My Current Podcast Faves

Friday 26 April 2019

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If you’re a podcast addict like me, you’ll always be on the hunt for something new to listen to. I hope you love these ones as much as I do if you decide to give them a go!

1. The High Low

I started listening to this podcast after Venetia Falconer (as mentioned below) recommended it as one of her personal favourites. Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes are both journalists and are very close friends. Every week they discuss all the latest news in culture and politics. They discuss all sorts, from their favourite books, plays, TV shows and news articles to the highest and most serious news stories such as the case of Shamima Begham, which they have discussed at length. I love that they’re so close and just completely get each other and each other’s sense of humour. Is it bad that the fact that they are so incredibly middle class that makes me laugh? They’re currently on a brief break and I can’t wait until they return.
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2. Talking Tastebuds

I have already mentioned Venetia in the first part of my Ethical Influencers series, so you may have already heard about her from there. If you’re like me and love the eco scene on social media, you will probably have seen her on YouTube and Instagram, as she is one of the queens of sustainability. On her podcast, Talking Tastebuds, Venetia talks to a variety of different foodies in the public eye, to talk about all sorts of stuff, ranging from wht they had for breakfast, their childhood, professional lives, mental health and general food fancies! Some episodes are with vegan guests and can revolve around sustainability, but many are with non-vegans, which is something I quite like as it broadens out the topic and her appeal to a wider audience, and makes her show a little more eclectic. 

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3. The Guilty Feminist 

If you know anything about me, you may know that this podcast is (and probably always will be) my favourite podcast. There’s just no way I could not include it on this list. Deborah Frances-White is an icon – for me personally and for hundreds (let’s be real, thousands) of people out there. This show has taught me so much and helped me improve my own feminism in a variety of different ways. Comedy is a powerful medium. It helps create a platform for empathy and can often have a larger impact than one that aims to be constantly serious. If you start listening to any one of these – listen to this one.  

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4. Kermode on Film

Last year, I first heard of Mark Kermode through his TV show Mark Kermode’s Secrets of Cinema on BBC, which I watched almost religiously with my family. I freaking love fim analysis (any kind of analysis let’s be honest, I study English Literature and Politics for christ’s sake) so this series was perfect for someone like me. Since then, I’ve kept an eye out for Mark Kermode on TV, social media, radio, in newspapers, and then on podcasts. I found it when Jack Howard mentioned the podcast on his YouTube channel as he was now becoming a regular guest on it. Separately, I am a fan of both of these men’s work, so hearing that they would be discussing films together made me very excited. I listened to this podcast particularly around awards season, and think that listening to Mark’s awards season specials will become a kind of personal tradition. If you love films, this one’s for you!

5. David Tennant Does a Podcast With…

As a self-confessed and proud Whovian, of course I was going to listen to David Tennant’s new podcast, especially with Jodie Whittaker as his first guest. Every week, David interviews a different celebrity - usually someone he has some sort of connection with, a lot of the time through the various different jobs he has done. For example, both Catherine Tate and Jodie Whitaker he has connections with through Doctor Who, but has worked with them elsewhere whether on stage or somewhere else on television or film. The element of friendship (or at least some degree of acquaintance) is something I really love about this podcast. David always seems so at ease with his guest and lets them inform the direction of the conversation and adapt with wherever it is taken. That’s why some of my favourite episodes are with Catherine Tate and Jennifer Garner. Even with people who I’m guessing that he isn’t close friends with, I absolutely loved. Both Whoopi Goldberg and Gordon Brown’s episodes were so interesting and entertaining, and I think that’s simply because they are interesting characters themselves. Admittedly, I haven’t listened to all of the episodes, I need a proper catch up, but I can’t wait to see who else he gets chatting to.  

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6. Wonder Women

I have watched Carrie Hope Fletcher on YouTube for years now – it seems a ridiculously long time! So recently, when she announced that she had started a podcast with her friend and fellow actor Celinde Schoenmaker, of course I was going to give it a go. This podcast consists of short 20-30 minute episodes, where each week these women discuss all sorts of topics, usually surrounding women throughout history in some way or another. Celinde seems to be the one who does most of the research,a nd they kind of remind me of Steve and Richie from What Am Politics? in the sense that the listeners learn along with one of the hosts. I look forward to hearing what else they have to say!

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What are your favourite podcasts? I’m always looking out for new ones to try!

If you liked this post you might like: 4 Political Podcasts You Need to Listen To

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Plant-Based vs Veganism | Guest Post by love Ashleigh

Wednesday 17 April 2019

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I have been making a massive effort to be plant based since New Year's. I did Veganuary, and now I’m trying to be plant based, but what does this mean?
I’m not vegan, because vegan is for people who don’t eat animal products because of the animals, which is incredible and great commitment and I commend anyone who does it for that reason. However, I am making the effort to eat plant based because I believe it is a more sustainable way of living, and a better way to treat our planet.
So what is the main difference here? If I’m not eating animal products, what’s the big deal? I believe the main difference is outside of the food, and within other forms of consumption. For example, I own leather shoes and a leather bag. A vegan would find this unacceptable, but I know that my leather shoes last me longer than converse or even fake leather shoes. The same is true of bags. I believe its better for the environment to use one leather bag over 10 bags that have been made up of different kinds of polymers.
Being plant based comes with its own set of challenges, (and I learned this throughout Veganuary), because your asked from both sides why. People who aren’t interested in veganism typically have little idea of what being plant based is, and then it’s followed up with why is that not the same as vegan. Vegans typically want to know why it is that I’m not vegan. Why am I not doing it for the animals?
This does get exhausting. Explaining your diet to people is hard work. 
Nowadays, I’m trying my best to eat sustainably. After Veganuary I decided that  I would try to eat more of a plant based diet, but I would eat one piece of fish a week (as long as it was MSc certified), and I still consume eggs if they’re in something like Quorn. I buy vegan butter and vegan smoked salmon and vegan mayo, but I’m not vegan.
The thing is, when trying to eat a plant based diet, you inevitably fall into some vegan groups because you’re all doing the same thing just for different reasons, and the pages are always full of recipes and such, but they’re also full of love for the animals.
I read a lot of stuff and watched a lot of stuff and I think it’s why I ended up keeping going with it all. Once you realise that to give your tastebuds a nice feeling for a few minutes has cost an animal it’s life, or you see a video about how much pain farmhouse animals have to endure before they get taken to slaughterhouses, once you hear the cry of a mother who has had her calf taken from her…
…. Your perspective changes.
And it’s not a voluntary thing. Once you’ve seen all the harm you can’t unsee it, and you have to acknowledge that it’s going on. Then every meal you eat after it’s all you can think. I find myself shocked watching people drink glasses of milk now (and I once had “a girl who like drinking pints of milk” in her bio. Full fat, blue top, cows milk). 
It’s easy to say you’ll go plant based, and it’s easy to try it out and find recipes. You’ll find a community full of love and compassion for every living thing. You’ll also be left questioning your own diet, and every meal you eat after.
I’m still trying my best to be plant based, (and I am plant based 90% of the time now), and I think I will eventually commit to being plant based full time. If that happens though, I’m convinced it’ll be because I’m vegan.


You can read my post about all the ways I'm a sustainability hypocrite on Ashleigh's blog here. I hope you enjoyed our collab!

If you liked this post you might like: How To: Physics and Maths at A Level | Not a Typical Teenager

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THINX Period Underwear | Review | #ACupaDay

Friday 12 April 2019

If you follow me on Twitter and have looked at your feed at any point in the past month or so, you may be aware of the fact that I now own a pair of Thinx period pants. Safe to say I’m kind of a sustainable period product nerd (of all the things to be a nerd about, I had to have quite niche, of course). I was very excited to try them out, as they’d always kind of intimidated me but also seemed extremely cool. And I was not disappointed.

As soon as I opened them, I rushed into my flatmate’s room to show them off! I was like an actual child in sweet shop. I think the last time I was that excited was when I went to the Harry Potter Studios when I was 14. Is that sad? Kind of. Sustainable period products make me happy okay!

One thing that struck me straight away was how pretty they are. Honestly, they’re a decent pair of knickers. They have a little lace patterning at the top which I personally love, as they don’t feel frumpy in any way. They’re actually quite cute. 

Luckily (if you can really use that word to describe getting your period), I was due in a couple of days after they arrived so I was able to put them to use pretty quickly. As I mentioned earlier, period pants did intimidate me, right up until the point that I was actually wearing them. Because of this, I decided to try them out on a mid-day of my period, so that, if it didn’t work, then the damage to my dungarees wouldn’t be as bad as it potentially could be. However, I now feel much more comfortable using them on a heavier day, as I was so impressed by them. 

Whenever I went to the toilet that day, I checked underneath them to make sure they hadn’t leaked on my beloved dungarees, and each time (to my surprise) they were completely clean. What?! I honestly have no clue how they work but wow they are the definition of cool. (Again, maybe shows that I have a slightly odd perception of what is cool.) I didn’t feel heavy or a little icky as I might if I were wearing a pad (if you have used pads before, you probably get what I’m talking about), and although it did smell a bit (it’s oxidized blood people, it’s going to smell), it wasn’t noticeable apart from when I went to the toilet. At least, I don’t think it was – that would be awks, but I suppose wouldn’t really make much of a difference compared to pads. 

I wore them all day, and (thanks to painkillers), practically forgot I was on my period. They’re similar to menstrual cups in the sense that you don’t need to change them often. Whilst you may need to change your menstrual cup depending on your flow, you wear period pants for the whole day. The products themselves vary depending on your flow, so that you can buy a pair that are right for you. 

I honestly think period underwear is revolutionary. I can see how helpful they would be to disabled people who want to be more sustainable, but are unable to use menstrual cups. The same goes for anyone who is unable to use menstrual cups for whatever reason, whether physically or due to personal preference. However, there is one barrier which means that these pants aren’t the most accessible. They are very expensive. And I mean very. The pair I bought was about £30. I know, £30 for a pair of pants- WHAT?! It does sound ludicrous when I say it out loud. But that wasn’t the end of it for me. If you are buying Thinx and are from outside the US (my experience was as a UK resident), you will probably get lumped with an extra customs charge. I was not expected this at all, so a £15 customs charge was not a nice surprise to say the least. But never mind, I had to pay it otherwise I’d lose the other money I spent along with the pants. It’s safe to say that I’m now using these pants at whatever opportunity I get, whether I’m bleeding or not, as I am determined to get my money’s worth.

For me, I was okay with spending £30 (the rest, not so much) on this product as I had been considering buying a pair for probably about a year, and menstrual sustainability is particular area of interest for me. It was a bit of a treat yourself kind of buy. However, for the vast majority of people, such a purchase is not something they are able or even want to do, and I completely get that. I know I certainly won’t be buying another pair again, at least for many years when my current pair are in tatters. If you wanted to use these throughout your period, then you’d have to be quite well off in order to afford it, which causes many issues for the other areas of accessibility these products would seem to solve – many disabled people won’t be able to use them even though they may in theory be the best product for them. Let’s say a period lasts 7 days, that £210!!

Overall, I genuinely love my period pants. They’re comfortable, pretty, and do the job well, even if I don’t understand how it works. However, at the present, they are only really available for the privileged few. Let’s hope that in the future, menstrual underwear will become more accessible and become a more prevalent part of our daily lives. 

(Even if you aren’t going to buy some pants, do check out Thinx’s website, their blog all sorts of period feministy goodness.)

Also, a big thank you to my friend Jude for taking these pictures!

If you liked this post you might like: Sustainable Alternatives to Menstrual Cups | #ACupaDay

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5 Ethical Influencers Pt. 2

Friday 5 April 2019

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Hello folks! This is the second instalment of my three-part series where I share some ethical influencers I think you should be following. The last post seemed to be quite helpful to some of you, and I hope this one can prove useful too!

