Last night I dreamt that my parents exchanged my brother for Daniel Radcliffe

When I’m asleep, my subconscious imagination runs wild and weaves stories so bizarre that I have to write them down. Here, in Last Night’s Dream, you’ll find some of these stories.


My parents (who are divorced in conscious life), my brother and I are sat at a restaurant awaiting our food to be served. As the plates arrive my dad announces, “We’ve got something we need to tell you. We’ve made a decision.”

“Your mother and I have decided, that despite all the time we’ve spent together, things with your brother just aren’t working out. We’ve decided that we think someone else would be a better fit for this family and we feel that that someone is Daniel Radcliffe.”

My brother and I look at each other and after a moment or two, we shrug and nod in understanding. Dad’s right. Daniel Radcliffe really would be a much better fit in this family, and it’s pretty clear to see.

“So uh, if you could just grab your coat and head off? Daniel Radcliffe’s outside you see, and it’s a bit rude to keep him waiting.”

My brother leaves, my new brother Daniel Radcliffe enters and life continues on – only now with Daniel Radcliffe as my brother.

One morning, my brother Daniel Radcliffe and I are sat at the breakfast table in the family home, eating our cereal – Weetos, my brother Daniel Radcliffe’s favourite. Adjusting to our new, improved family life together has been a seamless transition, it’s like he’s just always been here. Dad was right – Daniel Radcliffe really is a better fit for this family.

Suddenly, our dog barks loudly and runs out of the open front door. My brother Daniel Radcliffe and I run to the door. He sprints after the dog, trying to stop her from running into the road.

A car is coming, and it’s heading straight for our dog. Selflessly, my brother Daniel Radcliffe runs in front of the car, getting our dog out of the way just in time. But it’s not good news for my brother Daniel Radcliffe, who has been hit by the car instead and killed on impact.

Well, we’re all devastated. I’ve lost my brother Daniel Radcliffe and my parents have lost their only (second edition) son. Even the dog is upset, hanging her head low and showing signs of feeling a little responsible for our tragic loss.

And now we’re at my brother Daniel Radcliffe’s funeral, everyone mourning the loss of this key member of our family. As I cry onto my dad’s shoulder, I notice that my mouth feels odd. My teeth have started to crumble, and they’re crumbling fast. I put my fingers in my mouth to try and stop it, but it’s no use – they’re crumbling into tiny, tiny pieces that feel like the inside of a paracetamol capsule.

“Dad!”, I say, showing him the crumbling teeth in my mouth, and the tiny pieces in my hands, “Look!”

My dad looks at me, unconcerned. “Sprinkle them on Daniel’s grave, love. It’s what he would’ve wanted.”

The End

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I went out with a guy for 2 years and the best thing he taught me was this supernoodle hack

I once dated a boy who led a very sheltered culinary life. He was lovely, he was kind and he made me very happy for a very large portion of my university life. He made me laugh, he made me cry and he also made me some very questionable meals.

As is so often the case of many men from the South Wales valleys who are brought up on their mother’s cooking and no one else’s, his culinary bandwidth was very small. He ate curry from a can, chilli from a tin and soup from a packet. He also ate supernoodles. Frequently.

This meant, naturally, that I did too. Our post-lecture Thursday evening dinner options would consist of the array of Bachelor’s finest flavours found in his kitchen cupboard – an MSG lover’s heaven – that you’d have to climb over several bin bags and teabag mountains to reach.

He’d make a big song and dance over the preparation, each time telling me that there was ‘a total knack to it, Em’ and ‘a secret special way’ to ‘maximise flavour’. This hack, is one of such culinary wizardry, that you’ll wonder whether this article is a confession that I dated one of the hosts of Sunday Brunch.

