Ethical Christmas Gift Guide

It is lovely to buy ethcial christmas gifts for friends and family. Not only will they show them how much you care but will also help to have a postive impact on peoples lives around the world and help to minimise your impact on the environment. Christmas can be a time when a huge amount of waste is created but by choosing your presents with care, you can ensure that they are cherished for a long time to come and don’t end up in landfill by the new year! Here are few of my favourite ethical gift ideas for this year that I think my family and friends would love to recieve.

sustainable scarf

Check Scarf by Thought

This cosy and colourful scarf by sustainable and ethical fashion brand is perfect for brightening up a winter outfit. It is made from a supersoft material made from recycled plastic bottles and comes packaged in a lovely gift box.

Toms slipper

Multi-coloured Tassel Mule Slipper by TOMS

These slippers strike just the right balance between style and comfort with a colourful boho feel and cosy faux shearling lining. TOMS give away £1 for every £3 profit that they make, providing shoes and grants to local partners around the world trying to create change by ensuring that people are physically safe, mentally healthy and given equal access to opportunity.

plastic free beauty products

Beauty Kitchen Plastic Free Gift Set

Christmas bath sets often contain lots of plastic packaging which is not good for the environment. This lovely gift set by Beauty kitchen features bars not bottles helping to cut down on disposable palstics. It also filled with natural skin and haircare products made in the UK that are both kind to you and the planet, and that will leave your skin and hair squeaky clean and super hydrated.

rock and roll scarf

Rock and roll scarf by Saint + Sofia

Saint + Sofia are a stylish brand proving that their is nothing fuddy duddy about sustainable fashion. This limited edition scarf is made from quality yarns, alpaca and wool. It is designed in London and made in Italy with care taken to ensure minimal environmental impact.

fairtrade chocolate

Sourced by Oxfam

The Oxfam online shop is not just a great place to buy second hand clothes, books and homewares but it also has a great selection for ethically sourced products to buy including Fairtrade chocolate, reusable bottles and cups and stationery, all of which make great ethical christmas presents.

Timberland Tee shirt

Timberland Tee

This organic cotton t-shirt by sustainable boot brand Timberland is like a ray of sunshine on a dark winters day. It is cropped with a relaxed fit making it perfect for layering with jumpers. Choosing organic cotton over conventional cotton is better for the farmers and better for the environment and by shopping with Timberland you are helping them in their goal of planting 50 million trees by 2025.

bamboo razor

Bamboo platic free safety razor

For the man in your life this plastic free essential is a great way to cut down on disposable plastics that are choking the planet. A bamboo razor made with a minimal eco footprint under fair conditions. What’s not to love about this useful stocking filler?

bamboo socks

Bamboo Socks by Thought

Socks may be a little cliche as a Christmas present but let’s face it for those difficult to buy for people, at least they are useful! Thought have a great selection of socks in fun designs made from sustainable fabrics like bamboo and organic cotton making them breathable and long lasting for happy feet. They also have some great little gift boxes.

vegan biker jacket

Vegan Biker Jacket by Dauntless

Biker jackets don’t have to be leather to be stylish. This soft and sustainable baby blue biker jacket would make an amazing present for a vegan friend.

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Sustainable Swim and Surf Wear by Euphoric Threads

Euphoric threads

Today, I wanted to share Euphoric threads, an eco-active fashion label for women. Now, when the weather is freezing cold, it may seem like a strange time for me to be posting about summer swim and surf wear, sustainable or not! But having just postponed a surf trip to Portugal which I had been looking forward to for what seems like forever, I decided I was in need of something to cheer me up a bit and this colourful and ethical swimwear brand is just that. So here goes…

Su

Fun surf stuff that is also ethical and sustainable can be difficult to come by so I was really pleased when I came across Euphoric Threads. With more pizazz than you can shake a stick at, this local South west brand describes itself as multifunctional tropical activewear for the WAVES and RAVES!

