Friday, 22 January 2016

What's new for Maileg spring 2016?

As I wrote in my last post, I have recently returned from Top Drawer trade fair (read all about what a trade fair is here) where I had a good look at all the lovely new things Maileg are bringing out for spring and Easter 2016.

Here is a little summary of my favourites - this is all new, forthcoming stock which will be in stock at Cottontails Baby as soon as it is released in the UK - with everything due between February and May.

There are plenty of new Mini and Medium sized bunnies due out this season and I have the following on order:
New mini sized bunnies will join the current collection (view here) Spring 2016

New medium sized bunnies will join the current collection  (view here) this spring 

Here they are having a little sit down at Top Drawer

A lifestyle shot from the new catalogue - I love it! 

Okay so on to mice and there are rather a lot of them on their way! To join the existing range of matchbox mice there are a collection of Big Sister and Big Brother mice in matchboxes, new Little Sisters and Little Brothers, a pair of twins AND a rather lovely little naked mouse called Lomus. Have a look at them all below...

Here's Cousin Lomus - he is naked! Somebody must buy him and clothe him immediately!

Lots of new matchbox mice coming this spring - if you can't wait for these, see the current collection here 

Look! New Maileg baby twins! Due March / April I think...

Turning now to mice accessories, there are some really sweet little suitcase sets availavle - a medical suitcase, a little boy's suitcase (with two outfits and some tooth care things - a mouse's teeth are vital and must be well maintained) and a little girl's suitcase with a dressing up ballerina clothes set. There is also a new empty suitcase tin in a gorgeous new floral design (which matches some Easter napkins - more on that in a moment) 
Medical Suitcase for mice (just look at the size of that pill!!) - due in May but I do have some doctor bunnies in stock now (view here) for anyone needing urgent medical attention

Little Boy Mouse overnight suitcase - and here's naked Cousin Lomus again, he needs something to wear...

Ballerina suitcase tin - due in May 

I had a little play at Top Drawer and found Cousin Lomus eyeing up the ballet clothes... 


New to the Maileg range of pretty tins - this one will be coming in May but see the current range available now  

And now news of something completely new from Maileg for this spring... meet the Best Friends - three fabric animals (bunny, cat, dog) with Liberty fabric ears who come naked but in LOVELY gift boxes, and then - necessarily! - a range of outfits made specially for them. Please note these outfits will NOT fit other Maileg bunnies - they belong only to the new gang, the Best Friends. They are all arriving in May...

The brand new Best Friends range from Maileg - launching in the UK May 2016

Best Friend bunny with Liberty ears 

A whole new wardrobe designed especially for the Best Friends 

Lovely lifestyle shot from Maileg showing off the new Best Friends

Finally, a few new accessories - tins, bunting, napkins to add some Maileg style to a birthday party or Easter tea, and a couple of extra items I REALLY love - check out the bunny bag! 

Tins (come with or without flag bunting) and three lovely new napkin designs

Bunny bag - quite big, book bag size - and some accessories - I can't wait for these to arrive in May!

Lovely Maileg lifestyle shot showing the new 'school' inspired accessories

Oh! And just one last thing which made me smile... The Truffle Pigs  (view here) have had a baby! Truffle Piglet is due in May...

This is a pretty good introduction to all the new stuff I will be getting at Cottontails (to go along with the huge existing range of course) but to see everything else you can download and view the new Spring Summer catalogue on the Maileg website.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Top Drawer 2016 - and what is a trade fair?

"What exactly is a trade fair?" people often ask when I say I'm heading down to Top Drawer, or Pulse, or up to the NEC for the Spring Fair.

Simply put, it's like shopping for shops. Trade fairs are where retailers go to view products and place orders.

They're not open to the public (you have to register in advance and tell them about your business, so they know you are a legitimate buyer and not just somebody trying to do a bit of personal shopping) and in fact it's impossible to buy anything there and then - it's all about placing orders to be delivered in the future.

