Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Puppy Training - The First Week home

We have had Lacey, our Springer Spaniel puppy,  just a little over a week now, and she has settled in really well.

Bringing a new puppy home is an exciting yet tiring time, puppies really do require alot of attention, very much like a new baby in a family does.

Lacey, was just a little over 8 weeks old when we brought her home, the perfect age to bring a pup into your new home, but at this age they need toilet training, and teaching the house rules, they sleep lots, but when they are awake they like to chew, and will do so on most things.

spinger spaniel puppy and boxer dog cute photo little and large

Having had Jackson as a pup a few years ago we have been through the training stage before, but I didn't blog  much when we first got Jackson, so I hope to make sure I keep a running blog of training Lacey, and the fun and mischief she gets upto, as its surprising how quickly you forget, I can't really remember how we went from a mischievous puppy boxer full of boundless energy to the mature boxer we have today, trusting him to be left home alone all day and know he won't put a thing out of place, or how we taught him to walk off his lead, or sit and stay or any of the other things Jackson seems to just naturally do. I hope to record life with Lacey so that its a record for us, but maybe be of help for others who want tips and tricks on puppy training.

So this is Week 1.


On the day we brought Lacey home we introduced her to Jackson, and she initially was not at all impressed with this huge dog she was greeted with in a new and strange environment, away from her mum and brothers and sisters. She whined when we put her on the floor and ran to hide behind the children away from Jackson, who thankfully just sat and watched her as she slowly built up enough courage to explore the room. Slowly she started creeping out and sniffing Jackson and within a hour or so she was confidently sniffing around the room, she had fully settled in and made herself part of the family within a couple of days, and now is best buddies with Jackson and they play together so well.  I think training Lacey will be alot easier having Jackson to lead her by example.

Here's a video of the two of them, having a mad half hour (shame Lacey wakes up and wants to play around midnight tho!)

Vet check, worms and vaccinations
The first thing we wanted to do once we had Lacey at home, after the introductions to Jackson, was to get her  registered and checked over by a vet, the people we brought her from were lovely but we didn't really have much background information about Lacey, so we took her along to the vets for her first vaccination and check up. Pups need two vaccination injections roughly 2 weeks apart, then a single booster once a year after that. Our local vets run a puppy pack style system where you can have all your flea and worm treatment for a year, the full course of vaccinations and a microchip for £55 this is a great price and means you have everything covered for your new pet.

 One thing that initially bothered us was  that Lacey had a slightly bloated tummy, and was otherwise quite slim, her previous owner had told us she had wormed the pups, but you never know if to trust the information they give you, or what style wormer they have used, quite often breeders will use shop brought wormers instead of the stronger variety you get directly from a vet, so the breeder may believe they have wormed the pups but there still might be worms there,so it was something we mentioned to the vet, who said a bloated tummy in puppies can be a sign of worms, or also due to the fact they simply have ate too much in one go, the vet gave us some strong worming tablets to be on the safe side and other than that said Lacey was in good shape.

springer spaniel puppy bloated tummy worms
First Day home, you can see her slightly bloated tummy

A couple of days after the worming tablet, Lacey passed some worms in her poop. Her poo was then abit runny for a few days, which the vet said was normal after worming, but she was eating well, otherwise lively and happy, the bloated tummy disappeared and she is gaining weight much better now and is due her second vaccination next week, when we will also get her micro chipped.

The worms in Laceys Poo were long, white, abit like beansprouts or noodles, which we were told are Roundworms, it is quite common for dogs to get worms, especially dogs such as springer spaniels who love to run around in the bushes and fields amongst wildlife, and pups will pick up worms from their mum if she has them. However by keeping ontop of your worming treatment your dog should stay healthy and worm free. Here's a great resource for identifying worms if you think your puppy has them. :  5 ways to identify worms 

Worms may sound horrible and look even worse, but as long as you treat them your pet will be fine, and good hygiene keeps everyone else in the family safe, thankfully we were sent some Zoflora Disinfectant to review the other week, perfect timing and this has been well used, it smells really strong which is great for eliminating odours, the lavender scent really did last much longer than other disinfectant I have used, when diluted correctly it is safe to use on areas where you pet resides, and you can even use it on their plastic bowls and toys, just rinse with water after you have cleaned them, killing 99.9% of bacteria it is just what you need when you have a new pup to house train!

Toilet Training
Obviously the main thing we have been focusing on in the time since bringing the puppy home, is toilet training, so our week has been spent training her to go outside to do her business, when we first got Lacey it was so cold and snowy and so for the first few days no one wanted to stand outside for too long, which meant things didn't initially go that well, as its hard to get the pup to understand what you want them to do, until they have done their business outside and you have rewarded them.

Thankfully the snow has gone and so for the past few days we have just about masted the toilet training, we did this by simply standing outside with Lacey until she had done her business and then rewarding her with fuss and bringing her inside, Keeping to a routine and putting her outside straight after she woke up and after she ate or drank or had been playing for any duration,  if she did her business inside where we didn't want, we would quickly place her outside with a firm 'no' This has worked really well, and she now goes to the back door  unprompted when she needs the toilet.

Not bad at all in only a week!

