Saturday, 18 April 2020

Creating happiness during Isolation

Ok so you had all these plans for 2020.
2020 was going to be your year! Now you feel like those plans have been taken away from you and everything is on hold for the foreseeable.

The news and death rates are being thrown at you in all directions and you just want a cuddle.
The thought of not having physical contact is clawing away at you.
The longing for normality hits you like a train some days. Everybody is doing all the things you want to do but you can not find the motivation and then feel guilty.

Any of the above resinate with you?
That is how a lot of us feel right now and it's ok. We know that life on the front line must be terrifying, people are losing loved ones and can not grieve, can not say goodbye or hold each other.. So you feel guilty for feeling trapped in a little bubble of safety when you should be nothing but grateful.

All of these feels have come into my head at some point over the last month. It is an extremely wierd and worrying time.
All though I would not recommend my new nocturnal routine as it is getting slightly out of hand.
Anybody else starting hobbies around 10pm now?

I have found a few things that bring some happiness. Yes it is hard to accept that it is ok to feel content during this time because of the awfulness of it all. Although everyone needs to create some happiness for themselves to help get you through.

Go outside
Yes I know this is self explanatory. We are all supposed to walk for miles, get a dog or run 5k.
Sometimes you don't want to do that and that is acceptable too.
I have got myself into a little habit, weather permitting to take my breakfast ( who am I kidding?)
brunch into the garden and read a chapter of a book.
It really seems to be starting my day off well and brings contentment even if it is just for a little while.

Create something, anything!
To create something from start to finish brings happiness no matter what it is. No matter how big or small. Be it baking, a drawing, the shed you wanted to build. The walls you wanted to re paint. Or some new nail polish you haven't used yet.
Even your partner's hair BE CAREFUL!
Personally painting is so therapeutic for me. It really helps me to zone out. It doesn't have to be perfect, it doesn't have to look like anything in particular either. Just taking some time to focus on creating something just because, can be very helpful.

Try something new
So you wanted to learn how to crochet, paint by diamonds, learn to yodel.
Do it!! Yes it might fail, yes you might wish you never started. Although by the end of this you would have required a new skill. No matter how mundane or silly it seems.
You have expanded your skills and knowledge.  I wanted to learn to cook from scratch more.
I have inherited the ability to collect food stuff in various cupboards and the fridge. Then create a banging dinner. Yet the thought of creating a meal with different timed elements. Aswell as following a recipe always daunted me. So I gave it a go and I was bloody proud of myself!
It took time and I had to use my own judgement on quantities of ingredients. Then I watched that bunch of ingredients turn into something delicious. I have done this a few times now and I am planning on testing myself further instead of saying "oh I can't do that". I now say "I will try that!"

Do one productive thing a day 
It is very easy to become a little lost and unmotivated when every day blends into each other.
You start to forget what day it is and who you are.
So maybe try and do one productive thing a day. So you feel like you have achieved something.
Again it could be anything even if it is washing your hair and putting your make up on to feel more human. Changing from one pair of joggers into another. Doing some cleaning, tidying up your space.
Or one thing that you have put off for ages because you always have an excuse.
Try it and see!

Do what you want when you want. 
At the start of this I became very fixated on the idea that I should stick to a routine.
Turns out whenever I am not at work I become nocturnal.
I am more productive past 3pm. The other night I was sat cutting small limbs out for a project. I was doing at half 1 in the morning. Then I don't want to get up. So what?! I am still using up the hours given to me.
Maybe later than other people but no matter what you are doing or when.
There is no right way to handle this. So if you want to have a week of lie ins. There is no reason why not.

You may be thinking why on earth is this woman stating the damn obvious!?
If one person feels a little bit better by reading this and realising that there is no way they should be doing things. Knowing now that it is ok to attempt to enjoy this situation then I have achieved my goal.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

When KFC made my dreams come true.

