So I have been SUPER busy over the last couple of weeks, having just returned from a 10 day trip to the States (blog posts to follow!) and have been spending time building my new website, which will be going live in the next couple of weeks! Exciting stuff!
In other exciting news, I have started collaborating with brands, and just over a week ago, I was invited to my first blogging event. The event was in partnership with MoreThan Insurance and was held at London’s cat cafe ‘Dinah’s Cat Emporium’. Being a huge cat lover, it was the perfect venue for me and I was very excited to find out what was in store!
First popularised in Japan, where the majority of people live in apartments too small to contain pets, cat cafes were introduced to provide animal lovers with a place to enjoy the company of their furry friends over lunch or dinner. Throughout Asia, this idea has grown and expanded to include other ‘pets’ such as dogs, rabbits, hedgehogs and owl cafes, to name a few!
Following a successful crowdfunding push, Dinah’s cat Emporium was the first of its kind to open in London in 2014. Situated near Brick Lane in London’s East end (Shoreditch), I took a short bus ride after work and arrived at 7pm. Nearby stations include Bethnal Green Overground and Liverpool Street Station with around a 10 minute walk from each.
Upon entering, I was welcomed with friendly faces, a refreshing drink and a room of adorable felines! There were 10 bloggers altogether, which provided a great opportunity to talk to like minded people, find out about the different niches people blogged about, how long people had been blogging for and of course, sharing our top blogging tips!
The layout of the cafe is split into three parts: The entrance is the store’s gift shop, with lots of cat themed souvenirs, and is also the waiting area before proceeding into the cafe. Once inside, there is a small ‘staging area’ where you are required to wash your hands and receive a rundown of the rules. The rules are pretty standard – no picking up the cats or disturbing ones that are sleeping.
It is now time to enter the emporium! The first floor is your typical cafe, with a few coffee tables and chairs scattered around the room, and a long sofa running across the back. Cats roam around freely, perching on various climbing frames and shelves that hang over the tables. There is a set of stairs situated at the end of the room which has been transformed into a hobbit style hole, covered with grass and fairy lights, giving the impression of a magical underground. As you make your way downstairs, the main playroom of the cats is revealed…..and it’s incredible! A huge woodland tree dominates the room, with branches that entwine to every corner of every wall. Cats of all ages and personalities are enjoying the comfort of their new home, after being rescued, either from shelters or from the street.
The room is littered with toy boxes, containing balls, strings, fishing rods, and mouse toys – all of which you can use to play with the cats, but my favourite (and I think the cats will agree) has to be the giant hamster wheel!
I was incredibly impressed with how knowledgeable the staff were. They know everything there is to know about each individual cat including their likes, dislikes, favourite toy, history – the list is endless! So if you would like to know a cat’s background story, definitely ask on of the staff members and they can fill you in!
Once everyone had arrived, we were introduced to our host for the evening; Naz from Midas Touch Crafts, who was fun, helpful, and bubbly throughout. Midas Touch Crafts is a company that offers a unique set of workshops and parties, teaching people to make beautiful crafted pieces in a fun and easy manner. They offer a range of activities including soap and bath bomb making, flower arrangement, candle making, ceramics and pottery, massage workshops, homemade makeup and much more!
Our task? To make an advent calendar for our cats!
Now you’re probably wondering what on earth that looks like and at first I was unconvinced. But I have to say, once everything was explained and I began crafting, my mind set completely changed as it is genuinely one of the coolest ideas for any cat lovers out there (I’m sure it could work just as well for dogs too).
Here is a step by step guide to making a Catvent Calendar:
- Take as many pieces of card as you would like (I took 26) and roll them into a tube shape, stapling the ends together. Alternatively, gather some toilet roll tubes.
- Decorate how you wish – wrapping paper lends itself well for the Christmas theme
- Hole punch the top of all tubes
- With whatever material you desire, cut out a circle that is the same diameter as the width of the tubes. Repeat this step until all tubes have their own cut out circle.
- Hole punch the tops of all circles
- Using some ribbon, attach each circle to its corresponding tube to create a ‘flap’ that will act as your calendar door.
- Using a glue gun, glue the sides of all tubes together in whatever shape you desire. I chose a pyramid. For example, glue 6 tubes together by sticking them side by side, then glue 5 tubes together by sticking them side by side, then do 4, then 3 and so on. Then, place the tubes
on top of each other and stick together for your pyramid shape.
- Number the circles with days in a random order to create a calendar effect
- No calendar is complete without treats! Stuff as many treats as you want into the back of each tube.
- Open one at a time to reveal the treats for your pet
Below is my finished Catvent Calendar. If you would like some advice on what kind of treats to place inside of your calendar, MoreThan has a great post on the best things to include here: Treat Tips!
Once our calendars were made, we were provided with a deliciously British high tea including sandwiches, pastries, scones with jam and clotted cream, and a selection of desserts such as cakes, gingerbread, and mince pies. Going for high tea, is one of those quintessential British things one has to experience when in London, and being able to share that with my furry friends took the experience to the next level. Hot Chocolate was also available, which had its own cat inspired twist.
I thoroughly enjoyed this event and again would like to thank MoreThan Insurance, Dinah’s Cat Café and Midas Crafts for making this event possible and inviting me along. If anyone is interested in making one of the calendars, I’m happy to answer any questions.
My cat Jaffa was very happy with his calendar – here’s to a full month of him being totally spoilt!
For anyone with a love of cats, this place is definitely worth a visit, and for the creative ones amongst you, Midas Touch Craft offers some great workshops!
For more info, follow the links below:
Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium: Cat Cafe Website
Midas Touch Crafts: Crafts Website
MoreThan Insurance Christmas Presents for your pets