19 May 2019

5 Things about getting a puppy | Lifestyle

I haven't mentioned it on my blog, mainly because I haven't blogged, but I got a puppy in July last year!! As you can see, he is a gorgeous French Bulldog called Freddie and since getting him my life has changed quite a lot, for obvious reasons. I wanted to write a post just highlighting some of the ways having a dog/puppy had really changed our lives and habits. It's worth just pointing out that this is just my experience and there are so many factors to consider such as breed, age of dog, house environment etc! 

For as long as me and Chris have been together we have always talked about French bulldogs, we absolutely love them but we also done a lot of research before getting them to understand the numerous health problems Frenchies could have. Originally we did want to adopt a rescue dog but we had concerns because we didn't have a garden (we live in a coach house) and we would have to adapt ourselves to the dogs needs which could have been quite difficult, so we decided that getting a puppy would be a better option because we could influence the dog's schedule in a better way to suit our lifestyles. Frenchies are known for being dogs that like apartment living, the require less exercise so a garden isn't essential and they like company (Chris works from home) so this breed seemed to tick a lot of boxes for us. I have grown up with dogs so knew a lot about them but it's very different when you get your own and I think it was a bit of a shock to the system for me but I wouldn't have it any other way!  

Moving onto the main things that I noticed starting with...

You can no longer be spontaneous  - This seems like an obvious one but I found it quite hard when we first got Freddie because all of a sudden we had this nugget to think about when we wanted to go out by ourselves. It has gotten a lot easier now he is 10 month old but when he was a tiny puppy they can't be left alone for very long at all. Now we understand his routines and know that he sleeps from pretty much 6pm onwards we know we could go out for dinner in the evening and he would be completely fine for a couple of hours. This is something I bring up a lot when people say "oh I want to get a dog" I let people know it does change your life and you have to have enough time for them otherwise it isn't fair. 

They bring you unconditional love - My god, this dog loves a cuddle and a snuggle! He loves a little snoozy cuddle in the morning after he has had his first morning walk and he will literally grumble until you sit down so he can sit on you! The way he runs down the stairs when you come in, sniffing all my clothes and bags to see where I have been. Sometimes Chris will go out and it'll just be me and Fred and it's really lovely because it isn't lonely at all, especially when you have him snoring next to you on the sofa! 

You worry about them all the time - This is a major one for me that I am trying to get over but honestly, I worry about what he eats, how much he exercises, whether he is getting too hot, whether he needs to pee, whether he is warm enough, have I played with him enough, how long he has been in his crate for? I didn't realise how much my thoughts would be consumed by Freddie but it's all a learning curve. You start to realise that dogs needs are actually quite basic and they are very resilient animals, I would even go as far to say as this pooch is spoiled. 

Training takes time - Toilet training and teething are by far the hardest things to deal with when you have a puppy. We have been quite lucky in the sense that Freddie picked up on toilet training quite quickly but there were SO many accidents, sometimes they were our fault because we didn't notice him giving us the signs to go out and other times it was him being a little sod and doing it for attention. Now he lets us know if he wants to go out by walking down the stairs and sitting by the front door or by trying to get our attention to leading us to the front door, he is quite a clever little thing. 
Teething is another thing which I personally find very hard, don't get me wrong I have seen the damage other puppies have done and Freddie is nowhere near as bad as that but he has ruined  a few things, more specifically our bed. We have a wooden IKEA bed which I loved, it was brand new when we moved in and Freddie for some reason took a liking to crawling underneath it and chewing the inside bed legs! This really, really drove me insane, I do like nice things and I am fussy so when I see something I love being destroyed it almost pains me (dramatic much?) We tried a lot of different things to get him to stop but it almost became a habit to get attention, so fortunately we found a bitter apple spray and it stopped him immediately. People assume that a puppy should be fully trained at 7 months and it's just unrealistic, it takes a lot of time and there will be numerous little slip ups, they are animals after all. 

