Tag Archives: Vintage

January 24, 2013

Sponsored post: A Very Aussie Arvo Tea

A vintage Aussie afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

You should all know by now that I don’t need much of an excuse for a good old-fashioned tea party, so when Twinings sent me a box of their limited edition Australian Afternoon Tea it didn’t take long before I had (a) cracked open a packet of Iced Vo-Vos; (b) whipped up a batch of wattleseed cupcakes; and (c) dug out some of my choicest vintage Australiana china and linen. Add half a dozen lamingtons, a knitted cockie teapot handle cosy and a pot of Twinings full-bodied Australian Afternoon Tea and I was set: a very Aussie arvo tea. Heaven!

A vintage Aussie afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

A vintage Aussie afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

A vintage Aussie afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

A vintage Aussie afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

I used this recipe for the Wattleseed cupcakes, and I decorated them with handmade sprigs of marzipan wattle.

A vintage Aussie afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

They’re dead-easy to make: just grab a packet of marzipan, dye three-quarters of it yellow with food colouring, and roll tiny balls with your hands (about 7mm wide). Then add some yellow food colouring to a bowl of caster sugar, and roll the balls in the sugar for a fluffy wattle-like coating.

For the leaves, add a drop or two of green food colouring to the rest of your marzipan, and roll it out to 2mm thickness. Use a sharp knife to cut out leaves and use a bread and butter knife to imprint veins. Arrange your little wattles on top of your cupcakes and you have a rather sweet tribute to Australia’s indigenous national flower.

A vintage Aussie afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

A vintage Aussie afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

As for the tea itself – well, let’s just say it was the little Aussie hero of the party. I like it. I like it a lot – it’s a brisk pick-me-up blend created by Kevin Rudd, of all people, and funnily enough it’s a feisty little character. Kevin won Twinings’ challenge last year to come up with an original brew that best reflected the taste of Australia. The top five blends were put to a public vote and Kevin come up trumps with a blend that stands up against the most languid of Aussie arvos.

A vintage Aussie afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

A vintage Aussie afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

A vintage Aussie afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

Twinings has raised over $120,000 to date for the former Prime Minister’s chosen charity, the RSPCA, through on-pack donations. It’s a timely cause as the RSPCA needs extra support at this time of the year with poor wee injured animals from bushfires.

A vintage Aussie afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

Limited edition Twinings Australian Afternoon Tea is available in Coles stores now, while stocks last. So best be quick! You can purchase it in a splendid keepsake tin (as pictured above), or in a twin pack with either English Breakfast or Early Grey. The lovely Twinings people are also increasing donations to the RSPCA, with 50c from every tin and $1 from every twin-pack going to the charity. Tea-riffic! (sorry, couldn’t resist.)

A vintage Aussie afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

WIN! Twinings Australian Tea
I have five tins of this lovely limited-edition Twinings Australian Afternoon Tea tins to give away. To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below telling me in 25 words or less what you would serve with a pot of Australian Afternoon Tea. The giveaway is open to all Australian residents 14 years and older, and it ends at 5pm AEDST on Feburary 1, 2013.

Entries will be judged by Nuffnang and the winners will be the ones deemed most creative. There will be five winners, all of whom will receive a limited-edition tin of Twinings Australian Afternoon Tea. Click here for the full competition terms and conditions. Please don’t forget to leave your email address in the space provided in the comments section – it will only be visible to me.

This post is sponsored by Nuffnang.

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October 13, 2012

A week of tea: The top 20 tea pots

Here’s something I’ve been working on for a little while: the Wee Birdy buyer’s guide to the 20 best tea pots. The value of a good tea pot should never be underrated, especially if they pack in as much charm and good looks as these little beauties. From chintzy rose buds and polka dots to a modern interpretation of the classic Willow pattern, these little pots do more than brew a good cuppa – they add a splash of personality, colour and good design to the diurnal grind. Essential qualities, really.

1. Oranges and Lemons hand-painted tea pot, £75 from Tobyboo’s Etsy shop.
2. Camellia tea pot, £35 from Pierrot et Coco.
3. White lace hand-painted tea pot, US$58 from Clayful Impressions’ Etsy shop.
4. Mr Jones tea pot by Polly George, AU$84 from Everything Begins.
5. Lace tea pot by We Love Kaoru, AU$105 from Everything Begins.

6. Vintage enamel mid-century tea pot, US$85 from Hindsvik’s Etsy shop.
7. Salt and Pepper green tea pot with infuser by Salt and Pepper. Click here for your nearest stockist.
8. My Teapot’ in yellow with an anthracite lid by Anouk Jansen, £45 from Howkapow.
9. The New English x TNE Studios Benday cobalt tea pot, £122 from Culture Label.
10. London Willow tea pot by We Love Kaoru (features Big Ben, London Eye and the BT Tower), AU$96 from Everything Begins and £60 from Culture Label.

