Sunday, 31 March 2013

The Big Nasty C Word

A year ago my friend lost her life after a long battle with Cancer. She found a lump in her breast shortly after her little boy was born. Sadly she knew from the start that her battle was one she couldn't win because of the aggressiveness of the disease. She did, however, fight it with all her might for six years and never lost her dignity. Rest In Peace dear Clare.


I lost my mum to Cancer on Christmas Day 2008. She didn't know she had it until a hospital visit in late November. It was everywhere and there was nothing that could be done. She had no chance of fighting and lived only fifteen days after her diagnosis.


Two of my friends have also lost their mum's to the dreaded disease in the past few years.


Then just a few weeks ago a lovely family man, Gavin, also lost his life. He was one of my first ever friends on Twitter when I joined nearly four years ago. Last year he told me he was going to have his wisdom tooth removed. I've had all of mine taken out and made a lame joke about being 'wisdomless.' Sadly, they found things where not right, he had Cancer. They operated and for a very short while he believed the battle was won, but it had spread and the battle was soon over.


It's awful losing someone to this dreaded disease, and every day online you will find someone fighting their own battles. When Gavin died I decided I'd like to do something for a Cancer related charity. The very same day I heard about Wig Wednesday which the supports the children's Cancer charity Clic Sargeant. Did you know that every day 10 families in the UK are told that their child has Cancer? The gruelling treatment often leaves Cancer victims without their hair, and that's what Wig Wednesday is all about.


Quite simply, on Wednesday 22nd May I will be wearing a wig all day, on the school run, to the shops, everywhere. I will purchase my wig from the Wig Wednesday shop where all profits go to the charity. (I quite fancy the Curls Aloud Wig in red.) I will be raising money for Clic Sargeant and raising awareness for the next couple of months.
Donations can be made through my brand new Just Giving Page. Please give a little if you can, every donation counts. Then on 22nd may I will wear my wig and share my day with you here on my blog.




Happy Easter

I think Easter has to be my favourite time of year, what is there not to like? There is something for everyone.

If you are religious then there is nothing more wonderful than an Easter Sunday service. It's what the Christian faith is all about, being accepted by God for eternity through the resurrection of Christ. Our church provides a truly uplifting service. Today's was in the form of a play by the worship group, featuring the detective Philip Marlowe on the case of the missing body.

If you are not religious then there is a long weekend (for most), chocolate, family gatherings, chocolate, Dr Who, chocolate, Simnel Cake...you get the picture. It's what you make of it really, but it can be good and full of chocolate.

Then of course there is the promise of spring, daffodils, buttercups, newborn lambs and sunshine. Well, that would be true if it wasn't for the snow. I'm sure spring is just around the corner, after all the clocks have gone forward now so summer is on the way, spring better hurry up and make an appearance before it's too late.


I like Easter better than Christmas, it's cheaper for one thing. I splashed out this year with Thortons eggs, bagging a bargain with their combination offers, free delivery and a 20% off code. It worked out cheaper than the supermarket eggs anyway.

Yesterday, I made a delicious traditional Easter Simnel Cake, click the picture for the recipe from my cake blog.
Easter Simnel Cake



The Little Ones all made Easter cards at school which are proudly on display.




Happy Easter everyone!



Friday, 29 March 2013

The Little Man's Catwalk Debut

On  Tuesday we were invited to the Start-Rite Press Party in South Bank, London. The Little Man was invited to model some shoes on the catwalk. It was an invitation I just couldn't refuse. I'm not a shoe person myself but I love children's shoes, and I knew the Little Man would be fantastic on the catwalk.

We took the train to London, Eldest Daughter came along too. We decided to go without the buggy! The Little Man is a great walker but he tends to run/wander off, so I used his harness and reins. Out of all my five children I've never used reins before, I just don't like them, but I've never had a little monkey like the Little Man and I figured his safety is more important than me not liking walking him like a dog. It turned out it was a good idea, so much easier to get around and on and off transport without a buggy! The only time I had to carry the Little Man was when he fell asleep on the train home and I had to carry him to the taxi.


