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Food/Arts/Entertainment/Shopping/Property ISSUE 243/MARCH 2018/£3






ALL THE BEST* INTERIORS TRENDS FOR SS18 (*and some we’re a bit less keen on)



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Manchester . York  . Sutton Coldfield  . Bristol  . Farnborough  . Brentwood  . Aberdeen   Tunbridge Wells  . Beverley  . Exeter  . Chichester  . High Wycombe  . Liverpool  . London North . London West




Yes, you could limit this fabulous Pierre Frey wallpaper (Whittaker Wells) to the kids’ rooms, but why stop there? As Ryan Whittaker says: “Break the rules! We are Bristol, after all . . .”

The big chill This issue of Bristol Life was sent to the printer through six inches of snow. OK, it was sent electronically – but you know what we mean. For a few days at the beginning of March, a Blitz spirit prevailed. And while we know that some local venues and restaurants had to close in the eye of Storm Emma, most people agreed that we had exactly the right amount of snow required for escapist, childlike fun, and for exactly the right number of days. Now let’s move smartly into spring, without any more comedy Baltic fronts, shall we? Those of you who were forced to work from home – and yes, we know you all hated that – will have had plenty of time to observe the rooms of your house, and may well have concluded that there’s plenty of room for improvement. Handily, this is our big spring interiors issue, and while we’d never dictate to you about the colours, styles and patterns you ‘should’ be rocking (apart from anything else, there’s no real consensus of opinion), we’ve gathered together some of the trends that most designers seem to be loving at the moment. Also in this issue, you’ll find, as per usual, an eclectic preview of the best things to do, see and eat in the coming month – so just make like a toboggan in a snowdrift and get stuck in, why don’t you? Deri Robins, editor Twitter @BristolLifeMag Instagram:@bristollifemag


THE ARTS 31 Arts Intro Tait modern: meet young Bristol sculptor Alice Jennings

32 What’s On The Beast from the East is history; behold, the Best of the West


M EET T H E T EAM Editor Deri Robins Senior art editor Andrew Richmond Graphic design Megan Allison Cover design Trevor Gilham Contributors: Mal Rogers, Colin Moody, Seb Barrett, Kam Kelly, Stan Cullimore, Will Carpenter, Alex Diggins Advertising manager Lily Dalzell Account manager James Morgan Account manager Yvette Culbert Account manager Jake Newland

38 One to one Shall we dance? Oh yes please, Ashley Shaw…

44 Music Play dat thing; it’s the bluesiest, jazziest time of the year

Production and distribution manager Sarah Kingston Deputy production manager and production designer Kirstie Howe

46 Theatre Let Sheila Hannon show you the grisly side of Bemmie

Chief executive Jane Ingham Chief executive Greg Ingham

48 Film The 1960s British New Wave – all gritty black-and-white, northern, working-class, kitchen sink angst, yeah? Hah!; trust Bristol to buck the trend

52 Bristol heroes Dance like nobody’s watching (though Colin Moody is)

FOOD AND DRINK 58 Restaurants Kindly take your partners for the floral dance

60 Food and drink news Unmissable, mouth-watering stuff

64 Six of the best Who’s serving the perfect Sunday lunch?

71 Café society Have the cast of Wicked been in? Stan gets a bit distracted by a pair of sparkly shoes

A MAN’S WORLD 73 Seb Barrett Ask Baz what colour his kitchen is. Go on, ask him…

75 Kam Kelly A peep inside our favourite DJ’s (unfinished) crib

SPORT 77 Will Carpenter Bristol’s a long way from Samoa – so what makes the city a home from home for our South Seas players?

BUSINESS 89 Business Insider The Bristol Life Awards 2018 finalists, revealed

Bristol Life, MediaClash, Circus Mews House, Circus Mews, Bath BA1 2PW 01225 475800 @The MediaClash

90 Pro service special Hey, Bristol businesses: what have you done this year to make you feel proud?

PROPERT Y 112 Property Showcase How many homes contain a Grade-II cider barn and a wig room?

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Spotlight Instas Snapped! Bristol Lives On the cover Timorous Beasties wallpaper, stocked by Whittaker Wells; more amazeballs interiors stuff on page 12

With Alex (centre): Amal Hassan, Debbie Williams, Jodi Dowse and Leigh McLean


SELF-AWARENESS Author Will Self has had a bit of a time of it during his life, and now wants to make a difference to other men suffering from substance and alcohol addiction. On 28 March he’s fundraising for Chandos House – Bristol’s treatment centre for addiction – reading from and discussing his own writings related to addiction and recovery. There will also be the opportunity to meet Will, and get your hands on a signed copy of his most recent book, Phone, in exchange for a donation – hey, dig deep enough and he may agree to a Selfie. Hope he brings the pooch. For more:


HAVE YOU MET MISS JONES? Actually, we did once, when we held what was, in hindsight, a slightly bonkers fashion shoot for Cardiff Life, and The One Show’s Alex Jones (then a presenter for S4C) gamely came along and posed with a brolly on Barry Island beach. Happy days. The indomitable Alex will be joining two Bristol mums to take on ‘The Mother of All Challenges’ for Sport Relief 2018. Debbie Williams and Jodie Dowse will be taking on the epic challenge alongside Alex

and other inspirational mums, to help raise awareness of maternal health and fundraise for Sport Relief 2018. The challenge takes place between 11-16 March, and will see the group battle whatever the weather decides to throw at them, blisters, and challenges they never thought they’d face – all in support of Sport Relief. Follow their journey on The One Show every night from 12 March on BBC One. For more:


BOOGIE ON DOWNS Will RKid join Noel on stage? Probably not – but the line-up for The Downs Festival this year is looking pretty tasty anyway, with Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and Paul Weller topping a bill that

also includes Orbital, Goldie and Basement Jaxx – so far. The team have a habit of sneaking extra acts in as the year goes on, so keep an eye on the website for updates. For more:

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The results speak for themselves. The property exudes classical Georgian charm but boasts a modern twist. Its keyless entry system, stylish interiors, luxurious beds, elite quality bedding and views over the city make everything about 31 Meridian Suites the perfect choice. Now open for bookings via Airbristol, 31 Meridian Suites is perfect for business or pleasure, with the commitment of excellent service making them certain you will have a great stay. 7 of the suites come with kitchenettes and 2 are categorized as a typical hotel room setup. The jewel in the crown is Suite 5, with its stunning marble bathroom, roll top stand alone bath and walk in shower pictured below. If you feel like exploring the neighbourhood, then all the boutiques and treats of Clifton Village are on your doorstep. As well as the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge only a short stroll away.

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LIFE IN BLACK AND WHITE Rendered in mono, the city takes on a timeless, romantic quality, playing the starring role in its own black-and -white movie
















@rogerturner6 I BRISTOL LIFE I 11

Inside information If I is for Interiors, T is for trends… ready or not, it’s our spring interiors special By DE R I ROBI NS

‘New neutral’ sage green, botanicals, bike: Farrow & Ball have the Bristol look nailed. Right: go darker with your greens, and team with the impossible-to-avoid millennial pink: Little Greene (stocked by Nola)





lick through your back catalogue of Bristol Lifes (you do keep them all, lined up in chronological order next to your bed, yeah?) and you’ll see that we always try to put a fresh spin on our bi-annual interiors features. Sometimes we focus on colour and patterns; sometime we amble through the rooms of our imaginary dream house, mentally decorating one room at a time. One year (we’re blushing at the memory) we briefly took the hygge craze far too seriously, until we clocked that it just meant sheepskin throws, candles and open fi res, which we all had anyway. Fashion and interiors-wise, we’re living our best possible lives. Anything goes. Great news for rugged individualists – you can go ahead and team that ’70s-style macramé plant holder with the latest Graffiti wallpapers from Timorous Beasties, and nobody will bat an eyelid. Those who prefer a clearer line of instructions may fi nd the whole thing a bit confusing: neutrals or brights? Blousy botanicals, or crisp linear designs? And don’t even get us started on rose gold. For every leading interiors expert who’s claimed that this is ‘out’, there are two hailing it as ‘the new copper’. So for our spring interiors feature we thought: why not lash all the

myriad trends together in a snappy A-Z? And as we couldn’t think of a single reason why we shouldn’t, that’s what we went ahead and did – with help, as ever, from a bunch of our local experts.


Deco’s never really gone away. Gatsby and the Jazz Age have been influencing Christmas parties and bridal fashion since, well, forever, and now the V&A has launched an exhibition on ocean liners. Get ready for Deco overload: we’re thinking velvet chairs, cocktail cabinets with metallic detailing and absolutely buckets of glamour. Hot Deco tip: choose gold and black lighting – and geometrics (see T for tiles).


Ripples are combining both. “Bring the outdoors in. We just can’t get enough of green in the bathroom, whether products, patterns or plants,” says Michel Marcer of Ripples Bristol. Though bathrooms can also be mean and moody: “Dark walls – indigo, blacks – are chic and effortless, and combine with wooden furniture in a bathroom to dramatic effect. “If you’re looking to add warmth and elegance, it’s time to go for gold. We’re crushing on gold accessories at Ripples – they will add an instant chic update to any bathroom.” w I BRISTOL LIFE I 13



The underpass/National Theatre look is clearly on the up. “The design trend for industrial styling is here to stay. Think clean lines, unusual materials (we’re looking at you, concrete) and special fi nishes,” says Michael of Ripples. Hannah Walkiewicz of Build Bristol loves this urban material too: “We’ve seen a real trend for polished concrete – in wet-rooms and on flooring it’s a great look.”


Sophisticated and atmospheric, dark paint colours such as charcoal greys and inky blues are currently loved by designers. “They add an element of drama to any living space,” says Finola Kelly of new Gloucester Road interiors shop, Nola. “Choose moody yet restful shades, such as Little Greene’s Basalt (an inky blue/black) or Lamp Black to add a rich, luxurious element to any room. Offset a bold scheme with large mirrors, or a wall of framed photos in metallic fi nishes, to add interest and a feature to a specific area of the room. “Complement dark shades with a highlight of bold colour on a piece of furniture, chair or lampshade, such as orange, teal or

fuchsia. Create a dramatic entrance with dark colours. A hallway with walls painted in a dark colour can be brightened up with mirrors to reflect light; or add a chandelier or glass pendant for a focal point. Alternatively, contrast pale walls with dark painted woodwork for a stylish entrance. “Choose dark colours, such as Little Greene’s Jack Black for kitchen units for a smart, high end appearance. Contrast with metallic handles and appliances. And add a touch of drama and a focal point to your bathroom by painting your rolltop bath in a rich, dark colour such as Thai Sapphire or Basalt. Add a chair or chaise-longue in dark velvet for added luxury.”


Basically, a catch-all for quirky, witty touches, whether it’s taxidermy and antlers (a bit old hat, now), or collections of unusual objets grouped together on a wall – for a crash course take a virtual tour of, and for a quick retail fi x check out Graham & Green’s range of ‘tasteful kitsch’ – flamingo lamps, painted trays, animal vases and so on.


Yes, house plants are back, adding to the list of dependents you have to cater for when you go on holiday, and guilt-tripping you with their curling, neglected leaves. If you must go for the real thing, think ‘exotic Deco cocktail palm lounge’, not ‘hippie spider plants breeding like rabbits’. Better still, stick to botanical prints; an embroidered monstera is an easy-going friend for life. “Foliage and the natural world references are very strong,” says Ryan of Whittaker Wells. “Osborne & Little, with their Aviary, and Timorous Beasties’ Winchester wallpaper panels are proving to be big hits with our customers.”


Green currently likes to be seen, in shades of sage, olive and chartreuse, and it simply loves being teamed with pink, millennial or otherwise. But G is not for grey; everyone’s a bit fed up with this life-sapping hue (unless it’s a very dark charcoal). G is also for Global, predicted for a major comeback – good news for those of us who emptied Liberty’s Rajasthani department back in the ’80s. Team dark wooden furniture with a feature wall of map wallpaper and a globe. . . actually, hold the globe, that’s a global step too far. But the G we’re really getting behind is Gelato – sweet, icecream-inspired colours, used all over the place, and particularly pretty in kitchen-diners; have a mixture of mauves, pinks, lemons and eau de nils, and your home will look as pretty as a Swoon Gelato display counter.

FOR HALLWAYS AND HYGGE (only H ISkidding about the Hygge)

“The big trend in hallways is to use two colours on the walls without a dado rail,” says Joa Studholme, who’s the international colour consultant for Farrow & Ball, so should know. “The stronger colour, such as classic Studio Green, should be used on the skirting and bottom half of the wall, while a lighter neutral like Shaded White is used on the top half. These two

Darks and metallics for a bathroom you’ll never want to leave; by Ripples 14 I BRISTOL LIFE I

colours should also be used in the same way over the doors and their frames, while windows and frames should be painted in the lighter colour. This magic trick makes halls and corridors open out and feel wider while also bringing in a decorative twist.” Hallways are also one of designer Zoe Hewett’s favourite spaces to play with, “because they are so often the most neglected. People don’t always regard them as ‘real rooms’, but they can really set the tone for welcoming you home – or otherwise! They are the perfect spot for hanging art and photos; they are usually lacking in direct natural light so pictures won’t be faded by the sun. Halls are often crying out for colour and I think they can take it well, despite the popular misnomer that painting everything white makes it bigger. Any colour on the walls can be broken up by pictures, anyway.”

I is for Industrial

The industrial look is going absolutely nowhere, says Hannah of Build Bristol. “Well, not for a little while, at least! We’ve just undertaken a kitchen project which had an industrial stainlesssteel worktop with a seamless sink installed, made by a company who specialise in catering equipment – it looks great, and is very practical.” “To bring an industrial twist into your home, it’s a great idea to paint your stairs and banisters in a strong colour while leaving the rest of your hall neutral,” says Joa of Farrow & Ball. “This forms a dark spine through your house which makes everything around it feel lighter. To create real drama, use Railings with its underlying blue tone. And if you are feeling braver then take this strong colour onto all the doors and the skirting – it won’t darken a room, but it will make it feel very special.”

J is for Jewel

Bright gem colours are an ideal pairing for the new darks. Set jewel coloured velvet sofas against moody navy walls; this also works well with metallic.

K is for Kitchens people don’t regard hallways as ‘real rooms’, but they can really set the tone for welcoming you home

Timorous Beasties’ Graffiti range could have been designed for your Montpelier/ Southville/ Redland pad – from Whittaker Wells, of course

Wren produce some of the best-looking kitchens in the biz. “Statement shelves are a top choice for 2018, feeding into the growing trend for fewer wall units and a more open kitchen that makes rooms appear bigger and brighter,” says head of content Sarah Hardy. “ We have a wide shelving range from curved open and decorative shelves to midways which can be combined with statement splashbacks and lighting, fun wall tiles and designer extractor hoods. Store your stuff in floor-to-ceiling tower and larder units, and choose deep drawers to use every inch of space. “While a heavy metal industrial steel kitchen isn’t for everyone, a bright splash of chrome, gleam of gold or warm copper accent is always welcoming. Choose an exclusive metallic effect to add a warm glow or high-tech finish to the sleek lines of a designer-style minimalist kitchen, or go for a funkier edge with a metallic splashback in copper or gold and metal handles. Or choose units and worktops with stainlesssteel effect edging for a flash of brilliance. “Pretty and feminine or deep and vibrant, pastels are the colours for 2018, and our Macaron collection – inspired by the pretty pastel shades found in the patisseries of Paris – has them all. There are 12 delectable colours that are just as irresistible as the delicate, sweet macarons themselves, from delicate rose to zesty lemon curd, for a kitchen that’s mouthwateringly unique.” Jess David of Arlberry sings the praises of the marble factor. “We often design kitchens with a statement marble, which comes in so many different colour options. Traditionally used in larders to keep food cool, these worksurfaces haven’t gone out of fashion and are really worth the investment. 2018 sees marble not only being used for worktops but also on cupboard doors and as feature panels.” 

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Very much in the ‘I for industrial’ camp? Martin of The Lighting Studio has some recommendations. “Choose metallic pendants, which offer diverse solutions to many interior styles; they come in a choice of sizes, shapes and colourways, with subtle chrome or polished brass inners – perfectly illustrated by our Hyde collection. Linear lighting is the ideal solution over dining tables, breakfast bars or kitchen islands. The industrial metallic versions are great for illuminating task areas, while the more decorative ones, with their glass diffusers and vintage fi lament LED lamps, are dimmable, so ideal for creating mood.”


“Gold, silver, copper, stainless-steel, chrome – metallics are in big demand with our clients,” says Hannah of Build Bristol. “Metallic light pendants seem to be a strong look, and are easily replaced should trends change; as are handles and knobs. Flashes of copper or gold can really change the look of a room, and it’s easily achieved. We’ve started to see the gold and copper tones creep into bathrooms, too.” M is also for Macramé, and indeed all manner of fringing, tufting, tassels and feathers – you name it, it’s on cushions, throws, rugs and baskets. And we really can’t avoid millennial pink, even if we wanted to. Yes, the name is archly ironic, and yes, it’s verging on being a bit kitsch, but in an acceptable Wes Anderson way. A bit like Dulux’s Dogwood (see P) it’s a beautiful, soft tone, and works a treat with moody charcoal greys and metallics. Think cocktail lounges (yes, we know, we do seem to think about cocktail lounges rather a lot). Just don’t blame us if you can never locate your rose gold iPhone ever again.


