Tuesday, 14 May 2019 / London, UK

MY TOP 5 DINING ROOM CHAIRS

I have some great news! I've finally decided what kind of dining room table I want (check out my Top 5 Dining Room Table post here!) I've been struggling to decide between marble (effect) and wood for quite some time. Our current dining table is glass and I really wanted something different this time. I'll share more details of our new dining table soon but right now I have to decide what kind of chairs I'm going to pair with it.

I do find picking the chairs a lot easier than choosing the right table. I now know the look I'm going for which means my chair options are a bit limited too. I also need to decide whether I want to keep it all matchy-matchy or go for a more interesting mix & match look. I guess we all know which one I'm going to go for, right? I also need to take into account the measurements of our new table (I haven't got it yet) and make sure that it can accommodate 8 chairs comfortably.

So, here are my top 5 dining chairs (in no particular order..)

Image credit: Cox & Cox

Rattan has been one of my favourite materials for furniture for quite some time now. I see more and more rattan indoors too (although it's also a very durable choice for outdoor furniture) which is why this rattan chair from Cox & Cox caught my eye. I wouldn't say that rattan is ultra comfortable. It's more comfy than wood though and you could always add an extra cushion for additional padding. This design is inspired by a 1950s classic and somehow it still manages to look contemporary and current. So if you love rattan and are worried that it will go out of fashion, you've got nothing to worry about. These rattan chairs look stunning with a light wooden dining table, don't you think? It's the perfect combo if you love a mix of Scandi and coastal décor.

2. UXBRIDGE DINING CHAIR £109

Image credit: Cult Furniture

This padded velvet chair is the opposite of uncomfortable. I visited the Cult Furniture showroom in Clapham last week and it was probably the most comfortable dining chair I've ever sat on. The velvet feels so nice and the padding on the seat is pretty generous. It comes in multiple colours too, so you can pick your favourite (or mix and match). If you want to make a real statement mix different colours together for a more unique look. I promised myself I won't buy black dining room chairs again but I may just end up doing that. Black is so practical with children and since our youngest is only 3 yo there will be food on the chairs, table etc. So, I guess if you have children and you want a velvet dining chair, darker colours are your best bet. Light colours will show everything and personally I just don't have the time and energy to try to maintain them looking pristine.

3. RAVEN UPHOLSTERED DINING CHAIR £132 (set of 2)

Image credit: Wayfair

These velvet chairs from Wayfair are very similar to the Uxbridge chair but slightly more narrow (47 cm) which means they are a great choice if you've got a smaller table (4-6 seater) or less room in general. The wooden legs look very contemporary and add a bit of Scandi chic to this design. The velvet makes the chair super luxurious and comfortable. I would pair these chairs with a light wooden table to keep the look consistent. These chairs are also pretty amazing value since you get 2 for £132.99 (they are available in pink, grey and blue too).

4. WISHBONE CHAIR £139
Image credit: Cult Furniture

Now if you're an interiors lover like me, you probably know that that the Wishbone Chair is the 'IT' chair of the moment. This timeless Danish design has been in production since the 1950s (designed by Hans J. Wegner in 1949) and I am literally seeing it everywhere at the moment. The original retails around at £443 (Skandium) and you can find replicas for much less online. Replicas won't be as durable though. The original CH24 Wishbone chair is hand made and the delivery can take up to 8-10 weeks. I saw a very good replica version in Cult Furniture but it wasn't comfortable when leaning back. I also found the woven seat very impractical with small children (and the strings do come loose over time). You could always buy this chair with an upholstered leather seat if comfort is a big concern. Sheepskin rugs/cushions are also a great way to make the chair more comfortable. Like I said, some people will find this chair fine, where as others will find it not comfortable at all. It's a beautiful chair but I wouldn't buy it without seeing it first. 

