Tag: featured

A Country Mouse Roams the Streets of Bristol

I think Bristol is my favourite city here in the UK.  I like the way it doesn’t really feel like a city in some parts, and it somehow makes you feel that you also live in the countryside.  I love the restaurants and pubs, especially the Old Duke and of course, this is also the place where the Historian and I got married many moons ago.

Before T was born, we used to come here a lot, especially since once of our oldest friend lives there.  That didn’t change when she arrived.  But of course all that stopped, when she became of school age.  Occasionally, the Historian still has scheduled lectures for the OU in Bristol and when that happens, T and I usually tag along and that’s exactly what we did last weekend.  It was a chance for a brief city break for the country mice.

We left Cornwall right after picking up T from school and drove straight to Bristol.  That night, we had a lovely dinner with our friend and strolled a bit around The Old Duke before heading back to our hotel.  It was absolutely packed.  The next day, we strolled by the quayside and had a lovely breakfast at Mackenzie’s restaurant before my husband headed off to his lecture and T and I met with our friend.  We decided to visit the Bristol Aquarium.

And I’m glad we did.  T enjoyed it so much as well as the adults too.  The place isn’t too big, but we spent more than a couple of hours just watching and looking at the different species.  We were also in time for the feeding, which was really interesting to watch.

After a quick-lunch at the very busy Stables, we decided to mooch around the city just to kill time before it was time to meet T’s dad.

Since it was a Saturday, there were a lot of stalls in the streets and T had fun just looking at all of the knick knacks on the tables.  We went to our favourite St. Nicholas Market and just poked around the stalls not really buying anything, but just looking.  We also stopped at a bookshop and just looked around.

I think T is planning a holiday on her own 😉

Not long after this.  I received a text from the Historian saying that he was done and will meet us back in Mackenzie’s.  Let’s just say we were a tad bit late 😉

We did enjoy our trip and we’re hoping to be back soon.  This time with some family members in tow 🙂  What about you?  What’s your favourite city here or elsewhere?

Dog Stories: Growing up together

While doing a paid Instagram post a few days ago, I’ve unearthed dozens of photos of T and Doc, growing up together.  It was touching and moving to see them both get bigger.  I couldn’t use most of the photos, so I thought I’d share them here instead.  If you’ve been following my blog or on IG for some time now, you might have seen some of the photos already.

Doc was T’s birthday present when she turned three-years-old.

They love going to the beach …

taking long walks …

over the headlands and fields …

But most of all, even when they were both little, they just liked hanging around together …

Playing …

watching TV …

And just mucking about …

or having a cuddle.

Doc’s most favourite place in the world is …

by little T’s feet.

Always, even as they both grow older.

They are the “bestest friends” in the world.  T says “I love him mum, even when he rolls on cow poo”.  It must be true love then.

I’m leaving you lovely folks with this quote:

All his life he tried to be a good person.

Many times however, he failed.

For after all, he was only human.

He wasn’t a dog.

  • Charles M. Shulz

ANIMALTALES

Winter is Dead …

thank goodness for that.  Up country, the trees have fully regrown their leaves.  Down here in Cornwall, even though Spring happens early, the trees are still recovering from the “deadness” of Winter.  Some of them are still bald, some are slowly sprouting tiny leaves, pert against the blueness of a Spring sky.  I understand why this is my husband’s favourite season.  He says he likes it because there is hope in the air.  I like it because it is beautiful.  Suddenly the greyness is gone and there is an abundance of colour.  What’s not to like about Spring?  You must be really dull or hate life not to embrace everything about it.

Spring break has also come and gone.  We spent the first week pottering about, mostly gardening, although there is still a lot to be done, we are slowly getting there.

We also visited my in-laws in the second week and did a day trip to the bustling city of London.  It was nice to spend time with the family, but it was great to drive back home to the country again.  I think I also understand why some people don’t like leaving their place.  It can sometimes be a bit cumbersome and I’m not alone in feeling this.  My husband heaved a heavy sigh as he stepped on the gas to make that long trip back up-country.  We haven’t even left and yet we were already longing for home.