Eldest Daughter decided that we should have lunch at Wagamamas, so we did. It was the Little Man's first trip to a proper restaurant (ok, hands up, I have taken him to Mc Donalds before!) and he was brilliant. He had chicken and noodles and cleared his plate. (well apart from the noodles that ended up in my bag which I stupidly left open right next to his chair)
The Little Man waiting for food and enjoying his noodles!





After lunch we headed up to the event and found they had given the Little Man my name and he had girl shoes to model. Ooops! The Little Man didn't mind though, he loves shoes and it doesn't matter if they are his sister's, his dad's, his mum's, he's always putting them on. These were lovely light blue brogue type shoes, so you couldn't even tell they were really for girls.

Trying his shoes on

Then came the catwalk and the Little Man was a star, I'm sure you'll agree. In this little video Eldest Daughter was holding the camera and he ran straight to her, as was the plan. What we didn't plan was that he wouldn't want to return to mummy afterwards.







As well as the modelling there was a lovely clown lady with balloons who kept the kids really entertained, food and drink and, of course, shoes.




We had a lovely day and would like to thank Beccie and Start-Rite for inviting us.

Disclaimer: I was invited to this event because Start-Rite Shoes are the sponsors of the School Days category of the Mad Blog Awards of which I am a finalist. The Little Man was given a voucher for a new pair of Start-Rite Shoes.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

The Vanilla Swarm

On Thursday afternoon's school run I couldn't believe how cold it was, I could tell that snow was on the way. We've had a fair bit of snow lately I really didn't expect more. In fact when clearing out the understairs cupboard the other day I was tempted to box up and pack away the wellies for next winter. I'm so glad I didn't! Friday morning we woke to tons of the white stuff. Kate Bush has 50 words for snow, including vanilla swarm, eiderfalls, erase-o-dust, whippochino, but the words that came to my mind that morning are unprintable. Enough already, it's supposed to be Spring!

Still, the world carries on, and fresh snow is beautiful, I love the way it covers the muck up. So we got ready and I took the kids to school. The Little Man took a little longer than usual, he's still completely in awe of the snow and has to stop every 10 seconds to feel it with his gloved hands. Star decided to make Gruffalo prints in the snow all the way to school which was lovely, only I didn't have my camera with me.

By lunchtime I'd had a call from the school to pick up Boo as she wasn't very well. I'm not sure what was wrong with her but her recovery was pretty quick?

In the afternoon I have to pick up Little Man at 3p.m and the girls at 3.30p.m. I usually take Little Man for a walk to the shops to fill in the time, but it was so cold I came home and begged Dad to go and pick up Star so I didn't have to go out again.

It carried on snowing. By Saturday morning we had tons. Star looked out of the window and said, 'wow, it's a winter wonderland out there' which is fine, but it's supposed to be SPRING!

So we made yet another snowman. This one was named Snowy by the Little Man, original I know, but he is only two!

It's almost tea time now and still snowing. Will it ever stop? Sorbet deluge, boomerangablanca, deamondi-pavlova, icyskidsi.....I love Kate bush.

Here's a few photo's, no kids, but they were there at some point.

click to see a bigger picture


P.S. It's the last few dates to get your votes in for the MAD Blog Awards if you haven't done so already.
Raisie Bay is amongst the finalists in the Schooldays category, I'm still pinching myself I can't believe it. Do take a look and share some love for the bloggers.



 Come and see how others have been spending time outdoors over at CoombeMill country kids Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Chocolate Mochi

I may have mentioned in previous posts that I like Japanese food and that I often lunch out with Eldest Daughter at Yo Sushi, well, one of the dishes we always end on is chocolate mochi. This is a delicious rice pastry dessert filled with soft chocolate and it just melts in your mouth in a gloop of yumminous.
Take a look:
mochi

So, I figured, how difficult could this delicious dessert be to make?
Ahem!
First problem was the rice flour, it has to be sweet rice flour or glutinous rice flour, which is not actually sweetened and has no gluten in it, but actually cooks sweet and sticky. Confused? It doesn't get any better.
 Now go find me some Google? All my favourite online shops stock gluten free rice flour!! To buy the 'proper' stuff you need to go to a specialist Asian store and buy Mochiko (Mochigomeko) and this can be pretty expensive. There are alternatives but you need to be able to read Japanese or have a very helpful English speaking shop assistant.

