Friday, September 9, 2016

New blog Space

So I decided to make a new blog - not that this one wasnt great and all but I decided that going forward I would like a blog more reflective of me - I'm currently in the process of moving some different posts and things that I want to keep over to the new blog and will leave the rest over here :)

If you want to follow me on the new blog it can be found right HERE

:)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Vidal Sassoon Salonist - Project with TRND

I recently applied to take part in a project on a site called TRND. The project is basically the chance to try out a product for free in return for providing honest feedback, telling your family, friends, colleagues and filling in some feedback sheets and surveys.


It took a little while for my stuff to come through but when it did I had a great information pack and 3 boxes of different dyes. One for me and 2 for me to give out to family / friends to try.

In the information they provide they have various suggestions for spreading the word and trying out the products provided. I decided to hold a dye party with some older family members (as they are keen to hear from older ladies with regards to the dyes).

I decided to offer to do my mum (age 65) and my aunt (age 70) hair and also invited my older sister (age 44) to come around and help, keep them entertained.

We have all been using hair dye for years but as this is one not used before I arranged to sort out the patch tests.

To do the patch test is simple. Add a small amount of each part of the dye into a container - mix well, apply using a ear bud to your arm (about the size of a 10p) leave on for 45 minutes and rinse off. Thn check it 48 hours later - if no reaction your good to go. We actually did a slightly shorter patch test in I did the patch test at around 10am on the Friday and we had our dye party at 7pmish on the Saturday.

Unfortunately, my aunty had a bit of a reaction to the dye (her skin went red and a bit itchy) so we decided that she would not have her hair done after all just to reduce the chance of her having an actual full on reaction .

Saturday night and everyone was pretty keen to see how well the dye worked.

I decided to do my hair first.

STEP 1.- Unpacking the box:


In the box you have:
- good quality gloves - these were a great quality (which meant that later on when I actually had my hands covered in dye it didnt go through to my fingers)
- a mixing tray and brush for mixing up the dye
- the 2 mixing items (red VS1 tube and white bottle in pic) used for the first step - doing your roots and hair line
- the extra agent you add when you are getting ready to do the rest of your hair (red sachet in pic)
- conditioner - this is supposed to last 6 washes but I personally found it run out after 4 (silver tube)

STEP 2 - Mixing it up

Pour contents of red tube and white bottle into the tray and mix with the brush (making sure to wear gloves)

It's quite difficult to mix and starts off looking like cottage cheese but eventually goes smooth and paste like


STEP 3 - doing the roots and edges

This is actually much more difficult than it looks on the instructions!

You need to use around 3/4 of mix and leave 1/4 for later


Once the top and parting and roots are done then you do the underneath at the back and around the edges


Pretty sure I *never* look like this when I get it done at the hairdressers LOL

You then need to leave this on for like 10 minutes.

After 10 mins its on to

STEP 4 - the all over cover

You need to pour the red sachet into the tray and get mixing again with the left over mix.

You then basically get a few handfuls and rub it into your hair - like shampoo! cover it all - make sure it's all  done!


Again you have to leave this on to set for around 30 mins this time.

Following this you wash it under water until the water runs clear, then wash with a mild shampoo and rinse. You then apply some conditioner. Leave the conditioner on for a couple of minutes (I left it  on for 10 mins as I always find my hair needs that extra time to absorb the conditioner) and rinse, dry and style.


The whole process took around 1 hour 15 mins which is a LOT longer than I normally spend dying my hair at home.

The results are pretty good:


BEFORE





















AFTER


















As you can see prior  to my dying my hair it was a faded reddy pink colour - fairly light on the top and dark to the bottom.

The dye pretty much covered all the colour with a mostly even tone (a little lighter again at the top).

Overall I am pleased with it.

Due to the fact its quite complicated I actually had to do my mum's hair for her as she found the process difficult. Her colour came out really well and she is very pleased with it too.

Would I recommend this?  - I think if you are looking to get a decent colour and coverage its a good product but it takes longer than most dyes and it also needs 2 people to really get it done properly.

4/5

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Lamenting the Loss of the Laptop!

Just a brief update with more posts to follow on the weekend when I have some spare time!

Sadly my lovely laptop died - I have zero idea what happened but die it did!

I only discovered it was dead when I tried to use it on hols at the Forest of Dean (bog post to follow)

Luckily my dad had the foresight to purchase extra care insurance and once I was home I was able to get it replaced but it took over a week hence the fact I have not been around for a few weeks.


Friday, July 8, 2016

Reviewing Oral B Smart Series 5000 Electrical Toothbrush :) for SavvyCircle IF

I recently applied to take part in a supersavvyme (savvycircle) product trial of an Oral B toothbrush but I didn't make the panel boo! :( I was gutted mainly because last time my dad was down he dropped  my electric toothbrush down the loo and even if I had wanted to use it after that (which I really didn't) it wouldn't have mattered as it was completely broken! And it cost me £25 too! So I was using just a regular non - electric toothbrush which just doesn't leave your teeth anywhere  near as clean.

However, they now have a new IF panel on there (stands for Instant Feedback panel). I joined savvy circle ages ago so when they sent out an email a few months ago about a new panel they were setting up called the Instant Feedback panel I signed up for that too.

Anyways the difference between the 2 panels is the savvy circle runs projects which run over a slightly longer timescale 4 weeks plus normally. The IF panel runs over a shorter period of around 2 weeks.

For both panels you need to be active - complete any surveys and a couple of reviews.

The savvy circle one has more tasks than the IF hence the longer running time.

If your interested in joining over on the site (and I'd recommend it apart from the product trials the whole webbie that is supersavvyme is pretty awesome with tonnes of coupons, free samples, reviews, advice and information) then click on the link and take a look.

For more info on the savvycircle and whats expected in the product trials please check out my review advice page here :) 

So after failing to get into the product trial on savvy circle I got another e-mail saying they were running the project on the IF panel as well so I jumped to it and applied. Some time passed and then I got the e-mail saying I'd been chosen - whoop whoop :)

Then it was just a case of waiting for my parcel containing my new toothbrush to arrive!

