An Honest Guide To Owning A Pet Pygmy Hedgehog
Instagram - @HokeyHedgie 

I forget how unusual it is to own a pet hedgehog (aka - a spikey-floof). There’s been countless times where I’ve casually mentioned how ‘my pet hedgehog…’ and the other person has asked me to repeat myself in confusion that you can actually own a hedgehog as a pet.

Now, don’t go trying to pluck one from the bottom of your garden as pet hedgehogs are a completely different breed to what you find in the wild. They’re called African Pygmy Hedgehogs whom are bred as pets, so for all those who sometimes comment saying ‘He should be free in the wild where he belongs’, no he shouldn’t because he isn’t wild and he wouldn’t survive.



So what’s it like owning a pet hedgehog?

Well, it’s pretty darn convenient for one. They’re nocturnal so he sleeps during the day when we’re out at work and we get him out at night (around 8pm) for him to roam around and play. I say play, he likes to burrow in the nearest dark space, push around a couple cat balls and climb the nearest piece of furniture so I guess you could call it exploring rather than play. Because let’s be honest, they’re not dogs, they won’t react to their name (although Hokey does react to my voice), fetch a stick or chase a laser pen.

They are an exotic pet so of course they require a lot of unusual maintaining from oat baths to non chemical cleaning to dust free housing to constant requirement of warmth. Which being an exotic animal also means the vet bills are a little more expensive as a specialist is required.

However with enough time, handling and care they are incredibly rewarding especially when their little personalities show through.

Are they affectionate?

Some say yes other say no. It is completely dependent on the hedgehog’s personality. I’ve owned two pygmy hedgehogs (one of which sadly died young for unknown reasons- RIP Pokey) and both of their personalities are complete opposites. My first hedgehog was fearless, energetic and didn’t like too much attention. She’d intentionally jump off of the sofa, run around like a kid of sugar and wasn’t too keen on being petted. But ‘Hokey’ couldn’t be more different. He’s very cautious when he’s on a table or the couch and won’t risk falling off of anywhere, he has his energetic moments but prefers to find a cosy, dark spot to fall asleep in, loves his tummy being rubbed and doesn’t mind being woken up early.


What do they live in?

Just like any hedgehog, pygmy hedgehogs need to be kept at a continuous warm temperature (between 18 and 25c) at all times. If they’re too cold they may try to hibernate which will kill them and any higher they will show signs of being too warm by lying flat and panting. My first hedgehog did try to hibernate multiple times (but she was unwell) and I did have to coach her out slowly with a hair dryer which left me constantly worrying about her and fretting over the temperature! So the best thing for them to live in is a vivarium (no smaller than 3 feet) where the heat can be contained and there are no cage wires for them to climb and accidently break their legs.



What do they need in their home?

Firstly they need some cushion under their feet so dust free shredded cardboard is a must. I get so angry when I go into pet shops and they have them living on sawdust, they have such tiny respiratory systems that this is really, really unhealthy for them especially as they like to snuggle into their bedding. Even shredded paper isn’t great as they will cut their tiny little feet *sigh*.

They also require the following:
  • A waterproof liner for the vivarium – To keep the vivarium as clean as possible and to not damage the natural wood with spilt water and urine we put down a waterproof outdoor table cover which you can buy in metres online or at your local haberdashery.
  • A silent wheel (as they run miles and miles over night) but again it needs to be a straight wheel with no wires! I have no idea why but you can buy these slanted disc wheels which are incredibly dangerous for any animal as not only is it easy to fall off but eventually their spines will bend and it could cause them to be paralysed.
  • Litter/ litter tray – It is a hedgehog’s natural instinct to poop whilst they run, this way predators in the wild cannot track them back to their home as they won’t (for a term of phrase) ‘S**t on their own doorstep’.  For this they require a litter tray under the wheel and no other litter is to be used other than wood based. Wood base crumbles into a wood like powder when wet so it won’t stick to their paws.
  • House – Just like most animals, hedgehogs like to sleep in the dark and need somewhere that is big enough for them to make themselves at home with a piece of blanket.
  • Food/ water bowls – Hedgehogs in the wild naturally drink from small water sources on the ground so their food and drink needs to be kept in small ceramic bowls (the heavier the better as hedgehog will lean on the bowl and push around their food). Do not buy water bottles as their small tongues could get stuck in the spout and that’s incredibly dangerous.
  • Toys – Hedgehogs like to pull on things so when buying toys for their vivarium try not to get things that contain faux fur or anything that could be a choking hazard if tugged at. The best things to get are cat toys. Hokey has a couple of plastic balls that contain bells and a toy rabbit which I have attached a shoe lace in which he loves to pull into his house and sleep with *cue Aww*. 

