Silent Sunday

Trying Out A New Look

I’ve been trying out a few new looks for the A/W 2011 season. What do you think?

Ha, don’t worry, I don’t think it does anything for me either. Not a bad get up with Halloween on the horizon though, is it? Anyway, it’s not real, the chances of me succumbing to zombiefication are small, I’m well prepared! These four fetching looks were achieved with the magic of ZombieBooth , an app I downloaded for my Samsung Galaxy Pro.

I think it says a lot about my personality that one of the first things I searched for on Android Market was ‘things to do with zombies’ (that’s ‘stuff pertaining to’, as opposed to ‘ways of entertaining’ the walking dead). This is one of the best I’ve found. And it’s not just still images either, the transformation is quite impressively animated and complemented with suitably creepy groaning.

If you touch the screen your zombie will leap upon the opportunity to punish your lack of care and chomp on the offending digit, complete with blood splatters and squelchy noises. Awww, cute! And, speaking of cute, you can even zombify your pets. Though I actually find the results a lot more scary than ‘normal’ zombies. My cat already takes great delight in biting me for no apparent reason and seems to be plotting to kill me as it is (why else would he sleep on the stairs?), so zombie kitties might be a step too far for me. See what I mean?

This is a great app to have on your device, especially as we are now in the month of all things spooky. It’s incredibly easy to use, you can quickly snap photos of all your mates, store them on your phone and turn them into your army of undead before you can say “George A. Romero!”.

Have Gogglebox Will Travel (Samsung Mob!lers)

Could you live without your TV set? I definitely could. I can’t remember the last time I sat down to watch a program as it was broadcast. When a series comes along that I really want to see (I can really only think of ‘True Blood’ and ‘Walking Dead’ at this point) I record and then burn the episodes to DVD to watch all in one go so I can stick it to the man by spinning through the ads. I’ve never been a big fan of being told what to do (or when to do it) and with the myriad of ‘on demand’ TV available online, it seems like madness (MADNESS I tell you!) to plan your life around TV schedules when you can now fit it around your own timetable.

For the most part I tend to watch online content on my laptop, simply because it’s a nice big screen but the availability of various media players (BBC iPlayer, ITV Player) on Android Market means I can also now view all my favourite programs on something more portable. Which means you can watch video anywhere………. anywhere (you know where I mean, just make sure you put your phone down before you stand up to flush!). Currently that portable device is the Samsung Galaxy Pro which is great for keeping me entertained on train journeys. I’m hoping to get my mitts on one of the frankly, gorgeous, Samsung Galaxy Tabs, which means I’ll get all the easy accessibility with a bigger screen. Can’t be bad.

It’s not just TV you can watch though, oh no, it’s movies, movie trailers and, the ever popular and seemingly never-ending, array of clips of cats doing cute things.

Recently I’ve been watching the 4th series of BBC comedy ‘Outnumbered’. I think the kids are fab though, if I’m honest, I think the older they get the less charming their antics become. Great writing, some fab ad-libs and a nice half an hour watch.

I’m forever visiting IMDB.com to answer that eternal question when watching a film – “What’s he/she been in?”. Remember the days before t’Interweb? When things like that would drive you ever so slightly mad until all of a sudden it came back to you at 3am and you sit bolt upright in bed shouting “DUNCAN!” as you *finally* remember the name of Kevin Costner’s manservant in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. Just me? Oh. Anyway, now I use IMDB to view trailers too. Here’s one for Lars Von Trier’s latest, Melancholia.

I’m a big fan of Blinkbox for watching movies online. Primarily because they have a great selection of free (one of my favourite words, along with ‘all you can eat buffet breakfast’) movies, many of which are ‘video nasties’ from the 80s such as Flesh for Frankenstein and The Beyond which I’d wanted to see since watching Jake West’s (essential) documentary on the subject.

I’m not ashamed of my love of cat videos, as far as I’m concerned it’s what the Internet was invented for and if everyone watched a cute cat video once a day there would be a lot less depressed people in the world (though global productivity would probably slide). While ‘real’ cats are all well and good, there is something extra special about the Simon’s Cat videos. I never get bored of them.

 

 

Finally, I tend to use catch-up TV for viewing my guilty pleasures, stuff that I can shut off quickly, should someone come into the room and discover my dirty little secrets. Bizarre ER on BBC is one of these and, in the same vein (HA – geddit?!), Embarrassing Bodies from Channel 4. The great thing about watching online also means that when I start to feel a bit faint, as I inevitably will, I can pause it, make a cup of sweet tea, then start again. Don’t ask me why I do it to myself. I have no idea.

Nyan Nyan Soy Candles

I was lucky enough to win a competition run by Nyan Nyan Soy Candles on Facebook recently and my prize arrived this morning. A beautiful room/car fragrancer made from vanilla soy wax presented in a gorgeous organza bag. When the post arrived I was sat out the front of the house ‘ooohhing’ and ‘ahhhing’ over my Mum’s new car. How serendipitous for her, as she now has a beautiful car fragrancer, made from vanilla soy wax presented in a gorgeous organza bag, hanging from the gearstick of her new car. Well, I guess it’s cheaper than giving her petrol money 😉 . As lovely as the fragrancer is, I don’t have a car myself and I thought the gift was too pretty to hide away in a drawer, even if it would make my pants smell lush.

