Bits & Bobs

A collection of random diary entries and my favourite photos.

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.  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. 😣

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.  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 360° 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. 🐶 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!!!

Mood:

via GIPHY

 

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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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Being a Feminist Can be Hard Sometimes

So I am feminist. I am pro-women’s right, I am pro equality and more than anything, I will always stick up for women. This doesn’t mean of course, that I love all women and so sometimes, when I have a bad experience, that is particularly female, I sometimes don’t like to admit it. But I have to remind myself that woman are mostly brilliant, but not perfect – whatever that is.

The experience I had recently was to be in a room for the day with 6 women, who all knew each other reasonably well and most of which I know reasonably well too. I have a good enough relationship with them all, one of them is a little cocky IMHO and one of them blows hot and cold in her attitude to me, but that’s ok with me too.

But, after spending a day in their company it struck me that I basically wanted to hit them ALL with a big stick. The reason for this… they spent the entire day talking about dieting and men. Every other conversation was about diet shakes, calorie counting, how rubbish their (their friend’s) husband or boyfriend was and whether or not they, despite being off sugar/on a diet/being good they should have a McDonalds. Made me want to plug up my ears with bourbon biscuits.

It was like being in an episode of Mean Girls where they all judged each other on life choices and seemed to take their worth from their dress size. I mean WHAT?!  If you ever wonder why we still need feminism, then the answer, after a day in the company of these women is yes. They will never read this, but here is my letter to you:

You are beautiful. You are worthy. You are intelligent. You are funny. You are a kick ass human.  None of this is affected by your weight, dress size or (believe it or not) whether or not you eat the burger you so crave. By all mean, do exercise and things to keep healthy, but don’t do it to confirm to some fucked up Kim Kardashian image of perfect. Perfect – DOES NOT EXISTS.

You can can be skinny and facially symmetrical, but be a complete cow and therefore couldn’t be less beautiful. So girls, be proud of who you are and remember that you are so much more that what you weigh. You are amazing and don’t let a number on a scale tell you any different. You are warriors.

G x

 

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Why can’t all restaurants be like Nandos?

So as you know, I have been travelling around the UK over the last few months for work and as such, I have had to find somewhere to eat in whatever town I am  in. As someone who is Lactose Intolerance, this can be more of a challenge than it sounds.

Recently, I was in Leicester and stayed at the Premier Inn, right in the middle of town. As part of the deal I got a “Premier Breakfast” included, which was advertised in the hotel’s lift.

This picture contains the following items:

  • Pancakes
  • Bagel
  • Croissants
  • French Patisserie
  • Cooked breakfast
  • Fruit
  • Yoghurt
  • Juice 
  • Coffee

The items in red contain Dairy, the items in do not. The cooked breakfast is half and half as some of the cooked items do and some don’t. So actually the Premier Inn breakfast is a no-no for me.

Then of course the Premier Inn has a restaurant and as you can see from the menu below, it contains SO much dairy it’s ridiculous. It’s ok, I get it, cheese is delicious and butter is so tasty for cooking with.

But would it be so hard to add a few more options, or at least make it easy to see which food contains what? Which leads me nicely to Nandos. My second night in Leicester, I decided to go to Nandos for some chicken. Before I visited, I decided to check out the menu online. I was therefore THRILLED to find I could very easily filter it by items that DID NOT CONTAIN MILK!!

This is the first time I have seen this and honestly, it made such a difference to my personal dining experience.

It meant that I could eat in confidence, knowing that I wouldn’t have a reaction. Bravo Nandos, thank you for catering for those us with special requirements. It seems to me that ALL restaurants have this information about their foods, it just isn’t commonplace for us as customers to see/use it in order to make an informed selection.

Let’s hope more restaurants follow Nandos lead and let the filtering begin.

G x

 

 

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My YouTube Channel is being de-monetised

I have been creating videos on YouTube since 2009, before I even knew “vlogging” was a thing. I have always loved having that creative freedom to commit anything to video and then have those memories saved within YouTube. From around 2013 – 2015 I had a break from creating videos and then I decided to pick up my camera again and got a little more serious in my content creation.

One of the reasons I took things a little more serious, was that YouTube had changed in my absence and I found out I could monetize my videos – “Ok” I thought, I’m in. Of course I have never made ANY money over those 2+ years of monetization, despite having over 72,000 views to date.

But after logging in to YouTube this afternoon after a little day-job related absence, I saw a notification to tell me from next month, my channel is being de-monetised as it doesn’t meet the criteria of 4,000 watch hours and 1,000 subscribers. 😣 . *sighs*

So I guess I have a decision to make as to whether I carry on my channel, I still enjoy making videos and I’ve only had a hiatus as my day-job has changed, which doesn’t leave me with enough time or energy to create things each week. I need to have a think about it.

I have to say though, that I have continued to blog throughout this intense work period and so maybe this is where my heart actually lies. But either way, if you have got all the way to the end of this blog, I would like to thank you for reading and for your support.

I have always loved keeping a sort of online diary and even though I have loved working with brands, this isn’t why I do it. I love just simply keeping a note of where I have been, what I have done and in doing that, passing on any useful information I might have collected along the way.

Anyway, Happy Sunday people – thanks for stopping by!

Gill x

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I’m not beautiful – but actually I am.

So much of acceptance in society is based on how we look, how we present ourselves to the world. At this time of year especially, when seemingly every TV advert, documentary and online article is focussed on people losing weight and becoming a “new person”. But frankly diet culture is very wearing.

I’m in the middle of my own weight loss journey, but it’s very important to remind myself why I started. I was unhealthily overweight, I think the term you might use is “medically obese”. I couldn’t climb stairs and I struggled to get clothes to fit me, my resting HR was too high and I was at risk of Type 2 diabetes (which runs in my family).

You see, beauty has nothing to do with weight or dress size and I know this for a fact. I used to work with a girl years ago who, on nights out, used to get approached by guys ALL the time. She was an exotic looking brunette which was a big hit with every penis within 5 feet of her. However, this particular girl was also an absolute hard-faced cow so no matter how symmetrical her face, her bitchy nature used to shine through if you spent more than 10 minutes with her. *Side note* I bumped into this person a couple of years ago at a funeral of all places and we exchanged brief pleasantries.  Later when I needed to get past her in a room full of mourners, she firstly pretended that she didn’t hear me when I said the the standard “Excuse me”,  I tried again with no response and eventually when I tapped her shoulder and repeated my request, she moved perhaps an inch, so I still couldn’t get really get past with bumping into people’s chairs. We had no beef whatsoever, but like I said, 🐮.

But I digress. Beauty is definitely something that different people have a different idea of, which is one of the wonderful things about it. I have known people that were long-term single  and heard them lament about different people that they knew that were happily in relationships whilst they remained on the shelf. One was even more candid than perhaps they intended to be wondering out loud why a person they knew had a boyfriend, when that person “didn’t go to the gym or anything”. I remember thinking at the time that perhaps that comment explained her singledom, but who am I to judge….

My point is basically this. Beauty is whatever you want it to be and it doesn’t depend on how you look. That’s not to say, don’t try to look good, whatever that means to you. Wear clothes because they make you feel kick-ass and not because you think you should or worse, because you think other people will think you look good.

As I get older I care so much less about what other people think about me, but this is something I have learned over time. I think I know what type of clothes suit me and I am now not really swayed by trends. I want to feel sexy and I obviously want my husband to find me attractive, but I know that part of my own power comes from confidence, some of which comes from me wearing stuff I feel amazing in.

They biggest thing I try to do is not say bad things to myself because if anyone told my friends “That looks shit on you” I would immediately jump in and tell them they were wrong, ergo, why did I ever say that to myself?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not perfect at this and there are definitely times when my own confidence takes a knock, but I am actively trying to empower myself in 2018. Women are amazing, beautiful and powerful and this has nothing to do with dress size. Be healthy, be skinny, be bigger, be curvy, big boobs, small boobs, strong, curly, bald, hairy, small, tall or absolutely anything that you like, it’s ALL beautiful. Don’t let anyone, any Instagram or Snapchat filter tell you otherwise or even make you think for one second you aren’t good enough. Unless you are Donald Trump, in which case, you are crap. Otherwise, you are AMAZING!

G x

p.s. this photo is in 2 halves, the first one is taken straight out of the shower and the other one is after I am dressed and I have put some makeup on. My tendency is to think I look like CRAP in the first one, but it’s my face and my face is definitely NOT crap. If I had smiled then the 2 photos would have been the same apart from a bit of mascara and things. Both sides of this image contain me, who works hard, loves her family, laughs at fart jokes, gives back and is kind to strangers. This is my beauty.

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I’ve entered Race for Life!

Ok people get ready, it’s that time of year…..I have entered the 2018 Race for Life. Around this time every year since 2004 I enter this race, which is a 5k that I do to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

I have already lost 3 of my grandparents to cancer and in 2015 I lost mum. I have blogged before about how heartbreaking my mum’s cancer journey was and I honestly wouldn’t want another family to go through it. It almost broke me in two when she passed away.

Also in 2017 I started a fitness journey, which is still ongoing. In July 2017 I did the Haydock Race for Life and I was thrilled to walk around in a decent time, so in 2018 I am hoping to do a sort of run/walk and maybe create a new personal best!

Anyway, if you have got a spare £1 or £5 or anything at all really, I would really appreciate it if you could support me and Cancer Research UK by clicking on the picture below:

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December Update | Getting Healthy

One thing I learned in 2017 is that a pound here or there isn’t the end of the world. My whole reason to try to lose weight was to feel healthier and to fit into my clothes better, which I do! But I am not finished yet. I want to get down to 12 stones and then, even though Weight Watchers still deems this overweight, I know I will feel happy and fit enough to leave it there.

You can see from the calendar above, I actually put 2lbs on in December, but I am not too worried as this encompassed the wonderfulness that is Christmas and I enjoyed every mouthful. We have also gone for plenty of walks and I have really enjoyed being outside making full use of the park right next to our house.

I am really hoping that I learn to love my body a little more and I am going to work on adjusting my thoughts to be more positive around self-image. I still don’t always like what I see when I look in the mirror, but I am getting better. For Christmas I got a few gorgeous jumpers, all in a size 14 and I was more than a little surprised to see they all fit. This is around a size and a half smaller than I was wearing last year, when I was in a 16/18 top. I was also wearing size 18 jeans, which is definitely a size smaller than last year!! My brain did an odd thing though. The tops that I bought, did fit me, but my brain told me that they must have been a “BIG” size 14, as in, the shops’ sizes must be slightly off. My brain hasn’t adjusted to my weight loss yet but it needs to catch up, as I am sat in one of the said garments right now!  If you are interested, they are my 3 new favourite sweatshirts:

Scamp & Dudehttps://scampanddude.com/product/adult-super-soft-sweatshirt-coral-leopard/

M&S Snowmanhttp://www.marksandspencer.com/snowman-flecked-effect-jumper-with-wool/p/p22336528?&pdpredirect

Next Snowmanhttp://www.next.co.uk/style/st187503#156830

I just want to carry on making healthy choices this year and get fitter, healthier and stronger. This isn’t a New Year’s resolution, but just a continuation of my 2017 mission. I know I can do it, I have come this far and I haven’t finished yet!

G x

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