I almost had a heart attack last weekend when I took the children and Joey, my ten year old chihuahua, over to my parents for an afternoon of cuddles and rubbish daytime TV as the cold wind and grey skies ruined our hopes of a nice walk. As the evening crept on the children were growing tired and I was about to head home when we realised that Joey hadn’t caused a fuss or asked for a bone or to go to the toilet for a while. Thinking he may be asleep on a bed upstairs or nestled up on the sofa we searched far and wide, he wasn’t in the garden, wasn’t in the house and was nowhere to be seen when looking out of the front door. And it wasn’t until we all raced around on high alert that we realised he had walked out of the front door that must have bumped open when it was pulled closed earlier. Plain as day he headed off on a little adventure, and it had been shut behind him and clicked safely into place without a second thought for an hour or so.
When I realised he was missing my heart sank and my mind raced, just like when you lose sight of your child in a supermarket or at the school gates. Thankfully I’ve never lost a pet or child before, and I pray that I never will again after this weekend, but blind panic set in as we all put on our coats and gloves and set out into the darkness to find him. It was absolutely freezing but I didn’t want to wear a hood or hat incase it stopped me from hearing the little bell on his collar. Chihuahua’s are notorious for doing what they please, and so I always walk him on his lead. On the odd ocassion when he does get outside untamed, he’ll normally run over to the garden hedge and mark his scent as I walk the children from the car to the front door with him, and when I call him to come in he’ll look me square in the eye, turn his head to one side and continue to sniff and snuffle about for a moment or so before finally strutting back through the door when he’s good and ready. His breed is most certainly the diva of all dogs. Searching in the dark for a diva was never going to be an easy task, and knowing that if he heard me he’d more than likely return to my side fashionably late, all that I could do was walk around the village continuously calling his name and whistling. I walked for hours along the route I used to walk him as a puppy when we’d lived at home, searching into the early hours of the morning, my ear drums stinging from the wind and cold, my mouth and lips dry from whistling so much and a lump in my throat fearful of what may have happened.
He is such a friendly little chap and as soon as he sees people or animals he rushes straight up to them, tail wagging, his tongue set to lick-frenzy and hilariously dancing the rumba on his two back legs in the hope of earning himself a gravy bone. I prayed that he would have came across a family walking or smelt a dog and ran over to introduce himself and that somebody would have him safely in their home waiting to hand him in. He wouldn’t survive an hour out in the cold on his own as he shakes with the chill of having to go to the toilet in the garden, and being out in the countryside there are foxes and a main road nearby with fast moving traffic through to Oxford. He’s only a little fellow with very little road experience, as he’s only ever used to walking on a lead and being given instruction to sit and stay when necessary, never wondering around aimlessly. He had just a leather collar on and his little union jack identity tag that he’d had since he was a puppy, more for sentimental reasons than as a form of identity really, as over the years his engraved details had gradually faded out. As I only ever walk him on a lead and he lives indoors I never thought to have him microchipped, but his husband, our cat Toby has been as he’s always out and about and sometimes comes home without a collar after an adventure. It never crossed my mind that I could ever lose my dog, let alone not realise he was even gone. After admitting defeat from scouring the village I returned to my parents to stay the night with the children in the hope of searching again once the morning came and daylight.
Meanwhile I called every vet, animal hospital and dog rescue in the area to leave my details and his description in the hope that somebody would hand him in come the morning. I got through to just one person on the telephone, as it was the weekend, and was elated to reach a dog warden in Milton Keynes which is a city almost an hour away. The local area dog warden telephone number for the village was out of service, and I’d left various answer machine messages on all different phones hoping somebody would respond. Although the dog warden in Milton Keynes couldn’t help me in my area she was able to give me a number to call in the morning for a company in charge of the district councils stray and lost dogs. So first thing in the morning as I waited for the phones to answer my call, I kept a keen eye on the front door whilst writing out Joey’s details to hand over to the local corner shop and was working my way through internet forums looking for advice and contact details for what more I could do.
When the phone lines were manned come 9am on Sunday morning, twelve hours since poor Joey went missing, I finally got through to a lady who advised I check a lost dog website which would be updated shortly with the previous evening’s dogs as apparently they’d had a busy night. As I scrolled through the site looking for my area and details of rogue pets the biggest sense of relief washed over me to see my Joe-Bone on the first page, safely in a vets office with his paw on his rescuers hand looking rather sheepish. My little boy had been found! The details stated he had been received on the Wendover Road at 23:15 which was around twelve miles away, meaning he had headed almost the entire way home through windy country roads and busy crossings before being found. I was so relieved to have found him and my heart skipped a beat; after another couple of phone calls to trace where he was being held, I had to then wait another hour or so until his five-star pet hotel had received him so that I could pay his £70.00 release fee and bring him home.
