Families in Lockdown

With one week down many of us have had our lives changed dramatically. Overnight, parents were hurtled into a new world of Lockdown, with no school, extra curriculum activities, playdates and day trips. Home schooling is the new buzz word clogging up our news feed. We are no longer receiving what’s app notifications on match times and training schedules but on links to free curriculum subscriptions and lockdown ideas. The new FOMO is home schooling with parents expected to switch into our new roles seamlessly with no planning or preparation. Never mind the parents who are sharing the kitchen table as a home office.

There seems to be a frantic frenzy to create schedules covering all aspects of the curriculum while children struggle to cope with the sudden halt to their daily routine and been cooped up in their homes without their usual loved ones visiting. I don’t know about you but the amount of arguments and shouting in my house has risen ever so slightly……. Remember learning covers a multitude of disciplines include lego, drawing and imaginative play so we should not feel stressed, overwhelmed and under pressure. Love and supporting our children through these difficult times is our job first and foremost.

Lockdown

Looking back on the last week, I have decided on a routine that suits our family, as I do think it is important to maintain some sort of routine but I also feel it is unique time for us sit back and take stock. Do the things that we are always to too busy to do. Bake a few more cakes, teach the kids how to bake or cook an evening meal. Watch a few more movies, have a few more cuddles and learn how to play cards together. A good friend of mine introduced me to the card game Dobble and charades, the old “play the game version” and not the board game, are firm favourites in my home. Social distancing or stay at home seems to be the most on trend hashtags and while I know it is critical, finding a quite beach or woods for a walk every day or so is vital for our minds and soul. There is a lot of worry in the air and the media are bombarding us with warnings so we need to find ways to keep our homes calm during this lockdown and taking time out or relaxing the schedules seems like a good fit to me. We have also made a few trips to a local pitch and putt course as we have our own clubs and there is no need to interact with anyone else. Craig pops in to pay and the kids wait outside for him so we are keeping our social distance.

Another friend sent me this fantastic link which is a simple yet extremely useful guide for keeping children entertained while learning that has been added to The Everyman Palace resource page. There is something for everyone whatever your school of thought is on entertaining the kids during these crazy times. I love the tip of The Glucksman Art Gallery who are offering daily art activities. Kudos to whoever put this together as it will be my new go to book of tricks in the weeks/months ahead. Just remember we have always been our children’s main educator, so we just need to do what we have always done.

Click here for the link to Primary age appropriate tasks, activities and approaches!

Click here for full listings of resources for adults as well as kids.

Lockdown Ideas – Improvisations

Lock down Ideas – Improvisation Plays

Improvisation is the activity of making or doing something not planned beforehand, using whatever can be found. Improvisation is a very spontaneous performance without specific or scripted preparation.  Improvisational plays are a simple activity for kids and one of my favourite lock down ideas to occupy the kids. Just give them an idea and allow them 15 mins to come up with a plan themselves. You can also allow them to create their own props and costumes wit whats available in the cupboard to them.

Improvisational plays are a great tool for teaching children and helping them develop new skills. Through this form of play, children strengthen language and communication skills, learn to use their own initiative, develop creativity and learn about the world around them. That’s not all, they will also learn how to work together, problem-solve, and increase concentration.

Here are a few fun suggestions for short kids plays:

  • Two friends enter a haunted house and see a ghost.
  • A waiter trying to train a incompetent new employee.
  • A movie star at a premier.
  • A talk show host dealing with a nutty guest.
  • A kid trying to convince a parent to keep a stray dog.
  • The power goes out in 2020.
  • A TV Game Show.
  • First day at new school.
  • Two toys come to life after a toy shop closes.
  • A patient tries to sneak out of a hospital.
  • Three friends fall into a rabbit hole.
  • A magician turns a person into a dog by accident.
  • A protester tries to stop people going into a toy shop.
  • A court battle over who owns a toy doll found on Grafton Street.

You could also create a whatsapp group between friends and upload your videos. Any child that does not like to act could be the camera person!

Keep an eye out here for more lock down ideas!

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Cork On Ice

Cork on Ice is one of our favourite family Christmas traditions and while we normally go on 27th December this year we went a little later just after new year and I must say it was much more enjoyable as the crowd was smaller and it was more relaxed. In particular the beginner area was much quieter which is very important if you are nervous with the smallies like me.

