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Travel

Whitby

Wow, it’s almost a year since I last wrote a blog post! Time sure is going quickly, and it has been a busy few months, with lots of travel for work and pleasure. I am loving being based in my hometown of Whitby. It is a fantastic place to come back to, after exploring lots of places both near and far. I read something online about the town this week, and whilst I have been meaning to find the time to blog for a few weeks, this has prompted me to take action.

Country Living Magazine has written an article discussing the results of survey where Whitby has been named the number one spot for a staycation in the UK in 2019! This is great news for the town. I am thrilled that Whitby is getting so much recognition for its quaint charm and beauty. It’s the type of place that has lots to offer both locals and visitors, and I really enjoy spending a weekend in my homeland, enjoying the sights and sounds that are literally right on my doorstep.

My coastal upbringing has been inspiring my artwork since I first launched the business in 2012, and I have included an image of my Whitby print below, which is available to buy on my Etsy shop. I created this piece of art when work was a little quiet a couple of years ago. Designing with no pressure or specific end use in mind felt good and this is one of the pieces of work I am most proud of.

Whitby art print

I thought I would share some of my favourite places to eat and drink as well as things to do when in the town; so here we go!

Eat & Drink

Cranberry Swamp – a cafe known for it’s gluten free menu options and is conveniently close to home for me. Bacon and smashed avocado on GF toast? Yes please!

The Whitby Deli – A deli and cafe. They have pizza night on Saturday’s! I am told the scotch eggs are rather tasty. They stock local gin brand Whitby Gin which is well worth a try – cold or mulled, it tastes fantastic.

Moutreys – This Italian restaurant is my favourite place to dine in the town at the moment. The Mac & Cheese is the best I have tasted, but they have a big menu – making it difficult to decide what to eat. The portions are rather large, so work up an appetite before visiting!

Botham’s of Whitby – A family run business that is a bakery and cafe with a few locations in the town and further afield. Their chocolate japs are the best sweet thing I have ever tasted, although a bit like marmite – they divide opinions. Try one for yourself to decide!

Abbey Wharf – An impressive open plan bar and eatery located just off the market square. There is a simple menu focused around fish dishes with some meat and vegetarian options. I always get the battered goats cheese with chips, and a pudding, of course! There are not many places that are better to sit out and have a drink on warm summers day. Although there are plenty of tables on the balcony overlooking the harbour, it’s a popular place to hang out, so keep your eyes peeled for a spare seat!

Whitby Brewery – Take a walk up the 199 steps, feast your eyes on a fantastic view of Whitby and then quench your thirst with a drink from the Whitby Brewery.

There is a bit of a lack of fish and chips mentioned on my list, for a town that is famous for fish & chips. I don’t eat seafood so I can’t honestly recommend any restaurants. Well known eateries specialising in fish include Trenchers, The Magpie and Quayside.

Out of town there are plenty of lovely country pubs to dine in but my top three are  The Forge in Aislaby, The Postgate Inn at Egton and The Ellerby Country Inn.

Shopping in Whitby

The Whitby Book Shop – Anybody that follows my work, also probably knows that I love this quirky independent bookshop. They are an incredibly supportive stockist, and sell lots of beautiful gifts amongst rows and rows of books. Take a walk up the spiral staircase to discover more literature, records and greeting cards, and head to the back room on the ground floor if you’re wanting some children’s books or gifts.

An illustration I created for the shop is below, on a greeting card.

Fuzzy Dog Bakery – This shop made news headlines when it opened. Whitby’s very own dog bakery specialises in homemade delicious snacks for your four-legged pets. It is only a couple of doors down from the Whitby Deli, so you can treat yourself afterwards!

Furbellow & Co – This great addition to the town is little over a year old, and specialises in goods for men. There is a barber in-house on select days of the week and it’s wise to book an appointment. The shop is run by really lovely people, which makes it even better.

Whitby gentlemen's shop

A Day Out

Whitby has lots of things to do and see. A trip on the open top tour bus provides fabulous views of the town, as does a boat ride out to sea. Short rides leave from the harbour regularly throughout the day. Climb the steps in the lighthouse and be rewarded with a unique view of the town. It has been rather windy the last couple of times I have gone up, but the view from the top makes it worth it!

