Sunday, 24 September 2017

Week in Photos - 24th September 2017

The last couple of weeks have been quite busy one way or another, but I haven’t taken a huge amount of photos, which is why I’ve merged the last two weeks together in this post. I’ve had some nice family time but have also started back at university for my third year. It’s already getting scary and we had our first lecture about our dissertations this week – I’m not ready to be doing that! Next week I’m off to do some more work experience with Happiful magazine, which I’m looking forward to but am also feeling a bit nervous because I know how much it wipes me out.



This was the amazing goody bag I was lucky enough to receive at the blogger breakfast at The Lexicon when I went a couple of Saturdays ago. So many lovely brands from the shopping centre gave goodies for us to enjoy. I’m excited to try everything in there!



Last week I went to Whipsnade Zoo with my Mum and Dad. I can’t remember the last time I went, but I’m pretty sure I was a lot younger! Our first stop was at The Lookout Lodge for a cup of tea to warm us up – there was such an amazing view. It was rather windy and cold, but otherwise beautiful.



I think seeing the giraffes was one of the best parts of my day at Whipsnade, especially as there were a couple of babies there. I even got to stroke one of the adults, who then went on to lick me twice! If you didn’t already know, giraffes have extremely long tongues!



To be this close to these beautiful lions felt truly amazing. My absolute dream would be to go somewhere and see animals like this in their natural habitat, but this was definitely a start. We also got to watch them being fed, and one of the lions was playing and growling just like our pets do when we play with them.



Something went a bit funny with my Mind membership for some reason, so I stopped getting magazines for a while. But the lovely team sorted it all out very quickly and sent me their last three magazines to relax with. If you’re not already a member I would really recommend joining. These magazines help me feel less alone in my mental health struggles and the services Mind provides are just incredible.



It’s candle season! I spent Saturday working at my computer with candles like this Salted Caramel Yankee Candle burning around me. My bedroom smelt so much like autumn!



I treated myself to a few new lipsticks for autumn as Superdrug had a 3 for 2 deal on make-up. So I picked up a couple from Max Factor and one from Bourjois. I’m excited to wear them all.



How beautiful are these autumnal flowers I picked up in my local Waitrose - you can’t beat orange and red roses and I’m excited to see what colour the lilies will be (I’m thinking orange!)

You can check out my YouTube channel here, where I have recently uploaded a few new videos, including an Autumn Primark Haul (and hope to continue doing!)

I’m also trying to post on Snapchat a bit more, so if you fancy following me, my username is Jennycole44.

If you don’t already, please give me a follow on Bloglovin here - I can’t believe I’ve managed to hit 800 followers now! Thank you all so much. I’m planning a giveaway very soon!

What have you been up to this week? I always enjoy hearing about your news and adventures!


Saturday, 23 September 2017

Vets Now - Keeping our pets safe in an emergency

I was contacted by Vets Now over the summer and they told me all about a massive campaign they were running to help pet owners enjoy the summer months safe in the knowledge that they felt prepared to deal with a pet emergency if one should occur. This came from some research that discovered that 85 per cent of pet owners don’t know what to do in an emergency, which is worryingly high. So I wanted to help them raise awareness on ways we can keep our pets safe during the summer months and beyond.




If you’ve been around here for a while, you will probably know that my pets are a big part of my family’s lives and mine. We have two cats, Jaffa and Xena, and two dogs, Alfie and Freddie. They really are a part of the family. I’ve had animals in my life from a young age, as I got my first hamster, Ginger, when I was about seven. Since then, we’ve had a few more hamsters, guinea pigs and then the pets we have today. Their health and wellbeing is always top priority and we make regular use of our local vets. But what happens when the local vets is closed? I don’t know if it’s just our cats and dogs, but if they’re going to get ill or have an accident, they usually do it either on a weekend, evening or a Bank Holiday! And this is where Vets Now comes to the rescue. Their practices are open to look after our animals whenever regular vet practices are closed. And because they only work out of hours, their vets and nurses are experts in dealing with critical and emergency cases.

We’ve had first hand experience of using our local Vets Now practice in Farnham over the years. My cat, Jaffa, was quite poorly when he was a kitten, so he’s stayed at the Vets Now clinic a number of times overnight. We have also had to use them with our Golden Retriever, Alfie, who was attacked by another dog on a Bank Holiday Monday. It was an incredibly distressing experience, but the staff at Vets Now were so kind and helpful putting us at ease and patching Alfie up. They really are lifesavers, so if you have pets, it’s really worth knowing where your closest clinic is.




