How to make your home spook-tacular for Halloween

How to make your home spook-tacular for Halloween

It’s time to make the most of this spooky month and, seeing as we’re halfway through October, what better time to look for some spine-tingling inspiration to get your home ready for All Hallows Eve.

So sit back, grab your broomstick and release your inner Addams Family ready for our top home accessory picks – if you dare!

 

Halloween Pumpkin Bauble Fairy Lights / £10.99 / TESCO Direct

 

Image credit: Tesco

Image credit: Tesco

These gloriously ghoulish pumpkins make a cosy addition to any Halloween home. Drape across the fireplace for a warm seasonal glow, or hang on your windows on the 31st to welcome Trick-or-Treaters.

Large Silver Terracotta Pumpkin / £5 / Wilko

 

Image credit: Wilko

Image credit: Wilko

 

Pumpkins. We like to think of them as the Christmas Tree of Halloween – who’s with us? If you are looking for a pumpkin that you can use every year then this silver-effect candle holder is the perfect addition to a spooky home.

Large Halloween Glass Skull with Cork / £5 / John Lewis

 

Image credit: John Lewis

 

Looking for a gothic alternative to the humble wine glass when hosting your fabulous Halloween party this year? Surprise your guests with these eccentric glass skulls, great for holding whatever delicious cocktail you are planning. If you find them too pretty to use as drinkware then they make fantastic table pieces.

 

Autumnal Wreath / £30 / John Lewis

 

Image credit: John Lewis

 

Who said wreaths can only be used at Christmas? We love this seasonal addition that could easily feature in the location of one of our favourite Disney films, ‘Halloween Town’ (no, we haven’t forgotten Hocus Pocus).

 

Autumn Garland / £12.25(+shipping) / Etsy

 

Image credit: Etsy

Image credit: Etsy

How glorious is this autumnal garland? Handmade with alternating ¾ inch mustard, cream, pumpkin, brown and moss balls – these will add a dash of colour to your fireplace or shelves. We are in love!

How do you like to decorate your home for Halloween? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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The Mustard Trend – Our Top Five Picks

The Mustard Trend – Our Top Five Picks

One of our favourite colours used throughout 2017 has been the stunning mustard trend that came straight off the Spring/Summer catwalk and straight into our homes.

From luxurious throws to striking mid-century style furniture, let’s take a peek at how you can incorporate this look into your seasonal décor with our top autumnal picks…

Mustard Throw / IKEA / £15

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Image credit: IKEA

This cosy throw would look fantastic mixed with a navy colour palette. If you’re a Farrow and Ball fan then ‘Hague Blue’ is the paint choice to go for. Team with mustard accessories and vintage furniture for a bold, Scandinavian vibe.

Floor Lamp / MADE / £79

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Image Credit: MADE

Lights…camera…ACTION! Combining industrial chic with sleek modern design, this statement lamp is the perfect on-trend design for those looking for a minimalist movie star home appearance.

Armchair / Maisons Du Monde / £145.50

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Image Credit: Maisons Du Monde

Described as ‘cocoon-like and cosy’ this fabulously retro armchair is the perfect brightly coloured addition to your living room. We particularly like this matched with grey walls. Try Dulux ‘Tranquil Retreat’ for an affordable yet stylish hue.

Moroccan Tile Lampshade / Not On The High Street / £45

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Image Credit: Not On The High Street

If mid-century modern isn’t your preference, take a look at this vibrant Moroccan lamp from Not on the High Street. A contemporary take on North African patterns, this lampshade would look stunning with teal, royal blue or soft pinks. Who said we need to say goodbye to summer so soon?

World Map / Etsy / £6.46

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Image Credit: Etsy

Been on an amazing gap year? Or are you simply lusting over travelling the world one day? If you’re looking for a cool and modern style without waiting for delivery, this digital print is just a snip at £6.46. Where is your dream destination?

Are you embracing the mustard trend this season? Let us know what you have been loving in the comments below!

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Five unusual ways to bring colour to your kitchen

For families who spend a lot of time together in their kitchen, it is important to take the time to create a space that perfectly matches the household’s personality and way of living. If you are looking to add some much-needed energy and life into the room, including vibrant and vivid colours can be a great way to go about creating a lively space that the whole family enjoys.

Take a look at these five inventive ways to add splashes of colour into your kitchen:

  1. Colour pop appliancesretro kitchen

Make large kitchen appliances the focal point by opting for bright items that add cheery pops of colour to the room. Many fridges and cookers are now available in a wide range of shades, and when paired with stainless steel or neutral tones, can help you to create a cheerful and energetic atmosphere.

