Monday, 30 June 2014

Faustino VII Rioja Tempranillo 2011 - Review

When we lived in France we used to go shopping in Spain quite often, mainly because it was only a short drive, and because almost everything was cheaper in Spain.
Being lovers of red wine, and living in a huge vineyard we drank lots of lovely French wine, but we also enjoyed wine from Spain.
Mr.R especially liked Rioja, I wasn't as much of a fan as he was.
Anyway, during a recent shopping trip Mr.R returned with a bottle of Spanish wine, Faustino VII Rioja Tempranillo 2011, which reminded us our our life in France. Yep, a bottle of Spanish wine brought back memories of living in the South of France. Hehe!

What did we think of the Faustino VII Rioja Tempranillo 2011?
We liked it. Actually, despite it only being a couple of days ago that we drank it, I can't really remember what I thought of it, and neither can Mr.R. Ha!

The bottle label says -
Faustino VII, with its inviting fruity flavours, is perfect to go with starters, everyday red meat dishes and poultry. An ideal wine for barbeques and social occasions. 13%.

Rioja. I can't remember what I thought of this. ❓ Probably that it tasted like red wine.  #blog #blogger #blogging © #Faustino #faustinovii #rioja #wine #redwine #tempranillo

More information about this wine -
Established in 1861, and owning over 758 hectares in Rioja, Faustino is one of Spain's greatest family owned bodegas. 
Based in the Alavesa region of Rioja Faustino exports to 79 countries, and is the number one exporter Worldwide of Gran Reserva. The group ensures selection of the best land, vines and practices. This enables a high degree of quality control and consistent high quality from grape to bottle. They are product of their respect for the environment and their contemporary biodynamic and classic winemaking practices.

The 2011 Faustino VII is made from 100% Tempranillo and aged in American oak for ten months before being bottled.
Nice ripe cherries, some dried berries, tobacco, spice, and a little vanilla.
Medium-bodied Rioja with good structure and red fruits lingering on the finish.
Faustino VII is the entry level Rioja from this famous Bodega.
Despite it's status as a vin joven (young wine) it is made with great care and benefits from some ageing in both barrel and bottle.
The wine is ruby in colour, having lost the purple intensity of extreme youth and the palate has rich jammy fruits with slight hints of sweetness, vanilla and spice on the finish, evidence of the 10 months it has spent in new American oak.

Do you like Rioja?
Have you tasted Faustino VII Rioja Tempranillo 2011?

Thursday, 26 June 2014

World Cup - England Football Team

Is it too soon to laugh at the performance of the England team in the World Cup 2014?

I met a fairy today who said she would grant me one wish. 
"I want to live forever," I said. 
"Sorry, but I am not allowed to grant that type of wish." said the fairy.
"Fine," I said, "Then I want to die when England wins the World Cup." 
"You crafty bugger!" said the fairy.


England didn't win the World Cup in 2014. No surprises there.
Oh well, it's only a game.

Monday, 23 June 2014

England World Cup 2014, Worst Ever Performance

England didn't win the World Cup in 2014 - what a shocker!

According to the media, and no doubt the opinion of the football fans, England have had a very bad World Cup.
The Three Lions' tournament was a seriously short-lived event, it was all over after just two games.
This tournament has seen the worst ever performance by an England team in the World Cup finals.

I'm not a football fan, I don't follow any particular team, but like a lot of us Brits when the World Cup comes around I do get into the spirit of the game - well, just a little. By which I mean that whenever the England team are playing I flick over occasionally from whatever programme I'm really watching to see the scores.
The 2014 World Cup hasn't given me, or any true football fans anything to get excited about, the whole thing has been lack-lustre, and disheartening. It's a shame as I think we could really do with some good news in this country at the moment. But alas it's not going to come from the England football team.

As I've already said, I'm not particularly interested in football, to me it's just a game, played by a bunch of overpaid ego-maniacs who believe they are better than anyone else, and above the law.
But, I don't think I have to be a football fan to know why we always seem to play so badly in the World Cup, by which I mean we never win - well, not since 1966.
Our footballers are treated like delicate little princesses, or should I say princes, who are pampered and protected from the harsh realities of life. I mean they don't know what hard work it - which is why I'm not surprised we always play badly.
As a first World country, (ha! that's supposedly what England is) we have some of the most talented, and definitely highly paid footballers in the World. Now if the saying, 'you get what you pay for' is true, and I pretty much believe in most cases it is, then the England footballers are excellent players.
So, if our football players are excellent at what I consider to be an accurate definition of football - kicking a tiny ball into a huge net, then surely we should have won the World Cup at least once since the 1960's - shouldn't we?
But, no, we have not won. We are crap!
Why are the England football team not scoring goals and winning matches?
I most definitely am not an expert on football, I don't even know what the offside rule is, but even to me, the reason we never bring home the World Cup is simply because we aren't trying hard enough.
By we, I mean them, the England players.
So, why aren't our football team trying harder, playing better, winning matches? It's simple, they don't want to.
The England football team don't really want to break a sweat, it might spoil their good looks and damage their ability to earn obscene money from the advertisers who are pretty much solely responsible for the overinflated egos of our football 'stars'.
But more important than that the England team don't want to play harder and win because they don't want to injure themselves. If they are injured while playing in the World Cup it could have serious consequences for them and their careers when they return home to their teams.
If they are seriously injured playing in the World Cup, the worst case scenario may be the end of their football career. And although I'm sure there are footballers who genuinely love playing football, there are most definitely some footballers who love the fame, money, and lifestyle a whole lot more than the beautiful game. 
I mean, some footballers just happen to have been good at football when they were young and at at school, got spotted by a talent spotter and agent etc. and then before they knew it they were successfully playing for one of the big teams. It wasn't football in particular that interested them, they just happened to be good at it, and as it offered them fame and money they went for it. If they'd been good with technology, they could just have easily have ended up being the next big thing since Google.

