Planning Your German Holiday? Here’s Where To Go And What To Do!

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As the beating heart of Europe’s economy and the center of World War II history, Germany may seem like an austere and serious place to visit. But once you’re there you’ll quickly realise that this somber aura is a total misconception. Germany is home to some of Europe’s most beautiful architecture, romantic fairytale castles, stunning landscapes, and vibrant city nightlife.

Let’s explore some of the most ‘wunderbar’ highlights!

1. Berlin

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We’ll begin, obviously, with the country’s capital. Berlin has a dramatic and torrid World War II and Cold War history, which it has bravely made no effort to water down or hide from tourists. Portions of the infamous Berlin Wall are still there to see near Reichstag and Checkpoint Charlie, the latter of which also has a charmingly tiny museum that is absolutely bursting with Cold War history. For World War II history, the Jewish Museum and Holocaust Memorial are incredibly moving and humbling places to experience. The flipside to Berlin’s historical sites is its healthy club scene after the sun goes down, fostered by an eclectic and bohemian culture that started to emerge post-Cold War as the city became a hub for diversity and creativity. Make sure you visit www.etias.com to take advantage of visa waiving before travelling, too.
2. Neuschwanstein Castle

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In complete opposition to Berlin, Neuschwanstein Castle – one of the most photographed buildings in Germany – is a dreamy glimpse into the country’s romantic past. Sitting against the backdrop of the Bavarian Alps, it was built purely as a holiday-home for King Ludwig II of Bavaria (Germany’s previous name) rather than for military use like most castles, which is why it looks so picturesque. (Fun fact: it was Walt Disney’s inspiration for the Magic Kingdom castle!)

3. Cologne

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Almost as popular as Berlin for urban culture, Cologne sits right on the Rhine River and is a haven for beautiful art, fun nightlife and a landscape populated by a mixture of buildings whose designs mesh the old and new together. It’s also particularly well-known for its gothic and medieval architecture, with its Twelve Romanesque churches and the striking Cologne Cathedral standing at its center, also serving as the city’s unofficial logo.

4. Rhine Gorge

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Between the cities of Bingen and Bonn, the Rhine passes through a stunning gorge. In late summer when the water is sky-blue, the trees are green and gold and the whitewashed buildings gleam in the sun, it’s really something magical to behold. Adding to this majesty are the forty (yes, forty) medieval castles, lush vineyards and quaint little towns that line its edges. The most famous attraction, however, is ‘Lorelei’ – a beautiful but deadly rock formation in the deepest part of the river. Hop on a boat to explore it properly…but watch out for Lorelei!

5. Rugen Island

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Rugen Island is the largest in Germany, connected to the rest of the country by the Rugen Causeway and Bridge from where it sits in the Balkan Sea. With its pretty beaches, lighthouses, Eastern European castle ruins, fishing, and National Park, it’s another stellar example of Germany at its most romantically scenic.   

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Considerations To Factor In Before You Decide To Get a Pet

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Alongside wedding days and children being born, a lot of people class bringing their pet home as one of those special days. It can be a pretty momentous occasion. Pets are wonderful to have and can really become part of the family. But what do you need to think about before you go out and buy a pet? Here are some things that you should think about.

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The Commitment

Getting a pet is a big deal and a big commitment. The lifespan of a lot of pets is quite long. So it is a commitment for the rest of their life. There is also the commitment of what it takes to care for them. Will you be able to walk your dog a couple of times a day, or get out to muck out your horse’s stable in the early hours of the morning? Don’t get me wrong; the rewards are great with a pet. But you do need to be realistic to decide if a pet is really something that you would be able to manage.

Your Lifestyle

Your lifestyle is another consideration to think about before getting a pet. As, like with a child, a pet can’t be left alone to start with. After a bit of time, you can increase the time length of you being away from home. But they shouldn’t be left for too long of a time. Do you travel a lot with work? Do you take a lot of vacations? Are you barely at home? If the answer to all of this kind of thing is yes, then you might need to rethink. Pets could travel with you, but obviously, not all of the time. Or is there someone reliable that could help out on occasions like this? These are just things that you need to think about, and that often get forgotten about.

