Many of my print designs are inspired by my travels including the new turtle print.
A couple of years ago I visited the beautiful Greek island of Zakynthos. The island is home to an endangered species of turtle which are absolutely adorable but hard to spot. On a day cruise around the island we were lucky enough to see a few and snap a couple of pictures. I loved the fascinating patterns on their shells and was inspired to design a turtle print.
I knew that I wanted to use watercolour paints for the drawings of the turtles to match their watery habitat. It’s great to get all my paints and brushes out; the possibilities of all the different colour mixes is really inspiring. To begin the drawings I always draw a rough outline in grey pencil. For watercolour paintings I draw the outline with a watercolour pencil so that the lines can be blended in to the painting as it progresses.
As well as the photographs I’d taken in Zante I researched more pictures to have a bigger range of angles and shell designs to choose from. I selected three different turtles with a mix of different colour shell patterns because I wanted to give variety to the print.
The final stages
Once I’d painted the turtles it was time to scan them in to the computer and clean up the images. Cleaning up drawings is an important part of the print design process. When sketchbook pages are scanned the texture of the paper is also picked up which can look messy in a digital print.
After cleaning up the paintings the final stage is to arrange the turtles in to the digital print. This stage always takes far longer than I think although I knew that I wanted the turtles to be in a random arrangement to look like they were swimming around. After a lot of tweaking (2mm up, 3mm across and repeat) the design was finished!
I also tried it with a sea blue background colour to make them look like they’re swimming in the ocean. Which do you prefer? Let me know in the comments below.
It might sound obvious but if it’s easier for you to recycle, you’re much more likely to do it. You probably already have a recycling bin in your kitchen but do you have one in your bathroom? All those cardboard toilet rolls and shampoo bottles add up so make sure to stick a recycling bin in your bathroom for easy access. Otherwise those recyclable items might end up in the normal bin headed for landfill…
2. Try switching to bars
Unless you’re brand new to the eco-friendly way of life you will have heard about shampoo bars. A solid bar of shampoo is roughly the equivalent of 3-4 bottles of shampoo. Just think of all that plastic being saved! These handy bars are growing in popularity so there are plenty of different flavours to choose from now. Find them in your local eco shop or keep an eye out for them appearing in the bigger supermarkets. My personal favourites are The Friendly Soap Company and Alter/native.
If a shampoo bar is too much of a jump for you, why not switch your hand soap instead? Bars of soap are so easy to find and come in a huge range of different scents. Try to buy ones that are wrapped in card/paper instead of plastic. Bonus points if you support a local or Fairtrade business!
2b. Refill your plastic bottles
If bars just aren’t your thing you can still reduce your plastic use in the bathroom by refilling. Take your empty shampoo, conditioner and soap bottles to your local refill station. These are popping up all over the place, usually with Faith in Nature products. (If you’re in Newcastle/North East and want to know where you can refill your bottles, just ask!)
3. Look for plastic free alternatives in the kitchen
Simple changes can be made to make your bathroom entirely plastic free. For example, did you know honey makes fantastic cleanser? I’ve always struggled with eczema but since using honey on my face I’ve had the smoothest skin! Don’t worry about the stickiness, it wipes off with water surprisingly well. Plus it’s so much cheaper than standard cleansers and comes in a glass jar which you can reuse afterwards.
Another foodie swap which surprised me was apple cider vinegar. Strangely it makes a wonderful conditioner and leaves your hair super soft. It’s also handy to use when you first switch to shampoo bars to make the transition easier for your hair. Magically the vinegar smell disappears as your hair dries leaving you with silky smooth locks. If you’re not convinced, this article goes in to the ins and outs of the science of it.
