Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Teething puppy

Jackson is now 17 weeks old and that means he's teething. We thought he'd hit quite a bad time of it a few weeks back but that was nothing compared to how he is now. 

The poor thing is so unhappy right now and howls and whines because his mouth is hurting. Toothache is the worse so I can only imagine how he is really feeling and he's letting us know when he's in pain. I hate it! I feel so bad for him. 

The only way to help his pain is to help him relieve it and that means him having something in his mouth or chewing on something most of the time. We've found that knuckle bones are a really good thing for Jackson as they keep him occupied for a very long time and he doesn't get bored very quickly. 

Another thing that helps him is to be sat next to me on the couch and for me to help him and hold a chew toy in his mouth. He can't seem to get these at the right angles on his own so this means he can get to his back teeth easily. It's a pain in the arse having to hold a toy for him but if it helps them I'm willing to do it. 

Jackson's favourite chew at the moment is his DuraChew® Double Bone - Bacon by Nylabone. 

There are two different kinds of raised shapes on the white bone bits which help clean teeth. Jackson loves to go from one bit to another and then to the red middle as the texture is changing all of the time, helping to relieve the pain in his gums. I wasn't sure he would like this when I bought it but I'm so glad I did. It's a lifesaver if you've got a teething puppy, especially one as big as Jackson. 

Friday, 27 March 2015

NA review: Stay With Me by J. Lynn

Title: Stay With Me
Author: J. Lynn
Series: Wait For You #3
Acquired: Bought
Genre: New Adult
Publisher: Harper
Release date: 4th December 2014

Calla Fritz has been hiding from something for most of her life whether it be the scar on her face, the burns on her body or the life she once knew from all of her college friends. 

When her mother clears out her bank account leaving Calla unable to pay for school she is forced to go back home to face her past and figure out who her mother is running from. She didn't bargain for Jax though, the one person who seems able to see past every one of her defenses. 

Although Stay With Me is the third book in a New Adult series it can also be read as a stand-alone novel. There are characters from previous books who pop up in this one but you don't need to have read the other books in order to understand what is going on. 

We first meet protagonist Calla in book two, 'Be With Me' but never really get to know much about her apart from that she has a scar on her face. I wanted to know more about her then so I was glad to see her get her own story. It's clear that Calla has been through a lot. She has a scar covering a lot of her face, she has burns covering a lot of her body and no real parents to speak of. Her mother is a complete flake and a massive screw up. Calla knows she's better off being away from her. 

The plot follows Calla as she is forced to go back to her home town. She doesn't want to go back but her mother has stolen all of her savings for college and she needs to find out what is going on. Calla's home town is a small town where everyone knows everyone else's business. Her mother is very well known in town but not for very good reasons at all. I really enjoyed learning about Calla's past and why certain things have helped her to become who she is in this book. 

As Calla begins to settle back in to a place she never wanted to go back to, fun and interesting characters make themselves known. There were so many people willing to help Calla even though they barely knew her. She quickly forms strong friendships with some people around her and what fantastic, colourful people they were. These characters lightened up the story which was idea because the main plot is quite heavy going and the subject matter is pretty serious. 

Then there is Jax. He knows more about Calla when she arrives than he should be he is always there for her when she needs someone. Jax comes with his own set of problems and a past but when it comes down to it, he pushes that aside to be there for Calla. He was such a sweetheart but also hard as hell when he needed to be. Jax had that soft side to him that made my heart melt but he's also intense and smoldering at the same time. What's not to love about that?

Although J. Lynn writes amazing characters, the best thing about this book was the plot. It was so different from anything else I've read recently and it was exciting as hell. Just when you think things have calmed down a bit and are better for Calla something else happens to mix things up again. The pacing was great because I never knew what to expect or when to expect things to happen. 

I honestly couldn't put this book down! 

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Surprising Lidl

It's safe to say that I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to food shopping. John and I shop at Sainsbury's normally and I like it there. I like knowing where everything is. I like knowing exactly which products I want to buy. I also like knowing what things cost roughly. 

John has been telling me for months and months how good Lidl is and I sort of refused to listen to him. Both Sainsbury's and Lidl are around the corner pretty much from where we live but I can count on one hand how many times I have been in Lidl. I like branded products for the most part and I wasn't willing to try somewhere new. 

A couple of weeks ago the old Lidl in town had been rebuilt and I was curious. A friend at work had gone on about how amazing it was and she was like me before. Now she's converted. So, John and I went in on a Saturday evening to pick up some greens for the rabbits as we'd run out and it was on our way home anyway. 

We came out with 2 bags full. Not what I was expecting. 

You can see everything we bought in the picture above. At Sainsbury's this would have easily cost us £30, if not more. We only spent £14.32 at Lidl. I really couldn't believe it. The most expensive thing we bought was some peanut butter and that was £1.25. The best thing we got was the Ainsley Harriott soups which worked out at only 17p each. John loves them and takes them to work with him so we stocked up and bought 6 boxes. I was expecting the use by dates to be quite short but they go right up to December 2016... not that they will last that long! 

Now, I won't be giving up my Sainsbury's shop completely because there are certain things I won't change but I do think we'll now be going to Lidl more especially for fruit and veg as it is a lot cheaper.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Chick-Lit review: It's Not Me, It's You by Mhairi McFarlane

Title: It's Not Me, It's You
Author: Mhairi McFarlane
Series: N/A
Acquired: Gifted
Genre: Adult - Chick Lit
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release date: 6th November 2014

Delia Moss is pretty content with her not exciting life. She lives with her long term boyfriend, rescue dog and works in a job that is just okay. There's nothing special about her life and she's okay with that. When Delia proposes to her boyfriend and finds out he's actually been cheating on her, she thinks it was all her fault. 

With a massive change and an exciting adventure for someone with no desire for either of those things, Delia begins to wonder if anything was actually her fault. Maybe it was his all along. 

The wonderful Kirsty at The Overflowing Library bought me this one for Christmas last year but it took me a little while to get around to reading it. I had a massive pile of books from my husband I was desperate to read so this one was a bit down the TBR pile. 

I have to be honest and say that this really took some getting in to. For a good chunk of this book I was debating giving up on it. It wasn't that the story wasn't good or funny, because it was, it just took a bit of time to really get into the plot. 

Protagonist Delia doesn't mind that she has a pretty normal life. She goes to work, goes home to her boyfriend and her dog and she quite likes her life. There's nothing exciting or special about it but she's happy so that's all that matters. But, on the day she proposes to her boyfriend and finds out he's been cheating on her, she blames herself and thinks maybe she's too boring. I felt for Deliah, I really did because she thought she knew what she was getting out of like and then her proposal went horribly wrong. 

Delia doesn't want to stick around in Newcastle where she has a constant reminder of her cheating boyfriend so she heads to London to live with her best friend and try something completely new and different. It's not like Delia at all and I loved the chance she took. I did exactly the same thing when I broke up with my boyfriend of 3 years when I was 20 although I moved to Toronto, not London. 

Delia's adventures in London are hilarious. She has no idea what she's doing in her new job, she's scared she'll mess everything up but she is also brave with her decisions. She's also really quirky and fun and I loved that about her. She was far from boring and always up for some fun and banter which mostly what made this such a fun read. I found myself really laughing as I was reading and my husband looked at me like I was insane a few times. There was times where I really could have high fived Delia throughout this book because really, the things she did were pretty amazing. 

Mhairi McFarlane writes such likable characters whom you can relate to. Delia especially is so down to earth and I felt like I'd been in her situation before. Starting over is not easy and she did the best with the situation she was in. Not only did I love Delia but her friends were great and so were the male characters. Strangely, I even quite liked Paul who was the cheating boyfriend. I don't know why I liked him after what he did but he was just a likable kind of guy. 

