A couple of Sundays ago, when the heaven's opened like they haven't done in such a long while, I visited Brighton. Because when else would you plan a visit to the seaside?

I was booked into the utterly charming Artist Residence hotel and practically locked myself in my room for the rest of the evening as soon as I arrived. Room 21 was perhaps the most perfect room I've stayed in in a long time. A beautifully designed, calming space with large double windows that (on a good day) boasts sea front views but on this occasion, was the perfect spot to listen to the rain drum down outside. The only thing that made it even better was the standalone tub that I filled to the boiling brim and dived right in. A pretty blissful end to a very wet and depressing Sunday.

But why was I here? 

Well, I can answer that for you! I was here on behalf of Trouva, which, if you follow me on instagram, you'll know I'm a huge fan of! Essentially Trouva is an online marketplace allowing you, the customer, to shop from independent boutiques around the UK (and Berlin which they've recently launched!) regardless of your or their location. So if there's a boutique you like in Bath or Yorkshire, but you live in Cornwall... no problem! Find the shop's goods on Trouva.

I suggest you give them a good gawp here as they really are very, very good at selecting the best of the best out there. 

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After a late start on the Monday morning, myself and the rest of the gang met downstairs in the restaurant for a jolly good brunch up, sampling an array of AR's delightful breakfast dishes. I eyed up the pancakes and the granola (two of my favourites, both on opposite ends of the 'good for you' spectrum) but went right in the middle with a hearty plate of scrambled egg and bacon on toast. Delicious and devoured within minutes. 

With the first important task of the day done, it was time to turn our attention to the rest of the day which was to be spent exploring a few of Brighton's independent boutiques that are listed on Trouva. Word to wise: Brighton is FULL of them, so if you can make it this way then I would wholeheartedly recommend you do. But if you can't, no worries - you've got Trouva!

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Our first stop was Workshop, whose ethos was simple living and aesthetic was minimal. 

I was hooked the moment I stepped inside. A beautifully curated selection of homeware, accessories and beauty had me feeling up all their handmade ceramics to sniffing all the candles to trying on their range of Cubitt's sunglasses. Simply put, they have a wonderful edit of products so prepare to part money in here. I did, even though I was given some pocket money by Trouva for each of the stores, I still managed to put a sizeable chunk to a new pair of shades! 

Workshop also very kindly gave me this SOH Melbourne candle, which all I will say is the most divine candle I've ever smelled. If you're a fan of fig, just buy this right now. I promise you, you will LOVE, ok? 

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Buzzing from our first purchases (seriously, shopping really does give you a high!) we walked through bustling Brighton and made our way to the second boutique of the day, Dowse.

A cute art studio and shop, Dowse showcases owner Susannah's own designs along with other like-minded creatives. Quirky books, graphic prints, jewellery, stationery and ceramics were all on offer here and my eyes couldn't help but dart from one corner to the next and right back again. It's the kind of store you spend a while in, just making sure you've seen absolutely positively everything before making your crucial decision of what to buy.

Rach and I could not resist each picking up a Frida Kahlo pot (which will fit a small succulent or cactus perfectly) designed by Alex Sickling and a few other bits and bobs too.

Another successful spree, complete!

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The third and final shop on our spreeing around Brighton came in the form of Tidy Street General Store. Filled with quirky designers, a beautifully curated edit of accessories and some very in right now bags, Tidy Street General Store is very much much where you could splash a bit of cash. We spent forever choosing from their affordable range of St Christopher jewellery, each picking up a few shiny new pieces to take home. The perfect way to spend a Monday afternoon, wouldn't you agree? 

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We finished off our really exhausting *ahem* day with a round of tea, juice and cake before hopping on the train back home to London, thankfully not in the rain. Thank you to Trouva and Artist Residence for having me along for the trip - it was the perfect way to start a week and genuinely was a delight to shop independently. I wholeheartedly urge you to check out Trouva.com because chances are they have something you didn't know you needed in your life! 

Finally, if you fancy yourself a little trip like this of your own - then listen up! They're giving you the chance to win a two night stay at either Artist Residence Brighton or Cornwall plus £500 to spend on Trouva.com. Click here to enter and good luck! You have until midnight on 31st August to enter (and must live in the UK & be over 18 might I add!) 

Cheerio for now Brighton - I'll be back again soon! 

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