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Camping with Dogs - the Essentials!

We've been camping with Flash since he was tiny so we're all pretty used to life in a tent together and this means we've got the 'holiday packing' we need to do for him down to a T! Obviously we pack his basket so I've not included it here, but there are some other bits that we take every time we go away in the tent (and a lot of time just when we're off visiting friends) with him. 

I love that camping means we get to take him on a fun holiday where he can be outside, and we don't have to worry about finding pet friendly accommodation either. The site we're currently at in Cornwall is very dog friendly, as is the marina we have the boat at so he can have a play and most importantly for him, eat loads of food he wouldn't normally get a look in at! 

Right now, as we're all sleeping in a tent, in Cornwall,together, it seems the perfect time to share our camping with pupzilla essentials!

What we've got with us; 

One of the best things I've bought for taking Flash anywhere is this Curver Pet Travel Kit - it's two bowls with a food pot in the middle that we use for treats on longer trips and kibble on weekends away. The bowls have none slip bases too so are perfect for camping or sailing. 
We keep a dog seatbelt that attaches to Flash's harness in our car and there is one in both of my parents cars too just in case. Not only is it safer for Flash in the event of an accident, but it stops him wandering around the car so it's safer for us too. Usually for long journeys we have his basket on the back seat and him seatbelted in sat in it, so he's comfy and safe. 
This dog kibble carrier is genius - it rolls down as the food gets eaten so takes up less and less space, and has a dispenser in the bottom. 
Flash is obsessed with this Ikea blanket that I bought forever ago, it's his 'blankey' now. It calms him and makes him feel safe so we take everywhere with us now. In the tent, which is such a strange environment for him, this makes him feel at home!
We always take an assortment of toys but I always make sure there are chasing ones and food filled ones (along with a jar of peanut butter) to keep him busy and entertained.
I know how some people feel about dogs in clothes, but we have a little dog who does get cold easily, so a cute jumper like this one from Dressed by Finn is perfect for night times in a tent. We've also found that more often than not you have to sit outside pubs with dogs, so I pop it in my handbag for evenings out as well.
Jim thinks I'm crazy for having a dog first aid kit but taking it with us makes me feel better.
As we camp near the sea and spend a lot of time on the boat when we're away a dog lifejacket is an essential for our trip. But if you're not planning on swimming or sailing you could probably miss this off the list! 
This might look like a giant corkscrew but it's a spike we twist into the ground so that Flash can roam but not too far. It's really useful for busy campsites where people might not want a dog roaming free and for when you're preoccupied with things like putting up the tent. I sometimes use it at my Nannans house too as her garden isn't secure but with a long rope it means he can play. 

Do you holiday with your pooch? 

My first time making meringues and a food photo shoot.

I had the girls over for dinner a couple of weeks ago. It was a novelty for me to cook as it's not something I do for anyone other than me very often as Jim is such a great cook. But for mains I made Rachel Khoo's Tartiflette Nests (I love tartiflette and these were delicious) and for dessert we had Eton Mess. The most impressive bit for me was that I made the meringues all on my own, and for the first time trying (I once made a chocolate pavlova with my mum but I'll be honest she did most of the work). 

Making them was pretty easy - and I even did the stereotypical thing where you hold the mixer bowl over your head - but the best bit about it all was that I made a few too many so got to have a little photoshoot the day after and put in to practice some of the learnings from the food photo course I took in June. 

What do you think? To the meringues and the photos?


Shore Project Watches - my new favourite accessory

I've written about my love for Shore Project watches before so when they got in touch and asked me if I'd do them a favour (not this review by the way) in return for a gift box that contained one of their watches and four straps I was more than happy to take them up on the offer. I'll be honest for the last few months before I received the watch I was umming and ahhhing about when to buy one, so when the email came through I jumped at the chance to get my hands on one.

