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Lucy Tidbury

As a leaving gift from work, the lovely chaps from my office commissioned local artist Lucy Tidbury to paint a mural on the wall in Sebastians nursery. Totally awesome gift I know, and I couldn’t have be more excited for her to get started! Lucy is a local artist who’s work ranges from paintings of rubbish… Lucy Tidbury Rubbish

…to her fabulous cows!

Cows

For Lucy’s first visit, we toyed with lots of different ideas and we soon landed the theme of”Down Under”. With Scott’s kiwi background and my favourite animal being a Koala, we chose 4 animals around the theme that Lucy would paint around a large colourful tree in the corner of his nursery.  After a few days, Lucy emailed me across a sketch of the koala, kiwi, pukeko and a kangaroo and we loved it. A few days later Lucy was back to get started.

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It wasn’t long before the paintbrushes came out and the walls were transformed!

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Before I knew it, the animals had come to life too.

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Kerry the Koala…

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Kevin the Kiwi…

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And Pete the Pukeko.

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And last but by no way least, Rocky the Kangaroo was born with her little Joey!

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Seb is absolutely mesmerised with all the colours and loves laying in his cot starring at the animals.

Lucy is incredibly talented and is also rather lovely too. You can follow her on Facebook, via her blog or if you fancy getting your mits on some of those gorgeous cows, she has a whole website dedicated to them here! If it’s animal paintings you love, she is also in high demand for pet portraits which you can check out here! The gift of a painting is so special and I couldn’t recommend Lucy and her paintbrushes enough!

The Jetty, Mudeford

Last Friday after work, courtesy of my boss, a few of us ventured out to Mudeford Quay to try out The Jetty Restaurant. The award winning restaurant lies on the waters edge in the grounds of the spectacular Christchurch Harbour Hotel. I hoped I’d leave asking myself why I hadn’t called in before and my golly, I sure did!

It was a beautiful evening and we sat with the sun beaming through onto our table. We ordered the first round of drinks and tucked into their selection of homemade breads which were deee-lecious.

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I ordered from their large non-alcholic cocktail menu which had me impressed at the get go. The Sunrise cocktail with fruit juices and a cherry on the top was the perfect swap from my usual alcoholic tipple.

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After we’d finished slurping on round one of drinks, out came the starters. Dave ordered the pigeon…

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And me and Alex went for the Isle of White Scollops with Chorizo. They were literally perfection. Juicy with a perfect hit of chorizo and that pest0, ahhh!

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Then out came the mains. The men all went for the fillet of steak.

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Susie had the Trio of Duck and a side of dauphinoise potatoes…

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And I had the fillet of hake, fresh from the Dorset coastline. Perhaps the freshest fish I have ever tasted, accompanied by deliciously cooked spinach to balance out the saltiness of the fish.

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After our mains, we sipped on a few more drinks and the waitresses bought over the dessert menus. The boys got particularly excited as each dessert had been paired with a dessert wine, which they were more than eager to try! To kick off the food envy, Luke and Alex ordered the chocolate melt in the middle fondue.

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Oh god it looked good. I had ordered the rhubarb and custard soufflé which looking back, is not something I would usually order. (A pregnancy thing maybe?!). A little on the eggy side for me, but the ice cream was just amazing!

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After dinner, we moved out onto their terrace to enjoy the last of the evening sunshine.

 

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There’s alot to do in this little part of Dorset. We watched kayakers, paddle boarders and swimmers long into the evening enjoying the warm and calm weather.

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The perfect Friday night with great company and some of the best food I have tasted in Dorset. Yep, there it is, The Jetty you literally rocked my world!

A Mans Best Friend and Tricia Wills

Two of our best friends live in Sidmouth, a leafy town on the south coast of Devon. Every month we make the short trip across the county for a weekend of mulled wine (or Pimms / any other seasonal beverage) and lots of dog walking.

Autumn is a beautiful time to visit Devon. In fact, it might just be my favourite time of year. Even on a dull, grey, cloudy day the tiny villages come to life with an autumnul orangey hue.

Wrap up warm, grab your wellies and hit the park.

We set off through the park and it wasn’t long before we bumped into someone we knew…

Meet Frankie. Frankie is one of Daves puppies and is just over a year old. She’s changed alot since we last saw her tearing up the garden at 6 weeks old, but always such a magical moment to see the puppies and their new lives and little families.

I found a bunch of yellow leafs…

And little George had a try at some snazzy photography.

Anyway, back to the stars of the show. You know Dave and Trigger by now? These beautiful blue merle collies are such mesmerising dogs, but like with all dogs they hold their little problems.

Trigger is the puppy from Daves first litter. Unfortunately he was born with the recessive gene which in short, means he is deaf and 80% blind. He is now 5 years old and has unfortunately been causing havoc in the house. His frustrations and anxiety is too much for a dog that has little to no scents, so just when Richard and Julie thought there was little hope in sight, an email landed in my inbox from Tricia Wills.

Tricia has been working with dogs across the Devon county for over 20 years and it could not have come at a better time to meet her.  Tricia arranged to come to the house and try and help Richard and Julie with Trigger. Unfortunately in the few days since we’d arrived, Trigger had caused a huge amount of damage to the house in the small amount of time he’d been alone, and Richard had resorted to using the cage (which, every time, he magically seemed to get out of).

We sat down with a coffee in hand and recapped Triggers short little life. Tricia broke down every single major event in his life, from moving home to how often he goes out for long walks. We soon established that Triggers such sudden change of behaviour could be pinpointed to one day in October. Was it bonfire night? No. Was it a change of home? No. Was it a change of diet? No. We exhausted what seemed like every option. The only way forward was to try and resolve his change of behaviour and desensitise and retrain him.

We soon established Triggers main issue, “separation anxiety”. His overwhelming need to escape from the house is pretty heartbreaking for such a seemingly happy dog so Tricia suggested methods that would help Trigger, and also start to resume some normality to their lives and broken home. These involved re-training Trigger with simple comforts which he would be familiar with and more importantly, getting him into a routine. Training is virtually impossible with a deaf and blind dog. Tricia explained Triggers overwhelming need of human contact and petting (touch being his only working sense), and taught how to reward Trigger without the need to touch him. She explained that dogs are hugely in tune with their owners emotions and feelings and that he would feel Richard and Julie’s moods and anxieties every time they entered their home. Conditioning Trigger was the only way forward so that everyone could live a normal life, albeit with a dog with such severe difficulties.

After of hours of discussing the way forward for Trigger and the various training and desensitisation methods, Richard sighed with relief that Trigger could be turned into that loveable, kind hearted dog he always was.  All that was left was to take the dogs out for a well deserved leg stretch.

I cannot recommend Tricia’s services enough. If you are a dog owner and looking for a dog trainer in Devon then Tricia is your lady. You can read all about her wonderful stories on her website. Tricia, thank you so much for your time and help at such a difficult time for Richard and Julie. I will of course keep you updated with Triggers progress over the next few months!