Category Archives: Lifestyle

Sausage and cider festival comes to Bristol

3rd July 2016

Bristol and cider go together like Dolce & Gabbana. When you add sausages into the mix, the whole thing becomes perfect, so I was delighted to be invited to the launch of the Sausage & Cider festival, which will be officially opening here on 5 – 6 August.

Photo by Nina Allwood

Photo by Nina Allwood

The launch was held at the quirky Playground Coffee House which, if you haven’t been there, is totally worth a visit. Not only does it serve some of the best coffee in Bristol, but you can enjoy said beverage whilst sitting on your own swing!

Photo by Nina Allwood

Photo by Nina Allwood

sausage

The Sausage and Cider festival itself will be taking place at the Passenger Shed near Bristol Temple Meads station and, although I’m not able to partake in the fruity delights of the cider (for at least another three months!) I did get to try some wonderful sausages cooked up by the genius meat masters at Buckland Venison. Alongside, Sausagenius, they’ll be supplying the eats at the festival. It promises to be a tasty weekend.

Photo by Nina Allwood

Photo by Nina Allwood

Festival organiser Crispin Slee is no stranger to the circuit, having organised several similar events around the country and he has high hopes for the Bristol one, being, as we are, a city of cider lovers. He’s managed to assemble an impressive array of ciders including Saxby’s Rhubarb Cider, a 14% Appley Ever After, and Kentish Pip’s Wild Elderflower Cider, all of which will be among the wide variety on offer at the event.

Big thanks to my mates Nina and Dan at Lifestyle District for inviting me to the event and for most of the lovely photos you see here. Sausage I up, Bristol!

If you fancy going to the Sausage & Cider Festival, tickets are priced at £6, which includes entertainment on both days, and can be bought online here.

The big food rant: I eat crap food and I like it

12th February 2016

FOOD RANTWhy we should all say ‘no’ to food snobbery.

It’s not often that I stray from fashion and into ranty territory in my blogs but there’s something that’s really grated my cheese recently and I feel the need to get it off my chest, and that something is food snobbery. By this I mean people deciding which foods are ‘good’ and then judging you when you eat things that aren’t.

This month’s Vogue includes an article by Californian-born Calgary Avansino decrying the lack of healthy, organic food available in the UK when she first arrived here ten years ago. In it, she expresses delight at the fact that we now have Whole Foods and that everyone is as obsessed with juicing as she is.

And she’s not the only one. Deliciously Ella, Hemsley & Hemsley, even Jamie Oliver – they’re all telling us that we should be ditching the sugary, fatty things and fill our lives with virtuous things. Everyone’s at it – if I see one more Instagram salad labelled #EatClean I’ll probably throw up my chips. It has got to be one of the most annoying hashtags ever. When I see it, I read ‘look at me, I #EatClean, I’m better than you’!

It’s not just the healthy food brigade, it’s the organic crusaders as well. A few years ago, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall launched a campaign to raise awareness about where our chickens come from and encourage people to stop eating battery farmed chickens. In the programme, he cornered working class mums about why they were buying cheap chickens in Iceland. When they explained it was because they didn’t earn much and it was cheaper, he suggested they ‘eat less meat’.

I can’t tell you how angry this made me. I totally believe in organic chicken and understand the need to treat animals fairly, but what I don’t believe in is shaming people – especially people who are less well off than you – for their choices. Hugh has a choice about what his kids eat – money buys you more options. When you’ve got less cash, that choice is made for you most of the time and you probably don’t appreciate some bossy rich guy wafting in and telling you what your kids should eat. (Even if there is a grain of truth to what he’s saying).

This is where the whole #EatClean and organic thing falls down for me. The principles are sound and of course it’s better for the environment and eating less processed food is of course better for your body – that’s not what I’m arguing about here – but what it smacks of is middle class vanity and one-upmanship. The fact is, organic and whole foods are more expensive. Putting coconut water and almond butter in your shopping basket is going to be pricier. Even fresh veggies are expensive a lot of the time. That’s a fact. If you’ve got enough dosh to eat that way 24/7 then lucky you. But if you haven’t, you shouldn’t be made to feel bad about that.

