Category Archives: Our days

Happy Birthday, George!

Today is a very special day in our family, a day that all of us have been looking forward to: it’s my little boy’s birthday!

George is 3 years old today (where did the time go?), which technically makes him a fully grown, mature whippet. Over the course of a few years, we watched him turn from a scrummy baby….

https://mylittledog.wordpress.com/

https://mylittledog.wordpress.com/

… into a sweet, beautiful, well-behaved dog that we’re very proud of:

https://mylittledog.wordpress.com/

Brianna is really excited about George being 3, as she’s got it in her head that this is the perfect age for him to get married. So, this morning, she wished him Happy Birthday, gave him a kiss and then informed him – as solemnly as she could – that she’ll start searching for the perfect girlfriend for him. Which George didn’t seem to care about much. Unsurprisingly, he was more interested in his present.

Have I ever mentioned that George loves presents? Well, he does. So much so, that no package can be opened in our house without his help. And no shopping bags can pass through the front door before they’ve been thoroughly checked for surprises (preferably edible) by the whippet nose.

So here’s what we’ve got in store for the birthday boy to make him happy and make this a special day for him:

1. Birthday cake ….Made of liver, of course. He can have as much of that as he wants for lunch.

2. Big present no. 1…A large fresh bone hidden inside a generous amount of wrapping paper for him to rip and shred. He’s already opened it and is munching on it in the back garden as we speak.

3. Big present no. 2 …A kong stuffed with yummy treats. George has never had a kong before, so he’s bound to find this exciting.

4. Barbecue party this evening, with family and doggy friends … His own burger, on his own plate, to his taste. And a bit of ice-cream for dessert. Yummy!

5. Lots of games, walks and cuddles spread throughout the day.

Hopefully, this will be enough.

Happy Birthday, Georgie! We love you!

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Happy Frontierado!

It’s Friday the 5th of August, which can only mean one thing: It’s Frontierado Day!!!

So put on your cowboy boots, hats and bandanas and head for the Frontierado headquarters, at Balladeer’s Blog. As the creator of the holiday, the Balladeer (aka the Blackwater Kid) will lead today’s processions and guide you through a series of fun events and customs specific to this cool holiday.

Lady London would like to wish all of you a Happy Frontierado! Have fun! Yee-ha!

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Happy Children’s Day!

It’s the 1st of June and I’m really excited. First of all, it’s the official start to the summer, and I’m hoping the weather and our garden will take notice of it and act accordingly. But there’s another reason for being in a good mood: it’s International Children’s Day!

I know it’s not a big deal for most people. It’s highly likely that many haven’t even heard of it. But I loved it as a child and still love it today. When I was little, I used to find a small present by my bed when I woke up in the morning. It wasn’t anything fancy, just a book, some crayons or a bag of sweets. But it was special somehow, and I remember leaving home for school in anticipation of the box of chocolates our teacher would bring for us before the lessons started. We were happy kids, and on the 1st of June we felt even happier.

As an adult, I’ve promised myself to continue the tradition. Before I had my own child, back in my teaching days, I used to take a bag of sweets to school to share with my students. And I tell you what…This was the one day of the year when a whole class of 16-year olds did not mind being treated like kids.

Nowadays, I’ve only got my two babies to think about on Children’s Day. This morning, Brianna woke up to find the traditional bag of her favourite sweets by her bed, and George was presented with a big knuckle bone in the garden. They were both delighted with their surprise, although I’m not sure George really understood what the occasion was, in spite of Brianna’s attempts to explain it to him.

So, if you’ve got kids, today’s a good time to hug them tight and spoil them a bit more than usual. If you’ve got dogs, give them a treat and challenge them to an extra play session. If you’re blessed with both kids and dogs, then pack up your day with lots of fun activities that will fill your home with joy and laughter.

Before I go, here’s a picture of my kids, which I think is perfect for the occasion:

https://mylittledog.wordpress.com/

Happy Children’s Day, everyone!

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Saint George’s Day

https://mylittledog.wordpress.com/It’ll be St. George’s Day tomorrow, an event we couldn’t allow to pass unmentioned for two simple reasons.

First of all, St. George is one of the main and most venerated saints in the Catholic, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches. As a Christian, I was raised to value and give recognition to his martyrdom and contribution to the spread of Christianity.

He is also the patron saint of England. For those of you who like a bit of history, let me share a few interesting facts I learnt at school or dug up at the library.