As I said, Vets Now ran a campaign over the summer to raise awareness of how to keep your dog safe during the warmer months. They put together this info graphic document, which lists 15 summer dangers that could make your dog ill. But these aren’t necessarily limited to just over the summer. We took Alfie and Freddie to a local country park recently for a walk around the lake, and the following dangers from the document came to mind that we needed to be aware of. The informative piece also includes useful tips for how to avoid these dangers because often, prevention is better than cure.









Blue-Green Algae

Danger: A bacteria forms on top of lakes and ponds but often can’t be seen with the naked eye. Although this particular bacterium is most common during warm, dry spells, there are plenty of other things in lakes that would be dangerous for dogs. Swallowing even a few mouthfuls of blue-green algae can be fatal for our furry friends.

How to avoid: Don’t let your dog near water that may contain blue-green algae as the wind often blows blooms to the edges. You can often find out if there are any dangers in local lakes and rivers by checking the website of the organisation who maintains it.

Toads

Danger: Dogs who come across toads will often try to lick, bite or pick them up. Toads respond by releasing poisonous venom from glands on their skin. This can be lethal if not treated immediately. Toads aren’t the only problem – other animals can be found wherever you might walk your dogs, including snakes, deer, rabbits, mice and even other dogs. Although not necessarily poisonous, these animals can still cause problems for dogs that may try to chase them or play with them. As you read above, even other people’s dogs can cause injury to your own dog.

How to avoid: If you live in an area where toads are common, keep a close eye on potential water sources for your dog as there may be toads living in them. Also, unless your dog has an impeccable recall, keep them on a lead so you can quickly pull them away and keep them close if you spot another animal. You could use a long line so they can still have a run around but be easy to bring back if need be.








Sand

Danger: Dogs often ingest sand by accident through digging or repeatedly picking up sandy balls and toys. You don’t necessarily need to be at the beach for sand to be a problem, as you can also find it around lakes or on sandy paths in woodland. It can cause a blockage in the intestine, which is called sand impaction.

How to avoid: Limit games of fetch on sandy terrains and make sure you have plenty of fresh water on hand to keep your dog hydrated.

Fish Hooks

Danger: Dogs are often tempted to swallow the shiny lure and tasty bait that’s attached to fishhooks. Where I live there are a lot of fishing lakes, so we need to be really careful when walking near water. Fishhooks can cause nasty injuries if embedded in the mouth, stomach or paws.

How to avoid: Fishhooks are often discarded by fisherman so be on your guard in areas where fishing is popular.

Plants and flowers

Danger: Several flowers and plants are potentially toxic to dogs, so this is a danger that you should check even your back garden for. Flowers including poppies, clematis, peonies, foxgloves, geraniums and yews are just a few of the plants that can harm dogs.

How to avoid: If you’re not sure whether your plants are safe, keep a close eye on your dog around them. You can always Google the plant to double check.
















As well as putting together this document, Vets Now also scoured the country to put together a comprehensive guide of dog-friendly days out on the coast. We’re lucky to have a lot of beautiful countryside walks on our doorstep, so we don’t often take the dogs further afield, but it’s really good to know that there are plenty of dog-friendly beaches we could visit if we wanted to. From vast expanses of sand in northern Scotland to picturesque pebble shores on the south coast of England, the pages in the guide contain 50 amazing places for you, your family and your dog to visit. It also includes insider tips on where you can enjoy a drink, some food and even a short break in places where your dog will be as welcome as you are. And to put your mind at ease, they have only chosen beaches:

·      Within an hour’s drive of a Vets Now pet emergency clinic or hospital
·      Where parking and access is good
·      Where a daytime vet is based nearby
·      Where the water quality has been deemed high

There are so many more dangers around the home, garden and further afield, but this post would end up very long if I tried to list all of them! And even without any physical dangers, of course, our pets can still become unwell on their own. So the most important thing is to have a good understanding of some of the most common dangers, to be able to recognise when your pet is unwell or hurt and to have the contact details of your nearest emergency vet on your mobile, so you know exactly what to do should your dog (or any other animal) have an accident or become unwell when your regular vet is closed.

Do you know what to do if your pet has an emergency? Do you feel reassured knowing there are emergency clinics all over the country? And will you be visiting any of the beaches in the guide?!


Sunday, 17 September 2017

The Lexicon Launch and Bloggers Breakfast

Last Saturday I was invited along to my first bloggers breakfast, which was pretty exciting! But what made it even more exciting was the fact it was at Bill’s at The Lexicon Bracknell - a brand new shopping redevelopment in the heart of Bracknell.

