Friday 25 August 2017

Bank Holiday BBQ Pet Safety Feat. IAMS*

Many of you will be having BBQ’s this weekend and savouring that last bank holiday before Christmas. I know that every time there is a Bank Holiday I pray for some sun and hope that I can make the most of it with a few drinks and some good food. IAMS have done some research and found that one in five British Bank Holiday BBQ’s are expected to have pets as guests. For me this is certainly true as I own a cat, he is often hovering in the garden when the BBQ gets started. You’ll also find that Bank Holiday BBQ drinking sessions can start early so guests may also bring their dogs with them to save them being at home all day alone.

We decided to have a BBQ, courtesy of some food from M&S, they have a great BBQ range. IAMS survey of 2000 UK pet owners reveals that the smell of sizzling sausages will have 50% of pets licking their lips and 30% of pet owners will give their pets some food from their BBQ. Being a pet owner I know how easy it is to slip them a little treat from the plate however in the long term this can have damaging health implications such as increasing the risk of heart problems. Hearing this made me really think about how I treat my pets.

IAMS survey also revealed that almost a third of pets are given food at a BBQ. According to IAMS Nutrition Expert and Veterinary Training Manager, Kellie Ceccarelli, although our pets love to eat whatever they can get their paws on, we need to be careful to ensure they remain as happy and healthy as possible: “It’s important to understand what your pet needs to be happy and healthy. A diet rich in high quality animal proteins, such as chicken and turkey, will help in maintaining optimal overall health for your pet, supporting a strong immune system, healthy skin and a shiny coat.”
Photo provided by IAMS

Instead of giving your pet a sneaky sausage, why not let them have something that is made for them such as the IAMS Proactive Health. This contains high levels of protein in every bowl keeping them fuller for longer and hopefully away from the BBQ food! Chicken and turkey protein is the number one ingredient in IAMS Proactive Health which give cats 47% more animal proteins and dogs 24% more than the top two leading brands. If you haven’t heard of IAMS before, it is an advanced nutrition pet food brand that uses quality ingredients to provide great food that your dog or cat will love. I can vouch for this, whenever my pets eat IAMS it barely touches the sides!!

Kellie also reveals the top BBQ foods to keep those pets paws away from: (*Information provided by IAMS).

1. Chicken wings and drumsticks
Cats and dogs love the smell of chicken, but anything with bones runs the risk of splintering and causing intestinal obstruction. Look for a pet food that has high quality animal proteins, such as chicken and turkey, as the number one ingredient. IAMS contains 47% more animal proteins for cats and 24% more protein for dogs than the top two leading brands.

2. Hot Dogs
Hot dogs are unhealthy and contain high amounts of preservatives and salt which can cause diarrhoea and digestive problems for pets.

Feed your pet a 100% complete diet to help maintain optimal overall health, supporting a strong immune system, healthy skin and a shiny coat.

3. Corn on the Cob
Whilst this isn’t toxic for pets, the shape alone could cause choking and obstruction so avoid letting your pet sneak a lick of your buttered cob.

4. Onions
Big plate of sliced onions awaiting burgers? Keep them away from the dogs. All close members of the onion family (shallots, onions, garlic, scallions, and the like) contain compounds that can harm your pooch’s red blood cells if sufficiently ingested.

5. Alcohol
Both dogs and cats are uniquely sensitive to alcoholic beverages, but may not shy away from lapping up an abandoned drink. Even just a few ounces of beer or wine can be poisonous to a dog or cat so be careful leaving drinks in pet’s reach.

Will you be having a bank holiday BBQ with your pets? I hope you’ll be bearing in mind this information. To find out more, visit the IAMS website.

*I received some items free of charge in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way. Information retrieved from IAMS.

Thursday 24 August 2017

Being Engaged and How to Find the One?*

If you don’t already know, I recently got engaged and thought I would put into words a few things that I have noticed along the way over the past few weeks.

