This is the book that I’ve been excited about for months. And it’s here – at last – and just in time for Christmas. Megan Morton in one of Australia’s leading stylists, but really she’s much more than that – she’s actually pretty amazing. She recently opened The School, offering a super-fresh take on craft workshops (you can learn to make pineapple piñatas, flower bombs and shibori, to name a few) as well as sharing her own creative talents through styling masterclasses.
In her new book, Things I Love, Megan has curated a darn exciting and inspirational collection of homes, people and design she loves, as well as offering a raft of tips and advice. It’s the only book I know that injects warmth and genuine excitement into sharing practical tips such as how to clean a vintage painting, how to mimic the Kate Spade wall, and – my favourite – how to fold a fitted sheet. Naturally, it’s beautifully designed and it’s full of cute features like zip-out postcards and fold-out pages.
So I thought I’d have a wee chat with Megan about something we both love – SHOPS – and boy, does she spill the goods…
You’re a such a creative bird, Megan Morton. If you were a bird, what kind of bird would you be?
A Leila Jeffreys budgie! Have you seen her photographs of Aussie budgies?! Amazing! Standard budgie at first glance but not-so upon further inspection! Her budgies are showing at Tim Olsen gallery at the moment and are hilariously wonderful!
I adore Leila’s birds, too! Especially the cheeky parrots. Congratulations on your fabulous new book, Things I Love. What about shops you love? Can you tell us which shops you love in Sydney?
La Croix in Kings Cross is a personal favourite because you can spend $6 or $6000 over a coffee. The grey leather banquette with pompoms is enough of a drawcard for me, let alone the glassware, candles, cups and marble kitchen bits all acquired from a medley of sources and countries [see images below].
I love Koskela for their commitment to Australian-made and furniture that is so well made and designed with wit [see image below].
I Love You Beads Warehouse in Leichhardt. There are so many hysterical reasons to love this store. I have taken up a hobby making necklaces. They are actually super nice! I go to this shop as it tickles my sense of humour as well as services all my bead fantasies.
Flour and Stone in Woolloomooloo for lamingtons and tea served in Beryl ware from classic Brown Betty tea pots [see image below].
Fairfax and Roberts. Such a decadent and wonderful store experience. I adore jewellery and watching its almost theatrical presence at this store is a wonderful way to tyre-kick/window-shop for all budgets. Shopping for me is not just about nothings, it’s about observing and getting inspiration.
Dolly Up in Surry Hills is a dangerous place for me to go in the same way Belinda is. I love maxi dresses and Erin at Dolly Up has magnificent ones. I have bought many a vintage Valentino from her. With two daughters I feel like I am doing my bit to give us all some nice vintage options in a shared family closet!
Although I designed it, I do honestly love the Ecoya candle store on Queen Street [see images from the launch night below]. Moody and devastating, with hand-blown glass scent chambers down one wall and tarnished mirror down the other. A sensory experience in the truest sense of the word.
Plus, any suburban Priceline chemists – it’s like the JB Hi Fi of chemists! High volume, low decoration with lots of useful stuff! I also like huge warehouse shops too! I love looking basically for things that aren’t expected and challenging myself to find things that are wonderful and not necessarily from predictable places or usual sources.
Which online shops do you love?
Rachel Castle for her sunshiny goodness [see images below]; Strawberrynet for cosmetics; Mecca Cosmetica; JCrew for the kids; and I can’t resist looking at the sale section of West Elm. Lu Lu Lucky for her hand-made block-coloured envelopes and other makeables.
Top five shops in the world?
I can’t contain it to five, unfortunately! I love shops and want to share them with as many people as possible so all these clever people can stay trading and thrive as they deserve to!
1. BHV in Paris – the French alternative to Bunnings although without compare.
2. Gravel and Gold in San Francisco [see image below]. Almost an anti-store. I love its jewellery, American camp blankets and the way they wrap plants in foil for unusual window displays. Everything here is so well-made and the store has little fanfare as its quality speaks volumes.
3. Arts & Science in Toyko, Japan. Another store that renders me speechless.
4. Tsé & Tsé Associées in Paris. No words.
5. The Pirate Store in San Francisco – genius. Sheer genius. Again, no words! Retailing at its highest art form here [see images below].
6. Camargue in Brisbane for its Queensland edit of the European clothes I adore, but edited for summer-wearing and set in a classic, neutral and not overly-designed boutique setting. It lets the clothes do the talking.
