Nine Lives

Well it's pretty safe to say that my furry friend Dexter has been through the wars recently. I've had a lot of people asking on twitter and instagram what happened to him and how he is doing now, so I thought I'd share the story. Which ends in the seemingly obvious moral of how massively important cat insurance is.

It all started the weekend I went down to Leeds to get tattooed, and my flatmate Gary called me the day before I was coming home to say that Dexter had been sick a few times and was moping about feeling sorry for himself. Both Dexter and Tinkerbell are sick every so often, but never enough to worry because it's always fur ball related. However this time Gary was suspect of Dexter climbing on top of the bookcase in the living room and trying to 'groom' the hair extensions on a fake unicorn head we had up there. Sounds absolutely mad but Gary is a propmaker and this was a wonderful creation of his he made back at uni! Neither of the cats had bothered about going up there years before now, so I don't know what all of a sudden struck Dexters interest.

I got home at 6ish the next day, and got quite a fright when I saw how much Dexter wasn't himself. I kept a close eye on him overnight, and rushed him along to the vets as soon as they opened the next morning. They took him in for bloods and an xray, with their biggest concern being these long fake hair extensions that he had been grooming getting caught up in his intestines. After him being kept in overnight and a massive chat with the vet, we decided that an operation was the next step to go in and investigate, then remove whatever was lurking inside his tummy. Turns out it was the tiniest clump of long hair that was stuck in there, causing all the trouble. One more day and Dexter probably wouldn't have survived :( The hair had caught between his bowels and intestines, causing them to concertina and cause a blockage. The vet told me a few stories of cats swallowing needles and thread - and funnily enough it's not the needle they were worried about, it's the thread! Any piece of hair, string, ribbon, tinsel, thread etc that is longer than their own hair can cause serious amounts of damage.

Dexter came through the operation and was in the pet hospital for a week and a half afterwards in recovery. They said if a human had been through this procedure they would be in intensive care for weeks. They had to cut him open inside in 6 different places, and remove a part of his bowel that had been damaged. He was on a drip for the duration of his stay, and was in a really vulnerable position to the point that I didn't know if he was going to make it through. Every day I waited for the call to say he could come home. I cried with relief the day that finally came!

Here is my handsome boy about a week after he got home. You can see where his legs have been shaved for the drip he was on (which he was apparently quite a pro at pulling out the last few days of his stay!) and I was having to give him tablets twice a day for about three weeks, along with trips to the vets every three days. Until he finally got signed off last weekend :) He looks quite skinny in this picture but his appetite is back in full swing and he's piling the weight on again. Dexter has some lovely new toys from Gor Pets to enjoy now that he's home (a new scratching post and a bouncy mouse toy) He has also totally claimed my gorgeous tartan blanket from Heritage of Scotland. It's Loch Carron Lambswool with the Bruce of Kinnaird tartan, and I'd been using it as a throw for the bottom of my bed and over the chair in my bedroom. Then I noticed that on the blanket is the only place Dexter would sleep when he was back in the house. So I think he's claimed dibs on it for now, but I'll let him away with it since he's not been well.

You can't quite see in this picture but a huge section of Dexter's belly got shaved for the operation. He's such a hairy cat so it's really strange seeing skin for a change! It's growing back pretty quickly already though.

Oscar and Dougall got this new play pen from Rakuten Play for when they have 'floor time'. I'll be honest, what's happened with Dexter has made me even more wary about any potential dangers in my room. So although the pigs don't have as much free reign as they used to I feel a lot better knowing that any hazards are out the way when they're out their cage. The above picture was piggy dinner while I cleaned their cage, but they've also got a good few toys to play with and 'mweep' around during floor time :)

To celebrate Dexter coming home, Jokers Masquerade sent him this absolutely BRILLIANT costume! Can you guess who it is?...

