Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Dog Friendly Aberdeen | with PitPat Activity Monitor

Fitness trackers are a big thing these days. We've all heard of Fitbit and Jawbone, but did you know you can get one for dogs? It's called PitPat. Yep, literally everyone and their dog can track their activity levels now!


Harley's been testing one out over the last few weeks! The black and orange monitor is attached to the collar with a piece of Velcro, so he barely feels it. I downloaded the app, and all I have to do is push the button on his collar to sync it with my phone! You enter your dogs breed, age and weight and it calculates how much daily activity they should be getting. I'm not sure exactly how it works but I reckon it's fairly accurate.


Apparently Harley should be getting 80 minutes every day! I always thought he got plenty exercise running around my mum's big garden, but it turns out some days he's only on the go for 5 minutes! Suddenly I feel guilty about all the times I thought a quick 20 minutes round the block was enough - he'd been running round the garden "all day". Oops! It's definitely made me more conscious of how much exercise Harley needs so we've been out exploring new places for walks, and he's joined me on a couple of day trips to Aberdeen. He's happy as larry exploring the city and sniffing out the doggy ice cream, so I thought I'd share some of our favourite dog friendly spots in Aberdeen.


The Long Dog Café

The obvious place to start, and an ideal lunch spot in the West End. This small dog friendly café is home to two lovely sausage dogs - Gavin & Galinda! - and the best freak shakes in town. (Don't worry, that picture's just a hot chocolate!) All dogs are welcome as long as they're accompanied by a "well behaved owner". The Long Dog Cafe offers Billy + Margot iced treats (ice cream for dogs) which Harley loves, and the human food is just as good!

66 Claremont Street, West End


The Long Dog Boutique

The sister site to the Long Dog Café, the Boutique is just recently opened and is a dog lover's dream. I dropped by with Harley the other week and browsed the shelves, while he made pals with the other four legged shoppers! You'll find leads and collars, toys and treats, and everything in between - there's even doggy birthday cakes and Pawsecco!. I'll be back to do my Christmas shopping soon! 

86 Great Western Road, West End



Brewdog

Harley's never been here before, so here's a pic of me with my pal Beau! It's a well known fact that Brewdog are dog friendly (the clue is in the name) and I really should make a point of taking Harley along. You can enjoy a few beers, some tasty food (I recommend the crack fries!) or my personal favourite, a Lonewolf G&T. If they're lucky, your pet might score a glass full of biscuits like Beau!

Castlegate, 5-9 Union Street, City Centre


Café Cognito

You could argue this one isn't technically dog friendly. Waggy tails can't sit inside but they are welcome in the outside seating area where they can tuck into Cognito's very own doggy ice cream! Don't worry, the terrace is sheltered and there are patio heaters and blankets for chillier days. Ideal for coffee, cake and catch ups, and open til 9pm.

39 St Swithin Street, West End


Bonobo Café

Well you can't really be vegan and not dog friendly can you? Bonobo is a small but perfectly formed 100% vegan, workers cooperative. I highly recommend the satay wrap! On sunnier days you can relax in the gorgeous garden terrace upstairs.

73-75 Skene Street, Rosemount


Foodstory

I've been visiting Foodstory for a long time now, but I've only just recently learned that they're dog friendly. We popped in for a coffee with Laura on Sunday and he was made super welcome. If there's one thing Harley loves, it's a window seat! The more people he can watch the better, and if they scratch his ears on the way in the door? Even better!

13-15 Thistle Street, West End


The Craftsman Company

New on the scene, is the aesthetically perfect Craftsman Company. Water is readily available for dogs and Harley made himself at home and lapped up 3 bowls full! He got lots of attention in here. FYI dogs make the perfect wing man if you need an excuse to strike up a conversation! The coffee and soup is worth the visit, but I'll be checking out the gin list next time.

2 Guild Street, City Centre


Beaches

Aberdeenshire has more than it's fair share of beaches, perfect for a stroll with your pup. Visit the main beach esplanade in Aberdeen and carry on down to Fittie (Footdee) to explore the picturesque fishing village. Balmedie and Stonehaven beaches are worth a trip out of the city, and Cruden Bay is popular too. The pictures above were snapped at Peterhead's Lido beach.


Parks

You are spoiled for choice with parks in Aberdeen! Personal favourites include Hazlehead Park with it's maze, Duthie Park and the winter gardens, and colourful Seaton Park, where you can walk along the river. We also love a visit to Mintlaw's Aden Park!


Hills

Our favourite hills to climb with Harley are Clachnaben and Scolty Hill near Banchory and of course, beautiful Bennachie! Harley's got a few more grey hairs these days and anything higher than these would probably be well over his recommended 80 minutes. We stick to the smaller hills when he's in tow, but younger pups could possibly tackle a munro or two - Lochnagar and Mount Keen are closest!

Where are your favourite dog friendly spots in Aberdeen and shire?
Would you ever use an activity monitor for your dog?!

*I received a Pitpat activity monitor in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own and 100% genuine.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

The Beast Race | Banchory 2017


If you'd have told me back in 2014 that my favourite thing to do at the weekend would involve crawling through mud and swimming in lochs, I'd of laughed in your face. Fast forward to 2017 and here I am, 4 years into my love affair with obstacle course racing, tackling my fourth Beast Race in Banchory.