The e-mail did say that we might get sent slightly different products to the ones shown and so on - the product I got sent was the Oral B Smart Series 5000 Electrical Toothbrush. RRP of this item on amazon is like £80! Wow right? 

So as part of this project I got to try the product for 2 weeks and then write 2 reviews one on supersavvyme and one on amazon and that's pretty much it.

The toothbrush is seriously awesome! 

And here is my review (also posted to amazon)

My review of  the Oral B Smart Series 5000 Electrical Toothbrush

This comes boxed and includes:

- a plastic travel case
- 3 different heads
- toothbrush base
- mobile phone stand
- charging base with separate head holder which can be attached




The charger unit with this toothbrush has the 2 prong shaving plug which I find annoying as I don't have a shaving point in my bathroom and therefore have to use it with an adapter to charge the brush - not a huge issue just a tad inconvenient as they suggest that when not in use you leave the toothbrush sat on the stand so it can be kept fully charged (charge turns off when battery is full) however I personally am uncomfortable with leaving something switched on with an adapter over night or when I am home.



It arrived with a little bit of charge in it but required around 14 hours of solid charging to take it to fully charged for first use.

Oral B say that from full charge it should last around 7 days before going flat and needing more charging (will obv last longer if you are storing it on the base plugged in when not in use) - having been using it for 2 weeks I would say that they are pretty much spot on with the battery length - brushing twice a day for 2 - 3 minutes and not charging it on the stand it lasted 6 days before needing a charge.

It doesn't have any battery level indicator - it only flashes red on the battery symbol when its running out and needs a charge - it would be more useful if in future models the light indicated the battery level.

When charging it flashes green until fully charged.



I didn't really get much use form the mobile phone stand - perhaps because my phone is quite big and in a heavy case it just didn't seem to hold it in securely and toppled over - it would probably be fine if it was out of the case but it's a hassle getting the phone in and out of the case.

The plastic travel case is really useful - to use it you have to take the brush off the base - there is room in the case for 2 heads and if your just going for a week or a few days you can charge the brush before you go and it is nice and easy to carry without having to take all the bits with you.
 


















The brush itself is good. It has 4 different brushing settings:

- High speed - for daily use - this is my personal preferred mode

- Gum care - low speed to massage your gums and keep them healthy - I use this mode every 2-3 days after a regular brush just to make sure my gums are in good condition

- Whitening - this has alternating pulses / speeds to remove stains from the teeth - not really something I used

- sensitive - a low speed for those with sensitive teeth - not really something I used

Its a bit annoying that there is one button - so you turn it on and it starts in the daily clean mode and then you have to keep pressing the button to cycle through the different settings in order to switch it off. It would have been better to have an on/off button and then a separate mode button that you pressed to switch through the brushing modes.

I do find that my mouth and teeth feel really clean using the standard daily clean mode and my gums look healthier using the gum care one too - after 2 weeks of use my teeth also look slightly whiter than before.

I really like the pressure sensor which flashes red when you are brushing too hard - I tend to rush in the morning and press too hard in my attempts to get through it quickly - The flashing red light makes me pause and stop putting too much pressure when brushing which can be harmful to the teeth and gums (you can see the redlight in the photo where I push against the brush head attached) the brushing pulse also changes slightly to let you know you are brushing too hard in case you miss seeing the light flash on.



I also like how during brushing every 30 seconds the pulse changes - this acts as an alert to let you know to change the area of the mouth you are cleaning. After the recommended 2 minutes it also changes the pulse briefly.

This toothbrush also has bluetooth connectivity - you can download the oral b ap and then connect the brush to your phone running the ap so you can see how long your brushing for, how often you have brushed too hard etc unfortunately I had issues with the ap. Mostly it wouldnt run for me on my phone. I have an LGG4 which is just over a year old and havent had issues with other aps or connectivity but did with this one.

Mostly it would have an error saying the ap unexpectedly stopped working. However when the ap did work it was okay but I didn't find it particularly helpful because the data was skewed as you had to start the ap and then start the toothbrush and then switch the toothbrush off and then switch the ap off - I was surprised that the ap didn't automatically start and finish the recording when you turned on/off the brush.

I do actually really like this toothbrush and it does have some really good features. I think they need to work more on the ap to make it more useful and responsive but as it has the timer and pressure sensor built in and both alert you from the toothbrush not having the ap isnt really an issue for me.





My Review of the Hisense WFP8014VS Washing Machine from AO.com

I am super lucky in that ao.com kindly offered me a new washing machine to review for free - awesome right?

Anyways I have written a bunch of stuff about how to review for ao.com and other companies over here - so if your interested in applying to be a reviewer yourself then check out my guide - and any questions feel free to comment and I'll get back to you :)

So after they contacted me to offer me the washing machine the first thing I did was to check if it would fit in my kitchen - I live in a council maisonette style flat and the kitchen has limited room with all the cupboards and work tops fitted tightly. 

Luckily apart from being a little bit bigger depth wise the offered machine would fit perfectly in our kitchen.

Our old machine was a very cheap Beko model that was around 6 years old, very very loud, and not running as well as it had done previously (clothes often not coming out very clean, issues with the clothes being soaking wet and needing to go on for extra spins etc) and it only had a 5kg drum and if you filled it completely the clothes would come out dirty and soaked!

The machine we were offered was the Hisense WFP8014VS - a rather smart looking 8kg one with digital display (posher than a twisty knob haha) and lots of rather smart features. I was a little concerned that my mum would struggle to use this machine because lets be honest here she struggles to send me a cohesive text message (they normally look something like " hi pLLL$ acorn u pick...Me up!!apackofdecaf 8Tbags ")

However its super easy to use - in fact my mum was the first one to use it because it was delivered and I was in work and then out and she wanted to wash some bedding! It has one single A4 street of instructions with handy pictures.

