Thursday 22 December 2016

Preparing for Christmas

Christmas Dalmatian

Everything is winding down for Christmas over here, and it's been a lovely week having Leo at home. I finally feel like I am on top of everything for the big day now, wrapping aside of course... I always seem to leave that to the last minute. Leo has some wonderful gifts and I cannot wait to see his face when he opens them up on the big day, I am going to be vlogging Christmas Day (which is a real first for me, so I am excited about having that to look back on, and it will be something that Leo can enjoy in the years to come when he thinks back to the magic when he is all big and grown.

I will be making a start on the wrapping today, I have been stressing myself out worrying that Leo didn't have all to much to open, but as I as hiding it in different places around the house it wasn't until I put it all together that I realised how I actually had nothing to worry about... Well aside from finding homes for all of the new toys and games that will be descending on December 25th! 

One of the things that Leo is getting for Christmas is a new bike. It is something that he has been wanting for a while, and I promised him that when he learned to ride without stabilisers we could definitely look into as new set of wheels for him.  Leo took to riding straight off the bat back in the Summer holidays, he completely surprised me. He told me he was going to do it, hopped on his friends bike (without stabilisers!) and just did it. He had never even attempted before. I was there willing him to be careful, and he just took off like he had been doing it his entire life. So that is why a new bike made it to the very top of Leo's Christmas list this year!

As we only have a shed and no real way of hiding the bike within the house (away from wondering eyes!), Daddy has had to keep the bike in his spare bedroom until we can get it wrapped and over to the house on Christmas Eve! I was mainly worried about leaving the bike in our shed because it's not overly secure, and obviously we want to make sure that the bike is here to be appreciated on Christmas Day... We have been careful with everything we have purchased because you really can never be too careful.

Yale UK have put together the below video providing some very helpful tips to keep your Christmas Gifts safe this Christmas. We happen to have a cheeky puppy at home who has been showing an interest in all the gifts and of course the food! 

Tuesday 20 December 2016

Health Starts At Home

Health Starts At Home

Health Starts At Home is an initiative that began in Boston in 2014. The Boston Foundation initiated a collaboration between housing organizations and healthcare providers to try and provide more stability in terms of housing in the city. Research had shown that instability in terms of housing can have a negative effect on children's mental and physical health, and on their behavior. By tackling this instability, which was largely caused by high rents, huge savings could be made in health care. Families would not rely on these services as much because children would be happier and healthier. Although centered in Boston, this initiative highlights problems that are faced by families all over the country.

When a family's housing situation is unstable any health care that they receive is usually very fragmented. Very often families will only seek medical attention when a problem has escalated into a crisis. This means that they have to access emergency treatment which is usually very expensive. This often makes a difficult financial situation even worse. The person ends up in a vicious circle of not being able to afford quality housing, which leads to health problems and the treatment for these problems costs money that may have otherwise been spent on housing.

Another problem that was identified by the study is that when homelessness occurs, families become very isolated. This means that they often do not have access to health care at all. They also lose the ability to cook meals and have to eat whatever they can get their hands on which could make existing health problems worse. Feelings of isolation and loneliness can affect a person's mental health. Homelessness is a situation that is difficult to get out of without the right support. Very often, the focus of the family solely becomes finding somewhere to live and this can mean that everything else gets overlooked and this includes accessing basic health care.

The Health Starts At Home initiative in Boston looked to tackle these problems in several ways. By encouraging a link between housing providers and health care services, the most vulnerable families are able to be identified and they can then receive the help and support that they need to be able to find a home that they can afford. This work is carried out in the community so that people do not have to incur travel costs when they are looking for help. A series of questions has been introduced which can help healthcare professionals assess whether the person they are treating may be suffering because of housing instability. These questions are not intrusive but will provide all the information that is needed as long as they are asked in the right way.

It is also possible to save money on medicines that are readily available to help prevent a small illness becoming something more serious. There are many over the counter medications that can help ward off the symptoms of a cold that could stop it developing into the flu. If people are able to use voucher codes towards the cost of this medicine then it becomes even more affordable. is just one example of a chemist that offers discount codes that can be used on their website.

