Wednesday, 20 September 2017

How To Keep You And Your Devices Safe When Travelling

We are a family that loves to travel. In the last year, I personally have taken 23 flights, that's a lot of flights for someone who really doesn't like flying! I know, silly isn't it? Yet it doesn't stop me travelling the world, whether I am travelling with my husband or with my son as well who is in university. We have had some great adventures recently including a trip to Iceland, where we hiked a glacier and a press trip with a group of bloggers to the Castellon area of Spain.  

Now to keep up-to-date with emails and social media on the go, I rely on my devices, mainly my iPhone and my MacBook Air, as I am an Apple girl through and through. It's also important to me to keep busy on the plane, and here is where my iPhone is invaluable, I download relaxing music or films when I have no access to them on the journey. This keeps my mind occupied and helps relax me. 

My son Jake, who is 20, loves his iPod. He uses it to keep in touch with mates on Facebook and Twitter, to watch YouTube and Netflix. I must admit he's a worse addict than me!


Mr W is a blogger and vlogger too, and although he's not as social as me (think grunt once for yes), he does like his iPhone apps, namely Instagram and Facebook. 

Although I am not especially proud of this, you can see we are device addicts, so there are some things we have had to consider in the last few years to keep us healthy and our devices safe when travelling the world.

Limit your time



Talk to the whole family before the holiday and set expectations and limitations on device and internet use. Rather than spend all your time on your devices and online, try to limit this. Turn off your mobile data unless absolutely necessary and any alerts on emails and encourage the rest of the family to do the same. Think, do you really have to document everything on social media as you go? Why not just take some time and enjoy the beautiful beaches, amazing cities and fantastic attractions without living it through a lens.

Perhaps allow a time period every day, to catch up with friends or emails, then make an effort and get off. If the kids (or adults) are finding this especially difficult, consider a small reward as an incentive. Or swap it around. If the kids are well behaved in a restaurant then allow time on their devices when they get back to the hotel or apartment.  

If your trip includes a lot of driving, ensure you plan rest stops along the way where you do something active. When you get to a town take time to explore, perhaps find a park and let the kids let off steam running around before lunch. Exercise boosts mood and self-esteem so they will feel better for it and will hopefully be relaxed on their return to the car. Limiting your time online can also help social skills 'in real life' and don't forget you are on holiday so enjoy the different surroundings and activities you don't get every day.

Device Safety



Be aware of open networks when you travel. Many Internet networks aren't secure, which could let your personal details including passwords, and card details get into the wrong hands. One simple thing to do is to check for the padlock symbol on your browser and ensure you log out properly on shared computers.   But is this enough? 

Travel and Leisure magazine offers some excellent advice, such as updating all your software before you go especially your operating system and treating all networks as hostile. They recommend HTTPS Everywhere which is an extension to your browser to encrypt your details. 

Another thing to consider is to use a product like Kaspersky Security Cloud. This product is especially clever as it is an adaptive digital security service which can give online protection to the whole family. 

It's a fast cloud-based security service that won't slow down your devices yet helps defend them from Internet nasties such as Trojans, worms, and phishing across Macbooks, Android and Windows Device.  It can also alert parents to your kids' Internet usage, handy to avoid potentially inappropriate sites.  

Insurance



So first thing's first, only take your devices you will definitely need with you. Can you cope with your tablet and not your laptop for example? If you take fewer devices than a theft will have fewer opportunities to steal from you. 

Going on holiday is a great time to sort out your devices. Take anything off your device you will not need and consider deleting your cookies and also passwords if you can remember them. Empty your trash bin on your laptop as you will be surprised about the amount of potentially sensitive information that can be there. Backup any important files you need on a security drive or the I-Cloud.

Ensure you take out travel insurance, and also check your policy, to see what your insurance covers. This is so important as you want to check your insurance will cover the devices and also what the excess is if you do have a theft. I always keep a copy of our families insurance document with us for easy access on holiday. 

So these are some considerations to keep your devices safe whilst travelling the world. Do you use any of these tips? Tell me what do you and your family do to keep your devices safe on holiday

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Monday, 18 September 2017

Reduce Your Energy Bills With Flipper

We all want to save money on our energy bills, don't we? Well, welcome to Flipper. Flipper's mission is to ensure no one ever overpays their energy again. 

