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!
I spent the Easter weekend in Amsterdam with friends and we were lucky to have some glorious weather! I have visited this Dutch city a few times now, but this is the first time I’ve had chance to relax and really wander around the streets that line the canals. An early morning run on Easter Sunday was lovely, as there was very little hustle and bustle at 8:30am, meaning I got chance to take some photos with the city looking peaceful.
To counteract the exercise, we ate a lot of delicious food! My favourite meals out on the trip are included below. We also had a delicious lamb roast home cooked by the friends I was staying with on Easter Sunday, accompanied by plenty of desserts!
Clockwise from left:
Greenwoods for breakfast.
By Lima goats cheese, tomato and walnut sandwich (in Haarlem).
This breakfast from Bakers & Roasters is in my top 3 of all time, and is certainly somewhere I will be going back to if I get the chance.
Winkel 43, famous for apple pie! I went there twice during our visit!
I spent a few hours in Haarlem, which is a few minutes away on the train. There are shops, cafes and some lovely little streets to wander around, making for a nice location for a day trip if you want to leave Amsterdam for a few hours.
I finally wanted to mention is the fun brand Tony’s Chocolonely. This brand is committed to producing 100% slave free chocolate, which believe it or not, is an anomaly in the chocolate world. Their flagship store is conveniently a stones throw from my friends apartment in Amsterdam so I stopped by a couple of times to pick up treats to bring home from my visit. I have had this chocolate a few times, and it is now stocked in some shops in the UK, including Sainsbury’s, which is great news! There are now lots of flavours to choose from, from simple milk to dark pretzel toffee. My new favourite is caramel shortbread. There are free samples of all flavours in the shop, to help you decide what to buy!
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.
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.
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.
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.
I am thrilled to have these bright coastal designs appear on kitchen textiles. I collaborated with a USA based company, whom I met at Surtex in New York last May. The art is available on dishcloths and napkins. They are being distributed across the USA and Canada. I have lots of freelance work on at the moment which is great! However, I do to find time to produce more new art in time to showcase at the show. I will return to New York with Jules in May to exhibit under the name The Pattern Social in May.
Would you like to collaborate?
If you are a potential client looking to license or commission new artwork, please head to my design portfolio page.
It’s been a little while since I’ve written a blog post, as there has been so much going on. Christmas seems to come and go very quickly these days, mainly because I tend to exhibit at Top Drawer in January, and there is lots of preparation to do for that. I’ve also been working on some new pieces of art for a licensing collaboration. I’ll write more about that when it launches but there’s a few pieces below.
I have also been working with local food company Whitby Seafoods. I created two pieces of art, designed to showcase the British manufacture of their products, with emphasis on their HQ in Whitby. It has been great to collaborate with another local business.
January also means the launch of new cards and licensed gift wrap and bags. I showcased my brand new ‘Colourful World’ range at Top Drawer earlier this week. The designs showcase my love of architecture, finished with a lovely shiny gold foil. I have been working with the lovely people at Deva Designs for 3 years now, and I am delighted to have some art on their 2017 product range, as seen below.
It will be 7 years this year since I graduated and I can’t believe where the time has gone! I exhibited at New Designers ‘One Year On’ in summer 2012, when my business was still in its early stages. I am thrilled to have contributed to their latest blog post which discusses the show and why it’s such a good opportunity for new designers to showcase their work to an exciting but competitive industry.
I recently headed to mainland Europe for the weekend to spend time with some friends. The four night trip saw us explore Ghent, Brugge and Amsterdam. It’s obvious from my portfolio of work that I love architecture, so it was a delight to see some inspirational buildings in every location I visited. A group of us booked an air Bnb in Ghent, which was beautifully decorated from top to bottom.
Our stylish Air bnb in Ghent.
A sunny day in Ghent
Brugge had some beautiful buildings, and there is an image of some of my favourites below.
The final was spent walking around the quaint streets of Amsterdam. I love the reflection of the buildings opposite in this shop window.
I came back to the studio feeling inspired and continued working on an architecturally themed card collection for 2017. It will launch at my next trade show (Top Drawer, stand Y46) in January and the designs will have a gold foil finish.