Friday 7 August 2020

Memory Lane

I was sorting through a cupboard earlier this week and came across a box of old teddy bear magazines. I had to smile when I pulled out this issue, as it was my first ever front cover, way back in October 1997. The coverstar was my 'Gently', a huge teddy bear with the most gentle expression...

So much has changed in the teddy bear world since 1997...

The arrival of 'internet for all' heralded an explosion of teddy bears online, with collectors discovering exciting new teddy bears at the click of a button. I remember the excitement I felt at taking this new direction when I created my first 'All Bear' website way back in 1999. The opportunity to showcase my work globally from my own home, seemed daunting, yet utterly thrilling too.

Teddy bear shows across the UK, previously the highlight of any bearmaking/collecting calendar, soon began to struggle under the weight of undeniable competition from the World Wide Web. More and more teddy bear artists taught themselves technological skills to sell bears through websites, online auction houses and social media outlets. Who would ever have thought our humble teddy bears would be swept along in a tide of worldwide globalisation and digital revolution?!  One thing is for sure, teddy bear artists have certainly had to prove themselves versatile if they want to survive in the fast paced world of the internet!

With so many teddy bear artists offering beautiful bears for direct sale from the comfort of their homes, eventually many bricks and mortar teddy bear shops found they could no longer compete, so beloved teddy bear shops ultimately disappeared from local towns. At the same time, here in the UK we began to notice that the teddy bear magazines we once clamoured to have our work published in, also began to quietly fade away. Favourite monthly publications became bi-monthly, then eventually stopped publication altogether. Ultimately, Hugglets, Teddy Bear Scene and The Teddy Bear Club magazine all went out of print. The immediacy of the internet, featuring latest news and brand new teddy bear designs often within moments of teddy's final ear being attached, seemingly diverting eager collectors' attention.

Shows, shops and magazines have been left in the wake of the digital teddy bear revolution and the thrill of a front cover on a magazine in the UK is now an experience usually only known to six lucky bear artists a year, thanks to the last specialist UK teddy bear publication to successfully withstand the internet onslaught, our old friend of thirty years standing, 'Teddy Bear Times & Friends'.

The online teddy bear business rollercoaster has been a thrilling ride in many ways, but of course, it should be noted that in the race to compete globally, we may have lost a personal touch, not to mention the delicious sense of anticipation and cosy permanence we once took for granted, in the days before the click of an internet button made everything so emminently disposable.

Wednesday 1 July 2020

Lockdown Grandparents

I created Rosie to celebrate my granddaughter's 2nd birthday back in May ... which of course, happened during Lockdown. Sadly, under Lockdown Law, this meant my family wasn't able to gather for a traditional party celebration, so instead, we all sang Happy Birthday into our computer screens, while little Izzy watched and wondered. 

That morning, I drove my dogs close to my grandchildren's house for their daily walk (permitted under UK Lockdown law) and while my husband got the dogs out of the car, left 'Rosie' and her smart new dolly cot, on the doorstep, then rang the doorbell, stepped back to maintain the required social distance and watched with my Nana heart in mouth, as my delighted granddaughter discovered her special birthday gift on the doorstep and her Nana at the bottom of the garden path! Strange times indeed, but the smile on Izzy's face as she cuddled her new dolly was the most precious smile of all ... and enough to keep this Nana smiling too, as she blew kisses to her two excited grandchildren ... and in line with Lockdown legislation, turned around, wiped away a rogue tear ... and walked off into the woods with the dogs.

It has been so hard to be a Lockdown Nana, but I have tried my best to stay as close as possible to my grandchildren, whilst being forced apart by Lockdown. Each time restrictions eased a little, I scoured the Government website for the finer details, desperate to find a way to spend time proper time with the grandchildren I used to care for in my home each week... and each time it was clear that my life as a Nana was no longer under my own jurisdiction. The last time grandparents were legally allowed to care for grandchildren in the UK was prior to the 23rd March 2020. In more recent weeks the Government gave permission for us to spend time with our grandchildren at a social distance of two metres, which meant we were able to share walks and have some fun in the garden ... but still no hugs...

From 4th July it is my understanding we will at last be permitted to have grandchildren back into our homes ... but once again, at distance, minus hugs. I can't tell you how much these restraints hurt my heart, so goodness only knows what our precious grandchildren make of it all. 