Flipper is a switching service that finds you the best energy deal and then switches it for you. They check the market every month and switch you to the best deal, thus saving you valuable money and time.  If you don't want to switch they will give you the option to opt out before they check for you.




How do they know the best deal you may wonder? They check your bills to ensure they know exactly what you pay and then access a range of deals available to them.The best deals that don't charge commission.  

How much does this cost? The service costs £25 a year but they won't flip (switch) you until you save at least £50 a year and they won't charge you until you save that too. If you are not happy with the switch you have a 14 day period where you can cancel the deal free of charge. 

They have a number of approved suppliers that they work with, 6 big and over 32 small and medium suppliers including SSE, Scottish Power and NPower. 

And they don't monetise the consumer by selling your data or showing you constant adds too.

Of course, you are always in control. Flipper work for you and you can exclude suppliers you don't like from their search. You always have 14 days to cancel your switch too and they will flip you again free of charge. Whether you want to pay your energy bills on receipt or pay by direct debit, it's all a simple, easy and convenient process.




Londoner Stephen Brewster is one such customer that saved a fortune with Flipper. Being fed up of the hassle of trying to compare tariffs he used Flipper and saved £816.07 on his energy tariffs. That is a significant amount of money, I think you would agree. What would you spend that saving on? I know I should spend it on the house but would probably spend it on a holiday!

Signing up is easy and you don't need to know the ins and outs of your energy suppliers.  With energy prices always seeming to go up, never down, it's good to know a service like this exists, and that they do all the switching making everything hassle free. All you have to do is reap the rewards with your savings.

If you use my link here you also get a £5 discount too off Flipper, and with average savings of £385 per year, what do you have to lose? 

Let me know, would you use Flipper? Are you happy with your energy supplier?

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Friday, 15 September 2017

Getting Prepared For Iceland With Millets

On a recent trip to Iceland, we decided to hike a glacier! Yes, not something you do every day but a once in a lifetime opportunity.


We needed to get kitted out for the trip in the appropriate gear and Millets online kindly decided to help with providing clothes for my twenty-year-old son in return for an honest review. 



Now Iceland is known for its changeable weather so although we were travelling there in August we needed clothes that could cope with rain and the wind without being too bulky. This is where the clothes brand Peter Storm came in. The coat we chose for the trip was the Peter Storm Men's insulated storm jacket.  


The Peter Storm Men's insulated storm jacket has simple styling without any fuss. Now my son doesn't like much colour, preferring black or navy clothes without much detailing so this was the perfect jacket for him. The inside has soft polyester wadding to help insulate the body, whilst the shell outer fabric is waterproof protecting you from a rain shower or heavier storm. As well as two outer pockets there is a useful inside pocket too to stash away your valuables like your mobile phone or wallet.

Around the back of the neck is a roll away hood that isn't flimsy giving you good rain protection whilst being small enough to hide away when not in use.

Now another item of clothing my son was given to try out were the North Face men's Hedgehog Hike cross terrain boot. These waterproof boots with a GORE-TEX®  breathable outer membrane have solid ankle support for hiking difficult terrain. The mid sole is moulded for stress and impact resistance and the Vibram® rubber sole unit gives you a reliable grip on wet surfaces.

So all kitted out we drove to our destination in the South of Iceland. Our trip started off in the Icelandic Mountain Guides hut at the Svinsfellsjokull glacier. This is the glacier where they filmed Interstellar, the science fiction film with Matthew McConaughey. One of the main reasons my son wanted to visit!

Here we were given crampons to fit over our boots to help adhere to the ice, an ice pick and a harness. We then took a short drive to the glacier, had our safety briefing from Helkar our guide, and off we went. You can read more about our glacier trip on Svinsfellsjokull in my post here.


Over the course of our two and a half hour hike, the weather was not kind to us, being drizzly and with light winds, but the coat and boots lived up to their waterproof claim.  


