Tuesday, 5 July 2016


I love the beautiful things I own like my Liberty Vans, my polka dot Cath Kidston bag and my Polka dot vintage trousers. But I love God more. Even more than my new colour coded bookshelf.

I'm listening to Jason Upton's album A Table Full of Strangers this week. Have a little listen...

Monday, 31 August 2015


On a sunny day in August we sailed to a little French village in Brittany. 

We spent our time...

Cycling down quiet country roads

Eating fresh Tarte de Pommes

Haggling at vide-greniers (an 'attic clearance')

Ordering crêpes...and more crêpes 

Attempting to read French home design magazines

Walking past every market stall offering you to taste their produce

Visiting historic sites such as Mont Saint-Michel (brilliant for two reasons: it is visually breathtaking but most importantly it is FREE for under 25s!)

People watching in cafés drinking hot chocolate or rather a chocolat chaud (not a warming chocolate as I ordered much to the delight of the waitress)

Thursday, 5 February 2015


I'd like to live with the elephants.
Just for a while, my camera and I.
Look into their knowing eyes through long dark lashes. 
Play down at the waterhole, trunks flying- squirting water.
Walk along holding each other's tails.
Swish the heat and flies away with large flappy ears.
Run my palm over their thick earth-like skin.

Friday, 27 June 2014


Sarah Johanna Wolfe
This Friday's OATS features a charming little book I stumbled upon at the graphic design show Pick Me Up back in May. Golly gosh, how time flies.

Among many a weird and wonderful graphic creation was a friendly felt cat and some hand bound books tied up with string entitled The Amazing Adventures of Montgomery and Edgar Jones. This children's story, by Sarah Glover, features a little boy who decides he has had enough of feeling "really truly mischievously boring" (to quote the little boy, Monty). So Monty does what we must all do when we are bored- he picks up his best friend, Edgar the cat, and takes him on an adventure and WALLAH... a story is born. 

I have a soft spot for characters in their dolly form, which I nattered about to you before when reviewing The Storm Whale. An accompanying toy or dolly gives a story a marvellous 3D tactile quality that allows children to climb in their cardboard box (that is actually a boat), with their cuddly friend, and carry on the adventure beyond the last page of their book.

Thank you Sarah, for reminding us to have an adventure every now and then.


I thought I'd end this post by showing you a photograph of the cardboard box I played in as a young nipper - it could transform into a house, a rocket ship and a cafe...yes it was pretty special. 

Download photo.JPG (874.3 KB)

Monday, 21 April 2014


With all the exciting commotion that starting a new job brings, I quite forgot to show you the 'save the dates' we made.

Hands were stained with ink and watercolour paint by the 60th card but I think they turned out quite lovely.

Custom made stamps are expensive so I drew my own design with Laurel leaves dancing in a circle. 

The wonderful vintage hues of dusty pinks, faded purples and inky greys match the pretty confetti a lovely friend bought me. 

Anyway, I must get back to pressing dozens of petals to make my own confetti, destined to flutter upon many happy heads and shoulders.

Friday, 28 February 2014



...anyone? This Friday's bowl of OATS is filled with beautifully sketched creatures that go "ROAR" and a gentle reminder of how unique and magical a grandpa-granddaughter relationship can be. 'Lollipop and Grandpa's Dinosaur Hunt' is illustrated by Cate James, written by Penelope Harper and published by Phoenix Yard Books

“Nonsense!” says Grandpa. “Dinosaurs are not extinct. They’re just very good at hiding.” This is the story of Lollipop, an inquisitive little girl, and her mischievous grandpa who go hunting for dinosaurs on their family holiday to a Jurassic coast. It truly is wonderfully charming. However, it is the little  details that made me happily store it on my bookshelf: grandpa's spotty purple socks, the typewriter style typeface (I'm a fan, as you can probably tell by my blog) and the names of the dinosaurs (Digger-dosus, Stair-go-saurus, Try-see-the tops and Pylon-a-saurus Rex).

So I suggest, dear fellows, chums and pals, if you need a little light hearted fun this Friday eve, step into grandpa's socks and sandals, slip on a woollen balaclava and go on a fun-filled adventure with two friendly characters.

Before I dash, this story really reminds me of 'The Heart and The Bottle' by Oliver Jeffers...from here on you'll start to notice my love of Oliver Jeffers style books. It also centres on the theme of how lovely a grandpa-granddaughter relationship can really be...but that is a story for another day...

'The Heart and the Bottle' by Oliver Jeffers

Friday, 21 February 2014


Hello dear fellows, chums and pals,

Look! A knitted whale!


First things first, before we get ahead of ourselves... "What", you may ask, "is OATS?" OATS dear reader, is an adventure into a children's picture book on a Friday, a story straight  Off A Tiny Shelf. Tiny, firstly because these beautiful books are made for tiny tots, and secondly because the bookshelf I currently own cannot hold the amount of children's books I have so far collected. I wish to fill your Friday with a happy handful of OATS, which some would say is as nutritious as the things you stare at in your breakfast bowl at 7am.

So this is the first OATS post in our ramble through the world of a children's bookshelf. 

Don't worry, the whale hasn't been forgotten! In fact he plays a leading role in this Friday's OATS post. Yes, this little chap is from the brilliant children's picture book called 'The Storm Whale' by Benji Davies, published by Simon and Schuster. He is so cute, he makes me feel all woolly and want to collect a basket full of blue wool to play with him in...or maybe that's just me...hmmm...it's Friday. The only sad thing is that the whales have sold out, maybe I can hunt one down.    

This particular adventure is about the friendship between a little boy, Noi, and a whale. Noi, the owner of an amazing balaclava, lives with his father, a fisherman, who wears a groovy yellow hat. With several cats to look after you would think that Noi has his hands full but alas he is still lonely. Then one day, much to his delight, a friendly whale, the chappy below, turns up on his doorstep, or beach to be more precise. 

The ending of the book- Noi and his father sailing out to sea together and waving goodbye to a friend- reminds me a tad of 'Lost and Found' by Oliver Jeffers. Coincidentally I watched the L & F animation on my way to work this week (if serious business men on the tube are allowed to play Angry Birds, I am allowed to watch children's films). 

My favourite thing about this story is the gentle contrast between the bold brushstrokes of stormy blues and bright sandy yellows which take your hand and allow you to step inside Noi's world, smelling the salty air and hearing the sound of the lapping waves...but most importantly the feeling of joy when you find a friend. 
The Storm Whale: www.benjidavies.com
The Storm Whale: www.wildandgrizzly.blogspot.co.uk

Lost and Found: www.picturebooksinelt.blogspot.com
The Storm Whale: www.benjidavies.com