A Christmas Gift Guide For Him

Christmas Gift Guide For Him

Every single year I wonder how on earth I am going to possibly narrow down gift ideas for my other half Luke, and each year by some grace of God I manage to think outside the box and find something that he doesn't already own. Buying gifts for people in this day and age is substantially trickier than back in the day, I say this because when someone want's something, we are all guilty of just going out and buying it? We may save up for months and months to buy it, or we may just think 'what the heck' and splurge, but then when Christmas and Birthday's roll around and we are asked what we would really like, we have more than likely already made that purchase.

Christmas Essentials
Crabbies Ginger Beer

Neither my partner or I are really beer consumers, but when it comes to Crabbies Ginger Beer it is a staple item in the fridge. If I ever find myself in the dog house, then I know I can redeem myself by popping a bottle to chill and it helps to soften the blow when I tell him that the puppy has eaten another one of his shoes... I like to buy them ahead of Christmas and wrap them up to go along with Luke's gifts, it's always a well received idea and helps to bulk out the gift front.

Yankee Candle
We are both big fans of Yankee Candle, and I have seen Luke eyeing up my candle collection over recent months, so I was thinking how nice it would be to bestow a selection of the Christmas line up on him this year...


Socks. Socks. Socks. I will tell you a funny fact about socks, and I am sure you will relate. Socks get devoured within the home. One second they are there, you pop them in the wash and as soon as the cycle ends, you know that there is only one sock left. It's a sad fact of life, socks don't like to stay together, and that is exactly why they have made it onto my Christmas Essentials list. Socks are always a great thing to buy for someone, because you just know that they are most likely wearing odd socks underneath their perfectly suited and booted foot. I love Pantherella, they offer a bespoke service where you can monogram the pair of socks that you purchase, making them a great gift for that special someone. 

Rhythm and Blues Woven Check Long Sleeve Pyjamas

If you are thinking of essential items this Christmas then you have to add pyjamas to the list, and if you are thinking of PJ's then I have to recommend Cyberjammies. Cyberjammies have kitted our entire family out this year, as I type this I am sat in my very own pair munching on a bag of Cadbury Dairy Milk Buttons... Luke has been admiring my very soft snugly PJ's this week, and he did look a little envious, little does he know that he has hhis very own PJ bottoms waiting for him.

Luke doesn't usually wear pyjamas, he's more of a go to bed in your boxers kind of guy, but with the temperatures dropping over the recent weeks, even he has been looking to wrap up warmer at night time. I decided to go for the Rhythm and Blues Woven Check Long Sleeve Pyjamas, they are absolutely gorgeous and I love the majestic colours that have been used. They are made entirely from cotton and have the same luxuries soft touch as mine do.

Snapfish Acrylic Photograph

If you really wanted to get a personal gift though, you needn't look any further than Snapfish. I have used them a number of times over the years and I couldn't resist getting the perfect acrylic photograph made up for the other half. Luke has just moved into his own flat, and he doesn't have anything up on the walls really at the moment, so I thought it would be nice to help him put his mark on the place with one of his favourite photographs.

Thinking Fitness?
Schiek Cross Training Fitness gloves
Schiek Cross Training Fitness gloves
Both Luke and I are massively into our fitness, we might be taking a break from it at this precise moment in time, but as soon as the festive period is over and January arrives, we will both be working hard to shed the Christmas weight. I like to include fitness ideas within my Christmas guides because it is a time where we are all indulging, and with the New Year just around the corner, we will all soon be setting our resolutions for 2017 (if we haven't already that is!). 

Bowflex® SelectTech® super heavy dumbbells
Bowflex® SelectTech® super heavy dumbbells
Whether you work out in the gym or at home, you cannot go wrong with a pair of Schiek Cross Training Fitness gloves (pictured above), especially if you have treated your better half to a set of the incredible Bowflex® SelectTech® super heavy dumbbells. I may have included these in my 'For Him' gift edition, but if he thinks I will be sharing these babies he will be sorely disappointed

The Bowflex free weights are a fantastic addition if you are working out from home like I do, they have an adjustable weight range of 4-41kg, all in one single pair of dumbbells. This has been a huge turning point for me as I have been at a cross roads of wanting to up my weight but not wanting to buy additional dumbbells as my home was slowly being over run by them. So having one set of dumbbells that I can add additional weight to is really amazing. 

