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Review: PitPat Pet Activity Monitors

Ad - we were given these in return for a review but all words are our own

Last month we were sent a couple of PitPat Dog Activity Monitors to try out, obviously on the dogs, not ourselves……..They arrived the day we flew to Copenhagen, so we didn’t get to try them right away, but we’ve had 3 weeks of trialing them now, so I wanted to let you know how we’ve been getting on with them!
 

 

So, off the bat, I should tell you, in case you aren’t aware of our feral little beasts – their names are Grandmaster Flash, and Grandmaster Melle Mel – Flash and Melle, they are 7 and 3.5 respectively, and they are Jack Russel x Pug crosses - which means they are kind of small dogs. About 10kgs each (depending on how much they’ve eaten lately), so I was a bit worried that the PitPat’s, although they are only 5cmx5cm, might look really big on their collars, or be quite heavy for them, but, as you can see from the photos, they fit really nicely, and save from a few times they scratched at them when they first went on, they pretty much ignore them now, which is good.



We’ve now been using the PitPat Monitors for the last few weeks. There have been hikes round the reservoirs, there have been walks through the woods, we’ve scrambled through streams, Melle has swum (yes, it is waterproof), Flash has chased balls, they have played with other dogs, they have played with people. The dogs have well and truly put their trackers through their paces!
And we love them.

It is so so much fun checking their data at the end of the day. And interesting. Because pretty much every day it tells me that Flash has done more running than Melle, which is crazy because Flash, in my eyes, is super lazy – but it tells me he does more running, which might make sense because he dithers so much then has to sprint to catch up with us. Whereas Melle, he’s just constantly on the go on a walk, noodling about, always on the go - but maybe not running.
 

And in the house Flash will relentlessly chase the ball if he’s given the chance, where as Melle will happily cuddle you all day, but Melle will get up and wander round the house with you every time you move, even if you try and explain you're just getting up to grab a drink, but Flash, once he's settled, it'll take a lot to get Flash off his napping position on the sofa!
 
I knew this about them, obviously, but It really is fun, at the end of the day, checking their activity and sometimes seeing how it matches against what I’ve been doing. Because I swear there are days I've walked further than them, just down to the times I've had to go back to them and figure out what on earth they are up to!
So, now I've told you about how we use them, and the things we've found out from them. I'll show you the actual app, because it's so easy to use. Obviously we have 2 dogs, so our app interface has 2 dogs set up on it that we can toggle between. But each dog has their own dashboard, which we can look down and see their activity over time. And then, you can delve a bit deeper into the actual stats from a specific day.
Here you can see how their activity can vary, especially on a day, like the one at the top, when my mum has spent the day indulging Flash's ball obsession!
 
 
 


This last shot shows the badges you can 'win' for hitting your daily activity quota, and also the screen that you hit when you want to download the data. It's super simple to grab the data - you just click the fetch data button on the app, and push the paw on the tracker and it downloads! It is all done through Bluetooth, so I try to only download it once a day, and usually when I've taken their collars off for the day.



So, what do you think? Is a Pitpat the sort of thing you'd like for your dog? Because I'm currently raving about them to all the dog walkers we meet on our adventures!



(I should also say that the dogs don’t tend to wear their collars in the house until we go on a walk, unless they are at my parents, so sometimes the data is just based on our walks, but sometimes it’s a full days’ worth of info.)

Cancer: Lets talk about hair baby........

Can we take a minute to chat about the mess that is my hair. Again.



In the week that I've finally got to the point post chemo where I can use a proper dye on my hair, I'm still dealing with a lot of the side effects of having had treatment that makes your hair fall out!


So, yes, I know I was lucky* enough to be able to cold cap and not lose all my hair during either of my chemo cycles. But for the second time in less than 18 months I'm having to deal with the fall out of losing 60% of my hair and having it grow back again.

Seriously, what on earth am I meant to do with it? It's like there's a two inch fringe growing all over my head. Again.

It sticks up between my old hair on the top of my crown, stands out sideways around my ears, creates a shelf along the back of my head! Basically, if I cropped there a mullet growing that any Toni and Guy stylist in the early 2000's would have been proud of!

This time last year I'd just about got to the point where I could see an end to having to hide my weird short regrowth when I went back into chemo in May, and now I'm at an awkward stage where it's not long enough to hide with any style! All over again. I can get away with a beanie or cap on a dog walk, or if I'm out and about somewher chilled, but there's no making it look nice any more!

I wore head scarves last time I was growing it back out (it was more summery) but people told me I looked like I had cancer and that made me self conscious, plus, real cancer patients, the ones who lost their hair, look at you a bit funny when you rock up in one! Like you're not really supposed to be joining their gang. (I think I've mentioned it before, but online, it feels like there's a definite hierarchy when it comes to cancer worthiness. People who have lost their hair definitely score higher than people who didn't. Maybe I'll do a post all about the hierarchy of cancer one day. If I'm feeling brave! And don't get me started on the amount of people who've been pregnant who have told me that their hair also fell out, like it's the same thing!)

