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Food/Arts/Entertainment/Shopping/Property JANUARY 2020 / ISSUE 275 / £3


Witness the fitness: how to have a healthier new year








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24 I

t’s a new dawn, it’s a new decade, and yes, it’s probably high time that I updated my editor’s photo with one taken in 2020 instead of 2010. But it’s our first day back at work after Christmas, I’ve been typing Bristol as Birstol all morning, so maybe I’ll leave the reverse Dorian Gray sitch until next month. So, how’s the new year been treating you? Whether you’ve gone vegan and/or alcohol-free, or are shoring up your diminishing energy resources by mainlining mounds of comfort food swigged down with the dregs of the Baileys, I hope it’s going as well as can be expected. And don’t forget: if you reneged on your new year resolutions by lunchtime on 1 January, you can always make them all over again; just invoke the Mulligan Rule, which allows you to draw a new hand if the first one’s a dud. Only once, mind. Still need cheering up? In this issue we have real-life slapstick confessions from top comics; funny Bristol moments from accidental comedy heroes, and a chat with South Park scriptwriters Matt Stone and Trey Parker, whose Book of Mormon plays the Hippodrome this month. Preach. There’s plenty more in the issue too, but those are the funniest bits. Happy new year from us!

DERI ROBINS Hello Ladies of Bristol! Our funniest homeboy’s back in town for Slapstick

Follow us on Twitter @BristolLifeMag Instagram @BristolLifeMag I BRISTOL LIFE I 5


Issue 275/January 2020

COVER That’ll be Jamaica Street Stores…


17 ART PAGE Access all arias 18 WHAT’S ON The dog-end of the Christmas shows,

and some bright and brilliant stuff for the new year

24 COMEDY Real-life pratfalls from our comedy


30 THEATRE Mormons go to Africa. See, you’re

smiling already

34 BRISTOL HEROES It’s a funny old world


38 RESTAURANT Jamaica Street Stores: so pretty we

put it on the cover

41 CAFÉ SOCIETY It’s getting to the point when

Stan craves more than coffee and cake

42 RECIPES Ever wished you could recreate Root’s

beetroot and blackberry dish at home? You’re welcome


45 LIVE WELL, BUY BETTER We’ve found a new

indie shop, and we think you’ll love it

46 ED’S CHOICE Skin deep


48 FITNESS Body movin’ 56 TRAVEL Need a break? We hear you! You don’t

need to splurge out on foreign travel, though; save air miles and the budget by maximising the best of the West


73 BRISTOLWORKS Back to business


82 RENOVATION Fall in love with your home all


over again



Editor Deri Robins Senior art editor Andrew Richmond Graphic design Megan Allison Cover design Trevor Gilham Contributors Mal Rogers, Meg Coast, Christian Annesley, Colin Moody, Stan Cullimore, Kam Kelly Advertising manager Neil Snow New business manager Craig Wallberg Advertising & sales executive Hayley Allwood Production/distribution manager Sarah Kingston sarah. Deputy production manager/production designer Kirstie Howe Chief executive Jane Ingham jane.ingham@ Chief executive Greg Ingham Bristol Life MediaClash, Circus Mews House, Circus Mews, Bath BA1 2PW 01225 475800 @The MediaClash © All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without written permission of MediaClash. We’re a Bath-based publisher, creative agency and event organiser Magazines Our portfolio of regional magazines celebrates the best of local living: Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter. We also publish foodie mag Crumbs (, @CrumbsMag. Agency From the design and build of websites to digital marketing and creating company magazines, we can help. Events We create, market, promote and operate a wide variety of events both for MediaClash and our clients Contact: I BRISTOL LIFE I 7


Pass the crystal ball: it’s January, and we need something to look forward to. With a little help from Bristol’s top venues, we’re here to coax you out from beneath the Christmas pillow fort and look the new decade in the face. Here’s what we know so far…

We’d probably settle for this view of Brandon Flowers at Ashton Gate



2020 has been dubbed The Year Of Artists at Bristol Old Vic, which in recent years has taken to theme its annual programmes. The philosophy is inclusive, with the aim of celebrating the spark of creativity in everyone – from the award-winning Young Company’s Antigone in January to up-and-coming Bristol theatre-maker Ross Willis and his world première Wonder Boy. The standout ‘can’t miss’ production of the season, however, is Semmelweis, conceived and acted by theatrical giant Mark Rylance, and nobody is pretending otherwise.

TOBACCO FACTORY THEATRES Semmelweis, Semmelweis...


TFT are bringing in the new decade with a new production of Edward Albee’s celebrated domestic bitchfest Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Unsettling,

claustrophobic and darkly funny, the movie version won Elizabeth Taylor her second Oscar (Burton received a mere nomination); it’ll be fun to watch a fresh cast walk in these giants’ footsteps. Fast forward to July, and an unexpected treat: former Christmas show Beauty and the Beast is back for the summer, with their lauded take on the tale as old as time.


The Hippodrome have some serious bighitters coming in, from ballet (another chance to see Matthew Bourne’s incredible The Red Shoes) to world-class opera (see page 17). Les Misèrables is up for the spring, followed by Dreamgirls, making its Bristol début in September. Oh and lush Shane Richie is back in May, ditching his Dick Whittington tabard in favour of five-inch heels for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.


top: If Jody’s mega Greta mural gets a new wash of paint in this year’s Upfest, you can still buy the print to keep middle: Africa State of Mind: don’t expect any corny colonial shots of the savannah bottom: Basically, how we’re all feeling in January; Burne-Jones at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery


As flagged up in our last issue, the Royal West of England Academy is starting 2020 strong, with a duo of exhibitions showcasing the richness of different cultures: the legacy of refugees to the UK in Refuge and Renewal, and Africa seen through a modern lens in Africa State of Mind. We’re also hugely looking forward to Streets Ahead: Bristol Street Art 2020 from 6 June – back for a second round, 10 years after Bristol’s leading street artists took over the Academy walls in Crimes of Passion.


Pre-Raphaelites: Dreaming of a Medieval World is the biggie for 2020, taking a fresh look at the movement, with a focus on paintings of knights and heroines with unfeasibly great hair. Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris, Dante Gabriel Rossetti etc all feature, with highlights from the Museum’s own collection and some impressive loans from the Tate. From 16 May.


What with Upfest’s return, and a major exhibition of street art at RWA, you’d almost think Bristol was into street art, or something. And now look! From June, M Shed is giving us ‘Vanguard’, Bristol Street Art: the Evolution of a Global Movement: a spectacular collection of rare and hitherto-unseen works by British and international artists, celebrating Bristol’s role as the birthplace of street art and graf.



“2020 is set to be our biggest year yet with the launch of Project What If”, says CEO Donna Speed. “We’ve used over 10,000 questions from the people of Bristol in the first major UK exhibition inspired entirely by the curiosity of a city’s residents. “We’ve had some truly remarkable conversations with Bristolians, which prompted a complete rethink of the topics that we tackle as a science centre and the role science has in people’s lives. For our 20th birthday we will be re-imagining our spaces in a way that’s in keeping with our vision of bringing a ‘culture of curiosity’ to life for everyone.” Love your enthuiasm, WTC. I BRISTOL LIFE I 11



Quick, get your tickets for Supergrass now!; middle: Oh, swoon: Ashley Shaw’s back as Vicky Page in The Red Shoes; bottom: Noel’s back too, this time at Sounds



First, Eat Drink was a festival curated by Josh Eggleton and Luke Hasell. Then it disappeared for a few years, though they kept the Eat Drink umbrella name for joint restaurants, such as Root and Yurt Lush. Now the festival itself is back for 2020, celebrating the rise of the incredibly diverse food culture of the Bristol area; as well as 48 hours of food and feasting, there’ll be musical performances throughout the day and evening from some of the city’s best live acts and DJs.


Bristol’s home-grown dance festival has, well, grown, and after 2020 will be looking for bigger grounds; so for one last chance to experience it old-school, head for The Last Dance at Eastville Park, over the last weekend in May, as usual.

UPFEST 30 May-1 June

An earlier date isn’t the only change to Europe’s largest street art festival. For 2020, the Urban Art fest will take over a new huge venue, Greville Smyth Park, for the event’s first ever greenfield outing, in addition to The Tobacco Factory, the original Upfest venue. Boards and canvases previously found across a multitude of South Bristol venues will be brought together for a final weekend-long celebration of street art in the park; the street work traditionally painted live during the festival weekend will be created in the fortnight leading up to the festival weekend, giving more people the chance to witness these spectacular creations coming to life first hand.


Craft Beer Festival has settled nicely into its June slot, and returns with the finest craft beers from across the globe, giving Bristol’s beer fans the chance to experience something truly special. Cheers to that.

VALLEYFEST 31 July - 2 August

The best-tasting music festival in the South-West has just announced its 2020 line up (so far), featuring Deacon Blue and The Cuban Brothers. But as ever, its the laidback vibe and gorgeous Chew Valley views that are the thing, along with the food. Did we mention the food?



The first and super-exciting announcement for 2020 is The Killers, who’ll be comin’ out of their cage and doing just fine on 9 June, joined by special guests Manic Street Preachers. Watch this space for more acts. At least, not this actual space here – oh, you know what we mean.


The Sounds aren’t merely back for 2020, they’re bigger, with stellar headliners Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Supergrass, Paul Heaton, Jacqui Abbot and Jack Savoretti. For the first time, there will be an all-day Saturday Show headlined and curated by The Levellers, featuring Reef, Goldie Lookin Chain and Bristol’s Gaz Brookfield & The Company of Thieves. I BRISTOL LIFE I 13



52 Bristol Hill, Brislington, Bristol, BS4 5AB. Telephone: 01179720171 8 Horse Street, Chipping Sodbury, Bristol BS37 6DB. Telephone: 01454319019



We weren’t going to choose another set of misty shots so soon after autumn – but this recent bunch were just too unearthily beautiful not to share





@stephengroberioand the m







@chrshill I BRISTOL LIFE I 15



NICE AND BIZET DOES IT Is it too early in the year to say croeso nol! to Welsh National Opera? The renowned company is headed back to Bristol Hippodrome this March with a season seductively steeped in revenge, temptation and suspense: there’s Figaro, and Les Vêpres Siciliennes, but what we’re really fancying is Bizet’s Carmen – cracking tunes, buckets of obsessive passion, and in this new production, a sexy 1970s Latin America setting and a large flamenco and Latin dance element. A year or so ago, we suggested that if you thought you didn’t like ballet, you should give Akram Khan’s Giselle a whirl. Could WNO’s Carmen turn you on to opera? Carmen plays Bristol Hippodrome on 11 and 13 March 2020; I BRISTOL LIFE I 17

WHAT’S ON 10 January-10 February

The festive season’s nearly over; let’s dash headlong into the roaring ‘Twenties…

All right lads, heads down and huddle! Perhaps January won’t see us..


Until 26 January

SUGAR PAPER THEORIES Using the most controversial murder investigation in Icelandic history, Jack Latham explores the relationship between photography and truth at RPS;

Until 2 February

FARRAH FORTNAM At Tobacco Factory with her new ‘Rainforests’ collection to raise awareness of the importance of nurturing and protecting our big, lush, beautiful green forests;

Until 1 March


exploring the work of an emergent generation of photographers from across Africa; the other a timely exploration of the impact of artist refugees on art in Britain, taking a perspective across the last 150 years;

Until 19 April

DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC? From ancient uses of witchcraft to the role superstition plays in the modern mind, Bristol Museum explores how magic has been used to heal, hunt and harm down the ages;

Until 4 May

WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR EXHIBITION The world-renowned photography exhibition returns to M Shed.


17 January-22 March

PACITA ABAD – LIFE IN THE MARGINS The Filipino-American artist’s first exhibition in the UK offers an informed and idiosyncratic global perspective on art-making as a cultural tradition rooted in many places at once. At Spike Island;


Until 12 January

A CHRISTMAS CAROL Last chance to seize the tail end of Christmas spirit in everybody’s alltime favourite Dickens tale (and yes, fyi, there are others) with a new cast at Bristol Old Vic;

Until 19 January DRAC & JILL

Hang out with Count Drac at The Wardrobe’s offbeat alternative festive offering for grown-ups; SNOW WHITE TFT present an original take on the fairytale of friendship, love and why an apple a day isn’t always conducive to health;

Until 9 February

LIVING SPIT’S SWAN LAKE Howard and Stu are joined on stage by two real-life ballet dancers in what promises to be the funniest, danciest, water-foulest micro-ballet the world has ever seen;

8-25 January

KNEEHIGH’S UBU! Kneehigh bring a singalong satire of

WHAT’S ON a play that was pretty absurd to begin with; expect a lot of contemporary resonance and world-class buffoonery in a deliriously unhinged improv promenade musical, delivered by a belting band and a choir of extras (ie you);

15 January-22 February

10 January

LABERINTO The Bristol troupe are back with three nights of striking dance from local choreographer Lea Anderson; at BOV;

The truth will out in Sugar Paper Theories Last chance to see Ebenezer mend his ways at BOV below right: Pin-up girl: Refuge and Renewal at RWA

ROMANTICS ANONYMOUS Wise Children’s AD Emma Rice directs a musical love story about breaking the mould and finding the courage to be happy; it’s based on the movie Les Émotifs Anonymes. Shades of Amélie, peut-être? At BOV; see also page 90;

5-8 February

RETURN TO HEAVEN Two explorers search the dark mysteries of the ancient world and enter a perilous land beyond time and death in an intricately choreographed piece of dance theatre laced with dark humour.

JIMMY CARR: TERRIBLY FUNNY The one-line wonder’s back with new jokes about terrible things. But they’re just jokes, and having political correctness at a comedy show is like health and safety at a rodeo. Now you’ve been warned, buy a ticket. Hippodrome;

11 January

STEPHEN K AMOS: EVERYMAN Stephen’s on a mission to bring about world peace – one venue at a time. Tonight, it’s Redgrave;

25 January

STEPHEN MERCHANT’S LAUREL AND HARDY CLASSICS Join Stephen as he celebrates the timeless comedy duo in discussion



COMEDY BELLY LAUGHS The excellent series of comedy shows curated by Mark Olver in restaurants, cafes and bars across Bristol. All proceeds will go to the Julian Trust night shelter. Follow them on Twitter, @bellylaughs2

16-18 January


RAMBERT 2: TRIPLE BILL Following a sell-out run in 2019, the world's most exhilarating early career dancers return to Bristol Old Vic with their latest triple bill.

8-22 January

THE BOOK OF MORMON Singing Mormons! The outrageous musical comedy from the creators of South Park and Bobby Lopez follows the misadventures of a mismatched pair of missionaries; at Bristol Hippodrome;

18 January-1 February

11-13 February I BRISTOL LIFE I 19

WHAT’S ON with stand-up comedian and writer Robin Ince. At Redgrave;

left: Slapstick’s Silent Comedy Gala is hosted this year by the rather handsome Paul McGann

26 January


Chocolate makers melt hearts in Romantics Anonymous

SLAPSTICK TAKEOVER Jump in and join the 14th annual edition of Slapstick Takeover – promising a large helping of classic comedy with a healthy side order of comedy legends, including Harry Hill, Rob Brydon and more... at Bristol Old Vic,

bottom: Mark Bruce company face their inner demons

30 January

DALISO CHAPONDA Daliso’s had a busy time of it, shooting to fame on Britain’s Got Talent, casually amassing over 100 million YouTube views and appearing in more TV shows than we have space to mention. He’s here in Bristol for one night only at Redgrave;

MUSIC 11 January

THE MUSIC OF ZIMMER VS WILLIAMS If you’re as much of a nerd for a good movie soundtrack as we are, you won’t want to miss this epic concert celebrating the very best scores from these film composer giants;

17 January

JAZZ JAMAICA A wealth of musical talent, from well-known regulars to some of the hottest young talent around, Jazz Jamaica mixes up the rhythms and songs of reggae, ska and jazz improvisation to produce the soundtrack to a guaranteed good time at St George’s Bristol;

18 January

MARTYN JOSEPH – DAYS OF DECISION The Welsh singer-songwriter, otherwise known as ‘The Welsh Springsteen’ brings his Days of Decision album tour to Bristol’s 1532 Performing Arts Centre;

5 February

RUSH: A JOYOUS JAMAICAN JOURNEY Get ready to dance to the likes of Desmond Dekker, Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley and many more in a joyous Jamaican journey that tells the story of reggae and how its history and music has evolved through the

decades to take the world by storm. BOV;

8 February

LADY NADE Sooth the soul with the velveteen voice of alternative folk-pop-jazz balladeer and passionate foodie Lady Nade At St George’s;

14-15 February

PUCCINI’S MADAM BUTTERFLY OperaUpClose return with a new English version of Puccini’s Madam Butterfly, retold from a female, East-Asian perspective. At BOV; n



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“Well, you cured my January blues,” crooned Alex Turner on AM. He probably had Bristol’s Slapstick comedy festival in mind…



e can’t think of a better antidote to the darkest, chilliest time of year than the UK’s biggest celebration of classic comedy. Someone erect a statue of its founder on College Green, please! (Funny traffic cone hat optional.) The festival’s back from 23-26 January, with a weekend filled with silent screen and classic film, TV and radio comedy, hosted by a starry bunch of current entertainers – loyal Slapstick supporters to a man and woman. The festival might have its roots in black-and-white silent movies, but over the years it’s grown to embrace classic sitcoms, modern stand-up and everything in between. What unites them all is a love of comedy – the sillier the better. With this in mind, we asked some of its star performers to tell us about some of their own pratfall moments, but before we get stuck in, here’s a genuine slapstick Slapstick memory from us. It was the night of the opening gala in 2014. Due to malfunctioning doors at Colston Hall, the audience was stuck outside for a full half an hour. We were told that this real-life farce was down to a ‘technical situation’, though we prefer to go along with host Omid Djalili’s take on the situation: “Turns out we were pulling instead of pushing.” Boom.


The multiple-award-winning Bristol-born actor, writer and director, known especially for his collaborations with Ricky Gervais, is such a big silent comedy film fan that he can often be spotted sitting with his dad in the audience at Slapstick events, but on 25 January he’ll be taking to the stage at the Redgrave, introducing some of his favourite Laurel and Hardy shorts and clips. Here’s Stephen’s pratfall confession. “I was once at a showbiz party in Hollywood where, unknowingly, I ate some chocolate with wackybacky in it then walked through an 8ft plate glass window that smashed to pieces. I was fine except for a small scratch on my hand.”


Like Bill and Graeme below, comedy actor, writer and panel-show star Tim’s still best known for being one third of the wildly popular and divinely silly The Goodies. Tim’s taking part in four events at Slapstick, including a look back at the groundbreaking At Last the 1948 Show. Here’s Tim’s pratfall confession. “I was sitting on our trandem, with Graeme and Bill, all dressed as mice (as you do), with the bike suspended by a wire from the ceiling of the BBC studio. “The wire snapped, and I was hanging from the brake with blood gouging from my wrist. The crew rescued me, and I was taken to a nurse – inexplicably French, with very little English. As she didn’t understand what I was saying, I tried with my bad French. “Je suis un Bonbon sur une bicyclette pour trois. Un grand chat…” to which she said, ‘piss off’. I can’t blame her.”


With a similar CV to fellow Goodie and comedy panellist Tim, Graeme will be taking part in three events at Slapstick, including a 50th anniversary celebration of The Goodies and a live re-enactment of the

“I tried with my bad French: ‘Je suis un Bonbon sur une bicyclette pour trois. Un grand Chat ...’ to which she said, ‘piss off’. I can’t blame her”

ground-breaking radio comedy series I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again. Here are Graeme’s pratfall confessions. “In 1984 I was appearing at the National Theatre in the Feydeau farce A Little Hotel on the Side. At one point I was being chased up and down the hotel stairs by every character I didn’t want to meet, plus half a dozen gendarmes. I leapt into a lady’s bedroom, and slammed the door behind me in the nick of time. “Over time, I noticed that the knob on the bedroom door was becoming looser every evening, so I had a word with the stage management. Before the next performance I tested the doorknob and found it reassuringly solid. That night I raced down the stairs, everyone in hot pursuit, grabbed the doorknob and pulled, only for the entire door to come off its hinges. All I could do was jam the door in the doorway and hope the pursuers would pretend they couldn’t get past it. I didn’t see what they actually did – by then I was hiding up the chimney.” And a bonus one… “It will no doubt shock viewers to learn that we often used dummies when The Goodies were being blown up or dropped from a great height. On one occasion we were filming in a suburban street with a fake bus stop. When we broke for lunch, the special effects chaps amused themselves by lining up our dummies at the bus stop. When we came back to the location we found an elderly couple were standing behind the dummies in the queue.”


The third, shortest and most musical of The Goodies, Bill composed all their songs – including surprise hit Funky Gibbon, which led to the surreal experience of watching the trio on Top of the Pops – Bill in his element, Tim and Graeme looking self-conscious. A noted twitcher, Bill has also presented numerous nature programmes for the BBC, having been part of the original Springwatch/Autumnwatch teams. Among his several events at Slapstick 2020, he’ll be sharing his favourite vintage cartoons at Watershed on 26 January. I BRISTOL LIFE I 25

Here’s Bill’s pratfall confession. “During the making of The Goodies episode Bunfight at the OK Coral, Graeme was to be shot by a bullet of tomato ketchup. He consulted our stuntman for advice, because falling on your back is quite dangerous. Graeme – whom we often referred to as Mr Wise – marched confidently onto the set with padding patches strapped just about all over his back, bum, and other vulnerable areas. We were somewhat derisive and taunted him for being so soppy. “The action began with Graeme and a cowboy marching towards one another as in a duel, both armed with tomato sauce dispensers. Graeme was duly shot, and we anticipated him doing one of his athletic falls. Almost in slow motion he threw himself backwards, knowing the padding would cushion the impact. However, at the peak of his leap backwards he spun round in mid air and landed on his unprotected front. It looked painful, but mainly just very funny. There was some sympathy, but mainly laughter.”


The Bristol-based actor is best known for his roles in Withnail & I and Luther, and as the eighth Doctor in a Doctor Who TV special (and numerous audio dramas). His three brothers, Joe, Mark and Stephen are also actors. A long-time fan of silent movies, Paul is hosting Slapstick 2020’s Silent Comedy Gala on 24 January. Paul’s pratfall confession: “In our house, we still giggle about the time my brothers and I were being interviewed on the telly by the late Russell Harty. He happened to say to Stephen: “Now, I’m told you’re the clumsy one – is that right?” Stephen shot round on his stool to indignantly eye us all, looking for the snitch, and the stool, with him on it, fell off the edge of the set.”


A long-time supporter of Slapstick, Lucy will be back at the festival on 23 in January at Watershed with a robust, funny and modern response to some very early British comedies lampooning suffragettes. Lucy’s pratfall confession: “Growing up in the early 1980s, one of my favourite TV shows was Some Mother’s Do ’Ave ’Em, not least because my dad was a real-life Frank Spencer. On one occasion dad went up to the attic to fix a leak in the water tank, and the next thing we knew his little legs were dangling out of a hole in my bedroom ceiling. We had to get a professional plumber, builder and plasterer in to fix his DIY. “For my nan’s 80th birthday my mum had spent days baking and decorating a lovely cake. Dad put the cake on the driver’s seat so it would be out of the way as we packed the car, then of course he forgot and sat on it. We had to put Nan’s candles in a not-quite-defrosted Sarah Lee gateau. My mum’s face was as hard and icy as the cake, but I thought it was hilarious.  “With his hundreds of trips, slips and physical mishaps my dad really kindled my love of slapstick comedy. Unfortunately I’ve inherited the clumsy gene, and my kids are now the ones laughing at me as I tread on Lego, fall off stepladders and constantly trip over the garden hedge.”

“ We had to put Nan’s candles in a not-quite-defrosted Sarah Lee gateau. My mum’s face was as hard and icy as the cake” 26 I BRISTOL LIFE I


Whether attempting to out-impersonate Steve Coogan in The Trip, or rocking a cardigan as Uncle Bryn in Gavin & Stacey, Rob’s fairly earned the ‘funniest Welshman in showbiz’ crown – and he’s hosting the 47 Years Without A Clue event at Bristol Old Vic on 26 January. Here’s Rob’s pratfall confession: “Some years ago when I was ten-pin bowling with my kids, I thought that I’d put some extra effort in and try to make the pins smack apart. “I ran with the ball and hurled it with all my might. My legs went from under me, my head went back, I was briefly hovering horizontally in the air before crashing down on my back. Everyone turned and looked. It was both shocking and painful. And embarrassing.”


Harry’s hosting a special Kidz Show at Bristol Old Vic on 26 January, sharing his top tips for young would-be jokesters in a live show & tell created especially for children for up to 16 and their families. We didn’t manage to prise a slapstick confession out of him, so here are some of his best jokes instead. • “What is it about people who repair shoes, that makes them so good at cutting keys?”

