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Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Paperchase Stationery Wishlist...

I could buy stationery every week. I never really used to get the fascination but now I do, I see so many pretty notebooks, pens, diaries, stickers, and just all sorts of stuff online and I just want to buy it all! We've finally made some progress with our spare room and it's actually starting to look like a proper office now, or as close as it can get, and so I want to get all the pretty stationery for it. I think I need it.
Raindrops Desk Unit £14 - I see the raindrop design on notebooks and things like that everytime I go in Paperchase but I'm still yet to buy something from it and I don't know why! I think it's such a pretty design and I just love the colour of this. This would be perfect for pens and lots of other little bits.

Raindrops Pen Pot £3.50 - Sticking with the raindrop design, I love this little pen pot. The green colour is gorgeous and would go really well with some other things we've already got in the spare room.

Cake Shop Magnetic List Pad £6 - I love things like this, I think they are so cute to just have in the kitchen. I am someone who loves to make lists so things like this are just perfect, I can make lists for house jobs, blogging jobs and also any food we need. The food one especially is good because I usually get to the shop and completely forget what we actually need!

Doughnut Notebook £2.50 and Stickers £1.50 - Who doesn't love doughnuts? and why wouldn't want a notebook covered in them? I can never have enough notebooks, I seem to misplace them all the time and I always want to make so many different lists so I think I need several of them, each for a different thing! I also love the stickers, even though I don't really have a need for them.

Postcards 70p each - I pick up little postcards like this every so often to add to our photo wall. They're so cheap and Paperchase always have so many different ones to choose from. I've seen the 'You're my favourite' one loads and I still need to get it, and of course there would be a London one. This is another one I've been wanting to buy but kept putting it off because I already have so many London ones up on the wall!

What's your favourite thing from this wishlist? Are you stationery obsessed aswell?

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Monday, 27 February 2017

The Best Slow Cooker Meals #1

We were lucky enough to get a Slow Cooker for Christmas and it has literally changed my cooking life. I love cooking and make the majority of our meals from scratch but I found I was making the same sorts of things and it was getting boring. We were both so desperate for a slow cooker to just make life a bit easier and to try some new things and now we have one, I don't know what we would do without it. We have a few favourite meals already so I wanted to tell you all about them and maybe give you some inspiration if you're feeling a bit stuck in a rut with meals.
1. Nandos Chicken - I know this is something you can quite easily make anyway but I've been loving doing this in the slow cooker and at the end being left with beautiful spicy chicken that I've hardly had to do anything to. For this I use 2 chicken breasts and 1 pouch of nandos sauce. I get these from Asda for £1. All I have to do is put these both in the slow cooker, give it a stir and leave for desired time, usually I'll do this on high for 4 hours but you can put it on low for 8 instead. At the end I'll take the chicken out and shred it, it pulls apart so easily. I then put it back in the slow cooker just to stir up any sauces and then I serve with rice, halloumi and pitta.

2. Campfire Stew - This is a Slimming World meal that I had seen people make over and over again and I was always so jealous, especially when it was cold! This was the first thing I decided to make in the slow cooker, it's such a warming and comforting meal. To make this, I put in the slow cooker, 1 gammon joint, 1 red onion, garlic, 1 tin of baked beans, 1 tin of chopped tomatoes and a bit of tomato puree. I left this on low for around 6 hours and then took it out and shredded it. I then put it back in, gave it a stir and served it with mashed potato. This was a proper winter meal. We had leftovers so I served them with rice the next day.

3. Chicken in Red Wine - Another one of my new favourites and something I had been wanting to try for a long time. I used a Schwartz sachet which contained all the seasoning and all I had to do was add that, chicken breasts, 1 onion, tomato puree, 2 slices of bacon chopped up and water to the slow cooker and leave it on high for 4 hours. It can also be left on low for 8 hours. This didn't make the thickest sauce but it really didn't matter, it was so good with rice, and I had new potatoes too because I was so hungry that day and on Slimming World it's allowed! The chicken was so tender and just broke apart.

4. Sausage Casserole - This is another one of those meals that is perfect for a cold evening. Something else I had always wanted to make but just never did. For this I used Heck chicken paprika sausages and I added those along with 1 pepper, 1 onion, 1 tin of baked beans, 1 tin of chopped tomatoes and chicken stock. I leave this on low for about 7/8 hours and it made such a thick sauce. I seved this with new potatoes and it was so good.

5. Chicken Provenzal - This is one I am really looking forward to making again. I used another Schwartz packet which contained loads of herbs and spices and I added that to my slow cooker with 1 pepper, 2 chicken breasts, 1 tin of chopped tomatoes and 1 tbsp of tomato puree. I left this on high for 4 hours and at the end, the chicken had all shredded which I just love so it was just like a thick, chicken and tomato soup. I served this with roast potatoes and peas.
L-R Nandos Chicken, Campfire Stew, Chicken in Red Wine, Sausage Casserole, Chicken Provenzal.
Writing this post has made me want to make all of these again right now. There are still so many things I want to make but so far these are my favourite and things that I like to cook over and over again. I hope this post has given you a bit of inspiration if you're struggling for ideas or just want to try a few new things. I'm sure all of them can be adapted too so if you don't have a slow cooker, you can still make them!

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Friday, 24 February 2017

Slimming World Update...

I started backing on Slimming World on the 1st of January and even though I haven't lost loads of weight since then, things have been a bit rocky the last few weeks, I have been losing and I want to document my progress on here. In the past I've followed Slimming World for a few months then given up but this time I am determined that is not going to happen. I have a set amount of weight I want to lose and 2017 is the year I achieve it. I'm not going to be sharing my actual weight but the other day I just really felt like doing a post on this and showing you some of the food I've been eating. I'm not sure if these will be a regular thing, hopefully, but I know I don't cope well when I put myself under pressure so we'll just see. I might do them every so often.

Slimming World is a plan that doesn't feel like a diet, basically because it isn't. It's a lifestyle change and that's really what I needed. It's teaching me about food, I'm finding new meals to cook, it allows me to have treats but to not go overboard and generally I just love it.

