Brace Yourself. School Holidays Are Coming.

Yesterday was day 1 of school holidays. I was working from home as I had taken a days leave to photograph at a birth, but it all happened so quickly that I was home by 8:30 and decided to just work from there instead of heading into the office.  Every year Carter’s school closes for the full month of December, and like every other parent out there, I shit myself. 30 days is a very, very long time for a small human to be at home. Lord, coming out of a long weekend with a kid feels like a scene from Braveheart.

This year we have had to hire full time a nanny just so she can watch him for one month of the year (most expensive salary, ever, right?). She started with us a few months ago and is absolutely fantastic, so I am feeling slightly better about leaving him alone as she’s great with him, and he simply adores her. But still, she could be Chicco the Clown made of actual ice-cream and he would still get bored after a month.

Yesterday was hectic. I take my hat, and all other items of clothing, off to stay at home moms. As for creche teachers? My god, they should be paid in Bitcoin and rainbows. Apart from trying to work and get my job done I was also trying to entertain a very busy, very active and very bored toddler. We filled his pool and swam, we cleaned the big pool we swept and mopped and scrubbed. We puzzled and read books and made dinosaurs out of playdoh. I took him to the shops to get baking ingredients and then we mixed and battered and rolled and cut out intricate Reindeer shapes and then decorated those and then we showered together because we both looked like a unicorn had sharted food colouring on us and then we cooked supper and ate fruit and fed the birds and played with the dogs and spoke about ‘Chippy’ our Elf On The Shelf and built pillow forts. And then it was only 6pm and I felt as f I had been hit.by. a.bus. What made it even harder was that his usual 2-3 hour nap just did not happen, so that felt like another eleventy hundred hours to fill.

And flip, after he went to bed and I cleaned and got back to my study and worked some more, I reflected on what a flipping fun day it was with my son. Fun, but not something I can repeat daily. Sorry, new nanny.

So now, back at the office until Christmas I’m in a slight state of anxiety about how I’m going to fill his time until 2018. I know I may sound like one of those moms who’s kid cant entertain himself, but its more just trying to keep his busy brain and body stimulated enough so that he’s tired enough t fall asleep at night. The biggest issue is that I’m not home and Kelly, our Nanny, cant really do much with him apart from in the house.

I popped over to the Crazy Store earlier and bought my body weight in arts and crafts supplies, playdoh, paper, paint and pencils. But let’s be realistic, that’s going to cover him for 2, 3 days tops.

Help, moms. What are your holiday solutions for keeping kids busy? Would love for you to share them in the comments section, and perhaps you will also be helping a fellow bewildered mom with some fun activities to do with their kids (or, for someone else to do, because, grown-ups have jobs) over the holidays.

PS – No moms were harmed (too much) on day one of school holidays.

‘Honest Dad! All I said was school holidays!’

 

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Moms Who Love Running? Thule Needs You!

If you are an active mom who loves running, then you will know all about the importance f having a good baby jogger. One brand that I have always openly lusted after is the Thule range. They have recently launched the new Thule Urban Glide and it is incredible. When I learnt I was pregnant with Number 2, I actually went into the store, just to stare at it. We have some crappy 4th hand job that has wobbly wheels and is about 30 kilograms too heavy. Not ideal when dodging city traffic.

If you too have been dying to try it out, then now is your chance. I am looking for one active mom, based in Jozi, who is free on 22 September 2017 and keen to take part in the FNB Jozi Run, using the brand new Thule glide.

All you need to do to enter is comment on the blog post and confirm that you are A) In Jozi available on 24 September and B) have a kid/baby to pop in the jogger. I can lend you mine if you want, he’s pretty awesome most of the time 😉 Winner will be announced on Monday 11 September

We will send you the jogger 2 weeks before, so you can do a few practice runs with it before the big race. We will also give you an R850 VIP package to the FNB Jozi Run as well as a gift to keep (sadly the stroller will have to be collected) – A Thule Vea Backpack valued at R2499!

