Lifestyle

So you’re getting a dog for the first time?

If you follow me on any form of social media then you will be well aware that just over a month ago, Scott and I brought home our little bundle of joy, Walter. I’ve wanted a dog for as long as I can remember – the only pets I had growing up were fish!. When Scott announced that he was going to see a man about a dog (see what I did there?) I was ecstatic, but nervous as I have literally no experience of looking after a dog!  I decided to write a little post about our first month and a half with Walter and my experiences of owning a dog for the first time.

I’m going to skip over some of the stuff I think is obvious if you’re already looking for a dog. Research which breed is best for you, your dog and your lifestyle. Look up health problems. Look up breeders. Speak to owners of the breed you want to go for. Get your dog registered to a vet, get a health check and get them microchipped.

Moving on, here are the main lessons I’ve learned since we took Walter home –

No amount of research will prepare you for your first week of owning a puppy. It’s exhausting. I cried near the end of the week because I was so tired from waking up every few hours for a pee break. We got Walter at 10 weeks as his previous owners already had a dog and the two just didn’t get along, so the first night when we tried to crate him he screamed non stop. Getting him to willingly go into his crate was a nightmare and it’s only in the past week he’s started to see it as his own little space that he can nap in during the day. He nipped non stop, cried if we left the room, cried when we crated him so we could have dinner, tried to chew cables…but even though everything was so new and trying, it was all worth it for the snuggles, the sits and paws and just having a little furry shadow.

Train your puppy from day one. One of the main comments made about Walter (other than his cuteness) is how good he is. Almost everyone who meets him comments on his behaviour and I was so surprised at how many people said their own dog didn’t know sit. All we really did to train Walter was spending around 10 minutes every morning and evening teaching him commands. We started with sit, paw, stay and come, which I think are pretty essential to every dog! We’ve been a bit unlucky with our puppy training class as it’s been postponed for two weeks, but it’s great for teaching Walter to concentrate on us around distractions. (Especially as there is a boxing class in other half of the room at the same time as puppy training -.-) The main thing we’re working on now is getting Walters recall down. We have a whistle that generally works if calling his name doesn’t, but there are still certain triggers that give him tunnel vision and selective hearing!

Socialise, Socialise, Socialise! Walter has always been generally good with other dogs, but to start with – and even now – if a dog is bigger and a bit of a barker, he tends to sit and hide between our legs. On our first few playdates he would lie on his back and submit as soon as the other dogs got a tiny bit boisterous, but since going on walks where there are a lot of dogs he’s starting to get a lot better at playing. He still hasn’t learned not to run up to every single dog, but when he does find someone to play with he’s a lot more confident! We’re pretty fortunate as there is a park next to us where everyone walks their dogs after work, so we go most days and everyone gathers in the middle of the field to let the dogs play together. It’s great as there is a mixture of big and small dogs, puppies, adults and elderly dogs and most importantly to me, dogs that want to play and dogs that just want to chill and watch everyone. Walter is slowly learning the signs of a dog that doesn’t want to play with him and is starting to chill out and just sit about near the dogs rather than being in play mode the whole time. We also have friends who also have a miniature schnauzer a couple of months older than Walter who is a great influence, as well as friends with a puppy the same age who Walter can play with and grow up with.

If everyone likes this kind of post, I might move on to a mini series about Walter! I want to do a post on his breed in particular, as well as some update posts like this one. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

hannahessonx

Lifestyle

Hello Fresh

My biggest downfall when eating healthy is dinner. I work on rotas so sometimes I don’t get home until 9pm and I really can’t be bothered thinking up a meal – half the time I end up having toast and snacking as I still feel hungry. Scott recently joined Hello Fresh and when his first box arrived, I knew I wanted to join too.

The boxes are designed to be 3 meals for 2 people, but both of us signed up separately to get 6 boxes each a week, giving us 1 cheat meal. The main box has 8 options to choose from a week, whereas the Veggie Box has preset meals. The meals all sound amazing so this didn’t bother me at all! If you decide you want to miss out a week, you can sign in up until the week before and select an option to skip the week.