“Neutrals have always conjured up images of ‘safe colours’ – nothing too daring, colours that sit in the background, not attracting too much attention,” says Finola of Nola. “Moving away

from warm taupes, cool off-whites and the several shades of grey, 2018 welcomes the ‘new neutrals’, adding prettiness and harmony in shades such as tea rose, pale lavender, soft sage and pastel peach. These neutrals have soft grey undertones added to create more muted, grown up shades. “Soft sage walls add a calm but harmonious backdrop to any room. Adding layers of texture, such as wool, mohair, linen, suede and velvet to a neutral room, creates interest and warmth. Throws, cushions, rugs and baskets in complementary textures help to create a comforting haven. “If you’re not brave enough to go ‘all neutral’ you could add textiles in the new neutral tones. Add luxury to a living room with soft velvet cushions in tea rose, or drape a mohair throw on the bed in pale lavender.”


Ombre – the effect of colours or tones shading into each other – is going to be all over fabrics, from cushions to rugs and bed linen, and in a painterly watercolour style on lampshades, artwork and even furniture. You can achieve the look on walls yourself by blending the edges of two tones with a brush – but if it all goes horribly wrong, or you can’t be bothered, use wallpaper.


Ah yes. Pantone’s Colour of the Year – that annual directive beloved by paint fi rms who devoutly hope you’ll rush out and paint over 2017’s COTY ‘Greenery’ with 2018’s ‘Ultra Violet’. Ignore them. It’s meaningless. Nobody cares. That said, if you must go for one, designer Katherine Ogilvie very much admires Dulux’s COTY Heartwood; a soft, easily incorporated pink. “Warm, earthy colours are everywhere. If a pink backdrop is too much for you, turn to any of the other popular hues of apricot, peach, dusky rose, burnt orange or terracotta, and incorporate those, through textiles, with one standout piece of furniture.” w

We want to lick the gelatocoloured doors of Wren’s Milano kitchens – here in Spearmint I BRISTOL LIFE I 17


When it comes to furniture, it’s worth investing in beautifully-made pieces that’ll outlast your IKEA flatpack by several centuries. “At Arlberry, we believe passionately in bespoke,” says Jess Davis. “We believe it is the best solution to achieve real quality. By opting for bespoke, you, the customer, always get exactly what you really want, with tailored solutions for your home that fit your style, and have form as well as function.” Also fi rmly on our radar is Marc Mackay, who’s recently set up Mackay Carpentry to showcase the work of some of the best carpenters in Bristol.


We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – restaurants and bars can offer the perfect inspiration for domestic interiors. Where do you think the industrial trend came from in the fi rst place? How about commissioning a ‘street luxe’ artist to do a mural, as The Florist and Pasture have done? Or steal Wahaca’s hot, south-of-the-border hues (not literally, please don’t actually nick the furniture) and birdcage swing; Milk Thistle’s eclectic Victorian Gothic luxury; North Street Standard’s understated upcycled look, or the Thali Cafés’ vibrant Bollywood kitsch.


“Statement sofas are becoming an increasingly popular option, and we’ve seen a real trend towards bold patterns and colours,” says Jayne Muluka, furniture buyer for Park Furnishers. “Classic neutrals allow us to create timeless interior design schemes, but if you combine with a bold piece of furniture, the different shades and textures it adds will invigorate your room. Set against the backdrop of a neutral colour palette, a distinctive sofa will provide the ideal focal point for your room, whether you’re looking to incorporate a unique pattern or contemporary colour.” (S is also for Scandi, but presumably you know all about that stuff by now. Cf also hygge. Tak.)



Metro tiling’s still just about in, though it’s become a bit ubiquitous for some tastes. Word is that the fashion pack are moving towards larger format tiles and even huge porcelain sheets. Then, of course, there are the never-out-of-fashion geometrics. “Encaustic tiles are having a moment. We love adding geometrics to cool cloakrooms,” says Michael of Ripples. And what of the much-vaunted return of terrazzo, that speckly chips-set-in-polished-cement flooring so redolent of the 1970s? For many, its revival is about as welcome as last year’s plywood trend, ie not at all, but many interiors mavens are loving it. “Most commonly seen on tiles, you can expect to start seeing affordable options of terrazzo for every area of your home,” warns Katherine Ogilvie. “Not just for worktops and flooring, this pattern has expanded to wallpaper, bedding, lighting, planters and everything in between. There’ll be no avoiding it!” Zoe Hewett’s also predicts a big comeback for the thing. “Terrazzo never really went anywhere, of course, because it is so hardwearing, and restorers sometimes fi x up floors that have lasted over 100 years. We associate it with the 1970s, even

This page: David Hunt Lighting’s dimmable Aspen is ideal for mood-making. Right: we’ve heard of bringing the inside in, Park Furnishers, but this is the first time we’ve seen the inside taken out. Though we have to say, this Alexander & James Paradise sofa looks incredibly alluring on that jetty...

SPRING INTERIORS though it was invented about 500 years ago, but for me there is something about it that is reminiscent of louche continental hotels and apartments from the decade that style supposedly forgot. The best thing about terrazzo, apart from its looks, is that it is reasonably guilt-free, given that it is now made from ground offcuts and chippings from all sorts of different waste material such as granite, glass, metals, and quartz as well as the traditional marble and stone. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing how people will style it up across the year.”


We hardly need to sell this one to you, do we Bristol? Whittaker Wells love Timorous Beasties’ range: “Their urban art-inspired designs are among our most popular fabrics – often used to recover antique, heirloom furniture.” Over in Old Market, Bristol Upholstery’s Leigh Anne Treadwell agrees that statement chairs are very satisfying to reupholster. We enjoy transforming granny’s old armchair, and working on the design with the client to continue the life of a piece that has become a cherished member of the family. I’m especially enjoying the emergence of bold printed fabrics – students are creating their own, and digitally printing them online. It’s fun and unique.”



“Velvet, like brass and marble, is a classic that you can buy with impunity,” says Katherine Ogilvie. “It adds instant elegance, and there are so many affordable and stain-resistant options available. Incorporate a small velvet occasional chair or armchair into your home, or, as velvet looks great with wool, pair up velvet cushions and comfy woollen throws for a simple, warm and luxurious update to your home.”


“This year we’ll see people being more adventurous with wallpaper,” predicts Katherine Ogilvie. “It’s suffered a bad reputation for being over-used as a feature wall but with the resurgence of people looking for bolder, larger artwork I also see wallpaper takinge on the role of a work of art in itself. It’s a great way to add texture and design, and I hope we’ll see more people being brave enough to paper all four walls – or even a ceiling.” “After years of painting absolutely everything, people are loving the sense of excitement that a wall covering can add,” says

Ryan of Whittaker Wells. “And it’s not just wall ‘paper’ either – we have 3D foams, corks, sea grasses, leather, and geometrics that are nothing like wallpaper.” W is also for wabi-sabi – and no, it’s not a new hot sauce at Wagamama’s. “Wabi-sabi is a lifestyle trend that’s coming on strong in 2018,” says Katherine Ogilvie. “It’s an ancient philosophy that celebrates the beauty and acceptance of transience and imperfections. Isn’t it about time we found a trend that suits real lives? Accepting that our homes don’t have to be Instagram-ready? Distressed furniture and handmade crockery are simple ways of adding a little bit of wabi-sabi to your home, as is styling things in odd numbers and using linen sheets. Who has time to iron when we could better spend our time sitting back and toasting the beauty of imperfection?”


Want to maximise a tiny space? “If you have a small dark space then the worst thing you can do is to paint it white – it won’t make it feel bigger, just duller!” says Joa of Farrow & Ball. “Embrace small, dark spaces and use dramatic colours to create little, wonderful, enveloping rooms.”


Keep it personal and authentic, says Zoe Hewett. “While decorating trends are useful indicators of public mood, and visual markers of a time and place, it is wise to enjoy but not necessary follow them.”


Searches for ‘herringbone patterns’ on Pinterest are up by over 130% – and we’re not just talking hallway floors. Choose dark wood furniture inlaid with herringbone pattern, and accessorise with metallics. So there you have it – or have we left you more confused than when we started? And where on earth does Ryan Whittaker’s favourite new wallpaper by Pierre Frey (see page 3) fit into any of the above? Nobody even mentioned Native American Indian motifs to us . . . Oh, just embrace what you love, and go for it 100%, says Ryan. “If you love a motorbike, put it in the dining room on a stand. Put one of your kid’s doodles in a Baroque frame. Break the rules – we are Bristol, after all...” I BRISTOL LIFE I 19

Mackay Carpentry is all about great service at a competitive price. “We are constantly striving for innovative ways to create the best interiors and exteriors for our clients. Whether that be a complete renovation or a simple storage solution. We work with our customers to create bespoke spaces that really work for them, with quality at the heart of everything we do.”

- Marc Mackay

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DIRECTORY Your home deserves the best – and here’s where to source it

Appeal Shading Mendip Conservatories, Congresbury Arlberry Bespoke 13 Harbury Road Ben Argent Kitchens West Littleton, Wiltshire Bracey Interiors Waterloo Street

Farrow & Ball 16 Princess Victoria Street Fawn Interiors Unit 4.6, Paintworks Gardiner Haskins Broad Plain Hobsons Choice London Road, Bath

Miety Stone Hillmans Transport Depot

Ripples 88 Whiteladies Road

Neptune 98 B/C Whiteladies Road

Schmidt 1 Park Road, Bath

Nola Interiors 168 Gloucester Road

SJP Interiors 36 The Mall

Oriental Rugs of Bath Hallatrow Business Park

Tailored Flooring 80 Alma Road

BS9 Interior Design

Horders 369-375 Gloucester Road

Build Bristol

Katherine Ogilvie

Polar Bear Windows Jarretts Garden Centre

Core and Ore 16 Portland Street

Kutchenhaus Clifton Down Shopping Centre

Raft Furniture 68 Whiteladies Road

The Lighting Studio Unit 2, Bedminster Retail Park www.lightingware

Dream Doors 11 The Promenade

Mackay Carpentry 8 The Yard

Rag & Bone 11 St Nicholas Street

The Sofa Library 50-60 Whiteladies Road

The Kitchen Partners 102 Whiteladies Road

Timber Window of Clifton 29 The Mall; Tom Howley Kitchens 90 Whiteladies Road Whittaker Wells 157 Whiteladies Road Wren Kitchens Cribbs Causeway Retail Park The trend for covering heirloom chairs with funky, up-to-the-minute fabrics is very much up Bristol Upholstery Collective’s alley....

Zoe Hewitt Interiors – Stylemongers of Bristol I BRISTOL LIFE I 29


TAIT MODERN Meet Alice Jennings – the Bristol artist who won the 2017 Ruth Tait Award, which champions the work of young sculptors. Alice studied at UWE, which is where she first became seduced by sculpture; she’s currently a member of art collective CHAMP, with a studio based at the Brunswick Club. “As a member of the creative community of Bristol,” she says, “I have a close affiliation with stimulating musicians and sound artists, who work in a variety of experimental genres. Being cocooned in this culture has changed the way that I perceive space and sound, and through these immersive experiences I’ve taken inspiration for my sculpting forms. “I like to explore the theme of texture, and how people relate to it through sound, shape and form. I am enticed and intrigued by the many organic shapes and forms that surround and seduce us. “In my work I try to convey my own actions through the shape and form of the materials I use. Having grown up with a brother with Down’s Syndrome, I have always questioned the idea of beauty, and what it means to each of us.” Alice stands next to her maquette (a preliminary model) for her piece Cumulus – see her making it on her Facebook page

For more alicejenningsart I BRISTOL LIFE I 31

9 March – 9 April 2018


Beauty and the beast? Cara Romera’s take on The Graduate; we think the cage just might be symbolic in Stolen; The Handsome Family’s marital relations never really recovered from Brett’s failure to book Pasta Loco for Valentine’s Day

Exhibitions UNTIL 11 MARCH

WOMEN OF THE RWA From its foundation to the present day, the RWA has had women artists at its heart. This diverse exhibition takes a walk through the gallery’s fascinating history and shines a light on the artists that shaped it; FRINK-BLOW-LAWSON Three highly influential female artists, whose impact is still recognisable today; ANNE REDPATH The vibrant paintings of the RWA Academician and Associate Royal Academician,


WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR The renowned wildlife photography exhibition continues, with 100 spectacular images and a serious message about the environment. At MShed; UNTIL 15 APRIL

IMAN ISSA A series of ‘displays’ by Issa that questions the function of public sculpture and monuments;

people and landscapes; see the result at Paintworks; UNTIL 31 MAY

IAIN KEMP A photographer for Vogue, Elle Decor etc, Iain’s latest project involved photographing his childhood Dinky cars. Society Cafe;

9-14 MARCH

CARA ROMERO Rainmaker’s spring show includes some of Cara’s past, groundbreaking work as well as her newest creations.

16-21 MARCH


NIALL MCDIARMID: TOWN TO TOWN Scottish photographer Niall travelled through Britain documenting its


in the British Empire and Commonwealth, mostly taken 1880s-1960s. At Bristol Museum;


EMPIRE THROUGH THE LENS Bristol Archives’ collection of photos and films of life

LAID BARE A visual reflection on human nature relating to the philosophy of ‘being in the world’; PLEASE COME IN AND LEAVE The gallery: it’s supposed to provide access to art, but at the same time its ‘symbolic borders’ prevent people from entering the space. Why? 23-28 MARCH


W H AT ’ S O N

– A SECRET HISTORY OF CLOTHES Who was Marietta? Can you capture her in a poem just by handling her clothes? Bristol poet and artist Hazel Hammond has a go; 30 MARCH-2 APRIL

EASTER SCULPTURE FESTIVAL Dragon’s egg planters, ghost flowers, stained-glass masterpieces, stone flautists and graceful cranes; all in the Botanic Garden; bristol. 31 MARCH-24 JUNE

GRAYSON PERRY: THE VANITY OF SMALL DIFFERENCES Six large tapestries by Turnerprize winning Grayson, exploring the British fascination with taste and class. At City Museum & Art Gallery;

Theatre & shows UNTIL 10 MARCH

HAIRSPRAY It’s another big hair day for Tracy Turnblad, as Divine’s musical phenomenon comes to the Hippodrome; UNTIL 1 APRIL

MACBETH Adele Thomas’s take on the Thane – the first production by the Factory Company at TFT; UNTIL 7 APRIL

THE CHERRY ORCHARD Former RSC supremo Michael Boyd takes on Chekhov in this fresh, funny and honest new version at Bristol Old Vic; 7-9 MARCH

FIVE ENCOUNTERS ON A SITE CALLED CRAIGSLIST YESYESNONO put an intricate and tender question mark around our attempts to encounter each other in this techno world. The Wardrobe; 8-10 MARCH

NEGATIVE SPACE It’s a love story. It’s a slapstick


comedy. It’s slasher, action, melodrama; and not a single word is spoken. Reckless Sleepers is a group of 13 creatives who have been creating contemporary theatre for over 20 years. “Bristol is one of the few places where we continue to be invited back to,” they say, which makes us really want to go and see them. At Circomedia; 9-17 MARCH

DRACULA Where better to experience the original vampire story than in the subterranean Loco Klub? Nowhere! 10 MARCH

CATEGORY IS . . . Some of the best drag queens and queer cabaret performers on the UK and European drag scene come to the OMA; THE GREATEST LIAR IN ALL THE WORLD A kind of sequel to Pinocchio, in Familia de la Noche’s mix of clowning, puppetry, music and shadow play, at 1532; 10-11 MARCH

LONG SHOT With much at stake and little chance of success, PanGottic present a stripped back circus performance where the audience is in charge;

If they expand any more they’re going to need a bigger camera: Police Dog Hogan’s back 15-16 MARCH

BEST OF BE FESTIVAL A genre-bending mix of European theatre, dance, comedy and performing arts; Circomedia;


20-24 MARCH

15-18 MARCH

TURIN BRAKES The lads are touring with new album Invisible Storm; at St George’s;

BARNUM The musical story of PT Barnum, ‘The Greatest Showman on Earth’; at Redgrave; CINDERELLA Swoon! Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures return to the Hippodrome (see page 38). 28-30 MARCH

11 & 18 MARCH

STOLEN Through epic narratives, music and sound, Devil’s Violin remind us that nothing is as rich as the world we can create within our own minds; at TFT; 13-17 MARCH

CILLA THE MUSICAL The spectacular rise of the beloved Scouse songbird; Hippodrome; POLICE DOGS IN SPACE The Pretend Men present the follow up to their criticallyacclaimed debut Police Cops – a low-fi sci-fi set in the most dangerous place on Earth: Space. The Wardrobe;

POLL FUNCTION Hail To The People’s witty and empathic exploration of youthful hedonism and social responsibility; The Wardrobe; 3-7 APRIL

BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL Bronté Barbé plays the singer/ songwriter in the musical story of her life; the Hippodrome;


HIDDEN ORCHESTRA WITH LIMBIC CINEMA Immersive sound and vision from the mysterious, ambientlyinclined Hidden and the mind-warping visuals of Limbic; 21-24 MARCH

DON GIOVANNI Mozart’s don finds himself in a contemporary setting, performed by the talented cast of Bristol University Operatic Society; The Winston; bristol. 22 MARCH


THE HANDSOME FAMILY Strange yet beautiful poetic lyrics and country-meetsweird music from husband and wife Brett and Rennie;



YES Or possibly, ‘no’, as it’s return tickets only for the Bristol leg of the prog-rock pioneers’ 50th anniversary tour;

POLICE DOG HOGAN The Police Dogs are getting bigger – not just in the fame sense, but in size; they’re now an eight-piece. Catch their mix of w I BRISTOL LIFE I 33

W H AT ’ S O N

cake enthusiast returns to Bristol with a new live show about control, and buckets of straight-talking flair; at Colston Hall;



SUZY RUFFELL: KEEPING IT CLASSY See the show that’s nabbed Ruffell the working-class comedy crown of her generation; 28-29 MARCH

JOHN BISHOP: WINGING IT The comedy superstar flies back into The Hippodrome with a new show; MATT FORDE The leading political comedian presents a show completely changed by events which haven’t yet happened; at Redgrave; 30 MARCH

JONATHAN PIE: An evening of searing satire from the fictional news reporter; at Colston Hall; 3 APRIL The UK’s fave Dave at St George’s; sorry lads: you can’t hold your whisky and hold Sarah Darling – at Colston Hall

pithy Americana in Bristol while you can;



12, 26 MARCH, 9 APRIL

HEATWAVE, ODYSSEY & ROSE ROYCE: THE ORIGINAL BOOGIE NIGHTS Return to the glory days of disco, funk and soul with these groove legends; SARAH DARLING One of the brightest talents from Nashville; expect sweet Southern-girl vocals and lyrics like “You can’t hold your whisky and hold me too”. At The Lantern;

CLOSER EACH DAY The world’s longest improvised comedy soap continues to bubble away amusingly; 16-17 MARCH

BRISTOL IMPROV MARATHON 26 hours non-stop, over 30 performers; at Bristol Improv Theatre; bristolimprov

RACHEL PARRIS & SEAN MCLOUGHLIN Another Chucklebuster LOL pairing at The Wardrobe;


BRISTOL FILM FESTIVAL Still time to catch a few classic corkers as the main part of the BFF comes to an end;

GREGORY PORTER Smooth... Gregory pays homage to his hero, Nat King Cole. 9 APRIL

JETHRO TULL Just like Yes, Ian and the lads are on a 50th anniversary tour, and just like Yes, they’ve sold out.

