28 September 2015

the best of sketches in travel september

A Pic and Mix of a Month

As the last days of September wave it's fond farewell and the super moon graced our shores it's been an interesting month for Sketches. Some new and different posts were published this month, which lead to some new and exciting challenges in blogging terms. So in no particular order is the best of Sketches in Travel for September. Links to each post are in coloured. 


luxury hip flasks
Swig Luxury Hip Flasks
Reviews
For the first time Sketches was given the opportunity to review some products and books that had been sent to me. I felt incredibly honoured to do them and found the challenge of writing them very enjoyable. From a hip flask Swig Luxury Hip Flasks via a running app Heat Running App to a art/travel book by Sasha Harding, A Brush with the Coast . All very different but all having relevance to travel and lifestyle. Hopefully inspiration for festive gifts? Or a reason to get out and challenge yourself, whether walking or running. I know they have challenged me, how about you? 

Anyone for some Whisky?
Sometime back I was fortunate to have been given some rather nice Japanese Whisky made by the producer Ichiro from the city of Chichibu. With a hint of red wine from the barreling process it's a wonderfully deep and satisfying drink. Especially with the colder evenings drawing in. I'm no whisky expert but clearly Japan produces some to the worlds best. So with the festive season coming fast upon us this drink would go down very well as a winter warmer Ichiros malt whisky


malt whisky
Ichiro's Malt Whisky
Art 
Apart from reviews the other feature this month was art, a rekindled passion of mine. Even if I'm not great at it!? On a recent visit to Cliveden, a National Trust property I decided to take the sketch book and Ipad with me. Cliveden is a wonderful place to visit; beautiful gardens, a maze, shops and woodland walks. Inspiration for any budding artist. It's also has a rather nice hotel I've been told. Well worth a visit if you can get there and not that far from the hassles of London. Click on the link to find out more, Cliveden.

Sketches in Travel 
So we head into October, the month of real change in the seasons. Nights drawing in and the chill of winter close by. I hope you will join me as we head into these Autumnal months. You can expect plenty of travel related posts, the return of my serialized book On the Trail of the Yellow Fingernail (which I have somewhat neglected) and a look back at reasons for visiting Shanghai and much more. I'd be delighted if you would join me via the various social media links at the top of the blog. Or please give your comments on any of this months offerings. 

Coming up next: 5 reasons to get out and about this October

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25 September 2015

Sasha Harding

A Brush with the Coast 
Sasha Harding - Book Review



Travel books are there to inform, entertain, perhaps even bring back memories of trips past. Hopefully a bit like this blog? So let me introduce to you a book that ticks all those boxes and many more, A Brush with the Coast by the artist Sasha Harding. This past week Sketches has been looking at the connection between art and travel and this book has been the inspiration for this series of posts. Sasha Harding is a successful UK based artist who when looking for inspiration for an art exhibition, embarked on a journey of discovery and self fulfilment. The result of which is stunning. When I saw her work and the book on display in a Swanage gallery this summer I just had to say directly how much I liked her work. After an exchange of e-mails I've been given the opportunity to read and review her book. For which I am eternally grateful for.

From the book A Brush with the Coast

The South-West Coastal path runs for some 600+ miles from Minehead to Swanage, taking in some of the UK's most beautiful coastline from Cornwall to the Jurassic Coastline. This book is the story behind the epic walk Sasha took, through her words, sketches and paintings. I know I've said this before but if you're looking for a early Christmas present idea then this book should be at the top of your list. Not only is it an inspiration to go and visit this part of the British Isles but also to try your hand at drawing and sketching. Surely there can be no greater compliment?
"Cool Surf Dude, Bantham Beach by Sasha Harding

Coastal Adventures
Firstly the book is beautifully presented, with its mix of sketches and paintings. It reads like a travel journal with each stage of the journey revealing the trials and tribulations Sasha and her dog Jess encountered on route. The book explains in great detail her feelings, aspirations and at times dispair as she makes her way along the path. As well as giving you an in depth account of the countryside, villages and towns she passes through on route. You really go through it with her, especially when the going gets tough. You feel her pain, and feel battered and bruised. And that's just reading it! There are some wonderfully written moments when she encounters fellow walkers. You can understand the want to walk alone but also the need for company. So the book takes you though the various emotions such an epic journey entails. The written word is beautifully complemented by her wonderful artwork. Examples of which are shown here. From rough sketches to full paintings, the art has such a warmth and adds depth to the words, making for a rich visual and reading experience.  