The boots were incredibly sturdy and with the crampons provided gave the extra grip making these possibly the perfect boots to hike a glacier. The coat was warm without being too bulky when hiking, and really helped to keep my son cosy in the wind. 


My son was impressed with both items and would highly recommend them. giving the boots 9 out of 10 and the jacket 9 out of 10 too. High praise indeed! 

My opinion is that the jacket is a very versatile jacket, perfect for a range of weather conditions and an excellent choice whether you are hiking a glacier or going for a walk in the British weather. The boots are incredibly sturdy, waterproof and the perfect boots for walking or hiking, especially on the slippery and difficult terrain. We also visited a number of waterfalls in Iceland and the boots provided great grip on the wet and muddy ground.



If you want to find out more about these products, you can check out the North Face items on Millets online and the Peter Storm jacket from a selection of coats and jackets from Millets online too. 

The North Face boots are currently £140 and the Peter Storm jacket £27 from £90 in the sale, both from Millets online, a bargain I think you will agree! Whilst you are here, don't forget to check out Millets online on Facebook: @milletsonlinefans, Twitter: @millets_online and Instagram: @milletsonline. 

If you want to read more about Iceland check out my posts on Why You Will Love Iceland and 10 Money Saving Tips For A Trip To Iceland. Also check out our Iceland videos from the travel vlog/blog I write with my husband Fly Drive Explore.

Tell me, have you ever been to Iceland? What do you think of the boots and coat?
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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

My Fashion Wish List For Golfers

If you have a golfer in the family you may realise how much passion they have for the sport. As well as having the right clubs and other equipment, it's also extremely important for them to look the part too. Here is my fashion wish list for golfers from Callaway golf clothing. 




Callaway shoulder block polo shirt £34.95

This men's polo shirt has a 3 button detail and a colour block design. As well as looking smart it is made of an Opti-Dri material to keep you fresh and dry. The Opti-Shield technology also protects you from the suns harmful rays and the stretch material gives a comfortable fit. 





Mens Callaway Golf Merino lined Sweater £39.95

This simple but stylish merino wool mix sweater is soft and perfect to keep you warm. Finished with a wind and water repellant finish made of Teflon, it's a great sweater to keep you dry on the golf course. The rib cuffs and hem also keeps you cosy.



Callaway X-Series Technical II Trousers £49.99

These technical trousers by Callaway have a slim leg and are full of the technical ability that you learn to expect from Callaway. The Opti-Dry technology keeps you dry as well as keeping moisture away from your skin. The Opti- Shield technology also protects you from the sun's harmful rays, so important when you could be out in all weathers. 


Again the stretch material is perfect for bending down to place a golf ball and practising your swing. With belt loops, a front zip and button fly these tech trousers will not disappoint. 

Callaway X Series corded II shorts



If you want to ring the changes with navy, try these smart corded shorts. Made from a stretchy material and again with enhanced moisture management and protection again harmful rays, the man in your life will cut a dash on the golfing green. Available in Insignia blue and Irongate grey, why not buy both colours if you like the design?
Callaway Golf sports crew sock £4.95

My last choice is these Callaway golf sports socks. These socks are made from a comfortable cotton blend with Spandex for extra stretch and feature a reinforced toe and cushioning for improved comfort. I feel it is certainly worth paying extra for these sports designed crew socks.

With all golf clothing, of course, always check the rules out with your golf club. Some have very specific clothing requirements, such as sports shirts needing a collar and sleeves, and long socks required.  So here is my Callaway fashion wish list for golfers. What do you think of the choices I have picked?

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Monday, 11 September 2017

Autumn’s Essential Instagram posts

Summer has been great, but I've always had a soft-spot for autumn. From the rich colours to cosy jumpers, tasty coffees and frosty mornings, the season is a haven for Instagram-ers—but just what shots should you be snapping this year? Let's find out....

Leaves




With their rich browns and reds, leaves make the perfect seasonal Instagram post. With colourful trees or a carpet of russet tones, a colourful photo like this will stand out on your news feed.

Coffee



We are a coffee loving society so coffee photos can do well on IG. In 2016, the pumpkin spice latte returned in early September. Expect similar timings for 2017 and get ready to post this all-time Starbucks favourite.

