October 2011

October 31, 2011

Birdy pick of the week: Bird lady


You can always rely on Paloma Faith to dial up the crazy in the fashion stakes. Here she is at London Fashion Week last month, wearing Sass & Bide‘s bird prints at the Sass & Bide show. I found this pic on Time Out London‘s brilliant new-ish Shopping blog (yes, I’m a bit biased towards my former employer, but you should still read it. It’s tops). They found Paloma Crazy Bird Lady on the Guardian‘s Fashion blog, which also makes excellent reading.


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October 28, 2011

Wee finds: Spooky stuff


I may have taken a maternity hiatus from blogging earlier this year, but I’ve been keeping track of stuff I like on Pinterest. Are you on Pinterest yet? I’m a wee bit obsessed. It’s a super-easy way to file all the images you like for reference – and I like seeing the overall theme (colours, textures, objects) emerge on my pinboards.

For Halloween this year, wee skulls and ghosties have emerged as a (no-brainer) theme, and I’m particularly taken by these crocheted finger puppet skulls by Dewey Decimal Crafts. There’s something extremely creepy about the fine thread, delicate stitches and teeny tiny grinning mouths. Eeeeeek. They also make skull ornaments and for a touch of Damien Hirst-like bling, there is the sparkling crocheted skull for US$18.


Here are some more wee skulls from my Pinterest board. I found the best skulls on Candy Stripe Cloud‘s boards:

Clockwise from top left: Day of the Dead rockabilly skull brooch, US$16, from The Dolly City Rocker’s Etsy shop; Skull quilt from Quiltsryche; Skull bedroom from Weekday Carnival; and skulls of unknown origin.

Here are some wee ghosties, too.

Tell me, are you on Pinterest? Do you have any plans for Halloween?


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October 24, 2011

Birdy pick of the week: Candy Stripe Cloud brooches

I see a lot of copycats in laser-cut acrylic jewellery (the worst offenders are high-street fashion chains who shall go unnamed but should know better), so my birdy’s eye is always on the look-out for a fresh new take.

I first stumbled upon Sydney designer Candy Stripe Cloud‘s collection of chalkboard garden stakes at Follow Store, and their stained-glass inspired bird brooches and necklaces, featuring graphic black-outlined shapes and bold colours are also super-adorable. These pieces are currently on sale at Candy Stripe Cloud’s online shop for $38, and the peacock (my favourite), hummingbird and swallow brooches are also available from UK-based Howkapow‘s excellent online shop for £25.


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October 19, 2011

Top pick: Gemma Jones solo exhibition

If Gemma Jones wasn’t one of my closest buddies in real life, I’m pretty sure I’d still love her. At the very least, I’d still be drawn to the bright poptastic paintings that have become her trademark over the years. Her latest exhibition, Bright signs: Paintings by Gemma Jones, opens tomorrow night at Melbourne’s No-Vacancy Gallery, and it heralds the return of her familiar-yet-anonymous mid-century girls with bouffant ‘dos and fancy frocks – and this time they’ve got something to say.

Jones has used celebratory flags, crafty bunting and pin-up pennants in her paintings to explore themes of femininity, feminism, pop art and our public/private selves. The nostalgic and candy-sweet overtones are balanced by an underlying exploration of the semiotics and possibility of protest.


Her personal interest in design, mid-century aesthetic and craft (she is the founding member of Melbourne’s Kaotic Kraft Kuties) is reflected throughout these bold new works – and she has requested that visitors to her opening night dress in kind. Dress code? Colour block, of course.

Bright Signs: New Paintings and Prints by Gemma Jones
Opening night: Thursday 20 October 2011, 6-9pm
No Vacancy Gallery
34-40 Jane Bell Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel. 03 9663 3798

The exhibition continues until 30 October 2011.


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October 18, 2011

Birdy pick of the week: Mini Moderns wallpaper

I’ve only been back a week and I’m already blogging about Rob Ryan. But do you blame me? Take a look at his latest collaboration – this time with wallpaper makers, Mini Moderns.

Featuring his trademark birds carrying ‘Our adventure is about to begin’ messages in their beaks, the wallpaper, which is printed in the UK using water-based inks on sustainably-sourced paper, will bring a touch of charm and whimsy to any room. It’s £50 per 52cm x 10m roll, from Mini Moderns.

I also quite fancy the mid-century furniture they’ve used to style the shots.

Here’s  another beaut design by Mini Moderns from their ‘Day Tripper’ collection, which is in collaboration with the truly fabulous London Transport Museum.


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October 13, 2011

Shopping in London: Ben Pentreath

‘Ben Pentreath’ could very well be a byword for all things splendid and in very good taste, because his eponymous shop, in London’s Bloomsbury, is a veritable treasure chest of the most covetable things for your home.

The shop was a wee favourite of mine when I worked at Time Out London, and whenever I was on a present-buying mission I would make a beeline to Rugby Street. In fact, Ben Pentreath could quite possibly be one of my favourite shops – in the world. And as you well know, I’ve been to a few.

Mr Pentreath, an architect and interior designer, along with shop manager, Bridie Hall, have filled the shelves of their store with an immaculate and eclectic collection of glassware, linen, candles, vases, lights and books, as well as a lovely selection of prints, furniture, children’s toys and other ‘curiosities’.

By applying their designers’ eyes to wares from all over the world, they have carefully chosen what they consider to be the very best in terms of quality and design from each category. To that end, glassware is La Rochere, striped linen napkins are from French Catalan company Le Toiles du Soleil, and baskets (made to traditionally winnow grain) are from Zimbabwe. And you can’t miss the striking display of creamy Hunslet tableware from Leeds – the solid pared-down design was inspired by eighteenth century servants’ crockery.

The shop’s fondness for Victorian-style curiosities, such as crocodile skulls, and unusual shells and botany prints, makes it the perfect showcase for Peter Hone’s architectural plaster casts. The overall effect is reminiscent of Sir John Soan’s house (an absolute London must-visit), but unlike the museum, you can buy everything on site.

Many of the items are exceptionally good value, and you’d get quite a bit of change from 20 quid. Take, for instance the brightly coloured felt German coasters, £15 for a set of six, mercury glass candlestick, £9, and glass urchin plate, £8.50.

Children are also beautifully catered for with imaginative and timeless treasures, such as bottles of invisible ink for £4 (great stocking stuffer), paper doll dress-ups, £4.50 and a classic tin trumpet, £5.50.

One you’re done extricating yourself from such splendid-ness, make sure you stop by Suzannah Hunter further down Rugby Street for handmade leather bags, as well as Darkroom (incredible design-led fashion, homewares and accessories) and Persephone Books around the corner on Lamb’s Conduit Street.

Best buys include John Derrian red letter glass plates, £38, Hunslet footed mugs, £13.50, large blue glass vases (rather like vintage Holmegaard, only much cheaper), £45 and the London Night and Day vintage book, £35.

Ben Pentreath
17 Rugby Street
London WC1N 3QT
Tel. 020 7430 2526
Nearest tubes: Russell Square and Holborn
Click here for a Wee Birdy map.

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 11am-6pm

Ben Pentreath is on Facebook and he also has a rather fine blog.

Refuel at Cigala, pick up some mini fruit tarts at Sfizio (their mini fruit tarts are divine), and if you’re in the mood for fish & chips, head to The Fryer’s Delight (a classic chippy and a Wee Birdy favourite).

{Photography by Wee Birdy}


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