The Blogger Tag 

The Blogger Tag 

I saw this on Naomi’s blog a while ago and lost it in my drafts. I love a tag post – it’s a great way to tell your readers a bit more about yourself. 


1.       How Tall Are You?

5ft 8in – so just above average for a woman

2.       Do You Have A Hidden Talent? If So, What?

I can pick things up with my toes – like pencils or paintbrushes when I was a kid, it’s useful if I drop something.

3.       What’s Your Biggest Blog-Related Pet Peeve?

The snide bitchiness that goes on and the accusations of stealing people’s ideas – it’s not always plagiarism. Sometimes it’s genuinely being inspired by a post. Maybe just say “this post was inspired by ….” or something. 

4.       What’s Your Biggest Non-Blog Related Pet Peeve?

People who walk really slowly in the middle of the pavement so you can’t walk around them. Living in London this is a daily nightmare. 

5.       What’s Your Favourite Song? 

It changes depending on my mood, but Nina Simone singing “I think it’s gonna rain today” is always on the list.

6.       What’s Your Favourite Social Media Website?

I do love the twitters (HT Marian Keyes)

7.       What’s Your Favourite Way To Spend Your Free Time When You’re Alone?

Reading and eating popcorn, or taking a much needed nap. I do love a nap.

8.       What’s Your Favourite Junk Food?

Probably salted popcorn with Galaxy counters or chocolate buttons chucked in there so you get the salty and the chocolatey – oh so good.

9.       Do You Have A Pet Or Pets? If So, What Kind And What Are Their Names? 

Currently we have four rats, all girls, Izzie who is a pink eyed white and about 2, then 3 little cheeky ratscallions – Rosie Posie, Dumbo (Little D) and Ninja who are sisters and about 8 weeks old, they’re hooded, dumbo rex rats, so they have different markings, really soft fur, big round ears and curly whiskers.

10.   What’s Your Favourite Fiction And Non-Fiction Books?

This could be a really long list – I have so many top reads, but I will go with These Is My Words by Nancy Turner as I love this book so much, and recommend Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis (from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers) as my favourite non-fiction biographical book as it is so compelling a read I literally read it in one sitting. Otherwise Prisoners of Geography is one of the most interesting non-fiction books I’ve ever read.  

11.   What’s Your Favourite Beauty Product Or Tool?

I really do like a good blending sponge and my Spectrum Collection brushes are pretty excellent. Product wise I am a big fan of Soap & Glory’s primer and Make Up Revolution’s setting spray, both mean that my make up looks good and stays put.

12.   When Were You Last Embarrassed? What Happened?  

I trod on the  back of my friend’s boot the other day, she was really nice about it but I need to watch where I put my clown feet.

13.   If You Could Only Drink One Beverage (Besides Water) For The Rest Of Your Life, What Would It Be?

Diet Coke – my one vice apart from buying takeaways instead of cooking too often…

14.   What’s Your Favourite Movie?

Much like the book question this contains multitudes – Empire Records, The Princess Bride, My Neighbour Totoro, Rent, Disney’s Hercules, the list goes on…

15.   What Was Your Favourite Lesson In School And Why? 

Drama because Mr Jones was a fab teacher, and I thought I wanted to act. I now know I’d be better off as a Stage Manager, and that one day I will write a play.

16.   If You Could Live Anywhere In The World, Where Would You Live? 

There’s an island in the Venetian lagoon that hardly anyone lives on – that would suit my hermit nature down to a tee.

17.   PC Or Mac?

I like the look of Macbooks but I lack the resources to own one. Mostly I use my dying laptop.

18.   Last Romantic Gesture From A Crush, Date, Boy/Girlfriend, Spouse? (Or Kind Gesture From A Friend)

My fiancé, bless him, isn’t the romantic sort really, but he bought me some biscuits while I was stuck at home sick in a bid to cheer me up.

19.   Favourite Celebrity?

Not really into celebrity as such – there’s some pretty cool writers out there I’ve met and Sarah Millican seems like she’s pretty awesome.