Cosy selfies




Whether you’re watching the fireworks, or wrapped up warm at home, take a cosy selfie with friends, or add in the family pet for bonus points. If your partner isn't camera shy, snap a photo together. If it's good enough for loved up celebs then why not try it.

Fireworks




What is November 5th without attending a firework display? Capture all of the action on your phone and upload to your feed. Sparklers can create great photos too. 

Autumn outfits

We all use Instagram to see what other people are wearing and get some style inspiration. This season, why not become the trendsetter yourself? Check out designer womenswear brand Ralph Lauren’s online style guide for some ideas on the items you should be wearing and sharing for autumn 2017. 

Pumpkins



When you’re not drinking pumpkin-infused lattes, pumpkins themselves make a great Instagram post. Either carve them or stack them up.

Frost

Fancy yourself as a pro photographer? Capturing the perfect shot of glistening, pretty frost will put your skills to the test, but the end result is well worth the effort!

Wildlife



Cute animals will help you rack up those likes. From pups in piles of leaves to robins on fences, who can scroll past those little faces!? Add a cute kid too and you will get lots of IG interaction.

Wellies & Puddles

We grumble when it rains in summer, but it’s a different story in autumn. Don your wellies and start snapping some puddle photos.

Hot chocolate



The colder weather means it’s perfectly acceptable to start sipping hot chocolate again. Pile them high with cream and marshmallows for an envy-inducing autumn drink.



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Do you use Instagram? What posts remind you of Autumn?

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Friday, 8 September 2017

A Guide To LED Lighting By Room

LED lighting is a great investment for the home. Thanks to the introduction of LEDs to the mass market, there are so many different styles available, in a variety of colours. However, different types of LEDs work best in specific rooms so it can be difficult at first to navigate this. Here’s your guide to choosing LED lighting for every room.




Kitchen

In the kitchen, lighting is really important to ensure that the space is functional. It should have at least two elements: task lighting which is shadow-free (for safe cooking) and mood lighting to make the room feel more inviting when you entertain. A great way to incorporate task lighting into your kitchen is to use under cabinet lighting above the hob, the sink and the chopping board. Try and position them near to the front of the cupboard to reduce shadows. For the mood lighting, the great thing about LEDs is that they are easily controlled with a dimmer switch. You can achieve effective mood kitchen lighting with a wall light. Lastly, you’ll need to think about access lighting. One way to do this with LEDs is to place LED strip lights at the bottom of your island, for a gentle glow. You shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with your kitchen lighting – think about hanging pendant lighting over a dining area, or lights on your shelves.

Living Room

Your living room should be an area where you relax and enjoy spending time as a family. Much like the kitchen, it has different functions. You may read in there, watch TV, play board games or even crack on with some life admin. For all the different functions, you’ll need three main types of lighting: task, accent and ambient. You can use a statement central fixture such as a chandelier for your main source of lighting, then add floor lamps near to seating areas, and use wall sconces to highlight interesting areas of the room. If you don’t have a ceiling light, consider an arc floor lamp, which works well in a contemporary space.

Study



It’s really important to use the right lighting in a study space in order to avoid eye strain. You could start with recessed spotlights in the ceiling, before adding more lighting to personalise the space. Of course, desk lamps are a key aspect of any good home office space, as they provide bright task lighting. You might also want to add a reading light in a seating area so that when you are away from your desk, you can read important documents easily.

Bathroom

Bathroom lighting can be tricky – it’s a small space; it’s used at all times of day, so how do you light it effectively? If your bathroom is particularly tiny, try focusing on ceiling spotlights. If you have a little bit more space, you can be more creative. Using a mirror will always make your bathroom look bigger, and if you place lighting around the mirror, you’ll avoid casting shadows that can make it difficult to shave or apply makeup.

Bedroom

Your bedroom is a sacred place, for relaxing and sleeping. When you’re decorating your bedroom, the lighting should be at the forefront of your mind. You’ll need ambient lighting for the overall lights, accent lighting for highlighting interesting aspects of the room and task lighting for reading in bed. The lighting you choose will depend on the space – for instance in a small bedroom, you may opt for wall lighting over table lamps, due to not having enough space for bedside tables.

