We Adopted A Retired Racing Greyhound!

Meet Bonnie, a retired racing greyhound we adopted 6 weeks ago!

If you have been following me on Instagram you will know that we are absolutely besotted!  We have been talking about getting pets for ages. I have always wanted a cat after growing up with cats, but I have unfortunately become allergic to cat hair since I moved out. Almost every time I visit my family home with three cats, I feel run down for a few days after. Aneurin and I both have never had a dog but we love them, and it just made sense as another pet option!

We are a big believer in #AdoptDontShop knowing there are way too many pets out there who need to be homed. Researching the dog breeds that suits our lifestyle the best and our preference for medium / large dogs, we decided on greyhounds! They are often compared to cats – they sleep a lot and groom themselves making them the cleanest dog breed of all, and despite their lightning speed, they only need 20 minutes of exercise twice a day.

I became horrified reading facts and stories about the greyhound racing industry. Greyhounds are the most exploited dog breed in the world. Just one of the many greyhound rehoming charities, The Greyhound Trust said they always have around 800 greyhounds available for adoption! It pains me knowing there are lots of people willing to spend hundreds of pounds or even more on ‘fashionable’ pets while there are lots of homeless pets with just as much love to give.

We visited an independent greyhound sanctuary in Sutton-on-Trent for four weekends in a row, meeting and walking greyhounds. We met Bonnie on our second visit and we loved her immediately despite her aloofness. She was wonderful on the lead and saying goodbyes with gentle head scratches she looked right in my eyes and I cried! I fell in love with her right there. We talked about the possibility of adopting her and after walking a few other dogs we were still attached to Bonnie. As a part of the process we took her out for a big park walk, and then to our house for a day to see how she coped. She did very well and we were so happy being with her. Right after the home visit we are able to adopt her and take her home the next day! We didn’t have anything ready, fortunately the £150 adoption fee included a lot of essentials such as food & scoop, grooming mitt, lead, identity tag etc.

Around the house, she is super chill and loves attention. We give her plenty of cuddles, chest rubs and neck scratches, which she is also learning how to ask for too! As she comes out of her shell she is starting be playful which surprises us sometimes, considering how timid she was at first. Despite her anxiety around roads and people she gets super excited, jumps around and wags her tail madly when getting ready for walks! She loves riding in the car too – she seems to find it a safe place, perhaps because she is used to being in vehicles a lot during her racing life.

Watching her confidence blossoming quickly, we are reassured that with time and patience she will become fully comfortable outside the house and we hope that she now feels totally safe and happy with us!

Here’s to making more happy memories as a new family of 3!

Strange Times!

I keep seeing the phrase ‘strange times’ on every platform: It is strange to have to stay at arm’s length from our loved ones and experience all the upheaval that the response to the virus has required. The repercussions will go on. At times, it is overwhelming and difficult to comprehend.
What has uplifted me and kept me going, is that in distancing ourselves physically, it seems to me that our sense of community appears to be bringing us together in new and multi-faceted ways.
Whilst many things have closed, other things appear to have opened up, especially in the art world.

Virtual Tours

So many of great museums and galleries have responded by bringing more of their collections to the internet. There is so much to see now online that I could sit all day and cruise the material available online:
https://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/virtual-museum.html
https://www.kew.org/about-us/virtual-kew-wakehurst

Engaging Activities

Lots of places have been actively engaging us with activities to help keep us stimulated
My own local favourite Wollaton Hall has an interesting project going called the Museum of Me.

Earlier this week, I watched Grayson Perry’s Art Club on Channel Four and it was fun to watch. He is encouraging people to submit artwork to the show and I might do that, if I can muster any courage! Each episode will have a drawing theme and yesterday’s episode was about portraits, so right after the programme, my partner and I drew each other with a 10 minute limit.

NHS Advice

I found this really helpful article from the NHS about mental well-being while staying at home.

Project

With things quieter on the business front, I have a little more extra time.
I decided to join in the 100 Days Project alongside other artists on Instagram! Decided to focus on the Animal Kingdom because it is an aspect of my painting I want to improve. I started at A and am working my way through the alphabet! My favourites so far are the Bat and Crab!

Vegetable Container Gardening

My partner and I have absolutely no experience with growing crops, so we decided to start off with buying starter vegetable seedlings from our local Homebase: Trying container gardening, rather than digging up a vegetable patch. Small steps.

We have leeks which are doing very well. The radish and tomatoes have grown bigger but look a little unhappy. Based on research, I realized that they may be happier being in a greenhouse, which we don’t have. The strawberries are doing well, however there are holes in the leaves. Gotta find out what’s munching them! Herb wise, we have rosemary, thyme and parsley. I have really enjoyed popping out and picking them for my cooking recently! Just like indoor gardening, it is a learning curve and a fun thing to do.

Indoor Gardening

It is the growing period for houseplants, so I have been doing re-potting sessions over the last three weekends. They seem to be very happy and growing new leaves! It also has been very warm recently so I have been paying attention to those that needed a misting or watering.

When we renovated our porch room in early February, we built shelves inside the window where we can display all the cacti and succulents! The porch room is south facing and gets really hot, which is a perfect environment for them. Just last week, I was very excited to see some of the cacti blooming flowers!