I know it sounds like I'm bashing footballers, and I guess I am a little, but it's not personal, I just don't understand the ho-har that surrounds them, they're just ordinary people like you and me, they aren't Gods, but you'd think so by the way they are treated, and by their behaviour.

So, to surmise, once again England are not the winners of the World Cup.
England are not the winners of the World Cup because they just don't want to play well enough to win. They don't want to risk any injury that may be detrimental to their income once they're back playing for their usual team.
So why are other football teams playing well and scoring goals? Winning goals.
I think that's pretty easy to explain too. The footballers on the other teams have pride. Pride in themselves, pride in the game, and most importantly pride in their country.
Unfortunately pride in England is not something our footballers feel. And sad though it is, judging by the state of our country, it's understandable and I can't blame them.
Plus, some of the other countries taking part in the World Cup will have players who are not only truly passionate about the game, but also determined to play as good as they can in the hopes of attracting the attention of the people who may purchase them in the future to play for one of the big league clubs.

One more thing before I end this rant about a topic I have no particular interest in, but apparently enough of an interest to ramble on and on...........
One last thing, that bugs me, but not as much as serious issues like politics, rape, economics, violence, war etc. is the wages footballers receive.
I understand why they are paid so much money, advertising.
But, to me, it seems wrong.
Footballers! They're hardly solving the big problems are they, or making the World a better safer place.
It's firefighters, nurses, and dare I say it in this country where it seems everyone hates them - the police, who should be earning the big money, they're the people who really work hard, who really make a difference to lives of so many of us - a difference for the better.
I know! I know! It's not the fault of footballers that they are treated like royalty, and are as rich as, hmm, let me think, who is seriously wealthy? Politicians? Dictators? Sultans? Whatever! Whoever! Rich people!
And if I could get paid obscene amounts of dosh for not actually working very hard at all - I'd jump at the chance, who wouldn't? But I'd like to think I'd still be down-to-earth, and not behave like a prima donna.

I said that I was ending this blog post, and I am, but here's just one more one more thing before I post this.
The Top 10 Highest Paid Footballers in the World

  • Wayne Rooney - £300,000 a week
  • Cristiano Ronaldo - £292 after tax, making him the highest earner in the World
  • Gareth Bale - £300,000 a week
  • Lionel Messi - £13 million a year
  • Radamel Falcao - £11.4 a year
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic - £11.3 million a year
  • Sergio Aguero - £11 million a year
  • Yaya Toure - £10.6 million a year
  • Thiago Silva - £9.8 million a year
  • David Silva - £9.8 million
  • Fernando Torres - £8.8 million a year

So, yep, footballers earn quite a lot of money, and a little bit more than people who really benefit the World, like firefighters etc. and our footballers, the England team, are crap.

I haven't uploaded any photos to this blog post, which is something I usually like to do on all of my posts, mainly because I don't own any photos of the England football team, and I only ever use my own shots on this blog.
I was going to draw a couple of the payers, cartoon style as I'm no artist, but quite frankly I couldn't be bothered. I am completely fed up of hearing about football, I only wrote this post to get it out of my system, and I don't think I'm alone in being fed up of the football.
I noticed yesterday that a couple of our neighbours, who had covered their houses in lots very large England flags, have taken them all down. Oh dear!
Do you like football? Are you surprised by the bad performance of the England team?
More importantly what would you do if you earnt as much as Wayne Rooney? 
Or maybe you do?
What would you spend your £300,000 a week wages on?
I'd move to Monaco...........

Friday, 20 June 2014

Dirty Dog

Our rescue dog, Barley the Lurcher, is not a fan of water - in any form.
He doesn't like going out for a walk if it's raining.
He doesn't particularly like drinking water. In fact we've never known a dog to drink so little.
And he definitely doesn't like water when it's in the form of a shower or bath.

A few days ago I decided that Barley needed a thorough clean, so unfortunately for him that meant a bath or shower.
Since Barley has been a member of our family, Mr.R and myself have bathed him a few times - with varying degrees of success.
Usually Mr.R has lifted Barley into the bath and then held him steady, while I've attempted to get him clean using the shower. This process hasn't resulted in Barley getting much cleaner than he was before we bathed him. It usually ends up with me and Mr.R getting soaked, the floor becoming wet and more slippery than an ice-skating rink, and Barley being most unhappy.

He's not impressed.  #blog #blogger #blogging © #dog #Lurcher #rescuedog #sighthound
Barley immediately after his bath, he sat staring at me for ages.......

So, this time I thought we'd try to lessen the distress that Barley seems to feel when being given a shower, and try to bath him instead.
First I run a very shallow bath, just a few inches, of lovely warm water.
Then Mr.R lifted Barley into the bath.
Barley didn't seem as uncomfortable as he has previously, he stood quite still, well, a there were a lot less escape attempts anyway.

