Winter Smoke and a slice of Glasto.

I love the way that sometimes you can be searching for one thing, but while you are looking for that thing, you stumble across something else that just so happens to be completely brilliant. Looking for stuff on the internet is particularly great if you enjoy this experience (although you can easily lose whole afternoons doing this.) And so it was when I started looking for something to get Polly’s much-loved year 2 (Koala’s class) teacher,  Miss Smith – the fact that they share a name probably helps, but she is also a great teacher. We hear many happy reports of her style choices too; ‘Miss Smith likes very skinny belts,’ for example. So when I asked Polly what she thought we could get Miss Smith as an end of term ‘thank you for teaching me’ present, she just said ‘Koala’ (which, incidentally, is why that is a really stupid question to ask a 7 year old, but I seem to do a lot of my thinking out loud these days, which often leads to scenarios like this. I am obviously not going to buy an actual Koala; I think there are things that she would rather be presented with on the last day of a very long term, and I believe there may be immigration issues which I frankly have not got the time to deal with.) So I idly typed ‘Koala’ into Folksy, my favourite site for slightly unusual gifts, anything knitted, and interesting cards and prints.

And I stumbled upon this.


A very cool Koala, I think you will agree. A bit Oliver Jeffers-esque (EVERYONE, including our entire family, and apparently also Miss Smith, love Oliver Jeffers,) but just really simple and lovely.  It’s a 6 x 4 print; so we’re just going to pop the Koala in a frame for Miss Smith. I hope she likes the Koala, but I for one am smitten with the whole Winter Smoke collection by Mark B.  Other highlights include his narwhal (always nice to see), and many more:

Narwhal Raccoon



I like his style, and I like the thought of more original art around the place. Personally I am not stopping at the Koala – I’m planning to buy at least three more so I can frame some and put them up in the kids’ rooms. Interesting prints are a great and inexpensive – these prints are £6.50 each – way to decorate a room, childrens’ or otherwise. I need at least one for the living room… Oh, and they all come with a handwritten thank you note, or a gift message of your choice, and all the prints are signed. It’s this kind of thing that really puts independent retailers ahead. Attention to detail (and nice packaging) often wins the day in my book! Mark B’s website looks great too: take a look here.


And as for Glastonbury, well this is one year when I would love to have been there (Arctic Monkeys!!!) But I think this is the performance I would most loved to have seen. Radiohead playing Karma Police at Glastonbury, 1997. Goosebumps.


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