Firstly for the first week at LEAST you will not be able to stop staring at your hand. I found myself looking at my ring at every opportunity. Driving home I’d catch a glance at it, even at the printer at work I would be standing there admiring it. Everyone else will want to look at it too, I had to get my nails done purely as so many people were looking at my hands. You’ll think it’s fallen off so you’ll have to keep looking to reassure yourself. For the first week I would wake up in the night and check it was still on my finger! The first question people will ask is “how did they propose?” so be prepared to tell your story over and over again. I think in the end I copied and pasted it onto a word document so I could send it on if anyone asked.

Not my actual ring!
Everyone will want to know if you’ve set a date before you’ve barely settled into the idea. If anyone you know gets engaged and you are reading this, please just let them enjoy the moment and don’t pester them for dates! Saying that we booked ours after just a few weeks, but I had been secretly browsing for months so had a few ideas. People will also have an opinion on how you should do things. Just remember it is YOUR day, what you do is completely up to you. I only want one bridesmaid as I can’t afford to have more and don’t want to cause arguments amongst friends and whilst this is not particularly traditional I have to think it is not about anyone else. Don’t feel the need to invite people that you haven’t seen or spoken to in years even if they are family, at £45 a head on average it’s not cheap and I can’t afford to have anyone and everyone attend. You do what you want to do. I have started planning some of the finer details using my gorgeous Jardine of London Suffolk Leather Journal. I was lucky enough to win this journal in the East Anglian Wedding Magazine Giveaway! I am in love with it. It fits my wedding theme perfectly and retails at £75 if you were looking to get one for yourself.

Friends that are married (especially recently married) will become a god send for advice and tips. I wouldn’t have known where to start if it wasn’t for a couple of people who’ve just got married telling me all of the tips and tricks. Take all of their advice on board, it really is useful. Find out what they thought was worth the money and things that were not so worth getting. You will feel a different kind of love for your partner. No matter how long you have been together, being engaged means this shit is real. Someone actually wants to be with you for life. I felt a massive surge of love after I got engaged, I was on cloud 9 and felt like the luckiest girl alive. There’s no feeling quite like it.

Weddings are expensive. When you do start looking at different venues you will be shocked at how expensive weddings really are. I mean, sure they can be done on a budget so shop around where you can. I find myself thinking, do I have beans on toast for a year so I can afford flowers for my wedding? And it is a tempting option! You will find that friends and family with certain skills will be very generous in offering their services so grab the offer with both hands. I really do feel grateful for people that are willing to help.

Me and my fiancé know each other by association at sixth form but rekindled our friendship online. I think it can be a really effective way to meet someone, especially if you lack confidence talking to people face to face like me. If you are looking for the one then why not try out a dating site? Depending on where you live there are plenty of sites available such as Exeter dating, Highlands dating, Plymouth dating, Birmingham dating and for the more mature audience there is over 50s dating.

For those who want a ‘no strings attached’ relationship there is the option to sign up to an adult dating site. This site is more suited for people who want a quick fling rather than a long term relationship. It then leaves room for people who are serious about the long term to join the other sites I mentioned above. Why don’t you give it a go - you never know where it may lead!

*Sponsored Post


Monday 21 August 2017

Caribbean Food Week 2017 - Street Party Spread*

For the past couple of years I have worked with Grace Foods to bring you some delicious recipes for Caribbean Food Week and this year is no different! Grace Foods is the UK’s number 1 Caribbean food and drink company and I love the selection of products they have to offer. Caribbean Food Week starts today and runs until 28th August. I have created some dishes which are perfect for a street party spread.

It’s simple to create your own street party from the comfort of your own home with the delicious range of food sold by Grace Foods. In my hamper I received loads of really tasty foods so I decided to create a couple of recipes that you can easily recreate yourself at home.

When it comes to drinks, why not create a ginger beer rum punch? 

Rum Punch 
Orange Juice
One Can of Grace Foods Ginger Beer
Pineapple Juice
Fresh Lime and Orange
Your Favourite Caribbean Rum!

Method: Mix all of the liquid ingredients together, chop a lime and an orange and serve from a bowl with a ladle! Delicious. Make a non-alcoholic version by replacing the rum for Coconut Water instead to give it a Caribbean vibe!

