Bristol Life – Issue 314

Page 1

ISSUE 314 / SPRING 2022 / £3





















Heads up

The best shows, exhibitions and festivals coming your way this spring and summer

e were well excited when Propyard opened last year, forseeing endless potential for this cavernous former torpedo-testing factory in St Philips. It’s already brought us club nights and parties, but next month it really shows us what it can do when it hosts the Van Gogh Immersive Experience. This event is definitely up there with the must-sees of 2022, but it’s only one in a scintillating new season in the arts. In the unlikely scenario that you were re-evaluating your decision to live in Bristol, turn to page 50 for a handy reminder of the way this city is knocking it out of the cultural park at the moment. Please don’t show it to your London friends, though. They’ll only want to come and live here, and house prices are astronomical enough as it is. This issue isn’t just about going out, it’s also about staying in; which seamless link takes us to our spring interiors feature. If you’re looking for hard-and-fast decorating rules, you’re out of luck. In a new spirit of anything goes, no style has been left behind; rather than slavishly following trends, this year’s interiors are all about self-expression and individuality. We attempt to find out what this actually means on page12. Our third big feature – as you may have noticed, this is a hefty issue – makes an uplifting read. We marked International Woman’s Day by visiting Wapping Wharf and hanging out with some of its female business owners. You’ll find their take on life and work on page 98 onwards; rarely has so much good sense and positivity been squeezed into so few pages. Speaking of female powerhouses, we also talked to local food hero Kalpna Woolf about her new book, and author Judy Darley about her latest collection of stories. All in all, it’s one of those issues that, after sending it to press, you feel the need of a little lie down, while wondering how you’re going to top it in the next one. No idea, to be honest, but we’ll give it our best shot.

DERI ROBINS Bristol Life editor Follow us on


@BristolLifeMag I BRISTOL LIFE I 3


Issue 314 / Spring 2022 COVER Going Dutch: the Van Gogh Immersive Exhibition comes to Propyard



12 HIT REFRESH The first rule about SS22 interiors is

that there are no rules in SS22 interiors


42 WHAT’S ON Shows, gigs, art, at Bristol’s pleasure


50 ARTS PREVIEW Is this the most exciting cultural season

we’ve ever previewed? Certainly feels like it

64 BRISTOL HEROES Beat surrender 71 BOOKS YAF (that’s Young Adult Fiction, not some graf

artist’s tag)


76 REVIEW More ramen. We promise this will be the end

of it, at least for a while

80 FOOD & DRINK SPECIAL Kalpna’s new book – by

Bristolians, for everyone

89 CAFÉ SOCIETY The buzz on the streets


92 EDITOR’S CHOICE Children of Bristol, the time has @FAYGATE


come to pay your dues)


women in business changed? Is there still room for improvement? Take a guess . . .


107 BRISTOLWORKS It’s the city’s business


117 PROPERTY NEWS The race for space (and we’re not

talking star wars)

118 SHOWCASE The Old Orchard. It’s newer than it sounds




SPOTLIGHT Jason Donovan visits Jason Donervan

and the rest of the month’s news stories slink away, defeated 9 BRIZZOGRAM Brightness falls 72 CHRIS COX He’s got the power 138 BRISTOL LIVES Judy Darley

Editor Deri Robins Senior art editor Andrew Richmond Graphic design Megan Allison Cover design Trevor Gilham Contributors Colin Moody, Stan Cullimore, Chris Cox, Storysmith Books Commercial manager Neil Snow Business development manager Craig Wallberg craig.wallberg@ Business development manager Jake Horwood Production/distribution manager Sarah Kingston sarah.kingston@ Deputy production manager/production designer Kirstie Howe Chief executive Jane Ingham jane.ingham@mediaclash. Chief executive Greg Ingham Bristol Life MediaClash, Carriage Court, 22 Circus Mews, Bath, BA1 2PW 01225 475800 @The MediaClash © All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without written permission of MediaClash. We’re a West Country-based publisher, creative agency and event organiser Magazines Our portfolio of regional magazines celebrates the best of local living: Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter. 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 5


Local history



St Pauls Carnival won’t return in its full-on, big-parade, jerk chicken-cooking, d’n’b-vibing glory until next year – but there are plans to run a fortnight of community events this summer. “Carnival season ’22 will not go uncelebrated,” said executive director LaToyah McAllister-Jones. “We’ll have elements of our regular programme, such as the school’s performance and elders’ brunch; we are also looking to organise a Carnival takeover event at Lost Horizon, a family picnic in St Pauls and a community-focused event held at the Malcolm X centre.” This year is also the 60th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence, and some events will mark this milestone. Bristol Pride, on the other hand, is going for the full LGBT+ Monty, with organisers confirming the event will return in its original format, with the dog show, comedy night, circus night, theatre night, Queer Vision Film etc between 25 June-10 July. Pride Day will be held on the Downs on Saturday 9 July, with multiple stages featuring big names in live music along with new and emerging talent, the Pride big top, and youth, family and community zones. The Pride Parade March will also return, louder and prouder than ever to mark the 50th anniversary of the first Pride March in the UK.;

Stop press... stop press...

VAN AND THE MAN What a time to be alive! In a surprise appearance on Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway on 6 March, Jason Donovan finally paid a visit to Jason Donervan. “Oh mate, it’s awesome,” Jason told Andi Peters as he tucked into his doner kebab with garlic mayo and chilli. “So many tastes. There’s just so much going on.” Bristol, predictably, lost its tiny little mind. @jason_donervan


What’s the most romantic thing that’s ever happened to you on Clifton Suspension Bridge? No, us neither. But we guess there’s still time; and then we, too, can submit our story to The Union, a new joint project from the Clifton Bridge Trust and the Art Fund, that aims to create an archive of real-life love stories connected to Brunel’s bridge. You have until 14 February 2023 to submit your own story – it could be a first date, a declaration of love, a proposal, even a wedding shoot – to the online collection. While you’re there, you can read other people’s tales, and maybe pledge your support for the project in exchange for one-of-a-kind memorabilia and keepsakes. Get involved at

Feats of clay


When Awards season is here, Aardman is near. Yep; Bristol’s superstar clay-botherers are up for yet another Oscar, taking their total nominations up to 12. This time it’s for their first musical, Robin Robin, which screened over Christmas with a cast headed by Gillian Anderson and Richard E Grant. Aardman’s trophy cabinet already bristles with golden statuettes; Best Animated Short for Creature Comforts in 1989 (beating off stiff competition from their own A Grand Day Out), The Wrong Trousers in1993 and A Close Shave in 1995, while Wallace and Gromit: the Curse of the Were-Rabbit won Best Animated Feature in 2006. Oh, and that year it also won a BAFTA – not just for best short or animation, oh no, but for actual Best British Film. * The winners of the Academy Awards will be announced on 27 March; fingers and wings crossed. For more:



Rain definitely didn’t stop play during the Bristol Light Fest. If anything, it made your photos even more beautiful . . .












@andrepattenden I BRISTOL LIFE I 9

HIT REFRESH Fancy sprucing up your home? No need for drastic action; there are plenty of quick and easy tweaks out there, while the only real rule is that there are no rules. Let our local interiors experts explain further . . . Words by Deri Robins


ight here, right now, at the cusp of SS22, the first rule of interiors appears to be that there are no rules in interiors. Anything goes, and usually does. Thinking outside the box is thoroughly encouraged; interesting things happen when people try out new things. That said, there’s no shortage of inspiration if you need it. Buzzwords abound: cottagecore and Japandi, hygge and lagom, grandmillennial and modern fusion – designers are still all over these trends. Curves are hot, feature walls are not, and you’d have to have spent the last two years up on the ISS not to know that rattan’s having a moment. Looking to make a statement? Companies such as Timorous Beasties, Cole & Sons, Mind the Gap and Rebel Walls will sort you out with their pictorial, fantastical designs. If you want a kitchen


covered in stylised lemons, your bed facing onto a Nordic forest, or a hallway that appears to lead off into a crumbling Renaissance palazzo, all you need are a few rolls of wallpaper and glue. It’s an equally open playing field when it comes to the spectrum. Just take a look at the hugely contrasting Colours of the Year. Pantone has chosen Very Peri, a bold, dynamic blue hue with a violet red undertone. Dulux has opted for the soft and airy Bright Skies, Sherwin Williams the shy and retiring Evergreen Fog, while Glidden has plumped for Guacamole; great news for anyone who never got around to ripping out their 1970s bathroom. So, having established that there are no rights or wrongs, what relatively easy fixes can we put in place to give our homes a springtime refresh? As ever, we asked our local experts …


“If 2022 is a year for anything, it’s for trying something new”

We’re not sure how practical it would be to live in an empty room with just a flock of Brokin’s Night Birds for company, but we’d be keen to give it a shot I BRISTOL LIFE I 13



One of the easiest tweaks for any room is applying a fresh coat of paint. However, it’s not simply a question of choosing a new hue… “Things are looking a little brighter in general, and that’s reflected in the use of colour in the home,” says Ruth Mottershead, creative director at Little Greene. “As well as embracing more joyful and happy colours, people have moved away from stark white on skirting, doors, woodwork and ceilings, and are embracing top-to-toe ‘colour drenching’ – a cohesive modern approach that delivers high impact by painting everything the same colour as the walls. “If painting all elements in one shade feels a little overwhelming, select a group of tonally coordinating colours, and utilise them across the room. For a softer feel, try graduated tones, using varying strengths of the same pigment.” “I’m fascinated by colour psychology, and how it can influence our emotions and behaviour,” says Louise Mitchell of idesign. “The colour orange radiates warmth and happiness, just like this kitchen (top left) in which we combined vibrant tones of orange with a heavily textured woodgrain and printed glass splashback. It’s not for everyone, but I defy anyone not to feel happy in this room.” “The best way to add excitement to any interior is to paint small pieces and layer throughout,” says Annie Sloan. “Be intuitive and experimental – using an abundance of brightly coloured hues can create a real sense of joy. Paint vases, bowls, lamp bases, even lamp shades, in the colours and styles you’d never dared before. If 2022 is a year for anything, it’s for trying something new. “A fresh, bright, pastel blue is exactly the life-affirming, deepbreath, wide-open-horizon shade we need for 2022, referencing the painted ceilings of the Renaissance. Pair with earthy browns to anchor it, or use as a neutral in an otherwise bold and bright scheme to bring optimism, energy and excitement to a space.” Fancy being even more creative? In this room by Farrow & Ball (right), painted ceiling stripes have been brought down onto the walls a short way, creating an intimate, tent-like feel that softens the join between the wall and ceiling.

below: light and serene:

Sofology embraces pastels;

inset: soothing springtime

hues at Neptune


above: stripes create a tent-like effect at Farrow & Ball; inset: happy-making hues in this idesign kitchen


Looking for an even quicker fix for the home? Two words: scatter cushions. “There are lots of smaller designs in our spring collection which will bring uplifting, cheery colour to your home,” says Daniel Boden Wilson of Neptune. “Our cushion collaboration with textile designer Beki Bright comes in fresh shades of aqua blue and green-yellow, with the tiniest touch of pink.” “Sofas, chairs and beds can so easily be enlivened and made to feel new with a generous handful of cushions,” says Zoe Hewett of Stylemongers of Bristol. “If you stick to one main colour, it’s possible to mix different patterns and still retain a calm and tranquil effect.” Suzy McMahon, buying director at Sofology, advises that using pastel fabrics can help create a light and serene living space. “Upholstery suits pastels and sorbets particularly well, with the tactile textures adding to the calming and comforting feel. “If you’re not looking to embrace a full pastel décor, start with an accent chair, or a few key accessories such as soft furnishings and lighting – it’s an affordable way to explore the trend without committing. To complement, consider selecting a larger piece, such as a sofa, in a muted neutral shade such as grey, to create the base of the room, which can be warmed with key pastels. “Sorbet shades provide a little more vibrancy than pastels, without being overpowering. Fresh, optimistic and soothing, green is also having a moment in interior design. Combine with neutral furniture and simple accessories to create a modern minimalist look, or introduce metallics for an opulent feel.”


We’re craving warm, welcoming homes, with rooms that feel like a hug. “Cosy interior schemes work best when pieces are chosen to complement, rather than clash,” says Suzy McMahon of Sofology. “Think carefully about each piece, its style, colour and material, to ensure they create a cosseting and comforting feel when combined. “When it comes to fabrics, your chosen material should help set the tone and

atmosphere. Choosing tactile materials that feel amazing to curl up on is key. “Of course, you can achieve this with beautifully plush and sumptuous fabrics, such as velvet; however, soft, relaxed leathers can be just as appealing, and feel particularly inviting when complemented with textured cushions and throws. Mixing fabric textures is vital to achieving a truly cosy look, so consider layering velvets, weaves, knits and cottons across soft furnishings to tie a look together.”

“2022 is not about emulating a particular interior trend or style; it’s more about creating a home that’s meaningful to its occupants”

A masterclass by Sofology in combining patterns and textures I BRISTOL LIFE I 15


“The 2022 bold colour trend can transform space,” says Paul Goodchild of Goodchild Interiors, “but if you don’t want to lose that cool, Scandi vibe, just paint a single wall, window frame or alcove. Or, if you are feeling really brave, try a bold contemporary floral wallpaper from Lust Home.” “For a more dramatic small change, how about adding a full-panel acrylic splashback behind your sink, making a bold feature of it?” suggests Carine Butcher of Gardiner Haskins Interiors. “They come in many designs and textures suitable for both bathrooms and kitchens.”

left and inset: Paul Goodchild and

Zoe Hewett are both fans of Lust Home’s vibrant wallpapers


“Open shelving provides both a functional space and an opportunity to add character and individuality to a room,” says Hobson’s Choice design consultant Natasha Townsend. “It could be a display of your favourite plants, antiquities purchased on holiday, or home to your treasured cookbooks. “The floor-to-ceiling Rimadesio modular system is designed to fully integrate into a property, and can be finished in various materials, from warm wood veneers and decorative ceramics to tactile leather or luxurious fabrics. Shelving, floating desks, ambient lighting and even hidden pocket doors can be seamlessly combined to create a room that is the ultimate in modern design and personal taste.”

The Rimadesio modular system in stone and (above) walnut



above: Brass combined with black brings the glamour at Ripples;

right: The Bloomsbury Group’s bold, arty style is very hot right now (Annie Sloan); bottom: Joyful maximalism by Mind the Gap


When it comes to metallics, shiny hardware is regarded as outdated – everyone now seems to want a more subtle gleam. Carine at Gardiner Haskins reports a resurgence in brassware. “Replacing taps can transform your bathroom in an instant, providing a luxe, glamorous style. Brass bathroom accessories such as towel holders or soap dispensers can also add glamour.” “If you need to replace taps or a shower, think about opting for a different finish – perhaps vintage bronze or polished nickel rather than chrome,” says Colin Roby-Welford, creative director at Fired Earth. “A small change like this can have a surprising impact, giving a bathroom a very different look.”


Modern decorating is about creating happiness rather than slavishly following trends; and if your particular brand of happy happens to translate into exuberant prints and patterns, and a joyfully maximalist approach, you’ll love Mind the Gap. “Over the past few years, we have seen our ability to travel lessen, and the time we spend at home increase,” says founder Stefan Ormenisan. “With this new focus on our home environment, we’re seeing people seeking to really transform their homes, finding inspiration in travel, art and culture. “People are moving away from soulless beige interiors, and embracing pattern and colour, bringing layers of decoration into their homes like never before. 2022 is not about emulating a particular interior trend or style; it’s more about creating a cosy, welcoming, joyful home that’s meaningful to its occupants. “Our new Woodstock collection embodies this approach, with swirling forms and vivid colour combinations transporting you directly to the 1960s, when rules were there to be broken. The bold floral motifs and psychedelic patterns encapsulate the spirit of those three days of music and love, bringing the positivity and freedom of the Woodstock festival into the interior.” I BRISTOL LIFE I 17



Lighting – sometimes overlooked, or added as an afterthought – should be the cornerstone of every room, says every single interior designer, ever. “For a simple yet impactful refresh, think lighting,” says Jenny Simmons, interior designer at Furniture Village. “Be purposeful, and illuminate different ‘zones’: create a reading nook with a floor lamp, light up a dark corner, or give a sideboard a glow-up. Lights at differing levels are so much more atmospheric than overhead lighting.” “An investment in high-quality pieces of interior or exterior decorative lighting is rarely a bad decision, whether you are looking to illuminate a late-evening gathering in the garden or create a focal point over the dining table,” says Natasha of Hobson’s Choice. “Brokis, a lighting manufacturer using traditional hand-blown glass production methods, creates various pieces that look beautiful when switched on or off. The unusual Macaron table lamps, bulbous Balloons or the stylish Knot collection and decorative Night Birds pendants (see page 12) are perfect for creating a warm and inviting ambience.” “You can control colour in a neutral space with a remote-controlled, multi-coloured LED lamp or light strip” says Paul Goodchild. “LED neon-effect signage lights are a welcome 2022 trend, introducing warmth, colour and personality to any room in the house.” Carine Butcher suggests installing an illuminated or dimmable vanity mirror. “It will ensure perfect make-up application, while making your bathroom appear larger. Glow your bathroom ultra-bright, or create a gorgeous, calming ambience, tailored just as you like.” This idea is echoed by Marine Sinnouretty at Ripples: “If the light fixtures in your bathroom are dated or cast a harsh glow, why not replace them with a modern LED alternative? There are so many options available, from backlit mirrors through to hanging pendants.”

ABOVE: Sofology’s Lulu lamp and Rex table lamp



Brokis lamps make sculptural decorations in their own right

RIGHT: The Alchemy tile range from Fired

Earth, and (INSET): Pradena tiles BELOW: A bathroom in which to linger, by Ripples


“Porcelain tiles are waterproof, stylish and cost-effective, with a rich, textured, solid feeling,” says Marine Sinnouretty. “Because there are so many different types, you can create the exact floor you want, whether you go pared-back and minimal or bold and bright with a pattern. You can even find ceramic tiles that looks like wood or stone. They come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, from square and rectangular to octagonal and hexagonal, and with a tinted grout you can be even more creative.” Colin Roby-Welford of Ripples is also a fan. “Porcelain tiles, such as those in our Bert & May collection, are a robust and low-maintenance option for busy hallways. The colourful geometric patterns can be configured in countless ways to create a host of unique effects that will refresh your hallway and give it a really welcoming feel.” Looking for a cheaper fix? “There’s something so familiar and comforting about a painted wooden floor – a chequerboard pattern instantly transports you to the past,” says Farrow & Ball’s Joa Studholme.



