With its soft, sophisticated scent, this utterly chic natural fragrance is the perfect gift for mothers-to-be and more

Olfaction, or sense of smell, is one of our most powerful senses. Scents and fragrances have the ability to conjure long-forgotten memories, transport us to another time or place, and even influence how we physically feel.

For women, this sensitivity can increase heartily when pregnant. As many of those expecting or with children will know, this can be both a good and bad thing, when the merest whiff of something they would usually find pleasant becomes unbearable. 

It was with this in mind that Frances Shoemack of natural perfume house Abel Odor and Emily Gray of organic children’s clothing brand Gray Label, came together with perfumer Dr. Fanny Grau to create Nurture — an Eau de Parfum made with specially selected ingredients that celebrate and cater to motherhood. 

With its sophisticated blend of 100 percent natural ingredients, including calming rose, uplifting orange, anti-nausea ginger and grounding sandalwood, Nurture has a soft, glowing heart note.

Originally launched in 2018, what the scent’s creators hadn’t expected was that it would become so popular with not just mothers-to-be, but all kinds of women — and men, too. As of this week, it has been re-released to more inclusively cater to all those who choose to wear it.

Left: Abel Odor founder Frances Shoemack.

“Nurture wearers are devoted fans not just because of its therapeutic properties, which transcend beyond motherhood, but also because it is a beautiful, sophisticated scent,” says Abel Odor founder Shoemack.

As all three women involved in its creation are mothers themselves, they were familiar with the “huge emotional journey” of early motherhood — the scent’s Nose Dr. Grau even developed Nurture while pregnant with her second son. While it’s often, understandably, the new arrival that gets showered with gifts, Nurture is a reminder that carers of all kind deserve treating too.

Shoemack, a New Zealander, founded Abel Odor while living in Amsterdam in 2013 when she was unable to find a perfume that was natural, contemporary, stylish and long-lasting. Since then, the brand has become internationally renowned for its unisex scents that are 100 percent plant-derived and vegan — as well as boasting a luxurious yet minimal aesthetic. Shoemack returned to Aotearoa in 2020 and now bases operations in Wellington, although Abel Odor remains globally focused. 

“‘Inclusion’ is a bandied-about term, but we think if you love a scent, you should buy it and wear it,” says Shoemack of this popular release. “While, at its heart, Nurture was created for mothers, with the re-launch it’s inviting anyone who connects with the fragrance to feel comfortable making it their own. After this year, everyone needs a bit of nurturing.”

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Denizen Everyday Heroes 2021: Auckland’s favourite children’s entertainment venue, as voted by you

While lockdowns have been hard for us all, it has meant our little ones could be missing a sense of adventure and play during the days. Create some sparkle for them again by visiting one of Auckland’s favourite entertainment venues as they re-open. Let go of some self-imposed parental pressure, and let the experts do what they do best.

The 2021 Denizen Everyday Heroes saw over 12,000 votes cast in support of local businesses, with the aim of shining a light on the people and places whose services make each day brighter. Here are Auckland’s favourite children’s entertainment venues, as voted by our readers. Visiting one of the below is sure to bring smiles to all parties involved.

MOST VOTED: Archie Brothers, Newmarket
This entertainment emporium is designed for hours of fun-filled activities with over 65 gaming machines, bumper cart lanes, a bowling alley and an American-style diner. While a bar opens in the evening for adults, during the day the bright, spinning lights of Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq is a child-friendly space for all to enjoy. Book in for the upcoming silly season, and you can soon unleash your inner child as your family gets to feel the excitement of going head-to-head in air hockey or hoops.

HONOURABLE MENTION: Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland CBD
As a cultural leader in New Zealand, the Auckland Art Gallery is a catalyst for ideas. Its educational programmes for children of all ages ensure they can engage each stage of the next generation of bright minds. The Creative Learning Centre and the Gallery Games, in particular, help young ones relate to the art around them. The Auckland Art Gallery is now open, with social distancing measures in place.