Week 1 - Lost 5lbs - I was so happy with this. I had really made an effort to get back on plan on the 1st of January and it paid off. I had been eating lots of lovely food but still allowing myself leftover Christmas chocolate so I didn't feel deprived at all. That week a few of my meals were: roast beef with oxo potatoes and loads of veg, slow cooker nandos chicken and campfire stew.
Week 2 - Maintained - I was quite happy to maintain in my second week because it had just been my birthday and I had eaten a lot of food! Even though I eventually got back on plan, I did carry on eating bad for quite a few days. A few of my on plan meals that week were: chicken in red wine, hunters chicken and cajun chicken and halloumi.
Week 3 - Lost 2lb - After a maintain I was so pleased to have lost in my third week. A lot of people complain when they lose 1 or 2lbs and think it isn't enough but it all adds up and for me, as long as I'm losing then I'm happy. That week I had: Keema Curry Pie, Spicentice Burgers and Pizza Chicken.
Week 4 - Gained 6lbs - I had a massive gain in my fourth week which at first I didn't want to put on here but it was deserved and I want to be honest. There was Georges birthday and we had been to London so I had eaten lots of doughnuts and pizza. I really enjoyed myself and I don't feel guilty at all. I got back on plan once we were home. 

Week 5 - Lost 6lb - I managed to lose all of my gain the following week which I was thrilled about. That week I had eaten meals like: Slow cooker chicken provenzal, spaghetti bolognese and jacket potatoes with heinz chickpea tagine.
Week 6 - Lost 1lb - Only a small loss in week 6 but again I was happy with it. Meals that week included: Healthy KFC chicken, Italian Bean Stew and Pesto Pasta.
Some of the treats and snacks I've been eating over the last 8 weeks include: Mint oreos, peanut butter oreos, orange rice cake bars, cheerios, pink lady apples, beans and sausage, fibre one bars, chocolate lollies, and crisps. All of these things are fine in moderation and especially on Slimming World, you get a certain amount of 'syns' to use each day so I've been using them on things like this and also sauces. I've been filling up on free food like pasta, rice, fruit and veg and I never feel hungry.
So overall I've lost 8lbs. I know I could have lost more but in my defence I've had my birthday, Georges birthday, valentines, london and generally I have been so stressed and anxious over the last few weeks so for me to have lost anything is a miracle. I just want to keep it up and hopefully carry on losing and get to my target weight/size.


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Thursday, 23 February 2017

The Story Behind The Photo #1

I was going through my diary a few weeks ago and even though I've still got quite a lot of blog posts planned, I was a bit worried I was going to run out. I wanted to bring in a new sort of series to my blog and I thought that there are actually loads of pictures that I want to share that don't really have a place in any other blog post, so this is where I came up with The Story Behind The Photo. I had no idea what to call it but I suppose that sums up what these posts are going to be about. I think I'm going to do one of these every few weeks or maybe one a month, I haven't decided yet but I'm excited to share some random pictures with you and explain a bit more about them. Some you might have seen before and I might have featured them in other posts and others will be ones I have never shared before!
The photo I've chosen for the first one isn't actually of me but it's of our old flat in Leicester. It's a bit blurry but I really wanted to include it. I don't want all of these to be me just shoving my face on them so some might be of things like this and I thought if you haven't been reading my blog from the beginning, then you might not know I actually used to live in Leicester. I moved there from Sheffield in September 2013 to go to uni and my partner George moved aswell so we lived together in a student flat. I won't go into much detail but I ended up leaving my course, it just wasn't for me, if you want to read more about that, I have a blog post all about it here. We really tried to stay and I was looking for work every single day but over time we realised it just wasn't working so we both moved back to Sheffield and we eventually moved into a flat here. I wanted to talk about this picture because it's actually one of my favourites ever, you can't see that much and to other people it probably doesn't look that great but whenever I look at it I see the building we used to live in and a place we were really happy as a couple. We wanted to live together so much and when we first moved it was literally a dream come true, it was the first place we ever lived together so it's always going to be special for that reason. Leicester itself was such a lovely place and I love the memories we have of walking through the uni campus, and going shopping in Highcross Shopping Centre, and the places we went for meals and even just doing our food shopping together. This photo was actually taken when we went for a walk one night, the sun was just setting and it was a really beautiful walk home. I miss Leicester a lot. It's always going to be a special place for me.

I hope you liked this post, it's something a bit different but I think it's a good way for you find out a bit more about me!

Did you see my last post? 22 Things I've Learned in 22 Years!

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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

22 Things I've Learnt In 22 Years...

Last year I did a post called 21 Things I Want To Achieve. I did this because I had just turned 21 and really felt like I needed to do something with my life and finally start ticking things off that I have always wanted to do. The majority of them I'm still trying to achieve but anyway, I really loved doing that post and I want to do something similar each year. This year I've decided to do 22 Things I've Learnt In 22 Years. Life hasn't been that easy over the last few years and I do think everything that has happened has made me the person I am today so I wanted to sort of reflect and go back and see what those things have taught me.
1. Life Doesn't Always Go To Plan - When I was in school I had this plan of how my life was going to go. I was going to go to college, then to uni and I was going to qualify as a nurse or a midwife. I was going to meet a nice man, get married and have a family. I met a nice man but apart from that nothing else has worked out like I imagined. I am still thinking about what I want to do career wise and I never imagined at 22 I would be in this position, I thought I had it all worked out.

2. You Will Lose Friends - I had quite a close group of friends towards the end of school but now I don't see them at all and some days it really does hurt that, that is the case. Things change and over time we've all changed as people and I'm not gonna lie, I probably didn't do as much as I should to keep that friendship going so I know I'm to blame for a lot of it. As you grow up you definitely lose friends just because your lives take different paths and without everyone making an effort to stay in touch, you do lose contact with them.

3. Don't Take Shit From Anyone - There are so many people that I just don't talk to anymore because the way they've treated me in the past has really hurt me and I can't be doing with that in my life anymore. I've took so much from people before but I'm at a point now where I feel like a proper adult and really in control of my own life so if someone is just causing upset or drama then I want nothing to do with them.

