My Tattoo Experiences – Hints and Tips and Photographs

Lifestyle Week on Severn Wishes

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My Tattoo Experiences

Tattoos, a lot of us have them, and a lot of us are happy to share our experience about it, be it good or bad. The vast majority of my experiences have been good ones though, and with so many of mine having specific meaning behind them, I wanted to share those with you today.

My first ever tattoo ended up being covered up a few years later, that wasn’t down to the design I chose but down to a bad artist who had convinced me he would do a good job. After he had inked me I realised how uneven it was and vowed that once I found a competent artist I would get it redone. Two years later I got a much better artist to do a cover up of it, keeping the design it just had to be made larger in order to become a cover up. Here is my before and after image below, including the fresh ink and fully healed. This Triquetra has family meaning for me.


This experience didn’t put me off having tattoos, in fact I have ten, and I would have more one day too. Having always been a very creative person and artistic, it was something I wanted to happen from a young age. I waited until I was over eighteen to have my first inking, but after that I had a new tattoo roughly every six months for the next four years.

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What My Tattoos Mean To Me

Now I am going to tell you about a few of my tattoos, and some information about the sorts of things most people would ask. Such as how long it took and whether or not it was painful in that area.

1. Teal Butterflies (2 of them) In Memory of my two Grand Fathers who both adored Nature and Gardening. They are either side of my Lower Back.

2. Pisces Symbol – My Star Sign – One of the Pisces Traits is to be Indecisive and that is most definitely me! This Tattoo is on the outside of my Right Leg.

3. My Number 7 – I got this tiny and minimal tattoo after I had my Triquetra covered up, the artist was kind enough to do it as part of my sitting. Number 7 is my Lucky Number and my Birthday too! Right Wrist Tattoo.

4. Sparrow – Symbolising New Beginnings, A Fresh Start and Freedom. This Tattoo is on the outside of my Left Leg.

5. Cherry Blossom Branch – My favourite Tree and my first ever memory as a child was of the Blossom Tree in our Garden. I have always loved and adored pink blossom. This Tattoo is situated on the inside of my Right Leg.

6. Daisy Flowers – I have always loved nature and nature reminds me of home. I wanted these tiny flowers to remind me of that. The colour has sadly faded a little over time… Situated on my Left Hip.

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Photographs of my Tattoos


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Time Taken Per Tattoo

1. Butterfly 40 minutes (for each butterfly on separate sittings)
2. Pisces 45 minutes
3. Number 7 5 minutes (same day as my cover up was done)
4. Sparrow 30 minutes
5. Blossom Branch 2 Hours
6. Daisies 35 minutes

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Price Per Tattoo (Correct at the Time 5+ years for most)

1. £40 (Each Butterfly Each Sitting)
2. £45 (Pisces)
3. £0 (Done As Part Of My Cover Up Which Cost Approx £60)
4. £130 (Sparrow and Blossom were the Same Sitting)
5. £130 (Blossom and Sparrow were the Same Sitting)
6. £40 (Daisies)

 

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Pain Level Per Tattoo On A Scale Of 1-10 (10 Being Worst)

1. Butterflies – Near Kidneys and it did ache during the outline – 6
2. Pisces – Leg Tattoo – Barely Felt It – 2
3. Number 7 – On My Wrist Near Nerves, Bones and Blood Vessels – 3
4. Sparrow – Leg Tattoo – Barely Felt It – 2
5. Cherry Blossom – Leg Tattoo – Barely Felt It – 2
6. Daisies – Near Hip Bone – Vibration Of Outline Hurt A Little – 5

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Sabrina’s Top Tips and Hints

Here are my top tips and hints for deciding if getting a Tattoo is the right thing for you. I believe you should be asking yourself most (if not all) of my points below. My tip is to write down the pro’s and con’s and make sure you do consider some research too.

Consider Timing, there is no point in getting a foot tattoo in the middle of freezing weather when you would have to cover it and therefore not letting it air and heal. Or getting a Tattoo right before a holiday in the sunshine, this can ruin the tattoo or cause infection to the healing skin.

Start Small with your first Tattoo, committing to a full back piece isn’t usually a good idea if you aren’t certain how you or your skin may react to the procedure, think about if you have sensitive skin or eczema for example (your tattooist will also need to know this and any medication you are on). Of course many people “go big or go home” and decide to do a large tattoo or commit to a sleeve for example. This of course is your choice, and is something that only you can decide upon.

Do you know your Pain Tolerance? This is a good question to ask yourself. Most people don’t realise that getting a tattoo has nothing to do with a phobia of needles or if you may have had many injections in your lifetime, it’s a totally unique experience and should be treated as such.

Choose Wisely both with your Design and Artist. Do your research and look into local artists and further afield, because if you want a good tattoo be prepared to travel for the artist. With regards to your Design, once you’re happy with it stick it in a location where you will see it every single day for a month. If at the end of that month you still love what you’ve chosen, then the odds are that you will still enjoy looking at it when it’s on your skin, in many years to come.

Use either Savlon or Bepanthen for After Care and apply regularly. Make sure that you keep the area clean and dry and air as often as possible to aid the healing process. I always used Savlon on all of mine, they healed beautifully and the colour has also remained in them all.

Visit your chosen Tattoo Artist, book an appointment to talk to them, ask them any Questions you may have before you book an actual inking appointment.

Take a friend or partner with you when you go, you may feel tired or uneasy after the inking is finished. You shouldn’t drive immediately after a tattoo or a piercing, give your body time to adjust to what has happened.

Make sure you’ve drank something and eaten before you get inked, and take water with you to sip, especially if its in a warmer month of the year.

Consider your bathing and sports when the tattoo is in the healing stages – no hot and forceful water can touch it and definitely no swimming because of the chemicals. Consider contact sports, if your tattoo could become easily knocked or bumped or is at risk of getting dirty and then infected.

Be aware that your tattoo placement might cause you some inconvenience, you may need to be shaved (for example on your lower leg even if you’re a man), and you might be swollen for a couple of days afterwards as well. Make sure the tattoo won’t hinder any job role or uniform that you need to wear.

 

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Thanks for reading this lifestyle post, I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Why not let me know what you thought by leaving me a comment! I would love to know if you have a tattoo that you love…

✩ Sabrina ✩

 

Windsor Castle Day Trip

REVIEW WEEK ON SEVERN WISHES


A Day Trip to Windsor Castle

During April I was lucky enough to spend a long weekend away with family. We decided that since we were staying close to Windsor Castle we would visit and spend the day there. Having not been to Windsor as an adult I jumped at the chance to experience this amazing place.

We got up early from our stay at the Premier Inn, had a good breakfast and got ready for our day trip. We were a little disappointed by the weather on the day that we went to Windsor, it was very wet with rain showers and fairly cold too. However the Castle was still looking incredible in all it’s splendor.


I took many photograph’s of the outside of the Castle, you are unfortunately not allowed to take images inside the buildings. So I will write reviews of the sections that I visited even if I don’t have an image to show you, and use my photographs that I have gotten to break up my day.

We booked our tickets online so that we could attend the fastest queue to get into the Castle. I can definitely recommend you doing this, it saved us hours of queuing time, although we have to queue for almost an hour. This was due to it being a Bank Holiday weekend and the whole town was busy. You also have to go through a search with yourself and your bag before being allowed into the castle.

There are beautiful stone walls, trees and sections of garden to look upon. As you walk around the Castle you cannot believe the sheer size of the place.

Walking around the Castle grounds you can see St George’s Chapel. It was an incredible place to walk through, steeped in both British and Royal history. The stained glass windows were beautiful, and I couldn’t believe how detailed the chapel was throughout its interior.

Here is a photograph of mine from the outside, due to the rain its Gothic splendor looking even more incredible. And as you can see by the crowds heading inside the weather does not put the tourists off.


My family and I decided we wanted to go inside the Castle, just to witness and experience exactly what it was like. Rooms were filled with all sorts of Paintings and Tapestries as well as Furniture from all centuries. The Castle is so old so you can imagine the pieces you can bestow, such as Clocks, Cabinets and China.

I was very impressed by the rooms, although it was so busy we just had to keep steadily flowing with the traffic of people. We didn’t get to hang around in one particular room, but the things that stick in my mind after my visit were the cabinets filled with incredible China, the restored sections of the Tower that was once destroyed in Fire, and the many pieces of Armor and Weapons that were on the walls.

We were also very lucky to see the changing of the guard when we finished our tour of the Castle interior. These people are very disciplined in their job, it was a fascinating sight to see.


The only disappointing thing for us was the lack of facilities. Being pregnant I expected to see more toilets and also perhaps areas to sit and rest and refresh, to get drinks and snacks. But there was only one small place that we found, that sold souvenirs, water bottles and ice cream. This was a shame and it meant that we left the Castle earlier than we had planned to go and find nourishment after walking around for several hours.

Before we left I managed to have a photograph in front of the Castle Postbox!


Here are some interesting facts that I learnt about Windsor Castle.

1. Windsor Castle is currently home to HM Queen Elizabeth II and her family. Other prior Royals to have resided there include forty others, including Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The original monarch to live in the Castle was Henry I, and Henry VIII regularly visited during his lifetime and stayed in the Castle grounds.

