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

Archive: Nov 2008

  1. You Ask, Birdy Answers: Horse pendant

    1 Comment

    Dear Top Bird,
    As Christmas is coming up and I want to be a wonderful sister, I was wondering if you knew where to get a horse pendant from? I noticed Alexa Chung wearing quite a fetching one some time back – any ideas?
    Many thanks and best regards
    Kay County


    Hi Kay,
    Alexa certainly gave her rather lovely horse pendant a very good work-out this year, wearing it long on a satin ribbon and slightly shorter on a chain necklace. This is a girl who’s not afraid to customise: for instance, she swapped the strap on her Mulberry Roxanne with a vintage Tyrolean-style guitar strap. Likewise, her horse pendant is an example of a “found object” she fashioned into jewellery.


    So, thinking along the same lines, I found a similar silver galloping horse on a belt at Urban Outfitters (£26). It’s a good size to wear as a pendant (big and chunky) and you could give it to your sister along with a couple of coloured satin ribbons. I had a close look at the horse and it can easily be removed from the belt. Just tie the ends of the ribbon to the little hooks at the back of the horse.

    Alternatively, Asos has an excellent horse pendant of a more stationary kind – a rather sweet rocking horse (and a bargain at £10, see left).

    And if you really like Alexa’s style, you might want to check out the skull pendant she designed for the fair-trade jewellery line, Made (£35).

    I’ve also found some horse necklaces on Etsy, but they’re of the smaller, finer variety. As they are more delicate, these necklaces look better worn around the neck:


    Silver stallion necklace, US$19, from Leviticus' Etsy shop.

  2. Top Bird’s top London picks: Christmas shopping


    The Christmas countdown has begun, and this year retailers are pulling out all stops to entice you to spend, spend, spend. But if you, like me, are looking for something a little special and unique, give the high street a miss and head to one of London's independent Christmas shopping nights. Here's my round-up of the very best…


    1. The best for … checking off your present list
    hristmas on Cheshire Street

    Winning my vote for this year’s best Christmas shopping poster, featuring a rather charming Pearly King by East London
    illustrator Paul Bommer (above), Cheshire Street is off to a great start. But it’s the line-up of shops that are the
    main prize here, with some of London’s very best independent shopping
    on offer. Christmas present ideas range from luxe handmade leather bags
    (Mimi) to contemporary homewares (Ella Doran) with Wee Birdy favourites
    including Labour and Wait, Shelf, Dragana Perisic, and Mar Mar Co. There will be mulled wine, mince pies and special offers
    including 15 per cent discount off all purchases at Mimi.

    Christmas on Cheshire Street
    Thursday 4 and Friday 5 December 2008
    6pm – 9pm
    Cheshire Street, E2
    Nearest tube: Liverpool Street

    Columbia Road2. The best for … festive neighbourhood atmosphere
    Columbia Road Christmas Wednesdays

    By far my favourite Christmas shopping event last year, I revelled in the warm glow of Columbia Road’s shops which illuminated a particularly dark and foggy East London night. And with a glass of mulled wine in one hand and a sprig of fresh mistletoe in the other, I was merrily on my way. The live music and neighbourly atmosphere generated by this small community of independent retailers is a welcome point of difference from the anonymity of the high street, with mince pies and glasses of festive cheer on offer in all the shops. And Christmas present shopping is a cinch with 40 independent shops, including Ryantown, Supernice and Sharon Elphick offering everything from jewellery, hats, vintage clothes, antiques, toys, cakes, fragrance, sweets, chocolates, art and furniture.

    Columbia Road Christmas Wednesdays
    Columbia Road, E2
    Wednesdays 3, 10, and 17 December 2008
    5pm – 9pm
    Nearest Tube: Liverpool Street

    3. The best for … cool design gifts
    East London Design Show

    With an extensive line-up of products by British and international designers, you’re guaranteed to find some seriously good gift options at The East London Design Show. This annual event on the Shoreditch Town Hall calendar promises brand new talent from Mexico, Moscow, Holland and Italy. Christmas present ideas include jewellery, ceramics, furniture, children’s clothes and toys.

    East London Design Show
    Thursday 4 December to Sunday 7 December 2008
    Shoreditch Town Hall
    380 Old Street
    London EC1V9LT
    Admission: £4 Concessions: £2, children under 15 free.
    Nearest tube: Liverpool Street

    4. The best for … the coolest craft
    Bust Christmas Craftacular

    Hooray for BUST magazine’s decision to hold its very first London Christmas Craftacular (just ignore me while I crash to the floor in a dead faint). Craftacular is set to be huge with BUST cherry-picking over 25 British crafters for the event. Expect to find only the coolest local crafty talent around with rich pickings for one-of-a-kind Christmas presents. There will also be fun line-up of classes, live demonstrations, DJs, drinks and dancing.