My partner’s parents got me some lithop and cactus seeds for Christmas which I sowed into 12 peat pots. All the pots eventually grew seedlings. Hurrah! They don’t look like a lithop or cactus but despite my puzzlement, I am overjoyed to see some green and I can’t wait to see them grow bigger!

Cooking

We have been doing a lot of new to us recipes during this time. Normally, when we are really busy, I cook our tried and tested favourites. However, having a little more time has allowed us to be a bit more experimental in the kitchen. We have been making a lot of new wholesome recipes using pulses and so far, we would recommend these recipes:

Creamy chicken, bean & leek traybake

Haddock with cannellini beans & artichokes

Middle Eastern lentils

We have the cookbook Tin Can Cook by Jack Monroe and it is a godsend if you want to go through your tins. Love lots of her recipes and are looking to buy more of her cookbooks.

Keeping in Touch

I have been trying to keep up with posting on Instagram. Also touching base with my family every day – even if it’s just a quick text or foodie photo!

It’s easy to forget the basic things that help to keep us healthy and emotionally sorted: sleep, exercise, fresh food, water, time outdoors – so we are concentrating on these things.

In these strange times, take care friends and stay well!

Free UK Shipping Until Further Notice

It is a strange time for many of us. I hope you are keeping well, and staying safe for yourselves and others.

I had 5 markets booked until July, but unfortunately three of them so far have been cancelled due to Coronavirus. It’s understandable however, and very important that we all practise social distancing and self isolation to slow down its spread.

My shop sales have slowed down and all of my stockists have closed temporarily. As a result of this and market cancellations, my income has taken a hit. While I am fortunate that my partner’s income will keep the roof over our heads, it is a very worrying time for my business.

We small businesses need your help, more than ever. Please consider supporting us, no matter how little.

I am now offering free UK shipping for everything on my shop until further notice, with no minimum order.

It may take slightly longer than usual to receive your order because I am reducing the frequency of my trips to the Post Office to minimise contact with other people. When placing an order, please expect your delivery in 1-4 working days.

If you are not shopping for cards, wall art, or stationery, please consider supporting me on Ko-Fi where you can send me a few pounds to support my business.

There are other ways you can support me without spending: sign up to my newsletter, recommend Katrina Sophia to your friends, follow me on social media, like and comment on my posts, and share pictures of your Katrina Sophia products tagging me and using the hashtag #ksinthewild

Thank you ever so much, from the bottom of my heart!
Stay safe and see you on the other side.

Spring

Spring

Spring is here! There are lots of signs: Colourful crocuses peeping out from the grass, swathes of dancing daffodils along embankments, beautiful cherry blossom hanging from the trees. There are so many beautiful flowers popping their heads up into these early cold months: Daffodils, tulips, crocuses, snowdrops, bluebells, and hyacinths, to name but a few. These brave pioneers of the flowering world pushing their heads up into the frosty world.

Beautiful crocuses in Woodthorpe Grange Park

Garden

We moved to our home at the end of 2018 and we have not had time to consider the garden very much. So many other priorities at first. But we have been discussing it from time to time. As the days get milder and the light stays for longer, I have found my thoughts are turning more and more to our garden space.

My mum gifted me this interesting old book at Christmas: Wildlife Gardening by Fran Hill. I certainly like the idea of having a wildlife friendly garden, even though we are in the city. Our pollinators, especially bees, could use all the help they can get. We are very lucky to have a garden and want to use it for growing food as well as lovely plants. So as winter rolls into spring we are having a think about what to plant in the garden. I will update you with our progress.

Some herbs and starter vegetable plants – tomato, strawberry, radish, leek and jalapeno chilli

Being Thankful

Spring – a season of fresh new hope and renewal. This year it is different for all of us across the world. To stay true to the spirit of this time, I am trying to think of all the things I am thankful for:

  1. Having access to the Internet means I have the world at hand. Sites like Instagram and You Tube means that I can keep in touch with communities and like-minded people.
    There are several art projects on Instagram encouraging people to keep in touch: Amy Rose Geden’s Stay at Home Art Club and Carson Ellis’ Quarantine Art Club, to name two.
  2. Museums and galleries are aiming to put more programming onto You Tube to share their collections.
    • I recently noticed a request from the V&A museum in London regarding what content we, the public, would like to see. V&A You Tube.
    • Then there’s the British Museum’s Curators Corner, which explores the curator’s favourite museum pieces. BM Curator’s Corner.
    • My local Nottingham Contemporary has some very interesting YouTube videos. Nottingham Contemporary You Tube.
  3. We are a long way from our family, but we can still have face to face time using Skype or video calling on WhatsApp.
  4. Our brilliant posties and parcel delivery companies are still working hard: I can send out orders, send letters and cards to my friends and family and receive the things I need without going out.
  5. Thanks to the people who are manning and stocking the supermarkets; the truckers who are transporting our goods; and the people who are still working to make and produce all the things we need. We managed to get some eggs yesterday. Yay! We were beginning to think we had an egg-less future.
  6. I am so grateful that we live in a country with universal health care: Free at point of use. It is times like these that we can really appreciate access to our health service. Not compromised by our ability to pay or by greedy insurance companies. I am so thankful for the NHS staff and the wonderful work they do.

The list could be longer – but this post has to finish.

Do take care, keep safe and well.