If you grew up in a home where there wasn’t much cash to go around, you’ll already understand this. My mum brought me up by herself on the minimum wage – there was no almond butter in our house. We ate veg from the market, but we also had 50p fish fingers and 12p tins of beans from Netto. Now that I’m older and I’ve got more money and opportunities open to me, I eat better – but I still love fish fingers and beans, and even the odd Dairylea cheese triangle when the mood takes me. And I don’t care what the #EatClean bores think of that.

The best part of Avansino’s Vogue article was at the end, where she confesses that she’s spent most of her life hating her body and it’s only in recent years that she’s learnt to love herself. From the pictures that accompany the article, I can tell you that she has an absolutely bangin’ body – all lithe limbs and model proportions. And yet she was miserable for ages. I’ve got a massive bum and wobbly thighs (probably a direct result of growing up on fish fingers and Dairylea, come to think of it) but I’d say I’m pretty happy with it all, for the most part. I think it’s because my mum did a brilliant job of showing me that there are more important things in life than how you look naked. When you’re struggling to scrape together enough cash to keep the lights on and food in the fridge, your priorities are a bit different, I guess.

So here’s what I have to say to all the #EatClean robots out there – well done you and all that, yeah, but stop being so bloody boring. I don’t care what you eat. Just eat the damn salad and shut the f*ck up. Thank you.

Harington's Hotel

Fashionista goes to…Harington’s Hotel in Bath

10th February 2016

Looking for a unique place to stay in the centre of beautiful Bath? This quirky little treasure is a must-see.

Photo: Harington's Hotel

Photo: Harington’s Hotel

Situated just away from the main shopping thoroughfare on the historic cobbled George Street, Harington’s Hotel is an ideal bolthole if you’re looking for a city-centre stay with a difference. Owners Peter and Melissa have lovingly restored this gorgeous old building, taking care to preserve original features while lending it an ultra-modern feel thanks to some colourful soft furnishings and wallpaper.

Harington's Hotel

Harington’s comprises the main hotel, with 11 well-appointed rooms, plus three nearby apartments for those who prefer a more intimate setting. Both the hotel and the apartments have personality in spades – each space has a unique feel to it, so you’ll never have the same stay twice!

Harington's Hotel

Harington's Hotel

The fact that it’s privately owned gives it a distinctive personality – Melissa’s personal touch can be felt in all the colourful and girly décor, so it feels more like staying in a cosy family home than in a hotel.

Harington's Hotel

Harington's Apartments

The apartments were especially spacious – my favourite featured an open-plan living room with exposed beams, which would be ideal for a hen party or girly holiday.

Harington's Hotel afternoon tea

If, like me, you have relatives who visit you from abroad, Harington’s is the ideal place to take them for a quintessentially ‘English’ experience, in a modern setting. Their afternoon tea spread was divine, with top quality locally sourced coffee and cream tea to die for! If you’re a local and don’t necessarily want to stay the night, you can book in just for afternoon tea, which I might consider doing for Mother’s Day with my ma.

Harington's Hotel hot tub

Another thing this place has going for it is a lovely bubbly hot tub, just outside in a secluded courtyard garden. You can hire the hot tub for 60 minutes for just £7.50 per person, including a fluffy robe and slippers. It was slightly too cold when we visited for me to consider stripping off and jumping in but, as you can see, some of the other bloggettes didn’t mind!

Lush Valentines cosmetics

On the day of our visit, the lovely team from Lush in Bath popped by to treat us to a sample of their latest Valentine’s Day collection and some complimentary hand massages, which were absolutely delightful.

Lush hand massages

In future, I’d love to see them perhaps add more spa facilities to this little gem of a hotel because I think it would really finish off the experience for guests. A little indoor Jacuzzi and massage room, or perhaps a menu of in-room Mani Pedi services would be a super special addition – although finding space for such an offering might be tricky.

