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I thought I share a great recipe with you, which I'm going to make after I finish this :-)
I got it from my mother in law (to be) and I've done it many times since, because it's so easy and quick, and it tastes great! Plus I always have the ingredients for it at home anyway.
This is what you need for your chocolate Brownies:
a square form (grease tin) which should be around 10x6 inches (26x20cm)
75g of chocolate
100g butter or margarine
150g brown sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla essence
50g nuts (walnuts or hazelnuts)
pinch of salt
First you have to melt the chocolate and butter in a waterbath on low heat (put one small pan with the choppend chocolate and butter in a bigger pan which is filled with water). -Cut the chocolate small, then it will only take a minute.
Now you can add the sugar, eggs and vanilla. If this is well mixed in, add the nuts, flour and salt. (I like to use a mix of nuts as well, you can use whatever is available) Pour the mixture in your greased tin and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes. (tip: grease the tin well and if you have some, sprinkle some breadcrums in it, that will make it easier to remove your brownies later) See, it only takes about 10 Min. to do the mixtures.
It will be very hard to resist, but you'll have to wait untill this is cooled down before you cut it in squares. It smells lovely, looks great and tastes even better.
So bon appetit. I'm going to make some now :-)
Just before Christmas our family got another member, our little Ebeny joint us. I had syrien hamsters before and all of them loved using their energy up in their wheel. Not so Ebeny, I think she might be the only hamster who doesn't like wheels. (pls let me know if I'm wrong, I'm really curious to find out about this) She just puts her little hands around the cage and looks at you to be taken out, like a prisoner. So I had to find something she can play in. A few months ago I found this playpen for small animals and for £9.99 I thought I'll give it a try.
The playpen is made out of 8 rectangular squares and is wired horizontally (the wires are like in a normal hamster cage) it's blue, red and yellow, so it's quite a colourful addition to your livingroom. Each panel is 13 inches long and 9 inches high. The panels just hook together, so it comes in a "flatpack" and you can put it up as you like, in a square, rectangular, or you can even divide it in 2, if you have 2 animals that you don't want to put together.You just hook the two ends together and your playpen is set up. So the good thing is, it's very flexible and when you finished, you can just put it flat together so it doesn't take much space in your cupboard. When it's opened up, there is plenty of space for a wheel, a house and a couple of other toys to keep your friend entertained.
what it's good for
I used the playpen now for many different things. Firstly of course for my hamster, but that didn't work out very well, because Eby just climbs out of it. I even tried putting a cardboard box on top, but she just pushes it away or pushes the playpen outside the box and escapes that way. So I'm not using it for her anymore, instead she has to run in ball now, which she quite enjoys as well (until she escapes out of that as well...). I did use it as well when we got a new rabbit and I wanted to introduce it to the "rest of the gang". This way they could smell each other without being able to scare the newcomer. This doesn't mean, it's a playpen for rabbits, a grown rabbit can jump it without a problem, it's just good for introduction under supervision. I still use it to let the guinea pigs out in the garden. They feel safer in a smaller playpen, I just have to move it around every so often, because the little lawn-mowers would eat a hole in my lawn otherwise. So it is very handy for a lot of things, if you have different animals. I would think rats and mice might be able to escape as well, but I had my Dwarf hamster running around in there, and it was safe for them. The only problem I had there was, that they bit the wires on the bottom and the connection broke at a few places, but I was able to fix it with some sellotape and if you put it the other way round (top to bottom) they can't escape anyway, because the broken connection would be at the top.
One negative thing I found is that you can't attach a waterbottle to it. Because the wires are horizontal, you can't use the normal hook to keep it in place. I used waterbowls before (for the guinea pigs and rabbit) or "stick" the waterbottle to it with sellotape (which is only good for a short time though).
Obviously you shouldn't leave your animal unattended in the playpen. Like I said, depending on the animal, it's not to difficult to get out of it. I would still recommend it though, because it came in handy many times and I'm sure I'll still use it many times in the future.
I might be not very objective to this subject, because I lived for most of my life near cologne and worked in this city, but I still like to tell you about it.
If you plan a trip to Cologne, go for it! It's perfect for a short trip over the weekend because you can get cheap flights with Easyjet or BMI baby to east midlands or London (from £40).
The best place to stay is in a hotel near the main train station. It might be a bit loud at night, but if you want to go out in the evening you want to be in the centre and not 15 km outside. There are great subway connections throughout Cologne, but they stop around 12pm /1 am but the bars and clubs are open for much longer. 3am is normal for a bar, but if many people stay in a club you can dance even at 6am and enjoy yourself.
