West Dean Chilli Fiesta gardens

One of my favourite spots near Chichester is West Dean College. I’ve only got to know it in the last few years and visited inside the house for the first time this year as our dear friends Alice and Neil were super kind and invited us up. Neil works at West Dean and Alice has studied there a number of times so they were perfectly placed to give us a guided tour in May.

West Dean College Chilli Fiesta
West Dean Chilli Fiesta Gardens

This weekend I’ve been back up there again, with Alice and Neil but this time it wasn’t for a peaceful, quiet and creative reflection on the beautiful college and gardens but for something entirely more spicy – the annual Chilli Fiesta!

Chilli Fiesta funfair

West Dean Chilli Fiesta chilli plant

West Dean Chilli Fiesta Acoustic Stage

It’s a great festival that spans the whole weekend from Friday to Sunday. The gardens are filled with music, colour and lots of chillis. One of the nicest things is that all the vendors are from within a few miles, at most, a county away. Most are foodie stalls with chilli products but many also sell cheeses, cured meats, kitchen accessories and increasingly a few artists in the mix. There are two stages for music; a smaller acoustic stage and the big main stage. They host samba, salsa and jazz bands over the three days – something to dance to all day long. A food demonstration tent hosted some great sessions including one from my absolute favourite local cook, Rosemary Moon. I’ve seen her present at several events locally and she’s such a funny lady as well as being a really creative, innovative cook. I’ve definitely collected more than one of her books!

West Dean Chilli Fiesta gardens

West Dean Chilli Fiesta Food Demo Rosemary Moon

West Dean Chilli Fiesta Food stall

West Dean Chilli Fiesta plant stand

West Dean Chilli Fiesta Cheese stand

As all this is set in the stunning grounds of West Dean, visitors to the festival also get to potter around the gardens which at this time of year are utterly gorgeous. The flowers are in full bloom and the kitchen gardens are bursting full of produce.

This is one place that is worth visiting at any time of the year as the seasons are all so beautifully represented but this part of the year really is something special.

West Dean Chilli Fiesta sunbathing

West Dean Chilli Fiesta gardens

West Dean Chilli Fiesta gardens

West Dean Chilli Fiesta gardens

West Dean Chilli Fiesta gardens

I had such a blast at the Chilli Fiesta, catching up with my good friends, eating some delicious food (including an enormous ice cream from a local dairy) and soaking up the sunshine.

A lovely summer Saturday!

West Dean Chilli Fiesta gardens

West Dean Chilli Fiesta night time

wedding guest outfits

Oh my, it certainly is that time of year again!  A wedding (what feels like) every weekend, hen parties in between and the odd few respite days at work.

Apart from being super busy and never quite getting to the bottom of the laundry basket, wedding season throws up a few other dilemmas.  Which dress to wear? Plan for sun? Rain? Snow?! Are these shoes comfortable enough for a whole day? Of course, there is a slightly bigger question – how much is this all going to cost?  It’s no secret that a summer of weddings soon adds up so I’ve taken a little look at some reasonably priced wedding guest outfits that will wow without shocking your bank account.

(Image links clockwise from top: Floral Skater Dress – Oasis | Iris Woven Clutch – Accessorize | Lace Insert Dress – Billie & Blossom at Dorothy Perkins | Estepa Pendant – Oliver Bonas | Panels Wrapover Dress – Apricot | Pink Suedette Strap Heels – New Look | Floral V-back Pleat Dress – Closet London )

At the moment, the High Street shops are full of pretty florals with an emphasis on one particular colour…coral!  As a pale red head, I tend to shy away from light colours and try to find a bright colour that pops. I usually avoid pinks and reds so coral wouldn’t be a natural colour for me to gravitate towards however, I found a great dress from Apricot (this one is similar) which balances the colour of the moment with one of my favourites…navy!


Phil and I wedding guest Joules dress

The floaty, flirty summer dress styles are a welcome relief from bodycon which can be a bit too hot during summer celebrations.  They also tend to have a good skirt to spin around in on the dance floor! The one above was a bargain from the Joules Outlet in Gunwharf Quays unfortunately it is no longer available online but this one from Closet London has a similar shape to it.

From Apricot to Joules, Billie & Blossom to Closet – there are plenty of cute dresses to choose from for under £65 which leaves a little wriggle room to pick up a few accessories!  I’m hunting out strappy sandals (like these) that provide all day comfort and anything gold to accentuate those lovely pinky oranges!

Are you off to a wedding this summer? What’s your go-to outfit?

Fab Greetings Card The Sussex Girl etsy

Love stationary? Love cute designs? Love shopping?
Well then you need to pop over to The Sussex Girl shop on Etsy!

Oh yes, it’s true! The Sussex Girl now has a shop….and there are actual, real life versions of my little doodles for sale.


Wahey Greetings card The Sussex Girl Etsy

Congratulations Card The Sussex Girl Etsy

Sparkle Sparkle Postcard The Sussex Girl Etsy

Thank you Card The Sussex Girl Etsy

You're Fab Postcard The Sussex Girl Etsy

If you’ve been reading my blog for a little while or following me on instagram, then you’ll have seen some of my designs before. From wedding stationary to illustrated quotes and quirky cards, I’ve been dabbling for a little while and have finally got a few lines on sale.  With more being added soon!

My current favourite is the ‘Be Positive’ postcard set – five postcards, each with an encouragement or funny comment.  Perfect for sending to friends, sharing at work or pinning above your desk.

In Case Nobody Told You Postcard The Sussex Girl Etsy

You're Fab Greetings Card The Sussex Girl Etsy

The Sussex Girl Yey Greetings Card Etsy Shop

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment or pop on over to the shop!



Banana pancake breakfast recipe

Breakfast is a meal that I find easily gets boring. I try and keep it varied – fruit, yogurt, eggs in various forms, porridge. I avoid toast and cereals as much as possible mostly as they don’t keep me full for long enough and an episode of the dreaded snack attack is bound to see me consuming extra calories.

Breakfast banana pancakes

At the weekends, when I have a little more time, I play with new breakfast or brunch recipes.  This weekend it was the turn of the super simple, 3 ingredient, banana pancakes.  Trust me on this, they are SO quick they might even make it into my weekday morning breakfast routine.

As well as being naturally low fat and high protein, adding Flaxseed provides a little superfood boost. Flaxseed is full of Omega-3, Iron, Magnesium and protein.  Lots of nourishment for your hair, nails, bones and blood!

It’s as easy as:

  1. A Banana (the riper you pick, the sweeter the pancakes – I tend to use a slightly greener one)
  2. Two eggs
  3. A table spoon of Flaxseed (even that is optional)


Bung them all in a blender and whizz up until smooth.  Meanwhile, put the heat under a frying pan sprayed lightly with oil (or a dollop of butter if you’re feeling decadent).  Pour small circles of batter into the pan straight from the jug, I find this is the easiest way of getting nice neat circles!  You don’t want to pour too much in at one time as you won’t be able to turn them over easily.  Fry on one side until you see bubbles breaking through on the surface and you can slide a pallet knife underneath to flip them over.  A few more minutes on the reverse and you’ll be ready to slide them onto a plate.  Pour more batter into the pan and keep going…until you have a stack!

Breakfast banana pancakes with fruit

Banana pancakes for breakfast

Top your stack with fresh fruit of your choosing, perhaps a drizzle of maple syrup or a dollop of natural yogurt.

Enjoy your breakfast – they’re scrummy!