Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Winter Sunshine | Dog Walks & Best Buddies

Hi everyone, happy #woofwoofwednesday! 

I hope this week is treating you well so far. I'm still super unwell, so we've been cooped up quite a lot, but yesterday I was determined to get some fresh air and make the most of the winter sunshine. We headed off to some local woodland with our best friend Bernie, and his mum Shannen. I snapped a few photos, and just wanted to share them with you! I'm hoping to make the blog (and my life in general!) more about experiences and less about "stuff", so you'll be seeing lots more walkies and adventures posts hopefully.

Having a local friend to go on dog walks with has been really invaluable to me; Bernie is around the same age as Archie, and is the same breed as Winnie, so Shannen and I can obsess over our love of daxies as well as discuss how to deal with pubescent male dogs! Our three doggies really love each other, too. Archie isn't allowed off lead too often any more, because he barks so much at other dogs. When he does go off lead though, he loves to sprint as fast as he can so that Bernie chases after him!

I hope you've enjoyed seeing a glimpse into our walks; we just wanted to pop by and say hello!

Chloé, Archie and Winnie

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Dry Hound Fleeces | Our Winter Essentials

Hello all, 

Long time no speak! We had a lovely break over Christmas and New Year, and intended to come back to the blog bright and early this month... unfortunately, my immune system had other plans, and I've been very poorly with Bronchitis. I've dragged the laptop out today, determined to write a post, however you'll have to forgive the unedited photos: I don't have enough energy to fight with my editor!

You may remember our last Winter Essentials post, which was about Equafleece. I still love Winnie's fleece, but she lost quite a bit of weight at the end of last year, and I felt it wasn't fitting her well enough. Additionally, I wanted something similar for Archie; with two to buy for, I decided to hunt out a cheaper option. A friend of mine had mentioned Dry Hound to me in passing, mainly in reference to their adorable dog coats. I didn't realise at the time, but they offer polartec fleeces too, with a free made to measure service. Once I realised this, I knew I had to give them a go! The prices are almost too good to be true; Archie's fleece was just £13, and Winnie's was £16.

I decided to go for the water repellant fleece tank, without legs or polo neck, and as it was nearly Christmas at the time I went for this lovely, festive red. Most of the dogs' leads and harnesses are red, it just looks lovely on both of them! The ordering process was so easy; I simply followed their measurement guide, input my numbers and voila, I was done. The fleeces fit the dogs like a glove, they're absolutely perfect and keep them so snug and dry on soggy walks. I'm honestly so impressed with them, I already have a list of things to buy next! I'd really like this coat for Archie, and I want some more fleeces (this time with the polo neck, and legs for Archie) in the lovely Bottle Green. I'm hoping they release more colours, too.

Have you ever ordered from Dry Hound? Let me know!

Chloé, Archie and Winnie

Monday, 19 December 2016

Christmas Treats | Wellybix!

Hello everyone, and welcome to the last week before Christmas!

I'm off work now until the new year, so I've been a busy bee getting some photos taken for the blog, as blogmas got a little bit derailed didn't it! We were very kindly sent some lovely dog biscuits from Alison and Welly at Wellybix; one of our favourite small businesses. They have some fab Christmassy flavours, and I feel so guilty that I haven't had a chance to share them with you until now! The treats were beautifully packaged, and I loved the card with some of our dog blogging friends!

We received two packs of treats, in festive Chocolate and Cranberry flavours. You can purchase the duo here. Here's some info from Wellybix's website: 

      "After giving up my job as a pastry chef, initially to become a carer for my mother, I am now the proud owner of Wellybix, a thriving cottage industry making dog treats!  I hadn’t anticipated doing this at all, it just happened over night!
My business had its grounding  Christmas 2012 when I decided to bake some biscuits for my Jack Russell, Welly.  It wasn’t long before I began supplying the local hotel and holiday cottages with biscuits to give to clients who brought their pets on holiday.

Spurred on by the initial success, I set about formalising my business, coming up with the name Wellybix after my Jack Russell Welly-Bob and sending the biscuits off to a veterinary laboratory for complete nutritional analysis.

Two-year-old Welly does his bit by ensuring baking standards are met - he is my chief tester. He waits for each batch to come out of the oven and makes sure they are up to scratch!

Wellybix now supplies Pet Shops and Farm Shops in County Durham, Cumbria, North and West Yorkshire, Gloucestershie and further afield."

Alison is such a lovely lady, and the biscuits look (and smell!) fabulous. It's also extremely reassuring that the products have had a complete nutritional analysis done in a veterinary laboratory, as any good dog owner will know that it's SO important to research everything that you feed your dog. I have 100% confidence in these treats, and know that they only contain good, healthy ingredients. Archie absolutely went mad for the chocolate ones, but Winnie prefers the bone-shaped cranberry variety!

Have you tried Wellybix treats with your dogs? Let us know! 

Chloé, Archie and Winnie

Saturday, 17 December 2016

A Little Thank You

Hi everyone, happy weekend!

When I posted about the dogs and their impact on my life at the beginning of the week, I didn't expect to get the overwhelmingly positive response that I got. This blog is still just a new, little space, with just a few followers, and I really didn't expect so many people to email or tweet me, expressing their own feelings and telling their own stories. It was so lovely, and I just wanted to say a little thank you to everyone who took the time to leave a comment or message me privately.

It's quite daunting to share a story so personal, generally I'm not a person who shouts from the rooftops about mental illness... in fact, until very recently I denied the existence of my depression altogether. It's only once you start to emerge from the other side, that you realise the true gravity of the situation. It felt almost frivolous to go back to cute dog photos and reviews after that, so I took a few days off from Blogmas to gather my thoughts... if you follow my youtube channel, you'll probably have noticed that I took a few days off from Vlogmas, too. I'm back now though, and I have cute dog photos galore! Haha. 

I hope you're all well, and that you're enjoying the festive period! I'm off work for two weeks now (perks of working in a school!) so I'm hoping to go back to blogging every other day, at least.

Speak soon!

Chloé, Archie and Winnie

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Having Dogs Has Changed My Life

Hi everyone, hope Monday treats you well!

I've got a personal post for you today, about how having dogs has changed my life for the better. I feel like that first photo maybe should have been of Archie, as he's my "first born" (lol), but the one of Winnie and I is just too cute. 

In April of this year, I was in a bad place. I'd been working in a job I hated for 9 months, with long hours, negative energy around me and very little free time to unwind. I felt totally stuck in a rut. I'd spent 16 years at school, college and university... and for what? I wasn't using my brain at all in that particular job, just keying in numbers all day long, and I felt completely worthless. I was also really struggling with graduating from university the previous year; I missed my friends, I missed studying and I even missed deadlines! Combined with moving home from uni and feeling like I almost didn't "fit" at home any more, I was in a bit of a state. All of this added up to a feeling of despair, a quarter-life crisis I suppose.

It all came to a head when I began to get ill; I don't know if I've ever mentioned it on this blog, but I actually suffer from Crohns Disease. In the grand scheme of things I'm very lucky... I can often go years without a serious flare up, though I do have days where it'll suddenly strike, and I'll be wiped out for a day or two. It's primarily (for me, anyway) triggered by stress, and my horrible job was definitely causing me a lot of stress. I'd had to take a handful of days off work (4.5 in 8 months, to be exact) and they decided that was enough to haul me in for meetings, refuse to pass my probation, and make me feel totally inadequate. 

Studies suggest that those who are chronically ill, are the least likely to take time off sick... we're desperate to prove ourselves, and not let anyone down. If I ever take a day off, you can guarantee that I've been feeling awful for a while. I even went into work when my limbs started to swell up (another, lesser known side effect of my illness), and I could barely walk! To add insult to injury, several people in my team had taken more time off than I had, but I was the only one facing any "consequences". Don't get me wrong, for the most part I really liked everyone on my team, but the whole situation just wasn't fair. I couldn't work there any more, and my GP signed me off with stress. 

