MAC Insanely It

30 April 2013

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Free delivery from MAC the other day was too good of an opportunity to miss, so a little purchase was in order. Standard. I remember the days when a MAC lippie used to be around the £11 mark - how times have changed. Instead of going for a standard lipstick, the Sheen Supreme collection was calling my name on this occasion. I adore the Sheen Supreme's because they give you the whack of pigmentation you like with a lipstick, but have the finish of a gloss without being overly sticky (and we know how I feel about sticky lipgloss). You can also tell Sheen Supreme's by their shiny black exterior - a nice change from standard packaging and it mimics their 'sheeny' claims. Seeing as we're having a spurt of nice weather, 'Insanely It' ended up in my basket - it's a bright watermelon Barbie pink which is right up my street, but not quite opaque so the sheen element stands out, along with the purple pink shimmer in the formula. Staying power isn't as great as I'd like, but with Sheen Supreme's, I find I prefer to reapply the shade to keep the shine there - another tip with these is to apply one layer, let it semi-dry and then apply a second layer for a real pigment pop!

You can purchase the Sheen Supreme collection from here, and you should definitely check them out as an alternative to the standard MAC lippies, especially as there's not much of a difference in price - these are currently £14.50. I think I've found me a new winning S/S shade and it's a gorgeous, glossy, pink number - how can you blame me?

-Tamsin xxx

Billy and Margot Nutritious Treats for Dogs

25 April 2013

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A week ago, I was on a dog walk with my family and as it was a nice day, ice creams were suggested. I declined the ice cream, but was promptly given a tub type ice cream (like you'd get at the theatre). My uncle then exclaimed 'It's not for you..it's for Max!' You heard me right - ice cream for dogs. In the tub was a mixture of fruit puree, banana, apple, carrot, aloe vera and flax seed oil - all of which would be healthy, cooling in the sun and a real treat for Max. He absolutely loved this treat and when I got home, I emailed the company to say how much I loved their product and to find out a little more about them.

You may recognise the name Billy and Margot as they were featured on Dragon's Den, and fortunately for the business owners, Deborah Meaden loved the products and they made a deal. Since then, there's been no looking back and the Billy and Margot business (which is named after their dogs) is climbing from success to success. They offer a huge range of treats that are nutritious and luxurious for your pooches without being ridiculously expensive either, and it's even better that this company was the dream of a dog owner and that its now become reality.


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I had a little parcel through the post box today which had Max sniffing around like a Bloodhound. Filled with Billy and Margot treats for Max, there was the choice of dried venison treats and dog friendly popcorn to try. To start with, Max hung around looking rather moody that I didn't open them straight away - he just doesn't understand that photos come first with blogging! Adorned with the statement 'for paws only', I knew this was a tasting quest only Max could em'bark' on (my attempt at a canine pun there).


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Max has always been a fan of popcorn and when we have movie nights, he often gets a treat or two. However, I've always been careful because I worry about what is good for his little tummy. Enter 'popcorn for dogs'. 100% air-popped popcorn with seaweed seasoning, low calories, gluten and preservative free - you can't go wrong really. The seaweed seasoning comes from the waters around Ireland and contains lots of fab minerals and vitamins which are a great addition for any dog. Max loved these straight away and because of the ziplock bag, they keep for 2 weeks or so - perfect. The 20g bag is only £1.99 too - even more perfect.


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Venison is a common occurence in our household, and Max is forever sniffing in the air for his share. Thanks to the 'dried venison treats', Max can officially have his own venison delights. The venison treats are little pieces of 100% air-dried British venison meat and are very high in protein. Max was in his element with these and I promptly had to take these away otherwise I had a feeling he could have hijacked the bag and the treats would be no more. For a 75g bag, these are £3.69 and what a fabulous treat these are for your pooch.


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I am SO glad I have discovered Billy and Margot. I love nothing more than finding new companies and trying to support them in their journeys, and I'm going to be a supporter of B&M for the long haul now. It's a wonderful story with fabulous intentions - I have a sneaky suspicion Max is a fan now too...


