Monday, 31 December 2007

Happy New Year from Brighton

Well, having watched that rather clever chap Ricky Gervais in Extras last night, I'm so uber horrified by anything even faintly fame related that it's thrown my whole New Year's Eve out the window. (If you didn't see Christmas Extras it was a scathing attack on fame and the lengths (or depths) we'll go to get it in whatever form.)

I'm a right old bah humbug at New Year and usually take pride at sitting in with a glass of vino and the telly rather than shelling out on the cost of a small country to get inside a sweaty club that usually costs £2.50 on any other day of the year. But now I can't watch telly because it will be full of famous people wishing each other a self congratulatory happy new year and Ricky Gervais might pop up and shout 'you avving a laugh'. And is it me or does Jools Holland do something weird whereby he's on EVERY channel at once? Or maybe all my channels are tuned to BBC 2 and I never usually notice? I don't generally watch telly. Anyway, that means I'm going to have to go out. Oh dear, I feel nervous already...

So, living in Brighton as I do, what's going on then? Oh come on, you knew I'd get it back to Brighton eventually - tis what this blog is all about after all...

So, if like me, you want to go and shake your booty (or in my case probably a stick at the first person who pours beer on me) and have left it all to the last minute, we've got a few little Brighton New Year ideas for you. Being Brighton and all, there's lots going on, so why not do something different - howabout some live comedy at the Komedia or cheeky cabaret at Brighton's Joogleberry Playhouse?

Whatever you get up to, hope you all have a great New Year.

See you in 2008...


Saturday, 29 December 2007

Swish Waves......

.......swish....wish....wash.....splash!! Well when I told Richard on our shift at the Visitor Information that I was going out for a bit of Vitamin D and a breath of fresh air, I hardly expected to be as refreshed as I am now! Just goes to show you never know what may happen to you just round the corner in Brighton!
I had 20 minutes so instead of getting caught up with the tempting sales I dashed down the seafront to admire our fabulous seaside with the sun shining ever so brightly over the tumbling, energising waves, quietly chuckling away to myself, watching people getting a gentle spraying whilst teasing the waves on the stone jetty, you know the one with my two favourite seafront sculptures, the Kiss and Hamish Black's 'Float'..... (you see am getting sidetracked already!) ..... and swish .... wash .... splash!! .... there I stood soaked in lovely salty water!! I couldn't quite believe it so I stood in shock with my mouth wide open until I realised it was filling with salty wash....mmmm nice!! Anyway so before I knew it my time was up and I made my way back to the inviting warm office to dry off!! Needless to say everyone had a good chuckle at me as I dripped in....:-0)

Moral of the story is ..... you never know what is going to liven up your day in sunny Brighton!!

Yours a bit drier now and a Happy 2008 from us at the Visitor Information Centre, come in and see us when you are next here!!


Stars of St Petersburg Ballet

Working at the Visitor Information Centre in Brighton is never dull. You get to hear about all the interesting events and happenings in the City. The St Petersburg Ballet Theatre are performing at the Dome over Christmas and when the details flashed up on our all singing all dancing Theatre Ticket Booking System (which goes under the name of ENTA) I quickly booked myself two tickets for a Gala evening of Ballet. The Dome Theatre (in case you have never visited) is an impressive concert hall, once the Royal Stables of King George IV, and recently refurbished to modern standards. Equally impressive was the performance of the St Petersburg Stars who seemed at times to defy gravity as they danced round the stage. My companion enjoyed the excellent bar facilities and a perfect evening was rounded off by the cancellation of our late train home. C'est la vie! The Dome hosts a wide range of musical events so it's worth keeping an eye on the VisitBrighton website or calling in at the Visitor Information Centre (next to the Royal Pavilion Shop) for the latest hot information from ENTA.


Friday, 21 December 2007

10 Things that make Brighton Christmassy

I know it’s a bit late but there’s still 4 days to go! Can you do better?

1. Brighton Pier.

2. Resident Nick Berry. Didn’t he have a big Christmas number one with Every Loser Wins?

3. Unique shops. Making sure you can get Grandad something very very special.

4. Donatello’s giant polar bear. Its massive!

5. Brighton Square’s Christmas lights.

6. The Royal Pavilion.

7. Theatre Royal’s panto. This year they’ve lit the whole building pink

8. Julia Finch at VisitBrighton – only known to us I know, but she deserves a mention because she’s been celebrating since November!

9. Burning the clocks.

10. Ballet at Brighton Dome.

For more on all the above see


Thursday, 20 December 2007

Recycling in Brighton

As it's the festive season and all that, if you're thinking of buying, or have already bought, technology type gadgets, such as a new mobile phone or computer, remember to spare a thought about what you, or those you're giving to, might do with the old stuff. Have you thought about recycling it?

If you do, you'll be doing the planet a big favour, as a lot of electronic equipment contains rather yucky toxic chemicals, which can pose health and environmental risks, particularly in landfills where toxins can leak into the soil and ground water. So next time you go to throw that old mobile phone in the dutstbin, try and remember to think again. And if you think I'm writing this from atop a huge glowing halo - I'm really not. I recently dismantled an old hoover and tried to disguise it in the communal bin in various bin bags. It didn't work, of course. So, next time, I shall be more responsible, feel far less guilty and the dustmen will dislike me less...

Here are a few links that might help:

Find out more about electronic waste
Guide to mobile phone recycling in Brighton
Recycle your mobile phone with Oxfam
UK computer recyclers

And if you're looking for some local Brighton based recycling outlets, we've got some in the Recycling section of our VisitBrighton Green pages.

Happy recycling!


Brighton bus and train combined tickets

Well, I seem to be on festive fire today and have been told to wind down like everyone else, but I think I've had too many of Finchy's brownies and am on a mad sugar surge of productivity.

So imagine my excitment when we received a very good question indeed from one of our regular VisitBrighton blog readers... The rather lovely Mrs Barrow from Hove wanted to know whether there is a combined bus and train ticket for Brighton. Well, guess what there is! It's one of those things people just don't seem to really know about and its really great value...

Its called the PLUSBUS ticket and is available to visitors who wish to combine train and bus travel. Simply ask for a PLUSBUS ticket for Brighton when buying your train ticket and you can make as many journeys as you like on all local Brighton buses on the day your ticket is valid. And with Brighton offering a rather fab award winning bus service, the PLUSBUS ticket offers a great way to get around town, as well as save money.

Find out more about it on the 'By Train' section of our Travelling to Brighton page.

So, thanks to Mrs Barrow for asking the question. She's ever so helpful - she's always giving us feedback and advice on all manner of things...!


Sign up to VisitBrighton RSS News Feeds

As the Pointer Sisters once said 'I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it...'
However, whilst I'm hopefully not about to lose control, I must say I do like it!

Like what, you ask!

Well, whilst the rest of you are winding down and getting windy from too many mince pies, we've been getting busy with RSS feeds. Not a repetitive strain condition, I might add! No, rather, a lovely little 'simple syndication service', so visitors to can sign up to receive notification of all spanking new VisitBrighton news stories in their news readers.

If at this point, you're as confused as everyone outside of the marketing team seems to be here, you can find out all about RSS on our RSS new feed Help page. Then simply pop to the VisitBrighton homepage and click on the little orangy button and Bobs your uncle and Fanny's your aunt! Well, you'll have an RSS feed link anyway. And you'll also have your fingers right on the pulse of what's going on in Brighton in the New Year...

And if one more person dare asks me if you're supposed to get lots of code when you click on the orange button I shall personally ban Christmas....bah humbug!

And on that note, Merry Christmas everyone!!!


Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Brighton on film

As fans of our blog will know we had a film competition recently and asked people to send in a one minute promotional video of Brighton, and the winners have now been chosen

However we also have our own two minute promotional film of Brighton to give visitors a quick snapshot of what they can see once they arrive in our city:

Monday, 17 December 2007

Quirky Festive Facts

What does a cat on Brighton beach have in common with Christmas?
Sandy Claws!!

