Thursday, 13 October 2016

What to take with you on a caravan holiday

So, I'm sat here, thinking about our upcoming holiday to Scotland.

We'll be staying in a static caravan in Ayrshire on the coast. Many of our holidays recently have been to caravans and we've started to compile a list in our heads of things we need to take as quite often we've gotten there and realised we've forgotten something vital; We now have far too many tea towels.

I've split them into categories.

Kitchen - Food

Salt, vinegar, ketchup, tea bags and caster sugar.

Kitchen - Non-food

tea towel(s). oven gloves, foil, clingfilm, bin bags, food bags, washing up liquid, sponges, cloths, cleaning spray.


bath towels, hand towels, toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, shower gel, shampoo, a couple of toilet rolls in case of emergency, hand soap


Hairdryer, spare blankets, bed sheets, Kindle, charger

Travel & Out and About

Sat nav, map, itinerary, camera, tripod, charger, rucksack


Bed, towel, jacket, lead, collar, bowls, place mat, food, toys


winter coat, rain coat, waterproof trousers, wellies, walking boots and socks, ear muffs, hat, gloves, and as many other clothes and shoes as you can fit in the car!


hot water bottle, dressing gown, address of caravan site. phone charger

I hope this helps you.

If you can think of anything else to add, please comment below. :-)

Rebecca x

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Hotel Sir and Lady Astor Review - Düsseldorf, Germany

This summer we travelled to Düsseldorf for my birthday. We spent three days there and stayed in the Sir Astor Hotel. 

The hotel has two buildings. Sir Astor, where we stayed, and Lady Astor, which is just across the road. Guests from Lady Astor come to Sir Astor for breakfast. 


On arrival we were greeted in a very friendly manner. I even got to try my German out but when the man realised that Adam couldn't understand, he reverted to English. 

We were too early to check in but were able to sort out our bags in the office behind the reception desk and freshen up in the guest toilet and then leave our bags in the entrance hall until check-in time. 

When we arrived back later on, we were given the Wifi code and our room key and used the lift to get to our room. We were staying in a black and white themed room, possibly zebra theme. 

The Room

Our room included a desk and chair, a TV and an ensuite shower room. The curtains were floor to ceiling black velvet and felt and looked really luxurious. The room was cleaned every day and they left little cakes for us in a glass jar. There was also good storage space for us.

The Ensuite

The ensuite was stocked with toiletries for us to use and a hairdryer, which was a godsend as I really hadn't wanted to lug mine from England. The only thing about the shower was that it was a huge step up to get into it so not ideal for people with limited mobility. Other than that, the shower was nice and hot.


Breakfast every day was served in the breakfast room in Sir Astor with views out to the garden. Some people even ate their breakfasts on the decking outside when the weather was good. We were able to order hot food such as bacon and eggs along with hot drinks when we arrived and then it was a buffet for the cold food like yogurt, fruit, German cakes, breads etc. It was delicious and really set us up for the day.  They were also able to cater for my lactose intolerance as they had lactose-free milk.

I hadn't booked breakfast for us when I booked the room as I wanted to see what it was like. We ended up having breakfast there every day as it was just so good and we were able to pay for them on check-out.


The hotel was a 10 minute walk from the railway station and then a further 25 minutes into the centre. I felt this was not ideal but I'm sure you could order taxis from reception and there were public transport bus and tram stops not too far away. 

It is located within the city so we didn't think the view would be all that good so we were pleasantly surprised when we found we could see the cute hotel garden from our room. The rest of the view was of car parks and apartment blocks.

Overall the hotel was lovely; the room, the breakfasts and the staff. It really helped make our trip to Düsseldorf.

If you want to see what we got up to in Düsseldorf, click here.

Rebecca x

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Blogs I've Found Useful This Week

This Weekend Has Been All About The Blog

This weekend I've been holed up at home with a horrible cold. I sat at my computer yesterday in my dressing gown drinking non-stop cups of hot tea. I still feel rough now.

After re-starting my blog in September I thought I'd better start as I mean to go on and have been looking at how to improve my blog's reach.

1)  'The Ultimate Blog Post Checklist' from Gina's blog Gina Alysse found on Pinterest.

2)  'Blogging: Why Pinterest Is My Biggest Source of Traffic' by Katy at What Katy Said found on Twitter.

