The Next Chapter | Pupdate

It’s a big decision to get a dog, massive. But once that decision is made, then oh the joy of expectation. My last pupdate was sharing our experience of visiting various dog rescue centre after out initial thought was to adopt a rescue dog. But as that didn’t quite work out as we were expecting, we have formulated another plan……

14th April, 2018

Today we visited Bleakholt Animal Rescue in Ramsbottom in out attempt to give a rescue dog it’s forever home. However this was our 4th rescue centre we had looked round without really seeing a dog that we could consider adopting. We sat on a bench in the sunshine and started to discuss our options, which after some discussion led us down one particular and unexpected path. Yes, you lovely people, you guessed right, we have decided to get a puppy!!!!!

Not our neighbours dog, but still the cutest. Google images rules!

We always disregarded getting a puppy as obviously it’s a lot of work and also I am big fan of rescue dogs. But after our experiences of the local rescue centres, we think that getting a puppy is our next option.

15th April 2018

Sooooooo, the first step was to invite our very lovely neighbours round as they have a puppy that is around 12 months old and we firstly, wanted puppy cuddles and secondly to mine them for information!

The brought round their little waggy one and it was a total joy to have him in the house. He’s such a sweet natured dog and he was inquisitive and giddy and simply loved a tug of war. He’s a Cavapoo, which is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel crossed with a Poodle – just adorable. Our neighbours were brilliant and told us all about their experiences and it really helped to answer some questions that we had as well as calm any nerves. We aren’t totally sure what breed of dog we want just yet, but we think we have selected the breeder that we want to work with.

However, after contacting them today, we might have to wait a few weeks as once dogs are ready to leave the mum, the breeder isn’t able to hold them. We have a family holiday planned in a few weeks, so the timing is a little off. The upshot is that it’s M’s birthday early May and we already had annual leave planned. So guess what… on his birthday, we are going to look for a puppy!!!!!!

So just a few more weeks to wait until things get real…. I am honestly SOOO excited!!!ย ๐Ÿ’—ย ๐Ÿถย ๐Ÿ’—

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Getting a Dog | Pupdate

I love dogs, like LOVE them. I have never wanted children, totally not my thing. Dogs are my thing. We had Peggy dog from 2004-2013 and when we lost her we were so devastated that up until recently, we haven’t felt ready to have another pupster in the house. There were lots of other factors and things to consider and the time never really felt right, but in the last few months things, things have changed and the upshot is that last weekend we started the search for a doggy to share our lives with. Here’s the story so far:

Sunday 8th April 2018

OK, today is the day we start our search for a dog. As Peggy dog was a rescue, we have decided to try and adopt another dog. However, we drove past the place we got Peggy from yesterday and there were protestors outside brandishing banners that said things like “Dogs Die Here”. So maybe we won’t go there! We decided to go to The Dogs Trust in Manchester instead here:

When we arrived it was MASSIVE with plenty of parking and many branded vehicles outside. However inside the experience was a little…clinical. It was a huge double height building, with big indoor areas containing park benches and places to exercise dogs (presumably). But there was no reception as such and the staff we did see where dealing with other people or doing other things. It also wasn’t very clear where the dogs where at first, as we thought we could see kennels, but not many dogs. We were sort of separated from the perspex kennels by a walkway and a wall. The wall contained mounted iPads which held each dog’s photograph, story, and sometimes a short video, but the actual dog was more often than not, not visible in the kennel. We didn’t know what to do, so to be honest, after a short look round, we left. I am sure it works very well for lots of people as there is no doubt it’s an excellent facility, but for me, it was more like a school or hospital and I personally, didn’t get a good vibe. Shame.

We sat in the car and decided we would remain positive and try the Dogs Trust in Merseyside here:

From the start our visit here was much more successful as it was busier and there seemed to be many more dogs to look at. They were in more traditional kennels, which meant it was easier to see the dogs and to get an idea of size and temperament. We walked around for a while, saying hello to each dog in turn, trying hard to resist the urge to kidnap every pair of sad doggie eyes and waggy tails we saw. Do you know what was really interesting, the main 2 type of dogs that we saw in both Dogs Trust centres were Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Lurchers! It’s a shame as neither of these breeds appeal to us for different reasons.

However, towards the of our time there, we came across a terrier cross called Dexter.

I think we can all agree he’s pretty cute. We went to the office and spoke to a staff member and she told us that he hadn’t been properly assessed yet, but after checking she told us a bit about him, including the worrying news that he had shown aggression towards children. M & I have 2 nieces under 13 and so we quickly realised that unfortunately Dexter would not find his forever home with us. Sad times. However after visiting the Merseyside centre, we left more hopeful and decided to continue our search another day.

