Monday, 23 November 2015


We've slipped quietly from the mild golden days of Autumn, into the frosty nip of Winter in the bat of an eyelid. I can hardly believe how fast a year passes these days ... it will be Christmas in less than five weeks and I haven't even mixed my pudding yet.

Still, there's nothing quite like an early morning walk in the woods with my girls crunching on frosty leaves, so perhaps I shouldn't complain too much.  So long as as the sun is shining, I really don't mind wrapping up warmly for a stroll ... a wintery chill is always invigorating!

And of course, a new season should always herald the arrival of lovely new teddy bears ...

Today I'd like to introduce you to 'Wynter', a pretty 19" bear in frosty shades of lavendar (more lavendar than this pic in fact, as I have discovered lavendar is another shade which is difficult to photograph under studio lights!)

Wynter is now available for pre-Christmas adoption from my website: 

Keep snuggly all!

Thursday, 12 November 2015

A Copper Carpet

Not quite sure how I managed to find time to finish him this week, but somehow, between dog training, walkies and Grandson time, it happened!

16" Copper

So this is 'Copper', a rather lovely 16" mohair teddy.  As soon as I spotted his gorgeous mohair, I couldn't resist ordering it because it put me in mind of our favourite Autumn walks in the woods ... the leaves are golden, crunchy and carpeting the ground here right now, it's absolutely beautiful.

While I had my studio set up, I also took new photographs of 'Malteser' - dark brown bears are so tricky to photograph, but I think I prefer these pics of him to the ones I first took ... especially the one of him with Copper, it's so cute!

Malteser and Copper

20" Malteser 

Both of these lovely teddy bears are now available to adopt from my website:

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Time for Toby

Can't tell you how delighted I am to have been asked to take care of my Grandson, now that it is time for his mummy to return to work.

As it is such a privilege to be able to share special time with Toby while he is so little, I have decided to put aside my bear-making for one day a week and make time to enjoy simply being with my Grandson. 

We spent our first full day alone together yesterday and had so much fun playing with toys, reading books, climbing, walking, chatting and of course, chuckling!
I am completely smitten with this little lad ... being his Nana is the best job ever!!!


Monday, 9 November 2015

Remember, remember

My kids may be in their thirties, but they have never been too old to don wellies and celebrate Guy Fawkes night with me ... and happily this year, my Grandson was able to join us for the first time too! 

Watching little Toby wrapped safely in my son's arms, gazing at the sky with smiles and wide-eyed wonder, was a very special treat for me. Sharing traditions with my closest family has always been important.  Thanks kids, for always remembering and never failing to make time.

There is always a moment on Guy Fawkes night, when an especially spectacular firework illuminates the night sky and if I listen hard enough, I can almost hear my Dad's voice over the fizz and crackle.  He would have loved sharing fireworks with his Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren ... he always did enjoy a good Bonfire Night celebration.

Remember, remember, the 5th of November.

Never forgotten Dad xxx

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

A heartfelt teddy bear

The traditional teddy bear will always be at the heart of my bear-making.  Those golden oldies of years long past embodied comfort and security, so as a modern day bearmaker, I think it's every bit as important today, to weave heart and soul into our bears, as we steer them safely through flashing, beeping, technological toys, into the hearts of future generations.

20" Malteser is now available to adopt from:

In this computerised age, I make no apologies for my very traditional teddy bear.  Yes, he may be a simple chap, but please keep in mind, he is honest and true in his design.  He may not have beeps or sirens, flashing gizmos, nor triple AAA batteries, 

but ...

'Malteser' is a heartfelt teddy bear. 
Made by me, especially for you.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness..

Depressingly, our local council is currently on a mission to build houses and shops on any what seems like any available green space around the outskirts of town.  Thankfully, our local award winning 'Mote Park', bequeathed many years ago to the people of Maidstone, is still a beautiful place to take a stroll ... 

Autumn is my favourite time of year for walking in the park because that's when it flames gold and red with unabashed flamboyance. We explored some of the quieter areas of the park last weekend with Polly and Betty and I loved watching them running and playing together in the autumn sunshine.

Even though I have walked here for more than forty years, I never tire of visiting.  There are always new memories to made and misty memories of happy times, waiting for me along each pathway ...


Thursday, 22 October 2015


Little 'Goosebump' disappeared almost as quickly as I could say 'boo' yesterday!

