Sunday, 29 September 2013


I love getting post. I clearly remember the morning my Weetabix Club membership arrived when I was eight. Even getting a 'Brains' badge instead of a 'Bixie' badge didn't spoil the thrill of a parcel arriving at our house, addressed to me.

Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever grow up and stop feeling surges of giddy Weetabix Gang excitement when parcels or letters arrive in my letterbox. (Bills and junk mail please note, this does not apply to you.) There's no sign of that yet, especially when someone sends me a parcel filled with pictures, stories and adventures. Which is what happened when Mamoko came through my door.

Each page in Mamoko is filled from corner to corner with characters and clues, which you uncover to tell the story. The first page introduces the players, but this is the only time words are used – the rest of the story is all told through Daniel Mizielinski's maze of brilliantly simple illustrations. So you find out that Clyde Snatchit (the cat) has been up to not good and it's down to Claude van Clue (the rat) to solve the crime. Then you follow Clyde's pink-and-green striped socks through the pages to uncover their tales/tails. (I won't spoil it for you, but it involves a famous Expressionist painting by an anxious Norwegian.) Or you start with Otto Trump the elephant and roller-skate with him all the way to the fair.  Or the aliens visiting from outer-space. Or Magical Miss Chubb and her mystery box.

Mamoko is a little bit like one of my all-time favourite books The Great Green Mouse Disaster, but with extra effort because you need to scour each page to find the character and learn the next bit of their story. It needs you to look, remember and imagine. And in return it gives you hundreds of stories rolled into sixteen pages, with a new place to begin and a new ending every time you pick it up.

I love this book with all my heart because the illustrations are allowed to tell the story. The pictures aren't just there to enhance the story, they are the story. And I imagine that no matter how many times I read it, I'll probably still find another story to tell.


PS. Big Picture Press, you are even better than a Bixie badge.

Thursday, 26 September 2013


This is Claude. He lives with us now. He was born on the streets, so he probably knows his way round a restaurant bin and might come in handy in a fight. He's partial to a post-it note.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Jack in the Box cushions

There was sunshine this afternoon. So I took some new photos of my Jack in the Box cushions. This is the print of the box. Without Jack. And this is the story behind them . . .
"Jack the Clown curls up tight inside his candy-coloured box. He hears the chatter of visitors by the gates of the Butterscotch & Beesting CircusOne. Two. Three. Boing. Out jumps Jack. Right out. In fact, all the way out . . . Up through the open lid of his box and high into the air. Jack somersaults to the ground and takes his place among the curious troupes of this most magical circus."

The whole Jack in the Box collection is for sale in my Folksy shop.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Six months in bullets

Hello September. How did you get here?

Since March, life has been flying by. This is the way it went . . .

• Got a job at Folksy putting together their summer school
• Took Butterscotch & Beesting to Pulse
• Picked up lots of lovely new stockists
• Felt very happy
• Started work on orders
• Got behind
• Started wondering how 280 people, 28 speakers and 450 ice-creams could all fit into a small centre in the woods
• Started to panic
• Remembered I had three children
• Panicked more
• Abandoned my blog and my sanity
• Worked every hour in the day and every hour never meant to fit into a day
• Was a bad friend
• Was a bad wife
• Was a bad mother
• Was a bad business woman
• Ate chocolate
• Ate lots more chocolate
• Found an email from Liberty's in my inbox
• Comforted my husband as his company collapsed
• Wondered how to feed children, cats, rabbits and fish on cushions and lampshades
• Was featured in Mollie Makes (and forgot to tell anyone about it)
• Ran out of Lady Grey tea
• Cried
• Pulled myself together
• Fell apart
• Thanked the heavens for the wonder that is Siansbury's
• Loved the summer sunshine
• Fell in love with Lena Dunham
• Had a v. important meeting with John Lewis
• Visited the woods and watched the Folksy classroom tent go up
• Realised the classroom was the wrong size . . .
• . . . and looked like a bad wedding with dirty sheets and wonky chandeliers
• Formed an emergency action plan with Siansbury's involving extra tentage, paper pompoms and lots and lots of cotton sheeting
• Learned everything looks fine once strung with yarnbombed tassels
• Fell in love with Kerry
• Got two hours' sleep
• Felt sick
• Watched people arriving through the trees
• Had a mini heart attack (not really)
• Heard rumours of a power cut
• Hid
• Saw people smiling and not even one person shouting at me
• Came out of hiding
• Shared a strawberry mivvi with my design heroes Mini Moderns
• Sniggered like a schoolgirl with Tilly
• Sat around an (unofficial) campfire under the stars started by Mellorware
• Got carried around by Kerry
• Slept
• Had one of the best weekends of my life
• Shared a hot chocolate on a tree trunk with one of the loveliest people I've met, Lapin Blu
• Heard myself tell Doug Richard I was really pleased he was a vegan
• Why? Why? Why?
• Slept
• Enjoyed the sunshine
• Lost Otto
• Found Otto and looked on as he lost all ability to walk or eat
• Wondered how to pay the vet bills
• Cried
• Brought Otto home and couldn't believe we had him back
• Sewed, printed and made
• Was featured in Mollie Makes. Again. Twice in the one issue. (And forgot to tell anyone about it)
• Sat next to Pia as she flew above the clouds in an aeroplane for the very first time
• Spent 10 days in the sunshine with very special friends
• Watched Pia become best friends with Rosa the dog
• Hugged my son as he struggled with growing up
• Listened as he screamed that he hated me
• Learned that me finding a grasshopper isn't quite as exciting as Middle finding a Praying Mantis
• Flew home in a cloud-free sky
• Realised Otto was missing
• Watched as Middle hoped and made posters
• Had a phone call
• Felt my heart break in two
• Heard my daughter's heart break
• Dressed Pia in a school uniform for the first time
• Wondered how it is that you can be only four years and two-weeks old and be at school
• Started my new job writing, blogging, and tweeting for Folksy
• Felt very lucky
• Learned that it's ok to be me and not pretend to be someone else . . .
• . . . and that everything's going to be ok . . .
• . . . and that bright blue tights worn with red shoes make every day a bit more sunny.