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­­FOLIO­­ BRISTOL & BATH

FREE TAKE ONE! THE WEST’S BEST LIFEST YLE M AG

MAY 2012 l No. 208

WIN

A JAMES MARTIN KNIFE BLOCK SET!

FASHION

OUR STYLE EDIT FROM Cabot Circus EATING OUT WEST

BES T OF S BRITI H

BEST PLACES TO EAT ALFRESCO

Fly the flag with PIXIE LOTT and friends at The Mall at Cribbs Causeway's Jubilee concert!

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/MAY 2012 GOING SOLO

As I type, the month certainly seems to have been living up to its April Showers epithet – rain has been lashing itself pretty determinedly against windows, and indeed anyone who’s brave enough to venture outside. Let’s hope May is a little drier (without being too dry, of course – those reservoirs get mighty thirsty), so that we can get out and enjoy the wondrous gardens, houses, attractions and events that make the South West such a smorgasbord of delights. If you need a nudge in the right direction, turn to our pick of lovely things to do this month, on page 10. And if you haven’t ventured to Tyntesfield for a while (you know, the NT house built by a man who made his money from guano), the scaffolding is finally off and there are even more rooms to explore, not to mention the glorious grounds and super cattle-shed cafe. See page 14 for more. Need a new style update now that the weather should be turning a little more clement? Check out our fashion edit of new collections from Cabot Circus (p20) – and don’t be surprised if you suddenly start craving a neon boyfriend jacket! This issue actually marks the end of the Folio/Venue collaboration. From next month, Folio will be back to being a standalone lifestyle magazine, free to pick up from all the usual outlets. We’ll be bigger and even better, with more to read and enjoy – so do look out for us from June!

Have an inspirational month,

FEATURES 4 10 14

Melissa Blease goes behind the scenes at Bath Cats and Dogs Home Top things to do this month Why you should take a fresh look at stately pile Tyntesfield

BATH CATS & DOGS HOME 4

COMPETITIONS 16 WIN a James Martin knife block set and a necklace and earrings from Fizzy Flower

LIFESTYLE 20 We get set for summer with a little style advice from Cabot Circus 22 Lace isn’t just for 80s throwbacks, says personal stylist Niki Whittle 25 Why we love Austin Reed 26 Mum-to-be Ruth Morris spends a dreamy spa day at Lucknam Park 28 Our pick of the latest beauty products 35 In the education spotlight: St Katherine’s School, Western Tutorial College and Knights Players 37 Our man in the motor reviews the Mercedes A-class and Mazda MX-5 38 Time for tee? Dave Higgitt gets his golfing fix Make a bold fashion statement with neon, at Vale Resort, Cardiff lace, pastels and pattern 39 Eleanor Pipe puts her cookery skills to the test at Idle Rocks Hotel, St Mawes

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HOMEFRONT 44 47 51 52

CaSA Architects reveal their latest grand design Turn your bathroom into a spa-room Trish Gibson’s tips and advice on growing alliums Declutter queen Alison Armitage works her magic on a tired guest room

EATING OUT WEST Rachel Nott Folio editor

Cover image: PIXIE LOTT WILL BE PERFORMING AT THE BRISTOL JUBILEE CONCERT AT THE MALL AT CRIBBS CAUSEWAY ON SAT 2 JUNE. SEE FEATURE ON PAGE 27 AND WWW.MALLCRIBBS. COM FOR MORE DETAILS ON HOW TO GET YOUR FREE TICKET

@folioeditor

@eatingoutwest

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56 The tastiest places to eat outdoors 62 The rise and rise of supper clubs and pop-up restaurants 64 Restaurant review: Filini at Radisson Blu, Bristol 66 Restaurant review: Tasting Room, Bath 67 What’s cooking? 69 Restaurant review: The Botanist, Bristol 70 Restaurant review: Portvcale, Bath 72 Delicious pork belly recipe from the Clifton Sausage

We visit golflover’s dream Vale Resort near Cardiff

Subscribe to Folio! Just send a cheque for £24 (payable to Folio) to our Bristol address or phone with credit/debit card details and you’ll get the next 12 issues sent to your home, or 6 issues for £13 – the only way to guarantee you’ll get every copy of the West’s fastest-growing lifestyle magazine. Ffi: 0117 934 3741 Folio Bristol 4th Floor, Bristol News & Media, Temple Way, Bristol, BS99 7HD tel 0117 942 8491 fax 0117 934 3566 email r.nott@venue.co.uk or editor@foliomagazine.co.uk Folio Bath Bath News & Media, Floor 2, Westpoint, James West St, Bath BA1 1UN tel 01225 429801 fax 01225 447602 Editor Rachel Nott Publishing Director Dave Higgitt Production Manager Cath Evans Design Team Sarah Clark, Sarah Malone Sub-editor Jo Renshaw Publications Co-ordinator Sam Ulewicz Commercial Manager Becky Davis Advertising Bex Baddiley, Adam Burrows, Ellie Pipe, Ben Wright Distribution Dave Higgitt Ring us now for details of how to reach our 75,000 readers – and if you’re a reader, contact our advertisers now! Do please let them know where you read about their services. Thank you. Folio articles preceded by the words ‘Folio Profile’ have been supplied by a third party, and the information contained within them does not necessarily constitute a direct recommendation by the publishers. However, we only accept submissions from bona fide companies whom we know from long experience to provide quality goods or services.

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Going underground... the best supper clubs happening in a home near you!

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FEATURE

NO PLACE LIKE

HOME Until you’ve taken a tour of the remarkable place that is Bath Cats and Dogs Home, says Melissa Blease, you haven’t come within a whisker of what’s really going on there… Photography: Mike McNally

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FEATURE

➻ BLOSSOM

Five years old, quiet and timid, gentle and submissive and frightened of noises, this lovely lurcher needs a quiet household where she’ll be given the time and patience to come out of her shell. Blossom walks well on a lead and came to BCDH as an ex-case dog (RSPCA referred her to the courts, but they can’t give more details). She’s not suitable for a home with cats, small animals, chickens or young children (any children in the home should be aged 10-plus and well-behaved).

GET INVOLVED!

Support Bath Cats and Dogs Home…

B

ritain, 1937… the first 999 emergency telephone call was made, Sellotape went on sale, and Wimbledon – the oldest tennis tournament in the world – began to be broadcast on TV. Meanwhile, in the West Country... three local animal charities quietly united to form a Bath branch of the RSPCA. Bath resident and extremely generous philanthropist Mrs Bayntun gave the project five acres of land and £4,000 (equivalent to almost £200,000 in today’s money) to set up a dog shelter and Bath Cats and Dogs Home opened its doors for the very first time. Seventy years on, and BCDH is, to many Bathonians, an iconic institution as seamlessly woven into the rich tapestry of Heritage City life as, say, the Roman Baths or the Royal Crescent (albeit slightly muddier on rainy days). Set against the lush, pastoral backdrop of Claverton Down, this multifaceted complex is home to around 130 dogs, 100 cats, 30 feral cats and a variety of small animals including rabbits, ferrets and rats at any one time, and even has space for chickens rescued from battery farms. BCDH successfully rehome approximately 2,500 animals every year, a strict Non-Destruction Policy guarantees that no healthy animal in their care will be destroyed unless severe, exceptional circumstances dictate otherwise, and every animal living in one of a series of shelters specifically designed with the individual animal’s welfare in mind is

treated to the exceptionally high standard of care expected in the home of a responsible pet owner - although I’m not sure that every home makes sure that their dog has a sofa of his or her own! And now that you might think you know all there is to know about BCDH, let our tour begin… No sooner had Folio parked up in readiness for our visit than we were reminded of the brutal, ongoing realities behind the superficially fluffy frontage of BCDH: a stray dog, picked up off the city streets by a council van, was being checked into HQ for assessment – the start of a lengthy process that could lead to a whole new beginning for yet another potential four-legged family member. But not all the animals at BCDH are strays; many of them are orphaned when their elderly owners pass away, or come from homes that can no longer afford their upkeep, representing yet another sorry aspect of the harsh economic climate that’s affected so many of us in recent years. Many more, however, have been disregarded by owners who simply can’t handle the specific needs of certain breeds (especially likely in instances where cute little puppies have ‘miraculously’ grown into big or unruly dogs), or have been saved from a life of neglect or abuse at the hands of unscrupulous owners. As you’d expect with any kind of refuge, the tales behind some of those wagging tails are heartbreaking, or horrific enough to make you shake with rage. But as lovely, lively Rachel Jones ➻

➻ Bath Cats and Dogs Home is a totally independent, selffunding charity, which receives no Government or Lottery funding and relies solely on donations, fundraising events and legacies to meet its annual operating costs of more than £1.3m. This equates to more than £3,500 a day just to keep the Home running so that staff are able to care for the centre’s hundreds of unwanted dogs, cats and small animals. Sponsor an animal, kennel or pod, become a Paw Pal or browse the website to get the giving going – or, if you’d like to get started right now, simply text PAWS22 and the amount you want to donate (‘£xx’) to 70070. Or perhaps you have some spare time on your hands? BCDH volunteers provide an essential role, helping staff and residents with many different jobs and activities and/or offering hands-on support by dog walking and cat cuddling. The Home is also on the lookout for cat and kitten fosterers, while the grounds and gardens are always in need of a bit of TLC, too. Prepare to turn your downtime into the most fulfilling hours on your regular timetable.

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FEATURE

➻ PAUL

Paul is an adorable seven-month-old rabbit. This friendly lad was named after Paul McCartney, while the companions he was found with also took their names from members of the Beatles! This young rabbit is inquisitive and lively and would really benefit from more handling to encourage him to develop into the great character he could really become. BCDH think that Paul would flourish best with an experienced rabbit owner who understands how to get the best from him. BCDH know that he doesn’t appreciate his male counterparts, but think that he could possibly be rehomed with a female rabbit.

CARL ➻ A 20-year-old short-haired male, Carl needs a loving home again in

which to enjoy his twilight years. He’s a very easygoing and happy cat who likes encouragement in everything he does and loves being brushed. An older cat in terms of years, and although he’s deaf, Carl has a young heart and loves fuss and cuddles - and purrs a lot! Although he’s very friendly with children, BCDH would prefer to give him a quiet home without stairs as he’s a little stiff in his back legs. Because he’s so easygoing, he’s suitable for first-time owners.

- head of fundraising at BCDH - explained to us as she took us on a stroll around her second home, the BCDH team work closely with every individual case, no matter what challenges may be presented, resulting in stories that are as positive, uplifting and heartwarming as real-life case studies can get. The in-house veterinary service, for example, not only manages the continuing care of all residents, but also offers neutering services for pets from low income homes. An Assisted Adoption scheme supports potential new families and can help fund unexpected veterinary services for pet owners on state benefits. Meanwhile, experts in animal behaviour and related therapies work with all aspects of animal psychology, from basic training skills to combating destructive and/or antisocial behaviour. And all the time, there are newcomers to welcome, hungry mouths to feed, floors to clean, energetic friends to walk, insecure mites in need of hugs, and much, much more – it’s a 24/7 programme, 365 days a year. As we continue our stroll, it becomes clear that although dogs may dominate the Claverton Down community, a whole host of distinctly different breeds are vying for the attention of potential new owners. “Are you okay with rats?” asks Rachel as we enter the Small Animals area. Fortunately for all concerned, I’m actually a huge fan of the beautiful little rodents that inspired Michael Jackson to sing so sweetly about his friend Ben - perhaps if you agreed to get up close and personal with a whole family of them, sleeping soundly in cosy little hammocks, you would be, too. Or maybe a charming little bunny – at least half of which was apparently entirely fluffy tail – might charm you into considering making a new friend? What about a funpacked ferret, as appealing as a meerkat and – contrary to popular belief – as

THINK BLUE

THURSDAY Make a date for Thursday 3 May… ➻ Coming up… BCDH are calling on local animal lovers to take part in Think Blue Thursday on Thur 3 May. This brand new annual fundraising event aims to bring the community together for one day to raise awareness and much-needed funds by inviting businesses, schools, shops, students, groups of friends and individuals to do ‘something with the colour blue’: encourage colleagues or pupils to wear blue outfits, decorate your office blue, hold a blue-icing-only cake sale, dress your shop window in blue... or even dye your hair blue, if you dare! Get creative, join in and let event organiser Zena Jones know what you’re up to – contact details below. FFI WWW.BCDH.ORG.UK ZENA JONES TEL: 01225 787335, EMAIL: ZENAJONES@BCDH.ORG.UK

fragrant as a freshly mown lawn in springtime? Small animals need bighearted people to rehome them, too; if a dog is out of your league at the moment, the time may be right to downsize your animal urges. But for me – already a step-mother to Dixie, the fabulous feline who quietly dominates my personal HQ – it was the BCDH cats who stole my heart. As we quietly strolled down a warm, sensitively lit corridor lined on both sides with cat pods fit for the little princes and princesses who temporarily reside there, I met 20-year-old Carl, who purrs a lot and

enjoys being cuddled. I met Mollie, who is looking for a quiet home. Lacey and Stacey want to stay together, Pinkie is a bit tubby so needs to watch her diet (don’t we all!), and Oliver – a handsome ginger tabby – loves being fussed over. But while even the most insistent ‘I don’t want an animal!’ people among us are in serious danger of having their opinions completely turned around at BCDH, the adoption process quite rightfully doesn’t indulge folk who are prone to acting on a whim. As many of the animals at BCDH have come from deprived backgrounds, the aim is to ensure that their new home is the best one possible for all concerned. An eightstep programme for potential new families starts with a visit to BCDH and ends with an experienced worker dropping by three months after the adoption process to ensure that family life is running smoothly, with several ‘getting to know you’ meet’n’greets, home visits and an adoption donation to pay along the way (these charges include neutering, vaccinations, flea and worm treatments and microchipping as well as administration costs). Unscrupulous ‘puppy farmers’ or people who need to shift a litter fast may try to convince you that this process is unnecessarily laborious. But having witnessed at first hand the distressing outcome wrought on a loyal, trusting animal at the hands of ‘animal lovers’ who are actually anything but, and having heard the poignant tales that form the back-story of many BCDH residents, I simply can’t give enough credit to the staff, volunteers and generous supporters who work so tirelessly to ensure that every animal’s life is a life worth living. BATH CATS & DOGS HOME THE AVENUE, CLAVERTON DOWN, BATH (OPEN DAILY 11AM-4PM). FFI: 01225 787321, WWW.BCDH.ORG.UK

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Ideal for weddings, private parties, corporate events, club nights and festivals!

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Voted in the Top 50 antique shops in Great Britain 2010 by The Independent on Sunday

OLD BANK ANTIQUES CENTRE 14-17 Walcot Buildings, Bath

Retro g Clothinble Availa

Situated on the London Road (A4), just a short walk from the top of Walcot Street. Old Bank Antiques Centre is the largest retailer of antiques in Bath, without being stuffy and too grand. This is how antiques shops used to look: a hoarder’s paradise. fifteen dealers spread through lots of showrooms in four shops with everything from 17th century to 1970s retro. Experienced and professional advice is always available. Customer parking is at the rear, accessed via Bedford Street. Deliveries can be arranged anywhere in the UK or the rest of world, at cost price. Furniture restorer on premises. Open seven days a week and most bank holidays Visit our website: www.oldbankantiquescentre.com Tel: 01225 469282 & 338813 Email: alexatmontague@aol.com

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WHAT’S NEW

WHAT TO DO IN...

May

DIAMONDS, ANIMATRONIC DINOSAURS AND THE OLYMPIC TORCH… MIKE WHITE PICKS OUT THIS MONTH’S HOT TICKETS

2

ETERNAL FLAME

Not got caught up in the Olympic fervour yet? Maybe this will help – a spectacular community-led harbourside celebration to mark the arrival of the Olympic Torch in Bristol, as it flickers through the city en route to London. Although the exact lineup is still being perfected as we go to press, you can be sure that there will be circus wonders from Cirque Bijou and Desperate Men, live music and dance demonstrations and massed choirs in full song. The torch itself should be on stage around 7.20pm – don’t be late! OLYMPIC TORCH CELEBRATIONS 22 MAY, FROM 3.30PM, LLOYDS AMPHITHEATRE & MILLENNIUM SQUARE, BRISTOL, FREE. FFI: WWW.BRISTOL. GOV.UK/PAGE/2012-OLYMPIC-TORCH-RELAY

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BUTTERFLY CASTLE

One of Berkeley Castle’s many highlights – alongside the acres of ornamental gardens, the dank dungeon and the King’s Gallery, where Edward II was imprisoned and later met his grisly end – is the Tropical Butterfly House. It reopens this month, fluttering with up to 25 species of large and unusual lepidoptera.

BERKELEY CASTLE BERKELEY, GLOS. CASTLE OPEN ALL YEAR, BUTTERFLY HOUSE OPEN FROM SUN 6 MAY. FFI: 01453 810332, WWW.BERKELEY-CASTLE.COM

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ALFRESCO OPERA

Paddling and Puccini don’t usually crop up in the same sentence, but if it’s a warm evening you could kick off your daps and join the toddlers splashing around Millennium Square’s ornamental watery bits as the Royal Opera House’s fabulous production of La Boheme beams down from the Big Screen. Or just bring a picnic blanket and a bottle of red and settle in for the show… LA BOHEME THUR 17 MAY, 7.30PM, MILLENNIUM SQUARE, BRISTOL, FREE. FFI: WWW.ROH.ORG.UK/WHATSON/BPBIGSCREENS/INDEX.ASPX

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WHAT’S NEW

4

7 DINO-MITE!

What’s that in the bushes? Bristol Zoo are famous for their work with animals on the brink of extinction, but this month they extend that to a few who have already gone the way of the dodo – with a collection of a dozen huge and unexpectedly life-like animatronic dinosaurs. The ancient beasts, including all the Jurassic Park favourites like T-rex, triceratops and the long-neckedy brachiosaurus (pictured) will be moving, roaring, hissing, growling and even spitting water at unsuspecting explorers from amid the zoo’s undergrowth. Come along and seek out all 12 – and help the zoo save other animals from sharing the dinosaurs’ fate.

STORY OF SUSPENSE

Clifton Suspension Bridge is one of those landmarks we’ve seen so often that we hardly even think about it any more, but Brunel’s ingenious gorgespanning solution has a fascinating backstory. Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust is offering free tours explaining some of the brilliance, danger and ongoing work that allow us to sweep so majestically through the air above the muddy brown Avon.