Boom, boom.

Well, now that I’ve got that off my chest, here are some quirky facts about the festive season:

  • Apparently, if you received all of the gifts in the song ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’, you would receive 364 presents – almost one for each day of the year!

  • 'It's a Wonderful Life’ appears on TV more often than any other holiday movie

  • More than 3,000 metric tonnes of Robertson's mincemeat is sold in the run-up to the 25th

  • 10 million turkeys are sold each year – that’s a lot of turkey curry!

  • Al Martino - Here In My Heart, was the 1st Christmas number 1 in 1952

  • Father Christmas was apparently born in Turkey in the fourth century, but no-one is quite sure when he moved to the North Pole!

  • British people started putting trees in their houses when Queen Victoria's husband Albert brought the idea over from Germany in 1841

  • Anyone caught having fun at Christmas between 1647 and 1660 was in trouble, since celebrating the holiday had been banned by the rather strict Puritans who were in power at the time!

  • Mr Blobby was the Christmas number 1 in 1993

  • The definition of a white Christmas in England is when one snowflake falls on the roof of the London Weather Centre – so by that reckoning there have only been 2 white Christmases - 1938 and 1976.

And if all those quirky facts aren't enough to get you going, check out some of the quirky things you can do in Brighton this Christmas:

Burning of the Clocks

Christmas Day Dip

Or simply just have a search through our Brighton What's On section.

And whilst I’m a roll, let’s have one more festive joke for the road…

Why does Santa have 3 gardens?
So he can Hoe, Hoe, Hoe!

It’s ok, I’m going now…


Sunday, 16 December 2007

Hitches & Troupes

Yesterday it was the phone and today it is the council U-drive. Oh, don’t those technical hitches send you into the arms of the internet (because there is very little else we are able to do).

I must apologise to our beloved visitor information centre customers. For some period yesterday they could not communicate with us by phone, today they can perfectly but we cannot do much about processing their enquiry without that blessed U-drive. I also had to swiftly remember how do fill in a manual National Express ticket earlier but there is now a very lucky young lady on her way back home. Alas, the servers our VisitBrighton website sits on are made of heavier stuff…and very grateful we are too!

But we are not fainthearted, us visitor information centre lot. I am keeping my troupes (that is myself and Richard today) and our beloved visitors informed and supplied regardless. Richard is reading through my manual National Express tickets instructions as I write this. Incidentally our beloved visitors can make their lives so much more hustle free by using some of our VisitBrighton online purchasing facilities:
Since I mention this twice already I shall start off with National Express closely followed by some train offers, car hire and even Eurostar and ferries. Then there is our One Stop Shop for books and maps of Brighton and not forgetting our exclusive Winter Breaks offers.

Of course I could never blame our beloved visitors if they cannot tear themselves away from our award winning and glamorously fitted visitor information centre, next door to the Royal Pavilion, for the personal touch. My troupes and I would be very delighted to welcome everybody by offering them a hustle free experience, whether you want a boutique hotel room for tonight, a Saver ticket to Seven Sisters, to catch a flight from Heathrow/Gatwick/Luton or a Eurostar from St Pancras, partake in a bit of the St Petersburg Ballet at the Dome, gain admission to the Royal Pavilion or Sea Life Centre or just to get informed on what there is to see and do in Brighton. Whilst leaving our glamorous premises you enter the equally classy Royal Pavilion Shop, which is currently stocked with the most gorgeous Christmas gift items.

Obviously the main reason anybody would enter our visitor information centre is to see us. I shall run through our lot for you so as to assist in the spotting process:
Richard is now eating his sandwich and apart from being very good a devouring my instructions is also a very organised adviser not just about Brighton (oh no) but about financial products as well. He travels in to us all the way from Burgess Hill and has been in this visitor information business for quite a while.
My fellow troupes master is Darren. He is shacked up in Hove (he won’t mind me saying this). You may have spotted him as one of the faces in the latest EnjoyEngland campaign or on his many trips abroad. He speaks perfect French, having lived in Paris and having left his heart and good sense there.
Our Karen is our Spanish lass, being born and dragged up in Madrid (we have forgiven her now). She has lovely red hair and the vocal volume to go with it – which comes in handy when she is on phone duties.
Laura now has two little kiddies in tow but in her misspent youth she did a spell in Avignon … and as a photographer’s assistant (but those were two separate spells). Originally from Devon, she keeps all our information sheets fit for our beloved visitors (not sure the two are related).
If you detect a beautiful Irish lilt you will be speaking to Mary. She tells me she is going to a Christmas ball and that she has been practicing ballroom dancing with her partner all year. This is probably why she has gone to see her mother in Dublin now.
Be careful with Pippa, she is a trained acupuncturist. Otherwise she is eminently sensible and helps me out whenever I have staffing crisis – ie every second day or so.
We also held on to Pat. She was one of our summer seasonal staff but I keep finding her the odd day here and there. She is calm personified and ever so into everything.
You may glimpse Katie but more likely you will speak to her, which is a shame as she is the youngest (and pettiest) of us lot. Being the youngest she also has the job of keeping our plasma screen updated (using power point, I think – that shows you how old I am).
My name is Luzia and I hail from the Swiss mountains (Appenzell Ausserrhoden to be precise) but you have to ask my troupes about more interesting gossip about me. I can often be found in the Hanover area of the city when I am not organising troupes.

Well, you will be pleased to know that we are now booking National Tickets electronically again.

Luzia xx

Friday, 14 December 2007

Is Sue still wearing her Christmas cracker hat...?

It is quite quiet in our office today as last night was our Christmas night out, thankfully we all do flexi time here so some didn't make it in at all today, others of us came in just for the afternoon once we were over the worst part of the hangover and miraculously some people have managed to do a full working day!

Before I say anything else I have to say congratulations to Sue who kept her party hat on all evening and I suspect she may even still be wearing it, so well done Sue! I was less successful as mine fell off during the meal and Linda turned it into a lovely flower, which she attached to a hair clip but for some reason that wouldn't stay in my hair either and unfortunately I lost it, sorry Linda.

Anyway we started the evening with drinks after work and then went to the House restaurant for dinner (and some more wine of course!). It's an ideal place to go for groups as they have a series of dining rooms so you get a room to yourself. Apart from celebrating the festive season we were also saying goodbye and good luck to Julia who is now on maternity leave and we also got to meet Liz who will be covering for Julia whiles she's away.

Some of the sensible ones left after the meal but a few of us decided we needed some more wine and so went over to Ha Ha's. While we were sat down we were all being terribly witty conversationalists, however when we got up to leave we were all a bit wobbly on our feet especially Sarah who ended up in the bushes, in true comedy fashion complete with flailing arms, oh and thank you to the chap who helped her back onto her feet again!

However we did not take this as a sign that it was time to go home, on the contrary it was actually time to go to Legends, that was if I could remember where it was! We didn't make it in to Legends in the end, well Sarah got in to their revolving door but no further, so after some giggling and chatting we eventually stumbled into taxis and headed home. Although my memory of the latter part of the evening is a little hazy but perhaps if my colleagues would like to add to this post then between us we can fill in all the gaps!


Thursday, 13 December 2007

Dali melted his clocks, but we burn ours!

The build up to Christmas can be quite a stressful time. I certainly feel like I have been into every shop in Brighton & Hove as I tried to decide what to buy for my Auntie Babs and my pet gecko Esmerelda (maybe I should ask fellow blogger Sarah for some tips on presents for one's furry or scaley friends).

Well, I am pleased to announce my Christmas shopping is now done and dusted, so all I need to do now is sit back and relax, open a box of chocolates and wait for the Queen's speech and a new pair of socks from Auntie Babs to slip through my letter box! But wait a minute.... How could I forget one of my favourite events of the festive season?! (No! I know what you are thinking, it's not spending 20 minutes sat on Santa's knees in his cosy little grotto in Churchill Square Shopping Centre! and pleading with him as I suck my dummy that I really, really do deserve a Learjet this year!) No, the event that gives me the most pleasure at this time of year is our very own Burning The Clocks!