 

  1. Bright and unusual splashbacks

Splashbacks are often only thought about in terms of practicality. However, why not steer clear of the status quo and look for bright glass tiles, decorative steel sheets or even patterned tile decals and inject a hit of colour into your kitchen?

 

  1. Display your kitchenalia with open shelving

This idea can seem a little terrifying, after all how will you be able to hide your clutter? In order to do so stylishly, pick a few choice areas to place open shelving and select your most colourful crockery, dishes, bottles and glasses to display so that you can bring a slice of the rainbow to your cooking space.

 

  1. Statement countertops

If you are looking for a way to add a feature colour to your kitchen, why not opt for a bright countertop? For a contemporary look, select a statement shade such as pink, yellow or orange and pair with wooden cabinets.

 

Alternatively, if you want to add a touch of luxury, choose a granite countertop in a striking deep tone. What makes granite special is the intricate patterns that can be found within the stone. Sat against bright white walls or cabinets, it can help you to make a beautifully bold and colourful statement.

chalk board walls

  1. Creative chalkboard walls

For those wanting to bring a little fun into their kitchen, why not paint a wall with chalkboard paint? Not only is it perfect for writing reminders and shopping lists, but it can be a great opportunity to let your creative juices flow. If you have a young family, the children will love being able to create chalk masterpieces and any big kids will have just as much fun drawing their own doodles!

For some, incorporating bright colours into your kitchen design can seem daunting. If you’re feeling nervous, think small to begin with and pick out a few bold accessories to add to your space. Once you start to see the energy that these brighter shades can bring, there is no doubt that you will want to add even more flashes of colour into the hardest working room in the home.

 

 

 

AUTHOR BIO: Ashleigh Harman writes for Britannia Living. Famous for their collection of iconic range cookers, customers can use the Britannia Colourange tool to create statement range cookers in any shade, providing people with the opportunity to create kitchens that are truly unique.

 

Image Credits: FlickrFlickr

 

 

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#SpringCleanSOS – The shortlist
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#SpringCleanSOS – The shortlist

Despite the weather being far too cold for this time of year, our sponsors, Keepmoat, marked the arrival of spring with our #SpringCleanSOS competition. Hosted on its social media channels, they invited their online community to share the spring cleaning challenges they dare not tackle – from messy rooms, cluttered cupboards and grubby gardens – all to be in with the chance of winning a top of the range Dyson.

After much deliberation, the Keepmoat judging panel has picked its shortlist of finalists and now it’s over to you to choose your overall winner. Check out the entries below and visit the Keepmoat Facebook page to cast your vote.

‘My oven needs some serious TLC’

We agree that this oven is definitely a spring clean challenge and a half! Nobody enjoys the dreaded task of scrubbing the oven for hours on end.

springcleanSOS My oven certainly needs some TLC 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘I keep having to pick up floor omelettes, it’s exhausting!’

We love this artistic photo of an adorable little boy looking innocent after dropping eggs on the kitchen floor. I’m sure most parents out there will be able to sympathise with cleaning up after the children all day!

I keep having to clean up floor Omelettes -its egghausting 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Our new flat…’

We feel their pain! Facing the task of redecorating, repairing and cleaning a new home can be daunting (something Keepmoat knows all about) – it just takes some hard work and elbow grease, we promise!

Our new flat.....#SpringCleanSOS 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Daughter’s bedroom – I have not been brave enough to tackle this!’

We definitely don’t envy this peeved parent! Having to live with this mess cannot be fun. And we’re sure that trying to encourage their daughter to clean it herself is even more of a challenge! Good luck mum!

Daughter's Bedroom- I have not been brave enough to tackle this 1

 

 

 

 

 

‘Try keeping on top of this kitty’s fur, it’s everywhere’

At Keepmoat we’ve fallen in love with this furry feline, although we certainly don’t love the thought of having to constantly clean up all of its moulting, matted fur!

try keeping on top of this kittys fur its everywhere 1

 

 

 

 

 

Voting closes this Friday at 5pm so don’t forget to vote for your favourite on our Facebook page!

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Giving your summer garden the wow factor
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Giving your summer garden the wow factor

We all know that, with the summer on the way, we need to get out into the garden and begin to trim, prune and prepare those outdoor spaces after months of neglect over the winter. It might seem like a thankless job, however when the warm weather arrives and the barbecue season kicks off, you’ll be glad to have a spot in which you can relax and entertain. If you’re wanting to go that extra mile this year and truly make your garden a haven for entertaining guests, here are some of our favourite creative additions.

