Home for the Holidays
After travelling the length and breadth of Britain this year, we're taking a much-needed break to spend time at home with family this festive season... We'll be keeping Elsa's Christmas Diary updated as we countdown to Christmas 2018!
3rd December | Local Christmas Market at Ten Green Bottles in Newcastle-Under-Lyme
This event was the absolute embodiment of everything that is wonderful about Christmas, and it was dog friendly too!
All 150 tickets for the event were snapped up very quickly so I was a little bit anxious about taking Elsa because I thought that it might be a bit too crowded for her. In the end I needn't have worried because the atmosphere was very relaxed and Elsa loved sniffing around all the stalls, taking a particular interest in the hog roast! There were several other dogs there too, including one of Elsa's besties - Harry the Chug!
In a cosy snug outside we found the Hounds market stall, with lots of treats and accessories available for dogs. Unfortunately we missed the Hounds Christmas Launch this year so it was a great opportunity to see some of the special festive products that they have to offer including the Christmas Chew and Christmas Eve Boxes - these will be featured later on in this post...we couldn't resist!
After wolfing down a delicious hot pork baguette from the hog roast, we headed to The Cakery's stall for dessert where Elsa was quite content to sit and wait for any stray crumbs...
It was fantastic to see so many independent local businesses supporting each other at this event which was also co-hosted by The Dougie Mac Hospice.
The team at Ten Green Bottles did an outstanding job of transforming this venue into a picturesque Christmas wonderland and we're so pleased that we were able to share this experience with Elsa. Thank you so much for being dog friendly, we can't wait for the next one!
Shout-out to Bethan Shuff - a fellow blogger and dog-lover who we bumped into at Ten Green Bottles! Click here to read her review of this event on BeffShuff.com
Charity Begins at Home
A friend recently told me about a local campaign in aid of the homeless; the council were collecting socks filled with useful things like toiletries etc. which would be distributed to those in need via multiple charity organisations for Christmas. Since there are a few homeless people who have dogs as companions, I thought that it would be a nice gesture to include something for their dogs too, so I put together a couple of sets of socks like the ones pictured below.
In the grand scheme of things it's only a small gesture but the experience of shopping for these items was extremely humbling. We live in such a throwaway consumer society where expectations to 'keep up with the Joneses' are extremely high and it's having detrimental affects on people's finances and mental well-being. Whenever I see a homeless person with a dog it reminds me that dogs don't care who you are, where you live or what you have, as long as you show them love and kindness (and food helps too)! Dogs give us so much, and ask for so little in return, so I thought that it would be nice to 'pay it forward' this Christmas.
Santa... I really tried!
It wouldn't be a dog friendly Christmas without a trip to see Santa Paws so we headed to Leek in Staffordshire with Elsa.
This town has been voted one of the most dog friendly places in Britain and four-legged visitors are welcome in most of the independent shops, cafés and restaurants.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry!
Christmas is a great time to catch up with friends so we decided to meet at a dog friendly pub called The Saracen's Head in Weston, Staffordshire...
This cosy pub oozes with rustic country vibes which were perfectly complimented by classy Christmas decorations for the festive season.
Dogs are welcome in the spacious bar & outdoor areas and they even have a special 'Yappy Meals' menu! Main courses include chicken, beef or salmon served with accompaniments, a choice of beverage ('Pawsecco', dog beer or fresh water), dessert (dog friendly chocolate brownie/ cheesy bone) and a toy!
After lunch Elsa couldn't contain her excitement when we headed outside to meet the pub's resident llamas... We kept her at a safe distance so that we didn't alarm them, although they seemed equally curious about her too.
Altogether, The Saracen's Head was a real treat for all of us and we can't wait to visit this lovely pub again!
'Twas the Night Before Christmas...
Christmas came early for Elsa with a very special Christmas eve box from Hounds, filled with lots of goodies including a selection of natural chews, sausages, a Santa toy and an adorable Christmas hat! Elsa really enjoyed rummaging through the box and picked out a beef tail to chew while we sipped warm mulled wine on Christmas eve.
Someone's Been a Good Girl!
Despite vowing not to buy too much this year, I always get carried away when I start shopping for Elsa's Christmas gifts...
We tried our best to support British brands, along with local, independent retailers while we were Christmas shopping.
Elsa's main gifts were a matching collar, lead and coat from Barbour. I normally steer away from this brand because I don't think that the darker colours suit her (and she gets mistaken for a boy enough as it is!) but when I saw these adorable, girly accessories I just couldn't resist. They look gorgeous on Elsa and I can't wait to take some photographs of her wearing these!
We visited a couple of our favourite dog shops and bought Elsa a cute little polar bear plush toy from Hounds and a new treat/ food dispensing Kong toy from Dougal's Den. I absolutely love Colin Taylor Grooming products and the Classic Oud Cologne Spray smells amazing so I saved this for Elsa's Christmas groom. The final gift under the tree for Elsa was a voucher for a photo shoot with the talented Bethan Shuff!
Christmas Dinner for Elsa #poweredbyORIJEN
Although we do give Elsa tidbits from the table occasionally, we try not to spoil her too much and we definitely don't want her to have an upset tummy on Christmas day, so while we tuck into our Turkey, Elsa is enjoying a bowl of ORIJEN Tundra this Christmas. It's packed with fresh goat, wild boar, venison, arctic char, free-run duck and mutton, a real tasty treat for Elsa to enjoy!
Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas for 2018!
With love from