A couple of months ago, I decided to make the plunge and buy a pair of dwarf hamsters for me and my boyfriend to own together. Totally #couplegoals right (ha)? I *may* have been a little naive heading into this, assuming that because they're small and look pretty darn cute that they'd be fairly easy pets to keep. Plus, I've owned rabbits in the past, and my best friend's rats get along totally fine, so I was super excited to see my new little fluffies playing together in their cage. However this wasn't to last *insert dramatic Disney movie soundtrack here*.
I had SO much fun buying their cages and all the little hamster-sized accessories they would need - I was basically a little kid let loose in a pet store. These guys were my first 'real' pet as an adult, and not something my parents had bought. Naming them was fab too - mine is Hammy and my boyfriend's is Jeff (and yes, that is because of 22 Jump Street.
Once we got them home and their cage set up we had to leave them for a few hours before touching them to let them get a bit used to their cage. I was practically chomping at the bit at this point - I really just wanted to give them a cuddle! After this initial period, it is recommended that you do handle them frequently so that they become used to it at a young age. You really need to make sure you're around a lot in the first couple of weeks, as if they don't get handled frequently enough in that time period then they may never become 'tame' and it's likely that they will rarely allow human contact with themselves for the rest of their (fairly short) lives.
After two weeks of having Jeff and Hammy in the same cage, we started to notice a bit of a problem. Although young Russian dwarf hamsters do 'play' by nipping and chasing each other, and can occassionally squeak when doing so, one of ours was squeaking increasingly frequently. We also noticed that the 'playing' was very one-sided, and Jeff was always the one being chased. I popped back to the pet store to enquire about this (I was basically that mum that takes her kids to the doctors every time something tiny happens) and was told that everything was fine unless one of the hamsters had a visible wound. A few hours later, I was back in the store with Jeff as Hammy had bitten him so ferociously he was bleeding from the area near to the scent gland on his belly. Their fighting escalated in just a couple of hours to this, and I've heard so many horror stories from other owners about them not catching it quite in time, and coming home from work to find one hamster mostly eaten by the other (ew).
We were faced with two options: send one of them back to the pet store, or buy a whole second set of accessories and a new cage. I went for the latter because I just couldn't bear the thought of having to choose one to send back.
Now, even though they are completely separated from one another, if they get anywhere near each other's cages, Hammy will launch himself at the bars, and try to bite Jeff through them. He even jumped off my hand a few days ago in an attempt to get there! We also have to be really careful with our own limbs. If I touch Jeff and smell of him, and then attempt to stroke Hammy he will (and has) give me a nasty chomp. I've been nipped by a bunny before, but the ferocity of Hammy's aggression made this far more painful.
So, my advice is that although these creatures look super adorable, it may be best to just get one. But, if you want to get a couple, the best idea is to make sure you have two bottles, two food bowls and two houses for them to sleep in, as it makes them less territorial. Moreover, keep a very close eye on the for the first month or so that they are together - often they will play-fight as youngsters, but if you notice any injuries on the hammies you need to separate them straightaway as it can escalate very quickly, as I've shown!
Don't be put off entirely though! As with all pets, it takes time and effort to care for them, but the rewards are there (as you can see in how adorable these photos are!). Do you have hamsters? How do you find their behaviour?
Note to self: never take blog pictures after the gym (your hair will be wild Steph!).
As you all know, I'm a massive fan of The Body Shop's products. As someone with combination skin I really need to try hard to find a middle balance between keeping my skin hydrated and not overloading it and ending up looking like a greaseball.
The cream is perfect for us combi skin folk as the weather starts to get colder and the Autumn wind picks up, as it's a little more heavy duty than what I would normally use. It's brilliant at replenishing any dry patches. I put it on before bed, and can definitely feel the difference in the effect my morning face wash!
Again, the face mask is designed to boost your skin's hydration levels. This is probably the creamiest face mask I've ever used, yet it didn't make me break out or upset my sensitive skin.
Ultimately this range from the body shop is my go-to when I really feel as though my skin is rough and dry and needs some urgent action!
The past few weeks I've been feeling a bit off-balance, a bit glum, and a bit in danger of slipping back into old habits. Largely this is because we haven't had an oven or grill(!) since the beginning of August, so my diet has gone massively off the wagon to say the least. BUT, to cheer myself up I've been reminding myself of all the amazing experiences I've had this summer, and one of the highlights was definitely heading to Jungle Park when me and the boy sunned it up in Tenerife for a week.
Reminiscing over "better times" always has the added danger of making you slip into an even greater pit of self pity - the whole "why can't I just go back to that day and relive it" thing is something I'm prone to do. So, I'm determined to stop that mentality and not get frustrated about how much better that day was in comparison to this day. INSTEAD, good memories are there to make us happy - so I'm going to use this post to remind me that life is great, and full of wonders.
Anyway, the park itself was so beautiful. Although it was our most expensive day out of the entire holiday, it was possibly the most exciting. We headed to a jungle inland on the island. Exploring the park was my favourite part of the experience, as the place was full of rope bridges and little nooks and crannies to get through.
