Retro Recipe: Chocolate Cake with Minty Green Custard

Ever since I served up a giant helping of school dinner style chocolate cake with chocolate custard to my family last year, I’ve been itching to make a version of that which many people who went to primary school in the 1980’s will remember fondly – chocolate cake with minty green custard. It’s a similar recipe, but the custard is green and flavoured with peppermint. 

If you didn’t go to primary school in the 1980’s, then this pudding may be a bit alarming to look at. I make no apologies for that. The version I remember was a slightly less vibrant shade of green, but this slightly too green version appealed to my son, who said it looked like a Minecraft block. I will take that as the compliment it was clearly intended to be.

Retro Recipe: Chocolate Cake with Minty Green Custard

Chocolate Cake with Minty Green Custard

Ingredients
250g baking margarine or unsalted butter
250g golden caster sugar
4 medium eggs, beaten
250g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp dark cocoa powder
50g dark chocolate chips or dark chocolate, grated
1 tsp vanilla extract
100mls milk, warmed slightly

For the custard
1 pint of milk
3 tablespoons of cornflour
3 tablespoons of sugar
Green food colouring
Peppermint essence

Retro Recipe: Chocolate Cake with Minty Green Custard

How to make your Chocolate Cake with Minty Green Custard:

Preheat the oven to 180° degrees and grease and line a square 20cm cake or brownie tin with baking paper.

Beat the butter and sugar together until soft, light and fluffy; I use an electric hand mixer for this, but a wooden spoon or a stand mixer work just as well.

Add the eggs one by one, beat well after adding each egg. Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa into the mixing bowl and mix well, once combined, add the chocolate chips or grated chocolate and stir through.

Add the vanilla extract and enough of the warm milk to create a smooth mixture with a dropping consistency. Pour into the tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Once baked, pull it out of the oven and leave to cool a little on a baking tray. This cake is good served warm or cold.

To make the custard…

To make the custard, mix the cornflour, sugar and a dash or two of the milk and mix it together to make a smooth paste. Add more milk if you need to.

In the meantime, put the remaining milk in a pan and heat until it is almost at boiling point. Once it’s almost boiling, remove the pan from the heat and pout the hot milk into the bowl with the cornflour paste, keep whisking until it dissolves and there are no lumps.

Adding the paste to the milk instead of the powder should mean you don’t get a lumpy custard!

Pour the milk back into the pan and return to the heat, stirring continuously until thickens and the custard reaches almost boiling point again. Once it’s thickened and smooth, turn the heat off.

Now for the exciting bit, cautiously add a few drops of the green food colouring, whisk the colouring through and add more if you want until you get to your desired shade of green. Traditionally it’s a fairly pale but distinctively green shade, but you can go darker if you dare!

Similarly it’s time to add some of your peppermint essence. I urge caution at this stage, add a few drops at a time, whisk through and taste as you go. Too minty and it’ll taste like toothpaste, but a few drops is probably all you need.

To serve, cut your cake into handsome squares (warm or cold, your choice), and generously top with your minty green custard. Guaranteed clean plates all round.

Retro Recipe: Chocolate Cake with Minty Green Custard

If you enjoyed this, you might also like my recipe for school dinner style cornflake pie.

Retro Recipe: Chocolate Cake with Minty Green Custard

World Book Day: Enjoying World of Walliams bedding

We were sent a World of Walliams bedding set and cushion for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

This year World Book Day falls on March 4th. Typically it’s a time when schools pull out all the stops to promote a love of books and reading. Sadly this year due to the pandemic, the dressing up days and reading sessions will mostly be done remotely. We don’t have especially grand plans for World Book Day, but we will definitely be setting aside extra time for reading his favourite books, I suspect there will also be some dressing up (because we love a bit of dressing up).

World Book Day: Enjoying World of Walliams bedding

In time for World Book Day, Dreamtex have produced some lovely World of Walliams bedding and a matching cushion. My ten year old loves David Walliams books and was super excited to be tucked up for bed under a duvet of some of his favourite characters.

World Book Day: Enjoying World of Walliams bedding

The duvet set features everyone’s favourite characters from Gangsta Granny, Billionaire Boy and Grandpa’s Great Escape. Snuggling under this colourful duvet cover is just the thing when you’re settling down for some bedtime story time. The duvet is a standard sized single set, 137cm by 198cm in size and the pillowcase is 50cm x 75cm which takes a standard size pillow. The material is a mixture of polyester and cotton, which makes this a practical and hardwearing option.

The World of Walliams bedding is bright; cheery, reversible and really makes my son’s bedroom feel like a sunnier place to sleep. What’s more, the packaging for the bedding contains a door hanger which you can cut out and hang on your bedroom door.

World Book Day: Enjoying World of Walliams bedding

There’s also a matching officially licenced World Of Walliams scatter cushion which you can buy separately. This is available from Amazon and costs around £12.99. The cushion is 35cm by 35cm in size and is made from 100% Polyester. It matches perfectly with the bedding and really helps to brighten up his bedroom. It’s also a nice thing to have if you have a little reading corner; a cosy nest to read in is a lovely thing indeed.

This reversible World of David Walliams single duvet cover set is available in store at Sainsbury’s and online from Very and costs around £25.

World Book Day: Enjoying World of Walliams bedding

If you’re wanting to mark World Book Day at home; and have David Walliams fans, then this lovely bedding set is a fine way to freshen up the bedroom of a little fiction fan.

If you enjoyed this, you might like to read recommendations for ten books to read before secondary school.

40 Acts of Kindness for Lent

Each year, during Lent many Christians choose to give things up for 40 days. Lent is traditionally a time of abstinence and many people give up chocolate, or wine, or bread even. Some people choose to take up something, such as doing an act of kindness, or giving a small amount to charity each day. I usually opt for giving up something, but also taking up some small acts of kindness. I’ve put together a list of 40 acts of kindness for Lent; something to get you started.

It can be difficult to think about just one thing to give up, or take up. I think small acts of kindness are the way to go, especially if you’re doing them with children. I think we all need a bit of kindness at the moment, and being kind to others is often a kindness to ourselves.

24 Acts of Kindness for Advent

40 Acts of Kindness for Lent

  1. Leave a nice online review for a small local business
  2. Write some notes telling people what you appreciate about them
  3. Make a donation to a small charity
  4. Be brave today. Do something that you found hard last time you tried
  5. Put some loose change in a tip jar
  6. Bake treats for your neighbours or co-workers
  7. Have a clear out and donate your unwanted clothes to charity
  8. Make someone you live with breakfast in bed
  9. Phone a friend or family member each day
  10. Do a beach clean, or street clean, or a litter pick in a park
  11. Organise a charity bake sale
  12. Ask somebody to tell you about themselves and really listen
  13. Donate to your local food bank
  14. Compliment other people
  15. Make a point of doing self-care every day, whatever that looks like
  16. Learn to say ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ in some different languages
  17. Make a log pile in your garden so the wildlife has somewhere to cosy up over winter
  18. Make and send Easter cards to the residents of your local nursing home
  19. Paint some happy rocks and leave them in your local park for people to find
  20. Turn off lights, TV and chargers when you leave a room
  21. Sellotape a bus fare to a bus stop
  22. Write a letter to your teacher saying what you appreciate about them
  23. Recycle any paper, plastic, tins or glass that you use today
  24. Make and deliver a meal to someone who might appreciate that
  25. Pass on some books you’ve enjoyed to others
  26. Be the first to say sorry to somebody
  27. Put bird feeders in your garden and make sure they’re topped up
  28. Tidy up your bedroom without being asked to
  29. Start telling jokes, watch something fun together, or whatever makes you and your family laugh!
  30. Be positive all day and try only to say encouraging things to other people.
  31. Think before you speak and make sure your words build people up today
  32. Make an extra effort to smile more at others, it really can bring joy to their day!
  33. Ask someone how their day was
  34. Surprise someone, in a nice way
  35. Say a prayer some someone or something that needs it
  36. Light a candle and remember someone special
  37. Think of three good things about yourself and write them down
  38. Make someone a Spotify playlist to cheer them up
  39. Send someone a care package
  40. Help someone take a photo

If you enjoyed this, you might also like these 40 ideas for things to do for Lent.

40 Acts of Kindness for Lent

Celebrate Shrove Tuesday with JimJams Spreads

We were sent some JimJams Chocolate Spread to try with our pancakes. All images and opinions are our own.

We love pancakes, and it’s sad that Shove Tuesday, or Pancake Day is only once a year. Though with us being rebellious types, we sometimes crack and have an impromptu pancake day or two later in the year, just because pancakes really are the best thing ever.

There’s a lot of debate about how to top your pancake, or indeed what kind of pancake is the best. It’s hard to beat your standard thin, crêpe style pancake with lemon juice and sugar; but we often mix things up by having syrup or fruit, or even chocolate spread on ours. Basically, there are no rules, Pancake Day is a solid treat day and that is that.

