Thursday, 28 February 2013

Marching on...

I can't believe another week is almost over! Is it just me or are the weeks flying by? We are on the cusp of a new month and the momentum is building with regards to getting the seeds out for sowing. I will have to get my list out as it has the order of what and when I should be sowing.

I had a look at the broad beans and peas and they still look no different to the previous week. It looks like I will need to sow them again. I will sow directly in the ground now and just hope for the best. If the weather holds this weekend I might get in a bit of digging and sowing on Saturday.

On Sunday I am doing another craft fair. It is in aid of Woolverstone Wish which aims to raise funds for the outpatient facilities in the chemotherapy wing at our local hospital here in Ipswich. You can view their website HERE

The craft fair on Sunday is being held at St.Clements social club on Foxhall road, Ipswich from 10.30 am til 3.30 pm. If you are local why not pop along, there are lot of stalls selling the ideal mother day gifts as well as a tombola, kiddy craft table, home made cakes & treats as well as a raffle and lots more too.

I have been very busy this past week, lots of sanding and prep work has been going on and today I have been out and bought some lovely shades of paint. I am looking forward to getting some of that done tomorrow. I will have to remember to take my camera to get some photos for you to see.

I got home today and Mum popped over and left me a wonderful surprise, my Nan's old sewing machine. I haven't had a look at it yet. It comes in a lovely carry case and is huge! I may need to call on my friend Julie at Justsew who is a whizz with a sewing machine.

Right time for me to go, dinner needs doing, nice and simple tonight, chilli. I hope to catch up with you over the weekend. Until next time x

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

And the Winner is...

Hello everyone just a quick post to announce the winner of my little competition. I would like to thank those of you who took the time to enter and join in.

I wrote out the names on pieces of paper and put them in a bowl and Ben picked out the winner.

And the Winner is...

Congratulation Jo!
If you could email me your address I will post the prize to you as soon as possible. I hope you enjoy your herb garden and will share with us your progress.

I am going to a general auction viewing today. I have never been to an auction before so I am quite looking forward to it. The actual auction takes place tomorrow, so if there is anything that really takes my fancy I will be back there to do some frantic bidding!

Right I must dash, another busy day ahead. Hope you all have a wonderful day whatever you may be doing. Until next time x

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Something Green is Lurking!

Just a quick post today. The weekend has been another hectic one, however I have managed to pack a lot into it, including my first craft fair of the year.

I wanted to let you know that I have something green lurking on the kitchen windowsill, no it is not a slug or a manky piece of cucumber! Meet Parley, Chives and Basil...

I have something to finally shout out loud about in the gardening department. The salad that I sowed is growing however the cress is not. The salad does resemble cress according to my dad so maybe I did get them a bit muddled up.

It has been a very cold weekend, I cleaned out the girls earlier and had to do some work in the summerhouse I was only out there about two hours at the most but I was suffering with frozen toes and the runny nose!

I am nice and toasty now as I have been working at the kitchen table and Jay has been busy cooking and doing dinner. He has even made a Chicken & Leek pie for dinner tomorrow

I am so blessed to have a man wonderful!

The draw will be taking place tomorrow, I wonder who the lucky one will be. I hope you all had a great weekend. Until next time x

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Only a few days to go....

It's been bitterly cold  and been trying to snow all day. I was out early walking the dogs and was wrapped up well. I came back and went straight out to let the girls out for a bit whilst I cleaned them. I went down to the summerhouse to fill up their feeder and thought I would poke my head into the greenhouse,  alas nothing had changed since the weekend.

I can't believe it is almost the weekend again already, this week has really flown by.  I have been busy finishing off items of crochet ready for the craft fair I am attending this weekend. The craft fair is in aid of BiGbikeride250 which is in support of cancer research. It is the first fair for me this year so I am quite looking forward to it, especially as I have lots of new stuff to sell.

For those of you who are local the fair is on Saturday at Gresham Sports & Social Club on Tuddenham Road, Ipswich and is on between 12 noon - 4pm. Lots of different stalls to grab the perfect Mother's day gift.

I had a delivery of furniture yesterday and I can't wait to get started on them next week. The new ceiling is going in at the weekend and once that is done I can get in there and make a start.

Just a quick reminder just a few more days left to enter the competition to win a kitchen herb garden. It arrived yesterday and is sitting on my desk waiting to be posted to the winner. To enter the competition click HERE

The Basil has started to grow in my kitchen herb kit, I will take a photo as soon as my battery is charged! I think I am going to have to order myself a new battery as this is just daft. It is only a tiny green speck, hopefully it will continue to grow!

More sewing to do tonight, I spent yesterday once more wrestling with my sewing machine, I think I have got the knack of it now, it just needs lots of patience! Until next time x

Monday, 18 February 2013

Coming soon...

I did tell you my head had been lost up in a cloud somewhere, well this is the cloud! On Valentines day Jay gave me a set of keys which belongs to a warehouse and this warehouse is now mine. I know I was bowled over too! I have always wanted my own little business and now I have been given the opportunity.

I am opening a craft emporium incorporating a coffee shop. I will be selling handmade crafts that I myself have made as well as a select few crafts from people I have met the past year whilst doing craft fairs. I will also be doing and selling shabby chic furniture. I will be running craft workshops and holding  weekly/monthly crafting coffee mornings.

Life is going to be very hectic but I am so looking forward to this new challenge. I will keep you updated on my progress.

Right now on to my gardening news...

I popped into the greenhouse yesterday and was hoping to find something green had grown, well I did find something green had grown...mould! I sowed the seeds just before we had that week of snow and it has been very cold and damp since.

My greenhouse is not heated and I only dampened the soil not soaked it at all but a slight mould has formed on the soil. The peas look like they might break through and the broad beans looks like there has been a bit of movement. We did have some warmish weather the past three days however it has turned rather cold again and we have been forecast more of the dreaded white stuff!

The girls still have their very own pond/swamp, I am not sure what to do. I did put down more bark but that has disappeared. I think the only option I have is to get my bucket and spade out and scoop out the sloppy mess, or try to dig it in but the ground is just so sodden.

Right I must dash I have a long list of jobs I need to get done today. Just a quick reminder about the competition that I have running. Click HERE and you will find the post and all the details. It is really simple just leave a comment at the bottom of that post and your name will be entered into a free draw.

And finally... I would like to say a big hello and welcome to my new followers, I hope you enjoy your time here. I would also like to thank each and everyone of you for your continued support. Until next time X

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Competition time!!!

Available from Amazon UK

As I mentioned in my previous post I am going to run a competition to celebrate my first bloggie birthday. The Prize is Unwins herb kitchen garden kit. I thought this was perhaps an apt prize as my herbs are not growing very well (Mine was a different brand). I think someone has stolen my greenfingers! I thought perhaps one of you will have more success and would give us all a progress report on growing the herbs.

The kit contains all you need to sow the herbs, soil, seeds and a pot along with instructions. There are four herbs parsley, chives, coriander and basil. These are cut and come again so you will have a constant supply of fresh herbs right in your kitchen as there are perfect for growing on your windowsill.

Right the competition rules (better do this professionally!) Answer the question via the comment box and I will place all the correct entries into a draw and Jay will oversee the drawing of the winner. The draw will take place on Monday 26th February 2013 and I will announce the winner on Tuesday 27th February 2013.

Okay here is the question

What are the names of my hens?

A nice easy question, if you are new to my blog, a big hello to you and to find the answer just read a couple of posts and you will be sure to find the answer.

Right must dash, I have a big project ahead of me and it is going to keep me very busy indeed. Have a great weekend all, until next time X

P.S. Feel free to share this post and spread the word and let's get more people into the growing bug x

P.P.S. Oh my goodness I am such a nitwit! It just takes one person to post the names and it is a copy n paste jobbie! (not that it matters) I do apologise for my lack of thought at this particular moment in time, I am a bit preoccupied and my head is up in the snow clouds somewhere. 

 Amendment to rules all who post a comment shall be entered into the draw, even if it is just to say what a dipstick I am! Happy posting x

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Cheeseburger Pie!

As promised here is the cheeseburger pie recipe, I do have to apologise though as I forgot to take a photo before the pie was gobbled up by my greedy lot!

This is a Pampered Chef recipe, not sure if the ingredients I have stated is the original recipe as I make it from memory, but this is how I have been making it.

