Category Archives: Pets/Animal Life

An Interview With Dobbelaere Fashion

Love dogs ✔️ Love fashion ✔️ Then you are going to love Dobbelaere Fashion …. my guest this week is Ekaterina Dobbelaere and she is the founder of Dobbelaere Fashion Ltd. From her sewing studio in Hebden Bridge, Ekaterina makes stunning ladies wear AND dog carrier fashions. Yes, you heard right – chic dog carriers and stylish clothing for pet parents! I caught up with Ekaterina recently to find out more. Hi Ekaterina & welcome!

Hello! My name is Ekaterina Dobbelaere, and I make garments and accessories for petite ladies and their pooches. At Dobbelaere Fashion, I blend my passion for fashion with my love for pets, creating stylish and high-quality pieces for both women and their furry friends.

Who or what inspired you to start your fashion brand concentrating mainly on chic dog carriers and stylish ladies fashions? 

I have always been into fashion, and always had a thing for anything fashion-related. But my dog carriers are a different story. My husband got me into it). He comes from a family that used to manufacture pet accessories. 

So, long story short, less than a year ago I decided to start making dog carriers as an addition to my ladies’ dresses, tote bags, and style services. 

Have you always had an interest in fashion design or did you have other career plans whilst growing up? 

I have always been into fashion but didn’t plan to be in fashion. I wanted to be a singer or an actress, so, I wanted to be on a stage and perform, but I think fashion and stage always go together. 

All your designs originate from your sewing studio in Hebden Bridge – when and where did you learn to sew? 

Yes, that’s right, all my designs are made in my sewing workshop in Hebden Bridge. I learned how to sew when I was little, I used to make outfits for my dolls and design outfits for myself, but outfits for myself I didn’t sew, my mother did. So, we can say that I was a couturier and she was my seamstress). Later in life, I believe it was in 2016, I took dressmaking and pattern-making lessons. 

I love the dog carriers  -especially the Jute dog carrier – and for ladies, the Athens loose fit linen dress is rather divine. What dog carriers/ fashion designs/colours are most popular at the moment? Have you got favourite designs/items from your collections?

Thank you! I love the Jute one too. The most popular and best-selling one in the UK is the Panthera Dog Carrier. This carrier is waterproof (which is important for UK clients), windproof (also important if you live in the UK), dirt repellent, and very warm and cozy, plus, machine-washable! 

I think I like most of my creations because most of the dresses I also have in my wardrobe and wear regularly. 

So, when you are designing your dog carriers and fashions to add to your collection, do you go for popular trends, customer requests, personal favourites or a mixture of all 3?  

I would say a mixture of everything. Trends, tendencies, requests, market research, favourites etc. But, most importantly I follow my vision, my concept, my standards, my beliefs, my heart, and my ideas. 

As you are based in the UK, are your items available to purchase overseas?

Yes, of course, I ship worldwide. Some of my carriers and dresses can be seen in the USA, France, Belgium, and other countries. 

As a sideline, in a way, you also offer Dobbelaere Fashion Private label services and Fashion Business Consulting. What do these services entail?

Yes, 2 years ago fashion business consulting was my main part of the business and only a bit later, when I bought my sewing equipment I added dresses and dog carriers. 

I offer Private Label services. I specialise in creating custom dog carrier collections tailored to the brand’s unique vision and identity. From design conceptualisation to production and branding, I handle every aspect of the process to ensure high-quality, personalised garments that reflect the brand’s style and ethos.

Tote bags and dresses can also be done as a part of private label services. 

The most important thing is that there is no MOQ, which is crucial for young brands. 

Fashion Business Consulting. I provide tailored solutions to help fashion businesses to succeed in the competitive fashion industry. From market analysis and trend forecasting to brand development and marketing strategies, procurement services,  I offer comprehensive consulting services to guide on every step of the way.

Hypothetically speaking, if you could pick any woman ( dead or alive) to represent the “Face” of your brand, who would you pick and why?

I think the first one who comes to mind is Audrey Hepburn. Why? Elegance, chic simplicity, and pearls, of course, I love pearls. 

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I normally wear dresses and skirts. Almost 10 years ago I stopped wearing trousers, jeans, shorts etc and I try to inspire other ladies to wear more dresses. 

Shoes. Usually, I wear slingbacks, mules, court shoes, pumps, and loafers. 

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Oliver Goldsmith Sunglasses. I love their sunglasses and actually, Audrey Hepburn and Princess Diana were wearing their sunglasses too. 

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Interesting question. Custom-made pair of shoes perhaps? 

Boots or Shoes?

I think shoes. But, a lot depends on climate, mood, outfit, event, etc. But, yes, I would say shoes, unless I have to go horseback riding, in this case definitely boots) or walk my dog in the rain, you need a great pair of rubber boots. 