    BUST Christmas Craftacular
    Saturday 6 December 2008
    12 noon – midnight
    St. Aloysius Social Club
    Phoenix Road, London NW1
    Admission: £2
    Nearest tube: Euston

    Thanks to Basil Exposition for the tip!

    5. The best for… wrapping it all up
    The Design Museum Sparkle the Dark Up

    With an excellent line-up of design-led products and books catering for all budgets, the Design Museum shop is a Wee Birdy favourite for unique gifts like gorgeous Suki stationery and Ed Carpenter’s pigeon light. Join in a workshop on the night and learn how to make "designer-style" gift wrapping, tags and cards. The museum will provide all the materials you need – fun! There will also be music and free wine for extra Christmas cheer.

    Design Museum Design Overtime
    Friday 5 December 2008
    Until 10pm (last admission 9.15pm)
    Shad Thames, London SE1
    Nearest tube: London Bridge

     6. The best for … late night shopping in central London:
    Marylebone Lane

    As many of you will know, Wee Birdy has a particular soft spot for Marylebone Lane and its line-up of fashion, shoes, interiors, beauty and accessories. Escape the crazy crowds on Oxford Street and take advantage of great discounts (including a 15 per cent discount at Content Beauty/Wellbeing and 30 per cent off all purchases at KJ's Laundry), festive food, drink and a brass brand. I’ll be checking out VV Rouleaux for some pretty ribbons to decorate my brown-paper Christmas parcels.

    Marylebone Lane Christmas shoppping night
    Thursday December 4 2008
    4pm – 8pm
    Marylebone Lane, W1
    Nearest tube: Bond Street

    7. The best for … last minute shopping
    The Super Christmas Market at Somerset House

    If you’ve left your Christmas shopping 'til the last minute, resist the urge to high-tail it to the high street and head to Somerset House on the Strand instead. Here you’ll find 20 of Britain’s hottest young designers, including Martino Gamper, Tatty Devine, Lady Luck Rules OK and Gitta Gschwendter offering a host of ultra-affordable gifts, starting at just £5. Learn to make some stocking fillers with Kandy Diamond, or try your luck in the snowball-throwing competition and win some limited edition Lady Lucky Rules OK jewellery (see above).

    The Super Christmas Market
    Friday 19 December 2008, 6 – 9 pm
    Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 December 2008, 10am – 6pm
    Somerset House, Strand
    London, WC2R 1LA.
    Admission £2, which includes entrance to the ‘Wouldn’t it be nice…’ exhibition.
    Nearest tube: Holborn, Embankment, Temple

    8. The best for … local and handmade
    We Make Christmas

    With all things crafty and handmade big news for Christmas, head to this Christmas market for unique and one-off items by local London designer-makers. Bringing the world of Etsy to life, you’ll find a range of gift including jewellery, fashion, art, toys and children’s clothing. There will also be food stalls, carol singing, craft competitions and demonstations. Look out for Miss Bunny's hand-painted shoes (see left), Bombus homewares and Littlechook’s vintage fabric cushions.

    We Make Christmas
    Saturday 6 December 2008
    11am – 5pm
    The American Church
    79a Tottenham Court Road
    London W1
    Nearest tube: Goodge Street

  3. You Ask, Birdy Answers: Baby announcements


    She's here

    Custom letterpress birth announcement by Papered Together.

    Hi Top Bird,
    I'm about to be a mom and I’m looking for nice baby announcement cards. Since I really like your taste, do you have any suggestions for cards?
    Florianne (Amsterdam)

    Hi Florianne,

    Congratulations on the impending birth of your own wee birdy!

    What is it about babies (and come to think of it, weddings), that sends all sense of style zooming out the window when it comes to graphic design? I’ve searched high and low for decent cards for friends’ babies, only to be confronted by row upon row of boring, bad design in varying shades of puke and a catastrophic combination of pastels. I’m always left wondering: where’s the cool stuff?

    Invariably, the answer can be found online, at the websites of independent stationers and letterpress companies. Here you’ll find beautifully crafted cards with unique designs and gorgeous illustrations. 

    Here’s my round-up of the best birth announcements…


    Letterpress birth announcement by Hello!Lucky.


    ‘Animal Crackers’ baby announcement by Tiny Prints.


    ‘Vintage rattle’ birth announcement, by Chick Print’s Etsy shop.

    ‘Chick and dude’ birth announcement, by Chick Print’s Etsy shop.


    ‘Airplane’ custom birth announcement, by Chick Print’s Etsy shop.

    Thea bianco

    Custom letterpress birth announcement by Papered Together.

    You might also like to check out the birth announcements at: