Tag Archives: things to do

The cliffs of Saltdean

Today I expanded the horizons of how much I have seen of the English coast, and it was all pretty lovely. First, (and non-horizon-expanding, really) Jon and I took a long walk along the seafront this morning, taking advantage of the beautiful sunshine and not too chilly temperatures that we seem to be having this mid-November. It was another one of those days where everyone in Brighton was out! The sunshine just does that to people-all the kids, dogs, and athletes, running amuck, soaking up that Vitamin D. While we were out and about, Jon’s parents called and asked if we wanted to hang out, and, of course, we said yes (okay, I’m pretty sure they weren’t like “hey Jon, you guys wanna hang out with us today?” but you know what I mean). So at 2 o’clock we piled into a car full of dogs and people and decided to head east out of Brighton, where I’ve never been before.

It was gorgeous! These are the chalk cliffs that run along the coast of East Sussex. We parked the car in Saltdean and walked up to Rottingdean. Over there it was far less busy than what I’m used to right along the sea in Brighton, near us. There’s less beach, fewer people, and more water- and I loved the cliffs. I still haven’t managed to see the white cliffs of Dover that I’ve heard so much about, but I imagine in my mind that these are pretty close! (Plus I’ve heard that you can’t really see much of the Dover cliffs unless you’re actually out to sea).


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Summertime Fun

We have been spending every second possible in the gorgeous outdoors lately! You never know how long the sun will last around here, and after the terrible rains of April and the whole first half of May and its unfortunate effect on my psyche, I am ecstatic. May in Brighton also means Brighton Festival and Brighton Fringe are bursting at the seams and popping up all over the city-a month full of activities ranging from theatre to musical concerts, performance art, dance, exhibitions, burlesque, comedy and anything else you can think of, all over the city. We missed most everything but made a point to buy tickets for Shakespeare in the park at St. Ann’s Well Gardens, which is coincidentally very close to our house. A local theater troupe was putting on “Twelfth Night, or What You Will” and I’m so glad we went! It was a beautiful Thursday evening and the section of the garden that the play took place in was set up in sort of a grid so that the actors walked around and made their entrances/exits around the seated, picnicking crowd! We sipped some wine, noshed on our olives, berries, and brie sandwiches and laughed, a lot. It was a great night. I wish I could do it every week. image
This weekend was chill, with more than one trip for beach sitting, long walks and/or people watching. Saturday night I was exposed to my first Eurovision extravaganza under the knowledgeable wings of Jess, Colin, and Jon. Eurovision is basically the Olympics of Europe in song form. This means there was lots of trashy Euro-pop music and over the top costumes and performances. Every country in Europe (there were 46 contestants this year, I believe?) has a proverbial horse in the race. 26 countries competed in the finals on Saturday night and well, it was intense, and really just what you’d expect when you hear there is going to be a “European song competition”. (Worth pointing out that Eurovision began in the 1950s and is therefore a time honored tradition. I’m surprised I’d never heard about it until I started dating Jon….American myopics, I guess?) Pop-tastic. Overall It was really fun! We had Colin and Jess over and we all drank and laughed and compared favorites and whatnot. I loved the chick who won, Loreen from Sweden. Her tune and performance was bangin’. “Euphoooooooooooooooriaaaaaaaaaaaa!”….

And this happened too. Russian grandmas!

In sum, I had a fun night, I was thoroughly entertained, and no one talked about the host country, Azerbaijan’s, human rights violations. Fun for everyone! And since Sweden won, next year’s Eurovision will take place there-Jess and Colin have already bought tickets!

And finally…Sunday. A day for very, very long beach walks, ice cream, and watching people swim (I have yet to set foot in the English Channel, that shit is cold and one week of 80 degree temperatures is not enough to warm it up!)


A Brighton Beach Picnic

Yesterday was perfect. The weather has taken a turn for real summer, with temperatures in the mid to high 70s, tons of sunshine, and hardly any of the cloud cover that is so expected around here. (Are you tired of hearing me talk about the weather yet? Maybe the Brits really are rubbing off on me!). So last night after dinner -I have now perfected my cashew (fake) chicken recipe, which is officially the only Chinese dish besides fried rice in my repertoire- Jon and I wandered down to the beach with a blanket and a bottle of wine a little bit before sunset.

Brighton beach at sunsetAhhh…..so nice. I want more evenings like these. And we were surrounded by many Brightonians (Brightoners? Brightonists?) with the same idea in mind. No surprise there!

Side story: My piano teacher that taught me from when I was a youngin’ until I was 17, quilted this lovely quilt for me as a high school graduation present. It’s awesome, and has been to many countries now. Thanks Mary, wherever you are!It really is amazing how much the city changes when the sun shines. And for this week at least, I’m really grateful to have a job that lets me take some advantage of the nice days, with quitting time being at 12:30 or 3, depending on the students’ schedules on a given day (or like the past three days-no work at all!). That’s several more hours to spend in the outdoors, and I am very okay with that.

