Heaven & Hell: Kate Williamson

Katie Williamson of My Doris

Katie Williamson of My Doris - Credit: Contributed

Katie is the founder of lifestyle brand My Doris. She's created an eclectic collection of jewellery, accessories, and homeware, and is stocked in over 500 independent shops and boutiques across the country.

Seasonal collections are designed in-house at her Suffolk studio, and manufactured by artisans and producers in the east. With a growing family of stockists, a newly launched retail collection, and an entrepreneurial spirit, it's inspiring to learn that this venture started as a hobby from Katie's kitchen table just over four years ago. Here she talks to Gina Long...

What is your connection to East Anglia?
I was born in Suffolk. Over the years, I've lived all over the UK and even spent a few years working in Australia. Five years ago, I returned to Suffolk from Scotland to settle here with my husband and two children to be closer to family to set up my business My Doris.

What is your East Anglian heaven?
Definitely the mild climate - warm summers and low rainfall. Having lived for 10 years in Scotland, I yearned for warmer and less soggy summers!

What is your East Anglian Hell?
I miss the anonymity of big city life.

What are your favourite East Anglian restaurants?
Pea Porridge in Bury St Edmunds for an evening out with my husband. We love to sample the interesting and unexpected flavours always on offer. Tuddenham Mill is a wonderful place for special family gatherings in a picturesque setting. As a family, we love Wiverton Hall up in North Norfolk for a laid back summer weekend meal sitting out overlooking the marshes.

What is your favourite East Anglian landmark?
There are so many to choose from. I really enjoyed visiting Landguard Fort at Felixstowe. I was very interested in its history and its imposing unique structure right on the coast looking out to sea.

What is the best thing that happens in East Anglia every year?
I have always enjoyed the Weird and Wonderful Wood fair at Haughley Park. It brings together such a cornucopia of people from all around the county. It's such great nostalgic, wholesome fun for the whole family.

What’s your specialist mastermind subject?

I’m more like to be found at a pub quiz but I would probably choose British politics of the 80s and 90s.

What is always in your fridge?
Depending on how my week is going, it can be fully stocked and primed with ingredients for a week of 'cook from scratch' meals or, if it’s a busy week, a few manky vegetables lurking at the back of the salad drawer!

Some of the collection from My Doris

Some of the collection from My Doris - Credit: Contributed

What is your simple philosophy in life?
Try to always remember how lucky you are.

What is your favourite film?
The 80’s classic Tootsie with Dustin Hoffman is still my favourite.

What is your most treasured possession?
My three vintage Arabia cow jugs from Finland – they were a wedding present from very dear family friends. They sit on my kitchen window and often have a small bunch of hastily arranged flowers plonked in them!

Who do you admire most?
I think Grayson Perry is pretty special. I love his art, TV programmes, books, and insight into everyday life and human behaviour.

What is your biggest indulgence?
My children’s education.

What do you like about yourself the most?
Having courage.

What is your worst character trait?
Impatience.

Katie Williamson and her son James

Katie Williamson and her son James - Credit: Contributed

What’s your favourite holiday destination?
Anywhere with family, friends and a menu!

Best day of your life?
I have two, one when my son was born safely and then second when I was lucky enough to have my daughter.

What’s your favourite breakfast?
A Turkish breakfast platter of fresh fruit, olives, delicious honey and fresh simit (traditional Turkish bread) – I visit the beautiful city of Istanbul regularly for work and I call it my second home.

A model wearing some of the My Doris high summer collection

A model wearing some of the My Doris high summer collection - Credit: Contributed


What’s your favourite tipple?
I suffer terribly from a hangover if I drink, so I try to avoid it these days...but I find it difficult to say no to a glass of Champagne!

What’s your hidden talent?
I bake a good a cake!

What’s your earliest memory?
Eating sandy sandwiches on Felixstowe beach when I was about four years old.

What would like played at your funeral?
Born to Be Alive by Patrick Hernandez.

Tell us something people don’t know about you.
Nothing, I am a complete over-sharer!

Tell us why you live here and nowhere else?
My family and business are based in Bury St Edmunds. I love the big skies, our enviable coastline, kind weather and the picturesque towns and villages that our beautiful region offers. We love how easy it is to hop on the train and head to London for a weekend.

What do you want to tell our readers about most?

I love introducing new people to My Doris – you can discover us online, on Instagram and the high street. Our family of stockists are such an inspiring and hard-working community, and they need our support now more than ever. mydoris.co.uk Instagram: @mydorisuk  

 If you have a story, email gina@hallfarmfornham.com or follow Twitter: @geewizzgee1 Instagram: @ginalong_geewizz