20.   What Blogger Do You Secretly Want To Be Best Friends With?

George from Fuller Figure Fuller Bust – who is incredibly lovely (we got our first rats from her) and just seems to be someone who’s really fun to hang out with.

21.   Who Is Your Biggest Inspiration? 

My Grandad – left school at 13 to start working, was in the RAF, lost his father at 19, first wife died at 22, moved to London shortly after, met my Nan, married her, adopted her children (my mum and aunt), raised his family, worked like crazy, ran his own company, retired and sold it, got bored so went and got another job, has travelled all over the place, and now takes care of Nanny who is very poorly, despite being 86 with 2 new knees, 2 pacemakers and hearing aids. He’s pretty cool and we swap thrillers.

22.   What Is Your Favourite Blog To Read? 

Vix Meldrew is hilarious and insightful. I also loved Tara from Cattitude & Co but she’s taking a break from blogging right now.

23.   What Is Your Favourite High Street Shop?

Waterstones or Superdrug probably – books and skincare are pretty much all I buy these days.

24.   Are You In Education Or Do You Work?

I work for a charity, but even when I was a student (oh I miss those days) I worked as well so it feels like I’ve been working forever. 

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#Boxcitement: Free Spirit 

#Boxcitement: Free Spirit 

(Let’s pretend it’s still September for 5 mins) 
Boxcitement’s Free Spirit box is a delight. Full of bright colours and fun shapes. 

Inside the box was all these goodies. 

A wall mountable mini mirror – yay! I really like this, unpacking it made me smile. 

This cute charm bangle – it makes a nice jingle when I walk. 

Raindrop planner clips, these are the cutest things, which I will use to keep various post-its together. 

Personal picnic kit – recyclable cutlery and a cute napkin. 

Art print that is also a planner calendar. 


Memory notepads – to jot those ideas down! 
Teeny backpack pouch and feather keyring. 

Overall I really like this box – especially the mirror and bracelet, less so the single use (but thankfully recyclable) picnic kit. The stationery items are right up my street – paperclips and notepads yes please! 

Birthday Wishlist with Uncommon Goods

Birthday Wishlist with Uncommon Goods

Next week is my birthday and while I generally don’t go mad for present requests, when Uncommon Goods got in touch and asked if I’d like to make a wishlist from their incredible range of gifts, I said yes.

Uncommon Goods was founded in New York by Dave Bolotsky, inspired by the collections of the Smithsonian Museum, he wanted to curate a place for independent artists to sell their handmade, unique pieces. The company focuses on sustainability, and work in an ethical way, giving back to non-profits with every purchase through their Better to Give program.  

I love working with companies like this, I strongly support independent businesses and artisans and this is a great way to discover some amazing artists and their creations that you might otherwise miss in all the noise of the internet.

Dare I mention it, but the C-word (the nice one) is just around the corner but don’t worry, the gang at Uncommon Goods have got you. With everything from curated lists of gifts for your best friend to the hard to buy for teens there’s something for everyone. I will certainly be buying some of these beautiful things for my friends and family. 

So here is my list! Presents are always welcome at ramblingmads ☺

Elwood the Rainbow Unicorn MugHow cute is this guy? And he’s called Elwood, which makes me think of The Blues Brothers. One of my favourite films. So I need my hot chocolate in my Elwood the unicorn mug, feet up watching Elwood & Jake Blues please! 

Literary Scarves

I’m a massive book fan and a literary scarf would be fantastic, maybe not Jane Austen though as I’m not a fan, but I do love an infinity scarf. I like the idea of wearing a book around your neck. Perfect for when I get bored on the Tube and I’ve finished my book. 

C:\Users\Madeleine.Fenner\Pictures\Eye Glasses Holder _ Wooden Nose Eyeglass Holder _ UncommonGoods_files\19079_1_360px.jpg I am always losing my glasses so this chap would be really handy and turn my wandering specs into a piece of art at the same time. I love the big nose, mine’s not quite as chunky, I hope!

C:\Users\Madeleine.Fenner\Pictures\Foodie Dice _ fun cooking games, dinner ideas _ UncommonGoods_files\25386_1_360px.jpg

Food is a big part of my life but sometimes I find it hard to get into cooking dinner every day, these foodie dice might just put the fun back into meal times. Certainly might get me experimenting with new combinations. 