Unfortunately, I wasn't prepared to for out so much money for my yummy so I decided to do some research and maybe come up with an alternative. What I did find was that ground semolina had almost the same consistency as rice flour but I wasn't sure it would hold up in a pastry. So I had a go using a mixure of rice flour (gluten free) and semolina. It wasn't a huge success. I did get something that resembled Chocolate Mochi but the taste wasn't quite right. The rice pastry wasn't sweet or gloopy enough and the cocoa powder dusting was yuk! The Yo Shushi ones are dusted with cocoa powder that tastes sweet and chocolately, but my cocoa powder tasted bitter. Eldest Daughter suggested that drinking chocolate would probably give the right effect.

What did I learn? That Yo Shushi are the kings of Chocolate Mochi. That if you want to make something right sometimes you have to spend a small fortune on the ingredients. Cocoa powder is yuk! I make excellent chocolate truffles! This is what I used for the filling and that was the only saving grace, every single mochi was eaten (not by me) purely for the chocolate truffle inside.

What would I do differently? I will make them again (or just stop at the truffles) but if I can't find a decent Asian store with sweet rice flour I will probably try a half and half mixture of rice flour and semolina. I will put some cocoa powder in with the rice pastry for a more chocolatey experience, you can never have too much chocolate. I will dust them with drinking chocolate, not cocoa powder.

I'm not going to share my recipe now as it was not a big success, but be warned, I'll be back when I've mastered this tricky icky chocolatey dessert. In the meantime, here's a pic of my effort.


Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Painting a Cross on the Door

That's right, keep out, we're all sick in here! That's one of the problems when you have such a big family when illness strikes it gets us all, knocking us all down like pins at a bowling alley. Last week Boo came home from church and fell asleep on the settee, she was burning up and once awake started throwing up. Next it was time for the Little Man to get the lurgy. Monday morning arrived after a sleep deprived night and presented us with another high temperature, this time from Star. School was phoned and we began one of those hazy days where you forget what the time is and just keep mopping up the mess. By Wednesday things were looking good for the girls but the Little Man was still suffering. Sadly I was too busy with the kids to hear the Dad moaning about his ills. Thursday morning arrived and I was all prepared to send the girls back to school. What I wasn't prepared for was for me to be struck down with illness. Dad had to get up and take them in, and pick them up.

The weekend arrived and we were all feeling a little better, it looked like No1 Son and Eldest Daughter had escaped. The came Sunday and I woke with a migraine. Yes, one of those can't turn your head to the side otherwise the pain will make you throw up type of migraines. Heavily doped I got through the day, I even managed to  cook a roast (ok, frozen veg, frozen roast spuds and even frozen yorkshire puds, but I did make the gravy myself from the meat juices) No cake or dessert this week though :(

As Sunday wore on it seemed that No1 Son hadn't actually escaped the Bug as loud moanings could be heard all around the house. Sunday evening I took my migraine to bed at the same time as the kids. The night was not good, disturbances went as follows; Little Man, No1 Son, Boo, Little Man, Boo, Dad, No1 Son, Little Man, Dad and finally Star my little alarm clock with her 6am call.

At present the girls are at school, No1 Son is still suffering and has in fact been diagnosed with his first ever ear infection, and the Little Man is still not eating properly but is still properly snotty!

Tomorrow, I'm going to disinfect the entire house and banish the bugs.
At least until the next round arrives.


Saturday, 16 March 2013

Easter Marshmallow Bark - A Sweet Treat

This months Center Parcs challenge is all about chocolate and sweets, particularly as it's Easter soon.
I've got my kids to work and together we've made some delicious Marshmallow bark and cut it out using Easter shaped cookie cutters. We had lots of messy fun as you will see.

First up, our recipe:

Ingredients:
200g white chocolate
100g mini marshmallows, preferably in different colours
some sprinkles

Method:
First you need to melt the chocolate. This can be done in the microwave in short bursts, stirring in-between. I don't own a microwave so I did mine in a bowl over a pan of hot water, stirring frequently.

melting the chocolate

When the chocolate is melted remove from the heat.
prepare a long tin, like a swiss roll tin, by covering it with greaseproof paper.
Add the marshmallows to the chocolate and stir through.
Put the mixture onto the tray and sprinkle over the sprinkles.
Work quickly because you don't want the marshmallows to melt.

marshmallows in chocolate
Quickly put the tray in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Leave for about 5 minutes after taking out from the freezer then use cutters to cut out shapes. (or you can cut into squares)
marshmallow mess!





