beach huts

Beach huts and sand dunes at Littlehampton, West Sussex

Beach huts and sand dunes at Littlehampton, West Sussex | www.beautifulsimplicity.co.uk

We had a wonderful staycation back in September, exploring a bit more of our local area in East and West Sussex. Since moving to Seaford two years ago, there's definitely been less need to go away on long trips as there is so much loveliness a short drive away (coast and country). In fact, this was one of the main reasons we decided to move.

Sandy beaches are a rarity in these parts, however, so when I found out there was a sandy beach and some sand dunes at Littlehampton, I had to visit, especially as I remembered there being rather a lovely lot of beach huts nearby too....

Littlehampton has two beaches, either side of the River Arun, East Beach and West Beach.

West Beach, Littlehampton

West Beach is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) with a local nature reserve, sand dunes and a sandy beach (with a fair amount of shingle too). We had a lovely time there, splashing in the sea and relaxing on the beach, followed by a wander through the sand dunes. Our little dog Misty absolutely LOVED the chance to roll around in the soft sand!

NB. there aren't many facilities here as you might expect from an SSSI - but there is a small cafe and some toilets (there are lots more across the other side of the river at East Beach).

We were lucky to have some lovely weather, so just enjoyed pottering along slowly soaking up the sunshine and blue skies and eating our picnic on the beach. And did I mention paddling in the sea? Such a treat for us to have some soft sand to walk on, as all our local beaches are shingle.

East Beach, Littlehampton

East Beach is the busier one, with lots of things to do. There is a very nice Cafe right on the beach (it's shingle here, rather than sand), plenty of parking, a family amusement park, kitesurfing.....and lots of beach huts.

The beach huts are managed by the local Council and are colour-coded in uniform rows of green, yellow and blue. I love to wander down the beach away from the crowds to find the older huts, which are much more characterful, with peeling paint. I was particularly lucky to have the most perfect blue skies with little fluffy clouds whilst I was there, so I got a little trigger happy - I hope you'll forgive me....

I think the sky blue ones might just be my favourites :)

Rustington

And on the off-chance that you haven't seen enough beach huts, if you wander eastwards along the beach until you reach Rustington, you will be rewarded with some very lovely numbers. In fact, I think these might be my favourites (apart from West Wittering, of course). But be warned, parking by the beach is pretty much non-existent here, so you are probably best to park in Littlehampton and walk.

The huts here are full of variety, but I do think their owners must collaborate as there are lovely rows of pastel ones and colourful ones, and then the blue ones...

Despite the strong light and harsh shadows, they made such a lovely backdrop, so we had to get some portraits with little Misty.

It was very hard to drag me and my camera away...

So there you have it, a little wander around the sandy beaches and beach huts of Littlehampton and Rustington - they make a lovely day trip. And if you're in the area, West Wittering, a little further west, is a beautiful sandy beach well worth a visit (and also full of pretty beach huts!). And then there's the historic town of Arundel with it's beautiful castle and gardens, Chichester, and one of my favourites, West Dean Gardens. I'm looking forward to some return visits already!

Now just in case you're a fellow beach-hut lover, I must mention my 2017 Beach Huts Printable Calendar, which features some of these beauties from West Sussex :) You can find it in my Etsy Shop.

Oh and you might like to follow along with my new Pinterest board, Beach Hut love. I shall be filling it with as many pastel and colourful pretty beach huts as I can find.



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Beach huts and sand dunes at Littlehampton, West Sussex | www.beautifulsimplicity.co.uk

Printable 2017 Calendars now in my Etsy shop

Well hello there folks! It's been a loooong time since I last blogged. I've been super busy with my Etsy shop and learning all about brush lettering and how to use Adobe Illustrator. I'm thoroughly enjoying the process and still have so much to learn, but I have missed this space. Hopefully, I'll be back a little more regularly now I've (sort of) found my feet - I've got quite a few photos to share before the end of the year!

I set myself the goal of creating a series of inspirational quote prints using my brush lettering - the kind that I would love to have on my walls to gently uplift and encourage - and enough to make a calendar, before the end of the year. I'm happy to say I got there! I even managed to create a couple of photography calendars as well.


Inspirational Quotes Printable Calendar 2017

First up, I'll show you my Inspirational Quotes printable 2017 calendar, so you can see what I've been up to:

NB. All the inspirational quotes you see here are also available as printable downloads individually in A4 and 8"x10" format.

The beautiful floral artwork I have licensed from the very talented Lisa Glanz and arranged into unique compositions to suit the quotes. In time, I hope to be able to include more of my own illustrations and patterns, but one step at a time :)

I've designed the calendars in multiple formats so you have a choice of:

  • A4 (wall calendar)

  • A5 (desk calendar)

  • US letter (wall calendar) and

  • US letter 2 months per page (desk calendar).

