Have you poked your nose into Goodhood‘s relatively new shop, Life Store? As the name suggests, the East London store is home to Goodhood’s edit of lifestyle products – and if you’re familiar with the Goodhood brand, you’ll know that true to their moniker, they’re rather good at cherry-picking all the good stuff.
As part of their statement for their summer lifestyle collection, the good people at Goodhood claim that “colour is an important aspect in life, it can dramatically affect moods, feelings and emotions.” Now if anyone deserves a star, I suggest they get a big fat (neon pink) one for delivering on their mission, with a ripe-for-the-picking bunch of delicious bright new products for summer.
It almost feels like they’ve raided my favourite shops from around the globe (including Etsy sellers!), with cult Scandi brand Hay leading the way in the colour and style stakes. The Danish design super-store brings a whopping dose of hygge to Life Store – that unique Scandinavian concept that doesn’t directly translate into English, but suggests a certain warmth and cosiness at home.
The buyers at Life Store have shown a rather deft hand in selecting key products from Hay’s considerable product lines, from the vividly patterned wool blankets and quilts to the stunning ombre plisse accordian file (£18.33), which is well on its way to becoming a modern design classic (see below).
The immaculate curation continues with a gorgeously inexpensive range of neon-dipped concrete candle holders from Melbourne brand Sarai (£21). Seriously, is one of the buyers Australian?
And they’ve delved into the Etsy archives with a collection of more neon colour-dipping, courtesy of Wind & Willow‘s stunning range of wooden bowls and spoons (just £7 for a wee bowl).
The Neon Brights show continues with Nud lighting, a collection of beautiful oversized naked globes and bang-on-trend neon and patterned cords, which are sold separately (from £25). Transform your bedroom by hanging a couple of bulbs over your bedside tables and – pow! Instant mood change.
For an excellent review of Goodhood’s Life Store from someone who’s actually set foot in the shop (anyone want to sponsor a wee birdy on a research trip to London?), head over to Jonestown London. Dan Jones is a sublime writer and as Time Out London‘s former Shopping & Style Editor (and my former boss), he’s totally in-the-know when it comes to best of London retail. Oh, and you can read Dan’s Secret London for Wee Birdy here.
Goodhood Life Store 20 Coronet Street London N1 6HD
Tel. (0)207 729 3600
Nearest tube: Old Street
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 11am-6.30pm Sunday 12 noon-5pm
Freelance writer Dan Jones has lived in London for years – and he’s got around: Shoreditch, Herne Hill, Hackney, Victoria Park, Stoke Newington and now Clapton. He’s written for i-D Magazine as shopping editor, ASOS.com as senior men’s ed, is media consultant to fashion brand Antipodium, and was Time Out London’s Shopping & Style editor for four years (where he was also my mentor and boss), covering everything from LFW to funeral parlours – so he’s acquired a big list of London’s best/weirdest bits.
You can follow Dan on his shiny new blog dedicated to London stores and style, JONESTOWN, and on Twitter @jonessecret. In the meantime, here is Dan’s Secret London. Enjoy!
Best shop in London for atmosphere? Mysteries
My mum is a bit of a witch. When I was a kid she’d take me to her favourite New Age shop, Mysteries, on our day trips into London. Being a young cynic, I’d roll my eyes at the dreamcatchers and chakra candles, but when I rediscovered the shop a few years ago, I finally saw how special it is – especially if you suspend all irony. Fancy an amethyst geode as big as your head? Done. Books on faeries and spells? Smudge sticks? Angel cards? Got it. In the market for a polished crystal that looks a bit like Gandalf’s dildo? You’ve come to the right place. Hidden at the back of the shop is a slightly slimy-looking grotto with a babbling water feature, encrusted with crystals and icons, and upstairs you can get your fortune told by Mysteries’ psychic staff and Tarot readers. Magic.
