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After a long and stressful day at work, our skin is akin to the Sahara Desert, dry and rough. With the demands of modern-day life, the constant air-conditioning and blue light from our computer screens, our skin's moisture is slowly zapped away. We don't always have money for luxury facials or skincare; so how on earth do give our skin the TLC it needs without breaking the bank?

Well, remember the do-it-yourself (DIY) trend that popped up in the early 2000s? It's time to bring that back. For the next time you're too lazy (or broke) to head down for a facial, simply turn to your kitchen for a quick mask fix. All you need are common ingredients that can be found in your refrigerator, such as  avocado and milk. Who knew food could be as delicious as it is great for our skin? Read on to find out more about 5 DIY moisturising natural face masks recipes that you can enjoy from the comfort of your home.

Honey Chamomile Mask

 

Unbeknownst to many, raw honey has been touted as a holy grail beauty product since the ancient days. Its high antioxidant content help to replenish dull skin by adding moisture and glow. When paired with chamomile, which possesses anti-inflammatory properties, this facial mask will aid in boosting moisture to dry and dull skin, giving you a fresh-faced glow. In addition, this mask also helps to fight acne and other pesky breakouts. Use this mask at the end of a long day, or simply when you feel like treating yourself. After all, this mask is inexpensive, and can be found in the vicinity of your kitchen!

Instructions:

  1. Pour 60ml of boiling water over 1 tablespoon of dried chamomile flowers. Wait until cool, then strain.
  2. Add one teaspoon of raw honey and mix well. If mixture is too runny, add more honey.
  3. Apply the mixture evenly to the face and leave on for about 15 minutes. Rinse the mask off with lukewarm water and pat dry.

Avocado and Pumpkin Mask

 

 

A facial mask made out of avocado and pumpkin sure sounds funky - but don't underestimate the power of these fruits. Avocado is extremely hydrating for the skin due to its high fat content, and pumpkin can help to reduce the appearance of pore size and regulate oil production. This avocado and pumpkin mask is definitely a fuss-free way to treat your skin well without breaking the bank. To take the moisturising even further, add a few pumps of hyaluronic acid, which can be found at drugstores, for glowing skin.

Instructions:

  1. Mash one quarter of an avocado and a small slice  of organic pumpkin in a bowl.
  2. To the bowl, add three pea-sized squirts of hyaluronic acid and mix well.
  3. Apply the mixture evenly to your clean and dry face for 10 minutes.
  4. Rinse your face with lukewarm water and pat dry.

Oatmeal and Milk mask

In this fully edible face mask, oatmeal takes the centre stage. Oatmeal helps to remove excess oil and dirt from the skin, and works great as an exfoliating mask. In addition, its strong anti-inflammatory properties make it suitable for sensitive and acne-ridden skin. When paired with milk, this mask becomes a great way of exfoliating dead skin cells to give a youthful and glowing complexion.

Instructions:

  1. Measure one tablespoon of whole rolled oats, and transfer to a small bowl.
  2. Add two tablespoons of milk to the oats, and stir well.
  3. Apply to the face and leave on for 15 minutes before washing off with lukewarm water.
  4. Moisturise.

Banana Mask

If you find yourself struggling to finish the bunch of bananas that you bought from the supermarket last week, simply add it to your skincare routine! Bananas can help to moisturise your skin and leave it feeling smooth and supple.

Instructions:

  1. Mash half a banana in a bowl.
  2. Add a tablespoon of orange juice and a tablespoon of honey, mixing and stirring well.
  3. If your skin is feeling extra dry, add in a tablespoon of glycerin to ramp up the moisturising factor.
  4. Apply evenly to your face and leave on for 15 minutes. Rinse off with lukewarm water.

Antioxidant Berry Mask

With fresh blueberries, raspberries and blackberries in the mix, this mask will surely fight off dullness and dryness with its high Vitamin C and antioxidant content. On top of that, this mask is going to smell so good, you'll be fighting to stop yourself from licking it off your face!

Instructions:

  1. Mash 5 blackberries, 5 raspberries and 5 blueberries in a bowl until a thick puree is formed.
  2. Apply evenly to your face and leave on for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Rinse off with lukewarm water and pat dry.