If you want to go out in Cologne, the best places to eat and relax are in the old town, not far from the main train station. You'll find a lot of restaurants and you have a great view on the river Rhein. To have a drink you can go to one of the many cocktailbars on Heumarkt or Zuelpicher Platz. This is a very trendy and young area with some Studentbars, so the drinks and entries are quite cheap here. If you want to go to a club which is very "in" you could go on the "Ringe". But make sure you don't wear trainers!
What you have to drink here is Koelsch! (girls drink it with coke)
Of course there are other things to see and do other then drinking and partying at night. I mentioned the river Rhine before and you can make boattrips to places like Bonn (which was the capital of Germany before Berlin). Cologne is famous for its Cathedral, which is just next to the main train station. It is beautiful and if you make the effort to go upstairs (there must be millions of stairs!), you'll have a stunning view over Cologne. It is great for shopping as well. You have all shops on one long street (Schildergasse/ Hohe Strasse) and compared to england prices you can make some good deals.
For people, who just want to have fun, I would recommend to visit Cologne when it's Karneval. It's usually in February/ march and starts on a Thursday (Weiberfastnacht) and finishes on the following Wednesday (Aschermittwoch). In this 6 days people wear costumes and sing strange songs, but it's great fun and I bet everyone will have met a lot of nice people during this few days. What you do is wander from one bar to the next or just stay outside on the street and party. On Monday, there is a parade which is definitely worth watching. If you're lucky you even get some candies, but I usually give them to kids and only keep the little bottles (they taste better ;-) )
If you're not the party type, you might want to go in december, when the christmas markets are on. Cologne has 6 different christmas markets with lots of food stalls, toys, christmas decoration, candy and other weird and wonderfull things. Really good for some last minute stocking fillers and a Gluehwein.
So my verdict is definitely go and see this great, amazing city for yourself!
As some of you might know, I have family and friends in Germany. I have some family in Poland as well and friends in Newsealand and Canada. You can imagine, that it is not easy to stay in touch when you're so far away, but Skype offers great help to do exactly this.
I heard about it first from my sister. She downloaded it on her PC- for free may I add - and told me to do this as well so we can write to each other and talk to each other for free. I wasn't convinced at the beginning, but after she got my cousin to download it as well, I thought it's worth trying it out.
The different options:
There are different options on the skype.com webside. You can download the simple version, with which you can call other skype members and send them messages (like with ICQ for those of you who know it). You only pay the internet charge, or broadband if you have it.
The second option is Skypeout. With this option you can call people on there normal phonenumber. This will cost you a "global price per minute rate" of currently 1.7 Cent per minute which is about 1.1 pence for the 20 most common countries (Like Newsealand, USA, Norway, Portugal or Russia). You can check the charges on the webside. You can see mobile charges here as well, which are a little bit more. But all really reasonable.
Third option is Skypein. Here you will get a real phonenumber under which you can be called. You'll pay Euro30 for 12 months for this number or Euro10 for 3 months. Included in Skypein is a voicemail service as well. You can choose what country code number you want. My sister for example has this option with an England number, even though she lives in Germany. So I could call her without skype on a national rate and my mum has got cheap rates to England anyway (cause she's calling me ;-)) So if you know loads of people in America for example it's worth getting a number from there, so they can all call you on their national rate...
I'm using the first option, which is free. Because I have a landline anyway, on which I can call out or can get called on. I only use skype at the moment to speak to my sister and cousin (for free). I still have to convince my friends in Canada and Newsealand to do the same and then nobody will be able to get me of the PC anymore! ;-) You can call people, when you know their skype ID and they can call you. You hear that you have a call over your speakers, or you see a missed call, when you don't pick it up. (the computer obviously needs to be on) If I don't want to talk to them or they are not online, (you can see that as well) I just send them a short message, which they will see when they will come back. Last night I spend 1.5h writing messages with my sister while I was doing other stuff on the PC. It's really good fun and does help keeping in touch regulary. My sister will go to America for 5 months and the good thing is, she can just install it there and keep her number, so I still talk to her for free and my mum is still only paying her cheap england rates when she will call her.
What you need:
After you downloaded one of this options, you should go and get yourself a headset. You can use your speakers and only get a mic instead, but I prefer a headset. (gives you a bit of Madonna style!) You can get them in every Computershop starting from £3 or £4.
system requirements are:
PC running Windows 2000 or XP
400 MHz processor
128 MB RAM
15 MB free disk space on your hard drive
Sound Card, speakers and microphone
Internet connection. Any broadband connection or minimum 33.6 Kbps dialup. GPRS is not supported for voice calls. Results may vary on a satellite connection.
