Monday, 19 May 2014


I have always been interested in origami, just never found much of a use for all those swans/cranes and have never met another origami fan. I thought my Japanese pen pal would love origami but I was being stereotypical there.

Anyway I have discovered origami envelopes. These are useful. I love writing to people and receiving letters and now my mail will be even more exciting.

Hopefully the photos are self explanatory but if not just let me know. I should video it but have no idea how to do that without my beloved iPhone.

Origami envelopes.

These are 15cm by 15cm squares. Printed on one side. Dual sided sheets are more fun.

Don't worry about being super neat, the point is, the envelope closes.

Look out for future origami posts!


Sunday, 30 March 2014

London, March 2014

Earlier this month I flew to London for work and play. One day work, 2 days not working and 1 day sitting around airports and train stations.


The main focus of this trip, besides work, was Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium!

On Friday 21st myself and bro were booked in from 1.30pm to have lunch and coo at the cats. Andrew got sick. Sick in that he couldn't actually get out of bed so I was left to go solo.

I arrived early, wandering through Brick Lane and Shoreditch (all my best photos are on my camera, will upload those this week) on the way.

On entry to Lady Dinah's you go in the door to the counter with the food and t&c, the usual, then you go into another door into this room that looks sterile and given a list of rules. It was quite terrifying to be honest; as if we were actually going into some deep nuclear bunker. Rules were: Wash your hands, don't lift the cats, don't feed the cats.

You go through another door into the cafe itself and there are an assortment of tables and chairs and I see my first TWO CATS! I nearly stood on one, it was a curled up black cat on top of a box right as you walk in.

On the window ledge was a ginger and white cat trying to open the window.

I kind of felt sorry for it, it was a beautiful day and the air smelt fresh (for London anyway) and the cats can't actually go out but they have everything a cat could ask for. Beds everywhere, fresh water, food and toys all over the place and people who want to pet them.

Of course the customers were all female, armed with cameras and everything else.

There was a basement, where the stairs are by the window. A black kitten was wrapped up and could be seen from the street. Two of them were from the same family.

Downstairs was a wide space with a huge structure cleverly made out of shelves for cats to play on:

There were little holes cut out for the cats to come out from when they felt like making an effort. Behind this monument was where the cats got peace and quite from people and slept.

For some reason I had expected to go in and be surrounded by cats but I completely forgot that CATS SLEEP ALL THE TIME. Della does.

I ordered a coffee from the upstairs kitchen so no cat hairs appeared, it was cheap and the menu was relatively quite cheap. I also managed to spend £30 on random crap like badges and postcards. There is an 'entry' fee of £5 per person.

After I'd finished my coffee I went upstairs to leave and watched two kittens playing for a bit before leaving.

Would I go again?

No, but it was a cute experience. The cats are all rescue and are well looked after. Despite that one cat trying to work out how to open the window, not all cats are allowed out. I mean look at America, they walk their cats on LEADS (or try to). I do not understand why the Americans a) Don't let cats out and b) WASH THEM!! Bartlam, could you shed some light on this?

Anyway yeah, I've been now I don't need to go back.

I think I was expecting too much, look at the Japanese cat cafes, they are amazing. I honestly dont' see how Lady Dinah's is going to make enough money to last long term, yes there is a small entry fee, yes it's fully booked for a couple of months but unless you're going to stay in it for longer than half an hour you're going to spend very little. Other than the fee and £30 on rubbish (only 4 post cards and a bus pass were unique to Lady Dinah's) I spent under £3 on a luke warm flat white.







Tuesday, 4 March 2014

What's in your bag?

Ok, I'm nosy. I love the idea of having a peek through people's handbags.

There are some sites and blogs but they're not consistent and I'm not interested in the contents of a man's bag. They carry uninteresting items, rarely anything cute or quirky. Practical and boring.

So ladies, what's in your bag?

Here is my green, pleather, bag from Accessorize that I got before Christmas. It's not a Mulberry or Hermes or Aspinals but will do in the meantime:

Here's what's in mine:

  • 2 mags - 1 celeb (monthlies don't fit) and 1 TV guide
  • Purse
  • Vibrating alarm clock
  • Medical: Wet wipes/tissues/inhaler/hand sanitizer
  • L'Occitane violet hand cream - my favourite!
  • 3 lipsticks, different brands, all purple - mirror and blemish stick
  • Primark fake ray bans
  • Al Pacino specs case - battered but still closes
  • iPad and iPhone
  • Pencil case and pens that won't fit in case.
  • 1/2 packet of strawberry Chewits (Vegetarian friendly)
  • 'Nemesis' by Philip Roth - for book group
  • USB stick
  • Pass holder - bus pass, oyster and future train tickets
  • Tiny notebook and A5 pad
  • Mustard umbrella
  • Loose change hanging round the bottom of my bag (mostly 5ps)
  • Plastic heart ring - 50p from Charity shop
  • Diary - total essential
  • Packet of Heinz Ketchup
  • Belfast City centre map - to post to penpal in Taiwan
  • Air Mail stamps and Post Office receipt
  • Key (leopard print)
  • 'Parcel' pants zipper case full of different pills and plasters
  • Herbal 'calm' mouth spray.

As of now I can tell you that the alarm clock and magazines are out.

What's in your bag? What do you have to carry with you every day?

Bartlam - you too!




Lady Dinah's


It has arrived. Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium has opened it's doors to the public.

Cat café has landed!

Set in the hipster land of Shoreditch, East London, Lady Dinah's is the first cat café in the UK and with us UKians loving our pets it was bound to be a success.

The doors opened on Saturday 1st March with booking required in advance. It costs £5 before you even eat or drink anything, I suppose to cover the cost of cat welfare or whatever. All the cats are rescues too. Thumbs up.

