Being an avid reader of other people’s blogs I guess it was only a matter of time before I started one of my own. I’ll admit to spending hours at a time on various blogs. One leads to another, which leads to another. And so it goes. I rarely get to read books or even magazines these days, but I seem to somehow find the time to indulge in my guilty pleasure of blog reading.
I am however feeling a bit intimidated by this, my first ever post, so I might just start by sharing a few pictures taken by Roxy, my 4 year old daughter. When I recently upgraded my digital camera Roxy inherited my old one, and she loves being able to record things in her little-girl-world. I’m inspired by her kooky and quirky perspectives and subjects. Self portraits are a reoccurring theme… and I particularly love the image of the piece of string on the floor.
Some of my big wins from the V&A Village Fete…
Roll up, roll up… London birdies, it's not too late to get down to the V&A Village Fete today. We had a brilliant time last night and surprise, surprise, WON some great designer booty (Rob Ryan print and Tatty Devine moustache ring, oh my!). Here are some pics …
I'll post a pic of my Fete finds tomorrow – I'm just on my way out now to Sundae in the Park to catch The Charlatans and The Guillemots. Hurrah!
Ahhh, a village fete in high summer – a perfectly quaint English tradition that sounds right up my alley, especially when the V&A’s in charge.
I’m still kicking myself about missing out last year, so tomorrow night you’ll find me at the Late Night Village Fete, playing hoopla at Tatty Devine’s booth in a bid to win a limited-edition ring, getting into a scratch-off for art prizes at Rob Ryan’s stall, and lining up at Lady Luck Rules OK for a bespoke wooden rosette brooch.
Moustache necklace £23, by Tatty Devine.
There’s an impressive line-up of other creative games and stalls by leading as well as up-and-coming designers in Britain, and kooky events like helium karaoke (uh, that's heli-oke), “The Beard Tent” (compete for the largest and most object-filled beard) and “Anarchy in an English Country Garden” (winning topiary trimmers score bondage-style wellies). See you there amongst the bunting … and the beards.
Friday Late Village Fete
Friday 25 July, 6.30pm-10pm
Saturday 26 July, 10am-5.45pm
The V&A Museum
London SW7 2RL
Tel. 020 7942 2966
It's no secret that I adore Rob Ryan. I mean, what’s not to love? The man is as much obsessed with bird, flower and plant motifs as I am, and his extraordinary paper-cutting talents are constantly called upon for creative collaborations by the likes of Paul Smith, Liberty and Vogue.
So when I got the fluro-pink birdy invitation to the opening of his very first shop on Columbia Road recently, I was there in a (tiny sparrow’s) heartbeat. Ryantown isn’t hard to miss, with its jaunty new lick of turquoise-blue paint and gleeful cursive signage. Inside, the bijou shop has the air of a gallery space, with an eye-catching floor-to-ceiling tile mural and Ryan’s artwork dotted around the walls.
Now, keep in mind that a mid-week evening soiree on Columbia Road bears little resemblance to the heaving begonia-laden crowds who flock to the street for the famous Flower Markets every Sunday. So I took full advantage of the distinct lack of people and peonies for a closer inspection of Ryan’s new wares.
Taking pride of place above the mantle are rows of Ryan’s hand screen-printed tiles, which are fired nearby in his studio’s kiln. At £24, these miniature artworks are ultra-affordable, and have already attracted a loyal following of shoppers on Etsy. Displayed together in a palette of muted brights, it’s hard to resist these perfect little pieces of Ryanisms. At the other end of the scale are Ryan’s limited edition prints from £350 and incredible paper artworks from £2000 (unframed).
But I was keen to suss out Ryan’s new products, and spied a range of laser-cut wooden keys-to-my-heart at £16 and rolls of chunky tape featuring a blue and white neighbourhood tableau at £10. I know that nobody needs a decorative roll of tape for £10, but wait until you clap eyes on these little beauties and see if you can resist their demand to be picked up and lovingly stuck to brown paper packages and the like.
There’s also a brand new range of exclusive t-shirts, some gorgeous paper-cut cards at a very reasonable £2.50, and signed copies of Ryan’s book, This is for You, at £12. You can also pick up the Clothkits make-your-own Rob Ryan skirt for £46.
I’m told that more stock is on its way, with a rather enticing promise of new pieces rolling in every week. For instance, a range of one-off ceramic platters and vases will be regularly added to the shop, and new “height rulers for human beings”– great for kids’ rooms – will be arriving in-store soon. A wee birdy also told me about an upcoming stool in collaboration with furniture designer Michael Marriott. Busy times for Mister Rob – and I’ll definitely be coming back on Sundays for more (battling the begonias and all).
