Treats from*

Custard and Vespa are back and this time they're sampling some tasty treats which were very kindly sent to them by - any excuse to have a little nibble and Custard especially is all over it. They were sent a variety of food to try and they couldn't wait to get stuck in! Just a disclaimer before we begin, my dogs do not follow a vegan diet like myself and James. Neither of us know enough about doggy nutrition to make this call and we're happy continuing to feed them a balanced diet which will help keep them fit and healthy. They consume very little wet meat and usually have a dry biscuit diet and veggies for a snack, along with the occasional chew or biscuit treat.

First up is the dry biscuit food by Huntland and my two went mad for this stuff. I had to keep an eye on Vespa's reaction as with him being a Yorkie, they're infamous for being very fussy eaters but he loved it. Custard on the other hand didn't hesitate and was wondering where the rest of the bag was kept straight after her dinner! It's a decent sized bag and lasted my two small dogs around 2 weeks before they polished it all off.

Purina Dentalife Dog Chew

My dogs are always grateful for a chew, especially one which is going to benefit their oral health so they were chuffed to bits to try out the Dentalife Oral Care stick from Purina. Vespa in particular is more prone to gum disease as he's got a much smaller mouth and loads of teeth so there's plenty of opportunity for food to get stuck and cause problems. Oral care chews are great because they're designed to get into those areas and bring away any loose bits with their special texture.

Custard Miniature Schnauzer

Vespa Yorkshire Terrier

They also adored these cookie treats by Catch and these are the perfect size for a quick snack or a reward for being good once we get home after leaving them alone for a bit. They absolutely stank but we kept them in the dogs allocated treat tin and they also came in a resealable bag which was brilliant since they were so smelly. Surprisingly though, they didn't make the dog's breath stink and I believe these are another oral care product, with the crunch helping to break down plaque build up.

A huge thankyou to for sending over these for Custard and Vespa to try, they had so much fun and Custard is starting to learn to check every single parcel that comes to see if there is anything for her. Hilarious.

Thanks for reading,

*These dog treats were gifted to Custard and Vespa to review on my blog by

Theme Parks & My First Job

At the end of June, James and I had the opportunity to go to Thorpe Park with a couple of friends who are Merlin annual pass holders and could get us into the park for £15 each. We'd not been to a theme park since 2014 when we first got together so we thought we'd take up the offer and have a well deserved day out with friends. 

It took us two and a half hours to get down to Thorpe Park from our home town and after a pit stop at a service station for a soya latte and a pee, it was getting on for three hours before we got there. Upon arrival, the park had only just opened and was swarming with visitors but we quickly got in line, paid for our tickets and couldn't help but notice on the door prices were £ people even pay this price? Online prices are currently at £29.99 which is a great saving but it's still mighty expensive. We were at the park for around five hours and managed to get on 7 rides, but even that looking back seems like very little for the price you pay to get into the park in the first place. By the time you've got a bite to eat as well (take your own if you're vegan - the parks are not very vegan friendly) the costs are definitely adding up and time running out.

It got me thinking as to why we as humans are happy to queue up for hours for the sake of rides that last no longer than 30 seconds. Stealth at Thorpe Park lasted 11 seconds (yep I timed it) yet we were stood in line for over an hour. It's not really our cup of tea in all honesty whereas our friends love nothing more than visiting theme parks which is why they're annual pass holders. Having visited Thorpe Park twice now and Alton Towers over five, I can honestly say I prefer Alton Towers not for the rides, but the pleasure of walking around the grounds and feeling the spookiness and atmosphere of the entire park in general.

I hate to be a party pooper but I have never really felt a major urge to go to these kinds of places and I can't help but feel like perhaps it's due to where I used to work at my very first job. At the age of 16, I got a park ranger role at a local family-run kids adventure park which quickly evolved into a miniature theme park. It was just a Saturday job but I despised it and being a tender little 16 year old, I didn't have the confidence to find something else. I worked extra over the school holidays and even their scare fest nights they did around Halloween and of course bonfire night, which earned me a few extra pennies but I really did hate my job there. I ended up bailing on my university degree after completing the foundation course and with my self esteem lower than ever, I ended up staying at the park on a full time basis until I was 20. During this time, I was dumped in every area of the park imaginable, from accounts to the kitchens, cleaning, dressing up as an Elf (definitely the highlight of my park ranger career) on top of my standard running of the rides and dealing with shitty parents. I remember one morning, I turned up and went to check over the toddler soft play and found a nasty poo hidden in the ball pit. True story.

That smell when you enter theme parks is the same everywhere; the cheap frozen chips and burgers they fry and charge an absolute fortune for, the fixed crane machines and everything you touch is don't even want to know what the potential stickiness is. I also used to be one of those miserable looking people stood operating a ride and let me tell you, cut these guys some slack. They've probably been there for hours without a break, dealing with awful human beings whilst trying to ensure the riders are kept safe...even when they aren't abiding by the rides rules. To make matters a whole lot worse, the owners of the park were dare I day it...absolute twats. Very verbally abusive towards their staff, not enough breaks, not even for a pee I might add, they didn't support you should a customer dispute arise and to top it all off, the entire family were coke heads. 

I feel like this entire experience has put me off theme parks for life and whilst I totally get that rides need maintaining, stripping and servicing on top of paying the staff, running the parks and marketing, the entire industry just feels like an absolute rip off and so many people are willing to pay crazy prices for what probably amounts to no more than 10 minutes of ride time per day. Madness.

What are your thoughts on theme parks or better yet, what was your first ever job?

Thanks for reading!

'Growing Up' Garden Makeover

A couple of weeks back, I was sent the biggest box of goodies I've ever seen filled with products to help transform our garden into a much prettier place to relax, a nicer environment for the dogs to play and since a garden is something neither James or I have ever had of our own, we couldn't wait to get stuck in. This was totally a team effort and I couldn't have done it without him. The products were sent to us by Scotts Miracle-Gro and were part of their 'Growing Up Parties' campaign.

We dedicated an entire Sunday to repotting a load of plants, buying some new plants for our flower bed and also some seeds to try and grow our own veggies. We also repotted some strawberry plants that my Mum had given us and grown herself and we used a brilliant compost called Black Magic Potting Soil. You could feel just from the quality of the bag that stuff was going to be a good performer and it was a pleasure to work with. It was really easy to use and full of nutrients to help support your plants.

Whilst we were at it, we took the spare slabs which we had propped up against the side of the house from the previous owners and made a platform to treat as a little area to have some flowers, seedlings and herbs. This raised level keeps the dogs away and also they look neat and tidy altogether.

Our front garden area is really bad for growing weeds so we also dug all of these up and treated the area with some Weedol Pathclear Weedkiller. I really enjoyed using this because it comes with a special pump (batteries included) and it evenly sprays the area with no mess. It does stink a little, but I wouldn't imagine weed killer to smell any different and two weeks later, there is no sign of any returning weeds! We thought we'd brighten up our front garden with a few little bushes just to perk it up a bit and these have been loving life!

We also did all the general upkeep of the garden like cutting the lawn and trimming the edges, as well as pruning our rose bush and then we used the EverGreen Complete 4in1 to give our grass a proper pampering. Our grass has never been perfect since the houses previous owners had 3 kids and a huge dog and when we arrived at our house the garden was in such a state. We've worked super hard on getting into a decent condition and have trimmed it every weekend since January - the results have been amazing so we're hoping the EverGreen gives it that little extra TLC. This again was really easy to use as the container has a built on scattering nozzle for an even application.

To finish everything, we diluted some of the Black Magic 'Elixir' which is plant food to give our plants a helping hand and they seemed to have really enjoyed it! We also strung up some solar powered lights which we bought from Sainsbury's a couple of years back and decided the garden was now too pretty to not enjoy a lovely meal outside in the evening. 

Getting family and friends round to get stuck in with you is such a great idea and you can easily make a real day of it by including some drinks, maybe a little BBQ and quality music. Since our garden is quite small, we kept it just us two but my brother popped round at one point and had a bit of a dabble. A couple of weeks later, we set up some chairs outside with some candles burning, the dogs were playing on their new grass and it was the perfect evening looking over all of our hard work whilst enjoying some good food. A huge thankyou to Scotts Miracle-Gro for sending us these fabulous products to try which enabled us to treat our front and back gardens to some much needed loving. We really enjoyed our gardening project and our house looks so much nicer for it!

Thanks for reading,

One Month Vegan

Last month, James and I decided it was time to go vegan. Both of us had been toying with it for months, maybe even nearer to two years and I'll admit, I was the one who was the most reluctant, simply because my relationship with food hasn't always been the healthiest. I'm a huge lover of things like cake and chocolate and have never been that adventurous with the important foods like vegetables...the thought of having a 'plant based' diet made me feel awkward and I was worried it would be too much to cope with. This is what a lot of people think I guess. It didn't take long however, to get into an entirely different mindset after doing further research into going vegan and although I had already seen the barbaric footage from the insides of slaughter houses and have been a vegetarian for 18 years, I'd never made myself look into what goes on behind the scenes of the dairy and egg industries. I know talking about this is quite sensitive and there are people who say that obviously this footage is most likely the worst of the worst that goes on behind closes doors, but that shouldn't be the point; it still happens. The past four weeks have definitely opened my eyes a whole lot more so here we go...

