Friday, 28 January 2011

Getting ready for the Brighton Marathon

The Brighton Marathon was a huge success last year and will be returning this year on Sunday 10th April. Andrew Mosley, General Manager of The Grand Hotel will be taking part this year and will be doing regular guest spots to let us know how his training is going. So here is the first instalment...

Like the 15,000 other Brighton Marathon entrants I’m now just 11 weeks away from my 1st ever attempt at a race that many consider to be one of life’s great challenges. This is my story so far and each fortnight I’ll be updating you on my progress on how I intend to reach my goal on April 10th.

I kind of “fell into” running the Brighton Marathon having moved to The Grand and having agreed to sponsor the mini mile kids races I then decided to “lead from the front” (metaphorically speaking rather than physically!) and enter myself. I then roped in a few local business colleagues (including 3 managers from The Grand) and before I knew it we had a team of 10. I was self appointed captain and there was no turning back.

After a difficult start to the training in the last couple of weeks I completed my first 13 mile training run in a time of 1 hr 56 minutes (believe me every last second is important). If nothing else so far I’ve become fitter, healthier, thinner (1 stone lost!) but most importantly quite inspired by my own achievements. Proud even.

Although while the last 7 days have provided me with an opportunity to be truly inspired, truth be told I’ve actually lost a bit of focus and fallen off the training which I am quite cross with myself about but will sort out I promise!

My inspiration came from 2 people. Last Tuesday I had the privilege of launching the Mini Mile at a local school with none other than Sally Gunnell. The school also got 50 fantastic and enthusiastic kids to attend and support and you might have seen the pictures in the press.

Then on Friday and again the following Monday I had the pleasure of meeting Dame Kelly Holmes, first of all at The Grand and then at a dinner in London (by the way there’s a first clue there as to why I’ve fallen off the training a bit!!) Kelly is equally inspirational as Sally – and both are wonderful ambassadors for “my sport” of running.

So how come I’ve lost my way a bit? Well the dinner in London was part of an annual General Managers conference that I attended. A marathon in itself but unfortunately of the eating and drinking kind!

So this week’s aim is to get back to it. I’ll be out with all the other marathon trainees. It’s noticeable how many more people are running. Perhaps a combination of new years resolutions and marathon count down.

Finally I received an amazing £500 one off donation to my charity (The Variety Club) this week from a very good friend of mine. You know who you are so thank you again

The next 11 weeks will be very challenging but the thought of getting across the line (in more ways than one) on April 10th is a fabulous incentive. You can follow my updates here until just after the race and you can help a great cause by donating on our Just Giving Page.



Thursday, 27 January 2011

Brighton Rock premiere

Well as you can imagine the release of the new film version of Brighton Rock has been keeping us busy here at VisitBrighton, from handling media enquiries to the creation of a dedicated seciton of the website.

Yesterday this activiy came to a head as we hosted a press trip which started with a Brighton Rock walking tour. Julian Clapp who runs Brighton City Walks guided us around Brighton pointing out key locations from the book and the original version of the film. Julian is clearly a big fan of the story and while he includes a lot of interesting facts he keeps it all entertaining and does not try to overload you with too much information. On the tour he pointed out that what is now a casino on Grand Junction Road used to be the Savoy Cinema which was metnioned in the book and hosted the premiere of the Boulting Brothers movie in 1948. Which neatly leads me on to the second portion of the press trip...

I was fortunate enough to attend the European premiere of Rowan Joffe's Brighton Rock last night at the Duke of York's Picturehouse. I wasn't sure how glamourous the other attendess were going to be so I thought that as the new film has been set in the 60s I'd go with that theme:

Once we arrived I was very impressed to see that there was indeed a red carpet as well as a couple of Vespas to set the mood. The red carpet was put to good use as the director Rowan Joffe plus some of the stars of the film including Sam Rily, Andrea Riseborough and the legendary John Hurt all walked across it.

While I have a few skills to my name sadly photogrpahy is not one of them, so while I will share with you some of my photos from last night be prepared to be underwhelmed!

Here is the red carpet and if you look very carefully you can see John Hurt's head but just in case you are struggling to see him he is wearing a leather jacket and talking to the man wearing the light colour jacket and backpack.

Brighton Rock cupcakes.

And finally the stars of the film: Sam Riley, Andrea Risseborough and John Hurt. My one chance to get this picture and for some reason my camera adds a red blur! I keep trying to convince myself it's so bad it's good but it's not really working...


Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The return of Sophie in the City

I know it has been a while since I have has just been so busy!!

So what have I been doing all this time? I have learnt Kurt Guiger has had a good sale on!? Topshop hasn’t been so good, The Lanes have too much choice and maybe I need to see someone about my shopping issues? No really...

I have been to see Holiday on Ice at the Brighton Centre, this was the Production of Energia, it was an exciting show where lifts, spins and only one stumble was included. The costumes were great, especially the Fish/Mermaid costumes that had detachable tails. It was a perfect way to become lost in another world for a few hours, this world being one I was engrossed within as it had dancing zebras in it!

Since moving down here, I have noticed there is a great selection of Oriental inspired restaurants, this time I really wanted to try Moshi Moshi, the shape of the building, never mind its menu, has always intrigued me even when I use to come to visit Brighton in the summers years ago. I was not disappointed; there was a great choice, so much in fact it took us forever to decide. The conveyer belt was full of exciting looking dishes ... it was better than YoSushi! Also while I was there I was told about the Sunday night classes that teach you how to make your own sushi, definately something that may appear sometime in ‘Sophie In the City’ sometime soon!

