Wiener Demeanour: Just the Beginning

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Sure, Vienna isn’t the biggest city in Europe. But the role it’s played in shaping European and Western culture cannot be overstated. And the many distinctively Viennese things to see and do while visiting are span broad and deep whatever your interests may be.

In my quick series of posts, I shared some of the best bits from my recent visit to Vienna – focusing mainly on the excellent cafes, restaurants and bars visited as well as the coolest galleries and a handful of other artsy and design-oriented stuff I enjoyed checking out. However, there is so much more to experience than I was able to cover in this go. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip, and that it might come in handy when you plan your own visit. Continue reading

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2016 UK Blog Awards: The Big Night is Soon!

Park PlazaSwish digs at the Park Plaza, host of the UK Blog Awards ceremony

This Friday night the winners of the 2016 UK Blog Awards will be announced at an awards ceremony that promises to be an especially swish affair.

Shortlisted for Best Travel Blog and Best Food and Drink Blog (thanks to all who voted to put tikichris over the edge in both categories), I’m so bummed that I won’t be able to attend. True to form though, I’ll be away. And yep, I’ll be travelling somewhere tasty – Appleton Estate rum distillery in Jamaica (don’t hate) – with the idea of keeping notes and taking pics to share the very best of the experience in a series of blog posts. Continue reading

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New Menu at The Drift and All Drake & Morgan Restaurants

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London bar and restaurant group, Drake & Morgan, has launched a new spring/summer menu focused on “Mediterranean flavours and sun-kissed ingredients.” An invitation to have a taste of the new menu led to a lovely Sunday lunch for Kemey and me at D&M’s airy, expansive and pleasant The Drift at the base of Heron Tower.

Kemey and I liked all the dishes we tried during our visit and were especially impressed with the service (we were in kind and competent hands with our server Maria who looked after us so well). Continue reading

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Wiener Demeanour: Galleries, Art and Design

DSC_3304 Heir Häfliger at Bäckerstrasse 4

Not content to rest on the laurels of its imperial past, Vienna’s more contemporary forays into art and design can be just as – if not sometimes more – compelling, and decidedly more dynamic.

Schönbrunn Palace … St Stephen’s Cathedral … the Belvedere … the Albertina … even a cursory list of Vienna’s top attractions packs the sort of artful wallop that would delight even the pickiest of culture vultures. And by all means as many of these (and so many other) places should be included in any sightseeing itinerary of the historic Austrian capital. But that doesn’t mean visitors to Vienna must relegate themselves to an urban escape set only in the past. Continue reading

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Plenty, Berners Street

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Folks foraging for food in Fitzrovia listen up! Mediterranean and Middle Eastern eatery, Plenty on Berners Street, offers a tasty range of healthy options for breakfast and lunch at reasonable prices.

I had lunch at this friendly little café and comptoir recently with a friend. Continue reading

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Recipe: Hazelnut Comté Mac n Cheese

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Craving a mac attack? Then you’ll love this recipe for Comté mac ‘n cheese with a hazelnut panko crust.

Yeah, I know. That was a really cheesy way to introduce this recipe. Even a little bit nutty. Doh! There I go again. Anyway, however much my dumb rhymes and pathetic puns might cause you to cringe, I’m certain they’re worth it for the taste of this easy to make version of macaroni and cheese. Continue reading

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Spice Deli Supper Club

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A love of spices and how they boost immunity and flavour are the inspirations behind North London supper club, Spice Deli.

With children of her own, professionally trained chef Kim Wilshaw has worked to teach mothers how to cook baby food which incorporates spices and has taught Indian cooking classes. Keen to carry on spreading the good news about spices, she recently started the Spice Deli supper club, cohosted with her husband, Tarun, in their Golders Green home. Continue reading

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Win a Three Piece BBQ Toolset from Napoleon Grills

Win a Three Piece BBQ Toolset from Napoleon Grills

Can you feel it? The days are getting longer – and warmer – and everybody’s in a much better mood than seemed to be just a few weeks ago. Spring is in the air, and summer’s not too terribly far off. It’s BBQ season, folks! And I’ve teamed up with Napoleon Grills to help one lucky reader make the most of this gorgeous time of year. Keep reading for your chance to win a three piece BBQ toolset for free.