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Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Dobbelaere Fashion Ltd.

Please take a look at my website, Also I have Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Pinterest accounts. I am always happy to see new followers. 

My Instagram

My linkedin

My Facebook

My TikTok 

Fabulous to chat with you Ekaterina! 😀

Linda x

All photographs have been published with the kind permission of Ekaterina Dobbelaere.

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Who Saved Who Book Tour

I’m so pleased to be part of Roslyn Cohn’s “Who Saved Who” Book Tour…. this is definitely a book for all dog lovers and I know many of my readers are definitely dog mad!


Growing up in beautiful Bohemian 1970s Marin County, the daughter of a funny pawnbroker-jeweler with vision who knew the streets and a warm, independent Mom turned Naturalist-Animal Rights Activist, Roz is an award-winning actress who spent 20 years in NYC, where she worked on stages from the size of a postage stamp to Broadway. 

Roz begins Who Saved Who with her unique parents and upbringing which is so crucial in understanding both her and her journey during 2022. While living in a post-Pandemic world, her career on hold and with politics and the environment in a persistent state of toxic tension, there was little left of life to be desired, so believed Marin County raised and NYC ripened Roz.  Told through words, pictures, and video, “Who Saved Who” is an honest, sometimes funny, many times moving, and ultimately joyous journey of 2022 with a woman who was lost. With messages from the Other Side and the words that her Mother said to her years ago, “We save dogs, Roz, that’s what we do,” Roz was able to climb out of deep sadness and found a purpose ignited she didn’t know was flickering inside.

In “Who Saved Who,” readers may recognize their own journey in loving dogs – perhaps heal themselves from the loss of their own beloved furry family member – and best of all, readers may find their hearts open to saving their next canine companion. “Who Saved Who” does more than warm the heart, it can help heal the spirit. It’s an easy and fulfilling read – paws down.

ISBN-13: 979-8865682363


Print Length: 157 pages


Hi everyone reading this interview and thank you for taking the time to do so! I’m Roslyn “Roz” Cohn, the author of Who Saved Who.

Hi Roz 👋 Who or what inspired you to write your memoir “Who Saved Who”?

I use Facebook as a journal in many ways. The book goes into the incredibly difficult journey I began in 2022 and as I wrote, I was gaining more and more comments about how moved people were. By the time the magical thing happened to me, there were over 400 literally watching in real time the videos and photos I was posting as this experience unfolded. Those readers begged me to write the book in order to help those who have gone through the losses as I did. I really doubted whether I had a purpose any longer in this life and maybe my time here was coming to an end – and then my journey took off in a way no crystal ball could ever have predicted. It’s a very uplifting story in the end.

Your book highlighted the joy and love encountered when you have dogs in your life; as well as the importance of animal rescue. What advice would you give to someone considering caring for dogs from a rescue centre? 

Great question. Be sure you are ready for the responsibility of being a dog parent. They need to be walked, fed throughout the day, given play to stay engaged and healthy and most importantly, they require affection. Make sure you have the finances to afford veterinary bills but a word on that. There are incredible organizations like The Amanda Foundation which help people out in case one is experiencing financial hardship. It is far better to save a dog’s life if one even has a small apartment and limited funds for a big vet emergency rather than let them be killed. There are 500 dogs killed daily in the Los Angeles Animal Services system so these beautiful beings are far better off in a home with someone who is willing to simply walk, feed and love them. The joy you get in return far outweighs any of the responsibility and occasional vet bills. Also be sure to get pet insurance because you will need it. I find it to be more fair than my own personal insurance!

Maui & 8 pup pups with Grammy Roz

I loved reading the tales about the gorgeous dogs that shared your life, past and present, especially Maui, Kona and the pups.  What is the best thing about loving dogs ? Is there a downside? 

Oh, thank you so much Linda! They make life WONDERFUL. Nature is spiritual so having a dog, one of nature’s most amazing beings, is being surrounded by positive, loving, smart, fun and funny spirit 24/7. The downside is the searing pain you experience when they are suffering or have reached their end of life. My dad always said to me, “Loving a dog would be my greatest joy and deepest sorrow.” It is so true. But I find that now I understand there really is The Other Side, that the pain of them crossing over will be horrible but I know in time we will be re-united. That helps. Some may think that’s bonkers and that’s fair. I know it’s not. When one reads the book, they will find out exactly why I am so certain about this.

Your mum was a naturalist and an animal rights activist- how much of your relationship with dogs was shaped by your upbringing? Do you think children benefit, in general, from being around dogs (or other pets)? 

