*Furbo: The Treat Dispensing Dog Cam

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(*This post is sponsored by Furbo)

The absolute worst thing about having Bungle (besides when he wipes his butt on my lovely, white bed sheets…), is having to leave him!  He really is part of the family – he pretty much demands to be, it’s what Golden Retrievers are all about – and honestly I wouldn’t have him any other way and I’d take him everywhere with me if I could.  Sunny and I are really lucky that he’s never alone for too long, but then – y’know – sometimes, it happens.  As much as I’d like to wheel him around in the trolley while I do my weekly food shop (…he’d love that!), it just isn’t going to happen, but do you know what? He might as well be there with me because I never stop thinking about him and worrying that he’s okay at home on his own and isn’t wrecking the place while I’m out.

Enter the pet cam!  I used to think they were a bit of a gimmick until my parents got us a Vimtag camera for Christmas.  The idea is that you set it up in a room where you tend to leave your pet while you’re out, then basically link up to your phone via an app, and – via video link – it allows you check in on your pet while you’re out.  We were pretty much instant converts; we never have to worry about rushing back home, we just pop onto the app, make sure that Bungle’s behaving himself (…he’s usually just fast asleep!), and that gives us the option to stay out a little longer! So when Furbo got in touch and asked if Bungle would like to try out their pet cam, I wondered how it could possibly improve on the camera that we already had – what else could it possibly offer?

Well, in a word… TREATS!

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How it works…

One of the many things that sets Furbo aside from other dog cameras on the market is the fact that it allows you to toss treats!  Once you’ve set up the camera (which is super easy – just plug it into the wall, download the free, accompanying app and connect to it once via Bluetooth) you can check in on your pet at any time – day or night – and from anywhere in the world (provided you’re on wifi!).  You can talk to them through the video link (“Get off the sofa!”), hear them respond (“No, it’s comfy!”), record them, photograph them and even flick/swipe the screen to send a treat!  The Furbo will spit a couple of small treats out through the hole in its base, rewarding doggo for being “a very good boy” while you’re out and about doing your thing! 🙂

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The Good

Bark Alerts

As well as the ability to send treats, one of the best things about Furbo – and something that really sets it aside from other cameras – is the fact that the app will send an alert to your phone if it hears your dog barking.  Bungle only tends to bark when he’s frustrated or if someone comes to the door, so having a camera that listens out for that is awesome; if we get an alert, we know we need to check in pronto tonto.

Design

Another thing I really like about the Furbo as opposed to other cameras is its design – it actually looks good!  While our Vimtag camera looks a little bit like a 90s webcam, the Furbo is easy on the eyes by comparison.  It’s a little bit bigger, sure, (obviously it needs to be to hold a decent bank of treats), but sleeker, and with the trendy and kinda Scandi bambo lid it blends really well with the other furniture in our lounge.  The light on the front changes during different modes of operation – yellow when it’s on standby, blue when you’re using the app, and purple when it’s struggling to find a WIFI signal.

Treat Tossing

I mean, obviously, the main draw is the treat tossing function.  It’s great fun!  But what makes it even better is the fact that you can record your own message to accompany the treat toss – a “snack call” – so doggo knows he’s about to get a treat!

Super Wide Lens

One of the only things our Vimtag camera can do that Furbo can’t is the ability to move the camera via the app and follow Bungle’s movements around the room.  Furbo‘s lens is fixed, but, the good news is that it’s a wide-angle lens that has no trouble keeping an eye on the whole room. 🙂

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The Not so Good

The Noise

One of the only gripes I have about Furbo – and there aren’t many at all – is the noise the mechanism makes as it spits out a treat.  It’s a little bit noisy.  I mean, nothing to us humans, but by the way Bungle first reacted to it you’d think the sky was about to cave in!  He’s a slightly skittish dog anyway – he’s never liked sudden noises – and so it took him quite a while to get used to the sounds Furbo makes, even the snack call.  The good thing is that there are plenty of training videos and tips within the app that will help you properly introduce your pup to Furbo that’ll have them loving it in no time!

Depends on the Dog!

