We're just back from a very special weekend at The Midland Hotel in Morecambe (for 10 years of happily non-married bliss). It was smashing, The restoration by Urban Splash with help from Friends of the Midland has come up lovely.

The Midland Hotel, Morecambe

The building, designed by Oliver Hill, is just extraordinary. It looks great from every angle, inside and out. The way it's designed to curve along the bay gives everything a beautiful line. The artwork, by Eric Gill and Marion Dorn adds a bit of colour and the rest is mostly left to breathe.

A room in The Midland Hotel

The rooms, which had been gutted years ago, are modern and really comfortable. It's nice that they have some references to the original, like the seahorse motif in the shower.

Seahorse drain

Being Midland superfans, we bought the book (The Midland Hotel: Morecambe's White Hope) and sat comparing old and new. After befriending the manager, she gave us a tour of the Eric Gill room which has a huge hand-carved map of the north west of England on one wall. This used to be on the other wall of this room and was moved lock, stock and barrel. Yikes.

Eric Gill's map of the north-west of England

The building was closed for 12 years, went through a series of different owners and frankly it's a miracle that any of this has survived. It's a complete triumph. More photos in this Flickr set and in The Midland Hotel Flickr pool. They've got an offer on at the moment, two nights for the price of one so get yourself down (or up) there for a seaside treat.

More from Morecambe later in the week.

Ladies and gentlemen, the lines are now closed and the votes have been counted and verified. The two new I like greetings cards, joining The Horn and Funland, are... Knickerbocker Glory and Teacup Ride. For the record the votes were as follows:

  • Knickerbocker Glory - 10
  • Teacup ride - 9
  • Chalet - 7.5
  • Shelters - 5.5
  • Boni's - 4
  • Barbapapa - 2 (and they weren't even in the running!)
  • Sweets - 1.5

So, thanks to everyone who commented. It's interesting how some people's favourites are other people's mehs, and some of the comments really made me think about what I'm trying to do. Anyway, I'll get them printed up and see how it goes.

Needlepoint Polaroid camera by Nicole Gastonguay

Needlepoint Polaroid camera, from Nicole Gastonguay.

I said at the start of the year that I would do more with my postcards. So, I'm dithering about doing some greetings cards.

It's been a funny thing, doing the postcards. Absolutely delightful in many ways (it's so good to make something that you can hold in your hand), really exciting that people buy them, but also a bit of a pain trying to get them into shops and generally offload them. It's given me a glimpse behind the scenes of the crafty explosion, where there are houses full of boxes, shops that don't pay up and overall quite a lot of faff for very little reward. Thankfully I'm seeing that on a very small scale though.

They sell pretty well where they are available (Present and Correct did a roaring trade over Christmas) but most shops won't take them on. I wonder if it's because they're postcards, or because they're not right for now, or they cost too much, or they're just not good enough. And confusion about all that stops me doing anything else, but then I go into a card shop and they're all so terrible that I can't believe there isn't a market for them. After some encouraging words from Allison at Lark I think I'm going to have a go, which is where I need some help. I'm going to get 4 designs printed, but which 4.

These two are definitely in:

Funland The Horn

But which two of these should make the cut?:

Teacup ride Knickerbocker glory Boni's Cafe Sweet shop Seaside shelters Chalet

Or none of them? Or something else? Would you buy them or are they just not right/good enough? Grateful as always for honest advice here. This is your chance to be the Simon Cowell of the greetings card world. Vote now!

The relics of St Valentine, Blessed St John Duns Scotus, Glasgow border=

Right, I swear the Valentine's stuff will stop soon but today's post is a bit different. I went for a walk today and did something I've meant to do for years - go and see the relics of St Valentine that are rather surprisingly sitting in a church in Glasgow's Gorbals. The whole story is over at Nothing To See Here.

You are just my cup of tea

Right, these are the last two, I promise. A couple of crackers from Present and Correct again. Above, You are just my cup of tea, and below Sew in Love With You. I know some crafty types who deserve that one.

Sew in love with you from Present and Correct

And remember, these are good for any day of the year, not just Valentines.

We are 100% solid from Present and Correct

From my card dealers of choice, Present and Correct here are some cards that are ideal for non-romantics, or romantics that don't like all that soppy hearts and flowers business. Firstly, my favourite We are 100% solid. That's lovely. If perchance anyone was going to get me a card this year (coughs loudly; looks across the room) I'd like this one.

Two people

2 people. This is cute but not too cute. Would work for weddings and engagements too.

Valentine wordsearch

Finally, Valentines wordsearch by Elephant's Graveyard. For the superdry word geek in your life.

Traditionally, Valentine's Day is not celebrated in our house, but I'm tempted to observe it this year because some of the cards are so nice. Here's three for starters:

Lisa Jones: Tunnel of Love Valentine's card

Tunnel of Love by Lisa Jones. She makes lots of great cards and has a fine blog.

Cuckoo for you by Present and Correct

Cuckoo for You by Present and Correct.

Jammie Dodger card by Asking for Trouble

Jammie dodger by Asking for Trouble.

More to come.


In case you haven't seen this already (suggested by David and blogged by Ben), a Flickr pool has been set up to trace the 1000 copies of Things Our Friends Have Written On The Internet. If you've got one please photograph the cover, geotag it and add it to the one thousand covers Flickr pool. It's only right that the internet > print > internet circle becomes complete. [Photo by Ben.]

Playmobil tramp and eh, German guy

I was very sad to hear that Hans Beck, founder of Playmobil has died, aged 79 (via things). I love Playmobil. It might be sacrilege to say this, but I think it's better than Lego. The little characters are so delightful and even though they are made of lots of little parts that wedge themselves between the floorboards I treasure every last plastic cuff.

Pictured above is a piece I thought I might have dreamt - a Playmobil jakey. I saw this somewhere (John Lewis probably, they always have the best selection) and didn't buy it (gah!) but Collectobil, the Playmobil collectors' site confirms it. A trawl through their back catalogue is a delight - check out the Antarctic set, Playmospace range and even a Playmobil Sherlock Holmes and Karate Kid. Respect due. RIP Hans.

Red Trellick Tower skirt

Here's a good pairing - People Will Always Need Plates meet Clothkits to create A Trellick Tower skirt kit. It's available in different colours, some of which are in the sale. I know it would only be two minutes before I spilt a cup of tea down that, but it's lovely to look at.

Wee miniatures of Sheffield

We Live Here (of the prints and greasy spoon mugs) have a nice new project. Wee Miniatures are tilt-shift postcards of Sheffield. £7.50 for 12. Nice, I like 'em.

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