Twelfth Night

That’s it. All over again for another year.

I hate this bit. The Christmas come-down. Yesterday was spent packing away the decorations, finishing off the festive treats and generally de-Christmassing the place. So sad.

I thought though to help perk me up a bit, I’d look back over the Christmas snaps I took. Here’s how I spent the last couple of weeks…..

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Our tree in all its glory!

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I was also allowed a second tree this year….for all my tacky decorations!

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I wrapped gifts in pretty bright colours this year, labelled with my new label maker and finished off with all-important glitter tape!

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Gifts for our friends ready ahead of our annual Christmas party.

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We made extremely yummy Sloe chocolate for friends, made from the sloes we used in last year’s gin and this year’s port! Boozy!

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We added home made Cinnamon and Frankinsence vodkas to the chocolate, and topped off with a home stitched tree decoration, they became our little Christmas mini-hampers this year.

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Hitchin got a German style Christmas market this year, but I was disappointed they didn’t have Lebkuchen or Kartoffelpuffer!

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We made up for that slightly by drinking lots of lush Gluhwein in the mugs we got at the Christkindlmarkts in Vienna last year!

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And of course, MUCH chocolate was consumed. Including this smug looking Milky Bar Kid.

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My Mummy came to visit over Christmas, as did Adam’s parents, eldest brother and sister in law. The dogs enjoyed the extra attention no end!

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Father Christmas made a HUGE delivery to our house!

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My haul! And it was the first Christmas I didn’t have to wish for a puppy!

Hope you had a fabulously festive time too!

Ems x

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Wrapping up 2013

*Shuffles in, embarrassed*

So er, hello little Blog. I didn’t forget you, honest. It’s just been, you know, a busy three months!

As far as neglecting my blog goes, I reckon this has been the longest stint ever! True, it’s been a crazy old end to the year. And in honesty, every time I’ve squeezed in a moment to post, I’ve just not, well, ‘felt’ it. I must have written at least a dozen posts in my head since my last offering back in September, and as ever there are loads of things I want to fill you in about. I’ll have to write up a list of posts I really must post, but I thought that by way of dipping my toe back in the water, I’d do a little round up of the year, as is the done thing…..

2013 started pretty darn well, truth be told. My darling Adam proposed to me in mid January (a great time really, as I always get the post-Christmas blues and this perked me up no end!). Shortly afterwards we went ring shopping (SO much fun!) and chose my amazing vintage diamond engagement ring…..then it was a case of letting everyone know and getting started on the planning!

We weren’t the only ones to get engaged this year, and in fact it’s been a whirlwind of proposals in our friendship groups! Huge congratulations to (in no particular order!) Dave and Charlotte, Ben and Cheryl, Si and Carol, Andy and Sharon,  Michelle of MYCreative, Nova and David, and Claire and Matthew….who I’m exceedingly excited to be Bridesmaid for next August!

Not long after all that, we ventured into the world of dog fostering, welcoming a certain little fawn lurcher to our home. After only three days, we’d found a home for the Incredibly Good Looking Cooper, and I bawled for a week after he went and took my heart with him! It turned out to be true love though after all, as he came back to us just five weeks later and chose us as his forever family!

(Thanks to my lovely future Sister in Law for the photo, and the one below of Digby too!)

Soon we realised that rescuing dogs is in fact rather addictive, and we began to look for a friend for Coops. It took us a while, but after a few false starts, we found our wonderful little Digby! We had to wait a while to welcome him to the family, as he had kennel cough (like Cooper, he’s from Ireland and caught it whilst in the pound over there) and we had to get Coops vaccinated so he wouldn’t get poorly too. Eventually though, Digby too came to his forever home and there we were….a proper little family!

I am just LOVING being a dog owner / Mummy to our two boys! It certainly is hard work, and a real commitment, but they make it so worth my while with all their entertaining and love. They both have very unique personalities (not to mention unique appearances!) and make us laugh out loud daily with their antics. Training is an ongoing process (I don’t know how anyone can be a dog owner and work full time!), but they are getting so settled now which is very rewarding. And I am certainly benefitting from all the extra exercise which is a bonus too!

