Monday, 22 February 2016

Purrfectbox February 2016 Review



We've had another busy month tackling fleas and fighting - although just the one fight, since rescuing him his temperament has changed a lot but the odd fight still happens, fortunately for the other cat he isn't very tough. Now fighting does not earn him rewards but he was given the box a few days before getting into a squabble, so what's in the box this time?


Gosh, he does have a little bit of a miserable face at time doesn't he?


This box is lighter than usual, the Purrfectboxes usually contain bigger or bulkier items, you can usually guarantee there is one item that is functional to use as a cat carer rather than the cat enjoying it themselves, this box was no different but the stuff this month was smaller. However this was Samhain's favourite box, favourite favourite box as it had three new toys.

There was one clear winning item in this box, I hate to pick favourites but Samhain flipped for the dolphin, it was love at first bite. Something happened when I was asleep as I awoke to find the dolphin on one side and Samhain on the other, something went down that wasn't necessarily good but it was passionate and I'm sure neither of them will forget that one night together.

I digress, let's get on with the contents of the box.

Samhain received three toys in total, I've already mentioned the very popular dolphin catnip toy, this was from a brand called 4Cats. To look at I wouldn't have thought it would cause much excitement but it really impressed Samhain.

No. 1 Dolphin

Also in the box was a Trixie Catnip toy, also very popular as it has a dangly tail. All cats love anything that dangles which is of course why they have tails - apart from those rebellious Manx cats. I'm used to the brand Trixie when it comes to cat litter tray bags but they actually have an amazingly vast array of toys, Samhain is very particular so him liking this is a big plus. In his box was also a Pet Brands Playtime Catnip Crochet ball with a bell on, he's quite partial to a tinkle but Samhain is also fond of being able to pick his toys up which is easy to do with this.

As you see, a lot of toys for him to choose from. I'm going to move onto the "dull" part, the item that appeals to us and not the cats, This time we have Pet Brands Deodorising Cat Litter Crystals. Samhain does have a litter box but we don't really have an odour issue which is why I've never thought about using something like this, I'm guessing I just don't notice the smell any longer so this might make a difference to visitors to the house rather than myself.

The last two items are both food treats. One brand we've had before, Pet Munchies - Samhain loves freeze dried snack food, these are quite small chunks, for him I think he would prefer them a little bigger but he still loves the taste. The one we received was the fish fillet, Samhain can be a fussy pussy with wet fish but the dried stuff he loves. The next item I haven't seen any forms of before for cats, caviar from Schulze, this kind of creeps me out a little bit when I first saw it but it isn't like caviar as most of us know it (not that I ever have it or ever would) it's more of a dried fish. Any kind of dry snack Samhain loves, he's definitely more of a biscuit cat than wet food and the same goes with his snack food, dry good, wet bad.

It's so dark and miserable out still so it's nice to have a little treat to share with Samhain when I return home.

The box was sent complimentary to Samhain and myself for an honest and open review.

Purrfectbox costs £19.90 a month or sign up for three months and pay the equivalent of £18.90 a month, six months and pay the equivalent of £17.90 a month and an even better deal if you sign up for 12 months, it will cost just £16.90 a month. Not only that but you'll also be helping out a great cause.




Even better, if you want £5 off your first box simply enter this code: ukbe9650

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Purrfectbox Christmas 2015 Review

Now I couldn't resist giving this to Samhain early, he deserves an early Christmas present, plus he had plenty to open on the day - in 2014 he got so excited he marked everything with urine!

He loves his subscription box, it has to be hidden from him until I return home, again, for fear of marking with urine. Now Christmas is always an extra special time for me, and I have to admit to spending a little more on my cat than most people would do, he gets a main present and a stocking full. Now as I mentioned before we couldn't wait, and I'm glad we opened it as it is full of Christmas goodies for him, so what did he get?




I'm going to start with what I find boring (the edible stuff) and end with what I find exciting (the toys) of course Samhain loves it all equally.

