Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Maileg creatures get a photoshoot...

Every so often a customer contacts me a week or two after they've bought something and shares a photo of their creature in her new home - I absolutely love it when this happens. It makes me day.

So imagine the excitement when Ana Rocha got in touch - not only has she bought a whole lot of lovely Maileg items from me, but she is a professional photographer. So her pictures are no ordinary snaps - her pictures are Proper Photographs!

Have a look at these - aren't they wonderful!

And you can see more of her fabulous work on her website here:

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Win a Maileg mouse in a matchbox

This little mouse is up for grabs, simply link to this blog post somewhere (from your blog, facebook, Twitte... I don't mind) and leave me a comment on here to let me know you have....

She is a sweet little thing - a 'big sister' size mouse, and she comes in her own little matchbox bed with cosy bedding.

And if you love her too much to wait, you can also buy her for £20 on the website here - Maileg Matchbox Mouse big sister - winter.

You can also enter through our Facebook and Twitter pages if you'd like to - the more entries, the more chances she will be yours!

I will draw a name at the end of the week...


Thursday, 16 October 2014

Sylvain - he travels again!

I am so sorry I have been absolutely rubbish at updating the blog with Sylvain's adventures. I kind of fell into the habit of just posting pics on Facebook, and then I fell into the habit of letting Sylvain languish in the corner of the office... BUT he is rested and ready to travel again, so if anyone fancies hosting him, just leave a comment below or drop me an email.

And in the meantime, here are some photos from his very special trip up to Scotland last year, when he went to visit an organisation called Rabbits Require Rights  in Scotland. You can visit their facebook page here.

Here he is with his host rabbit, Jared - a seasoned campaigner in the world of rabbit rights.

He joined in on a mission to lobby the Scottish Parliament for improved laws governing sale and welfare of rabbits, and  he campaigned for improved conditions for pet rabbits at a Lush store in Edinburgh (and even brought me back a little pot of Lush lip balm)

But it wasn't all work...

and here he is enjoying the sights of Edinburgh

Lucky bunny!

And in the next post I'll share some photos of his amazing adventures  with the McKenzie family in California.

Monday, 29 September 2014

The Great Bunny Bake Off - a new Cottontails Baby film

For years I have been planning a to 'cover' The Great British Bake Off. In 2012, in our old house, I even went as far as starting the filming process on a Sunday afternoon, but as silly and light as these things are, they are still a heck of a lot of work and it hasn't been until this year that I've finally found the time and energy to see it through.

And so, at last, I present to you the Cottontails Baby latest film - The Great Bunny Bake Off:

Filming took place over three consecutive days (yes three separate baking sessions!!) with the hardest part being juggling the actual baking (weighing ingredients, reading recipes, mixing things) with the camera and soft toys - and all the time trying to keep my own hands out of shot. It took HOURS! And involved an awful lot of retakes, an awful lot of sellotape and an awful lots of kitchen implements stuck up the back of soft toys.

And then there was the time last Monday when Mike turned up in the middle of filming trying to cook himself a fishcake and chips before heading off out for the night. The cheek of the man, using his own kitchen!

Anyway, it's been huge fun - and with the added benefit of endless carrot cake.

Oh, and do watch to the very very end as there is a little surprise appearance by Rudolph. The original plan was for him to judge - but he is not really meant to eat cake, which was something of a stumbling block. Not to mention the very idea of trying to shepherd him into position etc - it would have been total chaos!

So here are a just a handful of photos from the film...

 The contestants

 Judge: Mary Berry-Nibbler

Judge: The Male Judge

The infamous oven-gazing...

The winning cake! 

...And here are a couple of shots from 'behind the scenes'

 The contestants 'rest' as I consult the recipe...

 Mike took this when trying to cook his fishcake

The other male judge :-)

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

La Petit Armoire - Moulin Roty's little wardrobe

One of the loveliest things I sell at Cottontails, this is The Grand Family 'Petit Armoire' from Moulin Roty - and I feel it deserves a post of its own for many reasons...

