Cheetahs In My Shoes

living with the imaginary menagerie and all that it entails


Eyes – See it, Snap it, Love it

Dear Beautiful Boy has set this lovely challenge and the theme this week is eyes.  I’m going to go a little out of the box again as I’m sure that these butterfly markings are called ‘eyes’ and are used to help camouflage these beauties by confusing hungry prey.

I took this photo in the Butterfly exhibit at ZSL London Zoo.  I’ve always struggled to take good pictures of the butterflies there – the temperature difference to outside inevitably makes the lens steam up (and my glasses) and butterflies are not known for their ability to stay still for that perfect shot!  I understand why their feeding stations are so bright but wish they were a little less plastic looking!!  You can just see the proboscis curling back in and how the legs are jointed – I reckon that’s pretty cool.


Oriental Small Clawed Otters

OK, you’ve realised by now we live between ZSL London and ZSL Whipsnade Zoos.  I will not ramble on about how much we love it – so let me introduce you to the Oriental Small Clawed Otters who live at London Zoo.  They squeak, they plane spot, they bundle and have absolutely no respect for each others personal space.

Otter Race Start Line

Now the easiest way to get to where I want to go is...?

On your marks...

Which way should we be facing?

And then they got distracted: Plane spotting


The Gallery – Light

The theme that Tara’s set us this week for The Gallery is ‘Light’ with the instruction that we can interpret this how we want.  So, here we go:

By the light of the moon everything just looks a little bit magical. From the first fingernail of a new moon to a glowing ball of orange fire in the sky, a clear night by moonlight is always lovely.

After the recent snow the sun started to peep through the grey clouds - like a big frisbee of white, glowing in the sky, just beginning to make the snow sparkle and melt

This is the view from my front door on Monday evening (4th March). It's blowing a gale and the clouds are billowing past - but with the sun setting through them it looks all pink. Love it!

My next light pictures are from, you’ve guessed it, our multiple zoo visits…

This is Lola the Common Hippo. We spent ages watching her play with her daughter Hula splashing around between the shadows and sunlight on her pool

This is a Rosy Carribean Flamingo who lives at Whipsnade Zoo. This was taken in the late afternoon with (I think) the most perfect reflections

These lights change colour constantly and lead down to the nocturnal section at London Zoo. The Cheetah Keeper managed to take this because he doesn't like going in to see the rats and the bats!

You can see some more of his pictures in my “Playing with Light” post from last week (posted before I knew the theme for this week!)

And finally, my last light picture.  The picture that, whilst it was being taken, caused my sanity to be (yet again) questioned.  This little light (it’s one of two) is something that I dreamed of having in my kitchen and, with much persuasion (if I remember rightly), we got a cooker hood with lights in it.  They’re the lights I cook by, bake by, ice by and, if it’s dark, photograph by.  It’s a little halogen light that has to be thumped occasionally to get it to work and have the food splatters cleaned off it on a regular basis.  When I have a new kitchen (yeah, like that’s going to happen any time soon), I’m going to have even more of these lights hidden away and really shiny surfaces that reflect the light… Ahem, back to reality.

Now pop over to The Gallery to see some more amazing pictures


Playing with Light

At London Zoo there’s a rather fab rainforest section and below it, a exhibit of nocturnal animals.  The Cheetah Keeper hates this bit so we sit outside and watch the lights that change colour as you walk down the stairs.  On our last visit (and because his camera was out of batteries) I foolishly? let him have a little go with mine.  I fiddled about with some settings whilst looking knowledgeable *ahem* and he managed to produce these.

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Nice work Cheetah Keeper


6 months of Blogging and 5 things that make me happy

I’ve been blogging for 6 months.  6 whole months…of me, my laptop, my camera and a whole load of imaginary friends.  Bits of my history, bits of now, sadness, family life, beautiful (I hope) pictures, some silliness and a fair amount of cake along the way.

So, how to mark this auspicious occasion?  It’s not been a jolly few weeks for me but after You’re Beautiful yesterday I think the blog needs a bit of a smile so I’ve taken the lovely Kate Takes 5 Listography theme of 5 things that make me happy to do so.  I’ve spent too much of today thinking about the word ‘happy’.  It’s not a word I associate with ‘me’ at the moment, it’ll come but it may take a while.  So I’ve chosen 5 things that are helping me get into a better ‘place’:


Washing on the line, drying, with bright blue sky, in February


Things growing that we planted together - these daffodils were planted with the Cheetah Keeper's sister 5 years ago! Spring is on the way


Pepsi Max on special offer in the supermarket. I have a bit of an addiction!


Baking. I'm not very good with compliments but watching people look at, eat and enjoy the cakes that I make is something that baffles and delights me in equal measure


Going to the Zoo. Seeing things (like this Sloth actually moving!), feeding the children's love of learning, being outside in the fresh air and being lucky enough to see these amazing animals on such a regular basis.

Here’s to the next six months – and if there’s anything I write that you particularly enjoy, please let me know.

There’s lots of other happy thoughts over on Kate’s Listography this week – pop over for a bit more feel good blogging