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


Giant paper maze, surveillance and dance come to Brighton 28 – 30 August 2014 with the New Movement Collective

Set within an architectural paper labyrinth from waste donated by the Guardian Newspaper Print Centre, the audience are invited to experience a unique dance experience at Circus Street Market.  

Inspired the seminal novel ‘The New York Trilogy’ by Paul Auster, New Movement Collective (NMC) present Casting Traces, a cross-genre 45-minute performance involving film, music, dance and the audience.

~ Casting Traces 2014, New Movement Collective ~
Circus Street Market will be transformed into a giant paper maze creating a temporary world of illusion, where light and shadow will interplay and choreographed movement will be enhanced. Designed by Elin Eyborg, visitors become participants in the performance, with the translucent assemblage encouraging the audience to reassess their perception of dance and architecture.

Meanwhile projections and live camera feeds will enable participants to encounter representations of themselves as they explore hidden spaces.  In collaboration with Nylon Films, the aim is to explore popular themes of detective novels and our response to an ever-present surveillance. 

Alongside this visual interplay, a composition by Szymon Brzóska (Sadler’s Wells Theatre) will be played live during the event by violinist Linda Jankowska and Aisha Orazbayeva.

NMC hope the combined affect will blur the boundaries between dance, architecture, film and music. 

Nominated for ‘Best Independent Company’ in the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards in 2013, NMC aspires to change and evolve the landscape of contemporary theatre, unlocking performance potential within hidden pockets of our cities.

Circus Street Market, May 2014

Brighton, Circus Street Market, Brighton, BN2 9QF
28 August - 8:30 pm
29 + 30 August - 6:45 pm + 8:30 pm
** Tickets must be purchased in advance at


Where I get my story-telling inspiration - Hey, What's the Big Idea

One thing I am not good at is promoting myself.  Other people, yes for sure and I love it.  There are so many interesting and creative people in Brighton that writing about other people is easy.

When it comes to my own endeavours, despite writing it for my niece (that's my inspiration); setting it in one of my favourite gardens and writing about some adorable little scamperers, my efforts to tell people about my story pretty much fall flat.

Scanning my emails tonight, 78 unread (I've got to learn how to unsubscribe to things) I came across one from the Mumsnetter gang, which read, here's your chance to meet a children's publisher.  Go on Sarah, they said, enter the Big Idea competition and add your link!  
Ok, so the email didn't quite emphatically address me personally, but that's what I understood. 
~ Brighton Pavilion Gardens ~
It all started with a commission from my brother for a book for his 3 year old daughter Olivia. From there I just had to come up with an idea and it didn't take me long to decide on a story about squirrels for the content. During daily walks through St James' Park in London and Brighton Pavilion Gardens I loved watching the busy-ness of squirrels - approaching people for nuts, jumping through trees and generally scurrying around.
~ Alfie the Squirrel ~
It was at this point at a family meal a chance conversation led to an offer from my aunt to produce some water colour illustrations for me. So, with that, I had the commission, a hero, an illustrator and now all I needed was a story.

Then one day in October, while walking through Brighton Pavilion Gardens I noticed that the grass had gone. Well, I thought, what would Alfie make of this (because he now had a name).

So, I took some photos, to accompany the story and started to write the tale for Alfie, I mean Olivia. The story completed, I received some water colour illustrations from my aunt Joy, which were fantastic and I was delighted.

Further good fortune meant that by chance I happened to be walking through the Pavilion Gardens at the very time the men on the quad tractor came to lay a new lawn, giving me the perfect opportunity to take more photos.

Finally, I needed to work out how to put it all together and a friend at a Brighton Writers meet-up recommended Blurb to me. I found out I could design the layout myself and publish online.

After a few proto-types, one flew across to NYC for Little Miss O to preview.  

Finally, I published Alfie the Squirrel as an ebook on Blurb and I think so far it has sold about three copies at a price of 99p.

Dedicated to my three beloveds, Olivia, Max and India, the story is accompanied by some wonderful water colour pictures by my aunt Joy.  Please check it out.  


A Summer Guide to Afternoon Tea in Devon

It may be the last day of National Afternoon Tea week but the pleasure of afternoon tea with a Devonshire scone and some clotted cream on a lovely sunny day is still for the taking.

Nicky Primavesi at Visit Devon, is in the business of knowing what's what and where's how and that sort razzamatazz regarding all that's best about Devon.  Here's a few suggestions of some lovely spots to go to for the best afternoon tea down south.

Angels in Babbacombe is a wonderful little surprise. This tea room and daytime restaurant bustles from the moment the doors open. Fine bone china and loose leaf tea with home made scones, local jams and Devonshire cream make this a must stop for cream tea lovers every where. Locals rave about the breakfast and visitors jostle for a seat in the delightful garden courtyard for lunch. Fresh local produce is used to great effect and there's a stunning view of Lyme Bay thrown in for free.