This year was Lonán’s first time taking to the ice and as Frozen mega fan she was all excited. They had cute little skates for her age (aged 3) which were very safe and allowed her to walk as normal on the ice. While she had fun, she only lasted about half an hour before giving up for the all important hot chocolate and tempting crepes.

The older ones (10,11) loved flying around the larger rink and it’s amazing to see how confident they are on the ice after the annual visit over the last few years. The time slot was 50 mins which is a perfect amount of time as they were just getting tired. The new location of centre park road is very central and the parking is excellent. All in all a most enjoyable experience and we are hoping to return for saoirse’s birthday in a couple of weeks.

Panto Cork Opera House 2019 – Peter Pan

Panto Cork Opera House 2019

It is that most wonderful time of the year again and Panto always kick starts our celebrations in this house as it is ideal for a night out during the cold winter days to come. Following on from the box office record breaking successful Aladdin last year in The Cork Opera House we eagerly awaited Peter Pan, Panto Cork Opera House 2019 and we were not disappointed.

While the traditional story of the adventures of a boy who never grew up, Wendy, Tinkerbell and of course captain hook was apparent, the original storyline and its characters were merely embodied in one-line gags. I cannot remember the last time I laughed so much. Nanny Nellie was outstanding and Smee, Captain Hook’s Sidekick, certainly gave her a run for her money. During the sing off between Captain Hook and Nanny Nellie, I managed to take a breath to notice many of the audience wiping tears from their eyes!

Cork Opera House panto

Featuring jokes involving local characters and political reference in the tradition of the pantomime society to entertain the adults, there were also many social and musical jokes especially for the younger audience and my ten year old boy was falling out of his chair at times in laughter. In today’s world of screens and technology it was a wonderful to see him enjoy such an art performed and staged as its professional best and I know I will have an eager panto buddy for many years to come.

The special effects and set really brought the show to life. While Peter Pan and the Darling Children flew over the London skyline, Nanny Nellie took to the skies in a car with spectacular impact. From the choreography, to the singing, to costuming and stage setting, the show was mesmerising. It was truly a brilliant production.  Alot of dates before Christmas are sold out but the team at The Cork Opera House have confirmed that there are many dates still available in January so don’t miss out, it could be the best €27.50 (Family Pass €90-€120) you’ll spend on any kind of fun this Christmas.

Nature Trails at Fota House & Gardens

The gardens at Fota House are truly a hidden gem here in Cork and one of my favourite family fun activities in Cork. They are beautifully preserved (cared for by the OPW) and offer adventure, escape and tranquillity around almost every corner. There are many walkways and trails to discover and you could spend hours lost in amongst the trees, languishing in the open areas or exploring the formal and Victorian walled gardens. All of this is free and there is only a charge of €3 for the car park.

fota gardens

Family Fun Activities in Cork

However, should you wish to add a bit more fun to your day you can buy one of their trail packs for €4 each. They have two to suit both young and older children. We had great fun following the map as children always love map reading and leading the way. While our three were running along, working out which way to go at each juncture, stopping to find little titbits and clues as per the instructions, Craig and I wandered along at our own pace, chatting and enjoying the surroundings. Pure Bliss!!!

fota house and gardens blog

We stopped on route at the giant’s chairs for a picnic before continuing along the trail and discovering the Victorian walled gardens, the shed with old tools and the formal gardens. The children were extremely curious and enjoyed the few hours we spent wandering along. I really do think it was the nature trail and activity pack that added that element of structure and fun to our afternoon.

family fun activities in Cork

We spent the next hour rolling down the grass hills, playing ball and generally chilling out in the open area just behind the house. As family fun activities in Cork go this one got big thumbs up from me and I am looking forward to trying out their house tour as I believe they have one geared towards children coming shortly!

nature trails at fota

Trabolgan Day Passes

Lucky for us we live only a half an hour from Trabolgan and so we can make regular day trips with the kids. Trabolgan was one of my own favourite spots as a kid and I love to watch the kid’s excitement when we head down there now. Trabolgan day passes are great value as you get a full day of fun so get down early and plan it out beforehand!

family fun in east cork

Trabolgan Holiday Village is located on over 140 acres of woodland beside the sea, 30 mins from Cork city and operates as a holiday camp or day visitor attraction.

