Recently, we’ve had a little run of inspiring and thoughtful messages conjured up by our creative customers to personalise the framed glass tiles which we make here in Little Beach Boutique – and I wanted to share some with you…
It was Father’s Day this weekend, and as a present for her father, one customer chose the Brighton and Hove Peace Statue tile, which is a beautiful angel, screen printed as a silhouette onto a fused glass tile. In the frame we have written the words “I’ll be your angel because you have always been mine”. Such a lovely personal touch…
Another customer chose our Hove Beach Hut tile for her friend’s birthday because the area holds special significance for them as a place they grew up together. The message reads “Hove is home…We didn’t know we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun”. So beautiful, I would love someone to give that to me!
For a child’s christening, the Peace Statue was chosen by another customer. This time, they opted for the glass tile to be made with copper foil, which forms the infused blue bubbles within the glass. It is a beautiful turquoise blue and really stands out. As a godmother to her niece, she chose words that reflected love and protection, personalising her tile with the words “I promise to help you and lead you, to encourage you, to care for you, to always love you”.
I was feeling inspired by a sunny Brighton myself, this week, and made some new glass tiles reflecting the boats on the calm blue sea. I chose the words “There’s something beautiful on the horizon” to write underneath the tile. This piece is made with crushed glass, called frit, and fired on quite a cool temperature so that the glass doesn’t go fully liquid in the kiln. The result is a lovely texture that reminds me of the sea.
Of course, you could choose any message you like to write underneath and I could also make a similar tile with the boat in a different colour, to make it really individual!
Little Beach Boutique has just celebrated our first birthday in our North Laine shop and we would like to thank everybody for their support and custom over the last 12 months.
Moving from a small seafront arch to a larger space in Central Brighton was a big challenge (and an even bigger leap of faith!) but this year has been amazing and we haven’t looked back.
Now a team of three – Suzanne, Claire and Jennie, we feel fully part of the North Laine Community of independent shops, cafes and venues. We have met lots of lovely local characters as well as talented and inspiring designer/makers from Brighton and further afield. Since opening our new shop in 2014, we have expanded our handmade collections of homeware, jewellery, accessories and thoughtful gifts – proudly showcasing new designers and emerging talent alongside our collection of glass which we individually design and make on site.
We have had our first workshops – including our “Introduction to Fused Glass” alongside our “Natural Skincare” and Aromatherapy courses, and during the May festival, we had a daily puppet show based on Mermaids and Sea Shanties which was a great success in our downstairs space.
Now looking forward to the year ahead, we will be bringing you lots of new products for the coming months, creating new glass designs, and running more workshops for your crafting pleasure!
We would like to thank all our customers and suppliers for their support, enthusiasm, kind words and encouragement over the last year.
Pop in to see us at 74 North Road, Brighton – we are open 7 days a week – we’d love to see you!
We’re very lucky to live in a city like Brighton – it’s so full of creative people and there’s inspiration on every corner.
One of my favourite local designers is Joanna Corney who screenprints her stylish Brighton inspired illustrations onto a range of contemporary homeware. Here at Little Beach Boutique, we’re delighted to be stocking her lampshades in a range of prints which capture the essence of our city by the sea.
I love the representation of the Deco buildings along Brighton seafront in this design. It can be used as a ceiling pendent or for a floor lamp base.
This Beach Hut design is contemporary and stylish with its minimalist lines capturing the essence of a lazy day on Hove seafront.
And this murmuration design is a stylish addition to any home, with a nod to the stunning patterns made by the starlings as they go to roost for the night on the West Pier.
These designs are all available to browse and buy in Little Beach Boutique, 74 North Road, Brighton and are also available made to order in different colours.
Each lampshade is made with screen printed cotton fabric, and bonded to a fire retardant PVC backing with rolled edges. All lampshades are handmade in Brighton.
Each lampshade is made from UV stable and flame retardant PVC which has been tested and passed the glow wire test carried out by the Lighting Association. 40 watt bulb recommended
This lampshade is available in a choice of two sizes:
20cm diameter x 20cm height (8″ x 8″)
30cm diameter x 22cm height (12″ x 9″)
It is also available with either a lamp base fitting or a ceiling pendant fitting
Here in Little Beach Boutique we love handmade, we delight in being able to showcase new talent and we are proud to be able to offer our customers something different to the high street.
So, we thought we would introduce you to some of our most recent stockists whose unique range of products make an independent shop such as ours a very special shopping experience, and well worth a trip to Brighton.
We discovered Mica Peet’s work via Instagram and were delighted to find out that she is based just along the coast in Southampton. Mica is a textile designer whose patterns are inspired by colour and nature. She laser cuts geometric and animal shaped pieces and prints her bold designs onto them to produce her range of individual and striking jewellery, including brooches, earrings and necklaces. We love her stag design brooch and her hummingbird earrings. Each piece features different parts of Mica’s print, so each item makes a unique handmade gift for someone (but they are very hard to give away!)
A Northern Light
We met illustrator Claire (aka A Northern Light) at a trade show in January and fell in love with her first ever range of lighting. Her beautiful illustrations are based on the natural world and feature starling murmurations, woodland scenes, and floral patterns. From her Manchester studio, she has handmade her range of lighting from parchment paper, each featuring her detailed and intricate illustrations. The range includes tea lights and plug-in lamps. Our favourites are ‘A New Day’ because it reminds us of the colours of the morning and ‘Murmuration’, because it brings to mind the starlings on Brighton and Hove’s West Pier which roost there at dusk.
Finally, we would like to introduce ‘By Alex’ who is our most recent stockist. We liked her work as soon as we saw her range of quirky stationary and wash bags, because her designs are based on our Great British weather and that is always interesting! Alex’s textile patterns feature polka dots and umbrellas in crisp, fresh colours and she makes each piece by hand in her Hertfordshire studio.
We love the fabric on these make up pouches, which are perfect for a weekend away.
Watch this space for more to come about our latest designers here in Little Beach Boutique, visit our website, or even better, come to see us if you are shopping in Brighton – we are in great company among lots of independent shops and boutiques in the North Laine.
Is it too early to mention Christmas?! Well, even if it is, Brighton is always a fabulous place to go shopping. It is peppered with a plethora of beautiful, quirky, imaginative, practical and inspiring independent shops, cafés and boutiques, and particularly in the North Laine, we’re spoilt for choice, so I thought I’d offer some inside tips to help you have a fantastic day, starting with a strong coffee of course…
1. Cafe Coho, 53 Ship Street
Conveniently located on Ship Street in the Lanes, this is the perfect place to kick off a day’s shopping. It’s outside seating gets mid morning sunshine and they offer blankets if it’s a chilly one. I love the stripped-back brick interior, they make amazing coffee and their croissants are delicious. There is also a Cafe Coho near Brighton Station if you’re getting the train.
2. Edited, 3 Gardner Street
You’ll probably have been drawn in by their vibrant window display anyway, but Edited is a must-see! They have a varied and eclectic selection of homeware and soft furnishings including colourful candles, throws with vibrant geometric designs, and train ticket cushion covers over three floors of this beautifully merchandised shop. The staff are always friendly and enthusiastic too!
3. Present in the Laine, 34 Gardner Street
One of the North Laine’s newer additions, Present in the Laine has a focus on bright colours and hand-picked gifts. Stylish accessories, baby gifts, homeware and handbags are on offer in this vibrant new shop.
4. Posh Totty Designs, 31 Sydney Street
A Brighton success story established by Alice Rivers Cripps a decade ago, her original shop in Bond Street Cottages is well worth a visit, but Posh Totty Designs have just opened their flagship store on Sydney Street in the North Laine, where they make and sell their own distinctive brand of beautiful personalised jewellery. They specialise in stunning keepsakes, hand stamped and made to order with your personal message, favourite quote or child’s names in a range of stylish, contemporary and classic designs.
5. Temptation, 56 Gardner Street, Brighton
Need a coffee break? This is a stylish and cosy cafe (with a license, if you fancy something stronger) with a delectable selection of lunchtime plates, salads, sandwiches and delicious home made cakes if you fancy jumping straight to the sweet stuff.
6. Little Beach Boutique, 74 North Road
Well, I couldn’t recommend a visit to Brighton without a visit to my shop could I, and what better time to visit than straight after a lovely lunch?! Opened in May 2014, Little Beach Boutique is new to the North Laine and offers a hand-picked range of handmade gifts, many of which are made in Brighton and the UK. I make all the glass pieces in my workshop here and you can pop in to see how it is done, as well as browse a unique range of accessories, keepsakes, homeware, clothing and wall art, including our best-selling “fabulous” felt animal slippers.
7. Utility, 28a North Road
Just across the road from Little Beach Boutique is Utility, stocking a fantastic range of “no-nonsense” household goods made by independent manufacturers, including tableware, glassware, stationary and storage ideas. Always playing excellent music, this is a must for your trip to Brighton.
8. Snoopers Paradise, 7 Kensington Gardens
No shopping trip to Brighton is complete without a good rummage around Snoopers Paradise. Purveyors of all things vintage, as well as an art space, workshop and boutique market, it is a haven for a curious shopper!
9. Pretty Eccentric, 10 Bond Street
Incredibly glamorous vintage inspired dresses and accessories designed by owner Michelle Scott, your Christmas party outfit is sorted for the year! Influenced by the styles of the 1920s to 1950s, they have a stunning range of dresses and separates, as well as jewellery to add sparkle and fascinators to make a statement.
10. 64 Degrees, 53 Meeting House Lane
Round the day off with some amazing food! My favourite place to eat in Brighton, tucked away in the South Lanes, it feels like you have been let into a secret at sixty four degrees. Compact in size, with a focus on incredible food, impeccable service and the theatre of the dining experience, you can choose to sit at the bar and watch the magic unfurl. It’s not to be missed!
Well, the months have flown by and the biting frost this morning reminded me that summer has well and truly passed! After three years on the seafront, I decided to move Little Beach Boutique to a larger space, where I could make my fused glass on site, and we would be able to stock a larger selection of work by local and UK-based designers and makers. After a good look around, I found a (potentially beautiful) new space on North Road, Brighton. But it needed a LOT of work…
Several coats of paint later, it looked like a different space entirely! With lots of help from “Handyman Sam”, I put in a new floor and some beautiful tables and shelves made from reclaimed floorboards and pallets. I added a bird decal which I found on Etsy (essential!) and some vintage display units from local Brighton flea markets.
The final stage was easy- filling the space with beautiful handmade finds! Of course, the felt animal slippers (which were everyone’s favourite quirky find on the seafront) came with me, as did my “Brighton Illustrated” and sea-inspired glass. I was really excited to be stocking stunning ceramics by Amy Cooper and Lubilou, as well as jewellery by Brighton-based Hoity Toity alongside textiles by Rebecca Bourne and Charlotte Macey…
And the new shop was complete! I have created a workshop in the back with three kilns and stacks of colourful glass ready to be made and fired into unique pieces. I just love having a warm, creative space on the (inevitable) cold and rainy days. I am also going to be running craft workshops downstairs, which has turned from a dark dingy basement in to a colourful room ready for crafting!
Little Beach Boutique has been open in the North Laine for a few months now, and although it was a leap of faith moving to a larger space, it was the right move and I have loved meeting enthusiastic new customers and well-wishes, as well as local artists and designers who have started to sell their creations here. And I am delighted to say that many of our seafront customers have followed us up here, which is a wonderful endorsement of what we do! THANK you!
As you can see, each process is done individually by hand, first washing and working the coloured wool with soap and water and shaping it over wooden shoe sizers. The excess pieces are cuts off before being left to dry in the sunshine.
Our designs are developed collaboratively with workshop owner, Ramji Adhikari, and myself. You can view the full range of children and adult slippers in our online shop, here: Little Beach Boutique
Last week I travelled to Nepal, a country I have been visiting since 2009. I first went as a volunteer, and stayed to help in an orphanage just outside of Kathmandu.
On my days off, I loved browsing the local markets and admired the extensive handicraft on sale, buying lots of gifts for people back home. My friend’s children adored the felt animal slippers I gave them.
When I opened Little Beach Boutique in 2011, I decided that the felt animal slippers I had bought as gifts would be ideal for my customers, so I returned to Kathmandu and researched local businesses who could make them for me.
I met Ramji, a local man, who designs and makes these beautiful slippers with his wife Usha and a small team of crafters in his home-based workshop in Kathmandu. I learnt how the slippers are made; first dyed with vivid colours, washed and shaped with soap and water, then left to dry naturally in the sun. The additional details, such as the friendly faces, bright eyes and intricate wool details are sewn on on after this.
I started with an order for some felt tigers, sheep and quirky ‘jesters’ and our customers loved them.
I soon returned to Nepal to come up with some new designs alongside Ramji, such as our Dog Boots, pictured below:
And last week, I returned to Nepal, to visit the orphanage again, view the beautiful mountains and to see Ramji and his workshop. This is me with Ramji and his wife, Usha, below:
We discussed lots of new ideas to add to our collection. To date, our range of felt animal slippers at Little Beach Boutique, includes Cows, Sheep and Donkeys. And now we also have adult sizes!
You can view our collection here: www.littlebeachboutique.com
If you have any suggestions for designs, I’d love to hear from you. Bye for now x
It is a beautiful, still, Autumn day on Brighton Seafront and the sea has settled into a gentle, continuous swell after the recent storms. The clocks have gone back and the evenings are longer; it definitely feels as if winter is just around the corner. For me it is a time to ‘cocoon’, reflect, restore and use the longer evenings to be creative and come up with new ideas.
I recently bought a new kiln for Little Beach Boutique, so that I could remain open and make glass pieces even when the seafront is quiet and visitors to the shop are few and far between. I started making circular brooches, inspired by the season – a leafless winter tree casts a dramatic silhouette and a tawny owl on a branch reminds me of the sights and sounds of a woodland walk at this time of year. Cutting circles into glass is a bit of a challenge, due to it’s brittle nature, so each piece is made of 2 pieces of 3mm glass layered and fused together to form a smooth pebble-like finish. They are fired a second time to fuse the image to the glass and I have attached a badge finding on the back to complete it.
I have also been experimenting with making layered glass pendants and creating landscapes and seascapes in glass. I never throw away my glass offcuts – there is always a use for those small pieces – and making fused glass jewellery is the perfect use for them.
This piece is a seascape, made from layering small pieces of glass to a thickness of about 6mm. It is made of small ‘frit’ (ground glass), to create a sand effect and strips of white, blue, coloured and ‘dichroic’ glass, which creates a shimmer. It was full fused, and after cooling, I filed it down to round off any bumps or irregularities in the shape. I then layered on the flying birds decal before kiln-firing a second time. I was pleased with the result; it certainly draws the eye when worn.
I was inspired by these first few pieces so I am going to make all sorts of winter scenes with glass. They make perfect handmade gifts and stocking fillers as well, so I suspect each of my friends will be receiving one!
I absolutely love making glass and will never tire of the thrill of opening the kiln and seeing what kind of alchemy has occurred. If you would ever like to have a lesson in glass fusing, or see how it’s done, do contact me or pop into Little Beach Boutique – http://www.littlebeachboutique.com.
Hip hip hip hooray! So I thought it was a good time to take a photo of Little Beach Boutique in the sunshine (and show off our new sign). You can also see some of our gorgeous wedding gifts, such as our Mr & Mrs Garland and our handmade personalised children’s room signs, made in Brighton.
And this is Dylan the dog sun bathing. He comes down to the shop with me every day and loves to greet each customer. He also likes chasing the seagulls when there’s a discarded bag of fish and chips on the beach.
Let’s hope the sun lasts this time!
Suzanne blogs from her shop and workspace, Little Beach Boutique, in the Artist’s Quarter on Brighton Seafront. You can see more of her handmade gifts from Brighton and beyond here: