To Brighton and Back

For reasons unknown to even myself, I quite like a bit of Olly Murs and he was on in Brighton recently, so we thought we’d head down to Brighton to see him and make a bit of a weekend of it. I haven’t been to Brighton since I was a kid – all I was really expecting, was people wearing interesting clothes and the opportunity to buy vegan shoes. Well, I can tell you, Brighton did not disappoint on either of those fronts.

On our way down we stopped off at Westmeston, which is on the northern slopes of the South Downs (according to Google maps). We had a short wander up the downs (harhar) dodging a number of cow pats along the way. It’s a nice view here and I can see why people would like walking along here, but I don’t like walking along here, or anywhere, because I just don’t really see the point in it unless you are going somewhere… like to the shop to get food, or to a restaurant to get food…

On our way back from our short walk I managed to offend some dog walkers by loudly proclaiming that “poo is definitely a fetish thing”, having reached this topic after having avoided said cow pats and dodging a couple of dog ‘presents’. It must have sounded like it was my fetish thing (which it most definitely is not), so I can understand why they looked at me so, but we’d merely slipped into this convo after I narrowly avoided slipping in the aforementioned cow pat, so you can see how we got there. They did look truly horrified, and I don’t blame them.

 

You have to pay for parking everywhere here, which we categorically refused to do, so we dropped our stuff off at the AirBnb, drove out of the centre and plonked the car in a residential area and started the trek back into Brighton centre. Trek is not an over-exaggeration btw – it took FOREVER. The road just seemed to go on and on and on and on. It didn’t seem to matter how fast or powerfully I put one foot in front of the other, I just didn’t appear to be getting anywhere. People have climbed Mount Everest in a shorter time than it took us to walk back into Brighton, and that’s not even a lie.

To stave off the impending tantrum, we stopped at the Tinto Taperia, for some tapas (if you hadn’t already guessed). Tapas can be a bit hit and miss, but this got a decent rating online, so we thought we’d give it a go and we weren’t disappointed. I’m a big fan of padron peppers, so we weren’t leaving this place without trying some of those, and their patatas bravas and chopitos (deep fried baby squid) were on point, meaning I left one very happy customer. My experience marred only by having to listen to the man on the table next to us talk about marathons, but you can’t have everything.

 

Not to break from tradition, the following evening it was tapas for dinner again or ‘small plates’ according to the restaurant, 64 Degrees in Brighton Lanes. Unfortunately it was tipping it down with rain when we left and en route to the restaurant, I took a shortcut across the front of a hotel as it was under cover. Needless to say I lost my footing in the rain and I went down hard, into a massive puddle of water. As if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, I then couldn’t get up because the bastard tiles were so slippery I actually needed help to get up off the floor.  Rising from the puddle, I found myself completely sodden and dragging myself to dinner, the evening topped off by me getting my coat pocket stuck on the door knob in the restaurant. Excellent.

The food was epic here and we sat up by the kitchen, so we could see everything being made. If you are ever doubting how hard people work in a kitchen, take any opportunity to sit and watch your food being made, because they do not stop! The food was beyond yummy and I’d recommend you book, as the place is tiny.

The following day we’d arranged to have lunch at the Gingerman restaurant. This place popped up on loads of different lists of ‘best places to eat in Brighton’ and the menu looked good, so we were game to give it a try. The food was great, I can’t deny that, but the service was utter crap. Our starters came without too much trouble, but the second lot of drinks we ordered got completely forgotten about, as did our mains. You’d think this would be pretty difficult in a restaurant this small It’s a tiny restaurant, so you can see every table in there with a casting glance) but you didn’t have a hope in hell catching either of the waitresses’ eyes.

Usually you can feel it when someone is staring at you, but it seemed that no matter how long or how hard my eyes bored into the back of their heads, it didn’t make an ounce of difference. In a matter of moments there would have been smoke coming off the back of their heads (that was the level of laser stare I was giving them) when eventually one of them came over with our long forgotten drinks and the main courses we had waited 45 minutes for.

The couple next to us even got served their mains before their starters, so I don’t think we were alone in our experience. We wanted dessert – we’d had our eyes on the apple crumble soufflé from the off – but we’d waited so long now, that we were too hacked off to sit there and wait for another course. It’s a shame, because the food was really good there, but not good enough to make up for the fact that it took about thrice as long as it needed to take, as well as being ignored by the staff for the entire meal… it’s not like I was up for a deep and meaningful conversation with them or anything, but it would have been nice to get the bill before the turn of the century.