Both of these blog posts have made me look at a recent post I did about Benrath Palace in Düsseldorf, Germany and I've added a suitable photo which is now on my Düsseldorf board on Pinterest.

I have to be honest, my computer is so slow and I do get very frustrated sorting photos out but I think I shall just have to put up with that until I can get a faster computer.

Have you found any useful blog posts this week?

Rebecca x

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Oscar's Tale

 Please note this post may distress.

I have always let Oscar and Mia outside. They are allowed out the back but not the front. Our old house was a terrace and it was about ten houses either way to get round to the front so I was quite happy that neither of them would end up on a road (though I do know male cats do travel quite far afield - I never thought Oscar did).

Our new house is about 5 houses from the end of the road and there is waste land behind the house so I hoped that both cats would stay in the gardens or wasteland as there'd be so much for them there to keep them entertained and they'd not want to go near the road when we moved. But unfortunately what happened to Oscar, happened on the waste land.

Oscar is a playful, naughty, friendly cat. He is confident though a bit shy at first round new people but does come round quite quickly and can be very affectionate.

He and Mia get on well. Sometimes having a lick of each other and then a fight but most of the time they get on well. 

In April this year, I let Oscar and Mia out in the morning before work. I called them back in as I was about to leave (we don't have a cat flap in this house and I didn't want them out all day) but only Mia came back. I went to look out the bedroom window and saw Oscar on the other side of the waste land, behind another row of gardens. All I thought was he'd be out all day and not able to sleep on my bed. I was a little worried as I like them inside when I'm not at home. 
At lunch I got a call from Adam, who was only working a half day, to say that Oscar had come back and had blood all over him. I got him to Whatsapp me some photos but it was tricky to get a good picture. Oscar had gone and lain down under the spare bed - he doesn't normally go in the spare room. Adam got Oscar a vet appointment that evening so they could clean him up and see what had happened. 

Might Be An Abscess

The vet wasn't sure and thought it might be an abscess that had burst on his leg. There was an open circle of flesh on his leg. She mentioned about it may be a pellet wound but I never thought that was a possibility as how could anyone do that?! and she couldn't feel any pellet so we went away with some pain killers for him. 

Over that weekend I started to notice Oscar wasn't really eating anything. Having two cats and not actually looking for anything out of the ordinary I think it was a couple of days before I realised that actually he was hardly touching his food. So I booked another vet appointment. 

A Pellet!

This time, the vet felt a pellet in his leg! I couldn't believe it! My poor Oscar! He'd been walking round at home for the best part of a week with a pellet lodged in his leg. The vet suggested that he wasn't eating because of the rubbing of the pellet against his leg bone. 

Oscar was booked in for an operation the next day at another vets within the same company. I felt so sick the next day and had to take him myself despite it being a work day as I just needed to know he was ok. 

The Operation

The vet managed to get the pellet out and Oscar came back round from the operation well. The veterinary nurse even commented on how affectionate he was. I thought that was the end of it - he'd recover from the operation and carry on. His leg hadn't been damaged by the pellet as it had lodged in his flesh rather than hitting anything vital. 

It was mentioned that he may have been poisoned but I couldn't believe it - he must just have been in pain from the pellet, someone could not have done more evil to him, could they?!

Oscar Becomes Famous

This was the point when someone on Facebook suggested telling the paper. So I contacted the Great Barr Observer and they ran a story on Oscar and the attack. 

I also called the Police and RSPCA and I leafleted houses round the wasteland to let them know what had happened and to call the Police and RSPCA if they knew anything.

Unfortunately as no-one came forward with any information, they couldn't do anything but both were very sympathetic. In terms of the Police, Oscar's wound is classed as criminal damage as Oscar is my property according to the law.

A turn for the worse

But things did not get better. Oscar was still not eating properly. I had to try to force-feed him chicken but he hated me doing that and I was using a pipette to get him to take any water.

On a Sunday morning, he was so violently sick that I got him a vet's appointment at the emergency vets. I thought he was going to die. It was an awful morning.

They admitted him with severe dehydration and we were told he had definitely been poisoned.

He ended up on a drip for four days. I had to transport him between the day vet, where he stayed each day and the emergency vet, where he stayed each night. My brother had to help as well as I couldn't miss any more work.

