adventures, fun stuff, life

My BorrowMyDoggy experience

At the beginning of the year I signed up to BorrowMyDoggy – a service designed to connect dog owners with dog lovers who can’t have their own canine chum. 

Our flat is too small, we are both out all day and we don’t have a garden so having a dog is currently out of the question. 

I took advantage of a special offer on the price of the membership, otherwise it might be a bit pricey for some. 

I created a profile and messaged a few local dog owners (it gives you an approximate location) but nothing happened. 

A few weeks ago I got a reply from a lady who lives across the dual carriageway from me (about 10 minutes walk) – how lucky was that! 

I met Flick and her human, Susan, and we had a chat and a cuddle (Flick) and now Flick and I go to the park a few times a week for a walk and a play. For an older dog she’s very keen on running around the park and exploring the messages left my other dogs.

She’s a smart pup who goes into school to hear children read and help them build their confidence so she’s super friendly and gentle. Hopefully soon she’ll be coming over for a picnic and a sleepover. 

I’ve really enjoyed using the service so far and will be seeing if I can make any more doggy friends, they are great fun and mean I get outside for some fresh air and exercise, plus science says stroking an animal lowers your blood pressure and can help boost your mental wellbeing. 

The ratties don’t seem too bothered by the slight smell of dog on me after my park outings with Flick luckily. 

My pal Flick

How about you? Anyone used BorrowMyDoggy? What did you think? 

books, fun stuff, life

At the library 

I have always been a member of at least one library or another – at one point 4 (local library near my parents, British Library, uni library and the library I currently use). 

Libraries are wonderful places, offering community services and access to the internet all for free. All you need is a library card. 

Recently my local libraries have gone all high tech – and reduced librarians to computerised check out and card entry doors. I’m not sure I’m a fan. 

Today I returned 2 books (historical crime fiction) and took out 4. Two graphic novels, the reading group book (decided to join it for a bit) and another historical crime novel. 

I also checked out the Cityread London program – but the book in question was checked out! 

Libraries are for everyone – whatever age, race, identity, language you speak, the library is for you too. 

food, healthy, life, recipes

Recipe: Potato & Egg curry

This is a great way to use up potatoes left over from a previous meal. Oh and eggs. To make it vegan, just skip the eggs. A quick tip – book the eggs and potatoes in the same pan if you’re using raw potatoes. 

1 or 2 hard boiled eggs per person 

A few potatoes boiled and chopped up 

Tin tomatoes or passata

Onion, chopped

Celery, 2 or 3 sticks, diced

Ginger – 1 tsp fresh or frozen

Garlic – 1 tsp fresh or frozen 

Cumin seeds – 1 tsp

Turmeric – 1 tsp

Chilli powder – 1 tsp or a small fresh one chopped

Masala powder (optional) – 1tsp

Salt & pepper to taste

Method 

Boil the potatoes (10 minutes till al dente) and eggs (7/8 minutes till you’re happy they’re done). 

Brown your onion and toast the cumin seeds, add the ginger and garlic and leave to mingle for 5 minutes. Add your spices and season to taste. 

Pour in the tomatoes, mix and cook for 5 or 6 minutes. Drain the potatoes and add them and the celery. Mix in well and simmer. 

When your eggs are done, run them under a cold tap, peel and slice. Add them to the pan for a minute and spoon some of the sauce over them. 

Serve. You can add raita or yoghurt to serve or your choice of Chutney etc. I don’t tend to serve it with rice because of the potatoes but it’s up to you. I do like a piece of naan to dip. 

This is based on a recipe from my lovely work wifey whose family come from Gujarat in India. You can use different vegetables to bulk it out and it tastes just as good reheated the next day minus the eggs. 

food, healthy, life, recipes

How to: tummy soother

We’ve all been there, you’re bloated, your belly aches and you’d quite like to die now thank you. 

Here’s a quick recipe for a tummy soothing remedy that costs less than 50p to make. 
You will need: 

One mug from your cupboard

Hot water – a little cooler than boiling. 

A thumb of ginger root (If you can’t find any in the shops, 1/2 tsp dry ground ginger) 

Half a lemon/lemon juice from a bottle 

Pour the water into the cup and let it cool slightly so you don’t scald your tongue. 

Peel and grate the ginger. Wash and half a lemon. 

Put the grated ginger in a bowl and press down on it with a spoon to release the juice. 

Pour the ginger juice into the hot water (I use a tea strainer) and squeeze in the lemon juice. Sip. Adjust juice levels to taste. Drink slowly and in a while you should feel better. 

Ginger helps promote good digestion and soothes the bloat. Lemon is a friend to your liver and helps break down chemicals like alcohol.

If you can stomach it hot water with lemon is a great way to get your body up and at ’em in the mornings. Personally I found it smelt like pancakes but tasted horrific. The ginger version is definitely better. You could also use fresh mint in warm water as mint also helps the digestive system and has anti-inflammatory properties. Or you could buy some tea bags – whatever works for you. 
I am not a doctor or nutritionist – this is just a simple home remedy. For anything more serious please see your GP or visit a hospital. Any ongoing pain in your gut must be addressed with a professional as it could be serious. 

fun stuff, life, wedding

Wedding Wednesday 

One of the most stressful things during wedding planning is working out what venue you want. It took us ages to decide how we wanted to do things and then find the right place to host it. 