Outside




Outdoor lighting is important for safety and security. You might want to install motion sensor security lights to protect against intruders, for example. If you have a decking area, you can use recessed LED decking lights so that you can continue to enjoy the space when the evenings get darker. If you have a driveway or garden path, you could use LED rope lights to illuminate the path, avoiding injury when walking in the dark. You can also use lighting to highlight your favourite areas of the garden – try spotlights and fairy lights for this.

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Wednesday, 6 September 2017

10 Benefits Of Electric Bikes

Electric bikes are everywhere these days, but are they really worth investing in? In this post, I will look at what electric bikes are, the different types of electric bikes and the benefits of electric bikes. 



What is an electric bike?

An electric bike, often known as an e-bike, is a bicycle with an electric motor. Electric bikes allow you to use it as a normal bike or with the electrical assist and typical speed is between 16 to 20 MPH but some can go up to 28 MPH.

The benefits of electric bikes


There are many benefits of electric bikes.

1. Speed
You get to places quicker, due to the assistance given by the electric motor and also the ability to use bicycle lanes and avoid traffic congestion.

2. Less effort
Less effort means you sweat less and get to the destination less tired. Hills are also easier to manage. Using the pedal assist you can choose how much assistance you need when peddling up hills or into a head wind.

3. A 2 in 1 bike
You can use it as a 'normal' bike as well, so you have the exercise benefits of a normal bike but the time-saving benefits of an electric bike.

4. Less damaging to your joints
Riding an electric bike puts far less pressure on your joints and saves your knees from the damage a normal bicycle can give. 

5. No licence needed
In the UK you do not need a licence to ride an electric bike, as they are classified the same as a normal bike. You can also use bike lanes as normal.

6. It can kick start a fitness regime
If you want to kick start a fitness regime you can start off using the electric bike but once you are used to it you can graduate towards the normal bike.

7. It's cheaper than buying a car
This is self-explanatory, also you don't have associated costs such as petrol, car tax, car insurance or MOT. 

8. It's easier to park
If you have a bicycle lock you can park for free and securely almost anywhere. No trying to find a parking space or having to find change to park.

9. Less polluting than a car
An electric bike provides a no-petrol alternative to a car or motorbike. 

10. Helps coordination and balance
Riding a bike helps coordination and balance, it's also easier to stop and start an electric bike at junctions.


A Cannondale electric bike 

As you can see there are many benefits of an electric bike and the time leading up to Christmas is the perfect time to buy one. Tell me, have you used an electric bike? Would you consider buying one?

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Tuesday, 5 September 2017

You Could Win With Multilotto

What would you do if you won a million pounds? I think we have all thought about this at some point in our lives. Would you spend it on a luxury holiday, a cool sports car, or a diamond necklace? Would you buy a house for your kids, or maybe a luxury villa for you somewhere hot and sunny with a pool. Perhaps you want to save it for old age or put it in a college fund for your son or daughter?

I guess that's the lure of the lottery. We know it's naughty but we are all adults here, aren't we?




Some of us go to the local store and put a bet on in person, but sometimes you can't beat the convenience of putting a bet on online. 

Multilotto is a website for those 18 years and older, where you can bet on international lotteries from all around the world. From the Powerball and the Mega Millions in the USA, with the current jackpot of £52,5000 to the Euromillions with the current jackpot of £15, 500. That's a lot of money.


Of course, money can't buy happiness, we all know that and of course, only spend money you can afford, everything in moderation is a mantra I use to apply to everything in my life.


Registering for Multilotto is easy. You just register for a free account, and choose a password, add any free bonus codes (top tip Google 'bonus codes Multilotto') and then once registered deposit an amount, I used a credit card.



The most common games are Powerball, Mega Millions, Euromillions and Eurojackpot, however, there are other games including the New York Lottery. You can also play casino games too from slots and video poker to and traditional table games such as Black Jack, Roulette and Stud Poker. 

One section that I found especially interesting was the Casino School. The purpose is to guide you to how the casino and slot games work and how to change their settings due to your preference. 

