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.