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Lifestyle

(Ad-Gifted: This post contains PR sample products)

Let’s be honest: I’m definitely the most shining example out there of eco living.

My kitchen isn’t zero-waste.

I’m not vegan.

My bathroom cupboard isn’t plastic-free.

However, like a lot of people, I have had a flame put under my arse in recent years to make some sustainable changes. Thanks for that, David Attenborough!

But seriously, I do think that we each have a responsibility to look after this place that we call home. I also agree with Anne Marie Bonneau that “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly”.

With that in mind, I wanted to share 5 of the easiest eco switches I’ve made recently. These changes aren’t going to single handedly save the world, but they have made my daily routines more sustainable. And it all adds up!

5 Everyday Eco Changes I've Made blog post graphic for Pinterest

Patch for cuts and injuries 

Plasters are one of those things that we don’t really look at through an environmental lense. Myself included until recently!

However, those little strips of plastic are not biodegradable or recyclable, meaning that they’re likely to sit in landfill for years and years to come.

Don’t worry though, you don’t have to start being ridiculously careful not to get a paper cut to avoid plasters altogether.

I’ve recently discovered Patch: The plastic-free plaster made from bamboo.

Bamboo is a hell of a lot better for the planet than a lot of materials, since it’s a rapidly renewable resource that requires less water and doesn’t need pesticides or herbicides to flourish. Plus, of course, it’s biodegradable.

The power of plants, eh?

Patch also offers plasters in different skin tones and formula variations for everything from burns and blisters, to grazes and splinters.

Safe to say my medicine cabinet is now well and truly stocked!

Method cleaning products 

With #Hinching still taking the online world by storm, I’ve defo been tempted to buy a different product for every doorknob, light switch and floorboard in my home. But I also know that that’s probably not the best for the planet. Nor will it make me want to actually clean my house…

One switch I’ve made towards more eco-friendly daily habits is opting for sustainable cleaning products. Specifically, Method!

If you’ve tried their Wild Rhubarb anti bac, you know why I’m a total convert.

Their packaging is recyclable, their products are 100% cruelty free and vegan, they use greener production processes AND they actually get the job done. All whilst smelling incred.

Reusable cloths instead of cleaning wipes

Did you know that most cleaning wipes (and makeup wipes!) actually contain plastic? I know. Mind blown.

So whilst I love the convenience of an anti bac wipe, I knew it was something I wanted to switch out. It definitely takes a bit more work, but reusable cleaning cloths, alongside my Method sprays, are the best solution I’ve found.

I use them and then always wash them on a high heat to kill any germs.

Colour coding my cloths has also made the process much easier for me. Ethical lifestyle blogger Bethany recommended this method and it changed the game…

Blue = Loo

Pink = Sink 

Green = Glass 

Every other colour = Everything else 

It just makes sure everything is hygienic, which was something that worried me at first.

Beeswax wraps 

Tin foil and cling film used to be my absolute go-tos whenever I had leftovers or had to take food out with me. However, in both cases, they’re not recyclable.

That’s why I also switched to beeswax wraps. Essentially, these are sheets of cotton that are covered in beeswax. When you warm the wrap up with the heat of your hands, it sticks to itself like cling film and tin foil. Difference is, it can be washed off and used again and again.

When it does reach the end of its life, it’s completely biodegradable.

Absolute win-win, am I right?

Lost sheep coffee pods

Bloody love an iced coffee, me. 

But it doesn’t take a genius to know that coffee pods are pretty bad for the planet.

Recently I was kindly gifted these biodegradable and plastic-free coffee pods by Lost Sheep. Not only are this company super green, but they’re based locally to me in Kent and all of their beans are ethically sourced.

Plus, they make a mean iced latte…

How have you been making your day-to-day more sustainable recently? Or have any of these switches inspired you?

 

(Ad-Gifted: This post contains PR sample products)

Let’s be honest: I’m definitely the most shining example out there of eco living.

My kitchen isn’t zero-waste.

I’m not vegan.

My bathroom cupboard isn’t plastic-free.

However, like a lot of people, I have had a flame put under my arse in recent years to make some sustainable changes. Thanks for that, David Attenborough!

But seriously, I do think that we each have a responsibility to look after this place that we call home. I also agree with Anne Marie Bonneau that “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly”.

With that in mind, I wanted to share 5 of the easiest eco switches I’ve made recently. These changes aren’t going to single handedly save the world, but they have made my daily routines more sustainable. And it all adds up!

5 Everyday Eco Changes I've Made blog post graphic for Pinterest

Patch for cuts and injuries 

Plasters are one of those things that we don’t really look at through an environmental lense. Myself included until recently!

However, those little strips of plastic are not biodegradable or recyclable, meaning that they’re likely to sit in landfill for years and years to come.

Don’t worry though, you don’t have to start being ridiculously careful not to get a paper cut to avoid plasters altogether.

I’ve recently discovered Patch: The plastic-free plaster made from bamboo.

Bamboo is a hell of a lot better for the planet than a lot of materials, since it’s a rapidly renewable resource that requires less water and doesn’t need pesticides or herbicides to flourish. Plus, of course, it’s biodegradable.

The power of plants, eh?

Patch also offers plasters in different skin tones and formula variations for everything from burns and blisters, to grazes and splinters.

Safe to say my medicine cabinet is now well and truly stocked!

Method cleaning products 

With #Hinching still taking the online world by storm, I’ve defo been tempted to buy a different product for every doorknob, light switch and floorboard in my home. But I also know that that’s probably not the best for the planet. Nor will it make me want to actually clean my house…

One switch I’ve made towards more eco-friendly daily habits is opting for sustainable cleaning products. Specifically, Method!

If you’ve tried their Wild Rhubarb anti bac, you know why I’m a total convert.

Their packaging is recyclable, their products are 100% cruelty free and vegan, they use greener production processes AND they actually get the job done. All whilst smelling incred.

Reusable cloths instead of cleaning wipes

Did you know that most cleaning wipes (and makeup wipes!) actually contain plastic? I know. Mind blown.

So whilst I love the convenience of an anti bac wipe, I knew it was something I wanted to switch out. It definitely takes a bit more work, but reusable cleaning cloths, alongside my Method sprays, are the best solution I’ve found.

I use them and then always wash them on a high heat to kill any germs.

Colour coding my cloths has also made the process much easier for me. Ethical lifestyle blogger Bethany recommended this method and it changed the game…

Blue = Loo

Pink = Sink 

Green = Glass 

Every other colour = Everything else 

It just makes sure everything is hygienic, which was something that worried me at first.

Beeswax wraps 

Tin foil and cling film used to be my absolute go-tos whenever I had leftovers or had to take food out with me. However, in both cases, they’re not recyclable.

That’s why I also switched to beeswax wraps. Essentially, these are sheets of cotton that are covered in beeswax. When you warm the wrap up with the heat of your hands, it sticks to itself like cling film and tin foil. Difference is, it can be washed off and used again and again.

When it does reach the end of its life, it’s completely biodegradable.

Absolute win-win, am I right?

Lost sheep coffee pods

Bloody love an iced coffee, me. 

But it doesn’t take a genius to know that coffee pods are pretty bad for the planet.

Recently I was kindly gifted these biodegradable and plastic-free coffee pods by Lost Sheep. Not only are this company super green, but they’re based locally to me in Kent and all of their beans are ethically sourced.

Plus, they make a mean iced latte…

How have you been making your day-to-day more sustainable recently? Or have any of these switches inspired you?

 
first time puppy parent 1

It’s quite hard to put into words what being a new puppy parent is like because it’s so many contradictions.

It’s your heart tugging with more love than you ever imagined at the same time as a tug for the life you had before.

It’s putting another being’s needs before your own but getting them for your needs in the first place.

It’s tiring and invigorating.

It’s easy to forget a life without this little life and hard to settle into a new way of life.

It’s wanting to believe that you’re doing your best whilst fearing that you’re actually being the worst.

An emotional rollercoaster that’s for sure.

And the worst thing? Everyone else makes it sound easy. They talk to you like you’re bizarre for finding it hard. It’s isolating but you have a new companion who’ll never leave your side.

So let’s dig into what it’s really like shall we?

first time puppy parent 1

Life Pre-Olive

Ben and I have wanted a dog ever since we met Ben’s family cockapoo Lily. 

We enjoyed trips to the pub, runs along Camber Sands, snuggles on the sofa and the sheer joy of seeing her after a little while and being covered in kisses.

We envisaged a similar life. A new buddy to get us off our arses of a weekend. Someone (somepup) we could play with, shower with love and take on adventures.

In our minds, we’d greet her downstairs each morning, tail wagging, feed her breakfast, take her for a walk, play with her and have her sleep by our feet whilst we got on with jobs, chores and our marriage.

To say we weren’t prepared for the reality of a puppy is an understatement.

Meeting Olive

The day we met Olive we went to meet the family who’d just had a litter, initially with our eyes on a sable coloured girl but when we arrived and cuddled 3 of the puppies, Olive stole our hearts.

Her coat was so soft, she kissed us both on the nose and fell straight asleep on my chest and in Ben’s arms – we were smitten.

