Saturday, October 23, 2021

Bike & Boot Scarborough - Dog Friendly Stay

 


Bike & Boot really does break the mould when it comes to being 'dog friendly'. Not only are their 4 legged visitors greeted with a warm welcome, there are NO restrictions within the hotel on where they can go. In the past I've often found that 'dog friendly' hotels will only offer certain rooms to guests with a dog and they aren't welcome in the restaurant and dining areas for example. I love that with Bike & Boot this isn't the case and doggy guests are made to feel equally as welcome and at home as their human guests!

That's not the only thing that sets Bike & Boot apart from other hotels. During our stay I noticed so many little touches for guests that made our time with them all the more memorable. 

Our Room 


We stayed in a gorgeous sea view suite with fabulous views over Scarboroughs Spa Bridge. The room itself was clean, spacious and modernly decorated and included all the usual amenities you'd expect to find; tea, coffee, kettle, mini bar, iron and ironing board, hairdryer, safe etc. I also loved that the TV had the option to cast movies from Disney + and Netflix apps straight from your phone using the hotels free Wi-Fi. Being so close to the beach (a 2 min walk) it was blissful to lie in bed at night with the windows open and listen to the sound of the waves crashing. Given the hotels location is atop a hill and the road outside leads only to the hotel it was really quiet at night allowing for a peaceful nights sleep. If you're lucky you'll be treated to a stunning sunrise over the sea in the morning! 


The Wadobi 

I am sometimes put off staying in hotels with Murphy as I worry about taking him back muddy, walking him through the hotel covered in sand from the beach etc. One of my absolute favourite parts of the Bike & Boot is their doggy wash and blow dry facilities. You can enter this room straight from the street outside using your room card, meaning you can get cleaned off straight away! There's plenty of complimentary doggy shampoo and conditioner and a quality dryer for afterwards. There are also towels to dry off if your pup is noise sensitive and scared of the dryer, so you don't need to remember to pack your own! The dog wash and dryer are both height adjustable. I found this a total godsend after an afternoon on the beach with Murphy, it meant he could fully enjoy himself and I didn't have to worry about taking half the beach back into the room with us afterwards! 


Within The Wadobi there are also bike cleaning facilities where the humans can hose their boots down also. This would also be great for hosing bigger dogs down or if your pup is nervous of the doggy bath! The large wash and drying room is also perfect for those brave enough to take their paddleboard for a spin on the sea! 

The Retreat

I loved this space and found it great that the hotel offered places for guests to sit and relax should they choose to other than being confined to their room or bar area. Within The Retreat guests are treated to an array of comfy chairs and sofas, soft lighting and 24/7 free hot drinks with takeaway cups, perfect for grabbing before heading out! Within The Retreat area guests are also treated to free homemade cake served at 4pm everyday (be quick, it goes fast!) There are also a small selection of family games such as Jenga and Monopoly. I found this to be a lovely touch and a very social room. It gave guests the chance to mingle and felt really homely. 


The Film Club

Grab some snacks and experience a trip to the cinema without having to leave the hotel! Bike and Boots very own Cinema is free to hotel guests and yep you guessed it, dog friendly too! There are three films shown per day at 3pm, 6pm and 9pm. You don't need to book tickets or reserve seats and it's a fab addition for rainy days. The films shown each day change regularly but during our stay they were Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice and IT. 



The Bareca

The hotels very own bar, restaurant and cafe. It was lovely to enjoy breakfast in the restaurant with the dogs. In hotels we've stayed in in the past we have been forced to either find somewhere else to eat or eat breakfast within our room as the dining areas haven't been dog friendly. Breakfast was a continental buffet style complete with a waffle station where you can make your own waffles which we loved! You don't need to be a guest of the hotel to visit the restaurant, so would highly recommend popping in if you're there for the day and sampling the pizzas or cocktails. Sea views guaranteed. 



Thank you to all at Bike & Boot for a wonderful stay and for making us all feel so welcome. It's a breath of fresh air to find somewhere that fully embraces what it means to be dog friendly and is revolutionary in the concept of facilities it offers for pets and their owners (I mean, a dog friendly cinema come on!) 

