Cats around the world

Today is Good Deeds Day and as you know, my good deed for 2016 is my volunteer work at my local cat rescue centre. It’s only cleaning pens, monitoring and socialising the cats for a couple of hours a week but I like to think it makes a small difference to the cats’ well being and also helps the awesome, hardworking staff out a bit too.

So as a bit of a tenuous link I thought I would post some photos of cats around the world that I have met…

Tabby cat asleep on a green chair in Lanzarote, Spain

This kitty cat was sleeping on the bizarre green chair outside the shop at the Monumento al Campesino (farmers monument) on the Spanish island of Lanzarote. I was drawn to him/her because this sweetie looks alot like the cat I had growing up.

3 little kitties outside the Bahia Palace in Marrakech, Morocco

This adorable trio were among several other cats hanging around outside the Bahia Palace in Marrakech, Morocco. I just wanted to bundle them all up and take them home with me because I felt sorry for them, I just hope someone at the palace is looking after them!

Grey and white cat in Morocco

Special mention to this cat who I met en route to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. The guides wanted us tourists to stop and buy pottery and trinkets from the shop but I was more interested in making friends with this cutie.

Cat hiding in a box at a Cat Cafe in Tokyo, Japan

This pretty kitty was one of the pampered felines at the Cat Cafe I visited in Tokyo, Japan. There were lots of lovely cats there but I chose to feature this one here as it was the only cat who sat on my lap and took treats from me, the rest were too busy snoozing!

Cat poking its tongue out while sleeping at a Cat Cafe in Tokyo

Although shout out to this cheeky kitty, who although slept the entire time we were at the Cat Cafe, looked so adorable poking its tongue out!

Pickles the Hobbiton cat lives at The Green Dragon Inn at The Hobbiton movie set in New Zealand

This beauty is Pickles the Hobbiton cat. After a rough start in life, Pickles soon found a wonderful new home – at The Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, New Zealand. We went to get a drink in The Green Dragon Inn after our tour of the set and found Pickles curled up on a chair infront of the fireplace. It was a hot day so I really didn’t need to sit infront of a blazing fire, but the lure of petting a snoozing kitty was just too much to resist!

Cat sitting on a giant chess board in Alice Springs, Australia

This sweet creature was one of the resident cats at the hostel we stayed at in Alice Springs, Australia. I think the owner said her name is Tink and she’s an impressive 21 years old! We didn’t see much of the other (much younger cat) at the hostel as she was out exploring but Tink could often be found chilling out in the kitchen or garden.

Black cat sitting on decking in Fiji

This fur baby was probably my favourite. Her name is Friday and she lives on Robinson Crusoe Island in Fiji. We found her chilling on the decking outside our bure one morning and she kept on coming back for a fuss. We more or less made her our island cat and she even came to say goodbye to us when we left.

This purrfect post is dedicated to all the Crazy Cat Ladies and Gentlemen out there x

An oasis in Marrakech

Jardin Majorelle

 

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Away from the mayhem of Marrakech is one of the most visited attractions in Morocco – The Jardin Majorelle. A tranquil oasis of vibrant colour and exotic plants. It was designed in the 1920s-1930s by French artist Jacques Majorelle and was opened to the public in 1947.

The garden also has a famous connection to fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, who together with his partner Pierre Berge, bought Jardin Majorelle in 1980 and lovingly restored it in order to prevent it from being turned into a hotel.

When Yves Saint Laurent passed away in 2008, his ashes were scattered in the garden and a memorial was built bearing his name.

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Although I’m not much of a green-fingered type, I do love a garden! And I love colour, which Majorelle Garden has in abundance. There are stand-out pops of bold yellow and vibrant blue, known as Majorelle Blue, dotted between the lush greenery throughout the garden.

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We didn’t pick the warmest time of year to visit Morocco, so after a gentle stroll spotting birds and admiring the plants and the fish in the pond, we stopped in the on-site cafe for a hot, sweet, mint tea. I actually developed a bit of an addiction to mint tea while I was in Marrakech!

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I would definitely recommend a visit to the Jardin Majorelle if you want a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, and although my photos aren’t the greatest I would say that the gardens are a photographer’s or instagram addict’s dream!

The garden can be found on Rue Yves Saint Laurent and is open every day of the year.


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Moroccan special – Weekly photo challenge: On the way

As my Morocco posts seem to be quite popular and as I enjoy participating in the odd WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, this week I thought I would combine the two!

This week’s theme is On The Way – sharing photos taken on the way to something else.

Firstly, a view from the aeroplane on the way from London to Marrakech…

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An intriguing and intricate door on the way around the souks…

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And the sun bouncing off of the 4×4 on the way to the Atlas Mountains…

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What do you think?

For more photography, check out the WWPC.

