Things to do in Bournemouth in Autumn.

Autumn can be quite depressing – it’s the season when many people experience lowered moods. That’s why it’s so important to make the most of sunny days (whenever they appear), and go out and enjoy a stroll while watching colourful leaves fall. Going to a local farm to pick some seasonal fruits and vegetables, or mushroom picking in the forest should absolutely be on your autumnal ‘to do’ list too! In today’s blog post, I will describe some activities you can do in Bournemouth and the surrounding area that can make autumnal melancholy and gloominess a bit more bearable.

Upper Gardens, Autumn 2019
It might be cold, rainy and gloomy, but the autumn has so much to offer…

Go to the New Forest

I don’t need to introduce the New Forest to locals, but if you are a tourist or a student in Bournemouth, visiting this National Park is a must. Wild ponies, deer, pigs, and spectacular purple heathland are some of the wonders awaiting you in the New Forest. If you want to know more about one of the New Forest’s fascinating villages, Burley, I wrote about it here last autumn. The legend of the witch who used to live there will get you into the Halloween mood.

New Forest Ponies
Wild ponies in the New Forest are friendly, but don’t approach them from the rear – I witnessed one kicking a lady!
New Forest ponies
Deer in the New Forest
Seeing one deer is something special, but seeing hordes of them is an unforgettable experience.
Heather in the New Forest
Heather in the New Forest.

Another thing you can do in the New Forest is mushroom picking, but only if you are able to distinguish the edible from the poisonous! I’m not an expert, but I can definitely spot the kings of mushrooms – ceps – which are very precious ingredients for restaurant owners. If you want to learn how to collect edible mushrooms, check out the foraging course the New Forest commission organises here. Mushroom picking in the New Forest is allowed, but not for commercial purposes. It means families who go foraging can pick up to 1.5 kg.

Once you learn how to collect edible mushrooms, try making risotto. The one we made with the New Forest ceps tasted heavenly and made me grateful for the amazing fruits that autumn bears – wild mushrooms.

Ceps, New Forest
The kings of mushrooms – ceps! We were lucky to find some of them to make home-made mushroom risotto.

Go for a walk to the Gardens and take some ‘perspective’ photos with leaves

I live close to the Upper Gardens, which are in the town centre. I go there for autumn, spring and even winter strolls and I’ve written about its history and plants here and here. You can make your autumn walks unique by taking perspective photos with leaves. Using leaves is an original and creative way of capturing an autumnal atmosphere on your phone or camera. Simply grab a leaf or two and play with your imagination. I went for leaf wings and a skirt, as you will see in the photos below!

You can become an autumnal angel for a moment. This photo was taken with my Sony camera. It focused on my body and blurred the leaves creating a mysterious effect.

In order to take a perspective photo with a leaf, ask your photographer to hold a leaf in front of the camera while you move further away from them. It’s not easy to take a perfect shot, but it’s feasible if you cooperate and move according to the photographer’s instructions.

You need to find the right size of leaves in order to create the perfect illusion. Not every leaf will be good for taking a perspective photo

These are two examples of when perspective photos do not look as they should!

Go to a local farm to pick some seasonal vegetables.

There’s something satisfying about cooking dishes made from produce you picked yourself. I think it might be an inheritance from our ancestors who had to harvest according to the season to provide food for the family. It’s fun, educational and you can support local farmers. There are so many of them; we went to Sopley Farm, but you can Google other local farms in the area.

Dan's Tanners farm in Bournemouth, pumpkin
A pumpkin for Halloween anyone?

Whether you’re an autumn lover or you tend to experience some melancholy during this rainy and windy period, I hope I’ve encouraged you to take part in some of the activities that are featured in this blog post to cheer you up. Will you try them?

He just pretends to be an angel…little devil.

Most Instagrammable places in Bournemouth, part 2: Beach huts

When you visit London for the first time, taking a photo with Big Ben or the London Eye is a must. When you come to Bournemouth, you probably want to capture something which exemplifies its seasidey nature and will later on remind you of the time you spent by the sea. Well, what can be more seasidey than some colourful beach huts? Don’t get me wrong – I’m not comparing beach huts with Big Ben! I’m just saying that they are a symbol of Bournemouth and at the same time very Instagrammable!

The beach huts between Bournemouth Pier and Boscombe Pier

The most colourful beach huts are between Bournemouth Pier and Boscombe Pier. Some Instagram influencers adjust their outfits to the background of their photos and I can assure you that Bournemouth’s beach huts are painted in so many different shades that even the most colour-obsessed influencer will be satisfied.

The beach huts between Bournemouth Pier and Boscombe Pier

An interesting fact is that Bournemouth’s first beach hut, which was built in 1909, still exists, and you can find it near the Bournemouth Seafront Office. It’s easy to find, because it’s marked with a Blue Plaque.

The beach huts between Bournemouth Pier and Boscombe Pier

What can you use the beach huts for?

There are more than 250 beach huts available for hire, and you can read FAQs about hiring one of them here. People rent beach huts because it’s an easy and convenient way to spend a whole day at the beach with the possibility of cooking (gas stoves are provided) or hiding inside to avoid the wind or scorching sun. While passing by the beach huts, you’ll often see a group of friends, or families having barbecues, or people just lying on sunbeds next to their huts.

the beach huts on the way to Poole
One of the beach huts on the way to Poole
Mudeford beach huts
Mudeford beach huts

If you have a little bit more time, you can have a walk , a bike ride or take a bus to see the beach huts in Mudeford. They are much bigger so you can actually sleep there, which means you can rent them for a whole weekend. If you happen to want to purchase one of these colourful beauties, you’ll need around £250,000!

Approaching the beach huts from Hengisbury Head
Looking across the water at Mudeford beach huts
Looking across the water at Mudeford beach huts

If you think no-one sane will want to buy a beach hut which does not have a shower, toilet facilities, running water or electricity for £250,000, you’re mistaken! As a potential buyer, you would be on a waiting list of 30 people. You can read an article about it here.

One of the Mudeford beach huts
One of the Mudeford beach huts
Mudeford beach huts
The rainbow of colours

Even if I were a millionaire, I would hesitate to buy a beach hut in Mudeford. But while I was looking at the sea from a beach hut’s decking, admiring the pristine beach and the Isle of Wight in the background, I understood that the peacefulness and tranquility of this place may be priceless to some people…or at least tempt them to pay £250,000 just to wake up with this view.

The view from one of the beach huts in Mudeford
The view from one of the beach huts in Mudeford. Would you pay £250,000 to look at it on warm summer nights?

Would you agree with me that beach huts are a symbol of Bournemouth?

Mudeford beach huts

Most Instagrammable Places in Bournemouth, part 1: Upper Gardens

I have decided to prepare a series of blog posts presenting different places in Bournemouth where you can take some artistic, colourful, original and memorable photos, whether you’re a tourist, international student or local. In other words, the most Instagrammable places in Bournemouth! This first one contains some shots from the Upper Gardens. Walking from the Square in the town centre until the end of the Upper Garden takes about 30 minutes (check the map here).

If you haven’t heard the word ‘Instagrammable’, then you should know it’s used to describe places, food, and things which seem attractive enough to be captured on camera and shared on social media. The Upper Gardens is definitely one of those places, especially with the abundance of flowers.

The best season to photograph flowers in the Upper Gardens is spring or early summer when the flowers start to bloom and their colours are most intense. The photos in this post were taken in mid-August and some of the petals are a bit washed out, but still beautiful!

Upper Gardens in Bournemouth, the red bridge in the Asian sector
One of the red bridges in the Asian sector of the gardens.

The Gardens used to be private and belonged to one family(!) – the Durrants – until they were leased to Bournemouth Council and are now open to the public. They are divided into three themes: European, Asian and North American, all based on the species planted in different sectors. The Asian part is very interesting due to its adorable red bridges, which are a great backdrop for photos. In my opinion, even a wedding photo session would look great there!

