Friday, 30 September 2011

Battersea dog has one year to Bear

Staff and volunteers at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home Old Windsor are appealing to Berkshire’s dog lovers to consider giving a home to one of its canine residents who has been in kennels for almost a year.

Bear, a six year old Rottweiler, came into Battersea Old Windsor because her owners could no longer care for her. Friday 7 October will mark Bear’s one year stint in kennels, making her one of the centre’s longest serving residents.

Vicky Snook, Senior Rehomer at Battersea Old Windsor says: “Bear is such a docile, loving and cuddly girl but sadly she’s yet to catch someone’s eye. She’ll make a wonderful companion with the right family and has a lot of love to give new owners. Everyone here’s so fond of her and would love to see her go off to a new home.”

The average stay for dogs at Battersea is 48 days but some, like Bear, stay much longer. Vicky continues: “There’s no time limit on how long animals stay in our care and unfortunately it can take some dogs a bit longer to find their perfect match. We hope it won’t be too long before Bear finds her dream of a new home.”

Bear is looking for experienced owners and an out of town home. She could possibly live with another dog and older children. She walks nicely on the lead and is a gentle, well-mannered dog. To find out more about adopting Bear contact Battersea Old Windsor on 01784 494443 or email

Kirstie Allsopp's Home Living Range from Next

My bedroom needs a serious makeover - it still looks pretty much like it did when I was a teenager back in the 1990s!  And when I have a few spare pennies for a bedroom makeover, I have found just the look I want to go for.  Kirstie Allsopp's Home Living Range from Next is the ultimate in vintage country style, it looks fantastic.

Patchwork quilts are wonderful heirlooms and this charming design inspired by a collection of vintage quilts is sure to become one, too. A combination of floral bouquets, tiny polka dots and gingham checks combine to create a truly unique design. The delicate shades of cornflower blue and soft taupe are shown at their best on the 100% cotton ground. Depending on size, the duvet costs from £45 to £85.

They also have a matching throw and some fabulous cushions, some of which are shown below.

There is also a fab cushion with an appliqued dog on it which I love too, but I can't get the picture to load on here.  To browse the rest of the Kirstie Allsopp collection click here.

Rock for Rescue - 21st October 2011, London

I've recently discovered a wonderful organisation called Wetnose Animal Aid, who support animal rescue centres throughout the world.  They raise funds and awareness for small and less well-known rescues all over the UK and beyond. 

If you are in London then please try to support Wetnose Animal Aid's 'Rock for Rescue' fundraiser on October 21st at the Half Moon in Putney.  Featuring The Bloogs, Big Red Boat and Men In Sheds it sounds a great night out for a fantastic cause.  Tickets are £10 each and are available from 08444 771000.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Henry's packing his bags

Henry's packing his bags again because we're off on another holiday, this time with Mum and Dad.  We're not going far, just to Combe Martin in North Devon, but it will be lovely to have a change of scenery.  We're staying in an adapted caravan (Dad's a wheelchair bound amputee).  It will be the first time Mum and Dad have been away for a long time as Dad has been in hospital for the majority of the last 18 months.

Henry's looking forward to some fun as there are some lovely sandy beaches nearby which dogs are allowed on in October.

Muddy Henry

My brother and my sister in law just took all the dogs to some local woods for a run.  Henry came back looking more brown than white, and having seen this photo that Sarah took I can see why!

Plum and Apple Cobbler - Autumn Warmer Recipe 1

Over the next few weeks Henry and I will be sharing some scrummy autumn recipes with you.  Our first recipe is courtesy of Rachel's - one of the UK's leading organic dairy brands.  If like us your apple tree is loaded with fruit, this delicious Plum & Apple Cobbler is the perfect way of using up your autumn fruits.  It is made using Rachel's Low Fat Natural Bio Live Yogurt, which is a deliciously mild, fresh tasting yogurt, with a unique, smooth luscious texture and less than 2% fat.

Plum & Apple Cobbler

Using the best of Autumnal fruit in a scrumptious warming cobbler
Ingredients                    Serves 4-6 
500g plums, stoned & quartered
300g Bramley apples, peeled, cored & sliced
160g caster sugar
2 tbsp water
300g self raising flour, sifted
85g unsalted butter, cubed
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp milk
150g Rachel’s Low Fat Natural Bio Live Yogurt

1.In a saucepan take the plums, apple slices, 100g of the caster sugar and add the water, cook until the plums and apples soften. Tip: leave the fruit to cool before adding the cobbler pieces this will stop some of the fruit bubbling out over the dish.

2. To make the cobbler, add the sifted flour, butter, baking powder and the remainder of the sugar (60g) and using a food processor or mixer whiz together for a few seconds on pulse speed until fine crumbs form.

