Sunday, 23 November 2014

Holly&Lil around the World

We have been very lucky to have been included in quite a few travel books around the World.  The Travel Writers are very meticulous in their research and come with a journalist and photographer to get it all spot on.  We are very grateful and thankful as nothing is more fun than a coach load of Japanese Tourists arriving knowing exactly what size they want!  We are so useless at speaking Japanese; though Alex is thinking of doing a course and Chelsea has picked up a few phrases.
Here are a few examples.

Visit Holly&Lil at our shop in London 103 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3XB
or see our web shop


Visit Holly&Lil at our shop in London 103 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3XB
or see our web shop

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Flower Power - Animals at War

This has been a year full of flowers.  The moving and perfectly beautiful  Poppy tribute at Tower Bridge has moved people to think more of what innocence is lost and what pain and cost war makes a nation and its people pay. The blood red poppies spilling and sprawling out are just heart-wrenching.

Over the summer one of our clients Jess came and asked me to create a purple poppy for her dog Alfie.  Alfie is a stunning boy and we are proud to say he wears many a Holly&Lil.


I did not fully understand why Jess wanted a purple poppy harness?  But she explained a wee bit more to me;  she had seen this picture of a Frenchie.  ''It was this little Frenchie that inspired the collar too. He delivered ciggys to the soldiers in the trenches'' 

Jess  felt she wanted Alfie to honour him and all the animals that have helped us in wars over the years.  ''...purple represents the animals that died in the war while red is for humans. I think it was animal aid that started it.''

''I've been wanting to send you pics of Alfies purple poppy for some time. But wanted the photos to show the meaning behind our design. so i took him to the animal war memorial in Marble Arch and taught him about his ancestors lol''

The Animals in War Memorial is a war memorial in Hyde Park, London. It is located on Park Lane at its junction with Upper Brook Street, on the eastern edge of the park. The memorial was designed by English sculptor David Backhouse to commemorate the countless animals that have served and died under British military command throughout history. It was unveiled in November 2004 by Princess Anne, the Princess Royal.

There are so many stories to read and research and I hope many of you will take the time to do so.

This is Jacks story an Airdale in WWI. (Thanks to The Telegraph)

In 1918, a detachment of the Foresters were at an advanced post, surrounded by the German Army, all communications cut off and with the supply lines four miles behind them. Their only hope rested on Jack’s fragile shoulders. A message requesting urgent help was tied to his collar, and he was dispatched to try and make it to headquarters. The Great War messenger dogs were taught to seek out cover amid the carnage of No Man’s Land. As Jack darted between craters, he was struck twice by German bullets. He made it, but only at a crawl, covered in blood and died of his injuries on arrival. The message, however, got through. 

Jack was one of some 20,000 dogs to serve on the Western Front, like many, he was recruited from London’s Battersea Dogs Home. Despite his heroism, he never received a medal. The PDSA’s Dickin Medal to honour the bravery of animals in war was only introduced in Britain in 1943. 

This is Robert Studleers beautiful Flora

Ideally the army wanted lurchers, known as the poacher’s dog and perfectly suited to war, as well as airedales, collies, sheepdogs and whippets. By 1915 his training centre was up and running.  The thought of Gus or Holly being used breaks your heart.
Sometimes, however, the dog’s main role was simply to raise morale. To chase away the vast lumbering rats that surfed through the mud; or act as man’s best friend in the most inhumane of environments.  I am sure many of our dogs would have been marvelous at that!

Animal Aid started the purple poppy appeal and I hope next year we may be able to do a charity poppy and donate some money to them
Union |Rose

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Chiswick House Gardens Dog Show Oct' '14

Chiswick House Gardens dog show Is traditionally Holly&Lils last outdoor show of the year.  And usually is a day of Sun and Fun... and this year it was with bells on.  We had to get there early to set our little stall up. 

We had decided to enter the dogs in a couple of events this year; just for fun.... Holly went first in Best Veteran... but failed to place.  I am so tempted to use talc on her next time to grey her up? Still we had fun trying - though it just feels WRONG to lose.  

At first the day was spent saying hello to old friends.  Many not needing new collars as their existing Holly&Lils looks so lovely still.
Lupin came and we took my picture with her and one of her best friends, Bessie Boo, who is on our H&L cards as well.  A real beauty and she has even been to Luskentyre and visited our weaver in her Holly&Lil collar.  What Fun!

Rachel came to buy a matching lead for her dogs Harris Tweed that she had bought last year - he still looks a dream in it and Rachel says she gets stopped a lot by people asking where it was from.  Tweed Collars

Gus fancied a few of the gals ... stunners in Pink Brightside from a year or so ago.  How gorgeous do they look?
Brightside and Safari collars

Sid did his best to steal the limelight from the head turners Micky and Rosie, in his bespoke Harness with Red Bow.
 Rosie was looking far too gorgeous to be upstaged in her new Brocade collar however!
I do think we may have to invent a Mission Impossible blow up button - so the collars do not last so long; we started thinking we may have saturated the 'Chiswick' market!

