Lush Lock In

Lush Lock In

I’m going to start by saying that I’m an idiot…who goes to an event and forgets to take photos for her blog?

This girl right here! 🙄 I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed 😢.

In fairness, I did take one picture and then I was so relaxed I forgot to take any more!

My friend and I got to Edinburgh in plenty of time so started our day out with a wander round the National Gallery of Scotland and then I met a sad looking Pikachu so had to get a picture! 🤣

We then went to Costa for coffee and a cake before sauntering along to Lush on Princes Street.

We arrived in plenty of time so had a wander round before showing our tickets and finding out what the night would entail.

We could book in to experience one of the mini treatments, spend time chatting to the charity speakers, have tea and biscuits downstairs, try our hand at making a bath bomb or just browse the shop floor and just relax.

We booked in for a mini treatment – Tales of Bath – and were given a Washcard to mark our appointment.

Everything is lined up so neatly!

We had a wander upstairs to find out what we were going to buy later before heading down to the spa where we got a cuppa and a biscuit and chatted to the staff and other attendees.

We realised that our appointment time had over run and it turned out someone had taken our spot – not to worry though as we mentioned it to one of the staff and we were taken in not long after.

The Tales of Bath taster was really lovely. You get given a robe to our over your clothes and your asked to sit down.

The room smells lovely, I don’t know what essential oils are in the room but it is really relaxing!

A reading was played about the tale of Prince Bladud who was healed by a Celtic goddess. It’s punctuated with music and your encouraged to be swept up in the words as you have your head and shoulders massaged.

The full treatment includes a bath and full body massage which costs £115 for 75 minutes.

We then went back upstairs and got the chance to book in for another treatment – The Comforter? – but it would be a while before we were due for it so we had a go at making a bath bomb.

This cost £3.95 (I think) with the proceeds going charity.

I really enjoyed trying this out, and it takes a bit more effort that you would maybe imagine!

We were making the Sex Bomb so there’s a little flower thing in that and you put that into the mould first and then cover it up with the first colour mix.

In the other mould you fill that up with more powder until you can’t pack it any more and you squeeze both moulds together really hard.

It was then placed in a rubber glove and we were told not to try and take it out the moulds for 24 hours to allow it to dry out. Then we would find out if we had the technique right and if it would come out the mould in one piece!

As you can see, mine did stick together but the flower thing wasn’t visible so I think I need a bit more practice!

As part of the fee, we also got to take home a medium Charity Pot. This is a fantastic moisturiser and as I already have a tub, I’ll be giving this away as part of my giveaway.

We chatted to the guy who was the charity ambassador for the evening. I really can’t remember the charity name but his dad does fantastic work by fixing up old emergency vehicles and drives them to Africa for use there.

Just before our final treatment we bought a couple of things. I stocked up on my 9-5 cleanser (holy grail! 💜) And picked up the Tee Tree Water toner to try out.

Back downstairs we went for The Comforter? mini treatment.

The full thing is a 60 minute full body exfoliating treatment for £95. As we were having a 15 minute treatment, it was just our arms.

This was lovely, the staff that were doing it were really nice to talk to and it was such a relaxed atmosphere.

They used a hot chocolate scrub and a rose serum to make our skin feel silky smooth!

Unfortunately after this, it was time to head back to the harsh reality of Princes Street.

It felt really surreal outside, we heard Kasabian playing in the Gardens and finally there was fireworks – a perfect end to the night!

This was a free event so I would definitely recommend checking your local Spas to see if there is anything like this happening near you as it was a fantastic night and great to get a feeling for what the treatments actually entail!

Let me know if you liked this post or if you’ve attended any of these events before and would you thought!

As always, thanks so much for reading and don’t forget to subscribe to be in with a chance of winning my giveaway which will go live next week!

Claudia xxx

 

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XLS Nutrition – A “Healthy” Way to Lose Weight?

XLS Nutrition – A “Healthy” Way to Lose Weight?

I’ll start by saying this product was gifted to me but, of course, this post and the opinions herein are all my own! Thanks XLS for sending me this product!

Also, as an aside, when this arrived it went to my neighbour who warned me that every time he touched the package white powder came out…I had to explain it wasn’t drugs and I didn’t think anyone was trying to kill me 🤣

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I can hear all my friends shouting “Sellout!” right about now as I have never been an advocate of meal replacement plans – Herbalife, Juice Plus, Slimfast etc.