I think it's no fun when you have skype on your own, but you can look for skype members on skype and maybe you discover, that you already have friends, that have skype that you didn't knew about...
My verdict is:
You can't go wrong with the first version from skype, because it's free anyway. On the otherones everyone has to decide for themselfes how much they pay for their landline and if it's worth changing. I think it's fun, especially when you have broadband and can leave the internet on for the hole day, so you acctually can hear people ringing you. The webside is very easy to understand and skype is very userfriendly as well. The quality of sound is great, so no reason not to try it!
Ladies, this is the book you've been waiting for!
This book was given to me as a present and I didn't really pay much attention to it at first, but now that I started to read in it, I find it indispensable.
"The goddess guide" is basically all the little bits of information and articles that you find interesting in magazines. There is no need anymore to keep all this magazines, just because there is one interesting page that you think you'll need at some stage again. All the information you need as a girl, are in this book.
It starts with style going on to the basics like shoes and handbags through to lingerie, make up and perfume. It gives you tips, names of shops and some very, very useful websites.
It answers questions like which coat style is the right for which person to the secret of finding the right foundation.
I liked especially the environmental touch to this book. With all the alternatives it will give you to buy a certain thing, there will be a website with a vegan or ecofriendly version of it. It is definitely not just for the pink loving princess type of girly girls.
In between all this very useful tips and information, there are lots of little, funny and entertaining stories that Gisele Scanlon tells us.
To give you a little inside, I'll go through the chapters one by one.
The chapters in this book are:
Style (showing you designers, styles and the best places to get them)
Beauty (a lot of tips and information from teeth to wrinkles)
Travel (making your life so much easier when you go on holiday)
Home (from spring clean to the right smells and colours)
Garden (about birds and how you can attract them and the best place to buy bulbs)
Food (talking about some basics and favourites like chocolate and how to make a great cup of tea)
Having fun (this is about wine, picnics and clubbing)
Joie de vivre (perfume, bathing and lounging)
Pillow talk (about weddings)
G-spots (about Marrakech and Iceland)
This is definitely a book I'll pick up in the future to check on some tips. It is very hip and a very cool present for a girlfriend. I think every woman should have it and would definitely recomend it.
It RRP is £15 but I'm sure there are some offers around.
After seeing the film, I just had to go and buy the soundtrack. I had it now for a few months and I still love to listen to it regularly.
The film begins with the song "POP! Goes my heart." Which meant, I was in stitches already 5 Minutes into the film. So there is no surprise that the first song on the soundtrack is "POP! Goes my heart." It's so very 80 ties and each time I hear it, I see Hugh Grant with his 80 ties haircut singing it. Brilliant! It is really Hugh Grant singing on the CD, which is reason enough to purchase this CD. The song might not get a placing in the top 10 charts these days but it has a lot of comedy value and it sticks in your head.
The second song is "Buddha's Delight" which is sung by Haley Bennett. It's a great song for dancing, quite sexy. It really gets those hips moving. - One of my favourites on the CD.
The third song is "meaningless kiss", which is sung by Hugh Grant. This is another song that is supposed to be from the 80 ties. Because it's a ballad, it's maybe not so obvious. I wouldn't call it a masterpiece. The best thing this song has going for it, is that Hugh is singing it. - For me, he could be singing the Alphabet and it would be great ;-)
The forth song is "Entering Bootytown" which is another song sung by Haley Bennett. It's very contemporary and upbeat. Another good song to dance to but I find it needs a few times listening to, to appreciate it.
My favourite (and probably everybodies who has got this album) is the fifth song which is the demo version of "Way back into love". It's THE song of the film. It carries you through the whole film and I want to see someone who didn't get out of the cinema singing this song in their head. It's a very nice ballad sung by Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. Maybe not two of the best voices you'll ever hear, but so so sweet, It's got definitely the Ahhhh factor.
The sixth song is "Tony the beat" and is sung by The Sounds. It's definitely not one of my favourites and could happily be left of the album.
The seventh song is "dance with me tonight" and is sung by Hugh Grant. It's another ballad with maybe not the best voice, but very nice harmonies.
The eighth song is "Slam" sung by Haley Bennett. It's another up tempo dance number. I find that it repeats itself a bit too much, but you can still move the booty to it. It's got a nice rhythm.
