How to get through the exam period

I know that for most of us, no matter what school curriculum we’re in, it has got to that point in the year when summer is so close… but we have to get through exams first! I’m a high school junior, so this is the biggest and most stressful year for me, and I’m sure that a lot of you guys are also taking big exams and are under a lot of pressure at the moment. This blogging family we have created is always so supportive of each other, and I think we really do a good job at sharing and receiving advice, so today I wanted to share some of my own tips on how to survive the exam period; hopefully, these are useful to you, and if you have any tips you would like to share, feel free to leave them in the comments section!

Do not cram

Cramming is not an effective way of studying! Not only does trying to learn everything in a few days stress you out completely, but your brain can’t handle it. It’s better to have paid attention in class all year and been learning as you go, rather than try and learn everything the night before a test.

The night before a test, sleep is more important

Staying up all night to do that extra bit of studying instead of getting a good nights sleep before an important test is not worth it. Even though you may have studied a lot, if you come into the exam room tired and unfocused, all your hard work will not pay off. Obviously, don’t use sleeping as an excuse not to study in the weeks before an exam, but the night before, I think sleeping a decent amount is more valuable.

Make a list

Some times when you look at a whole course syllabus, it’s a little overwhelming; there’s so much to go over, and it often feels impossible that you will get through it all. One way that I deal with this is by making a list of all the specific things that I need to do, for example, I write out the pages I need to take notes on, the worksheets I’m going to do etc.. and I write out the specific time that I’ll do it out, so that I know that I can fit it into my day. Not only does this help you stay organized, but it’s really satisfying to cross things off a to-do list.

Just before an exam, get in the zone

Before an exam I always ensure that I go into the room with a clear mind; I don’t want to be stressed, tired, or thinking about something else during the test. This means that while other people are doing last minute studying and checking problems before going into the test room, I keep to myself and focus on what I’m going to do. I think that talking to people about content just before a test can really stress you out, and sometimes ruin your confidence, so it’s better to focus on yourself.

Keep a level head

One thing that I always find hard is keeping a level head during a test. If I come across a question which I don’t know how to answer, I let it get to me and get very stressed out and agitated. It’s much better to leave this question and come back to it at the end, rather than spending lots of time and letting it get to you.

Use all your time

Use your time! Don’t just sit there doing nothing if you have extra time; make sure you check your answers instead of just closing your test booklet and taking a nap! You may pick up on something really important by going over your work again.

I hope that some of these exam and testing tips are useful to you, and help you get through this busy period. Let me know if you use any of these, or if you have any you would like to share in the comments below!

See you next week and best of luck with exams!

Little Miss Expat

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How to stay motivated

Do you ever get those nights when you’re lying awake in bed listing out all the things you have to get done tomorrow? When your head feels like it’s going to burst with all the odd jobs and to-do lists kept in there? And when you know you have endless amounts of things to do, but you just can’t bring yourself to actually do them?

Yup, we’ve all been there. It’s not a nice feeling, knowing you have so much to do, but just being unable to find the motivation to start. I feel like we all lead such busy lives these days, that we hardly ever have time to take a breath. And at least for me, when I have a giant to-do list I just want to get everything over and done with, but it’s so hard to make that first dent in the list. To actually start. To find that motivation.

So in today’s blog post, I’m going to share a few of my tips for gathering motivation. Whether it’s motivation to start your homework, do a workout, or even get out of bed in the morning I hope these tips will be able to help you!

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Give yourself something to look forward to

Sometimes when I really don’t want to do something I like to give myself something to look forward to. For example, when I’m really tired in the morning and I have to get out of bed, I think about what I’m going to eat for breakfast (cause I love food!) or something exciting I have going on that day. Or when I need the motivation to do a piece of homework which is especially grueling, I tell myself that once I finish it I’ll make myself a smoothie or eat a cookie. (only now am I realizing that all my motivation is food, oh no…) But you get the point, give yourself incentives and be strict with yourself. Make sure you fulfill the task you set before giving yourself that treat!

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Get your setting right

Sometimes your motivation can be affected by your surroundings, and once you change these you’ll notice such a big difference! For example, lying on your bed in a messy room is not going to get you motivated to start something (well, at least not for me). Clean up, open a window, and get some air! Changing up your surroundings makes such a huge impact. Before I start my homework I always like to make sure my desk is clean and sometimes I’ll have my window open so I can hear the birds, maybe I’ll light a candle, just to get into a pleasant mood and mindset, and from this everything just comes much more easily.