Such fantastic questions! I love you use the term “mum.” Are you British? I love the Brits and the UK. My mom’s paternal side was from the Isle of Skye in Scotland. My upbringing completely shaped my relationship with dogs. There was one reviewer who gave me a scathing “review” because this person doesn’t believe one should treat dogs with the same amount of affection as a human. They felt I was doing a disservice to dogs in how I love them and treat them on equal ground. All I can say about that person is that they are NOT anyone I would ever want to know. I feel horrible for the dogs in their life because they deserve better. Dogs, like all living beings, thrive with affection and consideration. My mom told me the story that when she and my dad got one of their early dogs – not even sure if she meant Brandy who is in the book – Mom wanted the dog sleeping with them but my dad didn’t want that. My mom said, “Then you’re sleeping on the floor.” The dog slept with them from then on out. It actually was my dad who was sometimes more googoo gaga about our dogs than Mom in how demonstrative he was in his affection for them. Dad could never bear it when we had to help one of our dogs cross over. He couldn’t face it because he loved them so deeply. 

Both Maui and Kona were very skittish when I got them – clearly they were abused – and now Maui is no longer terrified of other people. Kona is still very distrustful but he has blossomed with me and he is slowly opening up to some people I am able to bring over. I know I could push him and “force” him to encounter more people, but if it stresses him out, I really don’t want to push him too much. This is their Sanctuary and I treat them with the sacred respect here that they deserve. My folks taught me they are worthy of as much love as one would give one’s child. There is no difference. I am grateful to have grown up in a home where dogs were so cherished.

Kids definitely benefit being around dogs. This is where you truly learn to love. People can be so complicated and prone to mood swings be they a child or adult. That’s humans. Dogs are pure love. All they want to do is love us. They teach you to be able to live in the moment, be enthralled in the simplest things like a bird flying above and really using one’s senses to get the full experience. They teach us to receive love and return it. They teach us to be kind and compassionate. They are Divine. I truly mean that.

Kona, Maui & the puppies

Oh yes Roz, I’m English! 😊…. I was brought up with cats – I have 3 at home – well 2 really now as my tomcat Leo has taken a fancy to my neighbour and decided to live with her!!! But my parent’s friends had  gorgeous Red Setters and my in laws have a red setter and an Irish setter  – both I adore. Do you have a breed or two that you are particularly drawn to? 

Cats are a hoot! I had one for a time in NYC, Smooch was his name, but when my boyfriend and I broke up, he took our cat as I was traveling out of town to do theatre. Then I had a roommate for about a year in NYC and she had 2 cats, Luna and Tommy. Luna was “catty” but Tommy was a love and he would snuggle with me all the time. I adored him!!

Setters are Gorgeous dogs!!! Oh boy!!! Each dogs is so beautiful. Well, I will say that all Cohn dogs are good looking regardless of the breed. We had Dalmations as a kid and now I wouldn’t get a purebred as they have a lot of health issues. Fluke was part Dalmation and part English Pointer. He was Stunning as readers will see and had the best attributes of both breeds. I do love Australian Sheperds/Queensland Heelers like Niki and Kona in the book. And now I’m in love with Cattle dogs which Maui is. And then there was Diva, a German Shepherd-Rottweiler mix, my most meaningful girl of all time because she was first my Mom’s and then mine for 11 years!!! And, oh, I can’t choose as each of our dogs have left such an imprint on my heart and soul. We’ve also had Duchess the Boxer, Keisha our gorgeous Flat Coat Retriever, Blue – he was a stunner – was some kind of Aussie I believe, Betsy was a Rottie-Shepherd adorable girl, Maxferd was a handsome Border Collie mix, all so gorgeous and unique. So, I really can’t say which breed is my favorite. Dogs are a slice of heaven on earth.

Growing up, did you always want a career in acting, writing, with animals or did you have completely different career aspirations? 

I had this overwhelming need to be an actress from the time I was very young. I have a neurological condition, Essential Tremors, that became a source of great shame for me since 2ndgrade when I was mocked. It’s in the book. I never told my parents so I never got the counseling to come to terms what this disorder is. So, by the time I was 9, I was writing desperate letters to God, “Please God, I HAVE to be a successful actress. I HAVE TO ACT. Please let me not be nervous. Please let me be able to successful. It’s really sad to know a 9 year old – me – would cry myself to sleep because I was so worried these tremors would destroy my career. 9 years old!!! Then I wanted to be a Ballerina in addition and worked very hard. But I have a rare skin condition where my top layer of skin doesn’t bond with the one underneath on my hands and feet. It’s gotten much better through the years but when I was about 3-4, it was very, very bad when it was hot outside. When I told my dad I wanted to be a ballerina, he told me I couldn’t because of my blisters. He had to carry me as a 3 to 5 year old child because my feet were so raw. But he made me walk even still, no matter how it hurt. That was a great lesson because he taught me that no matter how hard something is, you still have the ability to “walk through it.” No matter how hard. And then he would pick me up when it got too painful. But I am stubborn and I did train very hard in ballet and when I was on pointe for a year, my feet would bleed. I still did it. I have super tight hips so I knew I wouldn’t ultimately be able to do ballet and that’s when I wanted to become a Broadway Female version of the great Ben Vereen. I hung up my  toe shoes as I was entering 9th grade and trained very intensely in Broadway jazz dance. If you don’t know who Ben is, Youtube his name and he will blow you away!!!!

