Author

I'm a part-time writer, full-time mother and dog-walker living in a small English village by the sea with my husband, daughter and a dog named Doc.

All posts by Dean B

2017 Duck Race

Sorry for such an unimaginative title, but I’ve been writing about this yearly event since 2013 long before little T even joined the village school.  Actually let me add that my husband and I even went to the duck race long before T was born.

For those who are new here, my daughter’s school runs this annual fundraising event so their students could go on school trips and do other fun stuff without having to rely on funding from the government.  It’s actually a lovely event which everyone gladly takes part in.

Every one was praying for good weather, since last year’s event had to be cancelled because of heavy rain.  Thankfully the gods bestowed us with lovely sunshiny warm weather.

It was past eleven o’clock the night before the event, when I suddenly realised that I volunteered to make some cupcakes for the cake stall.  As you can imagine, I did panic and started baking them well before the clock struck twelve and decorated them with icing and sprinkles in the morning.

By the time we got there, all the stalls were up and T’s friends were all happily playing and spending coins on every stall.

No photos I’m afraid of the talent show.  I was too busy administering caffeine into my veins (drinking coffee).  After the talent show, it was time for the dispersal of hundreds of colourful plastic ducks down the river.

As mentioned, we’ve been attending this event for years now, but our duck never, ever wins the race.  I’m beginning to doubt if anyone does (I’m joking obviously).

After the race, little T and some of her friends, headed downstream to have fun in the water.  As much as I love our current house, I admittedly miss living in this little village by the sea, even though it’s only about a ten-minute drive from where we live.  When the weather (like that day) is great and the tide is low, we used to come down here a lot just so T and Doc could have a little play in the water, or to eat ice-cream and just sit and watch the tourists go by.  It’s lovely isn’t it?

Hopefully the weather in next year’s duck race will be as good as this one.

Have you ever been to a duck race?

What we did on a Summer Solstice …

If you follow me over on Instagram, chances are you’ve probably seen these photos already.  It was the summer solstice last week.  We planned on having a bbq just for the three of us and my husband had this grand plan of waiting for the longest day to end by reading Harry Potter to T on the hammock.  We also knew that it was also going to be the last day of the “heat-wave” (at least for now) and that by nightfall, the weather would turn, although we were hoping that it wouldn’t.

Little T re-reading one of her Ottoline books just before the sun hid behind thick clouds.

And sure enough, by the time our bbq was ready, the temperature dropped and the sun disappeared and I could see the mist appearing over the fields, it was like a scene from a scary movie or a Stephen King novel.

Mist descending, it actually looked really eerie.  

But my husband was still determined to go through with his plans especially since he promised T that she could stay up late(ish).  By the time I cleared our dinner away, he had somehow managed to dig out our garden lamps from the shed and made us a lovely cosy nook in the garden.

As soon as T saw this, she plonked herself down on the hammock as we finished our chores for the night.

I loved the little tea lights hanging on the tree and our big hurricane lamp which my husband laid on the garden wall.  It does give it a lovely ambiance, doesn’t it?

Once we were done with our chores, the Historian started reading to T, as I sat beside them on a lounge chair, sipping my tea also listening to the story.

It’s a lovely memory.  I hope T remembers this.  The sound of her dad reading to her on a hammock one summer solstice, amidst the mist, with just light coming from the garden lamps. We stayed on till it was too dark to read and our solar lights have lit up.  T wanted to see the owl light she got for her dad on Father’s Day lit up.

There’s her owl, surrounded by her dad’s flowers.  It’s the best Father’s Day present her dad exclaimed when he opened it.  Apologies if my photos are all blurry since I only used my phone to take photos.

What about you?

Did you celebrate the summer solstice too?

Someone’s Going on a “Pupnic”! … and the winner is …

If you remember last month, we did a little give-away here at Little Steps.  If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, you can have a read here.

The winner of that give-away, with the best comment is … drum roll please ….

Congratulations Donna! I do hope you’ll enjoy your “pupnic” in the woods with Dudley.  You and your furry family member will receive the following:

– Wicker pupnic hamper
– A pack of snacks for your pooch
– Remember to stay hydrated with a water bowl for them and water bottle for you.
– Have fun with a toy
– Be responsible, wherever your adventure takes you, with biodegradable poop scoop bags
– Prepare for irritations and itches with a microfiber cloth for a furry wipe down and give YuMEGA Itchy Dog all summer long.

Thank you all for joining!

Pet Parasite Action: Join Us!

*This is a Sponsored Post.