Trabolgan Cork

Family Things to Do at Trabolgan

We normally start at the playground so kids can have a run around and I a coffee. One word of advice take a good look at the activities timetable for the day at this stage as there may be shows that you want to see and some of the activities have specific time slots. I prefer to organise our swimming around the shows as the kids will be starving after swimming and you can get lunch into them while watching a show.

days out cork

There is a glass roof over the main outdoor area and the main stage is under this so if you get a fine day like we did last week it is was perfect to sit outside and relax while actually enjoying a picnic while being entertained.

Trabolgan day passes

Our next port of call is normally the swimming pool and with the waves and slide we normally pass away an hour or two here. The water was actually quite warm last week and I was pleasantly surprised with the renovations in this area. There is new flooring running throughout the changing area and a new seated area for those who wishing to sit this one out.

trabolgan day trips

After our picnics we head back to the playground for a walk out towards the water area. However, last week I stumbled across the duck pond which has been developed into a nature area. It is a gorgeous spot to sit with a prompt board to encourage children to search the surroundings for little titbits of nature. I am glad to see Trabolgan  making use of their gorgeous natural setting more.

family activities in east cork

The sports centre houses a jungle gym (admission included in the day pass) and a coffee shop for more hours of fun and it is here you can buy tickets to any of the TAS activities. You can also use your day pass for these instead of the swimming pool but to be honest we would not do these everytime as there is so much without having to include them.

play centres near midleton

Places to Eat in Trabolgan

At this stage we would head back down for another show as they are normally getting quite tired. A great way to end the day is Sally O’Hara’s Restaurant in the main square so I don’t have to cook when we get home and I know they will be starving after going all day so they will eat a belly full. Along with the main menu a carvery is available which is brilliant for the kids. There is a family special at the moment of €45 for two adults and two kids. I have never been disappointed with the food here and they have excellent coeliac choices. The staff are extremely friendly and always so accommodating.

eating out trabolgan

Other dining options are Costa Coffee for a quick snack or Big Als@Casey’s Fast Food so there is something for everyone!

places to eat near trabolgan

Downsides

I am delighted with the renovations they are doing every year but I hope they might add new shower cubicles some time soon as I am not too fond with the open showers!

trabolgan activities

Final Thoughts

At the moment the Trabolgan day passes are €12 per person/ €50 for a family pass which is outstanding value as you can have one of the main activities which are swimming, crazy golf, birds of prey, TAS (Trabolgan Adventure Sports). Follow Trabolgan on facebook and keep an eye on their website as there are always doing offers on Trabolgan day passes. Click here for more.

activities in trabolgan

What the Kids Said about Trabolgan

“Next time we go we are staying so we can do more stuff”

For more information please click here!

Family Breaks Clare

Clare is a county that has been ingrained in my brain as a place of fun, sea, sand and holidays as we were brought to this beautiful county time and time again as a child. I still love to make a trip here when I can as I always feel the minute you go over the border cars slow down and the relaxed way of life embraces you.

Family Fun in Co. Clare

When we think “Family Breaks Clare“, the first thing that usually comes to mind is surfing in Lahinch, Aillwee Caves and The Cliffs of Mohar but if that was not enough there is so much more in this county such as:

~Irish Seaweed SafariThe Irish Seaweed Safari is an experience not to be missed! Join the 4th generation Seaweed Foragers and enjoy the spectacular shore walk from the rugged coastline of Caherush meandering along the shoreline enjoying nostalgic views looking out on Spanish Point Bay along with the spectacular Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands.

~ Trip to Aran Islands -Sail to the Aran Islands or Cruise under the Cliffs of Moher ! Daily sailings to the Aran Islands from Doolin. Visit the spectacular Dún Aengus fort on Inis Mor, get away from it all on Inis Meain or take a quick trip to the smallest one – the beautiful island of Inis Oirr. Or take a Cruise under the Cliffs of Moher. Admire the scale and majestic beauty of the Cliffs of Moher on a 1 hour voyage of discovery.

