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We love you Chewy

Earlier this week we had to make the hardest decision anyone with a pet will ever have to make. You have to be totally selfless, even though you’re fully aware of the devastating consequences. I’m typing this with tears streaming down my checks and my nose running.
Over the last few weeks Chewy had slowed down, he wasn’t his beansy self, but we knew this might happen and just took everything slower. On Tuesday we went for our walks, he ate all his food and got as many treats as he could. On Tuesday night, he climbed into our bed. His breathing was heavy, the lymph glands in neck had hugely swollen and he was struggling to breathe. He was disorientated and wouldn’t eat or drink. He kept wanting to go outside, but wasn’t able to stand. I slept next to him on the floor, in the other bedroom and came downstairs when wanted to. Eventually at about 5am we called the vet.
She confirmed our worst fears. We booked an appointment for 7:45 that morning, we had a little time to say goodbye.
I…
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My darling dog has cancer

My darling dog has cancerAbout two-and-a-half weeks ago, on a Friday evening after the Husband had been away for work for the week, the three of us, He, Chewy and myself were sat on the sofa, having a catch-up. The Husband mentioned that Chewy’s glands (lymph nodes) were really big.
A bit of back-story, he eats EVERYTHING! He has a keen eye for what we’ve termed a ‘poopsicle’ and happens to chance upon these seemingly tasty snacks rather regularly on his walks. He’s also partial to stale bread that some unwitting fellow has left out for the birds. Or the remainders of a teenagers discarded dinner. Let’s not mention the rotting snacks the fishermen leave behind during fishing season…
I think you understand then, that we often have a dog with a bit of a dodgy tummy*. We’re no strangers to probiotics.
So, obviously we squeezed probiotics onto his handcrafted meals, and kept and eye on what was going on. But coupled with the swollen glands, we called the Vet and they recommended coming in …

Dining room blues

We'd initially thought to give ourselves some time to live in the house before decorating, you know, to get to know the space and how it'll be used... two months in and the dining room is first up! It's pretty obvious, we're going to be eating in there! It was an easy decision (we both agreed with each other) the walls were going to be a dark blue, both have pretty much floor to ceiling windows next to them, so we weren't too worried about the space feeling dark. 
Farrow & Ball's Hague Blue was our first choice... so we got a sample. And samples of Stifkey Blue, Drawing Room Blue and Pitch Blue, you never know what it's going to look like on the wall... although the colour samples are a pretty good indication.  
With a sort of naughty-child feeling the sample patches were painted onto the wall. It felt quite rebellious just painting stripes onto the wall, clearly ruining the paint already there. But also quite exciting, taking the first of many design ste…

We’re buying a house!

Some-how we’ve navigated the quagmire of housing options, unravelled the tangled knot of estate agent ‘truths’, avoided injury / illness from some of the houses we’ve seen and eventually found something that we both like, in our price range!
Seriously, I’d like to take this moment to thank firstly the home owners whose houses will probably be on the market for quite some time to come. A few come bubbling immediately to mind. The one where the whole family was sitting in the living room, so we went upstairs. Past the underwear left out to dry on the dust laden radiators. Only to see a small room, luminous pink room and a master en-suite that we couldn’t even get into. Really, there were two double beds crammed into the room, which meant that the door couldn’t open properly. And to actually get into the room you’d have to climb onto and over the bed(s). We didn’t stay long in that house and we definitely didn’t keep the information sheet that the agent gave us. Instead we wished him good…

How To Buy A House vs Online Dating

Buying a house is like online dating. I say that having had experience of both. Before having met The Incredible Davey (he requested a superhero pseudonym, we shall refer to him as TID henceforth) I discovered that in order to be an effective online dater, you need to date like a man... by having at least three men who you're going on dates with at a time (not all together). It means that if one isn't as responsive as you'd like or you decide you don't like another, there are still two more to keep you amused. And the same applies when looking for houses!

