Its a Dogs Life!

Being the wife of a vet, you can imagine the embarrassment when our boxer (Darcy Bussell) puppy started her campaign to chew our house to bits.   As we were on holiday at the time we put it down to distress at our absence, however, on our return it continued (albeit not as destructive).  She was particularly fond of the area under the stairs and the door to the living room.  A vintage Danish sideboard that was sitting in the hall minding its own business is nearly without a leg and I haven’t even touched on the remote controls, boots, flip flops (x2) pegs and mobile phones.  Mr Grumpy (the vet) is mortified and blames the rest of the family for our total lack of dog training ability.  Tis true, I hold my hands up, but all the usual tricks of the trade have failed.  Here are the top tips I have found – does anyone have any others?

 

Top 10 training tips

  1. Choose your dog’s name wisely and be respectful of it. Of course you’ll want to pick a name for your new puppy or dog that you love, but for the purposes of training it also helps to consider a short name ending with a strong consonant. This allows you to say his name so that he can always hear it clearly. A strong ending (i.e. Jasper, Jack, Ginger) perks up puppy ears—especially when you place a strong emphasize at the end.

    Decide on the “house rules.” Before he comes home, decide what he can and can’t do. Is he allowed on the bed or the furniture? Are parts of the house off limits? Will he have his own chair at your dining table? If the rules are settled on early, you can avoid confusion for both of you.

  2. From the earliest possible moment give your pup or dog his own, private sleeping place that’s not used by anyone else in the family, or another pet. He’ll benefit from short periods left alone in the comfort and safety of his den. Reward him if he remains relaxed and quiet. His den, which is often a crate, will also be a valuable tool for housetraining.
  3. Help him relax when he comes home. When your puppy gets home, give him a warm hot water bottle and put a ticking clock near his sleeping area. This imitates the heat and heartbeat of his litter mates and will soothe him in his new environment. This may be even more important for a new dog from a busy, loud shelter who’s had a rough time early on. Whatever you can do to help him get comfortable in his new home will be good for both of you.
  4. Teach him to come when called. Come Jasper! Good boy! Teaching him to come is the command to be mastered first and foremost. And since he’ll be coming to you, your alpha status will be reinforced. Get on his level and tell him to come using his name. When he does, make a big deal using positive reinforcement. Then try it when he’s busy with something interesting. You’ll really see the benefits of perfecting this command early as he gets older.
  5. Reward his good behavior. Reward your puppy or dog’s good behavior with positive reinforcement. Use treats, toys, love, or heaps of praise. Let him know when’s he’s getting it right. Likewise, never reward bad behaviour; it’ll only confuse him.
  6. Take care of the jump up. Puppies love to jump up in greeting. Don’t reprimand him, just ignore his behavior and wait ’til he settles down before giving positive reinforcement. Never encourage jumping behavior by patting or praising your dog when he’s in a “jumping up” position. Turn your back on him and pay him no attention.
  7. Teach him on “dog time.” Puppies and dogs live in the moment. Two minutes after they’ve done something, it’s forgotten about. When he’s doing something bad, try your chosen training technique right away so he has a chance to make the association between the behaviour and the correction. Consistent repetition will reinforce what’s he’s learned.
  8. Discourage him from biting or nipping. Instead of scolding him, a great way to put off your mouthy canine is to pretend that you’re in great pain when he’s biting or nipping you. He’ll be so surprised he’s likely to stop immediately. If this doesn’t work, try trading a chew toy for your hand or pant leg. The swap trick also works when he’s into your favourite shoes. He’ll prefer a toy or bone anyway. If all else fails, break up the biting behaviour, and then just ignore him.
  9. End training sessions on a positive note. Excellent boy! Good job, Jasper! He’s worked hard to please you throughout the training. Leave him with lots of praise, a treat, some petting, or five minutes of play. This guarantees he’ll show up at his next class with his tail wagging—ready to work!
  10. http://www.presentlocker.com/house/art/ros-shires-dachshund-dog-print/

Kenco the Labrador

I should at this point mention our other dog, the long suffering 14 year old Labrador (Kenco) who has to put up with said pup. Kenco has never chewed anything, apart from his food. His treasured toys have been ripped to smithereens and his tail has never been the same since Darcey arrived in the house.  They do seem to love each other though…….

