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 and Mu | Gift Guides 2016

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

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Chloe Suzanne Designs Bandanas | Gift Guides 2016

Hello all!

I'm back today with some more gift ideas! Sorry to bombard you with so many ideas all in a row, I just figured they'd be more useful to you at the beginning of the month. This time, I'm doing a little shameless promo for my own etsy shop. I had a quick look back through the blog before sitting down to write this post, and although I mentioned it here and there, I've never actually dedicated a post to my etsy shop. My little corner of the internet, Chloe Suzanne Designs, started in July as a way to make a little extra money whilst I was off work. I sold stationery and planner bits and bobs primarily, and that was that. However, my mum is a bit of a whizz with a sewing machine, and she wondered if I might sell a few bandanas for her that she'd made. Soon, the bandanas became our most popular product!

We've had quite a few Christmas designs so far this year, with new ones being churned out all the time. In these photos Archie and Winnie are modelling my favourite his and hers fabrics (sadly now out of stock) but I'll include some photos of designs we had/have in the shop! My mum is honestly fabulous at making these... they're beautifully stitched and personally, I think they're fabulous quality. They've all been tested on our own dogs (we have five between us, all different shapes and sizes!) and I'm so proud of the little business we're creating. 

We still have lots of Christmas bits available, and I'd love if you'd go and take a peek. All orders placed in December will come in Christmassy packaging, and they'll be posted first class so that hopefully they'll reach you quickly! I'm also offering my readers 15% off with the code BLOGMAS, to say a big thank you for supporting both my blog and shop. 

Have you ordered from us before?

Chloé, Archie and Winnie

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Devil Dood Designs | Gift Guides 2016

Hi all!

Today we're writing another little Christmas gift suggestion post, but this one will focus entirely on a new Etsy shop, run by our friend Emily and her gorgeous doggies, Colin and Rhapsody. Devil Dood Designs sells high quality paracord collars and leads, and they've recently launched Christmas hampers too. The hampers look absolutely incredible, and Mum is super sad that she doesn't have enough pennies at the moment! 

In October we visited a pumpkin patch with Emily and the gang, and we picked up the gorgeous DDD collar for Winnie that we'd won in their giveaway. We chatted about how Archie has a teeny tiny neck, and how hard it is to find collars that fit him. Emily very kindly said she'd like to make him a collar to try out a thinner design for smaller dogs, and to top it off, we even received two matching leads! In fact, we did a little swap; you may see some of my bandanas popping up on Adventures of Doodles! Archie's set has the fabulous reflective cord upgrade, which is perfect for those wintry evening walks. Here's some info from Emily's shop:

"For anyone that doesn’t know, paracord is one of the strongest materials available for making collars. It has a breaking strength of 550 lbs, these accessories are made to withstand even the strongest dog. Paracord is also fantastic in that it is machine washable. No messing around with hand washing or special cycles, just chuck your accessories in with your muddy dog towels and then leave to air dry. These collars are built to last. I made Colin his first one nearly two years ago now and it still looks as good as new!"

I wanted to include all these photos of the dogs actually using the collars/leads out on a woodland walk, as personally I love to see how items look "in action". It's hard to see Archie's collar because of his fluffy little head, but Winnie models hers beautifully here and I think you can see just how fab they look on. I love both styles (Winnie's is adjustable, Archie's isn't) and I think they wear really well.The fact that the items are machine-washable is a huge pull for me, as well as the fact that Emily has such a huge range of colours and designs. The prices are so reasonable, the quality is fabulous, and they'd make a perfect gift for the dog in your life this Christmas. We already have a little list of things we want to order next!

Let me know if you make a purchase!

Chloé, Archie and Winnie

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

We're Doing Blogmas! (Kind Of)

Hi all, happy December!

Archie's right, his Mummy does indeed love Christmas. This year I've decided to, sort of, do Blogmas! At the moment I'm planning to write a blog post every day, but on alternate blogs (for those who don't know, I have a neglected craft blog, which you can find here.) So one day I'll post here, and one day I'll post there... so on and so forth. I thought this would be the best way to do things, as it gives me free days to add in any posts that I spontaneously want to write, fitting them in around the ones I've already pre-planned. I hope this all makes sense!