ethical surf wear

Each Euphoric Threads piece is limited edition and lovingly handmade by textiles designer Laura Griffith using high performance recycled fabrics. The clothes are helping to keep the oceans plastic free, being made from 100% recycled plastics that would otherwise have ended up as waste. The latest collections are made from 100% regenerated nylon yarn called ECONYL® , which is made from Nylon waste that would otherwise pollute the Earth such as fishing nets, old carpets, and fabric waste. All of the prints featured are hand painted and designed in house by Laura, taking inspiration from her childhood and tropical travels around the globe.

sustainable swimwear

I am in love with these beautiful prints and so pleased that they tick all the boxes ethically and sustainably being unique pieces that are made to be cherished, sweatshop free, made to order to reduce waste, with ecofriendly printing methods and plant based compostable packaging. Definitely going to be added to my Christmas list this year!

What do you think? Is Euphoric Threads making you feel excited about next summer already?

With warmest wishes

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Recycled Polyester Clothes

Finnisterre natural History board shorts

Vintage top – ASOS Marketplace
Shorts – Finnisterre

I have seen recycled polyester clothing appearing more and more particularly for sports and outdoor wear brands. For those of us that have an active lifestyle and are committed to shopping sustainably, it seems like god send but I wanted to write a post to look into it a bit further and how good for the planet, it really is. As I see it, here are some of the key pro’s and con’s to recycled plastic clothing.

Pro’s

  • Comfortable to wear, practical and ideal for sports and outdoor activities
  • Long lasting and durable
  • Requires less energy to wash and dry
  • Does not requires as much energy and non renewable resourses to make as virgin polyester
  • Helps save post consumer waste (plastics) from landfill
  • Can be recycled at end of its useful life (closed loop)
  • Nets collected from sea to create clothing by some brands can help to clean up the oceans

Con’s

  • May shed fibres and enter the water table
  • Energy still required to recycle into a usable fabric
  • Could lead to complacency over use of single use plastics
  • Still has an issue at end of life if not recycled or disposed of correctly

I definitely welcome the additional choice available and clothes made which help me to live my life the way that I want to live it. Each sustainable choice has its pros and cons and there are certainly trade offs to be made. I think it is  worth investing in a few carefully chosen pieces of clothing that will last me for ages and are made from recycled Polyester however buying nothing and wearing what you already have always has to be the most sustainable choice followed by shopping second hand.

The shorts in the above outfit are made from recycled polyester using post consumer waste from my favourite Cornish sustainable brand Finnisterre and are part of a Natural History Museum Collaboration featuring the hand-selected illustrations from the work of pioneering 17th century naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian.As these fabrics can be recycled repeatedly, they are helping to close the loop on plastic production.

What do you think? Is recycled polyester clothing a good sustainable option?
With warmest wishes

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Saint + Sofia

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Noho skirt medieval blue

Noho Skirt – medieval blue

saint + sofia south bank skirt

South Bank Skirt

Black jersey ruffle dress

Today I wanted to talk about a new brand that I have just discovered, Saint + Sofia! This London based brand caught my eye with their classic, timeless and very wearable styles. They strive to ensure efficiency to be sustainable, reduce costs and minimising their impact on the environment. I love that they have thought so carefully about how to ensure they create beautiful clothing in an eco friendly and ethical way including…

  • Working collaboratively with customers to engineer optimal fit and feel using the finest fabrics.
  • testing wearability and fit extensively with multiple testers to ensure our products work on all body types, big and small.
  • Inclusive sizing with a range of sizes from 6 to 22 in petite, regular and tall.
  • Working with family owned fabric mills and leather tanneries in Italy, Portugal and Turkey.
  • A dedicated production team who oversee the production of every style and visit our production facilities on a weekly basis.
  • Optimised logistics, transport and production to reduce transport distance and cost.
  • Wherever possible, they use natural materials like Merino, Econyl and GOTS certified Organic cotton or regenerated cotton, that are more sustainable.
  • Bio degradable packaging
  • Collaborating with World Wild Fund For Nature
  • Planting trees with Trees for Cities

The attention to detail really does show in Saint + Sofia collections which include beautifully cut maxi skirts, smart casual blazers and biker jackets and amazingly comfortable trousers in a stunning array of styles.

