Planning Our Next Trip – To Where?

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I’ll start this post by saying our ‘next trip’ would have been Walt Disney World Florida and I have written plenty about that here. It is unfortunate that we can’t go as planned but we aren’t the only ones and it is for the best at this time. That does not stop us from planning our future Disney trip and plenty of others that we would love to do too.

For the last two years we have enjoyed a Winter holiday with our friends and their adorable cockapoo, Ares. At first we spent our time in Yurts in the Lake District with the second in a hotel in the Cotswolds. These breaks (as they would with dogs) are largely spent on walks or in dog friendly pubs. As the world might be back travelling come Autumn/Winter a dog friendly break will be more than welcome. I would love to see Scotland or even get on the channel tunnel and head to France depending on when and cost.

If we are not able to safely travel until next year then we will definitely be thinking about rebooking our Florida holiday. This will depend on Disney’s most popular times, (we wouldn’t want to pick a highly popular date) holidays available at work and how much flights and hotels will be in the new year.

Travelling in Derbyshire

I already know my husband really wants to get back to the Lake District. He’s a walking kinda guy and misses the great outdoors after a while. Before we drop a lot of money on a bigger holiday we may have to plan a weekend break up in the Lakes to involve plenty of walks, fresh air and good food. 

This also goes for the Peak District. We are lucky enough to live within a couple of hours drive of the Peak District so this will be a day trip for us, most likely on the motorbike as it will need a run after being stood for so long. 

That is it for now. From the above we have possible trip ideas for a day, a weekend, a week and a fortnight. When all this is over we will hopefully be healthy and in a position to travel again to one (or all) of the options above.

Do you have any travel wish lists?

What I’ve Learnt From Walking Holidays

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Pack that backpack. Humans and dogs alike need supplies over the course of the day, especially on walking holidays. If it is warm or a cool day we end up carrying drinks such as a flask of tea, a cold drink and water for Mia. This can get very heavy so I tend to carry mine while my other half carries his and Mia’s.

Invest in some good shoes. We have a pair of walking boots each (well my husband has a few) and plenty of thick walking socks. On one of our Snowdon walks we saw people heading up and down in trainers or sandals and I would not trust my ankles on terrain like that in any weather.

Planning for the weather. We are in the UK after all. Sometimes if we feel like the weather may take a turn whilst on our walk we’ll pack our rain coats, if it’s going to be worse we’re packing our waterproof trousers. There has been a few occasions we have had to walk in damp trousers and it isn’t comfortable.

Lake Windermere, Lake District Dog Walks

Plan the route. And try not to get lost. There are plenty of times we have managed to find ourselves ‘off the beaten track’. My favourite (so far at least) was the time my husband convinced me that going up a bank was a shortcut. It was very steep uphill, he and Mia had gone ahead and as I scrambled to the top I found myself face to face with a cow. It was a terrifying moment and it took me a minute to realise that the cow was on the other side of a short wall.

Aira Force National Trust Lake District Troutbeck Dog Walks
Aira Force National Trust Lake District Dog Walks

Planning the route doesn’t just mean we won’t get lost. It also means that you know what to expect. On our holiday with friends in The Cotswolds we ventured off on a walk and found the route to be a dead end. We were lucky that we could take a detour, walk back for a few hundred metres and change direction (and that we are pretty relaxed with minimal expectations) but if not it would have been a very short walk for two very energetic dogs.

Take a look around. There is a lot to be seen when out and about and a main point of a walking holiday is to see the sights. Stopping to get the flask out and tuck into that packed lunch is one of my favourite things to do.

Have you been on any walking holidays or dog friendly stays?

How I’m Still ‘Travel Blogging’ From Home

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Travel blogging from home, what does that look like, what does it mean? Well, it means that I’m making all the plans and locating all of the best spots and it looks like me but sat down at my kitchen table (probably my new favourite spot) rather than be out and in it. Don’t get me wrong being out and immersed in it is my preference but in these times and with the current worldwide situation that is just not possible.

