Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Theo's Story - Part One

Whenever I used to walk to my sisters house down a particular road, or during the two years I lived at hers, I would often see two fluffy/scruffy looking black cats who seemed to live there. Both were very friendly and would mew a lot and follow you to be stroked, or maybe just because they wanted food.
One day, the more sociable one of the two followed me home and seemed very hungry so I gave it some food. It was a lovely thing, incredibly fluffy and affectionate.
However quite a few months down the line (after a freezing winter) I realised I hadn't seen that one of the pair for a long time, and the quieter one seemed to be about less too. When we came across the other one, it came to say Hello and we were stroking it and realised what awful condition it was in. Its hair was matted and falling out, its skin was bad and its spine was sticking out dreadfully and when picking it up later it was as light as a feather, just like a bag of bones :(
When with the cat and realising its condition I asked some of the local kids playing out if they knew who owned it and what had happened to its sibling. It turned out the other one had died over the winter. It was upsetting and if its condition was anything like this one's it was no wonder!
They didn't pinpoint the owners, so we let the cat follow us home (just round the corner) and gave him/her something to eat. The poor thing was starving and very thirsty too. It also had a very strong odor due to its bottom being dirty and its tail fur being matted up with dirt, as well as having runny eyes and having a tooth missing, so eating very messily.
Even though not as confident as its brother/sister, this cat too was extremely affectionate and wanted attention as well as something to eat.
I think it was the next day we fed the cat properly and my sister met it and saw what an awful state it was in and she was horrified. She took some photo's as evidence of animal cruelty as it was evident we were going to have to call the R.S.P.C.A to help this cat if it was going to survive and not suffer anymore from the neglect from its owners. However at this point we weren't sure if its owners were still around here or whether they'd just left the two cats to fend for themselves.
I took a couple of pics myself at this point, but mainly as he/she was so cute.

You can't really tell from my pic what an awful state he was in

Skinny and Starving

 I was the one to call up the R.S.P.C.A and report the state of the cat and try and get him some help. The reaction I got however was disgusting and I will never be using their services again or donating to them.
They basically weren't the faintest bit interested unless he was unconscious and were going to do absolutely nothing about it. I was so angry when I got off the phone.

We weren't sure what to do at first, but then thought we would have to try the animal shelter that I had been volunteering at, the Humane Education Society in Wilmslow.  So we gave them a call. I explained the situation to them but currently they were full, however when I said how urgent it was they said they would try and get him a place as soon as possible but he would have to be checked for cat flu first as to not put the other cats there at risk. 

Click here for their site

We took him to the vets to get him assessed. They told us that the cat was a boy - we hadn't known yet and Morgan (my nephew) had given him or her the temporary name of Starblade.
The vet thought he was in awful condition and said he wouldn't have lasted many more days if we hadn't started to care for him. So basically if we'd left it in the hands of the R.S.P.C.A he would have been dead.
He was extremely underweight, extremely matted and in bad condition but the vet tried to assess a rough age and estimated 11, however the next vet to see him a week or so later estimated about 14, so he was an old boy. He took tests for Cat Flu and then for the next week or so we were to care for him until a space came up.

We decided since we knew now it was a boy, to come up for a name for him. So me, my nephew and my brother wrote a list of names and then whittled it down using a dice. The final name was Theodore, which I think suited him so well. Despite him being such a mess, he was a beautiful cat, with massive eyes and a very cute high pitched meow. He was incredibly affectionate and wanted to be with someone all the time. 

Beautiful Cat :)

He climbed onto my map for a cuddle the first day

Even though it was upsetting and scary caring for him due to his condition, it was also lovely and we became very quickly attached to him as he was so loving and sweet. We just couldn't understand how someone could treat any cat like this, let alone one so lovely. There wasn't a nasty bone in his body and he was so calm and placid and seemed to want nothing more than to be loved.
We got the results from the vets and the good news was that he was flu free so was ok to go to the shelter.
The sanctuary finally had a place for him, which was great news, so we took him in, although it was sad to say Goodbye, we knew he would be well looked after.

We missed him a lot and a couple of times went to visit, he didn't seem quite himself though, but everyone had fallen in love with him just like us, due to his gentle sweet nature. He also had the incredibly cute habit of putting a paw up to ask for food or pawing you ....also if he wanted a cuddle......which was often.
They had groomed him and removed his mats, so he was looking a bit bald and very skinny but at the same time a lot better. He had been cleaned up and treated for worms and flea's etc and was being slowly fed up, although he was occasionally having tummy troubles.
The bad news came though, when the other tests results came back that the vets had done ....his Liver function tests, which showed him to have Liver Failure. This meant that he was not going to have very long left. We couldn't believe it :(

Due to this and the fact we had been missing him a lot, my sister made the decision that for his final time, however long he may have, we would take him and look after him ourselves.
So we went out and brought him a lovely cat bed, some grooming brushes and some bits and pieces including a separate litter tray so as not to upset Bella, my other cat, and my sister paid the adoption fee's and we brought him home :)

A bit blurry - when he first came back home

My next post will be about how he surprised us all and managed to get healthy and last a fair few months longer than the vets had suggested and the lovely memories we have of him. There were a two horrible scares before the final one, in which it was his time to go :'( but during his time with us we had an amazing adoring pet, a privilege for us all to have experienced having him and how we managed to make the life he had left so much better for him. He truly was the sweetest creature I have ever come across.

                                                    x - X - x

*If you live anywhere near Wilmslow and are thinking of getting a Pet, Please consider adopting from the shelter mentioned above. Their name is linked to their site. Or if you would like to make a donation feel free. They are a fantastic organisation and depend on donations and they provide wonderful care for the animals there and helped us so much with Theo.

Urban Decay Naked Palette Giveaway

Ellis at EllyBellyBaybee Blog is giving away a gorgeous prize - an Urban Decay Naked Palette.

