Day Trip from Loano to Portofino

Portofino: Portus Delphini/ Port of the dolphin (Wikipedia)

Portofino is a good one and half hours drive from Loano which is why we chose to stay in Loano. We spent the day walking around the tiny little fishing harbour, admiring the super yachts that were anchored close by. It’s a favoured weekend trip by people who own yachts due to its accessibility. The cobbled square is adorned with boutiques (not one price tag in sight) and restaurants, where the rich and famous have stopped by to visit in the past and continue to do so. Some of the restaurants have photos displayed of the actors, singers and royalty that have dined at their tables. The architecture is typical of the Italian Riviera with lots of colourful pastel buildings and small windy streets. Portofino lies south-east of Genoa and is a favoured spot for the rich and famous to anchor their yachts and dine at one of the many restaurants there.


This is a well visited restaurant by rich and famous people who visit Portofino.

Parking is a little bit of an issue in Portofino but my husband managed to find a parking space in a multi storey parking lot. Be warned it was a very tight squeeze and expensive! We were pleased to have found a space so close to the hub of the little village. We walked through the square and made the ascend to Castello Brown. As a family we decided to walk to the very top of the path and enjoy the view from the top. There is a little cafe at the top for refreshments, if my memory serves me well. The path is easy to walk but was quite steep at times. Once we’d finished taking our photos and had enjoyed the view it was time to make the descend towards the square again.

View from the top by the cafe.
I love this beautiful landscape.
The descent back to Portofino square.

My husband and I decided we’d like to visit the exhibition in Castello Brown. It was full of photographs, of famous people like Grace Kelly, John Wayne and Laurel and Hardy. There was a small entry fee of five euros per person but we considered it worth while. It is open for weddings, conventions and also holds art exhibitions. From the beautiful garden you have a fantastic view over the harbour which is ideal for taking stunning photographs of the harbour from above. Castello Brown is architecturally beautiful and the weddings they hold there must be breathtaking.



Unfortunately dogs are not allowed in the castle and Lotta waited outside for half an hour with my two sons. After a quick visit  we walked back down to the square where we decided to enjoy an ice-cream each and a drink. We got a little bit of a shock when the bill came and paid as much as if we would have eaten out in the evening, just for a few ice-creams and drinks!

The path near to the entrance of Castello Brown.
Here you can see a stage they were building for a festival that was due to take place.
One of the beautiful cobbled walk ways back down to the square.
A view of Castello Brown from the square.
Portofino harbour where we stopped for drinks and ice-creams.
The walk back to the car park.

It’s advisable to wear sensible shoes when visiting Portofino because of the cobble stoned streets. I also don’t remember there being very many grassy spots for dogs to relieve themselves. We had a lovely relaxed visit albeit quite short. I can fully recommend it and would definitely return. Have you ever been to Portofino or the Italian Riviera? Did you take your dog with you? I’d love to hear your experiences and your impressions from this beautiful little fishing village.

Here is a link to another beautiful travel blog I found with so many destinations:

Love Travelling Blog

Here you’ll find a link to a German blog about travelling with a dog:

Nalas Crew


Josie & Lotta 

Furbo Dog Camera: Do you have problems leaving your dog at home alone?



If the answer is yes, then this could be an invaluable product for you! I was gifted this product in exchange for my honest opinion after thoroughly testing it out with Lotta. The Furbo is designed to keep owners and dogs connected even when they have to leave their dog alone for a short amount of time. My family and I have always had the problem of having to eat breakfast separately whilst staying in a hotel. As one of my blog readers you will know that we travel to England by car at least once a year. We normally stop in France on the way. This is when we have problems leaving Lotta in the hotel room, most hotels don’t allow dogs in the dining area. Lotta tends to get stressed when left alone in an unfamiliar place which can mean she resorts to destructive behaviour, so we would never leave her alone in a hotel room, normally. With the Furbo all of our problems would be solved, well at least one of them.


So what’s in the box?

Inside the box is the Furbo Dog Camera with a natural bamboo wooden lid. It comes with a quick start guide, two meters of USB cable and a power adapter. I really love that it comes with an adapter which we can also use in England and don’t need a special adapter for.


What functions does the Furbo have?

