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Saturday, 24 September 2016

The tortoise and the tourist..

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Let's talk pets! As you might know, I've been the happy owner of this little cutie for a few years now, as a friend could no longer keep her. As a child, I'd always dreamed of having a pet tortoise, but growing up in a household with Alsatians made it a bit of an impractical suggestion. 

When I knew that I would actually be able to welcome a tortoise to my home, I decided I needed to read up on a few things, just to make sure I could give it everything it needed. I know that all pets are a responsibility, but some take a little more preparation than others. Tortoises, like lizards and snakes are classed as exotic pets and usually need a more complicated set up than some of the more common household pets. With the increase in people wanting to keep exotics, the RSPCA have come up with a quick #TropicalChronicles guide, which covers the basics for anyone who might be wondering if a new pet is right for them. I think it's really good and figured I would share some of my experiences as a tortoise owner.

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B has a tortoise table (which is basically a run, with a covered section at one end) which has a heat lamp at one end and a UV strip light across one side. As I don't yet live in somewhere with a secured garden, it's rare that she gets to explore outside, so the UV light gives her what she needs in terms of sunlight. When I do take her outside, we have to keep an eye on her - tortoises are pretty great at escaping. 

If you're after an affectionate pet, a tortoise is *not* the one. They're not particularly happy with being handled and they don't do cuddles. They're quite inquisitive and B will try to explore most things, so it's important not to lift them too high or put them anywhere they could fall from. 

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She's fed on a mixture of leaves - sometimes lettuce (although Romaine leaves; Hermann's tortoises shouldn't eat iceberg lettuce as their systems can't cope with it), often dandelions, clover and watercress, with some curly kale. I've tried various seed kits (this and similar) and to be honest, I like that as I know that everything I'm growing is definitely safe for her to eat. I do also bring plants back from the allotment, but that tends to mostly be dandelion, as they're easily recognisable and not mistaken for anything which could be harmful. Special treats include tomatoes and strawberries - her favourite!

With her food, I add a pinch of calcium carbonate, which is important as some of the green foods can hinder calcium intake and that's what helps a tortoise's shell and bone structure to grow properly. She's also got a cuttlefish bone, which is a good source of calcium which is always available to her, although she doesn't often bother with it. 


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I'm quite lucky to live quite close to a really great vet who specialises in reptiles, keeping many herself. I've only had to take B to the vet once, when the humid temperatures caused by the boiler exploding caused her to get a respiratory problem - it's always a really bad sign if you can hear your tort making a kind of "popping" sound when they're breathing. She was totally find after a course of antibiotics, though she hating having to be injected every day. But a good vet is definitely something to do your research on before you get any kind of exotic pet.

The RSPCA site has lots of great advice for new and potential pet owners and it's always much better to read up on these things first, before taking the plunge and then causing yourself (and your new pet) unecessary stress and worry.



Friday, 23 September 2016

Friday Favourites 214..

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I didn't really plan for this week's wishlist to have any theme, but by the time I'd bookmarked this amazing duck print coat and the puffin dress, I knew that one was kind of forming and I thought I'd just run with it. So here are my favourite bird-printed picks of the Interwebs at the moment...

001: I know I mentioned Palava's new collection last week, but there are more and more lovely styles which keep catching my eye and I love this long-sleeved border print dress. 

002: Printed cardigans are my favourite and this one features parrots!

003: New Look are winning the handbag game with this lovely embroidered clutch. 

004: Sugarhill Boutique never seem to fail to come out with some lovely jumpers to layer up and I really like this cute bluebird print. 

005: Puffins! If this dress weren't jersey, I'd have ordered it already...!

006: Another Yumi find - this bird print is really similar to my recent Gamiss bird dress, I think. 

007: Another Lindy Bop print - hummingbirds, this time and the Clarissa features a lovely neck tie detail which I think gives it such a retro look. 

008: Vendula are knocking it out of the park - as usual - with their new season range, and this lovely birdcage frame bag is just perfect. 

009: Cath Kidston seem to have re-released their classic bird print dress - yay! 

010: Farnkly my favourite item this week - this AMAZING duck print dress coat, from Palava, would be perfect to finish off any party outfit. Can I find space for another coat in my life....?

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Flamingo Pink..

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Earrings: H+M // Bracelet: River Island


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Dress: Collectif // Bag: Topshop
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Shoes: Lindy Bop

So, reason eleventy billion why I love Collectif is the new Antoinette flamingo print dress. I had a charity ball to go to last weekend, and this seemed like it would be the perfect thing, paired with my Lindy Bop shoes.

The dress itself kind of surprised me with just how wonderful it was when it arrived, I mean, I make no secret of my love of Collectif, particularly recently, with my new Dolores and my sale picks, but frankly Antoinette is on a par with this beauty. The fabric itself has a lovely satin feel, rather than the cotton sateen I was expecting, and it's fully lined, with several layers of tulle to make the skirt pretty substantial on it's own. (I added a petticoat, but you really don't *need* to, at all!)