For your chance to win, click on the caption below the picture and it will take you straight to her blog and you need to become a follower to enter.

Urban Decay Naked Palette

I found her blog today and saw she was a fellow mummy to be and doing a beauty blog so thought I'd take a look and I love it. She even has a hello kitty cursor when you are on her site. I'm quite jealous!

Anyway what are you waiting for......go and enter! 

                                   Good Luck!

                                      x - X - x

Monday, 25 July 2011

Bella - Part 2

This post is a bit about Bella with some of my favourite pics of her dotted through the post.

  • Cuddle Time .....having attention lavished on her and being stroked and ticked, especially her head and neck and tummy.
  • Bobbles - one of her favourite 'toys' ....probably why i have lost tonnes of them.
  • Custard - she is a fussy eater but human food wise, she LOVES custard!
  • Muller Rice ...she also likes the rice pudding.
  • Getting under the duvet with me to have a cuddle or a sleep
  • Cat treats ....she demands them.....naughty cat!
  • Boxes ....drawers ...anywhere she can jump into and explore or nap in.

  • Bits of string/ribbon/ties - her favourite for a while was a piece of ribbon that held some tea towels together when i brought them. She often prefers the string holding a dangly toy to the actual toy. However she has a mouse that squeaks that she loves.

  • Hunting even a speck of dust makes her happy, she's never been a successful hunter until recently :( but she's always watching and sometimes chasing after things I'm sure aren't even there. She's a good fly catcher though.

  • Being Vocal about how she's feeling - she has many different meows...ones for when she's telling me her food bowl is empty, one for when she wants treats, one for if I'm trying to sleep and she thinks she's being ignored, ones for if she wants to play, or is bored and disgruntled, its her own version of moaning or sighing its quite funny, one's for if she's annoyed and ones for if you are another cat!! 
  • A freshly Made Bed - I'm sure she thinks it gets done just for her.
  • Sleeping Anywhere and Everywhere - as you can see by the pic below! 

She's even slept in the plant pot to her right ...see memories below

She chose to sit here
  • Other cats - she doesn't try and fight with them, they just really upset her if they come anywhere near her

  • Being put somewhere she's not decided to be - she was better when she was younger but now she's more into doing what she wants when she wants - she is very good natured, never hisses or scratches but will just run back to what she was doing

  • Noisy houses full of people or people stomping around - when we first had her she was very jumpy and on edge but is so much better now but houses full of people intimidate her so she will run off to/stay in a quiet place, as will she if someone comes stomping past her

  • Baths - she's only had to have one from when she got herself covered in paint but my god the poor little thing was so upset, and at one point was hidden behind my sisters legs like a tiny drowned furball shaking, whilst my arms were scratched up. Not because she had scratched me, but she'd been trying to drag her way out of the water whilst crying and yowling her heart out.

  • Finding her in my uni bed under the covers, only her ears sticking out at the top ....i had a pic until my phone broke :( 
  • Having a bath and putting my lunch by the side...a mini pizza baguette ...only to here a big crunch noise and to look down and see Bella had bitten into it ....very funny/cute
  • Her climbing up on my shoulder like a parrot when i was half sitting/half laying in bed and then her lying on my chest under my chin and rubbing her face against my face when i was crying. She's very affectionate.
  • When she got a temperature and was very lethargic and not herself. It was scary and I know my cat and I knew something was wrong. Luckily it was just the starts of an infection and we got her sorted out straight away :)
    She  never scratches people
  • All the times she will use her paw or arm to pull your hand up to her face to stroke it, or will meow if you stop stroking her and wants more, she is a lovely natured cat.

  • When my sister was having some doors built between two rooms in her house....they had areas without glass in which Bella used to perch on. Unfortunately she didn't notice when they'd had glass put in and launched herself off the sofa to jump on to the ledge only to hit the glass and bounce back. Funny but aww my poor kitty!

  • Finding her Christmas present before she was supposed to ....I had gotten her an amazing triangle hut like bed and found her asleep in it on xmas eve. She loved it until a couple of months later, an naughty kitten from across the road, who liked to wind her up, started invading the house, went in and got her sent on it and put Bella off :(
  • Finding her asleep in a small soil filled plantpot.

  • Seeing her trying to stop one of the intruder cats at this house trying to get through the cat flap......a lot of cat yowling/screeching was going on and banging noise.....only the see the cheeky evil black food stealing kitten trying to get through the flap and a very upset Bella screeching and smacking the cat flap repeatedly in its face! 

Bedtime Reading
  • The funny/cute things she does without even realising.....like when she scales round a room on her back two feet as she wants to sniff higher up or reach for things, or when she will sleep with her head on the pillow or will position herself like she is reading a book or watching TV. 
  • Watching TV in front of the fire

 Some more favourite photo's:

'Oh Hai!'

Napping on my Knee

Cuddling a a doggy teddy

Chilling Out

Having A Snooze

My next post will be about Theo, a cat we rescued from the street, who unlike Bella, was in an appalling condition. He was the sweetest animal I've ever known and even though he passed away at Christmas I still miss him very much.
                                                      x - X - x

Bella - Part One ....how she adopted me

Bella strolled on into my life right through a kitchen window in Summer 2007 and has been a part of it ever since.

Bella is my four year old (turned 4 this month) female tabby cross who thinks of me as her mummy cat and means the world to me.

Ginger Kittens at the Shelter
I'd always wanted a cat.....well specifically a kitten ....my dream was to have a ginger tabby who I would call Muffin. I don't know why that name, but that's what I came up with as a child. My brother would have a silver tabby called smokey and my mum would have a tortoiseshell cat. That was our dream, but as we didn't have the money or the space we never got them.

