Sunday, 30 December 2012

Christmas Holiday Getaway!!

A much needed and highly enjoyable break - and a fantastic time, dogs included!!  Normally we don't go away over Christmas - and usually spend it with our family, but with the events of the past year - and to be honest the last couple of years - we felt like we deserved it and just wanted to get away, just us two and our furry kids of course had to be included too.  We found this hotel in the back of a dog 'hobby' type magazine, and as much as it was quite expensive, a while ago Alex decided to bite the bullet and make the booking so that we could spoil ourselves.

Reading a few of the 'tripadvisor' style reviews left us with a bit of an odd feeling about the hotel, some incredibly positive, and some oddly negative about the strangest things!!  Anyway, we went with an open mind and low expectations - just in case of disappointment, but we were pleasantly surprised and both had a lovely time - though we could see why it was a bit of a 'love/hate' place for some.

I think one of the most important things that we realised soon into our stay, was that the hotel was probably one of the most dog friendly places we have ever been to.  By this, I don't just mean dog 'tolerant' but actually genuinely interested, friendly, accommodating and welcoming of all their canine customers (16 on Christmas Day!) including providing meals (if wanted), strokes/fuss and biscuits at regular intervals, which was just lovely and really refreshing to find.

We had a lovely ensuite double room, with a fantastic powerful shower and with a nice view over the front grounds/gardens and down across the sea in the near distance, more than pleasant enough for us. The hotel was set in its own grounds of who knows how many acres that we couldn't even begin to fully explore in the time we were there, and was literally five minutes walk from the beautifully clean, white, sandy, dog friendly beach.

The weather around pretty much most of the country was wet, rainy, stormy and cold, including home before we left, and the journey down too, so we were extremely lucky in our four days away!!  It ended up that every day was good enough - or better, some days were sunny and quite summer like - for us to be able to have one very long walk or two shorter walks, mainly on the beach but also down within the grounds.

We also took the time to see a couple of local historical landmarks, took hundreds of pictures (mainly of dogs, of course, coincidentally they are quite often in the same order in pictures, complete fluke!!), and spent a lot of time together in the hotel just relaxing, making friends with other guests - human and canine, sitting in front of the fire with the dogs, and eating and drinking far too much rich food and generally not doing a lot!!  We're certainly considering the possibility of going there again, if it was anything like this year then it was so relaxing, gave us some time together not stressing and the dogs loved it too, we all had a lovely time.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Happy 7th Birthday Kiah Pie

While we were getting ready to go away on our mini holiday and for Christmas, little miss Kiah and all of us celebrated her 7th birthday, with biscuits, toys and sardines - I can't believe my little girl is 7 already!!  I know I say that every year but its true, and I really do cherish every year with her, she brings me so much happiness, and makes me laugh all the time, and I just love to spoil her.

I just absolutely love this picture - Kiah smiling at the camera, it was taken on our Christmas break - along with many others, a total of 976 in the end, filling up our memory card completely, and in most of them the dogs are smiling, which just reflects our holiday perfectly!!  I will be writing another post about our getaway - as it was a beautiful location, positively excellent weather in comparison to the rest of the country, and as we had a fantastically relaxing time.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Oops... Lack of Updates!!

In my lack of updates, there's not really a lot we have been doing - we attended the usual Norfolk show in October, gave the ABC qualifier a go... unfortunately not our kind of course set by John Gilbert, we were not quite on the same page this year and it all went a bit wrong!  The ABC is not the only reason we go up there, its a nice show all the same.  We weren't quite as lucky this year with the raffle, no weaves but we did win a box of choccies! Stayed in a nice local B&B with friends (though a different place to the other years!) even though I had a stinking cold.  Kiah was spoiled - she is my princess, and got to come into the B&B, as long as we bring her snuggly bed she is always brilliantly behaved and just settles down for the night.  Unlike me that was all stuffed up with my cold, so frustrating they always make you bunged up, get you down and keep you awake!!  Unfortunately only a couple of weeks after we were back from the show, Alex came down with an awful cough too, and when he finally relented and went to the doctors (eventually, only took 3 weeks!) he was signed off for a week with a terrible chest infection and strong antibiotics.

The estate of my dad is still underway too, with a very efficient and friendly solicitor I am pleased to report, incredibly helpful and constantly on top of things, chasing them up and making sure the answers are received, so that's not been too stressful for us.  Thankfully the house and the flat are now on the market, so even though we still need to continue emptying them, its a start.  Its a lovely feeling when we are down there to spend an hour or two on the beach, so relaxing, fun for the dogs, fresh and a good place to just breathe, especially if its sunny blue skies.

We are both really busy at work, which is a shame to moan about as there has been so much redundancy this year for a lot of people, but it has been a hard graft all year, businesses wanting more and more from everyone.  With the evenings getting so much shorter and the weather more miserable, its always a bit more of a struggle too, the dogs get less time outside, its been colder and most definitely wetter, there's so much more darkness and generally its more difficult to function and get up in the mornings!!  Our dogs are very patient with us - more so in the winter, having to work all day, and though they get short walks every day, checked on at lunch time and their treat toys, playtime or training in the evenings (or in Kiah's case, cuddling with daddy on the sofa), mostly it is the weekends when we spend as much time as we can with them.

There were a couple of winter shows too both within an hour's drive but opposite directions, grim weather at both but Kiah enjoyed herself!!  Two agility runs we just had refusals, a serious error on my part where I just need to commit a bit more, or follow things through, Kiah is just TOO responsive at times, thats not a bad thing but it gets me and my handling in trouble.  Never any major errors, usually just me!  The boys, though not entered in the shows had a good walk and then wander around the show, Risk especially befriending anyone and everyone, such a little socialite he loves everyone, though he does have his extra special favourites, and Davy just being his usual self - apart from a minor panicky meltdown losing where I was, while I was walking a course bless him!

A couple of months ago the dogs had their boosters at the vets, they were all really good and didn't flinch at all - its really nice to get a comment from the vet about how lovely our dogs are!  I always worry about whether all the jabs are necessary, there's always a big debate about the pros and cons, but I think at least for a couple more years for all of them, otherwise I would just worry even more about them getting sick.  As usual they conned the receptionists out of three bonio biscuits each!!

Of course there have been a couple of important people's birthdays to celebrate, no not the dogs' just yet, but mine and Alex's only 15 days apart, and both December - and then importantly miss Princess Kiah's too, she is 7 already - you wait all year and they all come around at once!!  One of my gifts, was a trip up to London to watch the comedian Michael McIntyre, had a fantastic time, he was just brilliantly funny and excellent live.  Another one of my presents was the most stunning framed picture of our three dogs, which I just adore.  Most of Alex's presents are landrover related... boring to most but I think he likes the items that I pick - based on his wish list of course!

Last weekend we spent the Sunday early afternoon up at the forest with our three and their vizsla/pointer friends, we hadn't been up there for a long while and it was very enjoyable, wet and muddy underfoot, with puddles, bogs and clear overflowing ponds, but a clear and crisp sunny day - perfect for a two hour ramble, to get the heart pumping, and to catch up with a good friend, always makes you feel better.

Something I used to do when I was younger was to make (amateur) completely handmade cards from start to finish - usually for my parents or grandparents, normally done when I feel in a creative sort of mood, and a good way of relaxing for me.  I felt the need and the want to do one this year, it took me a while but I created one for my grandparents and have not long sent it off, along with a completely homemade Christmas wreath to hang on their front door if they want to.  This year and the last couple of years, (apart from our wedding of course!) has been a bit sad, so neither of us are feeling particularly festive or wanting to celebrate.  So - we are spending four days away, going down to the West Country together with Kiah, Davy and Risk - to a dog friendly hotel - they have to be involved with our celebrations too; to sleep, relax, take long walks, and spend time on the beach.  To whoever and all that reads this, I do wish you all a very merry Christmas, and a very happy New Year!