Friday, 20 March 2015

Spring City Break

I'm off on my holidays next week!

I always save a week's holiday for the end of March as our season at work is flat out from April to October so I won't get away during that time for long!

We're going to Barcelona again and I'm so excited. I'm going with my best friend and our mums so it'll be great to show them around the bits of the city we have seen before and I really, really hope they love it as much as we do! I'm sure they will.

We've booked an awesome apartment in the old part of the city near to lots of interesting places.

I've written a list of places we want to go to but we're only going for 3 nights so I expect it will be hectic!

Dad is in charge of feeding the horses and cats, our neighbours are checking on the sheep (fingers crossed they don't start labing while we're away!) and the dogs are going to their holiday home with my friend and her 3 mad dogs.

It is difficult to get away when you have so many animals to look after but we're very lucky to have some fantastic friends and neighbours who help out and we look after their animals when they go away.

The weather looks a little bit dodgy in Barcelona while we're there but we'll have to hope they get it wrong and we'll have a lovely few days away.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Westcountry Walkies - Exploring a new route!

Wasn't the weather lovely at the weekend? It was fresh in the morning and pleasantly warm in the afternoon.

As it was such a nice day, I thought I'd do a different walk with the dogs and was contemplating going along the coast path which we haven't done for a while but then I decided it was high time I explored a route I've been meaning to do for ages. 

The town of Salcombe is nearby and there's a place called Snape's Point just across the water with spectacular views of the town and the estuary.

There is a little car park near the start of the permissive footpath (meaning the landowners have given their permission for people to walk on their land but can withdraw it at any time)
We followed a track from the car park. As I didn't know the path, I kept the dogs on their leads as there were fields of ewes and lambs beside the path.
Although the dogs are used to our sheep, I would never trust them with anyone else's livestock.

Once we were past the lambs, I let them off the lead for a bit until we went through a gate into a field as I wasn't sure if we'd find lambs in there as well. 
Luckily, it was an empty field so I let them off again and we climbed to the top of the hill and enjoyed the most spectacular views - almost 360.

We took in the views for a few minutes before setting off on the other side of the point. The dogs had a brilliant time racing about and chasing each other.

As we started to head back uphill towards the car park, there were more spectacular views over towards Kingsbridge.

It was a lovely, relatively easy walk of about 2.5 miles with spectacular views.

I can't wait to go back again!


Friday, 13 March 2015

Spring is Springing!

I love Spring!

It is my favourite season of them all for these reasons:

  • Lighter evenings - I can start riding after work again!
  • Perfect temperature - fresh mornings and warmer days but not too hot

  • No flies! - As a horse owner, this means the neds can have their rugs off during the day without being bothered by flies

  • The mud is drying! - Less time spent trying not to land on my bum or lose a welly in the bog that is the field gateway!
  • Flowers - I love spring flowers brightening up the lanes and garden after a long dull winter

  • Lambs! - We start lambing at the beginning of April so watch out for cute lambs on my Instagram and in blog posts.

  • Happy people - doesn't everyone seem happier with the promise of some nicer weather?
  • My Birthday - a big one for me this year and a lovely evening planned at my favourite hotel with my favourite people
  • A city break - I'm off to Barcelona for a few days next week and I'm so excited to be going with my best friend and our mums

Tell me why you love Spring too :-)

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Happy Birthday Dixie Dog

It is Dixie's 2nd Birthday today.

The Birthday Girl

I have made her a cake (recipe here) and she had her presents a few weeks ago.
She got a new fleece and a new outdoor coat. 
She is the world's most pathetic dog so has more clothes than I do!

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Making a Doggy Birthday Cake

It's Dixie's 2nd birthday tomorrow so I have made her a birthday cake. 

I made one last year and she absolutely loves it... like... would sell her soul for some! 
I found a recipe on Pinterest and it is so easy to do:


2 tins tuna in oil
2 eggs
160g plain or wholemeal flour

Put the tuna into a bowl and break it all up.

Try not to trip over the dog which is right by your foot gazing intently at you hoping you'll accidentally drop a bit on the floor.