The bookings come in 2 hour slots, three times a day: Brunch, Lunch and Dinner. Cats get tired, you know how much a cat sleeps so the have a little siesta in the afternoon before the dinner service starts.

I'd heard about the possibility of a Cat Cafe and the owner crowd sourced funding to make it happen. The minute I heard it was actually opening I jumped online and booked a lunchtime session for myself and my bro on Friday 21st March.

I went back an hour later to try and book an evening meal but no chance, March is fully booked. April is ok but, man, this place is going to be hard to get into.

Review posted after my visit with, hopefully, lots of cute kitten photos.



Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Real Housewives Guide

I have long been a Real Housewives fan since my brother discovered RHO New Jersey on UK Channel 4, late on Sunday nights, many years ago.


A couple of years later Real Housewives of Orange County started on another channel followed by RHO New York, Washington DC, Beverley Hills, Atlanta and Vancouver.

Bravo's series also include other areas which are not currently available on ITV2 (UK) and thank god for that. I'm struggling to keep up.

DC wasn't very popular here - Housewives were too smart and savvy whereas on the other hand you had O.C which has a very tanned and blonde cast who switch sides more often than I do at bedtime but I have grown to love the OC Housewives and Tamra and Vicki are my loves.

Hey Homewrecker! has finally discovered the joys of Real Housewives and I hope the joy long continues!

Each series has a Leader, a 'victimised' housewife and endless rows and tears.

Real Housewives shows on ITV2

RHOC's Vicki and Tamra have been there from the start. Their relationship has been turbulent, to say the least, but as of the end of the last series, they are bosom buddies again. (Tamra in pink, Vicki in peach) Alex (in red) really didn't get on with Tamra and Vicki or Gretchen (mint green) and it's only now that she's kind of 'back in the fold'. How long for though?

RHoNY has the ever dramatic Ramona (those eyes!) you can't help but love her. The 'Countess' (title by marriage although now divorced and remarried) has released some seriously questionable music videos, ones featuring the Housewives themselves, and is a little bit shifty. I liked her when she first came on, no nonsense attitude but now I'm not so sure. Tall, blonde Alex, can be easily offended and her husband, Simon, can be a little chauvinistic. The other Housewives would agree. Their children are naughty. (Alex right, Ramona second from right, LuAnn, the Countess, second from left)

Watch video:

RHoA - Atlanta. What can I say. Best Real Housewives series. Atlanta is apparently the Black New York, full of celebs, music moguls and there are some very strong characters in this series, very strong. Nene Leakes, tall, Amazonian and quite frankly fabulous, was and is the star of the show. Phaedra Parkes is a small in stature but large in nature. I would not like to get other bad side. Phaedra is a lawyer and married to Apollo. As it stands, Apollo is in trouble with the law and not for the first time either. Money fiddling. Scenes of insanity were bandied about last series, 'Gone with the wind fabulous!' Is one to see. Kim met her gorgeous husband, Kroy Biermann, and had like 4 babies in no time. Kim and Nene were BFFs until it all fell apart and we all felt sad. I live in hope that they will get back together. Kandi, famous R&B(?) singer also features. I love her. She tried her best to help Kim in the studio but it wasn't really to be. Kim had a hit song though; 'Tardy for the Pardy'. (Nene far right, Phaedra far left, Kandi 2nd left, Kim is the white one)

Kim's song:

RHoBH - Lisa Vanderpump is my favourite. Lisa and husband Ken ooze glamour Dynasty style. I adore this pair. They have been married for a long time, a very long time, record standards in America. Kyle Richards and her sister, Kim, are polar opposites. Kyle, a brunette, appears to be quite grounded, whilst Kim, a child star, has her fair share of large, documented issues. Kyle and Kim's sister is Kathy Hilton - Mum to Paris and Nicky. Other BH housewives include Camille Grammar, ex-wife of 'Frasier' Kelsey Grammar and Brandi Glanville, who was insane, mother of Dean Cain, of TV Superman fame's children before he got with LeeAnn Rimes. Brandi stirred up a lot. I think she just got bored. Adrienne Maloof was brilliant, married to (now ex) plastic surgeon husband Paul, they had a few issues and split and still fight but I loved this pair. Plastic but fabulous. (L Camille, Adrienne, Lisa and Kyle R - Brandi, 3rd right Kim)

RHoNJ was the first one I saw and after a long break it's back on TV. It was drama drama drama in the first series. Danielle Staub just didn't get on with any of the Housewives and it turned quite vicious at times. At the end of the series, Danielle left but so did Caroline's sister Dina. This show is all Italian-American. Families, matriarchy and tears. Teresa Guiduice has fallen out with her brother Joe and they have fallen out big time. Teresa has a fiery temper and is fiercely loyal. Teresa and her husband, also called Joe, have had a hard time lately. Dodgy financial dealings or something. They have four girls with Italian sounding names - Audriana, Milliana etc. Jacqueline is the sweetest thought, genuinely cares and tries to solve conflict the right way without getting on sides. She had a hard time of it herself with Show Mama, Caroline, in the first season.

(L-R Jacqueline, Teresa, Caroline, Kathy and Melissa)

ITV2 has only screened one season of RHoDC so far, I liked it, I love West Wing and all that White House drama so to see real life DC was quite exciting. The cast was subdued compared to the others series, it didn't have the constant bitching or tears and didn't win too many fans.
(R - Michelle)


But the man who brings them all together at the end of each season to fight it out is the lovely Andy Cohen!

That's all for now.



Monday, 17 February 2014

Cup o' Joe

It was 10pm and I said to myself, 'I'd love a cup o' joe right now.' and then I thought, where did the expression come from?

(I'd never even used that expression before.)

Once my thirst for knowledge was satisfied I went and made a cup.