The Cost

The cost of buying a pet in the first place can be enough to put some people off. A lot of people choose to adopt a pet instead. But it does mean that there are other costs once your pet has been brought home. You might have to look for horse stables for sale if you wanted to get horses, for example. You might have to pay out for pet insurance or for your pet to have surgery and vaccinations. Then there are things like food costs and bedding, toys, and accessories. Having a pet is really worthwhile. It just means that you need to make sure that you can budget to accommodate for the needs of your pet.

Your Home

When you bring a pet home, you need to check that it is a pet-friendly environment. Certain flowers can be bad for cats and dogs to be around, for example. So things like that should be avoided. Do you have an area for a cage or litter tray to go? Do you have carpets or wooden flooring? Are there long curtain cords that a cat could get stuck in. It is almost like baby-proofing a home when you get a pet!

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Start The Year Right By Resolving To Stick To Your Resolutions


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We all have aspirations for the future. Never more so than at this time of year, when our minds start looking to new year resolutions. A new year gives the perfect opportunity for a new start. Sometimes, though, it can be hard to know how to achieve the goals we desire. There are so many aspects of life you can improve with a little effort. Just take some time to decide which you want to focus on. After all, we can’t change everything at once. Here’s a list of a few resolutions it might be worth making for the coming year!
MAKE A CHANGE
Making a change is a common desire. Maybe you want a new job to take you out of the slump you’ve fallen into. Maybe you’re not happy with your relationship and want to get out. Maybe the change needed is in your outlook. Whatever change you choose, keep in mind that it’s not going to be easy. Change never is. That seems to be especially true if it’s a change worth making. Bear in mind when times get tough that you’re doing it for a good reason. This time next year your situation could be completely different. All you have to do is put in the effort!
QUIT BAD HABITS
Stopping bad habits is a common theme for resolutions. What better time than to cut out that habit that’s been holding you back? If you’re a smoker, the new year can be the perfect time to quit. There’s plenty of help out there for you if you’re struggling. Maybe you want to stop drinking for the coming year. Maybe you’re quitting sugar or bad eating habits. Whatever it is you’re stopping, keep your eye on the goal. Think how much better the next year could be if you manage to achieve your goal!
GET ROUND TO WHAT YOU’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO
Making a resolution to do something that’s always interested you can be a positive way to start any year. There are so many things that we don’t find the time to do. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to speak a different language. Maybe your desire is to go to a particular country or see something amazing. Have you always wanted to see the Northern Lights? Iceland Northern Lights tours could offer you the chance to finally see them.
GET FIT

Getting fit is another common resolution. If this is your choice, make sure you implement a get fit scheme that will work. Invest in your decision by getting some keep fit equipment or joining the gym. You’re much more likely to stick to your resolution after you’ve spent money on it. You could ask for a gym membership for Christmas. That way, you’ll have the pressure of not wanting to waste your gift. The person who pays for your membership is sure to check on your progress. Put pressure on yourself and say hello to a fitter you in

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The Perfect Presents For Your Pets This Christmas

