Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Two highlights of my trip

1. TANYA. I finally got to meet my online bestie in person. Tanya and I have been friends for over four years, she launched Lily & Agathe about the same time as I started Lark and we bonded over our love of vintage children's stuff. Online. Before blogs were even a twinkle in our eyes. But Tanya lives in France and I live in Australia, so we never got to meet until now and had to make do with emailing each other many times a week. I wasn't nervous at all when we met in London, as I knew we would get along, and we did, it was a great night out.

2. FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS. If you haven't watched this New Zealand comedy show, it is the best and funniest thing I've seen for ages.I had only seen little glimpses of it before, but Angela brought the whole series on her iPod and we whiled away many an hour on our long-distance flights laughing uncontrollably at Bret and Jemaine. It is especially funny to us because Angela's boyfriend is the double of Jemaine, but I think everyone would find it funny.

So, to celebrate both of these highlights, here is one of my favourite Conchords clips: 'Foux Da Fa Fa'. I chose this one because it has retro and French themes. Tanya, this is for you! x

The Bear is Back!

I was the biggest ever Paddington Bear fan as a little girl. I begged my parents to buy me all of the paperback editions of his stories from the school book club, and I devoured them. I learnt a lot of very English phrases from Paddington - I have always been 'rather partial to a cup of cocoa and a sticky bun', and I can still remember wondering to myself what exactly it meant when Mr and Mrs Brown 'exchanged glances'.

I still have my book collection. And I was thrilled to see that the old 1970s/80s Paddington from the TV series (which was great) has made a comeback in the UK, to celebrate Paddington's 50th birthday.

I saw some great gifts and toys while I was over there, that I was secretly tempted to buy for myself. I think I will definitely get one of the mounted prints for my office, hee hee...

Michael Bond has also wrtten the first new Paddington book in many years, Paddington Here and Now.

And do look at this new TV ad for Marmite (disgusting Vegemite-like spread), it made me want to watch the original TV programmes all over again, maybe I will! Having said that, I don't believe that Paddington would EVER prefer Marmite to marmalade, and I understand that a lot of people, including Michael Bond himself, have been a little upset by Paddington's 'sell-out' (read here).

Were YOU a Paddington fan?

Monday, 29 September 2008

Lovely Shops!

Whilst in London, Angela and I visited a couple of the Cath Kidston shops to buy props for our stand. The Covent Garden shop had just been refurbished and it had the most amazing dressing rooms, papered with wallpaper reprinted from vintage fabric designs. Unfortunately the lady running the shop was a bit grumpy and she wouldn't let us take any photos (why, when Cath Kidston product images are easily available on the web anyway?).

I mentioned this to Teena of Kitschen Pink, who I shared a lovely cuppa with in Cambridge the following week. And she sent me a link to the HenHouse, who must have visited a different Cath Kidston store as she has lots of lovely photos on her blog -see them here.

Talking of Cath Kidston, her publisher was exhibiting at Top Drawer, and I managed to get a sneaky look at her new book . I have to tell you, it is going to be really great. Apparently she is debating about what to do for her next book, it's between 'frocks' and 'kids'. I hope she does kids!

And talking of lovely shops, here are some more photos from Creme de la Creme a la Edgar. They also wont allow photos inside (which I can understand in their case), but I did get some reasonably good shots from the street.

This is truly the nicest children's shop in the world, visit Copenhagen if you can! In the same street (Kompagnistr├Žde) there are several other lovely shops too, like these...

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Top Drawer

Here are some photos of our stand at Top Drawer. It was pretty dark in Olympia, so it was difficult to get good photos.

Our stand was in a great position near the entrance, and opposite the very gorgeous Belle and Boo and Isak stands. Because we had arrived from Australia with only two boxes of samples and nothing else, Angela and I spent a whole week running around looking for fabric, trims and vintage props, and having posters printed.

Some things were much more difficult than we had imagined - finding plain white cotton drill in central London, for example. There are no Spotlight-type fabric superstores in London, and the John Lewis store on Oxford Street carries only small lengths, but eventually we struck lucky at The Cloth Shop, right up at the top of Portobello Road. It's a gorgeous shop and the owner was super-helpful to us. He worked out how much fabric we needed, put it on a huge roll and even covered it in plastic to keep it dry. Unfortunately, we managed to somehow leave the said bolt of precious cotton drill outside a cemetery in Earl's Court when we stopped to photograph some squirrels. But luckily for everyone the lovely fabric man had some more stashed away and was able to save the day! We covered all of the rented trestle tables with the cotton, and trimmed them around with a super-sweet daisy ribbon found at V V Rouleaux.

Various op shops, Honeyjam, Habitat and Cath Kidston supplied the props (we couldn't go to any flea markets as the show opened on Sunday morning). Our stand might not have had the slick and professional finish of some of the others, but I was very pleased with how it turned out. I think it looks really fresh and homely and crafty, which is what Lark is about. We were certainly one of the busiest stands when the show opened, and were pretty exhausted at the end of the three days!

The best part of the fair for me was meeting up with lots of people I have only known through emails before now, as well as making many new friends. I came across some great new British designers too - watch this space!

Mementoes (part 1)

I am unpacking my suitcase today. What's left of it. The airline somehow managed to bust my zip and it arrived in Melbourne completely open. My iPod has gone and some other small bits and pieces, but I was luckier than Angela , whose suitcase is still lost in Denmark somewhere...

Here are a few snapshots of some of the lovely things I found during the trip. Some were gifts from friends, others I bought in the great shops we found, some are samples from other designers that I am hoping to work with. This is just the tip of the iceberg - I found so many lovely things that I had to mail three boxes back and when these arrive I'll post more photos.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

In need of a sit down!

Phew! Am back from a whirlwind 3 weeks in Europe. Lots of work, lots of drama, lots of laughs! This photo was taken outside Creme de la Creme a la Edgar in Copenhagen. Lots more photos to come - when I've had a little rest...

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Mirabel Appeal

Daisy has just been listed for sale on eBay as part of the Softies for Mirabel appeal - see all of the lovely softies here!

Daisy the Seaside Donkey is based on a vintage British knitting pattern - we have given her a floppy hat and pretty little flowers. She is going to be available through the Lark web shop and our lovely retailers soon, but you have the chance to purchase your own daisy before anyone else and support this great cause in the process!

Cath Kidston Craft Book!

Be still my heart! Flicking through a copy of the British magazine 'Good Homes' I have spotted that Cath Kidston is publishing her own craft book. I'm not sure what is in it, craft projects and apparently lots of templates based on Cath Kidston's prints (and it even has a free tote bag inside). I don't even when this will be available, October I think, but I do know that I can't wait to get my hands on a copy, I bet it will be really good. It's available for pre-order at Amazon.

While I am not a huge fan of CK's printed homewares en masse, I have loved all of her books and greatly admire her work with vintage fabrics. I used to visit her first shop in Notting Hill which was full of painted vintage furniture and eiderdowns, and the loveliest old nursery pieces - a huge inspiration for me back in the days when Lark was just a twinkle in my eye.