Friday Questions

18 December 2015

How old are you in 5 years? 30 years. And I'm sure life will be very different from how it is now!
Who were you most recently with 2 hours ago? My colleague, Charlie. We get on like a house on fire and spend our days laughing at anything and everything.
How tall are you? 5'1. And yes the view is lovely down here.
What movie did you watch last? The Holiday. Always need a little bit of Christmas cheer!
Who called you last? My mother. We were discussing when I'm arriving back at her house for Christmas and our plans for Christmas Eve..I'm so excited!

Who did you ring last? My aunty. I wanted to let her know that I'm going to bring her round some homemade Nutella truffles, cos I'm a nice niece like that!
What was the last text you received? 'Hope you have a wonderful day gorgeous.' Who it's from, I won't disclose ;)
Prefer to call or send texts? I don't really mind. I love to have a good chat on the phone, but depending on where I am determines whether it's a text conversation or a phone conversation. Texts don't convey how you feel as well as phone conversations.
What is your favorite place? Wherever my favourite people are. As long as I'm with the people I love, then it's a good place.
Which place do you prefer the least? A&E. I don't think anyone enjoys sitting in A&E for hours on end.
When did you see your mother recently? 6th December. I was at my parents for the weekend and it was a wonderful occasion. I didn't want to leave!
What eye color do you have? Green.
What is your favorite Christmas song? I'm not sure I could choose..I love so many Christmas songs! Especially the traditional songs and carols.
When you did you wake up today? 0630. 
Where do you think you'll be in 10 years? I've really no idea. I've tried to stop thinking about the future as it honestly just stresses me out. I'm the sort of girl who wants to settle down and have a family relatively young, and after a couple of heartbreaks, I'm just taking it a day at a time now rather than giving myself deadlines and life goals.
What scared you at night as a child? The idea of a house fire. It was all those scary 'check your fire alarm' adverts that did it!
What is your favorite outfit? If I could wear gym clothes every day, I would. But there's nothing like a little dress, tights and wedge boots. It's hard to pick a favourite outfit as it does depend on your mood!
Are your parents married or divorced? Married for nearly 27 years now!
What is your best feature? I'm always happy and positive. So many people comment on it and i'm glad they do. Happiness is catching and a smile can change someones day.

What is your worst trait? I can be a little stubborn.
How many pillows have you in your bed? Four. I love lots of pillows and I've had eight in the past! Hotel bed wannabe!
What is the strangest thing you've eaten? I've eaten a mealworm but that was as part of a tequila drink in Mexico.
Do you have a desktop or laptop computer? I have both, but daily I use a laptop.
What are you listening to right now? BBC Radio 1.
Which ice cream is your favorite? Coldstone Creamery. There's nothing like it.
Can you play poker? Yes. And I have a good poker face. I'm actually a really good gambler, which is why I don't let myself gamble that often. It could be dangerous otherwise!
What have you eaten today? An Activia yoghurt. I'm currently waning dairy out of my diet, but I rushed out of the house this morning without eating my usual breakfast of eggs, so grabbed a yoghurt from Waitrose. 
What will you do today? Work work work. Gym, and then relax in the evening.
Do you want children? More than anything. I have always been maternal and crave children so badly. Hopefully, once I'm with the right guy, children will be around very quickly.
Know any other languages ​​than English? I can speak German, conversational Spanish and French, and a little bit of Norwegian and Finnish which I'm currently learning.

What do you spend your money on? Travel, experiences, normal life expenses such as bills and food, and surprises for those that I love.
What is your favorite dessert? I'm a dessert person so this is hard to choose! I'll never turn down proper New York Cheesecake though.
Do you drink anything with breakfast? Water, green tea and sometimes fresh orange juice.
Are you social? Incredibly social. I fully believe that being with people enhances your day to day life massively. You have so much to learn from other people, and it's from other people that you learn things about yourself. We only live once and I personally think we should spend it with the people we love, meet as many people as we can and embrace community.
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Lussekatter for St Lucy's Day

13 December 2015

I've always had a love for Scandinavian traditions, food and celebrations. Don't ask me why - I just always have. I would love to be an expat in one of the Scandinavian countries for a while and just soak in the Nordic lifestyle. I'm lucky that one of my best friends is Finnish, so she spoils me a little with Finnish traditions and food. Seeing as it's Sunday and we usually all have time on our hands, I thought I'd share with you one of my favourite Christmas celebrations from Scandinavia.