It's a cliché phrase, but I sank into a deep depression. I've suffered with depression and generalised anxiety disorder since I was 8 years old, but this year was one of my lowest points. Depression can make you do impulsive things, and one day whilst browsing the internet (I was actually looking for a thrianta rabbit!) I came across a litter of yorkie puppies. My brain told me I had to have one. In order to do so, though, I would have to finally move into the house that my boyfriend and I had been renovating for the past year. He already lived there, but I had decided to hold off until it was done, as I can't stand mess and disorder. Not any more, though. I had to have a puppy, and I had to have one now. Like I said... depression can make you do impulsive things. 

I found the litter on a Thursday, we viewed them on the Saturday, and by the following Wednesday I had collected Archie and moved in with my boyfriend. My life changed irrevocably overnight! I was still unemployed at this point, though I did have some money saved up that just about tided me over until I started working again in September. When I look back on this time, I feel so, so sorry for my boyfriend. He deserved more time to get his head around the fact that I'd be moving in, especially after living there alone for 6 months. He never wanted pets either, but I'm afraid that comes with the territory if you're dating me!

I won't lie to you... this past summer was really, really hard. Moving in with Will so suddenly didn't do us any favours; despite already being together for 3 years, it's definitely true that you don't really know someone until you live with them. In those first few weeks with Archie too, and later again with Winnie, I had many moments of thinking "what the heck have I done?!" Now though, with perspective, a new job that I'm so much happier in, and being in a great place with my boyfriend, I can honestly say that these two little dogs have changed my life. Getting Archie in May gave me something to get out of bed for. Getting a dog inspired us to start selling dog bandanas on etsy. I'm fitter than I've been in years, thanks to long walks in the woods and over fields. I've learnt that contrary to what I've often worried about, I'm definitely not selfish, and I'm capable of being a good parent.

Basically, I want to be the person that my dogs think I am. They think I'm pretty great.

Chloé, Archie and Winnie

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Mabel & Mu Christmas Bow Ties!

Morning everyone, and Happy Friday!

Today I thought I'd share some photos of the doggies in their Christmas bow ties, which I bought last month from Mabel & Mu. I had some gingerbread collars from Fur N Fabric, and these gorgeous bow ties look SO cute on them! They were so reasonably priced, and this particular fabric is lovely and sturdy. I also ordered a different winter design for Winnie which she's worn to death, she wore it to the Christmas Market yesterday too!

I will definitely be buying more from Mabel & Mu in future, as the dogs need more everyday bow ties... I honestly used to laugh at people who dressed up their dogs; if only I knew then what I know now!

Are you a bow tie fan?

Chloé, Archie & Winnie

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Best Friends and Frosty Days

Hi all!

How is it already the 7th December?! The month is flying by, and it'll be Christmas before we know it. Today's post is just a little impromptu one, sharing some photos that I took on a walk with friends a few weeks ago. The dogs get walked every day, but I have to be honest and say that when I walk them alone, it's not always an enjoyable experience for me. Before we got Winnie, Archie was the perfect little pup in public. Unfortunately, getting a second dog coincided with all his hormones hitting, and it was like someone replaced my little one overnight! At home he's cuddly and wonderful, but in public he now barks and barks at every other dog he sees... and sometimes people as well. All this means that he can't be trusted off-lead any more, which is just rubbish. (You can see his lead draped over the other dogs in the above photo, it's from Devil Dood Designs!)

Thankfully, we have a lovely little daxie friend named Bernie who we go on weekly walks with, and both Winnie and Archie love him (a totally novelty in this house... Winnie hates any dog who isn't Archie, or a fellow Dachshund.) Meeting Bernie and his Mum has been such a lifesaver for me, as not only do the dogs have a friend to play with, but walks are much more enjoyable for me with an extra pair of eyes to look out for potential issues (read; other dogs, cyclists or joggers!) and someone to chat away to. Plus... we get super cute photos of our little trio. 

We're hoping to take Winnie and Bernie to a Christmas market tomorrow: I'd normally take Archie too, but he doesn't like crowds! I feel so mean leaving him at home, but I know he'd rather have a playdate with my parents' dogs anyway. I'm hoping to get some Christmassy photos of the dogs, and will share them here if I do!

Do you have any tips for stopping your dog from barking?

Chloé, Archie and Winnie