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-Tamsin xxx

S'more Pop Tarts

22 April 2013

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Pop Tarts remind me of being really young, and when my Mum used to drag my brother and I around Tesco, we'd always cling onto a box of Pop Tarts hoping Mum would give us the nod to pop them into a trolley as a treat. And Pop Tarts are a treat for me. I wouldn't eat them every day, but when you're after a sweet treat, these really hit the spot.

Cybercandy are a fabulous British based company which offer an array of treats and goodies from overseas, yet unlike a lot of shops, they are a lot more affordable. They stock all my favourite American and Canadian goodies in a number of shops around London and Birmingham, as well as online. After drooling over most of the items on Cybercandy more than once now (cough most days), I picked out the S'more Pop Tarts*. In the UK, you get the standard Pop Tart flavours but on Cybercandy, you have a large selection of flavours we don't get here, so this was extremely exciting. When I say that this chocolatey, marshmallowy, melted treat is out of this world, I mean it. Tesco seem to be stocking more of the American style Pop Tarts online, but if I'm honest, they're cheaper on Cybercandy and you have a better, more exciting selection to choose from.

I have a feeling Cybercandy are going to become a regular order at this rate, with all their affordable prices, they will be meeting all my yummy candy needs!

-Tamsin xxx

Upload: What's In My Bag?

19 April 2013


I'm really enjoying uploading to YouTube recently, so this morning before starting work, I decided to film a 'What's In My Bag?' vid instead of doing an update in the form of a blog post like last time. If you're enjoying my vlogs, songs and uploads in general, please let me know - I'm enjoying making them at the moment which is exciting as I was always a little terrified of YouTube. 

Thank you to everyone who watches, likes and subscribes - please remember to visit my channel for more, here :)

-Tamsin xxx

Percy and Reed Finishing Polish

18 April 2013

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Magazine freebies - sometimes they're great, sometimes they're a wee bit iffy. Glamour has paired up with Percy & Reed a few times and they seem to hand out some of the better goodies, and the rest they say is history. I now make trips to Space NK to stock up on some of their shampoos and I'm always pretty damn pleased with the results. When I picked up the Percy & Reed Quite Frankly Flawless Finishing Polish as a freebie in a copy of Glamour recently, it did sit sad and lonely in my hair basket for a long while, as I was very much in a whirlwind ménage a trois with a certain Aussie Aussome Texturising Conditioning Gel Spray and John Frieda Frizz Ease. 

Seeing as I hate unused (and lonely) products, I've been whacking out the Finishing Polish in the last few weeks to put it to the test. Unlike sprays and serums, this is a cream-gel type product and looks kinda like a moisturiser but for your hair. I use serums to keep frizz and unruly flyaways at bay and for my hair, they really work. Only downside I sometimes find with serums is that they can cause excess grease occasionally which if you're a hair-washing nazi like myself, can be a little disappointing. The Finishing Polish doesn't create any excess oils which has made me a very happy Tamsin. As instructed, I have been using a pea sized amount, and I have run it through my hair from shoulders down after blow-drying. The results have been better than I ever expected and my hair has felt moisturised and generally very loved since using it. On days where I'm not being a hair-washing nazi and just giving it a spritz of dry shampoo, the Finishing Polish is still working its magic and I wake up with untangled, smooth and happy hair.

The verdict? The Quite Frankly Flawless Finishing Polish is a keeper, quite frankly.