HONOURABLE MENTION: Auckland War Memorial Museum, Parnell
The Auckland War Memorial Museum is one of New Zealand’s first Museums, telling the story of us within its impressive neo-classical columns. Broaden young minds with its innovative educational experiences, including inclusive exhibitions and activity programmes. Situated in the Domain, there are also excellent hills to roll down during a lunch break. The Auckland Museum is open now, with slightly reduced showings.

The rest of the best…

MOTAT, Western Springs

Whoa! Studios, Henderson

Butterfly Creek & Rocket Ropes, Mangere

Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium, Orakei

Tree Adventures, Woodhill Forest

Rainbow’s End, Manukau

Holey Moley, Auckland CBD

Clip ‘N Climb, Balmoral

Snowplanet, Silverdale

Paradice Ice Skating, Avondale & Botany

Uptown Bounce, Grey Lynn

Action Ninja World, Matakana

Gravity Trampoline Park, Manukau & Mt Wellington

Flip ‘N Fly Circus School, Eden Terrace

My Wonderland, Albany

VR Voom, Khyber Pass

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Make the most of your next big catch with this unbeatable fish taco recipe

Traditional Mexican tacos are universally tasty — made so by virtue of the fact that each one can be made to suit individual tastes. In this recipe (one of our favourites), fish is used as a light base for the taco filling, while a focus on fresh ingredients render the morsels healthy enough to justify a second margarita (or third).

Fish Tacos with Slaw, Mango Salsa and Avocado & Lime Dressing Recipe
Makes enough for six tacos.

Ingredients:

Fish
½ cup coconut milk
Juice of one lime
1 tsp of red chilli powder
½ teaspoon of sea salt
Approx. 350 grams of fresh snapper

Slaw
¼ cup of mayo
Juice of 1 lime
A handful of freshly chopped coriander, plus a little extra to garnish
Half a purple cabbage, shredded
Salt & pepper to taste

Mango salsa
1 large mango, peeled and cut into 1cm pieces
½ cup coriander, chopped
½ small red onion, finely chopped
1 packet of grape tomatoes, halved
1 fresh chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
Lime juice and salt to taste

Avocado & lime dressing (optional)
1 avocado
1 clove garlic
½ lime, squeezed
¼ tsp of sea salt
3 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup greek yoghurt
¼ cup water

Essential:
1 pack of Tio Pablo Authentic corn tortillas
, or similar

Method:
1. Whisk the coconut milk, lime juice, chilli powder, and salt together.
2. Add the snapper until evenly coated before placing in the fridge to marinate for 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the slaw by mixing the mayo, lime juice and coriander. Then throw in the shredded cabbage and season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. To make the avocado and lime dressing, blitz in a food processor until smooth. You can store this in an air-tight mason jar in the fridge for up to 5 days.

5. For the mango salsa, mix all the chopped ingredients together in a bowl. Wait until the last moment to squeeze the lime on, so it doesn’t ‘cook’ the coriander.
6. Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Remove the snapper from the marinade and pan fry until opaque, approximately 3 to 5 minutes per side. Let rest for 5 minutes before flaking with a fork.
7. If you are making the avocado and lime dressing, whizz all the aforementioned ingredients together in a blender.
8. To assemble the tacos, serve the snapper over lightly grilled tortillas with the slaw and avocado dressing. Add a generous squeeze of lime juice and garnish with the mango salsa, plus a little extra coriander.

Image credit: Tabitha Blue

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Gucci Lifestyle creates a sense of magic with a chic collection of stationery, games and travel sets for the festive season

Inspired by the wonderment Creative Director Alessandro Michele would find at a stationery store as a child, Gucci’s latest Lifestyle collection is a true curio. Revealed at the Gucci Cartoleria —an enchanted emporium open during Milano Design Week — notebooks fluttered like birds and chess sets out-played themselves.

To immortalise the crafted collection of parlour games and suave stationery, Max Siedentopf captured the campaign at Castello Sonnino, a historic home of the Medici family. When it comes to entertaining your own family, there are no shortages of stylish surprises. Playing cards, dice sets and notepads are embellished with whimsical Gucci motifs and cased in the House’s supreme canvas or the sustainably-minded Gucci Demetra.

