kittyramblesalot

Saying Goodbye to Patches

Monday, 7 September 2020

 On Saturday, we very suddenly and unexpectedly lost our little old lady cat Patches. She lived to the amazing age of 22, and it was an honour to be on of her humans. I really thought when the apocalypse came, all that would be left once the smoke cleared would be cockroaches, Nokia 3310s, and Patches.



Patches had been sat on my knee, then went charging off to attack my handbag, and went into the kitchen. She meowed in a way I had never heard her before, so I went to look for her assuming she was playing with something else. As I went into the kitchen she turned to look at me, but by spinning on her hip, which she had never done before. I asked her to come to me, and she tried to get up to come to me but it was clear her back legs weren't working. I called for Stu to get her cat carrier whilst ringing the emergency vets immediately. She didn't mind me touching her legs or hips, but we knew something was very wrong.


I was at the vets with her within 15 minutes, and sadly quite quickly the vet knew what was wrong and that there was nothing we could do. A blood clot had travelled to her lower half, destroying all circulation to her back legs and tail, and the lack of circulation was slowly spreading up her body. Her paws were freezing cold to touch, and the only option to stop her from having a very painful death, was to put her to sleep immediately. I cried as I held her in my arms as she fell asleep for the last time. I couldn't believe it was happening.


Patch was like my shadow. Always under my feet, always trying to have a cuddle, always with me. In the mornings we played the 'Getting Dressed Game', in which she sat on all the clothes I wanted to put on, and inbetween each item of clothing I had to barter with her for forehead kisses before I could have the next thing. She had 3 teeth and despite that, when Ashen was alive, she would try to steal his dog biscuits just to prove she was the boss in our house.

I had trained her to give boops, so if you leant towards her and made a kissy noise, she would rub her face on yours. I asked her for one last boop before she passed, and she happily obliged.


Once we ordered pizza and I was sat on the floor in our old front room, and I had saved the best slice for last. You know the good one, with the extra cheese on it, and as I moved it towards my mouth to take a bite, Patch leapt through the air and snatched the entire slice from my hand, running off outside with it so I couldn't take it off her. After that we had an agreement that I could give her a bit of cheese off every other slice so she wouldn't steal anymore pizza from me. Though if you left a pizza for even a second or didn't keep an eye on her, a little paw would suddenly appear over the edge of your pizza box to try nick slice before you knew what was happening.


Three years ago when Patch was 19, her nephew Stitch was bitten by a fox on the head, badly. They came home to us him with his bite wounds, and her missing fur and covered in scratches. The vet was baffled, foxes don't typically scratch, only bite, which meant that when Stitch was bitten, Patches had jumped in to attack the fox and save her nephew. All he has is a scar above his eyebrow to commemorate the time a 19 year old cat kicked a foxes arse to save him.

Going from 4 pets to 1 in the space of 9 months has been brutal. We lost Ashen in late 2019, and Lemmy earlier in lockdown to cancer. Can you even call yourself a cat lady if you only have 1 cat? I'm just glad I was able to be with Patch till the end, so she could be by my side, like she always was.

She was a bad ass old lady, fearsome and kitten like right to the end. Everyone who saw her assumed she was a kitten because she was so small and playful, but she was so mighty and loving. She had cuddles for everyone who asked, and I feel so lucky that she lived such a long life. I just wish it could have been longer.

My Lady Patchingdon of Adorables. My tiny lady. My Patch. God I'm going to miss you.

Love,
Kitty xxxx


Saying Goodbye to Patches

Monday, 7 September 2020

 On Saturday, we very suddenly and unexpectedly lost our little old lady cat Patches. She lived to the amazing age of 22, and it was an honour to be on of her humans. I really thought when the apocalypse came, all that would be left once the smoke cleared would be cockroaches, Nokia 3310s, and Patches.



Patches had been sat on my knee, then went charging off to attack my handbag, and went into the kitchen. She meowed in a way I had never heard her before, so I went to look for her assuming she was playing with something else. As I went into the kitchen she turned to look at me, but by spinning on her hip, which she had never done before. I asked her to come to me, and she tried to get up to come to me but it was clear her back legs weren't working. I called for Stu to get her cat carrier whilst ringing the emergency vets immediately. She didn't mind me touching her legs or hips, but we knew something was very wrong.


I was at the vets with her within 15 minutes, and sadly quite quickly the vet knew what was wrong and that there was nothing we could do. A blood clot had travelled to her lower half, destroying all circulation to her back legs and tail, and the lack of circulation was slowly spreading up her body. Her paws were freezing cold to touch, and the only option to stop her from having a very painful death, was to put her to sleep immediately. I cried as I held her in my arms as she fell asleep for the last time. I couldn't believe it was happening.


Patch was like my shadow. Always under my feet, always trying to have a cuddle, always with me. In the mornings we played the 'Getting Dressed Game', in which she sat on all the clothes I wanted to put on, and inbetween each item of clothing I had to barter with her for forehead kisses before I could have the next thing. She had 3 teeth and despite that, when Ashen was alive, she would try to steal his dog biscuits just to prove she was the boss in our house.

I had trained her to give boops, so if you leant towards her and made a kissy noise, she would rub her face on yours. I asked her for one last boop before she passed, and she happily obliged.


Once we ordered pizza and I was sat on the floor in our old front room, and I had saved the best slice for last. You know the good one, with the extra cheese on it, and as I moved it towards my mouth to take a bite, Patch leapt through the air and snatched the entire slice from my hand, running off outside with it so I couldn't take it off her. After that we had an agreement that I could give her a bit of cheese off every other slice so she wouldn't steal anymore pizza from me. Though if you left a pizza for even a second or didn't keep an eye on her, a little paw would suddenly appear over the edge of your pizza box to try nick slice before you knew what was happening.


Three years ago when Patch was 19, her nephew Stitch was bitten by a fox on the head, badly. They came home to us him with his bite wounds, and her missing fur and covered in scratches. The vet was baffled, foxes don't typically scratch, only bite, which meant that when Stitch was bitten, Patches had jumped in to attack the fox and save her nephew. All he has is a scar above his eyebrow to commemorate the time a 19 year old cat kicked a foxes arse to save him.

Going from 4 pets to 1 in the space of 9 months has been brutal. We lost Ashen in late 2019, and Lemmy earlier in lockdown to cancer. Can you even call yourself a cat lady if you only have 1 cat? I'm just glad I was able to be with Patch till the end, so she could be by my side, like she always was.

She was a bad ass old lady, fearsome and kitten like right to the end. Everyone who saw her assumed she was a kitten because she was so small and playful, but she was so mighty and loving. She had cuddles for everyone who asked, and I feel so lucky that she lived such a long life. I just wish it could have been longer.

My Lady Patchingdon of Adorables. My tiny lady. My Patch. God I'm going to miss you.

Love,
Kitty xxxx


Betty's Beasties Colouring Book

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

 When my lovely friend Betty Brown announced their new colouring book I was super hyped! Her last colouring book was an absolute delight, super diverse and full of a bunch of bad ass babes, so I had no doubt this one would be equally as cool. This book is NSFW, so warning ahead for previews!



This time around, we have Betty's Beasties, all drawn in Betty's signature pin up style, but focusing on mermaids, aliens, and other spooky creatures! As with all of Betty's work, the body types are diverse and gorgeous, so expect plus size beauties, stretch marked lovelies, tattooed cuties, scarred babes and disabled dolls, all ready to be coloured in.


Colouring is just the perfect lockdown activity, it provides great stress relief, as well as a total distraction from reality, so could there be a better time to get your hands on this? Betty is also running a giveaway on her instagram where she is getting so close to 10k followers, so go give her a follow and enter! She often does what she calls 'Butt Portrait' giveaways which are so cool, because who wouldn't want their arse immortalised forever in amazing art?! (Side note, Betty's insta is very NSFW but so so awesome so just be careful!)



With these uncertain times, support the arts is so important, and especially supporting those who are out there doing work with Betty's, with a focus on black women and inclusivity. Got a spooky babe in your life? This would make a super cute Halloween present for them! I can just see myself curled up in the autumn in a blanket working on this.

You can find Betty on Patreon too if you want to support their work on a more regular basis!


This book is currently available for pre-order, and will be with you late September time, just in time for spooky season!


Much love,
Kitty
xxx

ps. This isn't a sponsored post, I just really love what Betty does!


Betty's Beasties Colouring Book

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

 When my lovely friend Betty Brown announced their new colouring book I was super hyped! Her last colouring book was an absolute delight, super diverse and full of a bunch of bad ass babes, so I had no doubt this one would be equally as cool. This book is NSFW, so warning ahead for previews!



This time around, we have Betty's Beasties, all drawn in Betty's signature pin up style, but focusing on mermaids, aliens, and other spooky creatures! As with all of Betty's work, the body types are diverse and gorgeous, so expect plus size beauties, stretch marked lovelies, tattooed cuties, scarred babes and disabled dolls, all ready to be coloured in.


Colouring is just the perfect lockdown activity, it provides great stress relief, as well as a total distraction from reality, so could there be a better time to get your hands on this? Betty is also running a giveaway on her instagram where she is getting so close to 10k followers, so go give her a follow and enter! She often does what she calls 'Butt Portrait' giveaways which are so cool, because who wouldn't want their arse immortalised forever in amazing art?! (Side note, Betty's insta is very NSFW but so so awesome so just be careful!)



With these uncertain times, support the arts is so important, and especially supporting those who are out there doing work with Betty's, with a focus on black women and inclusivity. Got a spooky babe in your life? This would make a super cute Halloween present for them! I can just see myself curled up in the autumn in a blanket working on this.

You can find Betty on Patreon too if you want to support their work on a more regular basis!


This book is currently available for pre-order, and will be with you late September time, just in time for spooky season!


Much love,
Kitty
xxx

ps. This isn't a sponsored post, I just really love what Betty does!


AD Gifted : FoodHub

Saturday, 8 August 2020

AD - full disclosure, FoodHub kindly sent me a voucher for their app to write a blog post about them, I was more than happy to write about them because I already use their app!


 It's a Saturday night, so who can really be bothered to cook dinner? It's the weekend and it's time for a treat, so FoodHub is the answer! I've been using the FoodHub app for a few months now after my favourite local Indian (Paprika Tandoori for anyone in Grimsby!) asked if I wouldn't mind ordering via FoodHub rather than JustEat. I agreed, but I was really curious why he preferred one app over another. He then revealed that JustEat charge a massive % commission, often over 15% of each order, and that it really hit them hard to have orders placed through JE over FoodHub. They in fact offered a 10% discount on FoodHub, because they don't take commission. I was instantly sold! Most takeaways are small, family businesses in many cases, and I didn't like that a huge company was charging them so heavily.



What I also discovered when I downloaded FoodHub, was that there were also a TON more places that would deliver to my address! With other apps I had maybe 5 or 6 options, with FoodHub, I had well over 20. I found a delicious Chinese that makes everything with a tofu option (Sizzling Wok for you GY veggies), an amazing pizza place (Tuscany in Laceby, that's where I ordered from tonight), and I got to support my fave Indian. So much better!

You get a notification when your order is accepted and a rough idea on how long it'll take to get to you, and the estimates are always pretty accurate. Unlike other apps, I've not had a single order cancelled or late. New restaurants and takeaways are being added all the time, so whenever we fancy a takeaway I am always sure to scroll through and see what new options we have.


We've had a few takeaways during lockdown and were impressed by FoodHub's new contact free delivery option. They pop the food on your doorstep, knock, step back and wait for you to come to the door before they go anywhere. The drivers tend to be in masks and gloves which is always a welcome sight.


  

And now a treat for you guys, you can use the code FOOD65300 to get a discount of your own to enjoy!

Details for this code are: £3 off with minimum order spend of £10 and its only for new users on their first order. Expires 31 August. Full terms at Foodhub.co.uk 


This isn't an affiliate code, so there's nothing in it for me, just money off for you! You can find out more following @FoodHubUK on twitter and downloading the app from your app store.


If you are also based in Grimsby, let me know your fave takeaways so I can give them a try too.


Much love,

Kitty

xxxxx

AD Gifted : FoodHub

Saturday, 8 August 2020

AD - full disclosure, FoodHub kindly sent me a voucher for their app to write a blog post about them, I was more than happy to write about them because I already use their app!


 It's a Saturday night, so who can really be bothered to cook dinner? It's the weekend and it's time for a treat, so FoodHub is the answer! I've been using the FoodHub app for a few months now after my favourite local Indian (Paprika Tandoori for anyone in Grimsby!) asked if I wouldn't mind ordering via FoodHub rather than JustEat. I agreed, but I was really curious why he preferred one app over another. He then revealed that JustEat charge a massive % commission, often over 15% of each order, and that it really hit them hard to have orders placed through JE over FoodHub. They in fact offered a 10% discount on FoodHub, because they don't take commission. I was instantly sold! Most takeaways are small, family businesses in many cases, and I didn't like that a huge company was charging them so heavily.



What I also discovered when I downloaded FoodHub, was that there were also a TON more places that would deliver to my address! With other apps I had maybe 5 or 6 options, with FoodHub, I had well over 20. I found a delicious Chinese that makes everything with a tofu option (Sizzling Wok for you GY veggies), an amazing pizza place (Tuscany in Laceby, that's where I ordered from tonight), and I got to support my fave Indian. So much better!

You get a notification when your order is accepted and a rough idea on how long it'll take to get to you, and the estimates are always pretty accurate. Unlike other apps, I've not had a single order cancelled or late. New restaurants and takeaways are being added all the time, so whenever we fancy a takeaway I am always sure to scroll through and see what new options we have.


We've had a few takeaways during lockdown and were impressed by FoodHub's new contact free delivery option. They pop the food on your doorstep, knock, step back and wait for you to come to the door before they go anywhere. The drivers tend to be in masks and gloves which is always a welcome sight.


  

And now a treat for you guys, you can use the code FOOD65300 to get a discount of your own to enjoy!

Details for this code are: £3 off with minimum order spend of £10 and its only for new users on their first order. Expires 31 August. Full terms at Foodhub.co.uk 


This isn't an affiliate code, so there's nothing in it for me, just money off for you! You can find out more following @FoodHubUK on twitter and downloading the app from your app store.


If you are also based in Grimsby, let me know your fave takeaways so I can give them a try too.


Much love,

Kitty

xxxxx

A Curly Girl Method Update : 3 Years+ On

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Consistently one of the things I get asked about most, and have searched for on my blog, is the Curly Girl Method, so I figured as I last did an update in September 2017 after 6 months, I should probably do another update!

So to say my hair has changed drastically is an understatement. I used to think I had curly hair. As these before photo will show you, what I thought was a good hair day, was mostly a bit of a wave, a lot of frizz and wishful thinking. Back then I shampooed and conditioned my hair with any old shampoo and conditioner, maybe chucked some mousse in my hair, diffused my hair upside down, and maybe put a bit of argan oil in the ends. As you can see, it was not in good condition due to the bleaching.


After that photo, I started the Curly Girl Method (popularised by Lorraine Massey, but most of the principles and ideas in this method are taken from things black women have been doing for hair care forever!). The basic principles are to avoid sulfates, silicones, drying alcohols, parabens, waxes, and shampoo entirely. You use conditioner to both wash and condition your hair, hence the term 'cowash', conditioner only washing. You don't use brushes or detangle your hair unless it's full of conditioner, and all your products should be 'CG safe'.

I cut a lot of dead ends off my hair taking it up to my shoulders 3 years ago, and then kept it around collar bone length for a long time while I bleached and coloured it, until the last year or so when I stopped colouring it and started growing it.

In the below photo is my shorter hair, you can see how drastically it changed, more defined ringlets, it looks thicker, much less frizz and damage, actual curls!


