I think at some level we all love shopping. We might not all love food or clothes shopping but I am sure that there is something for everyone to be passionate about when it comes to shopping.
I love shopping. Full stop.
Depending on the type of things I want or need to get I would sometimes pick old that old fashioned shopping method, you know the one, on my feet in the store over the modern version of internet shopping. They both have some good and bad sides in my opinion. I often pick the online option because I hate crowds, hunting for a parking space and high prices. Shopping online most of the time allows me to get the best deal possible without even leaving my home… but I still go out to do my grocery shopping; picking my own fruit and vegetables is kind of therapeutic for me and our local veggie man doesn’t deliver any more.
So imagine my happiness when I was offered a budget to go shopping in order to review Chemist Direct… yas!… It was like Christmas came earlier this year.
The shopping code arrived in my mail box and a few hours later when my entire house was sleepy and quiet I started my shopping spree.
Chemist Direct is an online pharmacy stocking everything you might need in order to manage the wellbeing of yourself, your partner, kids, parents and even pets.
The choice of products on their website is absolutely huge.
The website itself is very user friendly and provides many different search options. You can search by departments or by category; you can sort your search by price – high to low or other way around – alphabetically, by popularity and even, for all the bargain hunters out there, by the amount saved. You can also pick your preferred layout on the page from grid or list view.
All products have at least a clear description and most come including an ingredients list, usage instructions, warnings (if applicable) and ratings / reviews. Each product page gives the price of the product as well as the required recommended retail price, so you know straight away if you have saved any money; it gives you clear delivery instructions and any further savings offered directly related to this particular product such as buy 3 but only pay for 2. In addition it also shows you a list of similar products you might also be interested in.
In addition to your normal single purchases there is often the option to buy it in bulk (3, 6 or even 12 units of the same product). This option obviously offers even bigger savings when comparing it to the single unit price.
I actually spent over an hour picking my goodies
I started my shopping spree with an open mind and wanted to pick something for everyone to enjoy. I didn’t want to be selfish this time and blow my whole allowance on one face cream… I wanted to make it a family friendly shopping spree My final basked contained the following: Aloe Pura Aloe Vera Skin Gel, Bioconcepts Cod Liver Oil Soft Gels 1000mg x 2, Bioconcepts Glucosamine Tablets (360s) 1000mg, Green People Fennel Toothpaste x 3, Johnson’s Baby Bath 500ml, Johnson’s Baby Powder 500g, Radox Brazilian Fusion Handwash, Radox Muscle Therapy Bath Soak 500ml, Radox Shower Smoothies Soul Soother, Radox Spa Radiant Shower Scrub, Radox Stimulate Shower Gel, Radox Stress Relief Bath Soak, Regener8 Moroccan Argan Oil Conditioner 250ml, Regener8 Moroccan Argan Oil Hair Serum 50ml, Regener8 Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo 250ml, St. Ives Apricot Scrub Gentle.
Straight after I placed my order I received confirmation via email. Closely followed the next day by a dispatch email arriving in my inbox and then two days later my complete order was delivered by courier.
The order was neatly packed in a box with a lot of bubble wrap inside, protecting my products in transit. Everything was there including a full invoice and a returns label.
Most of my order in the end was filled with products we both know and use on a regular basis but I couldn’t help myself and also picked a few new products to try.
Green People Fennel Toothpaste caught my eye when I was browsing the Dental & Oral Care section. It is a natural paste that is ideal for sensitive teeth and gums and is suitable to be used by the entire family. This mint-free formulation features a fennel flavour and contains an antibacterial action so that it is even suitable for users of homeopathy and those suffering with bleeding gums. This Fennel Toothpaste also contains calcium carbonate and essential oils, which kills plaque and bacteria. Green People Fennel Toothpaste is made with organic cloves, cinnamon, myrrh and propolis; it is an SLS-free and fluoride-free natural toothpaste.
Aloe Pura Aloe Vera Skin Gel which moisturises softens and helps hydrate dry and sensitive skin. It is produced using organic Aloe Vera gel, which can be applied to stretch marks, scars, dry, chapped skin, sun burn, skin irritations and minor burns.
In general I am very pleased with my Chemist Direct shopping spree. Not only I was able to pick products I wanted but I bought them at a much better price than offered by my local super store.
I sure will be back for more once our little stock pile is gone.
Do you like online shopping?
Where do you tend to buy your toiletries, beauty and health products?
Evidently 70% of British adults, and a staggering 76% of Scottish adults, would trust a fictional dog over our current political leadership to run our country, according to a survey commissioned by PickUp! biscuits.
