Travel

Reasons to visit Toronto

Reasons to visit Toronto

Reasons to visit Toronto

Toronto, the provincial capital of Ontario, is an attractive, cosmopolitan city located on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. It is also known as the largest city in Canada with a major cultural and economical center of English-speaking Canada.

We have not visited Toronto yet but it is somewhere we would love to visit.

Our top five to-visit places are:

  1. CN Tower – The CN Tower is said to be a must-see attraction in Toronto.  The CN Tower is the place to go if you would like to take in spectacular views of over 100 miles away. These views can be enjoyed from the top of the tower, via the glass fronted and glass floor paneled elevators which will take you to the top of the tower in around 58 seconds.
  2. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada.–  We would love to go and immerse ourselves with over 20,000 aquatic animals and enjoy an underwater experience. There are so many awesome programs to enjoy. Such as, sleeping with the sharks, discovery dive and dive shows and many more that caught our eye. Located in the heart of downtown Toronto.
  3. Toronto Islands – There is something for everybody to do of all ages, from swimming beaches, sports facilities, playgrounds, a boating marina, nature paths, picnic areas. There is even a light house to visit and a choice of restaurants. A perfect spot for anyone to enjoy!
  4. Enjoy a day trip to the Niagara falls – Niagara falls is somewhere we have wanted to visit for many years now. We would most definitely want to go on a full-day trip from Toronto to see the beauty of Niagara Falls. Niagara falls lie just south of Toronto and can easily be visited on a day-trip so we would be mad not to visit whilst in Toronto.
  5. Scarborough Bluffs – Somewhere to enjoy lovely views of Lake Ontario from 100-meter cliffs. Enjoy lovely walks in the meadows and along the trails bordering the Bluffs. I have also heard that it is a beautiful place to enjoy sunset.

With all the beauty that Toronto has to offer I can’t see us wanting to come home. It’s a shame we can’t move beautiful places closer to home isn’t it? as moving Toronto closer is one we would most likely want to do.

Where about’s would you love to visit?

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health, Lifestyle

Time to admit age is catching up with us

Time to admit age is catching up with us

Time to admit age is catching up with us

Our kid’s are no longer babies and are in fact growing into handsome young men. We are often being told how polite and helpful they are. They are growing up too quickly for our liking. Two out of our three boy’s now have girlfriends and are in full-time jobs making plans for their futures. Lee has only just left college and within days has got himself a job where his brother is currently working. Bradley our youngest is just about to sit his GCSE exams and is due to leave school in the next few weeks…..Yikes, how do we stop time?

Recently we dusted off our old photo albums from the loft and we all sat and had a lovely evening reminiscing, it was lovely. We was laughing at funny moments we had captured of our boys with dinner on their head from when they was learning to feed themselves, also funny potty training moments. The boys were laughing at each others outfits before they then started laughing at photos of us. Yes the comments was coming at us of “crikey dad you had hair”, and “mum look this was before you started going grey”. It was funny and sadly yes the comments were true. Age really is starting to catch up with us.

Time to admit age is catching up with us
Ian in 2001 (as the boy’s say “with hair”)

As working parents we spend our time worrying about our kids that we hardly take time-out for ourselves do we?

Well after seeing those photographs I fastly contacted my hairdresser and booked her to come and hide my grey, but poor Ian he really is going thin on top. Everyone tends to laugh at him for it and I do feel sorry for him, but he takes it in his stride and laughs it off but I know it does bother him. We have in the past bought him shampoos that have been recommended but sadly they didn’t work. I have taken to looking online and reading up on men who have suffered the same problem, most are saying that the they opted for hair treatmentsI had been browsing the internet looking up on the treatments as I was curious and asked myself “how does a hair transplant work“? I came across Wayne Rooney’s hair transplant results, wow what a difference.

Time to admit age is catching up with us
Ian now 2018

When chatting with Ian about going thin on top he seems to think it is a receding hair-line problem. He is fully aware that there is help out there for him should he wish to get help, but for now he said he enjoys winding the boys up and blaming them for him going bald, as he say’s he had hair before they was born and they made him pull it out. Cheeky bugger, he is a wind-up merchant.

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health, Top tips

Quit smoking – self-help tips

Quit smoking - self-help tips

quit smoking – self-help tips

Quitting smoking is something we always nag Ian about. He say’s he will give up smoking when we give up chocolate – yeah that’s no time soon then!

I will give it to Ian he has tried on many of occasions to give up but then he slowly starts up again. He says “there are too many things that make him start again”, like:

  • His social circle
  • Habit
  • Routine
  • Lack of will power
  • Work stress
  • It’s his way of chilling out and relaxing

I must admit that smoking has never really bothered me. I never have smoked and probably never will. I’d sooner a nice glass of wine.

Here are a few tips that may help with giving up smoking

  • Think positive – Having the right frame of mind will go a long way when wanting to quit. You have got to want to give up yourself to have the best chances of quitting. If you’re wanting to quit then tell yourself “you can do this” and get the right support in place.
  • Make a plan of action – Get a date set that you’re wanting to start a new non-smoking you. Get that date set and make yourself a promise and give it all you’ve got and go kick that butt!
  • Make a list of your reasons to quit – Make yourself a list of reasons that you want to quit smoking. Keep it close by and keep reminding yourself of your reason to quit. You made find it a huge support if/when you’re struggling.
  • Identify when you smoke – Take note before you gave up on when your cravings are. This will help to put things in place to help work around them, such as avoiding going outside with the smokers in the smokers area, not allowing smoking in your house, pre-warn friends and ask for support so they are aware not to offer you a fag etc.
  • Get support in place – Make friends and family aware of your decision to quit. Chat with your GP to see what support is out there in your local area. See if anyone would like to join you by quitting too and support each other.
  • Take up a hobby – Finding something else to occupy your mind may help you to stop thinking about having a cigarette.

