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Showing posts with label brighton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label brighton. Show all posts

Sunday, 19 October 2014

The Mock Turtle - delightful tea rooms in Brighton

best tearoom brighton

Stepping through the door of this traditional tea room in the centre of Brighton has been a complete delight to me for over 20 years now. For as long as I can remember, despite changes in ownership and expansion into the next building over, The Mock Turtle has fulfilled the same role in the Brighton cafe scene - it was doing twee before 'twee' was in style, darling! My parents would take me here when I was little, for a treat of toasted teacakes - I continued to visit through my teenage years, and still make an effort to stop off for a spot of tea whenever I'm in Brighton because it is just such a pleasure to eat here, even now!

twee decor cafe interior
vintage cash register
big vintage mirror brighton
Antique aesthetic decor

The crowded, mismatched decor and super-antique atmosphere in the Mock Turtle should not fool you into thinking that the service and the food are anything less than top notch here. There's a vast array of freshly baked cakes, pastries and scones on the menu, as well as tasty lunch snacks such as Welsh Rarebit (which is a gooey, fonduey cheese mixture on toast, in case you've not heard of it before) and cooked breakfasts.

Dan and I shared a deliciously traditional Welsh Rarebit (which we greedily wolfed down before we had a chance to photograph it) before indulging in a cream tea for dessert. We thought that we'd do a very scientific experiment and decide once and for all, which kind of scone is best, out of the Devonshire and Cornwall styles. There's an age old friendly (I think it's friendly anyway) rivalry between Devon and Cornwall regarding the correct way to assemble a scone with jam and cream. In Devon, they put the clotted cream on the scone first, followed by a dollop of jam, whereas in Cornwall, the jam is spread on the scone first, and then a thick layer of cream is liberally applied on top. Dan prefers the Devon method and I prefer the Cornwall method, so I can't say we came to any particular conclusions in our experiment!

Cream and Jam pots
Devonshire Cream Tea
Cornish Cream Teas

I'd really recommend visiting The Mock Turtle cafe if you're ever in Brighton. I've loved it since I was a child, and I'm clearly not alone, as they've expanded into a much bigger tea room recently. The prices are still incredibly reasonable (doubly so if you're used to sky-high London prices) and you get fantastically generous portions. You can find the Mock Turtle on Pool Valley in Brighton (BN1 1NJ). Let me know if you ever visit this tea room because it'll make me so happy!

Which type of scone do you prefer? Devon or Cornwall? And if you're not from the UK, exactly how ridiculous does this rivalry sound? Is there anything similar where you're from?

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Why do we think sunsets are pretty?

Brighton Skyline

Last Saturday, I took my husband to visit one of the most beautiful places on the planet. I've watched the sun set in so many different countries all around the world, and even so many places in Great Britain, and I am moved by every sunset I see - perhaps I am sentimental, but I can't think of a sunset that I find so profoundly sublime as the one you can see from Brighton beach.

We walked two and a half miles along the promenade, alongside the crashing waves and the salt-tumbled pebbles, as the sun dipped lower and lower in the sky, before sinking down just far enough to touch the horizon. We watched its final descent below the surface from a bench in front of a neat little row of beach huts which were bathed in the amber glow reflecting from the clouds as the sun descended.

This year has been one of the hardest so far - nothing has been certain, we've had to leave our home, and it has been deeply unsettling not to know what the immediate future holds, even though we do have each other. Looking at a sunset and letting one of the planet's most every day (literally) occurrences overwhelm me was more soothing than I could have ever expected. The sun sets every single day. It is beautiful. Every single day.

What does the sunset look like where you live? And why do you think humans seem to all agree universally that a sunset is pretty?