No sooner did I send him to my website, than he was invited to spend Halloween with a lovely new owner!  I'm certainly not complaining, but sending 'sorry that one already sold' emails to eager collectors who only just miss a bear they are excited about, is always tough.  

I can't stress enough, if you fall in love with a special teddy bear, either on a website, or at a show, please trust your instincts and adopt as quickly as possible, because if you've fallen head over heels in love, the chances are someone else has too ... 

Happy Halloween Bear Collecting Everyone!


Monday, 19 October 2015

Our Annual Family Tromp

Our annual family tromp through the  Knole Park Estate to spot deer and enjoy the fabulous colours of Autumn, has become something of a tradition in recent years ...

For the past few years, my sister Fiona and I have gathered as many members of our own families as possible (including dogs!) to meet in Sevenoaks for a walk around beautiful Knole Park each October.  We sling cameras over our shoulders, lead up our dogs to keep the deer safe, don wellies or walking boots, then set off after lunch, for a few hours of fresh air, family chat and fabulous scenery.   Yesterday's tromp was truly spectacular ... the stags were rutting, the trees aflame in fiery reds and golds and of course, our family spirits were high!

Silly sisters selfie .. as is traditional!

I look forward to this special day every year, so was determined not to be floored by a heavy cold this week.  Despite huffing and puffing uphill and a case of wobbly legs after the walk, I was so glad we all managed to get together to share Sunday afternoon at Knole again this year.  Fiona and I always enjoy our grown up kids 'outdoorsing' with their cousins; there is something immensely satisfying in watching the next generation, their partners and now kiddies too, sharing and enjoying time exploring together.  As mums and also as sisters, we take a real pride in that!


Tommy Sunshine

... and in case you were wondering, yes of course I made a special teddy bear to celebrate my Grandson's first birthday!

'Tommy Sunshine'

A bright yellow teddy bear with a twinkle in his eye ... brim full of sunshine and smiles.

Happy Birthday Toby!


Happy First Birthday!

It was my Grandson's first birthday last week and goodness me, how that year has flown.  As you will understand, this little man is the apple of his Nana's eye ...  a little boy with a chuckle guaranteed to light the darkest of days!

I was absolutely delighted when my son brought Toby to visit me on his birthday. We went for a lovely long walk in the woods after he'd opened his presents, something we've always loved to do as a family and something Toby also loves.

So little man, a year on this earth and already you have made me the proudest Nana ever!  I have loved watching you unravel life's puzzles with your Daddy's quiet determination and your mummy's gentle spirit, as you explore the world with increasingly steady steps.  Getting to know you has been so much fun and the smile you give when you hear my voice, is the most precious gift of all!

Happy First Birthday to you Toby.
Stay safe, love life and always be kind.
With all my love always,
Your Nana xxx

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

A Polly & Betty catch up

Last weekend was a quiet one for us, so a chance to don walking shoes and enjoy some Autumn sunshine at Cobtree Manor Country Park with our girls ...

Little Betty is now almost five months old and a happy, cheeky little soul.  She is so much fun and I am constantly amazed by how fast she learns new skills.  Having a big sister to look up to has definitely helped Betty master the basics quickly, but even without Polly's guidance, this little girl is very switched on, constantly impressing me with a sweet-faced eagerness to please and a lovely natural enthusiasm.  Betty and I enrolled at Obedience School together recently and I am delighted to tell you, she is already proving herself to be as bright as a button.

As for my beautiful Polly (now two and a half years old), she will soon be undertaking a spot of 'urban training'.  I thought it might benefit her (and me) to join a small group which trains in real life situations, so we have signed up with an ex-guide dog instructor and our first walk is going to take place right through the centre of our busy local town, which should certainly put our obedience skills to the test!

Two such lively young girls keep me on my toes as you can imagine, but they do enjoy a snooze or two every day, so don't worry, there's still time for my bear-making.  In fact, I am currently working on a little Halloween teddy bear for my website and am hoping to finish the Halloween Prim Dolly Doodle I started a while ago.  Speaking of which, I'd better sign off and get to work ... Halloween is fast approaching!!!

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Excellence in Bear Artistry

The 2015 announcements have been made today and I am delighted to tell you, my 'Mr Moonshine' is among the select few honoured with a prestigious ... 