But then the new customers came to Holly&Lillify their adorable dogs... cue some more delicious pics of dogs in our collars...

Ant, of Ant & Dec fame, came with Hurley and his charming wife Lisa to try on a few.  Lisa had been on our website and had plans for Cowspot and Red but fell in love with the Zebra and Orange once we got it on  Hurley and that is what she went for in the end.  Gorgeous boy!

This little girl went for Zebra too for her wee one.  She was thrilled to hear Ant had picked the same one!

Olives owners had thought of purple or lime for her - but once they saw how the Pink 'Girled' her up, whilst still being super funky, they decided that was definately the one for her.  She was such a sweet little lady. 

Cookie one of our shop regulars came and fell in love with the Charley Chau beds next door

Next up to show was my beautiful boy Augustus.  It was hard as Christine from Charley Chau was judge so she told Rageh Omar, from BBC news, that she had to excuse herself from judging.
Luckily Rageh adored Gustus so he was still placed third.... WE WOZ ROBBED!
Gus seemed hugely pleased with himself however. So pleased he ran riot after the show ended and collapsed with heat stoke - VERY SCAREY - but he seems fine now.
Megan, Cookies owner, came to say Hello to baby girl Holly Dog!
This wee boy is only 5 months so we told the owner to wait till at least Christmas for his first Holly&Lil.  But we tested out a few options.

Plum dog came to tell us about her book that is coming out soon.  And to buy a Blue & Turquoise Brightside.  Sweet gal.

So another lovely day and the end of our open air show season.  It was really lovely thanks to all the Chiswick House Garden Dog Show organisers.  A triumph!
See you all again next year.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Holly&Lil Dog Show 2014 - Part of Bermondsey Street Festival

Once a year our whole street comes out and parties.  Everybody in the street takes part and we have a Fashion Show, Dale shows his Bees and his delicious Honey and the restaurants set up stalls serving wonderful food and drink, etc.  Holly&Lil part in all of this is their very own dog show.
The BSAG had moved us out of our usual home in Tanner Street to Leathermarket Gardens this year as the venue gave more room to the spectators.

The emphasis this year was as much on the Losers as the Winners, as Gus and I had flunked badly in a show a week or so back and it really hurt when we did not even get placed.  Slinking out of the ring unloved was rather vile - so this year I had loads of WE WOZ ROBBED rosettes made and also hand baked some yummy treats just for those who did not win.

It was my first year compering as Dale, Lilys owner, who had been in Cambridge Footlights was a natural and had been such a huge part of our success previously.  I did not want to get some sad wanna be replacement for him so decided to do it myself with the wonderful Robert Alleyne as Judge.  H&L have known Robert quite a few years since we met him at a Macmillan Dog Day when he was helping launch the Marley and Me film.  He was very taken with Eddie and Holly and Lily that day.  Robert had spent many years on the popular BBC show Dog Borstal.

Donna Marie introduced us in her own style and Simon Bulpin and his three Italian Greyhounds led us in dressed as Swiss Guards.. Mad but rather wonderful.

The show just whizzed by and once I had got over my nerves and Verbal Diarrhoea I really enjoyed it and I think most of the contestants and Spectators did too!
All of the Els Angels said they would remind me to take my pinny off ... did they....?!? NO - not a good look!


Harry a Sussex Spaniel shown by Bernie was one of Roberts personal favourites.  He said they summed up totally what the show was all about; the wonderful relationship between owner and dog.
He said the communication between them was a joy.
Maisies owners had heard me being interviewed on the BBC radio Barking Hour.  They had come down specially as they were desperate to get a WE WOZ ROBBED rosette - Robert was happy to help them out.
Claire amazed herself and the rest of us by blubbing with pride when Marvin won the Eddie Award, best pedigree boy.
Meryl the Boston was pretty as a picture and won  The Lily Award for Prettiest Gal

from young pupstars to 12year old seniors all were welcome in the show.

Holly only wanted to play ball with the Els Angels

But Gus helped Mary hand out the We Woz Robbed rosettes and Made by Mum treats
With typical organised chaos we have managed NOT to have pics of our wonderful wee winner - Mabel our youngest ever entrant let alone winner - a 16week old Cockerpoo.  CONGRATULATIONS!

Robert and I did our best and I think everyone had fun.  
Robert said he wished I could compere more of the shows he does - (THANK YOU) - and wrote on his Facebook Page... 
''I have never laughed so much at a dog show EVER!!!! My thanks to my amazingly funny steward Elaine, who made the show"
Well nearly everyone - there were a few people who thought I talked too much, (there's a shocker?!).  Our usual brand of organised chaos was called 'shambolic' by one - though we kept to schedule and finished early!  And the emphasis on the Losers may have been taken the wrong way I guess - but truly I meant no harm and hoped everyone had the best of days. Certainly Beezle and Daddy seemed to be cherishing their rosettes
Daddy - he woz robbed!
Beezle - he was robbed!
So thanks to all who came and to all my Els Angels, Chelsea, Alex, Connor, Jo and Mary and Chris our one volunteer this year! Also to Angela who did what she could to make the area work well. Looking forward to next year already