Upper Gardens in Bournemouth, the red bridge in the Asian sector

Other Instagrammable photos can be taken among bamboo sticks, and you can find plenty of them in the Upper Gardens…if you hide among them, you can pretend you’re on holiday in a tropical jungle…

Bamboo trees in the Upper Gardens, Bournemouth.
Upper Gardens in Bournemouth, Wellingtonia Sequoiadendron giganteum from Sierra Nevada.

The massive trees from America in the American sector are really impressive and will make you feel tiny…the photos below present the Wellingtonia Sequoiadendron giganteum (I’ve always disliked those long Latin names!) from Sierra Nevada, and it’s the biggest species of tree in the world. It can reach a height of 300ft (92m)!

Upper Gardens in Bournemouth, Wellingtonia Sequoiadendron giganteum from Sierra Nevada.
Upper Gardens in Bournemouth, Wellingtonia Sequoiadendron giganteum from Sierra Nevada.
Look at how tiny I look standing next to the trunk of this tree…

The gardens are about 3 kilometers long, but who would mind walking 3 kilometers of pure beauty…? Our walk ended on the Coy Pond (which is already in Poole) where you can see some red fish.

Coy pond, Poole
Coy pond can be found at the end of Upper Gardens

Have you ever walked through the Upper Gardens and taken any photos with its beautiful flora? I think the Gardens are simply underrated because the main tourist focus is the beach. But give it a try, you’ll enjoy them at any time of the year!

Upper Gardens, Bournemouth.
Have I encouraged you to go there?

Amelie musical at the Pavilion

This French classic, a moving and inspiring story of an introverted girl named Amelie Poulain who derives joy from being kind to other people, can now be seen at the Pavilion. Astonishing acting, dynamic dance and sensational singing is everything you’ll experience while watching the show. Thanks to the invitation of BH Live and the Bournemouth Bloggers, I was able to see the performance on Monday evening.

The play starts with an insight into Amelie’s childhood and the upbringing she received from her overprotective mother, which somewhat explains her introverted character. The setting of the play changes from a metro station to a restaurant, where Amelie is employed as a waitress. The actors change sets by swiftly moving furniture, which introduces a lot of dynamism. Amelie also uses a flying chandelier at times to transport herself into her cosy room located above the station, which looks magical.

Amelie - UK musical. Picture by Pamela Raith Photography
The talented cast of Amelie – pic. by Pamela Raith Photography

I have to say that Audrey Brisson, a French-Canadian actress who stars in the lead role, is mesmerizing! Her beautiful voice, adorable French accent and quirky ways will make you fall in love with her immediately. My loudest applause, however, went to Danny Mac (a West End actor and finalist of Strictly Come Dancing) who plays Nino. I had goosebumps each time he sang, and the song When the Booth goes Bright became my favourite.

These two are a great couple!

Even though we watched the show on a Monday evening after a long day at work, we didn’t lose interest in the musical even for a second. All the actors who performed in the musical were fantastic! I can’t recommend it more! It will be playing at the Pavilion until the 17th of August, and you can buy tickets here .

*Ad press event- I was gifted the tickets for the musical Amelie, but the above review is my own genuine opinion.

A very green post.

If I were forced to choose only one colour of clothes to wear for the rest of my life it would probably be green – in particular khaki. I think it’s elegant and it also intensifies the colour of my eyes. I probably have too many khaki clothes! Green is obviously the predominant colour of nature, and while looking through the pictures of Bournemouth and the surrounding area I have taken over the last 3 months, I noticed that I’d captured beautiful shades of my favourite khaki on stones, pine trees, boats and others. In this blog post you’ll see those photos containing shades of green and read about the symbolism of this colour.

Seaweed covering big stones. Mudeford in Christchurch.

I know it’s a sweeping generalisation to say that certain colours evoke characteristic emotions in people, but according to the psychology of colours, our favourite shades may say a lot about our personalities. (Check your favourite colour here).

Mudeford in Christchurch. Swans and the edge of the water covered in seaweed
Pine trees in Poole.

The colours we choose for our bedrooms and living rooms can significantly influence our mood. Colours are also extremely important in marketing campaigns (see here). Green evokes a feeling of health, peace, calm and stability. Marketers use green in branding to emphasize that they are trustworthy and reliable.