4. Zero plastic everyday essentials
An important item to consider going plastic free with is toilet paper. There’s no reason for it to be wrapped in plastic, we all know what toilet paper looks like! There are companies out there providing toilet paper without all the unnecessary plastic packaging. I use Who Gives a Crap – they wrap their rolls in super pretty paper instead of plastic so they’re still nice and hygienic. As well as that, the paper itself is recycled and they give 50% of their profits to help build toilets for people in need of them. You can’t go wrong! (If you want to give them a try, click here to get £5 off your first order over £36)
If you’re using disposable razors it’s really worth swapping to a more eco-friendly alternative. Metal razors are fantastic as you get a much closer shave and you can just replace the blade when it starts to blunt. The initial cost of buying the razor itself is obviously higher than the cheap plastic razors but the replacement blades are super cheap and it’s all recyclable!
5. Swap makeup wipes for reusable makeup remover pads
Of course I couldn’t write a post about eco-friendly bathroom habits without mentioning reusable makeup remover pads. You may be wondering what’s so bad about makeup wipes; they look like they would naturally break down right? But no, the majority of makeup wipes are actually made of plastic that block drains and fill the oceans once you throw them away. This is why reusable makeup remover pads are a much better option. Not only do they look super pretty, they can be reused over and over again. Just tie them up in their washing bag then chuck them in a 30 degree wash. Check out the full range of makeup pads here.
I hope that’s given you some ideas for how to make your bathroom more eco-friendly. Which was your favourite tip? Let me know in the comments below.
Our planet is super important and Drawn by Rhiannon is committed to minimising the environmental impacts that come with running a business.
As lovely as it is to bring wonderful new items in to the world, it’s important these items aren’t causing too much of a negative impact on the environment. Here are the steps that Drawn by Rhiannon is taking to help save the planet.
Designed and handmade in the UK
This isn’t just some catchy tagline. Drawn by Rhiannon is committed to supporting British businesses and reducing transportation pollution. Because of this, keeping everything in the UK just makes sense. All the lining fabrics, thread, and packaging supplies are sourced within 12 miles of Drawn by Rhiannon HQ. Other haberdashery essentials such as zips and D-rings are currently sourced from Birmingham. Ongoing research is being carried out to find a more local supplier for these. And of course, everything is handmade by Rhiannon in her studio in Newcastle Upon Tyne.
Eco friendly fabric printing
Once the fabric has been designed by Rhiannon, the files are sent to a fabric printing company in London. The cotton fabric is printed using digital pigment inks. This process of printing requires no water and uses around 95% less energy than screen printing. There is virtually no ink waste and no soapy residues from production. All this helps to reduce the environmental impact and the print quality is fantastic with fab vibrant colours!
Plastic free packaging
It’s lovely to receive some beautifully packaged happy post but not if it’s full of nasty plastic. All the packaging at Drawn by Rhiannon, as well as the gift wrap options, are completely plastic free. Orders are either wrapped in blue polka dot paper bags or blue tissue paper depending on size. Items are then packaged in cardboard mailing boxes, sealed with paper tape. The paper bags and mailing boxes can be reused or put straight in home recycling bins. The tissue paper can be reused or put in a compost bin as it’s biodegradable
As well as implementing eco-friendly policies in the running of the business, Drawn by Rhiannon wants to encourage other people to think in a more sustainable way too. Through the eco range of reusable products, Drawn by Rhiannon is offering simple changes that will drastically reduce plastic waste in customers’ homes. Find out more about the reusable beeswax food wraps and the reusable makeup remover pads. Stay tuned for more reusable products being released soon to help you reduce your environmental impact.
If you have any questions or suggestions about Drawn by Rhiannon’s environmental policies please get in touch. You can use the contact page or social media.
During the build up to Christmas in November and December I’ll be at markets all around the north east. These fab handmade gift markets are the perfect place to buy extra special presents for Christmas this year.
Read on to find out about all the events that Drawn by Rhiannon will be exhibiting at this year…
Saturday 9th November – Park Hotel, Tynemouth
The perfect place to start your Christmas shopping this year, with over 75 stalls from local businesses. The Park Hotel is situated by the roundabout just as you come in to Tynemouth, right by Longsands bay.
Saturday 16th November – Azure garden centre, Cramlington
Azure Garden Centre is hosting a Christmas Boutique every Saturday and Sunday in the lead up to Christmas. I’ll be there on Saturday 16th November for the opening day from 9am – 5pm. The boutique will feature local independent traders showcasing a range of unique crafts, seasonal gifts and food items. The garden centre is located close to Cramlington town centre and the A1 and A19.
