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 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For me, this is where things start going down hill a little, as you can see the room is fine the decor may be slightly outdated but on the surface I was really happy with it until I started to look a little closer.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!
14 July 2019

Stranger Things 3 | Opinion

Never on my blog have I written about a TV series, it isn't my style but after watching Stranger Things 3 I just have a lot of feelings and thought why they hell not?! I have to point out that this blog post will contain spoilers so if you haven't quite finished yet just skip this have been warned.

I'm going to tell you straight that I found this season really disappointing, for various reasons, but i'm going to start with the feel of the series from episode 1! Stranger Things 3 started full of colour and laughter, there was this comedic tone throughout at least the first 4 episodes and I'm not a complete troll like some parts were amusing, my issue is the way they dumbed some of the characters down like Hopper! I'm sorry but this one really annoyed me, Hopper was a fantastic character, he was gritty, grumpy but had a heart however in this season he was a bumbling fool who comes across as desperate to date Joyce and obsessed with El dating Mike, his character actually became quite embarrassing which is why I am happy they killed him off, I wouldn't want to see him decline any further, but is he really dead? Also, poor Will they made him look quite pathetic didn't they? I felt like there were two many storylines running through this season when all I really wanted was the core gang to come together and just sort the mindflayer out! Instead we had to watch drama with El and Mike, Hopper and Joyce, Nancy and Johnathan, Billy and mike's mum, Steve and his almost love interest, though that one changed by the end of it, the main undertone was just about love interests which is fine and I get it  but the reason I watch stranger things is for the the strange thing not normal life!

I also found the idea of having Russians working underneath a shopping mall a little too far fetched for me, give me mindflayers and I can get my head around that but why Russians, why are they opening the gate, why under a shopping mall? Also, why did Steve and this new gang break into the Russian lair and manage to escape? It's a step too far for me! And I know how ridiculous that sounds because it's Stranger Things and the whole concept is made up anyway.

We knew this season had a lot more money thrown at it because we knew about all of the collaborations with different brands and for the most part I think it was quite subtle but the Coke ad in episode 7...oh my god, too much! The problem was it felt like an ad.
I just have to bring up the Dustin and Suzie singing thing which was f*cking cringe but the concept was fine and if he just mumble sang into the walkie-talkie then that would have been funny and not detract too much from the storyline but oh no, they had to make it into this big duet with a split screen...while the mindflayer is literally on the gang! WTF!

There were moments of brilliance though and I cannot deny how great the graphics were this season, I was hooked with gaping mouth as I watch El and Billy meet in the upside down! Actually, all of the Billy scenes were brilliant and not just because he is obscenely handsome! Watching Nancy and Johnathan being hunted in hospital had my pulse racing! Even the character development of Murray I really bloody liked, he was a great addition. To be fair, all of the female characters were pretty badass! These were all really great parts and I wish we had more of them, I wish I was on the edge of my seat throughout the whole thing but I just wasn't, it didn't have the same darkness it had before! The season only really started for me from episode 5 which in an 8 part series is a little too late but of course I will watch the next season! 
7 July 2019

Garden Balcony Tips | Lifestyle

Balcony Garden

We moved into our first home just over a year ago now, I've written a few posts about it but some of you may not know is that our home is actually a Coach House so it's basically somewhere between a flat and a house. We have the entire property, we don't have anyone either side or above us but we have car ports directly underneath the property meaning everything is on first level as opposed to ground level!

The only downside to our home in my opinion is that we don't have a garden and this may some as a bit of a surprise to you but I actually really love plants and a little bit of gardening! A plus side however is that we do have a little balcony which has meant that I've had to get a little creative with my plants! I wanted to share some tips in case someone else was in a similar situation and didn't quite know where to begin.

Firstly, I think one of the most important things to consider is how much sun your balcony area gets during the day. I say this because our balcony is in sunshine literally all day which means we can't really go for plants that need shaded areas because they simply won't thrive where they are! In recent months I have opted for Snapdragons because they love direct sunlight so I know with proper care (lots of watering they should be pretty happy)

Balcony Garden Tips

Think about the type of plants you buy, whether they are going to be low maintenance or require a bit of time and training (trailing plants for example). I bought a Lavender bush, for a few reasons really one being bumble bees however I realised that Lavender is actually a pretty hardy plant and quite low maintenance in the sense that there was time I forgot to water the thing and this year he has come back really happy and healthy so far!

The primroses in the first picture died on us so quickly it was really disappointing but I knew this would happen because it said they would only flower until May so it's pretty important to check the blossom months if you want to have pretty flowers. In fact, it wasn't just that the flowers dropped of the plants actually died so I'm not sure they were too happy where they were so we decided to plant some Snapdragons in their place and they are thriving! If you want to keep your flowers looking fresh then pruning is really important, some plants only need the dead petals to be removed and that's really simple, a gentle tug and you're done! Whereas my lavender, I literally don't touch until late summer when the flowers have died then I trim the lavender stems right back! If you don't know how to prune certain things then there are loads on online tutorials or ask some family members if they are into gardening.

Balcony Garden

I'm lucky because I know exactly what types of flowers I want and it's just from past experience and other people's gardens that I do know what they are called but I think if you're struggling to know what you may like then pre-made planters might be a great option. We stumbled across ours in Homebase and it was just full of different types of beautiful flowers and it just looked great, the bees love it!

I think it doesn't matter how big your area is outside, having little bursts of colours around it can't help but make you smile and the bees will thank you for sure.