Sadly, I don't believe our Prime Minister has given our youngest generation's feelings about being torn apart from beloved grandparents for months on end, very much consideration at all. I worry about the effect this may have on them, as they have so little voice of their own. It is for adults to consider what is best for these important little citizens and I worry that our Government has become so swamped with all things Coronavirus, that their feelings and needs have become something of an afterthought...

Maybe now that it has become economically critical for UK parents return to work, the true value of grandparents will become clearer to him.

Sending hugs and much love to all Lockdown Grandparents.
May we soon be recognised... and fully reinstated!

Tuesday 2 June 2020

Simple pleasures and the price of 'freedom'

Throughout our Lockdown days I have found the simplest things in life have given me the greatest pleasure ... long walks with my dogs, creative freedom, the warmth of sunshine on my face, the dapple of woodland shade on a hot day, a gentle breeze through long grass, clear blue skies and the beautiful bloom of Summer. These are the things I will remember with gratitude when the Lockdown restrictions finally lift. 

June the 1st was a significant day for me and many other mums and grandparents, for two reasons. The first was that after ten agonising weeks, it was as though someone had waved a magic wand; at quarter past ten in the morning, my doorbell rang, I opened the door and there, stood grinning from ear to ear on my driveway, were my two beautiful Grandchildren and their Daddy, my son. 

At last. 

The second significance on Monday, was that after a completely joyous morning exploring the local woodland together, with light heart and a spring in our step, there was an announcement made at teatime, by the Government...

It will henceforth be against the law to invite anyone into your home who doesn't live there, including your own flesh and blood. No longer a Government guideline, no longer Public Health guidance, now a Law. 

In just ten weeks, an Englishman's home is now no longer his castle. 
Freedom to be with our loved ones outdoors, has it seems, been granted at a worryingly high cost from under our own roofs.

Hopefully if we keep focused on what we can do, rather than what we can't, the rest will follow ...

Monday 25 May 2020

Bumblin' along..

I'm still bumblin' along here at All Bear. Making teddy bears is who I am and as I really don't know how to be anyone else, even in the midst of a pandemic, I have continued to create bears whilst 'locked down' and without doubt, will continue so to do, as and when the dreaded Lockdown eventually ends... whenever that may be. As yet the end of UK Lockdown restrictions still lies somewhere beyond the rainbow, a glistening mirage of hope and prayer...

That said, thankfully we have recently been granted an additional freedom privilege from on high... that of being permitted to meet one other person, from another household. The meeting must take place in a public space and be socially distanced by a required two metres, so it is still not possible to meet with younger grandchildren. However, with the required attention to detail in mind, I am thankful that it has at last been possible to take a relaxed walk in the sunshine and enjoy a picnic with my daughter in our favourite local park.

Given this new freedom, it has been necessary of course, to choose between offspring as only two people may 'gather' in public at any given time. I can only imagine how some families reconcile such divisive ruling among their nearest and dearest, but in my case it was quite a straightforward decision, no toss of a coin, or favourite child selection required. My adult daughter lives alone and has been almost completely isolated from the 'real' world for nigh on three months, with only her three cats for company, while my son has the household hubbub of his wife and children to keep him on the straight and narrow.

Spending time walking and talking in the fresh air with my lovely daughter, was a relief, a very precious moment, a heartbeat of our normality. I so long to have both my kids put their keys in my front door, let themselves in and have them raid my biscuit tin like old times, but until that day returns, I am just grateful for the small but significant mercy our UK Government has now seen fit to grant.

A small step maybe, but a step nonetheless.

Friday 24 April 2020


April has been such a beautiful month, with the exception of a few chillly days. The weather this month would have been perfect for celebrating my son's 35th birthday, had we not been quarantined from one another under the UK's Lockdown rules, at the time. It should also have been a wonderful month for exploring our local woods and enjoying the bluebell with my grandchildren. Instead, we have had to make do with virtual contact online and the one thing that proves, is that virtual lives are simply not enough for anyone...

I so miss the chaos, the cuddles and the smell of my real life. I want to hear squeals on a Tuesday, shrieks of laughter, mischievous whispers. I want to feel the warmth of little hands in mine, to read stories snuggled together on the sofa, to chase around the garden together, to wipe spaghetti hoops from chins and snot from noses. 