Another section which is super important is the Responsible Gambling section which you can access from 'My Account'. Now on all pages of the website, it's clear that you must be 18 or older to open an account and that it is illegal if you are younger to open one. This area talks about how Multilotto can help you set limits in your account and 
players have the option of a putting a self-imposing time out on their account as well as wager limits. There is also a section for permanent exclusion. 

So I put a bet on Powerball and a selection of other games too.


You can choose your numbers or just click Quickpick so your numbers for all the tickets shown are generated at random, or choose Random under each ticket for that individual ticket. You also pick one bonus number. Then click on how many draws you want to bet on and then Place Bet which shows how much you are betting. An interesting feature here is the odds of winning section which shows you your chances of winning.


Once you have bet all your bets go into your dashboard so you can see at a glance your tickets and the numbers bet, you also get an email confirmation. For the purpose of this review, I put bets on a number of lotteries that day and then waited to see if I had won.


So the time came and went and I checked my tickets.

Unfortunately, I didn't win, but I could have done. That's the thrill you get with playing the lottery. 



My opinion is Multilotto is a useful site if you want to play a number of international lotteries. You must always play responsibly though. 

Tell me, if you play the lottery, would you consider a site like this?
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Monday, 4 September 2017

Hiking A Glacier In Iceland

Those of you who may know me will realise I am not the most outdoorsy person, but all this changed when I visited Iceland in February this year. Iceland is such a beautiful and awe inspiring country, dare I call it awesome even, that when I returned this August I felt I had to see more of nature. 

My husband and I took my son, who is studying visual effects at University with us and we decided to do a self-guided movie location tour of the country, based on this Guide To Iceland article.



Now my son loves science-fiction movies so we decided to choose the Blue Ice tour, hiking the glacier Svínafellsjökull situated in the Skaftafell Nature Reserve, where they filmed Interstellar. We paid £88 each for this two and a half hour tour, so this is how we got on. 



Mr W and Jake looking mean and moody

The tour was graded as easy and is suitable from the age of 8. The company running the tour was Icelandic Mountain Guides and we met at their hut 15 minutes prior to the booked time of 10.30am. Waterproof clothes and hiking boots are recommended for the tour and we rocked up all kitted out. My son, Jake had his new boots on from North Face and coat from Peter Storm, kindly provided by Millets, review to follow. 




We met our tour guide Helkar and she gave us crampons to put on later, which would fit over our boots to help mobility on the ice, a harness and an ice pick each.

So we jumped onto a coach and after a ten-minute ride to the glacier, we were there. 


The glacier was more beautiful than I could have imagined, with white ice poking through the black volcanic dust. Helkar explained the name Svínafellsjökull meant pig mountains glacier, as the mountain behind is called pig mountain.  



Jake kitted out
Coat - Peter Storm and Boots - North Face all from Millets

We were then shown how to fit our crampons and given a safety briefing.

The crampons fitted over our boots easily

Then to hike!



As we walked on the glacier, I felt surprisingly safe, the crampons really dug into the ground. You still had to keep your wits about you and avoid holes in the ice. At certain areas, we were advised to follow Helkar in line closely behind but in other areas, we could walk a little more freely. The ice picks helped us when walking in tricky areas and especially as we climbed up higher parts of the glacier.





Helkar gave us plenty of opportunities to stop for photos and even though she led she constantly checked where our small group was. 



The blue we saw in the ice was compact ice when snow falls and is compressed and becomes part of the glacier. 

The glacier was used in the film Interstellar and also Batman Begins and Helkar told us that for Interstellar all the tours were bought out for weeks by the film production company.



The glacier tour was fun, not too hard and the tour guide was professional and informative. It was certainly something you don't do every day and we all really enjoyed it and most importantly we all felt safe. If you go to Iceland and find yourself in the South of the country, I would highly recommend the Blue Ice glacier tour.


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If you want to read more about Iceland check out my posts on Why You Will Love Iceland and 10 Money Saving Tips For A Trip To Iceland. Also check out our Iceland videos here from the travel vlog/blog Fly Drive Explore.

Have you been to Iceland? Would you do this tour?

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