Thursday, 24 December 2015

Christmas Pawsomebox

No doubt about it... pets are the easiest to buy Christmas presents for! And this year, getting a gift for Saffy was even easier, thanks to lovely people at Pawsomebox who sent a Christmas box*.

Contents of Christmas Pawsomebox for dogs

Saffy's been lucky enough to receive a few Pawsomeboxes now - but this is the first time I've actually been home when one has arrived. It makes a bit of a change not to be writing this review based on the photos and videos I get my sister to send me while I'm at university!

I think this is my favourite box to date - a fabulous selection of festive goodies chosen especially for Saffy based on her size.

Rather than hand them all over straightaway, I'm keeping Saffy waiting and have wrapped each of the items ready for Christmas Day. They're all waiting under the tree (almost doubling the amount of presents there for the family at the moment - lucky girl!). 

First out of the box is a bottle of Biogance shampoo - a fancy, French brand for our pampered pup! This would certainly have come in handy had the box arrived earlier in the day, as Saffy spent the morning in the muddy woods and swimming in the water! This isn't just posh shampoo though. It's specifically tailored for dogs' skin in order to maintain the pH, avoid irritation and to promote a shiny, healthy coat. Not only is it great for dogs, being made with natural ingredients, it's also a good environmental choice as all the Biogance packaging is 100% recycled.

Biogance Protein Plus Dog Shampoo

Next up was a packet of Christmas Pudding treats. We've always got a ready supply of goodies for Saffy, but I think she deserves something extra special at Christmas. These specially made mini Christmas Puddings will be great for keeping Saffy occupied while we tuck into our Christmas meal next week (although perhaps we should save them until after she's had her share of roast turkey?!). These come from M&M's Kitchen who specialise in gluten, dairy and sugar free cakes and bakes, and do a whole range of treats, not limited to Christmas!

M&M's Kitchen mini christmas puddings for dogs

New toys for Christmas is a must - it's a great way of keeping Saffy occupied while we're busy celebrating, preparing dinner and playing games. Luckily she's got a flashing snowball, plush toy and squeaky Santa ready and waiting in her stack of presents.

Dog toy flashing snowball and squeaky toy santa

Plush dog toy christmas robin

I love a chocolate orange (or two) at Christmas (or anytime of year), so these Choc Orange Minis sound like the perfect equivalent for dogs! 

Good Boy Dog Chocolate orange minis christmas

And finally, this wouldn't be a Pawsomebox without a packet of natural treats to try - I have a slight suspicion that these chicken treats may not stay wrapped under the tree for very long if Saffy sniffs them out!

Natural chicken dog treats

I'd like to say a big thank you and Merry Christmas to everyone at Pawsomebox for spoiling Saffy with all these goodies.

Dog with Christmas presents

If you missed out on a Christmas Pawsomebox, don't worry - you can sign your dog up for a subscription and treat them to a box every month! There are monthly, 3, 6 and 12 month subscriptions to be had.  Check out the Pawsomebox website to sign up.

Hope you (and your pets) are looking forward to a lovely Christmas!


Thursday, 17 December 2015

2015 Review - A look back at New Year's Resolutions

Back almost an entire year ago, I wrote myself some new year's resolutions - and shared them here on Ginevrella. 

Now, if I'm honest, I'd pretty much forgotten that I'd even done that. It was only when fixing a few bits here and there on the blog that I came across it again!

But seeing as I have rediscovered it, and now we've almost reached the end of 2015, it seemed fitting to take another look at my goals and see whether I remembered to fulfill any of them...

1. Continue blogging - success!
Well it's safe to say that I appear to have managed this one! I don't think I was especially hopeful about this one either - but I've outdone my own expectations and have managed to post reasonably frequently. Well done me! 

2. Run - kind of success?!
Ok, so I'd actually intended for running to become a more regular habit, but I'm still counting this as a semi-success because I have actually run this year. I've struggled to fit it in around hospital placements, particularly when daylight hours are short and I'm living in a new place every few months - running in the dark doesn't feel very safe when I have no idea where I am. But I have signed up for a half marathon next spring and have done a bit of running recently, so I'm prepped to have a better shot at this resolution next year.

