Saturday, 5 December 2015

Macarons & More

It's December, lots of you have your Christmas tree up, the shopping is in full swing and today is support your local independent day so what better time to post about my time at Macarons & More!

I was lucky enough to be invited to the Macarons & More Christmas tasting event last week, hosted by the macaron king Dr Tim Kinnaird. When I arrived (a few minutes fashionably late) the tasting was already in full swing, the shop looking very tastefully festive with glittery baubles, snowflakes and the looking tastiest tree I have seen.

 Now it's no surprise I do love a good macaron and I have never tasted any as good as the ones from here, the tasting event certainly lived up to my expectations, my particular favourites were the Mince Pie which had all the flavour of a mince pie without the weird raisin texture, the Irish Cream macarons also went down a treat; the other seasonal flavours were gingerbread and candy cane (I didn't try these, I did try and show some restraint). As the name suggest there was more on offer than just macarons and I also managed to scoff some stollen cake, orange and cranberry cake, a Funfetti Buche (mousse cake) and the a  glass of the most indulgent hot chocolate I have tried, basically melted chocolate, I did quite literally leave the shop high on sugar.

The hour flew by and I must admit I was a bit sad to leave but my love of macarons well and firmly confirmed.

There is really something for everyone in the shop with chutneys, hot chocs, gourmet popcorn! I know that I am going to be ordering a box of the festive macarons (maybe even 2....)


Friday, 4 December 2015

Owen Mathers

Owen Mathers is a real home grown artist, Norfolk born and bred and a graduate from NUA. His illustrations of Norwich life capture the essence of the streets and people in them. Although he may live in London now you can tell his heart stays firmly in our fine city, I do enjoy his sketches of people on the London underground though. Owen clearly likes to work from life, which takes a lot of skill and he succeeds in capturing people and moments with energy, I'd like to see how quickly he can draw. As well as working in pen and paint he is also a skilled graphic designer, do have a look at more of his work on his website as there is so much to see, I particularly like 'posh commuter' and 'middle aged skater and his Mrs'. I love Owens style it makes me want to get a pen out and draw, although I think I'll just leave it to the experts!
You can link directly to his Etsy here.


J.P Vincent

We've been lacking on the fashion front recently, so here's some home grown textile design to get us all back into it. It's summer we're all ditching the black for more colourful items of clothing...ok you guys are Amber and I are still pretty much always in black! However J.P.Vincent have got us covered with bright pop accessories, I love the patterns and colours used in his collection, they add glamour to any outfit.
J.P.Vincent has had many years in the textile trade since graduating in 1993, working for the likes of Paul Smith and Ana Sui, but now he's branching out with his own name and his own collection. I saw the stall at Norwich Makers Market earlier in the year and was instantly drawn to it. You can find him on InstagramFacebook and the website linked above. I've seriously got my eye on one of the totes, also how good are the key fobs?


Joel Benjamin

Joel Benjamin is originally from Suffolk but he made the awesome decision to reside in our beautiful Norwich, good on ya Joel, he works as a freelance illustrator and his clients include Smash Skates, Monorex, Coca Cola and more recently Vice. His works are mixed media and are composed of pen, watercolour and digital colouring. The finished pieces are effortlessly cool, I loved his 'skate widows at a recent exhibition, he really does make a damn good portrait.
He recently exhibited at The Birdcage Bridge, curated by Alice Lee which featured some of his illustrations for Vice, I love the colours in these new works, and having no black outline makes them really fresh. Joel has completed a few zines himself 'Wolves' and 'Wolves in cars' both of which I own, I picked them up at the last zine fair at The Arts Center. If you'd like to check out more of his work then check out his Instagram @_joelbenjamin_.
Joel's kitten in the underpass has to be one of the most liked down there, nice one Joel!


Ruth Knapp

I'm probably going to get in trouble for writing this post as my blogging partner and all round stenciling master, Miss Ruth Knapp is all for championing other artists in the area, what she is not so good at is accepting how blinking brills she really is. Now art is usually her bag I know what I like but Ruth is far better at describing whats going on, styles and techniques etc, so apologies for this not being the most articulate art post we have ever written.
Here goes...
Ruth launched herself as a key player in the art scene a couple of years ago, the birth of the now famous pop art pineapple really made people take notice (I wonder how many people have those on their walls now? I know I do). Knapp knew stenciling was her calling and has recently been on an art rampage with several new designs being produced every week! She specialises in the bright and bold and can transform literally anything you desire into her trademark style, from pet portraits to famous icons, local landmarks to cute and kitschy animals.
You can currently see her work stocked in the beautiful Berrys & Grey stores and 'The Underground Gallery' project  which will form part of the lord mayors celebration weekend with the public launch Saturday 4th July 12pm.
She's totally hot right now and to grab your own piece of knappism you can shop on her website or email directly for commissions
Follow on Instagram to see more of her work.


Ileana Hunter

Ileana Hunter is another local artist with incredible talent, the veritable Queen of graphite! I'm stunned by how little pencil goes on the paper to create such stunning portraits, her minimalist style uses negative space and shadow to make up features, it's more about what isn't there than what is. Ileana is originally from Romania, she calls Norwich her adoptive city and she loves it, she thinks there's no better place to raise her kids, and we couldn't agree more! We are also super proud to call her one of our own.
Her celebrity portraits have got her global attention and she is revered by many, her Facebook page has over two hundred and thirty-two THOUSAND likes and her Deviant art page is full to the brim of comments from admirers. Ileana works from photographs as well as life, her progress shots show just how true to the original pictures her drawings are, it's a marvel to see! She sells prints of her drawings as well as originals at her Etsy shop (linked of course), she's also open to commission work and custom prints, so if you were looking for a particularly special gift...we should have told you about this before Valentines Day I know!
I can't really say much more about Ileana, her work speaks for itself, enjoy the drawings and let us know what you think.