It wasn’t until I got to the pet hotel that I discovered the entire account of his little adventure. We believe he went missing at 21:00 or thereabouts at my parents house, the recovery report shows that he was found at 22:00 in the next row of houses along, not even a minutes walk away, before being driven twelve miles to the nearest police station in town at 23:15. A dog warden collected him and took him a further twenty-seven miles away to Slough in order to complete the rest of his dog collections for the night, before I found him online the following morning and identified myself as his owner. He was then driven from Slough back to the neighbouring village of Longwick another twenty-seven miles away where I went to collect him. His bid for freedom, which I suspect was a cheeky front garden bush sniff that took him a few steps too far into a neighbouring garden, lasted only one hour, if not less, resulting in him travelling sixty-six miles by five different people, within the space of an evening. I turned up like a disheveled scarecrow with black puffy eyes from three hours sleep, still wearing last nights clothes as I’d stopped at my parents, and I looked just as I felt, completely stressed out and disheveled as if I’d been on a wild night out. Joey-the-diva on the other hand was incredibly perky and pleased to see me, as he’d received lots of fuss and attention and was enjoying his five-star stay at his private pet hotel, still wagging his tail following his meet and greet with the many new doggy chums he’d met along the way. Five minutes later and £70.00 lighter for the inconvenience, we drove back home for Joey to have a lovely chicken dinner and tickles and kisses from the children. How the woof did that happen!?
I would like to say a huge thank you to the kind-hearted person who found my little Joey and drove him to the police station, thank you for keeping him safe and helping to get him back home. To the staff who handled him, registered his details, uploaded his picture to the internet and passed my calls through from miles away, thank you. It is incredible to think that a helpless little dog, with no ID or form of communication can be returned home safely after being lost in the world miles away from home. It has highlighted my need to protect Joey by having contact details re-engraved onto his collar and to have him fitted with a tag so that he can be scanned in the event of him losing his collar. I never in a million years expected Joey to go missing, as he’s ten years old now and has never left my side. But it goes to show that you can never be too careful, and dogs are curious little things.
We did a spot of half-term baking in the week when we went to visit my parents and Millie decided that she wanted to make cupcakes. By the end of the afternoon we were all twitching from the pure amount of sugar, sprinkles and topping and they were absolutely delicious. Millie was so proud to put her scrummy cakes on a pretty plate and carry them around to everybody, offering them out and fetching more when needed. And Gabriele tried his best to take part, in between dipping his fingers in the remaining buttercream bowl and trying to lick the sugar sprinkles, he decided to sieve his face and toddle around whilst saying bee-bo. As you do!
We were all so incredibly excited to meet my cousins new baby twins this week once they returned home from hospital at just six days old. It was amazing to see how tiny they are, even though they both weighed around 7lbs which is huge for premature twins. To see Millie and Gabriele next to them made my babies look like giants, and I couldn’t rub the cheesiest grin off my face the entire time that I held them in my arms. I was fascinated by their tiny little fingers and gorgeous big eyes as they looked around and blinked up at me, curling their fingers around mine, yawning with perfectly pink little gums and snuggling up close for a cuddle. They smelt so sweet and felt so warm and dainty, you forget how doddy and delicate newborn babies are. Creating life is a miracle, and to have twins is an absolute blessing. It’s so fortunate that I’m on my own with Millie and Gabriele right now or I’d have been broody over the gorgeous babies; because apparently holding a new born can cause a woman to fall pregnant somehow?
Millie is thankfully at the end of her week of antibiotics for her water infection and we’ve made a conscious effort to increase her fluid intake in order to flush out any toxins and prevent it from coming back. It’s a relief to see her back to her usual perky self, and I’m keeping an even closer eye than usual to ensure she finishes every glass of drink that I pour her. Gabriele on the other hand, has never been stronger, he’s changing by the day as he creeps ever closer to his second birthday in April. He was such a little sweetheart when I was doing a workout the other day and he decided to help carry me by trying to pick me up by the legs and sit on his shoulders, just like I do to him! What a little sweetheart he is, so thoughtful and always looking to help me out. He empties the clothes from my washing machine, plugs in my hoover, shuts the doors and turns off the lights at night, feeds the animals their treats after they’ve been to the toilet outside and carries teddies into bed for us all. My children absolutely melt my heart and I have the biggest smile on my face to be their proud Mummy.
This week I had HD Brows for the first time when I took a little trip to The Belmore Centre. I had my brows tattoo’d a year ago in order to correct their shape and length, and it’s so addictive looking at all of the different styles and shapes that you can have. I guess like changing the length, cut and colour of your hair, there are so many possibilities and eyebrows are my new desire!