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Make a routine. Give your body signals

We respond well to routines. Establish healthy routines for yourself, and you’ll find it easier to find that motivation. Sometimes I really don’t feel like running or working out. But I have a set of stretches and a small jog that I do every time before I workout and since my body is used to this, it gives me the signal that I’m about to start working out. Usually, once I finish this I feel much more energized and motivated because this routine has queued my body into knowing that it’s time to work out. The same goes for any other activity. Routines let your body and mind know that it’s time to get working, and means that it’s less of a struggle to find that motivation because it starts coming naturally.

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I think I’ll leave it there for this post! I hope that these three tips can help you gain that motivation to tick things off your to-do list, to go workout, or get up in the morning! Let me know in the comments section your ways of finding the motivation to start a task.

See you next week,

Little Miss Expat

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Back To School Advice You Need To Hear!

Hey everyone!

I hope you all had an amazing summer, wherever you spent it! And I really hope you enjoyed reading about my summer adventures and reading all the content I created for you guys! With it being back to school season, I wanted to share some important pieces of advice for going into this school year. But… I thought it might be interesting to hear what other people have to say as well! I asked a few other bloggers/Instagrammers what their number one piece of advice for going back to school is, and I compiled them into one huge back to school advice guide! They all had great advice to share, and even as I was putting this guide together I found myself thinking, wow… I should do that this year! So I hope you find this guide as useful as I do!

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Ellen (Elle For Life Blog) – ‘My number one back to school tip is this: no matter what, understand that in the end, everything will be okay! I used to suffer from anxiety and would often have panic attacks in school on a weekly basis. However, nowadays, whenever I feel panicked, upset, or just stressed in general, I try to remind myself that in the end — regardless of whether that’s the end of a big project, the last day of the summer, or heck, even my future graduation from college — I will be okay. That B you got on that one paper isn’t going to singlehandedly determine whether or not you get into college, nor will that ~one~ time you fell down the stairs during the first period make or break your reputation at school. So take a deep breath, keep your head up, and persevere on.’

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Peyton (Patience and Pajamas Blog) – ‘When it comes to back to school, and education in general, the best tip I can give to anyone is that if you want an education, there is always a way. Maybe things don’t work out the way you planned, maybe traditional schooling doesn’t work for you, maybe you can’t physically attend school, maybe you need accommodations; there are so many maybes! But at the end of the day, no matter what level of education you’re talking about, whether your goal is to make it to high school, graduate high school, get into college, or beyond, there is always a way. It may not be an easy way, and it may not be a traditional way, but if you are passionate about education and receiving the best education possible, there are three things to remember. Remember to advocate for yourself and your needs, use your resources, and that there is always a way. I’ve been in hard positions, and I’ve had my struggles with education. My passion for learning fuels me to continue to pursue my education, but without advocacy, knowing and using my resources, and fully believing that there is always a way, I would not be where I am today.’

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Natalie (Capturing Life On Camera Blog) – Plan out your outfits the night before! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been late because I had been having a full-on fashion show in my closet. I think the most times I have changed outfits in the morning is at least 5. Save yourself the hassle and choose your outfits and backup outfits the night before. Choose a backup outfit that you know looks good on you and is comfortable just in case your first outfit doesn’t work out

 

 

 

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Liddy (@itsliddystyle) – I would say my number one tip for back to school is definitely don’t be afraid. This can mean not being afraid of branching out, meeting new people, or even taking new classes. And even if you are afraid, my favorite saying is ‘fake it till you make it!’ I say this to myself all the time to push me to get out of my comfort zone.

 

 

 

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Elina (Just So Elina Blog) – Homeschool, Public School, Online School and Private. They may all be different, but the one thing they all have in common is the need for self-motivation. Yes at school your fortunate enough to have teachers, to help keep you accountable. But at the end of the day, your education is just that: YOUR’S. So it’s up to you to make it a priority no matter what type of schooling you do. Now don’t get me wrong I am definitely guilty of getting distracted on my phone or daydreaming in class (apologies to all my primary school teachers!) So I find having a vision of what I want to achieve from my education, like becoming a journalist; very helpful. As that way, I have something I love to focus and keep me motivated. While doing something I may not love so much *cough maths*.

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Taiya (Taiya Maddison) – My biggest tip for back to school would have to be… just simply be yourself. It’s cliche but it’s so true. When you are truly being yourself you will be the happiest and you will attract the right people for you! School can be super intimidating at times, but as long as you stay strong in your beliefs and values and be yourself, you will be just fine.