'Excellence in Bear Artistry - Judges Choice Award'!

So, right now, I will take a quiet moment to enjoy my success and give thanks that after twenty long years of making bears, they are still appreciated ... something in this fast moving creative industry, I never ever take for granted!

The next stage of the competition is the public vote.  If you would like to cast votes for your favourite teddy bear from each category, please visit the EBAA website by clicking the link below:


Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Deja vu!

You may be experiencing a little 'deja vu' at the sight of this fine fellow, but you can rest assured it is simply because he is a limited edition shop exclusive teddy bear and the third bear of his series!


 I am delighted to be able to tell you, 'Dustin' No.3 will be making his way to 'The Bear Shop' in Norwich tomorrow.


Friday, 25 September 2015

Some Blackberry Crumble

An Autumn memory ... before my youngest sisters were born, Dad would take me and my sister Fiona along the lane near our house to gather blackberries at this time of year.  We carried pails to fill with good intentions, but of course ate more than we saved and arrived home with telltale purple juice stains around our lips and probably bellyache too!

Blackberrying with Grandad

Stuart and I have always enjoyed walking in the countryside with his grandson at this time of year, foraging for blackberries along the way.  When he was little it was fun to show him fruit didn't have to arrive covered in polystyrene trays!  We're looking forward to 'fruity foraging' with our younger grandchildren too, just as soon as they are tall enough to reach the berries safely ... 

13" Blackberry Crumble

For me, Autumn is very much a time for being outdoors with family.  I guess the beauty of childhood memories is that the best ones can frame what  becomes important in our future ... and in my case, can fill teddy bears with happy memories too! 

I finished 'Blackberry Crumble' today.
 I hope he makes you think happy Autumn thoughts.


Update: Blackberry Crumble has been adopted!

Monday, 21 September 2015

Parental Advisory

It's been said before I know, but it bears repeating: new mums should be given a precautionary notice when first they take those precious little bundles into their arms.  Something along the lines of: 'Advisory: On loan'!

There was a feature about 'Empty Nest' syndrome on TV this morning and as I drank my first coffee of the day, I found myself murmuring in sympathy with the mums interviewed, whilst pondering my own job as a mum; after all, let's be honest, nothing really prepares you for the news your work is done, does it?  I don't mind admitting I found the rising panic and intense sense of loss, tough to handle both times.  Waving Anthony off first, followed by his sister Fay a short while later, with a smile and my blessing, was probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. 'Independence Day' always seemed a vague horizon away, I really wasn't ready for it to actually arrive on my own doorstep ...

But now, both my kids have homes of their own, good jobs, lovely life partners and in the case of my son, a family too.  We share time often and have evolved a whole new grown-up 'us', which is very special to me.  It took a while, but I did eventually come to accept that my grandson's beautiful smile and my son and daughter's independent happiness, are a fair exchange for all the years I shared with them at home.  Naturally there are times when I miss their noise and banter, but even so I wouldn't change a thing ... they earned their independence and so did I!


Saturday, 19 September 2015

Dish of the day!

I couldn't resist naming this little mushroom coloured fellow 'Stroganoff' ... after all, it is the season for dusting off the stockpot to make yummy casseroles and stews!

16" Stroganoff

He hopped straight off my website shortly after I popped him on yesterday evening.  It seems Stroganoff is a very popular dish!

Friday, 18 September 2015

Dear Dad,

Dear Dad,

That fateful September morning when the 'phone rang and our world stopped turning was five years ago today.  Wherever you are, I hope you know we five 'girls' still talk about you often and the words 'Dad would have ...' punctuate our conversation, whenever we are together.

Needless to say, when we are together, we are every bit as loud as ever we were!  Fo 'n Simon invited us to celebrate their wedding in true Hoppé style this year and their special day reminded each one of us of the importance of making more time to spend together ... there is nothing quite like a dance floor and disco tunes to bring sisters together!

Naturally, everyone is busy with their own life these days, but as you always said, it is important not to forget that family is what truly counts in life, so maybe we need to try not to allow quite as much time to slip through our fingers in future ...