Sunday 17th November – Redfox Gardenworld, Gateshead
I’ll be at the Redfox Christmas market on Sunday 17th November from 10am – 4pm. Support lots of local businesses and find unique gifts for your loved ones. There’ll be a chance to try your hand at candle making, have a delicious mulled wine, browse the stalls, sample freshly cooked pizza and hot doughnuts, create a Christmas wreath and much more!
Saturday 23rd & Sunday 24th November – Spanish City, Whitley Bay
Spanish City is an iconic landmark in Whitley Bay and I’m very excited to be exhibiting at their first ever Christmas Fayre. With a variety of stalls, this is the perfect chance to enjoy a fabulous festive weekend with friends and family. I’ll be there on Saturday and Sunday from 10am until 6pm.
Wednesday 27th November – Kings Priory School, Tynemouth
From 7pm to 9pm on Wednesday 27th November I’ll be at Kings Priory School for their Christmas shopping evening. Tickets include a glass of fizz or wine and can be purchased from either Percy Park Road School Office, Huntington Place School Office or from the Out of School Club. There will be a bar serving drinks and nibbles too.
Saturday 30th November – Trinity Church, Gosforth
I’m looking forward to meeting up with all my local Etsy friends for this year’s Etsy Made Local Newcastle Christmas market. The nation-wide Etsy Made Local Christmas markets are happening again this year and we will be running it for it’s third year in Newcastle. It will feature some of the best artists and artisan of the North East.
Sunday 1st December – Jarrow Hall, Jarrow
On Sunday 1st December I’ll be at Jarrow Hall for their Christmas Fair. The Fayre will showcase the latest local talent and support artists, designers and small businesses across the season. There will be a wide variety of stalls including ceramics, baking, glass, textiles, jewellery, metal, mixed media, recycled materials, painting or photography.
Monday 2nd December – Christmas in Corbridge
From 4pm – 9pm on Monday 2nd December I’ll be at Christmas in Corbridge feeling super festive! There will be carols, a brass band and more live music, over 50 stalls, street food, late night festive shopping, alpacas to meet and Santa’s grotto. Also the penultimate day of the 2019 Corbridge Christmas Tree Festival inside St Andrew’s Church which will be open on Monday night.
Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th December – Poplar Tree Garden Centre, Durham
By this point Christmas will be in full swing! I’ll be at Poplar Tree garden centre all weekend from 11am – 4pm. There will be over 60 stalls with businesses selling unique Christmas gifts, plus mulled wine, a visiting Santa, Christmas tunes and real reindeer!
Saturday 14th December – The Wood Yard, Newcastle
For my last Christmas market of the year I’ll be revisiting The Wood Yard for their Winter Market. This is a fab event full of local makers and crafters so it’s the perfect chance to get those last minute Christmas presents.
I’m very excited for the Christmas market season to start and I can’t wait to meet some of you face to face! If you’d like to know more about the location of any of these markets, visit the events page by clicking here.
The news is full of stories about climate change and it can be very frightening.
However if everyone made small changes to their everyday life then it could make a huge difference to the future of our planet. I’m by no means an environmental expert but here are some tips to help make your kitchen a bit more eco-friendly.
1a. Reduce single use plastic – loose fruit and veg
Everyone knows the amount of plastic floating around the oceans and sitting in landfills is super bad news. Once you start thinking about single use plastic you see it everywhere! An easy way to reduce your plastic intake is to buy your fruit and veg loose instead of prepacked. Many of the supermarkets are now offering plastic free choices for their fruit and veg which is great news. Better yet, why not shop at your local greengrocer and support a small business.
