The Hutong Cafe, Plymouth.

My dogs are urban dogs, they like a circular walk on tarmac with plenty of green space to run around on and a dog friendly cafe for a bit of a nap. I’ve been trying to recreate that for them in Plymouth. Today I struck gold for all of us.

We parked at Devils Point and had half an hour of fabulous sniffs and running about before descending the steps into the Royal William Yard to call in at Ocean Studios before taking the road back to Devils Point.

The Hutong Cafe just outside the grand gates of the Royal William Yard used to be a pub. Now it’s a stylish cafe serving great coffee.IMG_9451I’m not the main coffee addict at but I do know a good cup of coffee when the bubbles on the crema reflect beautiful oily-looking copper colours on the  top of a simple black coffee. So there we go, top marks for the look of a black coffee, top marks for flavour. My piece of cake was great too , but as usual I’m really more about the style of the place.

Hutong has great style. Easy on the eye, industrial retro , done impeccably, which is not always  as simple as it looks.IMG_9452

Style is also about the ambience  of the place and Hutong gets it right. Dogs are welcome either outside or inside, nearer to the front of the cafe.IMG_9459George, one of the owners, was welcoming when we arrived and he and Owen the barista  were involved in conversations with everyone in the cafe at some point during my visit. Later I met Jack , George’s brother and co-owner, who is equally engaging. George and Jack have great plans for the future of this cafe and they were a pleasure to natter to. Chris the chef made a brief appearance to smile , completing what seems to be a winning team. A cafe this good is a great addition to the area and a fabulous place to take the most dedicated of coffee lovers.IMG_9457


Dungeness, I’ve loved this place for ever through the work of Derek Jarman. When I relocated to London it became my favourite place to visit when I needed a fix of sea air. The boardwalks are a gift to photographers and I can never resist them. This one makes it onto the website because the vapour trail mimics the direction of the distant boardwalk.


Queueing to put nobody in the chair.

IMG_0429Children and their parents were puzzled by me today. Puzzled is putting it mildly , quite frankly they thought I was mad.

The chair is an oversized deck chair that easily accommodated 6 children just before my turn.

Queueing not to put someone in the seat was an alien concept to the children in the queue and , to be fair, their parents. I had to virtually push the little buggers off when it was my turn. Something that didn’t please the devoted parents.

Of course without a human in the seat you can get no sense of scale unless you know the local geography very well.

So perhaps I was a little mad. our style


Theoldmortuary is furnished predominantly by recycled and repurposed furniture and fittings. The Barcelona chair here was an eBay bargain bought in Kent. The yellow cushion is by Harlequin from John Lewis and the one behind is from Hoi An , Vietnam. The pouffe comes from Habitat and the picture above was painted by Juliet Cornell and represents the mineral pollution that exudes into the mud of Devon Great  Consuls mine at Gunnislake. The walls are painted with Farrow and Ball  Railings.


IMG_0428This cuddle sofa has been recycled from our flat in London. The bee pillows come from John Lewis. The wallpaper is Flying Ducks by Mulberry and the painted wall is Railings by Farrow and Ball. The prints are simply illustrations of insects printed by inkjet printer on pages from an old book.

Too late for breakfast

IMG_9283Today was supposed to be breakfast at The Canteen, Maker Heights, but somehow the morning slipped into afternoon . IMG_9254Breakfast is the reason we go to Maker Heights , not the only reason , but the main one. To arrive too late was a shock, one which required coffee and quick thinking .

As it turns out missing the breakfast slot was a good thing, we just ordered random things and were blown away , metaphorically and actually, by the amazing tastes of the food and the wind . Potato wedges with cheese, Asparagus Salad, Smoked Mackeral Pate and a tasting board, all delicious. This is not however a food blog, there are a million bloggers out there who can write good stuff about the food here better than me.

If I were a food blogger, I would go on and on about just how tasty the food at The Canteen is, but this is an Art, Design and Style blog. So I’d say get over there ,check out the funky art, Hope that it’s not too full for you to see the eclectic style and enjoy some fabulous food whilst you discuss the design and landscape.

The Canteen at Maker Heights@makercanteen

So beyond breakfast why do we go to The Canteen at Maker.

1, The views, they are spectacular .

2. The Coffee, seriously good coffee.

3. Most importantly for a design blog . The StyleIMG_9276.JPG4 The Welcome, all the staff here are lovely every time we come.IMG_9279

5 The countryside around South East Cornwall is known as the forgotten corner of Cornwall. Getting to Maker Canteen takes you through spectacular countryside.

6 After today, we will be going for all the other lovely food, we may well miss breakfast more often.

7 The Vibe. This place makes you smile, a lot. Sometimes too much.

And then you fall off the bench IMG_9262.JPG

What a difference the sun makes.

I make an irregular, regular trip into Plymouth a couple of times a month. The irregularity is regulated by the Sourdough levels in my freezer. About a year ago I discovered the wonder that is Jacka Bakery , 38 Southside Street, Plymouth.IMG_9198I’ve been a sourdough hunter for years. Always on a quest for perfection. Easy enough when I lived in London where the population can support any number of Artisan bakers, not so easy elsewhere. Don’t even start me on supermarket sourdough or the debacle that was making my own. Imagine the pleasure I get from knowing this fabulous bakery is within easy reach ; the bread freezes and defrosts easily ,remaining in perfect condition.

Bread is not their only output , they make the best chocolate croissants and have a Cakes of the Day selection. There are also a few tables for coffee to accompany the cake. I’ve not tried the coffee .

The Coffee addict at is away in Cheltenham, instagramming the coffee shops and bakeries of Gloucestershire.

Anyway I digress , my last visit to Jacka prompted a vibrant painting of bright daylight reflected in the Barbican Harbour. The painting was created using the imagery of several photographs of oil, paint and some litter floating on the surface in a corner of the harbour.IMG_9082.JPGIt was a jewel bright day but bitterly cold as I took a series of photos that became this painting.

This morning, a much more typical Plymouth day, the view could not be more different.IMG_9196

That is pretty yucky and hasn’t inspired me to crack open the paints. However as I returned from the bakery a man was fishing out all the debris and detritus to make the Barbican look pretty again. It’s Pirate Weekend , a historically inaccurate , festival of all things piratey and plundery. ( I say historically inaccurate simply because it is unimaginable that Plymothians, back in the day , concentrated on getting litter out of the harbour in preparation for imminent Pirate arrival)

I however would have made sure my bread supplies were up to scratch, you never know who might pop in for toast .


So there you have it , goodness knows how many WordPress training  topics I’ve covered there . Thank you for your patience , I’m off to hashtag now and then I’m done.