Tag Archives: Elemis

All I Want For Christmas ..

Elemis facial shot - pressure points… is a firm jawline – and it looks as if there’s every chance that the skincare Santas at Elemis are going to make that Christmas wish come true. Why am I so confident? Well, because, sitting in my bedroom is a box containing the brand new Elemis Pro-Intense Lift Super System 30 Day Programme (£155) and I have reason to believe that it might slow down the onslaught of hamster cheeks and a sloppy jawline.

The system contains an arsenal of skincare weapons, with plant stem cells at their core, to take on the triple terrors of droopy cheeks, double chin and sagging jawline, along with the often tired areas around the eyes and mouth – and it couldn’t be simpler to use. I’m on day two so I should know .. You use one vial of Pro-Intense Lift Effect Super Serum each day – half in the morning and half at night (the vials are cleverly designed so they can be re-sealed after they’ve been snapped open). It’s a high-tech formulation which targets the advanced signs of skin ageing, and has been credited in independent trials with restoring youthful tone and firmness to the cheek and double chin areas.

Step 2 is to apply the Pro-Intense Eye and Lip Contour Cream to plump up those invariably dry and thin areas of skin around the eyes and the mouth, while Step 3 – the last daily step – is to use the Pro-Intense Lift Effect Night Cream, a gorgeous and luxurious cream which aims to help reduce the appearance of sagging jowls, cheeks and chin. According to testers, facial contours appear shaped and skin texture is visibly improved.

The system also includes four doses of the Pro-Intense Lift Effect Jowl and Chin Mask, Elemis Pro-Intense Lift Effect Super System pack shotdesigned to be used over the serum once a week. This stretch fibre mask hooks over the ears to help firm and tighten the jawline and  chin.

And the reason for my faith in my Christmas wish being granted is that I recently went to the PURE Spa in Glasgow and tried out the salon treatment – the Elemis Pro-Intense Lift Effect Facial (£75)  – which complements the at-home system, and I was very impressed with the results. The skin was plumper, the jawline was a bit more clearly defined and the tone of my complexion was brighter. But be warned: my granny always used to say “beauty suffers no pain” – which was how she would justify any discomforts (braces, steaming blackheads etc) – and this treatment has a bit of a painful procedure in it. The massage, a unique pressure massage along the jaw and cheekbones (you feel the skin being squeezed against the bone), is quite uncomfortable; painful even. I think it’s as well to know in advance that it’s not relaxing in the way that a lymphatic drainage massage usually is. Luckily it happens early-ish in the facial so there’s still plenty of time to relax and float away (as I did) once it’s out of the way.

* To buy the Elemis Pro-Intense Lift Super System 30 Day Programme, visit www.timetospa.co.uk or call +44 (0)117 316 1888. For details of spa and salon locations, call  +44 (0)117 316 1888 .

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Christmas, PURE Spa Style

PURE SpaI think I might be tempted to do all my Christmas shopping this year at the Silverburn shopping mall. Why? Well, not because it has the most fabulous selection of shops (it hasn’t – hello, a book shop or big newsagent’s would be handy) but because tucked away between the ground floor shops and the upstairs car park – though visible if you glance up between bouts of window shopping – is the wonderful PURE Spa.

When I went along to the PURE Spa’s Christmas preview evening recently, it was just my second visit to the spa – and I vowed that I would be back more often. It really is a bit of a hidden gem. From the outside, and even on first impressions inside, it’s not remotely as sumptuous and luxurious as a hotel spa, but once you get into the relaxation room and the treatment cabins, it’s a different story. It’s a bit of a Mr Benn-style experience: you go into the changing/locker room, get robe’d up and step into a cocooning chill-out zone – all dimmed lights, comfy reclined chairs and soft music. I could quite happily take up residence. Which is not something I thought the last time I visited a five-star spa – where “chilled-out” could have referred to the temperature as I shivered through the treatment and the relaxation periods before and after it.

At the Christmas gift preview event, beauty bloggers (and their mothers) were treated to a choice of treatment. I opted for a back massage and, by jingo, it was the best, most thorough back massage I’ve had in yonks. Lynn, the therapist, worked wonders in a mere 20 minutes. The spa has a terrific range of treatments, some of which which can be purchased online, along with products – from top British brands Elemis, REN and nail care experts Leighton Denny – and an impressive selection of gift packages. My Christmas wishlist already includes the Busy Mum (£75), which comprises a hot stone body massage and Elemis facial, the PURE Spa Essentials Experience (£99), in which you mix and match three therapies from a choice of facials, massages and complementary therapies, and the Top-to-Toe Spa Package (great value at £65 off-peak offer and at £79), which includes an infa-red sauna detox, PURE Spa foot ritual, hot stone back massage, Elemis booster spa facial and a foot nourishing treatment.

Ideally, however, I’d quite like to just check in to the PURE Spa from now until December 24. (And leave Santa to sort out everyone else’s presents.)

* Visit www.purespauk.com or call the PURE Spas in Aberdeen (01224 211639), Glasgow (0141 881 7770), Edinburgh (0131 221 9133) and Leith (0131 561 1320).

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Back to Basics

Bath picSo, the last ten days have been spent managing my dodgy back. This has involved – at the start of the bout of back pain – an embarrassing amount of bad TV (who knew an addiction to the Real Housewives TV series was a side-effect of painkillers?) watched from a prostrate position, and then the challenges of trying to negotiate things like washing very long hair while in the bath as I couldn’t manage to do it any other way without help.  That took me straight back to childhood.

Still, the hair-washing challenges did inspire me to try a hair product that I’ve been meaning to experiment with for a while.  DHC After Bath Hair Emulsion ( £12; www.dhcuk.co.uk) is a light cream, infused with nourishing olive oil, which is a godsend for coloured hair prone to split ends and dryness. Often, leave-in conditioners can weigh down fine hair like mine but I have nothing negative to report about this fab product which leaves locks looking luscious and feeling lovely. Oh, actually there is one negative aspect: the bottle! Pink and phallic – like some sort of retro vibrator.. kind of sticks out like a sore, erm, thumb on one’s bathroom shelf ..

Thankfully, I was fit to leave the settee – and to quit the Real Housewives, for one afternoon anyway – to keep an appointment at the PURE Spa at the Silverburn shopping mall, on Glasgow’s southside, for an Silverburn_0499_(Small)Elemis facial. I’ve passed this discreetly located spa – it’s upstairs in the shopping centre, on the floor between the shops and the car park – many times but never been inside. However, I shall definitely be back as it’s so handy, and was such a pleasurable experience. Who knew that behind its shop front there was such a vast space dedicated to relaxation, beauty and pampering?

PURE Spa – which also has outposts in Edinburgh, Leith and Aberdeen – offers a wide range of spa treatments as well as all the basics of beauty upkeep. I had an Elemis Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift Facial ( £79 for 75 minutes), the first full-length Elemis facial I’ve had in ages  – I’ve only had the very effective Power Booster facials (which last 45 minutes) in recent times.  Super-relaxing, and including two masks plus a terrific, toxin-draining and tightening, massage, the Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift Facial was just what the doctor ordered.  Tension evaporated as my therapist, Siobhan, administered a neck, shoulder and scalp massage – and my chilling-out session continued afterwards in the large, cocoon-like, relaxation room.

My back may be feeling much better now but hair-washing is still a challenge. I’ve now graduated to  doing it over the sink a la Ginger Rogers:

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My Week in Beauty

MONDAY

I knew I could feel a femme fatale moment coming on …. Only a fortnight ago I was admiring Kim Basinger’s peek-a-boo, Veronica Lake-inspired, hair-do in LA Confidential; then on Monday, I was given a preview of the new make-up collection from Lancome. It’s entitled 29, Saint Honore (www.lancome.co.uk; available from September 1), but it was inspired by the femme fatale look of the 1940s (Lancome’s Global Make-up Director Aaron de Mey is clearly a fellow film noir fan!). With their slicked-back hair, models Elettra and Daria could equally be the stars of a remake of the Robert Palmer Addicted to Love video ..

