Dog friendly afternoon out | Manchester

Despite living a 25 minute train ride away from, and working in Manchester, never until last weekend had I explored the city with Amber!

I came across an MEN article published on National Dog Day 2016 which outlines the 20 best dog friendly places in Manchester and almost instantly decided a trip was in order. So we hopped on the train on a Saturday afternoon and set of on our adventure to Manchester. Notice how I said we took the train, not the car… parking is RIDICULOUSLY expensive! Luckily, I have recently written a blog post on traveling by train with your dog, so you can take a look at that for some tips.

Once departing from the train, we decided to go for a late lunch. I consulted my list and found a lovely little cafe just under 10 minutes walk from Piccadilly train station – Ezra & Gil! Now it’s time for Ellie’s travel complaints, the section of my blog where I spend two minutes complaining about the fact I got lost. Yes, it happened again! When will I learn that following your phone sat nav isn’t the best way of getting around? Anyhow, after a few technical difficulties we made it to the cafe and I have to say I was very impressed! The first thing I saw before even entering the cafe was an AstroTurfed entrance with a couple of dog bowls outside – that was Amber sorted.

Upon entering the premises it was so full that there were no free tables – a promising sign but highly irritating after our stressful journey finding the place (no, I’m still not over that). After waiting a couple of minutes we managed to find a table and get seated. The atmosphere was great however the room and decor were pretty dark, which looked amazing, but it’s a right pain when you want to photograph your dog!

So came the time to order food – I was very impressed by the amount of vegetarian friendly food they had on the menu! I ordered a veggie breakfast (yes, I had breakfast for lunch) and a latte. Both very nice, my only complaint is that it was a little pricey – but then where isn’t when you’re in a city?

When ordering my food I came across a free dog treats jar on the window ledge, Amber was very pleased! Although she did embarrass me by barking at me because she knew I had another treat in my hand, there’s not tricking her when it comes to food.

After a lovely first dog friendly lunch in Manchester, we ventured out to see what else we could find to do. Unfortunately all of the dog friendly places on the list I found were food related, which is great for an hour or so… but no one wants to spend the whole afternoon sat in a cafe (apart from Amber, sitting is her favourite pass time). Luckily I found something fun to do following a meal in one of the many dog friendly eateries in Manchester – Piccadilly gardens. Now, I’m not quite sure if you’re meant to do this, but everyone seems to do it anyway and it’s great fun – walking on the fountain!

This provides hours of entertainment for both kids and dogs… and even adults… I think I enjoyed it more than Amber did (but she’s not much of a water dog). After quite a while of playing in the fountain, we went for a walk around the rest of the gardens (which are tiny) then for a walk around some of the streets of Manchester. Since there were Chinese New Year celebrations going on, we were limited as to where we could go because big crowds and small dogs don’t mix well.

After walking enough to tire myself, Amber and Katy (the little sister & photography assistant/ model) out, we headed back to the station and hopped on the train home!

There are 20 more places to eat in the dog friendly Manchester article that I read, so no doubt this will be the first of many afternoon/ days out to Manchester as well as many other nearby city’s! Who knows, we could be in Liverpool or Chester next weekend.

If you live near Manchester, I’d definitely recommend a dog friendly day out there! If not, take a look and see what dog friendly things there are to do in your local city – you might be surprised by how many places allow dogs – I know I was!

5 tips for traveling by train with your dog

Dog at train station

Did you know that here in the UK, dogs are allowed on trains? I did’t! Up until the beginning of 2015 I had no idea that dogs were able to travel by train. Imagine having owned a small dog, the perfect size for travel, for almost four years and not knowing they could have been accompanying you on train journeys all along. Better yet, you can take up to two animals per passenger, free of charge. ‘Animals’ include dogs, cats and other small animals. I decided not to inform Amber of this as I don’t think she would be best pleased getting onto a train that could also be accommodating a cat.

Amber’s first train experience was back in October 2015 when we journeyed up to Kent, via London to visit out friends Becca and Mika (@huskymika on instagram). This was by far the worst traveling experience I have had with Amber in general – by train or otherwise. I stupidly booked the train to London at peek time on a Friday evening. It was absolutely packed. I had Amber on my knee as the foot space was tiny and with no spare seats (& it being her first train journey) I wanted her to feel as comfortable as possible. 9kg of dog on your knee for two and a half hours is not fun!