Saturday 14th April 2018

Today’s dog search took us a little further afield, as during the week both people in my office and one of my Twitter friends had suggested alternative rescue centres for us to try. The first one being Freshfields Animal Sanctuary here:

It took us a little longer to get there than usual for 2 reasons, one being today is Grand National Day and the second one being, despite Sat Nav, I took a wrong turn and ended up in Race Day traffic! ANYWAY…. we arrived at Freshfields and there wasn’t any parking, which was ok as we parked in a little lane nearby. We followed the signs for the entrance, but the first odd thing was that we had ring a doorbell for someone to let us in. It turns out, they don’t have any public viewing facilities and they kicked off by asking if we had seen a dog we liked on the website. We hadn’t.ย  We were then shown to reception and given a folder of prospective dogs to look through, then if we liked any of them, and we met the criteria, the dog would be brought out to meet us. I don’t know why, but this felt like I was hiring a prostitute in a brothel.ย ๐Ÿ˜ฃ

But we politely perused the books just in case, but ultimately left with a slightly odd feeling. *sighs*. So our final place that someone had told me about was a place called Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary in Ramsbottom.ย  So we set off, wondering what on earth we would find when we got there.

Bleakholt is here:

Again, despite Sat Nav, it was a little tricky to find, especially because my route took me up a large hill and down some tiny country lanes, but as it turned out, that was exactly right and we did end up in the right place! Bleakholt was lovely, it’s positioned with 360ยฐ stunning views and not only rescues dogs and cats, but some large and small animals too.

We found reception and a lovely lady told us all about the rehoming procedure and where all the kennels where. Bleakholt probably had about 20-25 dogs for adoption and the place was packed out with prospective owners. There were lots of staff/volunteers around and about and it was a lovely place to visit. We even met a sheep:

But despite the good vibes, we didn’t find a dog for our family.ย ๐Ÿถ We did however, sit on a bench in the sunshine and start to formulate another plan…..

You might just have to keep your eye on gilliblogs.co.uk to see what happens next… I for one am VERY excited!!!

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I’ve been invited to a party at Buckingham Palace!

Nope this is not click bait. Yes, I HAVE been invited to a party at Buckingham Palace, in fact I have been invited to a Garden Party to celebrate HRH The Prince of Wales 70th Birthday. The party I am going to is on the 22nd May 2018 and is just 3 days after the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Yes, I KNOW.

I know what you are thinking, “How does one get invited to a Royal birthday party?”. Well as you might know by now, I work for The Prince’s Trust, which is a charity that was started by HRH in 1976. He is the president and often pops up at important functions and things. All the staff were told earlier this year that HRH was having a celebratory garden party as part of his birthday celebrations (his actual birthday is in November) and that the Trust had been allocated 200 invitations. Staff had nominate people, including any one of the 1,000 people that work for the trust, also including any of the hundreds of delivery partner staff and 1,000s of volunteers. Basically, I had no chance.

But, as it turns out, someone DID nominate me and a few of my colleagues and we all got an email about a month ago to invite us along. I. AM. THRILLED.

I have to be honest though, this isn’t my first Royal Garden Party, as I went to one in 2016 which celebrated The Prince’s Trust’s 40th Anniversary. It was an amazing day as I was surrounded by celebrities and my head was constantly on a swivel. Glorious.

What is going to be cool is that I am going down the day before and staying at the Hub at Covent Garden which is a Premier Inn and not very far from both London Euston Station and Buckingham Palace. It’s not exorbitantly expensive for London at ยฃ140 and it was a little pressie to myself after my PPI payout. ๐Ÿ™‚

I am also really pleased as a little gang of us are going from the Team I was working with at the beginning of the year. They all work for The Trust and live and work all around the UK. They are the loveliest bunch of smashers you could ever meet and I am SO looking forward to seeing them all again. I feel so honoured to have been invited – twice in 2 years, what a lucky girl I am!

So I need an outfit (obviously) and a hat or fascinator. I think I can see a little shopping trip in my near future!!! Happy days.

G x

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My No Faff PPI Pay out (Not click bait)

Occasionally Social Media can be used for good and occasionally social media does good. I think I might have found a little bit of good fortune, this time in Instagram. In the last 6 months or so I started to follow beauty blogger Caroline Hironsย onย Instagram, mainly because her little rants are very funny and she is the first beauty blogger I have come across that is vaguely my age. Joy.

Anyway, around Christmas time, Caroline put a thing on her Insta Stories telling her followers that she had seen a way to claim for PPI which was not only reputable, but with minimal faff. She wasn’t paid to mention anything on her social media, she was just pleased that both her and her husband had received some compensation.

Now the whole PPI claim thing has been going on for years and I have avoided it like the plague, mainly because of the incessant phone calls and the fact that I could never find all the documentation you seemed to need to provide. I could never quite be bothered. So when Caroline said you only had to provide some basic details and everything would be done for you, I thought, well why not. Especiallyย  as the link Caroline shared was for consumer experts WHICH.

The link took me to a form to fill in, which I did, one for each separate claim and each one needing my basic demographics, the type of account/loan and why I thought I had a PPI claim. That was it! My reason for each claim was that I didn’t understand the PPI (true story) and that I didn’t have more specific details. I filled in one for every lender or bank I had had dealings with as far as I could remember and left it at that. No account numbers (long forgotten), no exact details, no dates even. Sorted.

So if you were ever thinking of giving it a go, here is the link I used:

https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-to-reclaim-mis-sold-ppi

If you can’t remember which companies you have had accounts with, then you can check your credit file free of charge easily too. Full disclosure, a couple of the companies, I filed complaints against said they couldn’t find anything and asked for more details, and I just didn’t send any. But one of the companies I claimed against, without any more information than I filled in with Which, have just sent me a substantial cheque for mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance. A substantial amount that made me very glad I filled the form in and enough to make me want to share this simple tip with anyone that comes across my blog.

So good luck with your claim. This isn’t an affiliate link, but if you decide to give it a go, all I ask as a thank you, is that you follow me on Instagram. After all, this is where it all started.

G x

p.s. do let me know how you get on. x

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This is not a affiliate or sponsored post.

An 80th Celebration & A Musical Surprise

So on Saturday we travelled to a little town just outside Wrexham in North Wales to celebrate the 80th birthday of on of our lovely family friends. She’s had a tough couple of years with one thing and another and so to turn up to find her enjoying a lovely party with an Afternoon Tea theme was a joy.

What was most unexpected was the surprise performance that her daughters had booked for her and I have to say I was blown away! They were called A Handbag of Harmonies:

They were led by the wonderful Matt Baker and after their heart exploding rendition of Shine by Take That (Swipe left on the above Insta to hear)… I was just blown away. They were incredible and if you are looking for something different for your next event, and you just want to smile for 20 minutes… then look no further. Loved every single minute!

G x

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Do you Qualify as an Adult?

For 20 odd years my mum worked as a Home Help/Carer, which meant she spent a lot of time with older ladies. These women had lived through World War II and were as resourceful as you were ever would be likely to meet. I once went to a “do” at my local workingmens club with them all, (which isn’t as sexist as it sounds, it’s basically just a social club) and my skirt seam split. I stood up in a panic, asking my friends what I should do, but I needn’t have worried. No less than 3 of the ladies approached me with safety pins they had salvaged from their Mary Poppins-esk handbags.

I was astonished that on a Saturday night in 1992, women were randomly carrying around with them a gamut of things to remedy seemingly ANY situation. After a quick survey, I found that the 5 things that qualified adults had about their persons were:

  1. Paracetamol
  2. A Safety Pin(s)
  3. Tissues
  4. A pen
  5. Mints

So I was having a think about this today and it’s been 26 years since my skirt split and so I reckon in 2018, things have massively changed – or have they? I reckon first of all that there are WELL more than 5 things that are bag essentials now and I thought I would share with you my list:

Paracetamol
Phone (obviously)
Tissues
A pen
Headphones
Lip balm
A drink
Sweetener
Lactose free milk
IBS Medication

OK so clearly some of these are very specific to me like the milk and the IBS meds, but honestly I have carried around the rest of the things in my bag as total standard for YEARS! I mean look:

How times have changed. So my question is this, does my bag look like yours? What do you carry day-to-day? Leave me a comment, I’d be dead interested if you think I have left anything out?

G x

 

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Top 10 Audiobook picks | All the Feels

Oh I love an Audiobook – no I mean I really LOVE an audiobook. I have always had an active imagination and remember vividly as a child, being asked to sit on the carpet in Primary School whilst the teacher read a story – my favourite part of the day. Nothing much has changed in 30+ years and I sometimes love being stuck in traffic, listening to whatever tale is wafting its way through my car speakers.ย ๐Ÿ’œ

So, I thought I would put together a collection of my current favourite Audiobooks, just in case you were looking for something new to listen to:

๐Ÿ’œย – The Peter Grant Series by Ben Aaronovitch

I stumbled across this series whilst perusing Audible* one day and fell in love with it. If you like Harry Potter and the idea of being able to do magic, then I think you will love this series. It’s set in London and Peter Grant is a serving police officer in the Met Police. Without giving away too many spoilers, Peter becoming familiar with the magical world in and around London and the way Ben Aaronovitch describes London and actually being a police office is just captivating. It’s narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, who gives every character a unique voice which had me hanging on his every word.

๐Ÿ’œย – How to be Champion by Sarah Millican

If you love funny and you love women, that you will definitely love this audiobook. Sarah Millican herself narrates this lovely book which is half self help and half an autobiography. Reading this made me feel like I was listening to a friend or a big sister. It’s full of hilariously, relatable tales of Sarah growing up, Sarah going through divorce and Sarah becoming a full-time comic. It’s laugh out loud funny and I loved it.

๐Ÿ’œย – Bossypants by Tina Fey

Tina Fey is an American actress and writer that I just love. She used to be head writer at Saturday Night Live (SNL) and it quite simply one of the funniest writers I have ever come across. This story is her autobiography and tells of her growing up, life at university, not fitting in and eventually finding comedy improvisation as a way to meet boys and to make a living. I particularly loved the chapter which describes her time as a receptionist at the YMCA at Evanston, Illinois. Again, so funny, I have listened to it maybe 50 times (is that wrong?ย ๐Ÿ˜ย )

๐Ÿ’œย – The Tent, The Bucket & Me by Emma Kennedy

Another very funny listen from the brilliant Emma Kennedy. I came across Emma on Twitter a few years ago and she had made me laugh every single day. This story is a collection of various disastrous holiday that Emma took with her family when she was a child. I honestly can’t tell you how funny this book is and if you have ever been away with your own family, I am sure that you will be able to relate. Love it.

๐Ÿ’œย – What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

This book is a great story of a woman who wakes up from a “dream” to find out that she has not had a dream, but an accident and has also lost 10 years worth of memories. It tells a fascinating tale of how your life can change all around you and yet somehow you can stay the same. Not my usual listen, but I loved it nonetheless.

๐Ÿ’œย – The Crossing: Conquering the Atlantic in the World’s Toughest Rowing Raceย  by James Cracknell & Ben Fogle.

This book is narrated by both James & Ben and it’s as interesting to list as it is frustrating. James is an ex-Olympic rower and Ben is a TV presenter and adventurer. This story tells their story of rowing across the Atlantic Ocean from both their perspectives, not shying away from their difficulties, arguments and even their dramatic and scary capsize. So interesting, I have listened to it multiple times.

๐Ÿ’œย – Marian Keyes – EVERYTHING SHE HAS EVER WRITTEN

I can’t put a single book here, because I BLOODY LOVEย  Marian Keyes. She is an Irish writer that writes some of the amazingly funny books, mostly centred around the Walsh family, including an Irish mammy and some crazy family members. On a serious note though, Marian is an alcoholic herself and has suffered from poor mental health at times and this too is reflected in her writing. It’s just brilliant. Can’t recommend enough.

๐Ÿ’œย – Life and Laughing: My Story by Michael McIntyre

Michael McIntyre is one of the UK’s most successfulย stand-up comedians of his generation. He’s from London and this autobiography is narrated by Michael and has made me laugh out loud on so many car journeys. It’s the book I listen to, if I need cheering up and there is “funny” sprinkled across every chapter Even in the chapter which tackled the death of his father is told in such a way, you end up smiling. I particularly like the chapter which tackled his teenage years and the time he got the definition erection mixed up with masturbation. The cheekiest kind of funny you can come across.

๐Ÿ’œย – A Tiny Bit Marvelous by Dawn French

This was Dawn French’s debut novel and it’s so touching and layered that you almost HAVE to listen to it more than once to fully appreciate everything that is going on. It centres around a mother and her two teenage children and each chapter is narrated by Dawn, but in the voice and from the perspective of each character. It’s so funny and Dawn’s writing is so true to life I am sure if you have teenagers you can 100% relate. There are also twists and turns in this book that kept me hooked until the very last page.

๐Ÿ’œย – Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads

Alan Bennett is leading playwright and a bit of legend in my eyes. Talking Heads were monologues he wrote in the 80s for the BBC. They are stand alone pieces, each acted out by a series of amazing actors. They each tell a different story, but the common theme are interesting and unusual people at their core. Patricia Routledge, Julie Walter and even Mr Bennett himself tell the stories and they tell some difficult stories in a totally captivating way.ย  Such a classic.

I would love to hear if you have any good books you can recommend – comment below.

Gx

*This is not an ad, Audible is simply my platform of choice.

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