SOCIAL MEDIA

18 August 2019

Making More of Free Time | Lifestyle




I find it very easy to get stuck in a rut, especially when I feel a little trapped with work! I easily lose all motivation and can get a little down but now I have a new job I decided I wanted to make a few changes to my free time to encourage a better work/life balance and actually make the most of my free time. Don't get me wrong, I love to do absolutely nothing sometimes but actually as I get older I realise I find more comfort in routine and a little structure so I thought I would share some ideas and tips on how I am trying to make more of my free time.

Weekdays have always been a bit of write off for me, I get home and I just can't be bothered to do anything of any real interest. I go home, I give the pooch a quick walk, I have dinner and I might have a glass of wine in the eve and that's about it. However when it came to the weekend I didn't really know what to do with myself because I hadn't planned anything in advance. One day I just decided that I was going to organise mine and my boyfs calendar so that we have at least one thing each week that we will either do together or with the pooch as well. At first it's a little daunting to try and figure out what we can do with the dog as not everywhere is dog friendly but it only takes a quick phone call or email to confirm whether the places are and so far we've had a lot of luck with that. I know it can seem a little odd that I am organising free time when surely I should be impulsive and free to do whatever I want but I think when you have a little doggo you do have to plan things more.

In June we took Fred to a Beer Festival in our home town and took him to Brighton over night. These were relatively easy things to book and schedule and we want to desensitise him a little to busy environments because we want to take him everywhere, this meant that for a couple of weekends easily had something to do. On the weeks where we weren't really doing anything at the weekend we decided to go out for dinner at places we really liked or haven't been before.




I have found myself baking a lot more recently, I have always loved baking but sometimes found it difficult to remember to have all of the ingredients, so instead I have bought some bread mix where all you need to add is water. It's something that's really simple and you feel quite accomplished after you have already made it, you don't have to make a big deal out of finding all the correct ingredients. Baking doesn't have to be this massive thing that has to be perfect, simply making something with your own hands can give you a great sense of achievement. In fact, I normally do it on a Sunday afternoon because if I have any time to do absolutely nothing that's when it'll be. Plus I can get on with the house admin whilst the bread is proving/cooking/cooling down! Also, I quite like baking stuff to give to my parents, its a simple gesture that everyone can enjoy!

Even spending 30 minutes at the weekend faffing with my blog feels so much better than just sitting in front of the TV in the evening. I don't think there is anything wrong is just sitting and doing nothing, but for me, for some odd reason, I just get really crabby if I feel like I have done nothing. It's also worth pointing out that sometimes, even though I have planned it, you have to change those plans! We were supposed to go into London with Fred the other weekend but it was just too hot so we didn't and because it was so hot we ended up doing nothing other than buying another damn plant for the balcony (which I low key loved)

11 August 2019

Keeping cool in a New Build | Lifestyle



As I write the post we've had a bit of a heatwave and whilst I love a bit of sunshine being in a newly built property is actually almost unbearable. New Build properties are designed to be more energy efficient by keeping heat in the property, they have lowers ceilings and have "stud" walls etc. At first we really struggled to keep the place cool but now we seem to be getting out heads around it. The reality is you need to start thinking about how your apartment is when you go aboard to hot countries. 

Keep the windows shut, seriously! People think if they open the windows then it will let in a breeze which is fine but when you can't create a draft or there isn't a breeze outside all you are doing is letting in the hot hair into home. I open the windows wide in the morning to let the cool air in and then just as the temperature starts to increase close them and close your curtains! It can seem a bit sad to have your home in darkness the entire day but if you want to have a cool place to retreat to when you come in then you have to make a sacrifice.  



Ditch the duvet and adopt a European style of sleeping with flat sheets! I cannot stand being hot at night, I hate waking up with my hair all stuck to me, but I don't really like being exposed lying on top of the sheets, so a flat sheet is a really simple addition to the bedding. Pick a good quality cotton one and this will aid in keeping you cool at night.  

Buy a damn fan! There are a lot of options out there ranging from really expensive Dyson fans to affordable ones from Asda, I would suggest buying a tall one though because then you do have to clear any surfaces or sides and you can keep it anywhere!

Avoid oven usage! This only really applies if you live in an open plan area with your living room and kitchen like us. Honestly, we've really had to rethink some of the meals we cook on a weekend just because if it involves and oven it's best to avoid! 

So there we have some really simple but effective ways of keeping your property cooler in the warmer weather. 

