Made By Mrs M

Travel

Wandering in Geneva

TravelKate Marsden

A few weeks ago I had the rare opportunity to spend a couple of days in Geneva - mostly on my own (Mr M was working and the not so small boy was staying with his grandparents). I obviously spend a fair bit of time ambling around London by myself, but its almost unheard of for me to do this anywhere else. Geneva was an easy one though, as not only had I visited before (with a toddler in tow and with rather less welcoming weather) but it’s a pretty compact, safe and friendly place, so ideal.

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I spent Monday ambling around and taking photos. As is common with many places, the majority of the galleries and museums are closed on Mondays, and in Geneva going shopping really isn’t an affordable option (circa £16 for a salad and coffee in Starbucks anyone?), but as you can see the weather was on my side, so it was a good opportunity to get my steps in! I spent a fair bit of time exploring the old town, walking by the lake and sitting people watching in the Jardin Anglais. I was also temped by the Bains des Paquis (swimming in Lake Geneva anyone?) as it was pretty hot, but it seemed that everyone else had the same idea, and I returned to the solitude of my hotel room balcony and a book instead!

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In the evening I met up with Mr M and we had dinner at Le Relais de l’Entrecote - no good if you’re a vegetarian, but amazing if you like a steak - no menu (other than desserts) - you get a lovely salad as a starter and then steak frites with a magical (and secret!) green sauce. They also have a branch in London if you fancy it…

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The following morning I had ice cream for a (very late) breakfast, as you can when you’re travelling without children! There are some nice riverside bars along the Quai Bezanson-Hugues, and also a branch of Movenpick…

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As it was Tuesday, the galleries were open! I walked back through the old town, across the very nice (and shady) Parc des Bastions, over the scorching hot Plaine des Plainpalais to MAMCO Geneve. I didn’t have too much trouble finding the place as I’d been there before when I went with the small boy, however 6+ years ago when we visited it was closed for refurbishment. Not so this time though. MAMCO is a really nice modern art gallery in a wonderful industrial setting. And entry is free - which, when you’ve already sold a kidney to visit Geneva, is very welcome! The only downside was the lack of aircon (which I really needed after that walk!).

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And then I was off again to seek cold drinks and shade before the train to the airport. Wishing that maybe I had braved the crowds for that swim in the lake…

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Frank Lloyd Wright and Oak Park - Part 2

Travel, ArchitectureKate Marsden

As promised in last week’s post, here are some photos of just a few of the other houses we loved in Oak Park. While we were there we also popped out to Lake Street to look for something to eat and spotted a fantastic Art Deco cinema (see the image at the bottom of this post) and a wonderful book shop - The Book Table. We had a really nice lunch at Hecho En Oak Park (where the boy discovered a new love for guacamole!).

The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust host lots of different tours of the area (such as this one which we didn’t go on but it sounds good) and have lots more information about his work on their website.

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Frank Lloyd Wright and Oak Park - Part 1

Travel, ArchitectureKate Marsden

I’ve finally got around to sharing more of my photos from Chicago! We had a wonderful day exploring Oak Park and the first home and studio built by the great Frank Lloyd Wright. We had a tour of the house (and the small-ish boy did a wonderful job of trying to look interested - it’s not recommended for younger children, I believe the minimum age is 8) but I was in seventh heaven.

Here are a lot of my photos... You can find out more about the house and studio and book your own tour here. Pop back next week for a further post containing images of other amazing houses in Oak Park, many of which were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

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Colourful Fun in Margate!

TravelKate Marsden

Several weeks ago we headed off to Margate for a couple of days to see what everyone’s been talking about! We weren’t really sure what to expect, but we were rather excited about our accommodation. We stayed at Big Bit (you can find it on Air B&B here - can’t recommend the place enough) and it was VERY colourful…

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As well as spending lots of time photographing our apartment (!!) we also spent a few hours at Dreamland where I could happily have ridden on the Scenic Railway all day. Next time we’re going to go roller skating…

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Then there was the beach and the wonderful Turner Contemporary Gallery (the current exhibition of seaside photography is brilliant). Plus the mods were in town on the Saturday and the bikers on the Sunday so lots of differet things to see which really amused the small-ish boy.