In Sweden, Norway and some Swedish speaking parts of Finland, December 13th is a day of celebration and light, and is commonly known as St Lucy's Day (or St. Lucia's Day). St Lucy was one of the first Christian martyrs, killed by the Romans for her beliefs. Lucy means 'light', and it's on December 13th when it's one of the darkest days in the month that she is remembered, and towns everywhere are lit up with candles as 'light overcomes darkness'. In most towns, a young girl is elected St Lucy, and she gets to wear a long white robe with a red sash, and dons a green garland crown on her head which is covered in candles.

Buns called Lussekatter (literally translated as Lucy's Cats) are served along with mulled wine. Lussekatter remind me of being very young. I thought they were exciting and special, and just were quintessentially Christmassy. Sweet and light, they have a gorgeous golden colour which is due to saffron being used, and are easily identifiable from their backwards S shape.

In case you might like to get involved with one of my favourite Advent traditions, I've put the recipe I used below.

What you need

1 tsp saffron threads
250ml milk
500g strong white flour
7g sachet of fast-action dried yeast
1 tsp salt
50g caster sugar
50g unsalted butter, melted
100g Quark cheese
1 egg yolk
Handful of raisins

This is how you do it

- Heat the milk until it is lukewarm.

- Soak the saffron in the milk for 5-10 minutes so it gets a really yellowy colour.

- Combine the salt, sugar, flour and yeast together in a bowl. Make a well in the middle.

- Mix the melted butter into the milk and saffron and pour into the well.

- Add the Quark cheese.

- Stir this mixture briefly and then bring together as a dough.

- Knead the dough on a floured surface for around 10 minutes.

- Place the dough in a bowl and cover with a teatowel or clingfilm. Leave it in a warm place for around 1½-2 hours until well risen.

(This is where I usually go and watch a Christmas film. Any excuse!)

- Preheat the oven to 220c/Gas Mark 7.

- Split the dough into 12 pieces. Roll them into long sausages using your hands. They should be around 8 inches long.

- Twist them into a reverse 'S' shape. This is easy and you just need to curl them round. Make sure they are twisted nice and tightly

- Place on a greased baking tray, cover with a teatowel again and leave for 30 minutes to rise.

(Grab a cup of tea and dance around the kitchen to Christmas music. Best 30 minutes you will spend - I promise you.)

- Brush the Lussekatter with the egg yolk. This helps to give them a nice golden colour whilst cooking.

- Place a raisin in each side of the Lussekatter (2 per bun).

- Bake the rolls for 15 minutes, and then leave to cool on a wire rack.

And that's how you make Lussekatter. It's a little time consuming, but definitely worth the wait. I love eating them when they're still warm with a little bit of Christmas Cake curd or some salted caramel cream (which isn't strictly the Swedish way, but dayaaam it tastes good.) Make sure you eat them with a glass of mulled wine and share with your family and friends.

Happy St. Lucy's Day! God Jul!

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7 things to do in December

9 December 2015

001. Go for festive Christmas drinks with friends. There are pop up bars everywhere this time of year, and there's nothing quite like squishing up on a table and keeping warm with a cup (or boot) full of Gl├╝hwein.

002. Don the ice skates and hit the ice. We do this every year, be it at Canary Wharf or Somerset House. This is festivity personified and it's a perfect way to bring a smile to anyone's face. (especially when people take a tumble!)

003. Decorate a gingerbread house. You can find decorating packs everywhere nowadays, and there's something very therapeutic about decorating the house how you'd like, and then seeing it finished in all its glory. And then devouring it afterwards. That tastes good.

004. Wrap up warm and go for a Wintry hike. Fill flasks with mulled wine or tea, throw on some waterproofs in case it rains (you never know..this is the UK after all), put on your best bobble hat and go for a proper trek somewhere new. I love just putting my finger down on a map, driving there and seeing where it takes me. The dog will love it too. Plus, you can treat yourself with a hot chocolate after to warm you up. With extra marshmallows.

005. Listen to Christmas carols. If there's anything that makes me feel Christmassy, it's Christmas carols. You don't really get carolers come round to houses anymore, but there's nothing to stop you from going to a Christingle service (if only for the Dolly Mixture you get on top of the orange) or listening to a playlist on Spotify whilst cooking dinner one night. Try it. You might even like it!

006. Donate to charity. Now you can do this at any time of year, and believe me, I do. But Christmas is the time of year when giving is at a high. Why not give to those less fortunate than us? In the past, I've made a food hamper up and donated it to a shelter, or bought some toys and donated them to a children's home.

007. Spend a day watching Christmas films. Usually, I binge watch loads of films on a weekend, complete with warm mince pies and salted caramel cream. What's not to love?

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Christmas Q&A

4 December 2015

What do you usually do on Christmas Eve?
Christmas Eve is maybe my favourite day in the whole year. I'm usually at my parents house, and I wake up early to walk the dogs, and then get ready to run the final errands before the big day. I'll help my Mum with the chopping and preparation of food and vegetables, and then most years, we've popped to the shops for an egg nog latte and a last browse of the makeup counters (in case there's a festive lipstick that we just have to purchase). Once all the preparation is complete, we'll watch a Christmas film, and then head down to our local pub for festive cheer and to wish everyone health and happiness. Around 10pm, I make my way to church for rehearsals, and then sing midnight mass. I get home around 1am, have a cup of tea, and head to bed..ready for the whirlwind of Christmas Day to begin in a couple of hours!

What's your favourite Christmas treat?
I like pretty much everything when it comes to Christmas treats! I don't eat things like cookies so we don't have Christmas cookies in the house, but I love all the savoury treats like cheese and biscuits and antipasti. I always look forward to filling my body with mulled wine too, as that's just Christmas personified for me.

Do you prefer to give or receive gifts?
As much as we all like to receive presents from our loved ones, there is nothing quite like giving a gift that you know is going to light up someones face. I've always been the type of person to give presents that are meaningful, and will have some reference to a memory or a holiday or something special, and I just love knowing that people recognise the fact that you've gone to the effort.

Real or artificial Christmas tree?
Nothing beats a real Christmas tree does it? The smell of it is just so good!

What is a typical Christmas Day like for you?
Even though I've had a late night from singing midnight mass, I'm always up early because there's so much to do before the family arrive! My family and I have a glass of champagne whilst opening our presents to each other, and then get ready for the day. We like to dress up on Christmas Day, so it's usually nice dresses for ladies and shirts for men. My dad usually takes the dogs out whilst I help mum with any final preparations. When the family arrive, it's more champagne and we open half of the presents. Christmas Lunch is served, we eat until we're stuffed, and then open the final half of the presents. Then comes the games and fun, which usually involves my grandfather not understanding the games we're playing, and of course..more champagne. Then we all settle down to watch the Christmas specials on TV before putting on fresh pyjamas and snuggling down. It's always such a nice day.

Favourite activities in December?
There are so many! Ice skating (usually at Canary Wharf), singing midnight mass is always special to me, trips to Starbucks with my mum to drink egg nog lattes, buying and wrapping presents, listening to Christmas music and seeing some of my favourite family and friends. There's so much to love about December!

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7 workout excuses to banish from your life

30 November 2015

It's dark before I leave the office now and the first thing I want to do when I get home is make a cup of Caramelized Apple tea and snuggle on the sofa with the dog. Going for a run along the sea front and battling against the elements? Not my number one choice. But once it's done, you feel good and strong and 100% better for doing it. A couple of years ago when I was a teacher, I honestly didn't have much time to fit exercise into my life. It got me down more than I realised and changed the way I felt about myself. I vowed that I would never let that happen again and now, I'm the girl who trains whilst on holiday and factors in training sessions when friends come to visit me (this is a true story.)

It is so, so easy to make excuses when it comes to exercise, but we're in charge of our lives and what we do with our time. With that in mind, here are 7 workout excuses to banish from your life forever!

001. I don't have the time. Yes you do. It's about making time and evaluating your priorities. Think about the times that you sit down in front of the tv to watch those 3 episodes of Friends that you've watched about 40 times over. That's an hour and a half that you could have been working out or going for a quick run. It's so easy to pretend that you don't have the time, and I could easily do that. However, exercise isn't an addition to my's just a way of life and I will always make the time for it.

002. I'm too tired. We've all said this, including me. Sometimes it's important to listen to your body if you're physically tired, but most of the time, it's just a feeling. You never regret a workout and even when I'm not feeling my strongest, it feels good to have done a little bit of exercise, even if it's just 30 minutes.

003. It's too expensive. Some gyms are indeed expensive, but I am a firm believer that it's about finding the right gym for you, no-matter what the price is. I have trained in gyms that are £90 a month, and ones that are £9.99 a month. Think about the extra coffees you buy on the way to work, or the lipstick you pick up during your lunch hour. They all equal to what could be a gym membership. If a gym membership still seems too much, exercise is free. Get outdoors, go for a run, do push ups on the wall at the beachfront, do sit ups in your living room. There are so many options and exercise never, ever has to be expensive.

004. Exercise is boring. If you do the same workouts over and over again, then it can get boring. It's about finding that inspiration and what works for you. Training with a friend can be a great motivator, and giving yourself weekly targets means that you're always in competition with yourself. I love to switch up my workouts so that every day is different. I always make sure I have a good music playlist too to give me the extra boost - you'll often see me dancing and singing in between rounds, and that means I'm never bored!

005. I'll start to exercise in the New Year. Why the New Year? Why not now? There's no need to postpone. There's a month until New Year and imagine what you can do in those 4 weeks, and how your body might feel, not to mention your morale. When you do get to New Year, you'll already be in the mindset of exercising and it won't seem like such a challenge.

006. It's my time of the month. Come on girls. We're not in Year 7 and trying to get out of swimming any more. Change up the workout to suit how you feel. Maybe use lighter weights, or go for some shorter rounds. Exercise massively helps your hormones and you'll feel good for it after.

007. I'm pregnant. Now I can't speak from experience with this one, but as long as you've exercised before pregnancy, you're fine to train during pregnancy. This doesn't mean you have to go hammer for tong, but research has shown that exercising whilst pregnant has tons of benefits. Increased blood flow, endorphins and general fitness are all key for a good pregnancy and just by going for a brisk walk a few times a week can be of massive benefit. If I'm ever lucky enough to become pregnant, I will be carrying on my usual fitness routine unless otherwise told not to. Baby bump body pump is 100% a thing!

Hopefully this post will have given you a little inspiration when it comes to doing some exercise. Will your Monday involve some form of activity?

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A Little Q&A

16 November 2015

Where has the time gone this month? My life has been so busy and full on that I just haven't had a chance to sit down. Sometimes, I wish I had one of Hermione's time turners so that I could make sure that I got everything on my 'to do' list, done. But, alas, life is not like that. It's been a busy month so far, filled with visits to places all over the country, various OCR challenges and getting myself organised for a trip away. Bonfire night was spent with good friends, lots of sparklers and even more wine, leading to me feeling very sorry to myself the following day. 

Sara and I did manage to get a rather lovely shot of our sparklers though!

Now for a little Q&A. Let me know if you decide to do this!

At the movies, I'm ... so engrossed with what's going on, I start shouting along with the film. My friend had to deal with me willing Daniel Craig on during SPECTRE recently and thought it was one of the funniest things!

On the beach, I ... am usually sunbathing (if on holiday), and then running into the sea and feeling generally happy with my life. Alternatively, if I'm at home in Bournemouth, I'm usually running around with Max or taking photos of beautiful beach sunsets.

At the dentist, I ... am absolutely fine. I've never been scared of the dentist and even did work experience there growing up of my own free will because I found it so interesting. Total geek!

On a first date, I ... am usually nervous at first, which is quite surprising seeing as I'm a confident person. If the conversation flows, then the nerves go away very quickly. My favourite types of dates are cosy ones at home, or long dog walks along the beach.

Right now, I'm ... feeling cold. Winter is definitely here and I should probably be wearing more layers to counteract this!

On Snapchat, I am ... always moaning about the traffic or singing along to music. You can find me at @titchtamsin

In the month of December, I am ... honestly one of the happiest girls. Christmastime for me just radiates many of the things I love about life and people. I am one of the keeno's that everyone loves to hate, already wrapping presents early and singing Christmas songs as loud as I possibly can. I just love festivity!

In the kitchen, I ... love to cook and try out new recipes. I'm the Mary Berry of our household and my housemates are often asking me to help them bake cakes. Obviously, I oblige happily. Who doesn't love baking cakes?!

