A Personal Post - Fox the dog

Friday, 17 November 2017
You may have seen my post recently about our little Archie pug and how he came to be in our lives. It's only fair that I do the same for his adopted sister - Fox.

After having Archie for about 3 years we came around to the idea of getting another dog. We figured it would be nicer for Archie to have some company during the day and generally speaking, two small dogs is not a huge amount more work than one small dog! I was sure this time that I wanted to adopt a dog because although we weren't experienced enough dog owners to do it in the past, I've always felt bad for the fact that we got Archie from a breeder, when there are other dogs waiting to go to homes.

I used to check various dog re-homing charities regularly for any sort of dog that might be suitable for us. It was difficult to find a rescue dog that was able to be re-homed with another male dog and one that would be OK with being left for part of the day while we were at work. Then I stumbled across Beacon Animal Rescue Centre (BARC) on Facebook. They're a small charity who rescue animals from places like Romania and, after giving them a full health MOT, bring them over to the UK to be re-homed. I can't speak from personal experience, but I do know that public shelter dogs do not have a long life expectancy.

One particular day, out of nowhere, the charity posted about a little dog called Foxy Jenny, who was scheduled to come over to the UK but didn't have a foster or adoptive home lined up to go to when she arrived. We took one look at her pictures and knew that we had to make enquiries.

We had to go through a vetting process and home check so that the charity could be sure they were sending her to a good home. It was equally important for us to have a trial first, because if her and Archie didn't get on, there would be no way to make it work.

We collected her from her Foster family the following week.. and she never went back!

She has been renamed now, to Fox. When she first came to live with us we made very slow progress.. for the first few days she wouldn't eat much, didn't want to come in the house (luckily it was sunny outside at the time!) and was very cautious about coming near us. She didn't seem to enjoy being touched or picked up and was too scared to sit near us for more than a couple of minutes.

Over time and after realising that we're honestly not that bad(!) she's come out of her shell so much. She now pings around our front room, takes over the sofa, sings little grumbly growly songs at us when she wants to be fed and she now walks off the lead. She gives the daintiest little licks and loves wriggling around on our bed. One of her favourite things to do is run full speed across our local park and zoom around in little circles before waiting expectantly at our feet for a treat. She may be small and very dainty, but she is definitely fierce - woe betide anyone who dares knock on our door.. sorry postman!

We can tell that we still have some way to go before she absolutely trusts us and feels completely comfortable, but she's making progress every day and learning to relax and its been the most rewarding few months, ever! Giving this little lady a second chance is honestly one of the best things we have ever done.

If you'd like more information about the charity, or even want to donate to their cause, take a look at their website. At the moment, the ladies that run the charity are fundraising to help cover some of their kennel fees and debts - if you want to support them, the fundraising link is here.

Choosing the right pet for your living space*

Saturday, 21 October 2017
You may have recently seen my post which put Archie pug into the spotlight and a few people have asked me how we managed to get a dog while we lived in flat - before AJ and I bought our house.

The truth is, we were a bit naughty and we actually bought Archie home without telling our Landlord - despite living in a one bedroom apartment. We knew what the risks were (i.e. being booted out!) but we were desperate to get a dog and we knew it would be hard work being discrete. I did actually ask our Landlord's permission first in the hope he might say yes, but.. he definitely didn't - but having Archie was so worth it.

We managed to get away with it because Archie was such a teeny tiny little pup; I used to put him in a beach bag (with an air hole!) to carry him in and out of the block of flats. We were pretty lucky because none of our neighbours minded and our Landlord didn't live in the block. But in hindsight it was probably a bit of a silly thing to do  - we risked being hit with a big cleaning bill when we left, or worse, having our tenancy ended because we were breaching our contract!

It was lucky that we had fallen in love with a breed that happens to be pretty small! All dogs need regular walking, but it's safe to say that pugs are a breed that are on the lower end of the exercise need scale; they're small in size (they're technically a toy breed) and even if they do woof - it's not very loud, so it helps avoid annoying neighbours. It did, however, mean having to traipse up and down the stairs every time he needed to go outside!

It is so, so important to choose a pet that suits your lifestyle - that includes everything from the amount of exercise you do, how many hours a day you spend at home and where you live - if you live in a small one bedroom flat, then a giant dog is probably not for you! As well as not doing your flat/apartment any favours, a cooped up pup is not a happy pup! Over at For Rent.com they've put together a guide of statistics and data about the Best and Worst Pets for Apartment Living - to help choose the right pet for your living situation:

 Best & Worst Pets for Apartment Living
Best & Worst Pets for Apartment Living Created By: ForRent.com

Has anyone else lived in an apartment with their pet?

*This is a sponsored post, on behalf of ForRent.com

A Personal Post - all about Archie Pug!

Saturday, 14 October 2017
A little while back I did a "10 facts about me" post and despite my social media and phone camera roll being filled with pictures and videos of our dogs, I realised that they weren't included in that post (worst dog owner ever). So this is a little post all about Archie pug, how he came to be in our lives and.. OK FINE, it's an excuse to put up more pictures of my dog. Happy now? I am!

We decided to get a pug as our first dog, despite my initial reluctance, because AJ's sister had an adorable little gremlin by the name of Max. AJ loved him to bits and had always wanted to get a pug. I did a heap of research beforehand and learned that pugs often have health problems, can be quite needy (understatement of the century) and are generally lazy little sausages. Because we are both out of the house for most of the day it was really important for us to get a pooch that was going to be happy with a couple of big walks a day and a big sleep during the day.

We met Archimedes (his full name) when he was just 2 weeks old. AJ and I actually both picked up different puppies from the litter to hold, but I fell head over heels with Archie because he sneezed on my hand! He also had adorable little black paws and a really distinct black stripe down his back. He was named after the highly educated owl from Disney's Sword in the Stone - my favourite Disney film and our favourite character.

