Blogging – The When and How?

“I read a blog recently about how long your blog should be and it got me thinking. Particularly the part on Frequency.” That’s something I saved as a draft over a month ago. In fact I haven’t blogged for the whole of August. I got engaged, I started planning our wedding and I just didn’t have something I wanted to blog about or the inclination to come to sit down and blog.

I remember reading the blog “how long your blog should be” and thinking that it made blogging sound like hard work, like it’s a chore. Maybe blogging should have a rhythm to it but for me that didn’t feel like why I started blogging. I started blogging because I felt like I had something to share. Maybe it’s really selfish and I wont get loads of readers but surely the point of doing this is to do it because you enjoy it, because you want to share something.

If the only reason people are blogging is to count the number of views, likes, shares etc is that the right reason to be doing it? If you feel like you have to blog not because you want to or because you have is it good for you? When life is so full of pressures and stress shouldn’t blogging me something you enjoy, that helps you de-stress, that helps you share something you enjoy or are passionate about. Maybe that’s wrong but that’s why I blog, so maybe I wont blog every day or every week but when I do it’ll be about something I enjoy or care about or that I think I need/want to share.

Why do you blog? What makes you want to sit down in your busy life and devote your time to write something in the hopes that someone else will read it?

Lucky, Lucky, Lucky me

“I work 8 hours, and sleep 8 hours, that leaves 8 hours for fun”

Lucky, Lucky, Lucky me – Evelyn Knight

I keep hearing this song recently as it’s being used for a new car advert and can’t help but smile every time I hear it. It’s amazing how song can sometime just perfectly sum up how you feel. I am lucky and I think it’s important to recognise this and to say thank you for what I have.

Term recently restarted and on an INSET day we have someone come in a talk to us about growth mindset and it really spoke to me. One of the key things that really got to me was the importance of recognise and appreciating the things we have. In todays world we spend so much time worrying about what we’re aiming for, what other people have etc. With social media, particularly Facebook and Instagram, we’re constantly shown what other people have and what we should want and aspire to be. I know I’m guilty for joining in.

It’s hard not to compare yourself to other people especially now when it’s so easy to see what everyone else is up to. I can look up old school friends, people I no longer see or really care about but yet I can see how “great” their life is; who’s getting married, had a baby, new job, amazing holiday etc. And it definitely makes you worry about your own life. You ask questions:

  • Why aren’t I visiting the world?
  • Why haven’t I finished doing up our house?
  • Why don’t I exercise more? Do more for charity? Put better make up on?
  • Why aren’t we married yet?
  • When are we going to have children?

The thing I realised recently is that these questions mean nothing. What’s important is:

Am I happy?

What makes me happy?

What can I do to stay/find/keep being happy?

Don’t get me wrong this isn’t easy. Some times I forget that I am lucky, that if I really look at my life I am happy but what I’ve started to do is to try and remind myself as often as I can. One step to do this is using the “10 things I’m grateful for” concept. It’s not rocket science, it’s exactly what it sounds like, and lots of blogs on positivisty and well-being will use it. It was one of thing suggested on our INSET to help build children’s self-confidence and boost their well-being. So I’m going to finish off with 10 things I’m grateful for today:

  1. Music – particularly songs that lift you up and make you feel better
  2. My fiance – he cares for me, even when I’m not at my best
  3. My job – I’m so lucky to do a job I love at a school I love with people who are great
  4. My family – I’m lucky to have 3 sisters who are great, even if they do wind me up!
  5. My dog – Kira, the reason I started blogging in the first place but also happiest person in my life!
  6. My wedding – I’m getting married in 196 days! The fact that we weren’t married has been something that really got me down in the last few years but it’s like a massive weight has been lifted, not because I didn’t know that he loved me but because being about to say that we chose each other not just for now but for life is something that is really important to me.
  7. My health – Don’t get me wrong I haven’t ever been really unwell but I’ve been hospitalised a few times and in the last couple of years nausea has been something that has been a regular nuisance. So I’m so grateful for every day, week, month etc that I feel healthy enough to get on with my life.
  8. My house – not only am I grateful for having one but for the fact that I can afford to own and it’s somewhere I love.
  9. My friends – they make me laugh and it’s great to have some really good friends I know I trust.
  10. Food – I had to think a bit more about this one and that’s the great thing about doing this exercise sometimes it’s remembering that not everyone has something that we take for granted. Food is definitely one of those things.

What 10 things are you grateful for? What makes you think “lucky, lucky, lucky me?

