Sunday, 26 February 2017

Pop Collecting and Competition

We have a slight obsession with Pop Vinyl figurines in our house; the cute little faces, the stunning painted detail, the known characters.



The obsession started a couple of years ago when we saw our first Pop Characters appear in most game related stores and now they are appearing in most stores including supermarkets and toy stores. They are designed as characters from Films, Games and other well known characters, you can even build your own now - which may have to be done!

I believe our little bobble head Spiderman was our very first purchase, but then he needed a friend and Batman suited. Our next trip was to a toy store where Olaf may have been on offer, so he had to come home with me and a minion may have shortly joined in the fun too.

The collection grew rapidly and we decided to box them back up - one for storage and two as they look fantastic in their original boxes, on our display wall. Now people always know what to get us if they cannot find something as a gift - they check with us first just to be on the safe side as they may have lost track!



***

Competition

You could have your very own Pop Character - Any Funko Pop up to the value of £15 with Buy Pop Vinyl's launch competition, ending on Sunday 5th March 2017 - so get your entries in now - you have just 7 days left to enter!

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Electra Autumn Binky

Electra Autumn Binky

Electra is a stunning fairy created and brought to life by Imogen's Fairytales, created specifically for me. My brief was Teal and Bunnies - of which she definitely has fulfilled.

The name:
Electra - Sparkly, fiery sun in greek.
Autumn - Beautiful colours and flowers.
Binky - Happy Jump of excitement that bunnies can't control.

Electra is a feisty girl who stands up for what she believes, she absolutely loves caring for people and animals, she adores the autumn months and cosy nights in, snuggled up with blanket, candles and a good movie. She usually spends her day looking after the animals and helping her mother, by looking over her when she is crafting and offering her unique thoughts and opinions.


Imogen's Fairies / Facebook / Instagram

This post was created purely by myself and was not endorsed in any way or encouraged to write my opinion and thoughts.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Hamster Care

Basic information on Hamsters

Breed
Syrian - Syrians are solitary animals and must be kept alone and never introduced to others, these are the largest breed of domesticated hamsters, usually advised for beginners as they are generally easy to handle due to their size, also known as Teddy Bear hamsters.

{Syrians}
{Campbell, Winter White, Russian Dwarf, Robo and Chinese}

Campbell - Campbell hamsters can be kept in pairs or groups providing there is enough space for them, they are from the same litter, have always been together and are of the same gender, they should have at least one of each of everything per hamster and keep an eye on them as they may begin to fight and will need splitting up, unfortunately once split you cannot reintroduce.
Winter White - Winter White hamsters can be kept in pairs or groups providing there is enough space for them, they are from the same litter, have always been together and are of the same gender, they should have at least one of each of everything per hamster and keep an eye on them as they may begin to fight and will need splitting up, unfortunately once split you cannot reintroduce. They are given the name Winter white as during the winter their coat will turn much lighter and in the summer months they will go a much darker brown or grey colour. You are often given papers if they are a true Winter white breed.
Hybrid/Russian Dwarf - Hybrid hamsters are cross between Winter whites and Campbell's we call them Russian Dwarf hamsters in most places, they can be kept in pairs or groups providing there is enough space for them, they are from the same litter, have always been together and are of the same gender, they should have at least one of each of everything per hamster and keep an eye on them as they may begin to fight and will need splitting up, unfortunately once split you cannot reintroduce.
Roborovski - Roborovski hamsters, also known as Robos, can be kept in pairs or groups providing there is enough space for them, they are from the same litter, have always been together and are of the same gender, they should have at least one of each of everything per hamster and keep an eye on them as they may begin to fight and will need splitting up, unfortunately once split you cannot reintroduce. They are super cute, the smallest of the breeds and fast little creatures.
The whiter the Robo the more prone they seem to be to neurological disorders, which can be devastating, which is usually down to genetics but can be brought on by poor environment.
Chinese - Chinese hamsters are solitary animals and must be kept alone and never introduced to others, they are mouse like hamsters as they have a longer tail than other hamster breeds but stunning creatures, but hard to come by in the UK.

Life Span
Most hamsters live around 2-3 years.

Gender  
Male and female hamsters aren't much different to care for, they all have their own individual personalities. Females do go into heat every 4 days for a couple of hours which can leave them smelling a little more but I personally have not smelt much difference and found females to be a lot more lively. Male Syrians also have large male area which can be a third of their bodies, so it is quite easy to tell the difference when a male and female hamster has reached maturity, ladies will have nipples on the underside of them. You may also notice some spots on your male hamsters, these are nothing to worry about and are their scent glands, Syrians have their scent glands one on each side of their hips, some are more visible than others and can become greasy if overactive. Male Campbell, Winter White, Russian Dwarf, Robos and Chinese hamsters have a scent gland on their tummy/underside.