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We enjoyed exploring all the vintage shops in the Old Town (giant neon signage anyone?!) and did come away with a couple of (smaller) bits and bobs. Also had a fantastic dinner at Buoy and Oyster with views out to sea.

A bit of a longer drive than to our usual seaside spots but we’ll definitely be back!

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Chicago Architecture Boat Tour

Architecture, Photography, TravelKate Marsden

I’m writing this while trying to keep going through my jetlag! At the time of writing, we landed back home from our 10 day break in the States about 7 hours ago, and boy am I feeling it… Looking back to Tuesday though, and one of the highlights of our trip was a boat tour of Chicago which we booked through the Chicago Architecture Center. We had a gorgeous day for it (and considering that we had snow on the ground on Monday morning, we were VERY lucky - and should probably have been wearing suncream…) and learnt a lot about the city and it’s amazing buildings. Here are just a few of the photos I took…

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The Chicago Architecture Center itself was also well worth a visit, with architects’ models of many of the world’s tallest buildings, and a model of Chicago (plus some lego for the small-ish boy). Find out more about it here.

This is not a sponsored post.

Lisbon - The Instagrammer's Dream

Architecture, Art, Inspiration, TravelKate Marsden

Now I’ll admit to being a fan of the ‘gram and to taking far too many photos, but I’ve never actually chosen a holiday destination based upon how Instagrammable it is… but I know some people do.

We visited Lisbon a couple of weeks ago (after a fantastic trip to smaller but equally lovely Porto) and it turned out that there was something demanding a space in my feed every few paces (even in the driving rain!). So rather than filling my feed with holiday spam (there are a few images there of course) I thought I’d share more of them here. You’re spoilt for choice with all the beautiful tiles, little old fashioned shops, art galleries and of course the famous yellow trams. Enjoy!

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48 Hours in Portland (with an 8 year old!)

Architecture, Art, Inspiration, Shopping, TravelKate Marsden

I know you're keen to know what we got up to in Portland, and you no doubt want to know all about the top nightspots, so I'm afraid I'll disappoint! We were tucked up in our room pretty early each night as we were traveling with the little man, but here are some of the things we got up to in the first city I've visited since Sydney which I think I'd really like to move to...

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I'd been wanting to visit Portland for a few years so it could quite easily have failed to live up to my expectations. On the first day I was a little out of sorts post flight to Seattle and then early morning train (I had been to bed between the two fortunately!) but it didn't stop me falling for Portland pretty much straight away. The atmosphere is fab and it's so green - the amount of trees in the place came as a surprise - probably even more than we have in London (for the size at least). My only disappointment was to find that the Museum of Contemporary Craft which I'd hoped to visit had closed down, but otherwise it was great.

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First we need to talk about Voodoo Doughnut - every other person seemed to be wandering around town with an intriguing looking pink box! A bit like London's Vicky's Doughnuts (I assume as I haven't been!) it's built a cult following and there was always a queue (I believe it's open 24 hours though so presumably it's not that constant) but it was worth it. The chocolate glazed also removed the small boy's wobbly tooth which had been threatening to come out for weeks. The only side effect being that the tooth fairy seems to have a going rate of $5 when she only gives £2 here - shocking!

The Voodoo Doughnut boxes were piled high on the tables (next to other lovely more savory delights) at Pine Street Market where we went to eat both nights as it worked so well for the small boy. Part Boxpark, part Mercato Metropolitano it was nice and had a wide range of different food on offer. We went for burgers and ice cream on the first night and pizza on the second (followed by the legendary doughnuts!).

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We were fortunate enough to be there during the Portland Rose Festival and spent a very nice evening entertaining the boy at the sizeable fair which ran along the banks of the river. There were loads of rides suitable for all ages - we spent a small fortune but he was happy!