It is not surprising that this brand is so on point when it comes to style and supply chain, Award Winning founders that created Zaggora in 2011, the activewear brand with 1.5 million customers in 143 countries. The Saint and Sofia team are a group of highly talented individuals with prior experience at leading brands including Louis Vuitton, Matches Fashion, Reiss, Miss Selfridge, Ted Baker, Roland Mouret and Evisu.

What do you think? Some great investment pieces that will be a key part of your wardrobe for many years to come?

Check out Saint + Sofia here

With warmest wishes

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Fashion Revolution – Who Made My Clothes?

Fashion revolution week 2020

Next week is Fashion Revolution week. It first started back in 2013 when the Rana Plaza building, which housed a number of clothing factories in Bangladesh, collapsed killing 1100 people, most of them young women, and injuring many more. The people in this building were manufacturing clothing for many of the biggest global fashion brands. Ever since this day, many people around the world have joined the Fashion Revolution calling for change, trying to hold fashion brands to account and persisting with the important question of ‘Who made my clothes?’. Fashion Revolution week has also become a time to celebrate the ethical fashion brands that are working so hard to ensure transparency in their supply chains and ensure a sustainable livelihood and the fair treatment of their workers.

This year Fashion Revolution has particular meaning with so many people around the world suffering hardship and many of those working in the fashion industry being impacted by the global pandemic of Covid 19. With many retailers closing their doors due to lockdown and most recently, UK brands Warehouse and Oasis going into administration, Bangledesh factories are experiencing cancelled orders worth billions of dollars. This has forced factories to shut, often without paying their workers. Despite the gloom and misery caused by this dreadful pandemic and financial crisis, the lockdown has provided plenty of time for thought and reflection about the kind of society we have become. We can only remain hopeful that the world will emerge from this crisis soon with a new focus on sustainbility and the rights of workers in the fashion industry (and beyond).

So this year for Fashion Revolution week I wanted to share an outfit featuring some of my favourite brands that are already really making a difference…

Ninety Percent (dress)

Ninety Percent have an industry-leading garment manufacturing facility, Echotex in Bangladesh that puts planet and people before profit. This factory offers opportunities to workers including free lunch, free medical services for every staff member, [the subsidized store] Echo-mart and a childcare facility. You can find out about the team making their clothes here. Ninety Percent’s model is based on sharing and 360-degree empowerment with 90% of their distributed profits being shared between charitable causes and those who make the collection happen. A unique code in the garment’s care label can be used to vote for your chosen cause with options including women living in poverty, two children-focused charities and two environmental causes. Ninety Percent is all about clothes that are built to last, and love from  well-cut organic cotton sweats to detail-driven jersey staples and beautifully crafted knits from organic merino.

Hat – Pachacuti

Founded by Carry Somers, one of the founders of Fashion Revolution, Pachacuti has been calling for change in the industry and pioneering ethical fashion way before the start of Fashion Revolution. Pachacuti hats are made according to Fair Trade principles and the company was the first in the world to be certified under the sustainable fair trade management system by the World Fair Trade Organisation. This guarantees that they have a proven set of practices,procedures and processes which demonstrate social, economic and environemental responsibility through-out the supply chain.

Pacahacuti Who made your clothes

Shoes – Veja

Veja is a Brazilain brand that has built an name for itself for its fresh designs aswell as its transparenc, sustainability and ethical sourcing. This trainers were gifted to me by a retailer, a year or so ago. The cotton and rubber in Veja trainers are obtained  directly from producers in Brazil and Peru under Fair trade principles working in a transparent way with 1-year contracts with an agreed a market-decorrelated price.Veja trainers are made in the the state of Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil with a close partnership between the brand and factory. Workers are well-compensated and live in normal conditions in contrast to the workers creating trainers for many brands in south east asian countries.VEJA countinues to push its factories for greater transparency by requiring them to perform recurring social audits and chemical tests.

I am also wearing a mesh top from ‘Made in the UK’ brand One Boutique and a necklace which was a present from the Bath Christmas market a few years back.

There are lots of ways that you can get involved with Fashion Revolution and also use your time in lockdown to review your wardrobe, fall in love with items of clothing that you have forgotton or don’t wear so often, find out some more about the brands that you buy  from and who makes their clothes and spend some time researching the most ethical alternatives for when you do next need something new.