As you can see, the dogs have got their advent calendars and Christmas dinner from Lily's Kitchen, and we're so ready for December! As for the blog, I've got a few gift guides, winter essentials, christmas photoshoots and lots of other festive fun planned, I really hope you'll join me along the way. I'm also doing Vlogmas on my youtube channel, so you can see more of the dogs there!

Eeek, it's nearly Christmas guys!!

Chloé, Archie and Winnie

The Luxury Edition | Gift Guides 2016

Hello everyone!

Welcome to our first Christmas gift guide of the season! We've decided to start with the luxurious; things I'd love to gift the doggies in my life, if only I could. These items are all absolutely stunning, I've seen a few in person and they're just beautiful. 

(Photos borrowed from the wonderful Fachshund, with permission of course!)

I've been following Slumbering Hound for a while, but recently my friend Jaime posted about Lily's beautiful new snuggle bed, and it's now top of my Christmas wishlist! Our rehomed daxie Winnie went from very overweight to slightly underweight at quite a rapid pace, and the poor girl really feels the cold. (Don't worry, she's been vet-checked; her body just wasn't prepared for good food and long walks when we rescued her, so she dropped the weight quicker than any of us expected!) She spends her days snuggled up in her donut bed, in her equafleece, or buried under a blanket... I just know that she'd absolutely adore one of these beds. They look to be beautifully made, and so lovely and warm. They can even be personalised; what a wonderful gift that would make for your pooch!

Ohhhh Teddy Maximus, how I love you. Archie has a bow tie from Teddy Maximus which is just adorable, and I've always drooled over the coats and beds, but they've recently started selling the most beautiful harnesses. This specific style of harness, with a stomach strap and chest strap, is the style that fits Winnie perfectly, and so this gorgeous Pink Shetland Wool offering just had to be featured in this post. Doesn't Teddy model it beautifully for their website? I'd just die of happiness if I got my mitts on one of these beauties. 

Next we have one of our firm favourites, Broughton & Co. They not only make the most amazing collars and leads, but you can also get engraved love lock ID tags, dog scarves and gifts for humans too! They are just the epitome of luxury, gorgeous leather, exquisite stitching, hand-stamped personalisation and adorable packaging to boot. These collars are most definitely made to last, and I'm determined to get one for Winnie at some point. 

Just look at these hampers! Devil Dood Designs released their Christmas hampers a few days ago, and they're absolutely jam-packed with goodies. I particularly love the exclusive festive collars, and the Simply Handmade Tags ID tags. The hampers come in a variety of options; Ultimate and Mini first of all, and then you can purchase a hamper with goodies for 2 or 3-dog households! They look to be incredible value for money, and it's definitely one of, if not the best, hamper we've seen released this year.

So there you have it, our luxury Christmas gift guide. Don't forget to pop back and see the rest of our festive posts and gift guides, starting tomorrow!

Chloé, Archie and Winnie

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Equafleece | Our Winter Essentials

Hi all, happy weekend!

I have lots of festive posts planned for the next month, but I thought I'd also start a little mini series to share some of our winter essentials. First up is Winnie's Equafleece, which arrived a few weeks ago and has been a complete godsend!

I'd never heard of Equafleece until I got a dachshund; Archie has lots of jumpers and fleeces from various places, but I'd never come across this particular company before. Lots of owners were posting about them in the daxie facebook groups, as dachshunds are notorious for hating cold weather... people were looking for a product that would keep their babies cosy! I decided to give one a go as it's been nigh on impossible to find jumpers that fit Winnie properly, and I'm so glad I did.

Once I had Winnie's measurements (the most important one is the measurement from breastbone to base of tail) I found the website really easy to use. I went for an 18-20 inch slim dachsie jumper, as Win is very long and very thin! Length-wise it's perfect, and I love that her legs can't get stuck inside the jumper... believe me, this happens every time I try to put any other kind of jumper on her. It's been perfect for our recent wintry walks, but with daxies being so sensitive to the cold I know it'll be used all year round.

I love it so much that I think I'm going to get a couple more; I'd really like a mulberry one next, and maybe a red one for little Archie pup.

What are your winter essentials? We can't wait to share more of ours with you.

