Illustrated Teacup

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Wednesday, 18 November 2015

GUIDE: Gift Ideas for a Teen Girl

Yesterday was my baby sister's birthday. Well I say baby, she's actually 19 years of age, but as I can remember her as a two year old I still see her as the baby. As she comes into her final year of being a teenager, I thought I'd share some inspiration with you for teenage girl gifts all from Primark, because to be completely honest I was slightly clueless to begin with.

I mean what do teenagers these days actually like? When I was a teen I was into glitter, blue mascara and crimping my hair. But kids are growing up so much faster now, and I've seen more 17 year olds than I would like to say who have a better make-up stash than I do, including MAC, which both bewilders and confuses in equal measure!

So on to my gift guide...

Teenage Girl Gift Guide from Primark

Teenage Girl Gift Guide from Primark




Everything is from Primark and seen on their website, so you'll need to have a scout around in your local store! Good luck!

1. Hogwarts Pyjamas
Perfect for the Harry Potter fan, and cosy for winter. This is a must for my sister.
2. Two pack of snood scarves
For the slightly warmer winter days, functional and pretty
3. "You look amazing" sign
Because every girl needs a reminder
4. Minnie Mouse mittens
All teen girls love Disney right?
5. Ariel t-shirt
And we all want mermaid hair!
6. Butterfly lights
Perfect for every girls bedroom, and won't break the bank
7. Cat and Donut socks
What's not to love, and girl needs socks right?
8. Bobble hat
This is mostly here because I really love this hat and really need it in my life, hint hint! 
9. Nail files
A girls best friend. And a staple for her beauty draw. Plus super cute!

What do you recommend for a teen girls birthday? Or even dare I say it, Christmas?
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Sunday, 15 November 2015

ADVICE: Things you should know when buying a cat or kitten

A beginners guide to cats and kittens

I love cats.... If you didn't know! 
Ok that was a little bit of an understatement to be honest.
You've likely seen my little (giant) fur babies here many, many times, and you either love it, or you hate it - hopefully the former.
If you haven't met my fur babies before - here's a little introduction.

Archimedes - he's the jet black, Bengal-cross. He's nearly four and is a mummas-boy completely. He is faster than sound (mild exaggeration) and the dominant cat of the house. He can usually be found on our bed, in the conservatory or on my pillow.
Dante - he's the gigantic fluff ball who is two. He's a Persian-Bengal - Bengal face, Persian fur. He's is daddy's little menace. He can usually be found at the top of the stairs, on the bathroom matt or inside a draw, usually with Dann's socks.

I thought I'd share with you some of the things to keep in mind if you want your own kitten or cat, because they aren't always advertised, but kind of come in the feline bundle.

Claws
Those little needles are the absolute worst. And they need blunting, and your cat will know this. And the absolute best place to do that is on your sofa! It doesn’t really matter that you put the scratching post right next to the sofa, and it’s a really tall one with jingly mice, the sofa is WAY better. Accept it. That nice sofa is probably going to be shredded - thank you Archimedes. 

Fur, fur, fur
The hallmark of the cat owner. You can ID a cat owner, and the type of cat from the appearance of said owner and the level of fur coverage they have on their clothes. Invest in lint rollers if you wish to de-fur, but be warned this should only be done just before you leave as it has an innate ability to cling to you within 30 seconds.
This leads to HAIRBALLS… for those wishing to own a fluffy kitty, be warned, they DO NOT look like the balls of fluff vomited up in cartoons. And cat sick smells FYI, and stains! Invest in laminate flooring… better to clean and no fur can stick to it like it does to carpets. This is a particular problem for Dante who has long hair and barely chews his food. Malt extract really helps enable the hair to go through his system and not get stuck, but always seek advice from a vet about fur and long-haired cats.

Night time races and ninjas
Those eerie hours between 12am and 4am are the cat witching hour. You’ve seen your cat or kitten nap ALL day. Well that is all in preparation for the sprinting around your home, and leaping from high places at 2am. Double the destruction with two or more cats. Never leave anything up high that can fall. On a side note, black cats are particularly good at hide and seek, especially at night. You think you’re safe popping to the loo in the middle of the night…. You’re not. Take a torch, or you will be feeling the carpet quicker than you would like when you trip over the black ninja that hid in the corner awaiting his prey – you!

