A Day At Dog Fest with… Ellie and Fudge!

Hi everyone! I’m Ellie, the human behind my Tibetan Terrier Fudge’s Instagram account @myfriendfudge.I was very kindly invited to write a guest blog all about my experience at Dog Fest North at Arley Hall on the 17th June 2017. And what an experience it was!

Fudge and I set off bright and early on the warm summer’s morning. We are lucky enough to only live a very short drive away from Arley Hall and Gardens so when we got into our car, we assumed we would arrive in around fifteen minutes. However, this was not the case and our short journey transformed into sitting in traffic for almost two hours! Poor Fudge was quite hot and bothered by the time we finally arrived and I was pretty fed up.

We were soon cheered up when we met up with our good friends, Ellie and Amber (from @cheshirecanine on Instagram) Fudge and Amber were so excited to see each other, they were whining so much and their tails were wagging to the point that I thought they might fall off! Luckily, we adverted that potential catastrophe as we began to walk into the main event.

We were finally here!

All four of us were extremely eager to get out and make the most of the day! The weather was scorching hot with gorgeous blue skies. Every dog in sight was participating in #TongueOutTuesday even though it was a Saturday! The atmosphere was electric. There was so much going on, it was bustling. The day had begun…

Our first stop was the show ring. Fudge and I were really lucky and Fudge was chosen as a finalist to be a cover star for the Dogs Today magazine! We were joined by our new friends Amy and Maple (from @adorablecockers on Instagram) in the show ring. Both dogs did amazingly well and posed lovely for the photographer. We had lots of support from outside the ring from Ellie and Amber and Amy’s other dog Hunter! Unfortunately, neither of us won but we all had lots of fun and the dog that won was a worthy winner!image1 (15)

After the show ring, I went exploring the shops with Ellie and Amy and all our dogs. We were lucky enough to bump into the cute pups behind @bilbobagginsthespringer and @littlepaddingtonbear. We had a great chat as the dogs happily met each other.

As we were walking around the shops, a colourful display from the Wiff Waff Designs stall caught my attention. I of course just HAD to have a look. I ended up purchasing a lovely green, blue and white patterned collar, lead and bandana set because of course, Fudge’s wardrobe is so sparse… Fudge looked so dapper in their products, I just had to snap a photo.

We all thought then that it was high time we went to visit our friends over at the Guru Pet Food stand. Fudge and I had such a warm welcome from the great team of Geeksters, Fudge especially, he got lots of attention! Fudge got a sample of their Surf & Turf food and a Trip Bone and he was very happy. He loved being the centre of attention whilst he posed on the Guru chairs. Fudge particularly loved the special space the team made just for him and Amber on their shelf. He posed up there long after I had put my camera away! Our lovely visit to the Guru stand was definitely the highlight of our experience at Dog Fest.image1 (13).JPG

Our last stop of the day was at the Woof and Brew van. They were great and were excited to see us all. Ellie and I bought bottles of “Pawsecco” for Fudge and Amber and they even got to pose on a cute bench with their bottles. (Don’t worry, there was no alcohol in the drinks, I know Amber and Fudge are both under eighteen!)

Regrettably, we decided to leave Dog Fest earlier than we had planned. The temperature had soared to 30 degrees (and yes that is unbearably hot for us Brits) and poor Amber and Fudge were not faring too well. Ellie and I thought it was best to call it a day before the dogs got too hot.

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All in all, Fudge and I had a wonderful day at Dog Fest North. We met up with old friends and new and Fudge got lots of new things. Fudge and I are looking forward for Dog Fest next year, we are sure it will be even better!

Now, if only we were going to Dog Fest South…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spread the Love Giveaway Prizes

A few months ago a group of fabulous shops on Instagram came together for a different kind of giveaway, to enter you had to share with the IG community your own favourite small businesses and why you loved them. We don’t enter a huge number of giveaways, and we certainly didn’t expect to win, but we thought this one was a great opportunity to rave about a couple of companies that we simply love (we chose Luna’s Loft and Bramble & Friends, in case you were wondering). You can only imagine our delight when out of the hundred of entries we were selected as the winner of one of the prize bundles – the bundle included no less than 4 leads, 3 bandanas and a collar, Mum had some tough decisions to make choosing our prizes! We thought we would share with you what we eventually chose!