4 August 2019

What's in my dog handbag | Lifestyle




Today I thought I would share with you guys the contents of my bag now that I have a doggo, obviously I still have a normal handbag but as we are trying to take Fred to more places with us I always want to make sure I have enough stuff. Quite often we need to make sure we have things that can we can distract him with if he is getting a bit restless. In all honesty, I never thought I would need to carry things around with us, my parents have a Chocolate Labrador and they don't really need to carry extra items with us because he is a pretty relaxed dog and will happily sit next to my dad, so I think breed has a lot to do with it. 






Freddie is a French Bulldog and they can be known to have a few health problems, one is definitely getting overheated, heat stroke can be fatal in some cases so we always make sure we carry some water and a bowl for him. To be honest, I would say that Freddie is quite a healthy dog, we keep him lean and he is very active but we know that because of his snorter snout it can restrict the it getting into his nose and therefore his ability to cool himself down. Even if the weather isn't too hot, I think it's still worth us carrying the water on long journeys. I use a simple water bottle that I picked up from Asda that keeps cool water cool. I am looking at getting a collapsible bowl but for now this one works fine. 

I opted for a rucksack because it meant that I can carry all the goodies and still have both hands free to hold his lead or pick his poop up! Also I feel that you can actually get quite a lot of stuff in a rucksack which is handy! 

I carry around A LOT of treats in that little orange container (classic Ikea) the main reason we carry them in a container is to keep them fresh but another reason is because I can't stand dog biscuit crumbs everywhere, I know how dramatic of me, but they get everywhere and some dog treats really smell so I would rather not have them rolling around the bag.Of course no dog owner would be complete without numerous poo bags, I have shown one here but in all honesty I carry about 10 with me because  you just never know! 

Then finally we have a couple of toys with us, Freddie can be a bit obsessed with a tennis ball so it keeps him quite if he is getting a little moany! But as with most dogs they get bored of just one toy so it's always good to carry an extra one! 

I know this isn't the most thrilling of posts but I think if you are looking to get a dog with a short snout or anything like that, then making sure you have the bare essentials is really important! 



28 July 2019

The Old Ship Hotel, Brighton | Dog Friendly



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Today I  wanted to share my first experience of staying in a hotel with our little Fred because we've never actually spent any real time away from our home but we wanted to try a trip away in the hope that over time Fred would get used to it. At first I really struggled to find a hotel at a reasonable price to have your dog stay because I didn't realise at the time that hotels always charge extra and some charge in excess of £25 for one night which I thought was a little obscene however The Old Ship Hotel only charged £12.50 which is reasonable. I'm going to be honest about the hotel because I feel like sometimes it's really hard to find the right hotel when you have a dog so I would rather this post be helpful as opposed to just being a positive review, I obviously haven't been paid to write this, just putting it out there in case anyone has any suspicions. 



The Old Ship Bathroom

First Impressions 

There is no shadow of a doubt that this is a dog friendly hotel! When I walked in every member of staff wanted to stroke or play with Fred, we felt so welcome even down to the detail of having a jar of dog biscuits next to the jar of mints for the humans! Everyone was smiling and helpful, the foyer was clean and inviting it actually had a very luxurious feel to it and there was a wedding going on so that should give you a little idea of what the first impressions were like. We booked through Booking.com where I make all of my bookings and the only disappointing thing was that we couldn't check in until 3pm which feels a little later than I would have expected at most hotels but they were fine in letting us just wait around until the room was free. Also, the location is honestly so perfect, it's very close to Brighton pier and right on the seafront! 


The Room 

For me, this is where things start going down hill a little, as you can see the room is fine the decor may be slightly outdated but on the surface I was really happy with it until I started to look a little closer. The first thing I noticed were the carpet stains, I understand that we were in a dog room so of course it's not going to the top tier but it did put me off a little. I know dogs have accidents (ours didn't) but when you sit down and notice the vast amount it was a little disappointing. Also, the sink had a giant crack in it and the chairs had a layer of dust at the back which again was off putting. One nice touch though was that they had put a little dog bed and water bowl in the room which again highlights that dogs are very welcome additions. The room was obscenely hot because of the weather and the fact they left the heated towel rail on but they had a tall stand up fan so that was great! Fred did not like the room at all, it was probably just because it was somewhere new but it was so hot he really struggled to settle down.

The Old Ship


Would I stay again? 

