General Ramblings

General posts about life

NOW TV have a great new addition to their children’s entertainment offering, kids can now watch Nickelodeon and Nick Jr using the Entertainment Month Pass. If you are struggling to keep children entertained over the Summer this will be good news. With shows like SpongeBob Square Pants, Dora the Explorer, Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom and Thomas and Friends to watch, kids will be happy and parents can enjoy and hour of peace.

Now TV

The NOW TV entertainment pass already includes a number of great shows on 12 of the UK’s best TV channels including Sky 1, Sky Living, Sky Atlantic, Sky Arts 1, Discovery, MTV, Comedy Central, GOLD, Disney, FOX and now Nickelodeon & Nick Junior. You can get NOW TV on the NOW TV Box, PS3™, Roku, LG Smart TV, Xbox®360, Android™, PC and Mac, iPad® and iPhone.

To celebrate the news that Nickelodeon and Nick Jr are joining NOW TV there is a great campaign running, NOW TV Nickelodeon Swap Shop. Children are being asked to get creative and draw their favourite character from Nickelodeon. In return NOW TV will give every entry a free Nickelodeon digital activity pack crammed full of fun to keep children entertained this summer.

To take part just get out the crayons and paper and let your children get drawing. When they have produced a picture they are happy with all you need to do is to follow NOW TV on Twitter or Facebook. You can then send in a picture of your child’s entry using the hashtag #NickelodeonNOWTV on twitter or respond to the post on facebook. To help inspire you NOW TV Nickelodeon Swap Shop will post characters from some of Nickelodeon and Nick Jr.’s most-loved shows over the next two weeks.

Every person who enters will receive a digital activity pack and will also be entered into a competition where they can win Nickelodeon goody bag and a NOW TV Entertainment Month Pass. Five expert judges will look at the drawings and pick their favourite 10 entries each. These will be showcased on the NOW TV Facebook page and everyone will be able to see them. The competition ends on August 17th at 10.30pm so get your kids drawing.

You can find more information here

I am getting a colouring pack for telling you about this competition.


The kitchen, the heart of my home and a place of memories. A place where I can escape and relax by cooking up meals and cakes for the family to enjoy. A place where I can look into the garden and watch birds, see the flowers grow and watch the seasons change.

KitchenI haven’t changed the kitchen since I moved in, it is getting a little worse for wear and needs a good overhaul. It is full of the clutter of day to day living, cupboard stuffed to bursting with packets and tins. It is a light airy place with a skylight in the roof and quite roomy. Whilst it is starting to look a little dated it is spacious and a happy place.
KitchenWe have lived in this house for many years and I have lovely memories of spending time with my son in the kitchen when he was younger. He loved cooking and nothing was better than making a cake. Now he is a teenager he still loves to bake, but licking the bowl and eating it afterwards are much preferable.

The kitchen is where we met our dog for the first time. My son and I had been visiting my parents and my husband hid the dog in the kitchen. We sent my son in to get something and he walked in unsuspecting. When he saw the dog he stopped, his foot in mid air, totally surprised. They have been great friends ever since and my dog still has a basket in the kitchen, although he has been known to sneak into the washing basket. At first he was going to be called Fluffy but Eddie suits him much better.

DogMy kitchen is filled with gadgets, I love my slow cooker it had made life so much easier. There is nothing better than coming home to a warm meal after a long day at work. Fairy Platinum is great at cleaning my dishes as well, I can bung them in the dishwasher and know they will come out shiny.

Fairy PlatinumI love my kitchen, it has so much of my personality in it. Although some may be tidier and smarter, this kitchen is perfect for me.

This post is an entry for the “My Kitchen Story” Linky Challenge, sponsored by Fairy Platinum


Last week I signed up to 100 Happy Days, a project where you are meant to take a photo each day of something that made you feel happy. The idea is to get you looking out for nice things and to make you feel more positive overall. So far I have managed to complete a second week, admittedly a couple of photos were shared a day late but I am pleased I am on track. These are the photographs I took for week 2, again all taken on my phone so sometimes the quality is not the best.

Day 8:

Coming home from work I was greeted by my dog. He was sitting on the windowsill basking in the sun, watching the world go by and when he saw me sprang up happily and rushed to the door.
Dog At Window

Day 9:
It was a gorgeous warm summer evening and I enjoyed a long walk with the dog, without a coat. There is nothing nicer than a walk on a warm light evening.
Sunny Walks

Day 10
A while ago I planted a load of seeds in an attempt to start a vegetable garden. Things are starting to grown now and it is lovely to see them. My potatoes are doing really well, I have filled them up with soil nearly to the top. I have some tomatoes, peas and lettuces. Two butternut squashes are growing strong, but sadly the frost got my cucumbers. My lettuces were doing really well until the snails found them. I have now sprinkled egg shell around them in the hope this will help keep them away.

Garden growing

Day 11:
I had to go into town on Saturday to do a number of things. My son and I were happy when we found a Continental Market in the middle of Newcastle. I love browsing these markets, there is always a great range of food to try.
Continental Market
We ended up buying some gorgeous biscuits and a lovely selection of cheese.

Day 12:

I was lucky enough to win the ingredients to create Pan Roasted Fillet of Salmon with Marinated Jersey Royals and Dill and Crab Salad from Jersey Royals on twitter. On Sunday they had a live cook along with Mark Jordan in order to create the dish. I had great fun and this was my attempt. It looks nothing like the original, you will find the recipe on the Great British Chefs web page. I also forgot to put the asparagus on the top until after I took the photograph.
Royal BanquetI have to say it was delicious even though it was not as pretty.

