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

Archive: Jul 2009

  1. Shopping in London: Courverture & the Garbstore



    Courverture & the Garbstore is a rather charming concept store on Notting Hill’s Kensington Park Road, offering a carefully edited selection of womenswear, menswear, homewares, gifts, toys and childrenswear over three enticing levels. Open since April 2008, it brings together Emily Dyson's shop Couverture with Ian Paley’s cult men’s brand the Garbstore.


    I was immediately drawn to the back of the store, where rows of super-cute childrenswear labels hang next to shelves of Japanese and Scandinavian wooden toys and beautifully designed treasures. There’s also a rack of fanciable dressing-up clothes sourced from around the world. The kids’ dressing room is also quite at treat, decorated with a vibrant vintage wallpaper.


    IMG_6793 IMG_6797


    It’s worth taking the time to explore the racks of clothes up the front of the store, which feature New York designers such as Lyell, Rachel Comey, as well as denim from Jean Shop. There’s also netural cotton jersey pieces by Dutch label Humanoid, knitwear by former Paul & Joe designer April May, and streamlined designs by Indress (think of a grown-up A.P.C.). There’s also a good selection of (Wee Birdy favourite) Belle by Sigerson Morrison shoes.



    Head upstairs and you’ll find a light and bright level of more womenswear, as well as hand-picked vintage items and homewares. A cabinet of vintage Sasha dolls – still in their pristine boxes – sits next to Scholten & Baijings’ brightly woven Dutch table linen. It’s all been expertly edited, and although the pieces have been sourced from around the world, they all share a similar mid-century/Scandi aesthetic. Keep an eye out for the magnificent vintage patchwork quilts, as well as Spanish ceramics and Japanese glassware. I love the hand-stitched cushions and throws by Parisian homewares brand Caravane, which use reissued vintage fabrics and have an almost hand-painted feel to them.




    Moving downstairs to the basement Garbstore, you’ll find vintage-inspired and Japanese brands exclusive to the UK, such as Bedwin & the Heartbreakers, General Research, Naval Research and Mountain Research. There’s also a wall of Garbstore’s own-brand denim jeans, which boasts 19 different classic styles that were inspired by ‘40s and ‘50s cuts. Look out for Australian’s Rittenhouse t-shirts, as well as Han Kjobenhavn sunglasses. I also found a good selection of vintage tie pins and clips from from £5 (especially hard-to-find clips for skinny ties!). And don’t miss the line-up of vintage Action Men, with prices starting at £45.



    Now is a particularly good time to visit, with a store-wide sale on both current and last season’s stock. Or plan a trip on Saturday, when they’ll make further discounts of up to 70 per cent.

    UPDATE: Just got news of some of the discounted goodies to expect in store: Belle by Sigerson Morrison ankle strap sandal for £199 (from £299), Rachel Comey chartreuse skirt for £139 (was £349), Ann-Sofie Back crepe fitted blazer for £225 (from £559) and Michelle Lowe-Holder printed silk blazer for £90 (was £229).

    Couverture & The Garbstore
    188 Kensington Park Road,
    London W11 2ES
    Tel. 020 7229 2178
    Nearest Tubes: Notting Hill Gate and Ladbroke Grove
    Click here for a Wee Birdy map

    Opening Hours:
    Monday to Saturday: 10am-6pm
    Sunday: 12 noon-5pm (December only)

    Click here for more Wee Birdy shop reviews in Notting Hill.

  2. Bird is the word: the winners!


    A big thank you to everyone who entered my blogiversary giveaways. You know the cliche about wishing you could give everyone a prize? Well, it's true. Your comments were truly inspired, and even Rob Ryan (who, like me, read every single one) was "a trifle overwhelmed". So there.

    I chose all the winners via a random number generator at www.random.org, and have posted the screen captures below. I was planning to do this in a far more creative way. In fact, I was hoping that Woody, the family galah, would pick the winners out of a hat. Don't laugh – one year he picked the Melbourne cup winner! But unfortunately he was having a bit of a diva moment, and when he wasn't flying at my father-in-law who was trying to film the process, he was chewing the hat. Eventually he stormed off in protest.

