Days Out: SeaLife Centre Brighton at Halloween!

Days Out: SeaLife Centre Brighton at Halloween!

Oh, I do love a trip to the SeaLife Centre Brighton! We’ve been meaning to take Violet for a couple of months now although had been holding on as we wanted to take her once we knew she’d actually be interested in the fish and have a bit more of an understanding on what is going on so we could all enjoy the experience.

I think we timed it just right as now Violet is just about to turn 8 months (I know, WHAT!) and she absolutely loves animals of all kinds. From previous trips to the farm we’ve seen that she is clearly watching the animals as her eyes will follow them around their enclosures – so we knew she’d just love the SeaLife Centre. She had never seen fish like this before, so it was going to be a real treat!

Also, this October, Sea Life Brighton has a spooky Halloween theme going on in the ‘Fear Forest’ which is the rainforest section – with decorations, scary creatures (and handling sessions of creatures like hissing cockroaches and african land snails!), a ‘Yucky Dip’ and face painting so we thought it would be fun added extra to check that out too!

Days Out: SeaLife Centre Brighton at Halloween! Days Out: SeaLife Centre Brighton at Halloween!

From the moment we stepped through the doors, Violet was just mesmerised by the beautiful aquariums, lights and colours. In fact in the first picture, she is literally trying to break out of my arms to get back to the fish tanks as she was just in awe. I just thought maybe she liked the lights but holding her up to each tank, you could see she would be staring intently at the creatures inside, her little mind visibly taking it all in. She also loved the bright rainbow colours of the Victorian Arcade, although who doesn’t! It’s so pretty in there.

Days Out: SeaLife Centre Brighton at Halloween!

We headed into the Fear Forest, where some Halloween decorations have added to the experience – although I have to say the decorations were a little on the sparse side for what I was expecting, but we didn’t come for the Halloween bits really and Violet was too mesmerised by the aquariums to really notice any other bits of decoration. I’m sure the Halloween activities would be fun for slightly older children though!

Days Out: SeaLife Centre Brighton at Halloween! Days Out: SeaLife Centre Brighton at Halloween! Days Out: SeaLife Centre Brighton at Halloween! Days Out: SeaLife Centre Brighton at Halloween! Days Out: SeaLife Centre Brighton at Halloween!Days Out: SeaLife Centre Brighton at Halloween!

My favourite part of the SeaLife Centre (and I’m sure Violet’s too!) was the Ocean Tunnel –  with giant sea turtles, sharks, rays and tropical fish there is so much to see!  We spent quite a while in here, watching the ginormous turtle gliding so close over our heads, so close you could almost reach out and touch it.

Days Out: SeaLife Centre Brighton at Halloween! Days Out: SeaLife Centre Brighton at Halloween! Days Out: SeaLife Centre Brighton at Halloween!

We’ve always enjoyed going to the SeaLife Centre and have been a few times now, but this was our first trip as a family and honestly, it makes all the difference! It was such a lovely feeling watching Violet’s face as she stared in astonishment at the creatures, squeaking and kicking her legs in excitement as they came closer to her! There was so much for her to see, even at the tender age of (almost) 8 months she was taking it all in and I know when we come back when she’s a little older, she’ll love getting involved with the activities like face painting, animal handling and treasure hunts too, so this is a place we can keep returning to over time too.

I’d highly recommend a trip if you are looking for something to do this Half Term, plus kids in Halloween costumes will receive free entry too!

Sea Life Brighton is open from 10 am every day apart from Christmas Day. Visitors can save up to 40% by booking in advance online. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.visitsealife.com/brighton or call 01273 604234.

Days Out: SeaLife Centre Brighton at Halloween!

Review: Afternoon Tea at Patisserie Valerie Brighton

Review: Afternoon Tea at Patisserie Valerie Brighton

I do love an Afternoon Tea – There is something decadent about working through the layers whilst copious cups of tea and wiling away an afternoon. So, a couple of weekends ago we headed down to the newly opened Patisserie Valerie in Brighton. I always think of London when I see Patisserie Valerie, so knowing I have one close to home now is too exciting (or dangerous!). Funny enough, I actually did a brunch review last year, when this property was Baker & Spice, so when we turned up looking for the new Patisserie Valerie I had no idea they’d taken over that very spot. Thinking back, I don’t think Baker & Spice ever really took to Brighton, seeing as we are overwhelmed with great brunch cafes already so I can’t say I am surprised. I think with Patisserie Valerie, being an established and well-known chain will have more of a chance of survival in an oversaturated area as it is.