 

 

 

 

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Olivia (Absolutely Olivia) – Go into the new school year being completely yourself.  This sounds so daunting, but a new school year is more of a fresh start than some think, so use it as a time to build on yourself and how the summer might of changed you.  No longer want to wear the same outfits you always have? Dress how you want!  Have your interests changed? Take the classes and join the clubs you want!  Want to meet new people or be more social?  Go to sporting and other fun events!  Being uniquely you and embracing who you are can lead to an exciting and fulfilling school year.  Obviously, there are always gonna be haters out there, but try not to let them get to ya!  Being yourself is the best way to live, and just remember: people don’t care nearly as much as you think.

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And of course, a piece of advice from me! My number one tip for going back to school would be to go in with a positive attitude and an open mind! If you go back to school with a positive attitude you’ll be more likely to learn more, have a good time, and enjoy yourself, even though you might still wish you were on summer vacation. Go back to school with a positive attitude, taking everything as it comes, and making the most of every situation.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading some back to school advice from lots of different people! And that you found the advice we shared useful and interesting. What’s your top tip for going back to school? Comment it down below!

See you next week,

Little Miss Expat

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The Most Important Life Lesson I’ve Learned

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to sit down and write a really important post for you guys this week. I feel like I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had time to really share my thoughts with you in a while, but I finally have a little bit of time to talk about this. Today I want to share a lesson I’ve learned through experience and a lesson that I think everyone needs to know. And that is the lesson of staying true to yourself and your values.

This week I’ve experienced the power of this lesson once again, and I feel like it’s something that affects your life no matter how old you are.

In this world which is constantly changing, where your popularity seems to be based on your follower count, where people no longer have the connection to talk to each other anymore, and where everyone seems to be ‘following the crowd’, and doing what’s ‘trendy’ instead of what they believe in. It’s hard to stay true to yourself. It’s hard to say ‘no’. It’s hard to catch hold of what you really believe in without being influenced in a negative way. But I’m here today to tell you, you aren’t alone, I for one will always do my best to stay true to myself and my values.

It’s a daily struggle of mine, and sometimes I feel like I’m the only one doing it. But as I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again, the best decision I’ve ever made was to stay true to myself and let my own values guide me. What do I mean by this? I’m a High School student, and every day I see people being influenced and changing what they believe in to fit in with others or to fit in with the ‘right’ crowd. And it sucks. Because that is not what I believe in. And it’s hard, don’t get me wrong. It is hard to stand up for what you believe in, and sometimes it means saying goodbye to people, but being true to yourself is honouring yourself and your thoughts. In 20 years time, we will regret changing ourselves just to fit in with the popular crowd in High School, your own values will be so trampled upon that they will no longer be able to guide you.

Your values, your beliefs, and who you are, are the most important gifts you have, and you should treasure them. They are what makes us unique, allow us to move forward, and enjoy what we do. And that’s why it makes me sad when I see people tossing away their values every day. Because I believe in all of us. Every single one of you that reads my blog. I believe that you are all special in your own unique way, and I think that you should just keep being you, no matter what everyone else is doing. I believe that every single one of you should do what makes you happy, not what ‘looks’ best to the crowd. Let your own values guide you, and don’t do something you wouldn’t do if others weren’t there watching you. Because in the end, that’s the true way to finding happiness.

For me, over the years I’ve had the opportunity to change myself so many times, to do things I don’t believe in. And looking back I am so happy I never did them. Instead, I did what really makes me happy: I watched more sunsets, I ate good food, I went for long runs, I helped others, I spent time with my family, I made great friends, and I couldn’t be a happier person now. Sure I have those days as well where I feel left out or like I don’t fit in, but don’t we all get them? I’m just content with being who I really am, and it’s refreshing not to have to pretend to be someone I’m not.

So to all you High School students out there, this is my message to you. Do not change yourself for anyone. Do what makes you happy. And let your values guide you down the path you were meant to take. I believe in all of you, your own unique personalities, you’re all special.

What are your thoughts on this?

Lots of Love

Little Miss Expat

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Why YOU should be involved in community service

Hi Guys,

So if you follow me on Instagram, you would already kind of know what this blog post is going to be about. But if you don’t, let me explain…

For as long as I can remember I have loved helping people, as a little girl, I would go out of my way to help others and I still do. Moving to Dubai has made me more aware of everything that’s going on in the world around me, and when I took a Global Issues course last year something just ignited inside me. My passion is community service. By service, I mean helping people who aren’t as fortunate or me or helping people that I can teach something to. For example, one of the reasons I started this blog was because I wanted to help teenage expats all across the world, which is a form of service if you think about it.

I’m the kind of girl that loves watching UNICEF’s videos on their youtube channel, and every time I watch a video, I get goosebumps. (I know it’s kind of nerdy, but it’s true!!)  There’s something about seeing how peoples lives have changed because of the help that someone has given them makes me soooo happy.

