The magic of the East coast
When we first moved East and started to explore the counties of Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Lincolnshire, I was excited to have so much coastline to visit, but initially couldn't help compare it unfavourably with the dramatic and romantic coast of Cornwall and the South West. But over the years, I have come to love the gentle low lying east coast and all it has to offer. Time spent hunting for fossils at Walton on the Naze; picnicking at Walberswick; blowing the cobwebs out on the vast unspoilt Holkam beach or spying bilberries dotted along the shoreline at Saltfleet have created some of my happiest memories.
I have wanted to create a fabric collection inspired by the coast for a long time, but couldn't quite find the right mix of ideas that worked as a collection. When a good friend who lives in Lincolnshire handed me a bunch of beautiful seaweed she had found on a beach one day, the first pattern was developed - Susan's Seaweed. This pattern sat alone for a year or so until inspiration struck again and the rest of the collection came together by reviewing photographs from some of my favourite spots along the coast.
A contemporary coastal collection
There are 6 patterns in the collection: Susan's Seaweed; Bunting; Marram; Sail Away; Succulent Stripe and East Wind. A mix of complementary blues and greens, from sage to aquamarine, enable the patterns to be easily combined and the inclusion of smaller and larger motifs ensure the collection works on a range of soft furnishings. I also wanted to add a pop of colour with the coral colourway, inspired by the washed out reds of the Thames barge sails.
Pictured: Susan's Seaweed in aquamarine
Pictured: Marram in sage
Pictured: Marram in coral red
Pictured: Bunting in teal
Pictured: East Wind in sand
View the entire East Coast collection here.
My favourite spots on the East coast
I wanted to include here some of my favourite places on the East Anglian coast that helped to inspire the collection and just about managed to narrow it down to my top 6, so here goes...
Mersea Island (Essex)
Cudmore Grove Country Park is a wide open nature reserve which attracts many walkers, families picnicking and dogs having fun, but despite that, never feels crowded. I love a bracing walk to the far 'pinnacle' in the direction of the passenger ferry, where fewer people venture. It's fun to sift among the millions of oyster shells on the beach, just watching the sailing boats drifting by, with the beach huts of Brightlingsea shimmering in the distance.
Pictured: Cudmore Grove, Mersea Island
Walton on the Naze (Essex)
A nice place to sit and enjoy tea and cake and then follow it with a climb to the top of Naze Tower, admiring the art works on the way and then taking in the sights from the open air viewing gallery. I can't resist finding a spot on the beach to sift for fossils - and it's easy enough to go home with some fossilised wood or even some shark's teeth.
Walberswick to Southwold (Suffolk)
I love this two for the price of one destination. Parking at Walberswick and taking the track across the dunes to the 2 minute 'ferry' across the water to start the walk into Southwold is the best start to the day. You can walk along the beach into town, or stick to the dunes if you have a '4-legger' with you. There's such a happy, bustling vibe in Southwold, full of delicious smells emanating from the many cafes and delis (my favourite is The Black Olive) and still lots of lovely independent shops and galleries to duck into. Returning back to Wallberswick for a picnic in the dunes completes a lovely day.
Pictured: Beach huts at Southwold, Suffolk
This part of the Suffolk coast feels very different - much more isolated and slightly wilder. Because of the walk to get there (and lack of any facilities), it has always been pretty empty when we have visited - and who doesn't like a beach to themselves? I particularly love the ancient tree trunks sticking out of the sand that have been sculpted over the years and complete the slightly eerie feel.
On some winter visits we have been almost unable to stand, buffeted by incredibly strong winds, and it's lovely to have the place to yourself and a few other brave souls! But in summer it's a joy to walk bare foot on soft sand for miles along the shoreline with your feet in the water and your eyes taking in the big, big skies. The dark fir tree line in the distance always sets Holkham apart for me and I can't help but think of a that film!
We were taken here by friends on a fine day and although I have only visited once, this unspoilt beach stayed with me. I particularly loved the bright splash of orange from the sea-buckthorn edging the dunes and, with no restrictions in place, the number of happy dogs gambling.
View the entire East Coast collection here