If you'd like to find out more about Bike & Boot Scarborough or book a stay of your own you can do so by clicking the link HERE


Love Kelly & Murphy x x

*Whilst this stay was gifted, I wasn't asked to post this blog and all opinions are my own.

 




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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Top 5 SUP Spots UK

 


1. The Blue Lagoon - (Abereiddi) Pembrokeshire. 

This flooded slate quarry known for its stunning bright blue-green water is bordered by beautiful beaches and craggy rocks. The contrast of these grey rocks and vibrant waters is really quite breathtaking. This natural beauty spot does get busy, even on a chilly day in early April the lagoon was full of swimmers, paddlers and cliff divers, so my advice would be to get there early to avoid the crowds (this was taken at 6 am and even then we weren't the only ones there!)

Parking / Launching 

Although the site is now looked after by The National Trust, members may be disappointed to learn that there is no National Trust car park at the Blue Lagoon. The car park (SA62 6DT) is a fixed fee of £4, it's a fairly small car park for the volume of visitors this site attracts, especially in summer months, so I would again advise to get there early. It is a short 5-10 min walk along the coastline from the car park to reach the lagoon. The pathway for the most part is flat, so a fairly easy walk with the boards. 

2. Derwentwater - Lake District 


Whats not to love about this stunning location, with its dramatic backdrop and views of the surrounding hills; Skiddaw, Catbells and Borrowdale in the distance. This is, in my opinion one of the 'prettiest' lakes to paddle. As with many of the lakes in the Lake District however, you will have to be prepared for sharing the lake with rowing boats, motor boats and the occasional steamer. That being said, we did find this to be one of the 'quieter' lakes to paddle in the summer and with a number of sheltered coves and islands to explore it's the perfect SUP spot!

Parking / Launching 

On our visit we stayed at the Camping and Caravanning Keswick Club site which offers guests the option to launch straight from the campsite from their own private beach for just £2 per day. For those not camping there is parking available at The National Trust Kettlewell Car Park (CA12 5UN) and launching is easy as the car park is right next to the lake! 

3. Wastwater - Lake District 


A firm favourite for me and one that I am already itching to visit again! It's surrounded by mountains including: Red Pike, Kirk Fell, Great Gable and England's highest mountain, Scafell Pike. One of the things I loved most about this lake other than the dramatic backdrop is that there are no motorised/sailing/row boats on the water. This meant I wasn't having to constantly watch over my shoulder for oncoming hazards and was able to enjoy a relatively peaceful paddle. I say that because its quite exposed it was pretty damn windy! Definitely one to visit if you want to escape the crowds. 

Parking / Launching

Look out for parking spots dotted along the banks of the lake, alternatively you can park in The National Trust Lake Head car park (CA20 1EX) where you can launch straight onto the lake after crossing the road. 

4. Lake Vyrnwy - Wales 


Designated as a Site of Special Scenic Interest and set amidst the remote Berwyn Mountains this idyllic paddle spot has a certain fairytale vibe thanks to the picturesque straining tower. Nestled amongst thick, dense forest it's often described as one of Wales' hidden gems! 

Parking / Launching

Launching is from the boat house only (Bethania Watersports). There is free parking available at the boathouse with a £5 launch fee. It is worth noting that when we visited the owners had a very energetic and rather large off lead dog that was left to roam free. He was jumping all over our boards as we were trying to inflate them and chasing Murphy around as we walked down the hill to launch. My advise would be to check this before you start setting up and ask the owners if they could put it on a lead first! 

5. Ullswater - Lake District 


Ullswater, the second largest lake in England after Windermere, is around 9 miles long. Surrounded by gentle rolling hills it's another picturesque paddle spot. Easily the busiest of the spots featured in this top 5 however, if you want a peaceful paddle I'd recommend heading out after 5 pm once the crowds have departed and the hire of boats / steamer trips have closed for the day! I love Ullswater for its numerous coves which are perfect for pulling up in for a chilled beverage before paddling back! 

Parking / Launching 

With the sheer size of the lake there are numerous different spots to park and launch. We've always launched from Glenridding (CA11 0PD). Parking starts from £3 for upto 2 hours and costs upto £8 for the full day. 

We can't wait to visit more paddle spots across Britain, hopefully adding some from Scotland soon! 

Love Kelly & Murphy x




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Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Jackery: Power for every adventure.

 


We were recently sent a Jackery Explorer 500 Portable Power Station and an accompanying Jackery SolarSaga 100w Portable Solar Panel to try out. 

Firstly, 'What is a Jackery I hear you ask?' 

It's a rechargeable battery powered generator. It comes equipped with an AC outlet, DC carport and 3 USB charging points. Basically think of it as a portable source of electricity. It can charge all of your gear whilst out and about from smartphones and laptops to cameras and drones. It can also power your electrical appliances like hairdryers and straighteners! 


Whilst I initially charged the Jackery at home, I love that you can keep it charged whilst out on the road with renewable energy using the lightweight, fold-able solar panel. This literally means you need never go without power and struggle to charge your gadgets whilst on your off grid travels again. "That's all well and good but we get very little sun here in the UK!" I hear you say but it doesn't need to be a clear day with blazing sunshine for this piece of kit to work. I managed to get an average input of around 25W on a relatively cloudy day. 



In the past, whilst camping I have always relied on charging my phone by plugging it into the car whilst driving. Not always the best option, especially when your phone is completely dead and you're doing little/no driving that day! With the Jackery we no longer have that problem. Over the course of a weekend camping we used the Jackery to keep 2 phones charged, play movies on a chromebook each evening, power hair straighteners for around 15 mins each morning and power USB lights for around 3 hours each evening. Upon returning home the Jackery was on a battery life of 85% still, meaning all of this had used only 15% of its battery life! I think you could quite easily manage a full week off grid before you had to even think about recharging the Jackery and obviously much longer if you constantly keep this topped up with the Solar Panel!

Another thing I love about the Jackery and have found really useful is the inbuilt torch. This is perfect for when camping or if ever there is a power cut! 

This is an absolutely fantastic, robust and well made piece of quality kit that we have found numerous uses for in the short time that we have had it. It's certainly made our camping trips easier that's for sure!


Jackery are celebrating their 9th Anniversary. From 18th-20th October there will be 15% off all products. Check Jackery UK Amazon Store: https://www.amazon.co.uk/jackery 

*The products mentioned in this post were gifted but all opinions are my own

Love Kelly & Murphy x 






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Friday, August 13, 2021

Orchard Hideaways - Dog Friendly Stay

 


We were lucky enough to enjoy a recent stay at Orchard Hideaways, a hidden gem located on the very edge of the North Lakes. Nestled within an ancient apple orchard, this family owned and ran dog friendly site offers guests a unique glamping experience full of little home comforts. Their onsite facilities cater to everyone; from families to outdoor enthusiasts and include a heated shower and toilet block, children's play area, pot washing facilities, bicycle storage, drying room, disposable BBQ and picnic areas and even a vending machine. 


Upon booking guests are given access to their very own portal where you can easily find all of the information about your stay as well as make any amendments. This portal also has a whole host of recommendations close to the site which are all easily listed in their own tabs, from places to eat and drink, things to do and see, outdoor activities and even rainy day recommendations. A simple click on each recommendation will bring up everything you need to know, saving you bags of time googling! We found this really useful during our stay and can confirm that 'The Narrowbar Cafe' does an excellent cooked breakfast and is super dog friendly (Murphy even got bought his own plate of doggy treats!) 


I also loved that each pod has it's own outdoor seating area and disposable BBQ area meaning guests really can travel light and leave all their camping gear at home! The sheltered picnic area in the middle of the site was also a godsend when it rained, meaning guests can still enjoy the outdoors whilst staying dry! 




We found the pods themselves really spacious and well thought out, comfortable, clean and above all else super toasty! The onsite Wi-Fi meant we could cosy down at night and enjoy a film when the rain set in. 