I then gently began to sponge Barley, letting the warm water soak his back and he seemed fine(ish).
Barley has very sensitive skin, so once he was suitable wet I used a tiny amount of dog shampoo, which I rubbed all over his fur.
By this stage Barley was not happy to be in the bath, but he wasn't frantically trying to jump out either, so we continued to clean him.

Now he cleans himself.  After we gave him a bath.  #blog #blogger #blogging © #dog #Lurcher #rescuedog #sighthound
Barley spent half an hour 'cleaning' himself after his bath.......

Barley isn't a large dog, he's pretty much a typical Lurcher size, but he is surprisingly strong. I guess that's because he is all muscle, and his neck muscle in particular is unbelievably strong, he's like Mike Tyson. So it's not easy to keep him in the bath if and when he decides he's had enough and wants to get out.
Thankfully Mr.R is very strong and can hold Barley steady so that I can wash him. I'd never be able to bathe Barley on my own, he's way too strong for me.
Anyway, as we didn't want to prolong the trauma of being washed, I decided that the best and quickest way to rinse Barley would be to shower him.

Our shower is electric, and the water pressure is good and strong, so I was really careful to reassure Barley that everything was ok, and Mr.R kept hold of him and comforted him with reassuring words too.
As I turned on the shower it was obvious that Barley was now more eager for it all to be over, so I rinsed him as fast as I could, but made sure all of the shampoo was thoroughly gone from his fur and skin.

Fresh 'n clean.  Aww, it looks like he still likes me, despite having to endure the stress of a bath. #blog #blogger #blogging © #dog #Lurcher #rescuedog #sighthound
Barley letting me know he was not impressed with bath day.......

The whole process of bathing Barley didn't take very long at all, only a few minutes, but it felt a lot lot longer - for us and no doubt for Barley too.
Once we'd washed and rinsed Barley, Mr.R carefully lifted him out of the bath. Barley was very happy to be free, he shook and shook sending water everywhere. Ahh, bless him!
Washing Barley is not something we intend to do too often, it's too stressful for all three of us.

A good towel dry and Barley rushed out of the bathroom and into the living room, where he spent the next half an hour or so licking himself.
I told him that if he'd bothered to clean himself previously, we wouldn't have bathed him at all.
Barley just looked up at me, sighed, and said he didn't need to be washed, he was happy being a soap-dodger, and with that he fell fast asleep. At least that's what I interpreted he said, from the way he was staring at me.

He is perfect. ❤️ #blog #blogger #blogging © #Lurcher #dog #rescuedog #sighthound #sleepingdog #StrayAid
Barley sound asleep after his bath.......

Barley does not like having a bath or shower, not surprisingly it was impossible for us to take any photos of Barley during his bath/shower, so I only managed to get some after shots.
Barley looked a lot cleaner after his bath, and he definitely smelt better too.
Does your dog enjoy being washed as much as Barley does? 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Namaqua Reserve Selection, Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013, Review

Namaqua Reserve Selection, Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013
Wine of South Africa

We recently enjoyed a bottle of Namaqua Reserve Collection, Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013, from South Africa.
I can't remember how much we paid for it, but I'm guessing it would have only been a couple of pounds.
This wine is rich and smooth, with spicy aromas of black and red berries, and a gentle touch of vanilla oak.
I think the blend of this wine is 70% Shiraz, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon.
The bottle we drank had been sitting a bit too close to the oven so the wine was a little warm, but it slipped down nicely.

Namaqua Reserve Selection, Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013

The blurb on the label says -
Wine of origin, Western Cape, 13% vol.
Style, This rich, supple red displays flavours and aromas of spicy red and black berry fruits, with a touch of vanilla oak, to give a vibrant red wine with a long, smooth finish.
Serve, This deeply fruity wine is soft enough to enjoy on its own, or as a perfect accompaniment to steaks, chops, sausages, and other grilled meats.
Grapes: traded in Compliance with Fairtrade Standards, total 100%.

Namaqua Reserve Selection, Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013

Hmm, the description on the wine label says more or less what I said - I could have saved my brain the strain of trying to remember what I thought of this wine, and simply copied the label blurb. Hehe!

Mr.R and I love red wine, and our enthusiastic consumption of the red beverage helps keep the local glass recycling company in business - it's win win for everyone. 
Do you like red wine? What's your favourite grape variety?

Monday, 16 June 2014

The Co-Operative, Love Your Skin, Pure Soap - Review

Soap - Co-Operative, Love Your Skin, Pure Soap

Warning: This is a rather long blog post, occasionally wandering off topic, and the only break from it is the inclusion of several photos - of soap. Riveting! 

Many moons ago when we lived in France, and we lived a very different life to the one we live now, I would purchase mostly organic, or natural, or chemical-free beauty products.
All of which were a lot more expensive than their non-organic variety.
But now we are living back in Blighty, and my budget is not what it once was, *sob *sob *sob I pretty much just use anything.
Having said that, I'm not someone who uses a large amount of beauty products anyway, so it's more or less just the basics; shampoo, shower gel, deodorant, and occasionally moisturiser.

Soap. The Co-Operative.  Love Your Skin. Pure Soap - Perfume and Colour Free.

