Saturday, 25 October 2014

Such a Pretty Kitty...

...and a total fleabag dirtbag(!)

I've been invaded! For the first time in her short 3 year lifespan, my little cat has brought fleas into my home. Call me a bad cat owner or whatever you will but flea collars were doing enough, it wasn't that I hadn't thought of Frontline, it was that it wasn't needed and with other cats that have been in my life, we've never had to use it.

Unfortunately we discovered the infestation while giving Dolly a much-needed Friday-night bath. We're so lucky that we're able to do this, that isn't to say she loves it, but eventually she just gives in and takes it, it's still a two-man job. I think doing it more regularly will help with this but it's pretty time consuming given that it's actually more important (and difficult) to dry her afterwards and overall she doesn't care either way if her tail is pure-white or not.

It was so gross, there were jumping bugs all over her face and because of the 'flea dirt' it looked like her whole head was bleeding - hopefully the bath helped a little with it but I was up first thing and out the door to Pets at Home the following day, initially to pick up some tablets that I read worked immediately in killing adult fleas. As these didn't work on the 'other parts of the flea life cycle' I was going to get some spot-on treatment, as well as spray for our home too.

Discovering that our local Pets at Home had run out of the tablets did send a shiver down my spine, after reading such rave reviews online, I was pretty excited to make Dolly as comfortable as possible and I knew spot-on treatments didn't work as fast. That said, the Deputy Manager of the store was incredibly helpful and talked me through all the preventative measures and what I should do next - I was a little peeved that he implied that the 'infestation' might be my fault, something I view as actually entirely plausible though given that I really like to pet dogs in the street and I cuddled up to some wallabies just a few weeks back. He also insisted on vacuuming as much as possible (as though I don't spend half my week vacuuming anyway, pfft).

It's been a pretty nerve-wracking week of blitzing and hoovering every room in the flat and checking Dolly's fur daily but I think we're out of the woods and I now have in my possession a flea-killing machine. Now that Doll has been treated with Frontline, luckily with no adverse effects, it's been a bit of a nightmare persuading Moon that it's important to still let her go everywhere so she can 'hoover up' fleas and let them die, and it is working, I've seen proof of it. I've also read that as they die, the fleas become more active so if your pet is infested, they're likely to scratch more after they've been treated than they would before.

I think we were lucky that we managed to catch it early, even though every article I've read says that there will still be fleas in the environment, throughout the whole process, even the part where we were less tentative cat parents, we haven't been bitten or had the need to itch. Maybe we're lucky that we just aren't that tasty to fleas when a juicy fluffball is around but naturally this has taught me a lesson in spot-on treatment, particularly as Frontline itself is so much more purse-friendly online than in shops.

I've actually entered this picture into Dahlia's #dahliamonsters competition to win a t-shirt, wouldn't this face look cute printed out and worn?

Cats are cute, and Dolly is especially but sometimes the responsibility of having a pet does creep up on me and apparently escalates into an essay about infestation, flea treatment and Pets at Home - thanks for making it this far .

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Autumn Everywhere & Muddy Boots.

I actually don't mind being cold at all, it's so easy to whack on a few extra layers if needed, it's the darn rain I can't stand - and the misery it brings with it.

It had been so dark and dreary lately and it's all well and good celebrating autumn but the change in the weather isn't really something I'm willing to get on board with.

So when the sun finally shone last Sunday, it was time to take a walk to a much-neglected favourite place and unwind. I was getting the beginnings of feeling poorly so for me it was warm enough to walk around in just a cardigan (though I didn't quite realise that the time).

It's a wonderful time of year to see the sun, it makes everything golden no matter what the time of day and walking around Greenham Common again was so nice, even if my favourite boots ended up with a bit more mud on them than I would have liked.

Why is it always one shoe?

All the horse chesnuts we came across had already been harvested.

Meet my new favourite skirt, it was £1, >ONE POUND!

We were able to be quite the mycologists, there were mushrooms everywhere!

We rescued this little guy from spending the rest of his life on his back :)

The cows seemed much more relaxed than usual, I think because there were only a few dogs around but it was really easy to get up close.

There were a few bulls in the small herd we came across, I hadn't seen any on the common before but they seemed as relaxed as the cows, which was nice to see.

Here's to my kind of autumn day! As it gets colder, the contrast of coming home to a warm flat will be the best, it's definitely a good idea to get out and do this more, we haven't been for any weekend walks in what feels like ages. It's probably best to keep on with it once Moon and I have completely shifted the last of this lurgy though.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Best Christmas Ever!

I love Christmas, okay? I really do, the clocks go back this weekend, Halloween is next weekend and I can finally actually start to talk about it.

I must admit, I was a bit reluctant to enter this competition because hey, it does seem that Christmas comes earlier every year, but there's a trip to Lapland at stake and I think I can do this.