4. You Will Lose People You Love - I was probably a bit naive but I didn't lose anyone close to me until I was 17 so I never really thought anything like that would happen to me for a long time. Sometimes I still don't think I properly grieved and sort of accepted that it happened. I've lost people since and I feel the same about that, I don't think any of it has hit me yet that those people are gone. I now feel so aware that life really is short and you can lose people at anytime whereas I think before it wasn't something I ever thought about.

5. Don't Be Afraid To Stand Up For Yourself - Over the last few years I've really made more of a point of standing up for myself and not letting people walk all over me. So many people have done that in the past and even just last year when I was being treated shit at work, I finally said something and left because it was too much. I will now quite happily stand up for myself if any situation because for too long I haven't done that and very rarely has someone else stood up for me. 

6. Take Lots Of Pictures - I take pictures of absolutley everything, whether that's food, something I've bought or if it's just a nice day. I love to go back through my camera roll on my phone and see photos from months ago that I had forgot about. I want to one day be able to look back at all the amazing things I did, and ate, and the people I spent time with because I might not always remember it.

7. Treat Others How They Treat You - If someone isn't putting an effort in with me anymore, then I just leave them to it because in the past I've tried and tried and got nothing back and it gets to a point where it's just tiring. Why would I want to be in touch with someone when it's all so onesided? Now I just let people do their own thing and if they get in touch then that's great. I'm very much about treating others how they treat you so if someone doesn't seem to care, then I won't either.

8. Don't Worry So Much - I say this but I am a worrier and a lot of the time I stress over things that don't need stressing about but worrying really doesn't solve anything. That's what I have to tell myself most days. Worrying won't change the outcome and if somethings going to happen, then there is nothing you can do to stop it. Just try and get on with life and whatever happens, happens, deal with it when it comes. 

9. A Hot Bubble Bath Can Solve A Lot Of Problems - There isn't much for me that can't be solved by a boiling hot bubble bath with a nice bath bomb and a book.

10. People Change - As sad as this is, it's true and sometimes I still find it hard to accept that people that were good people a few years ago have now become almost a bit cold and someone completely different. Things happen that change people and unfortunately there is nothing we can do to stop it. Just accept they've changed and move on as hard as it is.

11. Travel As Much As You Can - I've definitely not travelled far but over the last few years I have been to London a few times and really made an effort to explore that and now I absolutely love the place. It's so different to where I live and I'm so glad I've been there a few times now, I feel like a different person there. That's why I think it's so important to travel and go to new places, you might learn something about yourself or it might make you want to do something completely different with your life. Travelling, even if it is just from Sheffield to London, or whether that's to the other side of the world, it brings something out in you, you didn't know was there. Now there are so many places I want to go, there is so much of the world left to see.

12. Animals Are Nicer Than Humans - They really are. I adore all sorts of animals and I truly believe dogs are kinder than most humans. They don't care what you look like, what job you have, how much you earn. It sounds so silly but I just think they all have hearts of gold and I would prefer a room full of dogs rather than a room full of people any day.

13. Find A Job You Love - Your workplace is somewhere you spend a lot of your time so it's important when you're there your doing something you love. Things aren't always easy, some days will always be better than others but generally if your job is making you really unhappy then really think about what it is you want to do and get out of there. 

14. People Will Talk About You - and there is nothing you can do to stop them. I hate the thought of people talking or bitching about me but trust me I know people have and I've learnt the hard way. People who have nothing good to say about you or just want to criticise deserve no place in your life. Just keep doing what your doing and try not to care too much about what other people have to say.

15. Appreciate The Small Moments - Sometimes it's important to just appreciate the small things like a great cup of tea, or a cosy movie night in, or a new top you've bought. Life can be so hard sometimes and I tend to just think, life is shit and what am I even here for, but when I'm feeling like that I just have to think of all the amazing things I have done in my life, or I think about something small but lovely that has happened that day, even if it's just that I watched Big Brother that day and I love that show, or I had a really nice breakfast or something. Probably sounds silly but there are so many little things that happen every day that we just overlook.

16. Make Time For The Things You Love - It's so easy to get caught up in things like work and uni but it's so important to make time for the things you love. For me, that's baking and I tend to do it once a week because it calms me down and it's just therapeutic for me. I love putting Spotify on and just spending hours baking. 

17. Save Money When You Can - A lot of the time at the end of the month we don't have any spare money to put away but whenever we have in the past, I've always felt so proud of that. A bit of spare money in a savings account is brilliant for a month where your maybe struggling a bit more than usual, or you forgot someones birthday and you need to get a present. Just a little bit of money put aside can help in emergencies, or even just if you feel like you need a nice meal out and some time out, you've already got some aside.

18. It's Okay To Care A Lot - There are a lot of people I care about that I know probably don't really care for me but I can't help it and I'm not ashamed to say that. There is nothing wrong with caring for people regardless of what they might have done or said in the past, it means you're a good person. Or I like to think of myself as a good person because of it. There are people who have said and done awful things but I still think about them and hope they're okay and they're happy. There will always be people I feel like that about and that's okay.

19. Love Your Body - For a long time I have hated my body but I'm trying to change my way of thinking with it and I'm really trying to love it. You only get one body so it's important you look after it. Eating the right foods, exercising (I definitely need to do more of this) and also just not hating on it and saying horrible things about it. If I have a low day and I'm not really liking what I look like, I just try to find something I do like, even if that's just my shoes or my hair's gone okay. Just something positive. I also always think would I ever say any of these horrible things I'm feeling to my daughter about her body or her looks? No. So why should I say it to myself.

20. Learn To Cook - When I first got together with George I didn't know how to cook at all but now I can quite proudly say I cook the majority of our meals and I love it. Cooking is such a fun thing for me and I love creating new meals and trying new things. I think it's so important to try and learn how to cook, it's better for you to eat homemade meals from scratch and for me personally it's also something I can pass onto my kids. I want them to share my love of cooking and I can't wait to pass some of my own recipes and favourites down to them.

21. Eat Cake - There is nothing wrong with treating yourself and who doesn't love a huge slab of cake or a bar of chocolate? I try to go for a healthy Monday - Friday but I relax a bit at weekends, what sort of life is it if you can't treat yourself.