“Wallpaper-hanging a whole room is quite a mammoth task, but using it in smaller proportions on unexpected surfaces is a great way to make small changes that have a big impact, without overdosing on pattern,” says Zoe Hewett. “Behind shelves in alcoves, door panels, inside glass cabinets or any other furniture ripe for an upcycle are all fantastic places to pop a splash of bold colour. The trick is to choose something with a good scale for your project, so you get to see a good chunk of the pattern repeat.” “Murals are proving to be very popular, and are an idea way of refreshing a room and adding some interest or a focal point,” says Alison Bracey of Bracey Interiors. “There are some incredible detailed panelled or mural wallpapers on the market. They’re not the cheapest of fixes, but a fun and striking wallpaper makes a definite statement, and is such a good way to add some interest and personality to a space.”


“Harmony, our new collection of wallpapers and range of eco paint, is influenced by ikebana – the Japanese art of floral arrangements,” says Justyana Medon of Addicted to Patterns. “During the pandemic, nature had such a huge healing effect on all of us. When bad things happen, we still look around, gaze through the window, go to the forest, field or park to unite with nature; this is why we chose various shades of green for this collection, along with flowers in bloom.”

Addicted to Patterns’ Harmony range was inspired by ikebana


Murals are becoming increasingly popular, and nobody does them better than Rebel Walls

There’s a growing sense, both literally and figuratively, of wishing to create an escape from the outside world, with trends focused on wellbeing, healthy homes and sustainability. We’re talking biophilia. “Adding plants to a bathroom can really help to elevate the aesthetic of the space, as well as purifying the air,” says Marine of Ripples. “You can accessorise houseplants beautifully by displaying them in pots on a vintage ladder, or in any storage niches you might have in your bathroom. You can even try hanging planters or terrariums to add interests. Succulents, ferns, peace lilies and fragrant indoor plants are great for your bathroom.” “Bristol’s fondness for houseplants doesn’t appear to be fading any time soon, nor the need for healing, natural-feeling interiors,” says Zoe Hewett. “Light-coloured walls and furnishings in soft offwhites, oatmeal and gentle greys are key to creating this mood, and provide a perfect backdrop to living plants. This neutral palette also works really well with wood-design elements and furniture of any finish, from smartly waxed and buffed to rustic.” I BRISTOL LIFE I 19



Living walls – short of outdoor space? If you can’t grow out, grow up Chintz – no need to worry; it’s just a busy floral design on a white background; nobody needs to get hurt here

“Upholstery suits pastels and sorbets particularly well, with tactile textures adding to the calming and comforting feel”

Curvy chairs and sofas – ditto very hot: arches. Terrazzo – innovative in the ’70s, not acceptable in the ’80s, back for 2022. If you don’t fancy ripping up the floor again in 2025, maybe restrict it to accessories? A soap dish, perhaps? Velvet – yep, it’s still huge, don’t panic Natural materials – not just humble woods, but also glammy marble Fringing – AKA passementerie – it’s still all over the shop, from lampshades to wallhangings. Ideal for that must-have séance chic Woven furniture – specifically, rattan and wicker: cheap, lightweight and sustainable Animal prints – still in! But handle with care. Nobody wants to live in a cross between Bristol Zoo and Kat Slater’s wardrobe.


We’ll take three scoops of this Neapolitan ice-cream dream of a room from Sofology, please . . .

Feature walls – though using different shades of the same colour is on-trend Fake pot plants – though dried flowers are in Pineapples, flamingos, cactuses and parrots – enough with the kitsch already Shiny metallics – brass, gold and copper are brushed, not shiny; chrome is yielding to pewter Boring flat surfaces – if it keeps still, it will be covered in reeding


limits of the space”– Joa Studholme

“You can refresh your home by simply changing the position of your furniture – a different view can make the space feel totally different. Try it – it works”– Paul Goodchild

“To complement a tranquil colour scheme, try adding a colourful throw, cushions or a central rug. This works particularly well in chillout/yoga/bedrooms” – Paul Goodchild

Industrial style – only kidding! We’re still loving it, as long as it comes softened with natural, tactile fabrics. But maybe unscrew those Edison lightbulbs now, hey?

“Painting the outside of a freestanding bath is a really quick and inexpensive way of refreshing a bathroom, as is painting a bath surround if you have a built-in bath” – Marine Sinnouretty

Granite worktops – admittedly, the fact that some designers have gone off it is unlikely to persuade you to rip out several grand’s worth of countertops; but if you’re starting from scratch, then quartz is the word on the streets.

“Using one colour on both walls and woodwork can make a room look bigger by disguising the

Tuscan farmhouse kitchens – about as on-trend as a Keep Calm and Carry On print. Instead, mix pattern and vintage to create a fresh, modern décor


“Although you can mix and match colours, opt for similar tones so one doesn’t overpower the other. Including a few neutrals and natural materials will help to keep the space contemporary” – Suzy McMahon “When it comes to accessories, keep it simple to ensure

the space feels contemporary; if pieces are too fussy or ornate it may date the space”– Suzy McMahon “New pieces of furniture can be the perfect addition to refresh a kitchen/dining space, adding a pop of colour, texture, or pattern” “A casual seating arrangement around an island can be achieved with barstools, creating a place to gather and chat while cooking dinner. “In a dining room, iconic furniture, such as the Elbow Chair designed by Hans J. Wegner in 1956, complements any contemporary style” – Natasha Townsend

BUYING CARPET & FLOORING IN BRISTOL MADE SIMPLE We have one of the largest selections of carpets, laminate, vinyl and karndean flooring in bristol and the south west region. Our flooring showroom is conveniently situated at longwell green bristol with free parking; so when buying your next carpet or flooring, why not come and experience our wide range, first class fitting service and great prices for yourself? You’ll be spoilt for choice with our wide range of carpets & flooring... FITTING AND DELIVERY SERVICE

Find us at: The Old Coachworks Bath Road, Longwell Green Bristol, BS30 6DL Telephone: 0117 947 7721 Visit us online:

Vintage furniture and lighting, from classic mid-century design to unusual one-off pieces. 07963142435 | | f CreamandChrome


Our Showroom 36: Woodborough Road, Winscombe, Somerset, BS25 1AG Contact us: | 01934 844144


INSIDE INFORMATION Your little black* book of Bristol suppliers and services for the home [*other colours are also available] BATHROOMS & KITCHENS

Collinson Tiles

Unit 3B, South Bristol Trade Park Fifteen Twelve

Unit 9, Bristol Vale Industrial Estate Fired Earth

65A Whiteladies Road Harvey Jones


170-172 Whiteladies Road Sustainable Kitchens

Unit D4, Avondale Works The Tile and Bathroom Warehouse

6 Eldon Way

Wren Kitchens

Cribbs Causeway Retail Park

18 Princess Victoria Street


Hobson’s Choice

London Road, Bath idesign Interiors

Build Bristol Group HAL Group

36 Woodborough Road, Winscombe

Heads Apart

John Charles Bespoke Kitchens

JAS Building

JMI Bathrooms

Urbane Eco

Kellaway Bathrooms

CARPETS & FLOORING 52 Bristol Hill

172-174 Kellaway Avenue Kutchenhaus

Henleaze House 15 Avon Valley Business Park Boniti

Dunsdown Lane, Chippenham

Unit 11, Clifton Down Shopping Centre

Conran Carpets

Nailsea Electrical

Eden Hardwood Flooring


Kustom Floors

102 Gloucester Road 88 Whiteladies Road

278-280 Gloucester Road 19 St Davids Crescent, St Anne’s 6 Downend Road


Oriental Rugs

1 Hallatrow Business Park, Hallatrow Tailored Flooring

80 Alma Road The Carpet Barn

Unit 1A, Bath Road

FURNITURE Arlo & Jacob

94C Whiteladies Road Designers Guild, at Bracey Interiors


51-53 Merchant Street Cox and Cox Cream and Chrome Farmhouse Table Company

Unit 15 Beacon Park, Dartington


Furniture Village

Fancy Plants

House of Mobel

Farrow & Ball


Gardiner Haskins

Lysander Road, Patchway 51 Gloucester Road Unit 9, Montpelier Central Trading Estate Loaf Furniture

Cribbs Causeway Mobel

14 Redcross Street Neptune

98 B, C, Whiteladies Road Nick Crossling Bespoke Furniture

Unit 6, Parnall Road Park Furnishers

Eastgate Retail Park Raft Furniture

15 Perry Road 16 Princess Victoria Street Brunel Rooms, Straight Street Ikea

Eastgate Shopping Centre Just Shutters

Bristol Red Dog Glass Design

Bristol Shutterfy

Copenhagen tiling from Fired Earth

Unit 9, The Old Quarry Weston Super Mare


Bracey Interiors

Waterloo Street

Nola Interiors

168 Gloucester Road

68 Whiteladies Road

Custom Created Interiors

Refine Property

SF Furniture

David Hutton

SJP Interior Design

Bristol Sofas and Stuff

80-82 Whiteladies Road Sofology

Highwood Lane, Patchway South West Upholstery

Unit 7 Novers Hill, Bedminster Summit Chairs Young & Norgate

Unit 10, Montpelier Central Trading Estate

HOME INTERIORS Addicted to Patterns

17 The Avenue, Clevedon Fawn Interiors

69 Princess Victoria Street Goodchild Interiors

34 Berkeley House Hannah Redden

Honeycomb Interiors K-Interiors

23 Highdale Road Main Interiors

384 Gloucester Road


36 The Mall Studio Cwtch

9 Bath Buildings, Montpelier Stylemongers of Bristol

PLUMBING & HEATING 360 Heating and Plumbing

Bristol Boiler Company

50 North Street Embers

117-119 St Georges Street Kindle Stoves

Glenavon Farm, Bath Road Star Plumbing

TME Interiors

15 Kenn Court



4B Avondale Works

177 South Liberty Lane

Parkway Lighting

Polar Bear Windows Bristol Lighting Company

343-347 Fishponds Road The Lighting Studio

Unit 2, Bedminster Retail Park

Bristol Windows

Jarretts Garden Centre Timber Windows

29 The Mall, Clifton

168 Gloucester Road, Bishopston, Bristol, BS7 8NT. 07909 308668 f NolaInteriors-bristol x @168nolainteriors


t: 0117 279 0980 | m: 07956 846307 e:


T: 0117 2 591 591 E:



Handmade in European Oak & Powder Coated Steel 01454 218535 • •


KÜTCHENHAUS CELEBRATES FIVE YEARS Originally opened in February 2017, the KÜTCHENHAUS shop in Bristol has just clocked up five years of trading. We sat down with owner/operator Rob Cash to discuss this landmark and discover what the future may bring…


he first five years of trading have gone well!” says Rob. “There’s been a lot of hard work, late nights and lessons learned, but it’s resulted in some really worthwhile projects and a firmly established customer base. A lot of our business now comes from referrals or recommendations, which we’re obviously grateful for; and it gives us reassurance that our customers are happy.” Has the business changed much since you originally set it up? I’d say so, yes. The team has grown from just myself and one other colleague to seven. We also opened the Bath showroom in September 2020 off the back of the successes we had in Bristol, so that’s kept us busy over the last 18 months or so. We’ve also expanded our offering beyond kitchens – we can now help our customers with their bathrooms, living spaces and bedrooms too. Plus we’re now able to help with much more of the installation process, including plumbing, plastering, flooring and some building work. This helps us keep projects on track and gives us more control over the quality of the overall finish. Any plans to celebrate this year? Absolutely. We’re about to have a revamp of


our Bristol store, which we’re all really looking forward to – it’ll allow us to showcase some of the newer trends and some different product lines. Once it’s done, we’ll be having a launch party to celebrate with some of our customers and suppliers.

When is the revamp due to take place? It’s due to start at the end of March, and it’ll likely take a few weeks. Hopefully we’ll be done by the end of April, but we’ll be open, as usual, throughout. When we have a firm date for the launch party, we’ll let everyone know via social media and our media partners. On that note, it’s also worth pointing out that we’re in the process of selling off some of our showroom stock, and there are some great deals to be had on some quality ex-display units and

appliances, on a first-come-first-served basis. Drop into the store for more details. What’s one of the best-selling pieces of kit that you’re currently offering? The BORA downdraft extractor hob. It’s proving to be a real hit with lots of our customers and we’re one of the only suppliers in the Bristol area. Essentially, it’s an extractor fan built into the hob which sucks any steam/cooking aromas into the filter – much easier to understand with an in-store demo, but it works really well. Are there more showrooms planned in the future? Maybe! We’ll see. When we opened in Bristol, we were one of six Kütchenhaus stores. We’re now up to 50 with plans to get to 100 sites. For our franchise, customer service is of paramount importance, so we want to make sure that if we do grow, we do it in the right way where we can still offer our high levels of service. n

Clifton Down Shopping Centre, BS8 2NN 0117 213 0680;

German engineering for your home.


BATHING BEAUTY Making your bathroom feel like a spa without spending a ton of money is easier than you think with KELLAWAY BATHROOMS TOP TREND #1 - GREEN


In 2022, we’re not only seeing a re-emergence of an eco-friendly mindset but a surge in green bathrooms. While Blue Skies, a soft blue, is Dulux’s choice for 2022 and Very Peri, a periwinkle-indigo blue, has been chosen by Pantone, it’s searches for sage and forest green that have boomed over the last year, up by some 23%. Green is a great choice for a bathroom, especially in warmer toned varieties. The colour looks great against brass and copper finishes and leans into creating a natural connection in a bathroom space. Introducing colour into a bathroom is easier than ever too, with many new fixtures and fittings being produced in colourful finishes. You may also want to add more greenery and plants or plant-like elements (such as succulents) for a touch of nature.

The new trend in showers is to have an open shower with no doors. This makes it more of a spa-like experience and is often referred to as a wet room or walk-in shower. Open showers are all about light, allowing you to catch a glimpse of your surroundings while you’re showering. The space is serene and inviting, sure to make getting ready in the morning a treat rather than a chore. When designing your bathroom for an open shower, focus on creating a strong focal point as well as adding functional space for storage and organization.

TREND #3 - MIXING MODERN AND PERIOD STYLES By combining different styles, you are not only creating a unique space but also making sure that your bathroom doesn’t feel like it belongs

TREND #4 - COLOURED SANITARYWARE Sanitaryware is a major part of your bathroom design. Using coloured sanitaryware can instantly turn a dull bathroom into something more exciting, and can make all the difference in creating that mood you’re looking for in your bathroom. For example, black sanitaryware is very chic and sophisticated while white sanitaryware creates a brighter and more spacious feel. If you want to go for a bolder colour, such as current favourite dusty pink, but are concerned about the longevity of the style, choose one bolder statement piece rather than the whole suite. A coloured basin with a white suite will add wowfactor without overwhelming the space, and if you get tired of it years down the line, it’s relatively easy and inexpensive to replace.


to just one decade. This style is a great option for all interior aficionados and traditionalists who want to experiment with new designs without completely changing their living spaces. Note: if you’re wondering how to blend two different styles and make them work, be sure to get some interior design tips from a professional.

TREND #5 - ARCHES & ROUNDED SHAPES The timeless feel of arches and rounded shapes create a welcoming effect in bathrooms. This style has been around for decades and it’s no wonder why: it’s calming and peaceful. But don’t confuse rounded with being frilly or fussy; modern designs use clean lines to keep everything from feeling cluttered or overwhelming.

TREND #6 - MATTE BLACK FIXTURES Matte black bathroom fixtures are a continuing trend. Matte surfaces have so many advantages over shiny ones; they reflect less light, they don’t require cleaning as often, and they make your bathroom look larger. Already, matte taps are all the rage, and we can only imagine that it won’t be long before cabinets follow suit. ■; 0117 942 6050 @Kellawaybathrooms on Facebook


A MASTERCLASS OF COLOUR KAY’S MASTERCLASS OF COLOUR is designed to give you the confidence to be a little colour-braver in your home


ome and join us for a colourful day full of interiors inspiration, where you’ll discover the colours you are most drawn to and how to turn them into a scheme for your home. Do you want to create a space to live, relax and entertain in? Somewhere that’s a little different to the norm? Maybe you’re nervous about making the right choices and bringing all your ideas together. Going around in circles, unsure where you should start? Then this is the masterclass for you!

What will you take away from the day? • How to find your inspiration to start your design • The principles of colour psychology and your own personal colour palette • A physical mood board created on the day, to take home with you • A greater understanding of how-to bring colour into your home • A goodie bag filled with lots of colour-loving treats • 1-to-1 time with Kay and her experienced eye

Do you need help with... • Finding your confidence and bringing colour into your home? • Discovering the perfect colour palette for your home? • Opening your eyes to all the colourful possibilities? • Freeing yourself from the ‘preconceived’ ideas and ‘rules’? • Breaking away from your ‘colour rut’ and being a little colour braver? • Stepping away from using the same colours throughout your home?

Feel free to bring your wildest and most extravagant thoughts and ideas for your moodboard. No questions, ideas or combinations are wrong as we encourage you to explore your colourful side.

This masterclass will help you find the colours that you are TRULY drawn too, helping you to step away from fashion trends and decorate to suit yourself.

There are just 15 places on this course to allow time for Kay to speak to everyone individually about their projects, so book your spot today. ■

Follow the link below to find out more about this special day, our Early Booking Gift for March and how to secure your ticket!

What’s included in the day? A hands-on creative day that will give you the confidence to go ahead and design your room the way you want to. Kay will be bringing lots of magazines, fabrics, wallpapers and paint samples filled with an abundance of knowledge and inspiration. Discover how to find that allimportant inspiration starting point for your project. And if you’ve already found your inspiration item, then bring it along. • All refreshments • A delicious lunch • A goodie bag full of colourful treats • All moodboard materials • Fizz to celebrate the day


What? Kay’s Masterclass of Colour When? 19th May 2022 Where? Clevedon Hall, North Somerset How much? All included for £395


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Call us today on: 01454 877520

BRISTOL’S LEADING INDEPENDENT BATHROOM AND TILE SPECIALIST Within our large showroom we showcase the industry’s leading brands and more importantly we have an experienced, warm and friendly team to help you choose your dream bathroom. With over 30 Five Star Google and Facebook reviews come see what the fuss is about!

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FOR THOSE WHO SEEK SOMETHING OUT OF THE ORDINARY We design, create and install inspirational kitchens and unique interiors, bespoke furniture and decorative artworks. Known for our creative playfulness, we work with natural, sustainable materials to create rich and evocative, yet highly functional, objects and spaces. • BESPOKE KITCHENS • UNIQUE FURNITURE • INTERIOR DESIGN & RENOVATION • ARTISTIC & ARCHITECTURAL FABRICATION


WHAT’S ON 18 March9 April 2022


disturbing, provoking, fascinating images;

of the same name; at Bristol Museum,

SAM FRANCIS: LET THE IDEA TRAVEL New film work In Here Dreaming, with text pieces and a handmade book, created during a residency at UWE’s Bower Ashton campus. At Arnolfini;

DONNA HUANCA: CUEVA DE COPAL Site-specific new interdisciplinary installation by Huanca, a rising star of the art world, focusing upon the human body, exploring our physical relationship to the world around us. Arnolfini,

24 March-14 April

Until 1 May

Until 8 May

CANDICE LIN: PIGS AND POISON Major new commission and solo exhibition at Spike Island by the LA artist, comprising virtual reality animation, flesh-like sculptures and a large-scale mediaeval trebuchet. While you’re there, check out Nosferasta by Brooklyn-based filmmakers Adam Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer – a Rastafarian vampire film, no less;

Until 29 May

PAULA REGO: SUBVERSIVE STORIES The world-famous BritishPortuguese figurative artist returns to Arnolfini with a gallery of

Until 5 June

WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR Still at M Shed, with this year’s set of extraordinary nature images.