Cute springer spaniel puppy with toy training

Sleeping Arrangements
We have a small crate, which my mum gave us to transport Lacey home in, but we have never used a crate for Jackson or our old dog Dennis, so we didn't want Lacey to use a crate either, I am a believer in teaching the dog to do as you expect rather than just crating them so they can't do something wrong, so other than coming home in the car we have not used the crate, however for some families it is simple a must have item.

Puppies naturally like to be close to people and whine and cry if you leave them alone,after all they have spent their whole live so far with their mum, so it is scary for them to not only be in a new place, but to also be left alone in a bed is often why they will cry and chew and scratch,  we haven't yet left Lacey alone in the house, but she happily sleeps in her bed when someone is here with her, when we're downstairs she likes to lie behind the sofa, or under the coffee table so that is where we have placed her bed, she is also good in the car and comes with us when we go out,  at night tie she comes to our room and is happy to sleep in her bed on the floor, (or on our bed!) Jackson did the same for the first year or so but now he chooses to sleep under Chloes bed, because he is too big to share with us!

cute lie down sleeping springer spaniel puppy

If however you are getting a puppy and don't want them upstairs then it is best not to start this habit as it would be a tough one to break once they are no longer a cute little puppy but a fully grown dog!

Start as you mean to go on, and leave your puppy where you know it is safe, with nothing too valuable in reach that your puppy can chew and give your puppy lots of cuddly toys and maybe a hotwater bottle to snuggle up with, this will remind them of their mum and hopefully lessen the whining. teach the to go into their bed when you are in the same room and hopefully they will then be happier when you are not in the same room.

Lacey has been pretty good with regards to chewing and has only chewed one thing she shouldn't so far (Jakes xbox headset!) Mainly she entertains herself with Jackson, who thankfully doesn't seem to mind!

big boxer dog and little puppy

Monday, 25 February 2013

Tips for making a successful YouTube Channel

Ok so following on from my How to monetise your videos post, I thought I would do a quick run through of what I've learnt in my top do's and don'ts to get the most from your YouTube Channel, and what better way to highlight some of them, than in a video!

And for blogging sake, here are my lists.

Top 5 things to do
  • Make videos of things that interest you - if you are interested in something then there is a good chance that someone else will be to. Make videos about the things you enjoy, because  if you enjoy doing something, you will do it more and if you do something more you get better at it.
  • Customise your channel, add a Avatar to make your videos recognisable, add a channel background too, if you want to you can use a set intro for all your videos as well.
  • Think about the title of your video, make it catchy and relevant to the video your uploading
  • Use tags to help people find your video,  put your channel name or blog name in the tags, so that if someone is searching for you directly they will find your videos.
  • Think of a genre that your videos will fit into: fun/entertainment - how to's / reviews  music/art and then build on that. When people subscribe to your channel they will see your future videos on their home page, if they subscribed to a 'how to guide' then the next day you upload a manic dance video your subscribers might not be interested.
  • Share your videos on your other social media channels, ad them to your blog posts, facebook, twitter and Google+
  • Expect to get thousands of hits instantly on every video you upload - like with all things it takes time to build a following, you will find the more you upload the more you will see your views rise.
  • Use copyrighted music or videos from others, keep your content your own. If you want to add music use Royalty free music from sites such as
  • Be put off by negative comments or dislikes. If you are concerned about comments you can turn these off in the settings or have them set to 'Approval'
  • Watch your own videos over and over, your views will not be counted.
Remember YouTube is like all other social media, blogging and sharing,  There are huge communities on YouTube, you can engage with other video makers and join communities, comment on peoples videos and subscribe to other channels, but you don't have to, you can simply use it to enhance your blog posts and share it with your current followers rather than go looking for a whole new audience. Do what you feel comfortable with, I have been making videos to go along side my blog for a couple of years and they are far from perfect, I have so much more to learn about YouTube and video making, but as long as you're having fun and not thinking  too much about the stats and figures you will find you really can enjoy yourself and making money will become a really nice added bonus!

    Guest Post - Online Discount Codes

    With the winter months coming to an end, I have been thinking towards the summer, so when I was approache by  Voucher Discount Codes asking if I would host a guest post on their behalf about the great range of discounts they have on their site including discounts from top retail chemists, I thought it would be useful, I know I always need to top up on hayfever relivers and suncream and its always handy to have a bit of a discount, hope this is useful to others too.

    Spring is in the air - tra la la 

    Winter is over - hooray.  Have you spring cleaned the bathroom yet and got rid of the tail-end of winter cold and flu products? It is the time for stocking up with new season medical supplies and the place to do it is with Boots Promotional code.

    Shopping at kids online drugstore means huge savings on all products. The discount vouchers make for even better savings. Buy more and the markdown is bigger. Online drugstore shopping beats nipping out to the high street chemist in the rain. But, the daffodils are through and it looks and feels like Spring. At this time of year some kids start sneezing and suffering from itchy-eye.

    Boots Promotional code site has everything you need to help ease these allergy symptoms. You will save money when you buy these items on drugstore shopping for kids. When cash is tight and it is difficult to make ends meet the site helps parents make the right medication choices at affordable prices. Promotions are wide and varied and everything you need can be found there. Shopping basket must-haves at this time of year for children with allergy symptoms are hayfever pills, nasal sprays and paper hankies. Browsing the site is fun. There are always products online that surprise.