• “I was doing some decorating, so I got out my step-ladder. I don’t get on with my real ladder.” • “Man: Doctor, I can’t stop stealing things. Doctor: Take these tablets for two weeks. If that doesn’t work, get me a high-definition plasma telly.” • “My Dad used to say ‘always fight fire with fire’, which is probably why he got thrown out of the fire brigade.” • “I was bullied at school, called all kinds of different names. But one day I turned to my bullies and said ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me’, and it worked! From there on it was sticks and stones all the way.” • “A dolphin will jump out of the water for a piece of fish; imagine what he’d do for some chips.” You’re welcome. n Slapstick runs 23-26 January at various venues – see the full programme at I BRISTOL LIFE I 27

MISSIONARY POSITION It’s been called ‘The best musical of this century’, ‘the funniest musical of all time’ and ‘the kind of evening that restores your faith in musicals.’ It’s won nine Tonys and four Oliviers. It’s by the creators of South Park. And it’s all about Mormons… Words by Louis Wise

Blessing the rains down in Africa: Mormons invade the dark continent




ver since its Broadway première in 2011, The Book of Mormon has been an astonishing hit. Astonishing partly because of its box office success – 17 million people have seen the show worldwide – but also for its less than promising subject matter. The musical follows a pair of mismatched teenage Mormon missionaries as they attempt to spread the word in Africa, as real-life Mormon missionaries are wont to do: who’d think that would make for a great night out? It’s a funny old world, in which The Book of Mormon can mean two things: on one hand, the founding text of one of America’s most entrenched religions; on the other, a naughty, pottymouthed and big-hearted musical, sending up said text and other absurdities of faith. “We just really wanted to open up a Broadway show, and have it be successful; we reckoned we could do that,” explains co-creator Trey Parker, who’s based at the LA studio where he creates cult cartoon series South Park along with writing partner Matt Stone. “But we didn’t think it would be this one. We did have some confidence in it, but we really didn’t think it would be this.” In many ways, The Book of Mormon’s kinship to the South Park oeuvre is pretty clear. There are few musicals, after all, which make eye-popping jokes about cannibalism, rape, AIDS and FGM and the medicinal virtues of having sex with frogs. Yet it’s also a classic coming-of-age tale, even a (platonic) love story, which pays tribute to many of the musical greats – no surprise when you learn that Trey has been a musicals nut since childhood (he eventually converted Mat to the genre). Musical aficionados will spot tributes to The Music Man and The Sound of Music, to The King and I and The Lion King. However, this is no Disney tale. The Africa which Price and Cunningham visit as two perky 19 year olds from Salt Lake City is more like Armageddon with good

“This is no LionKing; the Africa which Price and Cunningham visit as two perky 19 year olds from Salt Lake City is more like Armageddon with good weather” I BRISTOL LIFE I 31

weather. Reaching an understanding with it – and with their faith, and with each other – is the crux of the show. “It’s really about two kids coming out of high school,going out into the world, and thinking they’ve kind of got it and they know it all,” says Parker. “And getting their asses handed to them. And I think anyone around the world can relate to that a little bit.” In fact, for most viewers, the most surprising thing about The Book of Mormon won’t be its humour, but its heart. The show thrives on a kind of bromance, as bustling, bright-eyed, all-achieving Price, and schlubby, eccentric, prone-to-lying Cunningham are lumped together and make the most of it. And you could say it’s born from a bromance too. In 2003 Trey and Matt went to see the musical Avenue Q – an irresistible mash-up of cutesy Sesame Streetstyle puppets with shocking, sweary confessions (sample song: The Internet is for Porn). The guys were surprised to see a thank you note to them in the programme, from a man they had never met: songwriter Robert Lopez, expressing gratitude to them for their South Park movie, for which Trey won an Oscar nomination for best song in 1999. The three met afterwards and had a casual chat about the projects they’d like to do next. What Lopez admitted floored them: “I’d love to do something on Joseph Smith and Mormons…?” Mormonism and Joseph Smith — the man who officially founded the movement in 1830 somewhere on the east side of America —

are not obvious musical material. The story of Smith, who claimed he was presented with two golden plates by angels, and who wrote down their contents as this all-important Book of Mormon, is a key piece of American history, albeit one that’s weird and niche. But this wasn’t remotely a deterrent to Trey and Matt who grew up in Colorado, just one state across from the Mormon heartland. “We were raised with Mormons,” says Trey. “We had Mormon friends; my first girlfriend was Mormon. I mean, it’s weirder that Bobby had a fascination. For us it was next door, but he grew up in New York City…” What followed was a long, protracted bouncing about of ideas, covering several years. “We dabbled with it a long time”, admits Trey. When he and Matt weren’t working on South Park, and Bobby wasn’t pursuing his own projects, they would meet up and write songs on the Mormon theme. “We almost did it like a band,” says Trey. “It was really, ‘let’s make an album’. Preparation also included attending the annual Hill Cumorah pageant in New York State, where the Mormons tell the story of their religion in their own defiantly showbiz style. “It was an 800-person musical!,” says Matt fondly. Even weirder, though, was observing the pageant being protested by other Christian sects, outraged at the Mormons’ take. “I remember there was a little kid there just saying to me, ‘You’re gonna burn in hell’, because he assumed I was a Mormon,”

“Mormons are nice people and they’re smart people. Though we didn’t think they’d go so far as to take out ads in our programme”



recounts Trey. “And I was watching him, like: you have no idea, kid. I’m going to super burn in hell. Like, really burn in hell. You’re worried about these guys?” The first six or seven songs – deeply melodic, wickedly funny, as all the show’s songs would be – arrived very quickly. And so the next question became, what is the story here? And how should it be told? For Trey and Matt, who’d only worked on screen, a film seemed the obvious home. But as the group began to workshop the songs with singers and performers, its identity as a live show became clearer. Stranger yet, it was not some quirky off-Broadway venture, but a big gleaming mainstream show, despite its bracing subversiveness. The rest is showbiz history. The show premièred on Broadway to rapturous acclaim. More oddly, there was barely any outrage of any sort. No picketing, no protests inside the theatre, no performances cancelled to allow for shocked sensibilities. Surprising to outsiders – but not to Trey and Matt. “Everyone beforehand was like, ‘are you worried?’” says Trey. The general assumption is that when you expose a global religion to ridicule, someone somewhere may kick off. “And we were like, no. Because we know Mormons. Mormons are nice people and they’re smart people. Though we didn’t think they’d go so far as to take out ads in our programme...” Indeed, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints respected the musical’s right to say what it wanted about them, and they even decided to piggyback on the show’s success, pointing punters to the actual, original Book of Mormon in the show’s official literature.

Trey and Matt can only admire the move. “They trumped us, really,” they say. The church’s reaction to the show highlights that The Book of Mormon, for all its foul-mouthed fun, is a much more complex beast; one which celebrates the joys of faith as much as it parodies it. The show is, as Trey and Matt point out, about so much more than religion. It’s about the delusions of a certain type of America, and the misconception of a certain type of Africa; it’s about friendship and growing up. Yet the question does remain what the team were doing by making this very particular show about this very particular religion. For Trey and Matt, it’s obvious: they chose Mormonism because they grew up close to it; because their tradition of sending their young ones out to foreign lands was fodder for a good oldfashioned culture clash; and because, yes, they could take it. “There is an element to comedy that is ‘laugh at these people’”, admits Matt. “The Book of Mormon uses that mockability of the Mormons – and then tries to tell you a larger story, and rope you in and open it up. Laughter breaks down your defences, you know? And then you’re open to a different story.” It’s a story which seems set to keep on spreading, like the faith that inspired it in the first place.

The Book of Mormon plays Bristol Hippodrome 15-22 January I BRISTOL LIFE I 33


FUNNY OLD LIFE, INNIT? Another Christmas over, and deeper in debt? Cheer up; you’re never too far from the next LOL in this city… Words and pictures by Colin Moody 34 I BRISTOL LIFE I



nd when they told me that comedy and tragedy were bedfellows, I leaned back and gave a sideways look at the fellow. You what? But it’s true. Woody Allen once said that tragedy plus time is comedy. And it swings in and out of both camps in all my favourite films and TV shows. So when it came to my Heroes for January – a time when we get our killer post-Christmas credit card bills – I wanted to share a selection at which we can all have a lean back sideways laugh. It might be funny. It might be tragic. It might be both.

1 2


In the moment, we photographers don’t always have time to talk to our subjects. On other occasions we get a quick shot and we have no memory of taking them. This is one of those. She seemed distracted for a moment before the Idles came on, and I wondered, what was she thinking at that moment? “I might have a pot noodle later”? Or maybe “What’s it all about, life I mean...” Who knows. Shoot now, ask questions later


Red leader speaks, “they came from... behind...” This guy just drummed for two hours outside the BBC to draw attention to the pollution caused by the movie industry. He walked home, far as I could tell. We already lost Alderan. Can we save the Earth?


“I can see Brexit from here” Students at the UWE have worked their butts off, and think they have caught just a glimpse of the elusive Brexit. It’s faint, just an impression, and you have to squint inside the mechanism, but they have seen it. Taken during the partial eclipse here in our very own Bristol a few years back.

“Students at UWE think they have caught just a glimpse of the elusive Brexit. It’s faint, just an impression, but they have seen it…” I BRISTOL LIFE I 35

4 5

Nope. Can’t remember what is going on in this one. Captions on a postcard, please.

Balloon Fiesta. And here is the local TV crew keeping it all flowing, no matter that the weather turned for some of the time. By my reckoning, that umbrella I lent them might not be cutting it.


The Dude abides This is 9am at a festival. Valley Fest. Dude was up with one empty bottle of rum and a lot of love for the festival. They put out the sofas all around, and when they face each other like this (I’m sat on one) it’s kind of the law that you have to chew the fat. It’s audible jamming. He’s coming down, you’re waking up, together it’s synergy.


This might be the most Bristol scene of the bunch today. Visit Bristol. Meet Brunel. He’s having his Rubbish Portrait done in a hand-drawn photo booth. Bloggers and influencers queue to get the shot. Thanks to these people who were all such good sports and had a laugh with the whole thing. Always wondered if anyone ever thought that tall top hat was funny in the 1840s.

4 5

“If it stays a few more years then maybe after it’s been used as a seat for a while someone might screw on a plaque. ‘Derek used to like to sit here and enjoyed the view of the A38…’” 36 I BRISTOL LIFE I



South Bristol. I kid you not, I am photographing a huge number of abandoned fridges this last year. It’s tragic that they get left out for so long, but funny when the council turn up to cut the grass. Now I can see that the grass cutter is probably not directly connected to the abandoned fridges department, but apparently, according to a passer-by, the door fell off a few weeks back and the council cutter machine just came and cruise-cut around it. Nice! The rewilding that’s taking place is good. Well done on that mini wild meadow. If it stays a few more years then maybe after it’s been used as a seat for a while, someone might screw on a plaque. “Derek used to like to sit here and enjoyed the view of the A38.”

Colin is available as a ‘mini-mobile PR/marketing/ social media unit’, to shoot striking street-style photographs at live events: parties, launches, promos and performances, for impactful immediate social media. Fees start at £100 for a two-hour package. Twitter: @moodycolin Instagram @moodycolin319

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It opened, it closed, it opened again, with a few tweaks to the menu – and we’re happy to report that this Stokes Croft beauty is as good as ever Words by Deri Robins

“If you’re after something that sums up the style, philosophy and cuisine of this city to a tee, go to Jamaica Street Stores”




ere’s a question; let’s call it your starter for one. If you manager, a sociable role that fits him like a glove; meanwhile, he’d were hosting weekend visitors from out of town – proper installed equally genial younger brother Phil (another River Cottage grad) foodies, hellbent on checking out the local restaurant in the kitchen, which still works with fresh, seasonal produce to create a scene and discovering why we all make such an mostly British menu. Together they make a winning, welcoming duo. almighty, showing-off fuss about it – where would you As we settled into our no-fuss canteen-style table and chairs on an early take them? December midweek night, the main change we spotted on the menu Good luck with that decision; the list is virtually was that the former focus on small plates had been widened to include endless. But here’s a handy hint: if you’re after something quintessentially more conventional three-course options; that said, there are still plenty Bristol – something that sums up the style, philosophy and cuisine of this of opportunities to share. Given that this review was scheduled for a postcity to a tee – take them to Jamaica Street Stores. Christmas issue, we briefly considered the wisdom of swerving the festive There’s so much to like about this place that it’s hard to know where menu, then thought, sod it, and chose it anyway, as we’d been seduced by to start, but the location seems as good a place as any. JSS makes its home a heady-sounding selection of starters that seemed to encompass half the in grungy, independent Stokes Croft – that à la carte, and we’re greedy like that. fascinating, contradictory ’hood, whose residents Chef Phil seems fond of Jerusalem DINING DETAILS get to enjoy a wide range of brilliant restaurants artichokes; there’s an artichoke Wellington to compensate for the fact that they haven’t had a Jamaica Street Stores, 37-39 Jamaica Street, BS2 8JP among the mains, and this veg also turned up 01179 249 294; wink of undisturbed sleep since 1989. on our table in the form of nutty, earthy crisps, The Stores lives in the former carriageworks served with whipped tahini for the dipping. Opening hours Midday-11pm Tuesdays to Saturday; there are plans to open first Sunday in the month –“and on Jamaica Street that has long been the home Subtly flavoured gin-cured salmon shared the return of our brunch menu is on the cards,” they say of Jamaica Street Studios. Still is; many of the plate room with more punchily flavoursome We visited Tuesday evening most renowned artists and makers in this city cured meats; there was salt-baked beetroot still beaver away in the top three floors, in a carpaccio served with beetroot molasses, local Prices Two-course menu £24.50, three-courses £28.50 heady miasma of oils and turps upstairs in a cheeses and chutneys, and our favourite starter Atmosphere Bristol on a plate; cool but relaxed and warren of little studios. of the night: a plate of fat croquettes, crunchy friendly JSS occupies the whole of the lofty ground and silky in all the right places; bosky with their Service Top-notch floor space; it’s a gorgeous, inviting room, mushroom filling and made even boskier by an framed by huge metal windows painted the accompanying truffle mayo. same fireman’s red as the pillars that seem to hold up the ceiling. The And so to the mains, and we’re talking turkey. I’ve had several doomed scheme is pulled together by a huge mono feature wall, a judicious attempts at roasting one at home: I’ve brined; I’ve tried cooking both amount of neon, a forest of trailing plants and a gallery of street art fast and hot, and long and slow – still it turns out drier than the Sahara at that will get you pulling out your Upfest spotters guide. There’s an open noon. I now refuse to cook the thing at Christmas, but I was curious to see kitchen, and a little shop by the entrance selling ceramics, jewellery, how a proper chef would fare with the damn bird. badges and art; we didn’t need to ask if these were by local makers. Turns out that Phil has no problem whatsoever serving up a blamelessly The restaurant was originally opened in 2017, by a group of pals that perfect version – in fact, the juiciest, tenderest specimen of turkey I’ve included the former head chef at River Cottage Café, Charlie James. The ever had. Not a dry slice in the house. A generous portion of breast came Stores hit the floor running, clocking up dozens of great reviews, both with a cheekily frittered confit and what looked like half of JSS’s total national and local, for its high quality, locally-sourced, seasonal menus, daily vegetable delivery, a huge pile of cauli, carrots, and I’ve forgotten friendly vibe and cool décor; its Sunday lunches went straight onto the what else, all crisp and delicious and crunchy, and just as they should be. hotly contested ‘best in Bristol’ list. All the puds sounded irresistible, but if it’s still on the menu in January And then, last summer, with no warning or announcement, it closed its then do yourself a favour and order up the toffee apple cake – it’s sticky doors. Bristol was baffled, it sulked, it panicked; but before it could work and gooey, and it will only take a few runs up the hill to Clifton and back up a proper strop the restaurant reopened a week later, eliciting sighs of again to burn off the calories, honest. relief so big the Met Office had briefly to issue a CO2 warning. In our book, Jamaica Street Stores is Bristol on a plate, from the All that had happened, it transpired, was a change in management. industrial vibe to the friendly relaxed service, to the seasonal, creative Former head chef Charlie had bought the business from his mates, cooking. Don’t wait for your London mates to descend before heading with no drama or bad feelings, and reinvented his role as front-of-house Croftwards to pay it a visit, yeah? n I BRISTOL LIFE I 39

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Some like it Hotwells In which Stan wakes up and smells the coffee and cake, but still succumbs to dinner envy


ne of the joys of friends moving to new houses, especially around Christmas time, is accompanying them as they explore new neighbourhoods. Recently I caught up with a mate who has moved down to Hotwells, to live in part of an old chapel. As he is a bit of a local history buff, he took great delight in showing off his latest discoveries. We strolled around for a while,

“It’s the sort of place where breakfast, brunch and dinner could all fade into one, delicious, silver-service session”

enjoying the hidden gardens, secret steps and architectural oddities that abound in that neck of the woods, before finding ourselves down by the waterside. After crossing the enormous lock gates, we ended up beneath the, even more enormous, modern swing bridge. The grey one that carries the road between the Portway and Ashton. Just as we arrived, lights began to flash, beepers began to sing carols overhead and the bridge began to do its thing. To swing. Not going to lie, when you are standing underneath a gigantic steel and concrete behemoth that is gliding through the air as smoothly as a sharp knife through Christmas cake, it is impressive. Things got even better when I noticed a nearby café sheltering under a flyover, just a couple hundred yards away. It was Lockside. So named because in days gone by, the watery expanse beside it was part of a longforgotten lock, according to my local history buff friend. By now, however, I had pretty much lost interest in anything that wasn’t coffee and cake related. So, we moved away from the ancient anchors he was discussing and went in. Which is when I got a surprise. Having driven past this café in the past, I always presumed it

was a bit of a greasy spoon style establishment. A place for builders tea and bacon butties. With no nonsense given or received. But those foolish thoughts could not have been further from the truth. Inside, there’s more of a smart restaurant vibe. Sort of place where breakfast, brunch and dinner could all fade into one, delicious, silver-service session. In fact, it’s the sort of place where I would very much like to try their breakfast, brunch or dinner. Sadly, though, there was no time for such indulgences. The madness of cake had taken over my rational mind. We were now on a mission. So before engaging brain and asking for a menu, we dived in, asking for a slice of the nearby walnut cake, with tiffin and coffee on the side. Lovely though these were, I did succumb to dinner envy looking round at some of the other customers with their assorted savoury delights. Another lesson in life, right there. So if you are ever down in that part of Bristol, looking for cake, lunch or a bitesize brunch, direct your feet to the Lockside. But don’t forget; fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Ask for a menu. n Former Housemartins guitarist Stan is now a journalist and travel writer I BRISTOL LIFE I 41



The second edition of the Bristol & Bath Cook Book is out, and many of the city’s chefs have given up their best recipes for your delectation. The book is one big celebration of the amazing food and drink right here on our doorstep – so in the immortal words of those Yeo Valley hip-hop farmers of yore, big up your chest, celebrate the West…

1766 Bar And Kitchen If you haven’t checked out the beautiful new kitchen bar at the recently refurbished Bristol Old Vic, you’re really not living your best Bristol life. The restaurant is a collab between the theatre and highly rated local catering company Fosters, and is headed up by Italian chef Coco Barone, who loves simple dishes that allow great-quality seasonal ingredients to shine. If you have a pasta maker (and they don’t cost a lot) have a go at making this classic dish from the Emilia-Romagna region.

GARGANELLI PASTA Ingredients Pasta 330g semolina flour 5g fine salt  80g egg yolk  30ml water  Flour, for dusting 

on the dough as you roll. Press down to seal the ends of the roll together.

Pangrattato 1 clove of garlic, minced  Splash of olive oil  40g breadcrumbs  1 lemon, zested 

For the pangrattato 1 On a low heat, fry the minced garlic with olive oil until golden brown. Add the breadcrumbs and fry until they are lightly coloured and the oil has been absorbed. 

Sauce 30g white onion, finely chopped  100g extra-virgin olive oil  2 cloves of garlic, minced  200g tenderstem broccoli, blanched  50g white wine  200g sun-dried tomatoes, chopped  40g capers, roughly chopped  1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped  ½ bunch of parsley, picked and coarsely  chopped  40g parmesan, grated 

2 Take the pan off the heat and stir the lemon zest through, mixing well.

Method Make the pasta 1 Sift the semolina flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the egg yolk then slowly add the water while stirring. If you are using an electric mixer, be careful not to overwork the dough. Once it comes together, cover and leave to rest in the fridge for at least one hour.  2 Using a pasta machine, fold the chilled dough repeatedly until the sheets are smooth to the touch and approximately 1cm thick. Cut the pasta into 5cm squares. Make sure you let them dry for a few minutes at this stage, otherwise the pasta will flatten out after shaping.  3 Lightly flour the garganelli/gnocchi board and place one of the squares on it with a point facing you so it looks like a diamond. Roll the square around the dowel from the bottom to the top of the diamond, pressing down lightly


4 Place the garganelli in a tray and sprinkle with flour to avoid them sticking together. You can make these with an ordinary chopping board and round chopstick if needed. 

For the sauce 1 Bring a pan of salted water to the boil for the pasta. Meanwhile, fry the diced onion in the oil until lightly soft and translucent, and then add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes.

2 Add the blanched broccoli and cook for one minute over a medium heat. Pour in the white wine and let it evaporate over a high heat. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, capers and chilli.  3 Cook the pasta for at least three minutes in the boiling water, adding a small ladle of boiling water to the sauce as you do. Strain the pasta and toss it in the sauce until you reach a happy consistency (the sauce needs to coat the pasta). Stir through the chopped parsley.  To serve  Place the pasta carefully in a warmed deep bowl and scatter parmesan and pangrattato over the top. Buon appetito! 

RECIPE Root Rob Howell’s mostly plant-focused, small plates Cargo restaurant is part of the East Drink Bristol family, and is loved by everybody we know. This beetroot recipe has been a signature dish on the menu since day one; in summer Rob substitutes blueberries for blackberries.


Ingredients 18 beetroots 20g sea salt  1 punnet of blackberries  100g hazelnuts, roasted  120ml quality white vinegar  60ml water  80g sugar  Drizzle of rapeseed oil  Few nasturtium leaves, to garnish 

Method 1 To make the fermented beetroot, peel and grate seven of the beetroots. Place the grated beetroot in a bowl and add the sea salt. Massage the salt into the beetroot, squeezing to release juice from the vegetable. Make sure there is enough juice released to cover the grated beetroot.  2 Place the mixture in a container (a fourlitre ice-cream tub would be perfect) and cover with baking parchment. Sit another tub on top of the parchment, weighted down to press the beetroot, making sure the grated veg is submerged in the liquid. Leave in a cool, dry place for six days to finish the fermentation process.  3 Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place ten whole beetroots on a tray and roast them in the oven for two hours 30 minutes. Allow them to cool, then you should be able to peel off the skins easily using your hands. 4 Roughly chop the roasted beetroot and place in a bowl. Cut the blackberries and roasted hazelnuts into quarters and place into separate bowls.  5 For the pickling liquor, put the vinegar, water and sugar in a saucepan, bring to the boil and whisk before removing from the heat and cooling. 6 Peel and slice the last beetroot thinly on a mandoline and place the discs in the liquid to pickle.  To serve  Place the roasted beetroot and three large tablespoons of fermented beetroot in a mixing bowl. On each dish, plate a large spoonful of the beetroot mix, then scatter the hazelnuts, blackberries and pickled beetroot on top. Dress with some rapeseed oil, a drizzle of the beetroot pickling liquor and a few nasturtium leaves if you can get them. The Bristol & Bath Cook Book is published by Meze at £14.95 I BRISTOL LIFE I 43


IF THEY MAKE IT, YOU SHOULD COME If you haven’t stumbled across it yet, then hie ye pronto to the newly opened The Bristol Artisan on Lower Redland Road. It encapsulates everything we love in a shop: indie to its rafters, it’s an absolute trove of contemporary, handmade, sustainable design and crafts, all created by skilled makers. Tactile, pastel-coloured ceramics compete for your attention with distinctive jewellery, lighting, clothing, cards, gifts, prints and beauty products; we’re especially wowed by the little forest of handmade wooden trees that have no purpose in life other than to spark joy. The shop also holds inspiring workshops hosted by designers and makers; if you’d like to run some yourself, and share your skills and creativity with others, have a chat with the team. I BRISTOL LIFE I 45

HOURGLASS GHOST AMBIENT LIGHTING PALETTE, £75 Alluring collection of finishing powders, blushers and bronzers, in a luxurious silver palette. Class. From Harvey Nichols, Quakers Friars

SKIN DEEP The combination of harsh winter weather and the excesses of Christmas can be tough on the skin – so you may need a little extra help…

DECREE PROTECT ELIXIR SERUM, £125 The serum contains 15% L’Ascorbic Acid, so encourages cell turnover and makes your skin glow, along with hyaluronic acid to plump the skin From Harvey Nichols Quakers Friars

PEVONIA EYE RENEW, £59.70 Digital eye strain, lack of sleep, ageing and stress can lead to weary, dry eyes – which is where this conceal and de-ageing treatment comes in, with a creamy, lightweight formula that repairs the eye contour while refreshing, reviving and renewing From Cadbury House Spa, Congresbury

BOBBI BROWN EXTRA LIP TINT, £26 A handbag essential. Natural and nourishing, feels like a lip balm, but with the good looks of a subtle, not-too-glossy lip gloss. We’re loving the pearlised white casing, too From Bobbi Brown Cabot Circus

COWSHED BATH & SHOWER DUO, £30 Packaged prettily as a gift, but, you know… From Pod Company, 24 The Mall


ED’S CHOICE EYE EYE CAPTAIN UNDER EYE CONCEALER AND MOISTURISER, £20 From exciting new local cosmetics company Shakeup; the phyto-complex of butcher’s broom, calendula, horse chestnut, liquorice and buckwheat soothes skin and help boost microcirculation, improving the evenness of skin tone and reducing the appearance of dark circles and puffiness around the eye area. Oh, and we love its cooling metal rollerball, that simply glides onto the skin From Harvey Nichols Quakers Friars

FRANKINCENSE & ROSE FACE CREAM, £6.90 We love this Bristol skincare range for its calm, apothecary-style packaging, reasonable prices and the beautiful aroma of their pure essential oils From Amphora Aromatics 36 Cotham Hill

STILA ONE-STEP CORRECT PRIMER, £26 As well as being one of the most intriguinglooking skincare products on the market, this excellent cream primes, colour-corrects and brightens so well that you may find yourself ditching the foundation altogether From Harvey Nichols Quakers Friars

SISLEY BLACK ROSE CREAM MASK, £111 PHYTO HYDRA TEINT, £76 A luxurious pair from Sisley. The Black Rose Mask instantly refreshes, smoothes and energises the face, thanks to its amazing plumping formula; the Phyto Hydra Teint offers an all-in-one formula that combines the performance of daily skincare with glowing, ultra-natural make-up From Debenhams, 1-5 St. James Barton

MIRACLE OIL, £36 The original oil that led to Kate Roath founding her plant-based skincare business, here in Montpelier. As natural as it gets: the oil simply melts into the skin, forming a hydrating barrier against the elements. Each organic ingredient is handpicked in season, and consciously activated in a natural botanical blend From Wild Source Apothecary I BRISTOL LIFE I 47

MADE IN 2020 “Resolution number one: obviously will lose 20 pounds. Always put last night’s pants in the laundry basket. Equally important - will […] drink less and quit smoking…” Words by Meg Coast 48 I BRISTOL LIFE I



very year we find ourselves relating to Bridget Jones a little bit more. Despite our best intentions, we’re getting increasingly squidgy around the edges, that 10k we signed up for in February is now looking hopelessly unrealistic, and the house still looks like a scene from the aftermath of Jurassic Park, despite trying the KonMari method for a whole week. Every time, we say next year will be different: we’ll eat less (and better), go to that 6am spin class every weekday and keep a house that La Kondo would fawn over; but if you’re anything like us, that plan went out of the window at the end of January, and we’re now desperately looking for ways to make up for our bad behaviour in 2020. Luckily for us, Bristol makes ‘new decade, new me’ as easy as that pie we shouldn’t have eaten at the Christmas party. This year, you really can have your cake and eat it, with a generous helping of Bristol-based businesses on hand to make wellbeing feel like a walk in the park.

“Bristol makes ‘new decade, new me’ as easy as that pie we probably shouldn’t have eaten at the Christmas party”


Forget the fad diets – they’re called fads for a reason, and we’ve fallen off enough bandwagons to become professional stuntmen. The days of meat-heavy diets are mostly done, as people increasingly turn their attention to healthier, more sustainable menus, meaning that you can enjoy guilt-free gorging year-round. Recently crowned the vegan capital of the UK (in our summer issue), Bristol has some of the best veggie and vegan restaurants in the country, so you’ll never have to look far for your five-a-day. Toss the calorie counter and tuck in at the Bristol beauts overleaf: I BRISTOL LIFE I 49


Fancy a paddle?


Climbing the walls

Putting veggies at centre stage with meat playing a minor role, the team at Root use the best produce from the West Country to make perfect seasonal sharing plates that you can enjoy with a great view of the harbour from Gaol Ferry Steps. For more: 100% plant-based and gluten free fast food inspired by flavours from Asia and around the world. With an on-site hydroponic tower growing herbs and leafy greens, you can’t contest the localness of the fare. For more:

Eat Your Greens

Café by day and restaurant by night, this Totterdown venue offers brunch, supper and hearty vegan Sunday roasts that are so rated you’ll want to book in advance to avoid disappointment. For more:


After starting life on wheels in the back of a Land Rover, Pizzarova found its wings and is now a household name on the Bristol food scene with three venues across the city. Serving great food, fast is their motto; pizzas are made fresh to order from their handmade secret sourdough recipe – and there are plenty of vegan and gluten-free options. For more:


Gone are the days of doing burpees until you’re blue in the face; with new fitness trends surfacing all the time, the dreaded E- word is nothing to be afraid of, as exercise gets more effortless than ever.

“The dreaded e-word is nothing to be afraid of as exercise gets more effortless than ever ”


Get a rock-solid core as you glide past the ss Great Britain with a spot of stand-up paddle boarding. The quintessential Bristol exercise, this is a fabulous way of staying in shape and seeing the city from a different angle. Plus, if you fall off it’s not a long swim to the nearest pub. Sign us up: For a religious experience that’ll literally take you higher, head on over to St Werburgh’s Church; home to one of the UK’s original roped climbing gyms. Designed for climbers of all abilities, with experienced, helpful staff to offer advice, you’ll be in safe hands as you learn the ropes. Have some faith, and give it a go. For more:

Surf’s Up

Work on that surfer bod while having waves of fun in the process at Bristol’s world-class surf lake that’s 100% powered by renewable energy. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or it’s your first time testing the waters, The Wave welcomes all. For more:

New HIIT in town

Meet the new fitness phenomenon on the block: F45. “The F stands for functional training, a mix of circuit and HIIT style workouts geared towards everyday movement. 45 is the total amount of time for sweatdripping, heart-pumping fun.” Dynamic duo Kate and Alex Steel have been making abs of steel since early last year when they brought F45 to Bristol; newcomers of any fitness level are welcome, and for those really wanting to shape-up their 2020, they offer an 8-week challenge that guarantees rock-hard results. For more:

above: Fancy a paddle on the harbourside? opposite page: Bump to baby pilates

Tom Ashfold Pilates

For those who aren’t into the holistic ‘mind, body, spirit’ yoga approach, the targeted physical system of Pilates might be right up your alley. The list of perks from regular practice are too long to list, but include improved muscle tone and core strength, improved posture and flexibility, reduced stress and tension and increased wellbeing. Curious? Join Tom on the mat for friendly and accessible group and private Pilates classes that will leave you feeling challenged to your core and stronger than ever. For more:

Wild Wolf Yoga

Offering a personalised approach to yoga and fitness in a beautiful space, Wild Wolf Yoga has the most comprehensive range of yoga classes and training courses we’ve ever seen outside of an actual ashram. Once you’re downward-dog-tired, head to the Wolf Den to unwind with massage, facials, acupuncture, physiotherapy and a range of other restorative services. For more:

Rise Physiotherapy and Pilates

2020 is the year to iron out injury and annihilate aches and pains. Whatever your complaint, RISE Physiotherapy and Pilates can help, providing expert assessment and bespoke rehabilitation out of their beautiful new studio in Bedminster. Catering for all levels, Rise specialises in Reformer and Equipment Pilates, delivering 1:1 tuition, small group classes and spinal health programmes throughout the week. Supported by experienced physiotherapists you can also enjoy deep relaxation and sports massage or acupuncture to help meet your goals. The team at RISE are passionate about exercise and sports and will never tell you to stop doing what you love; in fact, they’ll work to

actively enable it. Whether you’re 25 or 65, a weekend runner or a diehard rock climber, the Rise Physiotherapy approach will work for you. For more:

Now Yoga

Feeling disconnected from your chakras or looking to polish up your pranayama? Now Yoga offer all-inclusive classes for any level to nourish the body, build strength, and improve flexibility. Strike a [warrior] pose and get fit in the process. Namaste, New Year. For more:

Vicki Hill Personal Training

Working with women from pregnancy to the menopause, Bristol-based health and fitness trainer Vicki can help you on your fitness journey wherever you are. In addition to a wide range of classes and online programmes you can do at home, Vicky offers 1:1 personal training and body assessments for anyone who wants a personal touch in their exercise regime. For more:

Clifton Sports College

Clifton College Sports Centre has got a new look just in time for the New Year! After kitting the place out with the latest Technogym strength, cardio and resistance equipment, they’re in the mood to celebrate by offering no joining fees on monthly memberships this January. Members can rest assured that they’re getting the best bang for their buck with use of the fitness room and swimming pool as well as the squash, badminton and outdoor tennis courts. There are a range of flexible memberships available, including annual and monthly options, for individuals, couples and families to make fitness fit your lifestyle. n Call 0117 315 7678 or visit I BRISTOL LIFE I 51

TRANSFORM YOUR LIFESTYLE WITH THE F45 8 WEEK CHALLENGE Build lean muscle mass and drop body fat with our proven nutrition programme, delicious meal plans, worldclass team training and a supportive community to keep you motivated. The F45 Challenge is suitable for ALL fitness levels and abilities. Achieve amazing results like Emily in just 8 weeks - and learn life-changing habits to help you maintain them!

THE NEXT 8 WEEK CHALLENGE STARTS 3RD FEBRUARY. GET INVOLVED Email: or telephone: 07858138016. F45 Bristol Central, Unit 2A, Programme, All Saints’ Street, Bristol BS1 2LZ

GET SOCIAL x @f45_bristolcentral b@f45bristolcentral

West Coast Reiki


Yanley Court in Long Ashton Saturday 8th Feb, 10.30-12.30 or 2-4pm £25 Saturday 21st March, 10.30-12.30 or 2-4pm £25 Saturday 25th April, 10.30-12.30 or 2-4pm £25

A NEW COURSE FOR WOMEN 40+ JOIN US SATURDAY 30TH MAY At Tyntesfield Saw Mill from 10.30-12.30. Option to start at 9.30 if you would like a run with our friend Ultra Runner Rob. Then join us for Yoga & relaxation followed by a tasty treat & chat with Rob. £30 From 3-5pm we offer a separate session of Yin Yoga to classical music with healing relaxation. £20

For more information please visit :

Vicki Hill, women’s health and fitness personal trainer, has a brand new menopause course. This course will educate you on the different areas of menopause from peri to post. You might not even realise you are peri menopausal, early symptoms can be experienced from your early 40’s. Menopause symptoms are linked to your hormones. This course will explain what they are doing, why some of you have no energy, experience hot flushes and maybe even anxiety.

The new course will encompass education, fitness, relaxation, wellbeing and self care and cover the importance of: · Nutrition and the gut health · Breathing and pelvic floor health · Heart health Vicki will be working with Jules Hellens, women’s wellbeing life coach to create this unique informative course.

Please get in touch if you would like to know more. Email:


BRISTOL COLLEGE of MASSAGE and BODYWORK Professional Massage Training and Low Cost Massage Clinics • Remedial & Sports Massage Diploma Course MTI Level 5 Diploma - apply now for September 2020

• Indian Head Massage Certificate Course MTI Level 3 Certificate - contact BCMB for 2020 dates • Holistic Massage Diploma Course MTI Level 4 Diploma - apply now for February 2020 • Two day Holistic and Thai Massage Introductory Workshops • Exciting CPD programme for therapists from in-house, national and international tutors. Low cost massage available from our students and graduates - please call for availability and prices. Lower Ground Floor, 109 Pembroke Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 3EU - 0117 946 6371 - BCMB has been providing high quality training since 1987. We are accredited by the Massage Training Institute (MTI). Our courses exceed the training standards of the General Council for Massage Therapy.


Carry on campervanning Love the idea of camping, but not keen on tents? Stuart Shotton, founder of SUN KISSED CAMPERS has the perfect solution... You’ve moved premises recently. Where are you based now? Yes, we’ve been steadily growing our fleet of VW California Campervans for the past 5 years. We desperately needed larger premises, which we found on Burnett Business Park, Keynsham near the Bristol ring road, back in June. We received the keys just days before all seven campers were booked for Glastonbury Festival. It was quite challenging! Our new address is Gypsy Lane, which we think is just perfect for a campervan holiday company.

bookings. June carries a whopping 20 per cent discount on hires over six days, perfect for a road trip to Scotland or across the channel into Europe. Where do your customers go? Crikey, everywhere! We advise to hold off making a decision until you know where the good weather is. Point your nose towards the sun and drive.

How’s it working out? Our customers seem to appreciate it. We’re so much easier to find when traveling from Bristol.

Isn’t that a bit risky? Generally speaking, no, unless it’s a bank holiday weekend. Whenever we are heading somewhere new, we use an app called Campercontact to find campsites on the hoof.

Can customers leave their car with you? Yes, we have so much more room now, and not just for parking. There’s plenty of garage space to show you around your holiday campervan indoors. We’ve also got a comfortable reception, so at peak times, if you have to wait a while, there’s a sofa to relax on.

What’s the next must visit destination? Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2020 say’s its all about the Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors this year, so I imagine we will get more than a few vans heading north. Scotland was named the destination of 2019 and inspired an exodus to the Highlands.

Business must be very seasonal. Do you close during the winter? It is very seasonal. We rely on a good Easter to kickstart the year, but no, we don’t shut down. Our modern campers are well insulated and fitted with a heater you can activate from half a mile away. There are always a few outdoors enthusiasts who like to head out to Wales with their mountain bikes or hiking boots. We also get a lot of people interested to try before they buy.

Spill the beans, where’s your favourite campsite. I fear I’m going to regret this. It’s a tiny place called Sugar Park which clings to the top of a hill overlooking Start Bay, above the old fishing village, Beesands. Passed between family members for generations, it is currently in the hands of Catherine, who has finally given it a website. Facilities are basic, no hot water, no showers, but the two toilets are always spotlessly clean and have the most incredible view. It’s just all too tempting to leave the door open while sitting on the loo! ■

How much does it cost to hire a campervan? October and April, a weekend starts at £285, while May to September starts at £375. Our very popular automatic campers are an extra £10 per day. When is the best time to hire? Most people think July and August. But, if you’re looking for best value, then it has to be Easter. Still in low season and 10 per cent discount for weeklong

45 Burnett Business Park, Gypsy Lane, Saltford, Bristol, BS31 2ED 01225 330106 @sunkissedvwhire I BRISTOL LIFE I 55


In January, our fancy lightly turns to thoughts of our next holiday – but there’s no need to travel far to find the perfect destination

Falmouth. Passageways like this, leading down to the water’s edge, are known as ‘opes’. You’re welcome



e know. It’s c-c-c-old out there. The festive greenery has wilted, along with your energy levels and what remains of your commitment to the pre-Christmas diet. We know what’ll cheer you up! How about booking your next weekend break? The glorious, spirit-restoring coastline of the South West is just a few hours drive away, after all…


On the north Cornish shore, Watergate Bay, with its big-beach, crazywaves and high-winds majesty, has become so popular with the Boden set that it’s practically Chelsea-on-Sea. It’s chic, yet family-friendly and absolutely loves dogs, which – unusually for such a prime beach – are allowed all year round. Surfboards, paddleboards, wakeboards, kitesurfs, kayaks… whatever floats your boat. Walking boots, wetsuits, golf clubs, mountain bikes – let’s go! The Watergate Bay Hotel even has its own surf school – the Extreme Academy – where boarding beginners can be coached on how to aquaplane the waves like a pro. It really is Activity Central all the way – except, of course, when it isn’t. Because after dark, before dawn, all day long if you wish, Watergate Bay is also the perfect spot for doing very little. After all, you can just as easily work up an appetite wrapped in a blanket sipping a mug of something, reading your book, and breaking away from the page to watch surfers bob up and down in the wake of the sea. Although at time of going to press Jamie Oliver’s renowned Fifteen Cornwall had just closed, there are plenty more options when hunger and thirst strike. Enjoy Mexican, Asian and Italian-inspired dishes at The Beach Hut, right on the strand, many of which make the most

of the local Cornish catch. We’d also recommend the hotel’s new continental-style bar, Watchful Mary; it’s second to none for drinking in unparallelled views of the setting sun with a mojito in your hand. For more:


A busy mind, a frantic life? You need a dose of Falmouth. It’s the kind of place that can dissolve the madness of everyday life in an instant. One word: boats. You can pass endless happy hours watching the moored vessels rippling from the wind while inhaling the fresh, salty Cornish air brings a childish inner peace; and if that inspires you to discover more about all things nautical (or if it’s too icy cold to sit about on the piers), the national Maritime Museum offers an absolutely fascinating way to while away the time while absorbing all kinds of nuggets to impress your friends and colleagues/stretch the patience of your family. The Star and Garter makes the ideal base. Resembling a Treasure Island-level smuggler’s inn from the outside, inside are a handful of modern apartments that overlook Falmouth River, with spectacular views both night and day, awash with sailboats, speedboats, ribs and dinghies. Date-night dinner in the cosy award-winning downstairs restaurant – all dark woods and smooth leathers, ropes and candles – this should be on every seaside-lover’s bucket-and-spade list. For more:


For real, unspoiled, rugged, proper Winston Graham-level Cornwall, head south to Mullion Cove. The cliffside hotel has just had a major overhaul that includes a new spa, there are a cluster of self-catering apartments right down on the cove, and the new Harbour View Apartments – stylishly decorated, coastal chic style – opened last

“You can just as easily work up an appetite wrapped in a blanket watching surfers bob up and down in the sea”

Watergate Bay; bring the dogs and kids, pack the surfboard; but don’t expect to find Fifteen open I BRISTOL LIFE I 57

TRAVEL summer. With spectacular views, they’re designed for parties of two to six (plus a dog or two); some have decked terraces with a private hot tub. Be sure to bring your Poldark locations spotters guide, yeah? For more:


Is it just us, or did everyone assume that ‘Lusty Glaze’ had some kind of amorous piratical tale behind it? Sorry to break it to you, but it actually comes from the Cornish phrase meaning ‘a place to view boats’. Well, what it lacks in funny, it makes up for in descriptive, we guess. In the heart of a secluded cove and exactly 133 steps below clifftoplevel you’ll find a cluster of chalets to stay in, along with one of Newquay’s best beach restaurants. There are two ways to get to them (brace yourself, city slickers): stumble down all 133 steps, clutching at the salt-worn ropes, or travel by boat. Either way, your hard-earned, windswept trek will be richly rewarded. Newquay itself is resolutely up-and-coming, partly due to Newquay Beach being named the best in Britain last year by The Times. Nearby, Lewinnick Lodge is the ideal place to stay for sea-view fanatics; it doesn’t look that much from the outside, but the rooms are gorgeous, with waves crashing on the rocks below to lull you to sleep; absolutely no need for the Calm app here. You can enjoy your morning coffee and eggs royale while checking out the black-clad boarders polka-dotting the waves in the distance. For more:;


The St Moritz Hotel in Trebetherick overlooks the Camel Estuary, which flows into Padstow Bay on Cornwall’s north coast. Actually, lose the word ‘hotel’; in the best possible sense, St Moritz is a mini-resort, and pretty much a destination itself. Dominating the headland, between the towns of Rock and Polzeath, it emanates a neo-Modernist cool. There’s a predictable, but nonetheless pleasing, profligacy of nautical stuff: lots of ocean liner glass and brass whatnots, portholes and gunwales, decks and terraces from where you

can sweep your binoculars across the horizon and gaze out across the estuary to the Atlantic Ocean. The room’s internal views are no less impressive, with oak floors, pale hardwood fittings (we’re going to guess ‘birch’) and soft furnishings in shades of sand, aqua, black and pale blue. It’s ideal for larger groups, as you can rent apartment suites of three rooms – hey presto, instant house party! – and if any guests who get a view of the car park rather than the sea feel hard done by, they’ll stop grumbling when they learn that they get their own poolside beach hut. If the unthinkable happens, and the sun proves too recalcitrant for you to make use of the outdoor pool with its sun-loungers and hammocks, you can always gravitate to the Cowshed Spa; somehow they’ve resisted the temptation to rebrand it the Camelshed. In the same building you’ll find the excellent St Moritz restaurant, offering locally-sourced fish served with imaginative twists; there’s an arty-looking bar right next to it, perfect for cocktails and getting up to no good. It attracts a well-heeled bunch of couples and families; you’ve never seen so much Jack Wills in one room in your life. Staff are uniformly pleasant and helpful; in fact we’d go so far as to say that we’ve never encountered a more can-do team. Salary bonuses all round, please, overlords. For more:


The Bayard Cove Inn in Dartmouth is old. It stands, as it always stood, in double-jetted timber-frame construction, its upper floors wider than the lower, seemingly tumbling out over your head as you walk through the narrow street below. It’s all wood and warmth, and the dim lighting provides a welcoming and comfortable break from the fluoro strip-light glare of modern life. Bayard’s has seven bedrooms beaming with old-English character, tartan-patterned soft furnishings, and window lattice features. As is often the way in Cornwall, there’s a coastal theme to the interior design – a gentle reminder that you’re just metres from the harbourside. On which point, after a full day of exploring Dartmouth, there’s nothing Newquay – up and coming; not that this timeless, rugged coastline is bothered either way


better than heading back to the Bayard Cove Inn restaurant, which serves up local fish catches; the after-dinner West Country cheese board goes down a treat after a fresh fish dish. What’s that? Can you bring the dog? For sure; good boys welcome in every nook and cranny. For more:


Pack your weekend bag and punch P-E-N-Z-A-N-C-E into your sat nav. You won’t regret it. Tucked away in this quintessential Cornish town, opposite a famous pirate’s pub and just a five-minute walk from the seafront, you’ll find this quirky, chic boutique hotel within a narrow Georgian town house. Relaxed, rustic furniture is set off by soft, chalky wall paint and fresh botanical details; there are Roberts radios along with a judicious amount of nautical touches in the bedrooms. Their Full English will leave you fuelled for the day ahead, but if you fancy a lie-in, you can also order Danish pastries straight to your room. Just a drive away are all the south Cornwall big-hitters, from picture-perfect Porthcurno Beach to the Minack Theatre to actual Lands’ End, which surely everyone needs to see once in their lifetime (though don’t hope for too much; we’d skip the actual ‘attraction’ if we were you, and just do the gazing out across the Atlantic thing from a handy bench). For more:

If you like your slice of Devon heaven served with a hefty number of chic shops and restaurants, all with a cheerfully tolerant attitude to dogs, Dartmouth is the town for you

“St Moritz attracts a wellheeled bunch; you’ve never seen so much Jack Wills in one room in your life”

TRAVEL MORE IDEAS WORLD CLASS BEACHES AND SPECTACULAR SCENERY An archipelago of 50 islands off the coast of Cornwall, the Scilly Isles make for a wonderful holiday destination. If you’re looking for a slower pace of life, top-notch gastronomy and gorgeous views, you’ll love Scilly. Spend your days strolling over rolling countryside, along pristine, Caribbean-grade sandy beaches and through quaint towns and villages. The Isles are also a nature-lover’s paradise, offering exceptional bird watching, while

a range of traditional activities – from gig races to folk and comedy festivals – make for a friendly, welcoming vibe. A holiday to Scilly is perfect for solo travellers, couples and families alike, and the experts at C The World can help create the perfect trip just for you.

GIN AND TIME TRAVEL The basement of a 17th-century Grade-I castle in South Wales is due to be converted into a craft spirit distillery, bonded warehouse, gin school and visitor experience as part of a £7 million scheme to bring the castle back into use. 400-year old Hensol Castle has

“If you’re looking for a slower pace of life, top-notch gastronomy and gorgeous views, you’ll love Scilly”

been used as a backdrop in BBC dramas including Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes and Torchwood. It sits in the grounds of the fourstar Vale Resort, and will become a flagship tourism destination. Visitors will be able to distil, bottle and take home their very own bespoke bottle of gin made to their own specific taste in the gin school. They will be able to look around the distillery operation, learn about the history of gin and Hensol Castle, discover the ingredients that go into the different gins and enjoy gin-tasting at the cocktail bar.

CLOSER TO HOME… Fancy a rural retreat without too

much driving? Just an hour or so from Bristol, on the outskirts of the pretty Wiltshire town of Bradford on Avon, is Woolley Grange Hotel. Woolley Grange welcomes families and dogs, and even offers two hours of free childcare per day and a complimentary baby listening service, so it’s a great choice for careworn carers. The little town itself feels like a world away from modern urban living, due to its ancient attractions (one of the best surviving Anglo Saxon churches in England and a huge mediaeval tithe barn), its river and canalside walks, bendy, cobbly lanes and great places to eat. Woolley Grange, Woolley Green, n

The Scilly Isles; they can’t guarantee tropical sunshine (there again, who can, these days?) but they can promise Caribbean-grade beaches I BRISTOL LIFE I 61



Mofetoluwa Akande

AD Tom Morris Director Lee Lyford and BSL Interpreter Adrian Bailey


Catherine Morgenstern, Gwyneth Herbert and John Hopkins

At one of the most highly anticiated events on the festive press calendar, Bristol Old Vic previewed its two Christmas shows, including A Christmas Carol, and AD Tom Morris shared his plans and ideas for 2020 over mince pies and (yes!) dips Photos by Owain Astles


Sarah Wright, Adrian Summers and Alison Tucker

Chris Mitchell, Sholto Thompson and Jean Murphy

Jo Cox and Kirsty Nott

Buyers, sellers and property professionals recently got together at Bakesmiths to hear the latest property market insights from Savills experts over a canape or two. Leading commentator and Savills head of residential research, Lucian Cook, discussed the national picture, while David Wild from Savills Bristol gave a local market view.

Chris Walkling, Dan Harris and John Morgan

John Nalder and Julia Nalder I BRISTOL LIFE I 65


Keith Rundle and Tom Swithinbank

Team shot

Adam Forsdike and Priteni Horning


Local travel experts Inside Asia celebrated their move to new premises at the end of November with a big launch party at Electricity House Photos by Christopher Cardwell

Aimee Cole, Natalie Ward and Victoria Walker

Simon King and Sharon Collier

Paula Ratcliffe and Vicky Lee

Maria Cook, Julian Potts and Suzan Uzel

Tom Vaughan, Craig Surgey and Isabel Sturgess

Jonathan Brecknell, Monika Cudera, Sino Chui, Zee Ruska, Maria Cook, Kunka Kriviralcheva, Radka Antonova, Mariya Trifonova-Burley, Lukasz Pieronkiewicz and Isabel Sturgess


Zee Ruska and Isabel Sturgess

Urban Creation’s 15th birthday was just one on a long list of celebrations: the company raised a glass to a groundbreaking new UK project taking off in Bristol and celebrated their successful first foray into boutique serviced apartments. The final cheers went to their community investment, ‘TAP for Bristol’, a new contactless donation system to raise money towards homelessness. Photos by Jon Craig (except team shot) I BRISTOL LIFE I 67

Email: Telephone: 07734 928 327


Providing specialist permanent recruiting services along the M4 corridor Aspiring to change the perception of the recruitment industry.



EMPLOYMENT EXPERT The right people for the job I BRISTOL LIFE I 69



PINNACLE RECRUITING SPECIALISTS LIMITED 07734 928 327; What makes you different from others in your profession? Here at Pinnacle, we go to exceptional lengths to hire the best people for our clients and find our talented candidates their dream jobs. Pinnacle is not just another recruitment consultancy; we are REC compliant and at the forefront of our business is the passion for bringing partnerships to life that are meaningful and long-lasting; tailoring our service to each and every client or candidate in order to cultivate success. What area do you specialize in? We provide permanent recruiting services along the M4 corridor, specialising in professional services across various industries. Roles: Office Admin/PA/Secretarial, Management and Executive, Sales and Marketing, Finance, Accounting and IT. Industries we serve: Estate agency, Legal, Finance & Accounting, IT & Engineering, Creative and Automotive. Why should a business use a recruitment agency? Recruiting the perfect candidate can be extremely time consuming and costly. It not only involves analysing hundreds of CVs and shortlisting, but other members of staff have to step away from their own work to complete the recruitment procedures. Outsourcing recruitment gives you peace of mind that everything is taken care of and it will cost you nothing until you have secured the perfect candidate.


CAPIO RECRUITMENT 0117 248 2800 tom.webster@ What makes you different from others in your profession? Our 19 years’ experience gives our clients and candidates the edge, helping them achieve their goals. Capio offers a fresh, personable experience – no wishy-washy sales tactics, just honest, professional advice. What key bit of advice would you give to a client? Invest in your recruitment campaigns, don’t cut corners. As well as sending your recruitment agency the job spec, take the time to run through the position with them, educating them on the details of your search, the team the candidate will be joining and what makes this opportunity a good one - invaluable for securing worthwhile interviews and strong candidates. What area do you specialize in? Insurance, Financial Services and the Legal industry. Specialising like this helps us live and breathe our clients’ businesses, acting as brand ambassadors, scouring the market for that ideal candidate who will add value. What recruitment challenges do employers face in the current economic climate? It is so important to stay on top of staff engagement to retain quality and to attract the right talent. Understand what motivates your staff and ensure they are on board with the company culture and vision, sharing in the goals and successes. Regular 1-2-1’s, with ongoing clear and honest communication are essential. You wouldn’t believe the amount of candidates we meet who haven’t even had the conversation with their managers about their concerns/appetite to leave. A good hire will be based on alignment of future goals.


MENZIES LAW 0117 325 0526;; What makes you different from others in your profession? We hold a unique position as the city’s leading specialist employment firm. As a boutique business we’re entrepreneurial and creative, advising businesses and individuals. The quality, knowledge and pragmatism of our lawyers is key to our success – and we’ve won awards for it, based on the feedback of our clients over our 10 years in business. We also love what we do and we believe it shows! What is the biggest HR/legal mistake you see employers making? It’s critical for employers to have good, up-to-date employment contracts and staff policies. This allows everyone to know where they stand and often prevents disputes. Prevention is always better than cure. Many employment law disputes are rooted in disagreements where something is unclear. Even if you are a small business, get some decent people documentation in place – it’s something we do a lot of and it’s not expensive. Also if you are uncertain about anything, seek advice quickly before an issue escalates. We often see cases where issues could have been headed off far earlier and less expensively with early advice. Managing a potential claim yourself can be both risky and time consuming. Our expertise is in taking that off your hands, allowing you to concentrate on running your business. If you are an employee thinking about your situation and your employment rights, the key is to get advice early on – knowing your options allows you to be strategic.




Why is employment law so important? It is essential to have effective employment laws in place. Businesses need to be able to operate efficiently and not be bogged down by complex legislation. At the same time, employees should have the right to fair and reasonable treatment at work. It is important that employment law continually evolves to ensure we get the balance right. What is your favourite part of the job? Getting a great result for a client. Whether it’s winning at an Employment Tribunal or negotiating a deal that exceeds expectations, it’s still the thing that gives me the most satisfaction after nearly 20 years of working in employment law.


JUICE RECRUITMENT 0117 920 9393; What is your favourite part of the job? This thing I love most about my role at Juice is the diversity – there is no such thing as a “typical day” in recruitment. You leave the office with the following day all mapped out and at the drop of a hat it’s all changed – I just love it!


What makes you different from others in your profession? We provide a personal service to all our clients, who are both employees and businesses. Trust is extremely important to us, and our clients know that they can rely on us for sound advice, a quick response, and that we are up front about our charges. Why should you use an employment law specialist? To avoid expensive mistakes! Getting the right advice early on can save businesses thousands of pounds in compensation claims, and avoid stressful and time-consuming tribunal proceedings. It is also good for staff morale to know that the business cares about them. Employees should take advice when they are experiencing difficulties at work, so they know what their rights are. What changes and challenges will Brexit bring to the employment market? We have already seen a lot of EU workers returning home over the past two years, which has caused a serious shortage for businesses. Given recent assurances by the government that EU workers will be allowed to remain working in the UK, the current shortage may continue for a short while, but the position will improve once it becomes clear that EU nationals will remain entitled to work in the UK.

Which employment sectors are growing? The demand for talent in the creative sector in the South West market is at an all-time high – the digital market in particular. We have seen a number of London-based companies migrate to the region, attracted by its recent infrastructure developments, top universities, access to some of the UK’s best talent, its expanding creative hub and of course the more relaxed lifestyle environment it offers. It’s an excellent time to be living and working in the South West. What sectors to you work in/recruit for? At Juice, we recruit across six key divisions: Office, Sales, Creative, Contact, Finance/Accountancy and Temporary and Contract recruitment. We have specialist, dedicated Consultants who manage each sector. They are market experts and remain at the forefront of industry change. Why should people contact you? At Juice, we pride ourselves that, as an independent agency, we can offer a bespoke service completely tailored to our clients’ needs. This flexibility can be adopted in every aspect of the recruitment process and can be amended accordingly to meet our clients’ requirements. At Juice, we will always go the extra mile! What interview questions can prospective employers not ask? I always recommend avoiding the standard interview questions. In my 10 years of recruitment, candidates have become savvy when answering the standard questions. We recommend using scenariobased interviews. By putting the candidates in real scenarios that test their skills in relation to the applied-for role, you gain a better understanding of the candidate in relevant work-related scenarios. Those interesting curveball questions and unusual lines of questioning often get candidates to open up which provides insight into their true personality and allows them to express different segments of their personality! I BRISTOL LIFE I 71

It’s the city’s business


YTL opens up on Brabazon plans

Visualisation of Brabazon Crescent


TL Developments, the Malaysia-owned investment firm that is developing the Filton Airfield site into a new, mixed-used neighbourhood called Brabazon, has talked more to Bristol Life about the vision and timelines for the project, as 2020 arrives. Sebastian Loyn, director of planning and development, said work on the first phase of housing is now slated to start in earnest in the new year, with the first residents expected to move in during 2021. Transport elements of the vast scheme – MetroBus stops plus a railway station connected to Temple Meads – should go live between July and September 2021. “When we acquired the site, backed in December 2015, there was outline planning consent only, and it took nearly a year to flesh out our vision as a full masterplan,” said Loyn. “It is now very exciting that we are headed into building out Brabazon. It is a big project that will take time to deliver, which makes it all the more important to get started.” Loyn said it was well documented now that the vision for the site is for a mixed-use, high density development with a strong sense of place and strong active-travel options, boasting real attention to detail and great design choices – everything from higher-than-average ceiling heights to landscaping throughout. “But remember, too, that it is such a big site that Brabazon will really feel like many neighbourhoods or parishes once it is finished, rather than one. Different parts will have different characters,” said Loyn. “From end to end the site stretches as far as the distance between Temple Meads station and Ashton Court, so there is a lot going on.” Loyd said transport was fundamental to the vision for Brabazon, with the brand-new railway station planned, and a dedicated bus route. “The other thing that is quite special about the area, as we build it out, is that there are already thousands of workers in this part of the city that would feel the advantage of calling Brabazon home. There is a huge aerospace community and other kinds of industry too, and a workforce of that size is primed to take advantage of the mixed uses we will develop, whether that’s bakeries or restaurants or gyms or public recreational space. With lots of services and a local

BRABAZON – THE NUMBERS 354 acres in total

workforce, Brabazon will quickly become a destination that draws people in.” As the community element begins to come into focus, YTL is also waiting on the word from council planners about its proposals to repurpose the Brabazon Hangars at Filton into a new entertainment complex. The application for the scheme went in to Bristol City and South Gloucestershire councils in November, with the submitted plan using the floorspace of all three hangars to create an arena, exhibition and leisure space under a single roof. The arena itself would be in the Central Hangar and have 17,080 capacity, while the East Hangar would house the Festival Hall event space for conventions, exhibitions and for working with the arena for the largest events. The West Hangar will become The Hub – a home to leisure facilities, food and drink outlets, and small or start-up businesses. Andrew Billingham, managing director of YTL Arena Complex, said when the application went in: “This is a 365-day entertainment destination inside the iconic Brabazon Hangars; it will create new jobs, bring new business to the region and enhance Bristol’s position as a leading European city.” Loyn said the work on the arena had also been informed by what YTL learned when they hosted two Massive Attack concerts at the hangars in March 2019. Although the events were not on the scale of what the finished arena will be able to host, transport was well-managed and smooth, and Loyn said the logistics work that went in was time well spent for YTL. For more

2,675 homes 62 acres of employment space A mixed use town centre Three new schools, doctors’ and dentists’ surgeries Recreational spaces, sport and leisure facilities Affordable housing to buy and rent A community centre, retirement and care provision and student housing A new railway station and a MetroBus route

Nigel Scott and Bristol Life’s Greg Ingham



Our Bristol Life Business Club interview in December saw Nigel Scott, business development director for Bristol Airport, talking about the airport’s work to stay ahead – both by serving customers better and by engaging properly with sustainability in aviation By Christian Annesley Photos by Sam Norman; 74 I BRISTOL LIFE I




ristol Airport has been a significant part of the city’s economic success in the past decade. What’s the story behind the airport’s rise in popularity and passenger numbers – and how does its future stack up in a world where aviation is under pressure to transform? Nigel Scott, the airport’s business development director since the role was created in 2017, told Bristol Life’s Greg Ingham in interview that two essential points about Bristol’s success relative to other regional airports lay in its focus on understanding the airport’s customers, and in the huge investments it has made across its site. “Now, that first point might sound odd at first to the uninitiated, but actually it is our job as an airport to understand our customers and what they want, and to engage with airlines about the potential of our airport to serve particular routes,” said Scott. “It isn’t all down to airlines to do their homework,

you see – we know a lot about what makes our airport tick, and the slots we might have available, and we have lots of historical data too. So we can drive the agenda very often and promote ideas to airlines for particular routes.” This work also feeds back to the customer experience, Scott added. If those coming to the airport have routes and times available that are good for them and their particular needs – whether they are flying for business or leisure purposes – that’s a central part of having a great experience. “Obviously you need a nice terminal experience, but the differentiator so often for customers is being able to take a flight that suits at the right time of day to the right place. With planning and analysis, we as an airport are working all the time to make sure that happens.“ INSIGHTS AND INVESTMENTS What does the airport know specifically about its customers? Scott says the airport’s rich data, including variables like how they

travel to the airport, how frequently they fly and how happy they are with the experience overall, is fundamental to meeting their needs. “We can be quite forensic about it, because we gather a lot of information. The challenge, as with so many businesses today, is to draw out meaningful, actionable insight and then make the right changes. That’s what we work at all the time.” This doesn’t just drive shortterm opportunism or talking with airlines about the plans a few years ahead, but also informs the airport’s long-range plans and investments so the site keeps working harder and increasing capacity. “We are up to 9 million passengers now at Bristol, which makes us the ninth-busiest airport in the UK. We might even soon overtake Glasgow and move into eighth spot, and the key to our growth – and our scale compared with other regional centres near to us, like Cardiff and Exeter – is the investment we have made. In the past ten years, more than

£250m has gone into developing the airport, including a terminal extension and many other new or improved facilities.” The growth means Bristol Airport is a big player among the UK regionals, with only Birmingham and Edinburgh definitively out in front. “Of course, growing the airport doesn’t just reflect well on us and how we run things, but on Bristol and how it is thriving. If the UK as a whole has been hovering close to recession at times in recent years, Bristol bucks that trend and is constantly doing better than other economic centres,” said Scott. “That success and activity obviously breeds confidence and is reflected in the appetite locally for flying. Bristol also benefits from being among the closest regional airports to the London airport network, with Heathrow particularly accessible. Where passengers have connections to make, we sometimes benefit, though equally we know that at times we can lose potential passengers to Heathrow.” IN COMPETITION If to outsiders it can feel like airports benefit from having a kind of monopoly, Scott actually insisted that competition is fierce. “There is a fight for passengers,

BRISTOL AIRPORT – FAST FACTS WHERE Lulsgate Bottom, seven miles south-west of the city AIRLINES INCLUDE easyJet, Ryanair, TUI Airways PASSENGERS 8.7m in 2018, up 5.6% RANKING Ninth busiest in the UK SELECTED EXPANSION PROJECTS Aircraft stands in 2012, new walkway in 2014,terminal extensions in 2015 and 2016, enlarged immigration hall in 2017, new multi-storey car park in 2018.

without a doubt. We think about the options that those would-be customers within 90 minutes of us have, and there are plenty. Exeter, Cardiff, Southampton, Heathrow, Birmingham and so on can be equally as accessible depending on an individual’s location. Plenty are willing to drive to other London airports, too, from the Bristol area if the timing and price is right. So there is a lot of competition and we take nothing for granted.” At the same time, on a per-head basis the UK is a good place to run an airport: a combination of spending power, our island status, the unpredictable British weather and the international mindset of many in the multicultural UK means there are more flights taken here relative to the population than anywhere else. Is a statistic, not surprisingly, in which Scott revels. “People do take a lot of trips by plane and Bristol is an outwardlooking place where no less than 90 languages are spoken. It’s to be expected that, relatively speaking, there is a lot of flying.” Of course, every airline flying to and from destinations from Bristol is also bringing in many passengers from those destinations – not just return flights but journeys by those

originating their trips elsewhere and coming to Bristol. “That’s obviously an area we work hard to understand, but it can be hard in our global village to put a label on individual passengers and the nature of their relationship with Bristol,” says Scott. “We think, though, that about 16% of our customers could be classified as inbound travellers. For example, we get many tourists coming from Spain to Bristol, which you’d expect as the airlines operating from Bristol collectively fly to so many Spanish destinations.” HOW TO PLAN If investment in infrastructure is essential to Bristol Airport, with the airport’s board making plans on projects that often will take decades to deliver a return on investment, Scott says the site itself is surprisingly restrictive given that it is surrounded by space. “Those greenfields sites all around are a limitation because the land itself is protected. There is greenbelt all around and we are close to the Mendips, of course. It means we have to make best use of the site rather than look to expand, and there is scope to do that as we’ve shown – but it gives us a lot to think about. We have now moved out of the old terminal building, for example, and there is an aircraft parking stand on that site. But we make our plans thinking about the next four decades, generally. There is always stuff to weigh up.” The airport’s ability to plan for the long term is partly reflected in its investors, which have lately been pension funds seeking a stable return. “We are in it for the long term and so are the investors,” says Scott. “It’s mutually beneficial and airports have collectively delivered growth and solid returns every year bar 2009, which was impacted by the global financial crash. LOOKING TO THE FUTURE When it comes to infrastructure and the airport, for some Bristolians the sixty-four thousand dollar question probably relates


to when or whether there will ever be a rail link, and Scott says he well understands the question, but the answer is complicated. “We serve a wide area and the travel connections for Bath, Bristol and around are challenging. Our customers come from every direction, so we always understand that we need multimodal solutions when it comes to travel. Recently a step in the right direction was taken by upgrading the bus link so now two-thirds of the journey from the city centre is on dedicated bus routes and therefore more reliable. Yes, it would be great to have a fast rail link or other mass-transit option at some point, but getting there will be a challenge.” Car parking is a big slice of the airport’s revenues today, so a cynic might say there isn’t the imperative to change the status quo, but Scott says any self-interest is outweighed by taking to long view on every decision. “One day there might be driverless cars, and no parking on site, which would be a huge change. But we will get to any of those changes in stages and there are lots of other uses we can put the site to if the need for car parking ever starts to wane.” The question of transport modes to the airport also neatly dovetails with the elephant in the room when it comes to air travel in 2020: is it sustainble and reasonable in the context of a growing climate crisis? Here Scott is frank about the challenge – and confident. “Aviation accounts for about 2 per cent of global CO2 emissions, and in some places, such as Scandinavia, flying is already becoming less socially acceptable. We don’t duck these issues at Bristol Airport. In fact, we want to lead the way it finding the best response,” says Scott. “Clearly Bristol is a green-

oriented city, as well, and as other sectors clean up their act there’s the prospect that aviation’s contribution to climate change will proportionally grow unless it improves too. At the moment, electric planes don’t exist and flights have a significant carbon footprint. “Our first target as an airport is to be carbon neutral by 2025, and to be carbon zero by 2050. There is a lot that any business at scale can do, like solar power generation, rainwater harvesting and more, even if the big thing that needs addressing is aircraft emissions.” Scott notes that the airlines themselves are also fully engaged, with the likes of easyJet, which is the biggest user of Bristol Airport, now fully carbon-offsetting every flight it sells, to the tune of £25m in investment a year. “The ultimate objective is to reach that point where every customer journey, from leaving home to arrival at a destination, is carbon neutral or carbon zero. We need that kind of joined up thinking around the issue. We know it is not going anywhere and we care just like everyone else.” For more The next Bristol Life Business Club is on 12 Feb; speaker Jerry Barnes of Bristol Private Equity Club Tickets


The Bristol Life Business Club is a unique lunchtime event with a high calibre speaker. Attendees come from all sectors of Bristol’s business life – from the coolest of the indies to the largest of the corporates. For information on the latest events, please go to: I BRISTOL LIFE I 77

Would you like to work in Media Sales? We are always looking to hear from talented individuals who would like to work for MediaClash, presenting advertising opportunities and marketing solutions across our portfolio of fantastic magazines and events. We are a growing business and anticipate there being various opportunities over the next few months. If you would like to join our continuing success story please email your CV to or give us a call anytime on 01225 475844 for a chat about the company, our magazines and available positions.

BRISTOLWORKS LOOK OUT FOR SOME OF OUR EVENTS IN 2020: Bristol Life Awards, 23 April: the city’s biggest business celebration on an uberglam occasion in Bristol’s largest marquee on Harbourside; also sponsors’ and finalists’ events Bristol Property Awards, 5 June: returning to market, Bristol’s leading professional services awards at Ashton Gate; also launch and then sponsors’ and finalists’ events Bristol Life Business Club, next on 12 February (eight times a year): lunch plus interview with leading business person (eg, Steve Lansdown) held at Avon Gorge Hotel Bristol Life receptions: 150 people, twice a year, held for supporters of Bristol Life Bristol Boules, July 3, Queen Square: sociable business raising money for local charities Crumbs: our foodie magazine runs receptions and the Crumbs Awards (at the Bristol Old Vic) If you would like to know more about any of these, or wish to discuss how MediaClash might organise an event for you, please contact claudia.butler@

This? Oh, just the last Bristol Life Awards...

Building bridges

Why social business events are on the rise


hat sound? It’s the hubbub. What begins as a susurration builds to a babble as a throng converses. Business starts with a conversation – and social business events are just the best way to trigger them and build new commercial relationships. Whether it’s an antidote to a digital deluge or a deeper sense of better trusting people you know, business events have become quite the thing. Bristol Life’s parent company MediaClash ran over 25 in Bristol in 2019, mainly for Bristol Life but also for the Bristol Property Awards, for our foodie magazine Crumbs, and for CanonBoules, the soon-to-be-Bristol Boules event. When many contribute, all benefit. And getting the critical mass

of people together, in one room, in one marquee, in one square, in one theatre can yield value for us all. Determinedly working the room, juggling canapés and business cards, the traditional approach, is fading. People’s time is precious – and besides, we’ve all been there, many times. Instead, curating unique occasions, bringing together


disparate, interesting people, having content rather than just a group of people in a rented space is just plain more enjoyable. And more valuable. We approach events in much the same spirit as our magazines. From the coolest of the indies to the largest of the corporates, everyone plays their part in shaping Bristol, and we seek to bring them together in the pages of Bristol Life and at our events. Everyone has a story. Everyone – well, most everyone – lives, eats, buys, works, employs, shops, watches, listens, joins in, experiences, teaches, develops, buys from, sells to, enjoys Bristol. And if we can extend that awareness, help build relationships, add enjoyment and celebrate this city, then, well, happy days…

CHANGING SPACES Still in love with your home, but know that if you have to spend just one more second gazing at that parrot feature wall – you know, the one that seemed so outré and witty in 2018? – you’ll go out of your tiny mind. We hear you! Don’t move – improve. We have ten top tips for refreshing your home in 2020




f a new home isn’t on the cards for 2020, there are numerous ways you can spruce it up to fall in love with it all over again; at the same time adding to its value, in case you do eventually decide to move on up the property ladder. Renovation projects can be as big or small as you can face taking on, as the team at Hubb Property Group explains. The company has extensive experience in revamping properties to transform them from shabby, sometimes virtually derelict buildings into beautiful contemporary living spaces; here, they’ve kindly shared their expertise.


GET TO KNOW THE PROPERTY If you have recently bought a property, we would always advise living in it for a few weeks or even months before you start making any significant changes. Really get to know the space, and any strange quirks, lovely details or snags it may have. Decide what to update, what to scrap and what to preserve.


MAXIMISE FLOOR SPACE The best way to realise your property’s potential is to maximise its floor space. The easiest way to do this is usually to knock through walls to create larger open-plan living spaces. Look for unused dead space and put it to use, even if only for storage. Examples might be an unnecessary corridor running through the house, which could be used to extend the rooms, space under stairs, unused foyers, unused attics or basements. Think about the design and layout of furniture and whether it currently makes best use of the space available.


THINK ABOUT HOW YOU USE THE HOME You need to understand how you and your family use and move around the living space in order to formulate a plan of improvement. Any changes must be practical and support the demands of contemporary living. For instance, do you want your kitchen living room set up so the person preparing food can also chat to everyone in the lounge area or watch TV?


PRESERVE ORIGINAL FEATURES AND DETAILS While many properties are in dire need of modernising, and stripping away the 1970s stained wallpapers and tearing up the lino floor is clearly a sensible move, don’t strip away all of the property’s original features. Depending on when it was built, the property may have some standout elements such as large bay windows, structural beams or pillars, exposed stone walls or a large stone fireplace – there are countless examples. While you can choose to rid the property of all its antiquated details, it can really add to the unique character of a home if you preserve and celebrate such unusual features.

“You need to understand how you and your family use and move around the living space in order to formulate a plan of improvement” I BRISTOL LIFE I 83


CONSIDER CURRENT TRENDS AND FASHIONS IF YOU WANT TO SELL If you are refitting your home with an eye to selling it a few months down the line, bear in mind current interiors trends. While you can of course put your own personal stamp on it to avoid it looking like a faceless show home, try to avoid interior décor that will elicit a Marmite reaction. The Scandinavian trend for simple sparse design, clean lines and natural materials is not going anywhere fast - soft timbers and a neutral palette creates a calming space. There is also a growing trend for more retro details such brushed brass fittings, and Art Deco elements with a modern twist.


THE BATHROOM TO BEDROOM RATIO If people have a choice between a bigger garden, more living space or a second bathroom, what should they go for? This very much depends on the size of the property but as a rule of thumb, we think if there are more than two bedrooms then an extra bathroom is sensible. Nobody wants to be queuing for a shower in the morning. A small wet room can be designed to take up very little space so does not need to eat into other living areas and could be placed under the stairs if that’s structurally possible.


DON’T FORGET ABOUT STORAGE It is absolutely vital that you include plenty of storage space in your interior plans if your home is to remain looking tidy and elegant for more than a few days. A simple fact of life is that once you have a permanent dwelling, you will acquire a large amount of ‘stuff’, and you will need somewhere to put it. Deliberate displays of clutter such as packed bookshelves and framed photos on mantlepieces look great, but most of our possessions are best kept stashed away in cupboards out of sight.


THINK ABOUT THE ENTRANCE The entrance to a home is so often overlooked, and yet it is the first thing people see on entering and so sets the tone for the rest of the property. Make your entrance hall a welcoming stylish space as well as a practical spot for people to leave their coats, bags and muddy shoes. An eye-catching painting, a display of family photos, a beautiful rug, an exotic plant and a few simple embellishments can transform this space.

“The Scandinavian trend for simple sparse design, clean lines and natural materials is not going anywhere fast” 84 I BRISTOL LIFE I



USE ARTWORK FOR A FINAL FLOURISH As we’ve said, it’s important to decorate your home in a way that will appeal to others if you’re thinking of a future sale. However, clearly this might restrict some of your bolder design choices. This is where art can be the perfect way to stamp your individual style and taste on it without making more permanent stylistic changes. A room of neutral tones can be brought to life by one large bold and colourful painting or print.


LEAVE PLENTY OF TIME This is absolutely vital. Building works of any kind virtually always take longer than predicted. At Hubb we pride ourselves in how quickly we project manage refurbishment projects but that has come with years of experience. Refitting your home is not something you want to hurry. Calculate how long you believe it should take based on your own capabilities and your suppliers’ advice, then add at least a quarter again, if not half. We always advise people carrying out full structural refits to leave 12 months if they are living there at the same time – and even longer if they have kids. So, get ready for the New Year in a new home. Good luck and happy revamping folks! n For more: I BRISTOL LIFE I 85

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“The company are very funny and cheeky, so I’m constantly on edge that they’ll set me off”

MARC ANTOLIN You may have seen Marc in Kneehigh’s The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk a while ago; this January he’s back at Bristol Old Vic, in another Emma Rice show called Romantics Anonymous. We reckon it may just offer the ideal antidote to the January blues…


arc caught the theatre bug at a tender age. “As a kid, I was always singing around the house and doing impressions of people,” he says. “My sister and I used to watch Grease on loop; I cracked my chin open jumping off a stool recreating Grease Lightning. “My parents surprised us with a trip to London to see it at the Dominion when I was eight; I didn’t sit down for the whole show. I remember thinking, those people on stage look like they’re having the best time…”

When did you decide that you wanted to become an actor?

I had a knee injury from playing football and rugby when I was 13, and had to give up, so a friend asked if I wanted to go along to a

drama group. I just loved it. People often say “oh, I could have done that.” and I used to think, “well, why didn’t you?” I’ve always had the mentality of just going for it and seeing what happens. Who were your early heroes?

Rowan Atkinson as Mr Bean. Also Gene Wilder, Robin Williams, The Marx Brothers and French and Saunders have all massively influenced me. We last saw you at BOV in Flying Lovers – another Emma Rice show. What makes working with Emma so special?

I saw her The Umbrellas of Cherbourg in London and I was just in awe. I’d never seen anything like it, and it wasn’t until eight years after watching it that I got to audition


for Flying Lovers. I was terrified but excited to finally meet Emma; since then I’ve worked with her on quite a few shows. We have the same silly sense of humour which is pure joy in a rehearsal room, as she lets me try ideas out, however outrageous; then she puts me back on the right path. Emma has theatre in her blood and understands an audience like no other.

funny and cheeky so I’m constantly on edge that they’ll set me off.

We read that Romantics Anonymous is a warm-hearted musical peopled with painfully awkward lovers, who also happen to be French – we can’t help thinking it sounds a bit like the recent revival of Amelie …

What’s the best thing you’ve seen in a theatre recently?

What do you do during breaks in rehearsal?

When I’m not drinking coffee, eating too many biscuits and scrolling through instagram, I’ll usually sit in rehearsals and watch everyone. It’s such a creative and open rehearsal room and Emma welcomes all of us to throw ideas in.

Kneehigh’s Ubu - A Singalong Satire is absolutely bonkers and incredible! I also adored Wise Children’s Malory Towers.

I guess you’ve picked out the similarities right there in the question. I think the characters and themes of both shows are things that everyone can relate to, but told in very different ways. The audience in Romantics Anonymous are very much part of the story itself and are invited to join us as the characters navigate through their lives and overcome their fears to find love.

Do you have any secret skills?

Do you identify with your character Jean-René?

Do you have a favourite restaurant/bar?

Almost too much. The characters are incredibly human and real and so in creating them, we’re able to put lots of our own self into them. However, Jean-René is stuck in his beliefs of keeping things traditional and by maintaining a simple life in which nothing can go wrong. In real life I’m much more adventurous than him; at least I’d like to think so. What’s the biggest challenge about taking on this role?

Probably trying not to laugh on stage. The entire company are very

I’m very good at tidying up. Just call me Marie Kondo.

What are your favourite things to do in Bristol?

I love walking around Southville and Stokes Croft to check out the cool graffiti, and Clifton for the views. A trip to Uncle Sam’s for vintage clothes, and something to eat in St Nicholas Market.

My fave coffee spots are Spicer and Cole, Tincan and the Crafty Egg. The Volley for a drink and Renato’s for pizza after a show. We’d better let you get on! What are you doing after answering these questions?

I’m going to finish my coffee, learn some lines and get to the gym to work off some of all the chocolate from the show. Romantics Anonymous plays Bristol Old Vic 18 January-1 February

Profile for MediaClash

Bristol Life - Issue 275  

Bristol Life - Issue 275