Until 12 June

HOLDING THE BABY An exhibition of new photographic work by Polly Braden, creating a portrait of the strength and resilience of single-parent families facing austerity. At Arnolfini;

Until 4 September

GRAYSON’S ART CLUB Artworks chosen by Grayson and guest celebs during his TV series


MAGGIE ROYLE: LIVING ON A SEE-SAW “Abstract paintings often invite the viewer to form their own interpretations, and these works might recall something remembered or imagined, or something just out of reach,” says Maggie Royle. See her new exhibition at That Art Gallery;


Until 19 March

DISNEY’S THE LION KING Set against the majesty of the Serengeti, to the evocative beats of Africa, Simba seeks to fulfil his destiny as King of the Pridelands. Hippodrome;

Until 23 March

WONDER BOY A wonder of a new play by Ross Willis about comunication; as hilarious as it’s heartbreaking. Go see.

9-10 March

IMPROMPTU SHAKESPEARE Improvised Shakespeare: can it be done? Whipsmart will certainly give it their best shot, at The Wardrobe;

14-26 March

ELIZABETH I: VIRGIN ON THE RIDICULOUS 1558. England. A country divided by religion and politics, teetering on the brink of civil war. The hopes of the nation lie with one woman. 2020. England. A country divided by those who enjoy plays featuring men in dresses and those who don’t. The hopes of the nation lie with two West-Country actors... Howard and Stu of Living Spit are back at Bristol Old Vic, attempting to tell the story of England’s greatest monarch (no offence, QEII);

15-16 March

DADDY ISSUES A new dark comedy from Anna Krauze about daddy issues, sex work, fantasies, bad feminism and immigration. Alma Tavern,

22-23 March

ENG-ER-LAND In 1996, England made it to the semi-finals of the Euros, Gina G came third in Eurovision and 13-year-old Lizzie went to her first in-person football gamey. Now it’s 1997, and she’s wondering: who’s really on your team? An energetic new play written and performed by Hannah Kumari, at Wardrobe.

23 March

MOIST, MOIST, MOIST A sloshy spoken-word show about falling, in love and in the sea; partpoetry, part-stand-up and part-gig. Wardrobe.

23-25 March

A PLACE TO FALL TO PIECES Created and performed by folk/ spoken word duo Isobel and Anna Hughes; a love letter to the places we have been but never been from. Alma Tavern.

23-27 March

CLUB SUPREME Hybrid entertainers Ramshacklicious take a darkly comedic look at current preoccupations with reality TV, selfimprovement, online manipulation and consumerism, via physical theatre, clowning, puppetry, video, animation and surround sound, at Loco Klub;

24 March

DITA VON TEESE: GLAMONATRIX The undisputed queen of burlesque brings her weapons-grade glamour to Hippodrome; OPPOSITE PAGE:

When you’re Left Holding the Baby; CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Likely lads Liam and Fletch in Sorry, You’re Not a Winner; communication issues in Wonder Boy; focusing on the human body: Donna Huanca

24-26 March

CATCHING COMETS A disaster movie about falling in

love, or a rom-com about the end of the world – from Manchester’s Ransack Theatre, at Wardrobe,

25 March

HOW TO SAVE THE PLANET WHEN YOU’RE A YOUNG CARER AND BROKE This unambiguously titled show is the story of Lavisha: she has 99 problems, but climate change ain’t one. At Trinity;

27 March

DISCO INFERNO It’s quite the year for ’70s vibes; if you can’t wait until Nile Rogers and Chic in July, get your fix at Redgrave in an all-singing, alldancing celebration of everything D.I.S.C.O;

29 March

JENUFA In Janáčk’s tale of hope, love and despair, two women struggle for fulfilment against the backdrop of a claustrophobic rural community; WNO at Hippodrome;

29 March-2 April

SORRY, YOU’RE NOT A WINNER Liam and Fletch grew up together. Best mates since primary. But now their lives are taking very different paths...A new play from Samuel Bailey about aspiration, social mobility and getting caught between class. If ‘making it’ means leaving every-thing you know and everyone you love behind, what’s the point? BOV;

30 March-1 April

DON GIOVANNI, Opera’s ultimate seducer is back and he’s behaving very badly.., WNO at Hippodrome; I BRISTOL LIFE I 43

WHAT’S ON 1 April

JON RONSON: THINGS FELL APART Jon’ watched friends get caught up in the online culture wars to such a degree they’ve lost everything – their careers, their wellbeing. Now he’s trying to work out how things fell apart... at TFT.

1-2 April

SHUGA FIXX VS. THE ILLUMINATI One girlband versus the satanic inner circle: a new comedy from Guttersnipe and Poppy Pedder featuring tearaways, rhinestoned lizards and original pop hitz at Wardrobe.

2 April

MADAM BUTTERFLY WNO brings Puccini’s evergreen heartbreaker of love and wronged womankind to Hippodrome;

2 April-7 May

THE MEANING OF ZONG 1783. A new time. Unprecedented ideas, empires and wealth, and it is slavery that greases the gears. changed the world. Reading reports of a massacre aboard the slave ship Zong, where 132 enslaved Africans were thrown overboard, Olaudah Equiano joins forces with antislavery campaigner Granville Sharp to publicly condemn these actions... BOV;

MUSIC 19 March

PEACHIN’ A female collective offering a change of scenery in Bristol’s underground dance music scene. They represent fun, positivity, and forward thinking. They aim to create an intergenerational dancefloor. A multi-genre night blending 90s/noughties R’n’B, hip hop, dancehall, Afrobeats, UK garage etc etc; Trinity,

20 March

THE FRATELLIS The indie heroes hit O2 with a new load of upbeat, foot-stomping anthems from their latest album, Half Drunk under the Full Moon.

22 March

FINK Fin Greenall brings his Bristolian low-slung groove, with a little

beatbox and some Hammond organ soul licks, to Trinity.

24 March

LUCY DACUS Folk-rock singersongwriter, Lucy has released three acclaimed albums; here latest, Home Video, is inspired by her coming-of-age years in Richmond, Virginia. At Trinity,

26 March

BISHOP NEHRU The American rapper and producer famed for bringing a fresh sound to the hip hop table comes to Trinity, CAROLINE Rough Trade’s latest signing, this eight-piece are tricky to sum up, but think expansive and emotive pieces drawing on a mixture of choral singing, Midwestern emo and Appalachian folk, and you’re almost there. Or just head to the TFT and make your own mind up.

29 March

BC CAMPLIGHT One of indie music’s most forwardthinking artists, with a discography which acts as a soundtrack to a life rife with bad fortune, mental illness, running afoul of the law, and ultimately absolute redemption, comes to Trinity,

1 April

JAKE BUGG Jake’s back with fifth album, Saturday Night, Sunday Morning, reaffirming his status as one of the most prolific singer-songwriters of his time. O2;

2 April

CUT CAPERS The nine-piece Bristol festival favourites have won a cult following due to their infectious sound and energetic live performances, mixing funk, dance, hip hop, and heavy brass; Trinity,

COMEDY 20 March

ED BYRNE: IF IM HONEST Join Ed at Redgrave as he takes a



The Fratellis still want you to bring your sister over here; Caroline appear to be enjoying a night on the tiles



clockwise from top left: Tommy Tiernan, being outrageous and whimsical; Cut Capers, being energetic; Jake Bugg, looking snug

long hard look at himself and tries to decide if he has any traits at all that are worth passing on to his children,

24 March

DYLAN MORAN: WE GOT THIS Diagnose the mirror, reason with the mice and boil yoghurt blindfolded: the perennially pissedoff one continues to rail against the frustrations and folly of modern life; Redgrave,

27 March

SLAPSTICK FESTIVAL Andy Day introduces a special screening of Paddington; Time Vine celebrates Kenny Everett In the Best Possible Taste! , Lee Mack gives us his Desert Island Comedy Flicks, and (aww) there’s a loving tribute to Barry Cryer; Redgrave

8 April

TOMMY TIERNAN: TOMFOOLERY The revered Irish comic and Derry Girls star brings his no-holds barred approach to 1532;


From 18 March

BRISTOL FILM FESTIVAL It’’s back, with its usual new

something-for-everyone remit, and screenings at a wide variety of Bristol locations; basically, anywhere other than a multiplex. We’re quietly excited at the prospect of In Bruges at The Station, accompanied by fine Belgian beers and paired cheeses, and the David Lynch double bill at Redcliffe Caves.

21 March

ENTRECONF DINNER Informal networking, live interview and Q&A with leading entrepreneur Network N is a fastgrowing games media business, and dinner; Avon Gorge Hotel;

24 March

PROPERTY SYMPOSIUM Online conference full of dynamic, powerful insights about property and sustainability;

31 March

SFW STITCH & SWITCH Free monthly event from Sustainable Fashion Week; head to Bristol Folk House with some clothes to swap, and bring any repair projects you have on the go to stitch while you chat; n


Discover the magic of CBD & CBG A refreshingly soothing formula like no other



SHOW “No, I think they’re the swirling clouds in violet haze…”

“Do you say it Van GoFF or Van GOH?”

“Actually, I think the Dutch say ‘HOCH’…”

“Are those the morning fields of amber grain?”

TIME “His style became fully realised during his stay in Knowle...”


“Everybody did...”

“...I’m pretty sure the guide said ‘Arles’...”

“I used to have Sunflowers on my wall at Uni”

Spring has sprung, and the sap of Bristol’s cultural scene is slowly beginning to rise . . . Words by Deri Robins

Going Dutch: the Van Gogh Immersive Experience comes to Propyard I BRISTOL LIFE I 51


n March 2021, we did what we generally do at this point of the year: we spoke to the guardians of the Bristol cultural scene to fi nd out about their plans and dreams for the up-and-coming season. Everyone – the gallery-owners, the theatre producers, the guys who stage concerts and put on festivals – did their best to sound upbeat; but the reality was that while everyone was looking forward to the post-lockdown world, the main focus was still online. The theatres had been mostly shut since early 2019; the art galleries had managed to open for a while, albeit with restricted visitor numbers and big yellow arrows on the floor, but then they all had to close again. In March 2022, however, it’s a different story. Bristol is looking much more like its old self. We’ve sifted through a tsunami of press releases, spoken to a few key figures and chosen 22 suggestions for getting your culture on in ’22. Chronologically, then…

The Death of Actaeon by Yushi Li

slams, and maybe one of the TS Eliot events – it’s the 100th anniversary of The Waste Land this year, after all. 25 March-21 April;

3 1

TUDOR THE PRICE OF ONE 1558. England. A country divided by religion and politics, teetering on the brink of civil war. The hopes of the nation lie with one woman. 2022. England. A country divided by those who enjoy plays featuring men in dresses and those who don’t. The hopes of the nation lie with two West-Country actors. . . Back by popular demand (in other words, they can’t be bothered to write a new show) Living Spit’s Howard and Stu reprise their Elizabeth I - Virgin

3 on the Ridiculous, the story of the greatest monarch who ever lived (no offence, QEII), with live music, perfunctory props, and yet another poorly researched lesson in Tudor history. Until 26 March;


LET’S GET LYRICAL LYRA, aka the Bristol Poetry festival, is set to bring dozens of poets and performers to venues across the city. We’re booking to see Linton Kwesi Johnson in an evening of poetry and music to mark the 42nd anniversary of the St Paul’s uprising, a couple of the poetry

2 1


CALL THE SHOTS The winning entries for the International Photography Exhibition 163 have been chosen from a submission of around 8000. This year’s selection at RPS explores themes of identity, heritage, global societal issues, gender politics, mental health, the natural world and the human condition; 57 photographers from across the globe are featured, with a focus on five notable stars. April;


DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE Two hundred years ago, Olaudah Equiano read reports of a massacre aboard the slave ship Zong, in which 132 Africans were thrown overboard. Joining forces with anti-slavery campaigner Granville Sharp, he helped set in motion events which led to the abolition movement in the UK. However, Olaudah’s mission goes beyond the courtroom. Having bought his own freedom, he now faces a

4 personal battle to rediscover his past and accept his true self… Giles Terrera, who won the Olivier Best Actor award for his performance in Hamilton – The Musical, brings the story of one man’s belief in the value of humanity, and his fight to defend it, to the stage of Bristol Old Vic in his debut play The Meaning of Zong. More in our next issue. 2 April-7 May;


CELEBRATE OXYGEN “Singing is like a celebration of oxygen” said wonderful Bjork; an idea that’s clearly informed some of St George’s spring season. You can experience Handel’s Messiah from the inside out on 7 April, thanks to a fresh and immersive live performance of this famous piece, enhanced by atmospheric image-projections and creative lighting design, while in June, the month-long Bristol Festival of Voice celebrates the vocal powers of internationally renowned artists, grass-roots choirs and everything in between. More of a strings fan? The


FEEL THE FEAR No mangy animals or strangely unfunny clowns here; bringing a fresh face to circus is The Revel Pucks, a 19-strong troupe formed in East London, who’ve been redefi ning the circus landscape with The Wing Scuffl e Spectacular – a large-scale production

improbably handsome Miloš Karadaglić is back with his sublime virtuoso classical guitar playing on 27 May, with a mixed programme that includes a new work by Mathias Duplessy.


ARLES BE SEEING YOU It’s been all around the world, and now Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience is coming to Propyard in the form of a 20,000 sq ft light-and-sound spectacular, featuring Vincent’s most compelling works in two-storey, 360-degree glory. As well as the floor-to- ceiling projections there

that celebrates fear, in a union of acrobatics, music, costumes, and storytelling. It takes place in pop-up 600-person-capacity tent The Puck, created with Places for People on Dove Lane in St Paul’s – currently primed as the site for a major new residential neighbourhood. 7-24 April;

are galleries chronicling his story, technique, and influence, while a VR interactive guide takes you on a 10-minute journey through a day in his life, as you discover the inspiration behind eight of his best-loved pieces, including Bedroom at Arles, and Starry Night over the Rhone River. Hopefully not the one where he cuts his ear off, though; we’re a bit squeamish. 9 April -4 Sep;


WELCOME BACK THE RWA The Royal West of England Academy reopens after its mega £4.1m transformation with a landmark exhibition. Me, Myself, I: Artists’ Self-Portraits explores the ways that artists over the centuries have imagined and presented themselves, from the highly



9 personal and psychological to the controversial and political. If you’ve ever wondered which artists challenged social norms and defied conventions, questioned identity, gender and representation ahead of their time, then wonder no more. 2 May – 19 June;


SUPER SONIC The biennial Bristol New Music Festival returns for its fourth edition, with an adventurous sonic exploration of the city through newly commissioned works, responses to rarely used spaces, landmark concert hall programmes, club nights, gallery exhibitions and fi lm programmes. Full line-up to come. 5-8 May;


LAUGH OUT LOUD You won’t struggle for topquality LOLs this year, whether it’s at Wells Comedy Festival or the new Bristol Comedy Festival in May, Comedy Garden in June, or the ever-reliable stream of visiting big-name comics at the usual venues. So why have we plucked out Nish Kumar: Your Power, Your Control from this heady mix? Well, mostly because when we saw him doing warm-up for Stewart Lee at Comedy Garden a few years back, we thought his act was the funniest and smartest of the whole event. “It’s been a period of upheaval and uncertainty, with Covid and the political situation,” says Nish. “You will be amazed by my capacity to somehow take all of these things personally.” 8 May;


GET YOUR FILM GEEK ON Opened in 1982, Bristol video-hire emporium 20th-Century Flicks has survived the transition from VHS to DVD to streaming, but still remains a key fi xture in the city’s cultural landscape; you can still rent out discs and tapes, or hire one of its two private cinemas. To celebrate its 40th anniversary, they’re bringing Forbidden Worlds, a three-day


11 fi lm festival dedicated to genre cinema with a particular focus on some of the classics and curios of 1982 – and they’re literally having it large, at the former Bristol IMAX, at Bristol Aquarium, which has tiered seating for 315 people and a 19m x 15m screen for the full-on, bigscreen experience. The line-up has yet to be revealed, but we know we’re getting Blade Runner; Mad Max 2, Poltergeist and many others. 13-15 May;



WATCH A NAKED DANCE PARTY Yes, we thought that might grab your attention. It can only be Mayfest, Bristol’s trailblazing international theatre festival, back for the fi rst time in four years with performances and parties popping up in both established venues and unexpected spaces throughout the city. Highlights include Habitat, a ‘durational choreography-



SPRAY FOR BRISTOL Bristol’s beloved Upfest, the biggest street-art festival in Europe, don’t you know, is back for its 15th year. Expect to see incredible murals blossoming on the walls of Bedminster from 5 May onwards, leading up to the festival weekend, during which hundreds of artists will paint live at main hubs The Tobacco Factory, Ashton Gate Stadium and Greville Smyth Park. 28-29 May;

come-naked-dance-party’ by Doris Uhlich; Bristol polymath Brook Tate’s powerful reckoning with religion and sexuality in the concept gig Birthmarked, and the première of Polyphony, an experiential composition by Verity Standen that explores our relationship with voice. Tickets to the festival are priced on a pay-what-you-can basis to foster an inclusive atmosphere. 13-29 May;


SAVE THE DAY Bristol’s beloved homegrown music fest Love Saves the Day is back for its 10th year in a new home, Ashton Court. Taking place over the first Thursday and Friday in June, it happily coincides with the Jubilee weekend, so go nuts. 2-3 June; lovesavestheday


Missed A Monster Calls, Outlier, and Pride & Prejudice (Sort Of) when they last played Bristol Old Vic? Good news; they’re all back for 2022, in April, September, and tbc respectively…




MARCH TO A DIFFERENT DRUM Figs in Wigs bring Little Wimmin, their live-art feminist ‘adaptation’ of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel about the four March sisters, to the Bristol Old Vic stage, turning the story on its head and mutating it into an unrecognisable cartoon catastrophe that talks about climate change, astrology and the infinite nature of the universe. PS Beth still dies. 7-9 June; Bristol Old Vic I BRISTOL LIFE I 55


SEE A MONSTER In the most original and unexpected art happening of the year, the former Tropicana at Weston-Super-Mare will host SEE MONSTER – the world’s first repurposed offshore rig from the North Sea turned large-scale public art installation. It’s being built by creative studio Newsubstance as part of

Unboxed 2022, a celebration of creativity taking place across the UK in 2022. The installation is described as a “ joyous blend of entertainment, education and experimentation [that encourages] interactive and playful moments which draw on the nature of our cultural cornerstone: creating the sense of children gleefully jumping in puddles, while adults grumble at drizzly grey skies and strangers


bond over something mutually shared. “While moving through the Monster, guests will pass behind the thrashing cascade of a 10-metre waterfall, and dip under the shimmering scales into the cavernous underbelly of the beast to find unexpected, unpredictable displays of the great British weather…” In the Garden Lab, visitors can take respite from the crash of

the waterfall and the clamour of the crowds below; within the wild garden are hidden routes to explore the Monster, embedded with approaches to a more sustainable and greener future. A permanent urban garden will be created in WSM, using plants from the Garden Lab, as a lasting legacy to the project. It sounds FAB. July-September;



BITE ME Is blood thicker than water? Find out when The Wardrobe Theatre brings back its devilishly dark, adults-only, smash hit of a comedy musical Drac & Jill, created in collaboration with many of the team behind the theatre’s past hit shows. 6-31 July;


Plenty of major current exhibitions are continuing into the summer and even autumn months. Showing until 4 September at Bristol Museum is Grayson’s Art Club, based on the TV series in which Grayson and Philippa Perry, celebrities and members of the public responded to lockdown. There’s a quartet of delights at Arnolfini: Subversive Stories exhibits the extraordinary figurative work of Dame Paula Rego until 29 May, along with Donna Huanca: Cueva de Copal, an immersive site-specific installation by this interdisciplinary artist. Polly Braden: Holding the Baby (until 12 June) offers a photographic portrait of the strength and resilience of single parent families facing austerity, while Sam Francis: Let the Idea Travel (until 1 May) responds to to the performance piece Somerset – A Year in the Life of a Field, by Lizzie Cox, shown at Arnolfini in 1981. The Bristol Film Festival is also back, with a bunch of vintage and family screenings across a wide range of genres. It’s more mainstream than art house – Sundance Festival it ain’t – but it’s good clean fun nevertheless. The current programme runs until 6 May. The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is on at M Shed until 5 June.