ADAM HESS: CACTUS & GLENN MOORE: THE VERY BEST OF BELINDA CARLISLE Chuckle Busters presents two of the country’s most popular comedians; at The Wardrobe 23, 25 MARCH


BLOOD & BUTCHERY IN BEDMINSTER Gruesome pub walk from the renowned Show of Strength. Delve deep into the dodgier bits of Bedminster’s history, with tales of body snatchers, concrete coffins, hangings judges and the most notorious heist in living memory. (see page 46) 10 MARCH

ISABEL LOSADA The author the bestselling The Battersea Park Road to Enlightenment is in Waterstones to chat about new novel Sensation, and how she spent a year in search of better sex; 16-17 MARCH

BRISTOL WOMEN’S LITERATURE FESTIVAL Talks, readings, poetry, and a screening of Greta Schiller’s Paris Was A Woman – a portrait of the creative community of women writers, artists, photographers and editors who flocked to the Left Bank in the early 20th century. A Bristol Festival of Ideas, Bristol Women’s Voice, Watershed, and Spike Island collaboration; 17 MARCH

KENDALL MOUNTAIN FESTIVAL An evening packed full of films and awe-inspiring talks from some of the world’s most impressive adventurers. Redgrave; 19-25 MARCH

BRITISH DAL FESTIVAL They’ll cook anything with a pulse; see page 60.


DIANA PORTER Contemporary jewellery exhibition showcasing the works of five talented, graduate designers;




SAVING THE CITY First shown at the Venice Biennale 2016, the Architecture Centre’s spring exhibition presents 30 years of factorybuilt housing by RHSP, and highlights the need for welldesigned, fast-build, highperformance, affordable homes.

30-31 MARCH

RELOAD RELIVE REPLAY The Hippodrome becomes an interactive gaming hub for its first-ever gaming convention, with a range of traditional electronic and non-electronic gaming experiences that will appeal to all ages. 3 APRIL

DAVID ATTENBOROUGH From the life of prehistoric seadragons to the perils of plastic, everyone’s favourite Dave is at St George’s Bristol to talk about his many adventures – all profits to St George’s; I BRISTOL LIFE I 35



SHE SHALL GO TO THE BOURNE You’re barred, mate: our favourite ballet dancer is back in town, and if you go to see her at The Bristol Hippodrome this month in Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella, Ashley Shaw will steal your heart away, too By DE R I ROBI NS




f you saw Ashley dancing the role of Vicky Page in The Red Shoes at the Hippodrome last year, and have not been madly crushing on her ever since (irrespective of your gender or persuasion), you possibly have no soul. The Aussie prima ballerina of Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures company is completely magical, and she’ll be casting her spell over us once again this month when she reprises the eponymous lead role in Cinderella. Really, it’s enough to make you want to retrain as a dancer yourself – but please note that Ashley laced on her first pair of ballet shoes at the age of three, and she has been formally training since her early teens. “My mum loved the ballet too, and took me to see The Nutcracker Suite when I was very young,” says Ashley. “We lived in a little town called Nelson’s Bay in New South Wales, so there wasn’t a lot of ballet going on. But I loved to dance, and loved watching productions absolutely whenever I could.” Was it always ballet that most appealed to you? I think I’ve always been interested in every kind of dancing from rock and roll to classical ballet.


months to hang about, so I joined up with a cruise ship that was heading for the Caribbean. It really helped me become a performer. As well as dancing I had to sing and act, and I think it really helped my stagecraft. What was the first Matthew Bourne production you saw? Did you instantly want to be part of his company? It was The Car Man at the Birmingham Hippodrome. And yes; I knew then, I just have to be in that company.



One of the things that makes Matthew’s ballets so accessible is his hugely eclectic, populist passion for shows, dance, music and drama of all kinds – is this a taste you share? Absolutely. I think the thing with Matt is that he takes classics we all know, gives them a twist, and a really fresh look. He comes up with the sort of productions that really suit dance style.



When did you start to train, and was your talent noticed at an early age? My mum took me to lessons when I was three. I left ordinary school when I was 13, and went to dance school in Australia; I knew by then it was going to be my career. By the time I was 16, I’d moved to the UK, to the Elmhurst Ballet School, which has close ties with the Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Cinderella was your first principal role for Matthew – since then, you’ve had other huge successes – what’s it like to return to it now? Incredible! First time round I did it four times in total. Now I do it six times a week. I can really invest in the character. Cinderella is set during World War II, with a similar period setting to The Red Shoes – does the ’40s era inform the style of choreography? Yes, you could say it does. We research the era intensively; we even pay attention to the way that people reacted to each other w


We know you spent a few years on cruise ships – that seems a world away from Sadlers Wells! Was this a useful early training ground? Yes, it was amazing. Because of audition schedules I had nine

Playing Vicky in The Red Shoes, you made dancing look effortless; it’s hard to imagine you ever making a slip? When you’re doing hundreds of performances, then yes, you do make the odd mistake. I’ve had a few mishaps, but nothing too traumatic. Fallen on my bum once or twice. But it just spurs you on to make the rest of your performance even better.

One day her prince will come… hang on, he’s here! Ashley dances Cinderella to Andrew Monaghan’s, umm, ‘Harry’ I BRISTOL LIFE I 39



Who doesn’t love a makeover tale? Cinders and Harry, before and after

physically back then. They touched each other differently in a social setting, their mannerisms were different, they moved differently. We take all that into account. We have notes every day about the performance. I’m one of the dance captains now, so as well as performing I have to take an overview of the production. So as well as taking notes I give them, too. Who needs a fairy godmother when you can have Liam Mower as The Angel?

What other roles have you most loved playing? Kim Boggs in Edward Scissorhands is probably my next favourite after The Red Shoes. Is there an existing ballet role that you’d love to play? Not specifically, but I would love to perform in Australia. I’ve never done that, and I think it would be fantastic. My mum would get a couple of coachloads together, for sure. If for any reason you could no longer dance, what else would you like to do? I think I’d like to be a singer. I’ve recently started taking singing lessons, so who knows? Comparatively few people can name top contemporary dancers, while musicians and actors are universally famous – do you agree? I think maybe it is changing. I think companies like New Adventures help. I think ballet is not seen to be as exclusive as it once was, and the word has spread through things like social media. For those who have never seen a New Adventures ballet, please tell us what to expect – and why they should come along I’d say: we all love a beautiful story whether it’s a novel, a television series or a good film. Ballet does this, although even better. The emotion comes out through the dance, the lighting, scenery and costumes are beautiful, and everybody that comes along will be touched by it. Swoon… Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures bring Cinderella to Bristol Hippodrome 20-24 March; Tickets at I BRISTOL LIFE I 41

PLAY that THING Music-lovers rejoice! The Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival returns this month – and it’s not all about free-form sax riffs and southern songs of despair and heartache, you know


ristol has a long and illustrious association with jazz that dates back to the 1950s and ’60s, when a dizzying array of stars – including Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald – regularly played to sell-out audiences at Colston Hall. Five years ago, Colin Gorrie and Denny Ilett decided it was high time that Bristol got its own high-calibre event dedicated to jazz and blues – a music festival unlike any other, for a maverick city that likes to break the rules. “Our programme is designed to appeal to music lovers of all ages and tastes, and over the past few years we have successfully grown and diversified our audience considerably,” says Denny – who went ahead and helped us choose some standout events from this year’s fest.


Love Bristol? Love music? Diarise 15 March at once, for the première of a new collaboration between celebrated local jazz quartet Get The Blessing and filmmaker John Minton. Projected onto a huge screen in the Main Hall and mixing amateur and professional footage, will be a fascinating filmic collage which takes the audience on a journey through 100 years of Bristol. Using Create Bristol’s archive film footage, the new film features shots of well-loved landmarks, glimpses into the pre-war city, the docks in their industrial heyday, Jubilee street parties and more. Driving the film will be the most incredible soundtrack, performed live by a band that blends the rhythm section of Portishead with two of Bristol’s most talented jazz OUR improvisers.

lead the way with some of the most incredible Latin musicians, such as Roberto Pla, Yelfris Valdés, Michel Padron, Elpidio Algeria and many more. Dance troupe Stellan’s Salsa Souls will be performing on stage with the band and there’ll be a free salsa class before the show; so get dolled up in tropical shirts and sexy skirts and get those snake hips shimmying across the dance floor.


Embracing American jazz, soul and blues, Polly has been compared to a female Gregory Porter and we can’t wait to hear his female counterpart. She’ll be joined by the musical director of the Ronnie Scott’s All-Stars, James Pearson and his quartet.


For 25 years (oh gawd, is it really??) JTQ have epitomised acid jazz with Taylor’s Hammond-driven ’70s sound. Updating the cinematic jazz sound of the ’60s and ’70s with dexterity, they’re a byword for distinguished British creativity, and the soundtrack to the timeless style of Fred Perry and Lambretta. Formed by bassist Norman Cook (aka Fatboy Slim), trombonist Ashley Slater, and vocalist Jesse Graham, Freakpower mix funk, acid jazz, and trip hop. Their hit Turn On, Tune In, Cop Out reached the charts in 1993, and later made it on to IS a Levi’s ad (no, not THAT one). And kicking – or should we say blasting? – the night off is Bristol’s own awesomely funky OF saxophonist James Morton, with his band Groove Den. This dance floor-filling triple bill will have those jazz dancers spinning on their spats and cutting up the dance floor.



One of the grooviest, hippest young bands in the city, Trio HLK have joined forces with the international star of percussion and fellow Scot, Evelyn Glennie. A charismatic virtuoso, in 1992 Glennie was the first person to perform a percussion concerto at the Proms and has since gone on to create a worldwide career as a soloist. Featuring guitarist Ant Law – tipped as the Next Big Thing – Trio HLK’s music draws on classical music and jazz. This promises to be a classy, virtuosic and memorable concert.


So the radical becomes music history as we mark the 50th anniversary of Hendrix’s seminal album, Electric Ladyland. Festival director Denny Ilett has harnessed the talents of many of the UK’s leading jazz musicians including Iain Ballamy, Laura Jurd, Yazz Ahmed and Ashley Slater to create a top notch big band which will perform the album.


A 300-strong choir joins the skills of the Big Buzzard Boogie Band. Topping it all off is the supremely talented Ian Shaw, a devilishly witty and dazzlingly talented singer, recognised as one of the world’s leading male jazz singers, who leads these incredible forces to capture the distinctive Hollywood sound, from the 1950s to the 21st century.


Fragile yet strong, ethereal yet rooted, Snowpoet crafts exquisitely beautiful and atmospheric soundtracks of music and poetry inspired by nature, the folk tradition and humanity. Formed by poet Lauren Kinsella and bassist Chris Hyson, Snowpoet combine words and music inspired by the likes of Björk, Joni Mitchell and Tom Waits, as well as poets Sylvia Plath, and Philip Larkin. Layering sublime vocals over melodies that range from delicate guitar to driving minimalist grooves, Snowpoet glides through a range of moods with a unique sound that touches the heart and soul.


Cult Fiction Live! is a celebration of a time in TV history when jazz and funk influences dominated theme-music writing. The genius of John Barry, Lalo Schifrin, Ronnie Hazlehurst, John Dankworth, Laurie Johnson and others is such that the themes are now as iconic and evocative as the shows themselves. Music will take centre stage as the audience basks in a nostalgia fest that conjures up The Persuaders, The Professionals, Mission: Impossible, Star Trek et al. A 32-piece orchestra featuring the Bristol Ensemble alongside the cream of the South West’s jazz talent, this promises to be far more than a trip down memory lane; it’s more a reminder of how great the score-writing was – and further proof that jazz is part of all of our musical DNA.


This is going to be one unforgettable party night as Colston Hall is turned into a steamy Havana nightclub. The 17-piece Dockside All-Stars 44 I BRISTOL LIFE I

The Bristol Jazz and Blues Festival runs 15-18 March, mostly at Colston Hall



‘Fragile yet strong’: Lauren and Chris are Snowpoet

‘A female Gregory Porter’ – so we’re thinking smoooth.... – Polly Gibbons

Get The Blessing have a brand new bag – and it’s called Bristopolis…

Hip youngsters meet classic virtuoso: HLK Trio and Evelyn Glennie I BRISTOL LIFE I 45



BRING up the BODIES Bedminster’s most grisly secrets are excavated – in story form at least – in Show of Strength’s latest, marvellous pub walk By A L E X DIG GI NS


raveyards hold more than bodies – they store stories as well.” Sheila Hannon’s voice drifts out the gloom towards us. There is a light directly over her head and her hat casts her face into shadow, hiding her features and giving uncertain provenance to the voice that

reaches us. Behind her, a mass of pale grey and white shapes cluster: a thicket of tumbledown graves. It’s bitterly cold. A few stars glint above us, and our breath steams as we stamp and shuffle, partly to hold the cold at bay and partly to resist the urge to spin around to face what creeps behind us. But we are lost in Sheila’s words; caught in the web of story she weaves before us. There is something ancient about what we’re doing: for as long as there has been language, human beings have gathered around and been transported by stories. The difference is we’re not huddled around a stone-age campfire, the shadows thick with unknown terrors, but in Bedminster: it’s 8.30pm on a school night, and occasionally Sheila’s voice is lost in the roar of passing traffic. And this is not a strange pagan ritual we’re indulging in – The Bedminster Witch Project, perhaps – but a historical pub and walking tour. And Sheila Hannon, despite her steam-punk bowler hat and funky leather jacket, is not some modern-day shaman but rather an actress – a very accomplished one. In fact, the theatre company she founded, Show of Strength, has been fundamental to the renaissance of Bristol’s theatrical scene. This project, the Bedminster Blood & Butchery walking tour, is just the latest in a line of Hannon enterprises that stretches right back to 1986, and the beginnings of Show of Strength in the North Street pub, The Hen and Chicken. From this modest start, Sheila and her company went on to put south Bristol on the theatrical map (before they arrived, there was almost no theatre south of the river). Perhaps her greatest coup, though, was the foundation of the Tobacco Factory Theatre, turning the potential of its extraordinary space, which then lacked even basic running water and electricity, into an internationally celebrated venue. This latest gig might sound comparatively small-scale but nothing could be further from the truth. Sheila has done her homework: as

she leads us around a handful of Bedminster pubs, regaling us with their uncanny and macabre histories, the depth of her research is crystal clear. Blood & Butchery strikes at the heart of what makes great theatre. It doesn’t have to involve huge auditoriums, or vast or famous casts; it requires a cracking script, a willing audience, and an actor able to bring the whole thing to life. Blood & Butchery has all three elements in spades. Sheila’s script leaps nimbly from historical fact to tantalising local gossip, wittily weaving in strange, sad and gruesome tales from Bedminster’s recent, and not-sorecent past – from Britain’s biggest bullion heist to imposter princesses and a notorious circus performer called Nero. Unsurprisingly, the longer we walk in the cold, the more we warm up and, fortified by a pint in each pub, by the end strangers are chattering away freely to each other. As we proceed down North Street, laughing and repeating the best bits of the stories we’ve just heard, I am reminded of a bunch of kids who are unexpectedly finding their school trip wonderfully exciting. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Sheila is a consummate performer. She truly sells the material: seemingly as enthralled, appalled and astonished by the tales as we are. She brings drama and conviction to every word and ensures a thoroughly entertaining night. But this shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, Show of Strength’s mission statement puts an emphasis on engaging local people with their area through theatre, resurrecting history through performance in unusual spaces, and continuing to ensure that theatre remains fresh, vital and rooted in the community. By all these criteria, Bedminster’s Blood & Butchery tour admirably succeeds. For, as Sheila confides in me afterwards, “life would be so dull without stories. You’ve got to have an incorporeal, spiritual side to things – otherwise what’s the point?’” Graveyards hold bodies, then, but dig down and you’ll also find stories as well. And be thankful for that.






