Christmas is coming (and here’s the proof)!

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of all things festive and Christmas-y. It’s my all-time favourite time of the year and I love making the most of it, after all we’re only allowed to celebrate this joyous festive occasion for a short period of time. So it seems crazy to me that we don’t start the celebrations until October at the earliest – madness I tell you! Anyway less ranting from me and let’s get back to this post! As a fan of this amazing event you can imagine that I would be massively excited about any sign that it’s time to get celebrating Christmas and so far I’ve spotted the following signs that Christmas is on its way. Hip hip hooray!

Costa have launched their Christmas cups (they’ve never done that before, have they?) and they are absolutely awesome – look at them! So far I’ve only tried the Snowman and gingerbread man cup but I’m pretty sure the other options of an elf and Santa himself will be just as awesome when I finally do. And of course the Starbucks red cups are back too, they basically epitomise Christmas don’t they? Also have you seen Starbucks’ new biscuits, red and white candy canes that taste scrumptious. I can’t recommend them enough!

The Christmas adverts have started to launch. Now I don’t know when it became a sign of Christmas, but over the last few years, particularly thanks to John Lewis there has most definitely been a week where Christmas ads are heralded like new signings for Manchester United. The build up and buzz they create is almost epic, and I admit I quite like it. We all know John Lewis have done some awesome ones over the years, (my favourite was this little boys excitement at giving a gift), but their Bear and Hare one for this year isn’t my favourite. Don’t get me wrong it’s cute and it’s definitely an improvement on last years awful snowman one, but it’s not quite festive enough for me I’m afraid. I think my favourite of all on the round-up here, is the Boots one (below). Isn’t it a lovely one? Not only is there snow and presents, there’s a lovely sentiment there and I like how it turns stereotypes on there head, unlike some of the big supermarkets last year with their stressed out Mum focussed ads last year.

Although it also feels remiss for me not to mention Sainsbury’s Christmas advert, which is actually a 50 minute film. How awesome is that! They’ve essentially asked people to film their Christmas and then spliced bits together. I’ve only seen the first trailer for it so far, but it’s absolutely brilliant. It captures the spirit of Christmas brilliantly and the end brought a tear to my eye.

So yet another sign that Christmas is coming? The fact that the Christmas sandwiches are here, hooray to that! I’ve not yet treated myself to one, but I know it’s only going to be a matter of time. After all Christmas sandwiches are epic as it’s like having a Christmas dinner in one bit – genius!

Finally the Spirit of Christmas happened last week and it was full of festive cheer. Not only did I have hours (literally) of fun looking for gift ideas, but there was also a load of yummy treats to try and finally lots of super-duper decorations to buy – I may have got a little carried away on one particular stall, oops!

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Have you spotted any other signs that tell you Christmas is imminent? What have I missed?

Also one other thing, this will be the very last post on this here blog. Sad I know but I’ve been contemplating changing the design of this bloglet for a while and that’s just not possible using WordPress without an awful lot of faffing. So after much consideration I’ve decided to take the leap over to Blogger and from now on you can find me at The Adventures of Fi. So when you need your fix of nattering about coffee, brownies, Christmas (of course), clothes and my inability to run, I will look forward to seeing you over there! See you soon, you lovely peeps – it’s been ace nattering with you over here. xxx

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Current favourite things!

Today on the blog I thought, you know what, lets share some favourite things. I love reading about the things that have caught other people’s eye, so why not share some of my own? So here we go – ten of the things that I’m loving right now!

  1. The sound of this ice cream. I mean Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cream Pumpkin Marshmallow Ice Cream AMAZING, right? I can’t even explain all the thoughts swirling around my brain at the thought of this concoction!
  2. The brownies I made recently, yes I mentioned them here but they were so good they needed mentioning again! They were just that good. As for the recipe, it was just good old Betty Crockers Chocolate Fudge Brownies mix, which is amazing in itself. But then I decided to add raspberries and digestive biscuits – um hell yeah I did. Talk about dream combination!
  3. My new Paperchase coloured fine line pens – so much colour, so much choice, so much fun is now involved in writing my to do list!
  4. The new Costa coffee cups, have you seen them? They have Christmas drawings all over them – bloody lovely. You can’t beat anything that’s christmass-y at this time of year.
  5. The collaboration between Rob Ryan and Tatty Devine, I basically want all the things from this collaboaration, but most of all I want the necklace below, so beautiful.
  6. Fairy lights. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this about a gazillion times in my life but they just make any room or area so much better, they’re just so pretty. I currently have four sets of lights in our living room and they make me smile every time I see them.
  7. Thor: The Dark World – I saw this film recently and I just can’t stop thinking about it. I enjoyed it so much and loved the ending. I also seem to have developed a bit of a thing for Loki and Tom Hiddleston, and this video hasn’t helped this obsession much!
  8. The 2D christmas tree below. I am most definitely going to be instigating one of these on my kitchen blackboard in a week or two (yes I do mean that soon – why not?!). Also I love all these cards (again below), I would be sending these if I wasn’t making my own cards this year.
  9. Have you started following @CuteEmergency on Twitter yet? If not you really should. As it contains the MOST adorable pictures of animals, just the thing to cheer you up after a stressful day. Definitely worth a gander when you have a chance.
  10. Finally I am super-duper excited about the return of Spooks. Not only because it’s Spooks and it’ll feature Harry, but also because Kit Harrington (John Snow in Game of Thrones) will be in it. OH. EM. GEE. Day made right there.