What do they eat?

Firstly hedgehogs are lactose intolerant and their diet mainly consists of high protein, low fat dry cat food (always chicken flavour). We tend to give Hokey a mix of Purina Adult Chicken and Iams Kitten Chicken together but he does have the preference of Purina! Dry cat food is great for cleaning their teeth so it’s best to give it them as often as possible however you can feed those vegetables, egg, poultry and a small range of fruits that aren’t acidic. We tend to give Hokey scrambled egg, chicken, broccoli, sweet potatoe, beef, and carrots every so often to keep him interested and his nutrition up. 

Hedgehogs do have a long list of foods that they can and cannot eat as some foods are poisonous and others aren’t great for their health or their tummy >you can find a list here<.

A hedgehog’s weight can fluctuate a lot dependent on what they’re eating and how long they are spending on the wheel. It has been known that they can become addicted to the wheel so if you notice they’re no longer a tear drop shape or weigh less than they should then remove the wheel for a couple days and up their food intake. Sometimes if Hokey is looking a little smaller than normal but it has happened over a long period we will just add wet cat food into his diet as it contains fat. Again this should not contain any dairy and the chicken to jelly ratio has to be high (we find Sheba Chicken Classic in Terrine contains real bite sized chicken chunks and less jelly).


How often do you need to clean a hedgehog’s home?


Spot cleaning should be done on a day to day basis. Hedgehogs aren't the cleanest of animals, especially when it comes to their feet as they tend to poop as they run on the wheel, so if there is any visible poop marks on the equipment it’s best to wipe it off with a tissue or a wet cloth. As for changing the litter we do this approximately every 4 days, it’s as easy as emptying the litter into the bin, giving the tray a quick clean and popping in some fresh litter. Just as we’re cleaning out the litter we will also take the opportunity to clean the wheel. Just like any small pet you should not use any chemical based products to clean their home. You can buy pet safe products but we tend to use a natural, organic and chemical free cleaning spray which contains grapefruit as a natural antibacterial. When it comes down to cleaning the whole vivarium and refreshing the cardboard we do this on a weekly to bi-weekly basis dependent on how messy the vivarium is.


Hedgehog’s need a beauty routine… 

It may sound silly but hedgehogs do have a beauty routine to keep them happy and healthy.

  • Their nails need to be clipped whenever they are too long (Hokey’s back nails grow rapidly and I usually need to do this weekly). To clip their nails I use a baby nail clipper. Fortunately over the months Hokey has gotten used to having his nails clipped and will let me do this with him sat on a surface however previously one of us had to hold him whilst the other clipped his nails, trying incredibly hard not to cut further than pink bit!
  • They also require a nightly  ‘foot bath’ as running on the wheel with urine can sometime chap their feet but also it also means that it Is safer for you when handling as their faeces does contain salmonella. We usually pop him in some foot deep warm water and use a soft toothbrush to clean his feet.
  • Bath times are a must but not too often. We typically bath Hokey every 1.5 weeks either using natural oats in a sock and submerging this in the water, squeezing out the oat liquid every so often (oats are a natural way to help too soften their skin as they can suffer from dry skin) or using a chemical free, oat bath wash (the Aveeno Bath Wash is perfect). Again using a tooth brush to clean his quills and feet, making sure we don’t get any water in his ears!

Things to remember:


  • They require a lot of care as they are an exotic pet which also means that vet bills can be more costly than your average as they require a specialist. 
  • They're not the cleanest of animals so they do require regular foot baths (everyday) and the occasional (every 2ish weeks) oat bath for their quills.   
  • I’m always sure to tell people that not all hedgehogs are as relaxed and as happy as Hokey. My previous hedgehog wasn’t one for tummy rubs and massages so please don’t think all pygmy hedgehogs are like the ones you see on Instagram. They all have different personalities and although the cute videos of Hokey on Instagram having a shower or a tummy rub are as adorable as it looks; they’re not all like that. Some aren’t fans of human attention at all and will huff, puff and click until you leave them alone but with daily handling they may grow to like attention… that doesn’t always mean being petted though!
  • Hedgehogs are solitary animals, they like their own company and should not be put in with other hedgehogs.
  • Just like us they have moods, one day they could be happy as Larry but the next they might be a moody huffy butt.
  • They require daily handling, care and attention to be happy and healthy.
  • They are not a part of the rodent family so they won’t bite or chew unless you have something tasty on your fingers or if you’re Hokey you love freshly painted nail varnish. 
  • They anoint. Yes, if they love the smell of something, be sure that they will foam at the mouth, perform some contortion and lick it all over their quills.
  • Patience is required when you first get your hedgehog. They're very shy and require a few weeks to suss out if you're a friend or enemy.

    So if you have patience, are prepared to give the hedgehog a lot of your time each night, are willing to purchase all the unusual necessities that are required and can afford the extra vet bills that may (but fingers crossed don't) come your way then maybe a pygmy hedgehog is for you. But please do your research properly on pygmy hedgehogs and breeders. Do not purchase any from pet shops that are kept in the incorrect housing, you're only funding them to buy in more.


    For more photos and videos of Hokey the hedgehog, be sure to follow him on Instagram
    @hokeyhedgie
A video posted by Hokey (@hokeyhedgie) on


Beki Xo

7 Steps to Ombre Brows

I’ve tried a number of brow products in the past from kohl pencils to powders to gels to fibres to creams but I’ve never found anything as easy and as effective at the Beverly Hills Dip Brow Pomade.


The majority of people I know swear by the product (as do I) but for those who don’t it’s mainly because they just can’t work out the best way to use it and find it too pigmented, too dark or too thick.

My brow routine takes me minutes to complete and you can adapt it to the type of brow products you use. So hopefully it should give those who can’t get to grips with brow pomades some tips and tricks of how to use it in the best way as well as showing you how I create that ombre brow.

To start with I'm using the Beverly Hills Dip Brow Pomade in Ash Brown and the Beverly Hills Duo Brow Brush in #14.


How to create ombre brows:

Step 1: Comb the brows to shape and neaten before taking a small amount of pomade and use the back of your hand to remove the excess
Step 2: Draw a line (under the brow) from just after the inner brow hairs to the corner of the arch
Step 3: Next decide on the shape of the brow tail and outline around the brow hairs/ fill in
Step 4: Draw a line from the tail corner to just over half way across the brows and again fill in any sparse areas
Step 5: Remove any excess product from the brush onto the back of your hand and smudge across the product already applied to half the brow to create an ombre effect towards the inner brow. Add a couple brow faux brow hairs within the lighter part of the inner brow.
Step 6: Comb through the brow to neaten and blend any excess product onto the hairs. At this point you can either leave the brows as they are or set them with a brow mascara.
Step 7: Use a light cream concealer to highlight around the brow and strengthen the shape. Blend the product into your foundation and powder over.


Beki Xo

Healthy Spiced Carrot Cake Recipe

Carrot cake has always been my Mum's favourite type of baked treat so it's no surprised that it's also one of mine too! Although a standard recipe does contain a large amount of oil and icing sugar it isn't the unhealthiest cake in the window. However to make it the healthiest it can be and near enough guilt free *chuckles at unintentional rhyming* I swapped a couple ingredients to create a healthy spiced carrot cake recipe.

You'll be surprised that it has all the characteristics of a regular carrot cake, so much so If you didn't tell anyone it was a 'healthy version' they wouldn't know and I may go as far as saying its actually tastier than your average recipe!


The Cake
2 medium carrots
1 medium egg
½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup semi skimmed milk
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
¼ cup 0% Greek yoghurt
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp melted coconut oil
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg 

The Frosting
1 cup mascarpone cheese
3 tbsp  0% Greek yoghurt
2 tsp natural powdered sweetener 
1 tsp vanilla extract (can adjust to how sweet you would like the frosting)

How to bake the carrot cake… 
1. Preheat the oven to 180c (gas mark 4) and line a baking pan with grease proof paper.
2. Mix together the dry ingredients in a small bowl (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt) and put this to one side.
3. In a separate bowl beat together the coconut oil, egg, and vanilla. Next slowly stir in the golden syrup and Greek yoghurt whisking thoroughly to ensure the mixture is smooth.
4. Now alternate between adding the dry ingredients and the milk to the mixture, folding and stirring until the batter is even. 
5. Next, grate the 2 medium carrots and fold this into the mixture evenly.  
6. Pour the carrot cake mixture into the pre heated pan and spread evenly across. 
7. Bake for approx. 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. 
8. Once baked, remove the cake from the pan and set aside on a baking tray to cool ready for the frosting. 

How to make the frosting… 
1. The frosting is the easiest thing to make and can be adjusting to your own personal taste. Add the Greek yoghurt, mascarpone, sweetener and vanilla extract into a bowl and fold until the mixture is even. If you prefer your frosting a little sweeter add more of the sweetener or if you prefer it to have a more distinctive vanilla taste, simply add more vanilla extract! 
2. Use a spatula to spread the frosting onto the cooled cake (I wanted my frosting to have texture so I lightly dragged a fork across the top to create waves). 
3. Let the frosting set for approx. 1 hour before slicing/ serving or pop it into the fridge for an extra moist cake.

Enjoy!

Beki Xo


How to relax...

People like to ‘relax’ in many different ways and that can be anything from going for a walk to taking a bath to meditation.

The internet is littered with thousands upon thousands of natural and unnatural ways to de-stress but what do I like to do to relax?

Drink Some Chamomile Tea
Chamomile is a mild sedative that contains natural properties to relieve insomnia and encourage the body to relax and unwind. A hot cup of chamomile tea with a squeeze of honey can also help to boost your immune system and cleanse the body. It’s the perfect drink to have if you’re feeling a little stressed towards the end of the day and require something natural to promote sleep.
 

Light A Scented Candle

The Parks London Black Magic Candle is scented with white jasmine, ylang ylang, sandal wood and patchouli. It has an unusual yet incredibly relaxing smell that can only be described as that ‘spa’ like scent in a wax form. Lighting a scented candle can make such a difference to your mood, especially something with a more natural woody scent that promotes relaxation. This candle only needs to be lit for around 10-15 minutes before it the room smells like a tranquil spa.

Use An Essential Oil Diffuser (*)
Oil diffusers are the perfect, natural way to de-stress and induce sleep and the Organic Aromas Radiance Essential Oil Diffuser is a lot more than just your average diffuser. Not only does it look incredibly impressive with its hand-crafted wood and unique blown glass, it’s actually environmentally friendly and requires little energy to work.

The diffuser itself doesn’t require any heat or added water and uses a rule of physics that essentially pushes air up a narrow micro-tube that gets pressurised, meets with the essential oil (that has a different pressure) and therefor pushes tiny particles up and out of the diffuser… or something like that. All that is required is 20+ drops of essential oil to be poured into the diffuser, turn the dial and let it work its magic!

The product has a volume control that helps you decide how much oil you’d like to diffuse and also rainbow LED mood lighting to increase your mood. This is significantly beneficial for creating a relaxing atmosphere and something that I’ve always wanted in a diffuser!

I’m so impressed with this diffuser and couldn’t recommend it enough. It can instantly turn your bedroom into a tranquil space with just the drop of an oil and flick of a switch. The fact it doesn’t make a sound and is safe for the environment is a huge plus for me, not to mention it’s under £70 is amazing!

The oil I received with the diffuser is the Organic Aromas Signature scent which has an incredible deep wood yet citric smell that could be used either in the day or at night. The diffuser itself doesn’t work as well with thick essential oils (such as vetiver, sandalwood, frankincense, benzoin and patchouli) so it is advised to dilute these with almond oil.

I'm immediately going to buy a range of oils so I can mix and match the scents to suit my mood.

Take a bath
Taking a hot bath with a bath-soak or a bath bomb can be incredibly relaxing. For me, a bath not only helps to release toxins, moisturise the skin and reduce stress, it’s also a break from a busy lifestyle and social media. I’m a huge fan of taking of a bath as it’s the perfect time to think, meditate and have some ‘me time’. I probably take an average of 3 baths a week for 40-60 minutes!

Add Some Pillow Spray
If you’re not into the lavender scent then you’re not going to be the biggest fan of This Works Pillow Spray. However if you are then this can work incredibly well to aid in relaxing the mind during a quick nap or just before you go to sleep. I like to spray it on just before I go to bed to help towards a good night’s sleep (even though my partner hates it!).


What do you do to relax?


Beki Xo

(*) I was gifted the Organic Aromas Essential Oils Diffuser in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced by the brand.
May Beauty Favourites
Woah, hello June!

I’ve no idea where the month of May went or even this year in general but I’m pretty happy about its fast pace as it means it’s getting closer to moving into my new house!