Part Guy Fawkes Night, part Alice In Wonderland, this event truly is a wonderful antidote to the perils of seasonal shopping sprees and dodgy Christmas parties (where last year I ended up dancing semi naked to Slade's 'So Here it is Merry Christmas' and then spent an hour talking to my boss's clematis thinking that it was 'Janet from accounts' with a green wig on!).

Burning of the Clocks is in celebration of the Winter Solstice and the onset of longer hours of daylight again and comprises of a wonderful lantern parade through The Lanes area of central Brighton. Most of the lantern bearers are children who have put the lanterns together themselves. It really is magical, seeing all the beaming faces of the children as they go on their luminous adventure, collectively meandering their way through the town centre like a giant glow worm. This year's events takes place on Friday 21st December, with the procession making its way along North Street at about 6:30pm, before heading into Ship Street, Bartholomews, East Street and then left along the seafront onto Madeira Drive.

The event culminates in the lanterns being burnt on a huge bonfire which is then followed by a wonderful fireworks display and the gentle murmer of the 'Ooohs' and 'Aaahhhs' as the crowd enjoy the pyrotechnic show in the sky!

The event does attract big crowds so for the best views, stand on Marine Parade from where you will get a great view of the procession's arrival and of the fireworks display.

So if you fancy clearing your head of Christmas jingles, TV advertising, stressful shops, then head down to the Burning of the Clocks event and fill your head with wonderful memories of this fantastic event! Then why not head to one of Brighton's 400 restaurants for a lovely dinner - some of them might even have some festive special offers!

Well I will sign off here, so it just leaves me to say I hope that you all have a great Christmas and a fabulous New Year! Just don't over do it on the sprouts! ;o)


Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Brighton top for Christmas shopping

Did you know around 7 out of 10 British dogs get Christmas gifts from their doting owners? We're all a bit bonkers really aren't we? Saying that, my cat Tallulah went on feline strike last year when I failed to buy her usual cat stocking - she didn't purr for a week and depending on where I was in a room she would re-position herself so her slightly raised bottom was firmly directed at me.
So this year I shall be buying her an extra specially LARGE cat stocking with lots of cat nip in to bribe her with. Partly because I quite like a bit of cat nip myself - a quick whiff and I'm flying around all over the shop. Its the perfect excuse for knocking the Christmas Tree over...

Anyway, if like me you're a bit of a sucker for pet's pressies, there's a marvellous pet shop in Brighton called Pamper Me Pet, which caters for all us mad folk who like to buy our beloved pets a gift. My best friend, who earns far more money than is frankly healthy, could probably have re-raised the Titantic for what she shed out on her new kittens. But then she did call one of them Penrose Tennyson after an old film star, so is clearly a miaow short of a kitten anyway.

Pamper Me Pet has everything from jewelled collars, leather collars, casual collars, leads, harnesses, beds, bowls, booties, perfumes, nail polish, bows, treats and toys...phew. And they even do a grooming service.

So, if you want to get festive with your felines this year, check them out. And if you don't have pets or are just a bit more sensible than me, Brighton has just been voted one of the top 5 cities for Christmas shopping so you should come and have a bit of a shop anyway...

Right, well I'm off to get Tallulah a diamond encusted cerise pink jewelled collar this lunchtime. Ooo, she's gonna love me. Happy shopping!


Tuesday, 11 December 2007

A Day in the Life

When we first started this blog one of the ideas we had was that we should all take it in turns to write a day in the life style piece so that people can find out what we actually do, so here goes – A day in the life of a Marketing Officer….

So far this morning I have been checking my e-mails and having a quick look at the local news in case there is anything we need to be aware of, for example if a restaurant has closed down or if there is a new development in the pipeline. My next job will be to make up three press packs as we have some journalists coming to stay in Brighton tonight. They are from three large daily Chinese newspapers and they will be writing about funky hotels, shops and restaurants in the city. So later this morning I will walk up to the Alvia hotel to drop off the packs and to have a look at a couple of the rooms as it is one of the few hotels I have not seen yet but I trust my colleagues who say that it is a lovely place to stay. I won’t actually be meeting up with the journalists this time as they do not have much time here, however usually I would join them at some point be it for coffee, a meal or to take them round a few places. This will probably be the last journalist we have coming to stay this year, although we might just squeeze one more in to write about Burning the Clocks next week.

I am typically in and out of the office either visiting new partners or meeting journalists. However this week I will be in the office most of the time which gives me a chance to catch up on some admin work. This will include writing up reports on our monthly e-mail newsletters (which you can all sign up for from the homepage!) and reviewing our pay per click activity (sponsored links on Google etc). However the main thing I need to do this week is a report reviewing our online activity and what we should do in the future including pay per click, affiliate marketing and social media – by the way if any of you are on Facebook or MySpace please add VisitBrighton as a friend, thanks :) I also have a couple of interesting projects I'm working on including our next podcast due out in January and I can exclusively reveal to you that it will be all about a Romantic break in the city. I'm also working on making a CD-Rom with information about Brighton including fact sheets, logos and a video which will go out to journalists instead of the paper packs we give out at the moment.

Ok so clearly I won’t be doing all that today, however I wanted to give you a bit of a flavour of what I'll be doing this week. Feel free to ask me any questions about what I'm doing and I'll maybe do this again in the New Year when I'll be out and about more with journalists again as that might be more exciting! Oh but before I go I might as well make you envious and let you know what I'm doing this evening. As it is the Christmas season we have two drinks events to go to tonight. First up will be champagne and nibbles at English's followed by a cocktail night at the new Jury's Inn, so I'm sure one of us will be back tomorrow to tell you all about it, although it probably won't be until the afternoon….


Monday, 10 December 2007

Beachy Head

No wittering from me today cause I'm busier than a busy bee at a busy bee's business convention (sorry to person I nicked that from!) . Just a photo of Beachy Head, cause its lovely and you should go!

Its part of the Seven Sisters Country Park and you can find out more here...


Thursday, 6 December 2007

Let it rain...

Oh for goodness sake, stop raining!

I was becoming a wee bit irritated about the bloomin persistent drizzle at lunchtime and for some bizarre reason did a Google search on the word 'rain'. Please don't ask why. I don't know why! And guess what? According to the Free Dictionary 'rain' means to:

  • 'give abundantly' - as in 'to rain gifts upon'
  • 'a heavy or abundant fall' - as in ' a rain of fluffy cottonwood seeds'
  • 'to mizzle or drizzle' - as in 'when it mizzles in Summer, hiking can be pleasant'

There was even an ad for a kagool that promised to make me 'Look gorgous' in all its rain related gloriousness.' It was guaranteed so it must be true and anyway, i'm a sucker for ads that promise to make me look GORGEOUS!

So, now I quite like the rain - cause it makes me think of fluffy cottonwood seeds and looking gorgeous. Or maybe its just because I live in Brighton and people just refuse to be put off by a bit of mizzle...we're so fab as a city we apparently buck the trends and maintain our appeal through rain and shine...

So I suggest you embrace the mizzle, visualise some 'fluffy cottonwood seeds raining down', get yourself a Kagool that makes you look gorgeous and come and to Brighton. By which time it will probably have stopped raining …


Monday, 3 December 2007

Mika at the Brighton Centre

On Friday night I was at the Brighton Centre to see Mika, who was clearly very excited about playing to a bigger crowd as he kept telling us this was much better then the Concorde 2 where he played last time he was in Brighton. Before I go back to talking about Mika I have to quickly defend the Concorde 2 as one of my favourite gigs was going there to see The Bravery, and I think it's a good size as it's big enough to get a good crowd of people jumping around but still initimate enough to soak up the atmosphere.

