Monday, 29 December 2014

Compelled to write

As we near the start of a new year I feel compelled to write my thoughts over the last.

This year has certainly felt quite tiring, emotionally and physically. This is most likely due to raising and training our Sprocker spaniel, Fearnley. 

We are so proud of what he's achieved as he approaches his first birthday, I'd thought I'd list the best moments:

- Learning 'down' at 10 weeks
- Gaining the confidence to meet, greet and play with every dog we meet
- When Matt had concussion, Fearnley at 10 weeks knew to snuggle next to him on the sofa to help him feel better
- Reaching the advanced stage of puppy training
- Learning bang, leave, wait, off, stay, speak, paw, jump, find it, circle and currently learning stop (running after a ball and then stopping immediately) 
- Overcoming his car sickness to enjoy his car journeys
- Being a joy to everyone he meets, so kind natured, inquisitive and full of beans

Other things we are to still master:
- Bathtime
- Come, when asked first time!
- Crying when not allowed in our bed..

We're sure we can conquer these in time, after all he's still technically a pup! Who knows what next year will bring. We hope to enter Fearnley into either agility classes or to partake in beating. It's in his blood after all, his favourite game is searching for things, his tail spins like a helicopter in excitement! 

We're also planning on doing more to the house. We need new fences outside, a new shed and we'd really like to get the veg patch going again. I hope we can achieve this by next summer. 

Also on the list is updating the bathroom further, it's crying out for brand new Victorian style taps. We're also looking forward to another holiday in Cornwall, this time with the family, along with perhaps a weeks stay in Europe for just the two of us. Although this does make us feel rather spoilt! Two holidays! 

I haven't mentioned this previously, but we recently acquired some money which came just in time to help us purchase a new car which accidentally got written off a few months back. It's got bags of space which is ideal for whatever the future may bring, but for now, Fearnley is quite keen on making the most of the space in the boot, with his bed spread out everywhere. I hope we get to go on more day trips together as these are my favourite times.

I also look forward to doing more baking and cooking. We've been so busy lately that we haven't been making delicious, healthy meals like we should be, so we're going to get back into this and very much enjoy eating it.

I also enter the new year with some loss, a dearly beloved family member passed in August and I'm still struggling with the thought that they won't be here with me in the new year. 

A nice surprise though, is seeing my cousin yesterday for whom I haven't seen for six years. He's so grown up and I have the blessing of spending new year with him and my friends and I can't wait! 

So, family, friends and Fearnley made my year, what about yours? X

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Generation Y...awn

There's an article I read recently that resonated with me. It's almost as if I wrote it, I'm slightly annoyed I didn't muster the time to research and write it before this lady did.

It was a first person article in Stella magazine, a supplement to The Telegraph entitled 'Generation Y...awn'. Not only a fantastic title, the first line had me hanging right through to the end. The basic discussion throughout the piece argued the point that babies born in the 80s and 90s are, well boring. We indulge in hobbies traditionally assigned to our grandmothers (sewing, cooking, gardening) and we choose to dress comfortably with materials that will last (cue the tweed jackets and normcore trend). But why is this so?

There was evidence to support the fact that our generation is finally putting a downward trend in binge drinking, drug taking and eating crap food.

We are taking care of our bodies. How many twenty something's do you know who now regularly drink protein shakes, go to the gym before work and upload pictures of their 'eat clean' dinners to social media? 

It's not unusual and there is certainly nothing wrong with this notion either. The article explained that our generation are simply doing what our parents did best - which was rebel against their parents. We are actively doing the opposite of what our parents did our age! They had much easier and / or socially acceptable access to drink, drugs(?), convinience (crap) food for the first time, so if we did it too, were just being exactly like them. But each one of us wants to rebel against that - we want to be different. Now the economy has a big part to play in this too. We don't have as much money as we would like to and go out every weekend, we are all budgeting and that goes as far as our fashion and food. Everything we can afford must count, must have a dual benefit. Hence our sensible choices in our lives. How many people do you know who are now making sensible decisions (rebelling against their parents), buying a house rather than spending the deposit on a wedding? I know I do.

I can honestly say that as a part of Generation Y, my lifestyle has shifted, I crave intimate homemade dinners with friends rather than blowing the months budget on one night out. I like supporting friends on their charity fundraising run instead of buying them unwanted birthday presents. I enjoy learning crafts off others rather than relying on getting things readymade. I've bought a cottage to suit my lifestyle rather than an inner city apartment. I have a dog and enjoy holidaying in Cornwall rather than the sunshine abroad.

This theory partly goes hand in hand with lipstick feminism (for which I am, research it). There is nothing wrong with admitting you like to be different to what the stereotype of living in your twenties should be like. This is just one idea that explains why so many of us may choose a different path. After all, the whole point of being young is rebelling.. So isn't that what I'm (and many others) are doing? X

Read it for yourself and let me know your thoughts:

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Trust us, puppies are like babies

Time flies when your having fun, or in our case, when you have a puppy. 

We signed up for a puppy, but had no idea how baby like they are, and how much time it really takes to invest into bringing them up to be a well behaved dog. 

I don't want to sound silly, as if I didn't expect there to be a few hiccups on the way, but my dear god we've had our few hiccups!

It's awfully unsettling when you realise there is something wrong with your puppy, and they have no way of telling you what's making them poorly. In our case the puppy will cry in the night, two or three times, much like a baby will. There's the first similarity. 

You feel like a fool for calling the vets, once or twice a week, for advice or to book an appointment, but then find something happens so you have to take him to the out of hours vets (£££) when you were just planning to go to your weekly pub visit. Babies are spontaneous and not always in a good way, as so are puppies, similarity number two.

Similarity number three is when it comes to spending time at friends houses. The puppy is made to feel welcome, except you can't help but never relax as you will always worry and hope they treat the home with respect, and not let new smells and objects get the better of them. Just like a toddler walking around in a new environment, touching and wanting to feel everything, the puppy is exactly the same. 

It's difficult to control puppies in new environments, you don't know how safe they are, what they are allowed to do and if they know how to correctly behave. 

More often than not they can get it wrong, but this is the number one thing which is guiding us to bringing him up. 

We have these golden few months to make sure he experiences so much, meet so many and learn all he can so he can grow up to be a well natured dog. No pressure! Raising him and putting all our puppy class training into action, we are expecting quite a lot from him, but I can see the results slowly emerging, which makes up for the lack of things we haven't been able to do since before march, like going shopping together or having lunch out..!

Once weary about other dogs and other people, especially children, he shows no fear, once interested in grabbing food at his eye level, he's learning to leave it alone. Once running where he chooses, he's learning to look to us for direction. Once crying when we left the room, he's now happy with alone time and settles in his bed.

I couldn't of quite imagined just how much time it takes to invest in a dog. Of course you don't have to spend as much time doing the things we do, but we both believe it is vital; we owe it to his working breed, we are responsible for him and his behaviour with friends, family and strangers. We dreamt of a dog like him all our lives, we owe it to ourselves to make sure he lives the happiest life, and to be a 'good dog'.

The best thing about Fearnley is that he makes everything worth it. Including all the sleepless nights, lack of pennies, endless vet visits.. He is part of our family. This is similarity number four, which is our favourite. 


Saturday, 29 March 2014

Fearnley came home

We brought Fearnley home just over four weeks ago. 

He's such a gorgeous little chap. He settled in with us within the first hour, and he was so good not to be overwhelmed with the amount of visitors that have ensued from that point!

Surprisingly, he slept in his crate without any cries from the first night. He's also pretty much nailed 'quickly', doing his business outside when we tell him.

We couldn't help but think we've got some model puppy, making everything seem easy. But then again it's easy to care for him as the baby that he is, but it's a little bit trickier training and teaching him to be a sociable and happy chap. 

We are attending the local puppy parties at the vets to ease him into training and to meet other youngsters for him to play with. He will then go on to learn so much more, and eventually in time we are looking forward to teaching him properly how to be a proper gun dog. He's already showing signs he will be a great one. Sitting, waiting, 'down' then he runs to fetch his pheasant, then runs brings it back to us. I'm sure there will be a lot more to learn, but he's picking things up fast.

Today was a great day for us and him. A picnic at Virginia Waters with friends and their dog Bennie. We let him off the lead for the first time and couldn't be more proud! He didn't stray too far and tried his best to meet other dogs, although he's still very wary of them! 

It's the little things that just gives us so much confidence that he is a great pup, and will grow into a great dog. 

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Not a springer not a cocker

Have you ever had something you've dreamt of your whole life, and when you finally have a glimpse of it coming true, your worried it might go wrong or spoilt in some way?

I've dreamt many times as a child of owning my own dog. It's the most prominent wish I had when blowing out candles on my birthday cake, or writing on letters to Father Christmas. Not to mention the amount of pleading to my poor parents.

I'm not even sure why it means so much to me, I must of owned one in a previous life. But as the cliche goes, some things are worth waiting for. In two weeks time we are picking up a sprocker spaniel puppy. 

My emotions are not like I expected, I'm filled with excitement, but also worry and doubt. I hope we can give him everything he needs. I'm so looking forward to spending time with him, getting to know him and bringing him up to be the dog I've dreamt of. Poor pup - no pressure!

The house is also slowly changing to accommodate the new addition, making sure he feels safe and secure in his new home. 

One thing I'm certain of, he's going to change our lives, everything we do will be encompassed by him. This scares me only a little, but thinking of all I've done in life, I'm positive dealing with what is scary is only rewarding. 

Finding the right breeder was all about gut instinct too, I'm quite pleased I can rely on this in future. It helped us choose this house and that worked out great, so I know this puppy will be hard work, but hopefully completely worth it.

This is him. Fearnley Edgar Bolt, born January 4th 2014:


Sunday, 5 January 2014

Gran is so 2014

What could be more refreshing than taking down the Christmas decorations, and spending the time cleaning and freshening up the house? Enjoying the space and freedom a post Yuletide house gives, reflecting on the past year and looking forward to what the future holds and the present is rewarding. 

New Years resolutions - a tricky one. I'm not going to aim high, except just allow changes in my life I wish I could do more of. One is making the time to read more books. Our bookcase is brimming with stories I'm yet to even try, such as the Harry Potter series. I'm glued to the first even though I know what to expect I'm really enjoying picturing my own version of events.

There's others, such as restricting the amount of time I spend on my phone. Leaving it in my handbag with a friend, only to check it if it actually rings. Allowing more time to enjoy a conversation without any distractions. How technology can often distract and interrupt just being. I've found myself taking less photographs in the moment, especially at important events, immersing myself in the now and take a mental picture instead. Private pictures tend to be of little things around the house, flowers, the fireplace, the messy kitchen.

January also means there is a lot of preparing in the house at the moment, as the plan is to bring a puppy into our home at Easter. Watch this space!