Rocky Valley, Cornwall

We found this walk by accident. We were try to find somewhere to park to get to St Nectan’s Glen and saw lots of people parked in a layby on the way road to Tintagel and thought we had found a good place to start. Unfortunately we were mistaken but fortunately what we had found was a really lovely walk and well worth doing.

The layby was just by point 1 and easily spotted. You have to walk down someone drive and follow a path along a stream at the edge of their garden at begin with but it isn’t long before your in a little wood just past point 2.

The path isn’t massively wide but it was easy enjoy to follow and as it was near the stream sections of it were unexpectedly muddy, especially with all this dry weather we’ve been having. Eventually you reach a little ruined mill which is worth having a look at as on the rock face there are some carving which are believed to have been done in the Bronze Age.

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fbtWe then went over the bridge while Kira had a little play in the water. With all this hot weather she has really become a lover of rivers!

As we followed the path we reached another bridge which would take you up to the campsite or you could carry on along the path. We decided to do this.

The path continues to follow the stream steadily getting higher. Again you reach another little path which follows down to the rocky edge.

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It worth following the path down to get a good view of the mini waterfall but also worth continuing up to the top as the views from up there were superb, as they tend to be in this part of the country.

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What walks have you accidentally found?

Bedruthen Steps, Cornwall

We recently took a holiday with Kira down to Cornwall. My favourite part of our holiday was our trip to Bedruthen Steps. This is a national trust site which has some beautiful views.

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At the car park is a lovely little cafe where you can get drinks, cream teas, ice creams etc which was a good way to start our visit as we had been walking around different places all day. After that it’s well sign posted and we walked along the path to the steps. At the top of the steps it gave you tide times and as it said high tide wasn’t for another 5 hrs we headed down.

The steps were quite steep and slippy with the sand on it  but manageable even with with my slight fear of heights. When we got down to the beach lots of people were having a play in the water, dogs were running around enjoying themselves and a variety of people had written or were writing messages in the sand to look at from the top of the cliffs.

While passing people on the way down we have been warned that the tide came in quickly so we made sure to check where the water was before having a wander around with Kira and a play in the water.

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The tide really does come in quickly so we headed back up the cliff to walk along and enjoy the views. We were amazingly lucky with the weather, it was beautiful that day as it has been recently so the sky was gorgeous and the sea look amazing. I really couldn’t recommend going here enough.

We only walked as far as point 4 on the map as well as wondering down on the beach.

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https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/carnewas-and-bedruthan-steps/trails/carnewas-at-bedruthan-coast-walk

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Though I might be a little biased as on the other side of the beach at the top of the cliffs, somebody very important to me popped a rather important question.

Dog Friendly Holidays – North Cornwall

“Cornwall is very primeval: great, black jutting cliffs and rocks…and a pale sea breaking in, like dawn. It is the beginning of the world, wonderful…”

D H Lawrence

So for the last week or so we’ve been off on holiday. I’d never been to Cornwall and my partner decided it was about time he took me, so off we went. We booked a little annexe between Bude and Boscastle through PetPyjamas. It was a good base for our trip with good access to the SW Coastal Path.

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I have to say I was amazed by the spectacular views we found and how dog friendly it was. I can truely recommend going down to Cornwall with or without a dog.

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If you like walking some of the route a spectacular and the places you can visit are amazing too. Here are my recommendations:

Where would you recommend to visit?

Sunsets

A couple of months ago the Word Press Photo Challenge was ‘Rise/Set‘ and it was the first photo challenge I took part in: Photo Challenge: Rise/Set.

Sunsets are my favourite times of day. Since getting Kira we’ve attempted hundreds of sunset pictures with a few being really good. With the weather being so hot recently we’ve been taking our walks later and later meaning that occassionally we are in the right place at the right time to see a beautiful sunset. Even more rarely we hit the perfect time, place and have a camera! So I thought I would share some of these with you from our walk the other evening.

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Sitting next to some wild flowers half way up Ivinghoe Beacon
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Enjoying the view

I really miss the weekly photo challenge but can’t seem to find a new one to take part in that I like. Any recommendations?

Pet Waste Wormery – Update no.2

As some of you will know on the 24th May we decided to get a pet waste wormery. And it was really slow start after about 3 weeks we’d put in our first poo and not much appeared to be happening. We are now nearly 4 weeks later so a month and a half in and we appear to be making progress. We can confirm that our worms are active and completing their duties successfully…if at a slightly slower pace than is actually helpful. At the moment the worms seem to be coping with about 2 or 3 poos being put in a week which has increased dramatically in the past 2 weeks. It was almost like they suddenly realised what was going on and got to work.