That’s right, I’m giving away an ace trio of utensils to made your outdoor cooking go more smoothly. Continue reading

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Theo’s Simple Italian, Earl’s Court

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Newly opened Theo’s Simple Italian is Chef Theo Randall’s second restaurant, this one near Earl’s Court and tied to The Hotel Indigo. Like his eponymous restaurant at The Intercontinental, this venture features expertly prepared dishes of top quality and seasonal Italian ingredients just with a smaller menu (fairly ‘smaller’ prices too) that changes on a more frequent basis and is presented in a more casual setting.

Finding out about the opening of Theo’s Simple Italian presented a very simple choice for an Italian food lover like me. I had to try it. And I’m so glad I did. Continue reading

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You’re a Mess Too? This Hassle.com Promo Code Can Help.

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Thumbs up to Hassle for a phenomenal service keeping my house the cleanest it’s been since I moved in. I’m happy to recommend this online and app-based cleaning service and to do so with a bit of promo code incentive to boot for £12 off your first repeat clean.

Thanks for sticking with me and reading my I’m a Mess series of posts about my hassle-free experience trying out Hassle. Continue reading

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Wiener Demeanour: Cafes, Restaurants, and Bars

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I had a delicious time in Vienna – a city that perhaps more than any other best exemplifies European café culture and presents visitors with a delectable array of food and drink options ranging from down-to-earth comforts to upscale innovations.

Here’s a look at the tastiest bites and most satisfying sips from my visit. Continue reading

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Recipe: Tamago Miso French Toast

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A cache of miso paste and a few other Japanese ingredients, the last thirds of a loaf of bread, a handful of eggs, and some stray refrigerator stragglers looked like a disparate assemblage cobbled together on my kitchen counter when rooting round my kitchen for something to eat one recent morning. But hunger pangs and inspiration prevailed for what turned out to be a super yummy breakfast – tamago miso French Toast. It’s a recipe I made again soon after and definitely plan to enjoy again and often.

Talk about a pain perdu! My eggy bread took a long detour through Japan on its way to France! Continue reading

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Good Stuff #56

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Good stuff and lots of it! Here’s the low down on some fine things to see, sip or savour – all of which I’ve recently come across and thought were worth sharing with you. Enjoy.

Continue reading

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#Shaveril: Shave Your Beard This April in Support of Mental Health

A photo posted by Chris Osburn (@chrisosburn) on

Shaveril is a new concept asking beardos to shave it all off during the month of April, then post a before and after picture/video to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #shaveril and make a small donation to mental health charity – Mind – via text code or website. Newly clean shaven participants are invited to pass the challenge to their bushy faced friends.

And that’s what I’m doing now. Continue reading

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Shepherd Market Wine House

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Kudos to Shepherd Market Wine House for its easy-going expertise and the wonderful setting for enjoying great wine.

The more I’ve come to appreciate wine the more I’ve realised there’s still a lot I don’t know and that such a lack of knowledge tends to be the case with so many so-called connoisseurs. Similarly, as I continue to acquaint myself with Mayfair – one of my favourite parts of London for a meandering mosey – the more I feel smoke and mirrors of the brashest affluence and exclusivity for its own sake have obscured and tarnished this upscale and historic neighbourhood’s resplendence.

So, bravo to Ben Van de Meutter – manager, buyer, and Head Sommelier at Shepherd Market Wine House – for knowing his stuff and backing it up with enthusiasm and presenting his wares in an approachable manner and in an easy-going and comfortable setting. Continue reading

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Win £50 Worth of Free Healthy Eating from Pod

The Pod-uctivity Report

COMPETITION IS OVER AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN CONTACTED. THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING TIKICHRIS. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR LOTS MORE FUN AND FREEBIES TO COME!