Anyways I am getting way ahead of myself! 

After I replied and basically said I would chew my own left leg off for a new washing machine ao asked me to pick a delivery date. I sent them 2 dates when there would be someone in to accept delivery - the dates were 2-3 days away and they replied with a confirmation saying that they would deliver it on the earliest date.

All the way through the process they kept me completely up to date - e-mails and a text reminder the day before delivery and then a text reminder on the delivery day.

They arrived on time and firstly disconnected and pulled out my old washing machine - if we had wanted them to they would have taken our old machine away but I am a firm believer in recycling and freecycling and I had already decided that I would offer my old washing machine on freecyle to benefit someone who couldnt afford one - sure it wasnt the best machine but if you have nothing then its better than that! So they kindly left the old machine out of the way to the side in the kitchen, they then carried the new machine upstairs, unpacked it and fitted it. the whole thing took them around 10 minutes - seriously that quick. I wasnt home when they did all this but my mum informed me they were lovely friendly guys and nothing was too much trouble - excellent service!

Anyways after trying out the machine a few times and getting to grips with using it I wrote up my review and recorded my video for ao.com and here they are :D NB I was going to do a separate review for the blog but actually I think these pretty much cover the main points of this wonderful machine :D However, if anyone has any questions about it or how you use it give me a shout and I'll do my best to answer them

My youtube video review


















My ao.com review

The Hisense WFP8014VS washing machine is great. 

It has an 8kg drum which is ample for doing most washes - in our house hold that equates to a full laundry bin (on our old 5kg machine it would mean 2 loads) 

It looks quite hi-tech and complicated but is really simple and easy to use - making it perfect for most households. Everything is also displayed clearly on the screen when it is on so you can see exactly what it is programmed for. I love the timer which shows how long is left for a wash - you know exactly when it will be finished so you can get your clothes out quickly to avoid them getting creased. It comes with a host of built in programmed washes which are easy to use and to choose the one which suits your needs best. 

I particularly like quick wash (for light worn) items which is only 15 minutes from start to finish, the 95 degree antibacterial wash which is perfect for doing animal bedding, or for when there has been any illness in the house hold as it washes the items on a super high temp killing of any bacteria that are on them and the new clothes wash which basically gives them a quick swill and freshen up - which is something I used to do by hand. 

I also really like the fact you can choose anti-crease / crease-care for your clothes - I hate ironing and this little feature is brilliant - I can put work clothes in on a wash - add the crease care and they come out with barely any creases - if I then dry these on the line outside or the inside line I dont need to iron them - perfect! 

It has an A+++ energy rating, clever smart technology which adjusts for each load giving the most efficient settings and uses inverter wash technology which means it uses magnets to spin - these 3 things together add up to a machine that works well and quietly and uses minimal energy and water - this means it costs less per wash saving you money. 

It is also pretty quiet when running - and even when on a high speed spin cycle it doesnt rattle - again perfect for us as its under the draining board in the kitchen and our previous one would rattle any plates left drying and make a racket. 

Overall this is a great washing machine, easy to use, cheap to run and your clothes come out clean and crease free."

Monday, July 4, 2016

Catching Up

Isn't it funny how life suddenly overtakes you when your not expecting it?

The last few weeks have been chaotic:

1. Sisters house move - so many issues and things to sort out from getting her to register with a GP, to sorting out council works at the house and getting basics like curtains. She's finally mostly sorted - has beds, curtains, a working connected gas cooker and surprisingly is almost finished unpacking - although she needs to take time to sort through everything too!

2. Car - my car is currently the bane of my life - the exhaust has now gone so will need to be repaired sooner rather than later - I am hoping it will hold out for the holiday next week and then I can get it sorted when I get home *fingers crossed!*

3. Uncle who is quite poorly has had his license revoked by dvla due to having been hospitalised due to the Drs messing with his meds - means he can no longer do his basic everyday things like getting his shopping in, making his numerous hospital appointments (hes on dialysis) and even coming round for dinner I have to go collect him - of course this all depends on my car actually running!

Alongside the craziness though there's been some cool things too:

- went to see the preview of AbFab The Movie with my mum last Thursday - tickets were free and I won a £40 odeon giftcard last year which provided us with hotdogs, buckets (literally buckets!) of pop and a large tub of Ben and Jerry's too - awesome!!! Movie was pretty good in parts it was really funny - others were a bit strained but you  have to love Patty and OMG how many celeb cameo's can you fit in one movie?

- went for afternoon tea - my former colleagues got me a voucher for afternoon tea for 2 at a local tea rooms - so the day after AbFab  I took a few hours flexi time and me and mum had afternoon tea - it was lovely and a nice start to the weekend :)

- reviews :D I am super happy with my new washing machine from ao.com - it even plays a cheery little tune when you turn it on - I've done my review and will be linking it to the blog shortly. I've also been reviewing a fab tooth brush from oral B (need to write the review on that) and a ton of stuff from AMZ reviews. Most of the stuff is really good which is great for me.

- comping - I have taken a bit of a break from comping as I am super tired in the evenings and just wanna play some games and watch some crap telly rather than doing loads of comps - however still doing a few and getting my fair share of wins - I now have the mammoth task of sorting through everything I have put aside for Birthdays and Christmas - my family are going to have an awesome year this year thanks to comping, reviews and freebies!

- nails - I stopped biting my nails its been abut 6-8 weeks and they are nt long because I trim them but apart from 2 of the nails which were really badly damaged and are taking ages to grow out they look in really good condition - I've put a pearly almost clear varnish on them and they look really nice - never thought of myself as a nails sort of person but it makes a change to not have really sore bleeding nails and fingers from chewing them!

- TV - finally getting round to watching the walking dead series 6 - currently up to episode 14 and still loving it - hear the new series will be out in October so once I have finished this going to watch South of Hell and a few others on amazon Prime as normal TV sucks!