About The Race
The FNB Jozi Run celebrates the sizzling city that is the beating heart and soul of South Africa … Jozi.  The 10km race is an opportunity to explore downtown Jozi on foot and celebrate this historical African city.
What the VIP entry will get you: 
This could be you. But you don’t have a Thule. 

 

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To Thai For – Win One Of Two Experiences with Enmasse Massage!

Guys, I hardly ever do the spa scene. I am truly the most awkward spa-goer there is. Firstly, I always wear the wrong things, I feel completely lame in front of the therapist and I generally lie there as stiff as a rod wondering if my feet smell from the pumps I was wearing that day. Don’t even get me started on bikini waxes – when suddenly my cellphone becomes the most important thing in the world while the therapist pulls and yanks things that not even my husband has seen. So, it was with slight hesitation that I agreed to accompany some friends for a Thai massage this week.

I’m so glad I said yes though – because Enmasse is absolutely amazing. It’s not your typical spa – all burning incense and humming dolphins. It’s beautiful; dark, stark and minimalistic – with modern music, a tea bar and extraordinarily friendly staff.

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Assuming this would be the typical spa experience – where one emerges as oiled up as a Brakpan mechanic, I arrived suitably prepared with 3 day old unwashed hair. Awkies. One remains clothed and un-oiled the entire time. (Because, according to Enmasse, it’s not that kind of party). The massage process, for want of a better word, is neat and clean, there are no standing beds with head cutouts, instead the massage areas are partitioned off by white linen walls and patrons lie on the floor on fancy feeling duvets and pillows.

My masseuse, Thandi, was lovely – she didn’t even snort when I apologized for being fat. She simply made me feel totally at ease while she bent and manipulated every part of my body. I didn’t even worry about sweaty feet. Alas, the loser in me reared her awkward head at the end of the massage when Thandi left me lying on the ground. Do I wait here I wondered? Ya, I’m sure I wait here. So waited I did, as still as a plank. After 5 minutes with no return of the Thandi I started hissing for my friends. ‘Lauren!?” “Jasmine??”. “Guys?”. Eventually I stood up, only to find all the massage areas completely empty and made up. No sign of human life remaining. I skulked into the main parlour and found them giggling (not at me, they promised) on the couches drinking herbal tea, or ‘betrayal beverages’ as I now call them.

Check out their website for their offerings. They even do pre-natal massage which is something I desperately needed when I was preggers. Sadly, asking my husband for a foot rub didn’t quite do the trick.

So, even though I may have overstayed my welcome a tad, no-one made me feel uneasy. Not even when I dropped an earring under a chair and had half the staff on hands and knees looking for it. I am not kidding when I say I’m that person.

The fabulous owners at Enmasse would now like you to experience what I went through (minus the sweaty feet and awkwardness, of course). I’m giving away two 60 minute massages valued at R420 each.

Entering is easy:

  • Like Enmasse on Facebook
  • Follow Rupert Approves
  • Leave a comment on this post. Any comment will do, but I will be swayed by bribery of ‘You’re so pretty’ and ‘Gosh you look thin today’.

The Ts and The Cs and the thank you pareese.

  • Enmasse is located on Corlett Drive, Sandton. Winners must make their way to and from the venue
  • The competition closes at 5 pm on Friday
  • The prize is not transferrable
  • Competition mechanics must be followed in order to stand in line to win
  • I was only kidding about nice comments. Kinda.

As an added bonus. Enmasse is offering R100 off a massage for every Rupert Approves reader. Simply use the top secret code word ‘Rupert Approves’ when claiming and booking.

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WIN A Four Week Baby Reflexology Class

Maternity leave. A time filled with long lie ins, serene walks in the park with your sleeping baby, and endless cuddles.

Atleast, that’s what people think.

In reality, maternity leave is the most manic, chaotic 16 weeks of ones life, with very little time to actually get anything productive done. In between all the washing, cleaning, burping, feeding, rocking, crying, eating, sleeping, farting and second-guessing, it’s extremely important to actually get out the house and do things with your new baby (and oh-boy – have I done my fair share! – more on that coming soon).