Travel and Treasure

So I’ve been a little quiet on the blog for the past week or so but things have still been ticking away in the background. I’ve contributed to a guest post about beauty on the road over at Heels In My Backpack – so go check it out (after you’ve read this post of course!).

And I’ve been gaining some inspiration from the world around me, so please feel free to follow me on twitter and pinterest – let me know you found me through my blog and I will follow you back!

In my last post I mentioned this gorgeous necklace I bought while on honeymoon in the Maldives. Anyone who has been reading this blog for a little while knows I love a good souvenir, so I thought I would showcase a few of my travel gems.

This necklace, being a honeymoon memento means alot to me, so I try not to wear it too often because I’m scared of breaking it or losing it, but when I do wear it, it does attract a lot of attention.

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Although there isn’t a particularly fascinating story behind it, other than I happened upon it while in the island gift shop, I thought I would share it as it’s so unique and reminds me of that special time.

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I’m normally one for quirky costume jewellery rather than expensive jewellery that I will probably break, and while I don’t stroll down the street jingling like Mr T, I am a typical female when it comes to jewellery shops – stood agaze at all the sparkly pretty things around me. I’m like it in shops at home and I was like it in the souks of Marrakech.

It sounds completely cliché to refer to the souks as ‘Aladdin’s cave’ but that is pretty much what they were! A labyrinth of small stores packed to the brim with tea sets, jewellery, pashminas, spices, leather, shoes… so much colour and chaos it is easy to become distracted. I ended up buying 3 bracelets in Marrakech.

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The multi-coloured one came from a fixed price store at the entrance of the souks, but for around £5 GBP who could argue! The pink one was a hasty purchase to use up some dirham, but what makes it interesting is the hand symbol on it is the Hand of Fatima –  which is said to bring protection and good fortune.

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My favourite of the three bracelets is the silver one. This is one I haggled for in true Moroccan style. Although I don’t think I’m ever taken very seriously as a customer, with the help of hubby (who is from the school of ‘don’t ask, don’t get’) managed to get a decent price for it that both I and the seller were happy with.

We didn’t stop at bangles, we took home a tagine and a couple of pashminas too (some were gifts)! All in all I had fun in the souks and urge all you jetsetting magpies to not miss them when in Marrakech!

Charities: The Henna Cafe and Right Tourism

In my last post, I mentioned a couple of the charities that were exhibiting at the Destinations Show at Earl’s Court. Well, as promised, here is a little more about them…

The Henna Cafe

I love henna tattoos. They’re perfect for those who are too indecisive and fickle to get a real tattoo (i.e. me). So when I visited Marrakech, all set to get one,  I was a little disappointed to learn that the henna used by the ladies on the square is toxic. I was even more disappointed to learn, upon my return home, about a place in Marrakech where the henna is safe and where you are also helping the local community by spending your money there. Not disappointed that it exists obviously, just miffed that I wasn’t aware of such place until it was too late!

The Henna Cafe is, as the name might suggest, a place where you can come and have a henna tattoo done whilst grabbing a bite to eat. But not only that, the money they make goes towards educating the local people to help them have a better life. There are many free courses available to those in the local community who need them and the lovely lady who drew me a beautiful tattoo at the Destinations Show even told me how the cafe is trying to educate the henna ladies on the square of Marrakech that they will receive more business if they stop using the toxic henna, they even gave them free (safe) henna to use.

If you are going to Marrakech, then you’d do no wrong by visiting the cafe and it is just a pity I can’t speak from first hand experience here. Nonetheless, if I find myself in Marrakech again I will be sure to stop by!

Getting a henna tattoo at the Destinations Show
Getting a henna tattoo at the Destinations Show

Right Tourism

Right Tourism are a charity that promote awareness of “Responsible, Informed, Guilt-free & Humane Tourism”. Their website is there to advise you of potential animal exploitation that occurs all around the world in tourist hotspots, while their aim is to inform and guide you into hopefully making a guilt-free and responsible decision about the activities you choose to partake in on holiday. Put it this way, most of us would shun going to see a bullfight because we know that it is a cruel sport, but what about the stuff you don’t see?

If you look up Morocco on the Right Tourism website, you will learn that the snake charmers of Jemaa el Fna keep their snakes (who are often endangered species captured from the wild) in very poor conditions – without water, food or a good standard of hygiene. It comes as no surprise to learn that these creatures have a high mortality rate.

The monkey men of Jemaa el Fna are no better, the monkeys are kept in cramped cages and often suffer from heat stroke and illness because of the poor conditions and the hot temperatures. They are also kept on chains for when the ‘owner’ wants to throw the monkey on an unsuspecting tourist – thus forcing the tourist to part with their cash in order to have the monkey removed from their shoulder.

Luckily, on this occasion I was well aware of the snake charmers and monkey men so kept well away. If you visit Marrakech, then do avoid them, those men don’t deserve your money. And be sure to check out the Right Tourism website so you can be fully informed of animal welfare issues before you travel.