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  • Hello From the Woods

    Since I’ve been here I’ve lost two hats. And one dog.

    I found the dog.

    And upsetting though it is to mislay my very favourite berets, this heartache is truly tiny in comparison with the temporary loss of my dear old Stan. The Theory of Relativity in action. But I’m hoping that the next time my (snackhungry and selectively deaf) little Doodle Dog decides to do a bit of sneaky unaccompanied sandwich surfing I’ll choose to poke myself in the eye to help me feel Relatively better, rather than rushing hither and thither discarding fistfuls of head gear with such high sentimental value. My poor heart aches at the thought of the handmade velvet one with the satin lining and a blob of white paint on the back… And the burgundy striped knitted one with a tiny turquoise stalk going a bit bobbly with age… Is it so wrong to miss them so much?

    Hat loss aside, I love being here in a little cottage on the edge of the Wild Woods. It’s such a luxury to be able to spend this month away from it all. Valentine’s Day will pass me by in a flurry of thoughts and sketches as I promise myself to be a bit more organised next year. And the space I’m giving myself is already being filled with some delicious new ideas. I won’t write about them yet. They are as precious to me as a ‘fresh-baked’ pink puppy, eyes shut tight and tiny paws flailing. And you know they’ll need to be at least 10 weeks old before I could even think of sharing them with you…

    As you may have heard, changes are afoot.

    Little Mustard Shop, Brighton has now closed for good.

    March 1st sees the launch of my new dream, the Little Mustard Club.

    MUSTARDSHOP online at www.samtoft.co.uk will be slimming down and firming up. From May 1st onwards Nan will be selling only unique and exclusive items such as limited editions with hand drawn pictures in the title line, self published prints, cards and books. Things you cannot get anywhere else. But more of that nearer the time. There is pressing news from the Little Club!

    Little Mustard Club has been a dream of mine for such a while, but I’ve never had the time to make it a reality until I met Amber Elise. Together we have created something pretty special. She will be Head Honcho, Club Secretary and Executive Producer/Director, as well as Editor in Chief of the Tunnocks Wafers stores. Worry ye not, each batch of Tunnocks will be tested for freshness. Amber is the kind of woman who goes that extra mile. She also curates Dog & Bone, the smallest gallery in Brighton and Hove. And creates bespoke murals, chocolate wrappings and dazzlingly colourful art in her own time ( check her out at www.amberelise.com ).

    I see our little Club as a way to offer a little extra to those who really want it.

    For some people, the paintings of my Wonderful World of Mustard offer something whimsical to hang on a wall somewhere or to buy as a gift. For others the Mustards have become something of a lifestyle choice! There are mugs and stationery and cushions and calendars and cards and limited editions the whole world over. And also there are aprons and tea towels and bags and books. I’ve become one of those people who Googles themselves and thinks, "Well I never!"

    So, our Little Mustard Club will appeal to those of you who would like more of an exclusive insiders’ view. A small Members’ Club running throughout 2022 with limited memberships offered on a first come first served basis each month ( sign up to receive details of exactly when these opportunities arise at littlemustardclub@gmail.com ). For me, the main idea of the Club is to offer prizes, competitions, giveaways and small scale events to the people who are super keen. I will still be writing several newsletters a year to you all with general news and major events, plus I’ll be doing bits of social media as and when. But going forward Amber will be offering more regular updates and answering all Club queries, Rachel will be dealing with general Mustard business and Originals enquiries, and I will be losing hats and painting pictures.

    There will be a lovely little membership package sent to your door, with exclusive items and personal favourites from the Mustard Vaults should memberships sell out in March, there will be opportunities to sign up in April and so on throughout the year. Also - through monthly email newsletters and Instagram posts - Amber will be awarding monthly competition prizes, a monthly PRIZE DRAW for our book package giveaway, and there’s a chance to nominate a friend each month for a free gift membership. Plus there’ll be priority booking for a pet portrait event tbc in May or June, and special offers at Open Studio Events (covid permitting). The membership fee for Little Mustard Club will be £60 for 2022 including UK postage. For international postage please contact Amber at littlemustardclub@gmail.com … AND if you have Instagram or Facebook and follow @littlemustardclub , you will have FREE access to the photos and stories from my private seaside studio brought to you by Amber Elise. You can also join in with all of the competitions. But only members will receive Amber’s monthly email newsletter, exclusive offers and competition prizes. You have to be in it to win it. I think our members will be very lucky indeed.

    But back to the present moment. Here, from my little cottage in the woods, I’m sending lots of good thoughts to you this February. Life has dealt us some hard blows of late. There have been sad losses and COVID has left its mark on countless lives. So many are still suffering. But for those of us still here, it’s the month of snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils and LOVE. SO however you choose to spend this Valentine’s Day, I hope you are kind to yourself. Love yourself up. You are blummin wonderful, unique and very special. The world would be a sadder place without you and your gifts. You are one of life’s treasures after all.

    Until the next time,

    Big love,
    Sam Toft x