CLIFTON SUSPENSION BRIDGE TOURS RUN ON SAT & SUN AFTERNOONS UNTIL END OF OCT, MEET 3PM AT CLIFTON END OF THE BRIDGE. NO NEED TO BOOK. FFI 0117 974 4664, WWW. CLIFTONBRIDGE.ORG.UK

DINOZOO 25 MAY-2 SEP, BRISTOL ZOO GARDENS, CLIFTON. NORMAL ADMISSION CHARGES APPLY. FFI: 0117 974 7399, WWW.BRISTOLZOO.ORG.UK

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FIT FOR A QUEEN

Diamonds are for ever, as Dame Shirley Bassey so famously bellowed. For your own glittering glimpse of eternity, head over to Diana Porter from Tue 1 May, where they’re celebrating all things diamond, from astonishing one-off rings to breathtaking necklaces and earrings by some of Britain’s most adventurous jewellery designers. These include Annika Rutlin, Ruth Tomlinson and Frances Wadsworth-Jones, whose 18ct yellow gold ‘ant’ ring with blue sapphire and white diamonds is pictured above.

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A RIGHT ROYAL KNEES-UP

Picnic in the Pleasure Gardens, admire the classic car display and the Italian Garden, then shake your stuff to the Big Brunch Band – or just watch the experts, as lindy hop wonders the Swingbytes give a dancing display. Then it’s time to charge your glasses and head round to the South Terrace for the spectacular firework finale, as Westonbirt House celebrate the jubilee in regal style. THE BIG JUBILEE PICNIC SAT 26 MAY, WESTONBIRT HOUSE & GARDENS, TETBURY, GLOS, ADULT £10, CHILD (18 & UNDER) £5, UNDER-5s FREE. TICKETS FROM LAURA REID ON 01666 881333 OR VIA THEBIGJUBILEEPICNIC@WESTONBIRT.ORG

QUEEN OF DIAMONDS 1 MAY–31 JULY, DIANA PORTER, 33 PARK ST, BRISTOL. FFI: 0117 909 0225, WWW.DIANAPORTER.CO.UK

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SHOWTIME

Britain’s biggest rural festival stampedes into Shepton Mallet this month with a broader spread of fun than ever, from trying out canoeing to tasting your way around the National Cheese Awards, from artisan cider to birds of prey, fashion shows to funfair thrills. Oh, and one or two animals, too.

ROYAL BATH & WEST SHOW 30 MAY-2 JUNE, THE SHOWGROUND, SHEPTON MALLET, SOMERSET, £19 (ADMITS ONE ADULT AND UP TO THREE UNDER-16S). FFI: 01749 822222, WWW. BATHANDWEST.COM

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FOLIO ADVERTORIAL

FOOD, BIG SCREEN AND PERFORMANCE AT QUAKERS FRIARS

SUMMER IN THE CITY

Bristol’s Cabot Circus will come alive this summer thanks to a series of events that will bring fun and entertainment for all ages and interests, whether you’re a dedicated foodie, a sports or a music fan

Street Food Festival (18-20 May) POP-UP CUISINE AND LIVE MUSIC

Quakers Friars at Cabot Circus is set to become a foodie paradise next month as the UK’s biggest street food festival comes to the historic piazza at Cabot Circus for the first time. The free three-day festival will feature some of the UK’s finest ‘food trucks’ offering a variety of delicious street cuisine - a new concept that has gained popularity over recent months in London’s South Bank. Colston Hall will also host a live stage throughout the event to showcase some of Bristol’s best new musical talent. Featuring a range of local bands playing folk, acoustic and world music, performances will take place every lunchtime, afternoon and evening throughout the event. The street food festival will see Quakers Friars brought to life with festival-inspired food stalls and retailers, providing the perfect opportunity for the whole family to come and enjoy tasty food, drink and free entertainment and music. Some of the vendors appearing include: The Swallow Bakery: a boutique bakery offering speciality cupcakes and dessert pies The Hungry Gecko: a MasterChef finalist specialising in vegetarian Asian street food What the Dickens: iconic British dishes and revived vintage recipes Café Mor: seafood specialists from Pembrokeshire and overall winners of the British Street Food Awards 2011 Byron Burgers: proper burgers and the ultimate in comfort food. The free Street Food Festival will take place from 11am-8pm from Friday 18 until Sunday 20 May, with the first bands playing at 12noon each day. 12 FOLIO/MAY 2012

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FOLIO ADVERTORIAL

The Olympics And Wimbledon (July & August) CATCH THE BEST OF THE ACTION

2012 is a year to be proud to be British - and to celebrate, Quakers Friars will be showing all of the action from the Olympics and Wimbledon on a giant screen. Perfect for soaking up the atmosphere and cheering on Team GB! Wimbledon: from Monday 25 June to Sunday 8 July, shoppers will be able to sit back and catch the best of the action from the world’s most famous grand slam. Whether you’re cheering for Murray or rooting for Nadal, Quakers Friars provides the ideal setting for watching Wimbledon, so why not bring along some strawberries and cream, grab a deckchair and watch the tennis? The Olympic Games: as Olympic fever sets in, the screen will return to Quakers Friars just in time for the Games. If you didn’t manage to secure tickets but still want to experience the excitement, then head to Quakers Friars for live open-air screenings and follow the most hotly anticipated competitions! Whether you want to take in the Opening Ceremony in style, catch the best of Britain’s talent in the cycling or are a fan of the athletics, you won’t have to miss a moment in this exciting year. Starting on Friday 27 July, all of the Olympic action will be shown live until the closing ceremony on Sunday 12 August.

Food Festival (18-19 August)

CELEB CHEFS AND FOODIE TREATS IN STORE FOR SHOPPERS Cabot Circus will host a Food Festival in August, featuring a weekendlong celebration of seasonal food, artisan producers and culinary talent. Taking place in the historic Quakers Friars area of the city on the weekend of 18-19 August, the free event will feature demonstrations from some exciting celebrity chefs, alongside head chefs from other restaurants within Cabot Circus. As well as picking up some expert tips, visitors will be able to meet some of the South West’s leading artisan producers at a special food market, offering a variety of cheeses, wine, cakes and other speciality food.

CONTACT

SUMMER EVENTS AT CABOT CIRCUS FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ALL OF THE ABOVE EVENTS, VISIT WWW.CABOTCIRCUS.COM OR FIND US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER

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FEATURE

What’s the

STORY? PIC CREDIT: NTPL NADIA MACKENZIE

Tyntesfield. Big old house, lots of grounds. Turn left on the Clevedon road and there you are. Been there, done that...? Then listen up to Eugene Byrne

I

f you’ve lived round here for a while, you’ve probably already been to Tyntesfield, the Victorian house and estate near Bristol. There was loads of excitement 10 years ago when the National Trust acquired it following a huge and successful national fundraising appeal that raised all the necessary cash in 100 days. We were all seriously excited round here because it meant that Bristol finally had a proper-job stately home with old furniture and acres of grounds and a cafe with scones and cake and a souvenir shop where you can buy jam in fancy jars and greetings cards featuring jokes about being old and stupid. All that proper stately home stuff.* The place had

changed little since the 19th century, and its owners never threw anything away; a decade later, they’re still sorting through it all. (*Alternative local stately homes are available. Dyrham, for instance. But old mansions that are now hotels and business centres don’t count, and nor does Ashton Court mansion, which is quietly falling to bits, and which someone really should do something about, though it’ll cost millions to nice it up now.) Here’s Tyntesfield for the uninitiated: Victorian businessman William Gibbs was one of the richest men in the country. The foundation of this immense fortune was South American bird poo - guano being one of the wonder-materials of the Victorian age, a highly effective fertiliser that didn’t smell.

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FEATURE

ABOVE: The newly opened children’s nursery ABOVE RIGHT: Chamber pots displayed in ‘lots’ FAR LEFT: Stained glass window in Tyntesfield’s chapel BELOW: The wall of bells in the servants’ quarters

In 1863, Gibbs began building his mansion in the gothic revival style at Tyntesfield, on the site of a former house. Money was no object, and he hired some of the greatest craftsmen of the age. A devout High Anglican, he also built an extravagant chapel, which most visitors nowadays consider very beautiful. Everyone who’s been to Tyntesfield has their favourite bits. Maybe it’s the chapel. Perhaps it’s the acres of parkland or the tranquil but workmanlike walled kitchen garden. For some it’s the library or the dining room (handpainted wallpaper!), and of course there’s the wonderfully blokey billiard room with its stuffed animal heads and Victorian electrical scoreboard. The only thing wrong is that it’s in green and pleasant Somerset countryside, and everyone knows that gothic buildings like this need to be on lonely, windblown moors so that they can look properly

spooky and haunted. “A few years ago we were all-consumed by our major restoration project and concentrating on getting our facilities and restaurant up and running,” says Tyntesfield communications officer Jo Isaac. “We can now dedicate time to telling the real story of Tyntesfield for our visitors, and opening up even more rooms.” And if you haven’t been for a few years or more, there will be loads of new things to see. From 2009 to 2011 much of the building was covered in scaffolding while lots of restoration work was done, particularly on the roof. Now the tiles are cleaned and restored in all their original red and black glory, and it doesn’t leak any more. Inside, they’ve done a huge amount of conservation and restoration work, including rewiring the old place - it was one of the first houses in the country to have electric lighting, and now it all works again. Last year also saw the opening of the new restaurant in the former cow barn. Until his death a year before the National Trust bought Tyntesfield, the place was the home of Richard Gibbs, the second Baron Wraxall. The massive family bird poo fortune had now gone, and the old boy - who never married - rattled around the place pretty much alone for several decades. If you’re one of those people who can’t bear to throw anything away, or if you live with such a person, you’ll know how hard it is to find space in your house for all the junk. But if, like Baron Wraxall, you had 106 rooms in your house, the space thing isn’t an issue. When the Trust acquired the place, the contents came with it: this

amounted to something like 50,000 individual items, from priceless antiques, paintings and furniture all the way through to loads of, well, junk. Ten years on, the Trust’s staff and tireless volunteers are still sorting and cataloguing all this stuff, and they’re constantly opening up new rooms to visitors. This year sees the opening of several upstairs rooms: some of these aren’t particularly posh or decorative, but they do allow the opportunity to display some more of this stuff. And the idea with a lot of it is to tell the story of the house’s more recent history, including its time in the hands of auctioneers Christie’s. So, for instance, you get a display of chamber pots as though they were about to be sold off. “The new Christie’s action rooms are really interesting,” says Jo. “They’re a bit different to a usual room in a country house and tell a really evocative story. We’ve got some lovely audio stories to go with them, too, so the rooms will be brought to life even more.” Also new this year is the children’s nursery, complete with early 20th century toys, plus a fascinating bathroom boasting some ancient shower technology that looks more like an instrument of torture. The same bathroom also features some equally ancient lino on the floor: this is the most valuable and historically important thing in the room, and would be the thing that Trust staff would grab a piece of if the place were burning down. “A few years ago,” says Jo, “visitors were restricted to the ground floor, but now you can explore much more of the building, and hear more about what makes Tyntesfield so special along with the stories of the family - and servants - that lived here for over 150 years. This year, not only are we able to ‘unpack’ many more of the thousands of items that we’ve previously had to keep stored away, but we’re ‘unpacking’ their stories, too.” TYNTESFIELD WRAXALL, NORTH SOMERSET. HOUSE & CHAPEL OPEN SAT-WED, 11AM-5PM UNTIL 4 NOV. GARDENS & ESTATE OPEN DAILY, 10AM-6PM (5PM IN WINTER). GIFT AID ADMISSION TO WHOLE PROPERTY £13.90 ADULT/£6.90 CHILD/£34.50 FAMILY. FFI: 0870 458 4500 01275 461900, WWW.NATIONALTRUST.ORG. UK/TYNTESFIELD (SEE WEBSITE FOR A BUSY SUMMER PROGRAMME OF EVENTS INCLUDING OPEN-AIR PERFORMANCES)

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COMPETITIONS WIN A JAMES MARTIN KNIFE BLOCK SET!

WIN A KNIFE BLOCK SET!

Kitchen wizards, listen up! Bristol-based cookware firm Stellar want to help you sharpen up your act. Their snazzy new James Martin knife block set was designed in conjunction with the BBC Saturday Kitchen star himself, and includes five high-spec knives and an integrated chopping board. This knife range is tried and tested by James; the high specification, finely honed stainless steel blades have a high molybdenum content which means they sharpen easily and are resistant to stains and rust, while the non-slip stainless steel handle creates an on-trend finishing touch. We have one such knife block set (worth £130) to give away to one lucky winner. Chop, chop! FFI: WWW.STELLARCOOKWARE.CO.UK

fabulous COMPS

Enter today to be in with a chance of winning these great prizes!

TO ENTER ➻ KNIFE BLOCK SET

Just answer the following question: Who is the usual host of BBC’s Saturday Kitchen? Email your answer, with ‘Stellar’ in the subject line, to: editor@foliomagazine.co.uk by Fri 25 May. Entries after this date will not be counted. Winner will be picked at random and notified by Mon 4 June. Please include your full contact details (name, address, postcode, email, mobile, landline).

➻ FIZZY FLOWER JEWELLERY

To enter the competition, name one natural material used in Fizzy Flower jewellery. Email your answer, with ‘Fizzy Flower’ in the subject line, to: editor@ foliomagazine.co.uk by Fri 25 May. Entries after this date will not be counted. Winner will be picked at random and notified by Mon 4 June. Please include your full contact details (as above).

.

THE WINNERS Idle Rocks Hotel comp: Congrats to Sophie Scott who won a two-night stay for two people, including breakfast and three cookery sessions. Correct answer: Cornwall. Frances Taylor Photography comp: Congrats to Susan Swanborough who won a family portrait session (including one free digital image). Correct answer: Bristol.

WIN FIZZY FLOWER JEWELLERY! Online jewellery boutique Fizzy Flower sells contemporary pieces in natural materials like freshwater pearls, leather, semi-precious stones and cut glass crystal as well as collections by designers like Danish brand Hultquist. Bristol-born founder Claire Wenban is offering one lucky winner a gorgeous Fizzy Flower grey seed pearl necklace with silver-plated hammered heart – a bestseller, which can be worn long or short – and matching sterling silver hammered heart earrings. In addition, Folio readers can claim 20% off their first order (one use only, excluding sale items) until Tue 31 July by registering online and using the voucher code ‘FOLIO’.

WIN A GORGEOUS JEWELLERY SET!

FFI: WWW.FIZZY-FLOWER.CO.UK

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FOLIO ADVERTORIAL WALK TO WORK WEEK MON 14 – FRI 18 MAY

‘WALK OFF’ YOUR DAY

WALK TO WORK WEEK

W

ould you like to walk to work? Perhaps you already do and could encourage a colleague to join you! Walking to and from work can be a wonderful experience and a very invigorating way to start and end your day. You get a real sense of freedom and see so much more of your local surroundings… and best of all, it’s healthy, keeps you fit and it’s free! It can be the perfect time to ‘walk off’ your day and unwind with your friends and colleagues or alternatively enjoy some well-earned ‘me time’ listening to your favourite music or the latest audio book. Your walk to work may feel too far at first but it’s surprising how quickly you get used to it, especially when you start feeling the rewards. So why not give it a go? If you fancy a challenge, you can take part in Walk to Work Week (14-18 May) and join thousands of employees across the UK who will be walking to, from and during work as part of one of the healthiest workplace challenges around. You can sign up your workplace for free at www.livingstreets.org.uk where you and your colleagues will be able to log your miles, minutes and steps walked and see individual as well as collective totals, calories burned and potential carbon dioxide savings. The website also gives you some handy walking tips and ideas on how to get the ball rolling; a good start could be setting up a lunchtime walking group or simple things like having a spare pair of shoes at work so that you have less to carry and the flexibility when you need it. Last year the challenge walked the equivalent of more than three times round the equator, with a potential saving of almost 11,300kg of carbon dioxide emissions - so why not take part and do your bit for you and the planet!

FREE PEDOMETER! ➻

PLEDGE TO WALK TO WORK AND RECEIVE YOUR FREE PEDOMETER… To help kickstart a healthier you and to reduce your carbon footprint across the West, we’ve teamed up with www.travelwest.info (the local travel information website) to give away pedometers (limited to the first 100 readers) so that you can start counting your steps and monitor your progress day by day. Visit travelwest.info/walk for more information, and get your activity levels up and your stress level down with a regular walk to work. Ffi : www.travelwest.info/walk. FOLIO/MAY 2012 17

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➻ LIFE STYLE

HIP HAIR SALONS, VINTAGE AFTERNOON TEA, LIFESTYLE COACHING AND MORE... VINTAGE

HANDPICKED WITH LOVE

➻ At their gorgeous shop on Bristol’s Cheltenham Road, full to the brim with vintage gems and treasure, Cox and Baloney have everything you could possibly need for creating a truly vintage lifestyle. You’ll find everything from clothing (ladies and gents), furniture, homeware and books to a dressmaker and, of course, their gorgeous vintage-style tea room. Renowned for the quality of the goods they sell, Cox and Baloney have lovingly handpicked all their stock themselves, and it’s all original vintage, designer or limited edition. They’ve also introduced a new vintage-inspired line - gorgeous dresses made using original 1940s, 50s and 60s dress patterns, but available in small, medium and large! Pop into their tea room and have a spot of lunch, share one of their famous ‘Cream Tea Towers’ or simply enjoy a fresh teapot of organic English Breakfast with a slice of homemade cake. They serve quintessential English favourites such as finger sandwiches, traditional cream tea and afternoon tea, and have now also introduced pork pies, paté and pickles to the menu. And it’s all served the oldfashioned way, on Grandma’s best bone china! Or how about a traditional afternoon tea party, but with a Cox and Baloney twist? Whether it’s just a few of the girls or a whole gabble, they can host your perfect party – “like no other you’ll find in Bristol!” These packages are available for breakfast, lunch or supper, and they can adapt their menus to whatever time of day suits you best. Why not, for example, have a breakfast tea party to kickstart the day? Cox and Baloney also offer private tea parties to larger groups in the evenings and on Sunday daytimes. COX & BALONEY VINTAGE BOUTIQUE 182-184 CHELTENHAM RD, COTHAM, BRISTOL. FFI: 0117 944 3100, WWW.COXANDBALONEY.COM, WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/COXANDBALONEY

ORGANISING SERVICE

LEAN ON ME ➻ Desperately need some admin support in the office? Or do you want to organise the most amazing event but just don’t have the time? Maybe you just feel that, with the demands of modern-day life, there’s not enough time left to spend doing all the things you love? Step forward new local company The Lifestyler. These lovely folk can help you straight away, with friendly, time-saving, organised solutions for your lifestyle, business or home. “We’re all about making your life easier and giving you back the time you deserve,” says The Lifestyler’s Olivia Mills. “With years of experience in events management, administration, venue management, marketing and people management, we know what works and what doesn’t, and how to help you in the most efficient and flexible ways. And because we charge by

the hour for our services, we’re affordable; assistance can be hired as and when you really need it. Or if you want long-term support, just ask, and we can put together a bespoke organisation plan.” “The team really helped me out at a time of need,” says mum and business owner Anita. “I’m a busy ‘mumtrepreneur’, and to have someone to call on is great. I’ve used the company for general office admin, organising my son’s fourth birthday party and decluttering my garage. I’d recommend them to anyone who needs a little support – the customer service and efficiency are just what I needed.”