This book is really 531 pages of complete fun. Yes, it took me a little while to get in to but I'm so glad I didn't give up on it. It's Not Me, It's You is by far the funniest book I've read this year and I would love to read more from this author now. 

Sunday, 22 March 2015

A busy week

This past week John and I have been off work. It was my birthday this week and I have never, ever worked this week in my life so I always take a week off as a holiday. Sometimes we go away but this year we have had a lot to do around the house and we also aren't ready to leave Jackson in kennels if we want to go away. 

This week I had a lot of plans, much to John's dismay. He really would rather relax when we get a week off work together but I always have loads of other things for us to get on with. We don't get time to get much done during the week so I try to make up for that when we do get the free time. 

Day one consisted of sorting out our front garden. I meant to get this done last year but money ran out and it had to wait. We'd already cleared it of all the old, horrible gravel and the massively overgrown plants and was just left with a blank space. I wanted something really simple and easy to keep nice so chose landscaping bark for the ground and then added in a couple of little trees and a potted plant! 

I love it now. Our house was the one down the street that looked shabby and awful and now it's lovely to come home to a nice looking entrance. 

On day two we carried on a bit more with the front garden and painted the wall and the windowsill. Before it was a ghastly white and stood out and not in a good way. The previous owners of our house seemed to have a thing about white paint and used it A LOT! I hated it. Now it's a wonderful shade of light green and although very different from anything else on our street, it's much nicer. As we were painting a couple of people walked by and said how nice it looked. 

Day two was a really busy day because we also put up a clock in the living room, changed a light switch and had the electrician round to put in a ceiling rose and a new light fitting. We had been waiting ages to have this done. Our house is a four bedroom Victorian property and the previous owners ruined or took out any of the period features so I'm trying to put back as much as I possibly can. The ceiling rose looks absolutely amazing and I'm glad it's finally up. 

On day three John and I went into Cromer for breakfast and so I could get my nails done. I hadn't had them done for ages and they really needed doing so that was nice. It was also nice to get out of the house and do something fun! We also had another ceiling rose and light put up in another room that we were in the middle of painting. 

Day four was a bit different as it was my birthday! John and I went into Norwich for breakfast, then to see Insurgent at the cinema and out for lunch. I had a lovely day and loved all of my presents! 

On day five we really cracked on with the decorating of the spare bedroom. The plan this week really was to get it finished apart from a carpet and furniture. I chose a beautiful ornithology wallpaper from B&Q. At £20 a roll it wasn't cheap but I wanted something with a Victorian feel but a modern look. It's stunning but a pain to hang. This was mine and John's first time wallpapering and I had to have a few breaks as I got so annoyed with it. However, we managed to get half the room done and it looks amazing. I'm so glad I chose something bold and I'm surprised John likes it so much. 
John went back to work on day six for overtime. We need the extra money especially when we have so much to do around the house. As he wasn't home I got on with some cleaning and general tidying up. Not really fun but a necessity. 

Sunday was day seven of being off work and we finished off the wallpapering in the spare bedroom. This is the first room we have completely renovated since moving in and I'm so pleased with the results so far. 

Although this week was really busy and exhausting, it's been a good one. John and I have done so much around the house and it's nice to feel like we've really accomplished something now. 

Maybe the next week off won't be quite as hectic. 

Friday, 20 March 2015


Jackson our white German Shepherd puppy is now 4 months old and he has definitely hit the teething stage. He constantly needs to have his chops around some kind of bone or toy and when he doesn't... well, it hasn't ended well so far. Let's just say I'm glad we need a new kitchen eventually anyway. 

Finding toys for Jackson that last is proving to be a really difficult task. I did buy him a big yellow octopus from Pets At Home for £20 and that lasted a good month and so far, has been the longest lasting toy he's had that isn't a bone. I can't remember what brand that was though or if it was a Pets At Home toy but I'm determined to find something else for Jackson. 

