Cheetahs In My Shoes

living with the imaginary menagerie and all that it entails


You’re Beautiful – Looking Up

I wrote a bit a the weekend about how my Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, having been behaving itself quite nicely for a while thank you, had decided to go into flare and that I had woken up bendy last week – partial dislocations, the shakes, wobbles and other fun stuff.

In January next year it will be 20 years since I had my first kneecap surgically removed – and 19 years after the 2nd one coming out.  Before you ask, I don’t have replacements – just some clever re-sewing and some big scars.  With this surgery I lost a huge amount of the nerves in my knees – the ones that send your head the messages about where your legs and feet are in relation to the rest of the world.  Mix this with the lack of coordination that Ehlers Danlos brings and you will probably understand why I spend a huge amount of time looking at my feet.  The messages don’t come from the nerves – I have to use my eyes…

It’s incredibly easy to spend all your time looking down – missing what’s going on around you.  As part of my search for the beauty around us I’ve made a concerted attempt to stand still and look up – and as I have, I’ve spotted our red kites circling, the geese flying past, blackbirds nestbuilding and the most amazing cloud formations.  I’m becoming a bit of a cloud obsessive – I still need to learn what’s what – but the way the light shines through, bounces off and falls on things is a source of endless fascination – much to the disdain of the children at times.

My ‘You’re Beautiful’ this week is photos taken by me looking up.  You will always find things of beauty looking down, but sometimes it’s good for your head, and your heart, to let the rays of the sun offer you some inner warmth.

None of these pictures have been edited – it’s just been me and my camera.

There were some amazing You’re Beautiful’s linked up last week – thank you all.  What could you add this week?  If you need some inspiration try a ‘looking up’ picture – you may just be amazed at what you see.


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Come and join us and share some positivity – and, as with all such link-ups, you’ll get out what you put into it!  Please let us know that you’ve linked up using #yourebeautiful.  You can find me @cheetahsinshoes – and I’ll tweet it out too.

Click here  to link up – I look forward to seeing your beautiful things


The Gallery – Family

Whilst away during half term we visited Becky Falls on Dartmoor.  It homes unwanted pets and has a great little education programme that allows you to get up close and personal with all sorts of animals, cute and cuddly and big and scaly – the Cheetah Keeper reporting with great pride that he got to stroke a “Boeing Constrictor”.  My DH doesn’t really feature on the blog (at his request) so this is about as close to a picture of my family that you’ll get…

No we can’t have a hamster



More Seagulls

I know, I know – seagulls are seen by many as vermin – flying rats, dive bombing chip motivated seaside terrorists.  However, if they’re not annoying you and just going about their business, well, they do have a fairly high (in my opinion) comedy factor and do look rather stunning against a blue sky or an English beach.


and  then, she {snapped}


Windows on Wildlife – Snails

I know I’ve written a fair amount about our trip to Devon.  It gave us a much needed break and me the chance to get out there with my camera. I wrote last week in You’re Beautiful about my walk to and from the sea after it had rained.  I’m not built for speed and was busy looking at all the flowers around me and soon realised that part of nature’s rich pattern is that something has to live on the plants.

Windows on Wildlife

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Friday Photos – Babbacombe Model Village

I wrote a little about our trip to Babbacombe Model Village for See It Snap It Love It on Tuesday.   One of the signs of a really good model village is that they plant the surroundings almost to scale – so lots and lots of little plants, generally flowering, that don’t overshadow the skill of the model makers.  I admit, I may have spent slightly more time photographing the plants and flowers (perfect height, perfect colours, I couldn’t help myself – honest) than looking at the models but I enjoyed it!

Here’s my gallery of pictures from our trip – click on any image to make it larger.



You’re Beautiful – After The Rain

Firstly, a massive thank you must go to Mammasaurus who hosted You’re Beautiful last week.  Despite her comments about a certain Jubilee thong *ahem* her post was everything that You’re Beautiful is about – if you haven’t read it, go now – it’s here.

We spent last week in Devon – it rained, the winds blew to the predicted 70mph, it rained some more.   Our caravan was full of drying towels and the “oh god what will we do if it rains again tomorrow?” conversation was had (as we opened another bottle of cider to keep out the damp).  But it did stop raining, and the sun did come out and the skies were blue with little white fluffy clouds.

The Cheetah Keeper and his Sister don’t have passports yet – we’ve chosen not to afford them and made the most of holidaying in our beautiful country.  I don’t see it as a ‘staycation’ or ‘holidaying at home’ – we’re off to have an adventure in a part of the world the children have yet to experience – with the added luxury of being able to nip to Tesco’s/Sainsburys/Morrisons as we need to.  We stay on holiday parks in a caravan (albeit one with double glazing and a fair few semi-luxurious touches) and we explore our surroundings.  Admittedly, when the Cheetah Keeper was 16 weeks old this ‘holiday’ left me a crumpled heap sobbing on the beach in Norfolk, but 5 years on, we’ve had a really good time.

When the rain finally stopped one evening and the evening sun started warming our faces I ventured down to the sea with the camera.   The path to the sea was a tad steep (for those of us lacking balance steep slopes aren’t the easiest) so I was travelling very slowly and looking at my feet – which then made me look into the hedgerows.  There I spotted wild strawberries, a beautiful glade, and rain drops clinging to the flowers with the sun glinting on them.  They inspired me this week – rain can be devastating – for those people suffering at the moment I can’t imagine you’ll ever think that rain is beautiful again.  However, at that moment in time, on the way down to (and up from) Fishcombe Cove on the South Devon coast – it made things very beautiful.

So, despite the rain, the stresses of half term and everything that life throws at us, what have you found that’s beautiful (in absolutely any form) this week?  Words, pictures, thoughts, actions, creation?  Something that affects you.  There ends my excessive use of italics for the week!

Click here add your post, use the badge if you’d like and let us know on Twitter too – you can find me @cheetahsinshoes (or click on the link in my sidebar) and use the hashtag #yourebeautiful.

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See It, Snap It, Love It – Surprise!

Surprises can be good – the ones that make you go “ooh, how lovely” or “what a lovely surprise” are particular favourites of mine.  They can also make you jump and bring words to mind that you  shouldn’t really say in front of the children.

Last Sunday we went to the Babbacombe Model Village – which, you’ll be really surprised by this… honest… is in Babbacombe.  Oh, you’re not surprised?  Babbacombe is on the South Devon coast just outside Paignton before you reach Torquay.  For those of you accustomed to Milkshake on Channel 5 of a morning, this the model village that Milkshake Monkey has visited – and the absolute delight on the faces of my children when they found his little model was brilliant.  It’s also the model village my parents took me to when I was, ooh, about 3.  It’s kept with the times but the puns are just as bad (are bad puns compulsory in model villages?) and if you look closely, you might just spot someone with no clothes on in the window of a model.

Anyway – the village boasts a fire breathing dragon.  That’s quite a big boast – and when we got to the beast it looked like a model dragon with a bunsen burner to me.  And then all of a sudden:

and there was a combined cry of “ooh!!” as everyone jumped followed by “can we watch it again…” from lots of smaller guests who then promptly jumped as it happened however many minutes later it was.


Windows on Wildlife – Seagulls

There’s a new Linky in town – and thanks to a rather brilliant Mammasaurus giving me the heads up I am now moving to another little part of blogging happiness.  Withywindle Nature have identified a gap in the market (as it were) for a chance to showcase our interaction with wildlife – woooohoooooooooo!  (do you get the impression this excites me a little? – in a blogging way, obviously).

We’ve spent the last week in Devon.  Despite what every weather forecast said, there was some blue sky and with it came sunshine.  Our holiday park was 200yards from the shore and hence there were seagulls in abundance – mainly happier eating stuff out the bins than diving for their own fish – and they were cocky too – coming to stand at an open door and squawking in a somewhat pathetic manner hoping for a morsel of something.

It’s also seagull breeding season – and there was much preening, squawking and general showing off (as well as some nest building) – here’s daddy seagull keeping an eye on things:

Windows on Wildlife



We were fortunate to celebrate not only the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee but the 60th Anniversary of the school that the Cheetah Keeper and his Sister attend being opened.  Cue, a playground street party, balloons, cake and ‘my’ (obviously mine because I play the piano for them!) brilliant choir singing.  These kids turn me into an emotional mess pretty much every rehearsal now – the growing confidence, beauty of sound, the one who cried because she was leaving the school and would miss choir…

We then embarked on what would be an epic nearly 7 hour journey to Devon for our half term break.  Sorry London, but if half the population was descending on us, we wanted to head in the opposite direction – along with the remaining half of the population so it seemed.  There we were treated to a street party at our Holiday Park, bunting and general merriment – and I realised I am a right sucker for bunting against blue sky pictures.