Since it was a special occasion, I went all out and wore some pink lipstick (I'm *so* not a make-up wearer, this is about as good as it ever gets for me!). I felt super self-conscious and had to reapply it about seven times, but it kind of made me feel more"fancy". 

Ever put on a dress you felt was just made for a party?

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Tuesday Titles 106..

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The Art of Hygge
Alternative title: In which I try to understand the concept of Hygge. 

Unless you've been living in a cave, you'll probably have heard that the latest lifestyle trend has made it's way here from Denmark and looks set to take over our winter. Hygge, roughly translates as a Danish word for cosiness; frankly, it's all about general well-being. Hygge can refer to those cosy little moments where you're snuggled up in front of the log burner with a hot chocolate and your favourite slippers (or more appropriately, some hand-knitted socks) on, or that sniffly feeling you get after you've been out in the cold to explore the snowy countryside.

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I asked Twitter what they thought it meant and here are some of the responses: Cosiness, comfortable warmth; Enjoying life's simple pleasures; Candles, snuggly blankets, mulled wine.
So far, it seems that everyone is pretty much on the same page and a general understanding of Hygge is filtering through to the masses. I can understand how this could be a welcome change in the lifestyle book genre, when the recent past has seen nothing but life overhauls and new clean eating diets every five minutes. I can see why, after a fairly rocky 2016, the UK is ready to embrace this concept. Fathom think there's a little more to it than just cosiness, but we're kind of there.

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So, how can you achieve this for your own life? Well, The Art of Hygge is a rather beautiful book full of ideas, from recipes to home decor. It's full of suggestions for your downtime - playing board games with friends and exploring out of doors to embrace nature over the constant buzz of your phone screen - all suggestions which are always welcome in my book. We don't switch off enough lately (I know I mention this a lot!) but it's certainly a surefire way to help your well-being. As someone who has been rather embracing the idea of hibernating lately, if hygge can help persuade me to switch off a little, I'm all for it. Are you in?

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Time to string some bunting up in that cave.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Dogs and stripes..

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Dress: Voodoo Vixen // Cardigan: H+M
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Bag: Marc Tetro // Heels: Irregular Choice
 

 Another Monday morning feeling utterly exhausted. Happy, but exhausted. After spending most of yesterday too tired to do anything but a little housework and some sewing, I'm beginning to think that maybe my iron levels are causing more of a problem than I first thought. Three tablets and a handful of spinach daily doesn't seem to be boosting me at all and the last time I recall feeling as tired and run down as I have been lately was when my iron deficiency was at it's lowest point to date. Maybe infusions are the way to go, after all. Bleugh.

Anyhow, today's outfit was hastily thrown together this morning; I'm not sure whether the cardigan was the best choice, as I'm feeling rather self-conscious lately about my midriff. Well, about all of me if I'm honest. Things would be a whole lot easier if I could get away with just wearing a sack, I think. Perhaps I ought to try it.

What I do like, is my Marc Tetro bag. It's mighty big, but that meant I was able to carry four parcels I needed to take the post office, along with my other daily needs, all in the one bag. Quite useful! Plus, the dog is just super cute. 

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Bet he feels like an elephant..

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Dress: Gamiss* // Cardigan: Topshop
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Elephant Bag: Gamiss* // Shoes: Irregular Choice
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Dolly Coat: ASOS 

Well, I still have no idea what's going on with the weather - all I know is that a day which started out cold enough to need a coat (which gave me an excuse to wear a new coat!) was significantly warmer by the time it got to lunchtime. By the time I got to the gym after work, I'd also had to ditch the cardigan. Crazy weather days. 

Anyhow, I'm mostly excited about these cute birds and another novelty bag - this elephant is pretty cute, right? I'm considering some kind of novelty bag challenge, to remind myself of what I have and try to use more of them, as I often seem to reach for the same ones.

My shoes are an old favourite pair; I can't begin to imagine how many times I've worn these heels since I bought them from Spartoo, but they're one of my favourites as they seem to go with just about everything.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Friday Favourites 213..

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Creators of pretty dresses, Bryony, have recently rebranded - they are now called Palava and have just released their cute new AW16 range of clothes, which I'm very excited about. I've picked out a few of my favourites from their new arrivas:

001: I think that this dress might be my favourit of the new collection (or at least until the Xmas print one hits the website). I love the pale mustard background and all of the birds. So lovely, as is the bag (003) in the same print, but with a different background. I think they'd complement one another nicely.

002: The lovely teal background on the Irene dress is covered with a charming print of little dancers, with a lovely full skirt - perfect for parties!

 Frankly, the whole ballroom collection is lovely, I think. The grey background (004), or the black (005) is the only question really. I was so pleased to see that the super print features a giraffe. Essential to any party, no?

Palava also do some amazing socks and tights - my favourites are these stripey ones (006), which would be perfect with the mustard dress (001). As for the sparkly zig zag ones (007), I think these would go rather perfectly with the navy lurex cardigan (009).

008: I love a petticoat - I think that they can finish off just about any outfit and I'd love to add this sparkly one to my little collection. 

What do you think of the new Palava range?