 

Great British Fete

 

A Quintessentially British Day Out!

Why is it that we all love a good village fete?   Tombola’s, lucky dips and bric a brac, it is the personification of everything British.  Our own village fete also includes prize cattle, tractors and a fabulous tea tent.  Of course, no fete would be complete without bunting which usually adorns the village green and either flaps in the breeze or (all too often) sags in the rain!

 

Bunting from http://www.presentlocker.com/

Here’s our top tips for putting on a Great British Fete …
Tug of War

Originally a royal sport played in Ancient Greece, India, and China mimicking the sun and moon’s fight over light and darkness, his game is now played by adults and children alike. . Beware: serious ‘tuggers’ should chalk dust their hands before the cries of “Heave! Heave! Heave!” begins, as rope burns – as well as grazed knees and grass stains – are a hazard.
Cream Tea

Cream Tea is certainly not limited to fêtes, but is an English summer necessity. Taken with a pot of tea, the afternoon bite usually consists of a scone or two served with cream and jam.  The big question is  “Jam or cream first?”  Tea is takendifferently in certain parts of the country: spread your scone with jam before covering with a dollop of cream for a ‘Cornish split’as in Cornwall, or coat with cream before adding jam for the Devonshire alternative. Now you know.
Raffle & Tombola

At country fêtes the prizes are often locally made jams and juices if you’re lucky, or knitted animals and questionable bottles of wine if you’re not. Sometimes tickets can be obtained by spinning the tombola when tickets are grabbed from an opening in the top which is invariably too small for most human hands.
 Wacky Races
Encouraging the camaraderie f the traditional fête are the sack race, the egg and spoon race and the three legged race.  All are suitable for any age and are equally dangerous, hilarious, and humiliating   (tip: if you’re a first-time three-legged-racer, be sure to pick a team mate of the same height as you).

 

Sack Race Kit from http://www.presentlocker.com/outdoors/sports-day-potato-sack-race-kit/

Foodie Competitions

Summer fêtes will often include either a ‘best Victoria sponge cake’ competition or a ‘grow the largest vegetable’ competition. Victoria sponges must be moist, made with butter and definitely not oil or margarine, must be filled only with homemade jam, and are usually decorated with icing sugar sprinkled through a doily for a chintzy stencil effect.

Morris Dancing

This English folk dance dates back to 1448, and today men and women still wear the traditional bell pads on their knees or ankles and dance a rhythmic step accompanied by the waving of handkerchiefs, clacking of sticks, or even crossing of swords!.

Hoopla

Attempt to throw a wooden ring so that it lands around one of a set of blocks to win a prize! At less friendly fairs, the game may

be set up so that your rings cannot fit around the blocks whilst the stall worker uses his ‘coping’ ring (seemingly a replica of

yours) to demonstrate how the game works – although luckily conmen are not a common characteristic of country fêtes.
Welly Wanging

As most English countryside villages are deep in mud for 70% of the year, it’s no wonder that this piece of essential footwearhas grown its own tradition. Legend has it that the game originates from the village of Upperthong in Holmfirth, where one evening an argument in the local pub ended in one party taking off his welly and wanging (throwing) it at the other as he chased him outside. The boot flew so far and the scene was so comical that villagers proceeded to re-enact the scene over the coming weeks, until it eventually became a friendly game.

So that’s our top tips for a successful Fete.   Have the Best of British Time!

 

 

 

 

Sand dunes and salty air……

Nigel Turner’s range of fantastic coastal products is as popular as ever!
A holiday in Hope Cove, Devon provided the inspiration for the original painting of the Mackerel, the remaining images gradually being introduced to bolster the collection, which ranges from Mugs and T Towels to  Place Mats and Beach Themed Bags.   Inspiration is taken from the wealth of fish and shellfish of the UK shores where Nigel spends time with his family on holiday.
Nigel also takes commissions.  Please contact anythingyouwant@presentlocker.com

Mug Samples.jpg
Mug Samples.jpg (1.52 MiB) Viewed 634 times
From britain new towel and mat shots 004.JPG
new product photos emsworth 061.JPG

New Vintage Category!!!!

