Tea and cake at Maison de Moggy

It's a bit silly that I didn't visit Maison de Moggy until after I adopted my own cat, but let's not dwell on that - a true crazy cat lady won't let having a cat at home stop her from travelling across the country to hang out and drink tea with other cats.

Maison de Moggy is the first 'cat cafe' in Scotland and follows a trend which started in Japan and has rolled out in other countries, including America and England. Owner Laura O'Neill - who also juggles a career as an employment lawyer - was inspired to open the venue in Edinburgh after visiting Japan last year. 'When I was looking for things to do on my trip to Japan, I looked on Trip Advisor and one of the top things was 'visit a cat cafe'. I'd never heard of a 'cat cafe' before, so I looked a bit more into it and decided to go and visit one', O'Neill explains. After visiting the cafes on her trip, she decided to bring the quirky idea home with her to Scotland's capital city.

After a brief stint as a pop-up in Stockbridge, Maison de Moggy has proved so popular that it has now moved to a permanent residence in the Grassmarket. This was already my favourite neighbourhood in Edinburgh because of the assortment of second-hand book shops which line the pavements - but the addition of a cat café gave me an extra special reason to visit again!

It is recommended that you book in advance as the hour long slots are limited to only 15 visitors in the cafe at any one time. I booked for a Saturday and when I arrived there was a sign up on the door to advise the cafe was fully booked that day - although that didn't stop a few people from knocking to ask if they could come in while I was there. The answer was no, so do book if you want to get inside!

As a big animal lover, I'm happy that the number of visitors are strictly monitored to stop the cats from becoming stressed. I was also pleased to find that the 'cat nannies' - who supervise the guests and the cats - briefly speak to everyone on arrival to ask you to place your shoes in a special cloakroom, provide hand sanitiser for before and after your visit, and explain the ground rules for happy interaction with the cats (in a nutshell: petting the cats and taking their photograph without a flash is fine, feeding them cake or lifting them up is not!).

The cafe is a very relaxed and chilled out space - with only a small group permitted and everyone happy to take their time to stroke and play with the cats, we felt a million miles away from the noise and crowds of the Edinburgh festival outside. I ordered an iced tea and a chocolate brownie while Sam opted for a coffee, a Sprite and a slice of raspberry, white chocolate and coconut cake. While cake was obviously not the reason for our visit, I was blown away by the raspberry, white chocolate and coconut cake in particular - sweet, moist and a perfect combination of flavours, I have been craving another slice ever since!

Maison de Moggy is home to ten beautiful cats: Pauline the Maine Coon, Coco Carbonelle and Sebastian the British Shorthairs, three Ragdolls called Pierre, Alain and Amelie, two Bengal brothers called Marcel and Philippe, a rare Norwegian Forest Cat called Jacques, and Guillaume, a little Persian with a big personality! We had to quickly and carefully scoff our cake before Guillaume got his paws on it - apparently he has quite the reputation for trying to steal a mouthful when you're not looking!

After our cake was eaten - and the plates cleared away by the cat nannies in case of any crumb thieves - we walked around the cafe and got to know each cat one by one. I have never met such relaxed cats before - completely nonplussed by their guests, most spent our visit being gently petted while they slumbered on. Sebastian the British Shorthair was my personal favourite, despite only waking up long enough to rearrange himself on his perch. Marcel and Phillipe were the most active of the group, putting on quite a show while they jumped and dived after their favourite cat toys. What a tough life being a cat, eh?!

The hour whizzed by and I was sad to say goodbye to our new furry friends. It was such a relaxing hour - I believe in the therapeutic power of pets, so I definitely recommend a trip to Maison de Moggy to anyone who is feeling sad or stressed. In a city of renters, the cafe is also ideal for cat lovers who aren't allowed to keep their own cat at home, or people who don't have the time or money for the responsibility of their own pet. I don't really fall into any of these categories, but I still loved my visit to Maison de Moggy, and I would definitely go back - if only for another cuddle with Sebastian!

Cocktails and hot dogs at Dirty Dug

What do Marilyn Monroe, Beyoncé and Barack Obama all have in common? 

They're all featured in Edinburgh's newest pop-up bar, Dirty Dug, wrapping their chops around a hot dog.