Colin models ‘The Sprout’ Lead from Hound & Howl img_3259-2

Rhapsody wears the ‘Miami’ collar and Colin wears a discontinued design, both from Fawn & Brindle img_4477

Rhapsody models her Custom Pink and Orange Ombre Dog Lead from Six Tails Shopimg_4534

Rhapsody wears the ‘Phoenix’ and Colin wears the ‘Santa Fe’, both from Rag + Hound img_4908

Des and Eve rock a Nexus Dog Lead from Remington & Co

Xtra Soft Dog Lead from Green Trout Outfitters – no pictures of this particular prize as we gifted it to one of our hooman friends who lives in Singapore and cannot find anything big enough for her Golden Retriever, Maddie. We briefly inspected the beautiful deep purple lead before it left for the Far East and I can confirm that this was the softest rope I have ever felt in my life, it felt like velvet to touch and we will definitely be ordering a couple in the not too distant future to add to our ever-growing GTO collection!

Colin wears the ‘Noah’ Fringe Flannel Bandana from Delair Designs

Rhapsody wears a custom frayed bandana from Wixoms Whimsies

We would highly recommend checking out all of these fabulous companies, all our prizes are of the highest quality and we will definitely be back for more products from all of them!

Review: La La and Belle Dog Bakery

Just over a month ago at Paws in the Park we discovered a brand new dog bakery called La La and Belle. Mum is a little (read: excessively) fussy about what she feeds us so we were excited to find a company that is entirely concentrated on making fabulous baked goodies for us pups! Although we are raw fed, Mum doesn’t see the harm in us having a few treats here and there but she does like to know that what she is feeding us is good quality. With such a huge range of treats available on the UK market, and scandals about the ingredients used in an increasing number of different brands becoming more and more common, it is hard to know which ones are even safe, never mind actually good for us! We tend to stick to dried meat treats for both training treats and chews, the concept of a vegetarian dog bakery did seem a little odd to dogs who LOVE their meat however, we can confirm that despite the lack of meat we loved everything we were offered from La La and Belle!

To find out a little more about La La and Belle we decided to interview the brains behind the delicious operation, the lovely Becky.

AoD: Hi Becky, thanks for joining us today! First thing’s first, who are La La and Belle?

LL&B: La La is myself a name made up by by niece which stuck with everyone! Belle is my beautiful 6 year old Shih Tzu, the apple of my eye 🙂

AoD: What was the inspiration behind LL&B?

LL&B: Belle is an extremely fussy eater and at the time shop bought treats was so difficult to buy knowing what was “healthy and safe” so my mother suggested as I baked a lot why not give it a go?

AoD: What makes you different from other dog bakeries?

LL&B: All my treats are veggie and I have some vegan customers which is great, I like to make my treats look really appealing to the owners as well as I like them to stand out, to be fun and be a bit fabulous!

AoD: Why is it important to you to use such high quality ingredients?

LL&B: I only want to feed dogs what I feed my own, I want people to come back to me happy and satisfied that they are feeding their fur babies good treats.

AoD: Do you offer grain free options?

LL&B: I do offer grain free also gluten free & dairy free vegan, I am happy to change things around for a pooch with special requirements!

AoD: Which items are you best sellers?

LL&B: Thats hard to say as most order selection boxes/ mutt boxes which have a good variety. If I had to choose then maybe new with cheese. 

AoD: Do you offer baked goods for occasions such as birthdays?

LL&B: Absolutely 🙂 birthday cakes, birthday baskets & birthday selection boxes! We have something for all budgets.

AoD: Anything else you’d like to tell us about La La and Belle’s to finish?

LL&B: It has been the making of me mentally and emotionally, I feel happy that I’m doing something where i can be creative and something that I love. I have big plans for La la & Belle in so many ways and I’m excited for the future!

Becky (or La La) very kindly send us a box of Sweet Potato Puppies to sample (just incase we’d forgotten how much we loved all her treats at Paws in the Park!). Firstly, they must’ve smelt great because naughty Eve stole the box from Mum’s bag and tried to bite her way in. Luckily for us, and this post, she wasn’t quite quick enough! Despite the rather large bite marks, the contents of the box remained intact. As you can see from the pictures, our biscuits were beautifully packaged, something you rarely see with treats which according to our hooman added a real luxury feel to our special delivery. Quite honestly, we couldn’t give a monkey’s about the packaging, we just wanted to eat the damn biscuits! Since we were at Grandma’s we decided (Mum made us) to share our goodies with Des and Eve and all four of us demolished our biscuits in record time. Even Des who is our resident fusspot which speaks volume about the quality of Lala and Belle treats! We are already deciding what we’ll be ordering next, I’ve got my eye on the carrot and honey scones personally, what kind of British dog doesn’t like scones?

You can browse all the delicious offerings from La La and Belle on their website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with their latest news, competitions and special offers!

 

Our Favourite National Trust Places in Surrey

For her birthday in March our hooman was the lucky recipient of a National Trust membership card which gains us free access to the hundred of National Trust places around the UK. We are slowly making our way around as many as possible but we wanted to share with you our favourites local to us in Surrey, all three are well worth a visit! It is worth noting that all National Trust properties have their own rules for dogs, some require dogs to be on the lead at all times, others state that dogs must be under close control, it is worth checking the requirements for each site before you visit!

Hatchlands Park – as our closest National Trust location just outside Guildford, Hatchlands Park has become a firm favourite in our walking repertoire. The walk all the way around the edge of the park takes about two hours with shorter routes available for those that would rather enjoy a cup of coffee and slice of cake in the cafe! Most of the walks are through the ancient woodlands and open fields, lots of places to run and plenty of good sniffs. The walks are usually very quiet, we usually only see a handful of other people when we are walking which is perfect if your pooch likes to have their own personal space. The park is beautiful all year round but in the spring the bluebell woods are some of the best in the country. Measures are taken to ensure the bluebells continue to flourish here, take notice of the signs and make sure you keep your paws firmly on the path! Hatchlands Park also has it’s very own lake, perfect for a tranquil picnic, or a chaotic game of save the stick in my case!

Polesdon Lacey – located in between Guildford and Leatherhead, Polesdon Lacey offers a huge variety of walks to suit every need, you could take a quick meander around the beautiful grounds of the stately home or you could take the long 4 hours walking route around the edge – it’s entirely up to you! We love the variety this location offers, when we visited in April we discovered the hidden bluebell woods that laid just off the beaten track, totally untouched and simply stunning. There is also a selection of cafes and shops to keep those hoomans happy. One thing to watch out for is the livestock, dogs must be kept on leads in the areas where livestock are grazing to prevent any problems arising. The fields that contain livestock are generally well signposted and can be avoided if desired.

Winkworth Arboretum – nestled in the depth of the Surrey Hills near the town of Godalming, we first visited this beautiful arboretum in the autumn with our bestie Tilly and the very talented Alice Loader, at the time the arboretum was full of the beautiful red, orange and yellow colours of the autumn leaves and the views were simply spectacular. We decided there and then that we needed to go back to explore further and boy, we are glad we did! We visited in May with Tilly, Archie (@archiesgreatadventures) and Winnie (@winniethedaxie) and we were not quite prepare for the majesty of the bluebells that we found. The carpets of flowers all around us as we walked were breathtaking. Of course, Winkworth has more to offer than just bluebells, the boathouse in the grounds is well worth a visit, as is the vast meadow across the network of bridges!

Where are your favourite National Trust places? We’d love for you to leave us a comment with any you think we should add to our visiting list!

Photos are by myself and Aura Photographs.

A Day At… Paws in the Park Spring Show

Early on the 14th of May we loaded up the car and headed down the motorway, final destination – the South of England Showground in Ardingly. Why, you ask? Well for Paws in the Park Spring Show of course! We were lucky enough to attend the show last year, it was one of our favourites, and we simply could not wait to go back again. We were joined on our road trip by Hannah and Aurora (@thecotswoldcollies) which definitely made the trip much more enjoyable, even if our hoomans were so busy chatting they missed a few directions from the Sat-Nav. Hannah also brought us some new Luna’s Loft bows at match our new Devil Dood Designs sets Mum had made for us, you’ve got to look your best for these events, you never know who you might meet!

After what seemed like hours, we finally arrived at the show and met up with our good pal, Tilly and her hooman, Amy. Excitingly, Tilly was also blogging for Paws in the Park (you can read her blog on the day here – her hooman was much speedier at posting than ours). When we arrived we headed straight for one of the off-lead exercise area to run off some nervous energy, these areas are one of the main reasons we love the Paws in the Park events so much. Lots of dogs (including me!) can be a little bit funny on the lead sometime so having an area where we can do some butt-sniffing without the constraints of our leads is much appreciated. While we were making new friends in the exercise area our spaniel friends Lily and Severus (@spaniellife) also arrived! I’ve decided that the dashing Sev is my brother from another mother, we have matching hair and everything! DSC_0706

The Paws in the Park shows are great for a number of reasons but our favourite thing about them is all the have-a-go activities going on! You can try your hand, or rather, paw at everything from dock jumping to search and rescue and Mum was determined for us to have a go at as many things as possible! We headed straight for the aqua splash area to sign Aurora up for the dock diving, Rhapsody, Tilly and I are far too wimpy to try it (and I don’t do queuing) so we left her and Milo (@milothedalmador) to it and supported from the sidelines! We did however all join in and have a go at; two lots of fastest recall (one with hurdles and one without), a scurry, terrier racing, temptation alley and agility. Phew. I’m exhausted just remembering it all! Aurora and her hooman put us all to shame again when they also tried Canicross, I would’ve loved to have tried it but Mum says she can’t run. Spoil sport.

Of course, Paws in the Park was also a great opportunities for us to catch up with all the companies we love and discover a few new ones too! Our top finds at Paws in the Park were Lala and Belle Dog Bakery and Super Puppies. Lala and Belle had an amazing range of hand-baked goodies for dogs, everything from muffins to donuts, all made with the best ingredients. Keep your eyes peeled for a blog post all about them soon! Super Puppies is the other new brand we are excited to share with you. You all know that we love to accessorise so finding a new company that make high quality accessories was very exciting for us. Super Puppies have a range of cute designs to suit everyone and all their collars come with a bow tie – how perfect is that?! We definitely plan on adding some of their Super Sets to our collection very soon! We also caught up with Benyfit Natural, Wiff Waff Designs and Gerties & Berties, it’s always great to see the teams behind the brands we love and we got lots of fuss and cuddles, obviously.

Paws in the Park also run official agility and flyball competitions, this is something fairly unique to the shows and we think it adds to the amazing atmosphere. While we had our lunch we settled down by one of the agility rings to watch the pros at work. It was pretty hard not to get overexcited by the dogs in the ring but we were nicely distracted by our baked goods from Lala and Belle! At the very end of our day we were treated to something very special, a disk dog display from Ellie and her hooman Sian (@thewondercollies). The windy weather did not make it easy for them but the display was amazing anyway, those girls have got some serious skills! Unfortunately the other two thirds of The Wondercollies, Storm and Jet, were unable to perform on the day but we look forwards to seeing the whole trio in action very soon!

Does Paws in the Park sound like your kind of show? Well, you’re in luck – there are two more Paws in the Park shows this year! The Summer Fair is in Hampshire on the 6th and 7th of July and the Autumn Show is in Kent on the 16th and 17th of September. We might even see you there! You can buy your tickets online here and save 15%!

All photos were taken by Amy (@auraphotographs) or Emily (@sputnikthesighthound), thanks to them for letting us use them for this post!

A Visit to… Not For Cats Dog Deli

img_4920-1Last week we had an exciting day trip planned to meet our friends Tilly (@sillytillypoodle) and Sev (@fachshund) for a good romp on the beach, Sev’s hooman had spotted Not For Cats on social media and thought that it looked right up our street so, when we realised they were not too far from where we were meeting, we decided to pay them a visit and check out what all the fuss was about! We also simply had to meet the big man in charge, shop dog Sampson the Labradoodle, what a lucky Dood getting to run his own shop, right?!