Are we really so dissatisfy with our current leaders? No, that’s not a trick question
I know I am at the moment.
I am not sure I would go so far as putting my trust in a dog, but who knows… it might be or at least needs to be a very special dog…
Additionally, and a much more believable response from the same survey revealed that 73% of dog owners believe their dogs can demonstrate “special skills”, so in line with this discovery PickUp! biscuits has now launched the ultimate hunt for dogs that demand respect!
The competition starts today and who knows in the process maybe we can find that very special dog that could indeed be our leader and run this emerald island.
As you are probably aware, starting today a whole eclectic band of dogs will line up for the doggy equivalent of the Olympics, more commonly known as Crufts, but if like the majority of us you’re not going to be part of this band, you might just want to consider joining in with the Ninja Dog Championships.
PiCKUP! biscuits contain chocolate so sacred that they have to be protected by their very own Ninja Chihuahua, (you have probably seen him on TV) – who is now on a nationwide hunt to find the final canine contestant to take part in his Dogs that Demand Respect, Ninja Apprentice Championships.
Could your dog be awesome enough to take part and become a member of the #ChocNinja crew?
If you aren’t sure whether their skills will suffice, check out the current team members and what they can do…
To stay in touch with PickUp! biscuits just like them on Facebook or follow on Twitter @BahlsenPICKUP, oh and don’t forget to visit PickUp! website for full details about the Ninja Dog Championships… £500 cash prize is awaiting for the winner!
Will you be entering your dog?
Does your dog have any “special skills”?
When I think about Lilly and Bunk, the only ninja power that comes to mind unfortunately is their ability to track down any unattended food for stealing, which they then do faster than the blink of an eye…
*Picture courtesy of PickUp!
I love mushrooms. I think my love for them has its roots in my childhood as every year we would go camping to the woods and one of my favourite activities (in addition to swimming and rolling on a sandy beach by the lake) was mushrooming. Every year we would come home with a car boot filled with dried mushrooms ready for the winter season.
My mum would often cook mushroom soup but it was always based on those dried mushrooms we had picked during the summer. So without even noticing it, it turns out I’ve never had a fresh mushroom soup… until now.
- 300g mushrooms
- 500g potatoes
- 2 carrots
- 2 onions
- 2l stock, I used a chicken stock from Knorr
- 1 Knorr Garden Herbs Flavour Pot
- Salt (optional)
- Cream (optional)
Chop the mushrooms, potatoes, onions, and carrots into small cubes of your desired size.
Place the mushrooms into your cooking pot, add the stock, flavour pot and mix well. I used 2 Knorr stock cubes to make 2 litres of stock (the packaging would advice 4 cubes for this amount of water but I didn’t want my soup to have too strong chicken flavour).
Bring up to a gentle boil and cook for 20 minutes.
After this time remove any scum (if there is any) and add all remaining ingredients.
Cook for further 40 minutes.
After this time you are ready to serve.
I actually cooked my soup in a Redmond Multicooker (you can read all about it here). If you have one too the cooking instructions are as follows: Chop the mushrooms, potatoes, onions, and carrots into small cubes of your desired size. Place mushrooms into the bowl, add stock, flavour pot and mix well. Close the lid. Press “Menu” button to select “SOUP” program. Use “Hour/Min” and then “Cooking Time” buttons to set the time of 1 hour. Press “Start”. 40 minutes before the program finishes, re¬move the scum, add vegetables and stir well. Cook until the program finishes.
This is a really light and tasty soup. I think it would work pretty well with a veggie stock, but I simply didn’t have any. Depending on the type of stock you are using you might want to check the salt level and maybe add some if needed. For me it wasn’t necessary as the two cubes of chicken stock had more than enough flavour so I could skip adding any additional salt.
The soup can be served “plain” or with added cream (much better in my opinion).
If you decide to add cream I would suggest adding it just before serving to each bowl; this way your remaining soup will last longer in the fridge.
If the lumps are going to be a problem for you, such as if it is for young children then a quick blast with a blender and bingo you have a type of cream of mushroom soup.
Do you like mushroom soup?
If not, why not? what‘s wrong with you?
Hello everyone! This lovely sunny morning I would love to share with you a new beauty product I’ve discovered lately (or should I say: was offered the chance to discover) – InstaNatural Youth Express Eye Gel. I don’t agree to review beauty product very often simply because I always check what’s inside them first and that can put me off but in this case I really liked what this eye gel is made from, so here it is…
InstaNatural Youth Express Eye Gel is an ultimate gel to battle dark circles, puffiness, small wrinkles and bags under the eyes.