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My most recent Smiley Happy Things

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Hello lovely people and how are you this monday morning, did you have a pleasant weekend and are you ready and raring to go with this week? I’ve only got three days of work this week as I leave my current job (after five and a half years!) on Wednesday – eek! I’m equal parts exccited and nervous! Anyway back to today, the ten things making me smile this week, here we go…

1) Lovely long natterings with friends
2) Brilliant books – In the last week I’ve read Catching Fire and I’ve started Mockingjay and I’m really enjoying rereading these YA gems. I’d forgotten so much of what happens and they are really brilliant reads

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3) Lazy mornings doing nothing but reading and coffee drinking, oh if only that was my life
4) Exploring new areas whilst we search for a potential new home – exciting times indeed!
5) Excellent Twitter responses, I’m looking at you @jamesblunt. What a great response to negative comments: showing you have a sense of humour and not taking yourself too seriously

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6) Watching live music – Tyler Hilton was superb live on Wednesday night and I’ve been listening to his music ever since. I love Loaded Gun the most I think (at least right at this minute)

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7) Five Guys –  I finally made it there this week and it was even better than I expected. There’s something in those fries that make them moreish, I’m telling you I could have eaten five or six helpings. As for the free monkey nuts, scrumptious

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8) Pretending I am able to buy whatever clothes I want with no budget constraints as part of the M&S Style Board competition for bonfire night. My entry is here, why not check it out?

9) Quality times with my sisterlings – whether it’s eating, chatting or just sitting doing nothing together I love them so much
10) Watching American Football at Wembley – wow!

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11) Treating myself to this simply gorgeous jumper. I’m sorry but I can’t say no to a snuggly jumper with star elbow pads. I mean wow love it!

What about you? What were your favourite things this week? Have you been loving all the autumnal weather and have you been making the most of snuggling up inside with hot chocolate and a good book. Surely that can’t just be me?

They know me so well!

Happy Thursday you lovely bunch and how the devil are you all? I’m fairly exhausted to be honest, who knew finishing everything up at work before I leave would be so exhausting, I honestly have no idea if I’m coming or going at the moment! Thankfully I had the morning off of work today so I have been able to slowly pull myself together this morning rather than the usual craziness. I had planned to do a ridiculous numbers of jobs with my morning (gym, post office, cobblers, supermarket, sort out the flat) but instead I seem to have found myself at Starbucks with a coffee and catching up on 115 blogs. Yes I’ve been neglecting my fellow bloggers recently too, oopsy.

Anyway back to today’s post, sorry if the title of this one has you humming or singing one particular song (or is that just me?). I had to name this post in this way as when my sisters spoilt me recently it made me realise how well they know me. I could not have bought myself anything better than the gifts they surprised me with!
When they gave me a bag of delights to celebrate my new job I was absolutely flabbergasted, bless them. They really are little people of amazingness. Like I even needed any such thing (although I’m totes not taking any of it back)! So what did they get me I hear you cry? Well the below shows you all the wonders I received!

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Aren’t my gifts just lovely? I’d definitely be hard pressed to share a favourite as they’re all just so me. I adore the notebook, even though I do feel a panic to fill it with brilliance, everyone needs a badger mug (cuteness doesn’t even come close in descriptive terms) I love the pens pink and purple pens and I’m most impressed that they got me an edible card from Biscuiteers it is one of my favourite companies after all! All in all these guys did an awesome job in choosing presents that made me smile and that I would have chosen for myself. I heart them to the moon and back for being as awesome as they have been for giving me this lovely haul. Now I’m all set for my first day, less than two weeks to go. Eek!