Jerk Beef Skewers with Coconut Rice, Peas and Beans
Dunns River Jerk Seasoning
Grace Foods Jamaican Style Hot Sauce
Beef Chunks
Grace Foods Coconut Milk
Grace Foods Peas and Beans

Method: Marinate your beef pieces in some Jerk Seasoning, I added a little bit of Jamaican Style Hot Sauce to the mix as well to really spice things up. Thread the beef onto skewers adding some onion, pepper and mushrooms as well to really make these go a bit further. Grill these in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the beef is cooked how you like it.

If you have any leftover marinated beef you can cook that up with some of the leftover ingredients, it is really tasty.

For the rice, boil as normal and before serving mix some coconut milk into the rice to give it a delicious sweet flavour. This will also help to cool your mouth down after eating hot beef skewers! I then mixed in some Grace Foods Peas and Beans. This is perfect street food, serve up the rice and pop a skewer on top.

If you’d like to get involved, Grace Foods UK is holding its second annual Caribbean Food Week Food Festival at Windrush Square in Brixton, London (Friday 25th – Saturday 26th August), featuring Caribbean street food, live cookery demonstrations, music and much more! Head over to the Caribbean Food Week’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep updated with future events.

Will you be making any of these recipes? Be sure to use the hashtag #CFW2017 for anything you try!

*I was provided with some Caribbean Food from Grace Foods in order to create these recipes. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way.

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Dyson Supersonic Blow Dry Review

Last week I met up with my friend and fellow blogger Kim and she told me all about her experience having had a blow dry with the new Dyson hair dryers. I thought it sounded amazing, and Kim very kindly passed my details on to Lydia who then contacted me.

I couldn’t wait to meet Lydia and have a lovely professional blow dry with the new product, something I had heard of but never had the pleasure of seeing in action. I arrived at John Lewis in Norwich where Lydia greeted me and sat me down. She showed me the Dyson Supersonic and explained to me how it worked. It retails at £299.99 which is definitely an investment but is definitely something you can add to your Christmas or birthday list. I was sceptical at first, but trust me this product will change your beauty routine.

First off, Lydia dampened my hair and showed me how quick it was to then dry it again. My hair can take on average 45 minutes to an hour to dry, however with the Dyson I was able to get it done in less than 15 minutes. Lydia explained that there are 3 different attachments which are all magnetic and can easily be rotated depending on the angle you want to dry your hair. I tried all of the attachments out to see what styles I could create. The hair dryer itself is extremely light, I was surprised at how easy it was to hold and move around.

Another thing that surprised me was how quiet it was in comparison to my usual hair dryer. The motor has been placed in the handle which not only makes it easier to hold, the weight is balanced. The microprocessor measures and regulates air temperature 20 times every second, keeping the temperature under control. This meant it wasn’t as hot as regular dryers but due to the better and faster airflow this allowed for quicker drying times. Heat and power settings can be adjusted simply by clicking a button on the back. There are 4 heat and 3 speed settings. The surfaces of the attachments stay cool even after use so there is no need to worry about children grabbing them after use and hurting themselves. It also means you can blow dry your hair right to the root without burning your scalp.

After finding out about all the features and accessories it was time for me to put the Dyson Supersonic to the test. We decided to go with the diffuser head which would give the effect of beautiful beach waves. I cannot believe how simple it was to create this look. Firstly I tipped my head upside down, I then placed sections of the hair into the diffuser nozzle and once dry I was left with voluminous waves. The best thing about this dryer was that I had no frizz either. I loved the natural effortless style it created with barely any effort put in from myself. The cable is also 2.7m long meaning I could tip my head upside down and give myself plenty of space away from the plug in order to create this look

Overall, I really enjoyed using the Dyson Supersonic, it is definitely one for the Christmas list! As you can see in the photo above, my beach waves stayed in all day, in fact they even looked a bit better after as they settled more! Thank you to Lydia for having me at John Lewis for this blow dry. What do you think?

*This post is not sponsored however I got to try the product out for free in exchange for this review.