The similarities in the two experiences are uncanny:
1. You do both online.
2. It's brutal.
3. You need to be prepared to have your heart broken.
4. It takes hours of trawling to find one that you might like.
5. The photo's are often misleading.
6. You can 'try before you buy' but just the tip. You don't really know what's under the 'bonnet' until you're entrenched in the relationsh…

The rise of the herb balls

For a while now I've been wanting to get back into the garden! I miss spending hours pottering about, languidly watering plants and admiring them and their growth spurts. This desire has been somewhat stilted by living on the first floor and not having my own garden. We do, however, have a tiny bit of balcony space outside the back door. And after watching everyone else's flower boxes flourish throughout the summer months, I thought that as it's now autumn it would be a great time to get planting!
To be honest I can't remember exactly how you're supposed to assemble the balls. I can't even remember the name, so after a brief and unsurprisingly unsuccessful effort on The Google I re-hydrated the moss and used a combination of herb-plugs, moss and potting soil...

Taa-daa!
Having managed a few layers I opted for a centre-piece instead of a full ball, featuring fresh basil, parsley, chives, thyme and rosemary!



Even the strawberries that had ripened then lain ignore…

Lactose free & delicious! - What?!?

Over the Christmas period we discovered that The Boyfriend, DC is actually really lactose intolerant, and not in a it's-currently-trendy-to-be-allergic-to-something way, he writhes in agony for at least 24 hours after ingesting dairy! So my challenge has been to find lactose replacements (while secretly snacking on the odd chocolate that falls my way when he's not looking!) that are both appetising and lactose free, which is not as simple as it should be!

Last weekend I was asked to bring dessert, so went off to scour the shelves of M&S... DC had said that I could get two options, fruit for him and something creamy for the rest of us. But, for me, this is just unfair. If I couldn't eat something and everyone else could, I really wouldn't want them to be having that in front of me! After 20 minutes scouring the shelves, I hit on jelly, albeit with fruit in it, and sorbet, finished with a sprinkling of blueberries.

About 15 min into this search it finally hit me that…

What a difference a shoe makes…

Give them two or four little hours… Well Dinah Washington, I’ve just bought a pair of heels and am yet to wear them for either two OR four hours. That may be because they’re slightly too small (although a 6)… I’m optimistic that they’ll stretch soon, hence have been wearing them on a daily basis since the beginning of the week in the hope that soon, ideally by the time I go for dinner this evening, they’ll be perfect (read: my toes won’t be numb after 30 minutes.)

They look even better in real life!
In the same purchase I acquired a pair of snakeskin pumps. Now my tendency is to wear flats, but I’m a lady and so love a pair of pretty heels! So how could I resist a metallic bronze pair, on sale! They were calling out to me, they needed a home, it would have been cruel to leave them on the website. So I housed them, both. The flats will get me to and from the party, the heels are to be worn while everyone can remember their shiny beauty (at the beginning of the night)!
Attractive comfo…

My first foray into quinoa!

Okay, so I'm a little late to this party, but as they say, better late than never. I'm kinda 'old school' I like my protein in meat form, ideally a steak cooked on the rare side of medium-rare (in particular, one from Roxie's, who do a most fantastic 250g fillet steak, for a very reasonable £14.45...) So to eat quinoa, pronounced 'keen-wa', just feels a bit odd!

 A tantalising steak from Roxie's, who wouldn't want one?

However, I'm told that great things can be done with it (quinoa, not steak). A particularly loved and often visited website in our office, is that of nutritional life-stylist, Madeleine Shaw (and yet this is still the first time I'm eating quinoa!) I've made her sweet-potato bread before (add rosemary and extra baking powder and it's delish!)

Reasonably tasty, but probably vegetarian!

But I digress! Today I have had my first bowl of M&S's super green soup with quinoa and some other ingredients (beans, potential…

Kew - Richmond: The First of our Top 50 Walks in the UK

A few weeks ago three of us set off on our first of fifty walks. The idea behind all these walks was ‘developed’ one evening over dinner and a bottle of wine with Miss Benbow. We were making the most of the last warm evenings of the summer – dining alfresco – and the fresh air got to our heads. A few years back Amy had come across The Guardian’s Guide to Britain’s 50 Best Walks. And we were going to do them. All.

It was the perfect opportunity to see more of the beautiful country that we live in. We could take pictures, visit local coffee shops, pubs and restaurants and discover nature’s delights along the way. As the evening continued the idea branched off onto further tangents. But the crux remained the same: to complete the walks together. It was also decided that friends would be welcome and that we’d aim to complete them all in three years.
So with that in mind, a few weeks later we poured over our diaries to find a suitable date for our first walk. As expected this wasn’t as sim…