GET ON HIS LAND Valleyfest’s return in 2021 offered a welcome glimmer of normality, and this year the family-friendly Chew Valley festival is really pushing the boat out – not merely with a stellar line-up headlined by Travis, and a tasty new food offering curated by Josh Eggleton, but also with Glastonbury’s favourite 50ft, fire-spitting metal arachnid, Arcadia. The bug stage has been at Valley Fest before, but this year the spectacle is being dialled up dramatically, with the area surrounded by a circle of metal trees and flames. “It’s a true homecoming for the Arcadia team,” says festival founder Luke Hasell. “And a true celebration of Bristol talent. I want everyone to get on my land, eat some regeneratively-farmed tasty food and have the time of their lives.” 4-7 August;


SMILE LIKE YOU MEAN IT The Killers are on their biggest tour to date, they’re playing the Gate, and the decibel levels of the crowd baying the words to Mr Brightside is liable to eclipse even the roar of a lively Bears crowd on a Bristol-Bath derby day. 26 May;




Forwards, a new two-day festival from Team Love drops this September on the Downs, with a stellar line-up headlined by The Chemical Brothers and Jamie XX, and including rapidly rising star Self Esteem, Little Simz, Róisín Murphy, Sleaford Mods, Kae Tempest and many more. Forwards is much more than a music concert, though. Team Love wants to challenge what urban festivals can be today, and how they can do good, from the inside out, sparking positive change. At a space called The Information, some of the world’s most inspirational experts, disruptors, artists, writers, and thinkers from across the social and political spectrum will focus on today’s current affairs and cultural issues. There’s loads more to say about this event and we’ll be featuring it in far greater length in a future issue. 3-4 September;



SAY ‘SAYONARA’ TO ELTON When is he going to come down? ( June). Where is he going to land? (Ashton Gate). Elton John, the greatest entertainer of his generation, is bowing out with a huge farewell tour, and Ashton Gate is the only venue in the South West to be hosting it. 22 & 26 June;


SOUNDS OF THE CITY Bristol Sounds is back for 2022 with its eclectic, perfectlysized series of concerts – big enough to lend a festival vibe, small enough to offer a great view wherever you stand. The line-up so far features Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, British electronic duo Jungle, and sweet-sounding Swedish sibs First Aid Kit. 22-26 June;




GET YOUR FREAK ON Dig out your vintage flares and platforms, because Bristol Beacon is bringing the legendary Nile Rogers and Chic to Harbourside between 13 and 14 July. Too young to remember when Le Freak came out? Prepare to have your little D.I.S.C.O. socks knocked off… They’re followed on 15 July by indie-popsters Belle and Sebastian, playing their biggest show in Bristol to date. 13-15 July;

FROM TOP: Self Esteem,

The Chemical Bros I BRISTOL LIFE I 59


BEAT SURRENDER If music be the food of love, let’s plug in all the amps and speakers and crank up the volume. Hell yeah! Words and pictures by Colin Moody



his is a city of music. Threads of sound emanate from bedrooms and garden shacks; there are dozens of places to lay down that seminal album, and then perform it. In this issue we’re celebrating some of those musical heroes; be they people or places, it’s all fusing together nicely. New spaces are popping up; even during the pandemic, doors were being prepared to swing wide open to collectives of new musical expression. So, let’s dive in. Who’s in here?

2 3


Here we find Kizzy Morrell. I met her mentoring young singers in the art of singing and being ready for live performance. It’s heroes like Kizzy who are laying down the routes for them. There are a series of these young performers in my first book, Stokes Croft and Montpelier. Coming to these performance spaces and watching them grow in confidence was inspiring. You’re going to be Spotifying the fruits of their labour in the years to come, and maybe call it that ‘Bristol sound’. It’s heroes like this that we need.


Am I a big fan of Beach Riot? I tell you this, I had never heard of them. But a mate said to come and join him at the Lanes, and they were pretty good. Musical hero number 2 is the live venue space. You know who you are. You have that room with the stage and all those XLR cables unplugged and just sitting there during the day, but once the band tech has all been done, this sort of magic happens; the soundcheck done, the band turn to the audience and we are taken on a journey into sight and sound. If it’s your thing, and you just arrived in the city, enjoy. I think in stagecraft photos like this one you can use the lighting effects to put the music into the image. If not the music itself, then the feel of it.



Reach out; you can touch the band. Probably best not to, these days. But it feels like that. Here’s to you, the audience. We know you have options for a night experience, so we thank you for not staying in, and letting a delivery guy provide your food, and slouching into your phone screen, instead making it out – in this case to Trinity to see Laid Blak at a fundraiser for the Colston Four.

“You’re going to be Spotifying the fruits of their labour in the years to come, and maybe call it that ‘Bristol sound’” I BRISTOL LIFE I 65





Propyard here. Just before the final plug-ins, and it’s ready to go. We lose the DJ and the tech team in the supernova for a moment. Maybe, later on the dance floor, we might all find ourselves on the event horizon we call ‘that track we love so much right now’, before we enter the infinite, in which the DJ drops a new tune that sends us to that new dimension that words can never express.


I’m working on a new book about Bristol’s nightlife culture. I wanted to share some shots that won’t make it into the book, but which are still resonating for me. These shots showcase the backstage area at the Thekla where MCs and crews (don’t you love it that there are crews back on the ships, but in a new kinda way?) mingle. Away from the crowds that have come to see them you can feel their energy is rising, getting ready to burst onto the stage in a few minutes. These were taken just days before the first lockdown. What we didn’t know then, huh? Oh boy. All these venues need your support, so crew up and get on board.


Bang your drum. To the Bristol samba bands, the walking bands, the reggae bands, the full-orchestra bands, the whole lot of you who might be the actual heartbeat of our musical Bristol body.


To the touring bands who come here. Wherever you doff your hat is home. If only for a night. Like when The Specials came back for one of their rare forays this far west.


Orchestra due on stage in six minutes. Send that text; then it’s time for the beautiful notes from Shostakovich. A piece, if memory serves, they said was first played in Leningrad while the city was under siege during the World War II…

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. email: Twitter: @moodycolin; Instagram @moodycolin319



“Don’t you love it that there are crews back on the ships, but in a new kinda way?”


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You don’t need to be a teenager to be wowed by young adult fiction...


erhaps this is not exactly a shock revelation from booksellers, but we like to think of ourselves as broadreading individuals. Eating through genres and subject areas with practised critical acuity, honing the best way to talk about each book through conversation with colleagues; it’s what we do, part of the job, no big deal. But during some post-Christmas downtime, we decided we were being too kind to ourselves; reading only the books we really wanted to, not necessarily the things we should. So, we decided to challenge ourselves by deliberately reading a prescribed genre – something we perhaps wouldn’t automatically go for, but would give us a better rolling knowledge. First up: young adult fiction. Surprise surprise, it’s been

fantastic. Here’s what we thought of each new slice… All Our Hidden Gifts – Caroline O’Donoghue Callum read this cracking young adult novel that starts off with some fairly typical teen problems – struggling with school, getting into trouble, falling out with friends – but it quickly progresses into some more untypical ones when Maeve finds an old Tarot deck. As it turns out, she has a bit of a natural affinity for reading the cards, and what comes next is an a socially switched-on, allguns-blazing romp with excellent queer representation, mystical abductions, contemporary Irish politics and an actually-quiteinformative exploration of the Tarot itself. The sequel’s already out, and there’s a third book planned, so plenty to get stuck into.

The Girls I’ve Been – Tess Sharpe If your attention has been grabbed by the real-life stories of Anna Delvey or The Tinder Swindler, Emily reckons you’re going to love this pacy thriller that takes place over a mere matter of hours. Our antihero Nora goes by many names, and has slipped in and out of many identities, but when she plays at having a normal life she finds that her old life catches up with her before long. With a superb set-up (our main characters just happen to wander into a bank robbery in progress), the tension only escalates as we are drip-fed information about Nora’s backstory, changing the balance of her current situation as the book plays out. The Cousins – Karen M. Mcmanus If you’re on TikTok, chances are you already know about this one. We’ve long been aware of Karen M Mcmanus’ skill with twisty plots and decidedly spiky style, and Siubhan absolutely devoured this tautly constructed little thriller that takes in family politics, greed, inheritance and – crucially –

“It’s a socially switched-on romp with excellent queer representation and mystical abductions”

dis-inheritance. Set in the lush surrounds of an exclusive island resort, it has the cool veneer of a high-budget bingeable box set, but with the frantic page-turning compulsion that only a gripping novel can deliver. Prepare yourself for addiction. The Upper World – Femi Fadugba Dan was bowled over by the ambition of this mind-spinning multi-timeline cinematic extravaganza. We flit between the storylines of Esso and Rhia, both raised among the territorial struggles and real violence of Peckham, both dreaming of ways to escape. For Esso, a troubled teenager who harbours a knack for temporal physics passed to him by his absent father, it’s a way of making amends for a pivotal incident. For Rhia, gifted footballer and reluctant student who needs to make the grade, it’s the looming presence of her late mother. The plot moves at an almost unbelievable speed and works in flurries to confuse and delight, so much so that keeping up with it is almost an act of time travel in itself. On completing our little genre experiment, our appetites have been well and truly whetted for more YA. But more than that, it’s helped us come out of our little reading hovels – we’re going to be periodically assigning one another different reading tasks to make sure we’re across the genres we love just as much as the ones we’re yet to love. Because even booksellers can always read a little more broadly. Storysmith, 236 North Street I BRISTOL LIFE I 71


Socket rocket © DANI RIOT

Chris has a new Pod Point, and now he feels like a member of The Jetsons . . .


ast time I spoke to you, by which I actually mean, last time I hit letters on my keyboard and you read them, I was trying to save the planet one misshapen carrot at a time. I’d realised that carrots weren’t going to cut it, despite the obvious eyesight related benefits, so instead I’d been considering getting an electric car. Well, guess what? I did! But it only lasted four minutes, cost me three quid and was powered by a rod attached to the ceiling which gives off occasional spark/a free firework show. Gotta love the dodgems.

Anyway, as I said before, moving from London to Bristol has meant we’ve needed a runaround car, so in fact I’ve gone and got myself a fully electric one to keep Greta happy, save aforementioned planet and try to avoid the rocketing fuel prices. To avoid having to fill my car up like in the bad old olden days, I’ve got a super space-age Pod Point charger installed, and it’s currently nestling into the side of my house. Every time I see the Pod Point, I feel a little bit like I’m living in the future. Its little light glowing to welcome me home is like a knowing wink – ‘Welcome back, Chris!’ it says, as I push all thoughts of HAL from my mind.

“‘Welcome back Chris!’ it says, as I push all thoughts of HAL from my mind” 72 I BRISTOL LIFE I

Knowing that, with my special socket, I am just a few hours charge away from going anywhere that’s connected by a road, within a few days of using the Point it felt archaic to even consider leaving home early to give me enough time to queue up a petrol station and pay a small fortune for the fuel (and impulsebuy bag of Maltesers.) Instead, I leave the car outside, plug it in, and because the Pod Point is hooked up to my WiFi, I can tell it when to charge cheaply and it can do it ten times faster than me running an extension lead out of the letterbox. Also, by having the awesome looking Point on the wall, it saves a confused postman trying to stuff bills past a dodgy cable. I ordered the Pod Point and within a few days was sending them photos of my electric meter and where I wanted them to put it. Within a couple of weeks, a friendly bloke popped round for a few hours to install it in next to no time, connecting it to the electric and me to the future. He had the pleasure of enduring as many electric car-based puns that I could fit into the conversation. I was lucky I didn’t live in a dead end, I told him, otherwise there would be no outlet. Continuing

relentlessly, I asked him if he’d ever been nabbed by the police and charged with battery, and if I needed a current licence to drive an electric car. How are the puns working out for you? Enjoying them or do you find them revolting? I know; they’re shocking. With an electric car happily charging in the driveway, according to the app which lives in a folder unambiguously titled ‘car parking’ on my phone, I realise I now have nine different parking apps pre-installed and a load of coins sat in my glovebox that I no longer need. I also realise that the Apple TV subscription which came free with my phone was three days away from ending. So late nights were called for as I rattled through the incredible Ted Lasso and the alright Morning Show before time ran out; very much the binge-watch equivalent of throwing everything on your plate as the buffet is about to close. The good news is I completed Apple TV in time to not have to pay for another year, although when Ted returns that might change. Believe.; facebook @ilovecox twitter @bigcox; insta @magiccox



DATASHARP INTEGRATED COMMUNICATIONS is a leading UK communications and collaboration solution-provider that has been helping businesses become more agile since 1999


e design and deliver best-in-class unified communications and collaboration solutions that help businesses drive productivity, reduce costs and build the bottom line. We’re proud to be based in Bath, and with customers nationwide and across the globe, our high-performing team is growing fast. We all share a single goal: our passion for delivering the best possible solutions for our clients. Meet the team:


We focus on our clients’ business, not technology. There are thousands of comms technology products in a very crowded marketplace. By taking the time to understand our clients’ business, we cut through the noise, focus on value and build partnerships for the long-term by sharing risk. We like to take care of our team. From health to financial well-being, learning and development and support for remote working, we continually invest in our employees to help them achieve their objectives. We know how to work hard to deliver the best possible service to our customers. But we know how to relax and have fun, too. We have regular social events, and last year we were lucky enough to have a crack at Airsoft, karaoke at The Cork, ten-pin bowling and even virtual reality shoot ’em ups at Bath Leisure Centre. 74 I BRISTOL LIFE I


Head of Business Development It’s great to be surrounded by people who have very little fear and respect for the past – not in a negative way, but positively. They appreciate everything that’s been done, but constantly look for ways to improve. When you lead with what’s possible, and constantly seek to create value for clients, it’s energising. Being around that kind of energy and inspiration has allowed me to think bigger than I ever would have thought.

WILLIAM WOOD Head of Pre-Sales

My role here involves listening to customers’ challenges around business communications including voice, video, data, mobile and network security and designing bespoke solutions that fit their unique requirements. I’ve been here over 20 years and have seen a lot of change, but right now there’s a tremendous excitement about the future, as we ride waves of change in the industry, such as huge uptakes in video conferencing, cyber security and the need for consolidated platforms such as Microsoft Teams.



Head of Engineering My team is responsible for executing the technical side of a client’s project, which can include remote and physical installations, training and maintenance support via our helpdesk. We have a dynamic, high-performing team who are driven to take the initiative and solve problems when they arise. There’s always space to train on the latest technology (often used in-house) which gives us vital first-hand experience that we pass on to our clients. It’s a great place to make a name for yourself.



My team provides the business with administrative support for client projects and ensuring the efficient operation of the office. As ‘gatekeepers’ to the business, we are usually the first point of contact for our customers, so it’s important to develop strong relationships with each of them. It sounds clichéd, but the main reason I enjoy working here is because of the people. I’m passionate about supporting the team and ensuring that everyone feels valued for their contribution. We’re an essential part of the business and the work we do helps to shape its future.

I head up a small, crack team of marketers whose entire focus is positioning our company and the services we provide as the ‘go-to’ solution provider for any business looking to level-up its comms technology game. We actively participate in local business community events and support a local Bathbased charity dealing with homelessness and substance misuse. In today’s online world, marketers are the ‘rain-makers’ when it comes to attracting new customers. So, plenty to do and never a dull moment! ■

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MATSUDAI RAMEN If you get hooked, baby, it’s nobody else’s fault (but still do it) Words by Deri Robins



ometimes, you can find yourself stuck in a culinary groove. You can go for years without eating, say, a single dish of lamb rogan josh, then end up mainlining four of the things in the same month. It’s a bit like the tired gag about waiting an hour for the Number 8 bus and three coming along at once, though obviously a lot more fun. So it has been with me and ramen. I’d actively avoided this dish for months. It all sounded a bit, too, well, hipster; alarm bells rang when I started to hear words like ‘dirty noodles’. Also, I thought, I’d have to do proper homework before talking about ramen, because the millions of fervent fans out there really know their stuff. It’s not like pasta, where you can lazily chuck in phrases such as ‘al dente’ and ‘creamy’ before filling the rest of the page with some old chat about the charming staff. With ramen, you have to know about things like viscosity, nuance and depth. You need to be able to discourse on the texture of the noodles, the fondant-like quality of the ajitama egg yolk, and whether or not the pork belly chasu truly justifies the use of the word ‘succulent’. And yet here we are, running our second ramen review in a row; because eventually, FOMO triumphed over fear. I’d rather regretted not visiting Tomo No Ramen when they teamed up with Matsudai last year for a brief pop-up in Bedminster; this being the case, my nostrils, tastebuds etc pricked up on discovering that Matsudai runs a national meal kit service. Oh, how I’ve missed meal kits! The single greatest foodie pleasure during lockdown was being able to order restaurant-quality food to finish off at home. We assembled complex tapas dishes from Poco, that made us feel like Tom Hunt. We set off the fire alarm while searing huge chunks of cow from The Ox and Bar 44, and enjoyed an immaculate Christmas dinner prepped by the Eggleton elves at the Pony. However, most of these restaurants have dispensed with the faff of the meal kit now that they’re back open for business. We were very sulky when we had to peel our own sprouts last 25 December, I can tell you. Matsudai, however, which doesn’t yet have a permanent premises, continues to sell fresh ramen to be cooked at home. The company claims to produce the UK’s most celebrated ramen, and it’s not an empty boast; the business has been an extraordinary success story for founder James Chant, who prior to lockdown had built a cult following for his pop-ups in Cardiff, despite the fact that he had never set foot in a professional kitchen in his life.