Brighton Food Festival

Last Friday Jon had the day off for Good Friday, so we got to hang out, which is always pleasant. The weather was amazing, sunshiney and perfect, and we wandered down to Jubilee Square for the Brighton Food Festival, an event we’d been looking forward to for a few weeks. You know the drill-local restaurants and producers all out with the good stuff. Tons of samples. We waddled our way through the festival, trying various dips and chutneys, sausages and cupcakes. We found a local CSA to sign up with (they call them veg boxes here, ha! Perfect in it’s exactitude) so we’ll be flush in local fruit and veg this spring and summer. We also chatted with some local farmers who were selling potted herbs and veggies, everything from peppers to kale (FAVORITE FOREVER) to tomatos and spinach. I was immensely sad that our tiny 2nd story flat can’t really handle anymore growing. Jon and I have had a few discussions about adding in a shelf and trying to pot some things in our huge bay window, but it may be too messy and crowded! Hopefully we figure something out. In sum-the festival was pitch perfect. So good that we made a second sweep through the joint on Saturday for lunch!

Oh and hey look! A German in leather pants on a unicycle, juggling fire.

If you want to read a little more about the festival in Jon’s words, feel free to check out our new venture over here —-> http://brightonist.wordpress.com/. It’s a collaboration between Jon and I and we’re hoping to keep track of more cool shit that happens in Brighton, as this city seems to be sadly under-documented on the internet:) Fun, for nerdy internet writers like us!


VegFest Brighton and a Chocolate Festival to boot

Yesterday was one of those nearly perfect days. (Ignore the cheesiness of that sentence). There was so much sunshine, there was nary a trace of a hangover between the mister and I (due to no beverages consumed on Saturday night, and a bedtime of pre-midnight), and we caught not one but TWO festivals. Brighton, if I haven’t mentioned, is fucking awesome sometimes.

The first festival we came upon by accident on our way to the farmer’s market. A chocolate festival! We sampled many things but only purchased some ultra-delicious chocolate covered coffee beans. Oh, and a chocolate twist pastry as big as my arm. Jon ate most of that though. We’re fiends, I tell you. Fiends!

Attractive, right?

Taking a turn for the much more healthy festival in town, we headed to VegFest UK in the afternoon. I’d really been looking forward to that, and had received from rave reviews from Mister Dave. The festival only happens in Brighton and in Bristol once a year, so we were lucky. There were, again, all sorts of samples of veggie and vegan goodness and we basically stuffed ourselves. We also purchased some west country cider (Severn Cider, to be specific) after meticulously tasting all their varieties, haha, and some really interesting salts, as weird as that may sound!

I’m so happy to be living in a place where there are so many things to do! It was getting pretty dry and boring up in the very quaint Hayward’s Heath. Case in point-last Thursday Jon called me from work to ask if I wanted to make use of some free tickets he’d won to the amazing Duke of York’s cinema-very art house, very cool, and I’d been wanting to see something there for awhile. Turns out they were having a showing of “Milk” and ticket holders also received free wine and popcorn. Of course we went. (Side note-if you don’t know who Harvey Milk is, please go look him up, then watch the documentary, then watch the Hollywood movie, starring Sean Penn and James Franco. Very good stuff, and very deserving of the great man that Harvey Milk was). These are things we couldn’t really do when we didn’t live down here-due to train schedules and all of that. We can be so much more flexible and spontaneous now, and that just makes me crazy happy.

Prairie Peddler Festival

I don’t leave the city much, so it seems. But when my dad extended an invite my way to join him and use some free tickets to the Prairie Peddler Festival in Butler yesterday, I was like “hell yeah”. Costumes, whittling, crafts, old stuff-I was all over it. In the end, it wasn’t as great as we hoped (a little on the not-authentic side of things, as I’m pretty sure the prairie pilgrims didn’t have access to IBC root beer/fried cheese/college football home decor) but it was cool chilling with my pops and giggling at stuff. And there was a guy using a chainsaw to whittle bears out of tree trunks, so high five to him and his chainsaw-ing prowess.

Don’t get me wrong, there were many examples of artistic abilities and general artisan works. But then you had ladies like this one selling bags of powdered sugar with like, red number 5 and saying it was “cheesecake”-but I’m pretty sure lack of cheese means no cheesecake.

Or, for further example, these things-what? Why? Where? Pilgrims did not have time for, nor did they invent, mascots.

But here, more pictures of things I found interesting and/or funny. No snarking.

My dad, mesmerized by a giant carved pumpkin.

I actually wanted to buy this window growing glass set, but it was just another thing that would probably break when shipping across the ocean in two months.

Thanks for the good times and the trail bag of cheese and sausage that I split with my dad, Prairie Peddler!