The Cat’s Guide to Christmas

Alright? I’m Bubble. Bubble the cat.

Bubble the Cat

You may wonder why my owners would give a name like Bubble to a male cat. Well, my sister is called Squeak (Bubble and Squeak, get it?) And all the stupid humans thought I was a girl until the vets confirmed differently. It’s not a name I’m particularly fond of and, as a result, I have spent my entire life in a constant sulk, excluding the times I shout at the humans to feed me.

Like a lot of men I like to work out, only I can’t get to the gym on account of being a cat so spend most of my free time doing the next best thing; sleeping in a gym bag.


And trust me ladies, it shows.


I’m sexy and I know it.

Anyway, this human thing called Christmas is coming up and while I’ve tried to hide from it…


…it has finally caught up with me. I wasn’t even going to do presents this year (thinking about the environment, y’know?) But then I walked in one day and found my sister had already started wrapping up gifts.


So really I didn’t have a choice. Luckily I don’t have many others to buy for (my advice if you’re looking to become a self-reliant, anti-social git? Become a cat). I just needed to get something for my annoying sister, even if she does always steal the best sleeping spots in the house.


I took inspiration from my humans and first went for a dig around the cupboards, see if there was anything from past year’s of Christmas shopping I could give her.


But had no joy. Then I took to the online shops but kept getting messed up suggestions like this:


(I think one of those humans has been using my browser to search for dodgy products again.)

There was no other option, I’d have to hit the high street. I hopped on the roof of the next family cab into town and away I went.

The first thing that struck me was the weird customs humans have for celebrating what is meant to be a happy time of year. If they’re not advertising surreal…


…Then they’re hanging and impaling little elf people in some kind of pagan ritual.


It’s no wonder you’re all fat alcoholics. You actually decorate your homes with these!

Then again, after seeing this I have a new found respect for the miracle of the Virgin birth.


And why is this woman’s face all over bags of crisps? Is this what you humans would call ‘the height of your career?’


(And if you think I’m being mean just remember, I’m a cat. It’s what we do.)

When it came to shopping for Christmas presents, I didn’t know where to start. Luckily, many of the shops displayed their wares in a way that was perfect for the average bloke applying a scatter gun/panic buy approach to gifting.


A little bit too generic female for my sister who happens to like her fur coat very much. Instead I went to the male default #2, a nice new perfume.


Or maybe not.

I popped into a book shop because I know Squeak the cat likes to read a light weight novel or two. I was instantly drawn to a title that looked like it could have been written by the human in my family who writes for that blog, the one they call Alice. It just screamed her style of writing.


And then I read the blurb and felt less convinced. I mean, the average writing quality was on par with Alice’s, but the plot development was anything but.


I mean it’s completely unbelievable…it’s obvious that Daisy is sleeping with Greg (that’s why he keeps vanishing) and the Goose is mad because it’s Greg’s jilted lover. I’m a male cat and I can see that. Humans don’t half write some rubbish when they’re trying to pull sales or views.

In the same shop there was also this book:


(One of the humans I was with said to Alice, “hey, Alice! They wrote a book about you trying to get a life!” And she said, “hey, India! They wrote a sequel where I hit you with that very book!”)

To be fair to the human called India, Alice does have a tendency to hang out in coffee shops by herself and woman-spread everywhere.


She likes to think it makes her look smart, I think it’s just to cover up the fact that she’s constantly spilling good coffee.

Like a lot of humans, she’d buy just about anything that’s coffee-branded.


(If you had to look twice before spotting it, you’ve got a problem.)

On another note, I’m not sure what image you big humans are trying to suggest to little humans when you give them dolls with drugged up eyes.


In the same way that I don’t fully get the need to take the Every Love Matters campaign to the extremes of inanimate objects.


(I did try to tell her that her companion didn’t seem interested, but she told me to tinsel off – hah, and you thought Cats have no sense of poor humour…)

And as for this…


…You humans are alright with making your spawn think they’re being spied upon but I just happen to walk in on you taking a shower and suddenly it’s completely unacceptable? Your species is seriously messed up.