Number nine on the album is "Don't write me off" sung by Hugh Grant. It's a ballad that is written in the film by Hugh Grant to get Drew Barrymore back. This alone gets some Ahhh points. For everyone who hasn't seen the film, this song won't make much sense and I can't imagine that it will be enjoyed then, but everyone who has seen the film will get a bit of heartache again listening to this.
The tenth song is "Way back into Love" again. This time sung by Hugh Grant and Haley Bennett. This is the proper version, which is just very nice to listen to. It is a brilliant song!
The eleventh song is "Different Sound" sung by the Teddybears. I don't really get this song and it might as well have been left of the album.
The twelfth and last song is "Love Autopsy" sung by Hugh Grant, if you can call it a song. It's only 40 seconds long and is the beginning of a ballad that Hugh starts writing with Drew. - It's Hugh singing again, so it can't be bad. ;-)
A few facts about the album:
It's been published by Atlantic Records and the producer is Marc Lawrence (who wrote and directed the film as well)
Most of the songs were written by Adam Schlesinger and Andrew Wyatt.
I think except one or two songs, this is a brilliant album, but if someone hasn't seen the film, it probably won't be enjoyed as much. I paid £8.99 for it and would definitely recommend it.
I've got a great recipe for you for Chocolate muffins. I got it from my sister.
You'll never buy them again! It's really quick and easy.
A muffin tray
200g dark chocolate
2 Tsp backing powder
1.5 tsp salt
110g soft butter or margarine
1 sachet "Vanilin sugar" (if you can't get it, use a bit of Vanilla essence or leave it out)
Now you have to cut the chocolate into small pieces. Mix the flour, backing powder, cocoapowder and salt in a big bowl.
Melt the butter and mix it in your second bowl with the sugar, eggs, milk and vanilin sugar. (you can use a smaller bowl for this) Now mix the fluid ingredients with half of the chocolate into the flour mix.
Heat the oven to 190 degrees and use some fat in the muffin form (they will even come out better if you put some breadcrumbs in afterwards).
Now you can fill your mixture into the forms, but don't forget, it will raise, so 2.5 tbsp of mixture should be enough per muffin. (you want it ¾ filled) Put the rest of the chocolate on top.
Bake for 18 Minutes and leave to cool for a bit before eating. (it will be hard but try to resist!)
Reading this book wasn't really my choice. I kept complaining in the evenings, that I finished all my books and haven't got anything else to read. So my parter went off and bought me this book. (isn't he just a sweetheart :-) ) And I'm glad he did, because I really enjoyed the storyline and the characters. It was very difficult to put the book down once I started.
The main character is Holly, who is a young widow and has to learn to live on her own and start a new live without her partner. She finds a lot of help from her family and friends, but mostly from her dead husband who left her notes that will guide her through this difficult time.
I don't want to tell you too much about the story, otherwise it will be boring for you if you want to read it. Which I would deffinitaly recommend.
I found the way it's written very witty, funny and easy to read. The story is obviously very sad and makes your eyes water at times, but it will make you laugh out loud as well. It made me think a lot about how it would be if I lost my partner and I can say, that it made me appreciate my relationship more and not take things for granted.
So go on, read it and see if it makes a difference to your life!
the rrp is £6.99, but my book is from Tesco, which had an offer of 2 for £7.
the book was written in 2004 by Cecelia Ahern, who has a degree in journalism and Media Communications. She was only 21 when she wrote this book, but some more followed like:
Where rainbows end
If you could see me now
A place called here
Have fun reading!
As you probably know, the book is now a movie as well (which I haven't seen yet, so I can't comment on how close they stuck to the original storyline)
Even though I'm not a big fan of this autobiography boom that is going on at the moment, I asked to have Gary Barlows autobiography as a Christmas present and I just got round to finish it. The only autobiography I read before this was Robbies and I have to say, there is no comparison. Gary's is a very easy read and very interesting whereas I felt like Robbies was dragging on a bit. It might be because Gary used a ghost-writer, which gives the book a better quality.
It takes you through Gary's whole live, from his childhood, through to his days as a soloartist in clubs to his time in Take That and afterwards up to the reunion. The book gives you a lot of inside in the music industry and into his private live (incl. celebrities like Elton John) It is a very interesting book with lots of little stories, that even Take That fans wouldn't know about. You think, by reading all the interviews, seeing the videos and reading the Take That books, you know it all, but in fact Gary reveals a lot new "secrets" that puts it all into new prospective. I didn't realise for example how little saying the "stars" have in the music industry.