7. First Dibs – the online interiors auction house. The real store is on Lexington in NYC. Totally incredible and it almost makes you woozy!
8. The Tinsel Trading Co. In New York it’s one of my first stops – I could go there every day for a year and find something in there that I had not seen the day before! Expect trinkets, ribbon, garlands – actually expect none of that – as it’s that kind of place [see images below]!
9. March in San Francisco. I don’t have words for how perfect this kitchen/gift/lifestyle shop is. I hate the word “lifestyle” but in March’s case it really is a life I covet. Everything – and I mean everything here is beyond. Utterly beyond.
It’s almost Christmas and I’m dying to know what you’re doing for a Christmas tree this year.
I do a year on and a year off – so this year I am blindfolding my family – seriously – and taking them away on a surprise out-of-town Christmas. Just us. No tree. We are packing the kids’ bags without them knowing and I can’t wait to see their faces when we get to our destination!
I’ve sent a small tree and their gifts up to said destination so it’s going to be a year of surprises. Last year I did a faux tree but highly doused in mercury and silver and pewter decorations and a lunch with all the trimmings, with a day-before-Christmas party!
Year on/year off works so well for me. It gives you the energy needed to deliver a great Christmas and a rest when you need it! I love all trees and decs – even the bad ones! There is nothing bad about this time of the year, I make no style judgements.
This year at our studio we have erected a paper chandelier by Lu Lu Lucky and we are asking people to place wrapped gifts under it along with tins of food they can spare for The Salvation Army. Christmas for me only works when you can shine a kindness light.
Thank you Megan!
Click here for a Wee Birdy Sydney map, showing Megan’s favourite shops.
Things I love by Megan Morton is AU$49.95 and can be found in all nice shops and book stores right now. It would make an amazing Christmas present and you can also buy it online from Booktopia. You can find Megan Morton online right here.
Some of the best presents around this year have a wee birdy on them – or two. Take a flight of fancy with my Christmas Gift Guide: the birdy edition.
1. Aesop Flight Gift Set, £40 from Liberty.
2. Jonathan Adler medium bird bowl, US$88 from Jonathan Adler.
3. Aviary Poster by Alice Melvin, AU$16 from Hello Polly.
4. Tatty Devine Magpie Necklace, £57 from Soma Gallery.
5. Bluebird Pouffe by Eleanor Young, £180 from Howkapow.
6. Duo Sparrow Key Ring, AU$26.95 from Freedom Australia.
7. Marc by Marc Jacobs bird flight gold-plated necklace, £150 from Harvey Nichols.
8. Donna Wilson bone china ‘Birdy Walk Dinner Plate’, £27.50 from Soma Gallery.
9. Nanoblock blue budgie, NZ$18 from Wocolate.
10. Dove Door Stopper, AU$18.95 from Freedom Australia.
11. Bird alarm clock, £35 from Cox and Cox.
12. MCQ Alexander McQueen hummingbird-print leggings, £165 from Selfridges.
13. Jonathan Adler blue bird spoon rest, US$38 from Jonathan Adler.
14. Mark Hearld grey notebook, £9.95 from The Tate Modern.
Want more lovely present inspiration? Click here for all my Christmas 2012 Gift Guides.
Prefer handmade? Click here for my Etsy 2012 Christmas Gift Guides.
Sydney fashion brand Milk from a Thistle featured as a ‘birdy pick’ last year, but I couldn’t ignore their new Spring/Summer 2012 collection in which this splendid digital bird print features so heavily. It seems that sophisticated digital prints featuring all manner of wild creatures has become somewhat of a signature for this young Sydney label, with their graceful seagull print last summer (who knew that seagulls could look so delicate?) and the stallion print from their autumn/winter collection.
This season they’ve teamed the tan bird print with red and black stripes in an easy-to-wear collection of tops, bottoms and breezy frocks. Highlights include the fabulous three-quarter sleeve shift dress and silk pants, which have already sold out online but are back in stock on September 16. www.milkfromathistle.com
It’s the last day of the London 2012 Olympics so my blanket British coverage on Wee Birdy is drawing to an end. I couldn’t think of a better ‘Birdy of the Week’ than British artist Luke Stephenson‘s series of show bird portraits. Obsessed with Britishness and the “eccentricty of Britain”, Luke’s series of birds attempts to capture the slightly bonkers world of British hobbyists, while also demonstrating a sensitivity to the individual beauty and personality of his subject matter. He’s the British show bird world’s answer to Martin Parr, and the series, titled ‘The Incomplete Dictionary of Show Birds‘, is an ongoing project, with the idea that it will one day be ‘complete’. New installments of photographs will be released every few years. You can purchase limited edition prints of Luke’s work from The Photographers Gallery in London.