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I also went looking for shops and found some real treats. Firstly I stumbled upon Ecru - a really lovely little stationery/card shop - where I obviously did my Just A Card duty. They had a lovely range of letterpress and hand printed Portland cards and lots more besides.

Made Here PDX was on my must visit list and it was almost overwhelmingly good. Fortunately the fact that I had to be able to get the stuff home stopped me overindulging, but I did get a lovely print. Everything they sell here is made locally.

We also visited design shop Canoe which was very smart - they stock a range of items from across the world which is beautifully curated.

I can't not mention Powell's City of Books which is huge (apparently the world's largest independent bookstore) and rather wonderful (so huge in fact it has a map and loosing the small boy was likely rather than possible!) - they stock both new and used books on just about every topic you can imagine.

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For the boy we found Finnegan's Toys & Gifts - not massive but a very nice toy shop. I spotted a box of Lisa Congdon badges on the counter so had to pick some of those up for myself!

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We spent quite a bit of time just wandering about and admiring the place - in particular we loved the Pearl District, which is bordered by some lovely houses like these above. We also found a great fountain for the small boy to cool off and splash about in (for a whole hour!).

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Other family friendly meal spots we enjoyed were the Picnic House on Salmon Street and Deschutes Brewery where Mr M was able to indulge his love of beer and the small boy his love of clams...

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It was a bit of a whistle stop visit and I so hope I can visit again some time - leaving was hard! I also know that there were many things we didn't get to see (partly as we were aiming to appease the little man for a large part of the time).

So the important question.... is Portland weird? Well yes, just a little bit though and it all the right ways!

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A New Zine! The A-Z of British Buildings Part 1...

Architecture, Art, Books, Drawing, TravelKate Marsden

After the success of my Croydon zine last month, I decided to make another featuring the artwork from my A-Z project on Instagram! As I'm aiming to keep all of my zines short and sweet I've split the project into two, and so I give you A-M...

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The zine features black and white images of my drawings - you can see them all on Instagram here - together with handwritten notes.

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The locations in this first part are: Aberdeen, Birmingham, Coventry, Durham, Edinburgh, the Finsbury Estate (London), the Giant's Causeway, Harlow, Ironbridge, Johnstone, King's Lynn, Liverpool and Mancheser.

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Once again this is a limited edition zine. You can get hold of your copy here.

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Out and About in Oxford

Architecture, Inspiration, Photography, TravelKate Marsden

Having only ever visited Oxford once before in my life, I've now been twice in 3 months! No sleeping behind bars this time though, as last Saturday Lisa (a.k.a. Martha Loves) and I headed down there to meet up with locals, Natasha (whose blog, Candy Pop, you may be familiar with) and Rosie of A Rosie Life.

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We were definitely blessed with the weather - not too sunny so none of those nasty harsh shadows and the rain held off until we were on our way home - and we had a lovely time. It's so nice to walk around a place with people who know it well and Natasha and Rosie knew exactly where to find the colour (and the good chocolate brownies!).

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I also think there's something really nice about going on a very small photowalk - no worries about keeping up and not getting lost/more opportunities to be spontaneous! I am however planning to join the In Colourful Company walk in London on 7 July and that's set to be huge!

In the meantime, here are some more photos from last Saturday...

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Things to look forward to in March

Art, Events, Exhibition, Inspiration, London, Shopping, TravelKate Marsden

It's nearly spring!!! Yes, really! Here are 10 good things coming up this month...

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1. Virginia Woolf: an exhibition inspired by her writings at Tate St Ives - Oh how I wish I lived closer to St Ives - I'd be visiting this exhibition in a heartbeat. I've been a fan of Virginia Woolf since I was a teenager (as evidenced recently by my illustration below).

To the Lighthouse and Mrs Dalloway print available in my Etsy shop

To the Lighthouse and Mrs Dalloway print available in my Etsy shop

2. A Journey Through Brutalism at RISE Gallery Croydon - one for all you concrete fans. This new exhibition at one of my local favourites opened last week.

3. Crafty Fox Market is going monthly! While I'm cutting down on selling events this year I see some more shopping in my future... the first one is this Saturday.

4. Spring blossom (goes without saying!).

5. I'll be running two lampshade workshops on Saturday 24th at Creative Happy London - you can choose from morning or afternoon slots. Only a few spaces left so get booking!

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6. The National Trust are running a series of walking tours in Croydon to accompany the RISE Gallery exhibition above - now taking bookings.

7. If you're up in Scotland, the wonderful Artists' Textiles exhibition which has been touring since it's appearance at London's Fashion & Textile Museum is open now at New Lanark.

8. Hot cross buns (mmmm).

9. If you're quick, there's still time to see the Bridget Riley exhibition in Mayfair (open until 10 March).

10. And if you're still feeling far too wintery, British Summer Time begins on Sunday 25th! Not long now...

My 10 Favourite Things to do in London

Architecture, Art, Inspiration, London, TravelKate Marsden

In 2018 I will have lived in one London borough or another for 20 years (and in 2018 that will also represent half of my life - eeek!). During the last 20 years the places I love the most have changed a little but some are the same - here are a few of my favourite spots at the moment. A nice little list if you're visiting over the Christmas break!

So, in no particular order...

1. Shoreditch

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I'll admit I chose this first as I love this picture so much! Shoreditch is really easy to get to on the Overground from West Croydon, so I actually visit more often since we moved further out of town. Great street art, the first ever social housing (the stunning Arnold Circus - definitely worth a stroll away from the main drag), and if you walk a little further on a Sunday morning the lovely (if heaving) Columbia Road Flower Market. So many photo opportunties...

2. The Geffrye Museum

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Just up the road in Hoxton is the Geffrye Museum - the Geffrye is amazing and features room sets from the 1600s to the 1990s (at this time of year it's all decorated for Christmas too!). In the summer you can take a stroll in the beautiful walled garden and almost forget you're in London.

3. The Horniman Museum

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Heading back down the Ginger Line (or the Overground) you come to Forest Hill and my son's favourite place in London (or so he told me this morning!). The Horniman is a lovely spot with a brilliant natural history gallery ("I love the stuffed in animals best Mummy") including the famous walrus, and a bargantastic aquarium in the basement and lots more besides. Another lovely garden if you visit when the weather's nice too.

4. Tate Modern

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I became a member of the Tate in 2000 and it's been the best investment. I haven't managed to visit as much as usual this year but I intend to remedy that in 2018! I love the new Switch House extension shown above (you need to see the stairs!) and I make full use of the members rooms as places to sit and relax to get away from it all.

5. Tate Britain

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And that leads nicely onto Tate Britain - very different architectually but still completely ace. I love the Pre-Raphelites and this floor (amongst other things!).

6. The View from Alexandra Palace

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Whether the view from Ally Pally is worth the trip up there is perhaps debatable but I do turn and stare in wonder ever time I visit. The view above is from the terrace at the front of the buiding but you get a pretty awesome view on the walk up the hill too - use it as an excuse to stop and catch your breath on the way up!

7. The Fashion & Textile Museum

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A brilliant line-up of exhibitions in a lovely little museum. The Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey is a real gem (and also has a lovely cafe). I think this year's Josef Frank exhibition above is probably my favourite so far.

8. The Barbican

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I love this place so much. Back in the day I used to run around here in my lunchbreak or after work (particularly good on a wet day as so much of it is under cover) and I stared at it from my office window. The Barbican boasts amazing Brutalist architecture, great places to eat, look at art, see shows, shop... the list goes on!

9. The South Bank

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The picture above was taken just outside the Royal Festival Hall during the Mollie Makes Awards Photowalk this summer, but I love pretty much the whole stretch of the South Bank (the National Theatre being a highlight though of course). Last year for a homework project for the little man we walked (and photographed all of the bridges) from Tower Bridge to Battersea Park and there are so many great things to see and do along the way. Friends who visit London almost always get dragged along here!

