February 2010

February 28, 2010

Birdy pick of the week

Wayne Pate
Home
'London' and 'Sammy Seagull' 16" x 20" silkscreen prints, US$35, by Wayne Pate. I'm also a little bit in love with his 'Jacques' print, below… Click here for more of my favourites by Wayne.

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February 26, 2010

Best of London shopping: Bernstock Speirs*

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There is something seductive about a milliner's boutique and the
allure of dozens of different hat styles that promise to transform your look. And at
Bernstock Speirs’ bijou boutique on Brick Lane, it’s hard to resist
playing dress-ups with their endearingly quirky range of around 40
different hat styles for men and women.

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The
talented duo behind the brand, Paul Bernstock and Thelma Speirs, have
been stalwarts of the London fashion and club scenes since the ‘80s. In
fact, their very first creation was that iconic open-brimmed hat for Kylie on her eponymous debut album in 1988. 

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These days, traditional
and wearable styles are given the signature Bernstock Speirs twist,
with an unexpected and eclectic use of materials.

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Take, for instance,
their classic black trilby, which has been updated with a slash of
orange around the base (£97), or their fabulous range of winter beanies with netted veiling and pom-poms (£45). Definitely worth a trip up Brick Lane.

Bernstock Speirs
234 Brick Lane
London E2 7EB
Tel. 020 7739 7385
Nearest tube: Liverpool Street
Click here for a Wee Birdy map.

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Friday 11am – 6pm
Saturday and Sunday 11am – 5pm

For more shops in East London, click here.

* Please bear with me – I'm flying back to my Sydney nest so I'm digging into the Wee Birdy archives for a couple of weeks. Normal posting (and ace new London shops) will resume shortly. xx


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February 25, 2010

Best of London shopping: G Baldwin & Co*

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Cross
the threshold of this unassuming South-East London shop and you’ll
catch a whiff of the old-fashioned herbal remedies that made it
London’s leading apothecary in its Victorian heyday. 

Old Shop 1965

And
whilst they no longer peddle bottles of the extremely popular Touch
& Go (for “Warts, Corns and Hard Skin”), you can still purchase a
refreshing pint of Sarsaparilla for 30p.

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In
1969, G Baldwin and Co moved from 77 Walworth Road to its present
location at number 171, but the shop retains much of its charm and
original features including a long counter, apothecary wooden drawers
and glass jars.

Old Shop 77 Walworth Road 1964

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Today
the family business is divided into two stores: an excellent health
food shop on one side, and the traditional herbalist next door. I was
given a sneak-peek behind the scenes, and discovered the fragrant oils
room where all of the bottling is done on-site, as well as a thriving
mail-order business.

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Part
of the attraction of Baldwin’s these days is its affordable range of
essential oils, natural products and aromatherapy products. I swear by
their organic Rosehip Oil,
a total steal at £7.99, which I use as an inexpensive glow-giving face
serum at night. Rosehip oil can be found as an ingredient in many major
beauty brands' more expensive anti-ageing products, due to its high
levels of anti-oxidants and collagen-boosting Vitamin A. It's also
excellent for healing blemishes and acne scars.

I also love their range of old-fashioned amber bottles and jars, which come in a variety of sizes that would look gorgeous lined up on your bathroom shelf (in manner of Aesop chic). In fact, Baldwin’s is an excellent source for all sorts of crafty DIY beauty ingredients, including bulk packages of dead sea bath salts and silicone soap-making moulds.

Each visit reveals interesting new finds (Stuff in a Tub icecream; English honey cappings; Dr Bronner's soap) and budget buys (luxury handmade soap for £2.89) – making Baldwin's one of London’s true hidden shopping gems.

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G Baldwin & Co
171/173 Walworth Road
London SE17 1RW
Tel. 020 7703 5550
Nearest tube/rail: Elephant & Castle
Click here for a Wee Birdy map.

Opening hours:
Monday to Saturday 9am – 5.30pm

For more shops in South East London, click here.

* Please bear with me - I'm flying back to my Sydney nest so I'm digging into the Wee Birdy archives for a couple of weeks. Normal posting (and ace new London shops) will resume shortly. xx


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February 24, 2010

Best of London shopping: Melt*

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I
couldn’t resist poking my head inside the doors of Melt Chocolates in
Notting Hill, just in time for Easter. As you can imagine, it’s a hive
of activity at the moment, with all chocolate handmade on site in the
small kitchen out the back. And with their recently opened concession
in Selfridges, demand has never been greater.

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The
kitchen is headed by Chika Watanabe, who conjures up sheer chocolate
heaven in the manner of award-winning Maldon sea-salted caramels,
peanut butter and raspberry jam truffles, and exquisite single-origin hot chocolate dipping blocks.

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For Easter, there’s a delightful bunny mug designed by Lisa Jones with a milk chocolate egg (£17.50), traditional paper eggs filled with Swiss milk chocolate drops (£8.50) and egg cups with milk chocolate eggs (£9.50). Click here to see the full Easter line-up.