This is what you could call a bit of a late entry, despite knowing about it for a little while but better late than never... So, the wonderful (Oxford-based!), Transun are offering an exciting trip to Lapland for Christmas in return for talking about 'your best Christmas'.

A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to spend Christmas in Florida, we've been a few times before but I think this was the best and the first time I've really been able to appreciate it. With everything being so American and exaggerated given that you don't quite get the Winter Wonderland feel in that part of the world, there were still lots of times that I felt both lucky and super-Christmassy.

My absolute top Christmas moment was visiting the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at MGM/Disney Hollywood Studios, I hadn't seen the light show before and it was just perfect and despite the fact that it probably happens 200 times an evening, it felt really special.

Our Christmas meals when visiting Florida have been far from traditional, from eating at a pirate dinner show to sampling Asian fusion at Emeril's Tchoup Tchoup, I think that's the perk of having a Christmas away from home, making the most of what's around you and really giving your holiday the best you can.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

How Pinteresting #2

I wasn't sure whether I would be doing this again, but I must admit that I'm feeling a little run down this week and I wanted to post something! It's all a bit annoying given that tonight I'm off to see Dry the River (for the 11,000th time), I'm doing my best to power through but there's no doubt that Sunday will be made for relaxing - I do hope to feel well enough to get up to Greenham Common at some point though, it feels like it's been almost a year since our last visit and it's perfect for this wild weather.

We're finally getting our changing of the seasons here but well, it is October after all. I do love different things about each season but as a summer baby, warm weather will always be where my loyalties lie. That said, being wrapped up and coming into a warm house from the cold does provide a lot of satisfaction.

I've found that in the last month, with the weather actually being all over the place, it's been hard to get into a theme on Pinterest lately. It still feels a little too early for Christmas (although that event is getting scarily closer) and it's not quite autumnal enough to start banging on about frost, changing leaves and pumpkin everything — that said, the clocks go back in a couple of weeks and I tried my first ever pumpkin bread this week so only time will tell...

1 // The Most Breathtaking Views of Beautiful Earth from Above — That title isn't a lie, some of these are pretty awesome. I think next year, once I'm back on my feet after throwing all my money at becoming a home owner (WIP), I'll start to get serious about updating my kit, everything I have Photography-wise is so old now and although I love it and actually don't fancy getting rid of it, I know it's time for a change, especially if I'm likely to be taking on more event photography at work (yeah, so that's something that might be happening).
2 // Watercolour Mural — I feel like I've had wedding thoughts and inspiration coming out of my ears lately, and I'm not even having one. This from my point of view isn't intended to be that weddingy and is actually something I like on more of the home d├ęcor level, such a simple but pretty idea.
3 // Mirdinara, Breeze — I feel like this .gif, with its hypnotic ways, epitomises autumn, I wish I knew the original source so I could find more - that's the real trouble with sites like Pinterest and Tumblr, it's very easy to get lost.
4 // Russian Dogs by Lili Chin — I've seen these illustrations floating all over the place for a while but when I finally uncovered the original source and discovered there was a Russian dogs version, I found my favourite. Borzois are fun but obviously I picked it due to the samoyed, I can't get enough of those guys are the moment.

It was a little harder than it should have been to sift through all the motivational quotes I've been pinning lately (even visual pick-me-ups can do the trick), I figured this was a slightly more interesting selection and better for a good, old-fashioned link-up.

You can follow me on Pinterest :: here.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Review :: Chocolate in the Post.

So, of all things that you can get in the post, chocolate has got to be pretty high up there, particularly when it's dreamy, creamy Lindt chocolate.

Back in August (yes, August) I was lucky enough to receive free samples from Lindt's 'Hello My Name Is...' range, a cute new collection of chocolate sticks and bars in an array of tasty and exciting flavours. Designed for indulging yourself and sharing, it goes without saying that after this little care package, I was stocked up on chocolate for a little while.

Overall, while tasting luxurious, none of the chocolates were as dense or rich as I thought they would be and were really easy to eat. That sounds a bit silly because who doesn't love chocolate, but as someone who doesn't have all that much of a sweet tooth, getting five large bars of chocolate when I probably wouldn't get one that size more than once every six months, it was a bit daunting.

I thought my favourite from the off would be the Salted Caramel and I was right. There was just the right amount of caramel with a slight hit of salt towards the end, I can't get enough of anything salted caramel recently and I know it's pretty trendy but I personally think all the hype is for good reason.

I think the two biggest surprises were the Crunchy Nougat and Caramel Brownie. I think it's generally because these chocolates are so good anyway that any flavour combination was going to be delicious but I did worry that the nougat would be too 'nougatty' and the caramel brownie would be too chocolatey but both flavours were more there to enhance texture while only hinting at what variety they were, something I quite liked.

These were definitely a winner for me, offering a bit more than a bog-standard chocolate bar without having overpowering flavours that take away from the fact you're eating chocolate, I hope that this range is around to stay.

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