Celebrate Shrove Tuesday with JimJams Spreads

However, even treat days don’t have to be terrible for you. Although you can make your own pancakes from scratch, if you’re busy then a packet mix can make life a bit easier. For a lockdown treat I whipped up a batch of Griddle Choc Chip Pancakes (which can be made vegan if you like). They are made using a wholegrain blend of wheat, organic rye and organic barley flour to give them a perfect fluffy texture and making them full of fibre; ideal if you’re making pancakes for the family.

Celebrate Shrove Tuesday with JimJams Spreads

I do like the thicker, American style pancakes. They are more filling and these choc chip versions are super-tasty and a real crowd pleaser. To top them, there was really only one option; JimJams Milk Chocolate Spread. It contains no added sugar and is only 50 calories per dessert spoon. Ideal if you want all of the treats, but less of the sugar.

JimJams spreads are available in a range of smooth, creamy flavours; milk chocolate; hazelnut chocolate, and new vegan no added sugar dark chocolate orange and dark hazelnut spread. JimJams spreads are made with 100% plant based ingredients and are designed to be kinder to your teeth, gluten free and around half the calories of other chocolate spreads.

Celebrate Shrove Tuesday with JimJams Spreads

JimJams spreads are currently on offer for just £2.00 a jar (normally £2.60) throughout February and are available at Sainsbury’s, Morrison’s, Waitrose, Asda and Ocado. Find out more about JimJams spreads on their website.

Recipe: Ginger Loaf Cake with Zesty Lime Icing

With my son at home, I’m having to up my snack game. He gets the usual healthy offerings of fresh fruit and yoghurt, but sometimes a slice of cake can be just the motivation he needs to plough through his home learning for the afternoon. This simple ginger loaf cake is a quick and fairly frugal bake which will satisfy even the hungriest little learner.

Ginger Loaf Cake with Zesty Lime Icing

When I bake this, I usually double the recipe and make two. I wrap the second one up for later in the week and the cake is usually even better after a couple of days resting in an airtight tin.

Ginger loaf cake with zesty lime icing

Ingredients
200g self raising flour
200g soft brown sugar
5 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
55g baking margarine, plus extra for greasing
1 medium egg, beaten
2 tablespoons of golden syrup
240mls hot but not boiling water
Lime icing
100g icing sugar, sifted
1/2 a lime
Zest of 1 lime

Ginger Loaf Cake with Zesty Lime Icing

How to make your Ginger Loaf Cake

Preheat the oven to 160c. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment. I like to use loaf tin liners because they’re much easier.

Put all of the ingredients into a large mixing bowl, with an electric whisk (or a big spoon if you prefer) combine all the ingredients into a smooth batter. It will look a bit runny, but it’ll be ok once baked, I promise.

Pour the mixture into your prepared tin. Bake in your pre-heated oven for 50-60 minutes, or until golden brown and the top is springy to the touch. If the top is browning too quickly and you’re worried about it burning, cover the tin with tin foil.

Once your ginger loaf cake is baked, leave it to cool thoroughly, I usually leave mine overnight to make sure it’s properly cool.

Ginger Loaf Cake with Zesty Lime Icing

To ice your cake; zest a lime and put the zest to one side ready to sprinkle over the top. Sift your icing sugar into a bowl, then gradually add in the juice of half a lime, stirring until you get a stiff but spreadable consistency.

Spoon the lime icing over the top of your ginger loaf and then sprinkle the zest over the top. If you’re a neat and tidy person, you might want to leave it to one side for a few hours for the icing to set. Although if you’re greedy like me, then you can just slice it into thick pieces and gobble it down quickly with the icing still dripping.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like to try these Grasmere ginger biscuits or this sticky ginger cake with cinnamon frosting.

Ginger Loaf Cake with Zesty Lime Icing

30 tasty ideas for toasted sandwich fillings

Like many people who are working from home and homeschooling, I very quickly managed to run out of ideas for lunches. It it were just me I would probably have soup and some toast most days, but that sadly doesn’t cut the mustard with my family. Thankfully I found my ancient sandwich toaster and for the last few months I’ve been putting it through its paces and making toasted sandwiches on a regular basis.