1. Zanna van Dijk

I found Zanna through a video she did with Venetia Falconer, who was featured on my last ethical influencers post. As a co-founder of the ethical swimwear brand Stay Wild Swim (whose products are produced out of recycled ocean plastics and which I would love to be able to afford one day), Zanna highlights issues around plastics and veganism. She does focus a lot on fitness and healthy living as well as travel, but that often includes ethical alternatives and tips including fitness wear and healthy plant-based diets and making the most out of unsustainable means of travel in order to reduce impact. Something I like about Zanna is the fact that she is so open about the fact that she is not perfect when it comes to sustainability. This is something I hope I also project on my blog. I did not go completely vegan overnight and that is the reality for most people largely due to practicality, finances and health. And anyway, in the world that we live in, the idea of completely sustainable and ethical living is simply a myth. 

2. The Chickpeeps

This podcast was so useful to me when I was transitioning to veganism. I am such a podcast person, so I am always looking out for new ones to listen to. So when I found out that Evanna Lynch (aka Luna from Harry Potter) had started a podcast all about veganism with some of her friends, I downloaded some episodes straight away. Each week they discuss a different issue within veganism, bringing in different guests, often experts such as owners of vegan businesses or ethical innovators of another sort, as well as providing personal insights, experiences and advice. Honestly, some of the stuff they talk about is fascinating, the episodes that stick out in my mind is the ones about cheese and vegan pets. If you’re in need of some info, here’s where to go. 

3. The Happy Pear

I have to admit, I haven’t actually seen much of the Happy Pear myself, but they are absolutely huge in the vegan online world. They have a range of products which have been widely available in their home country of Ireland for a while now, but are gradually becoming more available elsewhere (i.e. the UK, due to my experience I don’t know about any other countries). I first learned about them after they appeared on the Chickpeeps podcast, and saw them again on Venetia Falconer’s YouTube channel and otherwise heard of them through word of mouth. I have watched some of their YouTube recipe videos, which all look so tasty, as well as reasonably easy and affordable. Their mac and cheese is one I particularly have my eye on, as it seems to be one of the only vegan mac and cheese recipes I’ve found which seems pretty straightforward and doesn’t involve any ingredients which I have no idea where on earth to get them (garlic and onion powder, I’m looking at you). 

4. Amy the Vegan

Amy is the Queen of vegan twitter. I always make sure to read her threads, whenever she posts a new one. She discusses a wide range of issues surrounding veganism: the many reasons for going vegan, recipe, tips and tricks, the sometimes problematic discourse and attitudes within the vegan community as well as levels of privilege which are often associated with and are present surrounding veganism. She provides useful stats and evidence which acts as a reminder or motivator for continuing and pushing for an increased awareness and implementation of veganism. Particularly, useful is her discussions around veganism on a budget. With a budget of £10 a week, she has definitely helped me figure out how to reduce spending, as well as smashing the idea that in order to be a healthy vegan you must have plenty of money. Her YouTube videos and Twitter are just great. Go follow the Queen of 

5. Silly Ginger Vegan

I mostly keep up with Amy through Instagram. She posts new stories most days with all sorts things, ranging from vegan news, food she’s eating, events she’s going to, on plastic reduction and a whole host of other topics. I’ve found so many places I want to go to and products I want to try thanks to Amy’s sharing of them. I may not have tried the majority, but hopefully I’ll get to some of them at some point! Amy’s feed is especially useful if you’re in London or the surrounding area, she is based there and largely features events and business which are in that area.

Have you got any other recommendations? Please share them below!

If you liked this post you might like: 5 Ethical Influencers Pt. 1

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February/March 2019 | Monthly Wrap Up

Wednesday 3 April 2019

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It feels like ages since I last wrote a monthly wrap up.

Favourite part?

Oh god, I feel like I’ve I’ve had lots going on over the past two months. But then again, maybe that’s just the essays talking. 

One thing that I’ve started is (almost) weekly writing sessions with my friend Elijah. We head to one of the many coffee shops in Newcastle and get shit done, whether that’s blog posts, short stories, poems, or whatever. Our little writing group has been very helpful to me, many of the blog posts you may have seen this month would not have been published without them.