11. Gordon Ramsay Maze by Royal Doulton blue tea pot, AU$39.95 from Royal Doulton.
12. Provence rose tea pot, £18 from Cath Kidston.
13. Blossom tea pot by Swedish designer Camilla Engdahl, £30 from Howkapow.
14. Cupcakes tea pot by Poppy Treffry, made from fine bone china in Stoke on Trent, £24 from The Green Apple.
15. Blodwen white enamel Caernarfon tea pot, £35 from Liberty.

16. Wedgwood Polka Dots teaware tea pot, AU$89.95 from Wedgwood.
17. Royal Albert Polka Rose Vintage tea pot, AU$199 from Royal Albert.
18. Miss Etoile Gold polka dot ceramic tea pot, US$63.04 from Oliver Bonas.
19. Limogues pink tea pot, price on enquiry from The Bay Tree.
20. Wedgwood Butterfly Bloom Teaware tea pot, AU$125 from Wedgwood.

It’s A Week of Tea on Wee Birdy. WIN a stunning Twinings wooden tea chest packed with Twinings tea – click here to enter now!

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I’m curious. Which tea pot is your favourite? Tell me in the comments below.

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September 14, 2012

Wee Birdy in New Zealand: Primo Cafe in Methven

I would never expect to find much in the way of (a) quirky cafes, (b) vintage clothes and (c) the kind of shopping that gets my heart racing in a small ski resort town. So I was surprised to discover that Primo Cafe in Methven delightfully ticks all three boxes.

Methven is a small town in the Canterbury region of New Zealand and is the base for nearby Mt Hutt during the ski season.

Part-cafe and part-junk-shop, Primo is a veritable Aladdin’s cave of retro Kiwiana, bric-a-brac, vintage clothes, jewellery, accessories, tablewear, books, prints, paintings, toys, magazines and furniture. Every available surface is crammed with the kind of trinkets you’d be thrilled to uncover in a country carboot sale.

The back wall is stacked with an impressive collection of vintage blankets, sheets and fabric, while the front window houses an assortment of glassware and crystal.

The kitchen counter is stacked with just-baked slices, muffins, biscuits and cakes, and the menu offers an assortment of delicious old-fashioned breakfast and lunch time options. Primo’s legendary bacon and egg toasted sandwich is not to be missed, but we also liked the avocado and tomato on toast. There was an adorable vintage enamel highchair for Harry, the kind which has a seat that slides out to reveal an in-built potty. He was happy with his avocado toast and a “little Fluffy” – Kiwi for babycinno.

There is no rush to leave – in fact, lingering is encouraged with the wood-burning stove in the corner, cosy crocheted cushions on the chairs and various vintage chess sets scattered around the tables. I was tempted to curl up in an old armchair by the fire for the day, but we had to get going to Mt Hutt. Still, it was a rather charming and unexpected way to start our day at the snow.

Primo Cafe
38 McMillan Street
Methven, New Zealand
Tel. 03 302 9309

And if you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Methven, the Brinkley Resort was superb in every way possible. We had an apartment on the ground-floor so we didn’t have to worry about lugging suitcases, child and pram up stairs, and we also had two bedrooms, a laundry and a kitchen, so we could easily adapt to Harry’s familiar home routines. The accommodation itself was modern, clean and stylish, and it provided the perfect base for our adventures on Mt Hutt.

Wee Birdy travelled to Christchurch courtesy of the good folks at Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand. Head to www.newzealand.com for more information about visiting New Zealand.

Click here to read my post about Re:Start in Christchurch, including my top six shops.
Click here to read about The General Store at Re:Start in Christchurch.

Click here to read about HAPA at Re:Start in Christchurch.
Click here to read about Johnson’s Grocers at Re:Start in Christchurch.

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August 6, 2012

My Secret London with Sarah Drinkwater

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?

That’s so hard! I’d start with breakfast at Towpath Cafe overlooking the canal and then pick up a Boris bike so I could avoid the crowds. First stop would be the Barbican, a Brutalist arts centre that’s endlessly interesting, whether you want to see their current Bauhaus exhibition or just wander around the grounds. From there, cycle to the Southbank and stroll past The Globe, The Royal Festival Hall and the London Eye.

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).

Thanks Sarah!

Click here for a Wee Birdy map of Sarah’s Secret London, complete with all the addresses and contact details.

Click here for more Secret London posts.

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July 30, 2012

5 good things you should see (and buy) in London right now

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.
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.
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

Click here for the 25 best London Olympic Games souvenirs.
Click here for the best Union Jack souvenirs.

Click here for the best non-tat Jubilee souvenirs.

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May 24, 2012

Shopping in London: A guide to buying mid-century modern. Part 2

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
Email: welcome@fireflyhouse.co.uk

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
Riverside Road
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

It’s (a rather extended) Week of Modern on Wee Birdy! Click here for more mid-century goodness.

Want more Wee Birdy? You can find me most days hanging out on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook – come over and talk to me!

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