    One thing to do at this time of year is up-grade your first-aid kits. Now that the weather is warmer and more time is spent out-of-doors, active families go through sticking plasters like you would not believe. Medical kits are easily assembled. Air-tight boxes can be packed with holding plasters, Boots generic creams, potions for bites and stings, saline, scissors, cotton-swabs, tweezers and bandages. Easter holidays are fast approaching, days away will be planned. A first aid kit is a must-have for the back-pack. We need to go the extra mile for our kids and make sure that they are well protected. Don't forget the sunscreen for your kids and the hats. You will find them all on drugstore shopping for kids at fantastic discounted prices. Enjoy yourselves.

    Sunday, 24 February 2013

    How to make money on Youtube

    For the past 8 weeks I have been learning all about the ins and outs of YouTube and monetising videos, so thought I would share the information I have learnt with this 'How to Monetise' guide.

    YouTube allows anyone to monetise their videos, providing you are not breaking any copyright rules, ie not using someone elses video or someone elses music, this means you must have the right to distribute everything in the video, no background music, no 'mash up' of other peoples videos no singing along to your favourite songs or recording of computer games or TV programs.

    Once you are happy with the videos you have uploaded and you are sure they do not break the community guidelines you can choose to enable monetization. This is done simply by clicking the 'enable' option in the youtube settings.

    Once you have enabled your account, you can individually select videos to monetise. You can find the settings for each individual video in the video manager section, or you can set the monetization settings as you upload each new video.

    When you look at the individual video settings, you will see the monetization option under the preview, highlighted with number 1 in the screen shot below.

    When you click on the Monetization tab, you will see there are two types of adverts you can choose from, (highlighted with number 2 above), click so you can see a tick next to the advert style you require.

    The two advert styles are:
    • Overlay in video - these are the slightly transparent ads which pop up along the bottom of the video.
    •  TrueView in stream - these are the adverts which play at the start of the video which viewers can skip after so many seconds.

    You can also select both styles of ads, by ensuring a tick is in both options, when this is the case YouTube will change which type of advert is displayed, depending on who and where the video is viewed.

    Once you have selected to monetize your video you should notice a green $ icon (highlighted with the number 3 in the above screenshot.) If the green icon is  a dull green then it means the video is being checked to see if is ok to monetise, if the icon is grey it means it is not monetised yet.

    After you have ads running on at least one of your videos you will start to notice an 'estimated earning' figure in your analytics section.

    However in order to get the money from the ads, you have to connect an Adsence Account to your YouTube Channel. Adsence is where you can pick out specific adverts you do and do not want to be displayed, and keep check of the earnings you are making

    To connect Adsence to youTube, you need to click on the 'monetize' option in the channel settings, Here it will either directly say you need to 'Associate an Adsence account' or it will show a series of questions as shown in the screen shot below.

    If you  see several questions, click on 'how will I be paid?' it opens out and informs you that you need to 'associate an Adsence account' Click the text link and you will see the following screen:

    Which informs you that you will be redirected to Adsence. You need to click Next and then follow the instructions to set up your Adsence account.

    If you already have an Adsence account you must use the login information for your current Adsence account, NOT your login information for the youtube account you are setting up, if you don't currently have an Adsence account then you can create one using your  current YouTube/Google sign in information.

    It is important to note you are only allowed ONE adsence account, per person, but you can connect several YouTube channels, blogs or sites to it.

    So if you, like me, have your blog, Google+ and YouTube all using different sign ins, be sure to set your Adsence log in to the one you will most readily remember.

    Once you have associated your Youtube account with Adsence, then you can check how much you have earnt by logging into Adsence and seeing the balance.

    Adsence has a threshold you must meet of £10 before you can update your bank information, and verify your address details, then you must reach the £60 limit before payments can be issued.

    Payments will not be issued until you have verified your bank details, address and telephone number.

    To verify the address details you have to input a PIN number into your Adsence account which is sent to your postal address, which takes around 10 days to arrive after it is processed to be sent.

    When your account has enough money in it at the end of the month to meet the payment threshold,  the earnings will be verified and processed and you will receive payments before the end of the following month,

    So if you earn £100 during January, you will receive the payment before the end of February.
    If you don't meet the payment threshold in January any earnings will be carried over into the following month, until your balance is above the threshold.

    If you also have a blog you can easily add Ads to your blog with adsence too, the total from YouTube and your blog adverts will be added together in your Adsence account.

    I hope this helps, I will be doing some more YouTube tutorials on the little bits of information I have learnt about helping to get your videos found in the coming weeks so look out for them, and if you have a YouTube channel, be sure to pop over to my channel and say hello and subscribe and I will be sure to subscribe back!

    Wednesday, 20 February 2013

    Tree Fu Tom Party and Toy Review

    Yesterday we hosted our Tree Fu Tom Party, with my usual disorganised style. Although I was running late we still managed to have fun with lots of excited children, lots of toys and lots of snacks.

    the new range of tree fu tom toys

    Hosting a Tree Fu Tom themed party is really quite easy and a great theme for a Birthday party, During the party the children enjoyed taking it in turns on the dance mat, seeing who could score the most, and make Tom say something new!

    We also had a colouring competition, colouring in printable Tree Fu Tom themed posters which can be found on the cbeebies website along with other fun crafts.

    colouring in prntable fun tree fu tom
    We also enjoyed playing catch with the squizzles, which cost around £4 each these are great giveaway items for party bags, and make a great game of pass the squizzle, standing on one leg, or when holding the squizzle only with your knees!

    tree fu tom party books squizzles funOf course just playing with the fantastic range of Tree Fu Tom themed toys entertained the children.