One of the reasons why we love our house is the location.  We are surrounded by 500 acres of farmland and Doc, little T’s dog, absolutely loves it.  He loves exploring, especially with the other farm dogs.  He likes to go up to the cows and see how long they’ll tolerate him before they moo him away.  He also likes finding the smelliest thing he can find and then roll onto it till his fur is absolutely caked in it.  Then with a smile on his face, comes home to us.

As you can see, one of Doc’s favourite thing to do is chew on sticks.

I do worry about him and all the germs he picks up when out on his adventures, especially since he likes eating the poo of the calves.  Our farmer neighbour said, they (the dogs) like eating that because it’s full of milk. So far, he hasn’t shown any bad effects from eating all that poo.  Fingers crossed, he’ll be fine.

As pet owners, we all worry about our dogs and of course, when you have children, you worry about them too.  Some of us may know that roundworms and ticks are worrying not just for our dogs, but as well as for us humans too.

Scary isn’t it?

Jenni Falconer with her dog Alfie.

In line with this, TV presenter Jenni Falconer is backing the Pet Parasite Action campaign which aims to raise awareness of the need to treat our pets.

As a dog owner and a mum I want to be sure that I do the best thing for my pet and family.  During the pet parasite action campaign I’m encouraging all pet owners to visit their vet for a simple way to help protect their pets against parasites inside and out, including those that may be harmful to the rest of the family.  Let’s act now to help protect all the members of our family, furry or otherwise.

 

According to a survey carried out by Pet Parasite Action of over 1000 dogs nationwide, lungworm worries dog owners most with 74% saying they are concerned about this parasite. While 82% of dog owners are able to correctly identify that lungworm could be fatal to their pets, while 43% said that they think dog lungworm is the parasite that poses the greatest risk to human health, when actually it’s harmless to people.

Over a third of survey respondents (36%) say that they are worried about ticks but just 48% realise that ticks can cause fatalities in dogs because of the diseases they transmit.  Also only 28% recognise that ticks (as a transmitter of Lyme disease in people) are a risk to human health.

The least worried about parasite according to the survey is probably one of the most concerning. Just 15% say they were worried about roundworms and only 7% correctly say they think roundworms could threaten human health. Yet if accidentally eaten, eggs from the roundworm Toxocara pose a significant threat to human health, potentially causing blindness or neurological disease – especially in children.

One in four people don’t realise their pet could have parasites but they might not be visible, as is often the case with lungworms, hard to find ticks and roundworms and the microscopic eggs they produce.

Around 1 in 6 say that it’s been about a year since they last treated their pet for ticks, lungworm or roundworm and despite concern about its effects, 23% say that they don’t know when their pet was last treated for lungworm.

At the end of the day, especially like Jenni, if you are a parent of young children, it’s best to make sure that your dogs are healthy by taking them to the vet regularly.  That old adage is definitely true – better be safe than sorry.

What about you?

Ready to take Pet Parasite Action too?

Join us and help spread the word.

 

What to do on Widemouth Bay when the Heat is On …

We’ve been experiencing some really lovely heat the past few days in the UK.  I know some may be struggling, finding it too hot.  Was chatting with a Spanish friend last Sunday and she asked me if the heat is too much for me.  I laughed and said, no!  Where I come from, this is the norm and some days, especially in the summer, it can be even hotter.  I asked her the same question.  She laughed too, and gave me the same answer.

And what better way to enjoy the heat, but to go to the beach!  I’ve mentioned this several times on the blog before that our go-to-beach is Widemouth Bay since it’s only about a ten-minute drive from where we live.  This is where T and her best-friend F love to go and do …

Body Boarding

And here they are, the two best-friends resting before having another go on the beach.  It’s a very safe beach to visit with little ones, since there are always (especially during peak season) life guards on duty complete with speed boats ready to use in case of emergency.

The waves though can be a little bit harsh, but all the better for the body-boarders and surfers of course.  It’s best to still keep a close eye on your little ones by being in the water with them too.

Rock Pooling/Climbing

Towards the afternoon, we decided to pack up and head for the lovely interesting rock formations found on Widemouth bay.  Apart from the long stretch of sand, those rocks and boulders is one of the reason why we love that beach.  When you’re done playing in the sand and waves, there are other things to do like climb over rocks that have been around millions of years.

And there she goes …

Just look at how unique they are… It almost looks a face is etched on the rock.

Nature never ceases to amaze me.

And when you’re done marvelling over rock formations, one can always go exploring over rock pools too. This is one of T and her dad’s favourite activity to do on the beach.  What better way to end a lovely day, by doing some exploring?

