Category Archives: Animaux

#100happydays: Day 4 ‘Freshly laundered and fur’

Nothing puts a smile on my face faster than my little guy; Sir Rhod the Boxer Dog. I’d just taken my sheets out of the dryer and no sooner had I made the bed, he decided to do some quality control. You can’t beat freshly laundered linens and a sleepy dog on a lazy Saturday morning!

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Family reunion

Something very exciting happened to pooch and I yesterday! We were on Leith walk with friends, en route to a slightly damp BBQ…when we by chance ran into Rhod’s honest-to-goodness real life sister, Sookie! Her owner recognised him as one of the same litter as he was also the owner of their dad London, who sadly passed away last year. Rhod was too interested in his newfound sister to pose for the camera!

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Check out that wee cutie, can you see the family resemblance?

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#BEDM Day 7: Pets

I talk about my animaux. A lot. My friend Barbara calls them the menagerie; there’s His Royal Rhodness (my beautiful 3 year old boxer-cross pup), the gender bending kitten, and of course The MaoMao Experience. The thing I love most about my posse is their district personalities, their sheer cuddliness, and of course their strangely similar looks!

RHOD

He’s my wee man, my best friend, the ultimate wing man…I can’t express how much I adore this dog, from the moment I brought him home – would you believe the 26kilo hulk of a dog was once smaller than a cat? He’d be mortified if he knew I was posting this, but when he was a baby MaoMao took a hiss and a swipe at him from the bed…he was so terrified he peed and poo’d himself! Poor wee thing was shaking with fear, I couldn’t even tell him off!

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Rhod and his wee brother Gilbert adore each other, they love to pose for pics together and every morning I’ll wake up to find them cuddling each other on my bed. Pooch has even been known to use the kitten as a footrest!

GILBERT

Mr Fluffy, Sylvester, Sir Gilby Fluffikins…the newest addition to the family! I adopted wee Gilbert in January of last year after my darling MaoMao went missing – the house felt empty without a cat, and my friend scouted a wee kitten in Fife. When I went to pick it up, the owners told me it was a wee girl…so I named her Alice. Just by chance when I took her for her shots, the vet (accepting my word she was a female) checked to make sure the wee one was cleaning itself properly, and noticed she was definitely a he! Cue much hilarity trying to come up with another name!

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Gilbert is the most chilled cat ever, he’s been known as the Magician’s Assistant for his abilities to flop in the strangest positions…He’s just over a year old now and massive! This is one wee man who doesn’t realise he’s a cat, he’s been known to follow Rhod out on walks and I think he’s just waiting to grow as big as his brother!

MAOMAO

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Ah, Princess. My darling Chairnan MaoMao, the communist cat. I’ve had her since I was at St. Andrews…which makes her a grand old dame of 13 now. This cat has been with me through thick and thin, lived in 4 flats together, and countless flatmates. She rules the house with an iron paw! Rhod is very protective of her. She used to get bullied by the neighbourhood cats so I sent him out on the balcony to scare them off – he barked at them til they left her alone! I’ve even seen him stand guard over her.

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MaoMao is definitely the diva of the family, she doesn’t stand from any nonsense from her siblings and she’s not afraid to put them in their place!

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#BEDM Day 2: Spring is here, bring on the sunshine!

We’ve had a few beautiful days recently and I have been trying to spend as much time as possible outdoors! I love this time of year when the city is still peaceful…the calm before the tourist storm. It reminds me what I love about Edinburgh!

I love being able to finally show off my tats…and my glowing white legs – yeowch!

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Princes street…

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Even the ice cream trucks were out…

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Pooch and I had some fun in the park, he’s been loving the sunshine as well! I’ve got a terrible throwing arm so the ball chucker is probably my most used dog toy.

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And of course the blooms were out!

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Here’s hoping this fabulous weather holds and we get more of this fine weather. Incidentally yes those are daffodils tattooed on my leg, they’re one of my favourite flowers and I always love this time of year for the daffs covering the park!

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Snow!!!

We’ve been lucky enough to get some snow over the weekend in Edinburgh and oh my god do I love it!! I am a goofy ol Canadian girl at heart and I adore the cold white stuff!

So we took to the park and helped some teenagers build an epic snowman…

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We brought a teeny tiny wee man snowman into the house…

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And we made cherry and vodka slushies!!!

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Oh and we made some new human (and animal) friends!

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2012, you’ve been a blast!

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Wow, just wow. Yeah there have been some ups and downs this year, but as a whole 2012 has rocked. It has taken 2011 by the scruff of the neck and gave it what for.