He came home at 8 weeks old and immediately took over our lives, in the best possible way. Friends that came to visit couldn't believe how small he was and our families fell in love with him instantly. 

Although Archie isn't a full pug, he's a dachshund x pug mix, he certainly has a lot of pug traits. His character really stands out and he is one stubborn little beast! He's got the most ridiculous little underbite which often has people laughing at his snaggle teeth.

When Archie was about 3 years old, he started to have liver problems and after being investigated at the vets, we found out that he had a liver abnormality that needed surgery. After a very touch and go couple of days he came through it all, but the result now is that he has to be on a special hepatic diet for the rest of his life, to try and support his liver.

These days, he spends his days doing whatever the hell he wants. Mostly because he ignores most of what we tell him not to do! This is a dog who once ran into the middle of a family picnic, stole a cheese sandwich right out of a little girl's hand and legged it. He loves stealing strawberries from people's plants, (especially AJ's Dad's!) eating the fuschia plants in our garden (no idea why), running around our sofa in circles at a high speed and most of all, snuggling as often as possible. We wouldn't have him any other way!

5 Instagram accounts to inspire your wanderlust

Sunday, 1 October 2017
It's finally that time of year when everyone starts to bed down for the incoming cold and dreary nights. Cue cosy knitwear, pumpkins everywhere and crisp chilly mornings; laced with soggy autumn leaves collecting in corners.

If you're not one for pumpkin spice and prefer to dream of lighter, sunnier days; here's 5 Instagram accounts to inspire you to get up and outside exploring:

Img credit: https://www.instagram.com/alexstrohl/ 

Img credit: https://www.instagram.com/uwa2000/

Img credit: https://www.instagram.com/sarahinthegreen/

Img credit: https://www.instagram.com/gypssyysouul/

Img credit: https://www.instagram.com/whitestwalker/

A Cornish Wedding Weekender

Sunday, 24 September 2017
The time has come in my life where my summers are now filled with wedding season and being lucky enough to see our friends get married and settle down with their significant others. I will admit I used to dread going to big social events like weddings and I know there are people out there who groan at the thought of attending another hen do; but as I get older and those hens (and stags) are my close friends, I can't get enough of them!

We were lucky enough to be invited to the wedding of Kiri and Mike, which took place a couple of weekends ago in the stunning location of St Mawes, in Cornwall. Knowing Kiri and Mike's impeccable taste and eye for detail, I knew this was a wedding that we did not want to miss.. and I was not wrong.

The wedding was held at the incredible Place Manor in St Mawes and we were even lucky enough to be able to pinch a spare room in the Manor for the weekend.

The Bride's little dog, Bandit
We drove up on Friday night and on Saturday morning, after a home cooked breakfast, we popped into St Mawes to have a potter around and make the most of the amazing weather. We sipped coffee and tea and shared donuts, sat right by the beach. Bliss. Meanwhile back at the house, the unflappable Kiri and her two beautiful bridesmaids, Amanda and Charlotte, were getting ready.

Kiri, Mike and their families absolutely went above and beyond to make sure that their guests were looked after; even arranging a crèche for those parents who wanted to dance the night away, a stunt plane show, some of the most amazing wedding food I have ever got my grubby mitts on and more than anything, a totally relaxed atmosphere.

The wedding took place at St Just-in-Roseland church, which is a beautiful little church nestled into a hill, with greenery all around and a view over the water.  Kiri and Mike even had the co-ordinates of the church engraved into their wedding rings.

The reception was back at the Manor with the Newlyweds arriving by boat. There was a marquee set up in the grounds and food and drink started flowing straight away. Once the speeches were taken care of and suitably reduced everyone into both fits of laughter and tears, dinner was served and we danced the night away.

I couldn't have imagined a more beautiful setting. Congratulations Kiri and Mike!

Our next project - renovating the study!

Saturday, 9 September 2017
You may have noticed that house renovations in our camp have slowed down somewhat. The bulk of the big work was done when we first moved in and we are now in the usual phase of neglecting all the little bits and doing them as we go.

The room designated for our study is at the very back of the house and is part of an extension built by the previous owner. Its a fairly small room, but isn't near a road so is a lovely quiet space. Our back garden isn't overlooked by any other properties so while its not exactly backing on to lush green forests, its quiet and peaceful and away from traffic noise. 

We should start with a before picture, so you can see what we were working with. Sorry about the poor quality - I had to take this from the Estate Agent's pictures!

With this room I really wanted to create a space that felt light and airy and that took advantage of the fact that it's quiet. I wanted to pull in some of those Scandi vibes and have exposed wood, a deep foresty green and lots of plants. 

There are still a few little touches that we'll continue to build on over time, but here's what we came up with:

The shelves were built by me using an old pallet and some beautiful shelf brackets that I bought from Suffolk Latch Company and the desk was purchased from a seller on Etsy; also made of pallets. Most of the other furniture is from Ikea including the cute little wicker chair. 

The adorable little plant coaster, which fits in so well with what I wanted for this room, was kindly sent to me by the lovely Amy Harwood. She also sent me a bunch of amazing dinosaur stationary goodies, including the little stegosaurus card and stickers you can see on my desk. All of Amy's goodies are available in her shop and also through Etsy. The coasters are currently on pre-sale and are just £3 each, or £5 for two. 

What I really love about this room so far is that there isn't really a theme or rules for what goes in here. You can see from the pictures that I still haven't unpacked all of my books from the loft and so there's loads of space and storage to play with. It means the room can develop and change to suit how we use it!

Although it does now mean I don't have any excuses not to study...!