I moved into my third and final home in Liverpool at the end of August in 2007. The first year we had lived in student halls before I moved into a house with 5 of my female friends the next year. We were there for two years, although I missed most of the second year due to having to defer after becoming very unwell and not being able to cope anymore. This meant I'd be in Liverpool a fourth year and luckily one of my flat mates would be too, so we moved in together. This is where I met Bella.

We had to move in by a certain point, and also as I had a lot of exam revision to do which i found hard to do at home, I moved back to Liverpool a couple weeks before uni restarted. Being in a new house all on my own was pretty lonely and I had been suffering from depression and finding life difficult ever since I became ill at 19 just before my second year started. However I'd only been there about a day when I heard a mewing in the back yard. I opened the back door to find a kitten demanding something, I didn't know what. I was very patient and quiet and she came to me and was very friendly and seemed to love attention once she knew she didn't need to be scared of me. She wandered off after a bit and I got on with things. Later on she came back, so I figured she was a local cat, but then the next day she returned mewing outside the kitchen window really wanting to get in, seeming really hungry. I gave her a tiny bit of milk as she seemed hungry, but I also knew that dairy milk is bad for cats so I didn't want to make her poorly.

Besides the distraction of the young cat, once I'd organized my stuff, I had revision to get on with, but at one point feeling a bit down and tired I had fallen half asleep on my notes. Half awake I was suddenly aware of footsteps coming up the stairs, which scared me, but my brain didn't have time to rationalize that they weren't loud enough to be human, as I lifted my head up to find this cat standing over me on my bed and wanting attention. 

The intruder ....

Making herself at home already

It was seeming like she didn't have a home, but I wasn't sure and just thought it was really nice to have a friendly neighborhood cat who came to visit. However when inspecting the back yard a couple days later I found a cat food bowl and water bowl. It was starting to make more sense why she seemed to think this was her home, it looked like she had been left behind by the previous occupants. 
Some of the boys came over one night before Jen moved in and were trying to figure out whether the cat was male or female. Raj who was cooing over her like a baby had a feeling she was a girl. Bella was so good natured and let them pick her up and fuss around her and she didn't get annoyed at all.Jen met her and when she'd moved in we decided we better start feeding the cat and go about finding if she did have an belong to someone in the area. It was looking unlikely though due to my findings and the fact that even before feeding her she would mew constantly outside the window to be let in, so I took to leaving it open for her. After taking her to the vets we found out she was indeed a girl, in perfect health and only a couple of months old.....so still a kitten. She also had no chip, but she had been neutered. 
We took to asking neighbors and looking out for lost cat posters, but no one seemed to be missing her, so we decided to look after her.
We had to come up with a name we all liked. Nolan (Jen's boyfriend) and I both thought of Bellatrix for some reason ....but even though it sounded good, this kitten was anything but evil like the Harry Potter Character. The three of us decided to shorten it to Bella. Although the boys had other idea's on their next visit....even umbrella was thrown up ....and upon hearing the word she walked right over to one. So it became her middle name, and to humour Raj it was followed up bu Catminder Singh. Now though it is just Bella.

She was so lovely and cute and I had some funny moments with her, like opening my desk drawer to get some paper only to find her curled up asleep in it, trying to revise but her wanting attention so she would come and sit right on my text books or notepad so she could be stroked. Oh and she loved to attack my pens.  
However we did start to get difficulties.....she didn't like being shut out of rooms so would make a lot of noise or try and scratch to get it....this was at nighttime as she wanted to be in my bedroom. Often I would leave my door open for her, but then I didn't have my privacy.
She also made a couple of scratch marks in the house, which was a huge worry as we weren't actually allowed pets and had a big deposit on the place. When someone did need to come round to see the house I had to go and hide her at Ian's house for a couple of hours!

To try and stop her coming upstairs at night and waking us and trying to get in my room (which somehow she would manage even if the door was shut) we kept her in the bathroom a couple of nights. She hated this however and one morning we came down to find she had ripped some of the floor up. Jen was horrified and decided she had to go :( I could understand because it was going to be hard to fix and hide that and there was the potential she would do more damage and we would be buggered if they found out we had a cat and couldn't afford to lose the huge deposit. At the same time though I was hurt, angry and heartbroken. We'd had her for several months now and she was very close to me.
When the R.S.P.C.A lady came to pick her up Bella got upset straight away, she could tell something was happening and when she got near her she was very on edge as she doesn't like other cats and this woman smelt of them.

I was so so upset losing her and thinking I would never see her again. It hurt so much and I cried a lot over that time. Bella had helped as a distraction with the difficulties I had living my life due to my illness and now she was gone. Jen didn't seem to miss her at all.
However my sister came to my rescue when she saw how much I was missing her and decided in the meantime she would get Bella back and she could live at her house, until I was in my next place. I am so grateful to her for this, as otherwise Bella would not be in my life now. 
She also helped Bella with some health problems, as she occasionally had been getting an upset tummy and it turns out she has kitty IBS, so now has special food to help her with this.

After uni, I lived at my sisters for two years with Bella and she was very happy there. She loved the garden, especially when it was overgrown and just loves attention and being stroked. She's a bit of a tart really :) 
She now lives with me in Leeds and I'm so glad she chose me as her owner. My next post will be some of my favourite photo's of her and some little bits about her character.

                                                     x - X - x

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Product Review: Lush Bath Balistics

I've been having quite a few baths recently due to being pregnant.....mainly bubble baths using Radox.....as I've needed the muscle ease and have been using the sleep easy one since month 8 to help me when I've had problems sleeping. 
However I have a few lush products building up again (not loads but just some I'd forgotten about plus some new) so decided to make use of them.
A couple of my maternity gifts from work were from lush ....two being bath ballistics. 

Think Pink: The first I used was 'Think Pink' pictured below to the left. I love the design of many of their products, very pretty making them more appealing but a little sad when they are dissolved and all gone haha!

