Coat – Asos. Dress – Topshop. Boots – Dorothy Perkins. Bag – Primark.
I love Brighton. When I hear the name, all I can think of is blazing hot summer days on the pier, or chilly winter afternoons walking along the beach. I think of the sixties and the mods, racing their Vespas, I think of candyfloss and doughnuts and piping hot fish and chips, and pouring my pocket money into the penny falls machines. It’s the quintessential British seaside town, full of memories and imagination for me.
I’d not visited Brighton since before I moved to Scotland; my last visit was probably when I was about fourteen, so I was itching to return and to show my boyfriend the sights. So on a bright sunny Saturday morning, we donned our winter coats and boarded the train to the Sussex coast, for a day at my favourite seaside spot.
The weather was gorgeous for Autumn – one of those bright sunny days, with just a little nip in the air – so I felt smug, cosy and cool in my favourite Asos leopard print coat. Paired with a classic Breton striped smock and some ankle boots, I felt suitably retro (and comfy!) and ready for the day ahead. I’d envisaged a mod-inspired look in my head, complete with a huge ‘hive and cute collars, but I think I found a happy medium in this ensemble. Pairing classic prints is the easiest way to try pattern-clashing for me – you can never go wrong with stripes and leopard print!
We took some time wandering around the North Laine, with its host of quirky shops and pretty houses, and found ourselves wandering through a street market, filled with nonsensical bits and pieces that I’d just love to fill our flat with (Lewis, unsurprisingly, was not so keen). We filled up on fresh sausage baguettes from one of the stalls, which were super spicy (a bit unexpected, it has to be said!) but totally delicious, loaded with onion marmalade and rocket. We then strolled through the famous Brighton Lanes – here were antique jewellery shops aplenty – perfect for indulging my more magpie-like tendencies – as well as the usual kitsch offerings, like dog-grooming parlours and cupcake shops. Sadly I didn’t remember to make a visit to the famous Angel bakery to sample one of their cupcakes, but it’s on the to-do list for next time…
Nothing could keep me from the seafront, so we headed down to the shoreline for an afternoon of pure childishness on the famous Pier! We spent hours and hours (and too much money) in the arcades and on the rides, and even indulged in my favourite – a bag of fresh, steaming sugar doughnuts; the perfect accompaniment to a windswept day out.
After hours on the rides, the penny falls and the dodgems , we took a long, lazy stroll along the beach front while the sun was still shining. Away from the bright lights and craziness of the pier, Brighton is so relaxed and charming – there’s so much of the old-fashioned Englishness about it that I just adore.
I didn’t quite get my wish for fish and chips once the night’s chill set in, but I got something a little better – an enormous portion of burger, chips and onion rings, and the biggest chocolate milkshake I’ve ever seen, at JB’s Diner on the seafront. This place is great; it’s pure Americana and so unapologetic about it. We feasted and filled up surrounded by huge statues of Elvis and Marilyn, and whiled away the time with a few episodes of Tom & Jerry on the television. The perfect way to rest and recuperate after a long days’ excitement!
Full up and happy (and getting decidedly frozen by this point), we took one last wistful walk along the seafront, and then headed up to catch a train back to London. It was so much fun revisiting Brighton, something like revisiting my childhood, and I am so excited for our next opportunity to head back to this gloriously kitsch seaside city.