I recently spent 6 days exploring Berlin. I’d never been before so didn’t really know what to expect but I loved it! We didn’t plan the trip too much so we could discover things our own way. Here’s some of my favourite things we did on our trip.
G E T T I N G A R O U N D
There are lots of bike hire places around the city and there are pretty good cycle lanes (some segregated and some not). We walked around a lot and used the U and S-Bahn to get around. The system is easy to use and if you miss the last trains at night you can catch a night bus or tram. As well as being efficient, the subway stations are also very colourful. Each one is styled in a different colour with bright and pastel tiles and paint. It makes travelling from station to station a bit more exciting.
Le Corbusier’s third instalment of his Unite d’Habitation buildings is well worth the trip out to West Berlin. Modular and colourful, even on the wet, grey day we visited it still looked so vivid.
B I E R P I N S E L | Schloßstraße 17, 12163
Now empty, Bierpinsel has housed a disco, pubs and restaurants. Artists were invited to paint the abandoned structure in 2010 and now it looks like this. A rainbow in the sky, albeit a slightly dirty one.
The Bird claims to have Berlin’s best burgers and steaks and they might be right. We ate here twice because it was so good. It’s busy pretty much every night so if you need to eat at a very specific time I’d recommend making a reservation or be prepared to wait. Portions are huge and delicious.
D A S G I F T | Donaustraße 119, Neukölln 12043
A great bar down the street from our Airbnb in Neukölln, ran by fellow Scots and worked in by some friends of ours. They have a good selection of craft beers, cider and wine. My favourite was the prosecco by the (large) wine glass.
A lovely, family run boutique hotel. It has an ACE hotel vibe and the bar area on the ground floor is really relaxed and they have a good drinks selection and great cocktails.
T I E R | Weserstraße 42, Neukölln 12045
Weserstraße is filled with bars and some restaurants. Tier is a good place to start the night with some cocktails. They have a huge selection and are well made. And there’s table service too, like most Berlin bars.
H A M Y | Hasenheide 10, Kreuzberg 10967
I had some of the best Vietnamese food I’ve ever had at Hamy. To be fair, I had been drinking both times we ate here but still, I think it was pretty good. The menu is simple, with a few dishes and some daily specials. Nothing costs over €5.00 and the food is with you so quickly after ordering. The place is understandably, always busy so you’ll probably need to share a table.
I love finding the most colourful parts of every city I visit. I thought Berlin would be very grey and concrete heavy but the buildings in the East are painted in some amazing pastels and there’s street art everywhere. Even though we were there for 6 days, I still didn’t see everything I wanted to so I’ll definitely be back to Berlin. Maybe in the Summer though, not sure I can handle their Winters!
Last week, I was lucky enough to travel to Tenerife for 4 days with British Airways to shoot some images for their upcoming European destinations ad campaign. I’d never been to Tenerife before and assumed it would be full of British theme pubs, hen and stag weekends and alcopop chugging morons. I’m such a judgemental Jessie. Parts of the island are like this, but most of it is very beautiful.
Our shoot locations were on some very beautiful beaches and across the Mount Teide National Park, which looks half like the surface of the moon and half like the desert. Which is the perfect amount.
Every shoot needs a dog.
The ad will be out in a few weeks. I’m looking forward to seeing my Tenerife on a billboard soon.
A few weeks ago we decided to go for a wander. Somewhere not too far from home, but far enough away from E5 that we felt like we were having a little adventure. I’d been meaning to pay a visit to Sugarhouse Studios for months but never had the chance until then.
Sugarhouse Studios is a collaborative studio and events space based in Stratford and houses the workspaces of lots of talented makers. They often have open houses and we can’t wait to visit the next one so we can see inside the space and explore a little more. Aside from being a creative hub, the exterior is surely a contender for title of best wall ever.
The building was created by design/architecture collective Assemble. Since constructed in 2012 the space has housed a cafe, pizzeria, cinema, events and has been home to its current designer, artists and makers since early 2014.
I’d love to come to work here every day. Best. Wall. Ever.
We’ve just spent 5 days in Copenhagen. It was my first time and I loved it! There was great design and colour everywhere. We read a few good blogs and guides before we went but here’s how we spent our week in this beautiful city.
G E T T I N G A R O U N D
Copenhagen is such a forward thinking city when it comes to cycling. As a cyclist in London I’ve got to put up with the aggression of drivers and the attitude that cyclists are ‘in the way’ and a nuisance. It seems like everyone in Copenhagen has a bike and they’re free to ride all over the city on cycle paths that run alongside the pedestrian and vehicle areas. There are cycle hire places everywhere in the city and it really is the best way to get around. The buses and metro are never really crowded though so if you’re not into bikes (or walking) then that’s your best option.
We didn’t really want to do a lot of shopping, especially since we only traveled with cabin luggage and also – spending your holiday shopping is not a holiday. I can do that at home. But…there were a few places that we just had to visit. Stilleben is a beautiful independent shop selling ceramics, textiles, prints and furniture from Danish and international designers. You can find it in a pretty central area of the city and is also surrounded by lots of other shops, both independent and chain/department. Unfortunately, I didn’t buy anything here as everything I wanted would never have fit in my suitcase. Next time I’ll come prepared!