By Sasha Harding
A brush with an artist
This is a wonderful coffee table book. A perfect accompaniment to a hot brew on a cold winters evening. As it reads a little like a diary. I've read one stage each day. That way you almost feel like you are sharing Sasha's adventure as she does, with each day bringing new adventures and challenges. Its a book I just can't fault. I'm very grateful to Sasha for allowing me to not only have a copy but also review it. I love the artwork, and as I said before it has such a warmth and spirit about it. Almost a cartoon edge to it. Her book deserves the success its already receiving and she has certainly inspired myself with my art and the want to explore more of our beautiful coastline more. A Brush with the Coast is a wonderful addition
to anyone's book collection. 

If you would like to find out more about Sasha's work please click on the following link  http://www.sashaharding.co.uk/
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21 September 2015

best of the artwork in sketches

Artwork from Sketches in Travel
As part of Art Week at Sketches I thought it would be nice to pick some of the my favourite artwork from the two stories I've done The Case of the Missing Turnips and On the Trail of the Yellow Fingernail and the travel blog. Give a little background to the reasons for creating them and so on. The idea is to eventually turn one or some of them into prints, postcards or even t-shirts. I wanted your help to decide which ones. 

The Case of the Missing Turnips
When this blog first started I kept to sketching with good old fashioned pencil and paper. The first sketch featured is an adaption from the original front cover. The book (using that loosely) that came out in the late 1980's was self produced and printed. When I adapted it for the blog I re-wrote and updated sections of the book, deciding to add in more images. I rather liked this sketch and thought I'd re-draw it using the Ipad to see how it compared. 


Based on the original cover of The Case of the Missing Turnips

Turnips, drawn on Ipad
John Wilson
The following sketches are of the main character from the stories I've published so far; John Wilson. My problem is that I'm not very good at drawing faces so I try to avoid doing them if I can. I was really pleased with the first picture, it comes from the scene when he's stuck in his neighbours wardrobe which is full of bloomers! The moose head was hanging on the wall and fell onto his head when the wardrobe broke apart! It was a great excuse to cover John's face.

Bloomers and moose heads! 
Again here any excuse not to show his face! Some of the scenes from the first story were set in the kitchen, so with morning newspaper in hand it made it easy to cover the face. Although I have had guest artists reveal his face I still can't quite picture it myself. Maybe I never will? I'm always looking around for people willing to give it a try. 


John Wilson relaxing at home


On the Trail of the Yellow Fingernail
For the second story I decided to try some different art. These were drawn using the Ipad and the Sketches app. I wanted it to have a different feel to the more cartoon sketches of the first story and I was reasonably pleased with the results. They are my hands, although the second picture looks like I have incredibly hairy arms! I sort of do but not that much. 


The Yellow Fingernail

Same enemy, different finger!
Travel sketches
Recently I've started to sketch more for the travel posts and the comments I've received have been very encouraging. I know I'm not a great artist but I enjoy the process and if people like them, then that suits me fine. I seem to like drawing nature at present...lets see what October's post brings??
Blackberries
For the 5 reasons to get out and about posts (October's is coming soon) I wanted to featured fruits and food that suit that particular month. Again I've done them in a different style, pencil and water colour on the Ipad. I like their unfinished look.


Apples


Sketching for fun
I hope you have enjoyed the stories behind some of my favourite sketches from the blog? I've enjoyed creating them and I hope you will continue to follow the art output as the stories develop and the travel blog grows. So which of these should I turn into a print or a t-shirt? Would be great to get your responses. 

Next time during Art Week: Review of Sasha Harding's latest travel / art book
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18 September 2015

cliveden

Sketches of Cliveden 

It amazes me when you revisit a place that you always find something new to look at or explore. On our recent return to Cliveden, a National Trust run Manor house on the outskirts of London, we decided to take a different approach to our visit. With our sketch pads and Ipad in our bags we decided to get a different perspective to this most wonderful manor house and grounds. So as part of Art Week here are some rough sketches and pictures inspired from that day. As is always the case with my drawings, they are rough and not necessarily accurate in colours and detail. Lets call them interpretations..


Looking towards Cliveden - drawn on IPad by the author

Rough Sketches....
Cliveden takes on an altogether different feel during the summer. For a start its very very green and also has an array of wonderfully coloured flowers. The gardens are immaculate and the place is rammed with visitors (no bad thing by the way). So instead of the usual photos I thought I'd try and do some sketching. If you are familiar with this blog you'll realise that I like doing my art with an element of roughness. They are sketches rather than completed works. Some have been drawn in my notebook, others using the Ipad. The sketches below show parts of the  main fountain that leads up to the house and the view of the house from the main garden. Grand and full of charm and opulence. Cliveden is a great place to sketch. 


