In association with Poundworld

About a month ago a new shop opened in our town. A Poundworld Plus. To say that Belle was excited is putting it mildly – discount shops are on of her very favourite things, alongside delivered pizza, shows about vampires and chocolate chip brioche.

One of the first things we bought in our new Poundworld was cat harnesses. Basically Belle wants a dog, but I don’t want a dog, so she’s convinced that she’ll be able to take the kittens for walks, if only she can get them excited about wearing a harness. Unfortunately, as we discovered when we got home, it’s actually very hard to get a cat excited about wearing a harness, especially when at first you put it on wrong, and they can’t walk properly.

That said, they were probably more excited about it than they were when Belle tried to get them interested in going for a walk in a kitty carrier.

cat in a cat carrier

Have you ever seen a cat look less impressed?

The most exciting trip to Poundworld to date though has been the one that Belle made with the rest of the prom committee from school. They are organising a year 7 Halloween party to raise money for prom, and it coincided with Poundworld asking if we wanted to check out the Halloween collection in store, and well – how perfect?? The rest of the committee were VERY excited to have a decorations budget, and so off they went.

I have to say, that I was genuinely impressed by the Halloween range in our Poundworld store. Normally with these kind of things you get maybe half an aisle, with the usual slimy spiders and pumpkin shaped baskets for trick or treating, but the selection was VAST. There must have been a good 20 metres of shelf space taken up with Halloween things, and loads of stuff that I hadn’t seen anywhere else. Plenty to get the (year 7 ) party started. View Post

Post in association with Iceland

They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch but they, whoever they are, are wrong.

Wait what? You CAN get lunch for free?

Why yes. Yes you can. With the Iceland bonus card.

Iceland Bonus Card

Let me explain.

You will have realised by now, if you’re a regular reader, that I’ve become a bit of an Iceland convert, ever since I realised that Iceland was about more than frozen kebab pizzas. I’ve been educated about the benefits of frozen food in terms of freshness and not needing artificial preservatives and let’s be honest, it didn’t take much to convince me on the convenience front either.

So what is the Iceland Bonus Card then?

The Iceland Bonus Card is a savings card. You pick one up in store, register it online, and then every time you go shopping, and fancy tucking a bit extra away, you can ask the cashier to top it up. You can add money to your Bonus Card through the Iceland website too. Easy.

Then, when you’re next shopping, either in store or online, you can choose to use some or all of your balance to pay your bill. Pretty straightforward yes?

Except here’s the bonus aspect of the Iceland Bonus Card – for every £20 you save, Iceland will give you an extra pound for FREE. Just like that, automatically. Greggs sausage and bean melts are on offer at the moment in Iceland – 2 for £1 – so that bonus pound could LITERALLY buy lunch for you AND a friend.

(If you have never eaten a Greggs sausage and bean melt before then WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU?? That’s the food of the Gods right there. Oysters? RANK. Greggs sausage and bean melt? HELL YES.)

What could I use my Iceland Bonus Card for?

CHRISTMAS! View Post

I was 12 years old when I started my periods and I remember vividly the embarrassment of buying sanitary towels from the only place within walking distance – one of of those corner shop type places that sold random brands of crisps you’d never heard of out of cardboard boxes and ‘Happy Shopper’ washing up liquid.

Suffice to say I was NOT a happy shopper.

It was the very early 90s, and I’m not sure that sanitary products were quite as advanced as they are now. My cornershop definitely didn’t stock anything with a silky soft finish, or wings, or a lockaway core. They sold pads in packs of ten that were roughly the size and shape of a rolled up tea towel. The insides were basically cotton wool, so they immediately clumped in a very uncomfortable and inefficient fashion.

There was no rollerblading going on when you had one of those beasts wedged in your pants, that’s for sure.

Wearing them to school was horrendous, and there was always the worry that your period would start when you weren’t expecting it, that you’d end up with blood on your clothes, or worst still, that someone would be able to SMELL you. Was that a thing when you were in school?? I felt kind of RIPE when I had my period, like everyone would be able to smell the metal tang of blood in the air as I walked through the corridors.

Things have come a long way of course, but that embarrassment, that period shame, still lingers.

According to recent research in fact, 71% of girls in the UK have felt embarrassed buying sanitary products, and a further 67% would feel embarrassed if they found period blood on their clothes.

That’s not cool is it? Do you feel shame or embarrassment attached to your period? Do you know ho the young women in your life feel about theirs? It’s not okay that periods are viewed like this.

It’s LIFE. It’s what happens. WE ALL BLEED. Get over it.

This International Day of the Girl, Plan International UK wants to tackle the stigma and bring the issue to centre stage with Plaster Pads: miniature sanitary pads that are worn like plasters for all the world to see.

plaster pads blood is blood campaign View Post

I had a bit of a moment last week where I started to worry for my sanity. A moment where I realised I really have become a crazy cat lady.

‘Are you actually even okay?’ Bee asked me tactfully, when she came over for tea on Friday night. I was explaining how I’d been combing vanilla powder onto the kittens.

‘It’s a HACK!’ I said, with a slight hysterical edge. ‘I saw it on the INTERNET!’

Let me explain.

As you know, a few weeks ago we brought home three rescue kittens. They have full detective names, but they are Camille, Endeavour and Humphrey for short.

One of my very favourite things about them is how much they love each other, even though two are brother and sister and one of them is just a random that happened to be in the room when we went to visit the rehoming centre. They sleep in big fluffy piles and purr when they see each other and lick each other’s face and I LOVE IT.

am I a crazy cat lady?

Until last Thursday. View Post

In association with Maryland Cookies

recipe cookie butter spread Maryland Cookies

In the important cultural debate that is ‘cookies or cake?’ I am very much in the cookie camp.

For me, it’s a question of consistency of experience. Sure, you can get some amazing cake, no denying that. Sometimes they’re just right – moist and delicious and full of flavour – but all too often I’m left disappointed by cakes. They might LOOK lush, but then the sponge is dry, or the frosting to cake ratio is all wrong, and you eat it reluctantly, thinking ‘for God’s sake, what a waste of calories, I could have had four gins for that.’

(And yes, you could just NOT eat it, but food waste remember?)

With a cookie though, or a good plain biscuit, you know what you’re getting. No one ever cracks into a packet of Maryland and comes away feeling like they’re had anything other than the exact cookie experience they were expecting. No snack-time risk, no worry, just mid-afternoon cookie fun times. View Post

small garden bench gardenbenches.com review best garden bench

Okay, so I’m probably pushing it a little bit with that title, but I DID ask a question about my new garden bench on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, and quite a few people answered, so that sort of counts as a debate I think. Also, you want the best garden bench for your garden and you want to know where to put it, so I know you’re interested.

My dilemma was this: a lovely company called Garden Benches was, as the name suggests, sending me a new garden bench.* However, my back garden currently resembles a prison yard. It’s literally just a square of fenced in gravel. There is even some spray paint on the fence panels where I sprayed my bed pink, which adds to the ‘abandoned railway embankment’ vibe. I didn’t especially want to sit out there.

My front garden however, is much tidier. (Not a euphemism.) Our house is off the road a little bit, so I look out onto a nice little patch of grass and people often walk past with dogs. I’ve even planted out Belle’s apple tree. You remember the one we accidentally grew from a pip when she was tiny? We’ve dragged it round with us in this battered old pot, praying that one day we’d have a house of our own to plant it in, and now, thank God, it has a home.

I have some plants in pots too. Generally the front garden is a much friendlier place to be and makes you feel less like you are part way through a three year sentence for actual bodily harm. View Post