Keeping warm

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We all know that, even on the warmest of summer days, once the sun sets the inevitable chill will hit. If you want to keep your outdoor party going long into the night, why not make a statement, rather than opt for the standard garden parasol? A fire pit can become the centre piece of your garden, whilst also being functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Creative furniture

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Speaking of garden centrepieces, we’d like to think that over the coming month, the outdoor table will see plenty of use (although given the UK’s weather, who knows?) What better way to impress guests than to get inventive with your outdoor furniture?

Garden structures

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Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 10.31.42

Feel like your garden is just a bit drab? Nothing to get excited about and no area in particular is perfect for relaxing? Just one small addition of a garden structure, such as a pergola can make a huge impact and add a real point of interest to your space.

Outdoor cooking

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 10.32.01

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 10.32.45

We all love cooking up a storm on the barbecue, and nothing quite makes us feel like summer has arrived like the smell of grilled burgers and sausages wafting through the air. Rather than having to endure the embarrassment of bringing out a tiny disposable barbecue, invest in an area to cook that will really add to your garden, and stand the test of time.

Then relax…

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 10.33.16

What’s the real purpose of your garden when the warm weather hits? It’s a place to lounge in, relax and just soak up the limited warm weather we have. Create a zone in which you can truly unwind, and finally enjoy your summer.

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Spring updates for your living room
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Spring updates for your living room

With winter now behind us, April is the perfect time to give your living room a revamp. We’d all like to hope that, over the summer months, an abundance of sun will mean we spend every free minute basking out in the warm garden. In reality however, it’s fairly safe to say that we won’t be spending all our summer outdoors. Prepare for the coming months by revamping your living room, for when the weather turns grim and you have to move guests and visitors indoors. Here are our top tips for updating your living room to be a bright and breezy summer area.

Feature wall

In many cases, people decorate a room and leave it for numerous years just to avoid the hassle of redecorating. Whilst we aren’t advocating that you do a complete renovation after every passing season, it can make a pleasant change to the feel of your room if you implement, or simply repaint your feature wall. Having a feature wall within your room adds a greater depth to your space, and providing you chose the right colour, it means that you can change the tone of your room from season to season.

Change window coverings

Over the winter months, in an effort to keep out the cold, rain and howling winds, a thick heavy curtain is a great option for dressing your windows. However as the winter comes to an end and the weather picks up, it’s a great decorative idea to switch out your heavy duty curtain for something a little lighter.  In many households, blinds are a popular choice as they’re easy to use, provide the option of allowing in light even when closed, and can also be easy to work around when you have numerous open windows. If you have a curtain rail in place and want to alter the look of your windows over the summer, simply switch for something in a lighter material. It’s amazing how much of a role something as simple as a window decoration can play in the overall feel of your room, so making the most a light delicate window dressing can give your room an uplifting feel of summer.

Plants and flowers

Bring a feel of the summer indoors with some home-grown greenery. Nothing makes a room feel brighter than well chosen plants and flowers, and the injection of life to your room can really improve the overall feel and help you escape the feeling of winter. Don’t overdo it, as you don’t want your room to feel like an indoor greenhouse, however a selection of summer greenery can instantly help your living room.

Summer rug

If you want to add a splash of colour to your room, but don’t want to take any drastic permanent action, then adding something as simple as a spring summer style rug can help to drag your living room out of the winter and into the warmer months. Something like a floral rug can bring a real feel of spring into your room, and paired with another couple of light and bright accessories, it can have a real impact on the feel of your room.

 

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Make your kitchen your own in your first home
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Make your kitchen your own in your first home

Buying your first property can really ignite your creativity, as you have the opportunity to think about how to transform the brand new house into your very own home.

With the kitchen being the heart of any home, it is important to dedicate time to decorating the space to make it somewhere where you feel happy and comfortable. Take a look at some of the things that you should consider when improving the room to help you make it truly your own.

1) Do you have a budget in place?

Setting the right budget is the first important step to take. You need to figure out how much you can actually afford to spend, to help you determine what work can be carried out.

When putting together a budget, every cost should be considered. Units, worktops and appliances, as well as the installation, plumbing and electrics all need to be accounted for. The average cost for a new kitchen is £8,000, but it is crucial to allow for an extra 15% in case you need emergency funding.

2) Should you improve or remove?

Having worked out how much you can afford to spend, consider whether it is best to update your current kitchen or start completely afresh. Take a look at what is there, and make a note of what you do and don’t like, thinking about whether you would want to keep any existing part of your kitchen.

If there are a number of things that you do like, it may be worth looking at ways to update and improve the space around the features. This could help to save you a lot of the time, effort and money that it can take to completely renovate a kitchen.