    UkmumsTv provided us some of the brand new released Tree Fu Tom Toys, to play with and give away to our guests

    The range of toys includes beautifully detailed figures which match the characters on the cbeebies TV show, These would make great Birthday gifts for all preschool children, available in single character packs priced £4.99, deluxe character packs which have additional accessories  priced around £7.99 or themed playsets which include larger accessories such as Zigzoos wagon priced £12.99 there is something to suit everyone.

    play figure characters from flair
     The characters available include all the popular characters from the Tv show, including Tom himself.

    tree fu tom figure character review In the deluxe Tom figure set Tom comes along with a pull back and go leafboard which all the other figures can also connect to.

    There is also Twigs, Toms best friend, the fun loving little acorn sprite, who is voiced by David Tennant in the show, and a firm favourite of everyone. Or maybe you're little Tree Fu fan likes Squirmtum the big blue earwig, or even Ariela the friendly cowgirl and Ziggzoo the inventor frog who are all available to collect with great detailed true to life figures.

    figure character twigs david tennant

    The little figures are lovely, they state for children aged 3 and above, they do not have much movement in their joints, which my older children found slightly frustrating, but Mikey and the younger guests really didn't seem to notice, certain figures can move their arms a little, such as Squirmtum, who has 4 arms which can all move,

    squirmtum character figure toy

    However none of the figures legs move, which makes them more stable to stand, they all come with a base stand too, if you wish to display them on a shelf, each figure is only a couple of inches tall, but they are robust enough for little hands and very detailed so they really bring the childrens imagination out.

    The larger playsets come with more accessories, we had ZigZoos waggon to look at and this is a great set the trailer is big enough to transport everyone and ZigZoo has his very own spanner to ensure he can invent something new!

    ZigZoo frog character from tree fu tom toy figure

    As well as the lovely range of figures, there are a range of books, from reading books to activity pads with stickers and 3D colouring in. The books are a really great quality, bright and fun.

    tree fu tom 3d colouring book
     There are also more active toys in the range, as Tree Fu Tom promotes movement and exercise in children, the toys in the range are designed to do the same.

    Tree Fu tom Dance mat magic moves rap mat
     The magic moves Rap Mat is brilliant and is suitable for all aged children, there are two modes for different age ranges. It plays the familiar Tree Fu Tom theme song and young children love to jump about  making up their moves. Priced £14.99 this is a great main birthday present and for children aged around 3 it is sure to be something which is well used, older children however may find it abit easy, but even if they manage to get top marks every time, it plays the familiar tune and is alot of fun to improvise with bolder movements between moves.

    Here is our video review of the Rap Mat.

    Another fun toy in the range is the foam  flying squizzles.

    Foam Flying Squizzle fun toy new Tree Fu Tom roleplay toys
     These simple yet very fun toys are a must for all Tree Fu Tom fans a good size and perfect for throw and catch games, these have been hugely popular here, they are lightweight foam replicas of the Squizzles that Tom and his Friends play with in the shows. Along with the other role play dress up accessories in the range there is no end of Magic to be had!

    here is our video where Mikey talks us through the range of toys, and if you have a little Tree Fu Fan of your own i am sure they would love any thing from the Tree Fu Tom range of merchandise.

     If you want to find out more about the Full range head over to Flair's website or follow Tree Fu Tom on facebook and Twitter to keep upto date with all the fun and competitions

    Tuesday, 19 February 2013

    not enough hours in the day

    It's half past 12 again.. but not the dinner time mid day 12 o'clock, but the midnight variety, the small hours have become a regular feature in my life, and I know I need to go to bed and sleep but no, here I am again.

    It's half term week here this week, which is a bonus, I love the half term even if we don't get to go many places, I enjoy the slower pace, the easier mornings and the chance to sleep in a little. (or at least the thought of being able too)

    I like the children being at home, and not returning home from school in a foul mood, even if it means I have to split screen my laptop as I try to work around a 5 year old who insists on using my laptop and not one of the other computers in the house!

    Today we hosted the Tree Fu Tom twitter party, and I really had hoped to be more organised today, but no it wasn't to be, there never seems to be enough hours in a day, and some of my guests arrived before I had returned from the shops with extra supplies, because my lack of organisation

    Friday, 15 February 2013

    WARNING - Puppies For Sale - SCAM

    As I mentioned in my post yesterday we have a new addition here, a bundle of furry fun called Lacey, a very pretty little Springer Spaniel.

    Springer Spaniel puppy

    She has settled in well, Jackson has shown her the ropes and been a star, he is such a good dog so very soft natured, we knew we would have no trouble introducing a puppy into the home with him.

    Lacey really is a lovely little puppy, and we are certain she will become a great member of the family, Darren has always loved Springer Spaniels, where as I have always been a boxer dog sort of person, and Jackson is well and truely a mummys boy, so we had discussed getting a second dog who would become Darrens companion, for quite a while and with Darrens family always having Springers it was a natural choice for him.

    However when we went searching for a puppy we made some errors and had a rough time before we found Laceys and I think its important to share our experiences to help other people prevent the same troubles.

