I visited the city of Bristol yesterday for the first time and it was all thanks to Instagram !! When I joined IG a year ago I thought it would just be an app on my phone where one looked at other people's images and made the odd comment or two. I was so wrong - IG has been a revelation, I've met so many like-minded, interesting people on IG and I've started to meet some of these lovely people in person. It's rather like a blind date as you've chatted on IG for months and got to know the person but sometimes you haven't even seen a photo of them. Then there's always the risk as with any chatting online that the person isn't quite their online persona. Anyway, yesterday was about meeting up with some IGers (as they are called) in Bristol. Most were unavailable or on holiday but two ladies, Lou and Marcie, were keen to meet up.
I jumped on the train at Paddington with some trepidation. It all dissipated when I met the girls as they were exactly like they are on line - creative, friendly and very funny - and we had an absolute blast.
Bristol is the 8th most populated city in the UK and the largest in the South West. It is very cool, hip and arty. It's famous for its street art especially Banksy whose work grew out of the Bristol underground scene.
The most famous Banksy in Bristol unfortunately attacked with blue paint by vandals
Another Bansky - he has drawn the Queen as Ziggy Stardust. Just a shame the vandals have added the speech bubble
This street art is one of my faves - Big Deal by JPS
There wasn't time to go up to Clifton Village, a beautiful suburb of Bristol renowned for having some of the most iconic spots in Bristol, including Brunel’s famous Suspension Bridge, the Observatory and Bristol Zoo. These will have to wait for my next visit. However walking around the city centre there were some very fine buildings.
Beautiful alms houses
Fabulous patina on this door
We stopped at The Hatchet Inn for a pre-lunch drink. It is reputed to be the oldest pub in Bristol and is situated in Frogmore St. It dates back to 1606 and is Grade II listed. Since the 80s the Hatchet has been known as one of Bristol's few alternative pubs that hosts rock music.
Bristol has some very cool shops and my favourite has to be Dig Haushizzle which was started by a young couple Cassandra and Edward Nicholas in 2010. It's in the Christmas Steps Arts Quarter of Bristol city centre and has a dark and moody interior with a heavy nod towards late Victoriana. I bought a beautiful little ginger jar and my friend bought an oil painting. I was enchanted by the French porcelain jugs which were originally used in a French porcelain factory for enamel mixing.
French porcelain jug used for mixing enamels
French porcelain jug used for mixing enamels
The gardens in front of the council buildings and the cathedral were a real eye opener as the flower beds have been designed with a mix of flowers and vegetables. Swiss chard with its red stems and rows of lettuces with red curly tips complement the flower planting and corn add height and drama. There were also beds of mixed herbs. Ingenious idea!
Harbourside is an area of regeneration which is now full of bars, restaurants, galleries etc.
This guy blowing enormous bubbles had a captive audience - both children and adults
This boat is a very cool bar/restaurant called Under the Stars
Inside the boat Under the Stars - love the use of a free-standing bath as a table
Inside the boat Under The Stars
The Shed - a bar/restaurant chain that specialises in pizza, pies and cider where we had a late lunch. Marcie had the cider sampling board. This is a wall of local ciders!!
The three IGers!!
We popped into the Affordable Art Fair for a wander. I bought a small print which will be delivered to me this week. The highlight was these taxidermy birds created as lights. They are made by Elle Kaye and are the coolest lighting I've seen in a long time. What do you think?
Standing on the train platform at 8.30pm I looked across to three hot air balloons and reflected on the wonderful day I had meeting two new friends (thanks Instagram!) and seeing Bristol for the first time. I'll be back soon that's for sure!
Have you been to Bristol? What do you love most about it?
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Day 4 on the 13th August, less than a week after my previous day out, started as an invite from my sister and husband to go to Great Dixter with them. It’s a favourite garden of ours which I try and visit every year. Given that it’s a fair schlep to Great Dixter, my sister identified three churches that we could visit in the vicinity before lunch. Great Dixter is in Sussex close to the Kent border but the three churches we visited were all in Kent:
I was really starting to enjoy these days out on my own with my camera so decided to venture back into Sussex a week after the previous trip, armed with another list of churches. I’m always tempted to include a stop at Charleston House or Monks House given my passion for anything Bloomsbury Group and this time the temptation was too strong when I found myself within a few miles of Monks House.
If you read my previous blog post, Visiting Churches in Sussex (day 1), you will know that I am doing day trips to Sussex in search of the little churches often found in woodland, at the end of lanes, in hamlets or villages – steeped in history. I’ve focused on Sussex as it’s not too far to travel by car and it’s a beautiful county. The first day trip was 9th July.
I decided not to have a summer holiday this year and instead do day trips to Sussex which is only about 80-90 minutes from home, on my own with my DSLR camera for company. I wanted to focus on visiting historic little Sussex churches in obscure places. I’ve done four of these day trips so far and I have another planned for this week.
I’ve focused on churches with historic interest, be it for their age (some as old as 9th century), their features or even their setting. I have been the only person at every church I’ve visited so far as these are off the beaten track for tourists. That was one of their attractions for me. I could have visited large churches, cathedrals or castles in towns where there would be loads of visitors but I find crowds of people so unappealing.
We are in mid winter here in London. Temperatures plummeted a week or so ago and we barely reach 6 Celsius most days. However I won’t complain as when it’s so cold there is less of the debilitating grey skies and more of blue skies and sunshine which really do elevate the spirits.
Monday 21 January was Blue Monday the most depressing day of the year. What a load of twaddle, isn’t it?! Why would you identify a day as the most depressing? Most of us stuck two fingers up at Blue Monday, smiled and got on with our lives.
January started with a vengeance from a work perspective so I’ve had no time to feel the post Christmas blues. And I have a trip to Sydney to look forward to in a few weeks - family, sun, sand and sea and loads of oysters and Riesling!
Between a lot of client meetings and client work at home, I managed to squeeze in some outings. First up, a day of sourcing for clients started with a visit to the Decorative Fair in Battersea Park with an interiors friend. I enjoy a wander around the stalls as they are all so beautifully styled but everything is eyewateringly expensive!
This post is for all you garden lovers. If you are lucky enough to live in London you have the chance to see the gardens of Petersham House, the home of the owners of Petersham Nurseries, Gael and Francesco Boglione. Their home is adjacent to the Nurseries and is a stunning Georgian house with extensive gardens, swimming pool and tennis court. They have a substantial vegetable garden which is used for the restaurant in the Nurseries.
This week has been action packed. I’m furiously trying to finish a two-bedroom flat which the owners want to put on the market asap (they are moving out of London and already put in an offer on a house).
Sorry for my radio silence since my last post on 31 October - in the run up to Christmas I was manically busy with client work and in January I headed to Sydney for five weeks.
I thought I'd kick off with one of the highlights of my Sydney sojourn - the coastal walk from South Coogee (where I was staying) to Bondi, a distance of about 10k with some of the most spectacular scenery. I did this walk last year with a friend but this time it was just me, my iPhone and my DSLR. The weather was cloudy, windy and about 26C so perfect for a long walk.
A couple of weeks ago a friend and I went to Charleston, the home of the Bloomsbury Group, to do a lampshade painting workshop with Cressida Bell who is the talented artist granddaughter of the artist Vanessa Bell and daughter of Quentin Bell. I wonder if you are as passionate about the Bloomsbury Group as I am? I devour books about them and have often visited Charleston, Berwick, Firle and Monk's House.