3) Think about the layout

Look at the layout and walk around the space to gather a rounded perspective of how your kitchen impacts you. Does the layout flow, and will it work well for you personally? Only consider changing the layout of your kitchen if you feel it will be highly beneficial.

If you choose to completely change the arrangement of the room, think about how you will be using the kitchen. Will you need more worktops in certain areas? Will you regularly be hosting dinner parties? Are there certain elements you want to be positioned closely together?

4) Design and decor

Whether your budget allows you to update or replace your kitchen, refreshing the design and decor can help to dramatically improve its look while allowing you to add your own personal touch.

You can revitalise your kitchen by adding a splash of colour. Many different shades work well in the space – bright, deep colours such as red work to stimulate appetite, whereas an all-white kitchen can help to awaken and revitalise. Other colours that work well are blues, greens, yellows and greys.

Changing your lighting can also allow you to add your own style to your kitchen without breaking the bank. Consider spotlights for a modern feel, and pendant designs for a more traditional touch. Make sure you utilise lighting to accentuate areas of the room you’re most proud of – something like a Britannia Living iconic range cooker gives your room a focal point, and with intresting and different designs, can give your room a much needed boost of character.

5) Add a personal touch

Look to add accessories here and there that truly reflect your personality. Artwork, crockery, vases and tableware are all additions that can help to personalise your kitchen and shape your house into your home.

Author Bio:

This article was provided exclusively to First Home News courtesy of Rachel Campbell, a writer with a keen interest in homeware and kitchens.

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Simple steps for decorating your bedroom on a budget

Simple steps for decorating your bedroom on a budget

Moving into your first home is an exciting time. Independence, freedom, the sense of accomplishment. It’s your own space to decorate and get exactly to your liking. Decorating your house for the first time can be daunting task and expensive, so you’ll want to take things one room at a time. To kick things off, we’ll begin with the bedroom and provide our top three tips to keeping within a budget.

Choosing a colour scheme

If, as is the case with many people, you think visually then you may want to start planning on a mood board. This process will help you organise your thoughts so you don’t get overwhelmed. You can physically create this on a cork board using magazine clippings etc. or you can join the modern world and achieve the same effect online for free. With social sites such as Pinterest and Instagram, you can build up a virtual mood board with infinite space and resources.

Colour is everything; you can empty your bank account to make your bedroom look right, but get the colours wrong and you may as well be burning that cash. Make it easy on yourself and use the 3,5,7 rule; this is just a general rule of thumb for placing accessories, artwork and furniture into groups of 3,5 or 7. You can follow this rule when choosing your colours. Begin by choosing your accent colour. Then based on your accent colour, pick two colours that coordinate with it, for example, a forest green accent colour is complemented by baby blue and off white. There are a number of websites you can turn to for colour matching such as Adobe’s Kuler. The benefit of using a colour wheel is that you know the colours are going to complement one another. By choosing colours at random you run the risk of them clashing and later in down the line, so when you begin buying items for your room they won’t work and you’ll have second thoughts.

Choosing a theme

Don’t let the term theme restrict you; a theme could be a style or particular feel you like and want to translate in your room. Your theme should reflect your personality because when it’s all finished you’re the one who should feel comfortable. Your theme doesn’t have to be something loud and garish, and could just be subtle in nature, such as keeping the room light and airy. Similar to having a colour scheme, having a theme will help you be selective with spending money. Visualise your room and keep asking yourself if things fit? Also keep in mind symmetry; you want your room to have balance to it. If you have a lamp on one side of your bed, opt for the same lamp on the other side as well.

The details

The final touches to your bedroom are the clever part, there are so many tricks to save money and it won’t affect the quality or style of your bedroom. The use of wall decals is an inexpensive way to give your room character. Adding cushions is possibly the cheapest way to round off you room, but don’t go too crazy. As a rule, pillows and cushions shouldn’t take up more than half of the bed. Mix it up with different sizes and shapes. If your sticking to the 3,5,7 rule try and employ a level of organisation in the way you display your items to keep it neat and tidy.

It’s all about what you want out of your bedroom, but make sure you don’t skimp on research and planning, as is important that you don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. It’s your room, your space and your choice so have fun with it, and when it’s all finished enjoy it.

This article was kindly provided exclusively to First Home News by Shelly Dawson. Shelly has worked in the home decorating industry for over ten years and loves to write helpful advice articles in her spare time. 

Image used under creative commons courtesy of jinkazamah.

 

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5 ways to bring Morocco to your home
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5 ways to bring Morocco to your home

If luxury and opulence are two words that are appealing to you then why not update your home with a few easy ideas inspired by the streets of Morocco.  Moroccan souks are energetic, lively places that are bursting with vibrant handmade fabrics and intricate lighting and decorations.

