Beauty is pain….but it doesn’t have to be!

I am vain. It’s a sin of mine. I’m well aware of it and I happily own it.

When I say I’m vain, I mean it in the sense that I care about my appearance. I’m unduly concerned with being seen without looking ‘presentable’.

I am the kind of person who will not go out the house without my make up on….but hate looking ‘made up’. My hair must be washed every day (I know…I know…It’s not good for it) and styled, even though my style is to look like I haven’t done it at all! 🤣 My clothes must be ironed to perfection (which I never do, btw. That’s my lovely wife’s job!) and if a mark is visible (even if you’d need a microscope to see it) then I can’t cope. I don’t know why these things bother me, they just do.

My vanity does not extend to what people think of me. I truly don’t care about people’s opinion of me, without sounding like an arse. What I mean is, I am who I am. I try to treat people with respect and how I’d like to be treated myself. Some people like me, some people don’t….and that’s ok. You can’t please all of the people all of the time. I know this and I’m comfortable with it.

But…back to my original post. Beauty is pain?? Is it? I mean, yes…some people do crazy shit to themselves in the pursuit of beauty, but the most pain in the beauty industry is surely at the hands of the companies (and countries) who insist on animal testing?

Did you know that an estimated 100’000-200’000 animals die just for cosmetics every year??

Dogs, cats and monkeys are never used for cosmetic testing (why of course not…you couldn’t stand back and let poor Ben or Felix be abused like that!) but 100’000-200’000 rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice, and hamsters are fair game to be tortured for nothing more than our vanity every year! Doesn’t that make you want to weep?

(Btw….the wee dogs, cats and monkeys don’t get off. They are used for testing chemicals).

Just in case you have a Walt Disney type scenario going on in your head right now, where wee happy rabbits are being bathed in shampoos before being dried and lovingly pampered. All whilst attentive scientists are checking through their gorgeous little coats for signs of mild irritation.

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Let me just give you a horrible reality check…and this is grim.

Typical cosmetic testing (for things such as lipstick, shampoo and hair dye) involves animals having skin and eye irritation tests. Yup…they literally drip these substances in their wee eyes, over and over again, whilst looking for signs of irritation. They shave parts of their fur and do the same on their skin.

It’s also not uncommon for oral studies, where they force feed these animals products  (sometimes over weeks or months) and look for signs of general illness…cancers…birth defects…etc.

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When you call it ‘testing’ you can get away with murder!

And then…you have the lethal dose tests. Where they basically give these animals stupid amounts of the product orally and see at what point it will cause death!

Deep fucking joy….eh?

Makes you want to rush out and purchase some beauty products, right?

Why do these bastards do this? I hear you ask. Because, they can! Almost always companies have a choice whether to test on animals or not. The main reason they chose to do it is because they want to use ‘new’ ingredients and they can’t get the product on sale without safety data.

The thing is, if these companies just used the thousands of ingredients already out there, or actually invested in the progression of non animal testing, they’d never need to test on animals again. Of course, some want to sell their products in China…and in China a cosmetic item can only be sold if there has been animal testing!

Fear not…it’s not all doom and gloom. There are cruelty free companies out there! Honestly….there are….and their products are good. Very good . I’ve been using them for years!

And what’s more, with people making more ethical choices, the demand for cruelty free is increasing and more companies are changing their stance on testing.

So, I’ve been using cruelty free for a long time and as such I’ve got quite a product range that works for me. But if you’re deciding to start this journey…don’t expect it to happen overnight and don’t just throw everything out and start again (or else it was all for nought). Instead, identify what you don’t want to use and when it’s finished…replace with better choices.

My routine goes a little something like this.

For washing I use a soap. I avoid SLS (as I’ve explained before) so the soap I buy does not have any nasties or animal products in it.

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Soul Tree is an independent brand that I like. She makes gorgeous bars with amazing scents. They don’t last long, but they’re so worth it.

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This is my favourite. Emerald City. Smells amazing. Looks amazing. Nothing died for it!

Fear not…if you don’t fancy soap, or can’t find something like this, all of super drug’s own brand is cruelty free….and many of the products are suitable for vegans. They even label it as such!

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Sadly, their cheaper body wash has SLS in it and chemicals/parabens which I strive to avoid. But, we buy these when going away/swimming, because I can cope with losing a product that cost me a pound!

For shampoo I normally use whatever I find in TK Maxx that ticks all my boxes. Shampoo and conditioner without SLS, parabens and animal products, that is a cruelty free brand are hard to find and expensive. But I’ve found a new one that I’m going try.