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What about you what’s the best present you’ve ever been given? Have a tremendous Thursday everyone. xxx

Merry times away and happy things

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Yesterday I got back from four days in the Peak District where I had a whale of a time with my family to celebrate my younger sister’s birthday. Most of my smiley happy things from the past week relate to this trip as it was so much fun – oh how I wish I was still there and not at my desk in Central London! Even though the weather was mainly cloudy and a bit drizzly it didn’t seem to matter as we were staying in a lovely little cottage and having a ball – more on the weekend tomorrow in my Travel Tuesday post. So let’s get down to these smiley happy things!

Super cute animals – whilst in the peaks we stayed in Bakewell where we just happened to be overlooking the river and a lot of really cute ducks and even a few swans, so sweet! We also spent Saturday at a nature reserve full of owls and otters, which were absolutely adorable, I could have spent hours there watching the otters splash around in the water. Cuteness!

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Family – I spent the entire weekend with my family and it was so good to be all together again, even if for such a short time. I think the last time all six of us were together for longer than ten hours was in Wales in August, so it was high time for another get together! We got up to all sorts; from walks and meals out, to lazy times on the sofa and late night game playing. Not to mention hours in the car ranting at the radio or singing along to the radio – I loved ever second and I need to start planning the next trip.

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Good food – Whilst in Bakewell we did of course treat ourselves to the obvious – a proper Bakewell Tart, but we also consumed a LOT of other things including: GBK burgers (and fries with satay sauce), cooked breakfasts, cocktails, curry, pub lunches featuring the most delicious chicken liver pate ever, chicken, leek, ham and mushroom pie, birthday cake and lasagna. Yummy, yum, yum! A good reason why I need to go for a run. Good food also extends into the rest of the week with sausage casserole, hot chocolates, breakfast at Le Pain, triple chocolate cookies and an obscene amount of marshmallow brownies.

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Non Peak District related good things from this week include a trip to Costco. I don’t know why but something about that place makes me so happy. I think it’s the combined fact of being able to buy yummy things in bulk (hello 48 packets of peanut m&m’s or 3 litres of sweet chilli sauce) and wandering between aisles of books, then TVs and then crisps. Such fun!

Autumn love – I’m so pleased we’re completely in the throes of Autumn as it’s my favourite season. I found the perfect leaf when briefly in my parents garden and I just love shuffling through the leaves each morning and the click clack of winter boots in the paving slabs.

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Sisters – Sort of related to point two above (as they are my family after all) but over the last week my sisters have proved they’re pretty awesome through a number of ways. Firstly through comedy Snapchats and tweets, then with lovely surprise presents to say ‘well done on your new job’ and finally when Bex gave me one of her rings, well a set of three matching ones, that no longer fit her – how awesome are they! I’m super lucky to have them in my life!

Pretty printed paper – I love wrapping the gifts I give in beautiful paper and with lovely ribbon and this week I found some gorgeous brown paper in Paperchase that had lovely patterns on. As soon as I saw the three designs, I had to buy them all – I mean look, swirly text, cute colourful birds and interesting animals. How could I not buy these?

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What about you, what things have made you smile this week, I’d love to know! x

Smiley Happy Things

Smiley_Happy_ThingsThis last week has mostly been awesome, apart from a day of illness which I could have done without, but hey what are you going to do when that happens? There’s no point fighting it, you just have to fold yourself into bed, sleep and recover and then treat yourself to cake and hot chocolate accompanied by a good book or episodes of Glee – or is that last bit just me? Anyway despite my depleted health I have had a great week with lots of lovely things to natter about and be thankful for this week. I’m so glad to have such brilliant things in my life, especially when I’ve had a rubbish day or feel ill, so I’m glad I have these posts to remind myself of the good stuff.

Catching up with friends – I caught up with two old friends this week, separately – the first was for a Tuesday evening natter and the other involved a lovely day out in Rochester on Saturday. It was so lovely to catch up, get all the gossip and reminisce about all sorts. There was a lot of reminiscing on both occasions, particularly on Saturday as we discussed the fact we’ve known each other for ten years and we laughed over some of the best times we’ve shared, including our fabulous travelling trip in 2007. I love that I have friends like this. Where all you need is a coffee, cake and to be together for a lovely day. I need more of these days booked in I think.

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Crafting – I’ve seeing my little sis later this week for her birthday celebrations up in the Peak District, which meant I needed to finish start and finish the item I’ve been planning for ages. It really is ridiculous that I’ve only just got round to it as I’ve had all the materials I’ve needed for ages (three weeks minimum) so hooray that I’ve finally done it. Despite a few stressful moments with the sewing machine (I must have threaded that needle twenty times in the space of an hour) it’s now almost done – hooray and fingers crossed she like is!