Recently I have been looking longingly at a couple of the websites I used to order my beauty products from. Having mentioned that it was when I lived in France that I bought lots of stuff from them, the main website I used is actually a British site. Yep, whatever!
Not sure why I even mentioned living in France, but it may be because today it is 25c and sunny where I used to live, and where I live now it is cold, dull, and spitting with rain.
Anyway, so, I used to like buying what I believed were healthy products, products that were not only not damaging to my skin, body, and health, but were actually good for me.
I say I believed the products that I used to purchase were good for me, but that's not completely true.
I am naturally a cynical bugger, contrary too. So sometimes I get it into my head that my body deserves to be treated with the best care I can give it, and then other times I think that the stress and over-thinking of weighing-up the pros and cons, and health effects, of organic vesus non-organic products is ridiculous first-world nonsense, and there are far far more important things to be concerning myself with, and also because I know the human body is a truly amazing thing, surely my liver will filter out all of the harmful crap and I'll be ok.

Yep, over-thinking is a serious problem for me. It's first-world nonsense, but it's a problem.
So, as I am currently no longer in a position to be able to spend obscene amounts of money on organic, natural, chemical-free beauty products, I simply grab whatever I need, when I need it. Or more accurately Mr.R buys it for me - he does all of our shopping - I rarely leave the house unless it's to walk the dog.
So a couple of days ago Mr.R popped out to our local supermarket, which is a small branch of the Co-Op. Before he went he asked if there was anything I needed. Yes, soap. I asked him to look for a product that sounded gentle for the skin, and didn't have a list of ingredients as long as Naomi Campbells legs.
Mr.R returned with a bar of the Co-Op own brand soap.

Soap. The Co-Operative.  Love Your Skin. Pure Soap - Perfume and Colour Free.

Having used the Co-Op Love Your Skin pure soap for a few days I can say I like it, I'm impressed with it. It's perfume free, so obviously it doesn't have a strong aroma of anything, it lathers well, which is nice especially as we have horribly hard tap water in this house, and despite washing my hands hundreds of times a day (no, I am not exaggerating) the soap bar seems to be lasting well.

The info on the soap wrapper says -
Love Your Skin
Pure Soap
Perfume and colour free for healthy feeling skin

The wrapper also has a couple logos -
One of which is a 'Cruelty Free' logo with 'First UK Supermarket Certified for Toiletries and Household.
The other is a 'V' logo with 'No Animal Ingredients' written underneath it.

The ingredients are listed as -
Sodium Palmate,
Sodium Palm Kernelate,
Sodium Chloride,
Citric Acid,
Tetrasodium EDTA,
Etidronic Acid.

Eight ingredients in total is not bad, although I know some of them are not particularly good substances. But I remember some of my previous so-called healthy beauty products would have 20-30 ingredients, and that can't be a good thing.
Another thing that I think it a positive for this soap is that it is made in the UK, and it's not often you can say that about anything these days.

Soap. The Co-Operative.  Love Your Skin. Pure Soap - Perfume and Colour Free.

I haven't only used the Co-Op Love Your Skin soap to wash my hands, I have also, on a couple of occasions, washed my face with it too.
Oh no! The horror of washing ones face with a bar of soap - I know it's considered a crime by some people. Actually I'm pretty certain most of the women in France would be appalled at my laissez-faire attitude to my 'skincare' regime. HaHaHa!
But I've found the Co-Op own brand bar of soap to be very gentle on my skin, and I think it may even be improving the skin on my face. My face feels lovely and soft, and I may be imagining it, but I think the skin on my face looks much less tired, and better still much more vibrant.

Ha! As usual I have rambled on and on, although I do seem to have at least managed to remain on the topic of soap - well, apart from a small detour to France, but who wouldn't want to go to France?
I'd still be there now, if it wasn't for the political situation etc.
Ha! But to write about that would be wandering off of the subject of soap, way off - there's nothing clean about politics.

So, now my mind has wandered slightly, from soap to France to politics, I've sort of forgotten what it was I wanted to write on this blog post, other than my opinion on the Co-Op own brand of soap...........

Right, yes, I remember!
I was reading the news this morning, online, not an actual real printed on paper newspaper, not that that's in any way relevant, when I came across an article about organic beauty products costing twice as much as their non-organic equivalents, and that how the organic beauty products business is all a big con.
The article was a lengthy one, much much longer than this one, unbelievable but true, and it wasn't particularly well written, I mean it was even worse than this blog post, yet again unbelievable but true, but in amongst the rambling nonsense, (which is something I know a lot about) there were a few interesting facts.
Basically the article stated that in the beauty industry the word organic actually doesn't mean much at all.
It also listed these points -

  1. Unlike the food industry, the beauty industry is not regulated, so organic beauty products do not have a legal definition.
  2. A beauty products can be labelled 'organic' even if the it contains less than 1% of organic ingredients.
  3. Us British folk spend a whopping £32.7 million on organic beauty products a year.
  4. Campaigners believe some of the ingredients in some of the 'organic' beauty products are harmful to human health and the environment.
  5. Four out of five households in the UK currently purchase organic beauty products.
  6. People aged under 35 are reportedly the biggest purchasers of organic beauty products.
Soap. The Co-Operative.  Love Your Skin. Pure Soap - Perfume and Colour Free.

Emma Reinhold of the Soil Association reportedly said, ‘When it comes to beauty products, there is no legal definition of the term “organic”.
‘Food is strictly regulated and, in the case of processed foods, can only state it is organic if 95 per cent of the ingredients are organic, i.e. produced under strict conditions.'
‘A beauty product, however, can contain 0.01 per cent organic lavender oil and still legally claim to be organic. But most shoppers don’t know this.’