1. Food Isn't As Restricted As You Think
These days, there is so much more of an option for vegans than there was say 10 years ago. I've still been able to get my chocolate and cake fix, have found vegan sweets and apart from having to read packaging a lot more than before, nothing has really changed. We've found vegan cheeses to try, yoghurts, puddings, crisps, garlic bread, burgers, sausages and even 'popcorn chicken'. I've also been getting really into tofu and although I've loved tofu for ages, I've been experimenting a lot more with it and making mock scrambled egg and even mock chip shop fish. I wrapped some nori seaweed around the tofu blocks to give it a seafood taste and deep fried was it good!

2. Rude Comments
I'll be honest, I've personally had more of a negative response from other people than a positive and the first week or so I found it a little disheartening. One bitter sweet scenario was when we got invited to a pop-up burger shack down at one of our favourite coffee shops in town; James is a regular here as it's his pit stop for a lunch break during work and the owner was aware we'd recently turned vegan so he made us vegan burgers specially and asked us to go down that evening to support this trial burger menu. This was super nice of him and we felt very looked after, however when we ordered our food the table next to us felt it necessary to swing around in the chairs and say 'oh no, you're not vegan are you?!' Er sorry what?

3. A Lot Of Questions
If people aren't asking why you're a vegan (pretty innocent question) they're questioning where on earth you get all of your protein or how long it will take for you to shrivel up and die. I've also had people ask if it's safe to be a vegan and whether or not I've thought it through enough. On the other hand, I've got some awesome friends who have said 'I respect your decision' and in return the least I can do is respect theirs. Some have even admitted it's made them think twice about eating meat and becoming a vegetarian which to me is one of the most wonderful things anyone could say. My Mum has also been incredibly supportive, buying us vegan cooking magazines and always asking after what we've been trying. This week I'm making her some vegan sushi after she saw a photo of the meal I made last week - she was practically begging to try it!

4. The Detox Period
Whilst I've never suffered from full on acne, I've had my fair share of spots...who hasn't?! But I'm currently going through what I have been advised is the detox phase of a vegan diet. After all, your body is flushing out diary and this can be a little bit of a shock to the system. My face is the worst and despite having a few days off from makeup, it's spotty especially around my t-zone and hair line. It's also become quite oily, something my dry sensitive skin never really experiences but I'm hopeful that soon this will clear up as my body gets used to this new diet. I've been using eucalyptus oil for my skin, adding a couple of drops to my daily moisturiser and I immediately saw a difference. This stuff works wonders as it's an antiseptic and a healer, without being too harsh on your skin.

5. More Energy
I've always been a bit of a lazy one, being completely honest. Exercise motivation is a killer and I can never seem to find it in me. I'm not sure whether it's the sudden burst of a new and exciting lifestyle that's changed me or the fact I genuinely have more energy, but I'm actually enjoying exercise and watching my body transform, one week at a time. I've been doing at least 15 minutes everyday, whether that is following a workout video on YouTube or busting out a solid bout of skipping for cardio, granted actually starting seems like the toughest job in the world but I feel fantastic afterwards. I've lost at least 5 pounds already and I've wanted to loose a bit of weight for a long time, I could just never get into exercise and ended up going round in circles not being comfortable with my body and not trying hard enough to do anything about it. It is after all how we feel in ourselves that matters.

People ask, 'how do you feel?' and I'm not even kidding when I say this was the best decision I've ever made for my health. It's sparked off a fitness journey, I'm being more adventurous with food and my relationship with it is definitely improving. I'm also feeling so much more love for the animals (hence the excessive animal drawings I've been pumping out recently!) and I'm beyond excited for how I'll feel in a few months time.

Thanks for reading,

8 Ways You Can Reduce Plastic

I'm a huge lover of recycling and I'm that asshole that tells people off if they don't do it. Plastic pollution is one of the biggest problems our planet is now facing and we need to be taking action. Did you know almost every single piece of plastic ever made is still on our planet in some form? In the last 10 years we have made more plastic then the entire century before that and in some areas of ocean, there is more plastic than plankton. Thinking of ways you can do your bit for the environment? I've collected together my top 8, really easy and simple ideas for you to practice.

