Long Weekend in Brighton

Brighton has long been a favourite destination for many due to its vibrant culture, quaint shops and beautiful shingled beach, so I was very excited when my partner surprised me with a long weekend trip there for my birthday. It’s safe to say that this gorgeous British seaside town did not disappoint.

We crammed a lot into our 3 days in Brighton, starting with a refreshing massage at Pretty People Salon after our long journey from Hertfordshire. Feeling revived and ready to explore, we poddled around the world-famous pier  and wandered along the stretch of beach on what was a gloriously sunny day. And of course, within seconds of stepping outside, a seagull planted a large turd upon my partners head. Just our luck!

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Chilling on Brighton beach

After this, we wandered over to Terre á Terre, a cosy Vegetarian restaurant that provides a stunning and utterly unique afternoon tea. Afternoon tea is one of my favourite treats, and I was pleasantly surprised  by the less-than- traditional spread we were offered! We were first presented with a savoury plate, in which the mini muffins with cream cheese and chutney were a personal favourite. This was followed by three generously plated tiers of sweet treats including the usual scones as well as extras such as sorbet, cake and a tasty mini alcoholic shake.

During our time in Brighton, we also visited the Sealife centre. Travelling by train the tickets are 2-for-1 which is a bargain so we excitedly headed in to admire the fish. We were particularly tickled by a massive grumpy- looking fish and the faces that rays have when they glide up against the glass! They also had turtles and sharks which were a good surprise.

Ashamedly, we probably spent most of our time in Brighton in the arcades trying (and failing) to win a souvenir due to my boyfriend’s intensely competitive nature. After shoving too many pennies into the machine at once and subsequently breaking it, we kept our heads down and ran away to the other arcade, where a worker took pity on us and gave us a water wiggly- a weird squishy toy that amuses us to this day.

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Crispy Sweet Potato Cakes

For our final night in Brighton, we went to the immensely popular Food for Friends, another incredible vegetarian restaurant. I had very high expectations after reading reviews on Tripadvisor, and this restaurant truly ticked every box. In many restaurants, plant-based meals are unimaginative and rushed, but in Food for Friends, each dish has had care and thought put into it. We also had a reservation well in advance so we were given (in my opinion) the best table in the restaurant, something I would absolutely recommend. I had the Katsu sweet potato and king oyster mushroom curry and my partner had the sweet potato cakes, both were creative, delicious, and beautifully presented meals; and completely affordable, too. The perfect birthday meal.

If ever in doubt for somewhere to visit in the UK, I would absolutely recommend Brighton. Whilst London has a lot of things to see, Brighton is like a smaller, calmer version of London’s nicer areas. It’s easy to see why this seaside town is a special place to so many: it is diverse and welcoming, and has something for everyone- I can’t wait to visit it again soon.

 

 

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Rome: 2 Days in the Eternal City

   I’m taking a quick break from literature-based blog posts to write about the reason for my WordPress absence; my trip to Rome! For my boyfriend’s 21st birthday I decided to treat us to a few days away in Rome; one of the most romantic and beautiful places I have ever seen. I’m going to include our highlights of Rome and hopefully our experiences will give anyone hoping to visit this incredible city some tips! (This will also probably end up being super long and rambling but I want to keep it as a sort-of diary so that I can look back and remember all of the things I loved about Rome… apologies in advance!)   

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To squeeze the most out of our trip, we hopped straight off the plane, onto our transfer, and hunted down the Colosseum; number one on our list of attractions to visit in the city. I could hardly believe how absolutely gigantic it was: pictures do it no justice. The architecture was gorgeous and it you could feel the historical significance of the ruins as you walked around them. We went mid-week and bought our tickets online so it wasn’t too busy, but we decided to find a tour guide on our arrival- and whilst I’m sure some tour guides are very good, ours was super disorganized and rambled on about irrelevant things like how much he hated the Gladiator movie… Us, as well as most of the tour group, ended up sloping off to explore without him. If we were to visit again I think we would just wander around and read the informative signs on our own terms. 

   We had a quick explore of the Forum as it was included in our tickets, but decided half-way through to exit the site and grab some lunch as we were feeling peckish after our journey. Big mistake. A miscommunication on our E-Tickets suggested that we could re-enter the sites if we left, however this was not the case (!!!). Unfortunately this meant that we weren’t able to see the rest of the Forum or any of Palatine Hill, an absolute bummer but at least we got to eat some great Italian pasta. 

   On our way back to our hotel we decided to find the Trevi Fountain; it was an excruciatingly hot day and with all our bags still with us we were exhausted. However, I cannot stress enough how much the Trevi Fountain lifted my spirits: it is AMAZING! The sculptures are absolutely beautiful and the water was crystal clear; it is immensely busy but we were still able to find a seat next to the fountain to rest and toss a coin in to make a wish. We then headed back to our hotel, the wonderful Hotel Aurelius, to grab some dinner and rest up for the next day. 

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Bioparco de Roma

   We woke up bright and early and took the Metro to the Borghese Gardens- a sprawling public park in Northern Rome that makes you forget you’re even in the city at all! Walking to the farthest point of these gardens, we reached “Bioparco de Roma”. At only 16 Euros per person, this is a fantastic zoo. It was huge and we easily spent a few hours there, and we were delighted to find many of our favourite animals- brown bears, seals, hippos, and my personal favourite… Guinea pigs! Hundreds of them! 

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Pietro’s Psyche

    After a poddle around the zoo, we visited the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, right next door and also found in the Borghese Gardens. The collection of artworks here is incredibly varied, and includes masterpieces by some of the most famous artists such as Klimt and Monet. The collection, unusually, was not displayed in chronological order. Following with their subtitle of “Time is Out of Joint”, the artworks were instead grouped by theme, regardless of their time period. This gave the gallery a unique feel and the way in which the artworks clashed and complimented one another but ultimately had the same purpose was really interesting and revealed new dimension to some pieces that may have been overlooked otherwise. We chose to visit this gallery over the Vatican Museums as it offered us an alternative to religious art, and we were not disappointed! 

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    On oufinal day, we decided to visit the Pantheon. We arrived extremely early before the masses of tourists swarmed it and were left in complete awe. Once you walk into the building, you immediately feel the spiritual significance and all of the sculptures and lavish architecture give the site an atmosphere of considerable weight. It is truly jaw-dropping. Before travelling back to the Hotel to catch our hotel we had one last look at the Trevi Fountain and stopped for some delicious Ferrero Rocher, Nutella, and Tiramisu gelato… A perfect end to a perfect few days! 

    Side note for anyone interested…

   Our hotel can be found at http://aureliusartgalleryhotel.com/ and it is perfect!! Just outside of central Rome it is quiet, friendly and the restaurants nearby are inexpensive, authentically Italian and frequented by locals, a sign of how good they were! 

   Side side note… 

I need to get a better camera.