Things to do and see


The list is absolutely endless and it honestly depends on the individual as to what it is you're into and what you want to do/see whilst there. For us this meant a trip to Ullswater which is just 15 minutes away for a spot of paddleboarding, the drying room back at the site is perfect for those soggy wetsuits! 


If that's not your thing it's still a great place for your pup to have a swim and there are a host of beautiful walks here including Aira Force or if you're feeling extra motivated, the full 20 mile circular Ullswater Way. 


If you're not wanting to travel whilst there, there are a number of walks accessible straight from the site with a beautiful river just 5 minuites away. 

If you're looking for dog friendly accommodation in the Lake District area I cannot recommend Orchard Hideaways more, thank you for having us and we will definitely be back! 


Love Kelly & Murphy x x 

*Gifted Stay - Whilst this stay was gifted we weren't asked to post this and all opinions are genuine. 
 

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Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Camping in Pembrokeshire

 




We stayed at the dog friendly campsite: Celtic Camping, located just outside of St.Davids. Set in 250 acres of open farm land, you can enjoy knockout ocean views, and have direct access onto the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path from almost any part of the campsite. This 186 mile long National Trail twists and turns its way through some of the most breathtaking coastline in West Wales if not the whole of Britain. The site was super spacious with numerous different fields and had toilets, warm showers, kitchen facilities and a very small shop/cafe on site. 
There are spectacular views from everywhere on the campsite and a cracking sunset across the sea.


Top dog friendly things to do whilst there:

1. Ramsey Island tour


Take a tour around Ramsey Island on a RHIB with Voyages of Discovery. Perhaps one of my favourite moments from our trip. Whilst most of their boat trips unfortunately aren't dog friendly, the hour long Ramsey Island Voyage is. These boats reach high speeds and I'm really not sure who enjoyed it more! Incorporating the dramatic sea caves and sailing through narrow rock gorges it was definitely a trip to remember. We were also lucky enough to see numerous groups of Atlantic Grey Seals, Harbour Porpoise and a multitude of seabirds. 

I couldn't get over the colours of the water! The skipper provided lots of humour and local knowledge throughout the tour and I really couldn't recommend it more if you're ever visiting this area. 

2. Visit Tenby 


Tenby is a vibrant town with plenty of coastal scenery, medieval town walls and numerous cosy traditional pubs for dog friendly dining. Tenby South Beach is dog friendly all year round, stretching for 1 and a half miles, it's the perfect spot to have a paddle and cool off in the warm weather. 

3. Visit the Blue Lagoon/Abereiddy Beach


A former slate quarry known for its bright blue-green water is bordered by beautiful beaches and craggy rocks. The ruins of former buildings of the quarry, including the row of workmen's houses still scatter the surrounding area. The area is popular with walkers , with the Pembrokeshire coastal path passing the lagoon and some stunning cliff-top walks nearby. 

 


The first time I saw this place on Google, I just knew I had to try paddleboarding here, we got up at the crack of dawn to beat the crowds (it does get super busy!) and whilst the winds were strong and the tide was in making it really difficult to paddle it was 100% worth it. 

4. Visit Pembroke Castle 


Idyllically set on the banks of the river estuary, this might medieval fortress is largely intact. With its endless passages, tunnels and stairways its a great place to explore and soak up some history. The grounds are beautifully kept and all parts of these and the castle are dog friendly (minus the gift shop). 

5. Hire a Row Boat



If you do visit Pembroke Castle I'd highly recommend hiring a row boat from Paddle West whilst there. For just £10 a boat this was easily one of the best value for money activities we did whilst in Pembrokeshire. Seeing the imposing 13th century castle from a different perspective it was lovely to relax on the calm lake waters. 



We loved our time in Pembrokeshire and only touched the surface of all the incredible things to do and see here. We will be back for sure!

Love Kelly & Murphy x 













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Monday, November 16, 2020

Festive Five: X-Mas Gift Ideas for the Dog Lover in Your Life.

