Unusual animals that make great pets

Jellyfish

Cats, dogs, hamsters or budgies are the most common of all domestic pets but the UK is developing a taste for more exotic animals.

An article in The Daily Mail in 2013 informed the public that jellyfish are gaining in popularity in Southampton after the town sold out of specialist water tanks.

Whether or not a jellyfish makes a great pet is another matter but it’d certainly be quiet and require minimal exercise! Here we look at a range of other unusual animals that make great pets and offering interesting alternatives to the traditional pet options.

What is a great pet?

A great pet is an animal that is also a companion. The animal won’t dominate your house, should be obedient and easy to train.

If you live in a retirement living development you’ll probably want an animal that requires minimal upkeep, which means dogs and cats are not always suitable. Fish, birds and other indoor-only animals are usually a safe bet but what other, more exotic options are there?

Giant pet snails

This hand-sized mollusc is growing in popularity as a pet. They are illegal in the United States, but the giant African land snail is available and legal in the UK. They don’t make a mess, are partial to cucumbers and lettuce, and can be kept in an outside enclosure without too much trouble.

Giant pet snails live for around 14 years and if you want a pet that you can talk at rather than walk, then this species is ideal!

Cuddly and exotic

Pygmy goats are wonderful if you have enough land to be able to house the animal. They can be affectionate, and many famous people (including Abraham Lincoln) have kept one of these charming animals.

Once the goat becomes familiar with your voice, it will respond to you and therefore could provide you with an enduring and amusing companion.

Potbellied pigs

This small and intelligent pig can be great fun. You must buy from a reputable dealer, as there have been instances of people purchasing what they thought was a miniature piglet only to find that it just kept on growing and resulted in a full size mature pig!

Potbellied pigs are affectionate, so you will be able to stroke it and it will also respond to your voice. Some owners do keep these animals inside, but it’s probably better to house it outdoors.

Chinchillas

These adorable furry creatures have a charming temperament and can be kept as domestic pets. Most people keep them in a large cage but also let them wander around the house for exercise.

They have a reputation for bonding with their owners and are perfect if you want a cuddly and responsive pet.

* Post in collaboration with McCarthy & Stone.
Picture source: Pinterest

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Baby #ootd – Hug a Hoodie

Baby #ootd Hug a HoodieBaby #ootd Hug a HoodieBaby #ootd Hug a HoodieBaby #ootd Hug a HoodieBaby #ootd Hug a HoodieBaby #ootd Hug a Hoodie

Body – Next
Sleeveless Hooded Romper – George
Socks – Primark

And as a bonus the same romper with a little bit different colours combination.

Baby #ootd Hug a Hoodie

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Alphabet Project | K is for Kiwi

The kiwifruit or Chinese gooseberry (often shortened to kiwi)

is the edible berry of a woody vine in the genus Actinidia.*

Alphabet Project  K is for Kiwi

Alphabet Project is hosted by PODcast

***

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Review – Iron & Velvet – Luxury Cleaning Products

iron & velvet – Luxury Cleaning Products Logo

Have you ever heard about Iron & Velvet – Luxury Cleaning Products? No? Hmm, me neither, until a few months ago that is. I spotted Iron & Velvet on Twitter and as a junky for all things cleaning related and a lover of luxury I just had to try them out.

So who are Iron & Velvet and what is so special about their product?

As per their website description: Iron & Velvet was born from a desire to improve. With over 30 years’ experience in the manufacture and development of specialist cleaning solutions to be used in the metal finishing industry we noticed that we had a different expectation of what “clean” is. For us, “clean” is a surface which has no impurities on whatsoever, even down to a microscopic level.

Currently Iron & Velvet have 14 cleaning solutions for use in and around the home. They are all manufactured in the UK at their site in the West Midlands. They use only the best materials and are proud of the products they make.

Iron & Velvet split their products into two separate collections – there is an interior collection and an exterior collection.

I was lucky to be sent a few products from each collection, so we can “test ride” them. So what did I get and how did they perform?

Iron & Velvet collection

This is the selection of Iron & Velvet products I received.

Let me start with the delivery itself.