5. BRASS WIRE CHAIR £355

Image credit: Rose and Grey

Now I love the look of wire chairs but I do wonder how comfortable they actually are to sit on. Luckily Rose and Grey had though of this when they designed the Brass wire chair that comes with a green velvet comfort kit. The chair is made of brass wire and the top fastens onto the bottom frame with brass screws (it requires some self assembly). On the website it's described as an office chair but there is no reason why you can't use it as a dining room chair too. I would use these chairs as accent chairs at the top of table only and use smaller wire chairs in the middle. Mixing and matching different dining chairs together will create a unique space and it can turn out much cheaper too (especially if you like buying vintage furniture). I should warn you though, it's quite hard to successfully mix and match different chairs (in my experience anyway). It's not as simple as just picking the chairs you like. A rustic vintage table can look stunning with some contemporary chairs, but I wouldn't mix and match the chairs too much in this scenario. Don't forget about the rest of your dining room either. If you have a lot of clutter, a mix & matched look might make it look even busier. Head over here for tips how to mix and match chairs successfully.

I hope you found this post useful. If you have any advice or tips, please feel free to share them by leaving a comment below. 
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Tuesday, 7 May 2019 / London, UK

[AD] GETTING ORGANISED WITH BEAUTIFY


I've been doing a spring clean for over a month now (believe me, it was long over due). I try to declutter the house a few times a year, but spring time is when all the hard work and deep cleaning happens. I've taken multiple bags of old clothes and home accessories to our local charity shops and it's amazing how much more room it has freed up. I'm also trying to get more organised at the moment. I've been buying new paper folders, drawer inserts (love the Ikea ones!) and organising my wardrobe as well. I'm hoping all of this hard work will save me a lot of time and energy in the long run and so far I love that everything is so easy to find.

So, I guess it's only natural that I wanted to team up with Beautify this month to take my organisation to another level. They've sent me two of their products to review (a 2 -tier cosmetic case and a jewellery box) and I've really enjoyed using them for the past few weeks. Beautify offer loads of different products from make-up storage to lighting, furniture and textiles (and more). All of their products as super stylish and inspired by the latest trends. Can you tell I'm hooked already?

So, let's start with the 2-tier cosmetic case. I don't wear tons of make-up which is why the 2-tier cosmetic case is definitely big enough for me. I guess it's huge even if you have loads of make-up but I do tend to store other items in there as well (hair accessories, cotton buds etc.) I was a little worried grey velvet wouldn't be the most practical material with make-up, but it's really easy to wipe clean with baby wipes. If you need more room for your make-up, go for the 3-tier case. I find the 2-tier case pretty big (and boxy) which means it can be a bit tricky to store. I tend to keep it on my dresser. It's where I usually apply the make-up and I'm so lucky that my dressing table is big enough to display this pretty case. My old make-up case was pretty small, so I'm really happy I can fit all my products in one case now. I still use my old make-up case when travelling but the 2-tier box is ideal when I'm at home.






The grey velvet jewellery box looks equally fabulous. It's quite a bit smaller (17.5 x 12.5 x 10 cm) It's actually not big enough for my needs (I've got loads of jewellery) but I love the look and the size. It's so easy to fit in a drawer too and the removable ring pad in the middle is just genius (it's perfect for rings or earrings). You can store larger items in the lower tray but I wouldn't exactly overload it or you won't be able to close the box properly. Velvet is the ideal material for jewellery as the fabric will help prevent scratches and damage. I love the rose gold detailing (same as in the cosmetic case) and that they both feel so luxurious. I prefer the grey colour but this jewellery case is also available in blush pink. 








I love that my make-up and jewellery are now so well organised thanks to Beautify. I've only tested these products for a few weeks, so I cannot comment too much on the durability, but the quality seems good. Both cases are well made and sturdy. It would be great to have more sizes available (especially for the jewellery case) but I guess if it was any bigger I wouldn't be able to store the box in the drawer. These boxes are so stylish that you'll want to display them. They also come in super stylish gift boxes featuring a chic monochrome design and a touch of pink. Most importantly, I may have gotten even more excited about getting organised and decluttering our home. Being organised has definitely helped me to feel more relaxed and clear-headed in our house. If you haven't started already, I totally recommend for you to do the same. I promise you'll feel freer and happier.

Do you have any decluttering tips and tricks you swear by?

* This is a collaborative post with Beautify.
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Tuesday, 30 April 2019 / London, UK

MY TOP 5 DINING ROOM TABLES

I've been thinking about getting a new dining room table and chairs for a while now. We bought our old table when we were renting and it has been ok for the past 9 years, although not to my taste for quite some time. I've put off buying a new one since we have small children. There is a strong chance it will get scratched and stained with babies and toddlers, so I didn't really want to get my dream table just yet.

As it turned out our black glass table from Harvey's Furniture has been pretty indestructible. There is nothing wrong with it still but the chairs have started falling a part in the last 6 months which means it's time to get that new table and chairs that I've been dreaming about. Although, I don't know if I'm brave enough to get my dream table just yet. My youngest is still only 3 and there is no way I can totally protect any new table we get. I guess I just need to hope for the best. People warned me about glass tables with children but I've found ours very easy to care for and safe. Even stubborn dirt has come off easily with hot water and a bit of fairy liquid. It's also black so small scratches don't really show, plus I've always used place mats which helps a lot. We do have strict rules about climbing on tables and neither of my girls have attempted to do it. But I would be very wary of buying a glass coffee table with small children (you just never know and they are more likely to break under pressure as the support isn't as strong).

Anyway, it has taken me about a year to narrow down my search. It's surprisingly hard to find a stylish dining table that also works well with messy family living.

1.WEST ELM TOWER DINING  TABLE £899

Image credit: West Elm

I went to view this concrete dining table in the West Elm Tottenham Court road flagship store few weeks ago. I am totally in love with this table. The concrete tabletop and the brass legs blend rustic perfectly in this design. The only issue is that it's concrete composite and the material is quite porous. I simply cannot take that risk with small children. Also, I found the colour a little bit darker in person so it wouldn't really work in the space we've got. It's still a stunning table but probably too high maintenance and small for our needs.

2. RENO CERAMIC MARBLE EXTENDING TABLE £899

Image credit: Dwell

My next stop in Tottenham Court road was Dwell. We have quite a few furniture pieces from Dwell. I really like their contemporary designs and the price/quality ratio is really good. I wanted to see how the butterfly extension works in real life and it did not disappoint. This table can accommodate up to 8 people when extended and it's also available in 2 other colours (slate and grey). I love the sleek look but the best part is that the tabletop is ceramic (not real marble). This means that it's very easy to keep clean and very scratch resistant too. I have a (real) marble table in our hall that shows a lot of wear and tear only after few years, so I'm scared to think what would happen if we had a marble dining table. My only concern is that the design (especially the legs) is almost identical to our old table. Obviously it's a sign of a timeless style but I would prefer something new and different this time.

The ceramic tabletop is definitely the biggest selling point for me. The colour is also a bonus as it's very light marble which means it will bounce light around the room (this is important especially since our dining room table will be in a corner tucked away from all the windows).

3. WAYFAIR DENITA KITCHEN PANTRY £740.99 (on sale)

Image credit: Wayfair

I've always steered clear from wood tables in the past, mainly because I thought they wouldn't be practical with children. Water marks and scuff marks don't sound appealing and must be pretty unavoidable with small children, right? And then there's the question what kind of wood should you go for. Hardwood tends to be more durable which makes oak a very good option. Composite wood may look more 'finished' and is usually cheaper but won't be as durable as hardwood. I adore the contemporary look of this table and that it's not too bulky unlike many other wood tables. I also think the black metal legs give it some real wow factor. It's the biggest dining table out of my top 5 too (up to 10 people) and we probably don't need a table this big. Then again, I'm looking for a long term table for us and if we were to move in the next few years, the new dining table would have to come with us to the next house.

4. CATTELAN ITALIA BY DIAPASON £2744

Image credit: Urban Suite


This table isn't really a serious contender since it's glass and I want something totally different this time (our current table is black glass). But, since it's such a unique table I had to add it to my list anyway. The base is marble and the tabletop is glass which makes it pretty special. It's pricey though which is probably the only negative, but it's a well made table that is very easy to care for (even with small children) which makes it a pretty good investment in my book.


