Wednesday, 25 February 2015

How it's Made: Shadow Crafts Leather Clutch Bags

One of the things we love about what we do at Bird's Yard is supporting local Sheffield designers who make their items by hand rather than as mass produced pieces. Don't get us wrong, not everything in the shop is handmade, we have a mix of handmade and otherwise from independent designers - it'd be difficult to make some things all by hand, we're thinking books and vintage pieces for a start!  But lots are handmade and offer our customers unique and special pieces - something they tell us they love.

Shadow Crafts are one of the designers who work by hand making leather accessories including wrist bands, earrings, watches and these leather clutch bags. Here they share how they go about creating the beautiful bags...

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Looking After Lips...

When the weather's cold, the wind's blowing and the heating's on, lips can suffer and become dry and sore. Luckily all three of our Sheffield based skincare brands have some solutions for just this problem!

As lips don't have any oil glands of their own, they need looking after with rich balms to hydrate them. Commercially made ones often contain petroleum which is often blamed for actually drying out lips more as it acts as a sealant rather than a mosturiser. However, our skin care brands - Our Tiny Bees; Lovely Cosmetics; and Nathalie Bond Organics - all use natural alternatives to keep your lips looking (and feeling) good all day.

Our Tiny Bees 

Our Tiny Bees lip balm

A mix of honey, beeswax and almond oil, this balm contains only natural ingredients that are good for you lips. The oil and wax provide moisture and the honey helps retain that softness.

Lip balm tin- £3.95

Lovely Cosmetics

Lovely Cosmetics lip balm

Another balm that also only uses 3 natural ingredients - shea butter for moisture; vanilla infused sweet almond oil for hydration; and blossom honey from The Sheffield Honey Company to seal in the moisture.

Lovely Cosmetics also have a Peppermint Lip Conditioner available. 

Lip balm pot - £5

Nathalie Bond Organics

Containing only natural botanic ingredients, Nathalie Bond Organics lip balm comes in a range of 'flavours'. All contain cocoa butter; castor oil; jojoba and olive oils; and calendula. Here's why they've chosen them in their own words:

"Cocoa Butter - A wonderful moisturiser that is high in fatty acids that help improve skin moisture retention and elasticity, it hydrates the skin leaving it feeling soft and supple. Cocoa butter is also a great source of antioxidants, which help combat free radicals and help save your skin from the signs of ageing and environmental stressors.

Castor Oil - A thick and sticky cold pressed oil that helps to lock in moisture, protect the skin and prevent damage by the elements and environmental toxins.

Peppermint Essential Oil - A clean and fresh scented essential oil that is obtained by steam distillation of the leaves. It is used in aromatherapy to stimulate the mind, increase mental agility and to improve focus."

Lip balm tin- £5

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Making a Display...

A little while ago over on our Facebook page, we asked our lovely followers what they'd like to see more of in Bird's Yard. The overwhelming answer was art and prints - and so we obliged stocking lots of works by new independent artists as well as continuing to support artists who were already in the shop!

Art and prints Bird's Yard Sheffield

Our customers love the choice we have from Becci Mary Anne; Made by Loretta; Natalie Burton; Sandra Dieckmann; Paper Haus Press; Jil Made This; Victoria Hall Studios; Isak; Photographs by Charlotte Newton; Juan is Dead; and The Bears The Bears. So, we thought we'd find some extra inspirations for you for choosing prints and different ways to display them in your home.

Here's what we found...

To help you choose a size when you don't have a tape measure handy (thought we usually have one on hand in the shop!)


An easy way to hang a picture


Displaying prints and pieces of different sizes


A variety of ways to display...



Choosing a frame for a print

You'll find advice and examples here for choosing a frame for your print.
from amantiart

Monday, 16 February 2015

New Arrival: Lauden Chocolate

Here at Bird's Yard we love our food and are always on the lookout for local producers to fill our shelves and treat our customers. Bird's latest find is Lauden Chocolates who are based in Leeds (where Bird's Yard started) and we've brought them to Sheffield to share them with you too.

Lauden Chocolate Bird's Yard Sheffield
Lauden Chocolate - photo from their website

The winner of numerous Great Taste Awards, Lauden Chocolates make fine chocolates in a range of delicious flavours. They wanted, as chocolate consumers, to find "chocolate with character, depth and lasting taste" and when they couldn't find what they wanted, decided to create their own. The result is a range of mouth watering flavours encased in the finest chocolate - and we tried them as soon as we got our hands on them, just to confirm we'd got the best for you!

