A Breath of Fresh Air with #MilletsDogs

Sometimes, life can just get too much. In this last couple of weeks I’ve been frazzled to my core. Starting with the bad news of a close family member passing on my birthday to the boiler breaking, a burst pipe and house full of illness, it’s been a tough one to say the least. Things have often felt totally overwhelming.

Sometimes when life gets a bit tough you just have to take a step back and get some space.¬† One of my favourite ways to do that is to go for a dog walk, come rain or shine. I’m so fortunate to live in such a beautiful area where the downs and the coast are right on our doorstep, just that initial rush of sea air into my lungs takes the edge of the worst problems. In the last couple of weeks I’ve been getting out as much as I can with my first baby, Robbie. Firstly, to reconnect with him as he’s often feeling left out as before Violet he got ALL the attention and secondly, to get a bit of well-needed headspace.

We’ve been making sure to get out and about together every few days. It’s amazing what a gentle walk can do for the spirit, plus watching Robbie bounding through the long grass and being the most fiercely loyal companion certainly helps too.

I wasn’t always an all-weathers kind of girl, but having a dog forces you out into the elements, which can be especially brutal where we live on the seafront. Robbie is so excited to go out – whatever the weather, so saying ‘Oh it’s a bit drizzly today‘ just doesn’t wash with him. I’ve found as long as I keep warm and snug, walks in all weathers can be enjoyable – even brisk and refreshing, and thats saying something, coming from me! So, I have just kitted us out with some winter walking essentials, to ensure our walks are year round – whatever the weather throws at us.

My first winter essential for dog walks is a snuggly but practical winter coat. The thought of wearing some kind of anorak just filled me with dread so I’m pleased to have found this gorgeous winter jacket – it’s honestly one my favourite coats I’ve ever owned as it is SO COMFORTABLE and warm, plus the fact that it keeps me bone dry is essential too and really handy as umbrellas just don’t stand a chance in the blowy seaside town I live in!

A cute bobble on the top and a scarf are musts for me – keeping the chilly wind away from my head, ears and neck is essential as right up on the hill the wind whips up off the sea – it can be so blowy! I love this knitted bobble hat. It’s got a fleecy lining and is so warm, I could wear it all day (at least I’d never have to worry about hat hair!)

I like getting back to nature and away from it all, but not too much – I find as I don’t get much time away from being a full-time Mummy to Violet this can be my limited time to catch up on social media, so I do sometimes take a few minutes break and perch on one of the scenic benches to catch up – Robbie often finds other dogs on his walks so this gives him a time to run about and play too.

When I recently discovered TOUCHSCREEN weatherproof gloves it was a game changer – no more pulling off my gloves and getting chilly hands just to see my phone. I also love a sturdy glove with grips like this as Robbie can tug quite hard on his lead so near busy roads it helps having that extra bit of grip.

Last in my winter essentials has got to be a good pair of walking boots. Forget ruining my glittery Kurt Gieger trainers in the mud, if I know I’m going up onto the downs I need a shoe that is good for all terrain and I don’t mind getting dirty! I love the touch of pink on these boots, they feel more feminine than a lot I’ve seen and tried, plus they are mega comfy too.

Dogs are just the most wonderful creatures, I’m so lucky to have a crazy black mutt to drag me out into the fresh air when all I want to do is mope about the house feeling blue. I always return feeling so much better. Even if it’s cold and wet, I know I can keep warm and always treat myself to a hot cup of hot chocolate when I get home too! ūüôā When things are rough, self care is so important – never forget that.

 

Thanks to Millets for having us on your #MilletsDogs campaign and encouraging us to get out and about this winter!  You can see the other bloggers doggy posts here.

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¬ģ, but all thoughts are my own. For additional pet care information you can read the following PEDIGREE¬ģ 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! ūüôā

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! ūüôā 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