One Year On – A Family Portrait

This time last year, I was midway through the IVF process. My life revolved around Dr’s appointments, ultrasounds and injections. Oh, the injections – there were so many! In total I injected myself for 14 weeks every single day – sometimes even twice a day. That’s around 126 injections I administered into my own skin. I remember wincing at the first ever one, pointing the needle towards my tummy and looking away as I did it. It got easier over time. All I can say if that our baby was so very wanted, I longed for her and I knew she would be so loved. Every needle, every headache, every moment of anxiety, apprehension and fear was worth it a hundred times over.

So, that brings us to now –  a year later we are officially a family of four – the wonders of science!! So to celebrate how far we’ve come and our gorgeous supergirl Ultra Violet, we marked the occasion by having our very first family photoshoot.

The photos were taken by the very talented Brighton based photographer Kitty Wheeler Shaw. I’d seen her work on Aine’s blog and thought her style would suit us all perfectly. I know I’m a blogger, but I’m actually pretty shy in front of the camera and V is even more so. Anything that included awkward posing would just bit a disaster. Instead, Kitty just hung out with us and we played with Violet in the nursery, then down on the beach and you’d almost forget she was there, we were so comfortable. I’m so pleased we did it and were able to capture photos with Violet while she was so small, even in the few weeks since the shoot she looks different already!

Anyway, enough of me – I’ll let the photos speak for themselves!

Big thanks to Kitty for taking such beautiful photos of us. If you like her work, you can see lots more and get in touch with her via her website or Instagram.

8 tips on caring for your dog during the winter

Taking Robbie out for his daily walk has got to be one of my favourite times of the day. As I work from home a lot, I always make sure I take him out on my lunchbreak, that way I can get away from my laptop, get some fresh air and come back feeling invigorated and inspired for the rest of the afternoon – it’s a great way to clear out the cobwebs, although since I entered the third trimester our usual walk has turned into a slow plod, but we get there!

We have a beautiful nature reserve right by our house, with a huge, tall windmill that overlooks the sea. It’s such a beautiful spot, you just can never get bored on looking at that view – although I have to say just recently, Robbie isn’t too keen as the sheep have recently moved back in with their evil electric fence that gave Robbie the shock of his life back in the summer. He clearly still remembers as he won’t go anywhere near the sheep pen! So, even though we’ve changed our route to avoid the sheep and plod along, stopping to catch our breath every few minutes –  our walks may change over time, but we still enjoy them just the same.

 

So this post today is to talk about dog care tips for the winter, there are a few extra steps we need to think about when taking our little mutts out as the weather gets chilly, so I hope you’ll find this helpful! Luckily for us in Brighton we’ve not yet had snow or ice, however I’m sure the temperature is going to drop at some point, and when it does – we will be prepared!

WINTER COAT

Buy your pup a gorgeous coat, doesn’t Robbie look smart in his? He has really thick fur so doesn’t suffer from the cold unless it’s really chilly, however his coat keeps the mud and rain at bay, keeping him dry and easy to clean up when we get home.

LIGHT UP YOUR PUP

As it gets dark so early, make sure you can see your pup in low light or in the mist and fog. You can buy clip on lights for their collar, although I’ve found the most reliable product is a flashing or fully illuminated collar or harness. We have to be really careful as when it gets dark, Robbie can easily disappear into the distance so he wears a light at all times. Keep an extra eye on them and only let them off the lead when it gets dark in safe areas like fenced fields and parks.

COSY, WARM BEDDING

Make sure your dog has a cosy, warm space they can sleep in that is away from draughts. Robbie gets really chilly at night, his little ears are like ice cubes, so he often sleeps on our bed as thats the warmest place in the house (plus he’s like a little hot water bottle for us – win, win!). Ensure the room your dog is is warm, even in the coldest parts of the night.

CLEAN THOSE FEET!

Dogs feet need lots of extra care during the winter months, after all they aren’t wearing snowboots and thick socks like us. So, the first thing to do is to trim the hair that grows between the pads on your dogs paws, this helps to stop any build up of grit or salt, plus if it’s snowing this can get compacted between their toes and quite painful. If the skin is cracked or sore, coconut oil is a great moisturiser for little sore doggy feet.

NO SOGGY PAWS

If it’s been raining or your dog likes to jump in puddles and streams, always dry them after a walk with a big, warm doggy towel. After all that running about they can get quite cold if they are left to dry out naturally, so give them a hand to get comfy again, and scrub behind those ears and feet.

ICE, ICE, BABY

When your dog is off the lead, be careful of frozen lakes or ponds. Be careful they don’t scurry off for a spot of ice skating, the ice may be thinner than you think.

OVERFEEDING

I know we all like to eat a bit more in the winter, but the thing your pet does not need is an extra layer of fat, so stick to their normal dog food and try not to give them too many treats, especially if they are going to be home and sleeping a little more than in the summer.

