cafes for dogs, Dog Friendly, Isle of Wight, the dog blog

Off the Rails – Yarmouth,Isle of Wight

Ok I’ll admit it. I have written about this place before. I apologise (but it is a good’un).

Way back at the beginning of summer a company called Wight Locations asked me to do a guest blog post for their website. Grenson and I compiled our top 6 cafe/restaurants on the Isle of Wight for dogs …. well not quite for dogs, more for hoomans that are with dogs, but you know what I mean.

If you look hard enough you may be able to still find it somewhere out there on the world wide web.

Anyway, as I was looking through old piccies I came across the ones that I had taken for that blog post and quite frankly it made me nostalgic for those heady days of summer. (Listen, Christmas is over, all I’ve got immediately ahead of me is never ending months of darkness. I need something to look forward to!)

One of the places we visited jumped out at me as we had recently been back there after a nice long Christmas walk (to the pub). On that occasion I had a delicious coffee and walnut cake with a top quality flat white to wash it down. (Which reminds me, I also have lots of trips to the gym to schedule in during this season of gloom).

However, I don’t want to talk about cosy winter walks and warming coffee and cake (not today anyway), I want to take us all back to the days of crickets in the long grass, of swallows dive bombing in the blue skies, and of ice cubes slowly melting in late evening drinks. Let’s all go back to summertime!

(Cue: wavy fade back to the past).

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I mean!! Look at us!! I’m wearing shorts and t-shirt and jauntily hanging shades around my neck. Grenson is panting from the heat. There is even a hint of colour on my face rather than my current deathly pallor.

Good times. Hot summer good times.

And where are we enjoying this glorious sunny afternoon?  Why, the wonderful ‘Off the Rails‘ cafe in Yarmouth, of course.

This place pretty much has everything.

Its location is a dream for dog walkers. Grenson and I are particularly fond of the trek along the old railway line from Yarmouth to Freshwater. Keep the river on your right and head away from Yarmouth car park, keeping an eye out for kingfishers along the way. This path eventually leads you to a bridge, at which point if you turn right you’ll come across the Red Lion pub. A perfect place for a refreshment stop (and another place I wrote about for Wight Locations that I may need to revisit in the future for this blog too).

If you then retrace your steps and take a right before the old mill building, you’ll end up back at Off the Rails for further refreshments. After all, it’s always important to stay refreshed when on a walk.

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Arriving at this cafe via the old railway path is most fitting, as this place is situated in the old Yarmouth railway station (Off the Rails, see what they did there? Clever).

From the outside it seems like the station has remained untouched since the steam trains were regularly pulling up outside. Indeed, you’ll still find the platform out front, but instead of commuters and tourists hurriedly disembarking, you’ll find diners leisurely munching on cakes and sandwiches.

Inside, the retro railway feel continues with seating booths styled like 1950s carriages complete with luggage racks overhead.

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The booths are great in the winter but as we’re time travelling back to summer in this post, take a look below at the seats on the platform. What an idyllic view to enjoy your lunch beside!

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Oh, and as if great walks, quirky historic surroundings, delicious coffee, cakes and lunches, all enjoyed beside beautiful countryside views weren’t enough to confirm my assertion that this place has everything, then take a look below. They even have a menu for your pooch!

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Of course, with this place open all year round (closed Mondays & Tuesdays except bank holidays) and even open until 10pm on a Friday and Saturday (bookings necessary) there is no reason not to enjoy this special little place any time of the year.

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So don’t wait around for the sun to shine (it may be on holiday for sometime yet); head there as soon as you can…you can always make another visit when it’s shorts and T-shirt weather again!

The Man and the Dog..

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Christmas, Dog Friendly, the dog blog

The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide (For Dogs)

I don’t know if any of you have noticed, but it’s definitely getting colder and the goose is looking decidedly more plump than usual. This can mean only one thing – Christmas is coming!!

As a result the Man (me) and the Dog (Grenson) have decided to do a special post (we’re both a little excited).

No doubt the first mince pies are already hitting the hips and thoughts are turning to the luxury and indulgence of the Christmas period. This probably also means that rather than a relaxing, peaceful state of mind taking over, it’s the anxiety over how on earth you’re going to get everything ready in time?! In fact, you’re  probably already too late!! Panic!!

Well fear not Man About A Dog Blog followers, for we have compiled a list of our favourite doggie themed gifts to give you a helping hand in the annual present purchasing pandemonium … of course this is probably less helpful if you don’t have a dog, or know anyone who owns a dog … (although in that case I’d have to question why you are spending your time reading a very doggie flavoured blog? People are strange!)

Anyway, regardless of your reasons for reading, I give you the Man About A Dog Blog ultimate Christmas gift guide. You’re welcome!

  • Christmas decorations. Who doesn’t like a present that is not only thoughtful and beautifully made, but also adds to your festive decor vibe? Check out Oakdene Designs for a great range of personalised pooch paraphernalia. Our favourite has to be the personalised bamboo christmas pet decorations that come in the shape of over 60 different breeds, each of which can be personalised with your pet’s name. Super cool!

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Personalised Bamboo Christmas Decoration £7.00 from Oakdene Designs

  • It’s not just us hoomans who should get to fill our faces until our bellies are about to burst at the yuletide break. Don’t leave out your dog. However, it’s probably best instead of sharing mince pies and pork pies and any other pies you can get your hands on, to try out the Christmas Treat Gift Bag from Lily’s Kitchen. This bag of goodies includes festive biscuits full of turkey and cranberry, breakfast beef liver treats and organic bedtime biscuits (that may help your pupper get off to sleep before the big man arrives) all of which are lovingly hand baked, natural, and come in a rather natty little tote bag!

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Christmas Treat Gift Bag £12.00 from Lily’s Kitchen

  • Pets Pyjamas is your one-stop website for all your pet needs. If you can’t find anything here that takes your fancy then you might as well give up! Personally, my favourite is the personalised hessian Christmas sack to store all your pampered pooch’s gifts under the tree…this may or may not have something to do with the spectacularly tactile ears of Bella in the promo picture. I could play with those ears all the way into the new year!

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Personalised Hessian Christmas Sack £9.99 from Pets Pyjamas

  • If you’re looking for something that little bit special for your four legged friend then take a gander at the Tales of Teddy site. I’m pretty certain that the bowls I eat out of aren’t as stylish as the dog bowls that can be found on this site. This really is for the more discerning pooch and as such it is at a higher price bracket, but just think how lovely those blankets would look folded up on your sofa! (Also, check out Teddy! He’s a bit of a handsome dude isn’t he?).

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A Better Dog Blanket £90.00 from Tales of Teddy

  • It’s always nice to have something new to wear on the big day. For a lovely hand made leather collar may I suggest you head to the Fetch & Follow website? And if you also want to add a little Christmas bling then the ‘I am Loved’ brass dog tag would be a perfect compliment.

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Dog Collar from £25.00 and Brass Dog Tag £12.00 from Fetch & Follow

So there you have it, I think you’ll agree that any (or all) of these lovely pressies would make an excellent addition to any excited pooch’s list to Santa.

Happy shopping!

 

The Man and the Dog.

Please note: I have hopefully posted this guide in plenty of time for your gifts to arrive in time for Christmas, but please do check each individual website for estimated delivery times to avoid disappointment! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dog Friendly, dog friendly restaurants, London, the dog blog

Mac & Wild – Great Titchfield St

As you probably already know, Grenson’s mum doesn’t only spend her days making delicious meatloaf for his dinner and smothering him with kisses, oh no; she also finds the time to be a super successful fashion journalist whilst also being the flat shoe blogging sensation, En Brogue. As a result, most weeks she can be found heading off up west to meet up with other fashionistas to assess the latest trends, and basically just swank around town looking grand (apparently it’s all in the name of research?!).

On one such occasion recently, I decided enough was enough, it was high time that Grenson and I got in on this game too.

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From the look on Grenson’s face in this picture you can tell that he wasn’t entirely happy with the idea. For a start, it meant we had to go on a train (which he’s not too keen on) and secondly, I had neglected to put him in his fanciest coat! ‘Really darling how do you expect me to socialise with the fashion crowd without my best clobber on?’

So after a few appointments, including one that Grenson and I had been personally invited  to (see we’re cool too!), for a look at White Stuff’s new SS17 collection which I can confirm is very nice indeed, it was decided that we’d stop for lunch and then take a walk around Regent’s Park whilst En Brogue finished off the rest of her ‘to do’ list.

But where should we go for lunch? There is of course a wealth of choice in the big city. Luckily for us, we managed to stumble across a place that happened to be described as “the best restaurant in the world” by Giles Coren, no less (if their website is to be believed).

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Mac and Wild is a Scottish restaurant (yes I know! I didn’t know that was a thing now either). The only Scottish restaurant I’d encountered previously was that one that has a clown serving burgers … at least it sounds Scottish anyway.

We bagged a table outside as the weather was unseasonably mild and waited for a menu that I expected to consist entirely of haggis and battered chocolate bars.

What a fool I was! I hadn’t realised that I’d accidentally entered a meat nirvana. There was even a burger on the menu that had been voted the ‘Best Burger in the UK 2016’ at the National Burger Awards!! (yes I know! I didn’t know that was a thing now either)

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It’s fair to say that if you’re a veggie, this may not be the best place for you to visit. If, however, you’re the type of person that appreciates dishes such as ‘bread & dripping’, ‘venison chateaubriand’ and ‘dirty buttery mash’, and you also appreciate knowing not only where your meat has been farmed, but also who butchered it and even who shot it, then you’ve come to the right place.

The meatiness shouldn’t be a surprise; the guy who founded this place, Andy Waugh, is the son of a venison butcher, hence the concentration on fine wild venison dishes. A lot of us Brits have never tried wild venison and I have to admit that the thought of hunting those magnificent beasts may have put me off in the past. But this isn’t some trophy hunter wanting to feel big by shooting  a defenceless animal and posing for photos. If you read Andy’s blog on the Mac and Wild website, you realise that this is all done ethically, based on a yearly cull to keep numbers manageable and healthy for themselves and the environment. Also, if we don’t eat it then the Norwegians and Dutch will, as they currently buy up nearly all of it.

As already mentioned, the award winning ‘Veni-Moo burger’ had immediately caught my eye, so I ordered that along with cheesy chips and a Brewgooder Clean Water Lager, which is a craft beer that donates 100% of its profits to clean water projects around the world (so you can get drunk and do your bit for charity at the same time! Bonus!).

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Oh Em Gee!

You could really understand why this burger was award winning. But to be honest, I’d also give those fries and the cheesy dip an award too…Nobel Peace maybe?!

I hadn’t thought of it as we had enjoyed our mighty fine bounty sitting outside, but while writing this post I became a little worried that dogs may not have been allowed indoors. This would have been a disaster as I aim to try not to include anywhere on here that you can only enjoy with your pooch if the weather allows, and having to leave out this place would have been a travesty. Luckily, they confirmed via email that small dogs are indeed allowed indoors (it is, after all, a very small indoors, so a Mastiff for instance may actually fill the place!). I shouldn’t have really worried, as there were telltale signs that the place was a fan of our four-legged friends – mainly the door stop.

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So there you go. If you find yourself on a fashionable day out in central London and in need of an award winning Scottish meal, then look no further. And I suppose if you do have a dog that couldn’t accurately be described as ‘small’ you could always follow our example and sit outside. They did seem to have blankets on offer and there are outside heaters. If all else fails you could warm yourself up with a whisky, and where better to do that than in a Scottish restaurant?!

 

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

 

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