Stay safe!

With warmest wishes

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Ethical Fashion and Life in Lock Down

biker style

Denim waistcoat – Oxfam fashion
Organic cotton t shirt – A question of
Organic cotton jeans – Weekday
Necklace – Made UK

Patagonia hat

Cap – Patagonia
Vintage jacket – Married to the Sea (Newquay)
Trousers – Nomads

It has only been a little while since I last posted, but so much has changed since then. The corona virus crisis has being a game changer for so many different people in so many different ways. With so many people now in lockdown, we are having to adapt to a completely different lifestyle.

For me things are not too bad. I have my closest family around me and plenty to keep me occupied. I am making good use of the extra time that I have by trying to so some of the things that I usually don’t have time for.

Here are some of the things that I am doing to stay happy and healthy:

  • Healthy eating – with plenty of time on my hands, I am trying to cook from scratch with plenty of fruit and veg.
  • Exercise – I usually go to 8-10 fitness classes a week which I really miss. Instead I am doing online versions of Les Mills body pump, combat,balance and grit.
  • Fresh air and sunshine – I am very lucky to have a  garden to sit in when the sun is out.
  • Living in the moment – I am trying not to think too far ahead or worry about what the future holds. I am just taking each day as it comes.
  • Getting creative– I don’t usually have time to be creative so I am making the most of the opportunity to do some art and painting.
  • Sticking to routines – I am trying to to bed at my usual time and wake up at near my usual time. This stops me getting tired and sad.
  • Limiting alcohol – I have decided to limit my alcohol intake at the moment as otherwise I could easily fall into bad habits. I definitely don’t need hangzeity at the moment. This doesn’t include a glass or two on Easter weekend and my birthday to celebrate.
  • Ticking off my ‘to do list’ – As a full time working mum, I spend a lot of time thinking about all the things that need doing and I never have time to do. I am making the most of my time on furlough from work to tick off at least one thing a day. This not only gives me a sense of achievement but also means once lockdown is over, I can live life to the full without feeling guilty about chores that need doing.
  • Enjoying time with my family – usually we are all so busy, we are like ships passing in the night. I am really enjoying cooking, watching films and playing games together.
  • Connecting with friends and family on Skype – I miss seeing my friends and family but I am making the most of technology to keep in touch as much as possible.
  • Helping others – I’m not doing as much as some people to help but trying to get shopping and prescriptions for neighbours and family to make sure they don’t need to leave their houses.
  • Making some ‘me time’ – all being in the house together can get exhausting at times and so I am also making quiet time for myself, usually reading my book in bed or the garden.
  • Feeling grateful – after being very ill about 3 weeks ago and now being recovered, I feel very grateful for my health and also to have my immediate family safe and close.
  • Finding time to do some blogging and finally getting time to post these outfits! You can check out my Instagram here for more outfits and food posts.

I am hoping that over the next few weeks I will find time to do some updates to my ethical fashion directory, something that I have been meaning to do for ages. So watch this space!

How are you spending your time in lockdown?  What are you doing to stay happy and healthy?

Stay home and stay safe!

With warmest wishes

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Sustainability at Gant

Sponsored post

Durability and longevity have always been part of fashion brand, Gant’s DNA. Since 1949, GANT has designed timeless pieces made to last, made from 89% natural materials and inspired by classics that never go out of style.This is really important to me as I have always considered buying clothes that you plan to keep forever as one of the most important parts of shopping sustainably. But I was also really pleased to hear that Gant are planning to take the sustainability of their brand to the next level with to some ambitious commitments!

Their goals are clear, well set out and aiming high:

2020 – nearly 80% of GANT’s collections will be sustainably sourced and labeled
2022 – GANT´s cotton will be 100% sustainably sourced
2025 – GANT will reduce its water use in manufacturing by 50%
2025 – GANT’s key materials will be 100% sustainably sourced
2030 – GANT will reduce its climate footprint by 30% throughout all operations

But sustainability isn’t just about fashion brands making changes to the way they work. It’s a 2 way street and consumers need to make changes too. Gant’s global initiative encourages their customers to take joint responsibility for the impact of their clothing on the world with their 7 rules. These 7 rules make complete sense to me, as I am sure they will do to the many other sustainable fashionistas out there.

