6 reasons why every family should have a dog

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All you need is love. 
And a dog.

Just over four years ago this gorgeous creature came into our lives.
He nudged his wet nose into our laps and that was it, he well and truly in our hearts too.

We agonised over whether to bring a dog into our busy lives. Were the kids old enough? Would Mia literally love it to death? Would I get fed up of having another ‘child’ to look after? Would I resent having to look after it once the honeymoon period was over and no one wanted to walk the damn thing?

But he came and he changed our lives.
Now I’m a big big believer that kids growing up with a dog in the house can be happier, healthier and less stressed.
Why? Because they have a best friend at all times who listens to their every problem (even the boring ones), who will encourage them to be outdoors and who will just sit with them for hours on end when everyone else has given up and gone to watch paint dry.

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Our dog is awesome.
Here’s why (and no he’s not supposed to be on that bloody sofa!):

  1. I can talk to him like a baby now my kids don’t allow it any more. Even the husband does it and he didn’t even do it with the kids!
  2. When I walk in the door from a shitty day at work he is utterly delighted to see me and I feel like the most important person the world. When I walk in the door after emptying the bins he is utterly delighted to see me. What can I tell you, he has no sense of time; I didn’t say he was clever!
  3. He saves me the effort of getting the vacuum cleaner out when I’ve had a little accident in the kitchen. He also eats the ends I cut off the red pepper, carrots and broccoli. It feels like our little secret.
  4. He’s complicit when I’m eating a sneaky bar of chocolate in the pantry. Doesn’t tell a soul.
  5. We share beautiful things. Sunrises, nature at her finest, frozen canals, the early bird, the changing seasons. Now my kids won’t allow me to photograph them so much I take a million photographs of said moments. He never ever complains.
  6. He taught us how to love life. He sits in the back of the car with the window down with a look of pure joy on his face as his chops flap in the wind. He runs with gay abandon. He is beyond excited when you put your shoes on. You say his name and joy lights up his face.

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IMG_1612I’m sharing my love of our gorgeous boy over on the Monster Pet Supplies website as their guest blogger this month.

Take a look and then tell me your doggie story!

Posted in Dog | Tagged | 4 Comments

Lenco USB Direct Recording Turntable review. Or, that’s Christmas sorted then

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As a child of the eighties, my musical background lies in vinyl.
And that vinyl now sits in a cupboard, gathering dust and quietly whispering to me to stop ignoring it and pandering to the ‘modern’ outrage that is downloads.

Now I have a teenager of my own, the majority of the music I listen to is his music. It comes via a radio station I feel way too old to listen to or understand and various downloads sites I daren’t ask about.

But my heart lies in vinyl. Those days of saving up my pocket money to go into town, to the big HMV and buy the latest chart single. 12 inch if I’d saved up enough.
My first album was Human League’s Dare and I felt SO COOL coming home with that in my plastic bag.

I have my old record player still, which I treated with kid gloves and gave The Look to anyone who dared mistreat the needle. But it too is now gathering dust because, to be honest, it’s such a faff to set up with the whole pre-amplifier thing.

Then I had an email asking if I’d like to try this Lenco USB turntable. Would I like to bring my vinyl back to life, they were asking? Hell YES I would.
And here is said record player straight out of the box.

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It literally requires you to plug it into any speakers (we’ve plugged ours into the TV surround speakers so it’s right there front and centre in the living room, ready for a Christmas par-tay).

It looks the absolute business, has all the features of my ‘old’ record player – eject button, 33/45 RPM button, lever to lift the arm, auto return, centre replacement disc for vinyl without a centre to fit. I absolutely love it.

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Since receiving it, I’ve embarrassed the kids by playing Duran Duran full blast and dancing a la Baptist Church Disco circa 1985.
I’ve done the ‘oh my lordy, do you remember THIS one?’ as I rifle through my alphabetically-ordered collection, to anyone who will listen. Finally, finally my vinyl collection is getting a new lease of life.

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The technical bit

The Lenco L-85 comes in a choice of 6 colours and costs £119.99.
Direct MP3 encoding means you can record your vinyl collection to a digital format via the USB and the built-in pre-amplifier means you simply connect to any speakers, plug in and go.
Many, many thanks to Lenco for sending me this; it’s an absolutely perfect early Christmas present.

Posted in Reviews, Tech Review | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Stocking fillers for an 11 year old girl

Yesterday I wrote about stocking fillers for teenage boys and the hair-pulling nightmare that is pleasing a hormonal son.

Today it’s a slightly easier pre-teen girl I’m shopping for.
To be honest, my daughter’s idea of heaven is one giant Christmas stocking instead of any one big item. She loves ‘stuff’!
So here are a few ideas if you’re hunting too.

Stocking fillers for an 11 year old girl

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  1. Make up bag
    Mia uses make up bags for everything from pencil cases to an ‘essentials’ pouch to take on sleepovers. I love this alphabet make up bag from Next – you have to be quick though as the popular letters sell out. I’ve also seen something similar in Matalan.
  2. Key ring
    Girls opt for everything from pompoms to glittery hearts and favourite band members on their keyring. But  you can’t beat a Lego Key Ring with the hidden message that’s your girl is totally ‘wonderful’.
  3. Book
    The Wreck This Journal might seem like a strange choice for a book lover, but let me tell you, they are awesome. If you have a creative girl who likes to try ‘out there’ arts and crafts this is a must.
  4. Unicorn shower cap
    Just because.
  5. Christmas tree ornament
    Every year Santa brings my kids a tree ornament which means our Christmas tree is filled with memories. It does get harder to pick something suitable as they get older but it’s totally worth it. This tree ornament from Marks & Spencer is perfect for my dog-mad girl.
  6. Beanie hat
    Apparently they’re a thing at the moment. Who knew? Primark is your goto shop!
  7. Bath bomb
    Much like the traditional satsuma in the bottom of your stocking, a bath bomb has become our modern equivalent! This Body Shop bath fizzes brings a touch of Berry Bliss apparently.
  8. Slipper socks
    My kids just won’t wear slippers, but as we have wooden and tiled floors throughout downstairs in the house I hate to see them either in bare feet at this time of year, or cleaning the floor with their white school socks. Mouse slipper socks are the way to go.
  9. Sleep mask
    Because every girl needs to feel like a glamorous diva.
  10. Hottie
    She may be elbowing the teenage years but one 11 year old still has one foot in the little girl camp. She’s had one of these for years (you pop it in the microwave to heat up the wheat beads inside and use as a hot water bottle) and always turns to it for comfort. Buying her next Hottie from Top Shop make it seem just that little bit more grown up and cool!
  11. Lip balm
    For kissing mum and dad and thanking them for selling Santa about all the awesome presents he needs to buy for her stocking. Maybeline Baby Lips gets a big thumbs up from me.

 

Posted in Christmas, Lists | 1 Comment