The next time you find yourself tight on budget but in need of a facial, turn to these 5 DIY moisturising face mask recipes for a quick fix. And here's an extra pro-tip: enjoy your DIY facial with Nilufer Tea's organic herbal tea. After all, wouldn't you want a nice warm cup of drink to hold on to and sip while lying back and enjoying the mask working its magic on your skin? If you want to go natural, go natural all the way! Get these great teas here and you'll be on your way to a better well-being.

You would think that making instagram-worthy healthy dishes are difficult and very time-consuming, but in truth, that doesn't have to be the case. There are so many simple recipes online that consist of ingredients that are bright and colour, giving the dish itself a vibrant colour that increases your appetite and even make you fall in love with healthy food.
Eating healthy and yet be able to instagram your food doesn't have to be difficult. Rosie Hatch, a renowed author with her own cookbook, Rosie's Rustic Kitchen, has shared with us 3 simple recipes that uses many fruits and vegetables that give the dishes a sprig of colour but a whole lot of health benefits. They are not difficult to make and the ingredients are relatively easy to find.
While these recipes are centered around the theme of pink, you can always add customisations that suit your palette and even add a myriad of colours to your dish. So without further ado, read on for these fantastic recipes that will probably turn you after a health nut after the whole process.

Watermelon Salad

Who knew watermelon makes a great salad topper? Perfect for Spring or Summer, this vibrant dish is a hostess’ dream. Simply add your ingredients to the platter then drizzle with your favorite vinaigrette dressing. Serve alongside your favorite entrée, or keep it as a meal in itself. Watermelons are refreshing by themselves, so imagine adding them to your salads, and you will get a whole lot of yum!

INGREDIENTS
½ watermelon or personal size watermelon
2 cups spinach
1 cucumber
Blueberries
Fresh mint
Goat cheese
Dressing of choice

INSTRUCTIONS

On a platter or in a bowl add fresh spinach. With a spiralizer, make noodles using a cucumber and add to the top. Slice watermelon in to cubes and add to salad along with blueberries and crumbled goat cheese. Top with mint for garnish and your favorite dressing. Enjoy!

You can even customise it with other bright fruits such as strawberries for that rich red-pink, or even rockmelons for their cheerful yellow.

Beet Pasta

Making pasta pink is easier than you think! Just cook your normal pasta al dente (works with spaghetti, penne, or even shells!) then toss in a beet paste for a few minutes. Beet contains juices that have a natural vibrant and bright red-pink colour, making it a common ingredient for colouring foods. Merging the beet paste with the pasta will allow the pasta to absorb the pink color, as well as give it a hint of exotic flavoring. Serve with parmesan and your favorite sauce!

INGREDIENTS
½ lb farfalle pasta
2 roasted beets
½ cup almond slices
Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves
Olive oil
Salt
Pasta sauce of choice
INSTRUCTIONS

Cook pasta until al dente, and set it aside. In a food processor, add beets, almonds, chopped garlic, a dash of olive oil and salt and pulse until it resembles a pesto. Toss the pasta in the sauce until thoroughly covered. Serve as is or rise off to just get pink pasta then serve with grated parmesan and your favorite pasta sauce.

 

Beet Hummus

Beets can be used in just about anything, and here’s proof. In this recipe, you upgrade your usual hummus into something prettier and also healthier, simply from adding beets. With great nutrition value and a ton of health benefits, your already-great hummus will get an even greater boost. This zesty hummus has all the makings of the perfect dip for your vegetables because it has the familiar flavor of classic hummus but with an earthier flair due to the beets. Try it with crackers, cucumbers or even carrots. Nothing can go wrong with hummus!

INGREDIENTS
1-15oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and cooked
3-4 roasted beets, precooked
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp tahini
1 tsp salt
1 garic clove chopped
Olive oil
INSTRUCTIONS

In a food processor add all ingredients except for olive oil. With the processor running slowly pour in olive oil a little at a time until you get a hummus-like consistency. Serve with vibrant veggies!

When tea is not enough to satisfy your love for the popular beverage, you can add a few simple ingredients that can greatly elevate your tea. Here are 2 delicious recipes that fuses a sweetness of fruits and herbs with the goodness of tea, and you'll be turning everyone into tea-lovers if they aren't already.