Chloé, Winnie and Archie

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

An Update on Winnie! | 3 Months in her Forever Home

Hi everyone!

A side note before we start... the photos in this post are completely irrelevant; they're just super cute photos of my two with my parents' cocker spaniel, and I wanted to use them!

I thought it might be nice to write a little update post on Winnie today. You see photos of her on the blog and on instagram, but I haven't really gone into detail about her health or behaviour since my "Archie has a Sister!" post. We've had Winnie for three months now (feels like forever!) so I thought you were over-due a little update.

If you read my first post about Winnie, you'll know that she was a little dog with some biiiiiig issues. She had all her teeth removed the same week that we got her, but thankfully, she recovered very quickly. You'd never know that she has no teeth! She eats like a champ, and the only time I really notice it is when she tries to pick up and carry around a toy... it's a bit difficult with just gums, bless her. Sadly, her teeth weren't her only issue when she came to us. She was vastly overweight (even though lots of people tried to tell me otherwise! I can assure you, a miniature dachshund should not weigh almost 8kg) and she also had some hair loss. Her weight is now totally under control! She's 5.2kg and looks so much better, as well as being far more energetic and active. Good food and daily walks have done wonders for her, and now that she's spayed, her hair loss is the only health issue we're trying to combat. Hopefully, an upcoming vet visit can shed some light on the cause of it. 

Perhaps her most serious issue was a psychological one; her fear of other dogs. Winnie still absolutely hates other dogs, unless she's met them many times (like my parents' cocker, Ruby, pictured above) or they're a fellow dachshund. It took a good few weeks for her to really accept Archie, and I'd say it's only in the last 6 weeks or so that they've become "friends". They pal around together most of the time now, and I often find them snuggled up together. Even when she's spent lots of time with a different dog though, any little thing can spook her, and the barking and snapping will start. She regularly barks at my parents' dogs, especially if they try to play fight with Archie! As she has no teeth, she herself can't do any damage, but that doesn't mean another dog won't harm her if she starts growling. I've found that going on a walk is the best way to introduce Win to another dog, and we've made a little best friend, Bernie the daxie, who lives locally to us. We try and go on at least one walk together a week, and I truly think it's helped with Winnie's issues. Unfortunately, it's now Archie who does most of the barking at other dogs!

The only other thing we're trying to work on with Winnie is her housetraining; she was doing pretty well by the end of the summer, but when the bad weather hit and I went back to work, it all went out of the window and she won't even use puppy pads now! I'm finding that an early morning dog walk and forced regular trips out to the garden are helping somewhat, so I'm sure we'll get back into a routine soon. 

So there you have it! A little update on Winnie. She still has some issues, and goodness knows she's brought out some bad habits in Archie, but I love her dearly. I'm so glad we took her on, and I can't wait for you to see some of the Christmas themed photos I've already taken of her for Blogmas!

I hope you're all well, 

Chloé, Archie and Winnie

(PS; Dogs are wearing jumpers by B&M and Home Bargains, Bernie's tartan coat is from The Range, Winnie's collar is from Duke Loves Fergie and her harness is from Wagytail.)

Sunday, 13 November 2016

We Love You, Autumn.

Hello all!
Anyone who knows me, will be aware that Autumn and Winter are undoubtedly my favourite times of year. I love the dark, cold evenings (even though they make blog photos and videos for my youtube channel nigh on impossible!) I adore Christmas, and more than anything... I love bundling up in a coat and scarf and getting out with the dogs. 

On Halloween, the doggies and I ventured to the field opposite our house for a little late afternoon run. It's our usual afternoon walking spot, however on this day, it just looked beautiful. The leaves were crisp and orange, the sunset was glorious, and the dogs were obliging photography models. I just really wanted to share a few of my photos with you! Both dogs are wearing harnesses from Wagytail.

The next day, however, November hit with a vengeance and the field was a soggy mess! Even the drizzle didn't stop us enjoying our walk though, I just wrapped the dogs up in some jumpers (both from Pets at Home) and off we went.

I love these little dogs, and I love that becoming a dog owner this year has made me a little bit fitter, a little bit healthier... and someone who actually loves to walk!

Are you enjoying Autumn?

Chloé, Archie and Winnie