All you have to do in order to adjust the weight, is turn the dial to the weight resistance that you want for that particular workout. There are 17 different settings with the top weight being 41kg per dumbbell, this makes them a great investment for couples who are looking to get fit from home, as it means that both male and females can get what they want and need out of one set of dumbbells.   

I will be talking about the Bowflex free weights even more in the New Year when I get this fitness train back on the tracks, I will be showing you my home gym set up and getting some vlogs together demonstrating how I incorporate them into my personal work out (I will even let Luke have a go so I can show you just how different our workout regimes are, and how we can both get on with the Bowflex!)

wireless headphones

Of course however you choose to work out, whether it be at home, or at the gym (or not at all), you always, always need a good pair of headphones, and in my experience it is always best to go for wireless headphones. Personally for me I like to avoid earbuds in preference of full size headphones, I find that these are best when I am out running.

If you are regular readers of this here blog, you will know that we have a Dalmatian Puppy, so a lot of our exercise regime is cardio based. This pup needs a rather extravagant walk in order to burn off his widely sourced energy! We like to go off the beaten track and see some scenery, it's nice to see some different places on our travels and we are very lucky to live on the outskirts of the Cotswold's, so there is always great scenery to be admired.

Scruffs Expedition Tech Jacket
Of course it's now Winter and we still need to get this pup of ours walked, so when I saw the Scruffs Expedition Tech Jacket I knew that my other half would be over the moon. I knew it was a 'him' coat right away, and I hid it under the stairs (he NEVER goes in there!) before I flew out to New York back in November. So you can imagine my surprise when I arrive back from the States and he looks a little sheepish. He accidentally found the coat while I was away and he was trying to determine whether or not it was for him...

Scruffs Expedition Tech Jacket

Of course the coat had been hidden away from Luke, so when he realised it was for him he was over the moon. Luke has a number of work items from Scruffs so he was already very familiar with the brand, but he was really pleased by his latest addition. 

The jacket has taped seams and a waterproof membrane which helps to provide the ultimate protection from the rain when you are outdoors (perfect for walking the dog when it is wet outside!). It is breathable up to 10,000g and lined with 3M Thinsulate. What we both really loved about this jacket is just how many little extras are included within the many pockets! Luke is especially pleased with the clear PU torch pocket that he just cannot stop playing with.

For The Groomed Gentleman 

Bluebeards Revenge Eau De Toilette and Shower Gel Gift Set
In 2016 it has to be said, the men have stepped it up a notch on the grooming front. I know men who take better care of their skin than I do, if you have one of these men at home (or in your family) then why not have a look at this really lovely Bluebeards Revenge Eau De Toilette and Shower Gel Gift Set?

Braun Body Groomer

Now I might get in trouble for what I am about to say in this next part... But I am willing to bet that if Luke does happen to start reading this post, he won't make it down this far, so I am going to go ahead and say it anyway. Over the years Luke has tasked me with one religious job, and that is to shave his back hair, because that rugged man of mine can get pretty hairy. He has always said how much he would like a body trimmer, and over the years I have looked into this for him but wasn't really sure what I was looking for... This year Luke is going to find a Braun Body Groomer under the Christmas Tree.

Braun Body Groomer

The groomed gentleman likes to look after himself and enjoy the finer things in life, so if you are looking for a great accessory that should be in every gentleman's wardrobe, then this Ted Baker Hoffman Reversible Leather Brown Belt might be just what you are looking for.

Ted Baker Hoffman Reversible Leather Brown Belt
Ted Baker Hoffman Reversible Leather Brown Belt
Gadgets and Tech 

Jam Double Down Bluetooth speaker

    Combine two JAM DOUBLEDOWN speakers for rich stereo sound.
    Rock out by the pool! A little water won’t hurt this tough speaker.
    Features a rubberized body for maximum durability.
    Connect wirelessly with any device in a 30-foot range.
    Provides up to 6 hours of play time on a single charge.
    Answer calls directly from your JAM DOUBLEDOWN speaker.
    Cord it up and listen on any device — Bluetooth or not.
Ricoh SP 150 SUw Printer

We have been trying to get my office space together over recent weeks, and as a busy family having a printer was an essential for all of us. We have the Ricoh SP 150 SUw Printer set up in the little office space now and it has been a god send. 