Sunlight dog
beach silhouettes
Sunset beach huts brighton
Sunset paradise UK

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Brighton Lights - A whirlwind trip back to my hometown

Modern Brighton Postcard

Brightonians (as we call ourselves) are notoriously filled to the brim with pride in our fantastic city. Yes, Brighton IS a city! I count myself so very lucky to have grown up in this wonderful place, and I'd love to bring my kids up here too. It's big enough that I could become street-wise, but small enough that I'd ALWAYS run into someone I knew when wandering around town, and it's sandwiched so beautifully between the seaside and the countryside. I've always loved Brighton but I've never appreciated it as much as I do now that I live in London. Much as I love the bustle of London, and the fact that you can pretty much get EVERYTHING here, there's nothing quite like the inclusive, friendly atmosphere of Brighton. Case in point: I received four compliments on my skirt in Brighton, and whilst I know my skirt is fabulous, I've never received an innocent compliment about my fashion choices in London!

Colourful houses Brighton
Chicwish Neon Lights Skirt Blog
Alleyway fashion shoot
Bokeh skirt blogger style

We decided to travel down to Brighton for the day on an absolute whim. I missed my hometown and if you've got a rail card and you go on the slow train, a day return from London only costs £6. We wandered around the shops, ate hearty donburis at Pompoko, a super cheap and cheerful Japanese place, wandered some more, and had an incredible vegetarian dinner at my favourite restaurant Terre à Terre. We had a tapas plate to share, and a sharing dessert too. Both were absolutely beautiful, complex and perfect. I've wanted to take Dan to Terre à Terre for years now, and I'm so glad we went.

terre a terre tapas review
terre a terre dessert menu

Bellies full, we waddled along the rapidly darkening seafront to the glowing lights of the pier, because Dan has never been to the pier at night. I had a great time playing with the light to make it match my skirt, and telling Dan all about all of the different memories I had of times I spent on this pier in my childhood and adolescence. We walked right to the end, looked out to sea and tasted the salt on our lips, before paying to ride the ghost train (which is actually quite scary since they've renovated it. It includes a really horrific zombie bathroom scene, and a severed head burning in an oven... Dark...)

Typical Brighton Sunset UK
The Palace Pier at Night
Bokeh Brighton Pier
Brighton Pier night fashion
Pier rides Brighton
Blurry lights effect
Merry go round fashion
sunset fashion brighton uk

Brighton is often portrayed as this pastel, saccharine seaside destination, all stripes and sticks of rock, and Mr Whippy ice creams with a flake stuck in at a jaunty angle. Yeah, we've got all of those things, and to the casual visitor it is probably easy to restrict your visit to these aspects of Brighton if you want to. But to me, Brighton is so much more than that. Brighton has a dark, grimy underbelly. It has a thriving arts scene and more youth music than you'd think possible. It's got restaurants and cafés for every taste, it's got countless creepy kebab places, it's got winding alleys, lanes and laines, boulevards, landmarks, local history, and so much character. This has been a love song to my favourite place. I miss you, Brighton, and I'll be back soon, I promise!

Skirt: Chicwish
Top: H&M Basics (it's actually a bodycon dress)
Shoes: Dr Martens

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

A Whimsical Hen Party in Brighton

Like many people, I chose to have my Hen Party in Brighton. Unlike the vast majority of the hens to be seen in Brighton on a Saturday night, I grew up there, so I feel like my reasons for "henning" there may be somewhat more sentimental - perhaps I'm wrong.
Initially, I wasn't going to have a hen party. The idea of running about blind-drunk, with novelty penis items adorning my body isn't really my idea of a jolly day out. I might be wrong, but I think that a lot of the people who end up having hen parties like that are just doing it because it's the "done thing" rather than because they think penis-shaped deely boppers are the secret to festivity. That said, I have absolutely nothing against people who go all-out and have a traditional booze-up for their hen party - as long as that's what they want to do!

flowering tea in brighton
In case I hadn't already made it obvious, that sort of hen party isn't my cup of tea! I was incredibly lucky to have my perfect hen party organised by my whole group of bridesmaids! Oh, and I should mention, THE WHOLE THING WAS A SURPRISE. I mean, I knew there would be hen activities, but I had no idea what they'd be! We started the day with a beautiful afternoon tea at Metro Deco in Kemp Town, which is a part of Brighton. Each of us got to pick our own tea from an incredible list.
afternoon tea hen party brighton
Tilly looks particularly elegant as she pours her tea! We were then treated to what can only be described as a feast! There were tiny sandwiches, macarons, eclairs, and scones with clotted cream and jam...! The meal was rounded off with some Prosecco in vintage Babycham glasses.
afternoon tea girl brighton
I was overwhelmed with delight, as you can see. Our next stop was Queen's Park, where we had a picnic, despite vowing only half an hour earlier that we'd never be able to eat again after such an amazing cakefest. After our picnic, we had a quick game of croquet, overseen by Bridesmaid Eleanor (who is a very talented set and costume designer as you can see).
hen party picnic brighton
croquet hen party brighton
 photo croquetinbrighton_zpsfd115366.jpg
All the while, I was convinced that the day couldn't get any more perfect, which was pretty much as wrong as I could get! Once our game of croquet was finished (I can't remember who won!), we had a cocktail or two at The Mesmerist, a retro-cool bar/venue in central Brighton, before heading down to the beach for an epically whimsical hen party finalé!
sky lanterns on Brighton beach
sky lanterns on by the sea
We all wrote well wishes and good lucks on the lanterns before sending them off out to sea (no, we didn't burn anything down, we were very safe and sensible, before anyone asks!). It was a completely unbelievable day, and I can't believe how perfectly it went! Big thankyous and eternal gratitude go to Tilly, Eleanor, Emma W, Emma D (a couple of the photos in this post are actually from her camera!), Sharon, Michaela, and Bex for making it such a wonderful day!
sophisticated hen party brightonI'll leave you with this last photo taken by some friendly tourists on Brighton beach.
My Dress: Dorothy Perkins (Old)
Tights: H&M
Gold Shoes: Schuh (Old)
Michaela's Spotty Blue Dress: Vivien of Holloway

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Blackbird Tea Rooms - A Slice of Brighton's Past!

I've been in Brighton for a couple of days on tour with the Gorilla Perfume bus. Stay tuned for a post about what we've been up to, and how beautiful all of the new fragrances smell. Until then, I've got INCREDIBLE NEWS about a new tea room in Brighton.
blackbird tea room
In case you hadn't already noticed, my life is spent in constant pursuit of whimsy. When it comes to anything twee, I am basically sold. That said, I like to think I can be at least a little bit discerning with these things. Perhaps I am a connoisseur of whimsy. I like that title - let's stick with that.
My stepdad, Andrew, had been recommending me Blackbird for a while, and yesterday seemed to be the perfect time for a vintage pick-me-up. Blackbird is situated on Ship Street, nestled among several other lovely cafes and eateries. There's Marwood which caters to the slightly scruffy, absurdist, coffee aficionado, Cafe Coho which is much more slick and trendy-looking, as well as Bagelman (my all-time favourite Bagel shop on the planet). I love all of these places, and I really hope that they ALL manage to survive in a competitive area!

vintage photo collection
vintage tea collection
The interior of Blackbird manages to address my craving for all things vintage, whimsical, and ever-so-twee, whilst still seeming somehow 'fresh'. It's very easy for a vintage-style tea room to become cloying or sickeningly twee, or aggressively vintage. Blackbird avoids this completely, pairing the vintage collections of photos, postcards and tea paraphernalia with white walls and mirrors, giving the place a light and airy atmosphere.
vintage china vintage postcard collection

Andrew and I chose to sit by the window which gave us a good view of the Fabrica gallery as well as some of the cafes I mentioned above. All of the china is vintage, and matches in a delicately mismatched sort of way. I really like mismatched crockery. In fact, I'm a big fan of mismatched EVERYTHING!!
The menu offered a suitably vintage array of cakes, teas, and savoury snacks. The couple at the table next to us ordered some gorgeous little sandwiches which came cut into triangles and carefully arranged on plates. I was very tempted but it seemed like a tea-and-cake sort of an afternoon. We ordered a pot of Earl Grey for two.

