All posts by shazza

My name is Shazza and I live in a small town in North west England with my boyfriend and our black lab Hugo and black cat Slinky. I work in a supermarket full time and in my spare time i enjoy reading,film,food( mostly eating it,I am a terrible cook!),taking photos,travel,camping,wildlife,spending time with my mates and hunting in car boots and charity shops for vintage teacups.This blog is hopefully going to be a collection of my fave things and musings on life,the universe and everything.Xx

Cat Cafe Manchester.

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‘ Time Spent with Cats Is Never Wasted’ , this Sigmund Freud quote is replicated on the time card my friend Lisa and I were given on arrival at Manchester’s only Cat Cafe.  Cat Cafe  in the city’s independent and creative Northern Quarter can be found on the corner of High Street. With its large floor to ceiling glass windows, it is easy for curious passers by to nosy in at the ten furry friends who call this bright and airy space home.  Before Lisa and I entered the cafe area we were given disposable shoe covers and told to use antibacterial hand gel. Then it was our time to enjoy the company of its feline residents….. Β£12 each for the hour.

Cat Cafe is devoted to comfort. The humans can get cosy on the many snug sofas whilst drinking an unlimited supply of hot and cold beverages  ( included in the entry fee) and the moggies have the run of the place. Some of them were busy snoozing and others were only to happy to play. There are plenty of cat toys for the kittys…..and their visitors to keep entertained.

 

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Play Time. πŸ™‚

Lisa and I soon made ourselves cosy with a lovely hot chocolate ( complete with paw-print) and a slab of the most delicious Orange & Chocolate cake. The cafe serves a mixture of drinks, cookies and cakes. All food is paid for at the end of your allotted time slot.

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Cats and Cake. 

Cat Cafe  has a short list of rules that visitors must abide by. No waking  any sleeping cats, no feeding the cats ( except for the treats supplied  by staff) and no flash photography. Many of the kitty’s were chilling on cushions and in basket beds. They have the choice to stay in the cafe area or if they are not feeling sociable, they  have their own room to escape to. I think we managed to see most  of the Cat Cafes Cat family on our visit. πŸ™‚

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On Watch.
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Aslan enjoys a cat nap. 

I really like how  Cat Cafe is set out and the cats really do seem to be content in their surroundings. The hour soon sped by  and all too soon it was time to leave these mischievous moggies behind.

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Who needs a telly !

 

Cool for cats.
Ygritte looks down on her surroundings.

But not before we witnessed new recruit ‘Stan’ the siamese kitten enjoying ‘treat time’, which tends to happen on the hour every hour. Aw bless. πŸ™‚

Time for a treat. πŸ™‚

Maybe I will return oneday  for one of  Cat Cafe’s  special cat themed events.  Fancy a Yoga class or a film night in the company of some furry felines ??  Sounds very relaxing…..

Have you ever visited a cat cafe?

 

Photo an Hour 18th March 2017.

8am.  Starting the morning by finishing my book. Its a good un. πŸ™‚ The Yorkshire Shepherdess by Amanda Owens. My Other Half is a good un too, as he has taken the doog out in the rain. πŸ™‚

9am. Nothing in for breakfast so I’m at the supermarket. Brekkie shall be croissants.

10am. Washing up and admiring these daffs Mum gave me from her garden. πŸ™‚

11am. Off out to do some jobs uptown shortly. The weather is still a bit grim. 

Noon. I pass this little fella on a shop sign as I walk through the town centre.

1pm. Having a spot of lunch in a cafe called Brioche in Clitheroe. The wall is adorned with clocks of all shapes and sizes.

2pm. Back home and watching my plastic windmills whirl and twirl in the wind.

3pm. Sorting out which of my clothes to take to London in two weeks. Two weeks!! 

4pm. Milk, a cereal bar and my fave magazine. πŸ™‚

5pm. Watching reruns of ‘Gavin & Stacey’ on the box. I love this show. I always secretly hope they will make a one off Christmas special again. That would be lush. πŸ˜‰

6pm. Going to close the curtains and shut the world outside. Don’t judge me, I have been in my pjs since just after 3. 

7pm. Busy writing up a blog post.

8pm. Hugo looking sorry for himself. Maybe he is objecting to his very pink fleece !

9am. Yep I’m going to bed and its only nine. And I’m ending this post by starting The Yorkshire Shepherdess’s 2nd book. πŸ™‚

Thanks as always to louisa 

and Janey 

for organizing Photo An Hour. X
 

 

Sunday Sevens 19th March.

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Two Good Books. πŸ™‚

Hi its Sunday yet again so time for a quick round up of the last 7 days via  a  Sunday Sevens post.  This last week I’ve read two really good books !  I sound surprised because I’ve read a few meh ones recently , so it’s great to find a couple of cracking reads. Firstly The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware is a modern day Agatha Christie set on a boutique cruise with plenty of twists and turns. ‘Lo Blacklock’ is a journalist who thinks she’s witnessed a murder , a woman thrown overboard in the dead of night. But nobody seems to have heard of the victim. Paranoia and suspicion engulf Lo and make this’ Who Done It’ an absorbing and scary thriller.  Secondly, a just as absorbing  but true life tale is  The Yorkshire Shepherdess  by Amanda Owen.  This is Amanda’s own story about how as a youngster she read the James Herriot country vet books and dreamed of working on a hill farm with her own flock of sheep. And amazingly through a lot of hard work and determination she has ended up doing just that. As well as a flock of sheep she has a husband, 8 children and lives and works on a remote farm in the Yorkshire Dales. An inspirational and often funny read, I loved it. πŸ™‚

As well as having my nose in a book this week, I have been using up some holidays and  had a couple of days off work. On Thursday my friend Lisa and I had a fun afternoon hanging out in the Northern Quarter in Manchester. She showed me some great independent shops in this creative area of the city and we also had a really tasty lunch at Oak Street Cafe Bar in the Craft & Design Centre. And I got to cross something off my 25 Before 45 Bucket List !  I had booked us a slot in Manchester’s only Cat Cafe, very originally called  Cat Cafe  which is situated on High Street in the Northern Quarter. Imagine coffee, cake and cats all in one spacious area , adorned with comfy sofas, cushions and cat toys. I will blog about it sooooon. πŸ™‚

On Friday Wil, Hugo and I went to visit family in The Lake District. My family live not far from Ullswater so for some reason Wil , my brother and I thought it would be a good idea to go and check out Aira Force , a waterfall not far from the lake.  The problem was, it was an incredibly rainy and windy day , which always annoys me as I can’t take any photos with the rain blowing in my face. We had to agree though that the force looked amazing in the weather and we will definitely have to go back on a much drier day.

Last Sunday it was raining  too but not as badly ( Hurrah ! ) so we were tourists in our own town and took   The Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail around Brungerley Park. Just in case you missed my post , you can check it out here πŸ™‚

All in all a pretty good week. What did you get up to ?

 

 

Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail.

I have walked through my local park  Brungerley Park in Clitheroe often enough, but Sunday was the first time I had picked up a leaflet for the area’s Sculpture Trail and tried to spot all the different Art works.  The Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail  can be accessed from either West Bradford Road or Waddington Road and takes  you  through woodland, grassland, a quarry and by the riverside. Roadside parking is available and the walk takes about an hour, so is short and family friendly. πŸ™‚

Here are some of the sculptures we saw on the trail, our starting point was the Waddington Road Entrance.

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Common Comfrey by Halima Cassell. A Ceramic representation of a comfrey plant found in the park.
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The Cook House by Helen Calaghan.  This steel sculpture  is of a pan of tripe !  The quarry area is rich in fossils.
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Leaving Touch by Kerry Morrison.  Two leaves carved by a chainsaw.
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Butterflies by David Appleyard.  A Way marker covered in doodles and memories from local school writing groups.

As you can see the sculptures are quite diverse and many are inspired by the local area. It was good fun finding them all. There are free Trail leaflets at the Tourist Information Centre in Clitheroe which is situated inside the Platform Gallery near the train station.

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Sika Deer by Clara Bigger. A pair of life size stainless steel sika deer. I have yet to see any in Brungerley , but apparently live ones have been spotted. πŸ™‚
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Hazel Catkins.

 

The Ribble King by Matthew Roby. Looking over the River Ribble, this majestic Kingfisher is made from copper, steel and recycled materials.
Otter by Fiona Bowley. Limestone otter. The Ribble is home to these beautiful creatures. πŸ™‚
One of several colourful mosaic Way markers by Paul Smith.

Brungerley Park was first opened in 1876 and became the place for Clitheroe folks to enjoy their leisure time. Boating and Ice skating on the Ribble, band concerts, folk tales of River Spirits and Pendle Witches and even Victorian Bathing Huts on the river bank.

Hugo by the River.
Lords and Ladies by Halima Cassell. Ceramic representation of the ‘Lords and Ladies’ plant found on the trail.
Wildlife Ceramic Mosaic by Louise Worrell.
As the Crow Flies by David Halford. Wooden Compass points.

As we neared the river I spotted the first of the Spring Wild flowers that will adorn the trail. Another few weeks and there will be plenty more to see. 