Behind the wheel, I am ... a confident driver and a rather loud singer. It's not rare for other drivers to laugh at me when they see me singing my head off. I just tell them to join in with me - singing is good for the soul!

In the wardrobe, I have ... too many clothes that I just do not wear. I've planned a bit of an eBay sale for the end of November so that I can make some room for something new.  

At the gym, I am ... usually throwing some weights around (not literally) and having way too much fun. The gym is my getaway and I'm usually there 5-6 times a week. It's my way of de-stressing, processing the day and of course, working on my fitness.

In a taxi, I am ... the chatty one who always has to ask the driver about their day, family life, how their evening has been.

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Halloween Pumpkins

2 November 2015

Pumpkin carving has got to be one of the best bits of Halloween. Picking out the pumpkin, scooping out the seeds and strings, picking a design and carving away - it's always such good fun. This year, my housemate and I decided to put on the Halloween music album and carve away together. I had two pumpkins to carve this year, so decided to go for a Jack Skellington face, and after looking on Pinterest, went for a cat looking into the pumpkin. Nicky decided on a bat with some star and moon decoration.

I had been practising my makeup for Halloween so already had half a skeleton face on - very fitting for the occasion! We danced around the room, sung along to the music (badly in Nicky's case!) and after we'd finished the carving, we settled down on the sofa with the dogs to watch Hocus Pocus. For me, Hocus Pocus is Halloween personified. It reminds me of being young, and every year I would cry when the cat 'dies', even though it's already dead. Far too emotional!

On Halloween itself, I went out for drinks with one of my girls. We both got dressed up (me as a half-faced skeleton and Issy as a zombie French Maid) and to say we had a good night is an understatement. Many drinks were drunk, lots of songs were danced to and a bit of piri-piri chicken was eaten at the end of the night.

After a Sunday of chilling on the sofa, it's now back to the Monday grindstone.

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Things that made me smile this week

30 October 2015

Friday is here and another working week is nearly over. Wonderful! I'm finding that the days are flying by at the moment, and I just don't seem to have enough time to do all the things that I want to do. I know that I'm guilty of trying to pack in too much into my life, but I guess it's just the way I am. I have things to do, people I want to see, activities to try and places to visit. Not to mention throwing in the daily workout too.

Halloween is nearly here and I'm looking forward to a night out with some of my favourite girls tomorrow. The plan is that there's no real plan. All we've decided is that people are coming to mine to get ready and don some fake blood and costumes, drink some Haribo vodka (which I've brewed myself because I'm that organised), play some games, head into town, see where the night takes us and probably laugh and dance ourselves silly. Those are the best sort of nights I think.

It's been a busy week and it's good to reflect on the things that make us smile so that we can feel grateful and appreciate what we have. Even though it's raining, I'm feeling good. I donned the hood this morning and got on my way to work with a spring in my step. So as the rain hammers down outside, here's a list of the things that have made me smile.

1. I came home from work on Wednesday and my housemates had bought me a present - a balloon version of Max. There had been someone selling them in town, and this balloon honestly was identical to my boy. They bought it just because they knew I'd love it. Max obviously hated it (of course). You may have even spotted the balloon on the episode of The Apprentice that was on the same night!

2. One of my colleagues works in France and we Skype for most of the day when we're working. She's got the same sense of humour as I do and we just laugh and laugh and laugh. My latest thing to do is to recite the rudest rap songs to her in a dramatic effect. It's ridiculous but makes the day that little bit sweeter.

3. On Monday, I went to see the new Bond film, Spectre with my housemate. Anyone who knows me will know that I love James Bond, and I particularly love Daniel Craig. I'd booked us into the first showing that you could get to in Bournemouth or Poole, grabbed the biggest load of popcorn I could find and settled down to watch the show. I don't think you can compare Spectre with the success of Skyfall as they're two different films, but I absolutely loved it. And seeing Daniel Craig is always going to make me smile.

4. I put up a new cover (finally!). I've been singing a lot of jazz recently in preparation for a concert I'm singing in in December, so decided to sing a bit of Fever by Peggy Lee. It's always lovely to hear people's lovely feedback on my singing so thank you. You can listen to it below:

Have a fabulous Friday!