Cue: Baby classes. Oh, sweet baby classes. Possibly the greatest invention since sliced bread Magnum wine bottles. Baby classes give the new mom the perfect opportunity to explore a world beyond vomit stained leggings and bottle sterilisers. They are also the perfect place to meet fellow vomit stained legging wearing moms and discuss everything from engorged boobs to post baby sex life.

If frequent flyer miles were awarded to attendees of baby classes, then I would be the proud recipient of a round the world trip by now.

One of the courses I attended was a 4 week Baby Reflexology Class, held at The Bub Hub in Broadacres. (Disclaimer – don’t ever go to the Bub Hub unless you are mentally stable enough to receive debt counselling. You might even consider selling your baby to buy all of the things they have in store)

Hosted by Sarah Vorster (she calls herself a ‘Therapeutic Reflexologist, Pregnancy Massage Therapist & Doula’ but I like to call her a ‘Magical bearer of wide smiles and cupcakes’). The classes were awesome – Over the 4 weeks we covered aspects such as colic, calming and comforting, wellbeing, teething pain, blocked ears and ailments. Apparently, the actions work just as well on humans as they do on babies, so I chatted to Sarah about finding the pressure point to win the lottery, get a full nights sleep and fix my Telkom line. I’m still waiting for her reply. It’s probably still pending due to Telkom issues.

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Sarah was fantastic with the tiny babies, but it was how she handled us adults that really blew me away. There is no bigger baby than a new mom working on 18 minutes of sleep. She handled our farting, crying, laughing, napping and feeding offspring with the grace of Kate Middleton. Bless you Sarah for not judging me when I came in one day one after a ladies night, child in one hand and a litre of coffee in the other.

So, whilst I may not have learnt how to save the world using 5 toes and my finger, I have learnt how to squeeze a big toe in just the right way to alleviate Carters distress. And that, my friends, is priceless.

I’m so excited to be giving one of these courses away to a new mom! You can also enter on behalf of a mom who you think would love to win a 4 week course with Sarah.

The winner can pick from one of the following courses starting on the following dates:

2 September @ Simply Expecting Pilates in Illovo

18 September @ The Bub Hub in Broadacres.

All you need to do to win is tell me where on the big toe is the pressure point for turning water into wine.

I jest.

To enter:

  1. Like Boho Mamas on Facebook
  2. Follow Rupert Approves
  3. Comment on this post and tell me if you want this course for yourself, or a friend, and which class you would like to attend

Don’t forget to share this post and tag any friends who you think would like to enter!

Good Luck!

Masseuse massaging little baby girl's foot, shallow focus BR 1 BR 2   

BR 8

BR 4

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Ts and Cs

  1. This competition ends at 7 pm on Thursday 20 August 2015
  2. All entrants must check the blog post for the winner announcement
  3. Competition rules must be adhered to in order to win
  4. Prize is not redeemable
  5. Winner must be available over the selected dates
  6. Winner must make own travel arrangements

PS – You may have noticed the new Rupert Approves logo…. a massive thank you to the superbly talented (and dad-to-be) Don from Front Sky Media. If you need equally awesome design things…erm…designed, then check out his Facebook page or email him on don@frontskymedia.co.za

*UPDATE*

Congratulations to Kerry Scott on winning this prize! Please pop me an email to katenicolekearney@gmail.com so we can arrange your course 🙂

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A Tourist In My Own City

A few weeks back, to celebrate one of my best friends birthdays we got a little’ bit cultural and took part in 2 brilliant excursions – right here in good old Jozi town.

The first was a ‘Coffee Appreciation’ evening in Braamfontein. Coffee, check. Appreciation of coffee, check check. It was held at DoubleShot Coffee & Tea on Juta Street and I found the whole evening to be really fascinating. It started off with our coffee master taking us through the hisroty of coffee, the difference between coffees as well as how coffee is traded and valued. It ended off with several tasters and tests. I felt a right ponce swilling the black liquid under my nose, murmuring phrases like “ah yes, very wheaty old boy” and “The molasses is strong in this one squire”.