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I’ve only used it once….so can’t give an accurate review yet. But it smells AMAAAZZZING!!!

Perfume. I love perfume. But…it’s tough finding cruelty free stuff. I tend to use Liz Earle (I know she’s now sold out to Avon who aren’t cruelty free. But I buy from some parent companies, because to be honest if I didn’t I’d never be able to buy anything. That’s a totally different blog post!) or I use Eden perfume. Eden replicate almost any branded perfume you want. They’re product range is phenomenal and they smell almost identical . I also love the Lush oil perfume.

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My ‘Stella’ Eden perfume and my deodorant.

I use Salt of the Earth deodorant. I love it. Smell is gorgeous, it’s natural and it lasts all day. You do smell a bit ‘hippie’ though, but I don’t mind that! 😁

For face wash and pampering I use Liz Earle. None of her products contain animal derivatives and it’s cruelty free. Elemis is another favourite of mine. Same principles as Liz Earle. Both more expensive brands, but last for ages and work wonders on your skin.

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This is one of my all time favourite products 😍

Make up you need to check carefully. Many brands are owned by parent companies, so if this is something you’re not comfortable with you’ll need to research closely.

I tend to use Gosh for most of my make up. It’s a good price point and I like it!

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I use some Tarte (who has now been bought by a Japanese brand who test on animals!), bare minerals, urban decay and wunderbrow (which I couldn’t live without btw!)

It’s a constant battle to remain ethical with your beauty. Companies change hands all the time and although I’m mostly ok with parent companies…it does depend on who the parent company is and how high my moral high horse is on that day!

It’s an even bigger head fuck when you start moderating your household items! Eco-eggs are a godsend, that’s all I’ll say about that!!!

I hope I haven’t freaked you out too much with the animal testing stuff, but I do think it’s important to know that these awful things do happen. I personally don’t think anything should be tortured full stop, but for a lipstick or a shampoo?? That kind of evil is beyond me. I think we should all be striving to avoid beauty products that have been tested on animals. With so much choice, surely it’s a no brainer to go for the cruelty free brands?

To make your task a wee bit easier….here is a selection of brands to avoid if you’re wanting your lippy without the taint of blood and tears.

  • M.A.C
  • Olay
  • Avon
  • Garner
  • Bobbi Brown
  • Bourjois
  • ChapStick
  • Estee Lauder
  • L’Oreal
  • Maybelline
  • Pantene
  • Revlon
  • Rimmel London
  • Vaseline

And….should you wish to find out if your brand is in the good camp…

http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/ultimate-guide-to-cruelty-free-makeup/

I’ll leave it at this. I think you’ll all agree, this post has gone on long enough. If anything you’ve read here inspires you to go through your make up bag and vow to change one or two products for cruelty free…then fabulous!

We can all make a difference. Make some noise about this to people you know. Talk with your feet – if you don’t want to contribute to the cruelty, stop buying the brands that insist on doing it. Change can and will happen!

Time for sleep. Tomorrow we set off on our baby’s birthday trip…complete with a 22L capacity cool pack crammed full of vegan treats (just in case I find myself up shit creek without a paddle, so to speak.)

G’night. ✌

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Day 20 Vegan.

That’s it. I’ve had enough! I’m throwing in the towel!

Only kidding!

I’m still loving this journey, even if I keep forgetting to take things for lunch like oatmilk and spread, so have to drink black builders tea (sounds racist. I’m sure I could punctuate this better, but I’m too tired. So, before you freak out. I mean tea with no milk!) and eat dry toast!

What I have noticed is that I am consuming far less calories per day than I did before eating vegan. I average about 1000-1200 per day now, most of which are made up of fruits, veg, pulses and a tiny amount of soya. I am also nowhere near as hungry as often and definitely crave different types of food.

That being said. Today marks the end of a long, stressful run at work and the beginning of 14 days of annual leave! Woooohooooooo!!!!

We had a emotional early evening at the vets, trying to decide what’s best for our little blind boy: Davey.

So, seeing as we hadn’t eaten since lunch and it was fast approaching 7pm when we got out of the vets, we opted for a VERY un-healthy McDonald’s.

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Tonight…the blog should be called ‘What Fat Vegans Eat!’. I had the spicy veggie delux without mayo (but, fear not…I had my egg free mayo in my pocket, because that’s how us mad vegans roll) with chips and a drink. Followed by a cuppa tea (I had my oatly in my other pocket! 🤣). And because Mcdonalds have ZERO vegan pudding choices, I was forced to watch a wee boy eat his chocolate muffin (like I was a Labrador); vicariously enjoying his dessert, whilst sipping said tea.

I’ll write a totally separate blog post about my wee Davey dog, but for now I need to get some sleep. We’re leaving on Sunday for a trip to Alton Towers (don’t worry, my hoose isn’t empty so don’t get any mad ideas about breaking in and stealing all my oatly barista and monkey nuts!!! The dogs are staying home with their Aunty to make sure all is well).

I’ll be packing the toiletries tomorrow, so I’ll have an opportunity to blog about some cruelty free options available on the high street.

Until then.

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I’m not sure eating one’s child is considered vegan? But…we think it’s funny!

Peace out! ✌❤

Surely suffering is not necessary…

Warning, before we start, this post may contain some shocking information. As you all know, I don’t go out my way to scare/shock people into veganism, but I’m also not going to avoid talking about topics that mean something to me. It is a vegan blog afterall.

My reasons for becoming vegan may differ from yours. I became vegetarian many many years ago, very suddenly. I was travelling to work (I had corned beef sandwiches in my lunch bag) and I passed a truck transporting cows to the abbatoir (I call It a coo carrying van). As I overtook it I caught the eyes of a brown cow….he/she looked out at me and for a moment we connected (aye, I can almost hear some of you laughing). It let out a big sigh and I could literally feel the pain and see the worry in its eyes. Such beautiful soulful eyes!

I immediately felt overwhelmed with emotion and started crying…I drove to work, got out my car and threw my sandwiches in the bin. I vowed there and then that I would NEVER touch meat again and, true to my word, I never did. I continued to eat cheese and drink milk, because nothing died for that, right?

WRONG!

As I gradually I realised how awful the dairy industry was I knew I had to stop consuming anything associated with it. Yes, I’m absolutely ashamed it took me almost a decade to equip myself with the full knowledge that would lead me to become vegan, but it did. I was ignorant. I was in denial. I thought vegans were mental and I’d be starving. I was wrong and if I could turn back time I would. But…here we are…and finally I have listened to my heart.

I feel it’s only right that I explain the dairy industry, to support and outline why I have these views. I could write loads on the topic, but the video I’m going to post explains it far quicker and better than I could. However, be warned, it’s not a ‘feel good’ clip. Before you press play ask yourself if you’re ready to see the truth behind an industry you are probably heavily involved with. Are you ready for the possibility that after watching it you may be moved enough to give up your cheese…your milk…your yoghurts?

If you’re not ready today…or tomorrow…maybe one day in the future you’ll press play.

Dairy is scary!

I feel that in this day and age, with all the wonderful alternatives to milk, cream, yoghurt, cheese, etc…there really is no reason to inflict such suffering on another living creature.

An oat cappuccino is every bit as enjoyable (if not more) than a cow’s milk one. Vegan cream cheese is gorgeous. Soya cream makes a lovely creamy sauce (and doesn’t even split). There is an abundance of ‘butter’ alternatives, from coconut oil to avocado spreads.

With so much choice, why can’t more of us make more compassionate decisions? Surely there isn’t a person alive who can watch this traumatic footage and not feel moved by the plight of an innocent ‘earthling’ (proper vegan words getting thrown about tonight) just trying to avoid pain and suffering…and live a life?

I don’t think we’ll ever get to a point where the entire world is vegan, sadly. But, if we all made one small change to reduce the demand for animal products, we’d all be making a small contribution, which would have almost no impact on our daily life but would lead to bigger change and different demands on these sectors, right?

Like I say, being a vegan is not all about diet. It’s about much more than that. But ultimately, for me, it’s about living compassionately and responsibly. It’s about being aware of the impact you and your actions have on…well….everything. It’s about showing empathy and trying to be connected to the world we live in. I don’t care what you label it as….but surely we should all strive for some level of that awareness?

My original post tonight was going to be about products, but I got caught up in this and couldn’t bring myself to post about anything else. I’ll do the products one tomorrow.

For now, I’m going to enjoy my ‘guilt-free’ supper and head off to bed.

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Thanks for reading this. I’ll probably lose some followers for this post, but I didn’t start this for ‘likes’, I started it to document my journey…and this was a learning curve I went through in my exploration of veganism.

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Sleep easy….and let’s all thank our lucky stars we were born human and not a poor cow!

✌

Day 16 Vegan.

Today was all about haircuts, visiting Granny B and returning my Dad’s car to him.

What I’ve learned today is that my wife cannot be responsible for ensuring my oatly is packed in the car. Yes, she had one job…and forgot to do it.