He is very open about his relationships that he had and Dawn, his wife. It is a very nice story how they got together and the journey they had throughout his career.
You learn a lot about the other boys and their relationship in the band. The truth about how it all started and why they split up as well as how it came to the reunion. Even though a big part takes place him being in Take That, it's really not a book about Take That, it's about Gary. How he felt and how he became what he is today.
I think this book is a must for every Take That fan and a really good read to everybody else who is interested in the story of a musician. I can only recommend it.
It is very well done. The book covers 277 pages with a lot of photos and is available for approx. £12.
Hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.
Many people might think, because their kid is asking for a pet, a rabbit would be a great solution. It's not much work, you only need a cage (so you can lock it away if it gets on your nerves), clean it every so often and give it some food, and it doesn't make any noise like dogs do. If you think that, think again. First of all I wouldn't recommend keeping a rabbit if there are children under 10 in the house and even then don't leave them with the responsibility to look after it. Rabbits are not toys and very sensitive animals. They can scratch and bite if not handled properly and need attention, otherwise they will get sick and can even die. I would like to tell you a bit about my experience with them so you can get a picture and make your mind up:
I had a rabbit since I was 16. My first rabbit, charly, was great. It was a dwarf lop ear rabbit, white with ginger spots. Very, very cute. It was immediately litter trained and never had an accident on the carpet. Back then I was living with my parents so he lived in my room and could run around during the day. He had a guinea pig friend, Murphy. They liked each other a lot and Murphy was like Charlys shadow. When Charly lied down Murphy would lie across on top of him, it was a beautiful picture.
Even though rabbits can live up to 10 years, I only had him for just over a year. One night I heard him and Murphy running around in the cage and I turned the light on. Charly was lying on his side and breathing very heavy. That night I closed the top of their cage, what I usually don't do. I think he jumped up and broke his neck. This was a very sad time, for Murphy as well, so I got him a guinea pig friend, Maggie. A few years later I moved to England (from Germany) and here my boyfriend decided (after hearing a lot of charly stories), that we need a rabbit, so we got Lupus (Latin for wolf) from a pet shop. He is a dwarf lop ear rabbit as well. He's got the cutest little face you can imagine and he has a great personality. He will follow you everywhere, like a little dog, which is dangerous, because he just jumps under your feed. (Here I see already an accident happen if you have a child that is running around the house!)
Lupus lives in our kitchen when we're at work, but when we're home he can come in the living room or go outside in the garden (it's fenced in). Rabbits are great lawnmowers by the way, but they don't only use their teeth on the lawn I'm afraid. My boyfriend suffered most, because 5 playstation controllers found their way into the bin after the cable was bitten through and we have the 3rd telephone now in 2 years. Because I don't like keeping an animal on it's own we got a guinea pig at the same time, Leonie. It was quite clear from the beginning that this will not be a love relationship like Charly and Murphy had. Lupus just ignored her and was more interested in spending time with us. So we got a second guinea pig after about 2 weeks, to keep Leonie Company. She's called Lucy. Lupus was fine with having our company so we didn't get him a friend at that stage. It was very easy to train him to use the guinea pig cage as his toilet or do his business outside, but just a few months ago, when we got him neutered, we decided to have a second rabbit, Lulu. She looks like a little princess, but behaves like a little devil. She's the first non lop ear rabbit that I have and I blame it on this ;-). She's white with black and brown bits in her fur and a little beard around her head, so she's very very cute but she wees where she likes, bites carpets and our new dining table and chairs have her teethmark everywhere. She is a naughty little thing that loves to dig. Lupus was an angel, but after her arrival he started digging as well. We had to get them back from our neighbours twice already and I'm just glad that they prefer to dig on this side of the fence and not to the side of the street.
Another thing they love to do is eat all plants in the garden. I had lovely black tulips this spring, which got killed just after flowering. Not one pansy survived either. So now we have only big plants, that are very fast growing. The trick is, they have to grow quicker, than they can be eaten.