A lot of people say the thing they found the hardest about giving up smoking was not having a cigarette to hold. Some people like a cigarette with their coffee, watching TV, or even whilst having a soak in the bath. For that reason a lot of people make a switch from cigarettes to Vape kits just for that cigarette feel of keeping their hands busy still. Whilst some are happy to switch to nicotine patches or gum.

Do you have any tips to help quit smoking?

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Garden, Lifestyle

Our top five summer must have items this summer

Our top five summer must have items this summer

Our top five summer must have items this summer

Hopefully the horrible cold wintry days are now behind us, and the sunny summer days will fastly be here. With that in mind it has got us thinking about our summer must-have items for this summer. There is nothing we enjoy more than relaxing evenings in the garden after work. Since last summer we have had a garden makeover, we now have a garden that can be enjoyed by us as a family.

Also since last summer I have had to reduce my hours at work due to illness so we are always looking for the latest deals to be had.

We love to entertain and we are known for our parties, especially garden parties. This will be our first summer in our newly revamped garden and are yet to update our garden furniture. This Rattan Corner Sofa has caught our eye, it will be a great way of bringing the comfort of our living room outside with us. A perfect way to enjoy summer in comfort whilst wearing lovely summer dresses.

Seating area

Our top five summer must have items this summerA swing chair is something we use to own previously at our old house, it is also something we miss owning and are considering purchasing again. It use to be a great way to sit back and relax whilst swaying in the breeze. Ian use to relax so much he’d fall asleep on it.

 

Our top five summer must have items this summer

Relaxation 

With my birthday luckily enough being in the summer I have added a hot tub to my birthday wish list. Owning a hot tub has been a dream of mine for so long now and we now have the space for one since our house move.  I think I have managed to persuade Ian to add a bit of luxury into our garden. What a perfect way to relax and indulge into some luxury than purchasing a hot tub.

Our top five summer must have items this summer

Garden maintenance

Back in January we welcomed Coco into our family, our Siberian Husky puppy. Since then we have worn our old pressure washer out keeping our garden clean and tidy. We are now looking for a new pressure washer with additional patio cleaning accessories for making this never-ending task easier and faster.

Our top five summer must have items this summer

Summer cooking

Now we have a nice new patio with a canopy over the top, we are now looking at replacing our existing coal BBQ with a gas BBQ so that we can then BBQ in all weathers come rain or shine. This will be a perfect addition when entertaining at our garden parties.

 

Our top five summer must have items this summer

What is your favorite way to pass time in your garden?

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Education, Lifestyle, teenager, Travel

National Citizen Service – Bradley’s adventure

National Citizen Service - Bradley's adventure

National Citizen Service – Bradley’s adventure

Have you heard of The National Citizen Service? no me neither. Bradley came home a few weeks back now begging to go away with what he called “NCS”. Back then we hadn’t a clue what he was on about if we are honest. Since then we done some research and our first thoughts was “wow” – we was amazed at what they offer for teenaged children.

National Citizen Service - Bradley's adventure

We sat talking, and then started to think how we don’t recall anything like this being on offer when we was younger. The National Citizen Service is a government backed programme established in 2011 to help build a more cohesive, mobile and engaged society. By bringing together young people from different backgrounds for a unique shared experience, NCS helps them to become better individuals, and turn into better citizens.

National Citizen Service - Bradley's adventure

Once we had seen what an amazing experience was on offer for him how could we refuse him to go. Bradley will be doing his GCSE exams over the next few weeks and this experience will follow on from that, so he now has something to look forward to at the end of his very important exams.

Such as:

  • Outdoor team-building exercises
  • A residential for participants to learn ‘life skills’
  • A series of challenging activities to help him develop his strength of character
  • He will be helped to develop leadership skills necessary to succeed in the workplace
  • The experience enables young people to connect with their communities through a social action-packed project
  • For every £1 spent, NCS 2016 summer programme delivered between £1.15 and £2.42 of benefits back into society
  • There is also an end of programme celebration event

How amazing does all that sound? our teens today are so lucky.

National Citizen Service - Bradley's adventure

Almost 400,000 young people have taken part in this amazing experience and more than seven million hours of community action have been completed. How amazing is that? in fact this summer more than 100,000 teenagers from different backgrounds will be taking part in NCS. That means one in six of the cohort of 16 year olds will live together, develop skills together and build community projects together.

National Citizen Service - Bradley's adventure

Bradley is so looking forward to his time with NCS in July. The programme cost us just £50, that is including food, travel and also his accommodation for the few weeks with them which is just amazing value for money. Bursaries are available on a case by case basis. Support is also on offer for children with additional needs.

We wasn’t sure if Bradley would be able to attend NCS at first as we have a family holiday in July that had been booked up for months, but chatting with NCS and they helped us work around it to ensure that Bradley could still attend. If you have a child that may like to attend the experience but are worried due to commitments already booked, NCS are very helpful in working around booked commitments.