We are happy to confirm that even with several poos inside there isn’t a pooy smell even when you open it, though it definitely smells composty.

Our only issue is, this morning, Kira decided the best place to dig was right next to it! Pesky dog!

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She’s so proud of herself!

Pet Cooling Mat

It’s been pretty hot these past few weeks and it’s set to continue. As part of our efforts to keep Kira cool we decided to invest in a ‘Pet Cooling Mat‘.

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We did this because we’d heard that Pet Cooling Mats were pretty good…if your dog likes them. Now on opening the box Kira ran off like it was going to attack her and it took a good hour or two to convince her to even come close to it. But some treats and a game of ‘Pass the Ball’ eventually built her confidence and she went on it. Success!

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However, we’d been warned they could be slippy so we moved it to a more out of the way location but still somewhere she likes to sleep. Nope, she no long sleeps there and much prefers to sleep on the carpet. So today, I came home and decided if she wasn’t going to use it, I would.btr

Dogs can be so contrary sometimes and I wonder if occasionally we over worry about them. She’s my baby though so I think I’ll probably keep spoiling her…and she’s probably keep doing whatever she wants too.

On a review note regarding the cooling mat, I’m not 100% convinced it’s that effective but having never used one before I don’t know how cool it should be. Yes it’s cool to the touch but it doesn’t seem to get any cooler when you put sustained pressure on it…which is what I believed it was meant to do. Give us your thoughts on cooling mats and whether your pampered pooch appreciates them.

Hot Dog!

The last couple of weeks the weather has been gorgeous! And it looks set to continue!

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Sadly, this means that my facebook has been filled with sad stories of people leaving dogs in hot cars, walking them on hot pavements and over exercising them to the point of heat exhaustion. Today, we changed our plans because of how quickly it got hot so that Kira stayed nice and cool but I thought it was worth see what tips are out there for keeping your dog cool!

  1. Exercise during the cooler parts of the day: I’m sure you know/have heard to stay out of the sun between 11 am and 3 pm and a similar rule applies for dogs. If you wouldn’t run around in a coat in it, don’t make your dog. Try walking earlier in the morning or later in the evening, when the weather has cooled down.
  2. Make sure there is plenty of shade: Whether you leave the back door open so they can enter and exit as they please or put up a parasol in the garden just for them. Dogs, like people, need shade. If there isn’t any shade make some or keep them inside.
  3. Avoid hot pavements: If it feels hot to the hand or your bare feet and you wouldn’t walk on it, don’t force your dog too. Though dog paws are pretty tough they can easily burn if forced to walk on the pavement.
  4. Cool them off with water: Turn on the hose, keep their water bowl topped up, have paddling pool to play in. All of these are great way to help your dog cool down and if they’re anything like Kira they’ll love it!
  5. Try going for a swim instead of a walk: This wont work for all dogs as not every dog likes going swimming but if your dog does it’s a perfect alternative to a walk on a hot day. Not only is it great exercise for them but it’ll keep them cool too.
  6. Make some frozen treats: If your dog is anything like Kira an ice cube is enough, or in our case Ice Ball! But you can easily make it more interesting by adding treats or peas or some stock to the water before freezing. Or you could feed them frozen raw food nuggets.

     

How do you keep you pooch cool in the sunshine?

One year on

“Dogs are not our whole lives, but they make our lives whole” – Roger Caras

Exactly a year ago today we picked Kira up and I think this quote is so true. Nothing really changed in my life other than getting a dog. We still live in the same house, I still teach at the same school but my life feels fuller, better, happier.

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Having Kira makes the house seem fuller (I realise it is technically, we have a german shepherd…they take up a lot of room). But what I mean is that come home to a dog is so different to come home to an empty one. Kira is always so excited to see me home. She runs around the tables, tries to jump up to say hello and is desperate for a cuddle. She can have been left for several hours and she would rather say hello to me than go out for a wee or have a treat.

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than himself” – Josh Billings

Having Kira has been great but it’s also been harder than I thought. The first few weeks we had heard I was worried we were doing things wrong. I was probably overprotective and more careful than I needed but I’d rather be safe than sorry. Training her seemed so easy at first and then it seemed to hit a wall, then go backwards. This is normal! But also when she gets something, when we improve the sense of accomplishment is amazing! Even if she doesn’t do it with me but with Al it’s great. Training a dog isn’t just about the dog or the owner, it’s about both of you working as a team.

Getting a dog changes your life, in small ways that make a big difference. Having a dog is fun and makes me smile every day, even the bad ones. She might of only been in our lives for a year but it feels like a life time and I can’t wait to make more memories with her!img-20180616-wa0004