Add the 2 eggs and flour

Mix it all up until it is like a dough/thick paste

Spread out on a large plate.

Put in the oven for about 10 minutes.
I have an Aga so just have to guess when it is ready!

Guard the Aga in case someone dares take the cake out without you noticing...

Take out and leave to cool.

Cut the cake up into treat size bits.
I freeze the bits and use them for treats and training over the next few months.

Ta Daaaa! Doggy birthday cake!

Add a couple of candles and sing Happy Birthday but don't let the dog blow out the candles (or eat them...)


Monday, 2 March 2015

My Essential Winter Items!

With Spring just round the corner, we can finally start to look forward to warmer weather after a long winter. We're bound to get a bit more cold and wet weather though!

As you may know, I live on a smallholding so I spend a lot of time outside looking after and riding my horses, feeding the sheep and walking the dogs.
Luckily I work in a nice warm office during the day but after work and weekends I am outside a lot!

Here's some of my favourite bits of winter survival kit:

I have several pairs of wellies but during the winter, I live in my Muck Boots as they are neoprene and so so so warm! I don't need to wear thick socks with them as they keep my feet toasty warm.
I have the style that are suitable for riding in so I don't need to change my boots when I ride.
Because they are neoprene, they stretch over my fat calves with ease!

My other wellies I wear in warmer weather (and most of the time) are Aigle Parcours Vario and they are great. I've had mine about 4 years and they're still going strong. I wear these most days all year round. I was lucky to get them for about £65 but I'm dreading replacing them as they now cost about £120 - they're well worth the extra expense though.

I don't rate Hunter wellies at all anymore. They are no longer made in the UK and the quality of them has deteriorated considerably. The newer models may be better designed but people rather like the original welly boot as a fashion statement.

Coat and Waterproofs
I have had my beloved Harry Hall coat since I was 13 and I love it!
The pockets are full of gloves, baler twine, polos and bits of hay. It is a bit worse for wear but it is lovely and warm although not very waterproof any more!
My vintage coat and a helpful cat...
I also have a Bronte coat which is slightly cleaner and less stinky but I wore it yesterday for the first time since last winter and found my favourite gloves in the pockets and 2 half empty packets of polos.

I have a thinner coat for warmer days or for layering which was supposed to be a "good" coat and not for wearing on the farm... That didn't last long and it is now filthy!

I have a pair of Helly Hansen waterproof trousers which I think I stole from my dad. He doesn't want them back any more now they're covered in mud and used during lambing!
Full waterproofs for a wild walk on the beach!

Neck warmer, Hat and Gloves
I have got a couple of fleecy neck warmers that I wear instead of a scarf. There's nothing worse than a cold breeze blowing down your neck! I usually keep one in the tack room and often leave one in a coat pocket.

I like a hat that covers my ears and I can pull really low. I usually wear a beanie type hat and have several all over the house, stables and my car!

I always wear fingerless gloves in the winter as I'm always using my hands. They keep my hands warm enough and are really useful. My favourite ones have a mitten flap to fold over my fingers if it's really cold.

Head Torch
This is definitely an essential item. When my hands are full carrying feeds, leading the horses and even lambing - a head torch comes into its own!
I have a Petzl Tikka 2 XP and a Petzl Tikka Plus 2 and they are so useful! They aren't cheap at around £45 but they are worth it. 
Petzl Tikka Plus 2

Petzl Tikka 2 XP

Hand Cream
I absolutely swear by the Body Shop's Hemp Hand Cream
My hands get so dry and often crack and bleed during the winter and lambing time when i'm washing my hands in icy cold water a lot.
I put this stuff on at night with a pair of cotton gloves and in the morning, my hands are restored!
I would recommend this to anyone and it has beaten every other hand cream I've ever tried.

Peacock Hand Warmer
This little thing has been a total game changer this winter!
I love it and I can't believe I haven't bought one before.
I wrote a post on it here.

Standard winter wear - ready to head outside!

Right! I'm all ready to go outside in any weather.... are you?!