MiVue 618 Dashboard Cam
December has been a particularly unlucky month for my poor little car. At the beginning of the month while it was parked up at the in-laws, it was hit and left with a dent in the front and a cracked number plate, which they very kindly left hanging off my Mini. I was kicking myself when I got back to the car, all I could think was how I should have installed my new MiVue 618 Dashboard Cam.

This handy camera becomes your personal eye witness on the road, and it is something that would have proved invaluable when this collision occurred when my car was left to it's own devices. It means that even when you are not there, you will always have proof of what really happened. It starts to record as soon as you start your car, but it also has the option of a motion detection element, which would make the camera start recording if something happened while you were parked up. This can be made available by installing a constant power supply accessory Smartbox which is available separately. 

I have been really enjoying the MiVue 618 (now I have it installed), it not only acts as your eye witness on the road but also records your journey in stunning HD which is great if your hoping to venture into vlogging a little more in 2017! You can even use the integrated GPS, meaning this can replace your old SatNav!

Electric Jukebox

Christmas Day really is all about family time, so if there is something that you can gift that is going to get everyone having fun (up and dancing is better!) then you may want to divert your attention to the Electric Jukebox. 

The Electric Jukebox turns your television into the ultimate music player, it gives you instant access to over 29 million songs and hundreds of mix tapes just to keep you on your toes. It takes minutes to set up, and literally just plugs into your television. 

The stylish controller can be controlled just by using your voice, no more smartphones and having to type what you are looking for.

Hopefully this has given you a little bit of inspiration if you are still trying to find the man in your life the perfect gift. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us here at Life Unexpected!

Disclaimer: I was issued samples of the above products in exchange for this feature (unless otherwise stated). All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.

Sunday 18 December 2016

A Christmas Gift Guide For Her - What do you buy the lady who has it all?

Christmas Gift Guide For Her

What do you buy the lady who already has it all? Christmas and Birthday's can prove incredibly trying these days and you are forced to think outside the box, if your other half's are anything like me then they will just go out and buy what they want and need when they need it, which of course makes your task at hand that little bit more difficult. 

That is exactly why I have put this selection of gift ideas together, to maybe help relieve some of the stress and leg work that may descend on the run up to Christmas when you are scratching your head and worrying about what you might treat your better half too (something that she hasn't already been out and bought for herself!).

Stocking Fillers

I am known for losing my socks, I can often be found wearing a pair of Leo's, which is especially true since he has told me that I can keep his pair of Thomas the Tank Engine socks as he no longer likes him... So a real treat for me would be a pair of luxurious new socks from Pantherella. Pantherella offers a bespoke service, you can have your socks monogrammed for that special someone. These feature my initials, and I absolutely love them.

B. Complete Brushes

On the theme of stocking sized gifts, how about some B. Complete Brushes from Superdrug? They are an essential in every lady's make up bag, and you will definitely earn brownie points for gifting a staple necessity in daily women's grooming.

Women's Cross Training Gloves

If your little lady is planning on getting fit or heading back to her regime at the gym after the festive season, then these Women's Cross Training Gloves might be the perfect treat. I may be eating all of the food right now, but I personally cannot wait to get my act back in gear and start working on my summer body!



If you really want to treat the other half then I cannot recommend Olverum enough. For those of you who are not familiar with Olverum, it is a luxurious aromatic blend of essential oils, they are formulated to help ease the stress and tension that can build up through everyday life. All of the oil is pretty much absorbed by your skin, which means that there is no greasy residue left in the bath at the end. There is nothing I love more than a relaxing bath with candlelight all around. If you really wanted to spoil your loved one this Christmas you really cannot go wrong with Olverum. 

Maui Jim Mavericks

Up until I had my first pair of Maui Jim Sunglasses I had only ever really had high street pairs from the likes of New Look, I was always very self conscious at the idea of wearing shades as I didn't feel like they suited my face shape. I would rather be blinded by the sun, than look ridiculous in a pair of sunglasses. It took me years and until I discovered Maui Jim for me to feel truly happy in a pair of sunglasses. I am wearing the Maui Jim Mavericks in the above photos, and I am absolutely head over heels in love with them. I opted for the Blue Hawaii lenses that boast the MauiPure material, this means that it combines optics that are almost as crisp as SuperThin Glass with ultra light and they are also scratch and shatter resistant.