Crate training was the best decision for us - This is a slightly controversial one as many people still have mixed views on crate training but honestly it was the best decision for us. We decided to get a crate when he was small but we decided we would only use it at night, as I never wanted a dog on my bed not only for comfort reasons but I can have a slight reaction to dog fur on my skin, and then when we were not in the house. We never used it as a punishment tool and only wanted it to be a comfort for him when we weren't around. I know people who crate train and then get rid of the crate when the puppy is old enough but we are still using it. We really struggled to work out how to move from the crate to the dog bed and most people say after the crate they just let the dog sleep on the bed which isn't something I am willing to do, so we have found ourselves keeping the crate as he seems perfectly happy to go in there at night! 

Having puppies is so frickin' hard but they are so worth it, the more time you invest in them the more you get from them! 

5 May 2019

4 Product Skincare Routine | Beauty

Cruelty Free Skincare

What is this you see? A beauty post on my blog after I said I wasn't going to do beauty stuff anymore? Escandalo! The thing is, I do still love beauty but I have found in the 11 months I haven't been blogging and buying unnecessary products for my blog I have stripped my skincare regime right back and have only been buying 4 products, yes you read that correctly only 4 products I use to keep my skin happy! There are lots of skincare specialists out there that will tell us we need more and we need different things for morning and night and that we need different steps for different skin types which I am sure is true but I know my skin and I know that for me less is more. 

A bit of short background, I used to have horrific acne for years went on a high dose of roaccutane and it change my life! Skin cleared up, I was left with a few scars but it was so much better, however I did realise that all the products that tell you they are good for clearing skin etc is all a load of marketing bullsh*t and can do more damage than good! Ever since then, I have been paranoid with what goes on my face and use very little products, then I started to blog again which lead to me buying loads of new products and then I decided to go cruelty free which meant I needed even more products then I stopped blogging and it all calmed down. I made a conscious decision  to use all the stuff I had and then only buy things I absolutely needed which started with cleanser, I had so many different types which were all fine but I wasn't in love with any of them. I tried The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Oil which I liked the idea of but it was a bit of a faff, you had to put it on your face then wet your face then wipe it off and I just wanted something easy but equally as gentle which is when I picked up from the same range the Camomile Cleansing Butter which was a game changer, take a little bit, warm it up on your face to it melts into an oil and boom wipe off! So simple, so gentle, so easy! With this cleanser I have no desire to find another and without beauty blogging I didn't find the need to try something new at all! 

The Ordinary Skincare

Moving onto a brand I have dabble in for a while now which is The Ordinary, I have tried both of their foundations and they were both awful on my skin so never went back to their make up, their skincare on the otherhand is amazing! It started with The Peeling Solution which has been written about by loads of people but I picked it up because it was a great price and I wanted something that would reduce some of my scarring. It's a little 10 minute mask that I use once a week sometimes once every 2 weeks, It makes my skin look and feel so much smoother. It is quite strong stuff so be mindful when using it. The next product is one that I definitely bought on a whim, I was reading a commuter magazine (either the Stylist or ES mag) and someone (I didn't even know them) in the mag recommended Plant Derived Squalane which is a plant base product which is great at keeping skin and even hair hydrated. Think of this product as an oil, that doesn't leave a greasy residue on your skin, it just absorbs and leaves your skin feeling fresh and it's gentle enough to use every day and I tend to use this after I have cleansed in the evening! 

The next and final product left in my entire collection (for the face, I do still have body products) is the delightful Drops of Youth, Youth Cream this is actually a product I bought a while ago but then I tried something else and just didn't love it! This cream is fantastic because its so fresh and cooling, I use it in the morning under my make up and it creates such a lovely base. I doubt it is making me look youthful, much to my disappointment, but it is a really fantastic product! 

I think whether you are in the "less is more camp" or the "more is more camp", it feel so good when you find products that just work for you because when you feel like you skin looks good you immediately feel much better about everything else!  
28 April 2019

Going Meat Free | Lifestyle

Image by Alexas_Fotos on Pixabay

I'm not gonna lie, I never thought I would be writing a post about giving up meat and if anyone knows me they know that I was a huge meat eater of all kinds, so when I told people they all just wanted to remind me of all the great meals I will be missing out on but to be honest I knew it just wasn't going to change my mind. I also want to point out that whilst I no longer eat meat, I do still eat fish and shellfish, for me I knew that I wouldn't be able to give up meat and fish at the same time if I did there was a higher chance of me giving up. 

