Friday, 29 April 2011


Many congratulations to William & Kate, The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge.. on this very happy occasion.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Festive Frome..

Excitement has been bubbling away quietly all week.. bunting has been washed and ironed.. the Union Jack flag folded and packed.. now all I have to do is find a suitable tablecloth for the event. You may be mistaken for thinking that I am getting ready for the Royal nuptials tomorrow.. but I am thinking ahead to a very important day on Saturday.
Branston (he's the handsome chap in the middle) and the gang are heading off to Frome to attend the very fine Vintage Bazaar hosted by Lizzie and Clare. This will be our first and we are all very much looking forward to it.
Now.. should I wear a tiara.. what do you think?

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Happy Easter

Wishing you all a very Happy Easter.. from The Custards and Brian the bunny xx

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Head for the Hills ..

Trundling down the M4 at 6.30 a.m last Saturday, listening to Nik Kershaw belt out the words ...

"Wouldn't it be good to be in your shoes
Even if it was for just one day
And wouldn't it be good if we could wish ourselves away
Wouldn't it be good to be on your side
The grass is always greener over there
Wouldn't it be good if we could live without a care."

The words couldn't have been more apt.. as we were on our way to a place where the grass was most certainly greener, where the birds song louder and more colourful, where the air was pure.. and there was plenty of it!

Yes.. we were off to Devon.. Chagford to be precise..

Arriving at the ridiculously early hour of 8.30 a.m, we browsed the windows of the sleepy town.. and one in particular.. the window of the estate agent's to play out my favourite fantasy game of 'where shall we live ?'

It was good to leave the tarmac and sounds of urban life behind and swap it for verdant hills, moorland views and the sound of the cuckoo. Exchanging the nocturnal sounds of late night revellers weaving their way home past our house at 3.30 a.m for the sounds of the owls hooting and the fox shouting at the moon...

We have found the perfect bolt hole in this gorgeous part of the world .. gazing down from the hill above to our home for the weekend and the most genial hosts we could wish to meet.. with their rambling, welcoming home full of dogs, a cat, chickens, black sheep and a very rude .. though hilarious parrot..

Walks along the river Teign at Fingle Bridge.. a place that draws us back time after time for it's magnificent raw beauty...

Spring flowers abundant and showing off their new wardrobe of fresh petals..

A garden to wander around at our leisure with the prettiest vegetable plot I have ever seen ..

Just one of those fantasies.. this one with beautiful mullion windows..

To end a perfect day a perfect evening down at the village hall .. gyrating to a Rolling Stones tribute band.. with young and old alike having a good old knees up.

It was a real wrench to drag ourselves away after two days of rural therapy .. especially hard as the sun decided to come out on the morning of our departure...

Dear Chagford .. we will return again soon.. and maybe for good one day!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Our Fair Ladies..

Yesterday was the 7th Vintage & Handmade Fair... and do you know the best part of the whole day? It was meeting and greeting of our faithful clan of ladies who come from all corners of our fair land to put on a fabulous display for the visitors who flock from far and wide.
I had such a lovely day... and this time thanks to the vigilance and generosity of Viv my neighbour and my dear man .. I got a chance to walk around and talk to our fair ladies; which is a luxury I have not been afforded at most of our previous fairs. Thank you to all who came from such distances as Kent, Cornwall, London and Italy .. and possibly Timbuktu!
Something one of our friends said at the end of the day was.. how friendly and civilised the Vintage & Handmade Fairs are.. which does go far to restore one's faith in mankind when it can sometimes seem that the world we live in lacks generosity and goodwill.
Here is a small selection of my hurried snaps taken minutes before the doors opened to the vintage hungry folk waiting patiently outside...

Jane & The Happy Crow

There were many gorgeous vintage hounds on display that one could have been forgiven for thinking they were at an open day at Battersea Dogs Home.. I would gladly have given a home to all of them.. pennies permitting!

Spring fever was evident in the vibrant colour palette of the displays.. I particularly loved the fresh green and yellows of Stephen & Judy's colourful wares ....

