MyStorys, Uncategorized

My Unpopular Opinions

I have a lot of opinions. Most people who read my blog are probably thinking ‘you could say that’. The reason I started my blog in the first place was to openly talk about my opinions. I enjoy doing just that. My opinions aren’t always ones a lot of people agree with. In fact, some of my own friends completely disagree with my opinions on some things. I have spoke about my opinions on social issues just recently and today felt like talking about some of my unpopular opinions that are more mine than a universal opinion. I do know some people who agree with opinions on this list, but I know some who don’t as well. Either way, these are just my opinions and I would love to hear some of your unpopular opinions down below.

Starbucks is overrated

I think I would lose track if I was to go on Youtube and try count all the times YouTubers have gone on and on about how much they love Starbucks. I’ve been to Starbucks, I’ve ordered some fancy sounding drink, I’ve handed over my money, and I’ve drank that drink. What did I learn? That I was buying the logo on the cup, more than what was actually in the cup. Yes, they’re drinks are good, better than McDonalds or any other chain that doesn’t specialize in just drinks. But, are they as good as other competitors like Costa? The answer from me is no. In my opinion, I could have gotten the same quality drink from Costa for cheaper. Starbucks is overrated. Personally, people think they’re all trendy by buying a drink from there, and that’s where the problem lies.

Coffee tastes like crap.

I love Gilmore Girls, but Rory and Lorelei’s love for coffee has always gone over my head. Rory’s love for books? I’m the same. Lorelei’s witt? I’m all there. But, their daily coffee fixes will never make sense to me. I’m with Alexis Bledel on this one, no coffee for me.

Beyonce isn’t all that special

Is she a strong, black woman in media? Yes. Is she a good singer? That’s a personal opinion. But is she so special that she deserves the title of ‘queen’?! I mean, personally I’d go around calling Sophia Bush queen, because in my opinion, she is. But that’s a matter of opinion. Some people take the opinion of Beyonce being a queen to whole new levels. Insisting she is infact a “queen”. I never saw the hype with Beyonce, but then again, the only hype I have towards modern artists is for Ed Sheeran. But, going back to what I was saying, Beyonce doesn’t warrant the title Queen. She too is overrated. Yes, she’s a strong, black female in the medias eyes, she’s someone for people to look at, and say ‘she’s like me’. It’s amazing to see people of different races and genders out there taken the world by storm but I personally think there are more powerful women of colour out there that we should be calling a queen.

I don’t believe in the practices of religion

Quite a controversial subject, but my opinions normally are just that. I don’t believe in any faith. I grew up in a religion free home and I am so glad I did. Don’t get me wrong, I respect peoples views. I just think that in this day and age, the words of the Bible and other forms of it, are outdated and need to hit the bin. We grow, we age, we learn. So, why haven’t some religions decided it time to modernise the bible. The Bible (and other forms of it) where written by men, in a time when we let a small group of people decide what was right and what was wrong. It’s controlling behaviour, telling people how to, and how not to live their lives (especially women). Making people live by their idea of what a perfect family was, their idea of what a “right” marriage consists of, their idea of the “correct” way in which a woman should handle herself. It’s bullshit to say the least. Update your “rules” and maybe I won’t be as angry about how this book treats anyone who isn’t a straight, white person with no flaws. People are all different. We believe in different things, we like different things. We are different races and sizes. We are sexually attracted to different people, we choose to identify as someone we want to be. We wear different clothes and we talk in different languages but we are all human. No one deserves to be made to feel bad about what they do with their life (unless they’re hurting someone). No one should be judged for what they wear, or what lifestyle they lead. No one is going to hell for who they are, and an outdated book and old fashioned people of faith should open their eyes, and see that they aren’t perfect. In fact, they need to step off their high horse and realise that by judging, bullying and preaching their nonsense, they’re the worst kind of people. Not the people who have sex before marriage, or get divorced, or are sexually attracted to the same sex.

I believe the Death Penalty should be legal again in the UK

Yes, I’ve heard the stories. Yes, I do realise some innocent people were killed. No, I do not think that every criminal should receive this level of punishment. I do however believe this kind of punishment is the ONLY way we can bring peace of mind to victims of brutal attacks and the family of those victims whom lost their lives because someone took it from them. Manslaughter, accidents, drug charges, and other charges like such shouldn’t be considered a case for the death penalty. But, serial killers, spree killers, pedophiles, and rapists should get capital punishment. They do deserve to die. I don’t care about their “rights”. Did they care about the rights of that young girl they raped? No, they took her rights away. Did they care about the rights of the children they shot dead in their classroom? No, they took their rights away. Did they care about the life they took away when they murdered that boy in cold blood? No, they took his rights away. These kind of criminals don’t deserve rights. A correctional facility isn’t going to cure a rapist or a killer. They’re just going to wash away the governments money (our money) to keep then in a building, where they are fed, where they can earn money, where they get clothes and can take classes. These kind of criminals can’t be cured, they’re wired wrong. They think having sex with a child is okay, it turns them on. They think going into a school with a gun and shooting children is okay, they deserved it, they’ll say. These criminals deserve death. Save prisons for criminals we can actually try and rehabilitate. Give them the classes and their work ethic back. Don’t waste resources on those that will get out and strike again. Don’t allow them that.

Do you have any questions for me? Write them below.

Shann x

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Uncategorized

Healthy Fish & Bacon Pie

So, today I decided I wanted to make something with fish for my tea, I’m not the biggest fan of fish, but it has a lot of good properties in so I make myself eat it at least once a week. I decided on a fish pie with bacon. Now, looking at recipes online, I found that most fish pies have a lot of fats, milk, cheese and, or cream. I’m on slimming world so I thought about all the syns in those recipes and decided to create my own version. This version has the least amount of milk and cheese possible.