    We were very nearly scammed, taken in by a FAKE advert selling puppies. Thankfully we picked up on the scam before the scammer managed to steal our money, but it was very close.
     I want to make people aware of how the events unfolded and how easy it is to be taken in by these scams, however it is a long story, but one worth reading and warning people about.
    I thought we were fairly aware of these sort of things, but unfortunately these scammers make themselves seem the perfect match for your needs.

    For the past few months we've been talking about the possibility of getting a second dog, a companion for Jackson, and we have been discussing which sort of pup we ideally wanted, and like many people do, we googled puppies for sale, and found a pet advertising website, pets4homes, a great resource full of people advertising puppies, with photos and details and contact information to the sellers.

    We searched down the Springer Spaniel section, and talked about how much we could afford, what colour we ideally would like and book marked several adverts.

    Over the last week we decided we would take it to the next stage, so we rang around and found that the first few adverts we liked the sound of, were all sold, the colour pups we were after had been snapped up, so we rang the next on our list, a cute picture portrayed 3 puppies, any one of which we would have happily brought home, cute puppies in someones arms. Priced within our budget and ready to come home.

    We excitedly rang the number, asked lots of questions, all answered perfectly normally, we wanted a bitch as they don't grow quite as big and can be more placid than boys, and were pleased to hear they still had a girl and a boy available, one of the three had been sold, and someone else had just rang possibly wanting another, I asked if they could email me across some more photographs to look at as there was only one in the advert, the seller agreed to once he was home that evening.

    Over the next few hours we looked back at the advert, talked over what the seller had told me about the litter, the mum dog, and the puppies, everything sounded perfect, eager not to miss the chance of having the girl we decided to ring back prior to receiving the additional photographs and say we would like to come over and look instead - MISTAKE NUMBER 1 ask and wait to receive  additional photographs of the pups with the mum if they are not in the advert

    The seller seemed pleased and told us he would be home anytime after 4, which was fine by us, as he was a few hours away, I asked for his address and he said 'I'll give you my postcode, its easier that way' I noted it down, took the house number, but he never confirmed his full address, I didn't think anything of it as with sat navs its not necessary,  we were excited and he seemed helpful so we told him we would be with him around 6pm  - MISTAKE NUMBER 2 always take a full name and street address

    We googled the postcode, and looked at the street map to give us a guide, we noted down the google map directions, got in the car and set off, with all three children in tow all excited about going to see some puppies.

    On the way there we chatted about what sort of pup we ideally wanted, we agreed to come away if anything was not right, but hoping that it would all slot into place and we could bring home a new addition that night.  We had no trouble following the directions and soon arrived at the destination we had been sent too, at this point it dawned on us we had not confirmed a street name so we were not 100% certain we were in the right place at all, but undeterred we thought we must be so knocked on house number 30's door, and we were greeted with a lady who had no puppies, and no idea who we were, she said her postcode was different to the one we had.

    Thankfully she was very understanding and invited me in whilst she googled the postcode I'd been given and brought up a street map again, she directed me 5 miles down the road and gave me a street name to look out for.

    So we set off, yet we could not find this street, we drove up and down the main road where the google map showed us to turn off,  but we quickly realised there was not  likely to be 30 houses along this road or any side roads at all, and infact it was a very quiet, rural place, and we kicked ourselves for not being more thorougher when we were at home looking at the street maps.

    Getting no where we decided to reach for our mobile phone and ring the seller, however I picked up my phone and as it was dialling the battery went flat - MISTAKE NUMBER 3 always take a fully charged working mobile phone with you

    So we stopped at a local newsagent, I was sure they would know the postcodes and beable to help us, the shopkeeper was indeed very helpful he again googled for me and showed me the street we were looking for, the same as the previous lady had, so I thanked him and set off again.

    We then did indeed find the street we were looking for, a very small country side lane, and there was only a couple of houses on it, neither had numbers and instead had names, so I knocked on the door of one of them and explained our predicament, the man told me there was most certainly not 30 houses on the road, indeed only two and the postcode was slightly different to that one I had.

    Completely confused, we decided our only hope was to find a phone box, which thankfully there was just a few meters down the road, I jumped out the car and dialled the seller of the pups, he was very apologetic, and concerned that we had been lost, I explained where we were and that the postcode he gave us was taking us to somewhere that didn't have 30 houses, I explained about the shop we'd just been in and told him various street names that we'd passed, and asked him which street he was on, he said 'there isn't a street name as such'  now that should have set instant alarm bells ringing, but the area is very remote and the main road runs all the way through and there does indeed seem to be very few signs with street names on them, hence our struggle to locate the road we were looking for, and googles mix up with postcodes, he kept apologising and saying how awful it was, how his mate often got mixed up with postcodes too, and he said 'stay in the phone box your in, I'll get my sister to ring you back in 5 mins and give you directions we're not far away' Yet he didn't direct me himself, or give any hint to a landmark 'next to the big tree, the church, the newsagents etc)

    So I put the phone down, and went back to the car to tell Darren what he'd said, and Darren said it sounds abit dodgy, why didn't he direct you himself, surely he knows where he lives? Why does his sister need too? me, being naive and too trusting, said maybe he was out? (we were now an hour later than we said we were going to be, I was reasoning that maybe he had gone to the pub? or to work?) Darren said well get in the car we'll wait five minutes then we're off, so we waited but the phone did not ring, so we drove off.