30 tasty ideas for toasted sandwich fillings

I’m quite pedestrian in my toasted sandwich tastes. Cheese and onion or cheese and tomato are always a satisfying lunch to me, but lockdown has meant we’ve had to get creative to keep things interesting. So here are 30 ideas for toasted sandwich fillings you may or may not love…

30 tasty ideas for toasted SandwiCh fillings

Cheese and tomato
Cheese and beans
Pesto, ham and cheese
Cheese and onion
Cheese and pickle
Ham and cheese
Corned beef and beans
Brie and cranberry sauce
Brie and bacon
Tuna and onion
Tuna melt
Peanut butter and banana
Tinned spaghetti bolognese and cheese
Cheese and marmite
Cheese and pepperoni
Nutella and banana
Corned beef and pickle
Tinned macaroni cheese
Cheese, sweetcorn and spring onion
Beef and Stilton
Cheese, ham and mushroom
Cheese and chilli jam
Tinned mackerel in tomato sauce
Goats cheese with roasted red pepper
Goats cheese with crispy bacon and beetroot
Sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella
Goats cheese, honey and fresh thyme
Corned beef, tomato and onion
Mashed banana and strawberry jam
Spam and baked beans

30 tasty ideas for toasted sandwich fillings

If you’ve not got a toastie maker, or if you can’t be bothered to dig it out of the cupboard; I often make toastie s in the frying pan. I butter the outside of my sliced bread, fill it with whatever I fancy and then gently fry until both sides are crispy and the inside is hot and any cheese is melted.

What’s your favourite kind of toasted sandwich? Have I missed any favourites off the list? Do let me know in the comments.

30 tasty ideas for toasted sandwich fillings

Collectible Craft Kits: Sneak Artz colourable sneakers

We were sent a selection of Sneak Artz collectible colourable sneakers for review. All images and opinions are our own.

All kids love a collectible, so these new Sneak Artz collectible colourable sneakers are bound to be popular. Each of these easy craft kits comes with everything you need to colour and customise your own little sneakers. There are 24 different white sneakers to collect and personalise. Each little shoe box comes with an assortment of washable pens, stickers and charms to make your sneakers shine.

Collectible Craft Kits: Sneak Artz colourable sneakers

Lockdown is hard and really quite boring. We’ve been soldiering on with home learning, but it’s a bit of a slog and at times quite joyless; so I’ve been trying to set up fun, creative activities to do to break up the day and allow us all to decompress a bit. Sneak Artz seemed like just the thing to break up our long lockdown days.

Collectible Craft Kits: Sneak Artz colourable sneakers

Each little shoe box comes with washable pens and stickers, as well as a clip so you can attach it to your bag if you want to show it off. If you get bored of how you’ve decorated it and want a change, you can wash the sneaker in water and it’s ready to be coloured in all over again.

The sneakers are made from a kind of flocked plastic. To clean the sneaker, I popped it in some warm water and started rubbing at the coloured parts with my finger. Because I’m impatient, I speeded up the process with a scrubbing brush; but I think if you can’t be bothered, you could throw them in the washing machine and they’d come up clean again.

Collectible Craft Kits: Sneak Artz colourable sneakers

The little sneakers come in 24 different designs; though they are essentially blind bags, so you don’t know which one you’re getting.

The boy and I had a lovely afternoon sat at the table colouring these in. We unpacked a few of the kits, each one contains three washable pens, so we shared ours between us. We chatted about what colours we were going to use and if we wanted to do a theme. I said I thought pink and purple spots would be good, so that’s what I did. He wanted a water theme, so stuck with blue and black colours. He coloured some bits in and did dots on others, which was quite effective.

Sneak Artz colourable sneakers

The Sneak Artz kits come in two different forms. There’s the Bumper Fun Set which includes; 2 Sneakers, 5 charms, 2 stickers sheet, 2 keychains, 5 washable pen, 1 glitter pen, 1 four dots pen, 1 exclusive spray can and 4 stencils. The smaller Sneak Artz Shoe Box contains; 1 Sneaker, 3 charms, 1 stickers sheet, 1 keychain and 3 washable pens. Both are suitable for ages 5+.

These Sneak Artz craft kits are available from a wide range of retailers including Smyths Toys Superstores. The individual shoe boxes cost around £9.99 and the bumper kit which contains two sneakers and even more accessories; that costs £19.99.

Sneak Artz colourable sneakers

They are a lovely fun craft to do. We are very into little art projects at the moment, something to switch your brain off from all the stresses of lockdown, and these really fit the bill. You can wash and wash them again, so they are good for the long term, as long as you only use washable pens on them!

Visit sneakartzhub.co.uk and design your own Sneak Artz Sneaker to be in with a chance to win 1 of 3 £50 Smyths Toys Superstores Vouchers!