They're also incredibly inspiring and happy events. For retailers like me, who work alone, or even for those in small high street shops, it's just lovely to escape the shop / office and meet other people with a similar vision. It reminds me that I'm part of something bigger.

It's also a chance to see samples of all the new things coming on to the market - so it's pretty exciting.

Sunday just gone I traveled down to London for one of my favourites - Top Drawer. Held at Olympia it's a pretty beautiful, discerning fair - to my mind it's the best fair for seeing all the nicest, most inspiring manufacturers together, and there are lots of smaller companies too so it's a great place to find new suppliers.

Back in the office I'm sorting through the bits and bobs I picked up, and below are some of my highlights...

Some of the catalogues and samples I collected

Back in the office and working through the show guide  

Moulin Roty - always a *joy* to visit
(and I had a nice cup of tea with Tim, the UK head of Moulin Roty)

The Maileg stand - separate post coming up about their new collection

Some inspiring displays...

...and it's great to touch and feel the products 

Finally, one of my favourite new finds - these guys make the loveliest linen children's aprons

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Christmas 2015 - Five Forthcoming Favourites from Moulin Roty Memoire d'Enfant range

Christmas. It's coming and I can't ignore it any more.

The reality is I've been planning Christmas at Cottontails for a few months now - oh the insanity of retail, pouring over Christmas decorations during a heatwave - but I try to keep it quiet during the summer months.

However, September is here. There's a nip in the air, the children are back to school and.... well, I'm going to take a deep breath and quietly mention a few of my favourite picks for the festive season ahead.

A lot of my customers are incredibly well organised so I know they'll be thinking about this already, and may even have a present or two squirreled away in the wardrobe.

And for those of you more like me in their Christmas shopping approach (think very last minute) perhaps this is the year for us to do things differently... Remember last year and the stress of shopping in the week running up to Christmas, when you swore you would never again leave things to the last minute? Well here's our chance to start doing things differently.

So, in the first of a series of posts, here are my top picks from Moulin Roty's ever inspiring 'Memoire d'Enfant' catalogue. Think quirky, creative, thoughtful design... nothing plastic, nothing electronic, just engaging, traditional toys.

The kind of thing that every childhood needs.

1. Cinema Box 


This creative little box set contains everything you need to open your own picture house.

At the heart of the gift set is a Story Book Torch which projects images via a series of insert discs. The gift box opens up to double as a projection screen, and also included in the box are cinema tickets and 'Now Showing' cards for your to complete and decorate.

All beautifully illustrated of course and presented in 25 x 18cm gift box - I think it would be a really nice idea to give this as a gift with a bag of pop corn!


2. Super-hero Shadow Makers

New to Moulin Roty's eternally popular Shadow Maker range is a collection of super heros.

The shadow makers are such a simple but effective idea - little black cut-out shapes are mounted on to sticks and used to cast shadows on the wall.

Lovely for interactive bedtime play and making up stories. The new Super-hero collection joins the existing range of shadow makers - dinosaurs, fairy tales, and circus.

3. Traditional teddy bear



This chap is a classic - and looks like he could have been made in Victorian times (but with lovely contemporary softness and safety of course). Fully jointed, he will turn his head to look at you, sit nicely and so on.

He is quite a substantial bear (but 'just the right size') measuring 40cm from head to paw and has a sturdily stuffed round tummy.His body fabric is lovely, soft and fluffy, his face is embroidered and he has soft velvet pads on all four paws. He is wearing a soft check shirt and fleecy cardigan - both of which come on and off.

He is, quite simply, a classic.

4. The Once Upon A Time Music Hall Toys

Not a single toy but a collection, I just had to include these new arrivals to the Moulin Roty family.

Inspired by the characters of old music hall, this quirky - and incredibly detailed - collection of creatures really captures the imagination.

Each individual character is a lovely standalone toy, or if you have access to an unlimited bank account, buy the collection and let your imagination run wild with stories, plays and performances.

5. The Parisiennes Ragdolls

And in at number five, the oh-so-French range of Parisienne rag dolls.