Last year I often thought "oh I would like to give up meat but I just don't think I can" and I kinda left it at that, I didn't really try to reduce my meat intake or anything like that, I just felt like it was a nice idea. Then we got Freddie our adorable little French bulldog and I think this was when I really started to question things. When Freddie was little he reminded me of a piglet, he had this little flat nose, a pot belly, he would grunt and snuffle around the house, he had these ears that just pointed straight up and I couldn't help but see a pig! Then I started thinking, "why is it ok to eat pig meat but I am shocked and disgusted that other countries or cultures eat dog meat?" As time went on, I stopped seeing chickens, cows, pigs, sheep as meat and instead as these lovely little animals like Fred because the reality is there is no difference, so if I can eat pig meat then I should be fine with others eating dog meat - and this just didn't make sense. When January came I knew that this year was the right time to give it up. 

When you start picking apart the meat industry there are so many things that I have been uncomfortable with for a long time, the impact it has on the environment, the welfare of the animals, the hormones that are pumped into the meat to bulk it up and make it cheaper to name a few. The supermarkets don't help because getting cheap meat is very convenient, local butchers are few and far between and if I could shop at a butchers who could tell me more about the meat I was eating then I would have a different opinion but that's just not realistic anymore. Additionally, I think now more than ever is easy to eliminate meat from your diet, there are so many "fake meat" alternatives and I know those are also processed but if you wanted to avoid those types of replacements you could because veganism and vegetarianism is becoming more popular. Personally, I do eat some of the meat alternatives like Linda McCartney sausages with my Sunday dinner, or the No Chick pieces for a stir fry (if I'm not having prawns) sometimes it's nice to bulk it but with the meat replacements.  

The thing that surprised me the most was how easy it has been so far, even when I am drunk and offered meat I am still like "no, meat free". It just seems and feels like the right thing to do which is why it has been so easy and because I do still have fish it's definitely been a softer transition. Another reason I still eat fish is because there are more options to available on a menu when eating out with friends, if I don't like the look of the veggie options then I am guaranteed the fish option will appeal to me. There are times I have thought about meat, thinking I would quite like to have a burger or something but I just know I won't get one because there are some fab meat free alternatives around that taste just as good as anything else! 
21 April 2019

Is it possible to separate art from the artist? | Opinion

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Here comes another lengthy opinion piece but I think in light of recent events I think now is a good time to start to question whether we can or should separate art from the artist? Looking specifically at musicians, I think the answer has too many complexities and every one has their own opinion which of course they are entitled to but I think the most interesting thing for me is the volume of people who don't want to break their illusion of the artists so the deny and disregard any negative opinion.

For me this question first came up when the Lostprophets lead singer was found guilty of several child sex offences. Lostprophets was a band that I absolutely adored and was pretty much the sound track to a period in my life where I felt so much happiness and then when the news started unravelling, I realised that now I can no longer listen to this music and reminisce. I do feel bad for the other musicians of the band because they all played a part in creating their songs but the music just became tainted for me. Then "Leaving Neverland" aired and I was in the exact same predicament. For those of you who don't know Leaving Neverland is a pretty damning account of two victims who Michael Jackson allegedly sexually abused them as children.   Wade Robson and James Safechuck tell an extremely detailed and some times quite graphic account of the abuse and, at times, it is quite difficult to watch. For me one of the key things that I noticed was that both men recounted how close Michael Jackson got to their families, having calls with the parents, coming to their homes, flying them to LA, it could be argued that he basically infiltrated them to gain access to these boys. It's this element that made me believe these men because there were some parallels to a Netflix show all Abducted in Plain Sight where the abuser gets very close to the parents just to access their daughter. This is actually a very common step in child abuse, it's family friend, it's someone they trusted, the family had no idea, he seemed like a nice guy.