2. The windows were all blacked out during World War II, this was partially to protect the Royal Family who still remained inside at night time – although this was not public knowledge at the time of the war – and a lot of the famous china and art work such as the paintings were all moved away to protect them from potential bombings.

3. Back in 1992 there was a fire in one of the towers of Windsor Castle. Over 100 of the rooms were either damaged by the fire itself or by the water used to extinguish it. It cost almost £40 million to restore the Castle to its former glory.

4. Windsor Castle is both the largest and oldest inhabited Castle in the World, and it was originally built around 1000 years ago. St George’s Chapel is located in the Castle walls and was built from the late 15th century to the early 16th. It has a Gothic style and is breathtakingly beautiful with many stained glass windows.


2018 Opening Times

1st November – 28th February – 9.45 until 16.15 (Last Admission 15.00)

1st March – 31st October – 9.30 until 17.15 (Last Admission 16.00)

Ticket Prices

Adult – £21.20
Over 60/Student (Valid ID) – £19.30
Under 17/Disabled – £12.30
Under 5 Free
Family (2 Adults & 3 Children Under 17) £54.70

To Book or check other information you can visit this website.


I realise I am submitting this Review and Travel Post of Windsor Castle on a very special day, the day of The Royal Wedding! It felt appropriate seeing as I was only there recently myself. So to Harry and Meghan – Congratulations! Congrats to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex!

Thanks for reading this post, I hope you’ve enjoyed it. If you have ever been to Windsor yourself why not leave me a comment and let me know what you thought!

 Sabrina 

Delicious Recipes That I Love To Cook – Time Saving Ideas For Healthy Eating And Tasty Eating

FOOD WEEK ON SEVERN WISHES


Delicious Recipes That I Love To Cook – Time Saving Ideas For Healthy Eating And Tasty Eating

My Culinary Background

If there is one thing I love, it’s eating food and cooking food. I was first taught how to cook by my grandparents, I was very young at the time, and it began with simple things like Omelette and decorating your own homemade Pizza dough. Then we moved on to more complex things like Lasange and Pies. But as I got older I carried on with my interest in cooking, I started to experiment with flavours, and I also liked various parts of my heritage to come through in the meals that I cooked.

When I went off to University my Nan had written out some of her basic recipes in a little book for me – just in case I forgot anything. It is kept safely away now in case I ever need it, but most of it is now cooked through memory. I am forever grateful for her teachings, and she still tells me about new things now and again more than twenty three years since we began cooking together.

I met my husband at University, and at the time he couldn’t believe how much I ate! I was this tiny petite women and everyone in my family used to say I had a hollow leg! I won’t ever forget when I first cooked for him, I introduced him to a whole new world of flavours when we first met. There were foods he had never tried before, and there were things we also tried together too. And since then I have branched out into cooking even further, into both his background and his culture, and even into some more diverse parts of the world after going travelling with him. We both love to try something new!

My husband does suffer with an array of allergies, the majority of which are food related. This was problematic when we went travelling. Since we began living together (almost ten years ago now!) I evolved my ways of cooking to exclude the things he couldn’t have and simply substitute them for something else.

One thing I do like to do is eat healthily but by making sure its tasty and enjoyable. I often pass my recipes on to family and friends, but I wanted to share some of my favourites on my blog too. Because they can be adapted for whether or not you eat certain meats, or are vegetarian, the possibilities are endless, if only you know what goes together. And that comes with years of experience in the kitchen.

What I wanted to achieve by writing and sharing this blog post was to help you cook, give you new and easy to follow recipes and if you love what I’m putting out you can tell me and then I can write more posts like this one!

So for now… Let’s talk Time Saving in the Kitchen!

Time Saving in my eyes is this, you don’t have to cook everything from scratch every night of the week. It means you either have leftovers in the fridge or a batch of something in the freezer that can either be cooked in the oven straight from or defrosted during the day and then heated on the hob later…

All you need to ensure is that all the ingredients you choose to cook with haven’t already been pre-frozen. So don’t defrost raw meat, cook it in this recipe and then freeze it again. Use fresh foods and then have some bags or tubs at the ready to freeze your leftovers if that’s what you plan to do. If storing in a fridge Glass is best, the amazing Glass Pyrex range of sized dishes with lids are an excellent investment to make. I have the set that can go straight from cold to hot such as fridge to oven.

Let’s Make Some Tasty Food!

Today I am going to share three of my favourite time saving recipes with you. This will either do you 8 portions to eat, refrigerate or freeze. It’s up to you!

Sabrina’s Tasty Italian Ragu

My Meaty and Tomato Ragu can be used for any of the following meals; Spaghetti Bolognese, Lasagne, Chilli Con Carne, OR simply Ragu Sauce to eat with Rice, Pasta or Potatoes.

All you would need to do is add additional herbs and spices to the Recipe below in order to make one of the meals above. Or leave the sauce as it is, and you can serve it with a wide variety of side dishes. If you aren’t sure how to turn this Ragu into one of the above meals leave me a comment and I’m happy to respond with that you’ll need.

✩ Ingredients 

Mince Beef – 400-600 grams (10-20% Fat is best)
Pork Mince 250-500 grams (Low Fat is best)
Lean Bacon or Lardons 250 grams – Diced (not Smoked for Children)

Tomato Puree – 100 grams
Chopped Plum Tomatoes – 3 Tins (400 grams each)
Carrots – 4 Large – Diced Fine
Large White Onion – 2 Sliced or Diced Fine
(Optional) Celery Sticks – 4 Diced Fine

Fill the 3 Empty Plum Tomato Tins with Boiling Water, then add these contents to a jug (careful the tins will go hot!) and add a Beef stock cube/pot to this and then stir through.

Vegetable Oil – 1 Tablespoon
Pepper – To Your Taste
Salt – To Your Taste

Oregano – 3 Tablespoons
Basil – 1 Tablespoon
Rosemary – 1 Teaspoon

✩ TOP TIPS 

You are aiming for around 1kg of Meat in this Ragu and it will then Serve Approx 10-12 Portions of Food.

If you have a Food Processor Use It! Blitz the Onions and Carrots together on Dice for a quicker start to your Ragu. Add your Optional Extra’s after this stage too so everything is the same size!

 

✩ Recipe ✩

1. In a large saucepan brown the meats together. You need very little oil due to the fat and then drain half of the fat off after around fifteen minutes.

2. Make sure your meats are cooked through and then add your tomato ingredients and then the jug of stock.

3. Simmer for twenty minutes with the lid on the saucepan.

4. Add all of your herbs and the diced vegetables, and mix well.

5. Simmer the saucepan now with a lid on top for around 1 hour. The liquid should reduce down and the sauce begin to thicken.

6. You know when your Ragu is ready because it will taste “together” with all the flavours having marinated as one and it will have thickened up nicely.

7. You can serve this with a range of side dishes, or freeze it all!

✩ Storage ✩

You can store this meal in freezer bags or in tubs, it will keep for a month! Remember to defrost a portion before you reheat it, and then you can also add other spices into it once it is chilled too!

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Sabrina’s Tasty Chicken Curry

My Curry is a mixture between a Chicken Tikka and a Chicken Bhuna. It isn’t spicy but it isn’t mild either, and it has a few vegetables in it as well. You can choose to leave these whole for adults or dice them finely for children who might be a little picky…

It’s also nice to consider adding other things to curry to bulk it out, peppers and onions work best but so do a variety of other vegetables. You can also bulk it out with additional tomatoes that aren’t just made for the sauce but left as chunks.

If you don’t want to use Chicken you could use a vegetable such as Cauliflower. Or Pork Belly is a nice meat for Curry, but it would need to be left in to Simmer for longer to make it tender.

If I am eating a portion of my curry alone I cheat by using one of those microwave Pilau Rice to go with it! They are Super Tasty and convenient! If you’re doing Rice for a few people though and on a regular basis then I highly recommend you invest in buying a Rice Cooker. They save you loads of time and you don’t have to stand their making sure your rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Ours is from a simple one from Argos!

✩ Ingredients 

Chicken – Diced 400-600 grams (Portions 4-6)
Tomato Puree – 100 grams
Chopped Plum Tomatoes – 1 Tin (400 grams)
Plain Yoghurt – 100 grams
Large White Onion – 1 Sliced or Diced
(Optional) Yellow Pepper 1 Sliced into Chunks
(Optional) Red Pepper 1 Sliced into Chunks

Vegetable Oil – 1 Tablespoon
Salt – Pinch
Pepper – To Your Taste
Sugar – Pinch
Paprika – 1 Teaspoon
Garam Masala – 2 Tablespoons
Cumin – 1 Teaspoon (Mild) / 1 Tablespoon (Medium)
Chilli Powder – 1 Teaspoon (Mild for Children) / 1 Tablespoon (Medium)
Lemon Juice – 1 Tablespoon
Garlic – To Your Taste
Coriander Leaf – 2 Tablespoons
Curry Powder – 1 Tablespoon
(Optional) Ginger – 1 Teaspoon Sliced Thinly and Diced
(Optional) Coconut – Dried or Raw or Shredded – 1 Tablespoon

50ml of Warm Previously Boiled Water

✩ Recipe 

1. Fry the Onion and Chicken in a Pan until Browned in a little oil. Add the Chunks of Pepper and Fry until Softened.

2. Start Making Your Sauce In Another Larger Saucepan that has a lid, by combining the tinned and packet items first such as the Tomato ingredients and yoghurt.

