Out of the blue
We have said goodbye to 2021 and have entered a new year, and as January has arrived so too will the day dubbed as ‘Blue Monday’, the third Monday of the month. It is said to be the yearly day when our spirits might not be as high, following the end to the festive season, and our mood a little low, with bills to pay and all good intentions for new year resolutions have fallen by the wayside.
Here at Aspect we’re not letting Blue Monday get us down, instead we are celebrating all the wonderful ‘blue things’ we have to be thankful for. Afterall, on a bright, crisp winter’s day in the South East it can feel like we have our own pocket of paradise. With azure skies and turquoise waters, Kent and Sussex are home to stunning landscapes, and views to take your breath away. Here are some things to enjoy and put a smile on your face and it also won’t be long until we can see beautiful swathes of bluebells across our
woodlands, in April/May.
Blue Flag Beaches
The Kent and Sussex coastline are home to an award-winning collection of beaches merited for their cleanliness, facilities, safety and high environmental standards. In Sussex you’ll find Brighton, St Leonards and West Wittering and in Kent – Minnis Bay, Tankerton and Margate Bay Beach amongst several others. Don’t wait until summer to visit these beaches escape the January blues and breathe in that fresh sea air. Build a sandcastle, wander along the promenade, skim some stones, and top the day off with a portion of traditional fish & chips – all things you don’t have to wait until summer to do!
The Adonis blue is the rarest of the blue butterflies in the UK. The male Adonis blues are a vivid, sky-blue or turquoise colour with fine black lines on the wings that extend into a white fringe around the edge of the wings. The female of the species is usually brown although there has been sighting of variations with blue.
This protected species has a wingspan of 3.0 – 4.0cm and can usually be spotted in the month of May through to September in southern England. We are extremely lucky that the beautiful Adonis blue species can be found in large numbers across Sussex and East Kent on sunny, south-facing grassland rich in herbs.
FACT: The caterpillars of the Adonis blue are always found with ants. The ants protect the caterpillars in return for the sugary secretion it produces.
Blue Reef Aquarium, Hastings
Located in the heart of Hastings Old Town, Blue Reef Hastings is home to over 3500 incredible aquatic animals and reptiles. Embark on an amazing underwater safari exploring the hidden mysteries of our own native waters before dipping beneath the teeming freshwater rivers of South East Asia and the faraway ocean reefs of the South Pacific. Along the way, you’ll meet seahorses, pufferfish, turtles and tropical sharks; not to mention Huxley, the Giant Pacific Octopus! Blue Reef Aquarium is also home to a host of snakes, spiders, lizards and much more in its tropical Jungle Room as well as a shoal of deadly sea creatures in the terrifying Lethal Reef tank. Offering scheduled talks and feeds with its team of Aquarist Experts, animal handling sessions and a gigantic ocean tank complete with underwater walkthrough tunnel, Blue Reef Aquarium Hastings is the perfect family destination.
Bluebell Railway is a heritage railway in Sussex, running steam trains between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead. With glorious views across scenic countryside, the Railway runs passenger services, dining trains and special seasonal events throughout the year. The Railway boasts four stations, all of which can be explored with an All Day Rover ticket, whether it’s a day out with the family or a special occasion, the attraction always has something to offer!
Catering facilities are available at every station, and don’t forget to explore the accredited museum, get up close to locomotives in SteamWorks! and browse the Gift Shop for the perfect souvenir at Sheffield Park.
The landscape is especially stunning during bluebell season, and the autumn colours are always spectacular. Please see the Bluebell Railway website for timetables, opening times and to book tickets.
Harley House Distillery
Harley House is a small batch artisan distillery based in Seaford, East Sussex, which produces a range of handmade spirits including gin, rum, vodka and liqueurs. The distillery prides itself on creating unique produce that showcases the local area and leaves a lasting memory on the tastebuds.
Derived from the award-winning Pure Sussex Gin, the Sussex Blue Gin contains the petals of the Butterfly Pea flower from Thailand, which is a natural PH indicator – this reacts with the citric acid in the mixer allowing the colour changing magic to happen!
Kingcott Dairy in Kent is home to award-winning dairy farming family and cheese makers the Reynolds Family, who have been nurturing and milking a dairy herd for over thirty years. Now next generation cheesemaker, 25-year-old Frank Reynolds, is making a name for himself with the farm’s newest cheese Kingcott Blue.
Healthy, happy cows are of the highest priority to the family, who care for the small herd of Danish Red cows, which produce a high protein milk, perfect for cheesemaking.
Both Kingcott Blue and their original cheese Kentish Blue are made on the Kingcott farm using unpasteurised milk straight from the cows, having travelled only ten metres to the cheesemaking room. Kingcott Blue is described as a soft centred, lightly veined blue cheese, with smooth even blue tastes. It won two stars at the 2021 Great Taste Awards and a Gold award at the prestigious International Cheese & Dairy Awards.