Chаі-Sрісеd Fruіt Cоmроtе

Wаrm, fragrant аnd sweet, thіѕ mеdlеу оf dried fruіt ѕіmmеrеd in vаnіllа аnd honey-infused chai tеа is the kіnd оf соmfоrt food to gо for whеn уоu wаnt thаt соzу, fееl-gооd еѕѕеnсе in a hеаlthful wау. With juѕt a fеw ingredients, the recipe creates multiple lауеrѕ of flаvоr, bесаuѕе the ѕрісеѕ are аlrеаdу расkеd into thе tеа bаgѕ. If chai isn’t your cup of tea (pun intended), you can always use your favourite brand of tea, whether it is regular black tea or decaffeinated ones. All іt tаkеѕ for this recipe іѕ half a vanilla bеаn pod (or you соuld ѕtіr іn hаlf a tеаѕрооn оf vаnіllа еxtrасt аt the end) аnd ѕоmе hоnеу to end off thе flavor wіth a dеер, hоmеу sweetness.

 

To concoct this rich warm mixture of comfort, cook everything in a роt for 4 mіnutеѕ, the rеmоvе the tea bаgѕ, and continue to сооk fоr a fеw mіnutеѕ lоngеr untіl thе fruіt іѕ рlumр and thе lіԛuіd іѕ thickened. Aѕ thе mіxturе сооlѕ ѕlіghtlу, thе juісеѕ соmе tоgеthеr іn a flаvоrful syrup thаt іnfuѕеѕ аnd blаnkеtѕ the fruіt.

4 ѕеrvіngѕ (mаkеѕ about 2 сuрѕ).
NOTE: The соmроtе can be rеfrіgеrаtеd fоr uр tо 1 wееk.
Ingrеdіеntѕ:

STEPS

Brіng thе wаtеr tо a boil in a mеdіum saucepan оvеr medium-high hеаt. Stіr іn thе hоnеу, thеn іmmеrѕе thе tеа bаgѕ іn the wаtеr. Add thе dried fruit. Sрlіt thе hаlf vаnіllа bеаn lеngthwіѕе, ѕсrаре out thе inside аnd ѕtіr іt into thе роt, thеn add thе vanilla bean іtѕеlf tо the роt.

Once the mixture rеturnѕ to a boil, reduce the heat tо mеdіum-lоw аnd сооk unсоvеrеd fоr 4 mіnutеѕ. Dіѕсаrd the tea bags; сооk fоr about 8 minutes, ѕtіrrіng occasionally, untіl thе liquid thickens tо a lооѕе syrup. Dіѕсаrd thе vаnіllа bean.

Trаnѕfеr the соmроtе tо a bоwl and allow tо сооl ѕlіghtlу bеfоrе ѕеrvіng.

Nutrіtіоn Info Pеr ѕеrvіng: 220 calories, 2 g protein, 57 g carbohydrates, 0 g fаt, 0 g ѕаturаtеd fat, 0 mg сhоlеѕtеrоl, 5 mg ѕоdіum, 5 g dіеtаrу fіbеr, 47 g ѕugаr.

 

Hоmеmаdе dried fruіt and herb tеа

Gіngеr аnd mіnt mаkе this соmfоrtіng mіx particularly gооd fоr ѕеttlіng ѕtоmасhѕ after thе indulgence of hоlіdау mеаlѕ. But if you are adventurous enough to venture beyond the common herbs, you may find yourself coming across a tea that is not only good for your gut, but also for you skin and overall well-being.

Mаkеѕ аbоut 2 сuрѕ (enough fоr 16 ѕеrvіngѕ)
Ingrеdіеntѕ:

STEPS:
Preheat thе oven tо 250°F.

Tоѕѕ lemon zеѕt, оrаngе zеѕt, gіngеr and fennel tоgеthеr оn a large parchment рареr-lіnеd baking sheet. Sсаttеr mіnt on a second lаrgе раrсhmеnt рареr-lіnеd baking sheet аnd bake, rotating bаkіng ѕhееtѕ аnd ѕtіrrіng occasionally, untіl gіngеr mixture аnd mіnt аrе bоth drіеd оut, 10 to 15 mіnutеѕ for thе mint аnd аbоut 45 minutes for the gіngеr mіxturе; set bоth aside tо let сооl соmрlеtеlу.