Royal William Yard in Plymouth is an ex navy victualling yard that has been lovingly restored by Urban Splash over the past 10 years. It is now one of Plymouth's most popular days out and one of their greatest foodie hubs. Surrounded by water, the views are exceptional and each building is full of history. The newest addition is Will's at One, Royal William Yard. This very elegant tea room offers first class service at its core with a choice of sipping tea in a beautifully decorated interior, with crisp white linen tablecloths and sumptuous decor, or in a magical ‘secret garden’ where there is a raised decking area providing spectacular views over Firestone Bay.

Originally a Salt House used by the Benedictine Monks who traded Salt at Exeter Cathedral. The Salty Monk ensure their scones are fresh by baking them to order for every customer and offer a selection of 22 loose leaf teas to accompany this. Scones are made on the premises as are the preserves, while the clotted cream is sourced locally from the nearby Yarty Valley. They offer a Champagne tea which includes a glass of pink bubbles and meringues with fresh berries alongside the traditional cream tea. They also have award winning gardens in which to enjoy them or a gallery room showcasing local artists work.

Gidleigh Park sits majestically on the bubbling upper reaches of the River Teign within 107 acres of mature grounds featuring an acclaimed kitchen garden, croquet lawns and putting course. The house has an air of tranquillity and romance and you will enjoy a genuinely warm welcome. Afternoon tea at Gidleigh Park is a sumptuous affair; the full afternoon tea features a selection of finger sandwiches, fruit tartlets, cakes and scones accompanied by Devonshire clotted cream, strawberry jam and the finest teas from the hotel’s in-house selection (£30 per person). Champagnes are also available by the glass for that extra indulgence.

Powderham Castle, the 600 year old home of the Earl and Countess of Devon near Exeter, makes an ideal place to visit for people of all ages during the summer holidays. Families are invited to picnic in the beautiful grounds, enjoy a guided tour of the Castle and spend time in their walled garden play area and pets corner, home to many friendly Powderham pets. Afternoon tea is served daily from 3 - 5:30 pm in the Courtenay Café, which serves up a range of freshly baked cakes and cream teas. Cakes on offer include lemon drizzle, coffee and walnut, Victoria sponge and the ever popular almond cake, as well as a wide range of biscuits and pastries to suit all ages. Gluten free chocolate brownies, fruit cake, macaroons and scones are also available. Up to 25 can be seated inside the Courtenay Cafe with additional seating in the Coach House as well as outdoor seating so that visitors can enjoy the West Country sunshine. The Cafe inside is cosy and has a ramp to make it accessible to wheelchair users.

Otterton Mill, Budleigh Salterton in the heart of Devon is a glorious setting to sit down and relax with a cream tea or two. Their scones are made fresh every day using their finest flour milled on site, with the all important accompaniments sourced only 30 miles away. They also bake speciality breads such as, granary, spelt and rye, so whether you are walking, cycling or riding along the river Otter, go wend your way to Otterton Mill for some freshly baked refreshment.

Finally, The Venus Café in South Devon, overlooks the clear turquoise waters of the secluded ‘Blue Flag’ awarded Blackpool Sands beach. One of only ten companies throughout the UK to have been awarded the Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development in 2010, it is renowned for serving organic, fresh produce. In addition to a mouthwatering cream tea, The Venus Café also offers seafood specials, organic beef burgers, scrumptious sandwiches and a wide selection of child friendly favourites.

If you can’t make it to Devon, there's another solution to getting your cream tea fix without even leaving home. Delimann Hampers can send an authentic afternoon cream tea direct to your door. Delivered anywhere in the UK from their Dartmoor base; freshly baked scones, Devonshire clotted cream, award winning strawberry jam with tea blended in the West Country are accompanied by a selection of other Devon treats, all sent beautifully packaged on a next day courier service. Go to Delimann's or call them on 01626 830372.


A Glimpse of Festival-ing Sri Lanka style at Kandy Esala Perahera 2014,photos by Emily Nash

With all this talk of festivals in the UK, I thought I'd share some photos I've been sent from my adventuring friend Emily.  Taking place over ten days the Esala Perahera in Kandy, Sri Lanka fuses pageant, religion and tradition in a colourful, musical, dancing and singing spectacle.

~ Kandy Esala Perahera 2014
Photo by Emily Nash ~



TEDxBrighton Friday 31st October 2014: Many Hands and a call to mics

In a nutshell if you are unfamiliar with TED, it is about Ideas Worth Spreading and started almost 30 years ago in California.  Now known and respected world wide, TED invites some of the world's leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes on a mind-boggling mix of topics twice a year.

First alerted to this phenomenon by two of my big thinking friends Astro Al and my Cardiff Fella, I'm now keen to share their big thinking ways.  So it seems are a whole load of other people too.  Last year TEDxBrighton packed out the 300 capacity Corn Exchange, leading the organiser Sam Orams to re-locate a few steps to the 1,000 capacity Dome for this year to accommodate TEDx's growing popularity.