3. Then add the spices and herbs in to the saucepan one at a time, stir the pot thoroughly after each one.

4. Once all ingredients are combined add the browned chicken and onions to the mixture and stir through until all the pieces are coated.

5. Finally add the Water and Simmer the Pan for up to 1 hour. Stir every few minutes to avoid sticking and stirring through the flavours.

6. The Curry is Ready when the Sauce has Reduced down and Thickened, and the Chicken is left tender and moist and cooked through.

7. Serve with Rice and perhaps a Naan Bread which is also delicious to mop up any sauce!

✩ Storage 

This meal can be cooled and stored in the fridge for two days or it can be frozen in portions once it is cooled and can be used within one month. Defrost thoroughly in the fridge over night before reheating.

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Sabrina’s Tasty Mediterranean Vegetable Pasta Bake

One dish that I love to make that also contributes to two of your five fruit and vegetables a day is my tasty Mediterranean Veg Pasta Dish!

What you will need for this tasty dish is a selection of your favourite vegetables that pair well with a tomato based sauce. I will firstly explain my main ingredients for this dish and then outline the other things you can choose to put in if you want… This also includes a choice of Topping as well!

✩ Ingredients 

Pasta 80 grams per person – the Shape is your decision

Tomato Puree – 50 grams (100 grams if you like a rich sauce)
Chopped Plum Tomatoes – 1 Tin (400 grams)

Large White Onion – 1 Diced
Green Pepper – 1 Sliced and Diced into Chunks
Yellow Pepper 1 Sliced and Diced into Chunks
Red Pepper 1 Sliced and Diced into Chunks
(Optional) Courgette – 1 Sliced
(Optional) Cherry Tomatoes – 3 or 4 per person
(Optional) Small Red Onion – 1 Diced

Oregano – 1 Tablespoon
Basil – 1 Tablespoon for Sauce 1 Tablespoon for Top
Garlic – As Fresh or Granules or Salt or Diced – 1 Tablespoon
Black Pepper – To Your Taste
Salt – To Your Taste

✩ TOP TIPS ✩

Use a Glass Tray for Pasta Bake, it makes it so easy to transfer from appliances!

De-Seed your Peppers before dicing them to ensure no seeds in your meal.


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Recipe 

1. While you boil a pan three quarters full for your Pasta to become cooked in, preheat an oven to 180’c (160’c Fan).

2. Place your chopped and diced vegetables into a tray, coat with a little oil and oven bake for 25 minutes. (This includes the peppers and onions and any of your optional extras etc). Stir after this time and put on for a further 15 minutes.

3. To make your sauce combine in a jug the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes and herbs and spices. Stir thoroughly. Season it to taste and place to one side.

4. Cook your pasta on a hob while your vegetables soften for their final minutes in the oven.

5. Once cooked strain your pasta. You then want to add it to the Roasting Vegetables in the tray. In order to do this remove the tray from the oven, place on a heat protective surface and stir the contents of it together.

6. Then quickly add your sauce from the jug and stir, followed by the pasta and stir. Your sauce should coat all of your ingredients, if it doesn’t seem like enough fill halfway up the now empty tomatoes tin with partly cooled boiled water. Add in 1/4 of the amount in the tin at a time, stirring constantly until all of in the tray is coated in sauce. You don’t want your pasta swimming!

7. Shake the tray from side to side gently allowing the contents to settle flat. At this stage you can add some cherry tomatoes on to the top and a sprinkle more of some basil if you like basil. These tomatoes will bake on the top nice and soft.

8. Put the Pasta Bake into the oven at the same temperature as earlier (160’c) and leave it for around 15 to 20 minutes. If at this stage you want to add some grated cheese on top, carefully remove the tray, wobble it and stir at the edges to make sure it isn’t sticking. If it is sticking then stir it all thoroughly before sprinkling on your cheese.

9. Bake for more 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and browning. Serve in bowls with Garlic Bread on the side! Yum!

✩ Storage ✩

This pasta will keep overnight in the fridge for leftovers the next day. Ensure it is heated through thoroughly in smaller bowls when you come to finish it off.

✩ Additional Tips 

You can choose to add meat to the Vegetarian Pasta Bake if you wish, just remove one of the vegetables from the “you choose” part and keep the same amount of grams. For example, 100g of Chicken Breast Chopped OR 100g of Bacon Lardons (Avoid Smoked and Limit Portion for Children Due To Salt Content).

If you don’t like one of my ingredients remove it and substitute it for something else. It could be a herb or a spice or a vegetable. It will of course alter the taste slightly, but we’re all different at the end of the day.

Adding a little Grated Cheese on top of your food is definitely allowed in my house!

Don’t be afraid of just putting your favourite vegetable next to the meal on the plate, you don’t have to put it inside a meal if you don’t want to. Do that fresh every time you cook and that will count towards your five a day too.

Delicious!

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Thank you very much for reading this post, I hope you have enjoyed it. If you cook any of my recipes please leave me a comment and let me know how you get on! And if you want to republish any of my recipes then please credit me as the original recipe creator! Thank you!

✩ Sabrina ✩

May 2018 Treatbox Reveal

Hello and Welcome to the May 2018 Treatbox Reveal
with Sabrina of Severn Wishes.

Happy Treat Box Day Everyone!

I’m so glad to be bringing you this box actually on May 1st!

So I open the box to find bright yellow paper, this is such a happy colour anyway and reminds me of sunshine!

In this month’s Treatbox we see a theme of Personal Happiness. This theme is enhanced by a Checklist Print which has been arranged to incorporate the items we have received inside the Treatbox. Clever! I like new ideas!

What you won’t see this month is the usual Calendar Print… that is because Zoe has reinvented it for the May box! Instead we are greeted with a Smoothie Recipe on the back of the description of what is inside the box. As I read what is to be discovered I realise that the print has been altered for this month, we have the

Here is my list of all the items in the May 2018 Treatbox.

As always there are some slight variations in the types and in the colours, usually people get a slightly different combination inside their box.

Inside the May month’s box there are 7 flat items plus 6 physical items. You’ll understand when you see my list and reveal photograph.

Calendar Checklist Print for May 2018
Strawberries and Cream Smoothie Recipe
Anatomicals – Strawberry and Yarrow Face Mask – 15ml
Card “A Little Something To Brighten Your Day”
The Little Coffee Bag Co. Bag of Blend 1 and Bag of Blend 2
Gnaw – Strawberry and Vanilla White Chocolate Bar – 50g
Tote Bag “Out With The Old Bag”
Daily Concepts Exfoliating Body Scrubber – Mild
Affirmation Inspirational Quote Cards – 4 of them – Calm / Smile / Breathe / Believe


Here is a selection of my photographs showing the items from this month’s box, I hope you enjoy seeing the items up close and if you have any questions then please leave me a comment at the end of the post.

Calendar Checklist Print for May 2018

A great idea for this month’s box, tick list and ways to make your day positive.

Strawberries and Cream Smoothie Recipe

I will have to adjust this smoothie recipe so that it doesn’t include any nuts, but happy to try it then! I love smoothies in the summer months especially if it’s hot!


Gnaw – Strawberry and Vanilla White Chocolate Bar – 50g

I am very much looking forward to trying this chocolate. it’s made in the UK as well which is great! A decent serving of 50g I may have to eat it in two parts!

Anatomicals – Strawberry and Yarrow Face Mask – 15ml

This face mask looks like it will not only smell good but do my skin some good too. Once I have used it I will update this section.


Daily Concepts Exfoliating Body Scrubber – Mild

I don’t use an exfoliator very often but with summer coming up I may try it out.

Card “A Little Something To Brighten Your Day”

A lovely little card which can be sent to someone to, well, brighten up their day!

You could create something lovely inside this card because it is left blank for us to do so.

The Little Coffee Bag Co. Bag of Blend 1 and Bag of Blend 2

Once my husband has tried this coffee I will update this sentence.

Tote Bag “Out With The Old Bag”

This tote bag feels like it’s good quality material and is quite a substantial size which is great too. I believe it to be a cotton blend which means you should be able to machine wash it on a gentle and low temperature setting if it were to get dirty.

Affirmation Inspirational Quote Cards – 4 of them – Calm / Smile / Breathe / Believe

These little cards are fabulous for my blogging, for flat lay images and for affirming moments during a hectic day. I love how colourful they are as well, they really brighten up whatever you’re looking at with them on.

My Favourites

My favourite pieces from this box are the Inspirational Affirmation Quote Cards, the Face Mask, Calendar Checklist and the Chocolate Bar.

I love that they are mainly UK companies, I also love the quality of the majority of the ingredients in this box. I will be reviewing some of the items and those opinions will be added underneath the images of the products as and when I try them.

This Treatbox is a bit different this time but I have really liked it! I look forward to progressing though the checklist and I will no doubt share my thoughts on my social media as the month goes on.

My Overall Opinion

I really liked the theme for this month and that the whole box was just a little bit different. It’s always nice to have something new, the face mask and the chocolate are products made in the UK as well. And if you didn’t know by now, I am hugely supportive of local and United Kingdom based businesses.