Didsbury flooding and Storm Christoph

I live in Didsbury and this quiet suburb in South Manchester has hit the news in the last 24 hours due to flooding. I’ve lived here all of my life and although the river does flood occasionally (more so in recent years), we have excellent flood defences. Despite living a 5 minute walk from the River Mersey for most of my life; I’ve always felt pretty safe from the floods.

I grew up in East Didsbury, which is a pretty low lying area. The road I grew up on was evacuated last night. I do remember as a child that the flood waters did once reach the end of the road closest to the river, but it never quite made it to our front door. Nevertheless, this memory of the flood has stayed with me. I don’t remember the river flooding much, the fields at Parrs Wood seemed to cope with the overflow then.

Didsbury flooding and Storm Christoph

For the last few days I’ve listened to the rain pour down. I’ve anxiously watched the river levels rise and last night the fire brigade knocked on our door and advised us to evacuate. Never in recorded memory has the River Mersey run as high as it did in the early hours of this morning. Never in recorded memory has the road I now live on flooded, so I knew things were bad.

I spent the early hours preparing to leave with my family and moving any precious or useful things upstairs. We packed up photos of my son; home-schooling things; medication and warm coats and boots in case we needed to get out. We packed overnight bags if we needed them too. I hoped we wouldn’t.

Didsbury flooding and Storm Christoph

At some point in the night, the relentless rain turned to snow. Thick fat snowflakes came down hard and fast and lay on the cars and the road like a luxurious carpet. I turned the light off, turned over in bed and watched my son sleep when I could not.

Outside was busy with emergency vehicles. Every so often I’d look out of the window and see the lights from the nearby primary school shining on the flood water on the field. I’d check Twitter and Facebook for news; check my phone to see if anyone I knew was evacuating and needed somewhere to stay. It was the strangest, most surreal night.

Didsbury flooding and Storm Christoph

Morning came and brought better news. Hundreds of people had been evacuated overnight, but I think everyone was safe from the flooding. The floods had crept a little closer to my house, but the water had receded and continues to do so, inch by inch, hour by hour.

The River Mersey had come within 2cm of breaching its banks, which would have been a disaster. The flood defences had worked and although the surrounding fields and flood plains will need a considerable amount of clean up over the next few weeks; Didsbury was safe from the worst of it all for now.

Didsbury flooding and Storm Christoph

Huge thanks to the Environment Agency, and the emergency services for keeping us all safe. It has been the strangest 24 hours.

If you are worried about flooding in your area, this government website gives up to date warnings and advice.

Recipe: Heart Shaped Danish Butter Biscuits

Valentine’s Day is the ideal opportunity to show off your baking prowess to any potential or existing beau. During these long lockdown days, we’ve been baking a lot more than usual, so we needed to come up with a romantic treat which is a bit different to our usual bakes. Step forward, heart shaped Danish Butter biscuits.

Danish Butter Biscuits are a real classic. I remember tins of them around my Grandmother’s house at Christmas time. They seemed so fancy and posh at the time, and so different to the hard biscuits of my childhood. Danish butter biscuits are soft and short and crumbly in all the right ways. They’re also pretty easy to make, the hardest part is piping them out; but if you don’t fancy doing that, you can just bake dollops of them and they still taste as good.

Recipe: Heart Shaped Danish Butter Biscuits

Heart Shaped Danish Butter Biscuits

Ingredients:
375g butter, room temperature
250g caster sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
500g plain flour
Milk (entirely optional)
Glacé cherries

Method:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla essence and mix in thoroughly.

Beat in the plain flour, I tend to do this in batches so the kitchen doesn’t get covered in a flour cloud. Once it’s all mixed in, you need to decide if your mixture is loose enough to pipe, or if it needs letting down a bit. My hands are a bit arthritic, so I added a couple of tablespoons of milk and beat the mixture again.

Heat the oven to 180° and line some large baking sheets with parchment paper. If you’re choosing to pipe your biscuits, select a wide piping nozzle and put in your piping bag. I prefer to use disposable piping bags and a Wilton 1M nozzle, but you use whatever you’re comfortable with.

Carefully pipe heart shapes onto your parchment paper. I used a knife to help poke them into shape as my piping was a bit rusty. Once you’ve piped a tray (leaving room for them to spread a little), pop a glacé cherry in the centre of each one and sprinkle them with a little extra sugar. Put them in the oven to bake for 12-15 minutes. You don’t really want them to get brown, because like shortbread, these Danish Butter biscuits are supposed to be pale and interesting.