Short crust pastry
8oz plain flour
4oz fat
pinch of salt
water to bind

  • Add salt to flour, 
  • rub fat into flour to form breadcrumbs.
  • Add enough water to form a dough
  • Cut in two and roll out each piece the size of a dinner plate.
  • You can use shop bought or your own recipe

For the filling

500g lean minced beef (no horse here!)
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 gherkins chopped
1 dessert spoon tomato ketchup
1 dessert spoon American or English mustard
6 cheese slices

  • Brown the minced beef in a pan, drain off any fat or fluid, put in a mixing bowl
  • add the onion, gherkins, sauce and mustard 
  • mix it altogether 
  • place one of the pastry found on a baking stone or tray
  • spread the filling out on one of the pastry rounds, leaving a 1 inch gap around the perimeter 
  • lay the cheese slices on top of the filling 
  • baste the edges with either egg or milk 
  • Put three slits in the other piece of pastry and they pop it on top of the other piece, firming the edges
  • baste the pie and bake in the oven gas 6, 400*f/204*c for 35 - 40 minutes or until pastry golden
We have this with either mashed potato and baked beans or chips! 

Right must dash as lots to do. I will be posting the birthday celebration competition tomorrow. Thank you all for the kind wishes. Until next time x

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

A Belated Birthday...


Well it is belated as I got my dates a bit muddled up! I missed the very first page of posts, I wrote my first ever post on 03/02/2012 to see it click HERE It had a jaw dropping four views! What a difference a year makes, however the weather was pretty much the same as it is now.

It is bitterly cold outside so I am continuing to work on my craft projects. I took the dogs out for a walk earlier, there were two other dogs on the walk also called Max so it was getting quite confusing especially as two of them were chocolate Labrador's.

We had the Spanish chicken for dinner last night, as usual I made a few changes to the actual recipe. I added a carton of  tomato passata, cup of chicken stock,  pinch of cayenne pepper and I used cooked shredded chicken making it a totally different dish. But everyone really enjoyed it. For the original recipe click HERE

Tonight we are having cheeseburger pie. I will post the recipe later.

To say thank you and to celebrate my first year of blogging I will be running a competition at the weekend, so keep your eyes peeled for the details. Until next time x

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Coffee break chat...

Wow another weekend has passed and we are almost half way through another month already. We have had all weathers thrown at us over the weekend, the run has turned into a pond and the poor girls are going quackers!

Sunday lunch went well however two of out guests were unwell and were unable to come, hope your feeling better Mel x

I have booked a few more craft fairs for this year, I will set up an events page and get the dates on there. As I said last week I have been busy trying to get the various ongoing projects finished. I am almost done and will have new photos to show you at the weekend.

I have bought three pieces of furniture to makeover, one is for the lounge and the other two will be for sale. I still have the coffee tables to finish off first (need more space!)

The broad beans have started to sprout in the greenhouse and one or two of the peas are peeking at me also. Only the salad has made an appearance in the kitchen so far, I keep spraying them with water everyday and hope for something green to emerge.

The truck had to go back for more repairs last week, it needed a new caliper and break pads, hopefully that will be all for a while, blooming things has cost us an arm and a leg these past six months. It just needs a set of new boots, which will have to wait a few weeks and hopefully it will keep going for another few years.

Right as the title said this is the end of my coffee break. Mum and Dad are popping over for lunch and the floors need hoovering! Until next time x

Saturday, 9 February 2013

A little pampering...
I have been keeping busy this week, I have finished another blanket, I just need to add a backing to it. I have  several projects on the go that I need to finish this week, photos once all is done.

I have been waiting for a package to arrive and yesterday it arrived. As soon as I started to unwrap the paper a beautiful scent was wafting out from within the package. I had placed an order with Tanya at lovely greens. I suffer from cracked and dry lips most of the year, and I hate the sticky feel that lots of lip balms leaves and the Manx lip balm I have purchased is a silky, non greasy balm. I ordered the natural but there are other flavours available. I also purchased a set of assorted fizzy bath melts as a gift and I'm sure they will be greatly received, they smelt absolutely gorgeous! If only I had a bath and  not just a shower.

