Staycation Treats

2020 is the year of the staycation. With quarantine causing a problem for travel abroad, family budgets being stretched due to furlough and job losses, and the glorious weather we have had this year, more and more people are either choosing to stay in the UK, and enjoy all the coast and countryside has to offer, or are just staying at home and combining this with day trips that are a little more local.

This is exactly what I have been doing this Summer, day trips to Stourport on Severn and Weston Super Mare, weekends in Blackpool and Worcester, and an upcoming week in Bournemouth. All have been enjoyable times of making happy memories, although very different from our trip to Rhodes and Barcelona last year.

If you are enjoying a staycation this year, here are a few things that might make your holiday feel more St Tropez than Skegness.

Palmolive Naturals shower gels

If you can’t be transported physically to a tropical, Carribean Island, then at least you can go there in your mind, and the gorgeous Palmolive Naturals shower gels, with their scents of Pomegranate and Coconut, can help you get there.

As well as smelling divine, and being hydrating, which is so important during the current heat wave when we all seem to feel like a wet rag, they are also Vegan and eco friendly, with the bottle and cap is fully recyclable – perfect for those who worry about the planet and are looking for a more sustainable future.

Available now at Wilko, Morrisons and Ocado

Escapist Novels

Taking your mind to the beach is easy with escapist novels. Choose ones that are set in coastal towns and locations and read outside, wearing your sunglasses, to get the real experience.

This Summer has been a Summer of Poirot for me, with ‘Death on the Nile’ and ‘Evil Under the Sun‘ both being enjoyed. Another book I have enjoyed is ‘Sorry For the Dead‘ by Nicola Upson, with the key action taking place on during a Summer storm like the ones we have been experiencing this week.

Travelogues are another way to satisfy your wanderlust, although one set in the UK might seem more apt this year. I’ve got Pier Review: A Road Trip in Search of the Great British Seaside Paperback by Jon Bounds and Danny Smith, on my wish list for my next seaside adventure.

A Riviera Wardrobe

Even if you can’t be in the Caribbean, or Cannes, your wardrobe can be as tropical or as shipshape, as you like. Look for seaside prints, tropical fruit prints and coastal scenes that will give you that Brigitte Bardot/Audrey Hepburn feel. Add a straw basket and you can channel your inner Jane Birkin/Alexa Chung too.

Blue Pineapple Print Frill Skirt
Yumi
£24.00 Click to visit Yumi

EMILY CUBA LIBRE SKIRT
£22 click to visit Sugarhill Brighton

FIONA PERFECT DAY SKIRT
£18 Click to visit Sugarhill Brighton

OHARA HAVANA FIT & FLARE DRESS £34 Click to visit Sugarhill Brighton

 

 

Art Deco By The Sea Pt 2: Weston Super Mare

My second trip to this summer was a trip to Weston Super Mare with my boy. It was a beautifully sunny day, and we spent most of our time on the beach and on the pier, with a significant amount of time spent in the arcade trying to win bears we could buy so much cheaper.

Having my boy with me meant my search for deco was restricted and almost incidental – i.e. I know Weston has a fabulous example of an Odeon Cinema, but didn’t get to see it. However, I did manage to see a couple of beautiful examples of iconic buildings, and will have to head back again as I know there are so many more, another fabulous example of how wonderful Art Deco was by the sea.

Tropicana Funland

The glorious building that is now Funland was once the site of Weston’s lido and was reopened in 2015 after being closed for 15 years previously. The Lido is long gone, but the site gained notoriety when it was chosen as the site of Banksy’s Dismaland in 2015.

Today you gain access to a fairground and attractions through that famous entrance and it is good to see the building surviving.

Former Burton Store, Now Costa

The former Burton store in Weston is an absolute classic, with gorgeous elephant motifs that are also seen in the former Wolverhampton store. It is a real showstopper, but unfortunately it has missed being listed by English Heritage due to the signage added by CEX which also now claims part of the store.

I didn’t get close enough to see if any of the foundation stones remained intact, maybe you could let me know if they do?

Former Grand Central Hotel, Sea Front

Another glorious example of 30’s deco is the former Grand Central hotel that is on the sea front opposite the grand pier. Once a hotel, and then later an indoor market, the hotel now has a range of small business and cafes that run from it, but still has that glorious clock that you can just see in the picture (and can get a better view of here.)

 

Former Marks and Spencer Store, now with Keyworker Mural

The iconic M&S store closed in 2019, after 112 years in Weston. There were reports it was going to become a Sue Ryder charity shop, but this hasn’t happened yet, and now the site is home to a wonderful keyworker mural by local artist Martin D’Arcy. Youi can read more about the mural here.

Mystery Building

It is quite obvious what this building is now, but I can find no information about what it once was. It is on the High Street, and is part of the heritage site that was earmarked for improvements to the buildings, although it is hard to see any at the moment. I love the zig zag pattern that is reminiscent of deco’s obsession with all things Egypt.

Stylish Television: Little Birds

Little Birds is the latest stylish addition to the Sky Atlantic impressive portfolio of drama. Adapted from one of Anais Nin’s erotic collection of stories, it features Juno Temple, Hugh Skinner, Nina Sosayna and Yumna Marwan and is set in Tangier in 1955, in the international zone. It is glossy and glamorous, a little decadent, and pure escapism in a Summer where that word seems to mean hitting an overcrowded beach on the south coast, rather than a heady, perfumed air.

Juno Temple plays the lead protagonist, the America debutante Lucy Savage, who marries to escape her claustrophobic home life and upbringing, not knowing that her husband Hugo (played by Hugh Skinner) is gay. She is soon caught up in the exciting city of Tangiers and some of its residents, whilst also being at the centre of a love triangle with her husband and his lover, played by Adham Abaza.

The characters are the beautiful people, and the sumptuous way that Little Birds has been filmed, along with the period setting of 1955, make this a visual treat for the eyes. One of the earliest show stopping outfits is the clinging sheath dress that Lucy wears in episode 2 which she proclaims she is wearing without underwear so it doesn’t spoil the line, it is reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe’s Mr President Jean Louis dress and Juno Temple looks glorious in it.

Juno’s almost prim and virginal style day dresses, often in white or pastel shades, contrast with the decadent, gothic, almost devilish styles worn by dominatrix, Cherifa Lamor (Yumna Marwan) which seem to be every colour as long as it is black. Cherifa resembles a stunning, 1950’s period Ava Gardner, and is a fascinating character, for both the audience, and for Lucy.

If you missed the first few episodes of Little Birds, it is available to download from Sky Atlantic, and is definitely worth a look, if only for the costumes and scenery.