So thats about it for me - holidays next week so will have lots of time to relax and tidy up the reviews list and stuff on the blog in between lunging in the hot tub and walking the dog

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Holiday Planning - New York & Orlando on a Budget

So I am a super lucky girl - this year I have a couple of holidays - firstly in July I am heading to the Forest of Dean for a Forest Holiday which I won :) You can read my plans so far here.

However, my second holiday is to New York and Orlando in September whoop whoop :)

If you have read my blog before you will know that I am a planner I love planning my holidays - I tend to do a random mix and book everything myself for a couple of reasons:-

  • I want my holiday to be my holiday my way
  • I am cheap - well actually poor therefore in order to afford to do the holiday I want I have to look at the cheapest way of booking it - holiday companies charge you for their booking service - if your a nervous traveller or your looking for something a bit more bog standard then they are fine - if you want to do some random stuff (like my hol last year - niagara falls, las vegas, disneyworld and then i-drive) it's more costly and complicated.
  • I'm a control freak - I like to know that everything is planned to the last detail, with contingency plans and a day by day break down!
I've wanted to go visit NY for a while and my mum really wants to go too so even as we arrived back bleary eyed and shattered from last years holiday we were already considering this years holiday.

Having looked at NY I realised it was ridiculously expensive like a 'cheap' room was running to the 100's which is ridiculous - there was no way we would be able to afford to spend 2 weeks in NY and to be honest whilst there is loads to do I only really wanted to do a couple of days so I could arrange to go back again in the future. 

We decided to do a split stay - as we love Orlando we decided we would do a couple of days in NYC and then 2 weeks in Orlando - skipping Disney and just staying on i-drive this time. I wanted the holiday to be less than £1000 per person as I'm paying.

I started off by looking for flights on skyscanner - I knew that I could travel at various times including mid week - I also had a variety of airports to choose from - Bristol, Birmingham and London are all easy to get to from Cardiff and I had no preference about which airport to fly into in NY (there are 3 within close proximity) 

I found flights on a Friday from Gatwick to JFK with luggage for £230 per person - my budget for the one way flights to NY was £250 so these were perfect. I never bother pre-booking the seats - I would rather rock up to the airport and hope they have some left available - and if they dont I will just chuck the headphones on and sleep - no worries and a saving of £25 per person!

Our flights are with Norwegian - now an interesting thing about Norwegian is that your in-flight meal is not included and you have to pay for it - they charge £25 for this service. Our flight is at 5pm - we have free passes to the airport lounge through my mum's bank account which includes unlimited cold food (pastries, bread, cheese, salad, cakes, meats etc) plus your choice of one hot item from their hot menu. So the plan is to stuff myself until I can hardly walk at the lounge! And to buy a pack of sarnies from boots / WHS in the airport to take on the plane - total cost to me of around £8

I found flights from Orlando to Gatwick on a Wednesday for £176 per person - again with Norwegian and including luggage - again I didnt bother with booking the food or the seats - the flights not until midnight and we always have food at the Golden Coral before leaving plus there is plenty of cheap eats in Orlando airport.

I havent booked the internal flights yet - I have checked them out and they are running between £25-50 per person which is not too bad.

Hotels have been an issue - I have booked a cheap one in NY but when I booked it had no review - after re-checking the reviews have been put up and they are bbbaaadddd - we wanted a small room but private bathroom - I am currently looking at some other options including staying in NJ as its only a 30 min bus ride to Times Square which would be fine. I havent paid yet as you pay on arrival and I have free cancellation so I have time to look at the other ones.

I booked a hotel in Orlando for us - it has mixed reviews but a friend has stayed there and they said to ignore the reviews and go for it (if its awful I am going to kill them). Hotel in Orlando cost £350

So total cost so far £1132. I still have the NY hotel to sort which will cost between £150 - £300, Gatwick transfers which will be around £100 and Gatwick hotel around £60 but even with these costs the total cost of the flights and travel will be around £1700 - thats £300 under budget - which is great as it means I can book some dinner shows and things too.

Next month (after payday!) I will be sorting out the internal flights and hopefully the NY hotel, gatwick hotel and transfers :)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A crazy couple of weeks!

You know how sometimes you think your all caught up with everything and then it's like the gods look down on you and start laughing and drop you in the middle of a crazy zone? That's been my last few weeks!

So here is a brief update of whats been happening!

1. My sister got given a house in Cardiff - she knew about it we knew about it everyone knew about it but do you think she got her ass into gear and got herself organised for the move? Hell no! So I did around 8 round trips back and forth to move some of her stuff then a friend of ours did 2 massive van loads. In between trying to get my sis signed up with a gp, a health visitor for the kids and various other services and unpacked. Total chaos.

However on the positive:
1. got her some beds from gumtree so her and the nephew are no longer sleeping on the floor
2. got carpet from gum tree for H's bedroom
3. mostly moved in and most of the repairs on the new place done
4. grant application done for some carpets for the rest of the rooms and a cooker (shes currently living off micro, toaster and deep fat fryer food which is not good!)

On the negative:
1. House in bridgend still not empty!!!
2. unpacking not finished in new house
3. need to sort out sofas she has none
4. waiting on grant application approval to get vouchers for a cooker and carpet

Overall this is a positive improvement for us - her new house is 20 mins by a direct bus from my house or a short 10min drive. It's a new start and she is working pretty hard to try and sort out her belongings and to get rid of what she doesnt need - this is hard for her due to metal health issues and problems with concentrating but she is doing it slowly. It also means that H has her own bedroom - this will help to get her into a better nighttime routine. There are lots of services available in the area she has moved into for her and J's mental health needs and there is also lots of things nearby for her to do such as parks, a leisure centre, shops and food places. The house is lovely with a large enclosed back garden which J has already worked hard in and brought from the state of an overgrown jungle to a safe play environment for H and for D when he stays over.

