Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Brighton Belles (the 2012 outing)

Bucket List item #1, subclauses a to c...
  • Move to Brighton.
  • Live in Brighton.
  • Love in Brighton.
Some time ago (maybe six or seven years ago) I was obsessed, nay, consumed with the idea of moving to Brighton. I have friends down there and I've been down for Pride a couple of times; I've shopped there, I've slept over there and I've been clubbing there (in my youth...).

I've reined in the obsession somewhat since then but my love for the seaside city still exists. One day, I decree, I shall live there. In a beautiful house with a garret, a balcony and a sea-view. (Hey, I like to dream big.) And I shall fall in love there, and stay there. So there.

Brighton Pavilion at sunset ...

I'm no fan of London, and in many ways Brighton is London-on-Sea but there are so many little alleyways, so many eclectic people, so much creativity. Plus there's a pier. (Two actually, if you count the sorry-looking skeleton of West Pier.) 

When I was last in Brighton for my visit to Box 2, I didn't spend a lot of time in the city proper; but this past Saturday, my friend (and former drama teacher of yesteryear) Jo and I headed down for what may well become an annual visit. Jo is all about nurturing creativity... and, it seems, the model in me as well! Not that I strike a pose for many people without looking like 'an awkward girl-version of my dad' BUT Jo is one of the few people who can make me look... you know, actually quite good on camera (when I'm not trying to wink or look arty-serious).

qb with oj in gbk by jojo

So we headed Brighton-wards for photographic and general creative stimulation, and we found both in abundance. 

After buying a verrry tasty raspberry Danish from a stall outside the station we wandered down through the underpass towards the Lanes and browsed the market on Upper Gardner Street before heading for Kensington Gardens and our mutual favourite shop in Brighton (and very possibly my favourite shop in the UK...) the Snooper's Paradise bazaar. Oh my word. Put me in a shop full of old cameras and phones, vintage photos of awkwardly-posed babies and postcards sent from Whitby in 1953 and I'm a happy camper. Toss in some old wooden printing blocks and I'm in hoarder heaven. (I'm currently trying to spell out my full name in print blocks but it's getting harder to find these little beauties...)

There's now a photobooth installed in Snooper's Paradise and for £3 you get a rather lovely quartet of differently-posed photos - here are ours (aren't we purty?):

"Strike a pose, there's nothing to it!"
Pics from the Photomatic booth in Snooper's Paradise

Upstairs in the boutique we found the most beautiful selections of garland crowns and hairbands entwined with false flowers and berries; we tried a couple on and looked very Midsummer Night's Dream if I do say so meself. It's actually inspired us to make our own head-garments -- watch this space to see whether we can pull it off!

After we'd extracted ourselves from Snooper's Paradise we had lunch at the Gourmet Burger Kitchen on Gardner Street -- I had the Chicken Pesterella and chips, with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and Jo had the Greek Lamb burger with strawberry and elderflower juice. All very delish.

free water with free mint and free lemon.

After lunch we wended our merry way to the beach and my GOODNESS it was breezy. Not the best day to wear a dress on the beach regardless of how gorgeous it looks in photos. At some point someone (ahem, Jo!) will take a photo of you walking towards the sea in your billowing skirt and in close-up you will be able to spy underpantage!!!!!! *the shame*

But yes, I had a little paddle, then we took portraits of each other, before heading out of the wind pocket and onto the Pier for an ice cream (where a seagull stole Jo's chocolate flake!) and a wander... and several fruitless, then fruitful, turns on the arcades. Jo managed to win not one but TWO cuddly toys -- an Ice Age 4 'Scrat' and an Eeyore (for me) -- on one of the grabber machines. I have never seen anyone win on these so I was duly impressed!

Eeyore chillin' at Scoop & Crumb

This cuddly coup was followed by a good wander around the Pier and a go on the Waltzer for this quirky brunette, where the rule was, as ever, scream if you wanna go faster... (Here's my advice: stay schtum!) 

Thrill-seeker portrait by Jo

This little momentary thrill was followed by several attempts to photograph the rides in action -- I'm a bit proud of this capture of the Turbo Coaster with sunburst.

We then headed back into town for a very nice and very welcoming, warm coffee @ Scoop and Crumb on East Street. 
Lady with a latte!
Mmmm, coffee!

We segued into a couple of shops afterwards and I managed to buy a rather pretty poppy painting for my mum in The Red Gecko, before we reached the Brighton Pavilion just as the sun was beginning to set. Both of us struck a few poses in front of this stunning example of displaced architecture ... until a security man had to tell us and another group to skedaddle (admittedly he was very nice about it!).

We managed to get in a good few shots before then, though:

Then, with the sun rapidly setting, off we headed for the Pier once more, via the beach, to get some quality sunset shots.

We ate dinner in the Palm Court restaurant - both of us choosing the delicious scampi and chips (second serving of chips that day!) with a glass of something grape-y.

I like a little scampi with my ketchup. :)

Then Jo decided to get herself a henna tattoo, and I decided I needed to get some mad light shots, so we separated for twenty minutes or so and I wandered the Pier with the camera, and the flash taped down, catching as many shots of the rides as I could ...

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