Henry Boon

Henry Boon is a prolific Norwich artist, his quirky illustrations can be seen on Tropico flyers, on the window of Dogfish and even on the streets. He uses digital media with incredible precision, and his observations of people and the world around him are brutally honest yet jovial.
I love Boon's style, it's distinctive, and that gets him noticed, he recently painted a wall on  a Magdalen Street alleyway, with the help of 'Get Walls'. It depicts a canary loving local, see if you can spot it next time you're down that way. He is also known to paint in the Grapes Hill underpass on occasion, his designs always look fresh and stand out from the typical graffiti style.
Boon is available for commissions; digital or paint, his recent works include some delightful acrylic paintings of ladies in profile, I really rather want one. He has exhibited in group exhibitions like Moosey Art's 'Art in My Mouth', I'd like to see a solo show in the future though. Keep up the good work Henry!


No. 79 Bar and Charcuterie

It was perfect timing for an invitation to No 79 Bar & Charcuterie  the day we booked was gloriously sunny and we soaked up the rays with some al fresco dining in their outside area, perfect for relaxing and people watching on the bustling Unthank Road.
We arrived quite early and had a look inside; bright, airy, contemporary...  It's a beautiful space and somewhere I can imagine enjoying several glasses of wine or a few of the divine looking cocktails (I was driving this visit so stuck to coffee) We decided not to choose from the menu but instead left it to the team at No 79 to bring what they thought we would enjoy, it is safe to say we were not disappointed with the ultimate and veggie board that was presented to us. It looked like such a lot of food at first we were worried we might not eat it all, luckily once we started it was so delicious we didn't leave very much. The veggie board was full of colour, lots of pickles, croquettes and a lovely fresh tomato salad, the ultimate with locally sourced meats, the best slaw I have eaten in a while and cheese... so much cheese!! We shared the home made bread and crackers, our favourite was definitely the truffle and black pepper bread (we didn't leave any of that I can assure you)
It really was the perfect lunch and something a little different from many of the other places around. My only regret was not trying the marshmallow, Kaluha and chocolate cheesecake, but there is always next time.


The Workshop

Last Friday was a little bit sunny so it was the perfect day for taking art award nominee Alice Lee for some lunch at The Workshop. I'm a bit embarrassed to say as I have lived on Earlham Road for five years that it was my first visit, I have literally let myself down as the food is incredible! Anyway after kicking myself I shall tell you all about it so you're not missing out too. We were quite hungry and there's lots of little dishes to choose from so perfect for sharing, we both went for a wrap, spicy chick peas for me and spicy sausage for Alice and Jerusalem artichokes and aubergines to share, this also came with bread.
My wrap was sensational and perfectly accompanied by Moroccan mint tea, I was reminiscing on my recent holiday to Marrakesh with the flavours and the sunny outside space. The artichokes with feta were perfect and the flavours in the aubergine were a blast, all in all absolutely cracking food! If its too chilly for outside then inside is cosy and inviting, sink down in a chair and enjoy.


Bia Kitchen

I'd heard about the 'pulled jack bap' via various peoples Instagrams and was dying to try it, so I was very pleased to find Bia Kitchen at last weekends food festival in Chapelfield Park. I was working at Norwich Chocolate Festival all weekend so I was very happy when they said they were in the park both days, it gave me the opportunity to try two of their dishes. Saturday I was in a rush so opted for a burrito as I could eat it on the run, it was mighty fine, but really I wanted the pulled jack fruit so I saved this option for Sunday lunch when I'd have time to truly savour it. was worth the 24 hour wait, simply divine is all I can say. The fruit has a wonderful texture and taste, I was blown away, it is as good as everyone is saying. The beet burger had sold out both days so it must be good, Bia Kitchen will be popping up again on Saturday at the Norwich Veggie Fayre at The Quaker Meeting house and I'm determined to get in there early to try one of those too. I didn't take any pictures of my food as I was too busy scoffing it so thanks to Cheryl and Michelle for the photos and see you both real soon!


38 St.Giles

We were invited to have breakfast and a tour of the bespoke bed and breakfast 38 St.Giles, I'd seen a few pictures on Julianne's Instagram so was excited when she asked us. The business is family run with George as front of house, he also cooked the stunning breakfast we ate before our tour. I had scrambled eggs with vine tomatoes, it was divine, the eggs were perfectly seasoned ( I take this quite seriously) and the tomatoes were so sweet, I ate it all! I had to try the home made jam though so I made like a Hobbit and had second breakfast right after first, the blackberry and basil jam was thick and full of fruit, it actually felt pretty healthy. There was freshly squeezed orange juice and breakfast tea to accompany the food, all ingredients apart from the oranges are locally sourced, coffee comes from Strangers and they're also getting their own blend of tea soon. The place has a really nice homely feel to it, they have regular guest who feel like family and I think that's pretty special.
Right, on to the rooms, I couldn't wait to have a snoop around, obviously not the occupied ones! The whole building is very impressive with period features throughout, chandeliers hang in the stairwells, stained glass windows, impressive cornices and wonderful wallpapers. I was truly smitten with this place, the rooms are all lovely, with beautiful bathrooms and L'occitane toiletries. You can expect home made cake in you room along with spring water and tea making facilities, all bedding is Egyptian Cotton and everything is pretty sumptuous. The piece de resistance is the suite with the most amazing bathroom, the stand alone bath, stained glass doors and black tiled shower room are to die for. The location is killer too, just a minutes walk to The Lanes and everything you need for a taste of the real Norwich.
prices start from £95 and kids stay free

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