Sorting my sis out has taken a lot of my time and energy - but I have also started my new job. At first I thought I had made a mistake - sure the new job is better paid but it seemed really boring for the first week and I felt a bit let  down - I am used to being busy from the moment I step through the door until I go home and the first week I didnt really do anything - my computer id took a long time to come through and it seemed like they didnt really have anything for me to do. Thankfully the second week picked up.

It's a little scary actually how much I will be responsible for but I am sure I can do it.

Everyone in the new place seems really nice and approachable which is good. The office is massive and open plan which has taken a bit of getting used to. My parking space is a 10 min walk from the office which means I have to leave earlier in the morning and I get home later in the evening - not a huge difference about 30mins or so but its something else to get used to!

I've been so shattered with the move and with the new job that I actually took a break from comping and went a whole week without doing them.

In other exciting news - well exciting for me :D I'm doing a project with savvy circle IF team (thats the instant feedback team) with anew oral b toothbrush I am really pleased about this because I needed a new one as my dad dropped my old one down the loo when he last stayed over and I have been using a regular one and its just not as good as an electric one. The new toothbrush is proper clever and talks to my phone and stuff.

I am also going to be reviewing a washing machine for ao.com which will be fab.

Both reviews will be on the blog in the next week or so :D


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Holiday Planning :) Forest of Dean Forest Holidays

Last year I was very fortunate - I won a £500 voucher for Forest Holidays.

I decided to book for my mum's birthday for this year so we are going from Monday 11th July until Friday 15th July (my dad is kindly staying with the cats & snakes - he loves his pet sitting duties).

I found out that I could pay extra and take the dog - we were really pleased by this as he is a part of the family (like the cats and the snakes but sadly we cant take them). I also paid a little extra to upgrade our cabin to a hot tub one and to have the entertainment package (Sky movies and wifi).

My niece who is disabled is also coming - she has mobility probs and tires easily but we have a walking frame for her which she manages pretty well with it.

After the voucher I have paid an extra £200 or so on top which covers the extras which I think is pretty reasonable - my mum and niece have both contributed £50 each towards the extras too :)

It's getting pretty close to holiday time now - 44 days until we go! So I have been looking at putting together an itinerary for us - I know some people like to fly by the seat of their pants on holidays but I am a planner and when taking the dog and my niece I do need to make sure that everywhere is accessible and dog friendly for us.

I have spent a bit of time on trip advisor, the hayandwye tourism website and just generally randomly googling the area and have decided on a few things to do.

Day 1.

Leave the diff around 10.30am (to avoid the rush hour traffic - seriously the traffic in and out of Cardiff during the week from around 7,30-9.30 am is horrific maybe not London levels but getting there sometimes!)

My mum and niece fancy a trip to Weston Supermare (even though it's not actually going the same way as us lol)

We should arrive at WSM around 11.45ish - we will then head to a pub called Scally's - we have never been there before but the reviews on it say it has decent food, a large beer garden and is dog friendly. If for some reason this place is not open we have an alternative nearby called The Captain's Cabin (this isnt my first choice due to the mixed reviews on tripadvisor)

After lunch which I am anticipating we will be finished around 1pm we will then have a wander around WSM - my mum wants to visit a jewellery making shop we found last time we were there if it's still open. I quite fancy the 2p machines down the beach front myself!

We will leave here around 2.30- 3pm and head to Forest of Dean - arriving at the Forest Holidays site around 3.45pm - 4.15pm. Check-in is 4pm

We will then check-in, check out the hot tub, give the dog a good long walk.

Around 6pm we will head to a local supermarket and get in some supplies and possible stop for fast food should there be a chain nearby (the dog is partial to a cheese burger from MaccyD's -no sauce, onion or gherkin on his hehe)

We can then headback - put the shopping away - have a turn in the hot tub - walk  the dog, watch a movie and just chill.

Day 2

Breakfast in the cabin :)

A walk in the forest for Jac

Then we will head out to the railway. The Dean Forest railway seems like a  great choice for us - it costs £12 for an all day ticket for the humans and £2 for an all day ticket for Jac :) It has a few different stops where we can get off and have a wander into parks, down the harbour etc before getting back on.

We will find somewhere local for a late lunch

The late afternoon and evening we will see how we feel we might go for a walk or shopping in local shops etc

Day 3

Breakfast in the cabin :)

A walk in the forest for Jac

Pack up the car with a picnic lunch and drinks

Head to the Sculpture Walk - this sounds like its quite a cool thing to do - a gentle walk in the forest trying to spot some hidden sculptures - its free to do which is even better! Parking costs £3.50 and you can use the ticket to park at other local sites too

We will then find a spot for our picnic lunch

Then head to Symonds Yat rock - which has views over the river wye and the forest and is supposed to be really pretty and just happens to be included with the parking charges we would have already paid at the sculpture walk

After we plan to find a dog friendly pub where we can stop in for an evening meal 

Day 4

Breakfast in the cabin :)

A walk in the forest for Jac

We will be looking at doing a boat ride down the river wye - I have found a couple of companies who do tours which allow dogs on board too - we also want to go into haye on wye and have a nosy around the shops. 

We will eat out for lunch and dinner and then hea dback to the cabin for some last hot tub time and to pack up

Day 5

Breakfast in the cabin :)

A walk in the forest for Jac

We will then have to check out at 10am eep

We havent decided if we will drive straight home or if we will have a stop off somewhere on the way back for a few hours - perhaps g to chepstow castle or somewhere similar

So that's my planned schedule for us so far. Hopefully my mum and niece and of course Jac the dog will enjoy it

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Post by LadyCat


Fed up of my human talking about rubbish like jobs, medication and bills I have decided to post something that is infinitely more interesting... a post all about me! LadyCat

Now in the past there may have been a passing mention of me or the others but I feel I need a dedicated post all to myself to explain my awesomeness!

So in the words of Maria - Let's start at the very beginning!