That said Mika does really need a bigger venue not that he is better than The Bravery but becasue of the style of performance, as Mika's show included a lot of theatrical elements. Fans of his will know that Mika and his sister do all the artwork on the album and this was reflected in the stage design as the backdrop was a large tree with some fairy tale characters sitting in it, and during one of the introductions a giant skeleton puppet in a dress come out to say hello. Highlights included a fantastic cover version of the Eurythmics Missonary Man where Mika was joined by a voluptious diva with a powerful set of lungs. Grace Kelly and Love Today were also very popular, however the most memorable part of the show was the encore as there was a mini-play involving the Teddy's Bear picnic and a violent rabbit before Mika dressed as a crocodile returned to the stage for Lollipop and giant balloons descended on to the crowd - ok it sounds a bit odd now mainly becasue it was but somehow it worked!

Well I'll be back at the Brighton Centre on Wednesday to see Maroon 5 but what about you guys? Did you see Mika? Are you going to any gigs soon, how do you think concerts at the Brighton Centre compare with the Concorde 2?


Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Scoop and Crumb

Scoop and crumb is the fab new name for a scrumptious ice cream parlour - come cafe - come sarnie shop- at 5-6 East Street in the lanes of Brighton.

Owners Jonathan and Helena Dickson have been trying to get it off the ground for years and believe you me it's worth the wait. Lots of stylish modern art on the walls and an amazing choice of home made ice cream using local ingredients. My favourite - Christmas pud flavour! It also sells some very special sandwiches - Scandinavian open sandwiches - so you can check out the ingredients in situe as it were.

Definitely recommend you pop-in when you are next in town.

They are currently developing their own website but here's a link to their page on

Scoop and Crumb web page on


Baroque Rocks

The usual motley three witches AKA Charlotte, Liliana and Richard were invited to the first birthday party of Baroque Jewellery in the Lanes, a collaboration of several talented designer makers. The design of the shop is amazing with dragon wallpaper inspired by the Royal Pavilion, display cases made specifically for their work and even a contemporary chandelier made of black porcelain fronds .... wow!!

We were taken round by one of the designers who showed us the workshop on site and the gorgeous jewellery some of which was inspired and indeed used natural products such as feathers and slate to cast their pieces. All the designers together offer a diverse yet cohesive mix of styles from traditional to contemporary, and prices range from around £100 to £10k. The evening was sponsored by Tuaca and scrumptious food from Maugherman's Deli also in the Lanes, we particularly loved the baby stuffed peppers with cheese, they were to die for darrrrrling!

The drink flowed and was served by the cute barman who can normally be found at Blanch House or the Hanbury club and he shakes up a mean Tuscan Mule.

So if you are looking for that special gift for a loved one look no further and take yourself down to Baroque Jewellery, an Aladdin's cave of inspiration. To see exactly what we are talking about go to their website

Monday, 26 November 2007

VisitBrighton Film night

Last night we were at the Sallis Benney theatre for the Visit Brighton film night. The evening was all about how Brighton has been depicted on film, I don't mean in fictional films such as Brighton Rock and The End of the Affair but in tourism films and some early footage from the pioneers of film making. Some of the footage shown included an eccentric man who would keep the visitors amused by peddling his bike off the end of the West Pier and another one where they were experimenting with special effects which showed a man diving off the pier and then apparently jumping back onto his diving board. The films were shown in chronological order from the early 1900s up until the 1950s.

The films shown included a promotional film of Brighton from the '50s. What struck me was that our key messages have not actually changed as much as I expected. The video included the Royal Pavilion, The Lanes and of course the beach. However what surprised me was the range of restaurants on offer and the fact that they used the word cosmopolitan and we thought we were being terribly modern with our marketing strategies, well I guess what goes around comes around, or as the fabulous Dame Shirley would say it's all just a little bit of history repeating! Although I think that is what is so great about Brighton in that while there are always new things happening such as the i-360 there are certain things that will always be here such as the sea and the cosmopolitan atmosphere

The rest of the evening was given over to our film competition. For those of you who don't know, we worked with Final Cut and held a competition for people to film a 60 second promotional short about Brighton. So last night we gave out the three judges awards, the peoples choice award and the runner up prizes, all of which can be seen on our YouTube page:
The People's Choice and third with our judges was Daniel Parsons with Hold Tight: Brighton, second was Drew Cameron with B Right on (you know it makes sense) and congratulations to Tony Moon who won first prize with Brighton's Worst Kept Secret:

If I'm honest I origianlly only went to support our work bit of it but it was actually really interesting seeing all the old footage of Brighton & Hove particularly the aeroplanes flying very low over the beach, I doubt they'd get away with that today! To find out more see the Screen Archive South East website


Friday, 23 November 2007

The Toy Museum

I was wondering where to take a 9 year old child now that the weather has turned, and then I happened upon the Toy Museum which is on the way to Brighton Station or if you are looking at the station then the museum is underneath.

As you enter the first thing you see is this great big helicopter that actually was someone's remote control toy. Other exhibits include Corgi cars and trains and lots of other old-fashioned toys where you are bound to say "Oh yes I remember those" There are also a variety of machines where you can actually see puppets come to life for only 10p, there is also a big model railway set up that you can press to activate as you walk round.

As well as all of these things to see there is a meccano and lego set where children can sit and play and build their own things which should keep them amused for a little bit longer. And if you still have any money left they do have a little shop that sells toys and games. It's certainly a place worth a visit and not just for children.

And afterwards why not stroll down into the North Laine for a coffee avoiding the big chains and go to one of the independent cafes for a home made cake.

So has anyone else been to the Toy Museum? Let me know what you thought


Thursday, 22 November 2007

Go to bed

You may have noticed that the blog posts have slowed down a bit recently, this is because poor Sarah has been manically working on re-branding the website, apparently it’s not quite perfect yet but I think it looks great, so well done Sarah.

As for the rest of the contributors, well a couple of us have been off work due to illness. This is rather ironic as apparently we live in the healthiest city and it was thanks to Dr Richard Russell proclaiming the benefits of the fresh sea air that originally made Brighton a popular place to visit. However even us healthy Brightonians are powerless when it comes to the world’s mightiest foe; the common cold. Personally I find this to be the most annoying sickness as there is always the dilemma about whether to go in to work or not, if you have the ‘flu and are semi-comatose then obviously you cannot work equally with a stomach bug you need to stay near the loo. But sneezing and coughing don’t really stop you from doing your work do they?

So initially I did come in to work but who benefits from you making the effort? You are not able to work to full capacity and you are risking passing the germ on to everyone else. So in the end I took a day off and while I don’t like to argue with the lovely Dr Russell I have to say that my miracle cure was not a swim in the sea but sleep as I slept on and off for about 14 hours and after that I felt much better, I still had some cold symptoms but overall I was much better, so much so I thought it was worth sharing with all of you!

So don’t be a hero, go to bed. Unless anyone else has any miracle cures they would like to share?


Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Guess who invented the scissors!

It's strange how life throws you little lifelines sometimes. I just can't seem to fit everything in this week and was quite frankly starting to panic. Miraculously, my daily dosage of 'Interesting Facts of the Day' came to the fore when it pointed out that Einstein calculated in his youth that putting his socks on in the morning and taking them off at night would occupy him some hundreds of hours during the course of his life, and thereafter went sockless. So, I've done the same this week and although my tootsies almost dropped off from exposure yesterday, I've been ever so productive with the extra time.

In fact, sockless as I was, I had so much time on my hands that I frivolously clicked on 'Random Fact of the Day' and found out it would have been significantly cheaper to build an identical replica of Titanic than to make the 1997 film of the same name. The original ship was built in 1912 for £1.5m, the equivalent of £66m in 1997. James Cameron's film cost about £200m.

And then this got me thinking about the film industry that used to thrive just down the road in Hove and nearby Shoreham By Sea. There were some quite pioneering filmic things done there at the turn of the century and in my experience not that many people know about it. Its fascinating stuff and if you're into film or local history its worth checking out the Hove Museum, where there is a permanant exhibition on display all about it.