This week I came to the conclusion that this will be a city where I will always if not live constantly be visiting throughout my’s like no-where else! This was established while sitting with my Dad watching the ‘Swinging Ninjas’ who are live from 9pm ever Wednesday night at the Mesmerist, a bar which describes itself as being where “Conventionality stays at the door’ as well as an ‘absinthe inspired wonderland of the weird”. Literally it’s the best place I have found that just IS Brighton, I don’t know if it’s the lit up chicken head on the suit of armor or the collection of people dancing like they were in the 1950’s to someone that was inside a trumpet, acting as if everyone did it… Another lesson learnt - live in Brighton!

I hope you all watched Heston’s Fishy Feast on Friday which I made a…well cringe worthy appearance for not only the words that came out of my mouth but by the fact I had my hand within the head of a dead fish. Little did people know this was just the start of the mortification as I had actually asked him, one of the most famous chef’s what he did as his day job!

Lets just hope that I keep away from the cameras that are Filming the Skins series 5 launch party that is being held in Horatios and the glitter ball bar of Brighton Pier on Friday the 28th of this month, with live performers such as Beardyman, Morning Parade, Doorly and Jigsaw. I will but let’s try and hope I don’t do anything embarrassing this time!!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Vintage Brighton: Daddy Long Legs

In celebration of the new Brighton Rock film, relocated to the Mods & Rockers era, we thought we'd look at vintage Brighton this week. The city of Brighton & Hove is actually steeped in a fascinating history many people aren't aware of - so to kick of we thought we'd take a look at the history of the infamous 'Daddy Long Legs'.

Seashore electric railway
In reality, not a huge industrial spider, but rather the Brighton and Rottingdean Seashore Electric Railway, the Daddy Long Legs ran through the shallow waters from Brighton to Rottingdean between 1896 and 1901.

Designed by Magnus Volk
Designed and engineerd by Magnus Volk, the railway consisted of tracks laid on concrete sleepers sunk into the bedrock. The single car used on the railway was a pier-like building which stood on four 23 ft long legs. Officially named Pioneer, many affectionately called the structure Daddy Long Legs. Due to regulations of the era, a qualified sea captain was on board at all times. The car was also provided with lifeboats and other safety measures.

Destroyed by a storm
The railway officially opened on 28 November 1896, but was nearly destroyed by a storm on the night of 4 December. Never one to be deterred Volk immediately rebuilt the railway, which reopened in July 1897.

Although popular, the railway faced difficulties, including slow speeds at high tide and the council insisting on a beach protection barrier, which required Volk to divert his line around the barrier. Lacking the necessary funds, Volk was sadly forced to close close the railway shortly after.

World's oldest operating electric railway
However, the line's legacy still lives on today - if you look closely, some of the concrete sleepers can still be viewed at low tide. Volk's Electric Railway was also extended onshore, covering a portion of the same distance between Brighton and Rottingdean. This still remains in operation today and is the world's oldest operating electric railway.

Let us know if you have any more interesting facts about Daddy Long Legs.

Did You Know?
Volk's Railway is only £1 for a single trip for local residents on the first Saturday of each month(April to September).


Not another Wedding Fair!

It is time for another guest post so today I will hand you over to Sam Harrington-Lowe one of the Directors of local event company Pretty Clever...

I don’t know about you but the thought of wedding fairs fills me with dread – all that frilly stuff! So it’s a constant surprise to find myself being a wedding fair organiser. How can I have gone from thinking it’s some kind of venture into one of Dante’s circles of hell, to creating something I’m actually really quite proud of?

The secret is in changing the whole thing. As a company, we were drawn into the wedding fair market by one of our favourite Brighton venues, the Thistle hotel, who were unhappy with the way their fairs were being run. They asked Pretty Clever to help out and initially we were wary. Not really what we do, I thought. But we created a new company to put these together, called Marry Me!, and got stuck in. As time went by, and with a bit more experience, we now have a brand that puts on wedding fairs that are a bit different.

Pamper Me! was born from identifying a need for something new. Spring and Autumn are utterly saturated with wedding fairs, every Sunday. If it’s not the wedding fair organisers, the venues are doing the fairs themselves. It’s stiff with competition and not only is that no good for the organiser, it’s not good for the visitor. So we thought we’d strike out. Do one in summer, do it in the evening during the week, and aim it purely at women. After all, what bloke do you know who really, REALLY wants to shuffle round a wedding fair on a Sunday afternoon?

So Pamper Me has cakes and massage and chocolate and dresses and jewellery and hen party stuff and great goody bags and free bubbly and catering and beauty consultations (deep breath) and just about everything a girl could want. We found with the first one a lot of girls brought their mates and their mothers and we expect the same this time too. It was a complete riot, we had such a giggle, and it was a great event

So – if you’re getting married and fancy a lovely night out, come and see us – this Thursday 20th at the Thistle Hotel Brighton, 6pm-9pm. We have a goody bag for everyone who comes in, not just the brides, and it’s only two quid. Fashion show at 8pm. See you there

For more informaiton go to:

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Photos of Brighton

Thank you to everyone who has submitted photos of Brighton to our LoveBrighton Flickr Group. We're getting some great images added.

Here are a few of our most recent favourites:

Like the circles that you find..

Neon exposure



Pavilion jump

 A walk at sunset

We're still looking for more photos though - so if you have a favourite image of the city (you can add up to 3 photos to the LoveBrighton Flickr Group per day) please feel free to add them to the LoveBrighton Flickr Group and help share the Big Brighton Love...

And don't forget you can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter...