Thursday, 28 April 2016

Our Girl Maisey

If you're one of my regular readers you will have no doubt seen our girl Maisey in almost all my posts. Somewhere into the background. Not often spoken of, but very much included in the family activity. 

I always think we hit the jackpot when we rescued Maisey. She was just a 13 week old pup when we got her. She'll be turning 7 this August, which also happens to be our 7th wedding anniversary. Maisey is a Staffordshire bull terrior and labrador mix. I knew nothing of the plight of staffies when we rescued her, but I do now. Such gentle dogs with a bad rep. We believe they really make great family pets.

I try and include her in every family activity that is at all pet-friendly. And she makes sure she is included in every opportunity at home! She is a house dog. She loves our company and if she's not at my feet you'll find her nestled between the boys who just think of her as their very hairy sister!

What's really remarkable - I think - is the bond that has developed between Maisey and Jack. How weird must it have been for a young Maisey to watch me bring this hairless, crying, mini human into the house? I remember it well. She was delighted to see me arrive back from the hospital but was very perplexed by this thing in the car seat. However, she fully accepted him with no issues at all. She has remained patient with him at all times and by the time I brought Noah home she was well used to this baby malarky. It didn't phase her a bit.

Now, Maisey sleeps on Jack's bed every single night. She doesn't obey him like she does for us (I think she thinks of him as her counterpart, not her master) but trusts him fully. When he pets her she closes her eyes, rolls over onto her back and enjoys every second of it. That's trust. Anyone who knows dogs will know this is a vulnerable position to adopt, and a dog will not just do this for anyone. She is still wary of Noah. Although patient and comfortable, she remains vigilant, incase she gets whacked across the head with some duplo, or a crayon in her nose. That makes her smart. Which we already know about her. You should see her many many tricks. She could be on Britain's got Talent.

A few months ago, I noticed Maisey yelping as she bounded across fields, or even just as she came down the stairs. I took her to the vet, and unfortunately it wasn't good news. She was diagnosed with early onset arthritis in both her front elbows, which is just about the worst place a dog can get arthritis. The medication they put her on didn't agree with her. So we made the decision to take her off those tablets and treat her with supplements instead. And boy has that done her the world of good - for now anyway. Until absolutely necessary I'm going to keep her on cod liver oil and glucosamine which has almost got her acting like her old self again. Honestly, she runs across them fields like a young buck half her age.

Sometimes I get lovely freebies to feature on the boys, which is why I was delighted when got in touch to ask if Maisey would like to try one of their goody boxes. Would she ever?! Plus, this girl deserves some attention of her very own! 

So, tailored just for our Maisey, this is what I received in our box. A bag of Symply Dog Food (designed to protect joints) 2 tins of Almo Nature Dog Food, and possibly Maisey's favourite, Pet munchie dog treats. Maisey has been savouring, tasting, scoffing and chewing for a few days now, and if I know my dog, and I think I do, it's a big paws up for this little lot. offer an absolutely huge range of pet supplies. Like, I am talking vast! It's free delivery on orders over £19.99 and I love the idea of the 'bottomless bowl' subscription service which ensures you never run out of food for your canine pal. Go check them out! And thanks so much to the guys over at Petshop for letting Maisey review their yums.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Little Red Wagon

It occurred to me this past week how fast this year seems to be flying in. I'm starting to get school notes sent out in preparation for summer term ending. It only feels like Jack started P1, and now he's about to finish it. And Noah - he's about to turn 2! It really feels like yesterday he was a babe in arms. And now he is a really bold toddler. Grandparents try to hide it under guises like 'spirited', 'determined' and 'knows his own mind' but he is a tinker who keeps me on my toes. His demands are incessant and if you refuse... well... resistance is futile.


Having said that, I have been getting tonnes of cuddles from Noah since I came back from holiday. I guess he must have missed me. He's very much 'my boy'. Not Daddies, not grannies, not Nannies, he just wants me. And I'm not allowed to go too far. I guess it'll be a while until he trusts me not to go away for 5 days again. The thing is, he was fine with Granny while we were gone. 