To this day, if ever I’m in the mood where you just want to eat something entirely unhealthy, uninspiring and guilt-full, I use his hack. And it goes a little something like this:

Supernoodles, student boyfriend style

  1. Select packet of supernoodles from the cupboard stash your mother bought you the last time she came to visit.
  2. Double check the supernoodle instructions, despite having religiously participated in this routine for the last 2 years.
  3. Take the noodles out of the pack, whilst frantically looking round to see if there’s a clean bowl available.
  4. Put the slab of noodles into the now-wet bowl you just rinsed 2-day-old spaghetti bolognese out of.
  5. Punch the noodles, so that they break into quarters.
  6. Boil the kettle, thinking that it would’ve been much better if you’d done this before step 6 in the recipe.
  7. Pour the boiling water over the noodles, wondering how high you can pour it in the bowl before it makes the noodles float.
  8. Mop up spilled water.
  9. Put bowl of noodles in the horrifically stained microwave, without thinking about the last time it was cleaned.
  10. Wait for 4 mins.
  11. Begin to drain water from the bowl, before realising the bowl is burning your hands.
  12. Return to bowl-draining, this time with the last scrap of kitchen role as your fingertip protector.
  13. Once bowl is empty, save for a tiny amount of water at the bottom, give it a stir with a slightly crusty fork.
  14. And here’s the hack. At this point, and ONLY at this point do you add the sachet of flavour powder. If you add it before, like the packet says, you’ll drain away the majority of the flavour in the water, which is just a waste of taste.

So there you have it. Add the sachet last. And as you sprinkle it on like salt bae, take a moment to thank and think of the boy who once drank brine from the tuna can.

 

Last night I dreamt I was Harrison Ford’s financial advisor

When I’m asleep, my subconscious imagination runs wild and weaves stories so bizarre that I have to write them down. Here, in Last Night’s Dream, you’ll find some of these stories.


I’m sat on a balcony of a gloriously Greek villa, overlooking a sprawling sea that sparkles under a summer sun. It’s hot, I’m wearing a hat (for both shade and style purposes) and the glass table I’m sat at is hosting a delightful array of breakfast pastries.

The breakfast is exquisite, but that’s not the only reason I’m here. I’m a financial advisor, and accompanying the breakfast on the table is my MacBook and a significant amount of financial records belonging to the client I’m working with, waiting to be discussed and analysed.

I’m drumming my fingers on the glass surface of the table. “What’s keeping him so long?” I wonder, checking my watch. He’s been in the kitchen for over 30 minutes.

With that, my client Harrison Ford hurries out through the balcony doors, carrying a plate of scrambled eggs atop a toasted English muffin.

“I’m so sorry!” he says, putting down the plate with a clatter on the glass. “The first batch weren’t as yellow as you usually like them, so I re-did them for you.”

I settle his worries with a wave of my hand – he really is so silly about this sort of thing. As if I’d really mind about the shade of my scrambled eggs. This is so typical of my client Harrison Ford.

“So Harrison, here’s what we’re going to do. This account you’ve got here – it’s just not doing much for you. We need to invest it in something better, something that’s going to work hard for you and make your money go further. We’re going to invest it in Spotify, ok? Their shares are about to sky rocket, and you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank when they do.”

My client Harrison Ford looks at me, amazed by my idea as usual.

“I just… I just really don’t know what I’d do without you. I’m so lucky to have you as my financial advisor. My finances have never looked better. And are you still absolutely sure you won’t accept any other payment than just breakfast?”

“No Harrison,” I say with total sincerity, “I’ve told you already. I don’t do this for the money – I do it for the breakfast. Always have, always will.”

The End

15 things you’ll hear on a ski holiday

It’s ski season. It’s the holiday that boasts the antithesis of relaxation, that leaves you needing another holiday to recover from it when you arrive home. And yet, we love it. Fasten your seatbelts to your ears, because we’re about to take a trip down memory lane (or preparation, if you’re a ski holiday newbie) and visit 15 of the things you’ll hear on a ski holiday.

1. “Right everyone, we need to be up for the first lift.”

Let’s get one thing straight: this is not a holiday for relaxing. If the first lift opens at 8:45, then this means you need to be up and ready by 1am. Everyone sets an alarm. Everyone sets 5 alarms, actually. The designated leader of the group (let’s call her Martha) will set their alarm 5 mins before everyone else’s alarm, so that everyone definitely knows Martha’s in charge and running this snow show (shnow?). You’ll want to get a good night’s sleep, skiing’s exhausting, but make sure it’s accompanied by enough anxiety and tension about the possibilities of (god forbid) missing the first ski lift. Otherwise you’ll be in trouble with Martha.