Blood & Butchery in Bedminster: pub walk, approximately two hours, £10, advance booking only; buy your own drinks. Every Tuesday evening until 15 May.



Where it all began: the Hen & Chicken, birthplace of Show of Strength. Sheila Hannon takes you round various pitstops and exhibits – just wait until you hear what used to go on in The Steam Crane . . . I BRISTOL LIFE I 47




It’s 1962, and the New Wave is sweeping through British cinema, putting up two fingers to the frothy technicolour escapism of the previous decade. Up north, it was all a bit grim, with disaffected young men railing against society in gritty black and white. Meanwhile, in Bristol…






DID YOU KNOW • Some People was shot entirely on location in Bristol. Actor Anneke Willis recalls that the crew arrived in Bristol three weeks before shooting to get the feel of the city, with the boys learning the local accent, riding motorbikes and visiting local dance halls, with much of the script being adlibbed. • Kenneth More agreed to play his role for nothing, apart from his expenses, as the movie was for a good cause: all proceeds were to go to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. But he earned an unexpected bonus; during filming he met actor Angela Douglas, who became his wife. Aww!

Above: We can’t wait to hear David Hemmings’ Brizzle accent . . . Photos courtesy of Park Circus / StudioCanal





o you remember when you shrank your jeans to fit by sitting in the bath, dreamed of being in a pop group, rode motorbikes, joined a youth club, caught Bristol’s green buses or danced to a local band called The Eagles playing Bristol Express? Some People, filmed entirely in Bristol and released in 1962, shows all these things and more. It’s a little-known example of how the New Wave of British cinema – normally associated with black-and-white, gritty social realist films in grimup-northern settings, usually featuring macho, inarticulate yet strangely fanciably brutes played by Richard Harris and Albert Finney – came West, and was defiantly filmed in Eastmancolor. Some People was ostensibly about the work of the then-new Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, here giving bored, restless teenagers constructive activities. But it defied expectations of this didactic function by being full of energy, with great music, fast action, and effortlessly good playing. The film’s director, Clive Donner, came from a background in film editing and in the early 1960s he worked for the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency and made commercials for television. This influence shows in Some People, particularly its punchy opening montage accompanied by a blousy jazz theme.

• The film features a test-flight of the Bristol 188.

As well as the fresh outlook of the director, the film’s qualities can be attributed to the excellent performances of its young actors, particularly early roles for Ray Brooks as Johnnie, David Hemmings as Bert, David Andrews as Bill, Angela Douglas as Terry and Anneke Wills as Anne. Sticking within his upper-middle-class English comfort zone, Kenneth More plays Mr Smith, an enlightened volunteer choirmaster who allows them to practise as a would-be pop group in the church hall after they’ve been banned from riding their motorbikes. The film features many well-known Bristol locations including Christmas Steps, the Catholic Cathedral in Clifton, the Suspension Bridge and many others. Watershed are delighted that Anneke Wills, who played Anne in the film, will join them to celebrate Some People with a number of experts on fashion, music and the film’s locations. They’ll also hear from a film restorer about what’s involved in preserving films like Some People that are in danger of deteriorating. As Bristol celebrates its recent UNESCO City of Film success, this event explores the ‘swinging’ city on screen in a day packed with sixties fun, fashion, music and colour. When the New Wave Came to Bristol: Remembering Some People (dir Clive Donner, 1962) Watershed, 24 March; 1pm – 5pm; I BRISTOL LIFE I 49


COLIN MOODY is on a mission to discover the unsung heroes of Bristol. In this issue, he’s caught eight dancers – in all their wonderful, unstudied spontaneity – with his roaming lens By C OL I N MOODY



2 3


his issue’s photos highlight just how many incredible events and festival there are in the city each year. With some venues under increasing pressure to curb sound levels, and some that have gone for one reason or another, it feels right to celebrate when we just feel that we have . . . to . . . move . . .


There are many ways to tell you are in Bristol. As opposed to anywhere else; I mean, other places have town halls, and dance groups who can do all the fancy moves you see on Strictly. Right? But only Bristol has zombie dance-offs in front of the main hall on College Green, doing rock’n’roll moves during the build-up to 2017’s Zombie Walk. Why do they come here? Perhaps it was an important place for them before they were zombies. For me, what really makes this shot is the weird zombie dog, and the lads just walking through the middle of their dance pitch as if nothing unusual was occurring. Which, in Bristol terms, it actually wasn’t.


One day, I may be photographing people dancing in the water fountains for the great annual water fight at Millennium Square; the next day it’s all quiet. It’s worth remembering the unsung, dancing, super-soaking joyful who attend this event every year, because it’s normally a very open, empty space between events.


Norman Jay MBE was laying down some great tunes at the Bristol Craft Beer Festival at Motion, and someone had to start dancing first. It was this young woman. And it was that hyper-rare moment where real life and T-shirt life become one. w I BRISTOL LIFE I 53



Batala is an international collective of samba reggae groups; Batala Bristol is one of seven in the UK. When they were booked to play at a big family event in a huge field near the Severn Estuary, with its leaden-sky weather beating us all down with hard, hard rain, they began to play and dance with their drums and chased the clouds away. They hit the samba beats out so hard, and the largest cloud I have ever seen was sent packing.


“Hey, isn’t that the guy who used to run the corner shop?” asked the woman next to me when I took this shot. A few minutes later, after Bollywood-dancing his socks off and making everyone join in, he just disappeared from sight, leaving a super-charged audience. So to you sir, who ever you are: for your performance at the Easton Food festival 2016, I salute you. I have never seen a group of young children enjoy themselves as much as this anywhere before or after this divine five minutes. BCFM community radio brought the sound system, and this hero here brought his A-game.


Nina is rehearsing aerial dancing with her friend and getting her moves right in the Albany Centre. The space is in an old Methodist church, and there was something about the way every now and then that she turned to the old church windows that I found quite moving. The high vaulted ceilings are strewn with all manner



of aerial equipment, but for a second or two she was an angel and looking into the light.


We are moving into the realm of Bristol Legends now. Big Jeff has been to seven music gigs a week for well over a decade, and he is always right at the front and ‘feeling it’ first, and for the longest. He has a show on Community Radio BCFM as part of the Bristol Music Show, but where he really is, is inside the music at live gigs. His wrist is full of access passes, his head inside the music, but his moves can also be sublime. So I am putting him down as a Bristol Dance Hero. He moves, and we follow.


For me, the Bearpit is one of the most perfect dance arenas there is. And when the skateboarders gather and start flipping the board in the air and landing back on it, it’s a kind of danceoff. No-one is exactly breakdancing in the street any more, are they? So this is my ’80s fix. I’m told by some its a ‘proper spot’ for this activity, but with the arms in play, the boards often skimming away under a bus, this is so much fun to watch. SideWalkMag said this was now a ‘rad place to hang out for everyone in the community’, and I’m glad they said that, because there is no way I could say it without sounding like a dad trying to hang with the cool kids.

Follow Colin on Twitter @moodycolin Instagram @moodycolin319







The Florist

The Florist has opened for business – and here’s a taster of what you can expect By DE R I ROBI NS


his is not a restaurant review per se. To be honest, we’ve only been to the launch event. Think of it as an amuse-bouche before a three-course meal – we’ll be sneaking back very soon to review the full menu – but so highly anticipated has The Florist been that we wanted to bring you a preview early-doors. Bristol’s foodies (and drinkies) threw a huge flouncy sulk when Goldbrick House on Park Street closed last year; with its multi-floor offering, sunny terrace and sexy bars, it had a unique role to play in the city. When The Florist announced its intention to move into the site, there were a few furrowed brows from those who fail to keep au fait with the local food and drink news. What’s that? A four-storey florist? Just how many gerberas does Bristol need, on a daily basis? As for everyone else, they perked up no end at the thought that this rather lovely boutiquey opening would ensure that a decent espresso martini would once again be readily available on Park Street. So, we’re in. First impressions? Flowers. Banks and banks of the things – mostly very convincing artificial ones, though those at the entrance are real. Setting these off are glorious, flowery murals in pinky-purple, street-art-luxe style by Gemma Compton and Jody Thomas. If heaven was decorated by Upfest, it would look like The Florist. It’s all so blatantly photogenic that you can’t help feeling that, like the current slew of pretty-in-pink London cafés (we’re looking at you, Palm Vaults and Peggy Porschen), the décor is specifically pitched at the Instagram generation. At the launch, we spotted most of the bloggers carefully dressed in floral frocks to maximise the effect. (You could easily tell them apart from the press, who’d typically slouched in wearing whatever was clean from the wash). On Saturday, there were a flurry of cocktail demos and cool night beats; on Sunday, a mass roast and cool day beats. It was, all in all, a beautifully orchestrated event, that had began with an effulgently lovely invitation constructed of pressed flowers trapped in Perspex, with the alluring come-hither of ‘a series of expertly led experiences to charm the senses’. The staff had clearly got the ‘charm’ memo, and everyone was wreathed in smiles as we were shown up to what used to be Goldbrick’s top-floor terrace, but is now glassed in to make



a sunny orangery. It could be a bit too sunny; as the first to arrive, we nabbed a corner table away from the solar rays. There’s a veggie option for Sunday lunch, and they nearly had us at the mushroom, red lentil, Stilton and chestnut roast, but not quite. The carni offering comes with reassuring tags – the pork belly is outdoor-reared, the chooks are red-tractorassured. Served on a plate that also crams on a pile of roasties, broccoli and carrots beneath a huge sombrero of Yorkie pudding, the £11.95-£13.95 price tag strikes us as very OK for a meal in such pretty surroundings – if, of course, it turns out to be any good. And mostly, it is. The lamb was meltingly tender, and proved to be a far better bet than the beef, which wasn’t the best cut, and cooked far beyond the pinky medium-rare ideal despite us being asked how we liked it, and was a tad chewy. I asked to swap it for the lamb; this request was granted without a flicker of an eyelid. It was the sides that bloomed the brightest; a Shorrocks Lancashire cauli cheese topped with crispy onions, a pile of apricot stuffing balls and the creamed garlic kale and leeks were a lot more interesting than the spuds, which were as big as your fist, and thus a little deficient in the crunch factor. In between courses, cocktails were circulated for the thirsty, from a Bloody Mary (good but not memorable) and an absolutely blinding Coconut and Poppy Mojito. All drinks, as you’d expect, are beautifully garnished; most with flowers, others with pomegranates and crumbled meringue. The nonalcoholic options almost tipped us into teetotalism, if only for the Salted Caramel and Almond. Next time, we’ll order it as pudding. The Monday-Saturday food offering looks very alluring, from tapas-style plates from the deli (choose four, with loads of veggie options, for £11.50); tandoori chicken from the rotisserie for £10.50, and kebabs and burgers off the grill. A mains menu (from £8.95) gives classics a twist; the cod is tandoori-battered, the sea bass comes with pad thai salad and satay, the pork is cola- and stem-ginger-glazed. And if just coming for a meal is a bit too sedentary for your tastes, there are also masterclasses in gin, cocktails and (yes) floristry. The Florist is an ambitious venture, in a massive 200-capacity venue, that seems at first glance to have almost everything right. It’s strikingly beautiful, has a team of can-do staff, and the cocktails can give any bar in the city a run for its money, but it does need to up its kitchen game if it wants to be a serious player in Bristol’s top-notch restaurant scene. That said, the hype is off the scale – everyone is talking about it and seems to love it – and you can’t ask for more during launch week than that.

DINING DETAILS The Florist, 69 Park St, Bristol BS1 5PB; 0117 203 4284; Opening times 12pm-12am Sun-Wed, 12pm-1am Thurs, 12pm-2am Fri-Sat We visited over the launch weekend Food you can get a good meal for under a tenner, with the most expensive mains at £17.95 Drinks cocktails around the £8 mark; the ales and cider menu is impressive too Vegetarian choice excellent, ditto vegan and gluten-free Service perky and can-do Atmosphere buzzy and Instagrammy Disabled access The Grade-II listing prevented a disabled lift, so ground-floor only Kids? Fine for meals, plenty to enjoy from the grill menu I BRISTOL LIFE I 59



Officially a Bristol Food Hero (with a Crumbs Award to prove it), Kalpna Woolf is playing a big part in this month’s city-wide Dal festival


was really keen to be involved in the festival for three reasons,” says Kalpna. “As I am Indian, dal was a central part of our everyday family meals and an integral part of my culture and heritage: as founder of 91 Ways to Build A Global City, our mission is to build connections and bridges between communities from different backgrounds and we use the calling card of food to do this. “Knowing that dal is a much-loved food in many communities, we hope to connect those who have dal in their culture, and also introduce it to communities who don’t have it. We’re using this wonderful ingredient to start a conversation and build interest between people using the magic of dal.” What will 91 Ways bring to the festival? We will be reaching out to the 91 language communities of Bristol, so that as many people as possible in Bristol can be part of the festival. Dal is a key staple in many countries, and Bristol is a city in which 91 language communities are represented. 91 Ways is involved in events where people will share dal dishes and we will collect recipes and the personal stories behind 60 I BRISTOL LIFE I

these recipes, from different language communities, to be shared with the whole city and beyond. These recipes will range from Sudanese, Eritrean and Somali to Jewish and Iranian. To those who think dal is just a bowl of mushy lentils, what would you say? Wow! Dal is so utterly versatile. Firstly, there are so many varieties of dal – whole, split, red, white, yellow, green, brown – and all have different textures and tastes, so if you cook them the same way, the dishes

will taste different. It can be a ‘curry’ type, but dal can be dried – dal poppodams are delicious! It can be used as a flour (gram flour) which is a great vegan alternative to flour. We use this for bhajis and pakoras but it can be cooked as a bread with delicious herbs. Dal in soup, mains and even in sweets. Panisse is made from dal. We cook dal everyday but it has a central place at weddings and feasts – dal cooked with rice is a beautiful dish. What’s the best dal you have ever had? Of course, it is my mum’s chana dal with fresh spinach, lashings of turmeric, fresh coriander and roasted cumin! If people could take just one thing from the festival, what would you like it to be? Jenny Chandler, who is a Bristol-based food writer and author of Pulse and UN European Pulse Ambassador in 2016 said: “Cooking dal is magical; a couple of handfuls of pulses cooked up with nothing more than water and a few spices delivers one of the most comforting, nutritious and economical dishes on earth.”


FINAL REVEAILSTS Shoutou ED! t to all th ea re


staurants mazing and food , gastropubs, ba rs produce rs made th e shortlis who’ve t for the Bristol L ife Aw For the fu ards 2018! ll lis www.brist t, see o awards.c llife

Pasture: if it’s a new restaurant, it must have a Jody mural, right?

Very small, amuse-bouche-size bites in this issue, as there’s just SO MUCH STUFF ON... WE SHOULD COCOA This year’s Chocolate Festival will be held on 31 March at the very place where the sweet stuff was once made: the Chocolate Quarter, the new development which has risen from the former Fry’s and Cadbury factory. Expect, as ever, an Easter explosion of the best artisan chocolatiers around, from Zara’s to Mrs Potts; Pinkman’s will be manning a chocolatethemed doughnut stall, while B Block will be selling homemade baked goods. More at

BOOK NOW… For THE dining event of the month. As reported last month, Michelin-starred chefs Peter Sanchez-Iglesias and Josh Eggleton will be part of the team trekking in Nepal for Action Against Hunger; to support their fundraising efforts, they’re hosting a one-off The Pony & Trap x Casamia Lunch at Yurt Lush on 18 March. The guys will be serving up signature dishes from their respective restaurants and co-creating an eight-course menu; tickets are priced at £120 and will include the drinks flight. Tickets via Foozie:

ALSO… ...One Planet Plate is launching its new campaign with a lunch at Root on 20 March. The ask is for chefs around the world to submit a recipe that showcases solutions for a better food future; the dish will feature on their menu in time for Earth Hour on 24 March:

Pete (left) and Josh, pretending to be in the same photo

CRAZY, SEXY FOOZIE Apropos, we’d love to be a fly on the wall at a Foozie planning meeting. Among the many likeably bonkers events the team have in store for you this year is an Absolutely Fabulous roof-top brunch party for Mother’s Day; forget sit-down brunches with knives and bloody forks, this is going to be an Eddy and Patsy PR party, with canapés, a photo wall, Ab Fab fancy dress and five different types of prosecco, darlings. Tickets £20. Now imagine the cooking equivalent of a kitten in a teacup. No, cuter than that. Guests at The Tiny Cookery School will use tiny cooking stoves, miniature cooking utensils and the smallest ingredients to make miniature versions of everyday dishes; the first event will be hosted at White Botanicals in St Nick’s on 8 March.

