Tuesday, 31 July 2012

So You Want an African Pygmy Hedgehog?

Since being Freshly Pressed, Herbert is loving all this attention, I must say. He has grown quite a fan base and with that comes a lot of people wanting a pet hedgehog (naturally).

So in this post I'm going to talk about all the care, attention & cleaning they need!

I don't want to say 'worry' (as I'm sure everyone has a brain in their head, or another half/friend/family member that may put you off getting one) but I do get slightly concerned that there may be a couple of unwanted pygmy hedgies after the initial novelty of owning a hedgehog wears off - it hasn't with me, but everyone is different!

Before getting Herbert, we did a lot of research. Like with any pet - they are not something you should ever get on a whim or before knowing you can honestly care to their needs and give them a good life with you. Although pygmy hedgehogs are fairly low maintenance; with respect that they are quite solitary animals & are pretty happy on their own, however when it comes to caring, cleaning & bonding with them you do need a lot time and patience.

I'm going to list a couple of hints, tips and facts for anyone considering getting a pygmy hedgehog. If you still want one at the end of it all - then a hedgehog is for you :)

  • Do your research - its a HEDGEHOG and so classed as an exotic pet. They are very different to cats & dogs and similarly there are no hedgehog 'kennels'... Where would your pet live if you went away on holiday? Do you have a vet nearby that could help if your hoglet became sick? An average hedgehog life span is anywhere between 3-6 years so it is quite a long commitment!

  • They aren't cuddly - Hedgehogs are nocturnal and solitary animals. They really do prefer being alone. You cannot have more than one hog in a cage and you will have to really work to earn their trust! They are grumpy and will try prickle you if they're not happy - not exactly painful, but not nice. When they are 'flat' they feel like stroking a hairbrush!

  • O-dear - they come with a slight smell. If you're a clean, clean person you will notice a certain stench about your pet. Herbert loves his wheel, and will go to the toilet while doing so - put two and two together and you have a poopy covered hog. Although, this goes with the saying - a pet is as clean as you keep them. As much as we clean Herberts cage, we can't stop him getting 'poo boots!'

  • Spacey - unlike hamsters & rats, hedgehogs tend not to climb. When given the chance, I guess they would, however it normally results in injury! A large indoor rabbit cage is essential for the hog to have enough 'floor space' to run around in. Keep that in mind when deciding if you want a hedgehog and if you have enough space for something that size. Popular ones are Zoozone 2 & Savic Rody Rabbit cages.

  • Pricey - Herbert himself cost around £125. His cage alone was £65, plus four x £20 cage liners from eBay; we haven't even got to the toys, food, litter substrate and food pots that they need. Obviously, after the initial 'buy everything you need' faze, buying monthly cat biscuits/litter substrate isn't too bad, but do keep it in mind :)

  • Choosing a hog - Please, please find a reputable breeder when choosing your hog. Avoid pet shops. A hedgehog can very quickly get used to not being handled and so in a pet shop the hog will already be used to being left alone and not being interfered with. If you want a friendly hog, please search around and find a private breeder who perhaps keeps other hedgehogs as pets so you know it is well loved and will be sociable! Hoglets leave their mum around 8 weeks old. We found Herbert through a private breeder listing on Preloved.co.uk.

  • Attention - it's really important, as mentioned above, to hold/interact with your hoglet for an hour minimum every day. This works for us as he can sleep through the day and we get him out for nighttime 'cuddles' (I lay down with a cover over me, while he sleeps under his pouch, occasionally eating biscuits) while watching tv at night. If you're a busy person and can't afford to spend the time with your hedgie, they will soon become accustomed to being on their own and will not enjoy being held.

  • Noms - contrarie to popular belief, hedgehogs cannot eat quite a few things; this includes milk & fish. They are lactose intolerant and cannot digest fish. Their staple diet is cat biscuits (meat flavours - we use Go Cat Indoor & Purina) so again its important to take note of what they can & can't eat.