Lighting

Playing around with lighting throughout your home is a sure fire way of being able to create a relaxing atmosphere. By incorporating colourful Moroccan lamps to your home, you can decorate your home while brightening up the place. Another way of adding soft lighting is by placing intricate candle holders around the house to help you wind down in the evenings. Using scented candles is a definite plus for turning your house into your home.

Fabrics

If comfort and luxury is what you want in your home then soft furnishing is a good way to start. Why not try stacking mismatch cushions in the living and bedroom or using colourful scarves to decorate the walls?  Experimenting with different textures such as silks throws and velvets can help to add to a luxurious feel. Pouffes are also an easy way of incorporating a Moroccan theme at home and are also a favourite with the kids. If you prefer a more minimalistic approach then having simple décor with a Persian rug could be the way for you.

Mirrors

Adding metallic framed mirrors work well to give an illusion of a bigger and brighter space. Silver and copper frames with engraved patterns help to add to an ethnic vibe. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try mirrored furniture that while further enhance any soft lighting that you’ve incorporated.

Metals

Metals such as copper and silverwork are commonly seen in Moroccan décor and kitchenware. Tea glasses, candles holders and silver plates are an easy way to incorporate this. Charity shops are a good place to hunt for silverware for cheap while bringing something unique to your home.

Colour Schemes

Bright colours are at the forefront of Moroccan themed décor where rich purples, oranges and metallic are used in fabrics for a luxurious effect. For a fresh modern twist for summer, you could use bright and neutral colours while integrating Moroccan references in artwork or furnishing.

Try the trend for yourself and see which Moroccan trends you can bring into your home this springtime.

Image credit: Jon Olav Eikenes: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jonolave/

 

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Adding a splash of colour for spring
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Adding a splash of colour for spring

Decorating, changing how a room looks and being able to put your personal stamp on it is one of the most enjoyable aspects of homeowning. But be warned, if you’re a first-timer because decorating it can be a potential nightmare if you don’t do your homework first. You risk either starting and then giving up half-way through, or doing a botch job. So if you’re thinking of finally taking on that magnolia coloured living room, here’s some advice.

Before you start

Don’t forget your tools and materials. Buying an initial stock of supplies can be pricey so shop around at places like B&Q, Homebase and Wickes. Remember you don’t necessarily need to buy top brand paint. You will need, at the very minimum:

  • Dust sheets (or you could use old bed sheets or curtains)
  • A roller and tray (or you could try a paint pad)
  • A selection of paintbrushes
  • Paint – emulsion for the walls, gloss or eggshell for woodwork
  • Masking tape to put round sockets and skirting boards

You may also need

  • Filler and a filling knife
  • Safety goggles
  • A shower cap or a head scarf
  • A radiator brush and roller
  • White spirit
  • A roller extension
  • Undercoat / primer
  • Sugar scrub
  • Paint stripper
  • Sandpaper

You might not envision it being a big job, however it’ll certainly take a chunk of hours out of your day. Painting takes longer than you think, so set aside a decent amount of time in which to do it. If you’re painting a large area, it may prove useful to break it down into sections.

Don’t skip the cleaning and dusting. The walls need to be clean before you start applying paint, so don’t forget to get the duster out. Next, wash them using either detergent or sugar soap. Rinse afterwards and wait until they’re dry before you start painting. You may also need to fill in holes and cracks.

Don’t leave your furniture unprotected. In fact, try to clear the room as much as you can. If anything can’t be moved, cover it with a sheet. You should also cover the floor. It’s surprising how far paint can travel.

Don’t wear your favourite clothes and don’t leave your hair uncovered. Getting paint out of your hair or off your favourite top is tricky, so cover up.

During

Don’t just slap some paint on a random part of the wall. Work systematically from the ceiling, to the walls and lastly the woodwork.

Don’t assume that one coat will do. Unless you’re using a product like Dulux Once, you will need at least two coats, and then it depends on what colour you’re painting with. Leave plenty of time for the paint to dry in-between coats. Don’t keep the windows and doors shut; the fumes and smell are quite pungent, so make sure you consider ventilation.

Afterwards

Don’t leave the paintbrushes and roller tray to dry solid. Clean them properly and store them in a safe place for next time. Admire the view.

Finally

Pat yourself on the back, sit yourself down and admire your work. Sometimes it feels like it takes longer to do the preparation than it does to do the actual painting, but it’s worth it in the end.

 

Photo Credit: khrawlings via Compfight cc

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