A global field guide to shopping, style and hidden gems
est. 2007

Archive: Apr 2008

  1. Wee Birdy Q&A: London craft and haberdashery

    5 Comments

    Q: I'll be in London in May and wondered if you knew where I could buy felt? I tried finding a shop in London like Spotlight (craft supplies) in Sydney but didn't have much luck. Any ideas? That sweet shop looks amazing! Thanks, Trixi

    Hi Trixi,
    I’m not surprised you didn’t have much luck in finding a craft supplies chain store in London – it’s sorely lacking in this area. However, I did find some other good options for you to check out in May.

    Firstly, I headed to the fourth floor of John Lewis on Oxford Street. Back in its glory days, John Lewis’ haberdashery department was apparently THE place to go for this kind of thing. Sadly, these days you’ll find a much smaller and limited version of itself. But I did find a good selection of felt in white, black, ivory, red and green at £6.50 per metre.

    Large bunny rabbit feltidermy, US$120, from Girl Savage’s Etsy shop.

    Your best bet, though, is London’s marvellous Cloth House. It has two large retail shops on Berwick Street in Soho and sources a spectacular range of fabrics from around the world. You need to head to the shop at number 98, which has a fine and extensive range of felt.

    In fact, Cloth House produces its own line from a mill in the French Alps which has been making felt for over 300 years. They have two different types of felt: a woollen viscose that comes in over 30 colours at £15 per metre, and a pure woollen felt at £25 per metre.

    Gray kitty feltidermy brooch, US$30, from Girl Savage’s Etsy shop.

    And if you’re up for a trip to London’s East End, you would also be in luck at Dalston Mill Fabrics. They stock over 15 colours in acrylic felt at £4.40 per metre, and a woollen felt in black and navy at £17.50 per metre. Good luck and don’t forget to buy a bag of bon-bons from Hope & Greenwood!

    Silver gray doe feltidermy, US$45, from Girl Savage’s Etsy shop.

    John Lewis
    Oxford Street
    London W1A 1EX
    Nearest tubes: Oxford Circus and Bond Street

    Cloth House
    47 and 98 Berwick Street
    Soho, London
    W1F 0QJ
    Tel: 020 7287 1555
    Nearest tubes: Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road

    Click here for a Wee Birdy map.

    Dalston Mill Fabrics
    69-73 Ridley Road
    Dalston, London
    E8 3NP
    Tel: 020 7249 4129
    Nearest rail: Dalston Kingsland

    p.s. OK, it's slightly off-topic but I love these hilariously cute “feltidermy” hand-stitched pieces by Girl Savage on Etsy. And I needed something to illustrate this post. Genius!

    Brown mouse feltidermy brooch, US$30, from Girl Savage’s Etsy shop.
  2. Tagged!

    8 Comments

    I've been tagged by lovely Liberty London Girl (she's UK Grazia's latest discovery, don't you know?) to reveal six unimportant things about myself. So here goes…

    1. I have never had my ears pierced.
    2. My pet lop-earred rabbit was called Oscar.
    3. I have danced on stage with Belle and Sebastian.
    4. I went to school in Idaho when I was thirteen.
    5. I love watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVDs.
    6. I hold my pen in a most unorthodox and downright ungainly manner.

    Now I tag:
    Girl with a Satchel
    Gemma at Kraft Kuties
    Meet me at Mikes
    Jessica at Cult Beauty
    Make Do and Mend
    Grey

  3. Best of British week: Hope and Greenwood

    9 Comments

    Lollies, toffees and bon bons – oh my! If you thought I was done with British childhood nostalgia, you’d be wrong. Big time.

    It’s a cold and icy Thursday morning in Covent Garden this week that finds me trudging towards Hope and Greenwood’s pillarbox red front door. Everyone is feeling the effects of London’s extended frigid weather. The Big Issue bloke outside the Tube shouts to nobody in particular, “Get yer Big Issue, yer bunch of tight, miserable sods.”

    But then the front door bell tinkles and a rush of warm air and ‘40s show tunes greets me as I step over the welcoming threshold into the most charming old-fashioned sweet shop emporium. It’s ridiculously gorgeous, with row upon row of shiny glass jars filled with sugary delights and colourful bunting catching my eye at every turn. The store is straight out of my childhood dreams fuelled by Blyton-esque boarding school tales of tuck boxes crammed with delicious treats and illicit midnight feasts.


    The genuine loving care and consideration that has gone into decorating the shop and fulfilling a certain British vintage aesthetic from the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s is obvious. For example, the handsome green enamel pendant lamps that hang over the front counter are from the old Rover factory in the Midlands, while said glass counter was sourced by Mr Greenwood from an old haberdashery shop in Wales.


    Elsewhere, a vintage kitchen dresser is packed with Hope and Greenwood’s exclusive range of chocolates and sweets, and an old stepladder serves to display a range of liquorice allsorts, Catherine Wheels and sugar pigs. Other sweet treats are tucked into painted wooden crates and old Hovis tins, while slabs of fudge and chocolate truffles are piled on footed cake stands with glass bell jars.



    Miss Anita (all the staff at H&G are known as either Miss or Mr) greets me warmly from behind the marble-top counter, and displays a superb knowledge of H&G’s confectionery as she takes me through the glorious selection of truffles (£5 per 100g). Hope and Greenwood’s handmade British chocolates are one of the considerable main attractions, with a delectable line-up including Champagne Charlies, Lime Creams and Bitter Raspberry truffles.


    The 120-strong pick and mix selection is also a major drawcard, which includes childhood favourites like apple whips, giant gobstoppers, Anglo Bubble gum, Fruit Salad chews, Black Jacks, Mojos and Parma Violets.

    Adding to the overall sense of nostalgia, there’s also a choice selection of vintage items, including packets of vintage ric ric, pretty chocolate tins, children’s annuals, Ladybird books and egg cups.


    While the Covent Garden shop is a relative newcomer to the area, Hope and Greenwood are an established name in British confectionery. The brand is stocked at the likes of Selfridges and The Conran Shop, and South London families have been visiting the East Dulwich shop for years.


    There’s so much to take in, and I find as I busily scribble notes that every time I turn around I find something new. And that’s the point. Hope and Greenwood delights in packing in sweet details and taking you by surprise. Clutching a red and white striped bag of Lemon Creams and Kir Royale truffles, I head out to blustery Russell Street with a definite spring in my step (and a copy of the latest Big Issue tucked under my arm).


    Hope and Greenwood
    1 Russell Street
    London WC2 B SJB
    Tel. 020 7240 3314

    Click here for a Wee Birdy map.

    Opening hours:
    Monday to Saturday 10.30am -7.30pm
    Sunday 12 midday – 7.30pm

    Nearest tube: Covent Garden
    Click here for more shops in West London.