Lauden Chocolate Bird's Yard Sheffield
Box of 20 Lauden Chocolates - photo from their website

As well as the amazing flavours, the chocolates look irresistible too, like little works of art. They're presented in clear boxes so you can see the colours and patterns that make them so special. We have boxes of 5 (£5); 12 (£10) and 20 (£15) on our shelves which contain combinations of their 12 core flavours (taken from their website):

Single origin
64% cocoa bean from a single estate in
Madagascar. The connoisseur’s choice: a delicious, robust dark chocolate ganache centre with unique nutty and mildly acidic red fruit characteristics

Fresh mint
Made using only real mint leaves for a full, invigorating flavour. Perfect for an unforgettable after-dinner experience.

The perfect marriage of voluptuous white chocolate with the zingy acidity of pure lemon and its zest – particularly popular with those who enjoy more savoury flavours.

Blackcurrant & Redcurrant
A delicious combination of fresh blackcurrants and redcurrants with seductive dark chocolate – heaven for berry lovers.

Marc de champagne
An indulgent classic made with real Marc de Champagne to avoid the chemical aftertaste of artificial flavourings.

Salted caramel
Fleur de sel from the French ocean brings to life the sweetness of the homemade caramel, surrounded by dark chocolate.

Passion Fruit
100% real passion fruit combined with chocolate for a clean, tangy, juicy and exotic taste. Tastes just like eating a fresh passion fruit, with chocolate for double the pleasure.

Sharp lime is the perfect complement to dark chocolate – fresh, tangy and full of that distinctive lime taste.

Sour cherry
It took us over a year to find the perfect Bohemian sour cherries, which we combine with dark chocolate to create a unique taste experience. A real treat.

Lychee & Rose
East meets West in this aromatic and luxurious blend of sweetness and floral notes - the delicate flavours of lychee and the finest organic rose oil are a beautiful combination.

Raspberry & Rose
The taste of an English summer – real raspberries enhance the delicate taste of organic rose oil beautifully. A pure, fragrant pleasure.

Mediterranean Orange
A Mediterranean orange grove in miniature. Whole organic oranges including peel are used to create the chocolate centre. Juicy and refreshing.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

DIY Decoupage Heart

If you saw our recent window display for Valentine's Day, you'll have seen a variety of hearts hanging in there. These were all made by designers who sell in the shop to show you their different styles and skills, as well as showing our love for independent makers! 

Over on her own blog, Zoe (the talent behind All Wrapped Up By Alice) showed her readers how she created her heart and how you can make one too. They'd make great decorations for parties, or smaller versions would be lovely unique decorations for your home - like this one Zoe made for herself using postage stamps...

DIY decoupage heart
All Wrapped Up By Alice's own postage stamp heart

Bird's Yard Sheffield
Hearts hanging in Bird's Yard's window

If you're inspired to get creative and make one of your own then head over to All Wrapped Up By Alice to discover how you can turn this...

...into a beautiful decoration like this...

P.S if you love Zoe's designs we still have a few roles of her seconds wrapping paper in the shop at just £1 a roll - perfect for tearing and decoupaing!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Just Preserves Marmalade Muffins - recipe

All of Just Preserves' tasty jams, marmalades, chutneys and preserves are made right here in Sheffield by the very talented Matt Hulley. You can find a whole range of flavours on Bird's Yard's shelves including a variety of marmalades which Matt used to create this tempting recipe.

Just Preserves marmalade Bird's Yard Sheffield
Two of  Just Preserves' marmalades flavours at Bird's Yard.

If you can spare some from spreading it on your toast, why not try making these Sheffield made marmalade muffins in a recipe from Matt himself?

Just Preserves marmalade muffins recipe


175g plain flour
25g porridge oats, plus bit extra for sprinkling at end
175g soft brown sugar, light
1 tsp baking powder
half tsp bicarb. of soda
zest and juice of 1 orange
1 tbsp sunflower oil
150g plain yogurt
1 large egg
9 tsp Just Preserves Marmalade

  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/ gas 6 and line a muffin tin with 9 paper cases. 
  2. Combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and bicarb in a bowl. Whisk the orange zest and juice, oil, yogurt and egg together with a fork, then lightly stir the 2 mixtures together until just combined.
  3. Spoon 1 tbsp of the mixture into each muffin case, top with 1 tsp of Just Preserves (I used thin cut) marmalade, then cover with the remaining muffin mix and a sprinkling of oats. 
  4. Bake for approx. 20 mins until cooked through (stick a knife in, if it comes out clean with no mixture on it then they're done).
These are not too sweet but are still a great treat!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Bird's Yard, Explorer Magazine

Back before Christmas last year Explorer magazine (from Trans Pennine Express) asked if we'd like to be featured in their spring issue...and of course we said yes! It's out now with a digital copy on their website and paper copies on the trains. And look who the cover star's Bird herself!

