Sunday, March 8, 2020

Crufts 2020 with Zoflora


Murphy and I were very kindly invited by Zoflora to attend Crufts this year!



It was a completely new experience for the both of us, never having been myself either, but we loved it! I think Murphy thought all of his doggy dreams had come true, a day filled with endless treats and belly rubs from anyone and everyone he met. What was not to love?! 


Our first stop was of course Zoflora, the best smelling stand around! We were super excited to check out their new Coastal Breeze scent and can confirm it smells amazing! Murphy was treated like a true VIP and I can't thank the guys enough for making us feel so welcome and showering Murphy with cuddles. We also took their Doggy Cam for a little spin (wish I had £1 for every time I heard "That dogs got a GoPro on him!" as we were walking around.) We can't wait to see all of the footage they got with this from over the weekend so be sure to check that out! 

The best piece of advice I was given before visiting Crufts was to try and write a list of the stands you know you want to visit along with their hall and location number. We found we were constantly referring back to this list and definitely would have missed certain things had we not had it! 

It was great to see so many brands we already know, love and regularly use but it was also nice to be introduced to some new brands we haven't come across before. We picked up the most gorgeous drying robe from Harbour Hounds a new company but one that I think will really take off! As I walked past I was drawn in by the nautical colours of their robes and obvious high quality. Featuring an opening for the tail, underbelly and good hindquarter coverage as well as a turtleneck for those ears I found this to be a better design than other drying coats/robes we already own. I was sold when I found out the company is conscious of their impact on the environment too. Deffo one to check out guys!

Other brands we made purchases from that we haven't tried before but are excited to, are: 




After a long day of shopping we stopped for a bite to eat at 'The Little Owl', a dog friendly pub less than a mile away from the NEC. It was super cosy and Murphy definitely appreciated the log fire they had burning! 


I really couldn't have been prouder of Murphy yesterday and want to thank everyone we met, for the treats, the cuddles and the kindness.


Love Kelly & Murphy x




 


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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

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


With just 49 days until Christmas it’s time to start thinking about what to get our loved ones this year. For me, the very best gifts are always the ones with some thought behind them, something unique and personal. Watching your loved ones reaction when they open such gifts is priceless!
I’ve put together five of my favourite finds that would make a truly special gift for anyone this Christmas. Please note that these are in alphabetical order and by no means in order of preference, I love them all equally! 

Afternoon Tea for Human and Hound

The perfect treat for yourself or your loved ones and you can now include your furry best friend in the experience too! There are a number of places up and down the UK that now offer delicious afternoon teas for humans and a dog friendly version for their pooch. The Stratford Park Hotel and Golf Club offer vouchers priced at £35 which includes afternoon tea for 2 people and a dog and can be found here 

The following places also offer afternoon tea for humans with a dog friendly version for the pups:

The Blue Whippet Café in Hull

Cheddar Paws in Cheddar

Coed-Y-Mwstwr in Bridgend

Egerton House in London

The Fish Hotel in Worcestershire

Angelcasts 

Ami creates the most stunning pieces of jewellery from the print of your pets paw or nose texture. Classy, subtle and discreet these keepsakes are truly one of a kind and the perfect way to keep your pet close forever. As each item is completely bespoke the choices are endless, from dainty stacking rings to statement necklaces, Ami can create exactly what you have in mind. There is also the option of engraving names, dates, initials or a short message to make the item even more unique and special.






A gift that will be worn and treasured for a lifetime. The prints are super easy and safe for you to get yourself at home with the kit Ami sends out in the post and are completely mess free. The full range can be found here. Ami is also currently offering 15% off to all those that sign up to the members area.



 


Emma Gadd Pet Portrait

Emma is a professional colour pencil artist with a talent that just blows me away! Specialising in pet portrait commissions she uses high resolution digital photos as a reference to create her drawings. Emma captures the unique character and personality of each and every pet she draws, with an attention to detail like no other making her drawings truly lifelike. A piece to display and treasure forever. 


Mounted and ready to frame with a hand signed certificate of authenticity from the artist this truly is a special gift. 


Emma is currently fully booked for 2019, however you can purchase a gift certificate to give on the day to be claimed in the new year. 