They are all designed as printable downloads for you to print at home - it means you save on postage costs, AND you can print them as many times as you like - perfect stocking fillers :) I've been really happy with the results from my very standard inkjet printer, using a nice 200gsm matte photo paper. I'll give you three guesses what Christmas presents I'll be giving this year!

Although they're not bound, you can display them in lots of different ways. My favourite is simply with a clipboard or pretty bulldog clip and a bit of cardboard - you can prop them up on your desk or hang them on your wall. Or you could hole punch them and thread some twine or ribbon through. Or simply washi tape a page to your wall each month. The choice is yours!

Given that I'd invested quite a bit of time creating all the different calendar formats, I thought I'd create a couple more versions using some of my favourite photographs.

I always have a calendar on my desk as I'm constantly checking dates as I plan my life, and it's so lovely to have some cheery images or uplifting quotes staring back at me every day. And I just love that feeling of turning over a new page in the calendar for a shiny fresh new month, don't you?


Beach Huts Printable Calendar 2017

You may have noticed that I have a bit of a thing for pretty pastel beach huts. So, I just *had* to make a Beach Huts Printable Calendar 2017:


Beautiful Simplicity printable photo calendar 2017

And finally, I really wanted to make a Beautiful Simplicity version of the calendar, with my favourite soft, dreamy, light-filled seasonal images from the year. It's always so hard to choose, but I eventually whittled the selection down to these:

So there you go! I hope you like them.

To celebrate their launch, along with Small Business Saturday here in the UK, I'm offering a 20% discount code off everything in my Etsy Shop from Friday 02 Dec - Mon 05 Dec 2016. This will be the only discount I offer before the end of the year.

Use code TAKE20DEC16 at checkout.

Go, go, go >>> www.zoepower.etsy.com

 

Beach hut hunting in West Sussex

Those of you who've been following along for a while, will know that I have a bit of a thing about beach huts, especially pretty colourful ones. There's something so very photogenic about a row of brightly coloured huts by the sea, nestled in some dunes or sunning themselves against a big blue sky... It's impossible for me to walk past without getting my camera out!

In fact, I'm on a bit of a mission to hunt out all the beach huts in East and West Sussex. I think the stripey numbers at West Wittering are my favourites so far. But last weekend was the turn of Littlehampton and East Preston, thanks to some top tips from fellow beach hut lover SeasideLucy.

It was one of those lovely meandering days, where the plan goes out the window, and you just go with how you feel. We started out at Arundel, and had a lovely mooch around the castle's beautiful gardens, and a spot of lunch in the sunshine, before heading to Littlehampton.

It was bright and sunny, but very windy, and surprisingly nippy for this time of year. So we popped inside the East Beach Cafe (which has the most amazing location, right on the beach) for a cup of tea, staring out the huge windows at the sea. The food looked amazing, so next time we visit, I'm definitely going to eat there!

The beach huts in Littlehampton are all very uniform, but the neat rows of green, blue and yellow are very cheerful indeed.

Then it was onwards to East Preston. We didn't really know where we were going, just that there were some pretty beach huts *somewhere* between Littlehampton and East Preston. But I think the mystery all adds to the fun! So we parked up in the middle of East Preston and headed for the sea (if you are looking for the huts, you will find them somewhere near Sea Avenue, but you can't park there, as there is a large, private estate).

It was the perfect day for kite flying, as well as beach hut hunting!

In true Zoë style, I started off in the wrong direction. But no matter, it was such a lovely day for a walk. We packed up the kite and headed in the right direction and kept walking, and walking, determined to find them. And we were rewarded with the prettiest of rainbows, and a lovely quiet beach. I may have let out a little shriek!

I don't know if it's happenstance, or by design, but the juxtapositioning of all these colours is so delightful. I took my time wandering along slowly, snapping away, drinking it all in. 

I was one tired, but very happy Zoë, by the end of the day! It's hard to beat sitting on the beach in the afternoon sunshine, staring at the sea, listening to the waves and the gulls, with a rainbow of beach huts right beside you :)

I'd love to know about any other great spots for beach huts in East/West Sussex. I've found a few in Eastbourne, and the ones in my home town Seaford, of course. Plus there's the much-photographed ones in Hove and the stripey beauties in West Wittering. But I'm sure there must be more! I'd love it if you left me some recommendations in the comments - thanks so much in advance :)

Pretty pastel beach hut love

I was super excited to finally make it to West Wittering on a beautiful sunny day last week. West Wittering is beach hut paradise, complete with soft sand dunes, and has been on my hit list for quite some time. Well, let's just say I fell in love!

Imagine row upon row of pretty wooden beach huts, each one different, painted all the colours of the rainbow. All nestled into the dunes on the softest sand.

I especially loved the stripey pastel ones...

We had lots of fun taking some portraits on the verandahs once the beach had emptied a bit. Look, I match the pink one perfectly - it must be mine! I much prefer being behind the lens rather than in front of it, but even I made an exception for such a pretty location :) Photos of me taken by my lovely husband, alpower.com.

These little wooden beauties are surprisingly expensive - think £25k+ ballpark for what is essentially a shed to keep your sunchairs and beach gear in and make tea! Rather outside my reach, but I'm planning on getting something similar for my garden instead, to paint in pretty pastel stripes :)

I can't tell you how lovely it was to feel soft warm sand beneath my feet, the sun on my face, whilst listening to the waves lapping at the shore. It was high tide when we arrived, the sea just a few metres away from where we were sitting. Absolute bliss! I will most definitely be back. There is so much to explore in the area (Hayling Island, Chichester, Bosham, Arundel) - hopefully we can come for longer next time. Any other recommendations for beautiful beaches and places to visit in Sussex always gratefully received - we have so much still to discover :)

In case you haven't seen enough(!), a few more beach huts can be found in my West Wittering Album on Flickr. I hope you enjoy the remainder of the long weekend - finger's crossed the sun will shine tomorrow!

Sunny strolls around Seaford and the Birling Gap

Hello there folks! I had a lovely Easter break with my sister, who came to stay with her husband and two little dogs. We had lots of fun showing them round our beautiful new coastline. I managed to take quite a few photos, once the sun finally decided to shine, and thought I'd share some here so you can see something of the beautiful East Sussex coastline. We're on "staycation" next week (moving house is rather expensive, but we don't feel the need to get away anyway as there's so much to explore right on our doorstep) so things will be a little quiet on the blog. But I suspect this will be followed by a large outpouring of photos of our travels! I'm so looking forward to be doing something other than DIY :)

Those of you who follow along on Instagram will have seen plenty of these pretty pastel beach huts at Seaford - I can never resist a shot! So apologies for sharing more here, but I thought these magnificent clouds were too amazing to stay locked away on my computer!

We drove the very scenic route from Seaford to the Birling Gap and headed up on the cliff path with the dogs. We wandered in the direction of Cuckmere Haven, taking in the stunning views and trying not to get too close to the edge. I'm forever worrying about tourists who go so close - it's hard to see how sheer (or crumbly) the cliffs are when you are up there.

We congratulated ourselves on packing a picnic and sat admiring the beautiful views whilst munching our sandwiches in the sunshine for free :) I can't recommend this route highly enough - but be warned, it is very strenuous - lots of very steep inclines and declines - my bottom is still feeling it from our weekend walk!!

By the time we returned to the Birling Gap the tide had gone out far enough for us to be able to have a decent wander. There's just so much to delight and feast the eyes upon.

I found quite a few shells, close to the cliff edge. My collection is growing quite quickly!

It's really hard to capture the majesty of this place in a photograph. The scale is so epic - those cliffs are so high and so sheer - and so white! When the sun shines and the sky is blue, it looks tropical....

As always, more images can be found on Flickr in my East Sussex 2015 album - it's looking quite colourful considering most were taken in the winter months/early spring!

BlytheCon UK 2014 and a weekend by the seaside

I had a rather hectic but lovely weekend by the sea at the beginning of October, taking in Blythecon in Brighton, a house viewing in Seaford (which we decided to buy!) and a mini family holiday. Phew!

Believe it or not I've never been to a Blythecon in the UK before (my first ever one was last year in New York!), so didn't really know what to expect. I went along with my lovely sister as part of her birthday weekend and we had a fab time. It was so lovely to put some faces to names and have a jolly good natter with fellow doll obsessives :) It all passed in a bit of a whirl so I'm afraid I didn't take many photos - far too busy talking and looking and just taking it all in...

One of my favourite stands, was Emma Mount (below). I just adore her beautiful illustrations - combined perfectly with vintage fabric to make cushions, as well as many other things. I'm really not sure how I managed to resist one (I did leave with a print, though, so all is not lost!).

There was just so much to feast the eyes upon. I loved all the shop displays - and the creative nautical fashion competition entries - my favourite one (the blue raincoat) is below.

I fell in love with the Pinky Jane raincoats (below) and one had to come home with me :) In fact, it features in the seaside photoshoot below!