Think Pink
After added to the bath

As you can see, it made my water a lovely girly pink colour, however it did slightly remind me of the fluid at the dentists you have to wash your mouth out with after treatment!

Here's what Lush have to say about the product

'The Think Pink Ballistic is back with a slimmer figure. We've made it smaller, but this hot pink bomb is still fragranced with tonka bean's edgy aroma and the sweetness of vanilla absolute. It's sweet, but not overbearingly so, with a subtle bite that will remind you of pink bon-bons. We highly recommend you spoil yourself and think pink'.

  • It's one of their current products and costs £2.50/90g

Space Girl: The second I used was the 'Space Girl' bath ballistic, which also has a cute little design. 

'Space Girl' bath ballistic

Bath Ballistic in Action

Purple Bath Water :)

Another fun colourful one and this one didn't remind me of the dentist! 

Here's what Lush have to say about the product:

'A ballistic of astronomical proportions. We were inspired by The Imagined Village's intriguing interpretation of Space Girl from their second album, Empire & Love. It's shaped like Saturn with added space dust for our alien friends, and the refreshing scent of blackcurrant sweeties will make you hungry for your own space adventures. Space Girl is stellar, just remember your blaster and your freezer gun'.

  • Again this is one of their current products and costs £1.90/125g 

Pud Bath Ballistic:  I do have my own pic of this one, but I've not uploaded it off my mobile onto my computer and am feeling too lazy to do so right now I'm sorry! But I may edit the post at some point and replace it with my pic.
I got a couple of these and some others for people as gifts at Christmas and also got one for myself as I thought it was cute and smelt lovely (spicy and Chritsmassy).
I hadn't yet used my Christmas treats from Lush that I'd brought myself, so for my next bath I got this one out. However when putting it in the water and it doing it's usual job of fizzing away, it looked horrible! Like something a dog might have done, and then when the colour had dissipated in the water, it just looked muddy and it put me off so much, that i wasted my ballistic and ran myself a new bath as i couldn't get in this one as it looked dirty (even though I  knew it wasn't)!

Evidently by the title this is not one of their current products, but here is some info I found on it: 

'The 'pud' is one of our most soothing ballistics. It's made with aloe vera extract to nurture dry or rough skin and add a little brown colour to the little bomb'.

  • It was £2.25/200g and is available during the festive season! - So knowing the shops that will be in a few days :p
My reaction may have been a bit pathetic and I'm sure people will still love this variety of their ballistic, but it's not for me.

Lush do a range of amazing brightly coloured beautiful products, not just these ballistics, but I'm sure you all know! They make brilliant gifts for adults and children; I remember my nephews reaction when we first used a bubble bar in his bath and the water went bright blue. He loved it!
They also are a great self indulgent purchase and my favourite thing about them is that they are animal friendly. They don't use any animals products or anything tested on animals, which makes them Vegan and as they are all made with natural products they are kind to the skin, which is great for those with sensitive skin like me!
My favourite products are probably their bubble bars, also for use in the bath, which I shall do a review on at some point, but the ones I currently have are so pretty I'll be sad to let them go!

                                                    x - X - x

Saturday, 23 July 2011

My first pets

I have always been an animal lover, when I was younger dreaming and wishing of having a pet, writing down lists of names and projects of how I would look after them and drawing what their home would look like, writing plans of where I would get everything from (usually the Argos catalog as that's all I had access to at the time).
We didn't have any money though so the idea of having pets was unlikely, which I didn't fully understand.
 My mum gave in when I was 11 (my brother 9) and got us our first pets. We got them after going to a Radio1 road show on Plymouth Hoe, when they did it on Sundays at several venues round the country.

Our first pets were a rabbit and a guinea pig .....Holly the rabbit who was so small she fit in the palm of my hand and was a cheeky little thing bouncing up to the glass to say hello. She had the colouring of a wild rabbit with a white splodge on her tiny twitching nose, fluffy white paws, and was a half lop...one ear up one ear down.
Not our actual pets, but these two look good friends as well
Sparky was the guinea pig ....she was the smallest of the litter ....the runt and very shy, running and hiding behind the other animals, particularly Holly. I loved her at once and knew she was the one. She was black with a thick white stripe down her face and bits of brown on her body.

They had lovely friendly characters and we'd let them run around inside and outside. When we had an old pram out the garage with a blanket in the bottom, the pair of them climbed in and snuggled up together and would groom each other. They loved being together.

Holly however died very unexpectedly when still very young. I say unexpectedly, but the night before I'd had a vivid nightmare that she had died. It was so real I was incredibly panicked and had to go and check on her the next morning before I rushed off to secondary school. She seemed fine. I still remember the walk home, picking some dandelions for her, only to get back, open the hutch door and see her laying exactly as I had in my dream.......dead. I was heartbroken and also horrified as it all went exactly as my nightmare had and I will never be able to explain it.
I remember the next day at school, trying not to cry and obviously looking miserable, and having my Geography teacher say something along the lines of "cheer up it might never happen". I could have screamed or hit her (if i'd been violent and unstable lol ) It already had happened!!! I think that is one of the most ignorant moronic things you can ever say to someone.....if they look that upset, it is pretty likely the bad thing has already happened!!
Sparky mourned her greatly. They had been very close, they were best friends and  Sparky was always squeaking her head off when Holly was in the run without her and scrambling up close to her when they were back together. We got another guinea pig to keep her company, a tiny tan coloured, at first very very shy, but very loving girl who we called Mossy, only to find Sparky was too territorial and bit her! :(

So they had to live separately. They were lovely inquisitive, intelligent, loving pets. They loved to cuddle up to you and would lick your face and come rushing up to see you. A couple years down the line Mossy got ill......I think it must have been mange, and i didn't realise then what is was and that my mother couldn't afford to take them to the vets. I think maybe she could have been saved which is heartbreaking. If I'd been older I might have known to try and take her to a shelter or somewhere to help her.
We tried our best to care for her, bathing her, which she hated, but that didn't make her better. Then one day when out in the run she didn't want to leave me and kept scrambling up on my lap to be as close to me as possible. I didn't know why so cuddled her then put her back. That night she died. She hadn't wanted to be alone. It was awful and I wished more than anything I'd let her stay with me.