Something else I liked was the way the theme was used throughout with the use of the new calendar idea. It gives you an excuse to use the print and the products from the box too! It gave you some good ideas for other days of the week as well, and you could always mix it up a bit and do several on one day if you wanted to!

There is only one thing that I’m going to have a tiny moan about, it’s just my personal opinion so you can take it or leave it. In my time being subscribed to Treatbox we have received several bags, I don’t mind too much that we have another one, as it is of good quality and will be used. However all I will say is I just hope it will be a good many more months before we see another…

Finally, it is a shame that once again a couple of this month’s products are nut containing or may contain nuts, it means that in our house these items have to be avoided and are always gifted to family or friends due to our severe allergies. I know that that isn’t the fault of Treatbox, but I almost wish that when you subscribed, you had some personal preferences added to your personal information. This would mean you would get a slightly varied product but one you could actually eat or use… It’s just something that Treatbox could consider branching out for in the future maybe…

At the end of the day I cannot be the only subscriber who has allergies and I would love to get your opinion if you read this and you have some too. It’s not like I have a choice in the matter and I’m not being deliberately awkward, in my house nut containing products are never purchased for either oral consumption or for use on the skin for example. We all have to be very careful and we often have lifestyle changes that others may not consider…

So the Decaffeinated Coffee Sachet will be passed on to someone who can thankfully enjoy it. It looks like (from Zoe’s description page) that the Caffeinated Coffee Sachet just contains Arabica Coffee Beans and should be fine for my husband to drink. When he has tried it I will update the review part of this blog post with his opinion. I must say i am disappointed there was no information supplied on the coffee sachets, if Zoe had not written the blurb in the description we never would have known and this could have caused a reaction. Everything should come with ingredients on them in my honest opinions.

UPDATE
Zoe has since contacted the manufacturer of the Coffee Sachets (Little Coffee Co.) and they say that there are no nuts used in their coffee, however the flavouring is that of Walnut for the Decaf blend we received. Anything of a nutty flavour can trigger anaphylaxis in those with severe allergies so even though the coffee claims to have no actual physical traces of nuts, the flavour can still be enough to make my husband unwell.

Are you thinking of ordering a TreatBox for yourself or for a gift for someone?
Then you can find Treatbox subscriptions and build your own box at their website https://treatboxuk.com/

If you aren’t sure on whether to try a TreatBox for yourself or not I would say order a one off box, and then if you’re happy with it you can always subscribe afterwards. Check out my previous posts on the Treat Boxes I have received so far, in this unique category of my website called ‘Treatbox’ especially for these box reviews and reveals – Severn Wishes – TREATBOX

Thanks for reading this months box reveal today, if you have any thoughts you would like to share or if you have purchased a box after reading one of my reviews then I would love to hear your from you, why not leave me a little comment in the section below.

Also if you have any questions about any of the items from this month’s Treatbox then please get in touch I am more than happy to answer them if I can.

If you enjoyed this post then why not check out my Reveal Video that I always record when opening the Treatbox every single month that I get one, click the link to see this latest one on my channel Here


Thank you for joining me for this reveal and unboxing today, and I hope that you enjoy the video if you choose to watch it!

Have a great month of May everyone!

 Sabrina 

Great Cat Toys and Furniture For Indoor Cats

Great Cat Toys and Furniture for Indoor Cats

We have always had rescue cats in my family and they are part of the family! We have had three in total during the past ten years. Sadly one of them passed away two years ago due to a heart condition, he is sorely missed, and he loved to play with everything. We called him our “Dog-Cat” because he used to play fetch with some of his toys! I am glad that I took so many photo’s of him, inside boxes, in cat beds, on top of units… he had such a wonderful life with us, and for that we are so grateful…

Since we lost our boy his sister got quite lonely, and eight months after he passed away we got the opportunity to adopt a stray kitten who was in need of a home.

We know we are incredibly lucky with our cats, not just that they are affectionate to us, but also because they get on really well together considering they aren’t related.

Here are all three of our fur babies. Our angel in the stars ✩♡✩ on the left, his sister is in the middle, and she turned 8 this week! And finally our youngest is on the right, she will be 2 this June!

They may not be sisters by blood, but they are sisters by love for sure 

I’m writing this blog post to show people how happy my indoor cats are, providing they have the necessary toys, water and food, and of course their own space, there is nothing wrong with keeping your cats indoors.

Furniture was hugely important when we made the decision to keep our original two as indoor cats. There were several reasons, one was due to living metres away from a main road, another was due to neighbours keeping dogs in their back gardens, and finally because of our boys health problems. We purchased three main pieces, one was from Argos and two were from Pets at Home.

When choosing cat furniture and scratching posts always introduce them together, and encourage the cats to use them. If you make it fun as kittens they are more likely to continue with it on to adulthood. Choose items that won’t become a nuisance in your rooms and that blend in with the shapes you already have. There are some awesome trees out now, that are even designed to fit into corners of the room. You can pay around £100 for these sorts, but if you maintain them with regular trimming and hoovering they should last several years.

We had a cream cat stand from Argos back in 2010 when we first got our kittens from the rescue cattery. It was around £30 at the time, and it lasted us for the next seven years! Here is a shot of our original two rescue cats when they were tiny kittens using the stand all those years ago! It gave them so many hours of fun and also was somewhere soft to sleep until they got bigger.


We replaced it in 2017 with the new version, one in grey, an almost identical shape, they just changed the colour and made the base piece more sturdy. Perfect! The colour goes well in most rooms and it stands at 85cm tall. The material is soft fleece and easy to hoover with our pet attachment. It has scratch posts attached and a hiding hole for cats to go into, however we use that to store all their toys when not in use – super handy either way!

Available At: Argos
Design: Grey and Cream – Soft Grey Fleece with Scratching Post Parts
Information: Self Assembly Required
Dimensions: H85cm x W50cm x D42cm
Price: £35.00
My Rating: 5✩’s 

Here is our youngest, she loves to sit up as high as possible and watch what everyone is doing. As you can see, she is a fully grown adult cat and still fits nicely across the top of this particular cat stand. We use the section inside the drum to store some toys.

Our other main cat unit is this one, it is brown and cream and has a lovely large section for the cats to lay across. It’s situated upstairs so it gets the light in the afternoons.

Available At: Pets At Home
Name: Pets at Home Tudor Tunnel and Scratch Cat Post
Design: Brown and Cream – Soft Fleece with Scratching Posts and Tunnel
Information: Self Assembly Required
Dimensions: 44cm x 40cm x 34cm
Price: £37.00
My Rating: 5✩’s 

As our youngest demonstrates there is more than enough room for an adult cat.

Cat beds have been one of those items that are used periodically in our house. If it’s during the cooler months of the year you will often find the cats curled up inside the pyramid bed or on a cushion bed near a radiator. But in the summer these don’t get much use. I often decide to wash them in the summer, dry them outside and then set them to one side, this totally refreshes them ready for the autumn.

I would recommend getting the ones with removable covers or cushions that can go in the washing machine, Argos, Pets at Home and various large independent Pet Stores should do ones of this kind. They range from £12 to £40 depending upon size and quality of material, but we have never paid more than £20-£25 for one of ours, and most of them are several years old now, still going strong.

Available At: Pets At Home
Name: Paw Fleece Igloo Cat Bed
Design: Black Fleece Material with Cat Paws Print
Information: Machine Washable
Dimensions: 35cm x 35cm x 38cm
Price: £12.00
My Rating: 5✩’s 

Here is our eldest in her Igloo Pyramid Bed, they changed the design recently to incorporate the paw prints on the outside as well as the inside. Ours is all black but otherwise identical to the one I have mentioned above. Bought from Pets at Home back in 2010 however! We bought the matching round donut bed at the same time too!

Available At: Pets At Home
Name: Paw Fleece Cat Donut Bed
Design: Black Fleece Material with Cat Paws Print
Information: Machine Washable
Dimensions: 46cm x 46cm x 10cm
Price: £9.00
My Rating: 5✩’s 

The girls are ready to play!

As for cat toys ours do like a real mixture and it can depend what mood they are in as well. They adore Ping Pong balls, Rattling Mice and the range from Kong which contain catnip. I bought coloured Ping Pong balls from Amazon and white ones from the local Pound Shop – these get an awful lot of use in our house and they often go missing for days and then turn up (usually under a unit or chair), so it’s good to get a few in!

You could also consider making your own toys such as Pom Poms! But you need to supervise play with these items for sure as cats usually pull them a part!

Resting after some pom pom play time!

Other toys like Mice we have bought from Pet Stores such as Pets at Home. Here are a few items that are still available to buy out of what we have recently gotten for our cats.

Some of our toys are looking old but they are well loved and well used.