I love my boys sooooooo much!!!! Big thank yous to GRWE (Cooper) and Heathlands (Digby) for saving our boys and all your hard work!

2013 was pretty good work wise too. I got to work regularly at a brilliant local charity, producing events for them, starting a blog, designing a new website and actually spending a LOT of time designing posters! I’ve continued selling my jewels at the awesome Jolly Brown, my nearest and dearest vintage shop, and hosted a stall at the Hitchin Christmas Lights Switch On which was super fun.

Perhaps most notably I set up my Not on the High Street shop in September, which was the main culprit for my lack of blogging! It was nicely busy from the off actually, and took off much better than my Etsy shop (although I’m still enjoying selling vintage treasures and my artwork on there too), but come Christmas shopping time it just got to be bonkers! Whilst I have a few stock items in there (although these are one offs too) most of my orders were for my custom made map jewellery which I have to make from scratch! Needless to say, with an order an hour coming in at some points, I was quickly swamped with work and had to close the shop for whole weeks at a time to catch up with the demand. Still, it was a privilege to make so many special treasures for people and a big thank you to all of you who ordered from me this year!

We had a lovely little getaway to St Ives in June, our first as a family with Cooper and Digby! It was great to get away for a week, especially as Adam didn’t take off an awful lot of holiday this year. I loved watching the dogs enjoy the beach, and had amazing adventures at The Lost Gardens of Heligan and The Eden Project. We got to meet up with dear friends Charlotte and Dave to boot, who helped up discover a fabulous Free Range farm with farm shop and restaurant, and I think I had chips on every day but one!

Our other little trip was back to Vienna, this time for a wedding! Katie and Peter actually got married halfway between Vienna and Graz, in a truly stunning Schloss (Austrian for CASTLE!!!) and I was honoured to have been invited to what was one of the most sophisticated occasions I’ve been to!

I was also lucky enough to be at Dan and Brigitte’s wedding….which they thoughtfully held on my birthday! This was brilliant because I got to open all my gifts a day early and it was like having a big party thrown for me with loads of my favourite people there but not having to do anything myself! That said, I was very pleased to help Dan and Brigitte out with their day….I ‘helped’ out by going along to their wedding tasting (such a chore) and setting up the reception venue for them with all kinds of pretty things. Their ceremony at Trinity House was just lovely, especially with the Tower of London (!!!) as a backdrop! Dan made me weep during his speech….I’ve known him near enough ten years now and I’m so delighted he’s found such a perfect match. Love you guys!

The wedding fun didn’t end there though, as we took a trip up to Scarborough to see Clare and Matt get married too. This was pretty much an extra holiday for us, as they’d actually planned an entire ‘Wild West Wedding Weekend’ at an amazing themed holiday park! I got to sleep in a tipi. A TIPI!!!! Needless to say I found this all incredibly exciting, and it was probably the most unique wedding I’ve ever experienced (which is saying something knowing I must have been to near on two hundred!). Everything was so wonderfully personal, including their touching Humanist ceremony, and we all had great fun on the bouncy castle and sitting around in the sun.

Our own wedding planning has gone fairly well I think. Obviously I’m at an advantage because I’ve planned weddings professionally for several years, but it’ll be all go from the new year on! We sent out our home made Save The Dates at the end of May….we based them on the phrase ‘Pencil Us In’ and I hand drew the design, and we attached pencils to each one that we’d had engraved with our names and the date of the wedding. We’ve booked our ceremony at the gorgeous Greenwich Town Hall, and a wonderful wedding photographer to snap some happy memories. We have our reception booked in two weeks after at our neighbouring British Schools Museum…we have some fun plans for that and have very much enjoyed tastings with our caterer and wine supplier already!

We also had an engagement photo shoot with Sharon, and a wonderful engagement party at our place. It was so great to have the excuse to get so many friends together and raise a glass to celebrate!