Sparky still lived on and I spent a lot of time with her, especially when i was going through hard times it was a great comfort to have her to cuddle and care for. Like Mossy she could be very vocal (especially if either of them heard vegetables being chopped!) and she loved her food, especially cucumber! She wasn't allowed too much mind to protect her tummy. When she was about 3 and a half however, she started developing the same skin condition and I couldn't believe it, but as I didn't know much, I still never thought she would die. I so wish we could have taken them to the vets, I suppose we should never have had pets in the first place if my mum couldn't afford that, but she was trying to do something nice for us.
I knew she was getting worse when she would refuse things like her cucumber, and the night before, she did the same thing as Mossy, which I'd forgotten about so didn't realise the significance of it, when I tried to put her back in her hutch she didn't want to leave me and kept jumping out onto my lap and scrambling as close to me as possible. That is the most heartbreaking thing. I wish I'd never put her back in and just let her stay with me.
The next day at school I got incredibly violently sick out of the blue and couldn't stop thinking that something felt wrong and it must be Sparky. I got home and mum wouldn't let me see her, said she'd fed and cleaned her out etc. I was desperate to see my pet and put up a big fight, only to find my mum had been trying to protect me as Sparky had died at lunchtime when I'd been throwing up at school. 
Sparkys death was the worst for me, I'd never felt pain like it. They'd all been part of the family and I'd grown so close to her and people don't realise how affectionate and interactive guinea pigs are once they know you and feel comfortable, so they can't really understand your loss. 
I would cry myself to sleep every night, feeling so hurt and my mum at one point suggested antidepressants (I was 14 at this point, I think at about 13 i had started to develop signs of depression when I became unwell with IBS, tried to tell my mother after spending ages trying to pluck up the courage and she told me because she used to be a nurse, she knew everything and that I was crazy and there was nothing wrong with me. She was wrong, but made me feel helpless, alone and rock bottom at that point. Life at home was very difficult for other reasons then too. Hence why Sparky was often my comfort). I remember thinking, that it didn't matter if I searched every inch of the earth.... I would still never find her.
That's the catch with pets, they are such a joy to have, but you know at some point you will lose them and it is awful when you do.
Sadly as my mum stopped taking photo's after I was about 7 (I've no idea why) I never got any pictures of Holly or Mossy :'( and only managed to get a small one of Sparky ....which I still have but I don't have a scanner to scan it onto my computer. 

Again, not mine, but cute :)
About a year later I did care for two mice for a couple months, which i called Amber and Fluff, without my mum knowing. Amber was white with browny black patches and Fluff was white. I ended up having to give them up as they would escape during the night and I'd find them in my wardrobe after searching for ages. They were lovely, inquisitive, entertaining pets, but just not right for me at the time.

I didn't have a proper pet then until I was 17 and had moved in with my friend Catherine, due to my family having to move away and me wanting to finish school.
Instead of going to an optional P.E class, me and Cat somehow ended up going and buying a Hamster!!
Completely random I know! After making a list of names we whittled it down to Minstrel, who at first interaction bit right into my finger. 
We'd chosen her as she'd got too old to be with the other babies and had been separated all on her own and needed a home. Once she knew she was safe with us, she was a lovely friendly creature, although Cat always seemed somewhat squeamish around her, I think she prefers bigger pets! Then again me and Tony did used to put Minstrel on her shoulder....maybe that was why!
Unlike this cutie, Minstrel was a lovely sandy/golden colour

Minstrel lived on the top floor with us, which was best considering Catherine's gorgeous friendly, very over excitable dog Saffie who would have loved a chew toy.
When I moved away when school had finished, Minstrel came with me, but then a couple months later I started University and wasn't allowed to take her with me :( So from then on, I missed out on her life.
My mum developed cancer that year (which thank god she recovered from after a traumatic 8 hour operation and radiotherapy) and Minstrel ended up having to go back and live with Catherine and I never saw her again. I do have a picture of her, but again not a digital one.

I didn't have the option of having pets during university, even though at this point, if I'd budgeted well (which I didn't ....first time I had the money and freedom for nights out and to get clothes) I could have afforded one. I didn't have the space or the rights in any of the places I lived to have one.
However in my fourth year in Liverpool, when I'd moved into my and Jen's new place, a week ahead of her, so all on my own, a little creature decided to adopt me as her owner.
My next post will be about her.

                                                  x - X - x

Friday, 22 July 2011

Songs I 'm loving today

I'm not really feeling in the blogging mood today, even though there are posts I want to get done before my little one arrives. I'm feeling bored and a bit restless. I'm mostly completely prepared for the baby and It's now way too tiring to go out shopping etc, so things have slowed down. The most exciting thing I did yesterday was make cheese scones! But that actually was nice as I want to do more cooking and Ashley who can be fussy liked them :). I've decided that last couple days to let myself sleep more.....I usually don't like to sleep too long as I feel like I'm wasting the day ...but its not like there is much else I can do with being the size of a whale and without getting a zimmer frame :p
I am looking forward to getting my body back as well as meeting my baby!
I've been wasting time yet again on the computer and been on Youtube today and listening to a few amazing tracks so for my post today I'm gonna share them with you. I like all sorts of music, but these are just ones I popped on to listen to this morning. The titles of the songs will take you to them so you can listen too.