The venue is ideal for Brighton’s changeable weather, with indoor and outdoor seating plus a suntrap conservatory.  It was a sunny day so we sat in the bright and airy conservatory area to watch the world go by, but also have a little bit of privacy with a baby who’s newfound love is to bang her hands on the table, scream for no reason and grab everything in sight!

The Afternoon Tea itself is one of the best value for money in Brighton – at only £25 for two it’s very reasonably priced, many places charge this per person! I was eager to see if it would live up to it’s competitors, or if the quality would be reflected in the lower price.

Review: Afternoon Tea at Patisserie Valerie Brighton

The Patisserie Valerie Afternoon Tea includes:a selection of finger sandwiches, mini quiches, scones with jam & clotted cream all topped off with a selection of mini cakes and accompanied by a refillable pot of tea. You can also add a glass of Prosecco for an extra £5. As we are both Vegetarian, we asked for the veggie option. I was completely impressed that we were also advised which cakes contained gelatine and given options to replace them as this is often overlooked as a vegetarian. One of the cakes we couldn’t have so they gave us a full-sized Apple Tart in it’s place!

Review: Afternoon Tea at Patisserie Valerie BrightonReview: Afternoon Tea at Patisserie Valerie Brighton

Needing an extra caffeine boost with a baby who just wants to sit up, crawl, look at everything, touch everything we ordered coffee’s instead of tea which they were able to swap with no extra charge.

The first course – the savoury layer was fine for a vegetarian option and did the trick for a quick lunch, but I wouldn’t say they were the most interesting sandwiches I’ve ever eaten!  They were tasty and fresh but the fillings were quite basic, fillings such as egg mayo, cheese, humous – I think they could have been a little more inventive on this front, maybe the meat sandwiches are more interesting. One of our sandwiches just had some spinach leaves in with a slick of mustard – an interesting combo, I skipped that one.

Review: Afternoon Tea at Patisserie Valerie Brighton

I wasn’t too disappointed in the savoury course, in my heart-of-hearts I’m just there for the cakes. I just like to act like I’m eating something sensible by entertaining the savoury course. As soon as we were done I was more than excited to move on up a layer, to the traditional scones with clotted cream and jam.

The scones were clearly freshly made and baked to perfection – with a generous serving of clotted cream and as many pots of Bonne Maman jam as we could manage.

Review: Afternoon Tea at Patisserie Valerie Brighton

Lastly, onto the cakes section – my favourite and I think this was the best part of the whole experience. Eclairs, Victoria Sponge, chocolate gateaux and a carrot cake were on our selection – plus we had our full sized apple tart on the side (where we replaced one of the cakes for containing gelatine). By this point we were getting rather full so we did our best but most of them came home in a little box with us to enjoy later. The staff were helpful in boxing them up for us and gave us a nicely wrappy ‘doggy bag’ as we left!

One of my only criticisms of the experience was not anything to do with the food, but I thought the restaurant itself wasn’t great for accessibility. To use the toilets there is a flight of stairs and to get to the baby change there are two flights of stairs! I negotiated my way down the stairs with a wiggly baby and change bag and it wasn’t the safest of options and I think someone who hasn’t had a baby had obviously thought that was a good place for the change table!

All in all, I thought our Afternoon Tea experience was rather lovely, especially for the price of £25 for two people. I wouldn’t say it was the most elaborate I’ve ever had but for the price it was delicious and well worth a visit. If you are looking for something really special or unique there are lots of other places in Brighton like The Salt Room, Terre a Terre or The Grand, but those all come with a different price tag so really they shouldn’t be compared! A lovely experience all round that can’t really be faulted for the price tag – give it a go!

If you are looking for Afternoon Tea in Brighton, see my reviews on:

The Salt Room

The Harbour Hotel

 

Posh Totty pops up in Topshop!

Posh Totty pops up in Topshop!

I love supporting local businesses and living in Brighton I really am spoiled for choice. However one of my all time favourites has got to be Posh Totty, as a blogger I’ve collaborated with them numerous times now and been to their fab craft classes – they just keep coming up with new and exciting stuff, so it’s time for another update! They have some of the most beautiful, personalised jewellery. It’s the kind of shop I walk into and I just want everything – It’s just right up my street. The fab thing about Posh Totty is nearly all of their pieces are fully personalised, so they make perfect gifts or just a little treat to yourself too.