2013 has also seen an awful lot of hobbying. I’ve learned new skills and cultivated old ones, and despite enjoying the rather slower pace of things since we moved away from London, it’s been nice to stay relatively busy. I gave Adam a beginners archery course for his birthday, and went along with him in September to learn how to shoot with the brilliant Green Dragon Bowmen at the stunning Knebworth House. I’ve tried archery a couple of times before but I just loved learning about it in more depth over four weekend sessions.

I joined the local Time Bank, which has given me a great opportunity to become part of our new community and meet new people. I’ve done a really wide range of skills exchanges….running errands….sewing alterations….re-upholstering a foot stool….giving a make up lesson…painting a mural….all sorts! I’ve used some of my banked hours on some dog sitting, but mostly I’m saving them to use nearer the wedding! I also helped out at two Time Bank craft events, making lots of fun stuff with dozens of local children. Oh, and there was the small matter of Yarn Bombing a local outdoor scultpure!

I’ve taken up cross stitch again, which I’ve not really done since I was little, and have made several pretty samplers for my studio, as well as one for friends Jo and Elliot (after the birth of their lovely baby boy Teddy!). I got a needle felting kit for my birthday which I’ve not really explored yet, so I’ll be playing around more with that in the new year. Oh and I also got a Bamboo for my birthday, and now I have Photoshop (thank you, Amazon sale!) I will be making good use of that! We did lots of antiquing and market shopping this year too…finding new treasures to fill up our home and getting things stashed away for the wedding to make it all pretty.

It was a truly amazing year for foraging, with a bumper soft fruit crop following the wet spring and hot summer. We both loved taking long walks with the hounds and picking kilo upon kilo of yummy stuff, as well as finding lots in our own garden! We’ve made loads of scrummy things with what we picked, including (but probably not limited to, as I’ve most likely forgotten something!)….sloe gin, sloe port, sloe brandy, sloe vodka and sloe chocolate….damson jam and greengage jam….apple pies and crumbles….blackberry and apple muffins….sandwich pickle….elderberry liqueur….and crab apple jelly. We also made cinnamon and frankincense vodkas as little Christmas gifts for friends.

I’ve also turned my hand to quite a bit of gardening, and with the help of Adam and his Mum we’ve really made a difference to our garden already. We have grand plans for next year with fruits and veggies to grow, but right now I’m just so pleased with the transformation of all the flower beds!

I got to see some great shows this year….again including but not limited to: Derren Brown (Infamous) in the West End, Mark Knopfler at the Royal Albert Hall, Final Symphony at the Barbican (music from Final Fantasy), Singing in the Rain at the Royal Albert Hall (the remastered film was shown on a huge screen accompanied by a live orhestra!), Danny Elfman’s music from Tim Burton films at the Royal Albert Hall (with incredible performances from Danny Elfman himself!), The English National Ballet’s Nutcracker at the Coliseum, The National Theatre’s Frankenstein and The RSC’s Richard II both at our lovely local cinema, a special screening of Hot Fuzz with a pre-film Q&A with Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright (again at our local cinema which was used in the filming of World’s End…I got to answer a question too!).  Oh, and a bunch of us dressed up to go and see The Great Gatsby at Wilton’s Music Hall too, and we even got dragged up on stage to learn the Charleston!

All in all, it’s been a pretty amazing year. We’ve had our highs and lows, as you do, but I feel very blessed indeed.

I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings us….it promises to be better yet!

Hope you all have a fabulous New Years Eve, whatever you’re up to, and I’ll see you next year!

Ems x

Something from the weekend….Foraging, gardening, making and treasure hunting

I had such a lovely weekend! The weather really does help of course, and all the sunshine hours make such a difference!

I spent a lot of the weekend gardening….the front garden has been transformed after many hours of hard work and is benefitting from having been totally dug over and filled with plants! I can’t wait to see it all bloom, although I guess I have to wait til Spring for that. Still, it looks better already and has tidied up the front of the house no end.