There have been others of course - Survival of the Fittest, the Ythan Challenge, Tough Mudder - but the Beast was my first and will always be my favourite! However, race day came and I was regretting signing up. I didn't feel fit, I hadn't trained or eaten right or basically followed any of my own advice. I hadn't even looked out my kit! It wasn't long before I changed my mind though. The minute we arrive at Knockburn Loch and don our yellow Team Epic t-shirts, the adrenaline kicks in. I love it!



I am so glad I didn't chicken out of the event this year! The course had been changed, and new obstacles added and I have to say it was the best Beast Race course I've ever done! Watch the GoPro footage below to see what we got up to...


More obstacles had been added to the uphill run at the beginning, and we entered the water quite early compared to previous years. I loved the Slip Slope, where we were sprayed with a constant stream of water as we climbed the slippery slope out of the loch. See picture below - I swear I was actually having fun!


The Slide n Dunk into the water was awesome and I loved climbing "Ropey McRopeface" - a wall in the loch! I don't think there was an obstacle I didn't enjoy. Of course these kind of races are nothing without a good team behind you - big thanks to Team Epic for all the encouragement and laughs along the way!


Roll on Banchory Beast 2018!

Monday, 9 October 2017

A Month in my Shoes | September 2017

Training

September was all about the Banchory Beast Race! My fourth year in a row at one of my favourite obstacle races. This year's course was the best one yet - review coming soon! I've started going back to kettlebell classes, and was surprised by how much I enjoyed them again. It used to be my favourite class but I just got out of the habit of going.

One thing I've been trying to do with my fitness is just to get back into a routine. Monday = Metapower, Tuesday = Kettlebells etc. The gym I'd been using has actually just closed down, but I'm kind of glad to go back to my old community centre one where all my buddies train. It was getting lonely at Millennium! 


Watching

Outlander Season 3 - So excited this is out! The latest episodes follow the story of Jamie & Claire living separate lives in separate centuries, but hopefully we'll see them reunited soon! I just want to watch the entire season right now but at least it's giving me something to look forward to on Sundays.

Dexter - The friendly neighbourhood serial killer. I think this is the fastest we've ever watched an entire series. We're onto the final season in less than 2 months (there are 8!) and I never want it to end! 


Drinking

Lolea sangria - My favourite sparkling sangria. I drink it in when we're in Spain so you can imagine my excitement when I found it in Deeside Drinks Emporium, Banchory!

Brew Toon - A brand new micro brewery has opened it's doors in my hometown of Peterhead. We visited during the opening weekend and really enjoyed it. It's something new and exciting for the town, the bar is on trend with it's copper seating and IKEA plants galore, and the beer is on point! As a non beer drinker, I thoroughly enjoyed a glass or two of their Raspberry Carronade.


Where I've Been

September started with a weekend in Glasgow with Gordon. I spent an evening sipping cocktails with Iga Berry, visited the Thistle Street food market and Foodstory's new wholefoods store. We also attended a friends wedding near Aviemore, staying at the beautiful Muckrach country house hotel, visiting the Highland Wildlife Park, Loch an Eilein and even having my first ever kayaking experience for our alphabet date! I also joined the North Hop crew for a day out visiting exhibitors for the upcoming Spirit of North Hop festival (info + tickets here)!

Friday, 6 October 2017

Spirit of North Hop | Distilleries & Street Food

Spirit of North Hop is just 3 weeks away and I am literally counting down the days! With a focus on Scottish spirits, the festival promises to bring something a little different to the AECC this October. A couple of weeks ago I was lucky to be able to tag along with the North Hop crew on a tour of some exhibitors around Aberdeenshire and I thought I'd give you guys a little taste of what's to come. 




LoneWolf Spirits

First stop, was Lonewolf HQ in Ellon. I'm a reasonably frequent visitor to the Dogtap bar but this is the first time I'd stepped foot behind the scenes, where the copper stills are guarded by the wolf. We were introduced to Lonewolf's brand new gin & tonic cans, which you can try for yourself at Spirit of North Hop. I can confirm they taste just as awesome as the cans look!



Esker Spirits

Next up was a magical mystery tour to the humble abode of Esker Spirits. Set in the countryside with views across Royal Deeside, this distillery is somewhat idyllic. I love the set up! We explored the fields to get some shots and I made sure to sample their classic gin with dinner later on. Really looking forward to checking out their perfect serves and cocktails at the festival!


Yatai Izakaya

You might remember I ate at Yatai recently and loved it, so it made my day when it was announced their street food debut will be at Spirit of North Hop! We had a little taster of the spicy pork gyoza, as well as the pork belly and tofu steamed buns they'll be serving up at the festival. You have got to try these, the flavours are incredible!


Fresh Mex

Our final stop of the day was the Adams on Holburn Street, where they serve up some of the best Mexican food in town. Fresh Mex are a familiar face on the street food scene and will be gracing Spirit of North Hop with their presence, just like North Hops past. We tucked into a selection of their classics - packed burritos, cheesy pulled pork nachos and spicy chicken tacos. I highly recommend all of the above!

This is just a tiny example of what will be on offer at the first ever Spirit of North Hop festival! I'm looking forward to making my way around more of the finest spirits and tastiest street food in Scotland on the 28th October. See you there?

See North Hop Website for Tickets 
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