LINKIN PARK - Cover Rolling in the Deep Live at iTunes Festival
I saw this on t.v on Tuesday night. It had been a horrible night and I'd been very upset and when this came on I just calmed down and had to listen. I loved Adele's first album and brought it straight away and I really love this track too, although it wasn't an instant thing. I also love the Glee cover which actually did it justice but this is by far the best version I have heard, its so powerful and beautiful.
Performing Rolling in the Deep - iTunes Festival 2011
I saw Linkin Park live for the first time last November, we were right by the front by Chester and it was unbelievable, it was like he was singing straight to us. We were so near the stage we could see him warming up before he came on. His voice is amazing and their version of this track is just beautiful.I love Chester!

  THE SCRIPT - Break Even
 This is my favourite track by them and I think their best. The lyrics are so true! It did used to upset me listening to it when I wasting my love on someone who didn't appreciate it, but I still loved it even then.

 AIDEN GRIMSHAW - Various X factor Performances

Aiden took over from Matt Cardle as my favourite on the most recent X - factor on the live shows, and I blame Mr Cowell for cutting him out of the finals too early, but at least he said he regretted it. Aidens voice and performances are so original. I loved his awkwardness, its one of the things that made him stand out.
The two tracks I've been listening to this morning are his versions of Mad World and Nothing Compares to You both spellbinding I think. He really is talented, I hope we hear something from him soon. Oh and I was a little bit in love with him. I'm very glad Matt won though as his voice is like an angels!

GLEE - Somebody to love
O.k I am ashamed by this, not because its Glee....but because of who the song is originally by ....that's right I don't mean the Queen song....I mean the Justin Bieber one. Now I HATE that kid, he's an obnoxious little shit......excuse my language, and I almost didn't watch this Glee episode because of it, but it ended up being really funny and I actually love their version of this, mainly because it isn't him haha but its just really upbeat and fun. 

Now I blame Karen Beech for me liking this song. Snoop Dogg is another artist I don't like ....misogynistic and arrogant, but I love this song, it makes me want to go out, get drunk and have a dance. It's the combination and I do like my dance music.

KATY PERRY - Circle the Drain
I love this girl and her music. Her latest album is brilliant and this is one of my favourites off it. Perfect for if you are angry at a boy too and great to sing a long to.
I'm sure her and Zooey Deschanell are twins

                                                            x - X - x

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Product Review: Venus Spa Breeze

I was out at the supermarket (Morrisons) doing my general shopping and needed some new blades for my Wilkinsons Sword razor. To my horror they'd gone up to over £10 for only 3 blades! I just couldn't buy them, it was ridiculous. I found myself looking at the other razors and prices and saw the new Venus Spa Breeze for less than £5 complete with two replacement blades, so it was so much better value! Its currently only £4 at Asda, £4.49 at Tesco (however their site states its half price, so perhaps these are promotional offers) and £4.98 at Wilkinsons (the shop not the razor brand obviously :) ).
Also, not that it should affect my choice of razor as you just want a good one that's kind to your skin, good value etc, but I loved the colour of this one, which I think helped catch my eye, as did the design and packaging. 
I never realised until after I had brought it and been using it that this was one of the razors Jennifer Lopez had been advertising, as tbh when she comes on TV I mentally switch off as for some reason I've always found her really annoying (I'm sure she is lovely). So it really was just the products packaging that initially jumped out at me and made me look at and consider this razor.
Brilliant Value

 The product is a 2 in 1, due to the fact that you don't actually need shower gel to shave with it. All you need is to wet your skin and get on with it due to the shower gel bars, which are also infused with white tea for a pleasant 'shaving experience'. I still do use shower gel with mine, as I didn't even realise until I used them for the first time that it had gel bars, then you could tell you don't need the shower gel. I use Imperial Leather Foamburst which is excellent for shaving and even though its not needed I use it anyway as it makes my legs extra smooth after I've shaved. Even though it sounds like a corny line from a 'real' person on an advert, its true that my legs have never been so smooth! The Venus Spa Breeze is gentle to my skin and my legs feel amazing afterwards.
I was so pleased with my purchase and not only is it a great razor and a lovely girly colour, the inner packaging is useful too. It has an inner section to hold your extra re fill blades so you don't lose them and they stay protected and the outer section holds your razor. I love it.

Good Razor Design, Good Packaging

Also as well as 4 blade refill packs being available £8.98 at Asda,  (already better than Wilkinson Swords stingy 3 blade pack for over £10), there is also a larger pack containing 8 blades, which I got this month, which means I will go a lot longer without having to buy refills.  
The size 8 refill packs look to be about ~£17 in most supermarkets but I got mine from Morrisons for £16.

Handy Larger Count Refill Packs

The refills are also each separately packaged to protect the blades and bars. So that maybe a bad thing environmentally as maybe this product is creating more waste, but its ensuring the quality of the product and making it easier for the customer, particularly if you are going away, you can just pop a handy refill capsule in your bag, with the knowledge its protected, you and your other items are protected and it won't take up any space.

Inside Razor case, separately packaged refills

The reviews on the Gillete site are varying however and I do agree that due to the gel bars, the refill can seem a little gunky after a few uses, but I always change my blades after 3 uses with the other razors I have had in the past anyway. They have all needed to be switched for a sharper blade at a similar time, so this did not bother me at all. Also even if you find you still need some shower gel for the shave, the gel bars still make it a much smoother gentler shave than other razors. 
I have only used 2 different razors (besides the disposable types) before this one, so maybe I'm not full of experience in the shaving product world, but this is definitely by far the best razor I have used and the best value so I would give it 4.5/5 and I would recommend it to anyone who's not tried a Venus razor before.

