Monday 29 August 2016

A Week Without Tea

A week with out tea , hugs teapot and whispers " I love you "

I so love my tea and I was gutted not to have taken my English tea with me ! My tea is my explorers mark to declare this is mine where I stand or sit. They all say an English mans home is his castle but I say 

" A cup of tea is my own island "

I tried Spanish tea but alas it was the taste of doom , really it was like drinking rainwater with a side accent colour of rust !

My tea and I are estastic to be reunited in fact the love has only grown stronger .

A week without wifi and I'm ( shrugs shoulders ) ambiguous .

I've made 2 cups of tea my husband comes into the kitchen ....

And promptly whispers "I love you "

 to the cat !

It's ok I have already declared my love for a cup of tea ...


Sunday 28 August 2016

Qualities and Traits I wish my cats had !

I love cats.

I love nothing better than tickling my cats tummy lovingly and expecting a purr in return only to be engaged in a vice like grip which I struggle to get out of , I cautiously pull back my hand and retreat to the house. I join my husband on the sofa and Jack just jumps up expecting his sweeties ( cat treats ) and with my husband intently watching more than likely some sport the cat lovingly nips his toes as he feels he is being ignored.

Now it's not only Jack that joins in with this nipping of the toes, we have found that Rollie has joined in with this annoying habit to ! they both have no problem high fiving my husband once they've got his attention and he's holding the treats. So I wish that Jack and Rollie had a quality of patience and not just expect things when they want , I say this as both of this have been doing a circuit of the house all day , which involves them going out the front door and out the cat flap and repeat x lots ! As owners we have probably made a rod for our own backs but I tell myself the exercise of having to keep getting up to open the door for the cats is good for me !

My sister in law has just embarked the kitten journey again with the lovely Lucy , we've all met Lucy she's a whirlwind bundle of fluffiness. I am definitely going to recommend that my sister in law watches this very fun and informative videos from Whiskers ! The main focus of the channel is to educate owners on how to care for their kittens and I love the mock university setting of it all .

My sister in laws lovely new kitten Lucy ( who is very playful! )

Rollies reaction when you ask him to do something !

Jack in play mode !

I think that my son would wish that jack and Rollie had a more playful trait  , Rollie does invite you to tickle his tummy but then runs away as you approach! Rollie can fit in with any environment he is the master at adapting when he wants!

Rollie thinking about being more patient !

While Jack will only play with a ball etc if it is within a paws radius ! in a nutshell he gets us to do all the work ! a very cushy life. Even though I have had cats since I was a child, I am constantly learning about a cats needs especially as my 2 are getting older Rollie is 7 and Jack is 8 and a website such a Whiskers is useful to me to help keep them happy & healthy.

Cat ownership is a joy , I wish these videos had been around when Rollie and Jack were innocent kittens shimming up my legs with theirs claws!

I certainly would have sent them to Kitten Kollege !

Rollie as a kitten !

I think Rollie will have the last laugh don't you !

“This post is a collaboration with WHISKAS®, but all thoughts are my own. Check out their website for more information on their cat food and their YouTube channel for fantastic Kitten Kollege videos.”  

Thursday 25 August 2016

Wicked Uncle Teenage Present Review

Wicked Uncle approached me and asked if I would like to try out a gift of up to £40 from their website. I said yes please especially as I'm stumped for ideas for my sons upcoming 18th birthday. You 'd be forgiven for thinking there is nothing suitable at all for an 18 year old or older but I assure you there is .

We are into the time of independence with my son going to university next year and announcing he'd like to holiday with his friends . How exactly he'll holiday with no job is another matter ( all study at the moment )  but he's ever the resourceful young chap ! With that in mind I thought a scratch off map would we ideal , we love travelling as a family so with his independent travel plans in mind he'll love this !

Original version of the high quality wall map with a scratchable surface. 
Scratch off the foil layer to show all the places you have visited to reveal a whole new world below, featuring vibrant colour and geographical detail. Making a great addition to any wall, measuring 82cm x 58cm, the result is a totally unique and personalised world map just for you. Comes packaged in a smart poster tube - perfect for the intrepid traveller."
This is priced at £18.95
In a similar vain to the search of map  I thought the adventure journal would be ideal ! perhaps he will take us parents off on his travels  ? I think that will probably be a no !

"A fun 64 page journal featuring ‘must do’ experiences from around the world. 

Packed full of exciting ideas and experiences that are out of the ordinary, from a horseback safari in Kenya, a steak dinner in Buenos Aires, wreck diving in Egypt to swimming in the Great Barrier Reef. This great pack has 8 scratchable maps to scratch off each experience if you are lucky enough to do it, in categories of nature, culture, activity and cuisine. With over 300 ideas to inspire and excite, this is the ultimate fun to-do list - discover the explorer in you!"