Crumble mіnt into a medium bоwl then add gіngеr mіxturе аnd сrаnbеrrіеѕ оr арrісоtѕ аnd tоѕѕ. For еасh ѕеrvіng of tea, ѕtеер 2 tаblеѕрооnѕ оf the mіxturе tоgеthеr wіth 1 сuр hоt wаtеr fоr 3 tо 5 mіnutеѕ. Strаіn аnd ѕеrvе.

Nutritional Infо Per Serving: 10 саlоrіеѕ (0 frоm fаt), 2g саrbоhуdrаtеѕ.

 

Wе'vе рrоvіdеd ѕресіаl dіеt and nutrіtіоnаl іnfоrmаtіоn fоr еduсаtіоnаl рurроѕеѕ. But remember wе оnlу provide information thаt wоuld bе bеnеfісіаl tо уоu, we аrе nоt doctors! You ѕhоuld fоllоw the advice of уоur hеаlth-саrе provider. And ѕіnсе product fоrmulаtіоnѕ change, сhесk product labels for thе mоѕt rесеnt ingredient information.

With the festive season drawing close, this can only mean one thing: parties. As your house begins to fill with hustle and bustle, the pressure to whip up tasty dishes for your guests also rises.

Before you pull your hair out over what to serve your guests - or worse, guests who show up without warning - amidst all the festive hustle, read to find out more about how to prepare the following appetisers that are sure to be a hit. These are the perfect solution to your worries, and are simple and quick to make without being too heavy on the waistline.

Instead of opting for caterers and breaking the bank, simply prepare these fuss-free appetisers which are packed with nutrients and and flavour. Wait no longer to impress your friends with your prowess as a domestic goddess with these easy recipes! Read on to find out more.

 

Enoki bacon wrap

These insanely addictive enoki bacon wraps will definitely be a hit amongst your guests, with the savoury, juicy bacon complementing the sweetness of the enoki mushroom. The best part? This appetiser doesn’t take more than 15 minutes to prepare, and is also a low-calorie snack.

Image cred: Wikimedia Commons

Wrap each slice of bacon with a small handful of enoki mushrooms and roll it up tightly. Secure with a toothpick if necessary.

  1. Garnish with pepper if desired.
  2. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees celsius, or until the bacon is cooked.
  3. Remove toothpicks and serve.

 

Rainbow fruit skewers

Not only are these a treat for your tastebuds, these are also an aesthetic treat for your guests. These eye-catching rainbow fruit skewers are incredibly simple to make, and add a refreshing touch of juiciness to your party.

  1. Dice up strawberries, oranges, pineapples, kiwis, red grapes and blueberries, and thread them according to the colours of the rainbow onto a few wooden skewers.
  2. Optional: Lay skewers out in a bed of ice to keep the fruits cold and fresh.

Tomato and Basil Bruschetta

This classic Italian appetiser is a must-have at every party. The medley of flavours of tomatoes, garlic and basil come together in a mouth-watering combination that whets the appetite and makes your guest hungry for more!

  1. Blanch tomatoes in boiled water for 1 minute and peel off the skin after the tomatoes have cooled.
  2. Cut tomatoes into quarters and remove seeds and most of the juice.
  3. Chop tomatoes into fine pieces and mix in minced garlic, 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  4. Serve the tomato mixture on toasted baguette slices, and garnish with fresh basil.

 

Mango and avocado salsa

This tangy and fresh salsa is great for eating on its own, but is also delicious when served with grilled meat - your guests will be spoilt for choice!

  1. Dice up an avocado, a ripe mango, and a small red onion and place in a medium bowl.
  2. Chop up ¼ cup of fresh cilantro leaves and ½ a habanerro and add to the bowl.
  3. To the bowl, add 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice, a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and ½ a teaspoon of sea salt.
  4. Mix well and serve.

 

Smoked Salmon and Dill Cream Cucumber Cups

Best served chilled, these cucumber cups are a refreshing snack for your guests to cleanse their tastebuds before digging in!