  • Behaviour - every hedgehog is different. Much like people, most hogs have very different personalities and it isn't a one size fits all situation for how the hog will bond with you (if at all). Some hedgehogs bite, some really don't like being picked up, some are more nervous than others etc. Herbert is quite nervous, huffy and can be grumpy if he hasn't had enough sleep! :) although others will love being held, tickled and interacted with; its not always the case!

  • Cleaning - finally the last thing that does need daily care is cleaning. Hedgehogs can be litter trained (Herbert managed to train himself in the early weeks, however as soon as he got his wheel - all cleanliness went out of the window!) however they will need daily 'poo picks' and cleaned at least once a week. We personally clean Herberts cage every other day, because he seems to like getting mess everywhere!

Those are some of the basics! There are more things like heating, treats & health issues that you should look into. I don't want to put anyone off, but I do want to make people aware that this is similar to any other pet you would get and deserves the same amount of research! I love Herbert to bits and couldn't be happier with my little prickly friend, they're just not for everyone. I'd also point any perspective hedgie owners over to pygmyhogsuk.com site as the forum is fantastic for finding out more info on hedgehogs & their needs!
I hope that helped with any general queries! And if you have any other questions I'd be more than happy to try answer them.


* the first picture is his old cage set up! he now has a much bigger litter tray (actually a B&Q paint roller tray with Yesterdays News substrate) & his flying saucer wheel!


Sunday, 29 July 2012

A Sunday Snap #5

Yay for more Herbert pictures!

Hes a funny little animal to take pictures of. Sometimes it looks like he's so intrigued by my camera that he'll come right out and sniff it (although my camera has a hard time focusing when that happens hah!) so heres a couple more of him, having some cuddles, eating some biscuits, generally being a wriggly bum.

He has just about finished 'quilling' now - a stage in a hedgehogs life where they drop their baby quills and grow some adult ones! It can be quite uncomfortable for them & so they become a little grumpy in the mean time - now he's finished, he has no excuse! :) and so now we can see his true little personality, he really is quite sociable, contrary to what I thought during quilling!

Anyway, my week has included my graduation, lots of yoga & reading. Guess I can't really complain!

Would like to say thank you to all that have congratulated me & I hope you're all having a nice weekend!



Friday, 27 July 2012

Kundalini Yoga : [Maya Fiennes]

A few weeks ago, I put out a question into the world of Twitter; asking for advice on yoga.

I've always loved pilates and yogalates (yoga/pilates blend) for their physical workout yet quite relaxing structure. However, I'd never really looked into all the different types of yoga out there and had no idea which route I wanted to go down. After researching a bit - I found the Livestrong site very useful - and the fact I had been struggling with stress and a bit of an emotional imbalance at that time I decided on Kundalini Yoga to Detox & De-Stress by Maya Fiennes (£9.84)

To give you a bit of personal background : when times get hard, I generally go into a bit of a meltdown. I have very happy days which can be immediately followed by very upsetting days and as I spend the majority of my time by myself, unless busy (or cuddling the hog - he's a good help), I have too much time to think of senseless things. This has happened throughout most of my life to a point you wonder if theres actually something wrong with you! Although luckily as I began to realise this I could then in turn help myself.

My mind works better when I have something I can follow, something I can do daily and as something that I've always been intrigued by, kundalini yoga is now a great part of my life.

So the DVD itself...

It contains two discs; one, the actual yoga. two, a cd of the music (made by Maya) used in the 'workout'.

I say 'workout' - it's not, really. I wouldn't say you have to be in any way physically fit to do this particular dvd (although there is one part I can't do, due to my back feeling like it may snap - rolling on your back with your knees tucked into your chest and rolling back up again). For the majority you are sat in 'easy pose' (legs crossed) and its main focus is on your breathing, chanting mantras and essentially; meditating.
"A mantra is an arrangement of sounds, words or phrases that create spiritual, physical effects to let you experience the power of sound directly combined with yoga."

Maya herself is lovely and calming throughout the whole DVD. Her words are encouraging and knowledgable as she tells you why you are doing every move. It is extremely easy to follow and at the end of it all, you are relaxed, which is the main thing.

My thoughts are cleared, my body is refreshed and to a certain extent you feel more connected to the world around you. It really helps me feel balanced for the day ahead & it is something I will continue to do for a long time.

Overall I would say it's more spiritual & mentally cleansing than a physical workout (yet some focus is on physically realising toxins through breathing). If you're embarrassed by 'chanting' to yourself nor interested in 'connecting' / learning about chakras etc, I would say look into different types of yoga as I'd imagine this isn't really for you. However, if you are similar, I would 100% recommend this dvd. I'm already looking at getting more of these DVDs to vary my morning yoga!

For a more detailed view of Kundalini Yoga, click here for the Livestrong explanation.
Whats you're favourite way to relax? Or your favourite type of yoga?


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Graduation Day!

As this blog started while I was teaching abroad in Spain as part of my degree, I think it's only right to share the culmination of that & what turned out to be one of the most amazing/celebratory days of my life thus far; my graduation day!

If you've followed this blog (or seen any of my social media profiles), you'll know all too well that this wasn't the easiest of journeys. I've moaned and moaned and moaned. And cried. A lot.

It has been stressful, tiring, but all the while; enjoyable. Looking back at these four whole years has made me realise just how far I've come, how proud I am of myself for sticking to it and achieving something that has always been a dream to me. I always said throughout the course that I would be happy just to pass, but coming out with a 2:1 made all the effort even more worthwhile.
Graduation was on Monday 23rd July & as you can see - I had a perma-smile from ear to ear; it will be a day I'll never forget.


Sunday, 22 July 2012

A Sunday Snap #4

This may just change to be a 'weekly Herbert snap!' I'm sure you wouldn't mind, would you? :)

Here is my little prickly hoglet after his first 'foot bath' - as hedgehogs love running & pooing, when you put them together on a wheel, you end up with a hog with very dirty trotters!

He hates water, as you can tell by his very 'cross' expression above, so we try to make it a quick & easy experience for him! His favourite part seems to be snuggling in towels afterwards to get dry again!

Anyway, as for me? My week has been pretty good! I quite like to keep this blog personal, and so a Sunday weekly update is necessary (in my eyes!) even if I do have to lure you in with hedgehog pictures ;)

I've been celebrating my amigas 23rd birthday, and, as this is a scheduled post, I will probably still currently be laying in bed suffering from too much of said 'celebrating'.

My graduation is TOMORROW! Eep and so I have spent most of this week preparing for it, being vain (hair, nails, tan) and I now have my dress (from Reiss, here) and shoes (from Aldo, here) fully ready to walk across the stage! - won't lie, I'm pretty sure I may trip over my own feet while doing so, it wouldn't surprise me anyway!

It's all quite exciting, as the first person in my family to graduate, I imagine it will be a fun day!

And that's it, in a nutshell. I hope you've all had a great week too!

Have a lovely Sunday! x


Friday, 20 July 2012

Jewellery I Heart Today : Om Necklace

It's official. I have a bit of a 'thing' for Etsy

I love the personalised shopping experience, the uniqueness of the items and discovering lovely new sellers! This weeks 'Jewellery I Heart' is another Etsy purchase from the wonderful Sevgi Charms. It's a tiny silver 'Om' necklace (£14.51) and I absolutely love it.

I love her shop in general, but this little charm really stood out to me. I'm practising kundalini yoga & meditation at the moment and I just find this to be a very beautiful symbol - one of 'wholeness', the sound of the Earth, the heart of existence... amongst many other things!

My parcel arrived with a handwritten note & beautiful packaging. I couldn't have been happier with the necklace and again it is something I can wear daily, that has meaning, and has been hand-made.

I'm not sure what more you could ask for!

Be sure to have a look at Elif's shop here.

Do you have a favourite Etsy shop?



Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Burt's Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme

I love a good body moisturiser, but I've never really used that many that are specifically for hands. When I was in Boots the other week (3 for 2's are my bank accounts worst enemy) I spotted the Burt's Bees section & had a good sniff of everything... The Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme (£9.99) definitely stood out!

I didn't apply any in the store but I figured it'd be like a hand lotion with a lovely marzipan scent! When I got it home and tested some... well it's not like it a lotion, it is definitely more of a BUTTER! Which I kind of think is amazing, I like unusual and I'd say this is something very different to most hand creams. It has a very thick texture that melts when heated & rubbed on your skin to produce a lovely (yet, kinda greasy) moisturising oil. Also, I love the fact that it comes in a glass pot!

Excuse the patchy tan...

I made the mistake of putting too much on the first time, and if you cover both of your hands, make sure you don't have anything to do (or touch / or a hedgehog to hold) for at least half an hour! It takes quite a while to sink in, however once it has it leaves your hands feeling lovely & soft with a nice healthy, moisturised sheen to them. The smell lingers too, which is nice - if you like almond/marzipan smells!

I really love it, as I have quite dry hands this is nice every now & again when giving myself a manicure or even to sleep in to really hydrate my mitts!

Have you tried this?

What do you think of Burt's Bees?


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Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Freshly Pressed : Hogmania

What a shock it was yesterday to see my normal daily blog views to rocket to over a thousand... two thousand... three thousand.

Where were they coming from?! Freshly Pressed! Of course!

It seems our little hoglet has caused quite a stir, and this is just a thank you to everyone that stopped by to comment & follow this blog. I've been trying to keep up as much as possible but I am genuinely so grateful!

This is the second time this has happened to me, my first being the Race For Life 10k but I'm so happy that my pictures of Herbert have spread so much happiness!

So here are two more little pictures of Herbert recently, eating some boiled chicken (a new favourite!) and you can find even more snaps on my Sunday Snap posts, or daily shots on his Facebook page (yes, really!) :)
Again, thank you! And I hope you're all having a lovely week! x

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Monday, 16 July 2012

My LUSH Skincare Regime.

I've never been one for taking care of my skin *tut tut*. I was more of a 'make-up wipes & water' kind of girl (sorry!) - I occasionally dabbled in the Simple range, but generally kept things to minimum and that is what worked best for me for quite some time. I have combination/dry skin and apart from a daily moisturiser I never really knew what else to use.

However recently it had not been so 'simple', I seemed to be plagued by very sore blemishes that stayed around for about two weeks at a time - always in the middle of my face - never seem to fully disappear and overall, annoyed the crap out of me.

So a month or so ago, I headed to Lush and after a lovely consultation with a girl that I wanted to hug on the way out, she was so good, I came home with;

... Pretty sure I questioned what I've been doing all these years without this magic combination.

Now I'm a huge, lifelong LUSH fan, so as a general rule you wont find a bad word about these products (unless, they're genuinely bad). I honestly think they're fantastic, and as a combination - almost heavenly! So what is this fantastic regime?

♥ Every night I now use Ultrabland - a gorgeous smelling, oily beeswax, honey & vanilla mixture, suitable for all skin types that you basically massage onto your dry skin and gently wash off with warm water on a muslin cloth or cotton pads. It brings off all my make-up, is all I'm gonna say. I wear a lot. On even some of the most stubborn makeup, it's effective without being harsh and that is probably what I love most about it. It leaves my skin feeling soft, moisturised and not irritated in the slightest. It is also Lush's 'desert island product' - it honestly works a dream, especially on my sensitive hayfever eyes!

Twice a week I now use Angels on Bare Skin. An organic facial cleanser, with tiny bits of ground almonds in to make it 'scrubby' and lavender to make it smell lovely. It leaves my skin feeling moisturised, soft and fresh after a shower (take a pea size in with you, rub in your hands to make it milky and rub on your face!).

♥ Afterwards, I use Eau Roma Water. I'll admit, I was a little sceptical about something that I assumed was just water in a bottle. But it's not. It's a toner full of essential oils (lavender again, nice and relaxing!), that helps with the cleansing regime, firm your skin, get rid of any left over nasties and adds to a lovely clean feeling. Sometimes I use it on none make-up days to freshen up & clean my skin, and then again on dressed up days I sometimes spray a little over my make-up to make it nice & dewy!

♥ To finish it all off, I slap on some Celestial. I think this is possibly my favourite of them all! It's silky & smooth, contains vanilla water & almond oil (making it smell fab and extremely moisturising) and it leaves my skin feeling so soft it really is crazy. It kind of sits on your skin for a while though, so if you don't like that, try vanishing cream! You only need the smallest amount too, which in turn has made it last a really, really long time! As you can see - I've been using it for a month and not even a third has gone. (also, sorry about the mess - what can I say, it's well used).

I was advised to use this for a month to see the effects, but honestly after just one week I could see my skin was brighter, healthier looking and a spot that had been hanging around for a week finally started to disappear.

As I mentioned above, I have combination/dry skin that can be quite sensitive to harsh makeup wipes, and this works a treat for me! If you have similar skin, I couldn't recommend it more. Even if you're not, head in to your nearest Lush & I'm sure they will gladly help! I love to know that what I'm using on my face is all natural, all animal friendly and generally all wonderful - it's a lovely start to my day!

I think there is generally a bit of of a misconception that Lush only sell bathbombs but this is one skin care regime I'll be buying again & again!

Are you a LUSH fan? What's your skincare regime?


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Sunday, 15 July 2012

A Sunday Snap #3

Yes! More Herbert related Sunday Snaps!

There's nothing I love more at the moment than scooping my lovely little piggy out of his cage for some cuddles. He has experienced quite a few 'firsts' this week as he's now old enough to try different - hedgie safe - foods ; broccoli, peas and boiled egg have all been tested! Egg seems to be his favourite, and so we tempted him out to take some snaps... His little snout was wriggling around all over as he smelt this new food for the first time while I was trying not to laugh too loud in case I scared him!

My week (apart from cuddling my spiky friend) ?

Well, this week I've been trying to get back into exercise; cross training, wii fit (doesn't really count, does it?) zumba and kundalini yoga are all part of the nice little mix I have going on. Keeping it varied is important to me as I'm very easily bored when things become repetitive!

I've also been booking, sorting & organising all the bits for my graduation (a week on Monday!) even trying my frist spray tan! I'm still to find my dress and shoes, eep, but it's all slowly coming together!

Apart from that I've been happily plodding along, generally getting my life sorted & feeding my hedgepig!

And that has been my week!

How has yours been? xo


Friday, 13 July 2012

My Ultimate Holiday Hair

A couple of days ago I was contacted by 'Best British Bloggers' to see if I wanted to create the 'ultimate holiday hair' style to enter into a GHD Competition.

Now, I've never done many hair things on my blog before as I'm pretty basic in what I do to style it! Although I have curled it a couple of times, and people have asked what I've used... SO I thought, to tie the two together I would make my entry, what I like to call, 'crazy lionhair curls' - although I'm sure they just class as curls!

I don't know about you ladies, but when I'm on holiday - I really, really hate using a hairdryer. Chances are I'm either sunburnt or overheating and the thought of purposely blasting heat at my head... is just, not what I want to do!

Drying my hair naturally is not only better for it, but tends to add volume too! Although I use these products to tame the frizz and create waves, this style really is pretty simple!

Products & Curler left to right: 

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

Start with clean, towel dry hair

♥ Brush through with any comb/hairbrush you have (this is the only time you brush it!)
♥ Apply a 50p size amount of any frizz control and heat protector product you have
♥ Spray generous amounts of any sea salt product
♥ Leave to dry in; if youre lucky, the sunshine, or in your flat if you're me

GHD have both Heat Protect spray and Frizz Control products.

Once completely dry  (it may look a little crazy, bare with me!):

♥ Add more frizz control serum if necessary (and switch on your curlers!)
♥ Take random sized sections of hair and curl - curling away from the face
♥ Run your fingers through the curls to separate & apply hairspray
♥ Adding cute hair accessories are optional!

Add your headband!

 Et voila! That is it. You're good to go!

I'm heading to Venice/Croatia at the end of August and this will, without a doubt, be my hairstyle of choice. Hairdryer free, volumous 'natural' curl look!

What's your 'ultimate holiday hair style'?

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