You know how it seems some companies really don’t care about deliveries… once they got your money that’s it… Iron & Velvet cares! They actually care a lot. Every single bottle came in its own separate plastic bag. Every bag was separately sealed.

iron & velvet

This was great. I am a sucker for details and small things like this make a huge difference to me. I have received on many occasion cleaning / liquid products by post and I must admit they do not always reach me in a perfect condition. And believe me there is nothing worse than opening the parcel full of excitement just to discover your order is actually damaged or worse, ruined.
I am confident in saying that in the case of Iron & Velvet the chances of this happening are really zero.

Now let’s talk about the packaging.

Iron & Velvet products come in see-through bottles of different shapes and sizes. I like it. Why? Simple because I can see how much product is left, without playing the guess when will I run out game. Some bottles have just a simple screw on top, some have a top and a spray and some have a spray only. The one with the spray only has however a very clever security mechanism, so you can lock it when not in use and thus avoid any accidental spraying.

iron & velvet bottles types

One other thing about the packaging – every bottle has clear directions for use, suitability and storage, safety warnings and content information, which includes % and some chemical names as well as clear details about the company, so basically everything you might want to find on the bottle is present.

Now it is time for the products themselves.

I must admit, I didn’t use the Barbeque Cleaner (simply because by the time I received the products our BBQs were already prepared for the season and didn’t need any cleaning) or the Decking Cleaner (no excuse here, I am just too lazy). I did however try all the rest.

iron & velvet Car ShampooCar shampoo is the one product making me laugh every time I look at it. It is red / violet in colour yet its fragrant is called Blue Lagoon :-) Ok, I know that one has nothing to do with the other but for some bizarre reason I would expect blue lagoon to be… guess what… blue! Car shampoo comes in a 750ml screw top bottle. Despite the lack of blue colour it does smell like the sea or a sea breeze or a sea front, I guess it depends where you go to the sea side. The smell is pleasant and not overpowering. The surprising bit for me however was how effective it is. Ok, I am not a car shampoo expert as you know from my earlier posts; our car is always a bit neglected, but if I didn’t read the label I would most likely put about half of the bottle into my bucket, when in fact you only need a 50ml of shampoo to 5l of water. And this amount is sufficient to clean your car, which means that one bottle will last you for 15 car washes or in my case a lifetime ;-) The shampoo works great and I can’t fault it in any way.

Moving on…

The interior collection has quite a few different products. They are split into three categories which are easily recognized by different colours. Kitchen collection is kind of green-ish, bathroom pink-ish and household specific products have a kind of yellow-brown colour of the liquid. I like colour coordination so for me it works perfectly. I would be much happier to display them outside of the cupboards, as they are products of a similar design and colour rather than a colourful mish-mash of products we all usually have, this would just drive me crazy all the time.

Most of the interior collection has a really nice and interesting smell – there is mango, coconut and lime, sandalwood, orange and ginger, ylang ylang and my personal favourite apple and mint.

iron & velvet Glass and Mirror Cleaner

The apple and mint fragrance belongs to the Glass and Mirror Cleaner. This product comes in 500ml spray with the top bottle. Sharing the house with a gloopy Newfoundland can only mean one thing – there is always something to clean and we like mirrors. We have a mirror in every room in the house (except for the front room at the moment) and they get dirty on a daily basis. There are some things which you can ignore when your house isn’t sparkly clean but a mirror for me isn’t one of them. I simply can’t stand looking into a mirror and sharing the view of myself with loads of dog slobber (and if you are wondering how come dog slobber gets onto a mirror… well, it gets everywhere including the ceiling, so hey ho…)
When it comes to cleaning mirrors and windows for years I used just one product and one brand only. Everything else that I have tried just wasn’t good enough, but Iron & Velvet actually is. Iron & Velvet Glass and Mirror Cleaner not only smells amazing but what’s most important is it cleans the mirror and glass with ease. For a normal family living in a normal living condition without a “slobber machine” which works 24/7 dirty mirrors might not be such a problem but for us it is… believe me. You, my lovely readers, might struggle with water stains or dry speckles after toothpaste… I have to deal with slobber. If Iron & Velvet Glass and Mirror Cleaner works for me, it will for sure work for you as well. And it is not just the fact that it cleans the mirror and leaves them sparkly… to some degree most products will do this… what gets me is the ease of the cleaning process. It is almost like spray and wipe, no scrubbing necessary… it is brilliant! Same with the glass; our conservatory doors have never looked better.

Hmmm I am not even half way there and my post is well over 1200 words long. Ok, I think I will stop now and if you want to discover more about Iron & Velvet you should place an order.

But before I go I just want to give a special recognition to Iron & Velvet Floor Cleaner. It is so efficient and works like magic. All pet owners know how hard it is to clean dried muddy paw prints… well for Iron & Velvet this isn’t a challenge at all! I hate mopping in general because I find it hideous and very tiring but with Iron & Velvet I hate this chore just a little bit less.

So from me Iron & Velvet gets big thumbs up.

Special note to Iron & Velvet: I really like your products guys and I think you are creating something special!

As for you my lovely readers:

What are your favourite cleaning products or brands?

Did you try Iron & Velvet yet?

iron & velvet products selection

Family Fever

* Products were provided free of charge for review purposes. The opinions expressed in this review are honest and my own.

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Baking with Soreen – Chocolate Soreen Flapjacks

Chocolate Soreen Flapjack

As you all know we are huge Soreen fans. For us, Soreen is good for any occasion and we can never get enough. Breakfast, lunch, afters or a late night snack… there is always something to pick from the selection which will be ideal to stop those tummy rumbles.

A few days ago I was introduced to a lovely Chocolate Soreen Flapjack recipe and I would like to share it with you. Just watch the video and follow these easy steps.

And if you didn’t make any notes… here you go… all written down nicely just for you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf of Soreen Original malt loaf
  • 100g butter
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 200g porridge oats
  • 150g dark chocolate (always worth weighing out a bit more so there’s some to nibble on)
  • 5 tablespoons golden syrup

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas4.

Put the butter in a pan and over a low heat stir until it melts.

Once the butter has melted, sprinkle in the caster sugar, then spoon in the sticky golden syrup. Mix until you get a gooey paste.

Add the crumbly porridge oats and ‘give it a good stir’.

Next up it’s the star of the recipe, the Soreen loaf. Cut this into small chunks and plop it into the mixture. Spoons at the ready… stir again.

Evenly spread the mixture into a pre-greased baking tray and put in the oven for 20 minutes. Set the timer, make a cup of tea and put your feet up while the oven does the hard work.

Once the timer has pinged, check to see if the flapjack has turned a lovely golden brown. Remove them and leave to cool.

Melt the dark chocolate in a large bowl over a pan of hot water. Keep stirring all the time so no lumps or bumps pop up. Now is a good time to nibble the extra chocolate.

Pour the hot melted chocolate on top of the flapjack and leave to set. Yes, that is what I said LEAVE it to set, no picking or poking fingers.

The chocolate needs around one hour to set. So put it out of sight and out of reach.

Set the timer again for one hour. When you hear that ping, it’s time to grab your knife and cut yourself a rather large slice of your very own Chocolate Soreen Flapjack.

Yum!

*Picture, video and the recipe courtesy of Soreen.

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For the good of your health, Get A Pet!

*By Gemma Harling

You may think being a pet owner is stressful, dogs chew up their beds (and everything else), rabbits dig holes and cats, well, they are plotting to rule the world so are basically uninterested in doing what you want them to do. But, what may actually surprise you is that pets are actually good for your health.

Of course there is the physical benefit of taking dogs for a walk, chasing an escaped rabbit and the occasional game of hide and seek with a hamster, but the health benefits of pets go way beyond this.

Pets have been proven to lower your blood pressure, the stroking of a pet is a relaxing activity that keeps a person calm and stops their blood pressure getting out of control. Plus, if it is a person that has made you mad you could all stroke the cat in a Bond villain like manner while plotting your revenge (hypothetical revenge of course).

A survey by Mindlab International showed that 55% of people were calmer after spending time with their pets and 44% were also less anxious about problems such as money troubles. That is pretty potent pet power there.

In the case of the elderly, pets are an excellent source of therapy. They have been proven to reduce depression, one of the most common problems affecting the elderly today. They provide constant companionship and require lots of love, which in turn eliminates feelings of social isolation and loneliness, whilst also giving an older person a reason to go out and meet people.

Some care homes in the UK allow elderly residents to have pets with them, due to these benefits. Sunrise Senior Living even has residential pets for those residents without, such as Alfie from Hale Barns, Treacle from Tettenhall and Chino from Westbourne (see below).

Residential Pets from Sunrise Senior Living

From the old to the young, pets can also help children suffering with certain disorders, such as ADHD, and autistic children. As children with ADHD find it hard to settle and focus, the pet’s routine of feeds and walks can help a child suffering from this disorder focus on their responsibilities regarding taking care of the pet; while pets can have a soothing effect on children with autism, through the petting and holding of them.

They can also help children build up immunity to allergies and kids are generally healthier as a result of having a pet in their household whilst growing up. It can also decrease the risk of a child developing asthma.

So even though their barking, scratching or incessant whining may be driving you nuts, be nice, they are actually helping you out in the long run!

The Wonder of Pet by Sunrise Senior Living

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7 Wonders Of Toothpaste – unusual uses you may never have heard about before

7 Wonders Of Toothpaste

Toothpaste is an everyday essential, it can be found in every home and it is used every day (twice I day I would hope), but there is so much more to it than just a cleaner of teeth.

A few weeks ago I picked up some old silver spoons at the car boot sale; they were lovely but very dirty and discoloured… Guess what I used to clean them? Yes, you are right, toothpaste. This gave me an idea… a selection of all known to me uses for the wonder that is toothpaste.

So here you go… my selection of 7 toothpaste wonders.

7 Wonders Of Toothpaste Metal Cleaner

Metal Cleaner

Just as stated above it works wonders on silver, gold, brass or any other kind of dirty metal for that matter. Simply use a cloth or the soft side of a sponge, wet it, apply some toothpaste and rub it in for a bit. You will see the dirt removed in no time.

First Aid

Burns and bites can be treated with toothpaste. It is especially effective on mosquito’s bites as these are extremely itchy. Just pop a small amount of toothpaste onto the affected area and you will feel the relief within a few minutes. The same applies to burns, a little toothpaste can stop burns from blistering (just remember I am talking about minor burns which do not involve an open wound).

Beauty Routine

Due to its ingredients toothpaste can be used in many ways to help us with our every day beauty routine.
First of all it works as a perfect hand cleaner. It will help to get rid of unwanted smells like garlic or onion, but this isn’t all… it also works as a finger nail cleaner. Have you ever gone gardening and forgot to put gloves on… if you did, you know how hard it is to wash your nails afterwards. The next time you are in this situation simply rub them with toothpaste and it will be much easier to get them back to their full glory.
Secondly it can help to reduce facial blemishes. It helps spots dry out so just put a small amount of toothpaste onto the affected area and leave overnight.

General Cleaner

Dirty shoes, irons, carpet or clothes stains or even crayon stains on painted walls can be treated with toothpaste. Simply treat affected, stained area with a damp cloth and a bit of toothpaste; repeat if needed. It really works great on scratched leather shoes, coats, handbags etc; it minimises the marks leaving the leather looking much better. It also works perfectly on the dirty soles of trainers; it can bring those whites back to life.

7 Wonders Of Toothpaste  Anti-Scratch Remedy

Anti-Scratch Remedy

CD and DVDs get scratched like everything else. A bit of toothpaste magic can help. It also works well on car headlights or bikes for that matter. Scratched headlight give less light so treating them with toothpaste every now and then can be highly beneficial. It will also work on your smartphone screen or a tablet if you are not protecting it with a screen protector.

Stinky Smell Removal

Every parent knows that baby bottles after repeated use develop a sour-milk smell, which simply doesn’t want to go away. Rub some toothpaste inside the bottle and pop it into dishwasher. It will remove the smell and leave your bottle smelling nice and fresh yet again.

Defogger

This is perfect for any goggles – skiing, swimming and diving… it will work all the same. Simply rub a small portion of toothpaste into each lens, rub gently, rinse and… No more foggy goggles!

That’s it. This is my list of unusual uses for toothpaste.

I just want to add that standard, ordinary, old-fashioned toothpaste works best. You really don’t want any triple colours malarkey or a whitening type (this can leave bleach marks on fabrics) or anything with scrubbing particles inside of it… just use a cheap white, smooth toothpaste.

Also do not scrub like a mad man (or woman). Use it in a gentle manner with a soft damp cloth. It is much better to repeat the process if needed than over scrub and leave unwanted marks.

Did you ever use toothpaste in any of these ways?

And if you know of any other uses for it, please share.

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