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Amsterdam

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.

Amsterdam Canals

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.

Haarlem

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!

Tony's Chocolonely

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

 

 

Thaxted Art

I love creating illustrations based on places, and working on this Thaxted project was no exception. This historic and beautiful village is in Essex, and is home to many quaint and beautiful buildings. I supply Gifted, a gorgeous gift shop in the heart of the village, and after a conversation at a recent trade fair I was asked to create an illustration that we could apply to a number of products. Their outlet features in the bottom left of the design below, and is currently a lovely red colour as per the image!

Thaxted is known for Morris Dancing festivals so of course some dancers had to feature on the design, as did Dick Turpin’s Cottage, the house that Gustav Holst lived in for a number of years in the 1900s and well as John Webb’s windmill, that can be found just outside of the village.

I have included a number of images of the products below. Get in touch if you would like to discuss a project for your location!

 

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Whitby Book Shop

Whitby Book Shop is one of my favourite stockists. Situated on a quaint cobbled street a few minutes walk from my studio, this outlet is somewhere that I am proud to have my work stocked. We have been talking about me creating an illustration for them for some time, and I finally got time to do it earlier last month. We opted to put it on to tote bags initially, and they arrived in store this morning! They are already out on the shelves ready to purchase, and I popped in this afternoon to see them for myself. I often get commissioned to create artwork with an architectural theme and I am working on a few more pieces for other clients at the moment, and I will share the details of these in due course!

 

The Whitby Book Shop is situated on Church Street in the old part of the town, which is lined with unique shops and cafes. The street leads up to the famous 199 steps, at the top of which is Whitby Abbey.

 

The original illustration.

Print

 

Me with the bag!

 

whitby-book-shop

 

The one colour grey tote bags.

 

whitby-book-shop-2

Back to the Drawing Board

Today I decided not to answer my emails, or do the admin waiting for me, and instead focused solely on doing something creative.

 

After spending a couple of hours drawing letters of the alphabet, I put them in to format below, and then decided that I would have a browse on Skillshare. I enrolled on a course taught by Ed J Brown entitled ‘Speedy Sketch Challenge: Learn Fast Inking & Combat Mental Blocks!’ This sounded like it would be right up my street, so I watched the videos and then did the challenges. My drawing style isn’t what I would necessarily describe as energetic – whilst quirky and a bit off kilter, each and every line in my illustrations are generally quite considered, so it was really helpful to do some timed drawings and not actually worry what they looked like. I’ve added a few of the sketches below. We were encouraged to use ink in the class so I did this for a while, and then experimented with pens and pencils too. I have thoroughly enjoyed my day and I plan to take part in lots more classes so watch this space!

 

My alphabet letters

 

Alphabet

 

A series of 5 minute sketches.

5-minute-sketches

 

10 minute sketch – Santa Monica

 

santa-monica-jessica-hogarth

I am on Spoonflower!

I have always enjoyed designing for fabric, and have collaborated with top fabric companies P&B Textiles and Dashwood Studio in the past. I have decided to join Spoonflower and make some of my designs available for purchase on there. I haven’t worked in collections as such. Instead, I have chosen some of my favourite geometric and conversational prints for you to choose as a one off fabric, or maybe to pair with something else you discover on the site. Take a look at the art I have just made available below, and let me know if you would like see me add a specific design to the collection!

 

Visit my Spoonflower Shop here.

 

spoonflower-conversational

 

Spoonflower - Christmas

 

spoonflower-geometric