Why? Because watching a sunset heals the soul and mind, fills you with sensations of peace and calm, and makes you a more grateful person. I’m not making it up – it’s been proven by psychologists, as you can read here! Sunsets are beautiful no matter the scenery, but you must admit that sunsets over the sea, especially in Bournemouth and the surrounding area, are simply the prettiest!
Watching a sunset with someone you love is very romantic, and the upcoming Valentine’s Day celebrations inspired me to write about sunsets over Bournemouth. In today’s blog post, you’ll see some stunning shots of sunsets by Dorset photographers that I follow on Instagram. They kindly agreed to let me use their photos.
Appreciating the changing colours of the sky while the sun is slowly sinking below the horizon is one of the most beautiful ways to end your day. Do it whenever you can.
I’m intentionally avoiding sunrises in my post because the prospect of waking up before 6 a.m. to see the dawn is too much for me when it’s so cold outside! However, the idea of rising early is certainly not scary to the creator of the next photo, Daphne Wuenn, who is a professional photographer and takes photos of beautiful scenery around the South Coast of England.
While looking for inspiration for this post, I came across this sentence: Never waste sunsets with people who will be gone by sunrise. But what if you met an interesting stranger while watching the sunset and never saw him again? It would still be meaningful, wouldn’t it?
If you want to do something truly romantic this Valentine’s Day, grab your loved one, tell them, “All I need is you and some sunsets,” (cheesy, I know!) go to the beach and watch the dusk draw in together. If you can’t go to the beach, just look at the spectacular photos in this post and imagine you’re there…
Veganuary seems to be the most-used word on the internet this month. Is becoming vegetarian or vegan just a temporary fashion or a genuine trend? I truly believe it is the latter! I’m not a vegetarian and I don’t think I could ever be (well, never say never!), but I am one of those people who’s trying to eat less meat. If you have resolved to do the same, you can call yourself a flexitarian or a reducetarian. One of my New Year’s resolutions is also to buy more local, seasonal vegetables.
In order to celebrate Veganuary, I decided to explore three vegan/vegetarian restaurants in Bournemouth in search of tasty, local and, ideally, seasonal vegetable dishes. My choices were the Mad Cucumber, the recently opened restaurant Twelve, and the South Coast Roast Café. The latter is not entirely vegetarian but has the ambition to become so and 80% of the menu is vegan.
Apart from a catchy name, the Mad Cucumber has got a truly environmental ethos, which is clear from their website. It says, ‘Everything is made from scratch, by hand, from mainly local, seasonal and organic ingredients.’
The South Coast Roast Café is a true hit again. I love the staff’s philosophy in creating and running this genuine place. I had the pleasure to speak with the owner, Giles, and listened to him passionately talking about using fresh and local ingredients, as well as encouraging people to change their habits and become more environmentally friendly.
While Mad Cucumber and South Coast Roast are more breakfast & brunch cafés, Twelve could be a perfect place for a romantic supper, especially since they serve organic wine and other cocktails – Valentines Day is coming, guys! The name of the restaurant Twelve is truly puzzling and made me wonder what it means. In fact, it’s not a random number, and it comes with an interesting meaning. I’m not going to reveal the secret now, as I will definitely devote one of my future posts to describing this beautiful place in more detail.
These local restaurants in Bournemouth are offering vegan and vegetarian dishes not only because there is a growing demand for it. They’re selling a more conscious life philosophy to people. Eat local because it’s good for the region and the people who work here. Eat seasonally, because seasonal vegetables are at their best and simply delicious. Eat less meat because it improves your health and reduces damage to the environment.
Even though Veganuary is almost at its end, I hope my article has encouraged some of you to eat seasonal vegetables and maybe to try out Veganofebruary by eating in these restaurants. I think I’ve just coined a new word…
It’s not a huge challenge or achievement to walk from Bournemouth Pier to Boscombe Pier. It’s only 2.1 km (1.6 miles), but on the pleasant stroll you can get a real taste of Bournemouth, seeing both piers, the beach, sea waves, seagulls and beach huts. What can be more relaxing than walking on the sand, listening to sea waves and chattering seagulls flying against the wind? If you need some Vitamin SEA, take a look at my photo story from a Sunday walk in January.
A pier-to-pier walk is an enjoyable and free activity in Bournemouth, even in January (provided it’s not raining!). The changing colours of the sky provided an amazing backdrop for my photos and the sunshine on our faces was more than desirable, especially in January. SEA YOU SOON!
This post is the first in a series devoted to exploring cafés in Bournemouth where you can eat tasty breakfasts and brunches and drink good quality coffee. You can trust my taste buds as I am a demanding foodie and I don’t tolerate mediocrity when it comes to food! This article is a review of the South Coast Roast Café on Richmond Hill in the town centre (address here).
We visited South Coast Roast on a Sunday morning at around 10 o’clock. When we entered the place, which has a raw industrial design and stark wooden tables, the choice of background music was more than surprising. Hearing the Prodigy’s Firestarter that early in the morning, when you rather expect smooth jazz, seemed weird at first, but it awoke our spirits and we found ourselves extremely energetic without even drinking any coffee. Seeing the enthusiastic staff preparing freshly ground coffee and cooking from local ingredients only added to the general feeling that South Coast Roast is a lively and vibrant place.
The menu offers healthy and original breakfasts and brunches from local produce. The delicious dishes are for omnivores, vegetarians and vegans alike, and you can also find some gluten-free options. Whatever preference or philosophy for food you have, you’ll find something to enjoy at South Coast Roast. Our choice was a ‘Bondi Breakfast with Salmon’ and a ‘Chorizo & Potato Hash’.