Having said that, they do have an incredible a spa break offer where you can get two nights’ stay for two people, breakfast, half a bottle of Champagne and two 2-hour vouchers for nearby Thermae Bath Spa for just £269, which is a real bargain.

Harington's Hotel

After my first Harington’s experience, I can’t believe I hadn’t discovered this gorgeous little place before, especially since it’s right on my doorstep! I have a feeling this won’t be the last time I visit.

Find out more at haringtonshotel.co.uk

Disclosure: Harington’s Hotel treated us to a lovely afternoon tea experience and a tour of the hotel. I was not paid for this post and all views are my own.

 

new year predictions

Bristol Fashionista’s predictions for 2016

9th January 2016

The start of the year is such an exciting time, full of possibilities. Right now, it feels like just about anything could happen in the next 12 months. With that in mind, I decided to get my crystal ball out and make a few predictions for this year…

new year predictions

What we’ll be wearing…Balmain

In years to come when people look back at fashion from now, there’s one dude whose aesthetic will be seen as leading the charge and that’s Olivier Rousteing. Balmain is hotter than the sun right now. Ruffles, mesh, bare shoulders – most of what you’re seeing on the catwalk show above is already filtering its way down to the high street and his collection for H&M last year almost caused riots! That influence looks set to grow this year – his latest campaign stars are none other than 90s supers Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer, positioning Balmain firmly in the fashion canon for years to come.

What we’ll be doing…volunteering

Giving money to charity is great but nowadays it’s also about giving your time – 2016 is totally going to be the year of the volunteer. BBC Radio 1 has already launched its #1millionhours campaign, encouraging young people to give up their time to help others.

Bristolians are taking this idea into their own hands with the launch of a new local site called HelpfulPeeps – you sign up with Facebook and people can post requests for things they need help with. If you have the skills, you volunteer your time to give them a hand. It’s as simple as that. It looks to still be in the early stages, but it will be interesting to see if Bristol really gets on board with this and starts helping each other out.

What we’ll be listening to…UK garage

There have been numerous lists proclaiming the ‘sound of 2016’ – mostly populated by earnest blokes with guitars who all sound like Ed Sheeran, or white middle class beardy weirdies yelping over boring electronica soundtracks. But I’m going to call it and say that the ‘real’ sound, the one people actually want to listen to, is going to be the return of UK garage. It’s upbeat, it’s catchy and it’s inclusive – great garage tunes often come from the most unexpected places. Also, importantly, you can dance to it. There’s so much depressing stuff going on in the world right now that people need to dance more than ever.

On the more populist end of the spectrum is, of course, Craig David – who else? His comeback tune with Big Narstie ticks all the boxes and references his debut track from back in the day, Rewind and, like that track, it’s one of those ear worms that just won’t leave your head once you hear it. But if you want to get the freshest new garage tunes from up and coming artists, listen to DJ Target on Friday nights from 7pm on BBC Radio 1Extra. Obviously it’s not like the pirate stations of the old, but it’s fresh and you can dance to it. If you’re in Bristol, give Ujima FM a try – they play a wide range of urban music that’s broader than most stations.

What we’ll be eating… vegan food AND Bavarian meat and pickles

speck

Burgers are so 2015. This year, the focus has shifted towards veggie and vegan restaurants. It seems all the cool kids are heading to Vx, the so-called ‘vegan junk food’ place in East Street. I’ve not yet tried it, but apparently vegan places are the new grill shacks. Hmm…

If, like me, you can’t get over your meat addiction then try Speck Brothers Ltd, a new Bavarian deli/café in St James Arcade in Broadmead. Speck is a type of dried cured ham, smoked with applewood and coated with a secret blend of spices and this is their speciality, which they serve up on great wooden boards accompanied by a selection of creamy mountain cheeses, pickles and all sorts of delicious Germanic treats. Brothers Darius and Joachim are bonafide Bavarians who import all their produce from their hometown up near the Alps, so the food is authentic and delicious. Oh, and if you’re really nice they might even model their actual real-life lederhosen for you.