Cost
Hamsters are one of the inexpensive pets, once you have the set up and depending on how much you want to spoil them! They do not need regular vaccines, check ups etc. Just for you to keep an eye on them and their health.
Initial set up around £50-£80
Food around £8 which will last some time, if kept in an airtight container
Money aside for any vet bills. An emergency vet can start at around £120 just for a call out fee so having around £500 aside per hamster is a good idea incase of any emergencies.

Housing
Unfortunately most store bought cages supposedly made for hamsters, aren't suitable, just because they are small animals, some people believe they do not need much space.
In the wild hamsters are known to travel 4-5 miles a night, so it is important to include enough space and enrichment for your hamster/s.
Cage size - All hamster breeds need just as much space as each other. 70cm by 40cm should be the absolute minimum of one unbroken floor space, so not including levels. Hamsters tend to do better with single level cages, although you can add levels but make sure there is something to break their fall if they were to.
Substrate - Their cage should be filled with deep safe, burrowing material, some people use woodshavings as long as they are dust extracted and kiln dried, others prefer to stay away from woodshavings as they are a debatable subject. A good layer of Carefresh is perfect but can be costly, so many people opt for Fitch, which is a similar material but much cheaper and you can buy more of a bulk of it.
Bedding  - Most shops sell the dreaded fluffy style bedding, this is unsafe and many hamsters have lost their lives and limbs to it. Bedding should be warm, safe and easy to manoeuvre and create a nest with. I would highly recommend Carefresh as bedding or ripped up unscented toilet tissue for a cheap alternative.

Enrichment
Hideaway/House - Being prey animal hamsters love lots of hideaways and places so they can store their food and get away from predators easier, this will help them feel safe and secure. A good large house for them is also a must, I would avoid plastic houses, as chewing them isn't great and your hamster can wake up damp from the condensation left in a plastic house.
Wheel/Saucer - Wheels are fantastic for hamsters as they would run miles in the wild. If you provide a wheel, which I personally think is essential then it must not let your hamsters back arch, so you should make sure it is the correct size, is a solid wheel (no splinters, no wired wheels, no holes that their little feed can get trapped in.) You'll need the same size saucer, if you choose to offer a saucer, instead of or as well as a wheel, than you would a wheel. I personally found wheels fantastic for Syrians and the smaller breeds tend to prefer their saucers.
Syrian Wheel size 9-12 inches 
Campbell, Winter White and Russian Dwarf Wheel size 6-8 inches+
Roborovski Wheel size 6 inches+
Chinese Wheel size 8 inches+
Sandbath - Sand baths are important as hamsters shouldn't be bathed in water, so offering them a sand bath can help keep them clean and be great fun for them too!
All you need is a large ceramic bowl or similar container, big enough for your hamster to fit in with extra space and fill with Chinchilla sand (not dust) or Tiny Farm Friends pet sand. You can use children's sand but you'll need to bake or leave out for it to dry out and it doesn't clean your hamsters fur as the grains are bigger, it would be more for fun, so Chinchilla or pet sand is much better as does both jobs. Please do not use builders sand or bird sand, these are bigger granules, much sharper and the bird sand contains pieces of shell.
Bridges and Tunnels - Bridges, tunnels and tubes are great for natural instincts, as they would create them in the wild, they are also fantastic for them to stash their food and for climbing over and on.

Food
Hamsters are omnivores which means they can eat meat as well as the usual veg and hamster food.
I'd highly recommend a mix of pellets as a base diet, if you don't offer them anything else. Burgess Excel Dwarf mix and Science selective mixed together is perfect for dwarfs, it ensures they get all of their nutrients and vitamins through the pellets but the foraging through the dwarf mix. For Syrians I would highly recommend Harry the Hamster mix and Science selective, again they get all of the nutrition they need with just these two products.

Dwarfs should ideally stay away from a lot of sugar - honey, corn, fruit and carrots as they are more prone to diabetes, so nuts and seeds can also cause a problem as they are high in fat, so just be cautious.

A hamster only needs around 1 tablespoon / 20g of food daily, if they have lots stored (they store their food in their nests or areas like they would in the wild, to make sure they have enough food.) then you can start to limit their food until they have eaten it all.

I would also recommend scatter feeding. (Scattering food around their cage, rather than using a bowl, is great enrichment and encourages natural foraging) 

Cleaning 
Your hamster/s will need cleaning out regularly, spot cleans are the best, checking their nests for any uneaten food, removing any perishables and changing any soiled bedding or areas. A full clean is best to be done every few weeks or every month, as if you do it too often it can cause stress to your hammy and remove all of their scent, so always worth putting a tiny bit of their old bedding in to keep their scent around, obviously if it is clean.