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It’s that time of year again – the best time of all. While you’re busy making plans, seeing friends and family and buying presents, make sure there’e one (or more) person you don’t forget. Or should I say, furry little friend.
Buying for your pet can be fun at Christmas. But it can also be easy to think about getting them a new toy and stick to that. In reality, alternative options are so much more fun. Whether you’re keeping it small and a little something extra will do, or you want to well and truly spoil them, these idea could just be the perfect fit.
The Best Dress
No matter which pet you chose, you can let them have a little fun and dress them up nice. You’ve not lived until you’ve seen a dog prance around in a sparkly new shirt. It really is rewarding. A dog or cat might just look the part dressed up as Santa or an elf. You might love it that much that you decide to spring for an early Christmas present, just to see them styled up so cute for a little longer.
A Brother or Sister
Now, they say that a pet is for life and not for Christmas and that is very true. Under no circumstances should a family addition be thought of on a whim. But, if you’re pet is lonely, and you’ve considered it already, why not pick up a brother or sister for your fluffy loved one? It could even team up as a little present for yourself or the family. Being a pet owner is such a joy, an extra family member can only spread more happiness at Christmas.
Home Comforts
This one might be something you’ve wanted to get for a while, but it could also be the perfect present for your pet. Your pet might have its own place to sleep, but maybe you’ve thought about letting them upgrade. Options like indoor dog furniture, like a super-cool tipi, or a sparkly new cage for your bird could make them very happy pets indeed. If you can’t spoil your pets at Christmas, when can you?
Organic Treats
Your dog, cat, small animal, bird or reptile (does that cover them all?) might get a treat from time to time, but Christmas is when you can invest in something extra special. Organic food and treats for your pet might be something you firmly believe in, but if you’ve not tried it out, now might be the perfect time. Not only will your fluffy babies be happy and well fed, you’ll feel pleased with caring for them so well.
A Day Out
And sometimes, you just need to be able to spoil your pet like you would a parent, child or spouse. It’s perfectly acceptable to want to. There are a range of pet holidays and days out that you could choose for your pet. Or, you might want to shower them with love the old fashioned way by heading out and about somewhere local. Either way, they’ll be happy.

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Perfect Puppy Planning

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If you have decided, like us, to welcome a puppy into your home, you’ll understand it’s a wildly exciting feeling. Saying that, along with that excitement comes the nerves. If you have never had a puppy before or even if it’s been a while, you can’t help but think (and probably OVER THINK) about every little thing.

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deally a pup should leave his mother at seven to ten weeks old, so he has had time to learn about other dogs but is still young enough for positive early experiences with humans to really count. The first few days are vital.

  • Before you bring your puppy home — Remember your pup is likely to feel he has been snatched away from his home. Help make the transition easier for him by leaving an old T-shirt you have worn with the breeder on your last visit before collection if possible. With this placed in the litter’s bed it will make your scent familiar to him as well as absorbing the scent of his family. When you bring your pup home, collect the T-shirt and put it in his travel basket and then his den. It will comfort him as he adapts to his new environment.


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  • Collecting my puppy — Try to collect your pup early so he has the whole day to get used to his surroundings before settling for the night. Take time off work or employ the services of a dog walking or pet sitting company if necessary so your pup is not left alone for at least a few days. Control when any children play with him and give him time to explore alone but supervised.
  • Bringing home a puppy –  As soon as you arrive home, take the puppy into the garden and reward him as soon as he’s been to the toilet. This will set the tone of positive reinforcement and let your puppy see how they should behave. Allow the puppy freedom to explore his new surroundings, but pay close attention to where he goes. It’s a good idea to follow them with some treats to keep their attention focused when you need it to be.


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Your puppy’s first night

Some puppies settle straight to sleep but many cry during their first night in a strange place, in which case it may be kinder to allow them to sleep near you to begin with. Try to make the process of teaching your puppy to sleep alone a gradual one.

  • Let him sleep in a puppy crate near your bed; if he wakes, speak reassuringly but don’t touch him.
  • Unless you intend to have your dog sleep in your bedroom, gradually move the crate from your bed to the room you want him to sleep in. Do this in stages: say to the bedroom door, the landing, down the stairs and so on. The patterns set in the first few weeks of a new routine can set the tone for good, or at least become very hard to break.

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A puppy’s first week

  • Give your puppy every chance to become a happy member of the household.
  • Take your puppy to the vet for a checkup and to discuss his vaccination and worming programme. Also ask whether the surgery runs puppy parties so he can begin socialisation.
  • Don’t make any changes to his diet until he has settled in; then do so gradually.
  • Encourage your puppy to chew the right things by providing him with his own toys. Don’t let children leave their toys lying around as he may not be able to tell the difference at first.