It's all a bit of a mess when you want to purchase organic beauty products, because there is no industry standard that has to be met, and no legal definition of what organic means as far as a product is concerned, and as brands tend to use self-appointed certification bodies, so it is practically impossible to know exactly what's what.
On the downside, purchasing organic beauty products is definitely confusing, and worse still a complete waste of your time and your money. On the upside, if there is one, treating your skin to the best organic beauty products may be better for your skin and your health than using non-organic products. But then it may not. Oh I don't know.

Unfortunately the unregulated organic beauty products industry doesn't care, and why would it when
the increasing interest from customers in organic beauty products has seen sales in the UK rise up by 17% year on year.

Soap. The Co-Operative.  Love Your Skin. Pure Soap - Perfume and Colour Free.

I would like the government to sort out the organic beauty products industry, have some proper scheme where every product is truly organic, and the percentage of each individual organic ingredient is clearly written on the product label.
But sadly I doubt that will ever happen. And even if it did, I doubt it would mean much anyway.
I doubt we'd be any safer buying organic beauty products, because I'm certain it would be exactly the same as the food industry.
There are so many different schemes that the food industry use, you see various stickers on products; for example a sticker stating that the product was reared on such and such a farm, usually a twee sounding name, but it's all nonsense.
The producers simply pay back-handers to the right people, and then slap little stickers on the food, which misleads the customers and consumers into believing that the food came from a lovely little farm in the country somewhere.
It definitely conjures up a far more pleasant image than the reality of some highly industrial super-farm which treats animals appallingly, and its customers with no care either.

Oops, now I have wandered off topic - it's because I'm hungry, and the thought of soap wasn't doing anything for my taste-buds - even if the soap is suitable for vegetarians, so then that made me think about meat - because as I said I am hungry - and I'm not a vegetarian, and even if I was (which I have been a couple of times in the past) I wouldn't want to eat soap.
Then the thought of eating soap made me think of the expression, 'wash your mouth out with soap' which I remember hearing adults say when I was a child, when someone, usually another child had used a swear word.
Hmm, not sure where that train of thought was leading me, so I'll stop.

Getting back on to the topic of soap -
As I said buying organic beauty products is all very confusing.
I also mentioned the Soil Association, but really that's not even as straight forward and honest as you may think.
There are several independent certifying boards, one of which is the Soil Association, others include CosmeBio, and Ecocert.
All of them have different rules, so for example a 'certified organic' sticker from the Soil Association is not the same as one from CosmeBio or Ecocert.
It's all nonsense.

The Soil Association certificate has a 95% rule, so 95% of the plant-based ingredients must be organic, the remaining ingredients reportedly have to meet strict criteria. This means that the product must be at least 20% organic.
For example if a shampoo is 80% water, it's only the remaining 20% of the ingredients that have to be organic in order for it to be given an 'organic' sticker - because water can't be organic.

So paying twice the price for a bottle of shampoo because it's organic seems like a high price when you consider that in fact it's only 20% of the bottle contents that are actually organic.
And if the water that's used in the average organic shampoo is anything like the tap water in our house, then - Yuck! I wouldn't want to pay the same for it, let alone double.

I'm not singling out the Soil Association in particular, it's just that I know people tend to think that it's all fine and dandy if a product has a Soil Association label on it.
I know people are very busy living their lives; family, friends, jobs, worrying about finances etc. so we probably don't stop to really think deeply enough about what an organic sticker on a product really means, whether it's a bar of soap or a packet of bacon. See, I said I was hungry. Mmm, bacon!
We glance at a product, we see a Soil Association, or some other so-called organic company logo etc. and we immediately think all is good, when in fact that may not be 100% true.

So as to not lambaste the Soil Association only, both CosmeBio and Ecocert have similar rules for their products, they have the same 95% rule for their plant-based ingredients, but only 10% for the remaining ingredients in order to be awarded their organic certification.

I have only mentioned Soil Association, CosmeBio, and Ecocert because they were the main companies mentioned in the news article that I read this morning, which is responsible for me rambling on and on, and not sticking to my original intention of saying that we bought a cheap bar of own-brand soap from the Co-Op, and considering I used to buy expensive so-called organic beauty products when we lived in France, I am very impressed with the Co-Op soap.
A news article that I wish I hadn't read this morning, because then I would probably have spent my time playing with dog, rather than writing this blog post, and I know he would have much prefered that.

Phew! The above paragraph is just one small paragraph - I should have just written that, and left the other stuff about the Soil Association, the organic beauty business, the government, and the fact that I'm hungry, for another blog post.
Actually I think, as I've spent time and energy writing this rant, I will probably upload the bulk of it, the bits about the above mentioned irrelevant to the Co-Op soap review, to a separate blog post at a later date. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Soap. The Co-Operative.  Love Your Skin. Pure Soap - Perfume and Colour Free.

If you're still reading then maybe you need to step away from your computer, or whatever device you're reading this on, and do something better with your time.
We're here for a good time, not a long time.
Life is short!
But if you are still here, here's one last fact to remember when purchasing any beauty product, whether it's organic or not - just because a label says 'Not Tested on Animals' it doesn't mean animals weren't hurt during the process of bringing the product to market.
It simply means that the end product, the content of the bottle or whatever, were not tested on animals.
It doesn't mean that each of the individual ingredients in the end product were not tested on animals.

