Thursday, 25 April 2013

Happy Birthday Cath Kidston!

I had a lot to thank our postman for yesterday. Not only did he deliver a lovely new Cath Kidston catalogue, he also put this fabulous new book (hot off the press) through our letterbox. Hoorah!

I love anything and everything Cath Kidston so I was really excited by the prospect of a whole book about the brand and the lady herself. I managed to keep my excitement contained until Little Treasure had gone to bed for the night and then I read it cover to cover! (Fear not dear readers, Mr Treasure's Chief Chef in our house so we didn't have to forego dinner last night due to my stint of reading!)

Hooray for Stanley! Gone, but not forgotten.

'Coming Up Roses' is a really interesting read and is a mixture of Cath herself talking and someone else (Sue Chidler) filling in the gaps. It's very anecdotal and is full of all sorts of snippets about how Cath went from selling her Aunt's vegetable patch as a child, to being at the helm of one of the world's most recognisable brands. Did you know that Cath had a pet donkey called Beauty who used to come into the sitting room when Cath and her family were having tea?!

The Cath Kidston catalogue has certainly come a long way from the early days to the one that dropped on to our doormat yesterday!

 After launching various handmade products, it was a flowery ironing board cover that got the attention of the press. It's fabulous to think that after 20 years, flowery ironing board covers are still so popular (we've got a Cath Kidston one and I wouldn't swap it for anything else!)

I like the fact that the book takes you on a journey, from Cath's early business beginnings, right up to the present day. It's an interesting read on lots of levels - whether you're a fan of Cath Kidston designs and products, someone who runs or is thinking of running their own business, somone who aspires to  turn their own designs into something tangible or a mixture of all of these. There are lots of photos and it's really interesting to read stories about Cath's successes (and failures) over the years. It's pretty inspiring stuff really.




Having seen this photo in the book, I'm now lusting after a set of brightly coloured handled cutlery! (I've just checked the Cath Kidston website and it's on sale...oh no, dilemmas, dilemmas!)

This bit in particular made me laugh out loud. I started reading it thinking, 'oh no, some poor chap who couldn't adapt got given the heave ho'...and then I read to the end of the paragraph. Poor Stanley!

With so much success and so many amazing achievements (including an MBE, over 100 Cath Kidston shops worldwide and bringing a trend to our homes that has been loved for 20 years), it was rather lovely to read that Cath, having loved Blue Peter as a child, considers being awarded a Blue Peter badge one of her most thrilling moments. It just goes to show that watching Blue Peter and having a dream can get you a very long way in life!

If you're a fan of Cath Kidston, I can't urge you strongly enough to rush out and buy a copy of this book right away!

Coming Up Roses
The Story of Growing a Business
 By Cath Kidston with Sue Chidler

Published by Quadrille

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Girls' Night In

I've been lucky enough to get my hands on Hannah Read-Baldrey's latest offering (published last week) and I must say, it's really rather fabulous. It's called 'Girls' Night in' and is a brilliant guide to creating the perfect night in with your favourite friends. So, rather than keep it to myself, I thought you might like a sneaky peek at what it's all about.

If you think the name Hannah Read-Baldrey rings a bell it's because she's the co-author of the inspirational books, 'Everything Oz' and 'Everything Alice' that I wrote about recently. I loved this book from the moment I saw it...not only has it got a lovely feel to it (I'm a bit of a book geek and love the touch and smell of new books!), it's also perfect for flicking through for inspiration. I showed it to my girly friends, who whooped with delight at the projects, cakes and cocktails within. In particular there was much 'oooohing' and 'aaaahing' at the floral felt fascinators and delicious selection of cakes, as well as much tittering (no pun intended) at the showgirl tassels!

I do love a bit of bunting, so I was really taken with this 'Leggy bunting', Hannah's rather innovative alternative to the traditional variety.

These are the floral felt fascinators that proved particularly popular with my friends. I imagine they're all off looking for felt to make them with right now!

These 'Mini Me' dolls are my favourite project in the whole book. They'd be fabulous to make and give to your friends as presents...or spend the evening making and swapping together.

There are lots of craft projects to try your hand at. This little clutch bag would be great to make at a girly night in whilst sipping cocktails!

I think this is a BRILLIANT idea! 

As well as the crafty projects, there are also instructions for beautifying yourself...nail designs, make-up ideas, recipes for face masks, a lemon and vodka foot soak...

 ...and even how to's for a number of hair do's!

The book is delightfully dotted throughout with Hannah's trademark (and rather brilliant) papercut illustrations.

Hands up who fancies a big slice of cake? The look of the icing alone has me reaching for a cake fork!

Mmmmmm, more cake! 

There are other recipes in this book particular favourites were 'Borough Market mini burgers and chips', 'chicken satay with peanut dip', 'spicy vegetable samosas' and 'Dorset fishcaskes with aioli'. I'm making myself hungry just writing this!

For the time in between crafting, cakes and cocktails, there are some ideas for fun games to play. I think this 'Guess Who Game' sounds like lots of fun.

And cocktails too. This book really will have you ringing your friends and organising a night in quick smart!

'Girls' Night in'
Crafts, cakes and cocktails for the ultimate party
By Hannah Read-Baldrey
Published by Quadrille, £16.99

(Just in case you're wondering, the fabric I photographed the book on is 'Tatum F Tana Lawn' from the very gorgeous range of Liberty Art Fabrics. I saw it on one of our recent jaunts to London and couldn't resist bringing some home. Now all I have to do is think of a project I could use it for and be brave enought to cut it up! Perhaps I should use it for one of the 'Girls' Night in' projects?)