C:\Users\Madeleine.Fenner\Pictures\Positive Energy Necklace _ Silver Positive Message Necklace _ UncommonGoods_files\21341_1_360px.jpg

I love pretty jewellery and I can always use some positivity, attracting good vibes is definitely a bonus. I also like the pairing of gold and silver charms, it’ll go with any outfit. 

C:\Users\Madeleine.Fenner\Pictures\Mason Jar Indoor Herb Garden _ Grow Your Own Herbs _ UncommonGoods_files\43428_1_640px.jpg

Finally, this beautiful and fun indoor herb garden would go really nicely in my kitchen and because of the clever hydroponic system I might even manage to keep these plants alive. 

*while this is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own. 


 

Boxcitement August – Fantasy Island 

Boxcitement August – Fantasy Island 

I treated myself to a little bit of fun this month with this box from Boxcitement. 

Inside the Fantasy Island themed box are a collection of items to celebrate dreams, fantasies and wishes. 

🦄 unicorn trinket dish

🦄 flamingo pendant 

🦄 eye mask 

🦄 greetings card

🦄 planner pad 

🦄 doughnut pen

🦄 mermaid wrapping paper

🦄 ‘mergoat’ pin 

This box is fun, whimsical and brightly coloured. I really enjoyed opening it all up and seeing all the bits inside. 

The Allergy & Free From Show 

The Allergy & Free From Show 

This past Saturday my mother and I went on one of our increasingly common outings. This time we went to Kensington Olympia to explore free from foods and allergy busters. 

When my mum isn’t buying me lunch (thanks!) she’s an incredibly hard-working and somewhat brilliant nurse working in public health and school health. She recently celebrated 40 years in nursing and is my go to for any ‘should I take this weird thing to a doctor’ query (lucky her).

We had free tickets because the event gives loads away every year – I will share the link for next July once I get it. I did however miss the blogger meet up because I was too busy sampling cakes, oops. 

I also failed miserably to take any photos of use, although I will include the entirely random few I did manage at the end. 

Seriously I blame all the free cake samples and the abundance of dairy free treats. I had a truly delicious magnum style caramel ice cream and got chocolate all over my white top – I shouldn’t be allowed out. 

We did stop for actual lunch too – the prices in the Olympia’s cafes are eye watering for two salads and two drinks. 

My mum became pals with an allergy nurse from a children’s asthma charity – discussing epipens and inhalers. Joy. 

I located the make up stand and got a bit of a makeover while I was at it – once a beauty blogger, always a beauty blogger  (this will be getting it’s own post so stay tuned). 

I even came home with not just a goody bag full of snacks but some little purchases including gluten free samosas, rocky road mix, vodka cocktails (mum and I split 4 between us, she enjoys the odd tipple and free samples) and a few other little bits and bobs. I also found some new and some familiar brands to add to my shopping list. 

There was some live music from the imaginatively named Thomas and Thomas who played cover versions of a range of songs that definitely had at least one fan – the little boy dancing away in front of them! They were actually quite good but the dancing was very entertaining and quite distracting. 

We were ambushed by the man from the WWF and spent the rest of the day not walking past him again. I know why charities rent stands at these events but I wish they wouldn’t. 

I managed to get us lost finding the cocktails stand when we decided to make our purchases before leaving, thank goodness we found them again! Maps are very much not my strong point, though I can scent a goody bag at 500 paces it seems. 

Anyway, it was really interesting to see how far the free from and allergy market has come along since I was a sniffly asthmatic kid with eczema now that I am a sniffly asthmatic adult with eczema. 

Me & the Mothership and a giant samosa
Thomas & Thomas doing Jessie J’s Price Tag
The Green Sisters’ amazing free from samosas
Book Tour: Trust Me – Gemma Metcalfe 

Book Tour: Trust Me – Gemma Metcalfe 

Today I’m hosting a stop on the blog tour for thriller Trust Me by Gemma Metcalfe. Read on for more. 