This fish and bacon pie recipe serves 4 small portions or 2 larger portions. 1/4 of this pie would be your A choice and 1/2 an syn and 1/2 of this pie would be 6.5 syns total. I served mine with green beans. So, here is the recipe for my fish and bacon pie

Ingredients

– 1 tablespoon plain flour

– 1 tablespoon light butter

– 5 medium potatoes or 3 large potatoes

– 2 large pieces of cod ( I used frozen fish, it’s cheaper and has a longer use by date)

– 2 tablespoons lemon juice

– 1 teaspoon garlic powder

– Salt and pepper

– 1 onion

– 4 pieces of bacon (all fat cut off)

– 3 spring onions

– 1 carrot

– 5 tablespoons of sweetcorn

– 60g cheese

– 140g semi-skimmed milk

– 1 egg

– Parsley

– Fry light

Method

Start by peeling your potatoes and placing them in salted water, bring to a boil and leave for 20 minutes.

While your potatoes are boiling, place your frozen cod fillets onto a baking tray and season with salt, pepper and half the lemon juice. Place them in the oven on medium heat for 10 minutes.

Cut the onion, spring onion and carrots into fine chunks. In a frying pan, use frylight and spray the whole pan, add all the vegetables and leave to cook til tender. Place back in bowl and leave for later.

Cut the bacon into small pieces, re spray the pan with fry light and add the bacon to the pan, cook until the bacon is cooked through and starting to go crispy. Turn off the heat and leave to one side.

In another pan, you want to make the sauce. Add the butter, melt and then add the flour, mix to form a dough and then add the milk, whisk until everything is combined. Add the other half of the lemon juice, the garlic and parsley to the mixture. Mix well and after the mix has thickened slightly, add most of the cheese ( leaving a small amount behind for the topping). Add the vegetables and bacon to the sauce.

Your fish has probably been taken out of the oven by now, unless you managed to get all that done above in 10 minutes. Break the fish up and mix into the sauce, spoon the fish sauce mixture into a dish and put to one side.

Drain your potatoes, mash them and add one beaten egg to the mash. Mix the egg in quickly with a spatula. The egg will cook because the mash is hot. Place the mash through a sieve ( bit of arm work, but well worth it) to get smooth, lump-free, silky mash. Add the mash on top of the fish sauce, use a spatula to spread it around, add some more parsley and the remaining cheese on top and place in the oven. Cook for 20-30 minutes until piping hot and the top has gone crispy and brown.

Serve the fish pie up on to plates with vegetables or to the table for people to serve themselves. Enjoy!

You can freeze this pie. Just take out the freezer, place back the the oven for 30-45 minutes with tinfoil on the top to prevent burning the top, and enjoy!

Do you want more recipes like this? Let me know in the comments or DM on twitter – lifeasshanx

Shannon x

TV Shows and Movies, Uncategorized

Fictional Characters EVERYBODY should admire

Like most of my generation, I grew up watching TV. There are probably hundreds of studies that tell you watching too much TV is bad for you, they’re most likely right. However, I learned a LOT about life and myself through fictional characters and storylines. Some of the actresses behind these fictional characters have even become some of my favourite idols, and they do deserve the title “idol” because they are doing some amazing work in the activist world, and I am so happy with the fact that I get to admire the actress as well as the character. Whether I related to the character or they made me feel like I could face my own demons, I want to thank these women for making these characters so relatable and playing them so well!

Brooke Davis – Played by Sophia Bush
I admire the woman behind this character so damn much! But, before I knew who Sophia Bush was, I started watching One Tree Hill. I think most people will say that Brooke wasn’t their favourite at first, and I never thought I would warm to her. However, over the seasons, I grew to love her. The character development from spoilt, bitchy rich teenager to a successful, strong, caring and loving woman was truly amazing to me. Brooke went through A LOT and I have always admired how she always fought for herself and the ones she loved. Her battles during high school, being cheated on and losing her best friend to her unbearable mother, being attacked, losing her business, and almost dying in a trapped car are all a lot for one person to take in during their lives. Somehow Brooke always managed to get back on her feet, say something kick-ass and smile. She was an amazing character to grow up watching, learning how to deal with my own demons from a character likes hers really helped me. Although One Tree Hill is long over, I can always look back at Brooke and re-watch her strength and power through the seasons, and remember that I can get through the crap in my life.

Olivia Benson – Played by Mariska Hargitay
I started watching this wonderful woman on Law & Order SVU when I was in high school. Her soft and understanding nature with victims, and her amazingly ruthless attitude towards abusers made me love her. I went through an abusive relationship when I was in high school and for a long time I felt ashamed and at fault for what happened to me, but this show changed those views. The show has opened my mind massively and I think it’s a show that is needed so much in this day and age. I am always amazed when I watch an episode of Law & Order SVU and see they have yet another educational episode for me ( and everyone else) to watch. In a recent episode, Olivia stated she had been doing this for 19 years and it hit me that this show has been going for so long, educating us on sex crimes. I will always have so much respect for Mariska’s character and her too. She is doing great work and helping us open our eyes in the real world to the reality of sexual crimes. She recently stared in I Am Evidence and what she is doing to end the rape kit backlog is truly inspiring.

Callie Jacobs – Played by Maia Mitchell
Out of all these characters, Maia Mitchells character on The Fosters is the closest in age to me and her past is very relatable to me. Callie was my favourite character on the show from the very start. Coming across as this young girl who didn’t care about anything and had given up on being happy, fitted with my current situation at the time I started to watch the show. Callie was able to finally open up and begin to be happy when she got to the Fosters home. The whole storyline with Liam hit me hard, going through something very similar years earlier. Callie was strong and tough from the start and her kind heart and caring nature made her an amazing character to admire. She cared about everyone, always fighting for what was right even if it meant her own freedom was taken away. She taught me that just because something gets hard doesn’t mean you give up, you fight harder, you don’t give up on what you believe in and that your opinions matter.