As I said, service is my passion and I try to do as much of it as possible. I always volunteer for as much as I can in school. (as my school offers a lot of service opportunities) This year I was in charge of running one of the largest charity events in my community, which happened yesterday. About 130 other volunteers and I spent our Friday helping those who aren’t as fortunate as us. And I’ll be honest the amount of work that goes into initiating an event this big is CRAZY, but it is 100% worth it, and it’s FUN and REWARDING. I went home yesterday smiling, and over the moon, because I knew how much I had helped someone that day. It also makes you feel immensely grateful for everything you have, which is very important.

However old you are, whether you’re in school or not, I think it is SO important to be involved in some sort of service. The benefits of it are indisputable, you are making someone’s life better, by just giving them some of your time. There are so many ways you can do this, from volunteering at your school or community center, starting a blog like I did to share your advice, volunteering with an organization over summer, or even just starting by browsing the internet for community service opportunities.

I hope I have transferred a little bit of my service dream on to you guys today and inspired you to do something to help others! I will definitely be writing more about this soon (I mean I could talk about this for ages) but that’s all for now! I hope you enjoyed!

Little Miss Expat

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5 Ways To Deal With School Work

Hi Guys!

After what seems like the longest week ever, it is FINALLY the weekend. But, my weekends are now filled with homework and revision, as I’m sure most of yours are. So… as I do, I thought I would write a blog post about this.

Going into my Sophomore year has been a real shock, but I think I am getting into the routine now. When I first came back from summer I found that my brain was still on holiday, and I wasn’t as productive as I was last year. This really started to worry me, as I felt like I was losing it, and I was going to fall behind. I’m sure that I’m not the only one that has experienced this ‘back to school-itus’ so far, so I wanted to share a few of my tips with you guys on how to deal with homework and school work in general, and getting back into a routine:

  1. Go to sleep early – One of my favorite things about summer is sleeping as late as I want to, and not having to worry about early starts the next day. I found it really hard to adjust from that routine when I started school, as I was so used to it. But, I think it’s a really good place to start getting into the routine for school, and to ensure that you won’t be tired at school. (which, trust me is the worst)
  2. Focus in class – Really this sounds so simple, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in all my years in school, is that by focusing and working hard in class, you’re really just helping yourself. By listening and doing what you’re meant to in class, you usually end up with less homework, or you find the homework easier to complete. And, when it comes to a summative assessment you are way more prepared because you have understood everything along the way, and don’t need to do a last-minute cram session.
  3. Utilize your time – This tip is really big for me, as I do like to make sure my schedule is completely full, and I take on as much as I can. So for others, this would result in them not having time to do everything. But, I have come up with a system for utilizing every single second of my time during the day. For example, I write down my blog post ideas on the way to school and plan my Instagram posts for this blogs Instagram. Any emails, that I need to send out, I send in the car. So that when I get home, I have finished everything that could be finished elsewhere, and I just have to complete the big tasks I have to do at home. Whatever you do to utilize your time, it’s a really good idea to finish tasks throughout the day, whenever you find that you have time.
  4. Make lists – This is so helpful for me. Wow. I always find that I have a never-ending list of things I need to do, and I like to keep a list on my desk, as well as on my phone, of the things I need to do next. There must be some scientific reason as to why lists are so effective, but for me, it just un-jumbles everything in my brain and gives me a step to step guide of what I’m doing next. I would really recommend this for any student.
  5. Go Running – This has really helped me get into my school routine again. Of course, it’s partly because I love running, but also because running gives me discipline. I know that as soon as I get home from school I need to get in my run for that day, and then I can eat and do my homework. Not only does it give my day structure, but it makes me feel better about what I’ve done that day, and more motivated and focused when I’m doing my homework. Also, on the note of utilizing my time, one thing that I have started doing, is listening to audiobooks while running, at first this was purely because I had heard so many people talking about this. But, I thought that I would find it too boring, however, it’s actually a good sound to run to, as it keeps your mind on something else. And it teaches you something, I think that I might start listening to a more educational audiobook, such as a textbook (as I’m now listening to Harry Potter) so that I can utilize my running time even more.

I hope you guys found my tips helpful! I mean, they’re just a few random thoughts I threw together that I thought you might find useful. What are your best study tips? And be sure to let me know what you think about mine!

Little Miss Expat

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Stress: My Story + Dealing with it

Hi, Guys!

Today I am finally going to write a post that I have wanted to write for ages… my experience with stress, and dealing with it. I hope this is useful to you guys because I’m no expert on this, but I am simply a teen sharing her experiences and tips. This is will also be an ongoing series so I will write more posts about this as I find new things that help me, or I experience anything that I think you should hear about.

