Days Out

First Time at Crufts 2019

March 19, 2019

Last weekend was the 2019 Crufts dog show in Birmingham, UK. We’re all really big dog lovers in our house and our daughter is hugely in love with them too. As a belated birthday gift (and a treat for us all) we decided to book tickets for Crufts.

How much did it cost?

I managed to get hold of tickets for the final day of the event (Sunday) at a cost of £18.50 per adult. The kids were free which was pretty great. The day is focused around the Toy and Utility dog group and also features the prize giving ceremony for the whole event (though this is separately ticketed so you don’t get access to the main arena at that time).

Where did we stay?

We drove down to Birmingham the evening before and stayed at the Best Western Weston Hall hotel which was about 20mins away from the NEC. The family room cost £95.00 and didn’t include breakfast (we did end up opting for so do try and get it included at booking – £10 otherwise). It was a really traditional old manor/hall with a few olde quirks but the staff were good and the food was surprisingly great too, recommend sticking in for it.

Crufts opens at 8am but this rare hotel stay for us meant we were reluctant to get out of there super early so we ended up getting there for 9.30am. Parking is £16 on the day or £12 if you book online in advance. There’s a bit of a walk from the car park to the main halls so be prepared for 10 mins or jump on a shuttle bus.

Crufts is a whole host of event halls and small display /competition rings and a large main arena too. The Sunday sees the main arena close to a secondary ticket.

It’s slightly overwhelming, there’s just so much stuff and people. But slowly we began to figure out the lay of the land.

Rescue Centres and Therapy Dogs

We visited the rescue stands for the UK Boston Terrier Group and the French Bulldog UK group too. Got lots of cuddles with some excellent puppas. Boston’s are definitely on my list of future dogs, love them.
Headed over to a stand where Erin was able to sit and read with a therapy dog. Learning about the use of therapy dogs to help treat a variety of challenging issues people can suffer with. They were great with the kids. Explaining things and teaching us lots we didn’t know.  

We stopped at the Young Kennel Club ring and although there was no one to answer questions we did manage to rope one of the helpers into asking how best to get involved in dog showing. Erin is super keen to try and luckily the dog showing is judged on the handling and the person rather than the dog (phew!).

(Quick note, you can’t take your own dog to Crufts, only those invited.)

The Main Arena

We headed to the main arena and bagged some nice seats, they’re a free for all and I’d recommend getting in there early or at least during the event prior to the one you want to watch as they fill up fast.

We watched the Agility Championships (really fun, surprising how many dogs don’t make it!), the Flyball tournament (super fast!) and displays from Gundogs and Golden Retrievers. Really good vibes, kids really enjoyed it.

I’d recommend packing a picnic for a Crufts visit, the food is expensive. I think two sandwiches and bottles of water cost me £15!? It’s stated that no cool boxes can be taken so just keep things in a rucksack. You can eat at your seat in the main arena, definitely recommended!

Discover Dogs Zone is the best

The best bit of the day for us was definitely the “Discover Dogs” zone, where pretty much every breed of dog has a small stand and you can go and speak to experts in the breed. We stroked a LOT of good woofers.

All in all a great day. We’re going to go back next year with our folks too. We barely scratched the surface of the event. It felt like there needed to be more kids stuff there but hopefully they remedy this next year.

Have you been? What did we miss that you think we’d love? Leave us a comment below or drop me a line on Instagram.

ACP Blogs

Hiking Homesickness

February 19, 2019

Taking on a challenge like the Anglesey Coastal Path continuous hike last year, I really thought that I’d given it a lot of thought before setting out.

Admittedly, the space between deciding to do it and actually setting off was only a few months but I poured over thru-hike videos, did numerous practice hikes, checked my gear over and over, got my feet used to hiking long distance, sorted my work life and my family plans around the time I was taking away.

But one thing I totally didn’t do was prepare my head.

Continue Reading…

Out of the mist.

February 19, 2019

I’ve been stuck for a few months on the blog. The last piece I wrote was after completing the 8 day solo hike around Anglesey and it all pretty much stems from that.

The hike hit me hard mentally, I’ve touched upon it in the vlogs from the walk and I’m writing a piece about some of the specifics currently.

When I got home from Anglesey I was faced with 8 days of video footage, photos and notes.
I’d originally planned to shoot a nice video whilst out but when you’re feeling bad or in the driving rain and wind it makes filming (or indeed anything creative) pretty challenging. So the footage I came back with was bitty at best and spread over three different devices with random filenames, some dodgy audio (lost my micromuff) and lots of wobbly footage (lost my tripod).


It all just sat there. A massive overwhelming lump of bitty rubbish. When I came home all I wanted to do was spend time with the family doing all the things that I’d promised to myself whilst on the walk, things I’d do more of. Every time I opened the computer to go through the footage it just got me down.

October rolled into November which became one of my most busy work months and December is our favourite time of the year as a family with Christmas and a break for New Year. So yes, January arrived and I had pangs to write bits on what we’d been upto over Christmas, what plans we had for the new year, some new reviews and some extended features that I’d written. The problem was that it felt that I need to shift all the Anglesey stuff out of the way first otherwise everyone would of been left wondering what had happened, how I found it etc. It just felt wrong to avoid talking about it. So the need to create something new pushed me into going through the Anglesey footage and finally putting it together.

A New Approach

I’ve spent most of January putting it together and it’s definitely been a learning experience. I no longer am going to film so much on big trips away. Coming back with so much broadly shot footage is daft and overwhelming. I definitely need to be more concise and disciplined, have a definite brief/idea of what I want as opposed to “shoot everything and figure it out later” when filming.

Now I have a much clearer idea of how I want to create and share video of our trips and experiences, one which doesn’t overwhelm me and hopefully not paralyse me again. More concise, nice looking and tell our stories much better.

I’m excited to be creating again.