Rough sketch of Cliveden from the garden
A rough sketch of the main fountain at the driveway to Cliveden House 

The Long Garden
One of the most beautiful parts of Cliveden is The Long Garden. Beautifully manicured, it's great place to stroll around in the piece and quiet of its surroundings. With gardens tendered to perfection its a lovely contrast to the more open plan main gardens. Where families picnic and kids run around the wide expanses of lawn. There are many elements to admire in the garden. From statues to animal shaped hedges. It was this tree however that really caught my sight. With it's flat top it seemed at odds with the rest of the garden.  



Cliveden
I've said this before but Cliveden is a wonderful place to visit. With it being so close to London it should be on anyone's UK itinerary. It's also a fabulous place to sketch and explore. With plenty of subjects for all types of artists. Travel and art make such great companions, and sitting sketching was a wonderful way to look at this beautiful attraction. I would love to hear from you if you've been here. Were you inspired by your visit? I've no doubt I'll be returning again. And when I do I'll be sure to take my pencil and pad...

Next time in Art Week: Sketches from Sketches in Travel. The whys and inspirations behind the pictures.
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15 September 2015

Art

Its the start of a themed week on Sketches; Art Week. Where we take a look at the relationship between art and travel in its various forms, from photo's to sketches, art book reviews to including some of my own artwork from various posts and some new ones.  Maybe even your own work?

Art has inspired me from a young age, sketching on paper, art lessons at school. Doodling on students books whilst teaching them English in Japan! I've always enjoyed it, however good or bad the artwork may be. Art and travel have such a close relationship, I do this blog Sketches in Travel! So I hope you will enjoy the various posts as we look at the joy of art and just how it can inspire us to travel and complement our travelling experiences, whatever standard we are.

Sandcastle competition by the artist Sasha Harding

Walk around any major art gallery (a part of many peoples travel itineraries I'm sure?) and you will come across works of art that have a close association to travel or travelling. Some depict the beginning or completion of a great journey. Others looking at the joys of the travel experience. It's wonderful how artists can capture those moments, like the picture featured. I'll be reviewing Sasha's travel and art journal, the inspiration for this group of posts, later in the week. Their paintings bring pleasure and help capture our own memories. Take a moment to really appreciate them

So I want to put a bit of a challenge out there. I'd like to feature in a special post some original sketches of travel memories or moments by you. Are you up for the challenge? It doesn't have to be perfect, look at my artwork for starters! It can be pencil sketches or whatever style you prefer, it doesn't matter. So if you want to feature your a picture then please send it to sketchesintravel@gmail.com with your name, a brief description and your blog or website and I'll put it into a post. Or if you want to make contact first then please just email. It would be a great way to finish this series.

So what are you waiting for? Get sketching....... 

Coming next in Art week: Sketches of Cliveden


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12 September 2015

ichiro's malt whisky

Taste from the Orient 
Golden with a tint of red in colour, a slight smell of oak barrel with a hint of red wine taste and smell. I'm no expert when it comes to describing a whisky but its about as close as I can get. This is not your typical tipple, it's not even among the worlds best known but its clearly been made with a duty of care and is a fine example of why Japan should be taken seriously when it comes to Whisky production. Last year a Japanese Whisky was named the worlds best, a clear sign that this countries examples should be taken seriously. Which I'm sure they are in experts circles. So what better way to accompany a review of a hip flask than look at a whisky? It just made sense to talk about a lesser know Japanese Whisky that may have been rarely tasted outside of Japan. 

wine wood reserve
Ichiro's Wine Wood Reserve
Routes
Chichibu is perhaps not a city well known outside of Japan but through family ties its a city in the heart of Saitama Prefecture that has become very much part of my life. That though is another story. It just so happens that this city in the mountains produces some amazing whisky and sake! We'll do a Sake review later in the year. Today its the turn of Ichiro's Pure Malt Whisky. It's a relatively new business that seems to be gaining respect among the whisky experts of the world. And although still small in operation is seemingly producing some excellent varieties of whisky. So when we were given a bottle by a family member it was gratefully received. 