Now we know the Iams biscuits well, Samhain loves them, but I have to say I wouldn't be able to tell you if they've always done a wet food as these are the first time I've seen them. Samhain can be a picky eater, he loves something for a while then wants to switch to something else so trying anything new is always good, he isn't more fish than poultry, nor does he choose jelly over gravy, the one thing that makes a food exciting to him is a mystery to me but I'm hoping he loves these. This is a 100% complete wet food which is also free from added artificial flavours and colourings. Despite being sceptical, he can be super picky with wet food, Sahain loved these sachets. Certainly one for me to pick up for him in future.


These are tiny little snacks, made with chicken, tuna and catnip. Samhain has loved the other Trixie snacks he's tried before and loves these just as much. I always find it interesting when snacks have catnip in even though Samhain is a nip eater rather than player, any nip toys he licks to death, nip leaves he eats, so actual catnip snacks should be right up his street. I'm hoping for more Trixie snacks in future boxes as I can't pick them up locally unfortunately.


You know I never think about supplements for Samhain, I usually try and make sure this is covered in his food but as he is a bit picky I just can't be too sure. Kelp Care is made from 100% natural sources, I used to take kelp myself but wasn't aware of the benefits for cats but the packet lists the pros as: Healthy Skin & Promotes Hair Growth; Aids digestion (pre-biotic); Boosts Immune System; Supports Healthy Joints and Limbs; Amino Acids - Taurine for healthy eyes. Samhain is an ageing cat, I adopted him with the knowledge that his age wasn't fully known but around 10, so the healthier I can keep him the better which means I'm happy to give this a go. The packet is 40g and the recommended portion is 4g so there are 10 servings in a packet, enough to see how well it does for Samhain.

Okay interlude before the toys, and actually my favourite item in the box, a Simon's Cat food bowl!

This is so adorable. Amazingly I haven't bought Samhain a bowl for over a year, I considered buying him a new one for Christmas but I simply ran out of money so I did some slow claps and chanted YAY on sight of this. It's slightly bigger than his other bowls but that is better than being too small, although I have just considered keeping it for myself as a cereal bowl? Okay, I won't, he can have it, and it will be full of yummy food for him and as it's melamine I can't break it, I hope!


Okay, on to the toys, I did group them all together here as he has an overwhelming amount of Christmas toys in this months box.


Good Girl Catnip Chewies Reindeer - this is a really sturdy toy for him to play with, I like the material of this as it's tougher than most and will soak up any catnip spray top ups I need to do.
Pet Brands Play & Fill Stocking - Samhain is a catnip junkie, there are certain strains of nip he loves and the good thing about refillable toys is that if he doesn't quite like the nip with the toy as much as others I can mix and match. Of course from the first photo you can see he moved straight for this toy, most likely for the nip, not just the jazziness of the stocking.
Happy Pet Father Christmas Fishing Rod - Samhain is a right rough player, he will skid around after this before catching and licking the feathers to death. We go through rods quite quickly as he loves pouncing out at them from his little tunnel - of course he doesn't get the whole festive thing but I love bringing out Christmas toys for him and this is very, very jolly.



As usual the box also contained the delightful mini magazine Purr Notes, and on top of that, isn't the design on the inside of the box fabulous?

Now Samhain has been spoilt, and was also spoilt rotten on Christmas day. It's a lovely box and although it has Christmas themed goodies they are welcome all year round.

The box was sent complimentary to Samhain and myself for an honest and open review.

Purrfectbox costs £19.90 a month or sign up for three months and pay the equivalent of £18.90 a month, six months and pay the equivalent of £17.90 a month and an even better deal if you sign up for 12 months, it will cost just £16.90 a month. Not only that but you'll also be helping out a great cause.

Wanting to give Purrfectbox a try? But want to save money? The unique code below entitles you to 25% off your first box on any one of their plans- including their monthly, 3, 6 & 12 month subscriptions!

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More information on this can be found on their website.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

AMBCS PCOS CFS - Odd One Out? The Health Update

Samhain even Practises Pilates

Now I don't dare to even look how long it has been since I posted a health update so I'm not even going to check. A lot has been going on, too much has been going on in truth. Work has been busy, with the odd trip into Manchester for college I've been feeling more exhausted than usual. Now this isn't why ended up at the doctors, I was in for a simple medication review, but fortunately for me I have a fantastic doctor.