It's safe to say that most of us have started our Christmas shopping, or thought about it at least! This year has been such a crazy one hasn't it? I've always loved supporting small independent businesses, but this year it seems more important than ever. By shopping small, not only are you helping to support a real persons dream but you receive a personal, high quality product, where the attention to detail and the love and care that has gone into making it is evident...something you just can't buy on Amazon! Here are 5 of my favourite finds that would be sure to put a smile on your loved ones face this Christmas! 

 Lady And The Hound Studio Sweatshirts

Who doesn't love a snugly sweater at this time of year? These are fleece lined making them extra warm and cosy and perfect for winter dog walks. There are a selection of designs and colours, and I've got to admit..I want them all! The designs are embroidered giving them a really quality feel. Being 5'11 I often find that I struggle to find things that fit, I opted for a Medium (size 12) and the fit is perfect. The cut off for Christmas delivery for these is 30th November so you'll need to be quick! I'm definitely going to be treating myself to another one...or two! Visit Lady and the Hound Studio


The Artist's Lab Pet Embroidery 



I can't even begin to put into words how much I adore this! The time, effort, skill and detail that has gone into every single stitch is amazing! A truly special and unique keepsake of your pet which will be forever cherished. Lauren's communication was fantastic throughout, keeping me regularly updated on the progress of my commission with photos to ensure I was happy with the portrait. Lauren also sells a range of embroidery kits starting at just £15 which would also make the perfect Christmas gift! Visit The Artist's Lab

The Dandy Dog Company Walking Socks 



It's some unwritten law that you must receive at least one pair of socks for Christmas right? These warm boot socks from The Dandy Dog Company are super comfy and perfect for long winter dog walks. They feature a lovely cable knit style with a retro striped ankle and I just love the subtle nod to Harry Potter with the range of colours! The Dandy Dog company also have THE BEST packaging ever, which I guarantee will make even a pair of socks seem special! They're also currently donating 50p to a well known homeless charity for every pair of socks sold throughout the whole of November and December in a bid to help get homeless people and their pets off the streets this winter. Visit The Dandy Dog Company

Wild Nala Co. Earwarmers


These have honestly been a godsend already this winter on chilly hikes! I absolutely love the bold prints and that there is nothing else like them on the market. Another huge bonus is that you can also purchase a matching snood and/or bandana for the pup for the ultimate matchy matchy. There's also a gorgeous selection of fleece blankets that would also make the perfect gift! Visit Wild Nala Co.

Cheeky Little Prints Stamp




So, hands up who's guilty of also signing their dogs name on cards? These personalised stamps are PERFECT for anyone who answered 'yes'. Made from your pets actual paw print these stamps can be made to showcase a single paw (pictured), double for those with two pets or triple for three, so nobody has to be left out! Getting the paw print image was super easy and mess free, upon purchasing you receive a pack which contains an inkless kit, once you have the prints you simply take a photo and send it over where the print is tidied up and sent back to you for approval before being made into a stamp! Visit Cheeky Little Prints

We hope that you all enjoy the lead up to Christmas and have fun finding the perfect gifts!


Love Kelly & Murphy x x 






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Sunday, August 30, 2020

SUP with a dog - All you need to know.

 

Captured by Jessica Coates Photography.


We first tried paddle boarding together a year ago and instantly fell in love! We had been hoping to get out a lot more this year but the current circumstances put a stop to that, closing all of the hire places (some still haven't reopened) so I made the decision to purchase my own board, giving us the freedom to go where we want, when we want. I am still a complete novice, learning myself but I've had so many questions about getting out and getting a dog on board, I thought I'd put together this blog to try and answer a few!

Q. How do you introduce a dog to the board?

Murphy took to it straight away, he saw me on the board and didn't hesitate about jumping straight on and joining me, so I've really been lucky and it's not something I've had to work on with him at all. If you do have a nervous dog I'd recommend introducing them to the board gradually, have them get on the board once inflated before you launch on the water, offer lots of praise and treats once on the board and show them it's not something to fear. When introducing water for the first time try super short paddles, letting them get off after a few minutes and then try gradually increasing the time you're out on the water. 