2. “You’re making us late for the first lift.”

Ok yes, but the thing is with skiing is that you must cover yourself in the ludicrous layers of thermals, base-layers, mid-layers and fleeces before you can even think about putting on your coat. Also there’s snoods to think about – do you put that on before the fleece? Before the hat? After the jacket? Who the fuck knows. Also don’t forget about gloves – not the ski gloves (it’s not time for that yet), but the normal gloves that transport your hands to the bottom of the lift at a tepid temperature.

3. “Ok, tomorrow we’re getting the first lift.”

Well it was always going to happen wasn’t it? Getting everyone up, ready and out to catch an 8:45am lift on a holiday was an outrageously bold assumption to make. It’s hard enough making it to work by 8:45 most days. You’re on a later lift, with a few more people (you had to queue, ugh) and now it’s time to sort out the whole glove situation.

4. “Hang on, I need to just get my gloves on.”

You’ve worked up a sweat lugging your skis, poles or snowboard to the first lift and OH MY GOD THESE BOOTS ARE SO UNCOMFORTABLE WHY HAS NO ONE DESIGNED COMFIER ONES YET IT’S 2018 FOR GOD’S SAKE so you thought you’d take your gloves off. Hands get hot, you know? But now you’ve got to put them on again, at the same time performing the elite acrobatic act of trying not to drop your poles. You could put the gloves on when you get to the top, but that eats into valuable skiing time and Martha won’t like that. Best do it now.

5. “Cold, isn’t it?”

You’ve breezed/hurled/zoomed/inched your way down the first few slopes, and whilst you’re catching your breath back at the bottom, (it almost feels like exercise sometimes, doesn’t it?) someone’s observed that it’s cold. On a snow-capped mountain. Unbelievable. Martha can’t believe it. No one can believe it. And now because someone’s said it – you can’t believe it either. Part of you thinks that if you’d come up the slopes a little later and not aimed for the first lift, you’d have skied through a much warmer part of the day, which would’ve been nice. Best not say it out loud though, Martha might smack you with her pole.

6. “Is it time for coffee yet?”

It’s too cold now, and by 10:30am there’s a cry for coffee. You mutter that you came on a ski holiday to ski, not to sit around drinking coffee, but after a sharp leftwards nod from Steven, you realise that this might get you in trouble with Martha. Coffee it is then.

Once you get to overpriced slope-side shack, someone’s shouting “WHO WANTS TO MAKE THIS COFFEE IRISH?” at you, pulling out a hip flask of whiskey. You find yourself wondering whether you can really call it ‘making it Irish’ if it’s not Irish whiskey. And why’s that Irish anyway? If you poured whiskey on a dog does it become an Irish dog? Also, you’ve seen it spelled ‘whiskey’ and ‘whisky’ too, so which one is this one? Oh god, just drink it. You can Google it later.

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7. “Wow, look at that mountain.”

Steven will point out mountains as if he’s addicted to it. He’ll point them out on lifts, at bars, just outside the chalet, on a different lift and midway down a slope, closely followed by a “WHAT?” from you, because it’s very hard to have a conversation whilst skiing down a mountain at 25 mph. Which you’d think Steven would know. And even as the week progresses, his mountain observations won’t lessen. The correct response here is, “Wow, yeah”. Then ski away.

8. “Is it time for a beer and/or mulled wine yet?”

As soon as 11:45am hits, you’ve moved into ‘acceptable full alcoholic beverage consumption’ territory – not just making things Irish. These words will be spoken, and will sometimes be followed by a bold, “Well it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, isn’t it?!”. Sometimes, they won’t be followed by that, and those are the times you have to hold onto. The good times. Again, now is not the time to mention to Martha that you came on a ski holiday to ski, and that there might be plenty of time for this sort of thing in the evenings, after ski slopes and lifts are closed.

9.”Shall we get the map out?” 

