seaside

Styling the Seasons: August

Well, August, I'm not sure what to make of you this year. We've had torrential downpours, a little chill in the air and falling leaves, mixed up with bright blue sunny skies and baking hot days.

For my styling the seasons post this month, I was originally going to do an outdoor shoot on the decking. But the rain rather put a stop to that. And the fact that my garden currently resembles a demolition site as our old rotten fence is ripped out in preparation for a new one. No matter, on with plan B.

The surface I've styled this month is the mantelpiece in our living room. Here's the complete ensemble for context, then I'll get onto the details.

August to me is about being outdoors - in the garden and by the sea - and generally making the most of the light and the warmth and the colours before it all starts to fade.  

August is all about change too - the nights are drawing in, the colours are changing in the garden and in the landscape - everything is starting to look a little more golden.

Appropriately enough, the sun was in and out, in and out, as I was taking these photos. I rather liked the shadows it produced. 

I've gone for a very natural colour palette this month, to reflect the colours of the seaside, and to evoke a feeling of calm and quiet. I find August so busy and full of crowds - I always seek out the quieter, out of the way places. It's a time to rest and take things a little more slowly. A time to retreat.

The oatmeal coloured jugs are from the beautiful interiors shop in Hove called igigi. The canvas print is one of my photographs of Saunton Sands in Devon - a firm favourite, even though I've stared at it for years. The Scabious were from my garden - about the only thing that survived the recent rain battering. The beautiful Agapanthus came from my local florist, Church Lane Flowers. They remind me of summers in Jersey, where I grew up - there were Agapanthus everywhere - they flourished beside the sea. And the beautiful pebbles with wonderful textures and grain are from Westward Ho! in Devon and Sandymouth in Cornwall. Nothing quite like holding a warm pebble in your hands on a summer's day to help you relax :)

And just one last shot of those beautiful shadows, because I can't decide which version I prefer. I'm afraid you don't get to see any more of the fireplace - there's currently a rather horrid electric fire in place, which we want to replace with a wood burning stove when we have some pennies.

So there you have it - my August Styling the Seasons post, with just a few days to spare.

Styling the Seasons is a monthly styling challenge run by Katy from Apartment Apothecary and Charlotte from Lotts and Lotts that anyone can join in. The idea is to style a surface of your home according to what that month means to you, and to share some photographs on your blog or Instagram/Facebook/Twitter with the hashtag #StylingTheSeasons.

See you next month!


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 :)

Seaside Lucy

Happy Friday folks! The sun is trying to peep through and I'm super excited to have next week off to explore our beautiful coast and countryside with my other half :) I thought I'd leave you with a delicious collection of photos from one of my favourite Instagram photographers: seasidelucy

Lucy's photo stream is pure eye candy: lots of pretty pastel seaside shots of all my favourite things, with a generous helping of craft and creativity. Lucy has such a great eye for composition and appreciation of space. I just adore her photostream, it never fails to make me smile. So if you don't follow her already, do pop on over and have browse - I promise you won't be disappointed!

I just love Lucy's pebble art and her beautiful ways of displaying and capturing her seaside treasures.

Lucy is one of the moderators for @MyMondaymoodboard, a weekly styling challenge on Instagram aiming to inspire and encourage creativity. I think Lucy's gorgeous photos do a great job at just that! I had such a hard time picking 12 favourites to use here.

All images are of course copyright to seasidelucy. A huge thanks to Lucy for allowing me to share her beautiful photographs. Well that's it from me for now. Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead! xx

Exploring our new coastline

Well, helloooooooo there folks! I'm sorry it's been so long. We've been rather busy sorting, fixing and nesting after the big move.... It's all been pretty exhausting, but oh so worth it! I won't bore you with our many plumbing woes, but thought I'd share some pictures from our adventures from the last couple of months. We haven't managed to get out as often as we'd like, but there's plenty of time for all that :) Our new coastline really is pretty stunning. I hope to share a few pics of our interiors too, just as soon as we are a bit more sorted.

First up is a little montage of iPhone snaps from Brighton, Eastbourne and our home town, Seaford. Absolutely loving all that fresh sea air and the beautiful sunsets.

Next up are a few shots from the lovely Pevensey Bay - our nearest beach with a bit of sand and lots of lovely space. So many dog walkers out and about - we are definitely living in dog territory - I've barely seen any cats! Just as well, as we are hoping that a furry friend may join our family soonish.

Then we have the absolutely stunning Birling Gap on a perfect sunny Sunday at the beginning of February. This place really takes my breath away. The scale of the beautiful towering white cliffs and the pounding waves...it's all very humbling.

I was in heaven staring at the mesmerising waves and clambering over the beautiful white stones. In fact, I don't think I've been more excited since we got here!

Of course, it's not just all stunning cliffs and crashing waves - the rolling South Downs are pretty spectacular too - just look at those beautiful green undulations. There really is so much to explore. We also wandered up the cliff path to see the mighty Beachy Head - it really is such a beautiful spot, and somewhere I know we are going to visit often.

I hope you're not too bored yet, as I'd love to introduce you to the most beautiful Camber Sands as well. A bit of a journey for us, but so worth it to see those beautiful sand dunes and all that stunning S-P-A-C-E. It really reminded me of Saunton Sands in Devon. We totally lucked out with the weather and were basking in beautiful sunshine - there really is nothing finer in February!

It was so lovely to see so many people out and about enjoying the sunshine - there were horse riders galloping along making the most of the space, dog walkers aplenty and families playing in the sand. I could *almost* believe it was summer! I'm definitely ready for more sunshine!

So we really are some of the luckiest people around to have all these beautiful spaces within easy reach. I'm looking forward to plenty more exploring - we still need to go west! Z x

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 :)