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View to Brighton Pier from the New Steine, Brighton

Archive for September, 2009

Spotlight On: Seven Dials

Seven Dials

Seven Dials

Ahh, Seven Dials.  If you know Seven Dials, it’s probably just a transitionary place to you.  The thing that sticks out in my mind about Seven Dials is the view up the hill when you walk up from Brighton Station.

If you climb the hill directly bordering the station, you’ll be treated to the most spectatular view of the city. If you are a Londoner it’s a comparable view to Muswell Hill in North London. Read the rest of this entry »

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Journey Into Antiquity

Easy To Miss Markets

One of my regularly scheduled stops during the weekends is the antique market right off the Lanes held every Saturday. This blink and you might miss it market has outdoor stalls and an indoor antiques market, which is quite large and open every day.

This market is a place where you can buy really good dutch cheese and cupcakes and vintage shoes.

The market is very informal, think blankets rather than only tables and you can make offers.

Open Market

The Open Market is near the Preston park area and is open most days but busy weekends. The market itself is a bit grimy but I was pleased to score a water bottle for 39p, never a bad thing. Pulse Organics is a great little store selling really inexpensive health food items.

This market doesn’t look like much and it isn’t but if you want a cheap haircut or to get your bike fixed, you may find what you are looking for.  I’ve also bought cheap MAC make-up here.

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Brighton Food Festival Take 1

Today I went to the Brighton Food Festival. I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the event. It’s the “Borough Market” of Sussex. brighton food 1

The top question on everyone’s mind is- Were There Any Samples? Freebies? Could one be a total pig on just samples?

Yes, Yes and maybe.

Here are some oral highlights:

Prosperity Brownies:

Not wanting to commit to a whole brownie yet jonesing for a chocolate fix, I sampled some incredible bits of brownie from Prosperity brownies. The sample wasn’t too hard nor too soft. If you like brownies, you know the importance of a good consistency. Prosperity delivers the goodies.

Carluccios:

I have to say I was very impressed by the whole Carluccios tent. If you love risotto or need to buy some mushrooms head over to Carluccios. The girlfriend wolfed down a sausage sandwich with rocket for a mere 2 pounds near closing time. I swear the risotto amazing.

Moshi Moshi:

Local fav Moshi, Moshi was giving out free sushi which looked delicious but alas, was a california roll so I wasn’t in luck. I have been to this fantastic sushi bar though and I would have definitely taken up any vegetarian offerings.

Orange Grove Organic:

Whether you are an affirmed plant only eater, you’ll find Orange Grove’s selection of dips pretty damn good. I consider their dips  hummos 2.0.

Stratta Fruit Vinegar:

I love vinegar. I have been known to bizarrely drink some out of the bottle as a tonic to all ills. Stratta Fruit Vinegar is a revelation. These vinegars spiked with fruit are so perfect I wouldn’t even recommend making them into a salad dressing ingredient. Just buy some bread and dip it in for perfection.

Chocoholly:

Chocoholly supplies to several shops locally and can also be found at Waitrose. Try the white chocolate for a special treat.

Taste Of Calabria:

Taste of Calabria has these fantastic italian biscuits which are not very sugary and unlike anything you can easily buy.

Jethros:

Jethros sells marinades that if you cooked would be truly fun to play with. If you don’t like me, you can use some of them like dressings or sauce over meat or meatless meat.

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Aloka:

Aloka was my choice for supper. I had a Seitan burger with garlic mayo and salad.  The burger was pretty good but the price made it as it was reduced. I would be interested to try the beatroot burger on offer. I will also say the staff here are lovely. Most of their food if not all, is vegan and raw.

I’m certainly looking forward to the Fiery Food festival and more upcoming events. I’ll just save all my calories and then splurge kind of like a shopping spree.

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Biker Heaven

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The annual Ace Club event today rocked my universe.  After I arrived at Old Steine and saw all the bikes I realised what a converting force motorcycle culture is. This gorgeous woman who looked like Angelina Jolie before she went soft walked in front of me and started up her engine. It only got better after that. Read the rest of this entry »

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Gourmet Palates

If you think Brighton is just a seaside resort without much to offer people beyond fish and chips, you are sadly mistaken. True enough, the fish and chips are amazing especially at Bankers, but there is a lot more to choose from.

I’m writing this on the eve of the Brighton Food Festival which is a series of food festivals which focuses on locally sourced food and runs over the month of Sept.

Generally, there are a lot of gourmet restaurants and stockists in some offbeat places. For instance in Hove, The Real Eating Company is a restaurant and cheese shop that uses local seasonal produce and is a great date night place for foodies. 0809 022

One place that really deserves a mention is Coriander Restaurant And Deli. The deli has fantastic cheese, bread  and dips. This place is located in a blink and you might miss it place, near Hove Seafront.

I’ve also been to Le Gourmet shop in Seven Dials, where I was captivated by squid ink pasta! It was sooo black.

