Saturday, 14 September 2013

A Family Holiday to Brighton




Since becoming vegan six years ago this month, I have wanted to visit Brighton. Brighton is a vegan Mecca, and whisperings of this amazing place echo endlessly across the UK. Some of my good friends moved there a couple of years ago, and we finally made it down to visit them last week.

We borrowed my parents’ motorhome for the week, and drove 300 miles south, because these are the lengths we vegans will go to for a take away pizza. The motorhome we borrowed is a beast, let’s call it the beast, and is over 7 metres long so I felt terrified for Laurie having to drive it. If the driving had been my responsibility, we’d have spent the week camped on my parents’ driveway.

Luckily I wasn’t in the driving seat, and we made it to Brighton in one scarily massive piece. We stayed at a big caravan site in Brighton, which was really nice. The campers were mostly retired couples trying to squeeze the last drops out of the British summer. We were lucky and, though it’s hard to believe it sat here in a jumper, last week was really good weather so we had the scent of sun cream following us round for that authentic holiday feel.

On the first night, our friends visited and we had some vegan pizza from a take away. When we get take away pizza at home, it’s just a crappy pizza with no cheese, but Brighton had a whole menu of vegan pizza options. The pizzas had vegan cheese and were covered in fake meats, which admittedly isn’t normally my cup of tea but it was quite nice for a change. Ebony fell asleep before 9, and didn’t wake up once, so we sat drinking beer and catching up outside the motorhome as it went dark.

The vegan highlight of the trip, was an evening meal at terre a terre. We weren’t sure whether to go in the evening, or stick to lunchtime for ease because of Ebony. We decided that, since we probably wouldn’t make it to terre a terre again, we should go all out and have a slap up meal. The food was amazing, and Ebony ate loads. We had a tapas starter that allowed us to sample things from across the menu, and she wolfed down a considerable amount of it. I think it’s safe to say we ordered too much, and I couldn’t even manage another mouthful by the time dessert arrived. Laurie had churros with a salted caramel dipping sauce, and I still haven’t heard the end of how good it was. We rarely go out for an evening meal these days, so it was fun to go out with friends. We bought Ebony a few little toys before the meal, in the hope of keeping her entertained which worked for a bit, but I think by the time we left she was a little fed up. She fell asleep in the back carry on the way home, truly stuffed after her big meal.

The next afternoon, by way of apology for the night before, we took her to the paddling pool on Brighton beach. It was a beautiful day and, as you can imagine, the park and paddling pool were busy, but she had fun stomping about in the water with Laurie. Sitting by the side of the paddling pool, watching Ebony and Laurie splashing, and hearing the local mums chatting next to me, it felt a bit like living in the past. It was sort of how I imagine my Nanny’s holidays to Blackpool were when she was a child; the kids paddling, and the parents gossiping on deckchairs. People weren’t reading their iPads, or talking on their phones, everyone just seemed to be enjoying the moment, and making the most of the good weather. It must be so lovely to live by the sea, and be able to head to the coast on sunny days.

The motorhome is such a perfect way to holiday with a toddler. The weather was so nice we were able to spend most of our time outdoors, so Ebony wasn’t restricted by the lack of space. We cooked some meals in the motorhome to save money - but ate them outside, there’s no way I’m letting Ebony be the first person to stain the seats in the motorhome. I think it’s actually much nicer than staying in a hotel, because it feels more like home. It was really nice to finally make it down to Brighton, and to see our long lost friends. I hope we’ll be able to take it away again next year on some more adventures - although this depends greatly on how many raisins Ebony was able to hide in the motorhome, and what stage of decomposition they are at when my mum finds them.

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