My mamma cat was a poor stray - luckily for her she got rescued by Vale Cat Rescue in Ebbw Vale.

By the time she was taken in by the rescue she was heavily pregnant - unfortunately the pregnancy went wrong and some of my brothers and sisters didnt make it...mamma was rushed to the vets where she had an emergency c-section - I was last out and because of this I had been starved of oxygen - they weren't sure I would make it.

Mamma cat survived and was spayed at the same time, myself and my brother also survived and we were hand reared by the rescue. My brother grew bigger and stronger everyday but I didn't really grow much - the vet said that I had special needs - I took that to mean I was a very special kitty and was quite pleased.

Over time I grew a bit and the rescue started to look for a new home for me - living with 40 other cats was okay but I needed a place of my own where I could live like the special kitty that I am!

The rescue got me vaccinated ready for adoption (I was still much too small to be spayed as I weighed only 1kg) but just as I was starting to do really well I had a bad reaction to the injection and became very poorly.

And thats when I met my forever hooman!

My hooman and her friend came to visit the rescue because her friend wanted to become a foster mamma. As soon as I saw my hooman I knew she was the one for me! I dragged myself onto her lap and sat there for 2 hours whilst she chatted to the head lady at the rescue and then she gently picked me up off her lap and left!!!!

I couldn't believe it!

I knew we were purrfect together! Didn't she know how lucky she was that I had chosen her? Didn't she know how hard it was for me to crawl up onto her lap? How poorly I was, how I could hardly breath and then she left without me!

I was so sad I didn't understand and I felt so so so poorly. I had visits to the vets, antibiotics, special food and plenty of warm blankets but I was so tired of fighting, so tired of hurting and lonely. The rescue ladies try to give everyone love and attention but with so many of us in their care they couldnt spend as much time as I needed.

Just as I was ready to close my eyes and head to the rainbow bridge the hooman I chose came back! She brought someone with her and I heard the magic words "I've come for Lady"

The rescue told her I was poorly, that I needed a special home, that I was smaller than other cats and that I might need lots of extra care in the future and she just said okay.

They wrapped me in a blanket and her mamma held me in her arms as they took the long drive home.

When I got there she picked me up and cuddled me all night long - but I was still very poorly. I couldnt breathe and the vets told her to prepare for the worse.


But slowly I got better...everyday my hooman would give me my yucky medicine, she would clean my eyes and nose with special wipes and breathing became easier.

As I grew stronger I started to meet the rest of my family - my hooman already had 3 cats! a dog and 2 snakes!!!!

I heard her telling people she hadn't planned on getting another cat but she couldn't leave me behind - well I am utterly adorable!

After living with my hooman for a longgggg time (9 months) I was finally big enough to get spayed - normally the rescue says you have to spay a cat as soon as they are old enough as part of the adoption process but because I was so small and light my hooman was told she didnt need to get me spayed but as I kept wanting to go outside into the garden and for my safety she felt it best to get me done. We had to wait until I reached 2kgs before the vet would do the op and after the op  to stop me biting out my stitches I had a collar on but the collar was much much much too heavy for me even though it was the smallest one and I couldnt even walk with it on. The rescue suggested my hooman get me a babygro but even the prem baby ones wouldnt fit so she improvised and cut up one of her socks instead!


I didnt really like it as I really really really wanted to bite those annoying stitches out but the hooman and her fluffy sock completely foiled me!!! Grrrrr

Following the op I continued to get bigger and stronger and to prove myself the Lady of the Manor.

I soon had put the other 3 cats in their place!

LeoCat the Bengal became my willing slave - he would often groom me and just generally pay homage to my awesomeness. As you can see her remains my faithful servant, always at my side and about twice as big as me!





















Morticia the old lady of the pack and I became firm friends - we often play chase, bite the belly, chew the tail etc and then cwtch together



Finally there is Dena - we dont get on - she is Mistress of Evil and we take every opportunity to hiss at each other - but occasionally we forget we have a war going on and take a nap together :D The hooman couldnt find a pic of us together so you miss out on my awesomeness and just get her evilness instead!



There's also the snakes but who cares about them? they are just wiggly wormy things that I am not allowed to eat - I like to watch them sometimes though mmmm tasty wiggly worms

Then there is Jac the dog - he came after me and he is only little too (he's also smaller than LeoCat!) so he knows I am the boss, sometimes he plays with me when we try and catch the red dot - but he always gets a treat at the end and I dont - the hooman says its because dogs get ocd about the red dot - I think they pretend to in order to get the treats!


And thats it really a brief introduction to me LadyCat the most amazing kitty ever!

I will leave you with a few more photos so you can bask in my cuteness and I will be regularly writing for the blog from now on as Ithink the hooman's posts are rather dull myself and I am sure you will be much more interested in the time I fell off the sofa, or how I made her trip down the ladder from the attic than jobs, holidays and money!

Me & the hooman - selfie

My fave place to perch and watch the snakes

Giving my serious gangsta look - you talkin to me?

Check out these pearly whites!

Surveying my kingdom aka the living room

I won this bag to store my treats in - but the hooman has failed to fill it!

Hooman thinks she's funny taking this pic!


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Countdown to the new job :)

My countdown is on - I have 2 weeks left in my current job - but thats equal to 8 days as there is a bank holiday and I have a day annual leave too.

After waiting so long for the clearance from Occ health it seems like now its come through the time to finish is coming around wayyyyy more quickly.

I have a couple of things planned.

I had my leaving do last night - I wanted to do something different to the usual meal out so I arranged to go to Go Air which is a massive indoor trampolining park. It cost £10 for an hour session plus you have to buy socks which cost £2 but can be reused several times (until the grips wear out).

Here's a pic of the socks - the only photo we took all night oops



I wish I had taken photos but your not supposed to have anything in your pockets and we were having way too much fun to stop to go get photos of each other.