I just want this Lockdown to be over, so I can be Nana again.

That's all.

Wednesday 1 April 2020


Never in my wildest dreams (not that my dreams are usually particuarly wild!) did I imagine I would be sharing my teddys under home confinement, due to a worldwide health pandemic and Government Lockdown. It seems the world has turned upside down, inside out and back to front of late and it is all extremely discombobulating, to say the least...

Nonetheless, the little things of life continue here without much interruption and I am extremely grateful for the calm of my teddy bear sanctuary, during these unfathomable times...

We have now completed our first full week of Lockdown here in the UK and I must say, it has been most strange to be prohibited by the Prime Minister from visiting my own family! I miss my children and grandchildren hugely, but at least we are able to keep in frequent contact via the magic of 'Facetime' and of course, by chatting on the telephone. Receiving a video call from my Grandchildren is a rowdy affair and seeing their excited faces and race to share news of discoveries, games and treats, makes my Nana heart absolutely sing!

I purchased writing paper last week, so plan to dust off long forgotten handwriting skills and send a few old fashioned penpal type missives t0 my Grandchildren by snail mail ... that will surprise them, if nothing else!  I have been recording stories for them too and it has been fun to revisit Winnie the Pooh and share his world with Toby and Izzy thanks to the miracle of modern technology. Not quite the same as snuggling together on the sofa to read of course, but at least a good way to keep our life as normal as possible until we can see each other again ...

... and I pray that won't be long.

Stay safe.
Stay busy.
Stay positive.

Tick. Tock.

Much love,
Paula x

Monday 23 March 2020


The world has fast become a scary place to be and teddies in the window can bring a smile and a sense of comfort for children and adults alike.

Please join in and show the little ones in your area that you are thinking of them during these dark days.


Tuesday 18 February 2020

A new arrival!

What a weekend! 

Storm Dennis blew in and as the wind howled and rain crashed, a precious baby girl, my third Great Niece, made her way into our world in the wee small hours of Saturday...

It seems only a blink of an eye since I had the privilege of being present at her mummy's birth, an unforgettable, beyond words, experience, one I shall always hold dear.

The older we get, the faster the years fly it seems and now this brand new generation is growing fast and bringing my family such joy.

Congratulations on the birth of your daughter Lauren and Terence, I am so very happy for you!

Welcome to the world Miss Millie Louise, 
wishing you a safe world of opportunity and love.

With all my love,
Your Great Auntie Paula.


Friday 14 February 2020

A many splendoured thing

On this Valentine's Day..

13" Love

A sweet little pink bear, to celebrate that thing called 'Love'.


Monday 10 February 2020

A wild weekend..

On this lovely sunny (if windy!) morning, it is time to introduce a new 15" bear ... I would like you to meet Dorian.

Dorian is a lovely pastel bear, created from beautiful dense Schulte mohair ... and best of all, he is very huggable!

Available from my website:

15" Dorian

What a weekend it has been for walking dogs. Storm Ciara swept across Great Britain yesterday, creating high waves and havoc as she raged through the country. I managed to take Polly and Betty out for a short walk in the morning, but standing upright was quite a struggle at times! By the time the storm took a real hold, we were back home with our drawbridge pulled firmly up ... definitely a Sunday for catching up with episodes of 'The Crown' on Netflix and my knitting.

It's still pretty windy out there today, but a little less dangerous now, thank goodness!


Thursday 6 February 2020

Words of wisdom from Pooh..

It was my 57th birthday yesterday and despite it being a work day, my special people still made the time to remind me, our lives are interwoven and that is worth celebrating...

So, thank you everyone. I hope you will always know that I am so grateful to be part of your lives and to have you in mine.  Being your Mum, Wife, Nana, Mother-in-law, Daughter, Sister, Auntie, Great Auntie and Sister-in-law, roots me in this world and makes me who I am...

In fact, I couldn't be me without all of you ... and that truly is the greatest birthday gift of all.



Friday 31 January 2020

Making a splash!

I think January has to be the bleakest month of the year with its short, dark days...

 It seems to drain the colour from everything!

14" Merriweather

Hopefully the bear I have just finished will help put that right, by adding a very welcome splash of teddy colour to our dreary Winter days...