Image from Wedding Wire
Wedding Wire got in touch about their fun quiz designed to help you decide. Now I don’t know about you but I love an online quiz and this one is quite fun. You can do it alone or with your partner (even if you’re not planning a wedding at the moment. 

Image from Wedding Wire
According to the quiz I should be having a vineyard Wedding, sadly North London is lacking in those so I’ll be sticking with the venue I’ve picked. 

Image from Wedding Wire

If you are planning a wedding or are already married, how did you pick your venue? Let me know in the comments. 
This post is sponsored by Wedding Wire but all opinions are my own. 

feminism, inspiration, life, tv

20 Years of Buffy

Friday was the 20th anniversary of the first airing of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – one of the defining tv shows of my life. 

Final seasons Scooby Gang
I remember watching the first season on BBC2 with my little sister and my dad, and just thinking here was a show that spoke to me. I was just starting secondary school and those teenage monsters were very familiar. 

Now we were all supposed to be in love with David Boreanaz’s tortured vampire-with-a-soul Angel but I must admit I do love a bad boy – there was a huge poster of Spike (James Marsters) on my bedroom wall.

“I’m a bad rude man”

The monsters as metaphors is a construct as old as story telling but these were monsters A teenage girl with a sharp stick and a great line in quips could kill. That’s a pretty empowering thing for any young woman. 

Buffy dealt with bullies, death, a bratty sister, love, heartbreak, exams and friendships – all the things we all go through. She showed us the way. How many times did you want to quite literally stab your heart breaking ex through the heart with a wooden stake. 

And then there was the kickass soundtrack. I still have all 3 of the soundtrack cds – including the musical episode ‘Once More With Feeling’.

Mr Pointy

I have trouble picking a favourite episode, character etc but here’s my highlights. 
The silent episode ‘Hush’ was masterful. And proves the cast can all act. 

Xander and Willow’s relationship is definitely a friendship to aspire to – he saves her from becoming full on evil Willow with the power of his love for his best pal. And then there’s the Snoopy dance (bless Nicholas Brendon for still doing this at fan conventions). 

When everyone loses their memories and Spike and Giles think they’re father and son (and Spike’s called Randy) 

My ideal tea party

Faith – just too damn cool for school. But also power crazed, murderous and just a tad unhinged. 

Five by five

The Halloween episodes – vamps took the night off but all sorts of havoc would break loose. My favourite was either when everyone became their costumes (Buffy as an actual damsel in distress) or when they get trapped in a haunted house and have to defeat a fear demon – who’s about 3 inches high! 

Squished

Tara and Willow’s beautiful falling in love story. Pretty much the first sane sex couples I remember seeing on tv. Sweet, sad, romantic and tragic. 

😭😭

How much I hated Riley the cardboard soldier and that whole plotline – even more than the Glory/Dawn storyline and I really hated that. 

Eurgh
When did Buffy sleep? Demon fighting by night and school by day. What a hero, or serious caffeine habit. 

How sad I was when it all ended. 

Me too Anya, me too

This weekend I am planning a boxset binge to mark the anniversary – anyone else? 

inspiration, life, thoughts, wedding

Wedding Wednesday: a prep timeline

This is my incredibly scatter brained approach to wedding planning. My wedding is about 18 months away now, but I started planning a while after C proposed. I wasn’t one of those girls who planned their dream wedding as a kid so I’ve had to learn a lot fast. 

💍Get engaged. Or decide to get married. If photoshoots are your thing or a party, do that. We got a new fridge. So rock ‘n’ roll.  

👰Are you going to have a long engagement? Or do you want to get married relatively soon? If it’s the second- pick a date. C and I very romantically picked a date a month and a day after C’s birthday so he wouldn’t forget our anniversary. 

🎁Set a budget. Are you paying for it or is there some money set aside? I had no idea my Dad had been saving since I was a baby, and that has really helped with paying deposits. 

👱Guestlist time! Who do you want to share your day with? Do you want bridesmaids/groomsmen or even bridesmen or groomswomen? 

💒 Start looking at venues. Popular ones can be booked up very quickly.  Depending on what kind of wedding you want, this can affect your venue choices. We are having a traditional church wedding and then a big knees up, very relaxed and informal to follow.  

🌹Once you have sorted the venue – start looking at vendors like florists, photographers etc. I actually found my photographer before I picked our reception venue. Again, try not to leave this too late as popular vendors get heavily booked, especially at peak times of the year. 

🎪What fun features do you want? A photobooth maybe, a band, lawn games? I suggest visiting wedding and event fairs to try these out or look online. Again, once you know what you want – book it. 

🎉Pinterest is your friend. Build inspiration boards for just about anything. I also use Etsy to look for ideas.  

💌Time to send out Save the Dates – most people seem to send these 18 months to a year before the wedding. I plan to send my invitations out about 6 months before so StDs are vital in making sure the people we want there the most can start making plans. 

🎂 Cake tastings are a great way to decide what you want- look online for ideas – most wedding cake makers are really happy to work with you on designs and flavours. 

❤Are you writing your own vows? What about readings? Research some ideas and work with your intended and celebrant to put your service together. 

 There’s lots more to do, from picking out outfits, deciding on hair and make up and designing menus. But I haven’t quite got that far yet and as my planning is a bit topsy-turvy I can’t really say what I’m going to do next.  

Any tips from married folks or engaged types are always welcome in the comments. 

The images are all from Pinterest – search ‘weddings’ for similar inspiration.