    Darren growing suspicious of the sellers motives, and concerned he just wanted our location to come to us to threaten us into giving him our money, me naively believing there still was a chance of finding the house, so we sent off again to find this mystical '30' no street house, and we did indeed find a block of 4 houses, one number 34, the next 32 and the last one had no number but must be 30. So I knocked on the door, a lady answered and again was helpful told me her postcode was not the one we were looking for either, although it was similar (just one letter out) and her house was indeed number 30this was the closest we got, but still so far away.

    We now didn't know what to do, and another half an hour had passed, so we  returned to the phone box, and decided to ring once more before giving up and heading home. This time the man answered and was not at all as friendly or happy sounding, he seemed considerably put out all of a sudden, he did not want to listen to me, or tell me how to find him, or give me the landline number of 'his sister' who should have been ringing me, instead he just repeatedly said 'we came to look for you and you weren't there!'

    Eventually after a few minutes of me saying, but can I have a landline number, my credit is going, can you not direct me to you, I don't want you to come to me.. etc etc' my credit ran out and I hung up and got in the car and we drove off home.

    Angry for the time wasted, three children upset at returning home without seeing a puppy they had been promised to see, and tired from the journey we went over what had just happened as we drove the long journey home.

    The next day we looked up the advert again,  still not quite sure what actually had happened, if it was us just not being able to find the address, or if indeed someone was conning us.We saw that the advert had been updated to keep it at the top of the listing, and there was no mention of the fact that only  2 puppies were left (which was what I had been told), it clearly stated 3 puppies available, we googled again the postcode, and it again pointed us to the road we had spent the previous evening driving along, we looked at the street map more closely and there seemed to be no houses anywhere along the stretch where the postcode pin pointed. We tried to not dwell on it and looked up other Springer Spaniel adverts.

    The following day we again were looking along the adverts, and noticed a new photo had appeared, but had the same contact details and information as the seller which we could not find.

    We studied the photo, this time three puppies, similar yes to the original photograph... but not the same, this time the pups were peering over the edge of a basket, trying hard to remember what the original photo was like to see if this was the same three puppies and we noticed differences, bigger white markings than before... pinker noses.... curlier ears..... Darren convinced now it was 100% a scam, clicked the report advert and started filling out the form, I went over to my laptop and googled 'Springer spaniel Puppies' and searched through the images... and sure enough I found the image on an American Website posted in May 2012.. thats almost a year go.

    This confirmed the advert was completely FAKE there simply was never any puppies and the seller obviously was giving a fake postcode in order to make the buyers lost, and then when they ring up to ask for the final part of the journeys directions, he will instead ask for the buyers locations and arrange to meet them to 'show them the way' and whilst doing so in this remote location, anything could happen, I can only imagine he wanted to steal the cash he knows you most likely will have brought with you to pay for the pup.

    We thankfully didn't let this happen, and we returned home safe and well and went onto find another seller and get Lacey. But eager to prevent someone else going through the same with the advert still being live on the website even after we had reported it, I decided to ring 101 - the police non emergency crime prevention number, I started to explain what had happened and the call centre put me through to what I can only imagine was the actual police station in the area where the pups were - not my own area, I again started to explain what had happened but was stopped by the policeman who was now talking to me, he abruptly asked 'what is the crime you are reporting' I said I was not reporting any actual crime, but hoping to prevent one, and he was disinterested, almost insinuating I was wasting his time, and told me it was not the business of his police station, and only the police station in my area could help protect me if a crime had actually been commited, and I was unable to report a potential crime in a different area.

    I was slightly bemused by this response, but am pleased to report that the advert has now been suspended and is no longer available on Pets4homes.

    Please do share this with anyone you know who is thinking of buying a puppy and please do be careful to ensure you are buying a puppy from a trusted breeder.

    Even if you do manage to get to the persons house, ensure that the pups they are advertising are what you are buying, so many adverts state 'KC registered' when they are not or 'Full Pedigree' when you can obviously tell the dogs are cross breeds. 
    Take your time to ensure the puppy you are purchasing is the one you want, as pups are a huge responsibility and need lots of love and attention even before you've brought them home!

    Thursday, 14 February 2013

    New additions

    Its been a week since I last posted on my blog and another missed Silent Sunday, the days seem to be passing in abit of a blur at the moment, and I seem to be 10 minutes behind in everything I do.

    I don't like this time of the year really, everything is cold and muddy and dull, lots of coughs and colds and sniffles, no Christmas to brighten the spirits and Spring still seems too far away.

    Motivation is low, not just for my blog but for life in general, I have hardly picked up my camera which is a sure sign things aren't right! The children are all run down, tired and desperately in need of the half term break,  the school run is a pain, I struggle to rush Mikey out the door to get him to school in time for the register, and I find myself being late to fetch him too, yet nothing seems to get completed during the day. I have so much I want to get done, lots of people I am supposed to be helping out, my phone is like a constant switch board at the moment, some problems with the extended family and I seem to be the one in the middle, the one always left sorting everyone else out, whilst I try hard to keep my own head above water, but its not all doom and gloom there are plenty of exciting things happening too, things which as soon as I have the chance  I want to focus my attention on.

    On the blog front, there is the Tree Fu Tom party which is approaching fast, and I'm hoping that goes well, I have invited several of Mikeys school friends as well as a long standing online friend so I hope at least some of them can make it! Mikey is very excited and I just hope I manage to get through the two hours and manage to keep up (at home with the kids and on twitter), the Sylvanian Family party we hosted a few months ago was rather manic to say the least, so I'm determined to be more organised this time. Remember to go over to Twitter and follow UKmumstv for chance to win great prizes the party is starting over there right now.

    Other blog related exciting things include being accepted into the Markettiers 4dc Blogger Broadcast network, and we have been accepted as an IzziWizziKids Reviewers, both of these are exciting projects which mean I may get to review alot more interesting things over the coming months and learn how to make better videos and get to know other fantastic bloggers.

    markettiers4dc -  The Broadcast Specialist - Parenting Broadcast Blogger Network

    Then on a personal level there is something else stealing my time.

    We have a new addition to the family, of the furry four legged kind, and she is causing no end of mischief and making her place in the family known already.

    This is Lacey, the happy little Springer Spaniel Puppy.

    We fetched her home just a couple of days ago and she has settled in well but this is now what I have pestering me every time I sit down with my laptop - I don't think I'll ever get anything done again, but at least shes making everyone smile! Even if I had forgot how much work it is having a puppy, the endless time stood outside saying 'do a wee' and the broken nights.

    Sunday, 10 February 2013

    Tree Fu Tom Toys

    The new range of Tree Fu Tom Toys is due to hit the shops from the 16th February j

    Thursday, 7 February 2013

    Tree Fu Tom Party!

    There is excitement brewing here as we have been asked if we would host a Tree Fu Tom Twitter Party on the 19th February between 4pm - 6pm

    Tree Fu Tom Party

    This has pleased Mikey no end, last year when we first saw Tree Fu Tom, the Cbeebies show about an 8 year old boy called Tom, who uses movements to perform magic, it quickly became a favourite, and as with anything the children like, Mikey soon started asking me to make him his very own Holopax and magic belt. I heard many parents asking for the same, and wondered if there was due to be any merchandise to run alongside the series, and then we were told that we would have to wait until Spring 2013 until we saw products appearing in the shops.

    Well that wait is now over, as Flair have produced a fantastic range of toys,which are due to be released next week,  including figures and playsets, role play dressing up accessories and even great interactive movement rap mat to extend the Tree Fu moves into your own home.

    The range of toys sounds fantastic with items that are pocket money prices right through to top wish list toys, and we will be putting them through there paces with the help of our party guests to let you know if they get the thumbs up of approval.

    You are all invited to come and join us so you hear first about this exciting new range of toys, be sure to join in on Twitter where I will be live tweeting about how we are getting on, there will also be lots of fun and game ideas, printable activities so you can join in, or you could use to host your own Tree Fu Tom birthday party, and plenty of chances to win prizes. So be sure to come over to Twitter and follow the hashtag #TreeFuTomToys

    And if you haven't yet seen the show then keep an eye out for it. It is an enchanting show which really captures the imagination of children, Tom encourages children to join in the actions and this helps assist their development, the moves have been designed especially to help children with movement disorders such as dyspraxia, but the are fun for all children.

    Tree Fu Tom plays on Fridays on cbeebies at 5pm, or you can catch up on episodes on BBC Iplayer.

    Take a look at what we have in our party box in my video below.

    Wednesday, 6 February 2013

    Postcard from Ghana #goodwork

    Over the past few days three fantastic bloggers have formed #teamhonk and have been visiting Ghana with Davina and Jonathan Ross, to showcase Comic Reliefs #goodwork and mark their 25th birthday. I was lucky enough to be sent a digital postcard from them to share with you all and here it is:

    Jonathan Ross in Ghana supporting comic relief

    Dear Sarah
    Jonathan Ross talking to Capital FM live from the the vaccine centre in Ghana. He was recording live appeals for Red Nose day as well as live link ups to UK television shows throughout the day and radio interviews. Everyone was working really hard to get the #goodwork message across as quickly and efficiently as possible. Around us women cuddle and feed their babies as they wait for lifesaving vaccinations.

    Love Penny
    This is a digital postcard sent from TeamHonk (; during their travels with Comic Relief in Ghana celebrating #goodwork.

    If you would like to see more from #TeamHonk please visit their website  where you will find all the links to other digital postcards, each with a individual photo straight from Ghana, go on pop over and show your support.


    Tuesday, 5 February 2013

    Make Health Fair

    We are lucky to live in a country which has a National Health Service, and even with its faults it gives people in the UK access to health care as and when they need it, however there is still many inequality between the level of medicines available, and this really does result in deaths. 

    Did you know that there is almost a 10% difference in life expectancy between those who live in the richest and poorest London boroughs? That’s almost 10 years! Poor people really do live shorter, less healthy lives even within a country where there is a National Health Service, which is supposed to provide medicine to all.

    Unequal healthcare really does effect everybody, not only the people in the poorest parts of our country, but all across the globe the differences between the type and level of health care is huge. 99% of mothers who die within childbirth are from developing countries.

    The London School of Medicine want to see that everyone has equal access to the things they need in order to life healthier lives, affordable shelter, clean water, sanitation and electricity.

    Having these equal rights should hopefully prevent the huge differences in poor health and short lives.