Eventually he was allowed home looking very sorry for himself. He had a bandage round his leg from where the drip had been in, his other leg was shaved from his operation and he had a cone on his head.

Returning Home

Mia would not go near him. He obviously smelt different and he looked different with his cone on. It was heartbreaking to see. She had been quite content when he wasn't there for those four days, which was sad for me. 

He has to have a tablet each night as the poison had damaged his kidneys. He also has a special renal dietary food with low protein so his kidneys can keep functioning the best they can.

Following his stay at the vets, they asked for a urine sample. Now, if you've never tried to get a cat's urine sample, it is one of the most difficult things. I basically had to trick him and then place a bowl underneath him as he toileted. 

He also had to have blood tests to check he was ok on the tablets. 

Things Didn't End There

Just before I started in my new job at the beginning of September I decided to flea treat and worm both Mia and Oscar. Late afternoon I watched Oscar walk across the kitchen floor and he was dragging his back legs. I called Adam to have a look but Oscar just sat there.

I decided I just had to get him checked out again. And as it was a Saturday, it was again to the emergency vets. Oscar had had a seizure probably not caused by the treatments, but I can't help thinking what a co-incidence it was for the seizure to happen just after the flea and worm treatments.

He stayed in the vets for a few hours again on a drip. A blood test was taken later on to find out how he was getting on and thankfully he was able to come back home at midnight that night.

I don't really know what to say now. I just hope he doesn't suffer anymore. And please, if you see anyone being cruel to animals, let the police and RSPCA know.

Rebecca x

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Benrath Palace ~ Düsseldorf, Germany

This summer we flew to Düsseldorf, Germany from Birmingham Airport for a lovely short trip for my birthday.

On arrival at Düsseldorf Airport we bought a day's Düsseldorf Card from the ticket machine on the top floor by the SkyTrain and went downstairs to get an S-Bahn. 
The Düsseldorf Card includes use of second class public transport within zone A of Düsseldorf transport network and free entry to selected museums and tourist attractions and discounts on various others. 
You can buy the card online before you travel or at the airport in the SkyTrain terminal. I had worked out that for what we wanted to do that day we'd be saving money by buying this ticket instead of individual tickets at each place. When we arrived in Düsseldorf, we crossed the road to the Tourist Information and asked for a free copy of the Düsseldorf Card brochure.
After dropping our bags at our hotel we headed out of the centre on the 701 tram to Benrath Palace (Schloss Benrath).

When we arrived a bride and groom were having photos taken. I soon noticed they weren't the only ones. Apparently the palace charges photographers to use the grounds and because it's such a pretty place throughout the afternoon we saw a few brides and grooms having their wedding pictures taken. 

We popped into the shop to show our Düsseldorf cards and get our discount on our entry tickets and I took the opportunity to find myself a birthday card! 

We chose to go on the English tour. Find times for these here.
As with many German museums and attractions they don't open on Mondays.
If you want to go inside the palace, you need to book on a tour as you need a guide to take you round. 

The steps in front of the palace were really busy and our guide told us because it's a PokeStop! 
We entered the palace through a seemingly hidden door, which used to be a servants' entrance and put our bags into lockers and were shown through some underground rooms. 
The floors in the building are beautiful and so to keep them this way we were asked to put on Hausschuhe (slippers). These came in many sizes and fitted over our own shoes. It was very entertaining walking - I mean sliding - around the palace in them! 

I found this palace particularly interesting as the servants had a secret floor hidden from the occupants of the house so they could move around the house without disturbing them. The palace does do a hidden rooms tour where you get to see behind lots of the closed doors but you have to book this well in advance as it gets booked up weeks ahead. 

The house was really well presented and our guide was very knowledgeable with great English. 
I won't spoil the tour for you but there was a bit of a twist at the end of it in terms of some information that they give you.

After the palace tour, we headed into the two wings on either side of the main building. One houses the Museum of European Garden Art and the other houses the Museum of Natural History. They both were empty of visitors. 

We then headed down past the gardens along a pathway towards the Rhine. The trees were so tall!

We stopped for a drink at a cafe near the river and then made our way back to the palace.
Such a lovely place to spend an afternoon.

Have you any suggestions for things to do in Düsseldorf?

Watch out for my other posts about Düsseldorf coming soon.

Rebecca x