The Fairy That Sailed The Atlantic Ocean

“This fairy has been to sea! She came with me in a rowing boat on a journey across the Atlantic Ocean. The sun scorched her and the wind whipped her about but the elements only made her more beautiful to me. She went up on the mast on Christmas Day and then stayed there to keep a look out over my team mates and me. All girls together on a little boat in seas 7 miles deep. It was the most memorable Christmas I’ve ever had.

Only hours before we’d wanted to cancel the day. We were tired, in pain, frustrated and frightened. Our dreams to be the first women’s four to cross the Atlantic were almost over and it just felt wrong to celebrate when we were feeling so sorry for ourselves. But celebrate we did; we decorated the boat, opened presents, sang carols. Peace from rowing. The best Christmas EVER. This fairy is the only thing left of that day, other than memories. ”

Sally Kettle
Inspirational & Motivational Speaker,
Model & Author of Sally’s Odd at Sea

Doll’s Dress





This is a doll`s dress my grandmother sent me from America when I was five. She made complete wardrobes of outfits for my dolls and they arrived in large wooden packing crates. She was a wonderful seamstress and the care with with she finished the clothes,  stitching linings and collars and tiny button-holes, is amazing. I have kept the dolls` clothes as a token of her love. Now I realise that she must have been lonely – she was a widow – and that the time she spent stitching must have represented a great deal of time on her own, thinking about the grandchildren who lived across the Atlantic, too far away to see. This is a nurse`s dress and it reminds me that when I was a child all the girls I knew wanted to be nurses. We were still in an era when only men were doctors. We wanted to look after other people, that was how we were encouraged to see our lives and careers. I`m not sure girls wear nurses` outfits much now. They dream of being princesses instead.

Elizabeth Burke, Radio Producer, London.


The Clay Couple

I found you in faraway Peru even though I come from Asia Minor, where clay
was used as tablets for early writing long ago.  I wasn’t looking for you
but suddenly there you were calling out to me. Your twinned being made me
smile and I carried you back to Istanbul, where you now sit in my study.
Sometimes we find our soulmates and are complete, sometimes we want to be
alone but our attachments don’t allow it, sometimes we forget that we belong
to a world where our commonalities, our human love of clay and fashioning
things, reminds us that the simplest and most honest things are a gift.

Ivi Dermanci, 56, graphic designer and singer. Istanbul, Turkey

Cartesius Little Devil

As a child I wasn’t allowed many toys apart from books and bicycles. Wooden toys and cameleons, as I lived in Madagascar. But there was one magical thing that my grandfather used to show me on some special days. He pulled out from a dusty cupboard in a kitchen a strange bottle in which a little devil would magically go up and down according to his orders…I loved this homunculus that would travel in the bottle. He would dance around rapidly or slowly according to my grand-father’s orders…. It was made of blown glass and was very fragile. Here it is again in the middle of a bottle…. In french we call him Ludion, in English it is Cartesius little Devil as it is Cartesius who invented the device….

Elizabeth Frolet, artist, Rome, Italy.

Wooden Kookaburra

This much-loved object is a very simple wooden kookaburra, bought very many years ago in a Garden Centre near Sydney. I bought it on one of my first visits to Sydney, to the house where my son and his family then lived.  I was fascinated by the  call of the kookaburra, and I saw my first one, really close up, when to my great surprise, it came and sat on one top of the washing line, while I was hanging out some washing. I was quite enchanted when it just sat there and looked at me for quite a while.  I then went back to the house, and sat myself down on the deck at the back to read… and my kookaburra (I now regarded it as mine!) flew over and perched on the edge of the deck just in front of me, and there he stayed. And indeed he kept coming back and visiting me either in the garden or by the deck, not at all disturbed by my presence even if I moved about.  Ever since that time I have felt a  very special affection for this delightful bird with its loud laughing call, and this small object is for me a constant reminder of Australia  and some very happy times.

Valerie Minogue, 80, Professor of french, Swansea.

The Cobra’s And The Mongoose

I have collected taxidermy for years, and have built up quite a collection; this piece being one of my favourites. I had brought in a piece of taxidermy for repair in an antiques shop when I came across this one. What I love about this triplet, is the heart-shape formed by the curving cobras’ bodies; this really accentuates the drama of the scene. It was highly fashionable in the Victorian Era to re-create dramatic scenes from the wild using rare and unusual animals in their taxidermy. Nowadays taxidermy is created using only animals that have died from natural causes. My collection of taxidermy forms much of the paraphernalia in our Stephen Webster shops, and at home.

Stephen Webster, jewellery designer, London, UK

Barry Stratton’s Stone

An unremarkable stone, except that I have kept it with me for maybe forty years, since Barry Stratton dug it up one afternoon, and I put it in my pocket.  He was a boy in my class, and all that I remember of him is that afternoon, and wanting to keep his stone.

Helen Schlesinger, Actress, London, UK.

Gem Bugs

My Dad came across these Gem Bugs about 6 years ago whilst on a trip to Japan. He bought them off an elderly Japanese guy sitting outside a bar, and since I have an eager fascination with insects he gave them to me, and I have treasured them ever since.

Amy, 19, London, UK

Tiny Bat

My sister and I were rummaging in the basement of our home in Deal, to see if we could find where the parents had hidden all the Christmas presents last year, and we came across this little brown papery parcel beneath the staircase. The parcel being a tiny dead bat. It is now the house’s lucky charm, and despite the fact that we haven’t artificially preserved it in any way, it has remained in its perfect condition, as if it were just fast asleep.

Marinika, 12, Deal, UK.