Do you have a child in year 11? or know someone who has that may like to join this amazing experience? you can find out more over on the >>NCS website<< Bradley is really looking forward to a summer of fun living away from home whilst making new friends, taking on new challenges, building his confidence, self beliefs and learning life skills that can’t be taught in a classroom.  He has told us he hopes come home at the end of July an even stronger, better, more confident unstoppable person. We as parents are so excited for him, this just looks and sounds amazing.

What an amazing way to end his toughest year in school.

If you would like to follow The National Citizen Service on social media to show your support, you can do so by following them on >Facebook< >Twitter< >Instagram<

 

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Lifestyle, Pet care., pets

Opening up our home

Opening up our home

Opening up our home

Sadly, back in March 2017 we had to say a very sad goodbye to our loving Buddy who passed away in his sleep. Buddy was our German shepherd dog and was our fur-baby for just under 11 years.

Back then we said “NO MORE” dogs as the saying goodbye was just too painful. Time passed and our home was just too quiet. Come January 2018 we were welcoming our little Coco, a Siberian Husky girl into our lives and home, aged 8 weeks old.

preparing our home for a new puppy

Not long after our Buddy had passed away my Endometriosis started to flare up. Resulting in myself having to step down from my position at work and go in on a part-time shift. I found I was moping around at home, I got very depressed and if I am completely honest I ended up in a very dark place. Thankfully Ian got me back to some form of me again.

Getting Coco has really lifted my spirits. She gets me up and out everyday, whereas before I’d just get up and mope about – Coco is my anti-depressant.

Opening up our home

We go on lovely long walks with her, she comes out with us in the car. We go off into the countryside, walk along rivers. We visit dog exercise parks and stop off in pet-friendly pubs/cafe’s. She basically comes with us everywhere.

Coco is a very friendly dog and absolutely loves nothing more than to play ball, chase and no words can even begin to describe how much she loves her paddling pool…. she’d sleep in it if we’d let her.

With Coco being so friendly and her energy levels being so high we have decided to open up our home and become dog fosterers. We have been in discussions for a few weeks now with our local dog rescue centre and have been accepted to become dog fosterers.

Opening up our home

Coco with our sisters dogs at our sisters house.

What is a dog fosterer?

A dog fosterer is someone who is willing to open up their home and help provide a temporary home for a dog in need. To give lots of love and look after them, help build them up to get the best chance of a fresh start in life. Let’s face it we all deserve a second chance, even a dog!

We will be helping to play a vital part in the rehabilitation of the dogs which will help improve their chance of finding their new forever home.

We will be helping to build the dogs confidence if needed, building them up and helping them to get used to a normal lifestyle in a home environment. We will be giving the dogs the love, care and affection they deserve. They will have a friend forever with Coco.

Opening up our home

By fostering dogs, we will be doing a good thing by helping to build a dog’s confidence and helping to settle a dog with a new forever home with a loving family. Being part of that will be so rewarding.

Before we take in any dog, checks are made by the rescue centre and we get contacted from there. Coco will be meeting them outdoors first. Once they have met and if all goes well things will move forward from there and hopefully we can then help provide a safe loving home for a dog in need. Coco will love having a friend to burn off energy with.

We are really looking forward to fostering our first dog and opening up our home.

Opening up our home

Do you have any pets?

health

Endometriosis and me

Endometriosis and me

Endometriosis and me

I first noticed my Endometriosis symptoms after I had Bradley my youngest son. I suffered real bad pains and periods to the point one day I took myself off to hospital in bad pain, I was seen by a Dr and sent for numerous tests, fastly beginning to feel like a pin cushion to then be told they wanted to admit me to hospital. Being on my own at the hospital and having my baby with me I was scared and felt alone as Ian was at work at the time, I didn’t feel the need to worry him as at the time he didn’t work local to home.

To cut a long story shorter I was told it was just a bad period and period pain and all should start to calm down given time. Did it? like heck did it!

I then went on to suffer every month from there. I went to see my GP several times who just repeated what I was told at the hospital….Just a bad period and it should calm back down….Grrrr

I then started to question myself and think is it normal, Is it just me being silly?

But NO, I knew my body wasn’t right and I knew my periods wasn’t normal but the Dr wasn’t really listening to me. I then began to start getting myself in a state and just didn’t know what way to turn.

One day I felt so down, I was in pain, I was tearful, I had three boys to look after so I contacted my GP surgery who gave me an appointment for later that day. I went along to my appointment explained my situation about whats been happening to just be sent away with anti-depressants. I really did feel like I was going mad at this point where I felt like no one was listening to me!

At this point I just felt like I had no option but to just get on with things the best I could. I knew things wasn’t right inside my body, but what could I do. Time passed and I did continue to suffer heavy painful periods to the point I was slowly becoming bed-bound for. I continued to see my GP, I was eventually offered an ultrasound scan at the hospital to see if it would show anything up, but nothing come of it to explain the pain or heavy bleeding.

I was watching morning TV one day and there was a lady on there talking about her suffering and long battle to be diagnosed with what was called “Endometriosis”. She was talking about her symptoms to help raise awareness to others who may be suffering the same or similar symptoms. My chin must have hit the floor as I had every symptom she had.

Some symptoms being:

  • Heavy periods
  • Painful periods
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Fatigue
  • Low mood
  • Bloating
  • Pain during sex
  • Some bleeding between periods
  • Painful bowel movements

I could not believe what I was watching and listening to. For the first time in ages I did not feel like I was going crazy. I went and spoke with my GP about what I had seen on the TV and explained my symptoms was the same as the lady had explained in her awareness to Endometriosis. I did not want to be ignored this time and pushed for further tests to be done. I had been bed-bound on too many occasions and my life was really being effected to the point I felt like my kid’s was missing out on a proper mum, a mum who wasn’t in pain so much.