                                                       x - X - x

Monday, 18 July 2011

My Pregnancy Continued - The Countdown to Labour

My last pregnancy post left me at  33 weeks pregnant. It had been a very stressful emotional weekend, the Saturday was good but tiring as I went to Doncaster wildlife park with my family, however on the Sunday me and the boyfriend had a massive stumbling block in our relationship. That's too personal to write about on here, but its safe to say that's been my lowest point during pregnancy.

Monday was my fourth iron infusion and our first antenatal class. Ashley came with me to the infusion and that out the way I went to buy us some tea and then came back up to work to wait for him to finish so we could eat before going to the class. I bumped into a few of my work friends whilst I was there which was nice =) (oh and the creep too eurgh), it was really good to see them as I've been missing them and feeling pretty unsocial at points whilst I've been away. 
What I expected
Our class started at half 5, and we had a lovely young midwife called Rebecca running it (who I'd met before in the Maternity Assessment Center). It was not how I expected, not like the one's I'd seen in the movies with women sat between their partners legs practicing breathing techniques. I think they had separate 'Active Birth' classes for that which I'd been misinformed about. Instead the first class was a talk through of labour and giving birth, what exactly happens in each stage, how to deal with the situation, when to get in touch with the hospital, pain relief options etc.
Doesn't look fun
I knew roughly what I needed to about the stages, when to contact someone, pain relief options, but it was good to go through it in more detail and feel more prepared. The one thing I hadn't thought so much about though, is the bit after your cervix is fully dilated....when you've got past that pain, you then have to fit this baby through your birth canal! Whenever I'd thought about the terrifying prospect of giving birth before I got pregnant, I always just related the cervix and the birth canal together, thinking they both widened and opened up. I suppose I'd just never thought about it properly. So talking about the actual giving birth and pushing the baby out part of labour in the class and solidifying the idea into my head, I did feel that terror coming back.....it just seems impossible to me, even though millions do it.
The main thing that got to me besides that was talking about epidurals, which I no way on earth want, but I know you can never predict what will happen. The thought of the huge needle...and mainly the location where it goes (....it could so easily paralyze you if it was done wrong) are what put me off, but my nativity again became apparent to myself as I didn't realise a needle is left in to control and keep the dosage going. Whilst the midwife was talking through this my blood pressure was dropping and I really thought I was going to pass out. I just can't handle hearing about it due to my phobia. 
After the talk she took us to see the Delivery Suite rooms, two types, one being a bit more homely with a separate room with a massive bath, which I would prefer if i get to choose and then that was session 1 over with.

Giving Birth - a Scary Thought
Its funny, since becoming pregnant my feelings towards giving birth have changed a lot. Before I used to think it was absolutely terrifying, that I couldn't do it and I would have to have a C - section and if not definitely an epidural. Now they are the last two things I want (I really don't want my bikini line slicing open and my stomach muscled being a bit damaged) and during most of this pregnancy the thought of giving birth hasn't scared me at all. I think once you have a baby inside you and make a connection with it, most of you just focuses on looking after it during pregnancy and meeting it after the labour. It gives you another focus, but I have to say now I'm counting down the final days until my due date (9 days left at the time of writing this) I am getting a bit scared. I mainly just want her out and also partly still can't imagine it actually happening, but with the back pains and braxton hicks I have been getting the past couple days it is starting to feel more real and I do have fear in the background thinking can I get through it? I'm pretty sure I will be crying! But it will be worth it in the end I know.

So first antenatal class out the way, it was my final Iron Infusion on Wednesday, when I turned 34 weeks pregnant. Ashley wasn't at this one and I was quite unhappy as I didn't have either of the midwives I'd had before and this one kept dropping things on the floor. I'd had a G.I appt before it and once they were both over I thought I'd finally go to the exhibition at the museum I walk past most days. It was the Spice Girls one and was only on until July and I thought I may as well go and have a look especially when I'd just been topped up on my iron!

Unfortunately it was up several flights of stairs and I did get bad backache while looking round, so didn't get to the rest of the exhibitions such as Ancient World which looks really good. The Spice Girls exhibition was quite fun to to round though, mainly very nostalgic, especially when I spotted things I had owned, so I'm glad I had a look. 
The other regions will be much more worth looking round, but it will have to wait until I'm not carrying this heavy little one round in my tummy!

I had my next antenatal appointment the next day, where they weighed up how things were going and my bump was measuring average still and on Friday I was very lucky and excited to receive a parcel from my lovely mummy to be friend Mel, who was due in just over a week at this point. She was really generous and sent lots of lovely baby things, including the first pair of booties my baby has received and the Disney nursery fragrance which I'd wanted so much but couldn't justify buying. It made me very happy :) 

Hello Kitty outfits from Mel, shoes from Emma Louise :)
The next day I managed to walk to the sorting office to get another lovely parcel from Emma Louise, mummy to Cameron. So I got two lots of lovely gifts in the space of two days.  Emma sent me a few things including my babies first pair of shoes and a couple things for myself such as an Elephant ring which I love!

My next antenatal class was the next Monday, so after a trek round a couple shops I walked up to work (this time hiding from the creep in the tea room but bumping into about 3 people and finding out yet another work colleague is pregnant. Definitely something in the water!) and waited for Ash to finish. This talk was mostly about breastfeeding, how to do it successfully, reassurance, techniques etc but it also covered how to bath a baby and how to change its nappy, at which stage we all got baby dolls, where the women had the practice the positions to hold a baby in for a feed and then men had to practice changing the nappies! Ashley swiveled the dolls head round so it was looking at me to creep me out, like that moment with the giant baby doll in Toy Story 3. 

When I'd passed 35 weeks it was almost Tasleen and Mel's due dates (24th and 26th), which was SO exciting, but both came and went with no babies being born! I'd been trying to stay active and still had to get things done so over that weekend I trekked to several areas in town to try and get crib sheets, the next day to do a big grocery shop, and then again on Monday out to the shops again. I was still keeping up with the housework too. I think I'd been over doing it a bit, but there were things that needed doing so I didn't have much choice and you are meant to stay active to a certain extent.