Ah home.  At the moment, home is this 400-year-old farm cottage surrounded by cows and fields.  The house gets mouldy in Winter, I have yet to repaint the walls.  There are still remnants of mould even though we’ve tried our best to wipe them away, you can still see them on the walls like scars that haven’t healed.  I’ll get down to doing all that, hopefully this week.

Hope and Spring, such a lovely combination, don’t you think?

Fun in the Sun at Crooklets Beach

We’ve been lucky to have good weather this week.  Managed to spend some time on Crooklets beach last Monday along with one of little T’s friends.  We brought their scooters with us, so while my husband and I were sipping our lovely cappuccinos at Rosie’s kitchen outside, the girls were having a lovely time riding on their scooters.

And after a quick snack of cheesy chips and fruit shakes, the girls were ready to have some fun on the beach.

And yes, we did go away with soggy bottoms, the kids that is.  The grown-ups were dry, but I don’t think we had as much fun as they did.

What have you guys been up to this Easter break?

A Whiff of Summer

Could it be true?  Could summer really be near?

The clocks moved forward last Saturday and it definitely felt like we are not that far from everyone’s most favourite season – summer.  Well obviously, coming from a tropical country, it is my favourite, although I do love the golden colours in autumn too.

I love summer here in England, especially when the weather cooperates.  I love the long summer days especially, sitting out in the garden at 9 pm and it is still light.  We like to sit around in the fire-pit waiting for the dark, the barbecue long gone and drinks have been passed around and little T ready for bed, but refusing to go.  What’s not to love?

Obviously it isn’t summer yet but Spring has definitely sprung. We found something in the small outbuilding we have, down in the garden.  It was a hammock we bought on sale last year.  I think we got in the end-of-season sale in our favourite garden centre.  I remember thinking we must be mad to purchase it, especially since it was the beginning of winter, but I’m so glad we did.

T was delighted when we called her over.  And being a kid, she insisted that we used it right away.  After searching for a piece of rope and two trees that would be strong enough to hold the hammock, we set it up.

And as soon as it was up, little T plunked herself down with a book while her dad mowed the lawn and Doc was busy chewing on a stick and I went on with my chores.  I looked back as I walked back to the house to do my chores, and right that very moment, that instant, it felt like we’ve fast forwarded to summer.  Funny how a hammock can magically transport you into time.

Sadly, as I type this and look out the window, a different scene unfolds before me.  It’s rather a dreary one actually.  T has been wearing her summer dresses to school two days in a row now, even though yesterday, it was hardly sunny.  But as I helped her get ready today, I suggested maybe it would be best if she went back to wearing her grey skirt and tights instead.  She agreed and said “It’s like winter again, isn’t it mum?”  I sighed and said yes.  Her father grumpily added “Yes, that was it.  We’ve now gone back to winter!”

I’m in need of something more magical than a hammock, one so strong it will somehow bring the sunshine back and will it to stay.  Know of any?  Do share.

Dentastix: Dental Care for Dogs

Admittedly, we haven’t done much about Doc’s dental care.  Not because we don’t care about it, I guess it’s because we assume that his teeth are alright.  As far as we are aware, he doesn’t have any problems.  How do we know? Here’s our checklist.

  • His breath doesn’t smell.  Granted it doesn’t smell like toothpaste or that you wouldn’t want to lock lips with him, but if you did, but I’m happy to share that he doesn’t have dragon’s breath.  Knock on wood.
  • His teeth appear to look healthy with no broken teeth.
  • Gums also appear good.  They don’t look swollen or inflamed.
  • And most importantly, he doesn’t have trouble chewing at all.  His most favourite thing to chew is sticks.  As soon as he’s off that, then I’ll start to worry.

And thanks to Dentastix, Doc has been getting excellent dog dental care.  What makes Dentastix perfect for dogs?

Pedigree Dentastix has a unique X-shape and when fed daily has been scientifically proven to help reduce the build-up of tartar by up to 80%.