Available At: Amazon by Pet Love
Name: Pet Love Playtime Ping Pong Balls for Cats
Design: Coloured Ping Pong Balls
Information: Wipe Clean Coloured Air Filled Plastic Balls
Dimensions: 4cm x 4cm x 4cm
Price: £3.49
My Rating: 5✩’s 

Amazon Cat Toys Choice and Quality Available 4✩’s

Available At: Pets At Home
Name: Catnip Might Mouse by Petstages
Design: Bright Green Mouse with 100% Premium Catnip inside
Information: A crunchy sounding Mouse that offers hours of fun (Pets should be supervised when using this type of toy)
Dimensions: 15cm x 4.5cm x 5.7cm
Price: £4.50
My Rating: 5✩’s 

Pets At Home Toys In General Choice and Quality 4✩’s

Available At: Pet Shops / Pets at Home / Amazon / Garden Centres
Name: Catit Senses Play Circuit
Design: A Plastic Circuit That Fits Together In An Array Of Shapes
Information: Contains A Ball That Goes Inside The Plastic Track, Ideal For Increasing Motor Skills In Kittens And Keeping Indoor Cats Senses Active. Multiple Layout Choices
Dimensions: 24cm x 24cm x 8cm (Approximately and Range of Sizes)
Price: £7.49 – £20.00 (Range of Sizes and Colours Available)
My Rating: Catit Senses Circuits 4✩’s

 

Here are our two on Christmas morning playing with their new layout (green), this was the second Catit Senses Track we had gotten them. The image above shows their first one, a blue one we left in a circle. They love it!

Something else that may encourage your cat to scratch “it” rather than your furniture is a Kong Kickaroo! These can be bought from Vets that stock them such as Vets 4 Pets or from some larger Pets at Home stores. Made in the USA they come in several sizes for both kittens and cats. They are like giant sausages that contain catnip, they have a pattern of fleece and are finished with a soft feather-like end. Ours take a real hammering of back feet and claws on a daily basis, and the cats have yet to ruin one! We have three of them and they are dotted around the house so the cats get the most out of them. It’s pretty hilarious sometimes when they “have a go at one”! Each cat was bought one after their first ever annual injections and the tradition just stuck!

These Kickaroo Toys are awesome! Good quality material, even though they are well used in our house our cats have yet to rip one open!

He loved to hug it, attack it, sleep on it and carry it around… 

My Rating: Kong Kickaroo 5✩’s

✩♡✩

When we move house I would like to purchase a large cat tree from a company whose page I found on Facebook. They are UK based and do them in a range of colours and sizes to suit all homes. I want my cats to have somewhere high up to escape to, once my baby begins moving around independently too. The page is called Cat Tree UK and I like the look of their items and prices, though I will continue to read reviews in the mean time.

✩♡✩

Thank you for reading this blog post today, I hope that you have enjoyed looking at my life with my cats and seeing them having fun with an array of awesome items! Any questions about products just send me a comment, I’m happy to answer any that I can!

 Sabrina 

Olivia Burton Enchanted Garden Square Dial Chalk Blue and Silver Watch Review


╰☆╮ Review of Olivia Burton Enchanted Garden Midi Square Dial Chalk Blue and Silver Watch ╰☆╮

When I turned 30 a couple of weeks ago, I created a Wish-list post about what I hoped to get for my birthday. I feel so lucky that I have a very kind husband who knew how much I had wanted a beautiful Olivia Burton watch, and he bought me this one!

I have a petite frame which includes having small hands and wrists. Most watches that I try on in shops are too big for me, they overhang either side of my arm and often rotate while on. This makes them uncomfortable to wear and I usually don’t bother putting them on unless it’s for a special occasion.

But now I’ve got this gorgeous and detailed watch, which is not only highly appropriate to my nature loving personality but it also has a specifically smaller dial size at 23mm.

ENCHANTED GARDEN MIDI SQUARE DIAL CHALK BLUE & SILVER WATCH

Website Code: OB16SS18
Price £82.00
Dial Size 23mm x 23mm
Strap is Genuine Blue Leather
Silver Plated Case
Three Hand Japanese Quartz Movement
A Sophisticated and Elegant White Dial Design with Flowers and Butterflies

You Can Buy This Specific Watch Here
All Watches On The Olivia Burton Website Can Be Viewed Here

Here are some more detailed images of my watch and what I received with it.


╰☆╮ My Overall Opinion and Review Scores ╰☆╮

Appearance 5/5
Quality 5/5
Value for Money 4/5
Delivery 4/5

This watch is beautifully presented both in it’s delivery boxes and in it’s own silver plated case. The individual design is stunning and extremely detailed. If you look closely at the detail you wouldn’t expect it to be so intricate because of the overall size, it’s created with a very high standard.
In fact all the Olivia Burton watches are made to a high quality across the range, all of them with varying styles and straps to suit all customers desires. There are some straps that have leather, others are velvet, or mesh and even those that are mixed metal bracelets. With a varying dial size that ranges from 22.5mm to 32mm, and several shapes too including square, rectangle and circle.
I was impressed with how the watch came in a box within a box, it was a nice touch to have the whole piece inside it’s own personal box. It means that when I’m not wearing it, it can stay clean and safe inside.
The delivery of the watch took several days, which did surprise us, however it was after the snow was clearing so we wondered if that were the reason for the delay. It didn’t arrive until my birthday date, despite my husband ordering it 9 days prior.
Overall I am very happy with the gift and that is why I wanted to review it in such detail. Please check out my photography of the watch so you can see the minute details in the dial and the quality with which it has been made and distributed.
I would recommend the Olivia Burton website and it’s products, and I would consider more in the future.


╰☆╮☆╰☆╮

I hope you have enjoyed reading this review post, I can honestly recommend these watches if you want a high quality gift for someone, or you want to treat yourself to a high standard piece that you can treasure. It was easy to photograph being so pretty! And with a good warranty available on each watch that is sold, and a huge range of choice, they make ideal presents for both yourself and for others.

If I can answer any questions about the watch that you might have then please leave me a comment.

✩ Sabrina ✩

My Top Tips for Travel, My Travel Bucket List and Where I Have Already Been

╰☆╮ Travel ╰☆╮

Travelling can be daunting for many of us, you could be worried about a ton of things. But there are some aspects of it that you can deal with at home before you go, and ensure you are at ease and organised about these parts of your travel.

I have been lucky enough to visit more than fourteen different countries and/or islands in my (just shy of) 30 years on Earth. However there are still places I wish to go to and hopefully one day I can tick them off my list. I even bought myself one of those very awesome “Scratch Maps” off the internet two years ago, so that I can document my travels and it acts as a reminder of past holidays.

One tip that I have always sworn by is to do your research before you go. Once you’ve decided where you are going, or if it’s a family trip and your parents have booked it, it won’t matter if you look up the area that your hotel is situated in and see what is around. Sometimes you can find hidden gems and learn about local sight seeing trips before you turn up. A knowledge of the local area is also very useful. As are phrases in the local language such as, “How much is this?”, “Where are the Toilets?” or “Which Way To…?”…

The internet is such a marvelous tool, but don’t be afraid to print a few things out, to fold up and take with you in case you need anything and don’t have any WiFi connection or signal on your phone. Language phrases, Embassy locations and key addresses such as your hotel or the airport are definitely high up on my list, depending of course on where you’re going.

Another Top Travel Tip of mine is to Photocopy your Passport page, and leave a print out of it in your inner pocket of your luggage. (The same goes for other members of your family if you’re in a party). It’s a good idea for if your luggage gets lost and also a good idea to prove your identity if your passport were stolen while you are abroad.

╰☆╮Just A Few Places I Have Been To And Some That I Loved╰☆╮

Paris – France

Sabrina at The Louvre Museum. I love Paris, I have been four times in my life and I would go four times over again. Now I have visited in June, August, October and November. I would perhaps like to go in the Spring next time to see it in a different light.

Ontario – Canada

I was only young when I visited Canada and don’t have many photographs, but I can remember the CN Tower in Toronto very clearly, I stood on the Glass Floor looking down over the city and thought it was amazing. Niagara Falls were also totally breathtaking and I want to go back to Canada now that I’m older.

Cyprus

A beautiful island that is steeped in history. I would definitely go back here one day, though when I did go in the summer months it was so so hot!

Malta

I was lucky enough to Swim with Black Sea Bottlenose Dolphins when in Malta. It is a lovely small island with lots to see, not many beaches though if I recall.

Madeira

I visited Madeira on my Honeymoon with my husband. This island has a unique climate and is hugely different from anywhere else that I have been. I would love to go again perhaps for a Wedding Anniversary holiday in a few years time. The gardens and the mountains are my favourite parts of this place.

Rome / Naples / Pompeii – Italy

It is an amazing place the city of Rome, Pompeii was also fascinating. I want to go back there, and I also want to take a Digital Camera this time not film, and then perhaps see more of the country.

Thailand

On my visit to Thailand I went to the main capital Bangkok as well as to a resort on the coast as well. Steeped in Culture with a whole new experience for me both of food and every day life, that was what I found. The sunsets on the beach in the evening were by far my favourite part of my time away. It was also interesting to see some new wildlife including reptiles and birds too, some of which I had only ever seen at a Zoo.


Finland

I went to Finland when I was six years old. It made such as impression on me though that I still recall some of the memories. Such as the rope throwing in the image above, sledging in the snow, walking in deep snow and it being like powder, and drinking hot berry drinks in cups from a stove after going on a reindeer trail, these are among my memories. As well as meeting Santa Claus!

Egypt – North Africa

We did a 24 hour trip over to Egypt on a boat excursion from Cyprus. You had the whole day in Egypt where by you visited Cairo, including the Museum, a Gold Jewellery Factory and The Ancient Pyramids. It was an incredible place to visit, and the Pyramids and Sphinx were so much more amazing in real life. But it was also a frightening place to visit as a teenager. I learned a lot, but the culture overwhelmed me somewhat. I don’t think I would go again in the near future but I may when I’m retired if the country is overall safer to visit.