So, if, like me, you too are craving a little colour in your world, please pop over to my website to meet my latest teddy bear 'Merriweather'!

I hope he makes you smile while we wait for Spring to arrive.


Update: Merriweather has now been adopted!

Monday 20 January 2020

Be mine?

This dashing fellow is currently en route to Germany to share a Valentine's Day hug or two, with his new owner...

17" Romeo

 Gute Reise Romeo!


Wednesday 15 January 2020

Dark January Days

When the wind howls, days are dark and the garden is like a muddy swamp, the best thing to do is snuggle on the sofa to share a good book ...

We have had a stormy few days here in Kent and I don't mind admitting, I am weary of gloom and longing for the brighter days of Spring. 

Yesterday my Granddaughter and I spent the day playing dollies, singing and reading books together. Thank heavens for time spent with Grandchildren ... these amazing little beings have the power to brighten even the darkest of January days!

Once I have braved the stormy elements with my dogs today, I plan to head back into my workroom to work on a new teddy bear. 

Please pop back soon for pics ... hopefully the sun will be shining by the time I'm ready to share this bear!


Thursday 9 January 2020

New Year, New Inspirations!

I don't know if anyone remembers, but about ten years ago I created a my own range of raggedy style cloth dolls called 'Paula's Prim Dolly Doodles'...

These dollies were so much fun to make! As I haven't made a doll for absolutely ages, I have decided to try and find time to explore doll making alongside my teddy bear making, in 2020.  To kickstart the new year, I started work on a large felt doll project in the Christmas holiday, using a 1998 pattern created by Janet Clark ... Janet used to make the most wonderful bears and dolls and I have always loved her work. I am hoping I can do Jan's pattern justice! I promise to share pics of my finished dolly when she is ready...

Besides working with felt, I have also been exploring 'Waldorf Dolls', a lovely gentle style of doll, created using natural fibres and needle felting. I would love to design my own dolly based on this interesting method of doll-making, so have gathered a box of bits 'n pieces and several, now out of print books, to teach myself the necessary techniques. I do love a new project in the new year ... it is always the perfect time to learn new skills! Who knows, I may even make the occasional Prim Dolly Doodle between bears too...

Here's to a super creative 2020!


Monday 6 January 2020

Little Bear Blue

And of course, a new year should always herald a new teddy bear...

Little Bear Blue 14"

'Little Bear Blue' is my very first bear of 2020. He is a 14" mohair teddy, in the most beautiful sky blue Schulte mohair. Let's hope he brings us blue skies and sunshine throughout this new year!

For the teddy bear fans among you, 'Little Bear Blue' is now available for adoption from my website:

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year and a year of hugs and smiles ahead!


Update: Little Bear Blue has now been adopted.

Saturday 4 January 2020

New Year's Day Molehills

2020 squelched off to a boggy start when my family and I met in Mote Park for our first welly walk of the year, on a rather gloomy New Year's Day.

I love this park in all seasons and no matter the weather, always enjoy a walk here. It was doubly special to walk with my kids and grandchildren as we entered another new year together. I used to love walks here with my kids, thirty something years ago, when they were 'nowt but a pair of cheeky mini munchkins, sploshing on the edge of the lake in red wellies and I am touched that they still recall our games of poohsticks under the old stone bridge and adventures as we searched for Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger and Rabbit in the woods.  The best childhood memories should always be magical enough to last a lifetime.

And now of course, my grandchildren also don wellies to explore this beautiful park with us. This year Toby decided he was hunting for bears, which involved some very muddy adventuring, not to mention a jolly good splosh in the lake with Betty. Little sis Izzy, was happy to collect sticks as she toddled through mud and across molehills, somewhat determindedly picking herself back up every time she tripped over.

This is a walk we have done countless times before as a family, but each time there is new fun to be had for everyone... and as I watch my children, grandchildren and dogs playing together in what has always been my favourite local park, the years fall away easily and fond memories of my time here as a young mum happily 'outdoorsing' with my son, daughter and our dog Harvey, can still make me smile, so very many years later.

Some walks are about more than scenery and fresh air... some walks have the power to evoke memories of your happiest times and to remind you that despite the muddy molehills of life, what truly counts is walking through it together.



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