Nyan Nyan is another of the wonderful fledgling businesses I have discovered through Facebook and Twitter. I follow/find a lot of people, companies and products through the competitions they run and it’s also a great way of gathering present ideas for Christmas. I can definitely see me going back to Nyan Nyan.

All the products are homemade (see how here), organic and suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Their motto is ‘Why breathe in what you would not put on your skin.’, which I think it a great ethos. Lucy’s products look as good as they smell and have a vintage, kooky twist that gives the products an edge over many shop-bought candles. She also offers a customisation service, so there’s plenty of scope for making really individual gifts or items for your home. If you want to see what all the fuss is about check out the Etsy shop.

And, as if you’d need any further reason to shop with Nyan Nyan Soy Candles, they’re named after the Japanese word for small white kittens and the cute noise cats make. Awwwwww.

The Cat Reviews

My cat Neko is very much of the opinion that if someone else has something that looks good, he should have it too. My super comfy memory foam mattress? Yeah, I think you’ll find that is now at least three-quarters his, if the amount of hair he leaves on the duvet every day is anything to go by. That tuna sandwich you’re preparing? There is a tuna tithe that must be paid, or else the only alternative currency is blood, drawn as he climbs up your trouser leg. Brand new ‘chumbly’ cardigan? Obviously that’s his new favourite thing to attack/curl up in – even if you’re wearing it. And the newspaper you’re reading spread out on the floor? While he doesn’t want to read it, it is clearly interesting enough to you to warrant investigation and, more than likely, be used as a bed for the next half an hour.

So, when I recently received a package containing a selection of the new ‘Natural Vitality’ cat treats from Bob Martin for him to sample, I could only assume that my cat has seen me doing blog reviews and decided, as per usual, he wanted in on the action. And by ‘action’, I mean – I feed him the treats, he then saunters off to happily lick his fluffies and I write about it. Actually, that’s a little unfair of me because he did pose for pictures.

The three packs we tried are as follows. The salmon flavour Flexi-Joint (which helps maintain supple joints), the beef flavour Peak Performance (which supports muscles and strong bones) and the fish flavour Top Coat (which supports healthy skin and coat). All three varieties have no less than 70% fish or meat. As my cat is now into his 5th year, I’m aware that we need to do everything we can to keep him as vital and healthy as possible for as long as possible. For this reason, any treat which claims to have added health benefit is bound to catch my eye. As yet I can’t comment on any perceptible effects on his well-being, it’s been less than a week since I’ve been giving him a few a day, but expect a follow-up post if and when I see any change.

I can, however, comment on Sir Fluff-a-lot’s taste-test reaction, which is, I think, the most important factor. After all, if a cat doesn’t like the taste of something, he sure as heck isn’t going to eat it, so it doesn’t matter *how* good they are for him.

As the above photo illustrates, he attacked his part of this review challenge with great gusto. I’ve tried him with all of the flavours and the salmon variety definitely reigned supreme – I had to remove his head from the bag at one point. I’d go so far as to say that he did not like the beef at all (ate one, sniffed the other than wandered off with an air of ‘I’m disgusted in you and all you stand for’). I’m not surprised. He is, without any disrespect to him, a total fish whore. He’d sell his soul, and anything else he could get his claws on, for a sniff of a sardine.

These treats retail at £1 for a 45g pouch and can be found in most supermarkets and pet shops. I think they’re competitive value and, if they ‘do what they say on the tin’, the added cost compared to slightly cheaper brands is definitely worth it if you want to keep your favourite feline(s) healthy as well as happy. The resealable bag and long ‘best before date’ means that they can be kept in a cupboard for a fair while (or, at least, until the cat to breaks in and help himself to the lot in one sitting). The treats themselves are a good size (picture a slightly thicker, meaty/fishy SIM card) but are soft enough to be broken down into smaller chunks if your pampered pussy so desires.

Not that Neko is in the least bit interested in this fact (to be honest, he lost interest in this review when I put the treats back in the cupboard) but I feel it only fair to mention that Bob Martin has also released a similar range of complimentary snacks for dogs. So be your furry friend canine or feline, everyone is catered for. Which is something to remember the next time they send you out shopping for treats.

Silent Sunday

Sweet and Mallow

So, marshmallows. Great for toasting over a campfire, dropping in hot chocolate and…….. and, ermmmm *scratches head*, not much else really. Step forward then, local company, ‘Pommallows‘ who have decided to give the humble marshmallow a bit of a facelift, by which I mean they cover them in chocolate and other yummy things – works for me!

With treats starting from 50p, for the surprisingly satisfying ‘Pomstick’, going up to £4 for a bag of 22 Poms, there’s something for everyone’s taste and pocket. The discerning buyer also gets to choose the chocolate and topping or, if like me, decision-making isn’t your strong point, you can opt for a lucky dip.

Admittedly, when my Pomstick arrived it had clearly suffered at the hands of (my long time nemesis) Royal Mail being, as it was, a smidgen squashed. Not to matter because it tasted great – the mini bonbons with the chocolate and the light fluffy centre made for a totally different type of sweet and kept me munching for a while and smiling for a great deal longer.

I’ll can definitely see me turning to this company again when I’m on the look out for a sweet pick-me-up or a kooky confectionary gift for a friend. If you fancy giving them a go, keep an eye out for them at local markets, check out the online store or have a chat with chef Kate on Twitter – they run regular competitions, so you may even be lucky enough to win a free sample!

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