Delicate little dolls, measuring 25cm in height, with slim bodies and elegant long limbs. They all wear pretty outfits with which they can be dressed and undressed, and have lovely embroidered faces with pink stars on their cheeks.

Oh just imagine one of these little dolls poking her head out from a stocking on Christmas morning....!

Monday, 27 July 2015

Cottontails goes to the Royal Welsh Show

Last week I left Rudolph in charge of the office and took myself off to the Royal Welsh agricultural show.

Now, I'm probably not your typical show-goer - I glared at the Countryside Alliance stand, sought out pretty much the only veggie food stand there (LOVELY veggie platter from the Welsh Creperie) and actively avoided the 'fur and feather' area as I can't stand to see show rabbits in tiny cages.

BUT as regular readers might know, I have a couple of goats and and I just LOVE to visit the goat stand. And as a member of my local goat club I know just how well the show goats are loved and cared for - many of the owners actually camp beside their goats for the five day show to keep them safe and sound. As someone who doesn't camp under any circumstance, this, to me, equals extreme dedication.

So off I went to the show, and of course  I took my camera and managed to capture a few pictures...

First I called in to see the pigs:

 This Danish beauty took 'best of breed' in the Maileg class - you can buy her offspring here

Then off to the sheep, where I was lucky enough to see some judging taking place...

This fine sheep went on to take first prize in his class - the judge was very 
taken with his soft fleece and 'line of his ears'. His offspring are available here.

And finally my favourites - the goats!

I was particularly keen to see the new Moulin Roty goat. She is a brand new breed and her kids will not be available to buy until September...


 (My favourite photo as the lovely girl on the left is spitting image of my girls)

So, all in all I had a lovely day out. Oh and I must just mention one particular highlight - a woman  with a an otter sleeping up her jumper. Yes really. Photographic evidence below...

 Amazingly, this one isn't photoshopped

 If you too would like to keep an otter up your jumper, this one definitely won't nip.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Sylvain the travelling rabbit - "On the road again..."

Well it's been quite some time since his last adventure and after a few months resting and helping out in the Cottontails office, Sylvain the Travelling Rabbit is back on the road...

Sylvain: on the road again

Truth is he's been languishing in the office for ages, waiting for me to sort out some new destinations, so imagine my delight / relief when Sarah from Brighton emailed me today, out of the blue, offering to host him. Wonderful. Thank you Sarah! 

So... Sylvain has already packed his suitcase, and he is off today on the overnight train (first class post) for a few days down on the south coast. 

And after Brighton... who knows...! Perhaps he could come and stay with you? 

If you would like to host him please email me...  His needs are simple... I just ask that you take a photo or two (or a hundred!) so I can share his adventures, and that you send him back to me or on to his next destination. He has a passport and is more than happy to travel overseas too.... 

So if you fancy taking care of a very well behaved bunny for a week or so - just let me know. So far his diary is blank, so if you want him - he's yours! 

Monday, 29 June 2015

Nellie the elephant packed her truck...

...and off she went to the circus a picnic !

My lovely new Moulin Roty elephants headed off for a picnic this weekend.....

 Mummy and baby elephants packed up their trunks and headed
into the countryside to find a nice spot for a picnic

Mummy elephant unpacked her trunk.
She had brought her cheerful red dotty crockery.

And baby elephant unpacked the cake!

They had a lovely afternoon - which, being elephants, they
will never forget!

If you'd like to create your own adventures using any of the toys featured here, I used the big musical elephant and little elephant rattle from the lovely new "Les Papoum' jungle range by Moulin Roty, the Moulin Roty Grand Family crockery tea set in a suitcase and a little Maileg tin suitcase with cups and cakes. Details, prices and links below...

 a. Moulin Roty Les Papoum little elephant rattle - £17
b. Moulin Roty Les Papoum elephant musical - £31
c.Moulin Roty Grand Family tea set in a suitcase - £24
d. Maileg tea and cakes suitcase - £21.50