Here’s the stickler.  All dogs are completely different.  Some love watching the TV and others barely notice that it’s even there!  Bungle falls into the second category – he always has!  He’s never been bothered about the TV and has never reacted to Facetime or phone calls.  He’s a Golden Retriever with a very finely tuned nose; it’s part of the breed.  So while he’ll always appear behind me when I’m grating cheese on the other side of the house, he won’t react to me if I’m on a screen because he can’t smell me there.  The same applies to talking to him over the camera; he can hear me speaking to him through the Furbo, but won’t really recognise the sound as me because he can’t smell me.  So some of those features – as fantastic as they are – are a bit lost on him.  It’s just a lot of strange noise, and when we first set the camera up it tended to stress him out rather than comfort him.

I suppose what I’m getting at is that not all dogs are going to react to Furbo in the same way.  It depends on how they’re wired!  So if you’ve got a very skittish dog, then it might be worth looking at a more basic camera without all the bells and whistles.  You can always use the training videos of course, but it’s always going to be a bit of a gamble.

Aside from that, as pet cams go Furbo really is top of the pops.  Other than the treat tossing feature, the bark alerts alone are such a simple but really useful feature and it’s the best looking camera on the market by a long way. 🙂

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Big thanks to Karkalis Communications for sending over the Furbo!  Have a great week everyone! 🙂

(This is a sponsored post, you can read more about what that means right here.)

A Lingering Winter

It’s almost hard to believe it’s April; it seems like just yesterday that everyone was moaning about how January was dragging into its third millennium – and yet, here we are!  Although, the weather still doesn’t seem to have gotten the message and most days it feels a lot more like February.  Over Easter, I made the decision to step away from the computer for a bit and because Sunny had a week off we both got really excited about getting out and about together. But – surprise, surprise – it pretty much rained ALL WEEK.  In the end, we managed a trip to Costco (…fair play, their hot dogs are banging) and a run down to Penarth to take Bungle for a bath.  I mean, we also got some major adulting done around the house like washing curtains and painting skirting boards (…and also got very close to completing Assassin’s Creed Origins.  Priorities people, come on.).  But, that’s it.  We got rained off.  And although that’s kind of expected when you live in Wales, there are limits.

It’s funny.  I’ve always thought of myself as an autumn/winter kinda gal, but this year?   The endless darkness and the lingering cold and wet and not being able to get out has made me miserable.  I’ve really, honestly struggled.  It’s been hard being cooped up and old anxieties have at times really gotten the better of me.  I’ve felt tired constantly, haven’t been eating well and have found it really hard to feel inspired.  And while the weather always seems like an easy scapegoat when it comes to finding a reason for feeling blue, it’s contributed massively.

But!  Yesterday the sun came out and I actually put the air con on my car for all of ten minutes (…until my fingers froze and my eyeliner started to run down my face…), so I’ll take that!  Spring is on it’s way and there are loads of exciting things ahead, so onwards and upwards! 🙂


Anyway, it’s always great taking Bungle down to Penarth.  You might laugh about the whole bathing him in the sea thing, but actually it really works!  Salt water is great for his coat and because Penarth has a pebble beach, he doesn’t get any sand stuck in his fur.  Plus, he LOVES the sea and swimming.  Just look at his happy little face! 🙂





Once Bungle had shaken off and was rocking some beachy blonde waves, we went onto the pier and stopped in Waterloo Tea for a cuppa and a cake.  🙂

Have a great weekend everyone!  Hopefully the sunshine will finally make a comeback, eh?  🙂

 

When the Beast from the East met the Dragon from the West

The last time Cardiff saw real snow was five years ago – and I missed it! I’d just moved down to London.  We hardly ever see snow here in South Wales  – which is weird because we’re known for our year round drizzle!  But the simple fact of the matter is, it never gets cold enough!  There has to be some kind of unseasonable weather fluke before we see any of the white stuff.

Cue, the Beast from the East!  On Thursday morning – St David’s Day – our trademark Welsh drizzle turned into blizzle and it didn’t stop coming down until Saturday afternoon.  Sunny was in London and almost got stranded when Paddington Station shut down before noon because of a slippery platform (*eyeroll*).  Like I said, we see snow so rarely that all it takes is a few flakes for the whole country to throw up its hands and shout “Nope!”  I mean sure, we had to survive on soup and freezer food for a couple of days, but it was totally worth it to see Bungle playing around in the snow for the first time and trying to race every sledge down the hill.  🙂 Plus, it almost felt like we made up for those five years of no snow.  In some places the drifts were thigh-deep; we couldn’t open our back door and no one went down our road that first snow-day.