Best in London for vintage? Princess May Car Boot Sale
Just north of Dalston, opposite Beyond Retro’s huge Stoke Newington High Street store, is one of London’s best car boot sales. The mix of sellers is intriguing – from local trendies selling off their Topshop Unique cast-offs, to seasoned car booters (who tend to drive a hard bargain) selling knick knacks. It all makes for a great breadth of tat to pick through. On a hot summer’s weekend the sale is packed with browsers and sellers who cram themselves creatively into every corner of the grounds, selling from trestle tables and blankets.
Scoring a great car boot bargain is one of my greatest turn ons and Princess May rarely disappoints. On my last visit I picked up a Death Row Records cap, a Florida Gators sweatshirt, an old leather Camel cigarettes wallet – and possibly my best ever car boot find – a large ceramic bust of Arnold Schwartzenegger as The Terminator for £8. I didn’t even haggle. As I walked away from the stall the seller said, in a creepy Austrian accent, “you’ll be back.” No shit.
Best shop in London for gifts? Donlon Books
Navigating Broadway Market on a Saturday is sometimes a bit overwhelming – you might not always be in the mood for the crowds and gluten-free cakes, squeezing through the shoppers and poseurs, squinting so your eye isn’t poked out by a chocolate eclair. Donlon Books makes it all worth it.
At the north end of the market and usually manned by Conor Donlon, you can browse an excellent selection of art, fashion and culture books (new and old), and magazines, fanzines and cards. It’s great for gifts. I always find something that’s relevant to a friend’s dubious obsession, whether it’s a book on 1970s Australian drag artists or film ephemera from the collection of John Waters himself – Cry Baby tissues or a Serial Mom baseball cap.
Best shop in London for food? Lina Stores
It’s not much of a secret – Lina Stores has held its own in Soho’s red light district since the ‘30s – but the Italian deli just keeps getting better. The small shop had a bit of a makeover a couple of years back – and achieved the impossible: updating the place to feel thoroughly contemporary but preserving its traditional quirks.
You can have a quick snack or a coffee at the standing tables or buy up big from the impressive stock at the fresh counter (cheeses, charcuterie, etc) or the shelves (biscotti, Venchi treats). The homemade bits are best: pumpkin and sage or veal tortellini, pesto. The fresh pork and fennel sausages usually make the shelves in the early afternoon (amazing rolled up into meatballs at home).
Your number one London shopping secret? Casa Mexico
I discovered Casa Mexico last year – although I’d walked past it lots of times on my way to the Antipodium studio in Bethnal Green. A few earthenware pots at the entrance had always made me think the place was a ceramic store, something to do with tiles or garden furniture – a bit boring. Still, I decided to try it out one day and it’s good I did.
Inside it’s all Day of the Dead dolls, handwoven rugs, pinata and paper fiesta decorations, bottled sodas and beers, fresh tortilla – and those ceramic garden pots. The Casa team have opened a Mexican pastry counter next door that’ll be selling tacos come September. In the main store, check out the genuine Caballeros cowboy boots, shirts and hats and Lucha Libre wrestling masks, or pick up some religious candles (£4.50 for Jesus) and proper Mexican sweets. Steer clear of the hot salted tamarind candies though – the packaging’s great but they taste like death.
The London trend you’re loving right now?
Okay, it may not be the best news for the nervous eater, or those prone to bouts of heartburn or animal welfare, but this past summer in London was all about the grill. Dirty burgers, chunks of bone marrow, pulled pork, barbecued ribs… Alongside the stars of the BBQ scene – Meat Liquor, Meat Market and Pit Cue Co. – there are a few relative newcomers that are worth checking out: Burnt Enz at the Climpson Roastery (currently closed for winter) is less about classic BBQ sauces and more about using the grill to cook posh things like scallops, quail and more traditional stuff like lamb ribs with mint or beef brisket. Elliot’s Cafe at Borough Market collaborated with Raw – Borough’s wine fair – in the form of a pop-up burger stand selling aged beef patties with beer-braised onions, Comte and a brioche bun… it’s totally dirty – in a good way.