For starters I think it is probably my best selling, most profitable item since I opened Cottontails Baby, 11 years ago. It always sold well, but when it featured in The Guardian's Christmas Guide in 2012, sales rocketed.

It's a charming thing. A sort of shoe-box sized toy, including sturdy 'wardrobe', two 20cm soft toys and a range of clothes.

The box is just lovely, made from a very sturdy card, with metal clasp and handle, and a wooden clothes rail inside. And it is beautifully decorated both inside and out.

The two little characters inside will be familiar to any serious Moulin Roty fans - Nini mouse and Sylvain rabbit are two of the best selling animals from the Grand Family range.

A whole set of little clothes (and hangers) complete the set.

Finally, here is what one of my customers emailed me about it, it made me smile:

"I love Cottontails and bought my Granddaughter the Moulin Roty wardrobe with Mouse and rabbit... She is very into her 'shoppings' at the moment... but I have played with the wardrobe more than she has! She will learn to love it I am sure and if not I love it already! She insists that rabbits and mice shouldn't wear clothes and undresses them each time she visits and puts all the clothes in the wardrobe drawer... When she goes home I redress the toys in a different outfit, so therapeutic... I think I should probably get out more!" - Lynn T

So you see, it's not just for children!

Available on the website here:  Moulin Roty Bunny & Mouse Little Wardrobe

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

We have an office mouse

 We have an office mouse.

This is not necessarily good news. I love mice - and I smile every time I see him scoot across the office - but I am a little bit worried about nibbling, nesting and so on.

He appeared for the first time last week.

I was sitting at my desk, typing away and adding new stock when something streaked across the floor and caught my eye. At first I thought 'spider!' and was all set to run, and then 'it' appeared again. Tiny brown and whiskery.

He ran straight in front of Rudolph who didn't bat an eyelash.

And then he seemed to be everywhere at once - up the curtains, on the shelves, behind things, under things, on things.

Can you spot him? Sitting on the delivery bags under the counter...

I left the door open hoping he might disappear - he spent long minutes sitting on the door step, but always opted to run back in.

Since then he has appeared every day around lunchtime and scooted around for a bit. I *think* he is living behind the boiler in the kitchen and I close him in there at night. I am hoping he is not actually sleeping in a pile of expensive toys, shredding them nicely to furnish a soft bed.

Insurance documents. Just in case.

If necessary I will create / buy some kind of humane 'mouse-catcher' and rehome him, but I am kind of hoping he may just scamper away in search of a mate one day. And I do kind of like having him around...

 Maybe he's heard about the new Maileg mouse house coming in soon...?

Oh and this is not the first time we have had a 'mouse situation' at Cottontails. Read about the last occasion here - back when I was working in the garden office. 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Moulin Roty Mademoiselle et Ribambelle range of nursery toys & accessories

A few weeks ago I promised a full introduction to the newest Moulin Roty range and I have finally found a bit of time to put a post together, and so ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, rabbits and mice, otters and owls... [drum roll please]... I present to you:

 Moulin Roty's Mademoiselle et Ribambelle!

A new nursery range - introduced summer 2014 and featuring the following main characters:

Cat - Mademoisell
Rabbit - Monsieur Lapin
Mouse - Mademoiselle Souris
Otter- Monsieur Loutre
Owl - Madame Chouette

Colour scheme: powder pink, grey, a soft steely blue and 'pops' of vibrant yellow

As with most of their nursery selection, the range includes soft toys, soft rattles, flat cuddly comforters,soft musicals and various nursery accessories - I have put together a couple of images below showing the entire range:

Visit our shop for more details and to place an order. I do not have everything in stock but if you see something you like here which isn't on the website, just drop me an email at and I can probably order it for you from France.

Apple harvest with the Moulin Roty Grand Family

I've just added a lovely new jigsaw puzzle to the website - a chunky 30 piece puzzle featuring some of the Grand Family busy in the garden. You can see it here.