Some of our most observant and regulars may have noticed that we have a NEW Vintage section on our site http://www.presentlocker.com/vintage/.   This all  links in rather well with our vintage booth that we have at the oldflighthouse, Weston on the Green  www.theoldflighthouse.co.uk and we agree with the dictionary definition of  vintage meaning ‘high quality, prime, select, superior and best”

Unit 19 The Old Flight House, Northampton Road, Weston on the Green, Oxon OX25 3TJ

The vintage offerings in our unit are a cornucopia of ever changing delights that are of the past but still of quality and stature in the present. These selected fabulous vintage finds are a mix of retro, antique, shabby chic, preloved and up cycled. Ranging from furniture, arm chairs, shelves, cupboards and gardenalia, to lovely artefacts such as silver cutlery sets or the Homepride Flour Man Storage Pots (wink wink).

 

Fabulous Large Stone Garden Urn £125.

Finding vintage pieces from all periods of recent history and giving them a new lustre, before they embark on a new life in a new home and cast their spell on the generations to come is addictive and exciting stuff.  There is a friendly new owner out there for almost anything.  The recycling element of it all is heartwarming and very pc too.

Original Home Pride Flour Man – storage Jar £20

So if you fancy finding some lovely old pieces, then why not visit us at The Old Flight House, Unit 19, where you will discover hundreds of items in over 100 units.  The restaurant is worth a visit too, excellent coffee, cakes and lunches.  Alternatively check out our vintage section on http://www.presentlocker.com/vintage/ to see our ever changing pieces.  Go on pay us visit, get stuck in and share with your friends.

 

Fathers Day Brekkie/Brunch Recipe!

Fathers Day Brekkie/Brunch Recipe!

 

Cutlery Tray www.presentlocker.com.  Eggs hens own!

Father’s Day is nearly upon us!!  Next Sunday June 18th is the day,  so remember to show him some love and make him feel special.   Its not about how much money you spend.  Making  Dad a breakfast he deserves would be a really great gift and a way of showing your appreciation!  Here at presentlocker.com  we have found a super tasty and simple breakfast/ brunch recipe for French Toast.  So go on share with you’re kids, family and friends and give it a go,  and  make Fathers Day start on a high!
French toast just has such a way of starting the morning off like you are giving everyone as much love for their day as possible.   Why not pair with a bowl of fresh fruit, a few slices of bacon, and drizzle of maple syrup!  So many possibilities.  Go on, make yourself Dads favourite!!


Ingredients
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup milk, half and half, coconut milk, or almond milk
• pinch salt
• 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, honey or maple syrup
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 8 slices sandwich bread
• Butter

Method

• Whisk together eggs, milk, salt, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon in a flat-bottomed pie plate or baking dish.  Place bread slices, one or two at a time, into the egg mixture and flip to make sure both sides of bread are well-coated.
• Melt butter in a large frying pan or on a griddle. Place bread slices in pan or on griddle and cook until golden brown on each side, about 2-3 minutes.
• Serve immediately or keep warm in oven until ready to serve, but no longer than about 30 minutes.  Dust lovingly with icing sugar just before serving for that special flourish X

 

Go on give it a try and let us know how you got on by leaving a comment X

Blooming Florals

Peony

Hello June, Hello Summer, how we have yearned for you all winter!!    What could be more glorious than the Great British Summertime and the burst of colour that nature breaks forth.  We had the joy of Cheslea Flower Show last week, inspiring all green fingered and artistic types to get creative.   Even Mary Berry got baking with violets and egg washed them as edible decoration for a cake!!  No huge gardens required –  urns, window boxes, flower beds, vegetable patches and allotments can all burst forth with bloom and colour and transform our homes, gardens and most importantly mood!  Leave them au natural, cut them and bring them into the house and put into a vase, jug and use as a centrepiece in the hall or on the dining table.  Cut the little ones and make posies for weddings and celebrations!

Red Geranium In Leafy Border
Hydrangea In Urn

We had May Day last month and the dancing girls required posies.  A last minute dash around the garden  (forgot to make the posy) produced the most beautiful hand held floral!

Hand Held Posy From The Garden

So, lets not forget the the force that nature is this summertime. With all the blooms in colour or heading in that direction its a great time for us all to use them in our interiors, when accessorizing our homes and businesses.  Think floral, botanical and natural.  Whats not to love!!

Chocolate – But In The BEST Way!

Well, Easter in now a distant memory but we all know that chocolate can linger sometimes for more than a while,  festering in easter egg boxes in all corners of the house.  If you want to clear the last of it away there really is no better recipe than the one kindly provided to us by Fran from www.fransfoodstories. com.  Its really worth checking out her site which is crammed full of the most delicious recipes and ideas all based on healthy eating.  Her inventions are mind blowing and ispiring and her instagram posts are utterly addictive.

This recipe by Fran is for Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cups – it is a total winner and one that we use her (perhaps too many times) at presentlocker.com.   Once you have tried them you will not be able to live without them in your life ……  the darkest chocolate is used here,  but for the purposes of using up Easter left over chocolate then just melt whatever you have ……..  Be warned you will love this sweet treat and you WILL make it again, but the next time with the best quality dark chocolate (of course).

Peanut Butter Cups

If any one tries to tell me that chocolate and peanut butter isn’t a good combination I just don’t think we could be friends!! But seriously, my favourite chocolate is Reece’s peanut butter cups…nothing can beat them! This weekend though I thought I would make my own as they are so simple  and  are much better for you!

You will only need two ingredients to make these little beauties it is that simple. It is important to use a good quality dark chocolate, as it contains less sugar and also contains more antioxidants, but you can really choose whatever chocolate you want. They come together in about 15 mins and are the perfect after dinner treat or 4pm pick me up!

img_9231

Ingredients:

  • Bar of Dark Chocolate
  • Peanut Butter – I used Meridian Crunchy Peanut Butter

Method:

  1. Melt the chocolate in the microwave stirring regularly and making sure you don’t burn it.
  2. Spoon a small amount of the chocolate into the bottom of a muffin case.
  3. Place in the fridge for 10 mins then spoon a small amount of peanut butter on top.
  4. Cover the peanut butter with the remaining chocolate and tap on the bench a couple of times to make sure it is every spread out.
  5. Place in the fridge for another 5 mins until all the chocolate is set.
  6. And you are good to go!

Enjoy

Fran

xx

Glad we have shared www.fransfoodstories.com with you, take a look at her site and please take a mo to comment.  I know that she would love to hear from you! Happy Eating!

X

Guest Blogger – Humphrey The Mini Wire Hired Dachshund And Puppy tails!

I am so excited to be asked to guest blog for presentlocker.com, that I can’t stop wagging my tail!  I have so many puppy tails to tell. I am Humphrey the mini dachshund,  and am only five months old. I live on a farm called Stonehouse with my family (co founder of presentlocker.com) and my besties Twiglet (standard daxie) and Cap (the collie).

IMG_2658

One of my faves, flanked by my besties, Cap on the left and Twig on the right!

Life for me is pretty darn good, as I look around at all the teenagers I live with, all busy revising away for GCSE’s and A levels I know how lucky I am.  Life is just fun fun fun, 3 meals day and plenty of play. Weetabix gets me going in the morning with lashings of milk, but my favourite bite is my 2 pm scrambled egg. Yes, I am an egg pup, an egg a day keeps the vet away and all that.

 

The only work I do is training, which I actually quite enjoy. I can ‘shake’ a paw really well now and sit and all the other usuals. They think that recall is my weak point, but I actually just ignore them if I am busy on a scent…… its a dogs life!  Sometimes I practise walking on the extendable lead which is fine, I quite enjoy a little trot with man by my side.

FullSizeRender-32

Here I am, shaking it up a little!

Thankfully, I am aloud to walk freely around the gardens and barns, and do love love love a good YAP, particularly at the post man! Jack, the eldest teenager is keen on teaching me to swim but his methods are pretty dodgy.  He likes to chuck me in the LAKE, and then I have to swim back to the side.  Its true to say that I am less than keen, its cold and very wet so I usually scramble out of the lake as quick as,  and run like a stoat back to the kitchen and the aga, my sanctuary!!! Do hope he gets the message soon …….

Balls are a big part of my life, tennis balls are a staple, but rather massive for my little mouth. I am quite partial to a ping pong ball and think that I am developing some good skills. Fetch is fun too,  but I do have to be in the mood……

FullSizeRender

Anyone for tennis?