For those drawn to the romance of hand-written letters, there are matching envelopes and cards in letter cases. To write on such precious stationery, Gucci has designed a pen to glide with the power of the ‘divine proportion’. To hold your correspondences down, a selection of glass-domed paperweights have been handcrafted by a chosen Italian glassmaker.

For betting men and women, poker and backgammon sets come in briefcases inspired by working bags from the 70s section of Gucci’s Archive. To look the part as you play, we recommend a pair of silk slippers in the same iconic patterns. Game, set, and what a match.

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The summer shirt is a seasonal staple that ensures you look put-together even when the humidity heightens, and some looks start to go sideways. Crisp cotton styles are a breeze to wear, whether your pair yours tucked into leather skirts, flowing over tailored pants or layered under a statement dress.

While the versatile style is timeless, the trends can be delineated this season by the sleeve length — whether they are long, t-shirt, or simply non-existent. Choose your inner-city confidence boost below.

Left to right: Acne Studio Washed Cotton Sleeveless shirt from Workshop, Louis Vuitton Monogram Stripes Lavaliere blouse, Christian Dior Embroidered Sleeveless blouse, Theory Classic stretch-silk shirt from Net-A-Porter.

Ensuring you keep your cool, sleeveless shirts have a literal edge to them. Smart and contemporary, the collared style may be arms-free but they lend a hand in the street-style stakes.

Left to right: Camilla and Marc Kyra shirt, Christian Dior Chez Moi shirt, Matteau Short Sleeve Silk shirt from Muse Boutique.
Left to right: Louis Vuitton Monogram Ombre Silk top, Camilla and Marc Amaia shirt, The Row Elada oversized cotton-poplin shirt from Net-A-Porter.

Tropical-style shirts have a whole new vocation compared to the ones we used to buy on vacation. With long t-shirt sleeves and the odd pocket, the casual style has been elevated with careful design details. Throw on for a layer of louche luxury.

Left to right: Louis Vuitton Map Print Silk shirt, Loulou Studio Pulau shirt from Workshop, Totême organic cotton shirt from Net-A-Porter.

Business shirts are anything but boring when you look to luxury brands that always have a new design up their sleeve. From classic white and pinstripe to all-encompassing maps of the world, each and every one of these button-downs is a smart update.

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Meet Bunanza, the sweet new micro-bakery specialising in insanely delicious cinnamon buns

While doughnut purveyors have certainly had their moment in the sun, the creator of another sweet doughy treat has caught our beady, brioche-loving eyes — and we’re betting the uptake will be enthusiastic indeed.

Specialising in moist, generously-frosted cinnamon buns, Bunanza was founded by local chef Krista On Hing, and we can attest to her prowess with each doughy delight. On Hing has worked in hospitality for over 16 years, training as a chef in Auckland before cooking at the likes of Meredith’s and, most recently, Gemmayze Street. 

Having finished up at Gemmayze to explore new avenues just before lockdown, On Hing’s idea for Bunanza was born from extra time and a desire to do something with idle hands. In making cinnamon buns for her sweet-toothed partner, she found she thoroughly enjoyed the process and decided to take it one step further. And the response has been great so far.

“People love sweets and pâtisseries and beautiful-looking things to give as gifts — or just for themselves,” says On Hing, when asked why she thinks the buns have been popular from the outset.

Available in boxes of six or 12, Bunanza’s buns are a feast for the eyes and the stomach. Toppings wise, there is currently a zesty, creamy orange blossom cream cheese swirl; a silky swiss meringue buttercream whipped up with vanilla, and a nutty, sweet browned butter with chopped salted almonds.

Having started up so recently, On Hing is keen to get her systems sorted, then will look at expanding to other flavours — including, perhaps, a festive Christmas flavour. 

Currently available for delivery on days and to locations stipulated on the website, Bunanza’s buns are easy to order — and are also baked fresh on the day of delivery to ensure the most heavenly soft texture. 

Paired with a hot cup of tea or coffee, we can’t think of anything else we’d rather indulge in for a mid-morning treat or afternoon pick-me-up.

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NON SOLO PIZZA.