With this in mind I have created a list of places I would love to visit and a detailed plan of what I would do whilst I am there, you know, if I can go in the future. I will be posting one of these per day alongside any usual content that I’ve planned.

Walks in Derbyshire
Millers Dale and Chee Dale walk in Derbyshire

There is also a lot of content from trips and experiences that I have never written about. Memories in my head and photos stored away. They can all come out and be shown the light of day if there is a nationwide lockdown.

As well as planning to the nth degree I will also be taking the pooch out when and where possible whilst always keeping that social and safe distance and getting in the garden as much as possible. And you never know there is always a little lifestyle blogging that I could do.

If you want to catch up on some Days Out or Short Breaks, feel free.

So that’s it. The ways I am planning on still being a travel blogger and not actually doing the travelling part. More the travelled or wishful traveller.

Until next time,

L x

Chocolate Labrador Dog Friendly Bookstore

The Dog Friendly Bookshop

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This post contains affiliate links.

There is no doubt that I love going into a bookshop. Always have, always will. I’ve enjoyed reading since I can remember and wrote stories and started this blog because I liked to write. In a way it’s therapeutic, in another I like sharing stories and information. In a bookshop you can find every genre you could want from that classic non-fiction, a sports player’s autobiography or even a mini book of quotes to keep you going through those motivation dry spells.

It was in The Cotswolds when I realised Waterstones was a dog friendly shop. I was on my own walking Mia around town and thought I’d nip in to see if they had a certain book I had been looking for. I checked the sign on the door and found that they did in fact allow dogs. This is great news to me as I wouldn’t, couldn’t leave her tied up outside of a shop. It’s sheer luck I’ve never needed the loo whilst out and about because I don’t know what I’d do.

Now Mia is a medium sized dog, being a Labrador and all, and she has a thick saggy tail and she’s not the most graceful of dogs 99% of the time. That tail of hers gets about and those tables in Waterstones can be a little awkward to walk around with a chocolate chunk sometimes but for the most part of we keep her close she’s as good as gold.

Jojo Moyes After You and Coffee
After You by Jojo Moyes

I managed to successfully (and without too many dog related issues) purchase a book, After You by Jojo Moyes to be exact, find a dog friendly pub and sit reading with a cuppa. It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon. I also finished the book and you can read my thoughts here.

It was a few months later in Chesterfield that I realised, on wanting to head into Waterstones, that this one was also dog friendly and that maybe, just maybe, they all are. Hubs was fully prepared to wait outside until I spotted the sign of confirmation and we headed in, he could have been waiting aaages for me to look round so it’s really helpful.

Bookstore cafe
Peppermint tea and a Halloween cookie in Bath

I now find a Waterstones everywhere I go. There was one in Rye when I visited recently, one in Bath which even had a cafe and one on multiple floors in Nottingham. I used to avoid them as I thought they were expensive however now I’d choose this over other high street bookshops. Even though it is a chain each branch is slightly different. I love their handwritten notes, the fact some have cafes (I’d live there), their dog friendly vibe and of course the ease of finding that book I want, or sometimes didn’t know I wanted.

Have you been happy to find out somewhere is dog friendly? Did it make you go more often?

Until next time,

L x

Mia wears the Julius-K9 Camo Harness in Size 1.

Chocolate labrador dog in the Lake District

Camping With Dogs

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This post contains affiliate links.

Last Autumn we went on a group holiday with two friends and their adorable cockapoo. We planned on keeping our trip to the Lake District fairly cheap and decided to camp or ‘glamp’ in yurts for the week.

Camping with a pooch isn’t all new to me. We used to take our family German Shepherd camping for the weekend but I can’t say I was a responsible adult at the time (still not sure, jokes) and don’t remember the whole ‘letting out’, ‘stopping barking’, ‘escaping under the door’ details.

Tents are a little odd sometimes. You’re basically in an open field miles from nowhere without a lock on your front door. You wouldn’t do it on your house so I have no idea why we do it or not on our tents. Apparently we’re more trustworthy in the wild. This also proves problematic when you add a dog to the mix as most tents zip to the floor and a dog can figure out once the nose is under the canvas it can probably wiggle right out. Locks can be added if there are two zips on the door, just make sure you know the code/have the keys when you do that first unzip and run to the loos first thing in the morning.