To keep the half term holidays exciting I took the children shopping in Hemel Hempstead for a spot of lunch and some retail therapy. I’m going to Tenerife for a friends hen do soon and needed a new bikini to fit my post-surgery bust, as well as an outfit for the wedding and a holiday treat for the kids. I’d say 80% of the time I’m a very level-headed, sensible shopper; I know what I need and how much to reasonably spend, and I set about searching several shops or sites for the most practical and worthwhile purchase. But this was a bit of a retail binge and I have the biggest grin on my face right now. Only a few months ago I did the same thing and bought a new winter wardrobe of clothes, and this time I had a summer spree to balance it out. In fairness I’ve been very well behaved up until now and rarely get things for myself, aside from my winter and summer binge, so when I was shopping I realised how much I lacked and could possibly do with. You know what it’s like when you buy something pretty and you get a little adrenaline rush and can’t wait to get home and try it on? The shop assistant bids you a nice day as they hand you a glossy bag after the ching of the cash register makes the hairs on the back of your neck tingle, and you smile at everybody like a magpie in a diamond mine. Well I had that for an entire afternoon as bag by bag I added to my excitement without realising how much I’d actually got. Just a few hours later I returned home with 10 new pairs of shoes, 20 tops, 5 pairs of shorts, 3 pairs of jeans, 2 skirts, 3 dresses, 1 bikini, 1 bag, 2 necklaces, 2 pairs of sunglasses, 1 ring, 1 pair of earrings and 17 bracelets.
Unfortunately my bikini top is far too small so I’ll have to go back and change it, but I’m totally justifying my other purchases with the thought of wearing the many different combinations of outfits for years to come. Every year I buy, and hand away, an entire summer and winter wardrobe for each of the children as they outgrow all of their clothes every twelve months which is a massive waste of money but something all parents have to do. The new clothes I bought now I will hopefully never outgrow as I’ve managed to maintain a steady weight and dress size since I was a teenager. Wether or not stonewashed skinny jeans and lipstick crop tops will still be in fashion when I’m eighty remains to be seen, but I guess by then it’ll be classed as vintage and I’ll be the coolest granny around.
And what girl doesn’t deserve to treat herself every once in a while? It’s not as if I waste money on a regular basis, I don’t smoke, I don’t go out partying every weekend. I lead a pretty normal, healthy and somewhat quiet life; raising my two children by day and tucked up in bed reading bedtime stories at night with the occasional family walk to the park or day trip out. If I wasn’t a mother, and had no concern for childcare and curfews then it would be a very different story indeed!
Free time causes boredom and boredom leads to unplanned spending, therefore routine and responsibilty keeps you busy 24/7 which in turn helps you to save; just as being at work all day prevents you from going out partying and shopping so you’re saving instead of spending. I totally blame the half-term holidays for giving me the spare time to shop! Eating healthy and dropping junk food from the weekly shop has easily halved my weekly food spend. You don’t need sugary drinks, biscuits, sweets, processed food and snacks, as buying fresh and cooking from home each day may not be something that everybody has the enthusiasm to do late in the evening after a long day, but it certainly benefits your health as well as your wallet. If you lead a healthy lifestyle you’re less likely to want to eat junk food. Take for example a pack of Maryland chocolate chip cookies costing £1.59, I’d eat them all within minutes of unpacking them from the shopping bag, but if you were to buy a pack a week thats £82.68 a year. If a twenty pack of B&H Gold cigarettes cost £8.38 and lasts a day, that’s £3,058.70 a year. A can of £1.58 Redbull a couple of times a week will cost you £164.32 a year. And 75p a day for a bag of Walkers Deep Ridge crisps in your lunchbox costs £195 a year. Therefore, quitting smoking, dropping energy drinks, and a couple of unnecessary snacks will save your wallet £3,500 a year, the equivalent of a nice bonus or extra holiday. In tun you’ll also trim your waistline by a good hundred thousand calories or so a year, meaning you won’t need that expensive gym membership you rarely lose and you’ll look and feel better without having to up your activity levels. And the grand result of it all means that you’ll have more spare cash to spend on clothes, which will fit you nicely, make you feel good about your body and motivate you to eat healthy and stay in shape by avoiding junk food. What a beautiful loop of shoes, skinny and success that is! And it all starts with saying no to that little snack you have every now and then. Look at your daily routine and change the rest of your life, our children deserve to live in a society free from suffering caused by obesity and greed. There are enough problems in the world caused by factors we can’t control, but our biscuit tin is one that we can. Think of the ripples in the pond and banish that muffin top, because I know for one that I prefer new shoes over cellulite.