Morocco – North Africa

I had a similar feel about Morocco as I did in Egypt, it was a country that had lots of unusual aspects and I had a nice camel ride through some countryside. But the culture could be overbearing at times, I was grabbed by a man and pulled into a shop in the market at one point, which was honestly quite frightening. I understand now that I am older that these people only did such things to try and make a sale, to make a living, and that life is ten times harder for them than for most of the western world. However I did not expect such a vast cultural difference. If I had been older I might have researched more about the people before going, as I would do nowadays and as I would tell you all to do. Look up local customs and know what to expect.

Amsterdam City – Netherlands

A college trip saw me visiting Amsterdam, the city itself was great, lots of museums and interesting culture. When I went there people still smoked an awful lot (not to my taste at all) and I did my best to avoid this, by going into many Art Galleries and Museums of various kinds. The Science Museum was particularly good and I loved seeing all of the people riding around on bicycles. It was like nowhere else I had been to in Europe and I liked that.

Catalonia – Spain

Another short trip, this time with my school because I was studying Spanish at the time. In our few days we manage to visit Barcelona and sites along the Costa del Sol. I had a great time practicing my foreign language skills and learning about the culture first hand. Would I go back to Spain? Si! Yes I would do, I would however visit other areas though such as Central and the South, to get a real feel for the country as a whole. But I wouldn’t go at any Festival seasons because it’s so busy, nor would I go during Bull Fighting because I strongly disagree with it.

Rhodes Island – Greece

I went to Rhodes while studying at University (with my then boyfriend but now husband) on a last minute deal to get away at the start of the summer. Our University term had just ended and we had had a tough year and decided to get away. Although we had a good time up until the day before we went home (because we came down with food poisoning) we were mislead by the hotel who told us they were only five minutes from the beach and fifteen minutes from Rhodes centre. This was a blatant lie and after a forty minute taxi journey from the airport we arrived to a rundown (meant to be) three star hotel that sadly had giant electricity pylons situated either side of the complex! We realised their online pictures had been doctored and with the food not up to scratch we ended up spending more money on dining out and going out than spending it relaxing. A lesson learned, that you should always do proper research on the area before clicking that “Buy Now” button, sometimes it’s too good to be true! But the Rhodes central area was cultured and interesting and we did have a semi relaxing time. I wouldn’t go again to Rhodes but I would go to the Greek mainland to see the history.

Tenerife / Gran Canaria / Lanzarote – The Canary Islands

I had been on a Cruise with family, and it stopped at various islands including those mentioned just above.
Tenerife was an interesting one, a very tourist related island with plenty of shops in bustling towns. I especially liked the Aquarium we visited because they had a Dolphin show. Spectacular! I hear that they have since expanded this and now house all sorts of animals, birds and marine life. Tenerife also has the Volcano Mount Teide, which towers above the island, an amazing sight. The place as a whole is very diverse with the resorts on the coast but many towns inland which offer culture, and a National Park for those who love to walk. There is plenty to do here on a short holiday.
Gran Canaria was very similar to Tenerife but with far better beaches. More of an island about food and history with many small villages all with lots to offer, I loved it!
Lanzarote being the most volcanic looking of all of these three saw less beaches and less greenery. However it does have a lot of countryside space for anyone keen on sport such as runners, hikers and cyclists.

╰☆╮╰☆╮╰☆╮

╰☆╮ Sabrina’s Travel Bucket List ╰☆╮

One thing that I have always done is study the world in which we live in and also watch countless documentaries upon it. There are places on my list that have been on there since I was in my early teenage years, I just haven’t had the opportunity (be it due to health or money usually) to go and see them.

It is very important that you don’t lose sight of your dreams and the goals that you may have, but at times you also have to be realistic…

What I planned to do ten years ago when I revised my bucket list was to save up and do each of these places, one of them every few years until I got to fifty years old. I had began my long term relationship which has since turned into my marriage, and we agreed that some of the places on my list we would try and do together, and others I may go alone or with friends.

The problem that I had was in my mid twenties my health took a sudden and drastic spiral downwards, and I was left with surgeries and recoveries to deal with. It has meant that all plans since 2013 have been put on hold. Since my diagnosis I haven’t been to anywhere new and abroad, Thailand was my last proper holiday in 2012.

I had to have some treatment and this has made my social life difficult, it has also meant I have needed to be more careful and cautious on where I go. I hope that one day I will be well enough to travel again without any fears.

If you are lucky enough to have good health now then please don’t waste it – I regret not going and doing some of the places on my Bucket List when I was younger. Sadly for me it may be around ten years time from now, before I will get to finally go and see some of them. It is a long time considering I am turning 30 years old in little over a week… but I don’t give up hope…


So where else do I really want to visit on Earth…?

New York City – USA
San Francisco – USA
Yosemite National Park and Grand Canyon – The West Coast of the US
Australia – To Travel Around It
New Zealand – To Travel Around It
Italy (again but other cities)
Canada (again but the other parts)
Switzerland (those mountains!)
Iceland (to do nature photography)
Ireland
Japan

╰☆╮╰☆╮╰☆╮

╰☆╮ Sabrina’s Top Tips ╰☆╮

If you’re considering a break away this year remember my three key things about booking a holiday and making the most of your time at the destination.

1. Research the Area
2. Know Your Limits – Money and Health Wise
3. Live Within Your Means & Save with Vouchers

1. It’s always a good idea to look up the local area, make sure you book a hotel in an area that is both accessible by the transport you need, and is in a tourist area for health and safety reasons.

2. Know the limits of your health, because even I have to remind myself that I cannot do everything that I used to, but that doesn’t stop me having a great time. And you should know the limit of your bank balance too!

3. Finally, always live within your means. You might not be able to do it all and see everything, time and money might be against you. My Tip is to pick your Top 3 and work out the pricing. Always look for vouchers online too – I am definitely one for making the most of a two for the price of one deal!

╰☆╮

Thank you for joining me for this travel inspired blog post today, I hope you liked my photographs of my various destinations because I was stuck between which ones to use. Too many to choose from!

Have a wonderful last few days of February 2018 and thanks for reading!

 Sabrina 

Clothing That Is Comfortable During Pregnancy, Maternity Wear Reviews and My General Clothing Hacks and Tips

╰☆╮Today It’s Time For A Pregnancy Clothing Post! ╰☆╮

I want to discuss my general clothing hacks I use to make pregnancy in the second trimester more bearable, and I want to talk about the clothing that I am finding most comfortable during these colder months of the year. Finally I will conclude with some Maternity Wear Reviews on items that I have purchased during January and have now thoroughly tested.

So I am now getting to that stage of my pregnancy where I need to consider what I am wearing. My regular jeans no longer do up and I am finding other clothing honestly pretty uncomfortable to wear, especially while seated. There are some things I can still get away with such as my Tunics, Long Jumpers, Jumper Dresses and stretchy Leggings. But there are other things that I have now decided it’s time to invest in, and I thought I would share my thoughts and experiences in case there’s anyone out there who needs some advice as they too get to this stage of their pregnancy journey.

Sabrina’s Top Tips

You might be looking at your wardrobe and thinking, baby is due then, I won’t be fitting into these items this year. Well fear not, because a few weeks ago I was feeling exactly the same. Get an old suitcase or a storage box and place everything that you love but you know you won’t fit into, inside it. You can always come back to them once you’ve lost some of the baby weight. Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t look good and be comfortable while doing so. Here are some of my shopping tips.

Always try your usual size in maternity wear before the larger size you think you might be. It may come as a surprise, but especially before getting to the third trimester many of us won’t be putting on all that much weight. Your baby grows steadily so you have plenty of time to make small adjustments to your wardrobe. I have still purchased Size 8 trousers for example, just Maternity ones with the added “Over Bump” material. Plus another tip is to always check the sale rails, at the end of line and end of season sales, you may just pick up some bargains. I managed to do just that and will be reviewing those items below.

One shop that I regularly rely on for Leggings is Primark. And the beauty of the sizes of their brand, it seems to me that you can often fit into more than one size. I am a size 8 usually, but I have just bought some size 10 and size 12 leggings that I find fit comfortably over my growing bump. Let me explain why I have chosen these, not only are they are much cheaper than the Maternity ones available online, but also if you aren’t very tall like me then you can usually buy a regular length or a long length style, and find that they will fit just like high waisted leggings – perfect! And they also wash well too being made of cotton or polyester! Mine only cost £3.50 a pair and I got 4 different colours as well. They are great for layering when heading out and for comfort when staying at home.

New Look

When I first began looking at Maternity wear I had recalled friends telling me they had shopped in New Look. I like the brand and I didn’t want to spend a fortune on these first few items just in case I grew out of them. But the weather is so cold in the UK at the moment I really needed to find a decent pair of Skinny Jeans or Jeggings that I could wear out and about, shopping and such.

After a few moments around my local store I realised there was barely any choices, and a lot of it was available online only now. So I settled for the only pair in the shop that I did like, they were soft to touch and also skinny as I had wanted.