We are lucky Mia either doesn’t know how to escape or that she doesn’t want to but I’ve seen other dogs behave differently. A friends’ dog we went camping with wanted to be with mum and he would go through the tent door at any time she was away, the lock on the door was a rope that you slipped over a wooden ground peg.

Chocolate labrador in the great outdoors

Although not a runner Mia does tend to get up on her high horse about every noise outside. Whether it’s as simple as a look up towards the noise or a bark to let any dangerous intruder/random normal passer-by know we are in there she is all about the alertness. It’s great for us and we know our backs are covered but it can get a little noisy first thing. With Mia in this situation reassurance is key.

I’ll be doing some more on dog holidays soon but if you’re yet to catch up see my dog packing blog post or for something a little more glam than camping try a Weekend in the Cotswolds.

Until next time,

L x

Mia in her dog friendly holiday accommodation

How We Choose A Dog Friendly Stay

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I am starting to strongly believe that there are millions of hotels, b&b’s, youth hostels and airbnb’s in the UK alone, no, billions even. So how do you pick where to stay? What to see? Add on to that taking a dog and well it’s another ball game altogether. That is why I decided to put together a little something about how we choose a dog friendly stay.

Choosing where to go.

We have a couple and their cockapoo pooch who we love to go on dog holidays with. Going with another dog-friendly couple for me makes the holiday a little bit easier for a couple of reasons. One of these being we’re not stopping anyone from doing anything. I would hate to be that person that had to say we couldn’t do a certain thing or go to a certain place because we have a dog and dogs aren’t allowed in. Don’t get me wrong if we chose to go on holiday with someone we would kind of expect them to understand but I may still feel like that sometimes. Another reason being they ‘get it’. If your dog starts sniffing the lamppost and the whole group comes to a halt or you have to constantly pull your dog back because ‘no, not everyone who walks in the pub wants to stroke you’.

When we choose where to stay we do tend to look for places known for their dog friendly areas that include lots of walking but somewhere with a town because the four of us are not really into cooking. The areas we have either been or have looked into are The Cotswolds, Lake District and Cornwall and for the next holidays we are likely going to stay in Scotland and see what further North has to offer.

Choosing where to stay.

As two couples we have previously stayed in tents, yurts and hotels. I must say now I think the future will include more hotels, bed and breakfast accommodation and/or holiday cottages as we have decided we thoroughly enjoy those extra comforts. Booking these we either look on sites such as Petpyjamas, HolidayCottages or Airbnb/Booking.com and select the pets allowed option. We have to be aware and read the small print on if the accommodation charge extra for dogs staying in the room. I have seen places charge anything from £10-£30 for a dog staying which I can only guess goes to room cleaning, what I don’t quite understand is the room should be cleaned properly anyway but that’s a question for another day. Some places offer dog friendly rooms for no extra charge and we’ve recently booked through PetsPyjamas as they ensure dogs go free.

Mia the chocolate labrador in the Cotswolds

Choosing what to do.

We always check the local area for nearby walks or places we can park the car and jump out and explore. The best place we have found doing this and going for a super long dog walk is probably the Lake District but there are plenty of walks in other places we go too. After walks we need to make sure the places we want to eat are also dog friendly. Sometimes we’ll have a walk around town and just check signs in pub windows to see if they allow dogs and other times if we are travelling into somewhere I’ll do a bit of an online search to make sure we’re not going to go hungry whilst visiting a local town. During our last dog friendly holiday they were allowed in the bar area and not the restaurant. This was fine by us as we could still bring the pooches and the bar area was cosy with the hotel team giving the dogs a fuss whenever they passed. As breakfast was served in the restaurant we couldn’t take the dogs with us but as this is a quicker affair (so we can head out for the day) we either put the dogs in the car or left them in the room. Another bed and breakfast we have stayed at dogs were not allowed to stay in the room alone. This meant one morning we bought Mia down for breakfast, no one else was in the b&b, and the second morning (due to her not settling with people coming in and out and she’s a greedy chocolate labrador) we popped her in the car where she is more than comfortable.

If you haven’t already check out my posts on dog friendly stays that we have been on or my thoughts on finding dog friendly accommodation. Our previous trips include stays in the Lake District and the Cotswolds which have all been great so now excuse me but I’m off to plan our next holiday!

Until next time,

L x

Dog Holiday Travel Essentials

Holiday Packing for Pooch

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Quite often when going away I pack way too much. This can be said for when I’m packing for myself and Mia, our chocolate Labrador. My husbands idea of packing is to grab his hold-all and just put it all in there which has always worked pretty well for him, my own not so much. In my panic I would probably end up taking shorts to Iceland or a puffa jacket to Florida. When it comes to packing for the dog however this is so much easier, she has no clothes and doesn’t care what the weather will be as long as she can go on walks and get fed. (With this in mind there has been times -Boxing Day walk comes to mind- where we haven’t taken waste bags or a lead! That’s why I’m making this list)

Collar, harness and lead. The collar with her tag on as she has multiple, I don’t know where they go and I try not to ask. Her camo harness, we bought the Julius K9 harness and purchased a Size 1 as they state and we love it as she walks a lot better with it on and lead so we can minimise her saying hello to every single dog, person, bird and body of water.

Water bottle. I love the little water bottles with the drinking bowl at the bottom. They save carrying around a separate bowl and vat of water and we keep one or two other bottles of water in the car for when we need to fill it up. This was one super cheap but there are plenty on Amazon.

Towel. Mia is a mucky pup, any lakes, puddles or muddy banks she can get in she will. When we are on holiday it’s good to have a towel in the car before we get muddy paw prints through the accommodation.

Blanket. For a similar reason as the towel as it stops the back of the car getting super dirty. We can take it out to clean it and it makes it a little bit more comfortable too.

Seatbelt. It was my mum and dad that bought us the seatbelt that you can attach to her collar and click it in as you would usually.

Doggy bags. No not the ones with cake in at the end of a party. Doggy waste bags. I bought a box full from Amazon that were lavender scented because yes, I’m that person. I could also probably find a roll of waste bags in all of my coats, no matter how fancy they are, because that’s the dog owner life.

Food and treats. I like to measure out the food before we go so I know we have enough whilst we are away and take plenty of treats. I usually end up taking a little more than needed as we go on longer dog walks, followed by walking around towns so we end up using more energy on a ‘relaxing’ holiday than we would at home.

If I think of anything to add I will but I’d say this is a pretty rounded list. We don’t often take a tennis ball or toys as she doesn’t usually play with them at home and we go on plenty of walks. As mentioned in a previous post we often go with hotels and accommodation that are very doggy friendly, meaning they usually have a bed, bowl and a few treats. We can’t rely on this on every break away so we often also take a food bowl but it’s there just in case and makes us all feel a bit more comfortable taking Mia away with us knowing she will be welcome too.

Until next time,

L x

Mia in her dog friendly bed and breakfast in the Lake District

Dog Holidays – Accommodation

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We have had our chocolate Labrador Mia for nearly 5 years, she’ll turn 5 years old in July and we were able to bring her home in September, coincidentally on my birthday. Side note: I picked up a new car the year after so Mr LB had a lot to live up to after that! In that time she has made us completely happy (even during the nibbling phase but more on that later).

In the last three years my best friend and her husband decided it was time for them to get a pooch too and we’ve recently been organising and taking dog holidays together. There’s nothing extremely special about these trips, they’re simply holidays but with dogs. I know crazy right. The thing is there are differences and quite a few things to think about when planning – and also whilst you’re away – and some of those things only became apparent when you’ve done them. I have decided to put some of these thoughts together on different topics and hopefully remember some of my own tips for next time!

Does the accommodation allow dogs?

A basic question but having been on both sides as customer and working at hotel/holiday sites it’s not always quite so straightforward. There are many hotels that don’t allow dogs at all and some that do but only in certain bedrooms.