I’ll be writing more about the individual items in the collection anon, but just wanted to give everyone a heads-up: start practising with the liquid eyeliners, and get ready for red lips and nails. Always a favourite for the winter, they are going to be massive this year …

Oh, and one other snippet of Lancome news: their exciting new serum, Lancome Visionnaire (£57) is going to be previewed at Frasers in Glasgow from August 24 – ahead of its nationwide launch on September 1.

TUESDAY

I don’t go for ringing the eyes with heavy kohl, a la Kate Middleton, but I am addicted to eyeliner – and on Tuesday I tried Clarins Instant Liner (£19.50; www.clarins.co.uk), which looks identical to the new Estee Lauder Pure Color Liquid Eyeliner that I wrote about recently, but isn’t sticky. Liquid eyeliner has been my bag since I was a student – not just because I love the retro looks you can create with them but also because, generally, they don’t smudge as much on me.

I am terribly prone to panda eyes and recently resolved to only wear a new eyeliner or mascara out of the house if I’ve road-tested it indoors for a couple of days first. (Lancome’s new Hypnose Doll Eyes Mascara started out so promisingly…)

The Clarins one was fine – until I had a fit of the giggles at a Fringe show and my eyes started watering. So, perfect for femme fatales who seldom crack a smile.

WEDNESDAY

I spent much of Wednesday getting ready for my trip down to London, where I was going to spend a night with my friend before heading to Mayfair to take part in a press trip – to be written up for a newspaper.

I always find the water in London plays havoc with my hair – it’s not as soft as our Scottish water – so I was very pleased to have travel sizes of some of my favourite haircare products in the Ojon Damage Reverse 4 Piece Starter Kit (£34.50; www.johnlewis.com), notably the Ojon Restorative Hair Treatment.

THURSDAY

Getting ready for an evening out with my London-based pal, Siobhan, I finally got round to experimenting with some new eyeshadow palettes which launched earlier in the summer.

Estee Lauder Pure Color Five Color Eyeshadow Palettes (£35; http://www.esteelauder.co.uk) come in eight colourways – shown here are Velvet Orchids, Film Noir (are we sensing a theme yet?!) and Enchanted Berries.

I love the purples and taupes of the Velvet Orchid one for evening wear, and the Island Sands palette – beautiful peaches and browns – is a lovely one for everyday use.

FRIDAY

Well, Friday was beauty a go-go in London.. After dumping my bags at my Mayfair hotel – the elegant Flemings on the whimsically named Half Moon Street – I checked into the Elemis Day Spa, a haven of calm and relaxation which I had not visited in almost a decade.

From there, with skin glowing thanks to the Visible Brilliance facial, I popped into the Chanel press office for a sneak preview of their Christmas make-up collection which had just arrived that morning…

I’m not at liberty to reveal much about it, except that it’s gorgeous (natch) and that you can expect to be co-ordinating your party outfits with red and gold make-up …

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My Week in Beauty

SUNDAY

Mm, after experimenting with Dior’s beautiful new colour collection, Dior Gris Montaigne, on Sunday, I came to a conclusion that I had suspected for some time: grey and I just don’t get along when it comes to eye make-up. While brown tones make dark blue eyes “pop” and help warm pale complexions, cool greys don’t seem to do anything for my colouring.

As gorgeous as the new Dior 5 Couleurs in Gris-Gris (£40; pictured below) is, with its spectrum of shimmering shades from pearly white to glittery black, it just doesn’t do it for me in the way that the gold tones from the Christmas collection did. Which is why I keep going back to them!

This new range is a homage to the colour that has long symbolised Dior elegance, the dove grey which adorns the walls at the original Dior boutique at 30 avenue Montaigne in Paris.

And, while I may not be able to pay tribute with the grey eyeshadows (or, for that matter, with the to-die-for Lady Dior bag in its grey incarnation -just a bit out of my current price range), I’ll be able to get in on the grey act thanks to  Dior Vernis Haute Couleur Extreme Wear Nail Lacquer in Gris Montaigne (£17.50), which looks set to take on Chanel’s Black Pearl as the nail colour for spring 2011.

MONDAY

Frasers department store in Glasgow was the venue for a buffet breakfast on Monday – but the local beauty press was far too busy learning about the new Apothecary, which we’d been invited to view, to bother about the bagels and other delights.