When I turned 36 weeks I had a bit of a scare .....well it was a big shock. I had a bleed, and not just a tiny bit of blood, what seemed like a lot. I was worried but thankfully Ashley was with me so I wasn't alone but I was thinking is this it, is she coming now ?!! Is she Ok? Besides those passing thoughts I was kind of numb and just on automatic mode I think. I called the Delivery suite who put me through to the Maternity Assessment Clinic and they told me to keep an eye on it, but that it was probably nothing to worry about as sometimes hormones can cause this to happen. So I managed to calm down, but later on I realized I was still bleeding and had what seemed like a show. I started getting sharp pains low down as well and during the evening and night, barely once felt my normally extremely active baby move.
So I was worried again and in the morning with no make up on, hair not brushed I got a taxi to the hospital to get checked out. They monitored babies movement and her heartbeat for fifteen minutes and not long after the monitor straps were on she decided she was coming out to play and started moving loads, which was a relief but probably made me look silly. They also checked for a reason of bleeding and to see if I was dilated at all. I wasn't and the bleeding had been caused by a hormonal erosion which goes away after a bit. 
For people who've had babies before it would probably seem like nothing, but it was all a big concern for me so I am glad I went and got checked out because I felt a lot less stressed afterwards.

Baby Neve with Mummy Mel
It was now the Friday 1st of July and both Mel and Tasleem were having their sweeps .......was anything going to happen. For Tasleem unfortunately not, but for Mel who was already slightly dilated......finally progress....she was getting stronger cramps and it looked like early labour was starting.....cue massive excitement from us all! By the next day at 20.10 Mel had given birth to Podge.....who turned out to be a beautiful baby girl that they named Neve Evelyn! She'd done it! She gave birth and Podge was finally here! It was an exciting time for us, checking for updates constantly and I imagine an absolutely exhausting one for her!
I had had my mobile glued to my hand from Friday night, but when she actually gave birth I was in the cinema seeing Transformers 3 3D (my baby did not like the noise!) and had no signal!!
 Taz finally had her baby on Tuesday 5th of July at 18.15pm and she too ended up having a beautiful baby girl called Zara. So now both babies were here I got very inpatient haha. I'd started thinking Woah this has actually all gone pretty quick, considering its been almost 9 months of my life, but then having no babies to wait for anymore except mine, it suddenly felt like AGES to go again even though it was only 3 weeks!

Tuesday the 12th I finally saw my G.P midwife again. I had avoided her a bit as she had been so useless and it was literally a waste of time seeing her and I'd been having plenty of hospital appointments.
She finally measured my bump for the first time and felt for the baby, but didn't tell me what her findings were, but I knew from my hospital check after my scare that the sharp pains had been the babies head engaging and from another appt that baby was now 4/5ths. The one good thing she did do however, which I'm not sure she is meant to, is to book me in for a sweep on my due date to get things going if they aren't already by then. So I'm glad I won;t have to wait a few days for that if she isn't on time. 
Finding out baby is getting herself ready to come out and is almost fully engaged was exciting, but also I found out the day before was making it much harder to get about. I'd gone shopping and therefore done quite a bit of walking again, and my god by the time I was walking down the very long road to our house, my pelvis/hip region was so stiff and painful. As a result I had to walk very slow. So I then realised I couldn't go shopping anymore!

The Picnic: Ami, the only boy there, took the pic
After the midwife appointment on tues I went into town and then to work to meet Tammy and Lina as we were going to Tasleems when they had finished. I got there early so saw quite a few people and then when the girls were ready it was time to go! I was really looking forward to seeing Taz (who I hadn't seen since she was 37 weeks and I was 32 weeks, at a picnic we had at Kirkstall Abbey) and obviously baby Zara! 
I couldn't believe how tiny she was! I was actually too scared to pick her up at first in case I broke her lol, but when I did hold her it was lovely. She is beautiful and seems to have a great temperament. It was really nice to spend time with the girls too as I'd been missing them, and we also met Taz's 3 year old nephew who was very chatty and cute, but as he spoke their language as well Taz had to translate half the time.
The rest of the week remained quite busy with another hospital appointment on Thursday morning where I ended up on the monitor again and this time for quite a while as babies heart rate was seeming quite erratic, but ended up all ok. They are happy with my haemoglobin levels now, but don't know my iron levels, but the Hb levels returning to normal suggests they are ok, even though I have been starting to feel a bit funny again with palpitations. I think it may just be may low blood pressure again. 
Friday was a G.P appointment, like the hospital one, very early in the morning and I went into town after it to get hold of some raspberry leaf capsules (even though I currently now have no money) and my free mum & baby pack from Sainsburies. Walking through town was very hard and I was so glad when I made it home. I think that will be my last trip in whilst I'm still pregnant! My pelvis was so bad after these active days that it killed just to roll over in bed!

So now I've reached the 18th of July, I'm 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant and 9 days to go until my due date! I've been getting more braxton hicks the two days I took the Raspberry leaf, but also terrible back ache, so I skipped the tablet yesterday. They don't induce labour however, just help your cervix to dilate when you are actually in the process. Something I'm trying to get across to my mother who still goes my the knowledge of when she did midwifery briefly 37 years ago. She thinks they are terribly dangerous, so I've told her to do some research :)

I have taken it today and have no symptoms as of yet, so hopefully the backache was unrelated, and very possibly baby just squashing me when I needed the toilet or something (t.m.i sorry!).
My baby bump seems the lowest ever today so I'm thinking it won't be long. Wish me Luck! Next time I do a pregnancy post it should be about my labour and new arrival!

                                                             x - X - x