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    World Book Week, London Book Fair, Book Proofs....

    World Book Week, London Book Fair, Book Proofs....

    This year we had a wonderful time celebrating World Book Day - we were lucky enough to be invited to set up a pop up book shop for a secondary school. We took the amazing Laura Coryton into a hall full of year 8 students to celebrate her book 'Speak Up' a book inspired by her campaign to stop the Tampon Tax . And then Amber Lee Dodd entertained the year 7 children with her journey to reading as a dyslexic child all the way through to writing her second book 'Lightning Chase Me Home'.

        

    Then author/ illustrator John Bond visited Ottie and the bea and we were joined by 4 classes from a local school. John read to them and showed them how to draw Mini Rabbit and the results were wonderful.

          

    We rounded World Book Day/ Week off with our very own #shareastory in the shop.Followed by a very sleepy Sunday spent reading proofs on the sofa- curled up in my fav blanket #seventhheaven.

    

    I have spent this week at London Book Fair listening to some brilliant panel discussions about issues such as the future of the picture book. And my favourite event of the fair is always the #publishersassociation #bookassociation Publishers Pitch. Each Publishing house has 4 minutes to talk us Book Sellers through their upcoming titles. And it's a brilliant way to get an over-view of what books are coming out when and oh my goodness there are some corkers coming.

    I am busy reading proofs as rapidly as I can but my stack of book proofs is teetering and tottering- I am hoping to share a few, if you are a keen book reviewer do let me know! I've just finished reading Malamander - a really exciting adventure story from Walker Books, written by Thomas Taylor who illustrated the Philosopher's Stone. Malamander is a gripping seaside adventure set in Eerie-on Sea with two brilliant central figures- Herbie Lemmon who is in charge of the lost and found at the towns hotel and Violet Parma who appears and is in need of Herbie's help to find her parents who disappeared 12 years ago. The community of Eerie-On Sea is wonderfully painted - we have a book depository with its very own book dispensing monkey- a community full of characters to rival any local high street- I can't wait to share it with you all.

     

    Saying Goodbye to January

    Saying Goodbye to January

    Saying goodbye to January doesn't involve fond farewells and I feel that very strongly this year. I have been struggling to find my mojo this month- which is really unlike me. It may well be that I am feeling the early onset of menopause or maybe it's a momentary weariness not helped by our imminent departure from the European Community and there seems to be no escaping either.

    As many of you might well know January is packed with trade shows from Maison et Objet, to Playtime, to Top Drawer , Spielwarenmesse, Dot to Dot , Toy Fair etc...

    My trip to Maison was as wonderful as ever. I spent several hours with the magnificent Djeco seeing their new creations and playing games that I hadn't played- seventh heaven for me. Frederick who took the company over from his mother is always on hand to greet all. And as always I was amazed at the quality of the artwork from amazing illustrators that they commission for their puzzles, toys and games from Herve Tullet, Beatrice Alemagna to Sébastien Féraut aka Niark1... They have some fabulous new ideas which I really can't wait to share with you all a little later this year but for now, we have received 3 palletes of boxes from Djeco and are busy sorting our way through them and the shop is full of Djeco 'magic'.

    I also made a point of popping by Wobbel's stand to catch up with their creator Hannelore Blaauw who is truly inspirational. The organic growth of their company is a wonderful tale and their approach to business is one i really respect. The Wobbel was created because Hannelore wanted to find something to help one of her sons with his motor skills and through this need Wobbel was developed with the help of designer Wouter Haine. They then saw that children enjoyed exploring them and playing with it in a multitude of different ways and from there they haven't looked back. And we are extending the range of Wobbel boards that we are stocking and they'll start arriving very soon.

    Maileg's stand was stunning this year - for those of you unfamiliar with the name,  they are the Danish creators of mice and rabbits of various sizes; some of whom live in matchboxes and have their own worlds- kitchens, ironing boards, skate boards....and they lend themselves to hours of imaginative play. This year I had a list of requests that folk had asked me for and I am pleased to announce that the delivery is due to arrive any day.

    I've ordered lots of new goodies and they will all start arriving over the next few months - the ooh so gorgeous Mustard Shorty lockers, Skinny Lockers and baskets have arrived- more colours to follow... And they look great in Ottie and the Bea- do pop in and check them out in person, (they are gorgeous).

    There have been lots of book events with various publishers introducing authors, illustrators who haev new books coming out but more of that over the weekend.

     

     

    Sparkle Child visits Ottie and the Bea

    Sparkle Child visits Ottie and the Bea

    How to celebrate turning 8? Time flies...I find it hard to believe that we opened the doors to Ottie and the Bea 8 whole years ago- amazing!

    And we now have two wonderful new Saturday staff - Scarlett used to come to our book club when it first started- i mean years ago and the other is Dicky Bird's wonderful daughter Meg -and I have known since she hit double figures.

    Back to the how to celebrate....hmmm tricky...

    And then the perfect solution just fell into place- Sparkle Child running a charity workshop to raise funds for Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital. So, on Saturday 22nd September we were totally covered in sumptuous sparkle courtesy of Sparkle Child.

    A stack load of sparkly mini meringues seemed like the perfect solution to a Birthday cake this year- so a big thank you to @ChristinaReynolds- they were / are delicious!!

    Krystal who runs Sparkle Child is most definitely the Queen of Sparkle and was definitely very busy at our making table this afternoon. And we love her creations at Ottie and the Bea.

    So, what do I wish for the year ahead.....well now that'd be telling but....

    As I am sure you are all aware it isn't easy on the High Street at the moment. I didn't ever set Ottie and the Bea up to make a fortune - the intention has always been to become a part of our local community and to take home a weekly wage.

    The big guys seem to just get bigger these days and as Amazon and Waterstones continue to grow I have to say that I feel really privileged to be a part of your lives and if we can provide a little bit of magic, well, I am a very happy lady.

    Over the past couple of days I have suddenly become aware of the number of conversations in the shop that have centred around what is important in life. And I have to say that every day on leaving my home or dropping Ottie at school as I bump into folk on my way to work and say good morning, hello, how are you... I have to say I feel so lucky to live and work where I do!

    Thank you all yet again for all your support

    Julia x