Priced at £16.95 ps he will be funding these adventures himself and not applying to the bank of Mum and Dad !
And it's not your birthday unless you have birthday chocolates so I choose Chocolate Fish and Chips , y husband literally though it was chocolate covered Fish and Chips ( bless him ) but in this day and age you never know do you !

What it actually is Belgian chocolate shapes of Fish and Chips !

" A fun trio of chocolate that's a unique take on the classic seaside fish and chips. 
Each yummy box contains a loveable detailed chocolate fish, a tasty ampersand and a perfectly-sized portion of fries. Handmade by the magical elves at Choc on Choc in Somerset, a brilliant idea. The traditional British take away has just got even better!"

Priced at £6.95 and isn't lucky that there is 3 pieces of chocolate and we are a family of 3 .

Delivery is very prompt and there is even an option ( payable ) to have your presents wrapped . I would not hesitate to use Wicked Uncle again for future presents for all of my family !

Thursday 18 August 2016

Unluckiest Pet Names


Have you ever thought if your pets name is lucky or not ?

Did you know that dogs called Charlie are the unluckiest in the UK.

And if you are a feline called Oscar be sure to count your 9 nine lives !

Female pets are more lucky than the their male counter parts.

Calamitous canines called Charlie are more likely to be the victim of pet insurance claims according to data from the Co-op Insurance, and if you’re after a lucky cat be sure to never name it Oscar. 

Data from Co-op insurance shows that if you own a dog prone to calamity called Charlie then they have an unlucky dog name , whilst Oscar is the unluckiest name for a our beloved cats.

Co-op asked me if any of our cats had an interesting story behind their names

Rollie my own cat is actually Rollie the 2nd as the first Rollie was sadly run over , you would have thought perhaps to have named him nothing else but the naming of the pet was down at the time to a 10 year old. This was coming from the same child when asked once in a shoe shop what the name of his Teddy bear was my toddler son firmly and honestly replied :

"Teddy of course "

You can not argue with that sort of practicality !

And Jack the cat is actually named after Jack Black the actor and comedian though we call him Jack in a box as he really does love a box ( Rollie doesn't like boxes , how weird is that for a cat ?)

Did you know that the  average insurance bill for dogs amounting to £510 and cats £475**, the need for owners to protect their animals from illness and accidents has never been greater.

When thinking of a name for your pet , dog owner as mentioned might wan to steer lear of naming their dogs Charlie Alfie and Bella, whilst cats called Oscar ,George and Charlie are harbingers of bad luck. 

Unluckiest Pet Names
Top 10 Dog
Top 10 Cat


My friend has a Border Collie called Molly who suffers from an ongoing hip placement and regularly goes to the vets for hydrotherapy which is really helping Molly, the cost of this is met by the pet insurance and Molly goes once a month for her treatment and thoroughly enjoys it. There has been some recent talk of how dogs can benefit from cbd oil but that really depends on the vet's advice.

Usually known for their dexterity and agility, it seems unlucky cats called Oscar really do need their nine lives, with the most claimed for condition being road traffic accidents, followed by gastro-intestinal disorders, with mouth and oral problems also being common. Owners of domestic shorthairs are more likely to claim than any other cats.

Digestive system disorders are the most claimed for illness for dogs named Charlie,  followed by skin conditions and neurological disorders, such as seizures, head tilt, tremors or blindness, with crossbreed owners being the most likely to make a claim. 

Whatever you name your pet , or even your children come to think of it is handy to have a pet insurance policy in place to cover these eventualities as this can be the best way to protect them and avoid vet's bills or ongoing treatments.

Case study: Charlie the English setter cross (Crossbreed)

Unfortunately for Charlie, 12, he is somewhat an ill-fated dog who lives up to his unlucky name Charlie who was born in Italy, lives with his owners Chiara Carella and Antony Adie in London. Their English setter cross has had its fair share of bad luck over the years, starting with health issues at the age of 7, when he was diagnosed with Leishmaniasis. Since then Charlie has suffered from a sensitive tummy, urinary disorder, and very recently a heart condition. He was also bitten once.
Charlie is a regular at the vets for check-ups and is currently on medication for his conditions, always ready to take his tablets, sitting next to Chiara wagging his tail waiting. 
Chiara says: “He is a fussy eater. I make him very expensive organic chicken which costs £20 kg, and very often he stares at his food for hours without eating it, driving me crazy. Then we go to the park and he eats all kind of rubbish. I need to be very careful, as he loves rotten meat and bones which can be very dangerous.

“It took me some time to convince my husband to bring Charlie over from Italy, however our lives have completely changed having him with us. Despite all his health problems I wouldn’t change him for the world, he makes our days lighter and funnier, and the expressions he makes fills our days with joy.”
Story sourced from: co-op insurance 

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Exam Hall Derbyshire Delight

You'll probably all know the story of the plague village that is Eyam Hall , it's a beautiful place that experienced real tragedy in the time of the plague. If you know don't about the history here is the potted history version of it all , in 1665 some foes infested cloth was delivered from London to a tailor in the quaint village of Eyam.