Maui Jim Mavericks

Every pair of Maui Jim's you get the patented, colour infused lens technology - PolarizedPlus2®
this wipes out 99.9% of glare, 100% of harmful UV rays and boosts colour through specially designed lens treatments, which makes your overall view clearer, crisper and even more amazing. I took this pair with me on a recent trip to New York, and they were incredible with the low sun at every turn. I definitely would not be without them now.

Christmas Essentials
PJ's have to be at the top of the Christmas Essentials list, it's always been a tradition in my family, you would get new PJ's for Christmas and on Christmas Day night you would feel all giddy and bubbly as you got ready for bed with all of the amazing treats you had received that day. This is something we always do for Leo, because to me they are essential to complete the magic of the day.


We love CyberJammies because they are always impeccable quality, and so so soft. I have this gorgeous pair of Deck The Halls Woven Berry Print Pyjamas, and I have been saving them to wear on Christmas Eve. How nice are they!?

Janiro Ginvera Gift Set

This year I took an interest in looking after my skin, up until this point my other half moisturised more than I did! I have recently discovered Janiro and their Ginvera green Tea collection. I drink a lot of Green Tea but I have never considered the health benefits it could have with my skin. This Ginvera Gift Set is absolutely gorgeous and would make a fantastic Christmas gift this festive season! 

Why not put together a Christmas Eve box of all of the above and throw in a bottle of Strawberry Lambrini? You might just be her favourite person ever!

Pamper and Relaxation 

Pink Parcel

Now this might just be the ultimate thoughtful git ever, every woman has that time of the month and I am sure you have noticed that sometimes this might get to us some months more than others, but there is a way to show us that you understand and a way to get us through it with a smile on our faces. Pink Parcel is a monthly subscription service for that time of the month.

Pink Parcel

It's such a sweet idea and I love it, you simply choose the dates that it is needed, and every month you will get:

  • TEA: Because a cup of tea solves everything!
  • TAMPONS: Brands you know - plus something new
  • PADS: All of your favourite brands
  • SOMETHING SWEET: To help hit that PMS craving spot
  • BEAUTY PRODUCTS: For that all important pamper time
Pink Parcel

  • There is such a great selection, and I especially love the Cacao chocolate that was included in December's box!
  • Bill's Champagne and Truffles Hamper
  • Christmas is a time for giving right? If you go with my next idea you may have to marry this woman (if you haven't already of course!) Bill's Champagne and Truffles Hamper, this comes complete with Bill's own label Champagne Pink Marc de Champagne Truffles, and a Bill’s church candle.

    Resmed S+ Sleep Tracker
  • The Resmed S+ Sleep Tracker - This is something that I have to admit I was a little excited about! I have used sleep trackers in the past that attach to your wrist (in the form of a fitness watch), but this is the world's very first non-contact sleep tracking system! It helps you to analyze your sleep and ultimately improve it from the very first night you bring it home.
It records the conditions in your bedroom, from the noise, temperature and light and helps you to optimise your environment to get the very best sleep. It has features that will aid your sleep and syns with your smartphone so that you can have a look at the data you collect. 

  • Need more ideas?
Landon Tyler Reed Diffusers

Landon Tyler Reed Diffusers come in 12 different fragrances and they have been exclusively developed using only the best ingredients. We have a few scattered around the house at present and we are loving the fresh aroma that fills the room (essential if you have a dog!).

Choc on Choc Brussel Sprouts

Choc on Choc Brussel Sprouts - This is one way to get in the festive spirit! The 5 year old refused to even try these chocolate alternatives because he believed them to be real brussel sprouts! They are actually made from delicious White Belgian Chocolate!

CHOC Chick Starter Kit

The CHOC Chick Starter Kit is a fantastic introduction to making your own raw chocolate. It comes with enough ingredients to make up to 30-40 raw chocolates (along with the mini cases you will need to make them!). If you have not given raw chocolate a try yet, then I highly recommend giving it a whirl. It can be quite temperamental to do it from scratch yourself (this is experience speaking here!), but this kit makes it a lot easier to try.