But then I saw this and I restored my faith in the tat you humans gift each other:

I’ll have ten please…for myself.

And this made me laugh:


It’s a physical chocolate replica of Bitcoin, but Bitcoin isn’t physical, it’s a virtual currency! Sadly however no one in the store seemed to get the joke. It’s as if people shopping in Poundland for Christmas presents don’t dwell on that level of humour.

God, you humans don’t have produce some weird looking babies? At least kittens are fluffy, but you guys decide to put the strangest looking ones on jigsaw puzzles! Why?


And what the hell is this?!


Have people literally turned to gifting c**p to each other? No wonder people have started donating money to the Slippers for Donkeys campaign or whatever far out animal charities exist nowadays.

When did the Grinch get sold into human-creature trafficking? Asking on behalf of a friend.


It’s a niche market, granted, but humanity really has lost its heart if it can’t cough up £1 to help.

Jesus Christ! What is this?!


Why would you even entertain the thought of inviting this into your house? It’s flipping scary!

It was around this time that I gave up with Christmas shopping. The final straw came when, after hours of searching, the one and only thing I thought I could gift my feline sister, a nice new outfit, well it turned out to be out of stock in her size. Typical!


I give up. I knew I should have picked something from the National Trust’s Christmas store when I had the chance.


All this shopping for Christmas presents just takes too much time!

Sod it, this year I’ll just wrap myself up and be my sister’s Christmas pressie, because lets be honest, family is the best damn thing you can have.


Great, so that’s Christmas settled. Now I can crack on with watching some high-quality festive films, ones which in my view were robbed of Oscar nominations…


…And deal with more pressing matters. How do I get this human to move out of my spot?


Meowy pawmas everyone!


(Special thanks to the members of my immediate family for making this post possible by constantly spamming my WhatsApp feed with cat photos.)


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Gym? What’s a Gym?

Gonna get straight to it, I’ve taken up membership at a local gym. In it is loads of gym-y equipment like treadmills, weights and water fountains (the stuff you’d expect) but there are also items of equipment which to the novice gym goer are both weird and scary. Take for example the Stair Stepper, a machine that looks like something you’d buy on The Sims as a wacky item. Shock (/horror) it exists in real life:


Another fine example is the nicely titled ‘Ab Cruncher’ that aims to do exactly what it says on the tin. Now in this image you’d think it was a right jolly using one of these:


But seriously, when you see people using them in real life it’s easy to question whether the design originates from some form of medieval torture. I mean look at the girl in this video demonstrating how to use the machine:

Rebecca looks like she’s about to poop herself.

I will be the first to admit that my bi to thrice weekly gym visits has not seen me use either these two machines so far (I joined up about a month ago). Thanks to Rebecca I’m now scared of the Ab Cruncher and part of me asks why there is a demand for a Stair Stepper. Either these people are living in bungalows or have never utilised an escalator in an empty shopping centre.

Back to me then. I joined the gym after many weeks of boredom pondering how to spend my evenings after work. I mean sure, I have socks to wash and I guess the cheap cheese won’t buy itself, but these are hardly riveting ways to spend one’s evening. I was also getting worn down by my born-again-fitness-freak housemate who was coming home every evening in her gym gear saying, “I’ve just been at a couple of fitness classes and on the weights. You been up to much?” “I made a sandwhich and now I’m deciding which chocolate bar to eat. It’s been a hectic evening.”

The two factors combined I took the plunge and signed up to the gym. I was uneasy about the idea at first, more than anything because I’d previously signed up to the gym at university, handing over £120 annual membership in my Freshers’ Week. To 99.9% of people this would be a good deal. Guess how many times I frequented the gym in one year?


Yes, that’s right, twice. Both times to use the pool. And one of those times was because Alice got a little tipsy one evening and convinced someone she barely knew to go swimming the next day. It was both incredibly awkward and with a headache incredibly not fun. I suppose you could count the time I went to the gym induction. Oh yeah, went to an induction on how to use the gym equipment but then walked out with this new found knowledge never to return again. Who does that? Oh wait, ME!