We did some great foraging too…..we picked loads of blackberries and elderberries from the local common, as well as some sweet pea pods and honeysuckle berries I’ll be planting for next year. We also raided the back garden, and came back indoors with stacks of apples, more blackberries and greengages too. There is a medlar tree that is also looking rather full, but I think we have to leave those a little longer before harvesting them.

We spent an absolute age rinsing the elderberries, plucking them off their stalks, rinsing them again and then bottling them….I hope it’s going to be worth it! We made one bottle of elderberry schnapps and one bottle of spiced elderberry liqueur….can’t wait to try them! I made jam from the greengages, and it was probably my most successful yet….it tastes yummy and is the perfect consistency so I’ll have to share some tips soon!

As is traditional, we also visited the antiques market on Friday and the car boot sale on Sunday….I picked up some great treasures to use at the wedding and the place was really buzzing in the fine weather. It was also the crafts and  farmers market on Saturday, and we dawdled around there awhile, spotting some great new stalls too.

Other than that, it was a weekend of domesticity, relaxing, cooking endless amounts of marrow, walking the dogs and watching more Buffy. Bliss!

Here are a few photos from the weekend…..

Ems x

Something from the weekend….a picture-worthy few days

I’m always snapping away on my phone, truth be told, but this weekend seemed to give me more in the way of picture opportunities than usual. It was indeed a lovely weekend, filled with fun but relaxation too. Anyway, I thought I’d share my instagram feed by way of summing it up…..

Friday night started the weekend with cocktails, as it always should…..

…..we played Guess Who…..

……and then Adam beat me at Triv!

Saturday began with a lovely long dog walk……

…..we headed to Barton Springs for a nice change…..

…..and the sun shone for us rather splendidly!

We found a darling little tea room and gallery for lunch…..

….where they serve an epic Hot Chocolate…..

….and yummy tea on quaint mis-matched china…..

…..as well as lush lunches like the stuffed mushroom on toast that I went for!

Once home we set about hanging our new treasure, the huge antique map of London that looks rather marvellous on our lounge wall…..

….and after that it was an afternoon of snoozing as it all got too much for my boys!

Another lovely walk on Sunday morning, this time at the stunning Chick Sands woods….

….I love all the little dens people have built there!

After a yummy breakfast of Staffordshire Oatcakes (the last left in the freezer after my Mum’s visit!) we pootled around the market and car boot sale, where I picked up some little treasures….

…..and where my favourite stallholder gave me this incredible menu from the 60′s!

We finally took the tour of the museum opposite where we live in the afternoon….

….and took part in a Victorian lesson where we had to practise reading parrot-fashion…..

…..did maths in old money on slate….

….and worked on our handwriting with a dip pen!

The rest of the day was more relaxing, eating and watching of Buffy. Bliss!

What did you get up to?

Ems x

Wednesday Wants….Sompex Balloon Dog Lamps

They’re metallic. Love.

They’re balloons. Love.

And they’re DOGS. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

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I’m desperately hankering after one of these Sompex Balloon Dog Lamps on Fab.com at the moment. I adore Jeff Koons’ huge balloon dog sculptures, after which I’m sure these are based. And really anything shiny and dog-shaped is going to have my name written all over it. But which colour….?

They’re currently £85 on Fab.com which I don’t think is *too* bad for a rather wonderfully different lamp. Especially when it’s shiny and dog-shaped.

 

Ems x

Catching up: June

June was a pretty hectic month I guess…. what with birthdays, holidays and a wedding to plan for, I was kept plenty busy! That also means there’s a lot to share though….

June starts rather wonderfully with Adam’s Birthday, and to mark the occasion I attempted to make him a special breakfast of pancakes with maple syrup. Only thing is of course, is that I’m utterly rubbish at making pancakes. I won’t share the picture of my ‘attempt’ with you as it’ll only put you offer your dinner, but here is how they looked when Adam came to the rescue and made his own special birthday breakfast!