I’ve never really made these infamous monthly round ups a regular thing however last month I discovered a handful of new products that quickly became my favourites. So instead of boring you with individual reviews I decided to throw them into one monthly favourites post so I can ramble on about how amazing they are...

Neals Yard Remedies Rejuvenating Frankincense Cleanser

I’ve had the Rejuvenating Frankincense gift set sat under my desk for months. I’ve been trying to work my way through my sample products before cracking it open and I really wish I’d done it sooner. My skin becomes a little drier in the summer months so anything to help to rehydrate it really benefits. The cleanser itself has a thick consistency and smells incredible. You apply it to dry skin and massage it in before using a hot cloth to gently wipe it away. I like to leave it on for a couple minutes just to reap the benefits before removing which leaves my skin feeling incredible soft, supple and clean with a relaxing natural frankincense scent.

Rodial Dragons Blood XXL Advance Sculpting Serum
I was sent this product a while back and only recently started to use it in my regular beauty routine and it’s pretty darn impressive. Again, another product I wish I’d cracked open sooner! I obviously need to learn. The intense serum helps to plump, smooth and improves the skins elasticity using red snow algae and a mineral form of iron. I apply it before my moisturiser and it works incredibly well to prep, prime and tighten the skin ready for makeup.

La Roche-Posay Serozinc
I’d spotted this product a number of times in the bloggersphere and finally caved into buying it (a couple of breakouts later). It’s a mattifying spray that acts as a toner but for any part of the body. It aids in reducing breakouts, calming razor burns and any irritations but it also balances out the oils in the skin. If my skin is breaking out or a little oily than normal I’ll opt for this product as an alternative to the Rodial Serum as it helps to mattify the skin and calm any imperfections before applying my moisturiser.

Embryolisse Emulsion Hydra-mat Moisturisers
I’ve mentioned this product more recently in a review (here) but it’s soon become a daily favourite. Its serum like formula is easily absorbed into the skin and feels incredibly light weight. The product helps to hydrate my skin whilst leave a matt finish that almost acts like a primer for makeup.

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipstick
I cannot talk about these lipsticks enough. I’ve tweeted, Instagrammed and rambled on about them to my friends so much I’m surprised no one has told me to shut up. Just as the name suggests the product is a liquid lipstick with a velvet smooth texture.  The doe foot applicator helps to apply the product perfectly without the need for a lip liner. The matt formula has a creamy texture which doesn’t dry the lips and although the longevity isn’t hours and hours, the product does nicely wear off leaving a slight even stain.

Benefit Dew The Hoola
I’ve never been one for bronzing but I am a fan of a little contouring when wearing natural makeup. This product is a liquid that looks quite orange when first applied to the skin however once added into or on top of foundation and blended in it leaves a natural glow. The great thing about this product is not only its multi-use but it also has buildable coverage so it works perfectly for any skin tone. I like to wear it under my cheek bones as well as a primer for my eye makeup!

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge
I’ve never strayed from my Real Techniques buffing brush. I’ve used it for years and it’s always left my foundation looking just the way I like it. However, the hairs had started to clog and breakaway from the handle so when I had the decision to either by a pack of 4 brushes just to get the buffing brush or try something a little different, I went for the latter. I’d heard the hype about these ‘incredible beauty sponges’ that leave your makeup looking flawless but I know how dirty sponges can get and how fiddly they can be so wasn’t too keen on purchasing one. However, I obviously did and can 100% say that they work so much better than any brush. You can gain the best coverage by using the sponge dry or a dewy, light appearance by adding a little water to the sponge. It’s amazing, just go and buy it.

Max Factor Masterpiece Max Mascara
A newbie to my makeup bag although as I always mention Max Factor can never make a bad mascara. This one however is the perfect day time mascara as the hard plastic brush helps to separate and individually coat lashes whilst lifting them to create a natural, clump free look.

IWhite Toothpaste
I’d previously reviewed IWhite teeth whitener strips a while back (here) and since really loving that product purchased the toothpaste to use after the treatment to prolong the whitening. The product itself has an enjoyable aniseed flavour that doesn’t sting or over produce foam. It contains an active white formula to remove stains and strengthen the tooth’s enamel.  Although the product is intended for daily use my teeth can sometimes become a little sensitive so I use this product every other day alongside a sensitive tooth paste.
Beki Xo

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