Thursday, 23 December 2010

A fantastic new online shopping experience!

One of my all time favourite shops, Hatfield's, Hertfordshire, The Oak Room, will unfortunately now be closed until the 19th of February, static and patiently waiting, existing amidst numerous building works that will see Hatfield House's Stable Yard transformed into an even more exciting consumer experience.

Fortunately for me, and for the sure and steady following this unique and intriguing retail venture has come to amass, their online super-shop is up and running. Despite only being in the prilimary stages of development, offering for sale but a fraction of the fruitful bounty one is likely to find inside this special shop, the site is beautifully presented, easy to navigate and, most importantly, offers a breadth of choice through highlighting the key areas of expertise, such as 'Home & Accessories', which then subdivides into 'Haberdashery & Craft', 'Table Top', 'Decorative Accessories', 'Young & Fun', 'Potting Shed' and finally 'Bath & Scent'. The attention to such detail online is testimony to the carefully thought out and beautifully conceived aesthetic achieved in the shop; a truly timeless atmosphere.

Here is a selection of some of my favourite goodies found on the website (complete with direct links to the product information page, where further information secures that 'Add the basket' decision).

Cherries Cannister: £9.99

Contact The Oak Room by sending a message, as directed from the website (follow this link!) or alternatively either telephone: 01707 25717 or write: The Oak Room, StableYard, Hatfield Park, Hatfiled, Herts. AL9 5NQ

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Current literary delights...

I'm almost done so, what next? Recommendations are very welcome, I need an engaging read to steer me through these cold, winter nights.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Art Yarn: Unity Panda

Art Yarn: Unity Panda: "Back in January we told you about the project Unity Panda..

Unitypanda is an ambitious and fun project for people to come together to knit pandas. The Unitypanda project is being tested out with the people of Coventry 16-20 January 2010 at the Coventry Artspace shop at Unit 22, City Arcade. Members of the public of all ages are invited to come along and knit a small part of a panda, be they experts, ex-knitters or pure beginners....

Local people can take a break from their shopping in the winter cold by dropping into the Unitypanda shop in Coventry town centre. Anyone interested in a spot of knitting can cast on around the large pandaknitting table and enjoy a hot cup of tea with some friendly company. The aim of Unitypanda is simply for people to have fun making pandas together.

For the four days of this initial Unitypanda trial run pandaknitters are sought to test out the knitting pattern. Advice from experienced knitters or helpful comments from novices are invaluable for perfecting the adorable little Unitypandas. Through trial and error the pandamaking system will be fine tuned until the pandas start to multiply like hot cakes.

In April 2010 Unitypanda sees its official launch at the Coventry Artspace shop and at venues nationwide. It is hoped that scores of knitters pooling their time and effort will create a hundred Unitypandas or more. All the knitted pandas will go on tour in an art exhibition in autumn/winter 2010-2011.
As the saying goes, many hands make light work. Every panda stitch is helpful and everyone can knit as much or as little as they like. As the needles start clicking hind legs and paws will start taking shape and a good time will be had by all. It’s anyone’s guess how many pandas will appear when a lot of people each make a tiny effort, and that’s part of the fun.
Knitters will follow an original pattern from 1946 which commemorates the arrival of the giant panda “Miss Unity Panda” to London Zoo. The lovable 10” knitted creature is made up of 24 parts, some being larger and more complex than others. Pandaknitters choose which part of the panda they have the time and skills to knit. Panda parts range from an ‘ear’, a quick and easy knit, to an ‘upper half fore leg’ which suits the more experienced knitter.
Would be participants don’t even need to knit to join in the panda fun. Help is required to cut rags for stuffing, sew the pandas up and embroider eyes and noses. People are more than welcome to simply share their memories of knitting around the pandaknitting table. Perhaps someone even remembers Miss Unity Panda arriving at London Zoo 66 years ago! In keeping with the 1940’s theme, music from the wartime era will enliven the proceedings. Parents are welcome and a selection of panda books and toys are available for children.

All the Unitypandas created with the help of Coventry residents will be on show in a touring exhibition from September 2010 to January 2011 ‘Material Actions’ organised by Textile Forum South West. Unitypanda is devised by West Midlands based artist, Jonnet Middleton and funded by Coventry Artspace and Longhouse. For more information call the Pandaline on 07974 694 584."

Unity Panda would like to share with you a link to a pattern so you knit a panda and we have been informed that there will be a panda knit-in party onSaturday 17th April at 22 City Arcade, Coventry CV1 3AU.

If you would like to contribute to this fantastic project by making a panda please visit this link:

Unity Panda need to have 100 pandas knitted. You can make a whole panda or make separate parts of the panda pattern - they especially need hind and foreleg parts!!

If you are on facebook you can visit their page at:

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Benjamin Pollock's Toyshop Toy Theatre Ipad App!