The Photographers’ Gallery
16-18 Ramillies Street
London W1F 7LW
Tel. 020 7087 9300
Nearest tube: Oxford Circus
Click here for a Wee Birdy map.
Monday to Saturday 10am-6pm
Click here for more Best of British picks.
With just days until the London 2012 Olympics begin, I’ve decided to take Wee Birdy back to its origins and bring you the Best of British (and London) for the next few weeks. It’s no secret that I miss London terribly and it’s taken over two years to be able to blog about London without dissolving into fits of despair and homesickness, despite the fact that Australia is my native country. I have an embarrassing amount of London-based material (wee gems! souvenirs! must-eat dishes! favourite shops!) that has never seen the light of day, so I’m really excited about revisiting the place that inspired me to start blogging in the first place.
I was hoping that I’d be back in London to cover all the excitement during the Olympics (in terms of culture, style and shops, naturally) but I’ll just have to blog my little London-loving heart out from Sydney instead. Having said that, if any fabulous British company would like to sponsor a Wee Birdy for the Most Awesome Tour of Britain, you know who to call.
To kick off the Festival of British Awesomeness, this week’s birdy pick comes from West-Londoner Melanie Roseveare, who is the Canadian-born designer behind Melody Rose. Melanie takes long-forgotten vintage tea sets and gives them her signature make-over, using her own ceramic decal designs and re-firing them in the kiln. The pieces naturally lend themselves to decoration, but they are also functional and are hardy enough to be used every day.
The ‘Bird and Nest’ design is part of the Urban Nature collection and features a surprise nest on the inside of each cup. The cup and saucer sets are available in pink, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue and amber.
Upcycled Bird Design vintage teacup and saucer, £28 from Melody Rose.
To celebrate Wee Birdy’s 5th birthday, I’m giving away FIVE fabulous prizes over FIVE days. Each prize is something I truly love and hand-picked especially for you, my dearest and most lovely readers.
Today is the last day of my week of giveaways and the prize is a picnic set of four melamine plates and and matching four melamine beakers in the gorgeous binoculars print from British homewares brand Anorak, with a total prize value of £40.
I distinctly remember stumbling upon Anorak years ago, when I first spied the genius rabbit-print picnic blanket.
I was living in London and up until then, the only water-resistant picnic blankets I could find were fairly dismal in design. So when the beautifully graphic rabbit print arrived on the scene, I was instantly a fan. It’s now one of Anorak’s best-selling products, and British textiles designer Laurie Robertson, a graduate of the Royal College of Arts, has expanded her design-led indoor-outdoor products to include a range of bedding, sleeping bags and storage trunks.
The cushion collection demonstrates the breadth of fabulous designs that Anorak has launched since 2008, which all feature the bold graphic prints that have since become Anorak’s signature. It’s hard to choose a favourite, but I’m really rather taken by the seagulls print.
I also love the fabulously retro-sounding ‘Kissing Rabbits tuck box‘, which is evocative of midnight feasts in Enid Blyton novels, as well as the rather glorious ‘Kissing Stags steamer trunk‘, which represents a stylish alternative to boring old plastic storage boxes.
The bedding collection is equally covetable, and offers beautiful retro-inspired graphic prints to make your bedroom pop, with pillowcases starting at £14.
HOW TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:
Follow these two steps to win:
1. To qualify to win, you must follow or ‘like’ Wee Birdy on either Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter – or all three if you like! If you’re already following me on one of these platforms, you are automatically qualified to win.
2. Leave a comment in the comments section of this post and ensure you enter your email address in the space provided (your email address will not be published).
The competition closes on Saturday 21 July, 2012 at 5pm AEST. Winners will be drawn at random on Sunday 22 July. Winners will be announced and contacted by email on Monday 23 July, 2012.
Winners have one week to respond to the initial email from Wee Birdy confirming that they have won. If Wee Birdy doesn’t hear from the winner of each prize within a week, the winner/s will forfeit their prize and Wee Birdy will randomly draw another winner/s.
Have you entered the other competitions this week?
Click here to win a bottle of Penhaligon’s new fragrance, Peoneve.
Click here to win a fine bone china mug and birch tray set from Howkapow.
Click here to win an Alex Monroe ‘All the Best’ crown necklace.
Click here to win classic Tatty Devine Name Necklace.