Cheery Celandine. πŸ™‚
Fish Mobile by Julie Ann Seaman. These three fishes look like they are leaping out of the water.
Just a few of the gaggle of geese on the other side of the river.
Two Heads by Thompson Dagnall. Depending on your view point, you will see one or two heads carved into a dead elm tree. I only saw one.
Primroses.
Alder Cone by Halima Cassell. Ceramic representation of the fruit of the Alder Tree, found in the park.

So there you have it. There are a few sculptures I forgot to photograph, including  some more ceramics by Halima Cassell. She certainly gets around a bit on the trail! Also look out for various play areas for the kids and keep an eye out for wildlife. πŸ™‚

Sunday Sevens Sunday 12th March.

Hi there I thought I would gather last week’s pictures together and make a Sunday Sevens post. πŸ™‚

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Last weekend I came upon an Honesty Box selling eggs whilst we were   walking in Rossendale. As one of the entries on my 25 Before 45 ~ A Bucket List. is to make a meal from provisions bought from an Honesty Box, I left the requested Β£1 for six eggs and the following day we made pancakes for breakfast. So yummy but I am not sure one ingredient purchased this way can warrant me crossing it off my list?

Spring is on its way for sure now. πŸ™‚  The snowdrops are almost over but blossoms are appearing on the trees, Daffodils and Crocuses are brightening up the parks and Celandines and Daisies are popping up everwhere. It feels good!

The decorating is over for a couple of months. Upstairs is pretty much done now. All that is needed are some more pictures for the stairs and landing. I am pretty happy with these framed retro Lake District Views we found in card  form from   Love The Lakes in Keswick.

Only a little over 3 weeks until we are off to London for some Birthday celebrations. My little sis is going to be 40! Eeeek ! So we are all booked into ‘The  Big Smoke’ for 4 nights in April. So far we have a theatre trip planned and of course an Afternoon Tea. πŸ˜‰ . Hoping to book The Sky Garden  for amazing and FREE views over the cityscape too. And maybe use a water taxi to Greenwich. Decisions. Decisions.

So I have been scanning my London Guide books for things to do. Any recommendations?

Sunday Sevens was devised by Natalie at Threads And Bobbins. 

 


Searching for Panopticons in East Lancashire.

Despite being a Lancashire lass born and bred, the East Lancashire Panopticons have totally passed me by. Until very recently that is, when Richard’s post  ‘ Its Grim Up North’ ( honestly it’s not that bad ! πŸ˜‰ ) , brought Burnley’s iconic Singing Ringing Tree to my attention. Ever since I have been very keen to visit this amazing structure and its fellow Panopticons. Panopticons. Panopticons. I love that word! πŸ™‚

On the Mid Pennine Arts  Website  I found this description of a  Panopticon.

Panopticon  ( noun) Structure, Space or Device providing a comprehensive or panoramic view.

East Lancashire is home to 4 such sculptures and on Saturday Wil, Hugo and I managed to hunt down two of them. Thankfully it wasn’t a bad day weather wise ( unlike Richard’s experience) and my home county was bathed in sunshine. πŸ™‚

First we drove to the town of  Rawtenstall in Rossendale and parked at The Whitaker Museum & Art Gallery  on Haslingden rd. The museum is set in a pretty park and car parking is free. There is a cafe and a bar in The Whitaker and a children’s playground in the park. Therefore  it is  a great place to start and finish a walk up to The Halo Panopticon on Top O Slate , in the hills above Haslingden.

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We followed a footpath from Haslingden Old Road up Cribden Hill.
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And found ourselves on ‘The Shoe Trail’ that celebrates Rossendales Shoe Industry.
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Saw some friendly sheep.

 

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And these guys had been rolling in the mud. πŸ™‚
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The Halo !

It didn’t take to long to find  The Halo an 18 metre diameter  steel structure , supported on a tripod. It definitely resembles a Flying Saucer don’t you think ??

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Hugo and  The Halo.
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Yes Hugo it’s a Panopticon..

In daylight this Panopticon is the perfect vantage point for admiring the panoramic views over  Rossendale.  But it is when darkness falls that The Halo really stands out. The structure lights up at night and it’s blue glow gives the impression that it’s hovering over the valley. Maybe it does get mistaken for a UFO. πŸ™‚  Check out haslingdenhalo.co.uk  for more images.

After our spaceship discovery we walked into Rawtenstall , had a nosy around the shops and enjoyed some refreshments at  Fitzpatrick’s Temperance Bar &  Emporium.  Fitzpatricks Temperance Bar on Bank Street has been serving Lancashire folks alcohol free tipples since 1890.  In fact it is England’s only remaining original temperance bar !  Having recently been refurbished, Fitzpatricks now sells delicious cakes, icecreams, floats, coffee & tea , as well as  its famed vintage  cordials.

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Fitzpatricks.

We sat outside with a couple of hot cordials. Wil had a Blood Tonic and Orange and I had a Lemon & Ginger cordial. Of course we had to sample some cakes as well. πŸ™‚

These  lovely  Temperance Bar goodies set us up for our next Panopticon.  The Singing Ringing Tree  is situated about 15 minutes drive from Rawtenstall at Crown Point above the town of Burnley. Taking the form of a tree bending in the wind, this unusual musical sculpture is made from  galvanised metal tubes.  The wind whistleing through them creates a humming sound, as though the tree is singing. πŸ™‚

The Singing Ringing Tree.
Play those pipes. πŸ™‚

We were treated to a harmonious wailing up there in the Pennine landcape,which I find hard to describe. Think a cross between angels singing in old black & white movies…and a pack of howling dogs. Hugo was most intrigued..

Hugo being serenaded.

With far reaching views over the urban sprawl of Burnley and to the hills beyond ,this Panopticon  gives the town dwellers and visitors a new appreciation of the surrounding countryside……as well as its own personal backing track. πŸ™‚

So thats two East Lancashire  Panopticons bagged and two more to go, the others being  Colourfields in Blackburn  and  The Atom in Wycollar Country Park. My Panopticon Quest continues….. πŸ™‚

Have you visited any ? 

Which is your favourite Panopticon? 

Escape CC Cocktail Masterclass.

One of my favourite places in Clitheroe to meet for a coffee or even a cocktail , is the warm and welcoming  Escape Coffee & Cocktails in the centre of town.  This attractive bar with it’s industrial yet  cosy interior runs Cocktail Making Masterclasses for groups of 4 people or more, upstairs in a private bar space. When my friend Fi suggested a girly get together to celebrate ‘Galentine’s Day’ ( Yep thats a thing!) , I jumped at the chance to develop my somewhat non existent cocktail making skills. πŸ™‚

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The upstairs Bar.

Upon  arrival we were treated to prosecco bellinis in the bar upstairs where our instructor Ben introduced himself and handed us our Cocktail Menus. We would each be making Five cocktails over the course of the evening, three classics and two that we had chosen  beforehand. I must admit to feeling dubious about drinking five cocktails. But I was willing to try!

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Firstly…….Mojitos!

First cocktail on our list ‘The refreshingly popular Mojito!’ as modelled by Ailyn and Fi. According to the Masterclass menu ( which someone helpfully slipped into my bag, thank you πŸ™‚ ), Mojitos first became popular in Cuba, where rum was in abundance. Add Lime juice,Crushed Ice, Mint and Sugar syrup and hey presto…the most refreshing combo ever. Our friendly Bar man demonstrated how to make every cocktail first of course, and even gave us a brief history of each. I’m afraid to say my memory is a little hazy. I totally blame the alcohol !

My favorite Cocktails of the evening were two, designed by ‘Escape Mixologists’ themselves. The ‘Happy holidays’ is a refreshing blend of Gin, Rose Liqueur, Grenadine,cranberry juice and freshly squeezed lemon juice.  A sugared rim and lemon soaked strawberry added to it’s celebratory vibe.  The ‘Delightful Trifle’ is actually a pudding in a glass. No pictures  sorry but imagine a heady combination of strawberries, blackberries, salted caramel vodka and creme de mure , capped with fresh cream.

And a cocktail that everyone loved equally was The ‘Porn Star Martini’. Unfortunately it also gave me heartburn. 😦  But rest assured, I was swiftly created a heartburn cure. It worked and I was able to continue with the rest of my night. πŸ™‚

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This is called Rimming. Ho Ho. πŸ˜‰
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Possibly seeing stars…

At some point in the evening we were given a quick fun quiz on some of the cocktail related facts we had learnt along the way. A bottle of prosecco was our prize, which we decided to share after the Masterclass finished. That was not before we made our fifth and final creation ‘ The long Island Iced Tea’ , probably ( according to the Masterclass Menu) first concocted in NY to resemble an Iced Tea, when in fact it contains Rum, Vodka, Tequila, Cointreau ….and Coca-cola.

The Cocktail Masterclass at Escape costs Β£35 per person and includes five cocktails, tuition to make the five cocktails, a welcome drink and a fun quiz. It’s the perfect evening for getting together with friends. Just book the following day off! πŸ™‚