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I guess I made up for that slightly with some cool gifts for Adam and a celebratory dinner at one of our favourite pubs. We were total gluts and chose the huge Rodeo burgers which come with bacon, cheese, onion rings and barbecue sauce all in the bun. There were massive chips and coleslaw on the side too of course.

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Not long after Adam’s special day, we set off for a week’s holiday in St Ives, Cornwall. It was our first ever holiday with the hounds, and their first time at the seaside! We ate fish and chips on the harbour, watched the dogs race around the beach like crazies, visited the Eden Project and the Lost Gardens of Heligan, and ate an awful lot of cake, scones and saffron buns. It was so nice to have a break though and do some adventuring, especially with the hounds!

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Next up, it was time for MY birthday! We actually celebrated the day before, as we were heading to a wedding on the Saturday, but that just meant I had to wait one less day which was great! My special birthday breakfast was somewhat more of a success, and we yummed up one of my favourites of summer fruits and vanilla yoghurt. My choice of birthday dinner was just a take away curry as we’d not had one in ages!

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I received LOTS of wonderful gifts, feeling rather spoiled actually….I received some great gardening books, a pretty wind chime, boozes, DVDs and Blu-Rays, some pampering things and my very own Bamboo, which I hope will help me with some of my artwork! I was spoiled with yet more gifts on the Saturday when we made our way into London for our dear friends Dan and Brigitte’s wedding….they said their vows with a stunning backdrop of the Thames and The Tower of London, and then we partied the night away at a lovely little pub in Farringdon. It was so great to see them finally tie the knot, and to catch up with lots of other friends too.

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Our next adventure took us back to London for the evening…..

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We used the trip as an excuse to get a bubble tea, as we’ve really missed those since we moved out to the Provinces where we don’t get such things….

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….and then after that we saw the amazing new show from Derren Brown, which was just as brilliant as we’d hoped! No more details than that though, as we’re sworn to secrecy, but do go and see it if you can!

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The garden really began to come to life in June too, which was a real pleasure to watch. Our Victorian Tulip Tree blossomed and we were delighted to see its rather tropical looking flowers, and the flower beds around the patio began to bloom too with lots of pretty clashing colours!

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More on the garden when I catch you up on July though…..

Ems x

Something from the weekend…more Instagram snaps

It’s late, and I’m tired, but I do like to keep my little weekend diary going, so here’s the whistle stop tour….

Saturday morning….nice long dog walk, with the hound and the new hound too…back home for breakfast (poached eggs) and to get smarted up….then off to our lovely local church of St Mary’s for the wedding of Adam and Jodi….

Saturday afternoon….baked a pecan pie and prepared a dinner of Mountain Meatballs from Jamie’s America recipe book….took the dogs out for another walk, this time with our friend Hannah….back home Adam made cocktails and we chatted the evening away, as well as scoffing the afore-mentioned dinner….

Sunday morning….a very lovely long walk in the sun with the hounds….back home for breakfast, then a walk around the car boot sale….

Sunday afternoon….more gardening, whilst the hounds played and got to know each other better….ice lollies as a reward for our work….another walk, even though the hounds were shattered from playing….left overs for dinner and Super8 on Bluray whilst cuddling the hounds on the sofa before an early night.

How was your weekend?

Ems x

Blog Every Day in May: Pets

“Tell us all about your pets, past and/or present.”

Cooper’s Story

Anyone who’s been anywhere near my blog of late will more than likely know that I am both dog mad, and a very proud new dog owner. I’ve wanted to own a dog for as long as I can remember….we had small pets like goldfish and hamsters when we were little, but because my parents always worked full time it wasn’t possible to add a pooch to our family. I never stopped hoping for a canine friend though, and I suppose I always knew that I’d be a dog owner one day.

We initially chose to foster a dog back in January….we were finally settled into our new home, which has a nice big garden and plenty of space inside too, and because we both now work from home we felt it was time. We managed to get permission in writing from our landlords and then set about getting our first pooch. We wanted to foster because we had wanted to ensure we could potentially go travelling for a few months in a few years….we knew that wouldn’t be fair to an adopted dog, or whoever ended up looking after it for that long, so thought it best to stay a little flexible. We’d met the wonderful gang from GRWE in town on a few occasions, and fallen in love with their hounds….and when we found out that we could foster for them, we felt that would be perfect.

Because lots of the animal rescue charities don’t have premises, they try to put dogs into foster homes once they’ve been rescued, so that they don’t have to go into kennels. It’s much better for the dogs, who are at less risk of illness and stress, but also for people potentially re-homing them, as they are much easier to monitor and get to know when in a home environment. Once we’d called GRWE they quickly arranged a home check and assessment to see that we were suitable fosterers, and that our home is secure, then in no time at all our first foster hound arrived!

Cooper, a small fawn lurcher, came over on a big boat from Ireland on the last Thursday in January. He’d been a stray over there and had his pelvis broken when he was hit by a car. Lucky for him he was rescued and treated, so that by the time he got over here he could walk pretty well and there was little evidence of his operation. He was much younger than we’d hoped for our first foster, at just under a year old, but he would more than likely have had to go into kennels if we’d not taken him. As with all GRWE rescue dogs, and indeed rescue dogs from almost anywhere, he was already neutered and fully vaccinated, and whilst fostered fully insure too (indeed most adopted dogs come with a month’s free pet insurance).

So, only a day after we knew to expect him, and only a week after we’d been accepted as fosterers, our local re-homing officer brought Cooper to stay with us. He was eager to say hello and get inside the house, and behaved himself right from the start, sitting on his new bed quietly. He sat there so primly, with his gorgeous doe eyes, and we were told that he was a whippet cross of some sort and wouldn’t get much bigger. I remember being so excited to see him and give him a place to stay, and rather like he was meant for us due to his name being the same as my all time favourite TV character (Special Agent Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks!).

We were warned that he probably wouldn’t be with us for long, as he was so young and adorable, and we thought that would be for the best as it would ease us into fostering and not give us enough time to get attached! Well, how wrong we were. We loved having Cooper with us (enjoying cuddles on the sofa and lovely long walks), but by the Sunday a prospective family wanted to meet him, and we all went along to one of the GRWE walks nearby so that they could walk him and introduce him to their existing greyhound. They came back to our garden to let the dogs play without leads and muzzles (all rescue hounds in foster have to remain on leads and wear muzzles until they find their forever homes) and after a little while the family decided to take Cooper with them.

I completed all the paperwork and then Cooper was led away, looking over his shoulder as he went. Well, I was a mess. When Adam turned around after he closed the door, he found me a sobbing wreck! We had thought I’d be the one who found it easiest to say goodbye (I’ve never been very sentimental nor prone to missing anyone!) but I found it all too upsetting and decided that I couldn’t possibly foster, at least until we had our own forever dog.

So, after a lot of lengthy discussions, we decided that we would adopt a dog rather than foster. We put off ideas of travelling for months in favour of having nice long-ish holidays instead, and set about looking for our new family member. We went to nearby Wood Green animal shelter to meet some dogs, but none were just right….we also had to consider Adam’s Mum’s dogs as any dog we took would need to get on well with them. We looked and looked at various rescue websites, and eventually set up a meeting with two recently GRWE rescued greyhound girls on a Sunday.

However, on the Saturday morning, less than 24 hours before we were due to meet the girlies, I got a call from our re-homing officer to say that Cooper was being sent back and asking if we would take him back into foster! I couldn’t believe it! It felt like a sign, and everyone said that he was clearly meant to be ours! We thought very carefully about it, but decided to forgo meeting the girls and take Cooper back on a foster basis to begin with. He was coming back, through no fault of his own really, because the family’s existing greyhound hadn’t gotten on with him. They said that he wasn’t reading the signals when she didn’t want to play, so she would snap at him to get him to back off. As a result, we thought it best to see how he was with other dogs for a few weeks, then hopefully adopt him as our own. It was a bit of a luxury really to have this trial period, although it’s quite well known that dogs often behave much better in the first few weeks, then start showing their true colours once they are settled!