One phone call. Two lives. Their darkest secrets.
Lana needs to sell a holiday, fast. Stuck in Tenerife, in a dead end job, she never expected a response quite like Liam’s.

Thousands of miles away a phone rings. Liam never intended to pick up, he’s too busy choosing the quickest way to die. But at least someone should know the truth before he goes, even if that someone is a stranger.

As time runs out both are drawn to the other, expressing thoughts they never thought they would share.

When you’re about to die will your secrets even matter?
Find the book on Amazon and Goodreads

Gemma Metcalfe is a Manchester born author who now lives in sunny Tenerife with her husband Danny and two crazy rescue dogs Dora and Diego. By day, Gemma can be found working as a Primary school teacher, but as the sun sets, she ditches the glitter and glue and becomes a writer of psychological thrillers. An established drama queen, she admits to having a rather warped imagination, and loves writing original plots with shocking twists. The plot for her debut novel ´Trust Me,´ is loosely based on her experiences as a call centre operative, where  she was never quite sure who would answer the phone…

Find Gemma on Twitter

Read on for an extract from the book and an exciting giveaway. 

Lana, 3.47 pm

‘Are you still there, Liam?’ I ask, realising he has been worryingly quiet while I have been telling my story. I begin to feel ridiculous, sat here complaining about such trivial things when his life has been shattered into a million pieces. But of course my story is still in its early stages. The things that came after were anything but trivial.

‘I’m here, Lana.’ His voice travels down the line flatly, like he has already given up.

I sigh, my eyes lifting up into my head as I contemplate how to proceed. I want to get to the bottom of what has happened to him, why he feels there is nothing left for him, but I am doubting my capabilities more and more. I’m not a counsellor. I don’t know how to unlock people’s demons.

‘Is it because the baby died?’ I ask through pursed lips, my face so tightly squished up I can barely see. I hold my breath, wondering if I have got to the bottom of why he wants to die.

He laughs. A laugh so cutting it sends chills down my spine.

‘That was years ago, Lana. It was heartbreaking, and a turning point for me and Jess. Our relationship never really recovered. I always blamed her deep down, but what was I to do? I was married to her and I was desperate to keep her son in my life. He is the single most important thing to me.’

I hear Liam’s voice fracture down the line. I have an urge to go to him, to pull him close to me and make it all all right. But I can’t. I can’t do that because I can’t even enter the UK.

‘So what then? If not the baby, what went so drastically wrong?’

To celebrate the release of Trust Me, here’s a little giveaway for you. 

UK only. One winner will receive a Boots voucher, a copy of Trust Me and some surprise Boots treats. 

Enter Here and don’t forget to visit the other stops on the tour. 


 

My BorrowMyDoggy experience

My BorrowMyDoggy experience

At the beginning of the year I signed up to BorrowMyDoggy – a service designed to connect dog owners with dog lovers who can’t have their own canine chum. 

Our flat is too small, we are both out all day and we don’t have a garden so having a dog is currently out of the question. 

I took advantage of a special offer on the price of the membership, otherwise it might be a bit pricey for some. 

I created a profile and messaged a few local dog owners (it gives you an approximate location) but nothing happened. 

A few weeks ago I got a reply from a lady who lives across the dual carriageway from me (about 10 minutes walk) – how lucky was that! 

I met Flick and her human, Susan, and we had a chat and a cuddle (Flick) and now Flick and I go to the park a few times a week for a walk and a play. For an older dog she’s very keen on running around the park and exploring the messages left my other dogs.

She’s a smart pup who goes into school to hear children read and help them build their confidence so she’s super friendly and gentle. Hopefully soon she’ll be coming over for a picnic and a sleepover. 

I’ve really enjoyed using the service so far and will be seeing if I can make any more doggy friends, they are great fun and mean I get outside for some fresh air and exercise, plus science says stroking an animal lowers your blood pressure and can help boost your mental wellbeing. 

The ratties don’t seem too bothered by the slight smell of dog on me after my park outings with Flick luckily. 

My pal Flick

How about you? Anyone used BorrowMyDoggy? What did you think?