22. Work Hard - If there is something you want, work hard and go for it. Whatever it is, put your all into it and you will get the rewards. It is such a good feeling at the end of the week knowing you've worked so hard or you've completed something you've been working on for ages. If you work hard you will get where you want to be.

So that 22 things I've learnt over 22 years. I loved doing this and I would love to know if any of you relate to this or if you've learnt anything else as you've grown up!

Relevant Posts - Why Being A Nurse Wasn't For Me // Why I Had To Leave My Job

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Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig Book Review...

Reasons To Stay Alive is a book written by Matt Haig. It's about how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again.
This is a book that I had only ever heard good things about so I was so desperate to read it. I got this for my birthday and I wanted to do a review with my thoughts about it for you now that I've finished it. I want to start by saying I truly believe this is such an important book. For those who suffer with anxiety or depression. For those who live with or know someone who suffers. This book really helps you understand what it's like to live with those sorts of illnesses and it is brutally honest. 

I have anxiety and one thing I have found is that it is so hard to explain. I don't know how to describe what it does to my brain and how it makes me feel. I don't know how to get the words out sometimes to say why I can't do something. I also find with anxiety, it's something people just don't understand. People say they do, but unless you have anxiety you won't ever properly get what other people who do have it are going through, every single day. The same applies to other mental health issues. Unless you yourself suffer, it's almost impossible to truly get it. I think this book is a godsend as it says the things that I can't say. It explains the sorts of things that go through my mind and it brings a comfort of knowing other people feel the same. Other people go through the same things. And people get through it.

There were so many parts of this book that I could relate to and I think it's a book a lot of people could read and find it applies to them in some way too. This isn't one of those books that is a chore to read, or will take forever to get through either. It's an easy read, it's set out so well and it changes from Matts story, to facts about mental illness, to symptoms of depression and anxiety, to books he has read, there are so many different elements to this book and it's not just all about him. It's a book that teaches you something.

There were a few parts of this book then when I was reading, really stuck with me so I wanted to mention them.

  • 'You will one day experience joy that matches this pain. You will cry euphoric tears at the Beach Boys, you will stare down at a baby's face as she lies asleep in your lap, you will make great friends, you will eat delicious foods you haven't tried yet, you will be able to look at a view from a high place and not assess the likelihood of dying from falling... You might be stuck here for a while, but the world isn't going anywhere. Hang on in there if you can. Life is always worth it.'
  • 'How to be there for someone with depression or anxiety: Know that you are needed, and appreciated even if it seems you are not. Listen. Appreciate it that it is an illness, things will be said that aren't meant. Don't take anything personally. Be patient.'

The reason I loved those two parts so much is because the first one I think is just so encouraging, there are so many incredible things in life and sometimes it can be so easy to overlook them. And for the people really struggling I feel like this is such an important part because it could be the thing that makes them carry on. The second part I think is just one bit of the book you should read, even if you don't read anything else. If you know someone who suffers with a mental illness, I think that part, can help you try and get some understanding of what you can do to be there for them. Those were the two main bits that really got me but generally it was a brilliant read and one I can't recommend enough. I'm so glad I read it. It's empowering, encouraging, honest and uplifting.

"I wrote this book because the oldest cliches remain the truest. Time heals. The bottom of the valley never provides the clearest view. The tunnel does have light at the end of it, and even if we haven't been able to see it... Words, just sometimes, really can set you free."

Have you read this book? If you have, what did you think?

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Monday, 20 February 2017

Food I Have Been Loving This Week #10

A real mix this time of healthy and unhealthy food but life's all about balance! I've enjoyed some real treats and also loved some of my Slimming World meals. These pictures are making me hungry just looking at them.
Eds Diner Pancakes - On George's birthday we went to Eds Diner, which is literally one of our favourite ever places and we had some amazing american pancakes. They were absolutely huge and we couldn't finish them but I can't recommend them enough if you visit an Eds Diner in the future. We had them with maple syrup and ice cream and they were delicious. I want to go back again just for them. Before we had pancakes and the reason we couldn't finish them, we had the best ever mozzarella sticks. I love mozzarella sticks and to be honest, anything with cheese makes me happy but these were the best I've ever had. We also shared a hot dog, a chicken burger and some wet fries which are another favourite of ours (chips and gravy basically). It was such a lovely meal.

Whole Foods Doughnuts - I couldn't do one of these posts without mentioning the incredible doughnuts we had in London. Getting these is a highlight of every single trip to London! They are just amazing. When we went a few weeks ago I got the Chocolate Truffle one, which was basically a plain doughnut, with a ring of chocolate truffle throughout it, topped with ganache. I can't stop thinking about it! George had the Peanut Butter and Jelly one, and the jam in it was so good. I wish we had another weekend booked already just for more of these. 

Slimming World Pizza Chicken - This was something I had seen so many people make but I had never got round to trying it and I thought knowing my luck I won't like it. I don't know why I thought that as I love chicken and the majority of our meals are with it! This was so simple to make and I already can't wait to make it again. I'm going to put up a recipe soon for this so look out for that!

Pink Lady Apples - I am just obsessed with these at the moment! I've been getting a pack of 4 each week but I'm going through two a day at the moment so they don't last long at all. They are so sweet and juicy and for me the best apples you can get. As much as I love Winter I do like it when spring's on the way as the fruit just tastes so much better.

Slimming World KFC Chicken - This meal is one of the reasons I love Slimming World so much. I love things like KFC and McDonalds but of course they're not the best for you so meals like this which are healthy and easy are perfect and really help me stay on track. To make this, I just cut 2 chicken breasts into strips, sometimes I make them into chunks instead, and dip them into a beaten egg, then into smash which I've mixed with salt, pepper and italian herbs. Smash is instant mashed potato so this probably sounds really odd and I thought the same when I first saw the recipe but it makes the chicken so crispy and a bag of it lasts for so long. I then bake the strips in the oven for around half an hour and serve with slimming world chips and beans. The chips in the photo above were quite burnt! We are also obsessed with halloumi so we've been having that with it too.

Chocolate Buttons - These are my favourite chocolate at the moment. A few weeks ago I had a massive craving for chocolate buttons and since then I've been wanting them everyday. I don't know why but I am just obsessed. I love the cadbury ones but the aldi ones are also good and only like 75p.