I was recently invited down to visit their brand new ‘pop-up’ stand which is located in the hugggeeee Topshop in Churchill Square, Brighton. The stand offers personalisation as you wait which is really cool if you are impatient like me as usually you have to order bits from Posh Totty then wait a couple of days for your design to be created. They have a lovely selection of necklaces and bracelets – in all different finishes, silver, rose gold and gold. I also thought the pieces were reasonably priced too for such high quality items being between £15-49 depending on what you choose!

Posh Totty pops up in Topshop!Posh Totty pops up in Topshop!

So, I had a little look at the pieces and choose the one I wanted to be personalised. Luckily, the fab Posh Totty team were on hand to keep Violet busy (I think she won their hearts in a second!) so I had a few moments of baby-free shopping too! I chose the Double Hoop Necklace and of course, being a cliché blogger I am, I opted for rose gold (it had to be done, right?). I had one ring stamped with Violet’s name and have left the other blank for another day… you can get things added to your jewellery, so maybe one day I’ll get that one stamped too. I also enjoyed watching it being stamped and seeing how things would usually be done ‘behind the scenes’.

So, here it is! My beautiful necklace and the photo really doesn’t do it justice as my camera just hasn’t picked out the letters very well, but it looks beautiful in on – the personalisation is subtle and delicate which makes it look elegant as I find some personalised things can look a bit tacky.

Posh Totty pops up in Topshop!

Thank you so much for inviting me down to visit you Posh Totty – the personalisation station will be back in Topshop on the 24th July 2017 for 6 weeks, so make sure you head down and give them a visit. If you can’t get to Topshop they also have the shop on Sydney Street or you can order online if you aren’t local to Brighton too – and if you are looking for some inspiration, here are some of my favourite designs:

Posh Totty pops up in Topshop!

Review: Afternoon Tea at The Salt Room Brighton

Review: Afternoon Tea at The Salt Room Brighton

Champagne, Cake and Caffeine – sounds like the perfect recipe for two busy Mums, right? So, a couple of weeks ago I headed down to The Salt Room to treat my good friend and busy mum-of-two Andrea to a rather special Afternoon Tea. This was to say thank you for hosting such a wonderful baby shower for us, way back before Violet arrived.

I’d seen The Salt Room’s afternoon tea all over Instagram and couldn’t wait to finally get to try it myself, although arranging a time for both of us to get together after reschedules for babies injections, fevers and an outbreak of chicken pox it did take quite considerable time! So, with a date in the diary – it was finally our chance to indulge and give Brighton’s most ‘insta-worthy’ afternoon tea a go.

The Salt Room is located in prime position on Brighton’s iconic seafront – it’s the perfect pitstop if you are visiting the city as it’s so close to the centre of town, shopping areas and the i360 tower. The large, airy mezzanine area has bright sea views of the west pier. Offering lunch, afternoon tea, pre-theatre and dinner – The Salt Room have you covered whatever time of day you plan your visit.

When we first arrived at The Salt Room, we were greeted by the friendly maître d’ who took our coats and showed us to the table. I was a little surprised I was asked to leave Violet’s pushchair by the door as there wouldn’t be space by the table (particularly frustrating as I had to wake her from sleeping and then had to hold a grizzly tired baby when I’d timed our visit for her to nap), although to be fair I hadn’t called in advance to tell them I’d be bringing her, so I do understand.

Review: Afternoon Tea at The Salt Room BrightonReview: Afternoon Tea at The Salt Room Brighton

DRINKS

At our table our waitress enthusiastically gave us the full run down of what the Afternoon Tea included, starting with the drinks. There are four main options for the Afternoon tea:

  • JING Tea or Roasted Bean Co. Coffee
  • JING Flowering Tea
  • East London Liquor Company G&T
  • Taittinger Champagne

Of course, celebrating Violet’s birth we pushed the boat out and went for the Tattinger Champagne! Although I did see the G&T option which looked amazing too but thought better of ordering both after not drinking for over a year – I’d be under the table!

We sat enjoying our champagne looking out across Brighton beach, it was just dreamy and such a lovely way to spend a day of maternity leave! Then came the ‘wow factor‘ as our beautiful afternoon tea had arrived. People were visibly turning around in the restaurant to see what all the fuss was about!