I think this stems from my unhealthy relationship with food I had as a teenager.

***Trigger warning: I am going to talk about my ups and downs with food which may be triggering to those who have had issues in the past***

To give you a bit of background, at 15 I was 15 stone – I was a BIG girl and it didn’t really bother me until I overheard my highschool crush saying “yeah, her fat arse is always hanging round the common room door!”

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This made me look at myself in a different light and maybe, just maybe if I was skinny he would take time to speak to me (who was I kidding?! No Cinderella Story here! 🙄).

I realised that compared to my friends I was the big one! It didn’t help my periods were ridiculous (more on that on another post maybe?) so I didn’t really do P.E. and I wasn’t athletic anyway as I’m asthmatic and can’t breathe going up a slight incline!

So me being an all or nothing type of person I decided to stop eating regular food and instead survived on diet coke, apples and sugar free chewing gum.

If I had been good I would allow myself a bite or two of dinner but the rest would go to my dog out my bedroom window (hallelujah for living in a bungalow!) or I would dump it in the bin the next day at school.

My lunch money I would save up to buy cigarettes – ya know, that really cool appetite suppressant! – or alcohol (no mixer (calories!), just straight gin or vodka or whatever I could get my hands on!) this all led to another host of issues I had through my teens but again maybe a story for another day?

I also started exercising for at least 2 hours a night. This was in the Dancemat days so I would be flailing around to the songs of the 2000s in my bedroom and doing sit-ups and stomach crunches until I couldn’t move any more.

I was on all the “thinspiration” websites and a religious follower of “Ana’s Way”. I knew all the tricks to pretend I was ok even though, looking back, I know I wasn’t!

My mum did notice a few things over the time and did confront me about it but I just became more careful!

I’m not quite sure how long I kept this up for, I think it was about a year but it’s all very fuzzy due to my mental health and alcohol issues at the time!

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I remember feelings elated when I stepped on the scale and it showed that I went down from the previous week, day, hour…I was obsessed with checking my weight and noting the losses and punishing myself for the gains!

The lowest weight I remember was 6st 9bls but I don’t think this lasted for long. I think my body was just tired and craving food.

I also met my ex who I couldn’t really hide it from as we spent a lot of time in each others pockets.

I started eating meals again, just one a day to begin with but this grew until I became a normal weight and I started to feel myself again.

I don’t really like to say I suffered from anorexia nervosa as I didn’t go through the typical recovery stages but it has definitely left me with lasting scars in my relationship with food.

As an adult who has access to the internet, books, seminars and common sense, I know changing your diet radically, especially if you are reducing your calories, will help you lose weight.

This XLS Nutrition, if used according to the instructions (replacing up to 3 meals a day with a shake and then decreasing this until it’s just one meal) will help you lose weight.

Of course it will! You’re not eating real food! You’ve reduced your calories!

To lose weight you need to have a calorie deficit…that is the entire principal of losing weight. Whether you do this by increasing activity or limiting your food it will work.

Fun Fact: I lost weight while eating McDonald’s 5 days a week (I got free lunch) but this didn’t mean I was healthy!

I don’t think there is such a thing as a Healthy Weight Loss Shake and don’t believe these types of things should be marketed as such.

There is nothing healthy about missing a meal and consuming a shake instead.

Not only that, it’s not really sustainable. Who wants to have to replace their meal for years to come? It is a marketing strategy so you keep buying the product, it’s as simple as that!

You could just have a 244 calorie meal (the amount of calories in a shake) instead.

*Hold up* you can replace 3 meals with a shake to begin with…that’s 732 calories a day! That’s less than half your RDA for an average female! WTF? 😲 I feel hungry just thinking about it!

It’s recommended the ideal calorie deficit for sustainable weightloss is 10% of your calories required for daily maintenance.

So using the average female 1500 allowance, she’d be wanting to be aiming for 1350 calories a day to lose a healthy amount of weight.

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Something to note, weight loss doesn’t always amount to fat loss. Rapid weight loss suggests you are losing muscle too. I guess it depends on what your goals are as to what you would rather care about – i.e. the number on the scale or the way you look and feel.

So in that vein, I’m not even going to say I’ve used this shake for a few weeks and lost weight as I know I would if I follow the instructions.

Instead, I’ve used it in my regular morning smoothie as the main protein source as it claims to have 28g of protein per serving.