Starbucks’ new Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate – To be honest I was a little skeptical when I saw this drink as I wondered if it was possibly going to be one ingredient too many or that maybe I’d given it very high expectations. But on Tuesday during the aforementioned nattering session the chance of a shared lemon cake and a salted caramel hot chocolate was too good an opportunity to miss and it surpassed all my expectations. It really was absolutely delicious with the perfect combination of all ingredients. The only problem? I’m going to struggle not to want one every single day and I don’t believe that would be a wise thing – hello four more dress sizes!

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Getting my bake on – Marshmallow Brownies and a Chocolate Loaf Cake have both been made this week and they are both delicious, you need to give them a try asap. The recipe for the brownies may well make an appearance on this here bloglet soon, but the chocolate loaf cake, can be found here, should you want to give it a whirl! I love that I can be calmed or made to feel happy again purely through the combination of ingredients and that smell.

Football Fun – The last week saw another trip to Wembley to watch England and I loved every second of it – the game was brilliant, it was tense, stressful and exciting. The best England game I’ve watched in ages and thankfully the result was the right one (for me anyway)!

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Running in the leaves – I seem to love running in the leaves, I think it’s the crunching sound, so I’m very pleased that I was able to do that a couple of times this week – hooray!

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What about you, what stuff has made you smile this week or what are you particularly grateful to have in your life right now? I’d love to know so share below. And here’s to another fabulous wek of lots of happiness and fun times. xx

The little things cheering me up this week

Morning lovely people, how is Monday treating you so far? Hopefully it’s been incredibly kind to you and maybe even treated you to something lovely, like new shoes or a scrumptious warm coffee. Here’s hoping. I’m very excited this morning as it’s my little sis’ birthday – hooray to her! I’m sad not to be celebrating with her (that’ll happen in a few weeks) but I can’t help but feel excited for her as we all know how wonderful a birthday can be. Here’s hoping she eats cake, cake and more cake and enjoys celebrating with all her lovely friends! As it’s Monday it’s customary for me to share some of the things that are really making my life wonderful at the moment. So here goes!

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First up we have something really simple but it’s really cheered me up and that’s sorting out my bookshelves. I know that sounds crazy cats but they were such a mess, there was no logic to them, I couldn’t see what was on them and there were three bags of books on the floor waiting to be added to the mess. So anyway on Sunday morning when I wanted to do anything but go for a run I sorted them out and now they are so lovely and ordered and I heart them. I’m still prone to smiling when I walk into the room and see them, which definitely means it was worth the faffing and also I’ve realised I cannot buy another book for at least six months as I have an entire shelf of unread books. Oops, a sure sign I’m a bit of a bookworm I think!

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My brilliantly organised bookshelves – so pretty!

Aside from books and organising things I’ve become a bit obsessed with Friday Night Lights recently, over the last week we’ve watched about 15 episodes and I’m now seriously hooked. I can barely wait to tuck into the next series and find out what happens to Riggins, Street, Landrey, Julie, Coach, Smash et al. It really is a great piece of TV and I can see what the fuss is all about. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!

I spent a night in Bath last week for work and I had such a brilliant time, it was lovely to spend a few hours away from London and enjoy the beautiful countryside surrounding Bath. We drove through some really picturesque villages and stayed in a beautiful hoteloverlooking a gorgeous valley. It really was spectacular on a foggy morning. I really must go back soon and see more of the town than I did last time I was there. Talking of going away I’m in the process of planning a last-minute trip to the coast for the end of this month. It’s all come about very randomly but now I need to get organised. I can’t decide where I want to go other than somewhere near the beach, that’s only a couple of hours from London, which won’t be full of kids (it’ll be half term after all). Any suggestions? I love planning trips like this when it’s entirely up to you and you don’t have to pacify/compromise with anyone else. Hooray!

The final thing that’s got me all excited this week is that it’s official Christmas is on its way  and I’m going to be talking about it a lot over the next few months. The way I know it’s on its way? The fact that John Lewis have their Christmas department ready as well as their Christmas decorations hanging in the store but also there are tonnes of Christmas chocolates around the supermarkets. Whoopee! The best time of year is making an entrance, now we really must get decking the halls and buying the mistletoe as Christmas is coming!

What about you lovely lot, what’s got you smiling away over the last few days?