Within a week the tailors assistant was dead; others in the household soon followed.

With the village turning to the clergy for guidance, Reverend William Mompesson and Puritan Minister Thomas Stanley ; amongst the village was the village ended in to a self imposed quarantine. During 14 months no one left or entered the village 

To get produce and items into the village during the time of the Black Death they left money in stones just outside the village boundary .

There is so much to see in this beautiful part of Derbyshire I'm very lucky to live in this part of the country and with a great motorway/road access travelling here is easy. Eyam Hall is a must see the guides at this Natiinal Trust property ; are friendly and informative , the hall has only been a National Trust property these past 3 years .

Top tip get here early if you want the free National Trust parking ( if you're a National Trust member ) or drive past the district Carpark to the Parish one which is free.Also you could bring your own picnic as there are plenty of places to sit whilst enjoying the peaceful ambiance of the village.

The house is small but charming and the gardens are an utter delight combine the hall with the Plague museum and you're set for a beautiful historic day.


Sunday 14 August 2016

Nigel The Avocado

I'd like to announce the purchase of my first Avacado aged 43 and 3/4 it's a momentous occasion which I duly thinks  needs celebrating.

This is Nigel the Avocado he's quite shy , he likes Zumba dancing , moonlight walks and the complete works of Shakespeare. Unfortunately I'm not a fan of Zumba so we won't quite the match '

I felt that Nigel had to prove himself and so it was decided that he would sacrifice himself for Gucamole .


 I'm fully aware now this is the wrong way to dispatch an Avocado as I've been told a lot.

Disclosure Beware of supermarket dating . A moment of silence please for Nigel as we dip pause and eat in celebration of his life .  

Ever the serious blogger I await my award nominations.... they're in the never never post you say ?

Thursday 11 August 2016

Small Is Beautiful , Blackberry Yogurt Crunch

It's the holidays didn't you know and I'm not quite sure what day it is , I think I've got holiday feral ! I'm making the days count even if I'm not really sure what day it is . The other day whilst the men folk were out earning or doing  teenage stuff ~ like learning to drive . I took it upon my self to forage upon the ancient hedgerows that surround me , walking up bliss along side the hedges gives you a different prospective upon life . Admittedly I took a huge tub with the hopes of a plentiful bounty but alas no. 

Thinking about it , it really isn't alas as small is beautiful I think and you'll perhaps he more appreciative of what you've gathered.

It was a small but beautiful haul and that's ok , combined with some natural yogurt and some Granola you can have your very own Blackberry no cook crumble. 

Life doesn't have to be complicated why complicate it when it doesn't need to be ?

Tuesday 9 August 2016

Are Those Holiday Extras Really Worth Paying For ?

Are those holiday extras really worth it ?

The bigger your family then obviously the costs increase !

Every singe cost extra wise is out there for grabs for priority boarding , meals extra baggage there is a cost pretty much for everything. This is standard nowadays on flights and on a short hop flight say from Amsterdam you're ok you can go get your meal deal move you're through security from Boots say.

Obviously as a family when you go to and from your destination you want to sit together , well hopefully you do !!

With my holiday to Fuerventura which is all inclusive you didn't get any meals at all to buy these separately is £10 each so for a family of 3 of course that is £30. Then there is the seat selection which is £13 per person so you can ensure that you all sit together . Then there is a niggle over the baggage some places are generous in their allowance I mean 15 kg is enough but you just never know especially perhaps if you have younger ones which I don't . So I have paid £120  which was a 3 for 2 deal which allows us to all sit together, have 5 kg extra baggage and our meals which are James Martin inspired are thrown in . I really really hope for the extra £120 have have had to pay that Thomas Cook will be throwing in the extra James Martin to go along with my holiday !

Awwwh well a girl can dream eh ?

Holiday Extras Manchester Hotel Airport Stay

Prior to our family stay in Amsterdam and thanks to Holiday Extras we were given the opportunity to stop in a Mecure Bowden Hotel near to Manchester airport from where we were flying.

The hotel was part of the Mecure chain of hotel and they're a very fine chain of hotel , the Manchester hotel whilst being under the Mercure banner wasn't quite up to the usual Mecure standard. This hotel is a 3 star ,We were placed in the basement and the room itself was a little dark and didn't have a good outlook ~ we looked out into the car park. I didn't get the opportunity to look st any of the other rooms , I'd preferred not to have been in the basement Having said that the hotel itself was in a ideal location being in Hale and whilst we could of had simple delicious bar meals in the hotel itself we however decided to wander out. And we glad we did as Hale is a rather lively and pleasant little town hamlet with a quintessential village feel.