The Furbo has a high quality HD camera with a 160° wide angled lens. It has an infrared LED light for night vision, it also features a high quality built-in speaker. At the top of the Furbo is a removable wooden lid where you place the treats inside the machine. There is enough space for around one hundred (round app. 1cm in diameter) treats inside the machine. Dog owners stay connected to their dogs at home by talking to them and rewarding them with treats that can be launched from the Furbo. The camera has a warning function when the dog barks, this can be activated in the settings of the Furbo app. The dog owner receives a push up message on their smartphone should their dog start barking. The neighbours will be very grateful for this function!

If you have any questions regarding the camera, you can click on the question mark in the top right hand corner of the screen.

How does this work?

The Furbo works together with the Furbo app on your smartphone. This can be downloaded for free and is available for ios-, android devices and the Apple-Watch. It’s really easy to download and takes no time at all. Once downloaded, the app will advise you to update to the latest version.  The Furbo should ideally be placed on a hard, raised surface with a very good WiFi connection, where the dog can see it. Once the Furbo is plugged in and connected to the app, the yellow light will turn to blue, these colours have been used as they are recognisable to dogs.

Under the Furbo are self adhesive stickers that can be stuck to hard surfaces, should you have a young dog who is likely to knock the camera over.

Images below are of an android smartphone screen:

Adding the details of your dog to the profile, really adds a personal touch when you open the app.

Once connected to the smartphone, the user will see a live stream video of the room they have installed the camera. On the mobile screen, several functions are displayed which the user only has to touch with their finger to implement them. The middle one is a round treat shape which is swiped up with the finger to throw a treat out of the camera. Before the treat is released it gives out a high-pitched signal (this is customisable) to get the dog’s attention. On the right hand side of the screen, a microphone can be seen, if clicked the dog owner can talk to their dog to reassure it and reward their fur baby with a treat. There are also buttons to record a video or take a photo using the camera. To alter any of the settings, users can click on the three dots at the top right hand corner of the screen.


How do I introduce this to my dog?

It’s recommended that your dog is introduced slowly to the Furbo, as not to frighten it. For young dogs who are not used to being left alone this will take some time to train and should be done at first over a short period of time. I have been training Lotta whilst sitting with her in the same room. I showed her where I put the treats and let her sniff the device. I then told her to sit and get ready for a treat while pointing at the camera. It’s important never to shoot a treat out of the device if the dog is standing too close to it! Then I moved out of the room out of sight from Lotta and spoke to her via the microphone on the app. She really wasn’t sure about this but nevertheless accepted the treat she was given and also obeyed the command I had given her before the treat was released. On Saturday night we went to see my eldest son play in his orchestra, during the interval I was able to connect to the Furbo and communicate to Lotta. I was amazed how quickly it connected and how well it functioned. In the settings of the app is a helpful training video to you get started.

Where can I purchase a Furbo?

The camera can be purchased on the Furbo website.

How can it be improved?

I love the over all sleek design of the Furbo and wouldn’t change anything in its appearance. I love all the functions and the app is very easy to use and install. The only thing I would like to see is maybe a travel version. Because Lotta travels in a dog box in the boot of the car, we are very limited for space. A smaller version of this would make it easier for us to transport. It’s a very well thought out design and definitely worth every penny.

The Furbo will make our lives much easier and we will be more relaxed whilst out of the house knowing that we are still connected to Lotta where ever we are. Leaving Lotta for a short while on her own should, from now on be no problem at all!


Josie & Lotta

Kabang Review. The Mary Poppins’ bag for dog owners. What sets it aside from all the rest?


I have been slightly distracted with Instagram and have built up quite a community with other dog owners. Once I’d reached a certain amount of followers (I can’t remember how many!) I decided to launch a giveaway as a way of saying thank you to all those that follow our profile. This is how I came into contact with Any and her KABANG®. At first she offered to sponsor a micro-fibre cloth which you can attach to the KABANG® system to take with you on trips. It comes in handy for wiping hands or paws before you get back into the car or even drying your dog, as it is so soft and has great absorbancy. We had contact over the phone and through Instagram and we watched our followers grow. The giveaway was a great success and because a lot of small companies had agreed to collaborate with me, it meant I had several prizes to give away. At some point Any offered to gift me a KABANG® in agreement that I included it in a post on Instagram, a blog post and maybe even a video on YouTube. So here we are! Thank you Any!


What’s the main function of the KABANG®?

