Ten types of parent found at indoor play

29 February 2016

Dear friend,

it was February half term and rainy. We had been stuck in the house most of the weekend and desperate to get the boys away from those screens again and against my better nature I decided to take them to the indoor playground.

The boys were very enthusiastic and excited, I knew this as it only took one shout to get them to come downstairs instead of the usual five. We piled into the car and headed off. The first hurdle was finding a parking spot as we were not the only family who had decided to escape the confines of their home, oh no, I think half of South Holland had had the same idea. Then we had to navigate the queue to get in. Standing in a long line of excited children, screaming at each other, jumping around and asking how long it will be is not my idea of fun and another mum gave me that knowing smile and uttered the words; I don't think we are the only ones!



Silent Sunday

28 February 2016

Photography: Silent Sunday. 1 photo no words...


Happy Birthday Little Man

27 February 2016

Dear little man,

Today you turn 7. My sweet, crazy, fun loving and very sensitive little man. Oh my goodness how you have grown in the last year. You are taller, your limbs have lengthened and your face has changed too. You are no longer a baby faced, chubby cheeked little cherub but a whirlwind of boyhood. 

Yes the time has flown but what scares me most is that I am forgetting. Hubby and I had a conversation the other day where we discussed; which one was it who liked Waybaloo? OK so who liked Waybaloo isn't important in the scheme of things but it's a symptom of my tardiness as a mum. I'm forgetting those perfect moments we shared when you were small. How when we snuggled you fit perfectly into my side with your feet rested on my thigh.

On your birthday I thought it would be a nice idea to look back at a few of the many special moments we have shared over the last 12 months. 



During this last year, I have watched your sense of adventure grow, I have watched you dare to strike out on your own, to leave the shadow of your brother and venture out to try things for yourself. You have worked hard to learn new skills like riding your big boys bike, football, swimming and reading. I am really proud of how tenacious you are and how you always approach things with a smile on your face and a spring in your step.

We love spending time at the beach or the woods, you running ahead, beaming smile, stealing Nova's ball and giggling or playing games like monopoly and top trumps, we have to watch you don't cheat and give yourself all the best cards! You bring fun and happiness to everything that you do with that cheeky grin and glint in your big eyes. 

We have seen a change in your character too this year. You have developed sensitivity. You really care about others feelings, you don't like to see anyone upset, or left out and are very in tune with your brothers feelings I have overheard you tell your brother; That happens because you have autism, it's ok or don't worry your head is full. You make my heart burst with pride. 

Despite all this growth you still love cuddles, I still get my morning squash and squeeze, you still love dressing up and you still love your cuddly toys. I get to keep my little man a while longer and I am going to hold onto you tightly and love every single, precious moment with you although I know I have to start to let you go more too and I promise I will try, papa will help me. Thank you baby for bringing us all so much joy! Happy Birthday. 



Weekly roundup #8

26 February 2016

Dear all,

Wow Weekly Roundup number 8 already. I can't quite believe it and yet so much has happened this year too. I am feeling so much better this week, almost back to normal. Just the occasional bump when I do something stupid, like move anything too heavy or a little jolt when I suddenly feel tired. 

Our weekend was quite busy. We spent it shopping for a new sofa. Our sofa has seen much better days, one cushion inparticular (where the boys usually sit) so it was time for a new one. Hubby and I couldn't decide whether to go for the comfy corner sofa again or the retro option but if you look at my Pinterest board you'll see which one we went for. This unexpected expense means we need to put our bedroom on hold for a while. But I can't wait to see what our new sofa will look like, it will make a huge difference to our living room.

The boys have been on half term Holiday. We started the week with a PJ day. They played computer games and watched TV and generally slobbed around. Just what they needed because they've both been working really hard at school and helping mummy at home. We have also had a day at the indoor playground and the cinema (We went to see Alvin and the Chipmunks, Road Trip. The boys loved it! ) and a morning walking in the forest with Nova that was interrupted by a surprise snow fall, magic! 

I am starting back at work next week and must admit to feeling a little nervous. Wish me luck!


