Hello everyone

I’ve been away!  And I also had a bit of a break from the blog – apologies!  But it was so good to return to an old but favourite haunt – Suffolk!

For those of you living outside the UK, Suffolk is part of the rounded bit on the east of England. I just love it. We’ve worked out that we’ve been going to this area for 45 years! This is because my parents moved to Suffolk (to the port of Felixstowe) shortly before we got married so yes, I have an anniversary coming up soon.  My parents died over 20 years ago but we return to Suffolk again and again. The attraction for us is the feeling of returning to familiar and much loved places and towns.

We always stay on the  coast, which always has a cool breeze. How I love cold air up my nostrils! Seriously, I do! It must be my Scottish ancestry but I cannot abide hot weather. And to walk in the sunshine with a cool to cold wind on my face is my idea of bliss! Also I admit I don’t really like the countryside. It’s nice, but it doesn’t do it for me. We’re all different but how I love the sea and watery vistas.  Like this.

Perhaps this love of the sea comes from being born in India and then, at the age of 13 months, travelling on a large ship to England, through the Suez Canal and on to Liverpool. I still have my immigration papers! According to my father if I’d had my way I would have been overboard several times as I was always leaning over or crawling toward the rails!

We stayed in Woodbridge, which is a small town on the Deben estuary. This is the walk we did nearly every day.

I cannot have enough of these quayside walks.

And a closeup of the ancient Tide Mill.

The weather was cooler than the previous week when I wore that gorgeous striped dress. There were a couple of quite warm days but when we went to Aldeburgh (pronounced Allbrah!) it was definitely jeans weather with a really cold off-shore wind – brilliant!

Those jeans are the ones I bought in Toulouse in March of this year. They’re finally in the wash, but they’ll only have a gentle hand wash as I want to preserve that just-bought feel to them.

Yes, that’s the beach and just like Brighton it’s all pebbles! But it does host some pebble loving plants.

I love the feel of this quiet unspoilt beach. Although, apparently, those who live all-year-round in Aldeburgh hate this structure (sculpted by Maggie Hambling) seeing it as damaging the natural habitat and look of their beach.

I say all-year-round as so many of the lovely cottages in Aldeburgh are holiday cottages.  The residents have tolerated this but I wonder for how long. There are places around the coast where people have begun to resist this trend.

My view is that both Aldeburgh, and further up the coast, the town of Southwold, have been ruined by tourism and 2nd-home owners. Remember I’ve been going to this area for decades and I can remember when both towns were quite scruffy. There were many junk shops where you could find all sorts of treasures, not any more, and far fewer holiday cottages. It’s all too tidy and posh now with trendy shops selling expensive clothes and antiques. I know everything  changes but…  Everywhere there were, of course, the ubiquitous charity shops. I looked but bought precisely one cotton top (not shown in this blog) and was very frugal on this holiday (top cost £1.99) unlike last year when it was so hot I bought three new and quite expensive cotton dresses because I hadn’t packed hot weather gear! This year I brought clothes for both hot and cooler weather and wore both kinds but could have taken half of what I packed!  I never get it quite right!

Someone kindly took a pic of us and I think it’s a stunning sculpture.

We had a cup of tea in this.

I mean, just, wow!

I didn’t take all that many photos of Felixstowe, but here I am near a namesake beach hut.

It was a warm day!  And what’s more I took off my shoes and paddled and the sea was warm.  I was so annoyed as I’d taken my swimming costume to Aldeburgh where it was freezing, so I didn’t swim, but didn’t take my cozzie to Felixstowe, and I definitely think a swim would have been possible. Never mind – there will be other opportunities!

This below is a view taken from the little village of Bawdsey (population 276 in 2011) looking towards Felixstowe. Bawdsey Manor (now a private school) is where some of the earliest research for radar took place. We did visit the radar hut though, which was recently renovated by local enthusiasts.

At last some sand!

On Saturday we had a final long, long walk along the estuary. There’s the Tide Mill in the distance.

And here’s a view the other way.

It’s such a haven for wildlife. I wish I could give you a soundbite of the sounds of the birds and the crickets. Yes, we did see lots of insects during this walk. And throughout our holiday, interestingly, I did not see one bit of plastic on any of the beaches, estuary walks or quay sides, which you would find down south where I live.