Since this small disaster of a journey Amber and I have become train experts. We have been on many a train journey – most of them being pleasant. Here are our 5 tips for traveling via train with your dog:

1 – Book the trip in advance

If possible, book advance, off peak train tickets. These are not only cheaper tickets but the train is not as busy. The only problem with these tickets is that you may not be traveling at a time that is as convenient as an on peak ticket. It is also a good idea to select your seats when booking your ticket, which can be done when booking via the national rail website. If you’re like me and don’t fancy getting numb legs from having a dog sat on you for hours, I would definitely recommend selecting a seat at a table. This way there is plenty of room for your pooch to curl up at your feet. This is probably my top tip for if you are having to travel at peak time as I find that the foot space on normal seats is nowhere near big enough to have your dog and your feet comfortably positioned.

2 – Prepare for the journey

Before setting off on any long journey whether that be by train or car, I try to take Amber on a long walk beforehand. This ensures that she isn’t going to have any accidents along the way and tires her out so she’ll sleep for the majority of the trip (not that she wouldn’t anyway – world’s laziest dog). I find this incredibly handy as when she’s tired she will sleep just about anywhere and doesn’t have to stress about where she is going.

3 – Pack a train bag

When I am traveling by train with Amber I always take a little bag with her essentials in. I usually store any other bags I have on the shelf overhead so having a little one that I can keep on my lap makes it much easier to access Amber’s things. The most important items I keep in this bag are a bowl and a bottle of water. It can often get hot on the train, especially if it’s busy so having water to hand is my number one priority. I also pack her treats and depending on the time we are traveling, a little package of food.

4 – Get around the ‘no dogs on seats’ rule

It states on the National Rail website that dogs are not to sit on the seats, however, I have been told by the ticket collectors on several trains that I can sit Amber on a seat as long as I cover it (This isn’t always the case but happens more often than not). I now always have a little towel packed in my ‘essentials bag’ incase we are fortunate enough to get an empty seat next to us. It’s also comfier for Amber when sitting at my feet to be on a towel so it never goes to waste.

5 – Know where to cool down

I find that the temperature seems to vary depending on the train but in the winter especially, they seem to have the heating on full blast for prolonged periods of time. This can cause dogs to become very uncomfortable when sitting on the floor next to the vents. Whenever Amber and I are in this situation I like to take her out by the doors every half an hour or so. It is much cooler out there as there’s no heating vents on the floor & the doors have been open at the stops along the way. We usually stand out next to the doors for around 5 minites then return to our seats. I have found that this has helped to avoid Amber drinking excessive amounts of water on hot trains. This puts me at ease as I do worry that she’ll have an accident if she drinks too much. She never has but it’s always a good idea to reduce the risk!

Dog at train station

Fortunately for me, Amber has always been extremely well behaved in public and will sit quietly or curl up and have a nap. This means that sadly I have no tips on how to keep other pooches calm when on a train. Mine is simply too lazy to care about what is going on around her! So I suppose the only advice I can give is get a lazy dog. Even if they are rather boring.

I think the only thing to do now is book a nice holiday for yourself and your pup(s) and try out our train traveling tips!

Summer Favourites | 2017

August has come to and end and that only means one thing… summer is over. Nooooo! As children go back to school and parents go back to work, Amber will resume her routine of sleeping all day… nothing new there. We have thoroughly enjoyed summer 2017 and I thought it would be fun to share some products with you that have helped make our summer special!



Nothing says summertime like a good floral print! Amber has enjoyed rocking her floral bandanas from Luna’s Loft and Whisker and Stitched which have helped us get into the spirit of summer, even on the not so warm days (don’t you love the British weather!?). We also have a new found love for bow ties, something that I didn’t like to put Amber in and risk her being mistaken for a male, which happens too often already. However, the Lavender Fields bow tie from Luna’s Loft completely changed my tune and proved to me that Amber can pull off a bow tie whilst still looking like the pretty little girl that she is! I loved this product so much that I have just taken advantage of the Luna’s Loft summer sale and ordered a load more… a dog can never have too many accessories, right?

Walk attire


One of my favourite collar/ lead sets this season has been our pink and white rope set from Luna’s Loft. Their rope leads are the best leads I have ever owned in terms of comfort – they are made of incredibly soft, top quality rope! I am fortunate enough to have a lazy dog so she doesn’t often pull on the lead, but on the odd occasion that Amber gets overexcited after spotting a cat, the lead is still extremely comfortable to hold.