I have been vegetarian for just over two years now. I have never really ate red meat so the transition wasn't too difficult for me.
I was vegetarian for awhile when I was younger and used to have veggie weeks to lose abit of weight. 

There is a farm where I work and we see all the baby animals. One day the piglets were running around like puppies playing and I knew from then on I could not consume meat. I think since having my dog I've turned into a complete animal lover and want to rescue every living creature. 

I will not lie to you. KFC used to bring me happiness. Chicken was the hardest thing for me to give up. Just because it was my main staple. 

I understand that vegans and veggies funding one of the biggest chicken product companys is controversial. 

Some of us just need a little joy in our lives ok? 
So turns out where I live now deliver now which makes my experience even more magical. 
I ordered the Vegan burger to come after my bath. How exciting!

So it arrived. 
It resembled my favourite mini fillet burger but a lot bigger. 
I have got to say it was heavenly!
I'm not sure if it is because I havn't had KFC or chicken in a long time. I could not taste the difference! How substitute meat has changed since I was a child. 
Long gone are the days of cardboard pretend meat sandwich fillers. My mom used to give me them all the time. Vile! 

So definitely a winner for me. 
Apparently Linda McCartney do a pretend chicken bucket now! Which seems to be impossible to find! I am determind though!

So if you want to come with me on my fake chicken journey. You are in for a wild ride! 

Fellow veggies and vegans what are your favourite meat substitutes? 

Monday, 8 July 2019

3 inexpensive ways to help your dog 'beat the heat' this summer.

I am not sure if summer has officially arrived or not as it keeps coming and going? Although on those spontaneous boiling hot days that turn up, I have learned a few things that help keep puppy cool.
These are not ground breaking but I have found them helpful and I hope you do to...

1. Doggo's are partial to an Ice cube!

So simple and they work a treat, Ice cubes are a great way to encourage your dog to drink.

Especially if your dog is like ours who doesn't tend to drink a lot.
Chewie has wet and dry food so apparently a lot of his liquid intake in a day comes from the wet food.

Although we do try and get him to drink as much as possible.
Ice cubes seem to really excite him, he finds them fun to play with and he licks them like crazy. Which also cools him down. Handy! When he is finished we normally just pop it in his water bowl so there are no messy puddles and it cools his drinking water at the same time.

2. Bargain cooling mat

These handy little things can be found in places such as B&M and Home Bargains for under £10.

They are wipe clean, fold-able, portable and when your pup lies on it the body weight activates the cooling gel inside the mat which turns the mat pretty cold very quickly.

Our dog learn't pretty quickly that this is very enjoyable.
We take the mat on our trips out to picnics, beer gardens and on holiday.
It can easily be popped under a bench where you are sitting or next to you on the beach to cool them down nicely.

3. Quick & Easy 3 ingredient Homemade Pupsicles 

I found a recipe for Pupsicles online and I thought I would mix it up and try to make my own version. Chewie absolutely loves these and they have really helped him to regulate his body temperature.

Plus they are tasty and if you get the right ingredients they can have some health benefits too.
I would only recommend one of a day of these really as some dogs can be lactose intolerant and over doing it with the yogurt may cause some dodgy bellies!

You will need:

  • One regular ice cube tray 
  • Dog biscuits 
  • Natural Yogurt/ Plain Greek Style. Probiotic if you can. (Also check there is no nasty extras such as Xylitol which is toxic for dogs. Look for Yogurt without artificial sweeteners and any added sugar.) 
  • Peanut Butter ( any without Xylitol or chocolate should be fine for your dog.)
  • Room in your freezer, as I did not check this and became annoyed trying to squeeze the tray into the freezer draw! 

Fill the tray segments up a little under half way with yogurt. Then spoon a little peanut butter on top.
Smooth over with a knife, push a dog biscuit into each segment. This might get a little messy but it can always be wiped away with a damp cloth or left the way it is.
If it spills over the sides a bit, it will just freeze like the rest of the mixture.