St. George’s flag, a red cross on a white background, was adopted by England and the City of London in 1190  and, in the year 1222, the Synod of Oxford declared St. George’s Day a feast day in the kingdom of England. King Edward III put his Order of the Garter under the banner of St. George around the year 1348. For hundreds of years, St. George’s Cross has been flying high as part of the Union Jack flag, alongside St. Andrew’s Cross (for Scotland) and St. Patrick’s Cross (for Ireland).

The establishment of George as a popular and protective warrior saint in the West, which had captured the medieval imagination – see the legend of St. George and the Dragon –  was reinforced by the official elevation of his feast to a festum duplex at a church council in 1415, on the date that had become associated with his martyrdom, 23 April. When the Reformation in England severely reduced the saints’ days in the calendar, St. George’s Day was among the holidays that continued to be celebrated.

The way St. George’s Day is celebrated in England varies from one community to another, as there are no set rules for this event. Some, more traditional communities may choose to organise street processions, whilst others may settle for parties or stage productions of the above mentioned legend. There is, however, one unifying element in this diversity of celebration: the proud display of St. George’s flag across the country, outside shops and businesses, in people’s windows and gardens, on children’s T-shirts and dogs’ collars.

The second, more personal reason for celebrating this day is, of course, the fact that George bears the name of the saint, which is quite appropriate for an English-born-and-bred dog. N0t that we thought of this when we named him, we just went a long with Brianna’s choice.

However, George is very proud of his name and country, and more than happy to have his very own ‘Saint day’. Therefore, he dressed up in his saint’s colours and volunteered for a photo shoot to celebrate the event. Then he asked me to put the photo on the blog, for all his friends to see.

We hope you like it!

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click here

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2920 Days of Christmas

With my daughter’s birthday coming up on Friday, I felt that writing a short off-topic post about the event would be a nice surprise for her. After all, she is my little blog advisor and one of my two favourite models – I’ll let you guess who’s the other one!

https://mylittledog.wordpress.com/

As Brianna’s special day approaches, I’ve been thinking a lot about our role as parents and how parenthood has changed who we are.  Although I am the sole bearer of words on this space, it is only fair to write this post in the plural since, just as it takes two to tango, it also takes two to create and raise a human being as part of a loving family.

With this in mind, whilst out and about with George this morning, I remembered something profoundly beautiful that a friend said to me in one of her letters. She said that since the birth of her daughter “it feels like it’s Christmas every day”. I cannot think of better words or a more succinct way to describe how we feel and all the wonderful things she’s brought to our life.

The sense of wonder as we rediscover the world through her eyes. The fun of splashing through puddles on a rainy day. The thrill of joining in her favourite games. The worries of each new beginning and the pride of seeing her develop into a free-thinking person. The privilege of sharing in her dreams, the overwhelming love that makes her the centre of our universe, and the excitement of the years to come.

It’ll be 2920 days of Christmas for us soon. 2920 happy, wonderful days that we will cherish forever.

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Filed under Our days, Whilst walking the dog

Open Your Heart for Red Nose Day

Not long before my daughter was born, I purchased a little photo frame from a market stall. It wasn’t anything special, but it carried a message that I really liked: “Whenever a child is born, the world lights up with possibilities”.

Recently, whilst walking through our peaceful forest with George, this message sprung back to my mind. Such simple, wonderful words, but are they always true? Are there real opportunities for the countless children who are born in the wrong place, at the wrong time or to the wrong parents? What hope is there for them? What can we do to make their lives better?

 Today, these questions will be on everyone’s lips and none of us will be able to turn our eyes away from the uncomfortable reality of how some of the most innocent live on this planet. In the 21st century.  This is what Red Nose Day – or Comic Relief – is all about:

Publicising the sad stories of less fortunate children in Africa and the UK and turning their tears into smiles. Employing the art of comedy, in all its forms, to raise money for charity. Coming together one day a year to try to change things. In a world where the rich-beyond-measure reward themselves with millions of pounds they don’t really need, it’s up to the rest of us to make a difference. It always has been. And we’ve proved, year after year, that there is enough compassion in our hearts to find the means to make this difference.

Tonight my family and I will be watching the Red Nose Day fund-raising programme on TV. We will laugh at the gags and gasp at the acts of bravery put together by celebrities and common people alike in their attempt to raise awareness and money. We will cry at the sad stories of children working in slums for a penny a day, dying of hunger or sleeping in the street. We will be moved by the desperation of these children’s parents and their genuine gratitude for any act of kindness they are shown. We will cuddle up together and be thankful for our privileged life. But, more importantly, we’ll press the ‘Donate’ button or make a call.