Ah yes, the mysteriously magical map of illegibility. One of the best things in life is watching a group of furrowed brows ponder over a map they clearly can’t read, making assertive statements to the rest of the group to prove that out of everyone, they know this resort like the back of their gloved hand. You’ve only done like, 3 slopes anyway – why do they want to get all adventurous and start edging to the farthest corners of the map, when you don’t even know what the slopes nearby have to offer? Again, this one’s not for you. Just squint, nod occasionally, say “hmm” and agree with whatever Martha says.

10. “Do you want some Vaseline?”

Be careful, for this is a trick question. Martha has her Vaseline out, and she wants you to have some. However, this means you’ll need to take your gloves off to apply it, because for some reason she’s gone and bought the tin one instead of the stick. And if you take your gloves off, it’ll eat into the ski time. Here, the correct answer is: “Ah, thank you! But I brought my own.” Magic. You’re welcome.

11. “Oh god, it’s so nice to sit down, isn’t it?”

It’s a wonder why anyone even bothers to go on a ski holiday at all. The sheer exhaustion after just one run, forces this phrase to arrive in your ears just as your bum is scooped up by the chairlift and plonked down onto a selection of either old, spongy cushion or new, alarming plastic. Every. Single. Time. And yes, it is nice to sit down Steven, but it’s even nicer to do it without your comfort commentary.

12. “What are our dinner plans?”

This one’s a hint. And it’s compulsory that you take it. This means the day of skiing is almost done, and you’re about to begin navigating your way back to the bottom of your resort. The group will throw around ideas of various restaurants they’ve walked past whilst perusing the village and Martha will immediately search each name on TripAdvisor, running a quick analysis of the credibility of the reviews. Ultimately, the restaurant will be chosen based on it’s selection of cheese-based meals. Steven wants a two-person fondue all to himself, and you’re in no position to tell him he can’t.

13. “Oh god, it’s SO good to get these boots off!”

The boots are off. Cue choruses of:

  • “Oh my god.”
  • “Aaaaaaaghhhh.”
  • “Yyyyyyeessssss.”
  • “Ohhhh my feet feel sooooooo good.”
  • “There really is a distinct ‘ski boot smell’, isn’t there?”
  • “Sweet releeeeease!”
  • “I can’t believe I’ve been in these all day!”
  • “These hiking boots feel like slippers in comparison!”

14. “I think I’ve eaten too much cheese.”

You know what Steven, I think you might be onto something there. Could it have been the two-person cheese fondue you just ate by yourself? Or maybe the tartiflette you had for lunch? It’s all a bit strange, isn’t it? Quick, someone call Scooby Doo and the gang – we’ve a mystery to solve.

15. “So where are we going next year?”

As you all trudge back to the chalet, with your heads ready to plummet into the pillow, Martha’s already searching AirBnb for good deals for next year. You’ll have to get in quick for the cheap prices, she says, so everyone needs to make a decision by the end of this week. It’s tough, because you do love skiing. But is a year really enough time to get over this week, before doing it all over again?

 

7 tips for taking your dog on holiday

Being a dog owner makes so many things in life so easy, like an evening being well spent by simply just curling up on the sofa. What’s not so easy, is being able to make spontaneous bookings for that trip you’ve just seen on PetsPyjamas’ travel guide, because there’s so much to plan. The last thing you’ll want is to arrive at your holiday destination realising you’ve forgotten the poo bags.

We’ve simplified it for you so you know exactly what you need to consider before you can up and go:

Check the accommodation

Booking through designated dog-friendly sites like PetsPyjamas will ensure you find the perfect place to call home for the holiday, with added touches like dog treats to make you smile and your dog’s tail wag. Find the perfect location for the whole family to retreat to after a long day out, muddy paws and all.

Visit the vet before you go

Before you jet off, make sure your dog’s up to date with any treatments, vaccinations and general health checks. Once this is ticked off your list, you’ll be able to watch your dog race across the beach and bound over the hills without a care in the world. If you’re heading abroad, check to see if there are any local diseases to be aware of and chat to your vet first.

Passports at the ready

Just like you, your dog won’t be allowed to cross the UK border (both in and out) without their passport. If you’re going abroad this summer, you’ll need to have your dog’s passport, find out everything you need to know here.