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Training Log

26 October 2015

It feels like a while since I've put up a training log, but having a broken wrist for a month eliminated the majority of my training, apart from running and training for the marathon. 'A broken wrist doesn't stop you running' so my Dad says. But the cast is off and I'm back training now, and wow did I miss it! I've been monitoring how my wrist feels because naturally, it's going to be a little weaker. But so far, so good. Something that I really enjoyed was the visit back to my local Crossfit by my parents, Crossfit 13. I'm not often back at my parents for long enough to get to a session, but I made sure I was free and was there bright and early, ready to beast it. It felt nice to have my name back up on the board.

Monday 19th October
Off training

Tuesday 20th October
3 mile run

Wednesday 21st October
6 x 12 lat pulls @ 40kg
6 x 12 leg curl @ 65kg
6 x 12 leg press @ 110kg
6 x 10 deadlift @ 70kg
6 x 10 push press @ 40kg
6 x 10 front squats @ 50kg

Thursday 22nd October
Off training

Friday 23rd October
Off training

Saturday 24th October
3 mile run

Sunday 25th October
As many reps as possible in 2 mins:
burpee broad jumps
double unders
WOD x 4
15 x deadlifts @ 70kg
25 x pushups
120 double unders

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The Autumn Tag

24 October 2015

Autumn is well and truly here. It's dark when I wake up for work in the morning now, I've started donning the thicker jumpers and tights, and the number of hot drinks I'm consuming throughout the day is rising to a ridiculous amount. I'm at my parents at the moment and I've already got the fire burning away, and all of the animals are lying in front of it warming their paws. Yes, Autumn is definitely here. 

I really enjoy Autumn, purely because it's the run up to Christmas and generally, I love the cosy months of keeping warm and snuggling on the sofa under a blanket. I've lots to look forward to over the next few weeks too, so I'm hoping Autumn continues to be good to me.

1. Ok - coffee's - what's your favourite seasonal drink from Starbucks/Costa/Cafe Nero etc?  
I must be the only blogger in the world who doesn't choose a Pumpkin Spiced Latte. Not for me thank you. I'd rather go for a Chai Latte or when November arrives, you'll catch me with an Egg Nog Latte in my hands.

2. Accessories - what do you opt for? Scarf, boots, gloves etc.
I've always got some form of tartan scarf on me, usually my family's tartan as we're a Scottish clan. I always invest in new boots from Russell and Bromley too as they are worth every penny.

3. Music - what's your favourite music to listen to during Autumn?
This doesn't really change from any other month, although I can feel the excitement for Christmas music brewing up inside me come November. At the moment, I'm loving Zara Larsson.

4. Perfume - what's your favourite scent for this time of year?
I usually wear Chanel all year round, but I have been switching between Jo Malone and La Perla at the moment. 

5. Candles - what scents will you be burning this season?
I went a bit mad with candles recently and bought absolutely loads - a bit of a candle binge shall we say. I've been burning a variety of Parks London candles, along with my favourite Spiced Apple & Mulled Wine scents. I'm also not ashamed to say that I've been burning a Christmas Tree candle too. It's just the freshest yet cosiest fragrance for any room of the house!

6. What do you love most about Autumn?
I'm probably in the minority here but I love the nights getting darker and wrapping up warm, walking Max along the beach and then getting home, running a bath, cooking a nice warming dinner and finishing up the evening with a hot chocolate. I also find that I train at the gym extra hard in the darker months because I'm not as distracted with hot weather in the Summer. Another thing that I love about Autumn is the changing colours. It still amazes me how trees can go from bright green, to red, pink, orange and yellow all at one time.

7. Favourite makeup look?
I'm all about the dark lips. I look forward to Autumn purely for the change in lipstick colours! As soon as the first leaf had dropped on the floor, I had MAC Rebel out again and was painting it firmly on my lips. I also go for more of a smoky eye rather than my usual rose gold that I wear in the Summer.
8. What are you looking forward to most in Autumn?
I guess just the transition of the weather and getting ready for Christmas. I'm heading to Dubai in a few weeks too so it will be nice to leave the chill of the bitter wind behind for a couple of days and soak up some much needed sun. 

Let me know if you do this tag! Have a wonderful Saturday.

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Barkbeats Dog Box

18 October 2015

It's been a while since I've done a subscription box. 2011, they were all the rage but in my opinion, the popularity has dwindled a bit. Is it down to value for money? Are you getting to try things of actual interest? I think it's a mixture of both. 