I have been using the KABANG® for around three months now and it has been everywhere with us. It hangs in my hallway with the coats and when I take Lotta out, I don’t have to search for anything anymore, I just swing the KABANG® over my shoulder. What I really love about it, is that at the back of the bag is a separate compartment where there’s space for a full dog waste bag, which means it frees up your hands and you don’t have to walk along swinging a stinky bag until you find the next dog waste bin. In the summer I don’t have any pockets to put the items I need on a dog walk, so this is going to be great in summer. In the winter it means I don’t have to stuff my pockets full of treats and dog waste bags.


Where does the name KABANG® come from?

The name comes from Korean which means a bag.

What do I have in the bag?

I usually have the pocket for my smart phone attached to the front belt part and the bag that hangs down at my side. The bag contains waste disposal dog bags and some treats. When Lotta is off the lead I store the lead in the front net compartment so that I have my hands free but there is so much room for so much more.


What do you get when you buy a KABANG®?

The KABANG® is an adjustable belt system with an attachable bag which can also be used separately. The KABANG® Classic comes with a pocket which can be fitted to the belt and the bag. The KABANG® Complete comes with a special water bottle holder which is best fitted at the back of the belt and two pockets and the bag. The pockets are attached to the belt by slipping them through the belt then attaching the clasp to the metal hoops. This means they stay securely in place and don’t swing from side to side. Inside all the pockets and the main bag are metal hoops so that you can attach keys or dog whistles to them. The bag is also available separately for those of you just interested in a treat bag and also the pocket for the used dog waste bag.



Are there any add ons?

As I mentioned earlier you can buy a micro-fibre cloth that can be attached with a bone shaped Munkee® carabiner to the KABANG®. This cloth is so soft and absorbent, I use it to wipe Lotta’s paws before she gets back into the car but it has other uses such as, drying off a wet dog or wiping hands clean of residue from the dog treats. Just recently the option to have the cloth personalised by embroidering the name of your dog on it has been added. You can also buy extra pockets to attach to the KABANG®.


Is this made in China?

The answer to this is, no, it definitely isn’t! The materials are all sourced in Germany and everything is carefully sewn together by a local seamstress in Allgäu. The belt system is waterproof and very robust while also being very light weight.

Why do I need a KABANG®?

I had been looking for something similar to this system for a long time and the other bags just didn’t match my expectations. I was so glad to find the KABANG® and it makes going for walks so much more relaxed and I never forget anything. Safety has also been thought of and reflectors have been sewn into the belt, so that when visibility is poor, I can clearly be seen by other people but also car drivers. If you want to be well prepared for your dog walks without having to carry a rucksack and stuffing your pockets full of treats and toys, you really need a KABANG®!

Where can I buy a KABANG®?

There is a KABANG® for every budget making it affordable for everyone. You can purchase one on the website shop here:

Until July there is a discount code ‘lottaskabang’ which saves you 10% using this link:


*Affiliate Link* It’s also available in different variations on Amazon here:

KABANG® Classic

KABANG® Komplett


Some local pet stores are stocking them too,  ‘Hund Katze Maus Der Laden’ in Grafing near Munich: Rotterstrasse 12, 85567 Grafing. Tel. 08092 8684460

Can the KABANG® be improved?

Any has already made huge improvements and values genuine feed back of how she can improve the system. It used to be a velcro system that attached the pockets to the belt. It’s now a loop and clasp system which makes it very secure. The only velcro now is on the flap of the pockets so they can be closed. It would be helpful to have a separate compartment in the main bag to store a purse, so that I wouldn’t need a handbag when we are travelling. For me it’s also a little too long in the summer without a jacket, maybe there should be an option for smaller carabiners to attach the bag to the belt system? I love the colours red and black but maybe some other customers would like to see it come in different colours. To stay up to date with KABANG® follow them on Instagram or visit their website, as mentioned above.


I have never found a bag quite like it and I have looked everywhere for one that suited my needs. The other bags I’ve found, haven’t had space for my smart phone and, as far as I know, there isn’t a bag with a separate compartment for a full dog waste disposable bag. It really is the Mary Poppins’ bag of all dog bags!