I chatted with my GP about Endometriosis, we discussed my symptoms and then my GP went on to explain what Endometriosis is in more detail.

Endometriosis is:

Endometriosis is a very painful disorder in which tissue that would normally line the inside of the uterus – the endometrium – grows outside the uterus. Endometriosis can be known to affect the ovaries, bowel, Fallopian tubes and the tissue lining the pelvis. Endometriosis can even spread beyond the pelvic organs and stick to each other. Endometriosis is even know to sometimes cause fertility problems.

What happens is, each month cells like the ones in the lining of the womb can be found elsewhere in the body. Each month these cells act in the same way as those in the womb, building up and then breaking down, then bleeding, BUT….unlike those within the womb that have a way to leave the body as a period, THIS blood has nowhere to go.

A shocking 1.5 million women in the UK are suffering with Endometriosis. Endometriosis can affect women and even girls of childbearing age regardless of race or ethnicity.

This short video may help you understand in a better way.

Finally…

I was then referred to a gynecologist at the hospital as an out-patient. I had an appointment through within a few weeks and things finally started moving…..5 years after my first symptoms!

After a five-year battle and being misdiagnosed on many occasions I was finally under the hospital with a possible self diagnosis. An ultrasound scan was ordered but again didn’t show anything but with self research I had read that Endometriosis rarely shows up on an ultrasound scan and is mainly diagnosed via a laparoscopy procedure so this is what I pushed for.

Another referral was pushed for, I did not give up….I knew something was wrong with my body.  A few months later and I got my appointment through. It was then confirmed I HAVE ENDOMETRIOSIS.

The tears started to pour down my face and I was a bag of mixed emotions. I was scared, relieved and angry all at the same time. I also wanted answers.

Questions I wanted answering…

How could this diagnosis take so long?

why was I just left to suffer?

Why did I have to self-diagnose myself?

Why the big fight all the time to get anywhere/get things moving?

Sadly it just boiled down to lack of awareness. Endometriosis needs so much more awareness.

Once I had my diagnosis I was then given the right treatment to help me cope better. This only lasted for a while sadly and before I knew it was going back downhill again. The heavy painful periods started again and I felt like I was back to square one again. My GP referred me back to the hospital again for further discussions and to get an action plan put in place. After long discussions and many appointments and counselling the next step was arranged.

A hysterectomy was booked.

I was booked in to have a hysterectomy at the age of 27. My periods got so bad and I could no longer live with the pain as it was affecting my ability to be a proper mum to my boys. I was forever having to phone in sick at work, debts started to pile up and loans was having to be taken out just to help keep the bills paid. We did look at Lendgreen on a few occasions. Enough was enough at this point. The day fastly arrived and before I knew it I was heading to the operation, nervous but I knew it had to be done.

A hysterectomy IS NOT a cure.

A hysterectomy is not a cure for Endometriosis as I am still suffering today, 8 years after my operation, 16 years after my first symptoms. I am still finding myself phoning in work unable to go in as I am in so much pain. OK the heavy periods are no longer an issue but the pain is still there. I am currently under the UCLH in London receiving treatment. I am currently receiving injections, a three-month trial of Zoladex. I am on this treatment which is an injection in my stomach once a month for three months to freeze my ovaries as my consultant has advised me that my Endometriosis is hormone fed. I had a hysterectomy but my ovaries was not taken out due to my age at the time. If this three-month trial proves to be effective and help me then it strengthens my case to have my ovaries removed.

I am currently on this Zoladex treatment and just had my second injection. Hopefully this has positive effects for me and helps to ease things for me.

I hope me sharing my Endometriosis story raises some awareness to help someone get the diagnosis they need or even helps to give some form of help or support needed. Just remember you know your body better than anyone else, if you feel something isn’t right then it probably isn’t….Don’t give up seeking for help.

Posted to help raise some much-needed awareness.

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DIY tips

The Hottest Bedroom Design Trends of 2018

The Hottest Bedroom Design Trends of 2018

The Hottest Bedroom Design Trends of 2018

Designing the perfect bedroom can be tricky, especially on a budget. The trends change every year, even as often as every season, and it can be hard to keep up. It does give you the option to slowly morph your space into a place that is timeless and entirely you.

The only thing that never goes out of style, however, is being comfortable. Pick a mattress and mattress topper that help you sleep through the night. Some options are super soft and even cooling. Cover these items with any color sheets and make it as fashionable as you like.

Though comfort is critical, there are a few things that we think will continue to be hot in 2018 – muted colors, geometric patterns, metallic accents, and plush fabrics.

Minimalism has been back for a while – we’ve seen it in the rise of industrial design and Kondo-ism, the method of cleaning out your space designed by Japanese author Marie Kondo.

The colors that we think will be in this year are muted colors like navy blue and shades of grey and not the movie kind. Bright, metallic accents will also come back into fashion.

These color schemes are perfect for teenaged sons, who are not always interested in picking out colors that make for a cohesive room design. It also doesn’t show dirt as much as other trendy shades have in the past.

With a dark color scheme like this, you are going to need some accent colors in the room to avoid having it look like a dungeon.