It also contains two active ingredients (sodium tripolyphosphate and zinc zulphate), which bond with the calcium in saliva and slow down the build-up of tartar. This helps plaque stays softer and makes it easier to remove with Pedigree Dentastix.

As for us, we like it because it’s a treat and at the same it, it’s caring for Doc’s teeth.  And Doc? He likes it because it tastes yummy!  He’s been happily chewing on Dentastix for more than five days now and absolutely loves it.

What about you? Have you tried Dentastix?

Do you have tips on how to care for your dog’s teeth?  Do share.

“This post is a collaboration with Pedigree, but all thoughts are my own. For additional dental care information you can read the following Pedigree Reviews article for tips and advice.”

ANIMALTALES

You know You’re a Pet Owner When …

I’ve been seeing a lot of “you know you’re a mum” posts lately whether on a blog, a photo on  Instagram or Facebook that I’ve decided to make one for pet owners/parents.

You know You’re a Pet Owner when …

…  your front-door is dirty, especially when it’s been raining outside.  Our door is filthy almost all the time.  I hope our postie doesn’t think we’re slobs.  Our regular one will know, because he’s met Doc.  But not the others, especially couriers.  For the record, we are not slobs, we just have a Doc who likes to clamber all over our front door and kitchen window when he wants to come in and no one is there to let him right away.

You know you’re a pet owner when …

You find patches of black fur on your white throw.  I know what you’re thinking, why have a white throw when you have a young kid and pets right?  And I say right back at you, why on earth not?  And yes, I’ll whinge all I want.  If you’ve been reading my little blog for some time now, you might have read somewhere that I like white furniture/furnishings and I refuse to give them up just because I have a small child and pets.  Not to mention finding fur on your clothes!

You know you’re a pet owner when…

Your car is disgustingly dirty and we’re not just talking about the food T and her friends sometimes leave behind especially when we’ve just done a road trip.  I’m talking again of muddy paws all over, especially since the beach is less than a ten-minute drive away, yes, the inside of the car is always covered in sand, mud, muck and all that.  I really ought to give up trying to clean our car.  But at least, I try right?

You know you’re a pet owner when …

The kitchen floor slate floor is always dirty, no matter how you clean it everyday.  Don’t even let me mention the carpet in the rooms or else I’ll never stop.

You know you’re a pet owner when …

You find doggie pooh bags or stale treats in your coat pockets along with your daughter’s small toys.  How long has it been there?  How long have we had Doc or T?

You know you’re a pet owner when …

You talk to your pets.  I know people do talk to their pets, but I’m talking about actual conversations.  You say something, pet answers, and yes, it doesn’t matter that you don’t really understand what they’re saying.  Actually you do, with Doc and my husband, they actually have actual conversations with their eyes and eyebrows only.  No words used.  As for Boots and I, you’ll actually hear lots of words, especially from me.  She answers either with her meows or her purring.

But I just fed you!

That was five minutes ago, feed me again now!

You know you’re a pet owner when ….

You have lots of photos of your dog and cat almost as much as your daughter’s.  And your pets and daughter gives you the same exasperated look every time they see you pick up your phone or camera.  Well except Doc.  He gets all excited especially when he sees me pick up my big camera, he knows we’re headed outside to take photos.  He loves that.

You know you’re a pet owner when …

You can’t bring yourself to move even though you’ve just decided to get up from the couch, only because your fat cat has decided that she needs your belly for a nap.  That’s it human, stop moving!  I need my beauty sleep.

You know you’re a pet owner when …

You have a love-hate relationship with them.  One moment you can’t imagine life without them, the next you’re screaming your head off and threatening to leave them in the middle of nowhere, strangle them, or swap them for a new puppy/kitten.

Life with pets eh?

Anyone looking for a cat or dog?

Email me.

Just kidding.

Am I?

What’s the one thing your pet does that makes you want to throttle them?

ANIMALTALES

A Visit to Wrest Park

It’s been a while since we’ve used our English Heritage membership, but when we visited my in-laws over the half-term break, we finally had the chance to use it.

