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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Dog Friendly Shops, Fashion, London, the dog blog

White Stuff Clothing – Battersea Store

Over the period of writing this blog I have on occasion been approached by companies requesting that I try out their goods, or write a review of their latest product launch, or produce a blog post that they can then use on their website. Generally, as you would probably guess, these companies are very doggy focused. However, intriguingly I (or rather Hannah, a.k.a the wife, a.k.a En Brogue, who I’ve somehow acquired as my unofficial agent) recently received an approach from the White Stuff Clothing Company…Clothes?! A clothing brand?! Why would they be getting in touch with Grenson and me? Surely they had mistakenly asked for us, (the very much dog focused bloggers of the family), when they really wanted En Brogue herself, (the very much shoe and fashion focused member)? I sent my ‘agent’ away with a flea in her ear, ‘it’s not us they want you fool, the enquiry is clearly meant for you’.

En Brogue quickly came back, ‘It IS meant for you, there is NO mistake, and never call me a fool again if you know what’s good for you’. (She’s mean when she wants to be, it’s what makes her such an excellent agent).

It turns out that White Stuff branches are all doggy friendly! Yay! They were interested in finding someone to pay a visit to one of their stores to test this out, and also check out their new Autumn/Winter 2016 range whilst they were at it. With this in mind they made the wise choice of seeing a man about a dog! Fancy new clothes? A dog friendly store? We were indeed exactly the right man and dog for the job.

After looking at the various stores across the land (and there are more additions as we speak with new openings occurring right now; check out the store locator on their website for details) we decided that we’d visit the Battersea store. This was due to a number of facts, as follows;

a) It was the very first store that they ever opened in the UK

b) It had recently undergone a full re-furb so would be looking all shiny and new

and,

c) It was pretty easy for us to get to on the train.

Upon approaching the store the dog friendly credentials were justified before even walking through the door.

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Brilliant! We already loved the place.

It never ceases to amaze and surprise me which establishments I can and can’t go to with Grenson. Pubs? Yes, that’s easy, especially in London, it’s more unusual to find one that won’t let dogs in. Cafes? Yes, generally fine as long as the dog is well behaved. Fancy restaurants? Increasingly the case is ‘yes come on in, we’ll get your dog some water, would sir prefer still or sparkling?’.

However, try to step foot inside a supermarket/corner shop? ‘You can’t come in here with a dog sir.’ A fish and chip shop? ‘You’ll have to leave the dog outside.’ The Post Office collection depot? ‘Guide dogs only!’ (I suppose dogs and postmen do have history).

Any shop that thinks I’m going to tie Grenson to a post outside whilst I come in to peruse their wares can think again. Of course I’m aware that this was the norm a few years/decades ago, but so was leaving your toddler outside in a pram. At least the toddler was generally asleep and unaware that it was being left alone outside the Post Office whilst mum nipped inside to pay the electric bill. Dogs generally tend to be awake when on a walk and so remain keenly aware when tied by the neck to a post and cruelly abandoned!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m aware that not everyone likes dogs. Some people are scared, and if they own the shop and don’t want to be confronted by their biggest fear standing in front of them wagging its tail then that’s their prerogative.

But banning dogs on the grounds that they may wee on the floor, or tread mud into the shop, or drool on the sale items, or be really noisy and irritate the other customers, applies twofold to toddlers if you ask me. If toddlers are allowed into an establishment then dogs should be allowed in too. That’s my opinion! There, now I’ve said it.

With all that in mind the warm welcome we both received upon entering the White Stuff store was much appreciated. Even if the shop had turned out to be shabby and the clothing horrible, I’d have still been quite happy to have a walk around just because I could. Luckily for the successful outcome of this blog post, the store is super cool and the clothes are equally impressive.

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Now, I must admit that I had never been in a White Stuff store before. I used to work near Lamb’s Conduit Street and almost exclusively shopped at the boutique stores that can be found in that area. Clearly this signifies that I’m very, very, trendy…and also skint! Even when waiting patiently all year and then taking full advantage of the sales these designer brands are not cheap. They are fantastic quality though, and I’m generally wary of going elsewhere and suffering a drop in standard (a snob? me? never!).

However, when I headed inside the White Stuff store I could immediately see that this brand offers easily comparable quality, but with the bonus that it’s all within a much lower price bracket. Even before we talk about the clothes you can just feel that this is a classy company from the newly spruced up shop. They’ve done a great job. I really liked the little touches; the vintage radios on the walls, the boiled sweets behind the counter, the scandi-style furniture, and the very relaxing seating area with complimentary drinks and biscuits for all those weary and, maybe less enthusiastic, shoppers who find themselves being dragged around the stores.

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Grenson found the biscuits very interesting, until an actual dog biscuit was magically produced from behind the counter for him to enjoy instead (see?! dog biscuits! They’re really not joking about this dog friendliness).

As for the clothes? Let’s just say there is a new brand on my wardrobe block.

And now for the really exciting bit about doing a post on a clothing company: I get to pretend to be a true fashion blogger. Which can mean only one thing…standing awkwardly in front of a full length mirror wearing my new purchases and pretending to be a model!

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(Jeans, belt, shoes, glasses, beard and dog are models own!)

Hell yeah! Check out that thumb almost in pocket on the t-shirt and waistcoat shot! I’m thinking that might be my ‘signature stance’.

It’s arguable that the pictures could have been improved if I had actually looked up instead of at the phone, and maybe Grenson’s ‘help’, wasn’t all that helpful in hindsight. But it’s the clothes you should be focussing on anyway.

The shirt is a flannel fabric (£47.50) so perfect for the colder days that are now arriving. The waistcoat (£69.95) seems to be a big thing in their new collection. I have to say I thoroughly approve,  I’m quite partial to a smart waistcoat these days. I’ll probably pair with a shirt but I think it almost works with the polka polo (£37.50)? Then of course there is the big cuddly jumper (£55.00) on the right, ideal for a winter evening in front of a roaring fire.

Last but not least how could I possibly resist ‘Howling Wolf‘ socks (£9.95)?

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I am aware that I have only focussed on the men’s range. Sorry girls. We are MAN about a dog though. We didn’t spend much time in the ladies section if I’m honest, but from the items I saw the quality and style seems an equal match to the men’s items I’ve highlighted above.

So there you have it. The perfect shop for all of us who love fashion as well as love dogs.

Get you and your pooch down to your nearest branch is what I say…at the very least you might get a biscuit each!

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The Man and the Dog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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