Did you see my last post? New Look and Asos Clothing Wishlist!

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Friday, 17 February 2017

Clothing Wishlist - New Look & Asos!

I always feel like I'm in desperate need of new clothes, I wear the same sorts of things all the time, but to be honest I don't go out much and I basically live in Pyjamas so I think it's allowed. That doesn't stop me from wanting to treat myself though. I've found some gorgeous things online that I just need, so this is a little wishlist.

The first place I looked was New Look because I just always find stuff there that fits well, looks nice on and doesn't cost a bomb. The first thing I saw was this Pink Bardot Neck Jumper. I've never worn anything like this before but as it's still a bit cold I thought this would just be so cosy and warm and perfect to wear without a coat while it's transitioning into spring. The next thing I saw, was this Floral Cold Shoulder Dress which I definitely wouldn't be wearing yet, it would be a target dress for me. Something I could hopefully wear towards the end of the year when I've lost weight. I've only lost a bit following Slimming World at the moment but I'm really hoping to lose as much as I can before the end of 2017 and I think this would look so lovely with tights and boots in Winter. I loved the look of this Bardot Neck Lounge Suit which on sale for £11! I know this isn't technically something I would go out in but I would love to wear this around the house, it looks so cosy. The last thing on New Look I loved was the Black Check Bell Sleeve Top. I actually nearly bought this last month and went for something else instead but now I'm really wishing I'd got it. I love how it looks with black jeans.
I next went on Asos and I only found a few things I really liked. The first being these trainers which are £20. I've got some camo pumps which I wear like everytime I go out now, they are so comfy and I would love to get more that are similar and I thought these looked perfect. I then fell in love with this Frill Hem Sheer Top. I think this would be so lovely for summer. It looks like a thin, light top so perfect for the days where it's too warm for a jacket but not boiling hot. The last thing I really liked on Asos was these Metallic Espadrilles. Again I think these are so good for summer. I think these would look really nice with skinny jeans and the white top I just mentioned.
I didn't find much but all these things I've included, I feel like I have to go and buy now. I especially love the dress and the white asos top.

Do you like any of these? Where do you like to shop?

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Thursday, 16 February 2017

Just Us Date Night Box Review*

A few weeks ago I was sent the Just Us Box to review which is basically a monthly box containing everything needed for a brilliant date night. Each box has 4-6 themed items including a date night plan, activities and challenges meaning you don't have to do any planning or sorting, pick one night each month and everything is in the box ready for you.
In my making memories date night box, I received; a selfie stick, 2 string bracelets, a keepsake box, photo album box, stack em game, a glass jar and lollipop sticks. All of these things separately probably sound really random but everything is explained in the little booklet.
The first thing we did was play the stack em game. There was a sheet of stickers included in the box, some already had questions on and some were blank so we could add our own. We stuck these to the blocks and then played the game, whichever question was on the block we each chose, we had to answer the question. I think this is such a fun game anyway but having the stickers on gave us something else to talk about and find out things about each other that we haven't spoken about before.
The next thing we did was make a love list. This is what the little jar and lollipop sticks were for. The aim of this was to think of places we would like to go, things we would like to do etc. The coloured sticks were for things that required more planning and maybe required travelling.
The plain sticks were for things that don't require much planning and are pretty easy to do just do last minute, so we wrote things like cinema, going for a meal, having a picnic. I loved doing this and I'm going to keep them all in the little jar so next time we want a date night we can just take one of them out and we won't have even had to think of anything.
The last thing we did do on our date night was put on our bracelets. The aim of these is to make a wish when you're putting it on and when it starts to fray, it means your wish is coming true. I just love little things like this. I think this is such a cute thing for couples to do and it's something I would never think to do otherwise.

We didn't get round to using the selfie stick on our date night or putting any photos in our photo album but I'm looking forward to taking some new pictures soon and filling the box up with loads of new ones. I think we'll use the selfie stick a lot in summer aswell though when we get out on more walks and hopefully visit some new places. I think it was a great addition to the box and something we would never have bought ourselves.

Overall I was really impressed with the Just Us Box. It contained so many fun things that I would honestly never think to buy or do and it turned out to be such a good date night, so different to anything else we've done in the past. I think my favourite thing that was included is the wish bracelets, I just love the idea of them but I did also really enjoying coming up with new ideas for dates and weekends away etc with the lollipop sticks. 

Boxes like this are brilliant if you can't get out the house much or you and your partner are busy at work a lot of the time. Everything is in the box ready for you so no need to worry about dressing up and going out or buying loads of stuff for your date night. Just relax with a glass of wine and see what's in the box. If you want to try one of these yourself they are £30 a month but you can get longer subscriptions too and also you can try a smaller trial box for only £18. You can find out more information on their website here.

Have you tried the Just Us box before? What do you think?

*I was sent the Just Us box to review but as always all opinions are my own and I only feature products I feel are relevant to me and my blog.

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Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Weekend Summary #24 & Valentines!

I haven't done one of my weekend summaries since May 2016! I actually can't believe it's been that long. I used to document our weekends for me to look back on but I decided to slow down on them a bit because most weekends were the same. I've done a few similar posts since but not an actual weekend summary so today I've brought it back! I doubt they will become a regular thing again just because my weekends are pretty boring but whenever I am doing something fun or interesting I'll do one because they are fun for me to look back on. 