It’s strawberry flavoured but it makes my smoothie taste very sythetically sweet, I can only imagine how strong this tastes when you make it just with milk. At least I have yoghurt, fruit and coconut water to dilute the taste a little! It does stop me getting hungry until lunch but the regular protein powder I use does the same thing and tastes better so 🤷 .

I’m sorry this wasn’t really a review as such, it’s just something that upsets me especially as these things are generally marketed at women.

Don’t we have enough to contend with already rather than harming our physical and mental health with these promises of a perfect life if only we lose some pounds?

I’d suggest checking out James Smith on Instagram and Facebook if you want to explore this school of thought a little more as he explains all these types of topics better than I ever could!

I hope you liked this post, it’s slightly more raw than I meant to write and it was pretty difficult for me to share what I went through.

As I’ve said before, if it helps even one person, it has been worth it!

Please let me know what you think in the comments down below and what you would like to see next?

Thanks so much for reading, guys!

Claudia xxx

The Trials of Murphy 🐕

The Trials of Murphy 🐕
The day we brought him home!

As you guys know, I got a puppy fairly recently and I’ve discovered a few things about him and myself in that time.

I’ve been wanting a dog for my entire adult life, I’ve researched, researched, researched but I’m finding out things “on the job” that I wasn’t quite prepared for!

They don’t come out all trained, the nicely trained 8 year old dog that your friend has was once a boisterous 8 week old pup!

I’m pretty sure everyone knows that puppies are hard work, the world is scary to them, they’ve been taken away from their mum and siblings and are now in a strange environment. Of course they will be unsettled for at least the first few days!

How about for the first 3 weeks?! We made the decision to crate train Murphy and have him in the living room at night so upstairs could be the cats’ domain.

The issue with that was every time he was left alone in a room, he would scream. Not the cute puppy barks you hear on YouTube, actual screaming! He sounded like someone was killing him!

He wouldn’t bark himself out if he was left and he would get so stressed he would pee and poo in his crate! The only thing for it was to sleep downstairs with him!

Honestly, this was left to J most often than not but that’s because he insisted on it.

It wasn’t until about week 3 where we could sneak up the stairs and go to bed but we still leave Netflix on – the dulcet tones of David Attenborough of course! – to soothe him during the night.

He now sleeps through the night and only really wakes up when he hears our alarms in the morning. No more 3am wake-ups to take him out for pee!

He didn’t mind the crate, as long as you were there with him!

I had originally planned to crate him when we were out the house too but due to the aforementioned stress and messing in his crate, we decided not to and instead he got the run of the hall.

Turns out even the hall was too small for him and would get mega stressed with all the doors shut. This led us to opening the kitchen up to him too and it turns out the space is much more agreeable!

He still has puppy pads for when we leave him alone (annoyingly he doesn’t always use them and decides to chew them up instead!) but he is getting better each time we walk out the door!

We do have an issue when we come back in though! This is worse with me and J gets a slightly more chilled version but whenever I come into the room – I could be gone for 2 minutes or 2 hours, it does not matter – Murph acts like I have been gone for days!

With me especially, he jumps up and bites my clothes and will nip my calves in an effort to get my attention and it takes him ages to calm down!

I was definitely not prepared for just how much he wants to be with us. So much so, he has learned how to climb the gate at the bottom of the stairs so I now need to take him into the bathroom to stop him barking at the door or hassling the cats!

How can I say no to this wee face!! 😍

This neediness has definitely gotten worse now he is teething, he seems to want a lot more reassurance and will whine a lot which I think is how he comforts himself.

Even trying to write a blog post or make myself a cup of tea can be a challenge as he has to be right where I am at all times. One of the reasons why I’ve not been as active recently is the pup, it’s just easier to occupy him than write up a post.

Taking photos for my blog is like a military operation now. I need to wait until J is in so I can go upstairs for a few minutes and hope the lighting is alright since I won’t get another chance to do it for a bit!

One of the reasons we got a pup was to hopefully make it easier to introduce the cats to him. Don’t get me wrong, he doesn’t show any animosity to them but he wants to play with them 100% of the time.

The problem with this is, he tries to play with them like they are puppies too and he can be a bit rough sometimes. A hiss from Charlie is enough to get him to back off but poor Loki is too gentle to tell him off when he’s being over eager!

He is also obsessed with the cat litter tray and will, at any chance he gets, eat a cat poo 🤢. This has got to be one of the most disgusting things I have ever witnessed, I couldn’t look at him without feeling a little sick for hours!

