Friday, 18 December 2015

The only time where size matters, it matters most.

Today we welcome back James Sharp to tell us more about his experience of ordering a bespoke suit from Gresham Blake... 

Welcome back, avid readers, to the second installment of my middle-aged escapades through the world of bespoke tailoring. In this delightful plethora of text you’ll find much more of what to expect on the next stage of your journey, and as expected, you’re shown through with reassuring expertise at hand. Now, you've made an appointment so see one of the associates within a branch of Gresham Blake, and you’re feeling confident in your ability to keep an appointment, but you’re not sure what to expect during it. If you've read the first part of this adventure, you already know you’re going to get quality service, (and if you haven’t you should read it here) but what you probably aren't going to be aware of is the sheer amount of choice involved.

There is a lot to peruse and choose from.
Speaking from new-found experience, it’s probably best to have a think about what sort of style, fabric and colour that piques your interest. The reason for this is simple: the choice is staggeringly high. Fortunately your associate is an expert at isolating what you do desire through your wants and needs but also discarding your dislikes discreetly. Your time is not wasted with options you were never going to approve of to begin with.

With myself, I wanted to stay simple and not over-complicate matters for my first time around. Mixing this in with my being a fan of styles around the 30s and 40s, the choices available were reduced drastically. Throw in my uses for the suit (casual, naturally) and the cost, (high quality fabric, yet affordable) and they get reduced even more. Preferred designs, colours and patterns follow, and you are even closer to your ideal image. All of this with amicable, personal advice to hand. This, I might add, helps take away the overwhelming options to make them, well, just whelming.

Yes, there’s more. I'm trying to prove a point here!
But you’re not done yet. Now you have the bit you've read in books and seen in the movies. The infamous measuring of your person. Nervous? Excited? Perhaps you’re perspiring under the sudden pressure dropped on your shoulders. The gargantuan responsibility you have to just… Stand there and let a professional work. Okay, so it’s a little anti-climactic to what you’d expect, but the act itself is a testament to precision and it’s rather interesting to be a part of your personal creation. It really sinks in that this is for you, and you alone. Your measurements are checked and re-measured by a second person to accommodate for variance and the phrase ‘measure twice, cut once’ is adhered to solemnly.
And you’re still not done. There are more options to go through. Perhaps you've never even considered them. I hadn't. It had never even occurred to me that there’d be another list of custom parts for you to browse. But there was. Lapel design, flat or angled pockets, even name embroidering is a feature. The list goes ever on!

Options are often illustrated on nearby friendly mannequins.
Eventually, after much deliberation and decision, you come to the end of your adventure. I found it quite fun, personally. The staff are easy to talk to and well informed and the whole thing felt very simple and controlled. Nothing hidden or run-away antics to worry about. What you see is what you get, only there was a lot more to see than you’d have realised.

Stay tuned for the final blog post in which I’ll take you through the last visits, on this occasion, to Gresham Blake. A fitting and the finished product are all that’s left to be delivered and I shall enjoy every second of it. While silently weeping over the calories I've been forced to abandon. Again.

Gresham Blake
20 Bond Street Brighton BN1 1RD
Mon - Thur : 10am - 5.30pm
Fri : 10.30am - 5.30pm
Saturday : 10am - 6pm
Sunday : 11am - 5pm

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Hove Plinth comes to Kellie Miller Arts in Brighton

Today we hand over to Kellie Miller to tell us about the Hove Plinth Sculpture Competition finalists exhibiting in her gallery...

I am proud to be showcasing the models of the three finalists for the Hove Plinth Sculpture Competition 2015 in my gallery from 22nd December to 4th January.  Please drop in and see the maquettes of the three winning entries.

Hove Plinth is a Hove Civic Society initiative bought to life by Karin Janzon. The project recently won The Argus Star Award for capturing the imagination of people in Brighton and Hove. To find out more about the project go to:

Hove will always hold a special place in my heart having lived there for many years. I was a founding member of Hove Arts, a group of artists opening their houses and studios to the public each year. And it was in Hove that I established Biscuit Studio, an artist workspace, over 20 years ago. So imagine my delight when asked to help to select the three finalists for the Hove Plinth Sculpture Competition. Being on the panel was an honour and allowed me to draw upon my critiquing and curatorship skills.

The selection day was spent meeting and viewing the works of the shortlisted artists resulting in the three following finalists:

Matthew James Davies’ piece, entitled ‘Escape’, is a fluid, amorphous sculpture cast in blue resin aiming to mirror the organic movements of nature; the sea breeze, gliding birds and rolling waves.

Matthew Davies 'Escape'

Pierre Diamantopoulo’s piece, called ‘Flight of the Langoustine’, was inspired by a discarded and mangled lobster pot found while beachcombing, which was first created in his studio under the King’s Road arches in Brighton.

Pierre Diamantopoulo 'Flight of the Langoustine'
Jonathan Wright’s work, entitled ‘Constellation’, is part mechanical model of the solar system, part film camera and part ship’s compass. The most popular landscapes and iconic images associated with Hove will orbit the system rather than planets.

Jonathan Wright: Constellation
For me all finalists represent the gallery's ethos of art that shows the hand of the creator.

Now, having selected the finalist, acquired planning and raised a substantial amount to help bring the project to fruition, it still requires support. I will be asking you to pledge your donations to aid the appeal during the showcase. I believe that, with cultural initiatives like this, we can make Brighton and Hove THE place to visit.

Kellie Miller Arts
20 Market Street
The Lanes

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Mr Popper's Penguins at the Theatre Royal Brighton

On Saturday afternoon, I took my 4 year old daughter and hubby to the magical Theatre Royal to see Mr Popper’s Penguins.  None of us have read the book or seen the film so we weren’t sure what to expect. Luckily this performance had everything you would want for both kids and adults.

The tale began with Mr Popper describing his mundane life as a house painter and his aspirations to visit the Antarctic and join the adventures of Admiral Drake. The first song brilliantly conveyed his dreams but also his realistic beliefs that he was destined to only hear about these adventures through the medium of radio. My daughter was immediately hooked and in awe of the set and the actors.

After another song, introducing us to Mrs Popper and the life that she and her husband lived, we got to the good bit! The arrival of the first penguin – Captain Cook. My daughter thought the penguin was hilarious and my husband and I were very impressed with the puppet.

The play then moved very fast. We enjoyed watching the antics of Captain Cook and eventually his mate Greta and their very cute babies. One of my daughter’s favourite parts was watching Mrs Popper trying to get the penguin babies off to sleep! She also loved seeing Captain Cook sleeping in the freezer!

We all agreed that the penguin circus act was very entertaining and very cleverly done. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

But the biggest sign that this production was a success was that there was a theatre full of children who were captured by the magic of Mr Popper and his Penguins, laughing at all the right bits and joining in right to the end – where the cast got everyone up and taught the children a penguin dance.

It was the perfect way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon – and it was the day before my daughter’s birthday so we kicked off the birthday celebrations in style.

Thank you to the Theatre Royal Brighton.


Friday, 20 November 2015

If the clothes make the man, how do Gresham Blake begin?

When I heard that my friend, James Sharp, had decided to order a suit from Gresham Blake I couldn't resist asking him to write a guest blog post about his experience. Thankfully he was happy to oblige, so it's over to James... 

With a location in London as well as our very own Brighton, a team of knowledgeable, dedicated professionals and a reputation for clothing celebrities from Fatboy Slim to Davina McCall, Gresham Blake sits proudly in the North Laine with a quiet confidence many other bespoke tailors lack. Especially when these are the people that design and tailor clothing for events ranging from perfect weddings to stage show performances. It goes without saying that they know their craft and they know it well.

Photo of Gresham Blake

But enough about Gresham Blake and his team. And more about me.

There comes a time in your life when you feel that you’re stuck in a rut. That things need to change or else you’re going to be looping in the same old forever. I look in the mirror and see a thirty year old man with forty on the horizon, looming in the distance along with a mid-life crisis, aching knees and ten o'clock bedtimes. Now, since travelling back in time wasn't something they really expanded on in school, it seems my only real choice is to embrace my collision with fate head first. But there was nothing said about not being able to do it in style. Gresham Blake, enter stage right.

Photo of the Brighton shopfront taken from the Gresham Blake blog

To many new suit buyers the first time purchase can seem daunting, even intimidating, from the initial desire to the first step through the door. Let me reassure you, it’s natural. What reassures you more is the talented people that swiftly introduce themselves know it as well. They aren't here to sell you manufactured clothing off a rack. They’re here to make your dreams come true and they do it with patience, reassurance and quite a bit of style! Now that might sound a bit whimsical, even fantastical, but a clothing store that puts the person before the sale is a rare gem to be treasured. Not only that, but words cannot do justice in explaining just how well they know their trade. Even if you simply stop by for a chat or have an enquiry, the experience will speak volumes for itself. Not to mention those volumes contain such a wealth of information, you’d be hard pressed to ask anything these men and women haven’t come across in their careers. Questions are answered succinctly, curiosities are explored and doubts are evaporated, all with smiles and that quiet confidence I mentioned earlier. Gresham Blake certainly lets the clothes do the talking.

Photo of Davina Mccall in a Gresham Blake designed suit
The choice in whether or not to make an appointment was made in my mind very early on during my visit. A big part of that isn't just because their designs, styles and capabilities are high quality, but because they made me feel like one of the celebrities they so often accommodate for. That alone sets them on a level few could ever hope to reach, but one you, I and everyone can experience. It’s truly one worth having and I whole-heartedly recommend it.

Stay tuned for a future blog post that describes the next stage in my Gresham Blake journey. This includes the endless choices of fabrics, styles, fashions, measuring and onslaught of questions I shall launch forth as my curiosity gets the better of me. Until then I'm going to be staring in the mirror and contemplating whether or not the pizza winning the pizza or salad debate was worth it. I guess I'm going to the gym more often this week. Until next time!

Gresham Blake
20 Bond Street Brighton BN1 1RD
Mon - Thur : 10am - 5.30pm
Fri : 10.30am - 5.30pm
Saturday : 10am - 6pm
Sunday : 11am - 5pm
Twitter: @GreshamBlake

Friday, 13 November 2015

MADE BRIGHTON is Ten Years Old

Today we hand over to a guest blogger, Anne-Marie, who will give us an insider's look at MADE BRIGHTON, the design & craft fair.... 

The city’s annual contemporary craft and design fair is celebrating this year with another fabulous show in the beautiful Corn Exchange at The Dome. MADE BRIGHTON is a selling event. It offers the public the opportunity to buy original and exceptional pieces of craft and design direct from the best national and increasingly international makers and is firmly established as a friendly, accessible and top quality show.  Over 500 visitors attend, the majority of whom return year on year knowing that the work exhibited is always exciting, fresh and often perfect for Christmas gifts.

Chandeliers by Out of the Shadows

MADE BRIGHTON showcases jewellery, textiles, ceramics, basketry, glassware, furniture, home accessories, fashion and much more. All the work is hand crafted, unique and often quirky. This year look out for the amazing glass and steel chandeliers by Out of the Shadows. They are simply wonderful. Sue Pryke is bringing her functional ceramics along with Wild + Wood who make wooden and concrete pieces for the home. For jewellery lovers, visit Caroline Reynolds for fairy tale inspired pieces and Iris de la Torre's colourful plastic masterpieces. For men, Mark Eames creates wonderful jewellery pieces, Tibor Eperjessy is bringing his leather bags, belts and wallets and Forge Creative will provide all things wooden!

There is something available for everyone’s tastes and budgets.

Cufflinks by Mark Eames
Caroline Reynolds - Forest Brooch
Because people are thinking about Christmas gifts and because MADE BRIGHTON is celebrating 10 years, there will be a distinctively twinkly and festive feel to the show. A café provides a place for visitors to relax and take refreshment. With so much work to see, many people like to make a day of it, spending the morning viewing work, stopping for a bite to eat, then returning to continue shopping. Bliss!

MADE BRIGHTON – The Design and Craft Fair
20 – 22 November, 2015
The Dome Corn Exchange, Brighton, BN1 1UG
Open 11.00 – 17.00
£6.50 on the door, under 14s free

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Flock takes flight!

Last week we were invited along to the launch of Flock Brighton, a new vintage boutique in the North Laine.

This gorgeous little shop brings together four local labels selling a mixture of truly vintage pieces as well as vintage-inspired items including tailor-made blazers and hand-made jewellery. The labels available are Hearts & Guns; Pick Up Sticks; Palomita Jewellery and The Emperor's Old Clothes who has their studio underneath the shop so it truly is a local emporium!

Like a lot of people I am often wary when I hear the word boutique being used as some places do seem to use this as an excuse to quadruple the price tag however this is definitely not the case here. When my eye was caught by a pretty necklace I was pleased to see it was a very affordable £14, although in the end I needn't have worried as my boyfriend sweetly offered to buy it for me :)

Modelling my new necklace by Palomita Jewellery
It's not just the jewellery though as the clothes were also affordable with a range of prices to suit a variety of budgets ,which is all the more impressive given the fact that a lot of the pieces are hand-made.

As we're approaching the festive season Flock is a great place to do a spot of present shopping, although you'll probably end up buying most of the gifts for yourself - and why not, you deserve it ;)


Thursday, 5 November 2015

A Brighton Poem

One of the reasons we love working with Harrison Agency is because they like to do things a little differently & so I am not in the least bit surprised to see that when they were asked by Design Week why people should relocate to the city, they decided to respond with a poem...

The Royal Pavilion taken by Adam Bronkhorst.

You might think you’ve got Brighton sussed

A town built on weekends of lust

With hipsters and greens

Mods, rockers and queens

The odd bit of new agey crust

Yet bold ideas are key to this place:

Its royal palace once deemed a disgrace

But a prince with a vision

Ignored all derision

The result? An iconic ace

This city gets under your nails

Its freedom puts wind in your sails

Be creative, be a freak

Brighton loves what’s unique

By contrast elsewhere simply pales.’

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Brighton Fireworks

This week is Guy Fawkes Night, celebrating the failure of the plot to assassinate King James I in 1605.

There will be firework displays happening across Brighton & Hove on Thursday 5th, Friday 6th and Saturday 7th November so no matter what night you're free you'll still catch one of the amazing displays. Or you could even go to all of them!

It all starts on Thursday at the Sussex County Cricket Ground which in addition to the pyrotechnic displays will also include entertainment from X Factor finalists Rough Copy.

On Friday the action takes place at the Brighton Racecourse with the Brighton Lions Display with refreshments, a bar and free parking!

The final event will be at the Nevill Recreation Ground for their annual Family Firework Spectacular with a carefully choreographed display.


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

#BREMF15 celebrates WOMEN

The nights may be getting shorter but this is actually good news as it means it's time for the city's fantastic Autumn Festivals to start. Of course one of the highlights is always the Brighton Early Music Festival so today we hand over to Laura Coppinger for an insider's guide to BREMF.... 

Having lived near Brighton for most of my life, I have always loved the city for being original and alternative with a persistent enthusiasm to do things differently and with the times. Hardly surprising then that BREMF isn't your average Early Music Festival; this Autumn you'll find us in all sorts of places from churches and theatres to late night bars.

Our theme this year is Women, and so our season is packed with exciting events in a variety of formats all concerning women or featuring music by women composers. I'm really excited about this season; there's everything you can think of including oratorios, live accompanied film screenings, cantatas and dramatic concerts - not to mention the first ever opera composed by a woman!

This year's festival, as well as being a fantastic opportunity to hear some great works by women through the ages, is also really accessible. If you're up for trying something new, 16 of our events offer £5 on-the-door prom tickets, great if you're looking to dip your toes into something a bit different. If you want to experience more why not sign up for a weekend or even a bargain season prom pass, where you can watch your fill of any of our 16 prom events for as little as £50

I'm especially excited for the BREMF Live! - The Night Of The Witches event this year, which promises to be a great alternative way to spend Halloween! Aimed at students and young adults, this standing only event promises to be a fantastic mix of amazing performances from the newest emerging talent with things suitably dark and bewitching apt for the spookiest night of the year. Taking place in the Marlborough theatre, the evening promises to be BREMF at its most original and exciting.

As someone with a particularly eclectic taste in music, I also can't wait for the Women Singer/Songwriters Through the Ages event, a performance and open mic session of songs by women from the medieval period to the present day. All happening in the Green Door Store, a live music venue cum nightclub/bar, the variety of styles from Early music to classic hits from the 60s and 70s in the evening will prove it not only a night to remember, but also a great way to try out something new!

So no excuses, come and see one of our great events this Autumn - with 29 to choose from, you'll certainly find what you're looking for if you want a brilliant night out with fantastic live early music!

Women Singer/Songwriters Through the Ages
22/10 @20:00
The Green Door Store, Brighton (BN1 4FQ)
Tickets £10 available from

BREMF Live! - The Night Of The Witches
31/10 @21:00
The Marlborough Theatre, Brighton (BN2 1RD)
Tickets £10 from

Friday, 11 September 2015

Brighton Art Fair's Big Heart Auction

It's time for a guest post so today we hand over to Anne-Marie to tell us about this year's Brighton Art Fair and their Big Heart Auction...

Brighton Art Fair is delighted to be supporting the fantastic work of Chestnut Tree House through their Big Heart Auction. Chestnut Tree House is the only children's hospice in East and West Sussex and cares for 300 children and young adults from 0-19 years of age with progressive life-limiting conditions. Chestnut Tree House offers support for the whole family including psychological and bereavement support, end of life and short break care and sibling support.

Envelopes decorated by Astrid McGarrighan (left); Janine Shute (top right) and Blue Beany (bottom right)
Brighton Art Fair exhibitors have each been asked to decorate an A5 manila envelope which will be sold at the show in aid of the Big Heart Auction. The diversity and originality of the work on these envelopes is wonderful and we hope to raise as much as we can for this cause.

Envelopes decorated by Anna Hymas (top) and Adele Gibson (bottom)

Now in its twelfth year, Brighton Art Fair is a premium art sales event with 100 of the best contemporary artists from the UK and abroad, showing and selling their diverse work direct to the public. The fair always promotes a good balance in established and emerging artists, and insists that all work is exciting, fresh and exceptional, ensuring that Brighton Art Fair’s strong reputation as one of the must see visual arts events in the country is retained. 

Two for one tickets for the Brighton Art Fair. Please complete the form here by Monday 21 September to receive a two for the price of one voucher to the fair. Use offer code VB, and a 2 for the price of 1 voucher will be put in the post to you pre show.

Brighton Art Fair
The Dome Corn Exchange
25 – 27 September 2015
11.00 – 17.00 Entry £6.50, under 14s free

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Hetty Feather - storytelling & acting at its very best!

Last night our Conference Manager, Darren went to see Hetty Feather at the Theatre Royal Brighton. We asked him to write about it for the blog, his review is short and sweet - unlike the man himself! Only teasing, anyway here's what he thought of the show...

What a performance, what a show, Hetty Feather has everything! A stage that turns into a big top, wonderful characters, supreme acting, amazing musicians and a storyline that is genuinely moving. It takes something rather special to keep my 9 year old son captivated for over 2 hours but Hetty Feather did just that. Asked on the way home what he thought the best part of the show was, “all of it” was the reply’. 

Catch the Show while you can, it’s storytelling and acting at its very best’

Thanks Darren. Hetty Feather is on at the Theatre Royal Brighton until Sunday 2nd August.

Phoebe Thomas as Hetty and Nikki Warwick as Mdm Adeline with Company. Credit: Donald Cooper
Phoebe Thomas as Hetty with Company. Credit: Donald Cooper

Friday, 17 July 2015

Rendezvous Cafe is VisitBrighton's 500th partner!

VisitBrighton is a partner organisation, this means local businesses pay an annual fee to work with us and then this money goes directly into marketing the city and encouraging more visitors to the destination and our partner businesses. Therefore the more businesses working with us the more we can do for the city.

Last night at our Summer networking event we were thrilled to annouce that we are now working with 500 local businesses! We have a wide variety of partners including accommodation, restaurants, shops, activities, attractions, spas, language schools and many more.

VisitBrighton reaches 500 partners. Photo credit:
Our 500th partner is Rendezvous Cafe & Gallery on Duke Street. The story behind the cafe is an example of what makes Brighton such a lovely place to live, visit and work in. Ivan Dong and Shawn Zhang visited Brighton one afternoon in 2012 and absolutely fell in love with the place. So they bravely decided to leave China and start up a business here! Their love for the city is reflected in the cafe as all the artwork is by local artists. Do pop in and have a look and tell them we sent you :)
The staff at Rendezvous celebrate being the 500th.
Silver mermaid at Rendezvous Cafe & Gallery
The VisitBrighton team would like to thank all of our partners, from the first to the 500th - we couldn't do it without you!

To find out more about working with us go to:


Friday, 22 May 2015

OHSO Social - perfect for families

Friday afternoon, school’s out and where else to head to avoid cooking while the sun’s shining, but beachside. So, with a spring in our step, my 8-year-old son Louis and I headed down to the seafront to sample the new summer menu at OHSO. By day, OHSO meets the family-friendly remit perfectly, combining a stunning seaside vista with laid back café-bar atmosphere. And by nightfall, I’m told, the space transforms into a mecca for sundowner drinking sunset seekers and ocean-loving diners.

Welcome to OHSO Social

The restaurant is on the lower promenade behind the kissing wall - look out for the twin mirror balls and head down the steps – and a welcome oasis of calm among the busy pedestrian strip though ideally positioned near to the Pier and trampolines for a spot of pre and after -meal entertainment.

Louis tucking in to his burger

The summer menu offers up traditional well-loved favourites such as burgers and fish n chips among more grown-up regulars that include Tuna Nicoise, warm goats cheese, Greek or Caesar salad, slow cooked pork ribs and Irish mussels. There’s a children’s menu priced at £5.95 for a main and from £2 for ice-cream but on the day in question my enthusiastic dining companion was super-hungry so gamely went straight in for an adult- sized burger and chips; served with homemade coleslaw, of course. I opted for the Tuna Nicoise which was a generous sized succulent yellow fin steak, grilled and served on a bed of mixed leaves with free range eggs, new potatoes, green beans and tomatoes tossed in house dressing. And, as the burger turned out to be just a bit too much for the young tummy, I got to finish that too. Mum’s perks!

Mum's Tuna Nicoise
After a natural, pebble throwing, break it was back to business and the task of selecting ice-cream. Louis chose vanilla and chocolate which he devoured heartily – there is always room for ice-cream! - while I sipped a cool ginger beer and savoured the last of the evening sun before it was time to head off, making way for the sundowner crowd. All in all a great finish to a busy week and one that Louis was keen to declare as a ten out of ten as he high fived the good-humoured waiter on his way out. 

The restaurant also serves cakes and coffees, a selection of artisan beers and wines, cocktails and a vast array of spirits.

For the full Oh So Social summer menu see


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

As I am sure you must all be aware by now May is a very busy month in Brighton & Hove. There are events all year-round but this is the busiest time of year as we have the Brighton Festival, Brighton Fringe, Artists Open Houses and the Great Escape. There's also HOUSE, Charleston and Elderflower Fields Festival as well as tons of other events. So with so much going on you could be forgiven for missing the fact that we also have a major new exhibition at the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery...

I'm sure I've mentioned it before but I've always loved the Natural History Museum and part of that is the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. This year to mark the 50th anniversary, 100 award-winning images will go on a global tour starting in... *drumroll*... Brighton. Hooray!

Last week we were fortunate enough to get a sneaky peek and it is fabulous. The photos are truly stunning and I would definitely advise visitors to take the time to actually read the captions beside each piece. Thanks to Instagram and similar platforms we all like to think of ourselves as photographers and we may even kid ourselves that we too could get a lucky shot if only we were in the right place at the right time. But it is exhibitions like this that really make you appreciate the extremely wide gap between amateur and professional. These are not lucky shots, the dedication and determination of these photographers is inspirational. The captions tell the story behind the images and most of the photographers were on site trying to capture these images for weeks, months and, in one case, 6 years!

At the preview event we were fortunate to get the chance to chat to one of the photographers - Andrew Forsyth. Andrew is a Brighton based wildlife photographer and was one of the finalist at this year's event because of this spectacular shot of the starling murmurations in Brighton:

© Andrew Forsyth Murmuration in the storm
I was in awe of Andrew's dedication as he described the months spent at the end of Brighton Pier documenting the murmurmations, including going out in gale force winds (including 70mph gusts!), taking hundreds of photos in treacherous conditions. As Andrew pointed out the murmurations are a popular subject for photographers so trying to capture them in a new and unusual way is no easy task but Andrew certainly rose to the challenge, congratulations :)

The above image is part of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at Brighton Museum but Andrew is also opening his doors for Artists Open Houses where you can see more of his murmuration images. The house is in Balfour Road and if you've already picked up a brochure then it's house number 16.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is open now and will be at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery until 6th September (admission payable).

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The Brightonian Martini

Naturally we love it when Brighton is voted the top of anything, we are still delighted that Conde Nast Readers voted the city the top destination for restaurants and bars at the end of last year. And we've also topped a few more polls recently...

For example it was recently found that the city's residents consume more coffee and buy more chocolate then anywhere else in the UK! I guess when you think about it neither result is that surprising, as there are a wide variety of independent cafes and we are home to Choccywoccydoodah. So rather than fish 'n' chips by the sea it's coffee & chocolate in the city.

Merkaba - myhotel's stylish cocktail bar felt inspired to combine these passions into one delicious drink. Hence the arrival of The Brightonian Martini which contains Mozart Dark Chocolate liqueur, Coole Swan Irish Cream, Finlandia Vodka and a double shot of rich espresso - that should put a spring in your step!

The limited edition cocktail is available at merkaba throughout April. Oh and don't forget to take a selfie of you with the drink as apparently Brightonians are also the vainest ;)


Always drink responsibly, for more informaiton see:

Friday, 17 April 2015

Afternoon tea with Pauline McLynn

Pauline McLynn, most well-known for her role as Mrs Doyle in Father Ted as well as roles in Shameless and Eastenders, was in Brighton yesterday to launch the upcoming tour of East is East. The tour starts with a two-week run at the Theatre Royal Brighton from 11 - 20 June.

I had seen the play was coming but to be honest I hadn't had a chance to think about booking tickets yet, so when we were invited along for tea with Pauline McLynn we thought we'd pop along to see what it was all about. I'm so glad we did! Quite frrankly I could have listened to Pauline for hours, she was so natural and funny, but most importantly she is very enthusiastic about being in the play and by the end of the afternoon this had rubbed off on all of us.

Ashley Kumar and Pauline McLynn will both star in East is East.
Photo credit: Stephen Lawrence
East is East is a semi autobiographical account of Britsh Asian life in the 1970s and the clash of cultures between a multi-cultural family growing up in Salford. The key thing is that the play is told with a lot of warmth and humour, which is why it is still popular today almost 20 years after it was first written.

After the little taster I had yesterday all I can say is roll on June :)


Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Bent Double wins the double!

Anyone who knows Brighton knows that Komedia is the place for comedy and probably won't be too surprised to hear that last week they won the Chortle Award for Best Venue in the South for the twelfth time.

However what visitors may not realise is that Komedia is also home to Bent Double a monthly gay friendly club night hosted by TV comic & Brighton resident, Zoe Lyons. Zoe is not only the MC but she also hand picks the line-up to ensure it appeals to a LGBT crowd. Since the night was launched 10 years ago it has become one of the most successful club nights the venue hosts.

Zoe Lyons
This achievement was acknowledged at the Chortle Awards ceremony this week as Bent Double won the regional and national award for Best Club night. So congratulations to Zoe, Komedia and all involved in Bent Double.

Bent Double is on the first Sunday of each month with the next one being 5th April. To find out more go to:


Thursday, 19 February 2015

The Salt Room opens its doors...

There has been a buzz of excitement surrounding The Salt Room over the last couple of months, which is hardly surprising considering this is the sister restaurant to the very popular The Coal Shed and it is in a prime seafront location as part of the Hilton Brighton Metropole. After all the anticipation the restaurant offically opens its doors on Friday 20th February, but this week is the soft launch and so we were delighted to pop down and get a sneak peek.

Photo courtesy of the Brighton & Hove Independent

Inside the decor has an industrial feel to it with exposed brick and copper lampshades, these are coupled with vibrant cyan coloured banquettes so the overall affect is very inviting. Of course the main feature is the view and the floor to ceiling windows show this off perfectly. There is also a sheltered terrace which you know will be packed over the summer months.

Photo courtesy of the Brighton & Hove Independent

But what about the food? Fans of The Coal Shed will be relieved to hear that their signature 35 day dry aged steaks are still on the menu, however the main focus here is seafood. All the fish is sustainable and the menu will change regularly to reflect what's currently in season. After a bit of deliberation I opted for the Sussex Cod with braised octopus, sea herbs and seafood bouillon. In the wrong hands cod can be very bland but this had a delicate & light flavour complimented by the octopus and samphire. I couldn't resist having a side order of chips, which were very moreish having been cooked in rosemary. My colleagues opted for the Shrimp & Crab Burger; Halbut with Braised Oxtail and Cauliflower Cheese with yellow chanterelles.

Clockwise from Top left:
Halibut with Oxtail; Cauliflower Cheese; Shrimp & Crab Burger; Sussex Cod and Octopus.

The only problem we had was that we needed to get back to the office so we didn't get a chance to try any of the desserts, which did look delicious so we're alredy planning our next visit!

As mentioned the restaurant officially opens on Friday and to celebrate this The Salt Room are launching #SaltSearch - an interactive treasure hunt  across the city. Starting at 10am tomorrow (Friday 20th February) special prize cards will be hidden around the city with daily clues posted on The Salt Room twitter page. Prizes include £100 voucher; Sunday lunch; cocktails and more.

To be in with a chance a winning follow @TheSaltRoomUK and get ready to join the #SaltSearch


Tuesday, 10 February 2015

The most romantic thing to do in #Brighton is...

With Valentine's Day approaching rapidly people are getting into the mood for love and we were not surprised to see the city listed as one of the top romantic destinations in the UK.

There are lots of romanitc things to do, whether it's snuggling up in a cosy corner of an independent cafe; shopping through the twisting alleyways of the Lanes - possibly even for a piece of jewellery; popping into the Royal Pavilion to see where the Prince Regent enjoyed his romantic trysts or perhaps a stroll along the promenade as the sun goes down.

Apart from being by the sea, the city is also close to the countryside so you could hop on a bus to the Downs, enjoy a bracing country walk and then find a nice pub with a roaring fire to snuggle up together.

Naturally a break at a boutique hotel such as Blanch House would be high up on the list or romantic thigns to do, and now if you go to the hotel's Facebook page and complete the sentence "The most romantic thing to do in Brighton is..." you could win a box of luxury Hotel Chocolat chocolates. Feel free to use any of the suggestions within this post, as long as you share the prize with us ;)


Wednesday, 4 February 2015


When the weather turns bitterly cold as it is at the moment, I am always tempted to hibernate, simply popping out when I have to and then scurrying home. However I felt a Tom Stoppard play would be worth making the effort for.

