I’ve devised a new section called Perfect Guests.
This will be a series of guest posts, in which people who do something with or for children as a job (and who I like, or like the sound of) give me the lowdown on their perfect day or activity. With their child/ren if they have any. In their home town, village or place.
We’ll get an insight into what’s great to do with kids in Rye, Chichester, Sevenoaks, Tunbridge Wells, Hastings, Brighton and beyond. And via these little itineraries, we’ll also hopefully find out some secret spots in those places.
First up (after the click-through) is the very talented and extremely fun children’s illustrator and author Sarah Dyer. She is also my friend.
Sarah lives in Hove with her husband Ben and cute-as-a-button* son Stanley. He’s two.
Miss Dyer is helming an event at Bags of Books (yes I know, I do go ON about that shop…) this Saturday 29 June at 10.30am. Tickets £2. She’ll be reading from a book she’s illustrated, ‘Bear’s Best Friend‘, telling everyone about how to make a book, and helping them with some drawing.
She also writes a cracking blog, which you should look at. But do this with caution: you’ll feel an overwhelming urge to pinch Stanley’s cheeks (gently, mind!). It’s here: sarahillustrator.blogspot.co.uk
*Phrases like this are strictly NOT part my everyday lexicon, but scroll down and you will see why I had to use it this time.
SARAH DYER’S PERFECT HOVE DAY
Getting out of the house is important for me and Stanley. I love my home, but being freelance and working from it, sometimes I end up feeling a little trapped! I prefer the great outdoors: our garden, the park or the beach.
But if the weather is a bit dodge – and let’s face it, it so often is! – we like a little wander down to Hove Museum and Art Gallery. It’s a great place to while away the time, keeping us both entertained and more importantly it’s free!
I really like Hove Museum, it’s a lovely building for starters and has sweet little grounds that circle it. This makes for a wonderful few laps if Stan is in the mood for running.
Inside, on the ground floor, there is a space that changes regularly with new exhibitions. Just recently they had one showcasing Jacqueline Wilson‘s work. It was borrowed from the truly amazing Seven Stories National Centre of Children’s Books in Newcastle.
There are a few fine art prints and other bits and bobs, which I guess means it can call itself a museum and art gallery. But for us it’s always straight up to the first floor to the Wizard’s Attic to look at all the TOYS!
They have such a good collection up there – and this is from a fan of the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green.
It is thoughtfully laid out and has some super little features, like being able to switch lights on in dolls houses, open up drawers, or pop your head up into a see-through dome in a scene. Loads to look at for both me and Stanley.
Anyone near us will hear cries of “Ooooh I used to have one of those!” from me, and “Twains! Twains!” from Stanley, who is obsessed with their collection. We can lose a good hour just in this one small spot.
They also have a mini cinema, some vintage cameras and photography bits and bobs. More buttons to press!
Looking at toys builds up quite a hunger, and as we have saved money on an entrance fee I have no trouble spending that on cake. They have a great café on the ground floor run by Peyton & Byrne. It’s in a super-beautiful room.
But sometimes it is nice to get out and walk a little. We often pop into Treacle & Co just along from the library and opposite the big Tesco. It’s a five-minute walk from the museum, so it’s easy on small legs.
The girl who runs the place is lovely, and serves up some unusual and impressively large cakes! They serve Monmouth Coffee and are always sweet to Stan.
When they started renovating the place they weren’t sure what to do with the walls. But when they pulled off the ’80s plasterboard, they discovered the original tiles from the 1930s, when it was a butcher’s!
How amazing is that?
After a regroup and a rest – and if the weather is cheerful enough – the obvious thing to do on a Hove day is go to the beach.
Stanley is always happy with this option. We walk (or buggy – this boy is not a scooterer!) along the lagoon and go to the little play park there. But his favourite thing is beach combing. He likes taking shells home for Ben.
He also likes to name the beach hut colours and reach up and try to pull all their handles, one by one.
If it’s sunny, we will have a gelato ice cream (with sprinkles, naturally) at Marrocco’s. They have 24 flavours that are INCREDIBLE!
All in all, our perfect, relaxed, amble- and sweet!-filled Hove day.
HOVE ADDRESS BOOK
Hove Museum 19 New Church Road, BN3 4AB, 03000 290 900. Open Mon (including Bank Hols), Tue, Thur-Sat, 10am-5pm; Sun 2-5pm. Free.
Treacle & Co. 16 Church Road, 01273 933 695. Open Mon-Fri, 8.30am-5.30pm; Sat 9am-5.30pm; Sun 12 noon-5pm.
Marrocco’s 8 Kings Esplanade, BN3 2WA, 01273 203 764. Open seven days, 9am-11pm.