Your grandchildren are all doing really well ... yes, all ten of them. They are such a fine crop!  From youngest to oldest, you can rest assured they have all turned out to be vibrant, independent achievers, bright, compassionate, beautiful and interesting. They are so much fun to be around and most definitely grandchildren to be proud of! I think the last picture of the ten of them together, was taken in your garden a good few years ago, so perhaps we should update that, as they are all growing up so fast! Your Great Grandchildren are also beginning to explore the world ... I am sure little Toby will take his first solo steps any day now and would you believe, young Ella has just started nursery school! Fo and I are so proud of this precious pair.

Five years on and I still miss our chats Dad.  Most of all though, I miss being able to sit down quietly with a cuppa, just making make sense of life with you.

Time heals as the saying goes, but it doesn't fill the space.

Love always,

PJ xxx

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

A Changing Season

I have several new bears in the proverbial pipeline, but as we didn't find time for a holiday this Summer, I decided to put work on the back burner last week and instead, enjoy some early Autumn walks with family and our goldie girls, Polly and Betty.

A special little man was left in my care on Friday and I couldn't have been more delighted to have his company on our first walk together in Mote Park.  I have very happy memories of walking with his daddy and auntie in this very park thirty years ago!

When his mummy returns to work in the next couple of months, Toby and I will be spending a day together each week.  I am so looking forward to switching off from the rest of the world on those precious days and just being Nana.

Stuart and I took off to Leybourne Lakes for a walk with Polly and Betty on Sunday.  The lakes looked beautiful bathed in early Autumn sunshine, so much so, Polly couldn't resist a quick dip.  She's a pretty good swimmer it transpires!

The weather was mixed when we took the girls to Riverside Country Park in Gillingham earlier in the week.  Warm sunshine as we walked along the coastline to start with, then our very own black cloud overhead all the way back to the car!  Thankfully it didn't actually rain. I always enjoy this walk with its starkly contrasting landscape - natural shoreline to one side and a power station on the other.  Polly and Betty loved following all the new scents and had great fun splashing in huge rain water puddles on the jetty.

We also took fun daily dog walks from our doorstep, through the local fields and woodland ... while we still can.  Sadly developers have recently been granted permission to build houses on our favourite field and others in the vicinity.  This will alter the landscape forever, threatening the natural environment dramatically.  It breaks my heart to see all the contractors vehicles driving along our sleepy lane, making ready to destroy yet another significant chunk of local countryside, in the so-called name of 'progress'.

As Autumn touches the land with gold and fills our countryside with wild berries and sweeping grasses, it seems to me, this most spectacular season will be granted one final blaze of glory before Winter this year, but thanks to man's unerring greed, it is unlikely we will witness the tender touch of Spring on this beautiful area again.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

A hint of Autumn

There's a hint of Autumn creeping into our days here in the UK, evenings are darker and farmers busy harvesting wheat.  Our local field was harvested a few days ago, much to the confusion of Polly and Betty ... one day the wheat was tall, waving gloriously in a warm Summer breeze, the next, stubby and prickly against their tummies!

It is such a lovely time of year to create teddy bears.  Inspiration comes easily as our countryside bears fruit and slips towards the spectacular golden tones which herald the change of season ... 

'Harvest' is my tribute to Autumn.  

Autumn is tinged with mixed emotion for me, as it embraces memories of both loss and happiness.  Nevertheless, I love the passion of this most golden season and its final dramatic flare before the dull grey of our English Winter.


Harvest is now available for adoption.
Please visit my website for further details:

Update: Harvest has been adopted!

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Little Miss Betty Boo

My favourite kinda Sunday ... we took a walk down to the ancient megalith at Kits Coty with our girls at the weekend and it was so peaceful!

Betty, now 14 weeks old, has settled in beautifully and is fast becoming a superb companion dog.  She is a busy little pup, always sniffing, playing, exploring and stealing slippers.  She is also wonderfully obedient and eager to please, so  long may that continue!  I am constantly enchanted by how quick to learn and affectionate my new puppy girl is, completely true to the wonderfully 'biddable' reputation earned by this fabulous breed.  

Polly is proving herself to be an excellent big sister to Betty and a surprisingly calm teacher too.  We have started work on basic obedience training both in the garden and also on our daily walks and it seems that both girls appear to be learning from one another.  Polly taught Betty how to sit and lay down when asked and how to walk in a reasonably straight line on the lead without tripping Mum over, whereas Betty taught Polly to speed up her recall if she wants to share Mum's tasty treats!