Here are my little sweeties having fun with the sweeties



Marshmallow fun




So you see, these are simple and so much fun to make.

Here are some of our finished Easter treats, and they tasted yummy!

Easter Marshmallow Bark
Why don't you join in? Post up your yummy Easter treats and enter the competition over on Tots100 and you could win a family break at Center Parcs.

Good Luck!


Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Straight Bananas I'm a MAD blog Award finalist!!

WARNING: this blog post is shameless!

Last Thursday evening I was waiting for my lives to replenish on Candy Crush Saga when I decided to check my Twitter feed. That's when I spotted the announcement that the Mad blog award finalists had been announced. I resisted the temptation to look, I'd really expected the announcement to be on Friday and wanted to dream for one more night. So I popped back to find a couple of friends had gifted me some extra lives on Candy Crush. Two crushing games later I popped back to Twitter. The congratulation tweets were coming in on my timeline, not for me, but for other fabulous bloggers who were on the list. I could resist no longer and went for a peak. I really couldn't believe my eyes when I saw my name on the  list. I thought all the sweeties on Candy Crush were playing tricks on my eyes and giving me sweet treats on other sites! I really thought I'd be taken off again so I took a screen shot just to prove I had been there.

Then I recieved my first congratulatory tweet and soon it began to sink in that I was a finalist in the MAD Blog Awards, me and this little blog Raisie Bay.

Now, just in case you are new here let me tell you a little about Raisie Bay. Here I talk about family life with my five kids. Two are grown up, two are on the autistic spectrum. All five are gorgeous, but I know I'm biased. I'm in the School Days category because three of my children are at school, although the Little Man is only at pre-school. I've been standing in the same school playground for more than 20 years now, some of the mum's there now were students alongside my older kids!! (there are a couple of parents there the same age as me picking up their grand kids, but the less said about that the better I feel!)

I also bake and decorate cakes over on my other blog, Mostly Cake. I'm still learning and having fun. But of course that does mean that I can bribe any prospective voters with cake :-) he he he

Ah, I've said it now! Yes, I need voters! I need you, my lovely readers to vote for me now.
Here is my little finalist button, just click and go vote! But don't forget to check out all the other lovely blogs you can vote for too!


The MAD Blog Awards

Now just in case you wasn't sure what this post was about I painted my fingers nails;
Vote for Me in orange sorbet and midnight plum!





Just to prove I really don't have any shame and I really do need your votes, I've roped in the little ones to help.

So, please, please, please Vote for Raisie Bay and in return I promise*:

Cake for everyone
Never to embarrass my kids again
Blog about really brilliant things all the time
Give away lots of fab prizes
Tell you how to defeat Candy Crush Saga
Buy myself a new dress
Tell you my deepest darkest secrets
Vote for you

Before I go here is a little montage of the kids photo's that didn't quite go to plan




 *some promises may be broken (sorry, but it happens)

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Mother's Day has been a difficult time for me for a long time. I fell out with my mum for five years and Mother's Day was always the worst. Then I decided to send her a card, I didn't even know where she lived and had to ask my auntie to deliver it. A couple of days later I received a letter from her with her phone number. It took a while but we did become close again. She was around for the births of my two little girls which was lovely. Then she passed away on Christmas Day 2008 after being diagnosed with cancer just two weeks before. So Mother's Day became miserable again. I visited the grave this year laden with flowers, because flowers are the only gift I can give, Mother's Day, Birthday, Christmas. I miss her every day and always will.

This year I decided that despite missing my mum I would still be able to enjoy Mother's Day. My little ones made me some lovely cards at school. The Little Man brought home a cupcake and a little plant. I'm surprised the cupcake lasted until we got home, he couldn't wait to eat it! Star made me a necklace from beads she threaded herself. Boo and the Little Man made me some paper flowers at church this morning. It's also customary at our church to receive a bunch of daffodils on Mother's Day.