Part way through February, I went home for a few days to see my brother in his school musical. Safe to say he was great and I was super proud. 

In the past two months I’ve been to several events at my university. First, I went to an event for Kate Davies’ debut book In at the Deep End, which I think I can accurately describe as a sex comedy. She was hilarious and I honestly can’t wait to read her book (it’s on my longTBR). I also went to a couple of poetry events. These readings were so useful to me personally, as they helped boost my creativity and I actually wrote my first poem in ages after the first of these events – and I felt a joy of a kind I hadn’t felt in a long while. Then, at the end of March, I went to a book event for Caroline Criado-Perez’s Invisible Women. If you pay attention to the book charts or feminist Twitter, you’ll proably have heard of Caroline. She’s a prominent feminist activist, being part of the campaign for Jane Austen to be on the £10 note and for Millicent Fawcett’s statue in Parliament Square. Her knowledge was incredible and some of the things she described just made me so angry. Again, I can’t wait to read her book. Similarly, I went to an event about women in international defense, where I heard a woman from NATO speak about her work and the perceptions and involvement of gender within NATO and its missions. It was fascinating and I learned so much.

In February I went to the first meeting of a sustainable fashion group, where we discuss fashion, its ethics and its sustainability, our experiences and how we can do better. There was another meeting in March, and honestly it’s exciting to be around like-minded people and to hear about the multitude of projects which are going on to help combat this industry. I can’t wait to see what other things this group is going to do.

I feel like I’ve been more social these past few months, and I’m here or it to be honest. I had several nights out with my flatmates, and some of us went to play space golf. We were all quite bad but it was a fun evening.

My friend Ali introduced me to The Carriage, a vegan pub in Newcastle, which was INCREDIBLE! Afterwards we both dyed our hair, and I am slightly obsessed with my new Ladybird-esque look. 

Fish and chips made out of banana blossom - it was very tasty!

Nearly a week later, my friend Amanda came up from Leeds to visit me for a couple of days. You may have seen her mentioned on here before, or seen her old blog or her YouTube channel, as that is how we met. We have known each other for some time now (I tried to figure it out and I think it’s something like three years!), but we’d never actually met until that weekend. I met her on Friday evening and we went to Junk It Up for some great vegan junk food, then went on a night out and to Vegano, a new vegan cafĂ© in Newcastle, for brunch the next day before she left. It was so great to finally meet and I can’t wait to see her again! You can see her vlog of it here

Speaking of Vegano, I’ve been there a couple of times now – the first with Amanda, the second to get myself a cake as a post-essay treat and then again for lunch with three friends on the day after we finished for Easter. I will be going back to this place all the time. 

Ooh and I made Welshcakes for St. David's day and they were beeeeautiful, if a little underdone. 

Best read?

I haven’t read as much as I would like to have done over the past couple of months. Well, I have for uni, but it feels like all I’ve been reading has been to do with academics, and it hasn’t entirely been. In February I read The Sadeian Woman by Angela Carter, Herland and the Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, all feminist classic which I would highly recommend. Even if Herland is a tad essentialist and fantastical, it’s still so interesting. The point is: patriarchy ruins everything for everyone.

Then, the uni reading took over. For English, I read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe, Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism by Lenin, Othello by Shakespeare and An Introduction to Literary Theory by Jonathan Culler. On the whole, I enjoyed them, some more than others. To be fair, this doesn’t include the many (and I mean many) chapters, articles, and various other pieces related to essays. Those joys.

Throughout this, I was gradually reading Noam Chomsky’s Who Rules the World? which I thought was great. It was the first time I’d read anything of Chomsky’s and I can’t wait to read some more of his work. After watching the film On Chesil Beach, I then headed straight to the library and got the book out, reading it of one evening. I absolutely loved it! Seriously, whenever I read anything by Ian McEwan I get completely overwhelmed. 

At the end of the month, I was reading Dangerous Women Pt. 1, edited by George R.R. Martin – a collection of short stories about, you guessed it, dangerous women. By the time you read this I should have finished it or nearly have finished it. Overall, I’ve enjoyed it, although I have some issues with the compilation techniques and a couple of the stories – what a surprise, the stories with the least well written women were written by men. Shocker. 

Favourite tunes?

Kate Nash and Take That have been on repeat in March (I can’t really say much for February, but let’s presume the usual ABBA). Yes, the last one makes me sound like a middle aged mum but I don’t care. They’re great songs. And Kate Nash is so underrated. Foundations is such a banger, as are the rest of her songs. 

Favourite watch?

Sometime in February I started making a list of everything I’ve watched again, like I did last year. I love being able to look back on what I’ve been consuming, for fun and to be critical about the way I consume. Unfortunately, I left my list in my uni flat so I’m just going to have to go from memory.

I’ve been watching lots recently. I saw If Beale Street Could Talk, On the Basis of Sex and The White Crow at the cinema (the last at a preview with an interview with some of the cast, the director and writers). I really enjoyed them all, each for different reasons. The White Crow was so dramatic and had such interesting characters, Beale Street was absolutely stunning and a true piece of art, and On the Basis of Sex was, well, it blew me away. I was sobbing at the end of it. 


I have also watched When Harry Met Sally (for about the 100thtime), Casablanca (for the 2ndand 3rd), The Five Year Engagement and several others I can’t think of right now. 

TV wise, I’ve watched a bit of Derry Girls and Celebrity Bake Off with some of my flatmates along with the Disappearance of Madeleine McCan. I have been keeping up with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (I can’t deal with this show ending) and rewatching Jane the Virgin in time for the new series – that last cliffhanger still gets me. I’ve also been getting into the American True Crime Series, both The People vs. OJ Simpson and The Assassination of Gianni Versace, which I think are both incredibly made and performed. I can’t remember if I watched this in February or January but anyway, I want to give a shoutout to the BBC’s adaptation of Les Miserables. I was obsessed. It’s snotty-crying-at-2am good.


What did I learn?

That I don’t always get energy from the ways I’ve traditionally thought I have. Maybe I’m becoming more of an ambivert as I’ve found that sometimes seeing friends or just having a focused conversation has really helped me when I’ve been feeling absolutely wiped. I’ve noticed this especially when I’ve been drowning in essays and need a break and I don’t want to keep reading in my down time when that’s what I’ve been doing all day in uni.

What’s happening next month?

April is Easter, and that means I’m home. I’ve got a trip planned with my mum and hopefully I can see a lot of my friends. Here’s to hopefully some more sun as well!

What’s been on my mind?

Essays, planning holidays, trying to keep a bit of balance in my life and not stress myself out. 

Favourite blogger/vlogger?

Some of my classic vegan faves: Sustainably Vegan, Madeleine Olivia. I’ve also been watching a lot of Melanie Murphy and Ariel Bissett’s videos. I also rewatched Leena Norms’ #40DaysofQuestions series – even though it’s from two years ago, I still feel like they have some relevance to my life.

Favourite post?

I’m actually really proud of all the posts I’ve published in the past two months, even if they haven’t been the most frequent. I think, out of all of them though, I’d have to say that my 5 Women-Led TV Shows post is my favourite. I love these shows so much and I had a great time writing it. It honestly feels like one of my best blog posts. Go read it and watch those damn feminist shows!

Biggest inspiration?

Getting annoyed at male philosophers, thinkers and academics for being constantly and consistently misogynistic and being able to have a go at them through essays centuries after their death. Take that Rousseau!

Any other favourites?

Since seeing On the Basis of Sex, I have become obsessed with using scarves as hair accessories. I have one red one in particular, which my friend Liz gave me for Christmas, I have been wearing around my ponytails/buns and it looks so gooood. I also want to mention Starbucks' new vegan mac and cheese. It's so tasty and I love it. I don't, however, love the price (it's freakin £4!!) nor endorse Starbucks. Starbucks, please pay your taxes.

If you liked this post you might like: January 2019 | Monthly Wrap Up

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