Reduce, Recycle, Reuse: Zero Waste Week

Click here for National Zero Waste week 2012

Next week is National Zero Waste Week, an opportunity for everybody to sign up to recycle one more thing, which if it happened would make a huge impact on the amount of recycling.

I plan to do my bit by recycling batteries, I always see the recycling box in my local supermarket whenever I go in and think “I must start making use of that” and never do, so now is the time I am going to start!

To get involved click on the link above and leave them a comment letting them know how you plan to make a difference, why not leave me a comment to let me know what you are doing as well 😀

Nikki News: Days two and three and a big day out!

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Day two of Nikki becoming a family dog started very well, as I mentioned in my last update, not accidents overnight and we didn’t hear anything from Nikki all night 😀 We came downstairs at 6.30am (not our usual wake up time on a Sunday but we were too exited to sleep in!) and Nikki was like a different dog. As the boys were still asleep it was just the two of us and she really seemed to come out of her shell, we sat out in the garden and Nikki ran up and down chasing her new toys for an hour. When the boys woke up we went inside and Nikki had her breakfast and then a snooze in her bed whilst we ate and got ready.

Mid-morning we set of to see Dylan dog. When we arrived Nikki did really well, new house, new people, another small person and another dog and she took it all in her stride! We had a cup of tea whilst the boys played in the garden and the dogs had a sniff of each other then we set of for a walk around Warley Woods. It was not somewhere we have been before, but it is a lovely place to walk dogs and very big! Nikki walked really well on the lead and seemed much happy in a park setting rather than the pavement walk the night before. Dylan and Nikki got on really well and Nikki didn’t seem to show any interest in the other dogs we went past (there were lots!). Our walk was cut a bit short as some people came up to us and said there was a dog loose ahead who seemed quite nasty and had apparently attacked another dog, we didn’t see or hear it but made a quick exit from the woods as that was definitely not an experience I wanted Nikki to have! After our walk Nikki was quite happy to lie on the floor by our feet while we sat and chatted with Dylan’s Mummy and Daddy. We were very proud of her doing so well with so many new things going on in one day. Unfortunately my camera battery went flat and I have no pictures of Nikki and Dylan together!

In the evening Nikki was exhausted and nothing in the world was going to get her off her bed to go out for a walk so we let her rest in preparation for Day three!

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Monday was Bank Holiday and we decided to make use of our National Trust Membership and find somewhere to visit where we could walk the dog. Brockhampton Estate is a huge estate just outside Worcester and looked like a good place to visit. It was a little bit drizzly and not that warm when we arrived to we got Nikki all snuggled up in her coat with her bandana on 😀 The car park was quite full of people and the cars did make her very nervous and jumpy, but once we got out into the fields she was happy again and leading the way for us! There were a choice of different length walks and we chose the red one which I think was about 3 or 4 miles, but felt longer as there was lots of mud and A being the smallest kept getting stuck in the mud!

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As we had lots of fields to cross Nikki soon got to discover sheep!!! Again, she was not in the slightest bit bothered by then, although they were quick to run off from us.

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After the fields the track led us into woods with a variety of different sculptures along the way which kept the boys entertained.

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In the middle of the woods we found a den which the boys played in for a while while we sat on a log and watched them, Nikki seemed fascinated by them playing and I think if she hadn’t have been so shy she would have been in there with the boys!

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After our walk we were all worn out so we returned to the car and ate our picnic while Nikki had a little nap in the boot! After we had eaten we drove the mile down the drive to Little Brockhampton which is a lovely manor house surrounded by a moat. Obviously we couldn’t take Nikki in the house but we went into the grounds, first the boys played cricket and football by the moat.

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Then we went into a lovely little courtyard where the tearoom is and we had a cup of tea and sat with Nikki whilst the boys played with the outdoor games which were set out; chess, skittles, hula hoops and archery.