It’s a wee tradition of mine to write best and worst lists in the run up to Hogmanay. When I was a teenager this was done at ski camp, in my diary under cover of darkness in a bunk bed. How things have changed.

Best and worsts of 2012

Best friends, pals, cohorts
Without a doubt, Miss Em. Who has been there for me for a ridiculous 11 years of goods and bads, and who I still consider to be my best pal. Without her I wouldn’t have half the gorgeous, wonderful, amazingly fabulous group of mates I have now. Em and I have been through it all together, and she was the only person brave enough to tell me this time last year to get rid of the ex once and for all. She’s never afraid to speak her mind and she refuses to get involved in the politics in our group…and for this I love her. She’s like family.

There are a few other Iovelies that need and deserve a mention here. Miss Kat, who I’ve written about before here. I lost touch with her for years due to complications with the evil ex, but we caught up again at Christmas 2 in January. The girl is bloody amazing; last year she lost a very close friend and a sibling under tragic circumstances AND she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl against all odds. This lady is one of the strongest people I know and I certainly admire her for her ability to take whatever life throws at her own it.

Finally I have to give love to my good friend JD, who has put up with more flack for being friends with me than anyone deserves. My ex has threatened him, sent him horrendous messages and tried to make life very difficult for him…just for being my friend. This time last year I didn’t know whether I would have to spend Christmas alone after the fallout with the ex, my parents couldn’t come to Scotland to see me and I couldn’t leave my poor doggy. JD and his parents invited me to share Christmas with them, which was so kind and generous I burst into tears when he called! JD and his family have a long history with my ex and his, they live in the same town and had been friends since they were babies. JD is also the person who has made sure I’m ok all this year, and I am so grateful for his friendship and that of his family. He’s also my cycling buddy, and the person who got me out riding when I was just starting out. Much love!

Worst friend
I feel awful just writing this, but this year was the year I finally fell out with my pal R. We’ve been good friends for almost as long as I’ve been friends with Em, and she was such an amazing friend to me for so long. However this past year she’s become a nightmare, every time we went out she had to be taken care of and carried home. She had no concern for anyone when she was wasted, and when she wasn’t she refused to acknowledge anything had happened…and has even shouted at me for it. So sometimes you need to take a step back for your own sanity. If she needed me I’d make sure I was there for her, but the everyday drama was getting too much.

Best Guy
I had a loooong think about this and I have come to the conclusion my dear friend A is actually the best guy ever. If I wanted to set any of my female friends up with someone he’d be it. Tall, good looking, very sweet and proof chivalry isn’t dead. If there were any chemistry between us (there isn’t) aside from entirely jokey flirting, I’d go for him in a heartbeat. This is just one situation where you do wish you could choose who you are attracted to.

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Best Party
There were so many good ones I’m loath to single out just a few! I believe it all started with Christmas 2 so it NEEDS to be mentioned, the first time in a long time me and my best friends were together – and if course the first time I met Miss Kat’s
gorgeous baby girl!

Then of course there’s Em’s bday, a special one because she’ll be sailing away from our shores to the Pacific next year…a whole year without her seems unfathomable at this moment! I managed to round up her best mates from all over the country for one last blow out sesh before she is off, an epic 24 hours of fun, food, and the best people I know!

Finally, a new entry into this category, the dinner at Missoni followed by partying til dawn and beyond…not exactly an intoxccident but close! Rach organised an amazing dinner for 11 of us at the lovely Hotel Missoni (unfortunately my phone crashed and deleted my photos from the night) but it was beautiful…I fell in love with the lighting in that place (moooi ‘Dear Ingo’ above the table and a Twiggy in the corner, be still my heart) and got to spend the evening with the nicest people – mostly new friends but such wonderful, genuine people I wish I’d met years ago and hope to be mates with for a very long time. The funniest moment? When Rach’s husband whispered to his friend that as soon as the last bite was finished of the main course, he predicted us ladies would be off for a mid-meal cigarette – as all 8 of us immediately left the table to adjourn to the balcony en masse! Love the conjoined thinking! We brought everyone back to the flat and I had such a lovely time chatting to everyone, got to know a few of the folk I’d only met a few times before and had a faaaabulous time. These guys are best friends with my former flatmate (twice over) Ed E Bear and I’m so happy to have finally met them!

Worst Party
Oh dear god, by far this had to be the birthday party for a certain wee miss way back in August. First I had to bring all the drink because she threw a strop her flat mates weren’t taking any interest. Then she cancelled plans and we spent an awkward few hours trying to make conversation with her friends. Then it transpired she was in love with her flat mate and may have had significant ulterior motives for wanting to be my friend in the first place. And then my housemates had a brawl and the police were called. I never want to relive that night again!