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One thing I definitely didn’t realise, is how worried I am about him all the time. You see lots of posts on Facebook about the freak accidents where a dog has been killed by trying to lick inside a crisp packet or getting his collar stuck on something in the house which has bred a sort of paranoia in my brain where I check and double check stuff before leaving him alone.

This is a worry I don’t remember having for the cats, except when I first introduced them to each other. I don’t know if it’s because cats are more independent even when they’re young or what but I worry I’m doing the wrong things for him all the time!

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Since getting Murphy, we have become more social that’s for sure! We have lived in our house for just over a year and the only people we have spoken to have been our direct neighbors.

On his first few walks, I think we introduced him to the majority of our area! Lots of people stopped to chat whether they had dogs or not because everyone loves a cute puppy!

We have taken him to dog events and found out how nice other dog owners are when we have been given toys for him because their dog has got enough! Or given us tips on how to make teething easier!

My social skills are definitely being tested and if I can get away with it, I let J do all the talking!

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I know we’re not parents but I genuinely feel a puppy might be more difficult sometimes! At least if you put a baby down, it’s likely they will be in the same spot when you return!

We’re tired all the time, watching him to make sure he’s not telling us he needs to go outside or making sure he’s not doing something he shouldn’t is a full time job in itself!

But in saying this, I wouldn’t change it for the world! He is brilliant! Watching him learn a new trick or doing something we ask is a great feeling and I just know he’s going to turn out to be a great dog. He’s just growing up way too fast for my liking! 💜💜.

I know this is a little different from my usual topics but I hope you like it! I may try to do more Murphy topics if you would like to see that?

Let me know about your pets in the comments below! What’s the one thing you wish you knew before getting a pet?

Thanks very much for reading guys and I’ll speak to you all soon! Don’t forget to check out my other social media pages for updates on the pets!

Claudia xxx

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Deep Sea World – Influencer Evening

Deep Sea World – Influencer Evening

A few weeks ago I received confirmation that I had been successful with an opportunity I had applied for.

The event was being hosted by Deep Sea World, a place I remember fondly visiting years ago!

This was their very first influencer evening and I was able to be a part of it!

***Disclaimer*** although I was invited to this event, all the views in this post are my own.

On the run up to the event, I did think either they were going to revoke my invitation for not being a “real” blogger or the event was going to be cancelled.

Luckily it didn’t! I would love to say I rocked up all calm and introduced myself to everyone but I can’t.

I had been held up in a tailback and already phoned to say I was going to be late. It was hot in the car, it was hot outside. I was a sweaty mess!

Couple that with my social anxiety and I’m not sure I made a great first impression! Oh well, live and learn, eh? 🤣

Deep Sea World is set in a gorgeous location, underneath the Forth Rail Bridge, perfect for photos…

…except I forgot to charge up my phone so my battery died on me half way round the event!

On arrival we were given the Deep Sea World brochure and a lanyard with a 6 month membership.

We waited for any more stragglers and then we started the tour!

First up we got to see the Big-Bellied seahorses being fed.

I really like seahorses, they are so cute! And amazingly graceful, their movements are effortless!

I believe they are ambush predators so they lie in wait for food to get close enough then BAM! They snatch it up!

One of the tour guides, Kirsty, was telling us how they tell the males and females of this species apart.

So I think this one is a male!

The males have rounder bellies then the females who have more of a point. I’m sure I got that the right way round!

We then got to wander round the other tanks for a little bit. In this entrance area there is the open-topped rock pool with numerous different species in it, a tank with an octopus and some other fishtanks.

I’m not going to lie, I genuinely couldn’t see the octopus but I was assured it was there!

There was also a little exhibit on what plastic is doing to our oceans which was quite educational.

Unfortunately some of the exhibits didn’t photograph well, the lighting was too low and I was on battery saver mode to try to get through has much as I could with my phone on 20%!

We then moved into The Swamp. In here we met Godzilla, the snapping turtle. I wasn’t able to get a good picture of him but he literally looked like he was made out of stone and he didn’t move for us.

They are making Godzilla a much bigger enclosure just now but due to the amount of testing they will have to do to ensure its watertight, this might not be ready until after Christmas.

There is also some massive fish in here, I forgot to take a note of the species but they were huge! They didn’t photograph well but trust me, I couldn’t pick one up!

Most of these fish were people’s pets who then asked Deep Sea World for help when they got too big for their tanks!

