Back in March, myself and another designer friend booked flights to the west coast of the USA; something we had been talking about doing for a while. Due to our work commitments we could only spare two weeks but decided to pack it full of sightseeing in four American cities. If you follow my artist Facebook page, then you will have already seen a few images from my trip but I thought I’d write a more detailed round up here. We began our trip in Santa Monica then headed south to San Diego, up to San Francisco and then finished up with four nights in Las Vegas.
I love architecture, and there were some beautiful and quirky buildings in every place we visited. I just loved the Georgian hotel in Santa Monica, and many buildings were decorated with murals at Venice Beach.
We travelled to San Diego via the Pacific Surfliner, a train that runs down the coast. It was great to see some more of the Californian coastline, and was an easy and reasonably priced way to get to our next destination. The Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego was my favourite area in the city as it was full of quirky restaurants and fun bars. Florent (pictured below), had tasty sharing plates, and I can also recommend Cafe 21, for some more delicious food, and live entertainment.
We visited Coronado whilst in San Diego, to see the famous wooden hotel. We also had a little time to pop in to Seaside Papery, a gorgeous shop stocking lots of beautiful stationery, including some by Rifle Paper Co.
I have always wanted to visit San Francisco and see some of the famous architecture and visit Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the world! Definitely take a jumper if you’re visiting, even in summer, as it can get pretty chilly!
The Painted Ladies at Alamo Square, some of the most photographed homes in the city.
We spent a bit of time in the shops, and I was delighted to find my work on sale in two locations, the first of which was trendy US chain store Paper Source. My first order went in to them at the beginning of the month, and I am thrilled to have my work available to purchase from one of my favourite stationery outlets. Paper Source has stores across the USA including in Santa Monica, San Francisco and New York. On a trip to Sausalito (a town across the Golden Gate Bridge), I spotted my art on postcards, from my collaboration with wooden postcard company Timbergram. It’s still a novelty to see my work on sale in shops, particularly overseas!
The holiday finished with an adventure in Las Vegas. Highlights included visiting the Grand Canyon, seeing the Bellagio Fountains a number of times and visiting the Mob Museum in downtown LV.
I like the USA more and more each time I visit, and I look forward to returning back there sometime soon!
I love drawing anything inspired by the seaside and lovely surroundings in which I grew up. I have been working with fabulous local bakers, Botham’s since 2014, creating the last two years designs for their Christmas tea towels. You may remember the image below, which had a winter look on the original tea towel, but I have altered it slightly for an all year round appeal, and it’s now available to purchase on a full colour tea towel.
I have also created a colourful Whitby based design for a fine bone china mug, which have just arrived in their stores. Watch this space for the artwork appearing on more of their products soon!
Summer is pressing on, and it has been a bit of a whirlwind in the studio. Christmas orders are being shipped out to my lovely retailers, including Paperchase and Oliver Bonas here in the UK. Keep an eye out for my cards cropping up in an outlet near you soon! It seems crazy to be thinking about designing for Christmas when there is actually sunshine outside, but it isn’t long before I will need to begin planning new Christmas ranges for 2017, to launch at Top Drawer in January, where I will be on stand Y46.
I have recently returned home from a week in beautiful Greece for my best friends wedding. Myself and a number of friends spent a week in Skiathos and it was lovely to relax and enjoy the sun, but I still had to do a bit of emailing each morning and ensure all of my shop orders were being packed and dispatched at home! We went on a boat trip one day, to the island of Skopelos (bottom picture). We stopped off at Lalaria beach on Skiathos island on the return journey, and it was just beautiful. I aren’t sure if the white pebbles affected the colour of the water but it was just stunning! We had a very happy time jumping off the boat and in to the warm sea.
A couple of weeks before I jetted off, I exhibited at home and Gift in Harrogate, and launched a new geometric range of cards. They feature the bright and quirky colour palettes that regularly feature in my work. It was lovely to catch up with some existing customers, and get some new ones too!
I have also been working on a number of freelance jobs recently, from adult colouring postcards and a new paper craft collection. I’ll share news of new collaborations once they launch. I am also excited to be going back to New York next May, to exhibit at Surtex for the second time, alongside my friend Jules, under the name The Pattern Social. I was thrilled with the reaction to my work when I debuted there this year, and you can read more about the experience here.