For more recommendations, check out this list of new Bristol restaurant openings on Bristol247.com.

And that concludes my predictions so far for 2016. They’re not so much predictions as things I’m already doing which I think everyone else should try this year, but hey – I’m not Mystic Meg after all.

Hope you enjoyed it and feel free to post your own predictions below…

Co-wheels car club Bristol

Have a very #CowheelsChristmas

14th December 2015

The festive fun continued this week as I took a trip to Westonbirt Arboretum’s Enchanted Christmas event with some blogging buddies and my friends at Co-wheels car club.

westonbirt arboretum

Forget the glitter and tinsel, this year Christmas is all about the greenery. The Forestry Commission’s National Arboretum at Westonbirt celebrates nature all year round, but it’s especially magical at this time of year as their spectacular illuminated trail through the trees is an unforgettable festive experience. Continuing the green theme, we teamed up with Co-wheels, who loaned us a fantastic low emission vehicle to get us all there.

Co-wheels car club Bristol

Photo by Nina Allwood, Lifestyle District

Westonbirt Arboretum picnic

The trail takes places every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening until 20 December and features exciting interactive displays throughout the woodland walk. There are magical misty smoke rings, glittering bubbles and even pretty little fairies which eagle-eyed visitors will enjoy spotting!

Westonbirt Arboretum Enchanted Christmas

It’s an ideal festive activity to enjoy with kids as it features Christmas crafts and a learning centre at the end of the trail, where they can make pretty things to take home with them. Grown up kids (like me!) will also find lots to enjoy – there’s a little shop at the end selling Christmas cards, gifts, foodie treats and all things festive! There’s also a lovely picnic area at the end where you can enjoy a mulled wine and listen to Christmas carols, performed by a super talented choir.

Since we were quite a large group, we hired a seven-seater Toyota Verso with Co-wheels, which we were able to pick up in nearby Cotham in Bristol. I had never driven a seven-seater before, so I was nervous at first, but once I was in the swing of it, I found it really easy to drive and it had a great stereo inside for pumping out those Christmas tunes!

Westonbirt bloggers

Co-wheels is an independently owned car club which specialises in low emission, hybrid and electric cars. You can hire the cars on a pay-as-you-go basis, which is really useful if you want one for special occasions like this.

Co-wheels smart card

Once you’re a member, you can book a car online or on the phone, and then you get a handy little smart card, which you can use to access the car. After you’ve used the car, you just return it back to its parking bay and your debit card is charged. It’s as simple as that!

Co-wheels how it works

As someone who has hired cars for work and events before, I found this so much easier than the usual process. The fact that you can just order what you want online at short notice is really convenient and, because they have cars across the UK, you’ve got a huge choice of locations you can pick them up from.

Picnic for Westonbirt

After our very festive evening at Westonbirt (which included a winter picnic of toffee apples, mulled wine and mince pies packed by yours truly!), we headed back to Cotham and I got back to the warmth of my cosy fire and another cup of mulled wine at home. Yes, more mulled wine – but then it is Christmas after all!

Christmas wreath

Westonbirt’s Enchanted Christmas event is now sold out for this year, but do check out www.forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt-christmas for more information of what’s on at Westonbirt into the New Year.

For more information about Co-wheels, visit www.co-wheels.org.uk or you can join as a member here.

Disclosure: I was contracted by Co-wheels to organise this event, but all views are my own.

BlogClub Bristol

#BlogClub December 2015: Bathtime fun for everyone!

11th December 2015

Last night Bristol #BlogClub headed to Bath & Unwind for a brilliant night of beauty, booze and…er…bants!

BlogClub Bristol

Bristol is a fabulous city for bloggers – we’ve got a really friendly and thriving scene here. While we don’t get to meet as often as we’d all like, when we do get together, it’s always a lot of fun and everyone says ‘we should do this sooner next time’!