Our week at a glance




My favourite moments this week were:

  • Little man celebrating his birthday at school with a basket of goodies
  • Lazy half term mornings not having to rush to get ready for school
  • Trips to the cinema
  • Little man telling me I wasn't Eleanor (chubby one) but Brittany (pretty one) from the chipettes
  • Hanging at home with my boys
  • Enjoying our local scenery, just beautiful!
  • Getting back to normal
  • Buying our new sofa, can't wait to get it now.
  • The boys pretending to save papa from the Hulk in the toy store caused quite a commotion
  • Big lad being invited to go swimming with a friend
  • Great to see so many fab bloggers linking up such a diversity of posts to Family Fun
  • Working with the big lad on his presentation
  • Playing guess who with the little man
  • Cooking dinner, alone in the house (for once) with Adele at full blast and me singing along.
  • A lovely walk in the forest complete with surprise snow fall! Still beautiful in winter!


I hope your week was filled with happiness too!


Like this post? Check out more of my Weekly Roundups here

Family Fun Linky #5

25 February 2016

Welcome to Family Fun a brand new linky! The linky runs from Thursday to Saturday and all bloggers are welcome to add any type of parenting post.

Join me in a community of bloggers. Link up and share family experiences, successes and failures, laughter and tears and offer support to one another. 

Why not share your Parenting Posts, Craft ideas, recipes, days out, photo stories, weekly roundups etc with friends?

All posts welcome!


Autiquotes: Quotes about Autism

23 February 2016



My aim is to spread a positive message about autism through my writing and to help my son to grow up in a world of understanding, compassion and acceptance.


20 things I swore I'd never say to my kids

22 February 2016

Dear friend,

Ever catch yourself saying ridiculous things you swore you'd never say to your kids or hear your parent's voices coming out of your mouth? It seems to be happening to me more and more lately. I'm not sure if it's an age or just an exhausted frustration thing!



Here are 20 things I swore I'd never say to my kids:

1) If you eat any more cookies you'll turn into one.
2) Give yourself a shake 
3) Is that normal? 
4) Money doesn't grown on trees.
5) Don't pump on your brother.
6) We'll see (just say no).
7) If all your friends jumped off a cliff would you too?
8) Are you sure you don't need a wee?
9) If the wind changes your face will stick like that.
10)

11) Because I said so.
12) Well I'm not X's mum so there.
13) When I was your age we...
14) I've had it up to here with you.
15) Wait until your father comes home.
16) Another girl/boy would be very happy to have/eat/see/do that.
17) How many times do I have to tell you that?
18) No means no.
19) Can you leave your willy alone or it will drop off! 
20) 

Do you ever find yourself saying these?
What would you add to the list?



Silent Sunday

21 February 2016

Photography: Silent Sunday. 1 photo no words...


Weekly Roundup #7

19 February 2016

Dear all,

The boys have been pretty inseparable this week. It started at the weekend when they had to have sleepovers. I love seeing them snuggled in together, it gives me such lovely warm fuzzies. They'd love to share a room but papa and I think it's better not to on school nights. 

Saturday afternoon saw us head to Katwijk for a bit of shopping therapy in the end of season sales. I picked up a gorgeous Guess purse and hubby got some new clothes. We also got some presents for little mans rapidly approaching birthday. I can't believe he is almost 7!

On Sunday afternoon hubby and I had a special valentines treat, High tea. It was absolutely delicious, there were so many delicious treats, quiche, macaroons and of course cake. It was so nice for us to get out on our own for a bit of special time together.

I had some good news this week. I have been given the all clear from the hospital! I can expect the tiredness to continue for a while so have to take it easy but can begin work and build back up to normal hours. Hurray! I can't wait to get back to normal! I've been trying to build up my energy a bit and have been doing more house work and I took the dog for a walk for the first time in 5 weeks. It was a lovely night and it may sound silly but it felt like I was seeing where I live with new eyes, I couldn't resist snapping a few photos. 

Our week at a glance




My favourite moments this week were:

  • The boys having sleepovers.
  • Beautiful spring flowers bringing colour to these cold days.
  • Sunday morning, the boys shouting happy Valentine's Day as they came in and snuggling up to me in bed.
  • A spot of retail therapy.
  • Booking a weekend away for all of us (Dog included).
  • Taking the dog for a walk around my village for the first time in 5 weeks.
  • Getting the all clear from the hospital.
  • The boys trying out electric recliners in the sofa shop and nearly getting us thrown out!
  • Little man making a big improvement in his fine motor skills.
  • A great response to my post about autism and having friends.
  • Valentine's high tea at Cafe van de Leur in Leiden.




Like this post? Check out more of my Weekly Roundups here

Family Fun Linky #4

18 February 2016

Welcome to Family Fun a brand new linky! The linky runs from Thursday to Saturday and all bloggers are welcome to add any type of parenting post.

My goal for this year is to have more quality family time. With all the pressures of modern day life, I feel like I am losing time with my boys and I am always looking for simple Family Fun ideas to claw some of this time back.

In a daily mail article which asked: What is the Ultimate Modern Luxury? 95% of Parents listed spending quality time with their family as top.

Join me in a community of bloggers. Link up and share family experiences, successes and failures, laughter and tears and offer support to one another. 

Why not share your Parenting Posts, Craft ideas, recipes, days out, photo stories, weekly roundups etc with friends?

All posts welcome!


Do autistic children have friends?

17 February 2016

Dear friend,

What is the number one question that many parents ask on parents evening?


Do they have any friends? 

They want to know that their offspring is OK, that s/he is happy, not alone...

When I tell people my son has autism. Most people ask me the exact same question; Does he have any friends? 

I understand why they ask this. The media provides us with so many stereotypes about autistic people. The message that all autistic people are unsociable loners is out there but I want to tell you that it is not only untrue for many autistic people but that it is also very unhelpful. My son wants friends!



When the big lad was younger, his friends were mostly the sons or daughters of my friends. It was easy to support him socially. We went to toddler groups a couple of times a week, swimming lessons and of course he came along with me to friends homes and played with alongside their children.

Friendships changed when he started school. According to him, everyone was his friend, although he had one main friend that he played with most. Of course I asked the question at parents evenings and was reassured that everything was OK. He was not alone. He was being included.

When birthday party time started it was difficult. He didn't get invited to many things. He found this hard to accept because in his eyes everyone was his friend so why didn't they invite him? I found this really hard too. He would tell stories about how he hadn't been picked because so and so could only have 5 friends and he was number 6. It broke my heart but I didn't let him see. Some friends made all the right noises then when problems cropped up quickly disappeared.

But he did make friends. Friends with the same interests, namely computer games. The word spread that he was good and other kids wanted to play too. He started to get asked to a few more things and his friends played here regularly. I was so happy relieved that he had bucked the trend. He had one very good friend and many others.



Friendships change, people move on and find new friends. Few friends are with us our whole lives. But change is difficult for the big lad. He is loyal, a friend is a friend.

I had read that whilst autistic children can make friendships they have difficulties maintaining them. that as children get older the social gap widens and can cause problems, leading friendships to fail. Is this what is happening now? It is really difficult for a mum to sit back and watch her child be left behind but I know that I can not protect him from everything.

Problems arise when he doesn't understand why people behave in a certain way or when he fails to pick up on social cues or hints that 'neurtoypical' children do. If children keep saying they are busy when he asks them to play, he thinks they are busy. This is hard to explain and hard for him to understand! But he does know that something is wrong. 

How can you be someone's friend then change the way you act? Was the very insightful question he asked. He can feel something is different but he doesn't know what or why.  I do draw some consolation in knowing that friendship problems are common in all children and not restricted to autistic children. 

By labelling all autistic children as loners who don't want friends we are simply pushing them further out of society. Surely we should instead be asking what we can do to better understand their needs, to include them more? Yes sometimes autistic people do want to be alone, yes sometimes social situations can be a challenge. But autistic people shouldn't be isolated or lonely. Everyone needs a friend! 





H Days: What has having a hysterectomy taught me?

16 February 2016

Dear friend,

It is a month since my hysterectomy.  Last night I read though the whole of my H Days diary. It is strange how your brain quickly forgets about the pain and discomfort of those early few hours and brushes away the fears and doubts of the days before. In a way it feels like it all happened to someone else and I am glad I took the time to record my feelings. 



Life is slowly returning to normal. It may sound like fun, being banned from house work but it is really annoying. Imagine watching your favourite plate slipping off a table in slow motion and knowing, you can stop it shattering but you aren't allowed to move. This experience has been hard for everyone but mostly my hubby who has worked full time and looked after us all. It has been a trying time and we are so glad it is almost over and we can start planning for the spring.