3.Add the milk and yogurt and whiz again until a soft dough forms . You can either spoon the mixture in scattered clumps over the fruit or add a little more flour and roll out the dough using a cutter. Leave some gaps for the cobble effect. 4. Bake the cobbler for 30-35 minutes until the topping is golden and the fruit is visibly bubbling beneath.

Try: serving with pouring cream or lashings of custard

PER SERVING: 415kcal, Protein 6.7g, Carbs 68.5g, Fat 12.0g, Sat Fat 7.2g, Fibre 3.2g, Sugar 37.7g, Salt 0.2g COST PER SERVING: £1.01

For more delicious recipes and information about Rachel's products please visit

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Henry at the beach

Henry loves beaches - well he loves sandy beaches.  Pebble beaches are another matter - he walks so slowly and gingerly across them, he doesn't really enjoy it!  He doesn't go into the sea (he looks miserable if he has to go in to fetch his toy!), but loves playing on the beach with toys and other dogs.  This is Henry at Lyme Regis beach in Dorset.

British Cheese Week - Part Three

This is the final part of our British Cheese Week feature, where Henry and I are celebrating all things cheese (if you hadn’t guessed, we’re both cheese addicts!).

What’s your favourite cheese?  Cheddar? Stilton?  Brie?  Well according to data collated by Sainsbury’s, Cheddar is the overwhelming favourite.  As British Cheese Week gets underway, new data from Sainsbury’s has revealed that nothing quite creams the nation’s cracker like a chunk of our native Cheddar, which accounted for nearly half (45%) of all cheese consumed by Sainsbury’s customers in the last year.  But, the British palette appears to prefer a more sophisticated taste as we spend double the amount on mature and extra mature Cheddar compared with less aged varieties.

In total, the UK’s cheese fanatics have gorged their way through more than 66,000 tons of the stuff in the last 12 months alone – the equivalent weight of around 825 Boeing 747 planes, 6,947 London buses or 16,500 adult elephants.

Overall, Britain spent more than £344 million on cheese in the last year alone. The South East leads the way in the cheese feast, accounting for nearly £80 million of the total expenditure - nearly £10 million more than nearest rival London.

Sainsbury’s customer data has revealed the nation’s cheese (leader) board:

The Great British Cheese Sales Leader Board

1.       Cheddar
2.       Parmesan
3.       Red Leicester
4.       Mozzarella
5.       Brie

The info graphic illustrates the proportion of total spending on our top five cheeses:

Despite a seemingly strong appetite for cheese, Brits’ knowledge of cheese produced in the UK is surprisingly poor. Less than one in 20 respondents (4%) in a recent consumer poll knew that the UK produces over 500 varieties, while nearly half (46%) think we produce 30 or fewer

Despite the popularity of camembert, mozzarella and parmesan amongst Brits, little realise a large portion of the French and Italian flavours are now produced in the UK.
·         56% of Brits didn’t know we produce Mozzarella in the UK         
·         51% didn’t know that Camembert is produced in the UK
·         Nearly half (47%) didn’t even know that we produce creamy Somerset favourite, Brie

Anna Townsend, Sainsbury’s cheese counter buyer said:  “It’s great to see that our native cheddar still holds top spot on the nation’s cheese boards. With so many wonderful varieties being produced across the UK, including everything from stilton to mozzarella, it’s reassuring to know that the humble dairy farm is one British establishment that will be cherished for years to come”

Nigel White, secretary of the British Cheese Board said: “The British public has been obsessed with cheese for centuries, and with over 700 named cheeses made on British soil, it’s no wonder! King Henry II proclaimed that Cheddar cheese was the best in Britain, and while we know our Cheddar is the best in the world, there really is no excuse for not trying one of our many other styles of cheese on top of your normal Cheddar choice. With so much on offer, it’s really no surprise that we plough through such vast proportions of the stuff on a yearly basis.”

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Wookey Hole Cheddar, a cave-aged Dorset cheddar made using a 400 year-old technique, was recently voted ‘best cheese in the world’ at the International Cheese awards.

And to finish our cheesy feature, here’s news of a really fun project by Primula who have celebrated British Cheese Week in an unusual way!

Primula showcases their uniquely cheesy portraits to ‘celeb-rate’
British Cheese Week 2011

Last week shoppers at the N1 Shopping Centre in Islington, London were treated to Justin ‘Brie-ber’ and ‘Ched-ward’ immortalised in the nation’s favourite squeezy cheese.
The team at Primula has marked this year’s British Cheese Week (running 24th Sept – 2nd Oct) in their own uniquely cheesy way by unveiling their first ever celebrity portrait collection – painted entirely with Primula Cheese spread.