It’s as cliche as it sounds – they really do choose you!

Getting ready for Olive’s arrival

Some weird sort of maternal instinct kicked in as soon as we had agreed to give Olive a home.

That evening I came home, signed up for insurance, registered her to the local vet, ordered everything she’d need from Amazon and began reading tons of puppy training books.

I got addicted to Zak George’s channel on YouTube and suddenly the realisation of what we’d be in for started to kick in.

I learned that there’d be biting. Frequent toilet trips. That they couldn’t go out straight away. That the stairs were bad for their growing joints. That they’d whine and cry. That cockapoos in particular needed to be around you all the time.

But as the internet tends to do, everyone who wrote the books, filmed the videos or contributed to forums made it look so, so easy.

‘Just take them out for the toilet frequently’

‘Distract them with a toy when they’re biting’

‘Leave them for 30 seconds and build it up’

‘Keep them in a crate overnight’

Ok, I thought, we’ve got this, we’re prepared, it’ll be a breeze.

Reader: it is not a breeze.

Olive’s arrival

On her first day, we brought her back and let her explore her new home.

Her waggy little bot strolling around our living room told us she was excited.

That first day of bliss was punctuated with cuddles, snoozing on the sofa, play and kisses.

She took to her food straight away, slept in her new little bed during the day and seemed so happy.

That evening we’d made the decision to make a puppy pen in our bedroom with water, towels, a puppy pad for midnight wees, a comfy bed, a blanket from her mum and clothes from Ben and I.

We took her up and put her in, fell asleep shortly after and was awoken with small cries at around 5am to be taken to the toilet.

Oh my god, we thought, we’ve got the dream puppy!

The next night wasn’t the same.

Olive aged 8-16 weeks

For the next 4-5 nights Ben and I were awoken every hour to two hours with wailing, whining and trying to scramble up over the pen. 

We took her, in turns, to see if she needed the toilet but most of the time it was to play or be near us.

We tried putting her in her crate downstairs at bed time but she’d scream for 10 minutes before we couldn’t bear it any more.

We were both absolutely shattered.

During the day all routines went out the window.

I was awake from 5am, unable to take her out for walks and having to try a mixture of play, taking her to the toilet, feeding her, giving her toys to get her brain working, training her and trying to get her to sleep.

At the same time I was being relentlessly bitten – on the toes, fingers, ankles and more times than I care to admit – nipples. Cue having to wear a bra when working from home. Not ideal.

If she wasn’t being directly engaged with, she was chewing everything she shouldn’t, in sight.

Everything my life was went out of the window. There were days where I couldn’t even go to the toilet or shower until Ben came home because she’d pull something down or chew another massive hole in our skirting board.

And everyone kept telling me to put her in her crate for half an hour whilst I got on with things but the cries, screams, barks and whines were unbearable.

Work pressure piled on because I felt like I didn’t ever have more than 5 minutes to myself. The house was a state during the day and I felt desperately isolated being at home from 6am til 7:30pm when Ben came home – just me and this little shark.

I was beginning to feel desperate.

Again turning the the internet to hear, ‘they grow out of it’, ‘it’s normal’, ‘it’ll stop when she’s 6 months’ and thinking – how can I do this for another 3 months?

first time puppy parent 2
first time puppy parent 3

What changed 

Again, being a total Virgo/type 3, I read, read, read and researched everything I could.

I ordered toys that would keep her busy.

We had a dog trainer come to the house to show us different ways to train her to not do the things we didn’t want her to do.

Ben bought bitter apply spray to stop her chewing our entire house down.

We learned about teething and got her the things she needed to gnaw on.

Ben’s Mum looked after her so I could go and work in town and also so she could socialise with Lily, their dog.

We started sending her to doggy day care so she could socialise with other dogs, have more training, get to know more adults and run around all day whilst we both work.

We let her sleep in our room without the pen and finally she’d be able to make it through the whole night 9pm – 6am without waking us up.

We got into a routine of: up, poop, walk, feed, play, sleep, up, poop, train, play, sleep and so on – which gave me snatches of longer periods to be able to work.

A semblance of balance was returning.

What it’s like now

Still hard at times but the absolute best.

Cockapoos by nature are extremely clever, and Olive is no exception – she knows that she wants my attention all the time and she knows that if she eats mud, chews the wall or splashes her water bowl – she’ll get it, so we’re still working on ignoring her naughty behaviours and rewarding the good.

She’s calmer. Since socialising with tons and tons of other dogs, her biting has completely stopped. Just like those smug-experienced-puppy-parents told us it would.

She’s still my shadow. Which makes doing things around the house or working from home quite difficult and distracting – but we’re getting there and I see improvements all the time. I can shower with her amusing herself now.

She can go for walks which tires her out which means she’s not so needy during the day – still needy but not desperately so like before.

I’m always terrified.

I began noticing a car hanging around our new housing estate and got paranoid that they were coming to steal her.

On walks, I get worried that she’s going to run away or be attacked by other dogs.

If she makes a weird noise, I’m convinced she’s really ill or hurt.

My anxiety, which I’ve worked all year on getting rid of is back in full force.

So what’s next?

The more we settle into this new way of life, the more mature she’ll get and hopefully the less paranoid wreck I’ll be.

But our routine now is getting way more settled. She’s at home with me three days a week, with both Ben and I another three days a week and then once a week with Ben’s mum or at day care with her puppy besties whilst I have meetings or go into town.

And if you’re still reading this saga of ‘Vix got a puppy she was woefully underprepared for but is actually doing a semi-decent job of not totally fucking it all up’ then I’ll share with you a quick list of the best things we’ve done or bought for her that we’d definitely do again or wish we’d done this time:

Spent more time in the house but away from Olive

Leave the house and pop her in her crate for 20 mins, not a problem. Try to take a wee for 2 minutes – house is screamed down.

Completely on us and the next thing we’re working on but I don’t think I’d have felt as overwhelmed as I did/do if I could just get work done in my office whilst she amused herself elsewhere.

Doggy day care

It’s so lovely to see the pals she’s made, the tail that wags ferociously as soon as we pull into the drive and the smiley videos we get sent when we pop her there.

It’s great so that I can get work done but it’s even better for her socialisation so she’s familiar with other dogs.

Furthermore, being around other dogs helps puppies learn bite inhibition and I’m convinced it’s what nailed her biting early on.

Poo bells

Sounds ridiculous but from day 2 of her being home, we put bells on the back door and every time we took her for a wee or a poo we tapped her paw on the bells – within 2 more days she’s completely mastered it – she then tapped the bells and sat by them herself to signal she needed the toilet.

After a couple of months of bells, we took them down (couldn’t bear the racket of her whacking them to go out and play) and now she just sits quietly by our back door, or climbs it more like, to be let out.

Taking her out before 12 weeks

Puppies shouldn’t really go on the grass/cement where other unvaccinated dogs may have been incase she picked up doggy diseases or worms but from 9 weeks we began carrying her in dog friendly cafes and pubs so that she could meet as many new people as possible.

Now she loves meeting adults and children and is well behaved and friendly towards strangers.

Getting grubby clothes, shoes and towels

I made the error of taking her out into the garden or on walks in ‘nice’ clothes and promptly got them chewed or muddy – same with towels.

As soon as I realised this mistake I pulled out loads of old leggings and jumpers I wasn’t too bothered about and ordered myself some wellies for walks and now I’m not bothered about how messy she gets.

Puppy proofing the house

Before she arrived we made sure that nothing was dangerous or could fall on her and that there were no loose wires she could chew on.

But we didn’t anticipate quite how much she’d love chewing on skirtboards or the wall corners.

I also wish we’d sorted the drawers and floordrobes out so that she didn’t nick as many socks or get to some of the stuff we hadn’t yet managed to pop in the loft.

Now everything is 100% safe/unstealable, I’m much more relaxed about letting her roam about the house whilst I’m working and not as worried about her chewing the things she shouldn’t.

Our trainer

We couldn’t book Olive into puppy classes as they were fully booked and the only time available would’ve been once she was too old.

For the same price, we’ve had a trainer come to the house twice.

Once for training Ben and I how to manage any misbehaviours at home and once to show me how to confidently walk her off lead.

As new dog owners, learning from the experts has really helped us with our confidence – even if I still worry all the bloody time.

Teaching her ‘leave it’

We started this command when she was young but still haven’t perfected it.

This would’ve saved the skirting boards, our socks and Ben’s trainers from being chewed.

It also would mean that we wouldn’t panic every time she went into the garden that she was going to eat stones.

It’s an on-going training lesson that we’ll have mastered soon, I hope.

There are just a few things I wish we’d have done or am glad we have done so far!

If you’re thinking of getting a puppy, or have one on the way, I hope this post hasn’t terrified you!

The truth is, things DO get better but the honest truth is, it is bloody hard at the beginning and even 6 weeks later, I’m still finding it difficult but the love, fun, laughter and companionship is (almost totally) worth it.

Lastly, please feel free to reach out if you’re struggling as a new puppy parent as we could do with more of us admitting that it isn’t plain sailing and slobbery morning kisses.

 
first time puppy parent 1

It’s quite hard to put into words what being a new puppy parent is like because it’s so many contradictions.