However, when Barkbeats asked if Max was interested in trying out their pet subscription box, I was suddenly all ears. A subscription box for dogs? What a fantastic idea! 

When the box arrived in the post, Max and his housemate Cooper were very aware that there was something potentially for them in it. I spent the whole evening keeping them in suspense whilst cooking and eating dinner, and then the moment came. The unboxing. Max being a Jack Russell is incredibly alert. He responds to every word I say and I like to think that he understands every word too (we know this isn't true, but I like to believe it.) He was spinning around in excitement and jumping up and down, so he definitely knew this box was for him. It would have been unfair to leave Cooper out in this special treat, so I invited him to be involved too. Cooper is a French Bulldog, and they're notoriously stubborn and a tad lazy, yet this box had him more excited than I'd seen him in weeks. I hadn't even opened the box and they were full of beans, so the contents had to be good.
On first glance, the sturdy cardboard box and logo look great and once you open the box, BB themed tissue greets you. The dogs were getting even more excited at this point. 

So what was inside?

Humungastache - A durable chew toy in the shape of a moustache, so that when the dog chews the toy, it looks like they have a moustache - genius!

Kong Air Dog Ball - Not your average tennis ball, Kong toys are durable and do not damage your dogs teeth, whilst lasting a lot longer. Max went mad for this! I've bought him many Kong toys over the years and he just loves them.

Soopa Sweet Potato Treats - I try to give Max only natural treats, and at first he was a bit unsure of these treats, but Cooper happily gnawed into them. Unsurprisingly, not wanting to be left out, Max swiftly joined in with the eating. Definitely a great healthy option!

Barks and Sparks Croissants - Pastries for dogs..who knew! I saved these for Max and Coopers breakfasts and believe me, they didn't last long. What a treat.

Feelwells Training Treats - I was glad to see something like this in the box. I take training treats everywhere I go as they're great on dog walks and are usually low in calories. 

To sum up, I had two very happy and rather impressed pooches. My housemate was also impressed and has made the decision to purchase one as a Christmas present for her parents dog, and I think I will do the same for mine also. All Barkbeats boxes are sent m
onthly, and retail at £19.99. When you consider that some toys in Pets at Home are around £10, not to mention novelty treats like croissants, it's not bad value for money and is definitely a perfect way to spoil your dog.

Max and Cooper give it a massive paws up!

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Family Weekend

14 October 2015

I hadn't been back to my family home since May, which is probably my longest stint ever of not being able to visit where I grew up. Seeing as the trip was so overdue, I hopped in the car with little Max next to me and made the journey home.

One of my reasons for heading back to my parents was to meet our new family puppy, Carlos. In July, our darling Buzz had to be put to sleep after a year of suffering with heart failure, and after a few months of grieving, we were all ready to bring home a new Jack Russell to become a member of our family. Last Thursday, my parents drove up to Derby to pick up little pickle, and he was thus named Carlos. Already he's been terrorising the cat and Max certainly had his work cut out - I'm not sure he expected to have a puppy hanging off his ear all weekend!

On the Saturday morning, I went with my mum to help feed our chickens and ducks, and collect the eggs. My parents love keeping chickens and ducks, and they primarily re-home chickens that have lived their lives as battery hens, stood in a coop with no room to move and made to produce eggs at a ridiculous rate. When the chickens arrive, they have no feathers due to the way that they were previously treated, but these grow back with a lot of love and a good diet. It's nice to think that the family hens or 'the girls' as they're known have been given a second chance and are now happy and clucking hens.

Max is more than happy to come into the area where we keep the chickens. He's not bothered by them at all, and he just sniffs around whilst we feed them and checks that all is ok, much like a little Jack Russell security guard. I'm sure that if he realised that chickens are actually one of his favourite things to eat, he would be chasing after them rather quickly, but fortunately that isn't the case.

After sorting the chickens and ducks, my mum and I had a wonderful shopping trip and enjoyed an evening at the pub with old friends, which finished with us going to bed at around 2am after a few too many glasses of wine.

It was a gorgeous weekend and I was so happy to see my parents, brother and the multitude of animals in our family. I mean, who can say no to this little one?

Welcome to the family Carlos!

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