-Tamsin xxx

Vlog 3 - Clips from Wales and Life Update

16 April 2013

Back to work, crappy weather, boyfriend away for another 3 months, rejections from jobs - yesterday was indeed a rather pants day and I was feeling pretty negative, which I hate because I'm always such an upbeat, happy and positive person. Good news is I had a lovely call today offering me a job! It's in a role completely worlds apart from teaching but I am SO excited to start in a few months. Perseverance really does pay off, and even on those down days, never give up

So now the hunt is on for Jonathan and I to find a new house to live in as we will be moving back to London! I will be near home, my family and friends and can be back in the city I grew up in and feel comfortable with, as well as Jonny being able to actually come home every day as he's moving to a new base which is a huge bonus in a military life - it's something we've not had in 3 years. Thank you to everyone who has given me support - my blogging network helps so much and I feel very lucky :)


A new video is up on my YT - a mish mash of a chatty session where I moan about still searching for a job (I filmed it before I got the call) ;) and also some clips of us in the snow in Lake Vrynwy in Wales when we were away. If you're not subbed to my channel, please do - I've just hit 200 followers which is amazing :)

-Tamsin xxx

My guide to rehoming a dog

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Lots of the questions I get asked on my blog and twitter are about my dog Max..you've all seen him before and he really needs no introduction ;) A lot of people ask about what it's like having rehomed a dog, working full time, what food I feed him, where I got him from, how I taught him tricks etc, so I've put together a little guide for people interested in rehoming a dog (not buying from a breeder as that process is very different). All my dogs before have been from breeders, and I've learnt a lot in the year and a bit I've had him, so obviously the guide will be purely from experience and what I've learnt during my time with Max.

Finding your dog

There are many rehoming centres around the country, be it small local centres or part of big charities. Google was a big friend of ours and we did lots of generic searches to find the various centres. Personally, we would have driven anywhere in the country to rehome the dog if it was the dog for us. However, a lot of rehoming centres only seem to rehome within a certain radius, as some like to do home checks before and after rehoming. Also, think about the age of the dog you're wanting to rehome - if you have time and patience, a younger dog would be a great bet, but if you simply want to give an older dog who knows his stuff a nice comfortable home, this could work too. Max had just turned one when we rehomed him, and fortunately, he'd passed that terrible puppy stage where they insist on chewing everything so we were quite lucky.

Visiting dogs

When searching for the dog, we were literally checking the various rehoming websites every day. It may not be a quick process. You should find a dog that fits your profile and it's not something to be rushed into. We found Max on The Blue Cross, which is one of the bigger charities and they have centres all around the country. Unlike a lot of centres where you can just wander around, you have to apply to see the dog with The Blue Cross. You basically submit an application and if they think you're a potential match, they invite you to meet the dog. When you do meet the dog, it's away from all the other animals so as not to create too much of a disturbance, and its usually in a safe room where one of the staff will see how you get on, explain the dog's traits and behaviour etc. After the meeting, they let me take Max for a walk in their designated walk area (a little track down the road) so you can have some time alone and see how you're pairing up. After this, you can spend as much time as you want with the dog off the lead in a huge secure paddock. This is where I tested Max's recalls, responses and commands. It's important to do this as it gives you an idea of what you may have to teach them and how much of a challenge it will be. I cannot stress how important it is to take all your family members that will be living with the dog to meet him for the first time. That way, the dog will feel comfortable (and you will too!), as well being able to determine their hangups or problems as lots of rehome dogs do.

Getting prepared

I knew straight away I was going to rehome Max once I'd met him and so signed on the dotted line as soon as I could. Most centres charge a fee to rehome, and for good reason too. Most dogs will come in an 'all inclusive' package shall we say - microchipped, neutered and vaccinations up to date and the price you will pay for rehoming them is significantly less than doing these three separately. Max was only £90 at The Blue Cross, but like I said, this varies. I left it a week between meeting Max and picking him up - I wanted to make sure I had everything sorted. I have a Pets At Home locally and they do consistently well from me. Things you may need to sort out before are:

Collar and lead 
- you will need these for when you pick the dog up

Food/water bowls

Food mat 
(messy eaters!)

Food
- Lots of centres give you a bag of food when you rehome them, usually one of the more expensive foods like Science Plan. However, depending on the diet of your dog and what you want to feed them, this is up to you.

ID Tag 
- NEVER put the dog's name on the tag - if they are very friendly and respond easily to strangers, this could lead them into a sticky wicket. It is recommended to put YOUR surname and number, but if they're microchipped, you don't need that information anyway. On Max's tag, we have 'I am chipped - please scan me!' - that way if he ever did get lost, someone could take him straight to the local vets, he'd be scanned and back to us in no time.