I've been taking painkillers for years now, since before the surgery on my renal tumour, so this was a standard check-up but my doctor read between the lines. I've been tired for some time now, not just a bit sleepy but without my painkillers, tramadol, I'm barely able to get out of bed. Without taking them I have about a half an hour window, I can drag myself up, nip to the bathroom for my ablutions, make a brew and then I'm back in bed, unable to move, speech slurring and unable to get myself out of it without the tablets. Part of me has questioned whether this is simply psychosomatic, possibly because of this thought I have feared bringing this up with my doctor but, as I had a night appointment this week, I was tired and slurred through everything. My doctor reviewed my notes and picked up that I had been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) in my early 20s. Something I hadn't considered, I've always been half and half over the reason for my tiredness, either the surgery or the use of medication for so long, never looking for another source.

I have a follow up appointment in January to go through it all. Part of me is relieved, if this is the case it will explain everything, and although I don't know what the solution will be or what this means in the long term, knowing that it could be something helps. My worry these last few years has been how do I cope without the medication? But at least now this will be addressed. Although the thought of always feeling tired, never knowing the restful feeling of a good nights sleep is terrifying.

Now of course these posts always focussed on fitness, health and weight loss. This is something I still strive for but it isn't the focus of my existence. I'm still doing it, so to speak. I eat what I like in moderation and exercise, it appears that it is paying off. My doctor didn't recognise me at first and admitted this after weighing me, I've lost 10kg since March which I'm pretty damn chuffed with. This year has had so many ups and downs so to keep this going along with plenty of cake eating is my success story of the year. I still love the gym, it's my little sanctuary where I can get sweaty under air conditioning whilst listening to music and pull daft faces, I can't imagine a better pastime, well, not in public.

So the title, the odd one out? all letters can be associated with myself, but there is only really one that I would shout about. I'm an open book, I like to share experiences but I don't think that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) nor the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) define me. Sure, they effect me but they aren't me, but the AMBCS? Well that is Associate Member of the British Computer Society. I never talk about my career but I moved from libraries into a role involving computers a couple of years back, it's something both new to me and something I've been surrounded with my whole life. There really aren't enough women I.T. so maybe I should shout about it a bit more and make myself count.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Purrfectbox October 2015 Review

It's here, Samhain's October Purrfectbox arrived on Saturday which meant two things, I got to treat him and that he was most likely to get himself into a fight. It doesn't always coincide but this isn't the first time I've said that I've been able to treat Samhain after getting himself into a scrap.

So what did he get?


I think the tongue is because he's fed up of all the photos! 


The thing I like about Purrfectbox is I feel that they have appeal for the owners too. Now I don't mean something for us to use ourselves but those practical products that can come in handy. This month is no exception.


Nilaqua No Rinse Pet Shampoo (£4.45 for 200ml)
I was happy to see this, Samhain was curious to smell it but was disappointed it wasn't food for him. His fight earlier on gave me a good reason to try it out. As you can see above the product is pretty runny but foamed up in his fur. He was slightly annoyed at first but got right in to the massage, the product doesn't need rinsing so after massaging it in I used a towel to dry it through - he loves a towel rub down. It made his fur shine immediately but even more noticeably as we cuddled up to get to sleep I noticed how soft his fur felt. I think this might quite easily become a weekly tradition. I didn't need to use that much to cover him completely so a little will go a long way. Who knows, he might even find himself a lady cat friend as it smells really lovely, although that could be just to us humans.

Top photo with the shampoo on ready for a massage, then after nice and soft

Ethical Products Inc.- Spot Laser Toy (Usually around £4.50)
We've had laser toys for Samhain before and he loves them. This was well timed as his old one is broken, the end won't screw on properly. It's one of those toys he is guaranteed to go mad for. It's strange as so many toys appeal to cats because of the taste or texture whereas this is simply a red light. He really goes bonkers for it. With other toys he'll only play with them if I'm doing the shaking but I can give this to anyone to use with him making it ideal for my dad to use (he collapsed last year and isn't able to move about easily) from the comfort of the sofa.