When it comes to those accents, there’s a lot of ways to bring them into the room. Gold, regular and rose, and copper, in particular, will bring color to these otherwise muted colors, and easy to find in all sorts of places.

Nightstands and lamps are easy ways to bring color into the color scheme and show a little bit of fashion sense in anyone’s bedroom design. It’s also easy to add metallics by painting the knobs and handles of your dressers and desk drawers.

Those lamps are also an easy place to add geometric shapes and patterns. Shapes like this add depth to a room without making it too busy, as long as you don’t overdo it. Geometric lamp bases are a lot of fun and add a little bit of extra light to the room. If that’s not enough for you, you can go for patterned sheets, throw blankets, or duvet covers for a splash of fun and color.

In fact, a throw blanket or an accent pillow would be a great way to incorporate the trend of plush fabrics like velvet and microfleece. If you feel like a full overhaul, a textured accent wallpaper might be a good choice for your space.

Of course, all of this comes with the caveat of choosing things that match your own tastes as well as the trends. If you absolutely hate one of these trends, it’s probably best to avoid it. Remember, it’s your space, and you should feel comfortable in it.

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Pet care., pets

First time crate training

First time crate training

For those not aware, we recently welcomed Coco into our family. Coco is a Siberian Husky girl. Before we welcomed Coco home we made sure we was fully prepared for her as we wanted to make sure we had all the basics in place needed. Before we collected Coco we defiantly wanted to make sure we had a crate.

Reasons to get a crate

Our reason behind getting a crate and crate training her is because we believe a crate can help with preventing destructive and obnoxious behavior when we can’t be with her and keep her safe. We also want Coco to feel that a crate can be a safe and happy place for her to go when things get too much for her and she wants to be left alone.

A crate also helps when going out in our car to make travelling safe for her. Our aim for crate training is purely for safety and positive reasons and is never used as a punishment for her. Coco is never in her crate for long periods of time, an hour at the most.

Type of crate

When the decision was made to get a crate for Coco we then had to decide on what type of crate as there are a few different types to choose from. After our research into the crate we decided that a collapsible metal crate would be best for training her. We then had to decide on the size of crate to get.

With Coco only being a pup but a puppy that will grow quickly we went for a medium size one to start off with and will change size as and when needed. We hope that a medium size crate will be of correct size for her for a while, allowing her to have the height and movement room needed to stand and turn round.

Comfort of the crate

Cocos crate is located in our living room. This is where we are most of the time when we are at home. She can see us at all times when she is in her crate so she still feels apart of everything but feels safe at the same time. Her crate is in the corner of our living room so she gets a full view of whats going on. In her crate she has a lovely comfortable bed for added comfort

Making the crate welcoming

We wanted to make the crate a welcoming place to her, a place she will love to go so we made the crate comfortable with a bed. We made it a rewarding place to go so she gets a treat of some kind when she goes in, either a treat or her meal. We have placed a blanket over the top of the crate to cover the back and sides to give it a den feel to help her feel that bit more safer.

Length of time in the crate

Coco is only in her crate for short periods of time (no more than an hour maximum) when we ask her to go in, otherwise the crate door is left open for her to freely go in and out as she pleases. She always has access to water when inside with the door closed. We gradually increased the length of time she is in the crate starting off with just a few seconds at a time as we didn’t want her to be scared of going inside. The length of time inside the crate with the door closed was increased upon our judgment of Coco being confident enough.

Make it fun

With Coco only being a puppy everything to her is a game. We found that if we turned entering the crate into a game she listened more and picked up commands much easier. It’s a way of making learning fun. To her it is just a game but for us we are getting her to listen and do as asked but in a rewarding way so it’s a win win situation.

When playing ball after a while roll it into the crate – When it’s treat time hide 1 or 2 in the crate and say go crate – We fill her Kong toy up and ask her to go crate to have it and she can only have it if she stays in her crate, if she comes out with it we put it back inside and command go crate, this is repeated until she knows she only has it if in her crate. Another thing we do with coco is when we are doing daily training we now do them inside her crate – such as sit, down, paw etc as each command completed she gets a treat.

Patience 

Coco wasn’t keen on the crate at first but we allowed her the time to get used to it being there before we introduced her more to it. We started off by getting her to enter the crate using the command go crate and come out as she wished, making it as fun as possible and using the command EVERY TIME we want her to go inside her crate.

We then got her to enter the crate and try and keep her inside for a few seconds with the door open and us sat by the door. Treats are given each time she enters the crate. I use a few treats and then some of her dry food biscuits from her meal, saves on an upset stomach. From here we then went on to feeding her some of her meals inside the crate, after a few feeds we then gradually worked ourselves further away from the crate door leaving it open.

Once we felt Coco was happy enough we then went on to closing the door, starting off with a few seconds at a time and gradually increasing this each time. We always reward with a treat of some kind upon entering the crate, NEVER on coming out – reason being because we want it to be more fun staying put once inside otherwise she will be crying to come out to get a treat. We want her thinking that her crate is a good positive place to be!

We have had Coco six weeks now and she is currently happy to go in and out of her crate on her own. It took a few weeks to get her to do so but being patient paid off in the end. We have now moved on to Crate training Coco in the car – so far it is going very well. If you would like to follow our travels and adventures you can do so over on our travel blog.