Around the corner from Stilleben is HAY House. If you’re not familiar with HAY products, prepare yourself for a visit because it will probably blow your mind. It’s 2 floors full of beautiful Danish furniture, homewares and stationery which you’ll find in the Hay Mini Market. The Mini Market houses shelves and shelves of beautiful stationery and designer home objects like trays, can openers and wooden toothbrushes. It’s also arranged by colour, making it even more appealing. We actually went to HAY twice as I had to look at it all one more time before we left. I managed to come away with a few things too which made my tiny suitcase a pretty weird shape and a little bit heavier on the way home.
T H I N G S T O D O
Copenhagen is a small city but there is a lot to do, like take a ride around Black Pond Lake (Sortedams Sø) on a swan boat. All. Day. Every. Day. Or you could try some of these…
There are three Coffee Collective locations in Copenhagen. We stayed in the Nørrebro neighbourhood so visited this one almost every morning before we went exploring. I’m not a coffee drinker but I’m told by John that this is some of the best coffee he’s ever had. They make a mean cup of Earl Grey too.
Musiksmag is a small and cosy basement bar on Jægersborggade. This street is lined with independent shops, workshops and cafes so it’s worth a trip down here. The bar is pretty basic, selling a few bottled beers and some Lambrusco but it had good music and a small selection of vinyl for sale too. The staff were really friendly and even gave us half a bottle of wine for free because they enjoyed John’s dancing to Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. But that’s another story.
Granola is so good we went there twice. It’s decorated in a classic 1950s style, not too kitsch and serves breakfast, brunch and dinner. I’d recommend the avocado, mozzarella and tomato on Danish rye bread. Both times we went it was really busy. If you can, ask to sit outside, although these seats go fast on nice days. Værnedamsvej is a lovely street with shops, cafes and a beautiful florist so it’s great for people watching as well as dining.
Just down the street from Granola is the Playtype concept store. Playtype is an online type foundry and the store sells typographic prints, mugs, clothing and lots more type related products. It’s small but well worth a look if you’re a font fan.
S U P E R K I L E N | Nørrebroruten, 2200 København
Superkilen is a 1km long park that’s split into 3 sections – Red Square | Black Market | Green Park. My favourite was the Red Square. After 2 years of wear and weathering the red has turned into pinks, purples and peaches which cover walls, cycle paths and play areas. The park was created to celebrate the diversity of people living in the Nørrebro area and has lights, benches, bins, trees and even soil from all over the world. It’s such a bright and colourful space to be in.
N Y H A V N | 1058 København
This is the harbour and waterfront area that you see in all the tourist guides of Copenhagen. It is a little touristy but the coloured houses are very pretty and well worth a stroll along.
A S S I S T E N S C E M E T E R Y | Kapelvej 4, 2200 København N
The walled cemetery is lined with beautiful plants and flowers and locals use the grounds as more of a park than cemetery. Hans Christian Andersen is buried there along with lots of other famous Danes so take a look and don’t feel like a creep, everyone’s doing it.
M E A T P A C K I N G D I S T R I C T | Kødbyen, 1711 København
This area is full of bars, restaurants and art galleries. Every venue is housed in empty warehouse spaces. The area is still used by butchers and meat producers so it’s still got a grubby, industrial feel and not too gentrified. We tried to eat in Kødbyens Fiskebar for some seafood but without a reservation there was no chance so we tried Tommi’s Burger Joint and joined the queue that went down the street but gave up soon after because of my rumbly tummy. Eventually we ate at a great Thai place just outside of Kødbyen. I’d recommend making a reservation on the weekends to eat anywhere in the meatpacking district to avoid disappointment, especially as all the food looks so good!
Mikkeller Bars are craft beer bars that sell their own beers and ciders alongside other craft brands from around the world. I’m not a beer drinker but they had 2 nice ciders on the menu that week and also had a homemade cherry wine which was pretty tasty. It gets busy on the weekends so we couldn’t take advantage of sitting on any of the beautiful Danish chairs and benches but admired them from our spot near the bar.
M A L M Ö | Sweden
You can take the train from Copenhagen to Malmö in around 30 minutes. We went over for the day to explore the Swedish city. We wandered around, visiting parks, some second hand shops and a few markets before heading off to meet a friend and explore the annual Malmö gallery night. The city’s art galleries and performance spaces are open for one night a year for people to visit and enjoy live music, art and installations for free. It was total luck that we chose to visit on this day but it was totally worth it as we saw some really interesting stuff and took full advantage of the free bars too! We also ate at Restaurang Mollan at Södra Skolgatan SE-214 22 Malmö which was great and serves semi-traditional Swedish food. The owner was so friendly and helped us with the menu which was (obviously) entirely in Swedish.
C O L O U R
Copenhagen isn’t a place I would have thought of as colourful. At least not visually, but I was so wrong. It’s a really vibrant place with green spaces, bright bikes, and street art on every wall. If you’re headed there soon let me know if you went to any of my recommendations or if you’ve been / live there let me know if I’ve missed any hidden gems as I’m sure we’ll be back soon.