It’s a common myth that a fish will only grow as big as the tank it’s in! It will continue to grow but if it doesn’t have the space it will be stunted and likely to die prematurely!

This dude was also chillin’ out in The Swamp. I think he is a python, he’s definitely very beautiful!

Next we went through the shark tunnel! I think this is the bit everyone remembers from their visit to Deep Sea World!

It was bliss being able to go through it without screaming children or it being overcrowded and you can’t enjoy it!

We got to see lots of fish, rays and of course the sharks themselves! All 4 made an appearance! The only thing we didn’t get to see is the lobsters but we were told they are very shy!

Tinkerbell is the largest of the four sharks and Aaron is the smallest. There is a way to tell the difference between the males and the females. Looking under their belly, in line with their fins, you can see two protrusions on the male but the female doesn’t have these.

We had a trip to the amphibian room where I spent way too long looking for frogs and gazing at the mysterious axolotls!

I love these guys, they have such cute faces. Because they are able to regenerate tissue they are being studied closely to find out if we can use them in science (that’s something I don’t agree with but not for this post!).

We had a nosy in the classroom where there was a little display and some creatures in suspension. This sort of thing takes me back to my uni days but there was a few who gasped a little bit at these!

We then got to see Kate and her amazing Seals! The grey one is the female who is 27 (I’m sure she said 27!) And the other two are boys and they are much younger!

The female does what she wants most of the time and isn’t asked to do quite as much to get her reward.

The boys are asked to do a bit more but they genuinely seem to enjoy it and the bond they have with Kate is clear!

All the “tricks” they are asked to do are there to help them use the muscles they would use if they were hunting in the wild! So it’s not just designed to be entertaining to us!

I also noticed that they are essentially clicker trained, like you would a dog. Every time they do something, Kate would whistle like using a clicker. I’m struggling with this with my own pup and the moment so amazed it can be done with these guys!

The seals are never witheld food for not doing a trick. But they don’t know that so they gladly do what is asked of them!

We then stopped for a bit of food in the café! There was also some prosecco on offer but I was driving so I had to decline!

The view from the café!

The food was really good! My highlight definitely had to be the fish and chip cone wrapped in newsprint and the caramel shortcake was to die for! But there was pizza, burgers and donuts as well!

We were then split into two smaller groups. My group got to go to the Bare Bones exhibit first of all. This is a temporary exhibit for the summer and is in the carpark itself.

This is a really interesting exhibit with skeletona from different species. Most of them you’re not able to touch but there are some tactile things to keep the kids occupied.

My favourite was the crow, only because I think it’s quite interesting how the beak is still black even in death. This could be because it has spent so long in the sun but Kirsty was unsure.

They had dynamic displays as well, like the frogs leaping.

And the cat, dog and mouse.

There was also some pretty cool artwork on display too!

Lastly, we got to go on a behind the scenes tour. This part of the tour, we weren’t allowed to take any photos, a good thing too, as my battery was dead by this time!

The lighting in this area is lower as it’s an environment for animals to young to be in the main tanks or for those recuperating from illness or as quarantine for any new species being added to the tanks.

We got to see some baby rays that had just hatched the day before and had been bottle fed! We also got to feel an ray egg casing or Mermaid purse. Which was pretty odd to touch!

There was also the opportunity to find out about shark dives which I think I would love to do!

The highlight here was watching the shark tunnel from above. As Kate explains, when you are in the shark tunnel, the creatures look about 30% smaller. When you are above them you can see their full size and the sharks look so impressive!

I will definitely be using my membership over the next few months as I really enjoyed my time here. As the exhibits are constantly evolving you might never see the same thing twice.

The Bare Bones exhibit is included in your ticket price as well just now so I would definitely suggest going while that is still on!

There are also numerous talks and feedings throughout the day and a gift shop so there really is something for everyone!

You can book your tickets and find out more on the Deep Sea World website.

All-in-all, I really enjoyed my first blogger event. I’m so glad I was invited along to this!

I would definitely do things a little differently next time, i.e. make sure my phone is charged and take a notebook so I can take notes as I’m walking around!

That was my plan but I was running late from the vet and had to rush out the door, and I was still late because of traffic! 🤣

I think these events are probably what you make it but I’ve never been very good at making friends in a large group of people. Especially when it seemed everyone else knew each other!

