Vario – the new retractable lead

This morning my dog had her appointment at the groomer. As is typical of most groomers,

old flexi

old flexi

mine has many dog products for purchase. This morning, however, one display really caught my eye. If you’re a dog owner, chances are you own a flexi lead. Most dog owners today love the idea of a retractable lead. I’ve already written about how I feel the retractable lead should not be used by most dog owners, but there are a lot of us out there that are responsible while using this type of lead and we have the appropriate places to walk a dog with one.

Flexi has come out with a new line called Vario and I was thrilled by it. It’s got all these new features that dog owners love to have. The lead itself is interchangeable. You can switch

new flexi

new flexi

out to a two dog lead, an LED lead, the standard lead, or a soft bungee lead. You can also choose to have an LED light system on the actual handle and the handle has been designed so you can adjust its fit to your hand. There is also a compartment you can attach to the leash handle which can be used as poop bag storage or as a treat dispenser.

I’m quite impressed by this new system and my dog’s next grooming appointment is in November. At that time, I believe I will be buying her an early Christmas present.

© Semi Charmed Life

Clicker Training – muzzle training step 3

If you’re just joining us, I am in the process of using clicker training to get my dog to happily wear a muzzle instead of forcing it on her. We are going on a trip to Venice next week and dogs are required to wear a muzzle on public transportation. You can catch yourself up by watching step one and step two.

I start today’s session by refreshing yesterday’s session. All I do is ask her to stick her nose into the muzzle. You can see there is a hitch in the start of our session. I “clicked” Mattie for jumping onto the ottoman, but I never put a treat down, so the first 10 seconds is her slightly confused of not having a treat and trying to look for one. Once we got past that, we moved onto her sticking her nose into her muzzle.

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Clicker Training – muzzle training, step two

So here we are, step 2 in training Mattie to wear a muzzle for our trip to Venice. If you’re joining us for the first time, you can catch up with step one. Short recap as to why I am training my sweet dog to wear a muzzle, is that it is required for her to wear a muzzle while on public transportation in Venice.

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Clicker Training – muzzle training, step one

We’re going to Venice for a long weekend and our dog, Mattie is coming with us. We leave not this weekend, but the next, so I have just under two weeks to get my dog trained. For what, you ask? In certain parts of Europe, dogs are required to wear muzzles when on public transportation. It doesn’t matter if you have the sweetest dog on the planet, it is still required for your dog to wear a muzzle. Venice just happens to be one of those cities. So my job is to get my dog comfortable wearing a muzzle. Sure, I could just force her to wear one and hope she handles it while we are on public transportation, but why do that? Instead, I’d like my dog to enjoy wearing a muzzle. So I’ll be using positive reinforcement training to get her to accept wearing a muzzle.

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semi charmed life?

I’ve been a blogger for over 10 years. Obviously, not always on the same blog. Personal blogs, come and go as the chapters in our lives start and end. I’ve had work blogs that only had to do with writing about my job. I’ve had personal diaries. I’ve had relationship blogs. All have come and gone with the fluctuations in my life.

When I started this particular blog, it was at a time when I needed to focus on more positive things. I was closing a chapter in my life and needed to focus on things that brought me happiness. This blog was intended to highlight the somewhat charmed life I lead. It was intended to journal my travels and share my thoughts on animals, since that is my career and passion.

I look at my blog today and it’s not exactly doing that. There has been some surprising additions, in that I’ve been documenting my cooking adventures since I’ve changed from being unable to cook, to tackling new and exciting recipes. There was a month where I took on an A to Z Challenge and did write quite about animals and animal behavior management.

Behind the scenes, I’ve had lots of traveling and have visited some fantastic places. Behind the scenes, I have also been miserable. The last few weeks have been completely dreadful, soul sucking and dark. Sure, I have somewhat of a charmed life. I live in the middle of Europe, I’m a housewife with no children, I get to travel from time to time, and I get to enjoy nature daily with my dog. Not everything is cupcakes and rainbows though.

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Why Vidis Kochtüte works

VK2I think it’s important to start by saying that I have not been asked to write this post or any of my previous or future posts in regards to Vidis Kochtüte. I have not been paid by VK or been giving anything free in response to writing these posts. I write about my experiences with Vidis Kochtüte because I genuinely enjoy the service they provide.

Last week, there was a mishap with their computer system and I consequently missed out on receiving a food delivery for the week. However, VK was kind enough to send me the recipes so that I could go ahead and buy the ingredients myself and cook the meals for the week.

In a way, this gave me the freedom to pick and choose what I wanted to cook and in fact, I opted not to cook one of the meals, mostly because I have made it before and was ok with not eating it again. Some have said that they would prefer the Vidis Kochtüte service work in this way. They pay a small fee to receive the recipes and do the shopping themselves. I’m here to say, don’t mess up a good thing.

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week 13 with Vidis Kochtüte

This week starts the calorie conscious recipes that Vidis Kochtüte now offers. All their recipes are now 550 calories or under per serving. That is a beautiful thing!

Pork schnitzel with balsamic tomatoes and quinoa

If this recipe sounds familiar, it is. I have made this before in week 5 of my Vidis Kochtüte adventures. Having a second go at it means I made improvements in my cooking techniques. It came out even better than the first time. A very delicious meal.


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week 12 with Vidis Kochtüte

Rosemary chicken with rice and streamed carrots

If this dish looks familiar, it should. You may recall I first made this dish, my very first week of joining the Vidis Kochtüte service. Practice does make perfect! I think this dish came out even better than before. This was my husband’s first time trying this dish, since the previous time I made it, he was out of town. Last time, I used a rice cooker to make my rice, but this time I followed the recipe and made the rice on the stove. Everything came out delicious.


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week 11 with Vidis Kochtüte

This week was filled with even more deliciousness than last week! They’re on a roll!

Pigs in a blanket with seasonal side salad

Who doesn’t like an american classic, made at a grander scale? Much different than the american version made as a cocktail appetizer, this was a full meal. I made it for lunch too. The puff pastry was lined with zucchini, cheese and basil, before I rolled my sausages with it. It was a lot easier to make than I anticipated and made for a very filling lunch.


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week 10 with Vidis Kochtüte

This was a delicious week! I enjoyed all the recipes, immensely.

Feta puff pastry tarts with a pea side salad

I was really pleased with the way this one came out. Sure, mine came out darker than what was pictured, but it wasn’t burned. Just crispy. The flavors were delicious. I love puff pastry and I love feta cheese. I think this would make a great appetizer for a dinner party. Of course, I would make them in much smaller sizes.


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