colourful

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 :)

A riot of colour in the Cambridge University Botanic Garden

Well, hellooooo there! Apologies for my absence of late - we've been busy house hunting, so the last month or so has been rather consumed with pouring over Rightmove, maps, travel times etc. and spending far too much time on the M25! The upside, however, of researching where to relocate to, is that we've visited lots of beautiful places and I've got lots of photos to share with you :) I promise my blog will contain something other than travel photos, just as soon as I get a chance to sit down at my sewing machine!

So, next stop on our house hunting tour of the UK, after Devon (see last two posts), was Cambridge - the alternative Oxford ;) I took some time out from house viewings and city wanderings to spend a wonderful couple of hours in the Cambridge University Botanic Garden. A beautiful oasis of green and calm in the centre of the city - just a short walk from the train station. I can highly recommend a visit, especially in July, when everything is a riot of colour.

The garden is huge (much larger than the Oxford one that I love to frequent) and essentially a collection of lots of different gardens, so do allow plenty of time for your visit. There is a rather nice Cafe there too, so plenty of opportunity to rest and refuel!

Hard to pick out any favourites, as it's the sum of the very colourful parts that I love. But I may just have to give special mention to the Echinaceas. They do a fantastic job of attracting the butterflies and bees - I stood staring at them for as long as my strength would allow!

In one corner of the garden there was a beautiful meadow area, with a gorgeous medley of poppies and cornflowers and countless others. I always love the wilder areas of any garden. Oh and the alliums were out in force too, and very popular with the bees!

Well I hope you have enjoyed your visit and I haven't bored you with too many echinacea pictures ;) I'll be back soon with more photos from this beautiful city. TTFN. Z x

A little bit obsessed by crocheted blankets

I guess my obsession with crocheted blankets will not come as a surprise to many of you ;) Those of you who follow along on Instagram will see them pretty regularly - you can't go far in my home without bumping into one! I think it's that magic combination of colour, pattern and texture that does it for me :)

So today I thought I'd share some of my collection with you. It's been a gorgeous sunny day here in blighty so it was the perfect day for a spot of photography :)

First up is my "happy blanket" which is home to my happy, sunshiney Little Tea Wagon owls - the perfect combination don't you think? The blanket was a charity shop find when out thrifting with my sister in Barnstaple - and I may have let out a squeal :)

The other super colourful blanket was found at the Oxford vintage market which is held every Thursday in Gloucester Green. In the summer it hangs at the end of my bed to provide a lovely pop of colour (sausage dog is made by Alice Apple).

Of course, crochet isn't just for blankets and I was rather pleased with this find at Spitalfields market in London. I love the lining too :)

I just adore this huge granny blanket I bought for our bed. It is just so warm and cosy in winter - I never want to get up in the mornings! This one came from a lovely shop called Winifred's Daughter in Hawkhurst, Kent. The blankets are made locally by a lady in the village and are just beautiful. I have another one for the sofa, too.

The next few blankets are all thrifted. The first one has clearly enjoyed some happy times in its life and has that lived in vibe - but it's perfect for summer picnics on the lawn (oh how I wish....).

And last, but most definitely not least, we come to the living room, which is home to four lovely blankets - they make it such a happy, cosy space.

The arm chair has seen better days and really needs reupholstering - but a crochet blanket and a cluster of cushions brighten it up for now (the fabulous two cushions at the front were made by Modflowers, the rest I made). It's one of those fabulous roomy chairs that you can sit cross legged in and is perfect for reading.

We've also used blankets to cover up some now rather grotty Ikea foot stools - pretty and comfy. They do get a bit of a beating - but I'm a firm believer in using things you love, rather than having them tucked away keeping perfect. You get so much more enjoyment that way.

So there you have it. A little bit obsessed! Have a lovely week everyone. xxx

In need of a colour fix

So it's raining again. And it's grey. And windy. I know I am immensely lucky and very grateful not to have been affected by the floods and other damage caused by this horrid weather - and my heart goes out to those who have - but it still leaves me rather down in the dumps. Until spring arrives, you can usually find me ransacking the house for happy, colourful, pretty things to photograph to cheer myself up. I start to get twitchy if my photostream sits unchanged for too long. So I thought what better time to take some new Blythe shots and give my Red Bubble shop a little refresh...

First up is my Snowflake Sonata doll, customised by Minnalove. I made a little bedding set out of some vintage fabric scraps leftover from making my cushions. I absolutely adore these prints and couldn't bear to see any go to waste. They really are so happy and cheerful, don't you think? Just the thing for this time of year!

Next up is my Tarts and Tea Blythe doll, modelling my favourite ever Blythe dress, made by Lounging Linda (I snapped this up at Blythecon New York). I think it was made for her!! The chaise longue is actually a jewellery box - but it is the perfect size for Blythe :) My Simply Guava also makes an appearance, wearing a gorgeous dress made by Jaszmade, also snapped up at BCNY.

For a bit of variety and another splash of colour, I picked up some macarons from a local cafe. Biggest bonus being the nomming after the photoshoot!

All of the images above, and more, are available from my Red Bubble shop as postcards, greeting cards and prints in a variety of formats.

I ordered a batch of postcards recently and was really pleased with the quality - I've got them propped up around the house to cheer me up :)

Thrifting fun in Devon

Well, Happy Wednesday everyone! Can't believe how quickly the time is flying - only 7 sleeps until Christmas - eek!

I went to visit my lovely sister in Barnstaple recently for a pre-Christmas get together and some crafting and thrifting fun. It's so lovely to share interests - we had a fun day (or two!) exploring the many charity shops in Barnstaple, I had some refresher knitting lessons and a tutorial on how to make an empire line Blythe dress, and I helped my sister with some Blythe customisation...I think that first moment when you open up one of your precious Blythes needs some friendly support!! We also found the time for some beautiful bracing sea walks with the doggies, even though the weather was rather wild!

Merry Kitschmas from the seven dwarfs!
A most happy and cheerful crochet blanket find. I'm in love!

I thought I'd share some of my charity shop finds with you today, as I really am super excited by them. Normally, I have the worst luck - I visit the charity shops in Oxford frequently and rarely find anything, so this was a most unusual haul!

First up is the most amazing, happy, colourful crochet blanket. I think this was the last thing I found, and my favourite. It is hard to portray how vivd the colours are - especially the green - it glows! I just love the edging too - haven't seen much like this before.

A most happy and cheerful crochet blanket find. I'm in love!
A most happy and cheerful crochet blanket find. I'm in love!
A most happy and cheerful crochet blanket find. I'm in love!

Next up are some finds from the North Devon Hospice, which has an upstairs dedicated to vintage. I squealed rather a lot when I went up the stairs! I found the most beautiful cotton yellow tunic dress - please excuse the photos - it needs a good wash and an iron - but isn't that print just fab! Roll on spring :)

My happy dress
My happy dress

I also fell in love with these pyrex cups and their yellow rose print. In an unusually restrained move, I left them behind the first day whilst I thought about it (do we have the space?) and went back for them the next day and happily they were still there! I'm so pleased I did. They were only £4 too - such a bargain!

I adore this yellow rose print :)
I adore this yellow rose print :)

And then my eyes spotted the most fabulous quilted dressing gown. This beauty was just £2.50!! Isn't the print just divine? It came complete with a vintage tissue (used!) in that pretty pocket :) Now all washed and fresh as a daisy. I was originally contemplating cutting it up to make some things, but I don't think I can bear to, so it will stay hanging up for me to admire, and remain a photo prop. I might just have to parade round in it on Xmas day too :)

Granny chic
Granny chic

And that's not it! In this treasure trove of vintage goodness, I also found the beautiful double bedspread below. And THE most amazing seven dwarfs at the top of the page. Aren't they absolutely fabulous? I couldn't believe my luck when I found them :) They are now brightening up my white Christmas tree - and (hopefully) safely located at the top, out of reach of cats :)

A most beautiful pink bedspread

In a different shop I found another fabulous crochet blanket in different shades of purple. I must confess to having quite a large collection of them - perhaps another blog post to show and tell....

More crochet blanket love
More crochet blanket love

And last, but not least, as I was paying for my happy multi-coloured crochet blanket, I spotted some vintage Christmas decs on the counter: 5 for 50p!! Would have been rude not to, so santa and Mr Snowman came home with me, along with a pink bauble or two!

Mr Snowman
Awesome santa

All in all, a thoroughly lovely trip and a most fabulous haul. Now I need a bigger house!! Wishing you all a super lovely and very happy and relaxing Christmas in case I don't "see" you before then! Hope all your preparations are going well. It's been a bit of a handmade Christmas for me this year - pics to follow once the lovely recipients have opened their presents :)

A peek inside my home

Vintage friends

I've been meaning to do an interiors post for ages. Faffing around with my displays happens on a fairly regular basis here, so I wanted to show you some current favourite bits and bobs. We've still (7 years on!) got lots of painting to do, so please excuse some of the grotty walls.

First up is the living room and my vintage "lady tat" shelves as my other half likes to call them :) You might notice a bit of an obsession with Alice Apple's fabulous sausage dogs - I adore them! I'm thinking of painting the wall behind the shelves different chalky pastel shades - maybe a job for my staycation.....

An Alice Apple obsession
Eclectic
Bunting makes me smile

Next up is the dining room. Quite a while ago now, I ditched the books I never read and replaced them with some eye candy. I stand and stare at this every morning while I do my yoga practice and it makes me smile every day :)

I ditched the books for these...
Owls rule

So now we head into the bedroom. We painted it aqua a little while ago and I adore the colour. The decor here is rather dominated by owls (I have a very accommodating and lovely husband). I challenge anyone not to smile when you walk in and are greeted by such a fabulous shelf of aqua owls! And there is an owl wall too. And some embroidery hoops above the bed to balance out the owls. They are such a great way to display favourite bits of fabric - and cheap too.

My owl shelf <3
My owl wall
Embroidery hoops update

And last but by no means least, we head into my study - I am very lucky to have a room of my own. It's still very much a work in progress and desperately needs a coat of paint - but I love it just as it is. I'm a big fan of colour and these shelves of happy make me smile, even on grotty dark days. The shelves are picture rails from Ikea and are fabulous as I can swap things around to my hearts content without having to drill holes into the walls all the time :)

My happy shelf #1
My happy shelf #2
My cat shelf

Watergate Bay: tonic for the soul

I had a lovely week in Cornwall in late March. We were lucky enough to stay in a lovely apartment right next to the beach at Watergate Bay. I adore the sea and miss it terribly - we get away as often as we can. I find it so restorative - the waves crashing and rolling in an endless loop and the sheer enormity of it all helps puts things in perspective. Troubles seem so small against a backdrop of such beauty and strength and timelessness. I find I sort so much out in my head in a week away!

We had typical British weather - i.e. lots of cold, grey days - but we still got out for a brisk walk on the beach every day. We were lucky enough to have two fabulous weather days while we were there - our first and last days - and the pics below are from those. I thought you'd prefer full bright uplifting technicolour to dull grey :)

Blue and yellow - some colour at last!
Tonic for the soul
A whole beach to themselves
Freedom

The pictures above are taken from the cliff path looking down on Watergate Bay. There are two lovely walks you can do from Watergate Bay: one to Mawgan Porth and the Bedruthan Steps and the other to Newquay - the coastline is just stunning.

Dog walking (and surfing) is a common activity on Watergate Bay - I love the sheer joy of dogs running helter skelter across the beach to retrieve a ball - I defy anyone not to smile!

This beach is all mine!
Run!
Lovely day for a walk

The first day we visited the surf was really high and the waves were so beautiful and energising. It was snowing back in Oxford - so happy we escaped just in time for some much needed sea and sunshine :)

Peace is now restored to the Power house - after a few weeks of the nasty Norovirus and an upside down house due to renovations, everything is back to normal and I hope to have some time to be creative. Hurrah!

I wish you all a wonderful week ahead.

The white horses ride in
Look at those waves!
Waves, wonderful waves

A splash of colour on a rainy day: Candy Pop!

Rain, rain, schmain - will you never stop? I think we've had enough to last a lifetime already this year thank you very much. But the rain was not going to dampen our spirits. Nor deter our plans. So we donned some bright colourful rainy day gear and headed out anyway, cameras in hand. A potter round the vintage and charity shops was had, the finest coffee and hot chocolate was consumed, and photos were taken! Thank you to the kind folk of Oxford for the loan of your colourful doorways and steps - we are very grateful.

The lovely Candy Pop wears wellies by Hunter, jeans by Levis and a brolly by Bombay Duck.

A splash of colour on a rainy day *2*
A splash of colour on a rainy day *4*
A splash of colour on a rainy day *3*

Purple leather satchel is from the Cambridge Satchel Company.

A splash of colour on a rainy day *6*
A splash of colour on a rainy day *5*

Two tone brogues are from Clarks. I'm in love with these shoes - you should see the peachy pastel spring ones - yes please!

A splash of colour on a rainy day *7*
A splash of colour on a rainy day *8*