  1. Cut a cucumber into ¾-inch-thick slices and form a depression in each slice with a small ice cream scoop to form cups.
  2. Drain cucumbers on paper towels for 15 minutes.
  3. Prepare 4 ounces of cream cheese (softened to room temperature), 2 tablespoons of chopped dill and 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice.
  4. Mix the cream cheese, dill, black pepper, and fresh lemon juice in a bowl.
  5. Spoon the cream cheese mixture into the cucumber cups and top with a slice of smoked salmon.

Ah, bacon. Salty, streaky strips of pork that makes our mouths water and our knees weak. There’s no doubt that bacon is a tasty treat but all that fat, sodium and cholesterol may cause trouble in the long term. Hence, we’ve put together 5 easy, bacon-infused recipes that will not wreck your waistline or health, yet allow you to indulge in the goodness of bacon.

 

1. Bacon Broccoli Salad

Perfect for parties and potlucks, the Bacon Broccoli Salad is a great make-ahead recipe with an Asian influence. The tender crisp broccoli florets, rocket leaves and bacon bits tossed in a sweet soy-sesame mix creates an irresistible salad combination. For extra jazz, we like to add toasted almond silvers and dried cranberries.

 

Ingredients

Boil the broccoli florets in a large pot of salted water for 1 minute and plunge the florets into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Drain well, set aside and start to crisp bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove, drain on kitchen paper towels and roughly chop. Then, whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, seasoned rice vinegar and minced ginger in a large bowl. Add in the bacon, broccoli florets and rocket leaves. Toss well and serve warm or chilled.

 

2. Bacon Bean Bundles

Plain green beans meet bacon – a wonderful treat to serve as canapés at your social gathering or as an accompaniment to your weeknight main meal. If you’re not a fan of beans, replace with asparagus spears.

 

 

Ingredients

Preheat your oven to 190°C and grease your baking tray. Steam the green beans till tender and set aside. Wrap 6 green beans with a halved strip of bacon and transfer to baking tray. Repeat with all green beans then bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until bacon is crisp. Sprinkle some kosher salt and coarse black pepper over each bean bundle to taste.

 

3. Bacon & Egg Muffins

Is there anything more delicious and fun for a quick breakfast? These muffins include all the breakfast foods that will shake up your wake up.

 

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

Preheat your oven to 200°C and grease your muffin tin well. Cook the bacon for 5 minutes over medium heat, aim for a flexible but not raw texture. Then, cut circles of bread with a cookie cutter to fit your muffin tin and lay a circle of bread in each muffin cup. Wrap a bacon rasher around the edge of each muffin cup and add tomatoes. Last but not least, crack an egg into each cup and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. For a more cooked yolk, bake for a longer time.

 

4. Bacon & Pea Pasta

Need more inspiration for the bacon in the fridge? Try the Bacon & Pea Pasta recipe. Al dente spaghetti, garden peas and crisp bacon bits are tossed in a beautiful mint and lemon sauce that’s light on the stomach but full of flavour.

Serves 4

Ingredients

Boil the spaghetti in a large saucepan of salted water until al dente. Add the peas in the final 2 minutes of cooking. Drain, set aside pasta and reserve ¼ cup of pasta water. In another large pan, crisp bacon over medium heat. Remove, drain on kitchen paper towels and roughly chop. Toss bacon back into pan and add onion, garlic, lemon rind and reserved pasta water. Simmer ingredients for 8 minutes or so, then add the mixture to pasta. Combine the mint, stir well and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

 

5. Pan-roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon & Apple Cider Vinaigrette

These Brussel sprouts are pan-roasted until golden, then doused in a tangy cider vinaigrette and topped with crisp bacon. They are so addictive, it’s hard not to join the ranks of Brussel sprouts lovers and eat the entire lot before you serve them. Leftovers (if any) make delicious additions to salads!

Ingredients

Crisp bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove, drain on kitchen paper towels and roughly chop. In the same pan with all the bacon grease, melt butter over high heat. Add onions and Brussel sprouts (cut side down), cook for 10 minutes or until sprouts turn golden brown. Stir in the apple cider vinegar, season with salt and pepper, and toss bacon back into pan for a minute more. Serve warm.

 

 

Let us know which recipe was your personal favourite and do share your food photos with us. For the extra health-conscious individual, wash down the bacon grease in your belly with some of our herbal teas. A warm mug of Ginger Rooibos or Blue Ocean tea should do the trick!

Written by Valerie Tan

Christmas is nearing and it’s time to prepare to have guests over for a feast of epic proportions. Here are some classic and elegant dessert recipes that will surely bring the festive cheer to your merry party!

1. Pavlova

This dessert looks intimidating with its sophisticated cracks and form but it’s actually really simple to make. You’ll need icing sugar and egg whites, which need to be whisked for about 10 minutes. Add corn flour and vinegar and fold it into the meringue.

The result will be a wonderful marshmellowy meringue mixture with silky and stiff peaks. Distribute a circular dollop evenly on parchment paper and place the layers in the oven. You can use a piping bag to make your bases evenly shaped.

Spread whipped cream between the Pavlova bases and finish it off with some strawberries and you’ll have a quintessential Christmas dessert ready for your guests to dig into.

Here is another easy recipe to make your pavolva.

2. Trifle

The English trifle involves three simple ingredients: sponge cake, cream, and fresh fruit.

Start with your cake layer and begin putting different fruits around the outside of your bowl. Do the same with each type of fruit that you’ve chosen to use. The cream goes in next, followed by more fruits. You can get creative with additional ingredients like liqueur, vanilla extract, or raspberry sauce, but make sure to add them in the centre so they will be soaked up by the sponge cake at the bottom.

What’s great about this dessert is that you can choose to make them in individual portions or leave it up to your guests to help themselves.

If you fancy a beautifully layered trifle yourself, read this.

3. Yule log

Although making a yule log, or a log cake, may take a lot of time, patience, and effort, it is undeniably a mainstay dessert centerpiece, especially during Christmas.

You’ll start off whisking eggs and caster sugar until the result triples in size. Sift in flour and cocoa powder and fold it into the mixture. Again, you can add additional ingredients like liqueur here. Pour the mixture evenly onto parchment paper and pop it into the oven for about 10 minutes.

Invert your sponge onto baking paper and tightly roll it up, and leave it to cool. In the meantime, work on your cream filling. Evenly spread it into the sponge and roll it back up. Finally, pipe your chilled ganache onto your log, dusted with icing sugar.

Here is a step-by-step recipe that will guide you to making a wonderful yule log for everyone!

4. Pumpkin pie

The trick to a perfect pumpkin pie is ensuring that your crust is cooked well.

To do this, you’ll have to blind-bake your pie shell. This means pre-baking it so you don’t end up with something that’s uncooked halfway through the centre. Place parchment paper and pie weights into your pie shell so the shape of your crust doesn’t change.

For the filling, use pumpkin puree, three eggs, vanilla extract, and salt. The secret to the recipe lies in the spices that are added: cinnamon, finely ground nutmeg, ginger, and Chinese five spice. Finally, add evaporated milk and whisk everything, before filling your pie.

To make the perfect pumpkin pie for the festive season, here is a recipe for you!

 

5. Croquembouche

A croquembouche is made up of profiteroles stuck onto a cone and bound together with spun sugar. Traditionally served as a celebratory cake in France, this dessert is perfect for any party – and it even looks like a Christmas tree!

First, you need to make your choux pastry for the profiteroles. Once out of the oven, poke a hole in each of them with a skewer and pop them back in the oven for them to dry out. For the filling, you’ll need milk, vanilla bean, egg yolks, sugar, and flour. After whisking and cooling, spoon the filling into a piping bag and fill the profiteroles.

You can use any regular cardboard to make a cone, depending on the size you desire. Keep adding your pastries along the sides of the cone using a sugar and water mixture as glue. Finally, add an elegant touch to your extravagant dessert by making enough spun sugar to drape around the croquembouche.

Here is a great recipe should you want a croquembouche to be on your table at your Christmas dinner.

Although some recipes are certainly not easy to make, they are definitely worth the time and effort. Elegant, beautiful and delicious, the desserts are sure to charm your family and friends!

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