We left the event buzzing, and buzzed well into the night…. needless to say at 4 am we were still wide awake. Note to self kids, always appreciate coffee in the morning, your sleep patterns will thank you for it.

One of these is decaf. Clearly not the one I chose. 

Coffee Appreciation in Braamfontein

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Apparently roasted coffee beans don’t just happen. In raw form they look like pistachios, and taste like arse.


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Oh yes, they also sell tea. 

 

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Several weeks back a few of us ran the Soweto Energizer Night Race. As we pounded the pavements of Vilakazi street we fell in love with the look of a restaurant we ran by – Thrive Cafe – and decided to have a lunch there another time, as part deux of Lauren’s birthday celebrations.

The food was simple but tasty and the wine was flowing – the highlight for me was the friendliness of all the staff, and their eagerness to please. I also bought a really funky Madiba print done by a 12 year old boy – which I just love.

 

 

 

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After lunch we walked off our full bellies and explored the area – and ended up in the dodgiest shebeen called “The Shack”. Here we drank quartz and danced to local music. As you do.

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I heart Jozi.

 

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It's Our House-Baby!

In January of this year Barry and I decided that 2014 was the year we would buy a house. Not a cluster in a complex, a house house, with rambling gardens, DIY and fixer upper opportunities, a pool, a covered patio and room to run around. A few large trees were also a plus. We gave ourselves a year and our deadline was Christmas time – so we could have people round in groups, and not invite them Noah style – in groups of two’s.

We told everyone about this house, we stared lovingly at the sales brochure and I spent my days Pinterist’ing imaginary furniture into rooms that did not belong to us. We decided (despite the slight over-budget part) that we would make an offer.

To cut a long story short (cue offer being accepted, then lost, then accepted again, The current house we owned that needed selling, sold, then lost, then sold again) we were finally told the place was ours.

You know when new moms say giving birth and looking at your perfect, new infant is the most awe inspiring feeling on earth? Well guys, we gave birth (C section of course) to a one story 3 bedroom child. She’s not new, she’s not perfect, but she’s ours.

Because the folk who bought our house were moving from Durban we had to move relatively quickly – which meant a few months of occupational rent and ‘don’t touch ’till its yours‘ rules. Well today friends, the house was lodged and it is now 100% FNB’s ours.

Cue champagne and excited pig like squeals!

So here she is, our number 73 pride and joy – I cant wait to tuck in, fix ‘er up and make this into a home.

Also, if you’re an out of work landscaper or interior decorator looking for some pro bono work… you know where to come.

(These photos are all taken before we moved in, so yes, we do have furniture and food. And wine, It’s very important to stay hydrated)Image

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…And the lived in debt happily ever after!

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The Fight For Flexi Time

6.4 kms in 2 hours and 15 minutes. That was my commute to work today. I know I’m not alone. Social media platforms this morning were pulsing with angry, frustrated and irritable drivers. Everyone in Joburg seemed to be stuck on one of our main roads trying desperately to get to the office and do.some.work.

Traffic in J Town is never good – unless it’s December – when for 1 month of the year our prettier sister Cape Town gets to experience what we do for the other 11. Today was made even worse by the torrential downpour which lambasted the whole of GP. Both roads and souls made damper by the grey, wet sky and the inching of wheels, lights on lights.

The irony hit me like burst cloud, when 30 minutes and 500 metres into my drive I laughed at the absurdity of it all. Here I was – trying my damndest to not while away my time on Facebook – while surrounded by my work laptop, personal laptop, smartphone, iPad and 3G dongle. Devices, which I could boot up in seconds (OK, not my Acer, that’s just a piece of crap) and start working on, productively, within minutes. I can bet you I wasn’t the only one experiencing that sweaty tingly feeling under my arms, neck getting clammier knowing there was work to be done, emails to be read and sent and to-do lists to be actioned and crossed off. Anxiety made worse by the never ending line of cars not moving in front of me and the transition from breakfast radio DJ to mid-morning DJ. All of this in 6.4 kilometres.