Eva from @undercover.labrador-ein Huskyblog, has also written a detailed blog post about the KABANG® in German:




Josie & Lotta 


Weekly photo challenge: Out of this world

lotta&blossomI don’t know what it is about spring this year but the blossoms on the trees are ‘Out of this world’. Is it because it has been a long drawn out winter or is it just the sheer longing for some colour in the world? Either way, I am really enjoying the burst of vibrant colours at the moment and hope it lasts for a while. Which season do you have at the moment, some of our followers on Instagram are just going into Autumn and Winter?


Weekly Photo Challenge:

Out of this world




Day Trip from Loano to Monaco

When we were planning our trip to Italy, I really wanted to visit some of the famous and beautiful, touristy towns of the Italian Riviera. We chose to stay in Loano because it was in between two of the towns/countries I wanted to visit. I had always wanted to visit Monaco with its extravagant style and all the millionaire yachts and Portofino was to be on the list too. I first heard of Portifino when Wayne Rooney married there and I fell in love with the photos I had seen. First I will take you on a fascinating journey to Monaco.


The journey there was very easy, although the satellite navigation system didn’t seem to work too well near Monaco. Once we drove off the motorway the ascending road became narrower and very curvy. There are several viewing places to stop and take in the breathtaking scenery. Once we had driven up to the top of the road to Monaco, we passed border control, where several men in uniform stood by the side of the road. I was amazed at how small Monaco was, considering the amount of money it has. I had imagined it to be bigger. We parked in a multi storey car park and walked into the centre of Monaco. It was quite breathtaking, this small sovereign country set in a bay with cliffs as its backdrop. Unfortunately the weather took a turn for the worse and we decided to purchase a couple of umbrellas on the way to Monaco castle, to see the changing of the guards.



Being so compact, Monaco is very easy to navigate and we had no problems finding the places we wanted to visit. My mother in law said the changing of the guard at The Prince’s Palace was a must see. To get to the palace we walked up a long, steep narrow pathway right to the top. It was such a fantastic view of Monaco, it was well worth the walk up to the top. Lotta loved the ascent with plenty of new smells and a few places to stop and relieve herself. She wasn’t however very pleased to see all the people also waiting to watch the changing of the guard. We waited patiently in the ‘Place de Palais’ with anticipation admiring the view of the yachts below and the stationary canons that once guarded the palace. At five minutes to twelve the action started. If you have seen the changing guard of Buckingham palace, this is of no comparison, but never the less a must see if you are visiting the country.

Changing of the guards at the Prince’s palace Monaco.

Look at those beautiful windows!

Monaco castle from a different perspective.

The palace village is very quaint with its own narrow pedestrianized streets and touristy shops and cafes. The architecture is beautiful with vibrant colours, I particularly liked the mirrored windows of some of the palace buildings in the courtyard. Lotta seemed to enjoy the spectacular views from the top as well. From here we walked through the quaint little streets and made our way down to the main city. We walked through the harbour to see the spectacular yachts on show. I knew the yachts were big but some of them were so ridiculously huge, they had another smaller yacht inside them! I was in awe of what I saw but at the same time quite sickened to see such absurd riches when we have so much poverty and hunger in the world.

Lotta enjoying the view of the harbour from the Prince’s Palace village.

The descent to the harbour.

Monte Carlo harbour as seen from the castle.

Millionaire’s yachts.

Next on the agenda was the famous ‘Casino Monte Carlo’ that once featured in the 1995 James Bond movie ‘Golden Eye’ with Pierce Brosnan. We made our way through the harbour up to the Casino, walking through the tunnel where the formula 1 drivers have a chance to over take and up the steep windy hill to the casino. Walking the track you can fully appreciate the skill of the formula 1 drivers who have to navigate their way through a pretty treacherous track. Once there you are greeted with the most expensive and extravagant cars imaginable from Porsches to Mercedes to Lamborghinis, you can see them all parked in and around the casino. In the centre is a huge mirror centered in a park with a grassy area. Here you can find a hotel and restaurants and cafes but be sure to take enough money with you or your credit card!

Casino Monte-Carlo.

It was quite hot outside the casino!

The gardens in front of the casino. No dogs allowed unfortunately!

We had a fantastic day out, luckily we chose a day where it was a little bit cooler otherwise I think it would have been too hot for Lotta. Dogs are very welcome in Monaco although some of the gardens, dogs are prohibited. Would I go back? At the time I said no but I may be tempted back again someday and visit the casino and some of the museums. If I won the lottery I would definitely visit with my yacht!


