Thursday, 31 March 2016

Muse of the Day: Rock Queen, Janis Joplin

First week back after the holidays and today I felt the urge for a little escapism, some nostalgia, an icon to rediscover. With that unmistakable raw bluesy voice and trademark

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

A Swinging 60s Rainbow Hotel

Lately, I keep wondering about a trip to Palm Springs, but never seem to get there. Although this rainbow Saguaro Hotel is making me want to check in immediately.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

5 Instagram-Ready Restaurants in Brighton

Love it or hate, Instagram can actually be really useful for travel tips and gives everyone an extra hobby in life. It's also a great way
to keep up with all those local and off-beat gem restaurants in Brighton – I've actually had some of my best meals in the city at places I've spyed through Instagram. So here, I've selected a few of my favourite Instagram-ready restaurants and enlisted the help of a few other Instagram users to show you the way to some of the most city's best and most Instagrammable...

1. Café Marmalade #LunchSpot

I actually found out about Café Marmalade thanks to Instagram. I saw a snap of the unplastered peeling walls, missed paint job, time-worn tiles that look like they’ve been discovered hidden beneath layers of paint, the torn out magazine pages on the walls - and that busy counter crammed with stacks of deliciousness and within minutes I just HAD to find this place. So I hopped on the scooter and zipped it over to Kemp Town to make sure I didn’t miss out on a table!

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Next to the hospital close to the sea in Kemp Town, Café Marmalade has been open about a year and is set in an impressive 1890 big old Regency building and is open for your morning coffee, brunch, and lunch and sweet treats.

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You can’t help be drawn to the stacks of cakes, pies, quiches and sandwiches on the counter as much as you try to resist – some of them brought in homemade from the owners’ kitchen. Then there are those giant bowls of salads… and the dishes they serve on the menu like scrambled egg and crispy bacon on Real Patiesserie chewy brown bread. OMG.

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Yep, guaranteed you’ll pretty much spend the entire time in Café Marmalade with your iPhone out, wondering what to snap next.

Find Cafe Marmalade at 237 Eastern Rd Brighton, BN2 5JJ.

2. Carlito Burrito #EclecticLocal

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If I’m in need of some mid-week fun and comfort food, or want somewhere to go for a celebration, I’ll haul my rumbling tummy and friends over to this cosy local Mexican street food dive restaurant, Carlito Burrito. Born on the festival circuit, they serve the best Mexican food this side of the Atlantic – in my humble opinion – all made from scratch with love in their tiny kitchen.

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Inside, you sit perusing the menu amid a rainbow-coloured treasure trove of Mexican curiosities and folk art and bright tablecloths – all highly Instagrammable – while cool Mexican music drifts from the stereo...

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Start with what they call an 'oyster shot' if you dare. It's self-explanatory: you shuck a super fresh Brighton oyster and wash it down with a pico de gallo and tequila shot to get you in the mood, followed quickly by a hibiscus margarita.

The burritos are bursting with filling and the fish tacos life-changing – I'll put bets on you’ll be dreaming of the food forever after. At least you can always live vicariously through other people's Instagram photos to get your next fix. 

Find Carlito Burrito at 12 York Place, Brighton BN1 4GU.

3) Riddle and Finns #NewYorkDateNight

If there’s a whiff of ‘New York’ about a restaurant, I’m there – before you are. This favourite Brighton champagne and oyster bar has all the New Yorkie jazz – red-tiled floors, white-tiled walls, high marble bar tables and the entire place is bathed in candlelight each night making it perfect for a special date night. I like to call a trip here 'date night in New York'. 

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A photo posted by Riddle&Finns In The Lanes (@riddlesinthelanes) on

I always crave the crab salad and can never resist the chips – crispy and thin, but haven't braved an oyster. Although this is why Instagram is amazing – it even has an oyster cynic like me actually wondering whether she’s missing out…

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Find Riddle and Finns at 12 Meeting House Lane, Brighton BN1 1HB.

4. Grow40 #WinePalace

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Anywhere with a ‘wine snug’ gets an Ellie & Co high five especially if it’s Instagrammable, which this one is. You’ll find it tucked upstairs at the back of a little restaurant called Grow40 in the bohemian North Laine and like it says, you have to be a member of the restaurant's wine club to step through the velvet curtain...

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Downstairs, the café-restaurant is full of cosy tables you don't have to be a member to enjoy. But where to sit? Outside on the patio for aperitivo and people watching, inside for a cocktail at sundown, counter seats for coffee and thinking time…? Too much choice. But this is where Instagram comes in handy – if like me, your restaurant experience hinges on finding that perfect table – not too much draft, not out on a limb in the middle, NOT facing the till… here’s a tip: use Instagram to choose!

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If you’re lucky, you might just get the one table on the rooftop amid the cafe's vegetable garden…

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All this talk of cosy tables I almost forgot about the food. The menu is quite small but made up for the fact it's highly Instagrammable. 

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Should you like to plan what to eat before turning up, here's a picture of the restaurant's signature dessert I found on Instagram – sweetcorn cake! As you might have thought, it's not a cake covered in yellow sweetcorn, but popcorn. Thank goodness for Instagram!

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And then there are all those wines to choose from...

Find Grow40 at 40 Kensington Gardens, Brighton BN1 4AL

5. The Paris House #SexyParisienneBar

You can just imagine Brigitte Bardot or some other Parisian bombshell in pedal pushers sauntering in to this cosy corner bar in Hove, smoking a cigarette, ordering a carafe of red wine. To be fair, if you hunt around the walls of the little snug room out the back, she's never far away – in fact, she's probably hanging out with all those other 60s Paris beats, Serge, Francoise et al. Yep, it's safe to say you're in good company on a night out at The Paris House. 

There's usually a gypsy jazz band skiffling away most nights, so while they do their thing, grab a cosy nook by the fire, one of those carafes I mentioned, perhaps a cheese platter if you're in for the long-haul (this bar is famous for them around town) and settle in for the perfect evening, Paris style. 

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Find The Paris House at 21 Western Road, Brighton BN3 1AF.

Follow @EllieAndCo.Inc on Instagram for more Brighton tips!

Thursday, 24 March 2016

20 Amazing Easter Treats

Repelled by fierce competition in the Easter egg aisle at my local supermarket, this year I've decided to 'get crafty' and make everyone an Easter-related treat instead. And why not?

Cruising the South African Desert on Route 62!

Dazed and dazzled, we leave the Garden Route behind us, ready for the last lap of our South African adventure, a drive on Route 62 which takes us through miles of Mars-like

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

A Romantic Beachside Barbecue & Other Treasures of South Africa's Garden Route

We finally dragged ourselves out of Cape Town after a week, swapping our tranquil bohemian city hideaway for a trusty hire wagon – for we were off on a road trip along the

Hunting for Street Art in Cape Town

When a guidebook tells me a place is 'rough' and to be wary of it, it only makes me want to visit said place even more. In this case, I'm talking about Woodstock in Cape Town, a mix of

Monday, 21 March 2016

Cape Town's Secret Cinema in the Middle of a Rooftop Trailer Park

We showed our tickets to the concierge who pointed us toward the vintage elevator – one of those old-timey ones with a concertina-screen door the token bad guy in 70s crime movies

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

A Stroll Through Candy-Coloured Cape Town

Exploring Cape Town’s cobblestone streets of colourful homes I'd heard so much about has been on my bucket list ever since I first discovered my fascination for the South African city

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

My Heavenly Cape Town Hangout

I’m fairly fond of flamingoes, so when I heard there was a little restaurant round the corner from our hotel, a practical shrine to the creature, I made sure to be the first one to arrive at

Monday, 14 March 2016

Settling in to Picture-Perfect Cape Town

I know you might have heard that I've been on a South African road trip, well, our journey started in Cape Town. First off, you should probably know that I'm a Cape Town virgin – so