They love to play together and even though she is still very small, Betty isn't in the least bit overwhelmed by her big sister ... in fact Betty is usually the instigator of  wrestling matches and daft games of 'bitey face'.

We are having so much fun now that Betty is old enough to come out on short walks with us.  It is a true joy to watch her and Polly dashing around so playfully together in the late Summer sunshine.

Welcome to our family little Betty Boo ... and by the way, where have you hidden my slipper this time?!

Monday, 24 August 2015

Quality time..

My daughter and I sat in static traffic on the M2 motorway during Saturday afternoon, thwarted in our attempt to reach the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury in time to see 'Dirty Dancing'. Unfortunately, what should have taken no more than forty five minutes, instead took a bum numbing three and a half hours due to a serious road traffic accident.  The road ahead was closed by the police, so we passed time listening to music, whilst chatting about life, the universe and everything between, as mums and daughters are apt to do. We were shocked to watch as several less calm drivers bypassed the stationary traffic by slipping along the hard shoulder, seemingly unconcerned about the risk of blocking emergency vehicles.  How people can be so recklessly selfish, is totally beyond my comprehension.

My daughter, parked outside the Marlowe Theatre at last!

We eventually arrived in Canterbury, too late for the first half of the show and as Fay is diabetic and I was just plain ol' hungry, we needed to find an eatery rather urgently.  Instead of the restaurant meal we had planned, we were eternally grateful to a tiny branch of 'Subway' in Canterbury High Street, where a friendly chap served us tasty torpedo rolls, filled with spicy Italian sausage, gerkins and mayo. With only a few minutes until the show's second half, we camped out on the steps of the theatre like a pair of hobos to eat, just grateful we'd arrived safely at last, hunted down food and found a place to eat it.

As soon as we took our seats for the second half of the show, it became clear the row behind us was determined to be rowdy, but the iconic 'nobody puts Baby in the corner' finale was such great fun, it successfully drowned out their noise and we enjoyed a sparkling performance of Patrick Swayze's iconic final dance scene.

There is no doubt sometimes plans just don't work out.  Poor Fay had a nightmare train journey from her house to meet me and as the M2 was still snarled late into the evening, our journey both to and from Canterbury was dreadful, but absolutely none of that mattered because it was lovely to spend time with my daughter this weekend, simply doing our thing, in our own sweet, traffic encumbered way.  When your kids move out into their independent lives, quality time together becomes all the more precious.


I can't help but think 'there but for the grace of God go I and my family' when I hear of a serious accident ahead on the road.  Traffic jams shouldn't be an excuse for impatience, or taking selfish chances on the road, they are a glaring reminder to all travelers that someone on the road ahead may not have been so lucky.  It's all too easy to forget what's really going on when travel plans are inconvenienced.

Take care all xxx

Thursday, 13 August 2015

1940's Glamour

My supplier described this mohair as looking like it walked straight out of a 1940's Hollywood movie ... how very apt!

I had a notion such stunning, sleek, stylish mohair would make a sophisticated girl teddy and hope I have proved my theory with 'Constance', a fabulous 22" girl, guaranteed to bring elegance to any room.

This lovely teddy bear girl has been a joy to make and it is now time now for her to seek new horizons with a special someone ...

Further details can be found on my website:

Update: Constance has been adopted.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Big Hugs

There will always be days when comfort from a teddy bear may be needed ... and of course, the bigger the hugs, the better.

Introducing Otto.

He's big.

Update: Otto has been adopted 


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

A new arrival!

The roses have been so beautiful this year ... a moment to enjoy these most radiant of flowers is perfume for the soul.  Sitting in my deckchair, with sun warming my skin as my dogs play tug together on the lawn, has been a joy since Polly's little sister Betty came to live with us just over a week ago. 

At nine weeks old, she is the prettiest and cheekiest of puppies, full of fun, mischief and love.  She and Polly have quickly become good friends, eating, sleeping and playing boisterously together.  As you can imagine, my bear crafting time has been considerably interrupted by this sweet new arrival, so for the time being, I will need to steal creative moments while she naps!

So, new teddy bears may be slow to appear in the weeks to come, but please bear with me ... I have succeeded in cutting out and pinning a big traditional boy bear from beautiful gold mohair this week, so progress is being made, albeit at a leisurely pace.  In fact, both my girls are fast asleep while I write, so I will sign off now and tiptoe up to my sewing machine ... 



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