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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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The Rose Cottage - Dog Friendly Dining.

 


It's not difficult to find Dog Friendly places to dine these days but what really makes them 'Dog Friendly?' Many boast the title merely because they allow them through the door but then want them to disappear quietly under the table once there. 

The Rose Cottage on Old Rufford Road is such a dog friendly gem. From the doggy drinking station outside to the dedicated doggy dining menu, they set out to ensure your pup enjoys their experience with them as much as you do. 

As soon as you're seated one of the first things they do is bring a bowl of fresh water over for your pup and a little plate of biscuits! Murphy was delighted to be served before us and I think it shows how much the staff welcome their four legged visitors. 

As well as all the usual things you'd expect to find on the menu at a gastro pub they offer afternoon tea for both human and hound (this does have to be prebooked at least 24 hours before and can't be ordered on the day.) You get a a selection of sandwiches with your choice of fillings, scones and cakes all in bitesize portions.  


They offer a full doggy menu so your pup can dine with you if you wish. Including a doggy afternoon tea costing £5 (this again has to be prebooked and can't be purchased on the day) It comes gift boxed and includes 1 large pupcake, 1 mini pupcake, meatloaf, 1 large bone biscuit, 4 small biscuits. 




We're lucky enough to have this place on our doorstep but now, more than ever it's important to support independent businesses like this one and it's well worth a visit! If you are travelling from further afield and want to make a day of it there are plenty of places close by to visit and walk.

The closest being Rufford Abbey which is less than a mile up the road! There is also Sherwood Forest and Clumber Park just a short drive away, both of which you could walk for miles with the dogs! 


Let us know if you visit! 

Love Kelly & Murphy x x 

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Thursday, July 2, 2020

Berry-licious Frozen Kefir Treats



When sharing Murphys raw bowls over on Instagram, something I am regularly asked is 'What are those paws?' or 'How do you make them?' 

The short answer is: They're nothing more than Kefir and berries and they're super simple to make! 

For those who have never heard of Kefir or it's benefits for dogs; it's basically a healthy fermented milk drink. It can be made from cow, sheep or goats milk and the health benefits for both human and hound are huge and include: 

  • Antibiotic and anti-fungal properties.
  • Aids prevention of allergies.
  • Promotes healthy skin.
  • Strengthens the digestive system.
  • Helps with upset stomach.
  • Can counteract bad breath.
  • Helps with joint disease.
  • Potentially reduces the increase of cancerous cells.
How much Kefir should I give my dog? 

I give Murphy around 3-4 paws a week, but as a rough guide: small dogs 1 teaspoon - 1 tablespoon daily, Medium dogs 1-2 tablespoons daily, Large dogs 2-3 tablespoons daily. 
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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

ACAI Activewear - Comfortable, practical and Stylish


I first Purchased a pair of ACAI trousers last year and they have been a staple piece of my walking wardrobe ever since, so I was absolutely delighted when they approached me and asked me to be an ambassador! 

I had long searched for a pair of waterproof trousers that were flattering and feminine, whilst still being comfortable. Lets be honest, most of us would rather get soaking wet in leggings than wear those baggy waterproofs that look like bin bags...literally. 

It's like all of my prayers had been answered when I came across ACAI, functional whilst still being stylish their skinny outdoor trousers are made using water repellent soft shell material with breath ability and freedom of movement, a figure flattering solution that stretches when you stretch. Being 5'11 I was so impressed that ACAI cater for every shape and size of women, offering petite, regular and tall ranges in sizes 6-22. The sizing is a question I've been asked a lot and I can say it is completely accurate and true to size, just because they are 'skinny fit' and figure hugging this does not mean they come up small! They're high waisted meaning they give a flattering look whilst filling you with confidence when bending or climbing. 


As well as empowering women of all shapes and sizes to feel comfortable and confident outdoors, I also love that ACAI are committed to sustainability and their products are made with as little environmental impact as possible. All trousers come packaged in a mesh laundry bag as opposed to disposable plastic which also helps care for your garments when washing, win win!


It's all well and good trousers looking the part but do they do the job when it rains? Over the past 8/9 months of wearing my ACAI trousers I've been caught in many rainfalls from light showers to heavy downpours! They are fully shower proof and as you can see from the photo below, the rain settles on the surface of the trousers. 

Even in the most torrential downpours I have found the ACAI trousers are super quick drying which has meant I'm not uncomfortable on the drive home or when the rain does eventually stop!

As a dog owner I'm sure you'll all appreciate how useful pockets are, whether it's for your phone or poo bags the ACAI trousers have 4 really deep sized pockets, one with a zip. They're much deeper than average pockets on trousers and comfortably fit my large smartphone in, something I've found so useful when I don't want to take a bag out with me. 


The ACAI trousers have passed the muddy paws test, meaning they don't need washing half as much as regular trousers. However, when I do wash them I use the 'Grangers Clothing wash and Repel' which is a wash in product designed to maintain the water resistance of the trousers. This can also be purchased on the ACAI website under 'Accessories'. 



Pictured throughout are the 'MAX Stretch Skinny Outdoor Trousers in Khaki' these are slightly thinner than the 'Mid-Weight' trousers which I also own. 

With the UK weather being so changeable I wear these even on a clear sunny day, and they just look like normal trousers/leggings! I really can't recommend them enough, they've been such a game changer and whilst this pair was gifted I have purchased in the past and wouldn't hesitate to do so again! 




Love Kelly & Murphy x x 










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Friday, May 29, 2020

Pet Safe Travel with MIMsafe





For the vast majority of pet owners, the health and safety of our companions is paramount and something we often think about even more than our own. Since having Murphy, I've always had a small hatchback car and how he travels is something I've thought and worried about often. He's always been the perfect passenger and will always quietly settle, so I opted for a seat belt and cover on the back seat, believing this was the safest of the options available to me given the model of car I owned. I had looked into crash proof crates but gave up the idea when I was told by one well known company they didn't make them to fit my car (and had no plans to!) 

Did you know: Rule 57 of the Highway Code states: "When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly. "A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars."

As Murphy got older I began to travel with him more frequently and for longer distances, which made his (and my) safety even more important than before. I was again troubled by how safe he was in the car should the worst ever happen. A sharp and unexpected break could send him tumbling into the foot well even with a harness and seat belt on! Hearing of dogs that had been killed in a car accident which hadn't been serious for the driver spurred me to once again spend hours scouring the internet for options. This is when I came across MIMsafe.

Captured by Jessica Coates Photography


I recently did a poll over on Instagram, and a staggering 88% of you had never heard of them. This is what compelled me to write this, because I really do think how your pets travel is so important and there are probably many of you who are like me and would have purchased a crash proof crate long ago if you knew there was one to fit your car! MIMsafe make a range of different sized crash tested, crush proof crates to fit most cars...including hatchbacks! They have documentation from hundreds of crash tests including many videos to demonstrate which can be found on Youtube for those interested. 

Captured by Jessica Coates Photography


Once I had found the MIMsafe, I literally didn't think twice about buying one and honestly it's one of the best purchases I have ever made. I'm not going to lie, they are expensive and this probably puts a lot of people off, but such a worthwhile investment for something which could potentially save your dogs life. They do offer a finance option to help spread the cost over a set amount of months which is definitely what I'd have done had I known about this at the time I purchased! Also featuring a rear escape door, in case the front is blocked the MIMsafe really has given me that piece of mind when travelling, I had been lacking. 

Captured by Jessica Coates Photography


Besides the obvious safety aspect I have found countless other benefits. A dog hair and mud free car for one! Don't get me wrong, my car is pretty much a roller skate, a shed on wheels, only The Flintstones have a worse ride than me. However, that being said I still have OCD where the upholstery of my car is concerned and dog hairs is a big pet peeve. Those things grip to your car floor and seats like their lives depend on it. Also, the typical spaniel that Murphy is means he can't ever get back into a car as clean as he left it. Having the MIMsafe means that all the mud, foxpoop and god knows what else (once rolled in a dead seagull, as you do) is contained in his own space where he can happily wallow in the stench, away from me and my clean seats. 

As mentioned above, these crates (as any crash tested crate is) are pretty pricey. However one HUGE bonus of the MIMsafe over some other brands is that they are adjustable. This means when I do get a new car (hopefully soon!) I wont't have to shell out all that money again buying a new crate to fit, it also means Murphy will get extra space (yay). 

The door of the MIMsafe is lockable and whilst not a feature I'm likely to use I know many who compete in agility etc find this handy. It allows you to safely keep your dog in the car whilst being able to leave the boot open and keep them cool. 

Captured by Jessica Coates Photography

I hope this may have helped a few of you to think about your pets in the car and if you have any questions I will be happy to try and answer them as honestly as I can. I'm not working with MIMsafe, all opinions are my own and I purchased my cage entirely. 


Love Kelly & Murphy x x





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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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