Unfortunately we had to leave before the raffle, so I have no idea who won my cushion, or all the other fun stuff! If anyone knows, do let me know :) Our early departure was worth it, though, as we fell in love with the house we went to see....

We were blessed with glorious sunshine the next day and enjoyed a lovely visit to Seaford, with its pretty pastel beach huts. My sister and I had fun with some Blythe photography, which drew a few onlookers :)

I just love Seaford, and am so excited to think that this is where we will be living soon (assuming all goes OK with the house stuff - it sure is a stressful business!). It was so fabulous to see everyone out and about enjoying the glorious October sunshine.

We even managed to squeeze in a visit to nearby Cuckmere Haven and picnicked on a bench in the sunshine looking at this view :) I have a feeling this will become a regular haunt!

Well that's all for now folks. Wish us luck with the bumpy house selling/buying journey - it sure is a lesson in taking one day at a time ;)

Exploring East & South Devon

A few weeks ago we made it our mission to get to know East and South Devon. Although we have been to Devon lots of times before, most of it has been spent in the North. So this time we based ourselves in Sidmouth and set out to explore...

Day one

saw a visit to Dawlish and Dawlish Warren (photos above and below). It was a glorious sunny Sunday, so the beach was pretty packed. We headed inland a little to explore the nature reserve and found lots of peace and quiet and so many beautiful things to feast our eyes upon, including a heron and lots of Evening Primroses and other pretty flowers and sea grasses - I just love the sand dunes. There were some very colourful beach huts too :)

We also wandered along the coast for a while, following the rail track, which runs right next to the sea. It was washed away in the storms earlier this year and only reopened in April. Quite an extraordinary sight!

Day two

saw us heading South, to the beautiful Slapton, where the lush green countryside literally meets the sea. We had a very interesting journey - a "sat nav special" which took us down the narrowest, windiest lanes you can imagine! There was lots of holding of breath - but we did get to see some absolutely beautiful countryside :) The shingle beach is pretty special and the waves were crystal clear - a perfect spot for our picnic. We saw quite a few people fishing from the beach too, and met some friendly dogs - always a bonus :)

From Slapton we drove a very scenic (and less hairy!) route through pretty Kingsbridge, passing so many beautiful thatched cottages, on to Hope Cove and then Bigbury. Thoroughly lovely! And helped by the fact it was a beautiful summer's day :)

Day three was spent in the most delectable Beer and Lyme Regis - and has a blog post of its very own, as I took so many pictures :)

Day four (are you exhausted yet? I told you we packed it in!!) saw us exploring Totnes and then on to the beautiful space and greenery of Dartmoor. We spent some time in the fabulous sauna that is the Buckfastleigh butterfly and otter centre. Quite magical to experience the most beautiful and iridescent butterflies flitting around you (it's a walk-through greenhouse type affair), but my goodness it's hot! I think a bikini would have been more appropriate :) Hard work too to capture those butterflies - they don't sit still for long!

Afterwards we drove a long rambling route through Dartmoor, stopping whenever we felt like it. I've never seen so much diversity or space. I definitely got my green fix that day!

Day five

saw us exploring Budleigh Salterton, Exmouth and Honiton. The glorious weather had finally broken, so we experienced Budleigh Salterton under grey stormy skies. It was soooo beautiful nonetheless! I fell in love with the pebbles :) It felt a bit wild (maybe that was the weather) and I just loved the weathered beach huts and flowers growing on the beach. There were some very interesting antique/vintage shops in the little town too, but sadly no time to explore them - I'll just have to go back! We just made it to our car before the heavens opened, so I only have piccies of Budleigh Salterton I'm afraid.

Day six, our last day, was spent in Exeter. It's a fantastic city, very green and clean - but no pictures as I didn't take my camera (thank god I hear you cry!). Apologies for this very picture-heavy post - it was all so very photogenic, I wanted to share :) If you haven't seen enough photos (!) you can see the complete set on Flickr :)

Beer & Lyme: the perfect summer combo

No, not Mexico, but our very own Devon and Dorset. And yes, there really is a place called Beer!

A couple of weeks ago, I fell head over heels in love with a beautiful little place called Beer in East Devon. I hadn't seen many photos beforehand, or heard much about it, so I came with no expectations. I just wanted to enjoy the sea and sunshine on a beautiful summer's day.

Oh my goodness, this place really couldn't be any more perfect for me! Beautiful smooth pebbles? Check! Clear sparkling sea and blue skies? Check! Pretty wooden beach huts? Check! Stripey deckchairs? Check! Stunning white cliffs? Check! Flowers on the beach? Check! Pretty thatched cottages? Check! An absolute photographer's paradise :)

It was just magical, sitting on the pebbles listening to the waves lapping, with the sun on my face and an ice cream in hand. What summers are made for! I would have loved to have spent the day in a deck chair with my kindle....but we had another place to visit, so I'll look forward to that another time!