    Anyway, I'm sure you want me to get onto the winners, so here they are (some of your forgot to include your email address, so please email me your details asap!):


    Gemma Jones prints
    Winners: 41, 10, 4, 21, 43, 33, 23, 5, 20, 32
    4: Page Smith (Page, please email me with your address!)
    5: Rhianne
    10: jenny wren
    20: Karen
    21: Cath W (Cath, please email me with your address!)
    23: Delicious Industries
    32: Cara @ Turvys (Cara, please email me with your address!)
    33: Sara Jeanne (Sara Jeanne, please email me with your address!)
    41: J.T (J.T, please email me with your address!)
    43:  Liz (Liz, please email me with your address!)


    Tatty Devine necklace
    Winner: 3 – Becky
    "I'm really into restoring my battered little car to it's former glory at the moment.
    Let's see some chunky engine parts on a dainty little chain! X"
    Posted by: Becky | July 17, 2009 at 08:30 AM
    (Becky, I don't have your details, please email me with your address!)

    Penhaligon’s Anthology collection
    Winner: 22 – Claire
    "ah….it has to be the smell of imperial leather soap mixed with the delicate scent of a light spritz of rose perfume….these are the smells of my grannies hands. mix this with a waft of apple crumble bubbling away in the aga and the smell of charred wood on the fire and i am whisked back to my childhood…."
    Posted by: claire | July 20, 2009 at 09:47 PM

    Alex Monroe goody bag
    Winner: 54 – Marie
    "In my dream garden I would have plenty of roses, a big gooseberry bush, some nice trees, perhaps plum/cherry. Lots of herbs, all sorts of fun ones, and vegetables too. I would also have a big table where the family could sit together and dine outside on the few English evenings it's warm enough to do so! And finally a chimnea to keep us warm and burn my garden waste. And oops forgot a compost heap so I can be greener with my waste. And thanks for running these WeeBirdy!"
    Posted by: Marie | July 22, 2009 at 04:36 PM

    Rob Ryan tiles
    Winner: 39 – Suse
    "Im very inspired by all of his work, one favourite is the book this is for you, it is a beautiful book."
    Posted by: suse | July 23, 2009 at 11:27 AM
    (Suse, I don't have your details, please email me with your address!)

    Lapin & Me prize pack
    Winner: 46 – Heather
    "What I love about Paris… many things but mainly hot French well dressed men!"
    Posted by: Heather | July 24, 2009 at 03:11 PM
    (Heather, I don't have your details, please email me with your address!)

    Congratulations, all! Expect an email from me shortly requesting your address details. And thanks again to all who entered, fingers' crossed for next time.

  3. Bird is the word: A week of giveaways



    I’m back with one final giveaway for a lucky Wee Birdy reader: an amazing Nathalie Lete prize pack, valued at £36.95, courtesy of London boutique Lapin & Me.

    One of my favourite new shops in East London, Lapin & Me specialises in all things fine, French-y and feminine, with a strong illustrative element. I really love the selection of pocket-money goodies for kids, as well as the extensive line-up of cult dolls. Get the full Lapin & Me shop tour here.




    Lapin & Me also stocks an extensive selection of products by French artist Nathalie Lete, which feature a vividly-painted Parisian world populated by bunnies, birds and flowers.

    The Nathalie Lete prize pack includes a best-selling Parisian shopper, valued at £16.95; a toiletries bag, valued at £13.50; and a super-sweet notebook, valued at £6.50.

    To be in the running for the prize pack, simply leave a comment telling me your favourite thing about Paris. Don’t forget to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win!

    Please note that the winner will be chosen at random (either picked out of a hat or by a random number generator – TBC) and all competitions close on Friday 24 July at 6pm (British Summer Time). Winners will be announced on Monday 27 July.