So, over the next week we got into a nice routine with Coops, taking him for nice long walks, introducing him to other dogs, and letting him get to know Adam’s Mum’s dogs Newton and Piper. He got on so incredibly well with everyone he met, that we couldn’t believe he’d been sent back! He’d not really picked up any commands, but we taught him to sit on command within a day and he was amazingly well behaved in every other way too. It wasn’t long before we’d decided that it really was meant to be, so I took him for his check up at the vet and signed him over to us as his new adoptive parents then and there!

Over the next few weeks Cooper learned a whole load of new commands, got to know Newton and Piper really well and even played with Newton too! We took him out on his training lead almost right away, and within a few days were confident enough in his recall that we were able to let him off his lead all together. So, within just a few weeks, I felt like we had the perfect dog!

Cooper has gone from strength to strength since, meeting people, children and other dogs politely, and learning more advanced commands and tricks to boot. He’s taken very nicely to his walks, and adores racing about carrying a ball or a stick. He loves his sofa time, sneaking onto a bed for a snooze, dozing in the sun, eating anything put in front of him (or left carelessly within his reach!) and collecting up his toys and odd belongings of ours to snuggle up with.

I just can’t believe how lucky we’ve been with him…..he really is the most amazing dog and so much a part of our family now. I knew I’d be a dog owner one day!

Ems x

Blog Every Day in May: Bank Holiday Fun

“It’s a long weekend! What are your favourite ways to enjoy the extra long weekend off work?”

This is where I start cheating! Those of you who have read my blog before will know that Mondays are usually weekend catch-ups on my site….I nearly always write up what I did over the weekend, and on a Bank Holiday that includes the Monday too! My “Something From The Weekend” posts are actually the one thing I’ve pretty much done since the start…my blog was always meant to be a diary I could come back to in order to remind me of what fun I’ve had, and weekends are where most of the fun happens…especially Bank Holiday long weekends!

Anyway, this won’t be too far away then from my usual Monday posts…..

Saturday morning began with a lovely walk over the common with Adam, Cooper, Adam’s Mum, and her two dogs Newton and Piper. We all came back to our house together afterwards, stopping off at our nearby artisan bakery, Quotidian, for some of their amazing bread on the way….we toasted some of that up for breakfast with marmalade (and a pot of coffee) and then set to work in the garden.

Our garden was a bit of a state when we moved in….it clearly hadn’t had any attention for a while, and certainly not from anyone who knows anything about gardening in an even longer while! It’s pretty big, which is nice, and we have a large patio at the top with borders at each side, then a long lawn. Well, I say ‘lawn’ but actually it’s more like a little woodland….crammed in there are two holly trees, two yews, a very large bay, an ash, an apple tree, a medlar tree, a Victorian tulip tree and another very large tree which nobody had been able to identify! So, where the lawn would be underneath them there is not enough light for grass to grow, so instead it’s full of bluebells, daisies, primroses and other wild things. I quite like it like that and as we have the patio to sit on, I don’t feel like we need a proper lawn really.

Anyway, we’d done some work on one flower bed just after we moved in, so that just needed a tidy up, lots of water and a few more plants adding. The opposite bed however was another matter! We spent hours digging it over, rescuing Japanese Anemones, Snowdrops and Blue Bells from within stacks of knotty Ivy and Ground Elder….the roots were horrific and it was back breaking work, but we managed to clear the upper part of the bed really well and planted lots of nice new things there…I just have to keep an eye out for any vile Ground Elder leaves that pop back up!

We took lunch outside…more of the yummy bread along with cheese and chutney….plus a nice cold shandy to drink! Then after a bit more tidying up, we had to come inside as it started to rain.

After a little rest up from our hard work, we took the hound for his afternoon walk and then headed to one of our favourite pubs, The Plume of Feathers at Little Wymondley. They serve us-friendly meat there, so Adam and I always enjoy their bacon cheese burger, plus of course their amazing chips! We were pretty tired and full after all that, so it was a relaxing evening of telly watching (still on X-Files) for us.