Another of my favourer pieces of attire this summer is the Devil Dood Designs rainbow tie-dye collar, the perfect colour palette for the hottest season of the year. This comes with the addition of a metal ID tag attached to the body f the collar meaning that I didn’t have to go through the faff of moving tags over from one collar to another. I am always impressed with the quality of the DDD parcord products from the precision of the weave to the high quality metal hardware!



Since Amber thinks she’s human, she doesn’t often play with toys. That being said, she does have her mad five minutes each day in which she realises she’s a dog and will rush around the room like a lunatic! She’s quite picky with toys and for the past few months has been favouring her squeaky donut from Pets at Home. She is also partial to a tug toy, I think its because it means that I have to play with her! I don’t like to give her rope toys so was very excited when we received a fleece tug from Luna’s Loft in Amber’s birthday box back in April. She has been loving it ever since and sometimes just picking it up is enough to encourage a short play… which doesn’t often happen with Amber.



Being a greedy dog, food is constantly on Amber’s mind. During the summer we do a considerable amount of traveling and one thing that I have found extremely handy has been Guru Field Trip Bones. These can be used as a meal on the go as well as treats. I have used these on numerous occasions, they are great for long car/train journeys or even to refuel after a long walk. Amber loves them and gobbles them down in no time!

Amber has also been enjoying her antler recently. Although its not actually edible I have included it anyway as it is something tasty for her to chew on. As well as having an appealing flavour and being much better than synthetic chews, it helps in keeping her teeth nice and pearly by getting to the back of her mouth which she makes it rather challenging for me to brush. I don’t know who appreciates the entire more, Amber or me.

Although we are sad that Summer has come to an end, we’re excited for all the joys of Autumn. Cosy evenings in with the heating on and gorgeous autumnal colours that are prefect for photography. Bring on the grey skies and drizzle!img_1132-2

Packing for a dog friendly trip 

I am currently sat on the train on the way to Scotland, whizzing through open fields at 125mph as the sun sets. Like many other things in life, I have left my blog writing until last minute. I’m a disorganised mess 99% of the time, however, one thing that I do like to be organised with is packing. Specifically packing for Amber! As a crazy dog lady, her needs come before mine and I ensure that everything she could possibly need is neatly packed into our case. I have devised a list of what I usually pack in Amber’s travel bag, ranging from the essentials to the optionals. I’d like to say this if for the benefit of others, but in reality it’s so I don’t forget anything! So, without further a do, let’s get into the list…1. As I’m sure Amber would agree, the most important items on the list are food & water! When we are only off on a small adventure i.e a long weekend, I like to pack Amber’s food into bags containing the correct amount for each day we are away. This way I know i’m feeding her the correct amount without having to bring her measuring cup, which would otherwise take up valuable space in the suitcase that could be used for accessories. 

2. Almost as important as the food is treats! These are extremely handy on the journey there, whether it be by car or by train. They are also essential as rewards for posing nicely to have her photograph taken! 3. Being the broken dog she is, Amber is on joint supplements for her Luxating patella for life, however when she does have any other medication that also goes in with the supplements. I also count her toothpaste as medication as keeping those pearly whites nice is very important! 

4. I always pack Amber a snack for the journey, especially if we are on the road for over two hours. Our journey to Scotland is around three hours so I’ve packed her a Guru Pet Food trip bone – she loves them! 5. Even when Amber is not planning on getting dirty or taking a bath, I like to take one of her towels along. This really seems to help her settle in as she has a familiar scent around the house/ hotel (depending on where are staying). 

6. Equafleece is my life saver! I’m pretty confident it is Amber’s too. Her fleeces have saved her from many a bath. They are very handy to put on either before walks to prevent the mess, or after walks to contain the mess on the journey home! 7. Amber’s accessories! For this weekends trip to Scotland I have packed 4 Luna’s Loft bandanas (including a tartan one because when in Scotland…), a Luna’s Loft rope collar, a Millie & Bailey script collar and her rainbow collar from Devil Dood Designs – not pictured as she’s wearing it! 

We’ve got a busy weekend ahead and our train stop is fast approaching, but we are prepared for what is to come! Paws crossed we have a good weekend away – I’m sure we will as we’re staying with Toby (@lifewithtoby on Instagram) and his mum Hayleigh. There’s never a dull moment with those two! 

Dog Fest North | Saturday 17th June

Amber and I were very excited to be going to Dog Fest Cheshire again this year! It’s always fun to meet new friends there and visit our favourite companies. 

Amber’s outfit for the event:

You can’t deny the message on Amber’s tag!