After work the other day I stopped by Sainsbury's to get some of Jackson's favourite starfish treats and to pick up a couple of new toys as a few of his have been killed in the past week. Something that stuck out to me on the shelf was the Seriously Strong range by Petface. Seriously strong toys are what I need. 

The latest toy to die was Jackson's rope which he loved so much so I wanted a replacement. I ended up going with the Rope Log as it looked really thick and durable. At £3 it's not the most expensive toy but still, it looked great. 

Unfortunately, the rope did not live up to the brand name at all. I gave it to Jackson as soon as I got home and within minutes he had tugged loose one end of the rope. Not only did he unstick the end but he also managed to get one of the rope strands unwoven. 

I had to tie the ends back together before I could give him it again because otherwise he would have been able to eat the loose stands. Not good. I understand that dog toys are not indestructible but this really should have lasted more than 2 minutes. 

I guess I need to look elsewhere for a new toy for Jackson now. 

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

NA review: Hard Knox by Nicole Williams

Title: Hard Knox
Author: Nicole Williams
Series: The Outsider Chronicles 
Acquired: Bought
Genre: Adult - New Adult
Publisher: Nicole Williams
Release date: 12th August 2014

Everyone at Sinclair University knows the name Knox Jagger. Either they resent him or they want to be with him. Well, all apart from Charlie Chase.

Charlie thinks that Knox is everything that's wrong with guys at college. He drinks too much, sleeps around and seems to think with his fists. Unluckily for Charlie, she's been set the task to find out who is dropping little white pills into girl's drinks and all fingers point to Knox. She thought everyone could be right too until her own drink was spiked and the one person there to save her was the last person she expected. 

Nicole Williams has fast become one of my go-to authors for New Adult books. I can generally always pick up one of her books and know that I'm going to really enjoy it. I haven't found one I haven't liked yet. 

Charlie Chase was a fantastic female protagonist. Right from the off she's sassy, smart and independent. She doesn't like to rely on anyone other than herself and she knows who she is. She won't be changed by the pressures of being at college and she knows what she wants out of life. Charlie is a budding journalist and tells it how it is. She doesn't sugar coat any subject but that doesn't leave her in a very good standing with her fellow classmates. 

When Charlie takes on the task of finding out who is slipping date rape drugs into drinks at parties, the story doesn't phase her at all. However, when she gets her own drink spiked someone completely unexpected is there to help her; Knox Jagger the guy with the biggest reputation on campus. He's actually the prime suspect of Charlie's story but when she wakes up on his sofa and realises he didn't touch her, she begins to think he might not be who everyone thinks he is. 

Knox really does have a reputation. Guys would say it's a bad one but girls don't mind it at all. In fact, Knox is the guy who gets girls pants put in his pocket during parties with their phone numbers written on. Knox was also a fantastic character. The first time we get to really meet him is during a party and yes, he comes across in a bad way but the moment he opened his mouth was the moment I realised he was something else entirely. There's a hell of a lot more to Knox than he lets on to most people and I loved the slow reveal of his true self. 

Together, Charlie and Knox are hilarious. This is what happens when you get a girl willing to give as good as she gets with a guy who is used to getting what he wants. The banter going back and forth between both characters was so much fun. There is a lot of give and take over the course of the book as Charlie and Knox get to know each other and the passion each of them show was pretty awesome. Both characters are extremely likable which made me route for them even more. 

Not only is Hard Knox a steamy New Adult romance but it's also a thrilling mystery story as well. While the plot focuses on Charlie and Knox getting to know one another, revealing secrets about the past, there is also the mystery of what is going on with the date rape drugs. This book has a lot more to it than the general girl meets boy, falls in love eventually and then has hot, steamy sex like some New Adult novels are. I really enjoyed the built up of the plot and then the dramatic conclusion to what was happening. 

Hard Knox was definitely different from Nicole Williams' other New Adult novels but for me, it's one of my favourites.