An update on my activity re: plastic. I continue to seek out unwrapped vegetables, but if what I want is in a supermarket wrapped in plastic, I pay for it, then unwrap it and give the plastic wrapping to the supermarket cashier, saying this is what Sir David would want us to do. Actually that plastic is not recyclable, but it’s the principle. If you do this you’re alerting the supermarket that the plastic is unwanted. Also each time I’ve done it, people have been very polite, and most times have said, the supermarket is working on reducing their plastic.  But, readers, I don’t see anyone else doing this. What do you think?

With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper

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37 thoughts on “I’m back in Brighton once more!

  • 16th July 2019 at 7:55 am

    I love the scallop shell sculpture, have photographed it from various angles. Apparently Maggi Hambling wanted it to spark discussion and controversy, said she wanted people to climb on it, make love under it – don’t think I fancy that last option, all those stones!!
    Nice to see the green pineapple dress on an outing.

    • 18th July 2019 at 7:16 am

      Yes, agree about the stones! But that sculpture is wonderful. I think it’s both bold and appropriate for its setting. Thanks so much for your comment 🙂

  • 16th July 2019 at 8:16 am

    That looks like a great time! It s great to be out in a different area isn t it! It is so relaxing. I agree on the plastic thing! We try to keep our plastic use to a minimum for years now. But I am glad there is more awareness now!

    • 18th July 2019 at 7:17 am

      It was so relaxing Nancy and you can see from the photos how different it is to Brighton – fewer people for one! It’s a lovely area to visit.

  • 16th July 2019 at 8:31 am

    Welcome back, Penny! I’m glad you had a marvellous break and I really enjoyed your photos. I must say I like the look of the sculpture but then I haven’t seen it in the flesh! I have visited Suffolk but I know Norfolk slightly better. I particularly love the area around Blakeney.
    I’m back in France and it’s very hot. Thank goodness for shutters, fans and a pool. I used to embrace the heat in my younger days but can’t seem to take it now – just saps my energy which I don’t like much. We’re not usually here in July. I’m pacing myself and doing lots of reading in the shade!! And drinking cold beer…and water!

    I know several of us that are doing the plastic thing, friends and family. I expect you know that if you go to the deli counter of most supermarkets with your own box they will fill it for you with cheese, ham or whatever. Small steps in the right direction, I guess.

    • 18th July 2019 at 7:22 am

      It was a very much needed relaxing break. Btw, I was watching the cycling yesterday and the route from Albi to Toulouse looked lovely – that gorge! But Suffolk is our go-to place because of its familiarity more than anything else. And yes, I don’t remember being as bothered by the heat when I was younger but now….

      Re: the plastic, small steps but it is the beginning of a turn around – which is so good.

  • 16th July 2019 at 9:35 am

    Thanks Penny. Very interesting and enjoyable post and photos. Pleased to hear you had a good holiday – beautiful part of the country. I don’t know it well but we were there last August – staying in an Air B & B ‘eco-house’ on the estuary – and can imagine how it was before the many second homes and gentrification. Solidarity on the plastic protest.

    • 18th July 2019 at 7:25 am

      That part of the country is so familiar to us and it has changed and gone up-market more than anything else, which is Ok but different to how it was. As for Felixstowe it’s a huge port now. We watched a humungous container ship destined for China being loaded with (?empty) containers. I wonder how much plastic did it bring in!

  • 16th July 2019 at 10:18 am

    Hi Penny,

    I live in Felixstowe funny isn’t it when people turn their noses up thinking it’s just a port,.its beautiful here, people are friendly lots to do for all age groups.
    Recently it’s been in the Telegraph and Times as the next best English seaside town, quaint, clean and close to London..can you recommend hotels or b/b in Brighton, it’s time to check out your charity shops.

    • 18th July 2019 at 7:30 am

      I love Felixstowe but as my parents got older we didn’t explore and get out to the surrounding countryside all that much. So when we return to Suffolk it’s almost as though we’re making up for all the trips we did to care for the aged parents. Love the whole county.

      Do you know I haven’t stayed in any hotels in Brighton, and don’t go out to restaurants all that much either! They do say that airb&b is the thing now but I’ve just remembered the friends stayed at the Ship, which is on the seafront, and they said it was good. Hope that helps!

  • 16th July 2019 at 10:36 am

    If you like golden sands, you should try Northumberland, I think they have the best hidden beaches.

    • 16th July 2019 at 11:41 am

      Beautiful beaches in Northumberland. Our favourite when we lived there was Druridge Bay. Also enjoyed Whitley Bay. Just a bit chilly though!

    • 18th July 2019 at 7:31 am

      Northumberland is glorious, as are the beaches. We have stayed there and I would go again – actually it would be good to go by train, I think. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

  • 16th July 2019 at 12:51 pm

    Thanks so much Penny for the lovely photos. I so much want to get back to the UK again, there is so very much more we want to see. You look so contented and relaxed. Hope your heat wave is calmed down back home. We are having another hot humid week….too much. Glad you are back.

    • 18th July 2019 at 7:35 am

      I think heat with humidity is the worst. Coastal Suffolk with its cool offshore breezes are the best and it made for a very relaxing week’s break. Thank you so much for your comment 🙂

  • 16th July 2019 at 1:04 pm

    What a wonderful vacation. I actually like the sculpture, it’s so different and unusual. It is hard to see our areas changing. For some reason we hold them near and dear of how they used to be. But everything evolves, right? Even us (hopefully)!!
    I never get the packing right. Although on our short trip to AZ to search for houses, I did the best I’ve ever done. I only took minimal and considering I knew the weather would be HOT (you would hate it), I didn’t need the just in case pieces!! But our philosophy is we can always buy what we forget…no problem!!

    • 18th July 2019 at 8:07 am

      It was a wonderful relaxing week’s break and all the better for that cool off-shore breeze that comes from the North Sea! There are not many sandy beaches in that area but as you can see from the photos there’s an unspoilt feel to those small coastal towns which we love. The charity shops aren’t as good as they used to be (there was a lot of polyester) and the actual shops sell very conventional striped-top type clothes, which are not my scene at all. So I bought just the little vest top but as you know 😉 I’m de-cluttering my closet again and will write about that soon – hopefully!!!!!

  • 16th July 2019 at 3:18 pm

    Lovely photos, I can almost smell the salty sea air ! I’m with you on a love of cool weather, early July here in Greece has been unbearably hot, but after a few storms, in some places deadly, it’s now much cooler ( for the moment ). I hate to see places change too much, in the 40 odd years I’ve lived here this small seaside town has changed beyond recognition. Tourism is a mixed blessing, that’s for sure. I rather like the sculpture !

    • 18th July 2019 at 8:20 am

      The sculpture is stunning and I rather think the locals who objected (and still do) are nimby’s and don’t like any change whatseover, which I sympathise up to a point re: the holiday lets, but yes, that sculpture is amazing.

      Back down south of the UK it’s grey and raining today, but yes indeed Greece must be hot at this time of the year!

    • 18th July 2019 at 8:23 am

      It is lovely. The whole area is very flat and lends itself to those delicate watery vistas that you get as you walk along an estuary. It was great to hear both the birds and the insects – such a haven for wildlife.

  • 16th July 2019 at 4:29 pm

    It looks like you had a lovely break! Suffolk and Norfolk are our nearest coastal regions and I agree about Southwold; it seems to have gone very up market and snooty.

    I’ve yet to make it to Aldebrugh but I love the sculpture. Definitely a talking point.

    I much prefer sandy beaches to pebbly ones; but both are flippin’ hard to walk on! I take it you were not impressed with the charity shops or were you just on a not buy mission?

    You are looking fab in your outfits and very fit and healthy.

    Hope your week is going well.

    • 18th July 2019 at 8:32 am

      It’s strange because as the area has gone upmarket the charity shops appear to have deteriorated. I seem to remember that the charity shops had masses of cotton and linen, but like last year, I could find hardly any items made with natural fibres – there was masses of polyester though! Hence the one purchase. And I kept away from the High Streets of Aldeburgh and Woodbridge as they are full of the Seasalt type of clothes or are very expensive boutiques with ‘sales’ that reduce dresses down to £100 from £200!

      Thanks for saying I look fit and healthy as in reality I am still a bit strung out 😉 But it was lovely to get away. Despite the area going upmarket it is still relatively unspoilt along that coast.