Tanya at Lovely Greens resides on the Isle of Man  keeps her own bees and grows all her own herbs and flowers for the products that she makes. To see Tanya's full range of products click HERE

I popped into town today and managed to pick up some more seed potatoes, Arran Pilot first early. I have not grown these before and I am already looking forward to harvesting them. I also bought some celeriac seeds, Giant Prague, I now have all the seeds I need for this year.

I cleaned out the girls yesterday and as usual they had a great time bathing in the fruit border. I moved the blueberry bush I have planted there, they have broken it down so many times that I fear it will never amount to anything. I have planted it in a big clay pot, hopefully it will soon start to thrive like the other one. 


I was trying to get a good photo of Matilda and the one above is the best I could manage as she is very camera shy! She looks amazing compared to how ill she looked in November.

The girls helping with the weeding!

Myself and Jay have been busy in the kitchen today as we are having twelve people for Sunday lunch. Jay has made his lovely cheesy leek dish and I have made braised red cabbage and all the other veg has been peeled and chopped.

Tonight we are having homemade vegetable curry which I made earlier in the week and we are also having a chicken Masala which Jay is now making with rice and garlic nans. A homemeade takeaway at a fraction of the cost and we know exactly what has gone in to it, no neighing or braying for us!

I hope you all have a great weekend, until next time x

Friday, 8 February 2013

Get Growing!

It is time to get our gardening heads on and make a start in the garden department. As you know I have sown a few seeds but have so far held back on any major sowing yet. We are all often far to eager to get this annual seed sowing under way to give us a head start and then disappointment  follows as things become leggy, die or just don't germinate due to lack of heat and sunshine.

The great Monty Don gardening guru has advised us humble gardener's to hang back and hold off on the seed sowing this year, perhaps he know's something we don't.

The salad seeds have emerged as you can see from the opening photo and yes I did get all excited and dance round the kitchen singing my seeds have sprouted! As yet these are the only things to have shown their little green faces however it is still early days yet.

I have redefined my growing list, I have made a couple of changes to it, I will post the varieties once I am more organised.

Peppers (bell & Chilli)
Tomatoes (gardener's delight and Cherry)
Beans (dwarf French, broad & runner)
Cabbages (golden acre, savoy)
Broccoli & Purple sprouting broccoli
Onions (Spring & red salad)
Salad leaves & lettuces
Assortment of herbs

I also have the strawberry plants, rhubarb.  The blueberry, tayberry and gooseberry bushes have been planted for two winters so I'm not sure if they will produce anything again this year. I will have to go and do some reading on these.

I have opted for the things we eat a lot of and to try and cut down on our food bill and our carbon footprint.

Growing your own is quite simple and you don't need a lot of space to grow a few things as lots can be grown in containers. For anyone who is new to gardening of thinking about growing their own vegetables I have written an article aimed at the beginner. I have covered everything from what tools are required, how to prepare the ground, seed sowing and feeding and the general care to harvesting your crops.

The article is available by clicking on the following link:
Growing Your Own Vegetables

Here is more information of why not to sow too early. Ben at Higgledygarden blog explains all!

I would also like to introduce you too Kieron who lives in Cornwall and writes an awesomely funny but interesting blog called eatmypig. Kieron's aim is to avoid supermarkets and to just shop locally. I was introduced to Kieron's blog by Ben at higgledy garden who incidentally sells a large selection of seeds online.

I was so engrossed in Kieron's blog this morning that I burnt my toast!

To visit Ben at Higgledy Garden click HERE
and to visit Kierons eatmypig blog click HERE but be warned do not eat or drink whilst reading this blog or you may end up with a splattered screen!

Lots to do, until next time x

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

One things always leads to another...

Why is it you start to do one job and then this job leads to you doing even more than you first intended to do and then before you know it another day has gone and the jobs you wanted to get done have been left.

As the saying go a woman's work is never done. I only intended to wash up and then I ended up giving the whole kitchen a thorough wash down and cleaned the windows.

I done some baking on Sunday, there is not a lot left as the boys have been tucking in!

I made a Victoria sponge, a chocolate cake, shortbread and some peanut butter cookies.