Not feeling at that pod-uctive? It might have to do with how you’re eating. Or so I learned at a recent Pod-uctivity Report hosted by Pod restaurants with nutritionist Helen Money sharing insight into healthy eating.

I left the report with a spring in my step (thanks to the zingy smoothie I had during the session) and feeling especially keen to share what I had learned with folks. More than that though, I wanted to share a taste of good food options Pod has on offer. Fancy £50 worth of free food and drink that’s super healthy and guaranteed to increase your pod-uctivity? Keep reading. Continue reading

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Greek Cheese and Wine Tasting at Isle of Olive

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Isle of Olive – Hackney’s home of Hellenic hospitality and great Greek food and drink – continues with its delicious charm offensive by offering wine tastings and related events.

A few weeks back, I was glad to attend a Greek Cheese and Wine Tasting at this lovely shop just off Broadway Market. The event was by Isle of Olive’s sommelier, Uli Gamber, who guiding the small assemblage (there might have been 12 of us in total?) through pairings of eight wines with an assortment of cheeses. All the wines – listed below – were available for purchase in shop. Continue reading

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Roba Bar & Restaurant

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Welcome to the brand new Roba Bar & Restaurant in Paddington where a young executive chef – Andrea Secchi (ex-Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley) – a focus on in-house aging of beef and smoking of salmon, and a menu designed largely around a robata grill add up to a hearty dining experience.

Opened this week and set at the base of the Norfolk Towers hotel near Paddington Station, Roba aims to appeal to locals and tourists alike as they bobble about in search of something good to eat. I reckon such customers would be in for a fine meal indeed should they happen to give Roba a go. I was pleased with what I had to try and impressed with Chef Secchi’s doings enough to want to pay his restaurant another visit. Continue reading

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St George Cheeseburger at BRGR.CO

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Slay the dragon of deep carnal cravings and celebrate St George’s Day throughout April with BRGR.CO’s limited offer St George cheeseburger – a blade steak patty topped with a Cheddar and a Red Leicester cross and served with a side of sweet, sticky caramelised onions and a portion of fries for only £10 (or upgrade to hanger steak for an extra £2 – I did).

Back in 2012, soon after BRGR.CO had launched I went round to review and was not aimpressed with what was on offer. I thought the offering was bland. But everybody deserves a second chance. Plus, a lot can change over the course of a few years. So I’m pleased to report that the invitation to drop by for a taste of the St George cheeseburger led to an opportunity to see how this burger joint has upped its game and updated the menu for the better. Continue reading

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Cork Report | Obrigado

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From ancient oak forests south of Lisbon to state-of-the-art processing facilities near Porto in the north, tracing cork’s route from the tree to the finished product turned out to be a fascinating journey across Portugal.

Since the trip, I no longer take for granted a cork stopper whenever opening a bottle of wine (and I have developed an educated disdain for screw caps and synthetic stoppers). I see cork applications all over the place as well – not just the walls of my house either, but shoes, gadgets, housewares, toys, flooring, furniture … Cork is an incredibly versatile material and as green a resource as any. Continue reading

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Wiener Demeanour: Visit Vienna

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Wait a second. You’ve never been to Vienna? Wien not!? It’s a terrific city – one of the world’s most beautiful – teeming with culture and plenty of fun things to do.

I’m just back from a recent visit and am keen to share the best bits of my trip with you. So keep an eye out for more posts to come in my Wiener Demeanour miniseries. Until then, take a gander at this list of practicalities to help you make the most of your time in Vienna.
Continue reading

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I’m Still a Mess. But at Least My House is Clean.

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Welcome back to this messy series of posts about my experience with Hassle.com – the online and app-based cleaning service offering vetted cleaners, online payments, and 100% money-back guarantees. I’ve been booking cleanings via Hassle for just over a month now and thought it was time to share my thought about the service with you.