A short trip in the car and we arrived at the very beautiful Lyme Regis. My last visit had been in the pouring rain, so a very grumpy Zoë hadn't thought very much of it - I didn't even get to see the seafront! I'm pleased to report this visit was entirely different, helped, I\m sure, by the glorious sunshine.

Lyme is another absolutely stunning place and is also part of the Jurassic Coast. The beach and cliffs are rather spectacular and the town is just so well cared for - we saw beautiful flowers everywhere.

I loved the ammonite shaped lamp posts. And the pretty pastel beach huts - every beach should have them! I even managed to get a sneaky peek inside one :)

There are some lovely shops to potter around too. I enjoyed a good rummage around an antiques store on the seafront and am delighted I finally got to visit the lovely Ruby Rockcake's shop. I will definitely be back!

More of our Devon adventures coming soon.....

Sunshine, sea, sand and pretty pastel beach huts - what could be more perfect?

On a bit of a whim, Al and I headed off for a daytrip to the seaside on Sunday. Lovely sunny Sunday! It was the kind of day just crying out for adventure, especially as we emerge from our grey winter slumber. So we packed up some lunch and drove down to the beautiful Christchurch in Dorset.

We started off at Hengistbury Head and walked along the beach by the crashing waves to Mudeford Sandbank, home to rows and rows of pretty pastel beach huts. I can't tell you how wonderful it was to feel the sunshine on my face and take my coat off!! All the while listening to the sound of the waves....So please forgive me if I got a little trigger happy - I haven't been outside much lately ;)

I bought a Blythe with me (Simply Peppermint) for some pastel beach hut shots - a lovely combo! We tried some posing on the sand, but that didn't work so well and she took a bit of a nose dive into the sand ;)

It really was a taste of summer. Everyone was eating icecreams, the dogs were out in force and the kiddies were building sandcastles. A magical day!

I absolutely adore the beach huts here. Whilst some were still boarded up from the winter, lots of families were using them - lolling around reading and playing in the sand. I'd love to rent one in the summer.

I think I could photograph beach huts all day long and not get bored! Al had to drag me away :) These lovely huts have featured in some previous posts too in case you are interested: Summer 2013 and October 2011. And I've been spamming Instagram like mad with beach huts!!

There really is nothing finer than feeling the sun on your face whilst listening to the waves crash and roll and crash and roll - I love the rhythm of nature.

If you fancy taking a little slice of the seaside home with you, feel free to have a browse through my Seaside collection in my Red Bubble print shop. There's a Blythe section too.

Have a lovely week everyone - let's hope the sunshine continues!

Oh I do love to be beside the seaside.....

Warning! This post contains gratuitous shots of beach huts... :)

Beach hut bonanza

So, although we were staycationing for our August holiday, we snuck out on a sunny day to get our sea fix. I used to live in Jersey, C.I and desperately miss the sea, so we try to go at every opportunity. This time we opted for the very lovely Christchurch as it's not too far from Oxford, and it's full of pretty pastel beach huts - double bonus as far as I am concerned!

Beach hut bonanza
Beach hut bonanza
Beach hut bonanza

We parked up at Hengistbury Head and picnicked on the beach and then wandered leisurely across the beach to Mudeford Sandbank where all the pretty pastel beach huts are. There are soooo many and each one is different!

Hengistbury Head
Sea grasses
Beach hut bonanza
Beach hut bonanza
Beachy

It was so lovely to see everyone in full holiday mode - lots of families were staying in the beach huts and it looked like so much fun! There were delicious smelling bbqs, tables set-up for al-fresco eating with pretty tablecloths, people lazing in sunchairs reading, kids making sand castles and generally having a lovely old time..... I'd love to stay in a beach hut one day - imagine waking up ON THE BEACH with the waves right in front of you - heaven!

Beach hut bonanza
Beach hut bonanza
Beach hut bonanza
Beach hut bonanza

We had a lovely old time soaking in the atmosphere (and the smells!), eating ice cream (obligatory on the beach!), watching the waves and having a snooze in the sun :)

Beach hut bonanza
Summer by the seaside
Let's go fly a kite
Follow the path
Help is at hand
Beach hut bonanza

In the unlikely event you haven't seen enough beach huts, you can find more in my Christchurch set on Flickr. Now sing with me: Oh I do love to be beside the seaside.... Tara for now, Zoe xx :)