Last weekend we had Georges brothers over and it was basically 3 days of food and films! I made my Chocolate Chip Blondies on the Friday, I always like to bake when we have people round and it had been so long since I last made them. We had a really chilled night, I made a spaghetti bolognese while they watched football and then we watched The Visit which is such a weird, creepy film! It's about two children who go to stay with their grandparents for the week, their mother doesn't have a relationship with them anymore so she has no idea what sort of people they are now or even what they look like, but trusts them to look after her kids. I don't want to ruin the story in case you do want to watch it but it turns out they're not who they say they are and some really strange stuff goes on. I'm sure I'll have said in one of these posts before but we always watch at least one horror film when they stay so that was my choice on Friday night. Definitely wasn't one of the best horror films I've ever watched but it was okay.
On Saturday we went to see Sing at the cinema. I'm just a bit obsessed with those sorts of animation films at the moment, Trolls is just the best thing ever and I also love Secret Life Of Pets so I think I was always going to enjoy Sing but they all did too! I had the nicest Tango Ice Blast which I'd not had in so, so long, the pink and yellow ones together make it taste like refreshers and we all had loads of popcorn and sweets. That night we had the best curry and watched the new Blair Witch film, much better than the first one but not brilliant. On Sunday I made more Blondies because we all loved them so much and we watched Moana. It was such a fun weekend and it felt like we did loads even though we basically just watched films! 
I wanted to talk about Valentines in this post too as there is no point doing a whole seperate post about it. I just love seeing what we did each year. George had Monday and Tuesday off which was so nice, he very rarely takes time off and he's busy even when he comes home sometimes so it was lovely to just have two days where we could just spend time together. We started Valentines with croissants cos they're my absolute favourite and we opened our presents. We only got each other a few bits, I don't think we've bought much for each other since our first and second valentines, it's so odd that even though we have more money now, we seemed to spend so much like 5 or 6 years ago, actually don't know how we afforded it. George bought me Trolls on DVD and I am so happy about that! I just love it and I know it's going to be one of those films that I could watch over and over, and will definitely cheer me up if I'm having a bad day. I don't even care if the film is more for kids, I love it. We both got each other a bit of chocolate too (I'm obsessed with chocolate buttons at the moment) and a card but that was about it. That night we went to the cinema, that's where we spend a lot of our time and valentines is no exception. We went to see Fifty Shades Darker which I have been waiting for, for so long. I loved the first one and the second was even better and has much more of a story. I just want to see it again.
I know some people don't bother with valentines or celebrate it but we always have and I think it's really nice to have a day to spoil each other. I loved our day and wish we could do it all over again.

What did you get up to for Valentines?

Did you see my last post? The Best Shortbread Recipe!

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Tuesday, 14 February 2017

The Best Shortbread Recipe...

Shortbread is one of the easiest things to make and this recipe only contains 3 ingredients! I hadn't made it in so long but with how simple this recipe is, I thought it was a great bake for a cold afternoon! It took me no time at all and it tasted beautiful!
Ingredients:
185g butter
75g caster sugar
250g plain flour

Method:
1. Line a square baking tin with baking paper and pre - heat oven to 180 degrees
2. In a bowl cream together the butter and sugar until smooth
3. Then add in the flour, mixing until it forms a dough
4. Tip the dough into baking tin and flatten down, making sure it's evenly spread out
5. Use a fork to make several holes in the dough and then sprinkle a bit of caster sugar on top
6. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes then leave to cool and cut into squares
It really is as simple as that, it only took me a few minutes to prepare the dough so it's a great thing to bake if you need to make something fast and it won't make too much mess either! I cut this into 9 squares and it tasted lovely. When I tried it the inside was still a bit warm so that made it even better. I remember having shortbread and custard at school and that is the only thing that would have made this even better! This is definitely the best shortbread I've ever made, I can't wait to have a reason to make it again!

Do you like to bake? What's your favourite thing to make?

A few of my other recipes - Chocolate Chip Swirl Blondies // School Sponge Cake // Lemon & Blueberry Cheesecake

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Monday, 13 February 2017

My 5 Year Plan...

Ever feel like everyone else is doing something with their life and your just stuck in the same place? I feel like that all the time and it's tiring. The last few years really haven't gone to plan for me and everytime I've got close to having my life together, something has come along and messed it up. I'm determined that 2017 will be a good year and will be the year things finally start looking up and put us on the path to all the things we've been wanting for years. I've decided to make a 5 year plan of all the main things I really want to achieve. I want to be able to look back on this whenever I'm feeling down and remind myself of what I'm working towards and hopefully it will give me some motivation to keep going and really work hard in everything I do. I would also love to look back in 5 years and be able to say, I managed to do all the things on my list. 
1. Find A Job I Love - At the moment I don't really know what that job will be but I want to find something I truly love and look forward to going to everyday. I mentioned in my 2017 goals that I'm interested in becoming a teaching assistant or doing something within a school so at the moment that's what I'm looking for but there's no saying that will definitely happen. Whenever I worked in a school as part of my college course I always enjoyed it and I loved having the responsibility of teaching small groups and feeling a bit important so I'm hoping that's what I'll end up doing at some point. If not I'm quite happy to go back into an admin job. I actually really enjoyed the work I did at my last job, just not some of the people so much. I was good at it and I think I would be quite happy working in an office again. I'm just planning on finding something part time to start with. With my anxiety, full time is quite a lot of pressure and when I was having a bad day at my last job, I really struggled so I think I need that time at home during the week too.

2. Make My Blog A Success - I don't really know what I mean by make my blog a success but I suppose I just want it to keep on growing. Of course I would love to make this my proper job one day as I'm sure a lot of bloggers would but I'm under no illusion that it probably won't happen and if I'm never in that position, I'll carry on with it as my hobby. I absolutely love my little blog so whether it's my job or just something I do on the side, I just want to carry on with it and see what happens.

3. Buy A Car - We have been saying for so long that we need a car and 2017 has to be the year we get one. I can deal with trams and buses to a certain extent but sometimes you just think, a car would make our lives so much easier. It's becoming a priority this year for at least George to do his lessons and hopefully be on track to get a car by the end of the year. I definitely want us to have a car by the time we move, it would be literally impossible otherwise as we'll be doing a lot of it by ourselves. 

4. Rent A House - I do love our little flat but I really want us to be in a house by 2018. As much as we would love to buy a house, it isn't gonna happen in the next 5 years so our next aim is to just rent a house where that we can properly make ours. By 2018 we'll have been here for over 3 years and if we don't move by then I don't know when we will. We've been saying for so long we want to and then we just never get round to saving money or something else has to take priority. Even though our flat does feel more like home now, for me I think it's always been temporary, it was never going to be somewhere we stay for more than a few years so we have to make a plan soon so we can move next year. Even if its towards the end of 2018 that we move, I just want a house with a garden so we can properly start the next part of our lives.