Peace, culture and good reads

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Hello my little blog readers, how are you this Monday afternoon? I hope your week has started how you would like and long may it continue. Over the last week I had the below things in my world and they really made my week! Somehow they were the beacons of joy interspersed with the bad stuff. What about you, what are the things that really made your last week?

  1. New books – no matter what’s going on in my life new books cheer me up. So having a bit of a spree in Waterstones on Saturday was wonderful, these four books all sounds wonderful so I can’t wait to get stuck in to them all. Hooray.
  2. Half an hour to just do nothing – I was at a conference on Thursday which was fascinating (and apologies if you saw all my tweets about there’s the possibility I got a smidge carried away!). It was also good because it meant I could have a calmer start to my day than usual. Before the conference I managed to slot in forty minutes prior to the conference for a quiet breakfast, pick me up coffee and a read of the latest Simple Things magazine. It really was wonderful.
  3. Shakespeare how it ought to be viewed – I was lucky enough to watch Macbeth being performed at The Globe on Tuesday last week and it was phenomenally good. I really cannot explain how brilliantly good it was. The actors were all amazing and the director and staging team had done a phenomenally good job at making it even more brilliant – I highly recommend it.
  4. Baking – I’ve baked quite a lot of stuff this week (pinwheels, oat and banana bites and triple chocolate cookies) and it’s often the best medicine for a bad day or a moment of crazy. Plus all the things I made were scrumptious, which always helps!
  5. Supportive people – Last on the list but most definitely not last in my eyes as they have been so wonderfully great this week. Everyone in my life has been amazing this week, both friends and family. Many of them have gone above and beyond on the support and kind words and really have made me so much more confident, happy and able to make a big decision which now it’s made I fell 100% better than I did before. I promise that as soon as I can explain more I will, but its super top-secret at the moment – annoying blogger moment I know.

Wise Words #1 – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Greetings chumlets, how are you all today? I wanted to share this lovely image (humble aren’t I!) that I created using the wondrous site that is PicMonkey. Can I just say this site is totally revolutionising my life right now. I’m having such fun using it! Check out my first image over on the latest ‘Smiley Happy Things’ post, as you can tell I was inspired by a school chalkboard! Anyway whilst playing around I created the above image using one of my photos from a recent Portugal trip. I’m quite proud of it to be honest!

Anyway back to the actual sentiment behind the above image. I stumbled across this Ralph Waldo Emerson quote last weekend and it really made sense to me and captured exactly what I’ve been trying to channel recently. I like the idea of putting the past behind you at the end of the day and just focusing on the positives before starting the new day with optimism and enthusiasm. After all optimism and a positive outlook never killed anyone and looking on the bright side of things can’t hurt anyone. This quote also reminds me a little of the sentiments in The Silver Linings Playbook, which is about there always being a positive side to things, no matter how small. So really I just wanted to share this image with you as a reminder that we should take each day as it comes, face it with enthusiasm, give our all and then at the end of the day put the bad bits behind us and learn not to dwell on things.

Phew, that’s a lot of waffle for one day, especially for a Friday! Go forth and enjoy your last day of this work week and have an epic two-day weekend, huzzah!

Coogee to Bondi Coastwalk, Australia – Travel Tuesday

Afternoon lovely blog readers, I hope you’re having a fruitful day full of lots of lovely things and if it’s been a bit rubbish so far, it’ll get better soon I’m sure. If it doesn’t improve by tonight then I would prescribe hot chocolate and digestive biscuits – always a winner in my book!
Anyway back to today’s Travel Tuesday link up with A Compass Rose and Found Love, Now What? Today’s travel post takes me to one of my favourite countries: Australia. I’m lucky to have been to Aus a few times, one of the perks of having family dotted all over the east coast I guess, but today we’re jumping into the TARDIS and revisiting my last trip there, back in April 2012.
I spent the majority of last year’s trip visiting family, but we also managed to visit one new place – the beaches of Sydney (yeah I can’t believe I’ve not been before either – ridiculous!). Rather than lazing on the beach all day we decided to walk the coastal path between Coogee Beach and Bondi Beach, which is absolutely stunningly beautiful. The walk in its entirety takes about two hours of ambling to complete via the boardwalks that take you via Bronte and Tamarama beaches as well as some lovely green parks and even a cemetery. It really was a lovely way to spend a morning and I highly recommend it for anyone that has a spare day to get out of the city.
Coogee beach
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Coogee Beach from above
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The view from Sesquicentenary Boardwalk
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IMG_1993  IMG_1994The sprawling Waverley Cemetery
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Bronte Beach
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Bondi Beach
A Compass Rose
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