Enrol in reward-based training classes. Ask your vet or other owners for recommendations.
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This will start you and your little guy off on the best foot and leave you more time to enjoy your new addition – we can’t wait!



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Attention, Brides! Details You Don’t Want To Forget On Your Big Day

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Are you busy planning a wedding? If so, you’re probably focusing on a venue, a photographer and most importantly, what you’re going to wear. It’s essential to find the perfect dress, but don’t forget about those little details. You want to look and feel your best, and often, the small things can make all the difference. If you’re putting your wedding day look together, here are some details you won’t want to forget.

Shoes
You may not be able to see your shoes under your dress, but you should still choose carefully. Nobody wants to walk down the aisle in ill-fitting, unattractive shoes they’ve bought at the last minute. You don’t have to spend a lot if you don’t want to. But make sure you choose a style you love, and that matches your dress. It’s easy to get bowled over by aesthetics, but try and be practical. You may regret falling for those skyscraper heels when you’re trying to dance the night away later. Aim for a modest heel and try and wear your shoes in before the wedding day. Give your mum or best friend some plasters to take, just in case.

Jewellery
Bridal jewellery can finish off a look to perfection. When you’re choosing your jewellery, work out what will go with your dress. Try and take some pieces along to fittings with you. Then you can try everything together, and see which looks you like best. Everyone has their own style, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box. You don’t have to go for classic wedding styles. Many brides tend to go for understated jewels, especially if they have detailing on their dress. If you’re going for a traditional look and you have a vintage style dress, pearls work well. You can buy pearl jewellery online, or take a trip around some local jewellers. If you have a plain dress, you can go to town with accessories. You may fancy a statement collar necklace or a collection of bangles, for example.

Hair
When you get married, you want to look and feel more beautiful than ever before. In the run-up to your special day, have a look through some bridal magazines and look online for ideas for wedding hair. Take some cuttings and photographs to the hairdresser with you, and go through some options. It’s really beneficial to book at least one trial. You can see what different styles look like, and you can also try different hair accessories. It’s also a good idea to take a photograph of your dress with you. Sometimes, certain shapes and cuts work better with styles than others. If you have a high neckline, for example, updos look incredible.

If you’re getting married, it’s natural to want to look your best. It’s important to put effort into choosing the perfect dress, but don’t forget those all-important details. Once you’ve got your dream dress, start thinking about how you’ll finish off the look. Take some time to choose the perfect shoes and jewellery, and book a hair trial.


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Picking A Pet With The Perfect Purrsonality!

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The numbers vary all over the world, but by and large, we are a world of pet owners. 61% of Irish households have a pet; it’s 46% in the UK and a massive 65% in the USA. So, we like our pets.
If you already have a pet, you probably don’t need to be told that. Pets become a part of the family and an endless source of joy. Most of us grow up with one type of pet and then go on to own the same animal, sometimes down to the same breeds.
But what if you’re looking for something different? Or what if you don’t have a pet, never had pets as a kid, and aren’t sure where to start? Found out your perfect animal companion with this handy guide, by personality…
You Are A Dog Person If…
You’re active.
While there are some breeds that can handle relatively little exercise, by and large, dogs need to be walked. Some breeds especially, such as border collies, can develop depression if they are not walked often enough. If you can’t do it yourself, then you have to be prepared to hire in a dog walker.
You love affection.
Dogs are pack animals, and when they ascertain you’re the leader, they’ll be out to show you plenty of love. The attachment is immediate, too; while the bond will deepen in time, dogs latch on to their owners pretty quickly.
Always check your local shelter for dogs rather than buying them. Avoid puppy farms wherever possible.
You Are A Bird Person If…
You want to retain your independence.
Unlike dogs, birds don’t need constant attention to live long and fruitful lives. They are perfectly happy by themselves during the day while you’re working, though they might want a cuddle when you get home.
You like some personality.
Birds are far from boring. Some have the ability to “talk” (it’s actually just repetition, but it’s hilarious nonetheless). Others development amusing habits, subject to many a YouTube clip.
Birds are relatively easy found. Find a hand raised Amazon for sale or check local stores for smaller birds. Make sure you know what you’re looking for in terms of signs of health beforehand.
You Are A Cat Person If…
You don’t mind being ignored.
Cats can be just as affectionate as dogs and birds, but they want to do it on their terms. If you want cuddles for no reason at all, then they might not be in the mood – and they won’t be shy about making that clear. You have to have a thick skin to be a cat owner; there’s a reason Internet memes joke about being “owned by a cat” than the other way around!
You love an inquisitive nature.
Dogs are generally happy doing whatever their owner is doing. Cats are much more likely to do their own thing and can get themselves into all kinds of situations. This can make them thrilling pets as you never truly know what they’re going to do next.


