Is it just me or is the run up to Christmas a crazily busy period!? I seem to have been so so busy in the last few weeks and have found myself travelling here there and everywhere (which I guess comes with the fact that the two of us are living over 3 different cities!). Therefore it was great to have a relaxing weekend at the end of November to help recharge before the festivities of Christmas, New Year and a sprinkling of a fair few birthdays kick in over the next month.
The weekend was jam packed but still very relaxing as for once we decided to not make any solid timings to our plans – which I always find helps relieve the stress of the “Sh*t I need to get home at get back out in 7 mins” moments! I travelled down to London to meet Dave after work on the Friday night armed with a couple of M&S cocktails (caipirinha are the best) for the journey before we settled down for a chilled night before the weekend ahead.
Saturday was the date I look forward to all year – BAUBLE SHOPPING! It’s become something of a tradition for me as every year, for the last 8 years or so, I treat myself to at least one bauble from the Liberty deck hall to add to my collection. My tree was already put up the week before (Early I know but as I was set to be away every weekend from them until Christmas I needed to get it up and decorated in order to refresh my memory on my collection!). I feel I must add at this point that I don’t just buy my baubles from Liberty (I guess it’s just a tradition)! I buy them from lots of different places be it Asda, Homesense, a Christmas market or even a vintage fair – for me the most important thing is that my tree is made up of different quirky things that I love.
So, after an enjoyable half an hour in Liberty, and with my latest baubles selected, we headed for my usual haunts of Anthropologie, Zara Home, Selfridges and so on in order to try and find some inspiration for my Christmas list to Santa (I really am struggling this year). We wandered around central London until the London lights were at their peak of festiveness before we made our way back to the apartment to pack for our escape to Brighton sea air on the Sunday.
Brighton is somewhere I have always wanted to visit but as it’s such a long journey from York I’ve never made it there before. Luckily for me now, from London it’s a lot shorter journey. After a chilled Saturday evening we arrived into Brighton ready for a late breakfast at around 10am. We were staying at the beautiful Hotel Du Vin near the beach front and so upon arrival, navigated our way from the station to the hotel to drop off our luggage which would leave us free to explore with ease. I always feel that I can enjoy a place more when not lugging a holdall around a shop or apologising for running over someone’s foot with a wheelie case, no?
Luggage safely dropped off we headed straight to the sea to take in the view and soak up the sea air, before exploring the lanes to find brunch. Brighton seems to me to have almost little pockets of shops and it’s so easy to keep stumbling across little arcades and narrow lanes the more you walk around.
Feeling a little cold we felt it was best to head to the hotel, check in and freshen up before heading to the Christmas market. We stayed in the Gossett Suite – this room is the sea view suite with twin roll top baths looking out to sea. The beautifully panelled room have been painted a soft cream what compliment both the grey check/patchwork carpet and the large imposing stone fire place, with the striking panelled fire surround and mantle kept to the same soft cream colour.
The wall behind the upholstered king sized tan leather bed is adorned in a masculine wallpaper creating the illusion of metal drawers, like an old vault or filing cabinet. The dressing of the bed was kept simple with white Egyptian cotton linen and a solitary burnt orange cushion. The rest of the room, like most Hotel Du Vin’s, was kept simple and fuss free whilst the large old lead windows were dressed with a simple white voile under a heavy weight striped curtains that complement the stained glass patterns to the top of the windows.
The twin roll tops are placed in the main room overlooking the sea, with a seating area by the fire place zoning the bathing area and the bedroom perfectly. The little console table nestled between the two baths was laden with an assortment of REN products to enjoy while bathing and as an added bonus, the television even spun round meaning that if you so wished you could watch Miss Marple with a cup of tea whilst laid in the bath! On this occasion I opted for some chilled music and a gin & tonic whilst taking in the sea view. The sea view was made even better by an old sightseeing telescope placed in the corner of the room. For those of you like Dave who doesn’t like a bath (I know what your thinking – who doesn’t love a bath!?) there is also a huge bathroom with a large tiled shower and rainfall shower head.
With the room fully appreciated and explored we headed down to the bar for a couple of drinks before venturing out to the pier and market. The bar was softly lit with a mixture of coloured tweed armchairs and nursing chairs combined with a chesterfield style bench seat along the length of the right hand wall creating a cosy lounge area. I opted for the Flowers of Grey cocktail from the Hotel Du Vin menu, but was told that the cocktails in the menu were not as good as their house cocktails and was tossed a clipboard from behind the bar – having not given me much confidence in any of the cocktails I opted for a gin and tonic(Shock!!). We only stayed for the one as the light was fading and we wanted to walk along the pier and head to the Christmas market.
The pier was the epitome of seaside amusement – doughnuts, fudge and a fun fair all included but, not really being our thing and not really filling us with a festive feeling we headed over to the Christmas market which thankfully was a lot more festive however! With a mulled wine warming my hands we meandered around the little wooden huts and stalls of handed gifts and homemade food, devouring a delicious waffle as a pre-dinner treat. We got the bubble waffles from a lovely lady running her new venture ChopperWhoppers, which specialises in selling bubble waffles and ice rolls – sickly but incredibly delicious!
For dinner we were booked into the brasserie in the hotel so it was a case of strolling downstairs after a nice long bath. The brasserie looks out onto the street and is beautifully designed with marble topped tables, soft teal seating and walls covered in photographs and paintings. We examined the menu over bread and olives before I decided upon the tiger prawns followed by a steak with Dave choosing the French onion soup and beef bourguignon. It was then a case of a long wait of over 45 minutes for our starters to arrive, which meant I became VERY hungry by the time of their arrival! Thankfully our mains were speedier in their arrival and cooked perfectly so it was hard to resist not finishing the lot! Feeling full we decided to leave dessert and head out for a post dinner walk and a nightcap in town.
The Monday morning we woke later than usual (well, I say late but in reality it was only 9.00am which is a lay in for me!) and browsed the morning newspapers with a cup of tea before we started the day. Feeling relaxed after a leisurely morning we wandered to The Breakfast Club for a spot of late breakfast as we often visit their Shoreditch restaurant and were intrigued to find out if other restaurants in the chain provide the same great breakfasts. With it been a Monday we got straight in, but as warning, if you visit on a weekend expect to queue. Once fed and watered (Or should I say tea’d in my case) we headed towards the streets of little independent shops for a browse before setting off back to the big smoke (and then on to Yorkshire for me!).
I would definitely recommend Brighton for a little weekend mini break. It has so many cute little shops alongside the main High Street giants and there are a few different attractions to visit too from the pavilion, to the pier and the observatory. . And if you do visit and want a recommendation for where to stay, I would recommend the Hotel Du Vin just for the sheer fact of their beautiful rooms and tasteful public areas (I am sure that the few points of hit and miss service may be a one off due to the festive period!).