Pet insurance 
- very important in case of an accident..you really don't want hefty vet bills. Pet insurance prices vary so do your homework beforehand!

Crate 
- Some people love crate training, and some people don't crate train, and I don't either. However, I bought Max this collapsible crate from eBay which is absolutely fantastic. He has it in a corner of the hall and he knows he can go there when he wants and that it's his, and when we go on holiday and stay at hotels, this comes in handy as he feels safe and like his home is with him.

Beds 
- Max has his crate (which has a fluffy mattress thing in) as well as a small bed in the living room (which you can see in the photo above..perfect Max size!)

Training treats 
- I'd recommend Coachies..you can get them in small packs or large tubs and they're 1 calorie a treat..the perfect way to train a dog!

Good quality chew treats 
- they will probably be a bit stressed when you first get them home, and to deter them from chewing furniture, give them raw hide chews or similar and keep praising them when they chew them.

You should then be ready to get your dog home!

If you'd like me to follow up with Part Two in tips and tricks, and how to train a dog tricks, please do let me know!

-Tamsin xxx

Cottage Life

14 April 2013

The end to the Easter hols is looming. That 'back-to-the-grindstone' feeling is hovering around my head and keeps poking me every so often to let me know that it will be waking me nice and early and shouting 'time to earn your pennies Tamsin!' In the mean time, I can look back on the lovely cottage stay I had during the holidays and pretend I'm still there...in my head.

I stayed in a little converted barn cottage on the outskirts of Oswestry, about half a mile from the Welsh border. There were two cottages, both had hot tubs and each could sleep four people with a dog, which was great because I was able to take Max. There was a log burner and a big open plan kitchen living room. The cottages were just off the owners land who was a farmer. You could see all the animals right from the window and it had such a lovely atmosphere. When I got there, it had snowed so much so it was so wintry and beautiful, but we were graced with fantastic weather for all five days. I decided to explore Wales more than Shropshire and I'm so glad I did. I've always enjoyed Wales, and in the snow, it felt like I was in the Alps most of the time. I did a lot of walking during the day, and then go back to the cottage, have an obligatory drink in the afternoon sun and then have a dip in the tub. Perfect.

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I was there from Monday to Friday and it was the perfect little getaway to spend some quality time chilling, walk Max tons, do some really good cooking and enjoy the hot tub. All I would say is prepare for your car to get dirty! Tiny farm roads are not a white cars friend ;) If you're interested in where we stayed, you can check it out here. I'd highly recommend it :)

You can see the walks I did at Lake Vrynwy and Pontcysyllte Aquaduct from my time away too if you missed them :)

Now back to reality. Sigh.

-Tamsin xxx

Wishlist: Aldo Bags

13 April 2013

When I'm not drooling over the Net-A-Porter website, and My-Wardrobe, and ShopBob...ok you get the idea - all the money grabbing websites (what's a girl to do?!), then Aldo is one of my go-to stores for beautiful, sturdy and practical bags, without the huge price tag. It's a Saturday night, I'm relaxed in my tracky b's snuggled up to the dog, getting ready for this year's first episode of BGT, so obviously, the Aldo online shopping has commenced.


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If you love the Celine Phantom bag as much as I do and are very envious of Laura who has them in every colour, then the Folortan bag would be a fabulous alternative. The pastel hue is soft and understated, and the material studs give it a slight edge without being tooo much for the colour. I am genuinely very tempted by this bag, and at £50, it's going to burn your pocket a LOT less than the Phantom. In my dreams, I will own the Celine Phantom, but until then, Aldo you may have to cure my smile bag needs.

Following on with the soft nude and pastel hues, with a bit of a Hermes Birkin twinge, the Ullum bag pulls my heartstrings very much. For me, I like inter-usuable bags. I want to be able to mix them up for work, shopping, days out or smart events and this bag screams USE ME WITH EVERYTHING, which I think I probably could. It comes in a variety of colours, but for me, the taupe shade fits the bill perfectly. Again, at £50, my bank card won't be weeping.