So how is my hair now and what is my routine? Well, I always thought my hair's terminal length was above bra strap length. Despite my best efforts my hair has never really grown any longer so I figured that was all it could do, oh well. Except... that's really not true. Despite regular trims (even through lockdown, I cut my own hair, I qualified as a hairdresser when I was younger but never worked in salons), my hair is now the longest it has ever been. I even cut 6 inches off it in April and my hair is now at my waist when wet. I always joked that I wanted to be like a mermaid and be able to use my hair to cover my boobs and well, I can now! Having not seen a lot of my family for months because of lockdown, when people have finally seen me they've been blown away by how much my hair has grown. My own Mum didn't recognise me when I was stood in my front garden the other week before I had my back to her and she hadn't realised my hair was so long now, win!


Here's some very filtered selfies of my hair now with no product or anything in, just left to do it's own thing. This leaves me with relaxed curls or strong waves, I like being able to have the option of this when I just CBA!


And here it is with products, but still left to dry naturally, the day after I've washed it and slept on it. Despite the length, it still forms spirally curls right through the length, there's very little frizz and it's so smooth and shiny looking. It helps that my hair now is almost entirely my natural colour bar the the odd end that is bleached from a very old ombre I had.

So my routine! Some people's routines are super complicated and involve a whole ton of products. I like to keep it as simple as I can because I'm washing my hair, why would I want to dedicate a ton of time to it?!

1) Smother my hair with Superdrug Fruity Cherry & Almond Conditioner, use my fingers to comb my hair from the ends working my way to up to detangle it first. Once detangled, give my scalp a good scrub with my fingers to cowash my hair making sure all my hair feels like it's covered in conditioner and my roots feel like they've been washed. Rinse out thoroughly. When my carpal tunnel was bad I used a scalp brush to do the scrubbing so if you have problems with your hands, give one a go!

2) Condition my hair like I normally would using the same conditioner, and rinse it all out. Make sure my parting is where I want it while I've got conditioner in my hair as if I don't make my parting, my hair really will part whenever the heck it feels like.

3) Squeeze out some of the excess water from the ends of my hair with my hands and wrap up in a microfibre towel while I get dried.

4) Put a tiny, and I do mean tiny, like, a blob that is 3mm at best, amount of Cantu Curl Activator Cream onto my hands, and rub them together to cover my hands. The tiny amount goes really far and you'll soon find your hairs covered. Fill my hair over to one side sort of upside down and scrunch in, repeat for the other side and the back, make sure I've gotten all my hair. That tiny amount of product really makes a lot of different.

5) Next is leave in conditioner. I use either the same Superdrug conditioner, or the XHC Conditioners, usually easy to find in Poundstretcher and Savers for a quid a bottle, perfect for anyone on a budget. My favourite scents are the tea tree which is lush, and the banana because it smells like those foam banana sweets you used to get in pick and mix as a kid. The strawberry one smells like calpol to me, and I don't like ginger so I haven't tried that one. The XHC conditioners contain protein, hair that is over moisturised as mine can be as I don't use heat or colour etc on it can start to drop, so adding some protein into your routine can perk it back up again. I put a good blob of conditioner onto my hands and rub them together, and again scrunch it up into my hair, working my hair round my whole head. Lots of scrunching!

6) Last step is the product. I like the Eco Gel range and usually opt for the Black Castor & Flax Seed Eco Gel. Again, another blob, rub hands together, more scrunching into my hair. Lots of scrunching. Scrunch scrunch scrunch. I find the more I encourage my hair the better it is.

I then usually leave it to dry naturally, and once it is dry, I scrunch out the crunch (SOTC) with my bare, dry hands to get rid of the crunchy look the gel leaves. Sometimes I don't bother with any product and just scrunch in a bit of conditioner for a more relaxed curl.

About once a month I do what we call an 'AVC Rinse' to clarify my hair and get rid of any potential product build up. I take a plastic cup in the shower with me, and put a small amount of apple cider vinegar in it, fill the rest of the cup with water, and carefully pour over my hair making sure I've covered all my scalp and hair. Yes, it does smell strongly of conditioner when I do this, but once I've rinsed it out it really doesn't! The vinegar smell doesn't linger I promise.

At night I sleep in a 'pineapple', I flip my head upside down and form a very loose ponytail on top of my head and use an invisibobble to keep it in place. I also have a satin pillowcase as it doesn't create frizz. In the morning I will usually use some of the XHC Conditioner and scrunch it into my hair to refresh it a little, if I've thrashed about in my sleep or it's looking particularly flat, I'll also use some of the Eco Gel and scrunch that in too, both on totally dry hair, and when that has 'dried' or is crunchy looking, scrunch out again with my bare dry hands. Scrunching is key to my routine!

If my hair has any frizz or fly aways I want to tame, I use lube, yes, that lube! It needs to be a water based lube for the ingredients to be suitable, but a small amount of lube can really help smooth out curls. You can also use it on your hands when you SOTC. I've used the Tesco own brand gentle and unflavoured lube and tend to find it helps when I'm pushing day 3 or 4 hair when I tend to have a bit more frizz.


So, my words of warning. Technically, I break a lot of the super strict Curly Girl Method rules with my routine. They don't like lots of scrunching (you shouldn't touch your hair! you'll make frizz!), and very recently they decided that the Superdry conditioner I use isn't CG friendly. All because it has a teeny amount of one ingredient that Lorraine Massey has added to her banned list that a lot of other people are arguing is water soluble and not damaging. So I've opted to keep using it because clearly it's working for my hair, as well as being vegan and cruelty free. I try wherever possible to use cruelty free products, but getting information about some brands and companies is nearly impossible.

Some of the Facebook groups can be REALLY intimidating to a newbie, everything looks really really complicated and the rules seem to constantly change. Me and my Mum both do our own versions of the method but don't follow it 100% because what works for one person's hair, might not work for someone else's. My Mum's hair loves a lo-poo (a gentle type of shampoo), whereas mine loves to be totally shampoo free. Even all my scalp eczema has totally cleared up! I know a lot of people seem blunt in their answers to questions and I'm so sorry, and I am happy to do my best to help you here!

The method is also very focused on Caucasian hair in these groups, despite all the concepts coming from black women. You'll see people with wavy hair tell people with Afro hair that they shouldn't use oil for example, or shout about no combs ever, and I don't like that. What works for 4C Afro hair is going to be totally different to what works for my 3A Caucasian hair, and the focus on Caucasian hair makes me really uncomfortable. It feels like a lot of the Curly Girl language and ideas has been co-opted from the Natural Hair movement with none of the credit and a sudden focus on Caucasian hair. So while yes it works, this method is problematic and I wish more people were more thoughtful in their words and use of hair terms. I am forever seeing white women say their hair 'dreads up' when they are describing matting, and are using dreadlocks as a negative descriptor, or saying their hair is an unruly Afro when it's not gone to their tastes and it's really frustrating. In the UK in particular, hairdressers are often trained with no thought at all for Afro hair, and I can say this because the hairdressing school I attended had NO courses for Afro hair, and when I asked about getting one, none of their tutors were qualified in any Afro hair cutting or care either!

So ultimately, what works for one person's hair, doesn't work for all hair. I 100% think that this method has helped me recover my hair and allowed it to grow, but I don't think being perfectly CG 24/7 is necessary, or productive to insist on. If you want to straighten your hair for a night out a couple of times a year, it is going to cause some damage, but it's not going to destroy all your hard work in one fell swoop now that your products and conditioners aren't damaging your hair.

Hair should be fun, and the method shouldn't be a super serious almost cult like rule book with one woman being heralded as the rule creator. So while I do describe myself as doing the CG method, it's a loose thing, and it's just not that serious!

Much love,
Kitty
xxxxxxx


A Curly Girl Method Update : 3 Years+ On

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Consistently one of the things I get asked about most, and have searched for on my blog, is the Curly Girl Method, so I figured as I last did an update in September 2017 after 6 months, I should probably do another update!

So to say my hair has changed drastically is an understatement. I used to think I had curly hair. As these before photo will show you, what I thought was a good hair day, was mostly a bit of a wave, a lot of frizz and wishful thinking. Back then I shampooed and conditioned my hair with any old shampoo and conditioner, maybe chucked some mousse in my hair, diffused my hair upside down, and maybe put a bit of argan oil in the ends. As you can see, it was not in good condition due to the bleaching.


After that photo, I started the Curly Girl Method (popularised by Lorraine Massey, but most of the principles and ideas in this method are taken from things black women have been doing for hair care forever!). The basic principles are to avoid sulfates, silicones, drying alcohols, parabens, waxes, and shampoo entirely. You use conditioner to both wash and condition your hair, hence the term 'cowash', conditioner only washing. You don't use brushes or detangle your hair unless it's full of conditioner, and all your products should be 'CG safe'.

I cut a lot of dead ends off my hair taking it up to my shoulders 3 years ago, and then kept it around collar bone length for a long time while I bleached and coloured it, until the last year or so when I stopped colouring it and started growing it.

In the below photo is my shorter hair, you can see how drastically it changed, more defined ringlets, it looks thicker, much less frizz and damage, actual curls!


So how is my hair now and what is my routine? Well, I always thought my hair's terminal length was above bra strap length. Despite my best efforts my hair has never really grown any longer so I figured that was all it could do, oh well. Except... that's really not true. Despite regular trims (even through lockdown, I cut my own hair, I qualified as a hairdresser when I was younger but never worked in salons), my hair is now the longest it has ever been. I even cut 6 inches off it in April and my hair is now at my waist when wet. I always joked that I wanted to be like a mermaid and be able to use my hair to cover my boobs and well, I can now! Having not seen a lot of my family for months because of lockdown, when people have finally seen me they've been blown away by how much my hair has grown. My own Mum didn't recognise me when I was stood in my front garden the other week before I had my back to her and she hadn't realised my hair was so long now, win!


Here's some very filtered selfies of my hair now with no product or anything in, just left to do it's own thing. This leaves me with relaxed curls or strong waves, I like being able to have the option of this when I just CBA!


And here it is with products, but still left to dry naturally, the day after I've washed it and slept on it. Despite the length, it still forms spirally curls right through the length, there's very little frizz and it's so smooth and shiny looking. It helps that my hair now is almost entirely my natural colour bar the the odd end that is bleached from a very old ombre I had.

So my routine! Some people's routines are super complicated and involve a whole ton of products. I like to keep it as simple as I can because I'm washing my hair, why would I want to dedicate a ton of time to it?!

1) Smother my hair with Superdrug Fruity Cherry & Almond Conditioner, use my fingers to comb my hair from the ends working my way to up to detangle it first. Once detangled, give my scalp a good scrub with my fingers to cowash my hair making sure all my hair feels like it's covered in conditioner and my roots feel like they've been washed. Rinse out thoroughly. When my carpal tunnel was bad I used a scalp brush to do the scrubbing so if you have problems with your hands, give one a go!

2) Condition my hair like I normally would using the same conditioner, and rinse it all out. Make sure my parting is where I want it while I've got conditioner in my hair as if I don't make my parting, my hair really will part whenever the heck it feels like.

3) Squeeze out some of the excess water from the ends of my hair with my hands and wrap up in a microfibre towel while I get dried.

4) Put a tiny, and I do mean tiny, like, a blob that is 3mm at best, amount of Cantu Curl Activator Cream onto my hands, and rub them together to cover my hands. The tiny amount goes really far and you'll soon find your hairs covered. Fill my hair over to one side sort of upside down and scrunch in, repeat for the other side and the back, make sure I've gotten all my hair. That tiny amount of product really makes a lot of different.

5) Next is leave in conditioner. I use either the same Superdrug conditioner, or the XHC Conditioners, usually easy to find in Poundstretcher and Savers for a quid a bottle, perfect for anyone on a budget. My favourite scents are the tea tree which is lush, and the banana because it smells like those foam banana sweets you used to get in pick and mix as a kid. The strawberry one smells like calpol to me, and I don't like ginger so I haven't tried that one. The XHC conditioners contain protein, hair that is over moisturised as mine can be as I don't use heat or colour etc on it can start to drop, so adding some protein into your routine can perk it back up again. I put a good blob of conditioner onto my hands and rub them together, and again scrunch it up into my hair, working my hair round my whole head. Lots of scrunching!

6) Last step is the product. I like the Eco Gel range and usually opt for the Black Castor & Flax Seed Eco Gel. Again, another blob, rub hands together, more scrunching into my hair. Lots of scrunching. Scrunch scrunch scrunch. I find the more I encourage my hair the better it is.

I then usually leave it to dry naturally, and once it is dry, I scrunch out the crunch (SOTC) with my bare, dry hands to get rid of the crunchy look the gel leaves. Sometimes I don't bother with any product and just scrunch in a bit of conditioner for a more relaxed curl.

About once a month I do what we call an 'AVC Rinse' to clarify my hair and get rid of any potential product build up. I take a plastic cup in the shower with me, and put a small amount of apple cider vinegar in it, fill the rest of the cup with water, and carefully pour over my hair making sure I've covered all my scalp and hair. Yes, it does smell strongly of conditioner when I do this, but once I've rinsed it out it really doesn't! The vinegar smell doesn't linger I promise.

At night I sleep in a 'pineapple', I flip my head upside down and form a very loose ponytail on top of my head and use an invisibobble to keep it in place. I also have a satin pillowcase as it doesn't create frizz. In the morning I will usually use some of the XHC Conditioner and scrunch it into my hair to refresh it a little, if I've thrashed about in my sleep or it's looking particularly flat, I'll also use some of the Eco Gel and scrunch that in too, both on totally dry hair, and when that has 'dried' or is crunchy looking, scrunch out again with my bare dry hands. Scrunching is key to my routine!

If my hair has any frizz or fly aways I want to tame, I use lube, yes, that lube! It needs to be a water based lube for the ingredients to be suitable, but a small amount of lube can really help smooth out curls. You can also use it on your hands when you SOTC. I've used the Tesco own brand gentle and unflavoured lube and tend to find it helps when I'm pushing day 3 or 4 hair when I tend to have a bit more frizz.


So, my words of warning. Technically, I break a lot of the super strict Curly Girl Method rules with my routine. They don't like lots of scrunching (you shouldn't touch your hair! you'll make frizz!), and very recently they decided that the Superdry conditioner I use isn't CG friendly. All because it has a teeny amount of one ingredient that Lorraine Massey has added to her banned list that a lot of other people are arguing is water soluble and not damaging. So I've opted to keep using it because clearly it's working for my hair, as well as being vegan and cruelty free. I try wherever possible to use cruelty free products, but getting information about some brands and companies is nearly impossible.

Some of the Facebook groups can be REALLY intimidating to a newbie, everything looks really really complicated and the rules seem to constantly change. Me and my Mum both do our own versions of the method but don't follow it 100% because what works for one person's hair, might not work for someone else's. My Mum's hair loves a lo-poo (a gentle type of shampoo), whereas mine loves to be totally shampoo free. Even all my scalp eczema has totally cleared up! I know a lot of people seem blunt in their answers to questions and I'm so sorry, and I am happy to do my best to help you here!

The method is also very focused on Caucasian hair in these groups, despite all the concepts coming from black women. You'll see people with wavy hair tell people with Afro hair that they shouldn't use oil for example, or shout about no combs ever, and I don't like that. What works for 4C Afro hair is going to be totally different to what works for my 3A Caucasian hair, and the focus on Caucasian hair makes me really uncomfortable. It feels like a lot of the Curly Girl language and ideas has been co-opted from the Natural Hair movement with none of the credit and a sudden focus on Caucasian hair. So while yes it works, this method is problematic and I wish more people were more thoughtful in their words and use of hair terms. I am forever seeing white women say their hair 'dreads up' when they are describing matting, and are using dreadlocks as a negative descriptor, or saying their hair is an unruly Afro when it's not gone to their tastes and it's really frustrating. In the UK in particular, hairdressers are often trained with no thought at all for Afro hair, and I can say this because the hairdressing school I attended had NO courses for Afro hair, and when I asked about getting one, none of their tutors were qualified in any Afro hair cutting or care either!

So ultimately, what works for one person's hair, doesn't work for all hair. I 100% think that this method has helped me recover my hair and allowed it to grow, but I don't think being perfectly CG 24/7 is necessary, or productive to insist on. If you want to straighten your hair for a night out a couple of times a year, it is going to cause some damage, but it's not going to destroy all your hard work in one fell swoop now that your products and conditioners aren't damaging your hair.

Hair should be fun, and the method shouldn't be a super serious almost cult like rule book with one woman being heralded as the rule creator. So while I do describe myself as doing the CG method, it's a loose thing, and it's just not that serious!

Much love,
Kitty
xxxxxxx


The Enchanted Garden

Thursday, 16 July 2020

Supporting local small business is more important than ever with the pandemic and economic downturn, so I wanted to share my favourite Grimsby based florist, The Enchanted Garden.



We've used The Enchanted Garden as a company several times, in both sad times and for their fun workshops, and every time we've used them they've been fantastic. The photos above are photos they took of the flowers they made for me and Stu for my Grandma's funeral tribute. Gina from The Enchanted Garden really has a way of understanding what you want, even when it isn't the most typical of requests. Asking for a star shape, and for succulents to be involved, as well as hot pink, is certainly not your standard funeral arrangement, but Gina listens and really takes care to try to understand who the flowers are for so she can create you something beautiful. She also did the funeral flowers for my Grandad G and did a stunning job with them. Using succulents in them also means we were able to take small parts of their flowers with us, and my parents have propogated dozens of succulents from their funeral flowers that we all have in our homes and gardens, which I think is such a lovely touch. Gina even managed to make us an arrangement for our friend Andie who passed away recently during lockdown, with only 2 days notice, and make it so fitting for who he was as a person. To do that on such short notice was amazing and meant a lot to us.

     

     

They do wedding flowers, and any other occasion flower you might want, as well as gorgeous bunches of flowers, and also host workshops. I've done their Christmas centrepiece workshop and a Spring Wreath workshop and both were so much fun. I'm usually the youngest one who attends these as they are really popular with the older generation, but I love flowers and floristry and highly recommend giving one a go!

If you are based in the Grimsby area I can't recommend The Enchanted Garden enough. I decided to write this blog not because I was paid to or sent products or anything like that, but because I think the company deserves the small amount of promotion I can give them. When you see someone take such care and put so much love into what they do, it should be shared.

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

The Enchanted Garden

Thursday, 16 July 2020

Supporting local small business is more important than ever with the pandemic and economic downturn, so I wanted to share my favourite Grimsby based florist, The Enchanted Garden.



We've used The Enchanted Garden as a company several times, in both sad times and for their fun workshops, and every time we've used them they've been fantastic. The photos above are photos they took of the flowers they made for me and Stu for my Grandma's funeral tribute. Gina from The Enchanted Garden really has a way of understanding what you want, even when it isn't the most typical of requests. Asking for a star shape, and for succulents to be involved, as well as hot pink, is certainly not your standard funeral arrangement, but Gina listens and really takes care to try to understand who the flowers are for so she can create you something beautiful. She also did the funeral flowers for my Grandad G and did a stunning job with them. Using succulents in them also means we were able to take small parts of their flowers with us, and my parents have propogated dozens of succulents from their funeral flowers that we all have in our homes and gardens, which I think is such a lovely touch. Gina even managed to make us an arrangement for our friend Andie who passed away recently during lockdown, with only 2 days notice, and make it so fitting for who he was as a person. To do that on such short notice was amazing and meant a lot to us.

     

     

They do wedding flowers, and any other occasion flower you might want, as well as gorgeous bunches of flowers, and also host workshops. I've done their Christmas centrepiece workshop and a Spring Wreath workshop and both were so much fun. I'm usually the youngest one who attends these as they are really popular with the older generation, but I love flowers and floristry and highly recommend giving one a go!

If you are based in the Grimsby area I can't recommend The Enchanted Garden enough. I decided to write this blog not because I was paid to or sent products or anything like that, but because I think the company deserves the small amount of promotion I can give them. When you see someone take such care and put so much love into what they do, it should be shared.

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Lockdown Favourites

Monday, 13 July 2020

In the spirit of maybe sort of getting back into blogging, I figured I'd share some of my favourite things I've been enjoying during lockdown.


The Mountain Range

We ordered my Mum and Stu's Mum Mother's Day gifts from Crafty Glass London, and I've previously bought gifts for my Nanny and Grandad from them as well. Their products are always beautiful, arrive so safely packaged, and I think offer a really unusual gift. I really need to get us something from their range for our house because I love it all and keep buying it for everyone else, except me! Who knew I'd need a stained glass ghost, or a shrimp, or a Snorlax? It's stained glass made modern and quirky and so much fun. I could happily buy myself half their shop if I had the funds! Shopping independently and supporting small businesses is more important than ever because of lockdown.

The Mini Monstera Leaf

PokémonGO


For a game that requires you to go outside and play, they've totally overhauled the game to make it so you can play it from home while it hasn't been safe to go outside. I've particularly been loving the AR photography aspect of the game. I was a photographer before carpal tunnel took that from me, so AR photography using my phone has been a fun way to feel creative without the pain my real camera causes me over time.


They've made Community Day an event we could still enjoy, even though it has to be from your home on your own, and added so many quality of life updates. Shout out to Niantic for working incredibly hard to make a game that is designed to be played out walking so playable at home!

I actually have a whole instagram dedicated just to Pokémon, so if you are also a fan come follow me and the awesome AR community over at https://www.instagram.com/kittypokemonsalot/

Our New Wooden Floor

We got a new floor fitted in our front room about a week before lockdown started. Huge thanks to my Dad, Stu and Cameron for their hardwork getting it done! It meant we overhauled our front room, getting rid of a few pieces of furniture and making it a lot more minimal, and I love it so much more now.

The old carpet was a gross sort of beige sort of gray sort of pinkish colour with some bad staining in some parts I just couldn't get out no matter how I tried. It came with the house so was well overdue replacing. Now we have an ashy wooden floor and it has totally transformed the whole room.


The best and more unexpected part of our new floor is Patches complete obsession with it. She is 22 years old (yes really!) and like a kitten with it. She loves to slide on it chase her toys or anything else she can find that looks fun. Sometimes we catch her charging about on it and she isn't even playing with anything, she just loves to slide on it! It's made her so playful that I think most people would be really shocked to hear her age. She makes this little chirrupy meow when she's playing that I firmly maintain is the cutest noise ever.


What are you recent lockdown faves? I might share my TV show favourites soon.

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Lockdown Favourites

Monday, 13 July 2020

In the spirit of maybe sort of getting back into blogging, I figured I'd share some of my favourite things I've been enjoying during lockdown.


The Mountain Range

We ordered my Mum and Stu's Mum Mother's Day gifts from Crafty Glass London, and I've previously bought gifts for my Nanny and Grandad from them as well. Their products are always beautiful, arrive so safely packaged, and I think offer a really unusual gift. I really need to get us something from their range for our house because I love it all and keep buying it for everyone else, except me! Who knew I'd need a stained glass ghost, or a shrimp, or a Snorlax? It's stained glass made modern and quirky and so much fun. I could happily buy myself half their shop if I had the funds! Shopping independently and supporting small businesses is more important than ever because of lockdown.

The Mini Monstera Leaf

PokémonGO


For a game that requires you to go outside and play, they've totally overhauled the game to make it so you can play it from home while it hasn't been safe to go outside. I've particularly been loving the AR photography aspect of the game. I was a photographer before carpal tunnel took that from me, so AR photography using my phone has been a fun way to feel creative without the pain my real camera causes me over time.


They've made Community Day an event we could still enjoy, even though it has to be from your home on your own, and added so many quality of life updates. Shout out to Niantic for working incredibly hard to make a game that is designed to be played out walking so playable at home!

I actually have a whole instagram dedicated just to Pokémon, so if you are also a fan come follow me and the awesome AR community over at https://www.instagram.com/kittypokemonsalot/

Our New Wooden Floor

We got a new floor fitted in our front room about a week before lockdown started. Huge thanks to my Dad, Stu and Cameron for their hardwork getting it done! It meant we overhauled our front room, getting rid of a few pieces of furniture and making it a lot more minimal, and I love it so much more now.

The old carpet was a gross sort of beige sort of gray sort of pinkish colour with some bad staining in some parts I just couldn't get out no matter how I tried. It came with the house so was well overdue replacing. Now we have an ashy wooden floor and it has totally transformed the whole room.


The best and more unexpected part of our new floor is Patches complete obsession with it. She is 22 years old (yes really!) and like a kitten with it. She loves to slide on it chase her toys or anything else she can find that looks fun. Sometimes we catch her charging about on it and she isn't even playing with anything, she just loves to slide on it! It's made her so playful that I think most people would be really shocked to hear her age. She makes this little chirrupy meow when she's playing that I firmly maintain is the cutest noise ever.


What are you recent lockdown faves? I might share my TV show favourites soon.

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Our Garden Makeover

Thursday, 25 June 2020

During lockdown, like many people, my husband Stu and I started a big house project, and we've totally over hauled our whole back garden. We are very lucky to have a large back garden (thank you Grimsby house prices), but we aren't the most green fingered of people. Bar my love of succulents, we wanted something that was easier on the upkeep than what we had because it required a lot of weeding and attention that neither of us really wanted to spend our weekends doing.

We've both still been working full time (also very lucky!), but had some time off booked together and worked really hard to get it sorted. Stu in particular worked ridiculously hard, turning his hand to woodwork and he has really taken to it! He took out over 16 old conifer tree stumps we'd had taken down last summer (they were in the middle of our garden in a line for some bizarre reason!), and cut down several huge trees that were blocking light from our garden and were planted in really impractical places.







We were given a free shed that needed the floor replacing, roof repairing, roof trim replacing and more. Stu got to work, I got to painting, and this is the after! Stu also made us the amazing bench with a planter either side. This whole area was full of bushes before, and a rotten cooking apple tree, so we levelled it, and lined it, and moved the gravel you see from another part of the garden to here to make it a nicer area. The bench planters have a couple of succulents in each that should hopefully soon spread to fill them out nicely.





While the shed project was going on we were also dealing with the actual garden itself. We don't have any particularly good before photos because we didn't quite anticipate how much we were going to drastically change it, and a lot of the photos I can find are low resolution phone photos, but this photo of our sweet late Ashen playing in the garden with Stu gives you a pretty good idea of how it used to look.








   
          

This is the back of the garden, the left photo shows where the shed now sits, and the right photo gives you an idea of the conifer line before we had it cut down last year, and the hugely overgrown border full of trees.

         

Very overgrown boarders that were really wonky, a weird half white fence at the back wall, a line of conifers in the middle of the garden that meant a whole section of it was accessible for some unknown reason, as well as a bunch of large conifers in the back corner. Sadly the biggest conifer belongs to our neighbour, not us, so we can't do a whole lot about that one bar cut back what comes across into our garden. We also plan to sort out that wibbly wobbly half fallen down fence ASAP too, it's not ours so we're just going to put a new one on our side.



And the after! Conifers gone, lawn edged so it's not wonky, borders relined and regravelled, and a corner section fenced off for Stu's wood store for his wood work! The garden is so much bigger without the weird line of conifers that blocked off the back of the garden. We plant to totally cover the gravelled area in a variety of mismatching pots and planters full of succulents grown from our wedding flowers, and my G and Grandma's funeral flowers. I just need more pots! We had 2 tonnes of gravel delivered, and need another tonne really just to fill out the border properly. Stu made the edging from old decking board that I painted.


                    

My Mum and Dad propograted these aloe vera for us from ones they have in their garden, and I've been repotting some of my extensive collection of succulents that live indoors (after researching which ones can surive outdoors in the UK!). We have a lot of plans for more plants as it does look a little sparce in the large borders at the moment, but we aim to use pots and planters to make the borders more manageable. Weeding is the worst! We've left one ground conifer in, a castor oil plant, and a pieris, the latter two were somewhat hidden by the old giant conifers so we're hoping they will thrive now they have lots more room and light.

The area behind the conifers was a barren wasteland of weeds and mess. It meant we needed to figure out the best way to turn it all into actual garden and grass, so we decided to attempt to transplant some of the old wonky border we had removed into the newly dug over area. And it worked! We then kept an eye out on Facebook for anyone giving away free turf (which happened a surprising amount locally), or selling it really cheap, and we were able to source a whole bunch more turf, enough to fill the huge void that had been left and some.



We ended up with a very patchwork looking lawn at the back once we had laid all the turf, and some of it looked like it might not recover because it was so dry and hot when we did it.

Thankfully with some grass seed thrown on top with a bit of extra soil in the 'seams', and some very heavy rain, it is knitting together nicely and so much new growth has come through.




You can see how mismatched it was in these photos, like a quilt! You can barely tell now, and with the weather we've had it suddenly shot up with growth and Stu was finally able to cut the grass. It's now all a lush green thanks to the rain! It's unreal how much bigger the garden is without the weird conifer row and the extra grass. We've no idea why on earth anyone would put a row of such big trees in the middle of their garden!




It's been a huge project, and it's not quite finished yet, but getting hold of some of the bits we need to finish it off has been tricky due to the pandemic. For example, when we needed to paint the shed nowhere was doing click and collect on outdoor paint as it's a non essential item, and paint is considered hazardous so it's tricker to mail it out. We happened to mention it in the family group chat and next thing we knew my Uncle Tony had dropped off a whole tin of paint, some brand new paint brushes and some safety gloves for us to work in the garden! Thanks Uncle Tony!

I just have to give a HUGE shout out to my awesome husband Stu. He worked his butt off to get the garden ready for when the gravel was delivered, singlehandedly digging out so many tree stumps, cutting down trees, heavy lifting etc. He has been amazing and worked so hard, coming home from work after getting up at 4am and immediately going out in the garden to get on with the next job. I am so lucky to have him, he kept us on track and honestly did the vast majority of the work the garden needed while I did things like weeding and painting, he did all the hard manual labour.

We can't wait to be able to safely have our loved ones round for BBQs to enjoy it properly! If you have a favourite place for cheap but good quality plant pots from (ceramic and concrete is the preference) let me know where you got them from.

Much love,
Kitty
xxxxxx

Our Garden Makeover

Thursday, 25 June 2020

During lockdown, like many people, my husband Stu and I started a big house project, and we've totally over hauled our whole back garden. We are very lucky to have a large back garden (thank you Grimsby house prices), but we aren't the most green fingered of people. Bar my love of succulents, we wanted something that was easier on the upkeep than what we had because it required a lot of weeding and attention that neither of us really wanted to spend our weekends doing.

We've both still been working full time (also very lucky!), but had some time off booked together and worked really hard to get it sorted. Stu in particular worked ridiculously hard, turning his hand to woodwork and he has really taken to it! He took out over 16 old conifer tree stumps we'd had taken down last summer (they were in the middle of our garden in a line for some bizarre reason!), and cut down several huge trees that were blocking light from our garden and were planted in really impractical places.







We were given a free shed that needed the floor replacing, roof repairing, roof trim replacing and more. Stu got to work, I got to painting, and this is the after! Stu also made us the amazing bench with a planter either side. This whole area was full of bushes before, and a rotten cooking apple tree, so we levelled it, and lined it, and moved the gravel you see from another part of the garden to here to make it a nicer area. The bench planters have a couple of succulents in each that should hopefully soon spread to fill them out nicely.





While the shed project was going on we were also dealing with the actual garden itself. We don't have any particularly good before photos because we didn't quite anticipate how much we were going to drastically change it, and a lot of the photos I can find are low resolution phone photos, but this photo of our sweet late Ashen playing in the garden with Stu gives you a pretty good idea of how it used to look.








   
          

This is the back of the garden, the left photo shows where the shed now sits, and the right photo gives you an idea of the conifer line before we had it cut down last year, and the hugely overgrown border full of trees.

         

Very overgrown boarders that were really wonky, a weird half white fence at the back wall, a line of conifers in the middle of the garden that meant a whole section of it was accessible for some unknown reason, as well as a bunch of large conifers in the back corner. Sadly the biggest conifer belongs to our neighbour, not us, so we can't do a whole lot about that one bar cut back what comes across into our garden. We also plan to sort out that wibbly wobbly half fallen down fence ASAP too, it's not ours so we're just going to put a new one on our side.



And the after! Conifers gone, lawn edged so it's not wonky, borders relined and regravelled, and a corner section fenced off for Stu's wood store for his wood work! The garden is so much bigger without the weird line of conifers that blocked off the back of the garden. We plant to totally cover the gravelled area in a variety of mismatching pots and planters full of succulents grown from our wedding flowers, and my G and Grandma's funeral flowers. I just need more pots! We had 2 tonnes of gravel delivered, and need another tonne really just to fill out the border properly. Stu made the edging from old decking board that I painted.


                    

My Mum and Dad propograted these aloe vera for us from ones they have in their garden, and I've been repotting some of my extensive collection of succulents that live indoors (after researching which ones can surive outdoors in the UK!). We have a lot of plans for more plants as it does look a little sparce in the large borders at the moment, but we aim to use pots and planters to make the borders more manageable. Weeding is the worst! We've left one ground conifer in, a castor oil plant, and a pieris, the latter two were somewhat hidden by the old giant conifers so we're hoping they will thrive now they have lots more room and light.

The area behind the conifers was a barren wasteland of weeds and mess. It meant we needed to figure out the best way to turn it all into actual garden and grass, so we decided to attempt to transplant some of the old wonky border we had removed into the newly dug over area. And it worked! We then kept an eye out on Facebook for anyone giving away free turf (which happened a surprising amount locally), or selling it really cheap, and we were able to source a whole bunch more turf, enough to fill the huge void that had been left and some.



We ended up with a very patchwork looking lawn at the back once we had laid all the turf, and some of it looked like it might not recover because it was so dry and hot when we did it.

Thankfully with some grass seed thrown on top with a bit of extra soil in the 'seams', and some very heavy rain, it is knitting together nicely and so much new growth has come through.




You can see how mismatched it was in these photos, like a quilt! You can barely tell now, and with the weather we've had it suddenly shot up with growth and Stu was finally able to cut the grass. It's now all a lush green thanks to the rain! It's unreal how much bigger the garden is without the weird conifer row and the extra grass. We've no idea why on earth anyone would put a row of such big trees in the middle of their garden!




It's been a huge project, and it's not quite finished yet, but getting hold of some of the bits we need to finish it off has been tricky due to the pandemic. For example, when we needed to paint the shed nowhere was doing click and collect on outdoor paint as it's a non essential item, and paint is considered hazardous so it's tricker to mail it out. We happened to mention it in the family group chat and next thing we knew my Uncle Tony had dropped off a whole tin of paint, some brand new paint brushes and some safety gloves for us to work in the garden! Thanks Uncle Tony!

I just have to give a HUGE shout out to my awesome husband Stu. He worked his butt off to get the garden ready for when the gravel was delivered, singlehandedly digging out so many tree stumps, cutting down trees, heavy lifting etc. He has been amazing and worked so hard, coming home from work after getting up at 4am and immediately going out in the garden to get on with the next job. I am so lucky to have him, he kept us on track and honestly did the vast majority of the work the garden needed while I did things like weeding and painting, he did all the hard manual labour.

We can't wait to be able to safely have our loved ones round for BBQs to enjoy it properly! If you have a favourite place for cheap but good quality plant pots from (ceramic and concrete is the preference) let me know where you got them from.

Much love,
Kitty
xxxxxx

Where Have I Been?

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

You might have noticed that over the last year I essentially vanished from my blog, bar the odd post. It's not the first time I've done it, but it has been for the longest period of time. 

2019 was rough. Really rough. Stu and I lost far too many family members, and we had to attend more funerals than any family should have to attend in such a short time. Within 4 days last year we attended 2 funerals for my side of the family, as well as what seemed like countless others. We lost people we dearly loved, some young, beautiful souls and it impacted us both deeply. It seemed frivilous to write about pretty dresses and make up and shiny things when our families were in so much pain. 2020 hasn't been much better, losing dear friends and this awful pandemic to boot, as well as the many first anniversarys of those we lost last year. Grandma, Jayne, Uncle Richard, Alys, Uncle Danny, Andie, you are all so missed.



One person in particular I want to share is Stu's cousin Alys, because she also blogged and her talent for writing was amazing. Al was the sort of person who made everyone feel welcome, she was instantly your friend. Sadly not long after the birth of her son Teddy she was diagnosed with cancer. She passed away in May last year. Alys wrote a blog of a lot of her journey, and her words will make you laugh, and destroy you all within the same blog post. Please read it, she was such a talented writer and the most wonderful human.


After losing so many family members, to really finish the year off, we had to say goodbye to our beloved dog Ashen. He had been diagnosed with arthritis many years ago, and despite supplements and medication, it sadly got too much for him and we had to make the decision to put him to sleep. He was in so much pain and it was the right thing to do, but it's also so hard to make that decision. I miss him endlessly. I miss seeing his wagging tail as soon as I wake up in the morning, I miss opening the front door to him being stood so close to it I can barely get in the house because he was so excited to see me. I miss the cuddles and his daftness. He was the goodest of boys and I don't think the house will ever not seem eerily quiet. He was my best friend.


A few weeks ago we also had to say goodbye to Ashen's little best mate, our cat Lemmy Katmister. I still remember writing an introduction to him on this blog. He was the baby of our little zoo, aptly named because he was the noisiest cat you could ever have met. He developed a tooth abcess and during the operation to remove his tooth they realised that he had further lesions down his throat and riddling his insides, cancer. We didn't get to say goodbye because of the pandemic which was so hard, but I hope he knew how loved he was.


So the last year or so hasn't been the best. In fact it's been the worst. So I felt no need to write. I didn't have any words that seemed to fit here, or that seemed necessary to share. The only place I have been writing is for PokémonGOHub, because one of the few things that has made me smile during all this, as daft as it sounds, has been PokémonGO. If you want to read any of my posts for them, they're all here. I focus on AR photography mostly, because what could be more cute than bringing Pokémon into the real world. 


So yeah. That's where I've been. Is this a comeback? I'm not sure. But I felt the need to revamp my blog, it has a whole new look (I was never happy with the old layout, this is SO much better), and I might just appear from time to time.

I don't know about anyone else, but I can't wait to be able to give my family a hug when it's safer.

Much love,
Kitty
xxxxx

Where Have I Been?

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

You might have noticed that over the last year I essentially vanished from my blog, bar the odd post. It's not the first time I've done it, but it has been for the longest period of time. 

2019 was rough. Really rough. Stu and I lost far too many family members, and we had to attend more funerals than any family should have to attend in such a short time. Within 4 days last year we attended 2 funerals for my side of the family, as well as what seemed like countless others. We lost people we dearly loved, some young, beautiful souls and it impacted us both deeply. It seemed frivilous to write about pretty dresses and make up and shiny things when our families were in so much pain. 2020 hasn't been much better, losing dear friends and this awful pandemic to boot, as well as the many first anniversarys of those we lost last year. Grandma, Jayne, Uncle Richard, Alys, Uncle Danny, Andie, you are all so missed.



One person in particular I want to share is Stu's cousin Alys, because she also blogged and her talent for writing was amazing. Al was the sort of person who made everyone feel welcome, she was instantly your friend. Sadly not long after the birth of her son Teddy she was diagnosed with cancer. She passed away in May last year. Alys wrote a blog of a lot of her journey, and her words will make you laugh, and destroy you all within the same blog post. Please read it, she was such a talented writer and the most wonderful human.


After losing so many family members, to really finish the year off, we had to say goodbye to our beloved dog Ashen. He had been diagnosed with arthritis many years ago, and despite supplements and medication, it sadly got too much for him and we had to make the decision to put him to sleep. He was in so much pain and it was the right thing to do, but it's also so hard to make that decision. I miss him endlessly. I miss seeing his wagging tail as soon as I wake up in the morning, I miss opening the front door to him being stood so close to it I can barely get in the house because he was so excited to see me. I miss the cuddles and his daftness. He was the goodest of boys and I don't think the house will ever not seem eerily quiet. He was my best friend.


A few weeks ago we also had to say goodbye to Ashen's little best mate, our cat Lemmy Katmister. I still remember writing an introduction to him on this blog. He was the baby of our little zoo, aptly named because he was the noisiest cat you could ever have met. He developed a tooth abcess and during the operation to remove his tooth they realised that he had further lesions down his throat and riddling his insides, cancer. We didn't get to say goodbye because of the pandemic which was so hard, but I hope he knew how loved he was.


So the last year or so hasn't been the best. In fact it's been the worst. So I felt no need to write. I didn't have any words that seemed to fit here, or that seemed necessary to share. The only place I have been writing is for PokémonGOHub, because one of the few things that has made me smile during all this, as daft as it sounds, has been PokémonGO. If you want to read any of my posts for them, they're all here. I focus on AR photography mostly, because what could be more cute than bringing Pokémon into the real world. 


So yeah. That's where I've been. Is this a comeback? I'm not sure. But I felt the need to revamp my blog, it has a whole new look (I was never happy with the old layout, this is SO much better), and I might just appear from time to time.

I don't know about anyone else, but I can't wait to be able to give my family a hug when it's safer.

Much love,
Kitty
xxxxx

Stu is Shaving his Head for Charity!

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

It's been a while hasn't it? I'm not sure quite where my blog is or isn't going at the moment, but I wanted to share something that is happening on Saturday. My husband Stu is shaving his head for the charity Mummy's Star in memory of his late cousin Alys. Stu has had long hair for the last 13 years, I've never seen anything but photos of him with short hair, and this Saturday, the whole lot is coming off! I've chucked some photos in this post to show off his mane so you can see why it's a big deal for him.


Mummy's Star are an incredible charity. To quote their website, 'Mummy's Star is the only charity in the UK and Ireland dedicated to supporting pregnancy through cancer and beyond. Your donation means that women diagnosed with any cancer during pregnancy or within a year of a birth are able to reach Mummy's Star and the specialised support they offer. They help families to meet others in a similar position, offer small grants to relieve some financial burden, give support to partners and the wider family, promote awareness and support research. 

We aim to be in a position where any woman presenting with cancer during pregnancy/post birth at any hospital nationally is referred to Mummy’s Star and accesses the support we offer.'

Why Mummy's Star? I've taken Stu's words from his fundraising page to explain why - 

'Alys was born at ROUGHLY the same time that I was adopted.  Her, and her 2 brothers Dan and Craig were my 1st, and my longest standing friends as well as part of a very close family. We spent most school holidays together, as well as frequent weekends at our grandparents house.  As we grew older real life intervened, however the annual family reunions always gave us a chance to reconnect, and Alys was always completely instrumental in the organising of these.  Her 20+ person xmas dinners (prepared with the help of my sister Ella) will go down as the stuff of legends.

To say Alys was inspiration would be a gross understatement. Through every step of this vile illness she blogged in a way which gave not only fellow patients, but as as family and friends so much insight, laughs, tears, and comfort with all she was going through. She kept the bravest of faces on for so much of the time, not just for herself, but for those around her, and fought with everything she had.

She left behind not just us, but a husband and her son Teddo, who is SO like her it is unreal. Every time you look at that little man she just shines out of him, both in appearance, and the cheekiest grin you probably ever saw... he definitely got that from her.

The support they all received from this amazing charity has made a horrible time just a little bit better for them, and at the end of the day, it's things like that that make a difference. We all miss that girl every single day, and if through this, I can give a little back, I like to think she'd approve. I broke £1400 when I shaved my beard a few years ago so have set a minimum target of £1500 for this. I'm not in any particular rush to get it done so ultimately it's down to all you lovely people how quickly it happens. We Love you Al xx'

If you'd like to donate, this is Stu's fundraiser https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stuart-morris36

If you'd like to read Aly's incredible (and I warn you, absolutely heartbreaking) blog, I highly recommend having your tissues at the ready https://bestalys.com/. Alys's last post was May 6th 2019, and sadly, she left this world on 1st June 2019, at the age of 41.

Much love,
Kitty xxx

Stu is Shaving his Head for Charity!

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

It's been a while hasn't it? I'm not sure quite where my blog is or isn't going at the moment, but I wanted to share something that is happening on Saturday. My husband Stu is shaving his head for the charity Mummy's Star in memory of his late cousin Alys. Stu has had long hair for the last 13 years, I've never seen anything but photos of him with short hair, and this Saturday, the whole lot is coming off! I've chucked some photos in this post to show off his mane so you can see why it's a big deal for him.


Mummy's Star are an incredible charity. To quote their website, 'Mummy's Star is the only charity in the UK and Ireland dedicated to supporting pregnancy through cancer and beyond. Your donation means that women diagnosed with any cancer during pregnancy or within a year of a birth are able to reach Mummy's Star and the specialised support they offer. They help families to meet others in a similar position, offer small grants to relieve some financial burden, give support to partners and the wider family, promote awareness and support research. 

We aim to be in a position where any woman presenting with cancer during pregnancy/post birth at any hospital nationally is referred to Mummy’s Star and accesses the support we offer.'

Why Mummy's Star? I've taken Stu's words from his fundraising page to explain why - 

'Alys was born at ROUGHLY the same time that I was adopted.  Her, and her 2 brothers Dan and Craig were my 1st, and my longest standing friends as well as part of a very close family. We spent most school holidays together, as well as frequent weekends at our grandparents house.  As we grew older real life intervened, however the annual family reunions always gave us a chance to reconnect, and Alys was always completely instrumental in the organising of these.  Her 20+ person xmas dinners (prepared with the help of my sister Ella) will go down as the stuff of legends.

To say Alys was inspiration would be a gross understatement. Through every step of this vile illness she blogged in a way which gave not only fellow patients, but as as family and friends so much insight, laughs, tears, and comfort with all she was going through. She kept the bravest of faces on for so much of the time, not just for herself, but for those around her, and fought with everything she had.

She left behind not just us, but a husband and her son Teddo, who is SO like her it is unreal. Every time you look at that little man she just shines out of him, both in appearance, and the cheekiest grin you probably ever saw... he definitely got that from her.

The support they all received from this amazing charity has made a horrible time just a little bit better for them, and at the end of the day, it's things like that that make a difference. We all miss that girl every single day, and if through this, I can give a little back, I like to think she'd approve. I broke £1400 when I shaved my beard a few years ago so have set a minimum target of £1500 for this. I'm not in any particular rush to get it done so ultimately it's down to all you lovely people how quickly it happens. We Love you Al xx'

If you'd like to donate, this is Stu's fundraiser https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stuart-morris36

If you'd like to read Aly's incredible (and I warn you, absolutely heartbreaking) blog, I highly recommend having your tissues at the ready https://bestalys.com/. Alys's last post was May 6th 2019, and sadly, she left this world on 1st June 2019, at the age of 41.

Much love,
Kitty xxx