So far so good. No technical or scheduling hiccups. And my house has never been cleaner. Continue reading

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Cork Report | Bringing It Back Home

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So impressed were we with our cork tour of Portugal that Kemey and I wanted to bring back home with us a more substantial than usual souvenir as a keepsake. Before we knew it we were making plans to clad an entire wall of our house with cork tiles. Having now lived with the tiles in place for several months, our choice seems more and more sensible and aesthetically sound as the days go by.

The tiles came by way of Wicanders, a brand of Portugal’s top cork producer Amorim, and were imported to the UK by Siesta Cork Tiles. Wicanders’ main business is flooring, but its line of Dekwall applies the same knowhow and use of sustainable material for tough, flexible wall tiles. Continue reading

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London Coffee Festival

London Coffee Festival

The London Coffee Festival returns to the Old Truman Brewery for a long weekend of everybody’s (or at least my) favourite warm beverage. I’m heading over tomorrow for my morning cup o’ Joe. See you there?

I’m looking forward to checking out, tea and kitchenware brand – and festival sponsor – Bonavita. The Seattle-based brand will be on hand during LCF to host masterclasses and to showcase the launch of its two best selling products: 8-Cup Coffee Brewer with Stainless Steel Lined Thermal Carafe and the Digital Variable Temperature Gooseneck Kettle. I’m especially keen to take a gander at the 8-cup brewer.
Continue reading

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Good Stuff #55 | Southbank Centre Food Market

Paella made with Label Anglais free range chicken - DSC_3558I *heart* paella made with Label Anglais free range chicken.

This latest list of good stuff is filled with street eats enjoyed during a forage through Southbank Centre Food Market, which celebrated its one year anniversary last Friday. Located at South Bank Centre Square behind Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX, the market is open every Friday (noon to 8pm), Saturday (11am to 8pm), and Sunday (noon to 6pm) and on Bank Holiday Mondays (noon to 6pm).

Continue reading

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Whaam Banh Mi Celebrates its First Anniversary

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Congratulations to Whaam Banh Mi for reaching a first full year of trading – and cheers for celebrating your big bday by offering folks the chance to have a taste of your ace sandwiches for free.

Yep! On Friday 8 April, this Soho shop focused on Vietnamese food will be giving away free (chef’s selection) banh mi from noon to 1pm. If you’re in the area, be sure to check this out – and be prepared to queue up though as I expect this freebie offer to be a popular one! Continue reading

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Rib Fest Finale: Home Team BBQ at The Blues Kitchen Brixton

Rib Fest Finale: Home Team BBQ at The Blues Kitchen Brixton

Damn. That was delicious! Deep flavour from the Deep South came to London for the finale of The Blues Kitchen Brixton’s Rib Fest with a sold out, one night only feast of epic proportion. In town from the States to man the grill were the award-winning keepers of the low and slow flame: Home Team BBQ. I was mightily glad to have managed to slide in for a taste of the action and reckon I enjoyed some of the best BBQ I’ve had since October 2015 when I had a chance to visit the Home Team fellas on their own turf of Charleston, South Carolina.

Wanna known what you missed (or – if you were lucky enough to be among the sated Rib Fest attendees – to revel in the remembrance)? Here’s the menu from the night: smoked St Louis pork ribs and belly, fontina and aged sharp white Cheddar mac ‘n cheese, collard greens, pickled vegetables with hot red sauce and Alabama white sauce.
Continue reading

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The Langham London Launches New Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood

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The Langham London’s Executive Pastry chef Cherish Finden and her team have launched a new Wedgewood Afternoon Tea. Inspired by (and served with) classic Wedgwood collections and featuring butterfly and daisy motifs, the new tea service is a salute to spring and the warmer and sunnier days to come.