Make an essential item checklist

Imagine the look your dog would give you when you arrived at your long awaited destination to realise you’d forgotten to pack their favourite toy. Making a list a few weeks in advance will help you to make sure you’ve got absolutely everything you need – even if you do leave the packing until the last minute.

Refresh your dog’s command knowledge

Remember that scene in Marley and Me where Marley gets sight of a bird and runs after it, only to be chased down the beach by a mortified Owen Wilson and his friend in convoy? In reality, onlookers might not be quite so amused. You won’t want your dog terrorising local fauna, so practising commands together will give you added peace of mind when you’re off exploring.

Practise travelling

If your dog’s not used to longer drives, getting some practice in before you go can help them enjoy the journey more. Make sure you’ve got a safety harness for when the car’s moving and stop regularly for breaks to stretch all the legs in the car.

Peace of mind

Unwinding into holiday mode is a glorious feeling and you’ve earned it. Just make sure your relaxed self is still keeping an eye on how your dog’s getting on, making sure they’re staying away from steep drops on cliffside walks, not swimming too far out in the sea and getting on well with other dogs and animals.

 

Originally published on tails.com/blog.

Everything you need to know about dog passports

If you’re heading abroad with your canine companion this year, one of the things on your holiday checklist should be your dog’s pet passport. Here’s what you need to know:

What is a pet passport?

A pet passport is an official document that includes a record of all the treatments your pet has had. It allows animals to travel abroad to certain countries via Eurotunnel and ferries under the Pet Travel Scheme. Without it, your dog won’t be allowed to leave or re-enter the UK.

What information does it contain?

Your dog’s pet passport includes:

  • Details of ownership
  • Their description, including their unique microchip ID
  • Details of your dog’s vaccinations, blood tests and any treatments

How do I get a pet passport?

Pet passports are available from most vets. In order to apply, you’ll need to take your dog’s vaccination and other medical records with you. If your vet doesn’t issue pet passports, they’ll be able to give you the details of one that does. In order to leave and re-enter the UK, you’ll need to make sure your dog:

  • Has been microchipped
  • Is older than 15 weeks at the time of travelling
  • Is vaccinated against rabies
  • Has been treated for tapeworm

Note: Chat to your vet about the timelines needed for vaccinations and treatments.
Some countries that aren’t listed under the Pet Travel Scheme can be more complicated to travel to.

Before you go, check to see if your destination is listed so you can make any specific preparations that might be required.

 

Originally published on tails.com/blog.

Your dog’s holiday checklist sorted

Once the holiday’s booked, it’s time for the countdown begin. It’s time to download that countdown app on our phones and make sure the whole family’s up to date on how many sleeps are left.

Yet, no matter how far in advance we plan, there always seems to be that one thing that we’ve forgotten. And when you’ve got four more legs coming with you, there are a few extra things you’ll need to pack in the bag too:

For staying hydrated:

Portable water bowl and water bottle

Travelling is thirsty work. For those stops when you all need to stretch your legs and big long drink, make sure you’re all stocked up for the whole family.

For getting comfortable:

Blankets

Long journeys in the car are far more enjoyable when you’re comfortable. Your dog will thank you for making that hard back seat a softer cushion to lie on.

Favourite toy

Home comforts (like that one toy they always bring to the front door when you come home) will make your dog feel much better about being in the car.

Food and treats:

Your dog’s Tails.com Tailor-made blend

Holidays aren’t the same without enjoying delicious food, so don’t forget to take your dog’s favourite with you.

Dental Dailies

There’s no need to forget about dental hygiene just because you’re on holiday. Keep your dog’s breath fresh with one a day.

Training treats

To make sure your dog’s being just as obedient as they are when they’re at home.

Practical makes perfect:

Poo bag holder (full of poo bags)

Hands up if you’ve got a story about being caught out without one? You won’t want that story to have taken place in a car. Trust us on this one.

Travel sickness pills (if needed)

These can be handy to keep in the glove compartment for dogs who are prone to car sickness. If your dog needs a prescription, chat to your vet before you go.

Lead

Different walks sometimes require different leads, so take the ones you know you’ll need.