I’ve tried the KoKo milk today. It’s amazing. For me, it won’t be for tea or coffee, but I’ll drink it cold without any bother. It’s not chalky or too coconutty  (I think I made that word up!).

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I don’t have much else to say on the food front, I’ve written about my dinner in the other post.

Time for bed. It’s been a looooooonnnng day!

Peace out! ✌

Land & Sea…without the death for me. ðŸ‘âœŒ

Tonight we rushed to Polmont to experience the vegan menu at Land & Sea.

First off. What a bloody fabulous idea this shop has had. More and more people are ditching animal protein for plant based alternatives and this wee chippie have clearly been paying attention.

It’s VERY well advertised as you approach the chippie. They say placing a ‘vegan’ symbol/sign on food negatively effects sales, but Land & Sea have thrown caution to the wind on this front. They’re doing vegan and they’re proud of it.

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One of the many signs on the front and side of the shop.

When you enter you notice the vegan section is completely separate to the rest of the shop. You order at a different point and pay there too. At first i didn’t think anything of it…but whilst waiting for my order I realised I was standing in a little ‘vegan’ pen. You have to be out and proud to enter the pen. 🤣 I made a wee joke that I was going to mingle with the ‘normal’ people, so I didn’t feel so ‘different’ and I did wait outside the vegan square. I guess it’ll be fabulous if there is a big queue for the omnivore side, because we’ll essentially skip everyone (which is always a bonus) but I don’t truly know if I liked such obvious separation. I’m sure there is a perfectly sensible reason for the little pen, but standing in it I did feel like I was at a ‘come see a vegan get excited about pretending to eat fish’ convention.

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I didn’t get the full pen in, as I was trying to be discrete. If you stand next to the vegan sign with the arrow you could literally be transformed into living art! 

Whilst standing in my wee pen a guy on the ‘omni’ side of the fence said “don’t worry hen, I’ll still talk to you”. That made me laugh…but it also showed me that we all seen the vegan pen as just that!

That aside. The menu was extensive, for a vegan. It was well thought out and even had a kids selection (which is super rare, in my experience).

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We went for the ‘Vish’ and Chips, with a portion of mushy peas. Now…to let you understand, I haven’t had a fish supper for about 10 years. The closest I have had has been halloumi in batter, which of course is not vegan, so is not something I could have now. So…you can appreciate how excited I am at actually ordering a ‘vish’ supper. 💗

After a brief wait, I skipped out the shop with my goodies in a MASSIVE bag.

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The MASSIVE bag!!! 😂😂

Now onto the important stuff. The actual food. I’ll get straight to it. The supper was absolutely amazing! The vish was crispy on the outside, but gorgeously soft and creamy inside. The seaweed batter added a gorgeous hint of the sea, which really made you feel like you were having a fish supper. The chips were perhaps the best I’ve had ever in this area (I’m an Ayrshire lassie, so know a guid chip!) and the peas…well, what can you say about peas. They were lovely!

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My vish and chips! 💓

The only bad point for me was that the dish was supposed to be served with ‘ta ta’ sauce, but when I got home I realised it was missing. I was proper disappointed! Although it didn’t ruin my dinner, I think it would have added to the taste and if you advertise it…put it in the box, please.

I’d give this chippie 9.5/10. The food was excellent (which is the most important part), the staff were friendly and I’m always impressed when a business tries to include alternative diets. It’s a shame the vegan options are only available on a Tuesday, but it’s better than nothing. They have committed to cooking all their food in vegetable oil, so at least you can get a wee poke of chips on other days of the week. 😉

The struggle is real!

Day 15 vegan.

The battle continues. Operation oatly in full swing.

I truly believe these sneaky supermarkets to be operating some conspiracy theory surrounding the procurement of oat based frothy milk.

Picture it.

Morrisons in Stirling.

Last ditch attempt at getting my sweaty little hands on my ‘milk’. The tension is mounting, I can almost taste the creamy oatiness on my lips. Acting casual, I make my way to the long life milk section, with equal measures of excitement, aprehension and dread. I scan the shelves. No barista!

Fuuuuucccckkkkkk!!! (It takes every last shred of composure not to throw myself on the ground and have a huge tantrum).

Feeling deflated I head towards the exit (via the salad bar, as I don’t want the entire experience to be ruined *negotiating a salad bar as a vegan, a whole other blog post*). As I’m leaving, by pure chance I stumble upon the ‘free from’ aisle. What do I see, to my amazement. My oaty frothy milk!!!! (Notice the ownership I have over this milk. Not ‘the’ oat milk…NO, NO…it’s MY milk).