My mom always told me I was a writer and I have no idea how she knew that but I guess I do have ability in that department. The few things I’ve written for myself as an actress have been very well received. It really is so important to me that people read this book so I can help bring awareness about shelter dogs and why it’s so important to adopt them. Or even volunteer at a shelter.  Life with a dog is, paws down, the most honest and pure of relationships in life. I don’t have childrenso they are my furry kids.I

Maui & Kona

Is “Who Saved Who” available to purchase worldwide?

It’s only available on Amazon. I have a niece who lives in Portugal and she has this thing called a VPN which enables those living overseas to purchase digital Amazon books. I’m not sure how it works but that’s how she was able to read it.

I do love animals, but I am wary of cows! Not particularly sure why! Are there any animals you have a fear of or a bit wary of?  

OMG! That’s hilarious!!! Aren’t we humans so funny with our phobias? I can no longer drive freeways, they scare me so terribly. Hhhhmmmm, do I have any fear of animals? Well, I have no desire to hold a snake but they are fascinating. And I don’t want to be anywhere near a poisonous spider like a black widow or a tarantula. I am scared to scuba dive because I think I would have a heart attack if I was near a shark or barracuda. I am terrified of sharks but I would never eat shark fin soup as I think that’s evil to waste their lives like that. I cannot understand how someone thinks it’s “fun” to swi in a cage with a Great White shark. No thank you!!!! It’s funny. A good friend of my Dad’s was this well respected stuntman, Ted Grossman. Ted was Ryan O’Neill’s stunt double in What’s Up Doc, et al. He was the guy in Jaws 1 who dies in the estuary. It took me until I was in my 20s to see Ted in that film because Great Whites freak me out so badly. I’m a lap swimmer and when that movie came out, just the poster gave me terrible fears a Great White would be able to come through our pool drain. So dumb but it made me learn to swim faster!

Maui & Kona

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I live in those leggings with pockets. I adore them!!! And if I had the space and funds, I think I would want to be able to own at least 20 different styles of boots. I LOVE boots!!! Always have!!! When I was a little girl with these blisters in sweltering Marin, I would be dressed in black tights and black go-go style boots, regardless of the blisters. I really was like Wednesday in The Addams Family in my mind back then. I also love good tennis shoes because I’m a walker and active. I can’t stand not moving. Makes me crazy as I have a ton of energy and still the dancer mentality of staying slim. Being fit is super important to longevity and working on stage. It takes stamina to do that and working in Film/TV is very demanding on stamina as you have very long days.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

My dad was the shopper. He loved to take me shopping because he was overweight and I guess I looked good in clothes. He used to call me “high pockets” because my legs are long. So he would take me clothes shopping and have me buy whatever he felt was flattering. He had great taste. I miss shopping with Dad because he made it so fun. I’m like my mom. She hated shopping. I get so frustrated trying on all those clothes without my Dad’s or someone else’s eye – but I do love the customer service at Nordstroms. Macy’s is more my speed in variety but they aren’t managed very well and it’s murder trying to find someone to help you!

Diva, Fluke & Roz playing tug

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I have been looking for a pair of boots to replace these Donald Pliner one’s I got years ago at It’s A Wrap. That’s a showbiz re-sale shop and I have worn his fabulous black fabric, silver metal tipped knee high boots for years. I got them for $50 at least 20 years ago and have worn them to pretty much shreds at this point. To buy them new, they are quite expensive – too expensive for me and I haven’t found them in any stores to even consider trying on a pair. The cloth is now coming off of my pair and I can’t really wear them any longer. I have very thin calves and his fabric boots are perfect for me. By any chance, do you have any sources for those?!!!! I have been looking!!!! I also need to get to Express and check out their current Editor pants. I typically have a pair in my closet but don’t have any now. Your question has spurred me on to get over to Express))

Boots or Shoes? 

Boots!!! My first goal was to be a go-go dancer in a cage. No joke. I think I was 5 years old. I love go-go style boots!!! So sexy)))

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc

My Link Tree:





My thanks to Roslyn for inviting me onto her book tour; for agreeing to be interviewed; for a copy of her lovely book for reviewing. All photographs have been published with kind permission of Roslyn Cohn. Header picture is of me with my in law’s Red Setter, Reid 😊

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An Interview With The Butterfly Collection

March 1st – the official first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, so what better to celebrate the changing of the season than a post about butterflies? Rakha Singh is the London artist behind The Butterfly Collection, who has developed a photographic technique to produce ultra high resolution images of butterflies and moths with detail so fine that you can actually see the individual scales and fine hairs. I caught up with Rakha to find out more about his love of photographing these beautiful creatures. Welcome to the blog, Rakha…

Hello, I am Rakha. I am an artist based in London, England and have developed a photographic technique to produce Ultra High Resolution images of Butterflies and Moths, at  100cm x 100cm. I believe, a Butterfly is one of the most beautiful of all insects, conjuring up images of sunshine, the warmth and colour of flowery meadows, and summer gardens teaming with life.  We are charmed by their gorgeous colours and very delicate wings.