Les Filous - Mini Chicken 'n Fish (50g)
Samhain is a big fan of dried protein style snacks, he has trouble biting into things on occasion as he has really busted teeth but he found these chewy bits of real meat easy to chow down on. To be honest he wasn't sure at first but once he'd chewed one he wanted to keep going.

Camon Cat Grass (Usually around £5.00)
Samhain snacks on grass outside but I've never tried growing some for him indoors mainly as I tried it with my old cat and he really could not be bothered with it but Samhain is younger so I'm hoping he'll go for this. Especially as winter is on its way and the grass outside won't be as delectable as it is now.

Equilibre & Instinct Bio Complete Wet Food in Chicken 100g
Wet food is always welcome to try on Samhain, I have to admit he's a little bit fussy so doesn't always like new wet food but I still like to try it out on him. This is a complete wet food, in chicken and mashed vegetables its ingredients are 100% from an organic source. I try my hardest to feed Samhain organic food but as I mentioned before he can be fussy. This is more of a mushier texture like traditional cat foods which is Samhain's preference.



Trixie Salmon Pâté (£1.99 for 75g)
I never buy pâté for Samhain, it just isn't that common in local pet shops but he really gets into it. He is always funny about it at first, he never takes it from the tip of my finger these days but if I leave a bit out on a plate (or a strip of cardboard) he just laps it up. I wish I made more of an effort to give him pâté as a snack because it excites him, plus this particular one has no added sugar, gluten free and with taurine.



Ethical Products Inc. Corduroy Dragonfly Toy
Samhain loves his toys, he is spoilt rotten with catnip toys, I don't even want to think on how I would spoil a child if I had one as this cat pretty much has everything on the market. I do stick to the brands I know he loves to be on the safe side so receiving something new to try means there is always a chance that he won't like it. As soon as the box was opened he went for it, I couldn't actually smell it that strongly, I'm used to picking toys out in shops by sniffing them! But this appealed to him. One of his favourite things is being rubbed by his catnip toys and the corduroy is a lovely texture to rub him down with.



As always the box also comes with a mini magazine, Purr Notes, a lovely, very professional little publication that's neatly informative.

Another lovely box full of goodies for him and for me to use on him. I'm looking forward to growing the grass to see how he takes to it, as well as remembering to give him pâté as a daily treat!

The box was sent complimentary to Samhain and myself for an honest and open review.

Purrfectbox costs £19.90 a month or sign up for three months and pay the equivalent of £18.90 a month, six months and pay the equivalent of £17.90 a month and an even better deal if you sign up for 12 months, it will cost just £16.90 a month. Not only that but you'll also be helping out a great cause.

Wanting to give Purrfectbox a try? But want to save money? The unique code below entitles you to 25% off your first box on any one of their plans- including their monthly, 3, 6 & 12 month subscriptions!

 blg8bbxm

More information on this can be found on their website.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Health & Fitness Update and Why I Hate BMI

I've decided to be less methodical with my postings and focus more on my emotions along with my triumphs.

It's been a funny week or two, my emotions have been controlling me a little more than I'd like when it comes to what I eat which has led me to want to be more open. I have been busy this summer but I've also been somewhat heartbroken. I was dating someone and we split at the end of July, we hadn't been dating long but it was intense and I had strong feelings for him but circumstances got in the way and he ended it. I like to think of myself as being quite level-headed but maybe I approached the break-up in too much of a straight-forward manner. I focused on why it couldn't work and also thought as the relationship had only been a couple of months old it wouldn't take long to move on. I was pushing my emotions to the side, hitting the gym and concentrating at winning in other ways. Getting over a relationship just isn't linear, there ups, downs and u-turns and ignoring my emotions was stupid, our emotions make us who we are, I should have embraced them. So after weeks of being fine but a little sad I've now recognised that actually I'm very sad. Nothing can change this, I just need time.

