Tuesday, 19 August 2014

42 Days of Summer

This post is an entry for 42 Days of Summer Linky Challenge sponsored by McVitie’s BN. Learn more at http://bit.ly/1mRpMCL

The Challenge was via Britmums and is sponsored by McVitie’s BN Biscuits.  We were sent a packet of chocolate and a packed of Raspberry BN Biscuits – bit disappointed there weren’t any vanilla ones on offer!  We love the chocolate biscuits, the biscuit itself melts in your mouth and the chocolate filling is lovely and creamy.  There are a lot of copycat biscuits out there but none are as good as BN themselves.  The raspberry ones were a bit of a different matter, not even my little girl liked them.  We found the raspberry a bit chewy and VERY sweet so we are sticking to chocolate in future!

Our 42 days of summer fun generally runs a bit like this:

Visit the local outdoor paddling pool or the beach if you’re close to the sea!
Macy loves to paddle so a trip to the local paddling pool is a great way to cool down on a hot summer’s day, again it doesn’t cost anything. Take a picnic and make a day of it, plenty of towels (though if it’s hot enough you won’t need them!). A few swim nappies and UV suit make life so much easier! We bought a UV all in one from Primark, Macy lived in it in Spain as it didn’t make her hot and after it got wet it dried really quickly and didn’t get heavy, it was under £10 and came with a hat too. A necessity in the summer wardrobe!


Visit the playground
We have just had a new playground in the village so when we have a spare hour we like nothing better than to walk down and Macy can run riot, she has a great time and it doesn’t cost a penny.

Visit the local farm
Again supporting local businesses and Macy loves the animals so a day at the farm is definitely on the summer things to do list!  We tend to normally have a snack for lunch there.  Be prepared with wet wipes as Macy normally gets filthy!  Pack the sun cream and some wellies just in case.

Go for a walk
One of Macy's favourite thing is going out in her trike!

We like to support local business as we live in a small village, so we get our BBQ food from our local butcher.  His burgers are 50p each and are amazing quality and don’t shrivel to nothing like supermarket bought burgers.  His sausages are about 70p each and are the length of two supermarket sausages and he does a lovely tomato and pepper sausage.  It means Macy can run amock in the garden!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Dog & Bone Film and TV Masterclass

I signed Sweep up for the Dog And Bone Film and TV Masterclass workshop as I thought it would be good for him to do some learning around other dogs and also good for me to see whether I was teaching him all the right things, it also meant he could be registered for work with Dalys Dogs.
It was held at The Dog Training Barn in Banbury and the satnav took me straight past the venue into the village so it took me a while to find it.  The venue is fab (once you know where it is!) as it’s easy to get to not being far from the M40.
The day started with a talk from Kay Weston from Animal Ambassadors, we worked a lot with Kay when Dizzy was doing work and she is a lovely person to work with and would recommend her to anyone.  She has a lot of experience and has worked on programmes such as Eastenders and Dogs Trust adverts etc.
We then started training and throughout the day when we started a new session on a new behaviour we split into groups so dogs that were already trained could then be in a more advanced group to improve the behaviour and strengthen it.  As Sweep was only 20 weeks I stayed in the lowest group, he could do some of the behaviours well and probably could have gone in to the other group but I didn’t want to push him in a new environment.  We did things like stand, sit and down stays with distractions, this is really important for any kind of media work as there are a LOT of distractions on set.  Recalls with distractions, sending the dog to a mark, touch (nose touch and paw touch), holding an object, leave (food or toy).
Training was great as there was plenty of time for the trainers to go round the group and tailor everything individually.  We had a mid morning and mid afternoon break with a lunch break as it is a long day for the dogs.  Hot drinks and cakes were provided for us.  At the end of the day all the dogs were assessed to see which behaviours they could and couldn’t do in order for them to be put forward for any future jobs.
Sweep – I was really pleased with him, I just took his travel bed in with us and in between sessions he just lay on his bed and chilled out.  I made myself a drink, wandered round and he stayed on his bed with people and dogs walking round.  REALLY pleased as it’s so important for a dog to be able to settle and relax if you are interested in doing filmwork.  They are normally long days and a lot of the time the dogs aren’t doing anything so they need to be able to settle in between working.  Dizzy was always brilliant at settling, Cas or Ember I could never get to settle.

This is a fab course and you don’t need to have done any training before you go but similarly if you have trained all the behaviours the advanced class was there to expand on them.  There was a rescue dog (who is looking for a home) there who came for a day out and obviously had never done anything, he got on really well.  Thanks Dog & Bone for the photos.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Pet London Travel Bowl

I took Sweep on a training day and it was a great oppurtunity to test the Pet London Travel Bowl. In the past I have used the fabric type bowls and found them a bit messy as they tend to squash and spill quite easily.
This one is made of rubber and packs flat so it doesn't really take up a lot of room. It has a handy clip so you can clip it to you if you don't have room in your bag.
The rubber concertinas out to form a really sturdy bowl. I was impressed as it didn't squash down like the fabric ones do, it ws really stable. It isn't a huge bowl but any dog can drink out of it happily. In fact a doberman wouldn't drink out of his own bowl and made a bee line to drink out of this one!

I only wish I had known about them earlier as I would have bought one. Would really recommend it.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Pet London

Pet London kindly sent us some goodies to try :), I love Pet London and was so excited when they said they were sending me some goodies.  Thank you very much, the dogs loved their pressies.

First up was a toy - a UK Royal Guard Dog soft squeaky toy, which with Sweep wasn't going to last two minutes, his eye fell off!  So this is a toy for an older dog who isn't a chewer, it's a really sweet little toy and a lovely size for Ember to run round with.
Next up was a t-shirt, another patriotic item which looked so cute along with the little toy!  It fit well but I don't think the sizes available go up much larger than this so it  is more of a little dog item.  It did look pretty cool though and I am not normally one that buys dog clothes.

Then we tried on the Puppia Soft Harness, I actually had one of these when Sweep was smaller as I much prefer a harness on a smaller dog/puppy as they tend to pull and I hate them putting so much strain on their necks.  The harness fit really well and I do think they feel like they are comfy as they have a soft wide band that goes around their neck and under their tummy. The only thing I would prefer on them would be to have two clips on their back as you end up having to put their leg through or pulling the harness out of the loop, just makes life a bit easier when you have two clips.

I also tried it on Ember and it fit well too :) It did look very smart.  They come in all sorts of pretty colours.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Homemade Pin Board

I discovered the app that is Polagram which prints your instagram photos in polaroid style so I needed somewhere to put them!

Macy's room is going to be butterfly themed and I couldn't find a shaped pinboard so it was time to make my own!
I bought everything from ebay and started off with a cheap pin board. I designed an outline on the computer. I pulled the frame off the pin board and placed the butterfly template on top, then I drew round it with a stanley knife.
I bought some 6oz polyester wadding and cut that to shape.
I bought some really pretty fabric and cut around the butterfly making sure there was a couple of inches left over to fold over the back.
I then stapled the fabric onto the back and used some glue where it looked like the fabric might fray.

Next were the ribbons which I crudely stuck to the back with tape! Used some pins to pin the ribbons where they crossed over. Some hooks in the back and hey presto:

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Real Mums of All-Bran Challenge

This post is an entry for the Real Mums of All-Bran Linky Challenge, sponsored by Kelloggs bit.ly/TIKI3u
I must admit I am not one for eating breakfast, it’s not that I don’t have time as I could make time.  It is just that if I eat breakfast I tend to find I am hungrier late morning than if I don’t eat breakfast!  I don’t know whether it awakens my appetite by eating but that’s how it works for me.  However my digestive system is appalling so I jumped at the chance to try this challenge (eating All-Bran for 5 consecutive days).

I had three different cereals to try:

Chocolate Wheats 
I wasn’t keen on these and no something I would buy myself, the actual wheat tasted of cardboard and the chocolate chips were just too strong, I couldn’t finish the bowl and I am the world’s biggest chocoholic!!
Golden Crunch
These I loved, they were my favourite.   They maintained a nice crunchy texture (I hate soggy cereal!) and tasted lovely, quite a sweet tasting cereal.

Red Berry Crunch
These were also nice but just tasted the same as any other cereal with red berries in it.

Okay you got me, I didn’t eat the cereals for breakfast, I ate them for my afternoon or evening snack.  A lot healthier than a chocolate bar or packet of crisps!  I do eat healthily, we usually have veggies and meat for our dinner and I have fruit during the day, I am not overweight either.  However my digestive system has never been brilliant.  People are surprised when I tell them I poo once a week and I find that I do get a lot of cramps and bubbling sensations. 

After 5 days of eating a bowl of cereal a day I can honestly say all my cramps had gone and I was going to the loo daily!  That is an amazing turn around for me, it really is.  I will be buying these cereals to keep me in good digestive health!!

Real Mum of All-Bran
I am mum to my 1 year old little girl – Macy, she started walking at 11 months, now she is running everywhere so I have to be fit and healthy to keep up with her!  Therefore feeling well in myself is important to me as I want to enjoy being with her and going on adventures together.  I am so glad All-Bran helped me to feel better.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Quinny Zapp Xtra 2

So I was back earning money at work and thought, why not I am having one!  I had fallen in love with the violet syrup as soon as Quinny posted the new colour.  It came at a time when I was struggling to fit my Xtra (1) in the car when it was packed with dogs, child and everything else!  However I love how light and manoeuvrable the Xtra is so I didn’t want to get rid, I also had the Curious Colours which was so pretty, so it was only when I saw the Violet Syrup I seriously considered upgrading.

I ordered from Very who messed me around and I have since found out do not have very good customer service, however it eventually arrived on Monday.  We tested it properly for the first time today.

The fold mechanism is easy to do, very similar the Xtra 1 – some people say it is too complication and difficult to put up and down one handed, yes you do have to use two hands to put up and down but this doesn’t bother me at all.  The pushchair is so light, I had an iCandy Apple to start with but it was so heavy I got rid.  It folds down so small it is loads better than having to unclip the seat unit which was quite big in itself.  It handles really well and again people have said they don’t find it sturdy as the handles move too much, yes there is some give in the handles but I find this better as it makes it a bit easier to push and isn’t so rigid somehow.  My little girl seems to love it and it’s the first pushchair she actually wanted to get back into! 


Zapp – seat unit is fixed, doesn’t recline or adjust, pushchair folds into one small piece

Zapp Xtra – seat unit has several positions and you can add a maxi cosi car seat, however seat unit has to come off to collapse and is quite large

Zapp Xtra 2 - seat unit has several positions and you can add a maxi cosi car seat, pushchair folds into one small piece – hoorah!!! :)

The only thing I have noticed is the white hood already has a dirty mark on it and we have only been down the road to the pub and back.  Quinny claim the fabric is water and dirt repellent so that is a little disappointing.