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Gloria, Axolotl's & Fruity Jugs!

After last month's otter incident, I placed a final batch of runner duck eggs into the incubator. I had assumed failure when Gloria and Guy suddenly made their presence known. Guy has a minor leg issue, and a funny eye and is working on his umbilical cord detachment injury but remains surprisingly resilient even after multiple quacks of irritation with him from his fellow newby Gloria.

Gloria was introduced to the studio and had her first photoshoot with our lovely guests yesterday, who came to Lino Print. The ducklings have also encountered Pip, our resident dog. While Pip remains very unimpressed with her reduced ranking in the home and the incessant chirping from our new pair, there is potential for friendship…or possibly Pip will just push the back door open and convince them to go and play with the big kids outside!!

These new arrivals offer a reminder of the unpredictable nature of life. Circumstances shift, yet moments of renewal persist.  I was actually turning the incubator off when one of the eggs started chirping. It was definitely a last-minute reprieve as I noticed the tiny break in the eggshell.  With as little human intervention as I could get away with, I helped peel back more of the shell and then checked the other eggs for similar signs of life.  As anyone who has had a go at hatching knows, it is an emotional roller coaster that leaves you quite in awe of how amazing these little creatures are…oh and needing a large slice of cake or/and a glass of bubbly!  (says the emotional eater who really has tried very hard to reduce her bubble intake this week after a heavy, bubbly evening at the weekend)

But there was no time to sit and mull over the wonders of life when we got the chance to hang out with my new bestie, Emily, at Birdland.  We were invited over and had a lovely morning checking out the Flamingoes, Spike the penguin and his mates and the stars of the show….the runner ducks - Oh and a few really unnecessary members of the park - Tarantulas and the surprisingly fast-moving and virile tortoises. 

Birdland is one of those places that sits on our doorstep in Bourton on the water and is less than £15 admission. They have just refurbished their old reptile building and turned it into a wonderful light and airy new cafe. I sound like I am on a little promo campaign (I am not - but feel free to bribe me later, Birdland), but I am seriously thinking that the £39 ish pounds for annual membership is a bargain for us to hang out and pretend to have business meetings - when of course actually we have just come to eat their cake.  

So, what do you think would be a cool craft for us to offer over the summer at Birdland? We are thinking maybe some sort of airdry clay dinosaur imprint (they are big on dinosaurs at Birdland), a little egg decoupage if you please, and somehow incorporating in the headline acts such as the penguins and the Axolotl….yes, Axolotl - have you not been aware that this is the new kid on the block and any under ten year old worth their wait in Haribos will be reasonably obsessed with them at the moment.

As legend has it, the axolotl is the Aztec god of fire and lightning, Xolotl, who disguised himself as a salamander to avoid being sacrificed. The Axolotl is a species scientists are apprehensive about going extinct soon; they estimate that there are only about 50 to 1,000 left in the wild. That number is greatly decreasing and is too fast for humans to be sure that they can help stabilise their numbers.  Emily at Birdland said it is the top-selling plush toy in their shop at the moment, and many children have been pestering their parents to buy them one as a pet.  Apparently, they aren't that straightforward to look after, and therefore, the whole “circle of life” chat is being heard in many young whipper snappers' bedrooms at the moment!  Maybe just go with the goldfish if you are thinking your child needs a new pet.


Half-term Pinwheels: What have you planned? We will fuel our current papercraft obsession with Helen Nightingale. Of course, we are targeting mums and dads and their sons and daughters—but we all know it's actually all about mum who wants to do it.

Summer Party Paper Decorations

29 May 2024

10:00 am


We might not have shared the hilarity we had choosing the name for Robyn's newest pottery painting workshop. Its jugs. It's lovely jugs that you paint with fruit.  Lovely jugs, juicy fruit! You can see how the WhatsApp chat when we were agreeing the workshop name did have us cracking out the laughing/crying emoji way too much  (better than having to crack open the new pack of Tena ladies when the hilarity got too much!)

I digress - so we have our first session of the ‘Paint a fruity themed jug’ this saturday.  It is going to be a busy old day in the studio with a fully booked 3hr silver clay workshop in the morning and then lino cutting and the fruity crowd  in the afternoon.  

We have another jug session on the 22nd June.

Nice jugs not your thing?  Well as you know we have a plethora of other crafts to entice you in with- to boost your happy hearts, to bring a friend and laugh with and to find your inner creative; or just enjoy the warmth and frivolity we like to serve up daily in the studio with a side order of menopausal brain to ensure you never quite get the refreshment you ordered!

We have been adding bits and bobs to our calendar from now until August, and the following download is an easy way to search through them by craft.  We have been experiencing a few glitches (or moments when WIX, our website platform, doesn't really understand us and our needs), so once you find the workshop you are interested in, pop over to the website to book.  If it isn't working correctly, call 0800 999 1914 and one of us will switch it off and switch it back on again to make it all work wonderfully for you.

Workshops by Craft
Download PDF • 71KB


I little behind schedule (about 2 months). Here is the chilli recipe we often serve in the studio.  Oodles of you have requested the secret recipe known only to the NB’s and the Birch families until now.  Mr NB (AKA Mr Larkswold) created his own chilli mix, which has since been added to my “ a bit of this and a bit of that” chilli recipe.  Combined with freshly made salsa guacamole and served with sour cream, rice, tortilla chips and nutty brown rice, it's been a real winner.

Chilli Recipe card (3)
Download PDF • 1.08MB

So enjoy this little heat wave, and hopefully see you soon,


Melinda x

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