…Beloved local food fest Bristol Food Connections is back between 11-17 June, shining a light on all the wonderful work people and communities are doing with food and drink in and around Bristol. This year’s events will be themed around ‘time’, with a series of events held across the city, celebrating Bristol’s diverse food culture, from feasts, celebrations and cooking masterclasses, to talks, debates, and family activities. Much more about THAT soon: in the meantime see:

By the time this mag comes out, Pasture, a new bar and restaurant celebrating fire-based cooking, helmed by former chef-director at Jamie’s Italian, Sam Elliott– will be open for business on Portwall Lane. Review soon. I BRISTOL LIFE I 61

Situated in the renowned Spike Island, we are the sister café to the much loved Folk House Café and offer a wonderful setting for everyone. 133 Cumberland Road Bristol BS1 6UX 0117 954 4030

LOCAL, ORGANIC, SUSTAINABLE, ETHICAL, DELICIOUS. We also cater for evening events, wedding receptions, birthday parties, supper clubs. Call now for more information. 40a Park Street, Bristol, BS1 5JG 0117 908 5035



For a traditional Easter only serve family and friends the best ★ Wooley Park, Bath Free Range turkeys, ducks, geese & chicken ★ Turkey crown ★ Aged beef

★ Local lamb

★ Wild boar & venison

MOLESWORTHS OF HENLEAZE 101 Henleaze Road, Bristol BS9 4JP

0117 962 1095 Like us for offers and updates ft


SIX BEST of the


What do we want? Lunch! When do we want it? Sunday! Where do we want to eat it? These six estimable hostelries would simply love the chance to make your weekend...


This friendly community pub serves proper roast dinners, with fresh veg and free-range meat from local butchers cooked on site. The interior is spit-and-sawdust deluxe, with just a hint of Wes Anderson provided by the purple banquettes – a serious tick of approval, in our book They say: Everything is made from scratch in the kitchen by our team of immensely talented chefs, always with lovely new starters and desserts made especially for our Sunday menu. Sum up the vibe: Bright, spacious, comfortable, welcoming, and relaxed. If you were ordering off the menu, what would you have? The garlic and rosemary-roasted lamb with a side of cauliflower cheese. Excellent cauliflower cheese! Huge Yorkshire puddings. What’s special about you? Our people. Our chefs make our food exceptional, and our front of house team make the experience of sitting in the restaurant that much nicer. Without any one of the people who work here on Sundays, The Wellington wouldn’t be what it is. Where? Gloucester Road;


This multi-arts hub in Stokes Croft offers all-day food, a gallery showcasing local artists and an event space – oh yeah, and a great Sunday food offering. They say: We offer a cracking Arts House breakfast, brunch from 10-4pm, and some lunch specials. We’ve only got a small kitchen, so we try and influence some brunch items with Sunday lunch flavours: this week we’ve included rare hanger steak with eggs and chorizo, and roasted hake with ham hock hash and elderberry caper butter. Sum up the vibe: Bright, inviting, creative, contemporary and cheerful. If you were ordering off the menu, what would you have? The coconut and carrot soup with homemade sourdough followed by the rare steak and eggs with Savoy cabbage, and marmalade ice cream to finish – a Bloody Mary to kick things off and then a glass of Rioja What’s special about you? We use great quality produce and all our breads, sauces, cakes and ice creams are made here. We take pride in all our offerings, serve great coffee from Clifton Coffee, and have a small, but lovely wine and beer list. Sitting in the curved window at the front also offers some of the best views of Cheltenham Road and Stokes Croft. Where? 108A Stokes Croft, 64 I BRISTOL LIFE I


Trading since 1841, the Robin Hood is one of the oldest pubs in Bristol, in a beautiful old pub building on St Michael’s Hill. Under new ownership and management, and definitely worth a look. They say: A cosy little pub with loads of charm and a fantastic selection of craft beer; our food is simple and delicious. Sum up the vibe: Cosy, contemporary yet traditional, local beers and local feel. What would you order off the menu? The rolled pork belly served with cider-braised ribs. What makes you special? Read the amazing reviews! ‘Impeccable service’; ‘wholesome good food’. Where? 56 St Michael’s Hill;


A rustic ‘country pub in town’ on Redfield’s Church Road, The Dark Horse professes a passion for real ale and organic, locally sourced Sunday roasts. They say: We do everything properly: roast our spuds in dripping, cook our meat long and slow, and have plentiful variety of colours and veg on the plate. Sum up the vibe: Informal, dog-friendly, log fire, rustic country pub in town. What would you order off the menu? The lamb, as it’s just come into season. Or the vegan roast is very popular – we include great vegan Yorkshires and have recently perfected vegan cauli cheese. What makes you special? Vegans, gluten-free, children, the diehard meat eaters – we’ve got it covered… Where? 172-174 Church Road, Redfield;


The Bank has stood on its John Street spot since the 1800s, surviving, in their own words, “an alarming number of riots, two world wars, Bristol City Council town planners and Thatcher.” They say: We’re an independent free house, priding ourselves on award-winning ales and ciders, excellent food and not taking ourselves too seriously. We offer our take on a classic Sunday lunch, with a new selection of starters and desserts every week. Sum up the vibe: Relaxed, fun, good value, varied and traditional. If you were ordering off the menu, what would you have? Gotta be the cow! What’s special about you? We offer a great value roast with attention to detail and a relaxed service. And our Sunday lunch has won an award! Where? 8 St John Street;


On most days, this crowd-pleaser of a restaurant on Whiteladies Road draws on cuisines from all over the world – but on Sundays they take it back to traditional basics… They say: While we serve world-inspired tapas Monday to Saturday, we serve a traditional roast on Sundays, with a few tweaks here and there. Sum up the vibe: Vibrant and intimate, eclectic and all-welcoming. What would you order off the menu? Chef’s middle-white pork belly is pretty amazing; worth it for the crackling alone. Or the beef... or the poussin... or the artichokes... can I say one of everything? [No.] What’s special about your offering? We take great care in sourcing suppliers, using Powell’s of Olveston for our Sunday meats, and after slow-roasting we like to finish our meat on a barbecue for a little extra flavour. Where? 85 Whiteladies Road; www. I BRISTOL LIFE I 65


Our Sunday lunches are available every week and our fantasitc menu is available online at: Book now to avoid disappointment!

Trading since 1841, the Robin Hood is one of the oldest pubs in Bristol.

Contact Us

The Robin Hood, 56 St Michaels Hill, Bristol, BS2 8DX. Tel: 0117 929 9719



Serving you proper roast dinners, with fresh veg and with fresh free-range meat from local butchers. Everything is made from scratch in the kitchen by our team of immensely talented chefs, with lovely new starters and desserts made especially for our Sunday menu.

The Wellington Hotel, Gloucester Road, Horfield Bristol, BS7 8UR. Tel: 0117 9513022 Visit us online:

24 varieties of local cider | Craft ales | Real ale on Stillage (gravity led) Organic Sunday lunch ÂŁ12 | New Saturday brunch menu (11-5pm) Music | Very dog friendly | Log fire

Tel: 0117 955 5725 172-174 Church Rd, Redfield, Bristol BS5 9HX


THE EYES HAVE IT We spoke to one of SPIRE BRISTOL HOSPITAL’S consultant opthalmologists Mr Grigi to find out more information about how corrective lenses and surgery can help with blurry vision.


he natural lens inside your eye is clear. It enables you to see by focusing the light rays entering your eye. Through any trauma, or naturally through ageing, the lens can become cloudy and reduce your vision. This clouded lens is called a cataract. What happens during cataract surgery? During cataract surgery the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens. This lens is chosen based on measurement so for your eye such that it can correct any long or short sight. The great benefit is that in the majority of cases you will see more clearly and no longer need to wear glasses for distance vision and driving. What type of lens is normally inserted during cataract surgery? The normal intraocular lens is monofocal, orfixed focus. This means that the lens focuses all the available light onto the retina with minimal glare and excellent contrast sensitivity. The only issue is that if the fixed

focus is set for distance you will typically still need to wear reading glasses to see close up. Do I have to wear glasses after surgery? While many patients are quite happy to continue to wear glasses there are types of implants which treat astigmatism (toric lenses) And multifocal lenses to enable patients to see near, intermediate and distance vision. What are multifocal intraocular lenses? The latest development in intraocular Lenses has been the refinement of multifocal lenses. These lenses are similar to traditional lenses but enable you to see both distant and near with each eye. How do multifocal lenses work? With multifocal lenses both eyes are set for distance, but the lenses are designed to give you both good distance, intermediate and near vision. This is achieved in much the same way as varifocal orbifocal spectacles. For best results the multifocal lenses need to be placed into both eyes. The benefit is

that they can give you the most spectacle independence with excellent near, distant and intermediate vision. Am I a suitable patient? Multifocal lenses are less suitable for patients who do a significant amount of night driving or suffer with severe dry eye. They are contraindicated if you have macular degeneration. If you are happy wearing reading glasses, then there is no need to do anything other than have traditional cataract surgery with bilateral monofocal implants. In conclusion, I would recommend for all my patients, who have no contraindication, to have multifocal lenses as I use the most advanced types of implants which give a brilliant quality of vision. We are living in a fantastic era for cataract surgery. In most circumstances we can not only remove your cataract and restore your vision, but also reduce your need to wear any glasses, including reading glasses. BL

Spire Bristol Hospital is holding a vision correction information evening where Mr Girgis will be providing a talk to the public on cataract surgery and corrective lenses. The free to attend evening is designed to allow you the opportunity to directly ask the expert questions and get the answers you don’t have. The event will be held at Spire Bristol Hospital, Durdham Down on Tuesday 13 March at 7:00pm. The evening will last approximately just over an hour and refreshments will be provided.

To book on to this event please visit our website or alternatively call our patient treatment advisers on 0117 980 4080 or



Bristol Open Evening Thursday 12th April at 7:30 Please book in via the website or telephone the clinic

CRGW’s two independent centres offer the latest scientific technology and facilities needed for all fertility treatments. CRGW Bristol is located adjacent to the M4/ M5 intersection (M5 J16). CRGW Cardiff is located at M4 J34, only 15 minutes from Cardiff City centre

We pride ourselves in placing patients before profit to enable affordable, cost effective treatment options while maintaining the best pregnancy rates. Options include: • IUI • IVF • ICSI • EmbryoScope time lapse monitoring • Embryo freezing • Egg freezing • Donor egg and donor sperm treatments • Female fertility assessments • Sperm tests • Sperm freezing • Surgical sperm retrieval Fertility consultation (60 minutes) £150, includes:

Dr Amanda O`Leary MBChB, MRCOG, MD

Consultation Pelvic ultrasound scan of uterus and ovaries including antral follicle count (and doppler if applicable) Sperm test with same day results One pre-treatment follow up appointment

QUESTIONS? Ask a question about infertility or fertility treatment options and our expert panel will answer. Submit questions via the website Ask an Expert button.

OPEN EVENINGS Open evenings Join us at our free monthly open evenings in Bristol or Cardiff for a tour and presentations from fertility experts. We offer open evening’s specific for same sex couples and single women also. Ask questions on a one-to-one basis. Alternatively we can arrange an informal personal tour where your questions can be answered. FREE SPERM TESTING CRGW offers free sperm testing days in Bristol and Cardiff. Visit the web site to find the next available date and book yourself in.

Bristol: 01174 409999 | Cardiff: 01443 443999 | |


CAFÉ SOCIETY Sta n Cullimore



Who leaves a sparkly pair of shoes behind when they leave a café? Stan demands answers – and crêpes – at Monty’s


hen was the last time you saw an adult wearing sparkly silver shoes in public? Can’t remember it, myself. And that’s the sort of thing you would notice as soon as you saw someone, I reckon. After all, important things, first impressions. Got thinking about this as I was strolling down Picton Street. A sudden urge struck me. You know the one, I’m sure. Café craving. That moment when you decide you could do with kicking back for a bit, finding somewhere warm and cosy with a drink and maybe even a bite to eat to keep those belly rumbles at bay. Which is when I turned the corner and found myself standing outside Monty’s.

Never been in the place before, but I liked the look of it. Those first impressions again. Somehow it managed to look inviting, congenial and cosy all without seeming to try, so I went inside. Don’t know about you, but when I go to a new space I often find myself looking around, checking it out. Trying to see if this is the place for me or whether I need to beat a hasty retreat, leaving a tiny part of my dignity behind forever. Giving the place a full 360, I noticed a shelf of books, presumably in case anyone fancies a read. Which was nice. Next to it was a stack of board games. Which is also good. Just as

I was giving the place a big tick, I noticed the sparkly shoes. Lying casually under the board games. Definitely an unexpected item in bagging area. Who goes to a cafe wearing show-off shoes like that? More importantly, who then leaves them behind when they go home? Needing more time to process the sparkles, I asked the lady in charge for a black coffee and looked around for a suitable snack to keep it company. Sadly, it was towards the end of the day and sweet treats were in short supply. At this point, the boss suggested a classic crêpe: two words guaranteed to make me smile. Who can resist a posh pancake covered in sugar and lashings of lemon juice? Not me. So I nodded, sat down to watch the world go by and waited. First thing that arrived with my order was the aroma. A delicious mix of fresh fried batter, with a brown sugary top note, all of it swamped with lifeaffirming, intense, tangy lemon zing a ling. Perfect. They do other things in the cafe, obviously, lots of them. Breakfasts and all sorts. But in my heart it will forever be the land of pancakes, waffles – and Mongolian throat singing. But that’s a whole other story. For now, if you are in ever in Montpelier, thirsty for coffee and fancy a classic crêpe in the company of colourful characters, ladies, gentlemen and others, may I humbly suggest you take time out to enjoy a bit of the full Monty. You might even find yourself some new shoes. Former Housemartins guitarist Stan is now a journalist and travel writer I BRISTOL LIFE I 71



INTERIOR MONOLOGUE Bristol interior designers, panic ye not: Baz isn’t about to unleash his inner Laurence Llewlyn-Bowen any time soon


hen we had the test for colour-blindness in school, I failed to recognise the number six within a swirl of multi-coloured spots, and in one fell swoop was told I’d never fly a fighter jet. “That’s what you think!” I thought to myself. “I’ll fly, and I’ll fly with the best!” Except I didn’t, because in all honesty I’ve never been interested in flying a jet. Or, for that matter, being a baggage handler, electrician, or bomb disposal expert. (“Damn it, which one’s the green wire?!”). Another honesty hit? I’m not hugely interested in interior design either, which might go hand-in-hand with my aforementioned condition. Sometimes I’ll get lucky and guess the colour of wallpaper when asked. I cherish those moments. For the most part, though, so long as a house doesn’t look like the Changing Rooms sadists have been at it, I’m quite comfortable. This isn’t me saying that interior design isn’t for men, because I know manly men who ruddy love it. One of the toughest guys I know can’t walk into a coffee shop without running his eye over the décor and

commenting how he would have done it better (“and much cheaper,” he would add). He notices things like suspended ceiling systems, and uses phrases such as “wellappointed” to describe a granite sink. I’m impressed, and wish I was au fait with the world of interiors too, but I’m not. In the same way I wish I liked seafood, but don’t. When my partner and I moved into our new-build last year, you can imagine the number of opinions I was expected to proffer. Bathrooms, nursery room, kitchen . . . Yes, I know they were token offerings – or, at best, to reinforce her decision, which had already been made – but the very act of giving an opinion was the test I had to pass. I absolutely had to care. In a previous job, the organisation I worked for was owned by one of Britain’s richest men. He would occasionally show up at our HQ in either a helicopter or an eye-catching brand-new sports car. Almost without fail, he would have in tow a glamorous woman with whom he would walk around the building while consulting on various matters, her scribbling into a notepad as they went along. It soon transpired that she was an interior

AS LONG AS THE HOUSE DOESN’T LOOK LIKE THE CHANGING ROOMS SADISTS HAVE BEEN AT IT, I’M HAPPY designer, flown in from somewhere on The Continent. Next thing you knew, there was a gargantuan, gilt-framed painting in the grand hall, or an antique maritime telescope gazing longingly out of a historic window. Some colleagues resented the fact that the owner wouldn’t think twice about dropping a couple of thou on a funky plant pot when there had been a pay freeze for a good few years. Rumours abounded that the mysterious interior designer herself was being paid more than about three lowly members of staff were probably true. What a job, was all I could think. Being given a blank cheque to redecorate somebody’s house? That said, in those shoes, and in my house, I can’t think of anything I’d do much differently, even with three times the extremely modest budget we had. Maybe one of those industrial-looking Italian coffee machines, but they’re probably bigger than our dishwasher and wouldn’t fit. It could be the Scandinavian side of me that values minimalism. This approach works because we all know how quickly tastes can change. A kitchen that once looked cool on The Naked Chef now looks like the dilapidated set of Bodger & Badger. I don’t have any garish inclination to make a lampshade out of a refurbished horse-feed bucket, or – Lord, take me now! – a sticker on the wall which tells you to ‘Dance like nobody’s watching’. Decals or framed quotes falsely attributed to Marilyn Monroe should result in a person’s house being seized by some shady organisation out to crush vomit-inducing tat. Anybody defiling their living room wall with a ‘Love makes a house a home’ sticker would be swooped upon by a crack squadron of commandos. Commandos with good taste. Cecil Beaton in camo, if you will. Maybe I am interested in interior design, after all. Seb Barrett works in sports communications. Follow him on Twitter @bazzbarrett I BRISTOL LIFE I 73

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MATES’ DATES Kam’s got a new crib, yo. Now, if only the plasterer would show up . . .


o sell and buy new? Or re-do? I’m pretty sure we’ve all seen Cribs. Any given rapper, singer, actor, presenter or reality TV ‘star’ on the show will have a foyer that’s the equivalent sum total floor space of your flat/midterraced house/semi-detached with drive and garage/detached Cotswold retreat with stables and kennels. Whatever property you own or rent, shows like Cribs will always make see your palace as a hovel. “WHY!?” you’ll howl at the moon from your south-facing terrace overlooking your lawn, shed and herb garden. “Why am I on the comparative breadline….? Ooh, talking of which, I really must pick up a fresh tiger loaf from Waitrose tomorrow.”