Do you have a pet?

health, Winter

Keep warm: Be prepared

Keep warm: Be prepared

Do you hibernate like me when the weather is bad. I hate the cold and I’m always looking for ways to keep warm. Being cold can really takes its toll eventually so its best to protect ourselves the best we can from the dip in temperatures. Being a support worker and looking after the elderly in the community I am always looking for the best ways to help keep them warm. Here are a few tips on how to stay warm during the cold spell.

Ten top tips on keeping warm if going out.

  1. Have something hot to eat and drink before setting out on your journey and also drink plenty whilst out to keep your insides warm.
  2. Layer up. There is nothing worse than not dressing appropriately for the weather.
  3. Wear wool as wool retains the heat.
  4. Carry a hot water bottle with you if you can. Pocket hand warmers are also good.
  5. Wear a hat, gloves and a scarf to help protect you from the cold.
  6. Avoid getting wet the best you can. Wear waterproof clothing. There is nothing worse than having to wear wet clothes all day.
  7. Keep moving and avoid standing around too long. Try and use good grip shoes/boots for safety!
  8. If you can, always try and carry a change of footwear and socks to change in to.
  9. Check travel arrangements before leaving. Check transport times etc so you’re not left hanging around in the cold. Always keep in touch with a friend or relative in extreme conditions and/or travelling a distance. It then saves them from unnecessary worry.
  10. In extreme weather conditions carry any urgent/needed medication with you in case of emergency/road closures etc. it’s always best to be prepared. Always carry any needed chargers to keep gadgets charged so you can keep in contact with friends and family. If travelling via car, blankets and a flask of soup always come in handy in an emergency. Also write down any important numbers and keep them safe, just in case your mobile goes flat and you are unable to charge it.

Ten tips on keeping warm when indoors

  1. Put the heating on. Homes should be at the temperature of at least 18°C. Check if you are eligible for help with heating costs (link below), no one should be scared to have their heating on, especially on cold winter days.
  2. Have extra blankets to hand and hot water bottles.
  3. Block any drafts around doors and windows.
  4. Keep windows and vents closed.
  5. Check radiators are working properly. You may have one or two that may need bleeding. Move away any furniture obstructing the heat from the radiator.
  6. Layer up, several thin layers work better. Wool and/or fleece preferably.
  7. Hot regular drinks to keep your insides warm.
  8. Keep active and this will help you to keep warm. Batch cook some meals, bake a cake or even some biscuits, that way your near the oven for extra warmth too.
  9. Have a hot soak in the bath.
  10. Eat well, this will help keep your body warm. Also helps to fight off any winter germs – homemade soups are a good choice.

Be prepared: 

  1. Have a good stock of flu medications at home.
  2. Check your home is insulated properly before the winter months. This will also help keep the fuel bills down.
  3. Speak with your GP about a flu jab.
  4. Check windows and doors for drafts before winter.
  5. Check if your entitled to a cold weather payment, it doesn’t hurt to check and every penny helps.
  6. Keep an eye on the weather and stock up on your shopping, saves going out if no need in the bad weather.
  7. Check on your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector.
  8. Prepare/protect your pipes for the winter months.
  9. Be prepared for power cuts caused by storms. Candles, batteries etc. Have them in a place ready to grab that all household members know.
  10. Give your car if you have one a winter check.

What are your favorite items to help keep you warm on a cold winters day? >>here are ours<<

Always check on elderly neighbours and relatives. Make sure they are warm and have all they need, especially during cold spells.

pets

Coco 6 weeks on

 Coco 6 weeks on

Some of you may know that 6 weeks ago we welcomed Coco into our family. Coco is a beautiful Siberian Husky. Before we made the decision to get another dog since sadly loosing our beautiful boy Buddy a lot of research was done and then a lot of preparation. Before bringing her home we wanted to make sure our home was puppy safe and that we had all essentials needed for her.

This was Coco when we first met her. She was only 7 weeks old at the time.

6 weeks later…

We have now had her for 6 weeks and what a 6 weeks it has been. She has certainly put a smile back on all our faces and she fills our hearts with so much joy, we all love her dearly. She has us up on our toes where we’d normally be sitting around – we are now up and out on long family walks, chasing leaves whilst enjoying and exploring the great outdoors.

Sadly since we have had Coco we have had to visit the vets every week with her. She has had a bad skin condition. She has been on two different lots of antibiotics and is now on a medicated shampoo to try and help it. She has recently had a test done and we are waiting on the results. We have been advised that is could be a wheat allergy and to check for this in any food or treats that we give her until advised otherwise by the vets. In the meantime our poor little girl has to wear this horrid cone to prevent her from making herself sore with her biting and scratching at herself where her skin irritates her. It is for her own good we know but we can’t help but feel sorry for her. At her last weight check 10 days ago she was 6.6kg.

Still a happy Coco

Even with her uncomfortable skin complaint going on our little Coco has still been a very happy and playful girl who loves everybody and everyone loves her. She loves to be chased, she has a thing about socks at the moment and loves nothing more than to pull them off your feet. Her favorite ball at the moment is one of Lees beer-pong balls that she claimed as hers when he left it laying about (that will teach him to clear his things away) finders keepers after all.

When out walking she absolutely loves to see people and wants sorry expects everyone to make a fuss of her and when they do so loves it. She is currently getting braver with being around other dogs, she has been a little nervous but is getting braver everyday. She is currently going through the teething stage as to be expected so everything that can be moved has been put away or up high when not being used.