Day 13:

How do you know it’s May? When you suddenly notice that all the Hawthorn trees are covered in May blossom.

May Blossom

When I walked up the hill the other day I was suddenly surrounded by loads of blossom which made a very pretty sight.

Day 14:
I love early morning walks, at times the sky decides to be really dramatic and I get the chance to capture it with my camera. It always makes me smile.
Sun rise


I never used to be a morning person. When I was younger I was a night owl, staying awake into the early hours and struggling to get up the next day. In recent years I have become a lark and started to appreciate the joys of the early morning. My morning starts at 5am, I am woken by birds singing, the alarm on my phone. It is quiet so I am able to sneak out of bed without waking anyone and grab some precious me time. When you have a family time to yourself is hard to find and a precious hour without interruptions is much appreciated.

I go downstairs and make a cup of tea. The dog pads down stairs after me and waits expectantly. He expects a treat. He gets a biscuit and some dog food. I take my tea upstairs and sit quietly on the computer in the spare room, watching the dawn break across the roof tops. I get loads done in the morning, read my emails, do competitions and catch up on my blog. It is my most productive time, there are no shouts for mum. The dog curls up on the bed beside my chair and goes back to sleep.

Just after six I go downstairs and sort out clothes for the day, I iron anything that needs ironing for my son going to school and set his clothes out ready. I then get dressed and take the dog out for a walk. He gets very excited about going out and jumps up and down by the door, sometimes woofing excitedly.

Early morning dog walk

I love our early morning walks in the Rising Sun Country Park. It is quiet apart from the bird song as the birds rise. Often we startle rabbits and they bolt for their burrows, the dog chasing them excitedly then stands and wonders where they have gone. Often we see other wildlife, a pheasant running across the field in a mad rush to get somewhere. Once I startled a heron from the stream, it flew over head, almost near enough to touch. I get to watch the sun rise, painting the sky dramatically, no two days ever the same.

SunriseThen I go home and the chaos begins. I wake my husband and son and get their breakfast. While they eat breakfast, watching telly, I sort out packed lunches, feed the dog, put the washing out if its a nice day, put more washing in the machine to put out later, wash the dishes, answer shouts of “Mum, where are my socks?” and generally rush around like a mad thing. Who needs a work out session? At the end of all this I am exhausted and happy to wave my son off to school and jump in the car to go to work. Often I find I have been so busy I have forgotten to eat breakfast. I have a cup of tea and some Belvita biscuits at my desk to keep me going.


Belvita breakfast biscuits release carbohydrates slowly over four hours and should be eaten as part of a balanced breakfast, eg with fruit or dairy. They keep me full till lunchtime and prevent me snacking on the chocolate in the tuck shop, which is near my desk. You can now find Belvita Breakfast biscuits in three different ranges: Yogurt Crunch, Duo Crunch and new Crunchy. They are all lovely but the yogurt crunch is particular nice.


Disclosure: This post is an entry for #MorningStories Linky Challenge sponsored by belVita Breakfast. Learn more at


The other day I was reading though my emails when I came across one which challenged me. It said ” Can you be happy for100 days in a row?” The challenge was to take a photograph of something that makes you happy every day for 100 days. Every day without fail you need to think about what makes you happy and stop long enough to photograph it. This means that every day you are actively seeking happiness and as a result at the end of 100 days it should become a habit. The idea is that it will make you a much happier person. If you want to read more and sign up to the challenge you will find it here:

I loved this idea and decided I would take a photo every day on instagram and at the end of each week group them all together. The photos are taken on my phone so the quality is not always the best (I need a new phone with a fabulous camera). I think it is a lovely way to capture the events of a week.

Day 1
Dog playingI got home from work and my dog wanted to play fetch. He looked up at me with his big eyes and woofed hopefully. Who could say no?

Day 2:

Walking in the woodsI love going for long walks with the dog and the sunlight glinting though the trees looked rather magical. I love the way the tree stumps mark the way to the gate, it makes it look like a fairy path.

Day 3:

Pet productsI came home to a lovely delivery, a load of John Paul Pet products that I won off the Paul Mitchell instagram page a little while ago. There was shampoo, conditioning spray, tooth and gum wipes, body and paw wipes, waterless shampoo and eye and ear wipes. Perfect timing as the dog was getting a bit smelly. I made good use of the products at the weekend when I gave him a bath.

Day 4

Sunshine after the rainIt was one of those days where it had been raining a lot. Heavy torrential rain, that soaks you though if you even look at it. There was a brief moment when the sun came out, just when I walked the dog. It was nice to see the sunshine break though the clouds.

Day 5

Kielder WaterIt was Sunday so we drove to Kielder Water and Forest Park for a day out. There was a vintage car rally so my son and my husband had a great time looking at old cars. I enjoyed the forest and eating our picnic by the waters edge. It was a lovely day but we did get one rain shower just as we got there.

Day 6

Belle GelThis is part of some fabulous post that I came home to on Monday. It is a Belle Gel Starter kit with the UV lamp for doing gel manicures that I won from their facebook page. I can’t wait to try it out. I also got some Martha Hill products from another facebook competition, £100 John Lewis vouchers from a competition on BritMums and two logo board games which I put away for my son. It is lovely when you get loads of parcels on one day.

Day 7:

Cuppa and biscuitsThis is not a great photo as a thunderstorm happened outside and it was very dark. I enjoyed a cup of tea and some biscuits whilst listening to the storm and watching the flashes of lightening from the window.