It’s your heart tugging with more love than you ever imagined at the same time as a tug for the life you had before.

It’s putting another being’s needs before your own but getting them for your needs in the first place.

It’s tiring and invigorating.

It’s easy to forget a life without this little life and hard to settle into a new way of life.

It’s wanting to believe that you’re doing your best whilst fearing that you’re actually being the worst.

An emotional rollercoaster that’s for sure.

And the worst thing? Everyone else makes it sound easy. They talk to you like you’re bizarre for finding it hard. It’s isolating but you have a new companion who’ll never leave your side.

So let’s dig into what it’s really like shall we?

first time puppy parent 1

Life Pre-Olive

Ben and I have wanted a dog ever since we met Ben’s family cockapoo Lily. 

We enjoyed trips to the pub, runs along Camber Sands, snuggles on the sofa and the sheer joy of seeing her after a little while and being covered in kisses.

We envisaged a similar life. A new buddy to get us off our arses of a weekend. Someone (somepup) we could play with, shower with love and take on adventures.

In our minds, we’d greet her downstairs each morning, tail wagging, feed her breakfast, take her for a walk, play with her and have her sleep by our feet whilst we got on with jobs, chores and our marriage.

To say we weren’t prepared for the reality of a puppy is an understatement.

Meeting Olive

The day we met Olive we went to meet the family who’d just had a litter, initially with our eyes on a sable coloured girl but when we arrived and cuddled 3 of the puppies, Olive stole our hearts.

Her coat was so soft, she kissed us both on the nose and fell straight asleep on my chest and in Ben’s arms – we were smitten.

It’s as cliche as it sounds – they really do choose you!

Getting ready for Olive’s arrival

Some weird sort of maternal instinct kicked in as soon as we had agreed to give Olive a home.

That evening I came home, signed up for insurance, registered her to the local vet, ordered everything she’d need from Amazon and began reading tons of puppy training books.

I got addicted to Zak George’s channel on YouTube and suddenly the realisation of what we’d be in for started to kick in.

I learned that there’d be biting. Frequent toilet trips. That they couldn’t go out straight away. That the stairs were bad for their growing joints. That they’d whine and cry. That cockapoos in particular needed to be around you all the time.

But as the internet tends to do, everyone who wrote the books, filmed the videos or contributed to forums made it look so, so easy.

‘Just take them out for the toilet frequently’

‘Distract them with a toy when they’re biting’

‘Leave them for 30 seconds and build it up’

‘Keep them in a crate overnight’

Ok, I thought, we’ve got this, we’re prepared, it’ll be a breeze.

Reader: it is not a breeze.

Olive’s arrival

On her first day, we brought her back and let her explore her new home.

Her waggy little bot strolling around our living room told us she was excited.

That first day of bliss was punctuated with cuddles, snoozing on the sofa, play and kisses.

She took to her food straight away, slept in her new little bed during the day and seemed so happy.

That evening we’d made the decision to make a puppy pen in our bedroom with water, towels, a puppy pad for midnight wees, a comfy bed, a blanket from her mum and clothes from Ben and I.

We took her up and put her in, fell asleep shortly after and was awoken with small cries at around 5am to be taken to the toilet.

Oh my god, we thought, we’ve got the dream puppy!

The next night wasn’t the same.

Olive aged 8-16 weeks

For the next 4-5 nights Ben and I were awoken every hour to two hours with wailing, whining and trying to scramble up over the pen. 

We took her, in turns, to see if she needed the toilet but most of the time it was to play or be near us.

We tried putting her in her crate downstairs at bed time but she’d scream for 10 minutes before we couldn’t bear it any more.

We were both absolutely shattered.

During the day all routines went out the window.

I was awake from 5am, unable to take her out for walks and having to try a mixture of play, taking her to the toilet, feeding her, giving her toys to get her brain working, training her and trying to get her to sleep.

At the same time I was being relentlessly bitten – on the toes, fingers, ankles and more times than I care to admit – nipples. Cue having to wear a bra when working from home. Not ideal.

If she wasn’t being directly engaged with, she was chewing everything she shouldn’t, in sight.

Everything my life was went out of the window. There were days where I couldn’t even go to the toilet or shower until Ben came home because she’d pull something down or chew another massive hole in our skirting board.

And everyone kept telling me to put her in her crate for half an hour whilst I got on with things but the cries, screams, barks and whines were unbearable.

Work pressure piled on because I felt like I didn’t ever have more than 5 minutes to myself. The house was a state during the day and I felt desperately isolated being at home from 6am til 7:30pm when Ben came home – just me and this little shark.

I was beginning to feel desperate.

Again turning the the internet to hear, ‘they grow out of it’, ‘it’s normal’, ‘it’ll stop when she’s 6 months’ and thinking – how can I do this for another 3 months?

first time puppy parent 2
first time puppy parent 3

What changed 

Again, being a total Virgo/type 3, I read, read, read and researched everything I could.

I ordered toys that would keep her busy.

We had a dog trainer come to the house to show us different ways to train her to not do the things we didn’t want her to do.

Ben bought bitter apply spray to stop her chewing our entire house down.

We learned about teething and got her the things she needed to gnaw on.

Ben’s Mum looked after her so I could go and work in town and also so she could socialise with Lily, their dog.

We started sending her to doggy day care so she could socialise with other dogs, have more training, get to know more adults and run around all day whilst we both work.

We let her sleep in our room without the pen and finally she’d be able to make it through the whole night 9pm – 6am without waking us up.

We got into a routine of: up, poop, walk, feed, play, sleep, up, poop, train, play, sleep and so on – which gave me snatches of longer periods to be able to work.

A semblance of balance was returning.

What it’s like now

Still hard at times but the absolute best.

Cockapoos by nature are extremely clever, and Olive is no exception – she knows that she wants my attention all the time and she knows that if she eats mud, chews the wall or splashes her water bowl – she’ll get it, so we’re still working on ignoring her naughty behaviours and rewarding the good.

She’s calmer. Since socialising with tons and tons of other dogs, her biting has completely stopped. Just like those smug-experienced-puppy-parents told us it would.

She’s still my shadow. Which makes doing things around the house or working from home quite difficult and distracting – but we’re getting there and I see improvements all the time. I can shower with her amusing herself now.

She can go for walks which tires her out which means she’s not so needy during the day – still needy but not desperately so like before.

I’m always terrified.

I began noticing a car hanging around our new housing estate and got paranoid that they were coming to steal her.

On walks, I get worried that she’s going to run away or be attacked by other dogs.

If she makes a weird noise, I’m convinced she’s really ill or hurt.

My anxiety, which I’ve worked all year on getting rid of is back in full force.

So what’s next?

The more we settle into this new way of life, the more mature she’ll get and hopefully the less paranoid wreck I’ll be.

But our routine now is getting way more settled. She’s at home with me three days a week, with both Ben and I another three days a week and then once a week with Ben’s mum or at day care with her puppy besties whilst I have meetings or go into town.

And if you’re still reading this saga of ‘Vix got a puppy she was woefully underprepared for but is actually doing a semi-decent job of not totally fucking it all up’ then I’ll share with you a quick list of the best things we’ve done or bought for her that we’d definitely do again or wish we’d done this time:

Spent more time in the house but away from Olive

Leave the house and pop her in her crate for 20 mins, not a problem. Try to take a wee for 2 minutes – house is screamed down.

Completely on us and the next thing we’re working on but I don’t think I’d have felt as overwhelmed as I did/do if I could just get work done in my office whilst she amused herself elsewhere.

Doggy day care

It’s so lovely to see the pals she’s made, the tail that wags ferociously as soon as we pull into the drive and the smiley videos we get sent when we pop her there.

It’s great so that I can get work done but it’s even better for her socialisation so she’s familiar with other dogs.

Furthermore, being around other dogs helps puppies learn bite inhibition and I’m convinced it’s what nailed her biting early on.

Poo bells

Sounds ridiculous but from day 2 of her being home, we put bells on the back door and every time we took her for a wee or a poo we tapped her paw on the bells – within 2 more days she’s completely mastered it – she then tapped the bells and sat by them herself to signal she needed the toilet.

After a couple of months of bells, we took them down (couldn’t bear the racket of her whacking them to go out and play) and now she just sits quietly by our back door, or climbs it more like, to be let out.

Taking her out before 12 weeks

Puppies shouldn’t really go on the grass/cement where other unvaccinated dogs may have been incase she picked up doggy diseases or worms but from 9 weeks we began carrying her in dog friendly cafes and pubs so that she could meet as many new people as possible.

Now she loves meeting adults and children and is well behaved and friendly towards strangers.

Getting grubby clothes, shoes and towels

I made the error of taking her out into the garden or on walks in ‘nice’ clothes and promptly got them chewed or muddy – same with towels.

As soon as I realised this mistake I pulled out loads of old leggings and jumpers I wasn’t too bothered about and ordered myself some wellies for walks and now I’m not bothered about how messy she gets.

Puppy proofing the house

Before she arrived we made sure that nothing was dangerous or could fall on her and that there were no loose wires she could chew on.

