Category Archives: Review

Summer Holiday (British style)

We’ve been away for a week in Brighton for a Great British summer holiday. As we’re neither of us sun-seekers, and we just wanted a week to relax, it seemed easier to stay in the country rather than head off somewhere we didn’t know. Also – we want to live in Brighton! Good practice.

Perhaps not the best week to choose (not that we had a choice). After watching torrents of rain fall on the Jubilee weekend (poor street-partyers!) we were hopeful it would improve for us. Well, some of the time it did at least. It never got hot, but at least we got some walking on the beach in the sun time! We stayed in a flat near Brunswick Square, so it was very handy for catching unexpected sunshine after tea.

But (adorably) well wrapped-up. Winds got to gale force by the end of our week. It made trying to walk into town for some food … interesting. By the time we got there, something light had turned into a joint craving for steak and chips.

Most of our focus was knitting, and eating. And knitting while eating. Here’s a look at a view of the places we visited:

Nia is usually our first stop, because they are comfortable and spacious and do good coffee, excellent cake and usually tasty meals too. I say usually because on one of our trips for lunch we had a bit of an unpleasant encounter with a kedgeree that included capers, pomegranate seeds and a sort of cheesy garlicky sauce on a poached egg… This was good if messy – literally – the Nia mess. It looked bizarre, like 3 purple nipples in individual pools of yellow lemon curd. Damn good though. Also, one of the waitresses is a knitter.

The Marwood cafe was found by happy accident when we were looking for some good coffee and a snack in town. It calls itself quirky, and dammit, it is. But maybe a little too much so, so it feels a bit ‘vat-grown’. Possibly I am wrong about that. It did bloody good food and coffee, and there seemed to be a steady stream of regulars. I had the green eggs and ham (hold the toast – which they were fine about) – and that, my friends, is PROPER HAM. Yum. You may have noticed that we usually remembered to take photos after we had started to dig in. We also sat and knitted and discussed seats made out of apple macs until a group of numpties turned up to make stupid jokes about knitting… grrr.

Here’s L sampling a flat white. Decaff is declared ‘not cool’ behind the bar, and is subject to a 20p surcharge. Not that we are uncool enough to drink decaff. They did tease L with her raspberry muffin though by positioning it in eye-view but failing to hand it over until prompted. Bit harsh.

We ventured down the road to visit Hove’s best cafe Treacle and Co on a drizzly day. This is a cafe that does quirky classily. Usually they have a good selection of gluten-free cakes, though I had only one choice this time – pistachio and orange-water – bit too sweet for me, but very good. Lauren had a sausage sandwich that was rather excellent, with home-made chutney. We sneered at the bloke who wanted his sausage sandwich with just sausages.

Interested parties will be pleased to know that Debbie’s cardi accompanied me around Brighton, and we paused at every possible moment to have a spot of knitting with the last dregs of the teapot.

Obviously, there are other places I have missed out here (fresh rejuvenating juices, coffee and sandwiches elsewhere, the afore-mentioned steak and chips) but nothing else was blog-worthy except my venture into whelks… We went to have conveyor belt sushi at Moshi Moshi, and I thought I would give them a try. I’m hard enough. Well, not again thanks. Probably cooked with plenty of garlic butter these would be good. These were super chewy, and marinated in something like soy sauce and mirin. Meh. I gave up after a while and spat it out (discreetly!) – probably good thing too, as most soy sauce contains wheat, and my tummy grumped later on.

We did spend a fair amount of time snoozing on the squooshy sofa at the flat, and spent the most of Thursday stuck indoors out of the rain till it finally blew over at 4, so other knitting did occur too!

I finished my monster orange cardi (ravelled here) and bought some extra buttons from Fabric Land on Western  Road as my Liberty ones were too big. Late afternoon sunshine gave us the chance to photo-shoot on the beach – along with some odd pirates.

I’m pretty happy with it though unsure about the short sleeves. I think I have enough left to make them three-quarter length, but L thinks they look good. Soo cosy though, and I was glad to have it by the end of the week.

Anyway – back now, and trying to settle in to the idea of work. Bandit was quite glad to see us back, but now seems to be disappointed that it means Kate won’t be coming round every day. He is also miffed that I took his window-seat:

The snails got some of the garden, and the rain has been at some of the rest, but all in all, looking good, so hopefully be back here soon to tell you about it!

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Honest Burgers and some Fair Isle Knitting

Honest Burgers. Not exactly an unknown entity for most savvy Londoners who use the internet, but I wanted to start this post just to say I love this place, cos they do tasty burgers, but also – they are really, really nice. And it is so reassuring when people are actually good.

We’ve been partaking of these most tasty, and peculiarly English, burgers for a couple of months now after we (finally) made it in to explore Brixton Village Market. What can I say? We’re kind of recluses. Reclusi. Funnily enough, the first time we went for a wander, we did indeed see Jay Rayner standing larger than life, presumably considering which of the many options there were for his lunch.

Anyway! The burgers. Oh my god. Very good. Yes. And gluten-free. Their specials look great but it’s the honest burger that I can’t resist.

Beef burger, pink in the middle (always) with pickles, and cheese – choice of English cheeses – and onion relish, with rosemary fries, crispy and delicious. They have the perfect crunch. And a gluten-free bun from the WAG (Wheat and Gluten-free) bakers down the end of the market. They work pretty well although I am still jealous of the glazed buns the gluten-eaters get! This is what made me fall in love with Honest Burgers – when we waited for an hour for our oppurtunity to sit, we found out they had run out of gluten-free buns. Sheer horror on our faces prompted our waiter to dash down the hall to the bakers to beg a bun – he came back with a loaf, gratis, only to be told they had already restocked! So he gave us the loaf. Now that is class. Stuff all this careful waitering – give me someone who will RUN for my dinner any day.

Then we went to the Ritzy cinema to watch The Avengers, a perfect day perfectly ended. Maybe I should get L to expand on that though! I just enjoyed the film. Ahem. Sorry.

I think I must have worn myself out effusing now, I have nothing left. Sorry, but it really is how I want to talk about them even in person!

After all that getting out the excitement, time for some settling down for a day of knitting. The bottom picture is how I started, and how I usually work. Not pretty. So the top picutre is how I cleared my mind to try and get somewhere!

I’ve had a stash of Shetland yarn culled from charity shops in Aberdeen for some time, and I am determined to knit a fiar isle jumper from them. It’s hard to resist the sheer endless numbers of patterns and colours and combinations of fair isle. The skill and the difficulty of it is making it work in a balanced way, so that the patterns work in harmony with the colour changes, while the patterns don’t overwhelm each other. Knitting is not hard for me, I like the challenge and learning different techniques. But choices! Not my forte. And trying to decide on which patterns to go for and how to use colour is really really hard. L does it almost without thinking, because she has a real talent for it, developed with seriously beautiful cross stitch samplers that she used to do… before I hooked her on knitting.

At the moment, I am whittling down my colour choices, focussing more on the blues and greys as my main colours. But I need a contrast colour too. THis is much harder when you have a limited palette! I wish I could just choose all the Jamieson and Smith colours. I am determined not to add to my stash this year though, unless there are mitigating circumstances… like, I dunno, an awesome sale, orr…

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