Once you’ve removed them from the oven, leave on a cooling rack until they are properly cool. Resist the urge to eat them all, as you’ve baked them for your paramour, but maybe you could sneak one or two for yourself.

Recipe: Heart Shaped Danish Butter Biscuits

If you’re gifting them, wrap them in tissue paper and pop them in a box for your intended. If you’re keeping them all for yourself, they keep very well in a tin for a couple of weeks; though I doubt they will last that long.

If you enjoyed this, you might like to try;

Recipe: Heart Shaped Danish Butter Biscuits

Pet Care: Healthy eating for active dogs

This post is in conjunction with James Wellbeloved, but all images and opinions are our own.

Last month we celebrated four years of having our spaniel, Penny in our lives. She has been an excellent companion and comfort, and the best friend we could hope to have. Penny is a fairly low maintenance dog; as long as she gets a couple of good long walks each day, plenty of play and cuddles and a healthy diet, she’s as happy as can be.

Pet Care: Healthy eating for active dogs

She is however a terrible food thief. I’ll never forget the day she figured out how to climb onto the dining table to eat the food left on it. I’ve lost count of the number of packets of butter she has stolen off the counter, and say goodbye to any food you leave unattended and not locked away.

We’ve recently had to stop buying chocolate brioche because she was stealing and eating them. Chocolate is really bad for dogs and they were making her poorly. If it’s not nailed down or put away, she will eat it and that includes all the things she really shouldn’t eat, like chocolate.

Spaniels make excellent working dogs, they’re generally really active dogs; they love water and could keep running for days if you’d let them. They are also well known for being greedy and cockers especially are prone to putting on weight if you’re not careful. Because of this we feed her a varied diet including a good healthy dog food and sensible treats. She is full of energy and a healthy diet, tailored to her needs is essential to her continued good health.

Pet Care: Healthy eating for active dogs

Being an intelligent, lively, but still fairly greedy breed of dog; Penny has always responded really well to training with food. She is very motivated by food, but we try to be careful to not feed her too many treats. She gets a daily dental stick and a small handful of dried food out of her daily allowance as rewards for good behaviour throughout the day. Things like responding well to recall, walking to heel really well, or just looking at me with those big brown eyes of hers.

We do try and feed her a varied diet, I think she can get bored with the same meal twice a day; so we mix it up with different flavours and textures of natural dog food. About once a week she gets a tin of sardines in oil as a treat, which she loves. Lean meat and fish are a great addition to her diet; some veg is good too, though onions are toxic and should be avoided. We started giving her carrots when she was teething as a puppy and she still loves them. She has no qualms about stealing fallen apples from the tree in the autumn and snacking on them; (though we have to wrestle them out of her mouth, as the core and seeds of apples can be toxic to dogs).

She can be prone to an upset stomach, but this is down to her thieving nature rather than anything we actually feed her. Over the years we’ve just had to get better at putting things back in the cupboard or the fridge, rather than leaving them out and in the way of temptation.

One change I have made this year, is during the very hot summer I put out another water bowl for her upstairs. She seems to prefer the upstairs water bowl and I’m certain her water intake has increased as a result. Water is as good for dogs as it is for us, so lots of fresh clean water every day is vital in keeping her in fine fettle.

Pet Care: Healthy eating for active dogs

I’ve often thought that although she isn’t the dog I originally wanted; she is the dog I absolutely needed to help get me out and walking again. She’s helped me regain my confidence and some of my fitness following my operations; and she’s been great company for me while I’ve worked from home and throughout lockdown.

I couldn’t be without her now, and she absolutely deserves the best of whatever we give her. She thrives on good walks, lively company and the healthy dog food we feed her. She is an important part of the family and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Our top tips for feeding Active dogs

  • Don’t feed them anything toxic, like chocolate, onions, grapes and raisins.
  • Don’t overdo the treats, have a daily allowance and stick to it.
  • Make sure you’re feeding your dog the right amount; packets will have recommended portion sizes on them, if you’re not sure, check with your vet.
  • Keep it exciting; add in some lean meat, fish or vegetables if you have them.
  • Discourage begging at the table and them wanting to lick plates clean.
  • Some dogs can be sensitive to some ingredients; so watch out for upsets and speak to your vet if your dog is having digestive problems.
  • If you have a spaniel, put food back in the cupboard or fridge once you’ve finished, it’s safer that way.