When Covid scuppered the pop-ups, James switched to selling cookat-home ramen kits. His first batch of 400 portions sold out in one day. Ramen is a relatively new food, so ‘traditional’ or ‘authentic’ ramen doesn’t yet exist, or not really. Whatever; James cooks ‘proper’ ramen, from super-rich tonkotsu and tori paitan broths to more delicately balanced shio and shoyu varieties, to hearty miso bowls. We’d ordered a classic tonkotsu: ‘ton’ means pork and ‘kotsu’ means bone, in other words, a pork bone ramen. Don’t call it ‘tonkatsu’ – that means ‘pork cutlet’ – or the ramen groupies will laugh at you. Matsudai’s version is based on a creamy, rich white broth that’s been simmered for 24 to 36 hours, for maximum gelatin extraction, with thin Hakata-style noodles and a ‘sake-forward’ shio tare featuring four – four! – different kinds of salt. You have to admire that level of obsessive detail. We also had one of the classic miso kits. Packed with deep umaminess, this complex broth offers the perfect mix of refinement and punch, and comes with thicker, curly noodles for maximum slurping pleasure. We barely had to pop on our chef ’s aprons to ‘cook’ the meal; basically, all you need to do is heat the broths, briefly boil the noodles, pour into bowls and empty over the contents of the little bags containing spring onions, kikurage (woodear mushroom), beni-shoga (pickled ginger) and menma (seasoned bamboo, which had a pungent earthy flavour we weren’t quite so wild about). It all requires about as much skill and effort as a boil-in-the-bag. The instructions say that browning your slices of ready-braised pork belly (chasu) in a pan is optional, but why wouldn’t you? Into the broth they went, along with the ajitama soy-marinaded eggs. The marinade gives the eggs a unique, transformative texture; boiled eggs are on the very short list of foods I don’t adore, but I’m totally addicted to ajitama. There’s also a little bottle of la-yu chilli oil, which packs an almighty kick. I did warn Your Man; he didn’t listen, and thus spent the first five minutes of our meal spluttering. Annoying. If you can’t get enough of your Matsudai ramen – and once you’ve tried some, baby, you will be hooked – you could subscribe to the mixand-match monthly ramen club. Maybe even invest in a set of Matsudai tableware to eat it from; possibly while wearing your Forever & Ever Ramen T-shirt. Because ramen is not just a food; ramen is a lifestyle choice, from which there is no going back. Baby. ■ Individual kits cost £10.99-£11.99 per person, from I BRISTOL LIFE I 77

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FOOD OF LOVE Kalpna Woolf knows that sharing food and stories can bring diverse cultures together – a philosophy that lies at the very heart of her new cookbook


he words ‘food hero’ could have been coined for Kalpna Woolf. She’s an award-winning writer, entrepreneur, charity campaigner and former head of production at the BBC, working with the likes of Nigella and Rick Stein. She holds an honorary doctorate from UWE, and is CEO of BeOnBoard, which helps businesses and voluntary enterprises diversify their boards. Kalpna is also the founder of 91 Ways to Build a Global City, a charity which aims to build greater understanding between Bristol’s 91 different language communities. Just as 91 Ways draws on the many different languages spoken in the city, her new book, Eat, Share, Love, is a collection of global dishes contributed by Bristolians – some well-known chefs, others home cooks –who share not only their prized family recipes but the stories behind them. Let Kalpna tell you more . . .

I set up 91Ways when I found out that there are 91 languages spoken in Bristol.

I wanted to find a way for everyone in our city to celebrate our diversity, but this meant that we had to understand each other better first. Realising that language can sometimes be a barrier, I set about finding a way which would unite us – and learning from my Hindu upbringing, where food was used to connect us to each other, I started to set up events using food as a catalyst to start a conversation between people who thought they might not have anything in common. We would go into communities across the city and put up a banner – free food, come and share with us! – and people came. They sat down and started talking to each other. Bristol is a city which loves food, and is also

keen to understand where recipes come from. There are so many restaurants from all over the world – Eritrean, Persian, Somali – as well as wonderful Mediterranean food.


IN OUR NEXT ISSUE: Kalpna’s son Ben shares his favourite recipe – his mum’s butter chicken

When I was growing up, my parents’ fundamental values were based around keeping an open house and welcoming everyone. We believe it’s the ultimate kindness to share your table. We made snacks in anticipation of unexpected and expected guests – nobody left without eating well. We always had a houseful, and we cooked simple but flavourful dishes. As Hindus, we ate mainly vegetarian food, but there was always a steaming bowl of dal, packed with healthgiving spices, freshly made rotis made by my mum, and a vegetable sabji. But because my parents grew up in what is now Pakistan, we were also influenced by the food there, and cooked the dishes inspired by the Moghuls, such as butter chicken, keema koftes and pilaus. I feel proud to include my father’s Indian baked beans in the book, and the story of

him coming to this country alone, leaving his family and children behind, just to give us the opportunity of a better life. I love the recipes with stories which resonate with all of us – carne de panele,

for example, a dish of pasta and beef which Lucio’s mother used to make for the family and, when she was very old, he cooked for her. I can relate to this, as I cooked for my mum when she was in a care home. Or Hannah’s elderflower cordial, which evokes such lovely summer memories. I can image the picnic of crisps and banana sandwiches, and lazily walking through the hedgerows, collecting elderflower heads to make cordial.

I love to hear people’s food stories,

because they reveal so much about who we are. These are wonderful stories of joy, happiness, love, and sometime longing and sadness. However, our communities don’t get many opportunities to share their stories, and I wanted to give a voice to as many people as possible. I wanted everyone to see how wonderful our city is, and to celebrate our diversity through our recipes. So, I curated the stories, and set out to make the best and most beautiful book I could.

Eat, Share, Love is a unique collection of

recipes. I am so proud to be able to share our stories, and I hope Bristol will be proud of this book too, and will champion it. There is much to do in the city, and food is a connector, but it is also a challenge on so many levels for so many of our communities. We have children going hungry, and families unable to source good nutritional food. With the proceeds from the book, we will continue to support communities who need food, who need help in learning to cook well and everything we can do to make the people in our city strong and the most united in the country. All proceeds from the book will go to 91 Ways, helping us to keep connecting communities, learning about each other and building common ground – all our community events are free.

The book embraces many different cultures. We have Bosnian recipes – beautiful

breskvic, peach-shaped pastries; and kitnikez, sweet apple desserts. Egyptian sephardi; Eritriean zigni, a red, delicious beef stew; and a Sudanese aubergine salat And so many more!

“When we cook for someone else, it is an act of love. And when we eat together, we create a shared memory together” Kalpna

Eat, Share, Love, clockwise from top: Kalpna’s dad’s Indian baked beans; Lucio Mesquita’s carne de panale; Dino Zelenika’s breskvic

Meze Publishing, hardback £22; I BRISTOL LIFE I 81

TIME FOR TEA A traditional afternoon tea? Go on. You’re worth it . . .


10 WATERLOO STREET, CLIFTON, BS8 4BT TEL: 0117 329 2051 EDENCAFECLIFTON.CO.UK Vegan afternoon tea at Eden Café Clifton. A classic British institution, remixed for modern times. Vegan prawn cocktail, seasonal sandwiches, delightful sweet treats and handmade scones (with EDEN’s homemade signature clotted cream). Beautifully presented on a gold tiered stand with bottomless speciality loose leaf tea, EDEN’s Afternoon Tea is a wonderful experience well worth sharing. Feeling fancy?... Add a glass of prosecco or a cocktail. Mon - Sun 10am-4pm • Limited spaces • Online Booking required • Optionally Gluten-Free


BRISTOL HARBOUR HOTEL & SPA, 53-55 CORN STREET, BRISTOL BS1 1HT; TEL: 0117 203 4456 HARBOURHOTELS.CO.UK/BRISTOL The former banking hall is now home to a different kind of dough altogether. Take a break from exploring the city and make a withdrawal of the sweet kind with our indulgent afternoon tea. If you’re starting to feel a little grand, take the afternoon to new heights with a glass of the finest Champagne. BOOK YOUR SEAT AT THE TABLE!




BERWICK DRIVE, BRISTOL, BS10 7TD TEL: 0117 958 1590 BERWICKLODGE.CO.UK Berwick’s inviting ambience allows you to feel at ease, relax and enjoy exceptional afternoon tea while taking in the beautiful surroundings. Conveniently located close to the M5, with central Bristol only a short distance away, Berwick Lodge is perfectly placed. Set amid stunning gardens, with views all the way over to Wales, the grounds and its characterful features are a delightful backdrop for an afternoon tea in spring. Indulge in delicate sandwiches, homemade cakes and freshly baked scones, topped with lashings of fragrant jam and gooey clotted cream. And of course, bottomless tea or coffee. Alongside the traditional tea on offer is the ‘Berwick’ tea, with additional savoury items or, for more of a celebratory feel, the Champagne tea hits the spot. Gluten-free and special diets are happily catered for if advised in advance of arrival. Receiving an afternoon tea voucher in the post is always a well-received gift and it’s available for any last-minute present buying with an emailable version. Berwick is celebrating the Platinum Jubilee celebrations with an afternoon tea party on the Friday 3 June bank holiday, with lawn games and live music too. Whenever you choose to visit, a warm welcome always awaits you.


AZTEC WEST, ALMONDSBURY, BRISTOL BS32 4TS TEL: 01454 201090; AZTECHOTELBRISTOL.CO.UK Created by our experienced pastry chef, our Afternoon Tea is a firm favourite for any celebration, occasion or treat. Served daily in our restaurant, it’s a treasured tradition of delicious and imaginative offerings full of great quality ingredients and tempting regional flavours showcasing the best of the South West. Beautifully presented and served on a tiered cake stand, the artisanal sandwiches that make up the first course of our sumptuous Afternoon Teas include West Country Keens cheddar and chutney on rye, Severn & Wye smoked salmon, Devon caught white crab & mayonnaise on rye, Somerset cider glazed Wiltshire ham with tracklements piccalilli and Burford brown freerange egg mayonnaise with Evesham watercress on freshly baked white bread. Book today at:


17 CHRISTMAS STREET, BS1 5BT AHHTOOTS.COM Located at the base of the Christmas Steps, Ahh Toots’ window is brimming with cakes, sweet treats and savoury lunch items. The perfect showcase for these are Toots’ afternoon teas, which run two sittings every Friday and Saturday. This is spearheaded by co-director Amy, who has a solid background working as a pastry chef across the South West for various Michelin-starred restaurants. To her afternoon teas, Amy brings her finesse in fine dining, along with her passion for creating the perfect choux patisseries and French macarons. She also offers delicious vegan or glutenless options, with everything made in-house. Not one to miss! Book via their website. I BRISTOL LIFE I 83



BOWOOD HOTEL, SPA & GOLF RESORT, DERRY HILL, CALNE, SN11 9PQ TEL: 01249 822 228 BOWOOD.ORG What could be more quintessentially English than Afternoon Tea in the Wiltshire countryside? Afternoon Tea at Bowood is the perfect excuse to catch up with loved ones or simply relax in the beautiful surroundings and soak up the panoramic views of Bowood’s pristine parklands. Bowood’s Full Afternoon Tea is just £29.50 per person and includes a traditional selection of finger sandwiches, home-baked scones, mouth-watering cakes and pâtisserie, all made by the skilled pastry chef. It is accompanied by a delicious selection of freshly brewed tea, coffee or hot chocolate. If you’re celebrating something special, you can upgrade your afternoon tea with a glass of Pommery Champagne to make the occasion truly sparkle. After an indulgent treat, you may wish to take a stroll through the stunning Bowood Estate and keep a look out for the Bowood deer and wildlife. Bowood’s Afternoon Tea is served daily from 2pm to 5pm in the elegant setting of The Shelburne Restaurant, The Shelburne Bar or the hotel’s cosy library, complete with an open fire. To make a reservation, call 01249 822 228 or visit for further information and to view their seasonal menu.


500 BATH ROAD, BS31 3HJ; TEL: 01225 872 728 THECROWNINSALTFORD.CO.UK Handily located on the A4 between Bath and Bristol, the Buddha Tea Barn is a beautiful venue to enjoy a wonderful afternoon tea. We cater for all occasions, whether it’s a quiet catch-up with a friend or a special party. The beautiful flower walls are proving to be a very popular photo opportunity for baby showers and pre-wedding parties. Our traditional afternoon tea is an ideal treat for yourself or someone you love. While you indulge in the delightful selection of sandwiches and cakes, why not refresh yourself with one of our G&Ts? We have an extensive gin range, so you won’t struggle to find a flavour to suit you. On a warm summer’s day, you can enjoy our delicious afternoon teas in our tranquil garden. Booking is essential: please email




weekday bookings through March & April. quote: AFTWEEKDAY20


A delicious selec tion of homemade savo ry and sweet delights, paired wi th bottomless speciality loose lea f tea. Feeling fancy? ... Add a glass of Pro secco, or a cocktail!

EDEN’s Afternoon Tea is a wonderful experience well worth sharing. Available Mon - Sun • Limited spaces • Online Booking required • Optionally Gluten Free 10 Waterloo Street, Clifton, BS8 4BT • 0117 3292051 • • @edencafeclifton

Welcome to The Crown

IN THE HEART O F SALTFO RD, BAT H A place where food and coziness complement each other. We have a very exciting Gin and Whiskey Bar with over 30 different Gins and 40 different Whiskeys. Famous for our Pies and Pizzas but not forgetting we have a delicious Pub Grub menu as well 01225 872 728 | 500 Bath Road, Saltford, Bristol, BS31 3HJ | Mon-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 12pm-10.30pm

Tel: 07854239926

A very warm welcome to Clifton Wine School! We are a local wine school hosting events in Bristol at the Hotel du Vin. Choose from our Cheese and Wine Matching night, a Fine Wine tasting, Wines of the World evening courses, Steak and Red Wine night, and so much more. We also do unforgettable hen parties and corporate events.

We don’t sell wine, we give you confidence to choose the best wines for yourself.

You can purchase any course or tasting as a Wine School Gift Voucher starting from £30 the perfect present for any wine lovers!

Tastings, courses and events now also available online.


Hive mind

Stan discovers the delights of a ‘pollinator-friendly’ café on the (appropriately) buzzing Glo Road


f, like me, you spend most of your spare time strolling around Bristol, you will probably have noticed that the city is extremely well-endowed with coffee shops. For those of us who like the better things in life, specifically caffeine and cake, this is a reason to be cheerful. I’m not saying that cafés are the beating heart of a metropolis, exactly, but they’re definitely part of the mix. One of the valves, perhaps. Either way, long may they continue to thrive.

“The menu is a hipster take on the full-English breakfast, or ‘stuff on toast’ school of cuisine”

Reason I mention all this is simple. It’s by way of excuse. You see, this issue’s café of choice is The Nectar House on Gloucester Road. It’s been there a while, and I have to confess to having walked past it a hundred times or more, never giving it more than a passing glance. Not sure why. Really not. But I suspect it has a lot to do with the fact that there are so many lovely cafés in this neck of the woods. But thanks to this regular column, I am regularly required to step away from my café comfort zone. So when I walked past this place recently, with its sawn-off wooden benches seating shiny, happy people enjoying the morning sunshine, I decided it was time to pay a visit. Glad I did. If you were wondering about the name, The Nectar is a ‘pollinator-friendly’ café, laudably aiming to raise awareness about the importance of bees. To this end, quite aside from its blamelessly ethical sourcing, they support Bee the Change, a co-op based in Bristol and Stroud. Turns out, the café is much bigger on the inside than expected. It’s also really rather lovely. Very nice ambience. Chunky wooden furniture, plants tumbling down from shelves and lots more shiny, happy people munching away contentedly.

The menu is a hipster take on the full-English breakfast, or ‘stuff on toast’ school of cuisine. Looking round at the plates of other customers, it all looked really rather tasty. However, we were only in the market for a couple of coffees. Though I did make a mental note of the breakfasts, pending a repeat visit to road-test one of those; or maybe one of the guest pop-ups in the kitchens, offering a variety of different cuisines from around the world. As we sat sipping away merrily, plotting future feasts, there was just one tiny cloud on the horizon, in the form of the cups. Being an admirer of tasty coffee, the cup is an important detail to me. And, like many other cafés, the cups here are heavy-duty things, shaped like small soup bowls. One of my personal bugbears. They make the coffee cool down far too quickly for my liking. But there. Now I’m being picky. Main thing is, if you are in the market for a Bishopston- style greasy-spoon café, without the grease, but with oodles of charm, including the option for a vegan BLT, a VLT, then I can thoroughly recommend Nectar. n Former Housemartins guitarist Stan is now a journalist and travel writer I BRISTOL LIFE I 89





Never miss an issue of Bristol Life – get your own copy posted to you on the Friday the magazine comes out Get yours for £30 for UK subscriptions (17 issues)


MBST: MANAGING SPINAL ARTHRITIS James Scrimshaw of CURA CLINICAL explains why the clinical use of MBST is growing in popularity . . .


any of you have been reading about my experience of working with MBST over the past couple of years – a revolutionary form of treatment for pain, problematic joints and many types of sports injuries, it uses the same fundamentals as MRI, but for healing instead of imaging. I’ve actually been working with it here in Bristol for four years now, and in that time, I’ve realised what an exciting and important development it is in the non-invasive and pharmaceutical management of musculoskeletal damage and injury. The strengths of MBST are that it is completely safe and gentle, yet provides very targeted stimulation specifically to damaged cells and tissue. This creates a powerful healing process over time. We’ve learned the limitations of the technology but are still astounded by the majority of the results we’re getting in conditions we never imagined would heal using gentle targeted magnetic resonant energy transfer. Clinical use of MBST is growing fast in the UK, with my colleague Jonathan Webb taking it into London clinics and hospitals, and other colleagues broadening the geographical reach. We’re looking forward to collating and publishing clinical results to place MBST firmly on the map of safe and viable treatment methods for the treatment of injury and osteoarthritic change.

James Scrimshaw and Jonathan Webb

Sheilagh (shown left) came to see James at Cura with debilitating, long-term lower back pain caused by wear and tear to discs and joints. Over time, she had made significant adjustments to her lifestyle, and to relieve the pain she regularly felt in her back while standing, Sheilagh would often find herself sitting for long periods of time. Ten weeks following her MBST treatment, Sheilagh reported no back pain at all, with just a little stiffness early in the day. We’re delighted to say that she’s now able to stand and walk with ease and most importantly, pain free. And we’re really pleased to continue working alongside the Bristol Bears in aiding their elite squad recovery. “We’ve had great outcomes from using the MBST facilities at Cura Clinical for several team members,” said team manager, Jack Targett. ■

Former professional boxer, Johnny Nelson (right), recently underwent MBST treatment at an associate clinic for neck pain and lower back damage.