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Melted

If
you’ve left your Easter shopping ‘til the last minute, resist the calls
of the supermarket aisle (and bad-quality, sugar-laden chocolate) and
head over to Selfridges instead. Right now you can hand-pick your own
selection of fresh chocolates and watch as Melt’s chocolatiers seal
them inside a hand-finished egg. Fun and yum!

Melt
59 Ledbury Road
London W11 2AA
Nearest Tube: Notting Hill Gate
Click here for a Wee Birdy map.

Opening hours:
Monday to Saturday 9am-6pm
Sunday 11am-4pm

For more chocolates and sweets in London, click here.

* Please bear with me – I'm flying back to my Sydney nest so I'm digging into the Wee Birdy archives for a couple of weeks. Normal posting (and ace new London shops) will resume shortly. xx


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February 23, 2010

Best of London shopping: Lapin & Me*

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For those who may have missed my story in Time Out,
here are some more pics from my latest fave shop in London, Lapin &
Me. The newest arrival to the independent shopping haven that is
Columbia Road (well, it's actually just around the corner on Ezra
Street, but near enough), Lapin & Me stocks a fanciful and French-y
range of limited-edition dolls, design-led products, stationery,
homewares and children's clothes.

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Wee
Birdy is also super-chuffed to have served a tiny role in the creation
of the real bricks-n-mortar shop. Apparently owner Madeleine James was
inspired by the Columbia Road Christmas Wednesdays post last year, and started looking around the area for the perfect premises.

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On
my shopping wishlist is the hand-stitched "one-eyed" doll (see top pic,
£36), Nathalie Lete's illustrated "Parisian shopper", and a Fatina doll brooch (£21). There are also glass jars on the main counter brimming with the most delightful pocket-money goodies, like Alain Gree labels (£3.50), vintage stork & baby sets (£2) and Tooth Mouse boxes (£3.50).

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Don't fret if you're out of London – you can dig into this whimsical treasure trove online at www.lapinandme.co.uk.

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Lapin & Me
14 Ezra St
London E2 7RG
Nearest tube: Liverpool Street
Click here for a Wee Birdy map.

Opening hours:
Friday 11am-2.30pm
Saturday 11am-3.30pm
Sunday 9am-3pm

Click here for more shops in East London.

* Please bear with me - I'm flying back to my Sydney nest so I'm digging into the Wee Birdy archives for a couple of weeks. Normal posting (and ace new London shops) will resume shortly. xx


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February 22, 2010

Best of London shopping: Shop at Bluebird*

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I finally paid Shop at Bluebird a long, overdue visit last
week, and I’m delighted to report that it’s looking better – and dare I
say more accessible  – than ever. But it’s difficult not to
be impressed and a little over-awed by the listed art-deco location
alone (the former Bluebird garage), let alone the beautifully edited
collection of fashion, books, music, homewares, vintage, and skincare
products.

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While it’s loosely divided into departments, all sorts of found
objects, accessories and artworks are scattered throughout the 10,000
square foot space. Here, for example, you’ll find 1950s American glass
milk bottles (£18) sitting on an oversized French farmhouse table, next
to a rack of glorious Erdem frocks.

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I really loved the selection of vintage greeting cards as well
as the fabulous brioche mould pendant lights by Sally and Mark Bailey.
The range of playful pastel-coloured ceramics by Berlin-based Kuehn Keramik was also a highlight.

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The
women’s fashion department is extensive and carefully considered, with
labels ranging from Jasmine de Milo, Alexander Wang, Peter Jensen to
Elizabeth and James, Luella and Richard Nicoll. Shoe-wise there’s
Rupert Sanderson and Vivienne Westwood, while the jewellery cabinets
are stuffed with Marni gems, vintage fob watches and Nymphenburg porcelain pendants.

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There’s also an excellent spa with Micheline Arcier (Prince
Charles’ aromatherapist of choice) joining this month along with an
exclusive treatment menu. Right now you can pick up skincare products
by the likes of Malin + Goetz and Ole Henrikesen, but keep an eye out
for Aesop and Bigelow, which should be arriving over the coming months.

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What’s most appealing is that the shop is constantly evolving,
with new designers and pop-up spaces keeping it fresh and relevant.
Launching its international project in the pop-up room this week is
French label Kitsune (next stop is Colette in Paris). Then there’s
Atelier Abigail Ahern, the new homewares concession which brings
Islington interiors (and some rather lovely Jonathan Adler ceramics) to
the Kings’s Road. I was also (predictably) excited to discover that Rob
Ryan will be curating the Christmas shop this year.

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Whatever you do, don’t leave without a twirl around the
spacious dressing rooms, which are in the process of being decorated by
individual designers. I’m looking forward to seeing the Bobby Dazzler dressing room (think hand-crafted creature feature!), but I rather liked the room with the incredible sepia photo collage.

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Shop at Bluebird
350 King’s Road
London SW3 5UU
Tel. 7351 3873
Nearest tube: Sloan Square
Click here for a Wee Birdy map.

Opening hours:
Monday to Saturday 10am-7pm
Sunday 11am-6pm

* Please bear with me – I'm flying back to my Sydney nest so I'm digging into the Wee Birdy archives for a couple of weeks. Normal posting (and ace new London shops) will resume shortly. xx


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