Yes, this post is the second time in less than a month about afternoon tea at the Langham (see my review of the Langham’s limited run Easter afternoon tea here). No I’m not really that much of an afternoon tea fanatic. But I am a fan of flavour – and there’s plenty of that to be had and to be admired. Especially yummy sandwiches, scones, and pastries are presented with masterful yet lighthearted display. Moreover, I can’t think of a better-established venue for afternoon tea – or most other luxuries – in the heart of London than the Langham.
Continue reading

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Win the Complete Range of Sown & Grown Cereals

Sown & Grown complete range

COMPETITION IS OVER AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN CONTACTED. THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING TIKICHRIS. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR LOTS MORE FUN AND FREEBIES TO COME!

Craving a wholesome start to your day? Say good morning to Sown & Grown, a new range of delicious and nutritious breakfast granolas and mueslis that are high fibre, low fat, low salt, low saturated fat, baked in small batches and made of 100% British grains. Packed in resealable tubes to stay fresh and stow easily, recently launched Sown & Grown cereals are available now in shop and online and at Sainsbury’s – and for free for one lucky tikichris reader who wins this generous giveaway competition.

Sown & Grown cereals include the following great flavour combos: Continue reading

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Ten Years of London Daily Photo

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Celebrating the tenth anniversary of my blog, I’m going to take the month of April to share – via Twitter and Instagram – some of my favourite London Daily Photo shots from over the past ten years.

I’ll publish one photo a day during April (that’s 30 pics). I probably won’t say anything more about this on my blog though. So if you’re interested in having a look, Continue reading

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I’m a Mess. There is Help.

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“There are better ways to spend your lazy Sunday.” So says the above screen grab from the homepage of Hassle.com, with respect to why you should consider using its on-demand cleaning service. Hear! Hear! I say. But what about all those other days that aren’t so wonderfully lazy?

In the initial post of my I’m a Mess series, I mentioned that I was going to look into giving Hassle a go and see how much it could help bring order back to my life. So I did – and I’ve got nothing but good things to share with you about the experience.

I’ll get to the specifics with a review of the actual service and my cleaner in a later write up (it’ll pretty much be a rave, by the way). But in this piece, I want to focus on one of the key benefits of my Hassle experience.
Continue reading

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Day Trip to Margate

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Over Easter weekend, Kemey and I had a really fun time visiting Margate. It was the first time down that way, but it’s safe to say we’re both now keen to return. Already fans of a few fantastic destinations in Kent (Whitstable, Folkestone and Canterbury in particular), we were so glad to say we could add Margate to our list of preferred places within easy reach of London – about 75 miles drive or an hour and a half train ride from Central London).

Here are some highlights of our trip: Continue reading

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Got My Stojo Risin’ – and Conveniently Collapsing (espressoCrazy)

Stojo collapsable coffee cup

When it comes to having my morning Joe, my preference is to make my own at home and have that time to myself to savour and reflect before revving up to take on the outside world and running the gauntlet of daily tasks to do.

… Stojo stands about five inches high and can hold 12oz (355ml) of liquid but collapses to 1.75 inches and stows neatly away in just about any bag or pocket. I’ve been using mine for about a week now …

Read my complete post at espressoCrazy.

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Gourmet Goat, Borough Market

Photos - Gourmet Goat Slow Roast Kid Goat Greek Pita 1

After years of trading just within the perimeter of Borough Market, kid goat meat vendor, Gourmet Goat, has upgraded to a fixed outlet inside the market. I paid a visit, dabbled my way through the menu and walked away keen to sing the praises of their kid goat creations.

It’s not just me taking notice of these slow food heroes though. The longtime street food purveyor was recently announced as one of three finalists for Best Street Food or Takeaway in this year’s BBC Food and Farming Awards.

Continue reading

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Namibia: Make Unforgettable Memories (Going Places)

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Over the past few weeks, we’ve given you an overview and told you where to go for your trip of a lifetime to Namibia.

Now, to wrap up our series of posts about Namibia, here’s a checklist of the incredible sights that make this friendly Southern African nation such a terrific place to visit.

Read my complete post at Going Places.

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