Sheffield shopping Bird's Yard

This is what they said about us in their shopping guide featuring various shops in cities along their routes...

Birds Yard  - Sheffield

Over on Chapel Walk in Sheffield, you’ll find two Birds Yard establishments. Number 50 sells a beautiful selection of high end vintage, while at 44 you’ll find trinkets, beauty products and homeware designed by local creatives. Look out for bear-focused screen prints by Don’t Feed the Bears and wonderful custom dresses by Loula boutique. If you’re in the market for some sparkles, take a peek at Claudia Latini Jewellery, while Lovely Cosmetics will provide the beauty regime. For a proper memento, grab a Sheffield tote bag with designs based on photography by Charlotte Newton.

Monday, 9 February 2015

A guide to gemstones in Bird's Yard

With lots of different gemstones in jewellery from our talented independent designers, it's often difficult to choose which one to go for. As well as picking your favourite colours and style of the jewellery they're in, here are some other little insights for you in our guide to gemstones you'll find in Bird's Yard...

(Please note some of these jewellery pieces are unique so might not always be in stock in the shop)


Colour: a range of purples from light mauve to deep, rich tones
Associated with: protecting against drunkenness (which is where the name amethyst comes from); bringing balance and peace
Birthstone for: February

Find it in Bird's Yard: in jewellery by You Earth Ash; Lily King; Claudia Latini Jewellery; Finding Foreverness

you earth ash amethyst necklace bird's yard sheffield
Amethyst necklace by You Earth Ash in Bird's Yard. £10

Sheffield Shopping Guide, You Earth Ash Jewellery
Amethyst slab necklace by You Earth Ash in Bird's Yard. £20
Finding Foreverness at Bird's Yard Sheffield
Silver and amethyst ring by Finding Foreverness at Bird's Yard. £75


Colour: shades of greens and yellow with some brown and white tones too
Associated with: stimulating inner knowledge and analytical thinking

Find it in Bird's Yard: in jewellery by Nanfan Jewellery; Shapeshifter Design

Shapeshifter Design Bird's Yard Sheffield Shopping
Prehnite earrings by Shapeshifter Design.


Colour: pale to deep blues, greens and greys with iridescent flashes
Associated with: calming the wearer and bringing out their best qualities; Labradorite is a highly mystical and protective stone, it works on all areas of the mind and body increasing energy and clarifying thought processes; transformation and reflection.

Find it in Bird's Yard: in jewellery by Nanfan Jewellery; Shapeshifter Design

Nanfan Jewellery Bird's Yard Sheffield
Sterling silver labradorite ring by Nanfan Jewellery at Bird's Yard. £24

Shapeshifter Design Bird's Yard Sheffield
Labradorite and pearl earrings and necklace set by Shapeshifter Design at Bird's Yard.


Colour: yellow and amber (citrine is a form of quartz that gets its colour from the presence of iron)
Associated with: historically in medicine with removing toxins and aiding digestion. Promoting creativity and clarity.
Birthstone for: one of November's birthstones

Find it in Bird's Yard: in jewellery by Your Earth Ash

Sheffield Shopping You Earth Ash Choker Bird's Yard Sheffield
Citrine choker by You Earth Ash at Bird's Yard. £15


Colour: orange-reds to deep red which it gets from the presence of iron oxide
Associated with: stimulating creativity and creating positive energy

Find it in Bird's Yard: in jewellery by Nanfan Jewellery; Shapeshifter Design

Carnelian clip on earrings by Claudia Latini at Bird's Yard. £11.25
Sheffield shopping guide jewellery at Bird's Yard
Carnelian earrings by Shapeshifter Design at Bird's Yard.