What inspired your interest in butterflies and moths to develop the photographic technique to capture their gorgeousness?

To be able to see these beautiful creatures at such a scale adds another dimension to how we see the world around us.  These staggeringly beautiful creatures, in amazing colours, are stunning never-seen-before images on this scale. Printed onto Canson Baryta Photographique 310 gsm archival paper, gives the image a unique ‘painting’ like effect. 

What makes your photographic technique different from other butterfly prints?

It’s the quality and scale at 100cm x 100cm – I wanted to unleash the beauty of the butterfly kingdom with our Ultra High Resolution Butterfly and Moth Collection. Our specially developed photographic technique captures intricate details, allowing you to see individual scales, cells, and fine hairs with astonishing clarity. These stunning images showcase the incredible colours and patterns of these delicate creatures like never before.

You have captured some lovely images of butterflies I have never come across before. I particularly like the Yellow Jezebel Butterfly.  What is currently the most popular butterfly/moth image?

Monarch. It’s the world’s most famous kind of butterfly.

What’s your favourite butterfly/moth image?

Sunset Moth, Chrysiridia Ripheus – Madagascar

Where do you find these specimens to be photographed?  

The specimens photographed all came from licensed butterfly farms and died naturally.

When deciding which butterfly/moth to add to your collection, do you choose those that are available, most colourful/interesting, customer requests, your personal choice or all of those options? 

All of these options

As you are based in London, are your images available to purchase & ship worldwide?

 Yes we ship all over the world and can provide exact and bespoke dimensions.

Boots or Shoes?

Boots – My feet feel secure and I walk a lot

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Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc so that readers can find out more about The Butterfly Collection

Lovely to chat to you Rakha, the images are certainly stunning.

Linda x

All photographs have been published with the kind permission of Rakha Singh (The Butterfly Collection)

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But First Rumi Book Tour

I’m really excited to be able to interview author Chitra Ramaswami as part of her “But First Rumi Book Tour”. “But First Rumi” is a delightful memoir by Chitra Ramaswami. Rumi is a beautiful stray Omani street cat who took a liking to Chitra and trusted Chitra to help him and in return Rumi helped Chitra. This book is more than a tale of a cat being rescued – the memoir explores how love and trust between cats and people can develop, how attitudes towards street cats develop, and how love develops. The book is written in such a refreshingly honest way and I loved reading the escapades of Rumi & co. I really enjoyed chatting to Chitra about all things cats …. But, before that, here is the official resumé of the book:

When Chitra discovered a stray cat in need of help, she never thought they’d wind up saving each other. Struggling to come to terms with an unexpected diagnosis, Chitra returned home to Oman seeking a sense of familiarity. What she discovered instead was a very special cat who changed her life. But First, Rumi is the story of how, day by day, Rumi and Chitra got to know one another, and as she learned to love the little stray, she began to see greater life lessons about herself, her family, her home country and her place in the world. 

What unfolds when girl and cat meet? What happens when you follow your heart? What if the world is not as it seems? Is it worth taking a chance? 

Print Length: 158 Pages

Genre: Memoir


Hi! I’m Chitra – author of the memoir  “But First, Rumi” . I was born and brought up in the Middle East to Indian parents and now live in New Jersey. I’ve worked in healthcare as a physician and a health educator and now I’ve turned author. This is my first time publishing and excited to see what this experience brings my way. 

Who or what inspired you to write your memoir, “But First, Rumi!”?

I believe the answer lies in my book title 🙂 My cat Rumi inspired me to share our journey with the world. As someone who’s written most of her life, I believe every story has its own predestined time – from when it gets penned down to when it is on its way to its readers where it finally comes to fruition. 

Your book highlighted the life of an Omani Mau/street cat, and your growing love of Rumi.  I found the book interesting as well as entertaining.  I thought how different were the attitudes towards cats, stray cats in particular, in Oman compared with the UK/ USA. Why do you think the Omani street cats are regarded with such suspicion?