We awoke quite early on Sunday morning, and to the most stunning day. We made the most of it by heading straight out for a lovely long walk….we took the hound through lots of the local farm land, seeing lambs and calves, as well as some buzzrds above! It felt absolutely divine walking in the warmth, and the blue skies made me feel so very happy!

We had a quick breakfast after our walk, and then drove to nearby Royston for a little dog-date…..we’ve been thinking of getting a second pooch for a while now and heard last week about a suitable dog that has just been taken into foster by one of the local rescue charities. We were so excited to meet him, and he certainly didn’t disappoint! He’s a brilliant little Basset Hound cross Staffordshire Bull Terrier (we think!) so he’s really long with little Queen Anne legs, and a big face! He loves being near to people, answers to pretty much any name and adores kisses and cuddles! We’d decided within two minutes that  we wanted him to come and make his forever home with us, and after not much longer I think he’d decided that’s what he wants too! We’ve reserved him, so just now have to wait for our home check, then hopefully he’ll be with us very soon!

After our exciting visit, we popped back home for an iced tea, then went straight back out to catch the last hour of the car boot sale at the market. We found two lovely cake stands to add to my collection, and I got a great cowboy hat for our friends’ Wild West wedding this summer!

We had a yummy lunch of toasted cheese sandwiches, then did a little more work in the garden before taking our afternoon walk…..we took a route I’d not been on before so it was lovely to see some new places, and Cooper loves exploring new territory! There was lots of oil see rape planted across the fields we walked past, and I just adore the vivid yellows against the blue sky in the sun. We also saw several deer (little baby ones too!), lots of pheasants and rabbits of course. I found lots of pretty pheasant feathers for my collection, and Adam picked up an empty pheasant egg for me too! They will all sit safely inside my Victorian Bell Cloches in the dining room!

Adam cooked a scrummy Spaghetti Carbonara for dinner, and we slobbed about in front of the telly after that, before heading very sleepily to bed!

This morning began with a short walk for the hound, then a hearty breakfast of poached duck eggs. After that we preened ourselves a little before our dear friend Hannah arrived, and shortly after that the wonderful Sharon of Sharon Cooper Photography….Sharon very kindly offered to take our engagement photos and so after a chat over an iced tea, we headed out to have our piccies taken!

I always hate having my photograph taken, mainly because I hate photos of myself, but Sharon is great at putting you at ease, and it was so delicious to be outside in the sun that I didn’t mind all too much! We returned to the house and had some shots there, and I was very impressed with how well behaved Cooper was throughout…sitting quietly with his Auntie Hannah whilst waiting for us to have our photos taken, then posing beautifully whilst he joined in some of the shots! I can’t wait to see the shots and will be sure to share them with a more detailed post about the shoot, but in the mean time, Sharon has just sent me this little sneak preview (thank you Sharon!)…

Emily_Adam_Cooper_sharon_cooper

We did a little shopping after a lunch of tuna melts in the garden, then put in a few more hours gardening….I managed to finish digging up the bottom end of the flower bed, we put edging tiles around it (there are stacks of them in our garden as I think the beds used to go all the way down the length of the garden, where the trees are, and we can still see a sunken path edged in the same tiles!) and then attacked it with weed killer to ensure the Ground Elder doesn’t come back. I dislike using such things, but it was so bad at that end of the bed that it was the only way! We’ll get some meadowy flowers growing there soon hopefully, but it’s all starting to look much smarter already!

We walked at the common again after that, and returned home for an early dinner of butternut squash lasagne, which we also yummed up in the balmy garden. And then once we’d cleared up, Adam was up to his office to start an online course he’s signed up for….. so here I’ve sat since, mooching about the internets and blogging the evening away with the french windows open, a warm breeze coming in and all the birds singing just for me!

Such a blissful weekend!

I trust you’ve all had glorious Bank Holiday weekends too?!

Ems x