TEDx is an independently organized TED event, The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.

Peter James TEDxBrighton
Taking place on Friday 31st October 2014, TEDxBrighton is titled ‘Many Hands’, and will explore ideas around connectivity, convergence and community.  It's aim is to celebrate how human beings make sense of a world in constant flux and will look at the prevalence of technology in a networked age.  New dilemmas have emerged, such as social networks creating a sense of isolation and the prevalence of display screens increasing a desire for the physical.  Meanwhile connectivity has narrowed distance; flash mobs, subcultures and the maker movement have emerged and once commonplace skills have been re-packaged as art. 

The speakers announced so far are Best-selling crime author Peter James who will explore how he formed his Brighton-based character, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace.  

Also speaking will be Karl Mattingly, founder of slowXchange a London based internet platform that crowd-sources forecasts on financial performance. He will take a look at how better transparency and greater accuracy in information can lead to innovative ways of sharing power and wealth.
Karl Mattingly TEDxBrighton

In the Dome foyer there will be a free Ideas Lab running throughout the day providing an interactive soap box with ground breaking inventions, designs and new technologies from the South East.

Tickets are now on sale at and are being allocated on a first come, first served basis.

A host of interesting talks and exhibitors are already taking shape, but there’s still room for more. If you would like to nominate yourself or someone else to talk at the event then please visit to download a speaker form.

For details regarding sponsorship or to contribute towards this event please email

Follow TEDxBrighton Twitter @TEDxBrighton

Follow TED on Twitter at TEDTalks, or on Facebook at TED


Sunday night concert with Brighton based composer, Rob Lane - 10 August2014

Initially interested by the local Kemp town connection, delving a little deeper I got goose bumps when I found out one of the pieces to be performed had been written as a tribute by Rob Lane to the composer's mother in law. The other piece equally increased in fascination when I heard it was called Plath Poems and was directly inspired by the sharp toned wordsmith Sylvia.

Taking place this Sunday 10 August at the Unitarian Church on New Road, Brighton (opposite the Mash Tun), the concert is part of the Brighton Philharmonic's Summer Season.
Sylvia Plath by Librerose

There will be two pieces by Mozart, String Quartet No.17 ‘Hunt’ in B♭major K. 458 and Exsultate, Jubilate; plus Soprano Katie Thomas and two pieces by BAFTA winning composer Rob Lane.

‘Evocations’, written in 2012, is a 13 minute piece dedicated to the composer's mother-in-law, who was in the last stages of a terminal illness when the music was composed. In Lane's own words, it is a very personal reflection on the power of memory in shaping our lives and plays out as a series of musical evocations of key scenes inspired by a life much travelled. In particular, one of the sections brings to life his mother in law's travels to Africa, while other scenes are designed as musical versions of memories. For instance a child's memory of rain falling on a roof....or a moment of solitude when we become aware of time passing and growing the end, however it will be up to the listener to decide how to interpret the evocations.  

The other piece by Lane was specially written for this concert and is called Plath Poems. Following the tradition of art inspiring art, Lane has found inspiration in three of Plath's poems, Mirror, Morning Song and Edge. Created for a soprano, string quartet and piano ensemble, Lane explains Plath's appeal,"her language captures the highs and lows of life with a rare integrity, and it is the power of her unblinking honesty that I hope to capture musically." Copies of the three poems will be handed out at the concert.

The concert will also coincidentally take place on the birthday of another much loved and inspirational lady who passed away only a couple of years ago and is greatly missed, my Nana, Nell Wallace.


Festival Guide 2014 - Wilderness Festival by Rosie Davis

~ Wilderness Festival
photo by Claire Williams ~ 
7th-10th August
Wilderness Festival
Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire, OX7 3DG
Weekend camping tickets £143.50 + £8 booking fee

This is it, festival pick number three! So far we’ve had Love Supreme Jazz Festival in Glynde, and Port Eliot Festival in St Germans, Cornwall. Now we head to Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire, to enter the wild and wonderful world of the Wilderness Festival.



Hi from Edinburgh! Photos from Edinburgh Fringe 2014 by Carla Caturano

In case, like me, you're not able to head north for the biggest arts and culture festival in the UK, here's a few pics to magically transport us there for a few moment thanks to Carla Caturano.

Princes Street, Edinburgh 2014
photo by Carla Caturano

St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh 2014
photo by Carla Caturano
Princes Street, Edinburgh 2014
photo by Carla Caturano

Carlton Hill, Edinburgh 2014 photo by Carla Caturano

Entrance to Fringe ticket office, Edinburgh 2014
photo by Carla Caturano
Fringe bagpipe playing, Edinburgh 2014
photo by Carla Caturano
Edinburgh 2014 street art in New Town,
photo by Carla Caturano
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