  • 16th July 2019 at 11:49 pm

    Happiness and looking great in Suffolk! Fond memories were brought to the surface. Thanks Penny. Judy @fancified.ca

    • 18th July 2019 at 8:34 am

      Ah yes, Judy – you lived in the area! It’s still relatively unspoilt and we love the flatness of those vistas and the breezes!

  • 17th July 2019 at 6:40 am

    I love your pictures and great to see Mr FFS! I must confess I have never been to Suffolk! Like you, I love the sea and sometimes yearn for it during the winter (my Plymouth childhood probably). Hoping to do a weekend in Sudbury soon (for Gainsborough) and hopefully we can drive to the coast!

    • 18th July 2019 at 8:43 am

      I think that the majority of the UK go south and south west for coastal holidays, but Suffolk is a relatively unspoilt haven. As you can see from the photos if you go out of season even better as there will be very few people on the (stony) beaches! Felixstowe has a little sand. Important to know that if you walk down Felixstowe’s High Street to the beach you turn left along the promenade, not right. But look how few people there were at Aldeburgh and every one knows you buy fish and chips at lunch time and eat them on the beach. Do put Suffolk on your list of places to explore. Southwold is bigger than Aldeburgh – lovely walks. Also Orford and as for Orford Ness – amazing. Hope I’ve wetted you appetite!!!

  • 17th July 2019 at 9:22 am

    We had a lovely short break in Orford last year – it’s such a lovely part of the country isn’t it? I think we’ll probably go back again to have our delicious fish and chips on the beach at Aldeburgh! Everywhere up there is so dog friendly, we really had a lovely time and your fab photos have reminded me how beautiful it is around there. Have you seen the film Yesterday? A lot of that was filmed in that part of Suffolk!

    • 18th July 2019 at 8:52 am

      I did see Yesterday (which I loved) and had to look up where it was filmed as when I was watching it I thought I saw a shot of Woodbridge High Street, but no, apparently not. Nevertheless I loved the feel of the Suffolk locations. What a good film!

  • 17th July 2019 at 10:22 am

    Lovely photos! I grew up in Cambridgeshire, and whenever we went to the seaside it was somewhere in Norfolk or Suffolk. The plastic packaging is so hard to avoid – often supermarkets don’t even have individual apples and pears, you have to buy a bag. And it’s often cheaper to buy a bag, which seems crazy to me. I haven’t yet left any packaging at the till but I think I will from now on!

    Emma xxx

    • 18th July 2019 at 8:54 am

      Oh yes, do, the more people who leave the plastic wrapping the better! I now take a cloth bag for this veg and no cashier has minded – yet!

      Suffolk is a hidden gem, isn’t it! Thanks so much for your comment, Emma x

    • 18th July 2019 at 8:55 am

      Yes, like you, I so prefer a watery vista to scenic country side! Thank you so much for your comment x

  • 17th July 2019 at 5:19 pm

    I love reading your posts, they are always interesting & well wrote.
    I am a fairly new reader ! We moved to North Northumberland a few months ago, (although we are from the North East of England) you really need to come up and the unspoilt sandy beaches. We had a few days away just over the border at Eyemouth in Scotland …….now that’s a traditional little place if ever I saw one ! Thanks for the great read x

    • 18th July 2019 at 8:56 am

      Northumberland is lovely and the beaches, I think, have to be the best in the UK. They’re also unspoilt. Thank you so much for your feedback which is much appreciated x

  • 19th July 2019 at 9:40 am

    LOVE this part of the UK. Hubby and I actually stayed in Tide Mill Cottage (right opposite the actual mill) two years ago. It’s no longer available to rent sadly. We were so impressed with the relatively unspoilt county (it was March, I grant you) but saw no massive superstores anywhere! Sutton Hoo (National Trust/Vikings) was very nearby and a huge surprise. Our cottage owner had thoughtfully put some binoculars and a book on birds right by the window. I’ve never been so interested in bird watching in my life. Great memories x

  • 31st July 2019 at 10:23 am

    Nice post. I love Brighton! Also I recently created an Instagram account called @lafashionbubble. I hope you will follow me on Instagram so that we can connect 🙂

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