The main difference between Ian Watkins and Michael Jackson is Ian Watkins was found guilty (and sentenced to 35 years in prison) where as Michael Jackson was brought to trial found not guilty, with Wade at the time defending him against the accusations and then years after his death, the victims came forward. I can see why people question their motives but when you watch the documentary I think it's obviously clear that these men are pained by their experiences. There have been celebrities coming forward to say that Michael Jackson didn't abuse them, so this alone must me he is innocent and that the men are lying but I have to say just because someone doesn't do something to you doesn't mean they didn't do it to someone else. He openly admitted to sharing his bed with young boys which everyone agrees is weird, so is it that farfetched that he could also abuse the same boys he shared his bed with?  

R Kelly is another artist who has come under the microscope with many victims coming forward, personally I haven't seen the documentary so I can't pass comment but I believe that we should listen to these girls instead of just ignoring it for the sake of his "brand".

I don't think I can separate the art from the artists, when you listen to the stories of the victims I really don't think we should bury our heads in the sand and say they are lying. I can however accept the impact people like Michael Jackson had on the music industry but I can also choose to no longer listen to his music. I think even if you don't want to believe it, you should watch Leaving Neverland just so you can hear another side.
14 April 2019

Finding my own style | Fashion

Blue Satin Shirt

I wanted to write a post about my own style even though I am definitely not a style blogger, I just think as I've gotten a little older I know what I love to wear and I'm probably not gonna change. Just for transparency, some of the items in this post have been gifted to me from a brand called Fashion world they have many brands on site which means they offer a large range of clothing sizes and something for everyone whether it's ankle boots like mine or sandals for summer or simplistic back packs or cute dresses, they offer a diverse range. 

For as a long as I remember I have always loved wearing black, it probably stems from my angsty teen years where I listened to Linkin Park non stop but actually this period in my life definitely influenced some of my style choices for sure! As I got older of course it changed a little and my style stayed black but the items of clothing were a little more grown up than band tees and spikey pyramid belts (even though band tees are still a thing now). Don't get me wrong, I do have some items in my closet that aren't black but my standard every day wear pretty dark. When I moved to Italy I started thinking differently about my clothes, you'd think that being in 36 degree heat every day would mean that I dressed in light shades, I definitely didn't ! I kept with my everyday black skinnies and a relaxed fit vest or shirt or black dress and you know what, not a single colleague batted an eyelid because half of them were wearing black too. In the UK as soon as the sun comes out even for a fraction people have their legs out and they are wearing a flourish of colours and pastels but that just isn't me. I have lost count of the items of clothing I have bought thinking "oh I must wear something bright" worn barely once and then sent it off to a charity shop which is obscenely wasteful. 

Every time I was asked by people at work "why do you only wear black? Do you even own any other colours other than black?" I would just make a joke out of it and be like "it's just my aesthetic" and we'd laugh at how obnoxious I sounded but the fact was it's actually kind true! I had changed the narrative so now people instead go "oh that bag suits your aesthetic!" or "that's very you" which I really like. I love wearing head to toe black, it makes me feel confident! I know that 80% of the week I will be in black skinny jeans, black ankle boots and an oversized black top (I actually prefer the term "sack like" top) and it makes life so much easier! I tend to go for tops that are 2 or 3 sizes too big for me because I like to keep my body shape hidden, I mean I'm not quite in love with my body at the moment but even when I was a skinny thing in Italy I still liked wearing stuff too big for me, it's a comfort thing for me and I like the way slim jeans with long baggy tops look on me, sometimes it does make me look bigger than I am but I just prefer the overall look which is what I am more interested in.

Black Back Pack

Black Ankle Boots

I am pretty tall but I still like wearing high ankle boots, I like to seem longer because it balances out my overall body proportions and this often makes me either the same height or taller than some guys but I don't mind at all. I will wear my ankle boots until they have holes in and then I replace them for something similar if not the same as I had before, I always have two on rotation high ones and flat ankle boots because sometimes the heeled once do hurt my feet a little especially if I have been running around a work event all day (!!)

I understand why so many people buy into trends, we have brand like Zara making clothes that are basically from the run way for a fraction of the cost and I completely get it but I cant help but think that the constant need for fast fashion is having a more detrimental affect on the planet that we can even understand right now! I wear clothes for me and no one else, my style is simple and easy to wear, my clothes can be worn in the office or worn on the weekend which leaves me with a curated wardrobe of only things I love and that's all that matters to me.