On the other hand, shows like Grand Designs make you go, “Well, it may not be in a converted water tower, windmill, hangar or labour camp but my place is lush.” Go back, Kevin McCloud, please go back. When you left those guys they were only £100k over budget and living in a caravan on his dad’s allotment. Please, go back and let me see the wonder of what they created. And please let me know that, while I’m sat in my comfy hovel, they have an incredible place that they had to compromise on and still can’t afford to heat. The Germans have a word for it – Schadenfreude – which the Oxford Dictionary defines as ‘joy derived from another person’s misfortune’. It’s an emotion familiar to all but the saintliest among us; basically, unless we’re talking about your nearest and dearest, other people’s misfortune cheers us up no end. All that said, I recently bought a place. I love it. Oh, stop asking if it overlooks the Avon, of course it does. It was empty when I viewed it. The tenant had long since gone, at the request/demand of the landlord/owner.

PROPERTY YOU OWN OR RENT, SHOWS LIKE CRIBS WLL MAKE YOU SEE YOUR PALACE AS A HOVEL The floor was ruined, the kitchen rotten, the bathroom was a petri dish and the carpets that remained were dark green. Beige once, probably. Having not only paid over my max, but also over paid over the asking price by £15k, I was left with a lot less to do the place up with than I had wanted. Yes, you can donate to my crowdfunder. Haven’t got a website yet, but stand by. I took ownership in early October last year. I moved in late November. One of my mates, who works in construction, promised me everything from plastering to a new boiler, kitchen and bathroom by the beginning of November for a quarter of the price I would normally have to pay. I’m still waiting for it all to be finished. Honestly, I will set up this website so you can help me. But the fact is, I walk around this place like I’m a camera from an episode of Cribs. Every time walk in to or past a room I slow down and double-take. Whether you’re moving or refurbing, try not to second-guess yourself. If it feels right then it’s probably right. If it feels beyond your means, then it’s probably wrong (in the short term) but also right (in the long term). I lucked out because of friends and clients of Sam FM. Having said that, I will be waiting for a long time for finishing touches. But when your mates charge you mates’ rates, I guess you have to work/live around mates’ dates.

Kam Kelly’s breakfast show, every weekday from 6am, Sam FM Bristol, 106.5fm I BRISTOL LIFE I 75




Br istol Rugby club jou r nalist



Rugby-wise (if admittedly not in climate), Bristol’s become a home-from-home for the South Sea set


ebruary’s first-half brace at London Scottish’s Richmond Athletic Ground saw club legend David Lemi reach 70 tries for his beloved Bristol Rugby – and the Samoan international is just one in a long line of Pacific Islanders to have made Bristol their home over the past decade. In the eyes of the club’s supporters, Lemi has long been an adopted Bristolian – and with five Samoans and three Tongans in the playing squad, as well as head coach Pat Lam, a former Samoan international, there’s now a strong Pacific Island theme at Ashton Gate. So, what is it about Bristol – the club and the city – that is so appealing to the men from the South Pacific Ocean? And how have they settled in the South West? “The club has a lot of history, but I want to be part of what it’s doing now and help get them back up to the Premiership, which is where the club should be,” said current Samoa captain, Chris Vui, who joined the club during the summer of 2017. “I’m really enjoying my time here and I just

want to keep improving my game. I’ve been here for five months now; the Bristol lifestyle kind of reminds me of back home, although it’s definitely a lot colder. “Having my Samoan teammates here has definitely helped me. It’s hard to make the transition and move from New Zealand, but coming here and knowing a few boys from Samoa made it a lot easier to settle in. Having two good friends in Jack Lam and Tusi Pisi, has been great. When I got here, they invited me to stay with them for a few weeks while I found my feet, which really helped me. “The bond that the whole squad has off the field does show in the results on the field. You probably hear it a lot, but teams with a good culture tend to win Championships.” The number of Pacific Islanders in Pat Lam’s squad has made the transition for the club’s newest arrivals a smooth one – but a close-knit and welcoming atmosphere across the board has also aided the process. “Bristol is a really nice city,” said Samoan international, Alapati Leiua. “Me and my missus have settled in really well and enjoy Bedford Blues v Bristol Rugby

ourselves here. The boys have helped by making me feel welcome, and I already knew Siale, Tusi, Jack, Chris and a few others, so it was quite easy to join the team. We’ve played together for Samoa, so it’s been easy to settle in with them here at Bristol.” Away from the pitch, Bristol’s appeal and charm lies in the beauty and character of its surroundings, but on the field, the appetite for rugby – from both players and supporters – is another tempting factor for prospective players, as current player and former Bristol and Samoa captain, Jack Lam, explains. “I didn’t expect it at all, knowing that the UK is predominantly football, but here in Bristol, rugby is right up there, and you can see how passionate the fans are. Every time you’re playing at Ashton Gate the fans are there in good voice – and even away from home, they follow us all over the country. It just goes to show how awesome our supporters are. “Everyone here is so welcoming. When I first got here I was quite a shy kind of person, but the boys here were really welcoming and the environment here was awesome. The city itself is quite laid back but also has a really good vibe about it.” And it’s not just the city carrying good vibes at the moment – the playing squad, sitting pretty at the top of the GKIPA Championship, find themselves in a strong position heading into the home straight, with centre Tusi Pisi, another Samoan international, confident that Bristol has what it takes to reach the next level. “It’s all about having a quality contingent at the club, which is what we have,” he said. “So as long as everyone can fit into the systems and get along, which we do, that’s the main thing – it doesn’t really matter who it is. “We’ve seen already the sort of challenges we will face this season, but we’re confident that if we work hard, we can reap the rewards.” Follow the team: I BRISTOL LIFE I 77

Adventures in party-going


BY GEORGE The Bristol Life Business Club lunch with former mayor George Ferguson at Bristol Harbour Hotel was one of our most popular to date. If you want to see photos of the actual George, and we’re pretty sure you do, turn to page 100

Kevin Draper and Bill Thomas

Photos Tim Woolf

Alison Woodhead and Claire Fowler Dan Lugsden and Steve Matthews

Mal Rogers and Sarah Thorp

Graham Sneddon and Charlotte Raynes Robin Goddard, Dan Butler, Tina Rees-Pedlar and Mike Dyer 78 I BRISTOL LIFE I



Lauren Soderberg and Kieran Hartley

New bar and restaurant The Florist celebrated its opening on the former Goldbrick House site on Park Street with a launch weekend for press, friends and bloggers. It’s the prettiest opening of the year; those few walls not covered in banks of flowers have been decorated by top Bristol street artists Jody Thomas and Gemma Compton Photos by Jon Craig

Robin Murray and Rachael Franzen Ben Scrace and Tom Martin

Alex McGarry, Ciara Flint, Ben Scrase and Beth Pridham Jess Siggers, aka @porthjess of @igersBristol

Alice Fews, Olivia Tripp and Emily Isa Baker

Katie Konstanz, Olly Mitchell, Alex LausenMitchell, James Stimson, Sarah Barnes, Jane Higgins, Ellie Wynn and Pete Faulkner

Matt Tomkins, Ellie Pitt and Joe O’Brien I BRISTOL LIFE I 79



Continued from page 79

Ellie Pitt, Joe O’Brien, Beth Pridham, Carolyn Milford, Colin Moody and Deni Maxa Matt Dove and Grace Fox

Alice, Hannah and Jo of Purple Fish PR Beth and Mim

UP ON THE ROOF Veteran actor Brian Blessed was at Bristol Old Vic last month, to ‘help’ with the topping-out ceremony on the new roof (Brian broke the trowel), and to meet the team and visiting company Gecko Photos by Jon Craig

Brian Blessed recounting his adventures as a young acting student on the Bristol Old Vic stage to artistic director Tom Morris

Bristol Old Vic chair Dame Liz Forgan


BOV team, board members and contractors Gilbert Ash with Brian Blessed as guest of honour

Brian Blessed meeting Gecko Theatre




HRH the Earl of Wessex visited Clifton College last month to publicise The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) Charity. The Earl had lunch at the College and met DofE reps from other schools/centres in the South West, as well as students completing the Gold Award, then went on to play real tennis against Bristol students. The Earl also visited Ashton Park School

The Earl meets Clifton College head master Dr Tim Greene

With sixth former Molly Woolfson

The Earl with Alex Tebay and Gary Walker of Clifton College

The Earl signed the College guest book with Dr Tim Greene

LIGHTS, CAMERA Bristol’s new UNESCO City of Film status was officially launched at a celebration event at Watershed Media Centre, attended by leading figures from the city’s film sector. Opened by Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees, the event will mark the official beginning of the City of Film programme

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees presents Bristol, UNESCO City of Film

Watershed’s Mark Cosgrove with Fiona Francombe of The Bottle Yard

Natalie Moore and David Wilson I BRISTOL LIFE I 81

l e g a l a d v e r t i s i n g f e at u r e

WHAT IS THE GDPR? AMD SOLICITORS throw light on the latest data protection laws.


he General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force on 25 May 2018 and will build upon the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA 1998). It is important for businesses to consider the main provisions of the GDPR and whether any changes to business practices and procedures should be made. What will GDPR mean to my business? The GDPR will apply to most businesses. If you obtain and hold personal information relating to any living individual, including your existing and prospective customers and employees, then the GDPR will apply to your business. The GDPR imposes direct obligations on data processors as well as data controllers so it will apply whether your business processes personal data or controls how the data is processed. Does my business hold information that is classified as ‘personal data’? The definition of ‘personal data’ includes any information which either directly identifies an individual or which can be used to identify an individual. Such information includes names, dates of birth and addresses including online identifiers such


as IP addresses. Most businesses hold at least some personal data, whether it relates to their clients, employees or their contacts. It is imperative that businesses carry out an assessment of what information they hold and what changes, if any, should be made to ensure compliance with the GDPR. What obligations does the GDPR impose on me as a business owner? The GDPR requires data controllers to include specified data protection obligations in processing contracts. It also requires businesses to be able to demonstrate compliance with the GDPR, for example such policies and procedures include: • A company-wide data protection policy paired with staff training, data audits and regular HR policy reviews; • A compliance programme and privacy governance structure; and • An updated electronic system that protects data by default by e.g. encrypting data. What if my business breaches the gdpr? The Information Commissioner’s Office has the power to impose sanctions and in the

most severe cases, impose fines up to the equivalent of €20m or 4% of the worldwide turnover of any business who has breached the GDPR. A business that fails to comply with the GDPR also puts itself at risk of reputational and professional damage to its goodwill. It is therefore important to consider the necessary steps to ensure compliance. BL

For further information or advice on GDPR compliance please get in touch with our experienced Commercial team on 0117 9733 989 or by emailing

4 Whiteladies Road Clifton, BS8 1PD Tel: 01179 292281

“A name you can trust for specialist legal services” • Accident Claims • Attorneyships & Court of Protection • Business Sales & Purchases • Commercial Property • Conveyancing • Debt Recovery

• Dispute Resolution • D ivorce, Family & Children • Employment Advice • Probate & Estate Services • W ills, Trusts & Tax Planning

Call free for a no obligation consultation

0800 097 8611 | email:


f i n a n c e a d v e r tisi n g feat u r e

The Family home allowance PHILIP BARRY, partner at Hollingdale Pooley Chartered Accountants looks at the new family home IHT allowance and its implications.


ising property prices have left more families being elevated to millionaire status and dealing with the inheritance tax (IHT) implications that come with it. The Treasury collected £4.6 billion from IHT in 2015/16, compared to £2.69 billion in 2010/11, to reflect a rising year-on-year trend. And that shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. In attempt to ease the growing burden on families by making it easier to pass on the family home to direct descendants without incurring a tax charge, former chancellor George Osborne revealed plans to introduce the residence nil-rate band in his Summer Budget 2015. The family home allowance, as it’s also known, came into force in April 2017 – but the rules are far from straightforward.

How it works

The family home allowance enables people to pass on one property to family members and save on death duties, in theory at least. It permits the further reduction of IHT due on passing their interest on death in the family home and works on top of the £325,000 basic nil-rate band. As of 6 April 2017, when an individual dies their estate will qualify for the family home allowance if the deceased owned a home, or a share of one, that is included in their estate and left to their ‘direct descendants’. These exclusively include children, grandchildren, stepchildren, foster children, adopted children and their lineal descendants. Much like the basic nil-rate band, the family home allowance is transferable between spouses and civil partners. The following thresholds for individuals and couples are being phased in over the next four financial years.

From 2021/22 onwards, the residence nil-rate band will increase in line with the consumer prices index.


Childless couples – Controversially, the family home allowance is not available to couples without children. Siblings – Siblings are not classed as direct descendants and, as such, are excluded from the residence nil-rate band. Wealthy estates – Estates worth more than £2 million will be penalised in the form of tapered relief by losing £1 for every £2 above the threshold. Buy-to-let properties – A property owned by the deceased but never lived in by them is not eligible for the additional threshold, ruling out owners of buy-to-let properties,




















£1 million


handing out a potential blow to the direct descendants of landlords. Tax reliefs – Certain tax breaks, such as the business property relief and agricultural property relief, are also ignored when calculating the value of the deceased’s estate. Trusts and wills – Until recently, discretionary trusts have been commonly used to pass on property to children or grandchildren. Now, families who used these as a way of limiting tax liabilities on their estates risk missing out on the family home allowance. BL

If you would like to discuss how we could help you and your company, please contact us at our office. If you would like further advice or assistance, please call us on 0117 973 3377 or visit



EXCITEMENT SURGES... . . . as Finalists are revealed for the Bristol Life Awards


he all-important finalists for the Bristol Life Awards are unveiled on pages 82-83 and excitement is ramping up ahead of Bristol’s biggest-ever business awards. Tables are now waiting list-only, with others available via a Silver Sponsorship. Twitter went into overdrive on 27 February with companies expressing elation and excitement at being named finalists. Grand Reveal day set social media alight: the Awards were trending on Twitter as the online Bristol community were full of congratulations for all those worthy businesses who made the shortlist. Tickets to the event have been in high demand for some time, and with the recent announcement of finalists are now in even shorter supply. “Finalists secured the vast majority of the remaining tickets within minutes of their release, and all are expected to go soon,” said Steph Dodd, events director at MediaClash, Bristol Life’s publisher. “The latest position will be updated via Twitter and email. We’re overwhelmed by Bristol’s support for the Awards and we’re extremely excited for what will be another sell-out night of celebration.” The surge in sponsorships and nominations means that this is set to be the biggest Bristol Life Awards to date.

QUOTE OF THE ISSUE Congratulations to all this year’s Finalists!

Before the big night, finalists are invited to meet other hopeful winners, headline sponsors Bristol Airport, and category sponsors at a special sponsors’ and finalists’ reception on 20 March. More details are available via the Awards site. The Awards ceremony takes place on 26 April in a grand marquee, the biggest ever built in Bristol, with up to 700 attendees, located in front of Lloyds Amphitheatre. Winners receive an iconic Bristol Life Award, as well as mentions in Bristol Life magazine, in email marketing and across all social media channels – on top of the incredible memory of that magical “the winner is…” moment. A very limited number of sponsorship opportunities still remain, which are backed by an extensive marketing campaign. To align your brand and benefit from the Awards, please contact Lily Dalzell: Twitter @BristolLifeAwd

“IT’S A 24/7 JOB” Who’s never ‘off’? Turn to page 107


The total number of outstanding businesses chosen as finalists for the Bristol Life Awards 2018 – every one a worthy winner! See the full list on page 82-83


GIVING BACK Bristol businesses! What have you done this year to make you feel proud? Aside from all the great deals, mergers and profits, we mean? Do businesses have a responsibility to the community and large? You seem to think so, and what you told us makes for a heartwarming read on an icy late winter’s day in the eye of Storm Emma...






e frequently get emails from our local professional service friends in the city about the many charities and community groups they support – whether it’s through sponsoring an underfunded arts festival or offering grass-roots support to those who need it the most, we can tell it’s a passion for you all. So we thought we’d let you tell us about what you’ve been up to recently, in your own words...