Photo credit - The Lexicon
What Bracknell used to look like

The old Bracknell High Street


I used to go to Bracknell with my family when I was little, but there was never much there to do. We would go to Bentalls, have lunch in McDonalds and occasionally go bowling or to the cinema. But over the years, we’ve found better places to shop such as Camberley, Basingstoke and Reading, and so stopped heading over to Bracknell in the end. That was until last weekend, when my Mum and I drove over to enjoy breakfast and hear more about The Lexicon. The development had officially opened for business on Thursday 7th September, when more than 150 local children from primary and junior schools across the borough counted down to the historic event. It was marked with a fanfare of green, gold and silver streamers and leaf shaped confetti, cascading across the new town centre’s walkways and squares.










But last weekend was the first weekend the centre was open, so there was still a buzz of excitement and lots to see when I went over. After parking in The Avenue car park (I would recommend parking in either this car park or one of the other council ones – High Street, Braccan Walk and Albert Road, as they are much cheaper than Princess Square) we made our way through the centre, which is all outside rather than undercover, as I thought it would be, to find Bill’s. Inside, we met the lovely PR team from The Lexicon, as well as the other bloggers that had been invited along:

·      Emily Moodie
·      Laura Summers-Bates
·      Laura Beresford
·      Rachel
·      Emma Cossey

Bill’s is one of my favourite places to go and this new restaurant is no different. With quirky but comforting decorations, I soon felt relaxed and chilled out as we ordered some breakfast.






There were so many yummy looking things on the breakfast menu, but I decided to be boring and went for some tea and toast with a variety of jams (which was still really tasty, plus they have a great gluten-free selection). One of the ladies went for this delicious looking granola sundae and my Mum chose scrambled eggs on toast, which she said were really good. While we ate, the PR, Naomi, chatted to us about The Lexicon and how we could collaborate on projects with them in the future. It is so nice that they are thinking of bloggers and how we can benefit each other.








Once we’d eaten our breakfasts, a few of us filmed interviews for the centre’s social media channels, which was good fun. We were then each given an awesome goody bag (which I will show you more of later!) and headed off to explore The Lexicon! My first stop was Cath Kidston, as my Mum wanted to treat herself to a new bag she’d had her eye on for a while. We also had a look around New Look, Boots, Superdrug, where I covered my hand in lipstick swatches, and Primark. We were told that it’s the biggest Primark in the South East, but I’m not sure how true that is because although it was pretty massive, I’m sure the Reading one is bigger. It was ridiculously busy, understandably, so I got a bit anxious, as there were so many people. I’d quite like to go back on a weekday so I can have a proper look around and go into some of the shops I didn’t manage to check out. I’d also really love to try out some more of the caf├ęs and restaurants like Carluccio’s (when it opens in October) and Coffee Barker.





As it was their opening weekend, The Lexicon had also put on loads of entertainment. As we wandered around, we came across Vicki Sayers singing and playing guitar in Fat Face. We also found Mr Doodle drawing on a big letter ‘C’ in his doodled tracksuit, which looked pretty amazing. Other entertainment over the weekend included Forest Fairy Queens, a magician, Glitter Girls and performances from South Hill Park, Garth Hill College and Bracknell and Wokingham Community Band. There are even places around the shopping centre where you can listen to the sounds of the forest. There really was something for everyone!








There were also some amazing deals running in most of the stores. Boots were offering £5 when you spent £25, Joules had 25% off everything, Costa were giving away free coffee to the first 200 customers, KIKI had goody bags for customers spending more than £15, Smiggle gave the first 200 customers to spend £15 a free gift and Wagamama’s treated the first 100 people to free Katsu! If you missed out on these deals though, until Sunday 24th September, Gourmet Burger Kitchen are offering customers any classic burger for just £5, which has got to be worth a trip!














Overall, my Mum and I were really impressed with The Lexicon. It is really nicely designed and I love the fact it’s open (although it might not be so fun in the pouring rain!). There are a great range of shops, restaurants and even a brand new 4DX Cineworld, which I’m very excited to try out soon. We were also told that this is just the first part of the redevelopment and that there’s more to come, so I will definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for more developments! When I got home I emptied out my goody bag and was really overwhelmed by the generosity of all the brands that had contributed. From Marks and Spencer and Boots to Bill’s, L’Occitane and Clarins, there are plenty of goodies to keep me going! My Mum and I both agreed that we will definitely be heading back for another girly trip to The Lexicon soon.

Are you from the Bracknell area? What do you think of The Lexicon and all it has to offer?

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