Let us know if you know any interesting Brighton filmic facts.

And if you must know, apparently Leonardo Da Vinci invented the scissors...


Friday, 16 November 2007


Murmuration. What a lovely word. Until this morning not one I'd ever got my lips around but now its firmly ensconced in the hundreds - or more optimistically - thousands of words that rattle around my brain.

So what is it? Well according to our handy intranet at Brighton and Hove City council its when tens of thousands of Starlings come together to form an aerial ballet. And for us Brightonians we're very lucky that the Brighton branch of Starlings UK choose to do it over the 'ravaged but proud' remains of the West Pier.

This weekend (16th - 18th November) you can see it in the company of some friendly RSPB volunteers. Go to for more.

And if you already have enough friends you can pretty much see it anytime of the year. See our website to start planning your trip. Best time to catch them is about an hour before sunset. And being Brighton there's a number of options for how to see it. Maybe over a glass of red and some Ditchling lamb at Due South (, while watching the kids running around the Pavilion inspired playground, or perhaps over a fortifying pint of Guinness at the Fortune of War. Enjoy.

Nick, VisitBrighton

VisitBrighton win at Brighton Web Awards

Not that we want to blow our enormous great hooters or anything you understand, but it seems to be the month of awards at VisitBrighton.

Ever since the VIC won their lovely Excellence Award a couple of weeks ago, we've all been a slightly off green colour in the marketing team, which, of course, we could put down to jealously, but prefer to laugh off as a result of too many E numbers over the years.

So, you can imagine our excitment when we won the Searchability Award at the Brighton Web Awards last night. A specialist award judged by the lovely peeps at Leapfrogg Internet Marketing (we didn't even have to ply them with cream cakes), the award was in recognition of how well optimised is towards the search engines. Based on criteria such as spiderability by search engines, on and off page optimisation, social reputation and social media its really great news to know that we're on the right track search engine optimisation wise. I mean, if we're totally honest, we're all a bit obsessed about SEO here - almost to the point of tragedy really. I once threatened to do a Google screen print, blow it up to gargantuan size and frame it when we reached number 1 for 'Brighton hotels'...

I would put a spangly photo up but we let Charlotte loose with the camera again and I came out looking like I was doing a Tango with Rosie from Leapfrogg. Which I wasn't...


You can find out more about the web awards here.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

The Dome Sessions

One of the perks of working for VisitBrighton is that we get invited to launch parties and private views. Last night Richard, Liliana and I went to the Brighton Dome for the launch of the Dome Sessions For those of you who are not familiar with it, the Dome consists of three theatres - The Concert Hall, Pavilion Theatre and the Corn Exchange. These verstaile spaces mean that they can host a variety of events including popular music, dance, classical music, ballet and comedy.

Over the course of the last twelve months, photographer Grant Scott has taken portraits of some of the artists who have performed there. The photos will be on display in the Founders Room (by the bar in the main Concert Hall) until December 30th and are free to view for anyone going to see an event there. Artists featured included The Feeling, The Go! Team, Richard Hawley, Lenny Henry as well as this portrait of Rufus Wainwright

So be sure to pop in and have a look the next time you attend an event at the Dome, and don't forget to let us know what you thought of the exhibiton and if you were tempted to buy anything!


Monday, 12 November 2007

From Village People to Tchaikovsky

The closest I usually get to classical music is Go West by the Pet Shop Boys, which apparently emphasised the original 1979 Village People version's chord progression from Pachelbel's Canon in D Major! But on Saturday I took my sister (who loves classical music) to see the Sussex Symphony Orchestra perform Tchaikovsky's Romeo & Juliet Overture and Violin Concerto at St Bartholomew's Church in Brighton.

Well, it took me somewhat by surprise because it was actually rather emotional. If you don't know St Bartholomews its tucked away behind London Road. In fact, you can almost miss it, despite it being the highest church in Brighton, with the tallest nave of any church in the country and one of the largest rose windows. Its an amazing building - quite awe inspiring - so the rousing orchestra was quite an experience. I was almost drawn to tears at a live performance for the first time since the spectacle of Starlight Express made me blub mildly hysterically in the mid 80s! (Oh, OK , so I nearly cried whem I saw Madonna for the first time too and I'm not even a gay man!)

The acoustics were amazing, although with the astonishing height of the church, I imagine the sound of anything less than a full blown orchestra would have been lost into the ether. How the vicar copes I don't know. I imagine he or she is a little hoarse!

One of the most important of the churches built by Arthur Douglas Wagner, St Bartholomew's interior is awe inspiring; a vast space with a wealth of art nouveau work by Henry Wilson carried out between 1899 and 1910. Mosaics by Hamilton Jackson date from 1912 and create a real Byzantine effect. St Bartholomew's is a grade 1 listed building and one of the City's proudest possessions. Well worth a look if you're passing.

And much as I love the Village People, (well who doesn't secretly like doing the YMCA) I'm off to the classical music section of Borders at lunchtime. Hmm, and last week I was sipping green tea in the Duke of Yorks - I think I've officially joined the Brighton artsy, scratchy beard brigade. Oh dear...I was hoping to wait until I was 40...

Find out more about St Bartholomew's Church


Thursday, 8 November 2007

Queens at the Dukes

Well there was more than one queen at the duke of yorks screening of Elizabeth:The Golden Age this weekend, fortunately those in the audience did not opt for the red wig and oversized collars otherwise no one would have been able to see the screen. If you ask me that Queen Lizzie was wholly inconsiderate in her choice of head gear, her poor old courtiers must have been mightily peeved at not being able to see beyond her enormous beehive.

A large glass of wine always helps with a dose of costume drama, and Charlotte particularly enjoyed her chocolate fudge cake, the beauty of this, the oldest purpose built cinema in the UK, is that you can take your alcoholic refreshments into the auditorium, making the experience even more enjoyable.

The film rather plodded in comparison to La Blanchettes first film of the same subject; the whole of the famous Armada speech was ditched in favour of a bland rant that had none of the substance of the original, why change something that dosn't need fixing??!! Clive Owen was Clive Owen (not allowed to put anything bad about him cos the girls in ths office threatened me with toe nail pulling if I did, they are so bossy!!)

If you didn't know anything about Elizabeth 1 its a great film but if you have any education at all you will realise its a load of old smelly cod pieces


Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Wednesday Wave

Well I thought it was time I stepped back into the fray and write another post, however as I have not attended any events lately I thought I would give you a little insight into life in the VisitBrighton office, and more specifically the bizarre daily routine of the Marketing team - in other words me and Nick :)

Each morning we wave at each other, not your simple wave for us though, oh no, each day has a different wave. Monday we just stick our hand out, quite low down and keep it static as it is a melancholy day, the weekend is over and the working week stretches out ahead of us. Tuesday is in the same position however we introduce a little wave. Wednesday is probably my favourite as we get a bit creative mid-week, and replicate a sort of sideways S shape with our arm.

Hmmm I have spotted a flaw in this post in that it is very difficult to describe an action however to quote a famous Icelander (if not the only famous Icelander) "I've started so I'll finish"

On Thursday the arm is raised up next to our heads but is static once again, I'm not sure why and finally on Friday there is much excitement so both arms go up in the air and wave enthusiastically, hooray :D

So there you have it a brief snapshot into our office. I can imagine that if you have got this far you will be wanting to ask me one question - why? Well to be honest I do not know, I can't remember how it started but I am going to place the blame on Jessica who worked with us over the summer as she is not here to defend herself and anyway we like to blame Americans for things :)

So now it's your turn do you have any bizarre daily rituals?


Update: Following on from Nick's comment I have dutifully done a couple of drawings to try and demonstrate the waves, so now you can join in and brighten (glad I resisted the urge to be terribly punny and type Brighton!) up your working week as well!

