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.
This is what my week looked like, according to Instagram. I found the first daffodils of the season; I spotted a London Olympics-themed window at Sydney toy shop, Monkey Puzzle; I found some cool vintage Olympics stamps and a beautiful vintage Melbourne Olympics souvenir scarf; and I had an incredible lunch at Momofuku Seiobo with fellow bloggers and ex-Londoners Gourmet Chick and Vintage Macaroon (the spanner crab and the donut filled with chocolate and pork fat were amazing).
What did you get up to?
Are you on Instagram? Find me @WeeBirdy.
It’s Bastille Day tomorrow and Sydney is celebrating, so grab a baguette, beret, and any other French cliche you can muster and get your French on. Breton top optional.
1. Have breakfast at Le Petit Creme in Darlinghurst
Get the day off to a Frenchy start at this bijou Darlinghurst cafe. The legendary Eggs Benedict is rich and creamy and is served on toasted brioche with your choice of ham or salmon. And if you like hot chocolate, I heartily recommend that you request ‘le bol’, which, as you can imagine, arrives in a steaming hot bowl. You may need to loosen the top button on your pants as you waddle off down Darlinghurst Road.
Le Petit Creme
118 Darlinghurst Road
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Tel. 02 9361 4738
2. Head to North Sydney Markets for their Bastille Day celebrations
The monthly markets will be transformed into a proper marche tomorrow, with live French music, French food and French products in addition to the usual line-up of stalls. The organisers are also on the look-out for the “most fashionably dressed French shopper”.
North Sydney Markets
220 Miller Street
(Plenty of parking in Ridge Street car park)
Tel. 9922 2299
3. Grab a croissant from Saint Germain Patisserie
Arguably Sydney’s best croissants can be found at this wee patch of Paris in Redfern. The rich flaky buttery crescents of pastry are baked daily by French baker Gwenael “Gwen” Lecampion. Or you could always go for a pains au chocolat. Oh god, I really need to stop writing about French pastries right now.
Saint Germain Patisserie
88 Rosehill Street
(corner Gibbons Street)
Redfern NSW 2016
Tel. 02 9319 7161
4. Buy a French charm bracelet
If you’re after the gorgeous French friendship bracelets by La Môme Bijou that I featured on Wee Birdy yesterday, you can find them in Sydney at Mr Rose in Paddington. However, I’ve been informed that there are only two pieces left, so run, don’t walk. Mr Rose also stocks scarves by luxe Parisian label Jean-Jacques Rogers, as well as tights and stockings by Cervin Paris and Polder jewellery. Otherwise, head to Tiny Bird in Avalon for the range of necklaces and bracelets by French label Inspirations by La Girafe. Prices start at AU$39.
31 Norfolk Street (corner of Gurner Street)
Paddington NSW 2021
T: 02 9368 1423
Shop 9, 20 Avalon Parade
Avalon NSW 2107
Tel. 02 9918 0214
5. Head to dinner at Sel et Poivre
Personally, I can’t go past the incredible Creme Brûlée at this old-school French bistro, but by all means, go ahead and have all three courses. There will be live accordion and “bonne humeur” tomorrow to celebrate Bastille Day. Bookings are essential.
Sel et Poivre
263 Victoria Street
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Tel. 02 9361 6530
Header image of My Darling Clementine ‘Paris’ cards via Home Girl London.
Bastille Day garland Fine Art Photography print by Magalerie’s Etsy shop.
Are you doing anything to celebrate Bastille Day tomorrow?
Click here to read about my favourite shops in Paris.
Have you had a peek at my Facebook page? Head over there now and have a look around – I’ve been busy updating it with all the sample sales and Christmas shopping markets, pop-ups and events in both Sydney and London. I’ve also been known to post my latest pics while I’m out and about in Sydney.
If you’re interested and don’t want to miss out on the latest sales and events, you might want to “like” my Facebook page so you get all of my updates in your Facebook news feed. Nice, right?
In the meantime, here’s the Wee Birdy digest on what’s happening this weekend. Head over to my Facebook page for future updates and all the details:
My Asho Christmas pop-up boutique in Notting Hill.
Donna Wilson Sample Sale in East London.
The Social Christmas Market in Little Portland Street.
Shelf Pop-up Shop in Boundary Street, E2.
Clarence Mews Open Studios in East London.
East London Design Show in East London.
Finders Keepers Christmas Market at Carriageworks.
Dion Lee warehouse sale in Darlinghurst.
Lover sample sale in Paddington.
Akira Isogawa studio sale in Marrickville.
Manning Cartell studio sale in Marrickville.
For further details and more events, join Wee Birdy on Facebook.
I can’t stop looking at plants. Indoor plants, to be specific, with trailing leafy tendrils. The kind of plant you might find hanging in Annie Hall or Mary Wilkie’s apartment in 1970s New York (confession: I may have spent a disproportionate amount of time focussing on indoor shrubbery during my most recent viewing of Manhattan. See? I just can’t help myself).
Luckily for me, the clever people behind Sydney’s Garden Life also have a bit of a thing for ‘70s potted classics, and they’ve paired the likes of Boston Fern and Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (such a misogynist yet strangely evocative name for a plant, no?) with some rather delightful modern pot and planter options. In fact, their eye-catching window currently features a collection of Boston Ferns cascading from local ceramacist David Edmonds’ hanging wire planters.
It’s this very ability to source The Perfect Plant with The Perfectly Matching Pot that makes Garden Life a winner in the design and style stakes. The lush calm oasis of greenery on Sydney’s Cleveland Street (just opposite Follow Store) certainly looks the part, mixing centuries-old Greek urns and Turkish yoghurt pots with modern ceramic pots and plants, water features, garden furniture and astro turf bunny sculptures. And while you could easily spend $1,250 on an incredible antique pot sourced from overseas, you can also pick up Indian chai cups for $5 (which look great with mini succulents). In fact, there is a wide range of extremely affordable pots and planters that give IKEA a run for its money, including an excellent range of simple white modern pots starting at $15.
It’s also a very useful one-stop shop for presents, especially for those who you think have everything – after all, who wouldn’t love a little piece of potted perfection? Take, for instance, Samantha Robinson’s hand-thrown beeswax-style pots in milky pastels with succulents for $40. Other great buys include vintage French terracotta seedling pots for $12, and small Turkish pots for $15, as well as the vibrant 1950s Turkish tabak plates and bowls from $95. There is also a good range of Egyptian Siwa date baskets, which start at $45 and can be used as planters or storage. I couldn’t leave without a stunning Rhipsalis succulent, which has the most pleasing trailing tendrils for about $50.
Garden Life principal Richard Unsworth and his talented team also offer a landscape design service, where they can turn even the smallest patch of garden (or balcony) into a lush green retreat straight out of the pages of an interiors mag. Richard, incidentally, is the Gardening Editor of Australian home design magazine Belle.
A new-ish addition is the café at the back of the shop, which looks out onto a courtyard and where you can get small light meals and a very good coffee. And sitting outside looking out on to pretty Young Street, you kinda forget that the roar of Cleveland Street is just metres away.
Garden Life (the online shop is also very good)
357 Cleveland Street
Tel. (Shop) 02 8399 0666
Tel. (Twig Cafe) 02 8021 6406
Click here for a Wee Birdy map.
Opening hours (shop)
Monday to Friday 9am-5pm
Opening hours (cafe)
Monday to Friday 7am-5pm
Click here for more shops in Surry Hills.
Photography by Lucas Boyd.
Click here to see the full photo gallery.