Q. How do you get a dog to stay on the board? 

Being a water loving spaniel, Murphy pleasantly surprises me by staying on the board. The only time he will jump off is when we approach land again. If this is something you're thinking of doing with your pup I would always recommend they wear a life jacket (most places won't let them paddle without one anyway.) This will give you the security and peace of mind, if they do jump off as you can very easily pull them back on using the grab handle on the life jacket. 

Captured by: Jessica Coates Photography


Q. How long does it take to set up? 

It takes around 10-15 mins to fully inflate to the recommended PSI of 15. It's super easy to do and the pump clearly shows you the PSI so there is no risk of over inflating (though you'd need some super serious strength to do this anyway because as soon as it hits 12, those last 3 require some serious superhuman  strength!) For those with a bad memory the recommended PSI is labelled on the board where you inflate as a handy reminder. 

Q. Do you need to be athletic / have a lot of strength? 

No, absolutely not! I am one of the weakest and least athletic people you will ever meet and if I can do it anyone can! Not gonna lie, I find standing up difficult especially with a dog on board. I'm still most comfortable sat or kneeling and I've only managed to stand up with Murphy on board for a grand total of around 3 minutes to date but it's such a great feeling when you do achieve that and practice makes perfect as they say! 




Q. Does Murphy stay still / does he unbalance the board? 

Murphy doesn't stay still! Each time I take him out on it though he is getting better as he gets more used to it but he does like to stroll up and down the board and yes this obviously does make it harder to balance. However he is a relatively small dog weighing 13kg so it's not too bad in the sense I will fall off if he moves. It's all about doing what you're comfortable with, yes it's called 'stand up paddle boarding' but there's no rule that says you have to stand. If you don't have the confidence to stand, sit or kneel. If you purchase your own board many of them come with a kayak conversion seat and I love having this option too. 

Q. What board do you have / What board would you recommend for beginners? 

I chose an Inviato Allround XL by Two Bare Feet because at 35" it was one of the widest boards I could find. The above average width obviously gives it greater stability, which being a less experienced rider and wanting to take Murphy on board as well is the one thing I saw as a priority. Once I have built some confidence and technique I will then look at upgrading to a narrower board, I think of my board as my first bike with stabilisers!! 😂😂 If you're a beginner looking to purchase your own board look at the allround models, if you're unsure ask what board the company you're looking into would recommend. 




Q. How easy is it to pack away and transport? 

My Two Bare Feet board deflates in under 5 minutes and came with its own dry bag/rucksack for transporting, so once it's deflated it's just a case of rolling it up and returning it to the bag! (Don't worry it's not like most things where they make the bag 10 times smaller than the product so that after the first use you can never get it small enough to fit in again!) It is fairly heavy and uncomfortable to carry on your back for long distances so ideally you want the car close by! I can walk for a maximum of around 15 mins carrying it. 

Q. What do I need to SUP?

Whether you're purchasing your own board or hiring you will need: 

* A life jacket / buoyancy aid for yourself AND your pup (obviously if you're hiring they will supply you with one but not your pup, often the conditions of you being allowed to take the dog on is that they wear a life jacket.) 

* Appropriate clothing. Chances are you're gonna get wet, even if you don't fall off. 

* Dry bag. You want to protect anything you do take on the water with you and deposit all those wet garments on the way home! 

*Towels

*Dry Clothes (schoolgirl error, I forgot these last time AND I fell in. Lesson learnt) 

Captured by: Jessica Coates Photography



Q. How much does it cost to hire? / Where can I hire?  

Most places range from £10-£15 an hour, occasionally some places will do offers for hiring for the entire day. A quick google search should bring up somewhere close to you that offers SUP hire but some popular ones are: 

Windermere Canoe Kayak - Lake District

Rother Valley Country Park - South Yorkshire

Rutland Water - East Midlands 

Liverpool SUP Co - North West





For anyone thinking about trying this with their dog I honestly couldn't recommend it more! Besides being fun, it's also pretty relaxing and the feeling of peace and tranquillity you get whilst out on the water is what I love the most. Take baby steps; sit, kneel or stand whatever you feel comfortable with but most importantly enjoy it! 

Love Kelly & Murphy x x x 









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