Monday, 5 November 2007

We've been disambiguated...

I discovered that ‘Brighton’ was subject to Wikipedia’s process of ‘disambiguation’ today.

Ow, sounds painful.

Well, actually, its the process of resolving conflicts in article titles that occur when a single term can be associated with more than one topic. And apparently that applies to Brighton.

Why? Because there are 28 of them. 5 in Australia, 1 in Canada, 1 in NZ, a mighty 20 in the States and 1 over here.

Apparently, they all owe their name to the Brighton in England though, since the ancient settlement of Brighthelmstone (now Brighton & Hove) dates from before the Domesday Book (1086), way before any of our little old colonisations made a bid for world domination…

And according to the Domesday Book Brighton was valued at £12 and charged a rent of 4,000 herring! I always thought that William 1 was a bit fishy…

Anyone else know any quirky facts about Brighton?


Thursday, 1 November 2007

Glass of Moet anyone?

Well I wasn't supposed to be drinking anything stronger than the odd nettle tea this week, but then I got invited to the opening of Toast. And since Toast is a new champagne and champagne accessories shop in Church Road Hove...well, I thought it would be rude not to. And anyway, its only champers, I can say no. Seriously, I can. No, really!

Well, you know, it was really weird because when someone asked me if I'd like a glass of Tattinger, with nasturtian soaked in vanilla and rhubarb, the devil grabbed hold of my tongue and I bellowed YES far louder than was strictly necessary. 4 glasses later my colleague Richard and I were still chowing down on nasturtians ( I think we ate a whole bouquet between us) and scrummy Audreys chocolates, whilst waxing lyrical about civil partnerships with a rather lovely couple we bumped into.

All in all it was rather a splendid way to spend a leisurely 2 hours after work and the shop really is unique and is the only one of its kind, well...anywhere... Its got all the major champagne houses on board and you can even get a hamper made up! The owners are really enthusiastic and friendly too and have made the place so stylish it just makes you want to crack open a bottle as soon as you step inside.

Perfect for those elusive Christmas pressies, just think think how well it will do on Valentine's too, when all those naughty boyfriends (and girlfriends) in Hove leave the gift until the walk home...

The Toast of Brighton & Hove officially opens on 9th November. Pop in and have a look and maybe treat yourself to a bottle....or 2.

Just don't take me - I'm back on the nettle tea...

Find out more about Toast


What is it about the smell of cow dung?

You either love it or hate it. I have to confess to loving the fragrance of a freshly laid cow pat myself, but I guess that is probably down to my rural upbringing, or maybe I am just wierd (I do love Marmite after all!).

On Monday one of my partner's friends decided to come down from Surrey and pay us a visit. As it was not his first time to Brighton and the weather was so lovely, the 'cow dung lover' in me suggested that we go for a jolly jaunt in the beautiful Sussex countryside that surrounds our wonderful city by the sea!

So with an enthusiasm reminiscent of 'The Famous Five', we set off with our SuperSaver bus tickets (only £4.20) and hopped onto the upper deck of the number 12 from Churchill Square.

The journey along the coast was lovely, as we were bathed by the lovely warm glow of Autumn sunshine. We got off the bus at Exceat (the bus stop is just next to the Seven Sisters Country Park Visitors Centre) and then backtracked a couple of hundred yards by foot to the Golden Galleon pub. From there were took the footpath at the end of the car park that runs parallel to the everso picturesque River Cuckmere. Within a couple of minutes the sounds of the traffic were inaudible, and were were in a haven of bird song, nieghing horses, bleeting sheep and mooing cows. As we walked along the footpath, it was not long before we encounteredd some of our bovine friends. They were just the other side of a wire fence, right next to a sty (I considered climbing over but decided against it, having been traumatised during childhood by the experience of witnessing my auntie Barbara do herself and injustice while trying to cock her leg over a piece of unused carpet that my uncle John had laid across a barbed wire fence!)So, I contented myself with giving Dolly (she reminded me of one of my old neighbours) a rub on the snout as I wallowed in the elixir of her exquisitely scented meadow muffins.

Once I had been dragged away from Dolly, we continued along the path that brought us to the picture postcard cottages that overlook the beach at Cuckmere Haven. Walking up hill past the houses, we took a the left hand footpath that leads along to Hope Gap, from where you get (short of being in a boat or an airplane) by far the best view of the majestic Seven Sisters cliffs. I gloated as my two walking companions sat back in awe at the stunning view.

After 30 minutes of savouring the wonderous sight, we headed back to the bus stop and continued a bit further along the coast to East Dean, from where we walked back to the cliffs at the Birling Gap. Birling Gap is in the middle of the Seven Sisters and at this point you can walk down the metal staircase to access the beach that lies below the cliff face. We continued our walk back along the top of the cliff, passing the Belle Tout lighthouse (which was physically lifted and moved 50 metres inland in 1999 to prevent is from falling into the sea), and ended up at Beachy Head for a glorious view of the sun setting over the sea (they truly are amazing the sunsets in Autumn and Winter). Content with our walking expedition, we headed to the Beachy Head pub for a gammon steak and a pint, before heading back to Brighton with a headfull of wonderful memories from our afternoon strolling along the glorious Sussex coastline and our visitor from Surrey went home with a completey new experience of the area.

Brighton is great, but as with any city sometimes we need to get out and revitalise ourselves. We are so lucky to have the most perfect place in which to do it literally right on our doorstep!

Darren :o)

Deliverance of Shopping & Eating

The annual distribution diary of events has many deliveries listed but none as eventful as that of the Shopping & Eating Out Guide. Tuesday saw me on ‘lorry watch’ duties from the Balcony Suite of the illustrious premises of VisitBrighton (back of Brighton Town Hall) as the clocks approached 10am. At 10.30 I spotted Maddy’s copper mane glistening in the morning sunshine (next to the red pillar box). I decided to join her… and so did Julian and Gavin. I was very glad to see that they are all most pleasing to the eye and in exceptional physical shape. It was the later quality found eminently useful. Everybody is now dying for me to introduce you to all these people. Maddy and Gavin are from our local business forum, publishers of the guide, and Julian produces it. They had all come to (physically) give me a hand with unloading 75,000 of them from a lorry and bundle them into my store room in the vault that is the town hall basement with the aid of assorted trolley of all shape and sizes. Julian communicated to the lorry driver who was stuck somewhere on the seafront but a few minutes later the full lorry watch committee (now including Tony, the suited master of the business forum) sighted it angling precariously around another delivery lorry.

The lorry driver was physically matching his newly found entourage and went on about health and safety but the distribution officer reassured the gathering that she is also wearing the hat of the official VisitBrighton health and safety officer and first aid appointed person. With such an arty bunch it was not surprising that boxes were arranged rather artfully – as opposed to practically - on top of trolleys but I could not fault the enthusiasm. A convoy of loaded trolleys soon made its way along the corridors of the town hall basement to the pre-allocated hole on my storage facilities. We were only briefly interrupted by the VisitBrighton divisional assistant looking for curtain rails (??????). Tony Big Master did not winch once (well, once perhaps) when the health and safety officer got him to trap his finger in between a swiftly moving trolley and a door frame whilst she was chatting away about the less known history of the ghost ridden town hall basement (but this is anther blog entirely). On the way back out we bumped into Cllr Pat Drakes, no less, by the entrance of the Police Museum. I told her that Tony was doing heavy labour and she agreed that the old Victoria police cells are just the right setting for this.

One hour down, job done! Maddy got dispersed back to her office to sort out the fireworks for the Christmas lights switch on at 1800 on the 15th Nov by the Clock Tower. If you see some exceptional well toned biceps wandering around Brighton say hello to Gavin, Julian, Maddy or me (Tony is wearing a suit). All that remains to do now is to extend my introductions to the new Shopping & Eating Out Guide 2007/8. Packed full of shops and restaurants galore, copies of which can soon be found all over our city, in tourist information centres throughout Sussex and partner hotels. Note to our most treasure partners: the order form for the guide should hit your doormat any day now, give me a shout if not.