Food artist Faye Halliday rose to Primula’s challenge when asked to recreate some of the world’s most famous faces – to ‘un-brie-lievable’ effect! She was also painting during the day to show shoppers just how these ‘in-cheddar-able’ portraits are created.

Other portraits included Barack ‘ Edam -a’, Marilyn ‘Mon-zarella’ and Boris ‘Jarlsberg’ – London ’s Big Cheese!

Craig Brooks, Marketing Director at Primula, comments: “We’ve always known how versatile Primula Cheese spreads are, which is why our products are much loved by consumers across the country. This gave us some food for thought, so we decided to really put its versatility to the test and have a bit of fun with our Primula celeb portraits. And what better time to share the amazing results than at the start of British Cheese Week. We’re sure that consumers will agree that they’re a very ‘gouda ’ likeness to the celebrities!”

Lynne Glover, the N1 Centre Manager said: “Here at the N1 Shopping Centre we love to host a variety of fun events that our consumers can really enjoy. We were delighted to host this unique activity, which also helped to launch British Cheese Week; promoting the country’s best cheeses. It was truly fascinating to watch the cheese artist in action!”

For more information on Primula please visit

Please vote for Dogs 4 Adoption

Hello, it's Henry here and I have a favour to ask you.

Please, please (yes I am begging!) can you vote for Dogs 4 Adoption in the Natwest Community Force project where they could win some much needed funds to improve the isolation kennels for the stray dogs in their care.

If it wasn't for this rescue I wouldn't be here now - they rescued me when I was abandoned by my owner, nursed me back to health and found my new family who I love lots and lots.  It doesn't take long to vote, so please take a couple of minutes out of your day to vote for Dogs 4 Adoption, and help all of the animals in their care.

Thank you

Henry, Bandit and Skipper
(all rescued by Dogs 4 Adoption)

Gorgeous Winter Knitwear from Next

We may be expecting unseasonably warm weather this weekend, but knowing the good old British weather the air will soon turn chilly.  When it does get colder you can still look stylish with the fabulous new knitwear collection from Next.

They have a huge range featuring cosy cardigans, snuggly sweaters, shrugs, sweater dresses and more.  You can find items suitable for every occasion that you can dress up or dress down.  Why not take a look at the collection here.  Let's take a peek at some of my favourite pieces:

This lambswool cardigan is simply gorgeous.  It will add a touch of retro elegance to your look, and looks super stylish.  Lambswool is so soft and warm, this cardigan will ensure you feel as warm as toast whatever the weather.  Wear it over a warm winter dress, or simply with a jeans and top - however you choose to style it, you will look great.  It is available in three colours - neutral, grey and red (my favourite).  A versatile addition to your winter wardrobe at £38.

This cable dress looks so warm and cosy, and teamed with thick tights or leggings and a pair of boots you can look as great as you feel.  I just wish I had the figure to wear it!  It is available in blush and charcoal and costs just £38.

This sweater is really lovely, it's so chic.  It's perfect to team with a pair of skinny jeans for a simple but elegant look.  A great buy at just £30.

There are so many other fab items on the website, visit to browse the collections.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Walkers Sunbites - Review

Looking for a tasty, healthy snack?  Look no further than Walkers Sunbites, a scrummy wholegrain snack that has 30% less fat than regular crisps.  They are bursting with 67% wholegrain and are made with three different types of wholegrain – whole wheat, whole corn and Quaker whole oat flour.  Walkers Sunbites are available in five mouth-watering flavours – ‘Cheddar and Caramelised Onion’, ‘Oven Roasted Onion and Rosemary’, ‘Sun Ripened Sweet Chilli’, ‘Sour Cream and Cracked Black Pepper’, and ‘Lightly Sea Salted’.

Walkers recently sent me one of each flavour to try and I was really pleasantly surprised how nice these were!  I’m not sure why but I was expecting them to be quite bland and boring – probably because a lot of low fat crisp type snacks are just that! The Sunbites are lovely and crunchy, with a wonderful texture and just the right strength of flavouring.  

I was a bit worried about the sweet chilli ones as I’m not too keen on overly hot foods, but these had just the right amount of heat and weren’t too overpowering.  My sister-in-law was particularly fond of this flavour, she loved them.  My favourite was one of the two new flavours – Cheddar and Caramelised Onion.  These were absolutely scrummy!  They reminded me of delicious ploughman’s lunches, they’d be perfect to eat with a hunk of cheese – mind you they wouldn’t be as healthy then!  My least favourite was the other new flavour – Lightly Sea Salted.  The flavour was a bit too subtle for me, I tend to prefer flavours that pack more of a punch, but that’s just personal preferences.

Sunbites make a very satisfying snack, they are surprisingly filling.  They are also very moreish!  I thought these were a great alternative to crisps, and perfect to take to work or school.  To find out more about Walkers Sunbites and wholegrain please visit