Rabbits are a big responsibility. Especially when you like to travel you have to think first what you'll do with your rabbit. We have a friend that lives just a few streets away and comes in to feed them if we're away for a weekend. If we go on a longer holiday we leave them in the petshop we bought them from (together with the guinea pigs). They usually charge us £10 per week. If you're thinking about getting a rabbit I would check in a RSPCA first. I regret that I haven't done that with mine, but at this time I didn't knew about them. You can even get young rabbits, or get a 1 year old to save you some trouble with littertraining. It is best to get a cage that is as big as possible, and even then your rabbit will still need to be able to get out and run around every day. So you will have to make your house, or the room it will be allowed to run around in, rabbitproof. This means, no wires lying around, no toxic liquids (like cleaning liquids or other chemicals) should be in sight or any sharp objects (like knifes) in reach. Pls remember, that rabbits can jump. I found my rabbit (Lulu again of course) on top of our dining table, trying to eat a yoghurt that I left there for 2 minutes. She jumps on the chair first and then on the table. It's not a problem for them to jump on the couch either or on the coffee table.
All this has to be remembered when you leave something lying around. Food is very easy. I'm a vegetarian, so I have lots of vegetables and fruit at home anyway. They get some green food (grass or salad) and some vegetables and/or fruit (carrots, peppers, apples for example) in the morning and evening. In the morning they get some dry food as well, which you can buy in every supermarket or pet shop. They love this stuff, but I'm afraid it's not very good for them. The dry food contains the most calories and makes them fat. So no matter how much the scratch on my leg to get more, I can't give it to them.
If you consider getting a rabbit, you have to think about the costs as well. The food and bedding is quite cheap, but there are vet costs that can occur at anytime and be very high. When I got Lupus neutered I took one of my guinea pigs to the vet at the same time because she had a cyst at her back that needed removing. At the end I paid about £120 that day...
I hope this helped you to make your mind up if a rabbit is the right pet for you and pls if you decide to keep one, give it the best home you possibly can.
A few months ago our family got bigger. We decided to get 2 Dwarf hamsters. Since then Tiny and Speedy already taught me a lot in this time, which I want to share with you:
I had a Syrien Hamster when I was younger and I thought Hamster is Hamster, Dwarf Hamsters are just a bit smaller that's all. It's not quite like that. You have different kinds of Dwarf Hamsters as well. Mine are Raborski Hamsters, but there are Chinese Dwarf Hamsters or Campbells Russians as well. I stick to the Raborski here, as the other might be different in some aspects.
First of all I wanted to buy them a normal, standard hamstercage, with "metal wires" around it (or however you want to call it). But I was told by the lady in the shop that they would escape out of this normal hamster cages. They can make themselves soooo flat, it's unbelievable. What I need is either an aquarium tank or a plastic cage which has only the top "wired" to get some air in. This are special cages for Dwarf Hamsters. So I got one of these. Being used to my syrien hamster, I thought they will love climbing like he did. They do to an extend, but because of their sice a lot of toys that are sold for hamsters are not suitable for Dwarf Hamsters. If you for example have a tube going straight up , they would never be able to climb up there, so it's a waste of money buying this. The most fun they have now is actually with toilet rolls. They love them and even sleep in there sometimes. But I bought them a pack of Crittertrail Puzzle as well. Crittertrail is a company who produces little walls and tubs that you can put together how you (your hamster) like it and change it whenever you want to. It is a good idea, but it's hell to build this thing and I'm definitely not going to change it very soon because my fingertips still hurt from the first time. If you use to much pressure, a part that you just put together will fall apart, if you don't use enough, you won't be able to put it together. It's not that easy...
The reason why I wanted Dwarf Hamsters and not a syrien Hamster again is (next to the fact that they are sooo much cuter) that you can keep more then one together. Syrien Hamsters would kill each other if you have more then one in a cage, but Dwarf Hamsters can live together if they are from one litter. You obviously want one sex as well, otherwise you would end up with loads of little furry balls running around the house. I've been told my 2 Hamsters are one sex, but I really can't see how anyone would have been able to tell the sex at the age when I bought them. Now they've grown a bit and it's still difficult to tell, and even if you know what to look for, catch one of these guys first and turn them around! Good luck with that! They are incredibly quick little things. So at the moment I'm waiting to see if one morning there will be 6 hamsters and not only 2 in the cage. I think I should know soon, because the pregnancy time for Dwarf hamsters is 30 days.
Another difference to Syrien Hamsters is, that they don't eat so much vegetables and fruit. Raborski Hamsters live in the desert, so fruit and vegetables have to much fluid for them. They can have it every so often as a treat, but shouldn't eat too much of it. Where as my syrien Hamster used to get fruit or vegetables every day. Of course their waterbottle still needs to be available all the time (even desert animals need to drink!)! The normal Hamsterfood seems to be too big for them as well. What they prefer is seeds, so I mix it with birdfood.
Next to there cage, I "built" them a play area to run around and play in. I used a plastic container, that is supposed to go under your bed for storage. They have a second wheel in there, more toilet rolls and their crittertrail toys. (Otherwise the cage would be to cluttered). They love their wheels, but it's very squeeky, and we can even hear it in the bedroom, when the hamsters are in the livingroom downstairs. I filled it with sand, not with bedding like the cage, as I thought they might like this better -coming from the desert... They really like the sand and they love digging in it. It is a bit cold for their little feed, but they have plenty of things they can go into or climb onto so they don't have to stay on it if it's not comfortable anymore. But I wouldn't use it in their cage. They like to tug themselves into the bedding when they go to sleep and cover themselves with paper (extra hamster paper is available from petshops) so they can't sleep on sand.
As a verdict, I'm very happy with my new little friends, but there are some things I need to mention. They are very, very delicate and they're not at all suitable for little children hands. Next to the fact that they sleep during the day, so you only see them in the evening when children would go to bed anyway, they are not cuddly pets that you can take out and play with. Hamsters and especially Dwarf hamsters are more something to look at, not to carry around with you. I had mine for a few months now and I'm still not able to pick them up really. They will eventually get used to people, but you need a lot of patience.
I hope this shows you a little bit of the Dwarf Hamster world.
First of all, I have to say that through his TV program, Cesar Millan became a bit of a hero to me. But even if you don't know him yet, you will still enjoy his book, if you keep an open mind and listen to him carefully.
Cesar is a mexican dog psychologist who runs a rehabilitation Centre in Los Angeles. He works with Celebrity dogs as well as problem dogs from shelters. His aprouch is, that he trains people and rehabilitates dogs. This is what makes him stand out from other programms like "dog borstal" or "it's me or the dog". He has a natural talent and a huge love for all creatures, or do you know anyone else who would take 40 dogs into the mountains every day for 4 hours?
Cesars book starts with telling you about his backround. Where he grow up and how he got to Los Angeles. This is one of my favourite bits. It's a great read and very inspiring to see how this young mexican guy follows his dream.
Later the book helps you unterstand what "dog" really means. This is not about training your dog, this is about understanding him and his needs. It's about communicating with your dog and letting him be dog rather then making him a little human. It's no surprise when dogs get frustrated, when they don't get what they need and are misunderstood.
This book helps you see why all this little (or bigger) problems occur with your dog and how you can solve them. It shows you how to choose the right dog for you and give him a happy life.
Cesar doesn't work with special technics or commands, he gets results by working with energy and beeing the packleader. In his book he'll explain the power of the pack, which is one of the most extraordinary ways to work with dogs.
I wish every dogowner would read this book and obey to it, as if it's the bible. We would have a lot more happy dogs than. It's a must read for every dog owner, but you can even transfer a lot things into "human relationships", so it's not just for dogowners!
The book has been written in 2006 with Melissa Jo Peltier, published by Hodder & Stoughton.
All there is left to say is: Go out and buy it!
I would like to tell you about something that is very close to my heart, my local RSPCA. For almost 4 years (since I moved to England) I volunteered at my local branch, so I'd love to tell you what I do and how you can help as well.
I love all animals, but dogs in particular. Because of our working hours we can't have a dog at home (wouldn't be fair on the poor sod) so I called my local branch a few years ago and asked them how I could help. I just wanted to get involved with animals. They told me, that the best way to start would be to come and walk the dogs. They have dog walking every Saturday and Wednesday morning, so I went there the following Saturday and after I filled out a form, a staff member got a dog out for me. I remember her well. It was Elsa, a big boxer, that just had 14 puppies. She was a very loving and cute dog, but very very strong. Between then and now, I walked everything from Pomeranian to Rottweilers and I have to say, I never met a dog, that was aggressive towards humans. Some of them might not like other dogs (because the owners haven't socialised them properly), but all of them were very friendly and loving towards humans. That's what makes me get up on a cold, rainy Saturday morning at 8 am, when I'd love to stay in bed for another hour. As soon as you see the dogs, it's worth it. I know, I'm making a difference to there day. It is a great way of meeting people as well. There are so many different dog walkers, young women like myself, families, men (I'm afraid not too many of them) to pensioners. Every few months we have a meal in the evening, which is always very nice, because there we can actually catch up and get to know each other.
After a while one of the other dog walkers asked me, if I want to come to the next fund raising meeting. I thought, sure, why not, and didn't really know what to expect. With about 10 people we were sitting in the staffroom, going through the program to the end of the year. There are some events, that get repeated every year, but they do want new ideas and ways to improve and change those events, that's why "new blood" is so important in those meetings. There were so many jobs to be sorted out, just for the coming summer fair, from baking cakes, being behind stores, to speaking to companies about prizes for Raffles. You see, the variety of people that is needed, is so big, that everybody could help if they have some spare time.
After a while I asked, if I could do a course to be a home-visitor. A home-visitor is the person, who comes to visit your home when you decided to adopt an animal. This took a few months, because the courses aren't offered on a regular basis. The course itself took one evening, with a group of about 20-30 people. This was very interesting and I learnt a lot. Next step was going out with experienced home-visitors, which was fun and again, I met a lot of people, which can only be a good thing. I'm a home visitor for about 3 years now and the feeling, that you know this animal is going to a nice, loving home, is very heartwarming. The re homing in particular gave me a lot of confidence as well.
Another way of helping is of course by donating money or unwanted goods. There are simply not enough kennels and staff to look after all animals properly and this money helps to pay electricity bills and staff.
The RSPCA is not getting any funding from the government, that's why they depend so much on volunteers. They have a few staff, but they are on minimum wage and have always too much to do and too little time. This is not a complaint, they are doing a great job and are really good with the animals, but they need help.
The easiest way to help is adopt an animal from the shelter, and not to buy a pet from a breeder. There are a lot of dogs and cats that are always looking for a new home, all ages, all sizes. There is no excuse not to do it. Not just cats and dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs and even hamsters are available from shelters. We even had ferrets, chicken, ducks and we have a pig called Boris (he won't be re homed though). Please think about this when you decide to have a pet and check out your local shelter.
I hope I could inspire a few of you to voluteer your time. It is worth the trouble. Thanks for reading,
The sanctuary in Cornwall is based in Gweek, which is a small place, 45 Minutes from St. Austell. It is well signposted, so easy to find or just type in TR12 6UG into your sat nav ;-) .
Why is a Sanctuary important?
the seal sanctuary treats injured seals, baby seals that seem to have been abandoned. They provide awareness of the marine environment as well.
Every year they rescue and rehabilitate over 30 injured or abandoned seal pups. Not all of them can be released. The adult animals you can see in the Sanctuary are the ones, that wouldn't survive in the wild anymore.
The sanctuary offers it's visitors to adopt an animal, which helps, giving the animal the best chances of recovery. The adoption cost £30 for children and £50 for adults if you want to adopt one of the animals in the sanctuary (you can choose which one as well). You get a years free entry for that, a Certificate and a gift. If you want to adopt a pup, it only costs £20.
after you park on a very steep carpark, and buy your ticket for £8.50, you walk for about 10-15 Minutes through woodland. You can take a little train if you want to, but we walked. The first thing you see is the hospital. The new pups are here in 3 different pools, depending on which part of the rehabilitation they go through at the moment. When we went, there was only one pup. It was 18 kg, and should be double that at his age. It looked very, very cute. The notes next to the pool said as well, that he had wounds, but they seem to have healed very well. Next to the hospital are the grey seals. You get information about all Seals on the pool, which is very nice. It was feeding time for the convalescence pool, so we quickly moved on to there. Here you can see different types of seals. It was amazing to see the different sized next to each other. Next to them are the common seals and then the fur seals. These were my favorite, because they were rescued from shows, they did a few tricks for there food, which was very entertaining.
The latest edition to the Sanctuary was the underwater walkthrough. This only opened the day we went and I really liked it, because you were so much closer to the Seals, never mind the one who farted and pooped straight infront of us...
There are 2 pools with Californian and Patagonian Sea lions as well.
There a few nice things for kids as well, like a playarea and the "cornish Coast experience", which is a few rocks with water, sand a few crabs running about. Kids seem to like it though.
there is a cafe and picnic area as well. Well refreshed, you can continue through another walk through some woodland to the otters. They were just great. I love otters anyway and find them very funny, but these two guys were just so cute and came running towards us with there little pink noses up in the air.
That is the end of the sanctuary, so you just walk back the way you came. Next to the hospital are some paddocks with Ponies and goats as well. (which can be adopted as well by the way for £25 each)
It is not a huge place and we only spend 1,5 hours there, but on a nice day with a picnic planned, you could make it a great day out. And the main thing is obviously the good work they are doing. This is definitely worth a visit. The pups are born from August onwards, so that's the busiest time for them, and the best time for you to see the action.
Have a look at the website as well.
thanks for reading.