The East side of the town boasts cobbled streets lined with independent shops, which includes Fortune’s Kippers, a smokehouse that was established over 100 years ago, in 1872. The Captain Cook Museum on Grape Lane makes for an educational visit for children and adults alike. Last but not least is Whitby Abbey, sat on the cliff top. It’s an English Heritage site, and is one of Whitby’s most famous landmarks.

The whale bones on the west cliff stand out when looking across from the east side of town, and it’s a popular spot for a photo. In my opinion though, one of the best things to do in Whitby, is take a walk along the sandy beach, or on the sea wall by the beach huts. The sun goes down towards Sandsend, providing some fantastic sunsets. Listen to the seagulls overhead or the waves lapping up against the rocks whilst taking a stroll.

Staying in Whitby

There is no shortage of places to stay in Whitby. Whether you want a B&B on the west cliff, or to stay in a quaint cottage in the centre of town, there are plenty of options. I have listed a few below.

Lavender Cottage – Set in a quiet courtyard just off Church Street means you are just a stones throw from all of the action. This cottage sleeps up to 4 people, and had been very tastefully decorated.

Horngarth Lodge – Luxury accommodation on Skinner Street. There are 6 ensuite guest rooms as well as a self catering holiday apartment. Book direct to save money.

Air BnB – Whitby, like many places, has a growing number of properties available to book through Air Bnb. I find this site often offers some more quirky options for accommodation in comparison to some of the other larger booking sites.

There are lots of other things that I could mention about Whitby, such as the fact it has a cinema in the Spa Pavillion, there’s a surf school and you can take part in a guided ghost walk, but I will leave it up to you now to take a look at what else this town has to offer by checking out the Discover Yorkshire Coast Website. There are plenty of special weekends and events taking place throughout the year so you can plan your visit around your own interests.

When I first created my Whitby themed artwork I had the intention of only selling it locally. I ended up adding it to my Etsy shop and have been thrilled with how many of the products I have sold on there. It is a heartwarming feeling to know that people are buying a souvenir from this special town, perhaps long after they have left. So many people seem to have an affinity with this seaside resort, that is evolving every day. Below are a few images of the products available to buy on my Etsy shop. 

Save 20% on any item featuring this artwork this weekend on my Etsy shop by using the code STAYCATION at the checkout. The offer ends on 23/4/19.

Whitby Homewares Whitby tea towel

Whitby Greeting Card

 

 

Cape Cod and Boston

It’s weeks since I posted about my trip to Chicago and I intended to follow it up with a post about the rest of the holiday, so, here it is! Chicago was definitely the full on part of the trip, so having the most relaxing few days ever in Cape Cod and Boston afterwards was just lovely. I have always wanted to visit New England. The trip left me yearning to spend a few weeks there, ideally in October. I’d love to  just do some travelling up the coast when all of the leaves are changing colour and it’s not very busy.

We flew in to Boston on a sunny Friday afternoon and had a couple of hours spare before heading to Cape Cod for the weekend. We popped in to the Society of Arts and Crafts, and had a lovely chat with Carrie and George who were working there. I couldn’t believe it when I saw my wooden coastal postcards (in collaboration with Timbergram) on sale.

Boston from the air

Boston craft society

We then boarded the fast ferry and headed to Provincetown for the weekend. The ferry was a great way of getting to P-Town and I’d recommend it to anyone heading to ‘The Cape’. The sun was just beginning to go down as we reached the port, and the view from the boat was lovely!

Sunset on Cape Cod

We stayed at the Gaslamp B&B which is highly rated online and it didn’t disappoint. The hosts were incredibly friendly and made amazing breakfasts. These were served in their private garden and we were able to use the hot tub at our leisure. The other guests were so friendly and we spent Saturday afternoon socialising in the sun with them. I have never been to a town that is so lively, yet feels so relaxing to be in. We walked, hired bikes, sunbathed/napped on the beach, climbed the Pilgrim Monument, shopped and of course ate a lot!

My food highlights were ice cream from Happy Camper (so good we went twice in one day), and our evening meal at the Lobster Pot. This is a famous restaurant situated right on the edge of the beach in the centre of town. Despite growing up by the sea, I cannot stand the taste of seafood. So, I opted for a chicken and veg dish, that was absolutely cooked to perfection.

Provincetown Cape Cod

Boston

On Monday morning we boarded the ferry and headed back to Boston for the final two days of the trip. We walked part of the Freedom trail before getting distracted by food and tasty Downeast cider at Quincy Market.

The next day we headed to Harvard and I’d really recommend the guided tour. This was particularly topical for me, as I’ve recently become obsessed with the US tv series Suits. We naturally had lunch at Pinnocio’s pizzeria and wandered the campus of this world famous university.

It was also great to wander around Charlestown. This is a district of the city that I was familiar with because of the movie The Town. I loved looking at the colourful wooden houses.  The weather was great so we wandered back over the bridge to Quincy Market and enjoyed another fantastic lunch, washed down by more cider!

The food highlight in Boston for me was breakfast at The Friendly Toast, which was conveniently a stones throw from our hotel in Back Bay. I had coconut pancakes (twice), topped with chopped nuts, whipped cream and chocolate chips. It was delicious! We had to wait for a table but it was really worth it, and the service was great.

It’s never nice when a holiday ends but I felt particularly sad to be heading home this time. A few days of soaking up the sun, eating and drinking was exactly what I needed. I’m now working hard on new designs to launch in 2018. Watch this space for those coming soon!

Boston

Chicago – Four Days in the Windy City

I got back from my summer holiday just over two weeks ago. It was a mixture of full on sightseeing in Chicago, followed by three of the genuinely most relaxing days of my life. These were spent on Cape Cod, and then three more days in Boston. My friend and I had both been harbouring a desire to visit one of America’s largest cities for some time, and I am so glad we did.

We stayed in a hotel overlooking Millennium park, home to ‘The Bean’ (formally known as Cloud Gate). The park is in the east of the city and is right next to the shores of Lake Michigan. This was an excellent base point as it was right near to the loop train. This made it easy to access any area of the city that we wanted to visit. We did a lot of walking on our first day, which included The 606 – a 2.7 mile trail designed for walkers and cyclists alike. It is elevated from traffic and gives a lovely view out across the neighbourhood. It is similar to the Highline in New York, which I wrote about here. 

The Bean

The Bean Chicago

Chicago From Above

We rounded off the day with a trip up the 108 storey building Willis Tower. The viewing area which is open to the public is on the 103rd floor, but a super quick lift means you get there in no time at all. It is the second tallest building in the USA, and offers incredible views across the city. The landscape is so flat and you can see for miles and miles. We went just before sunset. It was great to see the city lighting up as the sun went down, and it was the perfect end to the day.

The view from Willis Tower

Andersonville

One area that I would recommend to anybody to visit whilst in Chicago is Andersonville. This district in the north of the city (nearest Metro stop is Berwyn) is an old Swedish settlement. There are plenty of places to shop, eat and drink. We had lunch at Hopleaf, a bar with a Belgian inspired menu and plenty of beers on offer. There was a delightful stationery store and framers called Four Sided where we both bought ourselves some souvenirs.

Hopleaf

We spent the next couple of days wandering the Old Town, watching fireworks at Navy Pier (Wednesday’s and Saturday’s in summer) and eating lots of food. The Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra played in Millennium Park one clear warm evening, which was a lovely unexpected treat.

Jazz in Millennium Park

The highlight of Chicago for me was the architecture boat cruise which is run by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. A docent volunteer leads the tour and our guide was incredibly knowledgable. We opted for a twilight cruise so by the time the hour and a half was up, it was dark and the tall buildings lit up the sky. The particular tour is listed in the top 10 on TripAdvisor in the whole of the USA!

More Places to Dine..

No visit to Chicago is apparently complete without sampling a deep dish pizza. Lou Malnati’s was our pizzeria of choice and it didn’t disappoint. A simple margarita with a pepperoni topping was delicious and I wish we’d had time for more!

Other food highlights included a waffle breakfast at Eleven City Diner on Wabash Avenue and the liquid chocolate drink at Goddess and the Baker which has three locations across the city, including Wabash Ave.

Goddess and the Baker cake and biscuits. My friend bought the birthday one despite her birthday being in March.Apparently it was tasty! 

Goddess and the Baker

Eleven City Diner.

The view from Willis Tower

Thank you Chicago (and my friend), for a wonderful 4 days in ‘the windy city’.