Weekly Inspiration: Tea and Cake.

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I constantly take pictures of things that excite me. Prepare to see lots of colours and patterns through my lens.

Firstly, let me clarify that these photos were not taken in the space of one week. (Sadly, I am not able to make – or eat – that much cake!) Instead, this is a round up of a month of sweet, delicious photos taken in London and in York. If you’re into cake, then you must visit York – there were quaint tea shops tucked around every corner, with piles of cake beckoning from the window displays. Here were some of my favourite places to eat at and photograph:

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour26-08Tarts & Tidbits is a delicatessen with retro window illustrations and loads of tasty things inside. It’s on the same street as The Cafe 68 Gillygate (See below!).

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Macarons and marzipan mice at Betty’s Cafe, an old-school York tea and cake establishment.

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The Cafe 68 Gillygate had a table at the window which was laden with tall, colourfully frosted cakes. I couldn’t get a proper photo for two reasons. Firstly, there was too much glare on the glass, and secondly, I was too hungry for cake.  I had an enormous slab of amazing caramel apple cake (above), and my boyfriend had a chocolate mint cake which was so rich that he couldn’t finish it. So I helped him.

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Meanwhile, back in London, I went for coffee at Mamacita in West Hampstead. It has a wall which is plastered in images of Frida Kahlo imagery, and cups in the perfect shade of green!

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I also did a bunch of baking this month. Below is Mary Berry’s classic Victoria Sandwich cake…which I made less classic by using rose jam instead of strawberry. It was totally delicious, and also quite photogenic.

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The birthday cake below is the most kitsch creation I have ever been involved with. It was a joint effort with my friend Simone, who baked and iced the whole thing – a 3-layered coconut custard cake. I was responsible for the ‘Meow’, the fluoro candles and the paper decorations. I just can’t do subtle however hard I try (although, frankly, I’m not trying).

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour26-02This next cake is another example of my non-subtlety. I took a plain vanilla sponge recipe and added sprinkles to the batter for a rainbow effect. The sprinkles dissolve while baking, so it didn’t end up all crunchy.

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The rainbow cake was for my boyfriend’s nephew who was turning 5. When making a birthday cake for a little boy, it seems totally legit to go overboard with the food colouring and sprinkles and…a whole packet of Haribo.Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour26-11 Continue reading

Cake & Canvas: Thefty at Bea’s of Bloomsbury

Sweet news! A handful of my paintings have been installed at Bea’s of Bloomsbury, the cult London cake shop. If you haven’t visited Bea’s before, you now have a double excuse to go!

My paintings will be up for the next month, so head over and take a peek while nibbling on some cheesecake, a huge meringue, or a duffin (doughnut + muffin!). I’m doubly excited to be a part of Bea’s because, apart from a reputation for making super-delicious treats (which you know I love), Bea’s has been commended for it’s gorgeous interior design.

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Helena-Maratheftis-Beas-of-bloomsbury-06I popped in to Bea’s to photograph the exhibition yesterday. The paintings add a nice burst of colour to the space, with the soft lighting making the rhinestones extra twinkly!  Of course, I didn’t leave before having lunch (a massive portion of quiche and salad) and dessert (a rich chocolate cupcake with fluffy raspberry buttercream – pictured).

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Good cake + good design = the ultimate sweet spot in the universe.

Thanks for having me, Bea’s!

Bea’s of Bloomsbury
44 Theobald’s Road
London
WC1X 8NW
(Near Holborn Station)

Weekly Inspiration: Exploring art (and cake) in beautiful Vienna.

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I constantly take pictures of things that excite me. Prepare to see lots of colours and patterns through my lens.

I’ve always wanted to visit Vienna. I blame (or rather, thank) my high school art teachers who raised me on a diet of  Hundertwasser and Klimt and Schiele, all Viennese artists. Of course, Vienna is known as much for its cakes as it is for its art, so it’s doubly surprising that it took me so long to make my pilgrimage. However, I finally made it! I spent four glorious days in Vienna last week, and I’ve got the photographic evidence to prove it! I’ve left out the standard tourist shots of St. Stephen’s Cathedral and instead am presenting a Thefty-eye-view of the city. I hope you enjoy it.

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Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour23-02St. Stephen’s Cathedral is pretty fantastic. By night, it was illuminated in rainbow colours. By day, the incredible tile work looked beautiful in the sun. My friend, referring to the stripy bits, said,  ‘That looks like the sort of cathedral you’d design.’

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour23-04The golden orb on top of the Secession building is basically a beacon for magpies like me. We went inside to view the mural by Klimt, and it did not disappoint.

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Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour23-06Afterwards, we decided to check out the contemporary version of Vienna, which involved a visit to the Museum of Modern Art (MUMOK).  This was followed by a sunbathing session on huge, neon loungers in the museum’s public courtyard. Well played, Vienna.

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Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour23-10Later on, we did some cake-perving. Naturally, this culminated in an afternoon coffee and cake session at the famous Sacher Hotel. Yes, we had Sachertorte. Yes, it was good (but admittedly not my favourite treat of the trip. So shoot me!).

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Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour23-11The highlight of my trip (apart from cake) was visiting the Hundertwasser Museum. I thought my obsession with his work had peaked in my late teens, but after fighting back tears the whole time I was at the museum, I concluded that Hundertwasser’s work still speaks to me. (I also concluded that I am the world’s biggest crier.)

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Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour23-13Photography was prohibited inside the exhibition, so I could only photograph the (very striking) interior of the building. Colours and patterns, ahoy!

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Hundertwasser believed in’ diversity over monotony, for romanticism, for the organic and for unregimented irregularity, for spontaneous vegetation and for a life in harmony with nature’…all concepts which I can happily get behind.

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Weekly Inspiration: Spring Colours and Jelly Brains!

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I’m always taking pictures of things that excite me. Prepare to see lots of colours, patterns and good times through my lens!

Last week was oh so colourful! For a brief moment I convinced myself that spring had arrived.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour19-04A snippet of my embarrassingly large and tacky earring collection. The fish bones are my current favourites.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekinthelife209-16Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour19-08Isn’t this mask beautiful? I love the colour scheme and those crazy yellow eyes.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour19-07I dug out my old headphones last week, and realised that they’re the exact same colour as my new phone case. Ha!Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour19-16As soon as the sun came out I ran to the flower nursery. Sadly, I was too indecisive to buy any plants.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour19-05A massive pan of  melting marshmallows: Rice Krispie treats in the making.

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Weekly Inspiration: Happy New Year!

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I’m always taking pictures of things that inspire me. Prepare to see lots of colours, patterns and good times through my lens!

Happy 2013, guys! What did you get up to on new year’s eve? We had a little party in our flat. I made a lot of cake, as usual. There were lots of bright and kitschy decorations…as usual. Have a look:

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour14-05Vasilopita is a traditional Greek new year’s eve cake. It’s usually a simple orange sponge cake, but I took it to new, technicolour heights. I’m not sure my mum would approve.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour14-03Lemon cupcakes with blueberry frosting, inspired by this recipe.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour14-01I got a lot of Turkish Delight chocolate for Christmas, so I baked a bar of it into chocolate brownies. I highly recommend it!

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour14-04Earl Grey scented cupcakes with clementine frosting. (The cake recipe is from here, but I made a simpler frosting: icing sugar, butter, and the juice and zest of 2 clementines.)

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour14-07The food table at our party. Yum, yum, yum, yum.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour14-13Midnight! Every year, we welcome the new year by banging on pots and pans with wooden spoons (and potato mashers, tongs, and any other utensil we can find).

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour14-08Party poppers! We like to party like it’s 1993.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour14-12A doorway-ful of streamers.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour14-09We love a bit of neon.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour14-02Some gorgeous, gorgeous wine packaging.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour14-11The morning after was beautifully sunny…and totally messy.

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May your 2013 be filled with cake, friends, sunshine and happiness.


Feast O’Clock: An Illustrated Story.

Hello! Last week I attended an Illustration Workshop at Central St. Martins. One of our projects was to create an illustrated mini-book. My book theme was ‘it was excessive’  and I made a book about a midnight feast.

(It is pure coincidence that I bear a striking resemblance to the central character. Ahem.)

THE END.

I painted a pink and yellow base coat, in the sickly colours of a battenberg cake. I then drew on top with black and white markers. I decided not to include text, and allowed the time in the top corner of each image to tell the story! (Needless to say, I was totally hungry when I was done.)

Weekly Inspiration: An Olympic mish-mash.

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, snapping pictures of things that inspire me. Prepare to see lots of colourful and heavily-patterned things through my lens!

I live in London, and the Olympics have been (delightfully) unavoidable for the past few weeks. Here are some Olympic-ish photos, peppered liberally with the usual dose of cake and colour.

Stripes of blue seats at the women’s basketball semi-finals.

Rainbow bottles forming horizontal stripes.

Dazzling lights on the basketball court.

Some equally dazzling pink lemonade bars.

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Weekly Inspiration: Sunshine and Cake.

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, snapping pictures of things that inspire me. Prepare to see lots of colourful and heavily-patterned things through my lens!

This week the sun came out in London. As you can see, I spent a lot of time outdoors! I ate cake in Notting Hill and lay on the grass in Regent’s Park. Everything glowed in the sunlight and I was happy. The end.

Pink and green! One of my all-time favourite combos!

Notting hill bunting, with a blue-skied background.

Someone lost their horsey. I found him on the street.

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Diamond Jubilee: Tea Party With Corgis

The Diamond Jubilee weekend is here! Here’s a little story: When I was little, I realised that my initials (H.M.) also stood for Her Majesty. I took this as some sort of awesome divine sign. Since then, I have accumulated quite a collection of royal memorabilia (honouring the reign of Queen Helena, of course). So, in honour of my fellow H.M., here’s a drawing I did for the Diamond Jubilee, drawn for Amelia’s Magazine.

I like to think that this is exactly what Liz* gets up to in her spare time: Hosting gin-soaked tea parties with corgis, crowns and fluffy slippers.

*We’re on first name terms, obv.

John’s birthday: A sketch.

When my brother was little, he had an obsession with rockets (evidence here). My mum’s the kind of awesome mum who made spectacular birthday cakes, and one year, John got a rocket cake (see it over here). John is all grown up now, but I thought I’d make him a rocket cake anyway, in the best way I know.

Happy birthday, John.

Hope it’s OUT OF THIS WORLD! Love, your sister.

p.s. If I lived in the same country as my bro, I’d have printed this out as a HUGE poster and used it as a party backdrop. But, alas, he’s far away! Sigh. (On that note, kitsch party banner commissions are welcome!!! Ha! But, seriously.)

Cakey Perry Cootie Catcher

Have you heard about Cakey Perry yet? If not, click here!

I’m designing the visuals for Cakey Perry, including the menu, and now… a cootie catcher! Remember these things? It took me a while to remember what they were called.

I kept the illustrations consistent with the ones from the menu. (You might also recognise Mister Grumpy Gingerbread Man from the Califoria Gurlz video, which is where the event takes inspiration from.)

There are lots of cheeky fortunes hidden underneath the flaps. They are all Katy Perry themed, of course.

If you want to make one of these yourself, click here. Enjoy!

Freakshow!

I’ve been involved with art directing Miss Cakehead‘s edible horror show for Alice Cooper’s Freakshow Auditions, held yesterday in London’s Hyde Park. The installation took inspiration from Silent Hill, and featured open wound cupcakes from The Butcher of Caker Street, Silent Hill Cake Pops from Kiss & Bake Up, blood splattered cupcakes from I Heart Cupcakes, and of course, the terrifying dead nurse cake by Mamma Jamma Cakes. Here are some photos:

Yes, ladies and gents, she is all cake. (Six layers of chocolate cake, in fact.)

The installation, with a view of the press catering area. (Like my backdrop?)

Miss Cakehead with blood on her hands. (Delicious red velvet cake, FYI.)

If you want to see some gore, please click through for more photos!

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A Twitter conversation

This drawing was done within the last hour, inspired by the following Twitter conversation:

@thefty: Things I’ve learnt this week: If you spend all day drawing cake, you will spend all day craving cake.

@Superalzy: Today at the office there has been a vanilla birthday cake & TWO kinds of ice cream cake. Yesterday there were cupcakes. Come eat!

@thefty: This sort of casual visit is impeded by us living oceans apart. *shakes (unloaded) fork at universe*

@Superalzy: I can put cake in a bottle and float it over to you.

@thefty: Oh my god, I WANT TO DRAW THAT! (Is that the wrong response?)

I love it when great ideas come out of nowhere. Thanks, Alison (aka Superalzy).

(p.s. Click here to see a larger version of the drawing.)

Alice Cooper and Gory Cupcakes

Apart from the odd bit of profanity (ahem), this is a family friendly website. However, thanks to the Fabulous Miss Cakehead, things are about to get sinister. You see, I am assisting with the art direction for Alice Cooper’s Freakshow auditions in London this month. I am very excited!

We are putting together a freaky, gory (but ultimately delicious) display of cakes on a Silent Hill theme. To get a better idea of what’s going on, make sure to visit Miss Cakehead’s blog, here. In the meantime, here are some sketches from me:

Yes, those are blood-drenched baked goods. Mmm-mmmmm! I am having an unbelieveable amount of fun working on this project. (I guess this is no surprise – my Twitter description simply reads ‘canvas, cameras, and cake’. This event features the holy trinity of my favourite things.) I can’t wait to show you more details and photos. Until then, I’ll give you one last sketch to whet your appetite for the macabre:

(Those are the lyrics to this song.) (Over and out.)