I love that Gant is turning the traditional model of fast fashion marketing on its head. Instead of encouraging consumers to buy more and more, they help to ensure that a piece of Gant clothing will only be bought when neccessary and will go on for many years to come and reach its full potential. This is the only way to be truly sustainable with your fashion. So here are their 7 rules…

  1. Refresh – tips and tools will be provided to keep clothing in tip top condition
  2. Repair – lifelong repairs will be offered for jeans made in 2020
  3. Reuse – Gant Archive pieces have been auctioned to raise money for WaterAid
  4. Rent – will be available in selected stores from May
  5. Regive – donations will be made to Water Aid
  6. Remake – encouraging customers to see forgotton pieces in a new light
  7. Recycle – this will be available in selected stores from November

Find out more about Sustainability at Gant

It would be great to see some other brands following suit and commiting to be sustainable, giving consumers the opportunity to make the right choice!

What do you think?

With warmest wishes

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Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020!

vintage poncho

Vintage poncho – Etsy
Jeans – Cheap Monday
Shoes – Po-Zu

charity shop jacket

Top and Jacket – charity shop
Trousers – M&S
Shoes – Toms

oxfam dress

Dress – Oxfam
Denim jacket – swapped many years ago
Trainers – Veja

Lucy and Yak dungarees

Dungarees – Lucy and Yak (a Christmas present)
Vest top – charity shop

Top – swapped many years ago
Trousers – Nomads clothing
Boots – Timberland (A Christmas present)

2019 had had its ups and downs but overall it has been a good year for me. Here are a few outfit pictures from the later half of 2019 that I haven’t had the chance to post yet.

No New Clothes for a Year

I have completed another no new clothes for a year challenge and whilst I may have caved in and bought something new at least once and have had some dungarees and boots as Chriistnas presents, it has been really useful in reminding me that I really don’t need anything new and I already have plenty in my wardrobe to wear. I can also find lots of lovely items second hand clothes in charity shops and vintage shops and websites. Whilst I am not going to be doing the challenge again this year, I am confident that I have overcome the habit of shopping for the sake of it for now at least and will be continuing to buy as little as possible and look for second hand first in 2020. Of course I will occasionally need to buy something new and for that I will be sticking with ethical and sustainable brands (as always).

Reduction of Single Use Plastics

As far as my no single use plastics pledge is going, I am not so sure ho things are going! I am still buying my fruit and veg plastic free from the market but I have had to abandon the milk bottle delivery due to the expense and have really struggled to make as many positive changes as I had hoped. I couldn’t get on with the conditioner bars for my hair as it became so dry and knotted, unfortunatley and have reverted back to bottles. Generally I do try and buy products with less packaging but I am a very long way from going single use plastic free. I am ready to start again in 2020 but I am going to need a bit of a rethink about the areas where I can make the most difference to our plastic usage. I also hope that supermarkets and companies are goig to start to offer more options to help and encourage consumers to go plastic free.

For 2020, I am not making new years resolutions as such, but want to try and find ways to make more time for doing what I enjoy. I want to surf more and improve lots. I already have some trips and weekends planned and I am sure there will be lots more as the year progresses.

I also got a skateboard/ longboard for Christmas and I love it. I want to take up yoga in additon to the 10 other exercise classes I do each week. This may seem like a lot but it makes sense to do what makes me happy, which is being active.

What are your favourite memories of 2019 and plans for 2020?

With warmest wishes

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Vintage Denim Jacket

vinatge denim jacket

Jacket – Married to the Sea (Newquay)
Trousers – Nomads
Organic cotton top – People Tree
Shoes – Toms
Bag – Owen Barry

This picture was taken in Newquay back in May when the rest of the UK was bathing in amazing sunshine but all we got was sea mist!