The quirky décor - as well as photographs of politicians and pop stars chomping on hot dogs, there's fairy lights, picnic benches and gratified barrels - definitely helped tempt me in to Dirty Dug earlier this month while through in Edinburgh. I'd spotted the cool space on Twitter and made a point of visiting because it's only there until the end of August. 

Of course, Instagram-worthy decorations really don't mean much if the food and drink isn't up to scratch - thankfully I wasn't disappointed with either. We ordered two of the 'Garden Dugs', which are vegetarian hot dogs smothered in guacamole and salsa, with a side of mac and cheese. They were delicious (and enormous). With an array of different toppings on the menu, including spicy mustard, haggis and chippy sauce, there's something to tickle every taste-bud.

We washed our hot dogs down with Tropical Sailor - a Sailor Jerry rum cocktail with lime juice, mint leaves and tropical Red Bull. Sailor Jerry is my most favourite drink in the world, so anywhere which makes a point of including it on their cocktail menu (and serves it in awesome themed glasses) wins serious brownie points from me.

With good food, great prices (check out their 2-4-1 deal!) and friendly staff, make a beeline for Dirty Dug before it disappears at the end of the month.

Oh, and how bloomin' cute are their dogs?!


Feel Good Friday #21

What do you think your pet would want to do if he or she could do anything in the world? Play in the sea? Eat a whole roast chicken? Sleep in your bed every night? I'm still getting to know my newest fur baby, but so far I'd guess set up shop in a fishmongers for tuna on tap, and leap into a ball pit full of catnip. For my guinea pigs the answer is easy: eat red pepper and sleep (they're a simple sort). 


When Bernese Mountain dog Angus was diagnosed with terminal cancer at just six years old, his family decided to give him a send-off in the best way possible: by cramming the last weeks of his life with fun experiences they know he will love. Some of the activities on his 16 point bucket list include 'play in the snow', 'have a bonfire on a beach', and 'camp on the floor with mum and dad'.

Angus was in the news this week after his owners, Dawn and Allan Birse from Motherwell, arranged for him to have one final play in the snow at Snow Factor Braehead yesterday. Dawn explained 'After his diagnosis, we wanted to take Angus to play in the snow as it's really the only thing he will still get excited about... Whenever it snows in winter we always let him run out back to enjoy it and stick his nose in - he always ends up eating half of it too.'




Angus has so far also enjoyed an overnight hotel stay on the Isle of Mull, eaten an ice cream cone, seen a helicopter up close, gone camping, watched a sun set, and had a bonfire on the beach. He even has a romantic date with Dawn and Allan's friend's Weimaraner dog, Molly, to look forward to this week, complete with bow tie! Dawn joked 'They will be enjoying some sausages together but as Molly is quite boisterous she might end up stealing his.'

I wasn't sure whether I should share this story or not for Feel Good Friday because it's so sad (I can almost hear animal lover's hearts breaking as they read this), but the love and positivity which shines through the story convinced me to. As someone who loves and cherishes her pets (they're not 'like family', they are family), I really admire Dawn and Allan for admitting how difficult the loss of their pet will be, and how determined they are to treasure their time left together. Every time I read Dawn explain 'He has had such a great life so we wanted to make his final moments special', I feel tingles at the beauty of the unconditional love between a person and their pet. 

Rescue mission to Disneyland Paris

'Disneyland Paris is dedicated to the young, and the young at heart, with a hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration for all the world.'

If you read my post from last weekend then you'll know I booked a last minute trip to Disneyland Paris to save our summer from being remembered only as 'the summer when Sam was hospitalised with appendicitis again'. We booked to stay in the Vienna International Dream Hotel, which is one of the Disneyland Paris partner hotels. With the park only ten minutes away by free shuttle bus, and a Disney Store inside, the partner hotels are an easy way to save a little bit of cash if you're planning a Disneyland Paris holiday. However, it is worth remembering that Extra Magic Hours are a perk reserved exclusively for Disney hotel guests - something to keep in mind if you're keen to squeeze out every last drop of magic from your trip!

In case you haven't visited before, you should know that Disneyland Paris is split between two separate parks: Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park. Disneyland Park allows you to immerse yourself in four 'lands' - Frontierland, Adventureland, Fantasyland and Discoveryland - while Walt Disney Studios Park gives a magical behind-the-scenes peek at Disney film and television. We bought a 2- Park Ticket which meant we could hop between Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park for the few days we were there. If you're visiting - whether it's for the first time or eleventh time - I absolutely recommend that you visit both parks. With so much to see, not to mention the amazing rides spread across both, it is worth spending that little bit extra for the 2- Park Ticket.