5. Get Married - In November we'll have been engaged 3 years and I honestly don't know where that time has gone! We've wanted to get married from the moment we got engaged but due to money and circumstances we've never been in the position to actually book anything. We didn't decide until the end of 2016 where we really wanted to get married and how we we were going to do it but now we finally have some proper plans and I actually spoke to someone a few weeks ago about getting something booked. It feels like we're really getting somewhere with it now and even if we're not by the end of this year, which would be lovely and is what we're hoping for, we at least want to have something booked. We just want to be married and have the same name.

6. Have A Baby - I know a baby can't always be planned and things don't always go the way you hope too but we would love to have a baby within the next 5 years. We've wanted a family for years already and we're really excited at the thought of having children together so we really don't want to leave it too much longer, especially because there's no guarantee it's going to happen straight away or at all. It's something we think about a lot and for a long time it's never felt like the right time but I don't think there ever really will be. By the end of 2018 I would at least like to be pregnant, of course I'd love a baby much sooner than that and if that happens then that's wonderful but I'm very aware life doesn't always go as planned so we'll just have to wait and see. I feel like being a mum is the only thing I'm meant to do and it's something I've wanted for so long so children are definitely in our plans for the next few years in some way.

These are all the main sort of things I really want to happen in the next 5 years, of course there are other things too like you know getting a dog and going on nice holidays but I didn't think those really needed to be mentioned!

Anyway, have you made a 5 year plan? I would love to read other peoples!

Did you see my last post? This Works Favourites!

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Friday, 10 February 2017

This Works Favourites...

This Works are a brand I have been loving for a few years now and every year in the christmas sales I stock up on a few of their bits so I wanted to do a blog post about them and show you the things I bought this year.
The first thing I ordered was the Dream Team Gift Set which includes a mini Deep Sleep Pillow Spray and a mini Stress Less. I got this for about £6 in the sale but it's usually about £10. The pillow spray is brilliant and really helps me get a better nights sleep. I've struggled with insomnia for quite a while now and I've found using a bit of this spray on my pillow each night really contributes to me feeling relaxed and settled in bed. If I'm having a really bad few nights (or weeks, or months) with my insomnia then to be honest nothing helps but when I'm going through a good phase with it and actually feeling tired at a normal time then this only helps even more with me getting a great nights sleep and waking up feeling refreshed. It is formulated with natural oils and contains lavendar and wild chamomile so when released it instantly makes you feel a bit more relaxed and really helps you wind down. The Stress Less roller ball is brilliant to just rub a little bit on my wrists so if I'm feeling stressed out at home or even when I'm out, I can just use a bit of this and it instantely makes me calm down. I don't know how that is possible, but it is amazing.
The next thing I ordered (I then gave it to George to wrap up for my birthday as I really wanted it) was the Calm To Go which is another mini of the Stress Less but it comes in a little keyring carry case meaning you can take it with you anywhere. This is perfect pocket size and I love to take it everywhere so if I'm feeling a bit anxious or overwhelmed when I'm out I can just rub a little bit of this on my wrist and it really helps clear my head. I think this was £5 in the sale and is usually £8 so I think it's really worth getting when on sale.
I'm pretty sure the Dream Team gift set is only available around Christmas time, that's when I've always bought it but I've seen the Calm To Go all year round. I really recommend This Works products if you struggle with stress, insomnia or anxiety. I struggle with all 3 and they've all really helped me so well worth getting, especially when they are on sale.

Have you tried anything from This Works before?

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Thursday, 9 February 2017

Lush Golden Wonder Bath Bomb...

I know Christmas was a few months ago now but this is one of my favourite bath bombs from Lush and I only got round to using one them a few weeks ago. I always stock up on a few Golden Wonders when the Christmas range is released as I love it so much but now I only have one left so I'm really putting off using it!
First of lets start with how pretty is, and that's before even putting it into water. The fact it's made to look like a gift just makes it perfect for Christmas and unique to a lot of other bath bombs. Something I love about it is that it doesn't really give away what it will be like when it hits the water, and what colours will come from it, it wasn't what I expected the first time I bought it and I was pleasantly suprised.

As soon as you put this in the bath, an emerald green colour emerges and it just looks beautiful. Lots of other colours come and go throughout it, with bits of pink, yellow and blue and eventually the water ends up a sort of teal colour with a few bubbles, quite a lot in my case as I already had some radox in the bath so these combined were amazing. Aswell as looking picture perfect for Instagram, it also smells incredible. To be honest most Lush bath bombs do, I very rarely find one that I don't like the scent of but the Christmas ones are always my favourite. I like the scent of this one as it's really citrusy (if that's a word) and contains orange oil so it makes me feel very refreshed and it really does make everything smell amazing. 

Something I always notice whenever I use a bath bomb is how soft my skin is afterwards, and that applies to this one too. I never feel that anything is still on my skin, I just feel clean and refreshed. There have been products I've used in the past that have made my skin feel sticky or greasy but this one is just perfect. 

I'm already looking forward to stocking up on more of these towards the end of the year, for now I'll have to stick to Radox and a few other smaller bath bombs I have left. 

Do you like Golden Wonder? What's your favourite product from Lush?


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Wednesday, 8 February 2017

This Time Next Year Tag...

I love blog posts like this so I was really happy when I saw last week the lovely Jordanne from The Life Of A Glasgow Girl had tagged me to do the This Time Next Year Tag! So thank you Jordanne! It's been ages since I've done a post like this and it's a bit different to my other usual posts.
Rules of the Tag:
Thank the person who tagged you
Write your goals for next year
Write how you are going to achieve your goals
Tag at least 5 blogger friends to share their goals
Then, if you wish, in 365 days write a post for everyone to see if you have been successful or not.

This time next year; I will have lost weight
I will achieve this by; following Slimming World and and always getting back on it after a bad day or weekend

This time next year; I will have a better hold of my anxiety
I will achieve this by; finding techniques that help me and also I will follow through with getting counselling to allow me to talk about my stress and anxiety

This time next year; I will have found a part time job
I will achieve this by; spending time figuring out what it is I want to do and applying for jobs throughout the year

This time next year; I will have booked our wedding
I will achieve this by; saving money and spending time finding a place we want to get married 

This time next year; I will have visited new places
I will achieve this by; saving money and looking for places nearby to visit. I will also look for places in England for weekend breaks

I tag:
Rebecca - www.bexfaye.com

If any of you girls do this tag let me know so I can see yours too! 