Oh yes, and while I remember one last thing, (a second last thing), the Body Shop may be well-known for their cruelty-free products, and as far as I know they do not test any of their products on animals, but as they are now owned by L'Oreal, who do test their products on animals, shopping at Body Shop may not be suitable for you if you are seriously against animal cruelty.

That again is a whole other blog post. But fear not, I am not going to be writing about animal cruelty, mainly because it would be hypocritical considering I'm very much looking forward to my lunch today - beef stew. Mmm, cow!

So, to end this unbelievably long blog post, which I truly did think would only be a short paragraph, about the Co-Op own-brand soap, I shall say it's good. I like it! And I will most definitely buy it again.

Hmm, all of this thinking has made my brain fuzzy and the typing has made me feel dirty, (I'm weird) so I'm off to wash my face and hands - with Co-Op own-brand soap of course. :)

If you have anything to say about the above nonsense, I'd love to hear it. :)

Friday, 13 June 2014



Namaste is an ancient Sanskrit greeting.
Who knows what Namaste truly means?
There are lots of definitions, translations, they're all rough variations of the same words.
Here's a few of them -

I honour the place in you in which the entire universe dwells.
I honor the place in you which is of love, of truth, of light, and of peace.
When you are in that place, and I am in that place in me, we are one.

I bow to the God within you.

The Spirit within me salutes the Spirit in you - a knowing that we are all made from the same One Divine Consciousness.

The divine in me recognizes the divine in you.

My soul recognizes your soul, I honor the light, love, beauty, truth, and kindness within you because it is also within me, in sharing these things there is no distance and no difference between us, we are the same, we are one.

So, basically Namaste is a very nice word, a lovely thing to say to someone.

Om.  #doodle

Pension Theft by the Government - United Kingdom

Sadly there doesn't seem to be much to be proud of about our country, the United Kingdom is in a seriously sorry state.
I don't need proof of the terrible state our country is in, but a 'friend' sent me yet more outrageous news regarding our government.

I have copied and uploaded below, the information from the email I recently received.
These facts and figures may or may not be correct. But knowing how our politicians blatantly care so little for the people of Britain, if the figures are inaccurate then I'd guess that that's because they should be much much higher, and not lower.
It makes depressing reading. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Houses of Parliament/The Palace of Westminster

Pension Theft
Theft -The UK Government Hand-Outs List

ALL say,  We're "broke" and can't help our own Homeless, Orphans, Seniors, Veterans, the NHS etc.

In the past few years we have provided direct cash (£) in aid to those listed below - 

       Country             £ Million

  • Congo             359
  • Egypt              397
  • Ethiopia         981
  • Haiti              1400
  • Hamas           351
  • Iraq               1080
  • Jordan           463
  • Kazakhstan   304
  • Kenya             816
  • Libya              1450
  • Mexico           622
  • Mozambique  404
  • Nigeria           456
  • Pakistan         2000
  • Russia            380
  • Senegal          698
  • South Africa  566
  • Sudan             870
  • Tanzania        554
  • Uganda          451
  • Zambia          331

TOTAL          £14,933,000,000.00

Giving them a total of literally £14,933 Billions of Pounds - and the majority of them 
still hate us. 

Our retired seniors -  living on a 'fixed income'. 
Do they get any breaks?
While our government and religious organisations pour Hundreds of Billions of Pounds, and Tons of Food to a vast list of Foreign Countries. 
We have hundreds of adoptable children who are shoved aside to make room for the adoption of foreign orphans. 

In the UK where we have homeless without shelter, children going to bed hungry, elderly going without vital medication or fuel to heat their homes, and mentally ill people struggling to live without treatment, etc.


We still allow illegal "Deprived People" & other free-loaders on our shores. 
While we are lining up to give them housing, education, food, clothes, bedding, doctors, medical supplies, and whatever else they need. 

Can you Imagine what it would be like if 'OUR GOVERNMENT' gave 'US' the same support they give to other countries. 

Sad isn't it?
Tick Tock. © #PalaceofWestminster #aeroplane #BigBen #Clock #building #architecture #London #latergram

I may or may not agree with everything written in this email, but I do agree that the UK is in a mess, and not because we lack money as the government would like us to believe, but because the government chooses where to spend the tax-payers money - and sadly it's rarely spent where it's most needed, or where it could benefit the most people. And surely charity begins at home, so shouldn't British people benefit first, and then if there's any money left, after our politicians have skimmed what they feel they can get away with, then we can help those less fortunate than us. And I don't mean giving obscene amounts of money to countries where it will never reach the people who genuinely need it, but end up purchasing yet more luxury items for the corrupt dictators.

Isn't it time that our politicians start to do what they are paid to do?
Isn't it time they put the people of the UK first?
Isn't it time our government stopped giving money to corrupt regimes, and started giving money to the people in Britain who need it?

Phew! Rant over!
Are you British? Living in 'Great Britain'?
How do you feel about the state of this country?

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

JK Rowling Donates £1 Million to 'Better Together' Campaign Against Scottish Independence

JK Rowling Donates £1 Million to 'Better Together' Campaign Against Scottish Independence 

JK Rowling has reportedly confirmed that she has donated £1 Million to Better Together, the campaign against Scotland becoming independent from the rest of the UK.


