The Poison Pen

Beaches & Cream

Posted in Days Out, gluten free, Local by thepoisonpen on March 21, 2011

Saturday called for a venture into the wilds of the north east coast, which lead to finding this surprising little coffee house just north of Tynemouth at Cullercoats Bay! And what a treat it was. I find Tynemouth for all it’s seaside town charm, lacking in the eatery department, particularly if you’re off gluten/dairy. So when I wandered in on the off chance to see if this little eatery offered soya milk, I was answered back with a surprising yes, we do! And a look out of the corner of my eye spied a gorgeous almond and orange gluten free cake. Heaven!

And as if that’s not enough, what should sit next door but a wonderful old fashioned style ice cream parlour!

The interior is a beautifully designed elegant space where you’ll find an array of Fornasetti accents. My lust for the wallpaper knows no bounds as I was eyeing it up last year when we were re-decorating our fireplace. True lust! A bit of googling reveals it’s the work of Space ID and Quay Shop Fitters who also designed the beautiful shop/cafe of Gareth James Chocolatier just down the road in Tynemouth.

Well worth the small drive up the coast, especially since I tend to find the eateries in Tynemouth disappointing at best.

Beaches & Cream
North Shields,
Tyne and Wear,
NE30 4PN

Tynemouth – Again

Posted in Local, Uncategorized by thepoisonpen on February 14, 2011

I like Tynemouth, it’s a little quirky, it has a few sweet boutiques and oddments. Notably it’s prolific market held in the old train station each weekend. It’s probably been a year since I’ve been, mainly because unless you live near a metro line it’s a faff to get too. But since my boyfriend got the Birdmobile, this weekend seemed like a fine time to go and also to nose out any boutiques to stock my jewellery.

The market however has gone decidedly downhill depending on your perspective. If you like dirty rummaging fuelled by the constant thrill of the chance of getting hepatitis off a shard of a rusty chandelier or stamp collecting, then tynemouth was the place for you. This time however, and a year later it’s notably 60-40 filled with hand crafted stalls, cupcakes, imported cheap jewellery and other standard market stall tat. There’s still some goodies, but not like there used to be. Not that it stopped me picking up a cute old brooch and my boyfriend going all valentines on me by buying me this picture. I did however miss the tramp like thrill of the rummage. Saturday however is better so choose your day wisely.

I still want to live in either of these houses.

The Art of Black & White

Posted in Local by thepoisonpen on May 24, 2010

Newcastle city centre has always been one of my most favourites places to photograph. The architecture is as grandiose as it is stunning. But interestingly the most beautiful parts of the city can also tend to be the most quiet (even on the weekends), so at the same time as photographing it’s incredible Georgian and Neoclassical buildings, it can also feel incredibly peaceful. A bit like imaging the more beautiful parts of London without the constant frenzied sway of passers-by. It’s another reason why when I return back home, I always feel like the North East of England is an under-cherished gem and also why it makes it a haven for the scale and impact that black and white photography can have. The subject matter should always be as dramatic as it’s medium you choose to use.



The Antipodal Dorian Gray – had he been a sick girl and that.

Posted in Local by thepoisonpen on May 13, 2010

© Juliet Chenery-Robson from ‘A Diagnosis of Exclusion’.

It’s M.E awareness week this week. And whilst I’m not particularly patriotic to charities (I spend enough money in their shops to despise being stopped in the street and guilt tripped by smug students into handing over money), recently a part of my recent past has been featured in a local exhibition which has meant far more regional press than I had ever expected. From finding four piles of my face in the tourist information centre that I had accidently wandered into, to working in the Baltic library and seeing it in a magazine was, frankly weird. I cannot even describe it as some falsely coy ego trip as the picture is pretty much as is, without makeup and being a representative for an illness I have struggled badly with for the last 8 years. An illness that took away my latter teenage years, my social life, my education and as much as I hate to sound like a moaning minnie, it’s sadly the truth.

I don’t talk about it much online as for a long time the online world was the only world I had access too and I enjoyed trying to get on with my interests as much as possible to stay sane. So as such it hid a lot of what was going on behind the scenes.

Anyway you can see the very talented and evocative work of Juliet Chenery-Robsons ‘A diagnosis of Exclusion’ at the DLI Museum & Art Gallery, Durham from now untill Sunday 6th June. It’s not depressing, I promise.

An Ode to Attica

Posted in Local by thepoisonpen on May 9, 2010

Long before the days when everyone and your mam started opening up vintage shops, synonymous with the ubiquitous word ‘vintage’ and the Topshop brigade, there was Attica. A store freshly opened in the dirty back streets of Newcastle Upon Tyne in the late 80’s, acting as a treasure trove for all things hideous and wonderful all under one roof. Like a psychadelic and prom dressed Toys R Us for adults with no style. Or plenty of style depending on your perspective. Each piece is dated and tagged precisely, so you know you’re buying from somebody who knows their 1980’s lace from their 1920’s silk velvet.

I used to frequent this delight far too often in my dirty teen goth days in the late 90’s, and despite having no money to spend in it, it was always a calm amongst the storm hidden away next to a tiny guitar shop and RPM music store. And despite the recessions coming and going and returning back again in full force, it has remained the same, a completely ageless gem.

The owner kindly let me take photographs yesterday afternoon, and I finally bought something fantastic. An orange babydoll set jacket (I couldn’t afford the actual matching baby doll too sadly) for £17.50.

Attica can be found by those who know where to look or at: 2, Old George Yard, Off High Bridge, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 1EZ