It’s back! By popular demand! My Secret London! This is where I pin down prominent London style/design/food insiders and ask them to share their favourite London addresses and secret destinations with Wee Birdy readers. This is London by locals – and knowledgeable, super-stylish locals at that. Here we go…
Sarah Drinkwater (pictured top right) grew up in the countryside with a postcard of London above her desk and moved there to study. After careers as a vintage clothes buyer and a journalist, she turned her favourite hobby – exploring London – into a career and now works as a community manager for Google Plus Local, helping users find great new places to go to through their friends. Sarah also blogs (sometimes, honest) at www.theenchantedhunters.com.
Best shops for vintage homewares?
I love coloured glassware, and Vintage Heaven on Columbia Road is, as the name suggests, rammed full of pastel glass ice cream glasses, deep green vases and piles of mismatching saucers. The Old Cinema in Chiswick is one of those treasure troves where they have everything from red velvet rows of cinema seats to industrial steel lockers and kitsch Seventies porcelain. And I’ve picked up some great midcentury bargains at The Peanut Vendor, a tiny shop on Newington Green.
Best shops in London for clothes?
I feel like high street fashion’s never been better for us early thirty-somethings who are simply not into Topshop’s mesh crop tops anymore. I own lots of Whistles, who balance great quality basics with quirky prints and luxe leather jackets. Cos lets me pretend I’m an extremely trendy architect with their sculptural shapes and great jewellery (I love oversize jewellery) and Hobbs’ NW3 range can be cool, too – I just bought a grey merino wool tight-fit jumper in the sale with an orange paperclip print.
Aubin & Wills also turned up some sale goodies, like a balloon print silk shirt dress, and Liberty has the very best selection of pricey brands including Carven, which I wish I could afford. I’m also pretty excited about Folk‘s new womenswear range…
Best shops in London for accessories?
The only jewellery I wear are necklaces, but I wear one every day, and I’m always looking out for them! Tatty Devine is the classic quirky London jeweller, and I own plenty of their cheerful pop art pieces. Luna and Curious on Calvert Avenue stock some really unusual items by independent designers, and they’re right opposite the queen of enormo jewels, Mawi. My burger locket necklace by Lazy Oaf is my current favourite, and I’d love one of Jessica de Lotz’s wax seal initial pendants.
Best shops in London for buying gifts?
I really like giving books as presents, and both Broadway Bookshop and Daunts in Marylebone have the best recent novels and those gorgeous coffee table books you don’t buy for yourself. I just bought a friend a design-your-own-banner kit from Nook on my local high street, too. They do craft workshops which I think make a great gift.
Best shops in London for perfume, make-up and skincare?
At the risk of sounding poncy, I wear Diptyque’s Vetyverio, which smells like the velvet-lined inside of a wooden box, and their Marylebone shop is a bit of a treat. For most of my beauty and skincare products, I head to Space NK, a micro-chain that stock both unusual brands and big hitters like Laura Mercier and Nars.
Best places in London for food?
Between my job and my insatiable curiousity, I’m a bit of a tart and always keen to try new places. I’d definitely take any visitor to two places; Bob Bob Ricard, a luxe restaurant dishing up Brit classics that’s decked out like an Edwardian gentleman’s club, and Spuntino, a cool-as diner with bourbon cocktails, bone marrow sliders and peanut butter and jelly icecream for pudding. I’d also nudge them in the direction of Pitt Cue Co’s trailer on the Southbank which is dishing up macaroni cheese and pulled pork patties, and Mark’s Bar below Hix in Soho for some mighty fine cocktails.
You’ve got 24 hours in London. Where do you go? What do you see? What do you buy?
Grab lunch at Pitt Cue’s Trailer and haul your bike over the bridge to Liberty in Soho, for the best collection of British design in one place. A nice cup of tea at Kaffeine will prepare you for cycling up to Hampstead Heath for a ramble with the best view of the whole city. I’d pick up a beer and a burger at Dach and Sons, then head to the Everyman Cinema there to watch films how they should be watched; on a sofa, with waiters bringing you mojitos!