I stop. I feel flushed with excitement.

I notice a woman glancing in the general directiom of the milk on the shelf. I can’t have this. Not now. Not when I’m this close. She cannot touch my milk!

In panic I consider charging at her – bulldozing her to the floor. Ok, maybe that’s over the top? I know, I’ll just get her in a heed lock and drag her away from the section. I’ll let her go as soon as I consider her to be a safe distance from the oats. That’s compassionate, right?

Thankfully, she moves before I go in for the kill. Probably best….this shit is getting very real! I would hate for someone to be caught up in the battle that is buying frothy oat based milk in central Scotland

And….behold….

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Of course. Now I have the milk, I have absolutely ZERO desire for a frothy coffee!! Typical! 😂

Dinner tonight was a late one. Had to take Davey (our wee blind dug) back to the vet, then Lola (picture below), our 9 year old boxer X mastiff decided to collapse whilst out a walk. So, everything was delayed a wee bit.

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Lola, looking pretty after her ‘collapse’

Despite all that, dinner was gorgeous. We ate it whilst watching ‘Carnage’; a mockumentory about a time in the future where everyone is vegan. My sister-in-law recommended it and it was not a disappointment. It’s very cleverly written and the message is poignant, despite the satirical narration. I’d recommend it.

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GOSH chickpea and harrisa pate, with soy cream cajun pasta (with olives, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes).

Time for bed now.

Here’s hoping tomorrow is a good day for us all.

✌

F*ck you Waitrose!

The battle of oatly barista continues. Waitrose has been promising a delivery for a week…and today, they’ve discontinued it! Arghhhh!

They have every form of plant milk known to man…but have stopped that? Clearly they’ve never actually spoken yo a vegan in the flesh, because if they had they’d know this stuff is like crack cocaine to us. We don’t just love it…we need it! 😂

Anyway, whilst in there I bagged my free tea…and in truly glamourous community midwide style, I’m munching my peice in the car.

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Falafel, sweet chilli and egg free mayo sandwich. A deliciously Ella energy ball and a cuppa tea (with the elusive barista in it).

Following work I’ll re-commence operation ‘find a shit load of barista and stock buy it as though I’m expected the end of the world as we know it’.

Bonus…it’s sunny….and if I stare at my ariel bobble I could almost convince myself I’m in Disney!

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Day 14 Vegan

I can honestly say that this journey, over the last two weeks, has been pretty easy. I don’t know whether that’s because I’ve been a vegetarian for so many years, so really just cutting out dairy, eggs and honey additionally. Or…wether it’s purely down to the fact that I’m in the right head space. Who knows…!

Today I’ve been working, so the food is never too inspiring when I’m working. That being said…I had a yummy cheatin and avocado sandwich before work and some left over chickpea, tattie and spinach curry with wholemeal rice on my tea break.

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Cheatin rashers are by far my favourite ‘bacon’ substitute. They go crispy and even have wee bits of fat round the edge. FYI…they are cheaper in Morrisons than in Holland & Barrett.

 

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Forgot a photo of dinner. So…snapped one last minute. NHS plate and all 🤣. I’m into Irn Bru just now, btw.

In other news…my car has been fixed (apparently) so looking forward to driving that worry free! I’ll no doubt be posting tomorrow saying it’s broken again.

Home now. Brought mini me a gobstopper, which has STAINED her face blue. God only knows how long that’ll take to wash off. Bought myself a wee something whilst in the shop….

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😂😂😂 never go sweetie shopping when you’re hungry!

For anyone who isn’t aware. Fry’s is vegan! I almost pee’d my pants with excitement when I found this out. But even better than this…Raspberry Ruffles are vegan. Life literally doesn’t get better than this!

Quick cuppa, then bed. Got to work again tomorrow. What a bloody cheek this is…being a grown up and being expected to work for a living!

Unlucky for some…but thankfully, not us!

Day 13 vegan.

In summary. Things that have been 🖒

  • A rare Saturday off with my girls.
  • Yummy lunch in a gorgeous wee cafe (see previous post for details!)
  • No rain during our dug walk!
  • Finding some oatly barista in Morrison’s.
  • Finding this little cheeky message on a bar…which made me laugh out loud.
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Gotcha. Caught you reading under the flap of a beetroot bar. There’s a place for people like you.

  • Coffee. This always makes me happy!
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Family coffee & snack

Now we’re home. Snuggled on the sofa watching ‘Get Out’ ..with a cheeky wee bagel burger (and a can of irn bru). 🤣

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