~ Bunratty Castle – Bunratty Castle & Folk Park is a must on your itinerary to Ireland. This is your chance to experience a window on Ireland’s past and explore the acclaimed 15th century Bunratty Castle and the 19th century Bunratty Folk Park.

family breaks clare

~ Explore the Burren – The Burren National Park is located in the southeastern corner of the Burren and is approximately 1500 hectares in size. The Park land was bought by the Government for nature conservation and public access. It contains examples of all the major habitats within the Burren: Limestone Pavement, Calcareous grassland, Hazel scrub, Ash/hazel woodland, Turloughs, Lakes, Petrifying springs, cliffs and Fen

~ Cliff Coastal Walk – Beyond the grounds of the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience you can now explore a new 20km coastal walking trail in Clare which will bring you along one of the most outstanding landscapes of Ireland. From LIscannor and Hags Head in the south, along by the majestic Cliffs of Moher and to Doolin in the North, with views over Aill Na Searrach, the Aran Islands and Galway Bay. The trail follows the line of the cliffs and passes through the grounds of the visitor centre. The trail starts on road from Liscannor where you will witness theamazing views of the Cliffs, the famous Aran Islands, Kerry mountains, Galway Bay, O’Briens Tower and the thousands of seabirds make the Cliffs a magical place. Talking telescopes are dotted along the paths as you go.

~ Caving – Doolin Cave is home to the Great Stalactite. At 7.3 metres (23feet) it is the longest free-hanging stalactite in the Northern Hemisphere. The Great Stalactite, suspended from the ceiling like a chandelier, is truly astounding. Visitors can hardly believe that it was formed from a single drop of water over thousands of years. Extend the adventure from underground to over ground following a charming Farmland Nature Trail that takes a looped walk around the cave setting.

~ Dolphin Watching – On the western seaboard of Ireland there are places where the distinction between land and sea is blurred. The west Clare peninsula in County Clare, guarding the northern shore of the Shannon estuary is one such place. The Shannon estuary is home to Ireland’s only resident group of bottlenose dolphins. Over 100 dolphins have been identified using the estuary at different times; calves are born each year and are usually encountered.

~ Rock Climbing – The Burren climbing area is beautiful, with amazing cliffs and spectacular views and climbing instruction for all levels.  With a large number of indoor climbing walls developing around the country, there is an increasing interest in trying it out on the real thing.

family breaks clare

Music for Families in Co. Clare

I think we all know Clare can boost of her nature credentials and stunning beauty but it is also a place rich in culture as around every corner there is a trad festival or trad music nights to enjoy. It is a place where you can bring children to enjoy these fabulous sounds and events often with live music during the day. While my children don’t normally see the inside of a pub from one end of the year to the next I love to bring them in to see a session and Clare is the perfect spot to do so. Some of the great pubs renowned for their sessions would be:

~ Gus O’Connors Pub, Doolin

~ The Roadside Tavern, Lisdoonvarna

~ Brogan’s Bar, Ennis

~ Vaaughan’s Pub, Kilfernora

The most famous Trad festival in Clare has to be Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy taking place every year on the first year of July. It is a week-long summer school of Irish traditional music, song and dance, incorporating tuition, lectures, recitals, concerts and céilithe. Thousands decend on the small town of Milltown Malbay every year and it is a mecca of traditional players from across the globe.

family breaks clare

The long, mild afternoons at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy are devoted to lectures on the various aspects of Irish traditional music heritage and its connections with mainland Europe and North America. There are recitals each evening showcasing the instruments taught at the school, performances in traditional song and dance, and céilithe nightly. The serious work of tuition is complemented by the festival atmosphere in hotels, pubs and on the streets, as students, locals and visitors celebrate Irish traditional music. It’s simply perfect for lovers of music, history, and the craic agus ceol. If you enjoy trad music and are looking for something different look not further than this as one of the top family breaks Clare.

Places to Stay in Co. Clare

When looking for places to stay you will have plenty of choice for the family in the following hotels never mind all the camp sites available:

~ The Inn at Dromoland

~ The Falls Hotel

~ Tracey’s West County

~ The Armada Hotel

So when you are thinking about your next break away there is something for everyone in Clare and that’s I would consider family breaks Clare to one of the best.

 

Indoor Treasure Hunt Ideas

Indoor Treasure Hunt Ideas

When looking for inspiration for Indoor Treasure Hunt Ideas you simply make clues about ordinary indoor objects. Since your home may have more than one of some of these objects, the kids may have to check out more than one location before they find the next clue. That makes the game last longer, gives them more exercise and adds to the fun. We have prepared some ready made clues for you or use as inspiration to create your own.

Indoor Treasure Hunt Ideas

  1. I have four legs, but I don’t have feet.
    I come in handy when it’s time to eat. – Kitchen or dining table
  2. My job is to put an end to sleep,
    Which I do with music, a buzz or a beep. – Alarm clock
  3. For fast heating or cooking, I am tops.
    And, oh, that good smell when my popcorn pops! – Microwave
  4. Flour and sugar and coffee and tea,
    I keep these handy but hard to see. – Kitchen canisters
  5. I can take you to places you’ve never seen,
    But first type your password in on my screen. – Computer
  6. I’m loaded and unloaded, but I’m not a truck.
    Having a helper like me is a great piece of luck. – Dishwasher
  7. I rain on you when you need a scrub.
    I’m very much like my friend the tub. – Shower
  8. I make it possible to have fresh food.
    Everyone agrees, I’m one cool dude. – Fridge
  9. Watching your favorites is lots of fun.
    But don’t watch too much! Kids need to run. – TV
  10. I never get angry but I do get hot.
    I’m the perfect place for a pan or a pot. – Cooker
  11. It’s my job to give all your clothes a tumble,
    Which I do while making a bit of a rumble. – Tumble Dryer
  12. I have a handle and also a lock.
    Visitors and delivery men may give me a knock. – Front Door
  13. I’m one part chair and one part bed.
    Up with your feet and down with your head. – Recliner
  14. I take your clothes for quite a spin.
    But first they get wet. That’s how I begin. – Washing Machine
  15. I’m filled with feathers or other soft fluff.
    To sleep without me can be quite tough. – Pillow
  16. Turn me on and I’ll give you a light.
    I’m used some in the daytime but mostly at night. – Light Switch
  17. A story, they say, can take you away,
    But a book still needs a place to stay. – Book Shelf
  18. I have drawers and also a nice flat top.
    For homework I’m helpful — Keep working. Don’t stop! – Desk
  19. I’m hungry! I’m hungry! Please feed me a slice.
    I’ll spit it back out all brown and nice. – Toaster
  20. I’m not a selfie, but I do show faces.
    Find me in bathrooms and a few other places. – Mirror
  21. Adults like it when they first wake
    And at other times when they need a break.  – kettle/Coffee Machine
  22. Most every day, you step on me.
    All I require is a bend of your knee. – Stairs
  23. I’m paper, but I’m not used for writing a letter.
    The spot by your potty suits me much better!  – Toilet Paper
  24. I have hands but no arms and also a face.
    And my hands always move at the same steady pace. – Clock
  25. The more I dry, the wetter I get.
    A little one can be used for soaking up sweat. – Towel
  26. I’m never wicked, but I do have a wick.
    I come in all sizes, from skinny to thick. – Candle

Indoor Treasure Hunt Ideas

Make one set of clues for every player, each clue leading to the next one and, finally, to the treasure. Seal them in envelopes marked with a clue number (i.e., 2/7, or “two of seven”); this will help the treasure hunters keep track. Whoever solves the clues first and finds the treasure is the winner. You don’t have to go mad with a prize, simply an IOU for a movie(another of the rainy day activities for kids), maybe a cache of coins (regular or chocolate) or my favourite, no chores today/free pass for dishwasher duties are all cause for more fun in your home. You could also have your kids play as a team to solve the clues—and uncover the treasure—together. This works better when you have younger ones or if they have been fighting earlier…..

Clue

Indoor Treasure Hunt Ideas for Younger Kids

If you kids are too young to read you can create another type of treasure hunt by taking pictures of odd nooks and crannies or objects as above in your home. Print out the pictures and place them as you would any other clues.

Fun Family Activities to Prevent the Summer Slide

family activitiesEven the best students can suffer from the ugliness of summer slide by finding themselves regressed in their scholastic abilities. Sixty days of break from the academic routine can do that to any one and it is a universal problem rarely acknowledged. In spite of it being an issue, there are several ways to deal with it and of helping your child by not letting them become victim of brain rust.

Over the years it has been discovered that there are tons of family activities that can let the kids have all the fun they want without letting their brains idle. Here are some ideas for parents who want to save their children from this summer outbreak:

1.   Trips to Libraries:

If the parents succeed to instigate the habit of reading in their kids, then they can forever say goodbye to the dreadfulness of summer slide. Not only is reading one of the most fun family activities for the erudite but it also helps the kids and adults develop their vocabulary, maintain their reading skills, and even learn about many new topics depending on their choice of book. Remember, the legendary Anne Frank and her family remained in hiding for more than two years but their regular reading and analysis kept their mind as revived as ever.

2.   Food Adventures:

Another interesting fun family activity includes going on a family trip to farms, bringing back the fresh greens and cooking up a storm in the kitchen all the while educating your child on fruits, vegetable, and their benefits. Furthermore, the process of cooking itself includes measuring, reading labels, dividing, setting the timers and other small tasks that will keep the kids in touch with their math and reading skills.

3.   Reading at the world’s end:

It doesn’t matter where the family activity plans have taken you and your folks to. As long as you make your children read billboards, signs, cereal boxes, pamphlets and recipes they’ll stay safe from summer slides. You can even develop their speaking and presenting skills and help them learn new language by encouraging them to speak with the locals in their language.

4.   Make them Write:

Writing a diary can help with many things at once and help your child become better with spellings, grammar, history and even math when they write every single detail of their adventures on the blank pages of their diary.  It can become a family activity as everyone shares their writing at the end of the day and help the other become better at it with creative criticisms. Reviewing a book, telling their diary about an interesting history fact they leaned or studying someone and writing about it can develop a lot more than their writings skills.

5.   Summer Camps:

Enroll your child into summer camps where they can not only enjoy some fun activities but also take advantage of the camp’s nature of expertise where the sports, math, and science enthusiasts can satisfy their scholastic cravings.

If you are looking for some great opportunities of family activities, then check out these packages to make your family vacations memorable without making your kids suffer.

Kids Activities – 5 Reasons Why a Family Holiday Is More Important Than You Think

kids activitiesIf you think late shifts, double jobs, hectic schedule, demanding boss and challenging tasks at work is turning your brain into a mush then know that you are not the only one. Look around you and pay attention to the youngsters in the house. If you are suffering then they are probably suffering too, perhaps even more than you.

Despite the fact that kids are bright and upbeat, their mind needs refuelling and a human mind rejuvenates only with some time off with family and interesting kids activities. Don’t believe it? Here are reasons that will convince you otherwise:

1.   It Creates a Strong Bond:

Arguments, hard feelings, and grievances are normal instances in a family, but what is not so normal is leaving these issues unresolved. When parents and kids travel together, not only a new place and new scenarios give them a better perspective, but it also creates a strong bond between the parents and the kids. That issue that you haven’t been able to talk about for months can easily be resolved over a hike in the forest.

2.   Educational for the kids:

There are so many ways of educating the youngsters and interesting kid activities have proved to be far more effective. Reading about a way of life is one thing but taking your kids to explore these foreign people in their far flung lands and experiencing it in flesh and bone is a whole new level of learning.  Family holidays can be fun and educational at the same time as it tickles that part of the brain that remains unexercised when staying at home.

3.   A Temporary Split from the Technology:

The kids’ unhealthy obsession with the technology needs to stop and the only way to succeed at it is by involving them in kids activities that are adventurous and physical in nature. It would be advantageous for the kids to actually socialize and meet real people without the medium of a screen between them.

4.   Social and Emotional Development:

Sometimes young people need to be involved in kid’s activities just for the sake of being kids. School, activities, sports and homework are done for career, for better future, and to be better students. But family holidays allow the kids to just splash in the water or to skate in the rink without having to be worried about embarrassment or losing. The unplanned, unstructured, and rough games play an important role in the growth of kids’ social and emotional health.

5.   Personality makeover:

Kids that are thought as quiet by their peers end up becoming that way and the one who is thought to be different ends up sticking out like a sore thumb. Not because that’s how they are but because that’s what everyone expects from them. When kids step out of a habitual place and go far away from familiar faces, they experience freedom and a chance to ask what they want for themselves. This time away allows them to discover and reinvent themselves.

Every child needs some time off from the routinely tasks and must be allowed to engage in vigorous kids activities. You can check out some family break ideas and packages to give your child the freedom they need.

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