This is one of those days when I wish I was rich. Not for my own gratification – we’ve got everything we need – but to be able to help and share. But, since this is real life, I’m not in that position and have to settle for a modest donation. I have to be honest, I used to wonder whether our humble contribution would really really make a difference. Surely, a few pounds can’t go that far. Well, you’d be surprised! They say that my £5 can save 4 children from dying of malaria. It’s only a tiny amount and a small gesture, with an amazing result. Imagine what can be achieved with a hundred, a thousand or a million times that!

I no longer feel isolated and powerless. We’re only weak as individuals, but we’re powerful together. I strongly believe that and days like today prove me right. The social movements in the Middle East do, too, but this is not the time nor the place to go into that.

Times are hard for everybody, but the truth is that there’s always someone out there who is less fortunate, poorer or in a more desperate situation than us. Today is about opening our hearts to them, listening to their muffled voices and helping them however we can. Last year we calculated that we spent more on butterfly netting to protect our cabbages than the price of a mosquito net which would save a child from becoming infected with malaria. This makes me think that we can all find the means, however small, to show that we care. All we need to do is sacrifice something which, come to think of it, we may not need in the first place, like our butterfly netting or your bottle of wine.

So put on a red T-shirt, do someting funny and join in the charity express. You may wake up a happier person tomorrow.

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If you’d like to find out more about Red Nose Day and what some of the celebrities involved in the fund-raising events have to say about it, click here.

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Give Your Child a Dog Book

Books play a major role in our family, which happens to include a trained linguist, an inspired writer, an imaginative, bookworm kind of child and a whippet who likes nothing better than to hang around with his humans and listen to their stories. Therefore, with World Book Day celebrations taking place tomorrow, I felt we needed to put a bit of thought into what  to read next and what to recommend our friends.

Every year, we try to guide our daughter towards choosing the right books for her age and level of understanding; books that will captivate and enthrall her, stimulate her imagination and feed her brain; books that will make her laugh and books that will make her cry; books that will give her something special for the rest of her life; books that she’ll want to share.

With this in mind and having exhausted our bookcase and the local library, I decided to take a look on the World Book Day website. Although I was sad to find out that we’d missed the writing competition for kids, it was really exciting to find one of Brianna’s favourite books – by her favourite author – in the top 10 books recommended for 5-8 year olds. At number 7, more precisely. What book is it? A doggy book, of course. Even better, a book about a whippety-type dog called Streaker.

I’m sure some of you have guessed it already, it’s The Hundred-Mile-An-Hour Dog by Jeremy Strong. What a fantastic book this is. My husband and I have read it a few times ourselves, but Brianna has read it so many times that she could quote whole pages from it whenever you like. She still thinks it’s hilarious, and we very often find her lying on her bed fully immersed in the story and laughing her head off. Here she is reading it to George (who’s got a crush on the main character):

https://mylittledog.wordpress.com/

However tempted I may be to tell you all about this wonderfully funny story, I’ll try to refrain myself from spoiling the mystery and only disclose what the blurb of the book has got to say about it –

Streaker is no ordinary dog. She’s a rocket on four legs with a woof attached, and Trevor has got until the end of the holidays to train her. If he fails, he’ll lose his bet with horrible Charlie Smugg, and something very nasty to do with frogspawn will happen…” –

along with the opening page of the book:

Streaker is a mixed-up kind of dog. You can see from her thin body and powerful legs that she’s got a lot of greyhound blood in her, along with quite a bit of Ferrari and a large chunk of whirlwind.

Nobody in our family likes walking her and this is hardly surprising. Streaker can out-accelerate a torpedo. She can do 0 to 100 mph in the blink of an eye. She’s usually vanished over the far horizon long before you have time to yell – ‘Streaker!’

I guess part of the reason why we like this book so much is George. You read stories like this differently when you have a dog that you can relate it to. However, this is a book for all children (and adults) who love animals, appreciate a great read and enjoy a good laugh. And, if you and your kids fall in love with Streaker and want to join in more of her adventures, you can proceed to the other titles in the series: Return of the Hundred-Mile-An-Hour DogLost! The Hundred-Mile-An-Hour Dog, Wanted! The Hundred-Mile-An-Hour Dog and Christmas Chaos for the Hundred-Mile-An-Hour Dog.

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