And let me tell you - it hasn't disappointed me at all. I've always been a watch wearer, and I've always been a fan of more chunky and maybe practical watches - I'm not a dainty watch strap kind of gal. But last year when I managed to lose the bezel, smash the screen and have the battery go in my watch I stopped wearing one all together. I became the person who gets their phone out to look at the time to do it seconds later because they ended up checking instagram instead. So having a watch on my arm feels like I'm me again.
The thing I love about these watches is they are totally customisable to you - you choose your face from three different Projects, (I chose the Cowes from Project 2, but I am also smitten with the Lulworth's blue face from Project 3!) and then you choose your strap. In the interest of making my watch as universal as possible I went for a strap for every occasion - silver mesh, mint green fabric, navy polka dots and brown leather. Something for every outfit!

I'll be totally honest, going from having not worn a watch for 8 months to this, I worried it might be a bit big for my wrist, but that really hasn't been the case - it just took a bit of getting used to - especially as I am one of those odd balls who wear their watch on the inside of their wrist! I mostly have the silver mesh strap on at the moment but the mint green came to Glastonbury with me as it's so simple to switch them over. And after a couple of months of wearing it's held up really well - it's been camping, festivalling, swimming, on my wrist all day every day and both the face and casing are unscathed!

The box set is £170 for the watch face, four interchangable straps (each with their own store bag) and a really lovely shopper that I use all the time too, which I think is a pretty awesome price. A watch with one strap starts at £115, and the straps are from £20 and if you sign up to their newsletter you get a free strap on your birthday! 

*Like I said although I was sent the watch free, it wasn't for the purpose of this review. I'm about 99.9% sure I'd have bought one with my hard earned cash because I love the way they look!*

'A Lot On Her Plate' Cookery book review

It's not often that I'll buy a recipe book for me, because I'm not the meal maker in our house, Jim is, so I leave the serious cooking and the shelves of cook books we have to him. But last week I bought the most stunning recipe book that I want to share with you. 

Many moons ago I worked with a lady called Rosie at The Leeds Guide magazine. I was in sales, she was editorial but it was a small team and we all spent a lot of time together - mostly in bars in the evening but hey, we were young and going to parties and events was pretty much part of the job (I know, tough life). Since then, Rosie has gone on to bigger and better things, which include writing a cook book. I know, a bloody cook book! How awesome is that?

'A Lot on Her Plate' arrived last week and since then I've been picking it up, cooing over a recipe page, or the beautifully shot images, then popping it back somewhere within reach for the next time I fancy a little gander!
Once I'd gazed past the images the thing that struck me is that I love the fact that Rosie makes and effort to use cheaper or locally sourced ingredients, which is something we know we should do more of in our house so maybe this will give us a little kick up the bum. And that all the recipes have a story behind them. It's so much easier to sell me a recipe that involves more than me grilling some mushrooms and toast, if there is a story I can buy in to.

Plus there is a section devoted to snacks and my goodness - I love a good snack! Jim and I recently figured that we spend more money on snacks than we do actual meals, that's how important they are! And although we've not cooked from it yet, keep an eye on Instagram, as I'll post some images up there when we do!

Tell me, what's your favourite recipe book? And don't you think this one is just beautiful?

Amara Awards - Vote for me

Thanks to some lovely soul I have been nominated for an Amara Interior Blog Award and the voting for nominees is now open. I'm in the DIY and Craft category and I have to say there are some amazing people present in that category so I'm honoured to have made it into their midsts. 

But in an effort to not fall flat on my face in the voting I'm wondering if you might like to pop over to their site and vote for me. The top 5 go through to the final stages and it's tough competition so I'm not expecting my face to be there but it would be lovely it was! 

Click the image above or here to go through to my voting page. 

Thank you in advance for your lovely help! 

Lust List - August Essentials

August always feels like the month that I should be out having adventures. Or just outside. We're off camping and sailing at the end of the month but until then I'll be trying to get outside as much as I can. Countryside walks with Flash, working on our garden, chilling in beer gardens, it's just a shame work has to get in the way and keep me in the office when there is fun to be had!