The way Hello Fresh works is simple: each week you get sent a box with measured out ingredients needed to create 2 portions of your 3 recipes. Each recipe comes in a different brown bag with a coloured sticker and a bag with wool and ice packs for perishable items. There are also usually money off vouchers or brochures for affiliated companies as well as your recipe cards. Most of the packaging is recyclable too, which is great!

So far I’ve had two weeks of food, all of which so far has been great and surprisingly easy to cook! (Sidenote: I suck at cooking and even following recipes is a struggle for me.) Each meal takes roughly 40 minutes to make from scratch and it’s a lot less faff having everything already measured out for you. I also just discovered that as well as the recipe cards, you can log into the Hello Fresh app and follow the recipe with preset timers for each step, making sure you’re cooking everything for the right amount of time! Each week you can also log in and rate each of your meals, with the option to add comments as well.

Even though I’m only a week and a meal in I’m already obsessed and actually look forward to making my dinner! It’s nice to already have everything planned out, so it’s just a case of coming home and getting your cook on! Each box is only £34.99, which is amazing as I’d normally spend that on 3 days worth of food.

The last perk I want to tell you about is Refer-A-Friend. As you can probably guess, it’s a cheeky little code to get money off! If you are interested in giving Hello Fresh a go, use HANNAHESS to get £25 off your first box! Happy Cooking!

hannahessonx

Beauty · Lifestyle

Going For “The Chop”

For years I was one of those girls who dreaded getting their hair cut and always asked for “as little possible” off the ends, even though it needed a lot more. After the last time I went blonde, I decided enough was enough and cut my hair shorter. I hated it and it took a good two years to grow as my hair was so damaged from the bleach. But, as my hair repaired and became a lot more curly, it grew a lot quicker and getting it cut didn’t seem like such a big deal.

Over the past 6 months my hair has started to grow longer than it has since I was about 13 and of course I started to think about cutting it short (note that my definition of short isn’t actually, you know, short) as sometimes long hair is a bit of a pain, especially when it gets tuggy and matted after a day of curls! I decided to take the plunge when my mum bought me a gift card for Profile for my Christmas.

The New Do

I already knew I wanted to get highlights, as half of my hair still has a yellow tinge underneath from the bleach that just won’t shift. I didn’t want to change colour but the contrast makes my natural hair look a bit dull, so I opted for red and copper highlights. I went in with images of “pumpkin spiced hair” (none of which had anything near my natural colour as a base!) and when the salon owner, Amy, asked if I wanted go for a few pure copper tones in my hair, I decided to give it a go! As soon as the colour was washed off, I knew I loved it. Even with wet hair it was obvious that my hair was a lot more multi tonal.

The best way to describe the hair length I wanted is “armpit length” (if anyone knows a nicer name for this length please let me know!) and even though I was set on it, when I felt the first snip my heart had a little pang and for a split second I worried that I would regret the decision. As soon as my hair was blow dried I was so happy I went for the chop. My hair immediately had so much more life and bounce, as well as looking amazing with the highlights! When Paul was blow drying my hair it felt so effortless and my hair sat a lot better than it has in a very long time.

The first week after my salon visit was a little strange, I’ve not had short hair in so long so I kept using far too much product on it, leaving the ends looking raggidy and causing me to wash my hair ever other day. Now that I’ve adjusted, my hair is so easy to style! Most days I leave it to do its own thing, or put a few heated rollers in the crown to refresh the style. Even when I blow dry my hair, I can get away with blasting it dry and using a brush to neaten the ends.

The Salon

As you can see by the photos on Profiles website, the salon is a chic little haven on Huntly Street with some seriously cool decor – I mean just look at the backwash, it couldn’t grab my attention more if it tried! As soon as you walk in the door you are immersed by the friendly, chilled out atmosphere and I always feel excited to be there.