Why as a society are we so stuck on the idea of an ‘8 to 5’? My never ending drive into work gave me time to reflect on why this approach has never really been adopted in South Africa:

 

  1. People assume you are busy, productive, grafting hard if you are at your desk, in your high rental Sandton office block. There’s a false illusion that if you are at the office you must.be.working. Trust  me – I’ve  sat  next to enough people who study Facebook like they’re going to write an exam on it later that day, to know that this isn’t necessarily true.
  2. People love to feel like they have been served an injustice. It starts as kids – “Moooom, Jimmy got a bigger piece of cake/food/chocolate than I did’. We are no different as grownups. Whispered conversations in office walkways – “Did you see that so-and-so waltzed in here at 9 am?!” Tsk tsks and collective anger will a mob make. I bet these haters never stopped to think about so-and-so’s reason for ‘waltzing;’ in at 9am. Kids, school drop, carpooling, late nanny, they were working until 1 am from home?
  3. Trust. I get this one. I’m a bit of a martyr when it comes to getting things done. I hate people who take their time doing things – especially when someone else is waiting on them. Perhaps it’s my desire to please, driven by guilt that makes me a bright shiny candidate for flexi time. (Pick me, pick me! I will be so paranoid that you think I’m slacking off that I will work double as hard, no, no, make that triple!). If I cock it up, miss a deadline or turn into a 9 am drinker, then by all means, haul me back to my lumber support chair in my cubicle and never give me a leash again. But until then, let me prove to you that I am grown up adult, one capable of working. from. home. (When I need to)

Flexi time is just that – it’s flexible. On mornings when you wake up to a Mother Nature shit storm, wouldn’t it be nice to know that you can grab a cup of coffee, boot up your laptop and be productive for a few hours while waiting for traffic to subside?

If it took me 2 hours and 15 minutes to get to work today and will take me possible the same time to get home. If I generously slice off an hour or so from that and call it 3 hours commuting, then multiply that by the millions of worker bees trying to get to the office in time then we, my friends, are looking at millions of hours wasted on a daily basis. Millions of Rands lost and an economy with an upside down smile.

Let’s look at trying to change our mind-set and applaud those using this time more effectively. I applaud my friend who worked in bed from 5:30am waiting for the roads to look less congealed than a Mac n Cheese dish after a family meal. I applaud that guy who pulled into the Mugg and Bean to work instead of rising to road rage. I applaud that mom who ensured her child got to school on time and safe and will more than likely work from home tonight, when her family is tucked in bed. I applaud the iPhone hot spots, the Wifi zones and the 3G dongles –because of them we are less bound to our desks, and therefore more productive.

Remember – Busy doesn’t make you productive. Productive makes you productive. Being Busy used to be ‘cool’. You know those people who are always SO BUSY. They just don’t have time for anything. Life for them is exhausting. Busy Busy Busy, Miserable miserable miserable.

Life is too short to be busy and sad. Let’s make life easier, more productive and more happy. 

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Our Johannesburg Engagement Photo Shoot

My very clever and very good friend Clair, of Fraser Photography fame, generously gave us a couples photo shoot as an engagement gift….more than 6 months ago!

We finally got round to doing it, and I cant explain how much fun we had! I picked Juta Street in Braamfontein as I love the coloured walls, the textures and the vibe, and I thought it would add character to the pics.

We had to lose all insecurities and brave posing on the streets, in restaurants and propped against walls. We even got some of the locals involved – much to their joy!

A great afternoon out – and a huge thanks to Clair for taking such fab, fun photos – and to Barry for going along with our crazy ideas.

The best part of it all? The copious amounts of wine we all drank that night. It really does help to be choms with your photog and her hubby 😉

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The Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge

‘Bloody Cyclists!’

‘Stupid Road Closures’

Argh – I HATE 94.7 for doing this to me!’

I’m pretty certain I’m not the only person around Joburg who, yearly, moans about the road closures for the 94.7 Cycle Challenge, curses the inconvenience of being trapped at home or moans about the irritation of having to plan your day around tens of thousands of shaved-legged-tight-jersey-wearing athletes taking over our roads. Right?