Thursday 10 August 2017

Pulsin Snack Bar Brownies Review*

I’m always looking for new and healthy snacks so when I heard about Pulsin snack bars, I knew I needed to try them. Pulsin make natural protein bars, protein powders and healthy treats. I was lucky enough to receive a range of Pulsin raw choc brownies.

Firstly I noticed the packaging, I thought it was bright and eye catching. As part of its 10th anniversary, Pulsin re-branded all of its snack bars, brownies and protein bars and I think they did a great job. They use minimal packaging and their business is powered with 100% renewable energy! I received a few different flavours to try. One thing I can say is that they all tasted really good. Although you can tell they’re healthier than having a regular brownie you do still get the full flavours. These are packed with raw cacao and really satisfied my cravings for a chocolate fix without indulging in a ton of calories.

Pulsin products are 100% natural, gluten free and suitable for vegetarians. They are low in sugar and contain no artificial colours, additives or GM ingredients. There is also a range of vegan, dairy-free, organic, soya free and paleo products so there really is something for everyone and they’re good for all of the family. The products aim to give you a sustained energy release, strengthen your immune system and make you feel fuller for longer.

I would have to say my favourite bar was the Peanut Choc Chip Raw Brownie. This had a nutty taste with a hint of chocolate but it wasn’t too bitter. It was so flavoursome, I actually ate mine in place of having a high calorie dessert and I didn’t feel deprived in the slightest. It was nice snacking knowing I was eating a blend of magnesium, fibre, vitamins and minerals. You can buy a case of 9 for £13.59.

View the whole range at Pulsin. What do you think of these?

*I received these items free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way

Friday 4 August 2017

My Little Box July 2017 - Seashell Edition

This month’s My Little Box was a complete surprise to me having avoided/missed any spoilers and hints leading up to delivery day. I really didn’t know what to expect but did enjoy opening the outer packaging to discover a lovely nautical coloured box with the theme ‘seashells’.

Firstly we received these little pack of note cards with envelopes to encourage us to ”go offline”, put down the phones/laptops and instead write a note to a friend. I can’t remember the last time I actually wrote a letter to someone so it was nice to receive these and I will try and put them to good use.

The My Little Beauty item this month was this amazing Sandy Shore Body Scrub. I love everything about this, even down to the gorgeous packaging. This scrub is made from Polynesian Sand, Sea Salt Crystals, Tiare Flower and Seaweed Oils. It does a great job at gently exfoliating dull dead skin cells from the body, leaving skin feeling soft and supple. The scent of this is lovely and I am going to be pretty gutted when it runs out.

I really like these summer night candle holders and tealights. These paper based candle holders are supposed to be used outside, however they recommend putting the tealights into glass containers before popping them into the bags. The tealights are unscented. I like the design on the bag and the metal hangers that come with them mean that you can even hang them up on a tree branch or suchlike. Al fresco dining accessory at its finest!

This seashell sweet is quite intriguing. I heard it was the French equivalent to a freddo, not quite in my eyes! The shell was not edible so to actually eat the sweet without putting the shell into my mouth did prove difficult and if I’m honest I got bored of trying to eat it. The flavours were nice though and I do like that it was served this way.

This shower gel has a lovely scent to it and I loved the packaging, I just wish it was a little bit bigger. I gave this to my sister so hopefully she enjoyed using it!

I really like this Institut Karite Rose Mademoiselle Shea Hand Cream. Although it does not really fit into the seashell theme, it is a nice travel sized product to take along on those short breaks. The cream uses shea butter as a key ingredient and has a great scent of fresh roses. I find it leaves my hands incredibly soft and does not have that sticky residue that some creams have. I will definitely be getting my use from this.

This travel pouch pillow was one of the best things in the box in my opinion this month! You can either use it as a waterproof travel bag, or you can blow it up and use it as a travel pillow. Brilliant! The slogan says “Sea, Nap and Sun” so is perfect for this month’s theme. I just need to plan a beach trip for an excuse to use it! It will comfortable fit a couple of items in, I was thinking some sun lotion and some cooling spritz would be fine.

What do you think of the July My Little Box? I can’t wait to see what they come up with this month.

© UK Lifestyle and Beauty Blog. All rights reserved.