Jessica Coates Photography 

Is there anything better than looking back over photos of your pup and remembering a special moment? Jess is currently offering a range of different packages to suit every budget including special human and hound shoots designed to capture that special bond between you. Whatever you have in mind whether its a favourite place, season or event Jess captures the moment perfectly. Jess is easy going and patient and really makes you and your pup feel at ease making the whole experience fun and enjoyable for all. 





More examples of Jess' work can be found on her website and the code MURPHY10 will save you 10% off your booking. 

Vistaprint Photo Gifts

Vistaprint offer a wide range of quality and affordable gifts that can be customised with your own text and photos. From mugs and wall calendars to cushions and blankets there is something for everyone. I am often guilty of not printing photos as regularly as I should and if you're like me the photobooks are perfect! Print all of your cherished photos in one place and give a unique gift that will be enjoyed again and again. The website is really user friendly making the gifts easy to create and the steps straightforward to follow, meaning you can create your gift within a matter of minutes! 




You can create your own gifts by visiting my link here You can also use my code '50XMAS' to save 50% off one item until the 23.12.19 (Max savings up to £250)

Please note that this blog post is in no way sponsored by Vistaprint and all opinions are my own. 

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

Love Kelly and Murphy x x





















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Saturday, November 2, 2019

A week adventuring with Vauxhall



This week Murphy and I were lucky enough to adventure around North Yorkshire in the new Vauxhall Crossland X. An SUV packed with style and driver assist features, which really did make this a dream to drive. 

I'm not going to lie, I'm used to driving a tiny hatchback so I was a little nervous about getting behind the wheel. I didn't need to be, with a 180° panoramic rear view camera and front parking sensors I was able to park like a pro (for the first time ever!) 

When travelling with a dog, for me, space and safety are paramount and the Crossland X ticks all of the right boxes. With up to 520 litres of flexible load space there was plenty of room for Murphy's crate and accessories in the back. 



                                 
                                     

With the early nights drawing in, it was dark when we set off. Our destination; Beech Nut Shepherds Hut, located on a working farm just outside of York. With a little help from the fully integrated European SAT NAV system (OK, a LOT of help) we were able to find our destination. That's not to say I didn't take a few wrong turns along the way (even with the best technology in the world this is still me we're talking about.) One wrong turn took me down a very narrow dirt track heavily lined by trees, it didn't take me long to realise this was probably the direction to the wolves house and not my idyllic Shepherds hut at all. The only option was to reverse, in the pitch black I didn't fancy my chances but luckily for me the camera worked amazingly well, and myself, Murphy and (Thank God) the car all came out unscathed. 

Staying on a fully working farm at this time of year there was understandably mud, and a lot of it (sorry Vauxhall) but the Crossland X handled it well and thankfully I have no stories of getting stuck to report! 


Beech Nut Shepherds Hut is a wonderful place to relax, with the closest neighbours being a pair of donkeys it's a truly peaceful escape. 



With a rustic shabby chic country feel the hut is decorated simply and elegantly and was surprisingly spacious with a double bed, day bed and dresser. Despite visiting at the end of October, the fire made the hut warm and cosy and there was freshly baked bread to wake up to in the morning, can you get any more perfect? 


Whilst here, we took the Crossland X to Whitby. Navigating the winding country roads with comfort and ease. I found the car to be so smooth and responsive I was able to relax and really enjoy the drive. 


The sun shone but that's not to say there wasn't still a chill in the air, so returning to the car it was great to be able to crank up the heated seat and steering wheel and warm up quickly. 

It's safe to say I fell a little in love with this car and had the best time adventuring in it with Murphy by my side. 




Thank you Vauxhall for the gifted rental, all opinions are my own.

Love Kelly and Murphy x 





 






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Monday, September 16, 2019

Rutland Water Sports Canoeing and SUP

Captured by: Jessica Coates Photography

I’ve wanted to try canoeing and paddle boarding with Murphy for a while now, so I thought what better way to celebrate his birthday than going with friends! As it’s recently become quite a popular sport to do with your dogs, finding somewhere that was fairly close by and dog friendly was actually a lot easier than I thought! We were originally supposed to be going to Rother Valley to do it but unfortunately, it’s currently closed due to blue green algae on the lake so we went to Rutland Water instead (both are dog friendly)

With four different car parks Rutland Water is a big place, so if you’re going for the water sports centre it’s the Bull Brigg Lane, Whitwell car park you need LE158BL. Located in the most picturesque setting it’s the perfect place to try something new for yourself or with the pup! Offering everything from sailing and windsurfing to kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding there really is something for everyone to have a go at whether you’re a complete beginner like myself or an expert (which I hope to become!) 


An up to date price list of everything available can be found HERE all of the prices are per hour and include the hire of life jackets (essential) and wet suits (optional) They do ask that all dogs wear a life jacket or harness themselves too and can supply you with a doggy life jacket if it’s not something you own. 


Murphy wears his Blue Atoll float coat from Ruffwear. Captured by: Jessica Coates Photography


We were so incredibly lucky to have such beautiful weather this weekend but they do offer hire all year round for those of you who are incredibly brave (or stupid) and don’t mind getting out on the water in the colder months. 

I cannot fault the staff on the day who were really helpful and laid back and nothing was too much trouble (even when Graham accidently pushed a paddleboard back out into the water in his excitement for treats!)

We started the day canoeing; we split into pairs and shared a canoe. They were easily big enough to comfortably hold two adults and two dogs. All of the dogs loved it, minus Graham but he was very brave for giving it a go! To say how busy the place was it was so peaceful and relaxing out on the water and felt like you were a million miles away from the rest of the world. 


Captured by: Jessica Coates Photography

Having worked up an appetite we had a break from the water sports to enjoy a picnic by the water. The dogs were fully included in this too (their food actually looked and smelt better than ours)

We were very kindly gifted the most amazing doggy picnic items from Cheddar Paws Bakery 



which included doggy scones which I filled with cream cheese and strawberries (to look like clotted cream and jam) a rainbow birthday cake, personalised biscuits and doggy doughnuts. Needless to say, every item went down well and the pups couldn’t get enough of them!   

                    
                    
                                                                                                                               Images captured by: Jessica Coates Photography
Murphy literally stole as many biscuits as he could fit into his mouth once he realised I was giving them away to his friends (evidently he loves them, but not that much)





After lunch it was back to the water to enjoy an hour of paddle boarding. This is the one I was most looking forward to and have wanted to try for so long! In all honesty I was fully expecting Murphy to jump from the board into the water and opt to swim alongside me but he really surprised me and stayed on the board the whole time! 


Captured by Emma edited by: Jessica Coates

He did seem a little nervous at first so I took him back so that he could jump off and have a little run around solid ground but when he saw me heading back out into the water without him, he quickly jumped back on and was a lot more settled after that. He is a typical spaniel though so didn’t sit still on the board, intrigued by everything and what everyone else was doing he was constantly moving around which made it impossible for me to stand! 


Captured by: Jessica Coates Photography

(Can’t fully blame Murphy, I had a little go without him on the board and still didn’t manage it...it’s a lot harder than some people make it look!) 

For people wanting to walk their dogs there, the place is huge and you could easily walk for miles, however due to the nature of the place and wildlife there is a strict policy that dogs have to be on lead at all times. There is a designated dog walking area at Sykes Lane car park 5 minutes down the road where they can run free in a secure woodland area if you do want them to have some off lead time. 

I literally had the best day and it’s definitely something I will do again and would recommend to anyone. I can’t thank Jess and Echo, Abby and Binky and Emma and Graham enough for joining us and making the day so special and memorable. We really couldn’t have asked for a better group of ladies and pups to share the day with. 


Captured by Emma edited by Jessica Coates


Love Kelly and Murphy x

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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Dog Friendly York

Image captured by: Jessica Coates Photography
With more and more people treating their beloved pets as the valued family members that they are and wanting to include them in everything that they do, it's no surprise that dog friendly places are on the rise. We visited the picturesque city of York recently and were overwhelmed by what an incredibly dog friendly place it is. We found that everything we would have regularly done whilst we were there, we could do with the dogs, from visiting attractions to dining and shopping there really is no need to leave your furry best friend out!

Parking 

There are several city centre car parks within York but we found these to be quite pricey for the entire day so used Grimston Bar park and ride (YO19 5LA) The last bus from the city centre back to Grimston Bar is at 20.05 Mon-Sat and 18.05 on a Sunday and costs just £3.20 for a return, so you really can make the most of an entire day there without paying the earth to park! They do of course allow dogs on all of their buses free of charge.


Attractions

River Cruise

Our first stop took us along the beautiful River Ouse, the same river that brought the Romans and the Vikings to York! We played captain and took to the helm on board a self drive motor boat from City Cruises York a beautiful way to see the city at your own pace away from the hustle and bustle. 



Image captured by: Jessica Coates Photography
They were really fun and easy to drive (even I managed it) and the dogs loved being on the water with the summer breeze. They're available to hire for half an hour or an hour, we opted for the full hour hire which easily allowed us to do the entire route down to Millennium Bridge and back at a steady pace whilst stopping to take a few photos. 



Image captured by: Jessica Coates Photography

We booked this experience online prior to going but you can just turn up on the day and hire a boat providing there is one available at the time. if you're looking for a peaceful way to see the city or just something a little bit different to do whilst there then we'd thoroughly recommend the self drive boats at City Cruises York, both human and hound enjoyed every second!




York Museum Gardens

Set in the stunning surroundings of the medieval ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey, York Museum Gardens is a great space to enjoy a spot of peace and tranquillity to relax and unwind in the heart of the city. This idyllic haven boasts over ten acres of beautiful botanical gardens and is an array of colour in summer months. Whilst dogs must be kept on a lead the gardens are free to enter and are definitely worth a visit on your trip. 



Dining

The Golden Lion 

When it came to lunch we were spoilt for choice, everywhere we turned there was a pub, café or bakery boasting the dog friendly sign and a bowl of fresh water on the doorstep. We opted to stop at The Golden Lion, a traditional no frills pub serving British classics situated a short walk from the Minster. The pub had a small roof terrace which allowed us to continue enjoying the sunshine and escape the busy bar area. 








Patisserie Valerie



When I think of York, I think of the world famous Bettys and their afternoon tea. Whilst they are unfortunately not dog friendly, there are plenty of places offering afternoon tea, cream tea, pastries and cakes that are, including Patisserie Valerie. We were greeted with a very warm welcome and literally everything on offer looked to die for! The staff at the Feasegate store were incredibly friendly and enjoyed lots of doggy cuddles. They serve afternoon tea all day so there is no need to book.






Shopping

I was a little overwhelmed by the sheer number of shops that were dog friendly in York. Some places think that being dog friendly just means allowing them in (but secretly preferring them not to be there) that wasn't the case here at all. Everywhere we went we were greeted with a warm welcome, approached with fresh water and dog biscuits, asked for photos and given lots of fuss and cuddles. 

The Shambles really is a dream, winner of Googles most picturesque street in Britain it's easy to see why. With its narrow cobbled streets and overhanging timber-framed buildings it reminds me of something straight out of the pages of Harry Potter (luckily for all us fans there are several shops dedicated to all things Harry Potter down the far end of The Shambles, more on that later!) 

Image captured by: Jessica Coates Photography

The beautifully preserved Elizabethan buildings are now host to shops selling souvenirs, jewellery, artisan bread and handmade chocolates to name but a few. If like me, you're a big fan or all things Christmas then a browse around the Nutcracker Christmas Shop is a must and adds that magic and cheer even in August! 


Whilst these shops are dog friendly, they are very small and busy so please bare this in mind when you visit!

My favourite shop of all though has to be The Shop That Must Not be Named dog friendly and selling everything Harry Potter that your little muggle heart could desire it's definitely worth a visit for any Harry Potter fans, big or small! The staff there are all amazing and made us feel very welcome!  


Please note The Shambles is a tourist spot, so it does get extremely busy, so this may be one to avoid if you have nervous dogs. 

We also visited many of the high street stores in York and all were dog friendly including Joules, Mountain Warehouse and York Gin to name a few. 

The people of York really did extend the warmest of welcomes to us and we had a fantastic day. Thank you to Jess and Echo for joining us and making our day extra special, will definitely be back soon!

Love Kelly and Murphy x


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