Make the most of a (very) merry festive season by booking your Christmas group functions now

With the news that Auckland restaurants will be able to welcome patrons back from Friday the 3rd of December, we are fantasising about all the soon-to-be-held festivities. If you have plans to get together with a group of friends, family or colleagues this silly season, we suggest booking one of the below recommendations right away — as we have it on good authority that many places are filling up fast.

Each eatery will have its own policies regarding cancellations, vaccination and other variables so do make sure you are across these when you make your booking.

From left: Saint Alice; Soul Bar & Bistro.

Saint Alice
For sun-soaked sea views and a delicious seafood-centric menu, look nowhere else than up at Saint Alice. Currently taking bookings for up to 10 people in the restaurant, or more via email, don’t miss your chance to be among the buzz of this Viaduct Harbour beauty this festive season. Enquire here.

Soul Bar & Bistro
We’re certain we’re not alone in missing beloved eatery Soul, as it has taken a hiatus throughout level 4 and 3. It is taking bookings for December, so we have the opportunity to once again toast to the year (and wave it a relieved goodbye) at one of its coveted outdoor tables.

Onemata
Park Hyatt Auckland’s Onemata restaurant isn’t just the place for an exceptional meal, it also plays host to discerning private groups, be it for business or pleasure. Choose from a set menu to suit your crew of up to 12 people, including a selection of small, large and dessert dishes. Email [email protected] to book or call 09 366 2500.

The Poni Room.

The Poni Room
Commercial Bay’s resident rosé-soaked eatery makes sure to bring the fun along with the Asian fusion fare. Book in for up to six in the main restaurant space, or more in one of The Poni Room’s cleverly cordoned-off areas.

Non Solo Pizza
Book into this Parnell institution for a well-deserved Italian-style long lunch. The ivy-covered courtyard is always a coveted spot for end-of-year soirées. Enquire here.

Jervois Steak House
Our favourite steakhouse is taking bookings for up to eight people in its restaurant, and also has a private dining room upstairs suitable for 12 seated guests. Its famous menu and cosy environment, complete with rustic brick walls, ensure guests will settle in and feel right at home. Enquire here.

From left: Amano; Ostro.

Amano
With a passion for local produce with provenance and Italian-inspired plates, Amano is the place to be any time of day — and especially for a long lunch or festive dinner. Book for up to eight people online, and choose between the restaurant’s quay or the city side, or contact the team via email for larger groups. Enquire here.

Ostro
Up above the harbour in Seafarers, Ostro will be serving its delectable Christmas menu from the 1st until the 30th of December — for both lunch and dinner. Choose from a selection of Ostro classics alongside some seasonally inspired dishes, and a selection of optional add-ons. For up to nine people, book online here or for larger groups call 09 302 9888 or email [email protected].

Masu
The outstanding inner-city Japanese restaurant offers a couple of different options if you’re after a group experience. The Chef’s Kotastu Table is more intimate, backdropped by the large Japanese Dragon created by calligraphy master artist Ushio Sekiguchi, and suitable for eight to 10 people. Otherwise, for up to 18, book the Masu Obi room. Enquire here.

Azabu Mission Bay.

Azabu Mission Bay
For those who appreciate a sea breeze as they enjoy chilled wine and contemporary fusion fare, we recommend booking into Azabu Mission Bay as soon as possible, and asking for a spot in the Roku Gin Garden where there are always good times to be had. Enquire here.

Prego
Paying a visit to Prego is delightful with any group size, whether in the main restaurant or seated at its iconic giant table, which is suitable for 10 to 16 people. While away the hours at a long lunch or celebratory dinner and bask in Prego’s famed hospitality. Enquire here.

From left: Kingi; The Blue Breeze Inn.

Kingi
This Britomart belle is brimming with excitement to open its doors and has had some renovations to its laneway during lockdown for an even more comfortable dining experience. Not just taking bookings in the usual restaurant, Kingi has also optimistically scheduled a four-course dinner event, in collaboration with McLeod’s Brewery, on the 15th of December. Enquire here.