But we didn’t anticipate quite how much she’d love chewing on skirtboards or the wall corners.

I also wish we’d sorted the drawers and floordrobes out so that she didn’t nick as many socks or get to some of the stuff we hadn’t yet managed to pop in the loft.

Now everything is 100% safe/unstealable, I’m much more relaxed about letting her roam about the house whilst I’m working and not as worried about her chewing the things she shouldn’t.

Our trainer

We couldn’t book Olive into puppy classes as they were fully booked and the only time available would’ve been once she was too old.

For the same price, we’ve had a trainer come to the house twice.

Once for training Ben and I how to manage any misbehaviours at home and once to show me how to confidently walk her off lead.

As new dog owners, learning from the experts has really helped us with our confidence – even if I still worry all the bloody time.

Teaching her ‘leave it’

We started this command when she was young but still haven’t perfected it.

This would’ve saved the skirting boards, our socks and Ben’s trainers from being chewed.

It also would mean that we wouldn’t panic every time she went into the garden that she was going to eat stones.

It’s an on-going training lesson that we’ll have mastered soon, I hope.

There are just a few things I wish we’d have done or am glad we have done so far!

If you’re thinking of getting a puppy, or have one on the way, I hope this post hasn’t terrified you!

The truth is, things DO get better but the honest truth is, it is bloody hard at the beginning and even 6 weeks later, I’m still finding it difficult but the love, fun, laughter and companionship is (almost totally) worth it.

Lastly, please feel free to reach out if you’re struggling as a new puppy parent as we could do with more of us admitting that it isn’t plain sailing and slobbery morning kisses.

 

*this post contains affiliate links

I was 25 before I bought my first thong. I’d just gotten out of a relationship and was getting into a new one – my first foray into dating apps – and my pals were shocked at my choice of festive or neon boy shorts.

I remember it. White. Lacy. Itchy and forever needing to be picked out after walking 4 steps.

I was 19 when I wore my first mini dress. I was at college and was going clubbing for the first time. I wanted to wear clothes the other gals were wearing and I wanted to appear way more confident than I actually was.

I remember that too. Strapless, silky, black on top with a fruity, brightly coloured pattern on the bottom. Probs from the Lipsy sale. Defo worn with concealer lips and Maybelline mascara.

I was 23 when I wore my first pair of proper high heels out on a night out – believing I needed to graduate from Vans, Converse and ankle boots if I wanted to attract guys.

I remember going over on my ankle whilst holding a kebab and being asked by a police officer if I needed a lift home and having to try and convince him that I wasn’t pissed – even though I was eating a kebab at 2am and definitely was. My ankle hurt for 2 weeks afterwards LET ALONE the throbbing pain in the balls of my feet that only an 11am bacon sandwich the next day and a full 10 hours could fix.

I was 24 when I wore my first pair of Spanx (but the Primark version obvs) under a Miss Selfridge body con dress for a uni night out because, well Lauren Conrad, obvs.

I remember still not feeling like LC and almost peeing myself in the bathroom because trying to peel the dress up and those pants down was a MARATHON.

I was 31 when I bought my first pack of M&S cotton pants* that covered my entire butt and went up to my elbows.

I remember the sigh of relief as I pulled them on, jiggled around and could still feel comfortable after a full day of wearing them under jeans.

I was 33 when I threw away all the tights that chafed my thighs or gave me the bottom of butt itch when I’d been sat down too long.

I remember promising myself I’d never need to wear tights ever again unless I reeeeaaally wanted to.

But I was 33 when I finally gave up choosing uncomfortable clothes.

uncomfortable clothes

No underwear that would cut into my groin or give me a yeast infection from being synthetic and totally unbreathable.

No tights that were so tight they’d make me want to throw up after a Nandos with the girls.

Or wouldn’t quite go up over my thighs and bum so I’d be totally aware of the gap between vulva and tight crotch all day long and feel them cutting into my inner thighs the entire time (could people see it if they walked behind me?)

No jeans that wouldn’t fit so that I’d be constantly monitoring my builder’s bum.

No tops that made me pick at the material around my stomach and boobs, constantly rearranging it and ensuring it wasn’t disappearing down to my belly button exposing my greying, comfy crop top bra.

No dresses that I had to constantly pull down or worry if my bum was showing.

And no shoes that make my feet ache after being in them for more than 10 minutes.

As women we are not only constantly monitoring our outward appearance but we’re often trying to force ourselves into clothes that are uncomfortable and awkward for the sake of ‘fashion’, trends or to impress others.

And. I. Got. Tired.

I was chatting to my therapist about body image one day (we’ve focussed a lot on this in therapy) and she asked me what clothes I felt comfortable in or that made my feel good about myself.

I described silky leggings, cosy, brightly coloured jumpers, jeans that fit on the waist AND calves, high waisted trousers made from a lush material and flowy dresses I could just chuck on with trainers.

She asked me why those clothes make me feel good.

I said that I didn’t have to think about how my body looked when I wore them.

And a lightbulb went off.

The more uncomfy the clothes were – restrictive blouses, mini skirts, skinny jeans, structured trousers, tight dresses – the more I had to think about my body. And the more I thought about my body, the worse I felt.

Then she asked what would happen if I didn’t wear clothes I felt uncomfortable in for the sake of trends or appearing ‘put together’ and just wore what was comfortable?

I said I’d worry I’d look slobby, frumpy, and unattractive.

She said that sounded like I was more worried that other people would think those things and then asked what was more important – how I felt in my clothes or what other people thought.

Obviously, as neurotic as I can be, being comfortable way outweighed what I perceived other people to think.

And what does ‘feeling put together’ really mean anyway? Who made these rules? What does it matter if we’re simply wearing ‘clothes’ rather than an ‘outfit’?

She also asked how I perceived people if I saw them wearing leggings, flowy dresses, trainers instead of heels, comfy trousers and cosy jumpers. Would I make a judgement that they were frumpy, slobby or unattractive or did I just not care? Or did I look at them and think, ‘yasss comfy queen, I wish I was wearing that!’

She then said, ‘what sort of clothes do the people most important to you wear?’

I realised then that I either didn’t know or couldn’t care less because the qualities that I cared about in the people closest to me didn’t look like the New In section on Zara.

It was these questions and the resulting discussions that was my wake up call.

If I was to become body neutral and accepting, my first step was to stop wearing clothes that made me feel bad about myself or distracted me from being in the moment – because of being conscious, having to fuss with them or feeling restricted.

Now of course, ‘level of comfort’ is relative and what may feel like being wrapped up like a meatball Subway to me, may be pyjamas to you, but if any of these feelings resonate with you – I urge you to do a comfortable clothes audit too!

For me, it was out with any underwear that had wires or was made from really syntheticy material.

I even disposed of socks that cut into my ankles, and gave them to Olive as toys!

I donated or sold trousers that were itchy or stiff and replaced them with the M&S leggings of dreams*, lounge bottoms and cotton jeans* (again M&S because I like the fit).

I also donated skirts and dresses that were either short enough that I was always concerned with flashing or tight enough that I felt restricted.

I replaced these with the Zara dresses of Hot for The Spot fame because the JOY of chucking one on with trainers and a hoodie or my faux-leather jacket in under 5 minutes with no further faffing or fannying felt so freeing.

And out with tops and jackets that I would have to fuss with or that felt too tight on my arms. 

I now have an array of brightly coloured jumpers* that go with all of my leggings, trousers and jeans.

My wardrobe of today isn’t likely to win me any Fashion Blogger of the Year awards but it does mean I can run around the field after Olive, make the train on time with a coffee and sit down for 9 hours on my laptop without anything feeling like it’s digging in, itching, flapping open or riding up.

I’m no longer constantly monitoring how I look on the outside or how the clothes feel and I’m much better at donating or returning something that does make me have to think about it whilst I’m wearing it.

Clothes and fashion can often be a great way to express your personal style and taste but do they have to be uncomfortable and distracting?

For some the trade off between expressing themselves artistically or stylistically in clothes and feeling uncomfortable is one they’re happy to ignore or bear.

For 33 year old Vix, working from home, playing with a puppy, building a business or bopping round town they’re something I enjoy experimenting with and styling up but not to the extent that I’m willing to give up my comfort any longer.

I don’t think there has to be an all or nothing approach. Otherwise we’d all be walking around in tunics. I’m certainly not going to be hanging up my & Other Stories blazers for North Face cagoules any time soon because I still do enjoy fashion and styling but I’ve just drawn the line at pieces that make me feel uncomfortable and am choosing all future purchases based on my comfy test.

Will I be pulling it up or down?

Will it be tight against my crotch?

Am I going to be on alert for builder’s bum?

Will my arms feel like circulation is going to be cut off?

Will I get annoyed at a baggy crotch?

Will I be constantly picking at the material or rearranging it?

If it doesn’t pass, it doesn’t come home.

Where are your clothes on the comfy scale?

And does choosing comfort over fashion mean, ‘you’ve let yourself go’ and is ‘all part of getting older’ or are these myths perpetuated to keep us monitoring ourselves so we’re distracted from bigger things?

All the big questions!

