The one about kennel cough

Two weeks ago, on the Sunday evening, Lilly started to choke… or so I thought. There had been chicken for dinner, the dogs had had chicken just to make it clear, I am not even sure we had a dinner this day :-( so anyway I started to freak out that maybe I had missed a bone or something… She would cough and make a hideous choking sound for a minute or so and then stop. She wasn’t breathing heavily or behaving weirdly (or at least I would say no more weird than usually) so I decided to let it be and keep an eye on her and see how things will improve.

On Monday and Tuesday things stayed more or less the same. Every now and then, especially when she was moving or running she would make a coughing sound but as she had a good appetite and was eating as normal as well as being in a great spirit we didn’t really think that she needs to see the vet.

Wednesday was a crazy day for us as we were going to Bradford for my billboard shot. This meant an earlier start and most of the day in the car. We arranged for the neighbours to look after the dogs whilst we were gone. We got up, I ventured to the bathroom in order to make myself look presentable and Mark took the dogs for their morning walk.

About 15 minutes later I heard the door opening. “It was a short walk” I thought. This thought was met with a yell from the doorway – “We have a problem!” Hardly dressed with only half of my make-up on I run downstairs to find out what has happened. “We have a problem with the dogs. I just made 12 people leave the field in a rush yelling at me that our dogs are sick”.

“Brilliant, this is just what we need today!”

Apparently someone pointed out to Mark that both Lilly and Bunk at this point (as he started his coughing during the night) have kennel cough. I wasn’t even sure what to think as I have never had any dealings with this disease.

So instead of getting ready for my Big Day I turned to Mr.Google for help. First thought obviously was cancel the event in Bradford and go to the vet – but as it was so early in the day I decided to read some more and actually find out what are we talking about. The information was sketchy at best. Some websites stated that it is not a big deal and it will go away, others that it is serious and three weeks antibiotics course is in order. We really didn’t know what to do! The vet as it turned out couldn’t see us till the afternoon as when I called the vet to arrange the appointment and told the nice lady on the reception “I think my guys have a kennel cough.” She said “Ok, come in with them but don’t you dare bring them in. Just let me know when you have arrived at the car park”. “This will be fun”, I thought.

So finally we made the decision – we were still going to drive to Bradford but return straight after the photo-shoot in order to see the vet in the afternoon.

So we went and we returned… As it ended up we were seen by the vet in the spare examination room… in the basement. One hour later, and after many, many tests, some poking and general checking, not to mention the sucking sounds as £60 was hovered out of the bank account the verdict was in – They do not have kennel cough!

The one about kennel cough

It is highly possible that they caught the bug but because they are vaccinated every year the disease didn’t have the chance to fully develop and the cough will go away on its own.

We also got the green light for walking with them with other dogs and that it was perfectly safe for them to go where other dogs walk – they can’t pass it on.

So now, all you lovely dog walkers in my village who ran away shrieking and accusing us of spreading kennel cough which one of you wants to help me pay my vet bill?

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Cat Dreams – Felix Crunchy Crumbles Machine

Cat Dreams – Felix Crunchy Crumbles Machine

Have you ever stopped and wondered what your cats actually dream about? What on earth goes on in their minds….It might be a new soft bed to sleep in, a feline companion, a field with unlimited supply of mice or maybe something much more elaborate, something just like the Crunchy Crumbles Machine, a very complicated and rather clever contraption that has the dream job of serving new Felix Sensational cat food all day long!

I know my cats would love it, though not sure they would actually wait until the final presentation once the packet was open, more likely scenario is you watch them hunt the bowl down.

They both have access to dry kibbles all day long but once a day, in the evening, they share one sachet of wet cat food. The dogs are fed in the evening, so I always felt a bit guilty that we didn’t have anything special for the cats during “dinner” time. They used to stare at us with their big eyes and wait, when nothing was coming for them, they would walk away with an air tinged both with disapproval and disappointment. So finally picking up on the signals, meaning we caved to the emotional torture, we started to feed them wet food just as a treat.

It is quite amazing watching them just before their food is served. They walk around the kitchen and meow very loudly, they never meowed before we started feeding them the sachets – I guess in cat language it would be something like “Hurry up already”. I know that they aren’t hungry, or at least they shouldn’t be, as they can simply walk upstairs and munch on some kibbles whenever they want.

This is a very special time of the day for my cats. They can be happily running or hiding somewhere outside but as soon as I start making a rattle and preparing the dog food, the cats know that they are next, and who knows maybe today is the day they are first! So they will run to the kitchen and wait… not very quietly I must admit, nope, not anymore.

Cats are cleaver and cunning. I wonder, if they actually did have a Crunchy Crumbles Machine in their possession, would they wait for food to arrive or would they find a short-cut in?

* Post written in collaboration with Purina FELIX.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Refraction

Weekly Photo Challenge Refraction

Challenge set by The Daily Post

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#Pledge4Plastics – Every Single Bottle Counts!

Did you know that over 316,000 tonnes of plastic bottles were collected for recycling from UK households in 2012? That’s a recycling rate of 58% and means that:

  • An estimated 7 billion plastic bottles were collected for recycling – that’s 19 million bottles every day.
  • Nearly 5 billion plastic bottles were sent to landfill in 2012 – that’s nearly 14 million plastic bottles every day.
  • Overall this means the average UK household uses over 440 plastic bottles per year, but only recycles just over 250 of them!

That’s just over a half. So what is happening to the rest of these bottles?

If you aren’t sure what and how to recycle you just need to follow this simple guidance:

#Pledge4Plastics  – Every Single Bottle Counts! How to recycle.