The salon owner Amy originally took me on for both my weeks of work experience in my second and third year of college when I was younger and she made me feel so welcomed and at home even though I was obviously a bit clueless about working in a salon. She even showed me a lot of tips and tricks as we went along. I couldn’t think of going to any other salon as I’ve never felt like comfortable  as much as I do whenever I go to Profile! (I’m sure anyone who doesn’t enjoy getting their hair cut will understand what I mean) Nothing is a bother and as I mentioned before, there is a friendly, laid back vibe running through the salon.

My usual stylist is Paul, who somehow manages to take my incredibly vague descriptions of what I want and magically gets it spot on. The best part of the experience is that Paul is so genuine, he doesn’t ask standard small talk questions and on the days where I’m not feeling so chatty, it isn’t awkward not to speak!

The Products

Profile is an exclusive stock list of the Italian based brand Davines, who create eco-friendly, sustainable products that are scientifically engineered to work. I needed to stock up on the All-In-One Milk and also came away with the MINU Shampoo* and THIS IS A MEDIUM HOLD GEL*.

The MINU Shampoo is designed for coloured hair and on the second wash it lathers into a creamy foam which gently cleanses the hair whilst protecting the colour. I can’t begin to describe how good the shampoo smells – it’s described as a citrus (orange blossom) and fresh scent, but to me it smells more…botonical? I’m not sure that’s what I mean, but it smells gorgeous and clean, how I imagine a spa would want to smell!

I asked for advice on how to get my curls to stay in after diffusing my hair as it tends to go fluffy, expecting to be shown some sort of mousse or creme. When Amy suggested the THIS IS A MEDIUM HOLD GEL it was a bit of a lightbulb moment – of course a gel would be great on curls! I absolutely love that this comes in its own little parcel, it’s like opening a present! I use this even when I leave my hair to dry naturally as it gives my locks more texture – I simply scrunch a tiny amount through the midlengths and ends of my hair, both when it’s wet, or even when it’s dry if I need a little more hold. I really want to try out the gel for a wet look ponytail or low bun, but I haven’t quite gotten up the courage yet!

I’m already considering going for a shoulder length cut next time and I definitely want more copper highlights, so it’s safe to say I’m a changed woman! Sometimes I look at photos of girls with super long hair pleats or funky styles and I do miss having longer hair, but I can’t ignore how much healthier and happier my hair is after being chopped, so for the next while I’ll definitely be keeping it shorter!

Where is your favourite salon? Let me know why it’s your number one in the comments below, and head on over to my Instagram to see my before and after (with added dog filter, of course!)

hannahessonx

Lifestyle

7 Blog Posts I Love

Hannahessonx

After writing my first Blog Posts I’m Loving, I’ve come across so much great content! I still try to retweet posts I see on twitter that interest me, but a lot of the posts I love I haven’t found on twitter. Even though I’ve been blogging for 3 months now, I still feel like a massive newbie so a lot of the posts I’ve been reading are on blog improvement. I think my photo’s are slowly getting there, so here’s hoping I keep improving. Here are links to the posts that have been inspiring me this month –

Little Things With Jassy – 5€ Make Up Brush Set From Ebay

Birds and Lilies – Why Blogging Stats Don’t Really Mean A Lot

Dorkface – Feel Good Basics From Misfit Cosmetics

Gill McLaughlin – Husband Does My Blog Post | Living With A Blogger

Through The Mirror – Mastering The Tech Side Of Blog Photography

Loafers and Lattes – £2.50 Make Up Brushes

Pint Sized Beauty- How To Generate Ideas For Your Blog

If you have a post similar to this, feel free to link me to it in the comments below! I love discovering new bloggers so I’ll never be less than appreciative for a cheeky self promotion!

hannahessonx

Lifestyle

Blog Posts I’m Loving

Lately I’ve been making more of an effort with the social aspect of blogging and supporting other bloggers! I try to take part in more blog chats, I use a spare 5 minutes to like and comment on Instagram posts and if I see a blog post I really like, I give it a retweet! Here are some of those blog posts, I hope you like them as much as I do!

As You Wish UK – Ok, Georgie is one of my favourite bloggers at the moment and I could link almost all of her posts, but I think 12 Blog Props You Need has given me the most inspiration lately!

