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!”.

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

Potty about pets

I love independent shops – Hull is full of them, even though their numbers have sadly dwindled in recent years. I like the quirk, the individuality and the opportunity to find something that you wouldn’t necessarily find in the city centre chain shops.

Some of the names given to these independently owned stores also beautifully illustrate the Hull sense of humour and creativity. Bo-Kays (a florist), His and Hairs (a hairdresser), Aversnack (a sandwich shop) and Get Stuffed (a cafe) spring to mind.

Conversely, there is a pet shop in the Avenues area of the city, very matter-of-factly, straight-to-the-pointedly, called ‘Not Just Pets’. Ah, you may think, so it sells garden or household stuff alongside animal supplies?

Not exactly.

Fruit and veg then perhaps?

Try again.

Clothes? Car parts? Paint? Cakes? Electrical equipment?

No. Do you give up?

To be honest, you were never going to get it (unless you’ve seen the shop in question). They sell, what I guess is best described as, drug paraphernalia – bongs, grinders, rolling machines, that sort of thing. Makes sense I suppose. I mean, how many times have you nipped out for cat litter and realised you didn’t have any Rizlas?! *thinks* Actually, it’s none isn’t it?

Or maybe I’m missing the point – are the ‘extra-curricular’ supplies actually FOR the pets? I guess it would be one way of stopping my cat trying to rip my face off whenever I try to put him in his travel case. Though I imagine his food bill might go up, I already have enough trouble keeping him out of the kitchen cupboards without the raging munchies.

Under the circumstances I’m surprised they didn’t go for something a little more creative – ‘Potty about Pets’ maybe or ‘Bongs and Biscuits’. What about ‘Dopey Dogs’? I’m a little disappointed at their lack of imagination really. So much opportunity wasted in a city that usually shows so much shop-naming flair.