So now I have to make up my mind..buy one of these beauties or splash out at Net-A-Porter...

-Tamsin xxx

A John Frieda Affair

11 April 2013

John Frieda and I go a long way back. My mum used to sigh when I insisted on throwing in a variety of hair products every supermarket trip, and would proclaim 'You and your hair products!' Well mother, sometimes you just have to keep on with what you love. At uni, I would have preferred to go without good food and make sure I had enough money to feed my cosmetic needs, which says it all really. 

A few weeks ago, John Frieda sent me a box full of goodies to try out. Firstly, what I love is that they tailored the products to my hair - A* for effort John Frieda - hair is very personal, and keeping the products personal mean that you can hopefully find the best product to work for you. I was sent the Everlasting Blonde Colour Preserving Shampoo and Conditioner, Luxurious Volume Blow Dry Lotion, and the Frizz-Ease Hair Serum.

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Lets start with the shampoo and conditioner. Packaging is typical John Frieda and I've always been a fan of their shape bottles. That's all we need to say about that really. What about formula? As a girl who has been highlighting and dying her hair for over a decade, blonde hair is notoriously difficult to keep bright and have that 'freshly dyed' feel about it. To give the products a fair deal, I started using the shampoo and conditioner the day after I had my hair highlighted. 3 weeks on, my hair is still bright, feels nourished and has certainly had its colour preserved. Blonde hair will fade in between hairdresser appointments, but already I can tell that the shampoo and conditioner will certainly help in the later weeks that we all dread. Scent is fresh and awakening and perfectly lovely, as is consistent with John Frieda shampoos. I will say that I think I preferred the shampoo to the conditioner. It's fab with de-tangling but in the shower, it didn't feel as nourishing as the shampoo. Both shampoo and conditioner get a thumbs up from me. I will be throwing these into my shopping trolley.

So the Luxurious Volume Blow Dry Lotion. I have dabbled with root boosters but have found them to be a bit of a waste of pennies in my case. My hair is very long and the root boosters don't seem to have much of an effect. I usually do a little back combing to get the root boosts I need, but I tried the Blow Dry Lotion with a positive mind. I have been spraying it into damp roots, massaging slightly and then turning up the heat. The formula wasn't sticky which is a bonus, and I did get a lift in the roots, but it doesn't last as long as I would like. Maybe this product would be a good shout for people with finer hair - worth thinking about?

Onto the Frizz-Ease Hair Serum. I have about 3 of the serums in my hair basket at the moment so I already knew what to expect from this product. It's one of my fav John Frieda products and keeps my hair under wraps during those flyaway days. I love the versatility of this product - you can use it on damp hair as a pre-dry serum with the added heat protection quality, or as I often like to use it, after drying and styling as an after-serum to keep the frizz at bay. I don't use it every day, but when my hair is feeling a bit dry and lacking love, the locks lap up the formula. This will always be one I buy.

So I really am in a bit of a relationship with John Frieda aren't I? Out of the four products, the one I didn't find beneficial was the Blow Dry Lotion, but it's not the end of the world. If you're a blondie, I highly recommend the Colour Preserve shampoos and conditioners. They get the Little Glitter seal of approval.

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Plus, if Max approves and sniffs out the goodies, then you know you're onto a winner ;)

-Tamsin xxx

Ballet Flats Wishlist

8 April 2013

Ballet flats are a weakness of mine. I love their soft, inviting, slipper type feeling and the fact you can pair them with almost any outfit makes them a winner for me. If I wear heels, I usually have a pair of ballet flats ready and waiting in my bag for a later hour - it's not that I'm rubbish in heels..I just cannot resist the comfort of the ballet flat goodness!

My shopping desires have been edging towards ballet flats recently and this has led to lots of online browsing - we all know this is a risky business!