Appearance and taste
As with most food or drinks related products bought in Japan, it comes beautifully presented. Honestly even a single grapefruit is packaged with love and attention. It's a dainty little bottle, but if you're just an occasional drinker then it will last you for a little while. The one I was given is the Wine Wood Reserve and has a golden colour with a slight red tint. Sipping away you get the slight taste of those wine barrels and this makes for an interesting flavour. Most definitely a single malt but with that little subtle twist. This is a drink to enjoy in those moments when you want to take your time, not rush it down. After a long day at work for example.


A whisky with a hint of wine flavour
Ichiro's Malt Whisky
Although Japanese whisky is expensive its certainly worth the investment if you are a serious connoisseur of this type of drink. If you can get your hands on this variety then you have yourself a treat. Dare I say a perfect accompaniment to a hip flask! Although a small distillery Ichiro's malt whisky should be in your drinks cabinet. Ready for those moments when you just want to warm the heart. 

Is whisky your kind of drink? It'll be great to hear your opinions through the various social media methods. 

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11 September 2015

swig luxury flasks

Swig Luxury Flasks Review
Are you about to head off on an expedition or go backpacking around the world? Stuck for a present for an sporting family member? Just want an accessory for a ramble in the countryside? Or just stuck for a quality present for that special one for Christmas? Can't believe I've mentioned that word! Then I hope you read on and consider the Swig Luxury Flask. Sketches has been given the opportunity by the kind people at Swig Flasks to test drive or should that be test drink from their product. It was an offer I just couldn't refuse.

Swig Luxury Flasks

A Brief History
Swig Flasks were born out of the frustration of getting a "man" gift and the want of having a good quality hip flask. Marrying the two ideas and throwing in a measure of entrepreneurial skills and investment Swig Flasks were born and its popularity started to grow. It's success is built on being a quality product that makes for the perfect accompaniment for drinkers and explorers of any age. But does the flasks work as a backpacking, adventurer loving accessory for a younger audience? Is it a luxury item that can be used for the mountain climber or the rambler? Well here's our verdict.

Beautifully Packaged
Firstly you have to be impressed by the packaging. Their attention to detail is to be admired. As first impressions count so much with luxury items and as the picture below demonstrates they have certainly accomplished that criteria. It immediately feels as if it's been given that individual touch, packaged by loving hands and not just thrown together. Once inside, you have the flask, which is presented on nicely layered material, helping to accentuate the clean, glistening finish of the metal. So from that initial moment of receiving and opening, you know you have a quality product.

Swig Flasks - First impressions count

Swig Flasks - beautifully packaged

In Action 
Picking up the flask it has a lovely light touch and feel and holds well in your hand. I chose the blue leather holder to accompany it, which is itself nicely finished. If you visit the website you can choose from a variety of colours to suit your personal preferences. From leather to softer materials there is plenty of choice, click on the link to see their full product range Swig Flasks. I thought I'd give it a trail run, so used it on a recent trip to Newcastle. Although I wasn't hiking or doing anything adventurous it became immediately clear that its lightweight and easy to pack, although without a funnel a little tricky to fill. In saying that I would have no hesitation in taking it on a long winter walk or hike or even a holiday abroad for that matter. You can tell its good quality and will last a lifetime if cared for properly.

Perfect for the backpacking adventurer

The Verdict
There is no doubt that these flasks are multi-purpose, nicely made and should be apart of any travelers equipment, even though they could be classed as a luxury item. The invite to join the Swig club is also an added bonus. Each flask has a personal number, which becomes your membership number. You then receive invites to events, exclusive offers and much more, so what's not to like? 

The Swig Flask is an item that will hold travelling memories. Imagine the adventures it will accompany you on? The stories it could tell? For that reason alone it has to be worth it? Doesn't it?
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8 September 2015

my first year in blogging

Sketches is One
Sketches is One! 
Sketches is one! And what a year its been. You could describe it as a roller coaster ride, plenty of ups and downs but overall its been a joy and I hope that has been expressed through the varied posts featured throughout the year. From the first post on clouds to the latest I can honestly say I'm amazed at the support people have shown through reading and commenting. As part of those celebrations I thought I'd look at what I've learnt from the past year and also look ahead to the next. So in no particular order....

1) Be yourself and don't worry about others 
You've probably heard it a thousand times before but the more I blog the more I realize its true. Try to let your own personality shine through, be you and nobody else. have confidence and belief in your own work. It's very easy to get carried away with other peoples wonderful blogs from their designs to the content they produce. Get jealous and mope about how bad and ineffective your own is. I'm only one, have a lot to learn and continue to try and reflect my thoughts, feelings and ideas through the words I write, the pictures I draw or take. Learn from others but don't be jealous of others...they may be jealous of you! 

2) Enjoy it
What's the point of doing it if you don't enjoy it? Yes it can be a drag and eat into your time but it's benefits far outweigh the negatives. I love doing it. It inspires me to be more creative in my job and to push myself towards creating better posts and content, so what more could I ask for.

3) Don't be afraid to try something different; experiment
I'd like to think that Sketches isn't afraid to try something different from time to time. Push the boat out and experiment with different subjects, formats and so on. Sometimes they seem to work, others not. It's important to try new ideas, it keeps you on your toes and you may come across a style or idea that just hits the spot. So Sketches will continue to do that in the coming year and I hope you will enjoy what is to come. (Please make sure to comment so I know.) 

4) Plan ahead
I'm sometimes a mumble jumble mess when it comes to scheduling and topics. But over the year I've started to plan ahead more. And it helps massively. I'm more sure about the subjects I want to write about. I know what is to come and can research, draw accordingly to make sure I do the very best I can.  

5) Do a blogging challenge
I can't speak highly enough of the recent blog challenge I undertook. It really did push my abilities forward, gave me plenty of advice and confidence. I really have no regrets in doing it. You can read a review of the blogging challenge at the link here Blogging Challenge and that post also gives you links on how to join.   

Onto the next year
So onto the next year. Where will this blog take me in the year to come is something of a mystery. There's plenty of ideas and many new opportunities are coming my way. So with that in mind I hope you will join me. I couldn't have got this far without the support and friendship of too many people to mention here. So thank you each and every one of you. I look forward to sharing my ideas, words, pictures and more and reading yours in the year ahead. 

Coming soon on Sketches
Art reviews, luxury item reviews, the conclusion of On the Trail of the Yellow Fingernail, an art give-a-way and much much more...

Cheers.....until Friday's post....


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5 September 2015

heat running

Getting into shape
It seems there is a constant barrage from all kinds of media outlets to get in shape, keep in shape, eat your five a day etc etc..So when I was invited by the good people of Heat running to review their new app it was initially with some trepidation. I used to run but cycling has taken over in recent years so the chance to re-awaken and reacquaint my running feet with the tarmac was too good an offer to refuse. So with old, tatty trainers to hand (really need to get some new ones) the journey to competing in a half marathon has begun. And as their motto states, time to unlock my animal. 


"Unlock your animal"

test yourself
Heat running app
Beginnings: small steps
Started by two friends, Arya Farzin and Joseph Phillips who met when working at an elite gym and both being personal trainers. They naturally wanted to help people be fit and healthy. So to reach a far wider audience with their ideas on how to do this and not just impart their wisdom on those they worked with in the gym. The Heat running app was born. 


Heat running - a global app
Unlock that Animal
If like me, you are starting from scratch and have never used a running app before then this one has real appeal. It's quirky and fun for starters. Once signed up you choose what distance you are going to run. So there's no pressure on you to go crazy and run too far. It also allows you to opt for a take it easy or push yourself run. In these early stages, take it easy seems a great option. It starts at 400m and goes up to the half marathon distance at present. So the app also appeals to elite runners. You are then effectively in a race with other like minded people from across the planet. A truly global race. The beauty is although you can be competitive, the main objective is to really improve yourself. So the decision is totally yours if you want to race or not. Although seeing yourself finishing last is motivation enough to improve. 

From an Egg to.....
As your running improves so will the want to increase distance and improve times. That's perhaps the time to be more competitive and try and win some races. Your Profile gets updated and you'll see what animal you become as you increase your competitiveness and speed. You start as an egg and work your way up the food chain. It's an incredibly easy app to navigate and use, adding to lets be honest what can be quite a lonely sport at times. It will make those cold winter nights more interesting that's for sure. It's interesting to see who you are running against and maybe they will incorporate a social aspect to the app as it develops?  


I want to be a stallion!
Heat running
I was chuffed to be asked to review this app as for sometime I've wanted to get running again. It has been a real motivator and becoming an ambassador has only further enhanced this. Although it's only at present available on iTunes (click on the link in the blog sidebar or here Heat running if you'd like to download the app), it should be rolling out onto other platforms very soon. This app is made for the new watches being developed by the various electronic giants. 

There are many running apps out there but for me this app is the only one I'll be using as I attempt to unlock my animal! And achieve a goal of running a half marathon I've had in my mind for many many years. Right I really need to get some new running shoes.....See you on route..
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3 September 2015

5 reasons to get out and about this september

Early Autumn
The smell of early Autumn is in the air, well to be honest it's been in the air for awhile after our "damp" summer! Still September is a fabulous month, the trees are starting to change colour, sometimes the weather can be fantastic and the fields and gardens are being harvested. So as was the case last month and will for each continuing month thereafter Sketches is offering up reasons to get outside and into the fresh air, embracing the smells and sounds of this month of change. 
"Apples" by Gavin Darvell


A is for Apples 
September really is the month for fresh produce in the UK. And the fruit that for me really represents this season is the apple. So why not have a go at apple picking if you're not fortunate enough to have your own trees. There are many places where you can pick seasonal apples, so why not find your local apple farmer that offers this and take the family for a fun day out. If cider is your thing then seek out a cider festival, there are many. For example The Little Orchard Cider and Music Festival where you can taste one of the UK's great drinks. 


O is for Open House
If you are visiting London this September then why not take advantage of Open House. On the 19th - 20th September many famous and architecturally interesting places throw open their doors to allow you a glimpse into often restricted buildings. The Bank of England? 10 Downing street? The Gherkin? There's plenty to choose from and well worth adding to your itinerary when you visit the capital. Check the link for more information Open House London and its free! 

The Gherkin by Gavin Darvell
H is for Harvest
September is the time when the harvest is traditionally celebrated and there is no better way to taste the delights of what the UK can offer than visiting a food fair, produce show or if inclined a harvest festival celebration in one of our many churches throughout September. Rural produce shows are a great way to see what makes a village or area tick. You walk around and marvel at vast array of vegetables and fruits thinking "How did they grow that pumpkin to be that big!?" Or "What's the secret of your Victoria sponge?" Quintessentially British but what a great way to get a feel for our rural heritage.

R is for Rugby 
September sees the arrival of the Rugby World Cup to England's shores, starting on Sept 18th. Venues across the country are hosting this prestigious event. From Brighton to Newcastle, rugby fever will be in full swing (pardon the pun) throughout September and into October. Whatever your team it's time to embrace the tournament, whether you're going to the game or watching it in a pub or sports bar. 

F is for Festivals
It may be September but festival season continues from classical to folk and rock. From Bestival on the Isle of Wight to Proms in the Park in London. The music just keeps on flowing..

Lets get out there
So whether visiting or a resident there's plenty to get us off our feet and out and about. I love the early autumn, warm days and misty evenings. The trees starting to change colour, the harvesting of our fields. The changing season is one we should embrace. I'm sure I've missed many other things to do, so why not let me know. Would be great to hear from you. 

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1 September 2015

garden kitchen newcastle

Cafe Culture
Sometimes you come across a place that just has to be spoken about and the Garden Kitchen Newcastle is one such place. It's hard to believe that this cafe seems to be tucked away in a nondescript shopping mall in the heart of Newcastle. There again that's the beauty of discovering these kind of places. And what a joy it was too. 


The Garden Kitchen Newcastle

Coffee and Cake
This is an open plan affair, exposed to the elements! But this is no ordinary cafe with there being a bistro area, a bar to compliment the cafe section. If the cafe is anything to go by then I'm sure the food is as good. Just a shame I didn't get the chance to try it. On first impressions the cafe area does look at little untidy, by that I mean there are a number of different style of seats to choose from. Wooden benches to comfy sofa's. 

Wooden benches
I stuck with the wooden bench as my stay would be brief. Saying that it was clean and quiet and incredibly homely for such an open plan cafe. The latte and chocolate brownie chosen were brought over by the friendly staff and I hope the picture below does it justice. The coffee was sublime and the brownie delicious. It also has free WiFi, something which seems to be a requirement everywhere these days. So what more could I ask for? Looking on their website it seems they offer so much more, hampers to said Bistro. It really is a little gem.

coffee and chocolate brownie
Coffee and brownie from the Garden Kitchen


Newcastle bound
If you are Newcastle bound and there's plenty of reasons to be what with the Rugby World Cup visiting St James' Park, Premiership football and the towns reputation for being a party city. Then the Garden Kitchen Newcastle should be on your visiting list. Head into the main shopping district near Newmarket station on the Metro and into the nearby shopping centre and seek this little place out. You really won't be disappointed I promise.  

Have you been there? Where would you recommend I visit for a coffee and brownie? I'd love to know so drop us a comment on any of the social media buttons attached. 

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