Firstly, thank you for reading our story and am glad you enjoyed it. Yes, attitudes towards stray cats are different in Oman as compared to say a Western country. But what makes it interesting is that Oman is  home to people from all over the world added to its own descendants and  this varied demographic may hold the reasons that have led to the current state of the Omani stray cats. We have collectively failed our felines. I believe suspicion towards anything generally arises from a certain lack of awareness or unfamiliarity or a previous negative experience. And yes, this is only a part of the problem as I explain in the book. Another common issue is abandonment either due to misjudgment of what caring for a cat entails or when people leave for their home countries and haven’t planned well for the transition. Ofcourse, COVID-19  has added additional financial strains to the process as well.

Were there any aspects of writing your book that surprised you, pleasantly or otherwise?

The process of writing the book was enjoyable. I also had a great editor and we worked well together. What amused me the most was the amount of work that went into publishing a book outside of actually writing the book! The time and effort needed to get your book in front of your readers has been eye opening. I’ve learnt a lot over the past few months. Maybe I should write about it haha!

What do you enjoy most about having a cat? What did you find most daunting at first?

I’ve come to realize over time that my energy is quite similar to a cat’s. I remember watching a documentary that talked about how cats and humans are actually more alike evolutionarily as compared to say dogs and humans. So it’s not surprising to me that I’m able to just be myself around them rather effortlessly. However, before my experience with Rumi, I  was rather wary of cats and didn’t really know what to make of them. I maintain that I didn’t give them a fair chance and went with the popular notion that dogs were more expressive and loving as companion animals. 

Have you always wanted to have a career in writing  or did you have other aspirations?

Funnily, I never thought of writing as a career even though I always wrote. But moving forward, I’ve decided to share my works with the world. I’m curious by nature – always have been, which in turn has led me to pursue many paths. So be it working with people with various ailments, or teaching or riding horses or ice climbing…. the list is diverse. I’m not really a one aspiration person and am eager to see where my life takes me next. 

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Are you a bookworm? What is your favourite genre and/or authors? Kindle or actual book?

Yes, I’ve loved to read since forever. Favorite genres – Biographies, memoirs, short stories. I’m not into fiction much but am on board with Haruki Murakami’s magical realism. It’s bewitching almost. Love Khaled Hosseini’s works. In poetry – Works of Rumi, Tabrizi, Gibran to name a few. There’s always more than one story that‘s being told in a book and one of them is about the author themselves, their roots,  convictions, motivations – it all comes through. So I tend to consciously seek out authors from various backgrounds for this experience. I find it as good or even better than travel. 

Nothing beats the feel of an actual book but I’m a recent Kindle convert – saves space, easy to bookmark, or look up anything I need to, can even read on my Kindle app on my phone etc 

Is “But First Rumi” available to purchase worldwide?

Yes worldwide – Both ebook and paperback. It’s also available in a bookstore in Oman and managed to sell out and has just been restocked! 

Will there be more tales about Rumi in the future?

Definitely 🙂 There may be a second book in the works as we speak!

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Hmmm. Depends on the season. I’m a sucker for knee length boots in the winter – I never grew out of my Michael Korrs Preston boots with the golden buckle – love those tiny touches! I also love my riding boots from Dover’s. If I’m going out for dinner or tea I love getting dressed up – A-line skirt and top or a Pakistani embroidered suit( we call it shalwar Kameez), and peep toed heels but overtime I find myself settling for pointed flats – Zara and Rothys always have a lovely line of those. These days, I’m always in my adidas and pumas – thanks to COVID! Not complaining though – I always manage to find something to fall in love with! 

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Zara, Kate Spade, J. Crew, Ann Taylor, Image…the list goes on also love custom shirts I design myself. Etsy’s also a very interesting place – be it for custom clothes, accessories etc 

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I’ve been looking into vegan fashion lately. It’s a fascinating world and I’m still exploring it. Love the Dharma Store – fun tees and they have vegan phone grips too! I also have my eye on the Catalina tote from lo and sons – super functional and love the shoe compartment at the bottom. So yes, I won’t be surprised if my fashion choices will be completely different five years down the line. I’m learning and growing every day. 

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc
Website: @rumionamission2017

My thanks goes to Chitra for agreeing to be interviewed, for inviting me to join in her book tour and for a copy of her delightful memoir.

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Chitra Ramaswami

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An Interview With Aurora Pets

Husband and wife team, Jonathan & Ashton Rose, along with their dogs Yianni and Yoko are my guests this week. They are the founders and owners of Aurora Pets, a UK luxury retail pet site celebrating only the most luxurious and premium brands available – the ultimate Designer Dog Shop. I caught up with them to find out more about their delightful shop….. Hi Ashton, Hi Jonathan…

Hi! We are husband and wife team Ashton and Jonathan plus our two little Frenchies Yianni and Yoko. Jonathan comes from a background of international distribution for luxury products and Ashton is an expert in customer experience. We wanted to create a place where you could not only find the best quality products for your dog but also enjoy the best experience at the same time. We are head over heels in love with our dogs and they are part of our journey no matter what we are doing. Aside from the weekly walks, we travel to different places every weekend to adventure and explore with the dogs. 

What was the inspiration behind your designer dog shop, Aurora Pets?

Yianni and Yoko were our entire inspiration for Aurora Pets. When we first got Yianni we had a lot of difficulties finding quality products that were not made with cheap materials or looked tacky. We ended up shipping products from all over the world which is when the inspiration for our business occurred, with both of our experiences combined we launched Aurora Pets. Yianni and Yoko of course are our chief testers for all products which we road test fully to ensure our customers get the best.

Only the most luxury and premium dog brands are featured on your site from dog fashions to luxury dog treats. I really love the unique Modern Beast vintage t-shirts for dogs! Which brands and/or dog products are proving most popular with dog owners so far? 

Thank you, Modern Beast are awesome and we love their ethical values, one of the many reasons we stock them at Aurora Pets. Generally, our customers love our entire collection of brands and products, each brand has its own unique quality and values which makes them loved by many and us. From Cloud7 and their extremely clean and stylish approach to design, or Max-Bone and Mister Woof with their playful designs with prints and fabrics. Most important to us and our customers we think is the product being functional, that it will survive 100 washes in the washing machine or that they work out on walks or at home. This is always at the forefront of our mind before anything else.

As a company, you strive to ensure that all your packaging does not contain plastic & is 100 % recyclable.Your company also strive to collaborate with brands who are contributing to improving lives of unfortunate dogs.  Such a worthwhile cause – have you got a particular animal charity that you support?

We work with many different charities selecting different companies to receive donations of beautiful joes and products from our collections. We worked quite closely with the Last Chance Animal Rescue Shelter to document their charity and meet the dogs at their rescue, it was incredibly sad to see all the dogs in the rescue but also reassuring to know they at least have somewhere they are being cared for and loved whilst they wait for their forever home.

As you are based in the UK, are your products available to purchase worldwide?

Yes we ship internationally and many of our customers are based in the USA, Japan, Australia and Europe

Being passionate dog owners yourself, you also write blogposts on your website which are of interest to other dog owners. What themed posts create the most interest?

We see a lot of interest in our dog walk blogs, we try to make it a little different using a drone to document the landscape whilst walking, currently, we are documenting the UK, we hope to cover other parts of the world to find the absolute best places to adventure with your dogs. Yianni and Yoko’s second love is being outside exploring, their first love is and always will be food. 

Going on long dog walks is one of your favourite things to do…. where are your favourite places to go dog walking? 

Jonathan: The Devil’s Punch Bowl in Hindhead was absolutely incredible for me, it had so many different aspects for a good dog walk, great vista’s, forest, marsh areas and a little stream for the dogs to play in. We were exploring there for more than 4 hours and loved every minute of it.

 Ashton: Epping Forest because it’s such a vast area to explore, you can visit 10 times and each time walk can be different, it is also extremely quiet and peaceful with dog-friendly restaurants to visit once the walk is done to relax in.

Obviously your products have been tested by your adorable dogs, Yianni and Yoko.  Have you ever come across a product that for some reason they took an instant dislike to it?

We have to say balls, Yianni and Yoko are not huge fans of chasing or returning a ball, unless it has treats in it, Yianni is a heavy chewer and destroys most toys we give him within minutes, the rope toys are great for him to sit and chew on as they also clean his teeth while he is chewing. Yoko wants anything Yianni has got despite her always having one for herself she will ignore it and wait for Yianni to finish with his.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Both of our looks can vary day to day, classy street style would be a good way to describe our daily looks as we have to fit in working plus the chance of getting muddy whilst out walking the dogs. when we are going out for events or a night out, we both like to look smart.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

Ashton: Zara, Ted Baker, and Gucci are my favourites

Jonathan: I love Zara and Farfetch 

Boots or Shoes?

Ashton: Boots – comfortable, versatile and they look great with most outfits.

For Pinning Later

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc so that readers can find out more about Aurora Pets


Instagram :

Thank you Ashton and Jonathan. I’m so glad that Epping Forest is one of your favourite places to visit when dog walking. I grew up in East London and I had Epping Forest on my doorstep. I spent many happy summer holidays climbing trees, getting lost, nature spotting, having picnics in Epping Forest. It certainly is a special place.

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Ashton & Jonathan Rose (Aurora Pets)

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An Interview With Canine Chic

In the past I have interviewed and been wowed by many jewellery designers – from pearls to silicone; silver to diamonds – we’ve read them all!  This week though we are talking about our lovable pooches and their jewellery needs  – yes, that’s right – jewellery for dogs!  My guest, Sarah Eyton is a designer and creative director of “Canine Chic of London”  specialising in pug pendants – luxurious and stylish identity pendants for dogs (and their owners).  I caught up with Sarah to find out more…. hi Sarah!