Since Amber had a wide variety of possible outfits to choose from (8 in total), we asked our Instagram followers to vote for their favourite. Outfit #3 won with a grand total of 9 votes. This outfit was made up of a rope style paracord collar from Devil Dood Designs, a double sided floral bandana from Luna’s Loft and a hair bow from Auburn Rose Boutique

I also packed Amber’s yellow and white polkadot bandana from Luna’s Loft for some photos at the Guru Pet Food stand! 

The journey:

I seem to do this in every blog but I’m going to do it again and complain about the journey. This is something that I want to address as this has been an issue for at least the past two years at Dog Fest. If you arrive after around 10am you hit traffic just down the road from Arley Hall (the location) and will be queueing for at least 45minutes. A journey that usually takes me just under 10 minutes took over an hour. Although I have to say they did seem more prepared this year and had a man handing out drinks for the dogs along the queue! 

What we did at the event:

On arrival at the event we met our friends Ellie and Fudge (@myfriendfudge on Instagram) in the car park and proceeded to enter the Dog Fest. Fudge was a part of the Cover Dog competition so when we got inside we headed over to find the registration point and made sure we knew which ring the contest was being held in. Once we had done this we went for a little walk to find Amy and her cockers spaniels, Hunter and Maple (@adorablecockers) as Maple was also a part of the Cover Dog Contest. We stopped off to buy the first bottle of water of the day on the way as at this point it was already around 25°c and I felt as though I was melting. Yes I am going to be that British person who complains about getting hot weather. I’d like to say I’m sorry, but i’m not!

Maple from @adorablecockers practicing her smile before the Cover Dog competition!

Once the pack was together we headed back over to the dog activity ring ready for the contest. Unfortunately Amber and Hunter were not a part of said competition so we cheered Fudge and Maple along from the sidelines. Although I think the dogs were slightly more interested in sunbathing than watching what was going on inside the ring. Sadly we had no victories but Fudge and Maple are definitely winners in my eyes! They did a great job of posing for the camera, especially on such a warm day.

There was a fantastic line up of gorgeous dogs who had entered
Amber and Hunter sunbathing on the sidelines

Once the contest was over we went round a few stands and walked over to the food section to get yet another bottle of water because at this point Amber had drank her entire water bottle and half of mine. In fact, water was just about the only think we did end up buying as it was far too hot to do any proper shopping. However, whilst sitting in the shade trying to cool down, we did meet some new friends; Bilbo and Bear – they also have a blog! Unfortunately we didn’t manage to snap a photo of the dog’s together but it was lovely seeing them.

Our favourite part of Dog Fest was definitely visiting the Guru Pet Food stand. They had ‘wanted’ posters up on their wall of several dogs from Instagram – the Geeksters – and the aim was to find and ‘capture’ the dogs who were at the event to win a Trip Bone. Amber was on one of the posters and we were ‘captured’ on the way over to the stand! This game can be played at all of the Guru events this summer so keep an eye out for those geeksters if you’re at Dog Fest south this coming weekend (24th – 25th June).

Amber next to her ‘wanted’ poster with the geeksters who captured us. Thank you to the Guru Team for this snap!

Once Amber had been captured and photographed we went and said hi to the rest of the Guru team and of course Amber had a cheeky mid-day snack. She’ll do anything for her Guru so she posed nicely for some photos of their gorgeous stand! The only problem was that we got Amber up onto the shelf to take a few pictures and she didn’t want to leave. It must have been food heaven for a greedy little dog! She sat up there for at least 10 minutes just watching the world go by. I think next year she’ll have to go as part of the stand decor! She blends right in. 

Sitting in her new favourite spot – matching the stand with her yellow and white Luna’s Loft bandana
Fudge (@myfriendfudge) also wanted a go of shade bathing on the shelf

Amber is actually in a bit of a mood with me at the moment as we were planning on going back to the Guru stand on the way out to pick up some more food (I didn’t want to cart it around with us as I was too warm as it was) and some of Guru’s new treats for her but we completely forgot. I blame the heat! 

When we left the Guru stand we attempted to do a bit more shopping but the heat was rather intense at this point – the car said that it was 28°c – so we only ended up going to a few stands. I couldn’t resist picking up some ‘pawsecco’ for Amber from Woof and Brew and snapping a photo of her and Fudge in their adorable doggy bar area!

Getting drunk at the Woof & Brew bar

We decided to call it a day after a short browse through some of the stalls as the dogs were fed up and so were us humans! It was a lovely day out but Amber and I were definitely excited to get home, have a cold drink and recover from the rare sighting of sun in the UK.

Bents Garden Centre | The Pet Place 

I decided to go out for lunch with a couple of friends this week and whilst deciding where to go, one of them suggested that we visit Bents Garden Center in Glazebury. This was the perfect opportunity to try out their dog friendly cafe & pet shop – The Pet Place – as I have been meaning to take Amber for a while now but hadn’t gotten round to it.The experience of getting there was somewhat stressful. Having not visited Bents for years, my friends and I were relying on the sat nav to direct us. As it turns out, the sat nav doesn’t take you to the right place! This wasn’t too much of an issue, but word of warning for Apple users: the maps app takes you off at the wrong exit on the roundabout.

Whilst we were faffing about on google maps trying to work out where on earth it was we were meant to be going Amber was fast sleep on the foot well, oblivious to the situation. It really is a dog’s life! After taking a little detour we finally arrived and walked down to The Pet Place. Unfortunately this is the only dog friendly part of the garden centre but this was to be expected and everything your furry friend could ever possibly need can be found there! Upon entering the shop Amber went straight over to the dog bowls provided and had a drink. I like to make sure she has some water after a car journey as it can get quite hot for her in the car under all that fluff!The original plan was to have lunch at the cafe but they didn’t have much in the way of human food. Especially for me being vegetarian. This was slightly disappointing but in hindsight I should have expected it as the cafe is aimed more at dogs than it is people. So instead of lunch I grabbed a cake and a Latte and I have to say I was very impressed with the quality. They tasted amazing! (Although we did shamefully grab a McDonald’s on the way home as cake simply isn’t enough to eat for lunch.)

Whilst my friends and I chatted and caught up, Amber was busy saying hi to the other dogs and people in the cafe. As you can probably imagine, she loves to be the centre of attention!One of my favourite things about The Pet Place at Bents was that they had an entire cabinet full of goodies for our four legged friends such as home made treats, cheesy snacks and some sausages! I thought this was a lovely touch as in many dog friendly cafes they don’t have much for the dogs aside from a bowl of water and a couple of treats in a jar. I bought Amber one of their home made dog treats which she loved! Since she’s on a diet at the moment she ate half there and we saved the other half for later. (Update: she has now eaten it).Once we had all finished our food we decided to go for a walk around the pet shop to see what they had in store. They had an amazing range of products from the essentials such as dog beds and poo bags to luxuries such as dog friendly frozen yoghurt. Unfortunately for Amber, her puppy dog eyes didn’t work on me and we came away empty handed. However, before doing so we had a go in their selfie booth where you can dress your dog up (I didn’t dress Amber up as she was too hot) and snap a photo.Overall we had a lovely day out so have rated our trip to Bents a 4 treats out of 5! 

Auburn Rose Boutique | hair bows

Amber and I received a very exciting package yesterday! The Auburn Rose Boutique have been kind enough to send us a few of their hand crafted hair bows to try out. Our first products to review on our all new blog!These little bows are definitely going to come in handy as Amber gets terribly shaggy when she hasn’t visited her favourite place (do you sense the sarcasm), the groomers, for a while. The ones we have been sent are clip in which means I’ll be able to clip her fur up and out of her eyes. However, Auburn Rose also do tie in bows and bows to slip onto your dogs collar.The great thing about the Auburn Rose products is that they span a wide range of sizes and are suitable for both dogs and children. We have been sent their smallest size measuring just 3.5cm from tail to tail. The prefect size for tiny dogs such as Amber!I have styled these bows several different ways on Amber. On the top of the head, which I have already mentioned is very handy to keep hair out of eyes, and on the tops of the ears. Amber definitely prefers wearing them on her ears at the moment since the fur around her eyes isn’t quite long enough to need clipping back just yet.I am pleasantly surprised by how willing Amber is to wear hair accessories. We have never tried them before as I honestly thought she’d hate them. I’m extremely pleased that she doesn’t as she looks rather pretty with her new bows in.The only issue I have had is that when Amber itched her ear the bow popped off. For this reason I’d say that it is probably best not to wear them when out and about on walkies – especially if you have a more active dog – as if they get caught on anything you might end up losing them. 

@cheshirecanine on Instagram

All in all these bows are a great way to add a bit of style to your dog’s wardrobe and I can guarantee Amber will be getting a lot of use out of them!

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