Katy Perry California Girl - SO GOOD! I've used Jokers before for past Halloween Costumes, but I had no idea they did pet costumes too. Okay, this one is for a dog BUT you know my history of dressing Dexter up haha. And before you say it, absolute alarm bells were ringing around that wig - believe me. But don't worry, I popped it on for photo purposes, completely supervised and put it straight in the bag and away in a drawer once we were done. I have learned my lesson and there is no way I will go through that drama again.

Daisy dukes, bikini on top! Hahaha how absolutely raging does he look in this picture?! He wasn't tolerating the wig and the glasses at the same time, it was either to be one or the other. But the cupcake bra he was very happy to wear, and actually wandered off for a bit once I took the wig off. I'm determined to get some better pictures of Dexter come Halloween time with this outfit on, and possibly try it on Heather's dogs next time she comes round as the outfit is a Large (he's a big cat after all)

To say this stuff with Dexter has been an ordeal, is an absolute understatement. Any pet owner will know how much animals become more like family, and the thought of them being ill or passing away is really unimaginable and hard to deal with. The biggest lesson I've learned through this, is that even though Dexter is a house cat - pet insurance is still absolutely vital. I was naive to think that because he stays in the house means he is exempt to any sort of danger. So if you don't have pet insurance I cannot stress more that you should seriously consider getting it. Dexter's vet bill tallied up to £966 in total, and I couldn't have got through this experience or paid the bill without the help of my friends and family. I'm a very lucky girl, and Dexter is a very lucky cat. I am so grateful to have my fur-baby home. They say cats have nine lives and I am absolutely positive that Dexter has used up one of them. Take it from me, life lesson learned!

Life reboot: Be kind to yourself

Whenever I am feeling overwhelmed with life in general, I like to strip things back to basics. Rather than over complicating everything (which I seem to be very good at doing) taking in a few simple pleasures always helps me to clear my head. Being proactive and addressing my physical health and appearance really seems to help the emotional and psychological side too. Our body is a vessel which carries us through the ups and downs of life. You need to be kind to it otherwise you will burn yourself out, and be of absolutely no use to anybody! Here's my three recent life reboots which are helping to make a much healthier and happier outlook on life.

Reboot 1 - Skin

My skin very much reflects how I'm feeling on the inside. I feel like my stress escapes through the body in the form of tension headaches and spots! I'll explain more about the headaches later, but I have been indulging in a regular skincare routine recently. Taking the time to actually do it is just as satisfying as seeing the results from the products themselves.

This corrective formula is designed to condition and lift the delicate area around your eyes. I am such a bad one for rubbing my eyes with face wipes to get rid of stubborn eyeliner at the end of a long day. I've luckily never suffered from dark circles but I do get quite bad bags under my eyes when I'm tired. I apply it first thing in the morning before my makeup, and it definitely helps to cool and calm that morning puffiness under my eyes. You only need to use a tiny amount too, so I can see this 15ml bottle lasting me quite a while.

I recently found out that Glasgow was ranked as the UK's most skin friendly city! Simple combined  the average hours of sunshine, pollution levels, and a poll of stress levels from women living in the city over the course of a year. I live just a couple of miles outside the city centre, so was quite pleased to hear this. Guess where was discovered to be the worst... Liverpool! Which really surprised me as I thought it would be London (who actually ranked second)

A beauty therapist years ago gave me the fear over using Simple products, saying that they strip your skin and are actually very harsh. So I had always avoided them until now, and I'm very glad that my opinion has completely changed for the better.

Simple selection - Every Day

I have been using these 4 products above every morning. Although I cleanse my face the night before, I like to use the cleansing wipes and eye makeup remover pads in the morning after my shower. I always think I've got all my eye makeup off and end up still resembling the little girl from The Ring when I come out the shower. I have been using the protecting moisture cream and then the beauty balm instead of my usual foundation. I absolutely love it! It's a light and creamy consistency but has actually got quite a medium coverage for a BB cream, and I'm wearing it in the first picture in this post. It is my total go to base every day now, and the colour adapts to my skin really well whether I've got fake tan on or absolutely nothing. A wee hidden makeup gem that I will re buy over and over!

Simple selection - Every night

Taking 20 minutes in the evening to treat my skin is a nice wee wind down before bed. I go between the cleansing lotion and facial wash depending on how much makeup I've worn that day. Along with the eye makeup remover on a cotton pad, then the facial toner. Plus the same protecting moisturiser that I use in the morning too. The thought of going to bed with makeup on (which I was quite bad for doing lazily sometimes, especially after a night out) makes me feel horrible!

Simple Selection - Every other day

I've been using these three products every other day when I feel like my skin needs it. The illuminating radiance cream feels like a primer with a slight shimmer to it, and is also quite moisturising so makes for a lovely dewy makeup look along with the BB cream. The moisture mist is great for me during long days filming on set, where I don't touch my makeup for at least 12 hours and my skin starts to feel a bit tight. I literally just spray this over my makeup and it brings it to life again! Probably not how you're meant to use it but it works for me. The sun kissed moisture cream has a gradual tanner in it, so I use it the days after I've faked tan to help my face match by body (school boy error!) as the tan on my face does fade when I'm cleaning it so much.

Reboot 2 - Body

I would be lying if I said I wasn't one of those girls who thinks about her weight and body shape on a daily basis. But I'm finally taking a more positive approach to it, with lifestyle changes and sustainable actions rather than fad diets. I did a big monthly shop last week, as I've been getting catering on so many jobs recently that I've not needed to have a lot of food in the house. But there's no greater feeling than your fridge and cupboards being full of good, healthy food. I'm still a big fan of Quorn and have been incorporating it into my cooking at least once a week. 

I'm happy to get excited about food, rather than starving myself and counting calories. I eat what I want, making sensible choices, and don't deny myself a treat when I'm in the mood! I must say though, since getting back into exercise again I am not craving chocolate and crisps the way I used to. I think they definitely have an addictive quality to them and the less you eat them, the less you end up wanting them. I was told at the Health Sanctum that my recent headaches are probably being caused by the withdrawal of certain foods, including carbs! Health Sanctum is a health and weight loss clinic that has opened just down the road from me, and they specialise in alternative and holistic therapy. I've been visiting them for Techno-shape sessions and I feel so lucky to have such an informative and supportive source right on my doorstep.

Okay, so excuse my bare belly! But here are some 'before' pictures of my stomach (which is the main area I am addressing) before I started the TechnoShape sessions. Each session lasts 40 minutes, and consists very simply of wearing a air pressured belt while you work on the treadmill. The belt gently moves and almost massages your stomach, encouraging blood circulation to your mid drift. Ever work out and get a red face and red arms, but your stomach is always still cold to touch? Encouraging the blood to circulate more in this area while you work out boosts your body's ability to burn fat in this area. That's the science behind it anyways, and I've completely 4 of 6 sessions, so I'll be excited to share the results with you when I'm done :)

Reboot 3 - Mind

Probably the simplest of the three, and the overall message of this post. Be kind to yourself. Look after your body and your mind and they will look after you. Be kind to others, because we are all on our own personal journey and facing hard battles along the way.

I am learning every day to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me.
—  Tracee Ellis Ross

That blogging thing

Ahhh, blogging. It's quite a funny old thing really. I went to have a chat recently with other bloggers and YoMeGo, who are a social media agency based in Glasgow. They wanted to hear our views on blogging and how we think it has changed over the years. Plus all the nitty gritty bits in between, like sponsored posts, blog analytics and relationships with PR companies. I guess I didn't realise until I sat down with a pizza and some beers to have a good blether with everyone else, how MUCH it has actually changed since I started out about 5 years ago now.

I started my blog when I was at uni, where they encouraged us to keep an online journal of the work we were producing. It wasn't long before I discovered the online community that existed here, and that all types of subjects were being written about - from fashion to photography, and beauty to babies! I liked what I saw, and I decided to keep on writing about my day to day life. Before I knew it, people were subscribing and chatting away to me on twitter etc, and to this day I have met so many people through blogging who I would now consider as very close friends. My blog has always been a very slow burner, growing gradually but still presenting me with a lot of amazing opportunities to work with brands and visit different places. Overall it has been an absolutely amazing experience, and despite life being hectic at times I still try to post whenever I can. It is only a hobby, after all, and not a full time job which some people can commit every day of their lives to. I am adament that I would still write my blog even if 2 or 2000 people were reading it. But I still admit, it has been hard not to get caught up in the negativity and nitty gritty bits which I mentioned in the first paragraph.

Gem hit the nail on the head for me with her recent post Blogging: Room 101. Give it a wee read if you can, I think Gem has verbalised a lot of peoples feelings about blogging recently better that I ever could. I have been seeing a lot of similar posts with the same theme popping up recently, which is sort of comforting. Despite wanting to stay true to myself and why I write this blog it has been very hard not to get caught up in the rat race. I don't want to worry about numbers. I don't want to judge the quality of my writing on the amount of post comments I get. I don't want to feel pressurised into attending every event I get invited to in case I 'miss out' on something. I don't want to turn down the opportunities presented to me from PR companies by taking more than a day to reply to their emails. But at the same time, I don't want to sell out. I will only feature products on brands on here that I am genuinely interested in or excited about. Whether it is bought by myself with my hard earned cash, or sent to me for free. If I do receive a product to write about, I don't want to feel the pressure from PR people to post about it and say what they want me to say, link what they want linked to and adhere to ridiculous deadlines.

This is not why I started my blog. I started my blog for me, and although I am so grateful for the opportunities it has presented me with I also don't want to verge away from being anything but my absolute self. It is so easy to get caught up in this saturated wave of bloggers trying to outdo each other, trying to gain celebrity status in their chosen field. I know a lot of people who think blogging is, quite frankly, about 'getting free shit'. And if that's your vibe, then that's fine with me! That's just not the sort of blogs I am reading anymore, and not the sort of blog I plan on being myself. Gem put it very well when she said about it being a content war and a technology game. You don't need a fancy layout or a professional camera to be a 'good' blogger. Everyone has their own reasons for writing a blog, and for me it is a personal diary documenting my life, which I love being able to look back on.

When in doubt, take a break and try to strip everything back to basics. One thing that I have been letting myself down with recently has been my photo taking. Life has been so busy and taking a quick iphone picture then slapping a filter on it seems a lot easier than using my actual camera, uploading the pictures, editing them and then saving onto a folder on my laptop. So that's one thing that I want to try a lot harder at, because I enjoy reading posts that are visually pleasing too.

Pictures by the lovely Lynsay (Miss West End Girl) at the Toast of The Town Photography Workshop. Ripcurl surf t-shirt from Spartoo, Kunzite Crystal Necklace from an Astrology shop in London, and denim Levi shorts are a cut up pair of my uncles old jeans (SORRY UNCLE CHRIS!)

I don't mean for this post to come across negative at all. It's quite the opposite, I'm excited about staying passionate when it comes to blogging, and the YoMeGo event and the Toast Of The Town workshop really cut through the crap for me and made me realise the reality and nature of blogging these days, and where my 'place' is amongst that. Joe Blogs Network held the photography event at the Millenium Hotel in Glasgow, with Stuart and Hamish from Dreghorn Photography leading the class. We covered all the basics and explored the different settings on our cameras, along with some quick hints and tips specifically useful for blog photography. It was such an informative day in a beautiful setting (with a yummy lunch thrown in too) and has really helped to reignite the excitement of properly exploring my camera, different lenses, and taking my time when it comes to photographs. So from now on, I will try to put the iphone down and improve the quality of my photos on here.

For now, that's my goals when it comes to the blog. I want to write nice long rambly posts (like this one, soz) with funny life anecdotes and pictures that are pleasing.

Anyway, onto you - how do you feel about blogging? Wether you've been doing it for 5 years or 5 weeks I would love to hear your views. After all, we really are in this together!