We had the chicken and butternut squash pasta bake on Monday, I adjusted some of the ingredients. I used less squash as the boys are not over keen on it and I made my sauce slightly different as I felt that the dish would be quite dry and we like our pasta with plenty of sauce. I added half a pint of chicken stock and a tub of creme fraiche (reduced fat) and some garlic and thyme. I served it with garlic bread and everyone really liked it. Another dish to add to the monthly menu in future. To get a copy of the original recipe click here which will take you to the good food recipe channel website. I get a lot of great recipes from here.

Yesterday I popped into Woodbridge town with Mum and Dad. It was quite a blustery day so we had a walk through the town window shopping and we dropped into a large second hand antique furniture store and work shop. I am looking for some pieces of furniture to decorate, however the prices were quite high for  the type of things I want but there was some lovely antique pieces that I would love to own.

I was quite good and only spent money on some milk and a celeriac. For those of you that don't know what a celeriac is, it is a root vegetable and apparently quite easy to grow in my part of the country. I had been meaning to get one to try but just had never got round to it however it was reading the blog of frugalqueen that had prompted me to get one.

It is a bit like swede but not as sweet but it is a bit of a pig to peel! I used half of it last night. This one cost £1.67. They are usually quite a cheap vegetable but like most things prices for fresh vegetables are constantly rising. We had meatloaf last night and I made some homemade potato chips using normal potatoes and the celeriac. And they all ate the lot as they didn't know they were eating a different vegetable. (ha you have to be sneaky!) I did tell them once they had eaten.

I cooked the chips in the Actifry, it is a food fryer but you only add one spoon of oil. It is amazing how crispy the chips are, just like normal fried chips but with hardly any of the fat. It was an expensive purchase but worth it.

The weather has been chopping and changing, we had huge snowflakes last night and I thought it was going to lay but thankfully it didn't. It had been quite cold and windy with a little sunshine thrown in. I just hope the snow stays away!

Right time for me to take these dogs for a walk, hopefully before it rains and then clean out the noisy clucker's when I get back. A big hello and thank you to my new readers and follower. I hope you enjoy your time here. Until next time x

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Finally my Fingers were in the Soil!

Well I managed to get out and rummage in the soil! Oh it felt so good to be in the potting shed with my windup radio and dancing around whilst seed sowing to keep warm.

First job was to layout the seed potatoes to chit. As you can see they have already started. They are Pentland Javelin first early. I grew these last year and I'm sure they were a good cropper. I am going into town this coming week and will hopefully pick up some more seed potatoes. I am not sure what variety but it will depend on what the shops have in stock.

The second job I got done was to make up my salad box to go on the windowsill in my kitchen.

I added some polystyrene for drainage
I filled it with compost and sowed some mixed Oriental salad leaves. These are cut and come again leaves and will give a good supply of different leaves to add to our salad and sandwiches. I have also sown a small tub of cress.

Patiently waiting for something green to appear

I then sowed some broad beans into toilet roll inners. I had two varieties so I have sown nine of Witkiem-Manita which are a fast maturing crop of high yielding short fat pods and are ideal for freezing. The other variety is Aquadulce Claudia. These are also a high yielding variety with longer pods and also ideal for freezing.
preparing toilet rolls for broad beans
I found that an old funnel used for adding salt to a dishwasher is excellent for filling up toilet rolls for seed sowing. I have used the fish boxes to add extra insulation to the broad beans and the basil that I also sowed. I have three varieties of basil and have sown two pots of each. Franchi-Sementi, Basilico Bolloso Napolentano and Basilico Violetto Aromatico.

I also sowed some early onward peas, and a variety of peppers. A hot slim chilli pepper and California wonder, a sweet bell pepper. The peppers were also placed in a fish box and all the seeds have been placed in the greenhouse and have been covered with plastic sheeting.

Hopefully something will germinate!
I was bought this herb growing set for Christmas. You get these soil pellets that you add water to and they expand. I have added the water but as yet nothing has happened.

 I will check it again tomorrow and if nothing has happened I will throw out these pellets and fill with my compost. I like the look of the set and it seems a shame not to use it.

And finally I sowed a trough of carrots that has been placed in the greenhouse. Whether they will grow, we shall have to wait and see.

Whilst I was pottering about I let the girls out. They do make me laugh as they serenely step out of the run to then waddle and flap and try to take flight over to the raised bed and fruit border. Matilda is looking a picture of health compared to a few months ago when I thought I was going to loose her. She is the first to nestle down in the soil for a good bath.