1. I think I might be in love with these FotoStrap camera straps. There are far too many colours to choose from but I'm definitely putting the Seaside strap on my Christmas list (is it too early to be putting together that sort of list?) but what to have monogrammed on the strap? Decision, decisions.  2. I've no idea how I ended up on the 'A day in the life' Instagram account but I stumbled across it and fell in love with this shirt! I'm just not sure it'll ever be within my budget! Sobs! 3. I've been carrying round one of these swell bottles for a while. It's pretty amazing because it keeps water (or a flask of G&T) cold for 24 hrs - I tried it at Glasto and it was perfect for keeping me rehydrated whilst I did my best to dehydrate myself with all those cocktails and beers! 4. My friend Liz from Stitches and Lace instagrammed that she had one of these bad boy pizza ovens in her garden and now I want one! No, I need one! I'm hoping it's not raining when I visit her next months so we can pizza! (p.s pop over and follow her for general awesomeness!) 5. A shop near work, Moonko, sells these cute candles and I pop in all the time to smell them (and look at all the Rifle Paper Co. stuff too). I have to leave my bank card at home though because of all the cute stuff in the shop! 

What are you lusting after this month?

Watermelon Lemonade

The girls came over for dinner on Saturday night. Well, I say dinner but it was a glorified picnic that consisted of tartiflette nests and salad. To make it feel a little more special I decided to put the watermelon sitting in my fridge to good use and bust out a watermelon lemonade - it seemed the perfect thing for a sunny Saturday evening in the garden and a great excuse to get my flamingo straws out! 
Watermelon Lemonade
What you'll need; 
  • A blender
  • Half a watermelon - mine was about 400g of fruit when halved and cut up.
  • 1ltr of ice cold water.
  • The juice of 6 lemons.
  • 75-100g of sugar.
  • Mint leaves.
  • Ice and watermelon slices to serve.
What to do; Watermelon Lemonade & Flamingo Straws
  • Juice your lemons and pop in the blender. Throw the watermelon in with it and blend until it's all blitzed. I've got a Kitchen Aid blender and used the cocktail shaker setting! If you had a seeded watermelon (like I did) it might be worth sieving it to get rid of them.
  • In a large jug mix together the cold water and the sugar (I used 75g as I like the tang of the lemons, but you could use more to make it sweeter!). 
  • Mix in the lemon and watermelon juice. 
  • Add a handful of mint leaves and stir them in. 
  • Find some cute glasses, fun straws (mine are from Sainsbury's - if you hurry you might be able to get some from their sale!) and add ice and a slice of watermelon just as you're about to serve. 
One of the ladies that came over is prego so I went for a virgin version straight out of the mixer, but the rest of us might have been a little cheeky and added a glug or two of vodka to the mix - I am sure rum would work too! 

Watermelon Lemonade

What's your favourite summer tipple?

*UPDATE: It doesn't keep too long in the fridge so it's best drunk on the day!*

P.s I've been nominated in the Amara Awards DIY and Craft category - which is a huge honour. 

To vote for me you can pop over to their site or click the image!

A look back on July and some August Goals.

July went by in a haze of 'doing' and being busy and full. Busy at work, busy in the evenings, with full weekends. I'll be honest whilst I like being busy I prefer having a bit of breathing space. But July saw me return to being sort of blonde again. The last time I was this shade I was 22! We had a weekend at my brothers dog sitting, we ate a lot of BBQ'd food, I also drank rather a few (too many) cocktails, we had a fun Tramlines weekend here in Sheffield and I did a bit of colourful shopping with some glorious new shoes and a whim purchase of beautiful new laptop. Yay to not blogging on my phone again!  

Now on to August. We're off to Cornwall at the end of the moth to go to the boat which I can't wait for, but until then I have a few goals planned in.......

I think the plans to visit friends might be the most important one here - I'm in need of some silly fun with friends at the moment. But reclaiming the spare bedroom is pretty high up on the list - it's been storing the bathroom suite we bought for months so has been left to be a bit of a junk room recently. I go through spurts of swimming loads, but recently my dislocated rib has meant I've not gone for a while. I love being in the pool. And stealing cuddles from Flash when he's not in a cuddling mood is just the best form of entertainment. He's such an unimpressed cuddler if he's not in the mood! The perils of being a small dog I suppose. 

What do you have planned for the month?