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!
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.
Me with the bag!
The one colour grey tote bags.
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
A series of 5 minute sketches.
10 minute sketch – Santa Monica
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.