The sun's made a much-needed appearance in Brighton recently and it almost seems as if spring has sprung.
If you've never experienced it, Brighton in the summertime is something quite spectacular. People of all ages, legs splayed out of striped deck chairs, lathered in sun cream with their belongings nestling nicely on the pebbles. Students parading through the parks in an assortment of wacky sunglasses, ciders and rollies in hand. Laughter fills the Laines and besides from the groups of rowdy topless lads and bolshy Stag Dos/ Hen Parties that descend upon the seafront, inflatable penises in tow, it just feels... really nice. This city belongs in the sunshine.
And so, I guess, despite it still being 8 or so degrees outside, we couldn't help but get a little excited. After a long, grey, rainy winter (dare I say it) we figured it was about time to come out of hibernation.
Melissa and I go way back - infant school way back, more specifically. She's been in London doing stage management at RADA for the past two years (I know right) and so what with her frantic schedule and my being in Massachusetts we really haven't seen much of each other, until recently. It's been so lovely catching up.
This weekend, with the sun in bloom, we decided to potter on down to the sea.
I find I often take the beach for granted. It's only a 15-20 minute walk from my house, and, even in the height of summer with the hoards of revellers, watching the waves always makes me feel serene.
I haven't been down to the beach since before the West Pier took a hitting from the recent storms. Now, the left side of it has completely fallen off. It's quite sad really. I can't help but wonder how long the skeleton will remain standing. It's kinda become a quintessential part of the Brighton skyline (or sea-line) for me at least. Apparently, there's plans to build a 360 degree viewing tower in its place.
After our seaside jaunt and Melissa pulling me away from many an ice cream parlour (it was still the temperatures of a wintry day) we popped into Small Batch to rejuvenate and await a phonecall from Liz.
Small Batch is a home-grown Brighton coffee company, with it's coffee spreading into many other cafés in the area. It's chilled inside. Your legs swing freely from the raised stools and tables while you sip your cappuccino, or whatever you decided on. They also do really good (but really small) savoury pastries, and cakes. It's cool, I like it. Although not so much if I'm super hungry.
Though we lusted strongly for the brownies on show, we were strong and resisted. If only because the next stop on our jaunt was to be Liz's house, where cake and more coffee would await.
And really chalky tap water. Oh the perks of living by the sea and the chalky, chalky cliffs.
Liz is an amazing cook, with a hilarious food blog I'll link at the bottom. We arrived at her house to a tray of warm, chocolately, sticky, gooey brownies, and a Liz with chocolate all over her face. We gorged hard, reminisced and chatted, then went our separate ways to get ready for the evening, and for Liz to change out of her chocolatey shirt.
The rest of the weekend passed by in a blur. Liz, Melissa, and I drank wine and giggled at the Foundry - a cute little pub just up from Kensington Gardens - then headed to Las Iguanas for cocktails and Mexican food, and to ogle the rowdy drunk people of Jubilee Square at 10pm on a Friday night. After we bid adieu, stomachs filled with burrito, I met some other friends at RikiTiks - a Caribbean style bar on Bond Street.
RikiTiks does cheap student deals and Caribbean themed cocktails. That night it was also playing a Bob Marley documentary through a projector onto the wall. How apt. We used to go there all the time in our second year of uni as it stays open real late, and so it always feels a little nostalgic. We danced A LOT and fell into bed at about 4ish.
On Saturday night, we headed to Audio to see Simian Mobile Disco DJing. They always have good people playing, usually enough to impress even the most pretentious of House afficionados, and if you get there before 12 and your name's on the guestlist, it's free to get in. A bargain for a Saturday in Brighton.
We had loads of fun. Especially because our #1 man Joe Wookey was down from Sheffield for the weekend.
On Monday, with the sun still gleaming a little, Em and I decided to LEAVE the house . . . something often unheard of in bleak months past.
We walked up through Hanover (a hill I forgot was SO horribly steep) over the top to Queens Park. Hanover's a lovely little area with cute, brightly coloured terraced houses and a multitude of cosy pubs that both my Mama and Em's Mama (who paid us a visit last week), separately, used to inhabit back in't day.
My Mum came to Brighton from Liverpool and worked at American Express, where she met my Dad, who had gone to Sussex Uni. Em's Mum and Dad also graduated from Sussex and owned a house in Hanover in the 80s. Talk about keeping it in the family. They bought the house for around £20,000 back then. Absolutely mental.
Embo and I boarded the swings...
But we were a little too big for them.
We left the park and headed towards Kemptown. That's something I love about Brighton - how everything connects. There's little shortcuts everywhere.
We ventured down St James Street, pausing to look longingly into shop windows, before settling in Red Roaster for some coffee & cake (story of my life, am I right?)
It has been a very chocolatey weekend, I'll tell you that for free.
Em's mum left us these daffodils after her fleeting visit to the Cottage.