The Adventures of Aslan the Lion Dog

Not a Narnia story I’m afraid, but a post about how my boyfriend Pete and I rescued a stray Chow-Chow in our local park.

It was while we were walking our own dog Alf when we first saw the Lion Dog. He was so furry and looked so much like a lion it was hard not to notice him. He wandered past us and continued on down the path, and it quickly became clear that there wasn’t anyone with him. Both Pete and I are great animal lovers, and Pete is a bit of a dog expert (having studied wolves for years and working at our local Blue Cross rescue centre), so we decided we should follow and get hold of the Lion Dog as no-one else seemed to care that he was clearly alone.

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Unfortunately, it turns out Chow-Chows are naturally suspicious of strangers, which made getting hold of him quite a task. We must have pursued him for 20 or 30 minutes before he began to get too hot and tired to keep ahead of us. Alf wasn’t massively helpful either, as every time we got near Aslan (as Lion Dog came to be known) he would try and rush at him to play/defend us and scare him off. Eventually, he did give up and sat down in a really muddy ditch to cool down.
I held Alf a good distance away while Pete approached Aslan to get hold of him and read his collar. Aslan was still a bit wary, but eventually let Pete take hold of him collar and read his tag. We rang both numbers on the tag with no answer, but left messages to let the owner know we had found their dog. We did consider phoning the local Dog Warden, but instead felt it would be better to keep Aslan with us and take him home until his owner got in touch. As we don’t generally carry a spare lead, we put Aslan on Alf’s lead and I used my studded belt looped through Alf’s harness to walk him. We must have looked pretty ridiculous :/
We got Aslan back to our flat and tried washing him down a bit in the garden, as he had got quite a lot of mud in his lovely long fur. Fortunately it was a nice day so we stayed outside with the dogs as our flat isn’t huge and Aslan was a pretty big dog. Alf wasn’t too sure he liked having a new big dog on his property, but coped pretty well all-in-all. The owner rang us back a bit after 5pm after she finished work. She was quite flustered as our message was the first she knew of her dog having wandered off. He had clearly escaped from the back garden where he had been left.
Turns out his name was actually Bailey, but I still prefer Aslan.

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He was a beautiful dog, and very friendly once he knew we were ok. I kinda missed him after he had gone. Although, I am glad Alf is only small, a dog that big would take some getting used to – he almost pulled me over on a few occasions. He was a bit slobbery too, which I wasn’t a fan of, my jeans went straight in the wash :/ And all that hair! I have enough trouble coping with mine, I’d hate to think how much care that mighty mane would need.
Alf was definitely glad when Aslan had gone. Jealous little pup πŸ™‚

A few days afterwards, Emma, Bailey/Aslan’s owner, came round with a bottle of wine, huge box of Thornton’s chocolates and a toy and some treats for Alf, to say thank you. While we really didn’t do it for any reward, I wasn’t going to turn down chocolate! Maybe we should rescue dogs more often….

Love,

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Hannah Banana: THE Vegan Cake Lady

Recently, I was lucky enough to win a competition run by Hannah Banana Bakery to celebrate her reaching 2000 Facebook followers. My prize was a 9 inch cake of my choice!
Hannah Banana Bakery is based in Southampton and is run by Hannah who single handedly creates beautiful Β cakes, cupcakes, cakepops, cookies, cheesecakes, wedding cakes and even chocolates, that are all vegan and can also meet other dietary requirements such as being gluten free, sugar free or soy free! I have followed her on Facebook for a long time and her cakes are always amazingly creative, beautifully decorated and consistently receive fantastic reviews. In March this year she even won first prize in the Vegan Cupcake category at Bournemouth Cupcake Camp!
I am super envious of her, not only because her cakes look and taste better than mine, but because she started training and setting the business up while still finishing her PhD – I’m in the final 9 months of my PhD and I can’t imagine doing anything alongside it, I only just manage to squeeze in blogging!!