I didn’t speak to people like I thought I would, genuinely thought I’d make some connections with other local bloggers but that didn’t really happen. It seems the internet is easier to crack!

The girls that I did speak to were awesome and I look forward to meeting them again!

Thanks again to the guys at Deep Sea World for having us and making it a great night! This was their very first influencer evening and I think they should be proud as it was a success!

Claudia xxx

Highland Fling Bungee

Highland Fling Bungee

Hi guys, I’m going to start off by saying, I’m a mega wuss. Like I’m seriously terrified of everything!

That’s why you won’t see any photos of me mid-jump here! You will see me do something that some might say is just as terrifying though!

A few weeks ago myself, J and a couple of friends went to Killiecrankie, near Pitlochry to visit Highland Fling Bungee.

What is Highland Fling Bungee?

I’m pretty sure everyone knows what a bungee jump is so I’m not going to go into detail when it comes to that!

The jump at Killiecrankie is the first permanent bungee jump from a bridge in Scotland.

You are in freefall for 40 metres which works out at a few seconds at about 50 miles per hour before the cord catches you.

The also have a site at the Titan Crane in Glasgow but at the time of writing this is closed at the moment.

What is the Highland Swing?

The moment I dropped – check out my fear face!

At the site in Pitlochry you can also do the Highland Swing – this I what I did and it was terrifying!

You start 40 metres above the river in a full body harness. You’re then dropped into freefall for about 15 metres before the rope takes the slack and you start your arc of the swing.

This is also a first for Scotland!

I originally said I did not want to bungee but would do this, thinking I would definitely need to book and I would get out of it. No such luck, they had spaces available!

Where is it?

We went to the Killiecrankie site. This is just outside Pitlochry in Perthshire.

The location is stunning, if you’re looking for a jump with a view then I’m not sure it would get much better than this in Britain anyway!

Not only do you get to do the jump on this stunning location, you can make your way into Pitlochry for some much needed fuel once the adrenaline rush wears off!

Why Would I Want To?

Short answer: it’s fun!

I didn’t do a bungee so I can’t say how fun that was but from the reactions of the people I was with it was clearly awesome!

I don’t have an urge to do a bungee any time soon (I’ve never seen the appeal of jumping head first!) But I know that J wants to do more! He was buzzing!

The Swing was brilliant, even if the harness was digging into places it has no business being 😲

I did have my eyes shut for the majority of the fall but man was it a rush!

Eyes are still shut!

All the staff that we spoke to were really nice and had all jumped themselves. They were really enthusiastic about it and helped to put my mind at ease.

Prices

Bungee: £79pp

Swing: £69pp

I know there are sometimes special offers and Groupons with this too so you may be able to get a deal!

I would recommend you do book before you go but they do have walk-in spaces from what I saw on the day!

You can also get videos and photos of your jump.

The video is edited into a nice little montage from different angles. Definitely worth the money if it’s your first jump!

This is not a sponsored post, we just had an excellent day out and I’d really recommend you go up even just to spectate as the scenery is just so beautiful!

I think everyone should do something that gets your heart rate up every once in a while and I know a bungee jump is on a lot of people’s Bucket List so why not give it a go?

You can see our videos on my YouTube channel, genuinely only set up to upload these videos, I hate talking to the camera so can’t see myself becoming a Vlogger any time soon!

Js Bungee Jump

My Highland Swing

As always I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know what you think in the comments!

I’m really sorry I’ve not been as consistent recently, I have so many posts lined up with very little time to write them. Having a new puppy takes up SO much time and I just can’t tear myself away from him!

Please make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss a post and to be in with a chance of winning my upcoming giveaway!

Claudia xxx

My Furry Family

My Furry Family

Yesterday we had a new addition to the family so I thought I would introduce you to everyone.

My Instagram is normally filled with pictures of my pets but if you don’t follow me you wouldn’t have seen them before!

Might also be an incentive to follow me too, who doesn’t want cute animals filling up their newsfeed?! 😉

As I mentioned in my very first post, kids aren’t for us. We have instead chose to fill our home with animals instead!

Cute pictures to follow!

Charlie

Charlie’s favourite Spot on top of the cat tree

Charlie is our oldest cat. He is about 8 or so. I have had him since he was 8 weeks old.

I’ve always seen him as quite a special cat. He is petrified of pretty much everything and everyone.

He was found on a building site with his sister and was taken to the rescue. His sister was more outgoing and she was adopted first. He became even more timid without her around to protect him!

