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
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
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
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.
How to dress fabulously while pregnant – some top tips with a little help from The Image Consulting Company at Bristol Fashion Week.
1. Jacket, £55, River Island, 2. Aerin top in white, £48, People Tree, 3. Necklace £9.99, H&M, 4. Patterned trousers, £12.99, H&M, 5. Katy leopard sandals, £42, Dune, 6. Embossed shopper, £26.25, Warehouse
Bristol Fashion Week is one of my favourite jobs of the year and, as PR and Social Media Manager for the event, it keeps me busy. This year, there’s even more reason to celebrate as I am expecting my first child this September. This does, however, present some fashion dilemmas for me since I’d like to be on trend for work but at the same time I need to dress for a completely different shape now. Finding something that’s stylish but comfortable and accommodates my bump was proving quite tricky, until I met Emmeline Stevens from The Image Consulting Company.
Emmeline Stevens (left) gave me some great advice at Bristol Fashion Week
Emmeline and her team are on hand every Bristol Fashion Week to offer personal styling advice at The Mall. You can book in for a free 10-minute session, or get a special discounted rate on a 30-minute styling consultation. Then, if you need further support going forward, the ladies are available for private bookings. I popped in for a quick chat and picked up some great tips to help me shop a bit smarter now that I’m pregnant.
Throw out your usual style rules and take a fresh look I wear belts with everything. They cinch in my waist and finish off every outfit I have perfectly. I even had a belt on my wedding dress. But nowadays belts don’t fit around my bump. This is a huge problem for me, because 99% of my wardrobe needs a belt to work, in my opinion. Without one, I feel a bit naked.Emmeline’s advice was to stop thinking about my outfits as I used to. I’ve got a new shape now and I need to dress for that. That doesn’t necessarily mean buying loads of new stuff, but it does mean reappraising the things I have and looking at how they can be worn differently. Instead of belting in those shift dresses as I used to, for example, I can now wear them loose – but I might need to add a jacket on top to streamline the look. She gave me a licence to look at everything with fresh eyes. “It doesn’t mean you have to be frumpy – it just means you need to think about your clothes differently and create some new style rules for yourself,” says Emmeline.
Invest in waterfall shaped cover-ups If there’s one thing I took from the session, it’s that I need more waterfall jackets in my life. The great thing about these is that you don’t have to do them up, so you can buy them in the size you usually are and wear them over the top of maternity blouses etc. This means that from the back, your waistline is still visible, but from the front you’ve got room for your bump to grow. It also creates a vertical line over your outfit, which means you look slim, despite the bump at the front.“When you have a bump, many tops or dresses might skim over that and make you look bigger overall. Adding a waterfall jacket means you still have that slim fitting shape on the sides – it streamlines your whole look,” says Emmeline.
Accessorize it One great way to draw the eye upwards and add interest to what might be a plain maternity top is to add eye-catching accessories. From experience so far, I’ve found the range of maternity tops to be quite limited – you don’t get many prints or patterns generally and the lines are very simple. Emmeline advised me to invest in a couple of key accessories that will jazz up these plainer tops and add some sparkle to my look.
Be flexible with sizing While I have managed to pick up some great petite maternity jeans from ASOS in my usual size, finding fashionable maternity wear on the high street has been slightly trickier. Emmeline pointed me to H&M, which has a great ‘Mama’ range with some lovely simple shirts and palazzo pants – all of which I was able to buy in my usual size 8 and fitted perfectly. But not all stores have a maternity range and actually, you don’t need to invest purely in maternity wear just because you’re pregnant. Emmeline’s advice was to try standard ranges in other stores, perhaps in a size 10 or 12 to give myself room to grow. “For you at this stage it’s not about the size, it’s about the fit – so forget the label and try on shapes that flatter your body,” she said.
Natural fibres are your friends If, like me, you’re going to pregnant over the summer months, it pays to spend a little bit extra and buy garments made with natural fibres, according to Emmeline. “You will feel hotter than usual when you’re carrying that extra weight and your skin might be sensitive at this time, so if you can try to invest in natural fibres like cotton – your skin with thank you for it!” After she said that, I became a lot more conscious of what things were made from – looking in a lot of the high street labels I noticed that lots of things that look nice on the hanger are actually polyester or viscose. I’ve got my eye on a few pieces from People Tree, and Emmeline also pointed me in the direction of Isabella Oliver, an online maternity retailer which has some gorgeous dresses – but the price tags are quite hefty so it might be worth waiting for the sale!
Finally, Emmeline’s advice was that while this is a great time to discover a new side of myself and dress for my changing shape, it doesn’t mean I need to forget who I am. “I know you love to wear bright colours and you’re all about blocking contrasting colours – don’t lose that spark! You can still do it now that you’re pregnant, but it’s just about finding new and exciting ways to wear it!”
P.S. I did actually buy a lot of that outfit above so you may see me around Bristol wearing this look soon!
Bristol Fashion Week is now finished for this season but if you’d like to book a styling session with Emmeline and her team you can find details and prices for her sessions at theimageconsultingcompany.co.uk.
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…
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
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…
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…
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…
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.
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!
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.
Autumn/Winter 2015 was probably the busiest fashion week ever here in Bristol, with fashion, fun and faux furs aplenty!
This season’s shows were presented by Mark Heyes and Denise Van Outen – a dynamic duo who really made the event sparkle. As usual I was on PR and social media duty, but did manage to catch a few snaps between work duties to give you a little peek at all the fun we had.
For the press show, I persuaded the marketing team to dress up YSL style in some sharp tailoring inspired by the brand’s iconic ‘le smoking’ look. Some people thought we looked like the Blues Brothers but I think we were quite sharp! Suits and sharp tailoring are all the rage for this season, plus it was super comfortable to run around in. I think this outfit is a keeper!