Travel towel & Grooming Kit

Rolling in the river? Splashing in the sea? Pouncing in the pond? Getting wet in the water is a delight for many dogs, but the smell of wet dog isn’t so great for owners…

Raincoat

If you’re holidaying in the UK, you’ll know we’re being serious when we say that rain is a very real possibility.

First aid kit

Sometimes accidents happen, and being prepared is always smart.

To keep them entertained:

Favourite toys

A holiday well spent is one that’s been filled with fun. Take tug ropes, balls or whatever floats your dog’s boat to play with.

Camera/Phone

Ok, this one isn’t specifically for your dog, but we know you’ll want to capture your favourite family moments for sure.

And if you’re heading abroad:

Before you get excited and begin to look at booking last minute deals, it’s important to make sure you’ve met all the necessary requirements for pet travel.

 

Originally published on tails.com/blog.

How to keep a cold dog warm

As the cold weather continues, we’re piling on the layers to wrap up warm. The last thing we want is to be freezing cold while we go about our daily business. It’s not just us humans who feel the cold, our dogs can feel the chill too. Here are 7 ways to keep your dog warm:

Jackets and jumpers

As well as giving your dog the opportunity to make a fashion statement, jackets and jumpers are great for keeping warm. Make sure any clothing you purchase is a good fit for your dog, as well as warm and soft. Some jumpers are much harder to put on than others, so for dogs who aren’t so flexible, look for clothing with buttons or velcro tabs.

Warm beds and blankets

During the winter months, a cosy bed is the ultimate haven to retreat to. Invest in a warm bed with plenty of comfy blankets and try to keep it in a place away from any draughts.

Waterproof coats

If your dog really doesn’t like going out in the rain, a waterproof coat can prevent them from noticing the rain falling on their skin and coat. A coat will also keep your dog dry and add an extra layer of warmth.

Keep fur longer

Your dog’s fur is their source of warmth during the winter, so when it’s cold, try to keep it as long as possible. Make sure you brush their coat thoroughly, as matted hair doesn’t insulate a dog from the cold as well and is less efficient at keeping out snow and rain.

Minimise the amount of baths

In colder weather, it takes a lot longer for a wet dog to dry. Try to minimise the amount of baths you give your dog and when bathing, do so indoors with warm water and dry your dog thoroughly as soon as you can.

Increase exercise in the home to avoid longer walks

Even if the weather outside is frightful, your dog still needs both physical and mental exercise! Mental stimulation is just as important for your dog as physical exercise is, and is key to their mental development throughout their life. If it’s too cold for the two of you to head out on a long walk, try bringing some exercises indoors with some homemade obstacle courses and running up and down the stairs.

Don’t be tempted to overfeed

It’s tempting to feed extra food in colder weather to help your dog keep warm, but it’s an easy route to weight gain, especially if your dog is spending less time exercising outside.

It’s also worth noting that during the winter months, dogs are more prone to illnesses and respiratory infections, so keep an eye out for any changes in health conditions. If your dog seems to be especially cold, check their ear tips and tail tips. If the tips look and feel cold, this could be a sign that frostbite has occurred. In this case, wrap your dog up in blankets and towels to warm them gradually and head over to see your vet as soon as possible.

 

Originally published on tails.com/blog.

The 9 poos every dog owner will know

Life with your dog can be full of surprises, like that one you found behind the sofa when you only nipped out to the shops for an hour. 💩

When it comes down to poo, us dog owners have seen it all. Meet the 9 poos you’ll have picked up at some point in your dog’s life.

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The nightmare poo. Will likely need some support from water to wash away.
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Easy to scoop, strange to look at. Provokes questions as to how it came to be.
It’s smooth, it’s scoopable – there’s no better poo out there.
Why even bother?
A wondrous creation for your dog to be proud of.

 

You saw the squat, you moved towards the squat but the poo’s final resting place is unknown. Cue the quest for the lost poo.
They say that two’s company and the Double Logger knows this to be the case.
This one has dreams of its own.
Where did it come from? What even is it? We’ll never know.

So whichever poo the day brings, rejoice – for the days of frantic poo bag pocket-searching are over. As part of your monthly tails.com bundle, your dog’s poo bags can be delivered with their tails.com food, straight to your door.

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Originally published on tails.com/blog.