SUCCESSES Some of the conditions we’ve successfully treated over the last 12 months: • Neck and lower back osteoarthritis • Ligament, tendon and muscle damage • Sports and accident injuries • Arthritic hips, knees and ankles • Shoulder arthritis and rotator cuff damage • Arthritic thumbs

FERM LIVING SHELL POT, £89 Lovely with flowers, or just as it is. The nautilus shell merges natural shapes with contemporary design From Truce 54 Princess Victoria Street,uk


BIG METAL AMANDA TINY DAISY HUGGIES, £18 High-shine finish with the pretty flower detail adding a delicate colour pop. At least 50% of the brass used is recycled from leftover metal From Fox + Feather 41 Gloucester Road

27 March is Mother’s Day – also known as National Payback Time...

HOLY WATER SEA BATH SOAK, 15; SCOTTISH OAT AND RED ROSE MASK, £13.50 A double-bubble of spa indulgence from lovely local apothecary Holy Water From Mon Pote 217 North Street

MOOMIN ENAMEL MUG, £13.95 Here’s Moomin, en route to see Moominmamma without a Mother’s Day present. Wouldn’t want to be Moomin! From Fig 1 Unit 9, Gaol Ferry Steps;

MISSONI SCARF, £125 Zigzag fine-knit scarf in the prettiest colours From Harvey Nichols 27 Philadelphia Street


SORUKA BAG, £52 Fair, sustainable and unique, crafted from waste leather by Indian artisans paid a fair wage From Frankly Unit 5, Cargo


ZEBRA PEARL BRACELET, £47 Glass bead bracelet decorated with a block of 24k gold-plated beads and a Swarovski pearl, from Sidai Design’s new Lulu collection From Movement Boutique 5 The Mall, Clifton

BROSTE COCKTAIL GLASS, £15 Mouthblown glass from leading Scandi brand Broste Copenhagen; a most elegant way to tipple From Mon Pote 217 North Street

GEO VESSEL, £33 To add to the mum’s indoor jungle, or use as a stationary pot, brush holder, candle base, etc; succulent or cactus included From Prior Shop, 23 Philadelphia Street

CARA TONKIN PAILLETTE DISC EARRINGS, £99 Yes please, kids! The paillette five-disc drop earrings add subtle glamour with their timelessly simple shape and lovely fluid movement From Diana Porter, 33 Park Street

WOOD-FIRED ASH TEAPOT, £100-£140 So much more than a utilitarian pot, from wood-firing supremo Nick Membery From Midgley Green 26 Alexandra Rd, Clevedon

KATHERINE FRASER CUSHION, £80 Beautifully woven in100% merino lambswool, in a mesmerising design; as much a piece of art as a cushion From Midgley Green 26 Alexandra Rd, Clevedon

WILLIAM MORRIS AT HOME POUCH, £14.95 Complete with a set of fragrant hand cream and lip balm From Pod Company, 24 The Mall, Clifton I BRISTOL LIFE I 93

OUR WORLD IS BEAUTIFUL Why not look at it through beautiful glasses?

Make an appointment today:

35 St Stephens Street, Bristol, BS1 1JX 0117 930 0035;


SIGHT CONTROL Mark Ilett of friendly local optician BRAMLEY POPE has the answers to all your vision questions How long have you been in business? Bramley Pope Opticians have been around for 25 years this May. Philippa Bramley opened up in 1997 and I started here in about 2015, and took over during the pandemic once Philippa retired. Why should we choose Bramley Pope? Our Google reviews tell the story; we care a lot about people and have a nice community around the practice. I’m passionate about putting excellent specs on your face! We’re a dispensing optician, first and foremost, so glasses are the real focus of the practice, but we offer a high level of eye examinations as well, and fit and supply contact lenses. What can I do to improve my eye health? Have regular checks! Wear specs if you need to

“WE HAVE A CAREFULLY CURATED SELECTION OF SOME OF THE NICEST FRAMES YOU’LL FIND” and eat a healthy diet – the usual stuff. Don’t stare at screens without regular breaks, use the 20/20/20 rule – so every 20 minutes take a 20 second break to look 20 metres away. Also, make use of your optician! So many people will go to the GP, or a forum like Reddit or Facebook, for advice on eye problems. We’re here to help and we have the expertise. How often should I have my eyes examined? For the majority of patients the recommendation is to have a test every two years, but it varies based on age and other factors and can be more frequent, as suggested by the optometrist. Some patients will be eligible for a free NHS sight test, such as over 60s and children. How long does an eye examination take? We estimate about 45 minutes to conduct the test and to have time afterwards to talk about glasses and lenses and changes to your prescription,and what you want to do to make your vision better. Contact lens checks will take a bit less time and we often put them together with sight tests. That’ll take about an hour to do both.

If I need glasses, what do you offer? We have a carefully curated selection of some of the nicest frames you’ll find anywhere, and we offer tons of advice. It’s very collaborative here; we will often all chip in with options to help you choose a pair of specs that you can have real pride and belief in. We can discuss your options for specialised lenses if you’re stuck staring at a screen or have trouble driving at night. I try to keep a selection of easy-to-wear and colourful frames, with a few liitle gems for people who are a bit braver than the average glasses-wearer. We really like Salt, Lindberg, Woow and Face a Face to name a few. We can get most brands, though; that’s the beauty of being an independent. We like to think that we supply a complete package. Our examination is really thorough, we can take photos of the back of the eye and Heather is a fabulous optom! Our specs are handpicked to be a bit different and the after care is there as well, if it’s needed. ■

Come and visit us instore at: 35 St Stephens Street, Bristol, BS1 1JX 0117 930 0035 I BRISTOL LIFE I 95


On International Women’s Day, we visited the thriving community at Wapping Wharf, where sisters really are doing it for themselves… he Wapping Wharf community is famously independent and mutually supportive; it’s also the home of many female-led shops and restaurants. So, let’s meet some of them…


Restaurant manager of BOX-E – “doing everything from serving guests and curating the wine list, to doing the accounts and the washing up. It’s never dull...”



’ve only been working at Box-E for around five-and-a-half years full-time, but I’ve been in and around the industry since I was old enough to have a KP job. Before Box-E, I worked as a journalist and a press officer for a MP. Wildly different careers, but all people-facing.” Have attitudes towards women shifted in the hospitality industry?

There’s been a rise in the number of highprofile female chefs and all-female kitchen and restaurant teams, but there’s still a long way to go. A huge stumbling block are the anti-social, non-family-friendly hours, which just exacerbate the male dominance of the industry. I wish there could be more emphasis on hospitality jobs as well-paid, skilled career options, rather than casual labour that anyone can do. What could be done to improve equality in your industry?

Make kitchens more open. We welcome females on work experience who are keen to be chefs, and try to show them a different side to the shouty all-male kitchens sometimes seen on the TV. What drives you to run your own business?

A wish to create a socially responsible, sustainable, happy, healthy place to work. To show my own girls that it is possible. Hard work, but it’s doable. For more

“100% follow your dreams. Being female is a strength, and it supports progress, which is more important than ever”


Joint director with Oli at THE BRISTOL CHEESEMONGER. “On any given day I can switch between a dizzying number of roles: social media representative, event organiser, accounts and finance team, HR and payroll, PA, cheesemonger, cheesemaker, delivery driver and coffee fetcher (coffee fetcher is a bigger job than it sounds, due to the volume of coffee drunk in our team. . .)”


s major cheese enthusiasts, Oli and I made it our business to visit cheese shops around the world. We ran home and Zoom tastings with friends and family for years, and I’ve been milking goats and making goats’ cheese at home with Oli for some time.” Have attitudes towards women shifted in your industry?

Artisan cheesemaking can quite rightly be perceived as backbreaking work in often inhospitable environments. This means that for a long time this has been quite a male-dominated industry. However, there has been a real acknowledgment of the women’s place in the history of British

cheesemaking. The Bristol Cheesemonger itself was founded by a woman. Some of the most technically-gifted and scientifically-minded cheesemakers we know are women who are pioneering practices within the industry. What drives you to want to run your business?

Cheese makers are so diverse and interesting. I want to see more and more local and smaller producers entering the market, and it is support from businesses like ours that allows them to flourish. This means that it is more sustainable, and has a higher level of animal welfare. For more I BRISTOL LIFE I 99


Owner and creative lead at ELEVATE YOGA STUDIO + CREATIVE SPACE, managing the studio and its team and guiding regular yoga classes


Owner of BUSH BRISTOL, “which includes being a buyer, social media marketer (not the best at!) website developer, photographer, visual merchandiser, sales assistant, business planner, manager, courier, bookkeeper and much more… “


’ve worked in retail since 2003. Gosh! My previous background was in art, fashion design, visual merchandising and floristry.” Do you think that attitudes towards women in retail have shifted?

Not quite; just two FTSE 250 retailers have a female CEO! There are better statistics for smaller independent retailers, but still less than half are women. I feel that to improve the industry we need to start with education, supporting more female role models, more women in management, and companies wiping out the gender pay gap. These changes would weave their way through our society and evolve our archaic culture. What could be done to improve equality?

It starts with changing government legislation for all

companies to show equality for both women and men. Governments need to introduce progressive childcare and parental leave laws; if men had the same amount of paternity leave, it would show both parties are equal, and jobs roles are not based on gender. This would change attitudes which would filter down through into the workplace and the home, leading to a more productive, happier and fairer society. What drives you to run your business?

Freedom. To have a balanced lifestyle, not dictated to by an antiquated HR system. Running my own business is not about being rich, money is not a measure of success; it’s about having flexibility, and making my job work for me and my personal values – being creative, planning for the future, and, importantly, being a dog owner . . . For more



began my practice in November 2018 and opened Elevate in August 2020. Prior to teaching yoga, I was studying for a masters in fine art and working in a graphic design agency.” What made you want to run a business?

I dreamt of running my own studio, building a team of teachers and facilitators who I felt were magical and could offer something to the wellness community in Bristol. I wanted to hold space for movement, connection, celebration of the body and empowerment – a space that is open to everybody, a place to elevate! For more

ROZZY TURNER Owner, director and CEO (“Chief Everything Officer”) at CLIFTON SEAFOOD COMPANY

I WORD TO THE WOMEN… “Don’t let people diminish your skills or experience, or put down your career choice. Stand proud” – Tess, Box-E

’ve been in the fish business for over five years. I’m no salty (lady) seadog with a long history in the industry, but I love that it’s packed full of characters, and that I’m in touch every day with my suppliers dealing with the markets on the coast.” Has your industry’s attitude towards women shifted?

To be fair, the fishing industry has a low base to work from. It was, and still is, very much a

“Never stop learning. The more you learn, the less you realise you know and the more you want to know.“ – Jess, Bristol Cheesemonger

It can be a little frustrating that what we know about the benefits of female leadership is not reflected in business generally. That’s changing fast, particularly as all you need now is a keyboard to reach the world, and are less reliant on others to decide your future path. In retail, and particularly in premium produce, we are, of course, selling quality, but we are also trading in trust and emotional integrity. That is something I think women do very well, so while it is good to have a spotlight on communities like ours, we can also celebrate our strengths, by understanding this advantage. What drives you to run your business?

People. Fun. Choice. For more

The concept of fermentation as a business is relatively new, so there are few preconceptions about who should or shouldn’t be doing it. The guild of fine fermenters is also a brandnew organisation, and I’d say it feels pretty equal and accessible to all.

“Trust your gut, build a team that supports you, schedule time off, remember being you is your superpower and enjoy the ride!” – Ella, Elevate Yoga

“Look at people a few years down the road from you who you admire, and be brave enough to ask how they got there. The right people will always find time to share with you, as often they have benefitted from advice themselves” – Mica, Jigaraki

What could be done to improve equality in your industry?

Has your industry’s attitude towards women shifted?

“100% follow your dreams! Being female is a strength, and it supports progress, which is more important than ever. Approach other women in business and discuss with them how to go about setting up”– Hayley, Bush

“Don’t isolate yourself. It’s not just about sticking with other women; it’s about choosing the right people to support you and help guide you. Good people can help you fly, but one bad apple can really hurt you as a small business” – Rozzy, Clifton Seafood Company

male-dominated scene. As attitudes to fish and seafood consumption, healthy eating and fresh produce have evolved, new roles and a new approach has opened up. My suppliers and the people getting the produce at the markets are pretty much all men. The closer you get to the customer in the supply chain though, women come to the fore.

What could be done to improve equality in your industry?


Owner and fermentation specialist, EVERY GOOD THING


’ve worked in the field of fermentation for the past nine years, working from home, but only moved down to Wapping Wharf 15 months ago.”

I think if I were to grow my business I’d need to learn to be more assertive, which seems often to be an issue women face in the workplace, though as I get older I seem to care less what people think of me. Imposter syndrome has been a barrier for me, but that’s more how I feel rather than anyone making me feel like that. What drives you to run your business?

I love the interaction with the customers and my colleagues. We strive to make extremely high-quality fermented foods painstakingly by hand – it’s very satisfying, and our customers appreciate this. For more I BRISTOL LIFE I 101

ON THE WAPPING WHARF SISTERHOOD... “It would be hard not be inspired by women who make it all look so effortless and fun, despite all the challenges and navigation it requires to run a business. It’s good to look to women miles ahead of me in terms of experience, and see that they have found some balance, and are even taking part in partnering with charities to make the world a better place” – Jess “It’s so important to have the support from other business women. Even just a passing “how you doing, can I borrow a drill?”, goes such a long way. Having women at the helm shows a better-balanced community, equality, support; you’re not alone, there is an understanding” – Hayley “As the Wapping Wharf community has grown, I’ve seen lots of different femaleled business arrive and thrive; we all look out for each other in different ways. It’s also been great to see younger women come and work in the community, as this helps grow the independent female message without diluting what makes the community special” – Rozzy



worked in retail, from fast-fashion to supermarkets, for 16 years before starting Frankly in 2019.”

Has the retail industry’s attitude shifted?

Buying tends to be a female-dominated industry, particularly within fashion; only during my short spell in meat-buying did I feel in a minority! I didn’t have a male boss until quite far into my career, but I do still see that there is still a lack of women at board level in a lot of retail businesses. What drives you to run your business?

I have always loved working in retail, but wanted to create a more sustainable model, in which


customers can be confident that everyone had been paid fairly and impact on the environment has been kept to a minimum. We work with other incredible women-led brands which have empowerment to women at the centre of their values, and that feels like a privilege. I also feel that bricks and mortar retail can provide important social support for women. On a daily basis I have chats with customers about the struggles of having new babies, how being retired is hard, people missing family and friends – it’s a connection that you just can’t get with online shopping. Women need the support of other women; it’s what makes us powerful. For more

“The hardest thing about going it alone was losing a support network of female colleagues; since opening Frankly I feel I have that support back again with my brilliant neighbours and employees. There’s definitely a feeling that we are all here to help each other, rather than being competitors” – Helen “There’s a really vibrant and entrepreneurial community at Wapping Wharf, and it’s great to see women at the heart of it. I also love to see the diversity of their roles, from fishmonger to ethical fashion retailer” – Mica



set up Loki Poké in 2020. Before, I worked as a producer, project-managing TV commercials, documentaries and digital campaigns.”

Has your industry’s attitude shifted?

Having not been in the industry long, I can’t speak for past attitudes. I’ve felt incredibly welcomed into the community, and that’s partly a testimony to Bristol’s support of independents. But I’ve definitely noticed that I’m in the minority as a female food-businessowner, and that a lot of kitchens seem to be quite male-dominated (though not ours!). The stats are pretty dire for investment in female-owned businesses: in 2020 only 2.3% of venture capital funding went to businesses led by women, and that’s actually got worse since the pandemic. What makes you want to run your business?

Our mission is to bring healthy fast food to Bristol: something I took for granted in Sydney, where I lived before coming back here to start Loki Poké. It’s the food I enjoy, and making food that people love that also makes them feel good. ■ For more


Manager at JIGARAKI, “ensuring that it’s serving delicious, vibrant, wholesome food in a fun environment”


’ve been working in kitchens since school. I completed an apprenticeship in professional cookery, which allowed me to build my skills base and technical knowledge and gain invaluable experience in working in kitchens. I started as a KP and worked my way through the kitchen, and now I am running one . . .” Has your industry’s attitude towards women shifted?

Kitchens were, and still are, male-dominated, but I have definitely seen that starting to change over the years. I was fortunate enough to have an inspiring woman heading up the last kitchen I worked in, and I think those role models are important. What could be done to improve equality in your industry?

We have worked hard on the culture at Jigaraki, and from creating a fun and trusting environment we have built a team of independent thinkers who love to learn and understand the importance of looking after one another. I believe the industry must adopt this approach, and nurture constructive and supportive environments that create opportunities for all. What do you love about your business?

I love the food, and the adrenalin rush of a busy service. There’s nothing like being part of a tight kitchen team; it’s satisfying, and there is genuine camaraderie. For more I BRISTOL LIFE I 103


SHOULD WE BE TREND FOLLOWERS? If you ditch the trends, fads and challenges, you’ll feel a million times better about your workout – and about your body – says Ellie at FEEL FIT


ocial media leads us to believe that a workout should be mindful; or you should go at it hard; you should be sweating; you should be using the latest piece of kit; tracking every workout and sleep; growing a bum or biceps, or be able to perform a pull-up. Why do we put ourselves through it on the advice of a sometimes unqualified stranger? Following the latest trend on social media can lead to injuries, not enjoying the exercise or moving your body. You can start comparing yourself to the someone on a screen and this isn’t great for our mental health. They are not

you and you are not them. Make sure you are following qualified coaches and professionals. There are plenty of great coaches who work with people online and in person who will work with you to match your abilities and lifestyle. Two of the trends for 2022 in the fitness industry are personal training and strengthtraining with free weights – both of which we offer, and champion, at Feel Fit. Personal training can help you learn how to move correctly and safely. It can help you find what you enjoy and develop a plan that is designed to suit you, your abilities and lifestyle. Mixed with the benefits of weight training,

ASK ELLIE Ellie, the founder of Feel Fit, gives her thoughts. “Well, if I’m honest, I would say Feel Fit is bang on trend and will continue this way, so follow us! We like to keep it simple; free weights and bodyweight workouts have been my own favourite for years – minimum input, maximum gain, right? And you certainly get this when you use free weights and lifting with a barbell. But in all seriousness, following the latest trend on social media can lead to injury, or not enjoying exercise or moving, because you start comparing yourself to someone on a screen – so don’t do it! There are plenty of qualified and good coaches who help people online and in person but who will also work with you to match your abilities.”

and – bingo! – you will find yourself lifting, swinging and moving in a way you didn’t realise you could. Free weights are great as you can isolate muscle groups and work on compound moves, too. They will help build body awareness, balance, mobility and coordination. They are more efficient, and you will get a better range of movement. We use barbells, kettlebells and dumbbells in the Feel Fit studios. Some other things trending this year are bodyweight training, online/on-demand, home and outdoor workouts. After years in a pandemic these things are not new to us here at Feel Fit – again these are all things we incorporate into our routines, we offer our classes online for you to be able to join at home, so not only are you getting the motivation to train at home but also the correct instruction and coaching throughout the workout. You see, those home workouts really can be fun if you log in with us. Another trend for 2022 is outdoors exercise. Getting outside for a walk, a circuit session or a jog has more benefits than just the physical side – the outdoors can help improve your mood and improve your focus – taking a 10-minute break from the computer and getting outside boosts vitamin D and can help with sleep. n

“My favourite exercise is the deadlift with a barbell, as I like to get as much as I can out of my workouts – I don’t often have that much to train, so want to do the things I can get the most from. Deadlifts are a full body movement, they work back, quads, hamstrings, glutes, core and arms.” “I love training and feeling strong. It has taken me years to get that feeling, though, I haven’t always enjoyed it. In fact I use to hate exercise when I was younger. But I found what I love and stuck with it. That is what we encourage at Feel Fit – to give it all a go until you find what works best for you, and then stick with it. We know that lifting isn’t for everyone, which is why we have everything from weightlifting to yoga, pilates, barre and running, spin and box fit. There really is something for everyone and you are able to focus on those three pillars – cardio, strength and mobility – combine those, and you will be fit for life.”