1b. Reduce single use plastic – weigh shop
As well as fruit and veg you can buy all sorts of your store cupboard essentials without plastic. Pasta, rice, dried fruit, spices, pulses and much more can be found at weigh shops. You can bring your own containers to fill up with as much or as little as you need so it helps prevent food waste too. These are popping up all over the country now so keep an eye out for one coming to your town soon. If you live around Newcastle Upon Tyne I recommend Buy the Kilo in Tynemouth (pictured), the Weigh House and Nil Living in the Grainger Market, The Little Refill Shop in Seaham and The Honey Tree in Heaton.
1c. Reduce single use plastic – bring your own containers
It’s great to see that lots of the supermarkets are now encouraging this. Instead of buying prepackaged meats and cheese, you can take your own container to the butcher and deli counter at larger supermarkets. This prevents the use of plastic trays which are difficult to recycle. Plus the choice of cheese at the counter is much bigger than off the shelf, and the meat tastes fantastic.
2. Eco friendly cleaners
Have you ever thought about the amount of harsh chemicals that are released into the environment from cleaners? Or the amount of plastic you have stored in your cleaning cupboard? Thankfully there are now lots of options for more eco friendly cleaning products. One of the biggest names in eco friendly cleaning is Ecover. This brand is widely available and is often found in refillable shops too. I also thought the “doesn’t cost the earth” range by Wilko is good as it’s all made from sustainable plant ingredients and packaged in 100% recycled bottles. Plus their washing up liquid is one of the only washing up liquids that doesn’t irritate my skin.
To reduce waste even more you can fill up your cleaning products at a refill shop. Again these are becoming much more common so you may already have one near you without knowing about it. I use the concentrated cleaning gel from Alternative Stores which is just around the corner from me. You dilute the gel at home with water and a little goes a really long way so it actually works out far cheaper than ready made cleaning products! If you’re in Newcastle Upon Tyne there’s also the One World Shop that offers refills as well as Buy the Kilo, Nil Living and The Little Refill Shop mentioned earlier.
3. Freeze leftovers
The amount of food waste produced in the world is just crazy. Over 1/3 of all food produced globally goes to waste. This is such a simple issue for you to tackle at home. Meal plan what you’re going to eat for the week then just buy the food for those meals and snacks. Then if you have any food left over from your meal don’t throw it out! Use a tupperware or a glass jar to freeze your leftovers for a really quick meal for another day.
4. Find plastic alternatives
Take a look through your kitchen cupboards and fridge. What items could you swap to be packaged in something other than plastic? I’ve switched to milk in returnable glass bottles from a local farmer, cola in cans instead of plastic bottles, and mixer drinks in glass bottles instead of plastic. (For any dark and stormy fans Belvoir’s ginger cordial that comes in a glass bottle is divine.) These were really simple switches that have reduced my plastic use hugely.
Interesting fact about aluminium – did you know that there is no limit to the amount of times aluminium can be recycled? This makes it the most recyclable of all the materials. Plus the energy that’s saved by recycling one aluminium can is enough to power a TV for three hours!
5. Ditch the cling film
Of course I couldn’t make a blog post about an eco friendly kitchen without mentioning beeswax wraps. These fantastic creations have completely changed my kitchen habits. Instead of wrapping bowls and food in cling film, use a beeswax wrap instead.
Cling film can’t be recycled so every piece that was ever made is now sitting in a landfill or polluting our oceans. Beeswax wraps are reusable, much prettier than cling film, and can be composted at the end of their life. To find out more about the beeswax wraps, check out this blog post.
You can also take your beeswax wrap to the cheese counter and take your chunk of cheese home wrapped in the lovely fabrics.
To shop the full range of reusable beeswax food wraps, click on the pictures above or click here.
If you have any more tips about how to make your kitchen more eco friendly or if you want to recommend an eco friendly shop near you, comment below!
At Drawn by Rhiannon everything is done by hand from start to finish.
Every item begins with an image drawn by hand by me which I scan in to the computer to make a digital fabric design. I then make all the items myself on my industrial sewing machine. I also make all the packaging myself, photograph the items and edit them to make them as clear as possible. Finally I list them on my website and write up a description for every item. It really is all done by hand!
To show you what I mean here’s a rundown on how the new rubber duck reusable makeup remover pads were made by hand, step by step. (You can take a look at the finished product on my website here.)
Step 1: Drawings
I love that every fabric I design begins with one of my drawings. I use all sorts of materials to draw with but for the rubber ducks I decided to use promarkers. These pens are brilliant for creating bold graphic designs which was exactly the look I wanted for the ducks. I chose a selection of rubber ducks from my collection (I have almost 100 now!) and started to draw. I initially sketched the ducks in pencil to get a rough outline to work with. Then I went over the lines I was happy with with a black marker and coloured in the shapes. These are the pages from my sketchbook that I scanned in.
Step 2: Digital print design
Once I’m happy with the drawings it’s time to make the digital print design. The drawings always need a bit of cleaning up so I go around the edge of the drawings erasing any fuzzy edges from the scanner. Thanks to the bold line work and colours, the duck drawings scanned in really well and were fairly simple to convert in to digital images. Next I make sure the colours are where I want them to be. For example, some of the ducks had scanned in with bolder colours so I wanted to make sure that the colour depth was even across all the ducks. I never want to over-edit on the computer otherwise the drawings will lose their hand-drawn character.
I had a good idea in my head about how I wanted the duck print to look which made it easier to arrange the design. Sometimes I’m not sure how I want the finished design to look so it can take a long time to work out a composition that I’m happy with. For the rubber ducks I simply wanted them in lines with a half drop repeat.
Step 3: Making
When I’ve finished the design, I send it to a fabric printing company in London. They print my designs on to the fabrics then send it back to me to be made in to all sorts of different items.
With the reusable makeup remover pads there are quite a few steps required to make them. First of all I have to cut out the printed fabric and the backing fabric. For the back of the pads I use a soft cotton towelling that I source locally.
Once the fabrics are all cut out it’s time to start pinning. About 70% of making anything seems to be pinning!
After pinning everything in place I sew the two sides together on the industrial sewing machine. I then topstitch around the whole pad to make sure it’s really secure.
Then I repeat the whole thing four more times to have a total of five makeup pads per pack. The final stage in the making process is to make the little wash bag that the pads are stored in. I make these with tulle that I buy locally so that you can see which design pads are inside each bag. It’s also a handy little bag to keep for washing the makeup pads in so that they don’t escape and get lost in the wash.
Step 4: Packaging
I include an information tag with the reusable makeup remover pads which also gets made by me. I designed the tag on my computer to include how to use the pads and the cleaning instructions. These tags are then printed on to card and cutout using my cricut machine. The cricut machine saves me a lot of time and cuts a lot more accurately than I would!
Step 5: Photography
Once the makeup pads are made, in their little bags and tied with a tag, they’re ready to be photographed. I do all my product photography myself in my studio. Luckily my studio has nice big windows that let in lots of natural light so as long as the British weather is being kind, I can usually snap some pretty good product shots.
Then it’s just a case of editing the photos to fix the lighting and make sure the colours are true to life. Finally they’re ready to list on the website!
I always write a small section about the inspiration behind the print design for a personal touch and make sure important details such as size and fabric type are listed.
There are so many fab lighthouses along the North East coast.
If you haven’t checked out the first lighthouse post featuring the inspiration behind the latest print you can see it here. Once I’d chosen the lighthouses I was going to use I set about drawing them. I knew I wanted this to be quite a graphic illustrative print design so I started drawing the lighthouses in bold pencil.
I started with Souter lighthouse. It’s a very classic lighthouse shape so it seemed like a good place to start. Other than the windows and railing, this was a fairly straight forward sketch.
The next one I had chosen was Seaham lighthouse. Again this is a pretty standard shape so it was important to get the proportions and lines right. I didn’t want to use a ruler for the edges as I felt that would look too perfect and would jar with the hand drawn style.
Next on the list was St. Mary’s lighthouse in Whitley Bay. This is a iconic landmark near to where I live so I wanted to do it justice. Although it is a simple structure, this also makes it tricky to draw as there is not much detail to work with. It’s also completely white so I wasn’t sure how I was going to colour it in. This could make it hard to stand out against a plain background.
By far the hardest one to draw was Amble lighthouse. Trying to get the perspective right on the railings was so tricky! After a lot of rubbing out and redrawing, I finally got the main structure right.
Time to colour in
Once I’d finished all the drawings it was time to start digitalising them. I scanned them all in to the computer then cleaned them up in Photoshop to make the outlines stand out clearly. To achieve the bold graphic look I wanted I decided it would be best to colour them in digitally.
I love the classic colour combination of Souter lighthouse. I used colour swatches from photos to make sure the shade of red was just right. After adding colours, I used shading to give it more of a rounded shape.
Next up for colouring was Seaham lighthouse. This lighthouse is simply black and white so the foundations were easy to colour. However I wasn’t happy with how flat it looked. I decided to run a lighter shade of black down the centre to give it more depth, and studied the rust colour of the door to get the right texture.
As predicted St. Mary’s lighthouse was very tricky to colour. The lighthouse is completely white but with no colour at all it simply looked like I had forgotten to colour it in. I decided instead to use a light shade of grey to shape the lighthouse. I also studied photos of the lighthouse and saw the door and windows were darkly shaded so this added interest to the drawing too.
Like with Souter Lighthouse, I colour matched photos of Amble lighthouse to make sure I used the correct shade of red. I shaded the white portions of the lighthouse to match the off-white colouring of real life.
The final lighthouse is Longstone lighthouse. I drew this lighthouse for a previous print design inspired by the Northumberland coast. Although the style is slightly different I still thought it was worth including it in the print design as it would add a good pop of colour.
The final print
After scanning in and colouring all the lighthouses it was time to start assembling. This took much longer than I had originally anticipated. It was surprisingly difficult to get all the lighthouses arranged in to a well fitting pattern. I wanted to spread the red lighthouses evenly throughout the print and create a mix of sizes. Eventually I was happy with the layout and the print was complete!
This print design will be featured in a range of products this autumn winter. Let me know what you think about it in the comments below or share on social media!
If you select the Christmas gift wrap option, this is how your item will be wrapped. It features Christmas print kraft paper tied together with red twine and finished off with a festive cinnamon stick and jingle bell. A hand written charity Christmas card will be included so please leave your gift message at checkout. (If you would like to know which charities are being supported this year please get in touch.) Your order can then either be sent to you or it can be delivered directly to the recipient. Just type in whichever address you would like it sending to at checkout.
If your order is for a birthday gift, an anniversary present, a well done surprise or any other occasion, this is the option to choose. Your item will be wrapped in blue kraft paper and tied together with blue polka dot ribbon. A hand written note card will be included so please leave your gift message at checkout. Your order can then either be sent to you or it can be delivered directly to the recipient. Just type in whichever address you would like it sending to at checkout.
I’m lucky to live by the North East coast, a stunning stretch of coastline that inspires me all the time. The bold colours and wide range of styles of the lighthouses of the north east made me want to grab a sketchbook and get drawing so that’s exactly what I did. But first, I had to decide which lighthouses to include in the print design.
Beginning in County Durham, the first landmark I chose was Seaham lighthouse. The colouring of this lighthouse is slightly unusual as it features black stripes, rather than the usual red or blue.
Moving further north up the coast, my next pick was Souter lighthouse. This lovely classic style lighthouse is located in Whitburn, between Sunderland and South Shields. It’s owned by the National Trust and the view from the top is incredible!
North of the Tyne
Next I travelled north of the river to Whitley Bay. I knew from the start that I wanted to include St. Mary’s lighthouse as it’s the closest lighthouse to where I live. It’s an icon of Whitley Bay so I want to do it justice. Keep an eye out for the next blog post to see how it turned out…
I’ve previously designed a print based on the North East coast which featured Longstone Lighthouse. This lighthouse located on the Farne Islands has the classic red stripes that will bring a great splash of colour to the print.
I was struggling to choose the final lighthouse of the north east as I wanted another one with stripes but I was coming up short. Then on a day trip to Amble I struck lucky. Not only is Amble lighthouse a fabulous red and white striped landmark, it’s also an interesting structure which will bring some diversity to the print design.
With all the lighthouses chosen it’s time to get drawing. Stay tuned for my next blog post to see how they turn out.
If you’ve not seen the previous posts about our trip, check them out here. Every place we visited was full of stunning buildings and tonnes of history. But one thing that stood out for me was the food. Oh my goodness. The Belgians know how to eat!
Belgium is most well known for their chips and beer but seeing as I can’t eat chips and I don’t like beer, I wasn’t expecting much to excite me. I was so wrong. First of all, there is chocolate. EVERYWHERE. Of course I knew all about Belgian chocolate but I had no idea how popular it would be. It seemed that every other shop in Brussels was filled with the beautiful rich smell of chocolate. Many were beautifully laid out and even offered free samples – what’s not to love!
With all that solid chocolate floating around, it makes sense that their hot chocolate would be fantastic. Well it was incredible. On our very soggy day trip to Bruges, we found the most amazing little hot chocolate house to warm our bones. The hot chocolate menu was several pages long, featuring all kinds of different percent and origin chocolate. We were each presented with a giant bowl of steaming milk and a chocolate cup of chocolate chips to melt in to it. Best hot chocolate ever.
Other than chocolate, what food is Belgium known for? Waffles. Being a huge waffle fan, I was super excited about this. I wasn’t prepared for quite how many waffle stands and shops there would be but I loved it! The list of toppings, both sweet and savoury, was endless. And the waffles themselves were works of art! Great care is taken to create a delicious and beautiful waffle which I thought was brilliant. It even inspired me to create a waffle print design which I can’t wait to get started on later this year.
After chocolate and waffles, my food knowledge of Belgium was done. I didn’t know what else to expect but I was in for such a good surprise. One sweet treat that kept popping up was the Merveilleux. This incredible Belgian creation is a cake made of soft meringue, whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Literally all my favourite things in one dessert!
I went for the most chocolate laden one I could find and let me tell you it was pure heaven. They seemed to come in two sizes, one about 10cm tall, and miniature ones at about half that size.
There were full shops dedicated to this sweet delight, as well as many bakeries having huge sections of them in varying flavours. Some had nuts in, a few had fruit in, and all were coated in either white, milk, or dark chocolate.
Like a kid in a candy store
As well as chocolatey goodness, we also discovered the interesting array of Belgian sweets on offer.
Cuberdons (named after little noses because of their shape) could be found everywhere. There were carts selling stacks of the jelly sweets in every colour of the rainbow. The sweet shops were also stunning, with all kinds of interesting looking candies in various shapes and colours to choose from.
Cakes, tarts and pastries
It was interesting seeing the French influence on the food. We spotted many patisseries that would have looked right at home in any French town. The cakes, tarts and pastries are so beautifully and meticulously decorated with stunning flavours to match. As I was admiring yet another bakery window, I was inspired by the glorious treats to create a print design. Stay tuned for that coming soon!
But it wasn’t just fancy bakeries that provided these incredible sweet treats. We visited a food market in Antwerp which was absolutely fabulous – definitely worth a visit for any foodie. There was a bakery stall selling all kinds of traditional Belgian desserts. We went for a flan bresilienne which was a truly delicious tart made of sweet pastry, creme patissiere, whipped cream and topped with sugared chopped nuts.
As well as all the wonderful sweet treats we found, we encountered many delicious savoury bites too. The food market had some great stalls, such as a cheese stall with every type of cheese you could possibly imagine.
We quickly discovered that meatballs are a popular meal in Belgium so we tested them out. We found a small meatball bar just off the main square in Brussels that offered a very reasonable lunchtime menu which was absolutely delicious.
Another Belgium food favourite is croquetten. This dutch bread-crumbed snack is available in a variety of fillings and we found a cafe in Antwerp that had a whole menu of them. They were packed full of flavour and surprisingly filling which was just what we needed after a day of sightseeing.
After not expecting much I was blown away by the amazing food we discovered on our tour around Belgium. I hope you enjoyed reliving my food memories with me!