Beauty Goes Digital – Why Micro-Influencers Are The Next Big Thing

Skinnedcartree – 5 Things You’re Doing Wrong On Twitter

The Prosecco Diaries – A Warning To Bloggers For 2017

AmethystRoseBeauty – My Favourite Looks of 2016

The Bellezza Corner – My Best Beauty Posts of 2016

I’m always looking for new blogs to follow so send me links to anything similar to these posts! You can leave a comment below or tweet me the link.

hannahessonx

Lifestyle

Aberdeen Eats | Josephine’s 

Pretty much ever since Scott and I started dating he’s promised to take me to Josephine’s. It’s agreat place for dinner before hitting the town as it serves primarily tapas and is BYOB. This weekend my darling Erin and her boyfriend came up from Greenock to visit and we were struggling to decide where to go since Union Square would be pretty packed. We phoned Josephine’s on the off-chance and managed to get a table, so we quickly nipped into Tesco for beer and made our way to the restaurant.

Josephine’s reminds me of a few bars we’ve visited in Amsterdam and Rome. It’s long and thin, with a much more homely feel than your standard restaurant. It’s not trying to be flashy or impressive and the staff are really laid back. There is a specials menu along with the main tapas and, as we were visiting near Christmas, there was also a Christmas deal where you could get your corkage, 3 tapas each, garlic bread and shared desserts for £25 per person!

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We decided to go for the Christmas deal and add a few extras on since there were so many options. As a vegetarian, my decision was a little easier and I chose fancy mac n cheese (I can’t remember what kind of pasta or cheese it was – sorry!) gnocchi, mushrooms with mozzarella and goats cheese with marmalade and honey. The goats cheese was the best out of all the dishes I tried, but to be honest, they were all really good! The meat eaters got a mixture including chorizo stovies, Argentinian meatballs, patatas bravas and scallops with black pudding.  When our food started arriving and we saw the portion size, we realised that ordering so much was a terrible mistake. The portions are hearty to say the least, pretty much all of mine could be classed as a main meal! There wasn’t a single dish that anyone had something negative to say about and everyone was finding it hard to choose a favourite – definitely a sign of a great menu!

After many years of waiting for my Josephine’s experience, I can happily say it’s everything I had hoped for. It really is the perfect place to go with friends to eat and have a few drinks and I can see why it is almost always fully booked. If you’re reading this and are from or visited Aberdeen, have you been to Josephine’s before? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me!

hannahessonx

Lifestyle

The Most Amazing Christmas Lights

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On Saturday night I joined my mum in going to see her friend Kirsti and Kirsti’s husband Scott turning on their Christmas lights. Outside their driveway there is a sign explaining that although the lights are for fun, a donation can be made. All the donations are split between the local Bettridge Centre & the Cystic Fibrosis Charity.

We arrived slightly early as my mum had made cupcakes, and everyone was preparing for the event. There was a table outside with mulled wine and mulled apple juice, pretzels, Danish pastries and marshmallows. It was already dark so I couldn’t see the lights that well, all I could see was a massive Costco teddy bear on the roof!

As it neared 7pm, more and more people began to turn up to see the lights. To my delight plenty of people brought their dogs and I got the pleasure of playing with a little Boston Terrier (he totally wanted to come home with me, I could tell!) Santa arrived and the countdown began, you can see the glorious moment of the lights turning on over on my Instagram here.

From there on, Santa spent some time speaking to the children and making sure everyone had sent their letters so that he wouldn’t miss anyone out. We wandered around the front garden and the light just kept coming! Both sides of the house were covered, the front garden had little nodding reindeer and a train or two, there were lights and holly leaves in the trees and, my personal favourite, there was an Alice in Wonderland feeling tower of presents!

Kirsti and Scott have already raised £400 in the first few days of the lights being turned on and the donations box allows passers-by to get into the charitable spirit! I hadn’t been feeling festive at all this year, but this has definitely perked me right up! Do you have any lights or decorations this year? Let me know in the comments below, or tweet me photos!

hannahessonx