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Why I Love Companion Care Vets…

Fletch and I have always had ruff (ha ha) experiences at the vets. He’s a very sociable dog (by sociable, I mean he wants to kiss all people and try to have sex with all other dogs) and so most of our vets trips have been bookmarked by stressful waiting room situations where he pulls and chokes and coughs up bubbly stuff, and I fight against him getting hotter and more embarrassed with each moment that passes.

When I eventually managed to sit down he would cry and try to get under the seats and shed fur like mad…it was very stressful for the both of us. It doesn’t help that most vet’s surgeries are filled with other stressed out animals. Their crying often seemed to make him even more on edge.

We’ve also had some vets be downright mean because of his breed and his talkative nature. I know he’s as soft as whippy ice cream (and SO affectionate), but they don’t, and some of them have said some VERY hurtful things.  So much so that they have had me leaving their practices in tears and refusing to go back.

Now we take Fletch to Companion Care in the Redditch branch of Pets at Home and we couldn’t be happier…

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Firstly, seeing as this is one of the only shops that I’ve taken Fletch into, he was already well used to going in to do fun things like choose toys, try on collars, and buy treats. He’s also met a lot of other dogs in there under non-stressful circumstances and he’s genuinely happy to walk in.

Even when we get up to the back of the shop (where Companion Care is located) he stays calm and interested, rather than pulling around manically…

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Their waiting room is split into two parts around the desk so if there are any stressed animals there we can keep him away from them. Sometimes there’s dogs and cats everywhere in there but because of the fact it’s in a massive pet shop we can always take him for a wander down an aisle if he’s getting worked up.

The vets themselves are fabulous. too. They all say hello to Fletch, pet him LOADS and offer him treats before trying to administer any care so he’s always comfortable and relaxed when the “unfun” things begin. He’s had to stay in for surgery on occasion and every time they’ve reassured us that he’s a lovely natured dog that they’re very happy to have. They’re so much more welcoming of him than the other vets we took him to in Redditch.

Finally, and this only occured to me the other day when we took him in for vaccinations on a Sunday…what other vet surgeries do you know that operate on weekends and bank holidays? Of course, there’s always out of hours and emergency vets, but it’s definitely reassuring to know that we can get hold of people we know and trust pretty much every day of the year.

…above all, it’s lovely that this old boy is happier, more relaxed, and very well cared for…

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Posted by on September 2, 2015 in Animals, Life, Places, Reviews

 

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Reduced Fetal Movement…

Before I start, I want to make it clear that everything is fine!…and now I can begin…

So…ever since the little one turned himself head-up on Saturday his movements have been a little bit off. He’s still been moving and kicking about, but it’s been different.

Yesterday, aside from feeling a bit of pressure under my ribs (which made me think he might have flipped back to his former head down pose) he seemed to be exceptionally quiet. We were out and about for most of the day so when I got home I got straight in the bath. He really likes the bath (or really hates it…one of the two) and usually has a good old wriggle when I’m relaxing in there, but yesterday I got a half-hearted flutter or two and not much else.

After that I had a sugary drink and lay down on the bed for a few hours to relax and wait to feel him kick. I used this time wisely to watch Doctor Who, because I haven’t watched that enough (she lied convincingly). Normally he’d make his presence known after twenty minutes or so, even if it was just a tiny movement, but 90 minutes later I didn’t think I’d felt him once. I drank cold drinks, ate an ice lolly, put a cold bottle of cola on my tummy…nothing. I was on the verge of calling the delivery suite to let them know that things were different, when he decided to give me a few kicks and wriggles. I was SO tired (and quite stressed by this point) that I let relief wash over me and settled down to go to sleep.

So, morning rolls around. Normally I’d lie in bed and feel him have a shift about before I got up, but this morning there was no wriggling at all.

I fed the dogs, made tea and sat down in the garden with Luke. A hot cup of tea usually gets our boy jumping, but this morning it didn’t have any effect at all. I suddenly felt very guilty that I hadn’t called the hospital the night before. I called the midwives an hour after I’d gotten up (an hour in which I would normally have felt him move a few times at least) and told them that I was worried and that things weren’t normal, and they asked me to come in.

…but not before making me feel a bit stupid for worrying. I mean, it’s not like I know my own baby’s normal movements.

I decided to go on my own so Luke didn’t have to sit around waiting for ages. It turns out that it was a big mistake to leave the gatekeeper at home.

So, I got there and I was put into one of the delivery rooms to wait for the midwife. When she eventually came in (it was busy and I wasn’t a priority) she was nice, but also quite condescending. Amongst other things she said “And what makes you think it’s abnormal for a baby not to move for 90 minutes?!” and it was a bit like being asked trick questions in a job interview. I honestly felt that she saw me as an inconvenience…as someone who was worrying over nothing. Maybe I WAS worrying over nothing, but I have been told at EVERY midwife appointment that I need to call the delivery suite if my baby’s movements change and if I’m worried.

The movements had changed. I was worried. Q.E.D.

