Summer Staycation: 48 Hours In Brighton


“A little piece of everywhere I go becomes a big part of everything I do.” 
― Richie Norton

It's fair to say that the UK is by no means a tropical paradise but it has such charming ways, it's very easy to fall in love with. Apart from it being my place of birth and my home for the last 25 years, one reason why I love Britain is for our quintessentially British seaside - something I've only come to appreciate in my adulthood. 

Like it or loathe it, there's nowhere on Earth that does the seaside like us Brits do. The fish and chips, the stripy deck chairs, the awkward changing-out-of-my-swimsuit dance, the sticks of rock, the penny arcades, the dodgy sun tan lines, the unpredictable weather, the sugar-coated doughnuts and the happiest of dogs bathing in the sea all make for an experience that stays with you forever. 

So to keep my love for the British seaside strong, my boyfriend and I recently spent the weekend in Brighton. A town renowned for being quirky, creative and positively fabulous, we decided not to make plans but to simply enjoy the moment and go wherever our minds wondered. 



And this is what we got up to.


Daytime Dreamin' on Brighton Palace Pier

Brighton has such a rich culture, there's always something interesting to see around the next corner. One of its most famous attractions is its lovely pier, which opened in 1899 and is still as charming as ever. The perfect way to enjoy the 1722ft stretch of historical beauty is to grab an ice-cream and take a leisurely stroll along it, hand in hand with your beau, until you reach the funfair. And if you're feeling adventurous, take a whizz on your favourite rides before heading back to shore.


Get Lost in The Lanes

I must admit, I am partial to the odd bit of online shopping (it just happens and suddenly I'm poor) but there's something rather special about choosing to shop in a place you're not familiar with. The streets seem more colourful, the restaurants more appetising and the shops more inviting somehow. With so many independent brands, vintage shops and art galleries to discover, The Lanes present a delightfully unique shopping experience where you're guaranteed to find something you didn't even know you were looking for!


Watch the World go by at Brighton Beach

In a former life, I must have been a mermaid because there isn't anything I don't like about the sea. I love how the salt settles on my skin after a dip, how the fresh air cleanses my soul, how the water is so powerful that it slips right through my fingers, how the infinite stretch of blue creates so much life; I could happily set up camp and stay there forever. Although Brighton Beach is a pebble beach, it's still a beautiful place to watch the world go by. Or if you're feeling a bit more energetic, make a splash and get involved with the fantastic watersports on offer. Whether you're a sporting champion or a complete novice, you'll have a whale of a time.



See Brighton from a Different Perspective Inside the British Airways i360

Created by the architects who designed and engineered the London Eye, the BA i360 offers panoramic views of Brighton from 450 feet in the sky. During each 30 minute vertical flight, up to 200 visitors can board the futurist glass pod and watch as the views unfold beneath them. With plenty of space onboard, you can easily move around to see the view from different angles (and the pod is wheelchair accessible too). If you're not too fond of heights, this may sound like quite a daunting prospect but worry not, there's a fully stocked bar onboard for when you need a bit of Dutch courage.



Dine Like a Queen

You may have already noticed that eating well is one of my favourite things to do. Although I love to cook, I also love eating out at nice restaurants and seeing how the best chefs plate up their culinary masterpieces. And when it comes to good food, Brighton is up there with the best. For lunch or a lighter dinner, I highly recommend Riddle and Finns; a little restaurant with a great vibe known for their delicious seafood. With two restaurants, one in The Lanes and one on Brighton Beach, you don't have to venture too far from the excitement to get your seafood fix. 

For a heartier meal, there's nowhere more inviting than The Coal Shed. Tucked away down an unassuming side street just off the sea front, The Coal Shed prides themselves on serving up an honest, tasty storm by using high quality and locally sourced ingredients. With a large portion of the menu dedicated to their infamous flame-grilled meats and steaks, The Coal Shed also serves a great selection of seasonal fish dishes, with oysters, octopus, monkfish and lobster making an appearance. One thing's for sure, you won't go hungry in Brighton!




Sleep in Style

Centrally located in the prestigious Regency Square, Hotel Pelirocco is the epitome of Rock 'n' Roll: sexy, indulgent and bohemian. What was once a traditional townhouse is now your best kept secret, even the exterior doesn't give anything away! With 19 boutique rooms to choose from, each individually themed, there is a room for everyone (some a bit naughtier than others!). A pin up parlour, a knitted room, a lover's lair, a Dolly Parton-inspired room, a koibito love room and a boudoir dedicated to Betty Page amongst many others, this vibrant hotel is bursting with personality and unlike any other in Brighton. 