Simply put, I had a deep rooted fears I would bail again on this gym in Swindon. This time though I double checked the money would leave my account every month so that I was reminded of my responsibility to commit to this. Money on the table, cheeky corporate discount applied, I signed up. First thought after clicking ‘submit’, “shoot, I’m actually going to have to go to this place now”.

First day and I think both my friends will agree I was completely clueless on what to do. I was only one rung of the ladder up from Homer…

I did not know where to go or what to do and I was wearing gym clothing bought about a year ago (I have a theory that goes if you buy the equipment, your body will do the rest. If you buy the textbooks, the essay will magically write itself; if you buy the sports gear, you’ll magically lose weight overnight. It is a theory that has yet to be proven true).

Where to look was also a source of confusion. I mean in the gym the men either look like this:


Or this:


Or this:


I mean not that I have anything against any of these sort of guys, but in my gym they’re never…




In the space of five minutes I felt every stereotype and expectation I had come to build up in my mind turn to sweaty ash before my eyes. I was in a very good mind to write a strongly worded open letter to the advertising industry.

That said, since joining the gym I spend less time fussing about the lack of eye candy and more time in female dominated classes, (in the words of one family member “you don’t get many guys attending Zumba classes, those that do are a bit more, you know, theatrical”). However pushing my body to its limits has, well, it’s limits. After four weeks of intense aerobics classes and prolonged periods on cardio machines something had to give (literally). On Wednesday my knees were absolutely knackered.

Despite the pain and genuine concern I had, I was also a little bit chuffed. I’d never had a sporting injury before! Sure, I’d given myself stitches stretching to get crisps and there was that time I fell face first onto the ice on a school trip, spraining my wrist and bringing half the class down with me, but this was a proper minor injury.

I Googled knee sprains and from the information I could find I made the balanced decision that I wasn’t going to die. Giddy from the excitement of a) knowing I wasn’t going to die and b) realising I wasn’t doing this for a laugh, I was a health freak with an injury, I started doing crazy stuff like buying vitamins with fancy names like glucosamine and Ebay-ing joint supports.


(I’m aware in that photo it looks like my knee has taken a liking to the model in the photo. Wouldn’t blame it, that’s one nice looking knee.)

Pain kicked in though so I dug around in my limited medicine drawer to find this. A product that I never, ever, thought I’d end up using.


It’s like the cold sore cream Mumma Bennett made me buy before University “you won’t ever need this, but it’ll be nice to know you have it.” Never used it. Actually I think I still might have it…expiry dates don’t matter on drugs right?

The next problem with the heat cream was how the heck was I meant to apply it. Unsure, I decided on two very different approaches, the hope being one of the two ways must work.

If you can’t be bothered to watch the video, right knee got the dotted treatment:


The left knee got the smiley face treatment.


(By the time I took the photo I had wiped the hat off. It didn’t suit the smiley face’s style)

This didn’t really work so I tried the new fangled method of rubbing the cream in. Seemed like a good decision at the time. I put a hot water bottle on my knees and relaxed with a tea to watch The Apprentice. 20 seconds later I felt a tingling (not the good tingling like the feeling of Christmas or a puppy licking your hand). It was then that I very quickly realised I was burning. The hot water bottle had proceeded to leak boiling water on my knees and the cream I had applied using my hands had got into a burst blister (I was so hyped on my knees I hadn’t noticed this other sporting injury). Both my knees and my hand was burning. I yelped and jerked forward, spilling very hot tea all over my torso, the additional shock causing me to fall out of bed, whacking half my body on a floor covered with chargers and pens. I stumbled out to get tissue but upon re-entering my room I was hit by a wall of menthol. In my excited attempts to self heal I must have used more of the cream than recommended, because now my eyes were burning from the fumes. In the space of five minutes I had managed to turn one injury into six. If that isn’t talent I don’t know what is.

On the plus side, my knees are now fine.

All this and I only joined the gym a month ago. This is still very early days, who knows, I may even do another post on this later on looking back on my what I have/haven’t achieved (ok future me, now you HAVE to keep going at it!) Right noe though I’m determined to stay at this and get fitter, even if it kills me.

No seriously, keep the ambulance on speed dial.