We create a lot of content for Bristol Fashion Week, but my favourite bit this season has to be #ModelCam. We gave the models a couple of DLSRs and let them go to town with them backstage. Some of the shots we ended up with were a bit too risqué to be published (!) but there were some real gems, as you can see….
Hands down, the most memorable part of the show was the Devil Wears Prada inspired scene, which showcased this season’s heritage update trend. Fashion Live did an amazing job bringing this look to life with vintage Vogue covers and model Denise had Meryl Streep’s sharp look down to a tee!
Fashion-wise, black was big news on the catwalk – I’m really looking forward to dipping into M&S for some opulent faux fur and velvet separates to mix and match this season.
As always, I picked up loads of tips from Mark – he’s such a lovely person to work with and really knows his fashion, so when he says it’s time to invest in flares, I listen to him! Denise was also a delight and they made an amazing team together. Although it’s my job, it rarely feels like work because it’s just way too much fun. As soon as this fashion week ends, we’ll start planning the next one, so stay tuned for updates!
Can’t get enough of Fashion Week? Check out the Mall Cribbs blog for all the latest trend updates.
Catwalk photos: Charlotte Stone/Bristol Fashion Week
Fancy a girly tea party with your mates? Here’s a little spot we discovered last month on Park Street which I’m dying to share with you!
This little place, located a few doors down from BS8, opened towards the end of last year and is owned by two best friends and former UWE students, Anna and Jodie. They make their cupcakes fresh every day in the shop and I can confirm they are absolutely delicious, as well as being picture perfect. As part of my Christmas blogging series for Visit Bristol, we did a special photo shoot themed around a blogger’s tea party, so we had an ideal excuse to get together and try them out.
As you can see, the whole place is pastel themed and super girly. We dressed the tables ourselves for our festive shoot and I raided Cath Kidston and local vintage shops and fairs for the props.
My lovely models for the day were Hayley from Bonjour Blogger and Jo and Victoria from She and Hem, who all looked very glam in their LBDs.
I managed to get some heart-shaped balloons from Paperchase, which the girls really enjoyed posing with…
And finally, here’s my LBD, which was Alice in Wonderland inspired…
It was an absolute joy shooting there and I can’t wait to go back for tea and cakes with the girls soon! Yum yum!
Bring your friends and pit your wits against the West’s finest bloggers at our fabulous quiz night!
Last year we hosted a South West Bloggers Christmas quiz, which was really popular, so we’ve decided to make it a more regular event. We’ll be hosting the first one in December and we hope to continue it throughout next year if we can.
This time, it’ll be a more casual affair – so there’ll be no need to buy tickets, you can just show up on the night and bring friends/colleagues, etc.
There’ll be five rounds of questions, with a break in between so you can mingle and buy drinks.
It will cost £1 per person to enter the quiz, and the winning team will take home the entry money, plus a bottle of wine to share
I’m delighted to announce that I’ve been nominated as Visit Bristol’s fairy godmother this Christmas, answering all your Christmas gift dilemmas and they’ve drawn this rather fabulous illustration of me to celebrate!
If you’re in Bristol and you’re looking for the perfect present for a special someone this year, fear not! I’ll be hunting down the quirkiest and coolest gifts this city has to offer – and I’ll even answer specific queries if you drop me a tweet using the hashtag #MerryBristmas or leave a comment over on the Visit Bristol blog.
Cutting edge design in the heart of Bristol? Yes please!
This week I received a lovely email from Sashana and Melissa Miller, two fashion designer sisters in Bristol, who have just set up their own label, Leafric. They debuted their first collection at Fair Trade Fashion Week in 2010 and since then they’ve developed their style, using ethically sourced cotton materials.
Explaining their style, the sisters said:
“The léafric aesthetic is feminine, flirty and adventurous. They strive to excite and surprise their customers with every new collection, be it through their original hand painted prints or small unexpected details in a garment”.
They describe their SS13 collection as being designed with influences from artists of the Pre-Raphaelite era.
Their designs use lots of clean lines and fresh white cottons, bringing to mind Stella McCartney’s fresh, feminine approach. Some of the all-white garments, with their stark lines and sheer panelling, remind me of Calvin Klein’s minimalist 90s collections – you could almost see a teenage Kate Moss wearing them.
Bristol is absolutely brimming with creative start-ups like this, which is what makes it such an exciting place to live. I’m really impressed with the Miller sisters designs so far, and look forward to seeing what else they’ve got up their sleeves for next season.
If there’s a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than making flower head garlands with some of my fave bloggers, I’ve yet to find it. That’s right, today I was at a blogger event in Bristol, but the difference is, I didn’t organise it this time, so I got to enjoy the whole thing as a guest, which was a lovely change!
#craftybloggermeet was put together by Paige Calvert and Sammy Scott, who did a fine job of bringing everyone together and getting those crafty skills out of even the least arty among us. The event was held at The Birdcage, which was where we held our South West Bloggers Christmas party, and it was the perfect setting to get everyone in the mood to create.
What was great was that we all came out of the day with some fab homemade accessories, as well as a very cute goodie bag, which contained some beautiful, hand-crafted products from Ella Masters, Ruby Rae Love jewellery, Mod Dolly, and Urbangraphicshop.co.uk.
While I really enjoyed being a guest today, it did make me miss running events. It’s a lot of work and a lot of stress, but it’s totally worth it when you see everyone having a great time and enjoying the surprises you’ve prepared for them. I haven’t done one since #SWBXmas, because I’ve been busy at work, buying a house and organising what will probably be the biggest event of my life – our wedding! Having said that, I would really like to get everyone together again, so if anyone has ideas for themes/venues, etc. please do send them over to me and perhaps plans can start for another Christmasssy shindig!