Our clever girl

She shocked her vet on her first visit as we trained her rather quickly with a few commands. In her first week of joining our family we had her knowing the commands sit, paw and lay down. We remembered from dog training classes we went to with Buddy and are now teaching the same with Coco. Over the past few weeks we have now taught her to roll over and get in her bed when told. One command we are struggling with and that is to leave, when we put things down we would like her leave it until told she can have it but she is way to keen/excited and wants things straight away. She is still a puppy at the moment so we can’t expect too much from her just yet. We will keep at it as we are sure she will pick the command up soon.

As far as house training goes we are getting there, she has good days and bad days. Coco has a habit of forgetting herself now and then and needs reminding on the odd occasion. Also when playing ball or tug if she gets excited she starts peeing without realising and has to be put in the garden fast. She will soon get the hang of it and is getting better each week.

Coco 6 weeks on

She melts our hearts everyday and brings so much joy to each and every day. Do you have a pet?  

Check out our Instagram if you would like to see more photos of Coco – Instagram

Garden, Garden tips

Preparing our garden for summer – Top tips

Preparing our garden for summer – Top tips

Preparing our garden for summer can be enjoyable for some but for others it can seem quite a chore. With spring fastly approaching now is the time to start planning and getting our garden ready for the summer. For the past few months we have looked out at our garden and seen cold, wet, frosty wintry days so now it is time to turn our garden into somewhere we can sit and enjoy a lovely summers day.

Of course, in order to do so means lots of prep work following the winter months.

Here are our top ten ways to get our garden summer ready:

  1. Repair work. Winter storms may have damaged/weakened fences so checks are done to see if we think they will last or need changing. Our shed is also checked.
  2. Clearing out the guttering, a horrid job but it needs doing. Clearing out all leaves and moss. Whilst there we also do a check on the guttering and drain pipes, checking for any damage – this is done to prevent water damage caused by broken/blocked pipes.
  3. Checks are then done on garden tools to make sure they are in good enough condition to last another summer. Some may just need a little TLC.
  4. A rubbish clearance in then done of the garden, clearing up any leaves, litter and unwanted items from the garden.
  5. A quick check on our pot plants/baskets to see if they survived the winter. Some may need emptying and preparing for new plants.
  6. One thing we recently done was install a water-butt. Much better for watering our plants. Helps the environment and saves £s on the water bill.
  7. The big wash then takes place of all garden furniture, ornaments, patio and even the BBQ.
  8. Checks are done on lighting. In the summer months we sit outside until late into the evening so lighting is a must have. Especially mood lighting.
  9. Garden furniture is then checked and placed in position – although since last summer we have had a garden makeover so this year will be easier once we have purchased a new set.
  10. Once dry enough to do so – mow the lawn and treat/paint the fences.

Once all this is done and the warmer weather is in here we then start making up hanging baskets, planting and looking forward to some homegrown fruit and veg!

Here are some of last years fruit and vegetables.

 

 

Last year saw us doing some upcycling and turning unwanted goods into something useful in the garden.

(click on the photo to see the full post on how we made them)

An old wooden crate into a herb garden.

Upcycled project – wooden crate

Old camping saucepans into bird feeder

Upcycled saucepan

 

Do you enjoy spending time in the garden?

Design, Interior Design

A quick and easy way to transform a room

A quick and easy way to transform a room

Have you ever thought about quick and easy ways to transform a room? a rug can do just that. A rug can inject an instant splash of colour, add warmth, complement your decor and even have a beautiful effect in the smallest of spaces. They also help you to create a focal point in any room. When buying a rug always consider the room and space that it will be placed as some rugs are more durable than others. Rugs are affordable and also very effective if chosen correctly.

There are many different reasons people choose to have a rug – some of the top reasons being:

  1. To add warmth
  2. To add colour
  3. To protect flooring already down
  4. To compliment our decor
  5. To use in high traffic areas

Rugs are highly used in our homes and certainly add that wow factor and finishing touch to any room, but are we using the right rug with the right flooring we have? here is a guide from Land of rugs that you may find helpful.

Home preparation, pets

Preparing our home for a new puppy

Coco

Preparing our home for a new puppy

On Friday we will be welcoming a puppy into our home and into our family. Meet Coco our 8 week old Siberian Husky girl.

Coco

preparing our home for a new puppy

The decision to get another dog certainly wasn’t taken lightly seeing as we only lost our loving Buddy back in March. A lot of thought had gone into it along with loads of research into the breed of dog we had chosen to see if the breed was right for us. Once the decision was made to get a Siberian husky we began our search. Lots of calls were made and advise seeked.

We was put in touch with a lovely breeder who we had made contact with, she sent us some photos of her puppies and Coco stood out from the off, an appointment was instantly made to go and meet with her last week.

The breeder had questions for us and we also went along with a list of questions for her. Once we all felt happy we then met with Coco and Coco’s mum. We spent time playing with them both, had lots of cuddles and all got to know each other. We learnt a lot from chatting with the breeder and she helped by answering any questions we had.

We chose to collect Coco at a later date so it gave us time to prepare our home, the breeder was happy to keep Coco and fully understands, she was only too happy to help. Not only does it give us time to make our home puppy safe but it gives us time to be 100% sure of our decision to get another dog.

We wanted time to check for…

  • Electric cables she may be able to reach.
  • Small gaps she may squeeze into.
  • Objects she may find tasty looking and chew on – best moved for now.
  • Make sure our garden is puppy proof. No holes in fences, poisonous plants etc.
  • Locks on gates, doors and cupboards to prevent visits is unwanted areas.
  • Add a stair gate to save any falls if she was to go exploring.
  • To ensure our furniture is safe and cannot fall on her if she was to explore.
  • Add fencing to any hazard areas in our garden.