10. Croydon

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Croydon is my neighbour (and yes it's a London Borough so counts!) and it's having a bit of a renaissance. When I get suburban cabin fever but don't have time to venture into town I hop on the 157 and go to Croydon instead. Boxpark isn't massively popular with all the locals but it's bringing people from all over the place so is basically a good thing, and the street art is starting to rival Shoreditch. They even had a month long Warhol festival back in September. So plenty to see and do!

Where do you like to visit in London? Anywhere a little different/off the beaten track?

Inspiration in Lanzarote...

Architecture, Inspiration, Photography, TravelKate Marsden

Well I wasn't really expecting a week in a very touristy, typical summer holiday destination to have much to inspire (and to be fair my main aim was to switch off and sit by the pool!) but find it I did. Our hotel was paricularly pleasing (with lots of blue and orange) - here are a few colourful shots taken all around the island. Enjoy!

Not our hotel, but a bit of a Brutalist gem in downtown Puerto del Carmen

Not our hotel, but a bit of a Brutalist gem in downtown Puerto del Carmen

This was our hotel. Pleasing (almost) symmerty at Aqua Suites (also Puerto del Carmen)

This was our hotel. Pleasing (almost) symmerty at Aqua Suites (also Puerto del Carmen)

Sunshine and Colour in St Leonards

Architecture, Photography, TravelKate Marsden

A rare day trip out today! St Leonards is about an hour and a half away from us in South London, and while we'd visited Hastings a couple of times to go to the Jerwood Gallery, we'd never ventured down the road (and it really is just down the road - walking distance) to it's quieter neighbour.

We took a trip down there on the Sunday of the late May Bank Holiday weekend, so sadly lots of the little independent shops were shut (if you visit on a Saturday you must pop down to Kings Road - which leads up to St Leonards Warrior Square station - as there were lots of interesting little places down there) - but we made do with a colour spotting walk along the seafront to Hastings Pier (where we enjoyed a brilliant fish and chip lunch!). Here's a little photo tour...

Adventures in Bristol - Part 2

Architecture, Art, Photography, Shopping, TravelKate Marsden

On our second day in Bristol (see what we got up to on day 1 here) we were joined by the lovely Laura Howard (of Bugs and Fishes - you can read her blog here) who lives nearby and was able to show is around and point us in the direction of some things we may otherwise have missed. We walked for MILES (and discovered that Bristol busses are really expensive compared with London!). Here are some of the best bits...

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I fell for Clifton the last time we visited - hilly but super super pretty - the sort of place you dream of living in (if you like cities anyway). Street after street of Georgian houses and lots of lovely doors! Something pretty on almost every corner so heaven for Instagrammers.

There are some really lovely shops in Clifton too and I did my Just A Card duty (plus a bit!) in Soma - a fab gallery/design shop which I could easily have spent a small fortune in (but carrying a large framed print on the train home would've been tricky!).

Then on to stationery heaven a.k.a. Papersmiths...

Where again I bought a few little bits but exercised extraordinary restraint! I pretty much wanted everything in there.

For those of you who aren't in the South West, they've just opened a store in London too...

Laura also took us to Brandon Hill where there are fantastic views of the city (sadly my photos there are less than fantastic - save this one above!) - you can climb the tower but the little man didn't like the dark, steep spiral staircase so we gave it a miss.

While we were in this part of town we also visitied the brilliant Bristol Museum & Art Gallery - a lovely spot with lots to see - defintely a place to visit if you're there on a damp day. We had a nice lunch in it's cafe.

We also went on the obligatory Bristol street art hunt - the little man is particularly interested following our recent wanderings in Croydon.

Laura headed home before tea and on the following morning the little man and I had one last explore of Spike Island before catching our train back to London.

We were really sad to leave - Bristol's such a brilliant place to vist and the atmosphere is great. Sure we'll be back soon!

Adventures in Bristol - Part 1

Architecture, Craft, TravelKate Marsden

Over half term, the little man and I spent a few days in Bristol. We did so much, and took so many photos that I've decided to split our trip into two posts - the second will follow in a couple of weeks' time.

So here's the first part...