It’s time to go and add some of my latest cards to my Not on the High Street shop now, before finishing the day with some little geometric designs for a freelance brief!
One thing is for certain, during these strange and uncertain times, I am finding time to do things I have been putting off for a long time. This blog post being one of them! It is almost a year since I last wrote. I mainly use my Instagram account to keep people that are interested in my work up to date with my goings on, but my website is important too. I wrote a blog post about my favourite things to do in Whitby around this time last year and you can read it here.
We have been fortunate to have some lovely weather in Whitby since this lockdown began. I have been trying to get in my allowed hour of exercise every day, either by going running or enjoying a walk after I have done some design work. The new extension recently opened on the East pier so it was great to have that to ourselves the other night and look back at the town from a different angle. My business has certainly been affected by the pandemic. The shops I supply are all closed so my only business currently is online from my Not on the High Street and Etsy shops. I thought I’d share a few of the pictures I have taken over the last couple of weeks. I know there are so many people that would have loved to be visiting Whitby right now, and I feel lucky to be living here in times like this. The local businesses and residents will certainly be ready to welcome back visitors as soon as it is safe to do so.
Whitby East in the gorgeous evening sun.
On the East Pier
Two doors I hadn’t noticed before on Henrietta Street.
Looking up towards the Abbey and St Mary’s Church.
Church Street – the quietest I have ever seen it!
I visited Berlin earlier this month for a bit of sightseeing with my boyfriend. This is the third time I have visited the German capital, but the first time I have had chance to properly wander the city. We had two nights and three days there, but would have happily spent another day or two as there is so much to see and do!
Berlin feels pretty big, so we bought daily travel cards and used a lot of public transport to navigate the city. We stayed right near Hauptbahnhof station which was really convenient for getting around. The weather was pretty poor when we first arrived, so after ducking in to a few shops, we emerged from TK Maxx with umbrellas and then headed to the Berlin Fernsehturm (TV Tower) for lunch. On a clear day, the views from the observation deck and restaurant are spectacular. We had partial views due to fog, but the longer we stayed up there, the clearer the sky got! You can just visit the observation deck, but we opted to pre-book a window table for lunch in the restaurant that rotates, giving you a 360 degree view of the city as you dine. Once the sky cleared a bit, colourful houses were revealed, as shown on the image below.
Berlin certainly did not disappoint on the food front. We headed to Markethalle Neun for food on Thursday evening – which is the night for a once weekly gourmet food market. I left full of fresh pasta, cookies and ice cream, and would definitely recommend a visit to anyone in the city on a Thursday! We then went to Mano Cafe, a cosy independent bar nearby. Time your visit right and you might be able to take control of the private little seating area accessed via a step ladder, allowing you to look down across the bar.
Another food highlight for me was brunch at Kauf Dich Gluklich. I first had their cheeseboard back in 2017 when I visited for new year, and I knew that I needed to have it again at some point! For approx 9 euros you get a plate full of cheese, avocado, pineapple and olives, accompanied by delicious bread. I would also recommend Father Carpenter which is located in Berlin’s Mitte district. I had a delicious vegan banana bread with whipped peanut butter and a chia and raspberry jam. Yum!
As animal lovers my boyfriend and I spent a very enjoyable afternoon at the Berlin Zoo – which is the largest and oldest zoo in Germany! There is also an Aquarium on site, which can be visited if separate tickets are bought and there are insect and reptile houses too.
I had read about Monkey Bar at the Top of the 25Hours hotel so after seeing all of the animals on the ground, we sat with a drink in hand in this tenth floor bar, looking down in to the Monkey houses at the zoo.
We did lots of walking during our stay, stopping by landmarks such as the Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag building, as well as the East Side Gallery (pictured below).
We flew home from Tegel airport, which is closer to the city than Schönefeld is (the airport I’ve used previously), and we got a bus there using our travel cards, making it super easy. I hope you have a wonderful time if you’re planning a visit to Berlin in the future!