 

*this post contains affiliate links

I was 25 before I bought my first thong. I’d just gotten out of a relationship and was getting into a new one – my first foray into dating apps – and my pals were shocked at my choice of festive or neon boy shorts.

I remember it. White. Lacy. Itchy and forever needing to be picked out after walking 4 steps.

I was 19 when I wore my first mini dress. I was at college and was going clubbing for the first time. I wanted to wear clothes the other gals were wearing and I wanted to appear way more confident than I actually was.

I remember that too. Strapless, silky, black on top with a fruity, brightly coloured pattern on the bottom. Probs from the Lipsy sale. Defo worn with concealer lips and Maybelline mascara.

I was 23 when I wore my first pair of proper high heels out on a night out – believing I needed to graduate from Vans, Converse and ankle boots if I wanted to attract guys.

I remember going over on my ankle whilst holding a kebab and being asked by a police officer if I needed a lift home and having to try and convince him that I wasn’t pissed – even though I was eating a kebab at 2am and definitely was. My ankle hurt for 2 weeks afterwards LET ALONE the throbbing pain in the balls of my feet that only an 11am bacon sandwich the next day and a full 10 hours could fix.

I was 24 when I wore my first pair of Spanx (but the Primark version obvs) under a Miss Selfridge body con dress for a uni night out because, well Lauren Conrad, obvs.

I remember still not feeling like LC and almost peeing myself in the bathroom because trying to peel the dress up and those pants down was a MARATHON.

I was 31 when I bought my first pack of M&S cotton pants* that covered my entire butt and went up to my elbows.

I remember the sigh of relief as I pulled them on, jiggled around and could still feel comfortable after a full day of wearing them under jeans.

I was 33 when I threw away all the tights that chafed my thighs or gave me the bottom of butt itch when I’d been sat down too long.

I remember promising myself I’d never need to wear tights ever again unless I reeeeaaally wanted to.

But I was 33 when I finally gave up choosing uncomfortable clothes.

uncomfortable clothes

No underwear that would cut into my groin or give me a yeast infection from being synthetic and totally unbreathable.

No tights that were so tight they’d make me want to throw up after a Nandos with the girls.

Or wouldn’t quite go up over my thighs and bum so I’d be totally aware of the gap between vulva and tight crotch all day long and feel them cutting into my inner thighs the entire time (could people see it if they walked behind me?)

No jeans that wouldn’t fit so that I’d be constantly monitoring my builder’s bum.

No tops that made me pick at the material around my stomach and boobs, constantly rearranging it and ensuring it wasn’t disappearing down to my belly button exposing my greying, comfy crop top bra.

No dresses that I had to constantly pull down or worry if my bum was showing.

And no shoes that make my feet ache after being in them for more than 10 minutes.

As women we are not only constantly monitoring our outward appearance but we’re often trying to force ourselves into clothes that are uncomfortable and awkward for the sake of ‘fashion’, trends or to impress others.

And. I. Got. Tired.

I was chatting to my therapist about body image one day (we’ve focussed a lot on this in therapy) and she asked me what clothes I felt comfortable in or that made my feel good about myself.

I described silky leggings, cosy, brightly coloured jumpers, jeans that fit on the waist AND calves, high waisted trousers made from a lush material and flowy dresses I could just chuck on with trainers.

She asked me why those clothes make me feel good.

I said that I didn’t have to think about how my body looked when I wore them.

And a lightbulb went off.

The more uncomfy the clothes were – restrictive blouses, mini skirts, skinny jeans, structured trousers, tight dresses – the more I had to think about my body. And the more I thought about my body, the worse I felt.

Then she asked what would happen if I didn’t wear clothes I felt uncomfortable in for the sake of trends or appearing ‘put together’ and just wore what was comfortable?

I said I’d worry I’d look slobby, frumpy, and unattractive.

She said that sounded like I was more worried that other people would think those things and then asked what was more important – how I felt in my clothes or what other people thought.

Obviously, as neurotic as I can be, being comfortable way outweighed what I perceived other people to think.

And what does ‘feeling put together’ really mean anyway? Who made these rules? What does it matter if we’re simply wearing ‘clothes’ rather than an ‘outfit’?

She also asked how I perceived people if I saw them wearing leggings, flowy dresses, trainers instead of heels, comfy trousers and cosy jumpers. Would I make a judgement that they were frumpy, slobby or unattractive or did I just not care? Or did I look at them and think, ‘yasss comfy queen, I wish I was wearing that!’

She then said, ‘what sort of clothes do the people most important to you wear?’

I realised then that I either didn’t know or couldn’t care less because the qualities that I cared about in the people closest to me didn’t look like the New In section on Zara.

It was these questions and the resulting discussions that was my wake up call.

If I was to become body neutral and accepting, my first step was to stop wearing clothes that made me feel bad about myself or distracted me from being in the moment – because of being conscious, having to fuss with them or feeling restricted.

Now of course, ‘level of comfort’ is relative and what may feel like being wrapped up like a meatball Subway to me, may be pyjamas to you, but if any of these feelings resonate with you – I urge you to do a comfortable clothes audit too!

For me, it was out with any underwear that had wires or was made from really syntheticy material.

I even disposed of socks that cut into my ankles, and gave them to Olive as toys!

I donated or sold trousers that were itchy or stiff and replaced them with the M&S leggings of dreams*, lounge bottoms and cotton jeans* (again M&S because I like the fit).

I also donated skirts and dresses that were either short enough that I was always concerned with flashing or tight enough that I felt restricted.

I replaced these with the Zara dresses of Hot for The Spot fame because the JOY of chucking one on with trainers and a hoodie or my faux-leather jacket in under 5 minutes with no further faffing or fannying felt so freeing.

And out with tops and jackets that I would have to fuss with or that felt too tight on my arms. 

I now have an array of brightly coloured jumpers* that go with all of my leggings, trousers and jeans.

My wardrobe of today isn’t likely to win me any Fashion Blogger of the Year awards but it does mean I can run around the field after Olive, make the train on time with a coffee and sit down for 9 hours on my laptop without anything feeling like it’s digging in, itching, flapping open or riding up.

I’m no longer constantly monitoring how I look on the outside or how the clothes feel and I’m much better at donating or returning something that does make me have to think about it whilst I’m wearing it.

Clothes and fashion can often be a great way to express your personal style and taste but do they have to be uncomfortable and distracting?

For some the trade off between expressing themselves artistically or stylistically in clothes and feeling uncomfortable is one they’re happy to ignore or bear.

For 33 year old Vix, working from home, playing with a puppy, building a business or bopping round town they’re something I enjoy experimenting with and styling up but not to the extent that I’m willing to give up my comfort any longer.

I don’t think there has to be an all or nothing approach. Otherwise we’d all be walking around in tunics. I’m certainly not going to be hanging up my & Other Stories blazers for North Face cagoules any time soon because I still do enjoy fashion and styling but I’ve just drawn the line at pieces that make me feel uncomfortable and am choosing all future purchases based on my comfy test.

Will I be pulling it up or down?

Will it be tight against my crotch?

Am I going to be on alert for builder’s bum?

Will my arms feel like circulation is going to be cut off?

Will I get annoyed at a baggy crotch?

Will I be constantly picking at the material or rearranging it?

If it doesn’t pass, it doesn’t come home.

Where are your clothes on the comfy scale?

And does choosing comfort over fashion mean, ‘you’ve let yourself go’ and is ‘all part of getting older’ or are these myths perpetuated to keep us monitoring ourselves so we’re distracted from bigger things?

All the big questions!

 
petplan - olive the cockapoo
This post is written in collaboration with Petplan 

It’s Olive’s first Christmas and if she’s anything like me, she’ll be wanting to be awake at 6am, praying for a new bottle of Jo Malone and in a roast potato coma by 3pm.

Except she’ll snooze in til 9, can’t wear perfume (maybe Jo Mabone?) and I’m pretty sure potatoes are toxic to dogs – more for me then!

So in honour of her first Christmas, and a precursor to the post I’ve written on the realities of puppy parenting, I thought I’d pull together a lil summin’ to share how we’re going to be spending the big JC’s birthday.

petplan advent calendar - olive the cockapoo

In collaboration with Petplan (who we insured Olive with even before we got her and way before they asked me to partner with them), I’ll talk you through our plans, what we’re getting her for Xmas and a few extra ideas if you’re also in the market for pet presents!

And by the way, if you’re up for winning a gift for your pet pal, Petplan insurance has the,Petplan advent calendarwhere they’re releasing a new prize every day until the 24th!

The Big Day

We’re very fortunate to be living closely to Ben’s family and I’m even more fortunate to have spent the last 2 Christmases with them as well. They KNOW how to Xmas.

Christmas Eve will be spent a family friend’s house for MERRIMENT (do you say that word at any other time of the year?) followed by at least 2 rounds of Dixit, a cheese board and a G&T or 6 back at their’s.

We’ll stay there with Olive, who’ll probably take over their cockapoo Lily’s bed, and be there to exchange stockings in the morning.

The temptation to get Olive a stocking is HIGH and I might cave yet.

Then we’ll take her out for a morning charge around, followed by a snooze (her after playing, us after breakfast mimosas) and prepare for a delicious lunch at around 2ish.