I cleaned out the coop and then lead them back in to the run with handfuls of seeds and corn. I had to then sweep all the path as they had scattered the stones everywhere whilst they were searching for grubs.

Before I came in I thought I would go and dig up my parsnips.

Not impressed with this little lot but at least something grew. I will not be growing them again as they have to be in the ground for such a long time and then amount to nothing and to be honest I am the only one that likes  parsnips, it is less hassle and cheap for me to buy a couple from the supermarket.

I thought I would leave the digging for another day, my leg is not good today and I have a busy week ahead so I don't want to make it any worse than it is already, damn thing! I did however take a peek under the weed membrane that I put down at the end of the last growing season and some of the compost from the bins has still not broken down so it will need a good and thorough digging. I might have to call in dad to give me a hand of even get Jay to get the electric rotivator out and do it for me.

Well that is it from me for another day, I hope you enjoyed being with me in the potting shed today. I am now going to do a bit of baking, a chocolate sponge and some shortbread biscuits. Until next time x

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Just another day...

So much for getting round to posting a blog yesterday. As I said I took the the dogs for a walk but unbeknown to me there was an oily substance in the rear of the car and Max had it all on his legs and feet and it ended up all over my floors! I finally managed to get most of it off Max and my floors but after an hour of trying to clean it up from the car and nothing was shifting it I gave up. Lewis has now fitted in a new piece of carpet in the boot so all is well on that score.

I woke up to a smattering of snow flakes and then the sun came along for an hour or so. I hung out a load of washing for it then to rain, a mad dash ensued to get the washing in. Snow returned along with the rain and I'm not sure what the rest of the day is going to bring. All I do know is that I have piles of wet washing and the machine is still going!

Any plans I had for gardening today have gone right out of the window. I was hoping to dig half of the vegetable garden ready for some sowing but I am now destined to a laundry day, as the beds have been stripped and bedrooms tidied up and as usual a mountain of washing has come out of all the boys rooms!

As the saying goes tomorrow is another day, my plans are to sort out my salad box for the windowsill in the kitchen and sow some herbs. I will also be sowing my broad beans in toilet roll inners and place them in the green house and as extra insulation place them in the polystyrene fish boxes. I also need to put my seed potatoes in the egg boxes to chit. If the weather holds off I may even get to do some of that digging. Fingers crossed!

As promised a few holiday snaps, nothing exciting I'm afraid as I am still trying to get the photos to load on to my laptop. I hope to get some better ones for your to view.

 Albufeira Beach

One of the pools at The Eden Resort

 Albufeira Beach

Here is a glimpse of our monthly menu

We have four new dishes we are trying this month, chicken & roast squash bake. Creamy ham Linguine, Spanish style chicken bake and also a skinny lasagne. Most of these recipes are from the hairy bikers diet cookbook. you can find a review for this book on my literary blog HERE.

I set Jay the task of going through our numerous cook books to find recipes that we would all like to eat with  fairly basic ingredients. I gave him a pack of sticky tabs and we now have a large selection of recipes for me to choose from for our March menu and will hopefully save me time when it comes to doing the menu.

Must get back to the laundry, hopefully some gardening tomorrow. Until next time x

Friday, 1 February 2013

A Quick Hello!

Hi everyone! I just wanted to drop you all a quick line to let you know we are back safe and well. The break was great and we even had a bit of beautiful sunshine.

I have lots of photos but as yet I need to learn how to upload them from Jay's gadget on to my laptop. Adam will be home later I'll get him to sort it and then I will post some of them. Jay got a bit snap happy and we have hundreds! The photo at the top is of a flower that was in the grounds of the apartments. The gardens were very well kept and it was nice to see some colour in a garden after leaving the UK with a blanket of snow.

Speaking of Adam he was a little star whilst we were away, he was head chef and chief housekeeper! Thanks Adam for keeping it all together, I'm sure the others would of gone hungry and I would have come back to a mountain of washing and a filthy house if it was not for you.

I spent yesterday doing the holiday washing, the monthly menu and food shop. Jay picked up the truck and she is once again raring to go.

I have lots to divulge to you but must dash as the dogs need walking. I will be blogging later today, so keep your eyes peeled! Until next time x
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