It is made from natural organic ingredients and it contains no parabens, sulfates or alcohol.
The full ingredients list looks as follow: Organic Herbal Infusion, Organic Aloe, Matrixyl 3000, Palmitoyl Triepeptide-3, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Plant Stem Cells, Cucumber Hydrosol, Organic Jojoba Oil, Botanical Hyaluronic Acid, Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), Hydroxyethyl Cellulose, Carrageenan Gum, Silk Amino Acid Blend (Sodium L-Pyrrolidone Carboxylate, Sodium Lactate, L’Arginine, L-Aspartic Acid, L-Pyrrolidonecarboxylic Acid, Glycine, L-Alanine, L-Serine, L-Valine, L-Proline, L-threonine, L-Isoleucine, L-Histidine, L-Phenylalanine), Wildcrafted Vinca Major (Periwinkle), Organic Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice), Wildcrafted Euphrasia Officinalis (Eye Bright), Wildcrafted Ganoderma Lucidum (Reishi), Organic Gotu Kola, Boswellia Serrata (Frankincense), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Ethyl Hexyl Glycerin
InstaNatural Youth Express Eye Gel comes in a 50ml pump dispenser bottle (my favourite type of packaging for beauty products). It is securely foil wrapped so you can be sure that product is brand new and unused. After opening you will have to pump it a few times and then finally the gel emerges… after this priming it will simply come out after every small pump.
The gel itself is kind of milky in colour; it’s not too thick and not too watery… it has a texture as you would expect from a gel product, I guess. It’s quite lightweight and it spreads with ease leaving a slightl cooling sensation on your skin. It doesn’t get absorbed immediately; it needs about 30 seconds to “dry out”. After this time you should experience a slight tightness of the skin where the gel was applied; it’s not like wearing a mask which has just dried out but I can definitely feel the difference on the skin when comparing it to parts of my face which the gel didn’t touch.
InstaNatural Youth Express Eye Gel doesn’t give the full effect right away but I have to admit that after just a few days of using it, during a night time only, I could definitely see the difference – my dark circles are much less defined and the puffiness is almost completely gone. The skin under my eyes feels much tighter now and for sure is much less baggy.
InstaNatural Youth Express Eye Gel costs just £16.95 for a 50ml bottle. Taking into consideration its ingredients and what it can do, I would say it is a steal.
I am not very good with keeping non essential routines but I do try my best not to forget about this eye gel. It really does make a difference to my appearance so why go back to baggy dark circles under my eyes?
Do you use any eye specific products?
Have you tried anything from InstaNatural?
Today I have for you a new development in my drizzle cake collection. Stepping back away from the fruits theme for a while I’ve decided to experiment with coffee I believe like most of you that chocolate and coffee go well together so it was the perfect starting point for my new cake.
Rummaging through my kitchen cupboards I came across a bag of fudge chunks; they were exactly what I was looking for – a perfect addition to the chocolate and coffee which I had already set my mind on.
So here you go…
I present you my Chocolate, Fudge and Espresso Coffee Drizzle Cake.
For the cake:
- 3 eggs
- 150g self-raising flour
- 150g caster sugar
- 150g unsalted butter, softened
- 1tsp baking powder
- 2tbsp coco powder (I used Bournville)
- 1tbs chocolate shavings
- 1tsp coffee essence
- Handful of Mini Fudge Chunks (I used ones made by Silver Spoon)
- Icing sugar for decoration (optional)
For the espresso drizzle:
- 50g granulated sugar
- 50ml good quality extra strong made espresso
Preheat the oven to 180C fan.
Grease one 8” loaf tin (lining is an option if you are skilled at such things).
In a large bowl mix together all the dry ingredients being: flour, sugar, cocoa, chocolate shavings and baking powder.
Add the softened butter, eggs and coffee essence – mix all ingredients until combined and smooth.
Pour into your earlier prepared loaf tin.
Once you mix is in the tin sprinkle your mixture with mini fudge chunks and push them down ever so slightly with a spoon, they will sink some more during the early stages of the cooking so should end up somewhere near the middle of the cake
Bake in the centre of your pre-heated oven for 35-40min.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
Prepare your drizzle by mixing the sugar with the 50ml of espresso. “Stab” your cake repeatedly with a toothpick or skewer and then slowly drizzle it with your mixture allowing it to soak in deep inside the cake.
Let it cool completely.
Sprinkle icing sugar on top to give it a professional finished look (and cover the holes you made earlier).
Cut, serve and enjoy!
I am actually really proud of my cake. It ended up being really something, if I don’t mind saying so myself. My cake, once baked, had quite a big crack in the middle, which means that most of my espresso drizzle ended up in the middle of the cake. This ended up being a huge advantage taste wise. The cake had these nice layers of flavour; the sides were very chocolaty whilst the middle was predominantly coffee flavoured due to the drizzle; in addition every now and then you could bite into sweet gooey half melted fudgy goodness… I have to admit – my new cake came out to be a roaring success.
Well it is the start of the month again so pups in a line and health check time. Whilst checking Lilly’s backbone and ribs for coverage it occurred to me that although I have resolved her problem that it still exists for many people around. In case you’re unsure what I am referring to let me be clear….
Pet obesity is a huge problem and not only in this country. It may be hard to admit but we are actually killing our pets with kindness.
One treat here, one treat there seems innocent enough at the time but all that extra food adds up and the result it’s making our pets fat!
I am not saying that treats are bad, far from it, but we should take them into consideration when planning the daily meal for our pets.
Do you remember our 30 Day Pet Nutrition Challenge with Pets at Home? During our initial consultation I was given a detailed round up on how much food reduction I should practice to make room for all the additional bits and pieces I feed to my dogs. As it ended up I had to reduce their kibble intake by 1/3 – that’s a big cut down from the general recommendations but it paid off. I am sticking to what I was told and three months down the line our Lilly still keeps her ideal weight; she is no longer overweight; she has much more energy and generally seems to be happier.
Keeping our dogs slim is very important. Overweight dogs have a much greater risk of health issues including arthritis or heart problems and their life span is greatly reduced.
It is really important to stay on top of any weight problem when it comes to our pets. A friend of mine has a lovely Beagle type girl called Hopey; she is really sweet little thing but she is huge… when I met her for the first time I honestly thought she was pregnant and about to have a litter. I was wrong. She is simply obese and the owner doesn’t seem to see it as a big problem… 3kg overweight is not a big deal in his opinion… in my opinion yes it is! When you consider that at her ideal weight she should weigh around 10kg, an additional 3kg is a huuuuge deal; that’s an additional 30% of mass. Can you imagine a human with an additional 30% of his or hers body mass. Just a few kilos might sound innocent (if we discount the significant increase to medical issues) when we think about humans as we tend to start off with a large mass. This doesn’t apply to dogs as they start off with such a small mass so it is not innocent when it comes to dogs.
If you are a pet owner please make sure that you check your dogs or cats weight at least once a month. This is really important. Look at this body condition tool on the Purina website, visit your vet if you are in doubt or book yourself a nutrition visit at Pets at Home.
And as we are talking about monthly health routine don’t forget to check everything else we covered last month; don’t forget to Frontline and de-worm your dogs. By the way very recently I’ve came across some new worming tablets for dogs – Veloxa, which is a tasty beef flavoured chewable tablet so no need to hide it in food in order to persuade your dog to eat it This should make things easier for most of us. Has anyone used it?
How is your dogs’ weight?
Is it increasing, declining or stable?
Are they at risk of falling into the category of being overweight?
“Reflection can be its own reward.”
Challenge set by The Daily Post
Related articles across the web
As you have probably gathered from reading my blog I am a doggy kind of girl. I love dogs and I live in a dog loving country so everything doggy should be perfect, or so you would think at face value. Now for the last year or so I have been in contact with the PR department at the Dogs Trust through various campaigns and general communications and we have built up a good relationship, and last Thursday were given an amazing opportunity to visit one of their re-homing centres – Dogs Trust Harefield.
It might come as a surprise to some of you, mainly due to the fact that we have a rescue dog at home; I have never actually been in a rescue centre. Our Lilly is a rescue but she was lucky enough to be actually passed from one family to another – her old family dropped her off and we were already waiting to pick her up, so she never set a foot in the shelter, so neither did I.
I really wanted to go to the Dogs Trust Harefield centre. Mark however was concerned and was trying to tell me that it could be a traumatic experience and that maybe I should politely refuse, obviously confused as to why he would suggest such a thing I asked why. He told me the story of how all through his childhood his parents operated a dog rescue and re-homing service with their Local Authority. This arrangement played out by his family going to the local authority to see what dogs they had collected and picking one to bring home. Then through local advertising and word of mouth they would seek to find a permanent home for that dog and when successful they would go back and pick another one. I was still curious as to how this wonderful act could still be cause of a traumatic experience so Mark explained that the policy was that when the Local Authority collected an abandoned dog they would only look after it for 7 days and that if by the end of that week the dog had not been claimed that it would be put to sleep by a vet. So Mark remembers as a child looking through rows of metal cages at all the dogs that were on their 7th day knowing that they could only realistically save one of them, and that when his family did pick one to take home that when they left the others were probably not going to be alive the next day. So yes there was happiness regarding the now happy dog in the car on its way to a bright new future but it was tinged with great darkness as many had been left behind, this was traumatic. I could not reconcile what I knew about the Dogs Trust with this story so I still wanted to go and Mark agreed to come with me just in case as emotional support.
Apparently the world has moved on quite a bit since Marks childhood and we didn’t need to be apprehensive of any traumatic experiences as become evident from the second we passed through the wide welcoming gateway into the Dogs Trust compound. Impressive from the outset was our initial thoughts and we suspect the 15,000 dogs they have re-homed in the last year as well.
Yes you read that right, this one charity re-homes 15,000 dogs a year on average, and they are only one of many charities hard at work in this much needed field of care. That’s a jaw dropping fact right there.
We were met on arrival by the centre manager and the PR advisor and given the tour and chatted about the facilities and services they offer, it took 3 hours! And trust me we didn’t dally anywhere this was an engaging and informative tour it’s just that they offer so much it takes that long just to go and have a quick peek at all the parts of this centre and at the end of it all we wanted to do was change our careers and join them.
From the wide, open plan brightly lit reception where the public can sit down and have a chat with a staff member you can venture into an equally large library part. Yes, you are reading it right – they have a private library filled with donated books waiting there to be read or taken home in exchange for a small donation.
Once you pass through a half glassed door designed with a bone shaped glass in it, you enter the dog re-homing part where you can actually see all the lovely dogs waiting for a new forever home.
This place was nothing like I was expecting.
In my head I imagined dark boxes filled with unhappy dogs making puppy eyes at every person who passed by… in reality each “dog room” is large and well lit with comfy beds or even giant arm chairs or single sofas; the place is filled with various toys and most importantly access to the outside. I never imagined it will look like this… All the dogs out there actually looked happy and content. Their daily routine includes outdoor activities plus a cuddle time with a member of staff.
In addition to the public sections there are other parts of the centre in which dogs live…
There is a training section – this part is reserved for dogs which have just come in and are now undergoing a seven day assessment;
There is a puppy section – yes, puppies are brought to the shelter as well, we actually had a chance to meet some and participate in a cuddle time with them… and this little fellow is still looking for a home…
There is a “home room” section – this one is actually very interesting; it is reserved for dogs which have been through some traumatic experiences and they need reintroducing to a more home like environment and importantly relearn how to behave in such an environment; these rooms look like a proper front room in yours or my house; filled with furniture to resemble a home.
There is also a section for dogs which will stay in the centre for ever as they can’t be put for adoption.
The Dogs Trust Harefield has re-homed just over 150 dogs since the beginning of this year… that’s over three dogs per day… not bad is it?
The Dogs Trust is a charity and as a charity it is funded by people, people like you and I, people of good will, people who despite the current economic climate can still find compassion in their hearts to help others, to help animals in need who aren’t able to help themselves.
The Dogs Trust is doing a fantastic job. All the dogs we’ve seen and met were well looked after but even the best shelter isn’t going to replace a loving home with a family of your own.
If you are planning on getting a dog, please consider re-homing instead of buying a puppy. All dogs coming from the Dogs Trust are fully assessed when it comes to their behaviour, potential likes and dislikes as well as vet checked; they will be neutered or spayed, vaccinated, de-warmed and anti-flea treated before you take them home.
And if you aren’t looking for a new four legged companion maybe you could sponsor a dog? There are dogs which will never find their forever home. This is not always necessarily the dogs fault but for one reason or another they will never have a chance of adoption; they will always live in Dogs Trust Centre.
I left the Dogs Trust Harefield with a heavy heart. I wanted to stay and help. We brought a bag of toys to the centre and purchased some books but I just felt like this wasn’t enough; I felt like I should do something more to help.
I can’t visit the Dogs Trust too often; I can’t become a volunteer; it is simply too far for me to travel, but I can write… I have my little internet space where I can share… so I am going to write to you in hope that you will read and help… share with others to spread the word… share in hope that more people of good heart will stand behind the Dogs Trust and the fantastic job they are doing.
I would like to say thank you to Emily and Richard for spending this time with us on Thursday. It was really time well spent and we both learnt so much.