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Chasing Some Winter Sunshine? It’s As Easy As ABC

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The seasons all have their roles in a year, of course. Spring is bursting with new life, autumn with vibrant color. In summer, when the sun is out, so are you. We all benefit from sun exposure – within SPF-drenched reason, of course.
But what is winter’s role? Yes, it’s the host of some of the most exciting times of the year – Christmas, New Year. But it’s also the harbinger of short days, cold temperatures and wearing so many layers you feel like every movement is labored. It doesn’t take much of this to begin to feel that you need to feel the sunlight on your skin again, and your mind begins to turn to a winter holiday.
In what seems like a show of kindness, Mother Nature has provided a way to escape the gloom of winter. The closer you get to the equator – or even dipping below it – the more likely you are to find the sun in the winter months. A little ray of brightness in the midst of a dank season, the idea sounds good, but what about the reality? Well, choosing where to find your winter sun is as easy as A, B, C…
A for Arizona
Arizona is one of the most southerly states in the USA and, as a result offers an excellent choice for sunshine year-round.
A typical winter in Arizona has daytime temperatures of around 16C, so it’s not one where you want to grab a bikini. However, what it does offer is as close to guaranteed sunshine as you’re going to be able to get. The two sunniest areas in the whole of the USA are in Arizona (http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/articles/2011/11/21/the-10-sunniest-places-to-retire). There you’ll experience a peak of 85% days of sunshine in a year.
Sure you have got your visa sorted? Find out more at www.official-esta.com, because there’s plenty more to look forward to in this southern state. To begin with, it’s nicknamed as the Grand Canyon state for a reason.
B is for Brazil
The nearer the equator you go, the better the weather in Brazil. Although our winter is part of Brazil’s wet season, the rainfall is moderate and is compensated by long, hot days of 22C. The most well-known city, Rio, has winter highs recorded around 29C.
If you wish to travel a little further south, then there is plenty waiting to be explored. The largest waterfall system in the world, Iguazu Falls, borders Argentina in the Brazillian state of Parana.
C is for California
Prefer your holidays to be more city-based? Then California has got you covered, especially with cities like San Bernadino and Los Angeles. These are not just the haunt of the rich and famous, but also the sunshine even through the winter months. Both have average temperatures of around 20C, while Santa Ana has tipped the thermometer at 22C. If you prefer bustling population centres to the wilderness of Arizona or the natural raw power of Brazil, these are your best choices.
As with the above two options, the further south you go in California, the better the temperatures. The equator, when seeking winter sun, is always going to be your best friend.


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Becoming a Pet Sitter? Make Sure You Know What to Charge!

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People think pet sitting is easy. And, yes, I’ll admit: sometimes it is pretty easy. But sometimes you get stuck with some pretty difficult challenges. This is why figuring out what to charge can be such a sensitive issue.

Figuring out what to charge

Figuring out how much you should charge someone for your services is one of the trickier parts of this business. If you’re just starting out here, then let me tell you: this is a competitive business! If you’re going to charge a high amount, it’s almost guaranteed the prospective client will be able to find someone cheaper.

Of course, you don’t want to charge too low, either. You should check the average rate in your area. It might also be worth figuring out how you can justify the money you’ll be charging. Can you provide any additional or unique services that other sitters may not provide?