Pop in the freezer until frozen, I left mine a couple for about three hours.
Once frozen cut out the pupsicle with a knife and put into a dog bowl.

Alternatively hold it by the biscuit and let them eat it like an ice cream.
It's adorable and this is the best way to get Chewie to eat it.
A whole tray should last you awhile.

Let me know if you make these and if your dog likes them.
Also  tell me if you found this post helpful or not.

If you want to see more of the life of Chewie the Jackapoo check out my Instagram @astoldbyemmi
There is also a link on this page in the Social Icon section.

See you there!

Sunday, 2 June 2019

A Weekend Glamping in Wales With a Puppy

As I sit here on a fairly miserable wet day I thought I would reminisce about our little bank holiday trip to Wales. We didn't want anything expensive as we just wanted to pack up and go somewhere and be in nature for a while. We found a lovely glamping spot where we had the cutest little hut.
We had the luxury of underfloor heating so it was so toasty and a shower over the toilet cubicle which was a little odd but did the job. It was so lovely we had access to everything we needed in a little eating space that had an oven, microwave ect. As well as a selection of herbs which I had forgotten so I was extremely happy. I am pretty easily pleased it seems!

There was a little stargazing pod and a book share which I thought was such a lovely idea.
Puppy had the time of his life as although he was on the lead due to free range chickens, he could roam the largest field he had probably ever seen and he found a suitable stick that he enjoyed for quite awhile.

We visited the local beach which was gorgeous but ridiculously windy which we hadn't planned for.
Again puppy was loving life, I treated myself to warm sugared donuts in a bag.
We then ventured around and came across a pub full of doggies.
 It was such a welcoming atmosphere and we enjoyed lunch in the sun.

We spent the rest of our time having a wonder and relaxing it was just what we needed and wasn't too far away from home. All in all the two nights cost us under £200 which was great considering it was in the school holidays. A hut is definitely my preference when it comes to camping.
As much as I love the outdoors I also love to be warm at night time so this was perfect for me!

Where is your favourite place for a camping weekend?

Monday, 22 April 2019

April 2019 Favourites

Images (Bing search)

Film - Dumbo 

 Everyone knows by now that I am a massive Disney lover and I get very excited, with the new remakes turning up left, right and centre. Although I do feel like some of them have been more true to my childhood favourites than others. As much as they are brilliantly made. I feel like it hurts my inner child when a story line is changed too much. The original Dumbo makes me cry every time, so I knew that I would be sobbing no matter what happened in the remake. I know the new Dumbo has had it's fair share of nasty comments but I did really enjoy it and I am not easily pleased when it comes to these things.
I spontaneously went to the Cinema to watch the film on Mother's Day because we didn't really fancy spending stupid amounts of money for a three course meal. We didn't really want in a very busy restaurant with service that isn't great because they are too busy! This film must of been good because my Grandma did not fall asleep!
I was pleased with the CGI and as much as some people do not agree, I felt affection for Dumbo. I had a very pleasant surprise that Colin Farrell is in it, always a treat for the eyes. As well as a good old faithful bady in Micheal Keaton.
The story was changed in a pretty big way but I really liked the fact that they had tributes to the original in so many subtle ways. A definite must see in my book but take the tissues! It was also refreshing to see a Tim Burton film without Johnny Depp!

Series -  Fleabag

I was introduced to BBC Fleabag by a work friend. Originally told that the main character's sense of humour and quirky personality reminded her of me. As soon as I started watching it I completely understood. Without the sex addiction, insane step mom and very messed up life choices obvs!
Which my friend had completely forgot about, as well as the fact that Fleabag is actually a pretty awful person although very lovable. My friend was mortified about this and I found it hilarious.
Anyway... This series is highly addictive after the first episode I was hooked. The first TV program in a long time that has made me cry laugh instantly. I loved the fact that it dealt with some very intricate emotions and issues in a humorous way. I loved how every character had depth to them.
Olivia Colman is always amazing in which ever role she plays. I even had a massive soft spot for the
OCD, control freak sister. Spoiler alert; I can't be the only one in thinking the tension between the Priest and Fleabag was extremely well created?! It will get you a little hot under the collar if you arn't careful! I feel that as much as the Priest did take advantage, I think that his feelings were real and he could not control them. I would love to know what anybody else that has watched it thinks about this?

