I know – it's more Rob Ryan and Tatty Devine – but I went to the launch of their jewellery collaboration last week, and spied this gorgeous bird and bell necklace. How could I NOT choose it for birdy of the week? It's a limited edition piece of 25.
Q: I'll be in London in May and wondered if you knew where I could buy felt? I tried finding a shop in London like Spotlight (craft supplies) in Sydney but didn't have much luck. Any ideas? That sweet shop looks amazing! Thanks, Trixi
Hi Trixi, I’m not surprised you didn’t have much luck in finding a craft supplies chain store in London – it’s sorely lacking in this area. However, I did find some other good options for you to check out in May.
Firstly, I headed to the fourth floor of John Lewis on Oxford Street. Back in its glory days, John Lewis’ haberdashery department was apparently THE place to go for this kind of thing. Sadly, these days you’ll find a much smaller and limited version of itself. But I did find a good selection of felt in white, black, ivory, red and green at £6.50 per metre.
Your best bet, though, is London’s marvellous Cloth House. It has two large retail shops on Berwick Street in Soho and sources a spectacular range of fabrics from around the world. You need to head to the shop at number 98, which has a fine and extensive range of felt.
In fact, Cloth House produces its own line from a mill in the French Alps which has been making felt for over 300 years. They have two different types of felt: a woollen viscose that comes in over 30 colours at £15 per metre, and a pure woollen felt at £25 per metre.
And if you’re up for a trip to London’s East End, you would also be in luck at Dalston Mill Fabrics. They stock over 15 colours in acrylic felt at £4.40 per metre, and a woollen felt in black and navy at £17.50 per metre. Good luck and don’t forget to buy a bag of bon-bons from Hope & Greenwood!
I've been tagged by lovely Liberty London Girl (she's UK Grazia's latest discovery, don't you know?) to reveal six unimportant things about myself. So here goes…
1. I have never had my ears pierced. 2. My pet lop-earred rabbit was called Oscar. 3. I have danced on stage with Belle and Sebastian. 4. I went to school in Idaho when I was thirteen. 5. I love watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVDs. 6. I hold my pen in a most unorthodox and downright ungainly manner.
Lollies, toffees and bon bons – oh my! If you thought I was done with British childhood nostalgia, you’d be wrong. Big time.
It’s a cold and icy Thursday morning in Covent Garden this week that finds me trudging towards Hope and Greenwood’s pillarbox red front door. Everyone is feeling the effects of London’s extended frigid weather. The Big Issue bloke outside the Tube shouts to nobody in particular, “Get yer Big Issue, yer bunch of tight, miserable sods.”
But then the front door bell tinkles and a rush of warm air and ‘40s show tunes greets me as I step over the welcoming threshold into the most charming old-fashioned sweet shop emporium. It’s ridiculously gorgeous, with row upon row of shiny glass jars filled with sugary delights and colourful bunting catching my eye at every turn. The store is straight out of my childhood dreams fuelled by Blyton-esque boarding school tales of tuck boxes crammed with delicious treats and illicit midnight feasts.
The genuine loving care and consideration that has gone into decorating the shop and fulfilling a certain British vintage aesthetic from the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s is obvious. For example, the handsome green enamel pendant lamps that hang over the front counter are from the old Rover factory in the Midlands, while said glass counter was sourced by Mr Greenwood from an old haberdashery shop in Wales.
Elsewhere, a vintage kitchen dresser is packed with Hope and Greenwood’s exclusive range of chocolates and sweets, and an old stepladder serves to display a range of liquorice allsorts, Catherine Wheels and sugar pigs. Other sweet treats are tucked into painted wooden crates and old Hovis tins, while slabs of fudge and chocolate truffles are piled on footed cake stands with glass bell jars.
Miss Anita (all the staff at H&G are known as either Miss or Mr) greets me warmly from behind the marble-top counter, and displays a superb knowledge of H&G’s confectionery as she takes me through the glorious selection of truffles (£5 per 100g). Hope and Greenwood’s handmade British chocolates are one of the considerable main attractions, with a delectable line-up including Champagne Charlies, Lime Creams and Bitter Raspberry truffles.
The 120-strong pick and mix selection is also a major drawcard, which includes childhood favourites like apple whips, giant gobstoppers, Anglo Bubble gum, Fruit Salad chews, Black Jacks, Mojos and Parma Violets.
Adding to the overall sense of nostalgia, there’s also a choice selection of vintage items, including packets of vintage ric ric, pretty chocolate tins, children’s annuals, Ladybird books and egg cups.
While the Covent Garden shop is a relative newcomer to the area, Hope and Greenwood are an established name in British confectionery. The brand is stocked at the likes of Selfridges and The Conran Shop, and South London families have been visiting the East Dulwich shop for years.
There’s so much to take in, and I find as I busily scribble notes that every time I turn around I find something new. And that’s the point. Hope and Greenwood delights in packing in sweet details and taking you by surprise. Clutching a red and white striped bag of Lemon Creams and Kir Royale truffles, I head out to blustery Russell Street with a definite spring in my step (and a copy of the latest Big Issue tucked under my arm). Hope and Greenwood 1 Russell Street London WC2 B SJB Tel. 020 7240 3314 Click here for a Wee Birdy map.
As regular Wee Birdy readers will know, I'm a sucker for childhood nostalgia, and the new Ladybird prints are no exception. My family spent some time in England before I was born, so by the time I came around my mum had collected a considerable library of Ladybird books. As a toddler I loved the books from the 1970 "Learning with Mother" series, and many of the illustrations by Ethel and Harry Wingfield spark some of my earliest and most vivid memories.
The illustrations are unique in that they not only reflect the new-ish approach to creative play with children, they also superbly capture the quintessential style of British middle-class domestic life in the late '60s and early '70s. And I love that so many of the activities they championed (like hanging shelled pea-pods on a line or rowing cardboard box-boats) were original, imaginative and inexpensive. It's not surprising so many other Generation X bloggers, now parents themselves, are going nuts for the new full-colour prints and canvases available online from the Ladybird archives.
For me, so many of the illustrations resonate strongly in my memory. I have no idea how many times I pored over illustrations like this, pointing out particular details to my mum and no doubt replicating the same activities ourselves. But I'm pretty sure I've hung my fair share of pea pods in my time.
Here's a first look at one of the limited edition pieces from the Tatty Devine & Rob Ryan jewellery collaboration. I'm loving the chains of inscribed black tears, which appear to tell a Rob-esque sentimental tale. Can't wait to see the rest of the collection.
The jewellery and a selection of Rob's unique paper cuts will be showing in an exhibition at Tatty Devine's Brick Lane shop.
25th April – 21st June 2008 Open 11am – 6pm daily Tatty Devine 236 Brick Lane London E2
Indulge your nostalgic senses with these cute and quirky handmade British sweet wrapper badges, £2.50, from Not on the High Street. I love the retro graphics and kinda lo-fi production values. So simple and sweet.
These are some of my favourite pics from a weekend trip to Brighton last August. I found this rather patriotic pin-wheel at one of the stalls along the promenade. And I do love eating hot chips out of a paper cone by the seaside. But the solo pickle in a dish (my god it made my eyes water) pretty much takes the cake.