Considering the type of dog

When you’re figuring out what to charge, you should be considering the type of dog you need to be dealing with. Despite what some people may think, it’s not just a case of you being paid a flat rate to look after “a dog”. There will be more complex jobs than others. Some might even be dangerous.

You might be looking after a lazy, super low-maintenance beagle. You might be looking after a hyperactive chihuahua. Even the most popular breed of all, the Labrador retriever, will vary in temperament. If it’s aggressive, then you’re going to dealing with a big dog that’s aggressive! You have to remember the level of maintenance that each dog is going to require. You should have such information on your website.

Cash or credit?

For some sitters, it makes sense to be paid in cash. Especially when you consider the fact that you should be given money to cover the costs of what lies ahead before the client leaves. Pretty much all local stores will accept cash, but they may not take card.

Still, not everyone is comfortable taking cash. It’s definitely becoming a less popular form of payment these days. And if you’re being paid for a stay of several days, then it’s possible you’ll be paid in the triple figures, or at least approaching it. People are understandably wary about carrying around that much cash. If you look into mobile credit card processing, then you’ll be able to accept card payments using your phone. State on your website that you take card!

Don’t expect tips

Tips are so American, right? There are many workers out there who seem to make more money from tips than they do from their base salary. But it’s not quite right to ever expect tips. This goes for most industries, to be honest, even though tipping is so common. (Note that waiters are a rare exception, as they often grossly underpaid outside of tips.) But in the world of pet sitting, tips aren’t common at all!

There will, of course, be certain clients who are happy to tip you. (In which case, make sure you maintain a good relationship with them!) But for the most part, tips won’t be a part of your business. Make sure you charge enough in the first place to cover your expenses and to get profit.

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Gorgeous Pet Accessories That You Absolutely Must Have For Your Home

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It can be hard to keep your home the stylish sanctuary that it once was when you have a pet. Their toys can get everywhere. Not to mention the issue of pet hair and dander! But having a furry friend in the house is no excuse to scrimp on style. Just look at these gorgeous accessories below.

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This Cat Tree

If you have a feline friend that you’d like to treat, but traditional cat trees leave you cold. Why not spoil them with this instead. It’s designed to look like minimal and stylish and covered with fur to scratch.  Meaning they won’t be so tempted to scratch your expensive three piece suite.

This Dog Bed

If you are lucky enough to have a wonderful pup in your life, then you will, of course, want to get him a bed. But some dog beds can be pretty ugly. If they are not garish tartan, then they are often made of fleece, and while Fido loves it, it doesn’t do too much for the overall decor of your home. That is why you should consider a product this luxurious dog bed from Amara.com. Not only does it, have ornate shaped legs, but it’s constructed in a rococo style, which makes it perfect for any elegant room.

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A Dog ‘Nest.’

If your pooch is getting on a bit, then there are quite a few things you need to consider. One is to get them comprehensive pet insurance, so if the do become ill, you will be covered. The other is to try them in a fantastic orthopaedic dog bed. Look out for ones made from sheep’s wool, which will support ageing joints. But will also be quiet when your dog moves, meaning a good night’s sleep for both of you.  

This Cat Wheel

If your feline friends are more indoor than outdoor beauties then how about this fabulous cat wheel to help them get some exercise. Similar in concept to the hamster wheel. The base of this design remains static while the wheel turns under the power of the cat walking or running. This is perfect for pets that need to loose a little weight but haven’t got access to an outside area. It’s also an amazing and stylish piece of design in itself that you can have in your home.

This Ironic Scratching Post

If you are not of a cat person that a dog person then both you and your moggy will appreciate theory of this comedy scratching post. Life size and covered with sisal to wear down those sharp little claws. This is a  useful and amusing addition to your home.

This Hidden Toilet

If you spend any time of Pinterest, you will have seen those picture of clever people making hidden litter boxes for the cats. This helps contain any smell and debris and stop their litter tray being an unsightly mess in your otherwise gorgeous home. Luckily now some manufacturers have started to make them, and you can get one here.

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