Cuddles.. at your peril
I know you want to smush you face in your kitties fur and squish him cos you love him so much.... well he will more than likely hate it. Unless you're really lucky (we have one of each) and he loves cuddles, most cats will squirm and claw their way out of your grasp (see point one). Our two agree to cuddles on their terms, and their terms only. Usually when you need to pee or grab the remote. Dante has also developed a new habit of curling up on our backs as both Dann and I sleep on our fronts fairly regularly. He's also heavy so it is virtually impossible to move.

Sleep
Cat's love to sleep. You'll find this out very quickly. In fact cats sleep for about 2/3 of their lives. And not always in the places you might expect. We usually find our two either asleep on our bed together, or inside drawers, specifically sock drawers. And we wonder why our clothes are covered in fur. 

Boxes vs. Toys
Over the years we've spent a fortune on toys for our cats, including climbing frames and various scratching posts (the sofa is better apparently). We've learnt the favourites for ours. Boxes are always, and I mean always a hit, no matter the size. Did you see Dante in my Degustabox? He is also a huge fan of hair ties, and more recently rubber charity wristbands. We now collect them and he plays fetch. Much safer than the hair ties he had a habit of eating.
Other favourites include anything with feathers, and of course the trusty laser pen!

A beginners guide to cats and kittens

A beginners guide to cats and kittens

A beginners guide to cats and kittens
But you've got to love them. For all their odd little quirks it makes them who they are. And I honestly wouldn't have them any other way.

You can read more about our cats here, here and here

What's your favourite thing about your cat?
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Friday, 13 November 2015

FOOD: Inside the October Degustabox



It's foodie heaven in today's blog post. I was recently sent my second box from Degustabox* (see the first one here) and this months box was even better than last months.
Degustabox specialise in bringing new and interesting foods and drinks straight to the food lovers door every month. Last month was all about the snacks and drinks. This month it's a little more food based, and even includes some bits essential for all your meals.

Take the Passata for instance - I'll be using mine for this meatball recipe. The chopped tomatoes are ideal for a warming chilli in the slow cooker. And that cocoa powder is perfect for some chocolate brownie baking.

On top of this we have the usually unique and different snacks and drinks. I know my husband adores the Liberation nuts, and the freeze-dried apricots are going on the Gluten-Free Apricot porridge - like a match made in breakfast heaven.

What's inside?
Food Thoughts Organic Cocoa for Baking
Lorina French Lemonade - coconut and lime flavour
The Snack Organisation - Apricots
The Snack Organisation - Lightly Salted Rice Crackers
9BAR Orginal Carob Bars
Cirio - La Classica Passata and Chopped Tomatoes
Liberation Foods  - Peanuts and Cashews
Provena Gluten Free Porridge - Apricot
Kabuto Noodle Pot - Chicken Raman
Chip Strips - Salt n Vinegar & Sour Cream and Chive

Plus a President voucher for Unsalted Butter.

I hope you enjoy exploring inside as much as Dante does!




Get your own Degustabox with this special money off code, to get £6 off your box - BLDEG15.

Follow Degustabox on Facebook and Twitter.

*PR Sample
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Tuesday, 10 November 2015

LIFESTYLE: 26 Years + a giveaway


I can’t quite believe I’m 26. It’s a little scary to be honest. I mean I’m now closer to 30 than 20! I should probably be more of an adult these days, but just sometimes it feels good to build a den and hide away from the world.

Reflecting back, I’ve had a good 26 years on this planet we call home, and I’ve been so fortunate in the things I’ve done and the people I’ve met in my little world.
I’m thankful for every day I get to live in this wonderful, scary and intriguing world, and for getting to share my experiences with some of the greatest people on earth.
I’ve been unimaginably lucky to have met the love of my life so early on in my life, and spending the last seven and half year with Dann has been better than I could have ever dreamed. We’re fortunate enough to own our own home, shared with our beautiful fur babies. We both have happy, healthy families. I have some of the greatest, most supportive friends a girl could ask for, both from blogging, and outside of this little community, where I feel at home.


I guess what I’m trying to say is that even with the hard times, including moving away from home and going through a miscarriage, I’m eternally grateful for my 26 years – even if I sometimes wish I was still 22. 

So onto the exciting news. I'm running my first ever giveaway! I've co-hosted a giveaway previously, but this time I'm going it alone! Basically I want to celebrate my birthday this year big style, and as my blog is so much a part of my world it seems only right for it to be included, and for you to be included as well.
I'm giving away a bundle of goodies for 26 years, in 26 days.

Ginger and Co Hand Cream                           Sugar Daddy-O Hair Conditioner from Lush      
Molton Brown Body Lotion                           Revlon false eyelashes
Layered charm necklace                                 Benefit Pore-fessional mini set            
Vintage style bracelet                                     Benefit Air Patrol Sample
Disney bubbles                                               Hairfinity
Velvet lip laquer                                             Maybelline Nail Polish in Candy Apple
Manuka Doctor sample pack

Follow the Rafflecopter below to enter - the more things you do, the more entries you gain! I'll be chucking in some secret goodies, including some yummy treats too!
Plus if you're a blogger and you win I'll throw in a months advertising for January as well.


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Terms & Conditions
UK Only - sorry, it's too expensive to send abroad :(
To enter you must be on Twitter and Bloglovin - these are mandatory requirements (you do not have to be a blogger for either) Other options are bonus entries.
Winner will be announced via Twitter and email if applicable. If no reply within 48 hours a new winner will be drawn. 
Winner will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter, and double checked by myself that the mandatory requirements have been completed. 
Giveaway will run from the 10th November to 6th December
I will post as securely as possible, but damages will not be my responsibility and will not be replaced.
Items will be posted within one week of announcement with tracking.

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Wednesday, 4 November 2015

LIFESTYLE: Life Lately - October

It's been a fairly quiet month actually. I guess that makes a nice change really after the hectic last few months, and with a couple of very busy months coming up. I mean November is my birthday month, and we're away on a cruise for nearly a week, and then December, and we all know that's a crazy month.



You'll probably have seen that we have had a little break to the Isle of Wight at the beginning of the month, which you can read about here and here. It was so nice to get away and chill, and I guess it set us up for a month of taking it a little easier. This year as a whole has been so busy so calming it down was really needed.

^^yes they are glow sticks in Danns stretched ear!^^

That same weekend we went to a friends 30th birthday party. Ibiza in a back garden in October - it was an unusual theme, but really worked and the birthday boy seemed to enjoy himself! Plus it was so good to catch up with old friends, whom we haven't seen in what feels like forever. It was the perfect reminder of why we love our friends. It doesn't seem to matter how long we go without seeing each other, we always manage to pick right up like we saw each other last week. They've been our friends the entire time I've known Dann, and knew him from his school days. They are true friends, and we are making a firm decision to make more effort to see each other more in the future.

Having so much chill time means lots of home cooking and cat cuddles and we've certainly been making the most of it! As you've probably seen from my many recent foodie posts, we love our kitchen. It's gigantic which really helps, and we have so many odds and ends that we are putting to use at the moment.




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Monday, 2 November 2015

LIFESTYLE: Happy Cat Birthday Dante


I literally can't believe that this giant sized fur baby is two years old!
He came to us at a really tough time in our lives in January 2014, but I honestly can't imagine life without him now. He fills our home with so much laughter and joy. He is the silliest, funniest and craziest cat I've ever known, and I love him very dearly.

From hairballs and matted fur, to playing fetch and meowing til you sit so he can have a cuddle I love him more and more daily.
He is the biggest attention-seeker.
He loves having his belly rubbed.
He loves hanging out in the bathroom, whether you want him to or not.
He's the chattiest cat, and adores talking to us.
He is utterly clumsy.
He is massive and furry and makes all other cats (apart from Archimedes) look tiny.
He has the swishiest tail and he knows it, apart from when he drops it in the bath.
He is happy to be cradled like a baby.
He is so sweet natured and dopey - he is loved by everyone.

He really does bring so much love to our home and I simply adore this cat, that not only fixed our broken hearts, but stole a place in them forever.

Happy 2nd Birthday my beautiful, sweet and fabulous Dante.   




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Sunday, 1 November 2015

LIFESTYLE: Happy November

Hello to November. It's one of my favourite months actually, especially as it's my birthday month.

Just a quick little post to say hi and share with you what we got up to for Halloween. We had a quiet one. We're not big party animals and we aren't actually the biggest fans of Halloween either... I know don't hate me. It just seems an excuse for kids to be idiots and teens to get drunk whilst dressed up. I'm sure my opinion will change once we have littles, as I think Halloween should really be about kids.

So for Halloween we spent the evening trying a new recipe and handing out sweets to the trick or treaters.
The recipe was inspired from our favourite over-excitable chef Jamie Oliver. It's a Mexican inspired build your own soup. We love it so much and it definitely a new favourite and will be a firm Friday dish. You can see the whole recipe here.

Mexican Soup for Halloween

Mexican Soup for Halloween

Mexican Soup for Halloween

Sweets for Halloween
What did you get up to this Halloween?
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