Josie & Lotta







Weekly photo challenge: Beloved

This week’s photo challenge is Beloved and of course this is a very fitting theme for my blog about our rescue dog Lotta, who came into our lives four and half years ago. I can’t believe how the time has flown by. She has changed our family life in so many positive ways and even my husband is besotted with her. We have been very busy on Instagram and if you are also on there please pass by our profile and say hi!




Take A Walk On the Wildside


[Taken with a Pentax sf10 on auto] #nofilter

I really enjoy my walks with Lotta. A lot of people see it as a chore to be done, I see it as our time to bond and get out in the fresh air to enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of nature. On several occasions I wish I’d had a camera with me, like the day when I spotted an owl resting on the ground or the time when we went for a walk in the woods and looked up to see a stag staring straight back at me. Lotta had no clue of his presence. The only encounter I really dread is that of a wild boar. I really wouldn’t want to experience that but it may well happen as they live in our woods.


[Taken with a Motorola G4 HDR]

Apart from the health benefits of getting some exercise, I also find walking the dog a great stress relief. It frees up your thoughts and lets your mind wander. This is where creativity flourishes, many ideas have come to me on a walk, my husband has said the same.

Lotta loves her walks as most dogs do. Our everyday routes have limited places where I can safely let her off the lead. We’re surrounded by busy roads and rail lines. I lost her once in a woody area. I thought it was safe to let her roam free as we were on a track and I could see for miles. Little did I know there was a hare hiding in the Mais field, as most people probably know dogs have an amazing sense of smell, she caught whiff of his scent and before I could react in time she was off. Hurling through the Mais field up towards the wooded area, it was then I saw the hare running for its life. She left me standing there for ten minutes, occasionally checking to see if I was still there, whistling until I was blue in the face. My main concern was the busy main road close by, I was worried she would get too close to comfort. All’s well that ends well, she did finally come back to me. I’ve heard of people losing their dogs for an hour!! As you can imagine I am very careful where I let her off the lead now.

Lotta enjoying the view on one of our favourite walks.003_4008_9

[Pentax sf10 auto] #nofilter

I’m trying to decide which camera to buy. Any advice would be gratefully received. I don’t want anything too simple as I would love to learn more about photography. It needs to be an all rounder ie. Motion pictures of the dog but also landscape. It shouldn’t be too bulky either as it will accompany me on our adventures. TIA


[Pentax sf10 Auto]


The Day The Music Died

Last year (2016) wasn’t one of our best years, it was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster to say the very least. It began like every year with a celebration into the new year. New year’s Eve we usually celebrate with my sister-in-law’s family, taking it in turns to celebrate at each other’s houses, 2016 was our turn. The tradition is a mexican meal, fajitas, chilli, tortillas, guacamole etc. followed by some kind of dessert, if we’re not too full. This particular year we decided we had enough room for a chocolate fondue with fruit, yum!

We normally try and walk off some of the calories, which is great for Lotta as she gets to walk with a big pack of hers. Exercising before the fireworks helps Lotta cope a little better with the stress. I have to keep her on the lead at all times because of the danger of early fireworks. I have grown to hate fireworks, with the exception of silent ones. I was never particularly keen on them even as a child. I seem to remember hiding behind my parents and holding my ears because of the loud bangs. So I have every sympathy for the animals who have no understanding of what the hell is actually going on.

I was horrified the first time I celebrated New Year (Silvester) in Germany, Munich to be precise. At the stroke of midnight everyone assembles in the street and fires his own purchased fireworks willy nilly, under the influence of alcohol most of the time, terrifying!

February arrived and my mum and step-dad came to visit. Mum came over to watch the local carnival which takes place on Shrove Tuesday (Faschings Dienstag). Unfortunately the morning of the carnival there was a serious train collision (Meridian) and the event had to be cancelled due to local people being involved in the accident or in the recovery of it.

The weather wasn’t great in February, very cold and icy, so we decided to go on a day trip to the salt mine in Berchtesgaden which is about a two hour drive away from us. As we were driving, a snow storm hit us and slowed our journey quite considerably. Lotta unfortunately wasn’t allowed to come with us, so she stayed behind with my eldest son, who had already been to the mine on a school trip. It was a fantastic family day out, we still talk about it now.



To be continued…………….