All Things Vintage & Beautiful

Sal and Mr Snippets put on a dazzling display of gorgeous textiles and smiles.... though Mr S was being a little coy here..

Sal's Snippets

These cool cats had me greatly amused with Woo's witty and quirky characters..

The Devil Makes Work

Clare's fine Easter bonnets ...

Daisy Darling

Vintage notebooks in every subject from Sarah ..

Vintage Notebook

Colourful blooms from Necia's Plants ...

Finally .. some Easter bunnies and friends from Cowboys & Custard..

A day of smiles, sunshine, chat, cake, sales.. and lots of yawns at the end of it.. and happy memories all round. Thank you to everyone who takes part in these fairs .. Jayne and I couldn't do it without you!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Moveable Beasts..

Goodness me what is going on? No blog posts for weeks then four in a row.. much like buses really.
It has been a wonderful week so far and hopefully the best is yet to come with two days to go before our Spring Vintage & Handmade Fair..
Check list is at the ready.. now all I have to do is persuade my menagerie of bunnies, cats and assorted dogs to jump into a box to take to the fair..

Hope to see you there!!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

By Design..

As a partner on the online shopping site.. Not on the High Street .. we were recently invited to ask Sir Terence Conran a question through the site and without hesitation I posed my question to him. I did begin to wonder if I should have asked him a more sober question about starting up a business or a design element, as he is, in my eyes, one of the greatest designers of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Imagine my surprise and utter delight to discover that my question was chosen along with a few others by Sir Terence. This was his answer..

Dear Terence, I would dearly love to know what your favourite toy was when you were a child? Michele, Cowboys & Custard Oh good grief, what a question Michele! I remember on our mantelpiece we had these wonderful things called “Sunday Toys” that my mother’s father had brought back from all over the world. Cherrystone slippers from Russia and a little hare made from ivory that came from China. Perhaps my favourites were toys I made myself, something I began doing when I was eleven and had peritonitis which came me off school for six months. I made a model of the battleship HMS Hood which, I think, I swapped for a 3 inch Myford lathe which absolutely became my absolute pride and joy. May I add what a wonderful name for your company – how on earth do cowboys and custard meet!?

It is a real privilege to have this insight into his life and possibly the early beginnings of his design led career.
Growing up in the sixties, I remember so well my visits to the iconic Habitat stores where the simple but oh- so -stylish contemporary home wares were very much de rigeur of the time. The bold colours and organic style of furnishings are just as popular today and have lasted the distance for many. Ironically I have grown up with antiques and love the individual craftsmanship of vintage items but have the greatest respect for contemporary design too.

I feel the two can marry very successfully with a bit of imagination ..
I don't claim to be an interior designer.. far from it.. My home is stuck in a bit of a time warp and is more of a collection of time worn relics and hand me downs from my family, combined with items I have collected along the way.
If you cast your mind back to the blog post I wrote in May last year.. I had a bit of a 'shoot' at my home, the results of which can be seen in the magazine 'House Beautiful' this month.

Dear Nicky Owen of White Rabbit Media and David Parmiter the lovely photographer.. did my house proud and never has it looked so uncluttered and clean. Just don't open that cupboard!
If you want to have a snoop around my home.. I am afraid you will have to buy the magazine!

P.s In answer to Tracey's question.. yes I did reply to Sir Terence Conran and this is what I said..

Dear Terence

Thank you so much for answering my question. I was absolutely cock a hoop that you chose to share your favourite toys from childhood with me. I loved to hear that you made your own toys and used your design skills from a very early age.

In answer to you question about my business name.. The "Cowboys" part comes from games I played with my brothers.. the favourite being cowboys and indians.. being a bit of a tomboy in my youth. The "Custard" part is from the nursery.. favourite childhood food. Cowboys & Custard brings together my love of childhood nostalgia which I hope I reflect in the products I make.

Best wishes


Cowboys & Custard

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Ma Maman

I was recently reunited with a collection of family photographs taken by my father in the 1940's and many of them were of my mother and eldest brother. My father was a very keen amateur photographer.. thank goodness, otherwise I would not have these precious relics from my life to look at on a day like today.. and remember.

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers everywhere.. past and present. xxx