Some serious Snowball-Fight Ammo…






Did you see any snow over the weekend?  It’s all pretty much melted here now – and I’ve gotta say, I’m not sorry!  Now I’ve had my fill of Winter, I’m ready and raring for Spring to come. How ’bout you? 🙂

Happy Birthday Bungle!

My bestie turned one on Saturday, and seeing as today is the dreaded Blue Monday (the most depressing day of the year according to the media) what better way of bringing a bit of sunshine to your feeds than a bumper, image-heavy Bungle post?

It’s been such an amazing year.  Sunny and I had always wanted a dog – especially a Golden Retriever – and we couldn’t believe our luck when a Goldie not far from us had a litter last January (Friday the 13th, which should have been an omen really!).  Bungle is one of a kind.  He can be difficult and stubborn (I’m pretty sure I’m the neighbourhood laughing stock – he drags me around the block, knocks me off my feet and decides to hump me in the middle of the road on the daily), but we love him to bits.  He’s the friendliest dog in the world and makes us laugh every single day (check out his Instagram for a daily dose of his trouble making).  And because of that, we spoil him rotten. 😉

Oh come on, of course I made him a birthday cake!  It’s a dog-friendly cupcake with a cream cheese and peanut butter blob of frosting.






Have a great week everyone! ♡

Achoo! Flu-Season Survival Kit

Of all the things Sunny could have brought back from his trip to London last week – flowers, a slice of Franco Manca pizza, a copy of the Evening Standard – a simmering, snotty head cold was not exactly what I was hoping for.  As soon as he stepped through the front door and mentioned he was feeling “rough” I knew we were doomed, and two days later there might as well have been a bright red cross painted on the front door.

I love Autumn, but I can definitely do without the occasional snot-swimming sesh (so can everyone around me; I’ve been told that I’m a pain in the ass when I’m sick).  So when it does happen, I always make sure my Flu-Season Survival Kit is ready to go.

Olbas Oil

I wear this stuff like Chanel No 5 during the winter; it’s one of my favourite smells even when I’m not sick (…and I’m well aware that that’s a bit weird).  I douse the collar of my fluffiest jumper with it, sprinkle it all over my pillow and bed sheets and breathe in.  Even better I found a bottle of Olbas Oil bubble bath a few weeks ago – it was almost worth catching a cold just to give it a go! 🙂

My Bed

Ahhhh.  I spent a whole week in bed last year when I caught the flu, and despite getting a bit fed up of not being able to get up and get on with my life I WAS SO COMFY.  It’s my favourite place in the whole world.

Hot Water Bottle

Sunny bought me this mini hot water bottle for my birthday a few years ago and I honestly don’t know what I’d do without it.  The best thing is that it’s small enough to wear inside a jumper and snuggle with in bed.  My top tip is to only fill the bottle three quarters of the way full and then let out the excess air resting on top – that way it stays warmer for longer.  (Also… snuggling with a fluffy dog will also have the same effect 😉 )

Satsumas and OJ

Time to overdose on Vitamin C!  As soon as I get that fuzzy head feeling ahead of a cold, I pick up a couple of packs of satsumas and start scoffing.

Soft Tissues

There’s nothing worse than having a sore, red nose after a cold or the flu from using cheap tissues (…or loo roll…).  True, they’re a bit more expensive, but they definitely help.

Soup

It’s a cliche for a reason; chicken noodle soup is what I always reach for when I’m feeling a bit under the weather.  My brother and I LOVE the cheapo Knorr Chicken Noodle Soup sachets, which he claims are a miracle hangover cure.

Honey over Lozenges

I’m not a huge fan of throat sweets, especially the ones that numb everything.  Honey’s got anti-bacterial properties, so a spoonful – either in a mug of hot water or straight from the spoon – can help soothe a sore throat.

Caffeine-Free Medicine

It’s understandable why, but a lot of the cold and flu medication you can buy has added caffeine to keep you wired enough to power through a cold.  That’s great, but personally, I’d rather get some rest and sleep it off!  I’m always stocking up on tablets that don’t have caffeine that you can take right before going to bed.

“Stop milking it!  Get up!”

Entertainment

Box sets, books, magazines… I always make sure I’ve got enough to keep me entertained within arm’s reach, so I don’t have to keep getting up and can just focus on resting.  Back to back episodes of Friends always make me feel better.

Thankfully, I think my cold’s in retreat now, but I really hope I don’t get a follow-up round in a month!  What must-have items are in your Flu Season Survival Kit?