This new space – which is also to be found in several of the House of Fraser stores in England  – is home to various niche brands, many of which I’ve never come across before.  Per-fekt, Gentry Grooming and Body America are three of the names which were new to me, while Laura Mercier, Ojon and Crabtree & Evelyn are old favourites. There’s also Apothecary’s own name bath and body range, which was created with the renowned perfumer Francois Robert.

I left Frasers with a bulging bag of samples from the numerous ranges represented in the Apothecary, and headed straight over to the Rogano bar to share my spoils with Margaret, my beauty therapist friend whose opinion is always worth seeking for skincare advice.

We’ll report our findings anon, but in the meantime we’re both checking out the Apothecary website – at www.houseoffraser.co.uk – to see which brands didn’t provide samples!

TUESDAY


On Tuesday, I couldn’t help thinking of Twiggy as she was in the 1960s as I dabbled with not one but two new mascaras – at the same time… On the upper lashes, I was trying out the latest wonder wand sent by the Boots Press Office. 17 Photo Flawless Lashes Mascara (£5.99; www.boots.com) has a curved brush which is perfect for bending the lashes out and up. Not only that, but it also comes in a trio of shades – Black/Blue, Black/Green and Black/Copper – created to complement the colour of the eyes.

While my upper lashes were coated courtesy of 17, the lower lashes were kitted out by Clinique, the brand new Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara (£10;
www.clinique.co.uk) to be precise. This is a first: a mascara with a dinky wand specifically designed for those pesky, short lower lashes. It certainly works wonders, transforming teeny lashes into luscious tendrils and even finding lashes which were invisible without mascara.  And if you want the Twiggy or Liza look, it’s an absolute must…

WEDNESDAY

My beauty highlight of the week was discovering a fantastic new cleanser which is really a pleasure to use.  Elemis Melting Cleansing Gel (£19.40; www.elemis.com) does exactly what it says on the label – but with an unusual degree of luxury and comfort.

It’s a rich gel, which smells lovely, and which you apply to dry skin before you begin massaging it in with damp fingers.  At that point, it begins to emulsify and dissolve the make-up and dirt on the face. Packed with anti-oxidants, it cleanses deeply while comforting and soothing the skin – so much so that even a confirmed water-avoider like myself is more than happy to use it…

THURSDAY

I had a real treat on Thursday – an afternoon in Edinburgh, culminating in a trip to The Filmhouse to see one of my movie heroines in her breakthrough film. Carole Lombard is the heroine – both in terms of her talent and her style – and the film was Twentieth Century (in which she’s pictured here), from 1934, one of the current season of Howard Hawks movies.

Lombard was an intelligent beauty, a sassy, sexy young woman who didn’t take herself too seriously, was a master of her craft,  liked to hang out with the boys, and knew how to use make-up and lighting to make the most of her looks which, despite the gorgeous photos from her brief run of success in Hollywood, were not perfect.

Any opportunity to see this luminous beauty on the big screen is worth taking – especially since she crammed a string of sensational screwball performances into her short life, among them Twentieth Century, My Man Godfrey, Nothing Sacred, True Confession, Mr and Mrs Smith and To Be or Not To Be.

Clark Gable lost the love of his life when she died in a plane crash at the age of 34; the world lost a great talent – and one of the most exquisite beauties ever to light up the screen.

FRIDAY

Beauty lifesaver of the week was undoubtedly Dior Crystal Nude (£26.50; www.boots.com), a mattifying and transparent foundation which can be used alone to enhance bare skin and make it look naturally smooth and clear, or which can be used for touch-ups to perfect the skin while you’re out and about.

I started using it on Monday at the Apothecary launch when the heat caused by so many bodies crammed into a small space at the back of the always overheated store triggered an outbreak of T-zone shine. And it worked. So much so that it didn’t leave my make-up bag all week…

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My Week in Beauty

MONDAY

After being confined to quarters as a result of the first big snowfall of the year (which caught everyone offguard), it was time to venture out on Monday. I don’t have an array of ski-wear like Audrey Hepburn’s alpine wardrobe in Charade, but what I do have – in lieu of her very cosy, complexion-protecting headgear – is Clarins HydraQuench skincare range (www.clarins.co.uk).

I had been sent this recently, after my fantastic Tri-Active facial at the new spa in Glasgow’s Frasers, and it had just started it using at the weekend. Immediately I applied the rich yet easily absorbed Clarins HydraQuench Lotion SPF15 (£32), I felt that my skin was ready to take on the
elements. It’s the perfect day cream for those of us whose skin is prone to dehydration, and particularly sensitive to the cold.

And it’s especially effective when worn over what Clarins considers the star product in the collection – Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum (£37.50), a comforting, hydrating liquid which, despite a slight oiliness, is a pleasure to use and really does deliver. There are two other moisturisers in the range, plus a lip balm.

TUESDAY

Being stuck indoors – apart from the very occasional venture out to shops/school/pillarbox – I had plenty of time last week to assemble my cold weather emergency skincare kit.

A key component is Elemis Gentle Rose Exfoliator (£25; www.elemis.com), a brilliant exfoliator which I’ve been using since I had a facial at their SpaPod in Debenhams in Glasgow a couple of months ago.

I wouldn’t use it every day – though Elemis says it can be used daily – but it’s certainly gentle enough to be used frequently, and on sensitive skin. In this cold weather, it’s a must to keep the skin smooth, soft and ready for all the lovely comforting moisturisers I’ve been falling in love with.

WEDNESDAY

There’s nothing like a compliment to boost the spirits, especially on a dreary winter’s day – and I received a couple on Wednesday when I revisited one of my favourite lipsticks from last winter: Rouge Dior Serum de Rouge no.760 – AKA Raspberry Serum (£24.50).

Actually, whenever I’m feeling a bit blue, I stick on this beautiful reddish-pink, super-glossy lipstick and I immediately feel brighter. Dior calls this lipstick a treatment because it contains ten times more concentrated skincare ingredients than your average lip colour; I call it a treatment of the spirits as well – prozac for the pout ….

 

THURSDAY

I had a bit of haircare epiphany this week thanks to the discovery of Aveda’s Pure Abundance range (www.aveda.co.uk). This relatively new collection turned out to be just what I needed for my hair, which, since it was treated with Aveda’s all-natural highlights, had looked good colour-wise but been very limp, lank and fine-feeling.

The combination of Aveda Pure Abundance Shampoo (£13.50) and Aveda Pure Abundance Volumizing Clay Conditioner (£15) was an instant antidote. These plant-based formulas manage to make the hair look and feel fuller but without weighing it down. Frankly, I was amazed at how effective they were – and the results were even more impressive the next day, after I’d slept on it. (Ordinarily, it’s only immediately after having my colour done that I can get out of washing my hair every single day.) Oh, and the smell is sublime…

FRIDAY

Finally, on Friday a chance to get out on the town. Going out for cocktails for a friend’s 40th at the Blythswood Square hotel was the perfect occasion to road-test the primer to which I’d been introduced when I had a makeover at the Giorgio Armani Cosmetics counter in Frasers.

Giorgio Armani Fluid Master Primer (£32) is a silky-smooth, transparent gel which evens out skin tone, mattifies the skin and smoothes away fine lines. My foundation went on beautifully afterwards and looked great. Indeed, for once I didn’t feel the need to check how shiny I looked – in fact, when I looked in the mirror, shininess didn’t even cross my mind. I think it’s safe to say that this is my latest must-have. Especially for brightly-lit bars like the Blythswood’s Salon.

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My Week in Beauty

MONDAY

Amongst the numerous gorgeous new cosmetics which have been arriving chez moi over the last few weeks came a batch of new eyeshadows from Revlon. With their plain, black packaging, the Revlon Luxurious Color Eyeshadow Monos (£4.99) hardly had the wow factor of some of their more expensive counterparts but they quickly turned out to be serious contenders.

Within the new range of richly pigmented eyeshadows are some with a “Perle” finish and others with a “Satin” look. The standout for me, when I tried them on Monday, was the beautiful Peacock Lustre shade, a gorgeous, blue-tinged green satiny powder which matches the eyeshadow worn here by Elizabeth Taylor in her role as Cleopatra. It’s perfect for using as a light wash of colour across the lids or if you want to create asmoky eye by mixing it with a brown shade for a khaki effect – very autumn 2010! Since the season’s blue eyeshadows just don’t do anything for my blue eyes, I’m going to copy the famously violet-eyed Liz and give green a whirl instead ..

TUESDAY

The fates are clearly conspiring to make me go green this autumn. I was rummaging through a bag of Topshop Make Up that I had been sent to help me research an article for their 214 mag, and leapt out? A stunning, metallic emerald green nail shade of nail polish. Topshop Nails in Poison Ivy (£5; www.topshop.com) is its name, and it is a Wicked green indeed – definitely reminds me of those Wizard of Oz witches.

WEDNESDAY

Having been suffering from some bug that I caught during the Edinburgh Jazz Festival as well as several disturbed nights’ sleep due to unwell children, I couldn’t wait to try out the new Elemis SpaPod in Debenhams, in Glasgow’s city centre. I needed a nap!

The visit began with a detailed analysis of your skin by a therapist. And when I say detailed, I mean detailed: absolutely no flaw goes unrecorded by the clinical imaging equipment which takes a picture of your skin and then highlights all the different types of damage on one particular area. I thought I was doing a pretty respectable job of keeping wrinkles at bay so was gutted to be told that I had 27 on one side of my face alone!

Once the therapist – and the machine – have worked out which products would be best suited to your skin type, you move through to the SpaPod for your facial. The pod is a cosy, quiet room with an “Intelligent Massage Chair” which, I quickly realised was not for me. As my Elemis Modern Skin Power Booster Facial (£45/30 mins; www.elemis.co.uk) got underway, with the therapist removing my makeup and cleansing my skin, the chair whirred into action and I found myself being rolled around, pushed up and then sinking down thanks to the chair’s undulating movements. Relaxing? No way. The worst bit was when it grabbed my legs tightly around the calves and squeezed them till I thought the blood vessels would burst. The noise and the motions combined to make me feel like I was on a mechanical rodeo bull… Shades of Gene Wilder in Silver Streak.

But, once I had asked the therapist to put me out of my misery by switching off the chair, the facial was utterly blissful – thanks to the lovely-smelling and feeling products used and to the super-relaxing neck and shoulder massage I was given. The human touch? You can’t beat it..  And what’s more, my sensitive skin didn’t flare up afterwards: in fact, it looked radiant for days. I’ll definitely be looking to make this a regular thing. They’re currently doing two facials for the price of one at the Glasgow Debenhams Elemis SpaPod so I’m off to make my follow-up appointment.

THURSDAY

Thursday evening was a long-overdue night out with the girls, Lizzy and Colette. The catch-up was supposed to happen over Prosecco and pasta at Jamie’s Italian, the new Jamie Oliver eatery in Glasgow. However, after queuing for, oh, two minutes, we decided that we really didn’t want to waste another 88 (you can’t reserve tables for small groups, apparently), and headed off to find an alternative restaurant.

It was a well-behaved night, with moderation on the alcohol front, but I had come prepared, beauty-wise, by applying a layer of Origins Zero Oil Instant Matte Finish (£11 ; www.origins.co.uk). This wonder-working, all-natural liquid absorbs oil but doesn’t dry out the skin and provides a lovely base for make-up – though it can be used over make-up in shine emergencies. Just wish I had had some with me the previous week in Edinburgh when photos were being taken after wine had been consumed …

FRIDAY

Uh-oh. I’ve spotted the first deep creased wrinkle on my forehead. (It’s probably been there for ages and I hadn’t noticed, though I’m sure if it was very obvious either my mother or my twin sons, who have inherited her critical gene, would have taken great delight in pointing it out!) Anyway, now I’ve noticed it, there’s no going back: I have to face up to it, and take it on. And I’m going to do this with the help of Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus  Wrinkle & UV Damage (£35; available in Selfridges nationwide and at www.clinique.co.uk now, and at other stores from September 10).

It claims to visibly repair UV damage and reduce wrinkles while preventing future signs of ageing and the environment by fighting free radicals. I’ll let you know how I get on … Hopefully, it will be more successful than the Clinique Self Sun Body Daily Moisturizer, the self-tanning body lotion that streaked my legs for a week in early July and just would not budge.

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