The hotel has many facilities it has 87 air conditioned rooms which are complete with flatscreen televisions , hair dryer,trouser press,free wifi , complimentary tea ~ coffee making facilities . An added bonus is that guests are able to make free use of the leisure facilities before for unwinding before your flight. The hotel staff were very attentive and were very friendly and check in was swift and efficient. The cost for the hotel stay and a week in the long stay car park comes in at about £86 . 

We decided to eat at a pizza chain restaurant where we found the staff attentive and pleasant , after a hearty meal we strolled back. We had a good night sleep as the beds were comfortable, the wifi was a little sketchy being in the basement but it's a small quibble. The hotel I must stress is very convenient indeed for Manchester airport.

The parking at Manchester airport was quick and easy with where we needed to be easily sigh posted . And we had the security of knowing that the car would be looked after very well . I wouldn't hesitate in recommending Holiday Extras for your airport hotel and parking needs. One day I'd really like to go for one of those meet and greets just so I can feel like a VIP as we roll up in our new car !

Monday 8 August 2016

Amsterdam For Teenagers

I Amsterdam sign
I Amsterdam sign.

Amsterdam has its cultural side to and is not too much over an eyebrow raised or overload for teenagers too , teenagers can perhaps get a little over awed as can anyone when going round museums but plan your day right then your trip need not be a problem. And you'll enjoy Amsterdam as a family together with not a grumpy teenager in sight or sound .

Bicycles and canals Amsterdam
Bicycles and Canals in Amsterdam.

No visit to Amsterdam is complete without a visit to Anne Frank's House . Anne documented her experience of life in hiding from the annex of this house during the Nazi occupation. The location of the Jewish Frank family hiding place during WWII. Teenage Anne documented her experience from the annex of this Amsterdam house, over 1 million people visit this museum each year so booking before you come is highly recommend . We visited early in the morning and before hand visited the little cafe down some steps to the left of the building for a continental breakfast coffee and hot chocolate. Online booking us easy and really not expensive at all but be prepared to keep looking as the tickets get snapped up quickly . I recommend that you keep looking each day till you see the tickets as it seems the tickets are released in batches , and an early morning sets you up for the rest of the day in Amsterdam.

Continental Breakfast Amsterdam
A typical continental breakfast.

Coffee in Amsterdam
Coffee in Amsterdam.

2. Canal Cruise

The iconic Amsterdam canals are suitable for all ages not just teenagers. The magnificence beauty of the iconic buildings and canals will enthrall any teen. There are many canal trips available out there and you can getbamboozled by all the choice out there , we took advantage of an offer we saw while having breakfast to the left of Anne Frank's house which was 14 Euros for an hour and a half tour , which I thought was quite reasonable. There is a 100 km of canals which to explore which you can either explore on a tour or on one of the hop on hop off canal boats. Characteristically the Amsterdam canals are lined with tall, thin skinny buildings that do have a rather unnerving lean but this is to allow the building to remain undamaged when items are hoisted up and down via the hooks you'll see on buildings. It is fascinating to see the mix of accommodation along the hotel from the house boat accommodation of the 1960s and 1970s to the posh hotels that the likes of pop stars and royalty , politicians stay at.

Amsterdam Canal Cruise
A relaxing Amsterdam Canal cruise.

Relaxing on an Amsterdam Cruise.
No problem if it rains as the canal boots have retractable roofs!

The beautiful tall buildings of Amsterdam.
The beautiful tall buildings of Amsterdam.

Canal cruises are relaxing after a lot of walking in Amsterdam!
Canal cruises are relaxing after a lot of walking in Amsterdam!

3. Bicycling

The bicycle of Amsterdam are iconic and they definitely seem to outnumber people , I think that Amsterdam is the bicycling capital of the world 

Bicycles there are more Bicycles than people in Amsterdam !
Bicycles there are more Bicycles than people in Amsterdam !

4. Van Gogh museum is evidence that my teenager does actually pay attention probably more than I do , the museum has a light and airy feel to it which the whole family will love. I was wondering at the museum why the sunflower painting was here as I thought it was else where in the world so how could it possibly be here ? Seems there that Van Gogh painted 5 versions of this so it pays to read the information labels .

Van Gogh Museum Sunflowers

5. Museumplein The museum is in an area called museumplein it's a beautiful open area in a city that is short on green space , it is the pinnacle of sophistication and it is 19th century. To the south of museumplein is Vonderpark . It is here in Museum square that will you will find the iconic "I Amsterdam " letters along with everyone else who is looking for them and subsequently finds them ! They are defiantly a must on your photographic click about Amsterdam though if you want to get there and actually see all the letters tourist free then I suggest you go early in the morning and I mean early !

Museumplein is selfie central in Amsterdam!
Museumplein is selfie central in Amsterdam!