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There were some ruins of a chapel which we had a look around and then it was time to head off home! I was surprised at how much there was to see and do there despite us having Nikki and not being able to go in the house it was still a full day out, definitely somewhere I would recommend to visit.

Nikki News: Day One

So yesterday was the day we had been waiting for, for so long “Nikki Day”!

Everyone was up extra early for a weekend, we had breakfast and set of for the Hall Green Retired Greyhound Trust  . When we got there it was very busy, people and greyhounds everywhere 😀 We filled in the paperwork and then they bought out Nikki! It was so good to see her again, like last time she was a little bit nervous, but that’s to be expected with 5 excited faces all wanting to stroke her! We had Nikki weighed and she is 29kg, heavier than both J and A, we also picked out two coats for her, a waterproof summer one and a nice cosy winter one 😀 Then it was time to say goodbye and get Nikki in the car for the journey home.

Nikki seemed to love the car and was having a good look at everything going and resting her head on the boys shoulders!

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On the way home we stopped at Baggeridge Country Park for a walk, it turned out to be a very short walk as there was a storm coming and Nikki was a bit spooked by the thunder so we thought it best to get her home. On the way back to the car she was sniffed by a big Beagle who was of their lead, she wasn’t too keen but was very good and just stood still until the other dogs owner came and got him!

When we arrived home we took Nikki into the back garden first and she went to the toilet on the grass straight away! We were very pleased and gave her lots of fuss. Next we introduced her to the chickens, but she didn’t seem very interested, although there was a lot of unsettled clucking in the chicken run! Then back inside and we gave her a tour of her new home. The toys we have bought were a huge hit especially a big pink squeaky strawberry cake, after lots of squeaking it Nikki decided to try out her new bed and seemed to approve of that as well. Nikki was definitely quite nervous but was still very friendly and was enjoy fuss and cuddles. We had a visit from her new Nanny and Grandad and she got up to greet them and have more fuss!

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After a busy afternoon of meeting new people and learning how much fun toys are that squeak Nikki had a well earned nap whilst we ate our dinner, unfortunately she didn’t seem to want any dinner herself, but we were told to expect this on the first day.

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After dinner Nikki was back up and about so we decided to take her for a quick walk (as it looked like rain) in her smart new blue raincoat (no photos as my battery went after taking too many photos). Walking on pavements next to busy roads is an obvious new thing for Nikki and she was glued to my side for all of the walk, I think it is going to take a lot of reassurance until she gets used to it.

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We came home and put the boys to bed and had a lovely chilled out evening with Nikki, I expected her to be scared of the television, but after her initial bemusement she really didn’t take much notice.

At bedtime a huge part of my wanted to take her upstairs, as I didn’t want to leave her alone, but I managed to hold back and we left her cosied up on her own bed downstairs and went up to bed, fully expecting to be woken up by her in the night.

At 06.30 this morning we both woke up and hurried downstairs to a fast asleep Nikki and no mess!  She woke up very happy and we let her out for the toilet and were so proud that she had, had no accidents over night 😀 So far today Nikki is a different dog, much more happy and lots of tail wagging and following us around from room to room. Breakfast of her greyhound food mixed with sardines was a huge hit and disappeared in seconds.

Our plan today is to meet up with Nikki’s new cousin Dylan dog for a nice walk in the park. We are looking forward to seeing them together again as Dylan helped us choose Nikki when we first went to Hall Green RGT and they seemed to really get on well together 😀

News from the coop: “Squaaaaaaawk”

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We are so lucky our neighbours seem to like the “sounds of the countryside” that our hens are providing them with. Scramble our Amber Link has taken to making the loudest ever squarky/combined with goose type honking noise each morning when they have all finished laying! Very handy as we know when to go and collect the eggs but I can imagine it being quite loud and annoying if we have popped out as she goes on and on and it can be heard in the house!!!

Any one else have hens who do this???

 

Nikki news: Ready and waiting, 1 sleep to go!