So stress. We all experience it, some more than others. And for me in the past year, it got to the point where my stress levels rose so high I had to start finding ways to deal with it. I don’t know if it’s that I’m a perfectionist, or maybe that I’m very sensitive, or even that I just worry about EVERYTHING, but I find that I stress over everything, and I stress a lot. My friends and family are always telling me that I need to calm down, but I find it hard to just switch off, as I feel like my brain is always one step ahead of me, telling me what I have to do next to get to where I want to be.

But too much stress isn’t good for you, and it can even be dangerous. It’s important to control it and learn what to do when you feel like this. For me, I’ve worked out some tips that help me a lot, and that I use all the time. So I thought that I would share them with you in case they help!

Meditation Apps – This is something that I have recently started using, as I felt like I needed to learn how to let my brain relax. I downloaded the free app ‘calm’, and I also downloaded ‘headspace’. I listened to a 12-minute session on ‘Calm’ called ‘7 Days of Calming Anxiety’ and it was really helpful. I saw the differences almost immediately, as it taught me some tricks to use throughout the day to ensure I stay calm. I haven’t used headspace yet, but I have heard some good reviews and look forward to trying it. I think that apps are a great way to learn about what you should be doing if you don’t know anyone who can help you, or if you just want to enjoy some relaxation at home.

Focusing on the moment – This is something that I learned by listening to the ‘7 Days of Calming Anxiety’ session. It means that by focusing on the moment you are currently in, you worry less about the future and don’t get as stressed about it. So something it taught me is that to ‘be in the moment’ you should focus on one sensation of your body. For example, if I’m feeling stressed I can take a deep breath and focus on what sounds I hear around me, or the feeling of my hands against the cool surface I’m leaning on. For me, thinking about these simple things allow me to slow down and focus on the moment a bit more.

‘Down Time’ – My downtime is something that I take very seriously. Every day after I come back from school, I make sure that I take some time to sit down, take a hot shower, organize what I’m going to do next, and eat something. This time allows me to calm down and re-arrange my thoughts before I start on my homework. I also do this before I go to sleep, I light a candle, wash my face, brush my teeth, and listen to some music. I think it’s important to take some time as your ‘down time’ as your life shouldn’t be ‘GO GO GO!’ all the time. You don’t have to necessarily do what I do, but just take some time out regularly to calm down and gather your thoughts.

Candles – So this isn’t a big one, but it is just something I have found that helps me create a relaxing, stress-free environment. Something about the aromatic smell and seeing the cozy yellow flicker allows me to relax better, I have no idea why, but I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Music – Music is also something that calms me, and lets me de-stress. Although, it has to be the right music. There’s no use listening to fast pop or rock music if you want to concentrate or relax. I usually listen to acoustic songs or slower pop songs, and there are plenty of playlists that I use on Spotify that have songs specifically for this. My favorite are ‘Revision Ballads’ and ‘Feeling Acoustically Good’.

Writing or saying thoughts aloud and going through them – This is something that I read about once and I decided to try. What you do is, write out a list of why you think you’re stressed or worried and go through the list and think about why you are actually worried about that, what is the worst thing that will happen? Is it really that bad? In reality, we always make things out worse in our heads than they actually are in real life. And by going through them properly you can swat away some of those anxieties.

Running – Now this might not be one that works for everyone because I know a lot of people don’t enjoy running. But I think that any kind of intense physical activity helps to relieve stress. Something to do with the release of endorphins that makes you happy and happiness makes you less worried. I mean I’m no scientist, but I know that exercising does work well to relieve stress for me.

Reading – As I mentioned before I find it hard to just switch off my brain, so I found an alternative. Personally, I love reading anyway, but reading allows me to focus on someone else’s story for a while and forget about my own. I’m sure other readers can relate to this? It’s easy to lose yourself in a book for a while and forget everything that’s going on. That’s why even on days when I’m really tired I still make sure I keep time to read before I go to sleep.

Woah, that was a long post!!!! But it is something that I have wanted to share with you guys for a while, as I know I’m not the only one that gets stressed and has to deal with it. At the end of the day, I still remember that I’m still a teenager and it’s normal for teens to feel this way. But if you have any other ways you deal with stress? A story you have to share? Or if you have tried any of my tips? Please let me know in the comments or contact me as I would love to hear from you guys (reading and replying to your comments always makes me so happy)!!!!

Have a stress-free day!

Little Miss Expat

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‘Calm’ Meditation App

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‘Calm’ Meditation App

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Writing down thoughts and going through them

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Reading

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Reading (one of my favorite books!)

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Candles & Creating a Stress-Free Environment

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More Candles…