Did you see my last post?

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Tuesday, 7 February 2017

5 Places I Want To Visit...

There are so many places I would love to visit one day and if I'd had the money I would have loved to go travelling but so far that hasn't been possible and I'm still yet to go on my first proper holiday abroad with George. We've been to a few places in England and even though we absoloutley adore those places, it would be nice to go for a week away somewhere really hot. I've picked 5 places I would love to go to and even though I have no idea when that might be, they are all on my travel bucketlist so I'm going to try and make them all happen at some point! Let me know if you've been to any of these places and what you thought of them.
1. New York - This had to be at the top. I have wanted to go here for so long and we actually got quite close to it last year but then things went a bit wrong so at the moment it's still quite a way off. There are so many incredible places in New York and I would love to do all of the tourist things and really see what the city has to offer. Times Square looks amazing and I would love to do some shopping there! I would love to see the Statue of Liberty and Central Park, aswell as the Grand Central Station. I think the thing I want to see the most in New York is actually the 9/11 memorial. It's still so hard to believe something so awful happened but I would really like to do one of the full day tours based on it. 

2. Rome - All of Italy just looks incredible and there are so many places within it I want to go to but Rome is at the top. There is the Vatican City, The Trevi Fountain (I think it was the Lizzie McGuire Movie that inspired me wanting to see this years and years ago!), St Peter's Square, The Spanish Steps and of course the Colosseum. Everything in Rome just looks so beautiful and it would be amazing to walk around seeing all of these things that I've only ever imagined.

3. Paris - Who doesn't want to go and see the Eiffel Tower? Paris is somewhere we have been saying for ages we should go for a short break so it's something I think we'll do in the next few years. Again it's just a beautiful place and there are so many things to go and see. Aswell as the Eiffel Tower, I would love to see the Notre Dame Cathedral, The Louvre and the Arc De Triomphe.

4. Germany - I was actually born in Germany so I really want to go back with George one day. As we didn't live there for that long and I was so young I don't remember much of it so I would love to go back and find all the old places we used to go to and where I used to live. I went back years ago with my family but again I can't remember that much of it. We both actually want to learn German too so I think it would be so good if we could do that first then go there and be able to speak to people! I definitely want to go to Germany around Christmas time one year because even though we've done Christmas Markets in England, nothings going to compare to the actual German ones. 

5. Krakow - This is a bit of an odd one but I saw on Instagram a few weeks ago someone had gone to Krakow and they were visiting Auschwitz and that made me decide Krakow is somewhere we have to go one day. I have always been so interested in the history of Auschwitz and I remember in my history classes, I loved learning about that time. I had no idea before how you could actually visit it but this person had booked a few days in Krakow and there was a day trip there so now I know where we could stay and how to go about it, it's something I definintely want to do. I know it would be heartbreaking to see Auschwitz and I can't imagine what it's actually like to walk around it but it's something I've always been interested in and have to do one day.

So that's 5 places I want to visit one day, a real mix but all places on my bucketlist. Have you been to any of these places? Where would like you go one day?

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Monday, 6 February 2017

5 Simple Tips For A Good Nights Sleep...

I love my sleep, I struggle to get up every single morning and I love a good lie in, but I do have times where I just can't sleep and can't stop overthinking. I'm not gonna lie, insomnia is taking over my life at the moment but there are a few things I do every night to at least try and help me get a good nights sleep. When I'm going through a really good few months and my sleep pattern is sort of normal, these things only help even more then and they're all just great to help you relax a little bit so I hope they maybe help some of you!
1. Tidy - I can't relax at night if I know the living room is a mess, or there is something that needs doing so I always try to make sure before bed I've got the things done that I know I won't want to do in the morning, e.g. the dishes, hoovering etc. I also can't stand it when there are letters or change just left on the table so I clear things like that away too so they're not there to annoy me first thing the next day! A lot of the things that annoy me are all silly, obsessive things but if I don't get them done before bed I'll go to bed in a bad mood.

2. Hot Bath - I love to have a hot bubble bath in the evening, usually after tea to try and relax. I have a little basket dedicated to Lush products so if I have any I will use a bath bomb. I find Butterbear is a great one for a late bubble bath and it just makes your skin feel amazing. I also use some Radox, usually the Sleep Easy one or the Stress Relief. I like to try and read a few magazines or some of my book or I'll watch some Youtube videos. I find a nice, hot bath can really help me clear my mind. I also love to light some candles to properly relax.

3. Fresh Bedding - One of my favourite things is fresh bedding, or even better brand new bedding just washed. I love the feeling of getting into bed after a bath or shower into fresh bedding. I always have a better nights sleep if the bed has been changed that day. Something else that helps me sleep in winter is putting a hot water bottle at the bottom of the bed a few hours before we go in. It makes the bed so warm and I find it so much easier to drift off. Another thing which I just love is using a bit of my This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray. I spray a bit of this on the pillows every night and it does really help.

4. No Social Media/Read/Films - I find staying off social media for about an hour before bed can really help me get a better nights sleep. It is hard though, as I'm sure most people do I just alternate between Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and I never want to feel like I'm missing out on something. I think everyone gets a bit too addicted to it, not just me, so I try to have an hour or so where I just switch off and watch a film or TV program or read my book.

5. Hot Drinks - I love a good cup of tea with a few biscuits. I say a few, I usually have like half the pack but anyway, I love settling down with a good TV show or film and having a hot drink. In winter I love a hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows, but if you want something a bit lighter, green tea is great. I love Clipper Teas Lime and Ginger Tea and I also love their Nettle & Peppermint Tea. I find green tea really just calms me and especially in autumn or winter if you feel a bit under the weather, these really help.

These are just a few of my tips, all simple, basic things but all of them do help me. What helps you sleep better?

Did you see my last post? January Favourites - The Affair, The Body Shop & La La Land

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