The days are so much longer, and warmer now! We're loving it. We spend as much time as possible outside. Weekends are best as Daddy gets to come too. I sure wish we had a bigger garden in the summer, but maybe someday! 

Have you heard of Swedish kids clothing brand, Polarn O. Pyret? You might have seen them stocked in outlets such as House of Frazer, as well as having 151 shops worldwide. Their philosophy is...

"...warm, dry and happy children in all kinds of weather!"

That Philosophy appeals to me - As I'm sure it does to just about every other parent! They were kind enough to send Jack their kids Red Striped Rain Jacket (also available in baby sizes). With a soft fleece lined collar, poppers, reflectors, and elasticated cuffs, it is the perfect spring time coat. We have been wearing it lots since the warmer weather came in. It gives a bit of protection from the rain and wind, without being too heavy on a warm day.

Isn't this little wagon amazing? When we were kids, my Pappy made us a little cart. Myself, my siblings and my cousins used to have hours of fun pulling each other around in my grandparents big back garden. We grew up and the cart eventually disintegrated, only leaving a big pile of wood and the wheels. Well, didn't Pappy go and rebuild the wagon?! It used to be black, it has had a makeover. It is lined with carpet for little-bottom-comfort and continually is modified for best performance. You just know the great-grandkids are having as much fun in it as we did!

"Fasta...fasta Dack!"

Thanks to Polarn O. Pyret. Check out the website! Here's what we've been up to in our week that was:

1. Speedy, our new pet snail (he poops a lot)
2. Picnic weather
3. Family from afar
4. Knobbly knees and stripey socks
5. Happy camper
6. Our wee clown in Daddies homemade face paint (!)
7&8. Pondside investigations (newts, toads and unknown species discovered!)

Saturday, 9 April 2016

The Ultimate Date Night

So at the end of last year I entered a Travel Supermarket competition to win a luxury City break in NYC for two. Can you believe it - I won! I was giving the boys a bath when the email from Cathy Toogood, (Travel Supermarket editor) came through, and I was in complete shock. I wondered if it was 'toogood' to be true! Well, normally date night for my husband and me consists of putting the boys put to bed, lighting some candles, and having a couple of glasses of wine while watching a movie. I don't like bothering people to babysit in the evenings, plus, I have to keep those favours for days I have appointments or work. Needless to say, my husband and I really could use a nice little city break, just the two of us, so this came at a great time!

It wasn't the first time we had left Jack. We had taken ourselves off to Paris for a few days when he was 3. But it was the first time I had ever left Noah for more than a night. I knew he would be fine at his grannies house, with Maisey (the dog) and his big bro. And I was right. They had an amazing time. Granny sent us loads of photos and videos, and we made lots of phone calls. The rest of the time we were too busy to pine for the boys!

Our parents were great. They worked together to leave us/pick us up from the airport and look after the boys on certain days. Without their support we couldn't have enjoyed this wonderful time together!

We flounced around NYC, enjoying the sights and sounds of this exciting city. We've actually both been a couple of times before, but this was the longest stint, and the most enjoyable. We were put up in luxury accommodation (different than the first time when I stayed in a youth hostel with 15 other strangers in my room!) 

I think the most enjoyable thing for me was the food. I wanted to try everything, but there was just so much and so little time! New Yorkers sure know how to do breakfast. And lunch. And dinner for that matter. It has inspired me to try a little harder when making dinner. If it is possible to get this much enjoyment from food, I want to experience it every day!

So, this post has definitely been a bit different from my usual posts. My regular readers will know my blog is family orientated and more often about the kids - that's because you'll usually find us together. And that's how it should be. But this was such a treat for us. A little break from nappies, buggies, and tantrums. Just each other to focus on. We felt like a couple of teenagers again, and probably behaved like so. Thank you so much to Travel Supermarket and eBookers for an unforgettable holiday. It truly was the ultimate date night(s). It'lljust take me a while to get back in to the swing of things with school runs etc. And it's gonna take a few days to kick this jet lag. Totally worth it though!