BlogClub Bristol December

There was a great turnout at this month’s event and we had a few newbies join the group, which is always lovely to see. Hopefully we didn’t scare them off and they’ll be back next time too!

Crackers at BlogClub

bath and unwind

The team at Bath & Unwind certainly pulled out all the stops to make sure we had a holly jolly Christmas party. They were on hand with expert make-up tips, mini manicures and more mince pies than you could shake a stick at! My favourite part, though, was the Gingerbread decorating competition…

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(The bikini Gingerbread lady was my prize-winning effort, but sadly the photo is a bit rubbish because I got so excited, I took it in a hurry! Haha!) And here is what I won…

Bath & Unwind goodies

I can’t wait to get stuck in and try these lovely smelling Burt’s Bees products. Of course, I’ll let you all know how I get on with them with a review later on…

Until then, Merry Christmas everyone!

Christmas with Marks & Spencer

26th November 2015

You know it’s the festive season when the glitter comes out! M&S invited local bloggers to indulge in some sparkly fun at their recent Christmas event in store at The Mall at Cribbs Causeway. Here’s what happened…

M&S Christmas table

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As usual, the food and drink selection did not disappoint, with some beautiful new additions including a White Christmas cocktail, which is a sweet yoghurt liqueur ideal for after dinner drinks. If you’re having a Christmas party this year or have family round, you can find a huge selection of canapés at M&S – they do a 24 piece luxury canapé selection for just £14, which I think is pretty amazing – my guests will be lucky if they even get a look-in, to be honest!

The M&S team also created a photo booth for bloggers to dress up and take festive pics. Of course, Emily from Mermaid Gossip and myself too full advantage of this…

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If you’re not been to M&S at The Mall for a while, you might be surprised to see just how much the beauty department has grown recently. They now stock a huge range of branded products alongside own brand ones, including Stila, Leighton Denny, Nuxe and Ren. It’s a beauty junkie’s paradise up there! What’s more, they have some brilliant box sets, like the ones shown below, which make great Christmas pressies.

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The womenswear team were also on hand to show us this season’s key trends. Of course sparkles were on the agenda, but they also had a wide selection of faux furs- my personal favourite is this coffee-coloured yeti number below. It was just so soft and snuggly!

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As ever, the M&S team put on a fabulous festive event and fed my ever-growing shopping addiction even more. Thanks guys!

If you want to see what the M&S Cribbs Causeway ladies have been up to, check them out on Instagram @cribbs_causeway – I warn you though, their pics will make you want to go shopping!

Disclosure: While I work in PR for The Mall at Cribbs Causeway, I’m not connected with M&S in any way and all these views are my own.

Fashionista goes home… Seychelles holiday 2015

10th November 2015

Thought you couldn’t afford a stylish island getaway? You CAN do Seychelles on a budget and here’s how…

6 seychelles

Seychelles is a dream destination for many British people. It’s got beautiful white sandy beaches, year-round sunshine and the kind of scenery you can only experience once in a lifetime, but it costs the earth to go there, right? Well, not really. There are ways you can enjoy it for less, and I’ll get to that very soon.

1 beach

Secret cove at Bai Lazare, Mahe

First though, I have a confession to make: I have been faking it. Faking it as an English person this whole time. I grew up here, I look like you guys and sound like you, but I am not one of you. Sorry. I am a Seychelloise. I was born there, my parents are both from there, and it lives in my head, in my dreams, how I dance when there’s no one to see me, in the way I eat a mango, my crazy superstitions, and the way I make a rum punch. So, while I still go there as a tourist, I also go there knowing that there’s a little bit of my brain, of my heart, that belongs to the Seychelles. So now I’m going to share that little bit with you.