Have you been enjoying the heat too?

Or is it just a bit too much for you?

Prayer for the innocent lives …

lost in the Manchester attack, the recent London bridge killings, the fire that raged a tower block in London just last night, and the on-going fight in Marawi and the rest of the world.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,

and let perpetual light shine upon them.

May the souls of all the faithful departed,

through the mercy of God,

rest in peace. Amen.

 

Childhood Memories and The Swing in the Garden

T woke up crying one night.  When asked why, she said …

“I don’t want to grow up. If I grow up I’ll forget all about the fun things I did, like playing in my swing”.

She only went back to sleep when her dad told her about all the things he remembered as a child.  Like the time his own dad put up a swing for him.  He thinks he was barely five, even younger than T.  She laughed when he told her that he saw Father Christmas coming out of the attic once. How he was so scared that he saw him and wouldn’t give him his present.  Of course what my husband saw as a child was the shadow of his dad coming down from the attic with his presents.  I couldn’t contribute much, because of my really bad memory.  But we assured her that no one will take away her good memories from her and that all she needed to do was conjure them up when she wants them back.  I encouraged her to write more in her journal.  At the moment, she uses it as her doodle book complete with made-up stories of her and her friends.

That swing in the photo is the best £10 purchase I’ve ever made in my life.  I bought that swing for T a few months ago and it’s currently her most favourite thing in the world.

When the weather is good, she heads straight down in the garden for a little swing before coming inside the house.

She can spend hours down there just playing on it.  Swinging on it and sometimes I’ve seen her just sitting there peacefully with her own little thoughts.  It is a lovely sight.

And then there are times when she’d ask us to push her up higher and higher.  The air will be filled with her laughter and giggles and me telling her to hold on tight as she’d go up, up and away.

For me, playing on a swing should be part of every childhood memory.  I have my own.  We lived in the city and didn’t have a swing in the garden.  But I remember swinging in my maternal grandmother’s garden in the country, up, up and higher.  It’s a lovely memory.  And I’m really pleased too that T is making her own memories of playing in a swing down in the garden.

Do you remember your childhood?

 

A Country Kid’s Post: Body Boarding on Widemouth Bay

The weather last Thursday was just a perfect blend of not too-hot and just about right, enough to be able to wear a t-shirt without a jumper on and shorts. Of course, the best way to celebrate this weather was to spend most of the day on the beach.  And that’s exactly what we did.

Widemouth bay in all its glory.  We’re lucky it’s about less than a ten minute drive from where we live.  We drive past this beautiful stretch of beach every time we go to Bude to ran errands.  Admittedly though, when you live nearby, you just take the beauty of it all for granted.  But yesterday, we had a chance to bask in it.

We went to the beach to meet up with friends but came early.  There’s little T waiting for her best-friend F to arrive.  She went into the water but opted to wait for him.  And yes, there was an incessant whinging “Is F here yet?”.  As if by saying he’s name, he’d magically appear before her.

And then our friends finally arrived.  F forgot to bring his body-board but T was kind enough to lend it to him as they took turns using it and at one time, both were on it.  If you’ve been following my blog for the past five years, you will know that T and F have been best-friends since they were two.  They have a good bond and a really sweet friendship.

There’s T’s waiting for her turn with the body board.

Hopefully, these two will be best-friends forever.

I can’t wait till the summer-holidays are here.  Here’s hoping for good weather like this day so we could spend more time on the beach again and again and again.

What about you?

Have you spent some time on the beach lately?

Is Your Dog an Itchy Dog? Plus a Giveaway for you and your Pet – Come and Join!

*This is a sponsored post.

Doc like all dogs like to scratch, sniff and lick.  That’s the way they were made.  When they’re not sleeping, eating, running around like loonies or following you around the house like a love-sick-puppy, they’re doing just that – scratch, sniff and lick.

But unfortunately some dogs are more prone to itch.  Us humans are not just the only ones who have allergies, dogs have them too, especially if your dog is like ours who likes to explore on his own and root around for goodness knows what.

For those who are wondering if they have an itchy dog.  Here are some common signs that might just help you tell whether your dog has allergies too:

  • Itching and scratching.  And this isn’t just the usual scratch here and there, but non-stop scratching, especially behind the ears.

  • Licking their paws.

  • Rubbing their face on furniture as if trying to get rid of something.
  • They may also have hot spots on their bodies.
  • Excessive grooming.
  • Red eyes.
  • Dry, flaky skin.
  • Excessive moulting.