Unsurprisingly the Harry Potter author was then targeted by haters, known as cybernats, on social networking sites.
I saw some of the tweets about the £1 million donation from JK Rowling, and they are not pleasant.
The feeling of anonymity on the Internet definitely makes people feel brave.
Apparently JK Rowling said she was expecting to be criticised online by those who disagree with her opinions.
I guess JK Rowling made the donation public to help boost publicity for the cause she believes in.
But then who knows with 'celebrities' they are usually more than willing to make their lives public for a bit of limelight.
However, I doubt JK Rowling needs any publicity to boost her career.
I've never read anything she's written, I don't even know what her books are about, but apparently she's pretty successful, and wealthy.
Donating one million quid is probably not going to affect her lifestyle negatively, and I truly believe it's her money to do with what she chooses.
It does seem unfair though that JK Rowling seems to be receiving targeted hate messages via the Internet, and in the mainstream media, and yet Chris and Colin Weir, the couple who won £161 million on the Euromillions in 2011 and have donated £2.5 million to Alex Salmond in his bid for Scottish independence are hardly being mentioned at all.
I guess the fact that JK Rowling has been a vocal Labour Party supporter may be why some of the media seems happy to criticise her generous donation.

I don't agree with JK Rowling re her opinions on Scottish independence, but that's not something I'm going to write about on this blog post. I vaguely remember writing about all of this ages ago, maybe on this blog, or possibly on a government survey website. Anyway, that's not important for this blog post.
I just find it interesting that she's being painted as the villain by the media, and I wonder if it's because she's a woman?
Also she isn't even Scottish, which seems to be upsetting quite a lot of people, if you believe some of the tweets about her.
JK Rowling was born in the West Country, but currently lives in Edinburgh, and has lived in Scotland for 21 years.


I don't know how much JK Rowling is worth, but I assume her bank balance is much healthier than mine, so she obviously cares a great deal about Scotland, otherwise she wouldn't live there - would she?
I mean, I've always said to Mr.R that I think Scotland is the most beautiful place in the World, at least of all the countries I've been to.
Mr.R hasn't been to Scotland, so he just has to take my word for it for now, but as we are now so far up North, that we live within spitting distance of Scotland, I'm sure it won't be long before he gets to see how beautiful Scotland is.
So, as I was saying before I started thinking about how pretty Scotland is, and Mr.R never seeing it etc. I meant to say that JK Rowling clearly loves Scotland, because she chooses to live there, when with her fortunate financial position means she could live absolutely anywhere in the World.
As I said, I think Scotland is lovely, but I'd never choose to live there.
Actually I think Wales may be the most beautiful place in the World. I wouldn't choose to live in Wales either, but that's my mind starting to wander off topic again.......
Oops, this is supposed to be about JK Rowling and her million quid donation to the Better Together campaign against Scottish Independence. Ha! Typical me, rambling on about unrelated nonsense.
Right, so yeah, a well-known successful author makes a donation of £1 million to help support a cause she believes in - keeping Scotland in the UK. She's not Scottish, and has reportedly said that despite residing in Scotland for 21 years, there is a 'fringe of nationalists who like to demonise anyone who is not blindly and unquestionably pro-independence'. 'I suspect, notwithstanding the fact that I've lived in Scotland for 21 years and plan to remain here for the rest of my life, that they might judge me "insufficiently Scottish" to have a valid view.'

It's all good stuff for the newspapers I guess; big name, headline news, money, politics - it's a story that'll run and run, and sell lots of newspapers, and get them tons of online hits.

As I seem to have lost the plot re what I initially wanted to write, I shall try to end this blog post before my typing fingers, I only use 2, go completely numb. Hehe! Or my head explodes from the struggle to think coherently enough to make any sense.
Hmm, I think that hope vanished several paragraphs ago.

Anyway, so, yep, Scotland, independence, etc.
I just read something I didn't know about this, apparently, well according to one newspaper article, if you're Scottish, but living below the border you can't vote.
Crikey! That seems ludicrous. Surely if you are of Scottish nationality then you must be given the opportunity to vote for or against something that is important to your country?
Having said that, and I certain this will not be a popular opinion, but this is my blog so I can say what I want to say, I think that we should all get a vote.
I mean, everyone who is British; English, Welsh etc.
Well in simple terms, because Scottish MP's get a say in how we live in England. They vote on things that affect us.
I also read that 80% of English people want Scottish MPs barred from voting on anything purely to do with England.
So, I think all Brits should be able to vote in whether Scotland remains part of the UK or gains its independence.

I am well aware that this is a serious topic, but I'm not in a serious mood, and there's more than enough serious debate about Scottish independence elsewhere online, if you're inclined to read it.
I know there are many important things to consider about Scotland and its bid for independence, the politics, trade, finance etc. But more importantly, if Scotland does leave the UK - what will our new flag look like? I hope it's pretty.


I don't own any photos of JK Rowling to add to this blog post, hence the crappy doodles of flags.
Should Scotland become independent?
What do you think? 

Monday, 9 June 2014

Venice, Italy

Memories of Venice, Italy 

It's wet, dull, and chilly here today.
Well, it is now Summer in England, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
So what better way to cheer myself up than to browse through some of our travel photos.
I enjoy looking at photos, especially our travel shots.
With so many places to choose from, I wasn't sure where I felt like transporting myself.......
After wracking my brain I made a choice. I fancied, Italy, well, Venice to be more specific.