For my Mother-in-law I made a cake. It was her birthday earlier this week and I bought her loads of presents so I figured a card and home-made cake would be fine for Mother's Day.


So today I'm feeling happy to be a Mother and incredibly blessed that I have my five wonderful children. 
Happy Mother's Day xxx

Friday, 8 March 2013

On Your Bike!

The Little Man was extremely pleased with the Toddlebike I was sent to review. Since the day it has arrived it's been his favourite mode of transport, and even when we 'have' to go in the buggy he likes to take the bike along too!
Here he is on his very first outing with sister Boo keeping an eye on him.

At first he was slow, but soon he really got the hang of it and now he gets all daredevil fast, especially downhill.

The Toddlebike is a pre balance bike for younger children eighteen months to three years old. The best feature is the weight, at just 0.8kg it's so light that the Little Man can pick it up and carry it quite easily. Having older children one of my bugbears has been having to cart around heavy bikes and scooters, either to take them around the school for home time, or when they've had enough of riding them. With the Toddlebike, it's so light you barely know you are carrying it, and no banging into your legs when you walk. In fact when the Little Man gets to a hill too steep, or just wants to walk for a while, he picks it up and carries it himself, he doesn't even ask me!

So far the Toddlebike has been used in the house, the garden, on the trip to Grandma's house, to pre-school, to the shops and to church. I'm sure it will have many more adventures before the Little Man outgrows it.

The Toddlebike is great for use around the house, ours lives under the dining room table when not in use. It takes up little room, and even when the Little Man is riding around the house on it he doesn't get in the way. One of his favourite activities is keeping the wheels clean.



Here is the Little Man getting used to his Toddlebike on his very first outing with it.






The Toddlebike, despite its incredibly lightness, is also very durable and is able to withstand the boisterousness of a toddler. It doesn't topple easy and it's a great alternative to traditional ride-ons. It soon becomes a favourite toy. 

I love the Toddlebike because it makes getting out and about fun!





Linking up with Country Kids from Coombe Mill, come and visit all the fun we've been having this week

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Thursday, 7 March 2013

World Book Day

This year Boo decided she wanted to be the Gruffalo's Child. It's her favourite book at the moment and at Christmas time we went to see the play which she loved. I tried to figure out a way to make her a costume and became worried that it was above me and my limited skills and creativity. Then, I saw a competition to win a Gruffalo costume and entered, the very next day I heard that I'd won. Problem solved on one very happy Boo. Now because it was a Gruffalo costume and she wanted to be the Gruffalo's Child I figured that what she needed was a stick man and we'd be sorted. I found the sticks I needed and tied them together, then painted on the eyes and mouth.

Star decided that she wanted to be Dorothy as we recently reviewed a really lovely book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It is the original story with some gorgeous illustrations and Star fell in love with it. I was thinking that a Dorothy costume would be fairly simple to make seeing as their school summer dresses are blue gingham and I had one I could adjust. However, because Boo had a lovely professional looking costume I thought it only fair that Star should have one too, so I bought her one from Ebay. The ruby slippers were more of a problem though and when I couldn't find any I decided to  a pair of old shoes with glitter and sequins.

So although I didn't make the costumes I did create a little something for each of them.


And here they are. the Little Man didn't have to dress up but wanted to be in the picture so he popped on a pair of princess dressing up shoes. Boo is showing off her stick man but you can't see it clearly. Star is holding a cuddly Toto which came in a basket but she didn't like it.



Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Ruby Slippers

I'll be the first to admit I'm not a very good at crafts so today I'd just like to share this little project as I'm feeling quite proud of myself.

On Thursday it's world Book Day and the girls have been asked to dress up as characters from their favourite book. Well Boo was set on being the Gruffalo's child and I was incredibly lucky to win a fantastic costume from Boo, Roo and Tigger Too. All I have to do is make her a Mr Stick and she's ready to go. Star decided she'd like to be Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, we recently reviewed a gorgeous new book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Star has fallen in love with this old story. So I managed to get her a Dorothy dress and a little basket carrying Toto. All we needed was the Ruby slippers. I spent an entire evening searching the internet for them with no luck. The ones I did find would have taken too long to get here or were way too expensive. So I decided to spruce up a pair of party shoes.