Have you been to Brighton?


Travelling Tales: Why We Should All Vacay In Vancouver, BC



“I read; I travel; I become” 
― Derek Walcott

I've always wanted to travel but unless you live a flexible, carefree (and well-paid) life, it's not often convenient to put your life on hold, pack a bag and jet set halfway across the world. It takes a lot of time, effort and money to be able to reach your dream destination. Well, that's what I thought, anyway. But this summer, my boyfriend and I did just that. We travelled.

We threw whatever caution we had to the wind and decided to experience a little bit more of what this glorious planet has to offer. I quit my job as a Junior Researcher in London and took time to plan our first big adventure together, which would see us travel down the West Coast of North America. We planned to take 6 weeks out, starting in Vancouver, BC and ending up in Los Angeles, CA.

So, this is where our journey begins. 

Vancouver is Canada's third largest city by population. Where city and nature collide, it's a unique metropolis in which will see you relaxing in 5* luxury one day and chasing bears in the snow the next. So, when (because there will be a when) you find yourself in Vancouver, here's a few things you can do to experience the city at its best.

Spend a day at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Just a short journey from downtown Vancouver is one of the city's most popular attractions. Hanging 230ft above the raging Capilano River, cross the Capilano Suspension Bridge where you can explore the Treetops Adventure suspended above the forest floor and follow the narrow Cliffwalk to previously unchartered territory along the cliffside. And when the adventurer inside you is fully satisfied, treat yourself to some homemade fudge from Capilano's Trading Post gift shop. 





Enjoy the tranquillity of Stanley Park

Stanley Park is a magnificent green oasis in the midst of the heavily built urban landscape of VancouverThe 400 hectare rainforest is home to meandering trails, beautiful beaches, local wildlife, great restaurants and cultural landmarks, including the celebrated totem poles and Canada’s largest aquarium. There are several ways to explore the park: walk (be mindful that this would take a long time), hire a bike from the entrance, ride the train or hop on a traditional horse drawn carriage tour






Say hello to the sea life at the Vancouver Aquarium 

There are so many incredible species that share our Earth with us that there can never be a dull moment when you're getting to know them up, close and personal. Vancouver Aquarium is a great day out for all the family and what's more; it's not only home to some amazing aquatic life but it is also an Ocean Wise initiative, which works to conserve our oceans, protect our underwater world and inspire others to be more mindful of how we all impact the sea.




Explore the Mountains


Vancouver is overlooked by the picturesque North Shore Mountains. Come rain or shine, the mountains offer breath-taking views and an abundance of activities. Grouse Mountain, Cypress Mountain and Mount Seymore are all excellent locations to enjoy the mountains at their best (these photos were taken at the summit of Grouse Mountain). The climate in Vancouver is mild and temperate, but the region's mountains are renowned for their epic snowfalls - even during the summer months. So if you’re a snow sport enthusiast, grab your skis and snowboards because the mountains are yours for the taking.




Take a stroll around Gastown

Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood, Gastown, grew from a single tavern founded by John ‘Gassy Jack’ Deighton back in 1867. Today, the district retains its historic charm and it’s a great neighbourhood to explore on foot, where you’ll find a picture-perfect collection of Victorian buildings, cobblestones, the infamous Steam Clock, and vintage lampposts. Home to a unique selection of boutique shops, thriving cocktail bars and some fantastic restaurants, there's never a dull moment in Gastown so keep your eyes peeled and you'll be sure to find some hidden gems. 



Brave the Sea To Sky Gondola in Squamish

About an hour north of Vancouver - just off the Sea to Sky Highway - is a small town called Squamish, which boasts spectacular landscapes and epic adventures. Surrounded by coastal mountains, there are two ways to reach the summit and admire the views; hike or take the Sea To Sky Gondola. The gondola takes approximately 10 minutes to reach an elevation of over 2900ft and allows you to enjoy the panoramic views without even breaking a sweat. At the top, enjoy the serenity at your own leisure; meander around the different trails to the viewing platforms, grab a bite to eat at the Summit Lodge or spend your time hiking down to the base. Or just purchase a return ticket for the gondola...









Hop over to Granville Island on the ferry

If you love to browse around quirky, independent shops, then the Granville Island public market will be right up your street. With a vast assortment of colourful stalls, art, handmade products and fresh produce, you'll stumble across items you never knew you needed. A personalised workman's apron?  We found them. Vintage sports memorabilia? It's yours forever. A handcrafted broom? Bloomin' perfect. And once you've shopped 'til you've dropped, you can grab a tasty treat from the fabulous food market and catch the ferry back over to Vancouver.





See for miles from the Vancouver Lookout

The Vancouver Lookout allows you to see Vancouver from a higher perspective. Reaching over 500ft high, experience 360° panoramic views of the city from the observation deck. But to get there, you must ride for 40 seconds in a glass elevator so if you get a bit freaked out by heights, this might not be for you. Once you purchase a ticket, it's valid all day so take full advantage and visit in the morning, at dusk and in the evening.



Take a culture trip to Vancouver Art Gallery

Art is a wonderful thing and experiencing it in another country allows you a brief look into the mind of a different culture. With only 3 floors, Vancouver Art Gallery is on the smaller side but houses some thought-provoking exhibitions. Be sure to check the website for details on the current exhibitors and let the art speak to you in ways that you never thought possible. The gallery also holds regular classical music concerts, which are definitely worth a listen if you're in town.




Ride the FlyOver Canada Simulator

If you want to experience the rest of Canada without leaving Vancouver, the FlyOver Canada Simulator gives you an 8-minute insight of other areas of beauty that the country has to offer. The simulator uses state-of-the-art technology to create the feeling of flight, where riders are suspended in front of a spherical film screen while special effects, including wind, mist and scents, allow them to truly live in the moment depicted on the screen.



Have a hockey shoot out at the BC Sports Hall Of Fame

If you know anything about Canadians, you will know that they absolutely love ice hockey. In fact, they're rather proud of all their sporting achievements, so much so that they built the BC Sports Hall Of Fame. Whether or not you're a massive sports fan, it's fun to spend a few hours walking around the museum learning a bit more about Canada's great sporting history. And if you're feeling competitive, they also have a games area where you can test your sporting ability and try your luck at a hockey shoot out.






Travelling Foodies: A Guide To Eating Out In Vancouver



“I am not a glutton - I am an explorer of food” 

Deciding where to eat out in the Canadian city of Vancouver is like asking a child to choose their favourite sweet treat in a shop full of sweet treats; they're all equally delicious in their own right and it's much better to educate the taste buds than to stick to the same flavours (in my view, anyway). From hearty Canadian cuisine, sustainable seafood and upscale Italian dishes to casual Korean fare, American comfort food and delicate dim sum, Vancouver's food scene has something to satisfy every palate. My boyfriend and I spent 8 days eating our way around this wonderful city and here is a small (and by no means exhaustive) selection of the restaurants that we stumbled across on our travels.

Forage

Priding itself on using fresh, local, high quality ingredients, Forage is one of Vancouver's pioneers of sustainable dining. With a menu designed to bring diners the best of British Columbia, choose from a carefully curated selection of dishes from land, soil and sea. Turtle Valley bison, duck confit rillette, Pacific halibut, award-winning seafood chowder and stinging nettle risotto are just a handful of the culinary pleasures you can choose from. As they say, sharing is caring so don't be shy and be sure to dig in to as many dishes as humanly possible! And don't forget to sample the delicious cocktails (the Unruly Sour is a firm favourite of mine).






Dinesty Dumpling House

Thanks to its strong Asian influence, Vancouver is home to a magnitude of authentic ramen and dumpling houses. With an abundance of unassuming little eateries lining the streets of the West End, it's easy to forget that you're in Canada. So many so that Robson Street has now been lovingly renamed by the locals as Ramen Row. Dinesty Dumpling House serves a darling selection of dumplings, their most popular being their steamed soup dumplings. Choose from a variety of fillings including pork, shrimp and vegetables. Nothing fancy - just good, honest Asian food. So if you're looking for a light, tasty, inexpensive lunch, this is the spot for you.