Judge Mini Chopper
If you wanted to gift the foodie in your life the ultimate kitchen aid, then the Judge Mini Chopper might be the way to go (especially if you really want to take the stress out of the Christmas Dinner preparation!) It's simple to use (I have managed it so I stand by this statement!) and it is great for everyday tasks. Before the arrival of this gadget, I was chopping all my vegetables by hand, I am now completely spoilt and don't think twice about chopping all of the onion up with this handy assistant.

Tuesday 13 December 2016

The Puppy Days - 6 Months Old

Dalmatian Puppy

Where do I start on Lux this month? 

He might very well be on Santa's naughty list. 

One morning last week he had been exceptionally quiet, I was in my office trying to make a head start on my to do list... So I went in to inspect and see what he was up to. He had taken my handbag off the work surface, emptied it. Killed my bobble hat (The bobble is what you can see scattered all over the floor...), of course he thought he was hilarious, and to be honest I couldn't help but smile when I saw the sense of satisfaction that wiped over his entire face.

Dalmatian Puppy

That might be the least naughty thing he has done though, and the contender for top naughty moment of the month has to be when I took him into Broadway village centre for the late night shopping. They have lot's of things going on in the street so we thought it would be nice to enjoy a stroll around the beautiful Cotswold Village with a mulled wine in hand. Of course Lux had other ideas and began following his nose as soon as we arrived. At one point I thought he was going to jump the wall to the open BBQ and take me with him... but the best was yet to come. It was on our way back to the car after he had pulled me around like a train carriage for the course of the evening, when he managed to loosen his lead and jump up at an elderly lady who was enjoying her festive mince pie!

Of course I pulled him straight back down and apolagised profusely to this poor lady (who thankfully had the grace to see the humour of the situation and my giant puppy trying to steal her snack), and made a dash for the car! I get the feeling we are no longer welcome in the Cotswold's.... Thanks Lux.

The following day we took him for a nice long walk up Breden Hill, and thankfully he was on his best behaviour.

Dalmatian Puppy

It's as almost as though this month he has regressed, he has become more mouthy again and he doesn't seem to be able to calm down and relax in the same room with us, yet as soon as you put him back in the kitchen for time out he will drift off to sleep, which I hate as I want him to be back to normal so that he can fall asleep on the sofa around us all.

Last month Rosewood sent Lux a beautiful new bed because he outgrew his initial bed within a month of us bringing him home, so he had some blankets on the floor in the kitchen, of course now it is getting colder we wanted something a little bit more substantial for him to keep him off the cold floor. 

Dalmatian Puppy

Dalmatian Puppy

He has spent the last month sleeping on the Chocolate Tweed Mattress, at 6 months he is a big dog, and this bed is the absolute perfect size for him. When we first gave it to him he announced his attraction by peeing on it... Whoever say's Dog's don't pee where they sleep, well they are lying. Because they do. I took it away and washed the cover before giving it back to him, I didn't want the kitchen being stunk out by my naughty pup who knows exactly where he's allowed to urinate, and exactly where he is not. 

Thankfully this was the only time he has done that, but he has recently taken to biting and pulling his lovely bed around, and I am now forever picking up fluff he has gauged out. I don't think the boy realises just how good he has it! 

It really is a lovely bed, it's thick, soft and really well padded. I have been really thankful for how easy it is to whip the cover off (there's a zip) and get it in the wash ready to go back to him nice and fresh again.

A toy that has been a real hit this month with Lux is the Catch & Flash Ball from Rosewood, you can see it in the above video clip after Lux stops throwing his bed around the room. It's a nice solid ball that Lux loves to chew on, I can hear him bouncing it around the kitchen as I type this so it would seem his nap is now over... It's great to keep him entertained for a while, even at night time when we have all gone to bed, because it flashes it means that he can even play with it in the dark!

I haven't really talked much about Lux's diet before now, but I thought this would be an interesting time to bring it up. You may or may not be aware that Dalmatians have specific breed problems (doesn't every breed!?), some Dalmatian's can be born deaf, this is a common occurrence, but not the end of the world, but all Dalmatians carry a genetic mutation that alters the way in which they metabolize and excrete purines. Purines are found in many different foods and this is especially true with meat. 

- Normally purines would be broken down like this:

- Purines are converted to hypoxanthine.