Stones covered in seaweed at Sandbanks are a beautiful backdrop for photos. Green is the colour of stability and safety. I can describe myself as someone who does not like changes and is not so keen on getting out of her comfort zone. Is that why I love green so much?
The sunset hiding behind monstrous green stones. Mudeford, Christchurch.
Green juice at Wagamama. Mine was made from kale, apple and celery – which is considered to be a super food due to its healthy properties.
Seaweed covering an abandoned boat in Poole Harbour.
A pine tree and a cloudless blue sky. Poole.
Green is also the symbol of money, greed, ambition and jealousy. I tend to be overambitious and competitive, and my perfectionism drives me crazy. I also admit to being jealous at times (my look in this picture says it all)…but I prefer to say I am ‘passionate’ 😉
A view from our living room. I consider myself lucky to be waking up to this view of green pine trees and Meyrick Park.
Finally, a picture of the book Live Green by Jen Chillingsworth, which changed my everyday life and nasty habits into better, more environmentally friendly ones. It shows easy ways of living ‘green’ and feeling good about your everyday choices, from shopping to cleaning. My blog post about buying local and loose produce in Bournemouth greengrocers was written after reading this book. You can find it here.

If you were to choose only one colour, what would it be? Does the symbolism of your favourite colour match with your personality traits?

Never go too long without watching a sunset

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!

I took this photo at the beginning of February 2019 at Hengistbury Head. What strikes me about this scene is the peace and tranquility – so desperately needed in our fast-paced lives.

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.

This photo with the caption ‘Surfing Bournemouth at sunset’ was taken by Andy Carr, who runs the @beachpilgrim Instagram account. Simply spectacular.

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.


This photo presents the sunset at Sandbanks close to the Yacht Club. Vivid orange is very often the predominant colour of a sunset. The photo above was taken by Marsona Anney (@sonas_photography), who loves taking photos of nature and animals. You can visit her fun page with beautiful photos here

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.

Daphne sent me this photo of the sunset on Studland, Bramble Bush Bay.
She said it’s one of her favourite places for romantic walks and picnics along the seashore. More photos by Daphne can be found here, here and at @daphnewuennphotography

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?

This man is not a stranger to me… Mudeford sunset, by Gary Page.

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…

Purplish sunset at Sandbanks by Gary Page. Gary is super-knowledgeable about photography and tried to teach me how to take good photos. I deliberately use the word ‘tried’, because I need more practice with the complicated settings of a professional camera! Here is his website and his Instagram is @garypagez32 I chose this photo to be the last one as its light makes me think of something that is drawing to a close.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Veganuary: seasonal vegetables and vegan restaurants in Bournemouth.

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.

Some of the British seasonal veggies and fruit I bought: cabbage, beetroots, celery, swede, carrots, brussels sprouts, pears, and apples.
I’m also avoiding greens pre-packed in plastic. It’s difficult to find loose fruit, especially at big supermarkets, but it’s not impossible – if you can, do it!
Choose loose!
I hated brussels sprouts as a child, but now I love them – provided they are not overcooked!

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.’

Mad Cucumber is entirely vegan. I can somehow imagine being vegetarian, but vegan seems to be mission impossible!
This is a photo of a burger made from lentils, oats and quinoa. The salad that was served with the burger had some seasonal vegetables like red cabbage and carrots in it. Instead of using rocket, the chef could have used kale, which is in season at the moment. Nevertheless, my veggie burger was tasty and kept me full for a couple of hours!

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.

My brunch: local sourdough bread, cashew nut cream cheese, caramelised onions, and smashed – seasonal – butternut squash, accompanied with fresh juice made from spinach, kale and other green things. Sorry, I can’t remember all of the ingredients, but it was mouthwatering!

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.

Just look at this presentation, it’s art on a plate! The left plate contains salt baked celeriac and avocado puree. The right one contains beetroots with hazelnut pralines, braised shallots, and citrus dressing. You simply discover a new, unexpected flavour with each bite. A big plus for using seasonal vegetables!
*We only ordered starters because we had previously prepared dinner, but we’ll come back for more!

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…