Wednesday, 31 October 2007

What is is about the smell of cow dung?

You either love it or hate it. I have to confess to loving the fragrance of a freshly laid cow pat myself, but I guess that is probably down to my rural upbringing.

On Monday one of my partner's friends decided to come down from Surrey and pay us a visit. As it was not his first time to Brighton, the 'cow dung lover' in me suggested that we go for a jolly jaunt in the lovely Sussex country side that surrounds our wonderful city by the sea!

So with an excitement reminiscent of The Famous Five, we set off with our SuperSaver bus tickets (only £4) and hopped on the upper deck of the number 12 from Churchill Square.

The journey along the coast was lovely, as we were bathed by the lovely warm glow of Autumn sunshine.

We got off the bus at Exceat (the bus stop is just next to the Seven Sisters Country Park Visitors Centre).

Salsa on a schoolnight

People assume that the best time to come to Brighton is at the weekend as there will be nothing going on during the week except possibly in the summer. However this could not be further from the truth. I think Autumn or Winter is actually the best time to come as the city is less crowded, you can have your pick of the best hotels and restaurants and there are some great discounts with our Winter Break offers plus it's easier to get around all the fabulous shops.

On top of that there are always things happening every night of the week and not just at the weekends. Which is why I found myself at the Hanbury Club on a Tuesday night trying to Salsa. At first we were a bit alarmed as we were the only ones in there but it gave us a chance to have a drink and catch our breath after the longish walk up the hill. I have to say the Hanbury Club is a great venue, with it's black and silver interior, it's small enough to be intimate but large enough to have a dance around.

So once everyone had arrived, about 30 people and not the 60 or 70 that the barman had promised us. We did a quick warm up and then were split into two groups - beginners and intermediates. I was in the beginners class and we were taught the basic steps. Although as ever there were not enough men so I volunteered to act as a man, and once we had gone over a few of the steps we then had the music and swapped partners as we tried to remember where our feet were supposed to be and smile as well! The only problem was that it was sometimes difficult to hear what the teacher was saying as she had to shout over the sound of the other class. But it was all a bit of fun. After the class we could stay and watch the more advanced class, to see how it should be done. We could have joined in with the improvers class although I'm glad we didn't because as my friend said that teacher could have worked for the military the way she was barking the names of the steps out at the students!

So would I go again? I would certainly go to the Hanbury Club again as I like the atmosphere, however if I seriously wanted to learn to Salsa then probably not as for one thing I'd end up dancing like a man and personally I don't think these drop in classes are ideal, I think to really learn you need a more structured class, although different methods suit different people. However for a bit of a giggle on a Tuesday night, then why not?


Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Sunsets in Brighton

It's not as if I need a reason to bang on about Brighton being a great place to live, cause I don't! But one thing I have noticed recently is the phenomenal sunsets we're getting over the sea at the moment. The other day I made a woman next to me on the bus nearly jump out of her skin when I said 'wow, look at that sunset!' After deciding I wasn't an escapee from Lewes prison, she did agree with though!

In fact, I loved it so much I chased a poor couple all along hove seafront to get this shot...

And sunsets are completely free too! Bargain...


Monday, 29 October 2007

Fat but not frumpy!

Just when I thought being 7 months pregnant meant abandoning all efforts to retain a certain 'je ne sais quoi', I have discovered the joys of Simultane!

No sign of the uniform mumsy pastel hues of pink and light blue that adorn preggie 'boutiques', oh no! Vivid splashes of reds, golds and sea green, which artful drape your bump, in a way in which the designers could never have imagined when pattern cutting for their size zero mannequins.

And, if I need to justify myself, (which I do!) clothes can be worn post birth for that trendy yummy look that Brighton mummies do so well.

All I need to do now is to work out how to intercept the joint bank statement...!


Friday, 26 October 2007

Stardust at Brighton Marina

When visitors come to Brighton they tend to focus on the main city centre area by the Royal Pavilion and the Lanes, and while these are must-sees on any trip one of the great things about the city is the fact that there are lots of other areas to go to as well.

This was useful last night as my Mum and I had decided to go to the cinema, but we knew the city centre would be busy as Thursday night is late night shopping and as we are starting to head towards Christmas lots of people would be there buying presents for Uncle Tom Cobbly and all. On a side note I hope my colleague Julia doesn't read this as at the merest hint of festivities she'll start singing, dragging the decorations out of her drawer and giggling with glee, and I'm just not ready for that, not yet anyway let's wait a couple more weeks at least!

Anyway back to the point, as the centre would be busy we decided to go down to the Brighton Marina instead, as apart from the boats there is a multiplex cinema and a variety of restaurants and bars. So we had a pizza and then off to the cinema to see Stardust, which was very good, your classic fantasy adverture. It had all the elements you would expect from this sort of thing, pirates, witches, magical lands, princes and of course the young couple falling in love. There were also several very funny moments, and it is worth going just to see if you can spot all the famous people in it as nearly every part was played by a well known face (even if we couldn't remember all of their names!) including Michelle Pfeiffer, Ricky Gervais, Peter O' Toole, Rupert Everett, David Walliams and Mark Strong however with all these cameos the one that truly stole the show was Robert De Niro. I don't want to spoil it for anyone planning to see the film but prepare to see him as you've never seen him before, he really is a very versatile actor... so overall a great fun film


Thursday, 25 October 2007

Excellence rewarded!

So, continuing the story from earlier..... we dusted off our DJs, tottered in our stilletoes (not at the same time you understand - it was a mixed group!) and set off for the awards ceremony.

We were up against some stiff competition from other major destinations in the South East, but guess what .... we won!! VisitBrighton's information centre is officially regarded as the best in our region!

So whatever you need to know about the city, or even if you think you already know everything there is to know, don't forget to come in and see us when you're next passing. We're at the Pavilion Shop in the centre of the city - you can't miss us - we're the very purple room at the back!

Virgin Blogger

My virgin blog. It’s nice to do something you’ve never done before. But I’m not really a completer-finisher as decades of half finished jigsaws and DIY projects can testify. I wonder if I’ll manage to keep finding things to write about.

I thought I’d tell you about a couple of things that have happened to me today.

The first is I have discovered my technical genius. I couldn’t understand why every time I typed a ‘t’ I kept getting a ‘t6’? It looked a bit ridiculous – Bright6on, Hot6el and so on. The answer lay in the bit of my lunch that had lodged itself in my keyboard. Should I call x2000 and summon help or could I fix it on my todd. I didn’t fail my o’level Physics three times without good reason: so relying on Isaac Newton I managed to sort it out.

The other thing was the bus trip I took this morning to a meeting in Hove. This bus goes from a regular stop twice an hour and so if you miss it, you’re likely to be late for meetings. I arrived at the bus stop with my usual 30 seconds to spare. A notice was sellotaped to the timetable: the 11x will depart every 30 minutes from in front of Marlborough House – definitely more than 30 seconds from where I was now standing. Trying not to have to run (not as fit as I used to be and there generally tends to be more bouncing than I remember) I fast walked round to Marlborough House to find no bus but another colleague looking confused but contemplating a bus on the other side of the Old Steine hidden from view by the bushes. Some people can sense spirits, others events that are yet to happen. This bloke clearly sensed that somehow the bus that wasn’t where it was supposed to be, that wasn’t really visible and that couldn’t be told apart from a dozen other buses circulating around the Old Steine was our bus. In these matters our bus sage was dead right. I shared my bus stop issue with the driver when we boarded and wish I hadn’t as I have now had the merits and disbenefits of a wide range of bus stops from which they could operate the 11x explained in far more detail than is probably strictly necessary. He’s a nice driver though – always friendly and very ‘Brighton’. This morning I was greeted with a ‘morning chap’ and a colleague with a ‘morning sweetheart’. Nice. I think.

My meeting was about the thing that’s happening between 2011 and 2013. We not allowed to use certain words as they are only available to organisations that have sponsored this thing and I have been threatened with all manner of punishment for straying from this edict. I can’t tell you what it is called but there is an airline and a camera that sound a bit similar. There are probably other things as well that sound quite similar. Aubergine isn't one of them. I’m really not making much sense am I? Answers below please.

And how do I feel at the end of my first blog? Well quite pleased that I managed to actually do it. Who knew my life (bus stops, meetings, minor technical fixes) really was that exciting!

Adam - Visitbrighton

Miss Sandra Bernhard

Well - I've wanted to see one of her shows for ever and she was great - but only thing was she was on in Worthing! She seemed as confused as the audience and it seemed it was all down to the wisdom of the promoters. Poor old Worthing! Still, half of Brighton had made the trip but it seems the UK audience are not quite up to the participation of our Stateside cousins, who apparently heckle witticisms and dance and sing and get - well, VERY involved. We of course all sat there with our arms folded and chuckled and when we got particularly enthused tapped our feet along to Sandra's band. I love the Brits!

Think Sandra was a bit miffed though - at one point she told us what she had just said was hysterical and that we weren't getting with the programme and why didn't we all continue to just relax and go and have fun AFTER the show! Ouch...

Anyway, I thought she was great - funny, bizarre, irreverent, off the wall, not scared to speak her mind politically and all in all very unique. It would have been better in Brighton in a cabaret type format but, hey, its not every day you get to see Miss Bernhard do a rendition of Little Red Corvette...

Funnily enough she waxed lyrical about her hatred of blogs, which upset me a bit - in my small deluded world I imagined Sandra would agree with me about EVERYTHING - but she said she wanted to see who was speaking to her and said she couldn't imagine Liza Minnelli getting up of a morning and blogging before piling on her make up with a couple of G and Ts. Well, OK, fair enough but some of us are less blessed with uber stardom and I find the odd blog post rather cathartic...

Well, back to reality - Sandra didn't ask me to go for a post show curry or even a drink, so its back to work for me...Come to Brighton next time Miss Bernhard.

Did anyone else go? What did you think?

And thanks to the lady at Worthing Pavilion box office who gave me my 15 mins of fame. I'm called Sarah and when she gave me my ticket she got all confused and said 'There you go Sarah, you're Sarah and Sandra Bernhard is performing...oh never mind...

Schmoozing at Snooze

The VisitBrighton team were last night treated to very hospitable tour of a newly renovated guesthouse in Kemp Town, the original and evocatively named Snooze. Owners Tony and Paul bought the property earlier this year and have transformed what was a more traditional B&B into a sleek, quirky and contemporary snooze pad. Each bedroom delights the visitor with its original collection of found furniture and objects ranging from a traditional French country room to a funky 70's lounge style boudoir. The owners have spent the last 6 months trawling the antique shops and markets of Brighton & Hove to find just the right pieces to fit their vision. The breakfast room evokes a 1950's cafe where you can enjoy delicious breakfasts during your stay. Why not try this new guest house and enjoy a totally retro experience with all the mod cons! Snooze can be found at Enjoy!!!


Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Blogging in the dark?

Well as I have been encouraging colleagues to write posts for our lovely new blog I thought it best to lead by example the only problem is what to write? Wrting about nothing has worked for some creative geniuses, like Bruce Springsteen's Dancing in the Dark or Jerry Seinfeld's sitcom about nothing but somehow I don't think that will work for me.

I do think this blog is a great idea though and a good example of what it is like to work here as we are always doing new things so there is no time to get bored. I also enjoy working with the people here, Nick who did the post about his walk to work is my manager and he is genuinely that enthusiastic about everything, really it's true. Which is great, I mean in all honesty I think I have a better walk to work as I start in Hove which is superior to Hanover, but I take the sun reflecting off of the Regency buildings and the sea view for granted. I think if I were to discuss my walk to work the things that would come to mind are trying not to sing along out loud to my MP3 player, which is currently playing Editors and if you haven't bought their most recent album I urge you to do so immediately... well you can finish reading this first.

The other thing I would recall is this infuriating little man who walks the same route, he is far too chirpy early in the morning, he even tried to talk to me once but he quickly realised that my brain cells do not kick in until 9 at the earliest, so then had the audacity to excuse himself by saying he had to walk on ahead as if I was the one wanting to dilly dally around chatting! However the most annoying thing about him is that he wears a rucksack on his back, which is half full at best and then carries a carrier bag of stuff seperately, why doesn't he put the carrier bag in the rucksack??!!??

Well I am going to de-vent my spleen, take some deep breaths and let someone else have a go. Although next time I promise to think of something to write before I start typing to avoid this sort of nonsense spewing out...

Charlotte - Marketing Officer

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

the best walk into work

I reckon I've got one of the best walks into to work - can anyone out there do better?

Starts right at the top of Brighton in Hanover - alternatively know as 'muesli mountain'.

Anyway out the front door, look left and I get views of the sea - perfect start to the day. Being on a hill and close to the sea it can get quite windy. Also good for waking me up! Then its down, down, down through friendly colourful streets, meeting the odd cat or seagull if I'm lucky.

At the bottom of the hill I cross the road and I'm in Pavilion gardens - passing the art gallery and Brighton Dome on my right and of course the Pavilion itself. Through the Indian gate and over the road and I'm in the Lanes - the historic part of Brighton, once a small fishing village called Brightonhelmstone. Full of restaurants and coffee houses, the aromas provide the final layer of sensation to ensure I'm fully awake to start the day at Brighton Town Hall, in the heart of the lanes and next to one of Brighton biggest hotels, The Thistle.

So there you have it, the best walk into work. Discuss....

Nick V

VIC up for Excellence Award

Golly - I've just seen all the people from the Brighton Visitor Information Centre all looking rather ravishing in their posh frocks...I thought they were all stapled to their VisitBrighton VIC polo shirts, but it seems they have style and panache a aplenty - i reckon they could give a few of the style gurus scattered around the city a run for their money.

Why the posh frocks? Well - Brighton Visitor Information Centre was recently short-listed for the regional Tourism ExSEllence Awards and tonight are the results. If they're successful, they go through to the National Finals...

Find out more here -

Good luck Brighton VIC....

Monday, 22 October 2007

Blogs away...

Well, we've just won ANOTHER sustainability, greeny type accolade here in Brighton. So we decided we wanted to shout about it from the nearest rooftop. Well, not literally, of course. Whilst we could have climbed onto the roof of Brighton Town Hall (where we work), we thought

a - we might not be heard as its a bit windy
b - we might fall off and our blog would die before it even got started
c - we might get arrested (which might have been quite exciting, but isn't very good when you work for the council)

So, what's the best thing we thought?

Hmmm..., lots of loud scratching of beards...few tumbleweeds...

"What a about a blog?" someone shouted.

Yea - great idea! And much safer too.

So here it is - our very first blog post. We're always waxing lyrical about things at VisitBrighton and thought it was about time we starting sharing our knowledge - some of it rather useful (some of it less so!) and definitely all of it unavailable elsewhere! We might feel like sharing a film or gig review, want to let you in on a top Brighton tip, tell you about special offers or something new and exciting in Brighton or throw some podcasts and funky film clips your way. Or we might just feel like telling you about our day!

And oh yes, almost forgot! The sustainability award - apparently we're the most sustainable city with the best quality of life in Britain... Cor! I feel better already... Find out all about it here -

So, if you want to know about Brighton, check back regularly - we might even let you in on a certain person's latest outing to Primark for the last pair of £4 silver ballet slip ons. Last time they returned sporting bruises and dishevelled hair. It was all a bit embarassing...

And just one more thing - if I don't mention our fantastic Winter Break offers (from £58 per room per night) our Marketing Manager will brand me with burning hot coals...!

Catch you soon

Sarah (VisitBrighton Web Editor).