For more information, get in touch | 07771 695666

Source: for fitness trends



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It’s the city’s business

BRISTOLWORKS ENTRECONF Originally introduced as a virtual conference, EntreConf is a dynamic event designed to inspire our region’s entrepreneurs. Following a successful live networking event in 2021, MediaClash is running a number of dinners in 2022, starting on 21 March at Avon Gorge Hotel. Informal networking from 7pm will be followed by a talk with independent games company Network N, who reveal the inside story of scaling up; followed by dinner.

PROPERTY SYMPOSIUM: SUSTAINABILITY A new virtual Property Symposium will launch on 24 March. An arm of MediaClash’s annual Bristol Property Awards, the symposium will be a conference full of dynamic, powerful insights about property and sustainability. The expert speakers will cover bespoke research on both residential and commercial, there will be keynotes on the built environment and longer-term responsibility, panel sessions and networking opportunities. The Property Symposium online event will run from 9am-1pm.

Hi, Energy...


Why has this innovative company moved to Bristol? est.Energy, the business energymonitoring and management company, is making a major office move to new commercial premises in Bristol Business Park from its previous home in Cornwall. The move facilitates expansion in research and development, energy analysis and operations, following significant growth driven by the move to carbon net zero and rising energy costs, which are substantially impacting commercial customers. Best.Energy is on a mission to demonstrate that energy efficiency is the cheapest, cleanest and most accessible method for businesses to reduce both their carbon footprint and their utility bills. State-of-the-art energy monitoring and management technology, Eniscope Air, uses the Internet of Things, Big Data and Automated Intelligence to give organisations the power to map out their energy usage in granular, assetlevel detail – then target and execute savings remotely from the Cloud.

So, why Bristol? Founded in 2006, Best.Energy’s relocation aims to take advantage of the atmosphere of innovation and acceleration in the Bristol tech and sustainability sector, after outgrowing its first commercial space in St Austell. Bristol was named the most sustainable city in the UK according to a 2021 study, continuing its 13-year streak of green accolades, including ‘the most sustainable city’ in 2008 from Forum for the Future, and being chosen as the first UK city to be made European Green Capital in 2015. Similarly, Bristol has consistently been cited as an up-and-coming tech hot spot in the UK. Published research from the Government’s Digital Economy Council in December 2021 ranked Bristol in the top five of the ‘Levellingup Power Tech League 2021’. SETsquared, the University of Bristol start-up incubator, was also awarded ‘hottest accelerator’ in Europe at The Europas 2020. For more

Our friendly, local team are ready to help with expert advice. Call us today on: 01275 370360 or 0117 907 0818


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Mortgage style ltd is an appointed representative of HLPartnership limited who are authorised and regulated by the financial conduct authority. A mortgage is a loan secured against your home or property. A fee may be payable. Your home or property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage or any other debt secured on it. The financial conduct authority does not regulate most forms of buy to let mortgages, most forms of commercial mortgage, some forms of bridging finance, estate agents, letting agents, tax advice and legal services.


five years. This is not exercised if the debt is being repaid because the borrower has gone into long-term care or passed away. Also, you should only speak to a properly qualified adviser, they should have the following letters after their name CeRER (Certificate in Regulated Equity Release) We’re interested. What’s the first thing we should do? The first thing you need to do is decide how much you would like to borrow and then speak to an equity-release qualified adviser such as Mortgage Style. A large proportion of mortgage brokers cannot advise on equity release mortgages.


Equity release Kelly Flanagan of Mortgage Style reveals the pros and cons, and explains how to start the process


elly is the specialist equity release adviser of Mortgage Style, a team of independent mortgage brokers based in Portbury. The company offers mortgage advice on all types of property finance – including equity release for people aged over 55. “There has been a fierce increase in demand for equity release over the last decade,” says Kelly. “In 2016 there were approximately 34 lenders offering this product, and now there are 300!” Why do people choose equity release? The main reasons are: to pay back existing interest-only mortgages coming to the end of their term; home improvements; releasing money to gift to children so they can buy a property; the purchase of second homes, and

income for retirement. There was even a lady who raised money to get a new set of teeth… Is now a good time to consider equity release? Now is a great time. Rates have reduced hugely over the last few years, with fixed rates for the life of the mortgage meaning the rate will never change. Average fixed interest rates are 3.5% for life with arrangement fees as low as £5. When is equity release the best solution, as opposed to, eg, taking out another mortgage? Equity release is normally used where a normal mortgage is not feasible or possible. For example, the client’s age may cause a problem, or the fact that they do not have enough income to support a mortgage.

What are the main pros and cons of equity release? Pros: Can provide funds to people that cannot raise the money in any other way. All lenders have a ‘no negative equity guarantee’ now; this means the debt will never be more than the house is worth. Equity release can also help reduce your inheritance tax liability. You have the option to let the interest roll up, which means you don’t have to make repayments, so there is no monthly cost. Cons: Well, there is only one. If you allow the interest to roll up monthly, when the debt comes to be repaid, the balance could be a lot more than you borrowed. What are the main pitfalls? Not so much a pitfall, but you should be aware that most lenders’ deals have early redemption penalties for the first

Why is it important to consult a specialist broker? The main reason is so you can access all of the lenders across the market, making sure you get the best deal available to you. They will also assist you the whole way through the process. How many lenders are in the equity release market? There are 300, and Mortgage Style works with them all. If we decide to go ahead, what’s the next stage? Contact us for a free consultation. Other than the amount released, are there any hidden costs? No; you will need to budget for legal work, but you would be notified of this cost before you proceed. Once the loan has been approved, is there anything else you can help us with? Yes, once the loan is approved, the legal work will start. We will help chase this through all the way until the funds land in your bank account. We can also recommend relevant insurances, solicitors, accountants and will writers. For more:

Offices in: Henleaze, Whiteladies Road Clifton Village, Shirehampton 0117 962 1205







Money doctor Women are on the brink of a finance epidemic, says CHERIE-ANNE BAXTER, marketing director at Unividual


hat can we say about the women in our lives? Mums, aunties, grandmothers, sisters – in no particular order of importance, we couldn’t live without them. Key moments in the last few years have changed the way women are talked about, respected and appreciated. The more we appreciate the women in our lives, the more we fall short of words to describe how much they mean to us. While things are changing, men and women continue to expose the gender imbalance we still live with, such as data bias in a world that still feels designed by men, for men.

This is systemic in financial services, from banking through to insurance and retirement planning; for decades women have never been at the centre of their own finances. While small pockets of businesses are trying to change this, and the numbers of women working in a position of power in financial services is growing, decades of neglect are creating a finance epidemic of its own. This isn’t just about the continued discrepancy in lifetime earnings between men and women. If you compound this onto lower-paid work, career breaks and part-time jobs, women are left with fewer pension prospects and a dependency on their spouse to provide for them during retirement. When I talk to women about this, you can see the realisation wash across their faces. Women and men should take joint ownership over money management; without female representation, women won’t get the financial support they


deserve. So, where do we start with all this? How can we rally around and ignite change? What families can do: Talk about who takes on most of the housework, childcare duties or other caring responsibilities. If that person is sacrificing their career and earnings, they are also sacrificing pension contributions. This means they won’t have as much money to retire on and could be reliant on their partner or the state. This is grossly unfair, and could also impact on your children if you separate, your spouse loses their income or dies. Make time to plan for this, and if you don’t know where to start, or you want a professional to represent you both fairly, you should outsource your finances to an adviser. What employers can do: Parents and carers opting for part-time work and career breaks could see their prospects for promotion reduced. This

affects lifetime earnings potential and participation in workplace pensions. As an employer, how can you embrace flexible working patterns and ensure people aren’t overlooked for promotion? Think about how you could adapt your benefits for part-time workers, especially around retirement planning, and what support you can give staff to improve financial literacy and wellbeing. What we can do for our parents: The older generation is less inclined to understand the gender imbalance in finance. Women are living longer than men, are more likely to incur higher care costs and have lower retirement savings. Not a great recipe for old age. Find out what provisions they have put in place for this. Can they afford their own care, or do you need to budget for this? Not knowing these things could mean making tough decisions later down the line, such as selling the family home. Then have a think about what position you are in for long-term care, and how it could affect your children. If you survived your other-half, or vice versa, what money would you both have access to? While we are making serious inroads to reduce the unfair gap between men and women in all aspects of life, there is still a way to go in many areas of life – not least financial services. With the education, knowledge and tools to support each other you can achieve great fairness in how you manage your money, either as an independent woman or as a couple. For more:


1 8 M AY 2022 Scan this to see the Awards!

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The Bristol Life Awards – the most prestigious, glamorous and hotly contested business event in the city – are almost upon us, and tickets are being snapped up... WHAT? The Bristol Life Awards 2022 WHERE? Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol WHEN? 18 May 2022 WHY? To celebrate the very best local businesses and organisations in Bristol and the surrounding areas WHO’S IT FOR? Any local business, charity or establishment can, and did, enter. Tune into our Grand Reveal on 23 March to learn who made the cut this year CAN I COME ALONG? If you hurry! Tickets now on sale at


n 23 March, five days after this issue of Bristol Life hits the streets, the finalists of the Bristol Life Awards 2022 will be announced via a Grand Reveal over Zoom; register to join at the Awards website. You’ll also be able to discover who made the cut in our next issue. But hey; we’re just getting started... JUDGING

Our team of independent judges from across the city (also soon to be revealed) will come together for the difficult task of picking out the crème-de-la-crème, the élite, the

hidden gems among the finalists, to determine this year’s crop of winners – including the winner of the big one: the Platinum Award. THE BIG EVENT

The Bristol Life Awards have sold out every year, so if you want to be a part of it, whether you’re a finalist or not, head to our website for tickets. You can purchase up to six single tickets, or tables of 10. It’s always worth bagging them early so you don’t miss out. GET INVOLVED

Nominations are closed, but it’s not too late to get involved. A few sponsorships for the Awards are

still available, with benefits such as your own company table and the chance to present an Award to a winner on stage. Sponsors on board for 2022 so far include: headline sponsor, Marsh Commercial; category sponsors, Burston Cook, Bristol Life, Bristol Property Awards. Crumbs, Entreconf, Lexus Bristol, SLX, Thatchers and VWV; feature sponsors, Bristol Sport, SAS Consultancy and Triangle. Official supplier, CJ Prop Hire & Events. For more information about sponsoring, contact: or For more:


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0117 370 2745



Home currently for sale in Cotham Grove, £1.3m

A desire for space and lifestyle change is driving demand for homes in Bristol


igh demand and a lack of property for sale has created an “incredibly strong” prime property market in and around Bristol, according to the team at Savills. The value of a home at the higher end of the market in Bristol – broadly the top 5 to 10 per cent by value – increased by 7.1 per cent in 2021. This exceptional price growth has been driven by a desire for lifestyle change and a shift in working patterns, initially prompted by the pandemic. These are trends that are here to stay, says Richard Brooks, residential head of Savills’ South West region, based in the Clifton office. “What could have been a short-lived reaction to lockdown became a more fundamental shift in priorities for many people, especially for those who have embraced hybrid working. “These factors continue to underpin demand for prime property, with the city market, in particular, grappling with a lack of suitable stock to fulfil buyer appetite. This is most notable in the sought-after hotspots of Clifton, Cotham and Southville, where wellpriced properties have sold incredibly quickly, often as a result of competitive bidding.” The so-called ‘race for space’ has also prompted a rise in interest for homes in Bristol’s commuter belt, says Richard. “Areas such as the Gordano Valley, which now commands an average house price of £584,220, and Long Ashton, within which the average home has a 123 per cent premium on the city centre, provide an opportunity to live a country lifestyle on the cusp of the city.’

Hybrid working is shaping the rental market too, as Sam Pagett, head of residential lettings for Savills in Clifton, explains. “We are seeing more tenants prioritise space to work from home, with more couples looking for two bedrooms to allow for a devoted working space, and more single young professionals choosing to rent on their own rather than to house-share. There is also demand for rental property from London commuters looking for more balance in their lives.” And while Bristol has seen a rise in incomers from the capital since the start of

the pandemic, some Londoners are choosing to keep their city property and rent in the country, says Sam. “There has been a notable increase in interest from Londoners looking for a rental for weekend and school holiday use, giving them the best of both worlds.” Those thinking of selling or letting their property in 2022 are advised to move quickly to make the most of the current market conditions. For expert advice, contact Savills Clifton office on 0117 933 5800. For more


THE OLD ORCHARD Spend a little time in this contemporary singlestorey home in Failand, and you may never want to go back to tall, narrow, old town houses again . . . Words by Ursula Cole


f The Old Orchard looks this alluring in rainy weather, how charming must it look on a bright and sunny day? Especially out in that rather Zen-looking suntrap of a garden? Even when it’s overcast, there’s a zero-tolerance attitude to gloom. Inside this home, large picture windows and plentiful skylights mean that daylight has a pass to access all areas. The name of the house is something of a misnomer, implying something rustic, cottagey and slightly twee. In fact, The Old Orchard could hardly be more contemporary. Tucked away off Clevedon Road in Failand, this spacious four-bedroomed bungalow has been completely transformed into a thoroughly modern home by someone with an exceptional eye for design, and a refusal to compromise on quality. In fact, even the word ‘bungalow’ is a little misleading. Banish all thoughts of pebbledashed suburbia, because The Old Orchard is as stylish as any new-build, its liberal use of exterior wooden cladding being more evocative of a Scandi retreat than something you’d stumble across, unwillingly, in Bexhill-on-Sea. While tall period town houses are undeniably elegant, once you’ve experienced life all at one level you’re unlikely to ever go back. As well as the blessed absence of stairs, the home has an easy, open-plan flow, with family life centring on the huge 34ft kitchen, dining and living area. This is an extraordinary space. Sliding doors lead out to the patio, a vaulted ceiling is set with no less than six velux windows, and there are two further windows to the side. If you enjoy wearing sunglasses indoors, this is the home for you. All this light bounces beautifully off the sleek white modern kitchen, in which every appliance – fridgefreezer, dishwasher, double oven, induction hob – is concealed within base and wall units, topped with a Krion worksurface. There’s a wood burning stove, and I BRISTOL LIFE I 119

“The Old Orchard is a one-off home that has been unapologetically designed for enjoying the good life”

Turkish marble flooring with underfloor heating throughout. A large utility room, along with four bedrooms – one currently used as a glamorous cinema room, another having an en-suite with a walk-in shower – and a spa-like family bathroom with exposed brick walls and modern freestanding bath, all lead off from an inner hallway. Across the garden, in a detached annexe, full-width bi-fold doors open to reveal a stylish retreat with a log burning stove, underfloor heating and an en-suite shower room. They say: perfect for dependant relatives, or a teenager. We say: keep out! It’s far too good to share. There’s also a newly built home gym on the other side of the property, which could equally serve as a home office. The large garden is divided between a level lawn and a beautifully landscaped patio and decked area, with the quirky addition of a large wood-fired fireplace. Add in plenty of parking, and a fabulous location halfway between Bristol and the coast, and what you’ll find at The Old Orchard is a truly one-off home that’s designed, unapologetically, for enjoying the good life.



Bath/shower rooms


Receptions Open-plan 34ft kitchen, dining room and living room Garden

0.33 acres

Guide price


What else? Separate annexe and gym Contact Alexander May



MEET THE PROPERTY AGENT Bristol’s a leading property hotspot, and it’s not always easy to get onto the residential ladder or navigate the rental market. These guys are here to make it all easier . . .


Property acquisition is costly, but so is property maintenance. Understanding the condition of the property pre-acquisition is key to limiting future liability. Seeking professional advice and instructing a building survey ensures you are best placed to make the necessary decisions. Regular building maintenance can often be neglected due to the perceived benefit of short-term cost savings resulting in long term expense. Having a fully encompassing planned preventative maintenance schedule is key to prolonging the building fabric and in turn, mitigates ‘surprising’ liabilities at lease expiry, and demonstrates a well-managed building assisting in mitigating void periods for multi-let buildings or estates.


If you could offer one piece of advice to someone looking to buy or lease a property, what would it be, and how is it best to protect your investment?

What common pitfalls do people make when leasing commercial property, and how is it best to protect your investment? We see too many commercial leasehold tenants who have failed to understand their leasehold liabilities, especially their leaseend repair obligations. I would strongly recommend seeking professional advice prior to signing up to a new lease, to ensure the building’s condition is fully recorded at lease commencement and engrossed within the lease. Proper advice at lease commencement

could be worth its weight in gold at lease expiry whereby an engrossed schedule of condition or limited obligations will be the key to limiting any potentially costly dilapidations disputes. Tell us something about 3SIXTY Real Estate, and why people should contact you. 3SIXTY Real Estate is an independent, awardwinning challenger firm of chartered commercial building surveyors specialising in providing building surveying, architectural and property management services, UK-wide. We are a small and passionate team who pride ourselves on providing personable, robust advice to private landlords, SMEs, equity and investment funds and the licenced leisure and private healthcare sectors. How is sustainability affecting commercial property? Minimum energy efficiency standards were first introduced in 2018, which set a minimum EPC rating for new commercial leases and are to be introduced in 2023 for existing commercial leases. This is unchartered territory – as such the exact impact upon landlord and tenant relations is unknown. However, there will almost certainly be complications with existing leases, as each party will have a slightly different objective.



How have you seen new home buyer trends change since the pandemic? Given recent events, access to outside and amenity space is becoming non-negotiable on many newhome buyers’ wishlists; across all property types, we are seeing developers begin to embrace this and feature outside areas including balconies, roof terraces and communal gardens in their designs.