THE LIFESTYLER FFI: 07742 769165, WWW. THELIFESTYLER.CO.UK (OR FIND THEM ON FACEBOOK, OR TWITTER: @THELIFESTYLERUK)

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LIFESTYLE

FOOTWEAR

CARRY ON CAMPER SALON NEWS

DREAM TEAM ➻ Contemporary men’s hairdresser RSR Mens Hair in Bristol have teamed up with

casting and talent agency room3agency to style models for photoshoots and portfolio shots. The team at RSR pride themselves on offering the finest traditions in men’s grooming with the latest in contemporary style, in a relaxing environment. room3agency, meanwhile, represent talent in the entertainment industry, including models, actors, voice-overs, presenters, extras and supporting artists, in London, Bristol and Cardiff. RSR lent their support to local fashion entrepreneur Ricardo Johnson last year, providing a team of stylists for Heart Breaker Club’s SS2011 fashion show, while room3Agency have provided models for local charities’ fashion shows. Both businesses are keen to support more local charities by providing models and stylists for events and shows. “We’re very excited to be working with room3Agency,” says Rachael Lavis, owner and lead stylist at RSR. “We hope this will be the start of a long and exciting relationship that will benefit charities locally.” Kate Marshall, director at room3Agency, says, “We’re looking forward to working closely with RSR and would ask any local charities looking for models for fashion shows and shoots to get in touch with us.”

RSR MENS HAIR 37 BALDWIN ST, BRISTOL. FFI: 07599 401402, WWW.RSRMENSHAIR.CO.UK ROOM3AGENCY FFI: 0117 944 1477, WWW.ROOM3AGENCY.COM

➻ With summer on its way, SoleLution offer something for all the family, whether you’re looking for a shoe, sandal or canvas. For children, there’s a wide choice of shoes for both school and casual, sandals and canvas from brands such as Start-rite, Geox, Hush Puppies and Ricosta. New in store this season is the Spanish brand Camper (pictured: kids’ Wabi sandal), who create footwear that’s not just comfortable for the feet but easy on the eye, too, using the world’s best natural materials. “Our staff are fully trained in fitting children’s feet,” says owner Tanya Marriott. “We each only get one pair, so it’s important to look after them, particularly while they’re developing.” Fantastic ranges are also available for ladies and gents. Pop in, and SoleLution’s knowledgeable staff are on hand to help you find the right shoe for your sole. SOLELUTION 1-2 BOYCES AVE, CLIFTON VILLAGE, BRISTOL (0117 973 8350) & 114 HIGH ST, PORTISHEAD (01275 843399)

HAIR

INSPIRED! ➻ The only salon in Bath to offer Bumble

and Bumble hair products from the longestablished and seriously hip Manhattan House of Bumble, No.3 Hairdressing is a bright, ambient space that takes up two floors of an elegant Georgian townhouse. There’s a calm, friendly atmosphere, and a highly qualified team who’ve trained with the likes of Toni and Guy, Vidal Sassoon, Saks and the aforementioned Bumble and Bumble. Relax between treatments in the peaceful patio garden and browse through their fashion and design books for some creative inspiration.

NO.3 HAIRDRESSING 3 SAVILLE ROW, BATH. FFI: 01225 443222, WWW.NO3HAIRDRESSING.CO.UK

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FASHION

LIFESTYLE

GOD'S

GIFT The fashion gods are spoiling you for choice this season. Folio gets set for summer at Bristol’s Cabot Circus

New Look - neon yellow satchel, £9.99

Harvey Nichols - Finders Keepers dress, £125 Harvey Nichols Chloe Madeline in neon green, £1370

NEON

Harvey Nichols - by Malene Birger skirt with tiered ostrich feather trim, £280

If you want to make a bold statement, vibrant, acidbright colours are huge this year. This is a trend that you can’t tone down so it’s all about mixing colours together - not for shrinking violets. Put together pinks, blues, yellows and greens for a new take on last year’s colour-blocking trend. If clashing isn’t your thing but you still like this look, try it with denim, which will give you a flavour of the trend.

House of Fraser - fuchsia silk cropped trousers, £190 Max Mara Studio

Harvey Nichols - Vince sequin dress, £435

Monsoon - colour pop jacket, £65

Monsoon - dress, £109

TEXTURE Tactile heaven. Whether it’s suede, flapper fringing, embellishments or lace, the feel of fabric is important this season. Look for a material or finish that brings something else to the table, as well as the cut or colour. Embellishments like lace and fringing take us back to the 1920s this year, but with a modern twist.

LK Bennett - crocus yellow bag, £245

House of Fraser - camel suede stitch detail scarf, £45 Label Lab

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FASHION

LIFESTYLE

Harvey Nichols - Peter Pilotto microlace printed dress, £505 House of Fraser - yellow and white clutch, £40 Therapy

House of Fraser - pink & black tie-dye throw on, £60 Label Lab

PASTELS Summer becomes mouth-watering this year, with yummy colours like orange sorbet, lemon sherbet and rosy apple, giving a sweet and delicious look – good enough to eat! The subtle, sugar pastels give a feminine, clean palette. Wear together or with white, or toughen it up with a rock T-shirt and dangerously high heels for a cute and candy appearance.

River Island - jacket, £55 Monsoon - pattern dress, £55

Warehouse - skinnies, £55 River Island - swimsuit, £35

Monsoon - shirt, £49

House of Fraser striped bikini top, £39 & high waist brief, £39 Ted Baker

House of Fraser - mint green oversized bow tie, £30 Pied a Terre House of Fraser - cream boat print scarf, £20 Therapy

PATTERN Spring is when nature comes alive, and this is reflected this season. Summer is looking hot with colour prints - from vintage-inspired florals to luscious paradise islands and tropical flowers. Whether you go for floaty, structured or somewhere in between, achieve this look by embracing the traditional and injecting it with the right amount of attitude. There’s only one rule with this trend - the bigger and bolder the print, the better!

CONTACTS HARVEY NICHOLS QUAKERS FRIARS AT CABOT CIRCUS. FFI: 0117 916 8888 HOUSE OF FRASER CABOT CIRCUS. FFI: 0844 800 3710 LK BENNETT QUAKERS FRIARS AT CABOT CIRCUS. FFI: 0117 929 9125 MONSOON GROUND FLOOR, CABOT CIRCUS. FFI: 0117 927 7551 NEW LOOK UPPER GROUND, CABOT CIRCUS. FFI: 0117 910 2420 RIVER ISLAND GROUND FLOOR, CABOT CIRCUS. FFI: 0117 927 7913 WAREHOUSE PENN ST, CABOT CIRCUS. FFI: 0117 929 9200

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FASHION

Mix’n’match Niki wears… jacket from River Island £45, striped T-shirt from Whistles £45, jeans from Donna Ida £120, necklace by Tina Lilienthal from Diana Porter on Bristol’s Park St £100, trainers bought a year ago

FASHION

HOW TO WEAR...

LACE

Don’t wait till the sun goes down, says personal stylist and image consultant Niki Whittle

L

ast season, lace was a big trend, but it was one for the bad girl. Gothic chic was huge and black was everywhere. This season, lace is still a huge trend but it’s evolved into something softer and more romantic. The gothic styles have been replaced by pretty, lacy items in soft sorbet shades and feminine shapes. But if that’s not your thing, don’t worry - this is a trend that can be adapted to suit any style, whether that’s edgy, girly or more classic. It’s how you wear it, and the accessories that you choose, that will make it yours. I love mixing it with leather or denim and wearing it in the daytime, but I find that a lot of people save it for best. Isn’t it a crime to own something gorgeous and only wear it a few times? My advice is: make the most of your clothes, use accessories to dress them up and down, and experiment with mixing and matching. This lace dress would be perfect for a special occasion, but in an effort to get more people wearing lace in the day I’ve chosen to wear it with a leather waist belt, some ballet pumps and a denim jacket to create a more casual look. This lace jacket is another item that’s perfect for a night out. But again, I want to illustrate how you can wear the trend during the day, so instead of wearing it over my favourite LBD, I’ve teamed it with a T-shirt and black jeans. So you see, lace really can be worn in the sunlit hours! All you need to do is choose the right accessories and you can be rocking the lace trend any time of day.

Dress to impress Niki wears… dress from Zara £49.99, belt from French Connection £35, pumps from Dune £65, mix of Indian and vintage bangles, denim jacket bought from Zara a couple of years ago

FFI WWW.NIKIWHITTLE.COM / WWW.HIPSHAPESANDBRISTOLFASHION.BLOGSPOT.COM

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www.foliomagazine.co.uk

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Email ~ info@boutique33.co.uk Tel ~ 01179 739570 33 Regent St, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 4HR.

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SHOPPING SHOPPING

LIFESTYLE

SHOP OF THE

“Now in their 112th year, these guys know how to dress for success”

MONTH

Josie Drummond finds British style alive and kicking at Austin Reed

B

ack in October, those design demons at Austin Reed, who’ve been catering for our tailoring needs at Cribbs Causeway for a fair few years now, decided it was time to introduce CC and Viyella to the discerning Cribbs woman. With an enviable history on the British tailoring high street, Austin Reed’s aspirational blend of heritage, craftsmanship and modernity has bagged them two Royal

Warrants. They’re now in their 112th year of dressing for success – if anyone knows how to style the nation, it’s these guys. Highlights down the years include concessions on famous passenger liners frequented by celebrity customers like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Austin Reed also made a name for itself with its uniforms for servicemen during the two world wars, and the late great Winston Churchill himself asked Austin Reed to design a suit that could be thrown on as sirens sounded the air-raid alarm, giving birth to the famous one-piece siren-suit. So what do CC and Viyella add to the instore mix? CC, which began life as Country Casuals back in 1973 with high-quality affordable fashion for women, made retail history by opening 55 stores in 11 weeks, and went on to introduce a customer loyalty scheme in 1994 – still a vital part of the business today. A big change came when Country Casuals became CC in 2005, with a new look and contemporary feel. Hollywood actress Jane Seymour, the Face of CC, embodies the brand with her carefree attitude and quintessential British style, and you’ll find the Cribbs store awash with a heady mix

of florals, polka dots and tribal prints for a rich, eclectic wardrobe. Keep your eyes peeled for the ice-blue occasion dress, animal-print jersey dress and red jeans. Viyella’s story began in 1784, with a spinning mill that went on to produce highquality yarns; by 1894 the famous Viyella cloth was born – a combination of soft wool and crisp cotton. The Queen’s Royal Warrant arrived in 1960, and the Austin Reed Group bought Viyella in 2009. International model and Face of Viyella India Hicks (Lord Mountbatten’s granddaughter, Prince Charles’ goddaughter and daughter of iconic interior designer David Hicks, no less) is the epitome of all that British heritage, design, sophistication and timeless style. This season’s collection draws on sports luxe and sophisticated daywear. Instore, you’ll also find the Ella by Viyella capsule collection, with key separates based on classic British design with attitude. AUSTIN REED, CC & VIYELLA UNIT 015, LOWER LEVEL, THE MALL AT CRIBBS CAUSEWAY, BRISTOL. FFI: 0117 950 0367, WWW.AUSTINREED.CO.UK

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BEAUTY

LIFESTYLE

LUCKNAM

PARK SPA

Ruth Morris leaves the school run behind her to find pre-natal heaven at one of the UK’s finest spas

A

t 33 weeks pregnant, it’s not easy to sleep. After a restless night I managed to roll myself out of bed at 6.45am. We struggled through the Monday-morning school run with the usual questions: Mum, where’s my tie? Where are my shoes? I can’t find my toothbrush. This bagel is mouldy… You get the idea. Finally, we got on the road to Lucknam Park for a bit of much-needed R’n’R. The trip out to Bath was beautiful: sun blazing and trees bursting with varying shades of green, along a gorgeous drive flanked by fields and horses. Eventually the house

fantastic. Sam used good firm pressure and I felt the tension releasing. She massaged my lower back with a much gentler technique, then I rolled onto my other side and she repeated the process. I was then asked to lie on my back and Sam checked I was comfortable before proceeding with the facial. came into view with its carefully manicured This was utter bliss: she used a combination of lawns, and we knew we were in for a real treat. cold creams and hot towels, and since my sense The spa itself is modern and welcoming; we of smell has heightened in the past few weeks, I were greeted with dressing gowns, slippers and loved the smell of the creams. Sam applied a face fluffy white towels, and the well-equipped mask, then moved on to my bump, massaging it changing rooms came with beautifully scented gently and, again, applying a mask. I wasn’t sure handwash and body cream. Having changed how the baby would react but, like her mother, into swimming costumes, we sat by the pool on she was well and truly zonked out by this point extremely comfortable sun loungers and my and barely managed a little twitch. While the non-pregnant friend experienced the pleasures masks were drying, I was treated to a scalp of the Jacuzzi and outdoor and indoor pools. massage. Next, Sam moved onto my legs, using a Being pregnant, I couldn’t sample these heated massage technique to drain the fluid retention delights but was more than happy to sit back and before returning to the face and bump and relax in the bright, airy pool area. removing the masks. The whole treatment lasted I was booked in for the ‘Nurturing one-and-a-half hours; I could have happily laid Mother To Be Treatment’. We were there for another hour-and-a-half. given a glass of fresh juice as we Moving to the relaxation room, we were filled out the refreshingly brief refreshed with a glass of water and fresh fruit. We questionnaire then went through then wandered to the brasserie where we ordered to the lovely treatment room: no lunch and sat in the gardens in our dressing clutter, gentle music and a gowns, soaking up the sun. welcoming bed covered with fluffy All good things must, sadly, come to an end, towels. My therapist, Sam, talked but we headed back to our real lives feeling far me through the treatment and asked less tense, and vowing to come back at least once if there were any areas that needed a month to treat ourselves. focusing on. I’ve been very lucky throughout my pregnancy, with only a little tension in my shoulders, so I asked her to focus on this. Surrounded and supported by big welcoming LUCKNAM PARK HOTEL & SPA COLERNE, pillows, the treatment began. I started on my CHIPPENHAM, WILTS. FFI: 01225 742777 (SPA side, with Sam working the problem shoulder 740570), WWW.LUCKNAMPARK.CO.UK area. I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy being massaged while pregnant, but the whole experience was

“As the house came into view we knew we were in for a treat”

CONTACT

Leave the real world behind as you sip a glass of fresh juice in this heavenly setting

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FOLIO ADVERTORIAL

GETTING PATRIOTIC WITH PIXIE LOTT

THE BRISTOL JUBILEE CONCERT

THE BRISTOL JUBILEE CONCERT SAT 2 JUNE, 7PM (GATES OPEN 4.30PM) THE MALL AT CRIBBS CAUSEWAY, BRISTOL WEB: WWW. MALLCRIBBS.COM (TICKET-ONLY EVENT)

X Factor finalist Misha B, and Cheltenham band Young Kato (right) will be performing at the concert on 2 June

T

he whole of Britain is gearing up for the Queen’s Jubilee, and Bristol is no exception. With the extended bank holiday weekend just a few weeks away (not that we’re counting) details for the Bristol Jubilee Concert have just been announced, and with Pixie Lott headlining, the concert at The Mall at Cribbs Causeway looks set to be one of the hottest events around. Ten thousand lucky fans will be treated to a live set from the Brit nominee, who will be performing tracks from her latest album Young Foolish Happy in the outdoor arena in front of The Mall on Sat 2 June. Bristol-born comedian and MTV presenter Joel Dommett has been lined up to compere the two-hour concert, which will also see performances from X Factor finalist Misha B and Cheltenham band Young Kato, who are set to launch their first EP in June. As well as celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee in style, Bristol Catch Bristol-born comedian Joel Dommett who will be residents will also be able to help raise vital funds for ‘a Life compering the two-hour for a Cure’, Ryan Bresnahan’s Meningitis Appeal, a local Bristol Jubilee Concert charity raising money in association with Meningitis UK to find the ‘ultimate’ vaccine to fight meningitis. Ryan Bresnahan was just 16 years old when he died of Cribbs Causeway is hoping that Bristol will meningitis. The avid sports player died within get behind the event and give generously. just one hour of contracting the virus, which is Maria Crayton, Head of Marketing at The sadly one of the fastest cases of meningitis ever Mall, says, “We wanted to do something recorded. In the two years since his death, Ryan’s really special to celebrate the Jubilee, and family have been raising vital funds to research after hearing about the hard work that the development of the ultimate vaccine to Michelle Bresnahan and her family do, we protect against meningitis. felt that the Bristol Jubilee Concert would be With 10,000 free tickets to be given away, fans a fantastic opportunity to raise money for hoping to attend are being asked to donate just such a worthy cause. We were all really £1 in exchange for their ticket to help raise touched by Ryan’s story and we just hope money for Ryan’s Appeal. Fans will be able to buy that everyone attending the concert gives limited-edition wristbands at the concert to generously so that we can all make a huge purchase as a Jubilee keepsake, while raising difference.” money for Ryan’s Appeal. With 100% of Free tickets to the concert are available to donations going to a Life for a Cure, The Mall at collect from the upper level of The Mall at Cribbs Causeway on various weekends throughout May. For a full list of ticket giveaway dates, visit www.mallcribbs.com. THE BRISTOL JUBILEE CONCERT SAT 2 JUNE, 7PM (GATES OPEN 4.30PM). TICKET-ONLY EVENT. FFI ON TICKET GIVEAWAY DATES, DETAILS OF THE CONCERT AND FULL TERMS AND CONDITIONS: WWW.MALLCRIBBS.COM A LIFE FOR A CURE FFI AND TO FIND OUT HOW YOUR DONATIONS CAN HELP: WWW. RYANBRESNAHAN.ORG; TO MAKE A DONATION ONLINE: HTTP://UK. VIRGINMONEYGIVING.COM/ALIFEFORACURE

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BEAUTY

LIFESTYLE

2

ABSOLUTELY FLAWLESS

1

Make-up is getting so darn clever these days - I’m just waiting for the day that my make-up applies itself perfectly each morning before I’ve even opened my eyes. Wouldn’t that be nice? But in the meantime, how about this nifty new foundation from Clinique, which keeps your skin looking matte all day long. Their revolutionary Stay-Matte Oil-Free Makeup is an ultra-light, gel-cream formula that stays put even as temperatures soar into the thirties, leaving you looking as fresh and sweet as a daisy.