5. RESTORATION HARDWARE - TORANO MARBLE COLLECTION $3295 (starting at)

Image credit: Restoration Hardware

Unfortunately Restoration Hardware hasn't branched out to the UK yet, but since I do have some blog readers in the US too, I thought I'd share this beauty with you. Their entire Torano Marble Collection is stunning and I love that you can choose the colour of the legs too. I really wish we'd have more many customisable options here in the UK too. I've been drooling over Restoration Hardware furniture for a while now and although I could technically order one from the States, the shipping and tax costs would really stretch my budget (and returning it would be harder too in case it wasn't quite like I'd imagined). So if you live in the States, you have to go and check out your nearest Restoration Hardware store. They also provide an in-house interior design service for their customers. I'd quite happily let them design my entire house if I had the opportunity. I guess I better start saving now, in case they ever open a store in the UK. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

Did you see anything you liked? Leave a comment or let me know on Twitter.
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Tuesday, 23 April 2019 / Dubai - United Arab Emirates

DUBAI VIBES


Things have been quiet on the blogging front this month, mainly due to our recent family holiday to Dubai. My blog posts will return back to the usual schedule very soon (I promise) but first I thought it would be nice to share a few (not interiors related!) photos from our recent family getaway. Originally we had planned to go away in February but due to a family members illness we had to cancel our trip last minute. I almost had to cancel again as my daughter was ill just before our holiday but luckily we made it there in the end and had an amazing holiday.

We stayed in the famous Atlantis The Palm hotel and it turned out to be the perfect choice when travelling with children (although I should add that the water park is even better if your little ones are 10+). It was our first trip to Dubai and we really enjoyed it and found the entire trip quite action packed. Usually we choose relaxing beach resorts with very little things to do but it was nice to be surrounded by so much entertainment this time; water park, bowling, nightlife, diving, aquarium, spa etc.

One of the highlights of our trip was a family photoshoot we did with the lovely Emma from Emma Staples Photography. Atlantis is such an iconic hotel on the Palm (it was the first hotel built there) and I knew that the resorts iconic pink structure and arch would make a lovely backdrop to our family photos. The décor inside is exquisite and opulent, with some of the suites offering breathtaking views of the Palm and the Arabian sea. I took very little photos inside the hotel, I guess I just wanted to enjoy the holiday instead. There are some you can find on my Instagram though.

I found our photographer, Emma, thanks to google and fell in love with her work. She really captured our family beautifully and was amazing to work with. I created a little mood board in Pinterest and we exchanged loads of emails before our shoot. It felt like I knew her already which was really nice. By the way, I had to get permission from the Atlantis PR department for this photo shoot (the hotel is not open to the public and we had to invite her as our guest for the day). You need to be a professional photographer to gain access too, so make sure that you have done all the necessary paper work in advance. If you're planning a holiday to Dubai or Abu Dhabi, I totally recommend hiring Emma for a few hours. She will be able to capture memories you'll never forget.

Now sit back and enjoy Emma's wonderful work..






















 


* All images credited: Emma Staples Photography








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Tuesday, 26 March 2019 / London, UK

NEW HOME SCENTS FROM PARIS


As you may remember, I had a chance to visit Paris back in January and of course I couldn't come home empty handed. January is a great time to visit Paris if you're planning to go shopping. It's winter sales and a lot of designer items were selling 60% off at the  Bon Marché . Anyway, since I love scented candles so much I thought why not stock up on my favourite French candles. It probably wasn't the most original idea but scented candles make me happy. I've actually just lit a candle as I'm writing this post and the scent is taking me straight back to Paris where I bought the candle. Scented candles can be spiritually very uplifting and energising. They are also seen as the ultimate luxury but I would make sure to stick to good quality candles that don't include toxins like paraffin. 

I should probably make it clear though that French candles aren't that much cheaper in France (if you come from the UK that is). The difference was about 4 pounds so it's not really worth a trip if you're just after some fancy candles. But of course if you're visiting France anyway, why not take a piece of France home with you,  right?

On my third day in Paris, I headed to the original Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint Germain store which was just a 10 minute walk from our hotel. The shop itself isn't very big but it feels very luxurious and intimate. The staff were super helpful and I immediately fell in love with their new Roses collection that celebrate the scent of rose in all its forms. I decided to go with the Centifolia candle in the end. I really loved the way it looked (the perfect shade of blue!) and couldn't get over the floral scent. It's a pretty strong rose scent, so if you don't like strong(ish) scents that are floral, you won't like it. But luckily I loved it!





I do find myself more sensitive to strong scents these days and I found the Centifolia candle a little too overpowering in our bathroom (especially when used together with a scented bath oil). I decided to move the candle back to our lounge and it's just perfect in our open plan kitchen/dining living area. My husbands biggest complaint with expensive candles is that he can't smell them (which equals waste of money for him). Well, he certainly couldn't say that about the Centifolia candle. It's such a lovely floral scent with some discreet spicy notes. I have no regrets about buying it and it's a bonus that I can use this jar as a decorative item afterwards.

Now I did end up buying one of my 'old' favourite candles as well.  Diptyque Vanille is quite a strange scent in the sense that when I ever I smell it in the shops, I always worry it's going to be too woody. But then when I buy it I wonder why I haven't bought it for so long. It really should be our house scent. It's the most seductive, sexiest scent I know. It's a totally different scent from the Centifolia for sure. It's a very delicate scent of vanilla with some woody and spicy undertones. It's quite subtle but it leaves this gorgeous lingering scent in the room even when it's not lit. None of my other candles do that. I've moved the candle to our  bedroom now and I can smell the scent every time I get ready or do my make up. I love it so much that I've gotten through almost the entire candle by now which speaks volumes. I love this scent. I think I may even prefer it over Baies..



In case you're wondering what I do with all these empty candle jars, upcycling is the way to go. I sometimes use them as tea light holders but I really love storing my make up brushes in the Diptyque ones. The black and white logo looks perfect in our monochrome bathroom. You can also use them to store cotton wool or cotton wool pads or buds, or anything you want really. 



And finally (but certainly not least), I was very excited to spot the luxurious Goutal Paris candles in Le Bon Marche. I actually stumbled across this brand in Liberty just before Christmas and couldn't get over their heavenly scents. I immediately loved the Un Air d'Hadrien scent which reminded me of Italian summer. There are lots of citrussy notes and powdery lightness. It's subtle but strong enough for a decent size living room. I always ask my husband for a second opinion before writing about scents and he could definitely smell this one as well. I think this was probably his favourite scent out of them all. Quite a few department stores stock Goutal in the UK (John Lewis, Selfridges, House of Fraser and Harrods etc), so you really don't need to go all the way to Paris (unless that's what you want to do of course!)





I hope my fellow candle lovers have found this post helpful and if you know any candle brands worth discovering, drop me an email or leave a comment below. Although I've got my favourite brands that I keep going back to (Jo Malone, Diptyque, Sand & Fog), I'm always excited to discover new brands and ranges and share my thought on the blog with you.

Enjoy the rest of the week!
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Tuesday, 5 March 2019 / London, UK

[AD] THE DREAMIEST BLANKET FROM LAPUAN KANKURIT






A girl can never have too many blankets or throws, am I right? Not only do they keep you warm during the colder months, but they are the perfect accessory when you want to add softness and texture to a room. I keep throws in both of our lounges, plus in the bedrooms. You just never know when you might need some extra layers. 

If you're not familiar with Lapuan Kankurit, you are in for a treat. Do check out their new Spring/Summer collection here. I had the pleasure to meet the team behind the Finnish textile brand, at Maison & Objet fair in Paris in January. I spotted the Finnish flag at their exhibition stand and swiftly made my way towards those stunning textiles. Turns out Lapuan Kankurit is a family business which opened their first weaving mill back in 1917. In fact, their top designs are still woven in Lapua (a small town in Finland) using natural raw materials. The everyday workings of a weaving mill require various different stages and every one of them requires a skilled professional. They use environmentally friendly processes in the production and do continuous research and development, not to mention create some incredibly unique and timeless designs.


 

I cannot tell you how happy I was when they asked me if I wanted to test out one of their products in my own home. It took me a while to pick my favourite (I would quite happily fill my entire house with their heavenly textiles) but I guess it was the unique pattern of the Himmeli blanket that caught my eye in the end. The Himmeli blanket is made of 100% high quality, fine wool. The wool itself comes from South America and Australia and the yarns are dyed in Europe. The blanket itself is weaved in Finland by using a jacquard weaving machine. All the finishing, inspecting and drying happens in Finland too. A Helsinki based textile designer, Eri Shimatsuka, is the lady behind the stunning Himmeli pattern. You can also find some Himmeli cushion covers and tea towels in their online store which sounds pretty tempting in deed..



As you can see, I'm currently living in this blanket. It's so soft and doesn't itch (unlike some other wool throws I've had in the past). It's a pretty generous size too. It's big enough to cover most of our couch which is very handy since we have small children. I keep draping myself in it too when I'm sitting on the sofa. I'm thinking about getting one of their shawls as I'd love to walk around the house in this big blanket. It's without a doubt the nicest quality blanket I own and probably the most stylish too. 

If you still need some convincing, check out their entire wool blanket collection here. Don't know about you, but I kind of want them all..

* This is a collaborative post with Lapuan Kankurit. 
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Tuesday, 12 February 2019 / London, UK

[AD] DIY VALENTINE'S FLOWERS WITH DARTINGTON CRYSTAL


Valentine's Day is nearly here. Only few more days to go which means it's time to start planning those flowers, chocolates and surprises for that special person in your life. I know Valentine's plans can be frustrating and expensive too. Flowers are certainly not cheap this time of year and everything seems to have that Valentine's 'extra' added. Which is exactly why I decided to share my DIY Valentine's bouquet with you. It's so much more affordable than a bouquet from a florist and looks just as impressive ( I hope).

I've teamed up with Dartington Crystal to create the perfect DIY flower arrangement this Valentine's Day. I picked the Florabundance Settle vase (size large) to go with this flower arrangement. It's so striking, don't you think? The optical effect creates more interest and thanks to its large size it's certainly a statement piece. I went for the large size but this vase is also available in two other sizes (small and medium). My vase collection has been missing a big statement vase and I'm so delighted I found this one. It's a big vase which means you need more flowers and ideally taller stems. You could always go for big fluffy flowers like peonies but unfortunately they weren't in season. 


My local florist was quoting me 40 pounds to create a similar flower arrangement, so I decided to get creative myself. This flower arrangement cost me only 12 pounds and it's so easy to make. Now I should probably mention that I have done a brief floristry course which I did find super helpful. If you're not comfortable creating an arrangement yourself, an evening course will help you to get the hang of it. Of course you could just google flower arranging or watch a few youtube tutorials (if you don't have the time to do a proper course).

So, how did I manage to create this big bouquet for 12 pounds? Easy. My florist was quoting me 20 pounds for a dozen of pink roses, but I got mine in Sainsbury's for 6 pounds in stead. That's a huge saving. However, I did buy some individual stems from the florist (6 stems) and they cost me another 6 pounds. Mixing some fancier individual stems/filler flowers together with roses will give your bouquet that professional look.


My flower shopping list (total £12)

12 pink roses (from any supermarket)

2 solidago stems (Most florists will stock them and they make great filler flowers that quickly add volume and balance to bouquets)

2 purple veronica spiacata flower stems. (Usually these look more blue, so I'm not 100% sure whether this is the right name but it's as close as I could find. These stems are great for creating impact in bigger bouquets, although I would only use max. 3 stems)

4 sea crass stems (from a florist)

My main flowers were roses and I added the foliage and the purple veronica in the middle. I like to hold the bouquet in one hand and add a single stem at a time, criss-crossing the stems to a bouquet. I prefer two or three main flowers and then some foliage. You don't want to add too many different type of flowers either as it can make the arrangement look a little bit too 'busy'. Also, some supermarkets will stock filler flowers but you usually have to buy a bunch (which isn't ideally if you're only making one bouquet at home). That's why I prefer to buy the individual stems at the florist and the roses at my local supermarket.




I really love the way the flower arrangement turned out. Obviously I'm no florist but I did find that my flower arranging course helped a lot. I also think that without the tall grass stems the bouquet would have looked a little short, so I'm really glad I added them. It's also really important that your vase complements your flowers. I can see myself getting so much out of this vase that I'm considering buying it in other sizes too.

I hope this post has inspired you to create a DIY flower arrangement this Valentine's Day and I would also make sure you have the right size/style vase to go with it. If you have any questions/comments, please leave a note below.

Happy Valentine's Day!


*This is a collaborative post with Dartington Crystal.

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