1. Cutlery On The Go 
When James and I go out for the day, we'll most likely grab a bite to eat like a pasta salad or something that requires cutlery and we used to have a stash of plastic cutlery underneath one of our car seats in a compartment. It didn't take us long to realise what a mistake we'd made and we of course recycled all of it, but we went and bought a cheap metal set of cutlery to keep in the car and just wash each time we used them, then return them to the car. The set was from Asda and cost us £1.95 - bloody bargain if you ask me considering you won't have to continue buying it as you would with plastic and you're not contributing to plastic waste.

2. Switch To A Menstrual Cup
This is without a doubt one of the most impactful choices I have made this year and that was to switch to a menstrual cup. If this seems like too much for you, feel free to skip to No. 3, but having used a cup for 6 months now, I feel I have learnt a great deal about my body, how to look after it better and I'm also not producing anywhere near as much waste as I was when using standard pads and tampons. Conventional pads and tampons are extremely bad for us and the environment because you can't recycle them; they just sit in landfill or find their way into our oceans which is a huge problem pollution wise, especially for our beautiful sea creatures.

3. Switch To Cotton Menstrual Products
If No. 2 seems a bit too far for you right now, try considering organic cotton products instead. They aren't filled with half as much crap like chemicals and fragrances like conventional products and they aren't ridden with plastic either.

4. Carry A Tote
Here in the UK, we now have to pay for plastic carrier bags and this is one of the best things we could have possibly done, however people are still using plastic bags to transport all of their shopping home. Fair enough, sometimes we'll pop into the supermarket for 1 or 2 things, realise we needed more and simply had to purchase a bag at the checkout, but most of the time we try to have a bag in the car ready for such occasions and I always fold up one of my trusty tote bags inside my handbag which is great because they don't take up much room at all. If we do have to buy a plastic bag, we always keep them at home and recycle them, either to use as bin bags or transport things to someone's house.

5. Glass Bottles
James has a much loved Voss bottle which he bought as a drink of water but has continued to use to carry his every day water around with him. I also have my Pusheen bottle which granted is plastic, but it's not the use once then throw away type. Whenever we go out, I always carry my bottle of water with me. Not only does this save me money if I need a drink whilst out, I'm also not buying more plastic bottles which just get chucked after use.

6. Use Tupperware Boxes
Another one that yes is plastic, but in our house we've got ourselves into the habit of putting any open veg, tofu or anything else that needs keeping airtight into a box rather than wrap it in cling film. Simple yet effective, think of how much cling film we get through a year? It's scary. Also when buying veg, try choosing loose veg rather than stuff in punnets and also think twice before grabbing those plastic bags to put your food in. Just buying one or two of something? Skip the nasty plastic bags or better yet, take some paper bags with you if you're buying lots of loose things that need to be kept together.

7. Give Up Chewing Gum
I only recently learnt that chewing gum is crammed full of plastic and this is another one that cannot be recycled. If you do insist on continuing to chew gum, I highly recommend the brand Chewsy as they're all natural with no plastic and no added nasties. They're also vegan - bonus!

8. Say No To Straws
When you're out and buying a drink, just say no thankyou to straws. I struggled with this one because I've used straws for a long time to try and protect my teeth but I switched my ones at home to metal straws, but the ones that are wide enough to give a good flush out to clean. You can also buy glass straws or even ones made from paper...just mind they don't go soggy!

If you're interested in learning more about plastic and how damaging it is to our animals and environment, there is a fantastic documentary currently on Netflix called A Plastic Ocean which is so educational and well worth a watch. This isn't a sponsored post - just something I am incredibly passionate about and I'm determined to be the change I'd like to see in the world. If you have any tips on how to reduce plastic usage, please feel free to share them below!

Thanks for reading,

Bathroom Makeover

Since moving into our very own house back in January, the downstairs bathroom has been somewhat of a dumping ground. Full of things like dog food, cleaning stuff, laundry bits and all sorts of other crap. It was still accessible as a toilet and since it's also a laundry room it needed to be 'sort of' tidy in order for it to function but we always knew it needed decorating. Since I now work from home, I took it upon myself to have a couple of days off from illustrating to finally get round to transforming the horrible, bad paint job that was also in the colour teal from the house's previous owners and I did my own spin on things...

I'd thought about stripes in this tiny room but since there is a sink, toilet, washing machine and fuse box to work around, I thought it may be too much like hard work. But a challenge is a challenge and I decided I'd put myself to the test. I've done candy stripes in my office which some of you may have already seen so with a bit of experience now under my belt, I thought 'sod it' and got to work. We had a huge tub of Dulux paint left from when we blitzed the house upon first moving in, so I used that and ended up having to do 6 or 7 coats to banish away the awful teal, then we nipped to B&Q where I chose another paint from the Valspar range in the shade Luxe Grey. I also had some of my trusty Frog Tape left over from when I decorated my office (note: this wouldn't have worked half as well without this stuff - highly recommend!) and once I had completely covered the walls in fresh white, I set about lining up ready for my stripes.

All you need to do this is a tape measure (to work out the length of your wall and how many stripes to fit in) a long ruler, a pencil, Frog Tape, your choice of paint, brush, roller, tray and a bit of patience. I did pink and grey stripes in my office so make sure to use the lightest colour as your base and the darker colour for the stripes. I found that measuring up using a long ruler worked really well when dotting the measurements in place with a pencil, starting with the left hand side and joining all of the dots together, then it's easier to use that line as a guide for your widths and drawing the right hand line afterwards. Then I Frog Taped my lines, went around all of the edges with my paint using a brush then I went in with my roller and did a couple of coats for each stripe. To help stop things from getting too messy, I did one line at a time and waited until each was dry before moving onto the next. It's makes things easier for measuring up and helps prevent smudging. This does take a little bit of time but with a bit of patience, you end up with fabulous looking walls which are also very unique - I've yet to go into a house where someone else has done this!

Obviously you can choose any colours you like and I think stripes look super cute, especially in pastel shades. I also filmed me painting my bathroom which you can watch here if you fancy it. 

Thanks for reading!

6 Months Off The Pill - Update

June marks the six month milestone away from the contraceptive pill and I thought I'd give you all a bit of an update as to what's been going on with my body. Up until June, the return of my period was fairly straight forward and easy. Despite a bit of pain (okay quite a lot) I felt like I got back into the swing of things, listening to my body, becoming more in tune with it and really being more mindful of how to look after myself when I felt at my most sensitive.

My June period was due on the 13th and this has been the day literally give or take up to 24 hours each month since I stopped taking the pill which was stopping my body from menstruating. I had read of course that it can take a while for your body to get back into a routine but since I'd had 5 periods already that were bang on time, having one that was 5 days late really made me question what most women do when their periods are playing up...oh god I'm pregnant?!

What made it even more suspicious was I was having very bizarre spotting; pink in colour, no where near heavy enough to even be considered a light period and it was inconsistant. I still had the cramping and my boobs were a lot more sore than they usually are at that stage of my cycle, plus they felt bigger and heavier. I was having moon swings, I felt sick, constipated, sweaty and ridiculously tired...I was convinced I was pregnant. I peed on a stick and it came back a very clear negative.

Typical that the very next day, whilst out having a Father's Day meal with James' family and wearing a summery dress with no tights, I felt that unmistakable sensation below and knew my body had suddenly decided it was time to get the ball rolling. Even this is odd for me as I usually come on first thing in the morning, like I catch it as soon as I wake up and this was the case even before I started taking the pill so slap bang in the middle of the day really threw me. Luckily I was prepared as I have been since coming off the pill so I was able to kit myself out properly even whilst being out in public, but man was this a painful month.

It really didn't help that when my period started, it was the warmest day of the year reaching highs of 32 degrees. Usually I stay inside on days like this, drink plenty and all that good stuff but during my period it seemed even more unbearable. I was dripping, not even moving and my body was sweating like an absolute Betty. Even my ankles were damp...who even gets damp ankles? I put it all down to it being my time of the month with a combination of insane heat that us Brits simply aren't used to. I was drinking gallons of water (not even kidding) and each glass had ice in it as well. I was absolutely sweltering. The bleeding stopped after two days but then returned a further two days later literally for an hour which ruined a pair of knickers before stopping again, hopefully now until next months cycle.

Aside from that, I fell even more in love with my Moon Cup and usually, I'm not one for sleeping naked but this little buddy of mine allowed me to sprawl out, legs apart on top of the covers and not worry about leakages or being a disgusting sweaty mess over night. The more I use the Moon Cup the more I also feel such a positive sense of achievement with regards to reducing waste, especially plastics which typical menstrual products like tampons and pads are full of. Using a cup even for just 6 months has reduced  around 120 tampons worth of waste, not to mention the sanitary towels and liners I would have probably gotten through as well. It's also saved me around £40 which would usually be spent on these products so win win! I'm still getting on really well with my Moon Cup and would strongly urge all you ladies out there to give a menstrual cup a try, it's been one of the best decisions I've ever made for my body and for the environment.

So after six months, I honestly feel healthier, happier and so much more aware of how my body works and how to manage it when my period comes along. This is a topic I never used to feel comfortable talking about to literally anyone so having a blog has really boosted my confidence in this area, not to mention women's health and the environment which are absolutely extremely important subjects we should all be talking about.

Thanks for reading,

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