Colour: pale to deep blues
Associated with: a long and happy marriage; mental peace and clarity
Birthstone for: March

Find it in Bird's Yard: in jewellery by Nanfan Jewellery

Aquamarine hoop earrings by Nanfan Jewellery at Bird's Yard
Aquamarine hoop earrings by Nanfan Jewellery at Bird's Yard


Colour: all colours except blue - though it's usually deep red (it's named after the Latin word for pomegranate)
Associated with: love and passion; promoting self confidence
Birthstone for: January

Find it in Bird's Yard: in jewellery by Nanfan Jewellery

Sheffield Shopping Guide Nanfan jewellery Bird's Yard
Garnet twist ring by Nanfan Jewellery at Bird's Yard. £24

Rose Quartz

Colour: soft pinks
Associated with: being a cleanser and energiser

Find it in Bird's Yard: in jewellery by You Earth Ash

Quartz Necklaces You Earth Ash Bird's Yard
Rose quartz nugget necklaces by You Earth Ash at Bird's Yard. £5 each


Colour: yellow, pink, green or blue
Associated with: happiness and true friendship
Birthstone for: one of the stones for November

Find it in Bird's Yard: in jewellery by Nanfan Jewellery

Nanfan Jewellery Bird's Yard Sheffield
Topaz sterling silver twist ring by Nanfan Jewellery at Bird's Yard.


Colour: whites and creams with iridescent tones
Associated with: strengthening feminine qualities. There's a tradition that if you give your true love a gift of moonstone during a full moon you'll stay together forever.
Birthstone for: one of June's birthstones

Find it in Bird's Yard: in jewellery by Lily King

Lily King jewellery Bird's Yard Sheffield
Moonstone bracelet by Lily King in Bird's Yard. £30

Smoky Quartz

Colour: smoky browns
Associated with: dissipating blocked energy & negativity; enhancing awareness and dreams.
Find it in Bird's Yard: in jewellery by Shapeshifter Designs



Colour: red, yellow, brown or green earthy colours
Associated with: balance and stability for grounding and stimulating; promoting dynamic actions; helping in times of stress.

Find it in Bird's Yard: in jewellery by Nanfan Jewellery; Shapeshifter Designs

Nanfan Jewellery Sheffield
Jasper earrings by Nanfan Jewellery at Bird's Yard.


(pronounced - cal-said-nee)

Colour: pale grey, blue, green (although other stones are forms of chalcedony and are other colours such as agate, carnelian and onyx)
Associated with: negating negative feelings and improving stamina

Find it in Bird's Yard: in jewellery by Shapeshifter Design; Nanfan Jewellery; Lily King

Blue chalcedony bangle by Lily King at Bird's Yard. £16
Shapeshifter Design at Bird's Yard Sheffield
Chalcedony earrings by Shapeshifter Design at Bird's Yard Sheffield.

 Colour: golden yellows (also known as 'fools gold')
Associated with: protecting against negative energy; stimulating the intellect
Find it in Bird's Yard: in jewellery by Shapeshifter Design


Colour: yellow, oranges, reds and browns
Rather than a gemstone, amber is actually a fossilised resin that's at least 2 million years old
Associated with: good luck and success; protection
Find it in Bird's Yard: in jewellery by Nanfan Jewellery; Claudia Latini Jewellery

amber earrings nanfan jewellery bird's yard sheffield
Raw amber nugget earrings by Nanfan Jewellery at Bird's Yard.


Colour: various
Associated with: relieving stress; protection from bad dreams if placed under a pillow

Find it in Bird's Yard: in jewellery by You Earth Ash; Nanfan Jewellery; Claudia Latini Jewellery

nanfan jewellery bird's yard sheffield
Moss agate copper wrapped earrings by Nanafan Jewellery at Bird's Yard.

Pink agate slice necklace by You Earth Ash at Bird's Yard. £15


Colour: pale to deep green depending on the amount of iron present
Associated with: prosperity, growth and openness
Birthstone for: August

Find it in Bird's Yard: in jewellery by Nanfan Jewellery


Colour: blues and blue-greens
Associated with: strength and peace
Birthstone for: one of December's birthstones

Find it in Bird's Yard: in jewellery by Nanfan Jewellery; You earth Ash; Claudia Latini Jewellery

Nanfan Jewellery at Bird's Yard sheffield
Turquoise sterling silver ring by Nanfan Jewellery at Bird's Yard.

Claudia Latini Bird's Yard Sheffield
Sterling silver and turquoise necklace by Claudia Latini at Bird's Yard. £21

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Meet Bird...

We thought you'd like to meet Michelle, the Bird behind Bird's Yard, and find out a little bit more about her inspirations and plans for the future. These questions are often asked by our lovely customers in the shop...

bird's yard chapel walk sheffield
Michelle... aka Bird

How did you decide on the name Bird’s Yard?

My nickname is Bird ... and I worked with the Leeds landlord at the beginning of Leeds life on a courtyard called Lamberts Yard.. The idea was to nurture new businesses in the hope that they may one day move across into this courtyard, maybe collaborating with other designers to open a shop. It was about taking small steps rather than big scary ones. So the Bird and the Yard went together.

Why did you set up Bird’s Yard?

I have wanted to have my own shop since I was about 20, but many times got to the business plan stage and bottled it. I remember one time was a question about how much electricity I would use. I thought how would I know that and thought because I didn't know these things that I clearly couldn't open a shop or do my own business... Don't want to show my age but there wasn't a fraction of the assistance around as I was growing up.  It's brilliant now.
I eventually sold my house just to have the funds to go it alone without the business plan and after a short term let in a shopping arcade (now Trinity), which I found incredibly frightening and lonely, the foundations were set in my mind for the Bird's Yard concept. 
 "It's one hell of a rollercoaster... but I'm so glad I hung on tight!"

How does Bird’s Yard support local business/makers?

As mentioned, it's about the small steps. Lots of creatives never worked outside their studio or bedroom and it was a huge void to fill from there to having a shop. I took lessons learned from me doing it and tried to put them into place in helping others to do/not do what I did.
A lot of shops have opened as a result of Bird;s Yard and whilst that is a great success, I still see those that realised retail/shops are definitely not something they wish to pursue as a great achievement. This has prevented somebody signing a few years of their life away and possibly a lot more, by jumping into something they don't fully understand . The name above the door and the being your own boss are bloody amazing, however the responsibility, hours commitment beyond any you could imagine - family sacrifices, money troubles, every man and his dog having an opinion on your business, self esteem, stress .. I don't think I need to go on do I?  I don't mean to put people off, I love what I do but it's one hell of a rollercoaster... but I'm so glad I hung on tight!

 "Anything I think 'ooh' to, I get in the shop"


How do you select products for the shop?

In all honesty, it's me being a super great shopper! I came from a pretty poor background and had friends that were pretty spoilt. When you needed to be seen in the latest jumper from Benetton but would never have gotten it, I soon learnt my only way was to dress in my own style. I used to get most of my things from second hand shops (when they were really cheap, you wouldn't be seen dead in one but had eclectic pieces like today's version of vintage). I still have some handbags and items from then.
Throughout my years I have tried to mix vintage and modern. I've slipped into skinny jeans and a cardi a lot lately but when I feel the need I throw on a beautiful one off dress and pop down the shops or to work. A good hat and red lippy also add to the glamour and you feel really noticed in a world of what then feels like beige! 
Using these skills I've found it pretty easy to add on the jewellery and homewares.. Anything I think 'ooh' to, I get in the shop.
Bird's Yard Sheffield
Proving she has taste...Bird picks up two Style Awards in Leeds

How is Bird’s Yard different from other shops?

There is only one Bird (me) and therefore there is only one Bird's Yard. The concept has been copied over and over but I don't find this at all threatening. The many awards and accolades speak for them-self. My brand is my brand just like the little black dress can come in many forms .. I would like to think my little black dress has all the sparkle and detail!
Since moving to the high street we are standing up with the big boys and holding our own. You will find much less craft items and a lot more which are excellently made, branded and all round coveted from locally and around the globe. Many items I discover, I ensure that I am the only stockist at least locally and quite a few I am the only UK stockist.. so hopefully people might travel to shop in Sheffield for this reason. My aim is to move from the sofa (internet) as a buyer and actually travel the world to find even more designers. This is a few years off as I have a son at school age, but it is very much my long term plan. What a job!! 

 "There is only one Bird ... and therefore there is only one Bird's Yard."

What do you love about the shop and its customers?

I absolutely love my days at the shop. I'm so very proud of how much I have achieved on my journey. There isn't one day that I am in that at least 2 or 3 customers don't totally swoon over the shop. Tell me they love it, it's beautiful, the goods are excellent, how they are going to tell all their friends and family and then circle the shop trying to think of who they need presents for. I am literally bursting with pride and then start to wonder where I will put them all at peak times. This Christmas was amazing, so if these people tell other people and so on, this Christmas will be one in one out!

What do you think the customers love about the shop?

I think they love its individuality. They love the brands, they love that a lot is local and the whole aesthetics. And with our range of local candles/cosmetics/bath and body products, It smells pretty darn good too.

Sheffield Shopping Bird's Yard
Inside Bird's Yard...

What plans are there for Bird’s Yard’s future?

I'm always looking for exciting designers to join the nest. We like to keep things fresh for the customers. The main plan this year is to get fully online for sales. And finally, thinking how we will fit all those extra customers in!

Sheffield Shopping, Bird's Yard