After our week abroad, it was wonderful to get back to the beautifully green, English countryside. As my Mum always say’s ‘it’s nice to get away, but it’s even nicer to come home’, a sentiment I totally agree with, unless of course I have just been to Cornwall in which case I would always most definitely rather have stayed!
But it is so easy to forget what a fabulous Country the UK is, I take for granted the trees in my garden, the fact that we can be at the seaside in a couple of hours (almost) and all the fabulous locally produced food and drink that is made right here, on my doorstep. So I am on my own personal mission to explore as much of this fair land in which I live and will share with you my findings. I am starting off with a week on the south coast.
Many moons ago I lived on the South Coast in Bognor Regis and I really loved it. The climate, the light and the sea, even just the sound of the waves and how a big lungful of the sea air can make you feel clearer and less stressed. I didn’t see as much of the area as I would have liked the first time around, I was living and working in a well known holiday camp (days off and funds were limited), so I was excited to revisit and explore properly and this time with a child in tow!
When I visit new places, especially seaside places I always feel inspired, I like to just take in everything that is different to what I might find at home. For most people this may seem like random, irrelevant stuff; an Art Deco door handle, the typography on a vintage book jacket or a nice piece of packaging from a local deli, the combined pop of colours on the dodgems ride, an interesting piece of graffiti, an usual serving cup choice (hot chocolate in a half pint beer mug) or even just a really well put together sandwich!
When I get home I play with these ideas and think about how I can implement them to enhance our daily life, a bit like sending a metaphorical postcard to yourself I guess? Also wherever possible I can use these ideas either as a starting point for new product range, a room scheme, or just to recreate that awesome sandwich so we can have a tasty lunch and re-live the moment!
We were based in Worthing which happens to be the largest town in West Sussex and is also right on the sea, nestled between an award winning beach and coast and the glorious South Downs National Park. There is are some fantastic creative places in Worthing and I am going to share a few of them.
East Beach Studios is a real treasure, a range of unusual little shops full of artisans, housed in converted beach huts. Over 25 artists working in 12 studios and a gallery right on the seafront.
Unique, individual creatives selling their makes and a lovely beachfront café, this is the stuff dreams are made of! My favourite shop has to be Margot, an eye catching, vintage delight for any lover of quirk and handmade. A space shared by four designer makers Geoffrey and Grace, Louise Tyler, Sally Whiting and Michelle Dawson. They are using vintage fabrics and materials to create unique, beautiful gifts. It’s a really happy little shop with a vibrant vibe that I really connected with and I was lucky enough to meet one of the designers Louise Tyler who crochets magical pieces from vintage pre loved materials, this one of her wonderful cards that I just couldn’t leave without and it will be brightening up the pink peg board back at One Tidy Studio upon my return.
I also loved this view of Worthing Pier by guest Artist Michelle Dawson.
Just along from the promenade on Marine Parade (near the Pier) you will find The Dome, an amazing Art Deco, multi-purpose building that can be hired for events but also houses one of the most impressive independent cinema’s I have ever been to (there’s even a licensed bar!)
There’s a lovely little vintage tea room at the front serving a range of food, ice cream (in little silver cups) and afternoon tea, oh and we had a rather amazing piece of carrot cake. On a warm day you can even sit outside. But it wasn’t a warm day, so we took shelter from the elements and sat inside.
The Dome feels like stepping back in time, it is in the stunning Edwardian cinema that this notion is particularly prevalent. There are so many original features throughout the building, oak paneled rooms, chandeliers, arched iconic windows, original moldings. First opened in April 1911 and having recently celebrated its centenary, the cinema has been fully restored to its former glory and is once again open to the public. Originally the big hall (today Cinema One) was a roller skating rink and theatre.
The smaller theatre upstairs played silent movies daily, often accompanied by the building’s owner, Carl Seebold, on piano! The cinema proved so popular in the early part of the century, that in 1921 it was decided to transform the main room into a cinema and this is largely as it is seen today.
This amazing building, steeped in such rich history and we went to see Minions!!! But it was good! I should mention that the film, popcorn and snacks were very reasonably priced, tickets for an afternoon Blockbuster film start at a fiver unless it’s Monday, then it’s three quid! Bargain!
This is the bar where you can get yourself a grown up drink that you are welcome to take through to the cinema.
Lastly, a truly great way to wile away a wet Wednesday afternoon in Worthing (or any afternoon for that matter) is at Art-Ful the award winning pottery painting café. A lovely, relaxing, creative time is to be had by all, young and old alike. I went along with my friend Steve, his 5 year old boy and my daughter who is six.
When we arrived we selected our piece to paint (the prices are all on the bottom and they include the paint and firing, so no nasty surprises on collection day!) The children chose to paint a piece each, a robot pot and an owl.
We where then shown by Nina, resident artist and owner of Art-Ful ceramic studio, how to achieve the colours we wanted and there was help with design too if we needed it, although we all opted for a free-style approach. I will admit to having a little panic at this stage so I started by painting the background and took this time to rack my brains about the decoration!
Steve made a great job of painting a small vase in an impressive modernist style. It is the third time he’s done this though!
Eventually I decided upon a funky Mexican style with little cactus senorita as the focus. I’m not going to lie, there were a few stressful moments, the eyelashes were a particular faff but worth the worry now they are done.
We were all really pleased with what he achieved in just a couple of hours. It was my first time painting ceramics, I always get a bit overwhelmed learning a new crafty technique, mainly in case I am really rubbish at it, it’s the perfectionist/competitive child that lives on in me, but I need not have worried and actually it wouldn’t have mattered too much if it was rubbish, it’s just a lovely way to pass the time. I can’t wait to see what the final pieces look like once they have been fired as the colours will really intensify. When I go again I will have a design all worked out and practiced before hand.
I would like to try and coincide a future visit with one of the adult evenings, no children allowed! They take place on the 3rd Thursday of the month, which involves painting, tea and a slice of cake, or you are welcome to bring wine! Sounds like a winner doesn’t it?!
Hope you enjoyed my creative inspiration post. Next time I’ll be sharing my Kids Top Ten things to do in and around Worthing.