Best trip
This one is a strong contender, my ski trip last Hogmanany to Rusutsu in Japan. I’d had a horrible breakup with the evil ex and this was the first chance I’d had to get away. I spent a week hanging with some of the nicest ski guides ever, who invited me out for their Hogmanay celebrations at a local bar, fed me and made me feel so welcome. So well needed!

And of course there was my wee trip down to London for London Design festival, where I was privileged enough to see in person some of the most beautiful examples of modern design. Breathtaking! Oh and of course let’s not forget I bought RenĂ© during that trip, my beloved road bike!

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Best moment
I’ve spent many years trying to find out what it is I’m meant to be doing with my life. I wanted to help people, so I studied sports nutrition to learn how I could teach people to become and stay healthier. I loved art, so I studied History of Art because I was fascinated with the subject. I briefly studied fashion design and worked for two summers for a ready-to-wear designer and a couture house in Paris. I realised though I love design and I adore fashion, the sheer bitchiness in the industry wasn’t for me. Then by chance I saw this.

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Years ago my friend Kitty Mghee and I visited NYC together…I has been having a difficult time, a guy I thought I was in very strong like with (I won’t say love) had gone back to another girl and I was miserable. To take my mind off things, Kitty took me out to every damned design museum in the city, and I discovered I had a passion for design. To be specific, applied design, objects for everyday use rather than design for the sake of design. In my case, this is furniture and lighting…I am forever inspired by mid-century to 1970s innovation, a huge fan of Charles and Ray Eames and Arne Jacobsen…and the use of bentwood/plywood in furniture is something I find to be a beautiful thing.

I was midway through an environmental degree when I realised my beliefs were in direct contradiction to those being taught. I am a positive, optimistic person. I think it is awful ecology students are taught the world is doomed without the complete cessation of consumerism in society. It just isn’t realistic. I want to be a problem solver, finding solutions to resource use issues through design and innovation not doom and gloom prophesies! That moment when I realised what I wanted to do, bit the bullet and withdrew from the course I was doing and made the decision to become a designer…one of the best moments of my life.

Other honorary mentions: the moment my application for settlement in the UK was approved, the moment I was told my beloved dog was legally mine, the moment my elderly cat (who was missing for a month) was returned to me safe and sound…it’s been a year of bloody great moments and I’m so grateful for them.

Bring it on 2013!!

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Happy October 1st!

Which reminds me, I need to pay a wee visit to October First Lighting for a few quotes… Oops, there goes my internal monologue, getting out again!

To me, October = autumn. I know, I know…what about September you ask? I always feel September is still clinging on to summer, and trust me here in Edinburgh we try to grasp any summer we can! It’s not exactly been glorious sunshine here since June!

So though the leaves have yet to change colour and the air is not quite crisp, today signifies (for me at least) the beginning of the new season. And of course there are all the things I’m looking forward to with the coming of autumn…

Fun with pooch.

Of course fun is had with pooch all year round, but the change from summer is always a relief where I stay…my wee guy is ball-obsessed, which makes walking him in the park near my house sometimes problematic with all the footballs flying about – he doesn’t know where to run first! I always feel awful when he steals someone’s football or even worse, accidentally bursts it! So when the air becomes a tiny bit cooler and people head back to work (or school), I can let him run to his wee heart’s content!

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Oh and of course, all his wee pals are back from their holidays, so the park is full of dogs again!

Warming, lovely stews and soups..

I love my Le Creusets. I adore how I can chuck some lovely ingredients into a cast iron pot and let everything bubble away for hours. Take one piece of meat, add onions, vegetables, potatoes and if you’re feeling frisky some chillies (maybe rice, barley…whatever you fancy!). I’m a slow cooking kinda girl!

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Autumn fashion..

Shh…but I love boots, funky tights, sweaters, hats and jackets! I always feel a little ‘unfinished’ without a jacket, but then don’t feel quite right covering up when it’s super warm. Maybe folk don’t feel like this in warm places, but here in Scotland we can’t take warm weather for granted! So I’m definitely looking forward to some super pretty pieces in grey, camel, jewel toned plush reds, navy and aubergine!

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Transformations

Sitting on an early train to Glasgow (so early the commuters haven’t even woken yet) to catch a lunchtime ferry to Mull. All so I can see the lovely Em before she goes off to sea again in the morn.