Music - Lily Allen, Billy Eilish , Mae Muller

 I have really been getting into rebellious female singers at the moment. 
I listened to all of Lily Allen's album No shame on repeat. 
I think she is so talented and there is such a mix of sounds and styles on this album.
Some songs make you dance around the bathroom, some really make you think.
The song Three even made me cry.
 Billy is just one of those people that oozes cool without even trying.
She has such a gorgeous sound and that is little odd which I love.
When I first heard ' Bury a friend' I thought to myself this is strange but I was drawn in.
I kept listening to her and I started to really enjoy the fact that her music is different and something that breaks away from everything else that is on the radio lately. The more I have seen of her through interviews and videos. The more I fall in love with her. She is authentic and so genuine and with raw talent at 17!
 I was hand fed Mae Muller on Instagam which normally annoys me. Although as soon as I heard 'Leave it out' the reggae sound with a bad ass female attitude right up my street!
I also really like her song 'Busy Tone' at the moment and happily stalk her Instagram from time to time.

Food - Salmon on the BBQ

 BBQ season is nearly upon us and we have just came back from a lovely weekend away in Wales. Although I am now a pescatarian I have always loved salmon on the bbq even when there were meat options on the table. I have never been a big meat eater anyway.
I am a herb obsessive and I like to make the salmon as yummy as possible.
Yesterday somebody forgot to pack the sweet chilli sauce! So I placed the salmon in a piece of tin foil and added a table spoon of butter. A heap of garlic, chilli flakes, oregano and mixed herbs with black pepper. I then drizzled some oil over the top. Normally instead of the butter I would use sweet chilli oil to make a bit of a spicy crust. As I was totally not angry about this situation I made do.
I created a little salmon filled parcel with the tin foil and it cooked nicely on the bbq. Then ate it straight out of the foil when it was ready. So tasty!

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Dog friendly Self Catering in Cornwall

We love nothing more than going on adventures with our puppy these days. The first thing we look for in accommodation is if it is dog friendly. We found a lovely little cottage just a few minutes walk from the beach in Porth Mawgan. The beach was possibly the most beautiful I have ever been to.
Enormas and pristine with so much to explore, little caves, cliffs, a stream and obviously the open sea. So much room for the puppy to run and be free. We finally decided that he could be trusted off the lead and he was golden. Turns out he can out run a whippet! We have a big affection for Cornwall and we always dream about living there one day. I find that it is so dog friendly compared to other places we have visited. Every beach and every pub we would go in to ask if we could take Chewie in. Already had about five dogs happily enjoying a rest. Some with a complimentary blanket and a treat or two. 
Porth Mawgan was a great destination for visiting all around Cornwall. We explored somewhere different every day. As so many cute places were just a short drive away. We stayed at a cottage we would easily to go back to. Even today we thought of booking it again. It was called the Jam store.
They had another cottage attached called the Pickle Pot. The owners made us feel so comfortable and they had a lovely little garden, with easy access for Chewie. The cottage had every comfort we could ask for including homemade cake. One of the owners also creates award winning jam and holds workshops so you can make your own. I jumped at the chance. I made Raspberry as it's my favourite but Rodger gave me tasters of the variety he makes and gave me so many helpful tips. Even a recipe for a gorgeous chutney. I brought out the jam I made yesterday. I've got to say it was the nicest I have ever had. If I do say so myself! My Grandma ate a whole jar in under a week. She is a jam fiend! We were very sad to leave when the week came to a close. Cornwall is one of those places where you always feel happy and relaxed. It just seems to treat time so differently to everyone else. 
Where is your favourite place for a dog friendly holiday?

The websites we have used are;

To find some delicious homemade jams, marmalades and chutneys click here.

To find where we stayed click here.

Thursday, 3 January 2019


Hi, it's been awhile again I know.
So 2018 has ended and we have found ourselves in a new year thinking 'whoa that went quickly!' The back to reality feeling is more difficult to over come this year.
I was ready to go back to work last Jaunuary maybe I had too much cheese or I got a little bored. This year just feels different. I think it's because I have loved every minute of the holidays this time around. Christmas was so lovely, we have been too busy for me to get irritable and taken over by cabin fever. I mean Christmas is always enjoyable but this time we were relaxed and happy making our own little traditions. We didn't host so that was a weight off our shoulders and watching the puppy have the best first Christmas was adorable!
New Year was quiet and not wild in the slightest. Eating pizza with a film on and sipping Gin. I sat there all fuzzy and thought to myself this is what contentment feels like and it was so nice!

2018 has been an interesting one for me. Ups and downs, learning curves and some challenges but I always enjoy pushing myself. As the satisfaction of realising 'hey I did that' is always good for the soul.
I know that the photo above is a complete basic move but I do feel it's a good representation of the year.

My husband turned the big 30, we came to realise our life goal is to move down south.
We brought the little fur baby into our lives and along with him one of the biggest learning curves for us. Having a puppy is not easy but he is such a good boy. I look at him sometimes and my heart could burst from how cute he is!
We really could not imagine life without the little scruff.
I became 26 and as much as that isn't really a significant number in the growing old spectrum I do feel like it's been a year that I've learnt alot about myself.

This year I had some real lows and it was the realisation that I needed to stop denying or ignoring those lows and find ways to make myself feel better. That was a big step in itself for me. I found ways to change my thinking which I'm still working on. I also found things that automatically make me feel better. I know I've mentioned it before but being stuck in the house is not for me.
I love a PJ day don't get me wrong but I need fresh air. Having a puppy to walk and holidays in the beautiful surroundings of Cornwall and Devon. Even down the road as we are lucky enough to be surrounded by countryside where we live. You really do start to notice how amazing this little planet is. I feel that I have come out the other side and I just need to keep reminding myself that I always will not matter how desperate the situation is it's only temporary.

We made the decision to become veggie in January and it's been a year of living the plant life. I can truly say I have never looked back. We have made a lot of changes to our diet leaning towards veganism. My husband went completely vegan and stayed strong. As for me there is a few things I havn't managed to let go of at the moment. There is always this year!

I have started to set the ball moving with my illustrations and children's books.
I've taken on challenges and suprised myself. I've seen myself progress and learnt so much. I am hungry to constantly learn more and keep improving. I set up my Instagram account just for my illustrations, which I know it sounds silly but I was abit nervous about it. I felt like I was throwing my artwork into the world and that made me feel a little vulnerable.  It has been nothing but positive and I'm really enjoying it. Making some real connections along the way. Which I really want to make a conscious effort to do more of.

So I only have a few.. wouldn't say resolutions but things I would like to achieve I guess.

1. Drink more water - honestly drinking water is the answer to so many health problems!

2. Start to make the dream a reality -
Finish those on going projects, take those courses I've been putting off and start believing in my art enough to sell it.

3. Get the hell off social media! - I find some social platforms an endless source of inspiration which is why I enjoy using them but I will hold my hands up to the fact that I get sucked in with every notification and then lose hours. Instead of being productive I think about all the stuff I could do if I was productive. So this needs to stop as well as the constant comparison as that's never healthy and it's such a downward spiral.

Continue to feel comfortable in my own skin. - This year I have realised I have become pretty satisfied with myself as a whole apart from the odd negative thought. I want to build on this although the excess of eating biscuits for the whole of December does need to come to an end.

Essay over!
How do you feel about 2019?
What do you want to achieve? Ox

© As told by Emmi
Maira Gall