Photo of hamsters credit: Sadie-Elloise Garnett (Syrian 2), Danielle Sommerville (Syrian 3), 
Dow Kengradomying (Campbell), Harry Williams (Winter White), Georgia Smith (Syrian 1&4 and Russian Dwarf), Crystal Shaw (Robo), Bethany Anne Hinton (Chinese)

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Scentsy Sensation


As a scent lover, I love all things smelly - car fresheners, candles, perfumes etc. 
Scents can bring back memories and put you in the moment, certain scents you can associate with certain things or people, they can be so powerful.

I've seen Scentsy around for awhile, it was founded in 2004, they are a consultant based company, so you'd order through your local consultant or host a party with your friends, invite the consultant and get a commission depending on the amount of sales. But as someone who already owns too much wax, whether it be in the form of candles or melts, I haven't yet tried them. Until now.


A local lady was offering a 'borrow bag' where I would borrow her scents, warmer and a couple of samples of wax melts - all for free, to try, as long as I looked after them!
How could I resist?

I worked my way through sniffing all of the scents, marking down which ones I liked, loved and those that I wasn't so keen on. My results aren't necessarily a reflection of what smells good and what doesn't, we all have our own tastes and I personally prefer, perfume, fresh and fruity scents, which reflected in my selection.
I am absolutely in love with the Romance collection and Scentsy Men in particular.



Scentsy focus on burners and wax melts, although they do sell a couple of other things like car fresheners. They have some gorgeous warmers, they work by plugging into the mains, turning them on, with the switch on the reverse and placing a small piece/s of wax in the bowl at the top, it gradually warms and melts the wax and fills the air with the chosen scent. There is no harsh chemicals and no flame, so much safer to be left on that a candle - but keep up away from children and animals in case of any accidents and as with any electrical item, I wouldn't advise you leave it unsupervised for a long period of time.

Absolutely beautiful burner, especially in a darker room, very cosy, they have a huge selection and new designs and scents come out with their new catalogues, twice yearly. I particularly like the warmer I borrowed.


So far I love Scentsy and would recommend them to most people, the price is average with most of the mid range candle brands and definitely worth it, the only down fall is that because it has a lower wattage bulb that it doesn't melt all brands of melts, including the popular paraffin wax ones. But with the huge variety of scents that Scentsy offers, you wouldn't need any other brands.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Mydorable


 I received this beautiful box in the post this morning, absolutely stunning packaging, filled with yummy goodies. They also came with two little cards with the stories about the chocolate and jellies.


Enclosed within the box was a tissue paper package with contained these beautiful 'pebbles' and yes they are edible! They are almost too stunning to eat, gorgeous chocolate strong with cocoa butter and a hint of almond and hazelnut shine through.

The little heart shaped tin was filled with super soft fruit jellies, that melted in our mouths and even better and suitable for vegans too. 



I hadn't heard of Mydorable before coming across them on beckyloubutton's Instagram, they would make perfect gifts, definitely something special and out of the ordinary and a great treat once in a while.



This post is entirely my own thoughts and opinions and I didn't receive anything to sway my review.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Storks - Film Reviewed

Image result for storks

Storks - (U) - 1 hour 27 minutes - Friday 14 October 2016

Our rating: ★★★


We downloaded the Storks movie via Amazon last night, it was visually pleasing with some gorgeous characters, full of humour and some weird and wacky scenes, with some familiar voices. 

Storks is about a postal service that used to deliver the babies of the world, but with other ways to receive babies, they decided to pack up the baby business, after an accident with a failed delivery and found success in delivering packages and parcels instead.

Junior, the main stork featured in the film, voiced by Adam Samberg, is working his way to the top and striving to be the boss of Cornerstore, but with the current boss asking him to fire Orphan Tulip, on her 18th birthday, Junior buckles under the pressure and 'promotes' her to the letter sorting room. 



When a young boy, Nate, whose parents both work in real estate and pay him very little attention, comes across the old storks leaflet and decides to put in a request for a brother with Ninja skills. 

Tulip's eager to please attitude, got her into a bit of trouble when she posts the letter in the wrong section and restarts the baby making machine, Junior caught her, just a little too late!
 
The film follows Junior and Tulip trying to fix their errors, try to discover Tulips family and their journey trying to deliver the baby, when they get themselves caught up in all sorts of trouble, especially with the wolves! 
Pigeon Toady, the awkward nosy pigeon, figures they are up to something and does some investigating, reporting it back to the current boss of Cornerstore. 

Will they deliver the baby?
Will Pigeon Toady or the Wolves get to them first?
Will Tulip ever find her real family?


A great lighthearted, family comedy, we'd rate it a 3 and a half starts out of 5 due to some of the very strange scenes, but overall a good film.