Food, Days Out and Travel stories from Brighton, London and the Rest of the World


White Night! White Night!

Absolutely bonkers, more bonkers than Alice in Wonderland, a book inextricably linked to Brighton and also bonkers, but White Night beats it hands down. In one night to celebrate the changing of the hour seventy events themed around concepts of Utopia will take place across Brighton and Hove.

From urban golf, throwing seed balls, playing adult tag, running a half marathon, learning night digital photography to a QR code treasure hunt, peering in windows to watch film installations or standing on the rooftop of Embassy Court with headphones on, transport yourself for the night and stay up until dawn. Brighton’s never dull.


Best Vintage in Brighton

42 Vine Street,
01273 671937

It’s no wonder Brighton has become known as Brick Lane by the sea, what with girls in aran sweaters, oversized 80s glasses and their hair tied up in loosely arranged buns appearing all over Brighton you could be forgiven for thinking you’d somehow landed in the East End of London. And now I’ve found out why, it’s amazing how you can live in a place as small as Brighton and have missed out on an absolute gem like Beyond Retro for as long as I have. Visiting it for the first time I couldn’t believe what a cornucopia of clothing delights I had been missing out on for so long and with its vintage ethos it fits in perfectly with the heart of Brighton, where it’s all about re-use, recycle, reinvigorate.
Beyond Retro Brighton

Grabbing an unsuspecting member of staff, Josh, I bend his ear a little to find out more about this treasure trove I have just wandered into.

“It’s owned by a Canadian couple, Steve and Helen who come over every three or four months from Vancouver, Canada. I think it was Steve’s passion for Rock ‘n Roll that was the driving force behind it. Our flagship store is on Brick Lane (that would fit, says I, looking around at clothes that would suit any Shoreditchette or dude). It has a cult following and has become a destination shop, where people from all over the world will come over especially to visit it. Maybe as many as 40% are tourists, from places like Japan who have come over just to see the store (crazy, I say in wonder).

"The store in Brick Lane, which opened in a disused dairy and has been there for ten years, has got a really good customer base in East London, and we’ve now opened one in Soho, Great Marlborough Street, near Carnaby Street, which attracts Topshop customers and only a couple of weeks ago we opened one in Dalston, with a cafe in it. The company is growing every week it’s kind of intense.
Beyond Retro original 50s glamour

“This store in Brighton has been open for two years (Wow, I marvel, I can’t believe I’ve never even been in here, it’s ridiculous!)

“We put on student events, the one today will involve emptying out the front section and filling it with a hundred boxes of items with 50% off and we’ll have a drinks company providing beer and wine.

"We’re more than just a clothes store, we want to reach out to people by building mutually beneficial relationships with other organisations and bands, we’ve already created a good relationship with Audio.

So how do you source your items?

“We have a team of people who look at what’s on the catwalk and predict trends. They put together a list of everything they want and send it over to the team of pickers to source the items from charity shops, vendors and donations and will rifle through the stuff that other people don’t want and then we select what we think will work.

“In theory you can go into a high street store and pick up whatever is on trend, for instance this summer it was all about the seventies and then you can come in here and find the originals. We actually have jumpsuits from the seventies.

Beyond Retro clothes sorted into decades

What trends should we be looking out for this autumn / winter?

“For blokes there is a lot of work-wear like chinos and brogues, parkas are going to be really big, block colour is going to be massive. Women’s wear for next summer will be focused on leather, lace and crochet, floral and western are going to be really big as well.”

Beyond Retro skirt

Wow-ee I say and I’m loving the box of scarves. The great thing is you don’t even have to make it down to Brighton to get involved, just head to their website and you can buy a whole heap of originals right there.

Beyond Retro Box of scarves


Best Boutiques of Brighton

37 Ship Street
East Sussex
Tel: 01273 770407

Having recently travelled back along Western Road from Hove central for the first time in a while and then walking through Brighton I was struck by the number of empty premises. Even in Brighton! sunny old, tourist busy, bustling Brighton. A stark reminder of the current climate and a further inducement for me to carry on posting about my favourite independent shops, which do what Brighton does best, offer a unique experience.

In this case the business of note is one of the best boutiques in Brighton, where ladies with busy lives can drop in and find stylish everyday clothes to make them feel special from a selection of carefully chosen labels.

With over 25 years experience in the fashion industry and having run her own boutique for the last six years, Lyn knows the difference between unflattering trends and those items guaranteed to sculpt the female form.

Covet wrap dress

Driven by a desire to create a shop for women who want to look good but without letting clothes rule their lives, Lyn has realised her ambition in her beautiful Boutique, Covet. ‘A lot of my customers are writers and artists and I think what I offer is a little bit more creative, for women who want somewhere non-pretentious, where people feel comfortable with nice wearable clothes, decent sizes, decent prices, good fabrics, a bit interesting and not high trend, or fashion victim.’

Taking me round the store, Lyn’s eyes light up when she talks about each item of clothing and why she loves it, ‘for the Covet label, we’ve just done a raincoat which I was really buzzing about and we’ve already sold the prototype last Saturday.’ Clocking a leather jacket in the kind of leather you don’t even have to touch to know how soft it is, ‘this leather jacket came in this morning and I think it is absolutely gorgeous, and so I’ve just put it in the window.’

Urbancode leather jacket £225

Other labels include a recent addition from a local lady, who came in wearing one of her own designs in a butterfly print which Lyn was so taken with that she added the Hart label to her collection with great success.

And now that the last rays of summer have well and truly shone it’s time to look at autumn wardrobes and what to put in ‘em. Lyn’s tip is to look out for shift dresses to team with coloured tights and wear with a heeled shoe or boot. Holding up a perfect example, ‘although it doesn’t look much on the hanger, it is beautiful on.’ The dress, hand-designed by Mauvette Phillips has been made in a soft fabric, appealing to touch. Personally, I know it would look good on.

Mauvette Philips shift dress

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