Happy first day of spring! I expect Snufkin will be arriving in Moominvalley today and will whistle under Moomintroll’s window to let him know he is there, then he will start his adventures with his friends - annoying the park keeper, playing his mouth organ and let’s not forget sitting around the campfire with a mug of hot coffee. Do you think Snufkin drinks from this Arabia mug?
One of the most collectible pieces of merchandise in the Moomin community has to be the mugs. I always swore I would never collect them because there are so many and they are very expensive - the most costly one being upwards of £3,000. But when I arrived in Finland in the summer of 2011, I couldn’t help but grab a couple that were on sale for 10€. And that’s where my collection began.Every year Arabia release at least three mugs - a character one in spring, a limited edition summer one and a limited edition Christmas/winter one. Last year there were five which included the usual three as well as one to celebrate Helsinki winning the World Design Capital and one to celebrate Stockmann’s 150th anniversary.
For 2013, you can now pre-order the character ones at Artbox - yes, there are two this year! These are Moomintroll and Snorkmaiden to replace the old ones from 1999 and 2001.
At £14.50 each (£16.25 including postage, or free on orders over £20), these are competitively the cheapest place to get any of the Arabia mugs outside of Finland. You’ll find them elsewhere for around £17, sometimes without postage so you should definitely snap up this bargain! Be quick because once all the preorders are gone, they are unsure as to when they will be getting new stock.
A few weeks ago I ventured to London to go to Hyper Japan and the Finnish Christmas Fair. Hyper Japan didn’t have a lot of Moomin merchandise, except for what the Artbox stall sold, but the Finnish Christmas Fair did, and the Scandinavian market outside. It was like being back in Finland - I didn’t realise there were so many Finnish people living in London. Apparently there are around 10,000! Sadly I didn’t manage to take any pictures inside (I was too busy eating lovely food and drinking lonkero/long drink) but here is a picture of my overall haul of the weekend:
I rarely venture to London because it’s very expensive to travel and get a hotel (plus The Moomin Shop!) but Tomm was lovely enough to take me back AGAIN two weeks later because of the Tove Jansson talk at the Southbank Centre. We vowed to spend a lot less this time, so I only got a few things when we went back, but I had been looking for them for a while and could only find them at stupidly expensive prices. When we got home, we baked lots of delicious Moomin gingerbreads in varying characters and sizes.
I love to bake but whenever I’ve tried to use my Moomin cookie cutters for cookies, they never work and the legs always fall off or they become deformed. But when I made this gingerbread, it worked perfectly - so that’s the secret behind the ‘cookie’ cutters. Don’t use them for cookies!
So, it’s now Boxing Day but after I’d travelled up and down the North West of England visiting family yesterday, I didn’t have time to blog. Here are some pictures of my Christmas Day.
2011 and 2012 Arabia mini Christmas mugs, baubles and lollipops!
Only my Moomin merchandise was wrapped in Moomin wrapping paper! The three boxes that are opened are from my great friend Nina in Finland. She sent me two boxes of Moomin tea bags and a Moominpappa loose tea infuser - I’m over the moon!
And finally here are my pictures of all the merchandise I received for Christmas! It includes my Kindle (reading Moominland Midwinter), the Arabia hemulen mug and bowl set, the Arabia adventure bowl, the home sweet home plate, gifts from Nina mentioned above, bath confetti, bath salts/caviar, shower/bath gel, hand moisturiser, soap, lip balm, a Moomin house keyring, stocking, tray, cutting board and chocolate! I hope you all had a great Christmas and if you can access BBC4 tonight, there is a documentary on at 9pm called ‘Moominland Tales: The Life of Tove Jansson’.
November 1st marked a very special event in the UK – the release of The Moomins and the Great Flood published by Sort Of Books.
Tove began writing ‘The Little Trolls and the Great Flood’ originally in Swedish in 1939 during the second world war when not a lot of people had hope for the future. Tove herself said she felt it ‘completely pointless to try to create pictures’ and so it was not published until 1945. A lot of people are getting mixed up thinking she wrote and published it in 1945, when in actual fact she forgot about it until a friend pointed out it could become a children’s book, but as we now know she actually initiated it in 1939.
It was influenced mainly by Captain Grant and other stories Tove read as a child which include other works by Jules Verne and Carlo Collodi. Unfortunately, it was not a big success when it was first released, nor was Comet in Moominland a year later in 1946.
It is heavily influenced by the war and was written as a means of escape, and in my opinion, the illustrations are a lot darker than in other Moomin novels which reflects this. The shape of the Moomins themselves are quite scary. Their bodies are more slim and their snouts are longer. They changed the shape of them to become more cuddly and loveable soon after this, and you can see how Tove has developed her techniques throughout the series.
It was first published in English by Schildts in 2005 to celebrate 60 years of the Moomins, however, not a lot of people knew about this and so many people think the Sort Of publication is the first ever English one. I cannot be sure whether they differ with the new translation as I have not bought this and I’m not sure I plan on doing as the yellow spine pictured above makes it look tacky and it is not advertised as having this except on the Sort Of website. I am quite content with my third edition by Schildts in 2008 which I found on a Finnish website in early 2011 pictured below.
I think it is a bit silly that, first of all, they waited 67 years to publish it, but also that the reason for delaying it was so it would be released ‘closer to Tove Jansson’s centenary year’ (publisher Natania Jansz) in 2014. That’s a whole two years away but I’m not complaining!
The books have now been translated into 43 (perhaps more now) languages which means that almost everybody can enjoy the wonderful adventures with the Moomin family. The UK are not the luckiest country when it comes to Moomins, and I’m forever being asked about ‘lost’ episodes that have never been officially released on TV of the 1990s series. Maybe the publication of this book means we will be more fortunate in the future and is an indication of there being more Moomin adventures to come.
If you would like to see some of the original illustrations from The Moomins and the Great Flood and other pieces of work by Tove Jansson, they are on display at the Tampere Moomin Museum (Muumilaakso) in Finland. I would recommend a visit to every Moomin fan!
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Thanks! The sites I recommend are eBay, Amazon and Artbox :)
Thank you so much! :)
Thanks :) wow you’re so lucky! You’ll find Moomin products in nearly every shop in Finland, but the cheapest shops I found are Prisma, Anttila and sometimes Stockmann. Try not to get anything from the Moomin Shop in Helsinki unless you can’t find a specific item elsewhere because it’s pretty expensive. In February, try and go to Moominworld (Muumimaailma) in Naantali, Turku because it’s really amazing but again it’s expensive, and if you can get to the Moomin Museum in Tampere then you have to go there too :)
Thanks :) That would be SO hard to take a picture of everything, I have things in every room of the house (and at my mum’s house too!) but I’ll probably compile a blog post of previous haul pictures I’ve taken one day :)