Does all this sound familiar?  Then perhaps, your dog is indeed an itchy dog.  No need to panic, you can of course take your dog to the vet and they’ll tell you what to do.  Or perhaps you can also try YuMEGA Itchy Dog for dogs with sensitive or itchy skin.  “YuMEGA is a premium quality supplement for dogs prone to feeling itchy”

How does it work?

YuMEGA Itchy Dog works in three ways:

  1. It Calms the Itch with extra GL from Borage (Starflower), provides Omega 6 (GLA), which helps to soothe the urge to itch.  YuMEGA Itchy Dog contains higher levels of Omega 3 – 70% more powerful than ever before.
  2. Improves Coat Condition:  High levels of essential Omega 3 oils from Golden Flax seed helps to improve coat condition.  A healthy coat is your dog’s first line of defence against itchy triggers like pollen and grass.
  3. Supports Natural Defences: Added natural vitamin E and Omega 6 (LA), supports the skin’s natural defences, helping your dog maintain a barrier against the allergens that cause itching.

It’s easy to use too.  All you need to do is mix it with your dog’s food daily.  The amount of course, depends on the size of your dog.

It’s the perfect time to use YuMEGA Itchy dog, especially since summer months are known to flare up allergies, and as pet-owners, we must ensure that our dogs are armed against all sorts of allergies.

And as mentioned, the summer months are here, (fingers crossed the forecast will deliver good weather), which means if you’re like us, who love to go on lots of different adventures and picnic with our over-excitable always  sometimes annoying bundle of fur, called Doc, you will need this lovely picnic basket for you and yours.

This very-handy little picnic basket is all yours for free.  All you need to do is comment below and tell us where you plan to take your dog for a picnic.  The best answer will win!  You will also need to like Lintbells on Facebook, Instagram or follow them on twitter and the hamper is yours.  This give-away is open till the 26th of June, midnight.  UK Residents only.

The Pupnic Basket has the following goodies:

– Wicker pupnic hamper
– A pack of snacks for your pooch
– Remember to stay hydrated with a water bowl for them and water bottle for you.
– Have fun with a toy
– Be responsible, wherever your adventure takes you, with biodegradable poop scoop bags
– Prepare for irritations and itches with a microfiber cloth for a furry wipe down and give YuMEGA Itchy Dog all summer long.

What are you waiting for?

Join and comment below!

“I’m not going to win the race mum”

Little T announced this when she woke up on Sports Day.  I replied, “It’s okay sweetie.  As long as you do your best and have fun with your friends.  That’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?”  She nodded her little head.  Later on I wondered, should I have told her to aim to win?  I remember one of the mums last year told her kids “It’s alright to want to win you know”.  And she’s right.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to win.  But at the same time, I didn’t want to pressure little T, she’s only six for goodness sake.  And in my opinion, she has too much after school activities.  She does ballet, gymnastics and swimming.  I’m not even including her cello lessons which they do in their school.  The thing is, she loves her ballet, gymnastics, although I suspect she loves her swimming class only because most of her close friends are in the same class, so it’s really like an extended play-time for all of them.  But who am I to complain when she loves and enjoys all of them.

We never tell her to aim for the gold, or aim to win.  We always say “have fun”, because to us, that’s all that matters.  We want our little girl to enjoy and have fun.  The pressure goodness knows will come soon, no matter how hard we try to avoid it, so why start now?  Like I mentioned, she’s only six.

And that little girl who doubted herself, but did her best, and not to mention is the youngest and shortest  in their class won the race and not because we told her to win –  it was all her doing.  She didn’t aim to win.  But as her dad said, she ran as fast as her little legs could carry her and won the race.

At the end, I didn’t even know she won, I thought it was E, who is a year older than T and has really long legs, and was leading the race at the beginning.  Her dad said “No, T won!”  I said “Really?  Not T with her short legs”.  He said, “Yes T won!”.  I walked back to my husband and said “Did you see that?”  He said “Yes, I’m so proud of her”  And when I looked at my husband, he was all teary-eyed. I guess my little T did win after all.

Later that night, we looked at the photos and the video I took and my husband gasped.  He explained that he told her to not clench her fist, but to relax and open her palms up and then lunge forward when nearing the finish line.  If you peer at the photos I took (although those were taken not in the actual race that she won, but the relay race of her entire team), she actually listened to her dad and relaxed her hand instead of clenching it.

My little daughter, she’s astonishing, isn’t she?  She certainly is.  We are so proud of her.

Little Hearts, Big Love