What are your goals for 2022? After a successful launch in the summer of 2021, my goal is continuing to promote my unique offering. My agency represents clients with integrity and expertise, reinforced by a passion for what we sell. With a transparent and collaborative approach, which has been redefined by the way that people now buy and sell property, we aim to blend a personal and progressive ethos with the essence of traditional estate agency.

CJ HOLE LAND & NEW HOMES 0117 4350234;

What are your goals for 2022? Market activity and trends in 2021 were heavily influenced by the stamp duty holidays and lockdowns, distorting the traditional seasonal busy periods. The aim for this year is to build upon the success of 2021, while continuing to maintain an outstanding service to our clients and matching buyers to our range of high-quality new homes across our region, specifically focusing on getting back to normality with unrestricted viewings and opening of our show homes, and, what we do best – meeting clients face-to-face. Tell us about your company, and why people should contact you. Our specialist land and new homes department works closely alongside our established network of awardwinning high street branches to offer a complete service to developers, with on-the-ground real-time data on buyer trends and prices. Passionate about the Bristol property market and trading since 1867, we’ve built our solid reputation on providing a hands-on and unrivalled customer service to our clients.

FORREST AGENT 01179 012552;

Tell us something about your company, and why people should contact you? Located in Berkeley Square in Clifton, the Forrest agency has been born out of nearly a decade of property experience. We firmly believe that people buy from people, and the objective is to create an honest and thoroughly modern agency that is committed to a truly personal service. Look out for us in our branded electric Mini all over Bristol, or follow us on social media @forrestagent for our latest listings.

Sean McCarthy

Chris Forrest

What advice would you give someone looking to buy off-plan? Always thoroughly research the area and nearby sold prices. It is also important to investigate previous developments by the builder to ensure a good quality of build/satisfied customer reviews. Finally, read the small print and clarify exactly what is included in the sale price and exactly what is offered at an additional cost. I BRISTOL LIFE I 123




OCEAN – CLIFTON OFFICE 0117 946 6007


What are your goals for 2022? To continue our efforts in reducing our carbon footprint across all areas of the business. Tell us something about your company, and why people should contact you. We are friendly and approachable people who break the mould of being hard-selling agents. We take the time to listen to what our clients really need and want. Above all, our knowledge of the local market is what allows us to provide the most accurate and tailored advice for each individual seller and buyer.

What are your goals for 2022? Our goals are to keep on delivering a high-quality service to our leasehold clients, while continuing to grow the business organically. Our aim has always been to be the best block-management agent in Bristol. What misconceptions do people have about buying a new-build property? A classic misconception about new-build properties is that they don’t require much maintenance. That might be true in the very early years, however, it is important to start saving money for the future maintenance needs of the building as soon as possible.

Andrew Beazer

If you could buy a property anywhere in Bristol, where would it be, and why? For me, Redland. I live on Fernbank Road and love the proximity of the Downs as well as both Whiteladies and Gloucester Road. The city centre is also easily accessible. It offers the perfect mix of amenities. What advice can you give to anyone starting their search for a new property? First and foremost, speak with a mortgage advisor and obtain an agreement in principle. Currently, almost all of the properties we sell achieve above their guide price so it is important to be in the most competitive position possible when offering.

Tell us something about your company, and why people should contact you. We have been established since 1985 and have the most experienced and longest serving team in Bristol. With a strong retention of staff, we can offer consistency to clients in an industry where that is rare.

Adam Coombs


Tell us something about your company, and why people should contact you. We are an independent property-buying agency providing a comprehensive property search and acquisition service in Bristol, Bath, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and the Cotswolds. As buying agents we exclusively represents buyers, and only acts in their best interests, offering clients with unrivalled access to properties – both those publicly marketed as well as the ones that are not. We provide a full end-to-end service covering every aspect of the buying process, from strategy discussion and consultation to search, shortlist, due diligence, inspection and viewings, negotiation and conveyancing management through to completion. Our clients value our guidance and professional expertise when negotiating their property purchase as it is all too easy to fall in love with a property and pay too much.


What common pitfalls do people make when buying a property? Many homebuyers believe that estate agents will act in their best interests, but estate agents represent sellers, not buyers, as they are retained by the sellers and consequently act exclusively in their best interest (they are legally obliged to do so under their agency agreement). For buyers, the best way to level the playing field is to have their own representative: a buying agent. Buying a property is a major and expensive life decision; it is also stressful and time-consuming. So, it is quite remarkable that some buyers are prepared to gamble such large sums of money without professional help, guidance and advice; while the seller has access to the guidance and advice of their estate agent. If you could buy a property anywhere in Bristol, where would it be and why? A town house in Clifton, or a detached house in Leigh Woods, Abbots Leigh or Sneyd Park for close proximity to Clifton Village.


What common pitfalls do people make when buying or selling a house/commercial property? There might be issues with the property you want to buy. Some of these might affect your chances of getting a mortgage, others might cost you money further down the line. It’s worth knowing what to look out for and what mistakes to avoid. At Hunters we guide you through every step of the buying journey, and can advise and support in every scenario.


HUNTERS ESTATE AGENTS 0800 008 6906; What are your goals for 2022? Our goal for 2022 is to build on the success of 2020 and 2021. We saw unprecedented times both financially and with rapid expansion. It is my responsibility to ensure that we audit our processes to ensure that our services are strong and robust enough to maintain the quality our customers expect and support future growth.

What misconceptions do people have about buying a new-build property? Buying a new build doesn’t mean youll be living near social housing. New estates have a certain quota of affordable housing that they have to meet, but affordable housing isn’t the same as social housing. If the property is part of a shared ownership scheme, the new owners will still need a reasonable deposit and may well be paying a monthly figure that’s not much lower than your mortgage. What advice would you give someone looking to buy off-plan? I would strongly recommend they undertake a site visit to the development to look at the plot they are purchasing to check the outlook and surroundings, as the marketing may not show

how the surrounding area will look once the house is completed Tell us something about your company, and why people should contact you. I have said this before, but I genuinely believe that the success of our company is built on the shoulders of our fantastic staff, and it is because of their acute local knowledge, their vast experience and their first-rate professionalism that our customers always come back. I often receive feedback about how friendly they are, and that makes me immensely proud. Are there any areas of Bristol that are proving to be particularly popular at the moment? Bristol is a vibrant, diverse and innovative city, so demand for housing has always been strong and continues to be so. With major employers based throughout the city, all areas are in high demand from apartments to large family homes. If you could buy a property anywhere in Bristol, where would it be and why? I have just bought my dream house! It is near Yatton, which is just outside of Bristol, in the countryside. But what is wonderful about Bristol is its diversity; you have the vibrant city, the peaceful countryside and beaches and marinas all within short distances.



What are the first steps when you’re thinking of moving house? The most sensible first step if you’re considering a move is to speak to a mortgage broker. Buying a home is usually the biggest financial commitment you’ll make, so getting sound financial advice is a great place to start. It’s free to have an initial conversation with a broker and you might find there are options you had not thought possible.

What type of your work do you particularly enjoy? Helping businesses with complicated/stressful property matters through to a successful outcome where our true value as experts can be recognised. What common pitfalls do people make when buying or selling commercial property? Not taking expert commercial property advice from a qualified professional specialising in this sector. Tell us something about your company and why people contact you… We specialise in providing all aspects of commercial property advice. We are Chartered Surveyors. We are multi-award-winning and Bristol’s most active commercial property agent. What advice would you give someone looking to invest in property in the South West? Identifying good commercial investments is not straightforward. Keep your requirement criteria as open as possible and be deal-led rather than by sector/location. Always take advice from an expert before buying. How has Bristol’s commercial property market changed? In the last five years, some 1.5 million sq ft of redundant central office space has been converted for residential use. This has helped revitalise the city centre with thousands more people living in the area, resulting in a community vibe and supporting local retail outlets and eateries. As a result, more office occupiers wish to retain a presence in BS1.

HAMPTONS; 0117 901 5591

What common pitfalls do people make when buying or selling a house/commercial property? Once you’ve found your dream home, a good solicitor (or conveyancer) can be the key to a smoother and easier sale and you definitely get what you pay for.

BURSTON COOK 0117 934 9977;

Nick Reading

Tell us something about your company, and why people should contact you. Hamptons has a network of over 90 offices, half of which are in London. With more and more people leaving London in search of a better life here in the West Country, we can connect London buyers with Bristol homes. Are there any areas of Bristol that are proving to be particularly popular at the moment? Clifton, Redland, Cotham have been the most popular places to live in Bristol for a long time. However in recent years St Andrews, Bedminster, Southville, Montpellier, St Werburghs, Easton, and Redfield have become more and more desirable.

Julian Cook I BRISTOL LIFE I 125

AWARD WINNING LOCAL BUSINESS, PROVIDING JARGON-FREE FINANCIAL ADVICE SINCE 2010. We are an Independent Financial Advisory firm, who help people with planning around Mortgages, Pensions, Investments and Protection to find solutions for you and your family.

Visit us: 359a Church Road, St George, Bristol, BS5 8AQ Tel: 01179 553791


HOW WE FELL IN LOVE WITH UK BREAKS Savvy investors are reaping the benefits of UK staycation market boom according to AURELIUS PROPERTY


ith foreign holidays heavily restricted for millions during the last couple of years, Brits have rediscovered the beauty of our own green and pleasant shores. Self-catering holidays, which typically provide space, safety and privacy – some of the must-haves of the moment – have largely weathered the storm caused by the pandemic and emerged in prime position to capitalise on the muchanticipated staycation boom. And the homesoil love affair is on course to continue for years to come, with the UK tourism industry predicted to reach £257 billion by 2025. Peter Butterworth, co-founder of Aurelius Property, an exciting new investment platform based in Bristol, is witnessing this growth firsthand. “We are experiencing an unseasonably buoyant start to 2022. January is typically classed as low season in the holiday lodge

The ichthyosaur skeleton is the largest and most complete fossil of its kind ever found in the UK. Photograph: Anglian Water/PA

industry, however, we are seeing bookings in quantities akin to late spring, which prior to 2020 was unheard of. I was meeting an investor on site for a viewing in Rutland recently and was amazed to see how busy it was; a summer `buzz’ with holiday makers enjoying their hot tubs on a chilly (but bright) day in mid-January. “It is a struggle to find an unoccupied lodge to show potential investors around at the moment, which is obviously great news for our clients. Inevitably, the ongoing demand for high-quality UK breaks has led to an insatiable demand from savvy investors who are already benefitting from this ongoing growth. The first phase of lodges at Sun Valley in Cornwall, sold out so quickly that when we launched our latest offering, Ranksborough Hall, in Rutland, in late 2021, the resort brochures weren’t even ready yet. We still have some availability, but units will not hang around.” Rutland is England’s smallest county, and certainly lives up to its motto, Multum in Parvo (much in little); This rural escape is the perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors. Rutland Water offers a multitude of leisure pursuits including water sports, cycling, fishing and bird watching, while Rutland’s many attractive villages, set in the wonderful English countryside, are home to picture-postcard cottages and traditional country pubs. And now, also home to one of the most significant fossils ever found in the UK. “As soon as I saw the lodge deal it felt like the right thing to go for,” said Mira, an owner at Ranksborough Hall. “Over the last two years I have realised that holidays are not a luxury but an absolute necessity, especially if it means being close to

nature. No stamp duty was a plus.” With brand-new fully managed lodges, future investors are sure to find Ranksborough Hall a robust, hassle-free and rewarding investment, that delivers straight away and assures healthy returns for years to come. ■

AT A GLANCE... Fully managed lodges from £135k Fixed 8% Net pa Assured exit strategy Limited availability Get in touch for further details

Tel: 0117 4225 449 Email: invest@ I BRISTOL LIFE I 127



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The Manor House Redland Court

REDLAND COURT’S JEWEL IN THE CROWN REDLAND COURT is once again a major feature on the Redland landscape. While there has been a building on this spot since 1552, the matchless Manor House has been an integral part of Bristol’s history since 1732.


uniper Homes has been peeling back the layers of history in a meticulous restoration programme, bringing the superb classical architecture back to life. The East and West Wings of the Grade-II* Manor House are now ready to share their secrets and historic gems. The pair of two-bedroom duplex/ triplex apartments, each occupying a wing of the Manor House, will be launched in April. Both wings have an unusual and distinctive weathervane. Commissioned in 1761 by Martha Cossins in memory of her husband John, they are topped by a featured tail representing Halley’s Comet. The cupola on the West Wing is original; the East Wing cupola was removed to make way for an apartment for the first school headmistress, a Miss Cocks. An exact replica was commissioned and now sits in perfect symmetry with the original. 130 I BRISTOL LIFE I

The East Wing also still has the original school of private residents’ parkland, the East and West bell, dating back to 1899. The bell would toll Wing apartments also benefit from dedicated for five minutes at the start of the school day; outdoor space, and a coveted two-car parking however, future residents will be pleased to hear space for each wing. this no longer happens. These two apartments really are outstanding Each wing has its own private entrance, and Juniper Homes, as it has done throughout Juniper Homes is nearing completion of the exclusive 2-bedroom East and West West Wing’s being in a triplex apartment with a Redland Court, has exceeded expectations with spectacular crescent staircase linking the ground craftmanship and attention to listed detailManor withinHouse. Wing duplex the apartments in the historic Grade II* and first floors. The main bedroom still has the the Manor House apartments. ■ Please register your interest today. original panels that date back to the original Elizabethan manor. While treasuring the past, Juniper Homes has made sure these spectacular homes meet the requirements of today’s lifestyle. The specification is outstanding; handcrafted Shaker and May kitchens grace both wings with immaculate attention to both detail and finish. The appliances are Siemens, and the rich oak floors, with their herringbone design, look CGI imagery used for illustrative purposes only. beautiful. All bedrooms have fitted wardrobes To register your interest please call Savills and main bedrooms have luxurious en-suites. on 0117 910 0360 or Ocean on 0117 946 9838. While Redland Court is set within three acres

Bristol & Clifton's premier Commercial Property Agents Keep up-to-date with our latest news, deals, testimonials and market comment at our website:

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CENTRAL HQ BUILDING • Impressive, landmark office building • Excellent location in the heart of Bristol’s commercial centre • Approx. 246 sq m • New lease available

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OFFICES IN VIBRANT LOCATION • Studio offices to rent in Stokes Croft • Vibrant location surrounded by an eclectic mix of uses • Final suite remaining on the ground floor – approx. 164 sq m

MODERN OFFICE DEVELOPMENT • Ground floor office suite • Approx. 135 sq m • Rent only £14.95 p/sf pax • Newly refurbished • New lease available

OPPORTUNITY TO PURCHASE • Showroom and offices • Prominent roadside location • Good parking provision • 1,000’s of passing vehicles each day

NEW CITY CENTRE OFFICES • Located in the heart of Bristol city centre on Lewins Mead • High quality space with air conditioning and LED lighting • On site car parking available! • From 70 sq m – 136 sq m

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“My early stories included lengthy descriptions of sunrises and springtime, plus the occasional vampire” huge variety of stories under 1000 words, and choosing one to publish on the Reflex Press website each week. I also review a huge number of collections. Amanda Saint, Tracey Slaughter, Sarah Hills and Tom O’Brien are all powerful writers tackling emotions in their own inimitable way. Fly Already by Etgar Keret, published in The New Yorker, is another story that has stayed with me. I’m curious about people


If you enjoy reading tales about the threads that connect different people, shot through with a hint of of fairytale, you’re going to love Judy’s latest collection…


udy Darley has an eclectic CV. Not only has she worked as a journalist and a communications manager, but as a shepherdess – the latter conjuring up an irresistible (though undoubtedly inaccurate) Arcadian vision of Judy depicted in Meissen porcelain. Today, she divides her time between content-writing for clients, that include the NHS, and writing her own fiction. “I love the challenge of finding the clearest way to express everything, from a nebulous emotion experienced by a fictional character to medical guidance for NHS patients,” she says. Her latest collection of short stories, The Stairs are a Snowcapped Mountain, is just about to be published by Reflex, with a launch event on 26 March. I grew up in Thornbury, in a house full of books and ghosts, and loved listening to

bedtime stories. I still need to read before I can fall asleep.

My early stories included

lots of lengthy descriptions of sunrises and springtime, plus the occasional vampire. I began working as a staff writer for travel magazines in 2005, and my first short story was published soon after. Travel writing taught me to be concise and avoid clichés (my editor had a ban on ‘sandy beaches’ and ‘stunning views’) and to engage all the senses.

As a child, I fell in love with characters rather than authors.

I loved Elisabeth Beresford’s Wombles, adoring The Wombles Go Round The World. I also found CS Lewis’s Narnia books gorgeously magical and dark. Other favourites included Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce. This list makes me realise that I loved anything about journeys and adventure, plus twists of magic and the impossible.

As a flash-fiction editor, I have the privilege of reading a


and the underlying emotions that influence why they do the things they do, and I think that shines through in each of my books. I write to answer my own questions – why does that person look so sad while playing hopscotch with their child? What hidden worries are influencing that stranger’s behaviour? Part of the reason I write is to put myself in other people’s shoes and stroll around in them for a while.

The Stairs are a Snowcapped Mountain contains stories about

the strangeness of the 2020 bubble, alongside tales about places I’ve visited in the past. The connecting threads are the things that bring us together or push us apart, and the way that things are often so much more than they seem at first glance. Hints of fairytales and myths ripple through everyday scenarios, but at the heart of the book is humanity and family, and all the ways we find to survive and thrive. I’m so excited about the book launch and literary night

for The Stairs are a Snowcapped Mountain, which takes place from 7-9.30pm on 26 March at Waterstones in Bristol Galleries. There will be live music from singer-songwriter Eve Appleton and readings from local writers

Helen Sheppard, Harriet Kline, Jo Mary Butler and me. It’s going to be a great night out! Meeting people who are as obsessed with stories as me

has been amazing. I found them through writing courses at Bristol Folk House and at live literary events and open mic nights, including Novel Nights and Tonic. My favourite time to write is

early in the morning, preferably when I’m still half-asleep. On a perfect day, I get up, make a coffee, grab my laptop and go back to bed to write for a couple of hours. But really, ideas can arrive at any time. I always carry a notebook.

I live in the hilly part of south Bristol that isn’t sure whether

it’s Totterdown or Knowle. It’s a brilliant area full of lovely people, but the best thing for me are the green spaces. I’m a fan of Arnos Vale Cemetery’s overgrown wilderness, as well as Victoria Park, Perrett Park, and the Northern Slopes. You’re never far from a tree, or a squirrel . . . My most regrettable habit is

jumping around in rooms where other people are trying to relax. Also, demanding other people stop jumping around while I’m trying to write ‘important’ words.

Immediately after answering these questions I have an idea

for a new story that I need to pin down before it has a chance to escape. I may be some time…

The Stairs are a Snowcapped Mountain is

available for pre-order from Free tickets for the launch event on 26 March are available from waterstones. com/events