I had to do a urine sample (which turned out to be perfectly fine) then she measured my uterus to make sure he had enough room in there and had a good feel around to see where he was lying (head down! Huzzah!). Then it was time to monitor the baby’s heartbeat electronically. I lay on the bed and had two monitors strapped to my belly – one for the baby’s heartbeat and the other, which would usually be used to monitor contractions, was there to pick up on any movements. I was also given a manual clicker thing so that I could click when I felt him move.

After her initial brusqueness she became quite friendly and pleasant and started explaining EVERYTHING in great detail (what she was doing, how the machines worked, the things she was looking for, etc.). Her general manner was a little “odd” which made me think that perhaps she just wasn’t a people person, or was having a bad day, or that her knicker elastic was too tight…whatever it was, I forgave her initial snippy manner.

She brought me a cuppa and left me and the machine to do our thing.

15 minutes later the machine decided it knew enough to say that the baby was fine, but I’d only felt three movements so she left me for another 15 minutes to see if he did anything else….and that’s when he went all crazy dance party on me and did at least twelve separate movements. His heart rate got quite high at times while he was boinging about, but apparently that’s quite normal (just like anyone’s heart rate increase when they’re moving around).

She was really pleased with the results and said that she was happy to release me without having me seen by a doctor, and off she went to write in my notes. I was feeling quite buoyant by this point…

…and then she came back…

With a forced smile and a voice dripping in condescension she told me that “in the future” if I call the delivery suite first thing in the morning I’m likely to be met by lots of questions as to why I’m concerned, because if I’ve not been up long I’ve not given my baby chance to move. She also (with the same voice and smile) told me off for not calling the night before if I was “so worried”. She did add on the end of it all that even though the baby was fine this time I shouldn’t be put off calling them back as soon as I’m worried again, although this was less reassuring and more “just because you were a big faker today, doesn’t mean that we won’t look after you tomorrow“.

I was pretty upset when I left and had gone back to feeling like I had wasted their time.

Since then though, he’s been incredibly active and has been wriggling about and kicking the living daylights out of me ALL DAY.

He’s back to normal, and with every kick I feel more and more like I did the right thing by going in to get him checked out. His movements were definitely off  and there could very well have been something wrong with him. Thank the stars that there wasn’t anything wrong and that the two of us are fine, but I feel like my trip to the hospital should NOT have left me doubting myself and my instincts.

Today is the first time that I have had a bad experience with a midwife, and the first time that I have been made to feel out of control of my own pregnancy. She should have reassured me that I had done the right thing by calling, and not made me feel undermined. It has made me a bit fearful of having to use the Alexandra Hospital in an emergency and if, during labour, I was faced with the same midwife again, I think I would demand that she get out of the room. At least in that situation I will have Luke with me to nip the condescending comments/behaviour in the bud. All hail the gatekeeper!

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2015 in Life, Pregnancy

 

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The Duck Inn…

On the day of Fletch’s epic claw-tastrophe, Luke and I had a reservation at a restaurant in Yardley (a kind Groupon Voucher gift from my beautiful Sister-in-law and her family for Christmas)…we tried our best to get ready but after the debacle of the paw we had neither the time nor the motivation to make our reservation. The restaurant were very understanding and thankfully allowed us to change the date of our table.

So, there we were, semi-ready to go out, no food in the house and both of us feeling too stressed to contemplate shopping and cooking. We had no choice (none at all) but to find somewhere closer to home…

…so to The Duck Inn we went…

...that's where we were!...NOT drinking wine...

…that’s where we were!…NOT drinking wine…

They do FABULOUS burgers and steaks, which was exactly what we needed after an afternoon of worry and stress, and as it was a Tuesday is was nice and quiet in there (they have karaoke and quizzes on certain nights). I’d spent a lot of the afternoon saying things like “NO! STAY! YOU NEED TO ELEVATE YOUR PAW!” (when we were in the garden) and “NO! STAY! YOU’LL FALL OFF THE TABLE IF YOU KEEP LEAPING AROUND LIKE THAT” (at the vets) in a very firm voice, so anywhere where I felt obliged to talk in an ‘indoor voice’ was fine by me.

It’s always been a nice place to visit, but they’ve had a refurb recently (well, since the last time we visited anyway) and I was delighted by the new, very apt, wallpaper…

...brilliant wallpaper...beautiful fireplace...

…brilliant wallpaper…beautiful fireplace…

They’ve also got a new menu which highlights what they do best, and includes a MASSIVE choice of burgers. There’s so many, in fact, that I couldn’t decide which one I was going to have…

…until I saw the specials board.

That was when I learned that such a thing as “The Hench Burger” exists…covered in all of my favourite things. I HAD to have it…

...Hench Burger for me...Oh...My...God...

…Hench Burger for me…Oh…My…God…

It’s a chargrilled beef burger with bacon (best bacon), cheddar cheese, jalapenos, gherkin slices, nachos, honey mustard and sweet chilli in a chilli and paprika bun. It is AMAZING. I heartily recommend that everyone travel to Redditch immediately to eat one of these. I wish I could eat one every day.

Luke was equally impressed with his steak…

...12oz rump steak for the man...

…12oz rump steak for the man…

As well as the awesome food, the service was also excellent. The manager welcomed us, took our order, waited on our table, and generally made sure we had a great evening. we had a brilliant time and I couldn’t wait to go back again for another Hench Burger…

…I think I’m kind of obsessed. When my Aunt asked where we should go out for her birthday dinner I might have insisted suggested that we visit The Duck…

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2015 in Food, Reviews

 

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Friday Night Webheath Sewcial Club…

I was doing my usual scroll through Facebook last week when I noticed my friend Toby (roller derby skater/announcer, event planner, and general get-out-and-do-stuff-person extraordinaire) had created an interesting event…

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This will be the inaugural meeting of the Webheath sewing group (far catchier name/biker jacket patches to follow when we’ve thought of the best pun) , if you interested in learning how to handle a needle, get to grips with a machine, have a project you would like to work on among new friends, or want to join us for a cup of tea and a stitch’n’bitch after a hard week at work then this is for you!

tables & chairs provided – tea & coffee making facilities – and a nice mix of tunes each week to chill out and sew to!

Please share this event or invite friends as we need your help to make it a success. Thanks Streetlife for enabling the inception of this idea.

Webheath Village Hall – Heathfield Road, Redditch, B97 5SQ

Being a person who a) has lots of unfinished craft projects, b) has a lot of planned craft projects not yet begun, c) enjoys being social (especially if tea and biscuits are involved), and d) lives within a stone’s throw of the venue, I leapt at the chance to join in. I’ve already started a crochet blanket for the baby, but after one go on it I’d put it aside and not picked it up again. This was the perfect opportunity to get out the house and get something done at the same time.

I am notoriously bad at turning up to things, so I’m pretty sure that Toby wasn’t expecting to see me there…in fact, I think he was expecting to be sat alone for two hours doing some lonely sewing. As it was, I walked in last night to see him surrounded by about twenty women…

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…some of the ladies…

 

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…stitching stitching…

 

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…and a bit of sewing instruction…

The hall looked awesome decked out in bunting and balloons, there was tea and coffee on the go, and one of the ladies had baked some (bloody fantastic) cupcakes…

Chocolate and mint...and lemon! Not both mine, I might add!!

…chocolate and mint (mmm)…and lemon! Not both mine, I might add!! The lemon one was Toby’s…

I got to hang out with some of my Roller Derby friends (some of whom had done a 30 minute drive to join us), chat to some new people, and grow my baby blanket a few more rounds…

...at the start of the night...

…at the start of the night…

 

...finished for the evening...

…finished for the evening…

…and we listened to some awesome tunes, courtesy of Toby. It wasn’t your average crafting music…

Break of dawn – Breakbot
Legs – Chuck Ingrish
Fine China – Chris Brown
Cling Wrap – Sam Sparro
Showgirl – Bluey Robinson
Do it, do it disco – Myron & E
Got to be real – Cheryl Lynn
Night to remember – Shalamar
All men are pigs – Studio Killers
Right here, right now – Giorgio Moroder/Kylie
Chandelier – Sia
Simple Life – Sam Frank
You & Me – Disclosure (Flume Remix)
Right back – Dr.Meaker
Between the sheets – The Isley Brothers
Do for Love – 2Pac
I feel for you – Chaka Khan
Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson
Get Lucky – Daft Punk
Ooh Wee – Mark Ronson/Ghostface Killah
After Dark – The Count & Sinden
Boyfriend – Black kids (remix)
All this love – Gwen McCrae
Need to know – Sam Frank/Toddlah T
Peanut Butter – Twennynine
For once in my life – Stevie Wonder
Mark a smile for me – Bill Withers (Trishes edit)
Black Cow – Steely Dan
Candy Girl – New Edition

Oh! And I got to wear a name badge…

...i was SEW tempted to write "HELLO MY NAME IS...Inego Montoya. You killed my father...now prepare to DIE!"...but I didn't...

…I was SEW tempted to write “HELLO MY NAME IS…Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, now prepare to DIE!”…but I didn’t…

 

It was also rather lovely to see the ladies from Sew Fab there too, who were on hand to help people out, teach new things and to offer advice where it was needed. I bought the yarn for my blanket from them just a fortnight ago, and I can heartily recommend both their shop on Unicorn Hill and their sage advice.

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Sew Fab – 5 Unicorn Hill, Redditch, B97 4QN – 01527 64647

 

I had an absolutely BRILLIANT time. The two hours went far too quickly…I can’t wait for the next one, and not just because I know I won’t touch my blanket again until then. Thank you to Toby and Jane for organising the group and setting up the hall…and thank you to Jane’s daughter Lucy for the kickass baked goods!

At the moment it’s only going to be on once a fortnight, so the next Sewcial Club will be held at Webheath Village Hall on Friday 27th March from 7pm-9pm (take a look at the Facebook event for more details)…

…and if you’re interested in taking part in our stitch’n’bitch you can join our Facebook Group for news of further Friday Night Webheath Sewcial Club meets…it’d be SEW nice to see you there!

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2015 in Days Out, Life, Reviews

 

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