For anyone planning a trip, I'd also recommend that, as well as which hotel to stay in and Extra Magic Hours, you consider which rides you want to FASTPASS while you're there - with crazy busy rides, such as Big Thunder Mountain and Peter Pan's Flight, these little tickets will save you a long time standing in line. The most popular rides run out of FASTPASS slots quickly too, so make time for picking up your first ticket at the beginning of each day. Trust me, you'd rather spend that time eating ice cream in the shade!

We had a wonderful few days exploring the park from open until close, meeting characters, riding Big Thunder Mountain over and over and over, eating Mickey Mouse shaped everything, and watching the most beautiful laser and fireworks show three nights in a row.

Ah, Disneyland Paris, it's been a dream. See you again soon (but never soon enough).

Emergency surgery and other life updates

I published a post back in June on a wonderful week off hanging out in Glasgow. What I didn't mention is that right at the end of the week my boyfriend, Sam, was hospitalised and rushed into emergency surgery with appendicitis. I was going to write a separate post about this but eventually couldn't bring myself to: it proved too difficult to articulate how hopeless you feel when someone you love to your bones is in agony and the most you can do is hold their hand and try to promise everything will be okay. While Sam was released the following afternoon after middle-of-the-night surgery - so it wasn't as awful as the two week misery of last year - being enough of a medical anomaly to be hospitalised twice with appendicitis, with the lengthy recovery period afterwards, really did put a dampener on our summer. Which is why we decided to book a last minute trip to Disneyland Paris - because there's nothing that will make you laugh 'YOLO!' in the face of life (and your bank balance) than emergency surgery.

As well as a trip to Disneyland Paris (more on that soon!) there have been a few other lovely little updates since my last lifestyle post which I'd like to share. At the very end of June I received a wonderful email out of the blue from Nicole over at Life in Ginger asking if I'd like to meet up. I've been reading Nicole's blog for a long time now, and we often talk back and forth through comments, so I was really flattered that she wanted to meet face-to-face. We decided to go for tea and cake in The Hidden Lane Tearoom in Glasgow as neither of us had visited before. Of course, I was a little nervous - what if we seemed to have so much in common online, but nothing to say to each other 'in real life'?! - but I don't think there was a single moment of awkward silence. From thoughts on blogging through to our careers (with clubbing, cakes and books in between) we had so much to talk about. I can't thank Nicole enough for being brave enough to send that email - I genuinely feel like I've made a real friend from blogging. You can read more about our afternoon over on Nicole's blog. 

In the spirit of being brave and meeting bloggers offline, I also attended the fantastic Scot Blog Meet last month. Organised by Charlotte from Colours and Carousels, this was my first blogger meet up, and, after stressing I wasn't enough of a 'real' blogger to go, I had so much fun. Held in the beautiful surroundings of Darcy's Glasgow (check out the amazing 'wallpaper' of vintage postcards), there were talks from Lynsay from Miss West End Girl, Lis from Last Year's Girl, and Anne from the Scottish Association for Mental Health. The afternoon was so inspiring and a lot of fun - without a doubt, my favourite part was meeting so many friendly and interesting bloggers. I think blogging is still considered a bit of a weird hobby - 'What? You mean you just talk about yourself online?' - so it's such a relief to meet people who understand the fun of sharing writing on the internet.

I headed straight from Scot Blog Meet (well, after attending a hilarious sing-a-long Grease at the Glasgow Film Theatre later that night!) into a new placement at a very cool creative agency for the week. I loved every second: it was fantastic to work with such a talented group of people during my 9 - 5, soaking up the atmosphere of creativity, colour and fun. I had to resist taking photographs of every corner of their office - when there's a football table outside the main meeting room, you know it's going to be a fun place to work! After a week of helping with media coverage and press surrounding an event at the Edinburgh Fringe, I was sad to say goodbye on my last day.

Another quick update (because I think I have to dedicate a full post to my little poppet) to say me and Sam adopted our first cat! After months of deliberating, we spotted a little tabby on the Scottish SPCA website and we both knew she was The One. After a visit to the rescue centre that weekend, we welcomed the newest member of our little family to our home within a week of seeing her online. We've named her Sorcha and already I can't imagine reading on the couch without her cuddled up next to me. 
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