Caturday R&B

It’s been a while since I looked after anyone’s cats so when the chance to look after 6 month old Bernard and delightful Ralph came up, I said yes straight away.

Bernard is named after a character in Black Books, a British sitcom about an eccentric bookshop owner.

He is immensely bouncy and loves to play and play and play. He will take a lot of wearing out!

He is also special because he is a polydactal cat so that means he has 7 digits on each of his front paws so he looks like he is wearing mittens. I think extra digits means extra naughty. He has 22 toes in total!

I’m sure you’re wondering about the R – well this is Ralph. Ralph is a bit put out as the kitten gets all the attention but I adore him and plan to coax him out with special cat treats when I get the chance :)

Sparkling creations

I’ve been so busy of late that my poor neglected blog has taken a back seat. Here is a little taste of what I’ve been up to. I made three tiaras for three little girls for Christmas. I also rejigged my jewellery making website to include a blog so there are more photos here :)

I think Tamyra approves of tiaras!

It’s art, darling

I’ve been out of the blog-cycle for a while now as we’ve been so busy with lots of things but I’ve been doing some artwork. I won’t say I’m going to be the next Tracy Emin (urgh) but it is something I’ve discovered through being part of a group called Pandora’s Other Box after being invited by my friend Tracie. I really didn’t think I could do art but the group has been meeting regularly since February and I started to feel that I could do something but I wasn’t sure what. Our focus was Maya Angelou’s poem, Still I rise, and I was starting to wonder what would rise up.

My first piece was quite angry – I had a few issues to work through about loss that I felt but after a while something was starting to happen.

It was only after I attended Tracie’s two day collage workshop that I started to realise I wanted to do something Chinese. My Chinese heritage has been well-hidden throughout my life. I talk about it a little as an adult but don’t encompass it. It took a real step of faith to come out of my comfort zone and do something red but I loved it.

It was only a chance conversation with one of the other Pandora’s who suggested that I should do something Chinese for my exhibition piece that got me thinking. The other thing fell into place during our holiday in London. I was in love with some dolls house rooms that were made for an exhibition for the V&A Museum of Childhood. It was there that it came together for me.

I started to obsessively collect Chinese pictures and artefacts and draw Chinese buildings but I was blocked and couldn’t start. I had planned two pieces but one was hard enough to start. In the middle of all of this, I was diagnosed as dyspraxic and dyslexic and that was very hard to come to terms with as it explained many of my problems with attention and focus. It was only when I went to visit my old school with my friend and her family and then went to the hospital where my mum died that I was able to start, able to start thinking of positive things about my mum’s life and revisiting her place of death with the happy family of my friend. It was lovely and I am sad and glad to be finished. I’ll keep drawing and making and who knows what will come next. This was a deeply personal piece and I don’t know when I’ll feel ready for another but it has been an amazing process and I am glad I was asked to take part.

Sid Not Vicious

It’s been ages since I introduced you to a new kitty.

I met this cute guy one Saturday on my way to work.

He kept lying around in the road.

Doesn’t he remind you of Sirius?

He kept rolling around and doing yoga poses and purring like crazy.

I couldn’t bear to watch him rolling around smack bang in the middle of a busy road so I scooped him up and put him on the pavement. He did rather enjoy being picked up and it was hard to extricate myself but extricate I had to as I was already late to work trying to coax him out of the middle of the road.

10 years @mrspao

It’s been 10 years since I started this blog! I can’t believe how quickly it has come around but I am so thankful for the friends I’ve made and experiences I’ve shared. Thank you everyone who has visited, commented and become a friend – you’re all brilliant!

Secret Summer London

Since we discovered the joy of driving to London and cheap parking, we drove up to meet my school friend. It has been a year since we reconnected again and it is just like all the intervening years never happened – our relationship is very similar to how it was when we were 14. One happy joy of driving up means we can be there early to enjoy London on a Sunday morning before everyone else wakes.











A chance encounter of a cafe with cats

We’d been out and about and were wondering what to do next this afternoon and thought we’d pop to a cafe on the cliffs at St Margaret’s we’d been there before but we took a wrong turn and ended up seeing the Curfew Tea Rooms.

We were given the chance to sit in the very beautiful summerhouse as the weather was slightly drizzly.

Our hostess, Poppy, was very friendly indeed.