The Tasting Shed
Take a day trip to Kumeu, where The Tasting Shed will see you well taken care of for a group shindig. Book The Grotto, for lunch or dinner with up to 30 others, or The Cabana with its semi-open-air setting, and enjoy great food with great ambience. Enquire here.

The Blue Breeze Inn
Visiting Blue Breeze is always a good time, and for groups of eight or more a set menu of the Inn’s most popular dishes takes any hassle out of ordering for the table — or you can order à la carte. If you’re after a more discreet dining experience we highly recommend booking the exclusive dining booth, just secluded enough while still feeling like you’re part of the fun. Suitable for a minimum of eight and up to 10 people. Email [email protected]

From left: Beau; Cotto

Beau
Three Lamps wine bar Beau reserves most of its cosy space for walk-ins, but it does take bookings for six people or more in its upstairs private dining room. It also caters for group bookings in the sweet courtyard, which is primed for a sunny lunch or an al fresco evening meal under heaters. Enquire here.

Cotto
While handmade pasta haven Cotto caters well to groups in its Karangahape Road space, thanks to a plethora of large tables, those after a more intimate experience would do well to book the restaurant’s recently-opened upstairs dining room. With light streaming onto its cosy red walls and central city location, it’s the perfect space for a special event and is suitable for up to 50, seated. Enquire here.

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Denizen Everyday Heroes 2021: Auckland’s favourite freelance makeup artist, as voted by you

When it comes to looking our best for a special event, where would we be without freelance makeup artists? Lending their artistry and expertise to highlighting only our best features, they not only make us look the part — but feel it, too. With party season coming up, and hopefully the ability to actually enjoy it if alert levels drop before Christmas, we suggest you make a booking with one of the supremely talented beauty experts below. They’re bound to be busy.

The 2021 Denizen Everyday Heroes survey saw over 12,000 votes cast in support of local businesses during these challenging times, with the aim of shining a light on the people and places that make every day a little bit better. Here are Auckland’s favourite mobile makeup maestros, as voted by you.

MOST VOTED: Beauty By Alexandra
With her penchant for natural, glowy glam, it’s no wonder Beauty By Alexandra is your most voted freelance makeup artist. Supremely talented across both makeup and hairstyling, she also offers her services for weddings, fashion shoots — and lessons, so you can pick up a lipstick, brush or sponge with nearly as much confidence as she does. We’d still opt for Alexandra’s artistry over our own, though, any day.

HONOURABLE MENTION: Phoebe Watt
Whether it’s a bold and bright look you’re after, or something nice and neutral, makeup artist Phoebe Watt will apply with aplomb. Working her magic for special events, photoshoots and weddings, this beauty buff is a dab hand with any brief.

HONOURABLE MENTION: Grayson Coutts
Highly experienced hair and makeup artist Grayson Coutts has a renowned reputation for his prowess in the local beauty industry. Having worked with local and international celebrities, on countless photoshoots and for many a private client, Coutts’ eye and attention to detail make him a glamourous go-to indeed.

The rest of the best…

Zoë Herbert

Lochie Stonehouse

Kate Solley

Kiekie Stanners

Dani Froude

Ruth Baron

Blair Gamblin

Chay Roberts

Rae Sacha

Serenity Anderson

Liz Hyun

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Inspired by the beauty of nature, Nespresso’s limited-edition festive collection is a flavourful ode to the forest

As we on this side of the globe head into summer, our festive season is often inextricably intertwined with a renewed appreciation for nature in all its glory. From days at the beach to bush walks and lingering evenings under clear skies, a collective outward breath seems to occur as an increase in fresh air works its magic.

Fittingly, this festive season sees coffee brand Nespresso capture its own smidgeon of nature’s magic and deliver it to coffee lovers everywhere, with the release of its limited-edition, Gifts of the Forest collection. Inspired by the beauty and depth of nature’s forests, the collection features a range of limited-edition coffees for both the Original and Vertuo systems, along with festive-inspired accessories. 

Gifting for the gourmand just got even easier with the selection of flavours — comprising two flavoured coffees and one black coffee — that channel various notes from forest fruits to hints of exotic woodiness. They are wrapped in eye-catching motifs designed especially for the packaging by Colombian luxury fashion designer Johanna Ortiz, making reaching for each pod an artful touch.