Just chillin' at Bai Lazare, Mahe

Secret pirate cove, Mahe

Secret pirate cove, Mahe

The first thing you should know is that the flights will set you back quite a lot. Expect to pay at least around £600-£700 each on average. There’s no getting around this, you’ll have to swallow it. When you get there, it will be worth it, trust me. What you can save on though is accommodation. Most people opt for a posh hotel, which is great if you have the cash, but if you want to save some pennies, a self-catering cottage or apartment is an ideal option. There are some wonderful options on the island and, in particular, Beau Vallon and Bel Ombre are great areas to be in because there’s a fab beach nearby and lots of amenities for tourists.

Bringing in the catch at Beau Vallon

Bringing in the catch at Beau Vallon

Walking Dipsy the dog with my cousin Elsa at Amite beach in Praslin

Walking Dipsy the dog with my cousin Elsa at Amite beach in Praslin

Even if you’re not staying in a fancy hotel, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the amenities. In Seychelles all the big hotels have fantastic bars and most have swimming pools. Even if you’re not staying there, you can still head down there for drinks and lunch, and in most cases if you’re buying lunch you can use the pool as well. (I particularly love Raffles and also the Coco De Mer Hotel on Praslin island, and the Savoy on Mahe).

My aunty's pet giant tortoise

My aunty’s pet giant tortoise

If you’re going self-catering, you can pick up some amazing local food at the weekly Bazaar in Victoria. The fish is as fresh as you like, and you’ll find amazing fruits you’ve probably never seen anywhere else. You might be tempted to visit the big supermarket in town for your food shopping but, unlike in the UK, the supermarket isn’t the cheapest place to buy your food. In Seychelles, local corner shops are where people do their shopping, so do likewise and don’t forget to pick up some gateau piment (chilli cakes) while you’re there, which are super cheap but tasty and make a great snack.

Rum tasting at Takamaka distillery

Rum tasting at Takamaka distillery

Booze is really expensive in Seychelles generally and there’s no real way to avoid shelling out for it. Beer is quite pricey (unless you go for the local SeyBrew, which is pretty decent) and don’t even bother with wine – the prices are astronomical and it’s all cheap nasty stuff anyway. The only way to drink in Seychelles is to go for rum. There are lots of different types of local rum to be had, but my personal fave is Takamaka Coco rum, which is a coconut infused blend made on the main island. (You can even take a tour of the Takamaka distillery, which is well worth doing as it’s a lot of fun and includes a rum tasting session at the end.)

With Mr Jones at L'Union estate in La Digue

With Mr Jones at L’Union estate in La Digue

When it comes to getting around, it’s definitely worth hiring a car for at least some of your trip as there are some beaches that are tucked away and almost inaccessible otherwise. Public transport in Seychelles is almost non-existent. A ride on the infamous Tata bus, while cheap, is notoriously bumpy, and the buses are pretty infrequent. Seychellois drive on the left, so it’s not too different from the UK, although the roads are extremely windy and there are a lot of precipitous drops, so do be careful! On La Digue island there are no cars – the most common way of getting around is by bike, which you can hire close to the ferry jetty.

Most visitors spend the entire holiday on Mahe island but this is a huge mistake because the other islands are so beautiful and there’s so much more to see. Make sure you at least venture out to Praslin and La Digue – they’re less than an hour away and both extremely picturesque. The two main ways to travel there are via the Cat Coco ferry and Air Seychelles mini plane. Cat Coco is cheaper, but it’s worth trying one method there and the other method back because the views are spectacular from the air.

Botanical Gardens at La Misere, Mahe

Botanical Gardens at La Misere, Mahe

Finally, Seychelles is all about the outdoors. I believe our country has the most unique flora and fauna in the world – you’ll find plants and fruits that you won’t see anywhere else on the planet. While you may not be the hiking type (I know I’m certainly not!) it is worth making the effort because there are some truly gorgeous sights to be seen. Bon voyage!