    In China the average life expectancy is 83 whereas in poorer parts of the world people are living only till there  40's

    Please take a second to watch this short video which highlights some statistic to drive home the message that EVERYONE no matter where they live, how much they earn or what their sexual orientation is, everyone should be entitled to the same standard of healthcare.

    We know how to improve lives with medicine, and health care that really does save lives, and this knowledge and these vital resources really don't cost that much at all. So it is really hard to understand why so much inequality is still present.

    If you want to know more about the London School of Hygiene and their work you can check out the website here, where you will find a number of experts giving their opinions on different sectors of health care and what can be improved.

    You can also show your support to their work on twitter by using the hashtag #MakeHealthFair

    If talking about this, bringing it to peoples attention has even the smallest effect and can help the people who are in need get the help they need, then lets make sure we shout it out. Please share the message today.

    This is a Sponsored Post from SpreaditFast

    Monday, 4 February 2013

    Treasure every moment

    My Love and thoughts are with Jennie and David, Ester and William and the rest of their family tonight.

    I have no words, but my thoughts are with them as they come to terms with the loss of their beautiful daughter Matilda Mae, the world lost and angel but heaven gained the best.

    Life is terribly cruel and there seems no reason,  if I could take away their pain and sorrow I would in a heartbeat.

    The happiness and love filled months with Matilda Mae will be forever remembered by every one she touched with her spirit. I hope the beautiful pictures and stories Jennie shared on her blog bring comfort in the future.

    Life is fragile and precious, grasp it with both hands at every opportunity, hold your loved ones close and store your memories in your heart.

    Sleep Well Matilda Mae and Fly high 

    Saturday, 2 February 2013

    Silent Sunday

    Touching Base - Youtube - Blogging - Monetising

    Wow February already! how did that happen? This year seems to have started with such a whirlwind, and I have hardly had chance to sit and recap and organise things.

    Regulars readers might have noticed my slight silence over the past couple of weeks, I didn't even manage to post up a Silent Sunday last week, which is a shame, as I haven't missed many of them over the lifetime of my blog, and I didn't even post about Jakes birthday - I am now a mother of an 11 year old and it doesn't really seem possible, maybe I'm in denial (if I don't blog it can I pretend it didn't happen?)

    So what has been happening? (Other than spending 4 days last week feeling REALLY poorly, which is the reason for the absent Silent Sunday!) There has also been some more exciting, less sickly things.

    Just after Christmas I was nosing around online, like I spend most of my days, and I happened to stumble across a article about a young girl who had made some make up tutorials on youtube and had managed to build up a bit of an income, it interested me enough to pop over to youtube to take a look at her channel. (the articles here if you fancy a look)

    It intrigued me because I also have a youtube channel, although I am terribly  neglectful of it, and to be honest have spent very little time and effort on the videos that are there. A few months ago when I last checked I was surprised to see that my videos had attracted a few hundred thousand views. (555,000 back in April 2012 when I last checked)

    So upon visiting youtube to see the channel in the article, which had just shy of 2 million views, I decided I should sign into my own channel and take a look how it was doing, I had noticed the option to turn on adverts several months ago, but I dismissed it because I was never sure if the income would ever amount to much.

    However I was gobsmacked to see the view count rocketing over 2.5 million for my videos, meaning I had had more views than the channel in the article, I then pondered what had I missed out on by NOT adding the ads all those months ago.

    So with the gentle shove from Hannah - A New Addition, I added the ads to my youtube. this was a fairly straight forward process, which I wish I had done years ago. And I sat back being rather sceptical thinking that maybe I would see a few pounds in their after a few months, but how wrong was I!

    The very next day I had an email in my inbox telling me to verify my adsence address and bank details as I had hit the payment bracket  to update these details, I was shocked and signed into my account to see over £10 sitting there already. I did as it asked and a week later I had a fully verified account and over £60 in the account, now 3 weeks later I have over £220 clocked up!

    I was abit overwhelmed by this, having been so unsure about the revenue you can make using adsence, and was eager to know more, so I took to google+ and decided to go and try to find some info, I found a really great community with some helpful people in it, I joined, and joined in a few discussion, and am trying to find some spare time to put things into practise.

    I wanted to share my experience so I offered to join in with IzziWizzi playfest on blogging, if your not familiar with IzziWizzi kids then take a look at my video below, and come over to join in on Twitter or facebook, there are lots of great bloggers there sharing advice.

    As you can see I'm not a natural behind a camera, I am somewhat unnatural behind it, infact I'd say I am totally useless, and most of my videos include the same unplanned errmming and aarring because I never think to plan and read from a script! But  I do want to improve my videos so I am going to try to experiment abit more with some hints and tips I have picked up the past couple of weeks and hope to make them less cringe worthy, and if you have a youtube account, even if you think your videos aren't that great, do look out for the monetise option, and add it when it appears!

    On other news, somewhere along my travels round the interweb, I managed to attract the attention of a SEO who needed a hand with some graphic design, and we hooked up on Google+  and struck a deal which I hope continues with exciting things in the future.

    You may remember this post I wrote at the start of January, pondering what the year would bring, the last couple of weeks  have far surpassed my expectations and I feel like I am the start of a new journey with my blog, but am not really sure which direction it will take yet. I don't know if I should take a minute to sit back and plan, or just carry on like I always do.. I guess I will just keep on carrying on, and holding on tight!

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