- Hypoxanthine is converted to xanthine.

- Xanthine is converted to uric acid.

- Uric acid is converted to allantoin, which is excreted in the urine.

It is safe to say that every Dalmatian cannot perform this final step 'Uric acid is converted to allantoin, which is excreted in the urine.' which means that their urine contains a high level of uric acid. Not every Dalmatian will go on to form urate stones, but it is always a possibility which means that Dalmatian owners need to be educated in what their dogs can and cannot eat. 

We feed Lux a low purine raw diet, I haven't actually bought a pack of dog food since we brought him home. Instead I follow the traffic light system, foods high in purines like Beef, Oily Fish, Game Meats and so on.

So what do we feed?

Instead we feed a raw diet of Turkey Mince, Turkey Necks, Chicken and bones, we would feed this along side things like:

- Egg
- Pasta
- Rice
- Oats
- Low Purine Vegetables like Broccoli and Carrot 

This way I know exactly what Lux is eating, and I know that we are avoiding any high purine foods that could potentially lead us into problems later on. I float all of his meals with water so that I am constantly flushing him through, and I make sure that he always has fresh water to drink throughout the day and night. Another important aspect is always providing him opportunities to go outside and have a pee (as I do get a lot of water into him!).

Dalmatian Puppy

Dalmatian Puppy

A lot of people recommended Advance Dog Food to us when we first picked him up, but we have got on really well with the raw feeding, and Lux absolutely loves it.  We have 3 dog bowls laid out in the kitchen, we have 2 open bowls, one that has water in, the other that we would put all of his meat and bone, and the third is a Fellipet Kaleido Manners Bowl - We put cottage cheese with his vegetables and rice in this bowl, the idea is that the paw print in the middle acts as an anti-scoff feature. This has been working a treat with Lux, as he usually only takes a minute or two to devour whatever is in front of him, it is really nice to watch him start taking his time. 

The Festive Menu at Table Table

Festive Menu at Table Table

Last Wednesday we were invited along to our local Table Table restaurant which just so happens to be in the picturesque location of Stratford-Upon-Avon, otherwise known as Shakespeare Country.  It's funny because I can be talking about where I am from, and when I say Evesham many people tilt there head and raise their eyebrows as if I have just told them I have flew out of the wardrobe on my return from Narnia, but as soon as you mention Shakespeare they are right there on the same page as you.. Anyway I digress, back to the task at hand!

 The Red Lion is based right in the heart of Stratford and I have been there on a few occasions before, so I was really excited to be able to return and taste test their new festive menu, which would mean my very first Christmas Dinner of the season!

Festive Menu at Table Table

Festive Menu at Table Table

We booked a table for 6:45 and in true Laura style...We were late. I called ahead to let them know and apologise and they were super and told me not to worry about it and they would see us shortly. I had decided to make an effort and curl my hair for the evening, and apparently it took me longer than first anticipated...

When we arrived we were warmly greeted and directed to a cosy table out the back, it was dressed for the occasion and Leo was very excited to see all of the party poppers and of course the Christmas Crackers which he had to get to work on right away.

Luke and I both decided to go for the 3 course meal option for £16.49 each, which I thought was incredibly reasonable, especially when it came to a full Christmas Dinner. Leo opted for the usual menu because the mention of a roast has the potential to send him into complete melt down (something to do with all the vegetables!), so while I pulled out all the stops starting with a Prawn Cocktail followed by a Full Turkey Dinner which ended with Cheese and Biscuits, Leo opted for Chicken Nuggets, Chips and Beans (It made him smile though, which meant we could relax and enjoy all of the delicious food!).

Luke went for the Garlic and Herb Breaded Mushrooms followed by the Red Pepper, Butternut Squash & Feta Tart and finished with the cheese and biscuits just as I did.

Festive Menu at Table Table

Festive Menu at Table Table

Festive Menu at Table Table

Festive Menu at Table Table

As always I had a great meal and found the staff to be wonderful, it's a pub I always enjoy returning to and I was really impressed with just how festive it felt inside. Leo had a wonderful time too and keeps asking when we will take him back. 

I would definitely recommend giving the Festive Menu at Table Table a try, it is the season to... Eat all the food you know!

I will leave you with a short video of our time at The Red Lion.