The house was originally three cottages and is now one big house. The newer tiles in the middle are a reminder from when the house was bombed in the war.

Our afternoon tea came out on beautiful vintage crockery. My cheese scone was delicious and came with some cubes of cheese and a little bit of chutney.

We saw another kitty, Topaz, too and a third one who slunk in and slunk out ever so briefly. It was a lovely relaxed place. A perfect end to Caturday.

The cream on the cat cake: Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium

The whole reason for our sojourn in London was because I finally managed to book a table at Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium. Can you tell how excited I am? We were half an hour early for our booking but I figured better earlier than late.

It did give us a chance to have a drink and study the menu.

The speciality drinks were all named after cafe cats.

It was lovely to see lots of kitties all hanging out together.

Lovely Donnie

Littlest one – Lizzie

The kitties did spend most of our visit in the window upstairs. We had a table downstairs but staff explained it was just where we would be served our drinks and food and we were free to wander around. Most of the kitties were settling down for naps as we arrived so I think I’d go earlier than 11 next time but it was a nice place and, for London, not overcrowded so quite a nice atmosphere.


The speciality drinks all came with their own stencils

The beigels from Brick Lane were incredibly tasty.

Donnie and Petra

Artemis. She was hanging out downstairs but her main interest was the birds outside the window. She did let me brush her a little.

Loved my hot chocolate :)

This is Wookie. He has a hole – and he slept in it the whole time apart from 30 seconds when he lifted his head and looked at us.

Mue – Mama to many of the cafe’s kitties.



Donnie and Romeo. Both gorgeous.

It took all my will power to leave the cafe without cat napping any of the beautiful residents. It is a lovely peaceful place.

The Horniman

Yes, that is it’s real name! It is one of the most brilliant museums I have ever been to.

The Horniman Museum is located in a beautiful part of London called Forest Hill near Crystal Palace. The walk up the hill from the station is quite pleasant and you see this amazing mosaic at the entrance.

The map shows quite the extent of the place – we didn’t see all of it – too tired!

I loved the sculptures outside – the dodo was my favourite.

As it was a Saturday, there was quite a lovely farmer’s market up there. We bought a load of tasty items for a make-do brunch. This cinnamon cronut was quite delicious. There was a really delicious flaky focaccia bread which we had with hot smoked salmon, too.

It was a beautiful day at the view from the top of the hill was quite beautiful.

This beautiful glass house was at the entrance of the museum.

Of course, we couldn’t resist a photo.

The museum is mainly free but you can pay a small supplement to visit the Aquarium downstairs.

Obligatory aquarium selfie.

A friend of mine describes the Horniman as a big version of Kim’s game. There is a big room of African artefacts..

and then you come upon Asia..

.. then a room with musical instruments ranging from this child’s toy..

.. to some sophisticated stringed instruments…

… to natural history…

.. and even a giant stuffed walrus!

It was only these two little chaps who kept us coming back to our accommodation. The one of the right is Bill – he was shy but very soon he was sitting on my lap.

Notting Hill and Portobello Road

We visited a few places we’d never normally have visited when we were in London. We went to Notting Hill and Portbello Road for a morning. I spotted my first ever taxi cabman’s shelter.

There were some really usual high class junk shops.

We spotted the Hummingbird Cafe – I’ve made lots of cakes from their book so we thought we’d take a look.

I had a peanut butter and jelly cupcake which was very tasty. We were a bit disappointed as there was nowhere to sit down inside. They had some stand up counters which you could ‘eat in’ at but it was nice to try something. I think pao wants me to make some cupcakes now.

This sign made me laugh.

Isn’t this ice cream van transformation amazing? It was fun to go to Portobello Market and Notting Hill to look around but it wasn’t our favourite place. We got a bit bored looking at stalls after a while and I’d only really gone there to satisfy my Sylko obsession. Several hours of browsing and not one cotton reel! We did find a couple of haberdashery stalls but they were expensive and quite an interesting vintage fabric shop but it was hot and we were tired so sadly no photos.

We had a little pit stop in Oxford Street for lunch and a date with Darth.

One of my favourite places was the Olympic Park and we spent a very long time sitting and watching the kids playing with the fountains.

This kid didn’t take too much encouragement.

This sweet girl insisted in lying in our suitcase.