Hi! My name is Sarah Eyton (pronounced Eye Ton). I am a jewellery and fashion accessories designer from London.

What was the inspiration behind your choice to make pug pendants?

The idea came to me about a year ago, due to clients requests and realising a gap in the market. Within my profession as a jewellery designer, I had often been asked if I could work to varying types of commission. Several customers were asking if I could design and make personalised identity discs for their dogs’ collars. They were asking because they had searched everywhere for beautiful and stylish ID discs to adorn their loved ones’ necks but the search for them had not been fruitful. They’d looked and they couldn’t find anything that came close to what they were searching for – unique designer pendants that complimented or expressed their sartorial aspirations for their four legged friends. Equally important, they often wanted matching ones to wear themselves. They are called PugPendants because my first client was a Pug owner – the name just seemed sweet and appropriate.

Your pug pendants have been promoted by UK based celebrity dogs, including Marcel LeCorgi, Miss Marple, Monty the Frenchie & Coco the Frenchie. I’m fascinated by the Zodiac discs! To date, what has been your most popular pug pendant style?

Yes, I’m very fortunate to have attracted the support from some of the most famous dogs in the U.K! So far the most popular PugPendants are the individual star sign discs – most people know their Dog’s birthday and many owners are getting their own specific zodiac pendant to match. They make a lovely gift, as they come with a little printed scroll depicting the Personality traits of that particular Star sign.

Each piece is so lovely and unique – available in 24K yellow or rose gold plate with a crystal colour choice – where do you find inspiration from for the range of dog tag designs?

I am inspired by sacred geometry. The ‘Oracle’ and ‘Starburst’ PugPendant designs are both derived from this. Then I have fun with the colours of the crystals. Swarovski have such an amazing colour range.

As you are based in London, are your pieces available to purchase worldwide?

All PugPendants are shipped worldwide which is included in the purchase price.

Do you own a dog (or any other pet)?

I have a lovely cat called Eden! It may seem strange to design for dogs when I don’t have one but the truth is if I had my own – he would have been my model and my Muse, so I would never have met all these wonderful dogs and their Humans. They guide me a lot in the creative process by identifying what (in an ideal world) they would want for their furry friends and I can remain (slightly) objective.

You are also a “human” jewellery designer. Have you always been interested in jewellery or did you hope to follow a different career path whilst growing up?

I was a Professional Actress from the age of 14 till 26.
I thought that I would always do that, however in my mid twenties, my circumstances changed. I decided to do a Art foundation, which led to a BA Hons in 3 dimensional design and silversmithing at Brighton University. I consider myself fortunate to have been very involved in many aspects of design, from interiors to furniture and homewares. However, the last 8 years have been focussed on designing jewellery and fashion accessories, including handbags – and now dog apparel!

Your jewellery collection features a lot of Perspex bangles as well as other materials such as aluminium, precious metals, silver & gold. Why do you enjoy using Perspex, over other materials?

I love Perspex! The colours and its versatility. When I first started there wasn’t many fashion people designing with it and laser engraving was in its infancy. I felt like a pioneer and wanted to explore this arena. I wanted to change the impression people had of plastics being seen as landfill – obviously some is and that is a real problem! However, branded Perspex is about 3 x the price of glass, so I consider it a luxury material and treat it as such. As they are handmade, none of my pieces are mass produced.

Are there other canine chic pieces in the pipeline for the future?

So many ideas, so little time! I have a whole new range of products for dogs (and occasionally their humans) in production, mainly to be released in time for Christmas and next year.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I love heels but they have to be comfortable. I’m better with quite tailored clothes and have to look fairly smart for meetings etc but am more casual at home.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

I pick up most pieces in the High Street stores like TopShop and Zara etc but occasionally get a versatile designer piece to dress things up.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I really need some smart winter day boots to walk around town in.

Boots or Shoes?

I’m afraid it has to be both. It’s a London weather thing…boots in winter and shoes during our short and unpredictable summer…
I like ankle boots to wear with jeans etc and higher boots with skirts.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc so that readers can find out more about Canine Chic and your own jewellery collection.

Canine Chic of London is on also please follow on Instagram, as that’s where the day to day stuff happens @caninechicoflondon 

My Perspex jewellery and handbags is at and on Instagram I am @saraheyton

Thank you Sarah! I’m fascinated by the zodiac pendants for dogs! I wonder if pets exhibit the same characteristics as humans born under the same star sign?! I don’t have dogs but I do have 2 cats who were both born at the end of July, making them Leos. You certainly know they are there, they enjoy being made a fuss of and they love being brushed …. hmm.. just like my Leo born husband and son! What star sign are your pets? Do they show any characteristics usually linked with that star sign? Do share your opinions, I’d love to know!

Linda x

All photographs published with kind permission from Sarah Eyton/ Canine Chic of London.

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