1. Size of the room – a couple of times we’ve found they may be bigger rooms as there’s a pooch too. A little bit more floor space goes a long way when you’re two becomes a three and one of those three has four legs.

2. Some hotels charge extra. We’ve seen anything from ‘no extra fees for dogs’ to £15 per night to £30 per room to extra cleaning fees if need be. No one is going to enjoy extra charges they weren’t aware of so it’s best to find out before booking.

3. They’re quite often ground floor rooms. The best ones are close to an exit to take your dog out without causing too much disturbance and going right through the hotel. Muddy paws and all.

4. Doggy common areas. Can you take your dog to breakfast? Can you take your dog in the bar/restaurant areas? Can you leave your dog in your room whilst you eat? These are all questions to ask when booking accommodation and vary from each place. We’ve had times where we have had to pop Mia in the car whilst we ate breakfast and others where she was able to stay in the room. Times where she could sit in the bar area where we were served food but couldn’t go in the main restaurant, it changes so I’ll always check out the policy.

5. Does the accommodation supply anything? The great hotels/b&b’s that we’ve stayed at always prepare a little extra something in your room. We’ve previously had bowls, beds, treats, mats, towels and even a Kong tennis ball before on arrival. It’s a lovely gesture to see thoughtful additions and makes it a lot easier if you’ve forgotten bits or saves packing them if you know they’re already there.

We put these into practice when we stayed in the Lake District and even camping.

Until next time,

L x

A Dog Friendly Weekend in the Cotswolds

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For the last two years we’ve been able to go away with friends and their cockapoo pooch. Last year we stayed in the Lake District in a yurt and this year we decided to treat ourselves a little more and go with a hotel. I was set on the destination of the Cotswolds as it was the same drive for each couple and somewhere new to three of us. We booked our stay through Pets Pyjamas to ensure we were able to have dog friendly rooms and the bonus is that they ensure you don’t pay more for dogs staying. Sidenote: We will definitely be using the website and the hotels on there again.

We chose to stay at The Bear of Rodborough and I was very happy with the decision. The hotel looked lovely in the pictures and was in a great location for us. On arrival to our room we saw the hotel had provided a dog bed, blanket and water bowl, it was a good size with a bigger bed than we have at home and had all the facilities you could need in a hotel room. As we waited for our friends to arrive we decided to head down to the bar for a drink and bite to eat. The bar area we had been told was dog friendly so took Mia with us as she is pretty happy in public spaces, especially if there are treats involved. We found a table and our waiter made a great fuss of Mia which she thoroughly enjoyed and brought some treats over for her. (More than pictured, she’d already had some!)

We ordered food shortly after to which Mr LB went for pizza and I had the vegetable lasagna which was so nice I recommended it for my bestie to have when she arrived. This was the start of something as the food was continually amazing throughout our stay and I would go back to The Bear of Rodborough just to sit in the bar, chat and eat.

Our package included breakfast so in the knowledge the dogs were content we went to breakfast and enjoyed three courses. A big selection on the continental breakfast, followed by porridge and a cooked option. I didn’t choose to have porridge on the first morning but after everyone else reordered in on the second day I decided to try it too. Both mornings also included Eggs Royale for myself and a full cooked for the hubby.

The next day we spent on a walk near to the National Trust Roman Villa and in Cirencester and I would visit both places again. We stopped in the dog friendly pub The Crown and again had a tasty lunch before going back to the hotel, picking up some Christmas gifts in Cirencester town centre on the way.

Back at the hotel we showered, changed from our walking clothes and watched a film before going back to the bar to get together. We hadn’t originally planned on eating at the hotel both nights but they were dog friendly, served amazing food and there was no pressure to move all evening so it seemed like a great idea to stay instead of getting back in the car to find another destination.

There is no doubt I would stay at The Bear of Rodborough Hotel again as they were a fantastic dog friendly option for us and as you can tell above served amazing food over the weekend.

Have you got any dog friendly recommendations in the Cotswolds?

Until next time,

L x