You also can’t forget Bill’s Produce Store, where everything is marked with the Bill’s label and fairly expensive but worth it.

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One really great place to go is Hove Farmer’s Market once monthly on a Sunday, if you are in the area to get local honey still on the comb, dips and sausages. I’ve also bought nice chutneys here and bakery bread. The market is just around the corner from Hove railway station.

Perhaps the most impressive gourmet shop is Taj. I take Taj for granted because I live here but Taj really is something else. Where else can you buy German tofu, freshly made Curry and Thai sweet and sour sauce?!  A lot of people come to Taj for upscale picnic fare.

If you are in the market for something a bit more simple at Cook Brighton, tourists can buy an amazing packet of Munchy Seeds and locals can buy a gourmet ready meal frozen that is revelation in fast(ish) food. For the unitiated,  Munchy Seeds are sunflower seeds covered in spices or sweet powder.

I can’t forget about Carluccio’s which is a chain but a particularly good one, selling Italian freshly baked-breads and pastas. Carluccios also has a cafe serving authentic Italian antipasti and delicious beverages.

I really enjoy eating at Foodilic which serves cold, buffet style gourmet. This is one of the only decent places in the Churchill Square area to eat.

A lot of times on holiday, all you need is a nice bottle of wine and some tapas style foods. The gourmet shops I’ve listed are places to buy a bit of cheese or bread for this purpose. Or some very, very black squid ink pasta to take home!

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Spotlight On: Seven Sister’s National Park

0809 017No uniformed tourist knows about Seven Sister’s. Consider yourself in the know. Seven Sisters has woods with a capital W and is about 1 hour from Brighton. The number 12 or 12A buses will take you there from Churchill Square, in Brighton Central.

The great thing about this particular open space is the diversity of the landscape. When you arrive at the park, head over to the tourism office.  Get a free map of the woods or buy one of the Country Park, for 1 pound. The Country Park has a lake and rolling hills and clearly definable paths.

Many people row on the lake. I didn’t spend much time in this part of the park but I will on my next visit. There is a sign illustrating the potential to see Badgers, which is inately facinating to me hailing from a concrete jungle. The Badgers can be seen more near dusk because they are nocturnal animals.

There is a country pub at the top of the hill, selling overpriced food and Real Ales but I recommend eating at one of the other restaurants near the Tourist Information.

As I said before the woods was the real draw for me and many mountain bikers. You can actually rent a bike here. Both the Country Park and the woods are bike friendly and paths are all easy to follow. 0809 010

In the woods, people can go Orienteering, which is a game where you find landmarks. The great thing about these woods is that they are huge and fairly dense but it is hard to get lost. If you wanted to not see a soul you could.

I also saw some lovely butterflies whilst here. There are many different kinds of birds that live here but you need to go a little thicker than the entrance to hear them. Some the park is quite hilly but while you would need to think about  proper footwear if it rains heavily, a lot of the paths are rocky with small stones and therefore less muddy than one would think.

As Seven Sisters is right near Eastbourne, if you want to make a day of it head over to the town afterwards. Eastbourne is fairly large with a good selection of restaurants and a pier with amusements like Brighton. The vibe is kind of similar to Brighton but less urban.

I really enjoyed visiting this park. If I lived closer to it, I would have gone back today. If you’re a nature buff you’ll really like this park. It is worth the one hour ride to visit it.

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Brighton Tailored To You

A friend of mine has a fantasy of being locked overnight in a department store so she can try on all the clothing. You could lock me in Miss Selfridge and I would gladly get no sleep.

A really fun shop off the beaten path is Lady Jaquelina near Preston Park which sells really, really inexpensive alternative attire like vynl and gothic fashions. This store is great place to snap up a corset or skirt.

Get Cutie on the North Laines has some nice dresses and skirts made of unique fabrics. It’s a bit pricey but if you have money to burn, burn some at Get Cutie. The style hear is sort of 50’s but the prints really make it stand out. 0809 035

Mad Hattersis a small store in the North Laines selling only hats and hairpieces, which would really suit your outfit at Royal Ascot, if you are so inclined.

If you fancy something very English, buy a ” Keep Calm and Carry On” shirt at Pussy. Yes, that is actually the name. ;) Pussy is in the North Laines.

For shoes I love Flawless, which sells the boutique brand Irregular Choice that makes shoes that look like a cross between punk carnage and Dorothy. Flawless is also in the North Laines.

I think one of the best places to get a great deal is Snoopers Paradise on the North Laines (big surprise) which sells old and new fashions. The newer fashions are very punky and they sell my favourite brand Hell Bunny. The vintage selection is surprisingly good as well. At the top of this store is a selection of photographs and prints that showcase Brighton and make a nice souvenir.

If you like Day-glo flourescent fashion, try Red Mutha or Cyber Dog . You can buy 80’s shirts and day-glo legs at Red Mutha and proper insane rave fashion at Cyber Dog. The lights!!!

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If you want a slice of unique Brighton fashion, also try the South Lanes, more for accessories. This historic fishing quarter has many jewellers and is particularly known for jewellery. If you are into hair accessories, stop at Jaffa Hair, which has lovely clips from France that last years and range from tortoise shell work-ready designs to multicoloured parrots.

Whatever your style is, you’ll find some new pieces in Brighton. I’m more eccentric but even if you like classic fashion, you’ll get your fix.

 

 

 

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Spotlight On: Hove

Brighton is like Madonna and Hove is like Christopher Ciccone. Brighton is the famous big sister leaving Hove in the dust. Many people don’t even make it to Hove, which is kind of unfortunate as Hove can be a blessing on a busy day.

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For instance, the beaches are far quieter in Hove. You can take a cycle path all the way to Hove Lagoon, where kids can sail and Heather Mill’s cafe is and onward to the lovely quaint town of Shoreham by sea and further on to Worthing if you really fancy a trek.

First of all, I know for a fact, you can get the best minced pie you ever had at Canham and Sons on Western Road in Hove. I’m vegetarian but I’ve been told this place does pasties and pies to die for.

A lot of the nicer shops in Hove are on the high street but the George Street has some good offerings like home furnishing shop, Burts and some cafes.

The most famous restaurant in Hove is probably Topolino. Topolino Duo serves classic Italian dishes and is always busy. It is one of the few restaurants in the area that has no concept of the recession. Topolino is also affordable. 0809 057

Most of the rowdy kids who come to get drunk in Brighton (and there is a signifigant number) do not venture into Hove. If you party in Hove, your evening will be more civilized.

H-Bar in Hove is a nice venue with a bottom floor lounge and an upstairs club. I also recommend Kobawhich is a cocktail lounge spread over a few floors that does special deas on shots and sells Pimms.

There is also a branch of The Tin Drum which is a really nice little pub to have a chat in and actually hear the person you are sitting with. This is a smaller branch of the pub than the Kemptown one, if you recognise the name.

Probably the best attraction in Hove, other than Hove Lagoon if you like watersports, is Hove Park which is a large rolling park that is actually the perfect place to stop on a nice day.

Another thing to do in Hove is catch a cricket game at the Sussex Cricket Club which holds international matches and is located in Central Hove. There is a very inexpensive pub next to the cricket pitch that offers a meal deal.

If you are staying Brighton for a few days, don’t neglect to visit Brighton’s little brother.

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The Pavilion – A Must-See Or Hype?

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Anytime you go to a new destination, you honestly wonder if the main tourist attractions are really worth the expense. I thought the same thing in Italy when I went to see ” David”.

Too often tourist traps leave you feeling, well, sucked in. This is not the case with the Pavilion, trust me. If you think it looks ultra cool on the outside, it is even better inside.

If you reside in Brighton and Hove, you get an extra discount on admission. Otherwise you pay full price but you also get an informative audio guide tour.

From the moment you walk into the Pavilion, you are taken in by the period furnishings, elaborate murals and chandellers. Seriously, when I walked into the first room I gasped.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Brighton Beauty

I’m a high maintenance woman and I am serious about hair. Very deadly serious.

Ladies, if you are dead serious about hair do not get your hair coloured at Rush. I have never had such a bad dye job. The salon refunded my money but I was devastated.

I had a wonderfully inexpensive cut at Topper’s in the North Laines. This 7 pound cut framed my face and attracted many compliments after an insane midnight chopping session left me worried and seeking a neat looking shoulder length cut. 0809 031

I think one “beautiful” Brighton place which deserves a mention is the fantastic Lush. Lush products have all natural ingredients and are so wholesomely made you could eat a bit of your face mask and actually not mind. Try a bit of the slimy jelly soap or a bath bomb for an amazing bathing experience. Everything here is very affordable usually under 10 pounds.

One place any beauty queen should stop is MAC on the lanes. Although the Dame Edna line has dissapeared ages ago, MAC is timelessly good quality make-up.

If you venture further into Hove and need a really good shampoo and conditioner, you can obtain the wonderful REDKEN products at LookFantastic on Western Road. If you’ve just swum in the sea, get something and save your hair from turning to straw. 0809 020

The first Body Shop ever was in the North Laines. It has since closed (there is still one on Western Road). The biggest beauty attraction is Neil’s Yard Cosmetics which has some natural cremes that smell divine.

In terms of fragrances, I buy my Viktor and Rolf cologne from Debenhams. Debenhams is in Churchill Square. I believe this is the best place for fragrances around. You might think the prices might be a little bit high but I looked at my fragrance on Amazon.co.uk and Debenhams had it at a good price.

If you are having a party or hen night, consider having your nails done by Fabulous Fingernails. My friend had a party recently and Joanna did a wonderful job painting the guests. She’s also a lovely person so she’ll be good company!

As long as you steer clear of Rush hair, you’ll have a beautiful time in Brighton.

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