Thankfully I have armed myself with a stack of design mags, coffee and a salt beef bagel from Bagel Factory. Oh the joy I felt when I realised it was open at the ungodly hour of 6:50 am!

So now, safely aboard the 7:15 am train to Queen Street I am flipping through a copy of O, the Oprah magazine. Just like I’m addicted to design and interiors mags, I’m addicted to Ms Oprah’s O. Which is odd, because I don’t believe I’ve ever watched an episode of her show.

Now I will unashamedly steal an idea directly from those glossy pages. This month is the makeover issue, and what I love is this is an all encompassing lifestyle makeover we’re talking here. Not just an outfit change and a new fringe! So without further ado, let’s talk the power of transformation!

My all time favourite makeover is…a definite tie between the lovely Mr Cat and Miss Kat, who have over the past few years become the people I think they were meant up be.

Mr Cat has seen some pretty harrowing things in his life, including some serious health issues. The guy is a fricking inspiration, he could live off disability benefits the rest of his life (and I know many would…and do) but he chose to better his life by going back to work. And when I say he chose, I truly mean this was a choice for him. And though he’s come to another high stress time in his life, with a sprog on the way, I do honestly believe that he will make of it exactly what is needed. He’s going to be a phenomenal dad, and his kid will have some aunties and uncles who are going to adore it to pieces.

Miss Kat is another great friend I’ve had for years, who I’ve known through various stages in her life. I don’t think she’ll mind me saying when I first met her she was into her partying big time, the girl loves to have a good time and she’s always a fabulous partner in crime!

Over the past couple of years Miss Kat has come through a lot, saying goodbye to a close friend and a sibling in the space of a year, and finding out she was going to be a mum. When all this was happening we were all so worried for her and her wee one, but she’s come through it the other side with a beautiful baby girl, whose first birthday I am so happy to be a part of this weekend!

So to Mr Cat and Miss Kat, you are a pair of fabulous people and I’m so glad to have been here to see you become the amazing folk you have become today! So much love! X

I’d love to transform…my house from its current cluttered, dishevelled state to the vision I have for the space.

Over the years my tastes have changed in interiors, from a Scandinavian aesthetic I’d envisaged for my first house (laughable as it was a student flat filled with far too much stuff – I must be a borderline hoarder) to the french country house look I’d dreamt of when I first moved to the Southside…the Canadian hunting lodge I wanted complete with moose antler embellished furniture, which segued ‘seamlessly’ into a textbook Parisian apartment. Which began to look more and more like a funky industrial loft in Toronto’s Distillery District.

I’ve never been one to let current trends in interiors dictate my tastes, but somehow I’ve nearly always found myself enamoured of a certain style or aesthetic months before it because splashed over every home and design mag (as well as in every trendy bar, boutique hotel and post modernist restaurant).

My current love is for an industrial aesthetic, stripped back and reusing or materials originally intended for another purpose. This is Eco design folks, repurposing the products of industry to create something beautiful.

Case in point the stunning ‘Dear Ingo’ light by Moooi.

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I was first introduced to this light by a good friend who is as besotted with lighting as I am. Created from 16 anglepoise-inspired lights as spiders legs extending at any number of angles and combinations, forming a jaw-droppingly stunning post modern industrial style chandelier from what was essentially task lighting inspired by vehicle design concepts.

The designer of the original anglepoise was not a lighting designer, but a designer of cars. I’ve mentioned beforehere how much I admire an architect’s use of form, structure and engineering in other fields of design. This is another case of inter-disciplinary design and the application of knowledge between what may be considered to be vastly differing fields.

I fell in love at first sight with my beloved spider light, as I call the Dear Ingo. I was actually rendered speechless, which is rare. I’ve been a fan of Moooi designs for years, since I first saw their Rabbit light. It isn’t a new design, but not a ubiquitous one like the Arco or the Tolomeo. Seems industrial design applied to furniture and lighting is coming into its own just now, just on schedule…

But I’d never change…my family, my friends and my animaux (especially my pampered pooch). I’ve known a lot of my friends since my university days, and some come back into my life after years apart and it feels as if only weeks have passed.

The one thing that makes everything better is…my beautiful pooch, Rhod Dhog. We’ve been through tough times together and I would do anything for the wee guy.

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Nature’s most magical transformation is…autumn! My favourite time of year growing up was mid September, when Indian summer rolled through Toronto, the air was still warm but with a bit of bite and crispness, and the leaves turned from lush green to beautiful reds, oranges and gold…

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Today my dog may have come out of my closet…

…wearing a spotted wee skirt! I walked into my bedroom to find he’d climbed onto my bed and into the skirt I’d just changed out of.

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