Jo Wilson – Played by Camilla Luddington
Jo is a new woman to make this list. Some people didn’t like her character from the beginning, but there was always something about her I really liked. What I admire about this character is her bravery. She did what so many women in an abusive relationship can’t do (out of fear), she left. She ran away, she still became a surgeon, she made a life for herself. She never let him win and that is so damn admirable and definitely someone you should look up too.

Gabriela Dawson – Played by Monica Raymund
If I had to describe Dawson in three words they would be; strong, fighter, and supportive. Lets be honest, from the start of Chicago Fire, Dawson has always been someone who doesn’t let anyone walk all over her. She’s strong, she’s opinionated and she fights for what is right—much like Callie Jacobs and Olivia Benson. I love Dawson for her attitude. She’s a strong role in the show. Being one of few females in the firehouse, she makes sure the men know she isn’t any pushover. She stands her ground and follows up on what she does, I respect that.

Temperance Brennan – Played by Emily Deschanel
In many ways Brennan isn’t very similar to other women on this list, but she is admirable to me because she is strong, smart and successful. One thing I love about her character is how much she doesn’t care about what people think of her. She knows she’s smart—she doesn’t need validation. She knows she’s pretty—she doesn’t need anyone’s approval. Those are very rare qualities these days and I think it makes her an amazing woman. Women are often told by society that it matters what people think, like we need their approval for how we decide to live, it’s refreshing to see a character not give a crap about social norms. I love that.

There are so many other women on TV that I admire, both on and off screen, but these are just my top six. Maybe I’ll have some more favourites to write about soon.

Shannon x

MyStorys, Uncategorized

An open letter to my former best friend.

A few years ago I made a blog post titled ‘an open letter to my abusive ex boyfriend’ and today I wanted to make another open letter blog post, but for a different person who was once a massive part of my life.

Dear ‘A’

I don’t think I can count the amount of times I’ve wrote to you. I’ve wrote a few letters over the years and I recently found some of them when I was cleaning for my move, and as I read through them, I was transported back to the time in which I wrote them. I could tell by the way I was writing how I felt about you, I didn’t need to read between the lines with my own writing, I may have tried to hide my sadness or bitterness but it was plainly there on the pages I wrote in the many letters over the years. One of the first letters I spoke about how much you hurt me, how confused and sad I was, I just didn’t understand why my best friend would hurt me like he did. As I kept reading through the letters, the words on the paper turned from confusion and loss to sadness and pain to anger and betrayal. I think I must have went through every emotion throughout the many letters I wrote. I sat and thought about the letters for a while, about our past, about what you did and said back then, and then I ripped the letters up and throw them in the bin. I had no use for them anymore. You see, I wrote those letters when I always expected you to walk back into my life, a time when I wanted you to because I missed you or I wanted answers from you, after a while I learned that the new ‘A’ wasn’t going to be the same person anymore and I needed to expect I’ll never get the ending I wanted.

I put so much effort into you, into our friendship. I often ask myself ‘why?’, now because let’s me honest, you’re not worth the sacrifice of my dignity and pride. I guess the reason why I thought you was worth it was because the old you was worth it, he was a generally good person. I often tell my friend Megan that lads will hurt you but that doesn’t define you, you let your emotions out and you move on. No lad is ever worth the pain I went through with you, you’re not special enough to have me shed another tear over you.

I remember when we was younger, you told me you wanted to leave Liverpool. You said you wanted to join the army and get as far away from Liverpool as possible, I guess leaving Liverpool isn’t even a thought that crosses you’re mind anymore does it? I honestly cannot imagine what goes through you’re mind these days, but those thoughts probably aren’t about plans of a bright future, which is a shame, you could have had a good future, a generally happy one. You cannot tell me that the meaningless ‘pocket change’ jobs you have these days are what you wanted for your career path. You cannot tell me that doing drugs every weekend and not being able to stay loyal to one girl is giving you a ‘fulfilled life’ feeling.

What happened A? What happened to the friend who I went out with every night after school, what happened to the friend who was always there for me, always supported me and cared about me? Where has he gone A? He faded a long time again, but has he completely disappeared? I hope for your own humanity and the ones who still care about you, that he hasn’t completely disappeared.

I could say I will always care about you, but honestly, you don’t deserve my affection or care. I tried my best and I suppose I’ll be the one leaving Liverpool and having a fulfilling life. Funny how things work out.

Love you loads (haha, not really)

Shannon.

Advice♥, MyStorys, Uncategorized

New Chapter – I’m Moving Out!

It’s been hard to write lately, I don’t really know why. It isn’t that I haven’t wanted to write about what is going on in the world at the minute, but between planning and prepping for my move and having major writers block, I just haven’t posted anything.

I am currently budgeting, planning and organising for my move in a few months. Right now I am excited about the move, but I think nearer to the move I am going to start getting nervous and a little sad. Don’t get me wrong I can’t wait to get out of Liverpool, I won’t look back at this place, however, I do have some people that mean a lot to me here and it’s going to be ridiculously hard to say goodbye to my mum. I have lived with my mum my whole life – minus a year I lived with my dad when I was 9. She has been my rock all these years, through all the shitty times, she was on my side, looking out for me.

I know most people have a hard time leaving home, home is their comfort zone, it’s all they’ve ever known and moving out for the first time is a massive step into adulthood. This home isn’t really my comfort zone however, yes my mum is here and I have made my room my safe place, my ‘safety net’ as someone once called it but this house, my stepdad, they’re not home. I need the freedom to do what I want, to roam my home without fear of repercussions. Not only do I not get on with my own stepdad, I feel like a prisoner in my own home, it’s not like I am trapped in the house with bars on the windows and a deadbolt on the door, but with my anxiety around this place, I don’t feel safe or confident around here. It’s part of the reason I am leaving Liverpool to start with.

Liverpool has been my home my whole life, I have lived in this area of Liverpool since I was 9 and before that I lived in another part of the city. It’s never felt like my home however. I feel as if I don’t fit in here, I always felt different. I never liked parties, getting dressed up on a Friday night and going into town and getting drunk, it wasn’t my idea as fun when I was younger and it still isn’t.  I am not the girly girl type, I do get spray tans, in fact the only time I apply tan is for some important event like a wedding. I do my own nails and most of the time, I don’t even bother with that. If I can get away with not wearing make-up I won’t wear it and I would so much prefer to wear a pair of jeans, hiking boots and a t-shirt with a leather jacket then skirts and dresses. I feel like there is this expectation to be like everyone else around here, like if you stand out, that is weird. Everyone around here listens to the same music, wears the same shoes and all have the same hairstyle. Where is the originality? It frustrates me that I feel as if I can’t be myself here.

I’ve spent my whole life unhappy, uncomfortable and unsettled, I want that to change, I need that to change. This move is about my health more than anything, I guess that doesn’t make complete sense, how could a move possibly solve all my problems but it’s the last thing I can do to try and get my life back on track. For a long time I didn’t even want to be alive, I would wake up in the morning and be upset that I was still here, I used to go to bed and hope I wouldn’t wake up. I am still depressed but I want to want to live. I want to smile and laugh and it be real. This move is the first thing in a long time that has given me some hope for my future. It has given me something to hope for, as sad as that may sound to some.

 

Shannon x

 

Advice♥, MyStorys, Uncategorized

My gradual dislike for YouTube ‘Creators’

I know I am not the only person who has discussed the decline of popularity of some of the *previously* most loved and popular YouTubers, however I have some of my own opinions on these YouTubers. I started watching YouTube as a young teen, I don’t actually remember some of the first YouTube channels I was subscribed to, it is completely possible it was just a bunch of ‘Make-up Tutorials’ because I was a 12 year old girl after all. YouTube had started to become very popular for those kind of videos when I was a teen, apparently YouTube was no longer for funny cat videos (I’d take a cat video over a Jake Paul/Logan Paul video any day). YouTubers like Meredith Foster, Bethany Mota and Zoella became some of my favourite YouTubers. Flash forward to today, they’ve become some of my least favourite.

Pretty much all of my teen years were spent watching ‘Zoella’ before she ‘wrote’ her books, brought out a beauty line or homeware line. I don’t know if Zoe was always a very talented manipulator of younger viewers or whether she was once a genuine, humble, selfless young women making videos for ‘fun’. Now, I don’t know which one of those statements is true, I hope it is the second one but even the thought of her realizing she could con young viewers is just as bad to be honest. Obviously, most people who are in tune with the ‘scandals’ (if you’ve call them that) of  YouTube are probably aware that Zoe, or should I say her ‘management’ decided to charge £50 in Boots (Boots sold for the recommend retail price set by the supplier) for a 12 day advent calendar that was worth around £15. A lot of people have had a lot to say, when I saw the calendar in store myself I personally thought it was rather steep for a 12 day calendar, it’s not like it’s a Chanel beauty advent calendar after all, but when I saw videos of what was actually in the box, I was utterly shocked. I was shocked that she thought, or her management thought they could get away with charging £50 for products you could get in Poundland or Home Bargains for under £15.  Like I said I used to love her, whether it was a genuine ‘Zoella’ I loved, or my young mind looked up to her because she was so good at making you believe she was like you, I don’t know. Her videos about her fight with Anxiety and her cheating ex, related to me, so as a young naïve girl I related to her. She could have very well went through those horrible things, but now I’m wondering whether it was just an act for views, subscribers, and eventually money. I also cannot be the only person who has noticed her content has gone down hill in recent years, she doesn’t seem to put much thought into the things she posts these days, I stopped watching before Christmas 2017 because her videos became boring, unoriginal, and repetitive. I stopped watching ‘PointlessBlog’ years ago because it became painfully obvious how much of a fake he was, however it took a little longer to see it with the ‘perfect’ Zoe.

As for other YouTubers, I have to say that my subscriptions bar has gotten pretty small these days. I was coming onto YouTube, seeing a load of videos from people I no longer care to watch. One of those people who I unsubscribed to was Oli White, he is one man that I cannot stand anymore. I am pretty sure I found out about Oli many years ago through watching Joe Sugg’s videos, but in recent years Oli has become unbearable, mainly for two reasons – the excessively loud shouting in videos like he’s filming at a concert where no one can hear him and the other reason being his crappy personality.

However that is NOT the thing that pisses me off the most, surprise, surprise, it is about the prices they charge for their ‘merch’. Merch can be a great thing, it can be a way for  fans to express their feelings towards an artist. Most musical artists will have merch when you go see them at a concert, but the difference between YouTuber merch and merch at a concert is that merch at a concert is cheaper. That is INSANE to me. I pay less for a t-shirt supporting a world famous artist then a t-shirt with a few words on from a ‘famous’ YouTuber. I recently found ‘JAACKMAATE’ on YouTube and started watching his videos (more like binge watching…its not creepy, I swear) and I completely agree with ALOT he says about YouTubers, including his video about Oli White’s hoodies. I’m sorry but I could never justify myself paying £30+ for a hoodie that says ‘what is up’ on it. I know for a fact that I can get a hoodie with more detail on from BooHoo for £15. I could NEVER justify the price to my mum either. Something I have always said, as I don’t see the point in big, expensive name brand products is ‘you’re not always paying for the product, but for the name on the product’. I don’t care if your shoes are Nike and cost over £100, if they’re shit quality, they aren’t worth it just because they have the Nike name plastered on them. I know for a fact I can find good quality products for a fraction of the price name brands will sell them for. These YouTubers aren’t stupid, they know people will buy the products simply because they’ve got their logo stuck on them. Prime example is Alfies Deyes’ tops, his tops are literally plain t-shirts with a ‘PB’ logo on a small part of the t-shirt. Creative!!! Who is buying these? I wouldn’t be wasting my money on these, not for me, not for future children I may have. Nope. Nope. NO. Like with most of the world, greed is playing a big factor in the production and selling of unoriginal, boring, predictable products.

Every ‘big’ YouTuber has their own merch these days, like they’re some massive artists with TONS of talent. Now, I do agree some products brought out by YouTubers are quality products, but most YouTubers are just throwing products out that take 5 minutes to design and £5 to produce for greedy reasons. It’s not because they want to ‘share their designs and work with us’. That’s bull! They want money.

I feel like I have slammed YouTubers throughout this whole post, which I guess I have, I could have said A LOT MORE. I am not even going to touch the disappointment of the human species that are Logan and Jake Paul. Regardless of what I have said in this blog post, I do still watch some YouTubers and still do have some favourite channels including; SORTEDfood, Lindsey Hughes, Joe Sugg (just hope he doesn’t turn out like his friends), Gabriella, Laura in the Kitchen, CupcakeJemma, Emma Blackery, and JaackMaate. Looking at that list, most of those are cooking channels, oh well, they still count to me, otherwise I’d only have 4 people to watch on YouTube, which is kind of sad.

If you have an suggestions for any more YouTubers who aren’t greedy, rapists, homophobic, bland, boring, unoriginal, uneducated, vein, racist and/or sexist I would love to hear about them!

If you’d like to buy a nice hoodie, t-shirt or cute phone case and don’t fancy forking out £30 for Oli White’s products, check out Boohoo! – www.boohoo.com (not sponsored, I just love Boohoo!)

Tweet me @lifeasshanx

Shannon x

Advice♥, Living With Dogs, Uncategorized

What To Know Before Getting A Dog – Breeds

For the second part of my ‘what to know before getting a dog’ series, I want to talk about breeds. Like with coats, there is a breed type that will probably be best suited to you, your lifestyle, and your living situations. If you haven’t read my first post about the different types of coat types and how to look after said coat, here is the link! –

I have owned dogs with 2 different coat types – double and smooth. The reason being that they are easy to groom at home and personally like those kinds of dogs better. I currently have a Husky and two French Bulldogs. But, being a dog groomer I have groomed all 5 types of coats and have picked up quite a few facts and opinions on most common breeds.

When we are looking to buy a dog it’s important that we know everything we possibly can about the breed. It’s also important you understand what you will need to provide for this breed.

When picking a breed, do some research, write down;

  • Prices for food and treats (more or less depending on the size of the dog),
  • Bedding, blankets and toys (is this breed bigger and there for need a big bed? is this breed known to be destructive with certain toys?)
  • Harness, collar and lead (again, depending on size of dog, prices will vary)
  • Vet bills and insurance(will they be castrated? It is also the LAW in the UK to have your dog microchipped, failure to do so can result in a fine)
  • Flea and worming medications( these have to be done monthly in most cases and the bigger the dog, the more it will cost to keep these up to date)
  • Groom costs (whether you’re going to get a groomer to groom them on a regular basis or do it yourself, you need to work out average costs for that, see my last post that I linked earlier to get the run down on coat types and grooming prices).

By doing this before buying or adopting your dog, you know an estimation of how much you are going to need to spend monthly or annually. This will give you a better idea if you’re able to financially able to afford a dog. A lot of dogs end up in shelters or being neglected because people do not realise how much dogs can be yearly. You need to be sure you are able to pay for your dogs needs. They need; food, water, blanket, grooming, flea and worming, vet checks, exercise, and attention to thrive and be healthy, happy dogs.

The next thing to think about when looking to buy a certain breed is your living situation. You need to think about these things;

  • The size of the breed – a big dog that needs plenty of space needs a bigger place to live. A flat isn’t the best option for a large dog like a Husky or Labrador.
  • Other animals – not every animal likes each over, if you own a cat or another dog, you need to think about the kind of dog you want to get. Is it suitable for a home with other animals?
  • Children – although dogs have hearts of gold most of the time, they don’t quite understand their strength or that they could hurt their new family members by being too boisterous and playing. They will see it as having fun with the children but they can easy get carried away and knock children over. So most big dogs are not always suitable for a family with babies or small children. Although, with proper training, food guarding shouldn’t be an issue, it may still be with children. So, you need to be careful with any dog around young children who don’t understand that when the dog has a treat that you shouldn’t try and grab it off him/her. However, if you’re willing to get your dog trained in the right way from a young age and you watch your younger children around the dog while he/she is eating, everything should be fine with most breeds.

The final most important thing to think about before getting your dog is your lifestyle. Everyone has different lifestyles, they work different hours, they have families or maybe they travel a lot. Here are a few things to think about;

  • Do you go away for work or on holiday a lot? If so, who will look after the dog? Have you asked a friend if they will or will you pay for a kennel stay?
  • What hours do you work? Will you gone more them 8 hours at a time? If you are, is there someone else who can check in on the dog or be home with him/her?
  • Do you have a baby or small child? Do you have the time for a dog right now?
  • Are you able to walk the dog each day? Remember some breeds need to have more exercise then others and require longer walks. Do you have the time to walk the dog each day?
  • The most important question is, do you have the time and energy to give the dog all the attention he/she needs to be a happy dog?

Each breed is different. They’re known to have different personalities, temperaments and they all look different. Meaning, you need to pick a dog best suited to all the things I have listed above. Whatever dog you do decide to take home with you, remember that they rely on you, they need you, and if possible, always adopt, don’t shop.

 

Shannon x

 

Living With Dogs, Uncategorized

What to know before getting a dog – Coat Types.

It’s a new year, which means people have made goals, they have ideas of how they want their year to go. Some will set a goal of moving out, applying for their dream job or maybe even getting the dog they have always wanted. When thinking about the first post of the year and what it would be about, moving out and dream jobs where good blog post ideas but one subject that is most important to me is pet care. So many dogs end up in shelters and on the streets because people get dogs not knowing how to care for them or how much work is needed to keep a healthy animal. There are so many important things to consider and know before you buy or adopt any animal. You need to consider what is best for you and your future pet. So, for this series of blog posts I thought I would talk about the important things you need to know and consider before getting a dog. As well as an added checklist you can use if you do decide a dog is the right pet for you.

This blog post is part one of six blog posts that will be about ‘What to know before getting a dog). This blog post goes over the different coat types and which one may be best for you. The next blog post will be about what breed will be best for you. The last post will be a summary of all I have been over and a total estimated cost to buy/adopt, feed, groom and look after your new dog. 

It doesn’t matter how big or small the dog is, what kind of coat it has or what breed it is, dogs need plenty of attention to be the happy, healthy animals they should be. When looking online, I see a lot of people asking for the best behaved breed or the easiest breed to look after and although you may get a breed that is less hassle then another, you won’t find a breed that is totally self affiant. A dog is not a cat and if you work all day and don’t have time or the money for a dog, maybe an animal that requires less attention and looking after is better for you. Consider a cat, rabbit or even fish instead of a dog.

However, the size, breed and coat type of the dog do play a massive role in how you decide which dog is best for you. A lot of people don’t know what kind of coat there dog has, hence not knowing how to take care of the grooming side of having that dog. There are 5 main coat types; double coated, wire, wool, silk and smooth/short. Each of these coats needs to be groomed and looked after in a different way. You need to do some research on the breed and grooming needs before getting him/her.

I would have to say that in terms of coats, a smooth coated dog would be easiest and cheapest to look after. You can take these dogs to get washed, dried and de-shedded at the groomers for around 15 to 30 pound(dependent on breed) or you can wash, towel dry and de-shed at home without much experience. I would suggest getting yourself;

  • a pair of nail clippers (although groomers will do nails for 5 pound without the groom),
    wipes(cleaning ears, any cheap wipe will do, as long as its not perfumed, they’re fine)
  • a de-shedding glove (Amazon and Ebay have these for around 3-8 pound)
  • A towel (any towel will do but getting one just for the dog may be a good idea)
  • Cotton buds (For dogs that have face folds like your Frenchie’s and Pugs, these will get into these folds and clean them).
  • A shampoo (one for normal use and a flea shampoo to use once a month)

If you work out the costs for these items, it works out cheaper to do it yourself but if you would rather not do it yourself, remember to factor in monthly/twice monthly costs for the groom. If you are on a budget, a smooth coated dog may be your best option as they require less grooming and the grooming can be done at home by anyone.
Examples of smooth coats include; Staffs, French Bulldogs, American Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Lurcher, and Greyhounds.

A double coated dog would come in second for me in terms of ease of coat, however they are no where near as easy to groom as your smooth coats. Double coats tend to shed and any double coated dog owner will tell you, the hair gets everywhere, so that is one thing to consider before getting a double coated dog. You can take these dogs to get groomed at the groomers for upwards of 30 pound but with most double coats you can groom them at home. Even if you take your double coated dog in for a groom every 2 weeks or month, you still have to keep on top of their coat by brushing it daily/twice daily. Again, if you want to groom your dog at home, I would suggest you buy;

  • Good quality nail clippers (bigger dogs have stronger nails and little nail clippers may snap when cutting down on the nail)
  • Wipes (cleaning ears, any wipe brand is fine, you don’t need to buy the ones in pet stores, just baby wipes will do, just don’t get the perfumed ones)
  • A towel ( a towel that is just for your dog may be best)
  • A blaster (you may want to invest in a blaster, these are like hair dryers but so much more powerful, they’re great for drying your dog faster and getting rid of loose hair, they go for about 60 pounds on Amazon)
  • Shampoo ( you may be best getting this in bulk as it may be cheaper, you will more shampoo for larger double coats so getting a diluted shampoo may be best, as you add water to a small amount of shampoo and the shampoo lasts longer)

Double coats can be expensive to groom when going to the groomers every 2 weeks or every month and if you groom your dog at home, you need to be prepared for a lot of mess and you will need to carve out a good amount of time each grooming session for the groom and clean up. Either way, groomer or no groomer, you’re still going to need to brush your double coated dog daily. Examples of double coats include; Husky, Malamute, German Shepard, and Akitas 

Although Wire coats are easy to look after in terms of not needing to be brushed daily as they are less likely to matt up. They still need to be groomed every few months. This coat type is pretty simple to look after and most of the time you won’t even need to go the groomers every month, once every 8 weeks should be good enough for your wire coated dogs. You can groom these dogs at home but a little experience is required when it comes to cutting their coat. Examples of wire coats include; Fox terriers, Terriers, and Jack Russels 