I bought some glue, glitter and red sequins and got to work.
Here is my work in progress;


I'm thinking they won't look so sparkly at the end of the day when most of the glitter and sequins have come off!

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Mother's Day Gift - I-pic Review and competition

I was given the opportunity to choose and design my own photo frame from I-pic and also can  give one lucky person the same by entering my latest competition.

I-Pics are tough magnetic frames that you can personalise with your own images and messages.
It's really easy to make your own frame and can be done in three easy steps. First you choose a design. There are lots to choose from and they are all put into categories so you can find what you want easily. I did spend a long time browsing through all the designs and found making my choice really difficult. I'd decided to make a frame for myself as a Mother's Day gift from my three little ones. It helps to have a theme in mind when choosing. You can also choose from Birthdays, Weddings, Anniversaries and lots of many other events. Or you can choose from themes such as animals, family, love, astrology and many more. If you wish you can even design your own frame from scratch using an image which you upload to the site.
The second step is adding  your photo. You upload it, see what it looks like in the frame and edit it if you need to. It's all very simple to do.
The third step is to add your own personalised message. This is printed directly onto the frame.

The frames are different from regular frames because the photo is encapsulated securely so you don't have to worry about it ever getting damaged. The frames are magnetic so you can stick them on your fridge if you wish, or they come with a removable stand for display.

I thought the site was easy to use and it was good to have such a huge choice of designs to choose from. Once my choice was made I found uploading and editing my photo quick and easy and it was good to see an all around image of what the finished frame would look like. I love that the design is both on the front and the back. Then came the message, again very simple to add and something to make the frame truly unique.

I put my order in on a Saturday evening and it arrived on Tuesday Morning. That was really quick, it arrived in two working days. I loved it as soon as I saw it, it was sturdy, colourful and unique. Everyone who has been to my house since it arrived have commented on it.

Now for the photo's;


Now for your chance to win a personalised i-pic just fill in the widget below.




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Facing the Truth

I wrote a post a while ago about Star's Invisible Disibility. She has been diagnosed with high functioning autism and at seven years old it's mostly invisible. Her teachers at school know but I don't really tell others, like the parents of the other children. I know children can be cruel particularly to other children who are a little bit different. I thought we were getting away with it but sadly it's already begun. Star is an amazing child, she's polite and well behaved (mostly) and never says a bad word to anyone. She generally doesn't bother about having many friends, she has her 'special' friend at school and sometimes joins in with the others, but mostly keeps herself to herself. When others try to interact will find that she's very single minded. Currently her 'thing' is Pokemon and everything revolves around them. She will not join in any games unless they are Pokemon related. She talks constantly about Pokemon, she pretends to be Pokemon. She watches Pokemon on tv, plays Pokemon games on her DS and lately her older brother has been teaching her how to play the Pokemon Trading Card game. To say she is obsessed is an understatement.
Then yesterday I was having a conversation with a dinner lady at the school who is particularly fond of Star. She pointed out that she is mostly on her own and she sometimes sits and talks to her. She also told me that the other children make fun of her but it doesn't seem to bother her, she takes no notice. Although there have been one or two times when her special friend hadn't been around and Star had got upset. I told her that Star had autism and waited for her to be shocked but instead she replied that she 'thought so' and I was the shocked one. I don't really know why I should be shocked, my child has autism, it's bound to show sometimes, especially to people who see her almost every day, but just to hear someone say they already knew even though they hadn't been told was a big blow.
I really believed I had another year or two of getting away with it, but it looks like I'll have to start preparing myself and Star right now. I will not tolerate her being bullied so will be keeping a check on the school. I know Star won't tell me anything but there are others who can. I hope I can keep her in mainstream, her elder brother (Also on the spectrum) lasted until he was twelve. Hopefully if I can be prepared we can face the future with optimism rather than fear.
I'll have to watch out for Boo too as I know from experience that siblings also suffer. I don't have a plan of action yet, but I will do and I will make sure I do everything in my power to make sure all my children have happy and safe lives.

In the meantime I will count my blessings that my little girl is bright and clever and has very minor physical disabilities and mostly good health. I know I'm very lucky to have her.
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