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We are all ready now for Nikki’s arrival tomorrow! We have a comfy cosy bed, toys (too many!), food and water bowls, bandanas (!) & id tag and food and some yummy treats 🙂 I also have a lot of little bits and bobs like towels/travel water bottles/grooming brushes/doggy bags etc….got a tiny bit carried away in the bargain shops. The only thing left to buy is her coat which we will get from Rgt tomorrow as we need to have Nikki with us to get the right size! So excited I could burst 🙂

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Sewing: emergency project!

I mentioned before that last week, just two days after his birthday (he was 4) and riding his new bike, A fractured his elbow 😦  It was bad enough to need wires in to fix it back together and on Sunday he had an operation to fix it – my brave boy!

The sling we came out with was not the best and it wasn’t washable, having only one arm kind of attracts mess, especially on a four year old so I knew this was going to be an issue! I ordered a slip on sling of ebay and set about making an emergency sling from my fabric stash! Lucky I did as the slip on sling even in the small size was a bit too big…and according to A ‘boring’!

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In the collection so far we have:

Blue Gingham:

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Green Stars

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And Pirate sling!!

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I have made 6 so far as they get filthy and he needs a clean one on each day, and the plan is for him to be in a cast for 8 weeks while the cartilage heals as well, so I thought a nice selection would be needed 😀

I have ordered some plain brown for a ‘Back to School’ sling and may make a dinosaur one if I can find some nice fabric cheap enough.

 

 

Nikki news: Visiting our beautiful girl

This morning we went to visit Nikki and take her for a walk, we did plan to go last Sunday, but A broke his elbow and was having his operation so we have had to wait until now to see her again.

Initially she seemed a little be shy and a bit wary of us all, but as soon as we had got into the field and she realised we were off for walkies, and we had given her some cuddles, she was ever so friendly and seemed pleased to be getting so much fuss.

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We did a lap of the big field at Hall Green RGT and then let J have a go at holding the lead, I was a little apprehensive, but Nikki was so well behaved, especially considering she has probably had very little contact with small people! In the end we even let A have a go at holding her and she walked really slow and right up close to him 🙂

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After two laps of the field we took Nikki into one of the enclosed Paddocks with a few toys and took of her lead and muzzle. We were all laughing at her so much as she got hold of the squeaky toy and wouldn’t let go! She loved it and it took a bit of a tug of war and a few treats to get it back. As soon as she got the hang of it we had lots of fun throwing the toys for her and giving her more cuddles.

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Nikki was like a different dog by the end of our visit! Very friendly and cuddly and a little bit worn out! I was so sad to take her back, but we have already made all the arrangements to collect her next weekend as I have a fair bit of time off and want to settle her in to house life. If we had her today it would not of been fair as I am at work Sunday/Monday/Wednesday/Thursday  (squeezing in shifts I missed when A broke his elbow last week) and Tuesday A is back at the hospital and I have tutorials for uni.

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While we were there we noticed Nikki had a couple of shaved patches on her neck and was a bit concerned that she had been poorly. Everything was okay though, it turns out Nikki is a blood donor and has been donating blood this week!!! I am so proud of her 😀 I had never really considered where the blood needed for animal operations comes from, while we were there we were given her blood donor pack (which includes a dog tag and bandana – so cute!) and I have been reading all about it since we have been home. It is definitely something we will be keeping up with and I have looked on the Pet Blood Bank website and I plan to take Nikki to the local session in October 😀 I would definitely encourage all you dog owners who meet the criteria to sign up and take your dog along as it is definitely a good cause and you never know when your dog may need blood! 

So excited now, 7 sleeps and we can bring her to her forever home 😀

Greyhound!!!!!!

I have wanted a greyhound for a while now. I think it started with reading a link someone posted somewhere about what happens to greyhounds after they retire from racing and then we saw some greyhounds at our local Sainsburys where they were doing an awareness day. I fell in love with them! Totally adorable, I would have had them all 🙂

However at the time it was not the right time for us to get a dog as I was in the middle of uni and the boys were a bit too young.