When Bill's opened up in my student town of Leamington Spa I was thrilled by the cute decor and fancy lights. But, it took me far too long to actually head there! When I did for the second time this summer I fell in love with their new menu.
The main was definitely my favourite part of the meal. Marinated chicken skewers with cous cous, salad and flat bread was delicious, and a perfect healthy alternative to some of their less calorie-friendly meals.
For pudding I got the strawberry eton mess and some green tea. The starter was pate with bread and edible flowers (so pretty!).
Who doesn't love a spa treat? I've been wanting to head to a spa now for MONTHS and (hopefully) will finally get to go this Autumn. So, when I spied The Body Shop's new Spa of the World Range this week I couldn't help myself. This is possibly the most exciting release The Body Shop has ever done in my opinion. I mean, what's better than something that gives you the tools to have a spa weekend in your very own home?!
Within the range are three "rituals": blissful, relaxing and revitalising. I went for a couple of products from the relaxing range in order to have a really chilled out pamper evening, plus an oil from the blissful range.
So, me and my sister set ourselves up for a fun evening of pampering ourselves with a cheeky bit of Great British Bake Off. We started with the Himalayan charcoal body clay. This was definitely my favourite of the range - you spread it over any tired looking skin, and leave for 10 minutes before washing off. I chose to do it on my arms to make the skin look a little less dull and tired, but you're free to choose to use it on (almost) any part of your body, not including your face. As with most clay masks, this has quite a cooling effect, and is really great if you prefer masks that you can feel drying and really witness taking effect. It's a very dark clay mask and smells absolutely divine. I've done this with both my sister and my best friend, and it's great fun to try out together - there were PLENTY of giggles along the way! The shop assistant suggested using clingfilm on top of the mask to keep the moisture in as much as possible, so we did that and ended up in a *teensy* bit of a clingfilm-related mess as we actually wrapped our bodies up. Obviously you have to be quite careful with this, and make sure nothing is wrapped too tightly.
After softening your skin with the Himalayan body clay, heading into a nice steamy shower to wash it off and use the African ximenia body scrub feels absolutely amazing. I have uber sensitive skin, so scrubs are always a bit touch and go for me as they're often far too harsh. However, this scrub was so gentle, making it the most useful one I've ever used. It feels like buttercream in my hands - the one downside to how gentle and soft it is is that you do have to use a fair amount to really get results from it.
My final stage of 'spa treat day' was to pop some of the Polynesian Monoi radiance oil in my hair to leave in overnight before washing it out this morning. I've got really long, thick hair at the moment, and I managed to get at least ten uses out of the bottle, which made it really worth the price tag. I'm a massive fan of hair oils, as I dye my hair fairly frequently, which means I need to spend a little extra time ensuring it is nourished. This is my go-to when my hair is in need of a real treat. It's also possibly the best smelling hair oil I own, so the boyfriend doesn't mind *too* much when I come to bed looking like a slug with my hair oil in.
This is definitely going to be my go-to evening ritual when I've got an important social event coming up, or I need to unwind as it made me look and feel absolutely amazing!
Have you tried any of the range yet? What did you think?
Everybody and their dog in the blogosphere have been raving about Makeup Revolution's affordable, yet quality products for the past few months, so I finally decided to cave and get their Flawless makeup palette. Since then I haven't looked back! I pair it with Real Technique's eyeshadow brush from their metallic range in order to achieve the smoothest blends and best look.
This eyeshadow look was created by using a base layer of paper, with a layer of Almost There over my eyelid, and Smudge in the corners of my eyes.
Finally, the look was finished off with Rimmel's black gel eyeliner, mascara, brow liner and Loreal's True Match foundation in Rose Ivory. This look is perfect fro every day work wear, and I wouldn't be without it on a long shift!
Summer has come, and with it comes more time on our feet! As I've recently started my first nearly full time job after graduating mid-July (eeek!), I've noticed a lot more wear and tear on my feet. So, when I headed to the LUSH store in Birmingham and noticed the Volcano foot mask, I HAD to have it.
You guys will know by now that I'm a fan of all things mask - hair mask, face mask, you name it: if it's going to nourish your skin I want it.
All you need to do with this is pop it on your feet, wrap them to keep the moisture in and wash it off again. This was such a simple treatment for the fab results I (and my sister who gave it a go as well) ended up with.
A lot of people fell in love with They're Real when it came out, but the next big Benefit mascara release seemed to get a massively mixed response. Some people raved about it, but others considered Roller Lash a letdown after They're Real.
BUT, when I headed to the Benefit counter at Birmingham airport this summer I had a lengthy discussion with a really helpful member of staff about exactly why we all had this reaction.
So, here's the lowdown:
For short eyelashes: go with Roller Lash. It hooks your short lashes and lifts them up to create the impression of fuller lashes. They're Real is too heavy for short eyelashes and weighs them down, meaning they don't get as good a lift.
For long eyelashes: go with They're Real. It adds masses of thickness and length, and your eyelashes are strong enough to cope with the weight of this more intense mascara.