And if you aren’t sure where can you recycle, please just follow this link and enter your post code. As a result you will see your local map with your all nearest recycling banks including textile, glass, batteries and of course plastic. But remember you can recycle most plastics in your recycling bin at home, so there is no need for any travels :-)

Recycling just one more bottle a day will make a real difference.

These bottles really go to a good use.

I came across Best Recycled Plastic Products Awards. Do you know what products won in 2013?

Surprisingly the first place was awarded to uBin which is dedicated to encourage responsible recycling in offices, schools, hospitals and other typical working environments.

Second prize was awarded to the vinyPlus façade panels, made from 100% recycled PVC and coated with a weather-proof top layer.

The eco-core staple fibres made from recycled PET bottles won the third prize. I had no idea that you can even get a duvet made from plastic.

If you want to read more about last year awards please check out this link.

#Pledge4Plastics  Phone Case

To highlight the many ways plastic can be given a new life if recycled, internationally renowned designer and stylist, Abigail Ahern, has channelled her uniquely quirky and recognisable style into designing her first ever bespoke phone cover, which is made from 80 percent recycled plastic bottles.

One thousand limited edition phone covers, available for iPhone 5C/S and Samsung S5, have been designed exclusively for #Pledge4Plastics, to reward those who register their support online, tweet @pledge4plastics or like the official Pledge 4 Plastics Facebook page.

Why not make your Pledge 4 Plastics at http://www.pledge4plastics.co.uk/pledge for your chance to win and join the plastics recycling revolution?

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Alphabet Project | W is for WooHoo

Alphabet Project  W is for WooHoo

Alphabet Project is hosted by PODcast

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Alphabet Project | V is for Vertical

Alphabet Project  V is for Vertical

Alphabet Project is hosted by PODcast

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Baking with Stork – Chocolate and Orange Cupcakes

#unileverkitchen Chocolate & Orange Cupcake

On Monday I along with eleven other bloggers spent most of the day in the Unilever Kitchen.

First thing was we had the opportunity to learn some interesting facts about tea; this session was presented by the lovely Jane Pettigrew. Afterwards we met Marco Pierre White who shared with us his hints and tips on cooking (I will write about this part at a later date). And finally we did some baking with Sue Batty, a Stork expert baker.

The whole day was fantastic but the baking part was the most fun, just simply because it was free form baking. We were all supposed to bake cupcakes but specifically their flavourings and decorations were totally up to us.

We were provided with some recipe sheets but I don’t think anyone used them; everyone was just running wild with their flavour combinations and choices of icing.

#unileverkitchen Baking with Sue Batty

I believe all the cupcakes were based on this basic recipe, which will make 12.

  • 115g Stork tub
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • 2 eggs; medium size

The rest is up to you :-)

I decided on chocolate and orange cupcakes but as I have never used orange blossom water before I erred on the side of caution and so didn’t put enough in my mix so my cupcakes ended up being chocolate with only a slight hint of orange.

I had to change the basic recipe as stated above to be suitable for my creation. I’ve used:

  • 115g Stork tub
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 115g self-raising flour
  • 3 eggs; medium size
  • 2tbs of good quality cocoa powder
  • 50g of crushed dark chocolate
  • 5ml of orange blossom water

+ Decorations

  • 50g of melted dark chocolate and 50g of melted milk chocolate

To make this recipe work even better Sue suggested some small changes – add 1/2tsp of baking powder, this will help with the raising as the cocoa powder makes them quite heavy and then add an additional 5ml of orange blossom water, to achieve a more orangey flavour. The zest of an orange added to the mix would have also elevated them to the next level.

Method:

Place all cupcake ingredients except for the crushed chocolate into a mixing bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until everything is just combined. Add the crushed chocolate and spoon the finished mixture into 12 paper muffin cases.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 15-20 minutes or until soft and firm to the touch.

Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.

Melt 100g of chocolate and slowly pour over your cupcakes.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy… as they say.

And if you are wondering what the other bloggers baked here is a selection of some of their lovely cupcakes baked on the day.

Lime & Dark Chocolate Cupcakes baked by Kirsty from Hijacked By Twins

Lime & Dark Chocolate Cupcakes baked by Kirsty from Hijacked By Twins

Turkish Delight & White Chocolate Cupcake baked by Rose from Freycob

Turkish Delight & White Chocolate Cupcake baked by Rose from Freycob

Lime & White Chocolate Cupcakes baked by Lucy from Supergolden Bakes

Lime & White Chocolate Cupcakes baked by Lucy from Supergolden Bakes

Oreo & Malteser Cupcakes baked by Amy from She Cooks She Eats

Oreo & Malteser Cupcakes baked by Amy from She Cooks She Eats

Strawberry & Chocolate Chip with Lime Cream cheese Frosting Cupcakes baked by Leyla from Motherhood Diaries

Strawberry & Chocolate Chip with Lime Cream cheese Frosting Cupcakes baked by Leyla from Motherhood Diaries

Still waiting to be claimed

Still waiting to be claimed

Still waiting to be claimed

Still waiting to be claimed

hmm I wonder who baked these ones... :-)

hmm I wonder who baked these ones… :-)

I didn’t manage to ninja a sample of all cupcakes nor did I manage in the hussle an bussle of the day to take photos of everyone’s creations, so I do apologise if I missed yours.

Also I would like to send a big thank you to Rose @Freycob who investigated which cupcake belongs to which blogger.

Thank you for the great day guys!

It was a pleasure to meet you all!

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