So, let’s explore each layer….

Review: Afternoon Tea at The Salt Room Brighton

SAVOURY COURSE

Let’s start with the savoury, fish-based first course. It’s certainly an impressive selection of unique and interesting savoury treats -and beats the classic egg and cress sarnie any day!  The savoury course includes the following:  Crab Scotch Egg, Crumpet with Marmite butter, Truffled Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Salmon Pastrami & Squid Ink Bun and Aged Beef Tartare & Egg Yolk Jam Sandwich. 

I don’t often eat fish as Vee is highly allergic (to the point I can’t even order it!) so it was a real treat to try some new flavours I wouldn’t normally be able to order. As I’m vegetarian (well, pescatarian if you want to be precise!) they were able to cater to my needs, swapping the Beef Tartare for a Fried Cod Fritter (which was delicious) plus Andrea still got to enjoy the Beef Tartare. Favourites of this course being the Squid Ink Bun with Smoked Salmon – a unique experience! The Salmon was generously piled amongst fresh, cool cream cheese, with the squid ink giving the bun a twang, I can’t quite put my finger on, you’ll have to give it a try to see! I also loved the Crab Meat Scotch egg, as us veggies don’t often get to eat Scotch eggs.

Review: Afternoon Tea at The Salt Room BrightonReview: Afternoon Tea at The Salt Room Brighton

SCONES WITH CLOTTED CREAM & JAM:

No afternoon tea would be complete without scones with clotted cream and jam, it’s a classic! Being a huge fan of the cream tea, this is the bit I get really excited about so on first impressions I thought the scones were slightly on the small side, but there is something oddly filling about Afternoon Tea and looking back they were just the perfect size. The scones are fresh and perfectly baked, served with lashings of dreamy house-made clotted cream and the most gorgeous Strawberry and Elderflower Jam.

At this point we also ordered some extra drinks, switching from the Champers to a good cup of tea (well, you know – I have to be sensible these days!) We now had a new waiter serving our area and I wondered if it may have been his first day as he was quite confused about the options available (and whether the restaurant had any baby changing facilities – it does!). I asked to try the JING Flowering Tea as our previous waitress had described it to us in great detail, explaining that you can literally watch the flower bursting into bloom within your tea so I just had to give it a go! However when he returned, he had brought a cup of plain chamomile tea, stating this made with flowers. I didn’t have the heart to tell him thats not what I meant and we did have a giggle about it afterwards. Bless him, I’ll have to try the Flowering Tea next time!

Review: Afternoon Tea at The Salt Room Brighton

Excuse the chipped nail polish – washing 10 bottles a day doesn’t bode well with perfect nails!

Review: Afternoon Tea at The Salt Room BrightonReview: Afternoon Tea at The Salt Room Brighton

SWEET TREATS

Onto my favourite part of any meal – the sweet treats! This course is clearly inspired by The Salt Room’s famous ‘Taste of the Pier’ dessert and is certainly the most eye-catching part of the experience! This course includes Chocolate Pebbles, Rhubarb Posset, Chocolate & Praline Teacakes, Kalamansi and White Chocolate Macarons and of course – Candy Floss!  Favourites had to be the chocolate pebbles – rich, velvety and oh so delectable – although so amazingly sweet, even for a chocolate fiend like me couldn’t manage more than one! Plus of course I also loved the Candy Floss – just because! It’s fun and made me feel like a kid again, it really captures the childhood memories of walks on the pier, going on the rides and playing with the 2p machines. The only very slight negative we found that was that the Rhubarb posset had completely melted onto the plate by the time we got to eat it, although thats only a very minor criticism as by this time we got to it we’d been sitting there quite a while, chatting and taking our time – it still tasted zingy and delicious, even if the beautiful shape had gone.

Review: Afternoon Tea at The Salt Room Brighton

MY THOUGHTS

Overall, I have to say the Afternoon Tea at The Salt Room was probably the best I’ve ever experienced – I absolutely loved every moment of it. The food was quirky, unique and exquisitely created with such attention to detail. The restaurant is one of my favourites in Brighton, it’s sleek, stylish with beautiful seaviews – not to mention the amazingly helpful, friendly and knowledgeable staff (flowering tea incident aside!). I’d absolutely recommend it to anyone and would love to go again one day. The Afternoon tea is priced between £24.95-34.95 depending on drinks options, which I think is reasonably priced for such quality.

Although they do welcome children, I think looking back next time I’d try and go without the baby. The team did try to accommodate our pushchair eventually, but there were stairs to the main seating area on the mezzanine and I did feel a little on edge when Violet had a fussy moment as she was disrupting the atmosphere slightly – I worried other guests would get annoyed. Although you can take your children – I’d personally say it’s the perfect place for having some well-deserved ‘me time’ and to leave them at home!

We have also been to The Salt Room for dinner – read our review of that here.

BOOKING

You can book Afternoon Tea at The Salt Room either online or by calling (44)1273 929488. Afternoon Tea is served between 12:30pm – 4:30pm daily. The Salt Room is located on Brighton Seafront by the Hilton Metropole Hotel (106 King’s Rd, Brighton, BN1 2FU).

 

We were kindly offered Afternoon Tea free of charge in return of an honest review – all words, opinions and photography is my own. 

Pin for later: Afternoon Tea at The Salt Room Brighton

Brighton: Afternoon Tea at The Jetty

Brighton: Afternoon Tea at The Jetty

A couple of weeks ago, we took Violet out for her first official trip out of the house. We headed into Brighton to register Violet’s birth at the Town Hall and to celebrate afterwards, we headed to The Jetty for Afternoon Tea to toast Violet’s birth over tea, cake and prosecco. Plus, with a baby of less than two weeks old at the time – we were in dire need of the caffeine and sugar hit too!

The Jetty is located within the newly refurbished Harbour Hotel, located in prime position on Brighton’s seafront. With gorgeous sea views, The Jetty is the perfect setting for meals and drinks at any time of day – Brunch, Afternoon Tea, Cocktails or dinner with a bottle of wine, they cater for it all. Inside is bright, airy and spacious, with a clean, modern vibe. For a more intimate feel, there is also a cute ‘snug’ area tucked away with comfy sofas and a bit more privacy too.

Registering Violet’s Birth

We opted for the Harbour High Tea (priced at £19.95 per person) which comes with a bottomless selection of Teapigs tea, plus we ordered a glass of prosecco on the side too, as you know it would be rude not to raise a glass to our daughter, even if I did risk falling asleep on the spot from my first sip of alcohol in over a year!

The afternoon tea includes a lovely selection of both sweet and savoury treats, beautifully presented with side serving bowls containing jams and clotted cream for the scones. As we are both vegetarian, they also amended the menu to cater for our requirements, offering a selection of sandwiches with cheese based fillings, rather than chicken/ham/salmon options on the menu, plus a couple of cheese scones (which were SO delicious) and a guacamole and sundried tomato canapes too.

Brighton: Afternoon Tea at The Jetty Brighton: Afternoon Tea at The Jetty

Our sweet treats were my favourite part (of course!). I was pleased to see there were two plump buttermilk scones, which came with plenty of clotted cream and jam on the side, it wouldn’t be afternoon tea without a good old British scone. There were also two dark chocolate praline eclairs, which were utterly divine, a refreshing twist on a classic eclair. The White Chocolate and Passionfruit trifle added a burst of zingy flavour and lastly, the cherry bakewell, another classic and baked to perfection.

I really enjoyed our Afternoon Tea experience at The Jetty, although if I’m honest my favourite part was just great to get out of the house and eat something other than takeaway pizza and wear clothes that weren’t pajamas! We found the staff friendly and accommodating, they changed the menu for us and also gave us a secluded spot with room for the pushchair and privacy as this was my first attempt at breastfeeding in public too.

Brighton: Afternoon Tea at The Jetty

Brighton: Afternoon Tea at The Jetty

Brighton: Afternoon Tea at The Jetty

Whilst we were at The Jetty, I was given an exclusive behind the scenes peek at the new spa that has opened at the hotel. Located in the original regency building cellars, the spa is an absolute hidden gem away from the hustle and bustle of the busy hotel. The Spa offers extensive range of luxurious spa treatments along with everyday beauty needs, including facials, manicures, pedicures and massages. I think as soon as Violet is old enough to be babysat for the day, I might treat myself to a spa day there – what do you think?

The Harbour Hotel is located on the Kings Road Brighton (just on the corner of West Street) – to book Afternoon Tea at The Jetty call 01273 916916 or email brighton.jetty@harbourhotels.co.uk

Post written in collaboration with The Jetty