Its not all bad though, I got the chance to wear my new old vintage denim jacket that my girls treated me to for my birthday from Married to the Sea in Newquay. I think denim is something that definitely gets better with age and so a great option for me on my no new clothes for a year challenge. What I really love about this denim jacket is that the denim has become really soft unlike another denim jacket that I have which is a bit like cardboard. The fake fur interior also makes it really cosy for cooler days and I love the washed out look. If you are ever in Newquay town centre, I would definitely recommend checking out Married to the Sea for a small but carefully chosen selection of vintage denim. I also recently got my daughter some dungarees for her birthday.

The bag was handmade in Somerset by Owen Barry and I treated myself to it a few years back for my birthday. Up until now I haven’t used it much and have kind of kept it for best. But I have decided, it isn’t worth keeping things for best, If you have them, you might as well/wear use them otherwise what is the point in having them. It has now become a key part of my spring and summer outfits.

surfing newquay

In other news I haven’t been blogging so much lately as I have been mainly working and surfing whenever I can. Here is a picture from a weekend I went on with Women and Waves back in May. I have just about mastered standing up after 2 years of trying to learn, but still lots of practice needed! Surfing is pretty addictive and I can’t really explain the feeling of bobbing about in the sea and catching a wave. If you fancied giving surfing a go, I would definitely recommend Women and Waves. I had such fun and it was great to surf with such a supportive group of women to give my confidence a boost.
I have made a bit more progress on plastic free July since my last post. I have switched to having milk delivered in a glass bottle and also to using an eco egg for my laundry instead of detergent. I’ll let you know how I get on!

I hope you are enjoying the summer. What have you been up to?

With warmest wishes

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Shopping My Wardrobe

30 plus wears

Vintage poncho – Etsy
Organic cotton dress – Annie Greenabelle
Organic cotton leggings – Thought clothing

I often post about new pieces of ethical or sustaianble clothing that I have bought but the most important part of my drive to be more sustainable with what I wear is shopping my wardrobe. Ok ‘shopping my wardrobe’ is just another way of saying not buying anything at all or just wearing what I already have in my wardrobe! But I thought it might be a bit more an attention grabbing title for the post and of course a hastag on instagram.

We are facing unprecendented threats to our environment and possibly life as we know it brought about by environmental degradaation which are largely driven by consumerism.Climate change and plastic oceans are just two of the big issues that we need to address as a worldwide and as individuals. Just last week, Lucy Siegle reported in the Guardian on how, if unchecked,the fashion industry could account for 25% of carbon production globally by 2050. UK consumers sent 300,000 tonnes of textiles to be burned or dumped in landfill in 2018.

And yet, governement minsters have recently decided to reject propsals by a cross party environmental audit committee which included a1p levy on fast fashion and mandatory environmental targets for fashion retailers with a turnover of 36m.

We can still take hope from countries such as Denmark, which has recently cancelled Stockholm fashion week to investigate more sustainable options. And as individuals we can continue to do everything in our power (no matter how small) to limit our consumption.

Our greatest weapon against fast fashion is to shop your wardobe which is summed up so perfectly with Vivienne Westwoods phrase:

  • Buy less
  • Choose well
  • Make it last

Whilst I do very occasionally make a mistake and buy the wrong thing that doesn’t get worn very much, almost all of my clothes have been in my wardrobe for a number of years and have been worn multiple times. I have found the ‘no new clothes’ challenge that I am taking part in again this year is a great way of focussing my mind on not buying new clothes and enjoying what I already have.

The dress and leggings picture above for example have been worn at least 30 times, probably much more. I don’t feel this should be a big deal and something that needs talking about. It should just be the way it is. But whilst there is still a culture of fast fashion and clothes just bought for a few wears before being discarded, we need to keep talking about it.

In other news I am taking part in Plastic free July. I won’t lie it is not going to well so far. I am trying to find more plastic free alternatives to my usual products but there often just isn’t the choice. I am also tweet my ideas and suggestions to brands and supermarkets. Not so sure that they will take notice but its got to be worth a try. Where there are other options like the local fruit and veg stall in the market, I am taking my custom there.

How is your July going? are you taking any steps to reduce your plastic use or buy less clothes?

With warmest wishes

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