But I'm kind of in a really crappy hair place right now, and I know I've probably got another 6 months of growth before the short hair gets to a length where it'll start to actually blend in with the rest, (it's definitely growing slower this time round so maybe it'll take longer!) And then maybe another year after that before it's an actual style. Until then I'm trying to deal with the fact I've had one usable hair style (half up, half down) for the last 18months, and if it's not this style, it's currently hidden beneath a cap. That's not much choice is it?

So I'm getting impatient. I want nice hair now. I want to be able to properly style it. Grow it out of this bob. Have a messy bun. And beachy waves. And a balayage. Basically, I'd take anything right now that didn't look like I was cultivating a mullet.

I'm also kind of bored by people with decent hair telling me to be grateful forwhat I have, because I bet if it was them they wouldn't be happy about it either!

In short, I miss this old hair. I miss my long hair. In truth, I miss the me that had this hair!

*You know you're living a fucked up life when your idea of lucky is only losing 60% of your hair, twice, to chemotherapy. But yes. I know. There's always someone else worse off. And I can't complain. But let's face it I worked bloody hard to not lose my hair and having hair doesn't mean I didn't suffer side effects as much as someone who went down the #baldisbeautiful route! No matter what the internet thinks!

Beer: Sheffield Beer Week at The Stag with Burning Sky Beer

On Sunday night Jim and I were invited to the closing event of Sheffield Beer Week, a beer and food pairing at The Stags Head, with Burning Sky Brewery. And as we both love food and beer, and have a soft spot for Burning Sky, there was no way we were going to turn it down!
The night started with a welcome drink of a cask Plateau, and a chance to catch up with friends who were also there with us! Cask wouldn't be my first choice of a beer, it's always too flat for me - but this was really tasty and a really nice start to the night's drinking.

Then the eating began!

Starter: Mushrooms on Toast - Wild foraged mushrooms sautéed in garlic butter and cream, toasted brioche, a sprig of fresh thyme and topped with a crispy panko quail egg. Paired with: Cuvée 2016
Seafood: Steamed mussels in a white wine velouté sauce, buttered shallots and pan-fried pancetta. Paired with: Arise
So, course 1 and 2 were made up of some of my absolute favourite things. Mushrooms on toast is one of my favourite meals for when I'm feeding myself if Jims out, but I'll be honest, they aren't this fancy or tasty! And Moules are my go-to meal whenever I'm in our favourite restaurants in Cornwall, although, to be fair, I'm even a fan of the supermarket packets. This had some awesomely crispy pancetta in it. My only issue with it was there was no more bread to soak up the sauce!

The Cuvée 2016 was absolutely delicious. It's Burning Sky's "Saison à la Provision from Foudre no. 1 and from a number of Chardonnay barriques, we then blended in a large portion of Lambic, imported from Belgium that has been ageing at Burning Sky."

We've got a bottle of their most recent release of the Cuvee in our bottle stash that we picked up at Indy Man so I hope that bottle is just as nice!

The Arise that came with the mussels was made as an easy drinking, after work tipple, and whilst it might not be something I'd order over and over in a bar, but it was perfect with the moules because it didn't overpower the flavours of the sauce!
Sorbet: Cuvée sorbet

Our next course was a sorbet made from the cuvée - which was way more flavourful than I thought a beer sorbet could be. 

And then we moved on to a meat course; 

Meat: Lamb rump glazed with rosemary and thyme butter, creamy dauphinoise potatoes, seasonal vegetables and a red wine jus. Paired with: Saison de fête
Both the lamb and the potatoes were amazing. The herb crust on the lamb was so good, but our tables only complaint was that the lamb was a little cold. Delicious, but it could have done with being a little warmer! I'm such a fan of a sour beer so this saison de fête was right up my street. A perfect level of sourness! 

Dessert: Warm spiced ginger and treacle tart with clotted cream topped with candied almonds and lemon zest. Paired with: Saison de Pêche
And then, just as I thought I was too full to eat anything else this treacle tart showed up accompanied by a peach Saison, and suddenly, there was room for more! It was so perfectly sweet and I'm pretty sure I could eat clotted cream every day if I had to! The peach saison was really lightly peached, and so drinkable. I definitely could have drunk a lot of it!
All in all, it was an excellent evening and the perfect end to Sheffield Beer Week for us. The beer was, as we knew it would be, excellent. And the food was really good, so we'll definitely be heading back to The Stag for dinner soon. It's somewhere we feel like we ought to go to more, it's a really nice space, and I'll be honest, somewhere we probably only visit in the summer as it's really nice sitting outside in their beer garden! But it's only 10 minutes from our house, so we'll 100% be back for food soon!

Thank you so much for the invite, Thornbridge, we loved it!

Gifted - We were given this meal in return for sharing the evening. All the views are our own!