Where do you go for a good coffee in London?
I’m a coffee fanatic so this changes all the time; my current favourites include Ozone Coffee Roasters right by Silicon Roundabout and arty cafe The Russet. But for the best coffee and breakfast, try the avocado on sourdough (so hard to get in the UK!) at Wilton Way Cafe, where they run London Fields radio in the corner, or the bircher muesli in a jam jar with passionfruit at my beloved local, Mouse and de Lotz.
Your number one London shopping secret?
Never judge a book by its cover; the shop next to Wilton Way cafe looks a little challenging from the outside, but sells an amazing collection of vintage glasses (for not junky prices).
1. The Animal Olympics
Can you see one of Charlotte Cory’s brilliantly bonkers artworks lining the centuries-old walls of Windsor Castle? Apparently it’s true, and word is that the Queen is a huge fan of the London artist. (I’d believe anything after her starring role in the James Bond skit). You can see what all the fuss is about at Charlotte’s current exhibition, ‘The Sporting Champions’ at her gallery in Greenwich. There are Victorian rabbit wrestlers, parrot cyclists and kangaroo cricketers, as well as hand-crafted Victorian medals. But where are the corgi beach volleyball players? Probably hanging her Her Maj’s bedroom. Until 20 August, 2012.
The Green Parrot Gallery, Greenwich 73 Lassell Street London SE10 9PJ Nearest transport: Greenwich rail/Cutty Sark DLR Click here for a Wee Birdy map. Opening hours: Fridays 11am-6pm
2. The Karl Olympics
Even the likes of iconic Chanel fashion designer, Karl Lagerfeld, couldn’t resist taking on the Olympics with a limited-edition capsule collection for Selfridges. His new pop-up shop on the third floor, named Team Karl, is home to a range of Olympics-inspired fashion and accessories including medal-emblazoned t-shirts and gold-splattered Karl motif tote bags. There are also a few men’s items currently available online. Selfridges 400 Oxford Street London W1A 1AB
Nearest tube: Bond Street
Click here for a Wee Birdy map.
Opening hours until Monday 13 August: Monday to Saturday 10am-10pm Sunday 10am-8pm
[Image via Blog Deluxe Online]
3. The PopUp Olympics
Head to this pop-up shop in Greenwich throughout the Olympic period and discover some of London’s best designer-makers from Cockpit Arts and various studios. Take your pick from art prints, textiles, ceramics, jewellery, homewares, beauty products and lighting by the likes of Lorna Syson, MacMaster Design, Naomi Ryder and Siobhan McIntosh. Until Thursday 23 August, 2012. PopUp@Greenwich 20 Nelson Street London, SE10 9JB Nearest transport: Greenwich rail/Cutty Sark DLR Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 12 noon-8pm Sunday 12 noon-5pm
4. The Goodhood Olympics
Hackney is one of the host boroughs of the London Olympics, and it’s also home to some of London’s coolest and most fashion-forward boutiques, including The Goodhood Store. Based in Hoxton for over five years, the store stocks a line-up of covetable brands including P.A.M, Antipodium, Surface to Air and Peter Jensen. To celebrate the borough’s Olympic status, Goodhood has designed a limited-edition t-shirt, which goes on sale today in store and online for £35. The Goodhood Store 41 Coronet Store London N16HD Nearest tube: Old Street Click here for a Wee Birdy map. Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 11am-6.30pm Sunday 12 noon-5pm 5. The Retro Olympics
London’s legendary vintage shop, Retro to Go, has gone for retro gold with their collection of original sportswear from the ’70s to ’90s, like this Olympic Karate t-shirt. Check out the range in store (there are three shops in London) or online. Retro to Go 110-112 Cheshire Street London E2 6EJ Tel. 020 7613 3636 Nearest tube: Liverpool Street Click here for a Wee Birdy map. Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10am-7pm Thursday 10am to 8pm Sunday 11.30am-6pm
Happy blogday to me, Happy blogday to me, Happy blogday dear birrrrrdy, Happy blogday to me!
Five years ago today I sat down at the kitchen table in my wee flat on Kingsland Road, East London, opened up a Blogspot account, and starting writing about some the little shops I had discovered and loved in my neighbourhood. My very first post was about Labour and Wait, which was then located on Cheshire Street – it’s since moved to nearby Redchurch Street.
How things have changed – and not changed. I’ve since landed my dream job at Time Out London, had drinks with Sarah Brown and London’s fashion elite at Number 10 Downing Street, attended London Fashion Week, met the most amazing and inspirational people, fallen in love with my readers, moved back to Sydney, had a baby, stopped blogging for a while, moved to WordPress and started blogging again, this time with my favourite Sydney shops and happenings added to the Wee Birdy mix.
To celebrate Wee Birdy’s 5th birthday, I’m giving away FIVE fabulous prizes over the next FIVE days. Each prize is something I truly love and hand-picked especially for you, my dearest and most lovely readers.
TODAY’S PRIZE IS A LEGENDARY TATTY DEVINE NAME NECKLACE. Design your very own Tatty Devine name necklace in your choice of words, lettering, charm and colour – they’ve just launched a lovely new lilac hue to their collection. Use the clever online tool which allows you to see a mock-up of your custom-made design. I used it to make the ‘Happy Birthday Wee Birdy’ message above.
I’m delighted to kick off a birthday week of celebrations on Wee Birdy with Tatty Devine, as it’s an East London brand that encapsulates all the things I love – London; hand-made; excellent design; independent retailer; awesome female entrepreneurs – and it’s also one of the shops I first blogged about back in 2007.
Most recently, Tatty Devine launched their Name Necklace Now service at their Covent Garden store on Monmouth Street. Design your own custom name necklace and have it made on the spot by the new in-store lasercutter. It’s just one of their innovative initiatives that’s keeping independent retail alive and well – as well as adding a touch of hand-crafted genius to the retail landscape of central London.
Check out this video below which shows the process of a Name Necklace being lasercut and finished by hand at Tatty Devine’s East London workshop.
Also, as a special birthday present for ALL Wee Birdy readers, the awesome girls at Tatty Devine are offering £5 off when you spend over £30 at tattydevine.com. Use the discount code WEEBIRDY5, which is valid until 31 July, 2012.
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.
When it comes to finding special vintage pieces for your home, sometimes it’s best to go through an experienced antiques dealer. They regularly trawl markets, deceased estates and auction houses for the best stuff, and can often source specific pieces on your behalf. They usually keep their stock in warehouses, storage facilities and showrooms, so you need to make an appointment to meet with them and look at their collection.
Here are my top five picks for the best dealers in mid-century modern furniture and decor in London.
Sarah Potter (pictured above)
Specialising in Scandinavian and British mid-century furniture, textiles, glass and light, this Clapham-based dealer’s showroom is by appointment only.
Tel. 020 7627 0570
Mobile: 07762 264507
The Modern Warehouse (pictured below)
This Victoria Park-based warehouse specialises in Scandinavian, American and British mid-century furniture, and is open by appointment.
3 Trafalgar Mews
London E9 5JG
Tel. 020 8986 0740
Firefly House (pictured below)
Located in North London, Firefly House stocks a wide range of mid-century modern furniture which is available for hire as well as purchase. They also offer an interior design consultancy.
Tel. 020 7428 3366
Caroline de Kerangal 20th Century Antiques
Based in Wimbledon, Caroline de Kerangal has extensive experience as an antiques dealer and sources mid-century furniture, décor, lighting and art for her private clientele. She also offers an interior design consultancy and her showroom is open by appointment only.
Unit 11, Wimbledon Stadium Business Centre
London SW17 0BA
Tel. 020 8394 1619
With over 20 years’s experience, Roomscape sources a varity of furniture, lighting and décor, and all items can be viewed by appointment in their Camden showroom.
CityStore, Belmont Street
London NW1 8FH
Tel. 020 7956 645 492