You can count down the days to this amazing app's release on your fingers now! An ingenious concept, which will appeal to fans of toy theatres, Shakespeare (since the initial array of characters one can utilize to make a personal production herald from A Midsummer's Night Dream)and amateur film makers - the record back facility is truly impressive; an aesthetic delight.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

A photo journal to bring me up to date....

There's been a definite lack of enthusiasm, it would seem, in terms of relaying this, that and everything in between, as found through my daily internet trawls, now that summer has entirely succumbed to an early, yet powerful, winter. To see snow on the 30th November, my birthday, was a truly abstract experience, for at the most it most made a slightly early marker for the ensuing advent; Christmas tree erected, decorations perfectly adorned and brilliant, white fairy lights twinkling in a preordained rhythm.

From my last entry to present, to sum up in brief what was come to pass, I share some photos taken impromptu, on the go, with the BlackBerry.

Somerset House on a Monday morn...

With gift-box shop...

Upper Clapton Road, 2am, 2nd December...

Birthday snow...

Pandas enjoy the snow... you know...

Cute Yuletide greetings, as found at Hatfield's The Oak Room...

A weeks medication...

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Wednesday, 22 September 2010


My (growing) Steiff collection!

Sunday, 12 September 2010

The Oak Room Shop

Stable Yard is an exciting, new retail destination in the grounds of Hatfield House, the home to the 7th Marquess of Salisbury and a mere 21 miles north of London in Hatfield, Hertfordshire. Besides being a beautiful getaway treat for families and grown ups alike, the units assembled here offer a unique and interesting experiencing, purveying products you'd be loathe to find all in one place.

One shop in particular is bound to take your fancy, as it did mine, and that is the Oak Room Shop. A visual treat to behold, if only for its spectacular furnishings and beautiful interior, the shop houses something for everybody, including those special bits and bobs you'd have usually to travel far and wide to see in a single sitting.

Check out their website, to go live soon, at

and follow them on twitter:
and facebook HERE.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Belle and Boo Wall Stickers!

Belle and Boo, being perhaps my favourite producer of beautifully illustrated and designed greeting cards and paper accessories, now produce amazing wall stickers! I've seen other wall stickers of late, such as from the French company Djeco, but these REALLY take the biscuit!

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Today's, nay this weeks, preoccupation and consumption of time

Paper produce presently pondering: Nella

An individual design led publishing company, Nella was established in 2005 by husband and wife team Belinda and James Reynell. Visit the website HERE for a more complete and comprehensive guide to their unique and original world!

Product: Seasonal

Product: Noah - 'a range of fun creative lino cuts appealing to all ages' - £2.50


Saturday, 7 August 2010

Models are (actually) super-cool...

A Hungarian Shadow Theatre Kit

Made by the amazing Budapest based company Manufaktor, whose other wares include fascinating, handmade, rod-marionette puppets - check them out at the source:

A complete do-it-yourself paper shadow theatre which, equipped with a simple reading lamp, effortlessly allows fantasy and tradition to function within our reality! The theatres architectural aesthetic, drawn from Art Deco and Turkish influences, provides nothing but a sublime backdrop for the possible adventures to be had by the famous characters from traditional Turkish shadow theatre, such as Karagoz and Bebe Ruhi. A true homage to Turkish puppetry.

Check out this product HERE on Etsy!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

That which consumes my time today....

Palabra del dia: Solpar - to blow (con la boca/viento)

Palavra do dia: (um) Empecilho - obstacle, blockage, hitch, snag

Latin word of the day: Oculus, oculi - eye

Focus on: aeromancy

"the wreckage of vast sundowns predicts in sulphurous aeromancy havoc to be..." from Robert Malise and Bowyer Nichols, Fantastica: being the smile of the Sphinx, and other tales of

The prediction of future events based upon weather conditions devised and practised in medieval times. There are actually several types of divination that can be placed under the umbrella of 'aeromancy', such as austromancy (divination drawn from observing the wind, while nepthomancy rests upon an interpretation of the clouds movements). ceraunoscopy (divination whereby thunder and lightning are interpreted) and also meteormancy (divination by meteors and shooting stars)

The 16th century German alchemist, Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim, did note aeromancy as one of the four methods of elemental divination - geomancy, hydromancy and pyromancy complete the set and are discussed in his work 'The Philosophy of Natural Magic'... in fact I am intrigued to the point of purchasing a copying through right now!

...also Focus on: Couverture & The Garbstore

188 Kensington Park Road
W11 2ES

Telephone: 020 7229 2178

Couverture and Garbstore each have their own website, click away!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Oh! What delightful stationery: Cavallini & Co.

Available NOW at the amazing 'The Oak Room' at Hatfield Park's Stable Yard, Hertfordshire - an outstanding range of Cavallini brilliance perfectly, and practically, located under one exposed beamed roof! Contact or telephone 01707 257175