Vintage Earl Grey

Andrew had a slice of the Blackbird cake, the cafe's signature cake which was essentially a Victoria Sponge with blackberry jam instead of strawberry jam. I tried a bit and I've concluded that I prefer this sort of Victoria Sponge to the original type. I ordered a coffee and walnut cake, which was fluffy and perfectly sweet. Both cakes came with mixed berries scattered around the plate. We all know how much I love cake, and this cake was mindblowing.

Ship Street Brighton coffee and walnut

Yes I know, this is two photos of the same cake from different angles. Rather gratuitous, I know, but it was a glorious cake and as such it was necessary to capture its wonderment! In the background of the photo on the right, you can see the Blackbird cake that Andrew ordered.

blackbird brighton blackbird cake

As we paid, the beautiful woman at the till asked me if I was based in Brighton as they are starting up a craft evening. I was heartbroken to have to tell them I lived in London now. Can I justify moving back to Brighton so I can drink tea, eat cake, and do some knitting with these lovely ladies? You should check out their website and facebook page for more photos and information - this may well be my favourite vintage tearoom in the country and I've been to a fair few! I will definitely be visiting again when I'm next in Brighton, and so should you - especially if you love all things vintage, waitresses with victory rolls, incredible cake, and a well-decorated toilet! (Yes, even the toilet is perfect!) I'm in love!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Update for you!

I've managed to collect an absolute tonne of photographs and things to write about, to the extent that it has all become rather overwhelming! I have a fair amount of inane news to share, so buckle up, and let's take a trip into Candy's exciting life!
Dan and I went back to Cambridge to his old college, for a May Ball. It was really nice to relive a slice of the old student life; quite possibly the best slice, if we're going to be honest! I wore a dress that I bought from Camden market, although I've seen similar dresses all over the place in cheap market-stall shops. My necklace is a family heirloom of sorts although I don't think it goes back particularly far. The matching earrings don't actually match the necklace at all; I bought them for my Dad's wedding back in 2007.

The dress was floor length but there aren't really any satisfactory pictures of my entire length! It sort of looks like I am indicating my ovaries in this photo!
I made this rainbow cake for my lovely friend Tara, and I also took lots of photos during the making process, so at some point, you can expect a tutorial of sorts! It weighed over 3kgs and I brought it all the way from London to Brighton in once piece (oh ho ho, cake humour).
Here's a sneaky peaky at our wedding venue! We've set a date, and so very soon I shall begin the flurry of sending save-the-date cards! Obviously, I am very excited, but there's still a ton to do!
On the day we visited our wedding venue, we also took a brief detour to Brighton where Dan and I both got new ear piercings at Punktured (my favourite piercing place, and the only one I will ever recommend to anyone! I've had four very joyful piercing experiences there!), and then had incredible cake at Marwood which has fast become one of my favourite coffee shops in Brighton, which is saying something!
Wonderful Tilly and I made some super saucy cherry pie for our Twin Peaks marathon, which was enjoyed by all. I am probably already ready for another Twin Peaks marathon... Let's not lie, I'm ALWAYS ready for a Twin Peaks marathon! Here's our pie in EXTREME CLOSEUP.

I also attended two weddings and celebrated a couple of birthdays. Tomorrow I am off down to Brighton for my gorgeous friend Eleanor's birthday, at which I shall dress up as Suzy Butler from Moonrise Kingdom, and then on Tuesday we are off to Paris for a little jaunt! I can't wait to discover some vintage shops and patisseries in Paris, as well as visiting some perfume houses. Eleanor is 'becoming a woman' and thus must choose her signature scent whilst we are away!

Toodle pip pip pop poop. x