Nearest tubes: Liverpool S
treet and Bethnal Green
Ta to Girl With a Satchel for the scans (she's there, too!).
1. Bird, 2. psychedelic arbor day stamp from israel 1975, 3. birds & baubles, 4. 1950s biscuit tin (detail), 5. Arise, Chicken, 6. Yellow Bird, 7. Untitled, 8. Wanting, needing…, 9. birds detail, 10. Simon & Jim, 11. Vintage block print illustration, 12. Coupon bird
Chirp Chirp! My dearest friend Gemma Jones has sent some blogday lovin' our way with this amazing bird-themed Flickr mosaic. Little Miss Coupon Bird and the beautiful 1975 Israeli stamp make my heart sing. Thanks Gem!
One of the greatest things about starting up a blog like Wee Birdy is the opportunity I’ve had to meet some pretty amazing London business owners – who all share a certain passion, energy and talent for what they do. Like Michelle Scorah of Lavender Bakery in Islington. After a couple of emails I not only discovered that Michelle had a particular talent for creative customised cupcakes, but she also grew up in the same Australian town as me, and we probably spent many a summer holiday splashing about in the same suburban public pool.
Michelle is passionate about cake-making – and it shows. After working in the industry “for a while” she finally decided to take the plunge and launched her own business in January this year.
Specialising in customised cupcakes, cakes and biscuits made to order, Lavender Bakery uses quality ingredients like organic fruit and vegetables, Shipton Mill flour and fair trade sugar, cocoa and coffee.
Cupcakes are Lavender Bakery’s forte, so I was delighted when a special delivery of these gorgeous gems arrived on my doorstep recently. Daintily iced in Italian meringue buttercream and decorated with Wee Birdy’s feathered friends, they demonstrated the breadth of Michelle’s extensive skills with a piping bag, and her ability to customise just about any order.
And proving they tasted as good as they looked, the raspberry and vanilla cake was moist and delicious. Sadly, it wasn’t long til this lot were demolished to a pile of (rather tasty) crumbs – after I showed severe restraint with a mini photo shoot first.
Take a look at the Lavender Bakery blog for more examples of Michelle’s handiwork, like these incredible iced sneaker biscuits for Lacoste, a very pretty Angelina Ballerina birthday cake for a very lucky three-year-old, and some customised cupcakes for the launch of The Make Lounge (mental note to check out their upcoming workshops).
I really didn’t know what I was getting into 12 months ago when I posted a couple of stories about my favourite shops in Cheshire Street, East London. I had only recently moved to London with my husband and writing about my new discoveries really helped me find my way around my new hometown.
I certainly didn’t have any expectations, but I’ve been overwhelmed by the support and random acts of friendship that I’ve found within the blogosphere. So thanks to everyone who’s ever stopped by, written a comment, or posted me an email.
In the meantime, I’ve been checking out my stats on Google Analytics (always handy for instant gratification, not to mention alarmingly addictive) for some “fun facts” to mark this auspicious occasion.
Now who’d have thought that “Camille Bidault Waddington” (with and without the hyphen) would be in the top 10 keywords used to find Wee Birdy? That’s a lot of people (I’m thinking mostly girls) interested in Mrs Jarvis Cocker. I don’t blame them. Stumbling upon the Cocker family in Colette was a very pleasant way to end a long weekend in Paris.
Perhaps even more mystifying are some of the more unusual keywords used to find Wee Birdy, like:
"the best place to get a chicken coop in nsw" (nup, sorry)
"bundaberg ginger beer's potential market" (that would be right over here, ta)
"can topshop enter australian market" (mmm, I reckon so)
"camilla walking in wellies" (mmm, no thanks)
"how to french knit using a toilet roll and paddle pop sticks" (oh my, crafty AND resourceful!)
"harry potter diffusion line t-shirts" (wait, Harry Potter has a diffusion line???)
"how to keep a bunnie calm" (A: Hold it close to your body and softly stroke its head)
"i'm a wee ballerina" (yeah? cool! me too!)
"why can women wait for a wee and men cant" (ah yes, that old chestnut…)
No real surprises when it comes to the most popular posts, with Dover Street Market, Swarovski Crystallized and Shopping in Paris taking the top three places. But then I always knew you had remarkably good taste, didn’t I?
p.s. you may notice some changes over the next few days, with new shopping navigation on the right-hand side, the latest music I've been listening to, AND fancy new Google maps!