Last year the English Touring Theatre company commissioned a survey to find the nation's favourite play and Arcadia was in at number 4 (The History Boys was number 1 & this will be on at the Theatre Royal next week). That said I was not familiar with the play but you know that you are in safe hands with Stoppard at the realm.

At just under three hours with only a 15 minute interval it is quite a long play but thankfully it didn't feel like it! For those who aren't familiar with the play it is split across two eras - 1809 and the present day. In 1809 we see Thomasina Coverly being tutored and the various other shenanigans taking place in a Derbyshire country home. In the present day a couple of academics are looking back at the Coverly family and trying to piece together what took place, each with their own particular areas of interest. I have to say it was a pleasure to see a play starring a female mathematical genius!

The scenes all take place in one room as the past and the present overlap with one another. The simplistic set worked perfectly as of course with Stoppard the play is driven by words rather than action. There has been a lot of praise for Dakota Blue Richards as Thomasina and while she was good, my personal favourite was Robert Cavanah as Bernard Nightingale in the present day scenes. He seemed to revel in playing the arrogant academic and while there were times you just wanted to give him a slap you still couldn't help liking him.

This new production is premiering at the Theatre Royal Brighton and is on now until Saturday, definitely worth braving the cold for so grab your hat & scarf and get down there!


Friday, 23 January 2015

Return to the Forbidden Planet

Last night I had the strangest dream…….Actually it wasn’t a dream it was a performance of Return to the Forbidden Planet – a love story set in space, said to be based on The Tempest and billed as Shakespeare's forgotten rock and roll masterpiece.

The comic strip-styled caper is an Olivier award winning best musical and, as such, is laced with vocal numbers throughout.  From 50s Good Vibrations through to Nirvana and with a spot of Jimi Hendrix in-between; all performed with passion and a hint of Hammond.

The costumes reminded me of Brighton Pride more than Battlestar Galactica and I really wasn’t sure what was going on until the second half  - that could be down to my lack of comic-strip nous or else Shakespearean plot ignorance - but the singing and musical talent is second to none and made for an all-round enjoyable, if slightly bonkers experience.

For feel-good high jinks, complete with a Brian May VT and cola branded robot in padded trunks, I can’t think of anything better.

Return to the Forbidden Planet is on at the Theatre Royal until Saturday 24 January.


Friday, 16 January 2015

Make a trip to Brighton Marina

When you're planning your break to Brighton & Hove this year, why not move away from the city centre and take a look at Brighton Marina? Far more then just a place to park your boat, the Marina is a great place to eat, drink, shop, stay and play.

Naturally being by the water there are plenty of businesses there to help you enjoy it, whether it's a relaxing pleasure boat ride with Ross Boat Trips; whizzing round on Jet Skis or trying your hand at all manner of watersports. Or for land-based activities you'll soon be able to hire an electric bike, perfect for exploring the Undercliff route.

After all that action you'll need to refuel and there are lots of popular restaurant brand names to choose from as well as new eateries Blue Mango Indian restaurant and Jimmy's Restaurant serving dishes from around the world.

Once you build up some more energy why not explore the shops at the Marina, there are outlet shops for well-known brands as well as the independent fair-trade store Lovethatstuff and the Laughing Dog Gallery which features lots ot pieces by local artists.

After that revive your weary body with a pampering session at Spa Tara or enjoy a night out at the Rendezvous Casino with Waterside Bar & Brasserie.

Once you're ready to hit the hay there are  plenty of accommodaiton options including self-catering with Sea Fizz and Palms Properties or there's the contemporary Hotel Seattle.

Hotel Seattle

To really make the most of your Brighton Marina visit sign-up for the Brighton Marina Gold Card which has over 40 money-saving deals and also gives you the chance to win a Mini One!


Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Last minute Brighton break with ice skating!

Forget the January blues and treat yourself to a break in Brighton & Hove, plus if you book through you will receive two free adult tickets to the Royal Pavilion Ice Rink!

There are double rooms available from just £49 a night so once you've enjoyed your ice skating session why not explore the independent shops of the Lanes & North Laine or grab a bargain at Churchill Square Shopping Centre?

Hot on the heels of the Conde Nast award for best destination for restaruants and bars, Huffington Post has also discovered that Brighton is a foodie hotpot so refuel at one of the city's fantastic restaurants. Don't worry about breaking your resolutions though as The Stylist featured three Brighton places in their guide to the best healthy eating dining out options.

So hope to see you on the ice rink soon!