I personally think the wool coats are one of the hardest to look after, even harder then the double coats. You cannot go a day without brushing your dog. Not one day. Think about that before buying a wool coated dog. A lot of people opt for a wool coat purely because of their cuddly coats and cute look but most people don’t know how to brush their dog to prevent matting and knotting up the coat. I cannot tell you how many bichons came into the grooming shop I worked in, matted and full of knots. People cannot be bothered to brush their dogs everyday, they would tell you they don’t have the time, they tell you they have been brushing him/her, but they don’t know how to properly brush a wool coat. A lot of people only brush the top layer with the wrong brush, this ends in matting and us having to shave the dog to the skin because their coat can not be saved. You need to use a comb and get right down to the root when brushing wool coats.  You need to be grooming these dogs daily and please remember not just to do this to prevent them from knotting but to help the groomer be able to groom your dog the right way, as lots of wool coated dogs are NOT tolerant to being brushed, combed and groomed as they are not used to getting it at home. You need to get these dogs professionally groomed every 4 – 6 weeks and you are looking at a cost of 30 pounds and upwards each visit. Don’t get them groomed enough and they will have to be shaved off because they are matted and this will end up costing you more as well. Examples of wool coats include; Bichon Frise, Poodles, and Cockerpoos 

These coats are similar to your wool coats in terms on grooming needs. They will to be brushed and combed everyday to prevent knot build up and matts developing. Most silk coats will need grooming at the groomers every 6 – 8 weeks. Like with wool coats, the price for grooming will be 30 pounds and upwards in most grooming shops. Examples of silk coats include; Shihtzus, Yorkshire Terriers, and King Charles. 

Costs for keeping a dog in terms of coat type/grooming needs; 

Double Coated Costs (estimated) :

Getting them professionally groomed – wash, dry, brush, comb, nails and ear clean.

  • £30 – (monthly, starting price, higher prices are possible) for groom.
  • £8 – Brush + Comb (even if you get a pro groom, you still need to brush dog everyday)

Grooming at home –

  • Nail Clippers (ONE TIME PRICE) – £6
  • Brush and Comb (ONE TIME BUY) -£8
  • Shampoo (500ml bottle lasts 2-3 washes, so around a month) – £6
  • Wipes – (monthly) – £1
  • Blaster (optional, towel drying will do off course, ONE TIME PRICE) – £60

Smooth Coated Costs (estimated) :

Getting them professionally groomed – wash, dry, de-shed, nails and ear clean.

  • £15 – £30 – (twice a month or once a month) for groom.

Grooming at home – 

  • Nail Clippers (ONE TIME PRICE) – £6
  • De-shedding Glove (ONE TIME BUY) -£6
  • Shampoo (500ml bottle lasts 4-6 washes, so around 3 months) – £6
  • Wipes – (monthly) – £1

Silk Coated Costs and Wool Coated Costs (estimated) :

Getting them professionally groomed – wash, dry, brush, comb, body groom, legs and feet groom, face trim/styled, bum and underneath shaved, and tail trimmed.

  • £30 – £45 – (Once every 4-8 weeks, dependant on coat thickness, style wanted and dog breed)

Grooming at home – You can groom your dog at home by buying your own clippers, scissors etc, but I advise letting a pro do these coat types as they know how to properly style your dog. However you still need a few things to keep on top of your dogs coat.

  • Wipes – (monthly) – £1
  • Brush and Comb (ONE TIME BUY) – £8
  • Nail Clippers (ONE TIME BUY) – £6
  • Shampoo (500ml bottle lasts 2-4 washes, so around 2 months) – £6

Wire Coated Costs

Getting them professionally groomed – wash, dry, nails, brush, comb, ears cleaned, face styles, body clipped, bum and underneath shaved, trail trimmed and under feet shaved. 

  • £25 – £40 – (every 6-8 weeks)

Grooming at home – 

  • Wipes – (monthly) – £1
  • Brush and Comb (ONE TIME BUY) – £8
  • Nail Clippers (ONE TIME BUY) – £6
  • Shampoo (500ml bottle lasts 2-4 washes, so around 2 months) – £6

 

It depends on how much money and time you are willing to spend to make sure your dogs coat is kept clean, looked after and presentable, but if you do not want to spend your spare time brushing your dog every day, I suggest a smooth coated or wire coated dog. If you want to keep prices down grooming a smooth coats or double coated can be done at home and never needs to go the groomers. If you don’t have the time to brush your dog everyday, don’t want to spend a lot on grooming and don’t want to groom at home, a wire coat may be best for you. If you have the time to brush you dog every day and don’t mind going the groomers every month and spending money on pro grooming every month, a silk or wool coat may be for you. Whichever you pick, remember to look after your dogs coat and remember before buying or adopting, inform yourself on grooming routines for that coat type.

Next blog post will be about breeds and which breed will be best for you and your living situation. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advice♥, MyStorys, Uncategorized

It’s another New Year with no resolutions

A few years ago I decided to scrap making ‘New Years Resolutions’. Mainly for the fact that I find them stupid, but other reasons include;  not keeping to them anyway, life happens, we can’t control and over organize every minute of a year to fit your resolution, it’s not possible. So, instead of telling friends all the things I want to do next year, I look back on the year I have had. I can hope for things to happen in the future, in the next year but making resolutions just usually ends up in disappointment the following New Year. Some pretty amazing things may happen next year, and I sure hope they do but with good things, bad things also happen. We have to learn to accept that we can’t control everything and that sometimes we can’t always do what we set out to do, by accepting that, we avoid the feeling of failure a little less.

Today marks the first day of 2018, it’s not really a special day, it’s just another day, another year but we live in a world obsessed with new beginnings and fresh starts, so to some, this day is something more then just a Monday. But, the truth is, we can have a fresh start on any day of the year, it doesn’t have to be today, tomorrow or in 2 weeks, it can be whenever you’re ready. Maybe these next few months are going to hard, maybe you have lost someone close to you or had an argument with a friend, but that doesn’t mean your whole year is ruined! You decide when your fresh start begins. Not a calendar. Just for today, try not worrying about the year ahead, don’t worry about what will or won’t happen and look back at the year you have had. The mistakes you have made and learned from, the days out and holidays, the achievements and accomplishments you have made this year.

Look back at the good things from the past year.

This year I have lost 2 stone with Slimming World and I bought loads of new clothes, that I can FINALLY fit into, like my new leather jacket. I went on my first holiday without family. I met my boyfriend and I made some pretty big decisions about my career and moving out. I finished my Level 2 diploma in animal care, I made a 2 tier cake for a wedding anniversary.

I’m pretty happy with everything that has happened in my life in the last year. There has been sad moments, moments filled with confusion, anger and sadness but like every other year, I got through it and I’m ready for another year of exciting things! I just don’t know what they’re going to be, and I’m actually okay with that.

What is your best memory from 2017? Let me know on twitter – @lifeasshanx

Shannon x

Cooking With Shan, Uncategorized

5 Baked Goods To Bake At Christmas Time

As Christmas is less then a week away, it’s time to head to the shop and stock up on all the essentials needed for Christmas day. The turkey, the table wear, party nibbles and of course the desserts and sweet treats. There is a lot on offer at most supermarkets these days, you can buy your Christmas pudding or yule log in the bakery section at most stores but nothing beats home baking, more so at this time of year! The smell of cinnamon and ginger fills your house while the gingerbread is cooking and all of a sudden it feels so much more like Christmas time. So, today I have listed my top ten favourite baked goods to make during the Christmas season.

 

Mince Pies 

Although I am not a fan of these small treats, I do like to make them and it wouldn’t feel like Christmas without taking a box of homemade mince pies to our family get-together on Christmas Eve. They’re simple enough to make whether you make them from scratch or use the cheat way and buy everything boxed, either way you do it, you’ll still get that homemade look and taste.

You could make your own pastry or mincemeat but if you’re new to baking or want a quicker way, buy the jarred mince at your local supermarket ( they range from around 90p to £5) and buy premade short crust pastry. All you need to do is; lightly grease a cupcake tin, cut the premade pastry into circles, add a spoonful of the jarred mince and cut out a circle or star shape and place on top, egg-wash and pop in oven for 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle some icing sugar on top once cooled and serve! Easy enough right?

Here is the link to MY recipe on Lifeasshan! – https://lifeasshan.wordpress.com/?s=mince+pies

Macarons 

I have never actually thought of making these for Christmas before this year but I came across an image of these cute French treat with a reindeer design on top and an idea was formed in my head. So, this year I decided to make up some macarons which is quite easy once you’ve got the basics down. I used cocoa powder to make them a brown colour and filled them with a chocolate ganache(cream and chocolate; warm cream, add chocolate pieces, wait 30 seconds, stir and leave to thicken to desired consistency). Once my macarons were filled, I added white chocolate on the top, letting some drip down and added two red sweets and a fondant holly leaf to each macaron. These were my mini Christmas Cake inspired macarons (as a non lover of Christmas cake, these are a perfect sub for me…and they looked way cuter).

Chocolate Yule Log

A classic at any Christmas meal, I believe. This cake is great for the non Christmas cake lovers in the family (mainly the children), who will still get some cake and custard after their Christmas meal, just minus the orange peel and raisins). I love to make a yule log at Christmas because they can be personalised to your families preferences and the children can help decorate it with fondant snowmen and logs. My brothers pester me to make them this during the Christmas holidays.

Gingerbread People OR House 

Another classic at Christmas… gingerbread. Whether you keep it simple with gingerbread people or whether you like to create a whole house for your gingerbread people, ginger is one of those spices I always associate with this time of year. You can buy gingerbread house kits in the likes of Tesco for £4 or you can make your own gingerbread and create whatever kind of shapes you want.

Cinnamon & Honeycomb Pancakes 

Christmas morning is normally filled with eating chocolate out of your stocking and the afternoon spent starving waiting for your big feast. I like to make sure I have something proper for breakfast as we don’t eat till late afternoon and on Christmas day I am normally up early. I don’t want something boring on Christmas day like Weetabix, it’s Christmas! I want cinnamon and chocolate. So, I came up with these pancakes a couple years ago that are the perfect Christmas morning breakfast. If you’ve already got a busy day of cooking ahead on Christmas day or want to spend as much time with your family as possible, I suggest making the honeycomb and pancake batter the night before. You can follow any normal pancake recipe and just add cinnamon and chocolate chips to the batter and store in the fridge till Christmas day. Making the honey comb is pretty simple as well, just add sugar and syrup to a pan and heat and add bicarbonate of soda and pour into a tub, leave to set and break up into small pieces. Store in an air tight container. On Christmas day all you need to do is cook the pancakes and serves with chocolate sauce, honey or Nutella with the honeycomb pieces.

Honourable Mentions

 Is it weird that I have an ‘honourable mentions’ section? Oh well, here is some other things I like to buy or make as little extras during the winter months. They’re cheap to buy or easy and quick to make! So, these little treats may suit you better then carving out a whole 2 hours to decorate a gingerbread house to perfection.

If you’re looking for some Christmas inspired bakes, check out these youtubers/bloggers for their Christmas bake recipes! (These are some of my favourites)

Laura in the Kitchen; YouTube Channel and Blog www.laurainthekitchen.com/

Cupcake Jemma; YouTube, Blog & Bakery Owner – https://www.cupcakejemma.com/

Jamie Oliver; Chef, YouTube Channel & Blog –         https://www.jamieoliver.com/

HowToCookThat; YouTube and Blog  – https://www.howtocookthat.net/public_html/

 

I will be back in the New Year with lots of new, fresh posts. Next year is looking at being a very big and interesting one for me personally, so I imagine I will have a lot to write about, which is pretty exciting.

I hope you enjoy baking this Christmas season! Tag me in any recreations on twitter under the hashtag #xmasbakewithshan and remember to tag me @lifeasshanx. I am also under the same handle on Instagram!

Have a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year! See you in January! 

Shannon x

 

***disclaimer – Images used are not mine, credit to original uploaders***