Sunday, 2 November 2014

Millie’s Meerkat Barn

It was a rainy Sunday afternoon so we decided to take Macy to an indoor play to stop her going stir crazy!  We had not been to Millie’s Meerkat Barn in Bridgnorth before so we thought we would try it.

It cost us £6.50 for two adults and a 16 month old - £1.50 each adult.  I was a little disappointed as when you look at their website they make it sound a lot bigger than it actually is.  The under 3s area was a small padded area with some large soft shapes in it, no ball pond, no small slide – that was really disappointing.  Everywhere else I have been no matter how small have at least had a ball pond and most have a small slide as well.  The area for the older children was okay and they all seemed to be enjoying it and not getting bored, there are two large slides, a bouncy castle section and some rollers etc but again it isn’t overly big.  The bouncy area is quite large yet most children seemed to enjoy running round and down the slides.  There is also a bit of a court area to play football/basketball in.  So to be honest I thought it was a bit expensive for what is there - £1.50 for an adult is too much, most are 50p and they are usually a lot bigger.

The cafĂ© was good and they did some nice coffees and a good range of hot snacks.  It’s not somewhere I will go again as there are better soft play centres that are cheaper!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Harvester – Telford, Southwater

We decided to go for breakfast, it is £4.99 each and is unlimited continental and cooked breakfast – we thought we couldn’t beat that really!  Breakfast ended at 11.30 so we got there at 10:15.  It looked like the mad rush was over as there were quite a lot of empty tables that needed clearing, it took about 15 minutes for us to be seated, not a good start as they could see we were trying to hold Macy who is getting heavy and bored by this time.  There was no reason we couldn’t be seated, one waitress didn’t look like she was doing much and the other was filling up some juice – it would have taken 2 minutes to seat us and go back to what they were doing – customers should come first!

We were eventually seated and ordered our cooked breakfasts – the toaster had broken so we had to order toast, they ran out of black pudding, crumpets and tomatoes.  We ordered unlimited coffee for  £2.25 per person.  However after one cup, the machine wasn’t filled up, eventually it was and we got a second cup, it ran out again and wasn’t filled up.  Juices ran out so all that was left was cranberry.  There weren’t any spoons for the cereals nor teaspoons for stirring coffee.  Our cooked breakfast arrived an hour later, Mark’s poached eggs were really overcooked and mine were undercooked – whites were still runny.  Half our toast arrived – this is an hour after we were seated!!  I have not had such poor service in a long time and we will not be going back to a Harvester again any time soon!!

I have also fed this back via their website and also Facebook - they have not even bothered to respond. 

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Pedigree Dentaflex

Thank you to Pedigree who sent us a box of goodies including a month's supply of Dentaflex for each dog, some food and treats for the kitten and a lovely limited edition bowl.
Sweep did a bit of posing before devouring his Dentaflex, nom nom nom.
Ember took a little longer over hers!
And Rum is probably the one who needs them most, he is 9 this year and has just started to get smelly breath!

You feed them twice a week and I have to say I have noticed an improvement in Rum's breath. After a few days it started to smell so he had his second chew and smelt of roses again :) lol. 

They have all only had two so far so will report back after 4 weeks. They do smell horrid to me but the dogs seem to enjoy them so that's all that matters!

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Kamrita Let It Be

Introducing Spice, who is a beautiful, exquisite brown rosette spot bengal.  I have wanted a Bengal for ages and ages but the time has never really been right.  I saw some kittens on the tv on Tuesday and it just re-ignited my passion for them!  Mark agreed a little quicker than I expected and didn’t take any persuading, I think he knew it would cheer me up.  So after years of wanting I have finally got, good things come to those who wait!

I can’t stop looking at her, she is just so beautiful.  Clee isn’t too impressed with her but isn’t nasty or scared, he just sits and hisses, she isn’t bothered so hopefully it won’t take him long to get used to her.  She loves Rum and made a bee line for him, in fact it wasn’t until she met him that she settled down.  Think we have got a shock coming when she settles in and finds her feet, but I love crazy kittens and can’t wait for her to really become part of the family.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Cas - One in a Million

It is with a heavy and broken heart I have to let you know that my beautiful girl slipped peacefully away earlier today.  Cas was diagnosed with liver failure and possibly cancer earlier this year, we managed to keep her free of pain and still active until recently when her body really started giving up on her.  She didn’t let it get to her and remained so bright and kept such a passion for living life, but we could tell no matter how hard she tried to hide her pain, the pain was becoming too much, I knew and so did she but she just didn’t want to give in.  Cas was a determined little dog and she always tried her best, she gave 110% and put her heart and soul into everything she did.  Nothing made her happier than when she was making us happy.  When I saw her sigh and go peacefully to sleep free of pain I knew we had made the right choice, she could run free without any pain and was happy again.

I don’t really need to say much about her life as the video tells it all:

The Story of a Rescue Dog from Gina on Vimeo.

I am just glad she chose us and so proud of what she achieved, not in terms of competition achievements but in that she really turned around and loved everything she did.  I will never enjoy working a dog as much as I did Cas, she was one in a million and never even needed a reward, my praise and happiness was reward enough for her and she knew it was a job well done.  I would give anything to have another Cas, she was such a crazy oddball of a dog, but I knew that she loved us to bits and we returned that love.  Some people would say they wished they had had their rescue from a pup to give them a better start, with Cas, her beginning in life made her the dog she was, made her appreciate her life with us, I wouldn’t change it for the world.  God I loved and still do love that dog!

Her colour was pink, she was a merle, she was a girl, so it HAD to be.  The sky tonight was lit up pink, thank you Cas for our wonderful memories that will last a lifetime and you will stay in my heart forever.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

42 Days of Summer

This post is an entry for 42 Days of Summer Linky Challenge sponsored by McVitie’s BN. Learn more at

The Challenge was via Britmums and is sponsored by McVitie’s BN Biscuits.  We were sent a packet of chocolate and a packed of Raspberry BN Biscuits – bit disappointed there weren’t any vanilla ones on offer!  We love the chocolate biscuits, the biscuit itself melts in your mouth and the chocolate filling is lovely and creamy.  There are a lot of copycat biscuits out there but none are as good as BN themselves.  The raspberry ones were a bit of a different matter, not even my little girl liked them.  We found the raspberry a bit chewy and VERY sweet so we are sticking to chocolate in future!

Our 42 days of summer fun generally runs a bit like this:

Visit the local outdoor paddling pool or the beach if you’re close to the sea!
Macy loves to paddle so a trip to the local paddling pool is a great way to cool down on a hot summer’s day, again it doesn’t cost anything. Take a picnic and make a day of it, plenty of towels (though if it’s hot enough you won’t need them!). A few swim nappies and UV suit make life so much easier! We bought a UV all in one from Primark, Macy lived in it in Spain as it didn’t make her hot and after it got wet it dried really quickly and didn’t get heavy, it was under £10 and came with a hat too. A necessity in the summer wardrobe!


Visit the playground
We have just had a new playground in the village so when we have a spare hour we like nothing better than to walk down and Macy can run riot, she has a great time and it doesn’t cost a penny.

Visit the local farm
Again supporting local businesses and Macy loves the animals so a day at the farm is definitely on the summer things to do list!  We tend to normally have a snack for lunch there.  Be prepared with wet wipes as Macy normally gets filthy!  Pack the sun cream and some wellies just in case.

Go for a walk
One of Macy's favourite thing is going out in her trike!

We like to support local business as we live in a small village, so we get our BBQ food from our local butcher.  His burgers are 50p each and are amazing quality and don’t shrivel to nothing like supermarket bought burgers.  His sausages are about 70p each and are the length of two supermarket sausages and he does a lovely tomato and pepper sausage.  It means Macy can run amock in the garden!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Dog & Bone Film and TV Masterclass

I signed Sweep up for the Dog And Bone Film and TV Masterclass workshop as I thought it would be good for him to do some learning around other dogs and also good for me to see whether I was teaching him all the right things, it also meant he could be registered for work with Dalys Dogs.
It was held at The Dog Training Barn in Banbury and the satnav took me straight past the venue into the village so it took me a while to find it.  The venue is fab (once you know where it is!) as it’s easy to get to not being far from the M40.
The day started with a talk from Kay Weston from Animal Ambassadors, we worked a lot with Kay when Dizzy was doing work and she is a lovely person to work with and would recommend her to anyone.  She has a lot of experience and has worked on programmes such as Eastenders and Dogs Trust adverts etc.
We then started training and throughout the day when we started a new session on a new behaviour we split into groups so dogs that were already trained could then be in a more advanced group to improve the behaviour and strengthen it.  As Sweep was only 20 weeks I stayed in the lowest group, he could do some of the behaviours well and probably could have gone in to the other group but I didn’t want to push him in a new environment.  We did things like stand, sit and down stays with distractions, this is really important for any kind of media work as there are a LOT of distractions on set.  Recalls with distractions, sending the dog to a mark, touch (nose touch and paw touch), holding an object, leave (food or toy).
Training was great as there was plenty of time for the trainers to go round the group and tailor everything individually.  We had a mid morning and mid afternoon break with a lunch break as it is a long day for the dogs.  Hot drinks and cakes were provided for us.  At the end of the day all the dogs were assessed to see which behaviours they could and couldn’t do in order for them to be put forward for any future jobs.
Sweep – I was really pleased with him, I just took his travel bed in with us and in between sessions he just lay on his bed and chilled out.  I made myself a drink, wandered round and he stayed on his bed with people and dogs walking round.  REALLY pleased as it’s so important for a dog to be able to settle and relax if you are interested in doing filmwork.  They are normally long days and a lot of the time the dogs aren’t doing anything so they need to be able to settle in between working.  Dizzy was always brilliant at settling, Cas or Ember I could never get to settle.

This is a fab course and you don’t need to have done any training before you go but similarly if you have trained all the behaviours the advanced class was there to expand on them.  There was a rescue dog (who is looking for a home) there who came for a day out and obviously had never done anything, he got on really well.  Thanks Dog & Bone for the photos.