Dogsitting for ten days this past week made us realise the time was now right, the boys are both at school now and a bit more able to get involved and we all loved having a dog in the family. I looked on twitter and found via the rgt site and their events page that Hall Green RGT were having an open day so we decided to visit them.

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They were very busy and lots of greyhounds which had been rehomed were there, we were the only ones with a non-greyhound dog and he got a few puzzled looks from the greyhounds there, especially the kennel ones who have never seen a non-greyhound dog before!

The boys had some yummy cakes and we had a look at all the lovely dogs waiting to be homed. I had my heart set on a black one, but that didn’t narrow it down much! First off we chose to walk a lovely small girl named Tily, however, just as we got to the paddock the people who walked her previous to us decided to reserve her….I was so disapointed! We then asked if they could find us another quiet laid back, black one and they fetched Nikki out.

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We went around the paddock and I was so surprised how well she walked on the lead, no pulling and was totally unphased by us having another dog with us, infact they got on very well, almost like they had always known each other.

The only thing that concerned me a little bit was her size! She is huge, I didn’t visualise us having one so large, but then I am 6ft so I think we suit each other 🙂

We reserved her and arranged a home visit so they could check out our house. The house check was last night and we passed! I was so nervous in case we didn’t pass, so nervous I forgot to offer then a cup of tea, which is not like me, how rude! I feel terrible!

I have organised some time off to settle Nikki in so we are waiting until 25th August to collect her, which will also give us chance to get everything we need. So long to wait though. Hopefully we will go and walk her this weekend and next so we can get her used to us a bit. So excited!!!!!!

We found out her race name was  Bens Nikita and have been watching her race videos and looking at her stats…unfortunately I know nothing about dog racing so most of it makes no sense to me at all!!

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Days out: Bwlch Nant y Arian and Aberystwyth

We usually do a family trip or day out for the boys birthdays, last year it was Legoland Manchester and Sea Life centre. However A decided for his 4th birthday he wanted to go to the seaside! We were dogsitting at the time so it worked out quite well as the dog could have a day out as well.

We decided to go to Wales as it is the closest to us, after talking to a neighbour we decided to go to Aberystwyth as she recommended a nice place to stop and walk the dog on the way.

Bwlch Nant Yr Arian Visitor Centre is about 10 miles from Aberystwyth on the A44, it was the perfect place for us to stop, walk the dog and feed the boys as they were all getting a little bit restless. There is a visitor centre with some information on Red Kites, lovely clean toilets, a cafe and they even have Dog bags (for the poo!) and plenty of bins 😀

The boys picked up a leaflet with an ‘Animal Puzzle Trail’  on and had lots of fun answering the riddles and then finding the hidden animals as we walked around the forest walk.

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The scenery was amazing and it was a beautiful walk around the lake. The Red Kites are fed there each day at 2pm, as we were visiting in the morning we didn’t expect to see any of the Red Kites, however we did! There were quite a few circling above us in the trees and I managed to get a picture of one of them, I was amazed how big they are!

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After the boys had worn themselves out on the two playgrounds and the dog had, had a decent length walk, we carried on with our journey to Aberystwyth.

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We were surprised how quiet it was for a sunny day in the middle of the school holidays! We were all very hungry so first thing was to get lunch, it was fish and chips all round and they were the nicest fish and chips I have had in a long time from the Central Fish Restaurant . After lunch we went down to the beach, all the houses are painted different colours which I think looked very pretty and brightened up the seafront, I would have to paint my house lilac if I lived there!

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We found a nice spot at the end of the beach where dogs where allowed on and had it all to ourselves! the beach was very fine stones so not sandy to make sandcastles, but the boys still had a fantastic time and found a couple of rock pools to explore in. The dog had a fantastic time running up and down with his frisby and ball and we had a fantastic afternoon!

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