3. Read more - success!
And by this, I basically meant read more than about four books in a year. I've certainly achieved this, and have made more use of my Kindle too. I've enjoyed reading a few chapters before bed, or while on the train to London. I never did visit the local library though...

4. Stretch - hmmm...
Well it never really became part of my daily routine. Over the past couple of months I was trying to do some stretches in front of the TV each evening and I was certainly noticing my legs and back were less tight, but I've not really done much recently. It shouldn't really take long at all, but somehow I'm still finding that I don't have the time for a stretching routine. This one may take a little more work...

I was actually pleasantly surprised not to have failed all of my goals for the year! Continuing to blog was obviously the big achievement of the four. I deliberately kept my resolutions quite non-specific (which completely goes against all those SMART target criteria haha), but it meant that without even thinking about them, I managed to complete them (even the stretching did happen occasionally!). 2015 has been pretty successful for me... so hopefully 2016 will be too!

Did you make any resolutions?

Monday, 14 December 2015

Flowers For Christmas

A stunning bouquet of flowers is a treat at any time of year, but a beautiful Christmas themed arrangement is perfect over the festive period. Whether given as a gift, or bought for yourself as a reward for finishing (or starting) your Christmas shopping, there are plenty of excuses for one of these bouquets.

I loved the Hot Toddy bouquet I reviewed a couple of months ago, so I was delighted when Appleyard London asked if I might like a Christmas Bouquet. Knowing how gorgeous their flowers are, I was more than happy to say yes, and selected Christmas Chutney Bouquet * from their range of Christmas flowers.

Christmas is a time of giving, so I thought I'd surprise my mum with these - and she loves them! They've sat pride of place in our fireplace, alongside the Christmas tree, giving the room a lovely, festive look.

The bouquet arrived exactly when I'd ordered it for, well packaged and without a stem out of place. 

What I love about the fresh flower bouquets from Appleyard London is how long they last. They arrive ready to display, and after a couple of days the rest of the flowers open to complete the arrangement. My last bouquet lasted a good ten days before starting to show only the slightest hint of tiredness, and this one looks set to do the same.

Christmas Chutney is a lovely mix of reds, pinks and golds - Christmassy, but with a hint of hot pink to spice things up!

A Christmas Bouquet would make a lovely gift, or an ideal way to say thank you to anyone cooking Christmas dinner this year. And as it's Christmas, I'm sharing a huge 33% discount off luxury bouquets when you used the code BLOG33, so do check out the range!


I received a complimentary bouquet from Appleyard in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own, and if I didn't love a product, I wouldn't blog about it!

Friday, 11 December 2015

Favourite Posts This Year

Favourite blog posts this year

As we reach the final few weeks of December, I'm in the mood for looking back over the year and what I've accomplished on this blog over the past twelve months. I still can't quite believed that I've managed to blog for the entirety of 2015. So whether you're a new reader, or have been following me all year, here are some favourites and some posts you may have missed...

A simple, gluten-free, sweet and squidgy cake - perfect for using up overripe bananas. It seems everyone loves a good banana bread/ cake, so save this recipe!

I got a great response to this post about student stereotypes - turns out most of you aren't/ weren't 'typical' students either!

I had a short series of posts in March, showcasing some of my favourite artwork. I don't always get much time for drawing and painting nowadays, so it was lovely to look back at some of my work and show it off.

Excuse me a minute while I just get over the fact that I'm now a final year medical student... Writing a day-in-the-life post as a medical student is actually quite tricky - my days are all different! This is a day on my obstetrics and gynaecology placement last year. I love seeing what people get up to in a day, and I'm thinking of writing another one of these soon, so keep an eye out!

I'm so sad that I won't be able to go to Badminton this year as I'll be away on my elective (although that's not a bad compromise!). This Gloucestershire-based three-day-event attracts some of the world's top riders, and we spent a beautifully sunny afternoon wandering around the cross country course watching the action.

In July I made it to my one-year anniversary of blogging - a pretty huge achievement for me as I was expecting to give away way before that! I used this as a chance to give some acknowledgement to some of my favourite bloggers.

This summer I spent just over a week touring Ireland with my family. I documented the trip in a series of photo diaries. I picked out this one from Mullaghmore and Derry simply because the harbour at Mullaghmore was so beautiful! We actually spent most of dinner dashing out the front of the hotel with dad's camera to capture the sunset.

Because I used to make weird things on the Sims. And I still laugh at myself for doing so...

I attended my first blogging event this year, hosted by the lovely Adele and Kirsty - the super-organisers behind Pretty Lovely Bloggers. Meeting other bloggers was a great experience, and something I'm keen to do again.

I discovered you can make your own Nutella at home last month, so I shared a take on the recipe I used, modified to make a crunchy version of the classic hazelnut chocolate spread.

It's been a wonderful year so far in terms of blogging and I've been fortunate enough to meet lovely people. work with some great brands and PR companies and to have lots of thoughtful comments and messages from you, my readers! 

I'd love to know what your favourite posts have been this year, whether ones you've read elsewhere or ones you've written yourself - do share!


Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Student Life: Maximising your Budget

Whether it’s revising, being on placement or budgeting my money, student life isn’t always plain sailing like people make it out to be. I try and make life as easy as possible for myself, so I’m not worrying about money, when I could be focusing on my studies.

Whether it’s for food shopping, nights out or train tickets, your student loan doesn’t last forever. I find that when it comes to budgeting, it’s the little things that make a huge difference. Here’s some top tips from First Transpennine Express that’ll help you start living to your means, without missing out on all the fun!!

9 tips to keep your student overdraft far from red

9 money saving tips to keep your student bank account far from red [infographic] by the team at TransPennine Express

My railcard is definitely one of my most used money savers - although I'm jealous of the 50% discount on TransPennine Express! I also save money by doing online grocery shopping in order to make the most of multibuy offers on things I can keep in the cupboard, without having to carry it all home. I've tried doing some survey websites too. It can take a bit of trial-and-error to find one that has enough relevant surveys yet doesn't bombard you with emails, but I have earned a few vouchers this way. Also look out for any paid participation for research - there's usually something going on at university!

What would be your advice to anyone trying to save money while at university?


Sunday, 6 December 2015

Little Things I've Loved This Week #13

I try not to get too excited about Christmas until December - but I'm certainly starting to feel the festiveness now! It's slightly overshadowed by looming exams, but they'll be out of the way before I know it. This has been a bit of a back and forwards week. I came home to revise on Tuesday , but had to pop back to Bristol on Thursday night - a six hour round trip for what was a twenty minute meeting! Here are some of the little things I've appreciated this week...

Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate Advent Calendar opened

Coming home to an advent calendar (and a half). I forgot to buy myself one this year, so it made me very happy to get home on the 1st and find an advent calendar stuck to the fridge. Apparently they were on offer as well, so we've ended up with a spare that my sister and I are sharing.

Making a start on my Christmas shopping. This always feels like a big task hanging over me as soon as December starts, so I'm pleased to have sorted three presents already. One of the benefits of revising for finals at the moment is that I'm literally home all the time. Which is a bit dull, but does mean I can do all my shopping online!

Handwriting compliments. I had a review of my portfolio from this term, and among feedback on slightly more medical aspects, I also got told I had great handwriting. Take that primary school teachers who never chose me as winner in the annual handwriting competions... #definitelynotbitter.

Treating myself to new clothes. I meant to do this by going via Oxford Street on my way home from Bristol. However, with the crowds of people and slow moving queues, I got fed up pretty quickly and decided to come home and do it online. And to make this even better, I managed a whole order without my size being out of stock!

What have you been up to this week?
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