A DAY IN THE LIFE: BRIGHTON EDITION
I've lived in quite a few places at this point in my life; London, Portsmouth, Cologne, London (again) and now Hampshire, but the city I've lived in that I hold most dear will forever be Brighton & Hove. With that in mind, whenever I get the chance, I make sure to go back - even if just for a fleeting visit. People often say it’s a London by the sea and I couldn’t agree more; I’m always entranced by its ever-changing nature and the permanent buzz.
Come rain or shine there's always something to do in this eccentric city, and because of that, it never gets boring. Even when the skies are grey, Brighton never fails to sparkle and there's always something unexpected to enjoy. My best friend is a teacher and she is currently on Easter break, and as you know, I'm self-employed so we thought it'd be the perfect time to take a little trip to the seaside. I also thought it'd be nice to document it for you all, to hopefully encourage you to take a trip there yourselves - whether it’s to pull up a deckchair on the pebbles, dig around in the lanes for some hidden gems or to stuff your face with good ol’ fish n chips.
My day started pretty frantically because despite being awake for a good 3 hours at this point, I was still trying on my - no joke - 13th outfit of the day approx. 10 mins before my train was about to leave. As it usually does, the British weather had thrown me off guard with an unusual and very sudden spell of sunshine and so meant that I had to guess, and second guess, my outfit choice. Naturally. As you can imagine, this resulted in many a tantrum, a huge pile of clothes that has now been shoved into my wardrobe and a lot of running to the local train station. Despite my running - in heels I might add - I still managed to miss my train and watched it leave the platform. Determined not to let this ruin my day, I picked up a coffee and got the next train to Brighton.
--- some time, coffee drinking and email checking later ---
There's just something so heartwarming about pulling into your hometown station. I weaved through the crowds, smugly confident that unlike most, I knew my way around, and steamed ahead toward the centre of Brighton. My first stop was the Royal Pavilion, not only because it's a beauty not worth missing, but also because its a great central meeting point. The Royal Pavilion is definitely a sight for sore eyes; the majestic building is famous with Brighton’s own, as well as the many tourists that visit. However, the winner for me are the gardens that surround it. I’ve spent many an afternoon nestled on the preened grass with a picnic or with a takeaway coffee, listening to the brass bands and enjoying the fine view.
Food food food. Whether you're a fan of the traditional seaside nosh - e.g. fish n chips or a good old battered sausage - or you're after something a touch more upmarket, Brighton will not disappoint. No matter the time of day, no matter how picky you are or how extreme your diet is, there's an array of options. We were set on Bill's which, despite being a chain, is such a lovely spot nestled in the North Laine's with really delicious food!
The restaurant itself is large, with high ceilings and a an industrial feel. There are rustic, wooden tables each with vintage tins filled with cutlery and napkins, and there are dried chilli's hanging from the ceiling, giving you the feeling of a farm house style place and somewhere that is offering fresh, homemade produce and food. Speaking of which, they also have a retail area to the right of the front door packed with their own produce such as chutneys, teas, coffee and relishes for you to select from. Anyway, back to what we were there for - their menu is vast and so after some back and forth, I decided to go for their Halloumi Burger and it was really very good. Highly recommend.
Brighton’s North Laines are dripping in old charm and new ideas. Set against a backdrop of cobbled streets and pedestrianised roads, old vintage shops rub shoulders with nouveau cafes and tiny, contemporary galleries sit next to rustic pubs filled with southern English swagger. We weaved in and out of the colourful, street art adorned streets, taking in the sights and window shopping. We also stopped off at Snoopers Paradise, an eccentric, vintage heaven where they also happen to have an old school photo-booth! (see our photo below)
It would be seriously criminal to go to Brighton and not go to the beach. Thousands of people flock to the award winning beach each year to lap up the British summer rays but I’m always pleasantly surprised to find that it’s not only an appeal during the summer. Come winter there are still loads of people wrapped up warm taking a family bike ride, an evening stroll with their dog or the bravest even take a dunk in the icy water. And of course, when we were there, after a quick wander across the pebbles, we couldn't resist the Brighton Pier. Mostly because I'm a sucker for a 2p machine - that, and of course, freshly made mini donuts.
After spending more money than I'd like to admit on the 2p machines, we took our sugar coated donuts for a stroll along the promenade and headed back toward the centre. Although Brighton is brimming with independent shops, there's no lack of high-street numbers too so we took a little visit to Churchill Square - Brighton's main shopping centre - to peruse some of the usual numbers like Topshop, Zara and of course, Homesense. Who doesn't love discounted homeware?!
Whenever in Brighton, I try to take a trip to The Flour Pot Bakery which, dare I say it, is one of my all-time favourite cafes / bakeries / tea or coffee spots ever. It's such a small, intimate place with gorgeous industrial copper lighting, cool marble worktops and unique, quirky touches. It's predominantly black and white and just the right side of the artisan hipster design trend haha. I could nestle into one of their cushioned bench spots with a good book and happily spend the afternoon sipping on a latte. However, latte I did not order, I decided to go for a tea and was very, very happy to reminisce over highlights of the day with my cuppa.
From there, I took a slow wander toward Brighton station, picked myself up a cheeky bag of mini-eggs to enjoy and clambered myself onto the train home. I called Joe, my boyfriend, to talk about my day out - and also to whinge about how much my feet hurt. Note: as expected, heeled shoes - even pretty ones (see below) - aren't appropriate for a day of walking around!!!
All in all, what a lovely, lovely day in sunny Brighton!