The first thing we noticed upon entering Not For Cats is that it was not your average pet shop, in fact, calling it a pet shop seems a little offensive. It’s a cross between a doggy deli and exclusive boutique! The deli counter was the first thing to catch our eyes (and noses) as it was covered in an assortment of dried meaty goodies, from pig snouts to rabbit ears, from dried liver to goose necks, they had every treat a pup could possibly dream of! Our hooman (and Tilly and Sev’s) can be a little obsessive about what they feed us so being about to choose from such a wide range of healthy, natural chews and treats was amazing. Sev even managed to find a pizzle big enough to take home for his sister, Ava the Saint Bernard!

Once we manage to drag ourselves away from the deli counter we noticed that Not For Cats stocked a lot of our favourite brands; Bramble & Friends, Beco, Green & Wilds, The Dog Treat Company, Benyfit Natural, PitPat, Paws & Hounds, clearly these hoomans knew what they were doing when they set up thier shop. It was great to see such a variety of high quality items rather than having to wade through all the rubbish to find something half decent like you do at a ‘normal’ pet shop. We could honestly have had one of everything, luckily they didn’t have everything in the right size! We also came across a few new brands that we were very excited to try; we picked up a bottle of Wild Wash shampoo and a variety of chews and training treats – we will let you know how we get on with them in due course but so far so good!

Although Not For Cats do stock a small variety of high quality kibble and wet food, we were very pleased to see that they are very much advocates of raw feeding and stock three different brands of raw food; Benyfit Natural, Cotswold Raw and Natural Instinct and well as lots of yummy raw meaty bones! It’s great to see small pet shops supporting raw feeding, the evidence that a biologically appropriate diet is the future of pet food is starting to stack up (if you haven’t seen ‘Pet Fooled’ yet then you simply must make a date with your sofa and Netflix account) and although the big boys of the pet shop world are, in our opinion, way behind the times when it comes raw feeding, we love that the smaller members of the industry are getting on board!

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All for me?
Not For Cats also have their own grooming parlour which they very kindly let us borrow during our visit, apparently no one else fully appreciated the aroma of the unidentified dead thing I had rolled in at the beach…. Luckily, with the combination of the Not For Cats power shower and the fantastic Wild Wash Deodorising shampoo, I was soon back to smelling as fresh as a daisy! I was even introduced to a strange device called a blaster. Not sure how I felt about that one but it sure made me nice and fluffy! Rhapsody and I are hoping that next time we go down Mum might even book us in for a full beauty treatment, maybe if someone else cut us we wouldn’t end up with wonky bits all over the place, no offence Mum!

Not For Cats run a series of meet up events (we hear there are pup-cakes involved!) for different breeds or cross breeds of dog, we are gutted that our hoomans are away for the next ‘Poodle, Doodle, Poo’ meet up in a couple of weeks time (21st May if anyone wanted to go) but we will definitely be keeping our eyes open for the next one! They also have a ‘Sausage Take Over’ on the 7th May, a ‘Spaniel Take Over’ on the 11th June and ‘Retreiver Madness’ on the 16th July – let us know if any if you attend any of them, we’d love to hear all about it! For more information about any of their events, head to their Facebook page.

You can follow Not For Cats on their social media channels to keep up to date with the latest news, events and, of course, lots of cute pictures! We will definitely be swinging by again next time we are in the area and can not recommend them highly enough for their range of products or their customer service!

Website: http://www.notforcats.co.uk/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/notforcatsdogdeli/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/notforcats/

 

Photos of the Month: April 2017

Our favourite photos from the last month featuring lots of meet ups with our Instagram friends (let’s hope Mum doesn’t forget anyone!)

Tilly (@sillytillypoodle), Luna and Aurora (@thecotswoldcollies), Kevin (@sirkevinthechow), Archie (@archiesgreatadventures), Winnie (@winniethedaxie), Sev (@fachshund), Selma (@labradorretriever), Spud (@canine_explorers), Fidget (@fidget_the_midget) and Martie and Mia (@martiemiadt). 

All photos in the blog were taken by myself, Amy (@auraphotographs), Jaime (@fachshund) or Hannah (@cotswoldcollies).