After lunch is presents. Which is a big change for me as when my sister used to have Christmas with our Mum and Dad, presents could barely make it past midnight after Xmas Eve.

petplan pet insurance - olive the cockapoo

Olive’s Presents

I’d already ordered Olive a snuffle mat which I had heard was good for canine enrichment as they spend ages sniffing and retrieving the treats. But I caved early and let her have it.

She loves her puzzle bowl to eat her food out of as in a regular bowl it’s gone in 0.2 seconds so I might treat her to a slow feeder bowl to change up her meal times.

If someone got me a bowl for Christmas, I’d be RAGING but alas, we are not the same.

Olive is teething so it’s be recommended to get her a range of chew toys to keep that daily teeth grinding an exciting activity.

We also got her this lonnnnng Santa boy from our local pet shop (pictured) because she loves playing tug but if our fingers aren’t careful, they can get an over excited puppy nip so another Xmas present we’ll get her a pack of equally long boys.

petplan - olive the cockapoo

Other Gift Ideas

Ben’s mum, Alison, has reliably informed me there is such a thing as Jo Mabone perfume. Olive isn’t a particularly stinky dog, but if you’re getting a bottle of the good stuff this Christmas, it could be a fun one to give your pampered pooch too.

Speaking of a bottle of the good stuff, have you heard of Pawsecco? Me either until I learned it was one of the prizes you could win in the Petplan advent calendar and now I’m intrigued! If you don’t win, it could still be a fun gift.

Perhaps your pooch is so pampered that the bed you got for them, that they’ve already chewed to death, just isn’t cutting it any more? Then maybe a dog teepee could make for a great present! Perfect for a Queen’s Speech snooze!

We’ll be bringing Olive home on Boxing Day – full of her own puppy turkey dinner, happy with her pressies and spoilt from all of the cuddles, ready to start a brand new year with our brand new family member.

How are you spending Christmas Day and has your pup been a good boy/girl this year?

 
petplan - olive the cockapoo
This post is written in collaboration with Petplan 

It’s Olive’s first Christmas and if she’s anything like me, she’ll be wanting to be awake at 6am, praying for a new bottle of Jo Malone and in a roast potato coma by 3pm.

Except she’ll snooze in til 9, can’t wear perfume (maybe Jo Mabone?) and I’m pretty sure potatoes are toxic to dogs – more for me then!

So in honour of her first Christmas, and a precursor to the post I’ve written on the realities of puppy parenting, I thought I’d pull together a lil summin’ to share how we’re going to be spending the big JC’s birthday.

petplan advent calendar - olive the cockapoo

In collaboration with Petplan (who we insured Olive with even before we got her and way before they asked me to partner with them), I’ll talk you through our plans, what we’re getting her for Xmas and a few extra ideas if you’re also in the market for pet presents!

And by the way, if you’re up for winning a gift for your pet pal, Petplan insurance has the,Petplan advent calendarwhere they’re releasing a new prize every day until the 24th!

The Big Day

We’re very fortunate to be living closely to Ben’s family and I’m even more fortunate to have spent the last 2 Christmases with them as well. They KNOW how to Xmas.

Christmas Eve will be spent a family friend’s house for MERRIMENT (do you say that word at any other time of the year?) followed by at least 2 rounds of Dixit, a cheese board and a G&T or 6 back at their’s.

We’ll stay there with Olive, who’ll probably take over their cockapoo Lily’s bed, and be there to exchange stockings in the morning.

The temptation to get Olive a stocking is HIGH and I might cave yet.

Then we’ll take her out for a morning charge around, followed by a snooze (her after playing, us after breakfast mimosas) and prepare for a delicious lunch at around 2ish.

After lunch is presents. Which is a big change for me as when my sister used to have Christmas with our Mum and Dad, presents could barely make it past midnight after Xmas Eve.

petplan pet insurance - olive the cockapoo

Olive’s Presents

I’d already ordered Olive a snuffle mat which I had heard was good for canine enrichment as they spend ages sniffing and retrieving the treats. But I caved early and let her have it.

She loves her puzzle bowl to eat her food out of as in a regular bowl it’s gone in 0.2 seconds so I might treat her to a slow feeder bowl to change up her meal times.

If someone got me a bowl for Christmas, I’d be RAGING but alas, we are not the same.

Olive is teething so it’s be recommended to get her a range of chew toys to keep that daily teeth grinding an exciting activity.

We also got her this lonnnnng Santa boy from our local pet shop (pictured) because she loves playing tug but if our fingers aren’t careful, they can get an over excited puppy nip so another Xmas present we’ll get her a pack of equally long boys.

petplan - olive the cockapoo

Other Gift Ideas

Ben’s mum, Alison, has reliably informed me there is such a thing as Jo Mabone perfume. Olive isn’t a particularly stinky dog, but if you’re getting a bottle of the good stuff this Christmas, it could be a fun one to give your pampered pooch too.

Speaking of a bottle of the good stuff, have you heard of Pawsecco? Me either until I learned it was one of the prizes you could win in the Petplan advent calendar and now I’m intrigued! If you don’t win, it could still be a fun gift.

Perhaps your pooch is so pampered that the bed you got for them, that they’ve already chewed to death, just isn’t cutting it any more? Then maybe a dog teepee could make for a great present! Perfect for a Queen’s Speech snooze!

We’ll be bringing Olive home on Boxing Day – full of her own puppy turkey dinner, happy with her pressies and spoilt from all of the cuddles, ready to start a brand new year with our brand new family member.

How are you spending Christmas Day and has your pup been a good boy/girl this year?

 
tropic skincare routine - hydrating mask

This post is sponsored by Tropic Skincare but all thoughts, results and experiences are my own!

tropic skincare routine - full product line up

In the lead up to my big day, I sat down to lunch with my friends Laura and Rosie, we got to discussing just how much PERSONAL ADMIN there is when it comes to weddings.

Not only do you need to go for 4 billion dress fittings but now you have to contend with hair, nails. more make up than you’d normally wear in a year and the prospect of false eyelashes that you just PRAY don’t end up in the wedding cake.

I mentioned that I was worried that my skin was going to be a mess and that the make up wouldn’t look right and all the photos would have to be put in the bin immediately.

Laura, a skincare freakazoid, assured me that if I stuck to a skincare routine – which has been completely revolutionised by presents from Rosie and Tropic Skincare – that I should be absolutely fine.

Rosie, however, had a brain wave. She invited me to Tropic HQ to have my skin measured by their in-house expert, Kavitha.

tropic skincare routine - measuring my skin 1

From there we could create a bespoke routine that I could try in the weeks leading up to my wedding. Excitedly, I could then go back every few weeks to have my skin measured so we could really put my mind to rest that I wasn’t going to wake up with a second head popping out of my chin on the big day.

For someone as USELESS with skincare and knowing what’s good for me (I couldn’t even tell Laura and Rosie if my skin was dry, oily or combination and I’m 33 FFS), this seemed like such a lucky opportunity to get me ready for the big day.

The Consultation

When I first met Kavitha, I was fascinated by how much she knew about skin. She told me, within 4 seconds of meeting me, that I had a dry t-zone, normal skin texture but an oily chin.

She then measured my sebum, hydration, elasticity and melanin levels. We discovered I had a high amount of redness around my cheeks and nose which we wanted to get under control.

She also told me I had goodish elasticity but it could be improved so that my skin was looking extra bouncy, that my skin’s texture was even, and that my redness was high in places.

Furthermore, Kavitha told me that I had a high amount of sebum around my chin and that was why I was breaking out there so often.

It was fascinating (and a bit gross) to learn about my skin in this way. Kavitha explained the products they’d give me, on top of my usual cleanse/tone/moisturise Tropic Skincare routine would help combat the redness issues, control the sebum, improve the dryness around my nose and forehead and reduce the redness on my cheeks.

tropic skincare routine - skin mapping

The Products

A few days later a gigantic bundle of joy arrived that contained all of the products I should use and attached was a routine I could use them in.

The products I received were; Smoothing Cleanser Complexion Purifier + Bamboo Cloth, Vitamin Toner Pore Refining Mist, Skin Feast Nourishing Cream Concentrate, Deep Hydration Soothing Cooling Mask, Clear Skin Blemish Fighting Mask, Face Smooth Refreshing Polish, Pure Lagoon Blemish Prevention Serum, Super Greens Nutrient Boost Oil and Skin Dream Age-Defying Firming Cream Concentrate

tropic skincare routine - hydrating mask

My 4 Week Check Up

Two weeks later I hopped in an Uber to visit Tropic HQ for the second time and excited for a catch up with Rosie. After we gossiped about Love Island and swapped period horror stories, it was time to see Kavitha again.

On this round of measuring, Kavitha was surprised and delighted to see such a vast improvement.

tropic skincare routine

In JUST 4 WEEKS, my hydration improved by up to 31% in some areas and my sebum had been optimised across my complexion, with up to 29% reduction in some more oily areas.

Furthermore, the redness across my face, that I ALWAYS worried about had reduced by 14% on my forehead, 35% on my left cheek, 13% on my right and 15% on my chin!