The Forest Black coffee is a spicy espresso with unique woody notes, while the Forest Fruit Flavour is a south American Arabica with juicy berry aromas and a lingering cereal character that imparts a sweet, pastry note — ideal for the festive season. Forest Almond Flavour has a sweet nuttiness, its almond notes marked by vanilla and light fruitiness.

Within the accessories selection, there is a revamped to-go Touch travel mug in a festive sparkling gold, and a new ‘Deep Cherry’ shade of Nespresso’s Nomad travel mug.

In the spirit of gifting, Nespresso is also giving back to the forest so central to both its growing processes and the theme of its latest release. It has announced its contribution towards protecting 10 million trees in the Amazon Forest in La Pedrera, Colombia, in collaboration with Conservation International and La Pedrera’s Madroño community.

Clearly, Nespresso is spreading joy far beyond just our daily cuppa this festive season.

Enjoy a Forest Fruit martini with this bespoke Nespresso recipe:
A bright and refreshing take on the classic Espresso Martini, this is perfect for summer. The Forest Fruit Martini has lively notes of jammy berry and a hint of chocolate. 

Ingredients:
Nespresso Forest Fruit Flavour (Espresso 40ml extraction)
6 ice cubes
15ml Blackberry syrup 
15ml Kahlua 
30ml vodka
Blackberry for garnish 

Equipment needed:
Nespresso (Original) machine
Cocktail shaker
Martini glass (chilled)

Method:
1. Place ice cubes, vodka, Kahlua and blackberry syrup into a shaker.
2. Extract coffee directly into the shaker as the last ingredient.
3. Place lid on shaker and shake hard for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until ice forms on outside of shaker.
4. Remove lid and strain into a chilled martini glass.
5. Garnish with blackberry floated on top. 

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A chic and peaceful oasis of calm, this Mexican holiday home has us dreaming of a far-flung vacation

A holiday state of mind is bound to arrive promptly as soon as one steps foot inside the perimeter of Casa Areca. Designed by Joana Gomes and Joshua Beck, founders of Mexican firm Co-Lab Design Office, this Tulum holiday home is a triumph of peaceful cohesion encompassing both its interiors and the surrounding landscape. 

The 285-square-metre abode was carefully positioned on a narrow lot in order to preserve existing trees and vegetation, like the areca palm plants from which it takes its name, and is flooded with natural light and a refreshing cross-breeze year-round thanks to abundant, large windows and tall pivot doors.

On the first floor are the four bedrooms (each with an ensuite), allowing the ground floor to embrace an open plan layout. The kitchen, dining and living room are all found here, with a breezy setup that suits the nature-nestled locale perfectly.

A wraparound deck allows for ample poolside lounging, framed by lush greenery and absolute privacy thanks to a tall, rustic stone wall, built using the stone that was excavated to make the pool. Ascend to the rooftop and find a delightful upper patio area. Daytime sunbathing, evenings spent taking in the sunset and even activities like yoga are all the more enjoyable when set among the treetops of the surrounding jungle.

As they are wont to do with most of their projects, the Co-Lab team oversaw each step of the process from architecture to construction, plus interiors and landscaping. An emphasis on natural materials and hand-craftsmanship prevails throughout the bespoke furnishings, designed by Co-Lab and made by Yucatan artisans.

All of this is certainly in keeping with Co-Lab’s core philosophy of encouraging a greater connection to the natural world through design. A solar panel system was installed to reduce carbon emissions, and the wood used in its construction was harvested locally from a tree farm, then treated to blend seamlessly with the surrounding colour palette.

Thanks to its muted yet marvellous design and comfortable details, Casa Areca is an utterly beautiful place to spend serenely sun-soaked days.

Clockwise: Doppio Grid Natural Bamboo Pendant by AY Illuminate from ECC, Burling Captains Dining Chair from Devon, Sealine sofa by Jean-Marie Massuad for Dedon from Dawson & Co., RRh Clay Pot by Atelier Vierkant from ECC, Trestle Table from Tim Webber Design.

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