For my prize I selected a red velvet cake with ‘cream cheese’ frosting, but it was a hard choice as she has a fantastic range of yummy flavours. It wasn’t for a particular occasion, I just love cake, so booked my prize in for the earliest available time (as a one-woman show, and being in high demand, she can get quite busy so it’s wise to make a booking well in advance!). I collected my cake, I’m not sure but I think all large cakes need to be collected, but her smaller treats can be posted, even her cupcakes thanks to some pretty ingenious packaging!

The cake was beautifully presented and came in a great box that I am totally going to reuse, she even finished it off with cute little red heart sprinkles and a ‘Made with Love’ ribbon. My cake was very simple so is by no means any measure of her talent (check out the gallery on her website to see just some of her amazing decorating skills!), but I still loved it!
Obviously, with a cake, looks are important but are far from everything. Some people may be suspicious of vegan cakes, but you shouldn’t be, especially not if they’re made by Hannah. Honestly, if you didn’t know, I doubt you would notice any difference between a vegan cake and a ‘normal’ cake. The texture was great, not heavy or cloying, really moist and very, very yummy – I could probably have eaten a whole bowl of the frosting (not that the cake wasn’t good, but I bloomin’ love frosting!!). I had intended to share it with work colleagues, but instead my boyfriend and I polished it off all by ourselves Β :/ (over a few days, not all in one go).

Hannah is really lovely and so hard working, and she produces great results! I will definitely be buying cake from her again, and will recommend her far and wide. If I can come up with a good idea, I would love to commission her to make my birthday cake πŸ™‚
I’m also going to be lucky enough to learn some of Hannah’s decorating skills, as she’s been kind enough to donate her time to run the cupcake decorating at my WI group, the Sotonettes, next week. I am very excited.

Hannah has a blog where you can keep up to date with her new cake recipes and ideas, her seasonal creations and events where she will be selling cakes. She also posts vegan recipes on Lasthours.org.uk – here.
Thank you so much Hannah! I tried to think of a good Bon Jovi reference to get in here somewhere, but I just couldn’t make it work :/ Hannah- her cakes are tres bon (jovi)………

Hope you are all having a good weekend,
Love

PS. Apologies for the lighting in the pictures, my flat is so dark but my flash is so bright :/

Vintage Nation

Vintage Nation, from the people behind Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair, is being held at Brighton Racecourse on Saturday June 9th 2012 (10am til 11pm).

I really want to go, but at the moment, haven’t found anyone to come with me, so I thought I’d put some feelers out to see if any of you lovely people would be interested.
There will obviously be vintage shopping, but also vintage cars, live music, vintage hair styling and make-up, burlesque, a village green (brought to you by Crabbies), a man-made beach, G&T’s, champagne, DJs, dancing and the promise of fireworks!
Check out both the Facebook page and event.
Let me know if you’re interested, or already going! I think it looks like a fantastic day out πŸ™‚
Love,

Get the Look (Beauty)

Last week I put up a post about Look Beauty finally being available online, having launched their own website.
I’ve been waiting for Look Beauty to be available online pretty much since in launched towards the end of last year, but no Superdrug near me stocked it and , despite regularly asking, they never got around to putting it on their website. So, when I heard they had got their own website, I headed straight over and started picking out things to try!
While I haven’t been able to try or even see any of the range ‘in the flesh’, I’ve seen and heard plenty about it online – through both the Look Beauty Facebook page and other blogs.
I was most keen to try out their Nail Pop nail polishes, as I’m a bit of a nail polish addict, and their Double Hit Lip lipstick and gloss, as I liked the novel combination of lipstick and gloss in one product. In the end I ordered 2 Nail Pops, one in a pinky-coral shade called Ribbon and another in a purple shade called Flares, and a Double Hit Lip in Pink Punch, a bright hot pink πŸ™‚
Delivery was really quick, especially as we’ve had the epic Easter Bank Holiday weekend, and it was nice to get my hands on my products so quickly! They arrived a few days ago now, so I’ve had a bit of time to play with them. As I was one of the first 100 people to place an order through the site I also received a free Stretch Factor mascara!

The nail polishes were the first thing I tried out. It’s been ages since I last painted my nails, partly because I’m a bit bored of all the colours I have and don’t think any of them are particularly Spring-y. I like these two shades, they feel quite spring appropriate but without being too pastely, I’m still not convinced I can pull of pastels. The polishes have quite a thin consistency, not that that’s a bad thing, it’s easy to start off with a thin coat and then build up. I often find I make an awful mess with thick polishes anyway. I got a good opaque finish in 2 coats still. They dry really quite quickly and have a really high gloss finish, although I would be interested to see them under a matte top coat too. I only painted them yesterday, so they haven’t had to suffer much wear and tear, although I did do the washing up earlier and they’re still fine!

I bloody love the Double Hit Lip!! The colour is fab and the product is easy to use. I was expecting the lipstick to give a bit more of a matte finish, but I still like the slight gloss it has. I’ve been wearing the lippy with gloss over the top all day and have only reapplied once, after lunch, so it’s standing up quite well. It definitely wouldn’t last long in kissing situations though :/ I think, personally, I would always use the two together, but you can easily mix it up between just lipstick, just gloss or combining them.

The mascara is also really nice. I don’t actually change mascara brand a lot, I’ve been using Max Factor Masterpiece or Masterpiece Max for ages. I like the formula, the brush and the finish. I often can’t get on with mascaras with standard brushes anymore. The Look Beauty Stretch Factor has a variation on the Max Factor type brush being made of plastic ‘spikes’ rather than the more traditional bristles. I find I get a more even application, fewer clumps and better lash definition with these brushes. The Stretch Factor brush is also a bit strange having longer spikes on one side, for upper lashes, and short on the other, for corners and lower lashes (I presume anyway). Given how devoted I have been to Max Factor, the fact that I’m impressed by this one is actually a really good sign!

Please excuse my awful eyebrows :/

So, overall, I’m really impressed with Look Beauty. I will be making many more purchases in future (maybe not this month though :/). Has anyone else checked out their website yet?

On another note; what do you think of the slideshow? I was just messing around with new features I found on Photobucket, is it too much?

Hope you’re well,
Love,

Books I Love: One Day

I might be a bit late to the party on this one; but I love this book!
I hadn’t heard of it before the movie came out, as much as it pains me to admit it. At first I wasn’t keen, I’m very resistant to jumping on band waggons, but in the end it just sounded like too good a read. It’s taken me a while to get through it, not because I haven’t enjoyed it but because I struggle to find time to read. If anything, I’ve gone out of my way to make extra time to read it because I enjoyed it so much!

I obviously won’t go into too much detail, as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. The book tells the story of two characters, Emma and Dexter, on the same day every year from the day of their graduation from uni and for 20 years afterwards. They remain friends but develop their own lives and go through all the things you would expect in life; partners, jobs, friends, marriages, children, highs and lows. It was so well written and I found I really related to so much of it, being someone in my mid-twenties trying to find my place in the world. There is also so much emotion in it, as I said, both highs and lows. In one part, it was so sad I was on the verge of tears and had to put the book down.
I would recommend this book to everyone. The balance of the male and female characters means I think both men and women could really engage with the story. If you’re not a reader, I guess I would say see the movie, although I haven’t seen it myself. I’m afraid I am one of those people who almost always thinks the book is better than the movie, so I’m torn as to whether I want to watch it or not. I’m also really not a big fan of Anne Hathaway, so it seems unlikely. But I really love the story, so I still might crack.
Have you read One Day? Any other book recommendations? I’ve got back into a bit of a reading habit!

Hope you are well,
Love,

100 followers!

I’ve been a very bad blogger lately, sorry!

Between working and my WI commitments I’ve had very little time or energy for blogging 😦 Any blog energy I have had has gone into setting up a blog for my WI, to be honest, it’s ended up looking better than this one! www.sotonettes.wordpress.co.uk
Despite my poor commitment to this blog, yesterday I passed 100 followers! I wanted to thank you all so much, from my first follower to my most recent ones. It means so much to know that you read and enjoy my blog. I’ve built up quite a lot of ideas for posts I want to write, so hopefully I’ll be a more regular blogger and deserve your following again.
In the next week or so I hope to put together a little giveaway to celebrate passing 100 followers and thank you all for your support πŸ™‚
I hope you have been keeping well,
Love