The only blushes on the big day were during the speeches!

Kavitha said the real test would come in how things would be in another few weeks. Was this just a quick and vast improvement because something was being done to my skin other than a half-arsed cleanse every other day? Would it last?

In Between Appointments

Spurred on by these results (I’d always fallen into the camp of, ‘products are just so unnecessary they don’t actually DO anything,’ before discovering Tropic), I persevered and started to get compliments on how much brighter my skin was looking.

And it wasn’t even due to extra water intake – unless Diet Coke counts towards my daily 2 litres.

Final Catch Up

I was greeted by Kavitha’s smiling face as I entered the lab once more to see if the results had sustained or whether they’d tailed off (as I admittedly missed out a day here or there of self-care).

Luckily, Kavitha said, all results had stabilised and she could notice another improvement in elasticity. I don’t want to panic you guys but I THINK I might be Benjamin Button. My skin’s hydration levels had increased across the board by an average of 16%, and my sebum had optimised meaning an average reduction of 21%.

I had a major, hormonal, time of the month related rage spot on my chin on this day which accounted for a slight lift in sebum levels but Kavitha was convinced it’d all settle down once Aunty Flo had buggered off.

Genuinely, getting fully back on this skincare mission meant my skin was NOT an area of the day I had a last minute, Rachel Green sized panic about.

I reserved that for those origami cranes.

A HUUUUGE thank you to Rosie and the Tropic team for not only providing me with the products but also the best consultation and care I could ask for.

If you’d like to try one of the products I use in my daily routine, SIGN UP BELOW ASAP as we have 50 FREE samples to send out to some lucky readers!

And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram where I’ll be posting a full IGTV video of my skincare routine so you can see just how easy it is!

 
tropic skincare routine - hydrating mask

This post is sponsored by Tropic Skincare but all thoughts, results and experiences are my own!

tropic skincare routine - full product line up

In the lead up to my big day, I sat down to lunch with my friends Laura and Rosie, we got to discussing just how much PERSONAL ADMIN there is when it comes to weddings.

Not only do you need to go for 4 billion dress fittings but now you have to contend with hair, nails. more make up than you’d normally wear in a year and the prospect of false eyelashes that you just PRAY don’t end up in the wedding cake.

I mentioned that I was worried that my skin was going to be a mess and that the make up wouldn’t look right and all the photos would have to be put in the bin immediately.

Laura, a skincare freakazoid, assured me that if I stuck to a skincare routine – which has been completely revolutionised by presents from Rosie and Tropic Skincare – that I should be absolutely fine.

Rosie, however, had a brain wave. She invited me to Tropic HQ to have my skin measured by their in-house expert, Kavitha.

tropic skincare routine - measuring my skin 1

From there we could create a bespoke routine that I could try in the weeks leading up to my wedding. Excitedly, I could then go back every few weeks to have my skin measured so we could really put my mind to rest that I wasn’t going to wake up with a second head popping out of my chin on the big day.

For someone as USELESS with skincare and knowing what’s good for me (I couldn’t even tell Laura and Rosie if my skin was dry, oily or combination and I’m 33 FFS), this seemed like such a lucky opportunity to get me ready for the big day.

The Consultation

When I first met Kavitha, I was fascinated by how much she knew about skin. She told me, within 4 seconds of meeting me, that I had a dry t-zone, normal skin texture but an oily chin.

She then measured my sebum, hydration, elasticity and melanin levels. We discovered I had a high amount of redness around my cheeks and nose which we wanted to get under control.

She also told me I had goodish elasticity but it could be improved so that my skin was looking extra bouncy, that my skin’s texture was even, and that my redness was high in places.

Furthermore, Kavitha told me that I had a high amount of sebum around my chin and that was why I was breaking out there so often.

It was fascinating (and a bit gross) to learn about my skin in this way. Kavitha explained the products they’d give me, on top of my usual cleanse/tone/moisturise Tropic Skincare routine would help combat the redness issues, control the sebum, improve the dryness around my nose and forehead and reduce the redness on my cheeks.

tropic skincare routine - skin mapping

The Products

A few days later a gigantic bundle of joy arrived that contained all of the products I should use and attached was a routine I could use them in.

The products I received were; Smoothing Cleanser Complexion Purifier + Bamboo Cloth, Vitamin Toner Pore Refining Mist, Skin Feast Nourishing Cream Concentrate, Deep Hydration Soothing Cooling Mask, Clear Skin Blemish Fighting Mask, Face Smooth Refreshing Polish, Pure Lagoon Blemish Prevention Serum, Super Greens Nutrient Boost Oil and Skin Dream Age-Defying Firming Cream Concentrate

tropic skincare routine - hydrating mask

My 4 Week Check Up

Two weeks later I hopped in an Uber to visit Tropic HQ for the second time and excited for a catch up with Rosie. After we gossiped about Love Island and swapped period horror stories, it was time to see Kavitha again.

On this round of measuring, Kavitha was surprised and delighted to see such a vast improvement.

tropic skincare routine

In JUST 4 WEEKS, my hydration improved by up to 31% in some areas and my sebum had been optimised across my complexion, with up to 29% reduction in some more oily areas.

Furthermore, the redness across my face, that I ALWAYS worried about had reduced by 14% on my forehead, 35% on my left cheek, 13% on my right and 15% on my chin!

The only blushes on the big day were during the speeches!

Kavitha said the real test would come in how things would be in another few weeks. Was this just a quick and vast improvement because something was being done to my skin other than a half-arsed cleanse every other day? Would it last?

In Between Appointments

Spurred on by these results (I’d always fallen into the camp of, ‘products are just so unnecessary they don’t actually DO anything,’ before discovering Tropic), I persevered and started to get compliments on how much brighter my skin was looking.

And it wasn’t even due to extra water intake – unless Diet Coke counts towards my daily 2 litres.

Final Catch Up

I was greeted by Kavitha’s smiling face as I entered the lab once more to see if the results had sustained or whether they’d tailed off (as I admittedly missed out a day here or there of self-care).

Luckily, Kavitha said, all results had stabilised and she could notice another improvement in elasticity. I don’t want to panic you guys but I THINK I might be Benjamin Button. My skin’s hydration levels had increased across the board by an average of 16%, and my sebum had optimised meaning an average reduction of 21%.

I had a major, hormonal, time of the month related rage spot on my chin on this day which accounted for a slight lift in sebum levels but Kavitha was convinced it’d all settle down once Aunty Flo had buggered off.

Genuinely, getting fully back on this skincare mission meant my skin was NOT an area of the day I had a last minute, Rachel Green sized panic about.

I reserved that for those origami cranes.

A HUUUUGE thank you to Rosie and the Tropic team for not only providing me with the products but also the best consultation and care I could ask for.

If you’d like to try one of the products I use in my daily routine, SIGN UP BELOW ASAP as we have 50 FREE samples to send out to some lucky readers!

And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram where I’ll be posting a full IGTV video of my skincare routine so you can see just how easy it is!

 
good vibes neon sign

Oh ANOTHER blogger #goalz post, lemme just do a lil sick in my mouth, right?

Maybe but this time I wanted to take to my blog to lay out what I want to see happen next year purely because every time I’ve spoken out my plans, they’ve pretty much come true.

I mean, I told one of my mates that I had a dream, years ago, about going on First Dates and being whipped up by a stocky, bearded, slightly ginger bloke with a love of British comedy and GUESS WHO I MARRIED THIS YEAR?

I also shared my targets for Grow & Glow with the gals on Alice Benham‘s retreat and they all came through merely weeks later.

good vibes neon sign
Photo by April Todd

2019

Looking back on 2019, I’m in total shock as to how the year has taken a turn.

This time last year, I would never have thought we’d have bought a house, moved to the country, gotten a puppy and had Barry at our wedding.

Career wise, I was convinced I’d continue along the ‘influencer’ route and still be full-on coaching other bloggers on the side.

Grow & Glow wasn’t even a glint in my eye so it’s mad to think how this venture has changed my life and whole career trajectory!

And self-wise, this time last year I wasn’t in therapy. I was on anti-depressants. SAD was kicking my ass and my only saviour was cuddling up with Ben in our hotbox flat (even in November) with Harry Redknapp eating kangaroo bollocks to provide the lols.

I genuinely never believed I’d ever get to the place I am now, within myself. Yep there’s a LONG way to go, but I’m in such a different place.

Speaking out your aspirations WORKS PEOPLE, so let’s get to it.

Family

2019 has been the year of putting old family demons to bed, gaining so much perspective and giving much more grace.

I learned how to judge less, accept more and make more time for the people I love.

The grief from losing my Mum and Dad in the past few years is still present but there’s not a wrenching anger that hovers over me – more a sanguine look at what family means now.

My relationship with my sister is better than ever. I’m excited to spend more time with her and her partner next year – hopefully a holiday for us all is in the works.

With Ben, Olive and I, I’m looking forward to spending more time out of the house and in the outdoors – exploring, pub lunching and enjoying our little family unit.

I’m also excited to get to know his family even more and spend some great times with them – drinking, playing Dixit and sorting us all into Harry Potter houses. I’m so lucky to have joined this bunch.