I'd been to Bristol before but the little man hadn't so it was a bit of an adventure as far as he was concerned. We also took the train so needed something to keep us occupied. As he'd received an origami set for this birthday, I hit on the idea of making a heap of origami flowers on the train and then leaving them all over the place once we got there. Something nice and colourful to make people smile (and fewer things in my house so win win!).

We added a hashtag to them #happyorigamibristol but sadly none of the people who picked them up joined in with that. However when we wandered back around later they'd all gone so we were pleased!

We also took in the SS Great Britain which, while it wasn't a cheap attraction, was brilliant - and if you go back (the ticket is valid for 12 months) it's actually pretty good value. The little man got to do all sorts of things - shovelling coal, sweeping the decks - useful skills for putting him to work at home!!!

Keep your eyes peeled for my second Bristol post which will be full of street art, pretty doors and independent shops!

Expore the Barbican (and more!) this Saturday...

Architecture, Events, London, Photography, TravelKate Marsden

A little reminder post for you today... My next photowalk is this coming Saturday 22 April in the City of London. You'll get to see this beauty and lots more besides!

There's a really broad range of architecture in the City, and we plan to start at the Monument to the Great Fire of London, before taking in some of the main landmarks, some International style, PoMo, Brutalism and more. We'll be stopping for lunch but otherwise the photowalk is free. I will need to know if you're coming though! Please either drop me a line kate@madebymrsm.co.uk or join the Photowalks mailing list to get the final reminder email later this week.

 

City of London Photowalk - Saturday 22 April

Architecture, Events, London, Photography, TravelKate Marsden

Spring is springing so it's time to get out again! Following my successful photowalks last year (you can read about them here and here) the next one is planned for Saturday 22 April and we'll be exploring my old stomping ground - the City...

If you like architecture and history (and have a job which allows you to ever escape the four walls of your office during daylight hours) the City is a brilliant place to work. Narrow alleys with funny names (Bread Street, Milk Street, Fish Street Hill anyone?), modern skyscrapers next to Wren churches, Po-Mo oh and a (not so) little place called The Barbican.

We plan to take all of this in, with a little gap for lunch in the middle. Drop me a line - kate@madebymrsm.co.uk if you'll be joining us, or join the photowalks mailing list.

10 Holiday Spots to Inspire My Creativity

Architecture, Art, Inspiration, TravelKate Marsden

It's been brought to my attention that I'm back on the travelling bandwagon after being put off the idea of long flights and traipsing around with a small child. Last year we took the 6 year old to the US (not planning to head over there this year...) and discovered that long flights aren't really much worse than short ones!

So, while thinking about ideas for this year, I started raking through the old photos and realised that I've been jolly lucky to visit so many really inspiring places. Here are just 10 of my favourite cities/places (where possible I've narrowed down to an actual gallery or museum but I haven't always managed it! I could write separate posts about each one...).

1. 798 Art District, Beijung

This one was a long time ago - 10 years in the autumn. The 798 Art District utilises old industrial buildings and warehouses and forms a series of galliery spaces over quite a wide area. We had a bit of an adventure getting there (any taxi ride in Beijing is an adventure, unless you can speak Chinese of course) but absolutely loved it once we got there. Recently I was reminded of this area when I went to Hull as the new art district there has a similar feel (albeit much much smaller).

2. Paris Metro

OK, EVERYTHING in Paris is inspiring (pretty much) but I love the Metro. Living in London I really appreciate the uniformity of the London Underground, the design of the roundel, the Beck map, but Paris' quirky stations are just so much fun. I love the silly plastic chairs spaced out across the platform - the fact that every station is different but they all smell the same.... I'm a bit odd I know.

3. Houses in Reykjavik

Painted wooden houses on every street, street names you can't pronounce, pretty rooftops.... Reykjavik's architecture is a Scandinavian feast for the eyes. Definitely somewhere I want to go back to. 

4. The Atmosphere in Berlin

I can't narrow it down to any one spot in Berlin - the place just felt different. Nothing like anywhere else I'd been. Creativity on every corner but not always obvious - vague I know but you need to trust me on this one! Somewhere I could see myself living if I could brush up my GCSE German...

