Sunday, 28 February 2010

An ever growing fetish for greeting cards...

I have to admit that I obtain tremendous pleasure from a good greeting card and I always keep an eye out, especially in case I come across something that would be suitable for the toyshop. I have a growing collection of cards I simply just like (under the pretence that if the occasion should arise I would have a card to hand... when actually they are now mine and I would be loathe to use them!). There are a few occasions presenting themselves in the coming months that warrant unearthing some original and interesting cards. I have been researching in particular Wedding cards and Christening cards, listing some that I particularly liked below! It's Mother's Day on Sunday 14th March but for this I looking for Victorian scraps to make a card myself....that personal touch!!

Christening cards by 'Stop the Clock Design' (£2.90) and available at 

Bespoke Letter Name Card by 'Made with Love by Mrs Booth' and available at

Animal Birthday Cards (more designs available) by 'Made with Love by Mrs Booth' and available at

Pop-out sustainable card by 'Orangewonder' and available at

Rubbish without you card by 'Kiss Her' and available at

Saturday, 27 February 2010

A (soon to be mine) Kay Nielsen print!

I managed to 'win' off Ebay this amazing Kay Nielsen print from the French edition of the King Albert's Book (1914). It is entitled 'Dan l'epaisseur du Bois Funebre' and is 15cm x 12cm. I cannot wait to have it in my hands!

Friday, 26 February 2010

Weekend plans...

To do something with substance and that requires some degree of planning... enjoy but one of the many attractions London has to offer!

This Sunday, the 27th of February, I plan to visit Mudchute park and farm! Visit their website here for specific information.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Heinrich Hoffmann's 'Struwwelpeter'...


I would find it difficult to comprehend anyone not enjoying the stories recounted in this infamous, and influential, children's book. Written and illustrated by Frankfurt physician Heinrich Hoffman as a Christmas present for his 3-year old son, being somewhat dissatisfied with the dry and pedagogic available to children at the time. The verse contained within, accompanied with appropriate pictures, chronicles the fates of untoward children, for example those who torture animals, suck their thumbs, fidget at meals etc...

'The Story of Fidgety Philip' 

'The Story of Little Suck-a-Thumb' 

'The Story of a Man that went out Shooting' is perhaps my favourite: 


all things Kay Nielsen...

I have been told that I must have, through working at Pollock's toyshop for the last three year, had some acquaintance with the Danish illustrator Kay Nielsen. The shop stocks books published by a company called Dover Books, an American company who are most famous for their series of paper doll books, works from the unique Dover Pictorial Archive and various historical graphics. Unloading a recent order, and knowing that the manager had selected a few new titles, I paid special attention for anything that may appeal. I have become aware of certain illustrators during my time at the toyshop, particularly those associated with the "Golden Age of Illustration" during the beginning of the 20th Century such as Daniel Vierge, Edmund Dulac and Arthur Rackham, but there was always something about their work that did not manage to imbue in me, beyond a rational appreciation (as much as such a term can be applied to ones own understanding of aesthetics), an emotive response that manifests itself in such cliché ways as that shiver down the spine, tingle in the hands and, ultimately, a scarring on the heart.  

Then, unpacking the penultimate box of the delivery, I came across a book of fairy tale illustrations that, even through a tentative, initial flick through, took me that one step further - the illustrations of Kay Nielsen have truly taken me through the looking glass, giving me beauty in a form I had before only come to appreciate and adore in the written word; words and phrases, quotes and sentiments, novels and essays, poetry that all have assured me of the intrinsic beauty of life and the narrative one enjoys (or endures) with our environment. His work does not simply 'speak to me', it has now become part of me. 

59 full colour illustrations featuring plates of stories by The Brother Grimm and Hans Andersen amongst others.  

"And then she lay in a little green patch in the midst of the gloomy thick wood..." (from "East of the Sun and West of the Moon")

"The Unknown Paintings of Kay Nielsen", edited by David Larkin (1977, Pan & Bantham)

Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen illustrated by Kay Nielsen (1981)



'Twelve Dancing Princesses'



Wednesday, 17 February 2010

"Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences.."

I first read this poem when I was 14 and the images conjured have truly been ingrained upon my 'person', the person I have grown to be...

Not a red rose or a satin heart.

I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.

It will blind you with tears
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.

I am trying to be truthful.

Not a cute card or a kissogram.

I give you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
possessive and faithful
as we are,
for as long as we are.

Take it.
Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring,
if you like.

Its scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife.

- Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy

For Tabitha...and what we share in Twilight...

Once I would never have suspected that I would fall victim to the Twilight Saga craze but I have to admit, albeit denying there be any metaphorical egg on my face, I am growing to appreciate more and more... It's not entirely unexpected, what with a (healthy) Harry Potter interest spanning some *coughs* 12 years and enjoying all things (well, most has to draw a line somewhere..) Lords of the Rings it seems to follow suit that a new literary spurred craze would catch my attention. 

The difference with Twilight, however, is that in both cases previously mentioned I was a devout lover of that which spawned mass interest - the books. Yet, two films later (and I must admit I did have no interest in even seeing the original film, but a leisurely day at my parents with little to do but watch films opened my mind to opportunity - and I must admit the werewolf guy (see my previous ignorance?!) did catch my attention as being crazy hot) I have an appreciation that little of my peers share. I've started on the books, naturally, which I read to discern the ins and outs of the protagonists lives - I think any more mature reader, and especially boys, need to appreciate why the stories would perhaps pull a predominately more female readership. 

Anyway, the point of this, the perhaps most boring and self-indulgent blog entry to date, is that there is but one person within my friendship group who is on a similar wavelength (if not actually bordering on obsession, which she will very well admit..), that person being Tabitha - a kindred lover of the Harry Potter and LOTR sagas now she has helped galvanize a concern for Twilight... and I sincerely thank you!! (I even found myself wishing and hoping that Jacob would come out on top of the pale, 'tortured' and altogether too-much-effort-in-my-opinion Edward Vampire Face). What inspired this early morning drone was that whilst on my lunch break in Covent Garden I walked passed CyberCandy (visit and had to double take when I spotted below picture in the window... after getting over the initial anxiety of appearing like one of the surrounding tourists (and a 23 year old loser gay who likes Twilight.. they probably thought I was one of those who went to the New Moon premier with a band of female follows waving 'Jacob Rules' banners and writing 'Team Jacob' in thick black maker pen on my forehead - well I WASN'T I say, it's all lies and propaganda..). It's actually pure amazing and you bet that when circumstances dictate the need to procure a present for Fab Tabs she will happily be eating her box of Edward, Bella and Jacob beans... shame they're not imprinted with an image of their faces.. just imagine the scenarios that could be enacted. 

Yum. Yum.

Monday, 15 February 2010