 

To cheer ourselves up after this, we went for a wander around the streets of Brighton, taking the opportunity to dive into all the retro, vintage and second-hand shops (and there are a lot of them) we could find. In one of the shops, we came face to face with what I think you would term a ‘complete nutter’. In an antique shop, we were standing looking at some furniture when an old Gollywog toy fell down in front of me. I’d just picked it up to pop it back on the shelf, when I heard some incredibly deep and raspy breathing. I turned round to find an overweight and sweating man, loudly exclaiming (at the same time as loudly mouth breathing) that Gollywog toys “couldn’t possibly be racist”. He had a wild look in his eye and we dodged around him pretty sharpish.

We decided that seeing as we were in Brighton, beside the seaside, we ought to have an ice cream. Earlier on in the day we’d wandered past an ice cream shop with a massive queue in front of it, so, thinking that queue = good, we headed to Gelato Gusto. I lucked out here, because they do dairy free ice cream and it was AMAZING!! You never get good dairy free ice cream, it’s always really melty and icy and it’s always super obvious that it’s dairy free. But not this one – this was hands down the best dairy free ice cream I have had and I’d go as far as saying it was just as good (if not better) than the dairy options there. AND they had sprinkle cones, which made my life.

 

The evening brought with it the Olly Murs concert we had come to Brighton for. Upon entering the concert venue, we came to realise there were two distinctive age groups and we fit neither of them. There were the very young, say, 12 or 13 and there were the quite-a-lot-older, say, 55. Out Olly came, and boy, was he appealing to the latter. There was much more grinding up against the mic stand and gyrating than I had bargained for and at one point someone even shouted “get your cock out Olly”. Ick.

Despite the oddly sexual nature of the show, I did very much enjoy it. I’d forgotten how many absolute bangers Olly Murs had released and he did a few covers of some well-known songs. It was more like a party than it was a concert. He did seem to only play the first 16 bars of each of his songs though, which left me wondering whether he had somehow lost the rights to his own music… but I had a genuinely great time, so you’ll receive no complaints from me, Olly.

Bonnie

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St. Lucia Day 7: low-flying bananas

Today we check out of Sugar Beach resort, leaving behind any chance of meeting and befriending The Cloon. We didn’t make much use of our 24-hour butler service, but I’m going to miss Dwight The Butler very much. It was nice to have the option of not having to do anything yourself, ya know? If I’d wanted to, I could have called “Dwight Dwight Dwight” and had him come and run me a bath, had I been so inclined, or called him to come and rescue me from that wall I got stuck on the other day, or even to climb the wall for me. But I didn’t, mainly just because I feel awkward about getting people to do things for me that I can defs do myself… where do you look when they’re doing these things for you? If someone’s running a bath for you, do you just sit there on your phone, not making eye contact? Because that seems rude? Or do you engage them in conversation whilst they’re running your bath for you? Will they get annoyed because you’re interrupting their work? Who knows?

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A couple of evenings ago I got myself in to a situation with the other butler (not Dwight). She’d come to do something inside – no idea what it was, I think it may have been to turn down the bed. Anyway, she was inside, we were outside on the balcony, and I was discussing with my companion how awful it must be if you get people staying here who are madly racist and make racist comments. She let us know she was leaving and I, still making my point about the fictitious wild racists, continue proving my point, by verbalising racist comments that a racist may make, just as she was exiting our place downstairs. Great timing! Now, it has been recently drawn to my attention that I can be quite a loud person (this came as a huge shock to me as I’ve never identified as a loud person) and I’m still not 100% convinced of the truth of this, but everyone else I’ve subsequently spoken to has agreed that I can, on the odd occasion, be a tad on the loud side. So, that means she definitely heard me. And that means she definitely thinks I’m wildly racist.

We’re going to the capital city of St. Lucia today – Castries. Apparently, there is a market there and a few bits to do, so we hop in the car. We’re in a Suzuki Jimny which doesn’t seem to be the biggest fan of the steep and winding roads of St. Lucia (either that or its the driver who isn’t a big fan). Either way, there were some points where I think we could’ve been easily out-paced by a tortoise, as we were juddering up the hill, violently jerking between first and second gear, the engine whining constantly in protest (which I don’t blame it for at all, as I’d have been exactly the same, in fact I probably was).

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We’ve noticed that if you know someone in St. Lucia, when you pass them in the car, you give them a little toot of the horn and a wave, so we decide to do a little experiment. Our aim is to find out whether people just wave when they hear the horn toot, assuming they know the tooter and the tooter knows the tootee, or, whether they actually recognise who is tooting and will only wave if the tootee knows the tooter. You get me?

We give it a try and the first attempt falls flat on its face – we drive past someone, realise we have our first opportunity, scrabble for a toot on the horn and make precisely no sound. There is no toot. Okay, we’ll put that one down to experience. Our next opportunity arises; we pass a woman walking up the hill and give her what we think is going to be a toot. It is, in fact, a loud blast of the horn. I think we over-compensated on account of our last failed attempt and instead managed to give the poor woman a heart attack. Attempt two ends in failure. It’s time for round three. Attempt three is the one for us, we can feel it. We pass a guy on the side of the road, execute what can only be referred to as the ‘perfect St. Lucian toot’, we wait, expectant of the turn and wave from the man. We get nothing. NOTHING. Wow. Well, it seems as if the tooter and tootee do need to know one another. Interesting.

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We eventually make it to Castries after what seems like an absolute eternity. It takes an oddly long time to get there, I will say that much. I’ll be honest with you, because I’m clearly not here to rose-tint my holidays; Castries was not worth the drive. As much as I would have loved it to be, it really wasn’t. There wasn’t much there, the market was full of souvenirs (and a particularly amusing set of ‘Bob Marly’ merch), there wasn’t much to look at and there seemed to be a lot of homeless people. We tried our best, but there just wasn’t anything going on there, unless we missed the great attractions of Castries… but I don’t think we did.

On the way back we stopped at Marigot Bay – supposedly one of the beauty spots of St. Lucia. Again, I felt it left something to be desired. It was essentially a bay populated by stonkingly rich people with yachts. Yachts so posh, that the fenders had little jackets on to keep them looking smart. Yes, it was pretty, but it wasn’t THAT pretty, and I fail to understand why it is rated quite so highly. We are on our way out of the Marigot Bay area when we come across a man selling fruit – we are getting peckish at this point, so we think we will grab some bananas. A couple of bunches of fairly battered looking bananas greet us – suspiciously battered bananas. But what have we got to lose? I’m convinced that they’ve been stolen from the neighbouring banana plantation, but you have to do something to make a living and I’m happy to reward resourcefulness.

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Marigot Bay

These are HANDS DOWN THE BEST BANANAS I HAVE EVER EATEN. They were SO good. So sweet, so ripe, so yummy. YASSS! There’s nothing worse than the smell of sweating banana skin in the car, so as we pass a bit of rainforest, I chuck my banana skins out of the window and in to the greenery. The driver thinks this is an excellent game to play and insists on me winding up the window most of the way, as he’s 100% sure he can get his out of this small crack of window. I on the other hand, am 100% sure he will not be able to get his out of this small crack of window. He winds up for the throw, keeping one eye and one hand on the wheel. I see the banana skin come sailing by, almost as if in slow motion. I turn to watch it as it hits the inside of the window, rebounds and promptly smacks me in the face. This was quickly responded to with booming laughter from the driver’s seat, as the banana skin slides off my face and into my lap. I just took a banana skin to the face. A BANANA SKIN TO THE FACE. Am I actually a character in a cartoon and I just don’t know about it?????

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We arrive at our final hotel – Ladera resort. Ladera is situated between the two pitons, with a great view between the two. Our room is open to the elements, so we’re never without the amazing view. We have our very own pool, complete with a very Instagrammable swing chair and we’re greeted with a bottle of bubbles on arrival. It didn’t take me long to polish this off and start swimming tipsy circuits around the pool. I had to do something to help me recover from the banana skin to the face.

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Bonnie

Burgundy be bringing me fame (maybe)

Aight, so, here’s the thing. I actually properly love burgundy as a clothing colour. I like it because it always goes with my skin tone and the colour of my hair, and not everything is matchy matchy when you are ginge, I tell you. It’s a strong colour, which always look way better on me than wishy-washy colours; I’m too pale for them (I think) and I just become a wishy-washy person, ya know? I don’t even just love it for Autumn either, I just generally love it as a colour and bust it out whenever I can, but without looking like I only own burgundy garms.

I’m trying to get back on the Insta hype, but I’m finding it hard, I’m not going to lie. Like, how do you become Insta-famous when you legit have nothing interesting to take pics of in your life? How???? Urgh. Anyway, one of my top girls suggested that I come up with some sort of theme for it, or at the very least, some form of plan. The word ‘theme’ and ‘plan’ made me audibly sigh as I consumed them via ear hole, and as much as I hate theming and planning, I have to admit that she is right. She is correct. Correctamundo. As much as it pains me to admit it.

that jumper tho

I couldn’t embrace the theme life – I chop and change too much and I have -38% chance of sticking with anything I decide upon, so I elected to colour-coordinate it. The whole thing isn’t going to be the same colour (don’t worry, that would end me), but every line of 3 tiles is going to have a colour theme. Which brings me back to the whole burgundy thing. This weeks’ set are all having a burgundy theme, whether you like it or not.

I’m hoping that having a colour theme is going to make it easier for me to post, whether that actually becomes a reality, is another matter. The last time I attempted to reach for Insta fame, I lasted for about 2 weeks before I crumbled, having gained about 1 follower. It’s too hard work, like, it’s really hard work and I don’t know how people do it. The second I post something, I’m staring at the screen like “WHY HASN’T ANYONE LIKED IT???? IT’S BEEN 2 SECONDS!!!!!!!!”. I find myself unbearable, and that really is saying something.

Rambling… bring it in Bonnie… Right, I’m going to aim for 3 or 4 posts a week (probably more like 3) because there is just no way I can post on a daily basis. Some people are out there posting like 3 times a day – whose life is that interesting? Because mine certainly isn’t! I don’t do enough cool stuff, eat enough cool stuff or wear enough cool stuff to post that damn regularly. I’m getting hot under the collar trying to choose a colour for next weeks’ tiles (check me out on the vernacular) because I’m just not sure that I have enough yellow items to keep me on the straight and narrow.

This post started out with me wanting to get you to follow my Insta, but the whole ‘pushing the content’ thing didn’t really happen – I just ended up having a bit of a rant about how hard it is to the Insta thing and basically moaned about not being cool enough. But, well, if you happen to come across my Insta, if you just happen to happen by it, give me a follow? And if you are feeling exceptionally friv, how about you like my 2 burgundy themed posts? Treat me, you know you want to.

Bonnie

The Road to Dawson City (which is not a City)

7th June

Back to the Burnt Toast Café, Whitehorse for some breakfast before the next leg of the journey. The girl serving was rushed off her feet – they were busy yesterday at lunchtime, but this was something else – they definitely need to get someone else in to help! There was a bit of a wait for food and people just kept on coming in (clearly this is the place to be! Either that, or there’s not really anywhere else to go, or a combo of the two). Anyway, the wait was well worth it, because the food was delicious. I had the Breakfast Sandwich, which consisted of a bun, filled with an egg, bacon, tomato and spinach, accompanied by hash browns (fried potatoes). BEYOND SCRUMMY!! And just the right thing to stave off the hunger on a 7-hour trip to Dawson City.

We hit the road, heading in the direction of Dawson City. The drive from Whitehorse to Dawson City is a long old drive (about 530 kilometres) and it takes a while, especially when you aren’t used to the gravel road and you’re on the lookout for wildlife. We saw precisely nothing the whole way, despite someone having seen 10 bears the day before. There are campgrounds along the way, and they are always nicely located. We stopped at one on a lake, which was really pretty – and they are always a good comfort stop as well – there really aren’t that many places to stop for a wee!

Ooh, so there’s this place you HAVE to stop at if you are driving from Whitehorse to Dawson City, it’s called Braeburn Lodge (located on mile 55 o the Klondike Highway).

You have to stop here because they do these GIANT cinnamon buns. When I say GIANT, I am not over exaggerating – they are literally the size of your face and so frickin’ tasty as well. There is no way you can drive past this place without stopping. It’s so out of the way that you get Carnation Evaporated milk with your coffee!

If you go to the loo, you’ll see people have decorated the back of the toilet door with graffiti (obviously I can only speak for the ladies’ loos here – I can’t say for the men’s – and I’m certainly not brave enough to go in there and check for you). But anyway, people are telling you what their names are, when they came and where they are going from and to. The one which stood out to me most, however, was one which read ‘7/10 would poo here again 2017’. That speaks to me, in a serious way.

Stop off at the Five Finger Rapids Recreation Site – there’s a nice trail here which goes down a set of steps first, then travels upwards. You get a great view of the Yukon river here, where there’s a tiny island with some nesting birds atop it. To walk to the top of the trail and back would take less and an hour, I’d say about 45 minutes… I took it upon myself to run it, so it didn’t take me very long (all that pent-up energy again).

We get to Dawson City in the afternoon; it took us about 7 hours to get up here in total. 7 hours on the road and we didn’t see a SINGLE animal, not even one! This was all kinds of disappointing, especially considering we’d heard about a guy who had seen 10 bears the day before – I think we were almost expecting them to be lined up along the highway with a welcome banner. They were not.

Dawson City looks like a cowboy town. I don’t know what I was expecting from the name ‘Dawson City’, but this wasn’t it. I think this place has definitely been named in jest, because a City this is certainly not. All the facades are wooden clad and painted in bright colours, it’s right on the river and it looks super cute.

To be honest though, at that point I was so tired from all the driving that I hardly knew my arse from my elbow. We were staying at the Downtown Hotel in Whitehorse, as hotels in Whitehorse go, it was good. Good Wi-Fi, coffee machine and clean and comfy. Oh, and it has swinging saloon doors on the front, so if that doesn’t persuade you to stay here, nothing will. I elected to skip dinner (a bit of a first for me) and headed straight to bed. Needless to say, I woke up beyond hungry and wondering why on earth I had elected to miss a meal.

Bonnie