Friends

Moving to the countryside, where I know no one, has been a shock to the ol’ system as I had gotten so used to seeing one of my closest pals for regular coffee and old-work catch ups as well as the network of bloggers I’d found in South London.

I don’t want to be lonely in 2020 though.

I want to build a new network of people who are local to where I am, are up for dog walks and country pub catch ups.

(Does this sound like you? Apply within…)

I will also endeavour to make the most effort with friends I’ve had for years that now find themselves dotted around the country.

Money

I think I’ve uttered the phrase, ‘I’m shit with money’, about 4636 times on this blog.

2019 was the year I started to make headway. Debts are being paid off, I actually have savings and I’m WAY better at keeping track of my spending thanks to the systems I have in place.

In 2020, I’d love to have it fully cracked.

To save regularly so my looming tax bill doesn’t look so scary. To take on more team members and pay my current team for more hours. To treat myself and my family to luxuries rather than fritter it away.

Moving to the countryside has helped NO END. The AMOUNT I’m saving from not being able to booty call Maccy Ds three times a week on Uber Eats is astounding.

I’m also doing regular food shops so we waste less and are less inclined to drive to the Co-Op and spend £20-£30 a day.

I don’t have ‘earnings’ goals, like those mystical 10k months I hear about incessantly from, ‘boss babes’ but I’d like to be debt free and comfortable as well as earn enough to invest more into my business.

Career

This ol’ bloggersphere is an ever-changing, expanding and evolving industry to be in and often planning a career in this space can seem uncertain.

Here are some things I have planned though:

I’d love to host a retreat or a conference – not just about blogging but around the theme of being a good digital citizen. To teach others how to step into their passions and expertise and use their platforms to reach others.

(Again, apply within people!)

A book. I say this every bloody year but this is the one goal that I’ve not yet achieved but really want to! I have the outline, chapters and ideas ready to go. I just need to write it.

Creative writing – not the book, well maybe! But I’d like to write more – here or on my emails, who knows but it’ll be fun.

Growing Grow & Glow. Next year we’re going to be working more closely with brands who want to work with sustainable creators and story tellers to match them up with GG members and create forward thinking, mutually beneficial partnerships.

We’re also going to see so many of our members step into their expertise and launch their own platforms, products or services and cheerlead them the whole way.

I don’t just want to teach creators how to share their expertise or work with brands, I’d love to work with brands to show them how to work with our members!

And this blog! I have so many ideas of posts I want to write about the topics and themes that really get me excited so I’m looking forward to doing that too.

Self

Freudian that I’ve put this one last, right?

2019 saw me investing heavily into therapy to work through a lot of the issues I’ve carried for years that have made me deeply unhappy and anxious.

I’ll carry this on in 2020 and work more on putting myself and my family first.

I associate career achievements so closely with myself as a person. If work is shit, I’m shit – but I want to move past this.

2020 will see me working on getting rid of a lot of my limiting beliefs and continuing to build more good messages about who I am within myself.

And that’s the most important goal of all, right?

If you’ve made it this far and haven’t thought, ‘what a self serving, 800 words of crap’ – FIST ME (bump, fist BUMP me) then I want to turn it on to you.

Can you go away and look at your friends, family, money, career and most importantly, self and see where you want to take those things in 2020?

One way I love to do this is by creating a mood board on Pinterest where I’ve pinned all of the things I want to happen and learn alongside affirmations around myself.

What areas of your life are you continuing to smash in 2020 and what areas need improvement? I’d love to know!

 
good vibes neon sign

Oh ANOTHER blogger #goalz post, lemme just do a lil sick in my mouth, right?

Maybe but this time I wanted to take to my blog to lay out what I want to see happen next year purely because every time I’ve spoken out my plans, they’ve pretty much come true.

I mean, I told one of my mates that I had a dream, years ago, about going on First Dates and being whipped up by a stocky, bearded, slightly ginger bloke with a love of British comedy and GUESS WHO I MARRIED THIS YEAR?

I also shared my targets for Grow & Glow with the gals on Alice Benham‘s retreat and they all came through merely weeks later.

good vibes neon sign
Photo by April Todd

2019

Looking back on 2019, I’m in total shock as to how the year has taken a turn.

This time last year, I would never have thought we’d have bought a house, moved to the country, gotten a puppy and had Barry at our wedding.

Career wise, I was convinced I’d continue along the ‘influencer’ route and still be full-on coaching other bloggers on the side.

Grow & Glow wasn’t even a glint in my eye so it’s mad to think how this venture has changed my life and whole career trajectory!

And self-wise, this time last year I wasn’t in therapy. I was on anti-depressants. SAD was kicking my ass and my only saviour was cuddling up with Ben in our hotbox flat (even in November) with Harry Redknapp eating kangaroo bollocks to provide the lols.

I genuinely never believed I’d ever get to the place I am now, within myself. Yep there’s a LONG way to go, but I’m in such a different place.

Speaking out your aspirations WORKS PEOPLE, so let’s get to it.

Family

2019 has been the year of putting old family demons to bed, gaining so much perspective and giving much more grace.

I learned how to judge less, accept more and make more time for the people I love.

The grief from losing my Mum and Dad in the past few years is still present but there’s not a wrenching anger that hovers over me – more a sanguine look at what family means now.

My relationship with my sister is better than ever. I’m excited to spend more time with her and her partner next year – hopefully a holiday for us all is in the works.

With Ben, Olive and I, I’m looking forward to spending more time out of the house and in the outdoors – exploring, pub lunching and enjoying our little family unit.

I’m also excited to get to know his family even more and spend some great times with them – drinking, playing Dixit and sorting us all into Harry Potter houses. I’m so lucky to have joined this bunch.

Friends

Moving to the countryside, where I know no one, has been a shock to the ol’ system as I had gotten so used to seeing one of my closest pals for regular coffee and old-work catch ups as well as the network of bloggers I’d found in South London.

I don’t want to be lonely in 2020 though.

I want to build a new network of people who are local to where I am, are up for dog walks and country pub catch ups.

(Does this sound like you? Apply within…)

I will also endeavour to make the most effort with friends I’ve had for years that now find themselves dotted around the country.

Money

I think I’ve uttered the phrase, ‘I’m shit with money’, about 4636 times on this blog.

2019 was the year I started to make headway. Debts are being paid off, I actually have savings and I’m WAY better at keeping track of my spending thanks to the systems I have in place.

In 2020, I’d love to have it fully cracked.

To save regularly so my looming tax bill doesn’t look so scary. To take on more team members and pay my current team for more hours. To treat myself and my family to luxuries rather than fritter it away.

Moving to the countryside has helped NO END. The AMOUNT I’m saving from not being able to booty call Maccy Ds three times a week on Uber Eats is astounding.

I’m also doing regular food shops so we waste less and are less inclined to drive to the Co-Op and spend £20-£30 a day.

I don’t have ‘earnings’ goals, like those mystical 10k months I hear about incessantly from, ‘boss babes’ but I’d like to be debt free and comfortable as well as earn enough to invest more into my business.

Career

This ol’ bloggersphere is an ever-changing, expanding and evolving industry to be in and often planning a career in this space can seem uncertain.

Here are some things I have planned though:

I’d love to host a retreat or a conference – not just about blogging but around the theme of being a good digital citizen. To teach others how to step into their passions and expertise and use their platforms to reach others.

(Again, apply within people!)

A book. I say this every bloody year but this is the one goal that I’ve not yet achieved but really want to! I have the outline, chapters and ideas ready to go. I just need to write it.

Creative writing – not the book, well maybe! But I’d like to write more – here or on my emails, who knows but it’ll be fun.

Growing Grow & Glow. Next year we’re going to be working more closely with brands who want to work with sustainable creators and story tellers to match them up with GG members and create forward thinking, mutually beneficial partnerships.

We’re also going to see so many of our members step into their expertise and launch their own platforms, products or services and cheerlead them the whole way.

I don’t just want to teach creators how to share their expertise or work with brands, I’d love to work with brands to show them how to work with our members!

And this blog! I have so many ideas of posts I want to write about the topics and themes that really get me excited so I’m looking forward to doing that too.

Self

Freudian that I’ve put this one last, right?

2019 saw me investing heavily into therapy to work through a lot of the issues I’ve carried for years that have made me deeply unhappy and anxious.

I’ll carry this on in 2020 and work more on putting myself and my family first.

I associate career achievements so closely with myself as a person. If work is shit, I’m shit – but I want to move past this.

2020 will see me working on getting rid of a lot of my limiting beliefs and continuing to build more good messages about who I am within myself.

And that’s the most important goal of all, right?

If you’ve made it this far and haven’t thought, ‘what a self serving, 800 words of crap’ – FIST ME (bump, fist BUMP me) then I want to turn it on to you.

Can you go away and look at your friends, family, money, career and most importantly, self and see where you want to take those things in 2020?

One way I love to do this is by creating a mood board on Pinterest where I’ve pinned all of the things I want to happen and learn alongside affirmations around myself.

What areas of your life are you continuing to smash in 2020 and what areas need improvement? I’d love to know!