Plus all members of the Grand Family are available to buy on the website, should you need a small friendly workforce to help with any harvesting. 

Harvest puzzle £14, 30cm soft toys £20

Amedee & Jeanne make a great apple-picking team

Also handy in an apple tree is Lucy Owl, £25 


Sunday, 27 July 2014

To the beach.....!

We've just booked a last minute break for a few days by the sea. It's very exciting! But boy, does it take a bit of planning ... so here's the deal:

1. Order today if you want standard delivery and I will send out parcels in the morning before I go

2. Mid morning tomorrow myself and my step daughter Isobel head off down the m5 with a bunch of Cottontails toys. Mike stays behind to look after the animals (goats, ducks, cats - and Rudolph*)

3. Isobel and I have lots of fun taking photos of toys on beach / in caravan etc etc. Mike deals with any Next Day express orders via phone instruction (this won't be difficult AT ALL)**

4. On Wednesday Mike joins us (toys will be packed away as soon as the Grown Up arrives) and I'll head back up later in the day...

5. All orders will be sent out Thursday and Friday, and I'll share lots of fun photos from the seaside.

In the meantime, here are some snaps from last year's holiday.... 

*Rudolph: I did consider taking him, we've rented a little caravan and I'm sure I could sneak him in, but decided it would probably be more stressful for him to come. So he is staying at home to keep an eye on Mike...

** Change of plan... 11.15am and still in office. Having been reminded of how orders are never simple and many are gift-wrapped I cannot face the stress of trying to talk a reluctant cider-maker through this process. So I'm turning off the next day delivery option until I am back. A far better plan.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Rabbit in a cot - pushing the boundaries of adorable

Here in the office I have a little vintage doll's cot, and over the last few days something extremely sweet has started to happen - Rudolph has taken to sleeping in it.

One day last week when I couldn't find him (a regular occurrence at home time - he hides) I stood in the middle of the office rustling a treat packet until I heard a little noise - and there he was, stretched out in the cot. And since then he has been in it every day...


For anyone who is interested, his companion in the cot is Gertrude, my much loved and long discontinued Moulin Roty rabbit. And the two of them are tucked up in bed linen hand made and knitted by my mother. What a life.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Flora's gingery honey cake

Flora fox has been baking. And not only that, she has been gathering her own honey and duck eggs.

What a fox.

The finished result was an extraordinarily gingery cake. Fortunately Flora loves ginger... and the recipe is below if you do too.

Flora visits the beehives to gather honey
(She didn't even bother with a bee suit.. just a ballet skirt. Fearless.)

Next she goes after the duck eggs...

Daisy duck: happy to help 

Three types of ginger... yes THREE

And in with the honey

Patiently waiting for cake to bake...


Is there anything better than a cake bigger than oneself?

Flora's gingery honey cake

300g/10oz honey
75g/3oz unsalted butter, melted
50ml sunflower oil
3 medium eggs
400g stem ginger, chopped (1 jar (258g) seems to be OK and costs less!)
2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon or coriander
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
Extra butter and honey, for finishin

1 Line the base and sides of a small loaf tin with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan/335F/gas mark 3. Put the honey in a bowl, add melted butter, oil and eggs, then beat until smooth.

2 Stir in the chopped ginger, grated ginger and spices, add the flour and baking powder, stir well until everything is evenly mixed, then spoon into the tin.'

3 Take small slivers of butter and lay them centrally along the length of the mixture. This will force the cake to crack along the butter line.

4 Bake for about 70-80 minutes undisturbed, as the cake is slightly fragile and prone to collapsing until the mixture sets. Use a skewer to check that the centre is baked. It will burn on top slightly, or at least go very dark. This is due to all that honey, and for me, it's part of the cake's charm.

5 Leave to cool in the tin. While the cake is warm, brush the top with extra honey to soften the crust.

6 Once cold, wrap the cake well and it should keep for several days. It's great as an afternoon treat, or warmed and served with creme fraiche as a simple dessert.