I adore catching  a nap in the day and love to sleep in the sun (pup factor 50 of course),  or by the aga. I go to bed around 10.30pm, usually chewing hard on a slipper from a smart Venetian hotel,  and sleep like the babe pup that I am, dreaming of scent trails, scooby snacks and a good play with my old mate Cap.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but this dogs life isn’t half bad!

 

Promise to blog again when I get the chance and would love to hear any comments you may have.  Paws up!

 

Please like on Facebook, follow on twitter and instagram.

Coastal Summer Vibes

Summer is upon us and there is nothing like getting in the mood! Think breton stripes, salty sea air, lollies, surfing, sand between your toes and fish and chips. All you need now is the conch to your ear and you will be able to hear the sea!!

To help you get in the mood and achieve your own coastal vibe we have just a few things on our site that might help.

Carry away all your troubles and be stylish and practical with one of our gorgeous recyleced sail cloth bags. They really are f a b u l o u s.  Very durable and perfect for the beach, travel, gym, shops etc.   Sporty types both young and old love them for there capacity to hold so much.  Personal favourite of mine and with teenagers too is the holdall!  Just add adventure!

 

sailcloth_flight_bag_1024x1024-2

 

Roomy Holdall made from durable recycled sail cloth £84.95.  http://www.presentlocker.com/new/sailcloth-flight-bag-by-aurina/

If travels aren’t on the agenda this summer then how about checking out our coastal themed wares that can be enjoyed at home.  We love this apron from artisans Karen Walshe and Nigel Turner.

karen_walshe_apron_oystercatchers_1

 

Gorgeous Oyster Catcher Apron by Karen Walshe £20.00.  Tea towel and greeting cards available on the site too.

http://www.presentlocker.com/art/oystercatcher-apron/

 

1-ali_apron_modelling_shots_004

Mackerel Apron by Nigel Turner £22.95.   Mugs, tea towels, placemats and coasters available also on the site. http://www.presentlocker.com/house-gifts/mackerel-apron-by-nigel-turner-designs/

And finally ……….. why not wear the summer vibe.  Our beautiful shell necklaces from B Jewellery and Marlene Hounman are flying off the site.  They make the perfect summer gift or keepsake.

Image_2

Totally unique Clam Necklace from B jewellery, the real shell is dipped in pure silver £75.00.

http://www.presentlocker.com/gifts/shell-necklace-belynda/

 

We would love to hear your comments.  Please like us on FB, follow us on twitter and instagram.

Back To School

Back to School

images-7

And breathe… the children are back at school! For most of us the holidays are over and we’re back to routine, whatever that is? However our neighbors are still away on holiday and we are looking after their hamster, which I always find extremely traumatic. Actually our 9 year old daughter is in charge, which scares me even more. I have discovered that hamsters really don’t do an awful lot except keep you up at night with their whirling and twirling and gnawing at bars. This particular hamster is something of a Houdini so I’m determined he won’t escape whilst in my care, not on my watch. Our main aim is to keep Harry (the hamster) away from the dog, which would eat him for sure. Labradors are not mean, they are just always hungry, so at all cost, they must be kept apart. Only one more day to go before we hand him back in one piece.

milk-bottle-crate_1

Crate of 6 of the cutest milk bottles on £9.95, click here to buy!http://www.presentlocker.com/house-gifts/6-mini-milk-bottles-and-crate/

For me, the return to school also signals the return of the dreaded packed lunch which I can honestly say is high on my list of pet hates. I struggle to offer the balance of variety and healthy menus and I can’t/don’t bake, so unlike many other more talented and practical mothers, I can’t offer homemade fairy cakes or other tempting pastries in their lunchbox. I am a great fan of wraps which can make any kind of messy combination look relatively acceptable & my daughter could live off pesto pasta which is a godsend. At least my children don’t have to put up with the free milk that arrived in glass milk bottles and sat in the sun until curdled. Of course, we now sell these fabulous retro bottles and I use them for drinks, flowers or as an alternative for a milk jug.

milk bottle

 

Individual milk bottles that take you back to your school days! http://www.presentlocker.com/house-gifts/school-milk-bottle-1-3-pint/

We would love to hear your thoughts and comments, please like us on FB and follow us on Twitter and Instagram