No! This is purely because of the price, the cost of this room was £198 (includes £12.50 dog fee) for one night!! Unfortunately there is no way the quality of the room was worth that cost. I completely understand an appreciate that we would be put in a room of that condition because we have a dog, they are hardly going to place us in a premium room when there's a chance our dog could ruin it but it felt very much like a room that they didn't mind if it did get ruined, if that makes sense? If I was basing my stay purely one the customer service and welcome then I would definitely stay again in a heartbeat and I would probably even stay again if the room was around the £130 (excluding dog fee) mark because the location is good but for me the room doesn't warrant the price tag! 

So there we have my little mini review of the hotel, I think in future I would probably opt for an AirBnB because I think Fred would settle a little easier and because we wouldn't have to worry if Fred did bark but also because it would feel like we would have a more comfortable stay and not feel like we are given a below par room just because we have a dog! 



21 July 2019

Small Changes to Help the Environment | Lifestyle

Small Changes to Help the Environment


I gave up meat at the start of the year and it's probably one of the best decision I made, I do still fancy meat some times but I haven't had anything and I'm quite proud of that! One of the many reasons I gave up was definitely the environmental impact farming has on the planet and this has got me thinking more about how our every day lives are having such a negative impact and I wanted to find ways where I personally could make better decisions. Even the picture I've used above really made me sad because here are the signets in their nest that it surrounded by empty cans and rubbish, of which cans can be easily recycled but, of course, they just end up thrown in the damn river. 

I don't quite know what's happened to me this year but all of a sudden I really care about lots of things, it could be social media making me aware, it could also be old age. I just feel like I need to be doing better, well everyone needs to do better but the only thing I can really control is myself. There are a lot of programmes out there like War on Plastic which is fantastic but you can get a little overwhelmed with the info they give so I thought I would share some easier to digest tips to help the environment .

Reduce the amount of single use plastic - This one is a bloody minefield and I know it's far easier said than done but I have kept it simple like instead of buying shower gels I buy soap, it's zero plastic does the same job. Some soaps can leave my skin feeling a bit weird/dry but Lush also do pretty good shower gel type formulas as well. Also, The Body Shop do a recycling scheme for plastic too, so if you can't recycle a cosmetics/skincare package, take it to boots and they will do it for you! When buying food condiments, I try to opt for the glass jar over the plastic bottle as glass can be easily recycled into more glass products.

Stopped using face wipes - My god this was a difficult one for me, I'm not gonna lie I always knew facewipes weren't good for my skin but never really considered the wider impact until it was plastered all over my social media (and rightly so) I don't have an excuse to use facewipes, I have normal facial cleansers that do the job so why am I reaching for the things so frequently? It's probably just a habit but it's one I am happy I've kicked.

Planted bee friendly flowers - Ok so I have become a little obsessed with my balcony garden at the moment and it's a little ridiculous but all of the plants I have are bee friendly. Honestly imagine a world without our bumbley friends?! Awful! If you are fortunate to have a garden or even an area where you can put some flowers in a pot it's worth it. I'm not ashamed to admit the overwhelming joy seeing a bumble bee on one of my plants brings me!

Walk to the shops - I have got pretty damn lazy recently, when I lived in Italy, I walked flippin' everywhere (I had no choice) and over time since being back in the UK I have got lazier with each month it would seem so when the weekend comes I try to walk more which includes walking to the shops to pick up some groceries. I don't really need to be driven to the shops when for me it is walking distance.

Bring in lunch at work - This one is still a bit of a work in progress, working in London you have some many coffee shops and food places, a sandwich in a lunchbox can look incredibly unappealing by comparison. However all those quick food options use a huge amount of single use plastic so if I can move to bringing in my own lunch at least 4 days a week then not only will I be helping reduce waste, I will also be saving a little money each week!

The problem is, we as a society do a lot of damaging things to the environment  due to convenience, the way we shop has never been more easier than what it is now. I think the supermarkets have a massive part to play, they waste an obscene amount of plastic and they are charging more money for unpackaged items/ plastic free than the ones in plastic wrap, of course everyone is going to purchase whichever is the cheapest.

Also, it's worth pointing out that I know there are circumstances where not everyone can give up single use plastics, they may have disabilities and illnesses whereby they need convenient products, I have no problem whatsoever with this and do not think we should demonise everyone for using products that actually make their quality of life better. My issue is there are the people like myself who don't have any excuses to not try at least to make small changes. We've done so much irreversible damage already, I just don't want to continue to make it worse. I'm not perfect, I am definitely still wasteful but I am trying and that's the most important thing right? Hopefully!