    Thank you, Lapin & Me! If you love the look of the shop, why don’t you:
    - check out the online shop here;
    - peek inside the East London boutique here; or
    - become a fan of Lapin & Me on Facebook here.

  4. Bird is the word: A week of giveaways



    Today marks day five of the Wee Birdy blogiversary giveaway, and I’ve got some very special prizes from London design legend (and Wee Birdy favourite) Rob Ryan.

    As some of you may know, I’ve posted extensively about Rob Ryan’s work over the last two years, so it’s a delight to welcome him back to the nest. He’s very kindly donated two of his bird-themed tiles for a Wee Birdy giveaway, valued at a total of £48.

    Rob is a prolific designer and illustrator, and his paper-cut designs (and heart-felt prose) have appeared on collaborations with British Vogue, Liberty, Fortnum and Mason, Paul Smith and Earnest Sewn.


    A shopping trip to London isn’t complete without a visit to his Columbia Road store, Ryantown, which opened just last year. All of his work is produced nearby in his East London studio, and it’s packed with his screenprints, tiles and t-shirts, as well as an ever-changing selection of gifts. A recent addition, for instance, are these cute sailor-print t-shirts. (Check out my full Wee Birdy shop tour here.)


    To be in the running for this very special prize of two Rob Ryan tiles, simply leave a comment telling me what you favourite Rob Ryan print, product or collaboration is – and why. Don’t forget to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win!

    Please note that the winner will be chosen at random (either picked out of a hat or by a random number generator – TBC) and all competitions close on Friday 24 July at 6pm (British Summer Time). Winners will be announced on Monday 27 July.

    Thank you Rob! If you’re as big a Rob Ryan fan as I am, why don’t you:
    - Check out his Etsy shop;
    - Read my full shop tour of his shop, Ryantown;
    - Check out his blog here; or
    - See what’s new in Ryantown via the blog here.

  5. Bird is the word: A week of giveaways


    Pea necklace  
    It’s day four of Wee Birdy’s blogiversary bonanza, and I’m absolutely thrilled that the giveaways have been such a rip-roaring success. Thank you to everyone who’s taken the time to enter so far – I’ve genuinely loved reading every single comment. Your favourite nostalgic scents have particularly blown me away! And I love that Wee Birdy’s readership is truly global.

    My next giveaway, generously donated by leading British jewellery designer, Alex Monroe, is a very special goodie bag including an exquisite gold pea Alex Monroe necklace, valued at £108 (pictured above), a copy of his brand new book, The Gardener, and a jar of his very own home-made jam!*


    The necklace is from Alex’s upcoming SS10 collection, and I got a sneak peek at the pop-up exhibition he held last week at Penhaligon’s Covent Garden boutique. The collection is based on his new children’s story, The Gardener, which was inspired by his passion for gardening. He has an allotment in Dulwich in South-East London where he likes to potter about and eat strawberries with his daughters.



    To showcase his new collection, Alex painstakingly recreated a micro secret garden in Penhaligon’s, adorned with his delicate and ultra-feminine jewellery. There are tiny ant earrings, dragonfly necklaces, and a watering can charm, all rendered in gold, silver and precious stones. There's also a new, smaller version of his popular bee necklace.



    To be in the running for the very special Alex Monroe goodie bag, simply leave a comment below, telling me what you’d grown in your ultimate dream garden. Don’t forget to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win!

    Please note that the winner will be chosen at random (either picked out of a hat or by a random number generator – TBC) and all competitions close on Friday 24 July at 6pm (British Summer Time). Winners will be announced on Monday 27 July.

    *Depending on the winner’s location, jam may or may not be included (Australian customs, for instance, can be particularly draconian).

    Thank you, Alex! For more Alex Monroe goodness, you may like to:
    - check out his website here;
    - read Alex’s Secret London addresses here;
    - find your nearest Alex Monroe stockist here; or
    - read Alex’s blog here.