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The bunny flats from Asos are right up my street! They are super cute and would give the pop of girly-ness that I desire in an outfit. I get through the salmon ballet pumps from Topshop like wild fire in the Summer. There is something very classic about traditional ballet slippers and I wear these with any outfit. In the Winter I love wearing them with tights and dresses to work. As far as ballet flats go, they can wear down quickly, especially if they're cheap. I do think cheap and cheerful is great, but if I want to spend a little more money, then French Sole is my go-to. The quality is great and they last pretty damn long for flats. In a very Chanel-esque style, the quilted flats are a classic and a gorgeous choice for so many outfits or occasions. As a treat, the Michael Kors Aria flats would be my perfect shopping buy. The gold studs at the front of the shoe are a beaut and again, I'd wear these with pretty much anything!

If money was no object eh? Who else loves ballet flats as much as me?

-Tamsin xxx

Walking the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

4 April 2013

I seem to like visiting hard to pronounce Welsh places don't I? Pontcysyllte (pont-ka-sil-ty) Aqueduct has World Heritage Status which was a good enough reason for us to visit it, as well as getting to walk across the 'Stream Across The Sky'. Slightly terrifying but Max and I were up for it.

I have broken my friendship with our satnav. She continuously tries to make life difficult for me, makes driving scary and wants us to drive over as many fields as possible. Not cool. Before I got angry with her, I set her to take us to Pontcysyllte and of course, she sent us on the smallest minor roads as she possibly could. Considering how snowy it is here and how hilly the area was, this was very scary.

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My face looked like this most of the time.

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Finally after trying to throw the satnav out of the window, we arrived at Trevor Basin, the hub for the canal. We were lucky that it was a beautiful day again and it all seemed very lovely with the canal boats everywhere.

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Then came the aquaduct. It is 126ft high so not for the faint hearted, and canal boats cross over with one edge of the bridge without a rail. Pretty scary. Our walk started well.

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Little Max enjoyed the views and we walked the 1007ft long length of the crossing. We then enjoyed a nice walk of the canal towpath,  Max running after the ducks with his scariest face (he relies on these tactics when most of the ducks are bigger than him).

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Then came the crossing back over the aquaduct. It. Was. Windy. As. Hell. Max decided that he didn't like this crossing. So I had to carry him the whole way.

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This is possibly the funniest photo ever? I think it explains my fear at this point. I don't have a fear of heights, but with no rails the other side, serious gale force winds and a canal next to me, whilst holding Max...well it was pretty scary.

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It was such a fun experience however and worth the rollercoaster style fear. You can cross in a canal boat of course which I did consider. Max was flat out in the evening, once again. All these long walks we've been doing are a serious workout for his little legs!

-Tamsin xxx

Lake Vyrnwy

3 April 2013

Yes, you did read that right...it's not a typo. I'm currently in a cottage on the Welsh border for the week so have been spending a lot of time in places we can't pronounce. I love Wales and its people but sometimes your place names do take the mick ;) Anyhow, donned in about 5 layers of clothes, I drove to Lake Vyrnwy - a huge nature reserve and estate with a massive lake and dam at the heart of it.


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The amount of snow there is at the moment is quite amazing. Instead of taking one of the very snowed over walking routes, I went for one of the main roads as it was shut because of so many trees having fallen down because of snow. There was no-one around and it was like I was hiking in the Alps or similar.

Remember the gazelle/hare type jumps that I said Max does in the snow? Well here's proof. He did lots of gazelle/hare jumping. Lots, and lots, and lots, and lots of gazelle/hare jumping.


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I tried to imitate him at one point and ended up falling down a snowy hill, tearing my leggings and ripping my knee in four places. Ripped clothes and bloody knees. Keeping graceful and classy as ever. 

When I arrived back to where I'd parked the car, it appeared I'd trekked almost 7 miles. Max was asleep the minute we got into the car to go home and stayed asleep for the whole evening. Gazelle/hare jumps in the snow are a good workout apparently.


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If you get the chance to explore Lake Vyrnwy then you must take up the opportunity. I only saw a small area of it because of snow but the estate is huge - I'd love to go back!

-Tamsin xxx