SCENTS AND THE CITY

Jo Malone is famed for her exquisitely pure fragrances, any of which can be combined to create your own signature scent. And as we’re now well and truly into blossom season, the time is ripe for a new scent which heralds the promise of warmer days. Plum Blossom is Jo Malone’s latest limited edition fragrance, bursting with the heady purity of these pretty blush-ruffle flowers. Wear it on its own and you’ll feel like you’re walking through an orchard, even while pounding the pavements of Bristol.

JO MALONE PLUM BLOSSOM COLOGNE, £36 FOR 30ML / £72 FOR 100ML. AVAILABLE AT HARVEY NICHOLS, BRISTOL. FFI: WWW.JOMALONE.COM

4

CLINIQUE STAY-MATTE OIL-FREE MAKEUP £21.50 FOR 30ML. AVAILABLE WIDELY AT BOOTS, DEBENHAMS, JOHN LEWIS AND JOLLY’S. FFI: WWW.CLINIQUE.CO.UK

HOT LOOKS

WE LOVE Tips, trends and new buys from Rachel Nott…

3

GET GLOSSY

EYE BRIGHT

Forget orangey one-shadefits-all tinted moisturisers. When it comes to looking naturally radiant, Laura Mercier is the tinted moisturiser queen. What this lady doesn’t know about skin perfection ain’t worth knowing. So we’re uber-excited that she’s turned her attentions to the eyes. Her latest Tone Perfecting Eye Gel Crème brightens, tightens and de-puffs the under-eye area, leaving you looking as though you’ve had your requisite eight hours’ kip and then some.

Keep lips smooth and smoochable ready for a summer of air kissing with the latest Lip Gloss Wands and Glossy Tubes from Barry M. Available in nine shimmering shades, each Gloss Wand is infused with a sugar sweet taste and scent so you’ll be making any excuse to re-apply. Glossy Tubes, meanwhile, are great for girls who like their lips super shiny, without any of that icky stickiness that leaves you with half your hair stuck to your face. LIP GLOSS WANDS, £4.49 EACH, AND GLOSSY TUBES, £3.99 EACH. AVAILABLE AT BOOTS AND SUPERDRUG. FFI: WWW.BARRYM.COM

5

LAURA MERCIER TONE PERFECTING EYE GEL CRÈME £41.50. AVAILABLE AT SPACE.NK & HARVEY NICHOLS. FFI: WWW.LAURAMERCIER.COM

FLUSH OF YOUTH

The surefire way to perk up a dull complexion? Blush all the way, but how to pick the right shade? With MAC’s new sextet of blush powders, and with shades from lavender to peach, the look is guaranteed to be très cheek!

MAC TRÈS CHEEK POWDER BLUSH £17.50. AVAILABLE AT DEBENHAMS, BRISTOL & JOLLY’S BATH. FFI: WWW.MACCOSMETICS.CO.UK

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HEALTH

LIFESTYLE

SPOTLIGHT ON . . .

MEDITATION ➻ The chances are that the word ‘meditation’ conjures images of a bearded man sitting in blissful reverie, cross-legged, high up on a mountaintop very idyllic! But what place does the ageold technique really have in today’s timepoor society? “Meditation can aid mental clarity and performance,” says Liz Livermore, Natural Therapies manager at Cedar Falls Health Farm in Taunton. “It’s perfect for those who seek more serenity and calm in their everyday lives.” When life gets hectic, it can feel as though there’s just not enough time in the day to get everything done. But meditation can help tune out the static of a hectic day and focus your attention on the tasks at hand. A simple morning meditation routine can result in a much more productive day; it doesn’t require a huge time commitment but you’ll probably need to get up around 30 minutes earlier than usual – meditating when you’re rushed for time is pointless.

GETTING STARTED: 1. Find a comfortable position. 2. Focus on your breathing – counting your inhalations and exhalations is a good way to clear the clutter from your mind. Keep your back straight and pay attention to your abdominal muscles as you breathe. 3. After about 15 minutes, you’ll start to sense that you enter a peaceful reverie. 4. Slowly start thinking about the approaching tasks in your workday. What’s your top priority? Once you’ve established it, move onto other goals. 5. Once you’ve made a mental checklist, start thinking about the best way to go about each task. Concentrate on maximising efficiency and reducing ineffective work habits. 6. Get up, get a pen and paper and make a list. This anxiety-free process will help make identifying priorities much simpler than usual, and you’re much more likely to accomplish more in your workday.

Need more serenity in your life? Try morning meditation

CEDAR FALLS HEALTH FARM TAUNTON, SOMERSET. FFI: 01823 433904, WWW.CEDARFALLS. CO.UK (CEDAR FALLS OFFER MEDITATION WORKSHOPS AS PART OF THEIR DAILY ACTIVITY SCHEDULE AS WELL AS PRIVATE CLASSES. PRICES FROM £100 FOR A 1.25HR GUIDED SESSION)

THERAPEUTIC DANCE

HAPPY FEET ➻ After living and working in Holland for eight years, Antoinette Lorraine has returned to Bristol to teach biodanza, which she describes as “a fusion of music, movement and feeling that reconnects you with the experience of being alive, being in the moment and being accepted for just who you are”. Biodanza devotees claim that this form of therapeutic dancing (created by Chilean psychologist and anthropologist Rolando Toro over 40 years ago) can transform your life by allowing

participants to experience full vitality, joy, happiness, peace, relaxation, fun, laughter, love and friendship. “It’s also a wonderful opportunity to meet and connect with new people on a very real level,” says Antoinette. “It all happens at your own pace, in your own time. There are no steps to learn, nothing to get right or wrong. It’s easy, and anyone can do it!” IBF ROLANDO TORO SCHOOL OF BIODANZA FFI: 07784 787635, WWW. BIODANZA4UK.COM

SPA OFFER

BACK ON TRACK ➻ Want to make a splash at the Thermae Bath Spa? Then

take the train! Bristol residents (or anybody who doesn’t live within strolling distance of the Heritage City) can take advantage of a special offer entitling rail users to a four-hour spa session for the price of a two-hour session at the spa, bagging themselves £10 off the four-hour/£36 price. The offer is valid Mon-Fri 9am-9.30pm, but bear in mind that last entry is at 5pm. You don’t need to book in advance, but you do need to bring your own swimming costume (towel, robe and slippers can be hired from the spa if required), and there’s no entry for under-16s. Visit www. firstgreatwestern.co.uk and click on ‘Offers’, then ‘2for1 Regional’, then ‘2for1 Bath’, then ‘Thermae Bath Spa’ to download your voucher.

THERMAE BATH SPA HETLING PUMP ROOM, HOT BATH ST, BATH. FFI: 0844 888 0844, WWW.THERMAEBATHSPA.COM

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The haircolour you've been waiting for Chromatics • Hair feels up to 2x stronger • No amonia, no odour

products are used in the Salon. 6 Rockleaze Rd, Sneyd Park, Bristol BS9 1NF Tel: 0117 9682663 www.carlohairandbeauty.co.uk

£30 £18

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A-levels GCSEs Maths English & more

Book now for... A real alternative to mainstream eductaion - enrol now for Sept/Jan Also PRIVATE TUITION -

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Don’t delay. Contact us! 0117 929 7747 Albion House, 12A Broad Street, Bristol BS1 2HL

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To reach 72,000 families in your area advertise in the next issue of Primary Times. Contact Caroline tel 0117 934 3737 email c.stretton@bepp.co.uk 34 FOLIO/MAY 2012

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EDUCATION

LIFESTYLE

TUITION

DRAMA

WILL MAKING THE GRADE POWER ➻ An independent college in the centre of Bristol, the Western Tutorial College provide a real alternative to mainstream education for GCSE, IGCSE and A-level. They offer intensive courses and flexible education for those of you wanting highquality tuition in a friendly and supportive yet academic environment, and also provide a second chance if you want to retake your exams in order to proceed with your chosen career path. As we all know, with fierce competition for places at Britain’s better universities, and with many more students achieving higher grades, it’s becoming increasingly important to excel academically. The college principal has many years of experience in the British education system, spanning secondary, further and higher education, and

➻ Knights Players, a Bristol

drama group for children aged eight to 11, have staged their most ambitious production yet. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet calls on strong actors to play the part of the two ill-fated lovers – which seems even more daunting, perhaps, when you’re only 10 years old. But Poppy Godfrey (Red Maids’ Junior) and Joe Burgette (St Michael’s on the Mount Primary) both rose to the challenge, giving confident, mature performances at Bristol’s Alma Tavern Theatre. This was the fourth Shakespearian production for the Knights Players, who rehearse once a week at Christ Church Primary School in Clifton. “To see such young children bringing the great works of Shakespeare to life, and getting so much out of it, is a real joy,” says producer/ director Ben Knight. “The success of these shows is also down to the many adults who are so generous with their time and skills.”

understands the need to treat each student as an individual with their own personal learning requirements. “Our philosophy is to measure success in terms of our students’ achievements,” say the college, “and we achieve this with small groups and a personalised study programme designed for each individual. Our building in the centre of Bristol offers facilities where students can study at their own pace and develop the skills necessary to succeed, and it’s close to all amenities and transport links.” The college also offer one-to-one tuition in a variety of subjects, which can be more beneficial for many students. WESTERN TUTORIAL COLLEGE ALBION HOUSE, 12A BROAD ST, BRISTOL. FFI: 0117 929 7747, WWW.WESTERNTUTORIALCOLLEGE.CO.UK

FESTIVAL GONGS

WRITTEN IN THE STARS

KNIGHTS PLAYERS FFI: CONTACT BEN KNIGHT ON 07720 053863

PIC: CHRISTELLE JONES & BEKI WILLS

➻ Students from St Katherine’s School

excelled at this year’s Mid Somerset Festival in Bath, where a significant number of St Katherine’s students picked up merits, distinctions and commendations in the Poetry, Monologues, and Creative Writing sections. They competed alongside other schools, private individuals and creative writing groups, all judged by professional adjudicators who provided positive and constructive feedback to the participants. A large delegation from St Katherine’s attended this year’s festival at Bath’s Guildhall. Students heard Sarah Duncan (pictured, second from left), author of Kissing Mr Wrong, critique their work, and were awarded first, joint second and third prizes. Katie Caple, a sixth-former, was an outstanding winner who wrote with ‘originality and voice’, while Lily Percival and Zoe Maggs came joint second, and Thomas Blackwell third with his amusing satire on Nick Clegg.

Pupils from St Katherine's with author Sarah Duncan

“The students were delighted by the beautiful surroundings and to have the chance to discuss their writing with authors and judges,” says Jo Carrington, head of English at St Katherine’s. “The whole experience has given them real inspiration to take their literary interests further. We were also delighted to come away with so many prizes and commendations.” ST KATHERINE’S SCHOOL HAM GREEN, NORTH SOMERSET, BS20. FFI: 01275 373737, WWW.ST-KATHERINES.N-SOMERSET.SCH.UK

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MARK SIMMONS PHOTOGRAPHY Tel: 0117 9140999 Mobile: 07778 063 699

Natural Weddings

“Mark’s gift lies in his ability to tell a story in picture form. He totally captured the atmosphere of our memorable day and didn’t miss one precious moment. He is incredibly talented, very likeable and does not at all get in the way of the celebrations. He comes highly recommended!” Marie-Claire Gutfreund

NEW Website: www.marksimmonsphotography.com

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MOTORING

LIFESTYLE

OBJECT OF DESIRE

Andy Enright test-drives the third incarnation of Mercedes’ capacious Golf rival

T

he Mercedes-Benz A-Class was for so long the oddity at the base of the range - a car that never seemed to communicate all that Mercedes did best. That’s changed with the latest A-Class, a stunning return to form. Third time around, Mercedes have adopted a more mainstream approach for their entry-level model, the then-radical engineering of the original, 1997 A-Class being ditched for a more conventional silhouette. It’s only on closer inspection that you begin to appreciate quite what a big step forward this model is. Neither the first nor second generation A-Class were any great shakes to drive. This latest car, though, is cut from a very different cloth, with a choice of more powerful engines across both its diesel and petrol ranges – all of which can be combined either with the new six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed, dualclutch automatic gearbox.

Mercedes’ latest A-Class is a stunning return to form

Design-wise, the new A-Class has abandoned its predecessors’ ‘one-box’ shape for a more conventional two-box hatchback design, but it’s packed with interesting styling features. Even

the entry-level models have a sporty stance, while the upper specification cars look seriously purposeful. There’s a decent amount of space inside, too, although the focus has clearly

been on improving perceived quality and offering a sportier feel. Inside, all trim elements have been given an electroplated finish, resulting in real metal surfaces with a ‘cool touch’ effect. Perhaps the most interesting design touch is what looks like an iPad sitting on the upper part of the centre console – in fact, it’s an integrated touch-screen system that will sync seamlessly with your iPhone. All too often the initial vision gets watered down and diffused as it nears production, but the A-Class seems to have all Mercedes’ current brand values sublimated into an economically packaged and wholly desirable hatchback. Today’s Mercedes has its swagger back – and no car better typifies that than the A-Class. Who’d have thought it? FFI WWW2.MERCEDES-BENZ. CO.UK

PREACHING TO

THE CONVERTED

This special edition of Mazda’s affordable sports convertible makes Andy Enright smile

S

ince its brilliant, rear-wheeldrive pocket rocket first emerged in 1989, Mazda claim to have sold 100,000 MX-5s in the UK. A goodly number of that impressive haul has been from special editions, like Vintage, Street Competition and Café Roadster. The latest addition to the extended family, the high-end Venture special edition, stands out with its 17-inch alloy wheels, heated leather seats and piano black detailing. And, in both soft-top and roadster-coupé styles, it’s bound to be popular. The Venture comes with a choice of engines: a 1.8 litre pumping out 124 brake horse power, and a 2.0-litre unit producing 158bhp. Neither makes the car the last word in searing pace, but you can get to 60mph in 9.9 seconds with the 1.8, 7.9s with the two-litre. But straight line speed was never what the MX-5 was about; buyers are lured, instead, by its involving drive, usability and a chassis that’s helped generations of drivers get to grips with rearwheel drive dynamics.

Mazda’s Venture offers decent value for money and will put a huge smile on your face

The Venture also sees the introduction of the MX-5’s own satellite navigation system. The Sanyo TomTom sat-nav features a fully integrated 5.8in touch-screen monitor, 4GB SD card-based map (45 countries), live services, iPod and Bluetooth connectivity and complete

multimedia functionality. The MX-5 has long been the exemplar of the affordable sports car – and although its engines are no great shakes when it comes to efficiency, their emissions and economy aren’t going to break the bank. The 1.8-litre soft-top returns 39.8mpg and 167g/km - worse than a 2.0-litre petrol BMW 3 Series, but hardly catastrophic when balanced against the fun on offer. This is a vehicle that never seems to have a sell-by date. Although the economy and emissions figures of both engines are starting to make them look a little off the pace, there’s a lot of life in the MX-5. The Venture still offers decent value for money and will paint a huge smile on your face. FFI WWW.MAZDA.CO.UK

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TRAVEL

THE IRONS

MAN L ABOVE: The sprawling 650acre woodland is home to two Championship golf courses BELOW: The AA rosette award-winning Vale Grill

et’s get straight to the point – the Vale Resort is a stunner. Situated three miles off the M4, on the other side of Cardiff, it boasts the kind of eye-watering facilities that have made it the training headquarters for, among others, Wales’ national rugby team. Its sprawling 650-acre woodland location is also home to two Championship golf courses. These two beauties, to be frank, are the main reason I’ve made the journey over the Bridge. My room at the wondrously kitted-out, four-star hotel had the kind of view that could easily kid a befuddled, hungover hacker that he’s died and gone to golf heaven. From my balcony I gazed down upon no less than three greens of the appropriately named Lake Course, hunkered around a beautiful little water hazard, home to swans, geese, ducks and, doubtless, many an errant golf ball. I could have happily sat here all day, sipping tea, listening to the bizarre tap-tapping of a very industrious woodpecker and soaking up the sun-drenched scenery (yup, god had not only transported me to a putters’

Dave Higgitt wallows shamelessly in unadulterated golfing heaven at the Vale Resort near Cardiff paradise, he’d also thrown in some Mediterranean-style weather for good measure). I could have recalled last night’s sumptuous feast at the AA rosette awardwinning Vale Grill, where the service (attentive and friendly as opposed to intrusive and fawning) was matched by a splendid selection of locally sourced food, the undoubted highlight of which was the tian of shredded roast duck breast (hope that wasn’t sourced too locally, I thought hypocritically as I communed with the nearby, quacking, fauna). I could have considered all those other facilities that I wouldn’t be indulging in (try Wales’ largest spa facility – I will, on my next visit). But there was no time for such wistful contemplation. There was golf to be played. So, after shamelessly taking maximum advantage of the irresistible all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet, I headed for the pro-shop (huge!), and then the well-appointed range where I hammered a few wayward irons, determined to gain a headstart over my golfing comrades, who were soon to join me for a pre-match snifter at the 19th hole. The Wales National is a true monster of 7,443 yards for those powerful, skilled or deluded enough to play from the blue tees. It’s a giant, however, that seems somehow normal sized and friendly, too. Through very clever course design, each hole has immense character and charm. On almost all the tees my professionally cynical companions murmured their approval as each fresh vista and challenge was revealed. The glorious par 5 10th, which rates as one of the best holes I’ve ever played, anywhere, was one of many highlights. But take on this course without the necessary armaments of power, skill and course management (in other words us) and this friendly giant turns into a

George Foreman – a big, smiling brute, utterly without mercy should it have you in its grip, as all our scorecards testified. Any downsides are mostly temporary feathery fairways and slightly dusty greens when we visited, caused by that rarest phenomenon, a Welsh drought. Despite this, the Wales National is the best course I’ve played in Wales, and without question one of the best five courses I’ve played in Europe. The last time I looked, two of the others cost £260 and 300 euros a round respectively. For the same money, four of you can play the Wales National at weekend rates and still have enough for a three-course meal and drinks on the delightful club house terrace. Magnificent, beguiling – and a bargain to boot. With thanks to Miles Kirke

CONTACT

VALE RESORT HENSOL PARK, HENSOL, NR CARDIFF, VALE OF GLAMORGAN, WALES. FFI: 01443 667800, WWW.VALEHOTEL.COM

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TRAVEL

IDLE ROCKS

HOTEL Cookery classes, lapping waves and a dreamy seafood chowder make for Eleanor Pipe’s perfect Cornish break

I

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: The serenely understated Idle Rocks Hotel; the hotel’s sea view; ta-dah! – the finished dish; Ellie gets to work in the kitchen; head chef Steve Marsh and pastry chef Judith

didn’t have to be asked twice to go and enjoy some fine dining and cookery classes in one of my favourite parts of Cornwall. Flipflops packed, I was halfway down the M5 before you could say ‘pint of scrumpy’. The Ozzy, my loyal partner in crime, was less convinced of the joys of a Saturday afternoon spent learning how to cook, but was nevertheless bundled in alongside the flip-flops. St Mawes’ Idle Rocks Hotel stands serenely understated in the best location in town. If first impressions of the hotel don’t blow you away, second and third certainly will. The stunning sea views from our room were enough to impress even the most discerning of visitors, but it was the fine attention to detail that really set the hotel apart. In-room complimentary goodies included Cornish spring water, tea, hot chocolate and real cafetiere coffee to go in the mini cafetiere – a small enough detail but enough to make any coffee-lover’s day. Somewhat intrepidly, we headed downstairs to begin the cookery class. Steve Marsh, head chef and hotel

manager, met us personally and took us through to the lounge area, where the roaring log fire and sea views made for the perfect setting on a brisk spring afternoon. It’s rare that I meet someone with as much passion for food as I have, but in Steve I met my match. Over coffee, he talked us through sourcing ingredients and his inspiration for the menus. The mouthwateringly rustic biscotti that accompanied our coffee – almost a meal in its own right - was homemade and quite frankly the finest biscuit I’ve ever had the pleasure of dunking in a cup of coffee. Cookery classes take place in the hotel kitchen, adding authenticity to the whole experience. With infinite patience, specialist pastry chef Judith talked us through making bread and scones. We then worked with Steve to create a vibrant but simple dish of john dory with hake, served with seasonal vegetables and a scattering of French mushrooms. All food is locally sourced where possible, but top priority is sourcing the best-quality ingredients. (The deliciously liberal use of butter and rock salt did prompt me to ask if the hotel can cater for special dietary requirements, but I was assured that, as everything is cooked fresh, this is no problem.) My enthusiasm far outweighed my skill level, but boy, did I come into my own when it came to the tasting! The class was over all too soon, along with any evidence of our efforts. After a wander in the setting sun, we were treated to the full Idle Rocks

culinary experience at its best, with course after course exceeding all our already high expectations. I opted for seafood all the way (when in Cornwall, and all that…), with scallops, haddock, and seafood chowder to die for. The Ozzy enjoyed partridge followed by seared fillet of beef with wild mushrooms and fondant potatoes in a red wine jus. Dessert was the final triumph. It’s rare to find a sweet dish that the Ozzy doesn’t turn his nose up at, but the classically English spotted dick was polished off with a happy sigh. I had my sights firmly set on the cheese menu, with each one described in delicious detail. As I struggled to finish off the last mouthfuls of my delectable chocolate mousse, however, I had to admit defeat. Death by cheese is such an unglamorous way to go. Sunday morning, we were woken from our contented food-induced comas by gently lapping waves, and shuffled down for breakfast. The restaurant staff familiar faces from our meal the previous evening - greeted us as old friends, setting us down at a sea-view table for yet another feast. We left the hotel relaxed, happy, invigorated, a few stone heavier and in rare agreement that the Idle Rocks, well, rocks!

CONTACT

IDLE ROCKS HOTEL HARBOURSIDE, ST MAWES, CORNWALL. FFI: 01326 270771, WWW.IDLEROCKS.CO.UK

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➻ HOME FRONT STONE BATHS, HANDMADE BEDS, SOLAR-POWERED FRIDGES, MOSAICS & MORE... BATHROOMS

STONE AGE

➻ Mandarin Stone have just introduced a new collection of gorgeous solid

stone baths. They really are exquisite, but if you’re thinking of incorporating one of these into your bathroom project, then make sure you plan ahead, as they’re extremely heavy! The baths are available in four different stones - Bluestone, Calacatta Viola, Ecru Honed Marble and Flax Honed Limestone - and other stones and bath designs can be sourced on request. Shown here is the Calacatta Viola Honed Marble Vesta Bath, which costs £13,140. On the walls is White Quartzite Maxi Splitface, which costs £57.46 per square metre. Plumbing accessories are also available and are sold separately. Mandarin Stone offer an unparalleled selection of natural stone for the home and garden. Stones include limestone, marble, slate, travertine, granite, sandstone, terracotta and basalt, in an array of formats and finishes, including bathware and mosaics. One of the largest importers and stockists of natural stone tiles in the country, they’ve recently introduced a range of Italian porcelain tiles. With nine showrooms across the UK, including both Bristol and Bath, Mandarin Stone have been established for 20 years now. The company pride themselves on offering sound design and technical advice, and virtually all their stones can be delivered within short time-frames. Classic ranges start from just £15 per square metre.

MANDARIN STONE REGENT ST, CLIFTON, BRISTOL (0117 973 1552) & BROAD ST, BATH (01225 460033). OTHER BRANCHES INCLUDE CHELTENHAM, CARDIFF, MONMOUTH & EXETER. FFI: WWW.MANDARINSTONE.COM

BEDROOMS

TIME FOR A BED? ➻ If you’re one of the many people out there who think that Cornish Bed Co beds are the stuff that dreams are made of, this could be your lucky month. They’ve gathered up all their ex-display and clearance beds from their showrooms and factory and have sent them to nuzzle up alongside the other gorgeous goodies you’ll find in their Bristol showroom in Montpelier during May. The Cornish Bed Co are a sister company to long-established Bristol bed gurus Dusk til Dawn. In 2004, Dusk til Dawn – who sell a delectable mix of design-led quality furniture and mattresses alongside traditional wood and metal beds – discovered that the factory in Cornwall that made their traditional metal beds was being closed and it didn’t look as though anyone was going to take it over. So in they stepped to take over the factory and keep production of those fabulous beds going. They’ve been running the

Cornwall factory ever since, and in 2007 opened a showroom for new sister company the Cornish Bed Co in Wadebridge. In 2009 Dusk til Dawn moved their Bristol showroom 500 yards from its traditional base on Cheltenham Road to a dedicated factory showroom tucked away inside their warehouse on Montpelier Central Trading Estate. They continue to stock the excellent Ethnicraft furniture collection and a range of traditional wood furniture alongside their handmade traditional beds and quality mattresses. CORNISH BED CO & DUSK TIL DAWN SHOWROOM & WAREHOUSE, UNIT 10 MONTPELIER CENTRAL TRADING ESTATE, MONTPELIER, BRISTOL, BS6. FFI: 0117 944 2388, WWW.CORNISHBEDS.CO.UK, WWW.DUSKTILDAWN.CO.UK, WWW. ENCHANTEDHOUSE.CO.UK (FOUNDRY)

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HOMEFRONT SOLAR NEWS

OUT OF AFRICA ➻ Volunteers from the South West’s leading

renewable energy specialists, Solarsense, have recently installed solar-powered fridges for storing vaccines at remote health posts in rural Ethiopia. Recognising the desperate need for properly refrigerated vaccines in the heat, Solarsense raised money through donations and fundraising activities for Bristol-based charity partner For-Ethiopia, which works to relieve poverty and sickness in the East African country. In a rural area west of the capital Addis Ababa they installed solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roofs of three health posts to generate electricity, fitted the vaccine fridges and trained key local people in how to operate and maintain the fridges. They also revisited another health post, Beso, where Solarsense staff installed solar PV and a vaccine fridge last year. Each post serves at least 2,000 people, as well as supplying vaccines to other nearby health posts. The fridges safely store vaccines used to immunise children against potentially fatal diseases like tuberculosis, polio, tetanus and diphtheria.

SOLARSENSE HELIOS HOUSE, BROCKLEY LANE, BROCKLEY, BACKWELL, BRISTOL. FFI: 01275 461800, WWW.SOLARSENSE-UK.COM

INTERIORS

MOSAICS

BITS & PIECES ➻ Bristol mosaic artist Felicity Ball of Just

Mosaics has been selected as one of only 30 up-and-coming designer-makers to showcase her work at Handmade in Britain’s prestigious London: A Celebration at the capital’s Gallery@Oxo this month, from 10-13 May. For this unique craft and design selling exhibition celebrating British creativity in this Jubilee and Olympic year, Felicity is busy working on a special London collection to show alongside her existing designs. From her Bristol studio, Felicity has been producing her unique mosaic pieces for a number of years now. As well as selling readymade pieces for the home and garden, she’s recently been commissioned by Bristol restaurants Fishers and Jamie’s Italian for tables

BEAUTY SPOT

➻ OurGreenRoom is the place to go for bold,

and works of art – many of you may have seen and admired her work without realising it. Felicity’s mosaics are unlike any others. She likes to ‘paint’ with tiles – intricately cutting each tile to create atmospheric, colourful, manydimensional works. Her mosaics vary from the figurative to the abstract, from wall art to bistro tables and benches, and she’s always interested in discussing ideas to enhance inside and outside spaces in both homes and businesses.

beautiful, unusual, difficult to source and exclusive fabrics, along with a full soft-furnishing service including lampshades, wall art, cushions, curtains and blinds, all hand-finished to an exceptionally high standard. “We also offer an upholstery service and retro and upcycled furniture, and can work on commission, with an interior design service coming soon,” says creative director Lois Griffin. “Anything is possible!” Bringing us the likes of Lucy Turner, Laura Oakes, SJGuest and Fokus, they’re exclusive stockists in the Bath area for most of their suppliers, and in some cases the only UK stockists.

JUST MOSAICS & FELICITY BALL TEL: 07944 635487, EMAIL: FELICITYBALL@JUSTMOSAICS. CO.UK, TWITTER: @JUSTMOSAICS, BLOG: WWW. JUSTMOSAICS.BLOGSPOT.COM, WEB: WWW. JUSTMOSAICS.CO.UK

OUR GREEN ROOM 15 MARKET ST, BRADFORD ON AVON. FFI: WWW. OURGREENROOM.CO.UK

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the

wooden blindcompany

bespoke shutters & blinds

Expertly measured & installed by us, We are a local, family business, With over a decade of experience. Contact us now to be inspired!

t: 0117 960 6289 www.thewoodenblindcompany.co.uk

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MYGRANDDESIGN

CONTEMPORARY ECO

RENOVATION

THE PROJECT David and Gill had been looking to move out of their flat in Bath into a house with a garden. With modern houses in such short supply they turned to Bath-based experts CaSA Architects to help them find a house with the potential to become something really special. What they found was a very ordinary 1970s bungalow which, despite their own reservations, they bought with complete confidence in CaSA’s vision for the property.

THE BRIEF

âžť To transform an ordinary bungalow into a contemporary, highly efficient and sustainable family home fit for the future.

A light and open-plan modern home with good access and views into the garden and a completely renewed external appearance. High levels of comfort combined with low running costs were also a real priority. Plenty of clever built-in storage was also needed so that the modern interiors could remain clean and clutter free.

THE SOLUTION CaSA Architects decided early on that retaining the existing structure made good economic and environmental sense. The original bungalow was extended and completely reorganised to create a large and dramatic fullheight living space at its core with the kitchen to one side, off which lead more private areas containing bedrooms, bathrooms and service areas. For aesthetic and environmental reasons, all the windows were replaced, the walls were overclad in rendered insulation and the roof super insulated and refinished in slate. Solar thermal panels were built into the roof and incorporated with features such as underfloor heating to achieve outstanding levels of comfort and efficiency and incorporated with features such as underfloor heating to achieve outstanding levels of comfort and efficiency.

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MYGRANDDESIGN

1

OPEN-PLAN LIVING

CaSA Architects worked with David and Gill’s preference to create a flexible open-plan living space. The kitchen, dining and living form one continuous space, defined into different zones with great views and connection to the garden.

2

SLIDING DOORS

The existing house suffered from small, poor quality windows. CaSA Architects designed clever highspecification glazed doors which are barely visible and slide away completely to maximise the connection between inside and out.

3

TIMBER CLADDING ➻ The extension is built using a

highly insulated and economic timber frame. This has been covered using sustainable locally sourced cedar timber cladding. The timber is naturally durable untreated and will weather naturally to a silvery grey, without having to repeatedly coat with protective finishes.

SOLAR SHADING

The large areas of southfacing glass have the potential to cause the interior to overheat. CaSA have overcome this by designing cedar timber louvres to match the cladding and externally shade the glass.

➻TESTIMONIAL

COMPLETE TRANSFORMATION

“CaSA were on board before we had even bought the house and from that moment have been there every step of the way, providing the creativity, skill and experience to turn the vision into reality. What we have now feels like a completely bespoke new house, both inside and out, and has transformed the house in a way we never imagined possible. What’s more, it’s extremely comfortable and cheap to run. It’s reassuring to know that our home exceeds all the current building standards, the benefits of which will last way into the future.” David & Gill Jacklin, Jasmine Cottage, Bath

BATHROOM ➻ Located in the centre of the

house, the bathroom has been transformed with new tiling and fittings and by the addition of a large rooflight which floods the room with natural daylight.

CASA ARCHITECTS

FFI: 01225 851871, STUDIO@CASA-ARCHITECTS. COM, WWW.CASA-ARCHITECTS.COM WEB: WWW.CASA-ARCHITECTS.COM

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PROFILE

MAKERS OF QUALITY WOODEN BEDS

THE BED WORKSHOP

B

espoke, handmade, handcrafted, made to measure, personal service… They’re all terms that can strike fear into anybody’s wallet. If you want quality and good service, you have to dig deep. But maybe there’s an exception…? Tucked away on Bristol’s Braunton Road in Bedminster is the Bed Workshop, where handmade beds are created onsite alongside the restoration of imported antique French furniture. You enter directly into the busy workshop with its smell of sap and wood lacquer where, amid piles of oak and pine timber, clamps, saws, chisels, semiconstructed beds and wood shavings,

you’ll find Ned Fitzgerald. A former manager at Litvinoff and Fawcett bed makers of London, Ned came to work for the Bed Workshop in 1999 and is now chief carpenter. “We have different designs and sizes of bed, made from either oak or pine, which we can stain in various shades and finishes,” he says. “The wood is from sustainable sources, and because they’re handmade, I can tweak and rejig dimensions to what the customer wants. We also make accessories like drawers and trundle beds that fit underneath the main bed. There’s not much we can’t do to accommodate a customer’s requirements.” As well as the modern handmade beds and antique French ones imported from Brittany, other French furniture includes farmhouse dining sets, wardrobes, bedside cabinets,

THE BED WORKSHOP BRAUNTON ROAD, BEDMINSTER, BRISTOL, BS3 3AA TEL: 0117 963 6659 WEB: WWW.THEBEDWORKSHOP.CO.UK

chests of drawers and mirrors. They can look out for specific pieces of furniture you might request while they’re procuring items in Brittany and can even colour-match to your existing furniture. An ancient wooden staircase leads up to the showrooms, truly a contrast of old and new. The first floor has rows of handmade beds whose various modern designs fall into that ‘simple, clean, classic’ look. Up another level is a room full of restored French furniture, a mixed selection of ornate opulence and utilitarian rusticity. There’s an easygoing charm that belies the professionalism of the people who work here, and their amiable, relaxed approach is refreshing in these days of ‘hard sell’. If you’re looking for a valuefor-money purchase with that personal touch, pop into the Bed Workshop.

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INTERIORS

HOMEFRONT

Incorporate hotel style into your bathroom with Rosco’s ‘Novecento’ basin designs (from £359, www.roscobathrooms.co.uk)

BATHING

BEAUTIES Interior designer Lesley Taylor looks at what the best-dressed bathrooms are wearing this year Towel rails are far more than just a basic necessity. Designs from Vogue (UK) Ltd, such as the new ‘Concertina’, make a statement in your bathroom (from £213, www.vogueuk.co.uk)

L

ifestyle habits are constantly changing. Take, for example, how we use our bathroom. Once a place purely for function, it now provides homeowners with a haven in which to relax and unwind from the stresses of the day - it’s often the only room in the home where you can lock the door behind you and enjoy some uninterrupted time to yourself. Buying habits have dramatically changed in recent years, and the concept of transforming a standard bathroom into a luxurious home spa is one that I’m now undertaking on an

increasingly regular basis. Although a complete bathroom renovation can be a costly project, you should view it as a worthwhile investment, as not only is your bathroom a constantly used room, but it will also add value to your home. After a demanding day at the office, a long, hot soak in the bath is, of course, the perfect remedy, but why not create an even more luxurious experience with the inclusion of a whirlpool bath, hydrotherapy shower or petite steam cabin? The market now offers plenty of designs to accommodate any size of bathroom, whether space is on your side or if it’s limited. However, there are plenty of ways to create a luxurious spa environment in your bathroom without breaking the bank – things that will act as an alternative quick-fix solution if you simply don’t have the time or budget to undertake a major project. It’s amazing, for example, how lighting can instantly change the ambience of a room. I’d definitely recommend fitting a dimmer switch, so that when you’re in need of a moment of relaxation, you can simply dim the lights in the evening yet still have task lighting when shaving or putting on your make-up. Why not use plenty of scented candles that not only look good, but will smell nice too? Updating the heating in your bathroom will also inject a further sense of glamour, and again doesn’t have to be a timely or expensive project. Radiators and towel rails ➻ FOLIO/MAY 2012 47

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INTERIORS

HOMEFRONT easy to coordinate the old with the new, and although white, contemporary sanitaryware isn’t disappearing anytime soon, the coming year will see the introduction of a few antique pieces such as a mirror, cabinet or even a chandelier. This will also work vice versa: if you’ve opted for a traditional suite, adding a few modern accessories will also work well and actually enhance its appearance. Make the most of your bathroom with the latest trends for 2012. Inject a sense of luxury and treat it as a space to enjoy! Experiment with an open-plan style and incorporate a traditional, free-standing bath such as this one from BC Designs into your bedroom (from £2,882 at Taylor’s Etc, Cardiff, www.taylorsetc.co.uk)

Above: Enjoy a spa experience in the comfort of your own home with Teuco’s ‘Pasha’ steam cabin. Available in three different sizes, it will fit any bathroom design (www. teuco.co.uk) Below: Eclectic bathrooms are on-trend for 2012. With traditional sanitaryware like Imperial Bathroom’s ‘Astoria’ shown here, combine with contemporary accessories for a beautiful finish (available at Taylor’s Etc, Cardiff, www. taylorsetc.co.uk)

are now far more than just a basic necessity; they act as a statement piece and focal point within the room. Step away from the conventional ‘white rad’ and opt instead for an attractive, innovative design that will bring depth to your bathroom. Over recent years there’s been a rising interest in hotel spa breaks and boutique hotels, and we now want to replicate that luxury we’ve experienced within our own homes. The inclusion of double basins and frameless shower enclosures are popular additions, and many homes are now experimenting with the idea of breaking boundaries between the bedroom and bathroom and creating an open-plan design similar to that found in a styleconscious hotel. Incorporating a traditional, sophisticated freestanding bath into your bedroom is an on-trend concept that creates something of a continental feel, and despite appearing unconventional to many, it’s a theme that’s here to stay. No longer does

open-plan living only apply to the kitchen-diner; it’s definitely finding its way into other areas of the home. With the bathroom now required to be far more versatile than in days gone by, it’s time to experiment with the space available so that it can be utilised in the best way possible, incorporate a point of interest and be unique. The popularity of wetroom designs is one example where this can be seen, and is actually an ideal solution for compact spaces such as ensuites, which are unable to cater for a bath or sizeable shower enclosure. If space is limited, always opt for wallhung sanitaryware and large floor tiles in order to allow the room to feel spacious and uncluttered. The inclusion of statement mirrors will also help to visually expand the space available. One final tip I can give you in terms of decor is that eclectic styling is the ‘in’ theme for this year. The bathroom is one room within the home where it’s

CONTACTS BATH CONTRACT FLOORING/BATH CARPETS & FLOORING KINGSMEAD ST, BATH. FFI: WWW. BATHCONTRACTFLOORING.CO.UK/ WWW.CARPETSANDFLOORINGBATH. CO.UK BATH STORE BERKELEY PLACE, JACOB’S WELLS RD, CLIFTON, BRISTOL & JAMES ST WEST, BATH. FFI: WWW.BATHSTORE.COM BATHROOM SOLUTIONS MOORLAND RD, OLDFIELD PARK, BATH, BA2 & REDCLIFFE ST, BRISTOL. FFI: WWW. BATHROOMSOLUTIONSLTD.CO.UK BONITI DUNSDOWN BARN, DUNSDOWN LANE, NR BATH, SN14. FFI: WWW.BONITI.COM FIRED EARTH WHITELADIES RD, CLIFTON, BRISTOL. FFI: WWW. FIREDEARTH.COM KELLAWAY BATHROOMS KELLAWAY AVE, HORFIELD, BRISTOL, BS6. FFI: WWW. KELLAWAYBATHROOMS.CO.UK MANDARIN STONE BROAD ST, BATH & REGENT ST, CLIFTON, BRISTOL. FFI: WWW. MANDARINSTONE.COM RIPPLES LONDON RD, BATH. FFI: WWW.RIPPLES.LTD.UK

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GARDENING

HOMEFRONT

IN THE

GARDEN

Ideas and inspiration from Trish Gibson to help you make the most of your garden this month

GROW SOMETHING SPECIAL ALLIUMS

O

rnamental alliums, members of the onion family, have the most fantastic pom-pom flowerheads, many of them looking like fireworks caught in mid explosion. Their slim vertical shape means they don’t take up much space but provide good accents in the middle of softer planting schemes. ‘Mount Everest’ is large and a creamy white, a very elegant plant that lasts for weeks – and its green seed heads go on to prolong its attractiveness.

Growing tips Alliums do need sunshine, but they don’t mind a damp soil as long as it doesn’t get waterlogged in winter. Plant bulbs in early autumn. Most will also do well in deep pots.

JOBS FOR MAY Tie in sweet peas, vines and clematis to set them off in the right direction Support any perennials that tend to flop before they get too big Sow carrots, beetroot, salad leaves, radish and spring onions in short rows every third week

Allium ‘Mount Everest’ provides a strong vertical accent in early summer

➻ OTHERS TO TRY ALLIUM HOLLANDICUM ‘PURPLE SENSATION’ One of the first to flower, this has heads of deep purple about 8cm across and it reaches a height of about 1m. If you leave the seed heads on, they will seed freely and increase your stock. ALLIUM CHRISTOPHII This is a must for a hot spot, a bit shorter at about 75cm, but the flowers are extraordinary – a sparkling explosion of metallic mauve stars, about a foot across – and last a long time.

ALLIUM SPHAEROCEPHALON Tall and willowy, the drumstick allium is tolerant of heavy soils. The flowers are smaller so it needs to be planted in groups if it is to make any impact. The warm purple-crimson flowers have a hint of green to them.

WE’LL BE BUYING…

Bristol gardeners can now go green and buy the Soil Associationapproved GroChar range of composts and soil improver at Garden & Leisure’s Cadbury store. FFI WWW.CARBONGOLD.COM

THIS MONTH WE'LL BE VISITING... The Botanic Nursery for their Foxglove Week (30 May-5 June, 10am-4pm): guided tours of the foxgloves at 2pm each day, seed sowing demonstrations, seeds and plants for sale, and lunches and teas available at the local farm shop. FFI THE BOTANIC NURSERY, COOMBE LANE, ATWORTH, WILTSHIRE SN12 8NU. FFI: 07850 328756, WWW.BOTANICGURU.CO.UK

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PROPERTY NEWS

BEFORE: The tired, neglected guest room before Alison got her hands on it

EASTERN PROMISE ➻

Alison works her magic on a tired old guest room

I

GOING, GOING

GONE... Bristol-based Alison Armitage wants to help serial hoarders to declutter. She explains her philosophy to Kate Edser

H

oarding, sloppy housekeeping and interior design disasters are all perfect candidates for Alison Armitage’s particular brand of magic. And she’s so neat and organised that it’s easy to imagine her with her sleeves rolled up, ready to blow through a cluttered, untidy room and come out the other side looking like a new pin. “I’ve always been interested in interior design and have moved house a lot,” Alison explains. “Designing was a route I was always planning on taking, but I needed to earn an income while I was studying for my masters in fine art, which is where the decluttering business came in.” The decluttering business was born in 2006, but, quite often, one thing leads to another and clients will often ask Alison to stay on and redesign a room once it’s been cleared. Popular in the States, Australia and New Zealand, decluttering has made its way to the UK only in

the past decade. More commonly, people ask Alison for help with ‘staging’ their home before putting it on the market to sell. “I have one client at the moment who lives in a lovely big house, but you can’t see it because there’s so much clutter - there’s a lot of work to be done before it can be marketed. “Generally what I do is to go through one room at a time, and I start with the room that will make the biggest impact on the client’s life. I work systematically through a room, and I do get down and get my hands dirty. We go through each item together and it goes into one of three categories: throw away, recycle or give to charity, and sell. The hardest bit for most people is picking up the phone, and most people are then just very relieved.”

found this guest room in desperate need of some attention. It hadn’t been decorated since my client, Bob, had first moved in 12 years previously. There was Artex on the ceiling and walls, the curtains and furniture were worn and tattered, and the original colours had all faded. Bob wanted the three-bedroom property completely restyled, with a central colour scheme and theme running throughout. He’d travelled extensively in his life, particularly through Asia, and had collected memorabilia along the way. We decided that the new look would be bright, with a flavour of the orient. “In the guest room, many of Bob’s existing furnishings had personal and sentimental value, and just needed a bit of TLC. Bob had been nursed in the rocking chair as a child, and the cabinet was a much-loved 18th birthday present from his father. We painted both pieces black and the seat of the rocking chair was covered with a fabric that had a classic Chinese design. “The bed cushions were given a breath of new life with some embroidered material that Bob had bought on one of his trips to China. I also discovered some stunning silk embroidered cloth hiding away in a drawer. We resurrected the cloth and gave it pride of place in a large dark frame on the feature wall. We bought a new mirror with a specially made black frame, and the headboard and chairs were covered in bright red fabric with a flowery design, which complemented the oriental theme. “A harmonious balance was achieved and the once-neglected guest room took on an exotic, yet calming ambience.” AFTER: The neutral colour scheme contrasts beautifully with the dark furniture and oriental fabrics, creating a calm oasis

ALISON ARMITAGE: HOME DECLUTTERED FFI: 07712 642609, ALISON@ HOMEDECLUTTERED.CO.UK, WWW. ARMITAGE-HOMEDECLUTTERED.CO.UK

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PROPERTY BATH RIVERSIDE

HEART OF STONE A nyone in the Bath area with a creative streak has a chance to literally carve their name into history. In a project led by the Bath Stone Group, with support from the City of Bath College, members of the public can collect a block of stone, create their own design and put it forward for inclusion in a new city development. The best of the finished stones will be selected by house builder Crest Nicholson and B&NES Council for inclusion into the Bath Riverside housing development and public open spaces on the site. “This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone in Bath to leave a permanent representation within such a significant development,” says Debbie Aplin, Crest Nicholson’s managing director for Bath Riverside. “Anyone can have a go and contribute to a legacy, not only at Bath Riverside but also through the ongoing Bath Community Art Fund.”

The project will run for the next five years and will use offcuts of Bath stone from the Limpley Stoke mine, owned by the Bath Stone Group. “This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone to try stone carving,” says Nigel Bryant, head of Carving and Stone Conservation at City of Bath College, “and to have their design incorporated into the stonework of our historic city. The great thing about this project is that people of all ages and abilities can have a go, and it’s a great way to introduce people to the range of courses that we run. Everyone has a free rein in terms of the design, so we’re looking forward to seeing a diverse range of carvings from the people of Bath.”

L to R: City of Bath College stone carving team - Nigel Bryant (lecturer), James Cordey (student), Tanya Josham (technician), Pablo Hernando (student), Sam Flintham (student)

FFI STONE CAN BE COLLECTED FROM THE COLLEGE’S CONSTRUCTION SKILLS CENTRE ON MONS & WEDS, 10AM-3PM. FOR MORE DETAILS, VISIT WWW. BATHWESTERNRIVERSIDE.CO.UK

BYE-BYE BRISTOL RELOCATION

T

V presenter turned stage actor Justin Lee Collins has moved away from his home town of Bristol. While acknowledging that his love affair with London has been a gradual one, he accepts that the capital city has now won him over once and for all. The shaggy-haired funnyman, who’s always lived in Bristol – most recently in Clifton – now calls a swanky flat in the heart of London’s Soho home. “Bristol was my home for 37 years, right up until a couple of months ago,” says Justin. “I must admit, I love the place. My kids are there, my parents are there, and of course I still miss it all the time, but I’ve finally made a permanent break for London, and it feels good.”

PRESTIGE PROPERTY

FAB FOUR

➻ A new owner has paid more than £3m to join an exclusive list of

just three other families to have occupied fabulous Sand House near Wedmore over the past 200 years. The grade II-listed Georgian mansion, which overlooks some of Somerset’s finest countryside, was built by the eminent cartographer William White in around 1750. It passed to the 13th Earl of Carnwarth from 1929 and to the most recent owners in 1995. Since then it has been beautifully and tastefully renovated, but retains old wooden floors, ornate ceilings, magnificent fireplaces and some exquisite carved wood panelling. There are five principal reception rooms, nine bedrooms and five bathrooms, plus a sewing room and cellars in the main house. Meanwhile, a large detached coach house has seven bedrooms, and outbuildings include a barn with an office above. Among the 30 acres are a tree-lined drive, walled kitchen garden, woodland, paddocks, swimming pool and pasture.

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➻ EATINGOUTWEST VEGAN FESTIVALS, ROSE ELLIOT DAY, FREE FOODIE FUN, JUBILEE TEA & MORE... FREE FUN DAY

VOTE WITH YOUR FORKS

➻ Last November, something remarkable happened in London’s Trafalgar Square, when a mountain of vegetables was turned into enough curry to serve over 5,000 people. A tonne of apples and pears was crushed into gallons of juice and a quartet of pigs was even brought in to happily eat up the fruit pulp. Shockingly, all that lovely fruit and veg was deemed too misshapen by supermarkets and was destined for the dump. The idea was developed by food activist Tristram Hunt and now he’s joined up with Bristol food recycling charity FareShare South West to organise a second event on College Green on Sat 12 May. With celebrity chefs including Fabulous Baker Tom Herbert and eco-chef Tom Hunt joining colleagues from Bristol’s green-aware Thali Cafes, the day will offer a free lunch and live music right in the heart of the city. “Bristol is the first city to host this event outside of London,” says FareShare South West director Jacqui Reeves. “It’s got Bristol mentality written all over it! It’s a free fun day plus we get to show the food industry how the food they throw away can easily go to people who really need it.” For anyone wanting to support the anti-waste cause but worried about going alfresco, there’ll also be fundraisers at Tom Hunt’s Poco Lounge on Stokes Croft before and after the big day. FEEDING THE 5000 BRISTOL SAT 12 MAY, 1-5PM, COLLEGE GREEN, BRISTOL. FUNDRAISING DINNERS AT POCO LOUNGE (0117 923 2233) ARE ON TUES 8 & 15 MAY. FFI: WWW.FEEDING5K.ORG

COOKERY DAY

GREEN QUEEN ➻ When Rachel Demuth calls someone the ‘Vegetarian Queen’, you know it’s for real: Bath-based Rachel is herself one of the country’s top meat-free cooks and both her restaurant and associated Vegetarian Cookery School are national landmarks. But she’s the first to assert the supremacy of Rose Elliot, whose cookery book debut Simply Delicious flew in the face of the mid-60s post-austerity meat frenzy and pioneered vegetarian eating as a mainstream activity. Now, 45 years and 60 books later,

you can chart Elliot’s influence right up to today, with her classic Complete Vegetarian Cookbook re-emerging last year in a fully revised and updated edition. So who better to help the cookery school celebrate this year’s National Vegetarian Week? Those attending the school on Wed 23 May can expect demonstrations, discussions and hands-on cooking, with Rose Elliot leading the school’s experienced chefs throughout the day. All the recipes will come from that latest book, there’ll be a pack to take home, and things will finish with a three-course meal prepared on the day. ROSE ELLIOT DAY WED 23 MAY, VEGETARIAN COOKERY SCHOOL, 6 TERRACE WALK, BATH, £175. FFI: WWW. VEGETARIANCOOKERYSCHOOL.COM NATIONAL VEGETARIAN WEEK 21-27 MAY. FFI: WWW.NATIONALVEGETARIANWEEK.ORG

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FESTIVAL

EAT YOUR VEG ➻ The organisers claim it’s ‘the world’s

biggest vegan event’ - and who are we to disagree? It’s certainly a major fixture on the local foodie calendar, and this year’s VegfestUK has all the hallmarks of being well up to standard. As always, the weekend combines an unparalleled gathering of plantbased produce stalls, a celebration of vegan cooking, campaigning organisations for animal rights, environmentalism and alternative health approaches as well as a programme of live entertainment and some pretty big-name headline acts. What’s new – and a welcome developmentis that the whole event is free, even the evening music sessions featuring the likes of Neville Staples of the Specials (Fri), Finley Quaye (Sat) and veteran reggae star Johnny Clarke collaborating with Afro-dub band Soothsayers (Sun). Following the success of last year’s Ready Steady Chef competition, another clutch of local kitchen artists (from diners including the Watershed, Big Chill Bar and the Rummer) are eager to take the

challenge of producing interesting and tasty food with no meat involved. That competition will run through Sunday afternoon, with a junior challenge running on Saturday. As well as games and activities just for kids there’ll be an animal sanctuary area where people who work with animals can discuss the humanitarian issues in caring for them. But let’s face it, it’s food that’s at the heart of the festival, and when you’ve gleaned top tips from cookery demonstrations by the likes of Rachel Demuth and Melissa ‘Ms Cupcake’ Morgan, there’ll be plenty to fill your (hemp, natch!) shopping bags, ranging from Bessant and Drury’s dairy-free ice-cream and Goody Good Stuff’s vegan-friendly gummy sweets to the totally pure-pressed cider and perry from Gloucester’s traditional Severn Cider company and a boggling range of Fry’s Vegetarian pies, burgers and suchlike.

VEGFESTUK FRI 25-SUN 27 MAY, LLOYDS AMPHITHEATRE & WATERFRONT, BRISTOL. FFI: WWW.BRISTOL.VEGFEST.CO.UK

LATIN NIGHT

PARTY TIME

➻ Plantation Restaurant isn’t just one

of Bristol’s premier Caribbean eateries but also a great place for a dance, with regular live music nights proving popular. So owner Beverley Forbes decided to bring the two together and throw a lavish Latin party. The night will include a champagne reception, four-course Caribbean meal (and a later finger buffet) and cabaret-style entertainment from Cuban duo of singer Indira Roman and pianist Raimundo Fernandez. Dancefloor energy comes later from cumbia/salsa experts Aji Pa Ti and DJs playing reggae and Latin into the small hours.

LATIN PARTY NIGHT SAT 5 MAY, PLANTATION RESTAURANT, 223 CHELTENHAM RD, BRISTOL, £100 INC DRINKS, ADV BOOKING ESSENTIAL. FFI: 0117 907 7932, WWW.PLANTATIONRESTAURANT.BIZ

JUBILEE

LOST AFTERNOONS ➻ It’s galloping towards us fast, so those shrewd-eyed people at Harvey Nichols thought they’d tempt us to start celebrating early. We’re talking about the Jubilee, naturally, and though official celebrations don’t start until Sat 2 June, Cabot Circus’s superposh department store are launching their Not Afternoon Tea concept from Tue 1 May. The platter includes a set of very decadent puddings inspired by royalty – think ‘Queen of Puddings’, of course, but also a ‘Kir Royal’ trifle. You won’t get a pot of Earl Grey with it, either, but there’s a luscious cocktail to match the general self-indulgence. The only traditional element is the time: you can be served this delicious confection from 3-5.30pm every day, and customers will also receive a limitededition Harvey Nichols Jubilee Lunch Box. Handy for that Jubilee Day picnic, perhaps? NOT AFTERNOON TEA IS SERVED AT HARVEY NICHOLS, CABOT CIRCUS, BRISTOL, 1 MAY-8 JUNE, £27.50PP

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➻ EATINGOUTWEST

SUNNY SIDE UP Melissa Blease wants to eat outside

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Clockwise from this pic: Lord it up at Whatley Manor; Jacks Brasserie, declared by EOW’s editor to be ‘one of Bristol’s best alfresco lunching spots’; enjoy the summertime dolce vita at Aqua

T

he sun has got his hat on! Grab your shades, slick on the sunscreen and turn every day into a staycation – it’s time to eat alfresco at Bristol and Bath’s brightest suntrap hotspots.

(0117 973 3314); 88 Walcot St, Bath (01225 471371). Ffi: www.aquarestaurant.com

Whether you opt to be seated in a private courtyard behind Bath’s Walcot Street, on the people-watcher’s paradise that is a Whiteladies Road pavement table or on the glorious terrace overlooking Bristol’s stunning

JACKS BRASSERIE Hannover Quay, Harbourside, Bristol (0117 945 3990) & Spinnaker, Harbour Rd, Portishead (01275 397304). Ffi: www. jacksbrasserie.co.uk

Occupying prime waterfront positions in both Bristol and Portishead, Jacks Brasserie offers classic modern British menus wrought from the freshest, most seasonal local produce in an environment that reminds us just how joyful an alfresco feast can be. In a recent review, Eating Out West editor Tony Benjamin declared the Bristol Harbourside branch to be ‘one of Bristol’s best alfresco lunching spots’, and waxed lyrical about ‘confident cookery that lets fresh ingredients do the talking’. Keep an eye on the website for news of forthcoming barbecue events. AQUA Welsh Back, Harbourside (0117 915 6060) & 153 Whiteladies Rd, Bristol

Welsh Back harbourside, Aqua is all about summertime dolce vita. Counting pennies? Worry not! Aqua’s acclaimed fixed-price Classico menu (2 £10.95, 3 £12.95, Mon-Fri 12noon-7pm) makes this splashing experience an affordable treat for all. WHATLEY MANOR Easton Grey, Malmesbury, Wilts. Ffi: 01666 822888, www.whatleymanor. com

Lord it up at Whatley Manor, an utterly gorgeous Cotswold manor house hotel and spa surrounded by 12 acres of private English country garden and featuring a kitchen that specialises in awardwinning food. Choose from the full-on gastro experience courtesy

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➻ EATINGOUTWEST CAFE SOCIETY, SUMMERTIME STYLE! BRISTOL

Beeses Bar & Tea Gardens Wyndham Crescent, BS4. Ffi: 0117 977 7412, www.beeses. co.uk • Utterly beguiling riverside garden setting, where seasonal menus evince a simple-things-done-well ethos in a fabulously family friendly environment. Brunel Buttery Wapping Wharf. Ffi: 0117 929 1696 • ‘The Best Bacon Buttie in Bristol’, perfect cakes and more, all waiting to be enjoyed against a harbourside backdrop. Dockyard Cafe-Bar Great Western Dockyard (nr ss Great Britain), Harbourside. Ffi: 0117 926 0680, www.ssgreatbritain.org • Offers superb views of both the iconic ss Great Britain and the surrounding docks/waterfront.

This pic and inset: Live life like the A-list at the Olive Tree at the Queensberry Hotel

of the Dining Room, chillax with the less formal brasserie Le Mazot menu, make time for afternoon tea or sip a cocktail in the garden as the sun sets. Or visit on a Tuesday and enjoy a garden tour followed by lunch for £42. OLD DOWN COUNTRY PARK Foxholes Lane, Tockington, Bristol, BS32. Ffi: 01454 414958, www. olddowncountrypark.co.uk

Woodland walks, animal encounters, an adventure playground, a giant bouncy pillow and a friendly, characterful cafe serving up a taste of the right-here, right-now season all year round… if you’re not familiar with the joys of going wild at Old Down Country Park, you definitely need to get out more. Want to take a taste of Old Down home with you? Stock up at the farm shop. TASTING ROOM 6 Green St, Bath. Ffi: 01225 483070, www.tastingroom.co.uk

We’ve brought you the full lowdown on the multifaceted joys of Tasting

Room - Bath’s lovely, lively haven of gastro-merriment - in this very issue (see page 67). If you choose to go forth and feast on our hearty recommendation while the sun is shining, head upstairs and outback, where a gorgeous little secluded patio awaits you. If this isn’t one of the Heritage City’s ultimate hidden staycation gems, we don’t know what is. OLIVE TREE AT THE QUEENSBERRY HOTEL 4-7 Russell St, Bath. Ffi: 01225 447928, www.thequeensberry.co.uk

BATH Riverside Cafe (pictured) 17 Argyle St (below Pulteney Bridge), BA2. Ffi: 01225 480532, www.riversidecafebath.co.uk • As close to the weir as you can get without wearing a wetsuit. Highly acclaimed for fabulous breakfasts. Royal Pavilion Cafe Royal Victoria Park. Ffi: 01225 448860 • Swiss mountain chalet meets traditional British tearoom at this parklife hotspot. Spiffing views across the city from the alfresco balcony and tables under the trees outfront. Secret Garden Cafe at Prior Park Garden Centre Prior Park Rd, BA2. Ffi: 01225 427175, www.priorparkgardencentre. co.uk • Bright, breezy cafe with alfresco patio forming the epicentre of a lively garden centre and farm shop.

When we last reviewed the Olive Tree, we awarded it 10 out of 10 for ‘faultless, impeccable perfection’ – and that was back in February, before the sun had even started considering putting its hat on. Make a date to revisit this acclaimed A-list experience while you can make the very most of the private patio hotspot behind one of Bath’s most illustrious addresses. Trust us when we tell you you’ll never want to leave.

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Over the summer months enjoy scenic waterfront views while dining alfresco with Jacks Bar & Brasserie. Escape the hustle and bustle of city life in secluded settings on Bristol’s Harbourside and Portishead Marina, both with vast outdoor space for making the most of the finer weather. The menus feature locally-sourced seasonal produce to create dishes that take a contemporary twist on Great British classics, for the casual diner. Throughout the summer, in addition to the Brasserie menu Jacks will run themed nights; every Thursday is BBQ night on the terrace (Bristol only) and every Friday is Fintastic Fish Night where diners can enjoy a whole fish and bottle of wine for two people for just £35.00. Sample Brasserie Dishes Starters Roast fillet of salmon, watercress, spring onion and radish salad, sesame vinaigrette Main Course Slow cooked Gloucester Old Spot pork belly, black pudding hash, spring greens, Ashton Press cider reduction Desserts Somerset strawberries, vanilla pannacotta, Winstones Cotswold elderflower and champagne sorbet

In conjunction with Venue, Jacks Bar & Brasserie are offering guests two main courses and a bottle of wine for two people for just £25. To redeem this offer please call the restaurant of your choice in advance and quote ‘venue’ when booking your table. Offer Terms & Conditions - This offer includes any two main courses from the menu and a bottle of house wine for two people. - This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or promotion. - This offer is not valid on Friday & Saturday evenings or Bank Holidays. - To redeem this offer a table must be booked in advance and ‘venue’ must be mentioned at the time of booking.

Portishead Marina Spinnaker, Harbour Road, Portishead, BS20 7AW T: 01275 397304 E: Portishead@jacksbrasserie.co.uk Bristol Harbourside 1 Hannover Quay, Harbourside, Bristol, BS1 5JE T: 0117 9453990 E: Bristol@jacksbrasserie.co.uk FOLIO/MAY 2012 61

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➻ EATINGOUTWEST

GOING

UNDERGROUND

Left and below: Bath-based atCatharines plays host to a merry evening of new friends Above: Getting stuck into sharing platters at Mi Casa, Bristol

Tony Benjamin on the irresistible rise of pop-up restaurants and supper clubs

T

hey’re hip and happening and popping up worldwide and, according to the UK’s acknowledged Queen of the Scene, Bristol is leading the way. We’re talking supper clubs, the underground dining experience that brings food-loving people together in a variety of unlikely locations for a one-off evening of specially cooked food. Kerstin Rodgers (aka MsMarmitelover) runs the definitive blog on the subject (www.supperclubfangroup.ning. com) and says there’s “a great little scene starting for supper clubs in Bristol, a new hub”, with 11 clubs listed around the city. Each meets regularly, usually arranged through text messages or Facebook, with 1520 people enjoying a set meal in an informal space. Sometimes run by enthusiastic amateurs, sometimes by professionals, they’re mostly BYO for booze, with an expected ‘donation’ of around £25-£30 depending on the meal. There are no entries for neighbouring Bath on Kerstin’s site, but things got going there last July when atCatharines launched. “So far we’re the only one in Bath,” Katharine ‘Kat’ Hulf tells us. “Or at least the only

one that advertises.” Neither she nor co-founder Catherine ‘Cat’ Coombes are trained chefs – they met working in hotel hospitality – but both enjoyed organising and cooking for dinner parties. The decision to launch atCatharines was the impulsive result of an exuberant New Year’s Eve party, but they spent six months preparing for the launch carefully, using their hotel connections to get advice on cooking and planning from ‘real’ chefs. Through Twitter and word of mouth they managed to get 15 diners around Kat’s dining table. “We thought we’d try it and see,” Kat recalls. “It seemed to go well, so we did it again, and it’s still going well!” For Kat and Cat it was a way of making a business out of something they loved doing without taking on huge overheads. That logic appealed to professional chef Alexis John and partner Kristjan Bigland, the pairing behind Mi Casa, one of Bristol’s first and most successful clubs. “We’d thought about running our own place but weren’t willing to take the financial risk,” Kristjan explains. “Through Mi Casa we can build trust and a reputation. There’s a loyal fanbase, and it keeps growing as they introduce their friends.” It didn’t look promising, however, when they launched in early 2010.

They’d arranged to use the dockside Scout Hut in Redland, but as they left home to set up there, it began to snow. “We were convinced no one would come,” recalls Kristjan, “but everyone battled in – it was a real ‘we’re all in this together’ moment! Our food is Mediterranean and North African and it’s meant to be shared. It goes out on boards, and if you don’t already know your neighbour, you soon will. The food’s important but it’s not the sole focus. We want people to enjoy each other’s company, too.” For the couple behind Redcliffebased supper club Bravas, the operation was very much a means to an end. Chef Imogen Waite explains: “We’d been travelling and working abroad for a year and really wanted to run our own tapas restaurant. Doing pop-ups was a way to test the water. We ran half-a-dozen sessions and people really enjoyed them, meeting like-minded people around a single sitting in a friendly place. For us it was a great way to get feedback – mostly positive, thankfully!” On the strength of that feedback, Imogen and husband Kieran decided to open Bravas as a ‘proper’ tapas bar, launched last month to rave reviews on Cotham Hill. There’s no doubt the gap they left in the supper club scene will soon be filled, however, as

it seems there’s a big (and growing) demand for these intimate dining surprises, made all the more tasty for what Kristjan Bigland calls “an element of punk rebellion and a do-ityourself attitude”.

CONTACTS

ATCATHARINES FFI: WWW. ATCATHARINES.BLOGSPOT.CO.UK – SAT EVE SESSION TBC IN LATE MAY BRAVAS TAPAS BAR 7 COTHAM HILL, BRISTOL, BS6. FFI: 0117 329 6887, WWW. BRAVAS.CO.UK MI CASA FFI: WWW.MICASAPOPUP. CO.UK - NEXT PLANNED SESSIONS 23-24 MAY AT BIG CHILL BAR, BRISTOL SUPPER CLUB FAN CLUB FFI: WWW. SUPPERCLUBFANGROUP.NING.COM FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE WHOLE SCENE

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➻ EATINGOUTWEST

REVIEW FILINI Tony Benjamin enjoys the dolce vita experience at this hotel eatery where authentic Italian flavours meet local ingredients to tasty effect

I

f you live in Bristol, the chances are that you’ll have walked by Filini, sometime during its threeyear existence, many, many times by now, but the odds are that you didn’t notice. The contemporary Italian restaurant is tucked away on the first floor of the towering Radisson Blu hotel, and though it’s a very central location on the Centre, with buses and ferryboats bustling practically to its door, there’s little to advertise the place. And that’s a shame because, as I found out, it’s really rather good. Time was when you’d steer clear of all but the best hotel restaurants, fearing a poorly served meal of carelessly cooked ‘standards’ aimed at the captive audience of overnight guests too unadventurous to go out in search of proper dining. Now, though, that experience is much less common and you might need to catch the touring ‘Faulty Towers’ (sic) theatre/ dining group to remind yourself. Whether it’s because we’re all a bit more choosy these days or because the hotel trade has got savvy to the idea of extra trade, there’s no doubt that many have upped their game in a bid to tempt non-resident diners. This doesn’t, of course, mean that it’s always successful, but the Radisson Blu approach is a good one: taking a theme (Italian/Sardinian cuisine) and ensuring that all their chefs are regularly trained in Italy to refresh their skills and add new, authentic dishes to the menu. They also try to use seasonal and local ingredients as much as possible, making Filini’s choices a blend of the familiar and the imaginatively reconceived. “Antipasti looks good,” observed The Duchess, so we lazily picked that. She did veg, I did meat – and we both did well, with generously heaped 64 FOLIO/MAY 2012

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bruschetta and succulent marinated wild mushrooms standing out from a generally well-sourced selection, with crisp homebaked Sardinian pane carasau flatbread wafted with rosemary from the window box by our table. (At this point

“THE RADISSON BLU APPROACH IS A GOOD ONE: TAKING A THEME AND ENSURING ALL CHEFS ARE REGULARLY TRAINED IN ITALY SO THEY CAN BRING BACK NEW, AUTHENTIC DISHES.”

it’s worth mentioning the rather splendid view over the herbal window boxes across the Centre to the Watershed - deceptively tranquil thanks to effective doubleglazing.) Skipping the traditional risotto course, we go for mains and share them. Pan-fried sea bass fillets perched on a garlic kale pillow over a potato cake mattress was a great idea - an Italian take on bubbleand-squeak - while the tricolor effect of green spinach and ricotta in a white ravioli with tomato pesto sauce was as appropriate as the rich mix of flavours. In the sharply geometric room with its contemporary take on piazza-style pillars, and sipping a sparky chianti from the lengthy (and all-Italian) wine list, the whole sense of la dolce vita was only marred by gusting rain silently thrashing the trees outside. If there’s one thing that always catches my eye on a menu, it’s the warning to ‘allow 15 minutes’ cooking time’ against a particular dish. It promises something that will arrive freshly prepared and cooked just for you. It’s not fail-

safe but, in the case of Filini’s chocolate fondant, it proved to be spot-on. The warm sponge shell broke like a black egg yolk to release a dark, creamy goo of almost bitter dark chocolate sauce. The Duchess enjoyed her (also homemade) tiramisu, though probably not with half as much as the fun that I was having on my side of the table. Sitting over espressos, we appreciated the dining room’s general air of calm, with softened lighting and muted music providing a restful ambience, far removed from the workaday turmoil outside the hotel. The meal cost £70, wine included, and that seemed good value for such fresh-tasting food in so central a location.

CONTACT

FILINI RESTAURANT AT RADISSON BLU HOTEL BROAD QUAY, BRISTOL. FFI: 0117 934 9500, WWW.RADISSONBLU.CO.UK/HOTELBRISTOL THE VERDICT HHHHHHHHHH

An unexpected oasis with real Italian flavours

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➻ EATINGOUTWEST

REVIEW

TASTING ROOM

The imaginative seasonal menus at this bistro restaurant above Bath’s buzzing wine shop and deli keep Melissa Blease coming back for more

I

f you’re thinking that it doesn’t seem long since we last visited Tasting Room – the stylish temple of good taste on Bath’s picturesque Green Street – well, that’s because it isn’t. Only a mere six months have passed since we first waxed lyrical about the whole experience on these very pages, calling it an ‘eminently tasteful social sanctuary’ and concluding that ‘the new face of modern British dining has finally come to Bath’. So why have we deemed TR worthy of a return visit so soon in the foodie season? Because, dear reader, spring is starting to blend seamlessly into early summer, and restaurants flaunting menus that pay thoughtful homage to this season’s foodie catwalk line-up are worthy of banging on about at any given opportunity. Those who have yet to venture beyond Tasting Room’s vibrant street-level wine shop and deli may not be aware that a lovely little balcony to the rear of the first floor offers a rare opportunity to digest a ‘backstage at Green Street’ alfresco view. On the night we visited, rain voided all possibility of such delights, but fortunately the chic but cosy interior (think Paris bistro meets Brooklyn brasserie by way of Nigel Slater’s kitchen) still offers the perfect backdrop to properly seasonal menus that always present righthere-right-now inspirations. Take, for instance, a starter of pickled Cornish crab salad chosen from the tapas/small dish menu: if the crab in question hadn’t swam its last stroke off the coast of (I’m guessing) Devon while I was putting my face-the-day make-up on that very morning, I’ll eat my false eyelashes. More crab had been put to good use

in a featherlight mousse that accompanied the crustacean pickings at the heart of the action, while pickled pear added a sharp, almost Asian-ish dimension to the whole affair. Similarly, ultra-fresh baby squid (not recommended for squeamish or sentimental souls - these babies are cuter than cute) came with a dusky chickpea

“THE CHIC BUT COSY INTERIOR OFFERS THE PERFECT BACKDROP TO PROPERLY SEASONAL MENUS THAT ALWAYS PRESENT RIGHT-HERE-RIGHTNOW INSPIRATIONS.”

and smoked paprika medley, and a classic antipasto combo of roasted peppers and marinated mushrooms was revitalised by cubes of fresh manchego cheese, with all three dishes resulting in a round the world trip on a largely locally sourced ticket. Tasting plates (all around the £3.50-£7.50 mark, with three tapas dishes costing just £10) go large here, and are easily substantial enough to be treated as supper to complement TR head honcho Will Baber’s legendary wine list, from which we were offered taste-before-you-splurge snifters by the most efficient, knowledgeable but friendly staff I’ve encountered in many a long year. But I couldn’t resist the charms of a main course of fresh fish risotto (£11.50), nor He the tempting possibilities offered by classic coq au vin (£13.25), both of which were the freshest, liveliest, most competent incarnations of their respective genres, offering sparkling taste-bud revelations from start to finish. And as the end of the evening beckoned, we shared a cheese plate that waltzed from addictively creamy

reblochon to punchy cave-aged cheddar by way of charismatic mahon and gently aromatic perl las accompanied by a homemade, chunky version of herby digestive biscuits, and yet again the tipple recommendation didn’t let us down: from here on in, tawny port is my new Baileys. Now Tasting Room isn’t just a restaurant/bistro. There’s that deli downstairs, and what Will and his team don’t know about wines, whiskies, liqueurs and more isn’t worth knowing (and they all share their knowledge at wine-tasting courses and related events on a regular basis). But for me, the taste at the heart of the matter makes my heart go pitter-pat - always imaginative, always satisfying, and always strictly seasonal. Visit TR as often as you can, and I promise you won’t tire of the experience.

CONTACT

TASTING ROOM 6 GREEN ST, BATH. FFI: 01225 483070, WWW.TASTINGROOM.CO.UK THE VERDICT HHHHHHHHHH

Elegant, competent, imaginative, flexible food in a smart but laidback environment

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➻ EATINGOUTWEST

WHAT'S COOKING?

Our monthly round-up of news from the foodie world

SUPER MARKETS Forget those trolleys and barcodes and check out one of the West’s vibrant markets to catch the local harvest at its freshest…

G

ood to welcome Chris Staines (pictured) to Bath’s ever-growing community of superchefs. Staines gained an enviable reputation at the Michelin-starred Foliage restaurant in London’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel, and has now taken the reins at the Abbey Hotel. His aim is to transform the hotel’s Bath Tea Rooms into ‘a modern, informal bistro with a focus on simple cooking using high-quality ingredients’. Meanwhile the Lounging business continues to boom for Alex Reilly and his partners, with a whacking £16m investment underpinning plans to go national and take the Bristol-based business from their current 20 Lounges to over 50 in five years. The money’s coming from Piper, the private equity firm that backed Las Iguanas’ growth from local heroes to national players nearly 10 years ago, and Reilly is quoted as intending to make the Lounge a similar ‘brand legend’. In an interesting variation on the classic wine and cheese formula, Peter Snowman of the Bristol Cider Shop is running a gourmet Cider & Sausage Festival at The Gryphon pub on Colston

Street on 5-6 May. There’ll be 20 varieties of traditional farmhouse cider and 20 different ‘proper’ sausages from local butchers to match them. As Snowman enthusiastically observes: “It’s cider and sausages – what’s not to like!” And, finally, a major apology is due to Toby Gritten, foraging food guru and presiding genius behind both the Pump House and Bird In Hand gastropubs for making a complete hash of his name in our April feature about Eat, Drink, Bristol Fashion. We can only blame our overexcitement about the lavish event (which runs in Queen Square until Mon 7 May) for the mistake.

Ashton Court Farmers’ Market Courtyard of Ashton Court mansion house, Bristol, 10.30am–2.30pm. Every Sat Bath Farmers’ Market Green Park Station, Bath, from 8.30am. Ffi: www.bathfarmersmarket.co.uk. Every Sat Harbourside Market No.1 Harbourside, Canons Rd, Bristol, 11am4pm. Ffi: www.no1harbourside.co.uk. 1st Sat of month Long Ashton Village Market Long Ashton Community Centre, Keedwell Hill, Long Ashton, Bristol, BS41, 9.30am-1pm. Ffi: www. longashtonvillagemarket.co.uk. 1st & 3rd Sat of month Whiteladies Road Farmers’ & Fair Trading Market Outside auction rooms on corner of Whiteladies Rd & Apsley Rd, Clifton, Bristol, 8.30am-2pm. Ffi: www. sustainableredland.org.uk. 2nd Sat of month Weston-superMare Farmers’ Market High St, Weston-super-Mare, 9am-12.30pm. 2nd Sat of month Keynsham Farmers’ Market High St (next to Clock Tower), Keynsham, Bristol, BS31, 9am-1pm. Ffi: www. somersetfarmersmarkets.co.uk. 4th Sat of month Westbury-on-Trym Market Medical Centre car park, Westbury Hill, Bristol, BS9, 9am–1pm Every Sun Tobacco Factory Market Raleigh Rd, Southville, Bristol, BS3, 10.30am-2.30pm. Ffi: www. tobaccofactory.com. 1st Sun of month Slow Food Market Corn St, Bristol, 10am-3pm. Ffi: www. slowfoodbristol.org. Every Wed & Fri Bristol Farmers’ Market Corn St, Bristol, 9.30am– 2.30pm 3rd Sun of month.

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But one cocktail get one free every night between 8 and 9 pm Open until 3am (last entry 1am)

Thursday, Friday and Saturday Lansdown Road, Bath, BA1 5DX

Mandalyns.co.uk

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10 OF THE BEST

Tapas You chat, you nibble, you open a bottle of something quaffable – it’s all about sharing, isn’t it? Bless those lovely Spanish people for inventing the perfect way to waste an afternoon in the sun. ➻ Bistro la Barrique 31 Barton St, Bath & 225 Gloucester Rd, Bristol • Frenchstyle food like cassoulet and tatin served as petits plats, best enjoyed alfresco. ➻ Bravas 7 Cotham Hill, Bristol, BS6 • Spanking new place serving top-notch Spanish tapas in smart contemporary surroundings. ➻ El Puerto 57 Prince St, Bristol • Popular, bustling bar/restaurant with all the tapas favourites, including creamy espinacas, a house speciality. ➻ El Rincon 298 North St, Bristol, BS3 • Tiny, easygoing cafe/bar embodying Spain’s laidback culture with delicious homecooked dishes and no-nonsense wine. ➻ Fat Fowl Silver St, Bradford on Avon • Worth a trip to catch some lunchtime jazz and spicy pescadito whitebait. ➻ Flinty Red 34 Cotham Hill, Bristol, BS6 • Taking it to another level, Flinty Red offers a ‘small plate’ menu of contemporary European fine dining, with over 25 by-the-glass wines to match. ➻ La Perla 12a North Parade, Bath, BA2 • Splendidly refurbished underground restaurant and tapas bar serving the succulent likes of slow-cured cecina beef in their atmospheric vaulted dining room. ➻ The Lido (pictured) Oakfield Place, Clifton, Bristol • Award-winning ‘green’ spa and restaurant that lets you enjoy wood-roasted sobrasada beside the pool, Majorcan-style. ➻ Star & Dove 75-78 Saint Luke’s Rd, Bristol, BS3 • They call it ‘Tavern Food’ but we reckon their Old English taster plates of baked flounder, lamb bacon and wild mushroom paté fit the tapas bill perfectly. ➻ Tasting Room 6 Green St, Bath • And very tasty it is, too, especially the confit potatoes with orange and rosemary sea-salt, washed down with anything from their excellent wine list.

➻ EATINGOUTWEST

REVIEW THE BOTANIST

Bar meets restaurant at this friendly Clifton bolthole that does a fine line in fish

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ou have to admire the cool team at The Botanist. On the corner of Berkeley Square, they’re ideally placed to be either a bar or a restaurant. They decided to go for both, using the central hall, with its curved ceiling and skylights, as a drinking hole while offering innumerable dining rooms leading off. For the punters it works well – once at your table, the bar’s lively ambience recedes nicely and the smartly decorated room with well-spaced tables feels like quite another place. The staff come and go with friendly efficiency, delivering the right stuff when you want it. If the building’s complexity taxes them, you’d never guess from their amiable disposition, and they’re similarly calm when it comes to explaining the slightly puzzling food offer, which combines a general menu with a lengthy ‘specials’ selection of extra fish dishes and the ‘fish board’ - a ‘catch of the day’ listing that allows you to pick fish, cooking method, sauces and side dishes to create your own plate. We would have floundered (hah!) but for the genial patience of our waiter advising on the best combination that would suit Mistress Montpelier’s radical choice of mahi mahi (one of those ‘green’ sustainable species that we’re learning to love). Our hard work done, we settled into a fulsome bottle of rioja and let the evening unfold in its own tasteful manner. For me, it started with shakshouka, a pure white poached egg perched atop cumin-

infused fried peppers that was drier than more usual tomato-sauce versions but a nice combination of crisp and soft nonetheless. MM fell completely for her melt-in-the-mouth surf’n’turf combination of black pearl scallops with soft black pudding. That enthusiasm was sustained by the meatier pleasures of pan-fried mahi mahi in caper butter, too, a succulent steak matched well with buttery broad beans. I greedily pinched some of those beans to embellish my crisped sea bass steaks perched on spinach and roast squash, served with garlic and rosemary roast potatoes. It was one of the ‘specials’, a nicely balanced set of flavours with the fresh fish ruling supreme. Pudding-wise, I think I won out – after the generosity of her main course, MM did her best with a white chocolate brulee but her heart wasn’t in it. The citrus zing of my homemade lemon tart, however, was just the job, as was the properly dark and dusty espresso that followed. At £40 a head (including wine) it wasn’t cheap but it certainly was cheerful. (Tony Benjamin)

CONTACT

THE BOTANIST 20A BERKELEY SQUARE, CLIFTON, BRISTOL. FFI: 0117 927 7333, WWW.THEBOTANISTBRISTOL.CO.UK THE VERDICT HHHHHHHHHH

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➻ EATINGOUTWEST

REVIEW PORTVCALE Mum’s the word at the fabulous Portuguese restaurant and bar that’s earning itself a big reputation Stick to the seasonal and you'll really 'taste the difference'

TABLE TALK Season to taste

➻ OK, so it’s always green bean season in Kenya (if the supermarket shelves are to be believed) but if we really want to taste a green bean we’ll need to wait for July, when the homegrown variety appears at the local greengrocer. As Hugh FearnleyWhittingstall famously observed: “Eating seasonally helps avoid the disappointment of a dish that fails to live up to your memory of its deliciousness.” And he’s right – you really can taste the difference, especially if it’s locally grown and thus a whole lot quicker to get from the plant to the plate. That might mean we’ve a few weeks more to wait for the beans but, happily, May’s the time of year when the fancy stuff starts to come back after winter’s more solid fare. Stand aside, cauliflower, and make room for asparagus, artichokes, spinach, new potatoes and rhubarb. If we’re lucky (and the weather’s been promising), there might even be early strawberries and the first gooseberries. You’ll find the sweetest lamb at the butcher’s, too, and sea bass, sea trout and lemon sole should all be making a comeback at the fishmonger’s. Yes, these things can be bought all year round (if you don’t mind a few thousand food miles and maybe a wait while they thaw) but varieties bred to withstand a lengthy journey while still offering maximum shelflife usually neglect that all-important ingredient of ‘flavour’. Stick to the seasonal (and local) and you really will ‘taste the difference’. (Tony Benjamin, Food & Drink editor)

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hile the wholly commercial, corporate vendors of the This Is What Homecooking Is All About multimedia bandwagon may have guilt-tripped us all into thinking we can’t possibly rustle up a decent homecooked supper without their soft-focus, hard-sell assistance, Ines Bustorff-Silva exists to remind us that, actually, all you need is common sense, a big heart and – OK, here’s the rub, I guess – an innate understanding of produce, flavours and the generational back-story that dictates to the overall vibe of any given memorable meal. Ines is Antonio’s mum. Antonio is proprietor of the gorgeous contemporary Portuguese restaurant and bar that’s taken over where the less-than-salubrious Lounge left off last November. And right now, Portvcale is slowly, quietly but very distinctively earning itself a well-deserved reputation for being one of the most unique watering holes in Bath. Until now, authentic Portuguese food has been nigh on impossible to find in the Heritage City. Meanwhile, few restaurants would consider presenting diners with a menu headed ‘Mum Food’ (a mix’n’match small-dish selection at prices ranging from £3.25 to £5.95, to either be treated as tapas or as starters to more substantial main

courses) unless they’re so confident about the angel in the kitchen that she’s most definitely someone to sing so sweetly about. But Ines’s cooking is worthy of an opera. Sitting in a cosy but plush banquette-lined booth, we embarked on a Portuguese adventure that included bacalhau a braz (an addictively moreish dried cod/egg/fried potato medley), pasteis de bacalhau (more of that wonderful dried cod, this time in a fishcake), lamb meatballs infused with cinnamon, frango com piri-piri (taste this, and you’ll never, ever even utter the word Nando’s again), a soft, velvety beef stew cooked very slowly (which disappeared in an instant) and alheira de Caca (a sausage that wins the award for being the ultimate porker that ever graced your lips - even though it doesn’t actually contain pork). All the while, we sipped deep, red wine for an incredibly light price (around £18), and for dessert there was almond tart, leite creme caramalizado and pastel de nata (you don’t need a translation, you just need to try it all) accompanied by espresso martini from a chic cocktail menu that’s all Antonio’s own work. At Portvcale, every day is Dia das Mães - and we say Saúde to that. (Melissa Blease)

CONTACT

PORTVCALE 43 ST JAMES PARADE, BATH. FFI: 01225 424321, WWW.PORTVCALELOUNGE.CO.UK THE VERDICT HHHHHHHHHH

A highly recommended, rustic, cheerful, authentic Portuguese adventure

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➻ EATINGOUTWEST Recipe GILES SAMPSON Age: 39 Nationality: British Restaurant: The Clifton Sausage

➻ “I first became interested in food when working for my parents at their market gardening business. I then went on to train as a chef at Weston College. “After working for Browns in Bristol, I was offered an exciting opportunity with them as part of the development team opening four new restaurants across London. I then went on to work for an independent company serving fantastic gastropub food. “Having decided to return to the South West to be nearer family and friends, I began what was supposed to be a temporary position at The Clifton Sausage. I shared a passion for the style and ethos of The Clifton Sausage, with a united view of producing fresh, locally sourced food served in an unpretentious way. “Eight years on, I still look forward to keeping our customers as happy as ever by providing fantastic British food.”

GILES SAMPSON AT

THE CLIFTON SAUSAGE Address: 7-9 Portland St, Clifton Village, Bristol BS8 4JA Tel: 0117 973 1192 Web: www.cliftonsausage.co.uk

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escribed by The Independent as one of the UK’s top 50 places for two people to eat for under £50, and by another national newspaper critic as ‘my new favourite restaurant’, the Clifton Sausage is a popular haven for discerning eaters and drinkers in Bristol’s laidback Clifton Village. The menu celebrates traditional classic British cuisine, using high-quality, simple, fresh, regional and seasonal ingredients. Classics include monkfish scampi and tartare sauce; chargrilled 10oz rib-eye with shallot, parsley and red wine butter; and Butcombe beer battered cod with mushy peas and chips. Seafood is delivered daily from St Mawes in Cornwall. Sausage-lovers will appreciate toad-in-the-hole or the seven different types of sausage (including lamb, mint & apricot; Old Spot pork, cider & wholegrain mustard; reindeer & cranberry) with onion gravy on champ or mash. Indulge in fools, crumbles and puddings, served by informed, friendly staff in the bar and restaurant, or

outdoors on the patio. Vegetarian options include salads, hotpots and vegetarian sausages. The spacious bar, with its oak floor and natural heritage colours, has a fabulous selection of wines, specialist beers and local ales on draught. At least 30 wines are available by the glass. The Sausage is a welcome reminder that, when it’s done well, British food can compete with the best the world has to offer.

“I SHARED A PASSION FOR THE ETHOS HERE - FRESH, LOCALLY SOURCED FOOD SERVED IN AN UNPRETENTIOUS WAY” GILES SAMPSON, THE CLIFTON SAUSAGE

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Crispy braised Old Spot pork belly, Recommended... black pudding, cider & apple sauce, 2009 PINOT NOIR, LITTLE YERING, YERING STATION, AUSTRALIA spring greens and creamy mash INGREDIENTS 1 kg Old Spot belly of pork (boned, skin on) 1 carrot 1 onion 1 stick of celery 4 bay leaves 1 sprig of thyme ½ teaspoon of fennel seeds ¾ pint of cider ½ pint water salt

TO MAKE

1

Start by scoring the meat in lines 5mm apart, then rub in the table salt on the skin side.

2

Chop the carrot, onion and celery into a medium dice, place in a metal oven tray and add the cider, water and herbs.

3 4 5

Put the belly in the tray with the other ingredients, skin side up. Cover with foil and place in a preheated oven at 180ºC for 1 hour.

Remove the foil and turn the oven up to 210ºC and cook for a further 1-1.5 hours until skin becomes crispy and meat becomes tender.

6

Remove the meat and allow to rest. While doing this, strain the juice into a jug and discard the vegetables. There will be a fair amount of fat to be skimmed off the stock that’s left.

7

Return the stock to a saucepan and reduce by three-quarters. Use this to serve with your pork - perfect with spring greens, grilled black pudding and rich, creamy mash!

➻ This delightful pinot noir has light red fruit flavours with a pleasing acidity to work well with the rich Old Spot pork. The tannins are soft and the rounded finish has subtle savoury herb notes. From the historic Yarra Valley winery Yering Station in Victoria, Australia, it’s a light to medium-bodied wine, with classic strawberry and red cherry flavours balanced with just a touch of oak.

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