And time to purchase this never-ending list of accessories….

  • A travel Crate for safe travelling.
  • Lead, collar and name tag.
  • Food and water dish.
  • Bed.
  • Crate for indoors.
  • Toys.
  • Grooming kit.
  • Food and treats.
  • Puppy pads/training kit.
  • Blankets.
  • Pet friendly cleaning products for any accidents.
  • Poop bags.

Along with all the above there is also going to be a life-long commitment in place for Coco from the moment we collect her on Friday. She is going to be so loved and looked after with every need met.

From…

  • Training.
  • Walking/exercising.
  • Health checks.
  • Love and comfort.
  • Discipline.
  • Most of all our love, time and understanding.

When we collect her on Friday she would already of had her first lot of injections, wormer and flea treatment so we will need to get her registered with a vet of our choice and have this followed up and kept up-to-date. Coco will also have been micro chipped so she will hopefully always be returned to us if she was to ever get lost….fingers crossed this never happens.

As for pet insurance we have been looking online and have a few quotes she will be covered for her first month with us so this gives us time to choose who we wish to go with.

When we collect her we will be prepared for any travel sickness/anxiety she may suffer. After all it will be our first of many new experiences together.

We are currently working our way through our checklist and are very excitedly counting down to Friday too.

We will be keeping you up-to-date on how she settles in with a follow-up post very soon. We will be sharing photos and videos of her over on our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook in the mean time.

Do you have any tips you would like to share with us on ways we can help her settle into her new home with us?

 

healthy living.

Keeping Your Sports Loving Family Hydrated

6 Tips For Keeping Your Sports Loving Family Hydrated

6 Tips For Keeping Your Sports Loving Family Hydrated

We all know we need to stay hydrated, especially when we are participating or watching sporting events outdoors. We take bottles of water with us on our adventures, but we really give it little thought beyond that. When we are enjoying our outdoor adventures, we are paying more attention to the hiking trails, fishing spots, and biking than how many drinks we have taken from our water bottles. The truth is, even in winter it is easy to become dehydrated, especially for teenagers.

When you venture out, make sure you have the right equipment. You can read reviews on clothing and gear for outdoor activity on Hikers On Run. Sooner or later will find yourself in a spot where your gear must kick in and protect your body. So make sure everyone is protected.

6 Tips For Keeping Your Sports Loving Family Hydrated

The European Food Safety Authority or EFSA advises that men should drink 2.5 litres of water per day. Women are advised to drink 2.0 litres of water per day. This is made up by drinking 70% to 80% in water form and getting the other 20% to 30% from the foods we eat. This is the normal amount of water you need. While doing extreme activities that cause us to lose water through perspiration, we should increase the intake.

Questions your teens will ask you

 

  • If all drinks have water in them, why can’t I just have a soda or tea?

Water is the only fluid that has no calories, no caffeine, and no sugars. Drinking these drinks increase your caloric intake and drinks loaded with caffeine actually increase your need for (additional) water. The British Nutrition Foundation has set guidelines for drinks and water is the only drink listed as “drink plenty of”.

  • I have been sweating, should I drink an energy drink?

An energy drink can put the electrolytes back in your body when you have lost too much water, too quickly. If you are hydrated before you exert yourself, that does not usually happen. However, if you have been exercising in an extreme sport for 1-hour, you can make use of an energy drink.

  • What are the signs of dehydration?
    • Headache
    • Nausea & vomiting
    • Dizziness
    • Confusion
    • Vision problems
    • Extreme thirst
    • Fatigue

6 Tips For Keeping Your Sports Loving Family Hydrated

6 Tips To Staying Hydrated 

1. drink continuously.

a. Do not wait until you feel thirsty. You should be sipping water throughout your adventure to stay ahead of the game.

2. Eat fruits and veggies that contain a lot of water such as:

  • Watermelon
  • Strawberries
  • Celery
  • Lettuce
  • Orange slices
  • Cucumbers

Bonus tip: Use a blender to turn your water-packed melons, fruit, and veggies into a smoothie for a delicious breakfast and a water boost for your body.

3. Set a goal to drink 5 fluid ounces every 15-20 minutes.

4. Drink your water before you begin your meal.

a. This ensures that you will have room in your stomach for your water and will prevent yourself from overeating.

5. Set the timer on your watch to sound hourly. This will remind you to take a water break.

6. Skip caffeine on the day of your adventure.

a. Caffeine found in coffee or tea (and other products) act as a diuretic and actually expel the water you have consumed.

Bonus Tip: Teach your teens to get in the habit of paying attention to the color of their urine. If it is light yellow, they are hydrated. The darker it gets the more water they should consume.

Usually dehydration is little more than an inconvenience and a damper on the fun. But it can become serious if it is not addressed quickly. Hydration has a direct effect on the muscles. Continual dehydration could damage the skeletal muscles. However, muscle cramps are common even in the early stages of dehydration. That is not a lot of fun when you are on a mountain trail.

When you are exercising outdoors in the winter months, the cool air may trick you into thinking you are okay. Just because you do not feel as hot and sweaty as you would in the warmer months, does not mean you do not need water.

Make it a habit to sip water throughout every day, and that habit will serve you well when you are on an adventure.

6 Tips For Keeping Your Sports Loving Family Hydrated

***Collaborative post***