Wrest Park is a lovely Grade II listed country home in Silsoe Bedfordshire.  The facade actually reminded me a bit of Napoleon’s ostentatious Château de Compiègne in France which we visited a couple of years ago, although of course, not as grand and garish, the gardens though is equally beautiful.

Since it was half-term break, we took little T’s cousin K with us so they could spend more time together.

The girls were not as impressed with the staircase as they were with the painting on the ceiling.

The sitting room, although they really should’ve called this the cherubim room, since you could find them in every corner.  I’m not a big fan of these chubby little angels, so I zoned out when the guide started pointing them out to the girls.  Surprisingly, T turned out to be disinterested in them too.

I found the Victorian conservatory really interesting though, too bad it wasn’t open to the public.

During World War II, Wrest Park was used as a convalescent home for injured soldiers.  I can imagine this was one of the rooms used for their patients.  Can you imagine recuperating in a room with such big windows and lovely views from outside?

The girls of course were itching to go outside.  It was a lovely day and almost felt like Spring has come and so we decided that the day was too beautiful to spend it indoors.

The grounds did not disappoint …

So much to see and do.

After walking for at least an hour, we decided it was time for some lunch at the cafe via the orangery.

The girls went wild inside the empty orangery, running around and shrieking like loonies …

I laughed when I saw these two statues on the facade of building.  They look like they were actually holding their heads as if they have a headache.  I don’t blame them, the girls shrill voices must have done that to them.

It was fun though.

Do visit Wrest Park if you’re in the area.

It’s so worth it.

It’s all Quiet Here

Shh.

The crowd has left, leaving their small-talk and whisperings with them.  It’s all quiet here.  The silence is deafening but comforting too.  I’d like to say I’ve stripped off my mask but there isn’t any thing to remove.  I’m still the same.  I’ve always been the same.  Like I keep saying, if you find it boring here, I’m afraid that’s what it really is like.  I’m not going to feign excitement, or controversy just to be noticed.  It’s too taxing.

I’ve noticed cobwebs forming in corners, I keep meaning to clean them, but keep forgetting, until this afternoon, I finally picked up that duster and dusted away.

Do cobwebs make noise?

It’s amazing how spiders can do such intricate work in silence.  Even the most celebrated author makes noise while typing away their masterpieces, even if they scribbled, in the silence, you would hear the jotting down of a pen or pencil on paper.  With an artist, I can imagine them making noises too as they go about painting their masterpieces, but spiders?  They are quiet creatures aren’t they?  Weaving their circuitous obra maestras in complete silence and then the humans come and ruin them in one swish of their dusters.

Life is brutal.

•••

It’s my daughter’s half-term break next week.  I better not forget to switch off the school-run alarm.  Here’s to lie-ins!  I forget, we are visiting my in-laws.  There goes my lie-ins.  Sigh.

Life is indeed brutal.

Evidence of Spring

I’m cold as soon as I get up in the morning.  I’m missing our warm-terraced house in Bos.  This 400-year-old detached house surrounded by farmland, although lovely, is bloody too cold!  As soon as T is eating breakfast, I dive back into the duvet before jumping out again and helping her get ready for school.  I’ve had enough of this cold weather.  I’m desperate for the warmth and the sun, while summer is far off, I’ll settle for spring.

We had a burst of good weather last Sunday and the husband took this opportunity to chop off the tree that fell a few days ago because of really strong winds last week, although it was cold, I decided to join him and T out for some fresh air.   I also took my camera out to take some photos:

T had fun jumping in her trampoline.  She hasn’t played out here in awhile.

Wearing her current favourite jumper in the world.

I was so pleased to see so much green coming around, a cheery contrast to the drabness of the winter trees.  It made me happy to find spring flowers finally sprouting out in our garden.

And who doesn’t love snowdrops?

As you can see, there’s a snowdrop reunion happening on the side of our house.  Aren’t they the loveliest?

I think spring is slowly creeping in in spite the cold weather.

What’s your favourite spring flower?

I love snowdrops, bluebells and daffodils.

What about you?