Timber

If there was one word to describe Timber, it would be 'Canadian' - there's no doubt about it. Paying homage to the history of the timber industry and the strong lumberjacks who single-handedly built British Columbia, Timber embodies a warm, welcoming Canadian home. If your idea of heaven is sitting with a local craft beer (or cocktail) in hand while becoming engrossed in the latest ice hockey game on the TV, simultaneously devouring a plate of Canadian comfort food surrounded by old friends and new friends, then Timber is where you belong. Dive into some good ol' poutine or nibble on fried Humboldt squid. Maybe a side of chicken wings are more your thing. And don't underestimate the (pulled pork if you're a meat-eater) mac and cheese. There really is no place like home!


Whole Foods Market

Now, this is not technically a restaurant but Whole Foods Market is definitely a place you should hit if you want to grab breakfast on-the-go or stock up on an unrivalled selection of healthy snacks. With everything you expect of an organic supermarket plus a hot food counter, salad bar, a wholesome bakery serving the most delicious and nutritious muffins (Power Muffins - you complete me) and a juice bar, it gives you all the tools to fuel that wonderful body of yours.


Stanley's Bar and Grill

One of the most magnificent parks in the world, Stanley Park boasts over 1000 acres of beauty. Spend a day cycling along the sea wall, appreciating the totem poles or pondering life at the beach - and when you're feeling peckish, conveniently located in the centre of the park is Stanley's Bar and Grill. With a menu bursting with hearty West Coast classics, you'll be spoilt for choice. West Coast seafood chowder, pumpkin ravioli, grilled sockeye, artisan salads and a variety of burgers take pride of plate, which can all be enjoyed in the serene surroundings of Stanley Pavilion.  



Cardero's

A popular seafood restaurant in a cosy harbour setting, Cardero's is the perfect place for a casual, uncomplicated and tasty meal. Fish is the highlight of their menu with mussels, oysters, prawns, shrimp, halibut, lingcod, sablefish, lobster and tuna making a star appearance. They also cater to those who prefer something less fishy, with steaks, pizzas and pasta also on offer. With live music every night, I would highly recommend reserving a table here as it can get positively packed to the brim (and it's much more enjoyable having your own table that being that person trying to eat a full three-course meal while sitting scrunched up at a bar).


Black Rice Izakaya

Tucked away down a little side street in Downtown Vancouver, Black Rice Izakaya is the ideal place to get your Japanese food fix. Serving a huge selection of sushi, Japanese tapas and great value bento boxes in a sophisticated setting, you'll wonder why you didn't visit here sooner. The food is delicious and reasonably priced, the service is faultless and the atmosphere has the perfect amount of 'buzz'. If you're not already a fan of Japanese cuisine, you will be your new favourite food after dining at Black Rice Izakaya.



Oakwood Canadian Bistro

Located in the hipster district of Kitsilano, Oakwood Canadian Bistro serves wholeheartedly Canadian fare that is designed to be shared. With fine dining at its forefront, the menu comprises of smaller snacking plates, including scallop cracklings and ricotta polenta, to whet your appetite as well as an impressive selection of larger plates for an insatiable feast. Buttermilk fried confit lamb belly, miso and fennel pork belly, pan seared gnocchi with jalapeño honey butter and roasted mushroom spaghetti are only a sprinkling of the delectable dishes on offer that will surely have you roaring in delight. And don't forget to order a cocktail (or eight) from their extensive list; this is definitely the place to go all out.






The Birds and the Beets

One of the cutest cafes in Gastown, The Birds and the Beets makes sitting down for a coffee or a bite to eat seem really special. There's something in the air here that simply makes life better. Maybe it's the freshly brewed coffee or the pretty floral display. Maybe it's the smell of the fresh bread that is baked onsite or the homemade granola. Or maybe it's the fact that the whole environment just feels nice to be in. Whatever draws you here, you'll be sure to have a truly lovely time.



España

There's nothing like the true taste of Spanish tapas and thanks to España, you don't have to venture far from Downtown Vancouver to savour the Mediterranean. Andalusian olives, quality charcuterie, patatas bravas, grilled endive and mushrooms, artisan cheeses, snapper crudo, sautéed pork loin and grilled octopus are a few of the tempting tapas dishes carefully created to tickle your taste buds. Although unlike traditional tapas, España's portions are significantly more generous so if you're looking to sample a large portion of the menu, I'd recommend you take a friend (or several) - and be sure to end your feast on a high with some devilishly delightful churros dipped in rich, warm chocolate sauce.






© Rosie Romance

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