Don't worry, I haven't written much about Venice; this blog post isn't my usual rambling on and on.......
In fact, I haven't written anything at all about Venice. I'm too tired, so tired I can hardly remember my name, let alone my thoughts about Venice.
So, I've just uploaded a few photos and voila! or should that be Ecco!

Health and safety hazard. No handrail.

Cluster-F***!  It's not all tourists and fun here. People have to work too.

Apparently it's easy to get lost here. ⬅➡ I wonder why?

They're everywhere. Hoodie!


There are lots of lovely knockers here. This is one of them.

Italians. They love to talk.

I've never seen so many fur coats.

More tourist tat.

Wherever we walk we keep seeing the same people.

Lovely leather gloves. Delicious colours. I want them all.

Nicked this from hubby.  No edits. As is.



Louis Vuitton. Size is not important. It's what you put in to it.

Stand there!

VENICE FOR SALE. Slightly water damaged, but in pretty decent condition. €€€

There are quite a few boats here.


Gondoleros. Busy.

Love. Window display.

My work ethic. ✔  Shop. Reflection.


Pretty knocker.


WAKE UP ITALY.  Graffiti.

Nice. Knocker.

I'm in Venice! Window shopping.

Wandering round the ghetto.

In retrospect Venice may not have been the most appropriate choice for lifting my mood during our current crappy weather, as when we were in Venice the weather wasn't particularly good either.
In fact it was cold, very very cold - and I vaguely remember some snow too.
Anyway, here are just a few of the millions (only a slight exaggeration) of photos I took on my camera phone - hope you like them.
Have you been to Venice?
What did you think of it?

Friday, 6 June 2014

Retro Rex, Squeaky Dog Toy by rogz - Review

Barley, our rescue Lurcher, loves nothing more than playing with his toys.
Actually, that's not completely true, he also loves food, and sleeping.
But he does enjoy a good game of tug with his toys, which is also great exercise for me too. My arm muscles get a really good workout when I play tug with Barley, and it's much more fun than going to the gym or doing proper exercise.

Recently Barley has been eyeing-up my teddy bears, yes I am a grown woman who has teddy bears, two teddy bears, but thankfully he hasn't made a grab for them - which would definitely result in him ripping them to pieces - and eating them.

As I rarely leave the house unless I'm going for a walk with Barley and Mr.R, I asked Mr.R to buy Barley a soft toy of his own, the next time he went out shopping.
A recent grocery shopping trip had Mr.R returning with a rogz soft toy, the Retro Rex Clone, which is a dog on a skateboard.

Retro Rex. New dog toy.  #blog #blogger #blogging © #dogtoy #retrorex  #softtoy #skateboardingdog
Retro Rex before Barley met him

Here's what the company says about Retro Rex -
Retro Rex
Man's best friend's best friend
Retro Rex is a sportanimal - a self confessed adrenaline junkie and pioneer of K9 extreme sport. 
He is a true Alpha Dog who lives by the motto: ''Unless you're the leader of the pack, the view never changes.''
This sportanimal clone was produced with Instaclone Technology (ICT) and one of Retro Rex's hairs was used to ensure it contains his original mojo. 
So give your best friend an opportunity of a lifetime to take his (or her) superhero home. 
"I've got him by the short 'n curlies!"  #blog #blogger #blogging © #dog #Lurcher #rescuedog #sighthound #strayaid #dogtoy
Barley grabbing Retro Rex by the short 'n curlies

Neither of us expected Rex to last more than a few minutes, as Barley is pretty rough with his toys, which is why we've made sure to only buy extra hard-wearing toys, until now.
Barley isn't just rough with his chew toys, he also likes to eat them. And I don't mean chew them up, I mean eat and fully digest them. Not good.
The only thing we've bought Barley that has survived fully in tact is a Kong, which he really loves - because he loves food. Hehe!

Anyway, Mr.R bought Barley the rogz Retro Rex Clone, a skateboarding dog, and Barley loves it.
When we first gave it to him we told him to be gentle, and surprisingly he was and is quite gentle with it.
He does bring it to us to play tug, but we don't because Barley would rip poor Rex in half in seconds. Instead we throw it and Barley fetches it.
Rex can fly pretty high and really far, which is impressive for a skateboarding dog.

Retro Rex.  After his double amputation; ears.
Retro Rex after meeting Barley; double ear amputation

We are really impressed with the quality of the rogz soft toy for dogs.
It's well-made, and apart from a small repair job to his back seam, (I had to sew a few centimetres of the seam back together after Barley ripped it, to stop Barley eating the stuffing) and two unfortunate amputations; his ears, Retro Rex is in remarkably good condition even after being thrown all over the living room by me and Mr.R, and nibbled, bitten, chucked in the air, slobbered over, and squeaked squeaked squeaked by Barley.

rogz Retro Rex Dog toy

Mr.R purchased Retro rex from a local shop, he paid £2.49 for the rogz soft toy, we think that's a bit of a bargain.
And best of all the squeaker inside Rex still squeaks perfectly, which Barley thinks is great.
We wouldn't hesitate to purchase rogz dog toys again in the future.
If you're interested you can check-out their products at
Does your pet have a rogz toy? 
What is your dogs favourite toy?