Well, as they saying goes – if you cant beat ’em, join ’em. So I did, and let me tell you that I have a new found respect for anyone who has ever taken part in this race.

First off, it’s crowded. This year 27000+ riders took on the challenge. Secondly, it’s bloody hot. With temperatures reaching over 30 degrees the 11km infamous Krugersdorp highway feels more like a crossfit session on the face of the sun. It’s also windy, long, exhausting, and hot. Have I mentioned hot?

I was hoping for a time of 4 hours – to fit in with my Half Iron Man training and preparation, but as luck would have it I got my first ever puncture on said Highway. Twice. That wasted us (and by us I mean Barry – I watched him fix them, while eating the potato stand out of all it’s stock) a good 45 minutes, so by the time we finished the race we clocked in at just under 5 hours. Considering the break, we still managed a ride time of 4:15 which isn’t too far off my initial goal.

So, having broken my 94.7 virginity – here’s what Ive learnt :

– You will hit a wall. Anticipate it and push through it. Mine happened around 70 kms. Just as this photo was taken. Gents – this is what ‘faking it’ looks like.

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– Eat! A lot – I burned over 3000 calories – which will have an impact if you dont refuel. I favour potatoes and bars over sweet gels – but do what works for you

– Keep hydrated. At times it feels like you’re being slow roasted – and if you dont get enough liquids you will suffer.

– Wear sunblock – otherwise you will look like this :

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– Take a moment just before Krugersdorp highway to look back and congratulate yourself on where you’ve come from. That Joburg horizon seems very far away from where you are. It’s an achievement – be proud.

– Feed off the energy of the supporters – the vibe is amazing!

– Dont (as I did) drink the day before. Or do – but keep the self induced complaints to yourself 🙂

– There are some people who ride it twice. I call them bloody lunatics. If you see them – buy them a beer or donate to their charity – they deserve it.

– Lastly, enjoy it! Make friends with riders, chat, joke and laugh. I promise it eases the pain slightly.

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PS – Thanks for the gear Biogen – Rupert approves!

 

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It’s a dogs life

Living in Joburg definitely has its limitations(money making traffic riddled city aside), and I’m constantly reminded how hard we have to work to find new and interesting places to visit. Walkhaven is one of those hidden gems that I have absolutely fallen in love with, and if you are ever looking for a beautiful spot in the countryside to bring your fur-mily, then this is it.

Rupert Gypsey and Holly – carpoolin’

Rupert and Bella braving the dam water

Situated in the infamous ‘wedding strip’ in Muldersdrift, and a mere 18kms from Fourways, Walkhaven is exactly that – a haven for you and your pet. From the moment you drive down the dusty road you are greeted by the sight of hundreds of humans and their wagging tailed friends. Walkhaven consists of 2 very large dams (sorry humans, swimming for pooches only) and vast open spaces, walkways and long grass. The perfect place for your furry kids to run free (Rule 1 at Walkhaven – no leads) and explore to their hearts content.

For the humans there is a lovely restaurant on the deck, plus several picnic benches dotted in and around the vicinity. The restaurant has delicious food, and on Sundays a massive buffet breakfast.

You would think that with so many dogs running around unleashed there would be absolute chaos, but the lack of restrictions allows the curious canines to explore, lick, sniff, swim and greet other pooches without feeling threatened or controlled.

My two dogs, Rupert and Bella, adore the place and after a few hours in the sun at Walkhaven they come home muddy, smelly, wet, but very very happy.

Need to know :

– R25 entrance fee per person. dogs are free.

– Complimentary water bowls all over Walkhaven

– Can bring your own food, drinks and picnic hampers

– Dogs tend to lose any hearing/training skills/sense of discipline when around so many other exciting friends. Be warned

– Dress casual, it’s muddy and wet and a whole lot of fun.

– Walkhaven is open Saturdays and Sundays from 7 am – 6:30 pm

 

The start of the walk

Bella en route home. Absolutely exhausted (and filthy!)

Dirty dogs!

Aunty Candy and Bella

Can we walk now ma? Huh? Can we??

 

 

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