Being open about this has made me want to be open about another thing, my weight. I never post it as I rarely weigh myself but I've started to at least check progress using the balance board on the Wii. I look at what I've lost rather than the weight, In the last 2 months I've lost about 10lbs which I'm pleased about, I'm eating what I like but working my butt off. I say I eat what I like but by this I still try and have a super healthy breakfast, an okay lunch and a less than perfect evening meal. With the sadness I find I don't eat as much as I should but I'm doing better, I've just been patchy in the evenings but usually eat okay in the day.

Now the other thing weighing myself on the Wii shows me is my bmi, I am now just in the overweight category no longer obese and for some reason this annoys me.

I'm a UK size 14, I do buy size 16 jeans as I hate them tight I just use a belt. I'm also 5'10" so I'm never going to want to be any smaller than a 10. But I'm at the top end of overweight according to my bmi. I don't feel at the top end of overweight, just somewhat overweight with muscle but this funny little number can dictate how I view myself and it sucks.

I've never been a competitive person with others but when it comes to myself I'm my own worst enemy. This led to eating disorders when I was younger and looking at my bmi didn't help, I was midway on the normal range whilst looking skeletal, so to me I was perfectly in my right mind to lose more weight. I grew up swimming so was quite built before I started looking at the numbers, It was never pointed out how things could vary, when I was a young teenager I didn't even take into account the differences in height. I grew up thinking women had to weigh below 10 stone. Now I've worked my way through my eating disorders and fully feel in control of everything, it took until early 2013 but I got there and January 2013 is when I officially started to get better but I still feel a bit baffled by all the numbers, do they really matter? Is making the effort to exercise and feeling in control of what I eat more important? I think so.

I want to compete with myself when it comes to working out but I don't want to use the numbers against me. The problem is when you compete with yourself you're not only always winning but also always losing, and I'd like to be somewhere in-between.

Half the battle when it comes to obtaining a healthy body is obtaining a healthy mind. With so many magazines that are seemingly against it's hard to not develop an all or nothing approach, plunging us into the world of yo-yo dieting. The truth is that keeps the cycle going, it keeps dieting an industry. You can eat chocolate and lose weight, you can eat chips and lose weight, just keep it in balance and forget about what the magazines tell you (although I have to say I find Cosmo Body really balanced along with Women's Health), do what makes you happy, eat a little less, exercise just a little more and you'll get there, eventually, and most likely stay there.

Instead of ending on a downer I'm going to mention some happy things. I entered the triathlon challenge at my gym, there are three levels, Sprint, Olympic and Ironman, I've completed Sprint and have nearly finished Olympic so I'm pleased with that. Also I have gorgeous new trainers, behold;



Lovely!

I hope everyone is doing well with their challenges, physical or mental.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Health & Fitness Update (Playing Catch-up Part 2)

Another week and I'm playing catch-up. As you can tell my blog posts are still few and far between. This is mainly because I'm so active at the moment, I haven't been on any fabulous holidays, the summer holidays do not mean I have time off with the kids (because I haven't got any), yet I find myself distracted and busy, but in a good way.

My life is either work or the gym with walking to and from in-between. Now I usually go to the gym every other day and with swimming in-between or after, I haven't done as much recently as I am a bit burnt out. Not the gym so much but work, it has been a long time since I had a holiday and I won't be having a week off until the beginning of October, but I am having a few long weekends this month - I just might be busy doing stuff!

I'm progressing in the gym rather well. I've also taken on running using the treadmill, building up stamina. This has led to be me taking on their Triathlon challenge. So I'm really giving it my all at the moment. I also love setting myself challenge on the Swimtag website, see below, it's a great motivator. I love being competitive with myself.



I haven't been weighing myself but I'm slimmer, my clothes are loose and I can fit and fasten a size 14 coat so I'm happy with myself. I've had to order another pair of trainers and will certainly need to pick up my third swimming costume of the year as the first one I bought is so baggy it's obscene.

Nothing exciting to report food wise, just a little of what I fancy, portion control and a good breakfast.

My routine might be slow but it's steady and I'm happy with that.

I hope the summer holidays have been a breeze for everyone and that there is plenty of positive action going on!