So  basically Go Air has like a massive block of trampolines all joined together and surrounded by a wall of trampoline like things - you can jump on a single trampoline, jump from one trampoline to the other and jump into the sides and stuff. They also have a smaller area set up in a similar way but surrounded by netting where you play dodge ball, 2 long strips where you run and slam dunk basketballs (this was out of order when we went boo!) and a giant foam pit (more about that in a bit)

As we were there kinda early it was mainly kids - I think there were like 4 other adults playing but it didnt bother us.

We started off on the individual trampolines - I swear I managed a height of around 12 foot at one point - I bravely tried to bounce from my trampoline to the one in front but didnt quite make it landing squarely inbetween the too and looking a bit of a dick but oh well - when your built like homer simpson and wobbling on a trampoline your already surpassing alll dickness of appearance so it was fine.

We got brave and decided to face the foam pit. The foam pit was set up with 2 low trampolines that you bounce down towards the pit and then jump into it, there is then a solid platform above 2 trampolines that you can jump from the platform onto the trampoline and then fling yourself into the foam pit and then there is another 2 low ones with like a rope ladder. The foam as well its not like shaving foam but big cubes of foam material.

Anyways we watched a bunch of like 7 year olds doing crazy flips and stuff into the pit and decided to give it a go.... my mate went first and chickened out...then another and chickened out so I was like c'mon guys outta the way lemme show you how its done! So I jumped and jumped and bounced and wobbled my way down the trampoline to the very end... I continued to bounce building height and speed and then ... I looked into the pit and chickened out!!!! So as not to completely lose face I stepped up to the end of the trampoline and bunny hopped into the pit and thats when it went wrong for me.

The foam cubes were like quick sand sucking me down - I bravely crawled at the pace of a snail whilst my friends literally wet themselves laughing and mocking me!!!!!! Half way to the edge with the end in site I lost my sock and could feel my leggings being pulled down too. So I had to make an 'adjustment' and dig in the foam for my sock. As I continued to crawl to the edge my dignity (as if) in shatters my obvious shame did not bother the girls and they decided to give it ago too.

They had as little success as me so we went back to the individual trampolines!

The girls then mastered landing on their bums and back up to their feet - I couldnt actually manage that!

After a quick wee (I swear they should have been playing Taylor Swift in there and instead of Shake it off it should have been shake it out!) and a drink we decided to brave the foam pit again - it had pretty much the same results as previously except one of the girls tripped on the edge and did an impressive and unexpected forward somersault! As she tried to escape the foam it managed to such one of her boobs out through the gap by her armpit! Bwahahaha that didnt happen to me because I wore 2 sports bras - I couldnt breath but damn you could balance drinks on my boobs!

After the joy of trampolining we met up with another load of work people who had decided to leave the tena lady at home and skip the trampolining. As lots of people have kids I had suggested that we go to the Harvester which was next door to Go Air and said anyone with kids was welcome to bring them. The Harvester is relatively cheap, does kids meals and is kid friendly which is great. This turned out pretty good the kids were all well behaved and got on, we all had a great meal and chatted and just had a good time.

I have a few other things planned for work before I leave including:

- a letter box cake I won from baker days :) I went for an emoticon one with a picture of the poo emoji on it because it's a bit shitty I am leaving my awesome team and they are gonna miss me (although it is awesome to be going to a job that pays more money!)

- cakes and pinata - I won £30 of credit with a party supplies company I got a bunch of stuff ready for H's birthday in August (I was originally going to get stuff for D's birthday in April but they took literally weeks to get my prize code and then like 4 weeks to deliver my items!) but I also got a monkey pinata which I am filling with sweets and make up samples and freebies. I am sure the girls in work will enjoy it ( I do have one male colleague and whilst he might not enjoy the make up he has teen daughters and eats sweets non stop! so am sure it will be fine)

I also have a lot of work to do before I finish - there doesnt appear to be any cover for me and there are changes being made to the various admin teams so I want to make sure they are as well prepared for not having any admin support for a while as they can be.

I also have a hand over to do as well with the community lead.

So yeah 8 working days left and then that's it!

I'm not going to lie I am a bit scared about the new job - I worry about things like I wont be able to do it, or the people wont like me, or I'll do something hugely embarrassing on the first day and run away never to return! I come across as a really confident person but I am really not - the more uncertain of a situation I am the louder and ore confident I appear.

But I am also quite excited and looking forward to meeting the new people, seeing my office and finding out exactly what I am doing

Friday, May 13, 2016

Calmurid Pro - The Insiders Project - Post 2 - Use & Results?

I have been using the Calmurid Pro Body Lipolotion and Hand cream daily.

My big areas of concern have been my lower legs, feet and hands.

The Calmurid Pro products sit comfortably on the skin and create a barrier between your skin and the outside world not only rehydrating the skin but also protecting it. The protection is so complete it is easily demonstrated using the spray bottle provided in the Insiders project kit :

1. take a small amount of lotion and rub it into your skin


2. Using the provided spray bottle (filled with water) spray the water onto your skin


3. Check out how the water beads on your skin rather than sinking into it



4. Take a paper towel and wipe away the water - the skin remains moisturised and unaffected 

So onto my trial :)

My feet are kinda manky - I am not a fan of feet anyways but mine have a lot of dry skin and cracking especially over the heel area - this is probably due to the fact I live in sandals and flipflops as soon as a single ray of sunshine appears.

I decided based on previous experience of using products that I would use the hand cream on my feet - I have done this previously and it has worked a lot better than body lotion.

Before using the hand lotion I washed my feet and then used my pedi to remove any loose and hard skin before wiping them over with a wet wipe and then drying. 

As you can see from the pics below - they were not looking good - very dry, off coloured and cracking too! The dry skin goes down around my ankle, over my heel completely and down over the sole as well.

Pre-cream (day 1)

Pre-Cream (day 1)
I then applied a pea sized amount of the cream directly to my heel and worked it into the skin.  I did not like the feel of the cream but that is the norm for me. It took a while to work into the skin and left my feet feeling very slippery! NB dont try walking on laminate for about 5 mins after applying cream to your feet!!!!

I repeated this for 3 days - I started to notice results from the first application and by day 3 there was a significant difference. The heel looked a more normal skin tone colour (rather than the yellow tinge), the dry flaking skin was significantly reduced and they just looked so much better.

Post-cream (day 3)

Post-cream (day 3)
I have been using the body lotion on my arms and legs as well - both feel smooth and my skin looks more revitalised and fresh although admittedly the results are not as photo worthy as the difference in the feet.

Unfortunately I havent been able to trial the hand cream fully on my hands due to a rather nasty burn I managed to give myself. (I have cream from the hospital to use on it so can't mix and match them yet), it is nearly healed though so I hope to properly trial the hand cream from next week 





Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Bloggers Vs Compers my views

So this same thing keeps cropping up over and over again on twitter, on facebook groups and on chat forums.

Bloggers hate compers!

Then you have massive arguments and much keyboard warrioring and it's basically the same arguments each time and I really dont see what the big deal is.

Now for the uninitiated this is how I see it:

Bloggers write blogs - sometimes about specific things, sometimes about whatever floats in their mind, sometimes dedicated to their favourite pair of pants and so on - a blog can be about anything you feel like sitting down and writing content about. I write this blog so I am by default a blogger BUT I am not a professional one - this isnt a job or a source of income for me. For me a professional blogger is someone for whom the blog is an income generator.

Bloggers run comps/giveaways on their blogs - companies want bloggers to try out and to review their items and to run these comps and giveaways - giving away 2 free items (1 for the blogger and 1 for the prize) is going to be a cheap and quick way to get your brand seen. The blogger reviews the item and then runs a comp  which runs for oh I dont know say a month. To enter you have to do things like visit the companies social media or follow them or tweet or share on facebook and so on and lots of these comps have a daily entry option so your doing it every day.

Now imagine 100 people enter the comp and you can do everything daily to get extra entries - thats 3000 RTs/Followers & 3000 B likes and shares in a month... that doesnt seem much but most people have an average of 150 friends on FB and a similar amount of followers on twitter so thats actually a potential 450,000 people you are reaching on each site - so basically just under 1 million people in a month across both sites - and thats assuming most people have a low average number of friends! To get that kind of advertising on the regular media or even paid for ads on social media is going to cost way more than the item you have given. So it's a  win-win situation - the company wins because they are getting a shed load of free advertising and the blogger wins because they are getting new followers, more hits on their site, more hits on their social media pages and so on which then means they are going to get noticed by more companies and pr companies and offered more products and the advertising bar on their blog is gonna earn them more money.

So it makes sense that actually they want people to enter and join in after all compers have friends and its likely that their friends are gonna see the comps and enter too.

So why do bloggers hate compers then?

Well the truth is most of the bloggers I know actually are compers themselves - some of the most successful compers also run very successful blogs.

And lots of bloggers are very comper friendly - some of them even have a nice little badge on their blog and on their giveaways saying just that.

I have won some amazing prizes with bloggers.

In fact there is only a tiny teeny small minority of bloggers who dont like compers and below are some of the reasons I have heard:

1. They want their giveaways to be for genuine followers of their blog

- but you can be a genuine follower of a blog and still comp! And since comping I have found so many interesting blogs who I follow on various social media - I now see people and companies in my social media feeds who I would never have seen before and I interact with them more - if I hadnt entered a comp on their site I wouldnt be following them now

2. People only follow them on social media for the duration of the comp and then unfollow - they repeat this each time there is a new comp!

- I think this is a completely valid point - however only on Twitter - I have heard of a mystical capped follow/like limit on FB, Instag etc but have never known anyone who has reached it. Personally I try to keep all the bloggers I follow on twitter on there - I only unfollow people when I have reached my follow limit and then I sort by activity and unfollow those who havent been active in a month. Since Twitter increased the follow limit for everyone to 5000 this is less of a problem than it was previously

3. Compers are rude - they dont say thank you,they dont appreciate the prize and they just want it to sell

- All sorts of people are rude not just compers - I personally always post a thank you to any company or blog I win form when they announce me as a winner and also I usually tweet or post an fb pic to their wall once the items have arrived. Most of the compers I know do the same, but there will be a few rude people who dont - but you can't blame all compers for their behaviour (just like all compers shouldnt be rude about bloggers because  few refuse to let them enter their giveaways).

I would also say I appreciate each and every item I win or get as a freebie - and am grateful.

As for selling items...I will put my hand up and say yes I have done this. An example would be winning a blu-ray and selling it on ebay and then buying the dvd (because I dont have a blu-ray player) or winning a runners up prize which I dont want but I never enter a comp and think hmm how much can I get for this item on ebay? But really once the item is in someone elses possession its their item and you really have no control over what they do with it - and non-comper winners might also sell the item on or swap it for something else  and so on.

To be honest if someone says I dont want a comper entering then I am prob not going to enter - whats the point of wasting 5 mins of my time? I'm not going to read the blog post, view their pictures or their videos or even check out the product on the companies website - in fact they become an internet dark spot for me and I avoid them. I'm sure the majority of other compers do the same.So the compers lose out on the chance to win a prize but so does the blogger and the company in terms of traffic and media reach.

The issue is there are some compers who make it their mission to go out on a limb and attack such bloggers -  the quote ASA  code and various other things and waste a lot of time and energy arguing and generating hate, they can be rude, they can get their friends involved - it becomes a social media shit storm. And after all that they wonder why the blogger doesnt like them.

Crazy!

Now some bloggers who comp take it upon themselves to politely nudge the blogger in the direction of various articles regarding giveaways and fairness and so on. They do it in a way which encourages them to reconsider their views and to allow compers to enter. This is totally the way forward. No shit flinging like monkeys in a zoo - just reasoned and correct information passed on in a friendly blogger to blogger manner.

So that's my take on the whole mess.