ANTI-FREEZE

Keep your dog away from toxins during the winter months – the most common one to avoid is Anti-Freeze. This has a sweet taste to dogs, so keep them away from the garage or places this is likely to have spilled – even the smallest sip can be fatal!

 

I hope these tips have been helpful! Enjoy your winter walks with your pooch, I’d love to hear your top tips or doggy products you couldn’t be without – so tweet me or comment below! 

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This post is a collaboration with PEDIGREE®, but all thoughts are my own. For additional pet care information you can read the following PEDIGREE® Reviews for tips and advice

Robbie Takeover: #CarpetCamouflage with Carpetright

Today on the blog, I have a lighthearted post for you, plus LOTS of photos of the star of my blog, Robbie! We were recently contacted by Carpetright, who asked me to take part in fun idea I couldn’t resist! They asked me if I could try and ‘camouflage’ Robbie against samples of their carpet for their latest #carpetcamoflage campaign. As I absolutely love to feature my favourite little mutt on my blog, I said a resounding yes, even if this was one of the slightly more bizarre campaigns I’ve worked on in my time as a blogger! 🙂

Robbie has been feeling a bit sorry for himself recently, he’s been to the vets for tests (which were pretty stressful for us all), plus we’ve been so busy getting the nursery ready, I think he’s already starting to feel left out. He knows I am pregnant and is very protective over me but I have no idea how he’ll be when the baby is here. He loves being the centre of attention at all times, and is like our first baby. So, getting him involved with this campaign was really fun, we got lots of time together, plus he LOVES carpet – we have wooden floors, so when he sees carpet he rolls on his back and scratches his face on it, basically he turns into a real lunatic, scurrying all over the place – it’s his idea of heaven! As he’s on a diet following his trip to the vets too, he was even happier with the carrot pieces he got in return for these pics too!

So, Carpetright sent me three carpet samples they thought would be closest to Robbie’s colouring – let’s see how we got on!

CAMOFLAGUE #1:

Twilight Saxony Carpet – This carpet seemed hardy and practical. In a plain black shade, this went really well with Robbie’s fur, you can even see his ‘baddy’ from the vets on his arm in this pic, poor little mutt! I half wish our house was covered in this carpet as we’d never have to worry about hoovering up all his dog hairs, they’d be totally hidden!

Camouflage rating: 4/5 

CAMOFLAGUE #2:

Glendale Saxony Carpet – This was our favourite carpet. I loved the flecks of white as it added detail, plus the flecks remind me of Robbie’s grey hairs that have started coming through in the last year or so (especially on his face). So this was our winner for the ‘camouflage’ competition! This carpet was rich and luxurious feeling, it would be so soft underfoot if it was fitted across our house – Robbie loved this piece so much we’ve kept a piece for his bed area, it’s snuggly warm and he would prefer to sit on his carpet than on our floor!

Camoflague rating: 5/5

CAMOFLAGUE #3:

Atlas 599 Perriot Vinyl – This one we didn’t get on with so well, Robbie wasn’t keen on his tip-tapping feet on the vinyl so getting him to pose was tricky! The colour match wasn’t quite as deep as Robbie’s fur. Saying that, I think vinyl is a really practical option though for a household – especially with pets, as we’d be able to wash away any muddy paw prints easily and keep it clean. For camouflaging pets though, maybe not.

Camouflage rating: 2/5

Overall, this was just a bit of fun really, we don’t have black carpets as practical as they would be with Robbie, and as much as he’d love to scratch his back on them, I’m pretty sure it would be a bit dark! Saying that, have recently been shopping for our babies nursery though, a lovely cream carpet would look gorgeous, although we haven’t decided yet – Carpetright have too many options to choose from! We are getting there with the decoration though, so look out for a nursery tour, coming in the New Year!

A big THANK YOU to Carpetright for asking Robbie to take part in your latest campaign, Robbie had so much fun and has now made a doggy fort-bed out of the remaining samples, I don’t think we’ll be able to get rid of them! Check out the hashtag #CarpetCamouflage to see how the other bloggers hid their pets! 

Collaborative Post

 

 

Pupdate: Robbie gets protective

They say that dogs can sense when you are pregnant or poorly, so naturally, I was really interested to see how Robbie would react to me and our big news. Robbie is a super intuitive dog, he picks up on the smallest thing – he can tell when you are in a bad mood (usually hiding under the dining room table for cover) or when you are feeling when you are feeling sad he’ll kindly offer a comforting soft ear to cry on. Since finding out I was pregnant in June, his behaviour changed towards me almost overnight, so I’m 100% sure he knows whats going on. I’m sure the new addition to the family will not be too much of a surprise to him, although I do wonder if he’s starting to feel a bit worried about being pushed out (which of course, won’t happen) or jealous as he’s a very needy dog.  Here is how he’s been over the last few months:

ROBBIE AT HOME:

When I am in the house he will not leave my side, he will literally sit as close to me as he possibly can, snuggling right into my lap. Often if I’m on my laptop, he’ll place his head on my lap meaning I have to drape my arms over him to type, plus he has an annoying habit of letting his ears flop over the keyboard, every time I move them he plops them back down again, so usually half my blog time is taken up my constant ear-scooping. If I go into a different room, he’ll follow me. He’s just by my side 24/7, sleeping on our bed and sitting on the sofa when we are. If I cook, he’ll sit in the kitchen. He’s literally watching my every move and is by my side full time. Oh and I never get to use the toilet in private anymore, so that’s great practice for having a child.

 

ROBBIE ON WALKS:

Robbie is usually a really friendly dog whilst out on walks, always playing with other dogs and sniffing their bums, as dogs do. However just recently on walks with me (and only if I’m alone with him) he’s become a bit aggressive towards other dogs, which is a bit embarrassing. Usually when I take him off the lead he will run off into the countryside for a good snorkel around, but now he will only go a few steps from my side, he won’t ever run off and if another dog runs by he’ll usually growl at them and be a bit snappy, although as he’s such a soft dog deep inside it sounds a bit pathetic! I’m sure if the other dog snapped back he’d just cower as he’s a timid little thing really, but kudos to him for trying! 🙂 I keep having to apologise to people and tell them he’s just being like that because I’m pregnant. Hopefully he’ll snap out of it when the baby is born, or maybe he’ll be double protective of our littlest member of the family – who knows!

Robbie just has the sweetest personality of any dogs I’ve ever met. I know I’m biased but he really is a little character and so unique. He is a member of the family in every way and I don’t know what I’d do without him, so I ensure he’s looked after in every way. I am sure we won’t push him aside when the baby comes, we’ve already been talking about presents to buy him so he feels included in all the changes, when they happen! Pets truly are family and he means the world to me!

Post written in collaboration with RSPCA

Robbie has a BIG announcement…..

 

“I’m being promoted to BIG brother!”

This has got to be the most long-awaited, emotional blog posts I’ve ever written. I’ve been wanting to write these words for SO LONG and today is finally our day, our time to spread the good news –  V and I are expecting a baby! Meet Mini-Peaches. 

You might have been wondering why I’d gone a bit quiet over the last 3 months, well, now you know. Around May time, I suddenly disappeared from Snapchat, my daily Instagrams went to the wayside and although I tried my best to keep up with my blog, there were days (weeks) where I couldn’t do anything. It’s such a relief to finally tell people that I haven’t had some ongoing mystery illness and confess where I’ve been. Keeping something so big from my blog was so difficult, I wanted to shout it from the rooftops!

It’s been such a long journey, I conceived through IVF and we’ve been through 18 months of relentless Dr’s appointments to get to this point. I’ve had to learn to inject myself, I’ve given myself over 100 injections, I’ve had an operation and over 30 ultrasounds. I’ve also done 25 pregnancy tests and had my share of heartbreak along the way. This wasn’t easy, but we are here….. finally, and I’m the happiest I could ever feel, I literally feel I’m bursting (in more ways than one).

So, we are 13 weeks on Monday and the first trimester will be over. Everyone tells me the second trimester is the ‘Honeymoon period’ so I’m looking forward to what the next few months bring. Hopefully over the next trimester my morning sickness will fade and I’ll have a bit more energy ( instead of my current habit of falling asleep EVERYWHERE, oops) – let’s not even mention baby-brain, it’s crazy! I threw dog food in the washing machine instead of feeding it to the dog (amongst many other ridiculous antics).  I’m also eagerly awaiting mini-peaches first kicks, although we’ve already seen him/her wiggling about on the ultrasound, I just can’t feel it yet.

So, you might notice blog my change slightly over the next few months. The main purpose of my blog when it began back in 2012 was to keep a diary of my life, so it feels right to document my pregnancy as we go along. I’m really hoping you’ll enjoy reading our story but I hope to keep a balance of my usual style blog posts too. I guess I just need to find my feet with this brand new topic, I’d love to hear what you’d like to read about! I’ll be sharing my IVF journey next, that’s a topic that’s been burning in my chest to put onto paper (well, screen) so watch out for that one.

So, my news is finally out of the bag – it feels so weird to finally be able to tell you all. I am showing already so I was running out of baggy clothes to hide under and tales of large dinners and extravagance! 😉 Please do let me know if you are expecting too or if you know any great pregnancy/mummy blogs – as a first time Mum I’ll need all the help I can get!

 

Lots of Love, 

Fizzy Peaches, V, Robbie and now…… finally, our Mini-Peaches. 

p.s – Big thanks to the lovely #VikingArtyParty for the crafty materials used to make Robbies sign!