Thursday, 28 July 2011

The Painting Pottery Cafe

One of the main benefits of working for VisitBrighton is that we get the opportunity to do things we might not otherwise think of doing.

Last night a few of us visited The Painting Pottery Cafe on North Road and to be honest before we went I was starting to wonder why I was going. I am not the most creative person and not particularly gifted when it comes to art & design, well unless you're impressed by stick men! But I thought I would go along and see what it's all about.

The Cafe is split over two floors, downstairs you can hire for private parties such as celebrations or team building sessions. This is also where they host workshops and where the potters wheels and kiln can be found. Upstairs is the cafe area where smaller groups or drop-ins can sit and get to work. We loved the fact that The Painting Pottery Cafe are working with Capers to provide drinks and snacks for their guests, which is a great example of local, independent businesses working together to benefit them and their customers.

But enough of that what about the actual painting... Well it's not all about pots and plates, there are a wide variety of items available to get arty with including coasters, teapots, mugs, plates and figurines. So if like myself you feel slightly daunted by the prospect of filling a large white plate with a beautiful picture or design you can opt for a model instead. So being a bit of a rock fan I was instantly drawn to the skull, which you can see below along with a picture of me pretending to know what I'm doing:

So once you've chosen your canvas and had a flick through some of the books & illustrations for inspiration it's time to actually pick up your brush and get stuck in. Once I'd got over my initial cautiousness and decided to just give it a go, I really enjoyed it. I'm not going to claim I've produced a masterpiece but then I don't think that's really the point. We all had a really enjoyable evening chatting and there was something very relaxing about doing the painting so that the time just seemed to fly by. To be honest most evenings I'll either watch the TV or sit on my computer so it was a welcome break to do something creative for a change.

Not only does painting pottery make for a fun and quirky night out it's also great for those on a budget. You just pay £5 studio cover so this includes the materials, the glazing etc and then you pay for whichever piece you choose to paint and as prices start from £3.50 you can have a fun night out for less than a tenner.

So here is the skull after I'd decided it was time to put my brush down:
This was how I left it last night, the skull will now be glazed and fired in the kiln ready for me to collect the finished article next week. So I will do another post then to show you how it turned out and I'll hopefully include pictures of some of my colleagues pieces as well as they were far more artistic than my effort!


Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Family Friendly Brighton

A recent survey by Warburtons the bakers found that people wish they could spend more time with their family of course with the schools about to break up for the summer holidays they are about to get their wish!

While the thought of keeping the kids entertained for weeks can seem a daunting one a trip to Brighton & Hove will help ease the pressure. Of course family trips can be expensive but there are lots of free and good value for money things to do in the city, come rain or shine. Oh dear this is starting to sound like a press release! However having grown-up here I can honestly say there are lots of things to do, perhaps I should forget the spiel and just crack on with a few suggestions:

Fun for free:
  • Launch of British Beach Week with Chris Packham - Next week sees the start of the inaugural British Beach Week which celebrates everything coastal. And where better to launch it than Brighton!
  • Dinosaurs at Churchill Square - The Natural History Museums moving dinosaurs have arrived at Brighton's Churchill Square Shopping Centre.
  • Mr Watt, Grumpy Man of Metal - Hove Museum hosts Mr Watt and his many metal creations in this exhibition of metal pieces used to illustrate the popular books.
  • Pavilion Garden events - To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Pavilion Gardens Cafe there will be a range of free children's events through the summer including juggling, magic, storytelling and Punch & Judy.
  • Brighton Pier - This iconic attraction has free entry and free deckchairs plus lots of food & drink outlets, fairground attractions and arcades.
  • The Book Nook - The children's bookshop in Hove will be hosting a range of family friendly events over the summer including Superhero Day when there will be a prize for the best dressed superhero.

Admission payable:
  • Volks Railway - Britain's oldest electric railway is still running along Brighton beachfront and will take you from the Brighton Pier along to the Peter Pan play area or all the way to the Marina - and back again of course!
  • Brighton Toy & Model Museum - The museum has one of the largest collections of toys and models in the world, so take a step back to a simpler time when toys didn't need batteries to be cool!
  • Sea Life Brighton - Marvel as sharks and giant turtles glide above you as you walk through the underwater tunnel and why not take a ride on the glass-bottomed boat too. Money-saving tip - buy your tickets at the Visitor Information Centre rather than on the door as tickets are cheaper. Alternatively you could buy a combination ticket for the Sea Life and the Royal Pavilion.
  • Preston Manor - This charming manor house by Preston Park allows visitors to step back in time and experience life both upstairs and downstairs.
You can find more tips for planning a family break in Brighton on our website or by contacting the Visitor Information Centre.


Wednesday, 13 July 2011

This Morning in Brighton

No this isn't going to be a post about what I've been up to this morning!

On Monday 18th July the This Morning team are coming to Brighton and we're all invited to join them. Presenters Stacey Solomon and Brian Dowling will be on the beachfront by OhSo Social (down by the 'Kiss Wall') at 10am. They will be joined by comedian Dom Joly plus there will be music from the Overtones.

If that wasn't exciting enough the team are also on the look out for hunks in trunks - aren't we all? The winner on the day will then be put through to a grand final in Benidorm so if you would like to enter then please e-mail by Friday 15th July.

So all in all there should be something there to cheer you up on a Monday morning!


Friday, 8 July 2011

Dinosaurs are alive in Brighton!

When I was younger one of my favourite days out was to the Natural History Museum (oh who am I kidding I still love it!) and of course the main reason for this was always the dinosaurs and I still feel a rush of excitement when I walk through the door and see Dippy the large cast of the Diplodicus.

However the trip that most sticks in my mind is the time they had a moving dinosaurs exhibition which featured an array of animatronic dinosaurs, so I was very excited to hear that these moving dinosaurs were coming to Brighton! And like most visitors to the city the dinosaurs headed straight for the shops... The exhibition is on now at the Churchill Square Shopping Centre and will be there until 4th September. I should of course point out that the exhibition is not on the same scale as the Natural History Museum becasue this is a smaller venue, however it is still well worth a visit and it does include the original bad boy - Tyrannosaurus Rex.

After visiting Churchill Square why not continue your dino themed day out with a visit to the Booth Museum of Natural History which includes a variety of dinosaur bones alongside a host of other natural history exhibits.

You could then round off your day with afternoon tea at the Hilton Brighton Metropole as while there are no dinosaurs in sight the building was designed by the same architect as the Natural History Museum - how's that for a link?!

L - Natural History Museum R - Hilton Brighton Metropole
I'm sure you all knew that anyway but thought I should clarify just in case!