5. Parc Guell, Barcelona

Another city where every corner is stuffed with inspiration and gorgeousness... Parc Guell is a little like a Gaudi theme park without the rides though so that's why I've included it here. I'm not normally into mosaics but I was on this trip (and drawing them for weeks afterwards). The added bonus of Parc Guell is that you have to climb up such a massive hill to get there (great view though) that you get to collapse in a sweaty heap with a sense of achievement!

6. Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

Again, living in London you're kind of spoilt for amazing gallery spaces but I loved the Stedelijk. This spot above was my favourite, but the art was amazing too (which included a great textile art gallery when we visited - not sure if it was permanent). It also has a wonderful shop and I defy anyone to come out empty handed.

7. MoMA, New York

Can't miss this baby off! Probably my favourite gallery in the world. The only place we've been to every time we've visited New York (and it looks lovely in the fall - I took this picture back in November). I always forget how huge the place is and that you could spend all day and always discover new (to me) artists.

8. Japan (yes, generally)

So like Berlin but a lot bigger!!! A trip to Japan is non-stop sensory overload. Almost too much to take in. The modern architecture, the history, the lucky cats... I must go on about it quite a bit as the little man keeps asking us to take him there (apparently the fact that he was there last time, albeit in bump form, doesn't count!) and I'd love to go back, if only to be able to eat raw fish this time!

9. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

When I put out a call on Twitter last autumn for Boston recommendations this place came up time and time again. Helped by the fact that the garden is undercover (and we visited on a very nasty wet and windy day) it was a wonderful oasis. Pretty sure if I lived in Boston it'd be my equivalent of Tate (even if the contents are a little different - wonderfully eclectic) as in I'd be there all the time - I expect they have some kind of a membership option.

10. London's South Bank

And back home. Despite travelling around a fair bit I really don't think anywhere beats London. I could write a weekly post on inspiring spots! But when push comes to shove you can always find me on the South Bank, and not just because it includes my favourite buildings (National Theatre and Royal Festival Hall). I like being by the river, walking through the little avenue of trees, seeing the book stalls, visiting Tate Modern and then roaming around Borough Market. In fact I'm getting the urge to pop into town right now...

 

 

 

Hull 2017 - UK City of Culture

Architecture, Art, Events, Exhibition, TravelKate Marsden

At half term we visited Hull for the first time. Despite living not much more than an hour away for the whole of my teens, I'd never been. Hull doesn't have the best of reputations but this year it's the UK City of Culture and it's clear to see that the place is on the up.

Our first stop was the newly refurbished Ferens Gallery where we got to enjoy the 2017 Open Exhibition (frequented by none other than Charles and Camilla the previous week - if you like that sort of thing!). I was very tempted to buy a painting myself but managed to find some restraint from somewhere.

Ferrens 2017 Open Exhibition

Ferrens 2017 Open Exhibition

Having never visited before, I can't say how the gallery has improved but they certainly seem to have done a very nice job of the refurb. Hull's half term week was the week after ours so the little man wasn't able to take part in any of their half term activities but the things they were offering looked really good. 

Step outside the Ferrens, and you walk into the blade from a wind turbine...

Apparently this was a surprise (the people of Hull woke one morning and there it was!). The blade has been provided and installed by Siemens who are based nearby and it's a really dramatic addition to the square - I hear it's only due to be there for a few more weeks, before they replace with something else. 

Following a pizza lunch, we headed down to the marina and for a wander around the new cultural quarter - the Fruit Market. Lots of building work going on down there still but I think it'll be really good in a few months time. We stopped off at the Humber Street Gallery which had only opened the previous week. 

Sarah Lucas at the Humber Street Gallery

Sarah Lucas at the Humber Street Gallery

There were plenty of photo opportunities on Humber Street itself...

We then had a little stroll by the riverfront before heading back through the Old Town to the car...

So we had a very good day and may venture back in the summer! You can find out more about Hull 2017 and the planned events on their website here