Where we stayed:

Where we ate:

  • Boat House, Beau Vallon: every night is Kreol buffet night at this down to earth eaterie. It’s a little pricey but the food is delicious and authentic and you can eat as much as you like.
  • Baobab Pizzeria, Beau Vallon: cheap and cheerful local pizzeria located right on the beach. Ideal for a low-key dinner if you want to eat well on a budget.
  • Fish Trap, La Digue: beachside bar with live music, serving a selection of local dishes, as well as burgers and European food. Great cocktails and lovely, friendly service.
  • Pirogue, Praslin: Gorgeous local cuisine at affordable prices. Amazing Thali-like dishes combining the best of Seychellois cooking.

‘Tis the season to be Jollie

7th November 2015

Put your best foot forward and help someone less fortunate this Christmas with socks from Jollie Goods…

jollie socks tinsel 2

Whilst speaking at Fashion Exchange in London last month, I came across a lovely fashion start up called Jollie Goods. They’re a more-than-profit enterprise that sells beautiful socks and – here’s the best part – for every pair you buy, they’ll give a pair to a homeless charity. So this Christmas, I’m encouraging all my friends and followers to “wear a pair and share a pair” and help make the festive season that little bit brighter for someone living on the streets.

My cat Olive also liked the socks

My cat Olive also liked the socks

Jollie Goods was founded by Ed Vickers, who, while volunteering for a homeless charity discovered that there was a serious demand for fresh pairs of socks among people who sleep rough.

socks on jollie socks

“We realise socks are a very small step in the long journey of helping those dealing with homelessness, but we see it as our mission to do what we can to help look after the feet of those trying to get back on them,” said Ed.

“We’ve started with socks after seeing the unacceptable level of foot hygiene of many folk who sleep rough. We’ve seen many suffering with foot infections and diseases simply from not having spare pairs of clean, sturdy socks to change into.

“After spending time with many homeless charities and their clients, it was clear that amongst clothing donations, sock donations were minimal and in great need. We give warm, durable hiking socks suited for looking after the feet of those who live in tough conditions”.

Jollie open can

The socks retail at £15 a pair and come in a cute little recyclable tin which pops open. They’re designed in London and knitted in Leicester and they come in a variety of cheerful colours.

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For the fashion-forward among you, I can reliably reveal that the lookbooks for Spring/Summer 2016 are full of stripes, so you’ll be bang on trend with Jollie’s brightly coloured stripy socks. Also, they come in sizes 4 -12, so they make a great gift for both men and women.

Do your bit at jolliegoods.com

Disclosure: Jollie Socks approached me to write this post and I’ve been gifted a pair, but I plan to buy some to give away at Christmas too, so I am doing my bit!

Postcards from Dismaland

29th September 2015

Wish you weren’t here…Banksy’s bemusement park packs a political punch…

Dismaland

Unlike everyone else in Bristol, I wasn’t one of those people frantically refreshing my browser trying to buy tickets for Dismaland, but I was lucky enough to be invited by a friend who had some spare tickets and thought ‘hey, what’s the worst that could happen?!’ My question was soon answered when I arrived and was searched by the guards for smiling too much! It was totally mortifying, which I guess was kind of the point.

Dismaland cereal

Every corner of Dismaland held a new, often horrifying surprise. It was nightmarish and hilarious in equal measure. One of the parts that disturbed me the most was the boat game involving refugees (shown below) where visitors could pay 50p to drive the boats around, crashing them into each other and sending the police boat racing after them. The “message” behind the work hits you around the head on first sight, but I wasn’t quite prepared for how I’d feel when I heard visitors whooping and shouting ‘yeah, go home f**kers!’ Clearly they were being ironic, but it was still quite shocking.

Dismaland refugee boat

 

Dismaland has been amazing for Weston – as someone who visits regularly, I’ve never seen so many people gathered on the seafront in one go. What was amazing was that you’d probably never see any of these people in an art gallery on a Friday night, and yet loads of them were there enjoying the experience and discussing the work. While some of the puns may have been obvious and the political agenda hits you on the head with a sledgehammer, it was relevant and exciting and got people enthused, which in my book can only be a good thing.

Dismaland fuckers

 

Far from being dismal, Dismaland was an eye-popping, passion-stirring event which brought people from all walks of life together, if only for a short time.