There are of course massive positives; ultimately that my medical problems will be over. No more days wasted because mummy has tummy pain. No more searing pain!  No more periods. Looking back there have been some surprising lessons learned through this journey too.



1) I can't be in control of everything.
There are some things we can't control like our health and our emotions. I needed to accept that I cannot control my body. Yes I can do things to try and keep healthy like eat well and exercise but ultimately I can not help it if get sick. 
2) I can rely on other people.
I have a really bad habit of thinking I'm the woman for the job and trying to do everything myself, in my way. Having a hysterectomy has shown me that not only can I rely on other people to do things but that sometimes their way is better. I need to let people help.
3) Put down the duster!
I am rather compulsive when it comes to tidiness in my house and this experience has taught me to relax and let go a little. I like everything to be tidy and in its right place. In the beginning I hid out upstairs so I couldn't see the chaos. This is still difficult but when there are other priorities like getting to a Dr appointment or taking a kid to swimming lessons then the vacuuming has to wait. 
4) I need time for myself. 
I also needed to learn when to play monopoly with my kids or read that article instead of cleaning the loo, or ironing those pants. I often feel guilty for doing things just for me but I will do that more now. I realise that having me time is important to my general well being too.
5) I don't need to do everything for everyone. I just need to be there.
My eldest thrived on being given responsibility for a few small everyday jobs. This will continue. My boys can tidy away dirty dishes and put their own clothes in the washing basket. Sometimes I did things for 'quickness' but really it is quicker and better in the long run to share the responsibility. I won't be martyr mum. I realised that doing things for others is my way of being there for them but when I couldn't physically do things I found the importance of being there emotionally for them instead. 
6) Don't see illness as weakness.
You are not weak. You are ill and need help. Fact!
7) Stop apologising and say thank you!
People appreciate words of appreciation so much more than self depreciating behaviour. You are not a nuisance or a bother so don't act that way. People are here to help you because they want to be, they love you. Say thank you, say I really appreciate you doing this. Don't apologise.
8) I am not indispensable.
Life goes on even when you don't! Your health is everything. 
9) Listen to your body.
Take the time you need not the time you think you will need. You can not prepare for the tiredness you will feel. Take time and rest as much as possible.
10) I'm stronger than I thought.

Thank you so much to everyone who has sent kind words of encouragement to me over the last month. I really appreciate all of your support. 


Read more of my Hysterectomy diary...


Autiquotes: Quotes about Autism



My aim is to spread a positive message about autism through my writing and to help my son to grow up in a world of understanding, compassion and acceptance.




Book Corner: Shark in the Park

15 February 2016

Dear Friend,

welcome to this months book corner. I love rhyming and rhymes, not only are they fun and sound great but they are the initial step in learning to read. My family has always made up simply crazy rhymes around names e.g. I am auntie Catie Pat-hay-tee to my brothers children (will you ever look at me the same again?) even our dog is Nova Bova Wova.

Research has proven that sensitivity to rhyme helps children with reading as it helps them to detect the individual sounds within words and therefore develop their phonetic knowledge. Children who are good at detecting rhyme will be more successful and quicker in learning to read (Bradley, 1988c, Bradley & Bryant, 1983, Ellis & Large, 1987).


This months book is full of rhyming fun and your little ones will love it!

Shark in the park by Nick Sherratt



Silent Sunday

14 February 2016

Photography: Silent Sunday. 1 photo no words...



Liked this photograph? Come and see some more.

Weekly Roundup #6

12 February 2016

Dear all,

This has been a really challenging week. Instead of feeling better, I started to feel worse so it is really special to write this post and focus on all the lovely, positive things that have also happened this week!

On Saturday evening we went to my brother-in-laws house for his birthday dinner. The boys enjoyed running around their large garden and looking at the horses in the stables. I managed to snap some lovely pictures of the boys.

On Sunday we had a PJ day and laid around watching TV, playing games and simply relaxing together doing nothing.

Despite trying to remain positive, 4 weeks of pain and being stuck at home started to take its toll and by Tuesday I had had enough. I had a mini melt down. Thankfully my friend was on the end of the phone to calm me down and remind me that I need to listen to my body and give it time. So that is what I have done the rest of this week. Stayed in bed until late, watched too many series on Netflix and read lots.

Family Fun Linky #3

11 February 2016

Welcome to Family Fun a brand new linky! The linky runs from Thursday to Saturday and all bloggers are welcome to add any type of parenting post.

My goal for this year is to have more quality family time. With all the pressures of modern day life, I feel like I am losing time with my boys and I am always looking for simple Family Fun ideas to claw some of this time back.

In a daily mail article which asked: What is the Ultimate Modern Luxury? 95% of Parents listed spending quality time with their family as top.

Join me in a community of bloggers. Link up and share family experiences, successes and failures, laughter and tears and offer support to one another. 

Why not share your Parenting Posts, Craft ideas, recipes, days out, photo stories, weekly roundups etc with friends?

All posts welcome!

Family Fun: Looping Louie

10 February 2016


Dear friend,

When we want some family time together we often turn to board games. I have really fond memories of Sunday afternoons from my youth when we'd all crowd around the table to play. My lovely nana was queen of the board game.

Last year Oma wasn't sure what to buy the boys. I suggested a game. Due to his autism the big lad finds creative play difficult. He doesn't play with figures and finds building things like Lego hard so won't naturally play with these either. We decided to invest more in games to encourage him to play more and get him away from those screens for a bit.





Oma found this game: Stef Stuntpiloot or Looping Louie (UK version). I'd never seen it before.

Each player chooses a coloured side. They put 3 chicken coins into a slot.  Louie is a stunt pilot and he flies around the board doing his tricks. 


The object of the game is to stop Louie from knocking off your coins by shooting him up into the air with the lever. If you time it right you can send him towards your opponents coins too. Killing two birds with one shot.



This is a really fun game for all the family. It is easy to set up, easy to play and lots of fun!
(In fact we have been know to play it without kids and with shots during parties.) 
You can change the position of the lever. Straight for adults and older children and L shaped to make it slightly easier for younger children that way the whole family can play, although it is recommended for ages 4+ I would highly recommend this game, it is one of our favourites and comes out time and time again. 

Take a look at our little Video of my gorgeous boys playing the game.






Valentines gifts for the man in your life for under £30

9 February 2016



Dear Friends,

I am really bad at buying valentines presents. In fact over the last couple of years I haven't bought anything for hubby. We have chosen to go out for dinner instead of buying gifts and last year hubby cooked a very special dinner at home. This year I want to get hubby a little something as he has been so good taking care of me and doing all the housework whilst I have been recovering from my surgery. I wanted to get him something different from the usual smellies or drink but not break the bank.



Here is my pick of Gifts for the man in your life, for under £30.


 Personalised Favourite Lyrics Poster by Not on the high street.com RRP £21.10




I received one of these posters as a gift from my best friend last year and the frame and print are of really good quality. I like the stylish design. This is available as a frame or a canvas. I love the idea of using favourite Lyrics and would use our wedding song. Stevie Wonder for once in my life. It is important to note that only the first 150 words are used.

Moon and back Keyring by notonthehighstreet.com RRP £14.11




I love this small, sweet keyring as it has such a lovely message and would remind hubby of one of the boys favourite books. 

Personalised love you lots like jelly tots bag from notonthehighstreet.com RRP: £9.52




I like the idea of buying this gift as a treat from the boys but the teacher in me thinks it would be nice to create this ourselves using fabric pens.

Name a star gift tin from findmeagift.co.uk RRP: £15.99



My uncle bought one of these gifts for my auntie years ago and I found it really romantic, the idea stuck with me. Find Me A Gift will send you a presentation tin with a registration form, full details, star facts, a souvenir poster and more.

Batman eclipse light from findmeagift.co.uk RRP: £15.99 




The perfect gift for your superhero. It can be used as a bedside table lamp or wall mounted. I think the boys would love this too and perhaps steal it for the playroom.


Whiskey Rockers from findmeagift.co.uk RRP: £11.99



Rocking Glasses were first invented for use in ships, boats and aircraft to prevent spillages. This sounds ideal as hubby is slightly clumsy and he loves his whiskey.

Original Newspaper from Ijustloveit.co.uk RRP: £24.99





I really like these original newspapers and I just love it specifies that it provides the original papers not copies like some other sites. What fun to be able to read about what was happening in the world on the day you were born.

Micro Drone from red5.co.uk RRP: £24.95 



This is the perfect small toy for someone new to drones. Most suitable for indoor use but can be used outdoor when it's not windy. I think hubby would enjoy playing with this big boys toy!

Which one would you choose? 


Do you have plans for Valentines day this year?



This is not a sponsored post!

Autiquotes: Quotes about Autism



My aim is to spread a positive message about autism through my writing and to help my son to grow up in a world of understanding, compassion and acceptance.



My Sunday Photo

7 February 2016

Photography: Silent Sunday. 1 photo no words...





Bedding Lust: Injecting colour in your bedroom

6 February 2016


Dear Friends,

I've spent a lot of time in the bedroom lately... resting and recuperating after my surgery. Quite frankly it has driven me mad. Hubby and I had already decided that our bedroom would be the next room on the hit list in our house. Last year we renovated the attic room for the little man and the play room and this year it's our turn.

I want to make our room into a peaceful haven where hubby and I can relax and unwind and have some special time together. I'd also like a small spot where I can lock myself away from the general craziness and get on with some blogging work. 



I love the scandanavian style. White walls, lots of neutral fabrics, wools, maybe a sheepskin rug and some natural wood too. I've put together some ideas on a Pinterest board if you'd like to take a look. But I'd also like to inject a bit of colour, bring in a bit of passion.

The thing that's driving me most crazy at the moment is our duvet cover. It's a pretty butterfly design and was great value for money but it has certainly seen better days and has me lusting for something new. 

With time on my hands I began a bit of retail therapy, I love a spot of Internet shopping. 

Here is a short list of beautiful bedding sets I discovered from the Yorkshire Linen Co and Ponden Home Interiors.


1. Stag Natural Duvet Cover Set - Double. RRP £17.99.


The stag design is bang on trend and the beige colour makes it feel really warm. I love that this design is also fully reversible. The red tartan injects that pop of colour and you can always swap the cover over when you fancy a change, like getting two covers for the price of one. I love the Scandinavia feel here too with the woollen throw. This would bring comfort and style to our room at excellent value.



Another Ultra modern design from Yorkshire Linens. Beautifully styled, just the kind of look I want in my room. This would make any bedroom feel cosy and comfortable. I really like how this one comes with a matching fitted sheet and pillowcases for a fully completed look.

3. Kelso Red Duvet Cover Set - Double RRP: £17.99.



Another reversible option is this red duvet cover by Yorkshire Linen. I love the daringness of the red tartan but it can also be toned down by swapping to the lighter white based version. This would certainly add some fire and passion to the bedroom but not at the expense of comfort.

4. Darcy Red Duvet Cover Set - Double RRP: £14.99.


This set is a complete bargain as it is currently retailing at less than half price. I love the crispness of the soft ivory offset by the beautiful quilted red panel. This is precisely what I was hoping to achieve. The panel has a floral and sequin detail adding that touch of glamour I was also hoping for in a timeless design.

5. Canterbury Red Duvet Cover double. RRP: £17.99.


I love the vintage look to this cover and the polka dot reverse adds a dash of modern design too. I hadn't thought about a floral pattern but this is so pretty and such great value, I couldn't miss it out!

Yorkshire Linen pride themselves on supplying luxury bedding, bed-linen and soft furnishings at low prices. What is great about Yorkshire Linen is that they also have a no-quarrel return policy so if you find your item isn't exactly right you can simply return or exchange.

The following sets come from Ponden home interiors:

6. Life From Coloroll Delicate Flower Duvet Set Red RRP: £21.00
I choose this beautiful duvet set from Ponden home interiors because I thought the faux silk material would add a touch of luxury. The delicate flower design is very pretty and understated, being limited to the embroidered panel and picked up with detailing on the cushions. I also like the option of buying matching accessories.

The Hearts and Flowers set would add romance to any room as the name suggests. The classic script design interspersed with the look of handprinted hearts and tiny flowers has a vintage feel. I love the feminine design of this set but I'm not sure my boys would! The styling of the room is beautiful in this photo too, just look at that mirror!




My final choice is the Cosy up set. It also follows this seasons Tartan trend but I like how in this design the tartan has been limited to one panel. Whilst it is not as glamorous a choice as some of the others, I think the boys would like this design and I could see us all cosying up under this pretty yet practical cover.



Which one is your favourite? 


I hope you will follow our bedroom makeover adventure. I am super excited to get started.



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