Charlie makes you feel quite privileged when he allows you to pet him. I think he was almost 2 when he felt brave enough to sit on my knee and he will still run away if you make any sudden movements.

Trying to get him to the vet is an absolute nightmare! As soon as he sees the carrier he goes into panic mode and hides.

Charlie adores J, he was the first one who was allowed to touch him and every night he comes for a cuddle off his dad!

The one thing Charlie isn’t scared off is Flopsie. I don’t know if this is because we kept him in the rat room as a kitten but he likes being close to small furries and although I would never leave them together unattended, he’s never tried to harm them.

Loki

Don’t let the cute face fool you!

Loki is an Exotic Shorthair. He’s 5 but still looks and acts like a kitten most of the time.

He’s got a really funny character and spends most of the time with his tongue hanging out! He used to play fetch with his toys as a kitten and can sit on command!

He has a strange affinity for cages. Whenever I’m cleaning out any pet cages (Flopsie’s or previously rat cages) he would always climb in and be quite happy there!

Loki is petrified of the bunny when he is out the cage. It’s like he pretends there’s nothing to worry about but Flops will hop in his general direction and Loki will hightail it out of there!

He can be the cuddliest cat ever or can be really aloof where it’s like you can hear him saying “don’t touch me!”.

The cats are both quite chatty but Loki more so than Charlie. Especially if there’s chicken on the go!

I don’t know how they do it but as soon as they hear chicken being taken out the fridge they go mental!

They both also know when it’s feeding time. As soon as it hits 8pm both of them are circling like hawks!

Flopsie

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Definitely in need of a haircut!

Flopsie is a disabled bunny who used to belong to my friend. He had a parasite that made him fall over and the vet suspected he lost his vision too.

He did have a cage mate, Sparkles, but she died really suddenly. When that happened I offered to take him as he couldn’t clean himself properly and would be better suited to being an indoor rabbit.

He still falls over sometimes but he is a strong-willed thing so he will still jump around like a normal bunny.

He’s very friendly and is really happy to sit there while you pet him, give him a haircut or clip his claws!

He’s a clever one and uses a litter tray in his cage and if he needs to go when he’s out, he just climbs back into his cage!

He’s pretty nosy and loves to get into places he shouldn’t! One of the first things he did in our new home was to chew the phone cable!

Murphy

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So relaxed alreafy

Murphy came home yesterday. He’s a 9 week old cocker spaniel and is just adorable.

We have been wanting to get a dog for so long and we are finally in a position to do so. I actually had several people ask me if J knew about the new arrival or if he was going to be surprised when he got home from work! (Yes, he knew and agreed! 🤣)

He is a little terror already and I know he is going to have us run off our feet!

He’s been very clingy over the last day but I imagine he feels really unsettled with the car journey and his new environment.

He’s so nosy and wants to watch to see what you’re doing all the time except when he’s sleeping! Being a puppy he has been sleeping a lot! His little snores are so cute!

He hasn’t had his jags yet but they will be started this week so we can get him on walks soon, until then I’ll be carrying him everywhere to get him used to everything I can!

He still has the clumsy puppiness and falls over when running, but being little doesn’t stop him! He can already get onto the couch!

So there you have it, that’s our furry little family at the moment! I get so many comments about them when I post their pictures so I thought I would let you know what they’re really like!

Let me know if you enjoyed this post and what pets you have in the comments below.

Don’t forget to hit follow too as we are nearing the target for the giveaway, I wouldn’t want you to miss out!

Claudia xxx

Lets Talk About Mental Health

Lets Talk About Mental Health

With Mental Health Awareness Week over for another year, the mental health statuses on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have decreased dramatically again but this is a topic that should be spoken about at all times, not just for one week of the year!

Numerous charities encourage mental health awareness to “fight the stigma of mental health”, but the reality is, people still keep their feelings to themselves and go through their daily struggles alone.

Lets be honest, who doesn’t know that mental health is important? Who doesn’t know the terms depression, anxiety and stress? There are of course many different mental health issues, disorders, syndromes etc but why do we still feel like it’s not something we can talk about? Why do we feel like we will be victimised because of our feelings?!

It’s All in Your Head

While that may be true – we are talking about mental health after all – it doesn’t make your thoughts and feelings any less valid than someone that has a physical ailment.

I was brought up in a family where mental health wasn’t really spoken about – you were just a bit “down”, and “you’d just need to get over it”. Taking medication was stupid and people that suffered from these illnesses were making it up or wanting attention.

I think that’s why I had a hard time talking about problems with anyone and even as an adult I can still struggle. It’s not because I’m embarassed or ashamed, it’s normally because I don’t know how to put my feelings into words.

I struggled a lot as a teenager, I was overweight and bullied for it. I stopped eating, would hurt myself and I drank a lot (yes, typical emo/goth child!) but I couldn’t talk about it with anyone. It wasn’t until I was 23 working in a really terrible chef job when I had a complete meltdown that I knew I needed to seek help.

Only with my help of my really supportive partner was I able to quit my job and take myself to see the doctor. I was put onto Citalopram, an anti-depressant, and I felt much better for it.

I think there is a lot of stigma surrounding the use of anti-depressants or people are worried they might feel “spaced out”, “fake happy” or not themselves. I can’t say that was my experience at all. I didn’t feel any different in the wider sense, it was like I was just bettet equipped at dealing with problems – the smallest thing wouldn’t set me off like it used to.

It doesn’t help when there are pictures like this floating about online –

This is an antidepressant

Sharing stuff like this is harmful and doesn’t help anyone! If this stops one person from seeking help then that is one too many!

Pictures like this perpetuate the thought that mental health problems are trivial and nothing a walk amongst the trees won’t fix! I’m sure if that was the case there wouldn’t be people who can’t cope and take their own lives or put themselves in hospital!

Luckily, there are those fighting back, like Cat a Facebook page who has created one of the many anti-images of this one and actually tries to educate people –

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I know the way I felt was situational – my manager at that job was vile to me (throwing plates and telling me I was worthless), so 6 months after I quite my job, I stopped taking the pills (please consult your doctor if you think you are ready to do this, don’t just stop taking them).

Some people may need to be on the tablets longer, some may need to be on them forever but that doesn’t mean anything. In a nation where we take a daily tablet for allergies or contraception it’s really a small price to pay to feel well in yourself!

There are of course other routes to take if you do not want to take tablets due to side effects – seriously, what doesn’t have side effects?! – but if these other methods don’t work, the tablet route is a sensible one to go down.

I don’t have any personal experience with using cognitive behaviour therapy or counselling but I’d suggest you research all options to see what you think would suit you best.

The Black Dog of Depression

The worst part about these illnesses is you don’t know when they are going to strike you down. You can be perfectly happy and BAM! the black dog starts growling in the back of your mind – telling you your worthless and sucking your energy away.

What you need to do is figure out how you can “leash” your furry companion. This can be different for everyone – it may be as easy as spending more time with friends or it may be as difficult as being prescribed a new medication.

For me, I spend time with my partner and friends, I eat good food and I take some “me” time but I know that at some point I may need to go back to the doctor if my usual methods of healing don’t work.

Here is an excellent website that can help you identify when and how to get your black dog under control and it explains it much better than I ever could!

Know You’re Not Alone

According to Gov.uk one in six adults are diagnosed with a mental health condition. This means going about your daily life you incredibly likely to interact with someone with a diagnosed mental health problem. This doesn’t mean that those that go undiagnosed don’t suffer from these problems too.

Whether you’re a sufferer or not, all I ask is don’t be a dick! You never know what sort of effect a misplaced word could have on someone you have a brief interaction with throughout the day. If your “attention seeking” friend posts a status on Facebook, ask if they are ok and let them know you’re there for them. Reach out to your friends and family and let them know how you’re are feeling – don’t suffer in silence.

I think 13 Reasons Why encapsulates this sentiment quite well. I know season 2 has received a lot of backlash – don’t spoil it for me, I’m not at the end yet! – but it shows that everything can have an effect. I’m not talking about the more dramatic things that happen in the show (Bryce, don’t think I’ve ever hated a fictional character so much 😡) but the smaller events can lead to someone’s breakdown.

It raw and it’s honest and I think it’s an important show in this age of talking about mental health. It can be triggering though so it might be a good idea to watch it with someone of you’re not sure how you may react to watching the events unfold.

If you’re worried about talking to someone you know there are services out there available for support. SAMH has a wealth of support options and advice to help those struggling to cope.

Sometimes the unhappiest people are those with the biggest smiles!

This post could be so much longer and I’m really grateful if you made it this far! I’d appreciate it if you let me know your thoughts on this and tell me what sort of methods do you use to keep your dog at bay?

Claudia xxx