Our breakfast was super tasty, fresh and fulfilling (for both me and a 2-metre tall man so yes, truly fulfilling!). We ordered coffee classics – latte and cappuccino – and were really pleased with their richness and aroma. An interesting fact is that South Coast Roast works with a local coffee roasting company called Bad Hand Coffee (link to their website here) – I’ll be sure to write more about them in the future.
Summing up, the South Coast Roast Café is a remarkable place to eat breakfast or brunch. This was definitely not my final visit! The cost of a dish is on average £7 per person and the cost of a cup of coffee is around £3. One final thing that I love is that they don’t serve take away cups and will give you 25p off every drink if you have a reusable one. Ten bonus points for being environmentally friendly!
I have always said that Bournemouth is in a perfect location because it’s not far away from famous cities and tourist attractions. Winchester is one of them. It’s the former capital city of England and is located only 40 miles (approx. 64 km) away from Bournemouth. It’s famous for Winchester Cathedral (the longest Gothic Cathedral in Europe), the legendary Round Table of King Arthur, and the city’s beautiful Gothic architecture. During the winter period, it’s also famous for its Christmas Market, which is located around the charming Cathedral. Here is my photo collection from a Sunday visit to the market. I am sorry to disappoint all crafts lovers, but the photos are mainly related to food. I can’t help it, I’m a foodie and food stalls interest me the most!
I would love to know what your favourite food stall is at Christmas Markets 🙂
Even though the Christmas Market had its grand opening 2 weeks ago, I did not want to share any Christmassy images on my blog. I simply thought it was too early and I felt that during October and November we should pay tribute to a colourful autumn. The start of December has got me into the Christmas spirit. I visit the Alpine Market almost every day, I have started buying Christmas decorations – I already have a Christmas tree with the whole deer family underneath. I am also almost ready for listening to Last Christmas and All I want for Christmas is you. Almost!
Like every year, Christmas Market stalls are located around The Square in the town centre between the Lower and Upper Gardens. It so happens that I live close to the Alpine market and pass by the food stalls almost every day. God help me when I smell and see all these goodies and happen to be hungry. It’s difficult to resist the temptation and as Oscar Wilde once said: “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it”. So I eat 😉
The most popular food stall seems to be the one with German sausages called wursts. They are served in a white bun or cut into pieces and soaked in traditional curry sauce. The queue in front of this stall is always the longest!
If you want to try something typically English, you should go for Yorkshire pudding wrap. This is a baked Pudding which is almost like a cakey, crisp pancake filled with red cabbage and root vegetables like parsnip, carrots and potatoes. I cannot imagine anything more comforting on a cold day.
Another treat worth trying is a traditional French/ Swiss dish called Raclette. These are fried potatoes with some melted cheese and slices of beef. What is particularly satisfying to watch is a big chunk of cheese bubbling under a very hot grill before its put on the potatoes with a special knife.
Hog Roast is a name given to the tradition of roasting a whole pig. In this food stall, crispy and tender pulled pork is put into a soft bun and served with different kinds of sauces.
Do I need to introduce churros? This Spanish/ Portuguese fried dough is served with cinnamon spices and hot chocolate and is simply a must try.
The Olde-English fudge stall offers different flavours of this candy made with a mixture of butter, milk and sugar. Fudge is very rich so eating one will satisfy your need for sweetness for the rest of the day. Perfect for a Christmas present.
Chutneys and chilli products seem to be very popular in English food markets. The Alpine Bournemouth Market is no exception in this case and you can find here two stalls selling jars with interesting combinations of flavours. I could not resist buying some of them. They were meant to be Christmas presents, but I don’t think they’ll last.
I hope you have your local Christmas markets and are soon going to visit them, eat delicious artisan food from the local traders and drink some warming mulled wine. If so, what products do you buy at Christmas markets?
Believe it or not, there’s a magical woodland containing unicorns only around 18 miles away from Bournemouth. It’s called the New Forest.
Contrary to what the name suggests, the New Forest is anything but new. It’s actually an ancient woodland which will stun you with its beautiful landscapes and wild animals like horses, deer and pigs. It became a National Park in 2005 and is an absolute “must go”!
The name was given to the Forest by William the Conqueror, who in the 11th century proclaimed it a royal forest and his new hunting area. He would hunt in the woods for deer and wild boar with his guests and held big feasts afterwards. I wish I could take part in one of those feasts (no offence to vegetarians and hunting opponents, of course!). An interesting fact is that William’s son was shot by an arrow while hunting and it has never been explained if it was an accident or not.
The New Forest contains many villages. I often visit one called Burley, where you can encounter wild ponies, typical cottages, cosy restaurants…and even some witches…
In the 1950s, a woman called Sybil Leek used to live in Burley, but the poor thing had to move to America because her interest in astrology, occultism and a long black cloak made the locals think she was a witch! Nevertheless, Sybil’s presence and legacy are still noticeable. Burley’s shops offer souvenirs related to witchcraft including magical amulets, wolves, witches on brooms, unicorns (I told you!) and fairies.
One of the biggest attractions of the New Forest is its wild horses. There are around 5,000 of them in the Forest and they wander around lazily. Their presence in the New Forest is estimated to date back around 2,000 years! Thanks to these grass eaters, the fields of the New Forest are always clean.
The New Forest ponies walk graciously and they look very friendly, but they can actually kick and bite. I witnessed this myself when one lady, misled by its apparently gentle nature, approached a pony from behind. Nothing serious happened to her…well, apart from landing on the ground with a thud and an expression of embarrassment across her face! But it was a great reminder that we should respect the ponies’ wildness.
The other heroes of the New Forest are pigs. Their function is very important because apart from looking cute, they eat nuts some of which are poisonous to the horses.
So if you want to walk on the lands where William the Conqueror used to hunt, eat a nice dinner in a homely restaurant and have a wander in the forest to see white stallions walking beside you – the choice is simple.