exclusive 20% off discount code for my readers at new retailer, MyDermacenter.com! The site stocks the UK’s biggest range of La Roche-Posay, Vichy, Skinceuticals and Roger & Gallet, including a number of my favourites, pictured above. I like that you can shop either by product or skin condition, as these brands cater for very specific skin needs, particularly sensitive types, which is a big part of why I’m such a fan.

LaRochePosay-Lipikar-Shower-Syndat-BaumeAP

I’ve cropped this pic so that the tube of La Roche Posay Lipikar Baume AP+ looks slightly less battered as I’ve almost squeezed every last drop out of it. This body cream kept me sane over the Winter when my dry skin and eczema patches flared up - and works even better paired with Lipikar Syndet Cleansing Body Cream-Gel Anti-Irritation. Long name but you get the idea - it’s a creamy body wash that doesn’t dry out your skin and helps soothe itching. Body lotion will be twice as effective if you start with a non-stripping body wash, and this one is super gentle with no nasties.

Vichy-Purete-Thermale-Waterproof-Eye-Make-up-Remover

I test so many new products that I sometimes genuinely forget old favourites - and was recently reunited with this awesome Vichy Waterproof Eye Make-up Remover, which is very gentle, even on my super sensitive eyes. Even if you just wear heavy (rather than waterproof) eye makeup, this is a great one for removing it all in a swipe or two and is a beauty editor favourite with good reason. It’s almost half the price of Clarins equivalent and the difference between them is negligible. It is a bi-phase formula - as you can see in the pic - so you need to shake well before use to mix in the oil, but it doesn’t leave my skin feeling too oily after use and actually nourishes lashes.

Roger Gallet-Hand Nail-Balm

If you’re all good on skincare but fancy a little treat, check out Roger & Gallet fragrance and body products. I’ve featured many of these on my blog over the past few years and the fresh, yet soft, Bois d’Orange and Bienfaits fragrances are my favourites. The Hand & Nail Balms are a recent launch, with a fast drying matte finish, allowing for intense nourishment minus a sticky residue. As this is a fragrance brand, these are strongly scented, so not one to apply just before dinner!

If you’d like to try any of these products, use the 20% off discount code  SBB4MDC20 for my readers, valid until the end of July at my-dermacenter.com/en-uk 

You’ll also receive 2 samples with every purchase and can join VIP tester panels to trial products pre-launch. Let me know if you try anything or have any favourites from these brands!

PS just realised I forgot to include my beloved La Roche Posay Serozinc, which I’ll definitely be stocking up on with this discount! If you’re not familiar, the best way I can sum it up is a hydrating, soothing spritz that calms minor skin irritations - I use it pretty much daily after cleansing, before serum and moisturiser.

 

 

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Monday, 13 July 2015

Bagsy some pretty makeup?

Bagsy-Beauty-Makeup 

I often think that makeup should be less faff and more fun and pretty, which is exactly what new British brand, Bagsy Beauty has achieved with an edit of handbag friendly beauty essentials. Its creators bring years of experience working for global beauty brands to the collection, with charming attention to detail, starting with the packaging. We all know it’s what’s inside that counts, but when it comes to products that we can whip out and swoon over, we want them to look good too. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such a pretty, quirky collection and the products actually make me smile every time I lift one of them to use.

Bagsy-Pretty-Cheeks-Velvet-Blush-Velvet-Rose-01-review-swatchesBagsy-Lip-Velvet-Spinning-Plates-02-swatch-review

Yep, the product and shade names are adorable too. Pretty Cheeks Velvet Blush is a cream to powder formula which is easy to apply and blend with either fingers or a brush. It literally turns into powder when it hits the skin. Lip Velvet is a non-drying matte liquid lipstick. I love the Hourglass-esque packaging of this and unlike some liquid lipsticks, it’s not too pigmented, making it easy to acquire a natural finish in one swipe. The colour of Spinning Plates is a gorgeous mauve toned pink and the texture sinks into my lips quite quickly forming more of a stain. I quite like this, but if you’re looking for a more traditional liquid lipstick you won’t find the same high pigmentation and lasting power with this one.

Bagsy-Beauty-Bronzer-Medium-Dark-02-review-swatches

Probably the star of the show with its cheery message and super slim, mirrored packaging, Ray of Sunshine matte bronzer is smooth, well pigmented and blendable. I was sent the Medium/Dark, which is a touch warm for me, but I can make it work while I have a light (faux) tan.  Big thumbs up on the slim compact packaging.

Bagsy-Beauty-Wow-Lips-Cocktail-Hour-04-review-swatches 

I’ve been wearing Wow Lips in Cocktail Hour (orangey red) quite a lot as it’s one of those feel-good colours that I love in Summer. The texture is comparable to Clinique Chubby Stick Intense, with a bit more slip. 

Bagsy-Makeup-Swatches-VelvetRoseBlush-MediumDarkBronzer-SpinningPlatesLipVelvet-WowLips-Cocktail-Hour-04 

Swatches from left to right are : Velvet Cheeks in Velvet Rose 01, Ray of Sunshine Bronzer in Medium/Dark 02, Lip Velvet in Spinning Plates 02 and Wow Lips in Cocktail Hour 04.

In summary, I’d love Bagsy more if the prices were a bit more modest, but do think it’s an innovative concept, super cute collection - and beautifully wrapped up. Not something I’d necessarily buy for myself, but one or two pieces would make a gorgeous gift. Saying that, I have been wearing at least one of these items every day for the past few weeks.

All products are exclusive to feelunique.com and range from £5-£18. My top pick would be the Ray of Sunshine Bronzer, on opening offer for £12 (from £18) and I may treat myself to the adorable flamingo print cosmetic bag, almost half price at £8. 