WHIreland is a financial services company offering private wealth management, wealth planning and corporate and institutional broking services; their Bristol branch is based on Colston Avenue. We spoke to investment manager Nick Lamb. “We consider it essential for everyone at WHIreland to play a part in the community in which we live and work,” says Nick. “In the year ahead, we will be continuing to forge partnerships with organisations, both locally in Bristol, as well as nationally, who share those beliefs. By doing so, we have a unique opportunity to focus our corporate social responsibilities on activities that benefit our local community, society, heritage and culture.

“We are proud to support a number of high quality initiatives and programmes across the UK and Isle of Man, particularly those which are for the benefit of young people. In 2017, in our continued support of the fantastic work of Bristolbased special needs charity, PROPS, Tom Williams and I took part again in the Bristol2Bordeaux cycle event. We likened being part of such a challenge to being part of a big family. We are definitely looking forward to building on that support this year. “This year our team – myself, Tom and Henry Gronning – will also be increasing our support of charitable and cultural initiatives in and around Bristol and, whilst I can’t give more detail at this stage, we are very excited to be working with a well-known Bristol-based organisation later this year who will be fundraising for a very worthy cause.”


The full-service law firm based on Narrow Quay feels that giving back to society is a social responsibility. Here’s managing partner Simon Heald: “At VWV, we take our responsibility towards the community in which we live seriously and play an active role, not only in business but also in community life. “Staff are encouraged to engage in community w I BRISTOL LIFE I 91

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES support work. We do this by granting time off and extra holidays for days spent on worthwhile causes. We also have our own charitable trust and matchfund amounts raised through the fundraising efforts of members of staff. “Each year, our staff nominate their chosen charity of the year. This year, our Bristol office has supported Ronald McDonald House, Bristol, which provides free accommodation to families while their child is in hospital. We regularly organise fundraising events to support the work of these charities. For example, we recently organised ‘Partner Pandemonium – A Jungle Challenge’. The event took place in our Bristol office and saw seven of our partners go head-to-head in some gruesome trials, with all proceeds going to Ronald McDonald House, Bristol. “Involvement in community projects provides us with a valuable source of personal learning and development, as well as a sense of pride and teamwork. We look forward to continuing to support the Bristol community in years to come.”


Chartered accountants Corrigan have a wide client base, from some of the fastest growing businesses and most exciting technology start-ups in Bristol and the South West, to business owners in London, North America, India and all over the world. But as founder Edward Corrigan tells us, there’s still time for charity work and community activities. “It’s really important to us. There is a pervading culture running through our professional body, ICAEW, to act responsibly and ethically. This is mirrored by the firm in a desire to make a positive impact through our work. As a Bristol-based independent business, deeply rooted in the local

community, we tend to direct our financial support to small local charities, and as accountants, we are regularly asked to volunteer, so many of our staff act as schools governors and trustees.” Corrigan supports a number of different bodies: “Quartet Community Foundation is a superb organisation that funds small local charities, run by inspiring local volunteers, that do amazing things from humble means. It’s clear from recent news that too many charities are big corporate organisations and we need to get back to basics. “We also recognise that performing arts play a vital part in the quality of life of the city, so we support The Tobacco Factory and Colston Hall. “We are funding a Quartet endowment fund which will provide a lasting income legacy to support local micro charities. “We supported the Ferry Boat Company and Arnos Vale Cemetery initiatives previously and this year we will be supporting The Tobacco Factory’s development project to create improved educational facilities. “One of the best ways business professionals can help vulnerable people in the city is by volunteering. Small charities really benefit from the accounting, legal, marketing support that we can provide. Financial support is vital too and I would recommend finding out about Quartet.”


Based on Clifton’s Regent Street, the team of lawyers and solicitors at Barcan + Kirby provide legal services to clients across Bristol and the South Gloucestershire area. Marketing executive Stephanie Evans tells us that having a charity that they can support is at the heart of their values as a company. “We strive to choose the charities that we feel resonate with us as a firm as well as our clients. We have a social and charity committee with members from each of our offices that decide on fundraising events so we can get all staff members involved with charity work. “Our charities are BRACE and Bristol Dementia 92 I BRISTOL LIFE I

Above: Corrigan Associates staff at a recent team building day at Wild Place in support of Bristol Zoo; below: WHIreland Opposite: Dunkley’s and Bradley Stoke Football Club; Barcan Kirby; VWV







PROFESSIONAL SERVICES so we hold Dementia Friends sessions for all new staff as part of their HR induction. Becoming a Dementia Friend can create an understanding of issues around dementia and help those that are living with the condition.”


The team of chartered accountants at Dunkley’s, based in Bradley Stoke, say they ‘love to get involved’ in community events – here’s their marketing manager, Nicole Crompton.

Action Alliance (BDAA), both supported since 2017. Dementia is a terrible disease and sadly we speak to many clients who are affected by it. We want to raise money for research and to make Bristol the most dementia friendly city in the country. “Over the course of the year, we’ve organised bake sales, sweepstakes, 12 mile walks, competitive pub quizzes and auctions. We’ve also co-hosted a seminar with both charities to encourage Bristol businesses to become dementia friendly. Our plans for this year include more individual office fundraising and more events raising awareness of dementia. “As a firm, we’re passionate about helping people

“Over the last five years, we have been part of many local projects. We have supported the Wow! Gorilla project, Gromit Unleashed, Shaun in the City and Dinomania as well as sponsoring the Thornbury’s Arts Festival, Stars of the Stokes Awards, Bradley Stoke Town Football Club and Bradley Stoke in Bloom. “We also work closely with local Scout and Guide groups, providing free annual accounts for 1st Bradley Stoke Scouts as a gesture of goodwill; various employees also regularly volunteer with Rainbow and Brownie units. To top it all, we have our very own Gorilla called Mr Sprinkles who has become our company mascot. Who ever said accountants were boring? “During 2017, we also successfully launched Young Enterprise in conjunction with Bradley Stoke Community School. I am the business advisor for the student company, who are producing their very own cookery book. “In 2018, we have several charitable plans up our sleeve. At this moment we are unable to announce the finer details. All we can say is, keep your eye on our website and social media feeds to find out what we are getting involved in once it is released – it shouldn’t be too far away now! “We all have busy lives, but it shouldn’t stop us getting involved in our local community or city. Helping the vulnerable can be done in various ways, from organising a work cake sale to dressdown days, summer parties and taking part in a sponsored event – or if you are the adventurous type, climbing a mountain. It’s truly up to you what you’d like to do – but just remember, you don’t have to dedicate hours to charitable work to make a difference.”


Based on Portwall Place, the Bristol office of Smith & Williamson offers a full range of tax, accounting, wealth and investment management services for private clients and businesses. Here’s head of regional marketing Paul Waller. “Each year the Bristol office has a nominated Charity of the Year and is chosen by our staff. Last year we supported the Julian Trust, which is a shelter serving poor and disadvantaged people in our community for the past 30 years, providing emergency food and accommodation for 1000 people. We held a number of activities throughout w I BRISTOL LIFE I 93

Audit & accounts | Outsourcing | International services | Business advisory | IT & online accounting Funding & asset finanace | UK & international tax | Wealth planning & protection | Forensic & litigation Value added tax (VAT) | Acquisitions & disposals | Not-for-profit services | Probate | Bookkeeping


Smith and Williamson’s Dragon Boat crew







the year and raised £3,693. Our chosen charity of the year for 2018 is the Rainbow Centre in Knowle, which provides a haven of peace for children and their families suffering from the effects of a lifethreatening illness or death in the family. “The Bristol office also took part in the Dragon Boat Festival in the floating harbour, along with other teams from across Bristol and the surrounding area. The event was in support of the Southmead Hospital Charity for Prostate Cancer and we raised £2,244 including gift aid.” “In addition, we encourage our staff to support other charities to which they personally feel a connection. For example, our restructuring and recovery team hold an annual Christmas quiz, and over the last six years we have raised over £13,800 for local charities, including The Green House, The Rainbow Centre, Music Space, Bristol Children’s Help Society, Jessie May Trust and Children’s Hospice South West.”


Based on Bath Street, chartered accountants Haines Watts “aims to be at the centre of the local business community and has as part of its ethos to give something back wherever possible,” says marketing manager Kim Chidgey. “We discount our fees for the charitable clients that we act for and raise funds for designated charities whenever we hold client events. “It is important to us all that, as a firm, as well as individually, we support and assist local organisations that help and support the

communities they are involved with. “As a firm, we help all of our charitable clients whenever we can through advice and support as well as raising funds. We also nominate specific local charities when we hold events. We intend in 2018/19 to have a local charity nominated by our staff that we will support as our main focus. “We are always looking for novel ways of engaging people in our support. We have had piggy banks distributed to clients to collect loose change in their organisations which are returned when full, hosted a casino evening and 2018/19 holds a Haines Watts Bristol journey around the world, where we have encouraged a well-being focus among staff. “I think a common focus of businesses to charities is on financial contributions. From my experience, often what is required is a donation of time and support. In a similar way to the legal profession offering pro-bono services such as mediation and drop-in advice centres, we look at how, as a firm, we can use our time in a collaborative way, offering support and advice to help those in vulnerable positions. “For example, we provide training on the Enterprise course of the Prince’s Trust. I think all businesses could do more in this way. “We are a local firm, with staff who work and live in the area. Therefore, we all have a vested interest in Bristol being a community that helps and supports all of its people. “Bristol has shown that it is a city that has unlimited potential, attracting top class businesses and which has innovative and leading educational resources. What we believe is that businesses such as Haines Watts should be applying their knowledge and skills for the benefit of everyone as far as it is possible.”


AMD Solicitors have been in Henleaze and North Bristol for 20 years in their current business, and can trace their roots in the Henleaze office back to 1953. Solicitor and director Andrew Jack tells us more. “We feel that being part of the local community is paramount to our success, be it supporting local community groups, providing talks to the local community on new and existing areas of law, or, of course, supporting the vibrant Henleaze Christmas Festival. “We are very pleased that our commitment to clients and the local community was recognised by Bristol Law Society in October when we were awarded the honour of Bristol Law Society Law Firm of the Year (up to 15 partners). “We have an annual charity we support, and this year it is Guide Dogs. Every year we ask members of staff to nominate a charity and we then ask staff to vote on who should receive our support for that year. We raise money at our events and talks, and regularly have bake sales in the offices to raise additional funds for our charities.”. I BRISTOL LIFE I 95

l aw a d v e r t isi n g f e at u r e

Divorce – you don’t just need a lawyer Sarah Jackson at BLB Solicitors discusses how in complex divorces a good lawyer should act as team leader, pulling in financial experts when required.


lthough it is a life-changing decision, getting a divorce is the easy bit. A divorce ends the legal contract of marriage only; it does not bring an automatic end to any financial obligations you and your spouse might have to one another. Reaching a financial settlement is the most complex aspect of divorce and a good lawyer should be referring you to the relevant experts as you go about dividing your assets fairly. As the partner heading up both of BLB’s offices in Bristol, I am accustomed to dealing with clients with complex financial affairs, including multiple properties, businesses, family trusts and complex pensions. My job is to negotiate a settlement for my clients and then draft the agreement in the form of a financial court order. It is essential that, in so doing, I have sufficient knowledge to know when expert financial advice is required to ensure that my clients are not financially disadvantaged. If a lawyer thinks they can do it by themselves and they fail to bring in a necessary expert, this can result in a substantial financial cost to divorcing clients.

My network of experts in the Bristol area, built up over many years, help me to negotiate the best deal for my clients. One of these experts is independent mortgager adviser, Michelle Sharpe. Reliable mortgage capacity assessments for both spouses can be essential to ensure a fair settlement for divorcing couples, particularly in more modest-asset cases. Here Michelle outlines the service she provides. BL Sarah Jackson is Head of Family Law at BLB Solicitors.

BLB Solicitors 13-14 Orchard Street, Bristol, BS1 5EH Tel: 0117 905 5308 E-mail: Visit our website

At a time of relationship break up, decisions about future living arrangements can be difficult to agree on and emotionally charged. Usually they will depend upon who can afford what, and so detailed and unbiased information as to mortgage affordability and borrowing limits will be crucial. This is where I come in. I provide my clients with written Mortgage Capacity Reports and Lender Agreements in Principle, offering greater certainty as to future borrowing capability, which my divorcing clients find invaluable when negotiating settlements. I offer a confidential and personal service at what can be a very sensitive time for my clients and I’m there for them from initial affordability calculations right through to when they get the keys to their new home. I am completely independent which means I can find a lender who will suit each client’s needs perfectly, be that a high street bank or more specialist lender. With almost two decades in the job, I have in-depth industry knowledge and reliable industry-wide contacts. I also ensure that my clients have the appropriate protection in place to accompany their new mortgage, providing the cover they need to keep their new home. Michelle Sharpe is a Partner with Financial Themes LLP and specialises in providing independent mortgage and protection advice.


We are a family office business, working with clients and their advisors in the management of all of their financial and lifestyle affairs. | 0117 226 2101 | a Otium_Partners


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The maverick mayor George Ferguson has made a difference to Bristol – both as a pioneering architect and as its first mayor. We were delighted to have him as a speaker at our first Business Club lunch of the year By M A L ROGE R S

Yes, the red trousers are still very much A Thing


I ALWAYS WANTED TO DO MORE THAN DESIGN BUILDINGS. I WANTED TO MAKE PLACES WHERE THINGS COULD HAPPEN THE FERGUSON FILE Born: Winchester Education: Wellington College, Berkshire, then University of Bristol. Career: • Joined Bristol council in 1971 as an urban planner. • Set up Ferguson Mann Architects in 1972. • In 1986, set up Acanthus Architects, a national network. • Royal Institute of British Architects president in 2003. • Elected Bristol mayor 2012. George mulls over a particularly piquant question from MediaClash CEO Greg Ingham


e’s on chatting terms with prime ministers and presidents, has been summoned to top level meetings at No 10, the Queen has smiled at his red trousers, the Pope passed no comment on them. He has been invited all over the world to talk on urban sustainability and environmental issues – and it’s not surprising. Because as well as having been an innovative, highly visible mayor of Bristol (and we don’t just mean the red trousers) George Ferguson is a passionate, engaging speaker. In the weeks prior to the Bristol Life Business Club lunch, he’d been invited to speak in China, Japan and Korea – he’s an honorary citizen of Seoul, no less. But the car-less Ferguson accepts that his travels are not that environmentally sound. “My carbon footprint has gone up, certainly, but I hope that my message justifies it. If you can say something in China that makes a difference, that’s better than staying at home and saying nothing.” George’s universal message, whether in Bristol or Beijing, is simple yet crucial: the buildings, streets and open spaces that constitute a city need to work to everyone’s advantage, as well as to the benefit of the environment. “As an architect I always wanted to do more than design buildings. I wanted to make places where

GEORGE ON POLITICS “In the 1960s I was approached by a neighbour asking would I stand as a Liberal councillor. I read the Liberal manifesto and I found it had a lot I agreed with.” Against the odds we got elected. I say ‘we’ – there were three of us. This was astonishing in an area that had been solidly Labour.” “Margaret Thatcher – you might hate her, but you should have respect for her. But because she was in power, and I disagreed with so many of her policies, I decided to stand again as an MP. I didn’t get elected.” “Government wants to be in control. But you get far further if you trust people. You need to trust entrepreneurs.” “A certain amount of naivety is a good thing in politics.”

things could happen.” When he became mayor, he brought his ethos to the city and made it stick. Because, although goodhumoured and relaxed, underneath that bonhomie lurks a quiet tenacity that even an invasive bindweed species would shrivel in the face of. As far as George is concerned, “Bristol needs to work creatively, commercially and environmentally”. To achieve this would be a task well beyond the intellectual firepower of most timeserving MPs and councillors. But, while mayor, he did it. George Ferguson made a difference to Bristol. It still has big problems, sure – the former mayor is the first to concede that. Nonetheless the city is a far more environmentally friendly place than when he first took up office – perhaps even a fairer, more gentle place. Commercial innovations such as clean-tech industries and the promotion of a cycling culture have all added to the city’s green credentials. “Bristol,” he says proudly, “is today recognised nationally and internationally as an environmentally friendly city.” As we wallow in an era of uncertainty for Planet Earth (to put it at its mildest) there is probably nothing more important that George could have done for the city. Disraeli, it’s said, had a morning cup of tea made with the contents of his hot water bottle. As a politician, George Ferguson is even more environmentally sound than that. w I BRISTOL LIFE I 101



George first entered local politics as a Liberal councillor, along with two party colleagues. “We were kept off committees because, quite simply, we were a nuisance. I suppose in a way that sums up my life. I like to disrupt, be a nuisance. Which might sound odd, as many people probably see me as an establishment figure. But even if you’re in the establishment, you should always push as hard as you can against what is established. That’s the only way to test it.” George doesn’t think of himself as a politician, and that, he believes, has helped him carry out his policies: “There’s always been an entrepreneurial culture in Bristol, you see, but one that’s been held back by politics. Being an independent, I was able to tap into that vein. That was easier for me than a party politician.” Certainly, matters moved swiftly with George at the helm. “As an independent I’d have the freedom to make decisions on the spot. Local party politics holds back progress; even the most dynamic. But when I was mayor I made my default position ‘yes’. It certainly wasn’t to say, ‘Right, let’s get a committee together and do a study.’ I didn’t have to go back to the party, and that was a huge bonus.” Nevertheless, the former mayor is the first to recognise that a maverick spirit can only get you so far. “The bottom line is that there is still terrible