They were called Emilee Under Bump Maternity Jeggings at £19.99. Soft material for both the legs and the bump section was why I purchased this pair. They are great on, and the bump part still has enough room for me to grow a little more into them. I was happy with them and hope once the weather is warmer I won’t need them as much. They washed well though too. The leg part was definitely true to size because I chose my regular UK size 8 and a 30″ leg and they were a perfect fit. Highly recommend them, there is way more choice online and I may invest in a blue pair of Over Bump at some point in time too.

Dorothy Perkins

During the January sales I was looking at certain tops but I didn’t want to invest in too many that branded themselves as just Maternity wear. I bought some Jumper Dresses from Dorothy Perkins that have enough give in the middle for a second trimester baby bump. They are soft and will keep me warm in these colder months. I have no doubt that they will also be perfect next Winter while I’m (hopefully) still loosing the baby weight. I have bought many Tunic style jumpers from DP’s over the past few years and find that the plain ones are great for the home and the bling ones are great for going out. I will review these items below and give any links still available.

BooHoo

I did however purchase a couple of Maternity jumpers from BooHoo in their January sale, these looked like regular tunic jumpers until you looked closer, but they had the slits either side to give room for a bump. I feel like I will be able to grow with these, but I could still wear them after I have had my baby as well. To be honest if I wear them right now they don’t look like they are specifically Maternity wear but I know they will become very useful the larger I grow. I was happy with what I paid and if they continue to wash as well as this first fortnight of having them, I assume they will last me through my pregnancy and beyond. I will review these items below and include photos and links where possible.

George at Asda

My final Maternity Wear order came from George at Asda. I really needed some work wear trousers, because I got to the point where any other sort was digging in to my tummy and making me rather uncomfortable. I work full time and I spend a lot of hours on my feet too, so I required something hard wearing, soft and easy to wear but also the correct material for my job role. Our uniform is specific and I needed to rely on the item to be washed several times and worn a minimum of 5 days a week.

I finally found the best looking, most positively reviewed and the best price online, maternity work trousers on the Asda website. George at Asda do have a fantastic maternity range, but most stores don’t stock the items, they are only available online. I had reservations at first because I always like to touch the material and try the items on, this time I just had to trust in my choices. I also had to pay a delivery charge which I thought was expensive, just for the convenience of receiving my items. A click and collect service available 9 days later would not have been suitable for me, I needed them within a day or two because I found I was growing overnight.

My order arrived by courier and was good in that sense, I was updated by email and by text which was very useful. The items themselves were all sealed individually so I knew that the contents were brand new, and I could tell by unpacking them they hadn’t been handled before. I had to guess what sizes I would need, and luckily everything fitted me and I haven’t needed to return anything. I went for my normal size, a size 8, because reviews on the website said most things fitted true to size. The maternity trousers were the items I was most impressed by. The main reason was because of how soft the material was that went over the bump. It was not only comfortable to wear but it was lightweight too and caused me no issues between sitting and standing.

I also purchased some over the bump leggings in a two pack and a two pack of short sleeved t-shirts for comfort around the house when I get a little bigger. I thought these were okay value for money, the materials used made the items soft and they washed well too.

╰☆╮ Reviews ╰☆╮

New Look

New Look: Maternity Under Bump Jeggings in Black (Emilee on Tag)
Materials: 71% Cotton, 25% Polyester, 4% Elastane. Trim: 95% Cotton, 5% Elastane.
Colours Available:
Black.
Price:
£19.99.
LINK

Very soft material and comfortable to wear, the bump part still gives me room to grow into them. Purchased at 13 weeks pregnant and at 17 weeks they already fit way better and room for bump because they are lightly elasticated. Perfectly the right size for both my buttocks and my leg length, I chose my pre-pregnant trouser size and they are a great all round fit. Ideal for the colder weather days and the black looks great when paired with a bright top.

New Look Overall Scores
Appearance 5/5
Quality 5/5
Value for Money 4/5


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BooHoo

BooHoo: Maternity Mia Side Split Jumper.
Materials: Polyester 95% and Elastane 5%.
Colours Available: Camel, Khaki, Berry, Black or Grey LINK
Price: £15.00

 

Soft to touch with side splits in the fabric to accommodate a growing bump. I’m a UK size 8 and ordered a UK size 10 of each item. They fitted true to size on my shoulders with the arms ending at wrist length. I thought the overall length of the fabric was good, it will allow me to grow into them but is suitable for this stage and in weeks to come. Both items washed easily and were comfortable to wear all day. The material is quite thin but ideal for Winter layering by wearing a long sleeved thin tee beneath the jumper. I purchased these BooHoo jumpers in both black and in khaki green.

Although the jumpers are very nice and are comfortable to wear they are also very plain in appearance. Wearing a long necklace or a scarf to brighten the outfit up is ideal for days out. Where as I have purchased these for both inside and outside my house, wanting myself and bump to be warm and comfy throughout the next couple of months.

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BooHoo: Maternity Sarah Side Split Ribbed Jumper.
Materials: Polyester 95% and Elastane 5%.
Colours Available:
Berry, Black or Blush
Price: £7.00 (On Sale Price Correct As Of 11th February).
LINK

A very nice jumper and overall it is both soft and comfortable to wear. It is more of a Spring colour and length compared to the Tunic style jumpers I purchased (review above) but it is one I could wear around the house now and look forward to wearing in the warmer months to come. I believe there is still plenty of growing room to be had due to the side splits in the fabric, and the length of the arms were perfect for me. I purchased this in a UK size 10.

BooHoo Items Overall Scores
Appearance 4/5
Delivery 5/5
Quality 4/5
Value for Money 4/5

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Dorothy Perkins

Dorothy Perkins: Zip Hem Knitted Tunic Jumpers.
Materials: Viscose 71% and Nylon 29%.
Colours Available: Burgundy or Black.
Price: £17.00 (Price correct as of February 11th).
Burgundy LINK
Black LINK

 


I have purchased some items from Dorothy Perkins in the January sale which I believe will double up as maternity items. These are all jumpers and in varying lengths. The tunics both have a nice zip detail in the lowest sixth of the material and are fitting on me true to size. I bought size 10’s in order to grow into them slightly but they were already fine around my shoulders. I am lucky enough to fit into the majority of brands clothes UK sizes of 8 and 10.

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Dorothy Perkins: Yellow Striped Frill Sleeve Jumper.
Materials: 100% Polyamide.
Colours Available: Yellow with Black Stripes.
Price: £7.00 (On Sale – Price Correct As Of 11th February).
LINK

The yellow and black striped jumper was an impulse buy, I liked the pattern as well as the ruffled sleeves. It’s style reminded me of Peplum and it was a good quality material too. I thought I could wear it for the first few months of my second trimester, before my bump gets too big. It’s a stylish looking item that I would happily wear out with a pair of my maternity trousers. It was in the sale so there are limited sizes left, but it’s comfortable to wear and I would recommend it, the sleeves are a bit different and a nice change and addition to my wardrobe for Spring.

Dorothy Perkins Items Overall Scores
Appearance 5/5
Delivery 5/5
Quality 5/5
Value for Money 4/5

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George at Asda

Asda: Work Wear Maternity Trousers – Over Bump Tapered Trousers
Materials: Body 100% Polyester and Trim 95% Viscose with 5% Elastane
Colours Available: Black
Price: £8.00
LINK


I looked into a variety of trousers that I could wear to my day job, but the place that I kept coming back to was George at Asda. Online they have a range of Maternity clothing at quite affordable prices too. I was drawn in by the price and the good reviews beneath the item. I wanted a pair of trousers that would be comfortable to wear at work all day, that would wash and wear well, and an item that would grow with me in the coming weeks. I decided it was best that I order two sizes, one my current size 8 and the other a size 10 that I could grow into if need be. Better to have both than to order a second delivery so soon.

I was impressed with the quality for the price, and they might be of thin material but they certainly are comfortable to wear, and it means that they dry quickly after washing too.

George at Asda Items Overall Scores
Appearance 4/5
Delivery 4/5
Quality 4/5
Value for Money 5/5

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Thank you for reading this review post today, I hope you have liked it or found it useful. Feel free to pass the link on to any friends who you feel may benefit from my reviews or tips. Have a lovely day!

 Sabrina 

Excellent Places To Order From In The Run Up To Christmas

Excellent Places To Order From In The Run Up To Christmas

With a busy schedule that is “LIFE” a lot of us turn to ordering items online for our loved ones. And so many things these days are safe bets, what you see is what you’ll get. But what about ordering things when you’re not sure of the site, this is where people’s online reviews come in extremely handy. Reading reviews on items, products and companies can really help someone to decide if the order is right for them. I always try and make time to review the things that I buy if the website or the brand has this service available.

Having ordered 75% of this years presents online, I’m now going to outline where I have purchased things from and rate them on the usual aspects too. I hope that if you’re still in need of some gifts you will consider these places to order from.

Amazon
A Massive Range Of Items Of All Sorts, Just Search On The Website…
Item/s I Bought: Books and Technology.
Was The Item As Described: Yes Exactly As Described.
Value for Money: Excellent Value for Money when Shopping Around and Comparing.
Delivery: Despite Choosing Free Delivery (Up To 7 days) It Arrived In 4 Days – Great.

BooHoo
Women’s Clothing and Shoes and Accessories Online.
Item I Bought: Pair of Boots.
Was The Item As Described: As Shown, Fitted True To Size and Nice Details.
Value for Money: Great Value for Money, I had a 20% off voucher that day too.
Delivery: Excellent Delivery Time but I paid £3.99 for the Delivery.

Jewellery Box UK
Massive Range Of Beautiful and Unique Jewellery Online.
Item/s I Bought: Sterling Silver Necklace and Necklace Chain.
Was The Item As Described: Yes Very Accurate Description and Photo on the Site.
Value for Money: Excellent Quality and Value for Money. I had a 20% voucher too.
Delivery: Delivery is Advertised as 1st Class Next Day for orders over £10 (Mine was 3 days late but I think it was due to bad weather as it stated it was dispatched).

Snapfish / Bonusprint
Photo Gifts including Calendars, Prints and Photo Books.
Item/s I Bought: Prints / Photo Book / Calendar.
Was The Item/s As Described: Yes And You Can Personalize Many Items Too
Value For Money: Excellent Value – Look Out For Website and Email Deals.
Delivery: Standard Delivery 3-5 Working Days or 5-7 Days – Both Were Good.

The Perfume Shop
Perfume and Fragrance Shop Online.
Item/s I Bought: Perfume and A Free Gift.
Was The Item As Described: Yes As Described, Excellent Gift too.
Value for Money: Great Value as it included a free gift too.
Delivery: Excellent Free Delivery, Arrived In 3 days when they stated 5 days.

Topman
Men’s Clothing and Shoes and Accessories Online.
Item/s I Bought: Various Clothing Items.
Was The Item As Described: Yes, As Pictured On The Website.
Value for Money: There was a discount of 20% off available that day and the clothing is of excellent quality too.
Delivery: Excellent Delivery Time and Free Standard Delivery with what I spent.

Sabrina’s Top Tips For Christmas Ordering

TIP 1. If There Are Reviews On An Item You’re Browsing Then Read Them.
TIP 2. Shop Around On Different Websites For Similar Items And Compare.
TIP 3. Sign Up For Email Newsletters, They Often Send Vouchers Or Codes.
TIP 4. Consider The Website Parameters For Free Delivery And Attempt To Reach It.
TIP 5. Always Make Sure You Are Buying On An Authentic Website (Padlock In Search Bar).

Have You Seen My Post About How To Make Your Own Christmas Boxes?
Check It Out Here

Thank you for reading this post today, I hope that you have enjoyed reading about these great companies and websites. It is almost Christmas time! If you’re still doing some shopping I hope my reviews have helped! Have a great day!

✩ Sabrina ✩

Gift Company Santa and Rudolph Christmas Eve Plate

Gift Company “Gift Company Santa and Rudolph Christmas Eve Plate” Review

Once again I am lucky enough to be working with Gift Company this Autumn to bring you a selection of items throughout November. All of these items would all make excellent gifts for people this Christmas. Check out my “Gifts” section of my blog for more examples of reviewed products.

Gift Company is a wonderful UK based and family run company that prides itself on providing unique and quality giftwarehomeware and furniture, to the people of the United Kingdom.

They also have a huge range of Christmas related stock in right now, both in stores and on their website. But that is not all they do, and if you haven’t heard of them before today I think you should check out their information at the end of this review…

The Gift Company Santa and Rudolph Plate is something that can be a wonderful gift for children on Christmas Eve, to assemble into an imaginative Santa experience. Using the outlines already drawn out onto the plates design, children will find it easy to use and understand. Begin the Christmas Eve Tradition with your family this year with this extra special plate.

Dimensions and Product Information

Item Description: A Ceramic Plate that comes boxed.

Item Dimensions: 25cm x 25cm (Circular).

Item Details: A Traditional Christmas Eve Plate that is designed for children to supply a Drink and a Mince Pie for Santa, as well as a Carrot for Rudolph. Encouraging a young child’s imagination about the visit of Santa and Rudolph. The plate is decorated beautifully with embossed sections and playful drawings that children would relate to. The plate has a design that is easy to understand so that (with adults help) the child/children of the family can easily set it up on Christmas Eve.

Item Price: £7.50 (RRP £9.50).

Item Delivery: The item was delivered in its original box, it is then easy to store for use next year.

Item Link Gift Company Website
Christmas Eve Plate

What Makes This A Great Gift

✩ An excellent gift for children on Christmas Eve.
It inspires tradition and an extra special Christmas Eve with the family.
Well made and beautifully decorated with bright colours.
✩ This plate is embossed and these details are unusual and unique.

One Thing To Be Aware Of

✩ This plate is ceramic and delicate, though heavy, it should only be hand washed and never placed in a dish washer, oven or microwave. I would recommend it be gently cleaned with nothing too harsh or abrasive as well.

My Review Scores

Appearance of Product 5/5
Design of Product 5/5
Quality of Product 5/5
Value for Money 5/5
Delivery 5/5

Overall Review Scores Elaborated

I give this product a unanimous five out of five, it is a wonderful item that most families would get years of joy and use out of. If you believe in the Christmas Traditions perhaps it’s time to invest in a piece as good a quality as this one, to encourage your children.

Gift Company also do a range of other Christmas and Santa related items. Of course if you are nearby to a Gift Company store you could go in and look at the items yourselves, or check them out online before you go, there are many lovely things.

 

Thank you for reading this product review today, I hope that you have enjoyed reading about this great gift. You can see more information about Gift Company stores and links to online pages below.

✩ Sabrina 

Gift Company approached me again this festive season after we collaborated last year, and I was more than happy to do some more product reviews for them. Every time we work together I am sent these items to review for free, in return for my honest opinions and photography. For this service I do get to keep the products. I personally use and test the items and through my own experience is how I write my review. I do not work for Gift Company, neither do I get paid any commission that is generated from any sales that may occur from my work.

There Are Currently 36 Gift Company Stores Nationwide

Banbury: Banbury Gateway Shopping Park, Oxfordshire, OX16 3AB – 01295 272636
Bideford: Atlantic Village, Bideford, Devon, EX39 3QU – 01237 472446
Birmingham: Resort World, Pendigo Way, Birmingham, B40 1PU – 1217675933
Brighton: Octagon , Marina Square, Brighton, BN2 5UF – 01273 695109
Braintree: Freeport Braintree, Essex, CM77 8YH – 01376 348472
Bridgend: McArthurGlen Outlet Village, CF32 9SU – 0165 6661066
Carlisle: 84 English Street, Carlisle, CA3 8HP – 01228 818488
Castleford: Junction 32 Outlet Village, WF10 4FR – 01977 552 728
Chatham: Unit 9, Dockside Outlet Centre, Kent, ME4 3ED – 01634 892 483
Chester: 
19 Newgate Row, Chester, CH11ER – 01244 343456
Cheshire Colliseum: Coliseum Retail Park, Ellesmere Port, PE12 6EU – 01513554 830
Dalton Park: Dalton Park Shopping Outlet, Seaham, SR7 9HU – 0191 520 9543
Derby: Unit 118, Intu Derby Shopping Centre, Derby DE1 2PQ – 0133 220 8747
Doncaster: Unit 22 Lakeside Village, White Rose Way, DN4 5PJ – 01302 730670
Durham: 24 High Street, Princes Bishops Centre, Durham, DH1 3HJ – 0191 384 7946
Fleetwood: Unit 1, Freeport Village, Fleetwood, Lancashire, FY7 6AE – 01253 779 592
Gloucester: 
Unit 52, Gloucester Quays, Gloucester, GL1 5SH – 01452 524222
Gretna: Unit 16, Gretna Gateway Outlet Village, DG16 5GG – 01461 338772
Hatfield: 26 The Galleria, Hatfield, AL10 OXR – 1707261330
Hornsea: 13 Hornsea Freeport, Rolston Road, Hornsea, HU18 1UT, – 01964 533541
Hull: Princess Quay.
Llandudno: 
10 Victoria Centre, Llandudno, North Wales, LL30 2NG – 01492 873111
Lowry: Salford Quays – 0161 877 7233
Livingston: 
Livingston Designer Outlet, Livingston, EH54 6QX – 01506 462186
Mansfield: Unit 12A East Midlands Designer Outlet, DE55 2JW – 01773 545375
North Wales: North Wales Garden World at Kinmel Bay – 01745 338222
Peak Village:
U11 Peak Village, Chatsworth Road, Rowlsey, DE4 2JE – 01629 735076
Royal Quays: 32 Coble Dean, North Shields, NE29 6DW – 0191 258 2819
Scarborough: Unit 17, Brunswick Shopping Centre, YO11 1UE – 01723 371845
Southport: 193 Lord Street, Southport, PR8 1PF – 01704 884522
Spalding: Unit 13, Springfields Outlet, PE12 6EU – 01775 711 736
Talke: 48 Talke Retail Park, Stoke On Trent, ST7 1XD – 01782 786662
Telford: 53 Southwater, Telford Shopping Centre, Telford, TF3 4DE – 01952 200826
Torquay: 87 Union Street, Torquay, TQ1 3DG – 01803 212129
Trentham: Trentham Estate, Stone Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 8AX – 01782642954
Worcester: 22 Chapel Walks, Crowngate Shopping Centre, WR1 3LD – 01905 619882

My Other Gift Company Reviews
Gift Company Online
Gift Company Christmas Page