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Thursday, 9 July 2015

Dare to be Different: Bloggers & YouTubers who inspire me

There is a assumption when you start blogging that there’s some mythical winning formula that everyone should follow to guarantee success, or a set of rules that you must stick to in order to ‘make it’. There isn’t. And 4+ years on, I still have to remind myself of this. I think a lot of these assumptions are imposed by other bloggers - or other bloggers’ critics; the truth is that beyond being ethical and legal (eg declaring paid content) your blog can be however you want it to be. Replicating others’ work is not the way to stand out from the crowd - it’s obvious when you think about it… white backgrounds and fairy lights are not the only way.

The bloggers and YouTubers who inspire me the most are those who do their own thing and don’t conform to the norm. Their work really excites me and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next. I’ve recommended them individually to lots of people, but thought I’d share a few favourites with you today - I hope you find them equally inspiring, or at least entertaining!

Never Stop Exploring

photo: worshipblues.com

Worship Blues was one of the first blogs that I discovered and I haven’t stopped reading since. I love it because it offers a new way of looking at life and an appreciation of the little things, summed up well in Never Stop Exploring. The blog is written by stylish husband and wife team, Yasumi & Hiro who describe it as ‘encouraging others to give into a daydream or twenty,’ among other things. I love their philosophy, which you can read here. Yasumi also makes many beautiful things, from jewellery to textiles, and I’m lucky enough to own a few of her pieces. She has just had a baby but plans to reopen her shop soon, linked from her blog home page, worshipblues.com. She is also one of the kindest souls I have encountered - and I consider myself lucky to call her a friend.

 

ForeverAmber.co.uk

Photo: foreveramber.co.uk

Forever Amber is written by a beautiful Scottish redhead with a penchant for 50s-inspired dresses, high heels and polka dots. Despite All The Charm, what I love most of all is her writing style. Frank, funny and witty, her posts (and stunning photographs) feature style, beauty, blogging and more - and never cease to inspire me. Take this quote from a recent post, Random things I’ve learned from 9 years of blogging: “Everyone else always seems to be doing it better than you: It’s easier to view this as inspiration, rather than getting jealous. If they can do it, so can you: how amazing is that?”

What a refreshing way to look at the competition - and for the record, blogging is extremely competitive. I’ll never forget the day I reached 100 followers. 6000 later and I’m glancing over my shoulder at those who have 10,000 or 100,000. I try hard to keep my head down and continue doing the best I can, but it never feels quite enough - and that’s ok. I’m constantly fired up to do better.

Amber’s blog is bursting with great content, some serious, some tongue in cheek and a lot of humour. Things that tell me I’m not a real grown up makes me laugh so much: “When parents tell their children to “watch out for that lady!” I always look over my shoulder to see who the “lady” is, and then am totally shocked to discover the lady is ME.”  Ditto Things redheads are sick of hearing or Is it because I lied when I was 17? 

 

Casey Neistat

photo: Casey Neistat, YouTube

I’ve been reading both of the above for a few years now, but my newest addiction discovery is Casey Neistat’s YouTube channel. Casey is a New York film maker who recently started daily vlogging and is racing towards 1 million subscribers, all in the middle of setting up a new company (his video app BEME launches soon). He’s incredibly down to earth, personable and makes the ordinary entertaining, probably due to such an infectious enthusiasm for life. Make it Count pretty much sums up why I’m hooked on his content - it’s been a while since I’ve come across someone who fits so much living into every minute of every day. Drawing my Life may explain why. I also love the glimpses into his relationship with his wife and baby, from Surprised my Girlfriend to Marriage Confession. Oh and the one about his Wildly Functional Studio Set Up made me want to reorganise my entire house immediately.

I could go on and on, but these are my Top 3 for now. I’m very aware in all of this that I am not one who stands out from the crowd, or am particularly different in any way, except perhaps being old enough to be most bloggers’ mum! Actually I’ve just joined a 30+ blog collective, which you can read more about on London Beauty Queen, another fantastic read by Hayley, who isn’t afraid to speak her mind!

Who are your favourites to read or watch?

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Cornflower Sky Blue Nails

Sensationail-Intriguing-Irish-cornflower-blue

Anyone who follows me on Instagram will have seen me post pics of a fleeting seaside visit with family last week… we stayed in a beach house that was literally a few metres from the sand and were blessed with beautiful weather. I couldn’t resist painting my nails the colour of the glorious blue sky, using a new shade of SensatioNail gel polish, Intriguing Iris. It’s a gorgeous cornflower blue with a subtle silver shimmer if you look really closely, not a million miles from Essie Bikini So Teeny (see my swatches).

Sensationail-Intriguing-Irish-swatch-cornflower-blue-

SensatioNail is a home gel kit by Nailene and one of my favourite beauty gadgets, which you’ll have heard me rave about many times over the years ('how to' post). If you prefer regular nail polish, Barry M Gelly Shine in Blueberry or Nails Inc Regents Place are also very similar shades. I think this is one of the most flattering blues on my skin tone - some look too cold or icy, so if you’ve found the same you might like to give cornflower a go!

Beach

View from the garden of my kids strolling along the beach, which they had pretty much to themselves the entire time we were away - and to my surprise, neither complained about missing screen time! Wouldn’t it be great if it was like this all the time…

Best of the cornflower blues…

   intruiging-iris-bottle600       ALLURE         NailsIncRegentsPlace      BarryMBlueberry

Sensationail - Intriguing Iris | Essie Bikini - So Teeny | Nails Inc - Regents Place | Barry M - Blueberry

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