GEORGE ON BRISTOL: “I came to Bristol first in 1965. I was blown away by the place. It had been devastated by the war, and by 1965 was only beginning to recover. But I loved what was a very varied city. Varied socially, varied culturally – and with every sort of architecture. I developed a passion for the place. I wanted to make it the best place in the world.” “We are an alternative and different place – Glastonbury is not far away and we have a slightly hip culture which has tended to lean towards the green.” “I’ve not given up on my idea of Bristol being one of the greenest, greatest, grandest cities on earth.” “I would celebrate our creativity, our clean-tech environment. I celebrate a better future.”

homelessness in Bristol; people still freeze in the streets. In one sense you can only judge a city, or a country, by its poorest people. And we still have a terrible homelessness problem in the city. “What was done for Wapping Wharf, with its restaurants and cafes and so on in the shipping containers has been amazing. Jasper Thompson, the founder of Help Bristol’s Homeless, wanted to do the same for the homeless. But these were ruled as being sub-standard housing. That was very frustrating.” The continuing crisis over social housing also exercises George. “The amount of money we can borrow is capped. We definitely need to be able to borrow more against our estate. And right-to-buy needs to be carefully looked at.” Despite the problem of housing, culturally and commercially George has made a difference. In 1994, he bought the remnants of the old Imperial Tobacco Factory on Raleigh Road to save it from demolition, and with a view to regenerating the area of North Street. “I enjoy setting up places that make a difference,” he said. The Tobacco Factory is now a mixed-use project that includes the theatre, bar and creative industry workspace. 2003 saw one of the entrepreneur’s most laudable projects. George bought the defunct Ashton Gate Brewery, renamed it The Bristol Beer Factory, and began brewing in 2005. Anyone who has enjoyed a pint of Bristol Export or Southern Conspiracy will say, “Cheers, Geordie.” There’s even better news for the committed beer drinker: “The factory is expanding, which is great.” But this architect/entrepreneur/environmentalist is not content to rest on his record. “I’m looking at putting in cafés and bars in areas that need them, where they’ll make a difference to the culture, to the people.” George failed to get re-elected in the 2016 election. With Marvin Rees winning the seat for Labour, Bristol’s first mayor found himself clearing his desk at City Hall. During his five year tenure George worked tirelessly to raise the profile of Bristol globally as a green and innovative place. He continues that work out of office, and stresses he has no further political ambitions beyond Bristol. He does have one piece of advice for his successor, however: “If you’re not prepared to upset people you’ll get nothing done. If you don’t want to be hated don’t do anything – that’s what I said to Marvin.” Of course, adopt those defensive tactics and you may well end up hating yourself; something that George Ferguson demonstrably does not need to do. His heart is in Bristol, and it’s a better place because of that. The planet too, for that matter. And the red trousers? They’ve not been retired, either. “In the words of Madonna if we’re going to save the world we can at least have fun doing it,” he is on record as saying. The next Bristol Life Business Club, with guest speaker Tom Westwell of Pukka Herbs, takes place on 9 April Tickets £64.49; I BRISTOL LIFE I 103


Jamie Innes


GROW YOUR BUSINESS Will Cooke is a landscape director; Jamie Innes is a horticulture expert. Together, they are Artisan Landscapes. . .

Will Cooke


ill and Jamie take on different but equally important roles within the business; as founder and landscape director, Will’s roles predominantly include project managing and overseeing the progress and quality of constructions, while Jamie works as a freelance garden designer for Artisan in tandem with running his own design studio. So we thought we really ought to speak to them both… Please tell us how you ended up running Artisan Will: My parents always instilled in me a strong work ethic, and from a young age, during school holidays, I worked as a labourer for a local landscaping company, which is where my passion began. Jamie: I have always been creative, particularly enjoying art in school. This, combined with my interest in the natural world and environmental issues, encouraged me to pursue a degree in geography. During and after my degree I developed a keen interest in plants and gardens. This led on to completing a horticulture course at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. After this, I was able to further my skills and knowledge by training and working at Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew.

What would your dream brief be? Will: If a client trusts us to understand their vision and taste, any brief is great to work with. Jamie: Using an interesting and well-selected material palette with an abundance of planting is a great foundation for any project. What kind of building materials and plants are you loving at the moment? Will: I love experimenting with new materials. We’ve recently worked with bespoke products such as Cor-Ten steel and Kebony timber – both are beautiful-looking materials which have been manufactured to withstand prolonged weathering and deterioration. Jamie: My design style favours a juxtaposition of structural topiary (yew or box) and a more naturalistic, herbaceous use of planting.


How did you start and build the company? Will: I was taking a break from landscaping and working in a call centre. This wasn’t providing me with the motivation and satisfaction that landscaping gave me, so a friend offered to help me start Artisan. Since then, becoming an accredited member of the Association of Professional Landscapers has enabled Artisan to grow and evolve. How many of you make up the core team? Will: I have a dedicated team of six, who operate onsite, building the gardens. Their skill sets cover everything from stonework to carpentry, metal fabrication and paving. Our office manager, Daisy, communicates with all prospective clients from our Redland office. Jamie: I have my own team of three, who oversee the horticultural aspects of each project.

Tell us what services Artisan can offer Will: Artisan specialises in complete garden transformations. We have worked on a variety of demanding projects, which have developed our skills and expanded our knowledge, encouraging us to source and work with interesting and unusual materials. Is any job too small or too large for you? Will: If the project is right for us, size isn’t an issue. A small garden can be just as challenging as a large estate.

Do you design in a wide variety of styles? Jamie: We do have a set of signature principles, however, we always draw inspiration from the existing surrounding landscape, property and clients, particularly their personal use of the space.

What’s your own garden like? Jamie: In my garden I can push the boundaries. I set the parameters and allow it to evolve with limited interventions. The planting is naturalistic, full of flowers and a haven for birds and insects. Do you use social media? Will: We both use Facebook but have found Instagram to be the best platform to connect with designers, suppliers and potential clients. It’s great to provide our followers with regular updates on the progress and milestones of current projects. What’s the nicest testimonial you have ever received? Will: We have always received incredibly positive feedback and believe it is essential to build a good working relationship with our clients. After completing one of our longest projects last summer, we were invited to join our clients in celebrating a family occasion in their recently designed and constructed garden. This was a wonderful privilege, as we don’t usually get to see the completed gardens in use once the project is handed over. For more I BRISTOL LIFE I 105



HOMES FROM HOME Meet the team: l-r, Charlie, Cynthia, Adam, Ben, Kim and Max


o, you’ve heard of Airbnb – what’s Airbristol when it’s at home? Let co-founder Adam Kershaw tell you more. . . “Airbristol manages serviced apartments and Airbnb properties for landlords who either want to diversify their portfolio, need the flexibility of short term lettings or just want to try something different! It was started by me and Maxwell Hope, and is now headed up by Kim Milton (who is brilliant). “Max and I are both local guys, and have lived and worked in Bristol all of our lives; we also own a traditional lettings company called Hopewell Properties. “We decided to experiment in the short term market with our own portfolio, and after a few extremely busy months (with us having to do all of the cleaning!) we decided to setup Airbristol and take on properties from landlords that liked the idea of Airbnb for various reasons, but didn’t have the time or the confidence to manage the demanding workload. We offer homeowners the chance to rent out their personal home/holiday home or buy-to-let for short periods of time. We handle all of the marketing, queries, check in/outs, cleaning and maintenance. “We started with Airbnb but have now branched out and advertise on many other platforms like, Trip Advisor and Expedia etc.”

Like the thought of Airbnb-ing your property, but don’t have the time or inclination to market it? Let Airbristol, the local holiday let management company, take the strain…

Are the two companies entirely separate? The two companies are separate, however both work out of the same office on Prince Street. How many properties do you have on the books? Kim came on board in July 2016, when we had a grand total of four properties. We now manage over 60 properties on a full-time basis, as well as many more holiday apartments on a part-time basis. Are there any areas or types of property that are most in demand? We are seeing a very strong demand for self-contained studio apartments in and around the city centre. Occupancy for these in February has been around 80-85%.


Is anyone else in the area offering this kind of service? There have always been companies in Bristol that offer serviced apartments; however, we were the first to offer specifically Airbnb management which has since progressed to serviced apartments. “Since starting, a few companies have begun to offer a similar service – however, we have found they are unable to offer a likefor-like service, due to the way we are set up. This is reflected in our Airbristol now being the largest independent short-term accommodation provider in Bristol. How did it all begin? We started Hopewell years ago, and then a good friend of ours (whom we would often find tenants for) said he was going to try his two-bedroom Harbourside apartment on Airbnb as he was thinking of selling. Months later we met for a catch-up, and he explained his property was making double what he was achieving on a long term rental – which got the cogs turning! Airbristol started in early 2016, and was officially launched on 1 April 2016.

Why should property owners use Airbristol rather than directly letting out via Airbnb? Our property owners have chosen to use us for various reasons, the most common being that they don’t have the time to do it themselves. It’s a 24/7 job. Enquiries need to be responded to as quickly as possible to secure bookings, maintenance issues need to be sorted a lot faster than a traditional letting, as the guests may only be there for a few nights, and arranging for places to be cleaned and linen changed can be very time-consuming. Do you charge percentage fees or flat fees? We charge a percentage of the income generated from bookings. What would be your ultimate aim for Airbristol? The plan has always been to expand into other cities, and we have our sights on Bath for later on in the year. Cornwall is also a possibility that we are keen to explore. For now we are very much focused on Bristol. Any other exciting plans for 2018? We’re just settling in to our new office just off Queen Square, which we love. It’s great to be in the city centre, and we can’t wait for the summer so we can enjoy the square and Harbourside. We also have a number of new apartments currently being refurbished that will be coming to the market soon, so we’ll be looking forward to welcoming guests in the coming months. For more I BRISTOL LIFE I 107

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CIDER HOUSE RULES A magnificent Grade-II cider press is just one of the charms of Hill House in Olveston – a historic home that can also lay claim to having its own ‘wig room’ By L I SA WA R R E N



es, I remember Adelstrop,” mused poet Edward Thomas, in his somnambulant snapshot of a Gloucestershire village dozing in the midday late-June heat. ‘Olveston’ scans just as satisfactorily, and we’re still in the right county, but whereas Adelstrop frankly sounded as dead as a doornail (admittedly, this was back in 1914), this modern-day village 13 miles northwest of Bristol is comparatively bustling, as a glance at its highly active website reveals. Hill House stands just a short level walk from the heart of the village, yet in its own totally private sanctuary. One of the most distinctive and historic buildings in Olveston, it was built in 1570 on top of the even older Hill’s Place, whose original foundations were dug back in 1320. The house has a fascinating and lovingly documented history. For example, being built during the Reformation, it had no fewer than three priest holes. It must have been as popular a bolthole for the South Gloucestershire Catholic set as Hyde & Co is for thirsty Friday-night drinkers in Bristol today. As you’d devoutly hope, many of its distinctive old features have been saved and incorporated into the current version of the house – original oak mullion windows, a myriad of beams and hinges, an inglenook and a studded oak front door – solid enough to keep Cromwell’s hordes at bay, while the priests scrambled behind the panels. Hill House has been extended occasionally over the next three centuries; a major restoration took place in the mid1950s, and ongoing renovation continues to date. The Grade II* main house is at the end of a long gravel driveway set far back from the road. Among its stellar rooms is the oak-panelled entrance hall and a drawing room with the huge inglenook fireplace; there are two more reception rooms, and a study on an upper level. Generously extended

Much as we love the sleek kitchen and the extensive wooden panelling in the reception rooms, what we really want to get our hands on is that cider barn….


£1.495M Guide price


Date of original house


Date of original dwelling



28ft Kitchen


main receptions (plus study, library, breakfast room and wig room!)

1.5 ACRE grounds

over the years, the kitchen is focused around the original fireplace with its bread oven and Aga stove. Ascend a beautiful spiral oak staircase to the top floors, and you’ll find six bedrooms to choose from, one with adjoining dressing room, and two family bathrooms. A fabulous Georgian library has excellent views over the garden, and across the landing is an exceptionally rare find – a 17th-century wig room, where a servant would have powdered gentlemen’s elaborate hair pieces; suits you, Sir Anthony Absolute and Sir Peter Teazle! As is often the way with large country piles, there are also the kind of outbuildings that city-centre dwellers squeezed into cramped apartments, would happily move into wholesale; here, a magnificent Grade-II cider barn and coach house, with their own private driveway. These wonderful buildings have remained largely unchanged since the 17th century, and still contain the original mill and press. There are also listed stables and numerous other stone outbuildings. All of the above are surrounded by ornamental grounds, featuring 32 varieties of trees, from ginkgos to mulberries, Japanese cedars, weeping ash and tulip trees; one yew is over 400 years old. And that’s not just a boastful guesstimate by the owner, either; the tree has been personally certified by no less than David Bellamy. Some of these spectacular trees shade a stream-fed lake and ornamental fish pool – it’s impossible to imagine a more restful spot to sit, though if you’re not the sitting-around type, there’s always plenty to do in the large kitchen garden, orchard and vineyard. In fact, it’s all so timelessly peaceful here that Hill House could, on reflection, easily give Adelstop a serious run for its money. Savills Clifton, 20 The Mall, Clifton, Bristol BS8 4DR 0117 933 5800; I BRISTOL LIFE I 113




oe, who also runs workshops under the name Stylemongers of Bristol, started her career in theatre design – which perhaps helps to explain her very eclectic taste in interiors. But never mind our sweeping assumptions – here’s Zoe in her own words . . . Were you the kind of child who styled their bedroom and kept it neat? Yes – I spent hours moving the furniture around instead of sleeping, and secretly redecorated when my parents went away for the weekend. When did you decide you wanted to make a career in interiors? About ten years ago I was burnt out from working in scenic design, so began switching industries. Initially I was just decorating, but my mentor encouraged me to start designing. What’s your own home like? It’s an unbelievable mess! It was a neglected student let for years, so it’s very much a work in progress. Sum up your own style and influences Totally eclectic! [Told you] What are the most beloved items in your home that you would never get rid of? A vintage 1950s Japanese print of a mother and daughter wearing blue kimonos, and one of those ridiculous rotating globe bars. You took part in Grand Designs Live in 2016 (as you probably know . . .) I did and it was exhilarating and completely exhausting. I couldn’t have done it without my trusty assistant, Joh. We used to build sets together and we’re a great team. We installed my roomset in two days – totally hardcore. Meeting Dan and Sophie, the judges from the Great Interior Design Challenge was a thrill. They were so enthusiastic and said really kind things about my work. But I was gutted I missed meeting Kevin McCloud by two seconds because he turned up early while I was racing over on the DLR. I would have loved a snap of him in my set like the other designers, but I was too shy to chase after him to ask.

ZOE HEWETT It’s our interiors issue, so who better to grace our back page than the founder of Stylemongers of Bristol? When did you found Stylemongers of Bristol? We note it’s ‘stylemongers’ plural – is there more than one of you? There are a couple of other designers I collaborate with, and there are exciting things in the pipeline. I wanted to give the brand a sense of style, substance and humour over fashion, and because of my design history, the feeling of an old, long-established shop. Do you cater to all kinds of styles? I like to offer variety, as there’s never a ‘one style fits all’ solution. It’s more a question of what is appropriate for a given situation; the particular building and client. Tell us a bit about your workshops They’re a mix of colour theory, design process and hands-on activities. I’m always impressed by the fabulous moodboards people make. Why did you start the Instagram account #mybristolhome, and what have you discovered from it? It started as a bit of nosey fun because Bristol is home to so many interesting people, which is definitely reflected in the photos being shared. Standout creative areas so far are St Werburghs, Stokes Croft and Totterdown. What are your favourite new trends for 2018? I’m not a lover of trends per se, but I am excited about the 1970s prediction! Tell us a bit about Zoe’s Bristol life . . . I love the independents of my ’hood, Gloucester Road, and how each part of Bristol has its own distinct personality. There’s so much variety.


If you could have any house in Bristol, what would it be? The one I live in, but finished. If you weren’t living there, what would be your ideal location and property? A white, rectangular house with a pool, built into a mountainside in Rio de Janeiro. Tell us about your favourite restaurants and/or cafes/bars, and why you love them The Milk Thistle for its dark, theatricallyexclusive glam; the rootsy authenticity and chimichangas of La Ruca. Favourite interiors shop in the city? Oskar Furniture. Full of design classics! If you weren’t an interior designer, what would you be? Jazz singer or florist. What’s your most regrettable habit? Lateness. Any secret skills? I’m a brown belt in capoeira. It sounds naff but it changed my life. Everyone should train in a martial art for mental as well as physical wellbeing. Finally, tell us something surprising! I’m a music nut, and after seeing Gilles Peterson in Colston Hall I moved here on a total whim.

Bristol Life - Issue 243  
Bristol Life - Issue 243